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[FM21] Hometown Heroes


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4 hours ago, Justified said:

When I started off with Bath in FM20 I discovered you need a couple of years to get the squad right. When I arrived there were very few players I wanted to keep so after the first season I released ALOT. After that you just pick up loads of ex PL club academy players. With your own academy it helps if the club philosophy is to develop your own academy players because then the club is more willing to update the academy, recruitment etc etc.

Interesting you got Akinola, I had him at Bath too ūüėĀ Scarily clinical in front of goal I have to¬†say.

I know. I really want to focus on my academy but, honestly, which Vanarama level clubs have academies that are regularly churning out first team players? I want to steadily build and, in the next four to five years, maybe with us being professional and in the Football League, start to go down that route. 

Yeah - Akinola has been a good purchase so far - it's that pace at this level that does it!

1 hour ago, rosque said:

Will be definitely reading this as both Guadalajara and Voltaco were amazing career threads! Honestly thought Joao Fernando  would make an appearance in this thread. 

Thank you @rosque. I've used Geilton's face but, at this level, I just don't think it's realistic to have any Brazilians - I know of none, for example! When we reach the higher echelons, I do have a plan though...

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February/March 2022

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What a wonderful little spell and an unbeaten month, too, meaning that we are pretty much safe - 11 points ahead with just six games left. 

Our football isn't really that pretty, even if we are playing it a little shorter than most at this level but the team have gelled pretty well and, if I can continue to focus on small upgrades - of intelligent players, I think we'll be ok here for a while.

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27 minutes ago, _Ben_ said:

I know. I really want to focus on my academy but, honestly, which Vanarama level clubs have academies that are regularly churning out first team players? I want to steadily build and, in the next four to five years, maybe with us being professional and in the Football League, start to go down that route. 

Yeah - Akinola has been a good purchase so far - it's that pace at this level that does it!

Thank you @rosque. I've used Geilton's face but, at this level, I just don't think it's realistic to have any Brazilians - I know of none, for example! When we reach the higher echelons, I do have a plan though...

Very true. I was lucky enough to get a 5 star Dutch right winger after my first intake called Groot (Of course I nicknamed him Iam Groot) who was immense and after 2 seasons went to Swansea for over 2m plus addons. But that was extreme luck. Good luck though, enjoying the start.

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1 hour ago, Justified said:

Very true. I was lucky enough to get a 5 star Dutch right winger after my first intake called Groot (Of course I nicknamed him Iam Groot) who was immense and after 2 seasons went to Swansea for over 2m plus addons. But that was extreme luck. Good luck though, enjoying the start.

As you'll see from my intake in a second that I most definitely do not have any one that will solve my financial worries at this point!

Thanks - hopefully, it'll get more immersive as I bond with the players and I get chance to build on my ideas a bit more.

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2021/22 Youth Intake

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As someone who has just managed in Brazil with the odd dual national, this is a smorgasbord of nations for me to dissect. Sadly, that's about the only positive to take from it. 

Dean Isaac is the best player on paper right now but, looking solely at attributes, I 'like' the passing/flair combo that Anthony Europe brings.

---

I'm not sure where I want to go with analysing youth intakes etc, so I've used the tool that I built for my Guadalajara save last year. Here it is with this data inputted:

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Ross Delaney comes out as the top player on this but this may well be skewed with this high attributes for Determination, Aggression and Natural Fitness, which, if I remember rightly, have no impact on CA of a player. This cohort is also good at tackling, aggressive at fit but their Off the Ball, Technique and overall physicality is sadly lacking - meaning that the likelihood of any of these being able to slot in to a system that is quite different at this level is quite unlikely.

It has also brought up Richie Jones, who was overlooked by Danny Rowe in the initial presentation - but I like him a lot more, when they are compared:

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Richie is a considerably better finisher, works harder and is a little more intelligent. He's obviously got the CA skew because he's Left Only (1-8 for weak foot rating) whereas Rowe is Either (15-20 rating for both feet) so I'd suggest Rowe has better CA, but, at this level, it's the attributes that will make a difference.

The rating system I built for Volta Redonda is also interesting:

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Due to his physicality - it recommends him as a BWM, probably taking into account his awful concentration, first touch and technique for a forward.

