Chippenham Town Football Club
Season 3 (2019/20)
Table / Position Graph / Squad / Finances / Transfers / Manager / Facilities / Annual Injury Report / Confidence / Competitions / Reputation
Season Three picked right up where we left off at during season 2. A decent start was marred by a few early mid-season losses, but then things settled down and we went on long runs of unbeaten streaks to finish the season strongly (our team record tying unbeaten streak of 11 was snapped off by eventual title champions Barrow by a score of 1-0. That was soon followed by an 8 match unbeaten run, with one loss, then another 9 match unbeaten run). Our record of 21-16-9 (79 points) was enough to finish 5th place and attain our first ever VNL playoff spot. Our 12-7-4 away record was tops in the league -- of course, it felt like ALL of our matches were away matches, still playing 45 minutes away in a rented stadium, with about 1/3 of our home matches enjoying an away crowd of equal or greater size than our own home supporters
As for the team itself --- we were solid on both sides of the ball. Defensively, we ended up joint 3rd in goals conceded (w/ 48), and 3rd best in clean sheets (w/ 14). Goalkeeper Mourhino picked up the slack early in the season when Danny Lewis went down injured, and in his first season as a started was rock solid, conceding 48 goals in 46 matches, and beating predecessor Lewis' clean sheet tally by 2 (14 clean sheets). In order to help out the defense, I signed huge contracts for two defenders --- contracts I normally shy well away from---but with the 24th ranked defense in about a dozen categories I felt I had to try something: First, DC Burke came in at a whopping £1100/wk --- more than double any other earner at the time he was signed. As the team's highest earner, I expected him to play nearly every minute of every match --- and play it well. He didn't disappoint --- 45 appearances, 1 goal (a huge playoff goal at that!), 3 assists, 3 PoM, and a 6.98 AvR -- he was the rock of the defence. In my 4-1DM-3-2 he partnered Ryder, Gater, and, late in the season, Rhodes (loanee from Swindon), and worked well with each. He'll be a huge asset going forward...especially if he develops toward his L2 potential. The second defensive signing was one I struggled to finalize, (requiring concessions in both promotion wage raise and raise after 20 appearances). Sam Nichols came in at the left fullback spot and had a steady, if unspectacular, first season. Still struggling in the fullback spots -- he's one I'd have rather handed back and save the wage budget He was okay, but just wasn't fitting well with the tactics, garnering only a single assist on the season. His opposite, DR Marsden, struggled but still got 8 assists himself!)
Offensively, the player I had brought in last season to be my #1 striker finally showed up. Michael Obafemi set team records in goals scored (27), league goals scored (24), AND assists (14). He partnered well with Cunningham early and often, with the two setting up each other on multiple occasions. Even when Cunningham got benched for a bit of mid-season let-off (20 matches w/o a goal), Obafemi sparkled, with Saunders coming in, or midfielder Evans providing the assists. In the end, Obafemi fell short of the player of the season...but his goal of the season ended up 2nd in league voting. Expect him to be huge in the coming season. Partner Sandy Cunningham would end with a solid season, despite the mid-season slump -- ending with 18 goals and 10 assists. He turned in strong appearances at the end of the season, when #3 striker Saunders (10 goals/5 assists) went away on international duty. Given the opportunity to prove himself, he managed 7 goals and 2 assists in the final 7 matches of the season, paving the way for our playoff run.
In the midfield, it was DMs Deeney and Rehman alternating in my DM/Anchor role--and both were everpresent all season long. Deeney (2G/1A/6.84 AvR in 32(20) appearances) will ultimately be released at end of the season, as I look for someone younger to fill the role. Rehman (2 assist/6.86 AvR in 34(14) appearances) will be the starter next season -- and I'm hoping he develops toward his L2 potential (a hope I have for a lot of players on the squad!) Newcomer Rob Evans (MC) was one of the key players in the midfield this season, scoring 8 and providing 7 assists in his 43 appearances. His AvR of 7.04 was one of the highest on the team (only behind Obafemi and Cunningham at 7.14). With a full season in the tactic, I expect him to really shine in the coming season. Connor Browne started the season slow -- the loanee from affiliate Swindon nevertheless was a key player in the final third of the season, ending with a 6.98 AvR while scoring 2 brilliant free kicks and providing 4 assists.
