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[FM20] Climbing Up the Salisbury Hill


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October 2028

Results & Table

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Berisha (ML, w/s) inspired us to an upset win over Northampton with his first 2 goals of the season but twisted an ankle in the game and will miss 5-6 weeks. We struggled to score for the last half of the month, but our defense held teams scoreless as we moved top of the table. I narrowly missed out on being name Manager of the Month.

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November 2028

Results & Table

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Too many draws saw us relinquish our hold on 1st place. Fitzpatrick (STCL, tm/s) is in a scoring slump. Berisha (ML, w,s) injured his groin and is out 2-4 weeks. I'm concerned because this is his 2nd significant injury within a month and half.

Player Extension

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His agent asked for a new contract based upon form. Bartlett currently is 2nd in the league for AR (7.59) with a goal and 6 assists. The salary wasn't too bad, and it added a year to his contract, so I agreed to extend the fan favorite.

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December 2028

Youth Intake Preview

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Another year, another poor crop. Not a surprise given our youth setup.

Results & Table

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2 wins, 3 draws and a loss in the league sees us 3rd but many clubs have a game or two in hand. The draw against Leyton Orient was disappointing in that we were up 3-0 and couldn't keep the lead. Springer finished 2nd in the PotM award.

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January 2029

Player Extensions

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Since I'm pretty confident that we won't be relegated this season, I'm taking advantage of some players' willingness to sign multi-year extensions with small raises.

Results & Tables

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A poor month of 3 losses and a draw. Neal (GK) fell apart in the 2nd half against Chester. Fitzpatrick (ST) has disappeared since signing his contract extension. We're still achieving way more than was expected of us, but it's frustrating considering where we were. We're now as close to mid-table as we are to 1st place.

Sheffield Wednesday offered an interview, which I declined. For right now, at least, I'm committed to Salisbury.

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February 2029

Results & Table

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3 wins out of 5 could have been a perfect month but for a couple games where the scoring went missing. I find myself being a bit frustrated with the season. Then, I remember we were expected to be battling relegation. Instead, we're in a playoff spot. I believe that with better depth, we'd be challenging for the title. Considering our financial state, I'm pretty impressed with our position.

Awards

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Swansea offered an interview, which I declined.

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March 2029

Player Signings

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I had some money left on the wage budget, so just before the deadline, I signed Green to provide depth on both flanks in the midfield.

 

Results

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The victory over Chesham guaranteed we wouldn't be relegated. Unfortunately, Bartlett (MCL, dlp/s) sustained pulled knee ligaments in the win against Gloucester City and might miss the rest of the season. The win over Harrogate guaranteed our best-ever finish (10th) in the Vanarama National, and we still had 6 games remaining. We nearly went 6 for 6 this month, but Bennett (DCL) decided to backpass to the net rather than to Neal (GK), who shared the spotlight with Bennett by coming out for a corner for which he had no chance, leaving the net empty. Amazingly, the final month of the season sets up like this:

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There's potential for a winner-take-all game against Northampton to end the season, but I'm not sure we're good enough to make that happen.

 

Awards

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Edited by Lodi Lemmer
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April 2029

Youth Intake

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Not much here. I'll sign whomever the HoYD recommends hoping that there's some wheat in all the chaff.

Results & Table

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The draw against Dover clinched a playoff spot, and we sort of cruised through the next two games. It was nice to beat Northampton, though I believe they fielded a rotated side as the game was meaningless. 4th place is nothing to sneeze at. We'll see if we can surprise some more in the playoffs!

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May 2029

Records

The first sellout in Salisbury Stadium's history resulting in record gate receipts.

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National Coach visit

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This was exciting! I believe that it's the first time a national team manager has watched any of out players.

Final at Wembley

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After scrapping our way through to the final, I was very nervous when captain Scott was sent off for a mindless two-footed challenge. However, we kept denying Aldershot and Okedina (DC) headed home a free kick to give us a lead. When newcomer Jimmy Green (ML) cleared a free kick off the line with seconds remaining, we somehow found ourselves stumbling our way into League Two for the first time!

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The club has agreed to go fully professional as a result of the promotion.

I have achieved Club Icon status. I finalized a contract for next year asking for a modest raise for winning the playoff.

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End of Season Wrap Up (May 2029)

Season Review

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Awards & Stats

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I finished 2nd in Head Coach of the Year voting.

Season Squad Stats

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Springer's 37 goals broke his club record. Bartlett's 17 assists broke his club record.

Finances

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Club Vision & Expectations

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I'm now required to sign players to sell for a profit. I would love to do this to help with our financial situation. However, we haven't really been able to attract desirable players. We'll see how this goes.

Staff Allowed

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The scouting range has expanded to UK & Ireland.

Stadium News

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Oh, good! Another loan to pay off.

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June 2029

We were named the biggest overachievers in the Vanarama National League last season.

The club offered to increase the budget for scouts' salaries, but I was able to get them to shift their focus.

