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I didn't realise Norwich would struggle against FFP. Even if you lose a few, the star players like Pukki, Cantwell, Buendia and Aarons should see you a class above most sides though 

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What an incredible end to the season! We stood up to the pressure and win 3-2 against Brighton in an away game. We could easily end up out of top 7 in the end. FA cup final is between Chelsea and Tottenham, so that means we should be in Europa League instead of the new Conference cup, really excited to bring Pompey back to Europe.

Elsewhere, Chelsea really want to win the league with 8-0 against Southampton (another plus for us :lol:), they had an incredible unbeaten run 2nd half of the season with 16 wins and 3 draws, well deserved.

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@dastrokes88Well done for 6th and Europa League qualification, a great season. Southampton do love a heavy beating don't they? If we didn't know better we would say FM is unrealistic on that :lol:

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9 hours ago, Jogo Bonito said:

I didn't realise Norwich would struggle against FFP

Me either. I suspect we'll be OK but FM financial forecasts are a thing of mystery.

A bigger problem is a constant stream of injuries. I have 5 first-team regulars who'll miss the first month of league action, including Buendia. On the upside, that hopefully means the circling Premiership vultures will move on to other targets.

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6 hours ago, dastrokes88 said:

excited to bring Pompey back to Europe.

I must admit, I don't remember Pompey ever being in Europe :lol:. But a hearty congratulations on a job well done!

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17 minutes ago, warlock said:

I must admit, I don't remember Pompey ever being in Europe :lol:. But a hearty congratulations on a job well done!

It was after the FA Cup win. Didn’t they famously beat one of the Milan sides?

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Port Vale - Part 15: Season 2, December 2021

Wow! November was good, December was even better. 8 games, 8 wins. We are not only top of League One in our first season after promotion, but top by over 10 points. We have won our last 13 games in all competitions, 17 wins out of 19 unbeaten and only 1 defeat in 30 games. In fact in all of 2021 we have only lost 5 games. Counting friendlies, we have played 67, won 51, drawn 11, lost 5. All with the smallest budget in League One and a total of less than £50k spent in transfer fees. Absolutely incredible, I can't believe it.

Dec.png.593824263dd2e6387cbbfaaba95da85d.png

December started with a rollercoaster of a game away v Sunderland. We had beaten them comfortably at the Stadium of Light in November in the PJT, but this was tougher against a full strength side. Thompson-Brissett opened the scoring just before half time, but after the break Aidan O'Brien scored two screamers for Sunderland to put them ahead (their only two shots on target all game). Rodney equalised in the 65th minute and in the 96th minute Thompson-Brissett bagged his second and the winner with the last kick of the game.

Outstanding captain Nathan Smith led by example again against MK Dons, grabbing the only goal, before Cullen was at the double as we easily beat Wimbledon. Rodney who was in fine form, and Jordan Stevens also on the scoresheet. Stevens has proved an excellent loan signing and a real added quality with goals and assists, whilst fellow loanees Mitch Clark and Bobby Thomas have been key to our defence, with Clark also just ahead of summer recruit Jake Taylor in the assists chart. Taylor has rarely been mentioned here, but he has proved an excellent acquisition, providing energy and quality in the centre of midfield, whilst Corry Evans has added superb solidity, even if he does get booked most games and may set a yellow card record before the end of the season.

Stevens scored the only goal against Burton, who had inflicted defeat on us earlier in the season, before Rodney fired in twice to help us to beat local rivals Crewe. The second round of the Papa John's Trophy saw a much changed team narrowly beat Fleetwood 1-0, our superb defensive record continuing whilst 18-year-old Nelson Agho scored the only goal. 16-year-old Ryan Hall also made his debut off the bench, and the young man who is our top prospect from last year's intake is one to look out for in the future.

Stevens, Cullen and Tom Conlon scored to see us past Peterborough on Boxing Day, and December ended with another win, this time 2-1 against Coventry. An own goal put us ahead in the 6th minute, before Thompson-Brissett doubled our lead. Coventry scored a late consolation but our winning run continued to confirm a 100% record in December and cap off an incredible 2021.

Surely this can't continue into 2022? It must be time for the bubble to burst soon?

Edited by Dave92
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Bournemouth

Had a long break but managed to finish off season 5

transfers.thumb.png.3776e6fe75c8ff25d78064f381a7c20e.pngSancho was transfer listed so snapped him up. He was fantastic, no surprise there. And even  an ageing Wilson served as great back up and goal scorer in cup games.

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A lot of great performances, with a squad that's in or approaching it's peak years. 95% domestic bias too. Brewster really stepped up towards the end of the season and it's going to be hard to decide whether him or Dele partner Solanke next season.

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Won the league for the first time, the priority and my one trophy this season. Crazy amount of goals scored, in all competitions really:

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Aim for next season is to retain the title and go far in the Champions League, maybe win it who knows.

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Made a couple of signings from my favourite shopping centre, mainly as I've not been happy with the amount of goals I've conceded.

£800k for Hoyos.

QKJIsmI.jpeg

As well as that, a proper ball winner in midfield in Zuculini, for £425k

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Of course, this is tempered by losing a home grown player.

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Port Vale - Part 16, Season 2: January 2022

So this is the last of my updates in this format, I have included the first game in February as this takes you up to where I am at in real life. Things will slow down from now update wise, as I am a very slow player. Another good month overall in January, much tougher than last couple with fixtures continuing to come thick and fast and injuries piling up. Still unbeaten in the league though for another month.

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January started with the third round of the FA Cup and a trip to play Championship side QPR, who sit in the playoffs. A tough task but an excellent test if we are to be promoted to that level next year. The game was very close, we didn't create a huge amount but were very solid, they just produced one moment of real quality to win the game.