All in all, it was a solid squad -- despite the extremely low overall ratings in comparison to the rest of the league, the team worked very well in the tactic I've chosen. What I really need in order to really make a push forward: Some of these players to actually become VNL level players! Every single player on the squad has a CA (according to the coach reports) of Leading VNN/VNS or lower. About 2/3 of them have potentials of Decent VNL or higher. Four or five have L2 potential or higher. I just need them to grow into their potentials a bit...and we'd be set! Unfortunately---with our limited coaching facilities...I don't see this happening any time soon
We made it --- our first ever VLN playoffs (or first ever playoffs of any type)! And...we got extremely unlucky, in my opinion. First, we faced off against 2nd place Lincoln. A 2nd place Lincoln that led the league in both total defense and shutouts. But --- I welcomed the matchup. Why? We'd faced Lincoln, and beat them, twice (4-2 away, 3-0 home wins), earlier in the season. In fact, of the 36 total goals conceded by Lincoln all season --- we'd scored 7 of them --- nearly 20% of all goals scored ALL SEASON against the team!
So --- what happened? Well --- very bad luck. In our final regular season match -- a 3-3 draw vs AFC Fylde --- we lost two starters. MC Connor Browne went down 6-8 days with a dead leg....and DR Liam Marsden for 5-8 days with a.....bruised jaw???? A WHAT???
Yes....the bruised jaw kept my starting fullback off the field for our home opener against Lincoln. And....I didn't have a solid option to replace him either. That, coupled with a Browne absence in midfield absolutely hurt us----and the very flat performance by the team lead to a 3-0 home defeat---and a lot of dashed hopes.
But...we still had to play the away leg. As fortune would have it, both players were available for the away match (if not 100% fit). It's amazing what having starters will do for your team! The team played with a heckuva lot more intensity, and when Obafemi popped up with a 19th minute goal (started by a Browne corner kick, it took two efforts by Obafemi to bury it, as his first shot bounced off of a defender and back toward him) our fans started to feel a bit of hope. When center-back Burke scored his first ever goal for Chippenham --- off of a Browne corner kick (see a pattern?) the fans went into a frenzy. When Cunningham got on the end of a through ball at the corner of the 6 yard box in the 86th minute....the home crowd erupted, as the keeper made a fantastic, reflexive, point blank save to deny Cunningham, and, ultimately Chippenham, from an advance to the finals.
3-2 loss on aggregate. Would would have been if we'd been able to field a full-strength team in the first match??? If a "bruised jaw" hadn't prevented my starting fullback from taking the field??? We will never know.....
Wins against Billericay (4-2), and St. Albans (1-1 away, 2-1 home replay win) set us up for our first ever FA Cup 2nd round. And....what a draw. You remember last year's 1st round trip to the FA Cup? It featured an away draw vs League One Oxford? Well, fates are funny things --- as, the final balls out of the draw were, Chippenham and Oxford. Once again, we were headed to The Kassam Stadium to face what are turning into our FA Cup nemeses. All I was hoping for was an improvement on our 4-0 loss of last season -- and maybe a bit more in gate receipts, as we were now in the 2nd round!
By half time...I was just hoping for a lightning storm to cancel the match...as it was obvious that 4-0 come and go very quickly. 3 goals conceded in the 1st half hour...and we'd not taken a shot yet.
And then you give a halftime speech...and things turn around.
We manage three whole shots in the second half!
We score three goals.
We...earn a home replay??? Vs League One Oxford??? Hallelujah!!!!!!!!
Unfortunately, two early goals by Oxford leave us chasing the match again...and while Obafemi's 74th minute goal gives us a bit of hope, in the end it's not quite enough. We succumb for the second straight year to Oxford, and our FA Cup dream run is over. There is always next year. Oxford again, and a 3-0 win?????
