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PaulHartman71

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About PaulHartman71

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    International Squad

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    Blue Pants City

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    The Arsenal

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    Huaxia Xingfu & China NT

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  1. Virgin Football

    David James sacked by Walsall Many were tipping David James for a successful career in management after 4 consecutive promotions as Head Coach of VS Croydon took them to the Championship, but it looks like James' choice to jump ship to League 1 Walsall has backfired massively. Just a week before Christmas, the West Midlands-based side have sacked him for poor league performance. It looks like the grass wasn't greener after all.
  2. Virgin Football

    Tom Huddlestone and James Wilson among summer signings at VS Sports Virgin Sports have made a number of summer signings ahead of their maiden season in the English 2nd flight, with the most noteworthy being the £250K signing of experienced defensive midfielder, Tom Huddlestone. They've also taken a chance on striker James Wilson, formerly of Man United, he was released by fellow Championship side QPR, after a fairly unimpressive 2 year spell of just 5 goals in 34 games. He has the opportunity to rejuvenate his career at Virgin Sports, who will be hoping he can reach the potential he was once expected to achieve when he was coming through at United. Their most expensive transfer of the summer was the £1M move to bring in Ainsley Maitland-Niles, the 24 year old midfielder has spent the last few years in the Championship for Ipswich, but following their relegation to League 1 he was keen to move on. The other "big money" deal was the £575K transfer to bring in Matthew Connolly from Cardiff City, the defender may be past his best but he will still surely do a decent job for a side desperate to make a good first impression in the division. They secured some more Championship experience by paying £210K for Bristol City's Frank Fielding, with around 10 years of experience in the sticks in the Championship, he should be a great pick-up. The full list of signings made by VS Sports this summer can be found below:
  3. Virgin Football

    BREAKING NEWS: Sol Campbell is shock choice for new Head Coach at Virgin Sports In an incredible move that has left pundits and bookies alike in utter shock, Virgin Sports have decided to hire Sol Campbell as their replacement for David James. The former England international and 2-time Premier League winner with Arsenal, has put pen to paper on a deal that will see initially see him take the reigns for 2 years. Tony Adams, who Sol once played alongside with at Highbury, will remain as the club's Assistant and is rumoured to be delighted to work alongside his former team-mate. Much like his predecessor, Sol has very little experience in coaching and management, with only a 4 year spell as Assistant Manager for Trinidad & Tobago to Dennis Lawrence on his CV. But this hasn't stopped Virgin bosses from thinking he's the right man for the job, with higher ups reportedly very impressed with his interview. Alan Curbishley, who many speculated would take the Head Coach role himself, has been hired as the new Director to replace the outgoing Terry Butcher. A whole host of other staff changes have been made this summer, with Kieran Richardson being promoted to manager of the U23 side, with recently retired Fabian Delph being appointed U18 manager. Joe Cole, Jason Puncheon and Stephen Warnock have also joined the backroom staff with varying roles in the U23 and U18 setup. No incoming signings have been made yet, but Phil Hart, Head of Recruitment, is said to be keen to add some Championship experience to their midfield, with the London-based team so far having been linked to Derby's Tom Huddlestone, Sheffield United's Mark Noble and Wolves' Henri Lansbury.
  4. Virgin Football

    BREAKING NEWS: David James has left his role as Head Coach to become the new Manager at League 1 side Walsall In a move that has taken many people by surprise, Virgin Sports Croydon have announced today that their Head Coach, David James, has decided to part with the club following their promotion to the Championship to take over as full-time manager of Walsall. Walsall's long running manager, Jon Whitney, resigned from his post this summer which left a vacancy at the League 1 team. A source close to David James has said although he thoroughly enjoyed his 4 year stint at VS Sports, he found the pressure and lack of control of signings "exhausting" and that he was delighted at the prospect of being able to take full control of a club himself. David James was very quick to thank everyone at VS Sports for the "incredible and life-changing" opportunity, which gave him managerial experience that he couldn't have got anywhere else. He described his time at the club as "extremely positive" and said he would be forever grateful to both the backroom staff as well as all the players that have turned out for him over the years. It's also been reported that when the offer from Walsall came in, Richard Branson personally signed off the move, stating that David James deserved to do best by him, considering his "invaluable" contributions to the club's early history. Bookies have been speculating as to who James' replacement will be, with the club set to begin it's first ever season in the Championship, you would expect them to hire a manager with experience in the division - but it's also been speculated that many managers are "put off" by the hierarchy in place at the club. In what would be a truly sensational appointment, Alan Curbishley, currently Director of Football at League 2's Forest Green Rovers, has emerged as a front runner for the job, with Sky Bet placing him as a 2/1 favorite - amid rumored sightings of him in Croydon. Others believe that VS Croydon could look to an internal solution, with David James' number 2, Tony Adams, looking like a possible candidate. Kieran Richardson, who joined the U18 coaching set-up following his retirement could also be in with a chance of landing the job, as many at Virgin have dubbed him to have "a huge future" in coaching, but at just 37 he may have to wait a few years before they give the big job to him. Another position that will need replacing this summer will be the role of Director, as Terry Butcher, who has been in the role since the club's initial Conference South days, has this week announced that he will be retiring in the next few weeks. It is thought that Ray Wilkins, current first-team coach at the club, could end up filling this role.
  5. Virgin Football

