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[FM22] Vegan football


RogerC
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A player miskicks the ball – skies it – and its clatter on the metal roof is the loudest sound in the Covid-emptied stand. There’s not much by way of a corresponding stand on the other side of the pitch, mostly just advertising boards and a momentarily malfunctioning scoreboard. Behind them a hillock, behind that a sunset. There’s an ill-timed tackle, a melee of angry players, a red card for the home team. But the visitors, Colchester United, look rudderless – it’s the first game for their interim manager – and 10-man Forest Green Rovers run out 3-0 winners.

If much of this is a typical scene of lower-league football, as played out all over the country every week of the season, in some crucial details it is not. It’s partly the setting that’s different, on a hill outside Stroud in Gloucestershire, in a landscape more redolent of point-to-points than professional football. “Jilly Cooper loves Forest Green Rovers!” says one of the billboards – a tribute from a local author to the local team. “Red sky at night,” says one of the few people permitted to be there, as he contemplates the sunset, “shepherds’ delight.” I’m pretty sure I haven’t heard that line of commentary at a football match before.

And then there’s the fact that the players’ striking strips (lime green with a black zebra-stripe pattern) are – tonight, for the first time for any team anywhere in the world – made with a composite of waste coffee grounds and recycled plastic. The pitchside adverts don’t only celebrate Cooper’s raunchy, horsey novels but also brands associated with healthy and sustainable living: Quorn, Oatly, Innocent, Elixinol cannabidiol products, Grundon environmentally friendly waste management. One has the skull and crossbones insignia of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society: Defending Ocean Wildlife Worldwide, it says. My stomach is getting to know a shiitake mushroom burger I ate just before kick-off, and finding it less confrontational, digestion-wise, than the traditional meat-and-whatever-else version that is served at football grounds.

 

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For this is Forest Green Rovers, declared by Fifa the “greenest team in the world”, certified by the United Nations as the world’s first carbon-neutral football club, which in the decade since its acquisition by the green energy industrialist Dale Vince has become famous well beyond its size, for its sustainability and, especially, for the all-vegan menus offered to both players and fans. It’s not stopping there: apart from the coffee kits, there’s also a plan for a new all-timber stadium designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, which in February was approved by the English Football League, having won planning permission from Stroud District Council last December (more on that later).

Nor are Vince’s wider range of eco-initiatives slowing down. He shows me some diamonds on the Zoom screen, made with carbon (incredible as this may seem) taken from the atmosphere, a process that he says reduces the colossal waste that comes with mining the precious stones. He already has Devil’s Kitchen, a vegan food business spun off from the football club, which makes burgers, plant balls and suchlike, now available through Ocado. The main source of his wealth is Ecotricity, a renewable energy supplier that developed from the windmills Vince erected in the 1990s. He created Nemesis, a Lotus Exige chassis modified with electric motors and batteries, which in 2012 broke the UK speed record for electric cars. Last month, he teamed up with the Daily Express, of all newspapers, to promote its Green Britain Needs You campaign.

Vince’s speciality is to bring green practices and ideas to blokey aspects of life not usually associated with such things: football, burgers, cars. Or, three decades ago, energy provision. “You have the most fun and most impact preaching to the unconverted,” he says of his work with the Express. “On the right wing of life the people at the Express have had people saying to them: ‘What are you doing working with that bloke?’ and on the left wing of life I’ve had people saying to me: ‘What are you doing working with that newspaper?’ And we both say the same thing – we can’t live in our bubbles, we’ve got to talk to each other.”...

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... The diet has grabbed most of the headlines, but there are other aspects to Forest Green’s greenness: power from solar panels and from Ecotricity’s green energy, a pitch free of chemical fertilisers or pesticides, charging points for electric cars, the capturing of rainwater from the roof to irrigate the pitch, an electric van for the kit man, and soon, it is hoped, an electric team bus. There’s a well-publicised “mow-bot”, a GPS-directed solar-powered lawnmower.

Forest Green Rovers’ performances on the pitch have improved since Vince’s takeover. Once teetering on the edge of relegation from the Conference, the fifth tier of English football, they were later promoted to League Two, which in the logic-free system of numbering these things is the fourth tier. They currently have good prospects of promotion to League One and hopes of eventually getting to the level above that, the Championship.

The combination of veganism, sustainability and some sporting success has brought them global attention. They have 100 fan clubs in over 20 countries, such as the Forest Green Rovers Chicagoland Supporters group, founded in 2016 by people who “shared a passion for the environment and soccer”. The Arsenal full-back Héctor Bellerín, attracted by the club’s ethos, has become a shareholder. “Engaging fans through their favourite sport and getting them to be fans of the environment” is what Vince calls it. The United Nations invited the club to be founding members of its Sports for Climate Action programme, which, he says, “is pretty much based on what Forest Green have done”. Bigger names have followed where Forest Green Rovers have led. The mighty Real Madrid recently announced a partnership with the British plant-based producer Meatless Farm to encourage sustainable eating (still a lesser level of commitment to the environment than that of the Stroud side).

Extracted from The Guardian, Soy of the Rovers article by Rowan Moore

More on this soon! 

#WEAREFGR

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Well hello again!

I decided to start a new save to have a bit of a change of pace. It is not that different from what I usually play because I'm still in the UK but I'm hoping I can stick long enough and not lose interest in this one!

Now that I’ve tried out the game I want to experience a new challenge, it’s not the craziest of challenges but it’s more than enough for me. I decided to add a bit of a background this time although I don’t think there’s much that can be applied to FM but I was really interested when I read an article (not the one I posted earlier but another) about the environmentally friendly Forest Green Rovers story under Dale Vince’s management .

 

The Club

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Click to enlarge

 

Forest Green Rovers Football Club are based in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire, England. They are currently competing in the Sky Bet League Two (currently 1st, 6 points above Northampton with a game in hand) in which they're expected to do really well this year, expected to finish 3rd (season preview).

Even though FGR has experienced recent success, their history hasn't been all that glorious. Very brief history.

The club was founded in October of 1889 and throughout the 20th century managed to win several local and regional leagues as well as an FA Vase Trophy in 1981. Out of the 132 years of history, FGR has only played 4 years in League football, 128 years of non-league, quite the feat I must say.

Investment in the team by Dale Vince saw the club compete for promotion into the English Football League, which they achieved by winning in the 2017 National League play-offs after qualifying 3rd in the league, having been beaten in the semi-finals in 2015 and in the 2016 final.

Last 3 years competing in EFL League Two have seen them finish, 21st, 5th, 10th and 6th respectively so they can be considered a 'well' established team in the league and that's why the expectations are so high.

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In September 2020, Arsenal fullback Héctor Bellerín became the second-largest shareholder in the club. So technically, @MattyLewis11, your player will be my boss. lol

 

 

The Stadium

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The New Lawn might look like any other football stadium, but they do things slightly differently. Here are some of the things that make it the world’s greenest football stadium.

  • Green energy – The entire club is powered by 100% green energy from Ecotricity, some of which we generate ourselves with the solar panels on our stadium roof and the solar tracker at the ground entrance.
  • Organic pitch – The grass we play on is sustainable, free from pesticides and weed killers.
  • Electric ‘mow-bot’ – We cut the grass with a GPS-directed, solar-powered lawnmower.
  • Rainwater capture – We collect rainwater that lands on the stadium and use it to irrigate the pitch rather than using mains water.
  • EV charge points – We recommend sustainable travel to all games and provide electric car charge points at The New Lawn.

