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About G_D_K

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  • Biography
    Retired USAF serviceman -- spent (nearly) 12 years in England -- where I found one of my passions in the Championship/Football manager series. Found the game in the early-mid 90s, have purchased every edition since then. Currently you can find me streaming my FM challenge matches (as well as a host of other games) at https://www.twitch.tv/castinar

Favourite Team

  • Favourite Team
    Cambridge United

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  • Currently Managing
    South Shields Mariners

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  1. South Shields Mariners F.C. SEASON 3 (2021/22) Table / Position Graph / Squad / Finances / Transfers / Manager / Facilities / Annual Injury Report / Confidence / Competitions / Reputation Summary It was a pretty quiet season overall that went more or less as I had expected (or at least had hoped). We did pick up 2 wins in our first four matches, which gave us early hope that we could compete, but overall we just struggled. Our early rise to 14th on the table would only be eclipsed once (for a single week, when we hit 13th on match day 28 w/ a 4-2 win vs Macclesfield). Brannigan was our only real offensive threat, despite being rated FOURTH of our four strikers by the coaching staff (2* CA, with 2x2.5* CA and a 3.5* CA) striker also on the roster. In particular, Niall Huggins, who plays the same role as Brannigan, and who, in the past, served more than adequately in that role, just could not do anything in the VNL. his 5 goals/4 assists means he'll not be with the team again next season. (I'm still debating Brannigan, who I almost have to sign if I want to see any goals next season!!) Late in the season, I signed VNL CA Ryan "the Tree" Brunt to provide a bit of aerial ability up front --- he only managed 4 goals/2 assists but I'll keep him on the team for the coming season and tweak the tactics to involve him more. Jake Kelly will remain my #3 striker, playing on the left in both the 4-1DM-3-2 and 4-3-3 formations. He managed to hit double-digit goals (if only barely) to stay relevant. (Both he and Brannigan being resigned will depend on who I might be able to pick up in the off-season). Defensively, we were, for the most part, a mess. We ended 21st in goals allowed -- though that number is a bit inflated with several 4+ goal conceded matches skewing the average a bit. Defense will be my number one priority in the coming season. Jordan Hickey played most in the DM/A role, but dropped back in DC as needed for rotation/rest purposes. He also contributed 5 goals vi DFKs, and had 7 assists as well, so he'll easily receive a new contract, although I still need a solid/standout DM. Matty Argent-Barnes was also solid, especially defending against aerial threats, and is certain to be back next season. Most of the rest of defense needs upgrading however. My midfield is still pretty solid, anchored by Mark Helm, who is now one of our best overall players on the team. When I lost two MCs late in the season, I went out and loaned Jack Edge (a player that I had tried to pick up in Season 2, but he got away from me!) I managed to bring him back on loan, and will try to bring him back next season as well. The duo would make a potent force for me in midfield. Overall, the season had to be considered a success, but I'm sure we'll have to work hard next season to avoid the relegation scrap. Promotion/Playoffs Never in the cards this season. Probably not next season either! Cup Competitions The cup competitions were not very good this year. Expectations were for us to reach the 2nd round of the FA Trophy competition, and for the first time we fell short, meeting Barrow in the First round. Niall Huggins only goal was not enough and we fell out of the competition 2-1. The FA Cup competition saw us play a couple more matches, starting in the FAC4QR where we had to force a replay vs VNLN Scarborough in an entertaining 5-5 match which saw us score our fastest ever goal (58 seconds) to open the match, only to concede in the final minute and force the replay. The home replay was almost as entertaining, but we were much better defensively and we ran out 6-2 winners. This win set up a match that was as boring as the first two were exciting, with us at home facing L2 Grimsby. We played tight and went into the half 0-0, but conceded our only goal just before the hour mark in what would be enough for Grimsby to advance. Additional Details Team of the Season Best XI Inductees Two more players added this year, DC Mohammed