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[FM20] Owls Going Long = Owls Flying High


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OK so this makes me feel a bit dirty to be honest, and the sight of this badge makes me slightly nautious. As a lifelong Blade, i've gone over to the dark side and decided to try and save the Owls from obscurity. Rather than 'doing a Warnock' and running them into the groud, as he famously said he would love to do if they ever gave him the job, i'm actually going to try and be successful.

Obviously my hope is that United will remain in the Premier League and that i will be joining them at the earliest opportunity, however both of those outcomes are pretty slim judging by how poorly both sides are fancied this season according to the game.

The one philosophy I have set myself as Wednesday boss, is to play a fast, direct and attacking brand of football. Throwing it back to the early 90s.

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Expectations are pretty low, which I always enjoy as it gives me a bit more leeway.

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Certainly won't be lining up this way.

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Happy with the vision. I'll definitely try to play attacking football. Good to see that that Mr Chansiri is not all that demanding.

On the face of it, the squad is decent. Certainly think this is a good starting point anyways!

First order of business is to un-transfer list Nuhiu - I think he could be a fantastic option up front in our direct approach, either as an impact sub or a decent rotation option.

The second thing I did is offer out Jordan Rhodes far and wide. Oh how his stock has fallen since his eye-wateringly expensive move a few years back.. I need that extra £35k per week back in my wage budget, if that's alright!

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I've highlighted the mental attributes that I deem to be really important if a tactical style like this is going to be successful, and will be making sure that any player who comes in has these in abundance.

One thing that the Owls do have is a core group of players that have been together for a long time - hopefully i'll be able to harness this chemistry and produce some decent on field results. We have some very talented player in Reach, Bannan, Forestieri, Fletcher and Westwood - surely it's time that they started producing what they're capable of.

Next step is to try and build a tactic that actually works...

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Pre Season

Well pre-season has now finished, and i've managed to a bit of tinkering to the squad in this time. I offloaded Winnall for a decent £1.8m and managed to get Rhodes off the books, although i'm paying £7.25k of his £35k per week.

I've only brought one player in - Gronli was recommended by my scouts as a big talent, so I paid £150k up front to get him here. He was also wanted by many other Championship clubs but I really wanted him so gave him a little more than he was asking for. I see him being able to play any of the attacking midfield/second striker roles eventually. The backroom staff have also signed some players behind my back - not really a fan of that, so I've changed those settings.

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Pre-season results were a mixed bag but i'm not interested in friendly results really. I got the players up to match fitness and when playing a system I was happy with, we did OK.

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Leads us in nicely to the first game away at Reading...

But just before that... I know this much about Kieron Lee; he is made of glass. I think this is a recurring injury for him in real life, so no real surprise that he's going to miss a huge portion of this season. I should've sold him...

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So here's how we will line up against Reading. We've looked decent with this lineup in the pre-season games for what it's worth, so I'm hoping this will get us off to a good start. Gronli makes the bench, as we are a little short in attacking numbers. Don't claim to be any kind of tactical whizz so this will very much be a learning process!

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August

Set off like a house on fire! Started awfully against Reading, so had to tweak the tactics a little bit - we were just punting the ball away and getting put under too much pressure. Reduced the passing directness slightly and set the D line a bit deeper and managed to turn the result in our favour.

Battled hard against Newcastle but had 10 men for the most part. Luton was frustrating as we absolutely battered them!

Concluded the month with a last gasp winner vs QPR - also a first goal for Gronli! He's gonna be good, this lad!

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Leaves us sitting pretty! Yorkshire leading the way at the top - in reality this would be my idea of hell :lol:

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Forestieri was demanding a new contract after gameweek 1, aint happening, 'Fessi'. So he's now unhappy, what's new! :rolleyes:

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Only 3 games in September, the international break won't hit us too hard thankfully, giving us time to recover.

 

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September

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We remain undefeated after a few tricky fixtures. Forestieri finally agreed to a new contract (on less money but higher performance based bonuses), then found a way to get himself injured for three months... not only that, his physical attributes have taken a huge nose dive.

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Step forward; young and untested Bulgarian youth international, Preslav Borukov - who becomes an unlikely hero in our victory against Fulham. He's extremely raw, but this has just highlighted the lack of depth I have up front.

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I mean - he's hardly Championship standard. Not yet anyways. I plan on easing him in over the season though, after his successful cameo - and it goes some way to reducing the overall age and wages of the first team, which is pretty necessary.

Still sitting pretty in 2nd, and unbeaten after 9 games is long enough to be deemed impressive in my opinion!

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October

I've been playing at a glacial pace, but finally managed to get through a tricky October period.

Following his excellent cameo, Borukov claimed Young Player of the Month - I rewarded him with a demotion back to the U23s! He's still too raw to feature prominently but I'm sure he'll develop into a decent player.

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So to review what happened in October - we somehow remained unbeaten!

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We cruised to victory against Hull and Wigan, followed by a tricky away fixture at Cardiff. We battled our way back into that one and came away with an unlikely point.

The Stoke game was another late show - we pummelled them for long periods, conceding the only shot on target (shock), but eventually Reach nodded home the winner at the death, which was well deserved. I do wonder about our finishing though...

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The big game of the month was against Leeds - the only two unbeaten teams going head to head in a battle for top spot. It was the game EVERY football fan was tuned in to; so typically, it was a no-score-draw. However, we were under the cosh from minute one. I had to abandon my attacking 4-2-4 as i was getting severely overrun, and converted the two wingers into defensive wingers, and switched our approach to cautious. Leeds are easily the best and most intense attacking force in this league, and i'll be very surprised if anyone gets close this season. In the end, I'm happy with the point and clean sheet.

