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[FM21] Unemployed, Unskilled & Inexperienced (DP-FM)


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Hello and welcome to one of my favourite type of saves in FM! So much so that I do one every year...

The Challenge

Start unemployed, with the lowest default attributes, zero coaching badges and no previous football experience. A complete no one basically and try to become one of the greatest managers in the history of the game.

I will post screenshots with brief commentary on here, but you can read detailed update posts of all of our ongoing saves over on our FM blog here: https://dpfmblog.com/.

The Manager

It's going to be a long journey, but first we need to find a club. Not sure who would hire a manager with these attributes but let's see! 

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First Club

I received an interview from Semi-Professional Welsh side Llanelli Town, who play their football in the JD Cymru South (Welsh 2nd Division), and we only went and got it! Funny enough I only live about an hour away from Llanelli in real life so this felt like something I really wanted to get stuck in to. 

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We took over the side in 8th, and the board set the aim for the current season to finish in the top 4. Only the top side in the JD Cymru South gains promotion, there is no automatic promotion or play off places, so if we wanted to progress with the journey we knew what our goal was in the long term. This was the table the day we took the job... 

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If you want to read the detailed post from this update read here: 

https://dpfmblog.com/2020/12/21/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-season-1-episode-1/

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Staff & Squad

The first thing I did, which I do at every club I go into, is to recruit staff members for positions we haven't filled.

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We had space for a head of youth development, director of football and 2 scouts. As you can imagine we could hardly attract the best backroom staff... well actually we could barely attract any! There was only 1 scout in the whole game who would join us, but we got him in as well as filling the other 2 positions. 

The squad itself was very poor, but we did have a few players who were shining lights at this level - Daniel Alfei, Noa Eisenberg & Nathan Logan offered some pillars to be built around as you can see.

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Tactics & Formations

We began playing with a 4-4-2 wing play system, not my kind of tactic at all. However it was highlighted as being a good tactic for our players and when I looked at previous results where we had done well this season we were playing with this tactic, so I thought we would try it out for a bit. 

Matches & Results

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We started well with a 3-0 win against Buckley in the cup, before a couple of embarrassing results at home, drawing to 2nd bottom Undy before losing to bottom of the table Risca. With a trip to top of the league Camarthen coming up I thought sod it, and decided to implement a new formation and tactic that felt more natural to me, the result was probably the best game on Football Manager I have ever seen...

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An unbelievable game with a combined 47 shots and 12 goals. My 3 star rated second striker Jordan Follows scored an incredible double hat-trick! Had we now found our way of playing to shoot ourselves up the league? Not quite... 

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November was not a good month. Losing 4 out of 5 and not winning at all... and the pressure was starting to build.

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Only a good result against Cwmbran Celtic would keep me in the job for now... AND WE DID IT!

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If you want to read the detailed post behind this update click here: 

https://dpfmblog.com/2020/12/25/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-season-1-episode-2/

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That 5-3 victory kick started a turnaround of sorts in December 2020

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and the unbeaten run continued into January 2021...

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In case you're wondering why there's so few games, obviously every club in Welsh football is semi-professional so the calendar and league schedule reflects that with only 30 games to play in the season. 

Despite a good start in February a couple of bad results meant the pressure was back on ahead of our match against Trefelin BGC, unfairly in my opinion but with the month we had in November I couldn't really complain.

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Fortunately we got the win against Trefelin BGC, which not only kept us in the job but also kick started a great run of form which carried through to the end of the season.

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However with the poor early season form bringing us twice to within 90 minutes of the sack, was the string of results enough to get us into the top 4 as per the boards expectations? 

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Yes it was!! Snuck into 4th place on the last day finishing 1 point ahead of Briton Ferry and Cambrian & Clydach. The board rewarded me with the offer of a 2 year contract with the expectation that we would be putting up a bit of a fight for promotion (and therefore the title) next season. 

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I tried to get myself on the coaching qualification ladder at least 4 times this season but due to the clubs finances I just kept getting pushed back. So it may take me a little while to start moving up the ranks in this journey but we'll get there! 

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If you want to read the detailed post behind this update click here: 

https://dpfmblog.com/2020/12/28/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-season-1-episode-3/

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Season 2021/22 

Transfers

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A total of 10 players incoming during the summer transfer window, some real quality added too. Isaac Olaniyan & Joe Portan (CM) are both rated 5 star at this level are great additions to the first XI, as well as CB's George Burroughs & Perez Goumou who are rated 4 star for this level. 

Tactics & Pre-Season

Following the good run of form in the second half of last season I decided to stick with the same tactic that had led to the turnaround. For this level I think this formation allows us to have a good numbers overload in both the attack and defensive side of play. 

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I never get too concerned with pre-season results but FYI we had a straightforward pre-season, winning games we should win and losing games we would be expected to lose.

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Domestic Results

We kick off the season with 2 cup ties and 4 league games:

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Great start to the season, a sea of green! The unbeaten run continued into September...

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And that left us top of the table going into October:

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And we weren't slowing down any time soon, October saw another unbeaten month:

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Not only were we unbeaten but we also managed to knock JD Cymru Premier title challengers Connah's Quay out of the cup on penalties! Plus 3 months into the season and we are still unbeaten in all competitions. 

If you want to read the detailed post behind this update click here:

https://dpfmblog.com/2020/12/31/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s2-ep-1-setting-the-pace/

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What a difference a year makes! This time last November we weren't long in the door and had lost 4 out of 5 games in the month. This time around...

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We win 3 out of 4 matches and are still yet to be beaten this season. The table at the midway point of the season highlighted our great form with a 6 point lead at the top:

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The unbeaten run carried on into 2022 after another month of strong performances.

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The cup game against Port Talbot did show me something I had never seen in FM before. My striker Charlie Ridge had 4 goals ruled out for offside across the match:

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Also can someone please tell me how we didn't win the game against Haverfordwest? 

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You may have spotted another offside goal from Charlie Ridge... was starting to wonder if he knew the rule?! Maybe they can add that in as an option for individual training! 

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We started the new year with 3 games in 7 days. I couldn't believe we drew 0-0 with bottom of the league Caersws, however you will see that we have made it to a cup final by beating another JD Cymru Premier side in Aberystwyth! 

So up next was the cup final, our first opportunity at winning some silverware on this journey. However it was going to be near enough impossible to beat Bala Town, who are one of the biggest clubs in Welsh football. 

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We weren't embarrassed by any means but Bala just had greater quality and it shone through. Proud of the run from the team either way! We had 2 more games to finish the month and won them both comfortably:

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Which meant with 10 games to go in the league we were still in great form but I was concerned how much of an impact that cup final loss would have on the team.

If you want to read the detailed post behind this update click here:

https://dpfmblog.com/2021/01/03/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s2-ep-2-going-to-a-cup-final/

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With only 10 games to go every match was important, we needed to keep up our winning run and did so in February:

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We even took Connah's Quay all the way to penalties again for the second time this season, but this time they came out on top and we were out of the JD Welsh Cup. 

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In March we properly slipped up in the league for the first time this season, losing to 2nd place Briton Ferry and relegation candidates Monmouth either side of victories against Pontypridd and Cambrian & Clydach. This meant with 3 games to go there were only 2 points in it:

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It was all in my hands, I just had to win my final 3 games and I would be JD Cymru South champions and playing our football in the JD Cymru Premier next season. The boys knew what to do...

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CHAMPIONS!!

 

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This is how the table looked come the end of the season:

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If you want to read the detailed post behind this update click here:

https://dpfmblog.com/2021/01/06/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s2-ep-3-promotion-or-heartbreak/

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Into the 3rd season we go! JD Cymru Premier, let's see what you got...

Transfers

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Real standout signings were free agents Will Couch (CM), Harrison Nee (ST) & Dale Taylor (ST) - all 4 star rated. 

