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  1. Bishop's Stortford 2022-2023 Season Table | Transfers | Finances | Facilities | First Team We missed out on playoffs by 1 point, drawing our final game prevented us from moving up into 7th and making playoffs. The team performed pretty inconsistently this year, and I ended up making a number of tactical changes throughout the year to try to get our form back, but it never really clicked. This was likely due to our absolutely horrid discipline, as we broke the league record for yellow/red cards in January, and had 25 more yellow cards than the next team down by the end of the season. This resulted in a lot of suspensions, some of which were for multiple games, and really left us a bit thin, especially at midfield where we already have little depth. Overall it was another good season, but it really feels like we're just spinning our wheels at the moment. The team has improved quite a bit since the first season but we finished in the same position as we did year one. Key Player Osadebe ST/AMC, age 24: Our captain Chinedu Osadebe was our key player again this year, winning the Player of the Season award and maintaining the highest average rating on the team at 7.22. This is a significant drop from last year (he averaged 7.50 last year) but given our overall inconsistent performances this year it's really not a surprise and isn't really a reflection on him. He missed out on top goal scorer by 1 goal. Youth Intake This year's youth intake is another 'golden generation' supposedly; it does look pretty decent, so we might be seeing a benefit from our improved junior coaching. We again really don't need more high end goalkeepers, but Ives 04e is as good as our current second string goalkeeper, and the coaches think he's got the potential to be much better than our all star keeper Groves 00b. I'm on the fence about bringing him up immediately since our backup goalkeeper doesn't see a lot of playing time given how good Groves 00b is, but I might bring him up for cup games. Both Marriott 04a and Moss 03f are as good as our current second stringers at their respective positions for the first team. Moss 03f in particular is likely to come up right away as I'm planning on dropping the AM from the formation due to our poor depth at midfield and going to a 5-2-2-1 WB next year, and he's definitely good enough to get some playing time if we're playing 3 CBs.
  2. Bishop's Stortford 2021-2022 Season Table | Transfers | Finances | Facilities | First Team We ended up getting moved to the Vanarama North this year. What started out as a strong run in the league led us to another playoff spot with us finishing in 5th. We changed back to a 5-2-3 WB this year to help shore us up defensively, and while our goal difference improved slightly compared to last year, our away form held us back significantly. I'm likely going to switch back to our 4-2-3-1 from last year as our defense has improved a bit and that formation gave us a lot more wins on the road, which we could use. We ended up losing 3-1 in our first playoff game at home regardless, mostly due to terrible finishing - 4 clear cut chances and 3 half chances and only converting one of them is pretty painful to watch. While the league felt a bit like we were treading water this year, the FA cup gave us plenty to get excited about. The team went on a bit of a dream run, making it all the way up to the Third Round before getting knocked out by Walsall. The Second Round Replay against Barnet away was probably one of the most exciting games I've seen in FM to date. With the team down 4-2, we lose Renee-Pringle to a broken collarbone in the 78th minute, leaving us at 10 men and down 4-2. Pearson 01a immediately scores 2 in the next 3 minutes and Groves makes a miracle save in injury time to put us through to extra team, where a solid team effort wins us through to penalties. The first 9 penalty takers on each side score, before Groves 00b makes another spectacular diving save to stop a ball going in just off his left post. Westcott then secures our comeback win his shot, putting us through on penalties. This run was amazing for the team financially as well, making us more this year then we spent on upgrading the youth facilities. Due to this influx of cash I've also asked the board to upgrade our youth recruitment, which they've agreed to do. We ended up transferring our top youth player Pearson 01a off to Blackburn in the Championship for a pittance in the winter, but we secured a 50% sell on clause which will hopefully make the team some cash in a few years. Losing him definitely hurt our chances to move up the table, but our backup striker Ronto stepped up immediately, scoring three hat tricks in three straight games and solidifying his spot in the first team for the rest of the season. I've opted not to renew his contract however, as he's going to be 29 next season and he's asking for more than he's honestly worth, especially as we'll be switching back to a one striker top and we've got some promising youth candidates with some potential that I'd rather start there. Probably the loss that I didn't expect and hurts most, however, is losing our right full-back Renee-Pringle. He's been having a bit of a pout all year due to us lacking depth at midfield, and is refusing to sign a contract since he's 'unhappy' despite his morale sitting pretty high all year. We've got some young players that can fill his role but he's been a pretty important player for us so it'll be hard to replace him. Key Player Osadebe ST/AMC, age 23: Our captain Chinedu Osadebe now holds the team record for all-time assists and led the league in average rating with a 7.50 total for the team. He was absolutely phenomenal for us in the FA cup, and his 18 goals and 13 assists on 27 (10) appearances in the league definitely helped us out a lot this year. He'll be moving back to AMC most likely next year as we're fairly limited in that position and we have a lot of young strikers who are ready for first team play. Youth Intake Not much to talk about this year with the youth intake. It's still a 'golden generation' according to our Head of Youth Development, but we didn't really need another goalkeeper. There are at least a few players in there that will likely compete for first team slots in a year or two, but no standouts this year.