Diaby (52 app, 6.88 AvR) and Mason Goodridge (40 app, 7 goals/2 assists) were deemed good enough to make the list this year. Historical Best XI Fans Player of the Season Darren Brannigan finally has the adoration of the fans, as he led the team in goals, assists, AvR, and PoM. This garnered him 44% of the FPoY vote. Multi-purpose defender Jordan Hickey won 25%, while GK Pearson finished third with 19%. Signing of the season went to DR Rob Barlow who my scouts found after he was released from Man City. He did enough in a 3-man rotation to get a new contract for the coming season. Young Player of the Season: Darren Brannigan (who accounted for nearly 50% of our teams goals this season!) Goal of the Season: Jordan Hickey, one of two DFKs scored by Hickey against Leyton Orient, enroute to a 3-2 league win. TOP ACADEMY GRADUATE Season 1 Academy Class: Top Graduate Samuel Godwin looks to be a potentially useful starting DC if he can get pace and tackling up early. 3.5-4.5* potential Season 2 Academy Class: A bit lackluster overall, with George Thorne being touted as the best of the lot. 2-3* potential...if he actually is able to meet the potential he might be useful later on. Season 3: Top grad Graeme Cowburn has a couple decent physical and mental stats, but abysmal technical attributes means he'll need a lot of help to ever make the senior team. TEAM, INDIVIDUAL, AND LEAGUE RECORDS A host or records were set or broken this year: (*denotes ongoing record -- bold indicates record broken this season) The Rest of England What's Next? Our stadium expansion completed in early December, which should be enough expansion for a couple of years at least (or until we reach another level requiring expansion). At a cost of £350K, the expansion added 500 seats and an additional space for 500 standing, for a total expansion of 1000 fans. We're a long way's from filling this out! What we need to concentrate on next season is defense. Our 87 goals conceded was 4th worst, and it was only fortune that we didn't end lower on the table (our 66 goals scored was enough for 16th---the same spot we ended in the league). If we can get rid of some of those leaks in our defense, then I can concentrate on improving our scoring chances. Career Overview
  2. For those looking for a BASFORD save, I just got one posted on the third post on page one of this thread
  3. Good luck with the SuperMarines @Ross Ingersoll
  4. South Shields Mariners F.C. SEASON 2 (2020/21) Table / Position Graph / Squad / Finances / Transfers / Manager / Facilities / Annual Injury Report / Confidence / Competitions / Reputation Summary We got off to a slow start for the first few matches of the season, and I had a bit of concern that I'd not strengthened the squad enough to meet my ambitions. Board expectations (and the players) were top-half finish, but after last year's successful run my own personal goals were playoff spots at a minimum, with a preference of top-3 finish (to allow for the home match and playoff bye if it came to that). My fears proved to be unfounded, as after match day eight we hit the playoff spots and never fell out of them. The squad was anchored by last year's top goal scorer for the team, Darren Brannigan, who exceeded last year's tally of 25 by one, giving him 51 goals for the team in 2 seasons. Arguably our best player, 34yo MC Phil Turnbull was solid as well, scoring an impressive 12 assists and 7 goals, with an AvR of 7.26. The league thought well of Turnbull as well, as they named him the league Player of the Year! Aiding the effort of these two, ST Niall Huggins (signed mid-year in season 1) scored 19 goals, while St Jake Kelly (signed this year as a Sheff Utd castoff) scored 18 goals. The team combined for 98 goals (1st in the league), while our defense was also solid, conceding only 57 goals (6th in the league). Not to be left out of the action, our midfielders were also top-notch, assisting the team to the league's 2nd best 56% possession and 2nd best 73% pass completion rating --- just the style I aim for with my teams! The race to the playoffs was close thru to a point about 8 matches from the end of the season. League winners Brackley seemed a lock to win the league, as, after an 11-match win streak they were on pace for well over 100 points. Then, they started dropping points....and both we and York looked possible to overtake them...but with four to play, Brackley picked up a couple wins, leaving them 5 points atop the table w/ 2 to play. We finished strong (with 11 wins to close out the season), but Brackely picked up the important win in the penultimate match to secure the title. The last match of