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[FM22] From Northern Ireland to Infinity: We have arrived in England


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Solid September: September 2023

We had a record breaking great set of results this month as we didn't lose any matches and got ourselves into 2nd in the league. Bobby Carroll has really started to cement himself in the team and is fast making himself a key player, he works tirelessly making great interceptions and making great passes and through balls, He really seems to be the complete midfielder. He is making me really value a hard working player. And to top it off he scored a great free kick this month.

Liam Hughes has started to play much better in goal this month, but still has some unconvincing moments so I will keep my eye on him.

Also we won another cup match in the County Antrim Shield which is great.


We also gave a debut to 17 year old Steven Burns in our cup match. He looked great and reminded me of a young Ryan Giggs. He is one to keep an eye on.


We broke our consecutive wins record with 6 wins:


Lastly Paul O'Neill is really starting to get the plaudits he deserves, I saw the potential in him when I joined this club and he is delivering:


Goalscorers this month

Michael McCrudden: 3

Paul O'Neill: 2

Rory Hale: 1

Bobby Carroll: 1

Joe Gormley: 1

Goal of the Month

Great free kick from Bobby Carroll as he scored his first goal for the club


Stinker of the Month

A crushing last minute equaliser conceded against Ballinamallard Utd



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Out of a cup: October 2023

We crashed out of the Bet McLean Cup which was really disappointing as Carrick are our the bottom of our league and they scored a winner in the last second of the match. Other than that we had a decent month, getting to the Semi-Final of the County Antrim Shield which is great! Our third semi-final in 3 seasons, and we got a win and a draw in the league putting us in 3rd in the league. We got a great win against league leaders Larne with Pau O'Neill finishing a nice team move.


Sam Denham, the CB we bought in on loan, has shown himself to be a great CB so far this season, probably the best I've ever seen. The interceptions and tackles he makes are immense. He has made a great partnership with Aaron Donnelly at CB and they are keeping the underwhelming vice-captain Jamie Harney out of the starting 11.

Liam Hughes had a very shaky month making mistakes in 2 games and playing great in the other. His inconsistency meant Declan Dunne played the opening match of the month, however Hughes came to my office complaining about game time so I gave him a chance in the subsequent games where he had mixed form.

Unfortunately Keenan Ferguson is injured for 3 weeks so Mervyn, our 22 year old academy product, will have to step in and replace him and I have faith in him.

This has been our tactic so far (with Mervyn replacing the injured Ferguson):


Goalscorers this Month

Paul O'Neil: 1

Jamie Harney: 1

Michael McCrudden: 1

Goal of the Month

Great through ball and then goal by O'Neill against league leaders Larne



Stinker of the Month

Another poor attempt at a save by Hughes



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We are in the final! : November 2023

We only managed one win this month which ended up being a month with lots of problems. The one positive is that we are in the final of the County Antrim Shield which is great!! My first ever final and I am really looking forward to it. It will be against Ballymena United who are in the lower half of our league in January.


Our form really started to suffer because of unhappy players. Declan Dunne, our other goalkeeper, also became unhappy at a lack of playing time. The issue is that I had them both as First Team Goalkeepers, but which is bad mistake on my side and the reason I did it was because I wasn't sure who I wanted to be first choice yet. I also promised him he would play more but soon after decided to lower his playing time to Cup Goalkeeper, which he agreed to. Both of my goalkeepers form this month was really poor too.

We also had all 3 of our team leaders become unhappy because of their playing time and they also got decent dressing room support. Our team leaders are Joe Gormley (Striker and club legend), Jamie Harney (CB and vice-captain) and Chris Curran (CM and captain). All of them were seen as at least first team regulars but none of them were starting for me, with Gormley essentially being frozen out due to consistently poor performances and the great form of Michael McCrudden. I told Gormley he can leave and he remained really unhappy and I told Curran and Harney I will play them more.

Lastly Ives, my left back, told me he wants to leave for a new challenge and that conversation didn't go down too well with me.

The only other good news apart from the final is that I signed a new contract until the end of next season, May 2025.

Elsewhere in the world of football

Cristiano Ronaldo wins the Goal Best Player in the World:


Goalscorers this Month

Paul O'Neill: 3

Michael McCrudden: 2

Armstrong Oko-Flex: 1

Goal of the Month

Late winner by Paul O'Neill to get us into the final of the County Antrim Shield!


Stinker of the Month 

Unnecessary penalty given away by Denham which meant we conceded a late goal and lost the game to Glenavon.



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Back on track: December 2023

We came back with a vengeance in December with 4 wins and 2 draws. The unhappiness of  our team leaders persists but our form hasn't faltered. Declan Dunne and Liam Hughes our battling it out for the number 1 shirt this month with them both getting game time and both their performances improving. However at the end of the month Liam complained about still not playing enough given the promise I gave him which I do understand. I will give him a run of a few games next month and if he doesn't impress then I will just have to tell him.


I also reached a milestone of 100 games as a manager against Ballinamallard which was great.

End of Year Awards






Goalscorers of the Month

Paul O'Neill: 4

Armstrong Oko-Flex: 2

Rory Hale: 2

Michael McCrudden: 1

Henry Mellon: 1

Kieran McKechnie: 1

Goal of the Month

A taste of the great play that Ferguson brings


Stinker of the Month

It was bound to happen at some pint; we made a mistake playing out from the back




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We won the cup!!! : January 2024


I won my first ever cup, I can't believe it! And to top it off we won really convincingly and scored our first goal in the 2nd minute. We completely dominated the game and it was a great day, have a look at the stats:


The opening goal is below


Also we had a really fantastic month getting 8 wins and 1 draw and made a new winning & unbeaten run record for the club. This was the most congested month I've ever played, we had 9 games in one month which is way too may games. Its great we have a strong and large squad as it means we can rotate without a dip in quality.

I doubted our signings at the beginning of the season but they have all been excellent.

We also win in the Northern Irish Cup Fifth Round where we played all of our promising youngsters and Jude Coyle an upcoming striker scoring a double with one of his strikes being world class. 



We bought in two players to hopefully push us towards the league title which would be a dream

Fok Ho Man

18 year old winger and striker that has terrorised me since my time at Moyola Park and has also been terrorising me and the rest of the Dankse Premier League this season. We broke our transfer record to bring him in for £7.5k.


Gregg Sloggett

Great centre midfielder which we have bought in for a bargain and he will be a great role model to the youngsters. He will battle it out with Shannon for a starting role in defensive midfield, but I expect Sloggett to win this battle as he has more to his game and he is a top professional.


