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[FM21] BackTheBulls - Jersey Bulls: a charge into the football league


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logo__bulls.svgBulls Back In Action Next Month - Island FM  

Jersey Bulls: a charge into the football league

Even for those of us who don't regularly follow non-league football, the exploits of Jersey Bulls in the cancelled 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons caught the attention. At the time of the null and voiding of the 2020/21 season, Jersey Bulls were arguably the most successful side to have not won anything in their history. They had won all 36 of their competitive games since their formation for the 2019/20 season. The BBC covered their misfortune in this article at the time https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/56197599

In real life, the Bulls have had promotion to the Combined Counties Premier Division South confirmed ahead of the 2021/22 season as part of the wider restructuring at Steps 4-6. However, in FM21 the cancelled 2020/21 season can still commence as though the pandemic isn't happening. They're on a 32 match winning streak according to the unofficial league records of the database (thanks @danbhtfc!!) I am using, and that makes them an exciting prospect to take on.

While their unbeaten run drew my attention and made me want to have a crack with them on FM, there is an additional reason for managing Jersey Bulls. Back in 2015, the Jersey FA applied to FIFA and UEFA to allow them to play other nations in a similar manner to Gibraltar. However, this was rejected as Jersey is not an independent territory. As a result of this rejection, Jersey Bulls were founded on 7 August 2018 and successfully applied to join the English league structure. All 30 of their players were dual-registered with their normal Jersey league teams. Although this is not replicated in FM, it's a really unique aspect to the club. What can be replicated in FM is the desire to represent Jersey at a higher level utilising Jersey-born players. 

Save aims

The main aim is to get Jersey into the football league and push them up as high as I can. However, on top of this I would like to:

  1. Have a high number of Jersey-born players within the playing squad. In this database, there is only one place of birth, St Helier, that is based in Jersey. St Helier is the capital (map below). The initial playing squad is all newgens, so I will be adding a nickname to indicate any current and future newgens born in Jersey. I won't define 'high number' currently, as this may change, for example if due to better youth recruitment I get fewer players born in St Helier. This will represent the fact that the current team is made up from dual-registered Jersey-based players.
  2. Win the FA Cup. No Jersey team has ever been represented in the FA Cup, so this would be a fantastic achievement.
  3. Rely on realistic transfers in terms of a 'living wage' for players relocating to Jersey. In the first few years, I could simply get in free transfers on trials and then sign a superb (at this level) team. However, in reality, part time football players are not going to move from the mainland UK to play in Jersey for free. Jersey is also one of the most expensive places to live in the world, making this even less likely. I won't be signing lots of players anyway due to number 1 above, but when I do, I will make sure they earn enough to justify living in Jersey; a 'living wage' if you like. Having said this, people do still migrate to Jersey. While the number of immigrants is low, and predominantly made up of wealthy individuals taking advantage of the tax status, some do move from the mainland for work. To represent this, I will allow myself to sign one player a year earning less than the 'living wage'. I probably won't replicate this with staff however, as there simply aren't any born in Jersey to start with. Realism at the sake of a fun save is not what I'm after!
  4. Rely on attributes and performance statistics over CA and PA stars. This is something I have tried to do in my last couple of saves. I haven't decided how I will do this at non-league level, as I find the low attributes hard to work with and distinguish between (the eye is caught by 16 for teamwork rather than 3 for tackling, for example), but I really want to try and ignore the stars as much as possible. Too many times I have thrown away good performers who just happen to suddenly be rated as 2 star potential rather than the 3 gold and 1 black star they've seemingly been working towards.

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I will likely post yearly/ half yearly to begin with, as it may take a while to see good progress without getting in loads of free transfers! I will be using an instant results skin as well to speed things up. 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Jtomsett11
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Posted (edited)

July 2020 

Let's see what the game has filled my newgen squad with...

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My first impression are that we've got some serious talent for this level and some glaring areas of weakness. CB, LB and CM look extremely light. Our attacking midfielders look very promising, and we have a decent goalkeeper. I started out saying I wouldn't rely too much on the star ratings, but I'm immediately struggling to properly evaluate my team in any other way as the numbers for attributes are so much lower than I normally deal with. 

Take Logan Drake as an example. There's some decent technicals in there, but he looks as average to me as some of my really average players. I think I'm going have to play the guys and see how they do.

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The club facilities are poor in FM terms, but in terms of a Level 10 club, the stadium is pretty good. Jersey Bulls have solid attendances in real life of around the 1000 mark, so I wonder if that will be replicated in game. It'll make the first few years a lot easier financially if so. I also wonder if FM factors in that Jersey has a population of around 170,000 people and only one side in the English leagues. That could affect attendances in a positive way over the years if so.

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Edited by Jtomsett11
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August 2020

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I always understood predictions to be based on squad strength, so we should win the league or come second, both of which offer promotion. That's what the board want, although they probably didn't realise I wouldn't sign anyone and still try and achieve that. I've decided to keep my 1 signing for the season for mid-season once I've evaluated my current players.

What really doesn't help is our amateur status meaning teams can nick my players very easily...

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That's our best CB, best natural CM and backup leftback gone by the end of game 2.

 

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December 2020 - mid-season update

Combined Counties League Division One

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I'm relatively pleased with our season so far. Win our game in hand and we're in the top two on goal difference regardless of what Godalming do. We've clicked much better since a change of formation after the Chessington and Hook game, going from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-2-4 that I utilised at Tromso and Kobenhavn on my last save. I've had to adjust roles, as funnily enough nobody is suited to playing as an advanced forward, let alone a complete forward! The Westside result aside, we've been scoring for fun and our xG is significantly higher now. I need to look into match plans, as most of the games we go 3-0 up and then let the other side back in due to still being on an attacking mentality. I'm enjoying playing with 'instant result', but this is one side of it I haven't yet explored fully.

Cups

We've done really well in these considering I play a second, considerably weaker side in most of the cup games.

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Players

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I've sorted this by the normal team that plays. The standout player ratings wise is Kevin Jeffries, who is genuinely awful, but can run quite fast. 3 for finishing doesn't seem to hold you back at this level! I've managed to keep most other players which has been a success, but I'm seriously light in defense, thus Le Tissier and Wiltshire have played every game more or less. 

I did sign one player recommended by my scouts, which is Brandon Parsons. I decided that Kevin's success with his pace meant that if I could find a striker with similar pace who could also sort of finish, I should go for it. Okay, his finishing is still really bad, but he's fast and his composure, off the ball and anticipation are pretty good for this level. He scored 2 on his debut, so a good signing so far!

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December 2020 - club progress

At this level, developing your clubs infrastructure can be extremely difficult, but also crucial to moving up the leagues. Luckily, Jersey's strong attendances are replicated in game and this has resulted in profits being made each month.

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I've used this to fund a number of improvements:

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It shouldn't have an effect this quickly, but the intake preview looks good. We're going to need players with a reasonable CA to make the difference for us, as it's unlikely they'll ever progress enough on part time training in poor facilities in a poor league. Mind you, a 2 star rated CB would immediately be our joint-best CB, so we're not aiming for the stars here.

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  • Jtomsett11 changed the title to [FM21] BackTheBulls - Jersey Bulls: a charge into the football league

Should make for an interesting story that’s for sure, and to see how far can get with Jersey players!