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Club Records

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Player Extensions

  1. Trent Mahorn (DR, wb/d) - 2 CA, 2.5 PA, 27yo English - Resigned solely because there is no one else behind Andre Hearne right now. If we can find someone better, we'll try to sell him.
  2. Jack Burchell (DCR, cd/d) - 2.5 CA, 2.5 PA, 26yo English - Long-time starter. I'm not sure if he can make the jump to League Two, but I'm willing to give him a chance.
  3. Benjamin Bennett (DCL, cd/d) - 2.5 CA, 2.5 PA, 27yo English - The Bennett - Burchell partnership returns for another year.
  4. Kevin Scott (MR, w/s) - 3 CA, 3.5 PA, 26yo English - Captain who has a real talent for talking with other players. He's improving on the field as he learns the position. Still has a suspension to serve after his horrific tackle in the playoff final.
  5. Jordan Jones (MC) - 1.5 CA, 5 PA, 20yo English - One of the few Future Prospects in the club. He hasn't proven anything yet, but he's still young.
  6. James Thomas (MCL, dlp/s) - 2 PA, 4.5 PA, 25yo English - Capable backup who thrives in big matches but needs to improve consistency to be in the 1st team more often
  7. Jahquan Springer (STCR, p/a) - 3 CA, 3.5 PA, 25yo English - I believe that he made a jump in his game last season (his best). I don't expect 30+ goals, but I hope he can score around 20.
  8. Simon Thompson (STC) - 2.5 CA, 3.5 PA, 25yo English - Hasn't delivered as much as I had hoped but did improve near the end of last season. Another player who scored some big goals in big games but needs to show consistency.

Player Signings

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Another young player who was released by a bigger club (Man Utd). He'll have an opportunity to earn some time at MCR (cm/a) especially in cup games.

Players Leaving

  1. Jubril Okedina - Released - I needed to cut some salary, and he wasn't important enough to keep

Staff Extensions

  1. Danny Kedwell - Asst Coach - 2.5 rep, failed Continental Pro - Man Mgmt (20), Motivating (18), JPA/JPP (14)
  2. Darren Kelly - Coach - 1.75 rep, Continental Pro - Defending (16), Tactical (15), Technical (14), Motivating (18)
  3. Ryan Northmore - GK Coach - 0.5 rep, studying for Continental Pro - Distribution (11), Handling (13), Shot Stopping (12)
  4. Alex Baptiste - HoYD - 2.5 rep, Continental Pro - JPA (14), JPP (13), Working w/Youngsters (12)
  5. Andrew Johnson - Chief Scout - 1.25 rep, National B - JPA (13), JPP (17)
  6. Sam Avon - Scout - 1.25 rep, JPA (12), JPP (12)
  7. A-Jay Leitch-Smith - Scout - 1.25 rep, National A - JPA (12), JPP (10)
  8. Liam Bramley - U23s Head Coach - 2.25 rep, Continental Pro - Technical (17), Working w/Youngsters (18), Man Mgmt (10), Motivating (14), JPA (11), JPP (12)
  9. Marcel Ritzmaier - U18s Head Coach - 2.25 rep, studying for Continental Pro - Working w/Younsters (17), Man Mgmt/Motivating (14), JPA/JPP (10)
  10. Kyle Fairgreave - Physio - 0.5 rep - Physio (15)

Staff Signings

  1. Owen Morris - Scout - 1.25 rep - JPA (11), JPP (12)
  2. Richards Jones - Sports Scientist - 1.25 rep - Sports Science (13)

I denied any interest in Reading after my name was mentioned by the media for the opening.

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July 2029

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It's not much, but every little bit helps.

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Tough news near the end of preseason as an injury to Hearne will see him miss roughly the first month of the season. We'll have a difficult time coping without him.

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That's 2 of 4 starting defenders out within a matter of days!

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A few days later...one of the top backups goes down. I guess things do come in 3's!

 

Season Predictions & Expectations

24th (media & oddsmakers); 45-1 promotion odds, 1-5 relegation odds

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Our wage budget has gone up since this screenshot to $800,659 p/a. We're currently about $6K over that.

The Squad

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Preseason Results

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August 2029

Results & Table

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The club's first taste of league football was defeat. A bit of a shaky start, but I'm satisfied with midtable. We need to improve our defending, but our injured players are returning so that will help, hopefully.

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Harry Dunning (MC) went out to Maidenhead (Vanarama South) on a loan with 20% salary covered by them.

Tasos Papadopoulos was called up to the Greek U21s.

Edited by Lodi Lemmer
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September 2029

Results & Table

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The highlight of the month was a 3-0 beating of Coventry to give them their 1st league defeat and knock them from the top of the table. The unbeaten streak stretched to 5 games, and I received consideration (2nd) for Manager of the Month.

 

The last game of the month included an injury that made my heart sink...

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We'll find out what kind of team we have in responding to this.

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October 2029

Sponsorship

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It's not much, but it all helps!

 

Results & Schedule

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Table.png.e9c6c6ce3be44f247f66544112d2b51e.png     A tough month as we showed how much we struggle to score without Springer. I was happy with the upset of QPR, but we collapsed against Gillingham after Thompson gave us a lead.

