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About tenthreeleader

  • Rank


  • Biography
    | 31-time FMS Award winner
    | FMS Writer of the Year 2008-09-12-15-16
    | Rob Ridgway's doppleganger

About Me

  • About Me
    FMS Hall of Fame Class of 2012


  • Interests
    "Raising Cain" - 2016 FMS Story of the Year

Favourite Team

  • Favourite Team
    Rangers, MUFC, Reading

Currently Managing

  • Currently Managing
    Oxford United (FM15), Salford City (FM17)

Recent Profile Visitors

20,069 profile views
  1. tenthreeleader

    [FM17] Out Of His League

    Salford City (10-1-2, 1st place) v Tamworth (8-3-3, 3rd place) Vanarama Conference North Match Day #14 -- Moor Lane, Salford Referee: Stephen Smith Grand couldn’t start the Tamworth match and that was proper in Chance’s eyes. He was just not up to it and as a result Priestley slotted in alongside Howson as the third placed team visited Moor Lane. The captain had made amends with his teammates – all his teammates – after the kerfuffle with Priestley at training but Chance needed to make his point and so the skipper sat on the bench. That might not have been the best idea Chance had ever had as his team prepared to face Tamworth, a decent side more than capable of visiting Moor Lane and leaving with points. But, the boss has to be the boss and after Grand’s indiscretion Chance was left with no choice. Captain or no, he had to sit. That gave him the opportunity to give the armband to Howson, who was getting every ounce out of his ability and was in very good form. The problem was that Chance wasn’t sure Howson was the right guy for the long-term. He was slow, lumbering at times, and not the best player Chance had ever seen at getting into position to read the game. But he was a grand chap, the two men got along quite well, and none of that mattered a damn. Tamworth packed the midfield and dared Chance’s men to find a way through. Word was already getting out that a trip to Moor Lane wasn’t always the best thing for a visiting club’s goal differential, and the Ammies huffed and puffed at a packed five-man midfield for the entire first half with a lot of industry but with exactly zero success. That said, the visitors had hardly darkened the half in front of Albinson, so the tandem of Priestley and Howson had very little to do in the opening 45 minutes. On the whole, though, Chance would take it. “The match is still there for you,” he told them at the break, “but you have to mind your responsibilities. Don’t be the man who makes that mistake –“ he clapped his hands together to emphasize the last two words – “today.” He didn’t want to be negative when the team had played well enough to earn a lead, but at the same time letdown in the second half had been a distressingly regular occurrence at times and he didn’t want a repeat. A light drizzle began to fall right after Tamworth kicked off to start the second half, but it didn’t seem to bother anyone. It bothered Green the least of all, who bent home an adroitly-taken set piece in the 61st minute to finally make the breakthrough the home fans craved. That brought Tamworth out of the 4-5-1 they had been playing and into a sharply attacking 4-3-3. But perhaps surprisingly, each wave-like surge forward for Tamworth broke on a rock named Steve Howson. The big center-half was immense, properly positioned, cutting out passes, heading balls clear, organizing the penalty area and generally making life easy for his goalkeeper. Despite the change in alignment, Tamworth wasn’t able to break through to the center of the Salford penalty area. That was due to the excellent play of Howson. So good was he, in fact, that Chance kept Grand under wraps on the bench for the entire day. The very best thing had happened – the team had learned that even the captain could be nailed to the bench and made to stay there if he wasn’t playing well. It was a grand result. Salford City 1 (Green 61) Tamworth 0 H/T: 0-0 A – 1,559 (95 away), Moor Lane, Salford Man of the Match – Steve Howson, Salford City (MR 7.6) # # #
  2. tenthreeleader

