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neilhoskins77

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About neilhoskins77

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    Newcastle-Upon-Tyne & Cwmbran, South Wales

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    Bristol.R & Newcastle Utd

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  • Currently Managing
    Maidstone United (Blue Square South - FM09)

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  1. Sunday 1st June 2014 Don't be mistaken, while the India game on the weekend was taking up a lot of my attention right now, there was still plenty of work being done back at Bourne Park to make sure Maidstone United are ready for the 2014/15 campaign in a couple of months time. Chris Pike played 15 times in all competitions for the First Team last season, and now 17 years old, the utility midfielder has signed a new one year deal. The backroom staff really like him, and think he isn't too far away from being considered a part of the squad. It might be a good idea to have him involved with the Reserve and Youth teams when we get our new influx of young players over the next few weeks. The Board are satisfied with how things are currently playing out at the club. The signing of James Curtis has been hailed at Boardroom level as 'extremely pleasing'. The club lost £15,000 or thereabouts last month. That leaves the finances looking fairly miserable right now, in the red to the tune of around £14,500. There doesn't seem too much concern right now, there will be season ticket, sponsorship and merchandise money going into the pot over the coming weeks and months. A couple of high profile home Friendly games wouldn't go amiss at all though. Monday 2nd June James Curtis may be the player who the Board are most delighted with right now, but I bet Aaron Steele isn't too far behind him. The Canadian centre back was very reliable in his time with us at the end of the season, and he has now signed a one year extension to keep him at the club for next season on a wage of £250 per week. Also signing a one year extension late in the day was a fan favourite of the United faithful, Ian Rossiter. The 33 year old right sided Irishman chipped in with eight League goals last season, which proved vital to the club after his arrival last summer from across the Irish Sea. His wage has dropped to £50 a week as well. We have missed out on our first summer target however. The attempt to improve our defence with the signature of Matthew Lowton from Team Bath has failed, as the 24 year old has elected to have a second spell back in Ireland, signing instead on a Free Transfer for Waterford United, who currently top the Irish First Divison, the second tier of football there. Wednesday 4th June After a solid amount of work was done over the last two days, and keen to get things moving before I fly off to India later tonight, a group of players have all received contract offers to play for Maidstone United next season. I am more hopeful for some than I am for others, but almost all would improve our First Team options right now. I'm quickly informed that our offer to a striker amongst that group has already led to increased interest in his services. Two of the other players are currently with clubs, and we have had offers accepted for them, with personal term negotiations now underway. Another contract extension has been signed today, and it's an Irishman once again. Right winger Matthew Hatch has dismissed talk of him returning to play in Wales again with Prestatyn Town, and has signed a new one year deal with us to keep him at the club for next season. Hatch will be paid £50 a week. With new signings, hopefully, imminent, today is as good a time as any to release the players who I don't intend to keep when their deals expire at the end of this month. They get paid early and can start searching for a new club, and we get them off the wage bill to free up some space for potential incoming players. Six leave right away, Matthew Mkhwanazi, Alan Winter, Brian McAuley, Willie Strachan, Daniel Boateng and Simon Smith. Thursday 5th June The first signing is done, and it is one that is probably more for the future, though our limited depth will likely see chances for Richard Anderson to play at times next season as well. A 19 year old centre back who stands 6'3 tall, he ranks well for bravery, determination, work rate and positioning. With good pace and jumping ability too, he still has plenty of time to improve the technical aspects of his game such as marking and tackling. He is from Brighton, and has spent the last three seasons with them, playing twice in Coca-Cola League One last season for his hometown club. It's a three year deal at £100 per week. Friday 6th June I'm in India by now of course, but news reaches me that a second summer signing is completed, and I look forward on my return to Kent to saying hello once again to a player I'm signing for a second time. 25 year old left sided utility player Adam Campbell signed for me at Ayr United on Deadline Day in January 2011. He stayed at the club for eighteen months, playing only seven times under myself in his first half season in Scotland. In summer 2012 he left to join Fleetwood Town of the Northern Premier League, where he has spent the last two seasons, playing 66 times, scoring seven goals and assisting a further ten. It is still up for debate whether he is best at full back or on the wing, but the ability to cover either is a good option for us. It was turning into a big day for the club too, as a second signing of the day arrived later on to further strengthen our options in defence. This time the signing is 19 year old Alex Sawyer, a right back who is brought in to provide some competition to Andy Miskimmon. 5'10 tall, and also able to cover at centre back if needed, Sawyer hails from the Lincolnshire village of Marston, and has spent the last two seasons as a youngster on the books of Premier League club Middlesbrough. He is very quick, and far more attacking than Miskimmon, while not necessarily at the expense of the defensive side of the game. He looks like he has been well taught under the tutelage of Gary Bennett, Curtis Fleming and Terry Mulgrew, the trio of Youth Coaches at the Riverside Stadium, all of which are held in high regard by Sawyer. It's a two year deal at £100 per week. The fans are delighted with this signing. We are not quite done for the day either, still having time to fit in a contract renewal, with Australian midfielder Gavin Molloy putting his signature on a one year extension to keep him at Bourne Park next season, agreeing to reduce his wage to £50 a week as well to secure his future for 2014/15. Saturday 7th June Yesterday was a big day at the club, and it would have been even bigger had we not missed out on Welsh striker Josh Knight late yesterday evening. The 23 year old former Under-21 International is leaving Wrexham on a Free Transfer, but he has rejected a move to us, instead signing to play for The New Saints, this season's Welsh Premier League Runner's Up. They are forced into rebuild mode with no less than six of their First Team players leaving this summer. Not to worry, we made up for it this morning with another new arrival, 19 year old Gary Murray. The Rochdale lad is a right back by trade, but obviously we haven't brought him in for that role. He can play anywhere on the right or through the middle in defence, wing back, holding role, winger or centre midfielder. That's some pretty handy versatility from the player who has just been released by Bradford City after making his Senior debut for them this season in Coca-Cola League One, his third campaign at Valley Parade. He's the determined and reliable kind of player who hustles the ball carrier and doesn't give them a moments peace that most good sides have. Once more, we have some very happy fans for getting this deal done. By the time the day is done, the fate of two strikers we were chasing has been decided as well. The one we really wanted, 6'4 tall 19 year old former Manchester City youngster, Graham Murray, has knocked us back, which is a bit of a blow, as I had him down as a player that would potentially bag 20-25 goals next season for us. We were beaten to his signature by AFC Hornchurch though, they offered him a bigger contract than we could afford to get his name on a two year deal. We do get a striker signed today however, though he is a bit of a punt on being one for the future. The name of our new 17 year old hitman is Stefan Anderson, who hails from Scone, a village in the central Scotland region of Perth & Kinross. He came to the attention of one of my Scouting team after scoring 13 goals in 35 appearances in all competitions in his debut Senior season for East of Scotland Division One side, Gretna FC 2008. Just like our other target Murray, he's 6'4 tall, and while he is far from the finished article as a striker, he has a lot of good qualities for his age. One to keep an eye on I'd say. He is only prepared to commit to a one year deal right now, so we will see how he gets on, his wage coming out at £60 per week.
  2. Saturday 11th March 2017 Nobody was giving us any hope of pulling off a shock result today when we travelled to face the current league leaders, Singapore Khalsa, who have lost just once in their opening five matches this season, which came last time out against Kaki Bukit. They also boast one of the best squads in the Division, and the bookies have made us 7/1 underdogs, despite our huge squad overhaul in recent weeks. It would be hard to disagree with them after seeing our first half display as well. Tom Beattie out injured meant Wang Sien made his debut in midfield, while Yang Shengchuan did the same at right back. We made poor use of the ball, giving it away too often, and we were also too lightweight in the tackle to win it back. Choo Wee Keat, who they tried to trick us into believing was a defender, was played into great positions twice in the opening ten minute, Hariz Farid making a save first time, and then when we drastically over committed players forward for a corner, we were counter attacked and Nas Nasta'in found him in acres of space on a two versus one, but the striker lifted his shot over the keeper and the bar. He made it a hatrick of wasted chances with a header against the bar, before we were finally undone with the midpoint of the half approaching. Fairuq Johari picked up the ball in the right back spot, and lifted it right over our defence and into the run of Nasta'in, who angled his run into the box, before slotting the ball past Farid to beat the bitterly disappointed keeper at his near post. With our play far from slick, an equaliser looked unlikely, but on the half hour Zul Elhan did fire a shot from the edge of the box against the bar. My players were left in no doubt that they had failed to impress anybody with their opening half of football, and they were challenged to do much better in the second half, armed with new instructions for the back four to sit a little deeper, while also do a man marking and early closing down job on the front two who had caused us so many issues already. One of the back four, left back and occasional striker, Jalil Asrat, would go one over and above when he found an equaliser early in the second half. And it was nothing short of spectacular too, a curling left footed free kick from all of 30 yards out that swung around the wall and found the top corner before Raffiey Roslan would get to it! When Choo Wee Keat missed another chance with a header from a free kick, we started to grow in confidence, turning to our bench to bring on another debutant, Cameron Bell replacing Wang Sien while Saiful Jamaludin was replaced on the left by Danial Jaafaran at the same time. Just over ten minutes later, Shuntarô