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pjtopor

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About pjtopor

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  1. Having played another 15 games or so since I last posted, just seems to require a bit of in-game tweaking rather than pre-patch where it was 95% plug and play. Home games I find against all but the biggest teams you want to move mentality to Attack and "Pass into Space" instruction, if you have a very big team you might want that in all home games (playing as Southampton currently.) Other than that, usually drop the fullbacks to Support mentality when trying to hold a lead.
  2. Tactic is still quite solid defensively, not as amazing as before but still good. But it struggled to get goals a bit before the patch, after the patch its gotten more to the point of having a very hard time scoring. Might be more to it than just the patch, of course, but its noticeable.
  3. Yeah this has been happening a lot since the last patch. I believe SI are aware of the issue.
  4. Started with 01/02, properly stuck in with CM4, though. As I'm in the states, it was quite the odyssey to get the games, up until the Steam era I would pay outrageous shipping to get them mailed to me from semi-dodgy online retailers. I bought WWSM the first year it was available but it just didn't feel right and I got the regular FM in the post again. Haven't missed a title for 15 years now, can't imagine I ever will. Some years I get more bang for my buck than others but its always my most reliable fallback. I think the biggest change for me over the years was in the early days, I most enjoyed raiding Wimbledon for Serge Makofo or finding the likes of Orri Freyr Óskarsson and Anatoli Todorov and watching them become club legends. Somewhere around 08 or so I stopped caring much about the budding real life wonderkids and the like and became obsessed with finding the best newgens, so much so that I don't even really get into a save until the 3rd or 4th season.
  5. I think this issue is more that the top sides get older and older. I'm in 2020 in my current save and the squads just now are starting to be composed mostly of newgens, though you still see Aguero, Kompany and Hart turning out for City, Song and Wilshere turning out for Arsenal, etc. If you look at real life top sides, who's still where they were in 2001 in the PL? It was uglier 2-3 seasons ago. That's what the AI in FM never figures out, I think because they base everything on CA and reputation. That damned reputation ruins everything. They do buy up the good young players, but they still buy older players for those same positions. Then they either kill the young player by letting him rot in the reserves or they waste transfer money as described above. I think the trick is that the AI for top clubs should be looking to have the majority of their squad in their prime. So when top striker X turns 30, they're looking to 24-year old striker Y to replace him. By the time he's 32 he's moved on, etc, etc. For whatever reason, and I've bought every CM/FM for the past 10 years, they've never been able to implement this and its oh-so-simple to be the best club in the world 7-8 years out from the start date. It gets a little better when there's nothing left but newgens but of course its too late by then.
  6. 2022/2023 - Billericay Town - Barclay's Premier League League Position - Champions TABLE GRAPH Well, there were a few stories this season, but since its the Champions League that's kept me from chalking this off as completed, let's start there. The group stages were trickier than they should have been, we couldn't beat FC Kobenhaven, landing a pair of draws, and we lost to Fiorentina in the last match which made us second seeds. This worried me, because with the other English teams topping their group, it increased the chances that we'd run into the one non-English team I wanted no part of, Barcelona. We managed to avoid them though, running into still parent club OL in the 1st knockout round. The first leg was at New Lodge, and while I appreciated Hans Blom's 5th minute header putting us a head, Lyon notched two in the next 7 minutes and then held on for what I would call a commanding 1-2 in the first leg. In the second leg, we went for broke in Lyon, and managed a two to nil win off goals from van Aken and Kessel. Nervy, but through. Lyon 0-2 Billericay The quarterfinal drew us against AC Milan. Not very intersting, we thrashed them 0-3 at the San Siro and held on for a dour 1-1 at New Lodge. We ran into fierce rival Manchester City in the semi's. The first