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[FM22] To Win Or Toulouse


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On 19/11/2021 at 16:25, DaneBramage said:

Strong start so far, looking good for the second half of the season.

Good to see an English player doing well abroad too, though I must admit I've never heard of Rhys Healey. Wikipedia tells me though that he was a bit of a Football League journeyman, the move to France seems to be working out for him.

Yes, I’m pretty pleased with how we have started. Although I hope we can adjust to life without Rouault. He and Diakité have been key to our early form. 
 

Healey is more than impressing in real life too, he scored four this weekend and there is actually an article doing the rounds that pin-points his form pretty nicely. Find it here: 

https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/rhys-healey-toulouse-cardiff-city-25462838.amp

 

On 19/11/2021 at 23:39, SixPointer said:

Catching up here! Great club choice. Great kits so much so my local amateur club plays in very similar colours. 
 

Great start on Ligue 2 hopefully promotion at the first time of asking before your assault for European football. 

Great to have you on board, my friend! The kits were, as mentioned in the OP, a huge incentive to why I opted for Toulouse.

I have actually just ordered myself one which is due to arrive tomorrow - unfortunately it is last season’s home jersey rather than the current season’s. I couldn’t quite justify the astronomical prices of the current shirt :lol:.

With the start we have enjoyed, I would be quite disappointed should form slip and we don’t secure promotion at the first attempt, in all honesty!

On 20/11/2021 at 07:50, MattyLewis11 said:

That Nantes fixture is mouthwatering, as others have stated you have made a great start to the campaign, yes a few injuries to some area of the squad that appear to be a bit thin but I think you will be able to navigate that. 

Haha, absolutely! If I had to choose to entertain any Ligue 1 side in the cup, it would have been Nantes. I’m hoping we can get one over on them after the heartbreak they caused. 
 

Our squad is quite slim but I still think we have the talent to navigate the injuries we currently have. As I mentioned above, it remains to be seen how we cope without Rouault against some of the better sides like Nimes - but I hope we can adjust suitably.

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To Win Or Toulouse

December 2021 Review

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December threw up mixed emotions ahead of the winter break

Heading into December, I was confident in the side. Despite the loss of Anthony Rouault to injury, November epitomised the quality we have within our ranks - particularly offensively with Rafael Ratao coming to the forefront alongside the ever-reliable Rhys Healey. The opening two games of the month against Chamois Niortais and Rodez AF gave us ample opportunity to record maximum points and only continue the momentum we have built ahead of important clashes against FC Nantes and Nîmes Olympique in the two remaining games that the festive season would bring ahead of the winter-break.

A 2-1 victory against Niortais with first-half goals from Bafodé Diakité and Rhys Healey ensured we were at least halfway there to the expected six points from the opening two games. The hosts seemed to up their game against us and provided an anxious final few moments as they pulled a goal back ten minutes from time. However, whilst it may not be reflected in the number of clean-sheets we have recorded in recent weeks, we have certainly returned to our early-season form defensively. We look a lot more sure of ourselves at the back and saw the game out expertly with minimal fuss.

This victory was backed-up with a 3-1 win against the side at the foot of the Ligue 2 table, Rodez. Rhys Healey - netting his fifteenth goal of the campaign (!) - gave us the advantage before we were pegged-back almost instantaneously. It was very uncharacteristic from us, I would say, for us to let our lead slip in such daft circumstances. The half-time break gave me time to challenge the lads to improve in the second-half and Branco van den Boomen, as he so often has, came up trumps to help us regain our lead. From there, it was a pretty comfortable affair with Stijn Spierings converting from the penalty-spot in stoppage-time to wrap it up.

There are no gimmies in football so I was pleased that we overcame the challenges of the two struggling sides. Those two games meant we were on a six-game winning run which had only injected yet more confidence into the squad ahead of our grudge match with FC Nantes. The Ligue 1 side - much to the chagrin of the Toulouse faithful after the heartache they caused last season - have improved greatly on last season's poor performance. Nantes sit ninth in Ligue 1, just narrowly outside the European places with absolutely no worries about the drop this term given they occupy a sixteen point gap on Stade de Reims and Clermont Foot in eighteenth and nineteenth, respectively.

Les Canaries named a full-strength side which highlighted their intentions clearly. They weren't here to mess about. But nor we were... and that was made perfectly clear once Moussa Diarra worked his way into the penalty-area and teed-up Branco van den Boomen for the Dutchman to slam the ball past once highly-rated 'keeper Alban Lafont no less than two minutes into the game. The perfect start and the early momentum was with us.

We continued to set the pace for the majority of the first-half and Rhys Healey was unfortunate not to find a second. Lafont was called into action and made a smart save to deny him before the visitors would eventually create their chance and duly convert. Sebastian Corchia's cross found the run of Moses Simon who made no mistake from close-range to guide the ball home and level the tie. However, the character of this squad shone through more than ever in this game and we would quickly regain our advantage once van den Boomen's free-kick met the head of Bafodé Diakité who cleverly peeled-off at the back-post and powerfully headed home.

From then on our task was to restrict Nantes as much as possible - make the tie boring. We achieved that. The visitors began to become frustrated and our line(s) of engagement were working perfectly in forcing Nantes to surrender possession quite easily or work side-to-side in their own half before failing to penetrate us suitably enough to create an opportunity. They netted twice late on but both goals were correctly adjudged to be offside and were therefore ruled-out. Our defensive line played somewhat of an offside trap for the final few minutes with sheer brilliance. It was a fitting way to end the game and summarised how the evening went for the visitors. When the full-time whistle sounded, I let out a little smirk. Revenge? *tick*

Whether the cup clash proved to be too big of a distraction for us, I'm not sure, but neither side really turned up as we travelled to Nîmes. The game featured a grand total of four shots on target with xG's of 0.13 and 0.73 - which team won, I hear you ask? Well, of course it was the side with the 0.13 xG! Yes, Nîmes stole three points in a game where neither side deserved anything more than a solitary point. It was an absolute bore-fest from start to finish. Veteran star Graziano Pellé would score the decisive goal just a mere four minutes before the full-time whistle that meant that Les Crocodiles would move to just two points behind us in the title-race.

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The race at the top is heating up...

As mentioned, our loss against Nîmes meant that our nearest challenges at the summit of Ligue 2 would bring our advantage down to just two points. Behind Nîmes were Dijon FCO who had enjoyed a much better set of results across December and AJ Auxurre who were beginning to get into their groove with a set of five straight victories which propelled them into fourth. SM Caen round-off the top five and occupy the final play-off position at present. They sit ahead of Paris FC, Sochaux Montbéllard, Pau and Amiens SC who all have 28 points on the board and are just four points adrift of Stéphane Moulin's men.