Takata stole the ball on halfway, and sent a through ball between the centre backs and down the side of Zul Elhan. The striker collected the ball, skipped into the box, and from an ever tightening angle, sent it across goal, past the keeper, and inside the far post, putting us ahead with only around ten minutes left to play. We had been here before, I had flashbacks to my opening match in charge. I prepared to make a final change and shift the tactic around. Too late. Within two minutes Yang Shengchuan cut out a long ball attempt to cut us open, but Khalsa had players pouring forward, and they got it out to Haiekal Awwabin on the right, and his cross was volleyed in by Aslam Hussein. So too late by the time I managed to reconfigure us into a more compact 4-1-2-2-1. But at least we didn't concede another this time. A good point, but it could have been three. Singapore Khalsa 2 Kembangan United 2 Stats & Ratings Game#5 League Table Sunday 12th March 2017 That was a pretty good result yesterday, and I praised my players for their comeback and second half performance. It could have gone the other way in the first half, and should maybe have gone our way at the end. A draw was perfectly acceptable, we would have absolutely take it before the match. And we have helped to dislodge them from the top of the table. We continue you our attempts to improve our squad and options, and we have today signed free agent 18 year old defensive midfielder Azryzal Haiqel. Our backroom staff rate him as an exciting prospect, despite the fact that Divisional rivals Starlight Soccerites cut him loose in February after three years with them, and a trial with another team from our Division didn't go well, Gymkhana FC deciding against offering him a deal. A bit more depth in an important area of the park. It's a good thing. Azryzal Haiqel Signs Azryzal Haiqel Profile Monday 13th March And the improvements continue, as another signing arrives today, though we will have to wait and see what kind of response we get this time. It's not the quality of the player I'm worried about, no sir, Muhammad Adil Iqbal is a 22 times capped Pakistani International who can play in midfield, on the right wing, or where he is most at home, just behind the striker. He left Pakistan three years ago to head for a stomping ground of mine in a former managerial life, and a place I am kind of hoping I end up as part of this save too, Kyrgyzstan. He spent two seasons with leading side Dordoy Bishkek, scoring five times in 21 appearances with them. He then came to Singapore a year ago, another of our new players who has been through the Tampines Rovers route. He didn't play a single match for them, and now he is our player, taking our final Foreign Player spot. But remember I told you all that there was a player who was asking for stupid money? It is this guy! £500 a match! Our Chairman may be about to reach for the blood pressure medication. Muhammad Adil Iqbal Signs Muhammad Adil Iqbal Profile
  3. Sunday 1st June 2014 **SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT** India Senior Squad for Friendly International vs Philippines - (H) 7/6/14 | Name | Position | Club | Height | Age | Value | Caps | Goals | | Jasbir Singh | GK | Airdrie Utd (SCO) | 6'0" | 23 | - | 2 | 0 | | Mohammed Hossain | GK | JCT | 6'1" | 21 | £5K | 1 | 0 | | Subrata Pal | GK | East Bengal | 6'0" | 27 | £18K | 9 | 0 | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- | Nirmal Chetri | D RC | Vasco | 5'7" | 23 | £7K | 2 | 0 | | Azadur Barman | D L | Air India | 5'8" | 21 | £20K | 2 | 0 | | Paramjit Kumar | D L | Mohun Bagan | 5'7" | 20 | £2K | 3 | 0 | | Deepak Mondal | D C | Vasco | 5'10" | 34 | - | 25 | 3 | | Jose Paul | D C | Mohun Bagan | 5'9" | 22 | £10K | 3 | 0 | | Manju Nanjangud Shivananju | D C | East Bengal | 6'1" | 27 | £14K | 10 | 1 | | Rikki Bains | D C | Havant & Waterlooville (ENG) | 6'1" | 26 | £6K | 4 | 0 | | Ajay Bailleux | D/WB R | Mohammedan | 5'10" | 30 | £1K | 13 | 0 | | Amar Thakur | D/WB/AM R | Bengal Mumbai FC | 5'5" | 21 | £2K | 0 | 0 | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- | Naduparambil Pappachan Pradeep | D/AM C | Mohun Bagan | 5'7" | 31 | £14K | 24 | 10 | | Amit Singh | DM, M C | FC Nantes (FRA) | 5'10" | 16 | £30K | 1 | 0 | | Mehrajuddin Wadoo | DM, M C | Bengal Mumbai FC | 5'11" | 30 | £1K | 6 | 0 | | Kuldip Kumar | M C | Mahindra Utd | 5'8" | 21 | £14K | 0 | 0 | | Mohammed Hassan | M C | United SC | 5'8" | 21 | £3K | 0 | 0 | | Yadwinder Khan | M C | Bengal Mumbai FC | 5'8" | 22 | £2K | 3 | 0 | | Raheem Alibhaï | AM R | Olympic Charleroi (BEL) | 5'7" | 29 | £12K | 1 | 0 | | Joseph Pereira | AM L | Pune FC | 5'6" | 31 | £1K | 1 | 0 | | Naresh Reja | AM L | SC Goa | 5'9" | 18 | £1K | 0 | 0 | | Sabri Gharbi | AM C | Mohammedan | 5'7" | 26 | £5K | 7 | 1 | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- | Edu | ST | Mohun Bagan | 6'1" | 31 | £12K | 2 | 0 | | Sandip Kumar | ST | East Bengal | 6'0" | 22 | £35K | 1 | 0 | | Shafiqul Islam Chowdhury | ST | A.S. Saint-Etienne (FRA) | 6'4" | 20 | £60K | 1 | 0 | | Sunil Chetri | ST | AS Rodos (GRE) | 5'5" | 29 | £20K | 23 | 15 | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It's the third time I have named a Senior squad for India, and for the first time there are some signs of real consistency. Any players who have previously been selected but this time left out, are almost entirely due either to being injured, or going through a spell of poor form, with seven changes overall from the squad of 26 named for the win against Myanmar back in October of last year. There are only four potential new caps this time around, where the last two squads have seen ten and nine potential debutants respectively. The squad is starting to feel a little more like my squad now. Goalkeepers So lets get into it and see what we have. Starting with the keepers, as once more the same trio remain in the squad for the third successive squad. They have the positions locked out at the moment, but with none of them able to cement the number one jersey as their own. Subrata Pal has just had his best ever season at domestic level with the Champions of East Bengal, playing at an average of over 7.00 and keeping nine clean sheets in nineteen starts. Despite playing well when he was given a chance at Mohun Bagan, 21 year old Mohammed Hossain has taken the chance to move in an attempt to get regular First Team football, moving to JCT on a Free Transfer. The third keeper is Scottish based Jasbir Singh. With Scotland still on League football lockdown and playing only Cup matches, Singh is playing little football, and with his contract at Airdrie United about to run down at the end of the month, a move would be best for him in my opinion. Morecambe of Coca-Cola League Two were interested, but that appears to have cooled. I wouldn't want to leave you with the impression that we only have these three options though. There are young keepers who could challenge them, starting with the one I would love to see involved with an India Senior Squad. Now 17 years old, Belgium based keeper Ganesh Aerts is still not willing to consider joining up with the squad. The AA Gent youngster has had a superb season with their Under-19 side, and continues to improve well. Had he agreed to join up with the squad, he would have taken Jasbir Singh's place and been capped. It's not just abroad that we have young goalkeeping talent though. 19 year old Seby Kumar has established himself as the first choice at Dempo SC, having his best season to date. Mohun Bagan have two good young keepers too, Mohammed Babu is 17, already capped at Under-21 level and started over half of their League matches. Behind him, 16 year old Asif Thapa is one of the most highly rated young players in the nation. I just wish he was a little taller than 5'7, which would always be a concern under crosses and set pieces. Defenders We move onto the defence, and start with the right back spot. Since I arrived, that place has been the property of Ajay Bailleux, who has just changed clubs for the third successive season, moving from Pune FC where he has just completed a superb season, and joining Mohammedan SC for £1,000.....and another pay rise. He now has over 100 Senior games under his belt, and at the age of 30, should still have several years of football ahead of him. An understudy for him may be a little more tricky. For depth, this would certainly be classed as one of our problem positions. 25 year old Naoba Singh of Vasco SC was selected as his understudy last time out, winning his first cap. But after his £12,000 transfer from Mumbai FC, he had a very average domestic campaign, playing at an average of less than 6.00 over 21 games in all competitions. I can't select a player of that age who is playing that poorly, and he is dropped from the squad, replaced by the first of four potential debutants. Amar Thakur has spent his entire career with Bengal Mumbai FC, and has just played a superb season with the non-League club. Now 21, and capped once by the Under-21 side, he has catapulted himself to the top of the queue, and on the very day he completes an £18,000 move to National Football League mid-table side Air India, he also earns his first Senior International call up. The other full back spot across the park on the left is a bit better in terms of depth, and also in terms of stability. 20 year old Paramjit Kumar has made the position his own at Mohun Bagan, and with them being one of the best sides in the land, he has also made himself a primary candidate for the position in the National Team. Last time around he was joined in the squad by his rival from their domestic nemesis at East Bengal, but Dulal Bhattacharya is ruled out this time due to injury. That means a recall for another player who has joined Air India today, as they continue with their spending ways to sign Azadur Barman. The twice capped 21 year old has cost his new side £20,000, after Vasco SC paid less than half that a year ago, and probably didn't get the best out of him. Waiting in the wings for a chance, the young talent coming through is currently led by Dempo SC's once capped Under-21 International, 18 year old Mohan Kumar. He didn't have a brilliant season domestically, but he does already have nearly 40 Senior games under his belt, and is interesting as he can play on either side of the back four. Keep an eye on his slightly older team mate Abdul Mascarenhas as well, who's very good start to the season was halted by a broken leg. Onto the centre of the back four, where we have our second injury issue. 