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12 hours ago, John Joe O'toole said:

Bolton has so much young talent, im currently doing a save with them. Ive packed my squad out with loans too.

Yes the U23 squad has some promising young players within. Good luck with your game.

Seasons Greetings to you too @warlock and all contributors and readers

 

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Season 1 - Squad Review

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Goalkeepers

I allowed both senior goalkeepers to find new clubs and looked for my Jussi Jaaskelainen or Ali Al-Habsi clone, but it wasn't easy to sign a suitable keeper from Finland or Oman

Instead, I turned to Jeppe Hojbjerg from Esbjerg as first choice - he already had Jussi listed as his idol prior to signing

I then considered Will Jaaskelainen from Crewe (son of Jussi) or Jake Turner from Newcastle as the latter has HGC status at Bolton (he left on a free transfer in the summer)

However, the role of understudy has been given to James Aspinall who I took back from Wigan due to his own HGC status 

Defenders

The right-back slot will be taken by either Daniel Anyembe (Esbjerg) or Josh Emmanuel who was already at the club

Ideally I wanted an Icelandic player to be the modern-day Gretar Steinsson (or even Gudni Bergsson) but it wasn't to be

Alfons Sampsted is on the watch list, whilst another candidate was Pawel Olkowski - but the Pole would have taken a massive chunk of the budget

Youth team player Joe White looks to have great potential and has been promoted to the first team squad and handed the left-back role 

In central defence Jimmy Dunne (Burnley reserves) and Ben Heneghan (plucked from a loan at Blackpool) will potentially be first choices when available and on-form

Back-up comes from youngsters Harry Brockbank and Yoan Zouma who were both already at the club

Jarrad Branthwaite (Carlisle) and Liam Edwards add more depth from the U23 squad and are decent cover options

Midfielders

Central midfield is possibly the weakest part of the squad, and I haven't done much to change it as ironically it was probably the strongest part of the original squad

Luke Murphy, Jason Lowe and James Weir were all retained, although only because I haven't been able to offload the latter so far

U23 youngsters Ronan Darcy and Sonny Graham are not far from being promoted to the main squad and will deserve that when space becomes available

Incoming is Norwegian play-maker Emil Bohinen from Stabaek (son of the ex-Forest & Blackburn players Lars) after a fair bit of video scouting

I also acquired the loan signing of Herbie Kane (Liverpool) after failing to land a number of targets from the North West of England or Denmark on permanent deals

Attempts were made to re-sign Josh Vela who had only left the club for Hibernian in the summer, but the fee was too high and he didn't seem keen to return anyway

The right side of midfield is really strong with former Blackburn man Ben Marshall (free agent) and Danish winger Mathias Kristensen (Esbjerg) now competing for the position

Marshall can also fill play at right-back - especially in home games where I want to attack - whilst the Dane is a modern-day replica of popular countryman Michael Johansen

Josh Morris (Fleetwood) and little-known Jamaican Ricardo Morris (VPS in Finland) look more than capable of leading some Morris-dancing down the left-flank

Both of these can also cover as left-backs, and the latter looks like a present day version of former Jamaican club favourite Ricardo Gardner (even sharing the same first name)

Forwards

After much scouting (watching a variety of extensive highlight videos) I decided that Bashkim Kadrii (OB in Denmark) was a perfect choice as one of my main strikers

The Dane had converted in recent years to a powerful and reliable leader of the line after a utility-man existence prior to that

He seemed like a perfect Henrik Pedersen type of bustling forward, and all was going well until he suddenly switched his allegiance to Albania

I'm actively trying to get him to withdraw from their squads, but if he persists with it he is likely to be a casualty of circumstance in the next transfer window

More certain of his place is Icelandic international striker Kolbeinn Sigporsson (signed from AIK in Sweden)

He isn't a similar type to ex-Bolton favourite Eidur Gudjonssen, but Icelandic striker options like this at League 1 level cannot be turned down

Youngsters Joe Gelhardt (Wigan) and Colby Bishop (Accrington) will be bench options applying pressure on the starting pair

 

Staff Review

I'd built a squad with plenty of characteristics of former Bolton players, and also made some big improvements to the backroom staff

Coaching arrivals included former Bolton players Alan Thompson (Coach), Jussi Jaaskelainen (U23 GK Coach), Bruno N'Gotty (U23 Manager) and David Felgate (U18 GK Coach) 

Cult hero ex-striker John McGinlay (Scout) also came back and hopefully more of the old boys will return in time

Former players David Lee, Jimmy Phillips, Gavin McCann, Nicky Spooner and Julian Darby are already at the club

Other new staff arrivals so far include Kevin Hitchcock, Mike Newell, Tony Hibbert, Martin Laursen and Graham Kavanagh

 

Finances

So, I was quite happy with my squad, staff and budget control at this point - until this news item arrived at the start of August

This was going to be tougher than I expected

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Fixtures & Results

After a reasonably satisfying pre-season, it was then time to try and claw back the -12 point deficit as the real action kicked off

An opening day trip to Wycombe was going OK until a late penalty delivered a narrow and unlucky defeat

But good league form has followed, even if a couple of slices of luck (late equaliser at home to Doncaster and 90th minute winner at Gillingham) should also be acknowledged

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Performance Analysis

These good early results see the club already on a positive points tally and already above a surprisingly sub-standard Peterborough team

Anything other than relegation will be a successful season, and I wasn't expecting the start to be so encouraging

I'm operating an old-fashioned 442 with custom 'gegenpress' instructions, using the flanks to run at defenders rather than Big Sam long-ball tactics 

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Edited by Jogo Bonito
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After a couple of saves getting Bradford into the prem, and kind of self destructing both times with bad transfer policies, I've started a new save with Plymouth Argyle, my home town club.

As per the opening posts in this thread, I chose a 5-3-2 formation as that seemed the best fit for a first 11, with a template vertical tika-taka, only switching the complete forward striking role to a target man. This tactic will become my religion, and learning from my previous saves, a gradual evolution of the squad as we hopefully risk up the leagues.

Season 1:

Little in the way of transfer news, Shrewsbury came in for Ryan Taylor and at 31 I thought it best to cash in for £67k. Some players have odd contract end dates, Jose Baxter's expiring in January and unable to fit him into the formation regularly, he joined Forest Green on a free. Rai Simons came in on a free to replace Taylor and having missed taking responsibility for youth team transfers, my underlings signed Devonte Aransibia.

Performance:

Promotion! Consistently fighting with other teams that came and went out of the top three, we finished 3rd just 2 points behind 2nd place Colchester and 3 points behind Mansfield. Forest Green were a threat on the last day of the season but lost their last game to leave us 2 points clear of the playoffs.

Cup performance was mixed, Ipswich pumped us out in the first round of the Carabao, and rotating to my worst 11 in the Leasing.com saw us fail to progress. However, we reached the heady heights of the 4th round in the FA Cup, beating Cambridge, Cheltenham and Millwall to fall to Swansea away.

The lack of depth in defence was quite problematic with injuries and suspensions, with a long term injury to right wing back Joe Riley, his understudy Tafari Moore nearly permanently jaded. There was no real stand out players across the season, a lot of 1-0 results being ground out.

For a league 2 team, we're very financially stable, turning a profit of £250k even after a couple of data analysis facility upgrades. They've given me a monstrous £1m transfer budget for the season ahead. The challenge with player recruitment is being the lack of technically gifted centre backs for the two ball-playing defender roles.

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29 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

Anything other than relegation will be a successful season

I think that's right, and hopefully you'll be able to achieve that and more.