leg was at City of Manchester Stadium, where Ikaheimo's 16th minute strike was immediately cancelled out by van Eeuwijk's 30 seconds later. The rest of the match petered out into a 1-1 which left us a slim advantage for the return leg. The advantage was increased when that man Blom scored a belter in the 25th to give us the lead, but John Bostock scored on 63 to knot the fixture. It went all the way to extra time where Ikaheimo's fine 110th minute strike sent us to the final, 3-2 on aggregate. Ricay 2-1 Citeh (aet). That put us in the final in the Netherlands, where we would run into Real Madrid, who had vanquished Porto in the semi's, for the first time in our club's history. Real Madrid were led by a striker I had a bid accepted for a few years back when he was still plying his trade in Russia, Vladimir Kovalev. I withdrew after deciding I had enough small, quick strikers in the squad, and he's developed into quite the poacher for Madrid. Naturally, they have top class players across the board, though Barcelona are clearly the class of Spain on this save. Anyway, I decided to play it straight and go for the win, relying on the quality of my defenders to keep Madrid at bay. In the first half, both teams probed early, with Madrid having the better of the exchanges. Consigli made one particularly sharp save from Kovalev in the early going, but neither side truly was in ascendancy. Then, slightly after the half hour mark, we earned a free kick after some nice work by Ferrari resulted in a foul 35 yards out. Haas had a crack and it resulted in a corner after it was headed away. Ferrari delivered a mediocre ball which was headed clear, but it was well read by Coutinho, who picked up the loose ball, settled, and drove a low, hard shot in the bottom left corner. 1-0 to the Ricay! The rest of the half saw us begin to have the measure of the match, though we only had one good chance, again through that man Ferrari. Oddly enough, normally he's not part of my first choice squad, but I felt his crossing could be dangerous, as Madrid's central defenders are small, so I inserted him to the right of my attacking midfield trio, switched Óscar to the left side, and dropped Jensen to the bench. The half ended with us up a goal. The second half, I'd love to tell you was a thrilling, pulsing affair, but truly, it was a succession of nervy probing and half chances for Ferrari and Blom. Madrid made three changes at the half to try and improve their fortunes, but they had even less going in the second than they did in the first. In injury time, Madrid had a free kick on the edge of my area, but Chamorro blocked well, the rebound falling to Óscar, who took 2 touches and released a delicious through ball to Ferrari. Ferrari sprinted forward, lined up his shot, and arrowed our second into the top corner. 2-0 and the cup's as good as ours. And it was, we have won the UEFA Champions League! Champions League Final Champions League Fixtures The season itself was dominant, losing only 1 match in the league, and winning the FA Cup against Arsenal. We were dumped out early by Liverpool in the Carling Cup, not that I minded much. Here's a link dump of the rest of the results: FA Cup Winners FA Cup results Carling Cup Results Community Shield I decided to go for it this season, and I made several key personnel moves. Óscar was drafted in from Barca for a huge fee, while van Aken and Consigli arrived on frees with huge wages. Killoran and Sheridan were stolen from a Sunderland in administration for a combined 8MM. The long and short of all this is we lost a ton of money this year, and I'm selling like mad in the summer to make up for it. van Aken has already had a bid of 31MM accepted from Real Madrid, and while he was good, I can't possibly turn down that type of profit. I'm also selling a few other long time servants, including Irish midfielder Gary Sheridan who thinks he's better than he is, and apparently so does Barcelona. A shame, since he's been with us a long time, but I've already made something like 60MM and we haven't hit July yet. We need this money, because we're finally getting a new stadium. Well named, I might add! Topor Park TRANSFERS FINANCES Highlights of the squad this season: Peter Killoran - A larger striker who came at a snip from Sunderland, he had a solid season, though he did get sent off in the FA Cup Final, underlining our season long discipline problems. Lasse Ikäheimo - The Finnish starlet had a rebound, possibly due to more competition for places. Hans Blom - He had a bounceback as well, including winning UCL Best Player. The Holland and Ricay captain is for