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


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On 11/06/2021 at 23:55, Jtomsett11 said:

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?

Hi! Real life dragged me away from the computer and the forums for some time... I've been playing on and off and we've finally made it to the Prem in 2037! Although I'm 100% sure we're going back down thanks to absolutely 0 quality being present in our last few youth intakes... Anyway I've caught up and loved your save so far!!!

8 hours ago, Jtomsett11 said:

April and May 2031

One strange thing to leave this post with is this.

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Can someone explain to me how on earth the board can say we've not used the youth?! I've given 4 home grown players debuts (50 odd appearances between them) this season and add to that a significant number of younger players who played last season getting minutes. I'm almost a victim of my own success as I play young players and then I guess they don't count as 'youngsters' anymore? I noticed this as we won promotion and it's slightly soured it for me. I'm unlikely to be sacked, but this takes what should be an A+ rating to a B-, so if we get into a tricky spell this could be a problem for me.

I think I can explain... This happened to me in the Championship a few seasons ago. It seems like playing the same core group of players (even if all of them are homegrown) for a few continuous years messes up the game's perception of who are the "youth players", and even 21 yr stalwarts still don't count. The few youngsters I did give an opportunity to weren't sufficient to appease the board too!

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The only thread which has ever genuinely kept me interested from the outset - loving the updates just as much now as season one!

In terms of developing your youth intake players, what sort of steps do you take to help them reach their potential? Looking at Dornan for example, he's got a great baseline to kick on from, but what actions will you take yourself to help really push him into first team contention?

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18 hours ago, Punch said:

Haha nice. I've wanted to do something similar with Guernsey, but keep getting tempted by low level Scottish saves. Too many to choose from.

 

While waiting I have used your spreadsheet on an FC United of Manchester save, found I had some players in the wrong position, and some super stars in the 18's/23's. Made some adjustments and we have just been promoted from the VNL to League 2. So it's been a huge help in that regard.

 

Congrats on the promotion to League 1. KUTGW!

Yes, it's brilliant for unearthing players you've overlooked. Where it has its limitations is in that some attributes are clearly weighted much more heavily in terms of CA. Also, going from 17 to 18 in passing for a CM takes more CA than going from 12 to 13, but I don't account for this as I don't know the maths behind it.  Congratulations on the promotion! 

14 hours ago, Sonic Youth said:

How long are you playing this save?

Thanks for the congrats, the second half of the season was just phenomenal! I have in the past skipped an edition if I'm fully committed to a save, and this one has got me at the moment, so I think I'll play until I get bored. I'm hoping that'll be a while yet, perhaps we can get to the promised land of the Premier League! 

 

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13 hours ago, shadow1812 said:

Hi! Real life dragged me away from the computer and the forums for some time... I've been playing on and off and we've finally made it to the Prem in 2037! Although I'm 100% sure we're going back down thanks to absolutely 0 quality being present in our last few youth intakes... Anyway I've caught up and loved your save so far!!!

I think I can explain... This happened to me in the Championship a few seasons ago. It seems like playing the same core group of players (even if all of them are homegrown) for a few continuous years messes up the game's perception of who are the "youth players", and even 21 yr stalwarts still don't count. The few youngsters I did give an opportunity to weren't sufficient to appease the board too!

2037! :applause:Something for me to aim for! Ahhh, that makes sense, I did think it might be something like that. It's bloody annoying isn't it! Penalised for consistency! I'm glad you're enjoying reading my updates, I've really enjoyed posting them! Almost more than playing sometimes!

5 hours ago, Whalix said:

The only thread which has ever genuinely kept me interested from the outset - loving the updates just as much now as season one!

In terms of developing your youth intake players, what sort of steps do you take to help them reach their potential? Looking at Dornan for example, he's got a great baseline to kick on from, but what actions will you take yourself to help really push him into first team contention?

Thank you! 