Back to the league there were another three straight victories. Stevens scored in the first minute and Agho the last as we secured a 2-0 victory over fellow promotion challengers Doncaster, before both Blackpool and Exeter were swatted aside. Cullen scored another hatrick against Blackpool, before we scored goals of real quality against Exeter. Captain Nathan Smith sidled up to take a freekick (never seen him do that before) and scored a stunner, Rodney grabbed two from the bench including a freekick of his own, whilst there also goals for Thompson-Brissett and youngster Agho.

The curse of penalties struck again in the Third Round of the Papa John's Trophy, as a much changed side were knocked out following a 2-2 draw v Bradford. Oyeleke and Agho both scored in normal time, but both missed penalties and we were knocked out by the League Two side.

Back in the league, our 12-game winning run was ended away at Gilingham. We should have won, Thompson-Brissett and Cullen putting us two goals up, but we threw it away late on. Smith was withdrawn to be rested on the hour mark, Clark soon went off injured, and Gillingham scored twice to make it 2-2. We thought we had escaped with a win when sub David Worrall returned from injury to put us 3-2 ahead, but there was another twist as Kyle Vassell equalised in the 88th minute to make it 3-3.

A bore 0-0 draw followed against Swindon, before we edged past Oxford 1-0, Stevens coming off the bench to immediately score the only goal. By this stage injuries and tiredness were starting to stack up. Eddie Carrington has missed 3 months with a broken leg, Worrall is back now but has missed a large period with injuries, Clark is out for a couple more weeks, Cullen injured his knee against Oxford and will miss a month and Conlon is ill. Added to that Evans has now been booked 16 times this season and has a 3-game suspension. I like having a small squad, but it is being tested to its limits right now.

On a transfer front it was a quiet month. There were two outgoings. 12 months after joining Luke Hannant left for a small fee to join Swindon. He had served us excellently for 12 months, but was unhappy about lack of recent playing time after emergence of Mundle and summer signing of Taylor.He actually made his Swindon debut as a sub against us. Alex Hurst also left. He had been on loan at Darlington for the first half of the season, having an average spell in the National League. I wanted him to be successful at Vale, but with promotion to the Championship on the cards, he would likely only be released at the end of the season. He moved to struggling Exeter, again for a small fee. There was only one addition, Danny Upson joining on a pre-arranged deal at the start of the month. He is only 16 and joined for 1.8k from Woking, where he had scored 4 goals in the National League. He is a long way from the first team currently, but definitely a bright prospect for the future.

I want the board to invest more in the u18s but they won't do, our youth level has slipped to level 4 which is very concerning, but amazingly the u18s are still winning the majority of their games and have somehow reached the quarter finals of the FA Youth Cup where they play Fulham (Stoke u18s are still in too). Eden Bailey, Henry Okenia and Ryan Hall all impressing, with the latter appearing on the bench in our first game of February against Portsmouth.

In truth, that was more out of necessity. Agho had also picked up a knock so was unavailable, so I needed to draft Hall in just to fill the bench. Portsmouth were second in League One and had thrashed us 3-0 earlier in the season, and very nearly ended our long unbeaten run here. John Marquis, who we seem to be unable to deal with, opened the scoring from a long ball from the keeper (hideous goal to concede) and against the run of play they went 2-0 when Summerville doubled their lead in the 66th minute.

It was time to go for it, two up front (which is very rare for me) and attacking mode. The architect of the comeback was an unlikely source in youngster Max Robson. Robson has featured the least of the three summer youngsters signed from Tottenham, but the 19-year-old was scintillating as a substitute here. He created numerous chances and got us back in the game with a stunning freekick. In the 87th minute Rodney deservedly equalised, considering we had 21 shots and dominated the game. Our unbeaten run was safe for now (22 in the league) and we have not lost at home since December 2020.

We host Ipswich though in midweek and that might be under threat due to injuries, suspensions and tiredness. Thomas, Stevens and Thompson-Brissett are all jaded and in need of a rest, along with others looking tired, so who knows what sort of team we will be able to field. For now though here is the league table, makes stunning reading, 15 points clear at the top.


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We've passed the first third of the season and it's yet another strong start...

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Our next three leagues fixtures are against Dorchester, Hendon and Beaconsfield, so there is an opportunity to really consolidate our position.

Our attack has been something to behold, scoring 39 goals in 13 matches. This has been mainly down to Gary Fitzpatrick and talisman Ricardo Rees, who have combined for 24 league goals (and 33 overall) and 10 assists, pretty much taking it in turns to destroy opposing defences.

Rees has notched up 84 goals and 31 assists in just over three seasons now, operating mainly as an inside forward on the right wing (with the occasional stint up front). I have no idea why he keeps renewing his contracts here because he could clearly play at a higher level. He's not the most technically-gifted player, but he is fast, can dribble and can finish, and generally has the beating of most full backs in the air:

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Huddersfield Town A.F.C. - Wikipedia

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN

So I finally got around to an EFL save on FM21. As mentioned in a previous post, I was after a club where there's no real expectations in season 1 in order for me to build a playing style the way I want it without too much pressure. This led me to taking the reigns at the Terriers. After being relegated from the Premiership a couple of seasons ago, the Yorkshire club followed it up with a rocky 18th placed return to the Championship. This is where why I come in...

With the transfers turned off and a local pro reputation, my aim for this season is to implement a playing style and to try and do so whilst evaluating the current squad. The board only want me to avoid a relegation battle, whilst focussing on bringing in youngsters through the transfer market. This is not meant as a dig to those who enjoy instant/constant success, but those type of saves really don't do it for me. I'd happily just settle in the first season for some clear progress on the pitch and a solid mid-table finish. This is how the table looks as we come to the end of 2021:

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I could not be happier! As it stands, we are 14 points clear of the bottom 3, all of whom look doomed already. Barring a complete second-half of the season meltdown, we should have no problem in meeting the board's expectation of avoid a relegation battle.

