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  1. Woking FC - 21/22 End of season On the field A horror show as to be honest i sort of gave up and the players did too. A 14th place finish and it just wasn't what i hoped after least season Results On the plus side we still finished above media expectation (17th) but we should have been better. Hugely inconsistent and we have gone from Leagues top scorers to one of the lowest. Oh how i miss you Hessenthaler! Woking's end of season review To be honest, that month was a slog and i just wanted it to end so i could just start from fresh. George Miller won player of the year and ended with 16 goals for the season, 2 behind top scorer Greg Luer. Tactically we are clearly a mess and i am struggling to find something that works. I need to have another look, find a style and buy around that style. I think im too all over the place and i cant find an identity. Again we have a decent budget for next season (£400k) but they will refuse to let me go professional.
  2. Woking FC - March 2022 On the field It is like whack-a-mole here in Woking. You find there is a problem away from home, and you try and sort that and your home form goes out of the window. Somehow we lose all 3 home games but pick up 5 points from the 3 away games. It means in essence, we have no chance of the play-offs Results All i can really hope for now is a top half finish to save some space as i look to build out this squad a little further. New faces On that, we have added two more faces to the team. Levi Sutton joined from Leyton Orient for £10k to add a ball winning midfielder to the squad. A nice upgrade on what we had and he was in good form for high flying Leyton Orient as well. The 2nd man in was Jordan Gabriel from Maidstone in a £70k deal and he will now be our new right back with Kane Gayle on his way to Swindon at the end of the season. Both feel like decent coup's and it feels like we can attract a better level of player than we could at the beginning of the season. However, i can only wish for professional status Youth Intake The good old youth intake comes through again and there is one man that stands out. He is no Hessenthaler but Ethan Taylor could be an okay little player. We don't currently play with an AMC but it is something i was considering for next season as a way of trying to shake things up and so as tradition goes i will add him to the first team squad for next season. Woking's March player of the month George Miller takes it again in a month where he scored another 4 goals.
  3. Woking FC - February 2022 On the field An almost completely positive month as we start to find some grit and determination to try and claw our way back into the play-offs. 7 points from the 4 league games and now up in 11th position. Results However, is it enough. We battled to a 2-2 draw with Greg Luer showing up finally to score two goals but again it was a match we should have won. We than decimated Harrogate in our best game of the season before battling to a 1-0 win over Boreham Wood. Things were looking positive and we have a play-off 6 pointer against Chesterfield to finish the month off. We got smashed 4-1 in what proved to be an almost laptop smashing match. Its always 2 steps forward and than 1 step back with this team and although we are now just 9 points off of the play-offs (1 point better off than a month ago) the progress is potentially too slow. By my reckoning we should be aiming at 75 points for a play-off spot. That means 27 points from 36 available. A very tough ask when we are so inconsistent. Chalk & Cheese So why are we inconsistent. Well look at these tables showing our home and away form Home | Away It is complete chalk and cheese. The 4th best home record in the league but the 5th worst away at the same time. Our away form is basically as good as the bottom 4 and that is where we need to change as unless we have 12 home games from our final 12 games (I did check and that isn't the case) than we are going to struggle to be consistent enough to make up that gap. What i do differently in away games.... I have no idea. Ideas always welcome Woking's February player of the month Greg Luer wins his first prize of the season with 4 goals to his name. Certainly not as prolific as previous seasons but his 124 goals in 199 appearances is an almighty record. Fully recommend this lad for anyone doing a LLM save in England.