That's a good question. I usually choose the role training to suit their future role, or for example, I may choose a BBM with 'passing' as an additional focus if I think the player could be a DLP or BWM in our formation. I also tend to work on physical attributes as extra focus. I then ensure they don't have much competition in U18s or U23s as although we're playing friendlies only, it does seem to have an impact. So one player per position if I can help it. And then I have a look at loan or game time as they near 18 years old. If they're still developing fine at 18 in the reserves, I may promote to first team to give them 10-15 games a season, but if they're stagnating it's a loan spell usually. Tracking attribute growth is a really good indicator if they're stagnating or not (at whatever age). 

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End of season 2031 player performance

Goalkeepers

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Note that 2/3 of Gordon's appearances are on loan, but his numbers show he is developing as a very capable keeper. Majernik did okay in his 4 appearances at the end of the year. We won all but one game he played, conceding just twice so I'm not sure if his lack of saves is down to his performance or a lack of shots to save. 

Defenders

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If we take a look at how our main CBs do against all other CBs in League two and above with more than 20 games this season, you can see how little work they actually do in my tactic.

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Their job is to win the ball in the air a lot and have loads of shots from corners! Tackles per game are so low compared to most defenders. 96% of defenders make more tackles than Bondswell:lol:

As I've said before, it's the full backs and my BWM who tends to break up play. Looking below you can see my three fullbacks who played over 20 games this season are pretty high for key tackles. They make the challenges when they need to. Offensively, they do very different things. Holder dribbles and crosses the ball and he's pretty good at it. Haughton creates a lot of chances from dribbling and crossing, and you can see why he became so valuable to the team. Fitton started to lose his place and again, you can see why. Nearly all his crosses come from free kicks as he's not one for taking players on. He's also not brilliant in the tackle compared to my other fullbacks, so he is likely to continue as backup next season having lost his place. 

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Midfield

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Knill played more as a BWM this year in rotation with Robbins. He's not quite as good defensively, but he did make more interceptions which is impressive. Clarke is the new kid on the block and I think he may be capable of playing in both roles. His key passes per game is much higher than any of my other deep lying playmakers. Below you can see Knill and Powell compared to other deep lying playmakers. Knill's strengths here are defensive, representing his greater game time as a ball winner this year. Powell does well with passes completed and key passes, but is otherwise average in offensive metrics. If Clarke can better that with more game time next year I'll be very impressed. Larkin may continue on loan in light of Clarke's performances. 

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Attacking midfielders

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All of these players added huge value this year. Farmer played a mix of games on the wing and upfront and is still very goal-orientated, but I do worry he just isn't quite good enough, despite being our second top scorer.

In terms of our wingers performance nationally, Brooking and Pennell show just how good their numbers are. Brooking in particular top scores in a number of categories. Yes, this is aided by his free kick taking, but he's sensational when looking at this. He's wanted by West Ham now who are in the Prem, so it may only be a matter of time before he is off. 

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Strikers

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I've been delighted with these three this year. Kalantari has improved so much, doubling both his goals and assists from last year. Burgess has played a decent backup role, although he has scored 3 penalties meaning only 3 goals from open play. I can probably improve on him for next year as he's not really kicked on as I'd hoped with game time. Turner-Cooke is the player of the year and signing of the season. His 30 goals got us promoted. He's out of contract, so that will be renewed and I'll hope to add an able deputy as I'm not sure Farmer is good enough backup for League One.

Team of the year

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Powell missing out is unfortunate, but it does mean we keep 6 Jersey-born players in the TOTY for now.

Team records

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Only the 5th time in 11 seasons our top appearance holder isn't a goalkeeper! 

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Club progress 2031

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The superb progress continues this year. No facility upgrades and declining finances, but we seem to be able to sell non-essential players to fund our growth without too much problem at the moment. The stadium improved in size and our attendances went up by nearly 50%. More of that next season please! 

One concern is the youth intake only containing two Jersey-born players. That might mean we end up having fewer and fewer of these players as our reputation grows. It was an aim of the save, but I'll just do my best to promote players from the island as we move up the leagues.

Next year will again be about survival on paper, but we seem to really be on a roll now, so who knows where we will end up! I've sometimes found with lower league football on FM, that once you've got a decent core of a team that's young and improving you tend to bounce up the leagues quite easily. 