The FA Trophy saw us advance to the 2nd round and meet board expectations. I took that as tacit approval to field a...younger...squad in order to concentrate on the league --- a move that ultimately paid us off with playoff appearance. In the end, the 3-1 victory over a really poor Newport Co (predicted 4th...finished 21st in league) was our only win in the FA Trophy, as we dropped a 2-0 away loss to VNN Guiseley to crash out.
Team of the Season
Team Stats/Awards -- Sandy Cunningham edged out Michael Obafemi for Player of the season, but Obafemi wins the fan's hearts with the goal of the season (runner up League goal of season) as well as young player of the season. MC Rob Evans (free transfer) was the signing of the season.
Best XI Inductees -- As it is only the 2nd season, it's not surprising that we have 5 new inductees into the historical best XI: DC Joshua Ryder, DM Akeal Rehman, MC George Milner, and strikers Sandy Cunningham and Kwame Asamoah are now part of the proud history of this team.
Historical Best XI
Fans Player of the Season -- Sandy Cunningham,(34%) followed by ST Michael Obafemi (30%) and MC Rob Evans(23%)
ANNUAL TOP ACADEMY GRADS
Isaac Francis (AM(C)/AM(R)--2* senior team ability, 4-5* potential. Low pace might limit him, but he's got decent technicals and physicals otherwise. Could develop into a useful player.
Isaac Francis (2nd Season)
Isaac Fransis (3rd Season)
Daniel Iles ST/AM(LC)- Another 2* /4.5* potential striker, starting with decent physicals and mentals. If he can develop the technical he could be useful.
Daniel Iles (2nd Season)
Lewis Hoskins AM(R)/M(R) -- Weakest of my 3 "Top" newgens thus far -- needs a lot of development in order to make the cut
TEAM, INDIVIDUAL, AND LEAGUE RECORDS
Chippenham Town -- Team
Highest League Position -- 5th in Vanarama National League (2019/20)
Most points in a Season -- 79 (2019/20)
Highest Attendance -- 4548 (vs Lincoln, VNL playoff Semi Final, 6 May 2020) (previous record: 970, vs Dardford, VNLS, 28 Apr 2018 )
Lowest Attendance -- 257 (vs Boreham Wood, 15 Sept 2018)
Highest Gate Receipts -- £59.95K (Vs Lincoln, VNL Playoff Semi Final, 6 May 2020) (previous record: £12.34K (vs Dartford, VLNS, 28 Apr 2018)
Average Attendance -- 476 (2018/19) (previous record: 474 -- 2017/18)
Biggest Win -- 4-0 (vs Hampton & Richmond, 5 Aug 2017) (previous record: )
Highest Scoring Game -- 4-3 (vs Braintree, 4 Apr 2020) (previous record: 4-2 (Vs Whitehawk, 23 Jan 2018)
Most Games won in a row -- 6 (20 Jan - 17 Feb 2018) (previous record: )
Most Games w/o Losing -- 11 (Jan 20 - Mar 24, 2018) (previous record: )
Most Games w/o Winning 10 (Apr 14 - Sept 8, 2018) (previous record: 4 )
Most Games w/o Conceding 6 (Sept 5 - 30, 2017) (previous record: )
Chippenham Town - Individual
Top Goalscorer --27 (Michael Obafemi -- 2019/20) (previous record: 18 (Andy Sandell -- 2017/18)
Top League Goalscorer --23 (Michael Obafemi -- 2019/20) (previous record: 18 (Andy Sandell -- 2017/18)
Most Goals in a Match -- 3 (Sandy Cunningham --14 Dec 2019) (previous record: 2 (Josh Jirbandey -- 22 Aug 17)
Most Assists -- 14 (Michael Obafemi (2019/20) (previous record: 9 (Alex Ferguson (2017/18)
Most Clean Sheets -- 14 (Jose Mourhino 2019/20) (previous record: 12 (Danny Lewis 2018/19))
Highest AvR -- 7.18 (Josh Jirbandey (2017/18 (previous record: )
Most Player of Match awards
Most League Goals for club -- 58* (David Pratt) (previous record: )