the season saw us level on both points and goal differential with York, meaning that with both of us either winning or losing, whoever gained an extra point of goal differential would end up 2nd. We had the tie-breaker, so we just had to do better overall than York to finish 2nd....and when the dust settled, our 2-1 win (coupled with York's loss) gave us the pole-position, a 1st round bye, and home advantage through the playoffs. Promotion/Playoffs The playoffs proved to be mostly anti-climatic. Our first round by gave us a bit of a rest, and the semi-final brought us a match against Chester. Previously we'd had 2 1-1 draws against them this season, a 3-3 draw and a 4-1 loss against them in our first season. I was prepared for a very tough match....but this was anything but. Chester didn't help their own cause at all, as they had accumulated an astonishing 5 bookings...inside the first 30 minutes of the match! The 2-0 final scoreline flattered them quite a bit, as overall we absolutely dominated them (as a side-note, the refs flagrantly disallowed a fluke goal by Darren Brannigan, whistling him for an offside infraction where FOUR defenders had him onside on the pass out wide --- THREE of them having him onside by AT LEAST three yards! His cross towards Huggins actually went into the net (and yes, Huggins was onside by at least a couple yards when the cross was sent in). The ref rating of 6.6 might have been a bit lenient---in the opinion of both managers! Regardless, 2-0 was enough and we were through to the finals. The finals pitted us against 3rd place York, another team we'd struggled against in our first two seasons (obtaining 2 draws and 3 losses in league and FAT matches). They got through their playoff after an extra-time affair, but had a full week to recover, so I was once again prepared for a tough match. An early York goal (14th minute) against the run of play had me gritting my teeth, as we were thoroughly dominating them, and it wasn't until a 74th minute penalty award that my multi-purpose defender Hickey got an equalizer that I could relax slightly, as we were once again dominating play and looked the more dangerous. It only took 5 more minutes for my 4th choice striker Tom Clare to get the go-ahead goal, his first for the team (in only 4(3) appearances). We were able to hold onto the lead, with another complete domination of a team that had given us fits. Not the title winners, but we're through to the Vanarama National regardless! Cup Competitions The cup competitions saw us exceeding board expectations in both cases. In the FA Trophy competition, We managed a fairly easy 2-0 win over Coleshill in the FAT3QR, before facing a repeat of last year's playoff, away to Nuneaton Boro. This proved to be a slightly less scoring affair, but we did prevail w/ a 2-1 win, both goals coming from the midfield and putting us through to the 2nd round. Here we faced a strong York team, a team which we have failed at previously, and our home advantage was not enough to see us through to victory, and we succumbed to a 3-2 defeat. We would later get our revenge, as we met them at home again in the playoffs...and, well, you know the rest :). The FA Cup also saw us more than meeting expectations, as wins against Rushden & Diamonds, Hitchin, Nuneaton Boro (again!) got us through the qualification rounds. The first round was likely going to be our last, as we were pitted against VNL Tranmere --- but they proved that taking a lot of long shots (7 of 13) wasn't going to challenge us all that much, and we managed to escape with a 1-0 win, with newcomer Jake Kelly netting the only goal of the match (and his 4th of the competition). Against all odds, we were through to the second round. The second round pitted us against L1 Southend United, and once again, we didn't harbor a lot of expectations about advancing, and we met those expectations :P Like our previous match, this one was decided by only a single goal, despite being bombarded by Southend (20 shots to our 4). One managed to sneak through just before the half hour mark, and, of course, we managed very little in the way of chances ourselves, though Jake Kelly had a great chance at the end of the first half, breaking into the box but unable to get the shot off before getting charged down from behind. Oh well.... time to concentrate on the league instead! Additional Details Team of the Season Best XI Inductees Led by new striker Jake Kelly, 6 players were inducted into the historical top XI. In addition to Kelly, DR Tattum, MCs Mark Helm, Peters, DM/DR Roberts and DC Thornton were added. Historical Best XI Fans Player of the Season Phil