 

Tasos Papadopoulos received another callup to the Greek U21s.

 

Another serious injury blow to our ST depth...

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November 2029

Staff Signings

  1. Gary Neasham - Physio - 0.5 rep - Physiotherapy (17) - He's 64, but I couldn't ignore his attribute. I fired the previous physio who's attribute was 11. Hopefully, this improves the injury situation a bit.

Injuries

The injury train kept rolling...another starter down.

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Results & Table

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Managing to tread water in the league. Disappointing effort in the FA Cup losing to a team from 2 tiers lower than us. Thompson has improved his game by taking advantage of playing time while Springer is out injured.

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December 2029

Youth Intake Preview

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This sounds like it has the potential to be the worst one yet.

Results & Table

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Nothing flashy, but we played pretty decently this month. We maintained our 11th place position and hold a game in hand over the clubs near us at the midpoint of the season. I'm really impressed that with our performance considering the injuries that we have endured in the first half. We'll see what the second half holds. I declined interview offers from Swansea and Sheffield United this month.

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January 2030

The new year brought an offer of a new contract with a 2-year extension. I quickly agreed, but I did notice something interesting during negotiations. The owner is willing to listen to offers for the club.

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Once I agreed to an extension, I made sure that Rhys Neal (GK) would stay at the club, too.

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Staff Signings

  1. Tarique Fosu - Scout - 1.0 rep, National A, - English/Ghanaian - JPA/JPP (11) - Fills an open position. The fact that he has some knowledge of Ghana intrigued me.

 

Results & Table

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Berisha converted a late penalty to steal a win from Wycombe. Springer returned from injury and sparked a win over Cheltanham with the opening goal. Other than that we couldn't find the net and didn't create many chances this month.

 

There it is...the club is up for sale.

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February 2030

Results & Table

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Springer finally ended our 7 game winless streak with his goal against lowly Northampton. I'm somewhat amazed that we're still midtable.

 

Signed Gallagher to a new contract to get him training full-time and to extend his stay.

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Club Takeover

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Unfortunately, he said there will be no investment for the club. However, he did have a significant impact...he cleared the club's debt, which was nearly $750K! (With a loan, but I'm not complaining.)

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March 2030

Results & Table

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Springer had a goal wrongly disallowed against Chesterfield, but the team responded fantastically by scoring 3 more over the next 15 minutes of the first half. MK Dons ended our unbeaten streak at 6 as we couldn't generate any attack. We surpassed 50 points and have all but guaranteed avoiding relegation.

 

Awards

Papadopoulos finished 3rd in Young Player of the Month voting.

Staff Signings

  1. Garret Midgley - Chief Data Analyst - 1.25 rep - Judging Player Data (10), Judging Team Data (9), Presenting Data (11)

 

International News

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I'm proud of Hearne for earning his first senior cap, especially at such a young age (20). I hope it's the first of many.

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April 2030

Results & Table

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We limped home in the final month. We couldn't score in our last 4 games, and we didn't create many opportunities, either.

 

Youth Intake

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Another disappointing year in terms of abililty, but there are some good personalities. I may base my signings on that.

 

As I have done in recent years, I sent scouts to watch the youth players being released by the larger teams. I have had success with this philosophy finding starting fullbacks Gallagher (Man U) and Hearne (Arsenal). We'll see if we can find another resurrection project this year.

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End of Season Wrap Up (May 2030)

Final Table

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Season Review

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Awards & Stats

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For the first time since I have been with the club, Jahquan Springer wasn't the top goal scorer, due to his broken ankle.

Season Squad Stats

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Records

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Finances

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Club Vision & Expectations

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Interestingly, the new board has dropped all previous expectations other than staying within the wage budget.

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June 2030

Club Records

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I'm encouraged to see that our stadium is already at half capacity.

Player Signings

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Signed on a free transfer from Man U, he'll go straight into the 1st team. Hearne may become a backup at both fullback positions or may get a shot at MR.

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Signed as a free transfer from Gloucester, I see him primarily as the 3rd DC. He will have an opportunity to earn a starting position, as I'm thinking the duo of Bennett and Burchell may be past their usefulness.

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Signed for $7.75K from Blackburn, he'll get every opportunity to be the starter at ML. The first player that I have bought. I had to transfer some money from the wage budget, but I think it will be worth it.

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Since I was splashing cash, I thought I'd transfer $4K more from the wage budget to get this guy. Straight into the 1st eleven, which likely means at least one of Bennett and Burchell will be leaving the club.