my money, the best player in the world. Andrea Consigli - A replacement for my Brazillian keeper who was dispatched to Olympiakos, he was brilliant, if a short term buy. Matteo Ferrari - The young Italian had a real nose for the big matches. Óscar - The young attacking midfielder has pace to spare, and while he settled poorly, was magnificent in both the UCL final and the FA Cup final. I will definitely be continuing the save, with aims of taking an international job, as well as seeing the first run out at the park which bears my surname. This is only the second challenge I've completed, and while not quite as satisfying as my Hetman save in Gundo's challenge on FM08, it is one of my all time favorites. Thanks, dafuge. Billericay Town 2010/2011 - Blue Square South - 2nd, playoffs - promoted; FA Cup - 3rd qualifying round; FA Trophy - 3rd qualifying round 2011/2012 - Blue Square Premier - 2nd, playoffs - promoted; FA Cup - 2nd round; FA Trophy - Final 2012/2013 - Coca-Cola League Two - 3rd, automatic promotion; FA Cup - 2nd round; League Cup - 1st round; Johnstone's Paint Trophy - 1st round 2013/2014 - Coca-Cola League One - 12th; FA Cup - 3rd round; League Cup - 2nd round; Johnstone's Paint Trophy - 2nd round 2014/2015 - Coca-Cola League One - 3rd, playoffs - promoted; FA Cup - 4th round; League Cup - 2nd round; Johnstone's Paint Trophy - 2nd round 2015/2016 - Coca-Cola Championship - 10th; FA Cup 6th round; League Cup - 2nd round 2016/2017 - Coca-Cola Championship - 6th, promoted via playoffs; FA Cup - 3rd round; League Cup - 1st round 2017/2018 - Barclay's Premier League - 16th; FA Cup - Semi Final; League Cup - 2nd round 2018/2019 - Barclay's Premier League - 2nd; FA Cup - 4th round; League Cup - Semi Final 2019/2020 - Barclay's Premier League - 4th; Champions League - 3rd place in Group Stage; Europa League - Winners; FA Cup - Winners; League Cup - 3rd round 2020/2021 - Barclay's Premier League - Champions; Champions League - Qualifying Rounds; Europa League - Winners; FA Cup - Winners; League Cup - Winners 2021/2022 - Barclay's Premier League - Champions; Champions League - Finalists; FA Cup - 4th round; League Cup - Winners 2022/2023 - Barclay's Premier League - Champions; Champions League - Winners; FA Cup - winners; League Cup - 4th round
  7. 2021/2022- Billericay Town - Barclay's Premier League League Position - Champions TABLE GRAPH Not a lot to say about this season. I walked away from the save for a bit to get a feel for 10.2 tactics in a less important position, came back with a 4-2-3-1 that I thought suited the club, and we basically walked away with the league. A couple of AMCs mentioned previously, Damyanov and Coutinho were key, my defense was solid, leading the division until we leaked 7 in a meaningless finale against Newcastle. My strikers were disappointing, but that's largely because I have a bunch of poachers when what I need is a target man. Cleiton, a young Brazillian mentioned previously was my leading scorer, though Ikäheimo, by far the best of my strikers, had by far his poorest season with us. If you click on the table link, you'll see Sunderland went into administration, and I took advantage with a below market swoop for their Irish striker, Peter Killorian, who's killed me. Hopefully he can lead the charge next year. So with us winning two EPLs on the trot, the story is in the Champions League. Its not much of a story however, as we walked our weak group, leading to a first round knockout tie with Barcelona. Fortunately, Barca were missing a few key players and we went through. We then slaughtered Lyon in the quarters, 7-2 at home, before making it interesting by barely turning up in the return leg. That led to Chelsea in the semi's, who were dispatched on away goals. Man Utd, who finished 9th in the league were our opponents in the final. Captain Hans Blom was suspended through yellows, and we couldn't have been less inspired, losing 2-0 and never looking like challenging. The other cups, we won the Carling Cup despite my attempts to punt it, on account of very poor opposition until the late rounds, when I sort of couldn't help but compete. Once in the final against Man City, I had to go for it, and we won our second worthless cup on the trot, for a domestic double. I had no interest in retaining the FA cup, and we went out tamely in the 4th round to Tottenham. Champions League Final Champions League Fixtures FA Cup results Carling Cup Final Carling Cup Results Community Shield UEFA Super Cup I sold several old friends this past year, long serving Italians Federico Fratus and Alberto Romagnoli, longtime Spanish hardman Victor