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1 Watford                         £0
As always, the FM bookies make the relegated clubs favourites to win immediate promotion, with Watford topping the list this year. Happily, the board has the more realistic target of a finish in the playoff places. Despite moving on big names like Abdoulaye Doucoure and Gerard Deulofeu (loan) it remains a bloated squad and you’ll start with no transfer budget and already £100k a week in the red for wages, so more outbound moves will be required before you have room to rebuild. With a lot of interest from Premier League clubs for a host of players, the trick will be to hang on to the ones you want while shifting those you don’t.

2 Bournemouth              £0
If there’s an air of realism about Watford, the same can’t be said of The Cherries – not only do the board insist on promotion, they want the title with it. But like their fellow-favourites, there’s no money despite selling a host of first-team players (Ake, Ramsdale, Wilson), and the sharks are circling for the best of the remainers. The starting squad looks capable of a promotion challenge – the question is what it will look like at the end of the transfer window. This could be tough.
3 Norwich                         £5m
The board want promotion but don’t care how you do it, so there’s some latitude at Carrow Road, and there’s a little money available to bring in a couple more loans (currently 3). Those loans look like good business, and include Spurs’ Oliver Skipp, Burnley’s Ben Gibson, and Villareal’s Xavi Quintilla at LB. But, as always for the newly-relegated, star players like Max Aarons and Emi Bundia will be much in demand. A breakout year for young striker Adam Idah would help the cause enormously.

4 Brentford                       £3m
The Bees start the new campaign having lost two of their stars from last year – Ollie Watkins to Aston Villa and Said Benrahma to West Ham. But after the heartbreak of a playoff defeat last term, Brentford are sticking to their moneyball principles, turning to a raft of free signings from PL academies and some judicious transfers from lower-league and overseas outfits. The “big-money” deal was the arrival of striker Ivan Toney for £6.5m from Peterborough, but Vitaly Janelt from Bochum and Saman Ghoddos (loan) from Amiens could be equally influential. The board want a playoff finish and the squad looks more than capable of that.

5 Cardiff                             £0
After playoff disappointment last year, Cardiff are looking for the same again (perhaps not the ‘disappointment’ bit) and have arguably strengthened the squad for the attempt. Only Wigan target man Kieffer Moore was deemed worth a fee, but the loan signings of Leicester’s Filip Benkovic, Liverpool’s Sheyi Ojo and Harry Wilson, and Arsenal’s Jordi Osei-Tutu should be useful additions alongside stalwarts like Joe Ralls and Junior Hoilett.

6 Nottingham Forest      £3.5m
After flirting with relegation three years ago, Forest put in a solid playoff bid last time out before throwing it away at the finish. They have responded by making wholesale changes to that squad, signing 20 new faces in the summer. Some, like Charlton’s Lyle Taylor, Aberdeen’s Scott McKenna, and Bournemouth’s Harry Arter look like good business; others – like spending £4.6m on ex-PSG youngster Loic Mbe Soh – are questionable. And Forest are heavily-reliant on loans that include Fulham RB Cyrus Christie, Sheffield United winger Luke Freeman, and Fulham’s Anthony Knockaert.  With Matty Cash, Thiago Silva and Joao Carvalho gone, they’ll be relying on the flair of Joe Lolley, and the promise of youngster Alex Mighten.

7 Blackburn                       £100k
Rovers have made solid progress since bouncing back to the Championship, posting 15th and 11th place finishes in the last two years. This time out, the board has set its sights on a playoff spot that will depend on the fitness of Bradley Dack and the continued hot streak of Adam Armstrong in front of goal. Aiding the cause are former Boro duo Stewart Downing and Daniel Ayala, and the loan signings of Leeds LB Barry Douglas and Norwich CM Tom Trybull. A good choice for a long-term save that will require a substantial rebuild for a return to the PL glory days.

8 Swansea                          £3.2m
It’s all about the loan business here: the loss of last season’s stars, Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher and Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster, will surely be significant while the club must hope that replacements Morgan Gibbs-White from Wolves, and Chelsea’s Marc Guehi, can pick up the load. More significant still, Brighton’s Viktor Gyokeres is the only natural striker and additional support here will place immediate demands on the limited budget. Looking for a top-half finish, Swansea may only be a couple of serious injuries away from disappointment.

9 Bristol City                      £1m
After returning to the Championship in 2015, the Robins made progressive strides towards the next level before suffering a setback last time with a 12th place finish (and that may have flattered them). So a board demand for playoff football this time means the pressure is on a new manager. The squad certainly has quality, but many of the 6 new signings, including striker Chris Martin, RB Adrian Mariappa and who-knows-where-he’ll-play Chris Brunt, are already the wrong side of 30. Fulham loanees Steven Sessegnon and Alfie Mawson look like better business. A 4-4-2 is likely your only possible formation because a squad that looks flexible on paper is hampered by the fact that many of your best strikers are also your best AMLs, and your best AMRs.

10 Preston North End     £800k
Preston seem stuck in a perpetual fog of underachievement, spending the last 5 seasons in the top half of the table without ever really threatening the playoff places, let alone promotion. Which is puzzling – they have quality players everywhere, with the possible exception of striker. Last year they looked to David Nugent, Louis Moult and Jayden Stockley for goals, for a return of just 6 between them. They’ll be hoping for better from new signing Emil Riis, from Danish outfit Randers.  With the board wanting just another top-half finish is that realism or a lack of ambition?

11 Middlesbrough            £0
It’s been a troubled time at Boro who, after a single season in the PL four years ago, tumbled down to a relegation battle last term. They should do better this time – the raw youth of last season have another year of experience, and reinforcements have arrived in the form of one-time Arsenal prospect Chuba Akpom, Manchester City’s perpetual loanee Patrick Roberts, and Wigan’s World Cup midfielder Sam Morsy (although free-signing Duncan Watmore from Sunderland looks worth every penny). A season of consolidation would be a good outcome, giving the undoubted talent among the youngsters a chance to blossom.

12 Derby                             £0
The Rams, like Brentford and Forest, seem destined for eternal disappointment. However close they come to promotion, they can never quite seal the deal. Last time out they missed the playoffs altogether. This season the board are looking for no more than avoiding a relegation battle, which seems a fair reflection of the state of the squad. It was surely time for the likes of Richard Keogh, Tom Huddlestone, Marcus Olsson and Chris Martin to move on, but a number of the replacements are of questionable quality. Worse, the loss of fullbacks Jayden Bogle and Max Lowe looks particularly damaging. Better is the arrival of Brighton CB Matt Clarke on loan, and the signing of Polish winger Kamil Jozwiak, but the Premier League looks as far away as ever.