Since 2011 we have been measuring our carbon footprint, and between the 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons we reduced it by nearly 30%. When you visit The New Lawn, you can see what makes FGR the world’s greenest football club by following our Eco Trail.

 

 

But the real good thing is coming soon, the already planned and approved FGR Eco Park, an all-timber stadium as you could read in the previous post. Yes, a wooden stadium. It looks AMAZING to be honest. The “Eco Park” will be built near the UK town of Eastington, where more than 500 trees and 1.8 km of new hedgerows will be planted. The stadium will be built out of sustainably sourced timber, since the plans have been approved by the English Football League, and the stadium is expected to be ready in 2022.

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Plans for the stadium itself have been designed by the world-renowned architectural practice Zaha Hadid. Although it has a modern aesthetic, Eco Park will be made almost entirely from wood – nature’s renewable building material. Zaha Hadid’s state-of-the-art designs reflect our ethos as the world’s greenest football club

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Eco Park will be constructed from wood, which not only locks up carbon but has the lowest carbon footprint of any major building material. The stadium will have on-site solar generation and will be powered by energy from the wind and sun supplied by Ecotricity. Our pitches will be organic and our food will be vegan, just like at the innocent New Lawn. Ample charge points for electric vehicles will be available. Good walking, cycling and public transport access is part of the plan. 500 trees and 1.8km of hedgerows, along with meadows surrounding the stadium, will promote local biodiversity.

Now this is all very beautiful, but does this mean we will have a huge loan which will have to be paid out for the next decade? We will see... Hopefully a wooden stadium is cheaper than a regular one...

More updates soon!!

#WEAREFGR

Edited by RogerC
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The Manager & previous considerations

 

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I'd like to introduce you to Arnold Drama (thanks to Chilled Moose's facepack). He is a totally fictional character, the name is inspired by an also fictional character from the TV show Entourage, based on Johnathan Chase's aka Johnny Drama's character.

Born in 1985 in Barcelona but with double English nationality which coincidentally will come in really handy with all the brexit fuss :) His playing style is that of a proper modern day coach. In Koeman's words; 'taki taki' football, fluid 433/4231 formations utilising positional play and controlled build up.

Discipline is a must. No arriving late or mediocre training, you have to train as if you're playing a proper football game otherwise you won't be playing a proper amount of football in the team. Youth will be given a chance to prove themselves if they show enough endeavour and promise.

Drama's tactical style is a complete change of pace from what FGR fans have been seeing this season from the now former manager, Rob Edwards. The 39 year old prefers to play in a much more direct route one style and a 5-2-1-2 or 5-3-2 as his preferred formations.

 

Club vision

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All the previous mentions go in line with the club vision, possession and attacking football, youth development and signing young and local players.

As you can imagine, the team will see a pretty drastic change in formation and style, a much needed change I must say, because as of 3rd of January, the date in which Drama is taking over, the team lies 16th in the league table, 10 points above relegation and also 10 points below the season objective of 3rd.

Table:

Spoiler

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The team is required to fight for promotion, this means achieving at least 7th place. This means we would have to make up at least a 5 points difference, we have 20 games yet to be played so this is a more than achievable objective. Ben Garner's Swindon (1st) and Gary Bowyer's Salford (2nd) are both 24 and 17 points away and with no evident signs of slowing down the pace at any point.

Northampton (or Leyton Orient with a game in hand), who currently sit 3rd, are closing the direct promotion spot. This third spot is much more achievable, with only a 10 point difference with us, but a fierce competition I must say.

The team currently have a -3 goal difference, with 33 goals scored (1,26 per 90) and 36 (1,38 per 90) received in 26 games.

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As for the other competitions... As you can see wWe're out of all of them without achieving the required objective, so I can't really say anything else. This gives us a chance to completely focus on our league form and see how we can turn things around.

 

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Edited by RogerC
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The Club

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A small overview of key aspects of the club! 

The club's facilities, even though environmentally sustainable, aren't all that great 'performance' wise, most importantly in the youth department, with which I'm required to work to develop young players...

Basic (4-5) Youth Facilities | Basic (4-5) Youth Recruitment | Fairly Basic (6-8) academy coaching | Youth Level: 4

Average (6-9) training facilities | Adequate (9-11) corporate facilities

It is in the average of the league, not the average against top EFL League Two teams and League 1 teams so it is something we must really work on if we want to achieve the youth development goals.

 

In FM, the club is due to move to the new stadium in July of 2025. By then, we have hopefully moved up the ranks of at least one league and will have to upgrade it again!!

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Staff overview

The non training staff is quite below par, mainly due to the lack of personnel, we will have to upgrade this area as soon as possible.

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The medical side is almost there, we're lacking in the Sports Science department, we currently have no members here, no HoSpS or SpS so I will be soon advertising the positions and see who we can attract.

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The scouting department is inexistent. We only have a fairly average DoF in Rich Hughes, depending on his wage demands I might get rid of him overall as I don't see working as a DoF really feasible right now, I may change my mind though, I really don't know!

We have place for a Chief Scout and 2 scout vacants which I'm hoping to fill ASAP to get them working for the summer transfer window. We also have a recruitment analyst space is available.

And lastly, the coaching team, as you can see in the previous image, most categories around average of the league except Mental and Tactical coaching due to Drama's abilities.

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As you can see attribute wise, I use kind of the same method as @_Ben_ uses in his saves where I just make attributes under a certain value blend (kind of) into the background as I'm really not interested in them. Ignore Drama's tactical style, as it's clearly not true.

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As for the rest of the staff, Richie Kyle, the AssMan's attributes are pretty decent and blend pretty well with my attributes as a coach, the tactical style however is completely different as well as his not-preferred balanced personality.

Hannah Dingley is also not really exciting as a HoYD to be honest. Her balanced personality, 9 attribute in Judging CA and also PA are not the most encouraging to bring through good young players. I will most likely try to find a replacement for her, I would really like if it was another woman just to try to have more equality. If I can't find one, I will try to sign women in other coaching areas, it is something I think we look forward to more often!! Shame you can't filter by man or woman when searching for staff.

I will not go into more detail with the rest of coaching staff as they will be replaced most probably.

 

The U18 and U23 teams have no staff currently. I will probably sign some staff for the U18 team because they are competing in the U18 division 3 SW league and in preparation of youth intake, but the U23 isn't currently in any competition and the players are sincerely bad. LOL

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As for general finances, the club is in a very healthy state, with over a million euros in the bank, currently making profit this season and not currently paying any loans. The wage spending is around 41.700€ per week, 1000€ less than the current budget. At the start of the game I ticked the disable first transfer window and thus I do not have a real transfer budget, we will see that when summer arrives.

I will go into depth of the wage structure currently at the club later on, following inspiration of @Matt_1979's Girona save and his wage structures/management. I first have to evaluate current team players, for their performance up until now and their potential ability going forward.

Thanks!!

#WEAREFGR

Edited by RogerC
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30 minutes ago, MattyLewis11 said:

I will be following you along the journey, would be class if you set yourself the challenge to only sign players that have announced to be vegan! 

