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[FM17] The Long and Winding Road – Keymer and Hassocks/DCK Maidenbower


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23 hours ago, styluz05 said:

I've got to reply to this thread, I played for Lingfield from age of 10-18 and Maidebower and Hassocks were both two clubs we battled and had rivalries with consistently. 

A local lad! I hope you don't mind seeing your rivals in the Prem, although in the extended game universe I've created in my mind, I'm gonna count you as one of DCK's biggest fans, a season ticket holder who started supprting them soon after they achieved promotion to the Football League. Hope you don't mind me upgrading your season ticket to a year's free access to the directors box at our crappy 12k seater ground, it comes with complimentary coronation chicken sarnies at every home game...

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DCK Maidenbower 2041/42 Season (Premier League)

Summer Transfer Window and DCK Squad

First Team Out

Alexandre Neves - RB, £2m, Stoke

Mario Carlon - ST, £22m (£25m), Chelsea

Gjergji Hoxha - ST, £27.5m (£30m), Spurs

Ntuthuko Makhoere - RW, £21.5m (£30m), Sunderland

Stanislav Knobloch - DM, £9m, Huddersfield

Big money offers came thick and fast throughout the transfer window, but Jamie Tabb was careful with who he accepted bids for, only selling players that the club already had readymade replacements for out on loan. The one exception to this was Neves, who was throwing a fit about his lack of gametime and was replaced with an experienced older head to serve as backup at RB.

Carlon was expected to go after the fans turned on the big money signing when he proved utterly incapable of scoring goals. Tabb would have counted himself lucky if the club had broken even on the transfer fee, so to make a not inconsiderable profit of £5m, potentially rising to £7.5m, represents excellent business.

Hoxha meanwhile departed, despite Tabb's plans to keep him, after Spurs made an offer that was simply too good to refuse. Young striker Dean Dasaolu had been progressing well on loan at West Brom and the decision was taken to integrate him into the first team at 19 rather than sending him out on loan again. 

Makhoere still had room to grow at 22 but with Ivar Hopmark returning from loan he was a player that DCK could manage without, and the transfer fee included some pretty big clauses.

Finally, Knobloch, the club's longest serving player since the departure of Ted Boddey 6 months ago, was allowed to move on. The switch to the 4231 had made his primary DM position obsolete, and he was sadly not up to scratch as a CM.

 

Prospects Out

Jan Henriksen, Gary Morrow - RB, ST, £900k, £1.6m, both Doncaster

League One side Doncaster seemed keen to do most of their shopping in Crawley this summer, signing two former prospects who were never going to reach Prem level. Both were originally free signings, so DCK made a £2.5m profit on the pair.

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First Team In

Egoitz Blanco - RB, Free, Panathinaikos

Damir Hadzic - AM, Free, LIverpool

James Smith-Sanders - CB, Free, Unattached

Tabb didn't spend a penny on signing first team players this season, a decision that could come back to haunt him. Of the free signings, only 25 year old Hadzic has a reasonable chance of displacing the incumbent in his position, AM Ryan Davis. 31 year old Blanco and 30 year old Smith-Sanders were brought in as cheap, experienced cover in defence, and barring injuries will mostly play in the cups and occasionally rotate into the league squad when the schedule gets heavier.

 

Youth Prospects In

Sam Foster - CB, £525k, Fulham

Neil Cooper - ST, £79k, Newport

Stuart Jenkins-Warren - CM, £8.5m, Wigan

Nicolas Hernandez - CM, Free, Quilmes

Milan Berry - CM, Free, Unattached

Of the prospects signed, one clearly stands out. DCK spent £8.5m on a 16 year old midfielder who had just broken into Wigan's first team in League One. It is a long-term investment, and one they could easily afford given the level of outgoings this window. He turned 17 shortly after arriving, and was promptly sent to Milwall to get Championship experience. Foster and Cooper are not old enough yet to leave on loan, and will spend the season in the youth teams, as will Berry, while 17 year old Argentine Hernandez was sent to recently promoted La Liga side Almeria in the hope that he can get a work permit ASAP.

