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[FM20]We're in this together!

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Youth Intake

Not quite the golden generation that was suspected but an interesting group, nonetheless.  There is a nice bit of African flavor to the intake.

Chardonie Mputu-Tshiembe looks an interesting prospect and I wouldn't be surprised to see him outpace his star ratings.  He is nearly technically-ready to play professionally.  I also like that he is composed, makes good decisions, has a high work rate, and adds a bit of flair.


Liam O'Brian is another midfielder who is a bit further along physically, but less-so technically.  Another player that I can count on to make good decisions, be composed on the ball, and add a bit of flair.  He is also 6'2" and 174 lbs at just 16 years of age.


Obinna Olawale has all of the mental attributes to be a successful center back but is very pacy and with good acceleration - I could see him as a full back in my system.



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Promotion Battle!

2 wins from 2 and we have a chance at automatic promotion.

We sit just one point behind Sheffield Utd. with a match against Brighton and Ipswich.  If we beat Brighton, we have a great chance of earning automatic promotion.

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4 hours ago, john1 said:

Congrats on getting promoted on last game of the season :applause:

Thanks, @john1!  I'll be very interested to see if we can survive the Premier League! 

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End of Season





The Squad

We were very lucky to avoid injury for the most part and we bowed out of the cups early enough that we could focus exclusively on league play, which worked in our favor.


GK - Nathan Trott had an excellent season once again and he is closing in on 200 club appearances.


DR - Darren Rye assumed the right back position upon Luke Matheson's sale to Leeds and he performed honorably at the position.  He finished up with 2 goals and 3 assists in 42 league appearances.


CB - My initial pairing of Darren Rye and Magnus Skolsegg gave way to Ben  Thomas and Magnus Skolsegg as Rye was moved to the right side.  Both players formed a nice partnership and both became part of their national team setups, even as Thomas failed to make an appearance in a match for Wales(he has 3 caps).



DL - Rhys Giles made this position his own but his development has stagnated.  He will likely be the first bit of attrition as we look to strengthen our squad for the Premier League.


MC - We had a rotation of three for two positions in the center midfield and all were high-quality options.  My preferred pairing was Joel Davies and Oli Ewing but late in the season Taylor Teague strung together a number of high-quality performances that relegated Davies to third-choice.  Oli Ewing continued adding to his caps with Wales, as well.  Teague ended with 1 goal and 7 assists, Ewing contributed 4 goals and 6 assists, and Davies notched 6 goals with 4 assists.




AM - My preferred trio was Jack Black on the left, Reece Strong in the center and Chris Burke on the right.  Black and Burke played as inside forwards, cutting inside whenever possible, while Strong played in an attacking midfield - support role, lying a bit deeper and picking out from his multitude of attacking options.  Black finished the season with 14 goals and 3 assists, Burke contributed 5 goals and 4 assists, and Strong accounted for 7 goals and 20 assists!  I'm flummoxed that Strong has yet to receive a Welsh call-up.  Strong has also been with Bolton for his entire career, amassing 369 appearances, 42 goals, and 58 assists(40 have come within the last 3 seasons).




ST - George Sutherland has been the man up top for us once again and he'll lead the line as we enter the Premier League.  Over his 45 league appearances, he scored 24 goals  and provided 5 assists.


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Outgoings - We released a number of fringe players.

Incomings - We've brought in a few players just to raise the quality of our squad in hopes of staying in the Premier League.  We still have a very thin squad.

George Rutherford - A Welsh youth international fullback.  His defensive skills are right there, he just needs to tidy up his dribbling, first touch, and crossing a bit.  He has gone to my U23 squad.  We bought him for $500K.


Luke Thorne - The Welsh first-choice goalkeeper came to us for $8.5M from Brighton.  Thorne brings some very good skills and a much-needed overall upgrade at goalkeeper for us.


Ali Baker - An English right fullback came to us on a free from Everton.  He isn't ready for first team action yet but he is close; he was too much of a value to pass up as a free agent.