19 minutes ago, Parmie said:

I've started a new save with Plymouth Argyle

Good choice, good start :thup:.

And I'm glad to see I'm not the only one here after the family has gone to bed and FM beckons :lol:

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9 hours ago, warlock said:

Feel free to share here... always room for one more :)

Thanks :)

 

here’s a quick screenshot of how my save is going, will try and do a more in depth one at some point.

ive kept the core of the team and tried to play youngsters as much as I can along with signing premier league players on loan. Also sold my clauses to generate cash.

 

 

 

 

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I got through another season today between festive activities. 

Season 2 saw a bit more transfer activity to bolster the squad for the League One campaign. Maghoma wasn't first choice as Danny Mayor, who I play in the attacking midfield role, started the season on fire, scoring goals in the first 4 games. Although Mayor was injured in January and Maghoma starting getting more game time he still asked to leave, as I've not been able to develop him well on my other saves, I readily accepted Palace's bid to generate a huge profit.

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Performance:

Champions! It was a battle with Blackpool for the majority of the season until the new year, when I pulled away 11 points clear at one point. Hitting March, a couple of players were unhappy with game time, and morale didn't really recover, so we went on a dreadful run of losing 7 of the last 10 games, scraping a draw at home to Oxford to finish on top. Luton had a late surge to displace Blackpool.

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For my 1st choice team, Gary Sawyer at age 35 soldiered on until January when Dion Conroy arrived, McKenzie was a superb performer for just a £300/week loan deal. 

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Also at the end of season 1, my son came through the youth system, although only a 3* potential (named Luke, which is apt for the Star Wars film), there are several other very promising prospects potentially going to get some games or go out on loan.

We went even deeper into the FA Cup, putting out West Brom in the 4th round and a penalty shoot out home win against Premiership Leicester in the 5th round to finally be defeated by Norwich in the quarter final. Those cup games might have effected the March-April form on the fitness front perhaps.

Maghoma and cup run money has been reinvested into infrastructure, youth facilities were upgraded (still only at Adequate) and there is also a training facility upgrade underway at £900k costs but still in profit by about £200k for the season. The board are happy to give me a £4.7m transfer kitty for the Championship which may be used to some degree as several of the squad will need to leave at the end of their contracts as even with my wish for a slow burn squad turnaround they just won't be good enough.

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Notts County 2021/22

Season Review

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Well, what can I say. Another stunning season from us, a 3rd consecutive promotion and the 3rd time we've topped 100 points in the league.

Honestly, we've massively over achieved with the squad we have this season. It's a very young side with not the greatest of depth but some how we've managed to win the league at a canter again.

Ademipo Odubeko was, just simply, unreal for us for the whole campaign. His goals topped with a solid defence propelled us into the Championship. Feel sorry for the striker we have next season! :lol:

It's not all smooth sailing though. We lost 2 key players in Jan (both generated a huge sum of cash for us) and, even though we coped without them for rest of the campaign it weakens us for next year.

On top of that, 4 members of the squad are also leaving this summer after their contract demands are just ridiculous for a club our size (one wanted 15k a week!!).

As we head into, what will be the most crucial pre-season of my time here, the squad looks like this.

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That's all the 1st team players we have, and with no recognised striker, I've a lot of work to do before the season starts. Luckily we have funds available after the sales of Booty and Mas, but we have to be careful on what we spend.

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Even with a healthy transfer and wage budget  we're struggling to strengthen with the right players so far. Even the average players on transfer list are going for 2m+ (and they are no better than what we have here).

There's a couple of newgens that have caught my eye though. A very good LB, AMR and ST that would slot straight into the 1st team. Again, price is an issue so it's looks like another season of freebies and loans.

Brandon Fleming rejoins us on another season long loan deal (surprised as Hull came up with us this season) and, I'm trying my hardest to get Odubeko on loan again from West Ham (with no joy so far).

So, that's pretty much it for season 3. Board want us to avoid relegation from the Championship, hopefully we'll have enough to survive and establish ourselves for a push to the Prem in a couple of years.

Edited by Fubz
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On 23/12/2019 at 22:02, Jogo Bonito said:

For my next adventure, I've decided to take on the -12 points challenge of Bolton Wanderers in League 1

However, I wanted to go back in time and take the club on when they had just a handful of players early in the summer so I'm using 'create a club' mode

Welcome to Bolton @Jogo Bonito, looking forward to seeing how you get on! The points deduction certainly makes survival a good challenge. I like the unique approach you’ve taken, although I am very jealous as I had to endure a season of Keith Hill's bad signings before I got a chance to rebuild the squad! 

No update from me for a while as I’m abroad for Christmas and didn’t bring my laptop (instant regret), however I’m back home soon so will be posting an update on the transfer business I did before I went away (hopefully I can remember the details!).

Edited by Dong21
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Bolton End of Season 1

So i managed to win the title with a few games to go which obviously was a lot more than i had hoped for! 

I really utilised the loan market on this save, and signed young prem players to bolster my squad.

Aaron Connolly, Rhian Brewster, Pietro Pellegri and Eddie Brown were electric up front, Daryl Murphy didn't really get a look in! Those 4 scored 61 goals between them! James Garner and Jason lowe were solid in midfield with Politic, Verlinden, King Harmes etc doing really well on the wings. Brockbank was the rock at the back partnering either Wright or Hobbs depending on fitness etc

Verlinden left in jan and i signed jordan graham for 79k which was a bargain, he did really well.

I gave a lot of first team opportunities to young players too, the bolton home grown players look like they could really improve and be in my first team squad in the future.

 

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Edited by John Joe O'toole
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5 hours ago, Dong21 said:

Welcome to Bolton @Jogo Bonito, looking forward to seeing how you get on! The points deduction certainly makes survival a good challenge. I like the unique approach you’ve taken, although I am very jealous as I had to endure a season of Keith Hill's bad signings before I got a chance to rebuild the squad! 

No update from me for a while as I’m abroad for Christmas and didn’t bring my laptop (instant regret), however I’m back home soon so will be posting an update on the transfer business I did before I went away (hopefully I can remember the details!).

Thanks @Dong21, I just hope I haven't made it too easy for myself. Enjoying it so far, although I had to replay the Gillingham game as I closed the game down without saving it.. Instead of a 1-0 win, I got a 3-0 win when I just wanted a 1-0 win or a draw to progress. Tried two more times and thought that it was ridiculous to keep replaying it until I got the same result, or no better than I got first time around. In the end, I accepted a 3-0 win and an injury as a slight balancing aspect.

@John Joe O'toole Congrats on an your promotion. Eddie Brown is banging them in for my U23 side too, so unless Kadrii becomes Danish again, I will look to sell the Albanian in the winter window and promote Brown.

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Season 3 completed with my Argyle team that saw us consolidate in the championship.

Some expenditure inwards but no money coming in meant all the cash in the bank used up with the board injecting £3.2m at the end of the season, although somewhat prematurely as the TV money came in shortly afterwards. It was a struggle finding a keeper on a permanent basis, I settled on Joe Lumley from the relegated QPR. Jorge Fernandes was a promising striker the scouts found in Portugal. The excellent academy is producing some talent, with a premiership potential Cypriot AMC coming through.

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Performance:

10th place in the Championship was an overachieving result with the smallest wage budget in the division. There were no meaningful cup runs this season, drawing Arsenal early in the 3rd round of the Carabao and Watford in the 3rd round of the FA Cup, no heroic exploits against either.

