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Around the World in Eighty Clubs


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The Premise

Not so long ago, a young Phillip Fogg was wandering the streets of London wanting to see the world but not sure how to do it. As he passed the doors of the famous Reform Club, he thought of his famed, fictional namesake and his madcap adventures as laid out by Jules Verne. He decided, at that very moment, that he too would travel round the world and follow that route country-by-country. Football would be his mechanism as he loved the game and would happily manage in each and every country. The only challenge being that he never been a football manager or player but merely a player of Football Manager! Nevertheless, with 'Inverting the Pyramid' and 'Soccernomics' by his side, he was ready to strike out on the journey of a lifetime!

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In summary, Phillip will aim to manage at least one club in each country from the 'Around the World route'. The rules are that, from the date of employment, he must spend a calendar year in that country. Any time unemployed counts as spent in the country he was last managing in. For example, he starts managing in country A on September 1st 2021 but gets sacked on May 15th 2022. He doesn't get another job but can still start looking in country B from September 1st 2022? Make sense? I hope all will become clear as it goes along - join me for the ride! He will also aim to take his assistant with him from club to club along the way.

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England - Curzon Ashton

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And so the challenge begins! Much to my surprise - Fogg gets a job from his very first interview! Curzon Ashton of the National League North is where the challenge begins. The club is currently experiencing its best times. Promoted into the National League North in 2015, the club has been there ever since and the aim has changed little. The club wants to stay at this level and continue to compete. Within five years, the club aims to be in the top half. Fogg, by then, hopes to be in India. We'll see how achieves their goal first!

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Looking above, you'll see that the assistant column is blank - there's very few staff on the role here so there's plenty of work for Fogg to do here...

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Pre-season

So Fogg steps into the hotseat at the Tameside Stadium. As with my previous save, the opening transfer window was closed. This meant that there was only in-coming figure - but one vital to the challenge.

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The 51yo has played for a variety of league and non-league clubs. He's worked as a scout for Liverpool but more recently has spent his time as assistant manager in a range of non-league clubs. Can Fogg persuade Elliott to follow him around the world? Only time can tell!

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As you can see, the club's ambitions are focussed on the league - staying in it in fact. It's certainly something of a bonus to see that only one team goes down in the Van North. With that knowledge, and no transfers, it's important to see what Fogg's side are predicted to do.

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And, with a sigh of relief, it's expected to stay up! The predictors say that Fogg should finish 19th - 5 places above the dreaded drop spot. Does that count as out the battle? Only time will tell with a little prediction from pre-season...

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Pre-season was pretty good! The worry was the fact that the team didn't have a clean sheet but, on the other hand, they had a serious high in beating National League side Altrincham. The side dominated the game too so the hope is that, if Fogg's side can continue to play that well, they should seriously shock the NL North! Now let's have a look at who Fogg will be up against in month one...

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Well he'll certainly know what he's about by the end of this month! Guiseley are predicted to be at the same level as them but the rest are top-ten clubs. Boston are predicted to be second - wish him luck!

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Starting XI

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So this is the XI that will take to the field for Fogg's first game of the season (and his career!) - let's have a run-down of the players who make up this team.

Chris Renshaw GK: The 23yo keeper spent his formative years at Everton but is yet to be the starting keeper for a regular season. This is his moment!

Matt Challoner RB: The 27yo RB has spent most of his career at Chorley and Southport. This is his first season at Curzon and he's ready to make his mark.

Harry Flowers CB: The CB began his career at Burnley before having a journeyed lower league career - he's now ready to take a starting place in his second Curzon season.

Marcus Poscha CB: Poscha has played most of his football for Colne. He played seven games for the Ash last season - more beckons this time around!

Scott Wilson LB: One of the team's superstars, Wilson joined the club from League Two Barrow this season. I see him being a vital element linking attack and defence.

Adam Thomas RM: 27yo Thomas is the other superstar on the team. He began his career at Everton and Stoke before playing for Stockport County for the last five seasons. I'm looking for some midfield magaic in his first season at Tameside!

Dale Whitham CM: The 25yo has had a more journeyed career recently following a long spell at Chorley. He made eight appearances last time around but now he's first choice.

Jordan Lussey CM: Lussey, 25yo, is a ball-winning specialist. He started out at Liverpool no less before journeying around non-league.

Alex Curran LM: Curran is our LM and I expect him to cut in and cause chaos in the box. In his second season here, I want to see him leave a mark!

Dominic Knowles CF: A 29yo striker, Knowles bagged 7 in last 15 season and I look forward to seeing more this season.

Jack McKay CF: Leeds, Chesterfield and Cardiff are on McKay's CV. However, with no more than two goals in a season, now is the time for him to step up!

