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Faramir

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  1. Season 6- 2029/2030 1st Season Championship It certainly wasn't a perfect season for us, as we struggled to a total of 14 draws, but we only lost 6 matches and finished 2nd to Norwich in gaining promotion to EPL. We started out well, but our midseason was a bit of a stumbling mess due to a few factors. The first was loaning Eduardo Benfica (again) from Man City- but only loaning him until mid-season (my fault, I didn't notice it was midseason) and then him refusing to return for the remainder of the season on loan. He gave us stability on the leftwing when here and played well, so it was definately a blow to lose him. Compounding that was the other leftwinger is our immensely talented 19 year old Paraguayan Fabien Riquelme and he started getting upset at midseason that I kept turning down pittance offers for him from Premier sides. He spent the 2nd half of the season being not especially productive and it cost us a bit in the clubhouse morale wise and as I refused all offers for not only him, but Federico Parilla (our 20 year old Argentine striker) and Federico Danneman (our 20 year old Argentine Rightback). All three are worth way more than what offers we were receiving (and both Danneman and Riquelme had received Work Permits) and as we are a bit flush with cash- due to by far the lowest payroll in Championship (ours was 189K a week, while Leicester's is 3.1 Million a week) the Board didn't force us into any acceptance. All of that turmoil slowed us down, but we had such a good run in to the transfer window that I was willing to undergo the morale issues to be sure to keep them. Now that we move to the Premier next season, if I get the kind of offers I should be getting for at least Riquelme (he is the most upset of the three), I will consider them. Our promotion was spearheaded by Kenny Morgan who had an even better 2nd season with us after we snagged him on free from Arsenal. Morgan was Championship Player of the Year, Golden Boot and by far the best player with 28 goals, 10 assists, 10 POM and a 7.53 rating. Parilla was a bit inconsistent (due to morale) but still showed he was a top-flight partner for Morgan with 18 goals, 9 assists, 5 POM and a 7.24 rating. With those two leading the way and also getting contributions from Omari Forson (13 goals), new addition Kevin Zefi (signed from Cork City on free- 7 goals) and Midfielder Leo Castledine (6 goals, 5 assists) we easily led the scoring in Championship with 115 goals, while only allowing 52- 3rd best. We benefited greatly from our pair of strong Rightwingers- wee Scot International Jamie Watt (4 goals, 11 assists) and loanee Nathan Geneste (from Grenoble) who also had 4 goals and 11 assists. Geneste agreed to join us next season as his contract was up at Grenoble. Riquelme pouted his way through a 2 goal, 3 assist season when he is certainly our best winger, Benfica had 2 goals, 6 assists in his half-season with us for comparison. We also got a late contribution from Rayan Daniels (who had played on loan from Aston Villa a couple seasons ago) as we purchased him for 240K to give us something at Leftwing down the stretch and he contributed 3 goals and 2 assists. We also got a part-time contribution from Mouhameth Mane who added 3 goals, 4 assists in limited action. Our central midfield revolved around Castledine and 21 year old Northern Irish International Mervyn O'Connor (5 goals, 2 assists, 7.04). Other contributors in the center were Sydie Peck, Pawel Ograbek and loanees Efe Uzoma (Man City, 1st half of the season) and Mark Hicks (Man City, 2nd half of the season). Our defense was very sound and based on the promotion of Alexi Rojas Fedorushchenko to #1 keeper. Matteo Chiacig continued to fill in well when Fedorushchenko was injured during the season. Danneman is a continually improving Rightback and even with morale issues, played solidly all season. Guilhereme Montoia continued to be a team leader and a steady presence at Leftback. Our main Center Defenders all played well- Jamal Mohammed, Tom McKenna and Zach Awe (who we brought back from Nimes in France for 200K at the first transfer deadline). That steady core kept us in many matches that we might have struggled with in the past. Looking ahead to the Premier- we haven't yet heard where we are going to play, since Aggborough isn't an option. We will also lose our Man City connection in moving to the same division. The one thing I am happy about is how this young core developed together this season. I will try to bring in a few additions, but overall if we don't get other players, this group can compete in the Premier. We will be way overmatched by the top clubs, but we should be able to battle against the mid-level and bottom clubs.
