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Building a Latic Empire - Oldham Athletic


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January 1, 2027 Update

Transfer Activity

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Almost a dozen new faces come into the club.  Mark Murphy is a U21 Northern Irish international who comes to us for almost nothing and should slot right into the starting rotation at center back.  Regan Slater and Antef Tsoungui are a pair of "Swiss Army Knife" midfielders who can play in a variety of roles including some roles on the defensive line.  They will both get a good amount of playing time.  Maxime Delanghe is a new goalkeeper and an upgrade over our current options.  We bring in a familiar face in Jack McDaid who was made available for loan by Burnley and I quickly jumped on bringing him in.  Next, we move to the attacking trident.  Joe Gelhardt and Manu Justo are a pair of wing forwards who will move into starting roles right away.  Joseph Kouilbaly is a play-making midfield option who came over on loan from Liverpool.  Lewis Fiorini is a defensive midfielder option and Oscar Bobb is another attacking wing forward option both signed on frees from Manchester City.  Lastly, Perry McLean comes over from Boavista to provide some more midfield depth.

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A good number of players leave the club on a combination of free and transfer deals.

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On the Field

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Outside of a rough November, we are establishing ourselves as a solid mid-table side.  The poor November was offset by a good December where we only lost once.  

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Sitting pretty with a balanced record of 10 wins, 6 draws, and 10 losses.  A goal difference of +4.  12th place is good representation of our performance this season.

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The new signings are really helping the club.  Delanghe has played the most minutes thus far this season.  He's averaging just under four saves per game and allowing 1.12 goals per game.  Fioriani and Tsoungui have solidified the midfield.  Tsoungui has been a solid defender and Fioriani has been a more offensive option even though he has just two goals and two assists.  Bobb has been a revelation second on the team with five goals and leads the team with five assists.  Mark Murphy needs to work on his fitness in order to get more playing time but has been a great addition to the club.  Kouilibaly has bossed the play-making role in the midfield with four goals and three assists.  Justo and Slater have dealt with injuries which has limited their playing time.  The most improved player has been Mohamed Kettani who leads the team with 10 goals.

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Another poor intake coming.

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2027 Youth Intake

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A much better intake than the year prior but still not great.  Still looking for that great class which will really help the club in the future.

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No silver stars in this year's class.  Not a great class of personalities.  Need those to improve as well.

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Draycott has the potential to be the first great player from the academy during my tenure.  A fast-ish right back who can always play on the left.  I'll need to find a short-term solution to replace Jon Flanagan at right back.  The position will be Draycott's by 2029 if not sooner.

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Big drop off to Marvin Patel.  Patel will still be a useful player as a playmaking midfielder most likely off the bench.

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A decent goalkeeper in Richard Taylor.  Could be useful as a backup or even a cup goalkeeper.

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Another good right back but nowhere in the class of Draycott.

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A center forward who is our best finisher.  Needs to develop his left foot and work on getting others involved in the play to move up to the U23 and the senior team.

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2026-27 Season Review

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We had a much better season than our first season in the Championship.  Goals for and goal allowed both improved and we improved our finishing position from 17th to 12th.  Ipswich won a tight battle with QPR and Birmingham to claim the Championship title.  QPR took the second automatic promotion spot which forced Birmingham into the playoffs where they were not successful.  Sheffield United took the playoff promotion spot.  Charlton, Barnsley and Coventry fall down into League One.

Burnley, West Brom and Sunderland will drop down from the Premier League into the Championship while Millwall, Swansea and Plymouth will be coming up from League One.

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We overperformed slightly.  xPts had us with a 15th place finish as opposed to our actual 12th place finish.

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We had a great January and February which included a magical run to the quarterfinals of the FA Cup where Manchester United ended our end in extra time, 4-2.  We were able to bounce back the next two games after that loss before the April swoon came again with three straight losses.  I really can't complain about this season.  The Manchester United game was a nice one million pound windfall for the club which helps considering we are struggling to sell off some of the deadwood from the club.