Levi Ives

Our left back Levi Ives agreed to leave for Sutton United in the English Vanarama National which is a shame


I ended up winning the Manager of the Month award:


Goalscorers this Month

Michael McCrudden:  7

Paul O'Neill: 2

Rory Hale: 2

Jude Coyle: 2

Chris Gallagher: 1

Armstrong Oko-Flex: 1

Bobby Carroll: 1

Steven Burns: 1

Chris Curran: 1

Goal of the month

World class goal from academy player Jude Coyle


Edited by Platinum
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Top of the league: February 2023

We kept our unbeaten run going and we ended the month being top of the league. We are playing so well that there really is a chance we end the season in 1st place. The table is extremely close, but we have done excellently since November and have only lost 2 league games all season. Larne are a great team though and hardly drop points so it will be very close, and we can't forget last seasons league winners Linfield. Also we are now at 16 matches unbeaten in a row in the league which is a Danske Bank Premiership record!


Liam Hughes has cemented himself as first choice and has been putting in some great performances since January now. We don't concede more than 1 goal per game and often get clean sheets. We rarely score more than 2 goals a game but our defence is so solid that it doesn't matter, and truthfully we completely outperform every team we play against.

Michael McCrudden is doing the business and leading the line at 32 years old. Fok Ho Man is taking a while to settle in with poor performances but he did score a wonder goal for us. On the other hand Gregg Sloggett has settled in very well and starts for us at defensive midfield now


I was extremely happy with our Northern Irish Cup win over Larne as we have knocked out our biggest competitors in that competition.

Other news in the football world

Moyola Park, my previous club, are struggling badly and are in last place in the Lough Championship. They are far from safety and definitely get relegated unfortunately.

Goalscorers this Month

Michaek McCrudden: 4

Fok Ho Man: 1

Armstrong Oko-Flex

Goal of the Month

Fok Ho Man wonder goal which won goal of the month


Stinker of the Month

Its not a stinker because this strike was unstoppable



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Time for the league to split: March 2023

A decent month for us, I cant call if a great month even though we got 2 wins and a draw. The league table is so tight that getting 1 win and 1 draw was very disappointing for us as it meant we are now 2nd in the table. We should have won against Glenovan and we completely outplayed them. We are in the Northern Irish Cup Semi-Final though which is great! And we are playing it against a third division side.



The end of this month meant it is time for the league to split into two halves and we have 5 matches left to hopefully win the league do the double. That has to be the goal now.


We play really great football with clear patterns of attack and a good understanding between all of our players. Ferguson bombs up the pitch and puts in great crosses. Carroll is all over the midfield, always running and making interceptions and playing key through balls, while Hale drives through the midfield on powerful runs. Sloggett has recently replaced Shannon in the sta4rting line up and he does everything Shannon can do but with just a bit more consistency. They both make great crucial tackles and interceptions but Sloggett also dictates the tempo of our play with his passing ability. Our defence plays a high line (unless Harney plays) as they are all fast and intelligent. and Hughes in goals comes off his line to help sweep up and get involved in our passing game. Once our midfield have the ball they know to get it to our magic men out wide.

Depending on who we are playing against O'Neill will either be upfront with McKechnie playing right wing and Oko-Flex playing as an inside forward on the left. Or McCrudden is upfront, with O'Neill as an inside forward on the left and Oko-Flex as a right winger/ O'Neill and Oko-Flex in particular are tall, strong and skilful players who can change games by themselves. Our passing and movement between the midfield, Ferguson and our attack is absolutely superb and a joy to behold.




Youth Intake

Our youth intake was disappointing this year, so far I disagree with my coaches opinions and don't think they will play at this level.




Other news in the world of football



Goalscorers this Month

Paul O'Neill: 1

Sam Denham: 1

Rory Hale: 1

Gregg Sloggett: 1

Goal of the Month

Great goal by O'Neill which won goal of the month. Our second goal of the month in a row

Stinker of the Month

Hughes should have done better here


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Champions (Can you believe it?): April 2024



Im lost for words and I can't believe it. We have won the league and which means we have won the double. And to add to that I'm in the final of the Northern Irish Cup. Truly amazing. These are the first trophies I've ever won and no matter what happens in the final of the Northern Irish Cup this will always be a truly memorable season. And the way we won the league was truly amazing. Get strapped in.

We got off to great start to the month winning our first two league matches and getting a massive win over Linfield to kick them out of the title race which meant it was us and Larne left in the battle. I was still second in the league and 1 point behind Larne. Then came the Northern Irish Cup Semi-Final which was played at a neutral venue. We played against Distillery who are 1st in the Northern Irish third division, so it should have been a relatively simple match. However fixture congestion (which Larne didn't have due to losing in the cup) meant we had to rotate massively and every player that started was a backup player. Henry Mellon missed a penalty but we then went ahead in the match and Distillery equalised in the 90th minute which was a real downer. But we were able to win the match in extra time with Paul O'Neill coming on from the bench to put us ahead and Jamie Harney putting the game to bed.

We then went into the Coleraine game needing to win as Larne and Linfield played against each other, and because Larne had less rest than Linfield I thought there was a good chance they would lose and we could get to 1st in the league. We had a rubbish start to the match giving away a penalty and falling behind 1-0 in the 4th minute. To make matters worse Larne were beating Linfield 2-0 and so if scores stayed the same I would essentially be out of the title race. Amazingly Linfield made a massive comeback and were beating Larne 3 - 2 in the 70th minute, and then in the 74th minute super sub Jude Coyle on his third appearance scored a dramatic equaliser for us against Coleraine and he celebrated like crazy. So the score ended 1-1 in my match and Larne were beaten, meaning that me and Larne were joint on points but Larne had a superior goal difference of +6 goals. We only had two league matches left.


Jude Coyles equaliser:


The next match (and penultimate league match) was against Larne , the title challengers who I am joint on points with and have a +6 goal difference which I wont surpass as I rarely ever score more than two goals in a game. This was essentially a must win now. What happened next is the best moment I've ever had as a football manager. The evening before the match my assistant manager Mark Holland advised me to talk to the players and tell them there is no pressure in this match as no one expected us to win the league. He is a wise man with world class man management skills (this isn't hyperbole) so I listened to him. The team reacted wonderfully and we were ready for the big day. The match started and in the 2nd minute Kieran McKechnie scored a rebound to put as ahead, and what happened next was incredible, over the next 86 minutes we scored 5 more goals and conceded none. Yes we won 6-0, the biggest win in my managerial history and only the 2nd time we had scored more than 2 goals in the league since January. Paul O'Neill turnt up in this game, just like in the County Antrim Final, and he scored 4 goals of supreme quality. This is a top team and I am proud of them. This meant we had completely turnt the table on its head and we had a +8  goal difference advantage over Larne and even if we lost our final match of the season we would likely be champions.


Kieran McKechnies opener in the 2nd minute:



2 of Paul O'Neill's four goals:




We ended up drawing the final match 0-0 and being crowned champions. We had the highest points tally since 5 years ago with 80 points. 

This was our first league title in 10 years, truly amazing. 