    [FM17] Out Of His League

    The song playing over the tannoy was for fun, but it seemed to be really making an impression on the crowd. “Jump in the Line” by Harry Belafonte was blasting and people who were already jumping up and down due to the cup success had reason to jump for an additional three and a half minutes. It made for a really nice atmosphere as Chance mingled with his players and the opposition after the match. The deeper a non-league team goes in the Cup, the more good wishes it tends to attract except from its bitterest rivals. He had a worry though, and it was about his captain. Grand seemed devoid of energy, had played very poorly in a positional sense and had been culpable for both of Dartford’s goals. Yes, they had won, and that was great, but Chance had a decision to make on how he was going to handle the issue of his captain’s play. The central defense had been an issue from the start of the season but Grand had always been a player he could count on – until his present funk. There was a time to be happy, though, and this was it. Things were going very well. As Belafonte blasted his way through the song, Chance looked up into the stand and saw Sara waving at him. Chance smiled, and waved back. So Sara, in her enthusiasm, vaulted the railing and went to hug her boyfriend. “You aren’t supposed to be out here,” Chance teased as they embraced. “I know,” she said, “but sometimes the manager’s groupie has to get onto the pitch too.” He smiled, they shared a tasteful kiss, and he headed into the changing room to talk to the lads. “This was a good win,” he told them. “They were a decent lot and you beat them, straight up. But while we wait for the First Round, which is a place no Salford team has ever been, just think about what you accomplished. And then remember this: it’s not going to get any easier. Teams will look at you as the little club that made the First Round and they’ll go after your arses harder than ever. Enjoy this but let’s come to training ready to learn.” He waited until the Tuesday to speak with Grand, and then he laid it on the line. With the scheduled match against Boston United moved to November 1 so the cup tie could be played, the team had a unscheduled day off. So that was when Chance said his piece. He invited the captain to sit in his cramped office and laid it on the line. “Simon, I need better from you,” he said plainly. “I think we both know you haven’t been up to scratch lately.” “Aye, gaffer,” he admitted. “I’m off form and I can’t really explain it.” “Everything okay at home?” Chance asked, to an owlish look from Grand in reply. “Look, I’m the boss,” Chance said. “You’re the captain. That means we talk to each other. You come to me, I come to you. You’re the heart of this team and I need to know when things aren’t right.” “Nothing out of the ordinary,” Grand replied. “The usual things.” “Well, then why can’t you seem to concentrate on pitch? I’ve seen some stuff out of you the last couple of weeks that would make it easier for me to just hutch you down the bench and let Priestley have a chance.” Grand frowned, but he really couldn’t say anything. He took his correction with good grace. “I need to be better,” he finally announced. “I’ll get my head down.” But the next day at training, Grand had a run-in with Priestley after the two of them made a hash out of a high ball during a drill. It wasn’t a huge thing, but the squad player had done the right thing and the club captain the wrong thing, and wasn’t shy about letting the skipper know it. Chance intervened, standing between the two players and quietly having a word with both. “Simon, why don’t you sit this next one out?” Chance suggested. The captain again took his correction with good grace, and didn’t even look especially upset at Priestley, who had been right after all. So he walked, alone, to the touchline and watched the next drill. His face showed disappointment, which was what Chance both needed to see and dreaded at the same time. # # #
  3. tenthreeleader

    Leyton Noir

    Hard-boiled, indeed. Though if you had named the character Nick Danger, it would be funny for the older set. Good luck!
  4. tenthreeleader