Pre-Season & Tactics

The best news in pre-season was the board finally agreeing to send me on a coaching course after 18 months at the club:

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Tactically we changed from a 4-1-2-1-2 to a more traditional 4-3-3 to fit all our best players in & instructions remained the same. Example of how we lined up in the new season below:

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Pre-season allowed us to build cohesion and gain some fitness. Never get too concerned about the results but they were pretty positive overall. 

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Domestic Matches

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The league kicked off at the end of July 2022. We make a great start and win 3 out of our opening 5 games in the league, losing to Barry Town and reigning JD Cymru Premier champions Bangor City. We were also knocked out of the MG Cup by TNS, can't be too disappointed as they are one of the best teams in Wales. 

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Mixed bag of results in September 2022. We had the unbelievable highs of beating two powerhouses in TNS & Bala Town but we didn't take full advantage of those great results by drawing against mid table sides Newtown & Cardiff Met Uni, before we lost to relegation candidates Aberystwyth at home... less than ideal. 

But if you look at the start of the season as a whole - 20 points from 11 games and being closer to the top of the league than the bottom is something I would have taken!

If you want to read the detailed post behind this update click below: 

https://dpfmblog.com/2021/01/09/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s3-ep-1-survive-or-thrive/

To checkout another challenge we have on the go, which entails taking Bolton back to the Europa League, click below:

https://dpfmblog.com/2020/12/21/bolton-back-to-europa-s1e1/

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Into October we go...

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A good month overall, 3 wins out of 6. Dropped points against reigning champions & Connah's Quay which is to be expected, but Barry Town are starting to become a bogey team. 

At the end of October the table looked like this:

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Well at just over the half-way point in the season we were occupying 3rd spot in the league! I just wanted to stay up this season so this is far more than I was expecting. 

Just to explain how the league structure works in Wales' top division, it's quite similar to the Scottish Premiership but basically teams play each other home and away to a total of 22 games, then the league splits top 6 and bottom 6 then each team in that split plays each other home and away making a total league season of 32 games. 

So 5 games to go before the split...

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No games in November and only 2 games in December due to the winter World Cup, but we're through into the next round of the cup. 

January 2023 brought the last 4 games before the split as well as 1 game after.

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Another great month of results to finish the 1st stage of the season and this is what the table looked like at the split:

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Incredibly we were 2nd at this point only 2 points behind Bangor City... could we go on and secure the title in our first season in the top division? 

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Not if we play like we did in the last 2 games of the month! Out of the Welsh Cup on penalties and that bloody bogey team Barry Town beat us again!! 

If you want to read the detailed post behind this update click below: 

https://dpfmblog.com/2021/01/12/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s3-ep-2-winter-break/

To checkout another challenge we have on the go, which entails taking Bolton back to the Europa League, click below:

https://dpfmblog.com/2020/12/21/bolton-back-to-europa-s1e1/

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9 games to go, 3 per month. Need to win almost every game to have a chance at the title. Let's get into it...

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Disappointing to drop points at home against Penybont. Defeat against Bala Town I can take but a great 4-2 win against Connah's Quay was a welcome first victory in 3 games. Table with 6 games to go:

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Another 3 crucial games in March, including a game against 2nd place Bangor City.

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Great start to the month but bloody BARRY TOWN took points off us AGAIN!! Final 3 games of the season were against 3 of the best 4 teams in Wales, but if we win them all we could still potentially win the league. 

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Month started well with a cagey win against Bala Town. Table looked like this with 2 games to go:

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2 games left, both away from home against Connah's Quay and then Bangor City. Win both and maybe, just maybe it could happen...

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But we didn't. Lost both games 1-0 and that was the title dream over. Table after 32 games looks like this:

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Now you may have noticed that even though we finished 3rd the 'EC2' hadn't appeared next to our name to confirm our European place... that's when I remembered. The final European place only goes to 3rd if the winner of the JD Welsh Cup is one of the top 2 sides. I looked to see who the final was between and...

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Unbelievably it was between Newtown (8th) and Caernarfon (10th) at the 51,000 capacity Ryan Giggs Arena built in the game in 2022. So it would be Newtown who take that final European place... absolutely gutted!! 112228987_Screenshot2021-02-02at19_22_55.png.438688f81fe87610d5c374d63754e4f4.png

I decided after 2.5 seasons with Llanelli Town it was time to look elsewhere if jobs became available. Missing out on a European place meant there was no sign of financial recovery any time soon and the club continued to reject proposals to support me through additional qualifications which I need to be able to progress on this journey. 

If you want to read the detailed post behind this update click below: 

https://dpfmblog.com/2021/01/15/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s3-ep-3-a-late-title-challenge/

To checkout another challenge we have on the go, which entails taking Bolton back to the Europa League, click below:

https://dpfmblog.com/2020/12/21/bolton-back-to-europa-s1e1/

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Straight into season 4 of the challenge we go...

After deciding it was time to move on from Llanelli Town I started applying for jobs all over the world but due to my lack of qualifications I was struggling to attract any offers. That was until Kilmarnock came calling for Bala Town's manager and suddenly a position with the reigning champions was available. I applied, interviewed and was offered the job. 

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The offer of £170k transfer budget showed we were definitely going to a more financially secure club who could support me through coaching courses and hopefully help us to progress in this journey. 

 However when I took the job I noticed something quite worrying. Pretty much all of their players who had helped them to win the title had left or retired, the squad that remained had ZERO attacking players. 

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My best striker was a 1.5 SILVER star 16 year old from the youth team, and due to the squads already being registered I would have to play the Champions League First Qualifying Round with this team. It did not go well...

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I had to act quickly to get reinforcements in. It's fair to say I raided my old club pretty hard for tried and trusted players at this level:

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Pre-Season was all over the place to be honest. With all the signings we needed to make plus the pre-season friendlies, then the Champions League and Europa League qualifying rounds as well as the start to the domestic campaign, I honestly don't think I've ever had a more stressful start to any job in FM than this one. The sheer number of games alone in the opening months of the season as a semi-professional club was ridiculous:

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Plus because of the 18 players signed during the summer months the team was always going to struggle to gel and hit the ground running in the new season, which proved to be the case. However despite the disappointing start where we lost 2 of our opening 3 league games and got knocked out of the MG Cup to that bogey team Barry Town on penalties, we did finally manage to get rid of the Barry Town hoodoo in the league at least! I was also confident that once the players started to gel we could put together a good run, but for now the table looked like this:

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However the main reason we made the move from Llanelli Town was due to the additional support we would receive in working our way up the coaching qualification ladder, and that looked to be the right decision early on as were given funding to study for the National A Licence:

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If you want to read the detailed post behind this update click below: 

https://dpfmblog.com/2021/01/18/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s4-ep-1-moving-to-a-new-club/

To checkout another challenge we have on the go, which entails taking Bolton back to the Europa League, click below:

https://dpfmblog.com/2020/12/21/bolton-back-to-europa-s1e1/

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We needed to get back on track in September 2023 and we started with a game against my old employers:

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An unbeaten month in the league yes but when you look at the opposition this really should have been a clean sweep of victories. Feel like all the new players are still trying to gel, table looked better though:

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Bangor City were going to be hard to catch! October's fixtures looked tough on paper...

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Not a dreadful month but BLOODY BARRY AGAIN!! Never had one team be such a bogey side across 2 separate clubs! Felt we should have won when you look at the stats:

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Although a hat-trick from Dafydd Davies, a regen academy player I had brought through at Llanelli Town before bringing here was a nice sight. Here's the table after this round of fixtures:

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Had a feeling this was just going to be one of those seasons where you have no chance of catching the top side. 