Brian Bulpin - the Scot comes to us from Celtic for $12.25M.  He will likely be my second-choice fullback but definitely has loads of potential to grow into the role.


Russel McCartney-Tierney - The Englishman returns to us from rival side, Blackburn Rovers for $1.4M and will immediately add depth at the center back position.


Kamal Miah - The Englishman comes to us from Wolves for $3.9M, where he made 56 appearances over 9 seasons.  He will slot into the left back position and will provide a mentor for the young Brian Bulpin.


Henry Cochrane - The Scot comes to us as a free agent.  He will provide some depth and some experience, having made nearly 300 appearances in the Scottish Premiership with Hearts and Rangers.


Edited by ranks39
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Pre-Season 2029-2030

A pretty decent set of results, to be honest!

A tough first match followed by two matches that we could possibly get something from.

We've made a new signing, an emergency signing for $9.5M for a left winger.  Jack Black went down with an injury and we are not deep at that position.


Here's how we'll line up in the Premier League!


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August 2029

Well, we've earned our first Premier League point and advanced to the Carabao Cup Third Round.... that's all the good from that.

We sit in the relegation zone but the gap hasn't yet opened up too far.

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September 2029

A pretty decent month, although it would've been nice to get the full three against Crystal Palace.  We've also drawn Cardiff in the Carabao Cup 4th Round.

We're out of the drop zone!

And Sutherland is showing that he can be successful at this level!

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October 2029

A terrible month.  To be fair, we should've beaten Everton and I was quite disappointed to lose to Burnley at home, as they're our relegation competition.


We prioritized this match to get the side some confidence that a win brings and the side didn't disappoint, even if we left it late.  We were then handed an extremely tough draw.... at least we're home.


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International Perfomance

Keith Judge turned in a great performance for the Irish U21's.  His strike rate for his national team is exceptional - 7 goals in 5 matches.



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November 2029

A perfect month against teams that I expected to be competitive with.  We were so good against Watford and Brighton and struck lucky against West Ham.


Spots 8-20 are separated by just 7 points and we're stuck right in the middle.

Sutherland has played so well this entire season!

So has Keith Judge - for club and country!

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December 2029

Not our best month!  Fresh off of destroying Brighton 6-0, we fall 7-1 to Liverpool.  We, fortunately, won the matches against fellow relegation candidates Sheffield United.  Next month gets quite a bit easier for us.

We're a full six points clear of relegation at the moment and have a bit more positive momentum than most of the teams around us.

Still not in the national team picture.....


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January 2030

A mixed month, with our poor league form masked by two FA Cup wins.

We're still 14th with 5 points between us and the drop zone.


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Youth Intake

Not a bad intake, all from England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland.

Drew Sephton has some great potential and is already 1 CA.


Kieran Barratt is the other standout from this intake.  He is still quite raw, especially physically but he has a decent ceiling.


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International Call-Ups

Roger Mulder getting his first senior call-up - he is on loan at Apollon Limassol.  Also Nice to see Tatenda Zulu rewarded for his fine season with an England U-21 call-up.


Skolsegg is back in the setup.

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March 2030

Nothing like shaking off the bad morale with a stolen road win and a draw to follow it up.  Our first two matches next month are crucial against fellow relegation struggle, West Ham, and bottom-of-the-table Watford.

We sit 16th, but just four points clear of the relegation zone.

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  • 2 months later...

The Revival!

So, I burnt myself out on this save a little bit and have been in and out of others too.  Alas!  I've been inspired by some fantastic youth academy only saves - bravo to all of you!  I'm not that sadistic.  Instead, I want to reinvent this save into a more organic and homegrown club save.  I'll continue at Bolton(we're fighting against relegation at the moment!) but I'm going to institute a few rules for myself.  First off, I'm going to cap my signings - 1) I'll allow myself unlimited free agent signings/non-contract/amateur contract signings(this is free agents) per year  2)  I will also be limiting myself to 1 Bosman Free Transfer per season  3) I'll allow myself up to 2 paid signings per season  4)for every homegrown player that breaks into the senior squad, I'll allow 1 more paid signing(if 2 players break into my senior squad, I'll be allowed 4 paid signings, 2 by virtue of rule #2 + 2 additional, 1 for each of the homegrown players).