We've had some great results, average ones and some bad ones. We've been consistently inconsistent, a real hallmark of a mid-table team. Our defence has been excellent, in fact only Blackburn and Bournemouth have conceded less so far. It's in the attacking areas that we've struggled the most. The fact that Schindler and Sarr are 2nd and 3rd in my top scorers list behind Mbenza says it all! We need better quality out wide and I want to add some more goals from midfield. 

As for upcoming movement in the window, Vallejo and Keogh are already on their way out after being unhappy with their game time. Bacuna isn't interested in renewing his contract, so I may have to cash in on him in January to avoid losing him for free on a pre-contract. I've not really sounded any incomings yet. I've been trying to give opportunities to everyone in the squad as I like to find that one player that proves me wrong on my initial assessment (Pipa so far in this case). 

I've not mentioned (until now) that we're only 6 points off the play-offs because to be honest, I don't really want them. Hopefully we can keep going though and make sure our season doesn't just die out.

Up The Terriers!!

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26 minutes ago, smplfc123 said:

So I finally got around to an EFL save on FM21. As mentioned in a previous post, I was after a club where there's no real expectations in season 1 in order for me to build a playing style the way I want it without too much pressure. This led me to taking the reigns at the Terriers. After being relegated from the Premiership a couple of seasons ago, the Yorkshire club followed it up with a rocky 18th placed return to the Championship. This is where why I come in...

I could not be happier! As it stands, we are 14 points clear of the bottom 3, all of whom look doomed already. Barring a complete second-half of the season meltdown, we should have no problem in meeting the board's expectation of avoid a relegation battle.

I've not mentioned (until now) that we're only 6 points off the play-offs because to be honest, I don't really want them. Hopefully we can keep going though and make sure our season doesn't just die out.

Up The Terriers!!

I've been looking forward to this, and have been casting an eye over Huddersfield myself. Slow-build saves are the ones I always crave too, but hardly ever seem to get them (although I rarely win the league). I think I need to follow your footsteps and lower my reputation (normally just set to club suitable one) in order to have a real struggle. Other than Reading in the PL, where I am struggling just fine ;)

Anyway, back to you, and that is a very decent start. Comfortably mid-table which is a realistic target to set yourself. I would agree that the squad really lacks quality in attack, but defensively seems good enough. Keep up the good work mate.

@CityAndColourThis is your year my friend! Going really well, and hopefully you'll finish the job - you deserve it.

@Dave92A few dropped points recently but you would never have dreamed of being 15 points clear.

Edited by Jogo Bonito
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44 minutes ago, smplfc123 said:

we should have no problem in meeting the board's expectation of avoid a relegation battle

Good stuff. But halfway through the season you do seem to be at risk of achieving a playoff position :lol:.

1 hour ago, CityAndColour said:

yet another strong start

Brilliant start. You'll have to forgive me but I can't remember what level you're at now, but it looks like Tier 7 (whatever is below the VNS?) But another promotion would be a great achievement.

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Its been a busy transfer window, and its nice not to be interupted by transfer embargo :lol:

We spent most of the budget on Ronald Araujo so the rest are most trading of squad players.

1.thumb.png.2969d20ba1d75b00575278678c67d3ca.png

Most notable signings:

Our most important signing was towards the end of last season, we paid 20m (potentially goes to 27m) for Araujo from Barca, who was on loan last season, our absolutely backbone in the defence.

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We also somehow got Phil Foden on loan, its crazy Man City would put him on loan list, although his wage is on higher end, I think its a no brainer since we have no chance nor budget to buy someone of his calibar.

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And this one is probably my best signing so far in this save, a media certified wonderkid on a free transfer, we are very lucky to sign him since no other team even put a bid. Could be the core of our team for next 10+ years.

4.png.cf8fd410d7eb622f0908ad9337fd6df6.png

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Norwich City, October 2020

With the first transfer window just closed it's time for the first update from Carrow Road. As already reported, the major issue is the daily doom-laden forecasts about the club failing FFP regulations. My inexpert opinion is that we'll probably be OK, but it has made me ultra-cautious with the £5m available for transfers. The club had completed a lot of business before my arrival. Incoming signings included Jacob Sorensen, a CB/DM from Esbjerg, Kieran Dowell from Everton, who can play across the midfield or out wide on the right, striker Jordan Hugill from West Ham, Aston Villa GK Orjan Nyland who is backup for Tim Krul. Two defenders were also brought in on loan - CB Ben Gibson from Burnley and LB Dimitris Giannoulis from PAOK.

Notable departures included LB Jamal Lewis to Newcastle, CB Ben Godfrey to Everton, and the loans of CB Tim Klose, CM Tom Trybull and forward Josip Drmic.

At the end of all that, I found a squad that was still over-staffed in midfield, short at CB and RB, and with just two strikers in the first team. In an effort to raise some funds and reduce the wage bill, I moved on several CMs including Moritz Leitner, Marco Stiepermann, Alexander Tettey and Mario Vrancic, and then set about filling some of the holes. An extra striker was easy: Adam Idah was moved up from the u23 squad. The vacancy as backup RB to Max Aarons caused by a long-term injury to Sam Byram was filled with the loan of West Ham prospect Ben Johnson. Finding a fourth CB was more of a challenge - I didn't want to spend much money but the arrival of Johnson took us up to the 5-loan limit. But Liverpool's Nathan Phillips was available for £300k, and while he doesn't look like a long-term solution, I felt he could do a job for us in the Championship.

