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FM21: The English Football League thread


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@warlockGreat form continues. Absolute shocker against Ashington though, were you not tempted to offer your resignation? At least your replacements are coming in and not weakening after the departures. The two strikers are really delivering.

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35 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

were you not tempted to offer your resignation?

Never crossed my mind... was tempted to kneecap half the team, though :D

38 minutes ago, oakesypvfc said:

Charlie Ball really is a machine

I have to stop myself being disappointed when he doesn't bag a hat-trick every game :lol:

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JANUARY 2030 UPDATE:

After an inconsistent start to the season, how did the rest of the first half of it go?

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We found some consistency over the past 17 matches and are currently on a 10-match unbeaten run in the League, leading to a spot in the playoff positions as it currently sits. Our defense is still...shaky, so I'd like to shore that up a bit, but our strikers are looking strong.

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4 players in double figures at about the midway point of the season is exactly what you want. It can make up for a lot of defensive fragility, and the lack of reliance on one goalscorer means that even if they hit a bad run of form(or an injury like Roy Walsh's), you're not left out to dry up front.

If we can clean up the defense a bit, we might even be able to stay in the playoff positions at the end of the season.

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I have been wondering why my game seems to be running slow over the last week or so. It suddenly dawned on me that running the database down to tier 10 means there are more than 50 leagues loaded, and around 2,000 clubs :eek:. That's an awful lot of games to be played over an average week.

After another promotion I might drop tier 10, but for now it seems to make sense to keep them in.

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Port Vale: Part 10, Summer 2021

Following promotion to League One as Champions, it was time to evaluate and work out a plan for next season. As I've said throughout, I want to keep this as realistic as possible, and any additions would aim to be ones that were both realistic and generally fitted my recruitment policy of signing and developing young players.

Last season we had a large squad, far too big for my liking as I prefer to work with a small squad supplemented by youngsters. Consequently it was time for an exodus and 11 senior players were released including first choice keeper Scott Brown, captain Leon Legge and Vale legend Tom Pope. The others released were Joyce, Montano, Trickett-Smith, Mckirdy, Mills, Visser, Crookes and Fitzpatrick. 

In addition we managed to sell both Theo Robinson and Danny Whitehead who were both out of contract. Robinson joined Leyton Orient (who had also been promoted to League One) for 12k, whilst I was delighted to receive 22k for Whitehead from relegated Plymouth. Youngsters Lennon and Lake were both sent out on loan. All of this streamlined the squad and meant a few additions were required.

Firstly I was delighted to renew the loans of Mitch Clark and Bobby Thomas from Leicester and Burnley respectively for another season, with both expected to be important players. We didn't retain Daniel Williams though despite a solid campaign last year. Our first additions were two youngsters from Tottenham in the form of Romaine Mundle (18) and Eddie Carrington (19). Both were released at the end of their contracts but seemed the exact sort of players I like to develop. Carrington is a winger with excellent pace and acceleration, whilst Mundle is a central or attacking midfielder again with good physical stats who likes to play as a Mezzala. Both will feature in pre-season, start in the u23s most likely and compete for places in my squad.

Senior wise there were two main additions over the summer, both on free transfers. The first saw 21-year-old defender Udoka Godwin-Malife join from Forest Green. I saw this as an excellent purchase of someone at a similar level to my current first choice defenders, capable of playing right back or centre back and with lots of potential. We staved off competition to win his signature and he fits our transfer policy perfectly.

The same applies to our second addition, Jake Taylor, who joined from Nottingham Forest following a loan spell at Scunthorpe. In real life Taylor joined Vale in January and was someone I wanted to sign. Aged 23, he was a free transfer and likely to become an important part of our central midfield.

With both goalkeepers departing we needed two additions and brought in numerous trialists. The first signature we made in this position was 22-year-old Jake Turner. He had been Morecambe's number one last year, on loan from parent club Newcastle, and was released at the end of his contract. Likely to be our number two, but I feel he has the ability and potential to compete to be our number one this season and in the future.

Pre-season started early, so there would still be a few further signings to follow, but overall far more players outgoing than new additions, as we prepare for life in League One.

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38 minutes ago, Dave92 said:

a few additions were required

Can't say I'm familiar with any of those signings but if you're happy, I'm happy :). I do like the approach, though - I try to follow similar principles and hate spending big on transfers.

