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Barnet: How High Can They Go?


scott92507
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While I am always on the lookout for the media description of "Wonderkid," I had never noticed media comparisons before. Then I noticed the backup goalkeeper Monty acquired before the season began (a wonderkid) was being compared by the media to Edwin van der Sar.

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Who is van der Sar? Wikipedia says this: "He is considered, by critics and fellow players, as one of the best goalkeepers of all time." Is Ruijus compared to him simply because they are both Dutch? I hope the sports reporters know what they are talking about. (By the way, IRL van der Sar is an executive at Ajax, and Monty hired away the Ajax general manager, Marc Overmars, a couple of season ago.)

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Scrolling through some player information, I also noticed that only Bruno Castro lists Monty as being among his "favored personnel." Many players list their former head coach in this way, but only Bruno has Monty listed. Bruno also lists Barnet as a "favored club." You would think that more players would have their current employer listed as a favored club. Interestingly, Luke Richards, who transferred to Manchester United for £108 million, also lists Monty as among his favored personnel and Barnet as among his favored clubs. Perhaps he regrets leaving? Probably not, since he is earning more than £10 million per year and is listed among the top 10 in player ratings and top 10 in goals scored this season. He is doing well in Manchester.

An odd thing  I have noticed. When I play on my iPad Air 2, many newgens have a portrait (Castro, Ruijis, and Richards, for examples) but on the PC, they have silhouettes.

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One could say the whole season came down to a penalty kick. In the penultimate game of the season #1 Manchester United played #2 Barnet at Old Trafford, with one point separating them on the table. The winner of the game was most likely going to take the league title. In the 93rd minute, with the score tied 0-0, Barnet striker Andres Bohorquez scored on a penalty kick (his 17th goal of the season).

That made the second time this season Barnet beat ManU (if they lose either game, they lose the title). Monty and his team seem to enjoy torturing Luke Richards for leaving them last season; they get the better of him each time the teams play. He had an especially bad day against Barnet in the final game, with a 5.9 player rating.

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The Bees nearly tied the real-world Premier League record for fewest goals allowed in a season: 20 by Derby County. Lee Jones won the league's Golden Glove Award.

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The season technically is not over yet, since the FA Cup Final remains (Barnet vs. Tottenham). Therefore team awards have not been handed out, so we do not know what the fans have voted as the goal of the season. In terms of importance, it has to be Bohorquez's penalty kick. There are other candidates that probably will not win because, unfortunately, games played on the tablet do not record the highlights for later viewing. Bruno Castro singlehandedly rescued the team against Borussia Dortmund, scoring two goals to secure a draw and advance to the knockout round. For his first goal he somehow willed the ball through the legs of two defenders and the goalkeeper within a few feet of the goal line. For his second goal, he intercepted a pass at midfield, dribbled around two defenders and beat the goalkeeper in a one-on-one. The other candidate for best goal could be Tim Albrecht launching a rocket against Liverpool from far outside the penalty box. (I did a screen capture of that shot on the tablet.)

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No surprise that Monty won the coaching prize. ManU has won the league title 7 of the past 10 seasons, and 11 of the past 15. So anyone who can beat them deserves an award. (Will Kylian Mbappe ever retire?)

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It is frustrating that the board isn't a little happier with the league title. They already are talking about "future challenges" instead of just enjoying the moment.

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In the European Champions Cup, the final will be played between Manchester City and Atletico Madrid. The EURO Cup final will be played between Tottenham and Inter.

Having Sheffield United as an affiliated club in the Championship League has been very useful, and a couple of Barnet loaners have benefited from regular play there. But they are in the playoffs for promotion against Portsmouth. Monty wishes them well, but he does want to lose them as an affiliate.

 

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Perhaps the Bees were emotionally spent after winning the Premier League title. Along with some key injuries and lackluster effort, they lost to Tottenham in the FA Cup Final, 2-1.

Manchester City beat Atletico Madrid for the European Champions Cup, and Inter beat Tottenham for the EURO Cup.

There were no surprises in the fan favorites for the best 11. Baldur Jonasson is the new name. He has improved enough to displace Tommy Docherty in the midfield. He was picked up from Iceland a few seasons back and has been working his way into the starting lineup more frequently. Tim Albrecht was brought in to replace Vitor; he started slowly but came on in the second of the season. Serge Ngue ended the season with a five-star rating and a "world class center back" designation. He also was the target a major media courtship from Chelsea. Each week saw a story about how much they wanted him and how desperate he was to leave Barnet, even though his personal information never suggested a desire to leave. In the off season they made some bids of £150 million and more, but Monty never answered the phone.

Jose Luis Chan is the future left fullback. He has 5-star potential, and he did very well as a backup. He also is strong with both feet, so he can be the backup for the right or the left side until he becomes a regular starter. (That means Monty can sell Erick van den Berg, who never realized his potential but was useful as a utility player (to borrow a baseball term).)

When starting striker Bruno Castro went down, Andres Bohorquez stepped in nicely. Cesar Martinez and Martin Petersen are the starting wingers, so it is good to see them pouring in assists.

As I suspected, the Goal of the Season was a rather average score. Nothing as dramatic and important as those described earlier.