At the other end of the table, Rodez AF continue to struggle. The basement side have tasted just one win across their opening nineteen games - coming in a 1-0 away win to Chamois Niortais. Separating the two sides are Valenciennes FC who will be hoping for an improvement in form following the appointment of former Toulouse manager, Alain Casanova, recently. SC Bastia and Grenoble Foot 38 will continue to peer over their shoulders in the coming weeks despite both sides claiming back-to-back victories in recent weeks.

There was plenty of news off the pitch, too. Ado Onaiwu was disappointed with his lack of playing-time and with the performances of Rhys Healey and Rafael Ratao, it appeared unlikely that there would be an improvement in minutes anytime soon for the Japanese forward. As a result, I was happy to let him leave for the remainder of the season and accepted an offer from J-League side Kawasaki Frontale with an optional future fee of £300,000. Alongside the fact I do not feel I can entertain his desire for more minutes this season, I also feel that given the start to the season we have enjoyed with the early signs indicating we could be set for a return to Ligue 1 (Christ, I hope I haven't jinxed it! :lol:), Onaiwu just isn't up to the standard required in comparison to his counterparts. Sure, we would have liked a little more if Kawasaki do opt to activate the future-fee clause, but I'm happy to let him go.

His departure confirms that we will be active in the transfer window. I would like to secure a back-up striker who will understand that they're unlikely to get too many minutes should Healey and Ratao maintain the form they have. In spite of this, I want to ensure we don't just sign anybody. They must be capable of providing quality when required as I don't expect those two to be flawless between now and the rest of the season. I will also be on the look-out for a RB given that Karol Fila made a premature return to Strasbourg last month that has left us a little short in that area. 

Oh, and I won the Manager of the Year award, too! The award is given out at the end of each calendar year and I was delighted to receive it with a win percentage of 73% across my nineteen games in charge at the helm.

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Not bad when you've only managed nineteen games in professional football! ;) 

Our first game of January will come in the Tenth Round of the Coupe de France against lower-league opposition in Villefranche Saint-Jean of the National 3 - the fifth-tier of the French pyramid. This comes after a short two-week winter-break. We then return to action in the league the following week at home to AS Nancy before also hosting Pau. The month will conclude with a trip to SC Bastia where we ought to be aiming for three points to continue our push for promotion.

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13 minutes ago, DefinitelyTaylor said:

I won the Manager of the Year award, too!

Congratulations, and well-deserved based on current season achievements :thup:. Good to see The Boomer thriving under your leadership, too! 

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17 hours ago, warlock said:

Congratulations, and well-deserved based on current season achievements :thup:. Good to see The Boomer thriving under your leadership, too! 

Cheers mate! Oh, I couldn’t be more content with Branco. If it weren’t for Healey, he would probably be my player of the season at the moment. He delivers every single game.

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21 hours ago, 13th Man said:

Good stuff! Nimes still right in your tail, but form is good. Funny that you don’t ever seem to draw - just one in nineteen games! 

I think that’s largely due to how we approach games. We have often looked on top so - especially at home - I’ve been inclined to throw caution to the wind in the hope of maximum points. Risk and reward. As long as it works nine times out of ten, it’s worth a go… I think! :lol:

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On 24/11/2021 at 16:37, SixPointer said:

Manager of the year 👏🏻👏🏻

Can’t complain at that, can we? :D

On 24/11/2021 at 17:03, Toxteth O'Grady said:

Sorry if I've missed it but what are your budgets?

That’s my mistake! We have just under £1,000,000 with around £11,000 free on wages, although I am reluctant to go out and splash the cash needlessly.

6 hours ago, Hootieleece said:

Onwards and Upwards! The future is so bright I gotta wear shades!

 

:lol: You do right with how things are at present!

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Currently enjoying a few days away in York after watching Sam Fender in Leeds last night, so there won’t be a post until the weekend.

However, I wanted to share this. I decided to purchase last season’s home shirt from ClassicFootballShirts last week and the beauty you see arrived on Monday. 

Please say I’m not the only one who has been persuaded into buying a shirt from a club they have managed on FM? :lol:

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To Win Or Toulouse

January 2022 Review

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A welcome start to the New Year.

The beginning of a new year can often be seen as an opportunity to provide a fresh start, to be the beginning of a new chapter. That is no different within footballing circles. Clubs across Europe recognise that the January transfer window can provide the necessary tools to either help write a few wrongs or to propel the club further towards their end goal and closer to success. For us, we certainly fall into the latter category. The departure of Ado Onaiwu to Kawasaki Frontale meant we were faced with the need to bring in another striker to provide competition for places alongside the in-form pair of Rhys Healey and Rafael Ratao. Whilst it was crucial we identified the right man for the role, I was somewhat reluctant to splash the cash. I was confident with the squad and I felt that a short-term solution would be enough to get us over the line. In the long-term, the money we could save would be used to bolster the squad on a larger-scale at a time where it would be more necessary to do so.

As a result, we looked towards the loan market in our pursuit for Onaiwu's replacement. There were a few names available to us but I was drawn to Corentin Jean, a 26-year-old striker from RC Lens. Jean had previously played for Toulouse across a three-year-spell which was made permanent after initially joining on loan from AS Monaco in January 2017 and despite never presenting as the most prolific goalscorer, he has the right attributes to play a role within our side. I was delighted to tie-up a deal until the end of the season, paying 100% of his wages (£3,900 p/w) in the process. Truth be told, whilst I have previously mentioned that I don't expect our two forwards to maintain their excellent form consistently, I do have confidence that I won't be relying too much on our recent acquisition between now and the time he returns to Ligue 1 with RC Lens.

Another area I recognised as somewhere we ought to be investing in was at right-back with a sudden gap appearing with the impromptu recalling of Karol Fila by RC Strasbourg in November. The Pole was recalled by his parent-club in view of limited game-time which left us heavily reliant on Mikkel Desler. I was counting my blessings that as the games between Fila's departure and the window continued to be played, that our right-back maintained his fitness enough to remain a constant presence in our back-four. Again, I was impressed with the Dane's performances and was reluctant to invest too heavily. Instead, I identified Iago López as the perfect candidate to bring to the club. Arriving from La Liga SmartBank outfit CD Mirandés, López is fairly well-rounded in his game at just 23 and, in my humble opinion, presents as a bargain given his price-tag was labelled at just £69,000. My scouting team played a key role in my decision, initially bringing him to my attention with an almost flawless report aside from concerns around his heading ability.

Otherwise, our business was done. We had a plan heading into the window and I was keen not to deviate from it - irrespective of how tempted I may have been by some of the players offered to us! Although, there were some departures to mention before we take a closer look at the results. The first was Agustin Rogel. The Uruguayan is a superb central-defender who returned from a loan spell with Estudiantes where he made quite an impression in Argentina, averaging 7.06 across seventeen games.

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Rogel departs to Uruguay due to restrictions caused by squad registration rules.