Player Extensions

  1. Dan Bartlett (MCR, dlp/s) - 2.5 CA, 2.5 PA, 29yo English - Our most consistent player, he's been the Fans' PotY for the past 8 seasons and is a club Icon. Our coaches rate him as a Fringe Player with the ability for 2 levels lower than we currently are. Last season, he tied the League Two record for most MotM with 11. He's been very effective on free kicks.
  2. Dan Hughes (MC) - 2 CA, 2.5 PA - With the release of Thomas, there will be more opportunity in MC, his natural position.
  3. Jordan Jones (MC) - 1.5 CA, 4.5 PA, 21 yo English - Staff calls him an exciting young prospect. He got his first taste of 1st team action last season. I'm not sure how much a part of the future he will be, but there's time for him to prove something still.
  4. Jimmy Green (ML, w/s) - 2.5 CA, 3.5 PA, 24yo English - Resigned for depth because he was cheap. Can also play on the right side.
  5. Simon Thompson (STC) - 2.5 CA, 2.5 PA, 26yo English - I wasn't planning on keeping him, but he had a pretty good run while Springer was injured last season. So, I'll give him at least part of another season, likely in cup games.

Players Leaving

  1. Trent Mahorn (DR, wb/d) - Lost his place to Hearne last season. The recent signing of Lee made him expendable.
  2. Jose Bernal (DC) - Made 1 substitute appearance in his career with the club
  3. Jack Burchell and Benjamin Bennett (DC, cd/d) - With the signings of Robinson and Atkin, I decided to let these faithful Salisbury men go. They had been the DC pairing since nearly the beginning of my career, but younger, better options exist now. I think they still can play but not necessarily at this level. I wish them both well!
  4. Harry Dunning (MC, STC) - Wasn't able to carve out a place in the squad at either position. Loaned to Maidenhead (2 tiers lower) and only performed decently.
  5. James Thomas (MC) - Time to give some younger players an opportunity here.
  6. Youth players who never appeared for the club (7)

Competition Expectations

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The new president was lamenting the "limited options for payroll." That's more than twice what I was allowed last season!

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July 2030

 

Staff Extensions

  1. Danny Kedwell - Ass Man - 2.5 rep, English, studying Continental Pro (again!) - Man Mgmt (20), Motivating (18), JPA/JPP (13) - Fairly Determined
  2. Darren Kelly - Coach - 1.75 rep, Northern Irish, Continental Pro - Defending (16), Tactical (15), Technical (14), Motivating (18) - Balanced
  3. Andrew Johnson - Chief Scout - 1.25 rep, English, National B - JPA (13), JPP (17) - 2 year deal
  4. Sam Avon - Scout - 1.25 rep, English - JPA/JPP (12) - 2 year deal
  5. Owen Morris - Scout - 1.25 rep, English - JPA/JPP (14) - 2 year deal
  6. Kyle Fairgreave - Physio - 0.5 rep - Physiotherapy (15) - 2 year deal
  7. Richard Jones - Sports Scientist - 1.5 rep - Sports Science (14)

Staff Signings

  1. Natalie Clayton - Coach - 1.5 rep, English, Continental Pro - Technical (14), Mental (13), Attacking (12)

Preseason Results

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Something fun. I've never been involved in a testimonial for one of my players.

 

Season Predictions

24th (media & oddsmakers); 45-1 title odds, 1-5 relegation odds

The Squad

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August 2030

Results & Schedule

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The season began on a strong note as we went unbeaten through the first 5 league games and first 6 games overall. Hearne is showing some flash as a MR, Papadopoulos is making a case to be a starter, and Springer is showing that he can score at this level. A terrible pass by Atkin snowballed into a 0-2 deficit against Plymouth in the opening 35 minutes. The Plymouth game was a personal milestone.

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National Coach Visit

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The Jamaica boss came to check out my Reggae Boyz!

 

Club Records

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Edwards wasn't the only one who came to watch us against Millwall. We raked in some much needed money!

 

International Callups

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As a result, I was able to postpone the match originally scheduled for September 7 against Coventry City, which is currently top of the table.

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September 2030

Results & Table

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We struggled to score for most of the month. Though we controlled much of the match against Leyton Orient, our defending fell to pieces. We're at about 1.5 points per game and sitting midtable, though, which is well above projections and expectations.

Edited by Lodi Lemmer
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October 2030

Results & Table

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With Fattal, PapadopoulosHearne, and Robinson called up for international duty, I was able to postpone the Chesterfield match. We're still not scoring much, but our defending prowess resulted in an unbeaten month in the league.

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November 2030

Results & Table

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2 wins and 2 draws in the league saw us eke our way into a playoff position. Fitzpatrick's goal against FC United was named the Goal of the Month. Pinnington returned from injury to score against Cheltenham, Robinson scored his first goal for the club, and Neal allowed Cheltenham to score twice on shots from 30+ yards, but Lee saved the points with a header off a corner kick with about 5 seconds remaining. We gave it a good effort against Lincoln before falling in the FA Cup. We did manage to add to the bank account, though.

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International Callups

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Injuries

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Very untimely as he has been in good form recently (7.38 AR in past 5 games).

 

Staff Leaving

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I wasn't going to stand in the way of Kedwell getting his first opportunity to manage. I'll place an advertisement and see who may be interested. There are a couple "in house" options, if necessary.

I declined an interview offer from Birmingham.

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December 2030

Results & Table

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A perfect month! No wins, no draws, no points, no goals!

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We were absolute crap against Forest Green, and I let the team have it after the game...