30 year old James Dissiramah of East Bengal is ruled out of this squad with a sprained ankle. Had he been available, there would have been no changes at all to the four selected centre backs from the squad that faced Myanmar. But as a change was required, it became a bit of struggle to separate the candidates to come into the squad. The winner would have been 18 year old Francisco Reja, but for a second time we're rejected by a player from our Pool who is playing in Belguim, in this case with Germinal Beerschot, in the hope that he will force his way into the Belgium squad. In the end, the place would be given to 22 year old Mohun Bagan player, Jose Paul. First capped against China in 2011, this is his first call up to one of my squads, reward for another solid season with the club he joined two years ago from Churchill Bros for £7,000 and has made over thirty League appearances for them. He was part of the Under-19's successful Qualifying campaign in Iran for the Asian Under-19 Championships later this year. However, I decided that it would be wrong to leave out 23 year old Nirmal Chetri as well. The twice capped centre back who can also cover at right back had a good season with United SC, good enough to see Vasco SC shell out £7,000 for a player who is prone to changing clubs often. He has never stayed with any club for more than two seasons at a time. As a result of me adding an extra defender to the squad, I will now select only four strikers instead of five. Midfielders/Wingers On the right side of the park, the match against Myanmar showed that Raheem Alibhaï is not just our first choice winger on that side, but one of the best players we have at our disposal. He has remained with the club he has now spent nine seasons with, Olympic Charleroi breaking the 200 League appearance mark need the end of the campaign. It wasn't his best season for production, but it will surely be just a matter of time before he gets his first International goal. Last time I named a squad, he was the only out and out right winger included, as William Jidayi was able to cover his position if needed. But the Italy based midfielder is left out of this squad, which is disappointing for the eleven times capped 29 year old. His move back to hometown club Ravenna has been for him personally, an unmitigated disaster, as he has constantly been left on the bench and started only three matches in all competitions this season. His match fitness has suffered terribly, and he will be pleased to get out of the club as he looks forward to a summer move down one tier into Serie C2/C, where he will join Gela. A look at their squad reveals his main competition for a place will be 18 year old talent Marco Breschi, who could well be on his way to relegated Serie B side, Cavese. So who takes his place? There were a couple of candidates, not least Steven Dias of Mohun Bagan, who did not have a bad season at all. But he is now 30, and with Alibhaï aged 29, I wanted to bring in a younger player. That rational also ruled out 28 year old East Bengal forward Syed Rahim Nabi, who had also been very useful this season at domestic level. In the end, I decided not to make a selection as an understudy. Amar Thakur is comfortable playing in the role if needed. I could have gone with 21 year old once capped Joseph Lal of East Bengal, or Subhash Rao of Viva Kerala, who assisted twelve goals in 33 games in all competitions. The left side of the park was a fairly similar story. After making a debut against Myanmar, just like Alibhaï on the right, 31 year old Joseph Pereira is going to take some shifting from the left wing spot in the near future. An outstanding season for FC Kochin which earned him a call up, has also now earned him a transfer, back to the Pune FC club he left on a Free Transfer a year ago. His backup for that squad was also a debutant, the 20 year old Australian/Indian speedy winger, Alan Cervinski. He also made his debut against Myanmar, but after an initial good start on his move to Australia with Toowoomba Raiders, both production and form tailed off, and he has been left out this time. Instead, I call up another graduate of the Under-19 side that did so well in Iran, with Naresh Reja of SC Goa called up into the National Team. His first season with his new club was a roaring success as he provided eight assists in 23 games overall, also adding a pair of goals as well. He is one to keep an eye on, and we really need him to pick up the mantle for us, as this is looking like a problem position in the years to come. If I hadn't selected Reja, I would have had to pick either Reisangmi Vasum, who debuted and scored in my early games in charge but had a very average season with United SC, or Clifford Miranda, who had a good season with Salgaocar, good enough to earn a £1,000 move to East Bengal, but is now 31 years old as well. Into centre midfield, where there are a couple of changes, and a pair of potential debutants for us this International Window. You already know that William Jidayi has been dropped from the squad for a lack of form and fitness. The other player dropped from this section of the squad is the player who caused such a stir last time around for all the wrong reasons, and then nearly changed all the opinions with a late shot that almost found the top corner, 16 year old French based holding midfielder Karan Mollah. Still with AS Poissy, he has made some steps forward over the season, but his club have been relegated from the fourth tier of French football, and into non-League oblivion. I stuck my neck out for the teenager last year, and he hasn't yet done anything to make me think I was wrong. I will stick my neck out for him again when we finish this International Window. So that leaves two spots to be filled in centre midfield to join the five retained from the last squad. Naduparambil Pappachan Pradeep will be hoping to earn his 25th International cap after another good season in the midfield of Mohun Bagan who were below par themselves as a club this season. Mehrajuddin Wadoo might have made a clever move, as he has just been transferred from Viva Kerala to the Bengal Mumbai FC side that has lost much of it's talent, which obviously leaves Wadoo fancying his chances of a regular game there. He had an outstanding season with his old club too, the best of his career in terms of goals, assists and average rating. That might be £1,000 very well spent by his new employers. There is also a change of club for the man who often pulls the strings in the India midfield, 26 year old Sabri Gharbi. The player who had spells in both Belgium and Holland as a youngster has finished this season with a National Football League Champions medal, and promptly left East Bengal to join Mohammedan SC on a Free Transfer. 21 year old Kuldip Kumar is still uncapped, frankly a travesty of justice, and I will ensure the Mahindra United playmaker gets a long overdue International Debut against the Philippines next weekend. It's a third season in a row where he has been superb for United. Finally, also included once again is the young man who many football fans in the nation are pinning their hopes on becoming the heir apparent as the 'Prince of Indian Football'. Now 16 years old, Amit Singh has yet to force his way near the First Team at FC Nantes, but he is doing some good work with their Under-18 side, and what I like most about him is that he counts two of their coaching staff amongst his favourite personnel. It's been a good first year in football for him, and will likely continue with a second International cap to finish it off. So who will join that lineup in this squad for the two remaining spots? Well I'm happy to report that along with the strikers, this is one of our most healthy positions, and is likely to get stronger over the coming years too. My first choice was Sheikh Thakur, the 16 year old who plays his football in Denmark with his hometown club FK Viborg of the top tier Danish Premier Division. Once more, the £650,000 rated young midfielder resists our attempts to call him up for India. He is still harboring dreams of playing for Denmark, the nation of his birth one day. I won't be giving up. But it looks like I may have to admit defeat when it comes to 17 year old Sachin Ali. Born in New Dehli, and playing his football in Australia with New South Wales Premier League side Macarthur Rams, he has had a superb first season in football, which is good. But he is also qualified to play for New Zealand, which is bad, as when I attempt to call him up, I'm told that he has already been selected by New Zealand Under-21's for their match in Namangan against Uzbekistan. That's a disappointment. Next! Another chance maybe for France based Vannes Olympique attacking midfielder, Gautam Roy. No go there either, he is injured, a broken toe. Philip Paite captained the Under-19 side in Iran, and he deserved a go, but he hadn't had a very good domestic season with Air India, and a move to Dempo SC may do him good. So instead he has to watch one of his International colleagues get the call up. Yadwinder Khan has already been capped three times, but hasn't had a look in since I arrived. Now he has his foot back in the door after an excellent season as Captain with Bengal Mumbai FC that saw him hit the half dozen mark in both goals and assists in the League, and achieve an average rating over the 7.00 mark. He will be joined by the final potential new cap in this squad, 21 year old Mohammed Hassan, who has received his first call up to the Senior Squad on the day he completes his Free Transfer from Salgaocar back to the club he first joined as a schoolboy, United SC. Strikers Finally we get to another area where we have plenty of talent available to us, the strikers. With the number selected being reduced from five down to four, changes were guaranteed. Even so, it may have been a surprise to see both our goalscorers from the victory in Myanmar left out of the squad this time around. Neither is being cast aside of course, but Chidi Edeh managed only three goals in nineteen League matches for Mahindra United, the same number he has from nine International caps, though he did perform much better in the Cup for United. Meanwhile in Lebanon, it has been a very good start to the season for Ranty Martins, who has four goals from eight games so far. I elect to leave him there to continue his domestic form. That leaves us with the three strikers who were selected last time around all retained in the latest squad. Sandip Kumar has yet to have a crack while I've been in charge, but 14 goals in 22 League matches to help East Bengal to the National Football League Title, his second with the club, and 20 goals for the season overall, speaks for itself He absolutely has earned a chance to add to his one single cap so far, earned against Qatar in 2011. Also included once more is a debutant from last time around, and one of our great young hopes in the squad. Shafiqul Islam Chowdhury is now 20 years old, and the 6'4 striker has spent his entire career so far with AS Saint-Etienne in France. He has yet to make a Senior debut for them, but has just had a very good season for their Reserve side in France's fourth tier, returning ten goals from eighteen starts and twenty four appearances in total. He wants to go out on loan, which would be perfect, but where is an entirely different issue. Also included is a man with plenty of goals to his name for India, but now in need of a shop window to show off his talents in the hope of attracting a new club. It wasn't so very long ago that football fans in the nation were convinced that Sunil Chetri would be the man would snatch the all time goalscoring record away from Baichung Bhutia, who recorded 43 goals from 79 caps. His own record of 15 goals from 23 caps is of course very respectable, but his ambitions have been hurt by India's lack of matches over recent years. His club ambitions are in a little disarray as well right now. His big chance to play in Europe went very well personally, as he found the net a dozen times in 30 games in all competitions for AS Rodos in Greece's second tier. But they suffered relegation, and with his contract about to expire at the end of the month, he is going to be looking for a new employer, with two Greek teams keen on his services to keep him in the country. Bringing him to Maidstone United wouldn't be an option, as he wouldn't qualify for a work permit to play in the UK due to our lowly FIFA World Ranking. Just one spot remaining, and it would be a recall for another striker who had enjoyed a very good domestic season. Brazilian born 31 year old Edu had spent his entire Indian career, spanning 132 games and 68 goals, with JCT. That era comes to an end for the player I first capped in my opening game as India manager, and he has now moved on to Mohun Bagan in a deal worth £12,000. He will be hoping that his second club in the sub-continent can help him win a first honour of his career.
  4. Agreed. I think we look good for our goal of a safe mid table spot, and maybe even a little better if the players settle quickly and we can find a way of playing that suits us nicely.