  4. Woking FC - January 2022 On the field Let's get it over with, the FA cup tie at Anfield was on New years day and i was expecting a pumping. We got this though A very respectable result indeed and even more annoyingly we conceded in the 1st minute. Now the Liverpool side was heavily rested and the AI had clearly decided to send every fringe player and youngster out but we held on by just parking the bus and hoping. We did have the odd chance but the result and a giant killing was never truly on the cards. It meant we could turn our attention and focus on the league, especially when we got knocked out of the FA Trophy to Oxford City in a poor 1-0 defeat. That cup defeat was not as well received by me. Back to the league, it was more of the same inconsistency, picking up 7 points from 4 games. I wouldn't have minded but we lost to bottom of the table Dartford 2-1 who had only won one game all season but managed to beat Port Vale 3-2 in the very next game. It means all i can see from the season is mid table obscurity and right now i would be ok for this season to end so we can start again. For those that want to know, here is the table. Results One in, one out (Sort of) Some more transfer business was completed as we managed to sign Max Haygarth from Bromley in a £70k deal. I had been chasing this guy for 3 seasons after he got let go from Man Utd but he now joins our midfield as a 4* player and should be a step up. In terms of outgoings, Kane Gayle who joined just on a free in the summer, already attracted League interest with Swindon paying £150k for his services but agreeing to keep him here for the rest of the season. A nice tidy little profit for someone who was playing sub par if i am truthfully honest. Woking's January player of the month I'm going to go Miller again but it is a poor pot to choose from. Again for no other reason than for his two goals against Torquay which won a crucial match for us
  5. Woking FC - December 2021 On the field Treading water as progress is slow and potentially non existent. Results Only 6 points from the 5 league games as we struggled for goals. In both the York and Boston games we should have won easily, dominating possession and shots but missing simple chances to pick up the points. Leyton Orient than came to town and comfortably beat us before the FA Trophy gave us a handy tie against lower league opposition where we could smash them 4-0. That victory than seemed to spur the team on as we battled to a 1-1 draw against Newport (We should have won having missed a penalty) before beating high flying Tranmere 2-0 in what was a relatively easy victory. Again it was a month where we looked better but not necessarily getting the results to push us back up the table. Lots of clean sheets and in fact we are 3rd in the table for clean sheets which shows goals is now the problem for the first time in this save. Normally at the new year point my strike force are pushing towards 40 goals between them, this season they have 15. Oh how i miss Hessenthaler Just Liverpool up next.... that will be fun Woking's December player of the month Gareth Miller steals it again for me mainly because of the last two games after Christmas but once again competition is a little scarce
  6. Woking FC - November 2021 On the field An undefeated month is just what the doctor ordered as we look to get our season back on track and to avoid the mid table mediocrity that is threatening our season Results Still in mid-table but on a surer foot and we are now the most consistent inconsistent team that you can ever find but 8 points from 4 games including a vital victory over local rivals Aldershot which was just a little bit satisfying. However, nothing has been as satisfying as our FA Cup run. As i mentioned, in the last update we had Spennymoor in the 1st round giving us our best chance of progression and we took it nicely with a 2-0 victory secured within the first 15 minutes. That led us to an away trip to Plymouth who were flying high in League 2 and what a game that was as George Miller scored on a counter attack to score the only goal of the game. The 3rd round awaits us and we got a humdinger of a tie. Liverpool at Anfield. Let the spanking commence. Score Predictions from you guys could very well be interesting? Back to ol' 4-4-2 Back to basics but with a tweak to a counter attacking format given our quality. 5 clean sheets from the 6 games in November is what we can build from and goals are starting to come back to our game as well. I am going to stick with it for a bit longer to see if it is enough to get us out of the mire we find ourselves in. Woking's November player of the month We are starting to get the best out of Gareth Miller, he isn't a Hessenthaler figure but the signs are that Luer and Miller are forming a partnership that might just get enough goals to secure us more points.