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5 minutes ago, warlock said:

Can't say I'm familiar with any of those signings but if you're happy, I'm happy :). I do like the approach, though - I try to follow similar principles and hate spending big on transfers.

This has been my policy in my Blyth save. I've only spent actual money on one player, and it was 38k in the same window I made an 875k sale. Everyone else has been a loan or a free.

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@hasdgfasGreat work continuing with Blyth, nice to see.

@Dave92Good approach with Port Vale, a method of transfers that I also like to follow. Jake Taylor should be decent and being an actual signing his arrival makes perfect sense. I'm not familiar with the FGR defender but Mitch Clark extending is great news. Along with Smith and Thomas that seems to be a good defensive core. Turner should be decent from what I remember of his attributes when at Bolton previous to Newcastle, but does that mean you still want a number one keeper?

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Decided to finish up the season because I had some momentum going. How'd we finish up?

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Again, way better than anticipated when the season began. You can see we scored the third-most goals in the League, which is incredibly impressive. We also gave up a lot of goals, which is what we need to improve upon in future seasons. Honestly, I hope we don't win the playoffs this season because we'll be so outmatched. You can see from Swansea and Charlton in the automatic promotion spots that we're way behind them in quality. And in our matchups with them throughout the season, we were 0-0-4 with a combined score of 3-13. We'll set records of the bad kind if we end up squeaking through the playoffs, I expect.

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What a game to decide the final promotion spot, gotta feel bad for Crystal Palace.

 

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And here's the final standing. I can say we are well deserved for the title.

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The Eisner family drama will keep us out of the free transfer market for a while, going to miss start of June, which should've been my busiest transfer window  :)

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Fortunately we already made some moves, we need a replacement for our top scorer Viktor Gyokeres who is joining Atletico Madrid in the summer, so a familiar face here:

In my shortlist for a while, finally have enough cash to pull the plug, took me 3.6m.

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Also been raiding teams outside top league for talents, most notable signings are here:

 

At age of 18, he already has comparable attributes to Viktor Gyoheres. 3.4m from Club Brugge should be a bargain.

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Another 18 yo from Braga, not sure if I want to keep him or loan out yet. Only cost me 550k as well.

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Our u18 also had good year, going to the FA Youth Cup final only lost to Arsenal u18 there, and here's the star of the team:

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Edited by dastrokes88
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1 minute ago, dastrokes88 said:

The Eisner family drama will keep us out of the free transfer market for a while, going to miss start of June, which should've been my busiest transfer window  :)

Good luck! Seems like awful timing for a takeover, immediately after a promotion.

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@warlock - Thanks, there are always some gems there in lower league football and free transfers and loans always likely to be most likely. Didn't have a huge transfer budget or wage allocation to blow either, in fact ended up with lowest wage bill in all of League One.

@Jogo Bonito - Cheers, yeah we should have a strong defence. I'm now up to December in the game, so I can confirm we did sign another keeper to become first choice, after much deliberation. More to follow on that in next updates. Turner though was signed as a more than capable deputy and someone who could be a potential number one.

@hasdgfas - Really enjoying your Blyth story, excellent first season in League One, never know with playoffs but agree step up to Championship would likely be a big one.

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2029/2030 Playoffs

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Two fantastic semifinal performances had us believing there was a chance, same with a good Friendly performance to keep fitness up with the long break.

However, we were completely outmatched in the finals. Some great defending and great keeper play let us take it to penalties, but we deservedly lost. And I'm honestly fine with that. Another season to improve our defense and increase our reputation, because we need both of those things before we step up again.

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4 minutes ago, hasdgfas said:

we were completely outmatched in the finals

Honesty appreciated, but still a tough way to end a good season, especially after comfortably seeing off Posh. Hopefully, you can find the players for the next step :thup:

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You can't really turn down an offer like this at this level:

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Happy to see another Blyth Academy player get a big move though. Hopefully it works out better than the first couple. 