The finances are looking great, big attendances at this level are huge rather than the 50-100 I’m guessing most clubs get?

All to play for this season.

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I explored Jersey when looking around for a concept for playing at that level. Didn’t know much about them, found out where they were aNd passed. It’s great when coming across stories like this that put a concept together with the history and knowledge of the area. Going to keep reading.

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On 28/05/2021 at 07:44, theBlackPrince said:

Should make for an interesting story that’s for sure, and to see how far can get with Jersey players!

The finances are looking great, big attendances at this level are huge rather than the 50-100 I’m guessing most clubs get?

All to play for this season.

Thanks! Yes I averaged 558 in the league in the first season (full post to follow when I've got WiFi) so this is a big boost

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1 hour ago, Sonic Youth said:

I explored Jersey when looking around for a concept for playing at that level. Didn’t know much about them, found out where they were aNd passed. It’s great when coming across stories like this that put a concept together with the history and knowledge of the area. Going to keep reading.

Thanks, I hope that the rest of the story lives up to the concept! I've had this idea on the back-burner for months so I've had time to do the research on Jersey and the club itself. I think having a connection with a club is important at this level as its going to be a long ride starting at this level.

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Posted (edited)

February 2021 Update

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This has been a superb period in which the players seem to have gelled and the 4-2-4 tactics seem to be paying dividends.

One loss and one draw in 11 league games, and progress in the Cherry Red Records and Esoteric Recordings Division One cup as well as the more financially rewarding FA Vase mean we end February with a healthy 8 point advantage in the league with just 8 games to go. I’d back us for promotion now barring any sudden loss in form. 

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I’ve sorted to the squad by minutes played to give an idea of the numbers some of the players are achieving and who I regularly play.

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I’ve managed to narrow down my starting players to this 18-man squad, although there are a number of players who started at the club who I would like to try out over the next few months currently dwelling in the U23s. It would be fair to say that I’ve tried quite a few of these players in quite a few positions. Hoffman, for example, started out at AMC, then AMR when we shifted formations, and now often plays in the CM DLP role. This is partly due to the form of Pamment and Walker at AMR, both of whom I only started playing after 10-15 games. Both have since contributed large numbers of assists and goals in Walker’s case. The issue I have is I don’t watch the games (playing on instant result) which can make it hard to work out who is better suited to each role and who is performing well. The quality of player is often so poor that they can play several roles equally ‘well’. Going by star ratings, which I wanted to avoid anyway, isn't particularly useful due to the awful judgement of my assistant manager. The aforementioned Hoffman has been a 3, 4 and 5 star player this season without much of a change in form.

Edited by Jtomsett11
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April and May 2021 update

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We were not as successful over this period, but 3 of our 5 defeats are cup games. We made the Quarter finals of the Vase, the semi final of the Esoteric Recordings and the final of the Cherry Red Records cup. To be honest, I’ve no idea of the level of many of the teams we faced, as although they were often a division above us, we seemed relatively evenly matched in pre-match odds. I’ll know more in the next few years, but I feel we’ve probably overachieved in cups this year. That being said, it's never nice to lose in a final, but we were very much outplayed.

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In the league we achieved the boards expectation to win promotion. 81 points bizarrely is our lowest ever points total, because of course this is the first ever completed season for Jersey Bulls. I'll be amazed if we manage to keep that as our lowest points total for long! I feel a bit of pressure has been lifted, as the 5 year plan for the Bulls suggest we just need to stay in the Combined Counties Premier Division, which will allow me to use the Jersey-born youth players as much as possible without the immediate pressure of needing to win the league again. With this league win, we also mirror Jersey’s likely promotion had Coronavirus not ended the 2020/21 season early. 

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Posted (edited)

End of season 2021 team review

This is the squad, ordered by minutes played.

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I'm going to try and discuss player performances each season with a focus on firstly the Jersey-born players, and then the best-of-the-rest.

Jersey-born

 

Goalkeepers

Chris Kelly had himself 12 goals, 11 of them penalties. A very good return from 47 games, and only my second goalkeeper ever to get himself to double figures. Kelly was reasonable in goalkeeping performances as well. Joe Lynn probably won’t get many games except cup games, although he did do well in these. He has 20 for eccentricity though, which is an attribute that I would prefer was low. 

Defenders

Wiltshere and JJ Sayer have formed a decent partnership at CB, which is clear from the number of minutes they’ve accumulated. JJ is the taller, and plays in the LCB role which my corners are designed to hit, and this has helped him to 7 goals this season. Considering that they’re not great players and we play very attacking football, to concede the 3rd lowest number of goals in the league is impressive. That they're both Jersey-born is all the more pleasing.

Le Tissier has played almost every game at LB. However, he’s pretty awful. If I’d had any other options, he wouldn’t have played.

Midfield

Karatas has 19 leadership so has been our automatic captain. He hasn’t been brilliant at CM (BWM) defensively, but his attacking output has been pretty remarkable. He got less minutes in the second half of the season.

Pamment has played in a variety of positions. I’ve preferred Walker at AMR. He’s scored more goals and got the most assists at the club this season with 13. At AML Quinn has been good, while Larkin did okay in his games.

Forwards

Kevin Jeffries might not last too many seasons, as only his pace (13) gets him goals, but 19 from 14 starts and 22 substitute appearance is excellent, especially considering he didn’t score in the last two months of the season.

Non-Jersey players

Derbali has played virtually every game at RB, and his key passes are the second highest in the club, which, along with 7 assists shows he’s made a key contribution to our success.

Nick Herold and Brandon Parsons ended up as the partnership upfront towards the end of the season, and both end with average ratings over 7. Parsons was our mid-season signing and did well, but not as well as I’d have expected considering how much better he is than Jeffries. Uzoma also played upfront, and to be honest I think I’ve been a bit harsh on him as he actually has better key attributes than most other forward players. One to play more next season perhaps.

Hoffman, Drake and Burrell all rate highly according to my Assman, but to be honest the latter two haven’t contributed as much as I’d have liked. Drake’s key passes are the highest at the club, but I would expect more assists from him. To be fair to them, I’ve played all three in multiple positions and they're not really suited to the roles I use them in, so it’s likely that this has had an effect on their performances. 

Mattingsdal is one I noticed right at the end of the season who was sat in the U23s. His attributes are definitely as promising as other AML's and he's a natural lefty, which not many in my squad are, and no other AML's. He was out of his depth, but should get some more game time next season.

End of season awards

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I don’t have too many complaints about the back line, but Logan Drake has done well to get in there, as has Jeffries in terms of minutes played. Herold has done really well as a 17 year old. It’s nice to see 7 Jersey-born players in the team of the year, perhaps if we can look to maintain this that would be excellent.

I'm going to keep track of the following stats each year:

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Maybe I'm being harsh on Logan Drake. He did play AML, DLP and BWM this season and still produced the highest number of key passes.

               
Edited by Jtomsett11
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End of season 2021 club review

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We’ve made really good progress as a club as well as on the pitch. We’ve had upgrades to our youth recruitment and junior coaching. We’ve also had enough fans to improve the finances to the point where I've just had a training facility upgrade approved. In hindsight we might have been better off investing this elsewhere, but we do need our players to improve if we are to rely on youth recruitment in the short-medium term. 598 average attendance, as mentioned previously, is a huge advantage at this level. At this rate we could be hitting our capacity in a few promotions time.