And that, I thought, was that. And then we lost CMs Sorensen and Lukas Rupp to injury, which left us extremely short-staffed in central midfield, compounded when another CM, Kenny McLean, also did his knee ligaments. In timely fashion, my scouting team flagged up the availability of Millwall's Ben Thompson for £575k. Like Philips, he might not make the transition to the Premiership - should we get there - but he has great physical and mental attributes and, as you'd expect given his background, has tremendous terrier-like qualities.

Early Form

We began the season with the usual expedition in the Carabao Cup and comfortably saw off lower league opponents Crawley and Shrewsbury before the unfortunate 3rd round draw threw up an away tie at Arsenal, which we duly lost 0-2. Our opening games in the league have been pretty good - especially in light of the number of injuries that also denied us star RW Emi Buendia, the newly-signed Philips, and both of my LBs.

image.png.97539de21814a0b814c0cce2f719bc7d.png

You'll see that we started with a 433 system, which did OK but does require 3 fit CMs, which we didn't have for the visit of Derby, so we tried a 442 in that game with some success. I'm not certain which of the two systems we'll use long term - with only 3 first-team strikers the 442 is problematic - but it's good to have the option to switch.

image.png.401b5763262d44b0a9501555eeeef630.png

All things considered, an undefeated start to the campaign and a place among the playoffs is encouraging. The board wants promotion by any means possible but I'm hoping to achieve that without the lottery of the playoffs. 

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6 minutes ago, warlock said:

All things considered, an undefeated start to the campaign and a place among the playoffs is encouraging. The board wants promotion by any means possible but I'm hoping to achieve that without the lottery of the playoffs. 

Nice start, Norwich has really strong fundation to build on, in my current save even they are yoyo team currently back in Championship, they still have some really strong original players I can't afford.

Will be following your journey, hoping for auto promotion first season!

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40 minutes ago, warlock said:

Norwich City, October 2020

With the first transfer window just closed it's time for the first update from Carrow Road. As already reported, the major issue is the daily doom-laden forecasts about the club failing FFP regulations. My inexpert opinion is that we'll probably be OK, but it has made me ultra-cautious with the £5m available for transfers. The club had completed a lot of business before my arrival. Incoming signings included Jacob Sorensen, a CB/DM from Esbjerg, Kieran Dowell from Everton, who can play across the midfield or out wide on the right, striker Jordan Hugill from West Ham, Aston Villa GK Orjan Nyland who is backup for Tim Krul. Two defenders were also brought in on loan - CB Ben Gibson from Burnley and LB Dimitris Giannoulis from PAOK.

Notable departures included LB Jamal Lewis to Newcastle, CB Ben Godfrey to Everton, and the loans of CB Tim Klose, CM Tom Trybull and forward Josip Drmic.

At the end of all that, I found a squad that was still over-staffed in midfield, short at CB and RB, and with just two strikers in the first team. In an effort to raise some funds and reduce the wage bill, I moved on several CMs including Moritz Leitner, Marco Stiepermann, Alexander Tettey and Mario Vrancic, and then set about filling some of the holes. An extra striker was easy: Adam Idah was moved up from the u23 squad. The vacancy as backup RB to Max Aarons caused by a long-term injury to Sam Byram was filled with the loan of West Ham prospect Ben Johnson. Finding a fourth CB was more of a challenge - I didn't want to spend much money but the arrival of Johnson took us up to the 5-loan limit. But Liverpool's Nathan Phillips was available for £300k, and while he doesn't look like a long-term solution, I felt he could do a job for us in the Championship.

And that, I thought, was that. And then we lost CMs Sorensen and Lukas Rupp to injury, which left us extremely short-staffed in central midfield, compounded when another CM, Kenny McLean, also did his knee ligaments. In timely fashion, my scouting team flagged up the availability of Millwall's Ben Thompson for £575k. Like Philips, he might not make the transition to the Premiership - should we get there - but he has great physical and mental attributes and, as you'd expect given his background, has tremendous terrier-like qualities.

Early Form

We began the season with the usual expedition in the Carabao Cup and comfortably saw off lower league opponents Crawley and Shrewsbury before the unfortunate 3rd round draw threw up an away tie at Arsenal, which we duly lost 0-2. Our opening games in the league have been pretty good - especially in light of the number of injuries that also denied us star RW Emi Buendia, the newly-signed Philips, and both of my LBs.

image.png.97539de21814a0b814c0cce2f719bc7d.png

You'll see that we started with a 433 system, which did OK but does require 3 fit CMs, which we didn't have for the visit of Derby, so we tried a 442 in that game with some success. I'm not certain which of the two systems we'll use long term - with only 3 first-team strikers the 442 is problematic - but it's good to have the option to switch.

image.png.401b5763262d44b0a9501555eeeef630.png

All things considered, an undefeated start to the campaign and a place among the playoffs is encouraging. The board wants promotion by any means possible but I'm hoping to achieve that without the lottery of the playoffs. 

Nice! I'm currently managing Norwich as it happens.. in second season right now, and the team is super strong with the talent already at the club, the strong finances and the great youth in depth

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1 hour ago, warlock said:

Brilliant start. You'll have to forgive me but I can't remember what level you're at now, but it looks like Tier 7 (whatever is below the VNS?) But another promotion would be a great achievement.

Haha - I'm at the same level I started. It's my fourth season in tier 7, still trying to get my first promotion!

Have finished 2nd, 3rd and 3rd, but haven't been able to crack the playoffs so far. Yate do start as the lowest rep side in tier 7 but I have built a very good squad now, so not going up will be a bit of a failure.

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22 minutes ago, CityAndColour said:

haven't been able to crack the playoffs so far.

Ah... was sure you'd got at least one promotion, but the playoffs are a serious pain. Hopefully you can maintain your current form and go straight up this time!