Quantifying the rules a bit - First, the easy one - my signing period will re-set at the beginning of pre-season(thus the paid transfers will be counted FROM the start of the pre-season and I'll be able to sign additional paid transfers at the start of the following pre-season - this also includes the additional signings from homegrown players).  Secondly, how do I quantify what "breaking into the senior squad" means?  Well, I've averaged out the minutes played for each of the non-first XI players and divided it by 34(the number of matches that we've played thus far).  I'm going to use this definition as "breaking into the senior team".  The number is 23 minutes/match - so, over a 38 match season, the magic number would be 874 minutes.  If injuries ravage a season, I will divide the number of matches that they were not injured for.

With all of that out of the way, Here's how we stand on 22 April 2030.


And the squad


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End of Season

Honestly, it wasn't a grand tale of survival by winning our match against Crystal Palace - it was pretty straightforward - West Ham Drew, Sheffield United lost, and Watford lost.  Our victory was nice just to get a win after 5 straight losses(4 of which were by one goal).

A terrible second half of the year made things a bit nervy down the stretch but we survived.

We leap-frogged Brighton on the final day and with one more win, would've pipped Crystal Palace for 15th but we've survived our first Premier League season and the boys will be stronger for it!  Liverpool win the league while West Ham, Sheffield United, and Watford are relegated to the Championship.  West Brom and Bournemouth are promoted automatically.  Fulham have seen off Reading 1-0 in extra time - what a day for Fulham!

***Team Awards Night/Statistics***

No surprises here, Sutherland was a monster all season long.


***Season Review***

We reached 13th in the table twice and mostly stayed around the relegation battle.

***Premier League Awards***


***Facilities Upgrades***



We are in great shape with minimal debts.


NEVERMIND, We're clear!


***World Cup Call-Ups***

They've been called for the preliminary squads.

And they've impressed enough to be kept around!

I will do a feature on the World Cup later on.


What can I say?  The boys never gave up.

Luke Thorne - Goalkeeper - Now the Welsh #1, he has been tremendous for us this season, without him, we'd be headed for Championship football next season.


Darren Rye - Right Back - While not particularly stellar this season, I wanted to highlight his training.  He has come on leaps and bounds and looks a real talent for us!  The former Hibs man has locked down our right back spot and is not a worry on the pitch.


Harry Cochrane - Central Midfielder - Cochrane was the surprise package of the season, coming to us as a free agent signing and more than holding his own in his first foray into the English Premier League.  In 35 appearances, Cochrane had an average rating of 7.05 with 2 goals and 3 assists.  Not gaudy numbers, but a very useful player.


Taylor Teague - Central Midfielder - Teague is the jewel of our academy, coming through and appearing in 191 matches and counting!  Teague had another solid year, with an average rating of 7.0, while scoring 5 goals and assisting on 2.


Tatenda Zulu - Left Attacking Midfielder - Coming to us from League One side, Rochdale, Zulu showed that he belonged in the Premier League.  He appeared in 33 league matches, scoring 5 goals and notching 5 assists while being a terror up and down the left wing.  I would not be surprised to see him in the English National Team in future(although he is also eligible for Zimbabwe).


George Sutherland - Striker - Sutherland has cemented himself as a club icon in his time at Bolton thus far, joining us in 2027/2028, our first year in the Championship.  This season, Sutherland won the Premier League golden boot with 20 goals in 37 appearances, with 6 assists as well - all while averaging a 7.25 rating.  He will continue to be a focal point of our side going forward!


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