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We’ve also turned semi-pro, which may help us to keep our key players. I plan to only offer contracts when other clubs offer them contracts as this will keep costs down in the short term.

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Youth intake

We also had our first youth intake through in March. We had one really good player and a few with decent enough CA to help us out. I’ve signed them all as this was before we were semi-pro so it was free! 80% are Jersey born, so this will help us to keep the Jersey contingent strong.

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Abege and Shaibu went straight into the first team squad, and played a few games before the end of the season. Shaibu can either be backup CB or LB, which considering we only had 5 real first team defenders, is a huge bonus. Abege is Jersey born which is brilliant considering his CA is very high according to my HOYD. He looks better at CM for me, perhaps as a DLP. His ‘gets into opposition areas’ could be an issue there, but we have a lot of depth at RW.

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Colbran might be a player to come in next season as his attributes are okay. He may already be better than Le Tissier, for example.

Overall, huge strides forward as a club in the early days of my reign. I’m hoping we can compete next season and continue to make enough money to allow for further improvements while inevitably paying higher outgoings as we will have to start paying some wages to retain players.

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9 hours ago, deltablue said:

Turning semi-pro was a godsend for me, though also a ticking financial time-bomb :D

It's not affected me too drastically so far financially, as very few of my players have received any other offers so far in the second season. I find this a bit strange actually, as most of the other saves I've followed at this level have had lots of interest in their players. 

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Pre-season 2021/22

We've made our one signing for the season. I've brought in a CB to bolster our options. Tamplin is a physical specimen at this level and that's something we've been lacking. 

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The board want us to finish in the top half this year, but the media think we're good enough for 4th. Nice odds for Frimley Green! Not sure I've ever seen any odds like that before!

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The season tickets have gone up slightly, so perhaps good news for increased ticket sales this year.

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We had to offer our first part time contract due to interest in Derbali. However, other than Tamplin who just joined, and a few youth players now on £5 a week (automatic change when you go semi-pro?) we're spending very little still on wages. Derbali accepted a non-contract of £30 per game with us.

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Mid-season 2021/22 update

Well, I didn't see this coming! We're playing essentially the same squad + one addition in Tamplin, but we're significantly better than last year. We've conceded the least and scored the most and hold a 9 point advantage over Guildford and Godalming. Interesting, Godalming came up with us, so perhaps teams at this level are quite similar. 

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One area we've struggled this year is the cups. We lost in the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup and also went out of the FA Vase pretty early on. There isn't an Esoteric cup this year as it was only for the division below, so the one remaining cup is the Cherry Red Records, which we are still in.

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The finances are also on the up again after our training ground investment over the summer.

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We've also been granted a couple of extra upgrades. As I've said before, being able to afford these is a real advantage and should hopefully pay dividends in the next few years as I imagine progress will get harder and harder relying predominantly on the youth intakes until we can afford realistic wages to attract players.

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The write up for the youth intake looks very promising. I'm not sure how contracts will work for these guys when they arrive, as I imagine I'll have to pay them £5 a week minimum and potentially more if they're not happy with the basic youth contract. 

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I'll go into player details more at the end of the season, as I've played through this season very quickly, but one player who is standing out is Parsons, last year's one signing.

This was him by the 20th December:

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And that was despite an injury that kept him out for the first few weeks. Last year I said that I'd expected a little more of him, and he's really paying me back this year.

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April 2022 Update

We went into January in excellent form with our 9 point advantage and although we lost to Godalming on the 22nd, it was our first defeat in 18 league games.

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It did bring Godalming much closer to us, just 6 points behind. By 31 games in, we'd extended our lead to 9 points again by winning 5 and drawing 1 from the next 6 games, but then drew 2 in a row to leave me concerned we might slip up. With only the single team being promoted, I'd be gutted to lose out after such good form for so long.

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However, we won our next 3 games by a combined score of 11-1 to clinch the title with two games to go!

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We finish with our highest ever points total, exceeding our previous highest and lowest total of 81 from last year!

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As you can see, we went out in the cup in the Quarter final, so we've definitely performed significantly worse this year in the cups. However, I couldn't really care less at this point as long as we continue our league progress!

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Posted (edited)

End of season 2021/22 squad review

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I've organised the squad by position this time, rather than minutes played. 

Firstly, there have been some casualties from last year. Joe Lynn wasn't trusted this year to any minutes, and neither were any of the other young goalkeepers at the club. Karatas, club captain, was shunted into the reserves halfway through the season with barely a minute played. Jeffries lost his place after a few games, while Larkin barely played. All four of these players are on amateur contracts, so seem happy to sit in the reserves. That is 4 Jersey-born players dropped though. I perhaps need to keep an eye on this to ensure I'm not dropping them all.

In light of this, I think I need to distinguish between Jersey-born, and Jersey-raised as the players replacing the Jersey-born lads are from my youth intake.  Jersey-born must have their birth place as St. Helier. Jersey-raised are those who come through my youth intake, but are not born in St. Helier. I'm not going to count those who were at the club at the start, as the game generated those players to fill the squad. I would like to have as many of the former as possible, but Jersey-raised is still okay. 

Jersey-born players

Goalkeepers

Kelly is the only goalkeeper to get any minutes this year. 5 goals isn't a great return, considering his 12 last season. He did well in goal mostly, but it is all relative at this level.

Defenders

Wiltshire is still going strong, and is first choice at RCB. JJ Sayer did not get as many games this season as I found myself not really trusting him. We did concede less goals without him playing if I'm honest.

Le Tissier played fewer games, as we have other LB options now. His average rating is awful, and again if we had more options he wouldn't play. Colbran has emerged as a replacement here towards the end of the season, and I'm hopeful if he keeps developing that he will be a medium term option. It's nice to replace a Jersey-born with a Jersey-born if an upgrade is necessary.

Midfielders

Abege hasn't played particularly well, but he's a 16 year old getting 32 games in a position he isn't that comfortable in. He's been our main BWM and I'm happy with him. Danny Quinn has been sensational this season, despite us many other players who should outperform him at AML due to their attributes. I really like him and hope he continue to perform at a higher level next season. 

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Rhys Walker and Pamment have had less game time at AMR, but both have made significant contributions. The issue is competition for this role. We also have some nice youth team prospects who look almost as good, but could get a lot better than both. Again, like Quinn, I hope they can make the jump next season.

That's it. 9 Jersey born players played a role for us this season, down on the 12 who got decent minutes last season. I'll keep an eye on this trend next year.

Jersey-raised performances

Shaibu came through our intake last year and has had a really promising season. He's competent at LB and CB, which is very valuable considering this isn't an area of the squad we have great depth in. He's the only non-Jersey born youth intake to get minutes this season.

Others

Defenders

Tamplin was a very good signing. He significantly reduced the number of goals we were conceding with his extra physicality. Derbali had another really good season, with 13 assists and 64 key passes being the top in those categories. I'm really glad he signed a deal with us! 

Midfielders

Burrell had a much better season for us, predominantly playing as a DLP. 10 assists is pretty good going. Hoffman put in some fantastic performances. He's the reason Walker and Pamment don't get more game time. Having 3 AMR's and some youth prospects is going to make things tricky next year. Mattingsdal came in at the end of last season, but it was at the end of this season that he started to make an impact. 3 goals in 6 league games means he'll be competing with Quinn at AML next year. Drake was disappointing this year to be honest. I think if someone offers him a contract, I won't fight too hard to keep him despite my Assman rating him consistently. 