13 Birmingham                 £1m
Birmingham have partly filled their financial black hole with the millions from the Jude Bellingham sale, but that doesn’t mean a spending spree for a new manager. Instead, the club have already, ahem… judiciously invested £1m in West Brom winger Jonathan Leko, £950k in Villa striker Scott Hogan, and £800k in Cardiff keeper Neil Etheridge. Elsewhere there’s a mixed bag of free signings but there are still a lot of players in the twilight of their careers. A good choice for a long-term development project. 

14 Huddersfield                 £0
It’s been a wild ride for Huddersfield fans since promotion to the PL was followed by a decent season of consolidation… and then the wheels fell off. Relegation back to the Championship was almost followed by another drop before a finish in 18th place was secured. This time, the board want to avoid a relegation struggle, and well they might: the club has sold more than £24m of experience and replaced it with, well, very little. Of a raft of free signings, only Cardiff winger Danny Ward and Charlton defender Naby Sarr look like Championship quality, and it remains to be seen whether Spanish RB Pipa, £750k from Espanyol, can make the switch. With top scorer Karlan Grant gone it’s hard to see a reliable source of replacement goals.

15 Reading                           £0
Reading are a mystery wrapped, as they say, in an enigma. On paper the squad looks more than capable, with experience and potential from front to back. Yet in the last 6 seasons they have looked more like relegation fodder than promotion candidates. After claiming 3rd spot in 2017 they posted back-to-back finishes in 20th before managing 14th last time. The board wants a top-half finish this time, which ought to be achievable but may be a triumph of hope over experience. 

16 Stoke City                        £0
With no money available (and a negative balance on the wage budget) the board’s ambition for a playoff spot looks questionable after bottom-half finishes in the last two seasons. The Potters have moved on a lot of players to reduce the wage bill but, with the exception of Barnsley striker Jacob Brown, all of the replacements are free signings… and old: John Obi Mikel (33), James Chester (31), and Steven Fletcher (33). None looks like a decent replacement for the likes of Peter Etebo, Ryan Woods or Badou Ndiaye, but it remains a bloated and unbalanced squad. Tactical genius required.

17 Millwall                            £0
Since their return to the Championship Millwall have finished 8th, 21st and 8th. If that pattern repeats this could be a bad year but there is surely potential for a playoff spot. With an excellent goalkeeper behind a solid defence, and the ever-reliable Jed Wallace creating, perhaps all they need is a decent striker. But in two loan signings – West Brom’s Kenneth Zohore and Spurs’ youngster Troy Parrott – it isn’t clear they’ve found one. Yet.

18 QPR                                    £1m
Could this be the season where QPR manage to turn around their fortunes? Several seasons of consolidation in the bottom-half of the league have allowed the west Londoners to find some financial stability, and the £16m sale of Ebere Eze has given them funds that seem to have been wisely invested. Former Spurs and Swansea midfielder Tom Carroll is one of three new faces in midfield, along with former Arsenal youngster Chris Willock and another Spurs alumnus Luke Amos. Macauley Bonne comes in from Charlton to add some impetus to the attack. Perhaps as important, the Rs also managed to hold on to Ilias Chair and Bright Osayi-Samuel. A good manager could do good things with this group.

19 Luton                                 £50k
The return of Luton from the depths of non-league football to the Championship – via three promotions in six years – has been remarkable. Avoiding relegation last time was no small achievement either. But where do they go from here? The board and the bookies expect another struggle, but the additions of Charlton’s Tom Lockyer and Bristol City’s Joe Morrell will help the cause.  

20 Sheffield Wednesday    £0m
2020 has been a bad year for most but fans at Hillsborough will be particularly glad to see the back of it, after a season in which they failed to spend their way out of trouble then saw the club hit with a 6pt deduction. A lot of familiar faces have gone, including almost the entire strikeforce. Jordan Rhodes remains and is joined by Huddersfield’s Elias Kachunga, Derby’s Jack Marriott and Cardiff’s Callum Paterson, while Cardiff’s Aden Flint and Wigan’s Chey Dunkley come in to the defence. The Owls have done well with limited resources but survival will merit a remake of The Great Escape.

21 Coventry                          £0m
Promoted sides are expected to struggle but the likes of Barnsley and Luton have shown survival is possible. Coventry, back in level 2 for the first time in nearly a decade, will hope to emulate them. Some clever transfer business has brought in support in the form of Dutch midfielder Gustavo Hamer and Aston Villa’s Callum O’Hare, and the loans of Norwich LB Sam McCallum and Brighton defender Leo Ostigard bring some extra quality to the back line. New striker Tyler Walker from Forest has yet to show he can perform at Championship level but if he can prove an able deputy to Matt Godden the Sky Blues could have reason to celebrate.

22 Rotherham                     £300k
There may be a reason they’re known as the Millers – watch the sail on a windmill and see how it goes up and then goes down, and then goes up and then… For their third spell in the Championship in five years Rotherham must be desperately hoping to make this one stick. The bright spot on their horizon is the return of last year’s star Daniel Barlaser but now on a permanent contract. Birmingham’s Wes Harding also joins a squad that looks more than strong enough to survive. All down to the manager, then!

23 Wycombe Wanderers   £0
The Chairboys are testament to what can be achieved with grit, determination and a big man on the end of corners. They’ll need all that and more this season, but will surely enjoy the ride while it lasts. After groping down the sofas at Adams Park they’ve scraped up £50k to bring in the useful-looking Daryl Horgan from Hibs, and added Championship experience in the shape of Hull’s Ryan Tafazolli and Millwall’s Jason McCarthy. Everton’s young midfielder Dennis Adeniran comes in on loan. Fasten your seatbelts…

24 Barnsley                          £600k
The Tykes’ survival last year was built on a brave pressing game and a new manager might be wise to build on that foundation. Useful reinforcements have already arrived in the form of ex-Liverpool prospect Herbie Kane, and the loan of Matty James from Leicester. Perhaps the  greatest need is a replacement for striker Jacob Brown to ease the burden on Cauley Woodrow; happily, there’s money available for a good loan signing.

