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[FM21] Derby County - Why manage the Rams? / How are you getting on?


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1st January 2021

Well, my Derby County end the year 2020 on a real high.

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To be honest, given how inconsistent we were for the first few months of the season, I'm amazed that we are top of the league right now!

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I'm starting to get far more consistency now around my formation (4-1-2-3 'The Derby Way') and the starting 11, plus the youngsters are beginning to develop into Championship players.

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In fact, I'm so thrilled with how well things are going that I'm going to put even more faith in the Derby County Academy graduates for the rest of the season:

  • Curtis Davies is joining Sturm Graz
  • George Evans is joining Colorado Rapids
  • Graeme Shinnie is joining Brentford

 

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Posted (edited)

FA CUP THIRD ROUND - Saturday 9th January 2021

Wow! I just had to share this...

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Edited by Stuniverse
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19 hours ago, Stuniverse said:

1st January 2021

Well, my Derby County end the year 2020 on a real high.

use.png.265b7c10e3d60734d98456cf35f67f93.png

use.png.81ea370f9851c2467a64797f2a242b26.png

To be honest, given how inconsistent we were for the first few months of the season, I'm amazed that we are top of the league right now!

use.png.c61e9f395c1ef4ad43d091bc1f78efbe.png

use.png.d37807196e00f0b175999b4203158030.png

I'm starting to get far more consistency now around my formation (4-1-2-3 'The Derby Way') and the starting 11, plus the youngsters are beginning to develop into Championship players.

use.png.ebafb87bcb8dd3f4bd98d531b9781dff.png

use.thumb.png.5fefdeb48f6ce31f2fb3cb562d63a292.png

use.thumb.png.aef321d4ea4665e387e9fb552eef025f.png

In fact, I'm so thrilled with how well things are going that I'm going to put even more faith in the Derby County Academy graduates for the rest of the season:

  • Curtis Davies is joining Sturm Graz
  • George Evans is joining Colorado Rapids
  • Graeme Shinnie is joining Brentford

 

Good stuff @Stuniverse. Can you keep the form going?

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Derby County 2020/21, Part 3.

We had an excellent month, our defence was rock solid and we actually did well in converting chances we created. Kamil Jozwiak had a great month, chipped in with a few goals and some assists. The 4th goal against Wycombe was scored by Knight. The Board were unhappy with the 0-0 vs Forest. By we kept hold of the Brian Clough Trophy.

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Disaster struck in the Welsh Capital, as we lost our first game in March, obviously the Cardiff players were tucked up in bed early on St. David's Day and not out late celebrating. We took the lead, but 2 minutes of madness just before HT, Cardiff scored twice. Try as we might we couldn't find a way through in the second half. The rest of the month, was normal service, defence solid and us not being able to take full advantage of all the chances we created, so three tight 1-0 victories and a nice 3-0 victory at Stoke ended the month.

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April and May were interesting, Brentford had a wobble and had lost a few games and the gap between us and them was 8 points. Could we keep our recent form and close the gap? 

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Sadly we couldn't. Although we went unbeaten for the rest of the games, we drew 5 of our last 7 games and Brentford rediscovered their winning form. It would have been nice if we could have taken the Title, but there's no shame in finishing 2nd. If you'd offered me that at the start of the season, I would have snapped your hand off.

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In the playoffs, Bournemouth saw off Norwich in the final. The teams relegated from the Premier League were West Brom who were miles off survival, Southampton finished 19th and Leeds took the final relegation spot, after they lost on the final day and Aston Villa won.

 

Players:

League

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Cup:

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The team of the year was dominated by Brentford and Derby:

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Here is our youth intake from March. There looks to be some decent prospects. Gretton may be the teams #1 of the future. He has also been called up to the England U-19 team since arriving at the club.

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Next up we will prepare for our return to the Premier League, hopefully it will be a little more successful than the last time Derby appeared in the Premier League. We've been given a decent budget and hopefully, I'll be able to add some quality to the team in our quest to stay in the Premier League. My main target will be to sign a #1. Marshall who was outstanding in the Championship has now started to decline and it will be a few years(maybe) before Gretton can make a claim for the #1 jersey.

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Edited by Scott_Gooner
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5 hours ago, Scott_Gooner said:

Good stuff @Stuniverse. Can you keep the form going?

Thanks, @Scott_Gooner Well we’re into the January transfer window and I’m offloading quite a few of the senior players. It won’t be easy to maintain our December form.

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A great set of results in February, March and April, although you drew a few too many games in April and May.

3 hours ago, Scott_Gooner said:

The Board were unhappy with the 0-0 vs Forest. By we kept hold of the Brian Clough Trophy.

Of all the teams to get a goalless draw against 🤣.

3 hours ago, Scott_Gooner said:

It would have been nice if we could have taken the Title, but there's no shame in finishing 2nd. If you'd offered me that at the start of the season, I would have snapped your hand off.

Congratulations, @Scott_Gooner on your promotion. That’s a brilliant accomplishment.

3 hours ago, Scott_Gooner said:

Next up we will prepare for our return to the Premier League, hopefully it will be a little more successful than the last time Derby appeared in the Premier League. We've been given a decent budget and hopefully, I'll be able to add some quality to the team in our quest to stay in the Premier League. My main target will be to sign a #1. Marshall who was outstanding in the Championship has now started to decline and it will be a few years(maybe) before Gretton can make a claim for the #1 jersey.

Any transfer plans other than a new goalkeeper?

Good luck 🍀 in the Premier League!

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16 minutes ago, Stuniverse said:

A great set of results in February, March and April, although you drew a few too many games in April and May.

Of all the teams to get a goalless draw against 🤣.

 

Our main issue all season long was converting chances. We had a few good chances vs Forest but just couldn't stick the ball in the net. We clinched playoff football in April and struggled to win games, maybe the players thought their job was done or I just suck at motivating.

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 Congratulations, @Scott_Gooner on your promotion. That’s a brilliant accomplishment.

Many thanks!! Thanks for introducing me to Derby with your awesome thread and passion for the Rams.

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Any transfer plans other than a new goalkeeper?

Good luck 🍀 in the Premier League!

I've already concluded my transfer business.(I will post it later on, NFL depending. I haven't played FM for a week or so). I'm actually at the start of the Premier League season and I have been given a very "nice" introduction to life in the Premier League.

I may need it. But hopefully I can manage a safe mid-table finish and a decent run in one of the Cups.

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Derby County 2020/21 Part 4.

June 2021-August 2021.

So after a successful season, we say goodbye to a couple of staff members, Shay Given and U23 manager Pat Lyons. I hired Bobby Mimms to replace Pat Lyons as U23 manager and Lorenzo Squizzi as a replacement for Given.

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We also said "farewell" to some players and of course wish them the best for their future plans.

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For our first season back in the Premier League, we needed to upgrade at Goalkeeper and find a replacement for Matt Clarke in defence. I was interested in signing Clarke but Brighton just wanted more than I was prepared to pay and they weren't keen on him coming to Pride Park for 3rd year. Our scouts who had been working in the UK suggested, Jake Clarke-Salter. He played well against us in both games against Birmingham and was available for £3 million. So I pulled the trigger and signed him. Hopefully he can be as successful for us as Matt Clarke was.

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There were 3 goalkeepers I was interested in, our scouts rate Ellery Balcombe extremely highly but Brentford had no interest in selling. So that left it between Angus Gunn and Freddie Woodman, Woodman was available for £1 million less than Gunn and was £10,000 a week cheaper. So I went with Woodman, for me he looks slightly better than Gunn.