That would be awesome although that won't work with newgens. I may also go through the economical sustainability route, as in the budget only being 50% of player sales or having a 1 in 1 out player signing policy... I still need to think about it, I have to find a set of self imposed rules with sustainability in mind, maybe scouting (travelling expenses) or staff/player limits... Or all the above together!

I don't know precisely!! Any ideas are welcome!!

Edited by RogerC
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Fantastic write-up in the OP. I actually visited Forest Green recently when my side travelled there on a Tuesday night. You can certainly tell they do things differently. It isn’t just the food either, although I neglected the idea of trying some, I can’t say I was overly keen on the free hot drink I was given, sadly. 
 

The issue with FGR is that there is often too much focus on the off the pitch stuff from neutrals. You only have to look at this season to realise that they have established a fantastic squad and the investment is finally, I would argue, coming to fruition.

Best of luck. I will be following!

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Cheers guys!

14 hours ago, DefinitelyTaylor said:

Fantastic write-up in the OP. I actually visited Forest Green recently when my side travelled there on a Tuesday night. You can certainly tell they do things differently. It isn’t just the food either, although I neglected the idea of trying some, I can’t say I was overly keen on the free hot drink I was given, sadly. 
 

The issue with FGR is that there is often too much focus on the off the pitch stuff from neutrals. You only have to look at this season to realise that they have established a fantastic squad and the investment is finally, I would argue, coming to fruition.

Best of luck. I will be following!

I totally understand!! There may be a lot of noise (positive I guess?) surrounding the club but it has only achieve 'success' recently. I thought this would give something of a story to support my lack of writing skills, haha. Let's see where we can take them.

6 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

It is a cool club for sure, I had a 2 season stint during a journeyman on FM20 and so did a lot of reading about them then.

Good luck, will keep an eye out.

Thanks!! Hopefully I can pump out some updates soon. There is quite a lot of preliminary stuff I want to check/analyze before starting the actual save!

 

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Updated with manager info.

 

Edited by RogerC
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20 hours ago, RogerC said:

As you can see attribute wise, I use kind of the same method as @_Ben_ uses in his saves where I just make attributes under a certain value blend (kind of) into the background as I'm really not interested in them. Ignore Drama's tactical style, as it's clearly not true.

Really good start to this! Will follow along.

Just an FYI - if you change the 'Alpha' to 0 - the text will be transparent, rather than just kind of matched:

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On 09/12/2021 at 17:52, _Ben_ said:

Really good start to this! Will follow along.

Just an FYI - if you change the 'Alpha' to 0 - the text will be transparent, rather than just kind of matched:

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Excellent! thanks for the tip.

 

 

 

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On 09/12/2021 at 18:46, john1 said:

They are one of my local teams :D Good luck!

 

On 10/12/2021 at 00:27, Matt_1979 said:

Nice work and thanks for the mention 🙏

Thanks guys! I never saw your replies.

I will update the thread soon, I had some problems with the save. I did some tests and realized the youth intake was bugged or something because there was none, so I started a new save with @Daveincid's realism pack and pr0 updates.

The club's situation has obviously changed, we no longer take over in 16th position, it'll be interesting to see!

Edited by RogerC
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Ethos is a Greek word meaning "character" that is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community, nation, or ideology. In modern usage, ethos denotes the disposition, character, or fundamental values peculiar to a specific person, people, corporation, culture, or movement

The above are the values the club will try to follow during my tenure as a manager at FGR, attributes, visible or hidden that will be searched for in players both at the club and for recruitment done further down the line. In the early stages it will be kind of tough to follow this but is something we want to achieve further down the line.

Spoiler
  • Anticipation

Anticipation is one of the most important attributes for any football player, no matter the position he’s playing in or the phase of play. Anticipation refers to how well a player can predict and react to an event. A high number indicates that the player can read the game well and react to situations quicker than others. It also has a significant effect on a player’s awareness and whether they identify space for themselves to play in as well as reacting to signs of danger created by the opponent.

  • Decisions

Decisions refers to a players ability to make the correct choice both with and without the ball a majority of times. Similar to anticipation it’s an important attribute for all the players, and reflects how likely a player is to feel under pressure at any given moment, and to make the best choice accordingly.

A player will high Decisions will make less mistakes and be more able to do the right thing within each situation. A player’s Decision is important in all phases of play whether it’s to picking out passing options, play through balls in the right moment, decide to close down or not, run forward or stay put, shoot from outside the penalty area or dribble. Basically it’s one of the most important attributes linked to tactical instructions, movement and the effect of player traits.

  • Natural Fitness

How well a player can retain condition when injured or not training, recover condition between matches, gain match fitness when playing matches and avoid jadedness caused by matches and training. Also how well a player is able to retain his physical attribute ratings as he ages.

Other factors also affect how well a player retains his attribute ratings as he ages such as his Professionalism personality attribute and the amount of competitive match experience he is given, as discussed in the Player Development guide. Notably though, a player with higher Natural Fitness (as well as higher Stamina and lower Injury Proneness) will be capable of spending more time playing matches.

  • Off the Ball

Off the ball can be described as a player’s ability to move when not in possession of the ball, making them available to receive a pass in a more dangerous position. Similar to Anticipation, this is how well players, particularly attacking ones, can assess a situation and then move off the ball, making themselves available to perform another action after making a pass themselves or to move in position to receive the ball from a team-mate. A player with good Off the ball will also require Decision, Anticipation and Acceleration to pick the right moment to move forward at the right time.

  • Positioning

Positioning reflects a player’s ability to read situations and position himself accordingly and in the best possible manner to deal with the unfolding events. The attribute is only effective in defensive situations and is not used in attacking situations. A player with higher ratings in Positioning will be able to maneuver himself into the best possible location of the pitch and whether or not they’re in the best position within their current tactical set up according to the situation. It also determines how well a player identifies who to mark, when and how and where to mark them.

  • Professionalism

How good a player’s attitude is overall. Individually to their career, match performance and training performances. A player is more likely to work hard in training, complain about work loads and individual training loads less, have a dedicated approach to fitness, meaning better recovery’s (probably) and in the long run have a natural decline later in their careers. Have a positive and good training progression, display good body language in and around matches, less likely to be impacted by negative mental attributes or states whether individually or as a whole.

  • Teamwork

Teamwork reflects how well a player follows tactical instructions whilst working for and alongside his team mates. Having a squad of players with higher ratings in Teamwork will work better as a unit, while player’s with lower ratings will be more individual, both on and off the pitch. They will often slack off and not ‘buy in’ to the team ethos compared to one with higher ratings who will enhance the team unity and be more willing to co-operate with fellow teammates and staff. These players with low Teamwork will basically not provide adequate support for their team-mates in match scenarios or prefer to run with the ball and look to finish off the attacks himself rather than playing in others, in perhaps a better position. It is also used to help decide whether or not a player opts to use one of his Player Traits ahead of a tactical instruction.

  • Work Rate

Work Rate reflects the player’s mental drive to work to his full capacities. A player with higher rating will want to work his socks off throughout the entire playing time, but will need the necessary physical attributes to actually be able to pull it off. It does not merely represent a willingness to run – something that would be inappropriate in many positions – but rather the urgency with which a player gets to where they’re supposed to be in all situations, going above or beyond what he need to do or is instructed to do.

 

Obviously professionalism is hidden and you cannot know it without the in-game editor (which won't be the case), so I am going to try to figure it out based on player media handling description, player personality as well as leadership and determination values with an excel table which some of you may have seen before in my short-lived Arsenal career thread.