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Which leaves the table looking like this;

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2nd and unbeaten after 14 games - I shouldn't grumble, although I think fatigue is setting in for some of the players. The squad is small, and the backup players aren't really up to scratch. A couple of wingers and another striker are definitely on this January's shopping list. I have £1.5m available to spend, so I'm gonna have to be creative I think!

Roll on November...

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November - Part One

Busy month ahead - and we were rocked with an injury to Gronli who'd been playing pretty well recently, so I was hoping that we'd have some other players back from injury and available for selection. Namely Hutchinson and Lee. Both were making a nice steady return to fitness until this happened;

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Shortly followed by;

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Which subsequently meant;

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His contract was up at the end of the season, and he agreed a severance package. He's never gonna be fit, so one less £20k per week crock on the books.

On the pitch, the first two games proved pretty challenging;

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A tetchy affair Vs Blackburn, and an insane game against Swansea. I threw everything I could at them, and finally got my reward with ANOTHER last minute equaliser. I tried everything I could to get the win - I love this screenshot from the 91st minute - i was playing a 3-2-5 formation with Nuhiu and Fletcher as wide target men and just hammering everything forward. Look how many bodies are up here trying to get the winner at the death :lol: no guts no glory!

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But still - UNBEATEN!

Not sure how long we can keep riding our luck like this though! :onmehead:

 

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9 hours ago, Tomtheowl95 said:

I find the dynamic of a blade managing Wednesday fascinating. I know I couldn't do it the other way. Will be interested to see how you do and what happens if/when you come up against United in the derby.

I did it a few years back just to make it interesting - haven't experienced it yet in this save but it feels very strange to be disappointed with an Owls defeat, even if it is just fictional! :lol:

Very rarely (never) have I seen both Sheffield clubs in the Premier League at the same time, and I've always thought it would be cool to have them both doing well in it.

Just checked and the Blades are doing pretty well early doors on this save, but I think if the situation gets critical and CW somehow gets the sack i'll create another manager (Neil Warnock Jr) and try to save them!

10 hours ago, Nobby_McDonald said:

Going very well Pickle.

Cheers dude - we all know how things can change though...!

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10 hours ago, johnstonpickle said:

I did it a few years back just to make it interesting - haven't experienced it yet in this save but it feels very strange to be disappointed with an Owls defeat, even if it is just fictional! :lol:

Very rarely (never) have I seen both Sheffield clubs in the Premier League at the same time, and I've always thought it would be cool to have them both doing well in it.

Just checked and the Blades are doing pretty well early doors on this save, but I think if the situation gets critical and CW somehow gets the sack i'll create another manager (Neil Warnock Jr) and try to save them!

Cheers dude - we all know how things can change though...!

Yeah I've only seen it once or twice in my time playing FM where both have been in the Premier League together. Had it last year where I was doing a journeyman, ended up at Wednesday, got them up and then went to Man United after 6 season with Wednesday. Managed to win the FA Cup twice and the League Cup while also finishing runners up in the Europa League. United came up while I was at Man United and did ok but went down after a couple of seasons.

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November contd...

Pretty tough run of fixures followed, away at West Brom, Birmingham at home who are doing pretty well, followed by a tricky away fixture at the Valley.

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We remain unbeaten! We started off really poorly against WBA, but after a couple of changes to make us a bit more conservative, we were a constant threat on the break and took a nice 2 goal lead, only to concede with about 15 minutes left, making it a nervy ending to the game. Moses Odubajo is our top goalscorer and definitely our MVP from the RB position. Really happy with his contribution so far, so I triggered the contrat extension clause that he had. If, and it's a big IF! we were to go up, he could make the step up I'm sure.

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The Birmingham win was pretty routine in all honesty; I was made up for Navarro because he's been thrown into the side following a minor injury crisis. He's certainly improving, whilst I don't think he's ever going to be a world beater..

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The Charlton game was nervy - we conceded a LOT of chances, and struggled with their narrow 4-4-2 diamond, but we hung on and also created chances of our own in the end, but in the end I was happy with a point.

This leaves the league table looking like this;

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Leeds also still unbeaten but it's Brentford who lead the way, because they've been excellent. Really pleased that we're hanging onto their coat-tails, but I'm desperate for January to come around so I'm able to improve the squad;

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The goals are spread out, but I don't think we can rely on any of the strikers to be consistent throughout the season, neither can Odubajo continue his freakish output!

A tough December will surely see us lose our unbeaten start, but let's hope we can still remain in the hunt.

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The next game as it happened was against Brentford, and I have to say we (I) managed the game exceptionally well - Brentford did not disappoint, they were awesome and had us on the ropes for long periods. We stemmed the tide for about an hour, even if our keeper Dawson wasn't really tested (who incidentally, has kept 3 clean sheets in a row since coming into the side against Birmingham).

Another late late show from us, with substitute Kadeem Harris breaking free of the defence and coolly slotting home the 1v1.

Last gasp winner!

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20 unbeaten!

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Top of the league! (and Leeds lost their last game!)

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December

After our massive win against Brentford, we finally succumbed to defeat away at Derby. For some reason we never got going, and took somewhat of a pasting. Safe to say I let the players have it in the dressing room.

I was fearing a cold and miserabe rest of the month ahead, with some tricky fixtures that followed, but we managed to steady the ship with a 1-1 draw against Forest. For the Bristol City game 'Fessi' had just returned to training and was in a decent enough condition to make the bench - he was the hero of the hour with the winning goal on 82 minutes to snatch this one away from a team that would've gone above us if they'd beaten us.

Nuhiu scored his first goal in 14 games as we thrashed Stoke at their place, then he was once again the saviour in a narrow 1-0 victory over Cardiff - who threw everything at us.

We close out the month with 3 wins from 3, and also 3 clean sheets. Splendid!