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Next up is our new wide player/striker. It won't surprise or shock anyone. This player tormented us in both games we played against him and scored in both games. Hopefully he'll be able to step it up in the Premier League and give non-Derby defenders a hard time.

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One of my scouts who had spent the year in Scandinavia, highly recommended this player. So I sent our super Scout, Derek Langley to run his eye over him. Langley rated him more than our scout in Scandinavia. So I pulled the trigger on a deal for a solid CB. He's going to spend a year on loan, as he doesn't yet meet the WP requirements in our post-Brexit world. I see him as a replacement for Bielik. Bielik was impressive for us in the Championship, but coaches say that he isn't there for the big games. What makes it sweeter, is that our new man, left our bitter rivals.

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We then signed another CB, there is a reason for my madness. I like to have a CB on the bench who can use both feet, so if one of my CBs gets injured or sent-off I can have a left-sided player on the left side. Our scouts feel that this guy has some ability and won't be(completely) out of his depth in the Premier League.

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I then picked up 2 midfield prospects from Chelsea and Tottenham. Whilst they're not yet as good as Bird, Sibley and Knight they have the room to grow and be as good Bird, Sibley and Knight.

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Then I made a signing, which I'm not starting to think may not have been a wise signing(I knew this signing was worth it, just in case it works out). Sturridge is now better as a DLF, so I've signed this guy as he can play Shadow Striker. He has some ability, but it's just a case of if I can get the system to work.

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The final area that I felt needed upgrading was RB. Whilst McDonald looks like he might be a useful player for us, I don't think he's ready yet and the Board were not happy with the form of Byrne down the stretch. I did sound out Norwich regarding Max Aarons, but they wanted £63 million(his release clause) but I couldn't afford that and they weren't prepared to accept anything lower than that amount. So after looking around and not really finding anyone who I liked the look off, I went with a young RB from Man Utd on a season long loan.

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Whilst we still had Tom Lawrence at the club, as no one made a bid for him, I managed to ship him out to Blackburn on a season long loan. Blackburn will be paying 90%(£27,000)of his wages. I also shipped out Marriott and te Wierik on season long loans and hopefully te Wierik's option will be taken up. We still have Roos at the club after he rejected some moves away from the club.

I was extremely glad that I completed my transfer dealings early in preseason, as I received this message at the end of July.

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The next day, I was informed that the deal had fallen through.

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After promotion, the Board came up with these visions. Sadly they wouldn't accept any changes, so I'm stuck with them.

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Our preseason went well, we avoided injuries and the players seemed to work out how to play the new system.

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As you can see the Premier League have blessed us with 3 easy games for us to adjust to life in the Premier League.

 

Sorry for the long post, pretty boring I'm sure.

Also I have parked the save for the moment, until there's a fix for the player rating issue. No point trying to develop and sell players if the rating system isn't working properly and therefore "harming" player development and their value.

Edited by Scott_Gooner
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On 31/12/2020 at 19:26, Jogo Bonito said:

Even though I'm not managing The Rams, I always find this thread an enjoyable read whenever I get time to catch up. One of the things that helps is that the researcher plays an active part in it so respect to you @Stuniverse

@karanhsinghNot the place for me to speculate, but I hope I stumble across this new idea of yours!

I definitely agree - @Stuniverse being so heavily involved in the thread and invested in everyone's saves is great!

On 02/01/2021 at 12:11, JaytheGreat said:

@karanhsingh Too bad the Derby save is on hold, you did a hell of a job in 3 years. Any hints on your next save?

Thank you for the kind words guys, I am about to open a new thread on the Career Update forum so hope you will take a look :)

On 02/01/2021 at 13:43, Stuniverse said:

Thanks for sharing your Derby save, @karanhsingh. You were an inspiration to us all. Good luck with your next idea...

Thank you - I felt like my main objective of developing Derby's "golden generation" had been completed. They all seem to be hitting their potential and winning the FA Cup was a nice bonus. To actually try and win the Premier League I'd probably need to start upgrading the Derby boys which is something I didn't really want to do.

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8 hours ago, Scott_Gooner said:

Just looked on my save and Phillip Cocu is the Everton manager. He's been in the role since March 10th,2021.

He failed up in my save as well and is managing at Sheff Utd.

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11 hours ago, Scott_Gooner said:

As you can see the Premier League have blessed us with 3 easy games for us to adjust to life in the Premier League.

Wow! That’s a baptism of fire...Arsenal, Man Utd, Liverpool.

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So having played 4 seasons and a bit on the 5th season i am tottally amazed with how this save evolved .
My last update was the end of the 2nd season where we managed to get a Europa League place (7th)

In our 3rd season things went really good and we managed to finish 5th (Having the same points with 4th Man City but they were better at Goal Difference )
Armstrong again managed to become 1st scorer of Premier League banging 25 goals and generally i was happy with all of my players 

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And now we go to our 4th season where things went really exciting . We did a great run from the start beating almost everyone (includin top 6) So we were in top 3 teams in all the season .
In Europa we managed to get 6/6 at groups and finished 1st and finally we managed to win it finishing the Europe season Invicible !!
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And now the end of Premier was really intense , We were at 2nd position 1 point behind Liverpool and 2 last matches were remaining . One was at Anfield and the last one at Stamford Bridge .
So we went at Anfield with a big confidence , we had nothing to lose as the pressure was on Liverpool . So , the match ended 0-0 and we go  at the last fixture in a really hard match at Stamford hoping for Liverpool to lose to an Aston Villa who hadnt any point interest.

Things went incredible crazy , Armstrong scored for us at 35 min while Aston Villa was 0-1 ahaid and we moved up in 1st position .
0-1 was remaining at Stamford and Liverpool managed to go ahaid wining 2-1 with Keita scoring at 79 min.
And at the end the miracle happened !!! Sikan scored for Aston VIlla at 89 min bringing the Premier League at Derby after almost 50 years !!!!!
A really intense ending with so many mixed feelings !!!

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So we are the CHAMPIONS !!!!!!!
All season was great , all players contributed , we made many transfers spending a kinda big amount of money (also we sold players for a lot of money )
Madisson (who we bought for about 30M from Leicester as they relegated to Championship the previous season) was sold for 97M (!!) at Newcastle (they have new Chinese owners spending a lot of money )

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The big Contributors of this success were Adam Armstrong who became for 3rd season in a row first scorer of Premier League (!!!) and became Derby's Legend !!!
Also our GK and CAPTAIN Maximenko was really really good ending the season with an average 7.15 and i really love him !!!

After all these i was in a doubt if i continue the save , but i rethink about it and i will continue and make Derby a real Dominating team in England and i will try to win their first Champions League !

For the end , i have a real dilemma and i really want ur oppinions ..
As u saw we have Maximenko who is also our captain at Goalkeeping who made 3 brilliant seasons in Derby .
BUT , we had a GREAT regen GK (also born in Derby) who has GREAT potential and his stats are already enough for a first choice GoalKepper and i am really sure he is the best Regen GK currently in my save .

ADAM MOORE 
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MAXIMENKO 
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So , id really want to make Adam our 1st goealkeeper as he is from English and also from our academy but Maximenko is our captain and he is really a beast and having 5 more years at his peak for sure .
So what should i do ?? I am using Adam in all Cups but i am sure if i keep Maximenko i cant bench him .

For last , i show some great Regens (from our academy , or bought from others )

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Edited by AbRaiN
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@Stuniverse Really great run having in mind all those limits u set at the start of the season for the players ! Congratulations and i really hope this run continues !!