  2. Season 5- 1st Season League 1 2028-29 Finished 1st League 1 After all the drama of last season, League 1 was smooth sailing, due to several additions. The first big addition was when I badgered the Board (and it took a lot of pushing) to pursue getting us a Senior Affiliate. It was jackpot time when one of the clubs on offer was Manchester City. Besides the friendly giving us a financial boost- they loaned us LW Eduardo Benfica (15 assists and 4 goals) as a key ingredient for our success. More huge boosts- to make us very comfortable financially and actually getting our training facilities upgraded- were reaching the 3rd round of EFL Cup and traveling to Emirates versus Arsenal (we lost 3-2 in a very competitive match) and reaching 3rd round of FA Cup and traveling to Anfield against Liverpool (we lost 3-1 in a match that wasn't that close). Both of those netted us over 3 Million in gate fees. We also won the EFL Trophy for our first Cup Hardware as we defeated Swindon 2-0 at Wembley. Our coffers were also boosted when Bolton came calling for Mark Scully with a 1.6 Million bid that was accepted before I had an opportunity to offer input (typical happening for a lower side- but still bugs me when I can't at least try to get more for the player). With the friendly boost from Man City and a couple other big clubs- we added enough to start doing world scouting- a boon at this level. With no youth program to speak of, we continued to poach released Premier youth players and hit paydirt with an ex-Arsenal forward named Kenny Morgan. Morgan was a godsend after losing Scully and netted 31 goals with 6 assists as our leading scorer. We had released Mahamadou Doumbia (well, only had him on 1 year contract), so were able to allocate our 2nd ESC slot to Argentine forward Federico Parilla after signing him on free from Argentine side Kimberley. Parilla scored 20 goals with 8 assists. Our strike triumvarate was complete when we signed on free Omari Forson (released by Swansea) after the season started- he scored 26 goals with 8 assists. Mervyn O'Connor continued yeoman work in our center mids with 4 goals and 5 assists, but the biggest boost to our entire side was when we signed Leo Castledine on free (released by Chelsea) and he added 13 goals (many key goals down the stretch) and 6 assists from his central midfield role. Also contributing in the center were Sydie Peck (6 goals, 2 assists), Pawel Ograbek (4 goals, 3 assists) and Joe Snowdon (2 goals, 3 assists). Benfica was our main LW, but we also got good value from Mouhameth Mane (youth released on free from Manchester City- 7 goals, 7 assists). The diminutive Scot Jamie Watt continued to regularly play on RW and added 7 goals and 9 assists. We also had Icelandic loanee RW Axel Kari Willumsson (7 goals, 11 assists) and after Federico Danneman received his Work Permit to free up the 2nd ESC slot at midseason we added 18 year old Paraguayan RW/LW Fabian Riquelme on free from Paraguayan side Fulgencio Yegros and he chipped in with 6 assists. We received a huge boost during the season when we signed DC Jamal Mohammed after West Ham released him- he anchored our center defense for the rest of the season. We also had Taylor Foran and Jem Hewlett, but their spotty play during the season opened the door for another released youth player- Tom McKenna (released by Everton) to be the main partner to Mohammed. We also landed another promising released youth signee with Irishman Ian Atkinson (released by Arsenal), but he spent the season on loan to Bath because of the other 4 available. Our stalwart RB was Danneman and we had to fend off substantial bids from larger sides to keep the 19 year Argentinean (that is why the Cup boosts were so valuable- it meant our coffers were full enough that the Chairman didn't automatically accept the offers). LB continued to be the steady Guilherme Montoia. Matteo Chiacig continued to be the main man in Goal, but we managed to sign another really good young Keeper in Alexi Rojas Fedorushchenko after Arsenal released him and with these two we should be fine in net for the next couple of seasons at least. We continued to plow the transfer budget into wages and scouting budget, as the only two players I have purchased have been Foran (45K) and Danneman (4K) - everyone else has been signed on free. All that means we have a large boost in transfer funds for moving to Championship play and a lot of room on our weekly wage budget to add players. We remain a very, very young club because of this approach and that may cost us a bit moving to Championship, but we won League 1 by 10 points over favored Watford and scored 124 goals (League 1 record) against 59 allowed- this club is good enough with additions to play in Championship.
  3. Patti- In similar circumstances, the only way I found around that was to let staff (whoever- GM if you have one, otherwise Asst. Manager) suggest staff additions (in responsibilities under staff). The ones they suggest are typically signable, though they probably wouldn't be your first choice. I know I saw a change in this after the season flipped on June 24th, so if in summer you might want to wait and see if it changes then.
  4. Stourbridge- Season 4- 2027/28 1st Season League 2 A long slog of a season, but we battled hard and finished 2nd as Forest Green ran away with the title. The slog came from us battling to win many close matches, enough to stay 8 points clear of 3rd place Exeter (15 points adrift of Forest Green). It was another season of remaking the club personnel and we did find some keepers this time around, but because our signings soaked up so much of our wage budget, we lacked depth and that hurt us badly down the stretch as several key injuries left us limping to the finish. Up until just after the midway point of the season we were neck-and-neck with Forest Green, but then faltered for the last 15 matches of the season, but still were able to remain comfortably second. We made several big free signings that paid off handsomely. Our leading scorer was Mark Scully (released by Manchester City). Scully is a very tall, moderately agile striker who can't score a header to save his life- but did score 24 goals otherwise. Jovan Makama was his strike partner with 16 goals, but both he and Scully were terribly inconsistent- when they were on they could be overpowering- but there were many matches that both disappeared. Jamie Watt (free signing from Arsenal) on rightwing was a wee driving force for us with 6 goals and 15 assists (to equal the League record). Connor Stanley chipped in with 5 goals and 7 assists (mostly when Watt was injured for over a month during a heavy slate of double match weeks). Leftwing Adi Adebayo added 6 goals and 9 assists, but lost his starting role down the stretch when we loaned Rayan Daniels from Aston Villa (would love to keep him but Rangers want him when his contract is up and we can't compete with that interest). Our midfield was manned by 19 year old Northern Irish International Mervyn O'Connor (free transfer from Arsenal) and Mahamadou Doumbia (Mali International, signed on free and using one our our 2 ESC slots). We also had contributions from Pawel Ograbek, Joao Veloso dos Santos and mid-season free signee Sydie Peck. In goal we had Belgian Matteo Chiacig (released by Charleroi, managed to get WP on appeal) and he was superb during a long unbeaten stretch through to late season, when he got hurt and missed a month and wasn't nearly as sharp when he returned. Mid-season signing Ellis Craven (released by Norwich) filled in fairly well while Chiacig was out. We leaned heavily on four defenders- Taylor Foran (skipper), Jem Hewlett (released by Exeter, originally Southampton youth), leftback Guilherme Montoia (another Norwich release) and rightback Federico Danneman (4K from Argentine side Alianza- we used our 2nd ESC slot on him). Unfortunately, as they all inevitably tired our depth was severely lacking with Teddy Ramwell, Juan Manuel Arredondo, Adisa Osayande and Jon Esenga all subpar most of the time when filling in. All of this meant that while we scored 90 goals, we also gave up 74, which left us (me!) sweating out the dying moments of many one goal matches (mostly wins). Our FA Cup run did yield us a 3rd round match at St.James against Newcastle, which brought in almost 1.4 million- pretty much a boost that carried us into more secure financing territory. We were also renting out Aggborough from Kidderminster and that gave us much more gate receipts to also boost our bottom line. All of which puts us in better shape to enter League 1 competition. We still need to find depth, but many of those starters mentioned will remain starters going into next season, so we might have a bit more continuity and not take so long to gel next season.