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Three of the new signings were among the leaders in minutes played.  The goalie Delanghe was a no-brainer because Alex Cairns, the backup, was only to be used as an injury replacement so Delanghe got almost every start. Fiorini and Tsounghi were, for the most part, our defensive midfield pairing.  Tsounghi also saw time at both the left and right wingback positions when we were short of players there.  Mohamed Kettani continues to improve with 16 goals, this season, up from 10 goals last season.  Oscar Bobb proved to be a great signing from Manchester City with eight goals and a team-high 11 assists.  Mark Murphy was another great addition on the backline.  He has the potential to be a really good defender at the club going forward.

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Murphy's only hole is his poor natural fitness which caused him to sit out games because he is absolutely gassed.  Other than that, he will be a top defender for us and for Northern Ireland.

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Murphy played the fewest games out of our Best XI and was never injured.

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Just not getting players through the academy and to the senior team as frequently as I would like.  A lot of these appearances are spot starts or coming off the bench.

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Manchester City with a domestic treble, this season, with the Premier League, FA Cup, and League Cup silverware all coming to Manchester.

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Spending some of the Premier League solidarity money on upgrading the facilities.

 

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Summer 2027 Transfer Activity

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Lots of released bums who were never going to make the first team.

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It was a busy window with lots of teams coming in for our top talent and we were able to find some homes for our players that weren't going to make the cut even it was on loan.  Losing Daniel Gonzalez was a big loss to the defense.  Oscar Bobb is a huge loss for the offense.  Three Premier League teams met Mark Murphy's release clause but were all willing to loan him back to us for the season.  So, while will be losing a good player, I will have all season to find a replacement.  Antef Tsoungui while a loss to midfield is not a huge loss.  Same with Left Forward Stephen Walker.  The loaned out players will not be missed either.

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Lucas Olaza is a huge upgrade for us at the left back position.  Tremendous passer and crosser of the ball.  Will be a good two-year solution until Leigh Robertson 26D is ready to take the reins.

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Jonkers is our new cup goalkeeper who might be good enough to push for the starting job.

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Elkan Baggott was brought in to fill the void left by Gonzalez and to help increase our depth at the center back position.  A good solid option at the position.

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One of two midfield playmaking options brought into the central midfield.  Will likely be the rotation option and can also fill in at the right back position in an emergency situation.

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A right winger on loan from Chelsea to help ease the blow of losing Bobb as permanent options decided to sign elsewhere or were too expensive for our current situation.

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A defensive midfield option that likes to join the attack.  Something that our team was missing last season.

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The complete forward that I have been looking for since we have joined the Championship.  Kenny is good enough to give Kettani a rest for a week or two if needed or, worse case, Kettani gets hurt.

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Another good offensive-minded player for the defensive midfield.  A nice find by our scouts since he was an Englishman plying his trade in Australia. 

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Pascual will be the heartbeat of our midfield this season.  Dynamic passer who sees the entire field.  He will really help link the midfield to the attack.

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Giles comes in to add our left forward depth and if needed can drop back into the left back position. 

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January 1, 2028 Update

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September and October were great months for us.  We were as high as second place in the table.  November and December have been tougher.  The defense became a bit more likely.  We started to give up early goals and not be able to catch up.  Just a variety of little things that it harder for us to get wins or draws.

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We are still in the playoff hunt and I feel confident that we can stay in the hunt until the end of the season unlike in past seasons where we faded away in April.

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Our offense has become much better than in past season.  We have a lot of different players scoring and scoring often.  We need to find a way to shore up the back line which has a couple of new faces who are having a tough time blending into the team.

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Still not getting what I had hoped from the academy.  A fair portion of the club appearance leaders are no longer with the club.  Leigh Robertson 26D has potential to be a great player from the academy for us.

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Not getting much, it looks like, from this season's intake as well.  But we continue to improve the facilities in hopes of becoming a great English academy.

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Until then, we have to supplement from other clubs and sell for profit to improve the facilities.

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I tried to sign Jelinek in the summer window but could not come to contract agreement with him.  Tried again during the fall and was able to come to terms with him.  Has great potential to be a solid defensive midfielder for us this season and in the future.

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Denis helps us add some much needed goaltender depth.  Has the potential to be a great keeper.  It's up to him to realize that potential.

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2028 Youth Intake

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An elite talent....that's something we haven't see in an intake in a long long time.  Four top talents as well.  This is a good intake.

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A decent mix of personalities to go along with a solid intake.