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The pre-season friendlies for Monty's 17th year at Barnet are underway, and we will review the transfer activity later. In the meantime, there is a rumor that the England national team will ask him to be the manager (a role has turned down once before). This is surprising because Monty has no Englishmen in his starting 11: 2 Germans, 2 Brazilians, 1 Frenchman, 1 Dane, 1 Mexican, 1 Icelander, 1 Spaniard, 1 Turk, and 1 Welshman. Even his second team has just one or two Englishmen. Perhaps we should change the name of the club to the Berlitz Bees.

The international nature of the Barnet lineup shows up in jersey sales: half of them are non-domestic.

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The football writers in England hate Barnet, it seems.

Each year they predict the Bees to finish 7th, and every year they are wrong. Barnet won the league title last year, and this year they are predicted to finish seventh.

They also are seriously trolling Barnet this year. Last year, they predicted Bruno Castro to lead the league in scoring, but he spent three months off the pitch with a broken foot. So they punished him this year by excluding him from the predicted scoring leaders. In fact, the Barnet striker with the best odds of winning the scoring title (45-1) is Kyle Young, someone who has spent his Barnet career on loan or on the reserve squad and who has never played a regular league game for the Bees.

However, Monty wonders if the sports writers know something. The preseason friendlies have been ugly affairs, with Barnet players acting like they have not met before. Perhaps Castro will be a one-hit wonder, flaming out after leading the league in scoring in his debut season.

On the cusp of the regular season start, and Monty made no  big moves in the transfer market. He sold two players who saw regular playing time last season. One was a midfielder who had a big salary but received no player rating higher than 6.9 all season. The fans did not like that move, as they considered him a "key player," but there is no reason to someone more than £6 million per year for mediocrity.

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Oh.

My.

God.

If only there was a way to turn off solo headers. It is infuriating to watch a defender who has no one near him head the ball back into play rather than let it bounce out of bounds for a friendly thrown-in or catch the ball with his chest or foot and control it. No one IRL stupidly heads the ball as often as FM players do.

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Down at the Three Wishes, Monty has a song on repeat on the jukebox: Joe Walsh's "Life's Been Good." He keeps thinking about the line, "I can't complain but sometimes I still do."

First, Monty got a raise, from about £6 million to £8 million, and he did not even ask for it.

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As the Bees approach mid-season, they are in a good position in the league table:

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However, when the Bees play marquee teams, they are getting outshot 3-1 or more. Even when they hold on for a draw, they get bullied on the pitch. For example, in recent games against Tottenham and Manchester United. Both games were played away from Canons Park, so that can explain some of the poor play -- not that this should be an excuse.

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Monty suspects his midfield is not strong enough. The Bees had trouble getting and keeping the ball out of their half of the field in both games. (IRL I replayed the Tottenham game at least times in different formations and with different personnel, looking for some clue to the problem. Barnet managed to win just once, and they got outshot in every attempt.) Monty is bringing in a new player in January (for 24 million), and he hopes that will help solve the problem. If not this season, then perhaps next as the young player matures.

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Monty made no big roster changes after last season. They won the league, after all. However, Manchester United, having been knocked out of the first place, made some changes. They spent £95 million on a new attacking center midfielder and a center midfielder. So far that move has paid off, and Monty looks like he was caught napping. He will be on the search for a defensive midfielder in January. He has more than £100 million to spend.

Monty should also be happy because the Bees have a newly expanded stadium, and it has been selling out. The seating capacity was increased from about 28,000 to about 38,000 by adding a third deck all around.

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He should be happy, but there he is moping in the Three Wishes.

Oh, cup competitions. It is a good thing the directors do not care about the Caraboa Cup, because Barnet got kicked out by Sheffield Wednesday in an early round. Granted, the Bees were playing a heavily rotated team, but their second squad should be able to handle Sheffield Wednesday. But perhaps not when a Barnet player gets a red card in the first half. The game ended 1-1, and Sheffield won the penalty shootout. In the Europeans Champions Cup, Barnet finished first in their group and play Barcelona in the first knockout round -- the same team that knocked them out of the first knockout round last year, 3-2 on aggregate.

(Pictures. I resized all of these in Paint, making them at least twice as large as their originals. And they still appear so small here.)

 

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Late in the season, and it looks like Manchester United is going to retake the Premier League crown.

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They won the Carabao Cup. Monty suspects they will win everything this year: Carabao, League, FA Cup, and European Champions Cup.

The sports writers for some reason did not select Barnet as the biggest underachievers in the Carabao Cup competition. It seems they should have, since the Bees lost to a mid-table Champions League team in the first game.

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Meanwhile, Monty's highest paid player has not scored a goal in a dozen league games, and his starting fullbacks lead the league in mistakes. (And a midfielder makes three out of the top four.)

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Yilmaz is going to find himself on the auction block once the season is done. Monty has a 4-star left fullback coming in from Mexico in July. And the second-team left fullback (another Mexican) has 3-star ability with 4-5 star potential. If Bruno Castro does not find his scoring boots soon, Monty will be forced to sell him. You cannot pay your top striker nearly 8 million/year to score 10 goals. Monty hopes he has learned from that experience; he should not have renegotiated the kid's contract that early. No matter how much he complained.

 

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Barnet won a game 1-0 that should have been an easy victory. In the post-game press conference, Monty scolded his team and said it needed to play better to compete at this level. One of the players was “‘enraged” by this comment.

I think that is funny: being “enraged” by a post-game comment.