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Also, as you may have figured out - the transfer window is now open too (hooray!) so I can add some much needed depth to this squad. Two players join up with the squad that were arranged before the window opened;

David Moller Wolfe is probably the most raw young player i've ever seen, but the scouts went mad about him, so for less than £10k he goes straight into the youth team to develop

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Ruben Azcona comes in for a potential fee of £110k from A. Bilbao. He has some good attacking attributes, so he might get a few games in the first team between now and the end of the season.

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I have had a quick check on the Finances, and to be quite honest, the club is in a mess. In reality, this is also possibly true - the wages that we're paying out for quite honestly, average players, is eye watering. Since August, the balance has gone down from £9m to (-£838k), which means I'm going to have to be responsible with any signings. Fortunately, there are a ton of out of contract players in the summer, so i'm going to keep my fingers crossed that this lot will be good enough to take us to the promised land, and give me a real opportunity to work from a clean slate.

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I mean - the above image is not a pretty sight...

... This one is though :)

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OK so January was a bit of a slog, as expected.

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Only the one defeat in there against Big Sam's Leeds United (Where Thorniley scored an o.g and subsequently got sent off), which was actually our best performance that month. We limped our way to a couple of wins and draws. Suppose the main positive was that my new signing Azcona got his first goal for the club. He's already progressed quite nicely so he might actually see more football than anticipated. Splendid, as I'm desperate to bring along some of the younger players, who'll need to step up next season as there'll be a huge exodus this coming summer - regardless of which league we're in.

January saw us strengthen the side quite nicely I think;

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Bissouma comes in on loan to provide some real quality in the middle of the pitch. Felt like we've lacked depth in there since releasing Hutchinson.

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Bogle adds depth. I could've signed him for peanuts, but it would've meant a longer contract than the end of the season. Hardly the most inspiring signing I know, but we need numbers and variety at the top of the pitch.

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Harrop's versatility will be vital. The board were happy with this one.

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And finally, a permanent signing - Josh came at a real steal. He wasn't getting anywhere near the Bordeaux side, so they let me have him for £650k up front and a million in add ons... hey, we're screwed financially either way! At least this kid will have some resale value if we really need to raise funds. Hoping for big things from Maja.

The team are in good nick, going in to the rest of the season and competition for places is actually quite healthy for a change. Let's hope we can maintain our position and potentially push on even more;

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FEBRUARY

This month seems to have gone on forever, with game upon game (not helped by the fact we had to play the replay against Boro).

I think it's gone pretty well to be fair - although there have been games where we've literally just about squeezed a result out of a poor performance. We're heavily reliant on our defence staying tight and nicking the odd goal to get a result. It's been really frustrating, with the exception of the Charlton game, where we smashed them up for a full 90 mins.

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The real positive is that our new players have settled in nicely. A couple of goals for both Bogle and Maja, as well as a couple of assists for Bogle and generally decent performances - he's been the surprise package.

The replay against Boro really took it's toll and i think the squad have took a while to recover from the extra time in that game, picking up niggly injuries left right and centre has meant we've had a pretty unsettled side. Still managed decent results and to not concede too many though, but it's taken a lot of headscratching during games to ensure we continue to get results.

The Birmingham game was the only real disappointment, after they scored a penalty we just couldn't get through their two banks of four. A bad day at the office.

We closed the month off with two decent wins - a late goal on the break for Derby made it 2-1 and a nervy finish, but we hung on. The absolutely most satisfying moment of the month was the moment that Wayne Rooney missed an 84th minute penalty for Derby. LOL!

Which leaves the league table looking like this;

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Leeds have picked up a few bad results, paving the way for Brentford to take top spot - unbelievably, we are still right on their coat-tails and it's looking like a three horse race for the automatic places.

Next up in the cup is Southampton - which is a tricky old tie - followed by a massive game away at Brentford... this could make or break our season.

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MARCH

A really poor month by our standards, and it could've been even worse - we probably didnt deserve the few points we actually gained. Happy to see the back of March.

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We are still in the hunt, however! Nervous times - will we make it? Have we reached our peak?

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FINAL DAY

Results really picked up for us in April and we found ourselves back in form at just the right time of the season. Josh Harrop was in fine form, until he got a bad injury and then was subsequently recalled by Preston - just in time for the last game of the season! Oh crumbz.

We are now on the final day of the season and here's how it looks;

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After a few decent results, and finally getting ourselves back on the winning trail we're faced with a dramatic final day, where either us or Brentford can nick the 2nd automatic promotion spot. Looking at the fixtures, Brentford have the easier task against a struggling Barnsley side, who could also do with a win in order to help their survival hopes. Hopefully this is something that will work in our favour, as we're playing Boro, who've got nothing to play for really - they've sewn up a playoff place. Guess they'll want to finish as high as possible though.

Let's just get it underway shall we...

Well it's all Wednesday as the game begins. We've been good in our last few games and the players have responded positively to my rallying call pre-match (I rarely get those right) so confidence is high. Let's grab ourselves a nice early goal.

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That'll do! Bissouma notches on 29 minutes from a deep Bannan cross - fresh from his player of the month award in April! He's really come into his own recently.

5 minutes later, and after much checking of the live league table, first blood is drawn at Griffin Park;

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A potential shock is on the cards! At this rate Barnsley will miraculously stay up on the last game and Sheff Wed will be promoted automatically! A win for us and a draw in this game is enough for us, so now Brentford need at least two goals! Hope it doesn't come down to goal difference because i'll need to score about 6 to beat theirs. Anyways...back into the game.

Half time. And the league table looks like this;

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Either way this finishes, it'll be extremely harsh on whoever comes in third place - 90+ points is a great season.

2nd Half away we go.