Turnbull once again won Fans Player of the Season w/ 57% of the vote, and this year I approve (he also won league Player of the Year!). Newcomer Jake Kelly (17%) came in a distant 2nd, with MC Daniel Wright getting his 2nd appearance on the list, this year in 3rd w/ 15% of the vote. Signing of the season went to Jake Kelly who scored 18 goals/8 assists and 5 PoM (7.21 AvR) in 35(5) appearances in his debut year with the team. Young Player of the Season: Daniel Wright for the 2nd year running. Goal of the Season: Jordan Hickey, whose goal in the semi-final against Chester put us through to the playoff final! TOP ACADEMY GRADUATE Season 1 Academy Class: Top Graduate Samuel Godwin looks to be a potentially useful starting DC if he can get pace and tackling up early. 3.5-4.5* potential Season 2 Academy Class: A bit lackluster overall, with George Thorne being touted as the best of the lot. 2-3* potential...if he actually is able to meet the potential he might be useful later on. TEAM, INDIVIDUAL, AND LEAGUE RECORDS A host or records were set or broken this year: (*denotes ongoing record -- bold indicates record broken this season) The Rest of England Extra Details We have a stadium expansion started in order to meat compliance standards for the Vanarama National League. We'll be temporarily down 300 seats (300 capacity overall---3200 from 3500) until about December. Expansion is adding 500 seats and 500 standing space, for a total of 4500 space). Payments of £3K/mo isn't too exorbitant -- hopefully we'll be able to cover the extra cost and still make a profit. A couple of special people were recognized this year as well: First, Phil Turnbull won the league Player of the Year. Very fitting for the player that I considered to be my best, and who worked tirelessly. Secondly, yours truly also got recognized, though I prefer to let the team take all the credit! Career Overview
  5. I'll be adding to the list of saves on page one once release hits. Maybe I'll get luck and find them for you
  6. South Shields Mariners F.C. SEASON 1 (2019/20) Table / Position Graph / Squad / Finances / Transfers / Manager / Facilities / Annual Injury Report / Confidence / Competitions / Reputation Summary This should be a relatively short season wrap-up. Predicted 22d, we well outperformed expectations. I opted to keep a small squad early, and possibly kept it too late and then had to scramble when fixture congestion kicked in and left me with too many tired legs. Initially we soared up the table, climbing as high as 2nd around match day 15----before the castle began to crumble. Thru October, I signed a total of 7 players -- more than half of these after the season started --- most of whom were backup/rotation players Two notable exceptions were Jordan Hickey (who played a starting role as needed in DC, DM, and MC positions) and Darren Brannigan (who went on to score 25 times and bag a dozen assists as well). This to go with the barely-enough-to-fill-the-bench team that I inherited originally. I did inherit some decent players overall, and they would see me thru the early successes. Then....in October....something inexplicably happened...and I'm still not sure what it was. From Mid-October until...about mid-January, we just lost all consistency. Late goals, missing empty nets, everything that could go wrong did. We dropped from an average of nearly 80% passes completed across the board to just over 60%. It just....all went to pieces. I made a couple tweaks to the tactic, brought in 4 more players in the Jan-Mar time frame, and things started gelling again...for a while. With 7 to play we were in 6th, and a playoff spot looked a lock. Then, it fell apart again. We conceded late goals in 3 frustrating matches, including a swing match in match day 39 against 8th Harrogate. A win would have given us an 8 point lead with 3 to play...but an blatant offsides was not called---the keeper fumbled the cross, made no move to pick it up (assuming it was offsides?), and a striker strolled up and tapped home. Dropped US to 8th...and left everything in doubt, with our next two matches up against #2 York and #1 Blyth. In another of these 4 matches, I decided to turn the keeper in to sweeper-keeper (his stats better suited him to that). Then I watched as not once, but twice, he rushed out to edge of box as if he was going to charge down a deep ball into our territory. He stopped. He watched the ball drop. He watched a striker run up, pick up the ball, round him, and score into an empty net. Any one of those 4 matches end up a win and we're not left hoping for assistance with 2 top teams to play. We lost 1-0 to a York team that