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We produced another solid left back.  van der Meijs 28A is a solid second option  at left back if Leigh Robinson 26A gets injured or sold.

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Simon Lynch 28B is a great center back option for us going forward.  Brave.  Strong in the air.  Great tackler.  Everything that I'm looking for in a CB.

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Phil Slade 28C is a good option on the right wing.  Fast.  Good on the ball.  Decent passer but not the best decision maker.  A good potential backup option and spot starter.

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Murphy Ngombo 28D is another center back option.  Not as the all-around defender that Lynch is but will be a good stay-at-home center back option off the bench.

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Aaron Walker 28E is a central midfielder that will be converted into a defensive midfielder.  He doesn't have the offensive skills that I'm looking for in a midfield playmaker.  

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Nice to see my January signing on this list even if it's at 49 out of 50.

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Always improving.

 

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2027-28 Season Review

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An excellent January and February put us in position to make a push for promotion which we achieved when we beat Blackpool 3-0 on the second to last match day of the season.  Dean Jones scored an extra time goal in Wales which left the final table looking like this.

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We lifted the Championship trophy!  The #1 ranked offense in the league with 90 goals combined with the 4th best defense in the league allowing just 48 goals.  That gave us the best goal difference in the league at +42.  Crystal Palace finished runners-up on 88 points.  3rd place West Brom won the playoffs to earn the last playoff spot.  Millwall, Bristol City and Plymouth all head down League One for next season.  The three promoted clubs will replace Sheffield United, Ipswich and QPR in the Premier League.

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We finished right where the computer nerds expected us to finish.

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The signing of the season was left-back Lucas Olaza.  He finished the season with 11 goals and a team-leading 13 assists.  We had four players with 10+ goals: team leader Johnny Kenny (16), left forward Ryan Giles (14), Lucas Olaza (11) and reserve center forward Mohamed Kettani (10).  Carles Pascual ran the center of the midfield with 12 assists.

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It was a good season for Manager Scott Dennell becoming an Oldham Icon while winning the Championship Manager of the Year.

Almanac

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Matthew Bruce 22B continues to lead the save with the most appearances from an academy players with 76 while Christopher Williams 23B's six goals leads the academy.

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No change here from January as Leigh Robertson 26D is the only academy player with U21 international appearances.

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Tottenham had a great season winning a domestic double and breaking up Manchester City's iron grip of the Premier League trophy.  Bayern Munich won their third Champions League in five season.  Liverpool had a good season as well finishing in 3rd place while winning the Europa Conference after finishing 7th place in the Premier League last season.

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Some club improvements to close the update.

 

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Summer 2028 Transfer Window

With the unexpected Championship title, I had to completely rethink what I needed to achieve in the transfer market.  I had to go out and find players who could give me a chance to win now.  Not players who could help me win five years down the line.  We are going to battle hard against relegation but I want to keep us in the Premier League.  Relegation and the loss of tv money could be demoralizing for club with a stadium of our size (we still haven't expanded beyond 12,000).  1652529230_June302028ReleasedPlayers.png.0452bf7c8e5984baddf1faea4de39b68.png

Unfortunately, we did not have a lot of bums that could be out-right released when their contracts expired.  So, we did not free up a lot of salary space since two were academy products on their second contract which was negotiated when we were in League One so they were dirt cheap but no one near Premier League quality.  Couto and Gore just could never make the cut here and were released.

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We brought in a lot of new faces to bolster the squad.  We loaned out a fair number of players to get them more playing time in hopes that they could either join the first team or improve their transfer standing making them easier to move for a transfer fee in the future.  The only player out of note was goalkeeper Rick Jonkers.  This was a tough move for me because Jonkers led us on that winning run during the second half of last season to win us the Championship but he is not a Premier League goalkeeper and he was the only player that other clubs had any interest in so off he went.

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Matturro is a center-back who can move the ball to the midfielder while making the occasional pass over the midfield directly to the forward line.  Strong in the air and on the ground.  The type of center-back who will help us be on the right side of the relegation battle this season.