Other team news

  • Bobby Carroll who has been outstanding for us and our key midfielder has interest from Hull in League One which isn't a surprise but it will be a shame if he does leave.  I tried to offer him a new contract but he isn't interested.
  • Crusaders who are a Professional club ended up being last in the table which is really embarrassing and a massive massive shock, will be interesting to see where they go from here.
  • Moyola Park got relegated from Lough Championship and so are now back in the league they were in when I initially joined them. I think my decision to leave them has paid off.
  • We have organised the transfer of centre back Sam Graham from Rochdale who will be a key player for us next season and increase the quality of the team. I have also extended the loan of Sam Denham for a year. I expect them to be our centre back partnership next season and Donnelly will play left back, replacing the departing Ives.
  • We have qualified for the Champions League first qualifying round. At a minimum I believe we will eventually enter the Conference League group stage, as I think that is guaranteed.
  • I won Manager of the Month
  • Our defence was amazing, we only conceded 25 goals in the league, with the next closest having conceded 38 goals
  • The dressing room hierarchy changed with Rory Hale becoming a team leader and Jamie Harney dropping down to a Highlight Influential Player



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We swept away the league awards this season

Top Goalscorer - He has hit the heights I hoped he would and is a big game player


Player of the Year - all my players in the top 3


Best Young Player - the best CB I've seen


Seven players in the Team of the Year


Manager of the Year


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Hall of Fame Manager: May 2023


We won the treble.

Truly amazing and well done to a great club effort, we all played our part. And our summer signing of Sloggett added some extra quality too. Mark Holland gave me excellent advise again for a Team Meeting too. A true team effort.

It was quite a dull cup final but we managed to win the match on penalties against Dungannon. Both of Dungannons youngsters missed a penalty in the final, including Tommy Blair who is a 17 year old with a great future ahead of him (he scored 15 goals last season and 22 goals this season in all competitions). We did deserve to win the match though as overall we had the better chances.

We have performed really well this season and I am proud, we are now on a 30 match unbeaten run in all competitions. It's the first time the club has won Northern Irelands most prestigious cup since 1979.

With 3 trophy wins I have now entered the Hall of Fame in Northern Ireland and I'm a favoured person at Cliftonville as well as our top performers this season. It is truly an honour to be in the Hall of Fame and it motivates me even more to win trophies:




Season Awards




Bobby Carroll won the Fans' Player and Young Player of the year award which is no surprise. Liam Hughes really turnt things around and became our signing of the season and broke our clean sheet record.



It looks the board are more ambitious now with a clearly defined playing style in our vision and aims to consistently challenge for the title year in year out in the next 4 years. I want to be consistently challenging now though and be backed by the board so Ill be asking for better facilities.


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Terrible discussions with the board: May 2023

After the great high of the season and memories I will never forget, my greatest ever achievements, things have gone a bit sour for me. I am unhappy. I want us to push on and improve as a club, we just bought in a lot of money through competition wins, but it looks like we will be regressing.

It started with me finding out our facilities have downgraded as they are out of date. This was disappointing as all season I have asked us to improve our facilities. We only train twice a week so its imperative we have good facilities if we plan on competing at the top. I asked the board again if we could improve our facilities and they rejected it. Our finances are pretty good with us having money in the bank now.



The next issue is my coaching badges. I decided to wait until the end of the season before taking my Continental B License as I didn't want to disrupt training. However the board told me they wouldn't allow me to do the coaching course out of fear I would leave. This was completely wrong and I couldn't believe it. Every manager in the league has a coaching badge above mine. After I asked them to reconsider they told me there's no chance of me taking my coaching badge.


My coaching and mental skill is below and I want it to improve. Also you will see my reputation has gone up and I'm now 1.5 stars - this happened halfway through the season.


The rejection of the coaching course was the tip of the iceberg for me, I want to push on with this club and cement us as the top team in Northern Ireland, but if the board will let our facilities degrade and won't let me take my coaching badges to improve myself then I can't agree with the direction they are going in. I don't want to wait 4 years to be competing again.

My aim was always to disrupt the top teams in this country and then move to England and create a great legacy at a club before moving to Arsenal. I have disrupted the top teams in Northern Ireland, and while I would have liked to manage Cliftonville in Europe as I now have them in the Champions League qualifiers, I believe that if I left the club now they would be in a great state. 

I decided to apply for jobs in England from League 2 to the Championship and Hearts in the Scottish Premiership. It's probably not a surprise but all the teams laughed me off except from Exeter in League 2. I did an interview with them which was a difficult interview, with them worried about me not managing in England before. Exeter is an ambitious team, they are fan owned, want to reach the playoffs next season and want automatic promotion the season after. They finished 20th this season but finished 8th and 6th in the seasons before so they severely underperformed last season. I also told Exeter that I would want to bring some staff with me, with me thinking about Mark Holland in particular as he is an exceptional Assistant Manager and definitely helped me win the treble.

While waiting for Exeter's response and deciding if I even wanted to join, Gillingham in League 2 told me they want to offer me an interview but my compensation will be too high. I spoke to the board about it but instead I told the board that I'm happy to stay as long as you let me do my coaching badge. There needs to be some give and take here. The board refused and after that my mind was made up. I would never resign as I will respect my contract, but I will leave to join Exeter if they offer me the job (as Cliftonville will receive compensation). One hesitation I have is that I will go from being able to play in Europe and being in one of the best teams in the country, to managing a team at the bottom of the professional football league pyramid, however this is what it takes to go from an unknown to a top manager.

Let's see what I decide to do and if Exeter offer me the job.

Elsewhere in the world of Football

League champions:

  • England: Man Utd
  • Germany: Bayern Munich
  • Spain: Barcelona
  • France: PSG
  • Italy: Juventus
  • Champions League: Liverpool (against Man Utd)

Best Player in Europe:




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  • Platinum changed the title to [FM22] From Northern Ireland to Infinity: We have arrived in England

July 2024: The Exeter City Journey


Exeter City to donate their FA Cup replay profits to food banks


On the 17th June 2024 I accepted a 2 year contract with Exeter City FC. I am delighted to be joining them and I believe it is the right club for me, and one I can be at for the long term. And on a personal level I am happy to be taking a step up and managing a Professional football club full time.

Club background

Founded in 1901, Exeter City FC is based in the city of Exeter in Devon, South West of England, which has a population of 131,000 people. Exeter City FC is owned by the club's supporters through the Exeter City Supporters' Trust and has been owned by them since 2003.

  • Exeter City F.C. was formed from two predecessor clubs, Exeter United F.C. and St Sidwell's United. Exeter United was a football club from Exeter, Devon, that played between 1890 and 1904. In 1904, Exeter United lost 3–1 to local rivals St Sidwell's United and after the match it was agreed that the two clubs should become one. The new team took the name 'Exeter City' and continued to play at Exeter United's ground, St James Park, where Exeter City still play today
  • City changed to its current colours of red and white in 1910. This was after having had a poor start to the season (only two wins out of 11). City abandoned its supposedly unlucky green and white kit, and turned out for the first time in red and white striped shirts at home to West Ham United on 12 November. The result of the game was a 0–0 draw, but five consecutive league wins came for the club in December, and the change of colours stuck.
  • After a tour of South America in 1914 to generate awareness of football in the continent, the club became the first side to play a national team from Brazil.
  • Exeter are one of two Devon clubs who compete in the Football League, the other being Plymouth Argyle, Exeter's local rivals.


