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[FM22] On A High At Wycombe But Not Wanting To Become The "Buck" Of The Joke - Humble Beginnings At Weymouth FC, Book 2: Wycombe Wanderers FC


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10 hours ago, Blarney said:

Always good to see Notts at the top

They do seem to do well in FM. :)

Them or Wrexham, who were actually after my third choice CB recently. You'll be glad to know I said "no".

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April/May 2023 - A Mixed Run In

We were probably unlikely to break into the play offs but three dismal defeats in our last seven games put paid to any chances. Those defeats showed me we have to strengthen in the summer if we do want to push our way towards promotion.

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What is most disappointing is that in the other four games we looked good. Anis Mehmeti had a poor April and, like Josh McQuoid at Weymouth, I am struggling to get the best from my most creative player.

April's first game, away at promotion chasing Charlton, was the first of those poor defeats. The second was away at another promotion chasing team in Rotherham. We really didn't turn up for those games. These are teams that have Championship quality players in their ranks and whilst this Wycombe team were a Championship side not so long ago it seems none of that legacy is left.

Our four games in the middle of the month were fun affairs - mostly - in which we scored some nice goals to beat mid and lower table teams. Josh Scowen's goal that beat Derby was a belter and I wouldn't be surprised if it gets goal of the season.

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The biggest humiliation didn't come until May though. Our final game was a welcome to a Blackpool side newly under the tenure of Simon Grayson and battling for the last play off spot. They destroyed us in the first half. Well, technically, we destroyed ourselves with a woeful performance. I slaughtered the lads in the half time break and, to their credit, got a better performance from some. Anis Mehmeti showed what he can do with two fine goals but shipping five at home is unacceptable!

Still, it was a reasonable end to the season - six wins in March and April - to take us up to a nice and lofty 10th placed finish.

AFC Wimbledon secured the title with a final day 3-0 win at relegated Northampton. Huddersfield could only draw on the final day but stayed second as MK Dons drew.

That win for Blackpool secured their spot on the play offs at the expense of a Sheffield Wednesday side that lost at Derby.

League One says goodbye to Burton, Northampton, Plymouth and Doncaster.

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League One Play Offs

Blackpool's victory over us seems to have buoyed them to the play off final. They deposed of MK Dons courtesy of a sole goal in the away leg. They'll meet Oxford in the final after the Us secured a good win over Charlton.

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But Oxford were too good for Blackpool in the final.

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As I thought, goal of the season has been chosen as Scowen's. The club's media department chose to remember the win against Burton.

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And, a brief financial summary.

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Our best eleven - as chosen by @wandererFanzine

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From our player awards night at the Adams Park Conference Center.

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Wycombe Wanderers Season Stats

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I told the squad that we could push for a top half finish next season and disappointingly got met with a poor reaction. Mid-table it is.

I want more but I will see how the squad looks at the start of next season. I'll need a new keeper at least.

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Elsewhere...

English Premier League

Chelsea fell away at the end and left it a battle between Liverpool and Manchester City. Just one win could seperate the teams and Liverpool were champions.

Manchester United fell away in the battle for the top four and only just squeaked into Europe on goal difference.

At the other end the unlucky three teams to drop down to the Championship were Burnley, Aston Villa and West Brom. Bournemouth beat Leicester City on the final day to secure their safety. Patson Daka was the cherries hero, scoring 9 in 19 league games since signing in January.

Liverpool did the treble, stuffing Brighton at Wembley to win the FA Cup. They won the League Cup back in February.

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English Championship

After all the failed attempts to run away with the title, Palace eventually lost out on top spot to FA Cup runners up Brighton. QPR joined Palace and Brighton from the play offs.

At the bottom the teams joining us in League One next season will be Hull City, Coventry City and Cardiff City.

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English League Two

The teams joining us from League Two are Rochdale (as champions), Forest Green (who had top spot for a long time), Colchester and Bristol Rovers (via the play offs).

Departing the league are Oldham Athletic and Scunthorpe.

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Europe

Champions League

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Europa League

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Europa Conference League

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European Leagues

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Former Club Watch

The following about sums up how things went for Weymouth:

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The man appointed was the little known Frankie Towers. I think there's a bug (of sorts) in the game where Conference clubs seem to appoint too many newgen managers. I bugged it. I do guess it's no different from me starting at Weymouth as a new manager though.

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In the end Weymouth finished 18th. So much for my hard work in making them play off contenders. That is a slide to stand the test of time.

Let's hope Frankie can do better than Jonah next season.

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2023/2024 Early Preview

Off to do a bit of a rebuild. I need a first choice keeper, a new striker (I very much doubt I'll get to keep Hugill), more impact from midfield and a strengthened defence. A number of my players are wanted and it's in my club vision to buy to sell. A good offer for the likes of Obita and Mehmeti and I suspect they'll be off.

The good news is a lot of my first team signed new contracts. We have a new signing arriving soon aswell.

Back soon.

 

 

 

 

Edited by anagain
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2 hours ago, Sheriff7 said:

A productive season.Next one with the correct moves in summer will be much better.:thup:

Thanks. I hope so. As often, it is finding someone to score the goals on a regular basis that is tough. With Vokes re-signing I'll need someone to bang them in. I have an idea...if he can do the business. :onmehead:

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2023/2024 Sky Bet League One Preview

The lads are back from their holidays, the cones are out and the expectations are set. All we are missing now is a squad.

First, the final verdict on the season just gone, as seen by Football365.

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As for the coming season, well the experts are expecting us to meet our mid table expectations...just about. It will be a tough start though, with a trip to Cardiff on day one. We end the season at a relegated team too, with a trip to Hull. Our first league game at Adams Park is the visit of Bolton on 19th August, though we will have faced Barnet in the EFL Cup a few days before that.

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Transfer Activity

OUT

There have been some movements already at the club and that includes the loss of two key players from last season. I didn't really feel I could stand in the way of either player but we got good money.

First to leave was an unexpected one for me. Dominic Gape had been at the club since 2016 but when Bristol City came in with a good offer he said he wanted to go. We're a selling club at heart and I doubted the board would turn down their noses at £1.2 million in the coffers. The deal was just over half now and the rest over three years.

I did put in an immediate bid for a replacement but that avenue chose Oxford United.

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Next was the transfer I expected to happen. Jordan Obita had been eyed favourably since I arrived at Wycombe. Age was against us but the final fee paid could rise to £800,000.

Jordan heads to Nottingham Forest.

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INS

We have one player in so far. Nya Kirby trained with us for a long while at the end of last season and his performances for the U23s were consistent and good. Nya is well-rounded 23 year old midfielder with potential to improve and signs until 2025.

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~~~~~~~~

FREES

David Stockdale retired and leaving us on frees are five players whom I felt deserved playing time elsewhere.

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~~~~~~~~

I have contracts being considered by two players and they are considerable ones for players whom I think will be key. They have offers from elsewhere though. I've had one player go elsewhere and hopefully won't get bitten again.

One of these players - a keeper - has a counter offer from League Two Doncaster. The other - a left back - is a greater concern with Hull and Motherwell interested. Finger's crossed.

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Above is the abundant number of players I have taken on trial. I know there is one name up there that will stand out.

Yes, Junior Stanislas. The experienced pro was released by Bournemouth. I saw the headlines and decided to give it a shot with a trial offer. Junior agreed and, dependent on wages, could be a great addition to the squad. He might want too much.

There is a keeper, two defenders, three midfielders and three strikers in those triallists.

Pre-Season Begins

Now begins the hard work in a busy pre-season. We have twice weekly matches for the next five weeks before we take on Cardiff. That's a first team game at the weekend and the U23s midweek.

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It's going to be a lot of work building this squad. I expect disappointments along the way. I'll be back with a squad update before we meet Cardiff.

I'll leave you with my updated profile. Not a huge amount of change really. I've been studying for that Continental A licence for a good while now.

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Edited by anagain
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On 10/02/2022 at 14:53, anagain said:

Thanks. I hope so. As often, it is finding someone to score the goals on a regular basis that is tough. With Vokes re-signing I'll need someone to bang them in. I have an idea...if he can do the business. :onmehead:

Yeah i saw ex-international with Wales in your squad, let's hope he will be your man in front.

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21 hours ago, Sheriff7 said:

Yeah i saw ex-international with Wales in your squad, let's hope he will be your man in front.

If you mean Vokes, he's the one that should provide/link up.

Little Update

It's been a tough window so far. Lots of lows and I have had to radically lower my hopes.

This club ain't being ambitious about going up. I'm fine about that though. I like to play FM in a realistic way. I don't expect Wycombe to shoot up the leagues in the real world so I shouldn't.

The board just upped the Transfer Revenue but I find it hard to use all anyway. Players want too much money. I have only about £10k wages to play with and a lot of players want £5k a week. I might have been a little gung ho on some bonuses (you'll know all about that, @Sheriff7:D), but some players you have to have.

There's one big player left that might head out. If he does it'll be a big pay day. I don't know if I can use the money but I can use the chance to up wages.

The number of players that chose other clubs is deflating...I guess we don't have that pulling power.

the simpsons volleyball GIF

Onwards we go. Still need players.

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Season 2023/2024 - Pre-Season

It has been a long pre-season. On the park I was reasonably pleased and everyone is fit for the coming campaign. There's names in the friendly results below that you won't recognise. Many were triallists that came and went like moths.

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(U23s)

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Transfer Window

What was painful was negotiating the transfer window. It is so very different from the free transfers of the National League. Wages were a common stumbling block and I possibly spent too freely to start with. I am reasonably pleased with what the club has been able to manage. Whether the fans and the board are is an open question. I've already been questioned by the media as to whether I have too many players. We only have 18, although that doesn't include three keepers and the one U21 player that will not go out on loan. It's still not a huge squad.