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7 hours ago, warlock said:

Norwich City, October 2020

With the first transfer window just closed it's time for the first update from Carrow Road. As already reported, the major issue is the daily doom-laden forecasts about the club failing FFP regulations. My inexpert opinion is that we'll probably be OK, but it has made me ultra-cautious with the £5m available for transfers. The club had completed a lot of business before my arrival. Incoming signings included Jacob Sorensen, a CB/DM from Esbjerg, Kieran Dowell from Everton, who can play across the midfield or out wide on the right, striker Jordan Hugill from West Ham, Aston Villa GK Orjan Nyland who is backup for Tim Krul. Two defenders were also brought in on loan - CB Ben Gibson from Burnley and LB Dimitris Giannoulis from PAOK.

Notable departures included LB Jamal Lewis to Newcastle, CB Ben Godfrey to Everton, and the loans of CB Tim Klose, CM Tom Trybull and forward Josip Drmic.

At the end of all that, I found a squad that was still over-staffed in midfield, short at CB and RB, and with just two strikers in the first team. In an effort to raise some funds and reduce the wage bill, I moved on several CMs including Moritz Leitner, Marco Stiepermann, Alexander Tettey and Mario Vrancic, and then set about filling some of the holes. An extra striker was easy: Adam Idah was moved up from the u23 squad. The vacancy as backup RB to Max Aarons caused by a long-term injury to Sam Byram was filled with the loan of West Ham prospect Ben Johnson. Finding a fourth CB was more of a challenge - I didn't want to spend much money but the arrival of Johnson took us up to the 5-loan limit. But Liverpool's Nathan Phillips was available for £300k, and while he doesn't look like a long-term solution, I felt he could do a job for us in the Championship.

And that, I thought, was that. And then we lost CMs Sorensen and Lukas Rupp to injury, which left us extremely short-staffed in central midfield, compounded when another CM, Kenny McLean, also did his knee ligaments. In timely fashion, my scouting team flagged up the availability of Millwall's Ben Thompson for £575k. Like Philips, he might not make the transition to the Premiership - should we get there - but he has great physical and mental attributes and, as you'd expect given his background, has tremendous terrier-like qualities.

Early Form

We began the season with the usual expedition in the Carabao Cup and comfortably saw off lower league opponents Crawley and Shrewsbury before the unfortunate 3rd round draw threw up an away tie at Arsenal, which we duly lost 0-2. Our opening games in the league have been pretty good - especially in light of the number of injuries that also denied us star RW Emi Buendia, the newly-signed Philips, and both of my LBs.

You'll see that we started with a 433 system, which did OK but does require 3 fit CMs, which we didn't have for the visit of Derby, so we tried a 442 in that game with some success. I'm not certain which of the two systems we'll use long term - with only 3 first-team strikers the 442 is problematic - but it's good to have the option to switch.

All things considered, an undefeated start to the campaign and a place among the playoffs is encouraging. The board wants promotion by any means possible but I'm hoping to achieve that without the lottery of the playoffs. 

A solid start despite the injuries. From being overstocked in midfield to being short after moving some out was unlucky. The pressure is on you my friend!

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Hey guys, 

Struggled to get into a save this year so it's time for a return to my beloved FL for a meaningful club to build up to the top. 

Usually enjoy starting in League one but am flexible for the right project in the champ or league 2.

Does anyone have any good ideas for some update saves? I like a team with a good stadium and budgets/youth or a potential star to build around.

Was thinking maybe Plymouth with Jephcott or Doncaster with Bostock, Richards and Sims?

Would love to hear your thoughts and then provide some nice updates in here. 

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5 hours ago, Jogo Bonito said:

The pressure is on you my friend!

Thanks for reminding me :p. As I said in a recent press conference, I thrive under that sort of pressure!!

1 hour ago, smplfc123 said:

Did no team test your resolve on Max Aarons?

He was shown as 'wanted' all the way through the window, and several PL managers turned up to watch him but no bids arrived. Same with Buendia. I'm hoping we'll be looking good for promotion come January in the hope that will keep them both onside.

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1 hour ago, YellowKicks said:

I like a team with a good stadium and budgets/youth or a potential star to build around

You just described ipswich (except for the budget :lol:). Lots of potential at Colchester, too.

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21 minutes ago, warlock said:

Thanks for reminding me :p. As I said in a recent press conference, I thrive under that sort of pressure!!

Ipswich fans with memories back to FM20 may disagree with that statement :lol:

1 hour ago, YellowKicks said:

Hey guys, 

Struggled to get into a save this year so it's time for a return to my beloved FL for a meaningful club to build up to the top. 

Usually enjoy starting in League one but am flexible for the right project in the champ or league 2.

Does anyone have any good ideas for some update saves? I like a team with a good stadium and budgets/youth or a potential star to build around.

Was thinking maybe Plymouth with Jephcott or Doncaster with Bostock, Richards and Sims?

Would love to hear your thoughts and then provide some nice updates in here. 

Doncaster do have a great stadium, and some very decent players - but rely on lots of PL loan youngsters for their 'quality'. Hull have a great stadium and players including some home grown talents, Shrewsbury have a small but good stadium and a little bit of cash, Posh have a good history of finding and developing young players (and start off with some well-rated talents). Personally, I felt Jephcott at Plymouth would have been upgraded better, he doesn't look much different to me - good stadium and facilities at Plymouth though. League 2 clubs obviously don't have much money available so you'd have to focus more on the stadium or youth aspects you mentioned.

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Not exactly what you are looking for, but Wrexham now have a bit of cash to them, a huge wage budget and hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney as owners...  

 

Worth a try i think.