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We were even worse the next game against Grimsby.

 

International Callups

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Player Signing

With the team really struggling to score and lots of wage budget available, I took a risk and splashed cash at a new ST. 

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January 2031

Results & Table

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I have never been so happy to start a new year! My pregame speech for the Grimsby game reminded the team that we needed to avenge the previous game. After 8 minutes, we had scored more than we did last month. Springer finished the scoring by collecting his 200th league goal. The scoring went on hiatus mid-month. Brannigan scored his 1st goal with the club to secure a draw against Salford.

 

Player Extensions

  1. Andre Hearne - He agreed to a 2 year extension effective at the end of the season. I'm retraining him as a MR and intend to start him there the rest of the season.
  2. Tasos Papadopoulos - He also signed a 2 year extension. He's learning the MCR (CM/a) position and role to potentially replace Pinnington when necessary.

 

Transfer Window

Nobody in or out, but that doesn't mean that there weren't interesting discussions. I accepted an offer from Cincinnati (MLS) for Rhys Neal (GK), but I don't know if they have agreed to terms yet.

 

I declined an interview offer from Barnsley (Sky Bet Championship).

Edited by Lodi Lemmer
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February 2031

Results & Table

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Another month of struggles. We aren't playing terribly, but we let points slip away too easily. We were tied with Accrington and ahead of Plymouth before losing. We win the possession battle most games, but we don't translate that into enough chances.

Staff Changes

After failing to find any candidates I liked in an Assistant Manager search, I promoted Darren Kelly from his position as Coach with the senior squad. I'll immediately start looking to hire someone for the opening created.

Natalie Clayton, a current member of the coaching staff, suggested an intriguing name for the open coaching position. Welcome to Andy Rinomhota, a 33yo Zimbabwean/English who had 43 caps with Zimbabwe. He has a 1.25 rep, a National A license, and a Fairly Professional personality. While he doesn't have any outstanding attributes, he is pretty well-rounded: Fitness/ Working with Youngsters/Determination (14), Defending (12), Attacking/Mental/Tactical/Motivating (11). I gave him a 2 year contract and immediately had him start a coaching course.

Transfer News

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It's hard to see him go, but I didn't see him as irreplaceable, and he wanted to leave. So far, we have received double his value. I'll make do with Alfie Bonfield for the remainder of the season while looking for a more permanent replacement for next season.

Edited by Lodi Lemmer
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March 2031

Results & Table

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I'm very happy with the team's performances this month. We took out some frustrations on Bristol Rovers netting our biggest output of the season. Brannigan (STC) had his best game with the club against Bradford City. Some starters came on as late substitutions against Gillingham and inspried a come-from-behind victory. Thompson (STC) scored in a rare appearance to guarantee that we would avoid relegation.

 

Awards

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A solid month by the team led to some personal recognition.

 

Player Signing

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I brought him in to add some depth to the fullback/wingback position. He had been released from Southampton and looks to have some potential.

 

International Callups

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Fattal (ML) continued to receive regular callups for Lebanon.

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This has become a regular happening, too.

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Once CONCACAF nations made their callups, we postponed our match against Coventry (originally scheduled for March 29).

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Lee (DR) had an opportunity to get his first U21 international action.

Edited by Lodi Lemmer
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April 2031

Results

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We gave eventual league champs Coventry a good run, laid an egg against Wycombe, played a man down for much of the Chesterfield game, and prevented Crawley from achieving automatic promotion. The Crawley boss accused me of being unprofessional after the game. He had downplayed the game to the press, and I said he was just trying to get under my skin. I'm not sure how that quantifies me as unprofessional, but I'm glad we beat them!

 

Injuries

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Injury against league champions Coventry kept him out until the final game of the season against Crawley, but it created an opportunity for Eddie Pinnock, who was signed in March, to have a run with the first team.

 

Youth Preview & Intake

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Unfortunately, the preview was pretty accurate. Some decent personalities. The HoYD recommended signing all except O'Connell, Parsons, and the last 4 on the list. I approved his recommendations.

 

Job Interviews

I declined an interview offer from Birmingham (Championship).

Edited by Lodi Lemmer
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May 2031

 

Final Table

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Season Review

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Awards, Stats & Team of the Season

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Bartlett is the Fans' Player of the Season for the 9th consecutive year. Springer led the club in goals after missing out on the honor last year due to injury.

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Bartlett also made the League Two Players' Select team.

 

Season Squad Stats

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Commercial Summary

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Player Extensions

  1. Neil Atkin (DCL, cd/c) - 3 CA, 4.5 PA, 23yo English - Played in 42 of 46 league games (41 starts). Quickly developed a good partnership with Keston Robinson. I'm happy with how those two replaced long-time stalwarts Bennett and Burchell at DC.
  2. Andre Hearne (MR, w/s) - 3 CA, 5 PA, 21yo Jamaican/English - Training at MR, but can provide cover at DR. He reacted well after being moved to a new position when Steve Lee arrived. Inducted into the Salisbury Overall Best Eleven after the season. Has earned 5 caps for Jamaica.
  3. Dan Bartlett (MCL, dlp/s) - 2 CA, 2 PA, 30 yo English - The club legend seems to be getting better with age. Even as the coaching staff rates him worse and worse. He had a clause that automatically extended his contract if we avoided relegation and he played in 20 league games. He played in 39 games, led the league in PoMs (8), and was 2nd in AR (7.32).