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1 Hull City                           £0k
On New Year’s Day Hull  were 8th in the Championship; by the end of the season they’d managed to secure relegation in last place. Much of the impetus for that collapse was the sale of star men Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki. A further eight departures followed in the transfer window as the club sought to rebuild for life in L1. But in real life they’ve adapted well, aided by the signings of Barnsley’s Mallik Wilks, Fleetwood’s Lewie Coyle, Bolton’s Josh Emmanuel, and Rangers’ Greg Docherty. For once, a post-relegation bounceback might be on the cards. A good candidate to “build back better” - especially if a takeover transpires.

 

2 Sunderland                     £500k
Do the pundits never tire of getting this one wrong? For the third season they’re tipped for automatic promotion but last season finished further away than ever. The club continues to shed surplus players but this year’s crop of replacements does not inspire confidence – most look like prospects bought for future sales, and only the permanent signing of Bristol City’s Bailey Wright could be considered a statement of intent. Reality might be dawning in the boardroom where current owners are expecting no more than a playoff position while they actively look to sell.

 

3 Charlton Athletic           £400k
Despite the brevity of their return to the Championship, Charlton could point to their steady rise in the preceding seasons as cause for optimism. Less certain, however, is the ownership of the club, which is currently in dispute although settled in FM. Off-season transfer dealings saw the club put an emphasis on experience with the signings of Forest’s Ben Watson, Sunderland’s Adam Matthews, Reading’s Chris Gunter and Luton’s Andrew Shinnie. Marcus Maddison from Peterborough adds some guile to the midfield, while Cardiff’s Omar Bogle reinforces the front line. The board want playoffs but better could be achievable.

 

4 Portsmouth                    £100k
Back-to-back failures in the playoffs have some supporters grumbling but only a slow start last season held Pompey back as they finished strongly, only to fall at the last hurdle. The squad remains one of the strongest in the division, and while the board wants only a playoff position, the time has surely come for someone to push Pompey to promotion. 

 

5 Ipswich Town                  £0
Strongly tipped for an immediate return to the Championship last time out, Ipswich suffered the common fate of the newly-relegated and finished firmly mid-table. Many pundits blamed their relegation from the second tier on an excess of loyalty to old players past their best, and they may not have learned that lesson – the squad still features a number of 34-year-olds. On the other hand they have some of the division’s brightest prospects in defender Luke Woolfenden, midfielders Andre Dozzell, Flynn Downes and Idris El Mizouni, and forward Jack Lankester. Promotion should be the easy part – the challenge lies in what follows.

 

6 Blackpool                         £50k
After the off-field shenanigans of recent years, Blackpool have steadied the ship and secured mid-table status before looking to advance now. Decent recruitment has added Swindon’s Keshi Anderson, Rotherham’s Jerry Yates and Everton’s Luke Garbutt to a squad that looks capable of reaching the playoffs. Unfortunately, an ambitious board wants nothing less than automatic promotion so there’s little margin for error.

 

7 Peterborough United    £400k
Posh fans will tell you that coronavirus cost them promotion, and they may have a point. No team was better in March as they racked up goals and wins, including against promoted sides Wycombe and Rotherham. The loss of top scorer Ivan Toney will hamper a repeat of that form, but there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic, including the return of striker Jonson Clarke-Harris, the additions of Sammie Szmodics and Huddersfield’s Reece Brown in midfield, and the continued services of Siriki Dembele and forum favourite Mo Eisa. The playoffs should be the minimum ambition.

 

8 Shrewsbury Town           £200k
Always a popular choice for a small-club save, Salop last won promotion to the second tier in 1979. The board does not expect miracles but is eyeing another promotion in 2022/23 while playing entertaining football. The squad boasts a solid defence behind a midfield featuring Ollie Norburn, Josh Vela and wily old David Edwards. Jason Cummings should be a reliable source of goals, while the loan signings of Brentford’s Jan Zamburek and Spurs’ Shilow Tracy add some decent potential.

 

9 Doncaster Rovers            £0
Doncaster have come close to promotion in recent seasons but their ambition has been undermined by inconsistency on the pitch. The loss of Kieran Sadlier will be a setback, but the signings of Jason Lokilo from Palace and Cameron John from Wolves will help. Former Manchester City youngster Taylor Richards arrives on loan from Brighton and should be given a chance to shine.

 

10 Oxford United               £50k
The U's have come a long way from the dark days of non-league football a decade ago, just failing at the finish last season to win promotion to the Championship. A talented young squad has been bolstered by a permanent arrival for Matty Taylor, who scored at a 1-in-2 rate last time. But all eyes will be on Marcus McGuane, the first Englishman to play for Barcelona (even if only the B team) since Gary Lineker, whose arrival on loan from Forest is a major coup for Oxford.

 

11 MK Dons                          £200k
After bouncing back from L2 the Dons managed to avoid immediate relegation last year. An improved squad looks capable of doing the same – but the (overly?) ambitious board is demanding a top-half finish. Summer transfers have added plenty of experience in the form of Bournemouth’s Andrew Surman and Derby’s Richard Keogh, both 33, while former Burton midfielder Scott Fraser brings some quality to the midfield.

 

12 Lincoln City                    £0
The Imps followed their L2 title with a solid, mid-table finish last time. Veteran defenders Michael Bostwick and Neal Eardley have moved on, but Lincoln have recruited well, including experienced Forest midfielder Liam Bridcutt. The eye-catching signing is the loan of West Brom’s young striker Callum Morton, who bagged 8 in 12 to help Northampton to promotion last season.

 

13 Burton Albion               £0
A popular choice for a youth development save, thanks to sharing the England national training facilities, Albion will be looking to a return to the Championship in the not-too-distant future, but the board are willing to give a new manager time to get there. Smart summer recruitment has upgraded the goalkeeping with Kieran O’Hara from the Old Trafford academy, added to midfield with Spurs prospect Jack Roles, and Wolves’ Niall Ennis should help Kane Hemmings up front.

 

14 Bristol Rovers               £50k
The Gas can be forgiven for envious glances at their city neighbours – while the latter have settled in comfortably to life in the Championship, Rovers seem perpetually stuck in the middle of L1, and the board are happy with that. Transfer business sees some upgrades, including the arrival of Coventry’s Zain Westbrooke, Charlton’s Erhun Oztumer, and Scottish midfielder Sam Nicholson. There’s potential, too, in the form of Chelsea youngster Josh Grant and Boro’s Ben Liddle.