 

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Attribute growth 2031

My favourite part of the season! 

Goalkeepers

image.png.e302630ffc0d6d2bb04b2ba980392497.png

Game time plays a huge role in development. We know it, but how many players still end up stunted prematurely as short-term goals take over? Majernik and Gordon both got some game time, although it's the former with just 4 games under his belt who rises the fastest. Perhaps I also forget that full time training will have made a huge impact to my young players. I think one of these will take over from Morgan sooner rather than later. At 47 rated, De Rosa might look awful, but look at the starting points of my two other young keepers. I think we might have a future star here.

Centre backs

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Bondswell continues to thrive. Tallack is leaving and perhaps this rating over his current ability rating shows why so much was spent on him. Luckily we have New and Ransom as capable CBs while Woozley or Sharp should get game time next year. If I upgrade a defender, I'll ditch Ransom rather than block a young'un. 

Full backs

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Top of the growth chart is Haughton. 11 points of growth equates to improvements in 11/12 key attributes this season. That's phenomenal. He's now first choice ahead of Fitton due to his performances. Holder's growth continues at a pretty steady rate, while Howells also did well. Perhaps I need to trust him more next season. Dornan is pretty exciting as a youth option. 

Ball-winning midfielders

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Robbins is our main man here, but look at that growth from Clarke. He deserved his 5 appearances at the end of the season, albeit mainly as a DLP. Howells is another option here, while Barzey has good potential so I must try and incorporate him into my plans. Someone is going to have to go on loan I feel!

Deep-lying playmakers

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If Knill had 15 passing, I think he'd be a god at this level. His mentals are superb, but he's just average at passing and it holds him back compared to Powell. Larkin needs game time to continue his development and I think that means a loan. Clarke performed well as a DLP in 3 of his 5 games, so if I can work on his vision I think he could be another brilliant option. His growth in this position is very impressive. 

Wingers

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Harrop is the best winger according to attributes. He'll get more game time as he progresses, he's only just turned 18. Rowlands continue to develop nicely as does Andrews, Ballard, Joy and Moens. I'm not sure all of these will get game time due to limited potential, but it shows we're doing something right. If Brooking gets sold, Rowlands may end up with more game time next year.

Deep lying forward

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Kalantari continues to develop. He may be very average physically, but you don't need many physical attribute to be a deep-lying forward and he's showing that. Burgess improved, but not as much as I'd hoped. John has limited potential, but he's also only 17 so the coaching staff may be wrong about him. I'll certainly give him a couple more years in the reserves/ on loan when he's 18 to see how he develops. Harrop may be an option here as Toomer was for a couple of years before his sale.

Advanced forwards

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Our best forward is our third best attribute wise. I haven't thought about using Brooking because of his finishing, but it's only 2 worse than Turner-Cooke now. I think it's unlikely we'll need him at AF before he ends up getting sold as I can imagine some large bids for him this summer. Farmer has improved this season, I'm just concerned he's not particularly effective that often. I doubt I'll be able to sell him so he will continue to be a good backup option unless I can find another good option who doesn't want more than £50k a year. 

Overall thoughts

When you get promoted you always feel you should improve the squad. However, I look at this and feel there's not that many positions I want to improve on. Perhaps a better AF backup. Perhaps a better DLF backup. Perhaps an upgrade on Ransom. I would much rather upgrade my non-youth signings than get rid of the Jersey-born players, so we'll have to see what my scouts unearth.

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7 hours ago, Jtomsett11 said:

 

Attribute growth 2031

My favourite part of the season! 

 

I enjoy this part too.

Before your flatline attribute analysis, I hadn’t seen a player shown like this for FM. I like how you can see players you might have overlooked because of one reason or other too. One thing I have wondered was the yellow and red highlighted stats headings: are red stats your highlighted game stats and the yellow stats what get trained up for this position?

Edited by Sonic Youth
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On 12/10/2021 at 06:42, Jtomsett11 said:

Attribute growth 2031

My favourite part of the season! 

