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[FM21] Hometown Heroes


_Ben_
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January 2044: Inexperienced

We welcomed Barnet to the Kingfisher Arena with what must be the most inexperienced squad to date:

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Four starting debutants, with a further two from the bench as well as two players who played just their second competitive game.

Embarrassingly, they held us to a draw!

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21 hours ago, Nottingham Forest said:

@_Ben_ out?

No, I don't think even the idiots that make up my board at that stupid!

Our league form has picked up quite a bit so this little blip is no more than just that. I imagine we'll have enough to dispose to the League One side in the replay.

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1 hour ago, _Ben_ said:

No, I don't think even the idiots that make up my board at that stupid!

Our league form has picked up quite a bit so this little blip is no more than just that. I imagine we'll have enough to dispose to the League One side in the replay.

 

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Edited by Sonic Youth
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54 minutes ago, Sonic Youth said:

 

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Getting there! Been playing around with skinning stuff this morning as I found the large amounts of white on black was giving me a headache. I've cleaned a few things up and got this:

95e65c552afa5ae6a7a911a2a85d6621.png

  • Made a lot of the information text gold so it's a change in colour
  • Added some extra statistics, but this is definitely a WIP
  • Made the player face larger
  • Boxed a few things up so I can focus on certain areas rather than the whole screen

Back to playing...

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January 2044: This board...

a253b097963ae8c429fc77711d2d7fe8.png

I cannot get an u23 squad in a playable league nor actually get an u18 squad until this happens, which means the entire 'academy project' is just on hold whilst I bumble around the lower echelons of this league, without the reputation nor stupidity to spend the money in order to get any higher. I actually hate the Premier League.

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December 2043/January 2044

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Not really enjoying this at the moment.

January has been horrific and the sooner the end of the season comes, the better.

Two months until the youth intake is probably what is keeping me going right now.

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8 hours ago, _Ben_ said:

Getting there! Been playing around with skinning stuff this morning as I found the large amounts of white on black was giving me a headache. I've cleaned a few things up and got this:

95e65c552afa5ae6a7a911a2a85d6621.png

  • Made a lot of the information text gold so it's a change in colour
  • Added some extra statistics, but this is definitely a WIP
  • Made the player face larger
  • Boxed a few things up so I can focus on certain areas rather than the whole screen

Back to playing...

Looks good, and a bit clearer. Wondering why his contract to Redditch area has his u21 caps (full country caps as well?) in it though, as the wages has Wages plus contracted to.

18 minutes ago, _Ben_ said:

January 2044: This board...

a253b097963ae8c429fc77711d2d7fe8.png

I cannot get an u23 squad in a playable league nor actually get an u18 squad until this happens, which means the entire 'academy project' is just on hold whilst I bumble around the lower echelons of this league, without the reputation nor stupidity to spend the money in order to get any higher. I actually hate the Premier League.

That’s a very short sighted board you’ve got there. Do you think they’ll be bought out?

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6 minutes ago, Sonic Youth said:

Looks good, and a bit clearer. Wondering why his contract to Redditch area has his u21 caps (full country caps as well?) in it though, as the wages has Wages plus contracted to.

I noticed this too. Not sure what I'd done but I've put it back however he hasn't actually been capped at a full international level, yet.

7 minutes ago, Sonic Youth said:

That’s a very short sighted board you’ve got there. Do you think they’ll be bought out?

He's been here 11 years now and it's really holding us back. I'm at the point now where I'm vocal in the media about how poor he is. If it gets to an ultimatum, so be it...

4 minutes ago, Sonic Youth said:

Ouch! That last bunch of games, and especially that Birmingham one :(

Bring on the youth intake!

We're just devoid of confidence and broken by injuries. We're creating a decent amount at the moment, actually, but without a recognised striker, still (and January found me a grand total of 0 options) we're a bit stuck!

We'll come through but there will be no progress this season, just some more stability.

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February 2044: Finally!

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That man, Vlad, who has been our talisman for the best part of ten years now. How dearly has he been missed:

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Rushed back in and nowhere near full fitness, but he's able to lead us to a win over Champions League chasing Spurs. A big three points.

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February 2044: More annoyances..

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Still Continental C...

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Still yet to sign a new deal. Four months left after 23 years, yet they aren't budging...

EDIT: And another, just for proof they are rubbish!