However, whilst I would have loved to keep him at the club for the remainder of the season to bolster our defensive options, the rules in Ligue 2 limit you to just two non-EU players. Those spots were taken by Rhys Healey and Rafael Ratao. It would have been absolutely ludicrous for us to sacrifice either one of the pair to make-way for Rogel. Therefore, the only feasible option was to loan him out for the rest of the season which he wasn't all too pleased with, admittedlyPeñarol were happy to bring him in, paying £6,000 of his £11,000 weekly wage, which was probably the best we were going to get and I wasn't too keen on gambling either way since the offer made was non-negotiable. Hopefully once he returns, we will be in a position to welcome him into our squad and he will have cheered up by then... 

Elsewhere, Denis Genreau made a switch to Sochaux-Montbéllard for the rest of the season after making just one start and two substitute appearances and young goalkeeper Thomas Himeur has also completed a loan move to AS Béziers of the National 2.

To the results. We began with our Coupe de France clash with Villefranche Saint-Jean where we were heavy-favourites, understandably. We wasted little time and coasted into a 4-0 lead at half-time with a hat-trick from Stijn Speirings within thirty-two minutes and a Mikkel Desler goal just before the break. Not dispirited by the hammering they were receiving, Villefranche hit back with a quick-fire double within just ten minutes of the restart and the game was suddenly not as comfortable as it once appeared. Rafael Ratao restored some parity before they responded once again. Whilst the divide in class was quite evident, the character of our opponents was there for all to see and was certainly driving them on in-front of a crowd of 1,275 home supporters - a huge increase on the 344 that attended their 2-1 win against Lyon - La Duchère in the previous round. Rhys Healey would add a sixth of the night prior to the hosts being reduced to ten men for Healey to put the cherry on top, 7-3 at the full-time whistle.

Our win certainly wasn't the most glamourous, conceding three goals in one game - at least in my book, even with a win - can never be viewed as anything other than a disappointment. However, our response with a 4-1 win to AS Nancy satisfied me enough. I was disappointed that we failed to hang on for a clean-sheet, a silly goal conceded late into stoppage-time denied us that luxury. Nevertheless, goals from Stijn Speirings (where this form in-front of goal has come from, I'm not sure!), Bafodé Diakité and Brecht Dejaegere were accompanied by a comical own-goal from Nancy defender Souleymane Karamoko just before half-time. 

Unfortunately, history would repeat itself as we met Pau for the reverse fixture. Back in August, Pau frustrated us for the entire ninety minutes and helped see-out a goalless draw at the Nouste Camp and once again, they were tricky customers and arguably, the better side on the day this time around. After surviving some early pressure with Speirings once again looking dangerous, Pau won a penalty when Rasmus Nicolaisen - who has been rotating with Logan Costa regularly in the absence of Anthony Rouault - was adjudged to have brought Djibril Dianessy to ground. Romain Armaud made no mistake and casually tucked the ball home from twelve-yards. From there, Pau stuck to a resolute game-plan which we found tough to break-down on the most part. A bit of class was needed and was duly provided by Branco van den Boomen's precise ball through that allowed Rhys Healey to run through and do what he does best; score.  

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Frustration against Pau in both encounters. They have our number.

Every side has that one bogey team and unfortunately for us, I think we may have found ours in Pau. The game would peter-out following our equaliser and both sides were left to share the spoils. Let's hope we can achieve our goal of promotion this year and leave them behind! 

Those frustrations would soon be forgotten though with a demolition of SC Bastia. Stijn Speirings and Van den Boomen both scored within the first seven minutes to open-up an early advantage before Batista Mendy would add a third. Speirings would net once again to score his sixth goal in four games as we coasted to a comfortable victory over the struggling side. It was an evening for the midfielders at the club to get in amongst the goals and I was delighted with the overall performance. A clean-sheet to boot was also extremely pleasing given my slight worries at the start of the month with the shipping of three goals in one game against lower-league opposition.

A pleasing ending to a fairly successful month all-in-all. I'm just very fed up with Pau. 

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The table looks like this as a result of January's run of results. We remain atop for the time-being with Nîmes providing no let-up and immediately pouncing on our dropped points with victories over Dijon FCO, Valenciennes and our arch-rivals (is it a stretch to say that at this point?) Pau. Their form has meant that the gap between second and third has extended to seven points with Auxerre now having leapfrogged Dijon, who fall into fourth after also succumbing to a humbling 2-0 loss against rock-bottom Rodez AF. SM Caen remain in the final play-off position ahead of Amiens SC.

Rodez, as mentioned, have boosted their hopes of survival with their victory over Dijon but were unable to double-down on the result with defeat against Le Havre in the following game. Chamois Niortais slip into the relegation-zone at the expense of Valenciennes whose goal-difference is enough to take them out of the bottom two against a couple of draws. SC Bastia are amongst a host of clubs still looking over their shoulder even with the bottom three still not showing too much in the way of life.

Despite being the shortest month of the year, February provides the busiest month of the calendar season to date. Similarly to January, we open with a Coupe de France clash where we have been paired with FC Metz. The Ligue 1 side are struggling this season and find themselves in the relegation-zone so there is ample opportunity for us to progress into the Quarter Finals. Interestingly, only three Ligue 2 sides remain - ourselves, EA Guingamp and USL Dunkerque.

We return to Ligue 2 after that as we play host to Dijon FCO before a trip to struggling Valenciennes. Le Havre AC and Grenoble Foot - a side we beat 6-1 in the reverse game - will help us see out the month.

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Nice updates here, apologies for not commenting before, but it's sometimes hard to keep up with so many careers that are well written and updated frequently. 

Still tight at the top, but certainly looking good so far. Many years ago (five or so) I managed Toulouse so it's good to see a better manager in charge as they look to get back to the top level in France.

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56 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

Nice updates here, apologies for not commenting before, but it's sometimes hard to keep up with so many careers that are well written and updated frequently. 

Still tight at the top, but certainly looking good so far. Many years ago (five or so) I managed Toulouse so it's good to see a better manager in charge as they look to get back to the top level in France.

Much appreciated, Jogo. Glad to have you on board, no need to apologise at all! :D You're right about the number of excellent careers here. I have the same problem trying to juggle so many but - just about - manage it! I don't want to provide an injustice by skipping any posts or merely skim-reading. Indulge yourself into the posts or don't bother at all is my motto (albeit a pretty **** one! :lol:)

Correct again. Very tight and we have our work cut out for us trying to shake off our nearest challengers but I'm hopeful that the excellent performances of Healey, Ratao, BvdB and co will help us find that edge. We don't want to be the team to stumble first, essentially. I fancy our chances if we can ensure that we keep setting the pace.

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To Win Or Toulouse

February 2022 Review

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The second-half of the season was now well underway as we navigated our way through February and every result was seemingly becoming more and more important. However, it would be the Coupe de France that would welcome us to the shortest month in the calendar year, yet one of the busiest in terms of the footballing calendar in France. FC Metz were the visitors and were coming into the game low on confidence given that aside from cup victories, they hadn't recorded a victory in the league since the end of October in a 2-1 home win against Saint Étienne. You would have to go back to September for Metz's only set of three points away from the Stade Saint-Symphorien. Les Grenats cup exploits are the only saving-grace in what can only be described as a pretty dismal campaign so far.