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August 2021

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Well, if pre-season was too good to be true, August's serious games were a cold, hard dose of reality! Fogg began the month against Chester and they held out pretty well for most of the game. This was until the 93rd minute when a laser-accurate pass sent Glendon through one-on-one and he slotted home. Curzon went a goal down against Guiseley (Flowers 80) but fought back to get a point when Waters crossed from a throw-in for CB Flowers to head home. They were well and truly bossed by Boston in their game against them although The Ash did miss two guilt-edged chances. Finally, an exhausted side took on Darlington and they comfortably out performed Curzon to win 1-0.

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The table puts Fogg precisely where he's expected to be. No wins in the first four games isn't a great start although it has to be said that Fogg was up against some pretty serious oppostion! He hopes that he can rack up some points in the next month to help them on their way up the league and away from trouble!

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In Curzon's league games next month, they play three solidly-midtable sides. They take up positions 10th, 11th and 13th respectively. Fogg is going to try switching from a direct to a fluid counter-attacking system to see if that has any postive effects. Please flood him with any LLM tips that you have!

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September 2021

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What a difference a month makes - Fogg alters his tactics and is pleased to see a month with no red in it at all! The first game trying a more fluid system saw his side take on Leamington (McKay 57, 90+2). McKay got the opening goal when their keeper kicked the ball out straight into Knowles who headed it down for McKay to put home. The second came when Merrill, on as a sub, cut their defence open to send McKay through one-on-one and secure the result. Gloucester City proved to be a harder match but thier second clean sheet in a row together with matching their xG meant that Fogg felt like he'd earned the point fairly. Before they took on their next opponents, there was some news...

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Jordan Lussey was being lured away by FC United and Foog decided that he could upgrade instead of fight to keep him so Marcus Wood came in. He spent four years in the Man City academy before plying his trade with Southport and Bradford PA. Fogg hopes Wood can bring some of the Pep style with him! A rotated side took on Alvechurch (Dyche pen 12, Dobson 58) and Fogg was pleased to see two more goal scorers get off the mark and send Curzon on into the next round of the cup. Finally, Curzon took on Bradford PA (McKay 66, Knowles 74, 90). The first half was a cagey, even affair. The second was anything but though as Fogg's side dominated and scored three goals into the bargain!

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A change of tactical style sees Fogg's side fly up the table. Curzon now sit closer in points to the play-offs than relegation and that single dreaded red spot isn't even on the screen! It's still early days yet though.

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October looks to be a full-on month for Curzon Ashton. Fogg's charges start off with what should be a routine cup tie before five league games await. Four of the teams appear above Curzon in the league and Spennymoor aren't far behind. With his new tactics proving so successful though, Fogg has no fear and is look forward to this kick-starting his career and journey around the world!

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October 2021

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After an impeccable month last time around, Fogg followed up with very nearly the same in October. The month began with the FA Cup against Stratford Town (Flowers 35,38) and a brace from CB Flowers was enough to Fogg into the next round. He followed this up with a league win against Farsley (Flowers 31, McKay 42). McKay got the winner when he smashed a super-strike from outside the box off the crossbar. Curzon followed this with a dramatic cup game against Halifax Town (Curran 30, Knowles pen 57, McKay 85). McKay got the winner again making the most of Knowles' cutting through-ball. It looked like all Fogg's good fortune was coming to an end when he was 3-0 down at HT against Kidderminster Harriers (Knowles pen 70, 79, McKay 77). The team had other things in mind though when they scord three in seven minutes to level things up! Goals were not so forthcoming against Spennymoor and Curzon had to settle to just a point apiece. One goal did do enough against Gateshead (McKay 13). Curran whipped in a superb inverted cross which McKay duly headed home. Fogg's luck had to out eventually and it did so against Telford (Whitham 10). Going two goals down inside five minutes, one being a corner and having a penalty in the dying embers really did the side in.

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Following another good month, Fogg can continue to be pleased with his work at Curzon. The team may have slipped a little of the play-off place but Fogg's leadership sees them 12 points clear of the dropzone and his sacking. Together with studying for his coaching qualifications, Fogg is seriously hopeful that this is a setting that will support him in jetting on around the world.

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November's headline game comes up early in the month - commencing with Fogg's side hosting League Two Exter City. Following this crowd-pleaser, his side play three league games - 3rd, 2nd and 17th. Fogg knows that he needs to keep collecting points if he wants to keep his repuation as it is and help him to jet-set around the world. Maybe a promotion within England would help raise his profile ready for a July move to la France...

