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[FM21] A Strikers Diary (First Mansfield, now Leicester)


Carambau
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When I was young, one of my most intensive memories when it comes to playing computer games was playing the old Football Manager by Kevin Toms around 1985 on my Commodore 64 for the first time. I was instantly hypnotized by the possibility to lead a football club to glory. I spent so many hours on this game that one day my parents locked up my Commodore in the closet to get me to concentrate on school. From then on, I was enchanted by this genre and played almost every football managing game that came out in the following decade. Then one day, around 1992, I saw a review of "Championship Manager" in CU Amiga magazine. The reviewer was not too excited by the game but nevertheless gave it around 75% or something. Back then it was not easy to purchase computer games from a small publisher (it was Domark back then) abroad. There was no way of getting the game at that moment and so I forgot about it for some time. Then some months later, I was browsing the new imports in my local PC games store and there it was: Championship Manager. History would repeat itself from now on as my parents got annoyed that I was playing football manager game 24/7 again and again neglecting my university studies. One year later Championship Manager 93 arrived, this time it came with real teams and players, and I purchased it directly from my PC games store. That summer I began a save with Aston Villa and managed to build a decent squad, regularly finishing in the top 5. But I needed a good striker as we were not scoring a lot. Somehow I spotted a regen named "Wayne Carey" at Mansfield FC, who was 18 years old at that time. He was not expensive and I did not really expect much from him but then he exploded. He went on the become the clubs topscorer for the next 5 years, helping us to the double and european glory. Then out of the blub, West Ham snatched him from us as I forgot to prolong his contract. There, he went on to score and score and help them to become champions of England (they succeeded us!) I made it my mission to bring him back and tried for 3 years to persuade him which finally happened. Back he was and he did what he could do best: Score. He retired at the age of 33, far to early if you ask me. 
Wayne Carey. A CM Legend for me.


Now for a completely different "Career Update" save.
I re-created a 15 year old striker named Wayne Carey at Mansfield FC and we will follow his career. I will stay unemployed so I can report Wayne Careys road to glory (or not). This will all be in a Diary format.

 

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June 1st, 2020

Dear Diary,

 

I´m so excited! Today training began at my new academy. Liam Hearn, the U18 manager of Mansfield, welcomed us on the pitch and shook the hand of each player. We then proceeded to do some light exercises and after 2 hours it was already over. So this is pro football? I asked one of my giggling team mates. They stopped giggling and said in a serious voice: "Just wait and see." I just shrugged.

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Liam Hearn, Mansfield U18 manager

 

August 21st, 2020

And how right they were! The following days and weeks were packed with heavy work. But somehow I must have made an impression on the gaffer and his U18 staff and then, one day in August, after some weeks filled with sweat, an unfamiliar face appeared at the training ground. But as I looked closer I saw that it was the manager of Mansfield FC, Nigel Clough! I wondered why he was there and was thinking about who of the other lads he was taking a look at. Then, after training, Mr. Hearn stopped me in front of the dressing room and took me aside. "The gaffer wants to see you in the senior team". I giggled. But then I realised he wasn´t joking. And so there I was the next day, among the first team: Ollie Clarke, George Lapslie, Oliver Sarkic, Ryan Sweeney and all the other players I only knew from the papers or from a safe distance. But the lads were nice and welcomed me very friendly. After some light training it was already over. The manager took me aside and said: "You will be on the bench tomorrow against The New Saints". My heart stopped for a second. I would be having my debut for the Mansfield FIRST TEAM tomorrow, just a few days after my 16th birthday! It was hard to believe! When I was lying in bed at home, I was already seeing the newspaper headlines: "Youngster stuns The New Saints", "The Mansfield Wonderkid" or "TNS slaughtered by baby striker". Oh well... 

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The Mansfield Manager

 

Edited by Carambau
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  • Carambau changed the title to [FM21] Diary Of A Striker

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September 2nd, 2020

Dear Diary,

 

So much has happened in the past days! 