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A quick left winger from Turkey.  Likes to bring ball down the right but stronger on the left wing is an odd combination but it could be one that could confuse opposing defenses enough to bag some goals or earn some assists.  His speed is needed on the wings since we lacked that last season.2079158690_AlanVarela.png.cddbd10aa20068b11eb60e59534d1df7.png

A low cost midfield signing who instantly improves the midfield.  Can play in a variety of midfield roles and is a good passer of the ball.  I want to move the ball through the midfield if possible to help keep possession this season.  Varela could be a player instrumental in doing that for us.

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A young player from Argentina who has the potential to be one of the best midfield disruptors in the Premier League.  Already a great tackler.  Needs to work a little on his offensive game to become that elite midfield player that I hope he can become.

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I am a big believer in that a goalkeeper is the one player most likely to steal points on a team battling relegation.  I made Pontus Dahlberg my top signing priority of the season.  I may have paid above value for him but if he keeps us up, he will repay that value to the club.

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A big burly center back from Hungary will pair nicely with Matturro in the defensive line.  A beast in the air.  Teams will have a hard time playing boom ball against this center back during the season if we poach an early goal and they have to play from behind.

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A complete forward to lead the line and bring others into the play.  An upgrade in just about every category from Kettani which is what I was looking for when I went to upgrade this position later in the transfer window.  Having a great goalkeeper who can keep a clean sheet is nice but you still need someone to put the ball in the net to win the match.

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January 1, 2029 Update

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For a team that won a surprise Championship title, I am more than pleased with 15th place on the table as the calendar turns to 2029.  We have an eight-point cushion over 18th place Norwich.  Championship runners-up Crystal Palace are all but relegated already sitting on seven points with just one win and will likely be joined by playoff champions West Brom who have not been much better.

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Our biggest issue the lack of a consistent scorer.  We can go long stretches without scoring which puts the defense under pressure.  If we concede early, we are usually done.  We just can't comeback.  We get stretched at the back and concede a second or third goal.  It's been a struggle and my scouts are struggling to find players that can come in straight away and help.  So, I expect to stand pat in the winter window and hope that cohesion is enough to get us through this first season.

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Our leading goal scorer, Marko Milovanovic, has five goals and he spent most of the first half of the season injured.  Mohamed Kettani is not cut out to be a center forward at this level.  We lack midfield and wing options to provide goals.  Pontus Dahlberg has been the sole reason we are in 15th place.  He has been great this season.  Keeping us in the game every week as best he can.

I expect a full squad revamp over the summer when I've got some transfer money to play with and some better quality players more interested in playing for us.

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We've got a very top heavy intake but it's in multiple positions for a change.  Hopefully, they can come up to the senior team sooner rather than later.

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Always pumping money into the facilities to improve our intakes.  

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Posted (edited)

2029 Youth Intake

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Another good intake.  We bring in an potential elite talent and three top talents.  I need more "lottery tickets" in my intakes.  People that I can bring in to either groom for the first team or develop into sellable talent for the lower divisions.  Baby steps but we are slowly getting to that level.

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Romaine Prenderville 29A has the potential to be a player that can go from the youth academy to the first team.  A good young defensive-minded midfielder, Prenderville, can reach the first team.  He needs a few years of development and he could get there.

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Joel Rice 29B is a center forward would can develop into a player who can reach the first team, probably, in a reserve role or as a sellable talent to a side in the lower leagues.

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Phillip Curtis 29C could see time with the first team because he plays a position where we are weak...right wing.  Not the greatest player but can play along the entire right side as either an attacker or a defender.  Nice versatile addition to the club.

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Lee Lyons 29D helps shore up the defensive midfield with his solid tackler.  Doesn't see the field very well but is willing to stick his nose and leg into a tough situation.

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James Fairclough 29E is a decent attack-minded midfielder.  I don't have high expectations for him but he could become a decent sellable piece to a club in the lower divisions.

Club Infrastructure Improvements

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Using that Premier League money to invest in the youth facilities.  

Edited by keeper#1
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2028-29 Season Review

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15th place and never in fear of the relegation zone is a great first season for Oldham in the Premier League.  -19 goal difference isn't too bad either.  We weren't a contender for the mid-table but the relegated clubs were pretty much determined by Christmas.  We still have a lot of work to do but we are slowly building the bank account to move ourselves away from the relegation zone and into the mid-table and then to the European places.  

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xG doesn't lie.  We were never under threat of relegation.