Vega, and solid right back Andrey Baranov. We brought in a ton of new players as well, and the squad is now upper-table quality. We're still short of world class players, as only Blom and Moraga would walk into most sides, though the ageing Coutinho and Marquinhos are stellar as AMCs. I've got two class strikers coming in this year, so either the formation will have to change or a couple will have to go, as there's no point in have 6 first team strikers in a one striker formation. As far as the money goes, again I sold more than I brought in, and the UCL run was a large money spinner. I still can't get a new stadium, but the training facilities are almost top class finally, the youth facilities are still lagging behind. TRANSFERS FINANCES Highlights of the squad this season: Cleiton - The physically challenged Brazillian was my top scorer this term, and won the PFA Young Player award. Lasse Ikäheimo - The Finnish starlet had his worst season ever. Hans Blom - He had a bit of a down season by his standards, though he did finish second several UEFA awards. Coutinho - One of two non-regens still in the squad, he was delightful in the trequarista role. Tsetvan Damyanov - The Bulgarian AMC was even better, laying goals on every which way. In personal news, I was named a club legend this year, though I must say, fans, what took you so long. I also received an unsolicited approach for the Brazil job, probably in no small part to the 7 Brazillians which I employ. Just need to win the Champions League this season, though I think there are some painful sales coming. I can't imagine selling Rodríguez Sánchez, but his contract's up at the end of the season, and it would be foolish to retain him given the quality coming up through the reserves. Billericay Town 2010/2011 - Blue Square South - 2nd, playoffs - promoted; FA Cup - 3rd qualifying round; FA Trophy - 3rd qualifying round 2011/2012 - Blue Square Premier - 2nd, playoffs - promoted; FA Cup - 2nd round; FA Trophy - Final 2012/2013 - Coca-Cola League Two - 3rd, automatic promotion; FA Cup - 2nd round; League Cup - 1st round; Johnstone's Paint Trophy - 1st round 2013/2014 - Coca-Cola League One - 12th; FA Cup - 3rd round; League Cup - 2nd round; Johnstone's Paint Trophy - 2nd round 2014/2015 - Coca-Cola League One - 3rd, playoffs - promoted; FA Cup - 4th round; League Cup - 2nd round; Johnstone's Paint Trophy - 2nd round 2015/2016 - Coca-Cola Championship - 10th; FA Cup 6th round; League Cup - 2nd round 2016/2017 - Coca-Cola Championship - 6th, promoted via playoffs; FA Cup - 3rd round; League Cup - 1st round 2017/2018 - Barclay's Premier League - 16th; FA Cup - Semi Final; League Cup - 2nd round 2018/2019 - Barclay's Premier League - 2nd; FA Cup - 4th round; League Cup - Semi Final 2019/2020 - Barclay's Premier League - 4th; Champions League - 3rd place in Group Stage; Europa League - Winners; FA Cup - Winners; League Cup - 3rd round 2020/2021 - Barclay's Premier League - Champions; Champions League - Qualifying Rounds; Europa League - Winners; FA Cup - Winners; League Cup - Winners 2021/2022 - Barclay's Premier League - Champions; Champions League - Finalists; FA Cup - 4th round; League Cup - Winners
  8. 2020/2021 - Billericay Town - Barclay's Premier League League Position - Champions TABLE GRAPH Well, I've said before that I'm telling a tale of two seasons, but this season, that was more true than any before. There was one season, through to mid-March, where we were unbelievably strong, scoring for fun and dominating all competitions. Then Steam applied the patch, and man oh man, did we ever limp to the finish line. Its times like this I hate living in the US and playing this game, as I would never have applied a patch until the close season if not for Steam. Anyway, the way that close season happened took a little of the vigor away from my report, so bear with me. Long story short, while we truly struggled through April and May, we had enough of a head of steam to only need to win one of our last 3 games to win the league. We had Man City at home, followed by Burnley and Blackburn away. The Citizens were on fire at the end of the season, and we never looked like winning a 0-2 reverse. Next up at Burnley we couldn't trouble their keeper and managed a uneventful 0-0 at Turf Moor. With those results, and Man City playing Chelsea, all we needed was a draw in our last match to end up winners. Sadly, Blackburn turned us over 2-0 at Ewood Park... but Man City saw of Chelsea to haul themselves into a tie, which we won on goal difference! Here's the tame, tame finish in the run-in. As far as the cups, we lost to Benfica