absolutely dominated us --- they had 18 shots to our 5. Next up was #1 Blyth....and we made a match of it, conceding early, equalizing in the 52 w/ a Morse header off of a corner, conceding again in the 72, and winning a penalty kick in the 89th. Foley, who had scored 4 times from the spot this season, stepped up, and missed the net a foot wide. Drop us to 9th, only one point from the playoffs, but absolutely needing a win against #11 Workington AND two of the 4 teams above us to drop points in order for us to make the playoffs. Somehow.....it happened. Those who watched my channel saw us not only pick up a solid 2-0 win, but every team in front of us dropped points, moving us to 6th and a playoff appearance in our first season. Promotion / Playoffs Well, we made it. Now, we've got to navigate the tricky playoffs to improve. First up was a Nuneaton Boro team whom we faced FOUR times this season --- getting only a single draw to force an FAC replay (which we lost), and losing twice in league matches. Tired of facing 4-3-3(St) formations so often this season, I countered with my own attacking 4-3-3. Players didn't agree, they thought it too attacking for this away match considering the opposition. I prevailed, and we played our hearts out. It all started badly as we conceded an 8th minute goal on an over-the-top breakaway. Then we settled down and took the match to them. Our equalizer came from a fluke goal, as left back Calaghan chased a ball down on the end line, and, while trying to just keep the ball in play fired a left-footed cross from the left side of the net----which curved back against the grain, over the outstretched keeper's hands, and into the net. Then MC Turnbull got into the action with a sweet strike from the edge of the box that somehow eluded everyone, hit the right post and bounced in. Our first lead against Nuneaton Boro! Then, the inevitable happened, as so often in the season, a corner conceded in the 86th minute, a man unmarked, and it's 2-2...and extra time. Cue up one of our winter signings, striker Huggins, who wastes no time scoring in extra time. Two minutes in, we get a break-away chance. Huggins has striker partner Foley running alongside with what is probably a wide open net. Instead, Huggins takes a step splitting two DCs, fires a shot to the far post, out of the keeper's reach, and into the net. 3-2 a scoreline which we would hold for the next 28 minutes! This was a crazy match, featuring a combined 35 shots (Boro w/ 17(6) shot count, us w/ 18(8)), 39 offsides (boro w/ 20, us w/ 19). Boro commited 14 fouls to our 3. But in the end...our first win vs Nuneaton and on to the semi-finals. Amazingly, we are to face ANOTHER 4-3-3 team in the form of Guiseley, with whom we lost once and drew once. They have the advantage with a day of rest, and that would possibly be the telling point here. A much more tame affair saw us fairly dominating the match, and grabbing the first goal once again via a Dillon Morse shot off of a corner kick. The lead didn't last long, as 20 minutes later a long ball found striker walters in space for an easy tap-in. The match then settled down to a second half slog ---- with us dominating nearly 65% of possession but unable to break the deadlock. A couple of missed opportunities cost us dearly, as Guiseley take advantage of a long diagonal ball down my right flank...with my right on tired legs unable to get back...a simple cross and tap - in and....we're consigned to another year in the VNN. All things considered, ti was a good season. We performed much better than expected. If it weren't for the inexplicable slump from mid October, we might have challenged for the title. I'm hopeful with a few additions we can do that this coming season. Cup Competitions The best I can say here is we met/exceeded expectations. We faced lower division Rushall and Sutton Coldfield (a team I managed back in....the FM16 version of this challenge?) and handled them easily (3-1 and 2-1 respectively). Then we faced VNL AFC Fylde who crushed us in the 4QR, and that was that. A similar story in the FAT, with a match against lower division AFC Dunstable which saw us post our biggest win of the season, a 6-1dismantling of the opposition. Then we faced another VNL team, this time Wrexham, and, while we put up a fight, we eventually succumbed to a 2-1 defeat. Better to figure out what our problems in the league have been and fix them, at any rate! Additional Details Team of the Season Best XI Inductees Historical Best XI Fans Player of the Season I was a bit surprised, as top Scorer Darren Brannigan only took 3rd in this award (23%), with MC Daniel Wright (28%) in second, and the best player on the team, Phil Turnbull taking 1st w/ 34% of the vote. Wright, in particular, didn't impress me much thru the season, garnering only 5 assists --- but he did feature in 75% of the matches, so that must be something! Looking more closely, he did have the highest AvR at 7.06...I guess that's what the fans appreciate! Meanwhile, Brannigan led both the goals (25) and assists (11) categories, and PoM (6) for the team. David Foley had the best pass completion (87%). Signing of the season went to Darren Brannigan Young Player of the Season: Daniel Wright Goal of the Season: Daniel Wright TOP ACADEMY GRADUATE Season 1 Academy Class: Top Graduate Samuel Godwin looks to be a potentially useful starting DC if he can get pace and tackling up early. 3.5-4.5* potential TEAM, INDIVIDUAL, AND LEAGUE RECORDS A host or records were set or broken this year: (*denotes ongoing record -- bold indicates record broken this season) The Rest of England Extra Details What's Next I've got about 10 players locked up for next season, 5 slated to be released...and another 8 or so that I'm holding the decision on. There are a lot of good players coming up on end-of-contract that I'm keeping an eye on. If I can get a couple of these really good players, I can let some of the more marginal/rotation players go. If I lose on the wage-bidding wars, than at least some of what I'm holding on to can be useful until they CAN be replaced. Really looking for a solid title challenge this year and avoid the playoffs altogether. Career Overview Care to watch my progress? I stream a number of my matches live -- check it out at https://www.twitch.tv/castinar
  7. Go ahead and take one XaW ...maybe someone else will beat the challenge first this year!
  8. Mid point of season ---- we started very strong, shooting all the way to 2nd before my very small squad started giving up points -- had 11 w/o a loss, then a loss followed by a ton of draws and the occasional loss, culminating with our FAT 1R loss vs VNL Wrexham. Things have started to turn around however, and we're back in the playoff spots (albeit 7th) --- more importantly, I have a couple new players in to give some solid rotation options in MC and DC spots, and the play is starting to look better. Hoping for a solid 2nd half and a playoff spot minimum after this start. (Predicted 22d of course!)
  9. Getting some more saves up tonight, this time w/ 75K player database.
  10. Posting this by request --- I have something similar. I have AssMan set to control individual training, but I have (on more than one occasion) opted to change individual training for 2-3 players, using the button to leave AssMan in control but make these changes for the specified players only for the next month. Every time I look back at the individuals just a couple days later, the AssMan has re-assigned these individuals training to his own agenda. Uploading a save for this. (File uploaded as Dafuge SouthShields.fm). In this save, I have just set players Morse and Mounda to individual quickness training, selecting the option to allow AssMan to remain in overall control of ind. training, but use quickness training for these two players for the next month. Sim forward a day or two, and you should see them reverted to (whatever the AssMan decides they need). (Just continued my sim --- took just about a week for the AsstMan to make the change to ind. training)
  11. I have something similar. I have AssMan set to control individual training, but I have (on more than one occasion) opted to change individual training for 2-3 players, using the button to leave AssMan in control but make these changes for the specific players for only the next month. Every time I look just a couple of days later, the AssMan has re-assigned these individual's training to his own agenda. Can upload a save if another is needed.
  12. I just came from behind to beat Kettering 2-1!!! By the way --- Steam community Group page dedicated to this challenge can be found https://steamcommunity.com/gid/103582791432542089 Come join us and let us know how you're getting on....(everyone welcome, this challenge, another challenge, FM or gaming in general!)
  13. Considering my normal sleep patterns (esp. during the build up to FM release), I usually feel like one too
  14. Meantime, I've gotten a great start with my SOUTH SHIELDS Mariners team! Early season, but 12 points from 6 matches puts us 5th on the table atm. Might or might not be my permanent save, have to see if any game breaking bugs are found during beta (or how well/poorly I end up doing!).
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