  7. Woking FC - October 2021 On the field Late goals aplenty again in another tough and ultimately disappointing month for the boys Results In the first few games the late goals went in our favour as we picked up 5 points from 3 games in the league before we comfortably beat Hornchurch in the FA Cup 4th Qualifying round 3-0 to get to the 1st round for the 4 straight season. This time we have Spennymoor of the Vanarama North. However, after that FA Cup game it all started to fall apart as we hit 3 back to back defeats in the league which has seen us drop down the table to a position that i have not been accustomed too since the start of my save. Billericay were first scoring a 90th minute goal to beat us 3-2, Maidstone than did the same thing as they won 1-0 before Halifax were awarded 4 penalties in their 4-1 victory over us. Yup, 4 penalties. The ref was a C***. More work to be done and i might even change back to the 4-4-2 as i just dont seem to be able to get Luer firing this season and Miller is still to adapt. More tinkering needed for sure. A bright young spark Every season, i always take someone from the youth intake from the year before and incorporate it into my first team squad. First it was Russell Hessenthaler and we all know what happened to him. Than it was Craig Liddle who made a handful of appearances in the defence before seeing himself out on Loan for more game time. This season we have been using Jack Lockwood and the youngster hasn't done too bad with 4 assists to his name already as he shone in the FA Cup game against Hornchurch. Woking's October player of the month Nathan Moriah-Welsh just nips it ahead of Lockwood purely down to goals as both wingers are the bright sparks in an otherwise drab month for the club.
  8. Woking FC - September 2021 On the field If you go behind in every game of the month you know you are in trouble. Three late goals meant the month wasn't a complete disaster but it looks like our reality of being a mid table side at best is going to come to fruition. Results On the positives, we are just 3 points from play-offs so it is hardly a disaster in what is proving to be a tight start to the season and there is at least a fighting spirit picking up 7 points from losing positions. However, at some point you have to stop going behind if you are going to do well in the league (Look at Arsenal this season). Scrapping for draws isnt going to get us promoted, we need to be scrapping for wins if we have a shot of going up this season. A new face Right at the end of the month, i dipped back into the loan market again as Billericay loaned me striker George Miller for the rest of the season. Not quite as good as Hessenthaler but in the right mould and might allow me to find some of that magic again that we so sorely miss. At this rate i might end up with a whole team of Billericay cast off's which shows how good their squad is for this level. Woking's September player of the month Kane Gayle is the winner this month out of pure consistency in performances from the right back in what proved to be a slim picking this month as our form continues to falter.
  9. Woking FC - 21/22 Pre-season & August Transfers It was time to pick the boys up after last season and we needed to find some new talent especially after losing Hessenthaler. We released a lot of players during the off season, all of whom were non starters with probably the biggest name being Joe Ellul. The defence was the key area for me and that is where most of the rebuilding was done. First in through the door was young Kane Gayle who was released from West Ham. The regen right back has good physicals and mentals but needs a little work on the technical stats but at 4* ability he is one of the stronger options in the league. On the other side of the defence at left back, i broke the clubs transfer record with the £80k purchase of Ollie Harfield from recently relegated Dag & Red. A well rounded player and instantly becomes the first choice at left back. Centre backs were also on the menu, as we added the unpronounceable Pascal Kpohomouh having been released from Southampton. I wanted his pace and he should be smart enough to be in the right positions for this league which is what it comes down to. Alongside him i loaned in Ryan Johnson from Billericay as he wouldn't sign on a permanent deal because of our part time status. Not as quick as Kpohomouh but more rounded and the two of them will become my new partnership at the back. So that was the defence rebuilt but i wanted more. Scott Quigley joined from Billericay to give Luer some competition up top. A £30k fee was arranged and hopefully he can take up some of the goal scoring that we have lost. The final move was to bring in Joe Busby on a free transfer with the ball winner giving us another option in the middle of the park. So got nowhere near the £800k being spent but the £110k that was made us the biggest spenders in the league comfortably but with the window open throughout the season, i could always add to my collection. Time for a tactical switch For 3 seasons we have played a 4-4-2 formation but after last season's end i felt it was clear we needed a tactical revamp to 1) keep it fresh and 2) fix some of the issues we faced last season. It was a common sight for us to be overrun in the midfield and in about 3/4 of the games we had less shots and less possession meaning we rode our luck quite a bit. So with that in mind we have switched to the below It is going to be about the counter attack now and to move to having 3 in the midfield to give us a bit more protection but also allow us to dominate the midfield in more games. So how has it done? On the pitch Results Not a bad little start as our decent pre-season form flowed into the league. 4 Clean sheets from the 6 games is a good sign that our defence has improved but when we do concede we are conceding hard as we look to chase the game so it still needs a little bit of work but it is getting there. More importantly, games seem to be a little closer and we are giving the opposition far less shots. So defensively there are improvements but we are seeing a lot less goals so maybe i have created some problems elsewhere. Seeing Greg Luer with just 1 goal at this stage of the season is surprising and Quigley is yet to get off the mark being the only new signing who hasn't quite lived up to expectations. The Media think we will finish 16th and the board want a mid table finish which i think is because of our status as 1 of just 3 semi-pro sides in the league. Personally i think the play-offs have to be our aim again but it is going to be tough. Woking's August player of the month No Greg Luer or Russell Hessenthaler here as i give the award to Aaron Kuhl who bagged 3 goals and seems to be the man who is benefiting the most from the extra man in the middle.