in the Best Placed Qualifying Round on the Champions League, and then went on to win all other competitions for a quadruple. Again, I'd be more excited about this if I wasn't so disgusted with my post patch form. Both the FA Cup final against Man City and the Europa League Final against Chelsea were well contested, and really, I have no idea how we won. Europa League Final Europa League Results Quadruple FA Cup Final FA Cup results Carling Cup Final League Cup UCL results Community Shield UEFA Super Cup I actually spent money this season, brining in Coutinho, Nicolas Kessel and Moraga to bolster the spine of the team with some top quality. In doing so, I lost some real money, but I felt it was necessary to put us over the top in the league. TRANSFERS FINANCES Highlights of the squad this season: Manuel Rodríguez Sánchez - Rodríguez Sánchez is now a club Icon, and I can't bear to sell him. Lasse Ikäheimo - The Finnish starlet had his best season ever. Hans Blom - He contributed much in achieving his world-class potential. Nicolas Kessel - The German tyro solidified the problem DM spot and is well on his way to being a world class player himself. Marquinhos - The Brazillian had an even better season, scoring and providing in quantity. In the run-up to the next season, I sold three longtime club servants, as they had finally outlived their usefulness, longtime captain Federico Fratus, longtime DM Victor Vega, and enigmatic striker Alberto Romagnoli. All three date back at least to our League One days, with Fratus joining us in League Two. It was sad to see them go, but I knew I'd never stop picking them so long as they were on the roster. Just need to win the Champions League to complete this challenge, but I must say, I'm really going to need new tactics to do so. Billericay Town 2010/2011 - Blue Square South - 2nd, playoffs - promoted; FA Cup - 3rd qualifying round; FA Trophy - 3rd qualifying round 2011/2012 - Blue Square Premier - 2nd, playoffs - promoted; FA Cup - 2nd round; FA Trophy - Final 2012/2013 - Coca-Cola League Two - 3rd, automatic promotion; FA Cup - 2nd round; League Cup - 1st round; Johnstone's Paint Trophy - 1st round 2013/2014 - Coca-Cola League One - 12th; FA Cup - 3rd round; League Cup - 2nd round; Johnstone's Paint Trophy - 2nd round 2014/2015 - Coca-Cola League One - 3rd, playoffs - promoted; FA Cup - 4th round; League Cup - 2nd round; Johnstone's Paint Trophy - 2nd round 2015/2016 - Coca-Cola Championship - 10th; FA Cup 6th round; League Cup - 2nd round 2016/2017 - Coca-Cola Championship - 6th, promoted via playoffs; FA Cup - 3rd round; League Cup - 1st round 2017/2018 - Barclay's Premier League - 16th; FA Cup - Semi Final; League Cup - 2nd round 2018/2019 - Barclay's Premier League - 2nd; FA Cup - 4th round; League Cup - Semi Final 2019/2020 - Barclay's Premier League - 4th; Champions League - 3rd place in Group Stage; Europa League - Winners; FA Cup - Winners; League Cup - 3rd round 2020/2021 - Barclay's Premier League - Champions; Champions League - Qualifying Rounds; Europa League - Winners; FA Cup - Winners; League Cup - Winners
  9. I ended up with a pretty good season, update to follow, but my god, the new patch kicked my ass. I was storming through everything up to March, I went to bed last night, got patched without realizing it, and next thing I knew, I was scrapping for every point. My goals for next season are going to be to put together a new tactic that actually works on the new patch. I may even have to spring for wingers!
  10. 2019/2020 - Billericay Town - Barclay's Premier League League Position - 4th TABLE GRAPH In many ways, it was a transition season at New Lodge, as much of the first half of the season was devoted to unloading fringe players before they got too expensive. We made money hand over fist, which in addition to the usual cheap and free youngsters, was spent on a couple players of real quality. In particular, the addition of Marquinhos to the AMC role was critical to our success. The other transition was tactically. After a fairly dire first half when we were drawing left right and centre, and were unable to stay in the Champions League, I decided to go to a more attacking formation. The results were pretty convincing. We started scoring in quantities never before seen at New Lodge, but we also were shipping goals in a way we never had before. Still, more oft than not we scored more than we conceded, and we were able to use that momentum to a run in both cups we were still entered in. The FA cup, we made the final based on what had to be the easiest draw I've ever seen, including League One Luton in