Also , i forgot to mention that i had a takeover at the 3rd season . A French business man bought us and he is doing really well about the club finances .
I also asked the board at the start of 5th season (June) to build a new stadium . They accepted it , but i currently am in start of Octomber and still not a message in my inbox and not a sign  in club vision that we are moving to a new stadium . Is it a bug ? Or they will anounce it later ??
I was sure that they will not accept it and i am not even sure if we need a new stadium as we expanded Pride Park 2 times (currently 50.000 capacity) with state of art Youth and training facilities .

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A mini update on my save , currently on 5th season ,
The big moves in the summer were 3
Jeremy Doku joined in for about 55M in order to have good depth in the wings , Dodo from City also joined us for about 45M (we sold Bogle at Arsenal for 35M , i think Dodo is much better for rotation in the RB with Lamptey )
And also i found Neymar was free and wanted to have a really big name joinning us , so we moved for him and managed to sign him for a 4M wage per year(!!) (2year contract) in order to help our youngsters develop and have a team leader in locker room . He had a big injury at mid season (out for 2 months ) and generally didnt have a real impact on our season yet .

We didnt start too good loosing both cups (European Super Cup , Community Shield) and as for the League we are currently giving a fight to secure a Champions League position this year .
In Champions League we managed to secure the 1st position in our group (Juve , Frankfurt , Shakhtar) wining Juve both Home and Away. Our next opposition for knockout matches is Liebzig (Played the 1st match away 0-0)
Highlights so far was the big win against Blackburn in Premier League with 9-1 and beating Charlton 8-1 for the Fa Cup

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Hope to secure the 4th position althought it will be a really hard fight !

Also , all these years i tried to keep player wages in a low level and i think i did it with success (having in mind that we currently are Premier League Champions)
We currently are 8-9th in the league as for player wages 

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And BIG news are that in January transfer window we managed to sign (best regen currently on my save) Rodolfo Balvidares from Chelsea for a really big amount (80M potentialy can reach 164M) and everything shows that he is a really perfect talent already having top stats for his position and he remembers me Messi in a lot of aspects (Argentinian left foot , kinda low height , started from Spain) . Having played some matches with him in the right wing , his moves reminds me the Argentinian legend a lot !!

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I dont know why Chelsea let that player leave , and i am really exciting having him in my team !!!

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Derby is going to the Champions League!

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A dream season for us as we wrapped up 4th place with 2 games remaining! The defense really came out to play as we squeaked out a lot of one goal wins, got some luck to draw with Man Utd, and Liverpool decided to rest Salah, Mane, and VVD against us but we got two really good counter attacks and they didn't finish their chances. 9 times out of 10 we don't win these games against Man Utd, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Tottenham but the stars really did align and I am over the moon. 

 

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We finally gotten taken over but being a big fan of the Sunderland TIll I Die Netflix series I'm not super happy with who is buying. He didn't give us any more money but he did automatically pay to upgrade our training facilities so I guess I'm happy with Donald for now. 

 

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Player of the season without a doubt is Kamil Jozwiak, not only our 2nd leading scorer but had so many clutch goals including the winner against Liverpool. He picked up some minor injuries along the way but Duane Holmes managed to step in when needed. Marriott also a major player for us this season, not only did he lead us in goals but has a deadly passer in the build up around the box. Curtis Jones not amazing on the left but managed to rack up a lot of his assists on free kicks. Knight, Sibley, and Bird played about as well as they could but were outclassed against the elite midfields. Buchanan and Aarons were deadly on attack but fast or technical wingers could burn Buchanan on defense and Aarons got eaten alive in the air. Woolfenden, Clarke, Bielik were solid in defense but had their moments were they would get burned by either being too aggressive or not aggressive enough. Farinez was about as good as I could hope for in goal and won signing of the season by the fans. 

 

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Nice to see the analytics back up the season having us in 5th instead of 4th so we did deserve our finish. Most of the season we were in the Quiet, Leaky section of the Defensive Efficiency I think we moved over in the last month to 2 months of the season. Also we were never lower then 11th in this season. 

 

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So much better then our last intake, Benoit could be a star if he develops right. Lucas Lloyd hopefully will develop into a reliable backup at minimum, and Noel Ferguson looks like a versatile ball winner either in the back 4 or shielding the backline that I really like to have in my teams. Really interesting to see our top 3 prospects are either foreign or have dual nationalities. Beniot is from Mouans-Sartoux, France, Lucas Lloyd is a local boy from Derby but has Jamaican dual citizenship, and Noel Ferguson is from Annacloy in Northern Ireland. I think Derby has had a Jamaican player play in one of the academy a couple of years back and there are a lot of Northern Ireland connections but I don't know of any French player to play for Derby. None the less I love seeing us spread out and grabbing some youth talent outside of England. 

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As for transfer needs if we are going to continue to battle for to get into European competitions we need a lot. Knight is solid in the midfield but Sibley and Bird can be improved. I don't think Jones will be back so I'll need a left winger and a new striker wouldn't be a bad idea either. I also need depth at RB, LB, and GK so this offseason should be very busy. 

YI 2 TPpng.png

Edited by JaytheGreat
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20 minutes ago, JaytheGreat said:

Derby is going to the Champions League!

That’s brilliant, @JaytheGreat. Fantastic stuff. Congratulations 🍾🐏

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi all.

Should be able to provide more of an update over the weekend with how my save is going, when I'm not watching conor mcgregor that is! Had my most entertaining and rewarding save with the rams in fm20 so felt it was only right to do it again. Still in preseason at the moment, just been drawn away to Tranmere in the Carabao.

I honestly thought that without Max Lowe and Jayden Bogle, who may I add were absolute immense for me in 20, that the shoes would be too big to fill but Lee Buchanan! Wow! May only be preseason, but 4 games with 8.3 average and 2 goals for a left back!! Anyone else getting a primed Roberto Carlos or is just me? 

Trying my best to raise funds and hopefully get in a few loan deals. Dujon Sterling has arrived at RB to cover Byrne and allow Wisdom to remain in the center. Injuries at the start have been horrid aswell. Really not a fan of Kelle Roos and he's only confirmed my concerns with a few mistakes already so looking to ship him out with a replacement. Any ideas of a cover for David Marshall? 

I shipped Duane Holmes out straight away in 20 but he's warming to me this time around. He's filled in at CM and on the wing and looks a really useful utility player in a time where I can't really strengthen. Any CB recommendations would be really helpful please too. Davies was TL'd at his request before I took over, Clarke is on his 3rd injury of Preseason and well, I'm not sure on Te Wierik with Bielek sidelined for a long time yet.

Most importantly all, stay safe in such horrible times. 

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11 hours ago, Luke6 said:

Hi all.

Should be able to provide more of an update over the weekend with how my save is going, when I'm not watching conor mcgregor that is! Had my most entertaining and rewarding save with the rams in fm20 so felt it was only right to do it again. Still in preseason at the moment, just been drawn away to Tranmere in the Carabao.

I honestly thought that without Max Lowe and Jayden Bogle, who may I add were absolute immense for me in 20, that the shoes would be too big to fill but Lee Buchanan! Wow! May only be preseason, but 4 games with 8.3 average and 2 goals for a left back!! Anyone else getting a primed Roberto Carlos or is just me? 

Trying my best to raise funds and hopefully get in a few loan deals. Dujon Sterling has arrived at RB to cover Byrne and allow Wisdom to remain in the center. Injuries at the start have been horrid aswell. Really not a fan of Kelle Roos and he's only confirmed my concerns with a few mistakes already so looking to ship him out with a replacement. Any ideas of a cover for David Marshall? 