  5. Stourbridge - Season 3 - 2026-27 1st Season Vanarama National We arrived at mid-season in contention for the top spot. Altrincham was top and Crawley and us were both within three points. From that point on, we really gelled (bunch of additions again, so no surprise it wasn't smooth in the early going) and we won VN going away. We broke the total goalscoring record with 122 goals and at times early in the season needed all of them because our defense was a bit leaky. The second half saw our defense gradually become more of a lock-down matter as our backline additions really started showing promise. Our goal scoring was obviously never an issue- but that was only due to a pair of in-season forward signings. Lewis Darlington again led the club with 30 goals and 8 assists, but he dropped off quite a bit after the halfway point. The slack was picked up by free signing Jimmy Knowles (released by Boston Utd). Knowles added 27 goals and 11 assists, including many key goals down the stretch. The other free signing, much later in the season was Jovon Makama (released by Lincoln) who added 13 goals. We signed promising young 17 year old Welsh striker/winger Sion Walters (free from Cefn Druids) and he added 12 goals and 7 assists. Connor Stanley showed he was again critical to our attack with 9 goals and 23 assists from rightwing. On leftwing, free signing Afi Adebayo (Thanks Scouts! released on free from Ipswich) contributed 5 goals and 13 assists, while loanee George Beaumont (2nd full season from Millwall) chipped in with 3 goals and 4 assists. In the center midfield, our keys were Conrad Honore (improved over last season with 4 goals and 10 assists) and Pawel Ograbek (free signing from Brighton) with 6 goals and 10 assists. Lesser midfield contributions came from Joao Veloso dos Santos (free from Leicester), Ben Perry and deadline signing Christian N'Guessan. Ben Butterfield ably manned the goal, but was purchased by Stoke for a measly 40K (and worth 2.5 Million as soon as soon as he signed with Stoke), but we did keep him on loan for the remainder of the season after his purchase. Teddy Ramwell and Lennon Patterson again were the main featured full backs, but the signature change for our backline was the purchase of Taylor Foran from Billericay. Foran immediately claimed the Captain's band (we desperately needed his leadership) and proved deadly in corners wtih 8 goals, along with stellar defense. He was paired most usually with 18 year old Argentinean (dual English) Juan Manuel Arredondo (free signing from Chelsea) and Adisa Osayande (free signing from Derby). Kornell McDonald and Jack Burchell aslo filled in as needed. The Board immediately moved to make us a Professional club after we clinched the title, so we finally reached that along with League 2. Important decisions come quickly as Darlington isn't signed past this season and his drop off in the second half has me questioning whether to accommodate the huge raise he will demand- when I have my doubts on his effectiveness as we move to League play. Keeper may be an issue, but I did add Roco Rees on free transfer at the end of the season to at least provide some cover as we lose Butterfield. Honore and Stanley are rated below League 2 level, so more decisions on how to staff the midfield remain. Our wage budget is up- but only to 16K a week, which is a pittance in League 2- so we will have to proceed with a miser's touch on wages (and virtually no transfer budget- not that I use it much at this level, only Foran has been purchased so far).
  6. Stourbridge - end of 25-26 season 11,824 available weekly wages (achieved promotion to VN) 8,179 current wages 7,217 committed wages Limited to only offering 120 a week at present - don't have a particular notion why this limit is in place, suspect buggy behind the scenes logic
  7. Stourbridge- 2025-26 (Season 2) With our redone squad we captured the VN North Crown over AFC Telford and South Shields with 2 games to spare. Our biggest contributor continued to be Lewis Darlington. In his 2nd season with us he scored 41 goals, 11 assists and earned 10 POM along with being named VN North Player of the Year (and golden boot). One of the main reasons Darlington was so successful was the free transfer signing of RW Connor Stanley (after being released by Hereford). Stanley had 10 goals and 19 assists and his crosses allowed Stanley Anaebonam to also contribute 25 goals. LW loanee George Beaumont (from Millwall) came back for a full season (he joined us in latter stages of last season) and scored 8 goals with 8 assists to also play a key role in our offense. Our main midfield tandem of Hugh Alban-Jones and Conrad Honore (signed on free after being released by Taunton) were steady and Ben Perry (free transfer signing from Nottingham Forest) gave us a much improved performance over last season. Our backline, which was awful last season, was also improved as we leaned on the additions of James Lester (signed on free from Cardiff), Lennon Patterson (signed on free from Wolves) and Teddy Ramwell (signed on free from Blackburn) to join up with steady Kornell McDonald (our only adequate defender from last season) to solidify the supporting slate. After letting Kobi Brooks walk as Keeper after his inconsistent play and wage demands, we discovered we already had the keeper we needed on the club. We had signed 15 year old Ben Butterfield as backup for Brooks, but he turned out to have a lot of potential and he played very well as a 17 year old (and now is wanted by Reading- which I am dreading) in anchoring our improved defense. We also received minor contributions from SC Fabian Salmon (another Wolves free transfer) with 5 goals and 8 assists in limited duty, loanee MC Daniel Carter (Leyton Orient) and defenders Brayden Clarke (our 3rd free transfer addition from Wolves) and Jack Burchell. With a measly 8K budget we managed to jump from 5th place to the title thanks to the play of the youngsters (Darlington himself just turned 21) and now move on to play in VN.