Some other good news in October, I completed the National A Licence and was immediately funded to start the Continental C Licence:

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Finally let's see how we got on with 3 televised games in November 2023:

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A clean sweep of victories meant it was now 14 games unbeaten in the league, our issue is that we're drawing too many against sides we should be beating! 

But with each game the team feel like they're gelling more so hopefully we can start picking up more wins between now and the end of the season.

 

If you want to read the detailed post behind this update click below: 

https://dpfmblog.com/2021/01/21/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s4-ep-2-getting-back-on-track/

To checkout another challenge we have on the go, which entails taking Bolton back to the Europa League, click below:

https://dpfmblog.com/2020/12/21/bolton-back-to-europa-s1e1/

 

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Into December and the first 3 games are a clean sweep of victories, 2 in the league and we're into the next round of the cup at Barry's expense.

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The last 2 games of the month saw us play league leaders Bangor City twice in 4 days... an unprecedented 12 pointer!!

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Unfortunately we failed to win either game and I was concerned that the title race was all but over even with so much football to be played. However the table made for better reading than I first thought:

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2 games left before the split and they were both in the first 2 weeks of January...

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Another disappointing draw, story of this season I'm afraid. The table at the split shows an 8 point gap with 10 games to go:

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January also marked the start of the transfer window again and we made 5 great pre-contract signings for this level. Ignore the compensations values on the first couple, all of these players were free:

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Very happy with that business and all the players are not only good for now but will progress significantly in the future.

February brought the first 4 games of the championship split:

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Draw specialists this season unfortunately... AND BLOODY BARRY AGAIN!!!

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With 5 games to go Bangor were going to be tough to catch.

Some better news came in February in the form of completing the Continental C Licence and immediately receiving funding for the Continental B Licence. 

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If you want to read the detailed post behind this update click below: 

https://dpfmblog.com/2021/01/24/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s4-ep-3-is-the-title-race-over-already/

To checkout another challenge we have on the go, which entails taking Bolton back to the Europa League, click below:

https://dpfmblog.com/2020/12/21/bolton-back-to-europa-s1e1/

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Last 2 months of the season and we're still in the title race (just) and the JD Welsh Cup, let's get into it!

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We started the month by booking our place in the JD Welsh Cup Semi-Final. Overall a good month but another draw was not needed at this stage. 

Unfortunately Bangor City had already played an extra game and won so the title race was officially over with 2 games to go:

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Fortunately we were still in the cup... but not for long:

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Knocked out in the last few minutes of extra time was hard to take. The team didn't really recover for the rest of the month as we finished the season with a whimper. I think this accurately summed up our season:

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Final standings:

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I feel that if we hadn't had to sign 22 players over the course of the season then maybe we would have been able to win the title first time round. I do feel that the team assembled here will win many titles in years to come.

However with my new coaching badges (3 clocked up this season - definitely the right decision to move to Bala) we were being linked with jobs all over the place, and following an interview I had a job offer I could only dream of! 

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That's right, League One Lincoln City came calling! Our first professional club!! So after 4 years in semi-professional Welsh football it was time to move across the border and see how we got on.

 

If you want to read the detailed post behind this update click below: 

https://dpfmblog.com/2021/01/27/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s4-ep-4-confirming-a-european-place-the-job-offer-of-dreams/

To checkout another challenge we have on the go, which entails taking Bolton back to the Europa League, click below:

https://dpfmblog.com/2020/12/21/bolton-back-to-europa-s1e1/

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Semi-Pro to League One - Let's get it! As always I started off by improving my backroom staff to give us the best background team in the league. 

Transfers

I wasted little time in snapping up a regen CB from my old team who was rated 5 star in the JD Cymru Premier, dropped to 3 star at this level but with 5 star potential and available on a free transfer.

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Unfortunately in the transfer window we lost 3 key players including our captain (Adam Jackson) & vice captain (Lewis Montsma) as well as our best individual player (Manuel Hidalgo).

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But to receive £1.2m was something I was pleased with in all honesty. In terms of incomings...

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We invested wisely. It must be because of the lack of funds I had in Wales but I just wasn't comfortable spending big numbers so I stuck with what I knew and went for free transfers where possible. A great window overall!

Keep an eye out for regen Liam Moroney - think he will play in the premier league for sure. 

Tactics

Worked on 2 formations in pre-season, both with the same instructions:

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Pre-Season 

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Results were good but I never get too concerned with pre-season performances to be honest. However more good news in pre-season in relation to our coaching badges came with the completion of the Continental B Licence and immediate commencement of the Continental A Licence. 

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Once we complete we will only be 1 course off of the Pro Licence!

Domestic Results

The aim for the season from the board was to finish mid table (12th-16th) and the media had us down for a 16th place finish. 

My personal aim was a top 10 finish but I may be being too ambitious. 

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A great start to the season against promotion hopefuls Sunderland but poor games against Newport County & League Two Fleetwood led me to change the formation to our 2nd option without the recognised number 10 as we were being overrun in midfield. It looked to have  positive impact:

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Good wins against strong sides Coventry & Sheffield Wednesday were much better performances. Even against Wigan we were the better side so I was happy with the change overall.

Table after the first month:

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Great start overall but it's still early doors, hopefully we can keep it up... this professional management malarkey is easy ;) 

 

If you want to read the detailed post behind this update click below: 

https://dpfmblog.com/2021/01/30/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s5-ep-1-semi-pro-to-efl-league-one/

To checkout another challenge we have on the go, which entails taking Bolton back to the Europa League, click below:

https://dpfmblog.com/2020/12/21/bolton-back-to-europa-s1e1/

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September was not a great month in all honesty. 

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The loss against Mansfield and draws against Plymouth & MK Dons were poor. Should be doing better to be honest. Didn't impact the league too much at this early stage:

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But with 7 points separating us from top of the league and bottom the season could go either way in the next couple of months. Thankfully October was a much better month:

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And the form continued into November...

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Which meant going into the busy winter period the table looked like this:

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Not really sure how when we're supposed to be mid-table but we're currently occupying 2nd place! 

But as we all know this league is a marathon not a sprint and it can all change very quickly.

 

If you want to read the detailed post behind this update click below: 

https://dpfmblog.com/2021/02/02/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s5-ep-2-like-a-duck-to-water/

To checkout another challenge we have on the go, which entails taking Bolton back to the Europa League, click below:

https://dpfmblog.com/2020/12/21/bolton-back-to-europa-s1e1/

 

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Winter is coming... December 2024 & January 2025 promised to be action packed with 17 games across the 2 months. 

Let's start with December:

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Another unbeaten month in the league sounds better than 4 wins and 4 draws. We should have beaten Luton though, and definitely Coventry.

We were knocked out of the Papa John's Trophy by Mansfield which I was disappointed with.

After the busy month the table looked like this:

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I'm not getting excited... you are!!

Before we get into January's matches let's look at the transfers, starting with incomings:

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Not really sure why but I went a bit keeper crazy in January. Signing 3 in Toby Savin, Andrew Fisher & Oli Bosworth. Regen striker Paul Devlin joined from senior affiliate Liverpool whilst the £300k we paid for Ro-Shaun Williams was the highest transfer fee we had spent in this journey so far. 

Outgoings:

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We managed to get about £450k for a few players who were surplus to requirements so overall a very successful window. Right let's get back to the games...

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Losing to Mansfield again! 3 time this season... they're taking on the role of Barry Town as my bogey team here in England (BLOODY MANSFIELD!!!). Plus the FA Cup run was over following defeat to Cardiff. 

But only 1 loss in the league during this hectic winter period was a great achievement by the squad and left the table looking like this:

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1 point behind league leaders Ipswich and a game in hand with 14 matches to go... WE COULDN'T COULD WE? Of course not... BUT JUST MAYBE?!?!