So, it would be fair to say we were somewhat confident in our chances of progressing into the last eight. We were vigilant of the league difference, however. Irrespective of league form, there is always bound to be a step-up in class when you face a side in the division above. That was made abundantly clear when the scoring was opened by Pape Matar Sarr just before the break for the visitors. A quick-counter attack saw Metz quickly turn defence into attack before slowing the move down. They would eventually send a cross into the box which saw Isak Pettersson elect to punch the ball rather than secure the ball under comfortable circumstances. It would prove to be a costly error as the ball fell straight to the Senegalese youngster to slam the ball home from the edge of the area. 

Metz continued to have chances to double their advantage but failed to take them. It has been a worrying theme to their game this season with only rock-bottom Clermont Foot having scored fewer (21 vs 22). And there is one thing we have been good at this season more than anything else and that is scoring goals. Stijn Speirings was keen to continue the excellent form he has found in recent weeks and drove onwards with the ball in his possession before sliding it to Rhys Healey. He took one look and guided the ball perfectly beyond the Metz's goalkeeper to send us to a penalty-shootout.

Both teams would score their opening four penalties before Naatan Skytaä stepped-up from twelve yards. The nineteen-year-old number ten has been afforded a few substitute appearances this season and this was just one of them. However, it would be the young Finn who would miss the decisive penalty to send the visitors through at our expense. An utterly heartbreaking moment for Naatan but crucially, he has spoken openly about his desire and confidence to step up once again when the time comes and I have the confidence in him to deliver. A moment like this may help to spur the lad on. However, it's a bitter way to depart the competition. 

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The match stats at the end of ninety-minutes and a subsequent penalty-shootout.

Our departure means that our sole focus is now capturing promotion from Ligue 2 at a bare minimum. I would be lying if I was to say that we weren't now hedging our bets on securing the title come the end of the season. Our goal was aided in a 2-0 victory against Dijon FCO who remain within the promotion picture despite an ailing run of form in recent weeks. A double within five minutes in the second-half was enough to secure the points as Rhys Healey continued his goalscoring form and Bafodé Diakité found his sixth goal of the season.

Following an assertive victory over our promotion rivals, it would have been fair for neutrals to expect that Valenciennes would have little to no chance at challenging Toulouse. However, they were sorely mistaken as the relegation-threatened hosts frustrated us and the 210 travelling supporters from whistle-to-whistle. The hosts sat deep and made it clear that their intentions were to settle for anything they could. We struggled to break the resolute back-line (and more) down until deep into stoppage-time, a combination of a beautiful pass over the top of the Valenciennes defence and a perfectly-timed run from Rafael Ratao enabled the Brazilian to snatch an important victory. It's those sorts of performances that delight me the most; backs against the wall and we provide the goods to ensure we get the result we need. I was extremely pleased with that one and games such as this could be the difference at the end of the season.

Next up were Le Havre, a side I admittedly expected more from this season. They're sitting comfortably in mid-table but remain slightly adrift of the play-offs. We appeared to be headed for a 1-0 win in a fairly dull affair until the visitors snatched an equaliser three minutes from time to ensure the shares were spoiled. I was hoping to avoid a similar case against Grenoble Foot - who had significantly improved after the drubbing they received earlier this season on account of ourselves - and did just that. The only goal of the game coming from Stijn Speirings from the penalty-spot just six minutes in. Albeit inflated ever so slightly by the penalty, an xG of 2.21 reflected our inability to convert chances on the day and I was counting my lucky stars that the hosts didn't make us pay. 

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In spite of dropped points this month, we have opened a one point gap at the top of the Ligue 2 table. Nîmes fell to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of SM Caen that means we maintain our position atop of the division for the time-being. Auxerre have taken their chance to narrow the gap between themselves and automatic promotion to just four points after they continued their impressive winning run. The top three are comfortably clear of the chasing-pack now with an eight gap separating third from fourth. Dijon FCO and SM Caen continue to entertain the remaining play-off positions although Paris FC are now only missing out via goal-difference.

Some things remain unchanged in Ligue 2; Toulouse remaining top of the division and Rodez AF remaining bottom of it. The latter now sit four points behind the side in the relegation-playoff spot after failing to amass another victory this month. They are now accompanied by SC Bastia whose form has plummeted and enabled Chamois Niortais to take advantage after they claimed an unexpected 3-1 victory over Amiens SC. Valenciennes are steadily finding their feet and picking up the odd result which will more than do the job at present given the dire circumstances the bottom two face. Grenoble Foot and Quevilly-Rouen will continue to monitor the situation however AC Ajaccio and the sides above will be confident of maintaining their second-tier status this season.

We're back to a four game month in March that allows the players to catch their breath after a heavier workload in recent weeks due to the additional fixture in February. We open with USL Dunkerque where we'll be keen to avenge our defeat earlier on this season. SM Caen, appearing a little stop-start lately, soon follow ahead of a home game against Amiens SC. The final game of the month plays out an all-important game between ourselves and AJ Auxerre which could feature huge ramifications on the title and/or promotion.

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To Win Or Toulouse

The Youth Intake

The highlight of the year for many FM players over the years; youth intake day! March saw us welcome in a fresh new crop of budding youngsters hoping to win a contract with the current Ligue 2 leaders. Toulouse host 'Great youth facilities' and, as seen within the current crop of first-team players, have brought through a host of academy prospects in recent years, so I was hopeful that we would be blessed with a few decent players in the 2022 intake.

My target of 'a few' would come true, as we offered contracts to three players in particular who have the two key, non-negotiable musts; determination and personality.

Players with a low attribute in determination are not welcome under my management. I feel it is imperative that players must have good determination in order to develop in the way I would like them to. Personality is also crucial when it comes to development and a negative personality, particularly when coupled with low determination, makes it nigh-on impossible to develop a young player, I find.

Please see below the three players we have offered contracts to that possess the most 'hype' and promise. I look forward to developing them and hope to see them come through and join the first-team squad very soon.

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Still moving along nicely here.  Well done keeping the form up in February when the goals weren't coming so easily.  I find February to be that kind of month always!

Seconded on Huet - tall, skilled - very good passer for his age and excellent determination (a key attribute).  I actually agree with the computer that AML might be a great spot for him - with his lack of finishing he'd do well going up against full backs and dominating them physically.

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On 26/11/2021 at 04:39, DefinitelyTaylor said:

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Currently enjoying a few days away in York after watching Sam Fender in Leeds last night, so there won’t be a post until the weekend.

However, I wanted to share this. I decided to purchase last season’s home shirt from ClassicFootballShirts last week and the beauty you see arrived on Monday. 