  8. Stourbridge - End Season 1 Lost in VN North Playoffs in Semi-final 5-2 against Warrington (Keyol Figueroa killed us all season when we played them and did again in the Semi-final.) It was a good season, we wound up finishing 5th with 76 points, but our defense fell apart in the late season and we were plagued with inconsistent play from our Keepers. We did score goals and broke the Conference record for total goals with 115. Our tandem strikers of Lewis Darlington (signed on free) and Stanley Anaebonum (on the club to start) were the main core of our offense with a combined 75 goals, but our backline was a patchwork mess as there wasn't much when I arrived and I had little budget to get better defenders. Our midfield anchors of Hugh Alban-Jones (signed on free) and Alex Prosser (on the club to start) were passible, but not great. Winger Dexter Walters (on the club to start) was great early in the year, but got hurt and wasn't near as good as the season wound down. Kobi Jones (signed on free) was our #1 keeper- but he absolutely killed our title chances with poor performances down the stretch- we were battling Warrington and eventual champ AFC Fylde for the top spot through mid-February before we fell off. Now to work on reshaping the side the way I want it- there were heavy baggage contracts on many of the players when I arrived and we have more room to set things up (hopefully better) for next season.
  9. I went through 7-8 saves - the longest shot I could find in any of them was Stourbridge at 500-1, so that is what I am starting with.
  10. 2032-33 5th Season EPL (sorry I missed posting a couple as I was playing) After finishing 8th in 2030-31, we qualified for Europa Conference League (extra spot available after league champs Arsenal won Carabao Cup). We also finally got our own stadium in Matlock Town- a nice 27,710 seater that finally allowed us to move out of Technique Stadium in Chesterfield. We finished 5th in EPL in 2031-32 season and won the Europa Conference League over Roma. I had found the Lionel Messi Regen (Federico Parilla- 2.8 Million from Argentine lower side Villa Dalmine), but had lost him before the 2031-32 season to Borussia Dortmund on 97 Million Release Fee. I had also lost Colombian Keeper Diego Lemus to Real Madrid for 60 Million, but had found the Hugo Lloris Regen (Mike Jaffre) at French side Guingamp (6.5 Million) and his play keyed us to our 5th place finish and our Europa Conference win. We had also found a world class Belgian Winger- Rashidi Kaarsban (3.8 Million from Go Ahead) and a world class Uruguayan Rightback- Javier Munoz (425K from Danubio). Our home-grown defense struggled both seasons because they were so young, but I stuck with them because I couldn't afford top-end defenders. Our forwards continued to be led by club Icon Louie Barry, who consistently provided 18 and 19 goals in the two seasons and scored the match-winner against Roma. Our midfield also is home-grown as we featured Wonderkids Diomer Garcia (1.8 million from Deportivo Cali) and Brazilian Mazinho (16 Million from Sao Paulo), with Brazilian RW Luciano Friedenreich (8 Million from Goania ). During our late season run in 2031-32 we were keyed by deadline addition (from my GM, I hadn't noticed him in scouting) of Italian Forward Andrea Mariani (2.7 from Atalanta). Before 2032-33 we landed two key additions - 18 year old Spaniard Forward Eric Gandara from Deportivo Alaves for 10 Million and 20 year old German RW Michael Brenner from Borussia Dortmund for 10 Million. Gandara won the Golden Boy award and was top NXGEN Wonderkid. Getting both of them without the dreaded release clause was a key to our success. We also added one important DC to the mix as Bruno Vinicius from Gremio for 19.75 Million. During the January Transfer Window we were gutted when Real Madrid raided us for Mike Jaffre for his 98 Million release fee on Deadline Day (they paid us 158 million for their two keepers). We were left scambling and paid West Ham 24 Million for Ghanian GK Frank Fotso to take over as #1 (we didn't have a good alternative on the squad). With most of our core players onboard for the past couple seasons we jetted into the EPL lead in the early going and scored key early wins over holders Newcastle and Manchester City and due to the fact that the 5th place club was also awarded a Champions League spot (England and Spain got the extra spots), we were in the League Phase. We played well in that phase defeating Kobenhaven, Anderlecht, Thessaloniki before we stunned Atletico Madrid and Inter. We then edged Redbull Salzburg before finally losing a close match to Monaco. We thumped Ajax 6-2 to end up with an excellent qualifying spot for the Round of 16. We drew Atletico Madrid and edged them 2-1 in Madrid. In the 2nd leg they scored a dramatic late equalizer to push into Extra-time. Colombian Striker Derlison Borrero (a key depth forward for us) went on a rampage and scored a hat-trick to send us onwards. While this was going on we kept storming the EPL as our young players finally had played enough to really bloom together and first place with a comfortable margin as we reached mid-season After dumping Newcastle in the Champions League Quarter-Finals as we drew 1-1 at St.James and then defeated them 3-0 at Matlock Town. In the Champions League Semi-finals we had a grudge to settle with Real Madrid (and them taking three key players from us on MinFee Releases - we also lost key Winger/Forward Iker Rios to them for 54 Million) and scored a stunning come from behind 2-1 win at Bernabeu, thanks to a late match-winner from Louie Barry (against old mate Mike Jaffre). We edged them 1-0 at Matlock Town thanks to none other than POM Frank Fotso, who was brilliant in several key stops under enormous pressure. Our strong play in EPL continued and we were soaring with 5 matches remaining. We finally closed out the EPL Title chase as we hammered Manchester City 3-0 at Etihad to ensure the Title. In the Champions Cup Final we faced AC Milan, who had upset Paris SG in the other Semifinal. It was another dazzling, taut match and Fotso was again our savior as he saved a first half penalty kick to keep the match scoreless. The peerless Louie Barry came through for us again as Erik Gandara made a brilliant tackle on their defender in their area and Barry scooped the loose ball and smashed it home for the only goal of the match as we won 1-0 and Fotso earned another POM honor (justice served, maybe Jaffre wouldn't have gotten us the Champions League Crown since we showed he could be beaten). Challenge Completed- boy this was a fun season (I now have 15 Players on the squad wanted by Major European Clubs- still two with Min fee releases Munoz (110 Mill) and Kaarsban (150 Mill)- but only until I get them under new contracts now that we are flush with status and money)