 

If you want to read the detailed post behind this update click below: 

https://dpfmblog.com/2021/02/05/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s5-ep-3-winter-is-coming/

To checkout another challenge we have on the go, which entails taking Bolton back to the Europa League, click below:

https://dpfmblog.com/2020/12/21/bolton-back-to-europa-s1e1/

 

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Can we? Can we upset the odds again as we have been doing since day one of this journey?

14 games to try to secure Championship football next season... before the football February started with some good news for me personally:

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With my contract due to expire in the summer I was offered a new deal with another year extension. Back to the football:

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An unbeaten month yes, but any points dropped at this stage of the season was cause for concern! With 10 games to go the table looked like this:

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2 points clear at the top and 8 points clear in the automatic promotion places. Plenty of football still to be played and this league can turn on it's head in the blink of an eye. Into March we go...

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Disappointing loss to Gillingham meant that the points dropped kept rising, fortunately those around us were not taking advantage and ew maintained a healthy position in the league:

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Not yet... stop celebrating! YES YOU READING THIS RIGHT NOW! STOP. 

5 points clear at the top and 8 points clear in the automatic promotion places with a game in hand. It's up to us now to go and finish the job!

Let's start with the first 4 games of April.

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Draw City (thanks came up with that myself). But it didn't matter, 3 draws was enough to seal it... YES NOW! CELEBRATE NOW!

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Crawled over the line but after the Luton game it was confirmed that we will be in the Championship next season! 

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Now all that was left was to seal the title with 1 win out of the remaining 2 games... but the final game was against Ipswich so it could be a case of winner takes the title on the final day!

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Fortunately the FM gods decided my blood pressure didn't need the added stress and allowed us to win the 2nd to last game comfortably. Just as well as we lost to Ipswich on the final day... but who cares?

CAMPIONE CAMPIONE OLE OLE OLE! 

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Ipswich's win against us confirmed automatic promotion for them and honestly I was delighted. They had led the league until March and thoroughly deserved to go up. Wigan won the play-offs in the end so the 3 best teams in the league points wise would all be in the Championship next season. 

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Even had a nice message from Lincoln Legend and Premier League manager Danny Cowley!

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Deservedly won League One Manager of the Year if I do say so myself.

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If you want to read the detailed post behind this update click below: 

https://dpfmblog.com/2021/02/08/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s5-ep-4-upsetting-the-odds/

To checkout another challenge we have on the go, which entails taking Bolton back to the Europa League, click below:

https://dpfmblog.com/2020/12/21/bolton-back-to-europa-s1e1/

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Preparing for life in the Championship... 

First let's look at some transfers we wrapped up at the end of last season:

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3 great signings for now and highly rated for the future. 

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In terms of transfers in the new season, let's start with outgoings:

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We made £12m in player sales from signings that in total cost us a combined £36.4k only 12 months ago! Great window in terms of outgoings... 

Now onto incomings ahead of our first season in the championship:

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Including the players signed at the end of last season that's 14 players brought in for a combined figure of less than £1m. Great to get Liam Moroney back from Crystal Palace for the season after we sold him for nearly £9m. 

The real standout signings were John Buckley and our 4 loan players...

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Away from the transfer window I had also decided to try out a new formation in the championship this season. The focus was on getting my best players onto the pitch and overloading the areas where most championship teams try to play through. 

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Away from the football side of things we actually had some more good news in relation to our coaching badges. 

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Continental Pro licence was now only 12 months away! Who would of thought that when we were struggling to get funding for our National C Licence only a few years ago at Llanelli Town?

This season is going to be very tough, I can tell that just by looking at the amount other teams are spending on transfers compared to us...

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£63 MILLION ON ONE PLAYER?!? IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP??? 

We brought in 14 players for just under £1m... how were we supposed to compete? Then there's the wages...

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We are spending a tenth of the wages of top payers West Ham, even Barnsley in 20th are spending double what we are!! 

It's going to be a long tough season but hopefully we can avoid the drop! 

 

If you want to read the detailed post behind this update click below: 

https://dpfmblog.com/2021/02/11/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s6-ep-1-preparing-for-championship-life/

To checkout another challenge we have on the go, which entails taking Bolton back to the Europa League, click below:

https://dpfmblog.com/2020/12/21/bolton-back-to-europa-s1e1/

 

 

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So we're back and Championship football is upon us! Can we survive? Only time will tell... 

We've continued to be reserved in our spending - I wonder if we've taken it one league too far? Only one way to find out, play some matches!

 

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WHAT A START!! 

Never did I think we would win 5 of our opening 7 league games at this level - the table below is after the first game in September (which we won - spoiler alert). 

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HOW ARE WE DOING THIS?

You may have noticed Leeds in 20th despite spending £102m in the summer, this was enough to get Brendan Rodgers sacked and I was wanted by them. I didn't apply as I am happy with Lincoln at the moment but if they offered me an interview I would speak to them.

Into one of the most hectic months I have ever experienced we go...

Started the month with a win over Barnsley as I 'leaked' before:

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After the game it was announced that Leeds had hired Stoke manager Scott Parker - this left a gap at Stoke and I was the favourite. 

They offered me an interview the day before our game against them!

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I went along with the expectation that they would take a few days to decide so I could just focus on the match ahead.

But no - they return with an offer at 08:52am! Kick off is at 15:00... if they had left it any later I could have just walked across to the other dressing room before the game! 

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I requested for them to delay the offer by one week so I could just focus on the game with Lincoln. The match itself was a pretty good game to be fair:

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A 2-1 win over our potential next employers! They returned with their approach a week later, with the potential of the club and the £45m transfer budget it was hard to turn down...

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I struggled to make the decision on this one to be honest, particularly after the great start we have had with Lincoln, but in the end it was an offer I couldn't refuse...

OFF TO STOKE WE GO!

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The club wanted a top half finish but my personal objective was definitely the play-offs! 

The first thing I needed to do was sort out the staff... look at the mess when I took over:

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But I think I did a pretty good job of sorting it out so quickly...

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Speaking of staff attributes - I thought this would be a good time to look back and see the progression with our managerial ratings up to this points. 

The first picture is the manager we created on the first day of the save & the second is from the day we took over at Stoke.

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Our journey with Stoke begins with an incredible 3-2 against Swansea! Which meant the table at the end of September 2025 looked like this:

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If you want to read the detailed post behind this update click below: 

https://dpfmblog.com/2021/02/14/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s6-ep-2-thriving-headhunted/

To checkout another challenge we have on the go, which entails taking Bolton back to the Europa League, click below:

https://dpfmblog.com/2020/12/21/bolton-back-to-europa-s1e1/

 

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Back with another update! Don't forget we post all of our updates first on our blog, where we also show a lot more of what's going on in the save than we post on here, check it out - https://dpfmblog.com/.

From the last episode we had just taken the Stoke Job and won our first game in charge. October 2025 promised to be a tough month with games against Leeds & Aston Villa who have the best squads in the division. Let's see how we did:

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A mediocre month. We threw away a 2-0 half-time lead against Leeds to draw the game 2-2. Villa were better than us to be honest but we managed to recover with scrappy victories against Blackpool & Wigan before our 2nd XI made it through to the quarter finals of the Carabao cup with a penalty shootout victory over League One Hull. 

No cup competitions in November so full focus on the league...

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Reading were flying high in the league and played us off the park. The victories were incredible performances, particularly the win over West Ham! but look at the stats behind the loss to Millwall...

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Tell me how we lost this game please!?! 

With 3 wins from 5 the table looked like this at the end of November:

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7 points from the play-offs and much closer to a mid-table battle than a promotion push is disappointing, but we're still early in the season and anything can happen in this league! 

I'm hoping that we can put the inconsistent performances behind us and really push ahead in December.

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5 wins from 7 was overall pretty good. Shame we lost a close fought Carabao Cup Quarter Final to Watford but they are a division above us and we very nearly took them to extra time. What annoyed me more is the schedule which some of you may have noticed...