  5. Sunday 4th May 2014 The rest of May is going to be four weeks of managing our squad, identifying targets to improve us for next season, and also keeping an eye on management movements as well in case any opportunities to move up the Divisions comes my way as a result of my work with Maidstone United over the final weeks of the 2013/14 campaign. I will also be spending some time in touch with my staff in India, with an International Squad selection to be made in early June ready for a Friendly with the Philippines. Malcolm Carr is back in training after missing the last couple of games of the season. The former Luton Town youngster has been impressive in his opening few games with the club, and now his focus will be on making sure he is prepared for next season. In the backroom, 40 year old Scout for the club Andy Crook has signed a new two year deal to stay at Bourne Park. He has been with the club since October, and is very under rated, not to mention underpaid in my opinion. I'm going to be relying on him a lot this summer if we are to get plenty of bang for our pretty limited bucks. Robbie Blake looks like he is going to be on his way from the club though. The Assistant Manager, and former striker with 163 Senior goals to his name in the Premier League and Football League, has rejected a contract extension that included a pay rise. While his contract for his first ever backroom staff role isn't up until the end of October, I would rather get the situation dealt with and clarified this summer than make the change a couple of months into the new season. Monday 5th May There are no such issues for our other former top flight player amongst the backroom staff. 39 times capped Welsh International midfielder turned Physiotherapist for us, Robbie Savage, has signed a new two year deal to remain at the club in his current role. Wednesday 7th May The curtain comes down on football at all levels for Maidstone United in 2013/14 as the Reserve side complete their fixture list this evening. They win 1-0 at Bourne Park against their counterparts from Team Bath, thanks to a goal from Simon Smith ten minutes before the break. While I can take none of the credit, other than strengthening the Reserve squad by demoting players from the First Team who were no longer needed, the Reserves have lost just one of their last six matches, a game against AFC Wimbledon less than a week after I arrived. Two draws, then three wins followed, and they moved into a more respectable 14th placed finish in the eighteen club Reserve League Group 10. Friday 9th May The Playoff Semi-Finals start this evening, with the First Leg matches often producing tight and cagey affairs. That was certainly the case in Nailsworth, where Forest Green Rovers first half opener was cancelled out in the second half by Billericay Town, leaving all to play for in the Second Leg. But it was less so the case in Dartford, as a bumper crowd were treated to seeing the home side go in front early against Staines Town and saw their lead hold until the break. But the second half was all one way traffic, Staines scoring three in twelve early second half minutes and taking a two goal lead into the Second Leg. Tuesday 13th May In a much quieter match than the First Leg, it would be Staines Town who booked their place in the Blue Square South Promotion Playoff Final with a 0-0 draw at home to a Dartford side that never got going. So one of our nearest rivals had missed out on promotion, and we would be seeing them again next season. In Essex, the other tie was much more finely poised, and having come from behind to earn a draw in the First Leg, it would be Billericay Town who would move on to the Final against Staines, courtesy of a goal from Alan Lynch just before the half hour mark. Personally, I'd have rather seen the Gloucestershire side go up, as Forest Green Rovers absolutely destroyed us in the match I watched before taking the job here. Wednesday 21st May Andy Miskimmon was an ever present for the remainder of the season after I brought the Northern Irish full back to Kent shortly after taking the job. He was injured in our final match of the season, and is now back in training less than a week before the squad disperse for their summer break. I've little doubt that Andy will be an important player for us going forward. Monday 19th May It's Derby County who are in the news once again today. The Rams finished fourth in their first ever season outside the Football League, and squeezed through their Playoff Semi-Final against Kidderminster Harriers with a 3-2 aggregate win, though they did win the FA Trophy in between those two legs, beating Crawley Town 3-1 at Wembley. So yesterday they returned to English football's National Stadium for the second time in eight days to face Ebbsfleet United for a place in the Football League next season. United finished fifth, level on points with County, but they blew away their more famous opponents with three goals in opening 50 minutes. A late consolation was no more than that for Derby, who now face a second season of non-League football. That, as you can imagine, has heaped the pressure on Lurgan born Ulsterman manager, Jim Harvey. The 56 year old is contracted for two more seasons having been poached from Forest Green Rovers less than a month ago. I've said it before, and I will repeat it now, should the opportunity to take a job like that come along, I would be foolish to turn it down. This time I'm prepared to go a step further though, as I make public comments suggesting that Harvey is not equipped to handle a big job such as Derby County, and that should they decide to make a change, they should look no further than myself. The worst that can happen is they tell me to get lost. Sunday 25th May The squad have been paid out a bonus of £600 between them today after the curtain came down on the Blue Square South season with the Promotion Playoff Final being settled at the Kingsfield Stadium, home of Blue Sqaure Premier side Woking. In front of a crowd of just over 4,000, a goal apiece from Michael Standing and Ashley Yeoman around a quarter of an hour apart in the first half meant it would be Staines who would move up into the top flight of English non-League football, and Billericay would stay in the sixth tier in the battle between the two Town sides. Monday 26th May It is officially the end of the season, and the players have gone on their holiday. They are due to return to the club on Monday 30th June for pre-season training. Some won't be coming back at all, as their contracts will be up on that day and they won't be extended. Wednesday 28th May I make my first attempt in earnest of the off-season to strengthen the squad, with an attempt to bring in 24 year old Team Bath defender Matthew Lowton. Equally adept at either centre back or right back, the 6'2 former Sheffield United youngster is out of contract next month, and I made an offer to bring him in on a Free Transfer. I was surprised when that offer was rejected, yet the one from Irish side Waterford United was accepted. Lowton has made over 100 Senior appearances in his career so far, loan spells with Sheffield FC and Fernecváros of Hungary, before he moved to Ireland for a year with University College Dublin, then moving on to Kiladre County for a year before returning to UCD for a second spell. That set the tone, as he has moved in each of the last three seasons in England, playing for York City, then Stalybridge Celtic, and now Team Bath. They want us to pay £5,000 for his transfer. We'll wait to see if he is still available when his contract runs down. Saturday 31st May In a month's time, nine of my players will be out of contract. Four of them, Ian Rossiter, Aaron Steele, Gavin Molloy and Matthew Hatch, have now been offered new deals. The other five are free to leave. Clubs in England have started to release players from today, as players enter the last month of their contracts and can be easily paid up and moved out to improve the state of the club books with new budgets etc soon to be agreed. I start to go through the lists to see if we can find any talents who could do a good job for us at Bourne Park in level six of English football. Today we have received £6,000 from Northern Irish Premier Division side Glentoran, part of our agreement with them as our parent club that allows them first option on any of our players should we decide to sell. With Lurgan Celtic clinching promotion back to the Premier Division for next season, the impact of this certainly isn't lost on me. Six years into my career, and my current club are a feeder team for a club in the same Division as the side I started my career with. That stings.
  6. Wednesday 1st March 2017 Into March, and what will become my first full month in charge of the side, assuming I don't get sacked of course. The month starts with some good news for our finances. While I hadn't looked at them, because I don't care, I had noticed the appearance fee I was able to offer was reducing fairly quickly. A new kit sponsorship deal has been signed today, swelling the clubs coffers by £11,000. New Sponsorship Deal When your employers sign a new deal for a sponsorship worth just barely in the tens of thousand(s) range, it'd be rude not to celebrate, wouldn't it? Meal at a swanky hotel? Over priced beers in a pretentious bar? Or fill up another of the teams key roles with a Japanese 20 year old midfielder who is also a Singapore National and doesn't take up one of your Foreign Player slots? Well the latter was probably the cheapest option, though at £85 per appearance, there is some pressure on Shuntarô Takata to prove his worth quickly. He is another small player at 5'5 tall and barely over 9 stone, but he is very comfortable in that holding role, and can operate slightly further forward as a ball winner as well. As I hope to play a possession style of football, his ability to win the ball back for us will be important. The fact he is a Dual National is an absolute bonus, as we still have two free Foreign Player spots in the squad. Shuntarô Takata Signs Shuntarô Takata Profile Thursday 2nd March 2017 On the eve of my second game in charge, our recruitment drive for both players and backroom staff has been a roaring success so far. But there is still a gaping hole in our squad, as we do not have a natural right back yet. I attempt to solve that problem with an offer to take a 28 year old from a club in the tier above us. He is a centre back who can operate in the right back role, and as he is contracted with a guaranteed weekly wage, he might be tough to get here. His club Singapore Armed Forces Sports Association do accept our Free Transfer offer though, but word quickly gets out again, and once more we will likely face competition for the signature. The 6,000 seat Jurong Stadium, which we share with three other National Football League clubs, is going to be far from full for tomorrows match. Our average attendance is only 8th best in the Division of eleven clubs. But there is speculation that our figures are going to be increase a bit over the coming weeks, thanks in large part to the positive feedback from the fans regarding the players we have brought in, and in particular the signing of Tom Beattie. The fact that South Avenue are expected to bring anything up to 200 fans with them tomorrow night doesn't hurt the numbers either. At Even money, we are favourites for the game. The player we are looking to bring in at right back has agreed to start discussing personal terms with us late today. He isn't going to be cheap, but with other clubs also interested, we can't afford to try and bring him down on price very much at all. The club who defeated us in my first game in charge, Kaki Bukit, have also offered him a deal. Friday 3rd March 2017 Kembangan United 2 South Avenue SC 0 Stats & Ratings Game#4 League Table What a difference a couple of weeks make. With just one grey player at right back, and club debuts for six in the starting lineup and then another two from the bench, we looked an entirely different proposition for our visitors. Playing a conventional 4-4-2 this time with a standard mentality rather than looking to counter, we looked to seize the initiative early on, but were fortunate not to be behind at the break when Mohd Azril Reza Mohd Razri's first time shot came back off the cross bar. Mohd Asyraf Fong Mohtar had an even better chance before the break when the ball was chipped over our defence and he decided to shoot first time, his volley fortunately high and wide. We lost Shuntarô Takata just after the hour mark with an injury, but it didn't impact us too badly. Tom Beattie sent the ball into the box, and debutant teenage striker Syed Fakhil Akbar found his striker partner with an outrageous piece of skill, controlling the ball and then backheeling it to Zul Elhan, who sidefooted home the opener. Moments later, Beattie was involved again, finding Takata's replacement Syafiq Baharudin, and he picked out Elhan, the striker this time curling his shot across goal and in off the far post, a goal that would take him to the top of the League's goalscorer charts, four in as many games. A late injury to the impressive debutant Beattie took a little gloss off the result, Danial Jaafaran also making his debut with a late cameo appearance. After the match we learned that Beattie had suffered some damage to his knee ligaments, fortunately not too serious, likely to keep him out for between 2 and 3 weeks. The news was much better on Shuntarô Takata, who had nothing more than a bruised shin, and he will be fine for our next match in just over a weeks time. Meanwhile Zul Elhan is loving life at the club he joined last year, and his first four Senior games of his career have so far seen him record an average of a goal a game. **From this point on, I am caught up, and recording notes and screenshots as they happen. If there is anything you'd like to see from my game, then please ask, and I will accommodate where I can.