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DCK Squad

Once again, here is DCK's squad for the season. CM looks a touch light, but either of the AMs can fill in when needed and without continental football DCK only play one game most weeks, so it should be more than enough. The no9 berth also looks a little lacking in quality, but the hope is that Dasaolu can grow into the role over the course of the season.

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As per the Assman ratings, 2* is good Championship, 2.5* is good Championship through decent Prem, and everyone 3* and up is some degree of good Prem, with nobody deemed leading Prem quality yet.

Tactically, the formation and player roles are the same as last season, with the only change being the more adventurous instructions issued towards the end of last season. Rather than sitting back and attacking quickly, DCK now look to get on the ball and dictate play through possession. The old, more conservative tactic is still available as a reserve option, as is an attacking 442 for when they are trailing late on. 

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That's it for the summer window. As ever, the next post will be the August-September update.

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DCK Maidenbower 2041/42 Season (Premier League)

August-September

After privately targetting a top half finish, DCK's season didn't exactly get off to the best of starts, as they lost their first three games. A League Cup win against League One Hull City gave them the shot in the arm that they needed though, and they started racking up the points quickly, By the end of September, they sat a respectable 15th, precisely where they finished last season, and in the kind of form that will see them rise further if they can maintain it. 

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DCK Maidenbower 2041/42 Season (Premier League)

October-November & World Cup Qualifiers Conclusion

DCK were hoping to translate their form into continued good reults and rise up the table. They managed it at first, before a tough run of fixtures saw them drop back down. They still managed to climb up the table though, gaining two places to find themselves in 13th.

The match against Southampton in early October, while seeing DCK net all three points, was marred by a serious injury suffered to key striker Dean Dasaolu. His damaged achilles will keep him out for most of the season, and required Tabb to scour the free market for a viable replacement. Jody Machin was the best he could find, a Championship level striker who will mainly serve to rest Mfiki Molefe in the cup competitions. 

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England's World Cup qualification campaign ended with their 100% qualifier record unbroken, only failing to win a friendly with current world no.1 side Colombia. Their World Cup group will be drawn in early December.

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Edited by sourgrapes11
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  • 2 weeks later...

DCK Maidenbower 2040/41 Season (Premier League)

December-January & Winter Transfer Window

DCK's season to date had been reasonable, but sitting in 12 place at the end of November, after a poor run, reflected the fact that progress was frustratingly slow. The run of form reached it's nadir in early December, as Arsenal thrashed them 8-1 in the League Cup. However, a 4-2 win over Huddersfield sparked an upturn in form, with DCK registering some very pleasing results including two away wins on the bounce against Bournemouth and Watford. By the end of January, Tabb's men sat in the top half, and in good form.

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Winter Window

There was little expectation of any significant incoming or outgoings this window, but a big money bid changed the picture. Major clubs, especially the two Spanish giants Barcelona ands Real Madrid, had been unsettling DCK's first choice right back Ilir Ramadani since the summer, and when Real's £30m offer was enough to satisfy Tabb, he was allowed to leave. The initial plan had been to keep him until the end of the season, and DCK had signed 21 year old Bjorn Billiet on a pre-contract at the start of the January to replace him in the summer, but when Real's bid was accepted the move was brought forward for a small fee.

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DCK's other right back, Egoitz Blanco, was a more suprising departure. The 32 year old had clearly been second choice from the moment he arrived six months ago, and Sunderland wanted him more than DCK needed to keep him. Santiago Granero, transfer listed at La Liga minnows Celta Vigo, was a cheap replacement and is a few years youngert to boot.

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So with a new record sale in the bag, DCK wound up replacing their full contingent of senior right backs. Other than a couple of loans out though, that was the only business of the winter window.

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Edited by sourgrapes11
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Glad I found this!  Excellent save, and hopefully you can get those last two goals finished.  

Really bad that you could not get K&H past that promotion bug.  I never ran into that.  Been messing around recently with another save and have a team in that league, I'll post something if I run into the same issue.

Keep up the good work!

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On 13/11/2019 at 14:01, Theodlard said:

Glad I found this!  Excellent save, and hopefully you can get those last two goals finished.  