INS

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OUTS

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Kieran O'Hara (GK)

Kieran is our replacement for the retiring Stockdale and comes in after having left Shrewsbury. This wasn't an easy position to fill and I actually even gave up on signing a new back up to Kieran. I will rely on youngsters Przybek and Dickinson.

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Jake Scrimshaw (Striker)

Jake comes to us after being released by Bournemouth and is a player I believe has potential. He often scored for fun in the Bournemouth development ranks and I have faith he can find his scoring boots for us. We shall see.

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Kaelan Casey (CD)

It was being suggested I wasn't living up to the board desire that I sign U23s and Kaelan is my first effort to rectify that. He is a good youngster though and he can fight for a place at the back. Kaelan comes to us after being released by West Ham.

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Luke McNally (CD)

Luke is my one signing that cost us money. That was a whopping £195k paid to promoted Oxford, that promotion having diminished Luke's game time hopes. Luke is a well-rounded center back that, at 23, can only get better.

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Patrick Almond (CD/CM)

I may just admit to Patrick being a little bit of a panic signing. This was halfway through the window and I had just had a few potential transfers evaporate. My midfield was starting to look a little poor and Patrick did so well in a friendly that I opted to give him a chance. It is looking like Patrick may go out on loan to Dover very soon. I do still believe the lad has potential so we'll see how he does.

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Jordan Marshall (LB)

When we sold Jordan Obita it angered some of the squad who believed we had sold too good a player. I promised a good replacement and then really struggled to find that replacement. I believe I saw two potential arrivals opt for Championship clubs. Jordan possibly isn't on the same level as those I tried to sign but he is cheaper and I still feel he's good enough for League One. Jordan arrives on a free after leaving Dundee.

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Dennis Adeniran (CM)

Dennis is a very capable and versatile central midfielder who joins on a free having left Sheffield Wednesday. I was disappointed to have lost Gape, though the fee we received was too good to turn down, and I do believe Dennis is as good as our former captain. Filling a number of midfield roles makes Dennis adaptable to what I need game to game. The media have already decided the battle is on with Josh Scowen to be our number one midfielder.

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Wycombe Squad

So, on the eve of the new League One campaign my squad looks as follows.

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The final verdict on our hopes before the season starts is down to the media. They're still not tipping us for play offs. It's lower mid table for us.

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The favourites are Cardiff and thanks to some hefty purchases Derby are second favourites. Of course, when Derby are spending £2.6m on players I can understand that prediction.

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We're nowhere to be seen on predictions for best player or top goalscorer too. Go on, Scrimy, show them!

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...and we start at the favourites. What a way to test this squad on day one.

Futurama Ambivalence GIF

 

 

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7 hours ago, Blarney said:

McNally looks nice.  Just 23 and has very good physicals and good mental. Could be a nice signing there. 

Yeah, I was pleased to pick him up. I'd missed out on so many first choices by that point. 

40 minutes ago, Sheriff7 said:

Good luck!The start of a season is always exciting!;)

Thanks. It is. Though frustrating, I did enjoy that window too. :D

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Been a bit slow going this week - another game has really captured my attention and FM is suffering a bit. What limited midweek gaming time I have has been given to Dyson Sphere Program - check it out.

August 2023 - A Stubborn Start

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We started the season with a wonderful result at Cardiff. We were heavily unfancied in this game and Sam Vokes penalty was a marvellous moment. Against Bolton we suffered a penalty woe. After Bolton had taken the lead Scrimshaw scored his first goal for us, beating the Bolton keeper to a headed Mehmeti assist, and Vokes scored from close range to turn the tables on the northern side. Bolton won an undeserved point midway through the second when Marshall was adjudged to have brought his man down in the box. To everyone but the referee it was a wonderful tackle.

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We then lost our first game of the season in an undeserved manner at Rotherham. It was a 91st minute winner and I was gutted!

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EFL Cup

There was also the EFL Cup in August and some pleasing progress.

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The penalty win over Barnet was relief but the penalty win over Luton was a wonderful feeling. We had fallen behind to another shocking penalty decision before Mehmeti's equaliser. David Wheeler had got what I had hoped would be our winner late in the second half before an even later Luton equaliser had sent the game to penalties. Adam Przybek was the hero as he saved Muskwe's poor penalty.

We'll play Huddersfield in the 3rd round. How far can we go?

~~~~~

Thanks to Rotherham's late winner our league position doesn't look too good. Loads of games left.

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September...

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Football is never easy but let's hope we can get three points in one of the fixtures in September.

The EFL Trophy starts in September too. West Ham U23s up first in our group.

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Summer Transfer Window Closes

But not without movement in and out of Wycombe. Outs first.

Outs
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I hadn't even thought about Thompson leaving. His performances hadn't been great to start the season but he's been Wycombe man for seven years. When Ipswich accepted my suggestion of his value I decided the possible £240k was too good to turn down. Most importantly the deal did away with £3k a week in wages. We can spend that wisely.

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The Mehmeti deal was always going to happen. I just thought it would be Forest. I had valued our Albanian at £1.5m and Anis had come to me on deadline day to say he wanted to move on. He accepted that I couldn't just offer him out so it was only fair of me to accept Stoke's bid. I reckon we could get that £250k extra. It's another £4k off the wages too.

So, who joined us?

Ins

Not the number of signings I wanted, certainly. I just replaced our outs. 

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Odel Offiah joins us on loan from Brighton and is a young and versatile defensive minded player. Odel fills a number of wants for me. He can play center back, right back or in midfield. Brighton had offered him out for nothing but I chose to pay less than £1k a week to be allowed to play Odel anywhere.

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Next is Riley Owen who signs on loan from Spurs. I'll be very honest and say this was a blind transfer. The Mehmeti transfer happened late in the day and I wanted more cover on the left. I turned to my director of football and he suggested Riley Owen. "Why not", I said. I think we gained a promising young man who can certainly have a role to play this season.

~~~~~

We're probably not done. The opportunity to sign players on a free is not closed to us and I have my eyes on a few names. I had two strikers lined up on deadline day. Jordan Rhodes was available but wanted way more money than I was willing to pay. It's a shame because Huddersfield only wanted £5k for him. I then tried to sign Freddie Ladapo from Rotherham but was beaten by the deadline. If only Stoke had come in with their bid a little faster.

I'd like two or three more faces really. Max Power - the man with the greatest name in football - has agreed a contract with Perth Glory but is awaiting the results of a work permit decision due on 9th September. If he doesn't join the Ozzies I may jump in.

 

Elsewhere...

England

Premier League

Manchester City have begun with three wins out of three to lead England's top flight at this early stage. But for a 1-1 draw at Leicester, Liverpool would be top on goal difference. The Reds have the result of the season so far, stuffing Fulham 7-1 at Anfield. Liverpool also gained the first trophy of the season, beating Manchester City in the Community Shield.

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Championship

In the second tier both Sheffield United and Forest have started with 100% records. The Sheffield club have won all games 4-0 whilst newly relegated Villa took the prize for most entertaining game of August with a 3-3 draw at newly promoted Wimbledon.

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Former Club Watch

It has been an unspectacular start for new Weymouth manager Frankie Towers. Just one point in their first five games sees Frankie under pressure already. They have been tight games, so I'll give Frankie the benefit of the doubt. Need a goalscorer though, Frankie.

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There's not a lot to see in terms of transfer activity from the Terras. A couple of loanees have arrived and a striker on a free on deadline day. Could Alex Fletcher end the scoring woes?

There was a lot more activity when it comes to players leaving the Bob Lucas at the end of their contract. I hope most of those players refused to sign contracts because many are players I wouldn't have let go.

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The Weymouth squad is seriously short on numbers. New signings Murphy Bennett and Alex Fletcher have not yet been given numbers. The names highlighted grey are U23 squad members that have been given shirt numbers.

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C'mon Terras, sort it out.

 

 

 

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September 2023 - Mixed Tidings

September stuttered along for us like an old motor on a cold morning. We started great before faltering mid-month. Right at the end of the month we showed how good we could be for 55 minutes. That was followed by a case of how poor we can be for 35 minutes.

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We started the month with a great win over MK Dons courtesy of two David Wheeler goals. Wheeler then continued his scoring streak as we beat West Ham U23s in the EFL Trophy. The goals went missing from that point onwards though - for both Wheeler and the whole team. Charlton were way too good for us and the Derby and Blackpool games were tepid affairs.

Our cup run in the ELF Cup came to an end at the hands of Championship side Huddersfield before we showe dhow to score goals in a blistering first 55 against Exeter. But, as I said above, we looked shaky late in the game to nearly hand a point back to the Grecians.

There is a muttering of discontent around the club that my team talks could be more supportive of the team's efforts. My words at the end of that Exeter match might not have done that discontent a helping hand. We can't let complacency slip in though.

We're up to twelth after all that. The next match against unbeaten Wigan should put a stop to our upward intentions though.

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Transfer News

The eagle eyed among you will surely have noticed a new name on the scoresheet against Exeter. I was not happy with our options out wide or our lack of goals in the middle of the month. I had had Junior Stanislas on trial in pre-season but the former Bournemouth man had wanted wages that were way too high for us when I had tried to sign him then. It would seem a number of weeks without a club lowered his demands and I opted to give him a chance here.

Junior didn't start great but finally came alive with a lovely early goal against Exeter.

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October...

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The home game against Wigan will show me just how good - or bad - we can be. Games against slow starters Rovers, Colchester, Gillingham and Shrewsbury will also be eye openers.

Elsewhere...

English Premier League

Manchester City continued their quest for an invincible season with four more wins in September. Marcelo Bielsa's team scored 14 times and conceded just once. The month included a 6-1 demolition of Spurs that sees the Londoners down in 19th at this early stage.

Liverpool are the only team keeping City in their sights as the Reds also had an unbeaten month. Jurgen Klopp's team could only score ten though.