  11. 2028-29 6th Season- 1st Season EPL I knew going into our first EPL season that we were in for difficulties and we got waxed by all the best clubs (with the exception of a late season upset of ManU), but we managed to hold our own against the struggling sides and finished 11th overall. Our defense was an issue all season and I knew it going in as this was our most common lineup: GK- Gordon Paton (21) DL- Calvin Ramsey (24) DC- Marcos Morales (19) DC- Alex Mohammed (18) DR- Monday Sanni (21) ML- Ben Simpson (22) MC- Dean McCartney (21) MC- Unai Hernandez (24) MR- Ben Doak (23) SC- Louie Barry (25) SC- Elizear Mayenda (24) Other Key Players: DR- Edier Campo (25) DLR- Connor Tierney (21) DC- Mpilonhle Mathebula (21) MC- Joseph Tchami (20) SC- George Stevenson (22) January Window Additon MCSC- Sonny Perkins (25) With how young our defensive line was, I was prepared for growing pains (I thought), but we were just plain awful in many games. A huge problem was the inconsistency of keeper Paton. Though he became the Scottish #1, he won us some games and he lost us more games with poor decision making and play and I am loathe to admit it- he just isn't an EPL level keeper. Our preseason additions were : Unai Hernandez free transfer Marcos Morales 1.5 Million from Uruaguayan Club Atletico Torque (min release fee) Alex Mohammed 2.8 Million from AFC Wimbledon George Stevenson 425K from Mansfield Calvin Ramsay 195K from Watford Dean McCartney 4.4 Million from Millwall Monday Sanni 300K from Liverpool Ben Doak 700K from Liverpool Micah Hamilton 375K from Hull Eliezer Mayenda 1.8 Million from Stoke Sonny Perkins Loaned from Atalanta with 625K mandatory purchase fee (during Jan window) Our only significant sales (all in Jan. with them unhappy about not starting) were: Tyrese Omotoye 230K to Remo Stars Caleb Chukwuemeka 275K to Cardiff Ryan Finnigan 675K to Burton Albion Charles Sagoe 575K to Tenerife I bear the brunt of blame for most of our poor results, I was confident I landed players that were going to do well enough in EPL play and I was wrong in many cases. Paton was a key issue, he had been brilliant for us on our way to EPL, but he just doesn't make good decisions at EPL level and when we needed some steady play- we didn't get it. I believed Sanni could be a solid rightback and maybe he will, but he didn't fit into our system and it took me until midseason to figure out that we needed Ocampo back in the lineup (despite my reservations on how he would translate to EPL). Mohammed and Morales both landed in the Top 50 NexGN wonderkid list, but they were really overmatched and inconsistent during the season. Mathebula doesn't have the pace or positioning to play regularly at EPL level. I added 24 year old Scot DC Kerr Smith from Real Betis in January, but you will notice he isn't listed above because he never played well after arriving. Ramsay was solid leftback for a bargain and he finally gave us a decent free kick and corner taker- so that addition was a win for us, but overall the backline was inexperienced and it showed all season. Another addition I missed on was Model Citizen Dean McCartney. I made him captain and believed he would be a solid EPL center mid, but he was only so-so all season and didn't contribute much to the attack which sputtered especially early in the season. Unai Hernandez looked like a perfect addition to our lineup, but he had the ball taken away from him so many times during the season he found himself deep on the subs bench in the last half. I thought Joseph Tchami wasn't really up to EPL standards (and if judged on attributes he isn't), but his presence in the lineup finally provided the midfield boost we needed to start scoring more goals. Getting Ben Doak back was a boon (I had loaned him for a season previous to this) and it would have made more of a difference if he hadn't gotten himself redcarded in the first match for a horror tackle that saw him with an additional two match suspension, which was followed by a calf injury that kept him out another month. He was back in good form by the end of the year. Ben Simpson gave us moments of good play on leftwing, but I am still wondering if he is really EPL level. I had no other quality players on the left as Micah Hamilton from Hull never gave us much all season. Sonny Perkins was an afterthought addition to give us midfield depth but he scored some key goals in the late going to help us finish 11th and I realized too late that I should have been playing him more. Louie Barry was our top scorer with 18 goals and 9 assists, but after spoiling us the last couple seasons he also gave us some stinkers. Pre-season addition Eliezer Mayenda was our early season savior in adding needed scoring (12 goals, 4 in one game) as neither Omotoye or Chukwuemeka had a goal for us season before leaving. The biggest bargain I hit on (besides Ramsay) was George Stevenson, who had never played above League 1 and had scored 10 goals there, as he worked beautifully with Barry and contributed 7 goals, 4 assists, 3 POM in limited action. Eleventh place was respectable for our first season in EPL, but now I need to retool our roster again and get us more quality to help stay up again next season while we try to consolidate our gains.