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A short FA cup run allowed our starting XI to stay rested and injury free which helped us string together three big wins in March and early April.  Once we secured survival, I started to change some things up tactically which caused a string of losses and choppy results as we were changing things on the fly just about every game.

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Our biggest weakness was our lack of offense.  Mohamed Kettani was our leading goalscorer with just eight goals.  We struggled, all season, to generate offense.  Our player of the season was Pontus Dahlberg  who kept us in every match with his fine goalkeeping.  Nobody else really stood out on the pitch.  It was a lot of average performance players on a team that just hover above relegation all season.

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The media correctly viewed Dahlberg as one of the signings of the seasons.  11 clean sheets for a club that 15th place is quite the achievement.

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Not a lot of strengths on this team outside of Dahlberg.  Nobody is safe if a transfer offer comes in for their services.  Should be a busy summer as we reshape the squad so we don't suffer from second season syndrome.

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Board is giving me a good amount of money to spend as well as a healthy increase to the wage budget.  We will still have the lowest wage budget in the league but we also have the smallest stadium in the league which the board is also looking into solving.

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We have to spend the season sharing with Huddersfield but when we return, we will be playing in a stadium which will see it's capacity increase by 60%.  The stadium can expand to 25,000 which I expect to max out in the coming years before moving into a larger stadium.  

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Summer 2029 Update

Players In

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Filipe Soares is an experienced midfielder who joins up from PAOK for a price of 8.75 million.  Soares, though, bring a lot to the table.  Wants to get involved in the offense.  Willing to the pass the ball.  Still has some speed for a 30-year old.  Only on a three-year deal so I can bring in a younger player to bring under his wing.  Expensive, yes.  Valuable, also yes.

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A low-cost wonderkid from Mexico.  Brought in on a 1.4 million pound release clause.  Will jump into the starting lineup on day one.  Already has four caps for the Mexican national team at age 19.  I don't expect to keep him until the end of his contract.  I fully expect a bigger club to come in and want his services.  I'll get a center back who can provide stability to the back line for a couple of season and then I'll cash in on him to bring in a healthy profit.

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James Hill comes over from Sheffield United to bring some experience and versality to the back line.  Helps with the players produced in England quota as well.  

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A young midfielder who can play almost every position.  Fast and get down either wing.  Really not interested in playing defense.  He will definitely help the offense this season and going forward in the coming seasons.

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Rene Maly is a young left-back from the Czech Republic.  Came off after we activated his 7.5 million pound release clause.  Not a great offensive fullback/wingback but brings solid defense which will only improve as he gets more playing time.

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Another young defender, this time a right back in Thomas Kunzli from Young Boys.  Another wonderkid.  My scouts view him as a center back but I view him more as a fullback given his pace.  But he can easily play in the middle as well.  

Lots of additions to the defense.

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Lots of players shown the door.

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The friendly season gave me the false confidence that our new 4-3-3 formation and 4-1-4-1 formation were going to hold up once the season started.  That was not the case.  We opened with a pair of shutout losses to start the season.  Thankfully, we drew Preston in the League Cup and were able to earn a win.  Then, we carried that momentum into a "home game" win against West Ham to open the month of September.

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November 1, 2029 Update

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A tough set of games.  Lots of inconsistent form.  Defense is still very much a work in progress but I've to 19-year olds and a 22-year old on the backline trying to adjust to the Premier League so I knew that was going to be a struggle.

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Right about in line with last season's results.  Keeping our heads above water just enough.

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Brought a new Head of Youth Development to continue to improve our intakes and get some Premier League quality talent from them.

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January 2030 Update

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Looks like another very top heavy youth intake will be coming my way again.

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On the field, we had a tough stretch of games in early December which almost wreck our form heading into the Christmas period.  Thankfully, a 2-0 win over Norwich was enough of a momentum boost to carry through with wins over Bournemouth and Manchester City.  January was an up and down month with a tough FA Cup tie against Newcastle.  We pushed them all the way until the end before they found a way to beat up in extra time in their building.

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More of the same on the table.  Sitting nicely above the relegation zone but not really pushing the mid-table places.