Bournemouth are doing well in 8th place in their second season back in the Premier League. It is early days though.

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English Championship

The unbeaten records continue in England's second tier with Sheffield United dropping just two points to lead the division by five points over Blackburn. Peterborough nearly upset the apple cart on the last day of September though.

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On The Continent

Parma are providing the biggest shock on the continent currently. They currently lead Serie A by five points.

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We are one week in to the group stages of Europe's club competitions.

Champions League

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Europa League

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Europa Conference League

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Former Club Watch

Weymouth are still dangerously close to the drop zone in the National League and their manager is still Frankie Towers.

September was a month of few goals either scored or conceded for the Terras but two wins will give my former club hope.

The Terras got in two new loan signings in September. Sam Ramsbottom is a goalie who signs from Ross County and Isaak Davies is a left winger from Cardiff. Ramsbottom is a keeper I had had my scouts look at so it will be interesting to see how he does at Weymouth.

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5 hours ago, Sheriff7 said:

A Play off spot looks quite reasonable. Good to see Olympiakos back in CL.;)

I'm not sure I have the squad for it. I really want a reliable goalscorer. Thanks for the faith though.

Had a bit of low desire to play FM for a while but I enjoyed yesterday's sessions. Need to find more time to play.

Need to catch up with this forum too.

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  • 2 weeks later...

October 2023 - Looking Upwards

October saw us reach new heights. Things started slowly but in the middle of the month we ramped things up and haven't looked back.

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Halfway through October I was thinking our strike force wasn't going to cut it at this level. Scrimshaw was happy after stating that he didn't believe I had honoured a promise to improve the midfield - not that he ever asked for the reasons - and Wheeler was on a barren patch after his bundle of goals at the start of September. There were two blanks, against Wigan and Colchester, we scraped a win in the Trophy against Stevenage and just about beat Rovers.

The tables turned at home to Shrewsbury as our opponents had a man sent off in the third minute. We turned on the style to stun the Shrews 4-0. We then made up for a poor first half with two goals to beat Lincoln. Scrimshaw's winner in that game is possibly the easiest goal he will ever score. Well, he is a poacher.

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To finish the month we put in the best display I have seen since I arrived here to demolish Gillingham by four goals to nil.

And that win has seen us rise to the lofty position of 5th in League One, albeit there is a Wednesday night of fixtures on the first day of November.

Did I mention we haven't conceded in seven games now? When the defence is beaten O'Hara is there.

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November...

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November starts busy with five games in 14 days, including Wrexham in the FA Cup and another visit to Gillingham in the Trophy. Moneybags Wrexham are mid table in League Two.

Elsewhere...

English Premier League

In England's top division little has changed. Manchester City and Liverpool are still unbeaten after ten games. Chelsea and Leicester lead the rest of the pack but it's getting strung out. It was Wolves that ended City's 100% record with a 2-2 draw at Molyneaux.

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Bournemouth's form could be better and the Cherries find themselves down in 14th. Holding Manchester United to a 2-2 draw at home will have given the team some confidence. United are struggling again though and are well away from being a top 4 club.

English Championship

In the Championship Sheffield United find themselves four points clear but the chasing pack have a game in hand.

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European Championship Qualifiers

There were few shocks in October's qualifiers. England continued on course to qualify comfortably with a win over Estonia and San Marino secured their first ever win in a European Qualifier as they beat the Faeroes. There is one round of fixtures to go in the group stage. Qualified already are just England and Netherlands.

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Former Club Watch

Frankie Towers is still in charge in Dorset but the Terras are now in the relegation zone in the National League. The club had just the one win in October, beating Bath in the FA Cup. Just two goals in league games too.

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  • 2 weeks later...

November 2023 - It Just Gets Better

I am quite amazed at what this team is achieving and the lofty position we find ourselves in at the start of December. The shining moment of November was the thrashing of Rochdale but we're still unbeaten (in 15 now) and I'm flabergasted.

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The month started slower though, with us scraping a win over Orient before hitting a blank at Crewe. We safely negotiated the cups, although that win over Wrexham was a nervy affair, before we kicked up a gear against Rochdale. We blew Dale apart in the first half and I was actually annoyed when we conceded at 3-0 up. We finished our opponents off early in the second and the match petered out. Dennis Adeniran was simply imperious in this game and I loved his little dinked finish for our opener.

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Coventry showed why they were a Championship club as recently as last season to hold us to a point apiece in the next game before we returned to winning ways with a great win at ten man Bradford.

The goals are flowing nicely, our defence is stubborn and we're 3rd in League One. Third! I would have been happy with an upper mid table finish in this team rebuild, maybe a late push for the play offs. After our poor start I thought we might not even get that.

My name is circulating too. I turned this down though. It's sideways currently. It was hard though. I had a save with Charlton some FMs ago and really enjoyed it.

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Just two losses - right at the start of our campaign - and just 11 conceded. Ours is the meanest defence in League One - by 5 goals, over Hull.

We did just lose Luke McNally for two to three months with a hip injury though. Luke has been sensational for us and he'll be missed.

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December...

Christmas is always busy in football and this season is no different. Seven league games and two cup games await us in December. Months like this are what seperate the wheat from the chaff. Our squad will have to be utilised.

Games against fellow promotion chasers Sheffield Wednesday, Hull and Wigan will be huge and show just how good we can be. Or how not so good.

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Elsewhere...

English Premier League

Liverpool finally lost - to Chelsea - and that extends Manchester City's lead at the top to five points. It also closes the gap between Liverpool and Chelsea. There are five more points to Arsenal in fourth though. A 0-0 draw with Liverpool gave City only their second dropped points of the season.

Bournemouth have had a surge and find themselves way up in tenth. Losing to local rivals Saints will hurt though.

The woes continue for Manchester United. England's so-called greatest club are already 14 points down on their noisy neighbours and they won all three league games in November!

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English Championship

In England's second tier Sheffield United have opened up a six point gap at the top. Stories of the toughness of the Championship are not exaggerated though. This will change.

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European Leagues

The most standout fact from the continent is that Parma still lead the pack in Italy. It is as per usual in the rest of the continent's top leagues. Real Madrid, PSG and Bayern top their leagues.

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Scotland is a little unexpected. Aberdeen lead the way at this stage and Rangers seem to be flirting with relegation.

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European Championship Qualifiers

The qualifiers are done and all but four teams for Germany 2024 known.

The groups finished as shown:

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The second placed teams table decided the only one of those teams to miss out on direct qualification (Wales):

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The final four qualifiers appear to be decided by play offs but I am not entirely sure how teams qualify. Israel, who finished third in Group F, haven't qualified but Greece and Malta, who finished fourth and fifth in the same group, have. FM isn't too great at explaining how teams qualify for tournaments! Maybe something to do with the Nations league. Malta won their Nations League group but so did Latvia - at the same level - and they didn't qualify for the play offs. I'l just accept it!!

Confused Season 3 GIF by The Simpsons

Anyway, this is the draw for the play offs to decide the final four teams. That's two rounds, but I think you worked that out.

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Yes, there is a fixture there that stands out. The joy of FM is that Russia and Ukraine can simply play football to sort it out. Slava Ukraini! image.png.6d8a3c3409bea96c7ae88d6561513197.png

Chuck all that in a pot and you have 24 teams that will be drawn in to 6 groups on Wednesday 10th April 2024. Phew!!

Former Club Watch

I'll finish with a quick look at how Weymouth are doing these days.

Long story, short. It's not good. Frankie Towers is still there, the team haven't won in the league since 19th September and they are bottom of the National League.

The Terras did beat Notts County in the FA Cup First Round though. Their reward is a trip to Stevenage.

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C'mon Frankie, sort it out son!

 

 

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Great run,you look ready to achieve promotion this year. Czech republic 4th place looks very weird.And what a crazy draw(Russia-Ukraine). 

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Posted (edited)

December 2023 - Upsetting The Apple Cart

Well, I didn't expect us to be in the position we're in at the start of 2024. We've been phenomenal and had only a few small blips. Our tour de force is our defensive performance that sees us clearly the best defensive team in League One.

Yes, we finish the year top!

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One team to really be left reeling from playing us this month were Forest Green. We met the vegans twice in December and scored 6 goals to their one. Losing to Fleetwood was a small blip but we made up for that with wins over promotion chasing Wednesday, Hull and Wigan.

The match at home to Hull was a particular highlight. After a woeful first half we found ourselves a goal down and that became even worse when Hull slotted home a penalty just four minutes in to the second. I urged the lads to start showing the money they were earning and, to give them their dues, they listened to me.

First was a wonderful curled finish from the edge of the box from Stanislas that left the keeper floundering. It was a sensational goal from a player that is just getting better and better and whom is one of the shining lights of our success so far.

We equalised with quarter of an hour to go, Scrimshaw the first to react to a lovely little Vokes ball. Our winner came from the unlikely head of Kaelan Casey, his first goal for us. It was a corner from man of the match Stanislas and Casey rose highest to send both myself and the crowd wild. What a turnaround!

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All that remained was to finish the month off with a comfortable 4-1 win at home to local rivals Colchester. It leaves us a remarkable four points clear as we head in to the new year.The teams we had been battling with had a woeful Christmas. Cardiff, Hull and Wigan dropped back and Crewe and Leyton Orient are the teams that are showing the best form. Crewe are unbeaten in 14 in the league. Rotherham's Paul Warne is December's best performing manager and his side dropped just two points in December to find themselves just outside the play offs.

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Cups

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The start of December saw us in action in the latest rounds of the EFL Trophy and the FA Cup. We were poor against League Two's Barnet in the ELF Trophy. The Bees took us to penalties and won as Nya Kirby missed his spot kick.