Attackers

Parsons got 45 goals and 42 in the league. He's basically an upgraded version of Jeffries. I really like him, and he essentially earned us the promotion this year. 

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After his superb performances last year, Herold had a relatively poor year. This was due to the emergence of Uzoma, who had a poor year last year despite his promising attributes. His 16 goals in 20 league starts is fantastic as a lot of the time he played in the more creative DLF role that doesn't really suit him. His personality is allowing him to develop while Herold's (easily discouraged) is likely holding him back.

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Awards

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Other than Burrell and Abege being the wrong way round, and the same with Uzoma and Parsons, I completely agree with the awards and team of the year this time. 5 Jersey-born in the team of the year this time, compared with 7 last time. I think I might add that to the tracker. Although it's more of a club issue rather the squad issue, I'll keep it in this one as it'll remind me to post the team of the year when I update. JB in TOY (Jersey-born in Team of Year).

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Edited by Jtomsett11
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End of season 2021/22 club review

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Another fantastic season for the club on and off the field. We've upgraded training facilities, youth recruitment and junior coaching in the last 12 months. We've also increased the average attendance by 234 which has helped boost the finances over the £100,000 mark again. Although I didn't update at the time, I've also been on a coaching course, although the club refuse to let me go on another at this point in time as they're worried I'll leave. 

One issue this year has been the youth intake and part time contracts.

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Firstly, nobody stands out on current ability, and although some of my players are demonstrating attribute growth even with part time training and a terrible standard of football, I'm concerned that many of these players will never grow to be first team players. The bigger issue is the money they want. Bar 3-4 who accepted a youth deal of £5 a week, most wanted £20 a week part time plus bonuses, and several wanted £30-£40 a week. That would add up to £15-20k a year just to retain all these players. While I can currently afford this, if more of my first team squad start demanding contracts, or attract interest from elsewhere, it could quickly spiral into costs I cannot afford. 

I've therefore been more selective than I'd like to have been this year and I'm going to closely monitor the progress of those I have signed to see if it is worth signing those with very low current ability/ starting attributes. I'm also going to try and develop my analysis of intakes and players in general for next season, as I'm finding it difficult to adequately compare large volumes of reserves/ U18s and youth intake to see who is worth investing money and time in to.

Although I've since resigned two of these (Rutter and Johansen), the rest were let go as much as it pains me.

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Another great season. Lots of goals in it too! Though some concerns on JB/JG and youth contracts emerged. That last one can easily double next intact as well!

Hmm, what position for thT one signing...? Defensive or attacking...? I’m going to say defensive!

 

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3 hours ago, Sonic Youth said:

Another great season. Lots of goals in it too! Though some concerns on JB/JG and youth contracts emerged. That last one can easily double next intact as well!

Hmm, what position for thT one signing...? Defensive or attacking...? I’m going to say defensive!

 

I agree regarding JB/JG players, and I have been working on developing a system to better analyse the youth intake in future.

I also agree regarding a defender, but I got carried away and signed a CM/ST and have mostly regretted the decision, although in games last night he started to show his worth. 

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Pre-season 2022/23

Not something I'm interested in, as this is a one-club save, but it's nice to be recognised for my work so far.

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I realised I haven't posted transfer summaries for either of the past two seasons, so thought I'd take an opportunity now as we welcome our one signing for the year.

Michael Lilley joins as our highest paid player. To be 100% honest, I'm not sure why I signed him. As @Sonic Youth suggests above, my defence is a much more pressing area for additions. Additionally, he isn't really suited to a DLF role with poor passing and decisions, he's not going to get in in front of Parsons as a Poacher and he's not great as a DLP in the CM role. For my one signing a season, I think I've missed the ball here. He's on £85 a week, which works out as over £4000 a year. Still nowhere near a living wage. 

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The transfer summaries for the seasons so far as as follows. Rutter was a youth player who I couldn't sign until he'd technically left due to him rejecting my first offer. Bar the first season where a few players left, we've really not had the turnover of players I expected at this level.

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Season expectations

The board want us to fight bravely against relegation. They've also reduced our wage budget this year despite our positive financial situation. I'm nowhere near the limit, but could be if I need to sign players to part-time contracts to keep them here.

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The media think we'll finish near the bottom. I imagine we won't be going up this year, but I'd take a mid-table finish and the emergence of some more JB (Jersey-born) players as progress.

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We're up to 196 season ticket holders now!

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Attribute analysis

I'm aware that many other posters here analyse attributes in detail to help them make decisions about players, but it's not something I've ever done before. However, now I'm having to make difficult decisions about retaining youth intake and I'm using largely poor players who may have one or two deceptively high stand-out attributes, I need something more in-depth than being able to compare players directly to each other.

I've therefore built a simple excel spreadsheet and two squad views in-game which show all attributes for outfield players or goalkeepers. This will allow me to use the in-game print screen function and then copy and paste player data into my spreadsheet to create average attribute scores for the attributes highlighted by the game as being important for a role. I've given two different average attribute scores, one for all attributes highlighted by the game when you select a role, and one for those highlighted in a different colour, which I assume means they're really important for that role. For some positions, I have altered which attributes I see as 'key' ones, but mostly at this point I've gone with how the game interprets the roles.

Below are two examples of how this has helped me to analyse my squad.

The first example is the DLP role in CM. Below are my options at DLP from the entire first, U23 and U18 teams.

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What's interesting is that some players that I've never even considered, probably due to their current ability ratings, come out as potentially the most suitable. Peter Walker has very reasonable attributes at this level for a DLP, but he is 17 and physically vulnerable. However, now I may give him at least some game time to help him develop, whereas in all likelihood he would have sat in the reserves due to his 1.5 star current ability rating. Burrell is my first choice, while Abege mainly plays BWM as he's the most suitable there. I'm now glad I resigned youth player Rutter as he looks to have potential in this role.

The AML and AMR positions have had numerous incumbents over the past two seasons and I've struggled with knowing who to select.

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Hoffman seems the best choice at AMR, and this justifies my decision to give him more game time than Pamment and Walker last season. Gareth Bailey started with the club, and is somebody who has never played for me. This seems bonkers now I look at this. He rates higher than both Pamment and Walker, although he isn't Jersey-born. I've got to give him a chance this season.

At AML, Mattingsdal and Quinn have been playing despite being quite low down this list, but I really need to take a look at Mudimu, a 17 year old youth intake. He's Jersey-raised rather than born, which is a downside, but he stands out here again despite having never played for me. Johansen can't play yet, as he refused a contract and left before signing again and is now on trial until he joins at the end of the year. He's another that I need to give game time to. 

Obviously, attributes alone do not justify selection, and if I've got players rated lower down this list performing well I shouldn't necessarily drop them. However, this analysis has really helped me to see the value in players I haven't considered before. It will be really useful ahead of the next youth intake, as I can assess their use in all of the positions I use before making a decision on offering them contracts. 