  12. Matlock Town 2027-28 Season 5 1st Season Championship Matlock Town 2027-28 Transfers In: Mpilonhle Mathebula DRLC from Manchester United Free Sha'Mar Bryan DRLC from Chelsea Free Terry Antwi DRC from Aston Villa Free Charles Sagoe RW from Millwall 200K (550K) Tyrese Omotoye SC from Shrewsbury Free Caylan Vickers MC Free Transfer Gabriel MC from CEC (Brazil) 35K Edier Ocampo D/WB R from Atletico Nacional (Columbia) 97K Chris Fleming MC from Boreham Wood 145K Sydie Peck MC from Sheffield Utd 70K (90K) Gordon Paton GK from St.Mirren 50K (100K) Wayne Byrne ML from Arsenal (Loan) Eoin Toal DC Free Transfer Chituru Odunze GK from Tulsa Free Connor Tierney DLDR from Ross County Free Ryan Finnigan MC from Wycombe 70K (120K) Daniel Redfearn from West Brom (Loaned back after purchase) Transfers Out: Daniel Redfearn to West Brom 1.1 Mill (1.3) Jack Hannah to AFC Wimbledon 13.75K Matty Alexander to Las Palmas Free Cole McKinnon to Walsall Free Matlock Town won the Championship Title on the last day of the season with a 7-0 demolition of already relegated Preston North End. The key player in our promotion was SC Louie Barry, who was a goal-scoring machine all season and his consistent scoring and big moment scoring were the key ingredients to our success. The other key player was the addition of 20 year old Scottish GK Gordon Paton. Paton had already been the regular starting keeper for St.Mirren for three seasons when we were able to land him for 50K because he wanted to move to a bigger club and was in the final year of his contract. Paton is already being tapped to get his 1st Cap this summer after 20 clean sheets and a 7.01 rating. The race to the title was close as we battled Leeds, Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough down the stretch. Key Players for Matlock Town: GK- Gordon Paton 7.01 20 clean sheets DR- Edier Ocampo 6.98 6 assists- flew up and down the right wing all season DRL- Connor Tierney 6.96 key mid-season addition helped us survive lengthy injury to Ocampo DL- Stefan Parkes 6.92 DC- Eoin Toal 7.01 Elder Statesman on the club and Northern Irish International who was a rock on the backline DC- Daniel Maher 7.07 3 goals 2 POM Continued his promising development DC- Mpilonhle Mathebula 6.85 2 goals 1 assist Huge South African youngster who contributed in almost every match he played MR- Charles Sagoe 7.04 12 assists Anchored our right wing all season ML- Ben Simpson 7.25 4 goals 10 assists 2 POM Completely converted over from SC to Inverted winger to get him in the lineup on a regular basis ML- Wayne Byrne 6.96 2 assists Loanee who I thought might contribute more but wasn't impact player MC- Joseph Tchami 7.18 4 goals 8 assists 19 year old continued to develop superbly, Liverpool is going to regret letting him go on free to us MC- Sydie Peck 7.12 2 goals 10 assists 1 POM His brilliant passing buoyed us in our early challenges in Championship as we tried to gel with all the new additions MC- Daniel Redfearn 6.89 1 goal 1 assist West Brom's midseason offer of 1.1 Million was one we could not turn down- the New Zealand international was a tackling demon MC- Jaden Palmer-Leandre 7.11 2 goals 5 assists 1 POM His stats were all in 17 matches as he earned my trust in the 2nd half of the season and turned out to be a dazzling passer SC- Louie Barry (stats below) Key cog in our offense as he could not be marked at Championship level SC- Caleb Chukwuemeka 7.41 17 goals 11 assists 3 POM Overcame a 14 match scoreless string to contribute huge goals down the stretch run SC- Tyrese Omotoye 7.16 11 goals 1 assist 2 POM A favorite of mine (if you have followed my past Dafuge runs) who helped keep us afloat when Chukwuemeka lost his goal scoring touch Teaser- got all of our hopes up and nothing came of it. This was in his 2nd season with the club. H Hanging tough at midseason. Still in well at the three quarter mark. Six left to play. Bristol City falling off their torrid early pace. In our next to last match, we went to Elland Road and led by the superb Louie Barry defeated them 2-0 to overtake them for top spot. We would need at least a draw against already relegated Preston North End to ensure promotion, but a win would give us the title as our goal differential over Leeds was substantial. In addition to losing two goals to offsides, we hit the post and crossbar three times in the match and their keeper played well- it could easily have been 10-0 (or worse). A very comprehensive win for us. We were led all season by the incomparable Louie Barry. Barry broke the Championship record for Goals, Average Rating and Most POM and was awarded Player of the Year.
  13. That is a worthy challenge kdavva74- I always start as a Welshman in this challenge and I typically have at least one or two key players boosting me up from Wales (because of the scouting knowledge). Good luck on this one!
  14. 2026-2027 Season 1st season League 1 A strong middle of the season stretch allowed us to survive some end of the season woes as we hung on to win League 1. The biggest key to our moving up to the Championship was the pre-season signing on free of forward Louie Barry (after Aston Villa let him go and we beat out several clubs to attract him). Barry had 33 goals, 6 assists and 9 POM while averaging 7.56 in earning League 1 Player of the Year honors. Other key contributors were Caleb Chukwuemeka (18 goals, 6 assists, 7 POM, 7.39) and Ben Simpson (14 goals, 7 assists, 4 POM, 7.32) up front. Our midfield saw Daniel Redfearn, now established as a New Zealand International (2 goals, 8 assists, 1 POM, 7.18) joined by 18 year old Joseph Tchami (arrived from Liverpool after youth release, 2 goals, 3 assists, 2 POM, 7.06) , on loan Ben Doak (also from Liverpool, 1 goal, 11 assists, 1 POM, 7.04), Alexander Dolo (5 goals, 6 asssists, 6.92) and an occasionally resurgent Noam Emeran (6 assists, 6.99). Defensively, we suffered badly towards the end of the year as our main keeper Lewis Thomas became very inconsistent and his efforts were mirrored by our very young backline of Martin Rae (on loan from Man United as our rightback), Daniel Maher, Skipper Scott Holding and Stefan Parkes. We were plagued by injuries in the backline and Stephen Jones missed most of the season after tearing his anterior cruciate. Our pattern in the final two months was to go a goal down, often on either a simple defensive miscue or fluke play and then have to fight back to earn a draw. No idea where we play our home matches next season as the new stadium remains in the pure planning stages and our temporary home of Chesterfield's Technique Stadium likely doesn't meet Championship level standards.