The District of Exeter including Topsham shown within Devon

We play in a stadium called St. James Park that has a capacity of 8700. Its been our one and only stadium since the clubs inception.

St James Park.JPG

Our trophy cabinet is very empty, so we will have to create a real winning culture and history.


Why I joined and why im excited

This club has everything I want in a club to build a real dynasty here.:

  • The board are very ambitious 
  • They have the finances to continue to grow
  • They are in a city without much other competing clubs
  • Using the youth system is part of the clubs vision

So it was a no brainer to join really. I want to take them to the Premier League.

Short term objectives

We are currently in League 2 and the club expect to reach the Play-Offs this season and achieve automatic promotion next season and then maintain League 1 status for a few years. These are high expectations but that's exactly what I want. We also have the finances to back our ambition, we have a whopping £300k available for transfers and £30k available in the wage budget which is very impressive for a League 2 side.

Long term objectives

Long term we have to win trophies and reach the Premier League. With the finances available and the ambition of the board I definitely think this is possible. Also I want to continue the teams tradition of developing players from the clubs youth system. 

Why I left Cliftonville

When I joined Cliftonville my aim was to disrupt the big 4 teams in the league by winning the league, some cups and become Professional. I thought it would take a few years to achieve that goal but I was able to achieve all of them apart from becoming Professional in 1 and a half years. After winning the treble and finding out we would be going backwards as a club rather than forwards from a structural point of view, I decided it was time to leave as my vision and the boards didn't match. Also as I had won everything in Northern Ireland and entered the Hall of Fame it was as good a time as any to move on to England. My goal was always to move to England, build a team up from the lower leagues and stay with them for a while, and then hopefully get a job at Arsenal. The main disappointment is that I didn't get to play in Europe with Cliftonville (next season they will) and I didn't get to establish myself as a club icon or legend. I did however become a fan favourite

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  • 2 weeks later...

Getting Started: June - August 2024

Im delighted to be at Exeter. Last season we finished 20th and this season the minimum expectation by the board is to reach the playoffs so a big improvement is needed, but I think we have bought in some good players this summer.


I bought my assistant manager Mark Holland and goalkeeping coach David Gurn from Cliftonville who are quality and can coach at the highest level. The board also bought in a Director of Football called Alex McDonald who previously played for Gillingham; he was our second choice and unfortunately was a significant downgrade on the boards first choice. However hopefully we can work well together.


When I joined we had some quality players in our squad, particularly in CB and CM, however we have some big weaknesses, in particular we had no depth at CB, and we were missing a quality striker. Despite missing out on a lot of players we wanted (including Ben Cottrell who was a standout in the Danske Premiership last season)  we made 7 signings that should shape us up for getting that playoff spot and potentially challenging for the title this season. We also let many players leave on loan/let their contracts expire as our squad was massive.

Tommy Blair was my first signing. I had followed him since my time in Cliftonville and even tried to sign him while I was with them. He previously played for Dungannon in the Danske Bank Premiership and won 3 cups with them. He is a great player and at 18 years old he has scored 25 goals in 95 games. His goal scorning numbers will definitely improve and its his other qualities that really impress me. His finishing can be lethal as he takes first time shots, he has pace and most importantly he is a skilful player with high flair and has excellent technique. I have great expectations for him this season and I'm really glad to bring him to England.

He was a record breaker in Northern Ireland being the youngest player to score in the Danske Bank Premiership at 16 years and 201 days and youngest player and youngest goalscorer for Dungannon. He was also in the top 5 goalscorers in the Danske Bank Premiership last season with 16 goals.


Jordan Turnball was bought in on trial and subsequently signed. He is a great player that can play at League 1 level.


Jon Guthrie is another player that was bought in on trial and subsequently signed. He is also a great player that can play at League 1 level.


He was bought in to compete with existing goalkeeper Gary Woods who had poor form last season.


An experienced winger that can provide competition and was delivering the goods in League 1 for the last two seasons. The standards in the right wing position need to be higher and hopefully he can do provide this.


An experienced defensive midfielder who I expect to be a solid squad player for us this season, we were light in depth for the defensive midfield position.


A creative midfielder that can also defend that was bought in on loan. I expect him to provide competition for a starting position this season and provide some much needed depth in creativity in our CM position.



After the signings we made during the summer we have a very strong squad with no big weaknesses. We have three great centre backs who could play in League 1 in Sam Stubbs, Jordan Turnball and Jon Guthrie. We also have two good goalkeepers competing against each other. We have some talented midfielders with a mix of defensive chops and creativity however I do think our creativity could improve. And in our attacking positions Tommy Blair is the standout but and we have a bit of quality sprinkled throughout. Hopefully Jordan Graham can bring some quality in the wide areas.

A player I'm really excited to manage is Scott Tomlinson who is an 18 year old who was bought in from South Africa last season. I have no idea how they found him but I'm glad they did


We have two other good midfielders in Archie Collins and Matt Jay (can also play in all the attacking areas) who both came from our academy. 

We have a great attacking wing back in 23 year old Jack Sparkes who came from our academy, he only played 4 league matches last season and had poor form in the seasons before, so I hope I can help him reach his potential.


Our captain is centre back Sam Stubbs and the newly appointed vice captain is Archie Collins who came from our academy.

17 year old Adilson Furtado has been promoted to the first team from our academy and will be a squad player for us.

Sonny Cox a player from our academy who was out on loan to the Vanarama North last season, but I expect him to be a mainstay in the first team this season in an inside forward position


We have a great academy with 9 players in the first team squad currently coming from our academy:

  • Matt Jay (CM, 28)
  • Archie Collins (CM, 25)
  • Josh Key (RB, 24)
  • Jack Sparkes (DL, 23)
  • Sonny Cox (LF, 19)
  • Alex Hartridge (CB, 25)
  • Adilson Furtado (CM, 17)
  • Alfie Pond (CB, 19)
  • Harry Lee (GK, 19)


We have a great crop of youngsters in our academy, some of them are on loan as we don't have an u23 team. Some of our best youngsters are below:






I will be continuing my 4-3-3 formation from Cliftonville as it suits this team. Tommy Blair will be the spearhead of our attacks, both creating and scoring. Sparkes has all he qualities to be an excellent attacking wing back so our attacks from the left hand side should be very strong and Key gives us great solidity at right back. We can afford to play without a ball winning midfielder like a did with Cliftonville and instead play with a deep lying playmaker as our defence should be extremely.

We will play a very patient game, playing at a very slow tempo and making short passes until we find a good opening. This should mean our front three attackers receive the ball in promising positions and I will leave it up to them at that point.



We had a decent preseason, with a big win against Birmingham. Tommy Blair's skilfulness really impressed me and Furtado fit right in.