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The New Saints game was anti-climatic. I did not play. I stayed on the bench the whole 90 minutes. After that, I was sent back to the U18s and told to train more effectively. Somehow I did obviously as I was drafted again for the York City game yesterday. The match seemed to go like the New Saints fixture - I was sitting on the bench expecting to sit there for the whole game. But suddenly, around the 60th minute, the gaffer waved at me and told me to warm up. I was taken by surprise but jumped up like a flash and warmed up for a few minutes along the sideline. Then it was my time: I came on and 20 seconds later I was in the box, converting a cross by Corey O´Keeffe. I scored! In my first senior match for Mansfield! And it even was the winning goal!  The rest of the game was like a dream and it was over far too quickly. The gaffer shook my hand after the game and said "Good game, boy!". Wow.

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The cross comes in...

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I lose my marker...

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I head the ball...

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...and score!

 

Edited by Carambau
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October 2nd, 2020

Dear Diary,

Good times in the last few weeks! I´m feeling more and more comfortable with the senior team. The gaffer has officially made me part of the Mansfield Town FC first team! Although I did not play that much, I was able to show my ability I think. The gaffer even put me in the starting eleven in the EFL Trophy game which we won 3-0 and I was able to contribute with a goal. This made me the youngest goalscorer in Mansfield history.

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The rest of  the month I was a benchwarmer and did only come on twice. Against Leyton Orient though, I was responsible for the equalizer in stoppage time! The lads were almost suffocating me when they piled up on me after I scored! 

spacer.pngMansfield sit on 10th position in League Two now. I hope the gaffer will give me more chances in the upcoming matches so I can show even more of me.

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November 2nd, 2020

Dear Diary,

How times have changed... I have played only 2 more matches this month. Got injured (pulled groin) in training on October 5 and was out for a week. During that time I missed 2 matches, and we lost both of them. Maybe I could have contributed, we will never know. After that, the gaffer not even benched me for the next four games. Instead I was dropped back down to the youth team again had to play a game with the Mansfield U18s against Gainsborough U18s which we fortunately won and I scored the winning goal. Then, some days later I came on as a sub against Barrow in League Two and even was a starter against Walsall. We were on a bad run before those 2 games, now we at least managed 2 draws. Dropped down to 20th in the League Two table. Hopefully the gaffer lets me help the team fight relegation in the next games...

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Edited by Carambau
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  • Carambau changed the title to [FM21] A Strikers Diary

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December 2nd, 2020

Dear Diary,

 

It looks like I am a full member of the first team now. We played seven games this month and I was involved in each one of them. Nevertheless, the month began with a defeat against Bolton. I was in  the starting 11 but had few chances which I squandered. The gaffer took me off after 75 minutes. Then we played Wrexham in the FA Cup and I was finally able to score again. The match finished 2-0 and we were in the next round against Burton. Then THIS happened: After losing our last game in our EFL Trophy group against Scunthorpe, the manager was sacked. Nigel Clough was fired directly after the game and U18 coach Sam Collins was told to take over. That did not come as a big shock, as we could see every day how deep in thought the gaffer was and it was probably the best for all involved. The fans very very mean to him at the end.

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On the pitch, things DID improve in the league after the sack.  Collins seemed to find  the right approach as we won 1 and drew 2 in the next 3 games to go up to 17th place. The last game of the month was the FA Cup 2nd round match against Burton. I scored in the 2nd minute to give us the lead but in the end we lost 1-3 and were out of the cup. This month: 7 games, 2 goals for me.

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Today our new manager was announced. It is Keith Curle, a former Mansfield player. He comes from Northampton Town.

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Let´s see how we will get on...

Edited by Carambau
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February 5th, 2021

Dear Diary,

 

It´s been 2 months since my last entry and we keep treading in place. The new manager hasn´t had the effect everyone expected and the fans are already moaning about him again. For me, these 2 months have been busy ones as I played almost every game during that time. The sad thing is, I was only able to score one single goal (against Grimsby). Being a striker, this is worrying me (and not only me). My partner in attack, Oliver Sarkic, has also lost a bit of his scoring instinct. My statistics for this season: 24 games, 5 goals.

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The fans are disappointed as the results stay disappointing.

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The manager brought in so many new players in the last month, of course it takes time to get them integrated. 

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4 wins in 2 months does not look too bad on paper, but it didnt help us much. 

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Our league position. And it doesnt look like it´s gonna improve soon.