** When a chance to sign a player who would be classed as one of our Foreign Players came up, my staff told me that I should sign him at any cost. I'm not sure the Chairman is going to see it that way, as his appearance fee is eye watering compared to the rest of our squad. Still the offer is made, and we will see what happens. There is no more waiting to see with the attacking midfielder we were chasing. Late tonight he lets us know he has made his decision, and 22 year old Cameron Bell will be arriving to join us having rejected the chance to sign for Division One club Siglap FC. More comfortable behind the strikers, he can also play up front if needed, and in an emergency could also do a job in the middle of the park. He spent four seasons with S-League side Tampines Rovers without making his Senior debut, before having a year out of the game last year. He looks a pretty solid player and a decent acquisition. Cameron Bell Signs Cameron Bell Profile Saturday 4th March 2017 It's disappointing news, but not entirely unexpected, as we miss out on the goalkeeper who we were chasing. Their identity can now be revealed as 31 year old St Vincent & Grenadines stopper Kenyan-Desmond Lynch. The 17 times capped 6'2 keeper was still playing in his home nation up until a couple of years ago, and then made the move to Singapore to sign for non-League side Rendevous FC. He wasn't playing any competitive football for them, which gave us some hope that we might be able to talk him into playing for us. But S-League side Duli Pengiran Muda Mahkota have flexed their financial muscle to make him a much better offer. Sunday 5th March 2017 We are in for another player, this one from a Division rival. He's only 18, and would likely provide cover for the most part, but he is also being courted by several other clubs in our League. This will give us a chance to see how we fare when competing for signatures against clubs at the same level as ourselves. Tuesday 7th March 2017 We continue to search for options to improve both our starting eleven and our depth. This time it's a centre back from Singapore Armed Forces Sports Association who play a Division above us. He's a 26 year old who looks like a solid enough player, and has been told that he is free to find another club as he is now out of favour with them. Our offer to take him on a Free Transfer is quickly accepted, but the player himself tells us that right now, he isn't interested in dropping down a level. Thursday 9th March 2017 The Foreign player with the eye watering appearance fee has received another offer today, this time from Yishun Sentek Mariners, who play in the next Division up from us. They have several players with an impressive valuation including a pair of Singapore Internationals, but no one who would earn weekly what we would be paying this guy for each appearance in a United shirt. We will have to wait and see what happens with this one. We have filled a second Foreign spot today though. We have completed the signing of 28 year old Chinese midfielder, Wang Sien. He was a youngster with the now defunct Yaqi club in his homeland, before moving to Singapore to join Tampines Rovers in 2007. He spent only a year with the S-League club, before leaving the game. He didn't remain in Singapore though, and despite being back and forth between here and China, doesn't hold Dual Nationality. That's the least of our worries, as ten years out of the game is a bigger issue. But, with non-contract terms, we can move him on without having to pay a penny should he not be up to the task. Wang Sien can operate either in the defensive midfield role, or in the middle of the park. Wang Sien Signs Wang Sien Profile Friday 10th March 2017 One day before we travel to face the League leaders, and the signing that we really needed to get done is finally over the line. His name might sound Chinese, and he might also speak the language, but Yang Shengchuan is Singapore born and raised, and the centre back who can, and will, also operate at right back is now our player, signed on a Free Transfer from the Singapore Armed Forces Sports Association of the National First Division. He stands just 5'5, which cements the fact that he will play as a full back, and he isn't particularly attack minded, in fact, I think he'd struggle to cross the road, never mind a football. He's never played a Senior match, so is another who will need some time to settle in, but is going to be thrown in at the deep end tomorrow. Yang Shengchuan Signs Yang Shengchuan Profile
  7. Hi Ben, cheers mate! Do you need season tickets? We could do with the numbers! Heck, bring your boots fella haha Beattie is a very good signing for us, he's playing well under his level in this League, and could actually be a game changer for the club. Thank you very much, I appreciate it on both counts. Two years nearly down the line, and I'm still getting issues. Starting to feel like it will always be this way unfortunately.
  8. January 2014 The new FIFA World Rankings are released, and we suffer a small drop of three places, taking us down to 166th. Our points total has dropped slightly down to 50. There is still plenty of work to be done, and we get a lesson in that from the small Oceania nation of Vanuatu. They are the big movers of January, rocketing 34 places up the Rankings into 102nd place after the OCE Nations Cup. They went through December unbeaten with two wins and a pair of goalless draws in the Qualifiers. In the Finals themselves, things didn't quite go so well, draws with Tahiti and Papua New Guinea in between defeats against the Solomon Islands and New Zealand. Before the end of the month, we lose one of our matches for 2015. We were due to host Azerbaijan in October, they would have been the first European visitors to play a Full International for over twenty years. But that match has now been cancelled, as the Azeri's have had a better offer, a European Championship Qualifier in Hungary. February 2014 Three African nations now have their positions available following the 2014 African Cup of Nations. Morocco, as well as both Cameroon and Ghana who will take part in the FIFA World Cup this coming summer have all sacked their managers after being eliminated from the tournament in the Group Stages. The African Nations are not known for their patience when it comes to their managers. Without playing, and without our points total changing at all, we have moved back up one spot in the new edition of the FIFA World Rankings. We are now sat in 165th place. The biggest movers are Senegal, who have moved from 54th to 22nd after a first ever triumph in the recent African Cup of Nations in Libya. March 2014 We gain another place this month, pushing ourselves back up another spot to 164th. There is no change in our points total, which remains at 50. That isn't the main event of the month of March however, as the draw has been made for the Finals of the 2014 Asian Under-19 Championships, which was due to take place in China later this year, but has now been switched to Japan. And our young lads will face the new hosts as well, as they are drawn into Group B. That will be the second game, and will take place in the Nagai Athletic Stadium in Osaka. It comes two days after the lads open their campaign against Qatar at the Ajinomoto Stadium in the capital city, Tokyo. And our youngsters will remain in Osaka for their final Group B match, their third in five days, as they face Indonesia. Not an easy Group at all, but none of them are. If it is possible, I will be selecting the squad for the Finals without taking charge of the side. April 2014 Another quiet month on the International front, and there is no change in Ranking or Points for India this month. The main news is the relegation of AS Rodos from Greek National B Division with four games still to play, and that means that striker Sunil Chetri is quite likely to be on the move again soon. The striker hasn't done too bad a job at all, scoring eleven times in twenty five League matches for a side with only three wins on the board. It's quite possible that he will stay in Greece too, with reported interest from MGS Panserraikos and SFK Pierikos, both higher budget clubs who play in the same division. Elsewhere, JCT striker Edu has finally agreed a move. But it isn't to Portugal as many expected for the Brazilian born 31 year old. Another double figure League goal season has persuaded Mohun Bagan to purchase him for next season. It is possible once capped 21 year old goalkeeper Mohammed Hossain could be moving in the opposite direction. JCT have noted that the keeper has played more cup football in domestic and continental competitions than he has in the League, and have made an offer for him. The goalkeeper in front of him in the pecking order right now, Airdrie United stopper Jasbir Singh, is once more reported to be a target for Coca-Cola League Two side, Morecambe. Other members of the Senior side rumoured to be on the move include right back Ajay Bailleux, who could leave Pune for another non-top flight club, Mohammedan, who could be looking to offer a player who has already proved he'll go where the money is, a better financial package. William Jidayi's season with Ravenna has been a bit of a wash out, with only two starts in all competitions this season. He is rumoured to be weighing up a move back down a level with Gela. Meanwhile, it has been a very impressive season for new cap left winger Joseph Pereira, and the 31 year old FC Kochin man is looking to cash in, with a move to Pune FC all but done. May 2015 It's stalemate once more on the FIFA World Rankings front, as we remain in 164th place with 50 points. With a match against the Philippines in early June, I am hoping we can record a win and give ourselves another shift up the Rankings before we assess the latest batch of young Indian footballers who are set to take their first steps in their journey towards becoming Senior Professional players. The Philippines will go into our Friendly in Kolkata with a World Ranking of 176th and 36 points to their name. We will go into that match without two of our defenders from the last squad, deputy left back Dulal Bhattacharya of East Bengal has a damaged elbow, while Ghana born centre back James Dissiramah of the same club has a sprained ankle. I have now been in the job as India Senior National Manager for a year, during that time overseeing an improvement in the nations FIFA World Ranking of 38 places, and a points increase of 46. In addition, seventeen players have been brought into the squad and awarded their first Senior International caps, as we have won two of the three games I have been in charge of. Also, the Under-19 squad have successfully Qualified for the 2014 Asian Under-19 Championship Finals, which will take place later this year in China. It hasn't been a bad first year in charge at all.