Goalkeepers

image.png.e302630ffc0d6d2bb04b2ba980392497.png

Game time plays a huge role in development. We know it, but how many players still end up stunted prematurely as short-term goals take over? Majernik and Gordon both got some game time, although it's the former with just 4 games under his belt who rises the fastest. Perhaps I also forget that full time training will have made a huge impact to my young players. I think one of these will take over from Morgan sooner rather than later. At 47 rated, De Rosa might look awful, but look at the starting points of my two other young keepers. I think we might have a future star here.

Centre backs

image.png.cb2be58b4cbd9d3ff36af335d3b64af6.png

Bondswell continues to thrive. Tallack is leaving and perhaps this rating over his current ability rating shows why so much was spent on him. Luckily we have New and Ransom as capable CBs while Woozley or Sharp should get game time next year. If I upgrade a defender, I'll ditch Ransom rather than block a young'un. 

Full backs

image.png.6eec5c1da692b1864ad8e151692a946a.png

Top of the growth chart is Haughton. 11 points of growth equates to improvements in 11/12 key attributes this season. That's phenomenal. He's now first choice ahead of Fitton due to his performances. Holder's growth continues at a pretty steady rate, while Howells also did well. Perhaps I need to trust him more next season. Dornan is pretty exciting as a youth option. 

Ball-winning midfielders

image.png.cb3833be6dfc7fc1ae2c7d9181af0d11.png

Robbins is our main man here, but look at that growth from Clarke. He deserved his 5 appearances at the end of the season, albeit mainly as a DLP. Howells is another option here, while Barzey has good potential so I must try and incorporate him into my plans. Someone is going to have to go on loan I feel!

Deep-lying playmakers

image.png.3eb293ba92f53587aa0c74871f648be6.png

If Knill had 15 passing, I think he'd be a god at this level. His mentals are superb, but he's just average at passing and it holds him back compared to Powell. Larkin needs game time to continue his development and I think that means a loan. Clarke performed well as a DLP in 3 of his 5 games, so if I can work on his vision I think he could be another brilliant option. His growth in this position is very impressive. 

Wingers

image.png.0c8fbac3d3c7d9af51f139449f6d487c.png

Harrop is the best winger according to attributes. He'll get more game time as he progresses, he's only just turned 18. Rowlands continue to develop nicely as does Andrews, Ballard, Joy and Moens. I'm not sure all of these will get game time due to limited potential, but it shows we're doing something right. If Brooking gets sold, Rowlands may end up with more game time next year.

Deep lying forward

image.png.674a25b23b80eb377e9f767a234f3b72.png

Kalantari continues to develop. He may be very average physically, but you don't need many physical attribute to be a deep-lying forward and he's showing that. Burgess improved, but not as much as I'd hoped. John has limited potential, but he's also only 17 so the coaching staff may be wrong about him. I'll certainly give him a couple more years in the reserves/ on loan when he's 18 to see how he develops. Harrop may be an option here as Toomer was for a couple of years before his sale.

Advanced forwards

image.png.076401a34ef45d8fd78fe01092a02255.png

Our best forward is our third best attribute wise. I haven't thought about using Brooking because of his finishing, but it's only 2 worse than Turner-Cooke now. I think it's unlikely we'll need him at AF before he ends up getting sold as I can imagine some large bids for him this summer. Farmer has improved this season, I'm just concerned he's not particularly effective that often. I doubt I'll be able to sell him so he will continue to be a good backup option unless I can find another good option who doesn't want more than £50k a year. 

Overall thoughts

When you get promoted you always feel you should improve the squad. However, I look at this and feel there's not that many positions I want to improve on. Perhaps a better AF backup. Perhaps a better DLF backup. Perhaps an upgrade on Ransom. I would much rather upgrade my non-youth signings than get rid of the Jersey-born players, so we'll have to see what my scouts unearth.

That's a quality looking squad with some pretty impressive gains. Something is clearly working very well in your training and development.

Awesome work! :applause:

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On 12/10/2021 at 05:38, Sonic Youth said:

I enjoy this part too.