Edited by _Ben_
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March 2044: Youth Intake

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After yet another rejection from the board, this time to improve the youth facilities, we were given the below intake:

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This is a strange one! In terms of 'star potential' it appears to be really poor but, actually, I really like it. What is more - local players are from Cheltenham, Birmingham, Redditch x2, Wolverhampton and Solihull, plus - the lad from Biala Podlaska is clearly from our link even though it doesn't specifically mention that, Morocco is a 'new nation' and I've got two Jamaica players.

---

[GK] Reece Owen

[LB] Zbgniew Lewandowski

[CB] Liam Teague

[AM] Shaun Donnelly

[AMR] Linval Gifford

[ST] Joe Carden

----

I know this doesn't show the CA and a lot of what I'm interested, initially, is that but this looks a great group. I must admit that the likes of Teague and Carden already look really well rounded and just need a bit of a polish before they are ready. I also like the attribute balance of Donnelly and Lewandowski looks set to be another young Pole who could challenge for some squad depth. Gifford is all about pace and that'll be useful potentially, too.

My problem now comes with developing them with my constant battle at lack of facilities and competitive games.

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February/March 2044

And one from April...

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the fact that we can do it against teams around us but also pull results out against the bigger teams show that we will, probably, be able to stay up.

With my contract showing no signs of actually being renewed and my annoyance towards the Premier League well-known,  I need something to get my invested in this again!

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April 2044: First team chances

I've got the likes of LucaciMorgan-SmithFyffe and Graves, who are on the outskirts of the first team and developing pretty well. They have their flaws but I feel that I'm doing a decent job of maximising whatever CA they have. However, we are really not in a position whereby I can afford them regular first team football, so I'm shipping lots out on loan from 18.

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The drawback here is that for the 1, 2 or 3 seasons they are out on loan - I lose control of how I want to develop them. They get first team football, which is beneficial for them but they are returning not moulded into the player I want/need them to be.

Something to consider.

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I like the look of that youth intake a lot as well. 
Plus, results are looking decent.

What was the board expectation for the league again...?

I still think your board is crazy.

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22 minutes ago, Sonic Youth said:

:idiot:

Tell me about it! Never had a board like this before. You can only imagine what the fans would be like!

15 minutes ago, Sonic Youth said:

I like the look of that youth intake a lot as well. 
Plus, results are looking decent.

What was the board expectation for the league again...?

I still think your board is crazy.

I do, too. Whether they have the potential is a different matter but they’re at a good starting point. 

Board just want me to attempt to avoid relegation and we are predicted 18th - so we’ve outdone ourselves both in seasons at this level. 

Edited by _Ben_
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2043/44 End of Season

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A happy(ish) board and another successful season - in that we retain our Premier League status for another year:

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Let's focus on the positives - we currently have the longest unbeaten run in the league at this stage after not losing in any of the last four games!

I've continued to track the overall team metrics too as I am looking to find ways in which we have improved, and, to be fair, we have. Our defensive actions are really strong at the moment, especially for a team at the end of the division that we are and we now just need to improve going forward. I always look to work this way with my sides. 

However...

I think that there'd definitely be more progress if this hadn't happened:

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I am not one to moan about injuries in FM as they happen and we know they happen less than they do in real life. We've just been super unlucky that Farrar, Ferencik, Ejza and Stokes have all missed more than three months of the season - leaving me with just Cano, Coker and Milianti, when he wasn't injured, to fill three offensive roles.

---

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Sadly, our league form and ending position is largely carried over into the Average Ratings but I feel that there have been some really strong performances - particularly from Lowe and Maddison, who wouldn't be regulars in the England squad otherwise and Milianti, who has got into double figures in his first year in England.

----

With no new contract on the horizon, and no option to request one, I've put my time into convincing the board to update some facilities:

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Interesting is the requirement for u18 yet not actually having an u18 team at the moment. I can only hope that it comes through soon.

I also immediately pushed for this:

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A decent season but I have the overwhelming hatred of the board at the forefront of my mind. I'm pushing on but I can't shake the thought that I may be out of a job come July 1st...

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June 2044: It's done...finally

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Which now is making me think about things slightly differently and I'm coming towards the decision to just go full blown for this academy plan I have...

Here's a hint - it's going to be data heavy:

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Haven't commented for a while but I've been keeping up to date with it all. Good to see your establishing yourself as a premiership team, just a shame that the board seem to be going against you most of the time. The personalities of your current squad are fantastic. Great work buddy keep it up.

