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[FM21] Bolton Back to Europa (DP-FM)


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Here we go then, season 2025/26 and season 6 of the save, we found ourselves with Bolton back in the Premier League!

We are on step away from the goal of the save, to get into the Europa League

Just as I was working through the off season this appealing job offer popped up 

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I do like German clubs and how they are ran but I am here to stay at Bolton

Having Premier League status also ended our link with parent club Chelsea

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The board decided to make  improvements to a couple of areas in the backroom

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Now its transfer window time, I will show the list and state each player's age, position, star rating (CA) and potential (PA)

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Carlos - 18 - RB - CA 2.5 - PA 4.5 (Will start in U23s) / Alex Santana - 30 - CM(Advanced Playmaker) - CA 4 - PA 4 / Ruben Iranzo - 22 - CB - CA 3.5 - PA 4.5

Kyle Caldwell - 20 - ST - CA 2 - PA 4.5 (loaned to Airdrieonians) / Nicholas Opoku - 27 - CB - CA 3.5 - PA 3.5 / Uriel Antuna - 28 - RW - CA 3 - PA 3

Jude Russell - 23 - RB - CA 3 PA 4 / Lucas Da Cunha - 24 - LW - CA 3.5 - PA 4 / John Kitolano - 25 - LB - CA 3 - PA 3.5

So more or less a new starting defence which has been overdue, Santana will come into the XI as will Da Cunha. Carlos & Caldwell are good prospects for the future.

Notable leavers are Ryan Delaney and Brayan Vera. Delaney is the last original player from the start of the save, a shame to see him go but this level is a step too far ability wise. Hari Harvey drops back down to the Championship on a half season loan and Kai Fotheringham returns to Scotland on loan for his development. Defensive Midfielder Louis Thompson and second last original Gethin Jones was released at the end of last season.

The squad is looking like this for the season.

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It's definitely better than last seasons but work will be needed in January to ensure we stay competitive and avoid the drop

Pre-season saw a tour to Switzerland but a lot of  games in general

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Despite the 3 draws at the start we beat some really good teams with some impressive score lines! 

It was good to see but then again pre-season results often don't reflect the season, talking of which lets look at August

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The fixture list wasn't kind to us at all, a great start vs. Newcastle but the results against Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City were expected

The team were actually really good against Man City but just couldn't do enough for a point

The Derby match was round two of the Carabao Cup which we advanced, Whittaker saved the day for a rotated squad

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Just above the relegation zone but its early days, I think we will dance around this area of the league but I don't want us to slip in there if we can help it

A rogue takeover email popped up out of nowhere...surely not again?!

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

https://dpfmblog.com/2021/03/23/bolton-back-to-europa-s6e1-welcoming-present/

To checkout another challenge we have on the go, which entails starting unemployed without any coaching badges and awful attributes - a complete nobody basically and seeing what happens, then click below:

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

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It was a shaky to the season after a tough fixture list in August, this update will see how we fair in September, October and November

However, before the results one player decides he's bigger than the club - young prospect Lloyd Greenwood

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Despite his non-premier league attributes, Greenwood believes he should be a 'regular starter' and wouldn't take anything less

He also believes he should be on £20k+ a week. I'm not prepared to give him that role or pay due to his current and potential ability

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Since we couldn't come to an agreement on 3 separate attempts of contract negotiations, the inevitable happened..

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A shame as I have been developing him since season 2 after he came in on a youth intake, enjoy the U23s my friend - pack your bags ready for January too!

Now that we're a premier league club, we do not have a need to have a senior affiliate but now we have our own feeder club

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Romanian club FC Steaua Bucharest are now an option to send players on loan to and they seem to have some handy prospects within their squads

Okay, results time - September looked like this

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Not a bad month league wise 4 points from a possible 9, the Spurs game was painful after being 2-0 up but that's FM for you!

We advanced to the 4th round of the Carabao Cup after seeing off Newport County

October proved to be a bit tougher however..