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Durham City, May 2022

Another season in the books, and we - more or less - managed to maintain our excellent form over the closing months. Just one more defeat and a couple of draws, but we managed to set a new club record points haul, thanks to the extended 40-game season:

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We clinched the title with 5 games remaining, so the lacklustre draw against Bedlington marked a bit of a hangover. But we recovered from that and put in a storming finish to the season. We also managed to compensate for last year's last-second defeat in the final of FA Vase by lifting the trophy this time:

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In terms of player performance, the obvious stars of the show were Charlie Ball and De'marlio Brown-Sterling. The poacher-targetman combination made for a lethal strikeforce bagging no fewer than 120 goals between them in all competitions. De'marlio finished as top scorer, in part because of Ball missing a month with a broken arm, but cemented his place as Player of the Year by adding 14 assists to his tally. Other notable contributors include Yusifu Ceesay who produced 17 goals and 9 assists, ably filling the boots of the departed Ellis Hudson; new signing Darren Holden who chipped in with 16 assists and 3 goals at leftback; and ex-Darlington CM Osagi Bascombe who nailed down a starting spot in midfield with 19 assists from 29 starts.

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The biggest disappointment of the season has been my own miscalculation - I thought promotion took us up to the Northern Premier League, one step below the Vanorama League North. Turns out there's another step and we are promoted from the Northern League Div 1, to the Northern Premier League Div 1. So we need two more promotions before we reach the VNN.

Unfortunately, this give us an even greater challenge in holding on to our best players. Almost everyone in the first team squad is wanted, and several are wanted by teams at Tier 5 or 6 level, or higher. De'marlio, for instance, is wanted by Stockport who are now in L2, while Charlie Ball is in the sights of VNL outfit Dag & Red. Having seen the squad gutted last summer, I fear the same will happen again. But there's nothing I can do about that - full-time contracts are not possible for us - so we'll focus on finding replacements who, hopefully, will be close to their quality. And we'll have to - the board is demanding a third consecutive title-winning season!  :idiot:

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Well, I was mistaken about our route through the non-league pyramid. We're not in the Northern Premier League Div 1, we're in the Isthmian League Div 1 South Central. Which means we can look forward to half a dozen away games in London, as well as visits to Plymouth Parkway, Worcester and Steyning on the south coast. God knows what the travel costs are going to do to club budgets.

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4 minutes ago, warlock said:

Well, I was mistaken about our route through the non-league pyramid. We're not in the Northern Premier League Div 1, we're in the Isthmian League Div 1 South Central. Which means we can look forward to half a dozen away games in London, as well as visits to Plymouth Parkway, Worcester and Steyning on the south coast. God knows what the travel costs are going to do to club budgets.

That's crazy but unfortunately always a possibility with these (great and admired) extended databases. If it was me, it would break the realism and enthusiasm. But hopefully you being a hardy Northerner this will just be extra motivation :D

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34 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

you being a hardy Northerner this will just be extra motivation :D

Might be motivation in the other direction :lol:. Club's just been taken over by a fans consortium, obviously no extra money, but they're still demanding another title! And now the (brief) transfer embargo has been lifted, five players are already subject to contract offers from other clubs, including 3 of my 4 central midfielders. Could be a long summer!

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37 minutes ago, hasdgfas said:

WHAT IS HAPPENING THIS OFFSEASON

What percentage of transfer fees are you getting? You must be rolling in it by now :cool:

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4 minutes ago, warlock said:

What percentage of transfer fees are you getting? You must be rolling in it by now :cool:

Yeah, I'd say we're in a decent spot there :Dimage.thumb.png.af452ac7574bf811ad2cdc68c56b9a5b.png
 

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I'm pretty sure that this kid is going to be the next to get snapped up by a higher-rep team:

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Hopefully he can drag us up to the Championship first though. 9 in 9 in League One so far is a good start

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Four to play...

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The title is out of reach, with Truro being this year's AI team that racks up way more points than any other division leaders. However, we've got ourselves a nice little break that should at least see us finish in the top three, meaning we get a home semi final. If we can hold onto our current spot then we would host the playoff final too, if we get there.

The signing of Fabio Saraiva has proved instrumental, with nine goals, six assists and eight MoTM awards in only 16 starts, playing either on the left wing or just behind the striker. This has also released Ollie Mehew to the main striker role, where he has scored nine in ten. Star man Ricardo Rees has missed the last month with strained knee ligaments, however should be back in time for the playoffs.

- - -

Update: we subsequently took only two points from the remaining four fixtures as yet another sudden run of poor form threatened to derail the season. Thankfully, we re-found our touch in the second half of the playoff semi with a 3-0 win over Hayes & Yeading with all of the goals coming in the last 30 minutes.

Unfortunately, our retched finish to the season has cost us a home playoff final and we will instead travel to Taunton to try and break our promotion hoodoo. They are the division's top scorers and have a striker who has scored 120 goals over the last three seasons, so it promises to be a difficult task.