Out of interest how are Worcester getting on?

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1 hour ago, Watson156 said:

Haven't commented for a while but I've been keeping up to date with it all. Good to see your establishing yourself as a premiership team, just a shame that the board seem to be going against you most of the time. The personalities of your current squad are fantastic. Great work buddy keep it up.

Out of interest how are Worcester getting on?

Many thanks! It's a slog at the moment but I've had a think and I maybe need a few seasons of less hands on play (i.e. using the IR) to get through the fixtures and get settled plus, give my players a bit more development time.

Worcester aren't doing much:

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However, I'm planning to start my 'local development' plan asap - and my feeder, Stratford Town, equally as dull, are going to get a load of my players!

18 minutes ago, DaneBramage said:

Congrats on staying up again, great work. Good to see Vlad is still scoring at the top level.

Would have been madness if the board hadn't given out a new contract.

Thanks - I can't say I really enjoyed it but we are there! I can only imagine how the likes of Sean Dyche and Graham Potter feel when this is their job!

I'm happy for Vlad but he's not the strongest and relies on a great attribute balance - I hope he can continue.

As for the contract - I did fear it, you know! I have no idea what is going on with the board but, I suppose, it's nice to run into a board that are a nightmare but don't seem to want to sell up (hi, Mike Ashley...)

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July 2044: News...

One of the things I have been thinking about is the annoying lack of u23 and u18 control I can have, with no actual u18 team and no u23 fixtures. 

However, there is a slight change to that now...

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This gives my youngsters a proper shot at decent age-group football and, as such, I'm completely going to change up my approach. What was a quiet summer is now not a quiet summer. It would appear that I can't reach the Premier League 2 until I have a better youth level but this is a start...

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July 2044: Preparation

After some analysis of the first team squad as well as the introduction of the competitive u23 fixtures, I have decided to take a very hard line approach on my players - if they don't perform, they will be replaced with academy prospects. I have played in so much detail that I've been so scared to let a youngster on to the pitch and then waste the hard tactical work we've done. However, I can step back a little over the next couple of years and get the ball rolling with this.

I have completed my analysis of the first team from last year:

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There is no development points (technical, mental, physical attributes measured from start of season to end) as I don't have any data from the start of the season for this lot but that will become an important metric. I've also taken into account the number of 90 minutes these players have played so that I have more of a grounding for the /90 stats and I'm tracking those that matter to my playing style. I have also managed to get a comparison with the league as I really want to get some quality players for this level and this comparison seemed like a good idea.

The first thing to notice is that Nwadike has had a pretty terrible season so I've dropped him back from the AM strata as an AP(s) to a CM(a) as I look to get the best from him. He rejected a £60m offer from Norwich a month or so back but, despite being one of the best on paper, needs to sort himself out! This tactical allows me to employ my favoured 4-3-3 shape again with role and team changes based on the opposition. Next would be my argument that Perry was underused, with only 11 '90s' yet inside the top 20 for key passes/90 in the league - clearly he knows how to create. Likewise, getting Stokes and Ferencik on the ball will generally lead to them scoring goals - but they just didn't play enough last year thanks to injuries.

I think everywhere else is pretty settled and happy, which leaves my strongest XI looking something like:

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But also, for note - here is my strongest u23 XI, with new youth additions Anderson (free after release by Arsenal) and Odita (£160k from Crusaders) needed to allow me to actually put eleven decent players out!

041c3f3306aafefb49b0f0d1de93fd1d.png

 

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Congrats on staying up. I thought it was never in doubt :D

I think this season the teams in the league performed better than the previous season and hence why you struggled more at times.

About time the board agreed some “Club” upgrades! I almost lost hope on your new contact, and can’t believe they then turned down a training course for you :mad:

Does this mean you now have an u23 and u18’s teams? 

Interesting with the data, that even though Milianti was out for that long, he still racked up 30 90 minute appearances. I was hoping that Vlad would still hit 10 goals for the season. Can’t believe he’s now 28 and turning 29 next season.

It’s a shame Perry is 33, as he also gets a decent amount of int/90 as well.

Looking at your 3 personality traits tracked, ambition looks clearly to be your third ranked of the two. It’s interesting to see that Nwadike turned down the big money offer but also is turning down new contracts and doesn’t have the ambition box ticked. Is ambition then the personality trait needed in the players to move the team up the table, or is it basically ability instead?