  9. Monday 20th February 2017 We got our first new signing in through the door late last night, addressing an important area where we had zero balance, with the arrival of another winger. 16 year old Azrul Jailani isn't quite ready to be a world beater just yet. But he turns 17 next week, and the backroom staff believe that with regular training, we might have a decent young player amongst our ranks. Azrul Jailani Signs Azrul Jailani Profile While he may be the only player to arrive today, we do bring in a backroom staff member who should be able to help us out. 36 year old Sukhbir Lounis is our new Chief Scout. And he arrives with gifts too. Namely, report files on several players, one who he says would be a bit of a game changer for a club at our level. I take a look at the file, and tell him to make the call and get the ball rolling. Tuesday 21st February 2017 Talks begin early this morning with the centre midfielder that the new Chief Scout recommended. We will not be the only club trying to get his signature, so we try and get in first. He asks for some assurances before we start talking numbers. I do everything I can to convince him this is a good fit for him. Adding a second Scout should help us continue to increase our options, and that spot is taken by Manoj Leow, a 38 year old who is every bit as good as our Chief Scout at unearthing talent, and is also taking his first role in Senior football. He is also bringing an ace card with him, this time in the shape of a teenage striker who he insists will be a hit at our club if we bring him in. I have nothing to lose in this case, and start talks with the striker. The day is completed with the arrival of another piece of the backroom staff, 28 year old Jacob Allen will become the Head Physio at United, as we start to get a reputation for giving personnel their first chance in the game. Wednesday 22nd February 2017 A good day for us, with two more players arriving at the club to sign for us today. I'm not going to tell you any lies about Syafiq Baharudin, the 20 year old isn't an exceptional talent by any stretch of the imagination. But the former youngster of S-League club Balestier Khalsa can fill a number of positions, and with a threadbare squad such as ours, that versatility could count as much as anything else right now. Time will tell, but at our level of football, he will expect to play, and right now at least, he almost certainly will. Syafiq Baharudin Signs Syafiq Baharudin Profile We fill another important spot where we had a gap today as well, with the arrival of a goalkeeper. In some areas, such as height, reflexes and jumping reach, 19 year old Hariz Farid shows up pretty well. In other crucial areas such as agility, communication and command of his area, he may as well be a striker. Beggars can't be choosers though, and the backroom team think he will improve with regular First Team football. He's another who was a failed youngster with an S-League club, in his case, Warriors FC. Hariz Farid Signs Hariz Farid Profile Thursday 23rd February 2017 There are still plenty of irons in the fire as they say, but today is a quieter day for us. I was beginning to think earlier today that we might miss out on 18 year old left winger Danial Jaafaran when our Division rivals and next opponents South Avenue SC offered him a Trial. But he was already in possession of a contract offer from us, and shortly after lunchtime he confirmed that he would be joining us at United. The backroom staff think he's alright, and I know I keep mentioning 'our level', but I think he's a bit better than that for this third tier. A bit of pace and good crossing with decent dribbling is a good base for him. He's a second player we have picked up who was with Balestier Khalsa last season. Danial Jaafaran Signs Danial Jaafaran Profile Friday 24th February 2017 My second game in charge at United is a week today, and there is still much work to do with our squad. I start the day by beginning talks with a much needed defensive midfielder, a player who I thought would fill one of our Foreign player spots, of which we are able to register three in the squad, and right now we don't have any. It turns out he is a Dual National, so would count as a non-Foreign player. South Avenue immediately make their move to try and sign the same player. The media are linking us with a centre back who is currently playing for Admiralty FC, who play one tier higher in the National Football League Division One. It is not a player that I have actually shown in interest in whatsoever, and later in the day he does make the move down a level into our Division, not with us, but with rivals Jungfrau Punggol. We will see both them and their new centre back when we meet in a League match next month. I engage in talks with another midfielder, this one an attacking midfielder who has spent multiple years with an S-League club, albeit without making his Senior debut. We then suffer our first real setback when it comes to recruitment, as we miss out on the signing of a 33 year old centre back, who rejects not only us, but two other sides from our Division to join another of our League rivals, Academy Junior Football PTE LTD. Still, as one door closes and all that. Late in the evening, I do finally get a centre back in through the door. 26 year old six footer Gavin Lee arrives at the club, the player who I first spoke to and about a week ago. He has been with Singapore Cricket Club for several years without playing any football, and the backroom staff are unimpressed with his credentials. I think he's worth a shot, scoring high for leadership and decision making. The fact he can cover in the holding role and in midfield are good bonuses as well. Gavin Lee Signs Gavin Lee Profile Saturday 25th February 2017 Eleven clubs in a Division mean that someone is always going to get a week off. This weekend is our turn, and that was very good timing, giving me more time to address the gaps in the side before we return to action. But while the players we do have get a weekend off from competitive action, the club is still busy trying to make steps forward. Today those steps come in the form of more backroom staff arrivals. 35 year old Kelvin Bell is a further addition to our Scouting pool, while 48 year old John Lounis becomes our new Head of Youth Development. Both are taking up their first role in football. Sunday 26th February 2017 I'm learning it is hard to keep anything quiet in a city or nation this small. Our attempt to get an upgrade on recent teenage arrival Hariz Farid in goal has found it's way into the media within hours. This keeper is older, more experienced and better. He is a Full International, and would take up one of our Foreign player spots. It will be some job convincing him it's a good move, but he isn't playing for a top end club by any means right now. However, better clubs than us are now aware he is an option, and my gut instinct is that we will almost certainly lose out. Azrul Jailani turns 17 today, and as such moves from the Youth Contract he signed a week ago, on to the Non-Contract terms where he gets paid an appearance fee. These appearances fees are mounting up, and the club are already starting to become concerned with the finances, and I haven't finished putting the squad together by any means. Today they have notified me that as of now, none of the money that I bring in via outgoing transfers will go into the Transfer Budget. It's not a major issue, only the four players who were already here are actually on contracts. The others that I have signed are all on Non-Contract deals, and I can't stop them leaving for Free. I have received a Scouting report on South Avenue SC, who we will host in our next match on Friday. I'm told to expect them to play a fairly standard 4-4-2 tactic, and that if we were to match up with them, we would likely be favourites for the three points. It is certainly information worth considering. Monday 27th February 2017 It is a big day for the club, as we bring in a signing that is likely to catch the imagination of any Kembangan United fan. It's the 30 year old midfielder that my Chief Scout told me about on his arrival, and today we got our man. Hull born Tom Beattie fills the first of our three Foreign player slots. He spent three years with hometown club Hull City, failing to crack their First Team. He arrived in Singapore four years ago for work reasons, and took the chance to reignite his football career while here. He has played over fifty times in the S-League between spells at Hougang United and Warriors FC, and now he will be operating in our midfield. He is way better than any player that this club has ever signed before, and the fans are delighted. Tom Beattie Signs Tom Beattie Profile Tuesday 28th February 2017 It's the final day of February, and I learn that we face competition for the attacking midfielder we are chasing. He has now received an offer from a side one tier above us, Siglap FC joining the race for the 22 year old's signature. But it's not all bad news today, as we sign a new striker. It's the teenager that my second Scouting arrival suggested we sign. Syed Fadhil Akbar is just 16 years old, and diminutive to say the least at just 5'5 and not much more than eight stones in weight. He is very raw, a good finisher with a degree of composure as well. But he has a lot of work to do, mainly on his positioning, concentration and work rate. The staff like him, they think he could improve quickly and significantly. The fact that he can also fill in on the left wing is a bonus for us. Versatility is a good thing. Syed Fadhil Akbar Signs Syed Fadhil Akbar Profile
  10. 2013/14 Maidstone United Squad Stats (All Competitions) | Name | Apps | Conc | Cln | MoM | Pas | Tck | Drb | Sh T | Yel | Red | Av Rat | | Tom Brooks | 30 | 57 | 4 | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | 6.80 |* | Peter Hylton | 6 (1) | 1 | 1 | - | 33% | 0.31 | - | - | 1 | - | 6.33 | | Josh Derry | 9 | - | - | - | 51% | - | - | - | - | - | 6.83 | ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ | Apps | Gls | Ast | MoM | Pas | Tck | Drb | Sh T | Yel | Red | Av Rat | | Mark Williams | 16 | 3 | 3 | 1 | 64% | 2.80 | 1.24 | - | 3 | - | 6.76 | | Martyn Giles | 1 (3) | 1 | - | - | 68% | 3.15 | 1.89 | - | - | - | 7.55 | | Aaron Steele | 8 | - | - | - | 67% | 4.63 | - | - | - | - | 7.00 | | Daryl Potter | 0 (1) | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | 6.80 | | Grant Hanley | 16 | - | - | 1 | 72% | 2.01 | 0.19 | - | 2 | - | 6.13 | | James Curtis | 8 | 2 | - | 1 | 53% | 4.25 | 0.13 | - | - | - | 7.15 | | Matthew Mkhwanazi | 26 | - | 1 | - | 71% | 1.88 | 0.08 | - | 5 | - | 5.67 | | Andy Miskimmon | 9 | - | 1 | 1 | 67% | 5.88 | 2.00 | - | - | - | 6.91 | | Steve Reid | 10 (4) | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | 5.41 |* ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ | Malcolm Carr | 5 | - | - | - | 66% | 6.06 | - | - | 1 | - | 6.88 | | Ian Rossiter | 40 (3) | 8 | 4 | 2 | 70% | 1.83 | 0.74 | 49% | 5 | - | 6.48 | | Chris Wilkinson | 7 | - | 2 | - | 67% | 1.77 | 3.38 | - | - | - | 6.70 | | Alan Dallas | 1 (1) | 1 | - | 1 | 68% | 2.00 | 0.67 | - | - | - | 7.30 | | Chris Pike | 12 (3) | - | 1 | - | 58% | 1.28 | 0.24 | 27% | - | 1 | 6.03 | | Alan Winter | 15 (1) | 1 | 5 | - | 70% | 0.14 | 0.07 | 58% | 5 | - | 6.10 | | Brian McAuley | 35 | 1 | 3 | 1 | 62% | - | 0.18 | 36% | 5 | - | 5.89 | | Nick Dunn | 15 (4) | 1 | 3 | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | 6.01 |* | Gavin Molloy | 0 (3) | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | 6.80 | | Marc Canham | 2 | 1 | - | - | 74% | 3.00 | - | - | - | - | 7.40 | | Jamie McMaster | 8 | 1 | 2 | - | 75% | 3.30 | 0.82 | - | - | - | 6.92 | | Lewis McMahon | 1 (2) | - | - | - | 53% | - | 2.35 | - | - | - | 6.75 | | Glen Logan | 5 (5) | 1 | 2 | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | 5.81 |* | Jack Collins | 7 | - | 8 | 1 | 66% | 2.48 | 7.28 | - | - | - | 7.33 | | Matthew Hatch | 2 | - | - | - | - | - | 6.99 | - | - | - | 6.90 | | Stuart Milne | 8 (7) | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | 5.46 |* | Willie Strachan | 15 (1) | 1 | - | - | 48% | 0.28 | 0.71 | - | 2 | - | 5.81 | | Ray Fitzgerald | 0 (1) | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | 6.40 |* ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ | Daniel Boateng | 0 (3) | - | - | - | 52% | - | 0.99 | - | - | - | 6.40 | | Daniel Walsh | 6 (1) | 5 | 1 | 1 | 74% | 1.00 | 1.83 | 63% | - | - | 7.17 | | Iain McMillan | 25 (2) | 9 | 1 | 4 | 50% | 0.12 | 0.61 | 43% | 3 | - | 6.62 | | Gavin Doherty | 6 (5) | 1 | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | 6.16 |* | Simon Smith | 11 (2) | - | - | - | 50% | - | 0.29 | 35% | - | - | 5.42 | | Jamie Waggett | 12 (4) | 2 | 0 | 1 | - | - | - | - | - | - | 6.26 |* | Neil O'Leary | 4 (7) | 1 | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | 5.52 |* ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ * Denotes player no longer at the club and stats are incomplete