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My first choice 11 is starting to see the FREDs creep in with Fernandes starting to partner Dominic Telford up front. Sotiriou is one of the aforementioned academy products and I turned down a £1.5m bid for him. Theres also a centre mid also rated as premiership potential that I am trying to retrain as a ball winning midfielder so he secures a place in the team long term.

I'm targeting a box to box midfielder, although for quality, it seems a premiership youngster on loan seems the best option, I'm also struggling to find a reasonably prices left wing back to rotate McFadzean with, Tafaari Moore continues to be used as best he can across either side at wing back. The wing backs do the most running in this formation and always finish games short on conditioning. 

 

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17 hours ago, Dong21 said:

That is really impressive @John Joe O'toole! What tactics did you use? 

Balanced 4-4-2 Control Possession

Low Tempo, Short Passing, short goal kicks, distribute to CB, prevent gk short distribution etc

Cant believe it created so many goals but i did have aaron Connolly, rhian brewster, pellegri etc

Some games the other team wouldn't get a shot away and we regularly clocked up 60%+ possession 

15 hours ago, Jogo Bonito said:

Thanks @Dong21, I just hope I haven't made it too easy for myself. Enjoying it so far, although I had to replay the Gillingham game as I closed the game down without saving it.. Instead of a 1-0 win, I got a 3-0 win when I just wanted a 1-0 win or a draw to progress. Tried two more times and thought that it was ridiculous to keep replaying it until I got the same result, or no better than I got first time around. In the end, I accepted a 3-0 win and an injury as a slight balancing aspect.

@John Joe O'toole Congrats on an your promotion. Eddie Brown is banging them in for my U23 side too, so unless Kadrii becomes Danish again, I will look to sell the Albanian in the winter window and promote Brown.

Thanks mate, he was good in league 1. Now im in the championship im continuing to show faith in him, he's getting sub appearances + cup games + allowed to play for u23s to keep his fitness up.

First 4 games in the championship i have won 3 drawn 1

Edited by John Joe O'toole
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10 hours ago, Parmie said:

Season 3 completed with my Argyle team that saw us consolidate in the championship.

10th place in the Championship was an overachieving result with the smallest wage budget in the division. 

Excellent finish, good work with Plymouth. 

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Notts County 2022-23

Life in the Championship...

So I went into my fourth summer here knowing, for the first time, that cracks had started to appear. Numerous players that had been with me from the start of the save had heads turned by bigger clubs (no surprise there really).

Two had left in Jan (for a tidy sum) and others, who've ran down their contracts, were on the way out as well. That left us with an inexperienced and small squad approaching the start of the season.

This year is a weird one, I guess because of the World Cup in Qatar the season started early. Which in turn meant hardly any rest and any time to scout possible signings, not the ideal preparation we wanted.

The signings...

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Ivan Lukic was a guy we've been monitoring for a while now. Manged to pick him up for 550k from Saburtalo in Georgia. Comes in as first choice Defensive Midfielder.

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Mogens Pedersen. Our excellent scouting network managed to find this gem at Hobro in Denmark in Jan. His contract was expiring in the summer so we snapped him up on a freebie. 

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Lee Black. He's another one unearthed by our scouts. Joins us from Aberdeen for 75k.

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With us losing Jimmy Mas in Jan and then Richard Brindley in the summer we needed another RB to compete with Duhaney. In comes Jason McCarthy on a free from Milwall.

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Brandon Fleming was here last season on loan from Hull and manged to extend that for this season. Solid LB who suits us perfectly.

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We had to fight off numerous Championship clubs to get Phil Dolan in on loan from Man Utd. Happy he decided to join us and boosts our midfield.

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Jack Oliver was another one we had on loan towards back end of last season from Derby. Happy to have him on board for another season at Meadow Lane.

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Jean Mercier joins us on loan from Man City. Although he's a striker he can cover both wings and is two-footed. Will play mostly down the left flank for us this season.

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The big signing!!! Adempio Odubeko joins us for another season on loan from West Ham. The young striker banged in 43 goals in 45 games last season and very happy to welcome him back!

So, that's it. Despite a large budget of 14m we spent only 625k before the window shut. It wasn't for the lack of trying though. We chased numerous targets during the summer but just couldn't get them over the line.

That leaves us with a really small squad (around 17 first team players) and barely any experience in the side. The average age of the squad has dropped even further from last season so only time would tell if they can make the step up.

Heading into the break (World Cup 2022)

Fast forward a few months until end of October and this is how things stand.

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Another unbelievable season is taking shape here this year. Honestly, I was expecting the worst with the size and lack of experience of our squad but, what can I say!

In there you'll see numerous results that stand out, like beating both Chelsea and Arsenal in the EFL Cup on route to the quarter finals (where we have Brighton at home).

The big one though, and the one in which I wanted to win more than any thing this season was this...

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We went into this game without Odubeko (6 week injury lay off) and would have settled for a draw. Instead we ended up smashing them off the park with young Mark Johnstone shining upfront.

For any one interested here's our current 1st team squad for this season (note how young and small it is). We don't have any one coming through the the ranks either to bolster it (no injuries crisis please!).

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So there you have it. We head into the 'winter break?' sitting pretty at the the top of the league. That's with us having by far the smallest wage budget in the division (like 20% of Leicester and Stoke). Not bad really that! :cool:

Oh, one last thing, can't update you with our progress without showing you the real reason behind why we are where we are. Enter the main man Adempio Odubeko...

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Honestly this young lad is a goal machine!!! 70 goals in 65 games for us says it all. He's already fast becoming a Notts County legend, long may it continue! 

 

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The adventure begins! 

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So having moved to Cumbria in September I have decided to go ahead and try my hand at playing with Carlisle United. A team that I have never been before on any version of FM. 

Having looked at the expectations the board are expectating a mid table finish which shouldn't be too difficult. The squad looks fairly decent with only a couple of areas that need addressing.These being the wide attacking areas and central midfield. Mike Jones and Kelvin Etuhu are capable however Etuhu is out injured for 6 months and there's very little back up. The wide areas see just two natural wingers in the on loan Nathan Thomas and youngster Harry McKirdy.  

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Decided to plump with a 4-2-3-1 as I saw this as the best fit for the players available and also it's a formation I've not used before. It also enables me to play Scougall in his favoured role. We do have 4 strikers available but three are on loan and so I didn't want to become reliant on playing two up top if we struggle to replace them once they return to their parent clubs at the end of the season. 

Transfer wise I identified former Man City and Peterborough United winger Isaac Buckley-Ricketts as a target but unfortunately he chose to join Dunfermline instead. Experienced winger Chris Taylor was also an option however given that he would only probably be good for one season and his high wage demands I decided to leave that one be.  

Whereas Texas Rush youngster Phil Dawson (Central Defender) will join up with the under 18's in January 2020 on a free transfer. 

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Pre-season was good with 7 wins out of 7, no goals conceded and 21 goals scored. Although pre-season rarely means anything so nothing much to take note of here. We lost Nathaniel Knight-Percival during it for 4-6 weeks although he
should be back after the second game of the season. Kelvin Etuhu remains sidelined until the end of October, not ideal. 

Roll on Crawley Town @ Brunton Park! 

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@Gunner 101 Not sure, his value has gone through the roof this season so I'd expect West Ham to want silly money for him. Unfortunately I doubt we could afford even his boot laces at this point :lol: 

GL with Carlisle as well, always wanted a save with them but never got round to it.