The player is Luciano Molina, a second-choice right winger. He played in the game and scored the goal, so he is probably mad because that effort was not praised. He is from Argentina, but with a name like that you imagine he is of Italian heritage. So I imagine him cursing and throwing furniture in the clubhouse, wanting to fight Monty on the pitch.

Enraged. That is funny.

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Manchester United finished as Monty expected they would, winning everything. Carabao Cup. FA Cup. Premier League. European Champions Cup. 

Meanwhile, Barnet staggered through the last third of the season, finishing in third, one point behind Manchester City. Booted early from the Carabao Cup. Entering in the third round of the FA Cup and getting knocked out in the sixth round by ManU. Getting knocked out of the quarter final stage of the European Champions Cup by Atlético Madrid. Too many mistakes. Outshot and outpossessed too many times.
 

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The lowest point of the season was a winless streak of games that culminated in a 5-0 loss to Newcastle (19th at the time). That is Monty’s worst loss in 17 years at Barnet. And then, go figure, the Bees beat Manchester United in the next game, 1-0.

Lee Jones continues to be a star as the goalkeeper.

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You can see from the player ratings that our weak point was the midfield.

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As noted earlier, the fullbacks led the league in mistakes. (Is that a match engine thing? I notice that fullbacks get pulled out of position a lot in the game.)  Those mistakes contributed to veteran Yilma Akgun being supplanted by Jose Luis Chan, who isn’t even 20 years old yet. Bruno Castro is listed as the top striker, but his backup led the team in scoring. If Castro does not return to form in the coming season, he may be sold by January.

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This was a frustrating season that felt like playing a challenge game in FM. Everyone was complaining, and those who were not complaining were injured or playing like idiots. Different lineups. Different formations. It didn’t matter. It was tempting to become the Barnet Scum Savers. 

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@scott92507:This was a frustrating season that felt like playing a challenge game in FM. Everyone was complaining, and those who were not complaining were injured or playing like idiots. Different lineups. Different formations. It didn’t matter. It was tempting to become the Barnet Scum Savers.   

I know the feeling too often...myself and in the past I would succumb to the darkside. Glad to see you didn't after all your incredible work.

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The Germans are coming!

Well, two of them are.

Monty has spent £110 million on two German elite players in an attempt to get the bitter taste of last year out of his mouth. I know, third place in the Premier League should be "success" by any rational person's standards. But losing second place late in the season and bringing home no silverware... that upset Monty. Striker Bruno Castro was amazing in his first season -- but that is when Luke Richards was still on the right wing. Since Richards joined Manchester United, Castro has been lackluster. Monty thought getting a star player on the right wing might revive Castro, so he purchased the services of Andre Fischer from Wolfsburg for £56 million. He also has the appeal of playing multiple attacking positions. (Barnet's star center back, Segre Ngue, also was acquired from Wolfsburg.)

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As I have noted, the midfield seemed to be a weak spot for the team. So Monty picked up another German: Jonas Dreher for £64 million from Borussia Dortmund. Strange that Dreher was more expensive than Fischer, when Fischer seems to be the better player.

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Monty still has plenty of money to spend. He started the pre-season with more than £200 million in the bank and £140 million in the transfer budget. Those figures have not changed, because he has sold four players for a total of £102 million. But he does not have much room left in the salary budget. He is looking at a goalkeeper from Milan... Lee Jones is starting to age, and his backup is no longer being compared to "The Flying Dutchman."

Finally, Monty hired a new assistant coach. Daryl Janmaat replaces Lee Carsley. Carsley had been with the team for a decade, but it was time for some changes, including someone who was better at motivating players.

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All of this spending my be in vain. Barnet spends £100 million and it is big news; for Manchester United that is just another week on the transfer market.

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The Team Report indicates Barnet has the best scouting team in the Premier League. Monty usually does not doubt that assessment. The head scout is former Bees goalkeeper Mark Cousins, so he has been at the team a bit longer that Monty has. He is a veteran scout now with the highest rating among the staff for evaluating a player's potential ability. His first big scouting failure seems to be unfolding this season. He rated Jesus Jimenez, a left wingback from Mexico, at 4 stars for current and potential ability. Monty brought Jimenez in on a free transfer and sold off the previous starting wingback, Yilmaz Akgun from Turkey (despite Akgun's impressive international jersey sales). Akgun led the league in mistakes last season, so Monty did not mind selling him to rival Manchester City. So far, though, Jimenez is a bust. He is rated 3 stars for current and potential ability by the other staff, and his play on the field suggests they are right and Cousins is wrong. His average player rating in league play is below 6.50!

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The biggest story in the season so far is "What happened to Manchester United?" After winning everything last season (Premier League, Carabao Cup, FA Cup, and European Champions Cup), they are struggling -- 11th place.

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Football Manager Touch gives limited ability to manage the reserve team. There is just one; there are no multiple teams for different ages. You can set a lineup but there is no guarantee the staff will keep that lineup at gametime. And player performance seems somewhat random. A first-team player sent to the reserve squad is just as likely to receive a 6.0 player rating as the 16-year-old noob is to receive a 7.5. This is frustrating because the one domestic trophy Monty has not won is the Check-a-Trade Trophy. Back in the day, Barnet played in the final of that cup and lost to a Premier League reserve team that was stacked with first-team players. So he has been trying to stack his reserve team for Check-a-Trade matches -- and it does not matter. They always lose.

 

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This must be a match engine thing.