In the FA Cup we came up against divisional rivals Blackpool. It was a close game that was decided by a Junior Stanislas finish to a beautiful passage of play in the 85th minute. I was hoping for a big team in the 3rd round but we instead drew National League Bromley. We'll have to beat lower division opposition if we want a cream tie against the likes of Liverpool or Manchester City.

January...

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January looks on paper an easy month. Lincoln are mid table. Shrewsbury, Bristol Rovers and Gillingham are battling relegation. I don't think it will be as easy as it sounds. These lower teams have a tendency to upset the odds and we shall have to see how we are faring when we come up against better opposition in Derby at the end of the month.

There is also the small matter of an FA Cup 3rd round tie against Bromley.

Elsewhere...

English Premiership

Manchester City have lost two games since we last spoke. City lost their unbeaten record to Arsenal and then lost 2-1 in a huge shock at bottom club Watford. Liverpool dropped to third as they lost the big derby to Everton 1-0. Chelsea were the team to capitalise, moving in to second after an unbeaten month.

Bournemouth are on a six match run without a win and find themselves having dropped to 15th.

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English Championship

Sheffield United have pulled away from the chasing pack in the second tier and find themselves seven points clear now of second placed Brentford. The Blades are unbeaten in ten now.

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Elsewhere In England

Hollywood club Wrexham are the cream of the crop in League Two and find themselves two points clear of Cheltenham. Reynolds and McElhenney have spent less than you might think though. Other than spending £105k on George Alexander from Bromley the only incomings have been frees. The Welsh club top the salary table by a couple of hundred thousand though.

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Europe

Parma have fallen away in Italy and now the only club upsetting the big boys are Lyon who are joint top of Ligue 1 with PSG. A 2-0 win over the Parisians, despite being down to 10 men, was the highlight of December.

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The Group Stages are over in the continental club competions and the knockout stages drawn.

Champions League

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Europa League

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Europa Conference League

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Former Club Watch

And finally, a look at how my former club Weymouth are doing now. The answer? Well it gets worse for the Terras. The club find themselves bottom of the National League by 7 points and they lost their FA Cup tie to Stevenage 1-4. The team are 16 games without a win now.

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Rather surprisingly, Frankie Towers is still manager. I guess the board think he can save the club with a great transfer window. Assuming they don't realise they can sign players at any time.

The club need a miracle.

 

That's it for now. I'll leave you with a start of 2024 profile.

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Edited by anagain
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13 hours ago, Sheriff7 said:

This first place was coming ,we could easily see it from you last updates.Great work,i believe you will finish there. :thup:

Thanks. Surprised really because I wasn't entirely happy with my summer transfer window.

It must be my tactics, which surprises me even more.

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January 2024 - Unstoppable Force!

Yet another fantastic month with just two points dropped and no goals against. Our only blip was suffered in a contentious draw with Derby at Pride Park. It was contentious for the fact that Derby manager David Artell belittled our season by suggesting that we were overachieving and that teams were guilty of being complacent against us rather than it was our ability that had got us where we were.

I quashed his claims as 'ridiculous' and hoped to get one over on Artell in the match. Derby had the best of the game though and it was only a number of fantastric saves by O'Hara that kept us in the match. We nearly snatched the win right at the end but I was happy to go home with a point.

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Zesty!

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I said last month that I was concerned that the games against lower opposition would be tougher than some might expect. Shrewsbury, Bristol Rovers and Gillingham did indeed give us a game. It was against mid table Lincoln that we produced our best display of the month to win 3-0.

Goal of the month for me was a beauty by Ryan Tafazolli. Taf picked the ball up on the edge of the box, swivelled and rifled a deceptively bending shot in to the top corner. image.thumb.png.d74d7f0179243a7c5484e777299bf8ea.png

There was also the small matter of an FA Cup 3rd round tie against Bromley. It took a solo effort from a name you might recognise, but you haven't been told he's at the club now. More of transfers in a bit.

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I'd wanted a big club in round three. I got it in round four. Newcastle United at St James' Park. Hopefully we can do ourselves proud.

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And we finish January top by four points over Cardiff but having played a game less than our Welsh competition.

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Winter Transfer Window

There have been more outs than ins at Wycombe this window. I've had a number of players wanting more game time because it would seem footballers are an impatient bunch that do not recognise that changing a winning team is a bad idea.

Leaving permanently was Nick Freeman. He was always on the fringes of the matchday squad and never really peformed when called upon. He asked for a loan spell over Christmas but when Burton came in with a bid I decided to take the money. Nick joins Burton Albion for a fee of £16.75k (could rise to £19.5k).

I don't know that I mentioned it but Tyla Dickinson joined Concord on loan in November. Tyla was third choice keeper and not getting game time. Joining Tyla on loan deals are Nya Kirby and Joe Nuttall. Nya has been unable to force his way into the team and asked to go on loan. He joins Sutton in League Two. Also moving to League Two is Joe Nuttall who joins Salford on loan.

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Joining the club are two players. First in is a well known name from Aston Villa that has already been mentioned. Sadly, we haven't acquired the best of two brothers but Aaron Ramsey is a talented youngster that has ability across the midfield. His debut was against Bromley and he really made a fine entrance with the winner.

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Our second window signing is one with an eye on the future. My scouts found this young midfielder playing for Brackley in the National League South. Mikey Windsor is a young man with an eye for a pass. He is just 16 but could do a job for us if needed.

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And that is another window done. There were more big outgoings in our league than there were big incomings. Derby lost Jason Knight to Sheffield United but gained £5.75m. The biggest incomings were for Cardiff and Forest Green who both spent £250k, on Josh Davidson and Lewis Mayo, respectively. Derby spent £240k of their incoming fees on Joe Tomlinson.

There were six incomings for Rochdale in aide of the Lancashire club's efforts to avoid the drop. 

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February...

February sees six games crammed in to the shortest month. As well as a huge tie at Newcastle in the cup we visit 5th placed Orient and welcome 8th placed Crewe. I doubt we'll manage another month long shut out, with the cup tie, but if we can stay top we'll be just ten games from promotion.

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Elsewhere...

English Premier League

Manchester City are no longer top despite an unbeaten month in the league. A 1-1 draw with Everton is what keeps them in second. Chelsea are the top team after a 100% January.

Bournemouth had a wonderful January, losing to just Palace to climb up to 11th.

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The biggest story of the month were the semi-finals of the EFL Cup. In one semi-final Arsenal dominated Manchester United to secure a place at Wembley, 4-1 on aggregate. The other semi was a story by itself, Manchester City securing the comeback of all comebacks to beat Liverpool with a 90th minute penalty strike by Milinkovic-Savic.

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I thought I might have a quick look at the big transfer deals of the January window in the Premier League. Everton, in a chase for Europe, spent £64m on Marcel Sabitzer of Bayern. Manchester City spent £53m to secure young midfielder Nico from Barcelona but current leaders Chelsea spent just £25.5m on Feyenoord defender Marcos Senesi.

Bournemouth manager Tony Mowbray must be happy as the Cherries spent a whopping zero. They had spent £44.5m in the summer though.

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By far the biggest signing in Europe in the window was the transfer of Marcus Rashford from Manchester United to Bayern for a figure that could rise to £139m.

English Championship

As is so often the case in the Championship, Sheffield United have thrown away the lead. They secured just one point in January and are now third. The new leaders are Brentford but it's tight as can be at the top.

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Former Club Watch

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Frankie Towers is gone. It all came to an end on 13th January with a 3-1 defeat to Scunthorpe. The Terras did manage to beat Oxford City 3-0 this month but are still rock solid bottom.

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Very interesting "battle" against Artel.:lol: He is Gibraltarian?I think he has 1 cap with Gibraltar national team.Great run also.;)

Edited by Sheriff7
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16 minutes ago, Sheriff7 said:

Very interesting "battle" against Artel.:lol: He is Gibraltarian?I think he has 1 cap with Gibraltar national team.Great run also.;)

Yep, that's him.

Over achievement? As if.

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Posted (edited)

February 2024 - A Few Blips Along The Way

February was a tough month. I think it may have settled in around our trip to St James' Park and the nerves associated with such a big match. That is not to completely rule out the effect that late season injuries are having on our squad. Biggest among those injuries in February has been the loss of our keeper extraordinaire Kieran O'Hara. I lost Keiran to strained knee ligaments suffered in training on 8th February and results have suffered as a result. Adam Przybek has stood in and we've looked a little nervous at the back, though Adam did have a very good game against Newcastle. More on that lately.

As of the end of February we have Keiran, Jack Iredale and Jordan Marshall injured. Throughout the month we also lost Luke Dreher, Jack Sparkes (our entire left back line up then) and Demetri Mitchell. Tiredness has been a factor alongside the injuries with Taf the most notable man we've had to rest a lot. He's not getting any younger, our captain.

In good news, Luke McNally has returned to training after his hip injury and just needs fitness.

I did sign a keeper in February. With Keiran injured and Tyla Dickinson away on loan I decided to bring in another keeper. Alex Kovacevic spent some time on trial here in January and did well enough that I turned to the youngster first. Alex is 18 and a former Arsenal youth player. Whether Alex has the ability to be any more than a bit part in getting us through this season remains to be seen.

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Anyway, the results for February, you say.

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We started okay with a win over mid table under performers Charlton, though we did concede our first goal since the end of December. The Newcastle result I will discuss below but suffice it to say it did put a dampener on the rest of the month. We lost to Exeter in a very underwhelming performance before a vastly improved display to see off Blackpool 3-0. The first half of that game was great but the second not so, and that form continued against serious competition in Leyton Orient. Orient have been pushing hard to cement a play off spot and showed us that we're not quite as good as we might think we are, and especially if we don't perform.

I spoke to the squad after that game and suggested we needed to buck our ideas up. They agreed and put in a better performance against Crewe. It was never free of nerves though and I need to see better in March.