 

15 Swindon Town              £20k
Swindon swaggered back to L1 on the back of 44 goals from Eoin Doyle, Jerry Yates and Keshi Anderson. Unfortunately, they’ve all left. And it’s open to question whether the summer signings can pick up the load. Only loanee Jonny Smith is a natural striker, so there’ll be pressure on new midfielders Brett Pitman, Diallang Jaiysemi and Jordan Stevens. The board demands for a top-half finish look horribly optimistic.

 

16 Gillingham                     £25k
The Gills start their eighth season in L1 having rarely threatened the upper reaches. The lack of goals was a problem last year so the arrival of ex-Blackburn striker Dominic Samuel will be welcome. They’ve added quality elsewhere in the form of Wolves’ Jordan Graham, Hull’s Robbie McKenzie and Fleetwood’s Kyle Dempsey. Any progress would be good progress.

 

17 Fleetwood Town          £68k
The Cod Army came close to promotion last season and could do so again. They’ve retained the goalscoring services of Paddy Madden and Ched Evans, while adding the creative vision of Sheffield United’s Mark Duffy in support. The midfield also looks stronger with the arrival of Callum Camps from Rochdale and Rangers’ Jordan Rossiter. Far from fashionable, Fleetwood are an interesting choice for a long-term development project.

 

18 Crewe Alexandra         £20k
The Railwaymen return to L1 with a team filled with academy graduates playing attacking football. With little reason to change, the summer was quiet on the transfer market, with a few older players moving on. The two new signings add a touch of experience in the shape of Shrewsbury defender Omar Beckles and, hopefully, a little impetus to the frontline in Accrington’s Offrande Zanzala. Perry Ng remains to marshall the defence, while Ryan Wintle and Harry Pickering run the midfield. The first team looks like quality – the question is whether there’s enough depth to handle the post-promotion challenge.

 

19 Accrington Stanley      £0
Stanley did well to finish 2019 – their first season back in L1 – in mid-table, but fell back a little last term. The reality, though, is that continued survival is a triumph for a club of such slender means. Which makes them a popular choice for a lower-league challenge. The arrival of Scunthorpe’s Cameron Burgess in defence is the kind of smart transfer business that is arguably more important than tactical wizardry.

 

20 AFC Wimbledon           £50k
This is life on football’s breadline where every day is a struggle for survival. Since they emerged, phoenix-like in 2002, they rose steadily through the non-league levels but three consecutive finishes just above the dropzone suggest they may have reached their limit. The Blades’ Ben Heneghan and Posh’s Alex Woodyard are handy recruits to the cause, as is the loan of promising youngster Jaakko Oksanen from Brentford. But anything better than a relegation scrap would be surprising… and miraculous.

 

21 Plymouth Argyle          £0
Plymouth return to L1 arguably stronger than they left it, but there’s a clear split between the FM pundits and bookies – the former expect a comfortable mid-table finish; the latter, perhaps with a better grasp of reality, predict a relegation scrap. Argyle have lost the midfield creativity of Antoni Sarcevic, but have retained the loan services of Blackpool’s Ryan Hardie who chipped in with 7 goals in 13 appearances last year. The arrival of Wigan’s Lewis MacLeod and Peterborough’s George Cooper may be more significant.

 

22 Rochdale                        £50k
After returning to the division in 2014, the Dale stormed to a finish just outside the playoffs. Since then, however, they have struggled to escape the lower reaches of the table and look set for more of the same. A glance at the squad reveals a lot of 4-star ability in defence and midfield; rather less so up front. The arrival of Southend striker Stephen Humphrys is to be welcomed but a new manager will still have to find a way to win by scoring few but conceding fewer.

 

23 Northampton Town    £10k
Northampton were unlikely candidates for promotion after finishing in 7th last time, but battled their way to playoff victory. They’ll need more of the same spirit to survive, but the loss of two key players in captain Charlie Goode to Brentford and Jordan Turnbull to Salford is a setback. Brentford prospect Luka Racic comes the other way on loan, while the signings of Mansfield’s Danny Rose and Wolves’ Benny Ashley-Seal mark useful additions. The season is likely to be a slog, and it certainly won’t be pretty, but survival is all that matters.

 

24 Wigan Athletic              £0
Wigan would have finished mid-table in the Championship, but administration meant relegation and the club is not yet out of danger. By the time of the January update they may have vanished forever, so FM managers wanting a crack at this challenge might want to get in quick. A huge number of assets have been lost, including the likes of Antonee Robinson, Keiffer Moore, Josh Windass and Jamal Lowe. Incredibly, the squad still looks pretty good, especially by L1 standards. But that’s only because of a transfer embargo and most of your remaining quality are transfer listed “due to the club’s perilous financial position”. In FM, as in real life, it’s impossible to know how this will play out but it’s likely to get worse before it gets better.

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1 Salford                   £20k
Suspicions that Salford are buying their way to success will be little diminished after a busy transfer window that saw the likes of Rochdale’s Ian Henderson, Fleetwood’s Ashley Hunter and Preston captain Tom Clarke drop down a division. But with a host of new signings comes problems – team cohesion is “abysmal” at the start, while the board demands nothing less than the title. There may be trouble ahead...

 

2 Bolton                     £0
Back-to-back relegations find The Trotters at their lowest ebb but a raft of new signings have arrived to stop the rot. They include the division’s top scorer last time, Swindon’s Eoin Doyle, promoted Plymouth’s Antoni Sarcevic, and experienced heads like George Taft and Branden Comley. As at Salford, the challenge will be to forge a team from this bunch of strangers. 

 

3 Tranmere                £20k
Like a certain president 3,000 miles away, Tranmere will feel cheated by a vote that saw them relegated from L1 in a Covid-curtailed season. Hopes of an immediate return may be optimistic but the recruitment of experienced campaigners like Blackpool’s Jay Spearing and James Vaughan will do them no harm.

 

4 Walsall                     £25k
Walsall found it difficult to shake off the relegation hangover last time, but a decent spine to the squad has been bolstered by the arrival of Southampton’s Jack Rose between the sticks, Mansfield RB Hayden Wight, and winger Rory Holden from Bristol City. If they can get strikers Elijah Adebayo and Caolan Lavery scoring then a playoff run should be on the cards.

 

5 Colchester               £0
Lots of clubs expect managers to make the most of youth. What makes Colchester unusual is that they actually have the facilities to do it. Inevitably, though, those prospects get picked off by sides with better reputations and the Essex outfit start this season with most of the squad attracting attention from L1 and Championship clubs. Fending off those suitors while getting the most from talents such as Courtney Senior, Ben Stevenson and Kwame Poku is the challenge. The manager who gets it right could find promotion is within reach.