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8 hours ago, Jogo Bonito said:

Ipswich fans with memories back to FM20 may disagree with that statement :lol:

Nothing wrong with your memory :kriss:

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Halfway point...

tab13.JPG.39188974ab9004bfa771a8cb6daeb672.JPG

We've got a handy little gap up the top after seven wins in eight, but we can't quite shake off Bognor, who currently boast an incredible away record of 10-1-0 (+23 GD).  

Our Irish teen sensation Gary Fitzpatrick has also made his loan move permanent after Boreham Wood didn't require a fee, and has 24 goals in 27 starts.

Elsewhere, Taunton are putting together a cracking debut season in the Conference South, @Jogo Bonito.

taunton.JPG.01423897512e9965f4627d9e97b1f45e.JPG

 

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6 minutes ago, CityAndColour said:

Halfway point...

We've got a handy little gap up the top after seven wins in eight, but we can't quite shake off Bognor, who currently boast an incredible away record of 10-1-0 (+23 GD).  

Our Irish teen sensation Gary Fitzpatrick has also made his loan move permanent after Boreham Wood didn't require a fee, and has 24 goals in 27 starts.

Elsewhere, Taunton are putting together a cracking debut season in the Conference South, @Jogo Bonito.

taunton.JPG.01423897512e9965f4627d9e97b1f45e.JPG

 

Going well and good news on Fitzpatrick! Truly tragic for Taunton :herman:

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Huddersfield Town A.F.C. - Wikipedia

January Transfer Window Update 2021

So with us sitting in mid-table, it fitted perfectly with my plan to not panic in January looking for signings that will either help secure promotion or save us from relegation. 

Although they aren't strict requirements, the board are desiring signings from the lower leagues, signings under the age of 23 for the first team and signings under the age of 20 for the future.

Whilst i'm not a lover of the winter window, I thought it would be a good time to start putting some blocks in place. To be able to make some moves though, I had to get rid first. 

OUTS:

Richard Keogh, Tommy Elphick and Alex Vallejo all complained about lack of game time, so were moved on to Birmingham and Sunderland respectively, for relatively low fees with their contracts expiring. 

I didn't really want to sell Juninho Bacuna, but with his contract also expiring and with him refusing to even discuss signing a new deal, I decided to cash in. I managed to get £1m upfront for him from Nashville, which I'm fairly happy with considering he could have just agreed a pre-contract agreement and left on a free in the summer instead. 

The biggest departure was that of captain Christopher Schindler. I didn't want him to leave and as my previous update showed, we were performing well defensively with him partnering Sarr. However, when top tier clubs came sniffing, he demanded that he should be let go to play at the highest level again before it's too late and with my rebuild underway, I only want players here that want to be part of it. With there being no pressure on me to stay up or go up, I decided to cash in. Brighton paid us £4.1m upfront, with the fee rising to £.4.8m, which helped lift the bank balance and it also took £25k p/w off the age bill. He will be missed though.

Isaac Mbenza's performances as a DLF had drawn attention from the likes of Schalke and Stuttgart, but their deadline day bids were too low for me to even considering letting one of my best players leave with no time to replace him. I do expect him to move on to bigger and better things in the summer. 

INS:

With 3 CB's departing, I recalled Crichlow-Noble from his loan spell, but this still only left me with 3 in that area. With the board's desires in mind, I scoured the lower divisions for an U23 CB and decided to to put my faith in former Man Utd youth academy graduate Ro-Shaun Williams. Possessing some excellent physical attributes, the 22 year old set me back £900k up front, with the fee potentially rising to £1.1m. With Stearman's guidance, I'm hoping Williams and Sarr could prove to be a solid partnership

Although not new signings, there were a number of players at the start of the save that only had a year left on their contract. Some, as mentioned above, have been moved on, some I'm yet undecided on, but there were a couple of players I was determined to keep. Alex Pritchard was my main concern, with him agreeing to extend until 2024 whilst taking a slight pay-cut. Demeaco Duhaney has also extended until 2024, whilst Lewis O'Brien and Josh Koroma have extended until 2025. Jaden Brown and Matty Daly have had their extensions clauses triggered. With 3 experienced CB's all leaving in January, I decided to offer an extension to Richard Stearman as I wanted to keep some experience at the back. He took a pay cut in order to stay with us for an extra couple of seasons. 

There are still a couple of players that are out of contract in the summer that I'm yet to make my mind up on. Jayson Leutwiler and Fraizer Campbell from the first team squad have 6 months to prove that they are worth holding on to. 

The loss of some experienced players has left us lacking the leadership department, with the pressure now on Hogg and Stearman to guide this team until I can address the issue in the summer. 

As we don't look like threatening the top or bottom of the table, the plan for the summer and next season will start now, with clear targets put in place that I believe will develop this squad in to producing the playing style I require on a regular basis.

Thanks again for the suggestion @warlock @JogaBonito, I'm really enjoying this save!

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45 minutes ago, smplfc123 said:

I'm really enjoying this save!

Glad to hear it. Some good business done there, and you have to love those players who will take a paycut to stay :cool:.

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@smplfc123That's great - and the board philosophies make them a perfect suit for you (and me probably). Good work on the outs and new contracts, I agree it has become a 'free hit' season now you are safe so it was an ideal time to make those decisions.

I'm struggling towards the winter window with Reading and just about hanging on to survival hopes. PL management really isn't my cup of tea though with a promoted side, so I'll probably just dip in and out of that until the end of my second season then call it a day. No players in or out during the last actual window means the 21.3 update wouldn't have changed anything in my desire for realism, so I don't feel under any pressure to steam through it at any great pace (same with York really, as they have the same default squad too). All of that means a new EFL save to run alongside my Parma career is quite likely soon, which will be fresh and my first on 21.3.