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November 2021

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After having been pretty pleased with the results in October, Fogg's good run has continued through November as well. The month began with team taking on Exeter City (Knowles 11, Challoner 26, Poscha 70) in the FA Cup. Fogg was in dreamland when the team were 2-0 up at half-time against the league side. But then, it took a turn for the worse when they turned it round to a 3-2 lead. Poscha saved the day though - burying a late header to take the tie to a replay. In the league, Curzon took on Fylde (Knowles 2, 12, Curran 29) and Fogg was delighted to see his side blow the second-placed team away and to come away with a well-earned three points. York (Knowles 66, 83) fought back well to get from 2-0 to a late 2-2 draw frustrating Fogg's side who thought they had all three points. It was a return to cup action against Exeter City (Knowles 35) and this time the league side had too much for Fogg's men and progressed on in the cup. Fogg rotated his side against AFC Dunstable (Hobson 16, Curran 62, Flowers 75) and with Hobson and Flowers powering headers home either side of Curran's fine curling effort, the team go marching on. Finally, Brackley Town (Flowers 6, Knowles 62) finished the month and, with three points earned for Fogg's men, things are looking pretty good.

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Manager of the month and player of the month for November is not a bad combination to have!

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Curzon's strong run sees the team move up to nineth place - only three points outside the play-offs. Fogg keeps building success upon success and he certainly hopes that this bodes well for his journey on around the world!

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Chorley provide December's stand-out league tie as they are presently occupying the final play-off place. Hereford are the next most serious opponents in eleventh place and then Alfreton and Southport are much lower down. Fogg is seriously hopeful that this month could, like the last couple, prove to be seriously profitable to his reputation. After all, a good run at Curzon might help him avoid bumping around the bottom leagues of each of the European countries he plans on managing in...

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December 2021

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Off the back of an award-winning November, the team stepped into December keen to see what they can push on to achieve. The first side that Fogg found himself up against was Alfreton Town (Thomas 65) and they shocked Fogg's side to take all three points from the Tameside. Fogg let rip into his side and they made amends against Hereford (McKay 44, Flowers) with McKay chipping home Whitham's superb ball over the top and Flowers heading home a free-kick. The good news carried on when Fogg got to see what the youth intake holds for next season.

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It was cup action next and, using extra time, Fogg's charges just managed to squeak past Southport (McKay 12, 111, Knowles pen 54) thanks to McKay's 111th minute strike. Southport (Curran 5) proved even harder to beat in the league when, despite Curran's early strike, the Ash couldn't do enough to secure the win. The same story was true against Chorley (McKay 6) where McKay got the early goal but once again Fogg's side couldn't see the game out.

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The two draws in particular must go down as disappointing results on Fogg's resume and it sees his side slip away from the play-off places. The gap now becomes five points as Curzon look to make the most of their good form so far this season.

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January is a pretty busy month which sees Curzon play Southport again before taking on teams with a whole spread across the league. At the moment, there is only one double-gameweek with a second game in the early January rush before it all settles down to one game a week from then on.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

January 2022

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Fogg had found himself flying high with Curzon so far. January, however, came to remind him that all things come back to earth with a bump. The rot began with a 4-1 drubbing at the hands of Southport (Thomas 84). Being 4-0 down until late on against the league's bottom side was a real shocker for Fogg. He hoped that things would improve in the game against Blyth Spartans but this simply led to another defeat. It got worse though - Curzon were smashed out the FA Trophy by York City before losing again to Kettering Town. Now the side hadn't scored in three and were up against high-flying Chester (Thomas 11, Curran 45+2). With the front line not scoring, the two wingers took on the job and got the goals the side needed to break the bad run. The cost though is to lose winger Thomas for the next six weeks. Fylde proved to be tough opponents and, in a close-run tie, neither side could complain about sharing the points.

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So with Fogg's side failing to make the most of their January games, he sees his team slip into the bottom half of the table. Now five points short of the play-offs, Fogg knows that he has work to do if he wants to attract French eyes at the end of the season and begin to move on around the world.

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February will be another busy month for Fogg's men and another tough one. York, Telford and Hereford are all in the play-off places so it won't be easy for Curzon to get points there. Brackley and Alfreton are both below them in the table however. It looks like another tough month but can Fogg return Curzon to their early season form?

Edited by RaySunshine
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February 2022

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January had proved to be a tricky month for the Ash and Fogg was hoping that February would prove to be a serious pick-me-up for his side. It didn't start that way though in a tough tie against York City (Flowers 62). Flowers' heading home gave Fogg hope that he would take at least a point home but it didn't prove to be. This was followed up by a frustrating performance against Telford where, despite them being down to ten men from forty mintues onwards, Fogg's men couldn't find a way through. The team had a weekend off at this point and Fogg felt the need to strengthen the side with the pressure of fatigue and injuries coming home to roost.

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Charlie Bullock was brought in on loan from Newport County. The youngster is in his second season after signing terms and is looking to play his first professional minutes with Curzon.

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Ky-Mani Hunter is similiarly in his second professional season and looking to make his mark in the English game. With Challoner out injured, he should have the chance to get some mintues under his belt pretty quickly.

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Jude Swales began his career at Newcastle but, after having failed to make an appearance in three seasons, has moved on. He looks like a good prospect for the future and will provide back-up from the bench in the short term.