 Season Preview
 With the additions we made should be good enough to challenge for the title or a play off spot. At the beginning of the season we were predicted 10th place but after signings have been made our new prediction is 2nd. This season we will be competing in:

  • EFL League 2
  • League Cup
  • FA Cup
  • EFL Trophy


Tommy Blair at 18 years old is predicted to be the top goalscorer in the league:






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Great first month: August 2024

We had a great first month, avoiding defeat and finishing the month in 5th place. The two draws we got in the league were unfortunate as Tommy Blair didn't have his shooting boots on, but he has been great so far. We also began a great run in the Carabao Cup (EFL Cup), beating Bristol City who are in the Championship. Lastly I was delighted to manage my first professional game which was also my 130th game in management. Im confident we can have a great season and so far we have shown good defensive solidity, but we will have to start scoring more.


Tommy Blair had a great start to life with us, scoring in 45 seconds on his debut which was also his first touch for us. He is able to stretch opponents with his runs and he is very skilful, he is able to hold up the ball and then beat his man with his excellent flair and technique even though he isn't tall. He is also fairly creative and creates good chances for others. He is comfortably the best striker I have ever managed and I can say that after only 1 month. Also Furtado made his debut and impressed.

One thing we have struggled with this month is keeping the ball - we do lots of poor passes but I put this down to my players still learning the tactics I want us to play

The team Dynamics is below:


Goalscorers this month

Tommy Blair: 2

Corey Blackett-Taylor: 1

Jermaine Hylton: 1

Archie Collins: 1

Alex Hartridge: 1

Matt Jay: 1

Goal of the Month



No stinker of the month this month as I want us starting my (hopefully long) time at Exeter with positivity

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Elsewhere in the world of Football

England won the Euros in the summer beating Portugal on penalties. England were absolutely outplayed in the match and Bruno Fernandes missed a 90th minute penalty. Valverde was the manager who led England to glory and he left after the Euros, with Newcastle manager Ten Haag taking over.

Amazingly neither Saka nor Smith Rowe were ever called up to the national tea under Valverde so they didn't take part in the competition and Saka couldn't get his redemption from the Euro 2020 penalty miss.


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14 hours ago, DavidBeckham said:

Tommy Blair has the potential to be a very good advanced forward! Keep up the good work mate!

Thanks! And yeah he is some talent, I had to make good of my knowledge of Northern Ireland.

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Three all: September 2024

We got three wins and three losses in what I would say was a challenging month. Two of our losses came in cup matches against Chelsea U23s in the EFL Cup and Everton the Carabao Cup where we got thrashed 5 nil. The Carabao Cup match was unfortunate as I had to play my second string team due to fixture congestion.


A worry I have is that we don't score enough goals despite creating a plethora of chances and it means we never end a match without it being tense. Tommy Blair needs to be more clinical with the chances he is getting. Also the quality of our passing can be truly terrible in some matches, I think I need to tinker with our midfield to make sure its a midfield that can keep the ball instead of constantly overhitting passes.


We ended the month with two big injuries. Our left back Jack Sparkes who has started playing well recently will be out for 2 months and Jordan Graham our new right winger will be out for 5 weeks.

League Table

We are doing well in the league so I shouldn't be too harsh on oursevles. We are right in the mix, however if we want to keep it up our attackers need to be much more clinical.


Goalscorers this Month

Tommy Blair: 2

Scott Tomlinson: 1

Corey Blackett-Taylor: 1

Sam Stubbs: 1

Goal of the Month

87th minute winner from Sam Stubbs after we practised corners in training the day before this match


Stinker of the Month

3rd goal in the 5 nil thrashing from Rafa Benitez' team




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6 hours ago, Brother Ben said:

Great progress Platinum :thup:

Can I ask what you use to capture the highlights?

Thanks! I use OBS studio to record FM which is a free software.  Then I take the mp4 file and compress it using free online software to make it less than 10mb which is the file limit here. Feel free to DM me and I can explain in more detail

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15 hours ago, Platinum said:

Thanks! I use OBS studio to record FM which is a free software.  Then I take the mp4 file and compress it using free online software to make it less than 10mb which is the file limit here. Feel free to DM me and I can explain in more detail

No worries, thanks for that.  Amazing how good they look despite the compression 

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It's starting to come together: October 2024

We had a very good month going unbeaten for the duration of it, however what pleased me the most were our performances; we had some good performances that are a big improvement on last month. My philosophy is that I put more importance on the performance than the result because I know if we consistently have the performances I am looking for then we will win games. A good performance for me means we give away at max one 1on1 chance and we get the ball to our three attackers in the box multiple times per game. We have mainly achieved that this month. We aren't perfect though as we don't finish enough of the chances we create so we often only win by 1 goal, which leads to a nervy ending. Our ability to keep the ball is much better now as we aren't misplacing as many passes.


We are first in the league and Tommy Blair has had a good month, getting 3 goals and 1 assist in 5 matches. Handler, our goalkeeper has continued his good form and has made some massive saves for us. I was pleased with the teams mental strength in our final game of the month against last placed Eastleigh; Eastleigh scored in the second minute but we managed to make a comeback after a 2 minute double salvo between minutes 67 to 69 won us the match and meant we finished the month in first place. We also won in the EFL Trophy against Leagu1 side Walsall so we are now second in our group.

Guthrie, one of the CBs we bought, has also got a good few games in the league this month and has looked very solid which is great and means we have real competition at CB. Other players that have impressed me are Regan Riley an on loan creative centre mid from Norwich, Lewis Walker a 25 year old technically sound player who can play all across the front 3 and both our main starting CBs Stubbs and Turnball . Sonny Cox has put in some good performances for us but I want to see a bit more consistency from him.


I was also pleased that Eddie Howe called me a respected face after I said that I would want to eventually talk to Eddie Howe about extending Regan Riley's stay with us



Adilson Furtado has continued to get some minutes in the first team as a sub and he is making great progress. I'm still not sure where his position will be, but its great to have a player that can cover many positions. My young players on loan are also progressing very well and im keeping a close eye on Tychique Kouakou who is a talented left back. Ollie Watkins and Ethan Ampadu have come from our academy and lot's of current first teamers, I want us to continue this tradition.



Unfortunately we got a big injury in training to Jake Caprice who will be out for 6 to 7 months. Caprice is our 31 year old back up right back; I will be looking for an up and coming young player to replace him in January. Jordan Graham and Jack Sparkes just returned from injury at the end of the month but they haven't played yet. Unfortunately both Jack Sparkes and Jake Caprice are significantly less brave in the challenge due to the impact their injuries have had on them psychologically.


We are doing very well financially, making a profit each month and we have over £800k club balance. A £200k sell on clause sale for Ethan Ampadu from Chelsea came in this month which also helped boost our bank balance.

Goal(s) of the Month

Clinical from Tommy Blair against Crawley


Absolute banger form Turnball, the CB i bought in, that began the comeback against Eastleigh


Stinker of the Month

Second minute goal against us against bottom placed Eastleigh




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  • 3 weeks later...