Boro don't look a threat but I'm wary that this is FM. I want a 2nd goal really. The chances are coming.

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Uh oh. Didn't realise they'd scored on 45 - must've been just after I'd done the screenshot for the half time table! Barnsley have to hold on for 45 mins, not only to have a sniff at staying up but to do their rivals a huge favour.

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Boom! Magic Maja makes it 2-0 and now we're pretty comfortable. Time to shut up shop and nervously keep tabs on what's happening elsewhere. Intriguing situation down at the bottom of the table too, which i've just noticed. A number of teams could go down or stay up based on their goal difference alone.

This seems like it's taking an age...we've done our bit. Full time.

Let's assess the situation then. I don't think I can look...

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We did it! Also Barnsley did it! Wow, that was the narrowest of calls for them, but consequently it gave us promotion in the most dramatic fashion.

OK - now it's time to breathe!!

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My nerves have just about settled down - but there's no time to sit on our hands, we have a huge job on our hands getting this team Premier League ready.

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Here are the players that have performed well for us this season. These are all players that have played more than a handful of games and achieved a rating of 6.75 or greater. Of these players, not all of them will be with us next season. Bissouma, Murphy and Bogle will be returning to their parent clubs along with fellow loanee David Bates - who only played 2 cup games for us.

Out of the loaness i'd be interested to know Bissouma's availability. He'd be a great asset. Bogle did outstandingly well for us, but he's just not good enough for the Prem. Murphy did really well but Newcastle don't want to sell, just yet.

There is a long list of players that are out of contract too including Steven Fletcher, Morgan Fox and Kieron Lee. Nuhiu has signed a pre-contract elsewhere, which means I will be needing to bring quite a few players in. Liam Palmer has handed in a transfer request, which I've accepted. He's valued at £4.5m so hopefully someone comes in for him.

By my reckoning, the first team squad next season will consist of;

GK
Cameron Dawson - first choice GK.
Joe Wildsmith - backup GK

DR
Moses Odubajo - Had a cracking season.

DC
Dominic Iorfa - Massive reason for our excellent defensive record. Pace. Young Player of the Season.
Tom Lees - Experienced head and has very good mental attributes.
Jordan Thorniley - Rated as having the highest potential of any defender at the club, played the majority of this season at DL but think his position long term is probably DC. Just signed a new deal.

DL
Matt Penney - returning from a loan spell in Germany - he had a good season and I'm interested to see how he'll fare with us. Just signed a new deal and if i'm not mistaken is classed as homegrown.
Joost Van Aken - I'm willing to give him a chance too. Another one who's had a good time away on loan.

CM
Barry Bannan - He was very inconsistent for us last season - he'll be on the way out if I can find a suitor, otherwise he'll be part of our team. Earning far too much money for his ability.
Sigurd Gronli - Currently unhappy because I refused him a loan move, he will soon forget about that and be ready to play a bigger part in the first team next year.
Massimo Luongo - Not pinning my hopes on him playing every game but he should provide adequate backup

AMR
Kadeem Harris - Harris had a pretty poor season, but I'm lacking options here. If I can improve on him I will.
Adam Reach - Left footer but plays best as an inverted winger from the right. Will play on the left if I need him to.

AML
Fernando Forestieri - had a very up and down season, but is clearly the player at the club with the most ability. He just needs to put in some more consistent displays, and to stay fit.

ST
Josh Maja - his goals were crucial towards the end of the season - I only see him improving.
Ruben Azcona - a couple of fleeting appearances in the cup and off the bench has developed Ruben into a decent backup option that will hopefully develop into a very good player.

So that's a starting squad of 16 players. We're extremely light in a number of positions, so it'll be interesting to see how much i'll be given to spend this summer. Not gonna lie, I was concerned about what would happen to the club if we didn't go up - we are currently £5m in the red.

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So £35m is a decent starting point. There's about £150k per week in wages to play with. Not much room for maneouvre when you consider a Premier League quality player will probably command at least £30k p/w. That's roughly 4/5 players that meet the required standard? We're gonna need more than that. I think i'm going to have to be creative once again in how I spend this money.
Might be a risk, but i'll probably have to fund most of the signings by using the 12 month installment option. Will mean the overall finances will take a hit but it'll pay off if we stay up.

My signings are going to have to be spot on, and probably be able to play in a number of positions for economical reasons. I have a feeling it will take me a long time to get through this pre-season...

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Decent attendance figures - hopefully next season the ground can be full every other week. Should generate some decent income. As you can see, we were pretty much at the top of the table all season long. Excellent consistency.

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Team of the season - surprised Fox got the nod over Thorniley!

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Cool

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COOOL

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I dig that. No pressure at least.

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PRE SEASON

Knew it would take me a long time to get through this pre-season... we've had a bit of an overhaul of the squad!

12 new signings and 17 players transferred out either permanently or on loan. Not shown here is the multitude of players that were out of contract that were released.

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We'll start with the major outs; Westwood had a clause that made him the highest paid player at the club, earning £40k per week. For a backup goalkeeper, that is just unnacceptable. I got him off the books - Derby were willing to take him, with us paying £10k per week for the rest of the season. I can live with that. Wildsmith and Dawson are now the two senior 'keepers.

Bannan probably wouldn't get much game time either, and with him being at an age where he was probably not going to get any better I thought it a good time to cash out.

I was astounded that Palmer went for as much as he did - he's a pretty average player, but he wanted to leave for a fresh challenge so I shook his hand and sent him on his way.

The bid for Harris came out of the blue, but it felt like a decent offer, and he didn't really get much game time last season. I think I have improved on him anyways.

Gronli has gone out on loan - he kicked up a fuss because I promised to loan him out when he signed but didn't...because he was playing regularly for our first team. Makes sense... Hopefully a loan will clear his head a bit.