Both strikers found a return to form against Brackley Town (McKay 31, Knowles 51) with McKay in particular scoring a superb volley from a dinked ball over the top to send Curzon on their way. The team finished with a creditable point against Hereford (Curran 84). There was a moment of fear with Hereford putting the ball in the net ten seconds from time but it was happily ruled out offside! Finally, the team drew against Alfreton Town (McKay 21) and this time it felt like a frustrating drop of points.

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An upturn in form has seen Curzon rise three places up the table and close the gap slightly on those play-off places. Fogg's side, however, are still considered very much outsiders for one of those places based on where the points are at the moment.

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The month starts and ends with what should be the closest games. Both Gloucester and Kiddy are pretty near to Curzon in the table whereas Fogg feels safe in looking down on the middle three. Whether that means three wins from those games though is an entirely different matter...

 

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March 2022

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With 2021 having been a dream for Fogg's men, 2022 continued to prove to be far less kind! March began with a defeat against Gloucester City (Knowles pen 76). Knowles brought some late hope to the side when he put a penalty home but he couldn't do enough to help Curzon to a share of the points. It looked like Fogg and co had thrown it all away against Bradford PA (McKay 65, 90) when they were pegged back twice by the Yorkshire side. McKay delivered the vital goods though, smashing home in the dying minutes to secure Fogg a share of the spoils. McKay struck late again to give Curzon the win against Farsley (McKay 90+2) but this proved to be as good as it got - heavy defeats against Gateshead (Thomas 58) and Kidderminster Harriers (Flowers 27) proved seriously worrying as both are struggling sides.

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Another indfferent at best month sees Curzon slip further away from the play-off places. Whilst unlikely to be relegated, it looks unlikely that the side have any chance of going up either. Despite Fogg's dreams of being on the move, Curzon are staying put. Can the same be said for the squad though...

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Why not save the best till last eh? Boston are top of the table and look set to move on up to the National League. This is balanced out by Leamington who look set to leave the division in the opposite direction. Then there is a whole mixture of teams inbetween so I'm expecting that Fogg will get a whole mixture of results too! His desire to be on the move must have infected the squad though - not a single player intends to play for the side again next season so, unless Fogg is on his way to France, he's going to have some serious rebuilding to do!

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April 2022

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Fogg's season, which was rapidly fading away, continued to take its direction down as it came to an end. The first poor result of the month came against Spennymoor (Knowles 90). After Spennymoor scored a quick-fire brace, Knowles got a late goal back but it wasn't enough for Fogg's men to get a point. This was followed up with a tough game against high-flying Boston United. A close game where Curzon fought tooth-and-nail was decided by a single corner. Having played a 4-3-3, Fogg went for the same against Darlington to see things fall apart in the second half. Things got better against Chorley (McKay 24) where a quick exchange of goals saw both sides leave with a point. The same didn't come to pass against Guiseley though who managed three without reply against Fogg's men. Finally, the team got their sole win of the month against already-relegated Leamington (McKay 39) where McKay was sent through 1-on-1 before he cooly slotted home. 

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The only other upside to the month was the youth intake which was as good as promised and gives Curzon some hope for the time to come!

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The poor run of results sees Curzon continue to slide down the table. The only thing that Fogg is thankful for is that he can't possibly be relegated. He's still taking French lessons in the hope that he'll be on the move soon.

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Only two games remain to round out what has been a disappointing season. Blyth are only two places above us while Kettering are pushing for the play-offs. How will the season play out and what future will it hold for Fogg going on his trip around the world...

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May 2022

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There are only two games to round what has been a fairly tricky 2022. The first is against Blyth Spartans (Flowers 31, Thomas 71) and it's another much-needed win for Fogg's men - their first back-to-back wins since December! This is followed up by a 3-1 win against Kettering Town (Curran 4, Hunter 6, Knowles pen 38). Curran began proceedings with a superb strike against the post from long range and this was followed by Hunter who headed home well. Knowles rounded things out with a penalty and Fogg's company got three wins in a row for the first time all season. Chance to finish on something of a high!

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So, with all that effort going on, the club finish 18th. It's a lot lower than Fogg had been enjoying for much of the season but he's hoping it's enough to help him pack his bags and begin his travels abroad...

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Season Review

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Well there can be no arguments with the season's XI - it's exactly the starting team that Fogg was picking when everyone was available. The question is now. Will he persuade any of them to stay and will he even be there to pick any of them the next season?!

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McKay comes home with the club's golden boot for his efforts across the course of the season. Waters took over the lb role with aplomb and proved that he's more than capable of creating goals from their. Flowers proved to be the epitome of strength at the back - leading the the MOTM and average rating awards.

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The club's vision appears to be pretty straightforward - stay in this divison. The question what players and manger will be trying to carry it out...

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Posted (edited)

Pre-season

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As far as transfers go, it's been a pretty quiet pre-season for Fogg. Despite waving his passport in the air, he hasn't had any traction on a move to France yet! In terms of departures, Hobson, who barely played and didn't score, has left the club. In order to strengthen the team's performance, Fogg has seen fit to bring three players into the side.