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Have been catching up on all the posts in this thread and really enjoying following the EFL adventures you are all going on. Haven't posted as much in this thread as I have in previous years as writing in the FMCU, but always make sure to read everything posted.

I have just written about the conclusion of my third season with Oldham, if you fancy a read here:

 

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Huddersfield Town A.F.C. - Wikipedia

End of Season Review 2020/2021

So after leaving you with us sitting comfortably in mid-table, with no real threat of relegation or promotion, it'll come as no surprise to you that the season fizzled out somewhat. Here's how the final table looked:

image.thumb.png.db48c52dc057292534617526e25c7ec3.png

I genuinely couldn't be happier with this season. It's a solid base to build on and it leaves us plenty of room for improvement, just what I wanted!

Mine and the board's aim for this season was to avoid a relegation battle, an objective we completed relatively comfortably. We couldn't have been much more consistent with our inconsistency, finishing with 14 wins, 16 draw and 16 defeats. When it was pretty much nailed on at the end of February that we were neither going to go up nor down, we hit a poor 9 game winless run that send us down to 18th. Thankfully we rallied in the final 5 games, taking 11 points from a possible 15 and finishing the season on a high.

Our defence was excellent, with only 3 teams conceding less than us. It's our attacking play that let us down. A return of 50 goals was the 6th lowest in the league and crippled any chance of breaking in to the top half.

Naby Sarr and Alex Pritchard were the standout players, both producing an average rating comfortably over 7. Isaac Mbenza was out top scorer with 13, which isn't a bad return, however when you consider that our 2nd top scorer was our CB Sarr with 7, it's easy to see where our problems lie.

What I am pleased with is the amount of game time I gave to our youngsters. Ro-Shaun Williams, Lewis O'Brien, Matty Daly, Josh Koroma, Romoney Crichlow-Noble, Danny Grant, Demeaco Duhaney and Jaden Brown, all of whom are 22 or under, were given plenty of starts and sub appearances in order to expose them to the first-team squad. 

The board have decided to drop all the transfer requirements for next season, giving me a lot more freedom in the market. I'll be looking to move a few players on, whilst really working hard on ways in which we can improve our attack. I'm tempted to go different options in a bid to vary our attack in games, rather than constantly making like for like changes.

The aim for next season will be to improve on this season's points total of 58, which will hopefully correspond with a top half finish.

Up The Terriers!

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Nice introductory season and a strong finish gives hope for the second year. Looking forward to seeing what you do in the summer :thup:

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32 minutes ago, smplfc123 said:

I genuinely couldn't be happier with this season

Mission Accomplished :thup:

I couldn't say I enjoy the way FM models that "nothing to play for" mentality among the players but you have to admit it's pretty realistic. Hope Ro-Shaun does well for you - for obvious reasons, I like to see ex-United youngsters do well. 

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Norwich, Christmas 2020

It's Christmas at Carrow Road and time to see who's been naughty and nice. It's fair to say our season so far is a long way from perfect, but the squad - and their manager - are settling in to a tactical system that has evolved rapidly from week 1. Oddly, given my basic distrust of the setup, we're playing a 4231. There's no real reason for my distrust other than a lack of familiarity - in the last few FMs I haven't been able to get it to work to my satisfaction and have quickly reverted to my favoured 442 and 433. At Norwich, neither of the latter were ideal - we don't have natural DMs for the 433, and not enough strikers for adequate cover in the 442. But the 4231 lets me get our best players into their best positions, although there are still some gaps. For example, Kieran Dowell has been superb at AMC, but the best alternative is Buendia, who is by far my best RW. And while we have a lot of right-footed AMs, they all perform better as inverted wingers on the left, so cover for Buendia on the right is troublesome. Lukas Rupp would be an option at RW, but has missed virtually the whole season so far with injuries.

As for the Naughty List, at the top would be whoever signed Orjan Nyland as a first-choice GK, when Tim Krul was also a first-choice GK. Keeping them both happy has been impossible and Nyland was the first to complain. My inability to solve that problem led to him requesting a transfer and he will join MLS side Orlando City in January for £2m, which is OK for a player who came in on a free transfer less than 6 months ago. Also on the Naughty List is AML Todd Cantwell, who shows occasional flashes of adequacy but has largely been ineffective in 17 starts and certainly isn't justifying his position as one of the Top 5 earners at the club. At the beginning of the month, new striker Jordan Hugill would have been on the Naughty List - in his first 7 appearances he contributed a single assist and no goals for an average rating of 6.5. But in the week before Christmas he was suddenly transformed, bagging a hat-trick against Cardiff and another goal on Boxing Day. It remains to be seen whether his new attitude and workrate will continue in the New Year.

Four players are firmly on the Nice List. The aforementioned Dowell has 12 assists and 4 goals from 18 starts, for an average rating of 7.5, easily our best player. Hot on his heels is CB Christoph Zimmermann, who has been a rock in defence while bagging 5 goals from corners. For a while, Christoph was our leading scorer, but has been supplanted by CM Kenny McLean, who has 9 goals and 2 assists. Which might suggest our strikers have been poor, but with injuries and rotation, Idah and Pukki have started just 11 games each, scoring 5 goals each, which doesn't seem too bad. The 4th player achieving Nice status is Emi Buendia, who missed most of the opening month of the season through injury and has struggled to find his best form, but is improving steadily and has contributed 3 goals and 3 assists. He is often the player who unlocks the opposition defence and often "assists the assist".