Isaac Rice was the subject of a £7m bid from Leicester City. He's got a lot of potential so i turned it down and offered him a new deal. He was pretty raw last season, but has suddenly developed into a very good prospect. I think a loan for him is a good move right now. Hopefully he can make it here in the long term.

INS

Now the exciting part;

In my attempt to future proof this squad, I've taken the opportunity to bring in a lot of young players. Chances are this season will be a struggle, so if we do end up going down, I don't want every single new signing handing in transfer requests and wanting to leave. Hopefully a year in the Prem will be great experience at the very least.

Zouaoui fit the bill as a highly talented prospect that could be bought for good value. At 17 he already has excellent finishing, and I think a lot of his poorer attributes can be improved by getting involved with the first team in cup games. Bear in mind most of my signings are being paid for in installments, so we haven't shelled out the quoted value for each player (just yet).

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My scouts stumbled upon Prica during one of their assignments in Scandinavia. He's another one that is still quite raw, but probably more first team ready than Zouaoui is at this moment in time. Much more of a well rounded footballer too, as opposed to a pure finisher. May also be scope to develop him as an IF, drifting in from the left, over time.

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I was surprised that Alex Rico was available for transfer to be honest. He looks to me like he's a player that you can build a team around, long term; hence the long contract until 2025. He's earning a snip at £3.7k per week, which I will try to fob him off with for as long as physically possible. The board were a bit sceptical about this one, which I don't understand. He will feature heavily this season and I'm expecting a massive improvement in his abilities.

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Sticking with the theme, Enzo is another highly talented young foreign player that has a lot of room for improvement and will also feature regularly this season I hope. A very nice all rounder, that can play in a number of positions - this is really useful. I think he's got great technical ability for an 18 year old. I'm actually training him to play up front. I think he could be a good false 9, especially if he can improve some of those mental attributes.

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Another classy young midfielder is added to the ranks in Ponceau. For a lad who's 5'7", he works hard and can run all day. Perhaps if I can improve the defensive side of his game a little bit more he would be a great shout as a box to box midfielder. Probably won't send him forward for any corners though.

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Eckert was another that came recommended by the scouts over in Germany. He's an excellent finisher, with good movement and is decent in the air. Bit of a jack of all trades striker that I like to have as an option. I rate him and at 23 there is still quite a bit of room for improvement. Hopefully he can hit the ground running and get some goals for us.

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Ben Pearson is a player that I've always rated IRL and I'm all about playing the game realistically, so I made this transfer happen. I pressed and pressed, talked to the media, made enquiries, then eventually he became transfer listed and I could go in for him at a reasonable £8m (around £3.5m up front). He adds some real steel and aggression to the midfield, which is important when we're up against some of the best players in the world. Expecting a lot of suspensions mind... also just realised he's 5'5". We've signed an awful lot of midgets lately - good footballers - but they're all tiny. We're probably going to have to rethink our playing style.

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Said Benrahma is another player that I've seen quite a bit IRL and rate very highly. With our playing style, he'd be a perfect fit in the AML role, cutting inside. He's adept on either flank which is a nice little trait. He had an excellent season for Brentford (who won the playoffs) and I managed to negotiate a deal before the playoff final whilst he was still interested in moving to us. Bit sneaky but worth it. I also put a bid in for Watkins but he wanted far too much. That would've been a real coup to get the both of them. He adds a huge dollop of flair to our side, and I'm hoping for massive things. Bags of potential to improve too so i'm hoping PL football helps with that.

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Shored up the defence quite nicely with John Souttar. He's very much a cultured centre-back, and adds to our already competent defence. Technical, mental and physical attributes are all nicely balanced and I think I've got him on very manageable wages. Didn't cost the earth either. Smart signing.

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Bowen is very much the marquee signing, along with Benrahma. Two shiny new top end Championship/low end Premier League quality players, with bags of ability and room to grow. Bowen has everything you'd want from a winger, striker and inside forward. I'm thinking if I play him as a winger on the right hand side, he'll act like a winger at certain times but also be dictated by his preferred move to cut inside. Keeps things nice and unpredictable. He's arrived injured, but hopefully that's just a minor thing.

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Valakari is a low risk, potentially high reward signing. Didn't cost much, and can cover a number of positions. I think there's a player in there - figuring out his best position is probably going to be the most difficult task though. If nothing else he adds a bit of leadership around the place too, something we're lacking a bit of after the loss of a few of the old guard.

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Moutoussamy was recommended by one of my scouts out in France. A true box-to-box player. Decent physicality to get around the pitch and a lot of intelligence. If he can sharpen up the technical aspects of his game, I could see him being the next Kante. OK maybe not quite as good as Kante. I have visions of him scampering all over the pitch, winning the ball, linking play and arriving late into the penalty area. He'll be a valuable player. Also extremely versatile, but I don't want him playing anywhere other than CM.

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So there we have it. Our new squad.

Pre-season games are a good way to get fitness up, nothing can be read into them in my view. They served a purpose,

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Fairly generous start to the season considering - I'm thinking we can get off to a good start against Villa and Bournemouth and then what looks to be an early relegation 6 pointer against Brentford.

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They don't rate our chances. The Blades are also strong favourites for relegation. Really hope SI gives them a due upgrade in the next data update. Leeds can get stuffed. Some good Yorkshire derbies next season - really looking forward to those.

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We've actually cut the wage bill down from last season in the Championship. First step towards financial stability. Our bank balance will hopefully be nice and healthy by the end of the season, once all the PL dosh has come in.

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Bring on the big bad Prem.