Really bad that you could not get K&H past that promotion bug.  I never ran into that.  Been messing around recently with another save and have a team in that league, I'll post something if I run into the same issue.

Keep up the good work!

Glad you've stumbled upon my save - your K&H save was incredibly useful, particularly once we were in the Southern Combination Leagues. I never encountered the issues you had in the SCFL Prem, perhaps the difference was that we had K&H and DCK legend David 'Literally Messi' Ashley bagging 51 League goals that year? An in form pacy striker, as I'm sure you know, makes all the difference at that level.

If I'm reading your comment right, you're attempting another level 22ish save? If so you're far more of a glutton for punishment than me, respect for being willing to go back after realising what a chore those leagues are!

Good luck with your new save!

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DCK Maidenbower 2040/41 Season (Premier League)

February-March

Everything seems to be going right for DCK at the moment. Striking wonderkid Dean Dasaolu returned to fitness in February after a 5 month spell out with an achilles injury.

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In terms of form, DCK are steadily consolidating their place in the top half, picking up some pretty decent results along the way. The 3-0 win against Man City at the end of March is not only the best result that DCK have had all season, but surely the best ever Premier League performance the side have ever produced. For context, City are dominating the Prem at the moment; they have won the last two titles, and despite losing to DCK are likely to win it again for a third time in a row this year. 

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The strong form saw DCK complete a clean sweep of the Young Player of the Month award for March.

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England

England played one match in March, a friendly against Nigeria. They won fairly comfortably, dominating the match and not really needing to win by more than the two goals they got. Much bigger challenges are to come in the summer.

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Edited by sourgrapes11
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14 hours ago, sourgrapes11 said:

Glad you've stumbled upon my save - your K&H save was incredibly useful, particularly once we were in the Southern Combination Leagues. I never encountered the issues you had in the SCFL Prem, perhaps the difference was that we had K&H and DCK legend David 'Literally Messi' Ashley bagging 51 League goals that year? An in form pacy striker, as I'm sure you know, makes all the difference at that level.

If I'm reading your comment right, you're attempting another level 22ish save? If so you're far more of a glutton for punishment than me, respect for being willing to go back after realising what a chore those leagues are!

Good luck with your new save!

Pretty sure that save was an academy only save, which added a level of complication.  I've also never ran into such a continuous flow of teams with so much money like I did with that save.   Just one of those wonderful FM experiences that makes it worth replaying.

My current save started in Mid Sussex Championship so I skipped all of those lower leagues which can get a bit dull a 2nd time around.  An instant result add-on helps a lot as well.

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3 hours ago, Theodlard said:

Pretty sure that save was an academy only save, which added a level of complication.  I've also never ran into such a continuous flow of teams with so much money like I did with that save.   Just one of those wonderful FM experiences that makes it worth replaying.

My current save started in Mid Sussex Championship so I skipped all of those lower leagues which can get a bit dull a 2nd time around.  An instant result add-on helps a lot as well.

Ah, that's probably wise. Does your side also have a B team further down the Mid Sussex Leagues? That was what really excited me about taking over DCK, the prospect of having a lower league managing save combined with a DOF challenge for DCK II (until they were stopped in the Mid Sussex Prem by the same bug that hit K&H)

Hope you enjoy the save, and if you post updates on here I'll be sure to follow! 

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DCK Maidenbower 2041/42 Season (Premier League)

April-May

 Sitting in 9th place at the end of March, DCK looked good value to meet their preseason target of a top half finish. Their form over the final six games of the season was excellent, and by the end of the season they were far closer to 8th than they were to 10th.

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Season Summary

League

If the gap above them towards the end of the season had been a little smaller then they could easily have finished 8th, or even reached the Europa League places, but it was just too much for them. 9th is still a big improvement on last season's 15th, and a huge achievement given that they sold over £100m of talent this season without spending much in terms of replacements. The young squad is clearly starting to mature, and Tabb is allowing himself to dream of future Europa qualification. 

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Cups

With little to speak of in terms of surprise cup runs, DCK dispatching a number of weaker teams in early round before going out as soon as they faced a stronger side, the most notable aspect of the cups this year was their mauling by Arsenal. Unlike DCK, the Gunners put out a near full strength side, but there is still no excuse for losing 8-1.  