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As mentioned - I'm experimenting with what I want to do with youth intakes and how I want to track player development this year...

.

Edited by _Ben_
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9 minutes ago, Carambau said:

Wow! Respect! You put a lot of work into this :)

Thank you! Not a lot to analyse right now given the current level and ability of these youngsters but hopefully that'll change over the next years/decades.

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5 minutes ago, Ronaldo Beckham said:

Well done staying up. Hopefully you can build on this and get promoted next season.

Thank you! Not particularly pretty, but we did it.

I think promotion next year would be one or two years too early given the lack of reputation and depth of the squad. It's not exactly a promotion that would secure us financially either so going up and coming back down wouldn't really be beneficial. I'd rather build so I can stay up comfortably.

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2021/22 Review

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A very pleasing season, if I'm honest. Coming in to a season whereby we were predicted dead last and with little strengthening early in the season, we managed to keep our heads above the water. Over the year, I've managed to pick up some free agents who have strengthened and allowed us to finish mid table, with little realistic threat of relegation after about the thirtieth matchweek.

My best XI does contain one graduate, Pieter-Jan Lambert, although he's actually not very good!

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The summer plans are to identify some small-scale improvements and go again next year.

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24 minutes ago, Peter G said:

Enjoying reading this. Was planning to do something similar with Essex on full release. Not decided on the level yet. 

Thank you! Lots more to come in terms of actually meeting the criteria I've set but I've been taken back a little by just how low the level is here.

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June 2022: The rebuild

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With the three above players leaving, I've managed to free up over £1500p/w in wages, of which I plan to distribute amongst 5/7 quality players, with a focus on the above four attributes.

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Loving this already especially as I used to live close to Redditch!

Really glad to see you're still doing the analysis and going into such great detail, your Brazilian save last year was a massive help to me in regards to building a club and then being able to just farm out Model Citizens at will! Speaking of... when are you going to sign your first model professional player and start the mentoring process over again! It will be really interesting to see at what stage you can get to with that and at what level. It will also be interesting to see if it can be done at a lower level with obviously lower facilities and presumably lower staff personalities & ratings.

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32 minutes ago, Watson156 said:

Loving this already especially as I used to live close to Redditch!

Really glad to see you're still doing the analysis and going into such great detail, your Brazilian save last year was a massive help to me in regards to building a club and then being able to just farm out Model Citizens at will! Speaking of... when are you going to sign your first model professional player and start the mentoring process over again! It will be really interesting to see at what stage you can get to with that and at what level. It will also be interesting to see if it can be done at a lower level with obviously lower facilities and presumably lower staff personalities & ratings.

Where abouts?

Aside from being the town that has the largest teenage pregnancy in the country (true facts!) what are your thoughts of this place?

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Yeah, I'm hoping that my analysis will develop as the save does. Right now - we're at such a low level that it hardly feels worthwhile. I am definitely hoping to be able to develop the playing and backroom staff to churn out wonderful intelligent, ball players with fantastic personalities - but that is way off!

My biggest problem right now is my lack of scouting package which means I have no idea about any personalities until they sign on trial. I've found that most of the released players this year seem to be lacking in something - which is why they've been discarded. At the moment, it appears to be Determination! I can't wait to get the ball rolling with our own development though.

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28 minutes ago, _Ben_ said:

Where abouts?

Aside from being the town that has the largest teenage pregnancy in the country (true facts!) what are your thoughts of this place?

---

Yeah, I'm hoping that my analysis will develop as the save does. Right now - we're at such a low level that it hardly feels worthwhile. I am definitely hoping to be able to develop the playing and backroom staff to churn out wonderful intelligent, ball players with fantastic personalities - but that is way off!

My biggest problem right now is my lack of scouting package which means I have no idea about any personalities until they sign on trial. I've found that most of the released players this year seem to be lacking in something - which is why they've been discarded. At the moment, it appears to be Determination! I can't wait to get the ball rolling with our own development though.

I probably should have said I lived close ish! I lived in Worcester for 10 years, and used to travel all around Redditch and local areas playing cricket! Didn't spend a lot of time in Redditch town itself but I was a lot younger so I imagine that a lot has changed since then.