 

 

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9 hours ago, SpillBlood said:

Awesome season and great read!  Should of gone with The Millers though! :lol:

Cheers mate! Ahh I only enjoy Rotherham when they’re a Champ club, it’s always a really tough challenge - maybe on next years?! :) 

Been tracking your progress this year - unbelievable as ever! I have no problems getting promoted but find it difficult to be instantly competitive.

That said, I’m not tied to Wednesday and quite like the idea of getting all the South Yorkshire teams up into the Prem. we’ll see how this save progresses I guess!

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Really enjoyed catching up on this, had a laugh to myself that a blade has got our recruitment spot on and signed the sort of players all us Wednesday fans have been crying out for for years! Fingers crossed you keep us up, I suppose I'll let you off with a draw when the derby come's around! :D

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20 hours ago, TheWednesday said:

Really enjoyed catching up on this, had a laugh to myself that a blade has got our recruitment spot on and signed the sort of players all us Wednesday fans have been crying out for for years! Fingers crossed you keep us up, I suppose I'll let you off with a draw when the derby come's around! :D

Haha thank you for reading!

I'll be honest I cringed at the money some of the players were earning at the start of the game. It's no wonder you can't shift them. Mr Chansiri gambled big time on established talent and extending existing contracts at the drop of a hat, most of whom are at the wrong end of their careers and have since suffered badly with injuries and form. I remember thinking at the time that this wasn't going to work out as he planned. One thing that I don't think Chansiri understood was the need to develop over time. It's like he came in, brought in loads of talent and said "go and get promoted", which to be fair nearly worked but was never a sustainable plan! After the playoff final defeat I think there were players that were kept when they should have been sold (Forestieri, Lee, Westwood) and then the money reinvested. The whole Rhodes deal was just catastrophic.

You are in desperate need of rejuvination, which at least I've managed to bring. Whether it will work or not, who knows but those young players will hopefully become a good solid core for years to come.

Interestingly (and whether or not this is reflected in reality), upon promotion the club is now liable to repay a loan of £91m back to the chairman at £800k per month :eek:
Can see now why he was so desperate to get promoted!!

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17 hours ago, kevhamster said:

Well done on the promotion and good luck in the Premier League!

This save for you is basically like me taking over Portsmouth and I'm not sure I could do it, so nicely done!

Cheers! It was weird at first but i've soon settled into it. Will be even more strange playing United and hoping to win! I'm thinking this save will eventually take me to the Blades at some point, because AI Chris Wilder is nothing like IRL Chris Wilder.

Following in the footsteps of Danny Wilson. Only better. :lol:

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AUGUST

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I'll be honest, we were terrible against Villa. Whether it was just the new players not gelling or what, I don't know, but we were never in it. Certainly not blaming my change in tactics... Pretty disappointing start against a side that I think will be battling at the lower end of the table with us.

At least we followed this up with a battling performance against Bournemouth, I went back to my trusty postive style for this one. We needed to be us. Finished 1-1 with Said Benrahma scoring our first goal of the season. Benrahma was 4 years old the last time Sheffield Wednesday scored a Premier League goal - this was the first one since Gilles De Bilde netted in May 2000. :D

Moving on to the Brentford game I was delighted with a 1-0 win - against a side who are definitely going to be battling relegation with us. They actually signed Jacob Murphy who was on loan with us last season. Whilst he was decent, he's clearly been brought in as a replacement for Benrahma. He's not at the same level to be fair. This was a comfortable 1-0 if there is such a thing, the clean sheet is also very welcome.

I changed the entire side round for the cup game. Hate playing cup matches right after we've just had a good win. Seems to kill a bit of momentum. Good chance to give some of the younger players a try out. Zouaoui scored 2 good goals for us, but we were bossed by Gillingham really. They looked up for it, and we luckily scraped through on pens. Still, good experience for my younger lads. The next round is against West Ham. I'll be playing the kids again.

Chelsea had won their first 3 games so this wasn't going to be easy, however we more than matched them for the first half, and went into the lead through Maja. Not sure what Lampard did at half time though, because they were too hot to handle after that and took the game away from us. Their quality really came through.

So now it's the inconveniently place international break. Great.

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This is nuts. Just shows how hard it is to develop a brand in the Prem and even attempt to compete with the big hitters. There are some really established sides outside the top 6 that are just way behind in terms of commercial activity. Poor old Brentford, they're even way behind us. That said, last season all 3 promoted sides stayed up, and of the 3 teams that came up from the Championship none of us have the benefit of recent Premier League involvement, so have received less worldwide exposure. From a brand's perspective, the Premier League is probably the weakest it's been in a while. This could work in our favour.

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SEPTEMBER

It's tough at the top;

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A winless and morale shattering month. I wasn't too fussed about the cup defeat, as this was actually a fairly decent performance from the kids, but only a point in the league alongside a thrashing from Liverpool leaves us in a precarious position

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Equally concerning is the amount of goals scored and conceded. Not as though we're not creating chances, it's putting them away thats the problem.

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This says it all really. We're probably fielding a side that is far too experienced. October calls for a rethink and a bit of a squad shuffle. Let's see if we can improve. Maybe it's time to draft in some of the more experienced squad players to settle things down for a bit.

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I mean, this kinda backs up what i'm seeing. We played the counter attacking game to perfection, created ourselves 4 1v1 chances, and still lost.

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Surely it's got to be down to the personnel? Unfortunately I will just have to persist with what i've got until Jan.

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NOVEMBER

The solitary point against Leeds is pretty much the only positive here! A goalless, winless month.

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Again, we are creating the chances, but to go 5 games without scoring is obscene! We were battered by the Blades, who were at the foot of the table. Morale is on the floor, we are desperate for some kind of luck...

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But still not in the relegation zone! The league this year has some really poor sides in it... i'm really hoping we can be the best of them!