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Although not making an appearance for them, Harvey Smith began his career at Bristol City. He's spent the last two seasons at Chorley. He didn't make the first team last season so his contract wasn't renewed. Fogg is hoping that their loss is his gain...

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Dan Martin joins the club on loan from Accrington Stanley. Fogg thought it would be good to have a genuine left-footer out on that flank and Martin has been brought in to fit the bill. In 14 games last season for Blyth, he got one goal and one assist. Can he do better here?

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With scouting at something of a premium, Fogg brought Oliver Duncan in on something of a punt. It doesn't look like he'll be hanginig around for long...

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Pre-season was a pretty pleasing outing it has to be said - the highlight had to be the 1-0 win over Championship Birstol City! Come on Ashton!

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The main expectation comes in the league and it's pretty simiple - stay up!

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And thankfully the club are predicted to do just that. Fogg's side have improved their standing in the league significantly and should be a safe mid-table side this time around. After their Jeykll and Hyde showing last time, Fogg is hoping for a far less stressful season to come!

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The season starts nicely enough - Farsley and Stourbridge are expected to be in the relegation scrap while Bradford and Nuneaton should be mid-table sides like Curzon. The month's real challenge comes up last in the shape of play-off chasing Darlington...

 

Edited by RaySunshine
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August 2022

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Considering that last season started with a horror-show, Fogg is in dreamland with what his Curzon side are producing. Game one saw the side play Farsley (Boon og, Waters 86). It looked like the opponents had recovered a point after scoring an own goal but Waters secured all three with a superb free-kick off the bar late on in the match. Nuneaton (Flowers 4, Martin 5, Knowles 13, pen 43, McKay 16, Wood 45+1) were the next team faced and Fogg's side simply blew them away. Dan Martin got a goal and he's been playing well but the highlight was Wood's superb drive from outside the box just before half-time. Stourbridge (McKay 53), despite being bottom of the table, proved much harder to beat. McKay headed home Thomas's superb cross though to secure the result. The game was also notable for seeing 12 yellow cards - with a player apiece being given their marching orders following a second yellow. Bradford PA (Martin 23, Flowers 47, Daly 86, Knowles 87, McKay 89) were the victims of the month's second thrashing - three late goals meant Fogg's men walked away having scored five without reply. Finally, the month's most serious test were up - Darlington (Waters 20, Knowles pen 70). Curzon played well throughout and Waters - with a superb free-kick and Knowles, from the spot, gave Curzon a win and a perfect month!

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In a bid to strengtehn the midfield further, Fogg turned to parent club Oldham and brought in Modi - is he up to the mark? We shall see...

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Fogg and his men are in the dreamland at the moment - five wins out of five see them finish the month top of the table. Surely someone in France must be watching as Fogg seeks to start moving on around the world!

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September begins with a game against Kettering who are presently in the relegation places. Telford are securely in the middle of the table while Fylde threaten to be the month's major challenge as they occupy a play-off place. Halifax and Hereford are both lower down in mid-table. How far can Fogg take Curzon? Will he begin his jetset around the world? Read on to discover more...

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September 2022

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It's fair to say that September proved to be an up-and-down month for Fogg and his men. The month opened with his side's first defeat of the season - a shock 1-0 loss to struggling Kettering Town. Curzon had the words of their manager ringing in their ears the following week and made amends by putting four past Telford United (Martin 34, Knowles 81, 89, Waters 84). A flurry of late goals saw Curzon transform the scoreline and run out confident winners here. They couldn't do the same against Fylde though. Despite dominating the game, Fogg's men could not find a way through and the club suffered two defeats in two home games. Fogg shuffled the pack against Barwell (McKay 83, 116) and it's safe to say it nearly cost him. Barwell were on for the cupset until the 83rd minute when McKay powered a header home. He repeated the trick late on in extra time to secure Curzon's place in the next round of the cup. Things were not so good against Halifax Town (Martin 61) though. Curzon did fight back to 2-1 and missed a couple of glorious chances but, as they pushed forward, Halifax sprung the counter and secured the points. A strong win did come against Hereford (Waters 9, Smith 11, Knowles 83, pen 90+5, McKay 88). It looked like the game was heading for shared points until the 83rd minute when Knowles and McKay managed to cook up a storm - combining with great effect to send Curzon's fans home singing!

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It's not surprising to see that the mixed bag of results has seen Curzon slide down the table. They're still in the play-offs though and 8 points up on where they were with the same number of games the season before. Fogg just needs to hope now that, somewhere in the world's media, someone's taking notice of him and can get him on that jet up, up and away...

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October begins with a derby game when Curzon take on rivals Warrington in the cup. From there on, it's all league action - at the moment. The month doesn't appear to be easy -  Chorley are chasing the play-offs while Blyth are chasing the title. Alfreton and Spennymoor are lower mid-table, but, considereing that's where Curzon are expected to be, they can't be considered pushovers here.