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@Parmie Keepers can be real rough to find for sure, yeah. Really dig the recruitment there though, Portugal is always a gold mine and it just seems like a good diversity, with a couple names I was looking to sign myself. Phenomenal job in the league too, even with what looks like a rough run of form to close out the season. Here's hoping you can keep that up in Championship Year 2.

@Fubz Damn, Odubeko looks immense and then some, no wonder you're mauling every division you enter! Sucks that his value's skyrocketed so much, but at this rate you might be able to pick him up anyways after a promotion. Quite a few loanees there though, so the goal def looks to be fleshing the squad back out a bit more after those departures. 

@Gunner 101 Good luck with Carlisle! Starting with that winger situation is rough (speaking from experience... it took me a whole season to get it sorted), but it seems like you've got a good handle on the squad already. They're definitely a team that has some potential in them, not to mention a nice swath of the country to themselves.

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Shrewsbury Town F.C. ~ 2020/21 Winter

(Player pics are a bit late but nobody new has really taken a huge leap forward in training or anything. The squad was worried about depth after a winter window twist, but that's been solved. Some players aren't happy that I'm not giving my 4th string CB a huge raise after Blackburn came in for him under his value, though...)

Transfers:

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The step up meant we had a lot of work to do in the market, and for once I went in with a clear strategy. I had two targets in mind immediately, and by good grace both of them were transfer listed as soon as the window opened. I was familiar with Goduine Koyalipou from a brief Niort save last season (well rec'd btw, nice young team in Ligue 2 with no real history), and leapt on him right quick. Two-footed right winger with solid pace but not lacking in the technicals, and only 20 years old with massive room to grow! Meanwhile, Gonzalo Villar was dirt cheap as a playmaker who can make the step up to the Premier League once we reach that hallowed ground, and between him and the talismanic Goss we're set on midfield creation. 

Berthier and Costa (along with a dash of Alberico) rounded out our newfound wing rotation, while we dipped into another second division (this time in Germany) for our new starting goalkeeper in Uphoff, with Max O'Leary having returned to Bristol City after a relatively underwhelming loan spell last year. We also renewed loans for Louis Thompson (Norwich BBM), Luke McCormick (Chelsea BBM), and Ben Johnson (West Ham DR/DL), then brought in Nathan Trott from the Hammers to deputize Uphoff and Kieron Freeman from the relegated Blades to start at left back. The only untouched positions (in the summer) were CB and ST, as a tl;dr, but this 1.3m summer overhaul gave us solid hope that we could hang with the regulars in one of the most competitive leagues in the world. But have we...?

Table:

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Boy, have we! Absolutely incredible season thus far for us Salops. We've never been lower than 8th, and only two weeks spent outside the playoff positions compares favorably to 5 weeks atop the league (mainly in November before a 4 match winless streak bumped us down). It took us until mid-October to draw a match as well, as a case in point of our downright enterprising play. Jason Cummings has been streaky at times, but when he connects it’s with haymakers. Sean Goss has produced 7 assists despite being dropped back to DLP (with Villar as our 10) and just recently recovering from an injury suffered in a Boxing Day destruction of Derby. That injury by itself wasn't awful, but Villar was in the midst of a 2-3 month absence himself, leaving us light on playmakers and relying a little too heavily on the very raw McCormick to be our glue at BBM. The kid's determined as hell, but his more tangible skills are too far behind for him to be any more than a backup.

We made it a round further in the Carabao Cup than expected, erasing Sheff Wed 5-0 and Sunderland on pens before bowing out at Preston. A couple kind draws to Dag & Red and Wimbledon have us in the 5th round of the FA Cup, where we'll face... Manchester United or Tottenham. Away. At least we'll get some revenue from the gates, because you know those home fans are so excited to see them face a squad with our caliber.

So everything is going swimmingly, and honestly as much of a dream as promotion would be, I can't say I'd be too displeased with, say, a cameo in the playoff semi-finals before saying deuces and taking next season to build/develop a legit promotion-chasing squad. But of course, as a small team living large in the Championship, there's always the threat of a relative giant seeing us as ripe for the picking. Cummings has been of interest to various teams since the summer, and Goss had a brief moment of fame in the market as well, but instead they came for the raw, uncut gem of a player that really sold me on this save. Out of nowhere on deadline day, Newcastle swept in for Ro-Shaun Williams, triggering his 7m release clause. In a flash, he was whisked north on over double his previous wages. £1.6m went into our transfer kitty, less than the £1.77m that Manchester United received as a sell-on fee, and suddenly we were scrambling for a new starting CB. Instead of going for another 16 pace 14 strength monster like Ro-Shaun though, I've taken a slight risk with a slow and savvy defender who's been plying his trade in Holland recently:

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If I can get that speed even just up to an 11, I'll feel pretty good given a nice array of stats elsewhere, but that's still an if. I also had a little cash left over to nab the ever-popular Aaron Hickey and help shore up my wingbacks.

With 16 matches left (17 counting our impending FA Cup doom at the hands of a Big 6 club), we have the position and the tools to make a go at the top still. Our run-in sees us facing the current 19th-22nd teams too, so if we can survive the top table Brighton-Stoke-Wigan gauntlet preceding it, we could really shock everyone for the second season running. Again though, just remaining hereabouts would be nice, even if it risks us being picked apart in the summer. I'm already lining up a couple possible replacements for Cummings...

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@HaphazardHawlucha Really good season you're having there at the Shrews mate. Seems as though you might have the same dilemma as me, if you go up you're not prepared, if you don't the vultures may come swooping in during the summer! Still, either way it's a massive achievement to be where you are with Shrewsbury.

Just got my youth intake preview come through in 4th season...

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Fingers crossed all that investment past 3 seasons pays off. So far our youth intakes have been dreadful on this save. Then again, Notts County's facilities aren't that great to start with.

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3 hours ago, Jogo Bonito said:

Great updates from Carlisle, Shrewsbury and Notts County. The rest of us will have some serious success to match there by the looks of it. No pressure then @Gunner 101

I was thinking that. Don’t expect the same from me. I’m useless. :D

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Bolton Wanderers - Season 2 - Part 1

Season Update: Squad Rebuild

My first season at the University of Bolton Stadium ended with narrow survival in League One and, although the season ended in a disappointing manner, I was excited to start restructuring the playing squad. When I joined pretty much the entirety of the squad had also just arrived, therefore it was not possible to move them on - now was my opportunity to do so.

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I released a large number of players, the most notable being Jason Lowe who had made 49 appearances for us in the prior season. I was comfortable releasing this many players as I believed the wages we had been spending could be better spent elsewhere, with a bit more care and planning. I also allowed the loans of Brewster, Gomes and Levitt to expire, with no attempts to renew. I carried out a great deal of scouting of players whose contracts would be expiring in the summer, so that on July 1st I had a good pool of potential signings to target. The issue would be our limited wage budget; the board had slashed it from £85k per week, to £60k per week and yet still expected us to finish top half.

On July 1st I took a very large number of players on 4 week trials. This allowed me to better evaluate their abilities and also gauge what wage they would be demanding. It also meant we had enough players to fulfill our pre-season friendlies (without trialists I only had one CM at the club!). I quickly realised that my budget was not going to allow me to make the signings I needed and player sales were going to have to finance our rebuild. It was a really delicate balancing act trying to keep players at the club on trial long enough until I had enough money to offer them a decent contract and many of my original targets were lost.