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Top Performers

Once again, the star of the season was one of DCK's young players. Cristian Aynol was the best player, and was an absolute rock at the back despite being just 20. HIs partner Ramon Perez was also solid, while several squad players looked very capable when called upon.

The biggest issue for DCK at the moment is the struggle to find a 30 goal a season striker. There had been big hopes that Dean Dasaolu would show this season that he was capable of becoming that player, but his long term injury halted his progress at a crucial time.  He will hopefully have more of a breakthrough next season.

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Other Points of Interest

DCK are making money hand over fist at the moment. Their commercial arm is still a bit rubbish,

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but the low wage bill plus big profits in the transfer market more than make up for it. At least the directors are happy!

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Work on improving the club's work youth system continues apace. The board have put more money into the facilities, and the first shoots seem to be growing.  

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Andy Wood-Blackburn is the first academy who has even a shot at becoming a first team regular in the future. He needs tutoring to improve his determination and personality, and will need retraining in a new position as DCK don't play with a DM. His lack of jumping and heading suggests he'd be better suited in midfield than central defence, but the devil on Jamie Tabb's shoulder is whispering that he should be a wing back if his crossing can improve enough. Any thoughts on his future position/role would be welcomed. 

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More academy prospects are expected to come through as improvements continue, but DCK are still a long way off having a Category One academy.

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Still, it will come in time.

Next up, England play a few friendlies, then travel to the World Cup. 

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England 2042 World Cup

Friendlies & Squad

England manager Jamie Tabb arranged three friendlies in quick succession to get his side ready to kick off the World Cup in good form. It didn't quite go to plan however, as England's form was patchy and they looked leaky defensively in all three games.

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With the friendlies out of the way, England will kick off the tournament as favourites, despite their terrible showing at the last Euros.

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This is the squad for the tournament (all regens of course). It is an extremely experienced squad, and the last chance for several players to achieve international honours. DCK goalkeeper Harri Webb makes the cut, but AM Ryan Davis just misses out. CM Andy Pritchard was just shy of making the preliminary 30 man squad. Meanwhile, England's 39 year old third choice keeper Dean Shulberg has agreed to join on a free transfer from Juventus this summer to see out his career sitting on the bench behind Webb and tutoring any decent young keepers in the youth squad. 

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Edit: Rashad Howell suffered an injury that ruled him out for the World Cup, and Ryan Davis was chosen as his replacement.

Edited by sourgrapes11
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England 2042 World Cup

Group Stage

If coming into the World Cup on the back of a series of disappointing friendlies was enough to dampen expectations, the opening match restored them. England kicked off with the toughest fixture of the group, against Holland. The performance was measured, controlled and Holland hardly had a sniff of a chance. in the end, the 2-0 defeat flattered them. The only real downside of the match was star LW Kieran Morgan suffering a broken foot, ruling him out of the rest of the tournament.

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With the toughest match out of the way, England could breathe a little. Against Chile and South Korea, England had plenty of freedom to create chances, and little to worry about at the other end. Chile didn't manage a single shot on target during the 90 minutes, while South Korea managed just one.

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England finished to of their group, with 9 points, 0 goals conceded, and 3 shots on target faced in 3 matches. On current form, they are definitely contenders to go on and win the whole competition.

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In the second round, they will face Belgium. You never know what will happen in knockout competitions, but it is a match they will certainly be expected to win.

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England 2042 World Cup

Second Round - Belgium

The last knockout round that England played in a major tournament was the disastrous 2-1 loss to Serbia at the least Euros. This, then, is their chance at redemption. 

The first half was very end to end, with both sides having a number of decent chances. A combination of poor finishing and fantastic goalkeeping meant that both sides went into the break goalless. 

The second half started very much like the first, with neither side able to break the deadlock. Then, in the 66th minute, Rickie griffin crossed in a free kick. Ryan Davis jumped to met it with his head, and was blocked by Armen Mikaelyan. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.

Mark Benn was the designated penalty taker. He stepped up confidently, then smashed it straight at the keeper, who didn't have to move to make the save.