  11. 2013/14 Blue Square League South Division, Final Table | Pos | Inf | Team | | Pld | Won | Drn | Lst | For | Ag | G.D. | Pts | | 1st | C | Weymouth | | 42 | 26 | 9 | 7 | 72 | 31 | +41 | 87 | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- | 2nd | Pl | Staines | | 42 | 23 | 8 | 11 | 64 | 41 | +23 | 77 | | 3rd | Pl | Billericay | | 42 | 21 | 13 | 8 | 62 | 37 | +25 | 76 | | 4th | Pl | Forest Green | | 42 | 19 | 17 | 6 | 71 | 44 | +27 | 74 | | 5th | Pl | Dartford | | 42 | 20 | 11 | 11 | 62 | 46 | +16 | 71 | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- | 6th | | Maidenhead | | 42 | 19 | 11 | 12 | 59 | 47 | +12 | 68 | | 7th | | Basingstoke | | 42 | 20 | 8 | 14 | 57 | 50 | +7 | 68 | | 8th | | Hampton & Richmond | | 42 | 18 | 11 | 13 | 63 | 54 | +9 | 65 | | 9th | | Welling | | 42 | 18 | 10 | 14 | 67 | 47 | +20 | 64 | | 10th | | Dover | | 42 | 17 | 9 | 16 | 58 | 56 | +2 | 60 | | 11th | | AFC Wimbledon | | 42 | 15 | 12 | 15 | 55 | 49 | +6 | 57 | | 12th | | Eastbourne Boro | | 42 | 14 | 14 | 14 | 50 | 56 | -6 | 56 | | 13th | | Team Bath | | 42 | 15 | 10 | 17 | 54 | 58 | -4 | 55 | | 14th | | Weston-super-Mare | | 42 | 14 | 9 | 19 | 53 | 55 | -2 | 51 | | 15th | | Bognor Regis | | 42 | 15 | 5 | 22 | 52 | 59 | -7 | 50 | | 16th | | Lewes | | 42 | 14 | 7 | 21 | 39 | 51 | -12 | 49 | | 17th | | Maidstone | | 42 | 12 | 12 | 18 | 47 | 71 | -24 | 48 | | 18th | | AFC Hornchurch | | 42 | 13 | 8 | 21 | 41 | 66 | -25 | 47 | | 19th | | Eastleigh | | 42 | 12 | 10 | 20 | 44 | 51 | -7 | 46 | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- | 20th | R | Chelmsford | | 42 | 9 | 13 | 20 | 39 | 57 | -18 | 40 | | 21st | R | Bishop's Stortford | | 42 | 10 | 9 | 23 | 45 | 66 | -21 | 39 | | 22nd | R | Oxford City | | 42 | 6 | 8 | 28 | 30 | 92 | -62 | 26 | --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  12. Thursday 1st May 2014 The last week of the season for most, Playoffs and Cup Finals notwithstanding, the World Cup is more of a spectator sport for almost everyone at this level. For us, after the jubilation and celebration of last weekend's big win that secured our Blue Square South status, it has been a quiet week. The only thing of note to record was a win for the Reserve side last night against Staines, the only goal scored by 21 year old Scottish left winger Willie Strachan, who is widely expected to leave the club at the end of the season. We will play our final match of the season on Saturday, a home game with Bognor Regis Town, and a chance to move ourselves up the table by another spot or two possibly. The Board are satisfied with my short time in charge, particularly the win over rivals Dartford. The finances for the club don't look promising in terms of what I will likely get for next season's budgets. Right now, we have literally a couple of quid in the bank account. Nonetheless, I start the process of identifying targets to try and improve our squad for the 2014/15 season, which will be on top of us before you know it. My predecessor Michael McIndoe signed off on two new players who are scheduled to arrive at the club on July 1st. If I have my way, they'll be back out the door before the calendar flips across to the next day. There is no way that either is going to help us improve in any way, shape or form. A couple of good prospects in the Youth Intake would be a huge help, but I'm not going to hold my breath for that. Friday 2nd May We are nailed on favourites to beat Bognor Regis Town tomorrow afternoon and end our season well, that is at least according to the bookies, who have made us an outrageous and unbackable 1/6 for the season ender tomorrow. Town have lost each of their last five matches, and come into the match sat in 15th place, with 50 points. That is much better than expected last summer though, as many predicted they would finish bottom of the table. I have two former professional footballers in my backroom team right now, striker Robbie Blake who is my Assistant Manager, and midfielder Robbie Savage, who, as unlikely as it sounds, is the Physiotherapist at the club. Their contracts are out of kilter with the norm for a European football season, with both having October renewals, meaning they have less than six months remaining. Both are offered contract extensions, one is much more likely to stay than the other. The rumours linking me with a move home to Wales with Port Talbot Town will just not go away. Ian Drewitt has still failed to agree a contract extension with the GenQuip Stadium club, and with a place in the UEFA Europa League Qualifiers achieved following their third place finish in the Principality Welsh Premier League, they are looking to enhance their reputation with a Manager who can take them on to the next level. They appear to be pinning their hopes on a kind draw allowing them to bank what would be a significant windfall in prize money for a club of their stature. Saturday 3rd May Blue Square League, South Division Bourne Park, Sittingbourne Maidstone United v Bognor Regis Town Attendance :- 590. Weather :- Breezy, Wet, 18c. If you are new to the UK, this is what Bank Holiday Weekend weather is generally like. Get used to it. I decided against making wholesale changes to the side for this dead rubber match, firstly because I still wanted us to have the chance to move up a spot or two in the table, and secondly because I didn't really have the players to bring in who would likely still be here next season to make it a worthwhile exercise. Martyn Giles does start at left back, with Mark Williams pushed further forward into the unfamiliar wingers role as a result of Chris Wilkinson being unavailable today due to injury. In the only other change, Alan Dallas would start in the defensive midfielder role, replacing Ian Rossiter who was named amongst the substitutes. There is one another change on the bench, with on loan centre back Daryl Potter named in the matchday squad. From the outset it was pretty clear that Bognor Regis had no real interest in this match at all. Martyn Giles sent the ball down the left touchline just ninety seconds in, and Mark Williams had his first chance to show what he could do on the left wing. He skipped past a lame attempt at a tackle, and fizzed in a low cross towards the penalty spot, Marc Canham stepped over it to let the ball run, and Jamie McMaster connected with a side footed shot that was just a little too high. Williams would have another chance to cross around the quarter of an hour mark, this time picking out Daniel Walsh, the striker having the ball taken off his toe just as he prepared to send in his shot. Midway through the half, we counter attacked from a Town corner, Andy Miskimmon sending the ball up the park, and Walsh chased it down, forcing a mistake. McMaster got the ball back to Walsh, and the striker squared it for Marc Canham, his shot beating Gareth Hammond, but coming back off the cross bar. We continued to press for the opener, with little push back from our visitors, McMaster sending a curler just wide on the half hour, before an attempted clearance by Phil Pearce was fired right at Canham, and the ball ricocheted into the run of Walsh, denied this time by the legs of Hammond. Finally, with time running out in the first half, Miskimmon sent Jack Collins into space down the right flank. His cross picked out Canham, who's header was blocked by a defender. But the ball went right back to the midfielder, and this time he picked out the bottom corner to put us in front with his first goal in United's colours. Miskimmon injured himself while starting the passage of play that led to the goal. With no reason at all to risk the Northern Irishman, he was replaced by Ian Rossiter at the break. Town were showing no signs of changing their attitude or approach to this match, and we resorted to giving Josh Derry some work to do ourselves, with some back passes from range. Aussie midfielder McMaster was thoroughly enjoying himself, and he set off on a mazy run that started just inside the centre circle, and got him as far as the dead ball line on the right before he stood up a cross to the middle, unfortunately it fell between Walsh and Canham. Also enjoying himself was Alan Dallas, who won a free kick just outside the box that Collins whipped just wide of the target. Town managed the briefest of threats just after the hour mark, a corner sent into our penalty box was headed well wide by Stephen Harris. With twenty five minutes of the season to play, I made my final two changes, Aaron Steele replaced by on loan Daryl Potter for his United debut, and McMaster stepping aside for fellow Aussie midfielder Gavin Molloy. Their fellow sub Rossiter picked up a booking when Town tried a long range counter attack, the utility player taking one for the team on that occasion. A chance to increase the lead was wasted when Canham's volley was too close to Hammond, disappointing as he had well over half the unguarded goalmouth to try and hit, while Molloy's first touch let him down and cost him a good chance when Dallas picked him out with a precise pass. Walsh missed a chance late on when Potter's hoofed clearance left him one on one with Harris. He out muscled the defender, then tricked his way past him, only to send his shot inches past the intended target of the far top corner. Then deep into the injury time we would at last make the scoreboard a closer resemblance to this one sided match, Rossiter working hard on the right corner of the box to keep the ball, and then squared it into the path of Dallas. The teenage Northern Irish holding man hit it first time with a low curling shot that crept inside the upright for his first Senior goal, and a very nice way to finish the campaign! Maidstone United (1) 2 - Marc Canham (43), Alan Dallas (90+3) Bognor Regis Town (0) 0 Josh Derry; Andy Miskimmon (inj - Ian Rossiter 45) ©, Aaron Steele (Daryl Potter 65), James Curtis, Martyn Giles; Alan Dallas; Marc Canham, Jamie McMaster (Gavin Molloy 65); Jack Collins, Mark Williams; Daniel Walsh. Unused Substitutes :- Peter Hylton (GK), Iain McMillan. Bookings :- Ian Rossiter 72 Possession :- 48% - 52%. Man of the Match :- Alan Dallas (Maidstone United). Well that was very one sided, much more so than the score suggests. A great way to finish the season, and with just one defeat in the nine matches I took charge of at the end of the season, we picked up six wins, two draws and only one defeat to comfortably avoid relegation in the end. Alan Dallas was superb today, the 18 year old running the game from the holding role, spraying the ball around the park, making tackles to break up play, and then finding the net late on to score his first ever Senior goal and ensure that he will be talked about by The Stones faithful over the summer as one of the players to keep an eye on next season at Bourne Park. In fact, with Malcolm Carr also in the squad, we look very well set in that position. That final day win moved us up one spot in the final League Table for a 17th place finish. It was AFC Hornchurch that we leapfrogged, significant in that they were the other side promoted into this Division who managed to survive at this level, the third being Oxford City who have been relegated. That means we were the best of the three promoted teams, a small feather in our cap in a season where any crumb of comfort is gratefully taken. I'm glad I took off Andy Miskimmon when I did. The right back suffered a groin strain that will take around three weeks to fully recover from, but with the season now finished, that is not an issue for anyone.