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October 2022

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Even though it wasn't quite perfect, there wasn't much for Fogg to complain about in October. The month began with a cup tie against club rivals Warrington (McKay 10, Thomas 14, Waters pen 45+2, Stevens 82) and Fogg's side came though as comfortable winners - it being particularly good to see new midfield Maestro Ben Stevens open his account for the club. A return to league action saw Curzon play and beat Chorley (Flowers 79, McKay 85) although they did choose to leave it late. Goals from 80 onwards are becoming a habit of Fogg's side - he hopes that this reflects Alex Ferguson's habit of winning lots of points late on! Curzon dominated against former league side Boreham Wood but they couldn't score the goals needed to turn that into victory and so they departed the FA Cup for this season. Revenge was wreaked upon Blyth Spartans (Martin 34, Flowers 69, 90, Knowles 90+5) and, once again, the late goals were the order of the day. The team performed just as well against Alfreton Town (McKay 38, Flowers 62, Whitham 89) with CB Flowers proving to be a steady supplier of headed goals! Finally, the team took on Spennymoor (Curran 85). Curran whipped home an accurate free-kick when Spennymoor went down to ten men late on but it wasn't enough to earn Fogg any points.

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The good month sees Curzon climb two places up the table in the league and remain very much in the title race - much to the surprise of everyone! It's also fair to say that Fogg has quite a few job applications on the go; some are at home with the aim of raising his reputation and some are in France with the aim of jet-setting around the world!

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Guiseley prove the month's only likely source of points as they languish in 24th place. The other three teams are all in the play-off/title places so will provide much sterner competition. Fogg should also complete his 'A' licence this month and hopes that this will raise his prospects of employability elsewhere...

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November 2022

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November proved to be a busy and, mostly, productive month for Fogg and his men. The month didn't begin well when he saw his side beaten by Guiseley (Thomas 41). This meant back-to-back defeats and had Fogg worrying for the morale of his men. They reassured him though by roaring back into form against Southport (Flowers 7, Knowles 64, Thomas 77). Two second-half goals saw Curzon leave with all three points. Curzon fought hard with Gateshead but couldn't get the goal that would see them beat their title competitors. The same was true against Gloucester City (Knowles pen 90+3) where it looked like Fogg was going to suffer defeat until the award of a late penalty saw Knowles salvage a share of the points. An almost-full-strength side laboured again against Altrincham (Knowles pen 31) and it was Knowles penalty that earned a replay. That replay however was preceeded by some interesting news...

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Vanarma National side Chesterfield have offered Fogg the chance of an interview and perhaps the opportunity to shine a brighter light than he's been able to at Curzon. Knowles again did the honours against Altrincham (Knowles 75) in the replay to send Curzon on into the next round. More good news came from a National League side after the game too...

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So Curzon still sit firmly in the play-off places and are still with a serious shout of a title challenge. The question is will Fogg be there to see it happen or not?!

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Brackley are the sole mid-table side in the next set. Chester and South Shields are chasing the play-off places while Kiddy and Altrincham are languishing much nearer the foot of the table. Variety is the spice of life as they say...

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Thanks for the reply @BristolCity1992! I'm enjoying the challenge and it's going to be interesting to see how we get the travel overseas part going!

December 2022

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There weren't many games for Fogg's men in December but the shortness of the month was about the best that the hopeful traveller could say about it! The month began with some bad news when this came through...

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However, things then began to get worse for the rest of the month when the team lost to Chester and this news came through...

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Two pieces of news then followed. Fogg decided that the Barrow job was the more exciting of the two offers and decided to hold off on the Wealdstone approach until Barrow made up their mind. Back to the pitch saw game two against Gloucester City (Knowles 12). Things looked good when Thomas knocked down the ball for Knowles to slot home but a late equaliser meant a replay was in order. The replay was against Gloucester City was a low-quality affair apart from Shaef's free-kick which was enough to see them through to the next round of the competition. Fogg then recieved a double-blow when he finally turned down Wealdstone only to be rejected by Barrow too. The end of the month continued the low mood when the team lost to South Shields (Knowles 52).

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The lack of games and wins has seen Curzon slide down the table. Fogg's side are only three points short of the league places though and they have three games in hand on Blyth. Can it be done? Will Fogg be there to see it? So much yet to be deicded!

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December was a quiet month but January seems to be absolutely packed! Many of the games are against bottom-of-the-table sides and Fogg knows that he needs points there. Fogg is looking forward to getting the points and moving on..