Player sales:

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Right back Josh Emmanuel was one of my best performers in the prior season, so I was reluctant to sell him, but when a significant bid from Sunderland came in I knew that I had to sell him for the greater good of the squad. Likewise my 'keeper Carrasso had done well and I had no intention of selling him, however when Inter Miami bid £1.5m for him I was very confident that I could replace the 32 year old, with a lot of change to spare! He rejected the deal frustratingly, however I managed to move him on to Nimes as my mind was made up at this point. Sales of Emmanuel-Thomas, Edwards and Politic were more straightforward as I did not particularly value any of them. The one shame was the sale of young winger Brown-Sterling who had a lot of potential but I had run out of money with the season close to commencing and he was one of the few assets I was able to cash in on.

Season Update: New season, new squad

With so many departures, the number incoming was bound to be high. In fact it was over 20 in the end. All arrivals were free transfers or loans - markets I love to utilise in lower league management. Due to the scale of the rebuild I will break down the squad in sections:

Goalkeepers

After the sale of Johann Carrasso, I was left with the competent Remi Matthews. Matthews was, however, the only 'keeper option (Stuart Taylor had also retired) so I brought in Marko Maric on a free transfer from Hoffenheim. Maric had been first choice for Lillestrom whilst on loan in the Norweigen league the season prior.

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Defence

Going into pre-season we had no right backs as I had cashed in on Emmanuel and Dwight Tiendalli had retired. I was delighted to be able to bring in not one, but two, good quality right backs as I signed Jonathan Clauss (previously at Arminia Bielefed) and George Williams (previously at MK Dons). On the left side I was extremely pleased to be able to renew the loan of Brandon Williams and I decided I was happy to continue to give opportunities to academy graduate Boon as his understudy. I believe I pulled off a coup with the signing of centre-back Bailey Wright from Bristol City, a classy defender whose only downside is his international call ups to Australia. Zouma returned from a successful loan spell at Wrexham to add competition for places.

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Midfield

I was frankly shocked when Man United agreed to sending James Garner back on loan to us for another season. He is a superb player who I intend to build my team around this season. My top targets to add to centre-midfield were Markus Henriksen and David Davis (formerly of Hull and Birmingham respectively). Both spent 4 weeks of pre-season on trial with us, but timings did not align and I could not muster up enough funds to offer the fairly reasonable amount of wages they wanted and they departed for other clubs. The season was dawning and it was looking like I'd only have Garner and teenage prospect Assarsson as options. I therefore signed Jack Evans on loan from Swansea and Ethan Hamilton on loan from Man United, both on 0% wage contributions to bolster the squad in case I couldn't raise the funds to sign more recruits. Luckily I was able to make some more player sales and on the eve of the new season I recruited the vastly experienced Andy King, who had been let go by Leicester, and another player (who I seem to have signed on every single version of FM!) Matty Palmer, released by Rotherham. I now potentially have too many centre-midfielders but with no wage consideration for three of them (Garner, as well as the aforementioned pair) it doesn't seem a bad issue to have.

On the wings I managed to secure Ben Woodburn on loan from Liverpool and also signed the experienced Jonny Hayes from Celtic. Both bring a lot of versatility, being also able to play up front or at left back, respectively. The wings are probably where we have the least amount of depth though, however the positive is that it will present young prospect King-Harmes with a lot of opportunities. The last player to mention is Ronan Darcy who I had planned to accelerate the development of by building my team around him, continuing with a 4-2-3-1 formation. Darcy, however, got ruled out for 2 months in pre-season with an injury and with a lack of other AMs and an abundance of strikers (more on that next) I switched to 4-4-2 and haven't looked back. It will be interesting to see if I can find a place for him when he returns from injury (which he is just about to do, coming into September).

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Attack

This was another area that needed freshening up. You will see from the goalscorers in my pre-season results that many different strikers were trialed, however my number one target was always Jordan Rhodes. A proven goalscorer, but my concern was his wage demands would be high - luckily he only wanted £2.6k per week and a deal was struck. I bolstered the ranks with Dan N'Lundulu on loan from Southampton and relative unknown Vasco Costa who joined from Sao Martinho in the Portuguese Championship. There will be opportunities for Eddie Brown this season.

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So after £2.5m of player sales, which has been invested all into free transfers, the overall wage bill of the squad is still only £85k per week, which is exactly the same as last season but, I believe, I now have a much better quality group of players.

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Pre-season went well but many of the players who featured didn't end up in my squad so it was somewhat of an unknown as to how the season would actually go. We started the season against recently relegated Sheffield Wednesday, and were disappointed to draw as we had 68% possession and 11 shots to their 4, so things looked positive for the season ahead.

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Since then things couldn't have gone much better - I had a decent level of optimism with the squad I've built but I must admit I expected some inconsistency to start as it was a brand new team gelling. Our one loss so far came against Ipswich, although we were the better side so that caused little concern. Our league form won me the manager of the month award for August. King-Harmes came 2nd in the goal of the month (robbed I say!) for a mesmerising goal where he started in his own half and dribbled past half the Bradford team before unleashing a fierce strike. Rhodes has started strongly with 6 in 6, and the star performers thus far have been full backs Clauss and Williams. 

The last thing to mention is our stand-out victory over a full strength Premier League Leicester City side, one that will live long in the memory!

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2 hours ago, Dong21 said:

Bolton Wanderers - Season 2 - Part 1

Season Update: Squad Rebuild

My first season at the University of Bolton Stadium ended with narrow survival in League One and, although the season ended in a disappointing manner, I was excited to start restructuring the playing squad. When I joined pretty much the entirety of the squad had also just arrived, therefore it was not possible to move them on - now was my opportunity to do so.

Since then things couldn't have gone much better

Fantastic update, I really enjoyed reading about it. Normally I would be lukewarm to such an overhaul in one window but knowing the poor quality in the Bolton squad you inherited this was the obvious way to go. There are definitely some decent signings in there, and it looks like Rhodes has settled in really well and could be a big player for you. Good luck and well done on a great start to the second season.

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Season 4 with Plymouth Argyle completed.

Close but no cigar....the league campaign saw us sustain a playoff position throughout the entire season.

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I stuck with the same permanent squad as per season 3, and again trying to supplement it with quality premiership youngster loaners. Curtis Jones from Liverpool, Ian Maaten and Billy Gilmour from parent club Chelsea arrived to help keep consistently towards the top of the table.

We were up against Millwall in the playoff-semis, the first leg was a crazy 5-5 draw.

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This was a bit of a tactical quandary for the 2nd leg, knowing we needed a win to get past all those away goals from the 1st leg, however, I went with my balanced away version and with a Millwall sending off mid way in the 2nd half, I switched it up to a positive version I've been trying to push for the win. We won a penalty before half time which if we'd scored would allow me to switch back to my more conservative version and see the game out, however, Billy Gilmour stepped up and missed. As we continued to push forward, the Millwall 10 men sucker punched a counterbreak goal and that was pretty much it.  

Analysing the first leg, Joe Williams my 1st choice BWM was injured and his back-up Xavi Simons, was suspended so I forced Sarcevic into the role. Trying to see what went wrong at back, I checked the reports and all three central defenders don't like big games, so it seemed like a communal bottling.

There was individual recognition for the players, we got both player and young player of the season.

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For the season ahead, I think it may be a repeat, the transfer list has high wage demand players, and the US clubs continually pick off the best end of contract prospects before we get a chance to offer, Curtis Jones being the latest instance. I suspect I'll have to go into the season and try to get some listed players as they get unhappy. I suspect the next season will depend entirely on who I can get on loan. 