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August-September 2022

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After some positive friendly results, we kicked off August with a loss and a draw and I thought that perhaps this year would prove to be very challenging. However, our chance creation in both looked good, we just weren't finishing. The following games saw us get our first victories and the result against Paulton at the back end of September saw us jump right up the league into 3rd. I really do not expect us to remain there, however, I also do not expect us to be in a relegation fight.

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If you take a look at our goals conceded, and that 5-5 game (a record-setting game), you can see where our issues lie. 

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These were the tactics for last year, which worked a treat. 

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The issue we now have is with our high line and our attacking mentality, which means players just take too many risks, and we're beaten over the top or in-behind. After the 5-5 something had to change.

I've adjusted the defensive line to 'normal' and mentality to positive. I've also taken off the overlaps. We're still engaging high up the pitch and pressing hard, but only really with our front players, so we're utilising more of a split block. This seems to have calmed things down slightly in the last three games of September.

We've had one transfer out, and it's an unfortunate one. Rhys Walker demanded more game time, and I said I'd look to sell him not realising if he accepted that he'd be automatically released.

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He's played well for us, and is Jersey-born so I'm a little annoyed he's gone, although we have plenty of options at AMR.

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October-November 2022

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October wasn't great. 2 league wins, but 3 defeats without scoring and one cup exit. However, in the FA trophy we continue to go strong although it's taking extra time and in the case of the Third Qualifying Round, penalties to get through.

November was much, much better. We've lost and drawn to two of the teams above us and we've had some great wins in there. 

It's funny, because our good form coincides with our new and much better LB being out of the team and Le Tissier coming back in. While Cobran's stats aren't brilliant, neither are Le Tissier's, so perhaps it's just a coincidence and other factors are at play (see below).

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So we've dropped a place, but we're still in the play-off positions. 

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Squad performance

I've changed the metrics I use slightly, to allow me to look at my defenders defensive stats and attackers offensive stats. I won't break down squad performance in as much detail here as we're only halfway through the season in terms of numbers of games. I'll also lump Jersey-born, raised and others all together as it's less detailed.

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Rhys Harrison has taken over from Chris Kelly recently and that's coincided with the upturn in form. I'm glad he's Jersey-born. He's developing quite well, perhaps due to his personality. While Tamplin and Wiltshire start at CB if fit, Shaibu gets game time and has the best rating. Derbali is making a lot of key tackles and interceptions. That may indicate a weakness down the right hand side, or simply that he's better at it than the LBs. It's nice to have a minimum of 3 Jersey-born players in the back 5.

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I've looked at both offensive and defensive stats for my BWMs. Hitchman is better in defensive actions, Abege is better going forward. Really, I should play him as a DLP or AMR, but he's the best BWM and contributes a lot going forward. His key passes are higher than anyone else in the squad. As Hitchman develops I think he will take over in this role and push Abege into the DLP role. Again, both Jersey-born boys!

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My excel attribute analysis from pre-season has promoted Peter Walker, Lee Mudimu (Jersey-born!) and Gareth Bailey to the first team. Neither of the first two has done much yet, but they have time on their side. Bailey has been with us since the start, but I've only played him this season and he's really hit the ground running. This shows the benefits of deeper analysis of my players. His CA rating has shot up and he's also seen good attribute growth due to game time.

Lilley has actually played pretty well as a DLF, getting goals and assists despite not really suiting the role (or any other I use!) with his attributes, while Parsons is having another good season, if less prolific than last year. Uzoma has popped up with a few goals and has played in both the poacher and DLF role when one of the other two has been underperforming. Jersey-born talent is much less prominent in our attacking department. Quinn's days are probably numbered as his output has dropped significantly, although perhaps Mudimu can take over from him to ensure we at least have one JB attacking player.

So we've got 4 Jersey-born starters each week pretty-much guaranteed: GK, LB, CB (95% of the time) and BWM, and the rest are free transfers (3) or initial newgen players (4). It's not bad, but I'd hope we can get back up to 5 or 6 over the next couple of years. 

Club progress

Being 5th at this stage is superb. Attendances have continued to grow and this has allowed the finances to grow further.

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We've had to start giving a few contracts out, but still not many. Abege had interest around him, which we can't be having considering his Jersey-born status. 

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After some complaining and bemoaning the "lack of ambition", the board have allowed me to improve both recruitment and junior coaching!

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This is fantastic news and should really help us going forward.

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November 2022 extra analysis

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I forgot to include this in the last post, so thought I'd add it here. It sums up the issues with our squad perfectly: we concede more goals than you'd expect. Hopefully I've addressed that more recently with the change in tactics and the change of GK. It's concerning that this is the area of the squad with the highest number of Jersey-born players and it's also the weakest. Improvement probably needs to come at CB. If I can find a physically strong, but technically and mentally better version of second season signing Tamplin at the end of this season, perhaps I can improve the squad without losing a JER player. Alternatively someone may come through in the youth intake who fits the bill. Fingers crossed!

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Posted (edited)

December 2022

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Another extra time win in the FA Trophy had me dreaming of further success, and gate receipts. Marine then hammered us in the next round, but we've done well to compete with sides above us in the pyramid.

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We haven't been so good in the league, and our two losses have seen us drop out of the play-offs as we go into the new year.

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Still, this has been a remarkable season so far as most other teams are spending a lot more than us on wages and thus have a lot more talent at their disposal. We'll continue to predominantly rely on our intakes. Speaking of which:

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Golden generation, but very few positives other than full backs. As usual we'll wait and see what we actually get!

Edited by Jtomsett11
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Posted (edited)

January - mid March 2023

I got carried away and skipped a few months. Out of all the cups, it was back to a game every 7 days which made progress a lot quicker. The first part of January and February was average, but from mid-February we've been unstoppable. 

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This run has elevated us to 4th in the table, 4 points clear of Dorchester, who lost their last game. 

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The last 5 games see us play some tough sides.

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Melksham and Cirencester are both above us, with Totton one place behind. Our last two games should be easier, so I'm semi-confident we'll make the play-offs. That would be a serious achievement after our back-to-back promotions. 

Youth intake and growth of players

We've had our third youth intake through. It could be a "golden generation" for us, as the current attribute level is higher than the previous intake.
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Initially I analysed all players to identify who I was happy to spend the money on. I've changed wages to per annum so I can work out the yearly cost of retaining these players.

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I've looked at their best position by analysing their attribute scores across a range of potential positions. This is definitely a talented intake. Cameron Russell and Ewan Mcdonald, attribute wise for their favoured positions, are better than my current starters! After a little bit of thought, and seeing how well some youth players are starting to develop, I decided to sign everyone and give them a chance. I can always release them in a year or so. The total cost is less than I thought as they start on £250 a year as a youth contract. 9 of them are Jersey-born too, so nice to see local players even with our improvement in youth recruitment.

One example of a player developing really quickly is Cobran. His fickle personality isn't the greatest, but it means his ambition is 16-20 and his determination is 11. At this level he's still managing good development, which I'm quite surprised by. His positional attributes have improved by 0.67 and his key attributes by 0.34. There's 15 positional attributes for a full back, meaning he's had 10 points of attribute growth in those this season, and some in other areas e.g. strength. Okay, 8 of the above intake are unambitious, with two low determination, so they're much less likely to have this kind of growth, but I'm going to give them a go and see. 