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Barnet's left wingback led the league in mistakes last season (not mistakes leading to goals), so we sold him. Now the new starting left back leads the league in mistakes by a wide margin. Barnet's right back was #2 in mistakes last season, and he is tied for third this season. Barnet's center attacking midfielder is #2. The starting defensive midfielder is on the list. Both starting center backs are on the list. A deep-lying playmaker wo has defensive duties is on the list. That is a lot of players from one team on the list of mistake makers. Everyone else? They are all goalkeepers. So this definitely is a product of playing games through the match engine vs simulating them.

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Barnet has been in good form lately. Evidence:

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Bruno Castro is playing closer to his potential. Monty tried him in the left wing for a couple of games and he did well, along with his usual role as striker. Ryan Gray? He is a Barnet player on loan. So the top three young players for the month are Bees.

Manchester United has recovered. They are on a seven-game winning streak and have climbed among the contenders for continental play. Fortunately, Barnet also has a seven-game streak — seven clean sheets, actually — and sit in first place as we approach mid-season. 

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Chelsea each week plants stories about how interested they are in buying Serge Ngue, the Bees’ world-class center back. The stories say they are willing to pay £102 million for him, but so far they have not made a bid, and so far this has not influenced Serge’s happiness at the club. To convince Chelsea to stop their meddling, Monty has started bidding on three of their starters. All three are now unhappy, saying they are upset they are unable to join Barnet. I do not know if their unhappiness will influence their play, and the league possibly has rules against bidding on players you have no intention of signing. We shall see if these mind games work.

Strange that FMT 19 on the iPad has no silhouettes for newgens, but on the PC they are all silhouettes. Having faces for every player enhances the game for me. I have started playing a little with FMT 20; I hope it does not have the same issue. Prepping two saves for 20: Internacional de Madrid (third-tier in Spain) and a created team in Scotland’s League Two.

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The media now describes Barnet goalkeeper Lee Jones (Wales) as “legendary,” and he recently won World  Goalkeeper of the Year. 

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Andrea Mezzetti is the Italian goalkeeper Monty thought about bidding on as Jones’s replacement. Ultimately Bayern got him and then the Bees had to face him in European Champions Cup play. 

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Barnet has a record streak going: 28 games in all competitions without a loss. Their only loss so far was 2-0 against lowly Brighton in September. Manchester United is riding a 20-game unbeaten streak, and they have climbed to second place in the league. Can the Bees make a six-point lead last for 16 more games?

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3 hours ago, scott92507 said:

Barnet has a record streak going: 28 games in all competitions without a loss. Their only loss so far was 2-0 against lowly Brighton in September. Manchester United is riding a 20-game unbeaten streak, and they have climbed to second place in the league. Can the Bees make a six-point lead last for 16 more games?

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Just make sure you beat Man U in your matches against them.

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Tough roster choices with match congestion.

2/20 Milan (away) first leg of first knockout round in European Champions Cup

2/24 Arsenal in final of Carabao Cup

2/27 Tottenham in league game

3/1 Chelsea in FA Cup 5th round

3/5 ManU in league game (Bees have 4 point lead on them)

3/8 Man City in league game (they are in third place)

The directors have made it clear they do not care about the Carabao Cup. But can you make it to the final game of a competition and play a rotated team? If you have made it that far, shouldn’t you make a good faith effort to win? If Barnet wins, then Monty resolves some frustration from last season when there was no silverware and no league title. A victory means a fourth Carabao trophy for the team lobby, and no matter what happens the rest of the season the team will have that highlight. 
 

Then play a rotated team against Tottenham to save best players for the Chelsea match in the FA Cup? We already know the next opponent in that competition: ManU. Chances are good Barnet loses. If a rotated team loses in Carabao Cup play and starters lose in FA Cup play, then Barnet wins no silverware. Again.  And two really important league games follow the FA Cup match. The league game against ManU is the most important game in this stretch, you could easily say. The Tottenham game is important, too. All league games have the highest priority until ManU loses again. 
 

So best team for Carabao final, then rest, then play best team against Tottenham, and then rotated team against Chelsea in FA Cup to prepare for showdown with ManU? That means, try for the “easy” trophy and then focus on league play; leave FA Cup to chance.

IRL: I am frustrated trying to understand the relationship among various player roles and how to develop the synergy among them. (I am still new to soccer.) I have not been able to unlock Bruno Castro as a striker. After 23 league goals in his debut season, he has been average. And it seems my midfielders are always average, despite getting a world-class midfielder in the off season. Perhaps 4-2-3-1 does not suit him; perhaps he needs more help in the midfield? I have played him on mezzalla, box-to-box midfielder, deep-lying playmaker, etc. Nothing seems to get better play from him. 
 

 

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What is the World Class Midfielders best role?(Full Green Circle)

 

Bruno Castro: Do other players from midfield make runs into the box? What is his best role (Full Green Circle)

I play a 4-2-3-1 Wide in my Clermont save. see updates.

I have a Striker that should be absolutely average banging in 25 goals a season for 3 seasons in a row. (2 seasons in Ligue1) (humble brag)

I might be able to help.

I am relatively new to soccer myself but I play the 4-2-3-1 Wide A lot with many different teams over the last several FM's. I've used most of the roles. 

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4 hours ago, Hootieleece said:

What is the World Class Midfielders best role?(Full Green Circle)

 

Bruno Castro: Do other players from midfield make runs into the box? What is his best role (Full Green Circle)

I play a 4-2-3-1 Wide in my Clermont save. see updates.