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Our trip up north was a momentous affair and I think we did ourselves proud...eventually. We started awful, the lads clearly feeling the weight of expectation, and we were three down by the 34th minute. The Newcastle front line of Gabriel Barbosa, Manor Solomon and Allan Saint-Maximin were tearing us apart and Adam Przybek made a number of cracking saves to keep the score at three.

We stepped it up at that point and got reward for a much better last ten minutes of the half, Sam Vokes nodding home a Ramsey cross with a minute to the break.

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We pushed Newcastle hard in the second half and managed to get a second in injury time. It was too late to leave us time to find an equaliser but I was very happy with the effort in pegging the Premier League outfit back to 3-2.

A tough month then, but we are still top of League One. The chasing pack are seperated by barely a whisker but second is Hull, six points shy of us after they beat Rotherham 4-2 last night.

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March...

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Our biggest challenge in March will be the welcome of fourth placed Cardiff. Rochdale and MK Dons are deep in relegation worries and I wonder if beating them could get us to a point where the title is a formality. I maybe shouldn't count my chickens but surely we can't throw this away.

Elsewhere...

English Premier League

As per usual we'll start with a look at England's top division. Manchester City are back on top although second placed Chelsea have a game in hand. The rest of the pack have fallen well behind, especially Manchester United who have had a torrid start to 2024. The Red Devils have lost to Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City since late January.

It wasn't all plain sailing for leaders City though, being held by bottom of the pile QPR at the Etihad this month.

Bournemouth's form is akin to a roller coaster. They gained just one point in February to slide back down to 13th. The Cherries seem well clear of the drop zone though.

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English Championship

The top five in the second tier have formed a bit of a gap on the rest. Current leaders are Burnley as they seek an immediate return to the top flight.

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Elsewhere in England...

Remember that Wrexham were showing their Hollywood credentials off a couple of months back? Well, the North Wales club are now six points clear at the top of League Two. The Red Dragons spent £130k on new signings in January including £87k on Crewe's Callum Ainley.

In the FA Cup shocks seem a rarity and I've posted the 5th Round draw below. League One Derby are the lowest ranked club left in the cup after they beat Championship Luton. Their reward? A trip to the Etihad.

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Former Club Watch

Weymouth have a new manager at the helm. His name is Danny Thorpe and he has welcomed a slight upturn in fortunes for the Terras with six points from his first three games.

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They're still bottom, and still look favourites for the drop, but it's a little prettier a picture. Twelve games left and Weymouth are 15 points shy of safety. It would be a miracle.

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Addendum

I'll just finish up with something I've been meaning to look at for months of this write up. That is our club finances. Player sales have had a great effect on the books, and I suspect this last month's great profit was due to the visit to Newcastle. It's looking rosey.

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Edited by anagain
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  • anagain changed the title to [FM22] On A High At Wycombe But Not Wanting To Become The "Buck" Of The Joke - Humble Beginnings At Weymouth FC, Book 2: Wycombe Wanderers FC
On 05/04/2022 at 09:10, Sheriff7 said:

Ramsey and Vokes.A deadly duo,in many ways...

Yeah, I know what you mean. I could do with the Welsh Ramsey. Sadly, all my strikers seem to be suffering a lack of deadly duos.

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March 2024 - Getting Closer But It's Never Easy

March was a testing month, one we finished unbeaten but from which I'd expected more. Our last game of the month at MK Dons was postponed for international reasons so we don't get a busy Easter. That could help this final promotion push.

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We started March by beating Bolton 2-1, a result courtesy of a Taf bullet header. Bolton scored late but we held on.

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Then came two utterly frustrating games that left me wondering how tight our complacency could make this run in. We were poor as poor can be against Rochdale and I really think the almost relegated side should have won that game. Against Coventry we looked great as we stormed in to a 2-0 lead. We totally switched off at the end though to allow Coventry a point.

The chasing pack were closing in on us now and it was imperative we beat Cardiff and hope the chasers might slip up. We held up our end of the bargain with a good performance to beat Cardiff 2-0. Second placed Hull were 1-0 down in their game at Gillingham but sadly went on to win 3-2. Wigan slipped up by losing to Rotherham at home.

I was then left sitting tensely as much of the division played on Good Friday (when we would have played MK Dons). Hull won to end the month two points shy of us but Wigan were one of those teams to not play. We have a game in hand on Hull and Wigan are dropping back. This isn't good for the mind though.

At the bottom of the division Gillingham had a fantastic 2-0 win over Bradford to stay in the fight for survival for another week. Both the Gills and Rochdale are just a loss from relegation. If Colchester win one more game then those two teams are relegated.

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April and May...

Just six games to go over a month and a bit. I just hope that finishing at Hull is not a decider.

No games are easy at this stage. I'd like to think we should be able to beat MK Dons but they are battling to stay up and our game against Rochdale proves no game is easy. One more win will secure us play offs, but if that is our only reward after being top so long then I'll probably just quit!

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Elsewhere

English Premier League

With either seven or eight games left for teams in the Premier League it is Manchester City that top the pile. Chelsea are just a point behind though and Arsenal have managed to close the gap a little. Liverpool have fallen back despite a good 2-1 win at Chelsea, a result which has helped keep the league tight.

It looks as if QPR might have just one season back up in the top flight. The London club are struggling on 12 points with just eight games to play. It's not mathematically over but it would take a miracle.

Bournemouth managed just one win in March but there are still a number of sides between them and the drop zone.

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English Championship

Burnley have opened up a sizeable gap of nine points in the race for the Premier League. It is then very close for second place, Sheffield United, Aston Villa and Brentford with just a point seperating them.

Who knows who will get relegated down to League One. Anyone up to 14th placed Barnsley could realisitically still feel the pull of the drop. It's rare to see a league so tightly contested. But that's the Championship.

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FA Cup

My conquerors were knocked out in the next round of the cup, losing to Everton. League One Derby gave a good account of themselves but ultimately failed to beat City.

In to the Quarters, Southampton beat the last remaining non-PL team before Leeds, Manchester United and Manchester City joined them in the semis.

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In England's other major cup Manchester City triumphed 2-0 over Arsenal at the start of March.

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Europe

The draws have been made for the Quarter Finals of the European Cups.

Champions League

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Nice Italian representation there.

Europa League

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More Italians.

Europa Conference League

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And a final Italian. 

2024 European Championship Play Offs

The play offs for the Euros have been taking place over the last week of March and the first week of April. The semi-final results were as follows and the finals take place 2nd April.

Malta made a great attempt at qualifying but ultimately came up short against Slovakia. The same goes for Georgia who took the lead against Greece.

The draw for Germany 2024 takes place 10th April and the competition starts 14th June.

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Former Club Watch

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The above news item appeared in my news feed at the end of the month. New manager, Danny Thorpe, could only win one of his games in March and the Terras will be battling in the National League South next season.

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After all I did...

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Early April Mini-Update

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Just a quick update of what I felt was an important moment in my career. Yes, we qualified for at least the play offs in League One this season. Of course, if you look at the graphic below you'll realise just how much I didn't expect us to make the play offs.

There goes some transfer budget.

Yes, four of those are staff. It's amazing what this game makes you need to offer to to pay for staff and keep wage down.

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There has been news at the bottom of the table. Sadly, Rochdale will drop back down to League Two for next season. Defeat at Coventry meant they can't now catch the first currently safe team that is Colchester. Gillingham managed to stave relegation for another week by beating Colchester. It is still all against a Gillingham side that are 11 points shy of the Us with just four to play.

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European Championship Play-Off Finals

Slovakia, Slovenia, Norway and Switzerland claimed their places at this summer's Euro 2024 tournament in Germany. Switzerland and Slovakia won in good fashion, Norway needed a hattrick from superstar Haaland and Slovenia beat Greece thanks to a Šeško winner four minutes from the end of extra time.

Wales defeat in the semi-finals has signalled the end of an era for a star of both the national team and my Wycombe team.

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Sam had already signalled his intention to retire from the domestic scene at ther end of this season. You'll be missed, Sam.

 

I'm really rather enjoying FM at the moment and I'm getting through games quicker. It helps to have a week off work, of course. Makes me feel like updating more.

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Another April Update - The Above Was Important, This Is More So

You didn't think I'd be able to wait, did you?

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Social media liked it too.

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Rewards...

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The planning starts now...

But first...

...happy dance!

Feelin The Joy GIF - Fresh Prince Of Bel Air Carlton Carlton Dance GIFs

 

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Posted (edited)

April/May 2024 - Good Times At Wycombe (High)

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It was a season in which we were predicted 18th before the campaign started and we won just two points in our first three games. We then lost just five more games and conceded just 30 goals, seventeen less than anyone else, on route to a title win I never saw coming.

Going in to April our form was patchy. We looked nervous and I was having awful visions of things coing down to a final day winner takes all against Hull.

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Instead the players seemed to settle into a mood of being willing to do anything to finish what they started. We secured a comfortable win against play off chasing Rotherham to secure our own place in the play offs. Fleetwood were then dispatched in rampant fashion and our next game, at local rivals MK Dons, would therefore be a case of win and be champions.

We destroyed MK Dons in the first half an hour and the title was as good as ours. 

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Next came a strange feeling around the club that we'd done our job and the players were already on their hols. It was lucky we had secured the title as we lost to Sheffield Wednesday and draw with Bradford and Hull. Only in the second half at Hull, as we came from two down to draw, did I get a sense the players still cared. I had had to have strong words at half time.

A nice table.

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~~~

I'll come back with a round up of events elsewhere later...when they've happened.

For now a review of our triumphant season.

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How our new signings did;

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Our best moments;

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Where we made our money;

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The Team of the Season (as chosen by the Bucks Free Press);

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And the winners from our club awards night.

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Finally, a look at the stats for our squad for this 2023-2024 League One season.