Players Leaving

  1. Jake Adams (ML/MR) - Released after he suffered a damaged Achilles Tendon in post-season training. It was the 2nd major injury in 3 months. I likely would have let him go anyway, but the injury made it a no-brainer.

Staff Extensions

  1. Tarique Fosu - Scout - 1.0 rep, English/Ghanaian, National A - JPA (12), JPP (11)
  2. Gary Neasham - Physio - 0.5 rep - Physiotherapy (17)
  3. Gareth Midgley - Chief Data Analyst - 1.25 rep - Judging Player Data (10), Judging Team Data (10), Presenting Data (12)
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June 2031

The club was named the Biggest Overachievers in the League Two review.

 

Player Signings

After years of trying to training players to play as a MR, I chose to sign a natural winger from Blackburn for $0. He instantly became the highest paid player at the club so I hope he proves worthy of it.

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I also needed a GK to replace Rhys Neal, who was sold to Cincinnati near the end of last season. I bought this youngster from Arsenal for $0. The fans are very pleased. I hope they have good reason to be.

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Longhi was signed from Liverpool for $0. I don't anticipate him being with us very long, but he could bring a great price in a sale.

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Player Extensions

  1. Kevin Scott (MC) - 2.5 CA, 2.5 PA, 28yo English - After a couple seasons at MR, he will move back inside to his natural position to provide depth. He may see a lot of time in cups as I try to rotate players more throughout the season.
  2. Bekim Berisha (ML, w/s) - 2 CA, 2.5 PA, 26yo Belgian/English/Albanian - Has been a solid back up. The club may be at a tier near the limits of his ability. I'll give him another season to show me he belongs.
  3. Jahquan Springer (STCR, p/a) - 2 CA, 2 PA, 27yo English - The vice captain is the club's all-time leader in goals scored and in league appearances. The coaching staff doesn't rate him highly, but he continues to perform on the field.

 

Players Leaving

  1. 319396821_TransferNews.png.b7ac0d8767ec0f14a2b1f52e503efd43.png I didn't want to sell, but I couldn't convince him to stay.
  2. Dean Pinnington (MCR) - With the signing of Longhi and the position shift of Scott, I didn't believe that there was a need to keep paying Pinnington.
  3. Dan Hughes (MC) - Had flashes of good performance but never seemed to be able to sustain them.
  4. Jordan Jones (DC/DR/MC)
  5. Leon Harding (DL/DC)
  6. Jimmy Green (ML/MR)
  7. Liam Evans (STC)
  8. Simon Thompson (STC)

 

Staff Extensions

  1. Natalie Clayton - Coach - 1.5 rep, Continental Pro, English - Technical (14), Defending/Mental (13), Attacking (12)

 

Staff Leaving

  1. Ian Herring - U18s Assistant Coach - Nottingham Forest offered him a contract renewal at the same time that I did. Unfortunately, he didn't choose us.

 

Staff Signing

I was very happy to sign Walker as a replacement to the U18s staff. He has an outstanding personality. I hope his youth means that he will stay with the club for a long time.

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Competition Expectations & Budgets

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Staff News

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I feel fortunate that the board has been very willing to allow coaches to take courses. They immediately approved my request for him to begin studying for his Continental B License.

 

International Callups

Orrett Fitzpatrick (ST) scored a goal in his debut for Jamaica in a friendly warmup for the Gold Cup. Andre Hearne (Jamaica) and Keston Robinson (Trinidad & Tobago) also were called up to represent their countries. Tasos Papadopoulos (MCR) scored his first 2 goals for the Greek U21s.

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August 2031

Results & Table

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After a humiliating defeat against Mansfield, we bounced back and took Fulham to penalties in the Carabao Cup. We also made some good money since it was at Fulham. Holmes (MR) has started brilliantly and led us to a spot just outside the playoffs.

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Awards

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September 2031

International Callups

Orrett Fitzpatrick (STCL) and Andre Hearne (MR/DR) to Jamaica.

Keston Robinson (DCR) to Trinidad & Tobago.

Tasos Papadopoulos (MC) to Greek U21s.

Daniele Longhi (MC) to Italian U20s.

 

Results & Table

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Fitzpatrick and Brannigan paired quite nicely this month sneaking us into the bottom of the playoff positions. I received 3rd place in Manager of the Month.

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October 2031

Contract Extension

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I'm not looking to move anywhere, so I thought I'd take care of this potential distraction.

 

Injury

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It will be difficult to overcome this and maintain our current position in the table (7th).

 

International Callups

The same 5 guys who have been getting regular callups were gone this month forcing a postponement for a league game.