Rocky Month: November 2024

It was a difficult month as we finished the month in 5th place in the league


We had 9 games this month which didn't make things any easier but it's not an excuse as other clubs had that many games too. We failed to win in the league after 6th November and ended the month with a total of 3 wins 3 draws and 1 loss. Hopefully we can pick things up. Tommy Blair started the month brilliantly but ended up going on international break during the middle of the month which didn't help us. We outperformed our opponents in every match this month but an issue we had is that we just couldn't score enough goals. Not scoring enough goals is a real problem and we will have to bring in another top striker to provide competition for Blair


Matt Jay is really starting to get in great form and won the Leagu 2 Player of the Month award. He got 3 goals and 4 assists, a real stats machine. If he keeps this up he will become the first name on the team sheet as he was inconsistent earlier in the season. He's able to make a goal out of nothing. 2 seasons ago he scored 15 goals and got 8 assists in the league so hopefully he can replicate something like that again! Also Scott Tomlinson is really started to perform now and is starting to dictate our tempo in his Deep Lying Playmaker role, for someone so young he is really doing well.


Guthrie has started to complain about his playing and I understand as I told him he would start most games and whenever he has played he has done very will. Because of the fixture congestion this month it was easy to give him the starts he wanted and I think he may have proved he should be a starter as he has continued to play very well.

Other good news is that we were able to break two Exeter records. We have the most wins in a row with 8 and most matches without losing in a row with 14!

Elsewhere in the world of football

  • Cameron Jerome the former Premier League striker is currently manage of Bradford City in League 2. He's a good manager and it looks like League 1 clubs are interested in him
  • Messi is a OSG legend, he is in his fourth season with them now and has scored over 70 goals and 40 assists and won 8 trophies with them.
  • Mbappe is a Bayern Munich icon. Although he is in his third season with them he actually became an icon after his first season. He has already won two Bundesligas, one Champions League, one European Super Cup, one German Cup and one German Super Cup
  • Haaland is a goal machine for Man City as he has scored more goals than games


Goalscorers this Month

  • Tommy Blair - 5
  • Matt Jay - 4
  • Jon Guthrie - 2
  • Lewis Walker - 2
  • Jordan Graham - 2
  • Josh Key - 1
  • Jordan Turnball - 1

Goal of the Month

Two goals this month

Hattrick goal for Blair



Great goal by Graham



Stinker of the Month

Poor defending from Turnball - he had a bad game



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Play Spotlight: Geslin Matondo



I'm keeping my eyes on a great youth player we have called Geslin Matondo, not to be confused with fellow youth player Cherubin Matondo who is also not his brother despite them sharing DR Congo heritage. 16 year old Matondo was born in Exeter and has been one of the best players in the U18 league with his dazzling dribbles and 13 goals, 6 assists. 5 PotM awards and an average rating of 7.71. Here are some clips of Matondo in action for the U18s:


I gave Matondo his debut against Aldershot in our FA Cup replay win against them. Hopefully it is the first of many appearances for him.

He is currently training his weaker foot as he is too one footed right now. My coaches think he is a Vanarama South/North level player rigth now, he has been improving in training and he has a high level of flair which helps him beat his man which is very important for me,

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  • 1 month later...

Out of the cup and not enough wins: December 2024 

It was another difficult month as we crashed out of the EFL Trophy against our rivals Plymouth on penalties (they are a League One club) and only won two league games. Unfortunately this month was always going to be difficult as we lost Tommy Bair to injury. We did manage to bring in a striker called Rodel Richards on a free transfer but he only seemed to settle in at the end of the month as he struggled before scoring 2 goals in the final game of the month. I had a great team talk with the players on 3rd December but it didn't have a big impact on our results. The game against Swindon was particularly disappointing as we squandered our 2 goal lead.


We are still in contention for a automatic promotion though and we have the least amount of losses with more than half of the season being played.


If we look at the XG table though we are first which gives me reason to believe we could finish the season as winners


Burton, who are first in the league, also have started to show interest in our best CB and captain Sam Stubbs, but there is no way I will sell him. Lastly it was great to be gaining a reputation for our style of play, they call it "Francis-ball".



Here is Rodel Richards who can play in all attacking positions and should really improve the team and more importantly give Tommy Blair some serious competition. He came from the Tottenham academy and was at Notts County in Vanarama National and League 2 where he scored 39 goals in 134 appearances in all competitions. He is a composed finisher who works hard for the team. 


Goalscorers this Month
Lewis Walker: 3
Rodel Richards: 2
Matt Jay: 2
Archie Collins: 2
Tommy Blair: 1
Regan Riley: 1
Jordan Graham: 1

Goal of the Month

Good first goal for Rodel Richards, I hope to see more of the same


Stinker of the Month

Really disappointing to lose our 2 goal lead in the last 10 minutes of the match



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Incomings and Outgoings: January 2025

It was a month of incomings and outgoings and great results.


We lost academy product and skilful forward Sonny Cox to Premier League club Fulham for £550k, he was getting offers non-stop throughout the month an the offers were too good to turn down even though Cox was happy to stay with us. It shows what great players our academy is producing and it also justified the great work we done developing him this season and giving him a chance in the first team. 

His form had dropped alarmingly in the past couple months and I believed we could bring in better players in on loan which made it easier to let him go.



We also let last seasons top scorer Sam Nombe go out on loan as he wasn't getting game time.


We had 3 incomings this month with two of them being young wingers in on loan to replace Sonny Cox. We also bought in right back Janoi Donacien on a free transfer to replace the injured Jack Caprice and potentially start at right back.

Talented and fast inverted winger from Brighton who will improve the quality in the team



Harvey Blair is an Inside Forward who is a direct replacement for Sonny Cox, he has lots of pace and is a good finisher. I had considered signing him last summer but decided not to and he went to Salford in League 1 but has struggled for game time. The previous season he had a season with Gloucester in the Vanarama National.


Donacien played for Fleetwood Town in League 1 for the past two seasons and he put in solid performances. He should be a very good defensive right back for us.


We had a great month in terms of results, winning all our matches apart from a very respectable loss against Championship club Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup Third Round. This put us up into second place with Burton still in first place.


The great results meant I won the Manager of the Month award



We lost both Archie Collins ( centre midfielder) and Jordan Turnball (central defender) to 1 - 2 month injuries and Jordan Graham (winger) to a 3 month injury which are a massive massive losses as they all start lots of matches for us. I hope this doesn't impact our promotion and title challenge.

Goal of the Month

Excellent link up between Tommy Blair and Rodel Richards

Second time lucky for Archie Collins.