I need to tweak the tactics, I have a positive version of the 5-3-2 for easier games, and the BWM role is frustrating, Williams and Simons between them clocked up 29 yellows and 2 reds, so I have been considering going to a deep lying playmaker, supported by a shuttler or central mid with the AMC becoming more attacking to get more goals (as I still use a false 9 in one of the striker roles).

The academy continues to churn out decent prospects and after a push, the board have agreed another development on the youth facilities. My brightest one was at the club when I arrived, this is him at the end of season 4.

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Cambridge United FC  - League 2

It’s not been since 2015 when I last played football manager but after looking at some videos on YouTube I got the itch to fire it up all over again. I chose Cambridge because I have a friend who plays for the club and because I prefer to start lower down as I feel it’s too easy to start with Norwich in the prem. I’ve done well with Cambridge and it’s been a far cry from my last save on FM15 where I spent 3 seasons of mid table mediocrity with Morecambe (and inexplicably part time Jamaica manager). Perhaps the reason I’ve found it fairly smooth sailing is because I’m using the Touch version on iPad rather than on PC and have therefore not had the crazy player interactions i remember or tactical familiarity to deal with. Here’s a little write up...

Season 1 - 2019-20 - League Two

I’m a new manager with semi pro experience. Expected to finish in the bottom half of the table but had an surprisingly excellent season. Had 3 tactics on the go but mainly used the screenshotted counter 4-3-3 tactic for 90% of matches (has been tweaked over time). My aim was to simply do the bare minimum and I didn’t bring any players in with none bought or sold at the start of the season. The starting squad is good enough to stay in the division with a couple of good young players who I played as much as I could. Harry Darling and Leon Davies were good in defence alongside George Taft and star man Daniel Jones whose delivery from corners and free kicks gave him many assists. There are good CM’s and up front is well stocked. In January I got Kevin O’Connor (good LB who again provides set piece assists), Bigirimana on a free (good CM who somehow was voted worst signing of season in league despite some good goals) and Shodipo on loan who all helped push us up into the automatic promotion places where before we were in and out of the playoffs. Sam Smith was excellent on loan from Reading and scored 20+ goals to secure 3rd in the league. Shocked by the result but also delighted. Target for next season was to simply try to stay in L1.

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Season 2 - League 1 - 2020-21

I used the increase in budget and boards delight to get a new contract and sign some players before their contracts ran out. There needed to be some extreme restructuring as the squad on paper was barely alright for the playoffs in L2 let alone L1. I signed some on cheap transfers. With my new riches I was quite brave at handing out contracts and was severely burnt when the new season rolled around as with promotion bonuses we became 10k over wage budget. Fortunately my signings were made early doors with quality wingers the only thing still on my shopping list. I’ve spent the entire season trying to get some money in by selling Taft and Carruthers in January, setting up a couple of pre season friendlies against man united and Chelsea. We lucked out and played Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the 3rd round of the FA Cup finally getting the financial situation back on track. I was ready to sell the signed clothes off my back.

My key signings of Luke Southwood, Sam Hughes, Ben Sheaf and Majka have been excellent but Cambridge old boy (relatively) Harvey Knibbs has really stepped up as striker when given a run in the team with Connor Hall chipping in every so often for goals. Dale Grubb has mostly lived up to his terrible name.

To be in the playoffs is pretty incredible with key wins away at derby, Bradford and Rochdale. We had mixed results at the start of the season with a couple of good runs and a dip. I almost hope that we don’t get promoted as this squad is really not ready for championship football. I believe I will probably end up just outside the playoffs or lose in them. I did get a job offer from a Barnsley in the Championship which was tempting in December but think I will stick by Cambridge for now.7607F77B-9B86-40E6-8BF7-5483038E69D0.thumb.png.79314aa9901a1f76c2a6bc077f42f32f.png

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Last but not least, I have a very good regen at CB (screenshotted). Fulham etc. have been bidding for him but I held out for a million + 50% sell on from Birmingham. I was shocked they were willing to pay it and then rejected it. What should I do with this player? Sell for more cash? Keep?
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Edited by Nodge
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30 minutes ago, Nodge said:

I’m using the Touch version on iPad

Welcome back and, yes, Touch is rather more streamlined. I played Touch pretty much exclusively through FM17 but since then I find I miss the detail and the ability to give the players a rollicking at half-time so I only fire up Touch if I want to experiment with tactics.

To all who have posted updates this last week, many thanks and congratulations and commiserations where appropriate. I've enjoyed reading. Today is the first day of normality for a week after the familial horde descended and did their best to eat us out of house and home.

In other news, I've walked away from the Brentford save having found a new way to fall foul of the club vision thing. 2019 signing Bryan Mbeumo was consistently rubbish through the season, regardless of where I played him. And he constantly demanded more games until eventually he handed in a transfer request. In previous FMs this wouldn't have been a problem, and we received transfer offers that would have turned a small profit. The board rejected all of them, wanting around £9m minimum, which no-one was going to offer. In accepting his transfer request, apparently I'd 'promised' to sell him, and in discussions about it I had no option to say 'the board won't let me'. So I was 'a liar'. I like the club vision and club culture features in principle, but that's three saves now where they've given me a huge headache, despite success on the field :seagull:

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Notts County 2022/23

End of season review...

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Just one word to describe this season and team, sensational!! Media had us as favourites to go down (tipped to finished bottom) all season, even when we stormed 12 points clear!!

Things started off rocky, drawing 7 of our first 15 games (which left us outside of playoffs at one point) thanks to our defence, which has been rock solid all year, we pulled our form around and we proved very hard to beat.

A run of 19 games without a loss through September to February pushed us towards the Prem and we never looked back. Odubeko again the star of the season, honestly he's just unreal on this save for us.

His pace and willingness to run at defenders meant we could soak up pressure and just give him the ball. His goals per game ratio for us as a whole just shows how good he's been (82 goals in 82 games).

We managed to strength the side even further in Jan with the free signing of this young lad...

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Took to our style of play and midfield role like a duck to water. How we managed to snap this lad up without any one else offering him a contract I don't know, no complaints from me though.

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We even managed a cheeky run to the final in the EFL Cup, and, at 1-1 I thought we could actually win the thing. Unfortunately our hopes went out the window in a 10 min spell in the 1st half.

Odubeko (who had been a thorn in Liverpool's defence) picked up a twisted ankle, then followed a stupid rash challenge from McCarthy and that was that.

We held out until the 70th min, where a wonder strike from Mane put us behind. We pushed for an equaliser towards the end but Firmino wrapped things up on the break.

Still, to only lose 3-1 with 10 men against a Liverpool team that won the league was nothing to be sniffed at.

Next season is going to a real challenge though. I really like the look of our 1st team to a point, I've been happy to play the youngsters and they've never let me down.

I do fear I need to add experience to the side in the summer if we want to stand a chance of staying in the division for more than just a season.

With that being said, we've been given 30m and a wage budget of 350k (more than triple our budget this season).

There's some tasty freebies out there (if contracts are allowed to run down) as well as some very good Newgens I've got my eye on.

Really excited to see what we can do in the Prem next year, honestly think we can upset a few teams!

 

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@Parmie An excellent effort with Plymouth. Unlucky in the end but good luck for next season and hopefully you will go one better.

@Nodge A very good first season with Cambridge and over-achieving again in season 2.

@Fubz Continuous success, congrats on another promotion with Notts County. Next season you'll presumably have the Magpie Derby to look forward to.

@warlock Sorry to hear that. But you're enjoying lots of different teams so that's something I guess. Maybe you need to start in L2 to get more than one season of enjoyment? The board expectations are probably much lower down there.