the Semi; The Europa League we had some good results against some good sides. In both cases, Chelsea, our perennial patsy was the opposition, first in the Europa League at Camp Nou, to be followed three days later in the FA Cup at Wembley. The Europa League match was, well, dire. We never looked like scoring, but fortunately never did they, and when Marquinhos stroked home the 5th straight penalty for Ricay, we had our first ever silverware, and were champions of... the also-rans! Ricay 0-0 Chelsea, Ricay win 5-3 on penalties Europa League results Three days later our star striker was suspended due to a rash red received in the 2nd to last league came, but we scored early through a header from centreback Castro. The lead was doubled on 54 when the Bulgarian Damyanov tapped in after good work from Cleiton. Chelsea pulled one back on 85 through Guiseppe Rossi, but we held on for the FA Cup! Plastic Double Ricay 2-1 Chelsea FA cup results League Cup Champions League Group Stage UCL results As stated, I pimped out fringers and expiring contracts all over the place, en route to a 20 million pound profit in the transfer market. If this doesn't get me a youth academy I may just shoot my chairman. TRANSFERS FINANCES Highlights of the squad this season: Manuel Rodríguez Sánchez - Rodríguez Sánchez still gets shown because he's been a loyal servant, but I'd say there's a reasonable chance I'll be selling him off soon. While he's been quite solid, he's prone to some horrible lapses as well, and with the higher level of expectation at the club, that's beginning to get a bit dangerous. Lasse Ikäheimo - The Finnish starlet came into his own after the tactic change, becoming Ricay's first 20+ goal scorer in ages. While he's no doubt my finest ever buy, he's also maddeningly inconsistent Hans Blom - In his game of one-upsmanship with fell world-class midfielder Pickering, Dutchman Blom was the clear winner this season. David Castro - The Spaniard has been with us a while now, and if he could stay healthy he might actually get into the Spain side with regularity. The only one of my defenders I'm sure to keep. Marquinhos - The Brazillian is one of a select few non-regens in my side, and his purchase was an important infusion of quality, even if he was a bit injury prone. There is another batch of youngsters pressuring the established members of the side, particularly Cleiton and Patrick Grim, a Brazillian and Dutch striking duo who would be unbelievable if they had just a bit more pace. Cleiton in particular does the business off the bench pretty regularly at the tender age of 19. There are also a pair of high potential centre-halves in the reserves. What we really need is a solid DM to push Victor Vega, who's been with the club quite a while now. Anyway, I think we're two years away from a serious challenge at completing this challenge, but now at least, I can see where that can happen. Billericay Town 2010/2011 - Blue Square South - 2nd, playoffs - promoted; FA Cup - 3rd qualifying round; FA Trophy - 3rd qualifying round 2011/2012 - Blue Square Premier - 2nd, playoffs - promoted; FA Cup - 2nd round; FA Trophy - Final 2012/2013 - Coca-Cola League Two - 3rd, automatic promotion; FA Cup - 2nd round; League Cup - 1st round; Johnstone's Paint Trophy - 1st round 2013/2014 - Coca-Cola League One - 12th; FA Cup - 3rd round; League Cup - 2nd round; Johnstone's Paint Trophy - 2nd round 2014/2015 - Coca-Cola League One - 3rd, playoffs - promoted; FA Cup - 4th round; League Cup - 2nd round; Johnstone's Paint Trophy - 2nd round 2015/2016 - Coca-Cola Championship - 10th; FA Cup 6th round; League Cup - 2nd round 2016/2017 - Coca-Cola Championship - 6th, promoted via playoffs; FA Cup - 3rd round; League Cup - 1st round 2017/2018 - Barclay's Premier League - 16th; FA Cup - Semi Final; League Cup - 2nd round 2018/2019 - Barclay's Premier League - 2nd; FA Cup - 4th round; League Cup - Semi Final 2019/2020 - Barclay's Premier League - 4th; Champions League - 3rd place in Group Stage; Europa League - Winners; FA Cup - Winners; League Cup - 3rd round
  11. Well done, SnakeXe. It really came together for you in the end. I'm having a bit of an interesting season myself, not completing it of course, but in the FA Cup Final and Europa League Semi's. I'll take a plastic double, thank you very much.
  12. Something along those lines, but I wouldn't quite be so scientific about it. More I would say that physical attributes are more important at the lower levels, and whatever you do, don't fall in love with a player so much that you're overpaying for him. They're all pretty interchangable at that level.