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One final thing I'd like to share about my youth intake is the HOYD I've managed to keep since day 1. He's ridiculous for this level and won't sign a contract, but I'm happy for him to stay with us for no money!! He obviously likes it here in Jersey! The fact he's brought through 8 unambitious players this time isn't great, but his ability to spot talent far surpasses anyone I could get to replace him. 

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Edited by Jtomsett11
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Top season you been having. It’s going to be a tight finish to the season to make the playoffs. 

That’s a top HoYD you’re rocking at Jersey! Best one I’ve seen any save in the forums that I can remember.

Your intake is interesting, and not sure why it has so many unambitious personalities with that HoYD.

Zgood luck with the rest of the season.

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6 hours ago, Sonic Youth said:

Top season you been having. It’s going to be a tight finish to the season to make the playoffs. 

That’s a top HoYD you’re rocking at Jersey! Best one I’ve seen any save in the forums that I can remember.

Your intake is interesting, and not sure why it has so many unambitious personalities with that HoYD.

Zgood luck with the rest of the season.

Thanks! It's been a really interesting end, that's for sure!!

Yeah, I think he either was at the club already, or I picked him up from the list of about 10 staff who were willing to join me and he just happened to have ridiculous attributes. It's slightly unrealistic that nobody has come in for him since. The only reason for the personality issue I can think of is that 'fairly sporting' isn't that far away from unambitious, especially if his ambition isn't that high, but not low enough for unambitious (5 or less). Not sure how much HOYD impact the individual hidden attributes, or whether they just influence certain ones?

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Posted (edited)

March-April 2023

We started off our key games with a 1-1 draw with Melksham. We were leading until the 90th minute, and as a key home game, I felt disappointed with the draw. Next up, Totton away. The 1st April turned out to be a good day!

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Keeper Harrison got us the only goal of the game to keep us firmly in control of our destiny. 

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Another bonus on the 1st April was this news:

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This is phenomenal for this level. We really should be producing some quality intakes with this in place. 

Next up were champions Cirencester. A 3-1 defeat followed, but on the 15th April we managed to beat Plymouth Parkway to secure our play-off place!

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We rotated the squad heavily on the final day of the season, so end with a 4-2 loss.

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The table makes for good reading considering we are newly promoted. 

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For anyone not aware of how the play-offs work at this level, it's quite complicated and involves teams from all the other leagues at this level. I've spent quite a bit of time trying to work out who enters at what stage. From my knowledge there are 7 leagues at this level. All the 4th and 5th places enter the play-offs at the quarter finals + 2 3rd places (not sure if this is random or by points) meaning 16 teams. This leaves 8 winners of the quarters, plus 7 x 2nd place and 5 x 3rd place teams, meaning a semi-final of 20 teams and then a final of 10 teams. 5 teams get promoted in addition to the 7 winners, making 12 promoted teams in total to the 4 divisions at level 7. 

So we enter at the quarter final stage and need to win three games to secure a third promotion in a row!

Edited by Jtomsett11
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Posted (edited)

Play-offs April/ May 2023

We love extra time!

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Next up, 2nd place from the Isthmian Division One North.

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No problem, and no need for extra time!

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And now we're up against Burgess Hill Town. Can we secure our place in level 7?

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No we can't :(

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We took the lead after just 3 minutes, but it wasn't meant to be, and although their penalty boosted their xG, they probably deserved it. We only had 2 shots on target compared to their 8. I'm not too upset that we haven't gone up, although I was obviously getting very excited at the prospect. 

We'll have to go again next year!

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Edited by Jtomsett11
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Love what you've done so far! I have to say in my Guernsey save, level 7 was the hardest to get into and stay... although i do have to say working out the rules with regards to promotions and relegation always took me forever. Also, i too noticed that contract offers from other teams were few and far in between. Maybe due to how far away the islands are??? I've been able to keep one of my star players on an expired contract for a year now (sadly he refuses to sign a contract with me) without worrying about his performances attracting any interest whatsoever.

Edited by shadow1812
grammar
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9 hours ago, shadow1812 said:

Love what you've done so far! I have to say in my Guernsey save, level 7 was the hardest to get into and stay... although i do have to say working out the rules with regards to promotions and relegation always took me forever. Also, i too noticed that contract offers from other teams were few and far in between. Maybe due to how far away the islands are??? I've been able to keep one of my star players on an expired contract for a year now (sadly he refuses to sign a contract with me) without worrying about his performances attracting any interest whatsoever.

Thanks for reading and for the feedback!

I did think distance might be playing its part in keeping players, but I'm not sure how well this is coded in FM? It may also have something to do with database size and the number of players at this level who are probably of a similar ability, meaning reduced transfer activity? These are just guesses as I don't know enough about the mechanisms of the game to understand it. 

I agree regarding Level 7 due to there only being 1 automatic spot in my opinion and teams paying much higher wages at Level 8. Level 10 was easy to get out of as if your team is okay, then it's probably better than others. Level 9 there's two promotion spots so again a bit easier. The play-offs at Level 8 are also epic in scale, with so many teams involved so you have no real clue as to how they're going to play. I don't mind a few seasons at this level if we end up stuck here, as we're still making money so we could feasibly scale up training and youth facilities and progress the club even if we don't progress up the leagues! Where are you up to now with Guernsey?

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13 hours ago, Dev'o said:

Loving the story!

Keeping an eye on this!

Thanks - I'm really enjoying it. I've gone really in depth with my excel analysis at the end of the season and that's really adding to my enjoyment of the save, along with posting on here.

11 hours ago, deltablue said:

Tough luck with just missing out on promotion.

I feel like we were never quite good enough for promotion if I'm honest, so although it's tough luck I'm not too upset! Obviously don't want to spend ages and ages at this level, but it will be interesting to see if we can improve on 4th considering we're not going to improve the squad very much at all ahead of next year.

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Posted (edited)

End of season 2022/23 squad review

Defensive stats

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Offensive stats

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Jersey born (JB) players

Goalkeepers

Not a wonderful season in terms of goals scored, but Harrison picks up his first goals and becomes only the second goalkeeper to score for Jersey Bulls. He got 1 free kick and 4 penalties. Harrison took over the main role due to his phenomenal growth during this season, probably due to his excellent personality. I've been doing attribute growth analysis and he's gained a significant 0.58 on his total score, which equates to about 10 points of attribute growth. Chris Kelly is still improving a little bit, so both these JB players will retain their squad status for next season, with Harrison as my clear number 1. I've realised I need a GK stats view as neither of the above show how they did in goal, but Harrison was the better. 

FYI, dark green = +0.5 growth, light green = growth below +0.5, yellow = stagnant, red = decline

 

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Defenders

Wiltshire is my only JB CB, and he did pretty well this season, although he got left out of the TOTY which has annoyed me. He's kind of in between the other two CBs in terms of stats, he can't jump as well, but he tackles reasonably well and makes way more interceptions than the other two. I perhaps need to play him more next season to make sure he ends up in the TOTY next year. 

At LB, Colbran played most games, while Le Tissier did a good job filling in. Colbran has the highest won tackles ratio, key passes and cross completion ratio of any of my full backs, while Le Tissier remains solid despite his 1 star rating from the Assman. 

