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    Chimney Corner
  1. FM17 Youth Academy Challenge

    @Pippadoc - Anyone who plays a game for me gets a tag, even if I didn't tag them initially.
  2. FM17 Youth Academy Challenge

    Chimney Corner - Season 7 - 2023/24 NIFL Championship Table | Cups | Squad | Transfers Probably the worst season for injuries I've ever had. Just about everyone missed time at one point or another, it's just as well that I have a huge squad (with players being on non-contract terms there's no reason not to). So the season ended up being a real team effort as we had to grind it out. We managed to keep the goals down - 19 in 27 games is excellent - but we really didn't score much ourselves - our best scorer only managed 8. You're only going to go so far with that sort of effort, and it showed, with too many draws meaning that although we pushed hard we could only manage 4th, 4 points out of the playoff spots. Despite falling short it was our best points total at this level, so we are making forward progress. Now we just need to make progress going forward and find the net. Youth Intake Have to take the good with the bad on this lot, some potential but some issues stand in the way of them reaching it. (24a) Chris Stanex - DL - Always a disappointment when your best prospect comes in with a casual personality. (24b) Nathan McNair - DC - Professional is a plus, but given most goals against us are coming from crosses being weak in the air is a problem. (24c) Francis Clarke - MC - Maybe the bets of this bunch, good physicals and decent technical ability where it counts for his position. (24d) Mikey Surgenor - DR - Another of the low determination brigade. I replaced all low determination staff with better determination versions in the off season, but that didn't seem to help ... (24e) Adam Wallace - ST - Starting with such a terrible current ability will be an issue with the training facilities and staff we have. Awards The fan favourite runs away with it again. (18b) James Whiteside - DC - Gave away 4 penalties (not sure if any of them were deserved) and missed 3 games for elbowing someone in the face, but won in a landslide with 72% of the vote. He's that good compared to the rest. (21b) Eddie McKnight - DM/MC - Staying healthy and playing more than everyone else goes a long way. Solid in his first full year as a starter. (19a) Paul Quinn - MC - Had a couple of minor injuries that meant this wasn't his best year, but still managed a couple of stunning goals from distance. Next Season Need to get healthy and to find a route to goal. (18f) Chris Bell struggled with injury and didn't play that well when fit, so despite his past record it might be time to look to other options. Young (23c) Graham Longstaff scored on his debut in the last game of the season which was a dead rubber, so maybe it's time to throw him in and see if he can't make a difference.
  3. FM17 Youth Academy Challenge

    Chimney Corner - Season 6 - 2022/23 NIFL Championship Table | Cups | Squad | Transfers Not a whole lot to say about the season, we started decently enough but went through a mid season dry spell where the goals dried up and we lost a lot of ground. Annoyingly the team had the tendency to drop the bundle while behind and let in 3 or 4 to lose big and smash the morale. I guess that's the problem with the sagging determination running through the squad. This meant we narrowly slipped into the relegation side of the split. Never in danger mind you and we comfortably finished 7th. I think we're just going to need a season where things go right for us and we ride the morale wave, because we don't have the quality to manufacture results, and there's zero money here so getting the upgrades isn't going to happen. Looking at the development of our players is very discouraging, nobody has seen anything more than a marginal attribute improvement. So we're in the old catch-22, need to go up to get money, need the money to get the quality to go up ... In better news we did manage to snag the Steel and Sons cup. It's only an intermediate cup, and one the team won in the 90s, so not a big prize, but it's something to salvage from the season. Youth Intake Looks like a reasonable intake, although having had a few years to see how things develop I've learnt now I need to look at what they are, not dream of what they could become. (23a) Michael Taylor - MC - We desperately need more guys who can pass the ball so he's a good find. 9 determination already down to 8 by the end of the season though. (23b) Eddie Gawley - AMR - Like some of the players we already have, quick but not much else. That's not cutting it so I don't have high hopes. (23c) Graham Longstaff - ST - Big target man style striker who at least offers something different to what we already have. Consistent performer too, maybe the man to lead the line? (23d) Andrew McKeague - MR - A second right winger who brings pace and not much else. (23e) Scott McIlroy - ST - Decently quick and 17 finishing. Maybe too one dimensional to be the striker in my setup, could make a decent inside forward? Awards For once I think the fans got it pretty right here. (18b) James Whiteside - DC - Captures the best player award for the second year running. Needs a more reliable partner next to him though. (19a) Paul Quinn - MC - Continues to be ever reliable in the midfield. Not flashy but rarely plays a bad game. (18f) Chris Bell - ST - There's no doubt we're more dangerous when he's fit and firing. I just don't like how much we rely on him, because he's prone to slumps. Next Season There's no doubt it's a discouraging slog right now, as the lack of development is pretty motivation sapping. I'd consider anything less than getting in the top half before the split next year a failure, but beyond that it's going to need some luck.
  4. FM17 Youth Academy Challenge

    @fabreth - It needs to be a team that was unplayable at the start of the game, so holidaying multiple years is fine, you just can't pick a team that went down then came back up.
  5. FM17 Youth Academy Challenge