I have a Striker that should be absolutely average banging in 25 goals a season for 3 seasons in a row. (2 seasons in Ligue1) (humble brag)

I might be able to help.

I am relatively new to soccer myself but I play the 4-2-3-1 Wide A lot with many different teams over the last several FM's. I've used most of the roles. 

I will get back to you.

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So far, so good.

The game with Milan ended 0-0 at San Siro. Better than a loss, but no away goal means Barnet needs to beat Milan outright at home. Any goals in a draw means Milan advances.

Monty sent his best 11 against Arsenal for the Carabao Cup final and won. The trophy monkey is off his back.

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Then everyone was sent home to rest for 2 days. The players were instructed to take it easy, and they were given DVDs of Tottenham games to review. Monty started his best 11 again against The Spurs, and they won to maintain their 4-point lead over Manchester United.

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Then came the game Monty was willing to sacrifice. He sent out the second- and third-choice players at each position, and used his tiki taka formation. He instructed the players to slow the game down, to keep Chelsea from taking shots because they have one of the best strikers in the league. This formation has lots of potential triangles, so tiki taka works well in it. 

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The young players were not interested in sacrificing anything. They kept the ball in Chelsea’s end of the field for most of the game. As extra time was winding down, a Chelsea player received his second yellow card — they played extra time with 10 men. The deciding goal was scored by a Danish forward making his debut for the Bees. Barnet won the privilege to face Manchester United in the sixth round, just a few days after playing them in the league match. But at least Monty’s best 11 will be rested for their biggest game of the season.

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Barnet’s unbeaten streak has reached 38 games.

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I played the Barnet-ManU match multiple times, looking for a game plan that would give the Bees a chance to win. The best result I could muster was a 0-0 draw with Park the Bus, but I hate Park the Bus. That tactic is excusable only when you are protecting a lead, otherwise it is a tacit admission of inferiority. And it is horrible to endure; you let the other team bang away for 90 minutes and hope they never score. So when I played the game "for real," I had our standard defensive game plan, which is 4-2-1-3, with the 2 being defensive midfielders (a half back and an anchor). Barnet lost away, 3-0. It is frustrating, but Monty must admit that Manchester United is just better, bigger, and faster than Barnet.

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After the defeat, the Bees have a 1-point lead on ManU. The only way they can win the league title is by winning every game the rest of the way -- because I really doubt ManU is going to lose another game.

Fortunately, Barnet rebounded from the loss to beat 4th place Manchester City, 2-0.

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Then they handled Milan at home to advance to the second knockout round in the European Champions Cup -- they will play Atletico Madrid.

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And then they traveled one more time to Old Trafford, to play Manchester United in the sixth round of the FA Cup. Perhaps because of their own fixture congestion, ManU played a rotated team against Barnet. The match was closer, 2-2, but the Bees lost in the penalty shootout after extra time.

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Barring a late-season meltdown, Barnet has a 1st or 2nd place finish secure. That should feel good, but the inability to beat ManU makes everything feel bad. Monty is bummed.

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Two seasons ago, Barnet beat Manchester United by two points to win the league trophy. This season, the Bees won by a single point.

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ManU had been trailing Barnet by a point for the last six games of the season. On the last day, Barnet needed a victory, or a ManU loss, or mutual draws to secure the title. Against Arsenal, they were down 3-2, and then tied 3-3 — but they needed to win since ManU had won its game earlier in the day. The game ended 6-3, with 4 goals by Andres Bohorquez, and the Bees were champions again.

Bohorquez’s goals gave him 23 in league play and the scoring title. It was a wild end to a wild month, as he scored 12 goals in league and European Champions Cup games in that time.

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Lee Kelly started the day in the lead, with 20 goals, but he was scoreless. Simon Jensen, the expected Golden Boot winner, started with 19 and scored one. Bohorquez leapfrogged them. He scored the same number Bruno Castro scored in his debut season to also win the scoring title. However, Bohorquez scored 40 in all competitions to set a new Barnet record. 
 

Lee Jones was selected as the best goalkeeper in the league again. He has become an overachiever, but age is starting to show. He may be the starting keeper next year, but Monty will need to rotate him more often and develop some new talent. The season ended with Monty bidding on a Chelsea goalkeeper. They want £112 million, but Monty so far has gone only as high as £62 million. I bet they do not meet in the middle. 

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Despite wining the goalkeeper award, Jones was not selected for the League’s Best 11. The roster for that reflected the fact that Barnet and Manchester United dominated the table. No other teams are represented.

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And Monty was selected as the Head Coach of the Year over Diego Simone of ManU.

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However, it is clear that ManU is the better team. Teams that Barnet beat 1-0, ManU beat 3-0. In direct competition, Barnet won just once. In league play, Barnet lost and drew. In FA Cup play, they lost in penalty kicks. In the semifinals of the European Champions Cup they won and lost, and lost on aggregate goals, 2-1. Despite Monty’s dislike of Park the Bus tactics, he deployed them against ManU. It was a doubledecker, turned on its side, and set ablaze. Two tight rows of defenders with a lone striker waiting at the far end of the pitch for any stray pass. (The loan goal for Barnet was a penalty shot by Bohorquez.)