 

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Posted (edited)

January 2023

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January was a month that had a gradual rise for Fogg and his men. Two offeres of jobs gave excitement to Fogg but, with both failing, it proved to be second place to the onfield action. That began with a frustrating draw against Nuneaton - one of those where Fogg's men dominated the game but couldn't get the goals to go with it. The team then suffered a frustrating defeat against Brackley Town and this was threatening to derail Fogg's aspirations of upward progress. Things weren't helped either in a 0-0 dare with bottom-of-the-table Stourbridge. Things did pick up for Fogg when they played strugglers Altrincham (McKay 48) and got a 1-0 win. McKay was delighted to break his run of fourteen games without a goal. Curzon did manage a goal against Bradford PA (Thomas 20) but, alas, it wasn't enough to see the team through to all three points. No goals were scored in a low-quality affair against Kidderminster Harriers but the month finished on a definite high when, courtesy of a Poscha header, the side beat high-flying Darlington (Poscha 28) 1-0.

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The month's few wins towards the end saw a definite improvement in Curzon's postion. They've resumed a holding in the play-off places. There's still plenty of the season left to play though. You only have to look at the number of games in February to understand that...

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There are plenty of potentially-winnable games in the next month. Only Fylde and Chorley are in the top half so, if they can get onto a run of good form, there are plenty of points to be banked. Can Fogg's men do it though? Let's see...

Edited by RaySunshine
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Posted (edited)

February 2023

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Just like last season, Fogg has found the second half of the season tough going. The month opened with a game against Kettering Town where Curzon could manage no more than conceeding three goals without any sort of reply. Things got better against Telford United (Flowers 9, 87, Martin 90) and it was good to see Harry Flowers getting his goal-scoring again and smashing two big headers home. Game three saw Fogg's men take on Farsley (Curran 76) and it looked like Curran had done the job when he headed home Challoner's ball but Farsley had other ideas in mind when they drew it level. A frustrating defeat came against Fylde (Knowles 9) and against Halifax Town (Flowers 76) where despite Curzon leading in both games, they came out with nil points. Things needed to get better and that was managed against Hereford (McKay 8, Martin 15, Thomas, 54, 86). Hereford fought hard throughout the game but, in the end, Curzon fought through and won the game. The month's final game saw Curzon take on Chorley (Knowles 74, pen 90+4). It looked like another game when the team would out with no points but there was late drama when Curzon were awarded a penalty and Knowles slotted it home.

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Another tough month sees Curzon slip out of the play-off places. They're only two points off the running though so all is not lost yet for sure.

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March is a much shorter month. There are three away games and one is against play-off competitors Blyth. At home, the side play Spennymoor and play-off placed Southport. No game is a small game these days. Come on Curzon!

Edited by RaySunshine
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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the reply @Captain Blackadder! Glad to have you along for the ride and I hope you enjoy the story!

March 2023

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Although March was a shorter month in terms of games, there was plenty to report on for Fogg and his men! The month began in frustrating style with a defeat to Blyth Spartans (McKay 12). Despite leading until the 69th minute, Fogg's men couldn't do enough to hold on. The frustration was tempered by better news though...

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This was a trend that was set to continue throughout the month. Fogg had decided that he had to climb the English ladder a little before he could harbour aspirations of moving abroad. Game two was much better and saw Curzon take on and beat Alfreton Town (McKay 44).

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The result clearly wasn't good enough though and there was no movement for Fogg up the ladder and into the National League. The team eased his frustrations through with a superb win over Spennymoor (Thomas 4, McKay 11, Martin 90+3). Martin's goal was the pick of the bunch when he smashed the ball through the postage stamp at the near post.

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Fogg was beginning to garner some good traction at home at jobs prestigious and less-so began to offer interviews on a fairly regular basis! The result against Guisley (Thomas 20, Knowles pen 25, Flowers 60) seemed to promise excitement to anyone who offered Fogg a job but it just didn't seem to be that easy!

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And the bad news kept coming when Challoner was smashed out the game too! The team fought on without him through against Southport (Waters 45) where Waters free-kick helped Curzon on their way to a point.

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So, at the end of the month, Curzon have climbed back into the play-off places. It's a pretty insecure grip though, as you can see in the points column. Curzon are only just clinging on. There will be no fixtures to finish this post though as Fogg is off...

 

Edited by RaySunshine
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Cheltenham Town

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Well it's closer to France at least! Fogg finally talks himself into the football league and takes the job at Cheltenham! He's looking to raise his stock and increase the chances of him getting a job abroad.

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The challenge also takes a new twist. Despite asking him to come along for the ride, Elliot felt sufficiently committed to Curzon to decline the offer of sticking with Fogg and following him around the world. Will the two ever be united? Will Milton, Cheltenham's current assistant, become his new companion? Only time will tell. Milton has been involved for many years at Cheltenham both as a player and on the backroom staff so it certainly doesn't look easy to prise him out of his present surroundings!

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It's been a journeyed time for Town having sampled League One, League Two and the National League since the turn of the century. Having just been relegated, the team had hoped to bounce back - they haven't done so though and that's what's brought the job up.