I shipped Duane Holmes out straight away in 20 but he's warming to me this time around. He's filled in at CM and on the wing and looks a really useful utility player in a time where I can't really strengthen. Any CB recommendations would be really helpful please too. Davies was TL'd at his request before I took over, Clarke is on his 3rd injury of Preseason and well, I'm not sure on Te Wierik with Bielek sidelined for a long time yet.

Most importantly all, stay safe in such horrible times. 

Derby is my first save in FM21, what a challenge so far! 
 

I’ve sorted my RB situation by bringing Ben Johnson on loan from Westham, who can slot as easy on the left (9/10 business so far). Kelle Roos forced transfer to Blackburn as they lost GK and he wanted full time in between the sticks, I personally rate him really high (especially after the Bournemouth game, and 2 back to back clean sheets from today against QPR) we then took the risk and signed Aurelio Suàrez on free as a back up from Girona, 2 clean sheets so far.

For a CB I have my eyes on 21y Andrea Cistana who’s contract expires at the end of the season in Brescia, what a signing he would be! 
 

Te Wierik went on a year loan to Dinamo Moscow, partnership Clarke-Wisdom is paying off, as I like to play Bielik in CDM like he does in real life, what a beast breaking opposition’s attacks and long balls he is! Wisdom could take a nap most of the time back there.  
 

I also recommend to sign Kaylen Hinds on free 

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12 hours ago, Luke6 said:

Had my most entertaining and rewarding save with the rams in fm20 so felt it was only right to do it again.

That’s great to hear, @Luke6. If you enjoy the youth development element of managing Derby County, then I think the Rams will be even more enjoyable to manage on FM21 than they were on FM20.

12 hours ago, Luke6 said:

I honestly thought that without Max Lowe and Jayden Bogle, who may I add were absolute immense for me in 20, that the shoes would be too big to fill but Lee Buchanan! Wow! May only be preseason, but 4 games with 8.3 average and 2 goals for a left back!! Anyone else getting a primed Roberto Carlos or is just me?

That’s great going by Lee Buchanan. Maybe I should’ve stuck with him on my save but I’ve been rotating him with Craig Forsyth.

12 hours ago, Luke6 said:

Trying my best to raise funds and hopefully get in a few loan deals. Dujon Sterling has arrived at RB to cover Byrne and allow Wisdom to remain in the center.

It is possible to raise funds in the first transfer window so good luck 🍀 with that.

12 hours ago, Luke6 said:

Injuries at the start have been horrid aswell.

Yes. The injury list at the start of the season is quite long with some key players missing.

12 hours ago, Luke6 said:

Any ideas of a cover for David Marshall? 

12 hours ago, Luke6 said:

Any CB recommendations would be really helpful please too.

If you look on Page 1 of this thread, I’ve posted a Transfer Targets update with players people have signed in a hidden spoiler.

12 hours ago, Luke6 said:

Most importantly all, stay safe in such horrible times. 

Thank you. You too, @Luke6. Thanks for the update and good 🍀 luck with your save.

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1 hour ago, Jac_kov said:

Derby is my first save in FM21, what a challenge so far! 
 

I’ve sorted my RB situation by bringing Ben Johnson on loan from Westham, who can slot as easy on the left (9/10 business so far). Kelle Roos forced transfer to Blackburn as they lost GK and he wanted full time in between the sticks, I personally rate him really high (especially after the Bournemouth game, and 2 back to back clean sheets from today against QPR) we then took the risk and signed Aurelio Suàrez on free as a back up from Girona, 2 clean sheets so far.

For a CB I have my eyes on 21y Andrea Cistana who’s contract expires at the end of the season in Brescia, what a signing he would be! 
 

Te Wierik went on a year loan to Dinamo Moscow, partnership Clarke-Wisdom is paying off, as I like to play Bielik in CDM like he does in real life, what a beast breaking opposition’s attacks and long balls he is! Wisdom could take a nap most of the time back there.  
 

I also recommend to sign Kaylen Hinds on free 

I looked a Ben Johnson but he said he wasn't very interested in the move as along the lines of we weren't big enough for him. He's loss but a good player nonetheless. 

I like to play a sweeper keeper so going forward Roos isn't going to be with me too long regardless. Just filling in until I find someone good enough to replace him with. Centre back wise, I managed to raise funds by selling a few deadwood and bring in Ben Davies from Preston for 1 mil now and 1.5 mil in installments. Exactly the ball playing defender I required.

I do really like Bielik at CDM but I mostly used Rooney in the DLP role last year so looking to do the same, plus Shinnie and Bird are more than capable of playing CDM should I change the role.

Hinds huh? Position? 

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8 minutes ago, Stuniverse said:

That’s great to hear, @Luke6. If you enjoy the youth development element of managing Derby County, then I think the Rams will be even more enjoyable to manage on FM21 than they were on FM20.

That’s great going by Lee Buchanan. Maybe I should’ve stuck with him on my save but I’ve been rotating him with Craig Forsyth.

It is possible to raise funds in the first transfer window so good luck 🍀 with that.

Yes. The injury list at the start of the season is quite long with some key players missing.

If you look on Page 1 of this thread, I’ve posted a Transfer Targets update with players people have signed in a hidden spoiler.

Thank you. You too, @Luke6. Thanks for the update and good 🍀 luck with your save.

It took me a while as I didn't know if lightning could strike twice and be as good as last year but its happened. Especially after a change of tactic and an impressive end to preseason led to a 5-0 hammering over Tranmere in the Carabao Cup!

Buchanan has been phenomenal. A real threat for me going forward aswell.

Thanks for the heads up regarding transfers. I'll be sure to have a look at that :)

On to Reading 1st game of the season. 

Edited by Luke6
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1 hour ago, Jac_kov said:

Derby is my first save in FM21, what a challenge so far! 

Welcome to Derby County, @Jac_kov. I never said it was going to be an easy save 🤣

1 hour ago, Jac_kov said:

I’ve sorted my RB situation by bringing Ben Johnson on loan from Westham, who can slot as easy on the left (9/10 business so far).

Sounds like a great signing.

1 hour ago, Jac_kov said:

Kelle Roos forced transfer to Blackburn as they lost GK and he wanted full time in between the sticks, I personally rate him really high (especially after the Bournemouth game, and 2 back to back clean sheets from today against QPR)

I’ll be honest, I’m not Kelle Roos’s biggest fan, but I have to admit his wonder save against Bournemouth on Tuesday was world class and he made another vitally important save today against QPR, although he also came for a cross at the near post and got nowhere near it.

1 hour ago, Jac_kov said:

we then took the risk and signed Aurelio Suàrez on free as a back up from Girona, 2 clean sheets so far.

Do you see Aurelio Suarez getting much playing time for you?

1 hour ago, Jac_kov said:

For a CB I have my eyes on 21y Andrea Cistana who’s contract expires at the end of the season in Brescia, what a signing he would be! 

Indeed. If you can pull that one off it’ll be a real coup for the Rams 🐏.

Thanks for the update and good luck🍀 with your save.

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6 minutes ago, Luke6 said:

It took me a while as I didn't know if lightning could strike twice and be as good as last year but its happened. Especially after a change of tactic and an impressive end to preseason led to a 5-0 hammering over Tranmere in the Carabao Cup!