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I previously talked about my idea of following some kind of sustainability guide seeing as the vegan only players is virtually impossible to achieve in-game. I will try to use youth as much as possible, it will not be a youth only save but I will cap the player signings as much as possible, maybe even have a 1-out 1-in player policy, I can only sign after selling. We may look for bargains to later sell for a profit to aid in club finances.

I want the squad to be as short as possible. With 22 players at most in the first team, and 55 to 60 maximum throughout the 3 teams (U18s, U23s, senior). We currently have 45 players at the club, with 10 U23s and 9 U18s, the rest are greyed out players. This leaves us with a 26 player first team squad with an average age of 23 years, 2 below the average of the league.

In regards to the staff, I will try to search for gender equality, sign as many women as possible to have a 50/50 balance of men/women at the club. For this I have used the Female staff member SHORTLIST from The Female Football Manager. I know using shortlists takes away from the realism point of view but there is no other way to sign women unless you are lucky and one applies to the job advert... In this will try to have staff in more than one job if possible to maximise wages, although this may be quite tough altogether.

I will not go gung-ho right away with the DNA/Ethos regarding current players as I want to keep it real and evolve with the squad and the whole club together.

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Squad Overview

684208811_Screenshot2021-12-17at19_18_28.thumb.png.3d4c4f9c55c5b17cce8e4232749aaeac.png1403074971_Screenshot2021-12-17at19_18_42.thumb.png.23a5bdc8d9c1503e270be283cd846ec5.png

This is the squad we're going to work with. Currently 26 players, there is absolutely no talent outside of the first team. My first thought is that there is a lot of versatility within the squad many players can play in many positions which, in a short squad, as I want to achieve is great to have. As I've said before the average age is quite low, actually 2 years less than the league average. The only worry I have is that Jamile Matt, the main striker is 32 years old already. All except 3 players are home grown (the 3 scotts).

89065954.png.cfa0e97f3d2fa78904849ca72c1fb6b7.png    Screenshot_2021-12-17_at_19_50.22-removebg-preview.png.b4dd12b3bab506bd7a67ce13b4131f05.png    Screenshot_2021-12-17_at_19_49.50-removebg-preview.png.79186862f0ee393b349ed4a9531d9484.png    Screenshot_2021-12-17_at_19_50.08-removebg-preview.png.446fe6d25cddaf7a2edb9879f6ea48b0.png

The spine of the team, in order of appearance: Udoka Godwin-Malife (CB), Kane Wilson (FB), Ebou Adams (BWM), Jamile Matt (ST).

We're looking pretty good in terms of goalkeeping with 2 solid keepers that have shared minutes equally the first half of the season. They've obviously had a lot of work and not good cover from the shaky defence. I'd say that in terms of  attributes we are above average, Lewis Thomas has had quite a better save ratio with 77% compared to McGee's 60%. Hopefully with a proper defence and coverage in front of them the numbers will be better.

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Now my main concern is the following table:

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These are the stats for my defensive players compared to the league average. Now I don't know if this is a result of having so many versatile players which means the game classifies as defensive players some of the more offensive minded wing players such as Opi Edwards. We clearly have speed and strength over the average but the lowest marking attribute in the league and way below average TCK and POS is pretty worrying and could partially be the cause of the teams performance.

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Physical values further complement what we were talking about. We have proper speed and agility but low balance and jumping. Seeing this, I decided to plot these low attributes for my 4 main centre backs (left) and also compared the DNA or Ethos attributes compared to the rest of the league,

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These (left) are not all the attributes required for a proper defensive player but I'd say they're quite relevant, and we really don't excel at them. The table on the right is not good either, lower anticipation, decisions and positioning is worrying. We need some intensive training and proper tactical coverage to compensate for the lack of quality.

As for the rest of the areas. We have the midfield with the lowest stamina of the league which is mind blowing frankly. This is not as true though, as in Ebou AdamsDan McSweeney, and also Sadou Diallo (13) and Ben Stevenson (13) we have proper coverage in that regard. We're not the most gifted team in terms of passing and vision in the midfield Regan Hendry  and Sadou Diallo will have to do.

The final thirdI must say I'm really happy with the Off the ball attribute, this will really help in the way I envision the team to play, with a very fluid 433 and lots of off the ball running. The rest are in the line of the rest of the team. The jumping/heading in which we are lowest is not that bad, we have in Jamile Matt a perfect Target Forward, with proper Off the Ball, back to goal abilities. Proper pace from the wings... We will just have to carry the ball into the back of the net with the 7,8 long shot attribute average. :lol:

So how does my team Ethos compared to the rest of the Sky Bet League Two? Well we are pretty average, we need some work to be done on teamwork and anticipation. Well we have a lot of work to do in all those attributes, them being the DNA I have chosen means they should at least be above league average for it to be significant, in my mind at least.

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Let's start this already!!

#WEareFGR

 

Edited by RogerC
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On 17/12/2021 at 21:19, MattyLewis11 said:

Ethos lagging behind the league 2 average, you will no doubt turn that on its head! Did you know that physical attributes aren't impacted by consistency, if a player has wheels he will always have wheels within the ME. 

Good to know! Thanks! And yes, quite a bit of work is needed to improve that.

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This is the current situation, as I said in the most recent updates, I had to reload the game because of some problems with youth intake and so obviously the team situation (in the league) is not that same as seen before, it's worse.

I am not taking over Rob Edwards FGR squad anymore, it was now Sol Campbell's squad.

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Rob Edwards was sacked after a 1-3 loss at home against Carlisle, managing to only win 4 out of the 13 league (and 1 draw) matches played with only 1 win being at The Fully Charged New Lawn. Rob Edwards' assistant manager (and currently mine), Richie Kyle, took over the team while a replacement was being appointed, he did marginally better (Carlisle game was managed by Edwards not Kyle), with a loss, a draw and a win in 3 matches.

Enter Sol Campbell, his numbers are on par with Rob's numbers... 4 wins in 14 matches, 7 losses and 4 draws. A solid win against League One side AFC Wimbledon to get us into round three of the EFL Trophy - Southern section. The team got knocked out of the FA Cup after a game replay against Doncaster (18th in league), we didn't reach the objective of Second Round.

The following graph shows the team's league position throughout the season, slowly but steadily gone down the ranks throughout the season. You can see that, even though he was only in charge for 3 games, Richie Kyle has been the only one to finish higher than the previous manager. Let's see if we can turn this graph into a U shape... or not. This is promising!

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Below is the league position as of 31st of December. Depending on Barrow's game-in-hand result we could possibly be lying in relegation zone, they're on a recently good run, with 2 wins and a draw in their last 3 matches. We're between 12 and 15 points away from the required playoff positions, 24 (or 27) from automatic promotions. The team has won 7, drawn 4 and lost 15 (!!) matches! 27 goals scored and 39 received in 26 matches gives us the -12 goal difference, second worst in the league.

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Not all hope is lost though, the xG table clearly shows we could be doing much better. A brief look into the defensive stats in the data hub shows we've been conceding 1.5 goals per game, 27% more than we should've. Does this have to do with the previous review I did of our defensive capabilities relative to the rest of the league? Or can this be remedied by proper tactical work?