 

Results & Table

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A disappointing month saw our scoring dry up and sent us tumbling down the table.

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November 2031

International Callups

Fitzpatrick and Hearne (Jamaica), Robinson (T&T) and Papadopoulos (Greek U21s) received callups again.

 

Results & Table

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When we beat Plymouth, I certainly didn't think it would be our only victory of the month. We are giving up too many late goals that are costing us points. However, we are solidly midtable so I can't complain about that.

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December 2031

 

Results & Table

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The Brentford cup match looks really bad, but it was a 2-0 game until they scored 3 times in the final 7 minutes of the game. 7 points in the league saw us sitting just outside playoff contention. Since we were predicted favorites to be relegated, I'm fairly happy with our position slightly more than halfway through the season.

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January 2032

 

Transfers In

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Scouts told me that Fattal was placed on the loan list by Lincoln. I was going to make a loan offer for him but decided to try a transfer offer instead. Lincoln accepted a $60K offer, which is $36K less than the price they paid to us for him. He lists me as one of his favored personnel so I was pretty sure that he would be willing to return. A small shift from the wage budget to the transfer budget and the deal was complete. He immediately reclaimed his ML starting position.

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Black was signed on a free. I thought I'd take a flier on him based upon personality and the club's need to develop some DC depth.

 

Results & Table

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I'm very happy about the wins over Newport County and Cambridge. Both are clubs in the top 5 of the table. I was pretty disappointed in our effort against Dag & Red. We were FMed by FC United. We continued to close ground on the playoff places. We're also closer to promotion than to relegation based upon points.

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Awards

Andre Hearne had the 3rd best Goal of the Month for his fantastic individual effort against Mansfield that sealed the victory.

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February 2032

Results & Table

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It would have been nice to make a playoff push by making a statement this month. Unfortunately, that was not to be. We are not a very consistent club. However, we have passed the 50 point mark so I feel confident about staying up. We may even beat our high position of 14th set last year.

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Injury

I received some tough news after the last training session of the month. We already struggle to score consistently. Losing our leading goal scorer and assist man for a month won't help things.

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March 2032

 

International Callups

Orrett Fitzpatrick to Jamaica - scored a hat trick in a 45-minute substitution appearance giving him 4 goals in 4 caps

Andre Hearne to Jamaica U23s

Mohammed Fattal to Lebanon

Keston Robinson to Trinidad & Tobago

Tasos Papadopoulos to Greek U21s

 

Injuries

A few days after Brannigan returned to training, he overdid it in the weight room potentially putting the rest of his season at risk.

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Bartlett quickly followed with an injury of his own.

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Results & Table

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Even without Brannigan the month started strongly. Holmes (MR) assisted on every goal against Plymouth and Crawley. Springer (STC) exhibited the goal scoring prowess he had in previous seasons. We were on a roll, but international callups, the injuries, and Holmes getting suspended exposed our lack of depth in the squad. We only managed 1 point from the last 2 games, which were against teams well below us in the table. Still, we had guaranteed minimally 18th place in the league. Not too shabby for the relegation favorites!

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April 2032

Results & Table

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We gave a fantastic effort in the final month. We were in position to achieve a playoff spot on the final day but couldn't get the win, or the help, that we needed. It's heartbreaking to know that one more point would have meant playoff games, but if you would have told me after the injuries to Brannigan that we would have been in this position, I wouldn't have believed you. I'm not sure that we are quite ready for League 1, and yet, we've never been relegated in our first season in a new tier. Oh well, I'll try to improve the team and the finances (better success in the cups would help) and see if we can do it next season.

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Staff Addition

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When this woman was suggested by a staff member, I quickly offered her a contract. The  U18s didn't have a physio. I could see her moving up to the senior squad in a few years.

 

Youth Preview & Intake

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Well, the line about the central midfielder from Amesbury was pretty accurate. I'm not sure who the other "top" central midfield prospect is. I don't know that I'd call the lone striker (Noice) a "fine" prospect, either. Personalities are getting better though, even with a Balanced personality for the HoYD, who recommended signing only the first seven players on the list.

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May 2032 (End of Season Review)

 

Season Review

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Awards, Stats Leaders & Team of the Season

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For the first time in a decade, Bartlett was not the Fans' Player of the Season, which isn't surprising since he is no longer a starter. Holmes is a choice with which I strongly agree, especially given his much improved form over the final month of the season. I was surprised to see Longhi's pass completion percentage, which placed him 2nd in the league in this category. He didn't score many goals (2) or have many assists (1), but it is clear that he impacts our play.

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2 players on the league's Players' Select team is a testament to how much our talent has improved. Hopefully, we can claim some more spots on next season's team.

 

Season Squad Stats

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End of Season Team Meeting

I told the team that we were good enough to avoid relegation next season. For the first time in at least 3 years, they agreed with me. It's nice to have them leave for break in a positive mindset.

 

Commercial Summary

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Good to see improvement in nearly all areas. We need to keep this trend going.

 

International Callups

Orrett Fitzpatrick has been called up by Jamaica for the North American Nations League.