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7 hours ago, CityAndColour said:

Update: we subsequently took only two points from the remaining four fixtures as yet another sudden run of poor form threatened to derail the season. Thankfully, we re-found our touch in the second half of the playoff semi with a 3-0 win over Hayes & Yeading with all of the goals coming in the last 30 minutes.

Unfortunately, our retched finish to the season has cost us a home playoff final and we will instead travel to Taunton to try and break our promotion hoodoo. They are the division's top scorers and have a striker who has scored 120 goals over the last three seasons, so it promises to be a difficult task.

Come on Taunton! I mean, erm, good luck @CityAndColouryou deserve this.

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Good Afternoon All,

My long term absence from this thread has been due to a long save I've been enjoying north of the border with Aberdeen. However, I lost focus in the 3rd summer window, pondering over other potential jobs which never came up and it's come back to bite me big time, with me falling out of love with my save.

I'm looking for a Championship save. I think my favourite save last season was a 3 year stint with Derby, in which I experienced a solid mid-table finish followed by 2 seasons of play-off heart break and now, i'm looking for the same.

I'm wanting a team that doesn't really expect to go up or down. A team that you almost forget about because you expect them to end up somewhere between 8th and 18th.

I'll happily lean towards the lower half, as I want an expectation-free first season. I don't want owners demanding play-offs, but at the same time, I wouldn't mind making it there.

Does anyone have any good suggestions? (Millwall are a NO).

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21 minutes ago, smplfc123 said:

I'm wanting a team that doesn't really expect to go up or down. A team that you almost forget about because you expect them to end up somewhere between 8th and 18th

How about Huddersfield? Board only wants to avoid a relegation battle (which seems spectacularly unambitious to me!) but  the media prediction is for a solid mid-table finish. No money, but not a bad squad - although you'd probably need a striker from somewhere.

Preston would be another. Always feel they should do better with the squad they have, but the board is looking for a top-half finish with the media predicting 10th.

Nice to have you back, BTW :)

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2 hours ago, smplfc123 said:

Good Afternoon All,

My long term absence from this thread has been due to a long save I've been enjoying north of the border with Aberdeen. However, I lost focus in the 3rd summer window, pondering over other potential jobs which never came up and it's come back to bite me big time, with me falling out of love with my save.

I'm looking for a Championship save. I think my favourite save last season was a 3 year stint with Derby, in which I experienced a solid mid-table finish followed by 2 seasons of play-off heart break and now, i'm looking for the same.

I'm wanting a team that doesn't really expect to go up or down. A team that you almost forget about because you expect them to end up somewhere between 8th and 18th.

I'll happily lean towards the lower half, as I want an expectation-free first season. I don't want owners demanding play-offs, but at the same time, I wouldn't mind making it there.

Does anyone have any good suggestions? (Millwall are a NO).

I agree with Warlock :kriss:on Huddersfield & Preston. But you could consider QPR or Barnsley? I don't fancy Boro or Stoke but maybe Blackburn or Cardiff? Expectations might be higher with the last two.

Edited by Jogo Bonito
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Its been a busy transfer window, and it got disrupted again by another takeover and transfer embargo, which got some of my done deals cancelled, also the annoyances of the work permit starts to show, but it only happens when I try to sign foreign players based in England, scout reports on other foreign players are pretty accurate. Anyway heres are my main signings.

Again, mostly free agents even with the budget we have.

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This is where most our budget spent, might be crazy to spend majority of the budget on a GK, but I really hope it pays off:

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Promising LB not far from PL level:

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Two of our CB targets got denied with WP, so had to do a emergency loan, I'm happy considering we only have to pay his relatively low wage.

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3 minutes ago, dastrokes88 said:

disrupted again by another takeover and transfer embargo

Annoying, aren't they? :lol:

Vandevoort looks good!

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JANUARY 2031 UPDATE:

image.thumb.png.5e5c5ccba4b17d4c8502f0ef5fe32835.png

We're good this season. As you can see, we've cleaned up our defense a lot compared to last season. And we're scoring goals too, even though we had about a 10-match streak of only scoring 0 or 1 goal. If not for that we'd be comfortably in first place, but we've gotten out of that and have a 3-match winning streak to end of 2030. Hopefully we can continue that momentum into the second half of the season.