  3. Bishop's Stortford 2020-2021 Season Table | Transfers | Finances | Facilities | First Team What started out as a rough season thanks to some injury and suspension concerns giving us a run of poor form through the first two months of play turned into a promotion run as we shot up the table, solidifying in a 4th place finish and playoff qualification. Not too bad for a team the media predicted to finish dead last again. Going into the playoffs on a 10 game undefeated run and off an 8-2 thrashing of East Thurrock, the squad was riding perfect morale and managed to sweep through Kingstonian in the first round, only to lose a hard fought game against Maidenhead 3-2 in the second round. We had a very strong offense to thank for our run this year, scoring 120 goals (a new record for our division), yet we still weren't top of the league in goal difference due to a slow, leaky back 4. I'll probably be switching back to a back 5 next year to help with some of the defensive miscues we suffered this year; we can afford to lose a bit of offense honestly. With finances continuing to look quite good and with untouchable status thanks to winning Head Coach of the Season for the second year in a row, Little Jimmy has gotten a request approved by the board to expand the youth facilities for next year. While our intakes haven't been bad at all, this will hopefully allow us to jump up to the next level more quickly. In other news, the board is still looking for a location to build the new stadium announced last year, so the cost of that project is still up in the air. Key Players Pearson 01a ST, age 17: It wouldn't be out of the question to call this the year of David Pearson. He scored an astounding 40 goals in 36 (4) appearances in the league with an average rating of 7.55. This performance was enough to net him both Top Goalscorer and Player of the Season awards. It's hard to emphasize just how devastating Pearson was in the latter half of the year; his acceleration and pace allowed him to just put any team with a higher defensive line to the torch. Unfortunately, he's refusing to sign a professional contract with Bishop's Stortford as we're not good enough for his 'ambitions'. I'm not really surprised as the trainers have been saying he 'needs more challenges' since the moment we signed him, but we've got him for one more year, so hopefully we'll make the best of it. Thomas MC, age 22: Jack Thomas is definitely not the best player on the team, but he's the best central midfielder we've got, and while he's not really up to the standard that we'd like to see, he had a great year nonetheless. Averaging a 7.38 across 38 (4) appearances and netting himself 7 goals and 11 assists in the process, Thomas was the anchor of the midfield throughout the year and posed a dangerous threat coming in late to the box during attacks. Olusanya AMR, age 23: Toyosi Olusanya primarily played on our right wing this year, cutting inside and acting as a dangerous threat together with our star right back Renee-Pringle. Olusanya's superior pace and acceleration allowed him to get into space and both get crosses into the box or receive them himself. He still has plenty of room to improve, so I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do over the next couple of years as he enters his prime. Youth Intake Goodman 02d DC, age 16: Goodman is probably the best player in our youth intake, as we really need a centerback and he's already about as good as the first team players. His pace isn't going to make us any slower, though it's certainly not an improvement, and he's lacking strength, but physicals have a way of going up quickly in young players, and I'm hoping that'll be the case here. Mcdonald 02a DR, age 16: Mcdonald has a lot of potential, but unfortunately we're going to be switching over to using wingbacks again next year, which will hurt him somewhat as WBR is not his natural position. He's lacking the pace that I'd really like to see from a wingback as well. but his work rate is solid. Still, we're pretty flooded at this position at the moment, so he might not be seeing first team football soon. Johnson 02e, DLR, age 15: Johnson's a lot like Mcdonald, but he can play left fullback which is a huge weakness on our team. He needs some time to retrain as WBL which will limit his usefulness for a while, but if he can pick up the position and maybe a bit more pace he's got the natural fitness and work rate to make it work. His Mercenary personality is pretty worrying though, especially since I don't really have any good mentoring opportunities on the team at the moment.