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I MEAN COME ON! HOW IS THIS FAIR?!?

3 games in 4 days and 2 in 24 hours! The glitch in the game really messed up our plans for these games and forced me to rotate heavily. The loss against Birmingham was frustrating as they scored a penalty in the 1st minute of the game and just held on. The Forest game annoyed me the most as that was one I was forced to rotate in and as a result we were outplayed. Fortunately the decision to rest the entire first XI was justified when we beat Brentford only 24 hours later. 

At the end of the month and calendar year the table looked like this...

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That's more like it! Now only 2 points from the play-offs and 9 points from the top of the league. Hopefully we can keep up some good form in the new year and make a late charge for the play-offs!

In the next update I will be going through a hectic transfer window as well as the month of February so make sure you check back in!

 

If you want to read the detailed post behind this update click below: 

https://dpfmblog.com/2021/02/17/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s6-ep-3-pottering-through/

To checkout another challenge we have on the go, which entails taking Bolton back to the Europa League, click below:

https://dpfmblog.com/2020/12/21/bolton-back-to-europa-s1e1/

 

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Don't forget we post all of our updates first on our blog, where we also show a lot more of what's going on in the save than we post on here, check it out - https://dpfmblog.com/.

Another update on this crazy journey! I think this might be the most hectic transfer window in FM history! Let's start with outgoings:

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It seemed like teams from all over the world were coming to just dismantle and unsettle my squad! Nearly £80m in fees made though is not a bad thing...

There were too many incomings to show you them all in one screenshot, so I have split them into 2 parts... 

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Great reinforcements brought into the defensive areas. To check out the players ratings and attributes go to https://dpfmblog.com/2021/02/20/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s6-ep-4-splashing-the-cash-beating-pep/.

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Incredible quality for incredible prices! Those of you with a keen eye may notice a legend of this save was signed this month, Liam Moroney!! 

Overall we made nearly £80m from 11 players and spent £42m on 18 players, a hectic but fantastic window all round! Championship clubs really did splash the cash:

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Anyway back to the football! I was concerned how we would settle with so many new players and January promised to be a busy month with league and FA cup games...

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WHAT A MONTH! 2 giant killings in the FA CUP as well?!? WE BEAT PEP GUARDIOLA :D

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SOMEONE TELL ME HOW?!?

February brought full focus back on the league...

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Unbeaten yes but disappointed to draw against Swansea. At the end of the month the table looked like this:

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6 points clear in the play off places and only 7 points behind automatic promotion! Could we do it? 

 

If you want to read the detailed post behind this update click below: 

https://dpfmblog.com/2021/02/20/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s6-ep-4-splashing-the-cash-beating-pep/

To checkout another challenge we have on the go, which entails taking Bolton back to the Europa League, click below:

https://dpfmblog.com/2020/12/21/bolton-back-to-europa-s1e1/

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Right come on then, time for the final push for the play-off places with 10 games to go...

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Frustrating month as we conceded 94th minute equalisers to both Aston Villa & West Ham, only 10 days apart! That turned a vital 6 points into only 2. Disappointing to draw with Bristol City as well. However I'm proud to have made it to the FA Cup Quarter Final and even take Wolves all the way to extra time. 

With those silly dropped points the table was now much closer:

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The gap was down to 2 points. Birmingham are closing in, we need a perfect run in our last 6 games. Before get there though I made a great free transfer signing in March...

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22 year old USA International Caden Clark was a free agent after leaving the MLS. 3.5 star rating with a 4 star potential in CAM/LW/RW/ST and he only wanted 14k pw with a £23m release clause? Bargain. 

Anyway back to the football, these were out last 6 games:

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All teams that were below us in the league so I wanted 6 wins from 6 to secure a play-off place. Let's start with the first 2 games against Millwall & Blackburn...

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Good start. Caden Clark with a crucial match winning goal on his full debut. With 4 games to fo the table looked like this and you can see the other fixtures teams around us face:

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Still 6th and it was very congested up here, what this picture doesn't show you is that Birmingham are only 4 points behind us... up next were Ipswich & Cardiff:

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Dear oh dear oh dear. 2 awful performances that just came out of nowhere! Had we done enough to hold on to the final play-off place and keep destiny in our own hands?

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Unfortunately not. Birmingham had one both of their games and were now 1 point ahead of us heading into the final 2 fixtures... we had Preston & Huddersfield left. Preston first:

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Phew, that's one in the bag! Did Birmingham or Derby slip up to put us back in control going into the final day? 

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Again no... that meant it would all come down to the final day. Derby faced Cardiff and Birmingham took on 2nd place Brighton. Surely one of them would drop points for us to sneak in? Let's see...

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Derby took all 3 points away at Cardiff which was gutting. With the way they played against me I thought they might have done us a favour here. What about Birmingham?

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Ok here we go! Birmingham could only draw against Brighton which meant all we had to do was win and we would be in the play-offs. We faced relegation threatened Huddersfield, could we do it?

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NOOO!!!! Despite going 2-0 up Huddersfield rallied to complete an incredible comeback and guarantee their safety on the final day. Heartbroken. The league finished like this:

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To be fair we weren't expected to make the play-offs and we wouldn't have won it, and even if we had we weren't good enough for the Prem yet so another season in the Championship will do us nicely. 

For those of you wondering it was a Second-City derby in the play-off final between Aston Villa & Birmingham... and would you believe it?

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Birmingham go up on penalties! The team that snuck into the play-offs right at the death went on to win it!

 

If you want to read the detailed post behind this update click below: 

https://dpfmblog.com/2021/02/23/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s6-ep-5-are-we-worthy-of-the-promise-land/

To checkout another challenge we have on the go, which entails taking Bolton back to the Europa League, click below:

https://dpfmblog.com/2020/12/21/bolton-back-to-europa-s1e1/

 

 

 

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We are back for another season in the Championship! Hopefully having a full pre-season with the boys will be enough to make the play-offs this time around.

Just a reminder that we post all of our challenge updates first on our blog (https://dpfmblog.com/) at least 1-2 days before we post on here, so go and check it out and give us some support!

We start with another incredibly busy transfer window which entailed signing 14 players and agreeing deals for an extra 5 players to join us in January/end of the season. There are far too many players to show you them all on here so go and check out the blog post (https://dpfmblog.com/2021/02/28/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s7-ep-1-we-go-again/) and you can scroll through them all - some great signings for sure! 

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Overall we signed 14 players for roughly £20m and we sold 3 players for £22m. We also let 5 players leave for free and loaned out 28 players! However it was Leeds yet again spending an outrageous amount for a Championship side, reaching the £100m mark for the second season in a row:

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Right let's get back to the football and into pre-season:

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I always say that I never get too excited or disappointed by results in pre-season but come on, some results here are very impressive! Victories over Man City, Dinamo Zagreb & West Ham were the highlights!

Into August we go and the board have set their objectives:

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Not bad, they only want a top half finish but for me personally play-offs have to be the bare minimum following the disappointment of last season. 

The bookies seem to agree as they had us down to finish 5th:

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But the media only fancied us to finish 9th, so overall a top half finish is fair for the squad we have in comparison to others. That changes nothing for my personal objective though, it's play-offs or a failure of a season as far as I'm concerned.

Busy first month awaits us with 9 games in all competitions... let's see how we got on!

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A great month in all! Taking 16 points from a possible 21... but what on earth was that first game against Brentford? Wait until you see the stats:

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An expected goals ratio of 3.32 yet only scoring a 89th minute consolation? What even is that?!?

Fortunately the rest of the month was almost perfect aside from the 0-0 draw against Huddersfield, think the boys were still having nightmares after they ended our play-off hopes last season!