Manchester United beat  Juventus for the European Champions title. They apparently did not care to win the FA Cup but wanted only to troll Barnet. After knocking out the Bees they played their scrubs against Brighton and lost. Liverpool then beat Brighton for that trophy.

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23 hours ago, Nobby_McDonald said:

Well done winning the league Scott.

Stoke relegated. :(

Poor Stoke. They have bounced in and out of the Premier League for several seasons now. They came in with Barnet, but they have not managed to climb.

 

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It is summertime in Canons Park, which is adjacent to the Bees' stadium in Edgeware. Folks are enjoying the sunshine, but Monty is in his office at the stadium, working the phones and watching scouting video of players.

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As they say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

You could argue a club that can win the Premier League and make it to the semi-finals of the European Champions Cup is not broken. Monty would agree. Barnet is not broken, but it seems to be missing something. Some final piece to the puzzle -- especially when it comes to Manchester United. They knocked Barnet out of the FA Cup and the European Champions Cup, and they lost the league title by a single point. It seems that if Barnet is to achieve more, they will need to figure out how to beat ManU. However, Monty is not sure Barnet has the bankroll for that. Of course, the Bees have more than £200 million in the bank, but ManU has more. ManU always has more.

In one match last season, Monty noticed how small his starting midfielders were. The opposing team was so much taller and stronger; they were pushing his players off the ball.  So he decided to do something about that. Monty spent big money on Jonas Dreher before last season and was paying him a big salary (relative to Barnet's overall budget). He picked up Tim Albrecht a couple of seasons ago to take the place of Vitor, and he was making a good wage too. But the Germans were 5-7 and 5-8 and each weighed less than 160 pounds.

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The young players are big enough: Kevin Ampuero and Gregor Cairns both have 4-star potential. But they are not ready to be regular starters. Dreher was a big disappointment all season. Monty paid £56 million for him and paid him £7.5 million to play, but he averaged less than 7.0 player rating, and by the end of the season Monty was reluctant to have him in the starting lineup.

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So Monty bid on some bigger midfielders in the transfer market and put a for-sale sign on Dreher. He accepted £45 million for him from Atletico Madrid (the same buyers of Vitor a few seasons back); that meant about a £10 million loss on him, but it also got £7.5 million off the salary budget. He bid on a world class midfielder but lost him to PSG -- he is French, and he turned down a bigger contract to return to his homeland. However, he did sign Freddy Salinas, a Chilean midfielder, who is tall and strong; he cost £43 million for the transfer fee and will play for £5.1 million.

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Monty missed out on one midfielder that he wanted, so he will make do with Albrecht and increase the playing time for Ampuero and Cairns. Perhaps they will develop faster than expected and he can see off tiny Albrecht, too. Monty was sorely disappointed to miss out on the other midfielder; he was a bargain for less than £40 million. 

In the meantime, Monty  has not solved the puzzle of Bruno Castro. He cannot understand why Bohorquez gets the goals that Castro does not. Castro is popular with the fans, but even they have started to express their frustration with his lack of production. And Monty cannot justify paying him £8 million per year for such lackluster scoring. Monty told Castro that he will be transfer listed if he does not have 10 combined goals and assists by December.

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What do you do?
 

In practical terms, the Barnet board of directors would be happy with the way things are. The Bees do not compete with the major clubs salarywise, but they manage to consistently qualify for ECC play, they win the Premier League on occasion, and they turn a profit. Why spend a lot of money to do more? They have a mid-size stadium — about 38,000 — so they cannot compete with Tottenham and the Manchester’s for ticket sales. Perhaps once they have a bigger stadium (if ever) they could try to become a true European power. But would it be worth the risk?

Monty is asking these questions because one of the best left wingers in Europe (the world?) wants to play for Barnet: Matteo Chiavelli. Monty can afford to meet his £68 million release clause with Juventus. And with a budget adjustment, he could afford to the £10-11 million annual salary the player wants. But Chiavelli would be the Bees’ first £10 million salaryman, and that would possibly open the door for wage requests from other players. (Securing his services would keep him potentially from playing for Chelsea, who also bid on him.) Is Barnet prepared to pay players that much on a regular basis, which would be the sign they are trying to go toe-to-toe with the Manchesters and other top flight teams? Or should they be happy playing the role of overachiever? 

Barnet’s starting left winger, Martin Petersen, was just named to the Premier League’s best 11. Is his reward to be instantly replaced?  You can see from the comparison that Chiavelli is better, although he plays a different role. Petersen is an attacking winger; he records more goals than assists. Chiavelli concentrates on support; perhaps he could help unlock Castro’s potential?
 

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Take him on. Make a run for the Champion's League and if you win it within 3 years call the save successful.

Because I think your asking the question because your becoming stuck.....do I do more of the same or quit.

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I think a version of “scum saving” is OK when it comes to negotiating with players. Chiavelli requested £11-12 million per year, and Barnet said “yes.” Then a few days later Chelsea announced they had signed him for £15 million. The game would be more realistic if Barnet had been made aware of that offer, and IRL the agent would have come back to Barnet with the opportunity to match Chelsea’s offer — and then gone to Chelsea for the opportunity to raise it higher. But would Barnet match that? Would a salary of £15 million blow up the team’s salary structure or sabotage the team’s chemistry? Do I want to revert to an earlier save and offer him the higher amount?
 

Chelsea has 10 players who make more than £10 million per year. Barnet has none. Barnet has two players who earn more than £9 million. 