Excellent news 😀

7 minutes ago, Luke6 said:

Thanks for the heads up regarding transfers. I'll be sure to have a look at that :)

You’re welcome. I hid it in a spoiler because not everybody wants that kind of information.

8 minutes ago, Luke6 said:

On to Reading 1st game of the season.

Good luck 🍀. Come on you, 🐏s.

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14 minutes ago, Luke6 said:

Hinds huh? Position? 

Striker, I think, possibly midfield, but I’ve only googled him, not looked at him in FM21 yet.

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9 hours ago, Stuniverse said:

What tactic are you using, @Luke6?

Formation the same. Just went for 4-3-3 dm wide with a gengenpress instead of Tiki-taka with inside forwards instead of inverted wingers. Wing backs instead of full backs and reverted back to DLP as I did in 20. Just waiting for Rooney to get back to match fit before be bosses again! 

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Hey all,

I've just started a network game with my friend. He's a Stoke fan so I picked Derby. I don't live too far away so sort of a local team and they are a similar club of sorts to Stoke - Premier League ambitions, similar size stadiums built around same time(ish). I didn't know much about the Derby squad except a few old timers who I don't feel really are much cop (Kazim-Richards, Waghorn, etc.) but i knew they had a good youth set-up and had been blooding in youngsters past few seasons.

Anyway after deciding to try make my stamp on the Derby squad I shifted out some older players and brought in a load of loans (probably one too many) including Adam Idah, Tyrick Mitchell and Ethan Laird. My best back four is arguably all loanees! We started off the season in good form winning the first two, with Idah scoring for fun, after that we dropped off massively and only picked up one more draw out of the next 5 games. I have a lot of reading to do, looking forward to seeing everyones experiences so far, but one question I have is... how should I play Sibley? I know mezala is his best role but appears he seems quite suited to either BBM or AM role. I know he has the potential to be a great player but he's been pretty poor for me so far this season, averaging 6.57. Any advice be greatly appreciated, need to stop this rot quickly!

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On 25/01/2021 at 21:48, TheGamingBear said:

Hey all,

I've just started a network game with my friend. He's a Stoke fan so I picked Derby. I don't live too far away so sort of a local team and they are a similar club of sorts to Stoke - Premier League ambitions, similar size stadiums built around same time(ish). I didn't know much about the Derby squad except a few old timers who I don't feel really are much cop (Kazim-Richards, Waghorn, etc.) but i knew they had a good youth set-up and had been blooding in youngsters past few seasons.

Anyway after deciding to try make my stamp on the Derby squad I shifted out some older players and brought in a load of loans (probably one too many) including Adam Idah, Tyrick Mitchell and Ethan Laird. My best back four is arguably all loanees! We started off the season in good form winning the first two, with Idah scoring for fun, after that we dropped off massively and only picked up one more draw out of the next 5 games. I have a lot of reading to do, looking forward to seeing everyones experiences so far, but one question I have is... how should I play Sibley? I know mezala is his best role but appears he seems quite suited to either BBM or AM role. I know he has the potential to be a great player but he's been pretty poor for me so far this season, averaging 6.57. Any advice be greatly appreciated, need to stop this rot quickly!

I have sibley on the left of a 3. BBM and he seems to be doing quite well. Not as well as Jason Knight may I add but I'm happy with his progress. Have utilised him just behind the striker at times but prefer playing 4-3-3. Fully get your point about the oldies. Davies has already retired on my save, I shipped out Kazim-Richards straightaway and Waghorn has probably got about 7 minutes of playing time under me but he was injured for ages. 

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On 29/01/2021 at 10:47, Luke6 said:

I have sibley on the left of a 3. BBM and he seems to be doing quite well. Not as well as Jason Knight may I add but I'm happy with his progress. Have utilised him just behind the striker at times but prefer playing 4-3-3. Fully get your point about the oldies. Davies has already retired on my save, I shipped out Kazim-Richards straightaway and Waghorn has probably got about 7 minutes of playing time under me but he was injured for ages. 

Yeah his stats seem to indicate he would make a good BBM or possibly AM. Playing later so hopefully will be able to get Derby going.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Decided to go for a derby save after reading this, also having the man utd legend rooney did appeal to me ( man utd fan)

I'm currently into the third season ( finally got promoted last season):cool:

First season I lost in the play off final but more heartbreaking than that was going on manager holiday and losing a really good youth prospect:idiot:

Basically I had about 15 days till my next game so I went on manager holiday whilst I got something to eat, completely forgot come back and id missed about 3 months but it had autosaved

this potential club legend is lost to the mighty Brighton and they want 65 m to buy him back:eek:

My long term plan is to build a team based around club trained youngsters so this is a blow

 

A summary of my major decisions so far

kept rooney on for season 2 despite the 50k a week wages ( great for mentoring the youngsters in my opinion)

buffon and kolarov were also bought in for this reason and really helped the younger lads ( unfortunately all 3 retired after my promotion last season) 

rejected a 20m bid for whittaker (decided to keep as he was club trained and playing well)

sold knight to west ham for 11m ( unhappy and causing issues )

Buying bogle (former derby player ) for 7.5m at the start of season 2 he was a major investment for me at the time

 

Major events for the team

Takeover in season 2- French owned now

Promotion via the play offs in season 2 

 

Big buys

season 1- Balotelli in on big wages and it was every bit of a disaster as you would expect he just caused endless isssues

season 2 Nohan Kennah 7 m from leeds fits in my my young british post brexit policy ( has been solid as a utility back up man )

Bogle 7.5m- Playing well currenly worth 17m so a solid buy imo

karmoko Dembele from celtic 10m- Scored 10 last season from Rw decent progress valued at 20m

Nathan wood 10m from Middlesbrough- ok signing looking to sell him at some point currently valued at 14m

max norman williamsen 10m- heard good things about him so took the plunge very risky as arrived with no wp

finally wilfried gnoto 17m - massive transfer fee but apparently hes brilliant, been solid enpugh so far but could end up an expensive flop

Season 3

Really tried to bring in experienced player but got rejected by Ronaldo and isco

Spent all my budget on unknown newgens after extensive searching, half of them don't join me for at least another season though so a major risk.

 

 

Success stories for the " original " Team

Basically from the team we start with I have kept 4 players

Whittaker- currently valued at 19m and plays well on the lw as an attacking winger

Buchanan- valued at 20m and has been very solid as a lb set as fb-auto

Sibley- is the star man currently valued at 28.5m and classed as wonderkid by the media. 2nd season he really blossomed after I set him as box to box mid with shoot more often as an instruction (lcm) 

he really played well under these instructions and finished the season with 11 goals 

bird- solid enough cdm currently valued at 12m probably the worst of the lot in terms of performance 

 

Just starting my first season in the Prem and I'm expecting to really struggle, I have lost all my experienced players.

I couldn't get any established players to join me as Derby just isn't appealing to the star names so I'm basically left with the team that got me promoted minus the wonderful Nketiah who scored 40 goals for me last season

wish me luck :D

 

 

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, djsterry said:

Decided to go for a derby save after reading this, also having the man utd legend rooney did appeal to me ( man utd fan)

Thank you, @djsterry. You got tempted in then to manage the 🐏s.

8 hours ago, djsterry said:

First season I lost in the play off final but more heartbreaking than that was going on manager holiday and losing a really good youth prospect:idiot:

Losing in the playoff final is the Derby Way, sadly ☹️ Which youth prospect did you lose?