Mohammed Fattal has been called up by Lebanon for World Cup Qualifying.

 

Staff Leaving

Owen Morris (Scout) rejected our contract offer and signed with Ipswich. Very disappointing as he was our best scout.

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June 2032

The club was named the biggest overachievers in League Two.

 

Transfers Out

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Clubs started sniffing around Bailey at the start of preseason. The board accepted offers when his minimum release clause was met. I'm disappointed to lose him, but it's all profit.

 

Transfers In

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Signed from Liverpool on a free transfer with the expectation that he will share the Target Man responsibilities with Fitzpatrick. I believe he will capably fill the hole we had in our ST rotation last season.

 

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Signed from Newcastle, I expect him to step straight into the starting DL position. Gallagher will be leaving after he agreed to a pre-contract deal last season with Ayr. Pinnock was ok when given an opportunity at the end of last season and will begin training at ML as a possible replacement for Berisha.

 

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Brought in from Bournemouth on a free transfer. With the signing of Steer, there is not pressure to play him immediately. If he performs well in friendlies, he may stick with the first team. If not, I may seek a loan for him.

 

Player Extensions

  1. Keston Robinson (DCR, cd/x) - 3* CA, 3* PA, 25yo Trinbagonian (30 caps) - An important player, who has forged a strong partnership with Neil Atkin, he led the league in key headers and finished 2nd in headers won.
  2. Kevin Scott (MCL, dlp/s) - 2.5* CA, 2.5* PA, 29yo English - The captain performed much better last season when he returned to his natural MC role. He is starting to show slight signs of decline, but I hope for another year or two from him.
  3. Bekim Berisha (ML, w/s) - 2* CA, 2* PA, 27yo Belgian - The starter for most of the season, he graciously accepted a backup role when Fattal returned to the club. He has the ability to play well in big matches.
  4. Jahquan Springer (STCR, p/a) - 2* CA, 2* PA, 28yo English - The long-time vice captain is no longer a regular starter, having been replaced by Brannigan, but he still managed to chip in 12 league goals. The club leader in all-time appearances and goals and a fan favorite, he is definitely still worth something to the club.

 

Staff Extensions

  1. Sam Avon - Scout

 

International Callups

Orrett Fitzpatrick and Andre Hearne have been called up by Jamaica for a friendly match.

Keston Robinson has been called up by Trinidad & Tobago for friendly matches.

Tasos Papadopoulos has been called up by Greek U21s for friendly matches.

 

Expectations

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July 2032

 

Staff Signing

As it turned out, losing Owen Morris to Ipswich had some benefit. In the search to replace him, I came across this former chief data analyst who was interested in becoming a scout. He immediately becomes the best one at the club!

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Transfers In

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I dislike bringing in loaned players, but I desperately needed a GK after Bailey transferred.

 

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The replacement for Longhi, not nearly as good but considering the last-minute arrangements, I'm satisfied.

 

Loan Out

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Facilities

I couldn't get the board to improve the academy coaching nor the youth recruitment so I figured there would be no shot at this!

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International News

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Oliver, a U18 coach for Salisbury, accepted.

 

Season Predictions

22nd (media) & 20th (bookies); 35-1 promotion odds, 3-1 relegation odds

 

The Squad & Starting Lineup

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Results

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Preseason went well as the club adapted to new players in key positions. Phillips and Robinson combined to gift a goal with a horrible backpass in the opening minute of the season. Brannigan quickly answered, and we were able to recover for a victory.

Edited by Lodi Lemmer
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August 2032

 

Results & Table

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A very busy month, which was concerning given our relative lack of depth and the injuries that occurred early in the season (Fitzpatrick, sprained ankle ligaments; Steer, broken wrist). Yet, we earned 14 of a possible 18 points in the league and managed to upset 2 League One teams in the Carabao Cup. The Bradford City game was my 600th game as head coach, and the boys celebrated with a blitz of 5 first-half goals.

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Awards

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International Callups

Orrett Fitzpatrick and Andre Hearne to Jamaica for friendlies.

Keston Robinson to Trinidad & Tobago for friendlies.

Mohammed Fattal to Lebanon for World Cup Qualifying.

Tasos Papadopoulos to Greek U21s  and Marc Nelson to Scottish U21s for European Championship qualifying.

As a result, I postponed our September 4 league match with Grimsby Town.

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Edited by Lodi Lemmer
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September 2032

 

Results & Table

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Other than coming out flat against Grimsby, a solid month of performances. We're twice as far as we've ever gone in the Carabao Cup, and although it's early, we're in a dogfight near the top of the table.

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International Callups

Mohammed Fattal (66 caps/6 goals) - Lebanon - World Cup qualifying

Orrett Fitzpatrick (7 caps/4 goal) and Andre Hearne (16 caps) - Jamaica - friendly

Tasos Papadopoulos (38 caps/3 goals @ U21s) - Greek U21s - European Championship qualifying

Marc Nelson (8 caps/0 goals @ U21s) - Scottish U21s - European Championship qualifying

Edited by Lodi Lemmer
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