 

6 Newport County    £30k
Two years ago Newport made a good run at promotion but fell back last year as goals were harder to come by and the defence suddenly sprang a leak.  It’s in defence and midfield that the Exiles look strongest, but they’ve added Plymouth’s Ryan Taylor and Rotherham’s Jamie Proctor in search of a more effective attack. The playoffs are possible again.

 

7 Forest Green          £100k
A promising start to 2019/20 ended with just three wins from their last 20 games and a disappointing mid-table finish. The squad has been reshaped, and notable recruits include Portsmouth’s Luke McGee in goal, West Brom’s Kane Wilson in defence, and a Scots winger Nicky Cadden. But perhaps the most notable addition is Arsenal defender Héctor Bellerín, who becomes the club’s second-largest shareholder. Could be the start of a beautiful relationship.

 

8 Bradford City          £0
The Bantams have tried a number of new managers in an attempt to turn around their disappointing fortunes since relegation two years ago but to little effect. Ellot Watt from Wolves and Callum Cooke from Peterborough join a good squad, but they’ll have to do better or risk their worst season since falling out of the Premiership two decades ago. Bradford were never really a giant, but few clubs have fallen further.

 

9 Exeter City               £50k
The Grecians have suffered play-off final misery three times in four years, which may be why the media pundits of FM predict a second-place finish. The bookies, however, are not convinced. Who is right will be decided by a young squad featuring the likes of attacking midfielder Joel Randall, rampaging full-back Josh Key and defensive midfielder Will Dean. Your first squad view is a sea of green “Wanted” signs – keeping the best of the prospects will be key.

 

10 Mansfield               £50k
The Greeks have a word for it - ‘hubris’, dangerous overconfidence, and Mansfield displayed it in spades last year. After a decent playoff finish in 2019, last season’s target was nothing less than a title-winning promotion. Instead, Mansfield barely escaped relegation in the bottom four. Expectations have been tempered with a board demand for the playoffs again and a steady hand on the wheel should achieve at least that. The squad is stronger as Marek Stech, Jordan Bowery and Ollie Clarke drop down the pyramid to join.

 

11 Grimsby                  £35k
The arrival of Blackpool’s Sean Scannell is a boost to the attacking flair of the Mariners, but the presence of no fewer than 7 loan players promises to make life difficult on matchdays that allow only 5. But some are essential – Forest’s Danny Preston is the only natural LB, while another from the Forest academy, Virgil Gomis, is the only alternative to transfer-listed 32-year-old James Hanson. Much squad juggling required.

 

12 Carlisle                    £0
Carlisle were harder to beat in the second half of last season en route to a comfortable bottom-half finish. But without a major improvement at the other end of the pitch it’s difficult to see much progress towards the board’s ambition. Plenty of new faces have arrived, including Rhys Bennett from Peterborough, Joe Riley from Bradford City and Brennan Dickenson from Exeter, but Gavin Reilly’s 4 goals last season on loan at Cheltenham won’t be enough.

 

13 Oldham                   £0
This mid-table prediction seems utterly inexplicable given recent events at Boundary Park: questionable ownership, financial shenanigans including a winding-up order from the taxman, and no fewer than six ‘permanent’ managers in three years. Somehow, they’ve managed to put together a decent squad that includes the likes of ex-ManU youngsters Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Zak Dearnley, and Fleetwood’s Conor McAleny. The question is whether decent football on the pitch is enough to overcome the instability off it.

 

14 Morecambe         £0
The Shrimps have now enjoyed more than a decade of L2 football, although relegation has always looked more likely than success. But with a tiny ground perpetually in the shadow of the giants of the north-west, the continued survival of the club is the greatest prize. Yet in FM, the most miraculous of fairy tales can come true… who will give it a shot this year?

 

15 Stevenage            £20k
Two heroic promotions a decade ago saw the Herts outfit catapult themselves from non-league to League One in the space of two years, and immediately made a grab for Championship football 12 months later. Since then the fall has been precipitous and only Macclesfield’s off-field woes saved them from the drop last season. The arrival of former Colchester captain Luke Prosser and Lincoln’s Ben Coker should beef up a porous defence but goals will be hard to come by.

 

16 Crawley                 £5k
Crawley’s recent history shows remarkable parallels with that of Stevenage – the consecutive promotions, one good season in L1, followed by decline and fall. They enter the new season after a string of finishes in the lower reaches of L2 but the squad looks capable of better. New recruits include Grimsby’s Jake Hessenthaler in midfield and a host of promising youngsters. 

 

17 Cambridge            £10k
It’s a good few years now since the U’s were looking up rather than down, but they reached safety in 16th place last time and there’s room for cautious optimism. Even at 38, ex-Norwich man Wes Hoolahan has the potential to inspire a young squad, bolstered by the loan signings of Bristol City’s Robbie Cundy, MK Dons’ Hiram Boateng and Ipswich’s Idris El Mizouni. Maybe you can win something with kids.

 

18 Port Vale                £50k
After relegation from L1 in 2017 Vale suffered back-to-back finishes just above the relegation zone. But under new ownership things took a distinct turn for the better last time out and they just missed the playoffs, a point behind promoted Northampton. Local lad and key defender Nathan Smith has signed a new contract, and Leicester’s Mitch Clark on loan looks like quality at fullback. Fortune could favour the Valiant.

 

19 Scunthorpe            £0
It’s been a rough couple of years for Scunny, who followed up three seasons of League One playoffs with relegation and a bottom-five finish in League Two last time. Reversing the decline will be a major challenge, as will managing a top-heavy squad that features eight attacking midfielders and six strikers but just one centreback.

 

20 Southend                £0
Southend start life back in L2 after a complete shambles of a season that was marked by abysmal results on the pitch and financial difficulties off it, including non-payment of players’ wages and winding-up petitions. The problems are not yet over, and a new manager will operate under an in-bound transfer embargo until the January window. The result is a horribly unbalanced squad that boasts eight fullbacks and just one recognized striker, and some will have to be sold to balance the books.

21 Cheltenham           £50k
There are weird differences in the predictions of FM’s media pundits and bookies and none is more bizarre than this versus a media prediction of 6th, and for a team that came within a whisker of playoff success last season. They have a settled squad, strong defence and good attacking options, with Doncaster’s twice-promoted Matty Blair their marquee signing. The Robins will be looking to avenge that playoff defeat this time around.