Please say I’m not the only one who has been persuaded into buying a shirt from a club they have managed on FM? :lol:

Haha I have not yet done this but now am wondering why not! Great idea. 

Seems like it's going very well in game too. Hope you can see it over the line. 

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10 hours ago, SixPointer said:

Huet looks like he could be shaped into a really good linking forward!

10 hours ago, 13th Man said:

Still moving along nicely here.  Well done keeping the form up in February when the goals weren't coming so easily.  I find February to be that kind of month always!

Seconded on Huet - tall, skilled - very good passer for his age and excellent determination (a key attribute).  I actually agree with the computer that AML might be a great spot for him - with his lack of finishing he'd do well going up against full backs and dominating them physically.

9 hours ago, Hootieleece said:

Huet could also be trained as an Advanced Playmaker, Wide Playmaker, or possibly a Wide Target Man.

I think he might be best in the middle (AMC) unless his Crossing improves.

Thanks for all your comments, lads! It’s fair to say that the jury is out on where may be best to train Huet up. He has excellent attributes to play as a winger - but his crossing needs to improve. His height would be beneficial in the event we opt to train him as the number nine. Again though, a key attribute/s would need to be improved here (finishing/composure)
 

Plenty for me to consider.

3 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

Haha I have not yet done this but now am wondering why not! Great idea. 

Seems like it's going very well in game too. Hope you can see it over the line. 

Glad I can provide some inspiration - I’m sure the likes of ClassicFootballShirts will be thanking me for bringing them custom ;)
 

I hope we can. The signs are there that we have enough in the tank but I would be silly to ignore the two teams behind us. They don’t look like making it easy for us.

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On 25/11/2021 at 23:09, DefinitelyTaylor said:

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Currently enjoying a few days away in York after watching Sam Fender in Leeds last night, so there won’t be a post until the weekend.

However, I wanted to share this. I decided to purchase last season’s home shirt from ClassicFootballShirts last week and the beauty you see arrived on Monday. 

Please say I’m not the only one who has been persuaded into buying a shirt from a club they have managed on FM? :lol:

Funnily enough, I contacted them looking for one of the older shirts but no luck - can't remember the year but it's the one with the button collar. Always nice to see an FM inspired purchase though.

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On 25/11/2021 at 23:09, DefinitelyTaylor said:

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Currently enjoying a few days away in York after watching Sam Fender in Leeds last night, so there won’t be a post until the weekend.

However, I wanted to share this. I decided to purchase last season’s home shirt from ClassicFootballShirts last week and the beauty you see arrived on Monday. 

Please say I’m not the only one who has been persuaded into buying a shirt from a club they have managed on FM? :lol:

You certainly aren't alone, I spent close to £90 for the latest FC Nordsjaelland shirt after a cheeky few seasons with them in FM21. 

Its a good way to remember your saves and let's face it any excuse to pick up a nice new shirt shouldn't be shied away from. 

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On 04/12/2021 at 18:59, Shrewnaldo said:

Funnily enough, I contacted them looking for one of the older shirts but no luck - can't remember the year but it's the one with the button collar. Always nice to see an FM inspired purchase though.

Oh really? Toulouse have certainly boasted of some absolutely beautiful kits over the years. The primary colour(s) aren't all too common so I think it adds to their appeal.

20 hours ago, MattyLewis11 said:

You certainly aren't alone, I spent close to £90 for the latest FC Nordsjaelland shirt after a cheeky few seasons with them in FM21. 

Its a good way to remember your saves and let's face it any excuse to pick up a nice new shirt shouldn't be shied away from. 

Kudos! :applause:

I agree with you entirely. I look forward to the questions of why I happen to have a Toulouse jersey in my possession - especially to those unfamiliar with FM! 

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To Win Or Toulouse

March 2022

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An unbeaten month but we're left thinking "what could have been?"

The games kept on coming during March. Another four games were to be played - including a huge six-pointer against AJ Auxerre at the end of the month. Boosted by the return of Anthony Rouault, who had played in a series of U23 games to bring his match fitness up to scratch following a lengthy spell of the side-lines through injury, we knew that we were the side currently setting the pace. It was our job to ensure that come the end of March, we would continue to be in that position.

A Rafael Ratao first-half brace meant that we would begin the month in convincing style. Rarely troubled by the visitors, USL Dunkerque, we dominated proceedings and were perhaps unfortunate not to find the net once or twice more on the night. It was an excellent performance and a real contrasting ninety minutes to the ninety minutes we last played against our opponents, where they prevailed 2-1 winners back in September. A similar performance followed against SM Caen where we looked dangerous going forward and defensively solid throughout. Ratao's strike-partner, Rhys Healey, would this time get in on the act and score the decisive goal in a 1-0 win. Similarly to the previous game, our possession was much higher than it has notoriously known to be. We looked more sure on the ball and consequently saw a marked improvement over the two games (50% vs Dunkerque, 52% vs Caen).

Amiens SC were the next side to visit the Stadium de Toulouse. The visitors did once appear to have very realistic hopes of achieving a play-off place upon their first season back in Ligue 2 following relegation last season, however a disappointing set of results in February left the club with plenty to do to have any realistic chance of securing a place in the top five. A side high on confidence against a side who, arguably, must have been low on confidence. There was only one winner - right? Wrong. Not to suggest that Toulouse were in any way, shape or form impressive on the night, but Amiens provided somewhat of a robbery. An early first-half strike from Juan Otero gave the visitors the lead and we struggled to create many opportunities - a stark contrast to the two games prior. Batista Mendy struck an absolute blinder in the 64th minute to level the game but we continued to struggle in the way of chance-creation and conversion of those we did create. The game petered out in a 1-1 draw, a real disappointment and an opportunity lost since our title challengers played out a 1-1 draw in their head-to-head clash.

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Auxerre's very impressive run since their last league defeat.

The final game of the month brought us to Auxerre with the hosts still very much in the conversation for promotion. It was imperative that we started brightly and assert ourselves into the game. Essentially, I wanted the complete opposite from the players than what I witnessed against Amiens. Auxerre came into the game in astonishing form. They had not fell to a league defeat since 30th October in a loss to Valenciennes and had won twelve of the fifteen games in which they had played since. So when Bafodé Diakité's cross found Rhys Healey to divert the ball home within the first ten minutes, I was delighted. At least until the offside flag was raised and the goal was subsequently ruled-out. Although, we wouldn't have much longer to wait for the first goal of the game. Diakité would this time turn goalscorer as his header from Brecht Dejaegere's corner gave us the lead.

Auxerre would hit back, however. Despite being completely absent in the first twenty to twenty-five minutes, too much space was afforded to Gauthier Hein on the edge of the area as his shot beat Isak Pettersson to level the game. The remainder of the first-half would remain fairly subdued and it wouldn't be until the second-half where the entertainment would return. In the 55th minute, Denis-Wil Poha saw his header comfortably collected by the Auxerre number one. His subsequent kick surrendered possession back to us and we moved the ball around well - searching for space and an opportunity to carve open the resolute defence of Auxerre. A real staple to their success recently has been their ability to keep goals out and they had, typically, exemplified that in this game. An excellent one-two combination gave us the opening we wanted though, as Poha managed to create space to run through with the ball and dink the ball casually over the 'keeper. We were back in the ascendancy and did our upmost to see-out the result.