Midfielders

In the BWM slot this year I played Abege and Hitchman, both JB. Defensively Abege puts in a lot more interceptions and has a higher tackle success ratio, but there's not a lot between them. Hitchman's height helps with key headers. Going forward, Abege has by far the most key passes of any of our players. He may not have many assists, but he's clearly using his vision and passing skills to reasonable effect. I am minded to shift him over to the DLP role next year. He is a natural AMR but his attributes just don't suit that position, so he has traits that mean he doesn't sit back, which is a problem. 

At AML, both Mudimu and Quinn are down the pecking order, but Mudimu looks a good prospect. Looking at all my wingers, he has the best attributes, and reasonable growth in them despite only a few games this year.

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So that's it for the 9 Jersey-born players who got first team minutes this year. I plan to promote Sam Hudson who looks strong at CB, and attribute wise at BWM (although he would need re-training), and Cameron Russell who is technically our best DLF attribute wise, although he won't be our starting option there. Quinn is likely to drop to the reserves to allow more game time to Mudimu, so that'll leave 10 JB players within the first team squad.

Jersey raised players (JR)

Defenders

Shaibu got in the TOTY, and did pretty well across all defensive measures. Despite this, he didn't really grow, and several other Jersey raised players in the youth and U23 teams look likely to take his place as they've got similar aerial ability and much better technical and mental ability. 

Midfielders

Peter Walker is, by attributes, my best playmaker. He racked up key passes at a better rate than Burrell, the main DLP, but is physically very weak and I think just not quite ready for this level. I'll keep giving him time though, as his attribute growth this season was very good. 

That's it for JR players this year. Next year I plan on promoting a number of JR players, but I'll post about that in pre-season.

Best of the others

Defenders

Derbali is rated less and less highly by my Assman, but his stats hold up. His key tackles and interceptions are very high, and unless a really good RB comes along (there are a few on the verges of the first team), he'll be first choice throughout next year. 

Tamplin is a physical beast, but it's noticeable he has a very low tackling success percentage compared to my other CBs. I am considering replacing him with a better player, as I've previously said. He makes quite a few mistakes leading to goals as well.

Midfielders

Gareth Bailey and Hoffman have split the game time on the right wing, but Bailey has come out of nowhere from my attribute analysis at the start of the season and he's really the first choice there now. Bailey edges Hoffman in pretty much every important stat, and as shown above is growing in terms of attributes as well. 

Burrell wasn't great at DLP, which is why I'm considering starting Abege there. If that's the case, he's one of the best DLF in the squad, but that's where the next player, Lilley has been playing. Technically he suits no role in the team, but his ability gets him goals and assists and he's been a really important part of the team, winning awards in the process. Lilley's contract is up, so if he doesn't want ridiculous money I'll be keeping him even if he isn't the most suited to DLF. 

Mattingsdal and Drake are interesting players. Mattingsdal has actually declined this year, but his goals and assists return (10 each) makes him the third highest contributor in the team being Parsons and Lilley. Drake is one who should be better than he is, but has seen game time at AML and DLP restricted by other players. I may just leave him in the reserves next season to focus on players who fit the system we use better than he does. Two years ago he had our highest number of key passes, but even then I wasn't that happy with him at DLP. I'd rather give Peter Walker more game time in the hope that he develops further and contributes more as he is JR.

Finally, up front we have Parsons and Uzoma. Uzoma did really well last season, but he just isn't as good as Parsons, so often comes off the bench or plays as a DLF when Lilley hasn't been playing well. Despite this he's got 15 goals, which is a superb return. Parsons again top scores, but with a much lower total as the standard this year was much higher. 

Team of the year

Mentioned above, we're down to 3 Jersey-born players in the TOTY. We do have one JR and 4 players initially generated at the club, but we do need to work on the Jersey-born and Jersey-raised front over the next couple of years. Overall ,this is a fair reflection of the TOTY, although it is harsh on Wiltshere who missed out at CB. 

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Stats

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Goalkeeper goals

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Edited by Jtomsett11
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End of season 2022/23 club review

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Overall, a great year for the club on and off the football pitch. Off it, we've increase our youth recruitment and junior coaching, while finances have grown again, enough that I may risk asking for training facilities to be improved again perhaps. 

I've already shown the youth intake in a previous post, so won't go over that in detail. However, next year I do plan on promoting a number of Jersey-raised players, and it'll be interesting to see which ones are successful and which ones aren't. 

I have started letting a few players go, especially ones who rate very low when analysis their attributes, and those in decline over a long period of time i.e. their personality or age prevents them from progressing without game time and they're unlikely to ever get game time. This will enable me to know my squads in a little more depth, and hopefully prevent the Gareth Bailey situation, whereby my best RW sits in the reserves for two season before I realise he's any good, from happening again!

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Some of these names haven't ever played, but others have been, at times, crucial to our progress. It's sad to see so many Jersey-born players here, but I do want to progress up the leagues at the same time as retaining JB players, so a balance must be struck. There may be a few more releases before the start of next season, while some key players will be offered contracts just to ensure I don't lose them to contract offers.

 

 

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Pre-season preview 2023/24

As we head into our second season in the Southern League Division One South, we're no longer second favourites for the drop. We're third favourites now!

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Obviously we're not really strengthening our team beyond the growth of our existing players, so this makes sense. Personally I'd be happy if we can keep it exciting and be involved in the fight for promotion/ play-off places. The board just want us not to be involved in a relegation battle, so there's very little pressure. 

The club continues to grow off the pitch, with news of a slight reputation boost, growing average attendances and an extra 9 season tickets sold ahead of this season.

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Although it's only 9 extra tickets, it indicates that we should see slight growth in attendances again this year, which would help us financially as we've had to hand out a little more money to keep players this summer.

For example, Lilley is now our highest earner on nearly £7k a year. While still a pittance in terms of a living wage, it's a lot for us to commit as a club. You can also see in the squad screenshot below that many players no longer have a 'ama', 'ctr' or 'yth' in their info, indicating they've signed a contract. These players combined, plus staff mean we're spending £40k a year on wages. I've worked out this should be manageable as long as our attendances stay at the same level.

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I've had to let some players go as a result of wage demands. Our now-back-up keeper Chris Kelly left; he wanted £7k a year and refused to accept less than £6.2k. I'm not paying that for someone who can easily be replaced by other youth players even if he is Jersey-born.

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The others to go:

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They all wanted a lot more than I was prepared to give them. I've added them to a shortlist in case they develop and then want to come home at some point.

We've not managed to make a signing at all this summer, as nobody stood out as being better than our current crop from our scouts suggestions and I only take one or two on trial anyway as otherwise the whole 'realistic signings' doesn't really work; they're hardly going to fly over to Jersey for a 3 week trial to potentially earn £4k a year!

That's left us with this as our starting 11:

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This is pretty similar to the end of last season, although I'm hoping Hitchman's promotion to starting BWM will mean we have 4-5 Jersey-born in the TOTY.

There are a few new faces in the squad as a result of attribute analysis:

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Sam Hudson (CB), Rodney Headley (CB/BWM - retraining), Lewis Bradley (LB), Ewan Macdonald (BWM), and Cameron Russell (DLF) join the first team squad. We'll see how much game time they get and how they perform, but on paper they're better than those who they've replaced who are now either in the U23 or have been released.

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August and September 2023

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A cracking start to the season! We've been really impressive from the get-go and the partnership of Parsons and Lilley has been excellent, with both getting 6 goals so far in all competitions. I don't think this will be a title winning season though as our defence is not really up to scratch, or perhaps I play too offensively (I'm not going to alter that too much as it's working overall).