No stinker of the month this month

Other news in the world of football

  • Vlahovic moved to Liverpool
  • Haaland is scoring more than a goal per game for Man City in the league
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Nine matches to go: February 2024


We remain in 2nd place at the end of the month and should have at least a play off place wrapped up. We had one loss this month which was disappointing but I was happy to see 18 year old academy product Furtado get his first goal for the club. Other than that we got three wins and one draw including a thumping of Northampton. Tommy Blair and Rodel Richards have both provided the goals this month and Harvey Blair has really shown to be an impressive player. His direct dribbling and the number of shots he takes as an Inside Forward is great. Matt Jay was also excellent this month with 1 goal and 3 assists, he is playing like the best player in the league.


Matt Jay came in third place in the player of the month award


Tommy Blair came in second place in the Young Player of the Month award



Goalscorers this month

Tommy Blair: 4

Rodel Richards: 2

Matt Jay: 1

Lewis Walker: 1

Adilson Furtado: 1

Harvey Blair: 1

Goal of the Month

First professional goal for Adilson Furtado


Stinker of the Month

I hold my hand up as it was a good goal



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Playoffs secured: March 2025

We secured our place in the playoffs. It's fully deserved as well. We remain in second place and the Expected Point table has us in first place.


We did however have unacceptable two losses in the league which really dented, and may have ended our chances of winning the league. In both our losses we concede all our goals after the 80th minute. We are really struggling in the last 10 minutes of matches this season and it has to be sorted out.

Harvey Blair continued his excellent form for us and won both the Player & Young Player of the Month awards!




Promising goalkeeper Sean Cromie got a loan t the National League North and has played well so far.

We  got our new youth intake which was quite a poor one this year with no initial stand out players.

Goalscorers this Month

Harvey Blair: 3

Rodel Richards: 2

Timmy Blair: 1

Matt Jay: 1

Corey Blackett-Taylor: 1

David Carson: 1

Goal of the Month

Excellent goal form Harvey Blair


Stinker of the Month

Terrible defending as we concede in the 89th minute to lose the match after initially being ahead



Other news in the world of football

  • Man City beat Everton 4 - 0 in the EFL Cup Final
  • NxGen 50:


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Promoted!: April & May 2025


We finished in second place with a great tally of 97 points. Im delighted to get promoted although I am disappointed we didn't win the league or any other silverware, We played fantastic football this season though and the Expected Points table had us in first place. We played 5 games in the last months of the league campaign and we won 4 and lost 1. The one loss meant that we couldn't win the league, and I must say Burton were great competitors. Matt Jay was a real standout for us this season and Tommy Blair scored a lot of goals for us. Also our January signings were key after we had several long term injuries.



It was great to live up to the great praise that Nigel Clough gave me when I first joined Exeter



Tommy Blair: 3

Sam Stubbs:: 2

Rodel Richards: 1

Matt Jay: 1

Corey Blackett-Taylor: 1

Lewis Walker: 1

Adilson Furtado: 1

Jordan Turnbull: 1

Goal of the two months

World class volley by Walker and great pressing from Tommy Blair


Stinker of the two Months

Terrible 3 - 0 loss that meant we couldnt win the league



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2 hours ago, Brother Ben said:

Shame about the title mate but congrats on the promotion!

Yeah its a shame, Burton just weren't dropping points in the final streth of matches and we got 3 long term injuries to first team players that really affected us. Really disappointing to lose out on the league title but makes me even more determined to win a trophy next season.

Delighted with being promoted though, hopefully the board continue to back me.

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6 hours ago, Platinum said:

Yeah its a shame, Burton just weren't dropping points in the final streth of matches and we got 3 long term injuries to first team players that really affected us. Really disappointing to lose out on the league title but makes me even more determined to win a trophy next season.

Delighted with being promoted though, hopefully the board continue to back me.

It happens that way sometimes but the good thing with league 2 is that there are 4 promotion spots I guess, anyway KUTGW !

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  • 2 weeks later...

End of Season Review 2024 - 2025

We had a good season, coming in second place in the league and gaining automatic promotion after the initial expectations were to get a play-off place. Our u18s team also had a good season, finishing in second place in their league. We broke a few of our own team records this season too including most league league wins in a season

Matt Jay was our best player by far and won the League Two Player of the Season, a massive achievement for him. He got 12 goals and 17 assists in the league and 13 goals and 20 assists in all competitions this season. Tommy Blair bagged 24 goals this season with 22 in the league and finished runner up as the League Two top goalscorer.


We also had four players in the League Two team of the season.


Also we finished first in the expected points table.


Our team awards were as follows:

Matt Jay won the Fan's Player of the Season and Jack Sparkes won the Young Player of the Season which were both deserved.


Other news in the world of Football

  • Bayern Munich beat Manchester United 2 - 0 in the Champions League final with two goals from Lewandowski. Bayern Munich are without doubt the best team in the league with two Champions League trophies in two years and a front three of Mbappe, Gnabry and Lewandowski
  • Man City win the Premier League
  • Arsenal lose to Inter Milan in the Europa League final. They were very unlucky and were by far the better team.
  • Haaland scored 34 goals in 33 games in the Premier League for Man City
  • Haaland wins English Player of the Year
  • Cliftonville finished third in the league and lost in two cup finals.

Premier League Team of the Year


And the Champions League Dream Team


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Ins and Outs: Summer 2025

It was a busy summer as we prepared ourselves for life in League One. The expectations from the board are to fight bravely against relegation, and the expectations for the team are for us to avoid relegation.

We have a good squad with some League One quality players already and wit some additions I believe we can get a mid table finish.

The club are delighted with how I've been developed and using our youth system players in the first team and they also added two qualities to our club vision: Play defensively solid football and play counter-attacking football. Our aim for the next 5 years is to remain in the league but let's see how that develops.



We identified GK, CM and both wings as positions to strengthen with starting quality players. And at CB and LB we wanted to bring in depth.

The goalkeeper position was a problem as although Tom Hadler had a good season in terms of match ratings and won our signing of the season, when you look at his stats they aren't impressive. As you can see in the image below Hadler didn't save us from more goals than expected, which can be interpreted as him not gaining us any points.


We decided to spend £100k on Owen Evans from Gillingham who was one of the best performing goalkeepers in League Two last season based on those same metrics.


In centre midfield we needed to upgrade the technical quality of the team to continue our possession and slow tempo style in League One. For this reason we bought in two players and loaned Regan Riley from Norwich again. The two players are

Nick Thomas - bought on a free transfer from our arch rivals Plymouth and we had to pay £89k in compensation. He is a very technical and creative player with poor physical qualities. If he is played in the right system where we can mask his weaknesses he can be a very good player for us now and in the future


Ger Devine - an absolutely quality player we bought in on loan from Middlesborough. He had an OK season on loan in the National League last season but I think he has the talent to step up to League One.


At CB we bought in cover in the form of Santos who comes in on loan from Bolton who are struggling financially and just got relegated to Leaue Two. CB is our best position depth wise as we have four League One standard CBs


We bought in Robbie Fraser who is a pacy attacking full back who can challenge Jack Sparkes.


We reloaned both Harvey Blair and Rob Douglas from last season for our players in wide positions.