  10. Woking FC - 20/21 End of Season Review On the pitch Quite simply we blew it big time. The win againt Tranmere secured us a play-off spot and from that point onwards the team just gave up as we lost 3 home games on the trot before holding on for a 0-0 draw against rivals Aldershot. We than went onto lose the last game against Chesterfield and that saw us drop to 4th meaning we even lost our bye in the play-offs. Somehow despite that awful form we smashed through Wrexham with a brilliant first half performance before letting them get two late consolation goals but our part timers were than knackered for Maidstone as we lost to a solitary goal to face yet further play-off heartbreak. As you can see Ebbsfleet went through in the end as we face another season in the National which as i have said isn't necessarily a bad thing as we were predicted to come 22nd at the beginning of the season meaning a 4th place finish was a brilliant result all things considered. Now i just need to pick the team up for another hard long season. Off the pitch So a good season but one with a bitter end to it as we failed to capitalize on a brilliant opportunity to get ourselves promoted at the first time of asking. We need to rebuild the squad as it isn't strong enough to compete currently especially with Hessenthaler and Daley Campbell going back to their parent clubs Greg Luer was the player of the season as voted for by the fans and his 34 goals in 55 appearances was greatly appreciated. However, Hessenthaler ran him a close 2nd and i guess was not in the running as the game treats him as having two spells at the club this season rather than the one. Still just 18 years of age but we are going to miss him a lot next season. He finished the season with 30 goals and 10 Assists meaning he leaves the club with an impressive record of 64 Goals, 29 Assists from just 106 Appearances (15 of which came from the bench). I have never had a regen like it before and he leaves the club a club icon already. It probably shouldn't surprise you with the above stats but we finished the season as top scorers in the league but it was our defence that let us down badly as we just couldn't keep clean sheets and that is going to have to be the main focus for the pre-season acquisitions. There will probably be quite the revamp as we need to take this side to the next level. The one challenge we have is that the club is semi professional, in fact we are one of just five semi professional sides in this league with most of our opposition professional. I campaigned at board level to change this but they refused to go professional despite us sitting on a fortune. The player quality we could attract would improve us no end but they were refusing to reinvest the Hessenthaler money until i finally pleaded with them hard enough to invest in new youth facilities which i am now calling the Hessenthaler Academy in honour of the great man. Interestingly, the board also gave me the below budgets for the pre-season How they expect i am going to spend £820k in transfer fees when no body wants to join me as i am part time i have no idea. Perhaps they think money is the answer after i won Manager of the year and i have been invited in for Interviews from Newport County and Burton Albion. Burton finished just outside the play-offs in League 1 so that is a very attractive offer indeed.