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The media predicts Barnet to finish the season in 5th place, which I think is another improvement by one. The media predicted the Bees to finish in 7th a few seasons in a row, even after they won the league. Then last year, they predicted Barnet to finish in 6th. They won the league again, so now the media predicts 5th place.

And they are trolling Barnet's strikers again. Among the players predicted to compete for the most goals scored, last year's champion, Andres Bohorquez, is not listed. Instead, a young player who has yet to play a regular season game for Barnet is predicted compete. He is a potential star, but he does not warrant any wagers.

Monty may be looking to leave Barnet soon. He does not know if he will try to stay close to home and manage another team in a lower league, such as Boreham Wood, to see if he can raise another team up the English ladder, or if he will skip off to Spain and manage a team on Ibiza or Majorca. (That would require loading up to Spanish leagues into FM, though.)

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You have done a good job with Barnet. Maybe it is time for a new challenge since you have just about reached the ceiling of what can be done at Barnet.

Ibiza would be tempting, but I think Monaco would be more a middle aged Monty's style...less buildup but same frustrations.

Ibiza is for kids... 

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A tight race for first place in the Premier League. Manchester United started as it did last season, with two early losses, but they have recovered quickly, Manchester City and Chelsea look to be in dangerous form.

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Andres Bohorquez, Barnet’s Colombian striker, was disrespected by the media in preseason predictions for top goal scorers — despite winning the Golden Boot last season: 23 league goals, 40 in all competitions. This disrespect did not set well with him, it seems. He has 10 league goals already, and 14 overall in 14 games.

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Monty missed out on the competition for world class left winger Matteo Chiavelli, so he moved Bruno Castro to the left and things have been going well. He told Castro that he needed 10 combined goals and assists before the mid-season break, or else Monty would need to transfer list him. I guess Castro wants to stay in North London, because he has 6 goals and 5 assists long before December.

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Forgive Monty if he let the staff get carried away with the Christmas decorations at the Three Wishes. Barnet sits atop the table at mid-season, and since such things can change quickly in football, Monty wants to celebrate the good times when they are in hand.

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The Bees have lost just one game, and that was just recently against Arsenal. Their striker always gives Barnet trouble, even when Monty man-marks him the entire game. This time was no different, and Arsenal beat Barnet 3-1. Monty is aware that Manchester United has two games in hand, and they could quickly jump to second place.

In the European Champions Cup group stage, Barnet was tied with Atletico Madrid going into the last game. The Bees had split with Atletico and they were both likely to win their final matches -- so the key was goal difference. Barnet needed to win by 5 to secure the top spot in the group. They did that, beating Zenit 6-1. Andres Bohorquez had a brace and Bruno Castro had a hat trick. Barnet has drawn Valencia for the first knockout round.

Bohorquez leads the league in scoring, with 12 at the break. (He has 18 in all competitions.) But he seems to be in a bit of a funk. Lots of down arrows on his attributes at the moment. Monty has been resting him, but he cannot let up too much as Castro was injured recently and will be out a month.

Welsh goalkeeper Lee Jones is 34 years old now and has started to show his age. He stumbles more often and his reactions are not as sharp. Monty recently re-signed him to a two-year contract, knowing that would end with his retirement. He felt Jones was owed the raise for his service. Since he joined Barnet, he won league and continental awards as best 'keeper. He was been the starter for two league titles, a EURO Cup trophy, an FA Cup, and four Carabao Cups.

In a few days his replacement will join the club -- and start learning English. Monty purchased Croatian Dario Kozul from Dinamo for £30 million. Kozul will be the second-choice goalkeeper for the rest of the season and then probably the first-choice next season.

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Monty knows many games remain to be played, but he is very happy that arch-enemy Manchester United seems to be dropping out of contention for the league title by mid-January.

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A lot can happen in the remaining 15 games. Monty knows that. But the Bees have never had a lead this large, regardless of the time of year.

Barnet avenged its 3-1 loss to Arsenal by beating them at Canons Park 4-0. Beating ManU 3-1 at home was especially sweet.

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Bohorquez still suffers from red arrow syndrome, but he has kept up the scoring pace with penalty shots. Real Madrid has come knocking for Bruno Castro, offering £98 million and then £108 million. Monty isn't answering the door yet.

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Transfers.

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Jose will join Barnet in a year. He has 4-5 star potential. Perhaps he will replace Bruno Castro, if Monty cashes in on Castro. He cost £6 million but could fetch £100 million. Jose cost £10 million.

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Wesley Goncalvez cost £14.5 million and has 3-4 star potential. He is taking the place of Damir Advucik, who Monty has sold to Juventus for £40 million (he was valued at £35 million before the sale and has suddenly jumped in value with the move to Italy). Advucik has been with the club for several years. He was the third-choice center back, but he has been supplanted by Pedro Costa and would drop to the fourth-choice center back soon as Samuel Timmermans keeps improving. He has a resolute personality, so he is useful in mentoring. But his sale will finance all of the purchases in this transfer window. He was always intended as a backup, and he served that purpose. Goncalvez is just about as good as he is now, but has more room for improvement,

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The youth development coach put in a bid on a midfielder who has 4-star potential, so Monty let the transfer go through: £12.75 million.

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How do you blow a 12-point lead with 15 games left in the season?

By losing nearly £240 million worth of players to injuries: Strikers #1 and #2, left winger #1, and right winger #1. They go out about a month and suddenly winning games is very difficult.