  4. Bishop's Stortford 2019-2020 Season Table | Transfers | Finances | Facilities | First Team A season where the media predicted us to finish dead last in the division finished with us barely missing playoffs, as we dropped 2 points in our last game of the season in a 2-2 draw against East Thurrock and finished 8th, behind 6th and 7th place by 1 point. Given the complete lack of depth in this squad and the terrible defensive players we've got, this was a really impressive result. We only had one goalkeeper and one left back on the roster until youth intake, and the left back can only play wingback, forcing us to play 5 at the back. With the strength of the team being upfront, I opted to play an aggressive 5-2-3 WB formation, and it definitely led to some rather exciting games. Defensively the team struggled against any team that had their fullbacks overlap for crosses, so hopefully we'll be able to tighten up next season. Additionally we also led the league in fouls and yellow cards by a large margin; this poor discipline cost us a couple of games due to penalties and send offs, including in the final game of the season. Regardless, I'm quite thrilled with the overall result. What I had predicted would be a struggle to avoid relegation turned into a playoff bid with a team that really isn't ready for the Vanarama National as we struggled against the top teams in the Vanarama South for most of the season. The other head coaches seem to agree that we made quite the run, as Little Jimmy won the Head Coach of the Season award despite the team missing playoffs. In an intriguing bit of post-season news, the board has announced that they are going to build a new stadium due to the cost of keeping the current one maintained. The club did make a huge profit this season on account of spending only around 25% of the payroll budget all year, but while we did have a few games postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, I'm not entirely convinced that this is the direction we should be moving. I'd much rather improve on our poor youth facilities, but with the club likely to invest quite a bit of its current capital into the new stadium I've opted to not request upgraded youth facilities despite my current untouchable status. Key Players Osadebe ST, age 21: Osadebe plays as the center of our trio of strikers upfront. He had an absolutely stellar year for us, scoring 27 goals in 42 appearances. His strong anticipation, decision making, and decent pace and acceleration for this level of play made him a threat over the top all season. His mediocre finishing cost him a number of goals in one on one situations, however. Westcott MC, age 23: Westcott is part of our central midfield duo, switching between Box to Box and Ballwinning roles as needed. While he isn't the best player on the squad, our midfield is fairly weak overall, and his average rating of just over 7 shows he had a stellar year for us despite his below average ability. Charles AML/ST age 27: Charles typically plays as the left striker in our upfront trio. While his natural position is as an AML, he played spectacularly for us upfront, averaging over a 7.1 throughout the season and getting himself 13 goals and 11 assists in 28 (3) league appearances. Youth Intake I forgot to get a screenshot of the youth players before I signed them all on contract, but I did get one of our Under 18s at the end of the season. Our Head of Youth Development called them a 'golden generation', and we really needed it. There are a number of strong players that have already been pulled up to the first team squad, and two have already earned starting spots. I'll list out all the players I moved up to the senior squad as they aren't on the Under 18s screenshot. Pearson 01a, ST, age 16: This guy is absolutely phenomenal for our level. He's already rated as highly CA wise as our star striker Osadebe, and he just turned 16 at the end of the season. He played 9 (1) games for the first team right out of the youth intake and averaged a 7.11 with 4 goals and 3 assists, which is amazing for a player his age. Given his small size, I'm hoping that Pearson can develop that pace of his and become a deadly threat over the top over the next few seasons. Walker 01e, DC, age 15: Walker's debut was at the same time as Pearson's, and set a record for youngest player to ever debut in the Vanarama South. We really needed another DC as, playing 3 at the back, we've been giving a lot of playtime to the 4 players on the squad that can actually play the position. We ran into some injury problems almost right after Walker showed up, and his presence helped us out a lot at the back. Brooks 01b, ST, age 15: Brooks is another solid striker prospect, though not on the same level as Pearson currently. We brought him on a number of times as a substitute, but he likely needs a bit more time playing for the U18s before he's ready for first team football. Ainsley 01j, MC, age 16: Ainsley plays equally well at AMC and MC, which is good because we aren't using AMCs at the moment. He likely won't see much first team time yet, but talent wise he's around our 4th best midfielder, which means he'll come in when we're having issues with injuries or match congestion. His natural fitness and work rate make him a good candidate for a box to box midfielder once he develops a bit more. We also have Milbourne 01k who will be our backup GK, but our starting GK is only 18 and is pretty good, so I don't know how much playing time he'll see right now.
  5. Alright, time to give this challenge a go this year. Wish me luck! Meet the new coach of Bishop's Stortford, Little Jimmy. Can he lead the side to playoff glory? Probably not this year, according to the bookies, who put the team at as 1-5 favorites for relegation, but Little Jimmy is determined to show them that his hometown team has what it takes to stay up in the Vanarama National League South. Bishop's Stortford has a decent stadium for its size, but it's overall facilities are rather lacking compared to others in the division, especially the youth team. While disappointing, Little Jimmy knows that if he can prove himself, he should be able to convince the board to improve the facilities in order to improve the youth team intake moving forward.
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