  13. Friday 17th February 2017 I was told we're a semi-professional club. The four players who are already at the club are all being paid a wage. It was one of the primary reasons that I took the job here. Players are contracted, I get the chance to build my squad. No. Not quite. With no backroom staff, I had to address that first. Offers were sent out for the most important of the backroom roles. But with only four Senior players and a whole bunch of greyed out guys, and a League match in two days, I had to start hitting the Transfer Lists to find some players quickly. Bingo. I heard about Gavin Lee. 26 years old, and he can play centre back, centre midfield, and the holding defensive role between the two. Surplus to requirements at Singapore Cricket Club's football side, despite having been there five years. He isn't a world beater, but he will do us for now. And then the problems started...... Wage Budget doesn't quite mean what I expected Wage Budget to mean here. The players are paid an appearance fee, which is taken from the Budget, but they don't get paid and tied to a contract in the traditional sense that most are used to. Immediately, I am disheartened. I know any real level of success will see my players targeted and poached by higher Division and reputation clubs who can, and will, pay them more. Of course I have signed my deal, and I'm getting paid. I may as well make the best of it. Lee was only one of the players to receive an approach from us today, 33 year old centre back Akbar Salim, 18 year old defensive midfielder Azryzal Haiqel and 18 year old left winger Danial Jaafaran. All have commenced talks with us by the end of the day after being sent an offer as a Free Agent, or having an offer to take them on a Free Transfer accepted by their current club. Saturday 18th February 2017 Nothing is moving as quickly as I would like though, not least as other clubs are interested in some of the players we are trying to bring in. It is better news when it comes to the backroom however. I will at least have a Coach and an Assistant Manager in place in time for tomorrow's match. 47 year old Andrew Lim is the Coach, with 31 year old Tzu Liang Edwin Neubronner set to take the role of my Assistant. It's a second role in the game for Lim, who has previously worked as a Managing Director at S-League side Tampines Rovers. For Neubronner, it is a first role in football. Neither is likely to have anything like enough of an impact to help us get something out of tomorrow's match against promotion candidates, Kaki Bukit. Gameday #3 Pre Match Sunday 19th February 2017 With only hours to go until the first match of my managerial career, I get some further help in the backroom. 33 year old Johan Allen has also joined the club as a Coach, the second of my staff to be taking his first role in football, actually, third if you include me as well. But no players are signed in time for this match, and with only four Senior players, we are on a bit of a hiding to nothing against one of the League's stronger sides. I've included a shot of the formations to show you just how I was practically forced to play with the squad I have at my disposal. Kembangan United 1 Kaki Bukit SC 2 Stats & Ratings Formations What a choker! After holding our own superbly, and forcing our guests to shoot largely from range with limited success while we tried to catch them on the counter, we took the lead with just eight minutes left to play through our 21 year old striker, Zul Elhan, grey strike partner Mohd Ridza Agus playing him in with a peach of a through ball. But we had poked the bear, and with no substitutes that were going to help us, and already playing a haphazard formation, we were about to be swamped. Substitute Mohamed Farouk crossed from deep on the right with four minutes to go, and Zuhaili Suib saw his header kept out, but he lashed the rebound into the roof of the net. Just one minute later, the other striker Mohd Na'eem Abdul Malek was first to a knock down from a corner, and we were beaten. That's the clubs first defeat this season, and drops us down to 9th place. It's not a great start, but with 12 days before our next fixture, I'm hoping our squad will have an entirely different look to it next time around. That will allow us to play a much more conventional formation, making me look slightly less of an absolute novice into the deal as well. Our recruitment is going to be very important. My contract is for this season only, and with a promise of a safe mid table place, I need to make sure we build a squad with enough quality to hit that target. As such, looking after the finances was not going to be much of a priority for me here. This is not a club that is going to get me into the big time, so I'm here for a good time, not a long time. The recruitment begins in earnest right away................
  14. Monday 13th February 2017 With so many nations added into the game, there are heaps of available jobs across Asia. I spend plenty of time going through them, having a fairly clear idea of what I'm looking for. Somewhere I could make my name, where it wouldn't be too difficult to attract players comparatively, and English speaking would be a bonus to help me settle in for my first job. There were a few obvious choices, Singapore and Hong Kong of course, with Macau and Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) as interesting options, and a surprise contender in Myanmar. I narrowed it down to three jobs, discounting Macau as it would need two promotions to get to the top tier of a League that would still feel very much like a bottom tier, and also Taiwan, as their League has just one Division with eight clubs, and the only two vacancies are at University sides. So on my first day of job hunting, I apply for three jobs......... Singapore - Kembangan United Myanmar - City Stars Hong Kong - Islands District ...........and within hours of applying, all three offer me job interviews. United Stars Islands I applied a different technique in each interview. Not because I told them what I thought they wanted to hear. That was most certainly not the case. In fact, I told the Myanmar club that I wanted to sign young players for the First Team, despite knowing they were against me doing that. It wasn't a case of being arrogant in any way, more that they just needed young players! Had I chosen to be arrogant though, surely I would be within my rights, wouldn't I? After all, these clubs clearly don't have the luxury of a lengthy shortlist of Managers all desperate to manage their clubs. At least, that is the assumption I made from them giving an interview to a guy they had never heard of from thousands of miles away within twelve hours of him applying for the job. Each of the interviews seemed to go fairly well in their own way, but they were each clearly in no particular hurry, despite having already shown their hands to a large extent. Thursday 16th February 2017 After hearing nothing for almost exactly three days, I hear from each of the three clubs, all within three minutes of each other. Bit strange. What wasn't especially strange was that all three made me a job offer...... Islands Job Offer Stars Job Offer United Job Offer It was nice to have options, but with options I had a decision to make, and fairly quickly, I discounted the job in Hong Kong. They are an amateur side, and already with a well stocked squad, but the season doesn't begin for another for another six months. And they weren't paying me. Myanmar was very interesting, and I was tempted. If they had been the only ones to make me an offer, I wouldn't have been too disappointed. The season was almost a third done by the time they got an offer to me, the squad was decent, especially their striker from Cameroon who was going to be scoring goals for fun in that League I suspect. But for realism, and an excellent starting point, it had to be the job in Singapore. It was the most money, though of course in the most expensive of the nations to live in, but also the best footballing decision. There were only four players employed by Kembangan United when I agreed to join them, but they were four decent players, and I liked their chances of earning a top two spot in the eleven team Singapore National Football League Division Two. They had played two of their twenty League matches, drawing both. **At this point I should mention that my decision to make this into a story for the boards came a couple of weeks into the game itself, and as such, I don't have any screenshots of how the squad looked or how the League table shaped up at the point I took the role. Apologies** Kembangan United appoint Hoskins I negotiated somewhat to try and earn myself some beer money. Not that the extra £15 a week is likely to go too far in Singapore. Just as well the club are picking up my rent and expenses...... Welcome to Kembangan United The New Boss For a club that is now 15 years old, Kembangan United have made very limited impact on football in Singapore. They have achieved nothing of note at all, or if you want to put a positive spin on things, they have an empty trophy room waiting to be filled.......a bit like Tottenham Hotspur, but, well, smaller...... Fifteen Years of Nothing Chairman of the club, one Mr Stuart Chan had asked me what I would expect to achieve this season in my interview earlier in the week. He outlined that a safe mid-table position would be the minimum, and without wanting to put myself under too much pressure, especially with the walk home being such a long one, I had accepted that as my aim should I get the job..... 2017 Expectations at United So without knowing it at the time, that interview had seen me set myself my target for the season, and had also cemented the wage budget that the club were going to allow me to work within. Unknown to me was that £580 of that £750 was already being spent. And that wasn't even the worst surprise I was going to get when it came to how things were done here..... Next Time..... Filling out the Playing Squad and Backroom Staff, plus my Managerial Debut.......
  15. After a few weeks absence due to a few more health issues (I surrender Doc, if I were an animal they'd have put me down years ago), I'm back, and with a new story, which is the first of a few new story ideas I've got planned for you to hopefully enjoy. To make life a little easier for myself, this one will contain less in the way of match reports, with part of the work being done via links to screenshots that I will host on Imgur. Everyone knows that Asia is the future of football (Really? This brain injury may be worse than we thought - ED), and I want a piece of the action. I'll start at the bottom if I have to......yeah, actually, I will absolutely have to. More on that in a little while. So a whole host of Asian Nations have been loaded into the game, 39 of them to be precise, along with the Home Nations and South Africa. I intend to be very realistic when I apply for jobs at the start of the game. For example, I won't be going to Afghanistan, Palestine or Syria. If I had wanted to go there, I'd have joined the Army, not become a Football Manager, right? Look, enough of this 'me trying to be funny' and you telling me 'how much you're looking forward to seeing how I get on' and yadda yadda. Let's get this started shall we, before Harry Redknapp hears they sell scotch eggs on the sub-continent now and ditches Ant and Dec for a crack at one of the jobs I want! Now get lost, I've got a flight to catch! ----------------------------------------- Hi! remember me? Oh, ok then. Bit of a blow to my confidence. So I'm having a go at FM'18, and I have loaded many Asian Nations into the game. Don't ask me where I got them from! I didn't go around anyone's house or anything, I got them from t'interweb! As such this story is kind of a test run to check stability, though I'm hoping it will still make for an interesting story. I'm starting the save as I always do, with my experience set to Sunday League Footballer, and this time, with no coaching qualifications to my name either. Other Loaded Nations :- England (Level 10 - seriously, Tiverton Town or Hong Kong, you choose!), Northern Ireland (Level Three), Republic of Ireland (Level 2), Scotland (Level 4), Wales (Level 1) & South Africa (Level 2). Asia (Levels in brackets) :- Afghanistan (1), Australia (2), Bahrain (2), Bangladesh (2), Cambodia (2), China (3), Chinese Taipei (1), Hong Kong (4), India (3), Indonesia (3), Iran (3), Iraq (1), Japan (4), Jordan (2), Kuwait (2), Kyrgyzstan (2), Lebanon (2), Macau (3), Malaysia (3), Myanmar (2), Nepal (1), North Korea (1), Oman (2), Pakistan (1), Palestine (2), Philippines (1), Qatar (2), Saudi Arabia (3), Singapore (3), South Korea (5), Sri Lanka (1), Syria (1), Tajikistan (2), Thailand (3), Turkmenistan (1), United Arab Emirates (2), Uzbekistan (3), Vietnam (2) & Yemen (2).
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