My tactics from the Championship seem to still create plenty of chances, so i'm sticking with it and just hoping that the new players can eventually gel and get the results we need. Here's to some goals in December...

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23 minutes ago, Nobby_McDonald said:

How it's going, it seems like you need to be the best of the bottom four.

That’s the plan, hopefully there are 3 worse teams than us. Just changing my laptop at the moment so will get back playing again soon, hoping it will bring me a bit more luck 😄

Anyone else spend a disproportionate amount of their free time thinking about transfer targets/ tactics and how they can do better with their team? What an all consuming hobby this game is!

Love it.

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Not quite, I think about how my three top youth prospects from my three seasons at Bishop's Stortford are going to develop - goalkeeper Josh Egan, left back Calvin Sinclair and central midfielder Teddy Ford. The latter two are already established first team starters while Egan deputised very well aged just 15 and 16 when the first choice goalkeeper dislocated his shoulder towards the end of last season.

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DECEMBER

After a goalless month in November, we really needed a strong month in December to give ourselves a fighting chance of staying up. As mentioned before, I have no intention of dramatically overhauling my tactical approach. I have faith that what worked for us before can work for us again, and that once the players are settled into our system that we can once again find a way to win.

Here's how December went;

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We got our first goal of the month through a freak David De Gea o.g after 22 seconds, but Man Utd showed their class and fought their way back to win the game.

I didn't hold out much hope of getting a result against Watford, who were up in 10th place, but we came from 1-0 down and battled to our first victory in what seemed like forever. Valakari getting his first goal for us as a makeshift target man.

I kept the same side for the City game, where we totally nullified their attacking threat and came up with what turned out to be the winning goal on 37 mins - Dom Iorfa finding himself in the penalty area after a marauding run from RB. A clean sheet to boot, made this a really satisfying victory. Maybe we've turned a corner?

We were once again brilliant in the Wolves game, who were managerless for this one. It showed too - they were pretty terrible, and we created lots of good chances and went 2-0 up. A late goal from them made it a nervy finish, but we held on for a deserved victory.

Over the festive period I had a decision to make. Do I put out a strong side against Spurs and try to get an unlikely result, or save the first team/in form players for the Southampton game, where a victory was more likely, and more important given where they were in the league in relation to us. I decided for the latter. Although we weren't disappointing against Spurs, we couldn't hold on to get a result.

At least we beat the Saints, deservedly too. A clean sheet made it feel even sweeter. After the game Hassenhutl was sacked and I was immediately linked with the vacant post...

That wraps up a pretty successful month for us, and my word wasn't it needed!

Looking ahead, the cup game will be a chance to rest the first team players, but the Burnley game is one I need to be getting 3 points out of. There's a really tough run of games that follows, so it's important that we don't lose too heavily in some of those.

The league table is looking loads better. Leeds look gone, which is a surprise as they were much better than us last season. The Blades are still in with a shout. West Ham are the surprise package at the top of the table.

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Just had a quick check on the Finances out of interest - can't believe how much they've improved since promotion!

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As January is approaching, I have around £8.5m to spend if I need it, however, Brexit has just happened and the new rules are pretty interesting;

Under 21 players from the UK and Ireland are allowed to be unregistered, but foreign youngsters that haven't been trained in the UK have to be included in the 25 man squad. There's also a minimum salary of £8k per week that a player needs to earn in order to play in the first team (new signings only). I had 5 registration spots before this. Coincidentally, I also had 5 foreign youngsters that have been playing in the first team that need to be registered. This means i'm going to have to trim the squad down if I plan on bringing anyone in. :seagull:  Interested to see how it will affect other teams in the game though, hopefully some of my relegation rivals will be hit particularly hard by this (I'm thinking Brentford?!).

Here are the stats from all of the players so far (the starting 11 has already been rotated ahead of the cup game!);

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SEASON SUMMARY

So this weekend has allowed for some really good game time, and as such I've managed to polish off the season. Let's see how things went...

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As you can see, results have been pretty hard to come by... goals too. 4 wins in the 2nd half of the season, with a lot of poor runs without winning (or scoring) in between. I was hoping that the teams in and around us were just as bad as this, if not worse...

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And I guess they were!! Painful to see the Blades go down, but ultimately they just weren't good enough. I lost count of the times that their latest score flashed up and they were leading in games only to end up drawing or losing. Potentially this save could take me to Bramall Lane at some point in the future to restore them back into the Prem...we'll see. They've hung on the Chris Wilder though, which is reassuring. Leeds tried their best to go for the all time low points total. Brentford's relegation may present a good opportunity to poach some of their better players... Only scoring 28 goals is cause for concern on our part.

Onni Valakari was our top scorer with 5 goals. He didn't even play up front until near the end of the season! This is an area that we need to address next term, but thankfully, we're still a Premier League team and have an opportunity to further improve the side!

In the January transfer window, the only business we did was signing Diogo Dalot on loan to fill in at RB. He did OK. No chance of me signing him on a perm though...

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The players performance over the season;

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These are the tactics that I've been using recently.

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At the end of the day, we did what we had to in order to stay up. It was a struggle to watch some of our games at times if i'm being honest, as we toiled against much better sides. Conceding early goals was a major issue that i'm not sure how to resolve, other than simply strengthening the defence. Says a lot that Cameron Dawson was nominated as our player of the season. He's rated by our coaching team as League One standard goalkeeper. This has really hit home the point that we need to invest.

The major positives are that i've been able to give a lot of game time to many young players. A few of them have the dreaded 'WNT' notification, but if I'm going to sell anyone, it will be for a very tidy profit. None of the big 6 are after them though, so I doubt they'd kick up a fuss if I decide to reject any offers.

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This is a very pleasing image. We've been given a nice boost in terms of transfer budget and wage allowance for the coming season, hopefully I won't have to spend too much of that to improve the side.