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Does not include:

Nya Kirby - loaned to Suttonimage.thumb.png.8a03dd886657f5b85412a97afc15e723.png

Joe Nuttall - loaned to Salford

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Anis Mehmeti - sold to Stoke image.thumb.png.fa75c43d490094d2a3800000e315d106.png

Nick Freeman - sold to Burtonimage.thumb.png.1965f4ab0a9ad9be1300dccb5581ddd1.png

~~~

Loan players stats.

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Edited by anagain
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Great season!This unexpected first place makes next season in higher category even more difficult but with the correct moves you can make it. ;)

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2 minutes ago, Sheriff7 said:

Great season!This unexpected first place makes next season in higher category even more difficult but with the correct moves you can make it. ;)

Thanks. Need a good transfer window. With the right players maybe we can just about cling on to safety.

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Posted (edited)

 Season 2023-2024 - End Of Season Catchup

But first, the League One news.

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League One Review

Play Offs

Blackpool join us and Wigan in the Championship after a fantastic win over Hull.

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League One Stats

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Elsewhere

English Premier Division

Chelsea stormed to the title at the end as Manchester City fell away in spectacular fashion. City's inability to keep a clean sheet told massively in the final two months and they ended the season witha spectacular 3-3 draw at Bournemouth. That inability to keep a clean sheet was evident even more so in the Champions League Semi, but more on that later.

What possibly won Chelsea the title was an emphatic 3-1 win over City at Stamford Bridge. They also beat runners up Arsenal 1-0 at the Emirates.

At the other end QPR lost their top flight status relatively early and Watford not so long after. Norwich joined them in the drop as they lost 5-1 at Leicester on the final day.

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FA Cup

There were two huge surprises in the FA Cup semis with Southampton and Leeds ousting Manchester City and Manchester United.

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It took a penalty shoot out to win the final...and the honour of champions went to Leeds. Vanderson missing the sole penalty.

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English Championship

Burnley continued their good form to capture the Championship title. They were joined in the top flight by Brentford and, through the play offs, Aston Villa.

At the other end it was Birmingham, Peterborough and Oxford that dropped down to League One after a tight campaign.

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Elsewhere In England

League Two

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National League

Very disappointing for former club Weymouth. Hopefully they can bounce back.

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Across Europe

Still a play off to finish in Netherlands

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Champions League

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Europa League

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Europa Conference League

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and finally...

European Championship 2024 Germany - The Draw

A good draw for England and Spain. Groups E and F are seriously tough.

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Stats blast over...

Back for a Championship preview and pre-season transfer dealings before the first competetive game.

Will slow down a bit now...time off work is over :(

Ex-Burnley and Stoke City striker praised for Wycombe goalscoring effort  against Bolton Wanderers - Manchester Evening News

See ya Sam. You did us proud. Happy retirement!

 

 

 

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Season 2024-2025 - Championship

Pre-Season Transfer Update

I've been rather busy on the transfer front so far. Rather than have too much go on in an end of pre-season update I thought I'd go through the transfer deals so far in an extra update just before we head off on our pre-season training camp in Sussex.

Sussex! Yes that is the board's idea of warm weather training.

First Team Squad Arrivals

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Aaron O'Reilly is a young Irish center back who started his career at Villa. Aaron played last season at Bromley and made 35 appearances in the National League and scored his first senior goal in the FA Trophy Semi-Final to help send his team to Wembley.

Aaron is a physical center back with outstanding jumping reach and is a star of the future. We have an abundance of center backs now - as you'll see - so we'll see how Aaron does in pre-season and decide whether he needs a loan spell somewhere.

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Next is a loan deal that I am very happy with. Aaron McDonagh is a young English striker on the books at Chelsea. A natural finisher, Aaron was wanted by a nuber of clubs in both the Premier League and the top of the Championship. Aaron chose us for game time. We shall see how I can partner Aaron with Scrimshaw.

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We have signed a Kane. No, not that one, but this Kane is a good one. Herbie Kane is a versatile central midfielder with the ability to play a pass. This might just signal a move to playing a more creative holding midfielder. Herbie can certainly fill that role.

We got Herbie for just £200k after Peterborough were relegated from the Championship. Surely he won't want to be relegated two seasons in a row!

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The next man in is likely to be our new first choice center back. Jamie Hamilton is a young Scot who signs from Ross County for £400k. I have had my scout's eyes on Jamie for some time now so I am delighted to bring him to Adams Park.

With 9 U21 Scottish caps to his name I am sure Jamie has a bright future ahead of himself.

Names For The Future

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Llion Jackson is a young center back that my scouting team believe has the potential to improve vastly. I'm not hugely convinced but for a free transfer I am willing to give Llion a chance.

Llion has already headed out on loan to Oxford City. Hopefully he can acquit himself well.

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Not only have we signed a Kane, but we have signed a Rio too. Rio Kyerematen is a midfielder that has been on the club radar for a season now. Rio had a good season at Eastleigh last term and joins us for £135k. He has headed back to Eastleigh for the season where he can hopefully make giants steps in his development among friends.

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Eddie de Zeeuw is a young striker let go by Liverpool that I decided to give a chance to. We shall see how he does in pre-season but a loan deal may be best for Eddie. He certainly has the potential of a top quality striker.

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Will Andiyapan is another center back signing who joins for just £28.5k from Gloucester. Will has bags of potential for a 19 year old and I may see about a loan deal in either League One or League Two to get him some good game time. Teams have been reluctant to approach us so far though.

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A number of players have left us, either on free transfers or loan deals. They likely won't be the last.

Demetri Mitchell became unhappy last season and signalled his intention to leave. The fans aren't happy but I never got consistency from Demetri.

Luke Dreher and Jack Iredale were two more players that became unhappy and chose to run out their contracts. The rest didn't quite make the grade. I was torn on George Hirst. He got in to a lot of good positions up front but really struggled to put the ball away. It is better for him that he tries to find football elsewhere.

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~~~

At the start of pre-season this is the squad that travels to Sussex for our training camp. Some of these names may head off on loan instead.

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Oh, and Riley Owen has renewed his loan with us for another season.

I may have overdone things on new signings early in the window. After player's received upgrades to their wages after promotion we have ended up over budget. I would like a few more players but as I don't think I'll need to spend money I may end up increasing the wages from the transfer budget.

Maybe players will leave. Taf is wanted. I'm reluctant to lose my captain and big personality in the dressing room but it may be time for youth to takeover. Fitness was an issue for Taf last season. It would also be £5k in wages I could spend elsewhere.

My key wants are a keeper (I don't believe Przybek is a Championship keeper), a left back, right back backup, maybe another midfielder and another striker. At least three of the triallists, above, are players I want. Moller would be a wonderful addition but I am being warned he won't get a work permit for some reason.

~~~

Let's play some friendlies.

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2 hours ago, Sheriff7 said:

Some smart moves there with potential. Good luck!

Thanks. Played Brentford - all be it a friendly - and they made us look poor. I believe they'll be title contenders.

Will be fun. I do love all the squad building though. Just call me 'Arry. :brock:

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Posted (edited)

Season 2024-2025 English Championship - Preview

It's not easy building a team for the next level. My board gave me a weekly wage budget of £91k and a transfer kitty of just under £2.5m. It was never going to be enough. Any players I might spend that money on often wanted too high a wage so I chose to drop the transfer budget and raise the wage budget up above the £100k mark.

More on transfers in a bit, but first the preview of the new season.

I think it is fair to say we're not fancied.

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I suspect we are the lowest wage spenders in the division. Of the teams promoted with us Blackpool look to have a much higher budget and are spending up to £12,750 a week on one of their players. Wigan are outlaying up to £15k on player wages. Only Wimbledon look to have a budget close to ours.

I have been trying to look at the wage budgets of teams for a while now but can't see any team stats until matches have been played. I'm very curious to know the true battle we face.

We start our campaign away at Luton before welcoming Cheltenham in the League Cup a few days later. Facing Swansea in Wales will be our first really big test against a team with realistic promotion hopes. Our first game against a relegated Premier League team comes at the end of September when we welcome QPR.

Christmas sees us travel to Bristol City on Boxing Day before we welcome Wimbledon a couple of days later. New Year sees a difficult trip to QPR. If we're still in with a chance of staying up come May we face our final two games at Reading and then home to Bristol City.

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Is it okay to say I am really fearing the worst?

Pre-Season and More Transfer News

Transfer News

There have been just two new names arriving at Adams Park since we last spoke.

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Ciaran Slicker signs on a free after being released by Partick Thistle. The 21 year old was originally on the books of Manchester City and is our new backup/cup goalie. There is improvement in Ciaran and he could push O'Hara.

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Scott High has joined us for £100k from fellow Championship side Huddersfield. Scott is a right back/central midfielder that had found himself out of favour at the Terriers. Primarily, Scott will push Egbo at right back but is more than capable of being a midfield option.

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Six players have also left us since we last spoke.

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Mikey Windsor has joined Llion Jackson at Oxford City and hopefully the pair can improve together. Oliver Pendlebury has promise but I decided to send him out on loan for a second season; this time to League Two Morecambe. The same is true for Patrick Almond who joins National League Oldham where he has started well in the first two games of the season there. Third choice keeper Alex Kovacevic has joined National League South side Wealdstone.

Adam Przybek was not going to improve enough for my liking so when Sheffield United came in with a bid, and Adam expressed interest, I accepted it. I think he'll be third choice there but it is a bigger club.

When Peterborough put in a reasonable bid for Andre Burley I saw no reason not to accept. Andre slipped well down the pecking order with the new defensive signings and he'll do well with Peterborough in League One.