 

 

Edited by Carambau
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April 2nd, 2021

Dear Diary,

 

The slump went on. We dropped even deeper. And Keith Curle got the sack right after the defeat against Cheltenham.

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And guess who is our new manager? Joey Barton! Yes, THAT Joey Barton! This looks really like a desperate move! I´m not so sure about him I have to admit.

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And the fans are also not happy about his appointment!

He started with 2 points in 3 games. At least I was able to score 2 goals in 10 games in February, but thats about it. March was a dire month for me.

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A whole month without a goal and a win.

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Sadly relegation looks a real possibility now.

On to the positives now! I have been invited to the England Under 19s national team for the games against Poland, Portugal and Slovenia! And I even scored a goal in our 6-0 rout of Slovenia. The sad thing is, we failed  to qualify foer the U19s EURO tournament after finishing in second place behind Portugal.

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May 12th, 2021

Dear Diary,

 

The gaffer is an optimist...

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...I´d rather say he is deluded. And I just want him gone. He is a terrible manager.

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This was inevitable with our current form. We did not manage one win in our remaining games and deservedly got relegated. I played in 7 games and did not score.

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I gave my first ever interview and played it down well.

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Look at this $hit.

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A bad season. A very bad season.

Here come my season statistics:

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I am pretty fine with my first season in senior football. As a striker, I maybe should have scored some more goals, but hey I am 16! And I made my debut in the England U19s as well. 

Edited by Carambau
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September 3rd, 2021

Dear Diary,

 

Oh what an unexpectedly great start to the new campaign for us! And Joey Barton looks like he isn´t that bad a manager after all. We cruised through pre-season like a hurricane, only losing once to high level Derby and I managed to score 4 goals in 5 games. There were doubts we could carry that form over into the season but it worked rather well. Of the 2 defeats the one against Sutton was an extremely unlucky one. And I scored 5 goals in the first 7 matches. Good start to the season!

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Looks like I am the number one striker now in our team. Despite the signing of former Republic of Ireland U21s striker Courtney Duffus. Well there are worse things...

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Maybe I can learn a few things from him though.

 

And what else happened in the summer? Oh, yeah, England going out in the 2nd round of the EUROs against Norway. Even worse, Germany won it in the end.

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Oh dear...

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December 30th, 2021

Dear Diary,

 

Guess who is still in charge at Mansfield?

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Yeah, the gaffer is really showing it was the right decision to hire him. Joey Barton turned his fortune around this first half of the season and we are promotion candidates.

Well, it maybe has got to do something with me as well... I am in good form and was able to score 12 league goals, so that we sit on 2nd just after christmas. Courtney Duffus, on the other hand, hasnt scored a single goal yet in 19 games. Maybe thats why we are playing a 1-striker tactic now. And maybe thats why my contract was extended to June 2023.

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It is still a long way to go, but we are looking good. We also made it to the 3rd round of the FA Cup, where we will face Aldershot and even to the 4th round of the FA Trophy where we will meet Boston United. 

Sadly, I wasnt invited anymore to the England U19s team. But let´s see what happens if I can preserve my form and score some more goals to help us getting promoted!

 

Edited by Carambau
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February 2nd, 2022

Dear Diary,

 

Life has its mysterious ways sometimes. As I was concentrating on helping Mansfield get promoted back to League 2, Premier League club Leicester City came in with a bid of 250K for me and the chairman could not decline this offer. So now I am officially a Leicester City player! But... they put me straight into their U23 team and I am supposed to show there if I am good enough.

Challenge accepted!

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See you when this season is over!

 

 

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  • Carambau changed the title to [FM21] A Strikers Diary (First Mansfield, now Leicester)

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May 16th, 2022

Dear Diary,

 

The rest of the season was not exactly filled with highlights for me. I only got 8 games for the U23s (I scored 2 goals though).

And the spanish manager Pacheta gave me only one chance in the first team: 9 minutes in the EPL defeat against Norwich so it was hard to prove a point for me.

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But training goes well and I feel I am improving as a player. I´m still young so lets see what happens next season. 

 

P.S.: And you know what? Joey Barton and my former team Mansfield did it! They became champions and were promoted back to League Two!

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