Last point I see is our xG is on point with the 27 goals scored but we are shooting 10% than the rest of the league.

 

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We have a non-stop race up until the end of the season! Exciting!!

#WEareFGR

Edited by RogerC
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A surprising position for them to be in, although after Sol Campbell was in charge I guess it's not so surprising! I'm sure you will lift them nicely up the table, once the first win is delivered.

When I took over FGR (their debut L2 season) they were marooned five points adrift at the foot of L2 in January, so not too different to that I guess. With their squad, budget and facilities, you can really take them through the gears.

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On 19/12/2021 at 17:52, DefinitelyTaylor said:

Great post. Thanks for setting the scene! Why is it that Barrow are always so useless on FM?! :lol:

hahaha.  I don't know them really. Maybe for the next FM career I can choose them.

On 20/12/2021 at 21:01, Jogo Bonito said:

A surprising position for them to be in, although after Sol Campbell was in charge I guess it's not so surprising! I'm sure you will lift them nicely up the table, once the first win is delivered.

When I took over FGR (their debut L2 season) they were marooned five points adrift at the foot of L2 in January, so not too different to that I guess. With their squad, budget and facilities, you can really take them through the gears.

Let's hope we can do just that!!

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January debut

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I can't ask for much more regarding results here! The first match was on the 1st of January, 1 day after taking charge of the team, this means I could only set the tactic and pick whoever was available. Nick Cadden and Kane Wilson, both first XI full backs injured and a very jaded, Jamile Matt, the teams top scorer who proved his quality by scoring off the bench to give us the win. Happy new year!

We started the league in a very positive manner and although we dominated possession and shots, Rochdale (13th) managed to have clearer chances. It was a pleasing and very much needed win at home, were we had (shockingly) only won TWICE so far this season. Rochdale scored first with a lovely through ball between our centre backs. They are now asked to play a very high line compared to what they used to and Cashman managed to run off the marking to score on his own.

Here you can see a GIF of the first goal the team scored under my management, promising movement to start! 1-1. The 2-1 came from a few rebounds after a deep FK from the right.

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4 days later... We disappointingly got knocked out of the EFL Trophy by Walsall. We were punished once again for our high line, their first goal was exactly the same as the one conceded against Rochdale, and they quickly scored a second from a FK. 2-0 down at half time even though we completely dominated the match. Within 20 minutes of the second half we managed to equalise 2-2. See the wonderful 2-1 goal HERE. You can see below the match momentum for this very same match. FGR can be seen in blue colour... Walsall... well no colours but 3 goals.

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Pain. :idiot:

We completely dominated and outscored Port Vale, which were in 14th position at the time but with 3 games in hand compared to the rest of teams around, they could virtually be in a play-off spot so I went into the match kind of worried because of the Walsall poor chance conversion.  In the end though, we scored everything we had at our disposal. The 5-0 beating got Port Vale's manager, Darrell Clarke, sacked.

Carlisle (21st) and Leyton Orient (16th) were more of the same as Port Vale. We were really flimsy at the back against Leyton though, I was fearing a Walsall display once again, but the team proved it's worth by holding onto the 1 goal lead throughout most of the second half. Jamile Matt with a double against Carlisle and Josh March with a double against Leyton.

Last game of the month away at Prenton Park (3ºC) against fierce rivals Tranmere Rovers who are currently lying in 7th position of the Sky Bet League Two.

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Once again, domination from out part, but quite tense at the end to preserve the result. This was one of the matches that nothing goes in. We managed to produce 25 shots, 11 of them on target, 2 on the woodwork. You can see how we kept on knocking on their door xG during the whole match. Ross Doohan, the opposition GK had a lovely match with a 7,6 rating. We have managed to knock them out of play-off spots, they're now in 8th position.

-----

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We started off our journey a month ago, 1 point above relegation and 13 points (with a game more) away from the play-off spot. After our last 5 league games, we're ONLY 5 points away from Colchester who are currently sitting in the first play-off spot in 7th and we have pulled a nice 11 point gap from relegation. And as you can see in recent match form, we're currently topping the charts with a +10 goal difference.

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Promising stuff!!

-----

Something I wanted to point out is that I have really struggled with squad depth and even though I have 26 players, only around 16 are of first team quality, the rest are subpar and I've encountered that many first players are in needs of rest after every match (even before I played the first match). I'm on the last day of January and I'm still debating whether I should bring someone in, because things can get scary from here to the end of season.

I have offered a few trials as up until around the 20th of January I didn't have a single scout yet because of staff work permit delays, but later I've had many player proposals by the new staff from which I asked to suggest players when they signed for the club.

Edit: @DefinitelyTaylor seems like Barrow are about the same, hehe.

#WEareFGR!

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Staff update

 

During the first month of management I have managed to partially fill the vacant staff places but also replace some of the subpar staff FGR had. This process has been done through advertising the positions but also, as I mentioned in earlier posts with the help of The Female Football Manager's female women shortlist of about 450 people. Obviously not all of the 450 want to work for a League Two side, more like around 80 of which only a handful are up to the standard we require. The last way of signing staff has been through staff meeting recommendations, which have also proved quite useful.

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We started the journey with 2 female staff members out of the 12 members (16%) without counting the 3 doctors and and directors which we can't do anything about. We now have 5 women out of 22 staff members, making it 23% women and 77%, still some way short of the 50/50 equilibrium. The easiest places to fill with female members have been the medical department for now, 2 of the physios and a Sport Scientist.

Scouting team

We have managed to finally sign 2 scouts and a Head Scout. I have tried to diversify nationalities and World knowledge here. In a not distant future, the ex-Valencia and Brighton player Vicente will be in charge of scouting southern Europe with his vast knowledge of the area (right now we want him to work locally). We also have in Erwin Vandenbergh, ex-Genk and Lille, a great knowledge of Belgium and France.

And finally Terry McPhillips, Chief Scout with great Potential recognition (16) in charge of the scouts and UK/India knowledge. We still have a scouting position open, hopefully we can find a local scout to help with scouting in the short term.

-----

An area which I had some debating is in the Head of Youth Department position, we had Hannah Dingley, which helped improve are gender equality numbers but her staff attributes were, in my opinion, not up to the standard, and you'll see why when I show her replacement.

Hannah Dingley90067884.png.b5f2fe11ad447c71b40725e6f00f0f67.png.aeb26915f3115e4d3f9f88838ce033a9.png       ---    Screenshot_2021-12-24_at_15_50.11-removebg-preview.png.3cc2a9863d254696d4323f7360f9b181.pngMatt Cunningham 

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44 year's old Matt Cunningham is a WAY better coach in every aspect (non-GK related) but also mentally better except for his discipline. His player potential and ability recognition is 50% superior to Hannah's. He also possesses a slightly better personality in Fairly Determined, pretty much anything is better than balanced to be honest. His only downside can be his preferred formation which is 5-3-2 DM WB but he favours a passing playing style as well as 'Taki-Taki' (:lol:tactics. 

Matt will be a valuable U18 team member, both in youth recruitment but also in coaching terms with his 18 working with youngsters and his great coaching abilities.