Before your flatline attribute analysis, I hadn’t seen a player shown like this for FM. I like how you can see players you might have overlooked because of one reason or other too. One thing I have wondered was the yellow and red highlighted stats headings: are red stats your highlighted game stats and the yellow stats what get trained up for this 

All of them are the highlighted stats,  but some of them appear darker when you highlight them so I've read this to be more important ones than the lighter. The yellow are the lighter and the red are the darker (weighted more in the formula). With your comment about training attributes, I only realised yesterday that the positional attributes aren't the same as the ones trained by the position training. I'm not really sure if I need to adapt my formula in light of this to be honest. Probably need to do some digging to see what is important and what isn't! 

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Pre-season 2032

This summer has been particularly frustrating as I try to improve the squad, particularly at CB and a backup AF. I thought I'd found two, but they decided to move elsewhere in League 1 and 2 for significantly more money than we're willing/ able to offer at the moment. 

Therefore, we start the League One campaign with the following squad.

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Zero signings so lets see how the squad do this year.

The bookies reckon we'll struggle, but not get relegated.

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As you can see, two of our players, Brooking and Bondswell are in the Media Dream Eleven, so we're not all bad! Brooking was a potential to sell this summer, but he's just agreed to negotiate a new contract which would see him on nearly £2k a week, significantly our highest paid player.

In other news, there have been several developments at the club.

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Our first ever player poached, so we'll keep an eye out for him when he comes through. Not brilliant potential, but also not bad and capable of League One football. 

Two of our players also became internationals this summer.

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Just the one cap for Kalantari so far but 4 for Barzey.

He's one of a number of players who've gone out on loan for match experience, while we also sold Matondo.

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So overall a quite disappointing summer, but a chance for some young players to impress us again now we've not added anyone.

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August 2031

I made a really stupid error at the start of the month. I requested upgraded training facilities without really thinking about it.

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While the upgrade will be great in the long term, I'm going to be in deficit by the end of the season which means I'm going to have to sell at least one of my players this year. This may possibly be a huge error, but time will tell.

Just to give you an idea of the challenge we face in this league, this is our annual wage spend.

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The largest is £8 million a year. Only two other clubs have a spend below £2 million. 

Despite this, we've started really well.

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The win over Accrington was my personal favourite as we lost Brooking to injury and Robbins as well, so to still pull out a 4-1 win is excellent. 

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Finishing in the play-offs wouldn't be too bad would it?!

One player I've been really impressed with is Clarke who has played the majority of games as a DLP.

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1 assist in 5 games isn't amazing obviously, but the 15 key passes is much higher than our other DLPs have managed and he's only 17 years old. I'm going to manage his game time carefully, but I have high hopes for him.

The Palace game was obviously not great, but we did get our highest ever attendance and gate receipts.

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Each little record breaking achievement counts as progress when the club is developing.

Transfers

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We have turned this down as I feel we can get much more for Bondswell, plus he signed a new 4 year deal in the summer. Unless the financial situation becomes dire, he's a player I'd really rather hold on to.

We did however, let Gordon go out on loan, as nobody wanted Majernik and both keepers now need some game time. Therefore, Majernik stays as number 2/ cup keeper and Gordon returns to Hartlepool where he did really well last season.

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Finally, we've managed to bring a player in!

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I think Folkes is probably too good for us and may leave at the end of the year if he plays well, but he provides us another great option as a DLF and AF if needed. He scores image.png.0d31aff71b6e607c04d8f4d943e57954.pngas an AF and image.png.0d055ad69d23ab5340ad2ef55b670ff6.pngas a DLF so he's right up there with our best options. 

Due to this, I felt Burgess was unlikely to get any game time.

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His contract is up at the end of the year, so unless he improves significantly on loan I imagine it'll be the end of the road for Burgess. 

 

 

Edited by Jtomsett11
wrong date!
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Good start to the season :thup:

Folkes looks pretty handy :onmehead:

Maybe the training upgrade will help with recruiting, but definitely helping make the players better. Financially, yes, time will tell.

Edited by Sonic Youth
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September 2031

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We made it 5 unbeaten by beating Wycombe in the league just days after beating them in the Papa John's Trophy.