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The vision looks quite 'interesting' as well! Thankfully, Fogg isn't planning on hanging around for more than the six months he's promised to as the owner certainly has no intention of staying put either! Who will go first? Only time can tell!

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Thanks @BristolCity1992! It certainly looks like a good move even if Fogg's reputation has surprisingly dropped in gaining his new job!

Starting XI

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So Fogg channels his inner Conte/Wilder for this game and opts for three at the back! Here's a run-down of the players who will be taking part in his first game.

Daniel Polakowski: With the club's first-choice keeper out, 19yo Dainel gets the call. Having trained at Man United, Fogg is hoping that he can do enough between the sticks for game one!

Grant Horton: Another youngster, this time Cheltenham born-and-bred. There are a few absentees at the back in game one so the 21yo gets his fifth league start of the season.

Lewis Freestone: Another youngster, this time in his third season at Town, Fogg hopes that he can lead the line that is fourth worst in the league into some serious improvement!

Corey Panter: On loan from Luton Town, the CB adds some strength at the back to what is a struggling defence.

Matty Blair: Blair is one of the players who brings more experience to the backline. He's notched up six assists so far this season and Fogg is hoping for a few more before the season is out.

Ellis Chapman: The left wingback is one of the few players in the squad to indicate real quality - sadly though, his contract is running out and he's made it clear that he has no intention of hanging around.

Alex Rodman: The 36yo was brought in from Bristol Rovers to add some nous to the squad. His playing days are rapidly ending though as he plans to retire at the season's end.

Daniel Dodds: The 22yo started out at Boro and is most comfortable at RB. Fogg has deployed him CM though to add a more defensive structure to the side.

Ollie Banks: The 33yo CM has travelled all over the football league and is one of the few players who can claim to have been 'in-form' this season.

Alfie May: The 29yo has travelled around but spent the last four years at Cheltenham. He's scored thirteen and Fogg is looking forward to him adding to his total.

Stefan Payne: A controversial choice - Payne has barely played this season for the side but, without him, the squad are lacking height up top. Hopefully, he can win a few headers and do the business!

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So prior to game one, Cheltenham find themselves firmly in mid-table - ten points off the drop and ten points off the play-offs. There's still plenty of games to go but it seems pretty unlikely that we'll see much major action from Fogg's new side.

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Two at the top, two in the middle and two at the bottom are the way that the month works out. Thankfully, the opener is one right at the bottom where the opponents are 24th place Crawley. Having lost 21 of their 39 games, Fogg is pretty pleased with who he's facing in game one...

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April 2023

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Fogg knew that stepping into the Football League would be a challenge. It's fair to say that, by the end of this month, he realised the scale of the challenge he has on at Cheltenham! Game one saw him take on Crawley Town (Payne pen 10) where the team led early through Payne's pen but were soon drawn back level and the game finished that way. When Alfie May slotted the ball home against Crewe (May 40), it looked like Fogg was going to get his first win but a levelling goal in the 90th minute meant that he had to go on searching. It all went wrong against Bristol Rovers. The wingbacks provided no cover for the back three and Bristol were finding space at will. 3-0 at HT, Fogg switched to 4-4-2 and, even though Cheltenham didn't score, they did look much better. 4-4-2 led Fogg to his first win when the side took on Oldham Athletic (Muldoon 59) when RM Muldoon headed home the winner. There was a dramatic game against Tranmere (Chapman 63, Freeman 83, Dodds 90, May 90+7). Going into the last ten minutes, it looked like an unhappy defeat but a barn-storming finish led to a dramatic 4-4 draw! The final game against Newport County saw Cheltenham dominate every aspect of the game except the goal scoring and this led to a how-did-that-happen 2-0 defeat.

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The team has dropped two places over the course of the month but Fogg is pleased that the prospect of relegation is now firmly a thing of the past. The play-offs are a thing of the past too so he now has to work out how best to form a team up for next season.

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There is one game left for Fogg this season but plenty to think about. He has a squad at war - many of whom want to leave following last season's relegation; a collection of players who aren't good enough for this level, let alone any thought of getting promotion; and an owner who's busy working on selling the club. It's going to be nothing but interesting as Fogg aims to be the steadying hand...

 

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May 2022

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Well, if Fogg had hoped to go out with a bang at the end of the season, he got anything but! The team fell apart against Grimbsy Town (Payne pen 19) not helped by a goalkeeping horror-show by Evans returning from injury. And so Fogg's first season in the Football League comes to an ignominious end...

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And so the club finish 17th. They're a long way away from trouble but also a long away from the play-offs. There's certainly a lot of work for Fogg to do in getting this motley crew sorted!

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The season's XI reflects the formation and choices of Fogg's predecessor far more than his so it's hard to really comment much upon it other than to hope that a reformed side can do a better job next season.

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May leads almost all the awards - typically though, he wants out. We'll see if Fogg can persuade him to hand around...

Edited by RaySunshine
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