Barnet’s record was 9-2-4 in the final stretch. On the last day of the season they were 3 points ahead of Manchester City. If the Bees lost and Man City won, they would be tied, and Barnet had just a one-goal lead in goal difference. Manchester City won 3-0 that day, but Barnet managed to beat Chelsea 2-1.

That means three league titles in the past four seasons — by 1 point, by 2 points, and then by 3 points. It is a slow path toward toward league domination! jk

Monty was selected Coach of the Year. Diego Simeone at Manchester United was apparently so disheartened by not winning the league title two years in a row that he resigned. He had been at ManU just about as long as Monty has been at Barnet.

Monty entered the Hall of Fame for coaches (whatever that is).

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Andres Bohorquez won his second scoring title in the Premier League. Simon Jensen got the last laugh, though, as he was named the best player in the world.

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Football a Manager needs to get a new pattern. Last year, Barnet competed with Manchester United for the league title and was knocked out by them in the Carabao Cup, the FA Cup, and the European Champions Cup. This season Barnet competed with Manchester City for the league title and was knocked out of the Carabao Cup and the FA Cup by them. They faced them in the quarter final of the European Champions Cup and barely won, 2-1 on aggregate thanks to an own-goal in the second leg. The years were similar also in that they involved Barnet playing ManU/ManCity three times in two weeks, as league matches immediately followed the Cup matches.

The Bees made it to the semi-finals of the European Champions Cup for the first time, losing to Bayern Munich. Atletico Madrid beat Manchester United to compete in the final, and Madrid beat Bayern for the title.

Manchester City beat Manchester United for the FA Cup.

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  • 4 weeks later...

We're back in the multiverse. You may recall that years ago (game time), Monty thought about taking a job with Crystal Palace, and so he lived briefly in alternative universes: continuing at Barnet and taking a job at relegation-bound Crystal Palace. That experiment did not last long, as I discovered too late what a mess Palace was. But the multiverse is back.

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In one universe, Monty had won the Premier League for the third time in four seasons and he wanted a new challenge. He stepped down as the manager of Barnet took some time off. He hoped that the job at Boreham Wood would open up, since it was so close to his home. Alas, it did not, but at the end of the year, Monty took the vacant position with the Queens Park Rangers in League Two. Loftus Road is just about 30 minutes from his Edgware home, so his life was not going to be upset too much. The only downside is QPR's awful pink away kits.

This scenario involved some strange musical chairs. At the end of the season, perhaps frustrated at not dominating the league the way he once had, Diego Simeone resigned as manager of Manchester United. A few days later, Monty made his decision to step down at Barnet, and Manchester United immediately offered him Diego's old job. Monty said "no, thanks," as he wanted another "road to glory" challenge. Then the Barnet directors hired Simeone!

At QPR, Monty replaced Carlos Heredia, who had played at Barnet in Monty's early years there. In December, Carlos was hired away by Luton in League One, and Monty took over the Rangers at mid-season with the team in second place. The team maintained that post and won promotion, so next season Monty will coach against a former player!

Monty's salary? 90,000. He was not worried about that, since he had been making several million per year at Barnet and was set for life. However, after QPR won promotion, the directors raised his salary to 120,000. Enough to replace his Jaguar EV.

The half-season in League Two provided some cruel ironies for Monty. He led QPR to the final of the Checkatrade Trophy, which is the only domestic cup he has not won. I believe he made it to the final twice with Barnet and lost. He failed again, losing to Sunderland from League One. Meanwhile, Barnet finished in fourth place in the Premier League under Simeone -- but they won the European Champions Cup. Monty had reached the semi-finals of that competition the year he departed, so seeing the team win it while he sat on a bar stool in the Three Wishes was bittersweet.

Seeing how the AI managed the team Monty had built was interesting. Simeone sold the team's best player, center back Sergue Ngue, and spent a lot of money on a new goalkeeper and a new left full back. The full back was a smart move, but I do not know spending on a new goal keeper was needed. Otherwise, the lineup was very close to Monty's starting 11. However, the reserve team was managed very differently. Simeone sent, it seems, nearly all of the players out on loan, leaving a barebones roster on the reserves. Monty loans out a bunch of players, but he also keeps some prospects at home for mentoring and so he can work them into league games when possible.

With the Rangers, Monty inherited a 4-3-3 formation with three strikers. Monty played that for a few games, but his start was not inspiring: two draws and a loss. In January he spent 350K on a left winger (the biggest transfer price for League Two that season), brought in a loaner right wing from a Championship League team, and switched to a 5-2-3. The highest quality on the roster was among the center backs, so he chose a formation that got more of them on the field. And the team's midfielders were not that good, nor were the strikers, so he got them off the field. He switched to something closer to what he was accustomed to at Barnet, attacking from the wings. It worked, and the Rangers finished three points out of first place.

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There are the usual adjustments for such a switch. Monty's second-choice striker has finishing of 10, which you accept in League Two. "Good" has a relative definition as you move up and down the levels. When he took over the team, the total payroll was about 2 million, which is the equivalent of the annual salary for a back-up player at Barnet. For next season in League One, the directors have doubled the payroll to 4.36 million.

In the other, more likely, universe, Monty wanted to come back for his 20th season at Barnet. Who would quit after reaching the semi-finals of the European Champions Cup?

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