    Mo' Money, Less Problems

    Very interesting first post. Let's see where this takes you!
  5. tenthreeleader

    [FM17] Out Of His League

    It hadn’t been an artful game, but it had certainly been an artful night. The oddity involved in a two-nil win with none of his own players scoring wasn’t lost on Chance, but the third straight clean sheet for the team wasn’t lost either. The team had seemed to figure things out at the back, and it was just in time. Next up was Dartford in the FA Cup, before the league’s true in-form team, Boston United, came calling at midweek. They were unbeaten in nine matches in the league and had zoomed to third place in the table, trailing Salford by six points with a match in hand. The clash at Moor Lane would be pivotal. Chance tried to put those things out of his mind as the sun shone through a crack in the blinds. It illuminated Sara’s sleeping face and Chance had to smile. He touched her gently and she shifted position ever so slightly, in reaction to his caress. He leaned back in the bed and smiled. “That’s how it’s supposed to be,” he thought to himself, as Sara woke up slowly. “You didn’t run away,” he joked, kissing her forehead. “And I’m not going to,” she said. “I need to get more of my things today, but that hardly counts as leaving.” He just loved her smile. It was captivating and when it was heartfelt, the combination it made with her blue eyes was truly stunning. Of course, he hadn’t seen it in the dark the night before, but then Sara had other ways to let Chance know she was happy. He went to training a nearly transformed man. Unfortunately, it was obvious. “Someone finally did the right thing last night,” Morley cracked as Chance took to the training pitch with a spring in his step. “Someone did,” Chance said, knowing there was nothing else he could say. The result of Chance’s new relationship was a surprisingly relaxed boss and an excellent week of training. There was something to play for at the weekend. Salford City had never made the First Round proper in the FA Cup – yet that was what was at stake against Dartford, the team holding down 18th place in the Conference South table. A sellout crowd was expected to see who would carry a non-league banner into the First Round. He knew virtually nothing about Dartford, and the scouts were only limited help. To Chance, though, that was fine. He wanted to concentrate on what his team would do, rather than worry about his opposition. And in that regard, his concentration was very good. Having Sara with him really appealed to Chance and after a lifetime of living alone, he was amazed at how easily he seemed to slide into a committed relationship with someone he really cared about. Salford City (1st place Conference North) v Dartford (18th place Conference South) FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round – Moor Lane, Salford Referee: Jon Moss Moor Lane was packed to the bursting point for the FA Cup tie with Dartford. To this point, Salford’s Cup run had been fortunate – no clubs really bigger than they were, with most of the work done at home. The atmosphere was great and Jess picked a pretty good pre-match playlist to get the crowd slowly into the match: Playlist – Salford City vs. Dartford Castle on the Hill – Ed Sheeran I Feel It Coming – The Weeknd featuring Daft Punk Little Bit of Light – Strange Weather No Heaven – DJ Champion Do Your Thing – Basement Jaxx Sing Sing Sing – Pluto Electro v Benny Goodman Me Too – Meghan Trainor Freaks – Timmy Trumpet and Savage House Party – Sam Hunt Then Duane Ofori-Acheampong scored for Dartford only nine minutes into the match and all the crowd-stoking seemed to be for naught. They certainly didn’t look like a club hovering above the drop zone. All the happy songs seemed to be a thing of the past. But things got better shortly afterward as Jon Moss put Skapetis on the penalty spot after the striker was upended in the area by Danny Harris. The striker sent the keeper the wrong way and the scores were level. The rest of the first half saw a Dartford team defending deep and trying to make something happen on the counter. They were happy to cede possession as long as they could make something worthwhile out of the eventual outcome. They hadn’t reckoned with Deon Moore ruining their halftime plans with a beautifully taken goal one minute before the interval. Chance hadn’t counted on it either, but breaking down the visitors so close to halftime changed quite a bit about the team talk and quite a bit more on the pitch. The loanee had done well, finding space in the right-hand channel and turning in a cross from Skapetis. The two men had changed positions on the park. Chance didn’t care for them doing that and had tried to stop it more than once, but this time was different because, naturally, the ball wound up in the back of the net. So he didn’t say anything, while Moore sat in his locker looking like the cat that had eaten the canary. He simply told them they were doing well and sent them back out there. The second half was, in its fashion, comparatively tactical. Dartford changed alignments twice, first to 4-3-3 and then to 4-2-4, at which time they got burned on a Salford counter. Moore broke through and went in one v one to score nineteen minutes from time for a 3-1 advantage that started general singing and merriment within the ground, and even Danny Harris’ 87th minute consolation goal for Dartford wasn’t enough to stop the noise. First Round, here comes Salford City. Salford City 3 (Skapetis pen 18; Moore 44, 71) Dartford 2 (Duane Ofori-Acheampong 9, Danny Harris 87) H/T: 2-1 A – 2,000 (100 away), Moor Lane, Salford Man of the Match: Deon Moore, Salford City (MR 8.8) # # #
  6. tenthreeleader

    The Premier League Reimagined: It's a Whole New Ball Game

    Very happy to have you back, King Jeff. I will be following with interest -- have fun!
  7. tenthreeleader

    FMS Community Thread / Episode VII / Goalfinger

    Well, it's an oldie but a goodie
  8. tenthreeleader

    FMS Predictions League 2017/18

    Tuesday 08 May Swansea 0-1 Southampton Wednesday 09 May Chelsea 2-0 Huddersfield Leicester 0-2 Arsenal Man City 3-0 Brighton Spurs 2-0 Newcastle Thursday 10 May West Ham 2-2 Man Utd
  9. tenthreeleader