 

Don't know if it's possible or even applicable but could you bring in staff of different nationalities to help/mitigate for the lack of a scouting package. On my current game in Denmark bringing in different nationality coaches has unlocked players that are way above my current quality and I don't even have a scouting package!

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July 2022: The Rebuild

With £1675 p/w freed up in wages - I went on a hunt! The general parameters were as followed:

  • Free agents
  • Ideally from local academies
  • At least decent in some of the four¬†intelligence attributes -¬†anticipation, concentration and decisions
  • No negative personalities (Balanced is very neutral and I don't like it but at this level, there is little choice)
  • Ideally not poor Determination - but I can work around that.

This is what I managed to do:

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Frankie Ealing. Chisom Afoka. Ollie Tipton. Joe Hancott. Harry Birtwistle. Ben Guy. Mo Sylla. Adnaan Moti. Josh Hinds

---

This is a lot more of an overhaul than I initially wanted but all of these players are costly just £105 p/w more than three players who were released and all are better and fit in with my philosophy better. In Frankie, we have one of the top players in this league and an early front runner for Player of The Year. In Afoka, I have a player who my staff feel could be good enough to get all the way to the Championship. I'll discredit his intelligence a little as he seems the perfect physical Pressing Forward - fast enough to case any defence issues. Tipton is a Rolls-Royce of a centre back at this level and Hancott is a both physically and mentally great, even if he's a little technically weak. I envisage Birtwistle using his pace to bomb down the flank, overlapping the in-cutting Ealing but, what is best, I have Josh Hinds (a natural winger) and Sean Wilson (an IWB) as rotation options. Ben Guy will rotate nicely with Afoka up top and Mo Sylla brings a bit of mettle to the middle of the park. Moti is reasonably creative midfielder who'll add another option.

My strongest XI now looks like this:

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Looking forward to getting the season started. These signings have brought our predicted finish up to 13th and I reckon we are definitely capable of a solid mid-table finish!

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August 2022: Rout

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So many signings normally mean that there is a 'bedding in period' - it seems that, just a handful of games in, that this may not be the case!

EDIT: We have just lost 5-0 at home in the next game...

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38 minutes ago, wesl said:

Looking forward to following this! Nice setup but I always feel like the most creative central midfielder (Moti in this case) has to be among the best players on the side.

I 100% agree with this but I've been unable to get that craft and guile at this level, so I've opted for a good finisher instead and hope we can just be decisive!

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August/September 2022

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Some proper ups and downs here!

We were utterly clinical against Lowestoft, with the 7 goals coming from 2.36 xG yet in the following game we conceded five times from just 1.62 xG. Our play has been littered with mistakes and we've only kept one clean sheet in the league. The difference this year is that I haven't started as cautiously as last, despite pretty much a completely different squad and I think we've paid for that as the players get used to each other and the system. As a FM-player who rarely makes lots of signings, this is something that has taken me be surprise.

Fortunately, the signings of Afoka (6G and 4A in 10 games at an AR of 7.64) and Ealing (6G and 5A in 13 games at an AR of 7.12) look like top quality acquisitions that I'll look to build my attacking play around.

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October 2022: Behind the scenes update

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Things are looking reasonably solid here, which is great given the turnover of staff that we've had. There are still no Team Leaders but the majority of the squad now support me, which is wonderful. I foresee a period of stagnation whereby I don't massively change the playing squad in order to stabilise this group of players and push the support and atmosphere up.

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October 2022: FA Cup Draw

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We have got ourselves a nice money-spinner after reaching the First Round proper! I would seriously doubt that there are any grounds of this size entering at the level that Sunderland are - and we are away from home, too.

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November 2022: Our big day out

We headed to the North East with absolutely nothing to lose and started really well. Sunderland struck first on 40 minutes but we pulled one back with a lovely effort from Afoka:

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1-1 it was and we headed to extra time before we shared another two goals and, with seconds left - conceded a heartbreaking equaliser from forward Mitchell Curry, in what was, obviously, his first goal of the season. Even at this early stage I was too involved with the penalty shootout to get any video footage, but it was epic:

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Somehow, we held on. Somehow we did enough. Ben Guy should have won it for us and Filip Marschall got away with it as O'Hara missed for Sunderland but we did it!