England continued to search for their goal, but the penalty miss seemed to take something out of them and they were lucky to get away with several Belgium chances, both in the rest of the 90 minutes and then in extra time. After 120 minutes, it was still 0-0 and went to penalties. 

 

England took first and Mark Benn somewhat made up for his earlier spotkick with an unsaveable penalty in the top corner. Belgium then took their first penalty, and missed. 1-0, advantage England.

Next up was Luke Fensome. England's star player, he displayed the ice in his veins as he sent the keeper down to his left, then pulled out a wonderful Panenka. The next Belgium player stepped up, and they missed again! Jonathan Goodridge dived low to his left and pulled off a brilliant save. 2-0, England were surely in the drivers seat now.

Rickie Griffin took the next one for England. the 19 year old looked nervous from the moment he walked up to he spot, and Tabb was gutted but not entirely surprised when Belgium keeper (and former DCK player) Cedric Moreno saved his tame effort. Belgium made no mistake with their next penalty. 2.1. 

Next up, DCK's Ryan Davis took another poor penalty, straight down the middle and easy for Moreno. Again, no mistake from Belgium and it was now tied at 2-2, with the momentum in Belgium's favour and the next unanswered goal winning it.

England fans couldn't believe their eyes when Gavin Weaver stepped up and again placed a poor penalty straight down the middle. Three terrible and easily saved penalties straight down the middle looked like they would send England home. Everything rested on Viktor Vanneste's penalty, if he scored it then England were out.

He ran up, absolutely smashed the ball, and it ballooned over the bar. The cheers of the England fans were greater than for any goal they had scored in the tournament so far. Still 2-2, and not out yet.

Next was Andrew Johnson, looking to break England's run of 3 penalties missed. He hit it hard and true, top corner, well beyond Moreno's reach. Then came Belgium's penalty. If they missed, England were through. It was very similar to England's three dreadful penalties - weak and straight down the middle. This time though, Johnathan Goodridge fumbled it, and it squirmed in. 3-3.

Then came Mike Roberts. This is likely the 33 year old's last World Cup, and he was determined not to screw it up. Unfortunately, that is exactly what he did, AGAIN hitting the ball straight down the middle and allowing Moreno an easy save. Moreno must have been feeling like he could have been replaced by a training cone at this point and England would still struggle to score a penalty in his goal.

Mohamed Jaouhari was the player to get the second chance to knock England out. His penalty was low and hard, into the bottom corner, and England were out.

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The FA put out a statement after the loss:

'Obviously we are very disappointed to have been eliminated so early from the competition.

We approached Jamie in last July on the basis of his record of working with and developing young players, knowing that the squad was approaching a cycle of regeneration. We continue to have faith in the job that Jamie is doing and believe it will reap its rewards in the coming years'

Despite the vote of confidence from the FA, Tabb is believed to be on very shaky ground, and another poor showing at the 2044 Euros will likely see him sent packing.

Edited by sourgrapes11
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DCK Maidenbower 2042/43 Season Preview - Premier League

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Another season begins, with DCK again looking for incremental progress. The squad has once again been ravaged by sales, and by manager Jamie Tabb's stubborn refusal to put some of the money towards ready made replacements (more on that in the next update). 

At the end of last season, Tabb and his players had been hoping for Europa League qualification this year, but with the season about to start expectations are slightly more muted. The media prediction is a 13th place finish, while DCK are hoping for 8th, which would be just shy of the Europa places but would maintain Tabb's remarkable run of never having finished lower than the previous season throughout his career, having finished 9th last time round. 

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Note: there seems to be a slight error in the game. DCK's DoF has claimed that the title odds are 100/1, when they are actually 150/1. Unlikely either way.

With regard to the cups, the expectations remain the same from last year, 5th round in the FA Cup and 4th round in the League Cup.   

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Here's hoping for another year of progress!