You’ve set yourself a lot to do this off season. One defensive position looks sorted for next season, that player in France who got that work permit after 7 games :brock:

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40 minutes ago, Sonic Youth said:

Congrats on staying up. I thought it was never in doubt :D

I think this season the teams in the league performed better than the previous season and hence why you struggled more at times.

Thanks - I'd argue we were actually better but have struggled with injuries and a lot of bad luck. However, that's the notorious second season now done with!

41 minutes ago, Sonic Youth said:

About time the board agreed some “Club” upgrades! I almost lost hope on your new contact, and can’t believe they then turned down a training course for you :mad:

I'm at the point now where I just want rid of this board. We've got nowhere near the infrastructure that we really need if we want to push on. We have the smallest stadium by a big margin and are also the only team not to have top quality facilities and a top youth level.

43 minutes ago, Sonic Youth said:

Does this mean you now have an u23 and u18’s teams? 

Nope. We've always had an u23 squad but this is the first year that they'll play competitively (minus the tiny Papa John's run since we've been a Prem team) but I still have no u18 squad. I'm hoping that'll come with some more youth level improvements.

44 minutes ago, Sonic Youth said:

Interesting with the data, that even though Milianti was out for that long, he still racked up 30 90 minute appearances. I was hoping that Vlad would still hit 10 goals for the season. Can’t believe he’s now 28 and turning 29 next season.

It’s a shame Perry is 33, as he also gets a decent amount of int/90 as well.

It's definitely brought up some interesting stuff! Milianti is absolutely key to how we play and, being honest, I have pushed him through poor fitness and quick returns from injury - I just hope that this doesn't hurt him in the long run. Ferencik and Perry are the elder members of the squad and are doing really well and, yeah, Vlad has been around forever. However, this lad can score!

46 minutes ago, Sonic Youth said:

Looking at your 3 personality traits tracked, ambition looks clearly to be your third ranked of the two. It’s interesting to see that Nwadike turned down the big money offer but also is turning down new contracts and doesn’t have the ambition box ticked. Is ambition then the personality trait needed in the players to move the team up the table, or is it basically ability instead?

It's a bit of a cop out. There is only one way to check ambition (without using the editor) and that is through the personality. So, anyone with certain personalities shows through in that box. Here is the formula for that so you can see which ones I've chosen (with 1 being positive and -1 negative):

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I obviously can't tell the specific attribute value so all those without a tick could have one less than the pre-requisite to pop to those personalities. It works well enough.

I seem to not favour really ambitious players to be fair because of their contract demands and want to move on. 

50 minutes ago, Sonic Youth said:

You’ve set yourself a lot to do this off season. One defensive position looks sorted for next season, that player in France who got that work permit after 7 games

I'm actually not going to do a lot this summer - and that is because I want some baseline data for the u23 squad. I want to see how much they are going to develop with just the u23 games that are scheduled. From this, I can start to build youth training schedules and pinpoint areas for development. I am going to use the same tracker as for the first team I think - just to count attribute points gained or lost.

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I think Playing Time is largely irrelevant here, as is the comparison but I may be able to search for players who have appeared in that league, too.

And, yes, Birkir is going to be a decent player I hope. He joins Laurence Richards (replacement for loanee George Farrar) and Lloyd Gallinagh (replacement for Henry Alade) in the first team as I look to ensure that my philosophy of replacing underperformers with youth players is realised.

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July 2044: New faces

An official welcome to the first team for these three:

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(N.B. I let my assistant do the squad numbers last year but can confirm Richards won't be retaining his #10!)

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21 minutes ago, _Ben_ said:

July 2044: New faces

An official welcome to the first team for these three:

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(N.B. I let my assistant do the squad numbers last year but can confirm Richards won't be retaining his #10!)

Ulfarsson looks like he has had a hard paper round the poor bloke.

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2 minutes ago, _Ben_ said:

I was going for the Viking warrior kind of approach but I see your point!

No they look awesome. Sorry I just found that one funny. He looks like someone I work with who barely sleeps and drinks energy drinks all day lol.

Awesome work by the way. Also this is my favorite career thread on FM2021.

Keep up the good work buddy.

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2 hours ago, Ronaldo Beckham said:

No they look awesome. Sorry I just found that one funny. He looks like someone I work with who barely sleeps and drinks energy drinks all day lol.

Awesome work by the way. Also this is my favorite career thread on FM2021.

Keep up the good work buddy.