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We just cannot hold on to results or grab a win, we always seem to collapse or chasing draws

Despite an unimpressive performance, we advanced to the quarter finals of the Carabao Cup after scraping past Nottingham Forest (6-5 on pens)

The first two results of November looked like this

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Both games we score late to grab draws, although Fulham were bottom at the time, it was a great chance for 3 points but the struggle continues

The 4-3-3 wing play is leaving us exposed and literally fighting late on every match, I needed to change it tactically so we went with a 4-4-1-1 custom counter

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This is all about winning the ball and moving up the pitch at a quick rate, taking advantage of any shooting opportunities

Last two games of November were tough but a good test of the new tactic

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When you think about it, not bad results. Arsenal were second and the stats show us to probably deserve more than a draw

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I feel this was worthy of 3 points but we just looked a lot more convincing which I'm happy about

The league, we were sitting 15th despite only winning 2 games in the league at this point - I guess all the draws were doing us a favour in a sense!

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Lastly, would you believe Bolton having £30m in the bank?! Me neither until I saw it!

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

https://dpfmblog.com/2021/03/27/bolton-back-to-europa-s6e2-time-for-a-change/

To checkout another challenge we have on the go, which entails starting unemployed without any coaching badges and awful attributes - a complete nobody basically and seeing what happens, then click below:

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

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You're in the big time now! got to make the most of that tasty TV money!

Not unrealistic to have to change tactics to remain competitive when making the jump from the Championship to the Premier league.

Hopefully turning a few of those draws to wins and you will cement your place for next season

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On 01/04/2021 at 13:09, Mandy42 said:

You're in the big time now! got to make the most of that tasty TV money!

Not unrealistic to have to change tactics to remain competitive when making the jump from the Championship to the Premier league.

Hopefully turning a few of those draws to wins and you will cement your place for next season

The TV money is a game changer at this level, never thought I'd see such finances here!

Yeah we're not good enough to play that kind of formation in this league right now so nothing better than a good old counter attack

 

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This update will cover December through to the end of February as we continue to search for form

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Not a bad month in the league grabbing 7 points from a possible 12, the change in tactic is slowly showing progress but a lack of squad depth is effecting the team at times

It took a victory on penalties but we progress to the Carabao Cup semi finals after scraping past Championship side Reading after it finishing 2-2 on normal time

The youth intake projection looked somewhat promising this season also

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January 2026 was a crazy month with 9 games across 3 different competitions, including the Carabao Cup Semi final vs. Man Utd

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We'll start with the league form, it wasn't great in all honesty, 2 draws in 5 games although bar Newcastle, we were playing some tough teams

We advanced to round 5 of the FA Cup after beating Rotherham and Ipswich Town

However, we crashed out of the Carabao Cup losing 7-4 to Man Utd over two legs

The fixture turn around was battering the team's fitness so I had to take drastic action in the transfer window

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8 players join us, I will break down the positions, age and ratings below

Bryan Morgan - 20 - AMR/ST - CA 2 / PA 3.5, Antonio - 19 - CM - CA 3 / PA 4, Matej Kovar - 25 - GK - CA 2.5 / PA 3.5

Riqui Puig - 25 - AMC - CA 3.5 / PA 4, Leif Davis - 25 - LB - CA 3.5 / PA 4, Alex Robertson - 22 - AMC - CA 2.5 / PA 4

Kaique Rocha - 24 - CB - CA 3.5 / PA 4, Will Ferry - 25 - LB,LM,AML - CA 2.5 / PA 4

A few players were loaned out who aren't quite ready for Premier League football, back up GK George Long drops to League One and Lloyd Greenwood leaves after contract issues

Some big deals out there for a January transfer window but Bolton were the most active

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After quite a few signings to boost the squad and give better depth, something clicked in February

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A massive 4 wins out of 4 beating 3 teams who are around us and beating a then 7th placed West Ham

Just having the right options in the squad and on the bench has given us such a boost

Here is the league table, its crazy that we were 18th at the end of January before this upturn in form

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We've risen to 12th and got ourselves 8 points away from the relegation zone which is massive going into the last 3 months of the season

 

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

https://dpfmblog.com/2021/04/02/bolton-back-to-europa-s6e3-squad-depth-winning-formula/

To checkout another challenge we have on the go, which entails starting unemployed without any coaching badges and awful attributes - a complete nobody basically and seeing what happens, then click below:

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

 

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Final months of the season but there is quite a bit going on!