 

Senior coaching team

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This is the current coaching team (click to view full size), we're still missing one performance analyst, but at least we now have one plus their Head of department. I am happy with this team right now. As you can see the coaches have positive personalities except Fitness coach Bianca who has balanced personality, we now have to work towards equal coaching qualifications throughout the team. Currently the manager has the lowest qualifications. :lol:

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Lastly, a coaching signing I'm really looking forward to is the one of former Premier League player Park Ji-Sung. He has excellent mentals, a matching tactical style and a Model Citizen personality. His coaching attributes are not too shabby but I want to test out his evolution through acquiring better coaching badges (is this even a thing?) and see if it takes us anywhere!

 

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Edited by RogerC
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An excellent run of form, I must admit seeing the 'Gas heads' sitting top of the league is disappointing... hopefully they fall off.

Your coaching team look very well rounded and should be enough to ensure you get the most from your playing squad. 

Do you think that with the trialists you will now have sufficient squad depth? 

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18 hours ago, MattyLewis11 said:

An excellent run of form, I must admit seeing the 'Gas heads' sitting top of the league is disappointing... hopefully they fall off.

Your coaching team look very well rounded and should be enough to ensure you get the most from your playing squad. 

Do you think that with the trialists you will now have sufficient squad depth? 

I think it has more to do with the rest of the title contenders dropping quite a few points lately than them being very good. 10 out of 15 points is decent but the rest...!

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Regarding the trialists... I still haven't advanced in the game, I'm torn between signing and remaining with the current squad... I think signing players right now would be too easy and take away from the objectives I set regarding sustainability and squad size. I think I'm going to keep the current squad, maybe loan out one or two players which I don't see playing anyway (because they're awful).

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25 minutes ago, _Ben_ said:

Just caught back up with this and it’s a top read. I love your investment with the club ideology and the progress you’re making!

Thanks man!! You're a great inspiration!! As can be seen in the way my post are laid out, plus the use of gyazo image uploader which at first I found a bit annoying when reading but now I love and using it is even better! I had previously read the Home Town Heroes and Swiss Army knife threads but now I'm going further back with the Beira-Mar career!

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I have decided to keep on going with the current squad. We'll see where it takes us. For now, a great start to the adventure, it will be tough to keep this level.

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Edit: I still need to fix some of the skins' colours.

 

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February

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That was... bitter sweet? We've generated almost 12 xG but only scored 6 goals. Colchester game was a comfortable one, complete domination from our part, well I guess we could say the same for each and every match played this month, not regarding results though. We went in extremely complacent against Newport with some rotation to try to perform against Salford, current league leaders. It didn't work, we managed to score the 1-0 in the 80th minute only to throw it all away in the 94th minute, but who would've thought after 21 shots and 60% possession.

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On paper I wouldn't be so upset to lose against Salford, as I said, current leaders but we fought hard. And missed hard 1,5 xG from 18 shots is quite bad. We scored from a set piece in the 92nd minute but never really stood a chance. They were completely clinical. If we hadn't gifted them a penalty within 5 minutes from the start I think we could've taken something out from the game.

Last 2 matches... We had almost 4 xG against Hartlepool, 4 shots to the woodwork and 4 clear cut chances (don't know if the game counts them as the same). We had a quieter game against Oldham but with 14 shots and 8 on target I feel we should've been more clinical.

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Now I know that my tactics favour the runs of both Mezzalla's, both out wide and also into the half spaces, and they're not specially good when it comes to finishing. I was hoping that Regan Hendry's return to the team after injury (broken lower leg) would help in this department, but he has been quite awful in terms of what we're asking of him (the last pass and/or finishing), hopefully he get's into form soon, I will give him some time after 4 months on the sideline. Edwards (AMR) has been awful too on the right wing, he cannot dribble past anyone and much less finish a CCC.

This has me having to play Vaughn Covil, an 18 year England-born American, he is able to dribble past some players but his mentals are not up to par and this hinders his ability towards goal.

Jamile Matt has been excellent in the build-up play but also getting to the end of chances, he has been very wasteful though, he has 17 goals from 54 shots on targets (33%). 

I feel like the rest of the team are performing excellently (GK, FBs, CBs, DM), we just need more definition in the final third from those 5 players which are squandering CLEAR chances. If this form continues in the future I will have to dig deeper into the stats... We'll see!

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Click for full league table

We keep on marching in the league, 4 places above were we last left off, 17 points away from relegation and only 3 to the first play-off position. As you can see there are 9 teams separated by 5 points so a good run of results could see us in contention for promotion. The leader, Salford, has pulled away with their win against us but we have crept 4 points closer (12 now) to automatic promotion places (3rd). I don't think that's realistic at the moment, though.

I have some tactic tinkering to do for next month, oh we will also see what youth intake brings us, although I don't have much faith with the current facilities.

Will I end up regretting not signing any of the free-agents we trialed?

 #WEareFGR

Edited by RogerC
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I forgot to post this (monthly report from analysts), a clear reflection of our performances. In the end, I have to keep calm and remember that we got the team in virtual relegation spots, with a -12 GD and only 7 wins out of 26 matches (league) and we've automatically gone on and won 8 out of 10 matches, which is quite ridiculous to be honest.

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We're clearly dominating passing and possession and we're looking really good in terms of scoring, but scoring less than statistics expect us to.

 

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MARCH :seagull:

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Rather dull to be honest. Good points though, we're right there but we would actually BE there if we could finish our chances. Even if the opposition scored, which is what happened in the two matches drawn. I guess we could call it a winning crysis? We're advancing, winning games if we compare the results the team had before we are way better, but we could be much better, or at least 6 points better (5th position).

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Click for full table

We have play-off position in our hands and only 5 games to go... They will be tough games though, Barrow Bristol Rovers (2nd), Northampton (4th), Sutton United (6th) and Mansfield (5th).

I drew up a table to see what our statistics are looking like. This table compares shots to shots on target, goals and xG. We also compare to the top scorers we have in our scouted list and also the statistics of top 3 strikers in our same league. Now Kevin Oris and Dante Isla are players suggested by staff and they're playing in other countries so they're not that representative but we should really aim for their Shots on Target/Goal ratio. You can see that only Jamile Matt's, first XI striker, at 29% is the only one kind of close, but still far away from the 35-44% from Omotoye or Etete.

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Regan Hendry and Ben Stevenson are more in line with what we want and need plus they're pretty much on level with their xG, so they're not over or under performing. The rest of the players are, both in xG and in Sh T/Goal ratio. Only scoring 1 out of 10 shots on target is pretty bad for players in EFL League Two, let alone for players trying to gain promotion.

THIS is what we're continually missing, be it the ST, the AM's or the CM's but we continuously keep creating good plays such as THIS, that time we managed to score but as you can see by all the stats, we can only bury one of those in the whole match out of maybe 4, 5, 6 and 7. 

I really don't know what to change tactically when we're creating proper chances and defending properly, only 2 received in 5 matches... We will just push until the end and see what happens!

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Posted (edited)

I recently whipped out the excel table I created for the previous save and applied it to the current squad (explanation HERE). As I said in the beginning, we're quite far away in terms of DNA (compared to the league) but also in terms of professionalism, which I want the squad to be proficient in. Yes, this is given by player personality/media handling, balanced mentalities don't give you any information about it (18 out of 26 are balanced).

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Click for full size

We have two good personality/DNA combinations (and mental stats) in Regan Hendry and Jamile Matt, and both are important first team players. CM Ben Stevenson, balanced+level-headed has proper DNA and professionalism as well as Elliot Whitehouse (2nd choice CM) and Jack Evans (backup young WB L).