It was never going to be an easy task. Auxerre won a free-kick in a dangerous position and managed to convert from it with two minutes to play. However, Lloris was adjudged to be offside and the goal was ruled-out. A huge, audible sigh of relief from the visiting supporters. Heading into stoppage-time, we continued to sit deep and soak up the pressure that the hosts were piling upon us. Admittedly, I thought their chance to equalise had came and gone with the ruled-out goal. However, Auxerre would leave it late to strike. The 93rd minute to be exact. Rhys Healey attempted to waste time in the corner before losing possession and allowing the hosts to stream forward. A direct ball into the impressive Gaetan Charbonnier saw him lay-off the ball. An opportunity to send the ball into the box was created and central defender Alexandre Coeff rose highest to break our hearts and continue to keep this title/promotion race well and truly open. 

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Despite succumbing to two consecutive draws, our lead at the top increased thanks to an absolute horror-show of a month for Nîmes. A 1-0 loss to Paris FC coincided with three consecutive draws against Le Havre, Auxerre and AC Ajaccio - the latter of which they surrendered a two-goal in the second-half. Auxerre, meanwhile, closed the gap to second. They also had to endure a month full of draws. There were more draws amongst the three of us than what you would find at any IKEA store. The top three still remained head-and-shoulders above the rest with Dijon remaining in fourth. SM Caen suffered a disastrous run of form and subsequently fell to ninth. Paris FC took full advantage and moved into the top five for the first time this season. They had now cemented a six point advantage over their nearest challengers, Le Havre and Pau

As has been the case since the beginning of November, Rodez still find themselves rooted to the foot of the table. Their hopes of remaining in the second-tier are becoming increasingly slim. They now sit seven points behind Chamois Niortais in the relegation play-off place and eleven points behind Valenciennes who sit above Niortais. SC Bastia have only continued to slump and now join Rodez in the relegation zone. Their hopes of survival are significantly more realistic than the side below them as just a point separates them and eighteenth position.

April; the penultimate month of the footballing calendar is next on the agenda. Both promotion and possibly even the title could be decided over the course of the next set of games. The month features six games, beginning with the tricky tie of Paris FC. We then travel to En Avant Guingamp and Sochaux-Montbéllard with a home tie against Quevilly-Rouen sandwiched in-between. Crucially, we then face two of the weakest teams in the division which can surely only boost our chances of securing a return to Ligue 1. Chamois Niortais will travel to the Stadium de TFC before we travel to Rodez

It's certainly all to play for!

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That list of fixtures should garner you 12 points. All but securing the title!

 

Because I am almost positive Nimes and Auxerre won't win them all. 

There's a bridge in Brooklyn I will offer if I am wrong!

 

 

 

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On 06/12/2021 at 14:15, SixPointer said:

Auxerre on a good run but a few draws lately so I think you’ll hold them off and Nimes is a similar story. I think you’ll bag the title 

I'm hoping that their more recent form is an indication that they're beginning to tire. Although the fact they had enough about them to score a late equaliser against us may spur them on. It's difficult to say at the moment! 

17 hours ago, Hootieleece said:

That list of fixtures should garner you 12 points. All but securing the title!

 

Because I am almost positive Nimes and Auxerre won't win them all. 

There's a bridge in Brooklyn I will offer if I am wrong!

I'm certainly aiming for twelve points. I expect the two teams behind us to push us all the way. 

Hopefully you won't need to offer the bridge you speak of. :D 

12 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

You're almost there! Bring that title home :)

We've managed the pressure well. I'm hoping that will continue and we won't capitulate! 

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On 07/12/2021 at 18:48, Jogo Bonito said:

Going very well indeed, I'm adding to the list of comment makers who are confident you will get over the line in style.

Fingers crossed, my friend!

On 07/12/2021 at 20:17, RogerC said:

Giving a follow  to remind me to read this later on the computer! Looks promising!!

Much appreciated :D

23 hours ago, MattyLewis11 said:

Looking forward to the next update...fingers crossed you can secure the title. 

It's in our hands. That's always an advantage, right? 

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To Win Or Toulouse

April 2022

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The penultimate month of the season.

You will notice a slightly new-look schedule screen as I have recently elected to change my skin and alongside that, customise the information I have listed on my schedule screen ever so slightly. Eight games remaining with six to be played over the course of April. It was set to be a busy and highly-contested run of games. Our job was simple; focus on our own game. Whereas our nearest challengers were having to worry about their own results and THEN compare those results to ours, we knew that if we continued to set the standard and continued to win games, then our job was done and promotion back to Ligue 1 would be secured. 

I have been mightily impressed by how we have faired over the course of the campaign. We established ourselves as the team top of the pile on matchday five back in August with a 1-0 win over Dijon FCO. Since, we haven't been dislodged from the summit. There have been times where, perhaps, we have come close to being knocked-off our perch but we have rode those challenges and impressed when we have needed to the most.

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A history of our past-positions.

We began April with a stunning 4-1 victory against play-off hopefuls, Paris FC. Rhys Healey was on form once again, although you would be hard pressed to find a time this season where the Englishman hasn't been in form, as he netted a hat-trick and was accompanied by his Brazilian counterpart, Rafael Ratao, on the scoresheet. A consolation from Julien Lopez did nothing to dampen a thoroughly excellent performance that more than set a precedent in our bid for promotion. Our victory over Paris was followed-up in less convincing style against En Avant Guingamp but merited the same number of points come the full-time whistle. The three points returned to Toulouse thanks to another goal from Healey, a 21st goal of the season, that also continued to excel his own individual hopes of securing the golden boot come the end of the season over nearest challengers Charles Abi (Guingamp) and Adama Niane (Sochaux).

After securing six points from six, we hosted Quevilly-Rouen, a side still not completely safe from relegation in spite of recent victories over relegation-rivals Chamois Niortais and Rodez AF, the latter of which they thumped 5-0 at Le-Petit Quevilly. Disappointingly, we struggled to create much in the way of chances and had to settle for a 0-0 draw. The two sides amassed eleven shots on target but only registered xG's of 0.80 and 0.69, respectively. Sam Sanna was a notable inclusion in the starting eleven for the first time this season after Mikkel Desler sustained an unfortunate injury that would rule him out until the end of the campaign. He impressed with an average-rating of 7.0. Nevertheless, that should not distract us from a poor performance that was a real contrast to how we have played for the majority of the season. 