We have had no bid for Ryan Tafazolli after all. He was rumoured to be wanted by an Aussie side. The only player who did receive interest was Nya Kirby. I was disappointed when Nya expressed an interest in joining Oxford when they tabled a bid. It was a paltry offer though and, to be fair to Nya, he agreed to move only if a bid of £350k came in. No club has so far met that fee and I am attempting to convert Nya to a wide player.

~~~

None of the early triallists I got in really hit the mark, especially the left backs. The central midfielders on trial looked reasonable but weren't really going to improve us any more than marginally. Nikolaj Moller looked handy but I was told he would not get a work permit and so let him go.

I made a loan offer for a very good Serbian at Marseille but our work permit application was turned down despite my scouts never seemingly thinking he'd fail that. Stuparevic would have been a perfect partner for either Scrimy or McDonagh. I was very disappointed.

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Ryan Manning, a left sided player I have been interested in for some time now, was next on my radar. Ryan is down the pecking order at Hull but he shocked me when he asked for £11k a week.

We hopefully have a new striker joining us next week but we will have to go to Luton with just Scrimy and McDonagh.

I still really would like a new left back - and am exploring options. I'd like perhaps one more name in midfield too.

Friendlies

We had a reasonable pre-season and lost just one friendly to Brentford, whom I wrongly labelled as Championship favourites previously. They went up last season.

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The Wycombe Wanderers squad at the start of the new campaign is as follows.

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That squad looks small...

European Football Championship 2024 - Germany

I said I'd get back to the Euros so I'll cover it now before the season starts. It was a surprising outcome, as you shall see.

Group Stage

There were no real shocks in the group stages. Switzerland lost the group of death and hosts Germany stormed through.

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The shocks started in the Second Round as Scotland sent Germany home with a 2-1 win after extra time. The Scots then beat Spain and Belgium to set up a final with the auld enemy, England.

The Three Lion's path to the final started tough and ended in rampant fashion. A Second Round penalty win over Poland was followed by a 1-0 victory over Norway in the Quarters. England then thrashed Denmark in the Semis thanks to a brace from Tammy Abrahams and goals from Rashford and Kane.

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So the final was an all British affair.

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~~~

Right, I'm off to Luton's new Power Court stadium for our opening game. Hopefully I'll be back at the end of August with good news. Hopefully not bottom with no wins.

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August 2024 - The Neutrals Are Flocking To Watch Wycombe

It was a remarkable first month for us in the Championship. As the Bucks Free Press put it on the first Monday in September, "Wanderers On Fire!"

I'm going to split this month up a little. There's matches and transfers to deal with and it's better if it's in order.

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For our first game back in England's second tier we travelled to Luton's new Power Court Stadium as underdogs. Junior Stanislas stunned the crowd as he opened the scoring with an easy tap in of Scrimshaw's low cross. It wasn't to be though as Luton scored twice in three minutes near the end of the first half to take the win.

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Transfer Interlude

Our lastest new signing came shortly after the Luton game in the guise of former Reading and Liverpool striker, Ovie Ejaria. Ovie is a versatile forward thinking player that can operate deep, on the wings or up front. I'm hoping he can replace the influential Vokes up front and form a partnership with either Scrimshaw or McDonagh.

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

EFL Cup Round One

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We got well and truly lucky as we welcomed League One Cheltenham to Adam's Park for this cup tie. We were poor and barely threatened the Robins throughout. The match went to penalties and I thought it was all over as Scrimshaw missed our first spotkick. Cieran Slicker made two saves to deny Cheltenham though and we squeaked through to Round Two.

Back To The Championship

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Next we welcomed Barnsley to Adam's Park for our first home game of the season and it proved to be an entertaining game. Again, we took an early lead as Herbie Kane scored his first Chairboys goal, running on to a lovely Stan ball over the top. Barnsley then took control of the game through the influential Nanu. By the hour mark the Tykes were 2-1 up and cruising. I thought it was all done for until the veteran Wheeler came on to equaliser after a lovely move.

We'd stolen a point to be fair.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Another Transfer Interlude

Our final two incomings of the month came just before our next league trip to Swansea, and they clearly lifted the squad.

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First in was left back competition for Marshall in the form of Leif Davis, formerly of leeds and Bournemouth. Leif is an attacking left back who has never quite found his momentum at the clubs he has been at. He has the ability to grab the left back role for himself, but will he?

Leif is on loan from Rangers and if he shows his ability could be a player we snap up at the end of the season.

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And finally, in what is our thirteenth new signing of the window, we welcome Australian midfielder Caleb Watts. Caleb is an attack minded central midfielder who joins us on loan from Southampton. Primarily signed as cover for Kane and Adeniran, Caleb was called up to the Aussie national squad at the end of the month.

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Back To The Football

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We travelled to Wales for our next game and it turned out to be a huge surprise, for both me, the fans and the pundits. It was a wonderful start to the match as Nya Kirby made it 1-0 to us before Swansea equalised a minute later.

I must briefly mention Nya Kirby. Nya has been a revelation this season after spending much of our League One winning campaign on loan at Sutton. Noting his pace and ability to cross, I decided to play Nya on the right wing. It's been a position I've never reliably filled and Nya has come in to make it his own. He has been phenomenal there but he wants to leave. Oxford United bid for him last month and I said he could go if a bid of £350k came in. It hasn't so far but Birmingham are interested. It would be ironic if I found his best position only to then lose his services.

But back to the game. We took the lead again in the 13th minute and in the second half we really showed how good we can be with a demanding performance to go on to win 4-1. Aaron McDonagh scored his first goal of what I hope will be many for us. Aaron is going to shine soon.

EFL Cup Round Two

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We welcomed another League One club in Charlton in the Second Round. We were woeful beyond belief in the first half and were lucky to be just two goals down at the break. I told the lads to buck their ideas up in the second and they did but it wasn't until the 86th minute that McDonagh got our equaliser. Stanislas had had to come on to change the game but it was the impressive Jack Sparkes that scored the decisive penalty to take us through. Slicker had saved another penalty to help matters.

And Back To The Championship One Last Time

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This was the most remarkable game I have witnessed in my just over three years of management. I'm sure you are all blinking at the result. McDonagh, Ejaria and Stanislas destroyed Preston in the second half after it had looked a tight battle until just after the restart. McDonagh bagged the match ball, Ejaria a brace and Stanislas two assists and eight key passes.

Both Swansea and Preston had had poor starts but if we can play like we have in those two games throughout the campaign then surely we can stay up.

No game will be dull if we carry on this way, that's for sure.

Yes, we really are fourth in the Championship!

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The powers that be did recognise what a good month we had had.

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September...

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We face promotion contenders QPR and Blackburn next month, so if we carry on as before i'll be amazed. Who knows though? After that August I don't know what to think.

We also have a cup tie against another League One side. Leyton Orient this time.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Transfer Deadline Day

Transfer Deadline Day was officially in September, but we don't want to wait until then, do we?

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And no more business for Wycombe. We keep Kirby, thankfully.

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So, how do we shape up against the rest of the division in terms of wage expenditure? We're a little behind. We've yet to face anyone huge.

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Elsewhere...

So little has happened so far that I'll leave this short for August.

Leeds won the Community Shield, beating Chelsea 2-1.

Crystal Palace are the surprise unbeaten leaders of the Premier League. Bournemouth find themselves 12th at this early stage. A 2-1 win at Villa ending a reasonable first month.

Former Club Watch

After five games Weymouth find themselves 10th in the National League South. This record includes one game from Transfer Deadline Day in September.

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And to finish...

Aaron says thanks.

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35 minutes ago, Sheriff7 said:

Very good  start in championship.Newcomers can change your future at the category. Good luck!

Thanks. McDonagh has been quite superb. Can't recall the last time I managed someone of that quality in FM. I usually manage lower down the levels.

But Stanislas has really shown he still has it. 

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September 2024 - We Keep Going

Amazingly we have pretty much kept the form we showed in August on in to September. We started to meet teams that were, on paper, much better than us at the end of the month but held our own surprisingly well. The remarkable fact is that for a week we were top of the Championship.

Firstly, thanks if you're reading. Secondly, FM has a real habit of becoming surprisingly easy. Yes, I recruited heavily but our squad is still vastly inferior to many teams in the division. Or, it should be. Teams don't play well against us, well top teams don't. I have felt for a while that this is an issue with FM. When your team is unfancied players really put a shift in. Heading to a team you're heavily predicted to beat and you play poor as anything and scrape by or lose. I actually want our team to struggle and have a battle to stay up. The players I bought I thought would give us a chance only. That's realistic for me. It's similar in real life, just look at cups, but I think FM skews this too far. I start to lose a little interest when it gets like this. I get bored of being untested. Just thought I'd say in case the frequency of updates drops.

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We started September by continuing our blistering form with wins over Ipswich, who are struggling, and Millwall, who are also having a tough time. We demolished Millwall really. That Millwall win also came on the back of devastating news. The young player I had been hyping since he joined, and whom was in scintillating form, fell apart.

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We also lost Ejaria in the same game. That makes it even more crazy that we demolished Millwall so thoroughly, but neither the Lions nor Ipswich played at all well. We'd opened the scoring courtesy of a bizarre own goal. Both club's managers apologised for the poor effort of their players.

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With the visit of Blackburn later in the month we started to see the better players in this league. We tested Blackburn throughout but they snatched the game late in the day through former Premier League strike Broja.

A few days after that loss we faced League One Leyton Orient in the League Cup. We didn't play as well as we can, with a much changed team, but Orient had an equally poor day and we sneaked through courtesy of a Scrimy penalty. We have drawn Burnley at our place in the next round. That's Premier League Burnley.

Back to the league and we welcomed newly relegated QPR to Adams Park next. We performed admirably with Nya Kirby, still in his new right wing position, my pick of the bunch in the first half. Nya scored the first goal as he broke past the Rangers defence but we were pegged back on the stroke of half time when Bacuna showed our opponent's class with a great strike to level.

In the second half I felt we continued the better team and we had a number of good efforts. We were rewarded for those efforts when Ilias Chair brought down Scrimy in the box to give our poacher a shot at goal from the spot. He scored and we just wanted to hold on now for a good victory. It wasn't to be as Rangers made changes and pulled a point out of nowhere with a wonderfully worked goal in injury time.

Despite the blip at the end we're amazingly still 5th in the league.

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October...

Things get very scary heading into October. Just look at these fixtures.

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Is this where my concerns of us finding it way easier than I expected come grinding down around me?

 

Elsewhere

English Premiership

Crystal Palace are still the surprise team in the early days of the Premier League. The Eagles lost their unbeaten record and have slipped to second but it took until the last games of September for that to happen. The new team at the top are Liverpool after the reds came away from the Merseyside derby with a 2-1 win. The first Palace loss came the next day with a 2-1 defeat to Bournemouth on the south coast.

The Cherries' form is mixed and the club find themselves mid table after six played. Recent strugglers Manchester United have continued the form of three seasons and are languishing 13th. Defeats to Chelsea and Manchester City (both 2-1) will show the Red Devils that they have work to do.

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The Continent

Early standings in some of Europe's biggest leagues show early struggles for PSG and Bayern, but we won't write them off just yet.

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European Club Cups

The group stages are underway in Europe too, and it's not all plain sailing for Bayern there either.

Champions League

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Europa League

Yes, that is FC Eindhoven, not PSV. The Dutch second tier club won the Dutch Cup last season.

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Europa Conference League

Some much smaller and less seen teams in European competition making the Conference groups. Yes, that is a Scottish club that is not Rangers or Celtic making a European group stage.

Go Dudelange of Luxembourg. I managed Luzembourg last FM and had fun there. Shame it's not Titus Petange making European groups.

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Former Club Watch

It has been a mixed month for Weymouth. I believe we covered the loss to Dover, but defeat to Dagenham and a draw with Dorking sees the Terras in tenth after two months in the National League South.

The club also squeezed past minnows Bowers & Pitsea on penalties in the FA Cup.

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Nid's hometown club Poole are there languishing in 22nd. Don't look as bad for them as it does for Hornchurch and Basingstoke though.

 

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Posted (edited)

October 2024 - Few Hiccups But Doing Well

October went so much better than I had expected it to. We're still competing with the bigger teams and we coped with the missing McDonagh well, Scrimy stepping up to the plate this month.

Transfer News

We have had a hard month for keepers. Keiran O'Hara has been injured and we faced Forest with a young keeper between the sticks. Don't ask where this young keeper came from. We have no youth setup at Wycombe (been meaning to mention that since I joined) and both first team keepers were away on international duty for the Forest game. For some reason I had no option to postpone the game and we took on Forest with Ira Reeve-Cumming in goal. We'll say he plays for a local team with ties to Wycombe, shall we?

Anyway, Aaron O'Reilly joined Queen's Park on loan at the end of September. It will give Aaron the game time he wasn't likely to get too much of here.

The above goalkeeper hassles have prompted me to bring in a young keeper who will stay at the club and be back up for our international stoppers. The man I found is a youngster released by Brighton in the summer. Thomas Westwood has potential to be our number one some day. We'll work on his missing skills and see how far he can go.

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And Back To The Football

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The Wigan result was a good win against a team that came up with us. We should have been beating them and did through Stan and a late sealer from Scrimy. That game was followed by the Forest game for which we were without our two keepers. We lost 2-1 but weren't overshadowed. Scrimy scored late to give us a chance and we nearly nicked a point.

Next we travelled to Norwich for a game I was incredibly nervous about our chances in. I needn't have been. We were superb and Norwich were dreadful. Jamie Hamilton opened the scoring with just quarter of an hour remaining, piling a bullet header into the back of the net from a corner. Riley Owen scored his first of the season with an injury time strike after Caleb Watts had played him clear with a fantastic ball. Norwich scored just a minute later, as they realised they needed to play football, but it was far little too late for the Canaries. A memorable win.

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The Norwich game started a busy run of four games in ten days. Second of these was a home tie against Sheffield United, a side not having a good start to the campaign. We got off to a blistering start as Ovie Ojaria headed home unmarked from Stan's cross. Scrimy got our second five minutes before half time. We weren't as good second half but the Blades could only get a late consolation through Rhian Brewster.

We welcomed Stoke a few days later and were unfancied against a team rising up the table. Stoke were good and pressured throughout. They took the lead late in the first half through Perry Ng, a player we were unable to contain all match. The Potters continued their pressure in the second 45 but we claimed a great point in stoppage time courtesy of an own goal. I actually felt we deserved something from the game.

The last game of October was our League Cup Fourth Round tie against Premier League Burnley. The media fancied our chances but Burnley were far too good against a side I rotated heavily and three second half goals won them the game. I'm not too upset we're out but it was a good run.