At the end of the August 2026 and the first month of the season the table looked like this:

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Sitting pretty at the top of the league! However with only 7 games played it was all very tight and could easily change if we don't keep racking up those wins.

On other news we got some good news after receiving a Continental Pro Licence:

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Just reading that we now hold the highest coaching qualification available when we started with non only 6 years ago is an incredible feeling!

Finally we also managed to secure an agreement for Arsenal to become our Senior Affiliate:

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Hopefully this will allow us to bring in some good youngsters on loan for the next couple of seasons at least.

 

 

 

If you want to read the detailed post behind this update click below: 

https://dpfmblog.com/2021/02/28/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s7-ep-1-we-go-again/

To checkout another challenge we have on the go, which entails taking Bolton back to the Europa League, click below:

https://dpfmblog.com/2020/12/21/bolton-back-to-europa-s1e1/

 

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Into the months of September, October & November 2026 we go! Really wanted to rack up as many wins as possible before the busy winter months of December & January. Let's see how we got on:

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Oh dear... back to back defeats?! We recovered with 2 narrow victories over Cardiff & Blackburn but those away defeats were poor, we should be beating those teams.

Did those 2 wins manage to keep us up amongst the big boys? 

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Indeed they did! Would of been nice to beat Swansea & Barnsley to be sitting top of the league but given how congested it is we've done well to stay amongst it. 

Would the away form improve in October?

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On the face of it no, but if you analyse the results it looks a bit more positive. We beat recently relegated Middlesbrough away, drew with title favourites Aston Villa & Leeds, and lost a cup game to premier league Watford. So overall I think this was a much better month. 

How did the table stack up? 

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Very interesting! Right up there, Brentford and West Brom are in fine form but we're keeping pace which is promising after just over a third of the season gone. 

Our form wasn't going unnoticed:

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Premier League Bournemouth were sniffing around after sacking Mark Hughes. I decided not to apply but if they wanted to talk to me then I would. 

I tend not to look to leave a team until I have achieved what I wanted with them or unless I absolutely have to in order to progress with the save (Bala Town > Lincoln for example). 

If a team asks to speak to me then that's a different story (Lincoln > Stoke), but I won't go out of my way to leave unless I have to. 

In the end Bournemouth never got in touch and they hired Genk's manager in the game Gerardo Seoane so good luck to him!

Into November we go...

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That damn away form! Disappointing to only draw against Preston as every other result was perfect, including the 1-1 draw away against recently relegated Fulham, I was delighted with that. 

Overall a good few months, disastrous start to September with the back-to-back losses but recovered pretty well. Away form is a concern.

How does the league look ahead of the busy winter months?

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VERY INTERESTING! Just under half the season played and we sit 2nd in an automatic promotion place. Need to try to fix the away form to maintain a proper challenge this year.

At the end of the month Middlesbrough, who were sitting 18th after being relegated last season, sacked their manager Willy Sagnol and offered me an interview:

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Now this was a much more tempting offer than some of you may think. Their squad was incredible and they are rich... VERY RICH. Plus it would be an interesting project to try and take Middlesbrough back to the levels they were at when I was a kid, reaching a UEFA Cup (Europa League) Final.

In the end I decided to decline the interview as I feel we are building something here with Stoke and at the very least I want to make the play-offs with them before I look to move on. 

 

If you want to read the detailed post behind this update click below: 

https://dpfmblog.com/2021/03/03/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s7-ep-2-a-wanted-man/

To checkout another challenge we have on the go, which entails taking Bolton back to the Europa League, click below:

https://dpfmblog.com/2020/12/21/bolton-back-to-europa-s1e1/

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Into the crucial months of December & January we go. This would be make or break in terms of our promotion chances. Let's get into it...

Before we get into the football let's just have a quick look at the early assessment of our youth intake:

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Pretty poor overall but looking forward to seeing the promising centre-back and attacking midfielder. 

Right into December 2026 we go! 6 games in the month including 3 fixtures against other sides in the top 6.

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WE FINALLY DID IT! THE PERFECT MONTH OF RESULTS :D

Plus our away form picked up as well as we secured incredible results on our travels against Reading and title contenders West Brom! 

Unsurprisingly this was enough for us to be awarded manager of the month:

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Winning awards is all well and good but how were we looking in the table come the end of the month?

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That's what we like to see! 10 points clear at the top at the turn of the year. However following last seasons collapse we know all too well how quickly this league can turn...

The board seemed happy enough with the direction the club had gone since I arrived and offered me a new 3 year deal:

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However I decided to decline talks for now until the end of the season. Not looking to leave but a lot of clubs sniffing around and want to keep my options open for now.

One club that did approach me for an interview was a familiar enemy from last season:

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Now that they were a premier league side I decided to go along for the interview, but I had already made my mind up that even if they offered me the job I wouldn't be taking it. 

Their squad is barely better than what I have built at Stoke and I felt it would be a tough job to keep them in the premier league. 

As it was they didn't offer me anyway and instead went for Chris Wilder:

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Into January 2027 we go!

This was one of the quieter transfer windows of this journey, but still pretty busy nonetheless.

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Fairly straightforward following the previous updates. 4 players joined on free transfers following our pre-contract work over the summer. We also made a few bargain signings!

To see full player profiles go and check out the full update from this post on our blog DP-FM (https://dpfmblog.com/2021/03/08/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s7-ep-3-we-do-love-playing-away/).

In terms of outgoings...

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Fantastic bit of business to get £30m for Joe Powell! Overall we sold 4 players for £46m and brought in 7 for £3.5m. I do love a deal. 

Right back to the Football now and 5 league games in January plus an FA Cup 3rd Round trip to Premier League side Norwich:

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We put in a good performance but ultimately Norwich are just better than us and it showed. Great form in the league continued but Swansea ruined our chances of back to back perfect months!

It was still good enough for us to win a second consecutive manager of the month award.

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I forgot to screenshot the league table at the end of January (rookie error I know), however we were still in the same position as the end of January. 10 points clear at the top!

Can we complete the job and gain promotion to the promise land of the Premier League? Find out next time!

 

If you want to read the detailed post behind this update click below: 

https://dpfmblog.com/2021/03/08/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s7-ep-3-we-do-love-playing-away/

To checkout another challenge we have on the go, which entails taking Bolton back to the Europa League, click below:

https://dpfmblog.com/2020/12/21/bolton-back-to-europa-s1e1/

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Back again and this one is a BIG ONE! 

As you may remember we are 10 points clear at the top of the Championship with Stoke and there are only 15 games to go. Let's get into February 2026...

It promised to be a big one with 6 league games to get through, including games against fellow promotion hopefuls Blackburn & Aston Villa:

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Not a great start away at Cardiff but the January loan signing, Omari Hutchinson, proved his worth as the match winner in back to back games. 

The mathematicians among you may have noticed there are only 3 games here when I said we had 6 to get through. There is good reason for this. After the Blackburn game this happened:

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The manager merry-go-round of the Premier League had presented us with an opportunity. I didn't apply but as always if approached I usually go along for a discussion, which I did, and then got offered the job!

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I honestly couldn't decide what to do on this one. On the one hand Crystal Palace were sitting in the relegation zone facing a tough run in of fixtures, whilst on the other we were flying with Stoke and almost guaranteed automatic promotion to the Premier League. If I took the risk then I could potentially be straight back down in the Championship next season. Take a look at the tables:

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I honestly just stopped playing the game for a few days and downloaded all of the badge, face & kit packs, as well as the newgan regen face installer to add to the game and give me some time to think.

In the end though, I decided that I had to take it didn't I? This was the Premier League for crying out loud! So it's official...

10th October 2020 - Appointed our first job as Manager of Llanelli Town in the JD Cymru South.

16th February 2027 - Appointed Manager of Crystal Palace in the PREMIER LEAGUE!!

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As you can see the team had majorly underperformed this season compared to the predicted finish of 13th. 