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awful second half of the season. We choked away a great league position with a huge run where we couldn't buy wins, and nearly dropped out of even the playoff spots.

image.thumb.png.3758b5cdfc753c6e4f1ada9cc8b588f4.png

 

Hopefully we can pull ourselves out of this rut for the playoffs

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My debut in PL, how did we do, at least we are better than last season's treble winner Liverpool :lol:. We had a very favorable starting fixture, 2 losses followed by 2 wins, important 6 points. Vandevoordt and Romeo Vermant have been amazing for us, other new signings not so much, probably needs more time.

 

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Saved it. Very undeservedly so. I thought for sure we were going to lose to a goal from our first big sale of the summer, Ian Todd. This would have been incredibly bitter, because the player I had starting in his position this season was on loan from QPR and couldn't play in the Final. But a very late goal from another Academy player and then the most stressful penalty shootout I've ever been in. 6-5 with 9 rounds, the first 3 penalties missed, and us just needing to score the last to win but failing to do so. An absolute heartstopper of a shootout. But I guess I have another tough job to do next season. I have no idea how we're going to get enough quality to stay up in the Championship.

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1 hour ago, dastrokes88 said:

other new signings not so much, probably needs more time

This is one of the things I always find engaging in FM - that you can sign a brilliant player from overseas, in the first season he's garbage and then, almost miraculously, he comes good. Except in those instances where he doesn't, which makes for the engaging bit - you have to have patience, but sometimes your patience is not rewarded. Makes the game much less "game-like" :D.

25 minutes ago, hasdgfas said:

I have no idea how we're going to get enough quality to stay up in the Championship.

Doing well in the Championship is difficult, but surviving isn't. As I never tire of saying, you only have to be better than 3 other teams. You can do it :applause:

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41 minutes ago, hasdgfas said:

Saved it. Very undeservedly so. I thought for sure we were going to lose to a goal from our first big sale of the summer, Ian Todd. This would have been incredibly bitter, because the player I had starting in his position this season was on loan from QPR and couldn't play in the Final. But a very late goal from another Academy player and then the most stressful penalty shootout I've ever been in. 6-5 with 9 rounds, the first 3 penalties missed, and us just needing to score the last to win but failing to do so. An absolute heartstopper of a shootout. But I guess I have another tough job to do next season. I have no idea how we're going to get enough quality to stay up in the Championship.

Congrats in getting over the line with Blyth, and good luck trying to preserve Championship status.

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18 hours ago, Jogo Bonito said:

Come on Taunton! I mean, erm, good luck @CityAndColouryou deserve this.

We're 4-0 down at half time to their only four shots of the game.

I think this save is about done!

 

Edit - it finished 1-5. I am going to carry on, if only because the end of the third season is my favourite time in a save as this is when bigger clubs start releasing their first newgens. I will definitely be overhauling parts of the squad though.

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2022/23 - Yate Town - Southern Premier South

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League Summary (3rd, lost in playoff final)

We ended up finishing third, getting pipped to second on goal difference by Taunton, who scored a mammoth 88 goals (for comparison, we scored 72 times which was second best). Truro ran away with the title, nearly cracking the 100-point mark in the process.

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We breezed past Hayes & Yeading in the semis, however met a rampant Taunton in the final, who scored with their first four shots. We conceded a 5th shortly after half time, and despite what appeared to be a fairly even game on the stat sheet, Ollie Mehew's late consolation was all we had to show for it.

Key Performers

Our talisman Ricardo Rees top scored again, bagging 21 goals and inking a new deal for the next two seasons, despite interest from multiple teams up the pyramid. Mehew came alive in the second half of the season, scoring 16, however he will depart due to his contract demands being more than I am comfortable paying. Skipper Cam Healey added 18 assists and December signing Fabio Saraiva had 10 goals and eight assists in a little over half the season.

Next season

I am going to try and bring in some prospects released from higher up, with a striker, a right back and a pacey centre half at the top of my wish list. I have also introduced a couple of full backs from my academy into the first team picture so am keen to see how they develop.

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6 hours ago, CityAndColour said:

We're 4-0 down at half time to their only four shots of the game.

I think this save is about done!

Edit - it finished 1-5. I am going to carry on, if only because the end of the third season is my favourite time in a save as this is when bigger clubs start releasing their first newgens. I will definitely be overhauling parts of the squad though.

Very frustrating end to another long hard season. I admire your enthusiasm to come back stronger. With management like that, your players must be encouraged to get the job done this year.

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