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[FM21] The Only Way is Essex

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Shameless copying from @_Ben_. I will be looking to manage teams in/around Essex and bring up the level of football across the county. There are only 2 League Clubs in Essex (Soon to be one after this season though) but there are a number of teams in the Non-League and just below. For this purpose I have loaded the Isthmian League using the download created by @BoyInGreen in the Editor Forum. I won't be making any hard and fast rules but I will looking, eventually, to have players from the academy playing and players from Essex. I will look to prioritise choosing other Essex teams for transfers and loans where it makes sense to help them. The teams that are in the above mentioned leagues are;

League Two; Southend United and Colchester United

Conference South; Billericay, Braintree, Chelmsford City and Concord Rangers

Isthmian League Premier; Bowers & Pitsea, Brightlingsea and East Thurrock United

Isthmian League Division One North; Aveley, Basildon United, Brentwood Town, Canvey Island, Coggeshall Town, Grays Athletic, Great Wakering Rovers, Heybridge Swifts, Hullbridge Sports, Maldon & Tiptree, Tilbury and Witham.

I have chosen to start at Concord Rangers. I feel this is the best level to start at as I can loan out players to a number of teams and there is a good basis to build a team and move forward into the Conference. On we go!


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It's been a while since I have managed at this level. Last time I did it was with, I think, Boston United in FM2019. I managed to get to the Football League in about 5 seasons but was promptly sacked after winning the National League. Which irked me. I might try and keep an eye out for some of those players to see if I can sign any of them. Loading this up there was a thought in my mind of the financial restrictions and there are some. But, they were actually better than I expected. 


£16.2k in transfer budget that I can use on wages it very helpful. As you can see I have already moved over half of my Scouting Budget. I don't see me using £32.5k, so I'd rather have it being put to good use. £300 p/w is a decent buffer, hopefully more can be generated from moving players out either permanently or on loan. Looking at the squad, there are two players I would like to move out. Sam Remfry and Tom Hanfrey. Doing so would give us another £340 p/w to put towards reinforcements, which are needed in midfield and defense. I can also move over the £16.2k transfer budget to give me another £311 p/w. One of the boards required tasks is to stay within the wage budget, so I will be looking to do that as being predicted and expected to make the play-offs is a lot. It will give me some leeway if I am just short. The first thing to do now will be to scour for some good players on loan a senior affiliate.


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We're now into the start of the season and signed players that I think will be a real asset to the team and fit well into the tactic I am looking at playing. We didn't have much to play with but the biggest priority was fixing the center of the field. We were far too light. To rectify this I signed Luke Haines and Rogerio Morais. Alongside them Anthony Cheshire added extra center-back cover. Both versatile players who can play in defence and in a defensive midfield role. To address our light options on defence I signed Oli Coker on loan from Southend for the right hand side alongside Yalany Baio. Tosan Popo is being trained to play as a Left-Back as cover for Fraizer Shaw who hasn't played well so far. Yasin Asai was signed as winger cover. I was happy with who I signed but right before the season start Alex Nimely was scouted by team and I had to sign him. He looked like the perfect striker for this division. I tried to loan out Temi Babalola but no-one bit, so we're £14 p/w over budget. 


We've started the season well, recording two big wins in the process. One against Long Eaton, 4-0, in the FA Cup Second Qualifying Round, shown above and a 3-1 win against our local rivals Chelmsford City. We had a brief rough start to the season, losing to two of our three starting games against Dulwich Hamlet and Hemel Hempstead. I had faith in my tactic though and we've righted that ship by winning two in a row to close the month out. I was disappointed to lose to Cheshunt in the FA Cup Third Qualifying Round as I was hoping to make a good run in that. It would have given us a good financial boost had we gotten to the First Round and the board wanted me to get to the Fourth Qualifying Round. Next month is going to be hectic with two games a week for the whole month but with the squad we have we should be able to put in a good account of ourselves. 



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Things are going very well so far. In fact, better than I could have imagined they would have gone. As can be evidenced by our results. Following the previous update we continued onto an 11 game unbeaten run, 7 wins, 4 draws. This has left us at the top well inside the play-offs ahead of schedule. Our best result was without a doubt the 6-2 win over Ebbsfleet who were 2nd at the time and on a strong run. I was shocked to see us completely push them aside like that. 


There is part of me that doesn't want us to get promoted this season as I think it will be way too early. We're not in a good position financially and we have very little depth, we've been lucky with injuries so far. We will need some serious work on the team in the summer no matter and a number of players have already indicated they wish to leave because of the financial position. So, whilst promotion would be fantastic, I think we would really struggle to stay up. I wouldn't say no completely though! Doing so well has meant we came second in the manager of the month for November. In terms of players, we had sent Charlee Hughes back to Wealdstone due to us only playing one up front and him not really pulling any trees in training. I also lost Rogerio Morais to Aves 1930 on a free transfer. He went back to his native Portugal and is now earning a nice £2.3k p/w!


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