  15. 2025-2026 1st Season League 2 Matlock Town moving up to League 1 after a successful inaugural League 2 season. We were led by our potent forwards- Caleb Chukwuemeka (25 goals, 7 assists. 12 POM, 7.56), Ben Simpson (purchased for 13.5K from Dover- great find by my scouts, 20 goals, 7 assists, 9 POM, 7.49), Leyton Stewart (14 goals, 3 assists, 4 POM, 7.08) and Kyle Hudlin (11 goals, 6 assists, 7 POM, 7.31). Our key midfielders were Daniel Redfearn (from Tottenham after youth release, 4 goals, 8 assists, 1 POM, 7.12), Darren Oldaker (released by Colchester, 3 goals, 5 assists, 7.02) and loanee Alexander Dolo (from Arsenal- they let him go to us on youth release for next season- 12 matches, 1 goal, 5 assists, 7.01). Our defense became rock solid after we bought Forest Green backup keeper Lewis Thomas (5.25k, 8 clean sheets in 12 matches), though Matty Alexander played OK (8 clean sheets, but very inconsistent). Our backline excelled with our three key DC shining- Daniel Maher (4 goals, 2 assists, 3 POM, 7.37), Skipper Scott Holding (2 goals, 2 assists, 7.19) and Spaniard Stephen Jones (signed on free from Manchester City- 7.01). We are in the process of getting a new stadium, so there won't be a lot of funds available for our initial season in League 1, but if the youngsters can develop a little bit more we should be ok.
  16. Matlock Town 2024-25 (2nd season, 1st Season Vanarama National) It was a great season for us with one exception, as the Board sold Hamzad Kargbo away at midseason (he had 15 goals in 17 matches, with 4 assists and 7 Player of the Matches). We were able to overcome that with the signing of Kyle Hudlin (though he missed the first 4 months of the season after being treated by Specialist for shin splints). Hudlin had 16 goals in 19 appearances in the second half of the season. Yusuf Akhamrich continued his dynamic development after we signed him after he was released by Tottenham as the quick forward added 21 goals and 7 assists in 33 matches. Jorome Slew chipped in with 11 goals and 4 assists in 33 matches. Other helpful signings were Noam Emeran (free from ManU) with 8 assists, Ranel Young (from Liverpool) 8 assists, Favour Fawunmi (from West Ham) 6 assists, Scott Holding (from Watford) 7.28 in DC and Daniel Maher (from Everton) 7.60 with 7 POM in DC and Toby Onanaye (from Leicester) as BWM in midfield. We also got the good news we turn Professional as we move to League 2 play.
  17. I have started with Matlock Town. Rolled a bunch of saves and picked them because I didn't know anything about them One season in already since I started with them the day after beta released- Edged out Kidderminster to win VNN, now in the offseason before we start National play. Our two forwards were the catalyst to promotion as Hamzad Kargbo scored 42 goals in 39 matches (not as many headers as you would think) and Jorome Slew added 37 goals in 39 matches. We also found a good keeper for this level as Matty Alexander played well.
  18. I apologize to everyone who has enjoyed this story. I had to reset my PC and the story was lost (along with the saves), so to fast forward to the end..... In our 10th season, Kings Langley won the Premier and Champions League to complete the Challenge (which was the planned ending of the story). I enjoyed posting the portion of the tale that is here and likely will be back with something else in the future. All the best-- Faramir
  19. 15.12.29 Manchester City Televised Match Manchester City used a spectacular performance from Erling Halland as they dumped Kings Langley 4-2 at Kings Langley Stadium to move top of the table. Kings took the lead early when David Perez finally broke his goal draught as he whisked home a shot after Vladimir Bocanegra headed a cross from Kevin Gutierrez down for him. Halland equalized at 27 minutes when he outmuscled Max Normann Williamsen to head home a cross from Mateo Marchini. For the second straight match Junior Bah was called for a questionable foul in the area and Halland made it a brace at 48 minutes. Halland made it a hat-trick when he flicked on a Jude Bellingham cross that eluded Aaron Maguire at 55 minutes. Halland turned provider when he picked out Bellingham motoring up the middle and Bellingham had a fine finish past Maguire. Perez then netted a brace to close out the scoring as he fired home a shot past Ederson at 78 minutes. Kings Langley (2) Manchester City (4) POM- Erling Halland, Manchester City Havel fumed, "Did our defense even listen to our pre-game instructions? I gave Max and Elkan one instruction- mark Halland, challenge Halland, tackle bloody Halland- do not let him beat us. Instead none of that happens." "The entire backline- and Aaron Maguire- played poorly today and it doomed us." "At least Perez is off the mark and looked back to normal today."
  20. 8.12.29 Tottenham Tottenham proved better at finishing as they edged Kings Langley 3-2 at Kings Langley Stadium. It was a quick 2-0 lead for the visitors. Sofyan Amrabat took advantage of Franck Diallo's slow reaction on pass up the middle as he sailed past him to score past Aaron Maguire. Kings Manager Mike Havel was furious with Referee Darren England as he whistled Junior Bah for a questionable foul in the area and Amrabat converted the penalty kick at 17 minutes to pad the lead. Kings Langley started their fight back when Mahmoud Sankari blistered a 25 yard free kick off the underside of the crossbar at 55 minutes. David Perez continued his snake-bit ways as he made another delicate chip over the keeper and it was again cleared off the line by Oliver Skipp. Perez was then stopped twice by Oscar Navone when put in free and was clearly frustrated. Elkan Baggott failed to mark Gilberto Erick Silva and Silva returned the two-goal lead at 68 minutes. Kings saw Sankari fire another shot off the post and finally drew a goal back in injury time as Bob Bell scored on a counter-attack, but too little, too late for home side. Kings Langley (2) Tottenham (3) POM- Sofyan Amrabat, Tottenham Havel whipped the clipboard at the wall, "F**cking Ref. 6 yellow cards and 18 fouls and a penalty while Sankari gets scythed down in the area and no call at all." Stewart nodded, "It wasn't pretty but if our defenders play better we still get a result." "True. Perez is just so unlucky right now. Second match in a row he should have had a goal with a great chip and it is cleared off the line again."