Looking around the leagues at transfer targets, and it's this time of year that players are transfer listed and have started handing in their transfer requests. I have taken full advantage of QPR's financial decline and poached this lad for £2.5m up front, rising to £6.5m. Have to say I'm impressed with him IRL so scouted him, and they were impressed. He'll be a decent addition i'm sure.

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I'm sure there will be many more incomings and outgoings to come!!

 

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POST SEASON - TRANSFERS

I knew that the squad needed a little improvement over the summer, so here's the overall transfer business;

Borner was the only player to leave for a fee, whilst Odubajo and Van Aken were the biggest names to leave on a free following the expiry of their contracts.

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A total net spend of approximately £39.5m has seen us sign this little lot;

You've seen Eze..

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Stankovic is very much one for the future. I think he has a lot of promise and will hopefully in the future show himself to be a good defensively minded midfielder. Potentially one to be loaned out this season, or at least given time during the cup games. You'll notice the 'Ywp' icon - this means he is on a wage of less than £8k per week and therefore is unable to play in league games.

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Cash is probably going to be our first choice RB going into this season. I'm having a bit of a tinker with a 4-1-4-1 formation, with very attacking wing backs, with the DM playing as a Half Back, which means that my wing backs need to be more attacking minded and not worry too much about their defensive abilities. I think Cash fills this role pretty well. Decent age and will also hopefully develop.

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Ojrzyinski is a young keeper I picked up from Liverpool. Some potential there for sure. Maybe a season playing regularly whilst out on loan will do him good.

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I definitely needed a reliable, quality goalkeeper - and I think Zoet is just that. Played tons of games, a full international and has a wealth of good attributes. This is the first time I've broken the transfer record (the most expensive signing since Jordan Rhodes, who cost £10m). I think he will make a massive difference.

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Fjortoft-Lovik is another one with potential that can't yet play in the first team. A loan/cup games will get him the game time he needs to develop. For 18 years old, I think he's good. Loads of room to improve though.

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Mosor is young, but I plan on giving him plenty of first team football this season. Physical attributes are fantastic for one so young, and he looks to be defensively sound as well. I definitely think in 2-3 years he will be a top class talent.

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I was blown away by Olaza - technically he is outstanding. I can't wait to see him flying up and down the left hand side. Expecting him to be a real creative force for us with his crossing and free kick taking ability. I have never seen him before on FM or IRL, I was just randomly seeing who could be plundered from South America and he stood out like a sore thumb!

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Whilst I was in South America, I couldn't help but notice this guy as well. An absolute steal at £5.5m. Almada is a little magician, and whilst he doesn't exactly fit straight in to the style of play I have been working on, I couldn't let another club sign him. He has unbelievable technical ability, a great personality and genuine potential to become world class in my opinion. Already thinking of how I can horn him into my tactic. Early thoughts; could he play as a false 9? With his movement and creativity he would drop into the hole/midfield and create the space for my 2nd/3rd man runners. We'll see...

Well I think that just about wraps up the transfer business this year - I didn't want to massively overhaul things as there are still loads of good young players that I signed at the start of last season that have really improved and I want to continue to improve.

My prediction for this season: We'll finish 12th - which would be a major sign of progression. Aiming higher obviously :)

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2 hours ago, kevhamster said:

Staying up in that first PL season is always a huge achievement.  Some cracking additions to the squad there as well.

Cheers. Yeah it felt like a drag at times, hopefully though it will be more entertaining next season!

Once we've got a side that I feel confident is good enough to hold it's own in the PL, I might consider moving on to another club.

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2021/22 SEASON

Another big round up of events that occurred during the season that's just gone by.

I mentioned that business was concluded in the last post, but this was a lie. I managed to bring in a couple more players just to bolster the squad.

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Hernan Lopez Munoz was a last minute signing for £5.5m. I thought he looked class, and could potentially play up front as an out and out finisher. At that price, I had to sign him up. Lacking in a few key areas, but hopefully we can improve things.

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Not seen many players aged 16 that are as good as Hannant, certainly believe that for £1m he could prove to be a good investment in the long term for us.

After a long season, this is how the Premier League table looks;

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The media thought we'd finish rock bottom again... we gazumped everyone and landed in a comfortable mid table position.

Defensively we were much improved - Zoet keeping 16 clean sheets, the joint third most in the division. The investment in him was really worthwhile.

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Player performance has been good. Olaza with the most assists with 8.

Goals were spread out once again throughout the team. Almada with 8, Millot, who has dramatically improved this season with 7 from CM and Munoz with 5 were our top scorers.

In Almada we have a player to build the team around. I'm happy with the majority of the squad and the fact that the young players are still developing nicely and getting plenty of game time.

One lad that shone out a little this year is Zouaoui. Scoring for fun in the youth teams so I decided to give him a crack in the first team in some of the cup games and also in the league. He didn't disappoint and whilst he's still got a long way to go, he should hopefully be close to first team football. One downside is that West Ham came in for him (lowballed me) and he kicked up a fuss. He was happy that we will only accept bids of £21.5m or more though, so if anyone wants to offer that, i'm all ears. There are 21 (twenty one) teams that currently want him! Let's see what the summer brings.

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Finances are looking good, therefore i've asked the question of the board RE upgrading the facilities. They accepted pretty much all of my suggestions, so we're also making good progress off the pitch too.

They've recently offered me £55m transfer budget, and I know it's famous last words and all that, but I don't want to spend anywhere near that much this season. I'm planning on sticking with this group. If someone wants to leave then so be it, but I don't plan on going mad spending to replace them.

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Oh and another little positive - The Blades and Leeds are back in the big time next season too.

YORKSHIRE!! :)

 

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