 

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Bolton - Season 1

As mentioned earlier, my final game of August had been a 1-0 win at Gillingham - but I failed to save it properly

I had three attempts to replay it in order to get an identical 1-0 victory but to no avail. In the end I forced myself to 'accept' a 3-0 win in order to continue

This had me in 22nd spot in the table, with winless Peterborough below my side

September was a fairly dull month with three 0-0 draws following a meaningless Cup loss to the Man City U23 team

The month did end on a high note though, with a return to goal scoring form seeing a 4-2 win over Portsmouth

October was a better month, other than the end of the unbeaten 12 match league run with a 3-1 defeat away to Bristol Rovers

The 7-0 home win against fellow Lancashire side Rochdale was undoubtedly the highlight of the month

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Reasonable form continued in November, with no more losses in the league as the club climbed in to a comfortable mid-table position

The highlight this month was a 5-0 home thrashing of MK Dons, the low point was clearly a 2-1 home loss in the FA Cup replay with Portsmouth (to a Daryl Murphy brace no less)

December started off well enough too, until a disastrous 3-0 loss at bottom club Peterborough

The Posh had a record of 8 points from 19 league games (no wins & eight draws) until that point so it was a really bad day at the office

The ship was steadied afterwards as a three-game unbeaten run  saw me through to the year end and transfer window in a comfortable 13th  position

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As you will see below, everything is going well except for club finances - the £500k per month loan repayments are really killing the financial status of the club

A month-long injury to central midfielder Herbie Kane is nearly over now, but a broken ankle on Boxing Day now sees winger Mathias Kristensen out for four months

Striker Bashkim Kadrii is now a regular starter for Albania and as he is no longer Danish he will be sacrificed as soon as possible

When valued at £3.9 million, the fool rejected the contract offered by Birmingham on a cut-price £2.3 million deal and this was really disappointing

As his value is now only £3.1 million, I am going to have to accept whatever cash I can get for him in the winter window in order to address the financial situation

Ben Heneghan, James Weir and Luke Murphy are also players I am looking to move on in this transfer window

A replacement for the injured Kristensen on the right wing (to rotate with Ben Marshall) is the only acquisition I am looking to make

I might add another central midfielder too if I manage to offload Weir and/or Murphy, but the youngsters are capable of stepping up in other positions

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I've been lurking and playing FM (slowly) all year. Finally got my Vale side promoted at the first time of asking. First year I really utilised the loan market, Kun Temenuzhkov, Curtis Jones and Tashan Oakley-Booth been the stand out performers all year. Temenuzkov finished the season on 28 goals and Oakley-Booth won the League 2 player of the year award. 

On to the second season, Jones and Oakley Booth weren't available but Temenuzkov did rejoin and he's picked up where he left of with 2 in 2 this campaign. I've got rid of a lot and dead wood and taken a punt on a lot of young players released from Premier League clubs, hopefully it'll be enough to consolidate this season and perhaps i'll be able to sell one or two to fill the coffers, money is VERY tight for us, don't really have anything to make big improvements to the side. What money I did have I spent on Odin Bailey from Birmingham, the lad looks a talent and i'll be looking to build a side around him as we attempt to climb the leagues. Rumours of a takeover keep rearing their heads every couple of months though, so we will see what happens moving forward. We drew Stoke in the 1st round of the Carabao Cup, although we couldn't rise to the occasion, losing 3-1 on the night.  

Now I'm here I guess I'll be a bit more active, great reading some of the success stories, loads of different clubs in this thread!

 

 

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Any help appreciated

im stuck with who to be out of Mansfield and Bradford both expected to get promoted in the first season 

 

Also looked at Peterborough 

formation I’d prefer to play is 3 at the back with 2 strikers 

any ideas are welcome

 

thanks

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34 minutes ago, Rollin93 said:

Any help appreciated

im stuck with who to be out of Mansfield and Bradford both expected to get promoted in the first season 

 

Also looked at Peterborough?

anyone come a crossed either of them?
 

thanks

I've managed Bradford twice into the prem, they get good crowds and the squad is good enough for a first season promotion. Money is always tight so it's a good challenge.

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9 minutes ago, Parmie said:

I've managed Bradford twice into the prem, they get good crowds and the squad is good enough for a first season promotion. Money is always tight so it's a good challenge.

Thanks mate there are so many good options!!

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1 hour ago, Rollin93 said:

Any help appreciated

im stuck with who to be out of Mansfield and Bradford both expected to get promoted in the first season 

 

Also looked at Peterborough 

formation I’d prefer to play is 3 at the back with 2 strikers 

any ideas are welcome

 

thanks

I'm not sure about the fit for your system, but on the club front I would go with Bradford out of those two. The stadium and fan base are tremendous, and the kits are delicious. I plan to take them on at some point, and believe you may be able to recall Doyle from his loan at Swindon after 28 days if you're lucky.

@Banks_87 Well done with Port Vale, another club that has the potential to be doing much better than they ever do. Another one on my list.

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16 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

I'm not sure about the fit for your system, but on the club front I would go with Bradford out of those two. The stadium and fan base are tremendous, and the kits are delicious. I plan to take them on at some point, and believe you may be able to recall Doyle from his loan at Swindon after 28 days if you're lucky.

@Banks_87 Well done with Port Vale, another club that has the potential to be doing much better than they ever do. Another one on my list.

The kits are a big part drawing me towards them!!

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2 hours ago, Jogo Bonito said:

everything is going well

Impressive... just 3 defeats in the league is good form indeed.

2 hours ago, Jogo Bonito said:

except for club finances

Um, yeah. Hopefully a couple of sales will help but you'll have to run a tight ship for a while.

2 hours ago, Banks_87 said:

Now I'm here I guess I'll be a bit more active

Welcome, and congratulations for a fine achievement with the Vale.

2 hours ago, Rollin93 said:

Mansfield and Bradford

I'll give a shoutout for Mansfield - had a great save with them last year. But the pressure will be on - owners really, really want promotion this year.

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1 hour ago, warlock said:

Impressive... just 3 defeats in the league is good form indeed.

Um, yeah. Hopefully a couple of sales will help but you'll have to run a tight ship for a while.

Cheers. Which leads on to a mini transfer & finance update...

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I just had to accept £1.3 million from Sunderland for Kadrii (valued at £3.1 million)

Which was disappointing as he could have gone to Birmingham (in a higher league) for £2.3 million a couple of months ago

I'm sure the contract offer he rejected was much higher than the one he now accepted too

On the plus side I have cashed in almost £6.5 million of transfer clauses on Zach Clough & Rob Holding to help balance the books a little

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I've taken Billy Bodin on loan from Preston (mainly as cover for the right wing) after my Nigerian target Emmanuel Ogude failed to land a work permit on appeal

And  I have signed Danish central midfielder Mikkel Pedersen for £5.5k from Hobro IK in Denmark, which will complete my transfer business even though it's only 13th January

I've given captain Jason Lowe a new deal on much reduced wages and will now continue to try and offload Heneghan, Weir & Murphy 

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I have just had an amazing and really enjoyable first season with Salford and thought id share with you guys. 

As you can see from the screen shots i used 2 formations and had flipped versions of them as well because i had wingers/inverted wingers full backs/wingers and left/right footed playmakers. I decided on these formations to get the most out of the better players already at Salford and to incorporate new signings which i didn't want to be too loan heavy as they already had quite a lot at the start. They are both similar systems and im looking at a 4231 version as well with a false 9/shadow striker infront of the 2 playmakers. They rely on a deep forward having a runner out wide and centrally. The false 9 can be changed to a target man but id really try any supportive role upfront. A CM-A could also work instead of Mezzala so lots of flexibility which involve a lot of easy to find players.