    FMS Predictions League 2017/18

    Saturday 05 May Stoke 1-1 Crystal Palace Bournemouth 1-0 Swansea 15:00 Leicester 2-2 West Ham 15:00 Watford 1-1 Newcastle 15:00 West Brom 0-2 Spurs 15:00 Everton 1-1 Southampton 17:30 Sunday 06 May Man City 4-0 Huddersfield 13:30 Arsenal 2-1 Burnley 16:30 Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool 16:30
  10. tenthreeleader

    FMS Community Thread / Episode VII / Goalfinger

    Manly United is almost as good as Mark Wilson's Hardly Athletic.
  11. tenthreeleader

    From consulted to consulting: The journey of Elton Daniel-Smith

    Welcome! Here's hoping consultancy translates well into management!
  12. tenthreeleader

    ***FMS 2018 Hall of Fame Preliminary Round Voting***

    vote sent and claimed.
  13. tenthreeleader

    ***FMS 2018 Hall of Fame Preliminary Round Voting***

    I need to do this, Mark. I'm sorry I haven't done yet.
  14. tenthreeleader

    [FM17] Out Of His League

    She was right, of course. Brandon had been right, of course. Chance had been wrong. Of course. It wasn’t like the conversation had to be difficult. But for Chance, who had been so wrapped up in his football that he really had never had a serious relationship before, it was like pulling teeth. Sara was wonderful, and Chance knew it. He was damned lucky to have what he had. But it was almost as though he couldn’t believe his good fortune. So, very gently, when the team arrived back from Stockport, Sara took him aside. She had been waiting for the coach and her face never lost the serene expression it always seemed to carry when they were together. “Come on then, off for a drink,” she said, piling Chance into her car for the drive into Manchester. As they neared their destination, she spoke. “I’m driving for a reason,” she smiled. “You aren’t getting home tonight until we talk.” She meant no malice. Chance knew it. So he reached for her hand. “Sorry, love,” he said. “I just locked up when you started talking about wanting to move in.” “You don’t want me to?” she asked immediately, and Chance felt the stress rising up his throat and into his temples. “It’s not that at all,” he said. “I’m just scared I’ll do the wrong thing.” She pulled the car into a parking spot and shut down the engine. “You sweet man,” she said. “Honestly, Chance, you are a very sweet man. That’s what I love about you. But you have to understand, if we don’t take a chance with this relationship, how do we know where it might go?” “I like kissing you,” he immediately offered, and she blushed. “It’s about more than that,” she said immediately. “And you know it. We’ve been together long enough to talk about it and I hope you’ll understand why.” “Because you love me?” he asked. “Now you’re getting it,” she giggled. “Come on, then, let’s enjoy.” And they did. They talked until closing time, about life, about family, about each other. Finally, there was nothing else for it. “You’ll do it?” she asked. Chance smiled. “Of course,” he answered. “Just bear with me, I’m not much in relationships.” “You are just fine,” she said, as they rose to leave. She drove them straight back to his flat. “But wait, my car…” “…can wait,” she said, parking outside the door of his apartment complex. She reached into the boot of the car and pulled out a blue overnight case. “Honestly,” she said, “it can wait.” He took her hand and together they walked into his apartment. They said not a word, as Chance prepared to sleep. It would be close quarters – he had a queen size mattress on his bed – but that mattered even less to Sara. She washed up before bed while Chance shut out the lights. And then there she was, silhouetted against the moonlight shining through the room’s thin blinds. Her curves stood out beautifully in shadow as she stood in profile. “Forgot my pyjamas,” she giggled. “You mind?” “Get in here,” Chance laughed, pulling the covers aside to allow her entrance. Then she made him realize what a bloody fool he’d been. # # #
  15. tenthreeleader

    FMS Predictions League 2017/18

    Saturday 28 April Liverpool 3-0 Stoke Burnley 2-0 Brighton Crystal Palace 1-1 Leicester Huddersfield 1-1 Everton Newcastle 2-1 West Brom Southampton 2-1 Bournemouth Swansea 0-2 Chelsea Sunday 29 April West Ham 0-3 Man City Man Utd 2-1 Arsenal Monday 30 April Spurs 2-0 Watford