He does have the eyes of a man with a four-Red-Bull-a-day addiction, doesn't he!

Many thanks! It's been a fun ride and now that I've got this realism thing out of my head (but will allow it to come back, massively, in future saves) I want to press on with my actual real love - youth development! It's weird to say that I'm just getting into it 24 seasons but I am!

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August 2044: Versatility

A goal for my youth squads is to have players, by the age of 18 (ideally when progressing from the u18 squad, when it comes, to the u23) able to play in at least two positions, at an accomplished level. My general rules are:

  • Ball playing midfielders to full backs
  • Tall midfielders to centre backs
  • Forwards to wide players
  • Tall centre backs to defensive midfielders
  • Slightly less technical full backs to centre backs or defensive midfielders
  • Creative attacking midfielders to central midfielders or defensive midfielders
  • Big forwards to defensive midfielders (if changed early enough to build a solid defensive base)

Also, I generally expect my full backs and wingers to be comfortable on both sides but I also like them to have one other strata that they can play in. 

---

This method generally pulls from the total-football style and, what it tends to yield is good all rounders rather than star individuals as it's very rare for me to be pushing the 18,19,20 attributes in my youngsters as I prefer those with no weaknesses rather than one or two strengths. Sometimes I try to change the primary position of a player but other times I just like to add to the versatility, even if I don't always expect to play them there.

Here is my initial go at this:

62581850b109bbf2f0de4cc5a704d54e.png

Edited by _Ben_
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August 2044: New Staffing Structure

So, I'm having a complete play around here and this experiment may completely backfire - however, it's a bit of fun!

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Goals:

  • To minimise the number of staff, relying on a core group of staff who cover a wide breadth of roles for me.
  • To look at the impact of not having specific coaches for the u23 players - instead just using those who are assigned to the whole club.
  • To reduce un-necessary roles, such as DoF, Loan Manager etc and deploy them to other people.

This doesn't quite feel realistic but I just want that sense of a really close knit and small backroom team working together on this shared goal.

The men:

Me, obviously, as manager. I will be in charge of the first team training and contracts of players.

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Joao Antunes - in the role I want to call Head of Player and Staff Development. Kind of feels like cheating how I've managed to get, literally, the best member of staff in the game but I have had to pay him a massive amount to get him to agree to the dual role thing! He's the joint Ass man/HoYD and is involved in running the youth squads, bringing players through and giving out new contracts to the staff. He also runs all the training for the non-first team players and attends all the press conferences for me as well as providing the coach reports and providing team selection advice. He is, basically, the jack of all trades but also the master of them, too! 

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(N.B - interestingly, his 'role rating' as an Assistant increased after signing and is now half full. Can't say I've ever seen that before although I do rarely deal with dual jobs)

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I'd really like a Head of Recruitment role which encompasses Chief Scout, Loan Manager etc but I feel that the game slightly limits the cross over of that and I haven't been able to appoint anyone to the dual roles either.

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I have also removed all of my youth staff, instead relying on just the senior staff to run u23 training as (a couple of areas aside) they are able to do a decent job and slimmed down the other youth backroom side - no u23 physios, sport scientists, performance analysts etc.

Let's see how this changes things...

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1 hour ago, tyler16 said:

Good to see you persevere with this.

Interested to see the developments with the U23s, staff changes, etc. Personally always loved the development aspect of your threads the most.

Thanks! With my long term saves, they tend to go through topics or spells. I've done the tactical bit now and I know where we are at so it's time to focus on some youth development. Yes, it's at the detriment of that but I can find fun in other places. 

I'm excited about the youth development stuff and want to go into lots of depth here but I do need to collect some baseline data first. This season will be that - everything is pretty vanilla.

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August/September 2044

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I'm pretty happy with our start.

A nightmare opening month with Chelsea, Spurs and Man City - so I am delighted to have taken four points from those three. We, yet again, fell short against Everton who, under Danny Hylton, are becoming our bogey team. September was equally as uneventful as we lost to a strong Saints team and then scraped a draw at table topping (?!?!?) Bournemouth after a strong win away at the Blades - even though we did our usual and waited until late in the game to make our chances count.

I am slightly concerned about our lack of league clean sheets, although the opposition has been tough and, obviously, our poor form in the cup - but that was my youths and backups both times.

---

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Milianti finally decided that he should no longer wait out for an Italy call up and marked his debut with two goals against Costa Rica.

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