    @Soviet - Here you go. Youth_0E0F9A83-9A1F-43AE-B949-92D23CF7B952.fmf
  6. FM17 Youth Academy Challenge

    Chimney Corner - Season 5 - 2021/22 NIFL Championship Table | Cups | Squad | Transfers It's a cliche but I don't really know what else to call it, it was a season of two halves. I said that I hoped we could be competitive because I didn't think the gap was very big, but I certainly didn't expect to go undefeated for our first 12 league games! Towards the end of the run complacency was becoming a real issue, and it was obvious given our much lower expectations that the team felt the job was done. Add in the other teams treating us with a lot more respect and a bunch of nagging injuries robbing us of match fitness and continuity and the form slump was inevitable. We still went into the split after 22 games well placed in second, but the trend was definitely in the wrong direction. It got even worse in the 5 games after the split, we were just awful, scoring only two goals across those games and managing just the single draw. It was only our points in the bank from earlier in the season that got us over the line, somehow we managed to beat out a couple of teams by a point for the final playoff spot. Given our form though it was hard to be hopeful, we were playing H&W Welders who had just beaten us 2-0 in the last game of the season. Naturally expectations are never met and we came out firing. A penalty 3 minutes in got us on our way and we won the home leg 3-1. That set us up nicely where we could just defend for the away leg, and we did just that, sitting back the full 90 minutes before stealing a late sealer as they chased the game and we ran out comfortable 1-0 victors to win 4-1 on aggregate. So now we had to play Institute for a spot in the top tier. An Injury to our best centre back (18b) James Whiteside in the game the previous week, and his backup in training, meant this was always going to be tough, rolling out an untested player in a big game. We never really looked like it to be honest, they scored early and we didn't have many chances at all, the final scoreline of 2-0 was pretty fair. It's pretty hard to make up 2 goals in the away leg, and although a bit of magic from (19a) Paul Quinn conjured a goal and some hope just before half time, they were the better side, and iced the game in stoppage time as we threw everything at it. A 1-1 draw to see us go down 3-1 on aggregate. Overall the season showed us that we can definitely compete at this level, but we're not quite ready for the next, so going up probably would have been too soon, so I can't complain too much about just falling short. Youth Intake Pleased to see that this is an improvement on last year, with a solid bunch of guys who with some luck could make it behind the 5 star guys. (22a) Nigel Devine - DL - My only original first XI player is a left back so I can only assume this is the game telling me to move him on. On paper this guy may already be better, so will have to give him chances next year. (22b) Stephen Owens - DC - I feel like we've got good players at centre back and last year's prospect is better right now so will have to wait in line. (22c) William Agnew - ST - Another pure finisher type striker, I feel like we've got that covered, so he's going to need to show something to break into the team. Is resolute though, which helps a lot. Awards It's no coincidence the fans voted in three defenders this year, we really couldn't reproduce the magic going forward we had last year. (18b) James Whiteside - DC - Definitely our rock at the back, not the most talented footballer but makes up for it with pure physicality. Stephen Hamill - DL - Our last original in the preferred starting XI is fighting hard to keep his place. (18i) Bobby Black - GK - His keeping is definitely improving with experience and deserves the last spot. Next Season It's probably too much to hope for another fast start, so we need to make sure we maintain consistency through the whole year. A bit more improvement and we might go up, we're not far away. Will probably up the expectations with the squad so they don't feel the job is done so early.
  7. FM17 Youth Academy Challenge

    @MackieStaggie - To be blunt, your mistake was picking Scotland. It's one of the hardest places to do this challenge as the intakes there are abysmal which makes moving up near impossible. @Sanno11 is right, Sweden is way easier, pick any random team and you'll get a screen full of 5 star youths.
  8. FM17 Youth Academy Challenge

    If you want to have a long term save with multiple leagues you can always load the other leagues after you complete the challenge. There's no need to have them loaded while you're doing it. I suspect it will never come up because the vast majority of attempts at this challenge fail.
  9. FM17 Youth Academy Challenge

    @Soviet - Honestly I don't think it matters, it's just a rule to restrict the players loaded that all zero to hero challenges seem to have. I suspect it's a hangover from back in the day for the dafuge challenge when you could load places like Reunion and cheese it. @Kazushi80 - Asking the captain to talk to them seem to work really well - may depend on your captain's leadership ability?
  10. FM17 Youth Academy Challenge

    @Soviet - Certain players are complaining that the training is too heavy, but they are not training a new position and don't have addition focus, so I can't disable anything to make it lighter. What do? Ignore them and hope they get more professional over time. - Should I be making screens of youth on the day of intake or at the end of season, like above? I do it on the day of intake, but it doesn't make a lot of difference. Whatever is easiest for you. - Timeless question: loan or train at club? I've been doing this challenge since FM12 and in that time I can remember one player I've loaned out that came back and went on to be a first team regular for any period of time. Generally if they're young they do fine in the youth team, if they're old enough for the senior team but not good enough, they never will be.
  11. FM17 Youth Academy Challenge