  11. Woking FC - March 2021 Updates coming thick and fast today as we edge ever closer to the end of Season 3. March An undefeated month but a month full of draws as we just failed to click all month. It was a horror show at Gateshead and Greg Luer had to rescue a draw with a 93rd minute goal. In fact we were rescued in the next two games as we scrambled to two 1-1 draws against Leyton Orient and Dagenham & Redbridge. We were just not at the races when we took on York. In another scrappy game we managed to score a penalty early on to give us a rare lead in a game this month and one we managed to hold on to. We scored early in the next game against bottom of the table Oxford City but we couldn't push on from there and were pegged back to 1-1. Finally March finished with a battling 2-1 win over Spennymoor. So where are we in our battle? Somehow that run of form has seen us go top. Barnet haven't scored in 4 games and Hartlepool saw a litany of draws like us. Still incredibly tight but it is almost like all 3 of us are too scared to go up and are wanting another season in the National. We have 6 games left and they look like this Some tough sides there with Tranmere and Chesterfield being strong sides whilst we have local rivals Aldershot and promotion rivals Barnet to contend with. Can we do it? Youth Intake A third youth intake and with Hessenthaler leaving, i was hoping for another gem. This is what we got. Jack Lockwood has potential with decent physicals and crossing and dribbling ability to boot. Hugo Pearce and Ross Smith have potential but will need to improve quite a bit to challenge the first team. Woking's March player of the month In a weird month where we were undefeated but played poorly all season it was hard to find a star but Greg Luer wins again mainly due to his important goals in the Gateshead game.
  12. Woking FC - February 2021 Sorry for the radio silence. Not had a chance to play much over the christmas break meaning i couldn't update February Some tough fixtures in February as we had some FA trophy action as well as tough ties against fellow Promotion hopefuls Maidstone and Hartlepool but with Hessenthaler and Daley Campbell both now focussed after sealing moves away from us at the end of the season, we should be well set. So how did we do? Well not too bad but we are hardly on fire. The Maidstone game saw 3 absolute belters of goals including a 30 yard drive from Hessenthaler. That Southampton move clearly improving his mood. That was followed up by a tough two ties against Chesterfield in the FA Trophy as we played out two 1-1 draws eventually needing penalties to put us into the next round. We were shattered when we went away to Hartlepool and it showed as we got smashed 3-1 but after that we had a week to recover and because of that we were able to beat Dover and Torquay 5-0 on aggregate before Port Vale comfortably knocked us out in the FA Trophy Quarter finals. As you can see it is a tight old tussle at the top as it looks like it is going to be a three way fight for the automatic promotion spots with Barnet and Hartlepool just ahead of us. To be honest, i would be mightily surprised if we could beat both of them as we look gassed. I constantly have players needing a rest including Hessenthaler and i just can't seem to keep a strong 11 for the whole season which is due to my lack of rotation and that is caused by a lack of quality. Promotion could be too much too soon and another season building out the side especially with Hessenthaler and Daley Campbell both not here it might not be the worst thing in the world to miss out. Woking's February's player of the month What a difference a move can make as Russell Hessenthaler hits form straight after the move. 6 goals in the month shows his class and hopefully he can keep this up for our title hunt which will be a great send off for the man.