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Unfortunately, the goals have somewhat dried up this month, so while we've conceded just once, we've also scored only once in the league! 

Folkes got 2 assists in the Papa John's game, but nothing since, and Farmer and Turner-Cooke haven't been scoring in the last three games since the former scored all 3 of his goals this season against Wycombe over the two games. I'm probably a striker short of a bloody good team.

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I'd have taken this after two months at the start of the season.

Edited by Jtomsett11
wrong date!
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October 2031

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Here's another poached. I think I may start keeping track of these so I can go after them later on in their careers.

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With that I've realised I'm in 2031 not 2032 :lol: Woops, I'll have to edit the titles of the last few posts.

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A good start, a terrible middle and a good end to the month.

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We're sitting happily in 8th. I can't really complain at all. The two home wins after the three away wins have propelled us back up the table from a low of 14th. 

We have one man to thank for our position really.

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Turner-Cooke is a Vanarama National level striker according to my assman, but he's obviously not according to his performances for us. 

In other matters, I believe this may be our first international goal scorer.

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The first of many I hope!

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We're probably going to need to sell in January. Hang on, a clause!

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Not sure I'll bite on this one yet as it won't really solve our financial woes. Geddes is now worth £2.3million for Charlton and is wanted by Huddersfield who are much higher up in the Championship. That could be a few million in January if he goes. Fingers crossed!

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Having rarely frequented these forums since I last played my FM career save back in May, I have only just stumbled upon your thread @Jtomsett11. The fact I have now just read every single post is testament to how well written and interesting your career updates have been!

As I am from Jersey, this particularly captured my interest! I have often thought about doing a career save like this, although I am a very slow player (I got FM21 on release day and have only completed four full seasons!) and it would take me forever to get through the football pyramid. I see you have tackled this by doing instant result which seems a wise move - are you tempted to play the games now you are established in the Football League? Since you have done such a good job of writing this up, it saves me the job of attempting the same challenge!

On 01/10/2021 at 15:55, Jtomsett11 said:

I get rid of first names as I find I run out of room otherwise. The letters are (JER) - jersey born, I.e. born in St Helier which is the capital of Jersey and the only town from the island in the game. Then I also add second nationalities or foreign nationalities to anyone from the youth intake. It's something I just enjoy keeping track of.

Just a little bit of Jersey info for you - we only have one hospital on the island which is in St Helier, which is why all players that are generated are listed as being born there. :brock:

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20 hours ago, Jtomsett11 said:

I'm probably a striker short of a bloody good team.

 

18 hours ago, Jtomsett11 said:

Hang on, a clause!

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Not sure I'll bite on this one yet as it won't really solve our financial woes. Geddes is now worth £2.3million for Charlton and is wanted by Huddersfield who are much higher up in the Championship. That could be a few million in January if he goes. Fingers crossed!

The ghost of Geddes past still showing his head I see :eek:

A goal scoring International? Do you think?

he’ll get close to 100 international goals?

Promising start to the season and Papa John’s trophy :thup:

On 17/10/2021 at 08:24, Jtomsett11 said:

Pre-season 2032

Yes, I missed it :D

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On 17/10/2021 at 16:34, Dong21 said:

Having rarely frequented these forums since I last played my FM career save back in May, I have only just stumbled upon your thread @Jtomsett11. The fact I have now just read every single post is testament to how well written and interesting your career updates have been!

As I am from Jersey, this particularly captured my interest! I have often thought about doing a career save like this, although I am a very slow player (I got FM21 on release day and have only completed four full seasons!) and it would take me forever to get through the football pyramid. I see you have tackled this by doing instant result which seems a wise move - are you tempted to play the games now you are established in the Football League? Since you have done such a good job of writing this up, it saves me the job of attempting the same challenge!

Just a little bit of Jersey info for you - we only have one hospital on the island which is in St Helier, which is why all players that are generated are listed as being born there. :brock:

Firstly, thank you very much! Glad I'm doing the island proud with my attempts! I have been tempted to switch from the instant results, but I'm also enjoying being able to play 10 games and write them up in one evening after work. I may continue to use it as I'm committed to the model now. 