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And I would say that we were not outplayed!

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Financially, we needed this! From our before image to now just being £77k in the red but with another tie ahead - we have managed to sustain ourselves for the short term.

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November 2022: FA Cup Draw

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Winnable?

Wigan are 16th in League One - below Sunderland. We are at home. We are in good form at the moment. One game away from a Premier League tie? Who knows...

EDIT:

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We've made it to national TV, too!

Edited by _Ben_
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November 2022: Another big day

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What?!

We have, however, lost Ealing for 8 months with that broken ankle and Hancott for 7 weeks. 1.18 v 1.00 xG shows that, once again, we have been well in the game.

WE ARE IN THE THIRD ROUND OF THE FA CUP!!

Bring on a trip to Old Trafford or similar...

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October/November 2022:

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I am absolutely certain that this won't continue however I am loving it whilst it lasts. We are now unbeaten in over two months and have really turned around what was previously a very leaky defence (I'll accept three against Sunderland!) 

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The FA cup money has also led to this:

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December 2022: FA Cup Draw

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Big opposition! Burnley are currently top of the Championship under the tutelage of Steven Gerrard and still have the likes of McNeil, Wood and Pope and have also added Ampadu and Marcus Edwards from Guimaraes in Portugal as well as Hannibal Mejbri, Trezeguet and Willian Saliba on loan.

Boston United, also of this level, have a home tie against QPR, Dover are away at Fulham, Chester entertain Premier League Villa and Telford have a winnable tie at home to Fleetwood, similarly to Eastleigh's home tie against Coventry - meaning that non-League is pretty well represented.

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13 minutes ago, Nottingham Forest said:

Lots of green....

Have to say, the way you play FM. I could only dream of it.

When Forest sack Hughton, you’re available right? 

I mean, I've managed 15th placed with a team in the Vanarama North, but yeah - not sure I could do worse than what I've seen at Forest in the past few years...

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December 2022: Yet another big game

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The Championship leaders were just too good for us as our dream run comes to an end. We've made over £300k in the two months that encompassed these three big FA cup ties and that is really what matters at this point - I am now able to retain a couple of the players that I signed last summer.

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January 2023: Mentoring

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Aron Davies

  • Fairly Determined (Determination 15-17, Professionalism <15, Leader <19)
  • Level Headed (Professionalism 13-20, Loyalty 12-20)
  • Determination = 18

Jeremiah Chilokoa-Mullen

  • Balanced
  • Media Friendly
  • Determination = 7

Sean Wilson

  • Balanced
  • Level Headed¬†(Professionalism 13-20, Loyalty 12-20)
  • Determination = 4

Chisom Afoka

  • Balanced
  • Media Friendly
  • Determination = 6

Johnly Yfeko

  • Balanced
  • Media Friendly
  • Determination = 6

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Balanced and Media Friendly are particularly shaky for non-newgens as they can't have negative personalities (Mercenary, Casual etc) so they can literally mean anywhere from 1-20. Therefore, my plan for Davies is to improve the Determination level of all of these lads and try to push that Professionalism up. With the constraints of his personality/media handling - he can't have any higher than 14 but that is a good starting point for these lads and will tip them over from Media Friendly to, hopefully, Level Headed.

At this point - the mentoring game is slow!

 

Edited by _Ben_
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December 2022/January 2023

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We are such a strange team. To come off the back of a two month unbeaten stretch, we then managed to not win in the next seven league games before smashing a team of similar stature to us, 5-0, away from home. What is more - we had lost 5-1 to the team 24th in the league despite bettering them on xG. 

However, we find ourselves nice in the middle of the table - far enough away from relegation to be able to look ahead but knowing that the playoffs would be a step too far given the way we are performing over the long term.

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I also agreed another new deal:

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February/March 2023

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More inconsistencies - this time we've forgotten a) how to score and b) how to keep a clean sheet, for the most part anyway. I have a theory on this - and that is the very low Determination level across the squad (an average of 9.25) means that, once we've conceded, it is very hard for the players to not give up. This would explain that, even if games where we have matched the opposition for xG, for example, they've beaten us comfortably because we've 'given up' at the point we've gone behind or things have got hard. Below, I have compared the Determination attribute to the Average Rating of my first team:

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An interesting one.