  13. Woking FC - January 2021 January Sales As you can probably guess, Russell Hessenthaler has left Woking, well sort of. The bids came flying in on the 1st January and they just kept going. The initial figure in my head was around £250k and the bids came in but eventually i was able to move the bids up higher and higher until i got to eventual winners of his signature Southampton. The Premiership side bid £600k for his service, offered me a friendly, 40% of the next sale and have also let me keep him for the rest of the season on loan. A great deal of money for a club this size and now the record sale from the club. It is a real shame but it was always going to be a fight to keep him and i am now deeply invested in seeing how far this kid can go. He wasn't the only sale though as Vontae Daley Campbell also got League suitors as Portsmouth bid £100k for his services and also agreed to loan him to me for the rest of the season. He like Hessenthaler was getting unsettled and it is good money for a right back who has only been average this season. So £700k gained in sales and there was some investment back. Aaron Kuhl was signed for £30k from Billericay to help bolster a midfield that can sometimes get overrun at times. He is now the highest paid player at the club and will partner Knott in the midfield. The other investment comes in the form of the junior coaching budget increasing which hopefully helps us find another Hessenthaler all over again. January Now onto the field where the transfer sagas of Hessenthaler and Daley-Campbell certainly distracted the side as we started the new year with two defeats against Stockport and Ebbsfleet to put us on a run of 3 straight defeats in the league. To help break our run we had an FA Trophy 2nd round tie against Vanarama South side Eastleigh and with the news of Hessenthaler and Daley Campbell all sewn up, the boys were focused again as we smashed the south coast side 5-0 with Hessenthaler himself getting two goals on his re-debut. That victory has seemed to reset us to some degree as we clawed our way to two victories against Harrogate and Wrexham as we look for some semblance of form. Squad | Results So we have been knocked off top spot but we are still in the hunt for promotion along with Barnet, Hartlepool and Bromley and if we are going to win the league than we are going to need to sort out the defence. I am scouring the world for defenders but nothing looks like it will improve us and that is worrying me as without some new blood there, i think we will struggle to keep up the pace. Woking's January's player of the month Greg Luer wasn't quite as good as December but another 6 goals to his name sees him now top the scoring charts in the league and hit 26 goals for the season. The man is a non-league scoring machine and now has 103 goals in two and a half seasons.
  14. Woking FC - December 2020 December A month of goals and in particular goals from Greg Luer who smashed in 11 goals over the month giving us 4 victories from 6 games including progression in the FA Trophy against Maidenhead. It was some performance from the man but our form is still up and down and we have lost that consistent swagger we had in the early part of the season. Our defence is a little leaky and i think we are not getting enough protection from the midfield as well as perhaps lacking the quality at the back that we need. I have plenty of wage budget spare but my squad is too big and i have players whinging a lot so i am going to have to trim it a little to make it easier to manage. Squad But the table still shows us top somehow and that is what matters. We have a fight on our hands with Barnet, Maidstone and Bromley all on my tail. Can we hold on for the title? I don't think we can unless we refresh in some key areas which is what i will be looking to do in January. Woking's December player of the month No surprise that Greg Luer is the winner here. He was on fire and doubled his goal tally for the whole season in just one month. He also won the leagues player of the month which to be honest was no surprise and he is now closing in on 100 goals under my management. A true Woking Legend! Boy Wonder to go? The teams wanting his services is growing and is now including Crystal Palace and Watford who have both been to see him play. His performances are dipping and he told me he wants to go. Some bids have come in on the 1st January and it might be the end of the Boy Wonder's time at the club. Can i keep him?
  15. Woking FC - November 2020 November November has been the toughest month so far and it certainly meant that it took a lot longer to get through it than i would have liked hence the lack of updates for awhile. It started with our obligatory 1st Round exit in the FA Cup as League 1 leaders Bradford beat us 2-0. No qualms there, they are far better than us and i was never expecting to win. If anything, it highlights we have a long way to go before being able to compete with League clubs. Maybe not getting promotion wouldn't be such as a bad thing. From there we beat Spennymoor 2-0 in a solid but unspectacular match before getting smashed by Tranmere 5-2 and than losing to Promotion hopefuls Barnet 1-0 to lose our place at the top of the table. We ended the month with a ground out 2-1 victory over Halifax but we were poor throughout the match. Results Still top but having played a game more, we have a real battle for the title going into December. Local Rivals Aldershot are up next and it isn't the sort of game we need right now as we have fatigue and unrest in the squad. Quite a few players are complaining about game time and Max Kretzschmar is now missing training on a weekly basis. I am probably going to need to trim the squad down as it is far too big and i dont need the distraction of players being unhappy. I have shifted one more out on loan but its tough work moving players on at this level. Woking's November player of the month Not a great month for us and it has been slim pickings to be honest. Billy Knott being the best of a bad bunch as he is starting to get into games a little more
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