8 hours ago, djsterry said:

My long term plan is to build a team based around club trained youngsters so this is a blow

That’s a good long-term plan and something I look to do. Will Hughes, Jeff Hendrick, Jayden Bogle (you know about), Max Lowe, Liam Delap plus an aging Tom Huddlestone, Giles Barnes, Lee Grant and Lee Camp are former Derby County Academy Graduates you may wish to scout.

8 hours ago, djsterry said:

rejected a 20m bid for whittaker (decided to keep as he was club trained and playing well)

£20M, wow!

8 hours ago, djsterry said:

sold knight to west ham for 11m ( unhappy and causing issues )

What was he unhappy about out of interest?

8 hours ago, djsterry said:

Takeover in season 2- French owned now

Yeah, a lot of people are reporting a takeover in season 2.

8 hours ago, djsterry said:

Promotion via the play offs in season 2 

Hurray! Congratulations. It would’ve been heart breaking to lose two consecutive playoff finals.

8 hours ago, djsterry said:

season 1- Balotelli in on big wages and it was every bit of a disaster as you would expect he just caused endless isssues

Ouch! First we had Ravanelli and now Balotelli.

8 hours ago, djsterry said:

karmoko Dembele from celtic 10m- Scored 10 last season from Rw decent progress valued at 20m

I managed Karamoko Dembele on FM20 and he was a fantastic player for me.

8 hours ago, djsterry said:

Basically from the team we start with I have kept 4 players

Whittaker- currently valued at 19m and plays well on the lw as an attacking winger

Buchanan- valued at 20m and has been very solid as a lb set as fb-auto

Sibley- is the star man currently valued at 28.5m and classed as wonderkid by the media. 2nd season he really blossomed after I set him as box to box mid with shoot more often as an instruction (lcm) 

he really played well under these instructions and finished the season with 11 goals 

bird- solid enough cdm currently valued at 12m probably the worst of the lot in terms of performance 

Those four, plus Knight, were the one’s that really broke through last season in real-life. Whittaker transferred to Swansea in the January transfer window.

Have any of the U23s or U18s from the start of your save come through? What have your youth intakes been like?

8 hours ago, djsterry said:

Just starting my first season in the Prem and I'm expecting to really struggle, I have lost all my experienced players.

I couldn't get any established players to join me as Derby just isn't appealing to the star names so I'm basically left with the team that got me promoted minus the wonderful Nketiah who scored 40 goals for me last season

wish me luck :D

Good luck 🍀 Thank you for sharing.

What’s Wayne Rooney up to these days on your save?

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17 hours ago, Stuniverse said:

 

Losing in the playoff final is the Derby Way, sadly ☹️ Which youth prospect did you lose?

image.thumb.png.91f17d87a39a1110b6e1f2be21bed20c.png

That’s a good long-term plan and something I look to do. Will Hughes, Jeff Hendrick, Jayden Bogle (you know about), Max Lowe, Liam Delap plus an aging Tom Huddlestone, Giles Barnes, Lee Grant and Lee Camp are former Derby County Academy Graduates you may wish to scout.

I did try to get Will Hughes and Liam Delap when they became available unfortunately both rejected me in favour of Southampton I did however bring this former legend in

image.thumb.png.fbf72f7bdfa24488b0767919d2337bd9.png

What was he unhappy about out of interest?

He was firstly unhappy about wanting  a new contract  then about me rejecting a bid for him, other team mates started getting unhappy because he was influential in the dressing room

Hurray! Congratulations. It would’ve been heart breaking to lose two consecutive playoff finals.

I'm glad to be in the big time and interested to see how sibley etc do against tougher opposition 

Ouch! First we had Ravanelli and now Balotelli.

I'm staying clear of these mavericks from now on:D

I managed Karamoko Dembele on FM20 and he was a fantastic player for me.

good to hear I'm hoping he can make the step up

Have any of the U23s or U18s from the start of your save come through? What have your youth intakes been like?

No unfortunately none of them made the grade, I loaned a few out and none of them progressed at all soloman was probably the best but I moved him on because he wasn't got enough for the prem

Apart from moore that I pictured above I have two that look ok 

image.thumb.png.26582db64ce42c93f0d2c8886fe97b6d.png

image.thumb.png.cf4603470d83f6fb5bf003bacee5fb6a.png

Good luck 🍀 Thank you for sharing.

No problem, I'm enjoying the save and hopefully someone found this interesting 

What’s Wayne Rooney up to these days on your save?

It all turned sour at the end, I was planning to keep him on as a coach but we had a falling out.

I criticised his training effort twice and on the 2nd occasion he complained that I was criticising him too much.

the end result was me free transferring him a couple of weeks before he retired( he is now an unemployed manager)

 

 

image.png

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Guys!

I read here on the forum and decided to start a derby-save after all your wonderful stories. Perfect team with many strong youngsters that can evolve into stars. I'm currently in my tenth season, and Louie Sibley and Archie Brown are still claiming their rights to a being first team regulars. Archie Brown won the race over Lee Buchanan, and he as been ever present for my team through ten years. Louie Sible hasn't really evolved that much stat-wise as i hope he would do, and i probably haven't played him to his best through the years. So his average rating have probably been the factor behind not reaching the upper echelons. Anyhow, he's been a mainstay in midfield both in a mezzala and BBM-midfielder.

I never got to develop Jason Knight or Max Bird to make a real impact in the premiership sadly. Nor Morgan Whittaker. Any of you have screenshots of their development over a 5 - 10 year period? Would be greatly appreciated. Almost feel tempted to start a new game after ten years and try to keep them too in the first team. 

Have won the premier league three times now, but that Champions League-win is still eluding me. Hope to make it this year! 

Nice to read your stories guys! Keep up the good work :-) 

 

 

 

 

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51 minutes ago, fiskehodet said:

Hi Guys

Welcome @fiskehodet.

51 minutes ago, fiskehodet said:

I read here on the forum and decided to start a derby-save after all your wonderful stories. Perfect team with many strong youngsters that can evolve into stars.

Thank you for joining in and sharing. Derby County have a thriving Academy at the moment, and have had for a number of seasons, and already have a few Academy graduates firmly established in the first-team, with more knocking on the door. I know I’m biased, but I genuinely think the Rams are a good fit for anybody wanting to do a Youth Challenge style save.

51 minutes ago, fiskehodet said:

I'm currently in my tenth season, and Louie Sibley and Archie Brown are still claiming their rights to a being first team regulars. Archie Brown won the race over Lee Buchanan, and he as been ever present for my team through ten years. Louie Sible hasn't really evolved that much stat-wise as i hope he would do, and i probably haven't played him to his best through the years. So his average rating have probably been the factor behind not reaching the upper echelons. Anyhow, he's been a mainstay in midfield both in a mezzala and BBM-midfielder.

Wow! Ten seasons. That’s good going and Louie Sibley and Archie Brown still mainstays in your side. How old are they now? Late twenties?

51 minutes ago, fiskehodet said:

I never got to develop Jason Knight or Max Bird to make a real impact in the premiership sadly

Derby seem to be very good at bringing central midfielders through when you think the Rams had Tom Huddlestone, Will Hughes and Jeff Hendrick before the current crop. Starting the save with Graeme Shinnie, Krystian Bielik and Wayne Rooney (if you choose to use him in midfield) makes it very difficult to continue the development of Jason Knight, Max Bird and Louie Sibley who all broke through last season. There’s just too many central midfield players to pick from. And some of Derby’s best prospects in the U23s are also midfield players.

51 minutes ago, fiskehodet said:

Nor Morgan Whittaker

In real-life, Derby sold Morgan Whittaker to Swansea City in the January transfer window.