  13. 2018/2019 - Billericay Town - Barclay's Premier League League Position - 2nd TABLE GRAPH Well, then there was that. Easily my best season yet with the Blues, we started off solid, got stronger as the year went on, had a little January blip, and then carried from strength to strength in the final third. The key to the season was probably the acquisition of Dave Pickering from recently relegated Leeds. The wonderkid did the business in midfield all season long, scoring and providing in quantity, and eventually winning both his first cap and the PFA young players award. Its odd, though I finished 2nd, and though I really never looked like anything less than European qualification, it does feel a bit of a mirage. The team was classier than any I've managed previously, but we never looked like we might possibly win the league, and while we got goals from everywhere (8 different players with at least 5) there was no real consistent source (top scorer was Romagnoli on 14). While Ikäheimo and Kristic both look like they could be world-class scorers, neither one is the sort I can rely on for a goal when I need it. And while my defense has been solid, and for that matter, been together for a long time (my 3 center halves have been with the squad 5 years or more), they're not exactly Cannavaro and Baldini back there. Still, its success beyond my wildest dreams, and I'm pretty sure at a minimum we'll be good enough to stay in the division from here on out. The only major downside really is the squad is about to get very expensive, and while they're of good standard, they're probably not worth what they're about to get paid. I have to find a little bit more creative quality while staying somewhat frugal in the market. While there are both training facility and stadium upgrades in the offing next season, they will probably only result in my facilities improving to Championship level, rather than the current League One level, but not the Premiership quality needed. The cups were a mixed bag, we stormed through the early rounds of the Carling Cup en route to a semi-final faceoff with our bogey team Villa. We had a one-nil in the home leg until the 90th, when they drew level. That carried into the return fixture where we never had a chance. I was enticed by silverware and sort of sloughed off the FA Cup, going down in the 4th round in a replay at Elland Road. FA cup results League Cup As stated, I was still relatively frugal in the market, but I definitely used some of that bob they've been giving me to play with this time. TRANSFERS FINANCES Highlights of the squad this season: Manuel Rodríguez Sánchez - Rodríguez Sánchez is yet still a fan favorite, though he's probably been pipped by Castro as first choice in the stopper role. Was named in the Team of the Season along with Pickering. Lasse Ikäheimo - The Finnish starlet was no doubt my player of the season, despite what the fans thought. While it took a bit for the goals to start coming, he's no doubt Champions League quality. The PFA Young Players Award voters Dave Pickering - My first top-class Englishman, I spoke of him earlier. He was immense in the run-in. David Castro - The Spaniard has been with us a while now, and his quality really showed with some immense goals. Federico Fratus - He did nothing special this season, but the Ricay captain joined us in League Two, and became the clubs all-time appearance leader this year. While both Spanish defenders are probably superior, I admit to a soft spot for him. Alberto Romagnoli - The Italian striker has been with us for a while now, and while again, completely flummoxed by any pressure, he was our top scorer this year. In the next season, I plan to really trim the squad a good bit, whilst seeking a new batch of youngsters to bring through. I don't expect to do anything more than enjoy the experience of playing in the UCL, and really, I just hope we can handle the offseason transition period well enough to compete for it again this year. Billericay Town 2010/2011 - Blue Square South - 2nd, playoffs - promoted; FA Cup - 3rd qualifying round; FA Trophy - 3rd qualifying round 2011/2012 - Blue Square Premier - 2nd, playoffs - promoted; FA Cup - 2nd round; FA Trophy - Final 2012/2013 - Coca-Cola League Two - 3rd, automatic promotion; FA Cup - 2nd round; League Cup - 1st round; Johnstone's Paint Trophy - 1st round 2013/2014 - Coca-Cola League One - 12th; FA Cup - 3rd round; League Cup - 2nd round; Johnstone's Paint Trophy - 2nd round 2014/2015 - Coca-Cola League One - 3rd, playoffs - promoted; FA Cup - 4th round; League Cup - 2nd round; Johnstone's Paint Trophy - 2nd round 2015/2016 - Coca-Cola Championship - 10th; FA Cup 6th round; League Cup - 2nd round 2016/2017 - Coca-Cola Championship - 6th, promoted via playoffs; FA Cup - 3rd round; League Cup - 1st round 2017/2018 - Barclay's Premier League - 16th; FA Cup - Semi Final; League Cup - 2nd round 2018/2019 - Barclay's Premier League - 2nd; FA Cup - 4th round; League Cup - Semi Final
  14. Man, sometimes I really hate this game. After 8 solid seasons of playing wretched in the first 3 months, I made a point of not making as many changes to the squad this summer, just adding in a bit of a quality, but not my usual new army of arrivals. We respond with the best first half of my tenure, storming out to 4th place at the New Year, a Carling Cup semi-final berth, and a kind FA cup draw. After the usual January of everyone and their brother either wanting a new contract or being tempted by offers abroad, we're in 7th, out of both cups, and hanging on by a thread. Man I hate January. Just thought I'd let you know.
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