I challenged the players to respond in their next game with a trip to Sochaux-Montbéliard on the cards. The hosts had little to play for and, as such, the game could be assessed in two ways, pre-match. Either 1) They would be on the beach and we had an excellent opportunity to assert ourselves onto our opponents and secure three points or 2) They would be free to express themselves, safe in the knowledge that they have nothing to lose. It proved to be the latter, unfortunately. Aldo Kalulu's first-half header was enough to separate the two sides in what could only be described as an extremely out of character performance from our front-two. We managed thirteen shots on goal but failed to hit the target. Thirteen shots on goal and we did not manage to get a single effort on target. Dismal and disappointing. Not to mention concerning! 

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A disappointing performance in front of goal vs Sochaux.

Admittedly, the Sochaux loss had me shaken. I was very worried by our performance especially fresh off the back of the stalemate with Quevilly. I think I was particularly more paranoid by this as I have fallen foul to a dismal run of form towards the end of a season that would ultimately prove costly in the past. In fact, probably on a few occasions. I was desperate not to let our promotion hopes crash and burn. An important clash with Chamois Niortais provided a massive opportunity for us. Or so I thought. Despite looking likely to be settling for a relegation-playoff spot at best for the mass majority of the season, they had recently witnessed an upturn in form that had seen them claim victories over Rodez, AS Nancy and SC Bastia alongside a 0-0 draw against Nîmes Olympique.

However, our fears evaporated as quickly as they appeared and Chamois Niortais' fears, well... they did the complete opposite. A dull first-half that saw the sides go in level at the break was met by yet more sighs and slight shakes of the head from myself, but the second-half saw us return to our best. Moussa Diarra opened the scoring, netting his first goal since August in the process. The 21-year-old was initially only due to play a back-up role to the summer acquisition of Franck Tabanou but has been Mr. Consistent for us and has racked up over thirty appearances this season. His strike from the edge of the area was quickly added to by Rhys Healey who re-found his goalscoring touch after a couple of poor games. He would net again to make it 3-0 before Brecht Dejaegere rounded off the scoring four minutes from time.  The results meant that we had all but gained promotion to Ligue 1 but it would not become official. Just yet.

A result against Rodez would confirm our promotion and we set about it perfectly. Rhys Healey who has often been the man to step-up on the big occasion this season, did so once again. A hat-trick from the 27-year-old earnt us a 3-1 victory that prompted parties in the city. Ligue 1 football was returning to Toulouse next season!

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Here is the part where I would say that we cannot afford to celebrate too much with two games left to play. However, we sit six points clear of Nîmes with a superior goal-difference that, surely, all but has the league title secured. Nîmes, themselves, will also be confident that an immediate return to Ligue 1 is all but done. They are six points clear of their closest challengers in AJ Auxerre who endured a poor set of results in April that saw their hopes of promotion dwindle. However, they have confirmed a place in the play-offs and will be accompanied by Paris FC. Dijon are four points ahead of Amiens SC, who have clawed-back from a nine point deficit at the end of last month to give themselves a faint opportunity for the final spot.

Rodez were relegated towards the beginning of the month, bringing an end to what can only be described as a horror-show of a campaign from their perspective. SC Bastia have secured six points from six in their previous two games but appear to have left it too late to avoid the drop. They are six points adrift of Chamois Niortais with an inferior goal-difference to note. Niortais have steadily improved recently and will be hopeful that they can avoid the relegation play-offs. They sit just a single point behind Quevilly. Valenciennes aren't safe just yet although they are effectively four points clear due to the goal-swing needed via goal-difference. You would also expect Grenoble Foot to be safe, albeit not yet mathematically confirmed.

Two games to go then. The first comes against Nîmes where we have the opportunity to seal the title. We then travel to AC Ajaccio to bring an end to the campaign. An end to the campaign, you would expect, that we will be celebrating as champions.

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55 minutes ago, DefinitelyTaylor said:

Ligue 1 football was returning to Toulouse next season!

Have Healey and the Boomer been given the keys to the city yet? Statues? Streets named after them? The surely deserve all that :lol:

Congrats on the promotion :thup:

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On 08/12/2021 at 22:33, Jogo Bonito said:

It's job done, virtually :) Nice work, enjoy the last two games and the summer of scratching around looking for new signings that always follows a promotion!

The summer ahead will be busy. Although I don’t think there’s too much adjustment needed, it’ll be vital that we plug some gaps. There isn’t much of a squad outside of the XI fit to compete in Ligue 1 at present. Appreciate the kind message! 

On 08/12/2021 at 22:50, warlock said:

Have Healey and the Boomer been given the keys to the city yet? Statues? Streets named after them? The surely deserve all that :lol:

Congrats on the promotion :thup:

Certainly being considered by the council, I’m sure! 

Cheers mate!

On 09/12/2021 at 03:30, karanhsingh said:

Congratulations on the promotion and the title as well! Excellent first season. 

Much appreciated! It certainly went smoothly and I couldn’t be happier.

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Nicely done! Title is all but yours! Now it’s time to test yourself as you go from favored in Ligue 2 to underdog in Ligue 1…

You planning on keeping the faith with the players you have, or you looking to recruit as much as possible?

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On 12/12/2021 at 21:03, SixPointer said:

Congratulations on promotion!! :applause:

Cheers!

On 13/12/2021 at 17:31, 13th Man said:

Nicely done! Title is all but yours! Now it’s time to test yourself as you go from favored in Ligue 2 to underdog in Ligue 1…

You planning on keeping the faith with the players you have, or you looking to recruit as much as possible?

Thank you! I think we have a good starting XI so I will be putting my trust in them on the whole. We could definitely do with boosting the supporting cast. We have quite a small squad and the quality isn’t quite there outside of the eleven.

On 14/12/2021 at 20:53, Jogo Bonito said:

Mission accomplished, best of luck preparing for Ligue 1 :cool:

Much appreciated! A busy summer now. 

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To Win Or Toulouse

May 2022

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With promotion already confirmed, I was delighted to secure the title just a week later. A 3-0 victory over our closest rivals, Nîmes, was a fitting way to crown our achievements for the season. The duo of Rafael Ratao and Rhys Healey have been a consistent source of goals across the season and they provided the goals once again in our convincing victory. It meant that our final game of the season against AC Ajaccio had nothing on the line for either side. A 1-1 draw was a fair reflection of the ninety minutes with both teams taking their foot off the gas. 

Preparations have begun for life in Ligue 1. I have been analysing my squad closely and as I have eluded to in responses, I am quite content with the starting XI I have at the club. I inherited a number of excellent players who I am confident will be more than capable of taking the step up. Healey and Ratao are prime examples of the class we have, Branco van den Boomen is another whilst I am also very keen to see what the likes of Bafodé Diakité and Anthony Rouault can do in the heart of our defence. Across the course of the season, we have been quite consistent on all fronts. We scored the highest number of goals in the division, scoring 76, whilst we conceded just the second fewest with 29 - only Nîmes conceded fewer (27). Those statistics certainly indicate, at least from my perspective, that I don't think drastic measures need to be taken - merely slight improvements to ensure we can handle and adjust to life in a higher division

Outside of our XI, we are short of men. We managed with a squad of twenty-four but a number of these players were drafted in from the second-team or the U19's. In reality, we probably have around twenty to twenty-one first-team players. Of those, I would narrow the squad to around seventeen players who were good enough to play consistently in Ligue 2. Narrowing it down even further, I would say only a few of those players could handle the step into Ligue 1. Therefore, it is pretty apparent that we have work to do to fill out the squad and ensure we have the necessary depth and competition for places required.