There was still time to try and get up the table but looking at the run in of fixtures it would be tough:

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12 cup finals! Only the games against West Ham, Brighton & Sheffield United on the final day stood out as really winnable games.

My first job though, as always when joining a new club, was to sort out the backroom staff. What a mess it was.

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But we managed to get it sorted pretty quickly.

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The next thing I did was review the finances...

1521724707_Screenshot2021-03-13at18_57_13.png.5770d4ec59f12c43e7011197f989af7e.png

Not great on first viewing but £28m in debt is nothing for a premier league club, the prize money and TV rights should be enough to get us back to secure pretty quickly, as long as we can stay in the division. 

Speaking of which, let's get on with the football! After 6.5 seasons working our way from the very bottom we were about to play our first matches in the best competition in the world:

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Right then, Southampton and West Ham were our first games... let's get into it!

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Not bad but not great. I was delighted with a point against Southampton but considering we were 1-0 right up until the 83rd minute I was disappointed we didn't take all 3 points. 

Up next was West Ham who were 1 point and 1 place below us in the league. It was a must win game and the boys just didn't turn up. Either way, 2 points is better than none. 

How does the table look at the end of February 2026 as we leave this update here then? 

1185707883_Screenshot2021-03-13at19_02_02.png.1d08f438e13dd80312bee74660b4b67a.png

At least we're out of the relegation places! Plenty of tough games coming up though, I just need to hope the table finishes exactly like this at the end of the season.

We must stay up at all costs!

If you want to read the detailed post behind this update click below: 

https://dpfmblog.com/2021/03/13/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s7-ep-4-through-the-palace-doors/

To checkout another challenge we have on the go, which entails taking Bolton back to the Europa League, click below:

https://dpfmblog.com/2020/12/21/bolton-back-to-europa-s1e1/

 

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We're back with 10 games to save our Premier League status! Having just joined Crystal Palace we have one mission and one mission only, avoid relegation at all costs! 

Trust me... you will not believe how this ends. Just a reminder we post all of our updates on our blog about 2 days before we update it on here, so if you want early access then check out the DP-FM Website (https://dpfmblog.com/). 

Let's get into March 2027:

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A very good month with 3 wins out of 4, however unfortunately 2 of those wins were in the FA Cup not the league! I have no idea how but we are into the Semi-Final of the FA Cup after an incredible late comeback against Everton before a demolishing of Liverpool. 

Ahead of the Newcastle game we were given a timely reminder of just how far we had come in this journey:

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But enough of the niceties, where did 1 win and 1 loss leave us in the league come the end of the month? 

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Oh dear. West Ham won 3 games on the bounce in March and are now nowhere to be seen. 

There was a gap starting to appear and I needed to pick up wins urgently. Unfortunately the fixtures in April were not looking kind... I'm starting to get worried now.

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Unbelievable. The result against Tottenham was fair enough but look at what happened against Burnley...

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Conceding in the 95th minute... that really could be the goal that sends us down. The win over bottom of the league Brighton was needed and I was happy with a point away at Wolves. 

At the end of April it was not looking promising for us, I think even the most passionate Crystal Palace fan would agree:

1557597402_Screenshot2021-03-19at14_11_53.png.143c4d429f23a61c2d7162730c2117e2.png

Heading into the final 3 games we needed a miracle, and this was our remaining fixtures....

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Not exactly ideal but if we could keep ourselves alive that final game against Sheffield United could be crucial! One game at a time then:

1846280382_Screenshot2021-03-19at14_14_54.png.591dd64dc10f2f543bd663ffeb02194d.png

Fair enough, I mean it is Chelsea. Was that enough to confirm it?

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I mean... just about. 5 points from safety with 2 games to go. The only team we could really catch were Bournemouth... but as long as it's still possible we have to keep fighting! 

Next up, Watford:

236544798_Screenshot2021-03-19at14_17_14.png.958decdebbe1091e09b360ba0b0f231d.png

TEREM MOFFI YOU ABSOLUTE BEAUTY!! 

With the game heading towards an entertaining draw, which would have confirmed our relegation, Terem Moffi picks up the ball on the halfway line and skips by 3 Watford players before unleashing a 25 yard screamer to keep us alive with the last kick of the game! Had other results gone our way though? 

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Oh christ. It was between us, Birmingham & Bournemouth. I mean Southampton as well technically but I doubt there will be a big enough goal swing to have them involved.

This was the final set of fixtures:

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Realistically we had a chance. We were playing Sheffield United who were only 4 points away from us in 14th. Meanwhile Bournemouth had to go to Old Trafford and get something, whilst Birmingham faced the form team in the division, West Ham. 

Let's start with Bournemouth to see if we even had a chance of staying up:

157353747_Screenshot2021-03-19at14_22_53.png.af659397bdbeaaf0fddf5f08cb59ad37.png

Good start. Now let's see if Birmingham were going to make it interesting. If they have won and we win as well it will come down to goal difference...

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Well who would have thought that the team who were below me when I joined would be the ones to present me with the opportunity to stay in the division. 

All we had to do was win... simple as that right? Would I really give all this build up just to let you down...

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COME ON THE BOYS!!! 

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I honestly don't understand how we keep doing this! This is by far the best journey I have ever had on Football Manager. 

Not only are we still a premier league manager but we also had a very nice award come through to the inbox:

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I may have left in February but I did still take charge for 3 quarters of the season and left them 15 points clear with 12 games to go. For those of you wondering, Stoke managed to go on and win the division comfortably and will be joined in the Premier League next season by Aston Villa and Brentford!

 1972391158_Screenshot2021-03-19at14_30_28.png.a5c35d07a5571ee0d3f29403b492e248.png

What a season! Both with Stoke and then the unbelievable escape from relegation with Crystal Palace. This journey just keeps getting better and better, I can't wait for the first full season in the division!

 

If you want to read the detailed post behind this update click below: 

https://dpfmblog.com/2021/03/17/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s7-ep-5-staying-up-or-going-down/

To checkout another challenge we have on the go, which entails taking Bolton back to the Europa League, click below:

https://dpfmblog.com/2020/12/21/bolton-back-to-europa-s1e1/

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After the dramatic end to last season where we kept our premier league status on the final day, we are back preparing for our first full season in this league. 

The board gave us a transfer budget of £20m and a wage budget of £1.8m which isn't too bad as I was looking to overhaul the squad so should have some money coming from player sales. 

1982972909_Screenshot2021-03-25at07_38_20.png.095da8252c687d491f5719c942b16847.png

However, when discussing the club vision they added in some new things which I wasn't happy about. They wanted me to play defensive, direct, counter-attacking football... literally the complete opposite of my style. I tried to take them out but they weren't having any of it, so let's see what happens.

I'm going to keep getting the team to play my way and if they're not happy then they can show me the door. 

Anyway, let's get into the transfers, starting with the outgoings:

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The overhaul begins! We amassed an impressive £73m through player sales. Some more noteworthy than others, but all of the big deals (£10m+) were players who were over the age of 30 so their ability was starting to decline. Good deals if you ask me and we now had a transfer budget of around £80m after the board took their cut. 

Moving on to the incomings:

335212048_Screenshot2021-03-25at07_44_00.png.005b3f6e98e46e386a7a1ec28751291a.png

Now considering 5 out of the 7 players signed are newgens I wouldn't expect you to know the names, but honestly we did some incredible business. To check out the players attributes and profiles visit the blog post on our website (https://dpfmblog.com/2021/03/22/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s8-ep-1-premier-league-preparations/). 

Once you see the players you will know that to get these 7 players for around £42m is an absolute bargain! Keep a particular look out for Linkyel, 18 years old and an absolute baller!