51 minutes ago, fiskehodet said:

Almost feel tempted to start a new game after ten years and try to keep them too in the first team. 

If I was you, I’d wait for the Winter Update to be released. Derby have given an unprecedented number of Derby youngsters their senior debuts this season, partly due to the lack of genuine senior players available at times, plus the COVID outbreak which meant Derby had to field a team of U23 and U18 players in the FA Cup Third Round against Chorley. All the players on the books at Derby County have been reviewed ahead of the Winter Update.

51 minutes ago, fiskehodet said:

Have won the premier league three times now, but that Champions League-win is still eluding me. Hope to make it this year! 

Brilliant stuff, @fiskehodet. Congratulations 🏆🍾

Hopefully  that Champions League Trophy will adorn the Pride Park Trophy Cabinet very soon.

51 minutes ago, fiskehodet said:

Nice to read your stories guys! Keep up the good work :-) 

You too.

Out of interest, apart from Archie Brown, did any of the U23s and U18s at the start of your save, who were further away from the first-team, establish themselves as first-team players at any stage during your 10 years in charge?

Also, what have your Youth Intakes been like?

Thank you for sharing. Come on you, Rams 🐏 !

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Winter Update 21.3.0

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Has anybody given Derby County a go yet following the Winter Update? My own attempt has been something of a mixed bag up to 20th November 2020.

In pre-season, I gave plenty of opportunities to young players, but probably used too many in each of the so-called easier games because results were particularly disappointing. Once I concentrated on picking the senior players our pre-season performances and results improved.

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Our Carabao Cup campaign has been very impressive...

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... but this has been in stark contrast to our Championship form.

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The squad is the same as the one inherited at the start of the save as I deliberately haven't signed anybody.

My main problem has been an inability to pick a consistent team due to a number of niggling injuries to players (Graeme Shinnie, Jason Knight, Matt Clarke, Patrick Roberts and Craig Forsyth) on top of the injuries inherited at the start of the save. Tom Lawrence, Martyn Waghorn and Krystian Bielik still aren't back to full fitness, whilst I'm currently without Lee Buchanan, Kamil Jozwiak and Colin Kazim-Richards.

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The U18s are doing very well under Adam Robinson...

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... but I may have overdone the number of players I've loaned out because Pat Lyons's U23s are struggling...

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How is everybody else doing?

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Posted (edited)

Winter Update 21.3.0 - continued

I'm pleased to say that after my last update, when we were 17th after 11 games, our campaign has improved and with eight games to go we are very much in the playoff discussion.

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Results started to improve once Tom Lawrence, Martyn Waghorn and Krystian Bielik (all injured at the start of the season / save) were fit and available and I was able to pick  team without chopping and changing all the time and, sadly, as I wanted to develop the younger players, results improved when I picked a team of mainly senior players with only one or two youngsters in each 11. By this point, I am thinking of Jason Knight, Max Bird, Louie Sibley and Lee Buchanan as senior players.

Our first 11 Championship games (included in previous update were):

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And here's our Championship results since:

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Younger players went out on loan and I started to rely on the senior players more but, in January, as our first-team was comfortably mid-table, and I was worried about our U23 team being in the relegation zone, I recalled some of the better U23 players from loan. Fortunately, U23 results improved, I was able to integrate some of the younger players into the first-team without results nose-diving, so I decided to send loan players Beni Banigime, George Edmundson and Teden Mengi back to their parent clubs as I'd rather develop my own players than somebody else's.

I didn't attempt to sign anybody in January as I wanted to stick with the current squad, but I did sell Kelle Roos to Juventus for £100K (£115K) and Matt Yates to Doncaster Rovers for £1.1K (£1.5K).

Unfortunately, going into the final eight game run-in, injuries have started to kick-in and we're likely to be without our main striker Colin Kazim-Richards for the rest of the season. use10.thumb.png.d074b1191bba282d3203f51661003164.png

Our incredible run in the Carabao Cup finally ended at the Semi-Final stage but we were unable to repeat our heroic exploits in the FA Cup, going out in the Fourth Round.

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Our U23s are out of the relegation zone and have given themselves a chance of staying up.

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And our U18s remain comfortably placed.

use13.thumb.png.48cb9f6ef9ec3e1c69525e582d7f1417.png

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Posted (edited)

Winter Update 21.3.0 - continued

To quote Victor Meldrew, "I don't believe it!"

We did it... we made the playoffs. Just... but that's not what I don't believe.

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Our form over the final eight games, since my previous update, was mixed but it was enough to get us over the line. Just.

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Although the result against Sheffield Wednesday looks comfortable, it was anything but. We went into that final game of the Championship in 6th place on 75 points, level with Blackburn Rovers and ahead of them based on our greater goal difference of four.

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At 0-1 and 1-2 down we were out of the playoffs but we finally got the job done with a goal flurry in the second-half.

That brought up Huddersfield Town in the playoff semi-final.

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0-2 down after half an hour in our home leg at Pride Park Stadium, we pulled one back before half-time and equalised in the 82nd minute to go to Huddersfield all square.

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No goals over 120 minutes in the second leg, away from home, we kept our nerve to win the penalty shootout and we're off to Wembley to play Cardiff City in the Championship Playoff Final.

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So what don't I believe?

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Three of my players will miss the Playoff Final because they are on International duty - goalkeeper David Marshall (Scotland) and wingers Kamil Jozwiak (Poland) and Tom Lawrence (Wales).

As if that isn't bad enough, a third winger, Patrick Roberts, injured his hip in training a couple of days ago and will be out for 3-5 months so he misses the Final as well.

Additionally, Colin Kazim-Richards is ruled out with a dislocated shoulder and Andre Wisdom isn't fully fit after twisting his knee late in the second-half of the second-leg against Huddersfield and having to play on and through 30 minutes extra-time as I'd made all my substitutions.

Wish me luck in the Playoff Final - I'm going to need it.

 

Tagged: @JaytheGreat, @Paggioram, @samboing

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Posted (edited)

Winter Update 21.3.0 - continued

Championship Playoff Final

You'd expect I'd be looking forward to a Championship Playoff Final against Cardiff City...

dcfc_htfc0.png.7d95d18476f6fe2f7ff015a4615fe7b3.png

I was, of course, but there was a lot of trepidation - not only were we the underdogs but, as I mentioned in my previous update, we were without a host of key players.

23 hours ago, Stuniverse said:

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Three of my players will miss the Playoff Final because they are on International duty - goalkeeper David Marshall (Scotland) and wingers Kamil Jozwiak (Poland) and Tom Lawrence (Wales).

As if that isn't bad enough, a third winger, Patrick Roberts, injured his hip in training a couple of days ago and will be out for 3-5 months so he misses the Final as well.

Additionally, Colin Kazim-Richards is ruled out with a dislocated shoulder and Andre Wisdom isn't fully fit after twisting his knee late in the second-half of the second-leg against Huddersfield and having to play on and through 30 minutes extra-time as I'd made all my substitutions.

In then end, after much deliberation, I ended up selecting this team and matchday squad.

dcfc_htfc2.png.158bf9e61b3db47356f5cef7664f7bb0.png

The big surprise for me, a really pleasant surprise, was that Tom Lawrence was available for selection - he wasn't meant to be, he had been unavailable for training during the build-up as he was away with Wales on international duty, and he played for Wales against Serbia six days after the Playoff Final. But I wasn't complaining. For whatever reason, he was available. Goalkeeper David Marshall was away with Scotland, winger Kamil Jozwiak was away with Poland, but Wales' Tom Lawrence was available for selection. I wrote Tom Lawrence's name on the team sheet straight away with huge relief, otherwise I would've been playing Josh Shonibare or a central midfield player out of position.