We loaned out a host of youngsters but the most important were Adilson Furtado (made 24 appearances last season), Josh Brimacombe-Ward (3 appeances), and Tychique Kouakou (on loan in National League last season), all to League Two clubs. Hopefully they play well and can be part of the squad for us next season. All three players came form our academy.





We have kept two young players with us this season that can get some game time. 17 year old Geslin Matondo is one of them, he made a couple of appearances last season and is a great prospect. Goalkeeper Sean Cromie is also staying with us as 3rd choice keeper after we couldn't find a loan for him. He is still a great prospect and is now 19 years old.


Below is the tactic we will be going into the season with. We have a strong identity in terms of style of play. We aim to control possession with our three midfielders with outlets in Sparkes on the left hand side and Donacien who holds back but is always open at good angles for a safer pass. We then have Harvey Bair and Rodel Richards as inside forwards who make penetrating runs and dribble with the ball. We have the technical quality in mdifield to fund the runs from our attackers and Sparkes and also to keep the ball. Tommy Blair drops in to help out and he also finishes chances for us in the box.



We let go of a few bit-part players such as:

  • Gary Woods - our previous backup goalkeeper joined West Ham as a backup in the Premier League
  • Jack Caprice & Jermaine Hylton on loan

Other news in the world of football

  • Bukayo Saka transferred to PSG for £105 million
  • Frankie De Jong transferred to Bayern Munich for £134 millikon
  • Jude Bellingham transferred to Olympique Lyonnais for £103 million. No idea how they did this as they haven't won a trophy in 13 years and are playing in the Europa League
  • Most of the best players in the world play for Bayern


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First month in League One: August 2025

We finished the month in 1st place in the expected points table so lets end the season now using the expected points table :lol:


In reality we finished the month in 4th place with 4 games played in the league (3W, 1L) and we got knocked out of the League Cup against Championship side Watford. We played well in our matches, controlling the games, but we are conceding too many shots and not having enough shots ourselves. We are very enjoyable to watch though and we play how I described we would in my previous update.


One thing I didn't account for is that our team is quite small and weak (physically) now and that really showed this month as all the goals we conceded in the league were from set pieces. I will have to look out for this and possibly have us training defending set pieces more often.

I was happy with Matt Jay and Tommy Blair this month. Blair got 2 goals and 1 assist and Jay got 3 goals and 1 assist.

Other news:

  • We sold 1834 season tickets this season, up from 1677 last season. Small progress but its progress.
  • The board are delighted at how I've been integrating youth academy players into the first team since I joined.

Goalscorers this Month

  • 3 - Matt Jay
  • 2 - Tommy Blair
  • 1 - Harvey Blair
  • 1 - Rodel Richards
  • 1- Lewis Walker
  • 1 - Sam Stubbs

Goal of the Month

Excellent lob from outside the box by Harvey Blair with an assist from Tommy Blair. They are building quite the partnership


Stinker of the Month

Another set piece goal conceded


Other news in the world of football

  • Saka returned to the England team after not being in the squad for 5 years - and not being part of the World Cup winning squad in 2022
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League One isn't a walk in the park: September 2025

0 wins, 1 draw and 3 losses in the league this month. We did get a win the EFL Trophy though, which I am desperate to win this season, courtesy of a last minute goal by Rob Douglas


Our match against Crewe was another set piece disaster class as all 4 goals we conceded were from set pieces. I was also really disappointed to lose at home to our biggest rivals Plymouth which was a sell out crowd match. Most home mathes this season we get a crows of 5000 compared to 4500 last season in our 8700 capacity stadium (can be upgraded to 18k). Going forward I'll have to make sure I have set piece defending training in our training at least every 2 weeks.

Before the Barnsley match I held a team meeting at the recommendation of my assistant Mark Holland, telling the team we can stop our bad form and it seemed to lift the spirits in the camp, following on from that we stopped our three match losing streak and got a draw against Barnsley which hopefully means we are going into better form.


Our facilities are no longer good and I keep asking the board to improve our facilities and other parts of the club, but they reject all my requests due to a lack of finances. It's quite disappointed but I do understand our finances aren't fantastic.


Our three players on loan in League Two are doing well and progressing well so I'm happy with that.

Goalscorers this month

Rodel Richards: 2

Harvey Blair: 1

Rob Douglas: 1

Goal of the month

Good team play for Harvey Blairs goal against Crewe


Stinker of the month

Backup player Hartridge gets skinned as we concede in the 90thy minute against Derby



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All wins no losses: October 2025

A great bounce back month and it seems the team meeting towards the end of last month worked wonders as we won all our matches this month. We bumped all the way up to 5th in the league and secured our place in the EFL Trophy Second Round one game early as I reached 200 games in management.


At the beginning of the month I decided to change the formation as we had been too attacking last month and I think that contributed to our poor form. Sparkes stayed as a wing back but is now less attacking, and Devine changed from an advanced playmaker to a Carrilero, this makes him less attacking but his skills will still shine as he is now the key between defence and attack. I also slightly increased the tempo of our play so that we can start shooting more as we weren't having nearly enough shots before.


This month Rodel Richards had a great run of three games in a row where he scored 2 goals per game - all were great finishes too. Tommy Blair was injured for most of the month but came back at the end and got a couple goals.  The wins this month have me dreaming of getting a play off space but we will need to strengthen in January if we have any chance of that. I was really impressed with the Burton match as we saw the game out with great maturity. Fir the last 3 minute of the game we kept the ball for the whole time, not even letting the ball go out of play, until the referee blew the final whistle. A nice and calm end to the match. 

Unfortunately we lost Matt Jay to injury for 3 weeks at the end of the month.

2 of our wins led to managers getting sacked including Mark Hughes. Immediately after our wins against MK Dons and Shrewsbury, Mark Hughes and  got sacked respectively.



I want to have another type option from the bench in the striker position as I think it may hurt us later on in the season. For this reason we have triggered the £75k release clause in Andrew Quinn's contract, he plays in Northern Ireland and I've been following him since my time there. He is tall, strong, can header, is skilful and can finish and I hope he agrees a contract with us. He had alwady been lookng for a move to bigger club which is good, I just hope other teams don't try to hijack the deal.



  • Sean Cromie our youth keeper has been unhappy with the way I have been treating him as I keep criticising his training.
  • We received £2.3 mill from Chelsea after selling our 20% sell on clause for Ethan Ampadu. We now have £2.9 mill in the bank and £1.5 mill available for transfers which is massive
  • Paul O'Neill is a Cliftonville Icon
  • One of our goalkeeping coaches who I took with me from Cliftonville has completed in Continental Pro License and is now one of the best coaches in the world. He is an elite coach

Goalscorers this month

Rodel Richards: 6

Tommy Blair: 3

Matt Jay: 2

Archie Collins: 1

Moments of the month

Nice skill by Rob Douglas




Richards is in the form of his life


Ronaldo-esque header from Richards



No stinker of the month this month.

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