That makes a lot of sense regarding the hospital! Obviously no home births on football manager though :lol:

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10 hours ago, Sonic Youth said:

 

The ghost of Geddes past still showing his head I see :eek:

A goal scoring International? Do you think?

he’ll get close to 100 international goals?

Promising start to the season and Papa John’s trophy :thup:

Yes, I missed it :D

I think you're probably right, although Turner-Cooke has had another brilliant month that I'll update in a moment. I think as he's 20 now, he should get to the premier league, but whether he'll win a cap, I'm not sure. He's not exactly setting the world alight at Charlton, although they are rooted to the bottom of the league. I'll be really interested to see how much Huddersfield are willing to pay.

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November 2031

Now this tie should be an opportunity to earn a money-earning third round away appearance.

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Away from the pitch we've more quickly to secure Clarke to a much longer deal.

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Now, you're probably thinking that his stats aren't that great, BUT his 3 assists are accompanied by a ridiculous number of key passes for a DLP in our side. His 6.84 rating is also the highest I can remember for a DLP in our team. Is he a completely natural DLP? No, but he seems to be doing very well so I'm going to keep playing him!

We've also had some more international success.

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If we don't go up the leagues as planned, this guy could become quite useful. As it is, he'll go on to have a successful international career.

Our extremely costly training facilities are also ready:

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Feels upsetting that they're now 'average', but I appreciate that this is progress and will allow for further development of our youngsters.

Back to the football.

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9 games was quite a lot and we started really well before running out of steam a little.

After the Wigan game we were briefly top!

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Okay, 3 draws in a row have knocked us down a little, but we're still unbeaten in the league this month!

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I think we should probably have won that one. We didn't even have a penalty!

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I'm still really chuffed we're in the play-off places and not far off top at all. If we have a second half of the season like last year, well, promotion will be easy! :lol:

The FA Cup win (another tight game scoring just the once) sees us into the Third Round.

Who will we face? (Please, not a home tie)

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Ooh, not bad! A premier league side with a half decent stadium. It's certainly going to earn us more than a home tie would!

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I forgot to add this, Nightingale got injured in the 5th minutes (he's out for a while) so Rowlands comes on for his debut. I bet the supported were 'pleased' with his 35th minute red card for his second yellow too. Talk about too much enthusiasm!

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December 2031

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A really solid month, although we did peter out towards the end. 

We've had some excellent moments and games.

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Rowlands made up for his terrible debut here.

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Harrop has been growing in influence in the last few months and here was just superb!

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I've just signed him up to a new contract. 

Knill broke the record for appearances during December too.

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Unlike Hudson and Colbran before him, I can imagine him racking up a significant number of appearances before he leaves as I believe his final level may be lower Championship and we're not far off that. He's 22 years old, so realistically could achieve 500+ league appearances depending on our progress through the leagues.

Despite scoring a number of goals this month, when it dries up, it really dries up.

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This for me is evidence of our continuing need for a better goalscorer (at some point). Turner-Cooke is very good, but we don't have another option and I think someone with better finishing would help us.

So where does that leave us?

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One place higher than last month. 

Youth intake

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Terrific group, but it sounds like a lot of full backs (but not the best) and one very good defensive midfielder... as usual we will wait and see!

Mentoring

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This is a really strange one. Robbins and Knill are my two best team leaders personality-wise.

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I have no idea how Robbins has picked up a trait that only Knill has?! Nobody in his mentoring group has it. It's not the worst trait for a midfielder, so I'm not complaining, but it's also a bit strange.

 

 

 

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Mid-season analysis

Goalkeepers

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Gordon has been out on loan in the Vanarama National at Hartlepool again and is doing pretty well. Majernik therefore was in prime position to take over when Morgan suffered a big blip in form. Majernik didn't start well, but I've stuck with him and I'm really happy with his development as a result. He's conceded less goals and kept more clean sheets, so we'll keep giving him game time.

Defenders

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In centre backs, we've got two clear starters in New and Bondswell. I've tried a number of others (SharpRansomMackenzie) but I'm not convinced yet. New and Bondswell set the marker in terms of headers and interceptions.