Pre-Season was all about getting rid of the players i didn't want and signing players that i did want who were younger or better and who i can look to make profit from in the future. 

In goal Letheren and Neal were both the wrong side of 30 and 2 n half, 3 star doesnt really cut it when i looked at scout reports they had already found Jakob Haugaard, hes 6ft 6 and Danish so that really settled it for me, i got him on trial to stop nashville coming in and once i could convince him to sign for 2.5k, done deal. I added Letheren and Neal to the unwanted list but with no takers they stayed in u23s whilst Haugaard got 55 games conceded 38 and got 22 clean sheets. Amazing keeper backed up by Adam Camm promoted from the U18s for the HGC player who did actually play 4 cup games. conceded 2 with 2 clean sheets with shoot-out wins against Everton u23s, Fleetwood in the leasing.com trophy.

Right back was much the same. Got rid of Scott Wiseman but didn't really need to in the end. Signed Jordan Spence, I was going to get Oscar Buur on loan but opted for a full signing instead. He and Threlkeld did really well. I will say at this stage its very handy to have internationals at this level because you can postpone your matches and give the rest of your squad a rest which is very useful. 

Centre backs, i love. Hughes and Burgess both 6ft4. Hughes decent with the ball. Baldwin 6ft1 very handy and then i signed Remie Streete 6ft2 also good with the ball. Jones and Hogan both added to the unwanted list. I got 8 goals from my attacking corner set up which could have been a lot more but i rotated almost 50/50 to keep them all happy. Burgess looked like he'd sign for an Ozzie club in jan so i picked up Scott Oconnor from Newcastle when he contract expired but he never played. 

Left back. Touray added to the unwanted list, kept Jones and loaned Kitolano as Brandon Williams rejected me. very good full back and wing back options. 

Right wing was awful, Conway signed for scottish club in jan when his contract expired and i terminated Jervis. I did trial Jay Emmanuel-Thomas but he signed for Oxford so i promoted Thomas-Asante because i knew of him from Barnet a year or 2 ago and i also got Isaac Buckley-Ricketts for a different option.

Left wing i picked up Zak Dearnley for an inside option to back up Lloyd and he IBR both progressed to 3 star CA due to games played which i didn't plan on but Lloyd had a bad injury and i flipped my system. 

Advanced Playmaker. I was excited about Tom Walker who was down as an ML but could play centrally, great technicals. I got 5 assists in the first game but only ended up with 11 overall. Towell was the right footed option and the 433 came from trying to fit them both in which worked well but i mostly played the 442s. I never really tinckered system in game, kept on balanced etc, instead i let each system show me what they could do for 6-12 games each. Smith was super sub. I got rid of Whitehead because i didn't intend on playing a 10 but then in jan i reverted to type having already signed Kian Yari i got Harry Charsley because his contract expired lol.

Deep-lying playmaker i intended to get Beni Bangingime or Joe Garner on loan but i looked at a footballmanagerblog i think that was the name of it as well and trialed all the English guys. Tom Thorpe then signed for me and was solid until he got injured so i got Yari in panic before my mate reminded me of Jack Rodwell and Tom Adeyemi. Surprisingly Rodwell was cheaper and also an absolute beast on corners, heading in 6 mainly in the leasing.com trophy from the attack ball from the edge. My cbs had both posts with the striker on mark keeper with a lurker and 2 in the box. 

Strikers. Rooney poacher, John-Jules advanced, Ranger target man, Feruz false 9. I ditched Armstrong and 6ft5 Dieseruvwe. Kamar Moncrieffe got 2 in 6 when JJ had an injury as well, Rodney unfortunate to miss out. Rooney got 15 and a lot of crucial ones in the run in and the trophy final, JJ got 10, loads of pace. 

Ultimately 1 of my best ever seasons at this level started off pretty bad actually because after about 18 games my record was something like 6 wins 6 draws 6 lost and i was over 20 pts off Colchester but i wasn't losing to badly and once i the FA Cup started everything just clicked and i clawed it back, won the trophy final, the run in was tense but got it done. Massive effort from the lads, i love these players its going to be hard to build a team for league 1 because i like these players so much but ill keep you posted. 

Sorry very wordy, I had to share, i have really loved this season. 

 

 

 

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On 16/12/2019 at 13:27, Jogo Bonito said:

At this rate, you'll be turning in to our dear friend @DefinitelyTaylor

 

:lol:

I've not played much of FM20 this year for a number of reasons, really. College has been extremely busy as I sit my exams in May/June and so my time has been largely dedicated to my studying, if it isn't taken up by football or other social activities. I've enjoyed this festive period though and have finally sat down to play some FM properly, rather than dabbling in and out of things aimlessly. On the topic of the festive period, I hope everyone has had a lovely time. I've used the last couple of weeks to really nail down a save I've enjoyed playing and now I'm ready to venture into the EFL in some capacity. Expect more activity, I can assure you ;).

I spent this afternoon scrolling through the last however many pages I've missed. I really enjoyed reading and will certainly be keeping active on the commenting front within the thread. KUTGW everyone.

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Season 5 complete with my Argyle save.

It's a repeat of last season, reaching the play-offs and again falling at the first hurdle, this time against Forest.

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There was just no catching Leeds and West Ham once I had a slightly slow start to the season with 2 losses and a draw in the first 5 games. In May both 1st choice and back up keepers were injured for several weeks which saw a run of bad results although we were safely in the playoffs. They made it back for the playoffs, but one of my stars this season at left wing back, Ian Maatsen, was suspended for both games.

Change in tactics:

This season saw me move away from having a ball winning midfielder, replacing it with a deep lying playmaker. The advanced playmaker role in the attacking central midfield position became an attacking midfielder (attack) role to see if we could bolster the goals up front. Initially this didn't seem to be working that well, but the team started to adjust and the partnership in central midfielder solidified. At one point I thought we were on automatic promotion form but we had got too far behind the two demoted teams that never seemed to slip up.

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Squad turnover was a little more than I had initially expected, Joe Lumley with just a £2m release clause was getting serious interest from the richer Championship clubs, I negotiated a deal with Huddersfield for significantly more over payments which was reinvested in Kovar who seems slightly better and had been listed by Boro. Puigmal was a relatively cheap choice to bring in as the DLP and he started to perform really well.

Getting Premiership strikers on loan doesn't seem to be good value, the latest only contributing 9 league goals from 22 starts. I think I shall rely on the youth team to provide back up and save the wages. 

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This was Maatsen's 2nd full season on loan, I'm not sure Chelsea will let him come back a 3rd time. So with McFadzean now 30 and reported as only having a Conference level ability, the left wing back position is my biggest concern. A left back did emerge from the academy this season but at only 16, and needing training as a wing back, he's quite far off the first team.

The academy is quite amazing, even in league two at start up, I noticed the Junior Coaching and Youth Recruitment were both excellent. Towards the end of the season, I started to introduce a centre back in the central covering role. 

Alan Purcell

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I've also been trying to use a central midfield prospect in the first team as cover for Conor Gallagher.

Adrian Campbell

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There are yet more prospects in the U23s and U18s, so the long term strategy is to try to keep the transfer expenditure low and keep bringing in the prospects.

I may need some luck for automatic promotion, as I suspect with my entire back line afraid of big matches, we won't make it through the playoffs without a defensive overhaul that we can't currently afford to do.

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