 

22 Barrow                     £10k
Departed manager Ian Evatt and his 'Barrowcelona' style of football made the north-west outfit an unlikely hipster’s choice last season. The question facing a new manager is simple: stick or twist? More of the same, or a reversion to lower-league type? A large squad gives you plenty of options.

 

23 Leyton Orient         £0
Despite a leaky defence and pre-season expectations, Orient never really looked as though they would succumb to relegation last time. That said, the board demand for a top-half finish is laughably optimistic after a transfer window that hasn’t notably strengthened the side. Another season above the dropzone would count as a decent achievement.

 

24 Harrogate Town     £25k
It is unfortunate that should you decide to take on the tiniest minnows you will instantly deprive Simon Weaver of his status as the Football League’s longest-serving gaffer. Equally, you’ll face a  challenge in meeting the board’s stark demand: avoid relegation. The recruitment team has scoured the length and breadth of Britain for talent, venturing as far north as Celtic for winger Calvin Miller, but a key signing may be Fylde’s Tom Walker who has “been there, done that” as part of the Salford squad that survived promotion from the VNN. A similar result with Town would be impressive indeed.

Edited by warlock
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Thanks fellas :thup:.

6 minutes ago, Scott_Gooner said:

I think I'm going to go with Colchester

Yeah, they stuck out to me when I was writing the guide - @Jogo Bonitoand I had a good time with Colchester a couple of years ago. But then the same is true of about 50 other clubs :rolleyes: :lol:

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Great work @warlockand thanks for your time and effort. I know it's not easy making this thread but it's appreciated by all of us.

Our challenge this year is to do all 72 right? Actually I see somebody in the thread who probably might be capable of that :lol:

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2 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

Our challenge this year is to do all 72 right?

Seems reasonable, and I had that very thought :D.

2 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

I see somebody in the thread who probably might be capable of that

Indeed - if only he could learn to apply himself :brock:

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22 minutes ago, warlock said:

Seems reasonable, and I had that very thought :D.

Indeed - if only he could learn to apply himself :brock:

Well my shortlist from League 1 & 2 alone is about 10 already. Not many that you have tipped too strongly in the guide though.

So far, I have set up a dummy game in League 2 and a dummy game for League 2 via Create A Club.

For the former, it's a small club I wanted to manage before. Last year they had not one player on the books that was HGC and I didn't fancy a six-subs challenge. This year it's the same for this outfit, but now the clubs don't need to have one HGC player any more. They just need a reasonable number of HGN, which is really easy.

The CAC mode for me means trim the squad, cancel most of the loans (after 28 days) and add a handful of realistic players that might be suitable for the level. This time around I also ditched every single U18 player except for the youth goalie, leaving about 20 players at the entire club (they have no U23 team anyway). CAC mode is different again this year as there is no option to keep kits (from the pack) for the club you take on. So that prompted me to also change the club colours of home and away kits too...

If you want a screen shot of League 1 and League 2 rules and transfer rules, I already have them and can post them.

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Good morning ladies and gents.

I'm firmly into January in my Norwich save. I'm having all sorts of problems with central defenders doing some very strange things, but otherwise it's going good. 

My biggest issue is scoring goals. I drew 1-1 with Bristol City just now. 30 shots. 18 on target. Can't buy a goal. Teemu Pukki is off to Dubai for £7.5m as a result, I'm shipping Adam Idah out on loan because after that performance he has the temerity to demand a new deal and Jordan Hugill is solid if not spectacular. So if you fine people have any striker suggestions, I'm very much all ears.

I also think it's weird that Norwich have sold £50m of talent in game and are still failing FFP. Definitely not like that in real life. 

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25 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

Not many that you have tipped too strongly in the guide though.

It's an issue. When I was writing the guides I kept thinking, they'll do well to avoid relegation while being aware that in FM any decent manager would get them promoted :lol:. I've followed the "too easy" arguments closely and I haven't made my mind up, but as I said at least once - in FM anything is possible. And, on balance, that's probably a good thing.

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4 minutes ago, warlock said:

It's an issue. When I was writing the guides I kept thinking, they'll do well to avoid relegation while being aware that in FM any decent manager would get them promoted :lol:. I've followed the "too easy" arguments closely and I haven't made my mind up, but as I said at least once - in FM anything is possible. And, on balance, that's probably a good thing.

Spot on! I'm expecting FM21 will be as easy to over-achieve as FM20 was, so it is hard to write these kind of guides :)

Having said that, my effort with Tottenham in the BETA never got any higher than 4th or 5th before it stalled. I might need to finish that season off to see how it ends up.

Who are you managing my friend?

Edited by Jogo Bonito
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2 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

Who are you managing my friend?

Ah, there's the question :lol:. One of the downsides of writing the guide is that I haven't had time to do anything in game since the final version launched. I did a couple of months with United* in the beta, just to get the feel of things. And a shorter spell with Bournemouth to see if life outside the PL was different. At the moment I'm torn between taking on one of the relegated PL sides - Bournemouth or Norwich - for my first full save, or going back to the likes of Ipswich or Plymouth (early saves last year). Now you've put me on the spot, I have a feeling it might be Ipswich. Feels like I have unfinished business in trying to recreate the glory years of Sir Robert of Robson.

What I have learned is that I'm going to have re-learn everything I thought I knew about tactics :rolleyes:.

* There is, as we all know, only one United!

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1 minute ago, warlock said:

Ah, there's the question :lol:. One of the downsides of writing the guide is that I haven't had time to do anything in game since the final version launched. I did a couple of months with United* in the beta, just to get the feel of things. And a shorter spell with Bournemouth to see if life outside the PL was different. At the moment I'm torn between taking on one of the relegated PL sides - Bournemouth or Norwich - for my first full save, or going back to the likes of Ipswich or Plymouth (early saves last year). Now you've put me on the spot, I have a feeling it might be Ipswich. Feels like I have unfinished business in trying to recreate the glory years of Sir Robert of Robson.

What I have learned is that I'm going to have re-learn everything I thought I knew about tactics :rolleyes:.

* There is, as we all know, only one United!

I've always wanted to manage Plymouth but still never have. First it was that they had Lethal Luke in goal, then I didn't like their kit styles (although I love a good green kit when it's done well), and then I never like hardly any of their players. So as a club yes they appeal with location, stadium etc. But as FM manager, I just can't ever feel enough love to manage them. Ipswich on the other hand is a great club with the fan base, stadium, history etc. Nicer retro kit this year, and even the likes of Dyer & Butcher on the staff I believe. It's just that they have virtually the same players as last year when I managed them and that seems dull. But yes, go for it!

