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.
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.
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.