Most League Appearances for Club -- Alex Ferguson 181* (previous record: )
Youngest Player -- 16y102d Jon Fielder (previous record: )
Oldest Player -- 37y76d Danny Lewis (previous record: Danny Lewis: 36y320d)
Youngest Goalscorer -- 17y155d Kwame Asamoah (previous record: 19y337d Ethan Millar)
Oldest Goalscorer -- 34y 183d Andy Sandell (previous record: )
Fastest Goal -- 27 sec (David Pratt) (previous record: 2m 11sec David Pratt)
AROUND THE (ENGLISH) LEAGUES
Promoted from Regional Premier Division
Billericay, Solihull Moors, Truro, Harrow, Blyth, Grantham
League Winners (relegated)
EPL: Man United (Crystal Palace, West Brom, Aston Villa)
Championship: Burnley (Charlton, Preston, Port Vale)
League 1: MK Dons (Leyton Orient, Chesterfield, Northampton, Doncaster)
League 2: Shrewsbury (Cambridge, Aldershot)
Vanarama National: Barrow (Newport Co, Whitehawk, Eastleigh, St. Albans)
Vanarama Nat North: AFC Telford (Nantwich, Cambridge C, Ashton Utd)
Vanarama Nat South: Sutton Utd (Hampton & Richmond, Salisbury FC, Hemel Hempstead)
English FA Cup: Arsenal(vs Leicester)
EFL Cup: Man Utd (vs Southampton) --- That's a domestic Double for Man Utd--- following last seasons domestic Treble
Checkatrade Trophy: Luton (on penalties vs Man City U23s)
English FA Trophy: Wrexham (vs Maidenhead)
European Champions League Group Stage: Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal
European Chamions League Playoff: Tottenham
EURO Cup Group Stage: Stoke, Man City
EURO Cup 3QR: Leicester
Man Utd -- Won European Super Cup (vs Juventus) --Man United 3rd trophy of the season!
Tottenham -- Eliminated from European Champions League Group Stage
Man Utd -- Won Club World Championship (vs COR) -- Man Utd 4th Trophy of season!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Arsenal -- Eliminated from European Champions League First Knockout Round (by Roma)
Chelsea -- Eliminated from EURO Cup Second Knockour Round Final (By A. Madrid)
Everton -- Eliminated from EURO Cup Second Knockout Round (By Leicester)
Man City -- Eliminated from European Champions League Quarter Final (by Anderlecht)
Leicester -- Eliminated from EURO Cup Quarter Final (By Shakhtar)
Tottenham -- Eliminated from EURO Cup Semi-Final (By Gelsenkirchen)
Man Utd -- Won European Champions League (against Barcelona) ***********************Man Utd with 5 trophies this season, 12 in past 2 seasons!!!!!***********************
I always target season 4 as my goal for entering into league football --- usually by going 2 years in the VNN/S, and 2 years in the VNL. I'm still pushing for a year 4 promotion (if only by a different route!) We had a very solid season and there is no reason to think we can't press on and earn promotion this year. The core of the team is back, and while I'll be trimming some deadwood (and some possibly useful players that just won't be able to progress), I'm already looking at bringing in some fresh players to pick up the slack. Another 2nd round or better push in the FA Cup would also do wonders!
Thanks for those that have been following (Twitch/you-tube) --- it was a long drawn out season----but you all kept me coming back to it! Look forward to my run in season 3 with the Chippies!
SEASON TEAM LEAGUE POSITION(PREDICTED) ACHIEVEMENTS
2017/18 Chippenham Vanarama South 1(22) Automatic Promotion/VNS Overachiever
2018/19 Chippenham Vanarama National 15(24) VNL Overachiever
2019/20 Chippenham Vanarama National 5(24) VNL Overachiever