There are just two contracts due to expire within the first-team squad. Those contracts belong to Stéphane Zobo and Franck Tabanou. I have some sympathy for Zobo as he was always set to struggle. Naturally a winger, he isn't a player who fit to the system I implemented and this limited him to just a single appearance within my tenure. He will, therefore, be leaving the club at the end of the season. Tabanou, meanwhile, was a summer acquisition. After a short absence from football following his release by Guingamp, I brought Franck back to the club with plans to make him my first-choice full-back. However, a short injury at the beginning of the season alongside concerns over his match sharpness meant I put my trust in young Moussa Diarra. Whilst Diarra was certainly less polished, he impressed me and never gave me the opportunity to consider dropping him from the starting XI. Of course, I could have easily welcomed Tabanou back into the team once he was fit and ready, but I felt that Diarra's performances meant he deserved the chance each week.

Tabanou was left to play back-up instead and would only make nine starts and a further nine from the bench. His signature was a short-term signing and I never truly envisioned myself giving him a new contract unless he was to thoroughly impress. At 33,  he isn't going to be the sort of player to take the club forward. Instead, we want to focus on building up younger players, such as Moussa Diarra, who have a longevity to their career. He will also be released at the end of his contract. 

Elsewhere, there are two loan deals set to expire with the conclusion of the season. Batista Mendy will return to Angers SCO with Corentin Jean heading back to RC Lens. The former of the two was always brought in with the purpose of playing supporting cast to Healey and Ratao. Consequently, he played just twice with eight appearances from the bench and failed to net a single return in those minutes. We thank him for his work but certainly won't be exploring the chance to bring him back to the club (again) permanently. 

When it comes to Mendy, the conversation is a lot more interesting. He was a consistent figure in our side and this is reflected in the 36 league appearances he made across the course of the campaign. Playing just in-front of our back four and giving the midfield trio ahead of him more scope to attack, he was never truly outstanding but a crucial cog in the team. Averaging 6.91 and scoring three goals with one assist, there is certainly a chance that he make a return to the club next season if the finances are right. Whether this would be permanently or not remains to be seen but at the time of writing, Angers seem reluctant to sell with quite a hefty price-tag of around £7M quoted (albeit largely in instalments), so if a return does occur, it would most likely be via loan.

There's plenty of time for things to change between now and the transfer window opening up, however we have initially been handed a very modest budget of around £700k with approximately £10k p/w saved for the wage budget. This probably means we will be forced to sell if we wish to improve our side with permanent signings else we are going to be somewhat reliant on the loan and free market. I can't say I am too surprised by this given that the finances aren't in the best condition. We currently find ourselves £2.4M in the red after a gradual loss in earnings over the course of the last twelve months. We're in the midst of repaying debt to the total of £15.25M from July 2020 with approximately £5.5M left to repay in monthly instalments of £425k until July 2023 with projections not particularly filling me with joy either. We'll continue to monitor the financial situation carefully in the interim and I intend to highlight this a little more than I have previously over the course of next season. 

I also intend to discuss the squad in more detail in the next post, dissecting each area of the squad ahead of an important summer. This way, I can truly highlight the performances of a number of our players. Rhys Healey, for one, has taken a lot of the limelight and rightfully so given that he won the golden boot with 29 goals ahead of Charles Abi (Guingamp), however there are players within our squad that have enjoyed fantastic seasons that haven't been given the praise they deserve. I hope to make amends with this plan! 

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To conclude this post, we turn our attention to the rest of the division to bring you all up to speed about the state of the save. Accompanying us in Ligue 1 next season will be Nîmes who didn't have too much to do in the end given the poor form of AJ Auxerre. Despite missing out on the runner-up spot, Auxerre still had an opportunity to win promotion via the play-offs. Paris FC and Dijon also achieved play-off places. Dijon overcame Paris in the Quarter-Finals after extra-time and would then go on to beat Auxerre 5-3, again after extra-time. This meant they set up a tie with the side who finished eighteenth in Ligue 1, Stade de Reims. Initially taking the lead in the two-legged encounter, Tasos Donis equalised just before the break. Dijon were reduced to ten-men just a minute into the second-half and went on to lose 3-1. In the second leg, a double from Donis was enough to retain their status in Ligue 1 with the game finishing 2-2 (5-3 on aggregate).

At the bottom, Rodez were relegated comfortably. Despite winning one of their two games, SC Bastia left themselves too much to do to avoid the drop and were consequently relegated. Quevilly-Rouen were subjected to the relegation-playoffs after Chamois Niortais captured an important victory at Pau to propel them out of the bottom three. Quevilly made no mistakes in their playoff campaign though. Tasked with taking on Stade Briochin, who finished third in the Championnat National, they comfortably beat the side from Brittany 3-0 in the first-leg before returning home for the second-leg and managing a 1-0 win to secure a 4-0 aggregate victory.

Here is a quick summary of the 2021/22 season in France:

Ligue 1

Winners: Paris Saint-Germain

UEFA Champions League: AS Monaco, Olympique Lyonnais

UEFA Europa League: OGC Nice, Montpellier HSC

UEFA Conference League: Olympique Marseille

Relegated: FC Metz, Clermont Foot

Ligue 2

Winners: Toulouse FC

Promoted: Nîmes Olympique

Relegated: SC Bastia, Rodez AF

Championnat National

Winners: LB Châteauroux

Promoted: Le Mans FC

Relegated: Villefranche Beaujolais, FC Séte 34, Sedan Ardennes, US Avranches

Championnat National 2

Groupe A

Winners: C' Chartres Football

Relegated: Vannes OC, Stade Plabennécois, AS Poissy

Groupe B

Winners: Paris 13 Atlético

Relegated: Football Club 93 BBG, US Lusitanos Saint-Maur, Sainte-Geneviève Sports

Groupe C

Winners: OL 2 (not promoted due to the '2' team regulations)

Promoted: SC Toulon

Relegated: GFA Rumilly-Vallières, Jura Sud Foot, OM 2

Groupe D

Winners: Les Herbiers VF

Relegated: US Colomiers, FC Chamaliarès, Stade Montois Football

Coupe de France

Winners: Paris Saint-Germain

Runner Up: AS Monaco

Trophée des Champions

Winners: Lille OSC

Runner Up: Paris Saint-Germain

 

Edited by DefinitelyTaylor
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