I've learned a bit from the BETA (like you say, back in the day I could never get cracking early either due to the time doing these guides) but there is plenty that seems different and more detailed. The ME looks very good to me though so far. Tactics? I don't know if gegenpress is still overpowered but I'm trying to try some less predictable styles to make it harder.

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43 minutes ago, LincolnCanary said:

Good morning ladies and gents.

I'm firmly into January in my Norwich save. I'm having all sorts of problems with central defenders doing some very strange things, but otherwise it's going good. 

My biggest issue is scoring goals. I drew 1-1 with Bristol City just now. 30 shots. 18 on target. Can't buy a goal. Teemu Pukki is off to Dubai for £7.5m as a result, I'm shipping Adam Idah out on loan because after that performance he has the temerity to demand a new deal and Jordan Hugill is solid if not spectacular. So if you fine people have any striker suggestions, I'm very much all ears.

I also think it's weird that Norwich have sold £50m of talent in game and are still failing FFP. Definitely not like that in real life. 

I'd have kept Pukki until he came good, personally. Sorry I haven't been active enough in FM21 to suggest any top strikers for a club like Norwich. Patson Daka? Morelos? Of those that are already in England, I'd mention Lucas Joao but I doubt he is an upgrade on Pukki. Good luck, Norwich is always an attractive team to me.

Edited by Jogo Bonito
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10 hours ago, LincolnCanary said:

Good morning ladies and gents.

I'm firmly into January in my Norwich save. I'm having all sorts of problems with central defenders doing some very strange things, but otherwise it's going good. 

My biggest issue is scoring goals. I drew 1-1 with Bristol City just now. 30 shots. 18 on target. Can't buy a goal. Teemu Pukki is off to Dubai for £7.5m as a result, I'm shipping Adam Idah out on loan because after that performance he has the temerity to demand a new deal and Jordan Hugill is solid if not spectacular. So if you fine people have any striker suggestions, I'm very much all ears.

I also think it's weird that Norwich have sold £50m of talent in game and are still failing FFP. Definitely not like that in real life. 

@LincolnCanary I went for the other Anglian side and chose Ipswich, first season I got promoted and have started the Championship solid with 2 wins and a draw in the opening 3.

Onto Strikers though I loaned two legends from previous games and re-loaned them in the Championship and they are already banging them in ..... Pietro Pellegri & Lincoln

Both if not one will do the job they can't stop scoring for me, both pass WP issue (if you have it) and being a bigger club you might be able to get an option to buy in it, both as per previous games I'm sure are going to be unreal!!!

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Great job compiling the club overviews, once again, @warlock and thanks for creating this thread for our EFL managing community. So many great challenges to get stuck into!

As you know, I am managing Oldham this year and I think your preview sums up well the chaotic situation at the club!

Shameless plug for my updates over in the FMCU Forum, in case anyone is interested in following along (some of the regulars here have already got involved):

Although I won't be writing about my Oldham save here, I will be following along closely how everyone is getting along. Good luck all!

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I'm kicking off a Bradford City save (well, since full game release I've kicked off 4 disasters with them before getting a successful 5th one going).

Perhaps it's replacing legend Stuart McCall and the effect that has on the squad in place, but results were woeful, the match engine showing as if players were ignoring tactics and just doing their own ineffective thing. Attempt 5's success I think is down to wholesale changes, which I don't like to do usually but there seemed no option.

Onto season 1 of what will be my save attempt:

After some scouting recruits aimed at increasing knowledge, I scoured free signings, I had the biggest turnover of playing staff I've ever undertaken.

1215144570_BS1In.PNG.260f0e10b9f83d496a885a237894c6cd.PNG1249993007_BS1Out.PNG.097a6e642ab8c1577bf75639b49f2830.PNG

The observant among readers will see Bambo Diaby, a fine performer for his first 4 games before I noticed a suspension, which I initially thought must have been due to yellows accrued, but it wasn't going away, it's actually a ban until 16th January 2022. Google informed me that he was released by Barnsley after a drugs test failure. Signed up to a massive £4.3k/week contract until 2023, a major chunk of wage budget will be poured down the drain. The highlight of the signings is Yanni Regasel, valued at £800k after signing. 

My tactics (so called because of using this in FM20 to try to go unbeaten in the league with Arsenal (I managed 36 games before losing to Liverpool away)), is a flat 4-4-2. Despite the squad overhaul, O'Connor and Staunton became the central defence pairing (enforced because of Diaby's ban), with Cooke, Watt and Evans filling the central midfield and right winger positions.

The new signings slotting in at full backs (with a backup for each side) and up front, as well as the left winger position, with Alnwick coming in to displace O'Connell, who held the captaincy but with poor leadership skills, I suspected as another factor of issues with performances in the previous attempts.

456932072_BS1tactics.PNG.1ddd5f9b9ccf560b2e688364c0d11698.PNG

We were still in a mess with the playing squad, wage cap restrictions on squad registration meant that even leaving out Diaby's wage, I couldn't register several of the other original players that I couldn't shift out.

Undoubted star of the season was David Faupala, 37 goals in the league campaign and 40 goals for the season. Gareth Evans chipping in with 12 goals from the right wing. League form was pretty steady until what FM seems to do in run-ins and ramps up the pressure to create bad performances. We staggered over the line of the 3rd playoff place, somewhat safely as coming into the last game of the season we had a massive goal difference advantage all but nailing on automatic promotion which we achieved.

1829800952_BS1league.PNG.0f81196b0e302e10b44fbe782304508c.PNG

None of the cups brought any meaningful runs, leaving us in a dire financial position of £1m in debt even with the incoming transfer funds, but our bank balance wasn't helped by being £14k/week over wage budget, most of the signings demanding higher contracts to come to us. On the plus side, Man City became our senior affiliate.

Our end of season team talk is not that well received, the squad split between expecting to avoid relegation and bravely fighting against it, neither faction entirely happy with my flip flop promise between the two.

We can release most of the remaining troublemakers at the end of this season. To survive next season I'm pretty confident, most of the players look like they are good league one players, we'll need to find a replacement for DLF Mistanski, at 35 he's declared retirement for 2022. We'll see what contract released players/Man City loaners we can take to see what we can do.