Youngsters Bennett (CB), Hallet (CB), Harvey Bunker(CM) and Vaughn Covil(AMR) probably won't cut it for next season, we'll see what we can do (or can't) in the market. Ebou Adams has been an important player for us both in DM as well as Mezz but he's contract is running out and is asking for quite the wage upgrade. Seeing he is one of the worst in terms or personality, professionalism and mentality of the whole squad I have now changed my mind pretty clearly about him continuing, even though he is one of the highest rated by the assistants.

The AM strata is the area were we need the biggest upgrade, Opi, Vaughn and Aitchison (loan in) are not cutting it at all, both performance wise but also in terms of mentality/Ethos (See their CONS, attacking, intelligence, technical....:seagull:).

Edited by RogerC
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April-May

We're in the play-off's! Barely.

92431760_Screenshot2021-12-31at16_37_13.png.1c73a374c38ef719b70d418661867e40.png 647052161_Screenshot2022-01-02at22_00_51.png.701fd2fb1992a85bfe9b96e1c971c431.png 1720202474_Screenshot2022-01-02at23_46_49.png.00f803386fd936750b43d9ccf688c54e.png 396703574_Screenshot2022-01-03at15_26_58.png.291b96bd147402a1aa7dd9d4d400c3b3.png 2035578896_Screenshot2022-01-03at17_28_59.png.c264d3d74a92a0ef94be90504b837b28.png 

Many points thrown away but we managed to barely get into the play-offs. And mainly because Sutton, Colchester and Leyton completely bottled it. After the first two straight draws I thought we would be out of contention but even then we still gained league positions up to 6th. The Barrow performance was quite infuriating, they equalised in the 94th minute from a scrappy set-piece. A very equal match against leaders Bristol Rovers which ended 0-0. The first match that we scored more than 1 goal in quite a while (12 matches), a low cross to the near post scored by backup ST Matty Stevens, a screamer from outside the area by Mezzala Stevenson and an extra time penalty.

Another good performance against the 4th place Northampton, but the same story... No goals with almost 2 xG and I don't know how many 1v1 against the keeper.. But nothing. Then came Mansfield, with us needing at least a point to be in the safe zone... Instead we lost against Mansfield, our second loss out of the 20 played in the league. Mansfield had won 4 out of their 5 last league matches, making them the most in-form team in the league at the time. We were lucky that Scunthorpe and Colchester also lost their last match but they could've kicked us out of 7th place!

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Click table for full size

Thanks to our proper performance, and obviously league position, we're up against the 4th team which, as I said, is the most in-form team right now in the league... The other play-off semi final will be between Exeter and Northampton with Exter right behind Mansfield in the Last 5 games table, with 4 wins and a loss.

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Wish us luck!!

#WEareFGR!

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Posted (edited)

We did it!!!

1582662772_Screenshot2022-01-06at00_42_37.png.0e9e823fee5a7bb0ce2f44ad38460102.png0_JS242203189.jpg.9fcc1efbf68752ea853328e6dc30126a.jpg

 

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After the previous showing against Mansfield and seeing their form I was quite worried we wouldn't be able to make it through two matches more against them. At home, they stepped up first in the 36th minute with a low cross to the near post, we managed to equalise 7 minutes after though with a lovely ball switch into their left half-space after overloading the right flank. They then turned scored again in the 84th minute in a 3 vs 1 counter attack from a free kick we had in near their area. Infuriating! In the 90th minute Hendry decided to do a great run once again through their left half space which Diallo, the DLP saw clearly. Mansfield conceded a penalty which Matt converted for the final 2-2.

I didn't have much hope for the second leg away at One Call Stadium against Mansfield after the previous two showings. We converted much more this time around though! They also created more as you can see from their xG but we managed to keep a clean sheet. They first goal came from a penalty on Wilson, right on the corner of the area as you can see below.

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They few chances they had came from us gifting them the ball in delicate places, other than that they did not create much. Matt settled it in the 79th minute with a through pass from IWB (R) Kane Wilson between both CB, beautiful lower right corner finish from out top goal scorer with 20 league goals, only 2 behind Northampton's Kion Etete's 22 goals. We're through to the final at Wembley against Northampton.

-----

Saturday 28th May 2022, EFL League Two Playoffs Final

Wembley Stadium

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If you see the previous update, where we ended the regular league season, you'll see that we played Northampton and Mansfield head-to-head before playing against Mansfield again in the semi-final. Well the next match is Northampton. Northampton beat Exeter City 2-0 and 2-1 in their own semi finals, a pretty commanding performance by them.

Opi Edwards 0-1Jake Young 0-2, Aitchison 1-3

We scored 2 screamers and for once (:lol:) overdid our xG. I think the replays speak for themselves. They scored from a floated cross to the far post but didn't create much otherwise, plus Kion Etete, league top scorer as I said before, took himself out of the match with a second yellow card.

That's it! We're playing in EFL League One next season! After finishing 7th in the league. hehe. I drew up a table comparing final league positions to those when we took charge of FGR. Effectively the difference of points between the end of season vs points when we took over. 

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This shows that we've effectively 'won' our own league by 2 points, 20 games, 12 wins, 6 draws and 2 losses. 46,2 xG and only 36 goals. We need to work on conversion rates for next season in league One otherwise we will have a very tough time. A LOT of work will have to be done regarding squad building and finances, but everything in line with the club ethos and sustainability!

 

Edited by RogerC
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21 hours ago, extudassex2 said:

Almost threw it with that poor conversion rate but in ended justice prevailed! 

Absolutely, it's something we have to remedy for next season!

Edited by RogerC
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Financial troubles

Now when I took over the team (JAN 2022) we took over in healthy financial position with around 450k in the bank. I really hadn't notice d and did not pay further attention because earlier before taking over I had already established the healthy baseline as I said in one of the first updates, we had almost one million in the bank and spending less than the (at the time) current wage budget.

I'm thinking that when I reloaded the game due to the youth intake problems, and using the data updates, the finances changed and instead we now had 450k in the bank (as well as being in virtual relegation). So when we took over and overhauled the current staff, signing quite a few members we hit the finances quite hard.

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As you can see in FEB 2022, we spent almost 200K € in staff wages when we were previously spending around 46K€, this is due to 3 or 4 compensations paid to clubs. After that, we have been spending around 70K in staff wages, that is around 25-30k more than previously. Although that hit quite hard, we have still been losing around 200K € per month regularly and we ended the season at around -550K €.

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Obviously this didn't allow us to upgrade any of our horrible facilities or departments because the board didn't allow due to 'present financial situation'. This changed in the end of May, with a 564k€ injection at the end of the league and 3.5 M€ thanks to sponsorships. This allows so more breathing space for now, but we really need to take care of finances for next season, even though we'll probably have more match day income and more sponsorship money, as of right now we will still be losing 200k€ per month, that gives us 2.4 M€ expenditure over the next 12 months.

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We will have to be cautious with signings and much needed facility/recruitment upgrades as well as staff recruitment.

-----

This brings us to financial squad management. Our squad currently lies 15th in the Sky Bet League 2 in terms of salary per annum and would lie 23rd (out of 24) in the Sky Bet League 1 current roster.

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Now I have drawn out two tables in excel, this first one gives an overview of our current first team squad wage distribution, this includes all player agreed playing times agreed before I joined and I have not touched anything as of JUN 2022.

