I've followed the boards for a little while but never posted so thought I'd start to chip in It's quite a long so bear with it.
After many seasons as my beloved Chelsea and winning everything on offer I decided to start anew and opted for BSS side Dartford. I'll offer a whistle-stop tour of my progress so far and some questions that have popped up as I've been playing.
Basically, I stormed my way through the first season by carefully selecting players to bring in on loan (my main method for this is to look through teams around 2 leagues above, sort squads by age and search out promising youngsters from clubs to have for a season. I've found this is a good way to get wage-free loan players as clubs see them as promising stars and are grateful for the offer of first team experience). I also had a decent FA cup run this season, reaching the 4th / 5th round. However, this was more due to some extremely favourable draws rather than unprecedented success.
Second season I used the same method but also picked up a decent striker 'Charlie Sherringham'. Although his stats didn't completely light the world up, he certainly enjoyed scoring and was a huge boost towards automatic promotion (I didn't win the league but did secure automatic promotion).
So I was in the Football League!
At this point I managed to secure Wayne Routledge (no idea how!) but wasn't really complaining. Again I used much the same loan tactics as before but obviously moved my sights to higher clubs / leagues. Wayne's influence secured promotion through the playoff's (I think it was the playoffs).
This is kind of where the issues started because of my quick success without really improving the squad much the board constantly expected me to fight against relegation. Even when I raised their expectations to Respectable League Position they were not too keen on improving either the stadium or training facilities. This is where I presumed I had been a victim of my own success, a board isn't going to be too enthusiastic about investing money are they!
However, I managed to again secure some ageing players, probably hoping for a last hurrah before retirement. Scott Parker from Spurs, Michael Carrick from Man U and Steven Gerrard from Aberdeen(!) all made their way to Princes Park. The story kind of repeats itself here so I won't go into too much detail. Picked up some players on the way but the core of the team was made up these Oldie stars. Playoff promotion was secured. I made the decision here to try and have a couple of decent mid-table seasons in the Championship, build a decent squad and break the reliance of older and loan players.
So it was all good, and the plan *almost* went off without a hitch. I invested in some decent young-ish players to develop and ended the season 12th. However, I only went and WON the League Cup didn't I! A good achievement of course but it meant I was to play in Europe. Again, alot of the credit for the achievement has to go to favourable draws. I did knock out a struggling PL Bolton but met L1 Oldham in the final. Next season steadying the ship went right out of my mind as visions of Dartford lifting a European cup began to haunt my dreams.
This is almost where I'm at now.
I managed to secure some very very decent players in the summer, 6/7 stars with 7 star potential including a tidy 18 yo striker 'Sergio Vega' from Mallorca on a free. Mainly on the promise of European football.
So here I am, it's december, I've progressed through the group stages of Europe dumping out Fenerbahce on the way. Got knocked out of the league cup by Everton away and am sitting pretty at the top of the league 1 point above Middlesborough with a game in hand.
The situation as I see it is that I'm in dire straights. I'm expecting to secure promotion but can see huge squad issues next summer. Carrick, Parker, Richardson (didn't mention him but picked him up along the way :o ) are all set to retire and my young starlets wont stick around long once I'm out of Europe and battling relegation in the PL.
It's been a bit long winded but thats my situation. After being in the Championship a few years the board have made some improvements in the training facilities and stadium and are investing some steady cash into the club but not enough to cover a mass exodus I fear.
Any advice is welcome.
A few questions then:
* Does improving the stadium actually have any bearing on the game? Do I get given more money to spend if I fill a bigger stadium?
* Does improving the training facilities bring more players up from the academy? I didn't have any players come through until I moved up the leagues and improved facilities.
* Are there any benefits to rejecting foreign / large investment in the club? I'm guessing lower expectations?
I think thats it! Ta for reading and (maybe) responding!