At LB, Holder has gone to new levels this year in terms of his average rating. It's his interceptions that stand out to me, well above his fellow LB Howells or the two RBs. Howells certainly isn't a poor performer; his average rating is higher than that of the two RBs.

Fitton and Haughton are both interchangeable at this point, although I prefer the younger Haughton.

Midfield

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Robbins and Knill are our BWM this season and I feel the change of role has benefitted Knill, whose average rating is the highest he's had so far at the club. It's also noticeable we win more games when Knill plays. 

Clarke has been the true star this season in my opinion. He has 5 assists and 89 key passes at 3.88 per game. The only issue is Powell is now too poor to influence the game at this level and I need someone else to come in and rotate as Clarke can't do it all on his own.

On the wings, all 5 players (the bottom 5) with decent game time have ratings over 7. Pennell is the goal king, while Harrop and Farmer (who does play the odd game up front it must be said) have chipped in a few. Brooking's numbers a surprisingly poor for his average rating. He's a bit upset at game time, but keeps getting injured.

Attackers

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Turner-Cooke has a brilliant return of 20 goals in 26 games. Folkes and Kalatari aren't offering enough in my opinion. 6 assists each isn't bad, but only 5 goals between them and most of those in one game apiece where they each got a double. It's a shame we haven't got any youth players coming through here, as in all the other positions we're well stocked with youth players if not all Jersey-born players.

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January 2032

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This was an extremely busy month, both on and off the pitch. On the pitch, it wasn't particularly successful. We're out of both cups and the Blackburn game earnt us very little money. We did set a new gate receipts record for the Portsmouth game however.

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I was very worried before the Lincoln game as, barring the Accrington game, we've been pretty poor at scoring and defending. We have had to rotate the squad quite a bit, and some injuries are holding us back, but at least the win to end the month keeps us fighting.

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We still sit in the play-off places, and we do have a slight gap to 7th, but the Shrews should go above us with their two games in hand. Our next two games are against Crewe and Ipswich, so it could be an interesting February! Obviously, to finish in the play-off places after promotion would be brilliant, so even if we do miss out it'll be a very good season.

Off-the-pitch

Now, as I said, it was eventful off the pitch as well. It's transfer window madness again, and the bids were flying in. Bondswell, Holder and Brooking were the main targets this month.

Towards the end of the month, I'd accepted the two bids below as well as a £2.4 million for Brooking.

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However, I felt I only needed to accept one of these this year as the loans are only until the end of the season. Brooking isn't going for enough, so I've rejected his bid. Knill smoothed over his unhappiness (best captain ever!)

Holder is our LB and has improved significantly, while Bondswell is our talisman centre back. 

I think with the lack of CBs available to us, the Holder deal makes more sense; his potential is 4.5 stars compared to 5 for Bondswell and Howells is playing quite well as his back up. 

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A huge sale, and our biggest yet. 

We've used some of the money for this:

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And the rest to give us a good bank balance.

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However, the transfer window fun wasn't over there. I have an automatic continue set up, and never use the press-deadline day feature unless I want to put bids in last minute.

Therefore I missed this going through.

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This is awful. It'll derail us completely with no time to bring in another CB.

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Phew! That's really quite lucky. I'll have to pay more attention on deadline day in the future.

We did bring in a loanee midfielder to try and replace Powell.

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His first few performances have been awful though, so I'm quite glad he's only on loan! On paper he should be good enough for us!

 

 

 

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February 2032

I'll start off by talking about injuries. Nightingale is having a horrible run of them. This is his fourth this season, and it's disrupting his otherwise very good form. 

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He did manage to make it back for the final game of the month, where he scored 2.

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That helped us to an unbeaten month, very impressive when you consider the draws against 1st and 2nd (at the time). We've also not conceded once! 

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9 games to go and we're 5 points clear from 7th and 7 points off 2nd. I can't see automatic promotion, but I can see us remaining in the play-offs.

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We don't face anyone else above us now, and only 3 teams in the top half. That could mean a great run coming, but it could also mean nothing!

 

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