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DCK Maidenbower 2042/43 Season (Premier League)

Summer Transfer Window and DCK Squad

First Team Out

Damir Hadzic - AM, 26, £27.5m(£40m), Watford

Matthew Keen - 35, CB, Retired

Cristian Aynol - 21, CB, £43.5m(£55m), Real Madrid

Ivar Hopmark - 22, ST/RW, £13.5m(£15m), AFC Wimbledon

Harri Webb - 35, GK, £7m, Bordeaux

 

 

First Team In

Dean Shulberg - 39, GK, Juventus, Free

Sergio Evaristo - 27, RB/RW, Free agent (formerly Standard), Free

Alejandro Alvarez - 33, CB, Free agent (formerly PSG), Free

Mike Blakesley - 24, AM, Free agent (formerly Southampton), Free

Rochel Ondongo - 21, GK, Arsenal, £15m

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The major sale of the summer was Cristian Aynol. The 21 year old CB was expected to be a key cog in DCK defence for years to come, but was desperate to leave once Real made an offer. He rejoins former DCK teammates Cedric Moreno and Ilir Ramadani in Madrid. His long term replacement is likely to be Craig Dean, who spent last year on loan at Leicester, while 33 year old Alvarez comes in to provide a short term injection of quality at the back.

Damir Hadzic meanwhile represents an absurd financial profit for the club, having joined for free just 12 months ago. Mike Blakesley is certainly a worse quality replacement, but Hadzic wasn't first choice when AM Ryan Davis was fit anyway, and it improves the proportion of English players in the squad after Keen's retirement. 

Hopmark became less important when Evaristo signed, and Tabb was happy to get reasonable money from Wimbledon.

Finally, perhaps the most important signing of the window was Rochel Ondongo. The 21 year old had been understudying England no.1 Jonathan Goodridge for some time and was getting frustrated at his lack of playing time - when he submitted a transfer request Tabb was in like a flash, having tracked him for some time. He immediately came in as first choice, leading Tabb to accept a bid from Bordeaux for last season's DCK no.1 Harri Webb. 

That was it for major transfers in the summer window. DCK signed a number of youth prospects, and in turn sent a lot of young players out on loan, some of whom are expected to come back to the club over the next few windows as other first team players are sold.

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Hasanovic and Niewiada at CB mean that Tabb would happily accept any reasonable bid for Ramon Perez, while Stuart Jenkins-Warren and Nicolas Hernandez (once he gets a work permit) mean the same for Tomasz Wozniak and Fitzroy Joinville, and Ibrahima Gaye or Michael Ruiz could easily replace Mfiki Molefe.   

The new signings, particularly Alvarez and Evaristo, pushed DCK's weekly wages above £1m for the first time. 

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So this is DCK's squad for the season.

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As always, the Assman ratings are slightly different each year. 2.5* ranges from decent Championship (Smith-Sanders) to Good Championship (Cardon). 2.5* is leading Championship (Shulberg) to decent Prem (Dasaolu). 3* is, roughly, decent/good (very well suited) Prem while 3.5* is firmly good Prem. DCK are still waiting for a player considered leading Prem, but the 4* contingent are likely not far away. 

Next up, August-September.

Edited by sourgrapes11
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DCK Maidenbower 2042/43 Season (Premier League)

August-September

Not the worst of starts, but not the greatest either. Tabb is expecting DCK to continue to struggle without a high quality forward, continuing to put his faith in Dean Dasaolu to come good. 

Crystal Palace was a frustrating opener to lose, made worse by the fact that with Man City next it meant that DCK would have to wait until matchday 3 to get points on board.

The result against Spurs was a superb win, as was AFC Wimbledon (although slightly more expected). However DCK were unable to put together a string of results, and went out of the League Cup early against Reading. 

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The table makes for remarkable viewing at this stage, but expect Man City to easily overhaul Middlesbrough before December.

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England International League Group Stage

England played three of four group stage matches over August-September, and won all three. They kicked off with the hardest match of the group, away at Italy, and when they won that 1-0 the rest of the group was always likely to be plain sailing. They made tough work of dispatching Romania home and away, but have now qualified with 9 points from 9 and with a game to spare, as Italy come to Wembley.

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The goal that England conceded against Romania ended an incredible run of 7 competitive matches without conceding, stretching back 12 months to October 2041. They now have conceded 2 goals in the last 14 matches, since June 2041. 

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