    Chimney Corner - Season 4 - 2020/21 NIFL Premier Intermediate League Table | Cups | Squad | Transfers It's been a while since my last update because to be honest I was dreading playing this season. After the way we finished the previous season I was fearing another challenge ending relegation, so this sat on the back burner. Eventually I plucked up the courage, reviewed my squad, and decided that what I ran last year just didn't suit the players I now had. I needed to make use of all the quick wide players I had, and I needed something that spread the scoring around a bit more. 4-3-3 seemed the most logical, if a bit awkward since I lacked a DM anywhere in my squad, but a retraining mission was begun. Early season in Northern Ireland throws a multitude of cups at you so it gave us a good chance to test how we were going, and results looked pretty good. In fact by the end of the year we'd have exceeded board expectations in all 5 cups, so it seemed we were doing something right. But the cups are pretty meaningless with so many to choose from, it's the league that matters. The league was looking a bit of a ding-dong battle, we managed to be there or abouts all the way but never seemed to quite capitalize when results elsewhere went our way. By the second half of the season it was clear that Wakehurst and Limavady Utd would be our competition, we see-sawed back and forth with them until we hit the from after game 17. 5 to go, we had top spot, and we hosted the other two contenders in the final two games. Our destiny was in our hands. I felt like we'd been here before. Unlike the last times we've been in this position we held firm. Sure, our defense leaked a bit, but we slammed home the goals, going 4-2, 3-2, 6-2 and doing what we needed to do to set ourselves up for the last two games. As it turned out our competition faltered, and we had a 5 and 6 point lead on them with 2 to play. A draw was all we needed! Wakehurst scored early in our encounter and I have to admit that I did think we could find a way to stuff it up. But not this time, this time we found a way! Can't say it was the prettiest way - we scored both our goals from the penalty spot - but we won 2-1 to go up. A lovely dead rubber for the last game to give ourselves the chance to blood three of our newest intake, which we also won, to end the season on a 6 match winning streak and run away with the league by 11 points. Sometimes the table lies, it was nowhere near that easy, but easy or hard, finally it's a promotion! Youth Intake Not as stellar as in the past, hopefully this reflects that our team is getting better not the intakes are getting worse! (21a) Gareth Chambers - DC - Big centre back with great aggression and bravery. Bit of a plodder so needs some time on the quickness regime, but otherwise a good prospect. (21b) Eddie McKnight - MC - My favourite of the prospects, not a natural DM but the report says he's retrainable there and I certainly intend to do so due to my previously mentioned need. (21c) Alan O'Connor - DL - An either footed fullback is something that I always like for my teams. With only 5 on the bench here it's tough to carry cover for both sides so it makes him even better. Awards (18k) Uel Nicholl - AMR - The huge beneficiary of our tactic change, he went from not getting a league game last year to setting the all time competition record for assists. You can't argue with 11 goals and 17 assists in 35 games from someone who was on the discard pile! (18f) Chris Bell - ST - I honestly think the fans are blinded by the goals here. Sure he scored 21, but he does little else, and 9 of those goals were in cups and a further 5 in a single league game. A useful finisher but not one of our best 3 players. (19a) Paul Quinn - MC - Definitely a guy who does a bit of everything, he's by far our most well rounded player and more important for us than average rating alone suggests. Next Season I'm pretty bullish about what we can achieve. I don't think the gap is that big, and if our young guys continue to improve there's no reason why we can't be in the top division in the next year or two. We need to be, I don't think my sanity can take too many more seasons of dealing with an entire squad on non-contract terms!
  12. Currently player interaction is a t4edeius process where you have to navigate multiple levels of drop down menus for each player. If you want to go through the squad and praise or criticize their training, for example, you have to right click on player, Speak About, Praise Player, Praise Training Level, select option, go back and repeat for the entire squad. What should be possible is these menus and conversations are made available when multiple players are selected. That way I could just do this as a group, select all the players I wish to praise, do it, select all the players I wish to criticize, do it. Far less fiddly menu spamming and I could get on with the game proper rather than playing a micromanagement sim. Same obviously applies to the other forms of interaction.
  13. England is so small I don't find it very realistic that players don't move. I know here in Australia there are plenty of cases of players moving across the country (which the equivalent of moving to Moscow from London!) to play at the lower level of cricket or Australia Rules in the hopes of getting a call up to the professional leagues. People really wouldn't move from London to Manchester?
  14. FM17 Youth Academy Challenge

    Wow top season @Braumiller, TNS who? I think the only real use for scouts/DoF is expanding the nations on the intake, so I don't hire them until I can find a foreign one. I don't see a lot of use in scouting the next opposition, I'm not a reactive manager like that (maybe I should be, but I find it hard enough to get a plan A to work, let alone having a plan B).
  15. FM17 Youth Academy Challenge

    @wicksyFM - The point is in trying, you don't have to succeed. I'm on my 13th save since the I completed the challenge in FM13, in that time I've spent 2 seasons total in a top tier league (one of them relegated) and haven't made it to Europe at all. So don't feel bad if you fail, you'll probably do better than I do. Nice recovery @darren1983, it's amazing the difference in a striker as soon as they break that scoring dry run. Until they do it feels like they couldn't kick it into the ocean.