My main reason for trepidation was between the sticks. Not only was Marshall unavailable, but I'd sold Kelle Roos to Juventus in January and the best of my young goalkeepers had all been sent out on loan. The best goalkeeper I had available, in my opinion, was Jonathan Mitchell, who I recalled from his loan at Northampton Town when I sold Roos. The Playoff Final would be his first start for Derby County with me as manager. On the bench, I selected Emmanuel Idem - it was either him or an U18 goalkeeper.

The next tough decision was who should partner Matt Clarke in central defence? Andre Wisdom had that honour for most of the season and had done really well for me, but Andre twisted his knee late in the semi-final second-leg against Huddersfield Town and wasn't fully fit. I did consider playing him, but I'd never have forgiven myself if we'd lost the Final because I played an unfit central defender. If I had my #1 goalkeeper playing, I may have been tempted to risk it, but my #1 wasn't available. Andre's name went on the bench and I hoped I wouldn't need to bring him on as that would mean I was doing well if Andre could stay on the bench.

The obvious choice at CB was veteran Curtis Davies, but he was leaving in the summer to join Austrian side Wolfsberger as I hadn't offered the 36 year-old a new contract, even though he was my club captain. I decided to go with someone who would actually be here at Pride Park next season.

So that meant it had to be one of the young defenders, although I did briefly consider playing a left-back - either Craig Forsyth or Lee Buchanan there - but this save was meant to be an opportunity to develop Derby's talented group of Academy graduates and I'd already sent two central defender loanees, Teden Mengi and George Edmundson, back to their parent clubs so that I could develop my own young central defenders.

So it came down to Harrison Solomon or Jordan Brown? Both had played for me during the season and done well. Nothing much in it, but I opted for Jordan Brown.

In midfield, my only real dilemma was Jason Knight or Louie Sibley? I opted for the greater creativity of Louie Sibley and his ability to shoot from distance.

My final decision was up front. Colin Kazim- Richards was ruled out with a disclocated shoulder, and I needed to play Martyn Waghorn out wide due to the absence of Patrick Roberts (hip) and Kamil Jozwiak (international duty). So it came down to a choice between experienced loanee Lee Gregory or talented youngster Jahmal Hector-Ingram who's loan at Stevenage I'd cut short in January as he'd only made five appearances for them in League Two. Hector-Ingram was on fire, he had scored four goals in  our last three games, although he did have a tendency to disappear in some games. Gregory was in the middle of a goal drought so there really wasn't a decision to make. Hector-Ingram got the nod.

These are the tactics I deployed:

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It was one of three tactics I'd used throughout the season but was my mainstay and the one the players were most familar with.

And so, we were as ready as we could be, to face a Cardiff City side we'd played three times already this season:

  • 2-2 Home - Sky Bet Championship
  • 0-1 away FA Cup
  • 0-2 away - Sky Bet Championship.

We hadn't beaten Cardiff City in three attempts this season, drawing one and losing two.

The game itself was a very entertaining, end-to-end, low scoring affair and became more and more nervy and tense for the Derby County manager as the game progressed. The young players, Jonathan Mitchell, Jordan Brown and Jahmal Hector-Ingram embraced the Wembley occasion and weren't overawed. I was hugely relieved and felt we had a chance, even though Mitchell kept us in it at times with two or three brilliant saves.

0-0 after 10 minutes.

0-0 after 20 minutes.

0-0 after half an hour.

0-0 at half-time.

0-0 after 55 minutes.

On 57 minutes, I replaced Louie Sibley with Jason Knight.

0-0 after an hour.

On  69 minutes, I gambled, bringing on Lee Gregory for Krystian Bielik and changing to a kind of 4-4-2 / 4-2-4 hybrid system.

0-0 after 70 minutes.

0-0 after 75 minutes.

And then...

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Unbelievable. Tom Lawrence, the player I thought would be away with Wales, gave the Rams the lead on 76 minutes. I was ecstatic, fist-pumping like crazy.

Could we hold on?

Oh yes we could and, in the closing minutes, we looked more likely to score a second than Cardiff looked like equalising. Andre Wisdom did get onto the pitch after 90+2 minutes as both Matt Clarke and Jordan Brown were on yellow cards. It's a sign of my confidence in young Jordan Brown that I left him on and subbed Matt Clarke off.

Blow the whistle, ref. Blow the final whistle.

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And this is the squad that did it!

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Tagged: @JaytheGreat @Paggioram @samboing @OJ403

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Congratulations! A strange but welcome surprise that Lawrence was available to you! Let’s see how your team fairs in the Premier league! Will you be looking at new recruits or putting faith in the academy players?Again well done

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, samboing said:

Congratulations!

Thank you, @samboing. If you’d told me in November, when we were 17th, that we’d end the season with promotion to the EPL, I wouldn’t have believed you.

1 hour ago, samboing said:

A strange but welcome surprise that Lawrence was available to you!

Yes, I still don’t know what happened there as he was definitely on international duty the week before the Final, just like Marshall and Jozwiak. I can only assume Tom was that determined to play for us in the Playoff Final that he smuggled his way back to play, before smuggling his way back to the Wales camp to play against Serbia.

1 hour ago, samboing said:

Let’s see how your team fairs in the Premier league!

It will be interesting, but I think it will be a very big ask. We finished 6th, won only two of our final six games of the season (LLWDDW) - one being the final game of the Championship when in real-time we had dropped to 7th for the majority of the 90 minutes, the other being the Final itself. I think it will be a huge step-up in quality and, if I’m honest, I think we got lucky this season as I don’t think the squad is anywhere near strong enough for the EPL.

1 hour ago, samboing said:

Will you be looking at new recruits or putting faith in the academy players?

A combination of the two. After the 2019/20 season, we sold two Academy graduates to Sheffield United. I’ve already done a deal to bring one of them, Max Lowe, back to Pride Park at considerably less than they paid us and I’ll also be trying to do another deal with the Blades to bring Jayden Bogle back as well.

I also have my eye on two other former Derby Academy graduates and will be trying to bring Will Hughes back from Watford and I’d love to do a deal with Man City to get Liam Delap back, even if it’s only on loan.

Centre-back is my main problem area as Andre Wisdom, who extended his contract recently, is the only senior CB I have contracted beyond the end of the season. I will try and get Matt Clarke, who’s on loan from Brighton, back again for a third season as a Ram.

The other concern is our lack of goals which, if that was a problem in the Championship, will be an even bigger problem in the Premier League.

I will be giving the current youngsters at Derby a chance to impress in pre-season, particularly the ones who featured for me this season and those who’ve spent the season out on loan.

The Board have given me around £38.5M to spend, and increased the wage budget by about 40%, but that may not stretch very far when I’m shopping for Premier League quality.

1 hour ago, samboing said:

Again well done

Thank you.

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Get searching for a goal scorer, can’t be that difficult can it 😂

Ahhh Will Hughes to make a return to the Stuniverse world, he’s been missed in Scotland, Italy and the Faroes that’s for sure.

A decent amount of money to play with though so fingers crossed there are some bargains and free agents available to join the rams!

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Does anyone know how long roughly talk of a takeover lasts until its confirmed. I got a brief at the start of April to say it was happening and it's the start of May and still hasn't been confirmed. I'm looking to strike deals for my 1st season in the prem but can't because of an embargo. Very frustrating! 

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