~~~

The end of October sees us amazingly still in second in the Championship and amongst a tight pack chasing leaders Sunderland.

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November

Next up are leaders Sunderland and we also face the scary proposition of Watford this month. Will we drop down the league in November or continue this remarkable form?

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Elsewhere...

English Premier League

Crystal Palace's scintillating start has hit the rails and the South London club have dropped to fifth. Manchester City are the leaders at the end of October after an unbeaten October. The only downer for City was a penalty loss in the League Cup to the now noisy neighbours, United.

For Bournemouth it has been all downhill in October with three losses, to Manchester City, West Ham and second placed Newcastle. The Cherries have dropped to third bottom.

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European Leagues

The situation across Europe is somewhat in upheaval with big clubs such as Bayern and PSG falling a little behind in their leagues. Gil Vincente are the surprise leaders in Portugal and it's a top two pulling away in October's guest league, the Polish Ekstraklasa.

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Former Club Watch

It has been an okay month for Weymouth. The Terras only played three times in October and only a draw with Boreham Wood saw them drop points. It's a paly off chase at the moment, unless they can kick on from this unbeaten month.

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Correction: Last month I said Weymouth squeezed past Bowers & Pitsea on penalties in the FA Cup. I can't read because they actually lost on penalties. I even posted a match graphic. Age...

It's looking a little better for my hometown club. Poole got their second win of the season as they beat Dover at home. Giroud scored...just not that one.

 

 

Edited by anagain
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November 2024 - Tougher, But We Are The Entertainers

November was a tough month with a bit of joy in the middle. Our games are certainly entertaining affairs. Our only goalless draw was in the cup against Cheltenham, but we have had a 7-3 and now two 6-2s. "If you want to see goals, follow Wycombe around" is the message being put out on social media by the Chairboys army.

It's just a shame the latest 6-2 was not in our favour.

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The month started tough with a two-goal defeat in Sunderland and didn't get any better as we travelled to Blackpool only to lose after being a goal up. That game marked our third defeat in a row, following the cup defeat to Burnley. We were well beaten by Sunderland but should have done better in Blackpool. We lost Ovie Ejaria to injury in Lancashire too. Ovie would be out for at least three weeks.

I needed better as we returned to Buckinghamshire for two home games in a four day period. First up were Middlesbrough and a Scrimy penalty in the 7th minute was enough to seal the win in a close game. Next up were Portsmouth and a cracking 6-2 win. Aaron McDonagh was the star of the show as he knocked in his first senior hattrick.

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In a match which showed a crazy change of fortunes we next met Watford at Vicarage Road. I was worried about how we might fair in this game and I was proven right as Watford tore us apart. Scrimy was fantastic and notched a brace but defensively we were a complete shambles.

We are still top scorers in the Championship and still in fourth, but that defeat hurt. On the plus side, we have already hit the 30-point mark. Another 20 points and we should seal safety.

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Loan Watch

There have been no transfers this month but I thought I might look at how our youngsters out on loan are performing.

Llion Jackson and Mikey Windsor (Oxford City)

Llion has been magnificent in defence for the National League North side with a 83% tackle completion rate and 216 clearances. Mikey Windsor has notched two goals and three assists.

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Eddie de Zeeuw (Woking)

Eddie has been fantastic in the National League scoring ten goals for the Cardinals. The young striker won the National League Player Of The Month for November. Not to be outdone by Aaron McDonagh, Eddie hit his first senior hattrick in Woking's 6-3 defeat to Eastleigh.

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Oliver Pendlebury (Morecambe)

Oliver has been the other of my youngsters to show great form for his loan club so far, scoring twice and making six assists to keep Morecambe mid table in League Two.

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The rest.

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December...

On paper December is a much easier month than November was. All the teams we face are no higher than mid-table. Reading and Wimbledon, whom we face home and away, are battling to stay in the division.

The question is whether the defeat to Watford will start a period of struggles or whether we can get straight back to form.

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Elsewhere...

English Premier League

The current season is proving to be a competetive one in England's top division. No team can move truly clear. Manchester City are top going in to December with Chelsea and surprise package West Ham just two points behind. Game of the month was Chelsea's 2-1 defeat of City at the Etihad.

Bournemouth had a much better unbeaten November to move up to 13th. At the end of a very poor October manager Mowbray had been tipped to be sacked. Four unbeaten will keep him in a job, for now.

The division is so tight that bottom club Burnley are only six points behind what relegated QPR got all last season.

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UEFA Nations League

The group stage of the Nations League reached its climax in November. England had had a dreadful start, losing 2-1 to Italy and 4-1 to Norway, but managed to claw back second place by the end.

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Euro Leagues

Bayern are still struggling to keep pace with Dortmund in Germany but PSG have closed to a point behind Monaco. AEK Athens are dominating our guest league this month, the Greek Super League.

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Former Club Watch

Weymouth had a terrible November, winning just once, and have dropped to 11th in the National League South. Worse still, the sole win was in the FA Trophy. A 2-2 draw versus Poole in the Dorset derby was an entertaining game that the Terras should have won after Poole had a man sent off after just 28 minutes.

Only D'Auria-Henry, Yarney and Dugmore from my time at the club are still regulars. Simon Dabringer, a keeper I thought could do well, is back up.

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