Afoka is an outlier and is rating so well as he's scoring so well - however, the statistics available to me back up that he should be scoring a lot more and it'll be down to me to improve him as a finisher of find a player or a similar ilk who can do that. Elsewhere though, there is a clear point here - Moti, a CM, hasn't performed well and also has the joint lowest Det level in the team - along with Ioan RIchards. When you compare his AR to a player in a similar position, DC, such as Johnly Yfeko or Aron Davies - he's certainly an outlier.  That group of players - Tipton, Davies, Ealing, Akinola and Pinnington, kind of back up my point that those with a better Determination level have, overall, performed a bit better.

Food for thought when I have to rebuild this side, again, as it appears that the majority of players, Afoka included, don't actually want to stay any longer.

 

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2023 Youth Intake

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This really is a poor intake. Only stronger in the physical area when compared to last year and there is nobody who actually stands out, at all. I have kept the initial analysis data for comparison further down the line, but see no need to post it as there is little to take from it!

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2022/23 End of Season

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A very nice overall improvement, up from 15th last year. I did not expect us to be this close to the playoffs and, overall, I'd say that our game was far too inconsistent to actually warrant a finish this high up. We have improved in all areas but a bug-bear for me is still the goals conceded column as we ship 53 goals this season. To be successful - my aim is to always concede less than a goal a game. I want to work towards achieving this next year

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Player wise, one man has dominated - Chisom Afoka. Sadly, he doesn't want to renew his deal. There isn't really a lot else to say here - we're a team who are finding their feet and will change, once again, as the summer progresses.

 

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July 2023: The Rebuild Episode 2

I'm coming to the conclusion that, at this level, my summer will be a rebuild - at least five new faces in places whereby I want to improve and then looking at replacing players who are now leaving. Here are my dealings:

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Kurt Wilkinson. Aziz Ansah. Zayn Lawrence. Toby King. Daniel Oduro. Ben Smith. Prince Ankrah. Emmanuel Mahama.

--

Aside from now turning Redditch into a suburb of Ghana, I feel we've recruited really well again. I have managed to bring in a combination of more-Determined and, overall, more intelligent players, once again on low wages, supplemented by a couple of 'project' players on non-contract. I particularly like the Pace, Determination and Finishing of Mahama and hope he'll be pretty lethal off the bench, despite his pretty poor rating at this point (although, as always, this is with a pinch of salt).

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That leaves, probably, my strongest XI looking like this:

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I think this is pretty good. In the back four and DM Lawrence, we now have (CB concentration aside!) an intelligent and good footballing backline. The new midfield duo of Toby King and Ben Smith are head and shoulders above what we've had before and I really think that this duo could take us to the next level. Afoka is the outlier in terms of his footballing intelligence but has proven to put the ball in the back of the net - so keeps his place.

I am also delighted that the two top players from last year, Ealing and Afoka, are now listening to contract offers - although both will cost me upwards of £400 a week.

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We are essentially a youth team here but I feel that, until I can focus on my own academy - it's all about developing youngsters from other ones. My main worry is the ~£800 p/w of players sat in the U23 team who we have (already) now outgrown. We cannot afford to keep them but nobody will take them.

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14 hours ago, _Ben_ said:

2022/23 End of Season

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A very nice overall improvement, up from 15th last year. I did not expect us to be this close to the playoffs and, overall, I'd say that our game was far too inconsistent to actually warrant a finish this high up. We have improved in all areas but a bug-bear for me is still the goals conceded column as we ship 53 goals this season. To be successful - my aim is to always concede less than a goal a game. I want to work towards achieving this next year

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4782d9957739aa9b8ae232fbce0a5bbc.png.

Player wise, one man has dominated - Chisom Afoka. Sadly, he doesn't want to renew his deal. There isn't really a lot else to say here - we're a team who are finding their feet and will change, once again, as the summer progresses.

 

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Looks like the improvement is coming, slowly though. 

I know you may have been asked before, but, is there any chance of sharing the spreadsheet, even if its just the blank.

 

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