Lets go through March and it started with an appealing offer from a Bundesliga club

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It's a one club save so we gracefully decline however, the board begin to step in surrounding takeover rumours

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And then would you believe that we're the second most profitable team in the Premier League?!

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Safe to say the heavy transfer windows have affected a few clubs, Everton's recent tycoon takeover has them absolutely rolling in the cash!

Going into the results now, with a good few games in March

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Another solid month as a massive result sees us knock Spurs out of the FA Cup and then we advanced to the semi finals later in the month beating Blackburn 10-9 on pens?! It was tense to say the least

Not a bad youth intake either, a few decent players and few who could become very good over time

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Going into April now and before we look at the results, one of our young prospects out on loan was having a blinder in Scotland

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40G/8A in 34 league games but when you add on the cups in Scotland...he scored a massive 48 goals in 46 appearances

Scottish League 1 isn't anything to shout about but you can't deny the return. Caldwell will be sent out again next season, to a club in a higher division

Results time now and April was a mixed month

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We get one over Arsenal but just lose to Man Utd, we scrape through with Fergie-esque 1-0 wins but the Norwich result was a bit of a shocker

The main talking point was getting through to the FA Cup final after squeezing past Crystal Palace!

Straight into the last few games of the season in the league, there was nothing to play at this point

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Still though, solid results nonetheless but the performance against Wolves was class on the day. Just a very professional job done there to get the result.

The FA Cup final was against Man Utd, who we've never beaten in the save yet but we are getting closer game by game

If we win, it would give us Europa League qualification which is the goal of this save...

...but it wasn't meant to be ladies and gents :-(

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A 29th minute Haaland strike put us to the sword as we struggled to get a goal back ourselves

But I'm just pleased we gave very good accounts of ourselves within both domestic competitions even if Man Utd knocked us out of both!

Top scorer Tarrelle Whittaker got some recognition to finish off the season though

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The final league table was good viewing for us also

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8th place on our return to the Premier League which is class! It's amazing considering we were 18th in January

First team GK Daryl Kandola picked up the English Players' YPOTY award which was good to see - he's been unreal in the sticks

 kandola-epyoty.png?resize=750%2C259&ssl=1

Although this coupled with an England World Cup squad call up urged Kandola to ask to leave for a bigger club

However, we agreed that he can only leave for a massive £74 million so it could be an interesting summer window

Something I think none of us would think we'd see is Bolton being debt free but here it is!

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This was then followed by a very healthy transfer budget and an ever improving wage budget, amazing how in League 2 we only had £40k wage budget in season 1!

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Finally a look at the finances as we have taken this club from the real struggles to being considered rich which is an achievement in itself

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

https://dpfmblog.com/2021/04/06/bolton-back-to-europa-s6e4-just-90-minutes-away/

To checkout another challenge we have on the go, which entails starting unemployed without any coaching badges and awful attributes - a complete nobody basically and seeing what happens, then click below:

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

 

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Here we go then, season 7 and our 2nd season in the Premier League

First off, we will be upgrading our youth facilities as a few u18s/u23s look to move to other clubs with better facilities

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The chairman increases the scout wages for the second season in a row too!

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Veteran centre back Felipe decides to call time on his playing career with his game time lowering

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The transfer window was absolute carnage, many coming into the club with even more leaving

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Check out the link at the bottom of this post to see a more in depth look at the new players

We're back to having a big squad, this was done to give us more options to play with in certain games, especially against the big 6

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Pre-season was pretty mixed, some great results but also a couple of poor ones

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August was the start of the competitive season, it was an unbeaten month which is positive but maybe another win in the league would have been better

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We did progress in the Carabao Cup, easing past Tranmere Rovers as we should

We sit right in the middle of the table at the end of August, occupying 10th place

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

https://dpfmblog.com/2021/04/12/bolton-back-to-europa-s7e1-the-overhaul/

To checkout another challenge we have on the go, which entails starting unemployed without any coaching badges and awful attributes - a complete nobody basically and seeing what happens, then click below:

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

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