On the left, the desired wage distribution, with equal 30% between KEY, SQUAD and FRINGE players and 10% for YOUTH. Obviously, each of squad and fringe groups will have more players than the key player group thus allowing the latter players to earn more due to their importance. The actual squad distribution is to the right of the agreed playing time, and as we can see we're quite far away from ideal. We have squad players with important status and important players with regular or even fringe status but we also had no squad players, this completely upsets the distribution, both in numbers but also wage wise.

We can also see how in the key and squad player groups we're overspending in regards to the quantity of players we have with a limit of 3100€ per month and currently spending 4250€/month (Star player), the inverse happens in the fringe players group, were we have margin. I will revisit this table once the summer dealings have ended and properly assess for next season.

---

Now, inspired by @_Ben_'s financial dealings, I have kind of adapted my old financial squad table and added some key elements such as the cost per minute and the really interesting 'Additional fees as a % of the base wages'. Now, at first glance I think it can be a bit of a pain to look at

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'Yearly wage' is during the 5 months in charge of the team

Now this table shows quite a few interesting things, in average we're spending 110% of the base wages in additional fees, be it unused subs, goal, assists, app fees, etc. Now I'm fine with players such as Jamile Matt, team top scorer, in earning a lot for goals scored, this means that we pay but while the player is successful. Now what I don't like as much is paying him 12K€ for appearances when his base wage is 9k€ over the 5 months. In total he has been paid 214% of his base salary.

Now we have players such as Matty Stevens (ST), Vaughn Covil (AMR), Elliott Whitehouse (CM), Jordan Moore-Taylor (LB) and Dominic Bernard (DC-DR) who have played around 500-800 minutes (half or less than first XI) who are earning 100% (or almost) of their wages through appearance fees which is unacceptable, they're getting paid for sub appearances and have a limited contribution to the team.

I'm fine with Key player such as Lewis Thomas (GK), Udoka (DC), Ben Stevenson (CM), Jake Young or Jamile Matt earning more but also contributing to the team. This is further confirmed with the Cost/Min column, we have some outliers such as Jack Evans (DL) or Luke McGee (GK) who have barely played any minutes and have ridiculous numbers, but we can see players like Stevens, Covil, Whitehouse, Moore-Taylor, etc which have around 20€/min which are on the high side of the data.

All in all, we need to reshuffle agreed playing times to paint a clear picture of actual playing times (see mins played vs agreed playing times) and assess fringe players who are surplus or players who have decent wages and ability and we may keep next season. I still don't have a clear picture of what I'm after, but certainly we need more punch in midfield and proper depth at striker and AMR.

 

Edit: Quite the story I have written, I apologise for my bad writing skills and my messy tables :lol: 

Edited by RogerC
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July 2022

During July the 4 man team in the scouting department have been working 24/7 and we've also had a fair share of trialists in and out. Now last year we had a proper squad for League 2, well we could say a proper first XI because we had absolutely no proper squad depth for League Two, let alone for League 1. If you take into account that when I took over the team was already out of pretty much any cup competition, things are even worse. All this means we needed quite the squad revamp.

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The board was quite generous giving us a 1.2M transfer budget even with the struggles we had last season. Now if you remember the previous update, I am predicting us to lose at least around 200k € a month or more, the (hopefully) increased attendance will bring more income but we're certainly going to be spending much more in wages compared to last season.

From the €3.6M balance we have, around €2.4M will be gone in 12 months time, this means the €1.2M we have left is what we're going to be working with for  new player and staff signings, therefore I want to spend at MOST half of that to rebuild the squad.

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New signings

Now we have to differentiate between the 9 incomings. Three of them are youngsters that will stay in the senior squad due to the lack of any U23 players/staff. Jeremy Kyezu and Khalon Haysman come on a free from the Tottenham academy. Harry Brooke also on a free from Norwich but from the Millwall academy.

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Transfer history

We have reinforced the spine of the team, with an experienced CB, 2 CMs and two AMs. Niko Möller on loan from Arsenal to provide backup to Jamile Matt

I have drawn up another quick table. To the left, the team we had last season, in green, first XI, in yellow their subs and orange backups for each position. The players highlighted in various colours denote they cover several positions. On the right, you can see the this years line up, with the same colours as the last years

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You can see we have 7 players in the first XI who were in the squad last year but we have reinforced the front 5 where we clearly lacked punch last year. Bailey Cargill would still be first choice CB but he is probably on his way out due to him wanting to move on to another team. This is why Will Nightingale will step up, commanding CB from AFC Wimbledon with 6 years experience in Sky Bet League One, they have been relegated and he comes on a free of charge.

Roles has bounced up and down the leagues and teams, comes on a free from Crystal Palace after having 6 apps in the Premier League (!!) last season. and O'Sullivan also free from the now relegated to L2 Accrington Stanley played 39 games last season for them and has been moving from L2 to L1 on several occasions. Both are a great upgrade on last year's Elliot Whitehouse and Ebou Adams at centre mid. Last year's backup ST Matty Stevens has moved on and we have brought in Möller on loan to cover for top scorer Jamile Matt. Let's see who ends up being the starter though, because Möller is pretty much better already. hehe.

Finally Ayoub Assal, the Moroccan also comes from AFC Wimbledon, even at his young age he has 2 year experience in this league, with 6 goals and 5 assists in 32 games last season, he comes in pretty much as our best player as his fee clearly denotes (negotiated by DoF). It hurt a bit to be honest, but even if it doesn't work out I'm sure we'll be able to at the very least recoup the money.

 

All in all, €550K from 9 signings, but we have recouped €100K from 6 players and will probably recoup around €80-100K from the 3 who are about to leave. Also achieve the 1 player-in 1 player-out philosophy and also keep sustainability in mind. €350K from quite a considerable squad upgrade is something I'm VERY happy with.

----------

When everything is well and I'm happy with the dealings and our finances, the board decide this is a good idea without asking! Never had this happen before. I mean, I'm happy because our facilities are probably the worst in the League. I will have to check further, but spending 2/3 of our bank balance seems quite risky at the moment!

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This took our transfer budget from €1.2M to around €700K. Luckily we didn't overspend...

 

 

Bring on the season!

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July 2022 - Pre-season

2142054942_Screenshot2022-01-14at16_42_15.thumb.png.fbbfbcb126e7ee4612134174bd661e15.png  1042541744_Screenshot2022-01-13at16_41_02.png.f71e241c776e9d19a229d4ccf483e668.png

Lot's of friendly matches while we were busy in the offices signing and selling (you can see some random trialist players in the score sheets). A very nice victory in the Carabao Cup against a strong Charlton, who finished 5th in L1 last year. Even though it was very early in pre-season, we had a strong showing proving that we can compete at this level. 

Jamile Matt scored a header and new signing Anthony Forde from a very well placed FK, he made good use of his 15 in FK taking, hopefully this will be something we see regularly throughout the season. Onto the second round against Brentford at home in 2 weeks...

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On 15/01/2022 at 01:51, extudassex2 said:

Certainly a good market overall, some nice additions well within the budget.

Yes certainly! And I think there may be something more...! We'll see!

22 hours ago, Blarney said:

Top class save.  Really enjoy reading this. 

Thank you very much! Hopefully I can pump out updates quicker!

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