  21. 5.12.29 Newcastle Newcastle took advantage of Kings Langley mistakes in dumping the visitors 3-1 at St.James Park. After a closely played portion of the first half, Newcastle took the lead when Nordi Mukiele crossed and Weverton lost Pedro Goncalves for Goncalves to volley the cross past Aaron Maguire. Kings Langley looked to even the match when David Perez made a delicate chip over Andre Onana, only to see an amazing last ditch clearance off the line by Merih Demiral. Early in the second half Tolgahan Sahin was whistled for holding Teun Koopmeiners in the area and Koopmeiners converted the penalty at 62 minutes. A bad break saw Joel Bagan's tackle knock the ball right to Gabriel Vidovic for a simple finish at 69 minutes. Kings finally scored at 70 minutes when Zvezdan Dakovic escaped marking to run on to a long pass from Kevin Gutierrez and slot it home. Newcastle (3) Kings Langley (1) POM- Gabriel Vidovic, Newcastle "Not much luck at all and just silly mistakes," sighed Havel. "I am pissed about Goncalves goal. He was offside and VAR just missed it." "Can't do anything about it though. It was frustrating."
  22. 1.12.29 Wolves Supersub Agustin Lopez came on in the second half and keyed Kings Langley's 2-0 victory over Wolves at Kings Langley Stadium. The first half featured little action as neither side had much luck at playing through the defense and a majority of the possession remained in the middle of the pitch. The introduction of Lopez keyed improved play from Kings Langley and Lopez picked out an unmarked Vladimir Bocanegra. Bocanegra blistered a rising shot past Luis Maximiano from 30 yards for the lead at 63 minutes. Kings clinched the win minutes later as Elkan Baggott rose above everyone to head a Lopez corner past Maximiano. Joe Gelhardt had the best opportunity for Wolves, but Aaron Maguire preserved the clean sheet with a terrific reaction save. Kings Langley (2) Wolves (0) POM- Elkan Baggott, Kings Langley "Agustin really boosted us today," offered Stewart. "I may have to go back to him starting. Bob Bell hasn't played well in the middle and he isn't generating any offense. Having Lopez starting again would get our best set piece player in the match." "I wish I had an idea on how to break David Perez's slump. He had three excellent chances again today, but just isn't finishing right now." "I still have confidence in him and he will have plenty of chances with Julio Cesar Garcia missing the next couple months at least with his disc issue." "Yeah, that sucked. We finish his new contract and the next day the disc issue in his back comes up. " "I sent him to the Specialist. We need him fixed up correctly for the long term."
  23. 25.11.29 Bournemouth Televised Match The surprise team of the Premier so far, Bournemouth, showed Kings Langley why they have been successful this season as they fought hard in an evenly played 1-1 draw at Eddie Howe Stadium. Bournemouth had the better of the opening play and Aaron Maguire was called on for a timely stop on Luiz Vazquez in the opening moments. Kings found their footing midway through the half and took the lead when Tolgahan Sahin clipped a pass through to Vladimir Bocanegra. Bocanegra, cutting in from the left wing chipped his shot past Mark Travers at 38 minutes. A costly mistake by Weverton as he misjudged a Travers goal kick and allowed Vazquez in free on Maguire to equalize at 41 minutes. Kings Langley squandered several good chances in the second half as Zvezdan Dakovic hit each post on open looks and Julio Cesar Garcia fired over the bar twice when in alone on Travers. Jeremy Doku gave Kings fits down the left flank and was denied a late match winner as he smashed his shot off the crossbar. Bouremouth (1) Kings Langley (1) POM- Luis Vazquez, Bournemouth "If we could just get our strikers going, we could be winning some of these draws," muttered Stewart. "Bad luck for Dakovic. Julio couldn't put the ball on goal at all today- that disappointed me." "Another costly mistake by Weverton." "He has to play right now because of injuries, but yes he wasn't at his best again today."
  24. 10.11.29 Brentford Televised Match Kings Langley sent their hoome faithful home happy as they fought back twice and then were able to net a late match winner in a 3-2 win. Brentford struck for the halftime lead as Andre Anderson laid a pass off for Andrew Toney to snap past Aaron Maguire at 21 minutes. Kings Langley equalized at halftime as Bruno Trautwein sent a searching pass that found Julio Cesar Garcia breaking in and Garcia slid his shot underneath a sprawling Akis Kabas. Brentford moved back in front at 50 minutes when Adson's corner was headed past Maguire by Japhet Tangana. Kings fought back to even again at 6 minutes when Jalaal Saeed headed Vladimir Bocanegra's corner in for his 1st Kings Langley goal. The match winner came at 79 minutes when Kevin Gutierrez blazed down the right and crossed from the byline back for Zvezdan Dakovic to flick past Kabas. Maguire preserved the win as he tipped a rising blast from Moises Caicedo over the bar in the waning moments. Kings Langley (3) Brentford (2) POM-Zvezdan Dakovic, Kings Langley "That is the kind of match that can really boost your season," commented a pleased Havel. "We may be young as a side, but they are showing a lot of fight." "It wasn't a perfect match, but the three points are very welcome." *** 19.11.29 News "Is it true?" asked Stewart. "What." said Havel as he looked up from the report he was reviewing. "That you turned down an interview for the Chelsea job." "That is true. I had no wish to leave here to replace Pep Guardiola. We are on the cusp of great things here and I want to enjoy it." *** 24.11.29 Player News Kings Langley will be without the services of young centerback Jalaal Saeed after the 19 year old Wonderkid was diagnosed with a sports hernia. Saeed is expected to be out 6 weeks with the injury.
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