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The tough stretch of games in early December made me realize that we needed to make some changes to the team in hopes of securing survival.  We let two big pieces go in Marko Milovanovic and Lewis Fiorini but upgraded at both positions.  Iheanacho, even though he's 32 years old, provides an upgrade at the center forward position while also bringing some much needed experience to the role.  Charlie Patino came over from West Brom.  He can play both the attacking playmaker role and the defensive midfield positions providing us with solid depth.

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Gil is an interesting fullback that I was willing to take a free flyer on.  He's the most attack-minded fullback we have on the roster.  Not the greatest defender but can be a worthwhile sub to provide some crosses into the box if we are behind a goal late in the game.

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Left wing/forward has been a position that I've struggled to fill since we joined the Premiership.  I have a lot of players who can play on the left but are a natural right sided player which makes the attack imbalanced.  Joan is strong on the left and is a natural on the left.  He's an expensive short-term loan but the transfer market was not there for me to bring in some as good as Joan on a permanent basis. 

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2030 Youth Intake

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Now we are talking, the new Head of Youth Development is already starting to work some magic with the intakes.  And this was with just 1/2 of a season to work with.  Can't wait to see what he can produce when he has a full season to work with.  Not great personalities but personalities that can be molded into something better.

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Greg Beresford 30A is a natural at both the right fullback and centerback positions.  I will move him inside and may even move him into the defensive midfield if his passing can improve.  He's too slow and good enough on the ball to play out wide.

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Johnny Hackney 30B looks like the first great all-around midfielder to come out of the academy.  Has elite passing skills for his age.  He is willing to track back and play defense or win the ball higher up the pitch for a quick counter.  Can run for days.  A little small and needs to develop a right foot but I really like what I see here.

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Ben Walker 30C is someone who could be our first senior international with his Northern Ireland heritage.  A winger who wants to push as high up the pitch as he can.  Has excellent short burst acceleration and decent speed.  Needs to work on his dribbling and crossing.

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Ben Furlong 30D plays on the left side and needs to work on the mental side of his game.  The physical tools are there.  The technical side of his game is there as well.  Not a great passer of the ball.  He could easily turn into a black hole where the ball enters and doesn't leave or if does leave it's either a goal or a turnover.  A very high-risk/high=reward type of player.

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Panikos Chirstofi 30E is a good playmaking talent from Cyprus.  Not very fast so he could be slotted into a defensive playmaking role or someone who just sits in the center of the pitch and pings out passes to players who can do more on the ball.  Not sure of himself.  Could develop into something good if we can get him to believe in himself.   

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2029-30 Season Review

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Pretty much what you would expect from a team that is "too good" to be relegated but not good enough to push for top half finish.  Lots of choppy form.  An occasional upset of a big club (Manchester City which we did in January).  The occasional clunker against a team that we should beat and end up with a draw (Leeds, Bournemouth).

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The win over Brighton on the last day of the season saw us leap frog both Aston Villa and Bournemouth to finish in 13th place which is an improvement over last season's 15th place finish.  Looking at the raw numbers, it's only a one win improvement over last season.  Brighton, Burnley and Norwich fall down into the Championship while.Crystal Palace, Southampton and Sunderland come up to the top flight.

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The statisticians don't lie.  We finished right where the math expected to be.  Took a different route to get that 13th place finish.  Scored only 33 goals (2nd worst in the league) but allowed only 39 goals (7th best in the league).

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I just can't find players who can score on a consistent basis at this level.  Our top two goalscorers where Luciano (8, loan) and James Price (7, loan).  The defense is rock solid.  I think our problem lies in the midfield.  We just aren't creative enough there.  New signing Jaramillo gave us only two goals and four assists.  Patino only one goal and one assist in half of a season. Captain Carles Pascual only had three goals and two assists.  The need is playmakers and finishers.  That will be the focus of the offseason.  The defense is in capable hands with what we have at the club.

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The board is giving me a good amount of money to spend in the transfer market but no increase to the wage budget.

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As expected, Alamazan continues his development into one of the best young defenders in the game.  Little Oldham has a top 10 wonderkids at it's club.

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But we may not be little for much longer.  After approving of a massive stadium expansion at the end of last season, the board is moving ahead with a new stadium.  Boundary Park is currently expandable up to 25,000.  Hopefully, the base capacity of the new stadium comes in above that number.

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