However these are only the players we signed at the end of last season, and we still made a few more moves in the new seasons transfer window:

659902547_Screenshot2021-03-25at07_48_31.png.ac280252d4408ec36660987e2382041c.png

Again 5 out of the 6 are newgens so check out the blog post to see their ratings, but just trust me when I say it really was a fantastic window and I am so much happier with the squad heading into this season than I was with the one that finished last season. 

I really believe we can avoid the drop as long as the board don't get in the way of me playing the football that I want to...

I said I wanted to have a clearout and the media certainly picked up on it:

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And we showed up as the most active team in the transfer window at the roundup:

2024595168_Screenshot2021-03-25at07_51_48.png.aeb815b24ea318363504294d9cfa6c13.png

If I thought teams splashed the cash in the Championship then my word Premier League clubs take it to another level! Wolves splashing out £167m!! 

Between 20 clubs the spend was £1.4b...yes a B...BILLION! Mental. 

540674013_Screenshot2021-03-25at07_53_45.png.29acf33b80304933cb60de97517a2604.png

Almost double what the next highest spending league managed. Keep in mind we spent 53m across the 2 transfer windows, so the other clubs clearly went crazy!

It's going to be hard to compete with that but let's hope we manage to stay up at least. Speaking of predictions, lets take a look at a few interesting statistics ahead of the new season.

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16th. I would say that is a fair prediction of where we might finish this season to be honest, it's usually not far off in terms of who pays the most to where that club finishes in the league. 

It's a compete story with the match day revenue:

1176122410_Screenshot2021-03-25at07_57_35.png.29b02ca41475e68c56767f263d7d1811.png

So basically I am expecting us to finish around 15th or 16th, which I would be happy with, as long as we avoid the drop this season I don't care where we finish. 

The media and bookmakers thought much the same:

1688120053_Screenshot2021-03-25at07_59_04.png.3646ebd1b46939fbb82e9d1e8a3f4470.png

Right enough of the predictions, let's get back to the football! Starting with pre-season:

1557852328_Screenshot2021-03-25at07_59_48.png.f6fa1cd45b740b78186d92eca56adebf.png

I never get too bothered about pre-season results, it's all about fitness. Some good performances from Jeremy Antonisse and Darko Stamatovic so I'm hoping they continue that into the new season. 

Speaking of which, let's go through the month of August 2027.

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Great start to the season! 8 points after 4 games, 3 of which were away from home, very happy with that. Plus we're through to the next round of the Carabao cup so I can't have asked for much more. 

The award panel clearly agreed that our unbeaten start to the season deserved a podium finish:

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Not that it means much at this stage but I'll give you a breakdown of the league at the end of the first month:

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Alright settle down, no title challenge this year I can assure you of that, but it's nice to be at this end of the league for a change! Let's just see how short lived it proves to be.

 

 

If you want to read the detailed post behind this update click below: 

https://dpfmblog.com/2021/03/22/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s8-ep-1-premier-league-preparations/

To checkout another challenge we have on the go, which entails taking Bolton back to the Europa League, click below:

https://dpfmblog.com/2020/12/21/bolton-back-to-europa-s1e1/

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  • 2 weeks later...

After a little break we are back with another update! 

This post has been out for a little while on our blog so if you want to get the updates as soon as possible go and check out the website https://dpfmblog.com/

Anyway, let's get straight into it, after a decent start to the season in the first month we look to keep picking up points to get to that 40 mark as soon as possible.

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Another 6 points in the league is extremely welcome! Disappointed to not get something from the game against Newcastle but extremely happy to beat Burnley who are a very good side this far into the game. 

After the first game of October (which we lost - spoilers!) the table was looking like this:

1595410307_Screenshot2021-04-04at16_42_26.thumb.png.8f018e77bf0e3fa0be0c4c36e58630b5.png

Great start! We had 24 points from 26 games when I joined last season and we now have 14 points from our opening 8 games. If we can keep this up then relegation shouldn't be a concern this season.

Into October we go...

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A very tough run of fixtures to be fair, but still a good win away at Everton and against a stubborn Villa side. Another 6 points on the board is always welcome. 

Table at the end of October:

1847907648_Screenshot2021-04-04at16_47_06.thumb.png.9d1040d28ed0db17c682fe19ca0c84d9.png

Could a European challenge actually be on the cards this season? I doubt it but you never know!

Quite frankly I don't care, we're now halfway to the 40 point mark and relegation shouldn't be a concern this season... but we're not there yet! 

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Another month, another 6 points added to the board! Disappointed with the performance at home against Leicester, but the result against my old employers was one I took a bit of extra enjoyment from. 

Overall it has been an incredible start to this season, but I won't get ahead of myself, the run of fixtures in December is horrendous and we may not see any more points for the rest of 2027. So until it's guaranteed I won't be thinking of anything else other than avoiding relegation. 

 

 

If you want to read the detailed post behind this update click below: 

https://dpfmblog.com/2021/03/26/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s8-ep-2-palace-to-europa/

To checkout another challenge we have on the go, which entails taking Bolton back to the Europa League, click below:

https://dpfmblog.com/2020/12/21/bolton-back-to-europa-s1e1/

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Another busy update this one as we cover the three months of December, January & February. As always just to remind you we post our updates first and foremost on our blog here https://dpfmblog.com/.

As I said in the last update, our run of fixtures in December was horrendous so I wasn't expecting much. Let's see how we got on:

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Pretty much as expected. Disappointing to not even score a goal against the big sides but the squads they have are just unreal! Sometimes you just have to pick your battles, and to be fair we did beat Watford.

How did the points shy month change the league table? 

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I mean to be fair I would have snapped your arm off to have 29 points at the halfway stage of the season! If we can repeat this in the second half of the season a top 10 finish could be very achievable. 

January brought with it the transfer window and there were some unexpected outgoings:

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Huge deals all round! We managed to sell a bunch of squad players for a total of £109.5m... incredible business. 

We reinvested sparingly of course:

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Take a look at the blog update here to see the player profiles - https://dpfmblog.com/2021/04/05/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s8-ep-3-festive-frustrations/.

Some great signings for the prices!

Back to the football as we had a very busy month to get through:

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A fantastic month of results! 2 FA Cup wins put us into the fifth round and in the league it was 4 wins from 6. This meant only one thing for the league:

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We've hit our 40 point mark after only 25 games! To put this into context, when I joined last season after 26 games we had 24 points. What a turnaround!

February brought with it some injury concerns:

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Yes you read that right, 9 players on the injury list! With the exception of Dylan Woods these were all first team players:

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Just seems to be one of those freak periods you can have on FM every now and again, and it gets worse later on! For now though let's look at the results in February:

869551961_Screenshot2021-04-06at11_00_59.png.f60a0906049a48e6dc38260ccab6fc48.png

Frustrating draw against Burnley followed by an incredible win against Man City! However it was back down to earth after a disappointing performance at the Emirates. 

More frustrating was the 4 additional players added to the injury list.. that's right it's up to 13 now! 

1817761789_Screenshot2021-04-06at11_02_45.png.b959f17bf2fed5d7f8e972fbc72f4662.png

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We are really down to the bare bones now and I am just praying this ridiculous amount of injuries doesn't derail our season heading into the final months.

Let's take a look at the table at the end of February:

1215394914_Screenshot2021-04-06at11_04_26.png.bb4a78f1fb29bbb40207e4707556b770.png

Honestly I still can't believe the season we are having! I was expecting to be battling against relegation and yet a European challenge doesn't seem to be completely off the cards. Let's just hope these injuries don't completely ruin everything. 

 

If you want to read the detailed post behind this update click below: 

https://dpfmblog.com/2021/04/05/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s8-ep-3-festive-frustrations/

To checkout another challenge we have on the go, which entails taking Bolton back to the Europa League, click below:

https://dpfmblog.com/2020/12/21/bolton-back-to-europa-s1e1/

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