 

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Good to see familiar names - and a few new ones - here already. I've decided that Ipswich will be my first save. No hard goals, no minimum achievements, just hoping for an enjoyable time while I learn the ins and outs of the new version.

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23 hours ago, warlock said:

 

8 Swansea                          £3.2m
It’s all about the loan business here: the loss of last season’s stars, Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher and Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster, will surely be significant while the club must hope that replacements Morgan Gibbs-White from Wolves, and Chelsea’s Marc Guehi, can pick up the load. More significant still, Brighton’s Viktor Gyokeres is the only natural striker and additional support here will place immediate demands on the limited budget. Looking for a top-half finish, Swansea may only be a couple of serious injuries away from disappointment.

Marc Guehi joined in the same window Gallagher and Brewster did.

Without the Joe Rodon sale (and bringing in Ryan Bennett as a replacement) the starting finances would have looked very grim indeed.

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58 minutes ago, warlock said:

Good to see familiar names - and a few new ones - here already. I've decided that Ipswich will be my first save. No hard goals, no minimum achievements, just hoping for an enjoyable time while I learn the ins and outs of the new version.

Glad to see you jump on that tractor. Have fun, it's a great club to pick (again).

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Hi,

Cherries have been relegated and with a media prediction of 6. 
 

I think that I will try my champions save. Usually at Leeds, but now they are at premier so have to find another team. 
 

Will need another striker, I like to play with two strikers. 
But if not possible they have a good team. 
 

Any recommendation?

Edited by pedromanuelpinto
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6 hours ago, Ronaldo Beckham said:

Do you have to buy Irish players as part of the club expectations like in previous FM's cos of the Chairman wants Irish players in Peterborough or have they got rid of that now?

Nope, that's no longer there. 

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Fantastic work Warlock - much food for thought there. For my 'big' FM game with this edition - sadly, at the pace I play it I only have time for one, Derby in FM20 - I have considered a number of league clubs. I'm a fan of taking on fallen giants, the prospect of playing in cavernous, half-empty grounds as a consequence of past splendours and aiming to steadily refill it... Potential choices include:

  • Sheffield Wednesday - a very big deal in the 1990s and with considerable glories in their history, now starting the Championship with a points deduction and zero funds. Still, there are some gems in the squad upon which to build.
  • Bolton Wanderers - went to see them play during the Allardyce glory years. They were grim but effective; now they're just grim and languishing in the fourth tier. This must be as close to starting at Ground Zero as Football Manager ever gets, given their recent troubles. They're kind of fortunate to still have a team to support, so what a challenge it must be to bring back the good times. 
  • Oldham Athletic - staying in Greater Manchester, the Latics were formative members of the Premier League (helped along by Joe Royle as manager and the use of a plastic pitch), but have endured chaos more recently and that brief top flight sojourn appears to be the outlier. They remind me a bit of Bournemouth making it to the top - not really big enough to naturally belong there, but good memories while they are.

Instead, I'm likely to go even further into the depths and take on Darlington, mostly because they were the little brother to Middlesbrough back in the day, there are innumerable connections between them, and my nephew was on their books for a season. But I would recommend this thread to anyone thinking of of tackling a Football League challenge, not just for helping with potential managerial choices but also to offer snapshots on the opposition.

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6 minutes ago, Ronaldo Beckham said:

Oh ok I fancied a save with Peterborough and buying Irish players. I still might do it or just leave the legend that is Barry Fry in charge of transfers.

To be honest, it never made sense being there really. I don't really think we ever favoured Irish players, in fact I can only think of 2 or 3 that played for us. 

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1 minute ago, MaxeyN17 said:

To be honest, it never made sense being there really. I don't really think we ever favoured Irish players, in fact I can only think of 2 or 3 that played for us. 

Yeah I just like managing teams with unique board expectations.

I was also thinking of being Peterborough and Republic Of Ireland manager at the same time and use Peterborough to help unearth the next Irish superstars.

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6 hours ago, Tee2 said:

I'm likely to go even further into the depths and take on Darlington

Good to have you with us - I followed your Derby blog religiously for a daily serving of quality FM content :applause:

And it goes without saying that I wholeheartedly applaud your choice of the Quakers. I managed to drag them up to League One in FM20 - my best achievement in annual saves with them. I have no doubt you'll do better :thup:

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14 hours ago, warlock said:

@robterrace Going well, there! Can't remember what the FA Cup rules are at the mo' - could you get a replay at the Emirates for a big payday? Or does it all get settled on the night?

Didn't go our way, but, Arsenal put a strong side out.. :)

hLM1wHD.png

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Just starting my Charlton save up.....will post as often as I can...

@warlock great thread, must of taken sometime, regarding your overview on Charlton, Adam Matthews was at Charlton last year but was released in the summer due to his contract ending, us being transfer embargoed and the EFL counting Charlton U23 players as part of the 23 man squad meaning we couldn't add any more players until Sandgaard took over....

I'm also going to have a long save with Maidenhead United, my Grandad played upfront for them (104 Apps 74 goals) and now my son is in their Academy set-up

Oldham, Barrow and Harrogate look interesting League 2 options.

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Great write-up(s) @warlock! Glad to see this thread is off to a great start with plenty of activity as we have become accustomed to. With my team Barrow now being in the EFL, I'm even more inclined to start a save that I can document in this thread although starting with my own team does come with its challenges. I usually struggle to get over the mental barrier of signing players and replacing the current first-team squad... I'll have to see! There are a few others that catch my eye, mind you.

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1 hour ago, AddicksFan said:

Adam Matthews was at Charlton last year

Yes, that's a weird one - just looked again and his history in FM shows he signed for Charlton on a free transfer in two consecutive seasons. Must be some kind of record! Hope things settle down at the Valley going forward. Cool links with Maidenhead too!

@DefinitelyTaylorFingers crossed for Barrow this season. Your participation in the thread will, as always, be very welcome, whoever you decide to manage. If you do, eventually, decide :D

Edited by warlock
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9 minutes ago, warlock said:

Yes, that's a weird one - just looked again and his history in FM shows he signed for Charlton on a free transfer in two consecutive seasons. Must be some kind of record! Hope things settle down at the Valley going forward. Cool links with Maidenhead too!

@DefinitelyTaylorFingers crossed for Barrow this season. Your participation in the thread will, as always, be very welcome, whoever you decide to manage. If you do, eventually, decide :D

Yeah things are getting settled, certainly on the pitch....

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