Although we don't look like we're conceding lots of goals, we're on average conceding more than we should be according to xGa. I think perhaps I just need to play the young CBs I've promoted to the first team more often in the hope that they improve over this season. It would be nice to replace Tamplin with someone homegrown, or at least have greater strength in depth here. I'll potentially use my one signing for the season either at CB or RB if I can find someone who is a significant upgrade, although I've not had luck with that so far. 

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The financial situation is now even stronger at the club after our run of home cup games, and with the balance just over £300k I've managed to wrangle a couple of extra improvements that will help us going forward. I'm a little confused by the statement that youth recruitment will become 'average for a club of our stature'. As far as I'm aware, it will be 'average' in the game world and therefore significantly better than most clubs of our stature. 

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It's been a while since I've been able to play, so I've really enjoyed the first two months of the season! However, there's quite a few tough games, based on last seasons standings, coming up in October, so I think I might stop there for today!

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Good start to the season.

Your ‘egg’-tactic looks promising, with only the centre not having as good an understanding as those around them. Can a square form between the midfield and centre backs ? :confused: :D

Your signings all look pretty reasonable for the finances. How do they handle the upgrades?

KUTGW :thup:

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Brilliant start this season! Are you focusing on the FA Cup at all? it would only take 2 more wins for you to earn enough money to pay for a year of wages!

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8 hours ago, Sonic Youth said:

Good start to the season.

Your ‘egg’-tactic looks promising, with only the centre not having as good an understanding as those around them. Can a square form between the midfield and centre backs ? :confused: :D

Your signings all look pretty reasonable for the finances. How do they handle the upgrades?

KUTGW :thup:

Thanks! The only centre midfielders who have played regularly together are Burrell and Abege, and they have the yellow dotted line indicating they've performed poorly together.  It's the first time I've ever seen that, so hopefully Abege and Hitchman are more successful. The tactic is based on one I honed with Tromso and Kobenhavn, but I've had to adapt it due to how poor my team are.  

None of the new additions are new signings - they're all promoted from U23 and U18. I'm hoping that each year I can do this and slowly improve the overall quality of the team. The only actual transfers I've made are Lilley, Parsons (both doing very well) and Tamplin who is just a physical beast for this level,  but makes a lot of errors. 

I'm not sure I've understood the question about upgrades? If you mean the upgrades to youth and junior coaching,  it seems to have had no impact whatsoever on finances which is bizarre!

7 hours ago, Fudal said:

Brilliant start this season! Are you focusing on the FA Cup at all? it would only take 2 more wins for you to earn enough money to pay for a year of wages!

Thanks! I have tried to do well in it,  but by the third qualifying round the standard of team is much better.  We face Cirencester away next who walked this league last season so I don't hold much hope of going further! 

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1 hour ago, Jtomsett11 said:

I'm not sure I've understood the question about upgrades? If you mean the upgrades to youth and junior coaching,  it seems to have had no impact whatsoever on finances which is bizarre!

Exactly! Surprised that it hasn’t impacted as much, but I guess the youth and junior coaching doesn’t have the physical parts like training facilities do.

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October - December 2023 (Mid season update)

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We've had a slightly up and down three months. October was mainly down, with our away form really letting us down, although the FA Cup loss to Cirencester was always on the cards as they're significantly better than us. I took the opportunity to fine tune our away tactic around this points, and things have picked up with 3 wins, a draw and a loss from our remaining 5 away games of the year. We're now starting cautiously away in games against the stronger sides. 

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It's good we've picked up away from home as we've not been as strong as normal at home. Parsons and Lilley haven't been as effective over this period, so Uzoma has come back into the side and has picked up a few goals. 

So where does that leave us in the table? We're just into the play-off places, which I'm very happy with. As said at the start of the season, if we can stay in and around the play-off places it keeps the excitement going. 

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Squad performance

Offensive statistics

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Defensive stats:

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Jersey-born players

In goal Rhys Harrison has 4 goals and a couple of assists from booting the ball over the top to our strikers. He's got a reasonable average rating of 6.91 and has performed well. 

Wiltshire has been strong this season, his numbers are the best of any of our CBs, although Tamplin has played fewer games. However, I've also been impressed with Sam Hudson, who has replaced Tamplin in recent games after the bad start to December. Colbran has a low average rating, but decent assists, key passes, interceptions and tackle ratio. He continues to develop at a good pace. If Hudson continues to perform it's possible that I'll have 4 out of 5 Jersey-born defenders. 

In midfield, Hitchman and Abege have started most games together. Hitchman has definitely been an upgrade on Abege in the BWM role. He puts in a lot of key headers and interceptions. He offers a lot less going forward; Abege continues to lead the key passes from his new position of DLP as he did last season from BWM. However, the BWM should offer more defensively, so I'm happy to have less from Hitchman in this regard. 

The two remaining Jersey-born players are Mudimu and Russell. Mudimu has had a really good season, progressing from last season where he was a bench warmer. He's got 6 goals and is playing more than Mattingsdal in recent games. Russell hasn't had much game time, but did get his first goal for the club. The form of our other strikers has restricted his game time.

It's pleasing to have 8 JB players getting minutes, with 5 of them arguably key players and 2 emerging as key players.

Jersey-raised

Headley and Bradley have played a few games each, just gaining experience. Bradley has 3 assists from his 10 games, while Headley's stats aren't bad. They just need to keep getting game time to help their development.

Walker and Macdonald haven't seen much game time at all. This largely reflects the fact that Hitchman and Abege have played most games and Burrell has slotted in as backup, starting the recent games ahead of Abege. They both have time on their side, so playing games for the U23 with a few first team appearances isn't a huge problem. Walker's attributes technically make him the best DLP of the squad, but in other areas he's so weak that he's not been very effective. 

Best of the rest

Lilley, Bailey and Parsons stand out this season. Lilley and Parsons starred early on and have struggled for goals more recently. Bailey, however, has been superb all season. 9 goals and 9 assists is an excellent return, and he's kept Hoffman out of the team as a result of his form. 

More recently, Uzoma has picked up 4 goals in 4 games to stake his claim for a starting spot as Lilley and Parsons struggle. I'm going to give him a little run in the team to see if he can carry on his good form. I feel for him a little as he's had great returns in the last two seasons, but rarely starts the season with any games as Parsons and Lilley are just that little bit better than him. However, when he gets in the team, he nearly always delivers. He definitely deserves a run. 

Club news

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An excellent group, but lots of negatives. We will see what comes through on the day! It would be nice to have another Jersey-born striker as we only have Russell who may or may not make it with his personality. 

Our finances continue to grow despite our now £55k a year wage committment. Looks like I can afford to spend a little more on wages without worrying.

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Finally, I've also had some job offers. This is a one-club save so I won't be accepting these, but it's always nice to receive them.

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15 minutes ago, Sonic Youth said:

Exactly! Surprised that it hasn’t impacted as much, but I guess the youth and junior coaching doesn’t have the physical parts like training facilities do.

One month it did say £5k youth setup costs, but this is easily absorbed by our excellent attendances, nearing an average of 1000. I'm very lucky with this, but this does reflect the reality that Jersey Bulls are a club that will make progress in real life due to their facilities and following. 

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