Missing from both lists is Max Aarons, who by rights should be one of star players. Although he has improved recently, his performances over the first 3 months were average at best and I suspect the constant media speculation about his future has affected him - there's rarely a game where we don't have Premiership managers looking him over and matters may come to a head in January.

image.png.be6c4823c6e15f563982d6506f9ed0f1.png

The impact of the 4231 is apparent, with 10 wins and just a single defeat since we made the switch. The early loss away to Brentford was no surprise as the Bees have been the outstanding team in the first half of the season, and recently only the defeat to a mediocre Luton side annoys me. But convincing wins against promotion rivals Cardiff and Watford were particularly pleasing. That form has allowed us to make up the ground we lost in an injury-hit opening to the season:

image.png.a6a9b0500a8ef5884f8e07adbd5354db.png

But our greatest Christmas gift came courtesy of the board, as Delia Smith donned her Santa outfit and bunged £24m into the club coffers, allowing us to avoid the threat of FFP sanctions. So Merry Christmas, and here's hoping for a Happy New Year :cool:

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17 minutes ago, warlock said:

Norwich, Christmas 2020

It's Christmas at Carrow Road and time to see who's been naughty and nice. parent, with 10 wins and just a single defeat since we made the switch. The early loss away to Brentford was no surprise as the Bees have been the outstanding team in the first half of the season, and recently only the defeat to a mediocre Luton side annoys me. But convincing wins against promotion rivals Cardiff and Watford were particularly pleasing. That form has allowed us to make up the ground we lost in an injury-hit opening to the season:

But our greatest Christmas gift came courtesy of the board, as Delia Smith donned her Santa outfit and bunged £24m into the club coffers, allowing us to avoid the threat of FFP sanctions. So Merry Christmas, and here's hoping for a Happy New Year :cool:

Merry Xmas & Happy New Year! Is it that time again already? :kriss:

Some surprising stars as I would have expected Aarons, Cantwell, Buendia & Pukki to be the key men. But 2nd to Brentford is a good place to be. I haven't checked their 21.3 squad but would have thought 4231 was perfect for Norwich too - clearly it is!

Was the cash injection announced with a comedy half time video by Delia? :lol:

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12 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

I would have expected Aarons, Cantwell, Buendia & Pukki to be the key men

That was my expectation going in, but only Cantwell has really disappointed, while Aarons and Pukki have shown enough to make me think they'll still come good.

15 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

a comedy half time video by Delia? :lol:

I think she's been a bit camera-shy since that famous appearance ;)

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I know 2nd PL will get tougher but I still had high hopes we can replicate the success of last season. We actually had a perfect start with 4 wins in a row and a 3-1 win against Roma in our Europe debut! After that things going downhill.

3 points in 7 league games, only 2 wins are against Qarabag in EL, and we also missed our chance to qualify from the group stage, we had to fight for at least a point in our last game away in Moscow.

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We still sits midtable thanks to the early wins. Good news is that board expectations are low, so we still have time to turn things around...

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However, looking at the fixture next month, things are only gonna get worse before it gets better, wish me luck.

 

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Edited by dastrokes88
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36 minutes ago, dastrokes88 said:

After that things going downhill

It always seems to be tough in the second season if you get into European competition. The extra demands can really expose a lack of squad depth. But as @Jogo Bonitosays, still a good position to be in.

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12 to play and we've got ourselves a nice little buffer...

tab14.JPG.75c06088c3ce11ee7769d1d3b3d0d0a9.JPG

We had a little blip in late February, taking only a point from three consecutive games, however have bounced back with wins over Circencester and Potters Bar. Meanwhile, Bognor have fallen away, going 3-3-4 over their last ten, and they have lost their last three.

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Posted (edited)

Norwich, February 2021

image.png.58121b6224e102eb798583d2a329546b.png

A bright start to the new year with 5 wins from 5 in the league. Our early exit from the FA Cup was a disappointment, but not surprising given Leicester's position in the Top 6 of the Premiership, although the scoreline rather flatters us - they could have scored 4 or 5.

With the transfer window now closed, the big news - and big disappointment - was the departure of Emi Buendia. The mercenary Argentine had his head turned not by the bright lights of the Premiership but the filthy lucre of the Chinese league. Shanghai Shenhua offered us £40m and him £66k a week and there was no changing his mind. Possibly worse is the fact that club captain Grant Hanley took the hump at the sale and nothing I said made a difference. He's now actively spreading dissent among the squad. My inclination is to strip him of the captaincy and shove him in the u18s but I'm wary of making a bad situation worse, so I'm ignoring it for now.

Todd Cantwell continues his hit-and-miss season, occasionally brilliant but regularly mediocre. Worse is my inability to get anything out of the strikers. Pukki is now up to 6 goals, while Idah is stuck on 5 and - as I feared - Hugill's form before Christmas was a false dawn and he's done nothing since. As per an earlier discussion with @Jogo BonitoI'm not sure whether the problem is tactical or personnel, but since the tactic is working extremely well otherwise, I'm not inclined to make major changes. I have fiddled with striker roles, variously trying PF, AF, DLF but without any improvement.

Luckily, the midfield is still picking up the load. McLean continues to lead the scoring charts, which seems remarkable for a player who regular occupies the DLP spot; and Dowell is our creative force at AMC. And a couple of the youngsters are showing promise on the wings. Placheta is a lightning-fast left-footer who joined from Poland just before my arrival; and Tim Lemperle is a hot prospect on the right, and may be the long-term replacement for Buendia. He joined from Koln for £3.6m, and satisfied the board demand for u21 signings.

The cash from the Buendia sale is burning a hole in our transfer pocket - but there was no-one to spend it on. Players who could improve us simply aren't interested in joining while we remain in the Championship. Hopefully, that might change if we win promotion... and if the board don't disappear the money. Speaking of promotion...

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Our unbeaten run has closed the gap on Brentford to just 2pts, while we've given ourselves a 10pt margin over third-placed Cardiff.

We just need to keep going.

Edited by warlock
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