    Aaron Lennon cross turned in by Yeovil defender sends Virgin Sports to Championship promise land! Yeovil's dream of a return to the Championship for the first time in 7 years were thwarted at Wembley this evening, as Aaron Lennon set-up the only goal of the game. He put in a hopeful cross in the 65th minute and young 18 year old Nathan Hartley's clumsy trailing leg put it past his own keeper. This secured a 4th consecutive promotion for David James and VS Croydon, following a 8-5 aggregate victory in an eventful set of Semi Finals with Oxford United. Many fans have heralded Phil Hart's move to bring in Cameron Jerome on a free transfer in January as being a move which inspired the side to go up, as the 34 year old target man finished with 10 goals in 18 appearances in League 1 - some of them proving critical in securing the London outfit's spot in the Playoffs. Aaron Lennon and Matty Done, the team's two wide men were also fantastic for the club this season, despite some critics claiming that Matty Done was more Welsh than English, although the former Rochdale and Sheffield United man was born in England and has never represented either Wales or England at international level. Cassian Thomas again impressed this season, with the central midfielder now having been a key squad member in 4 different divisions for his team. Statistical information for Virgin Sports' season in League 1 can be found below:
  6. Virgin Football

    VS Croydon bring in Cameron Jerome to increase bid for promotion By all accounts, VS Croydon's maiden season in League 1 has gone fairly well - in mid-January they currently sit in 6th place, with the prospect of a spot in the Playoffs looking like it could happen. However, that hasn't stopped Phil Hart from bringing in a reinforcement in this winter window - Cameron Jerome, now 34, has been a meddling Premier League and Championship striker for the last decade, turning out for the likes of Birmingham, Stoke and Norwich City, before he was released in the summer. He's been without a club since then, but he's finally found a suitor in League 1's Virgin Sports side. Jerome brings with him a wealth of experience and should be a real threat at League 1 level, with 4 months of the season to go, his goal threat could be the crucial difference in whether David James can bring an unprecedented 4th consecutive promotion, which would see the Croydon-based side compete in the Championship from next season. The VS faithful will be looking forward to seeing star winger, Aaron Lennon, crossing in balls to Jerome, as the winger they signed in the summer has been producing the goods in a big way, quickly becoming a favorite with the 2,000 or so home fans that turn up on a regular basis.
  7. Virgin Football

    Aaron Lennon and Scott Dann among Virgin Sports new signings ahead of their debut League 1 season VS Croydon have today announced that former England international, Aaron Lennon, has joined the club on a free transfer, with long-time Premier League defender, Scott Dann, also arriving at the club ahead of the new season. Lennon especially has been seen as a very handy pick-up, following his summer release from Premier League side Crystal Palace who he joined from Everton just 2 years ago. The winger, capped 21 times by England, may not be as pacey as he once was at 33 years old, but the experienced winger should do really well at League 1 level. Scott Dann, 32, was also released by Palace in the summer, despite barely featuring for the last few seasons, Dann's experience and defensive qualities will again, come in very handy for a side at this level, especially a newly promoted one. 7 other free signings were made by Phil Hart this summer, with the most notable being Martin Cranie, a defender who has played well for the likes of Huddersfield, Barnsley and Coventry in the Championship throughout the last 10 years. They will join a spine of English players that includes central midfielder Cassian Thomas, who at just 21 has played in more VS Croydon matches (152) than any other player in their short history, as well as goalkeeper Sam Slocombe, who joined last season and has been dubbed good enough to make the step-up to League 1 football. Jake Kenyon, 21, has been with the side since their Conference National stint and the left back looks set to be first choice again this season. It will be interesting to see if striker, Dayle Southwell can make the step-up, as his goals in both the Conference (22) and League 2 (23) have played a huge part in their continued success. It would be a real story if he could score 20+ goals in 3 different divisions in consecutive seasons. One player who won't feature for them next season is Kieran Richardson, who decided to retire from football just minutes after the Wembley success. He's elected to begin his coaching career at Virgin Sports, as from next season he will be the manager of their U23 side. Matty Taylor, former Portsmouth, West Ham and Bolton player, has joined the club as Richardson's assistant. The full list of signings made by VS Croydon can be found below: Martin Cranie (Oldham) Scott Dann (Crystal Palace) Matty Done (Rochdale) Jack Dunn (Oxford) Tyler Forbes (Bradford City) Matt Godden (Stevenage) Alex Kiwomya (Doncaster) Aaron Lennon (Crystal Palace) Louis Reed (Bradford City)
  8. Virgin Football

    Have around £4M in the bank but as I've got Branson as an Underwriter he pumps money in now and then. Started the save with £10/15M in the bank to try and keep it a bit realistic, as you'd probably start with that much then gradually pump more in as you go up the leagues. I don't think I'm going to buy anyone until the Championship, as in League 1 the difference in quality between players I'd pick up on freebies and players I'd pay decent League 1 money for isn't thaaaat high really. Not sure we'll go up first time, as we were lucky to go up from League 2 in the Playoffs, think our squad depth compared to other sides was what did it for us in the end. The Championship will be where it gets really interesting. However, Brexit is coming which could make things a bit weird. In the test run I did it made it so that there was a foreigner limit of 17 a squad, but in League 1/Championship it was more or less impossible to get a foreign player in on a free or normal transfer from a non-English team. So it will probably drive up both the demand and price of the best English talent.
  9. Virgin Football

    https://we.tl/R4zhTPn1ZY Think that should work
  10. Virgin Football

    Cassian Thomas strike sends VS Croydon into League 1! There were jubilant scenes at Wembley today, as former Fulham youth prospect, Cassian Thomas, sent his side into the promise land, as Carlisle failed in their bid to reach the 3rd tier for the first time in 5 years. Thomas, 21, has been one of the real success stories of the Virgin Project in Croydon, as he was originally signed on a free transfer when they were still in the Conference South, he's established himself as a first team regular since then so it seems fitting that he was the one that got the goal to secure passage to League 1. This will open the question as to whether Richard Branson will now choose to invest a bit more money in the side, who thus far have only been permitted to make use of the free transfer market, which admittedly can be quite useful when you have the highest wage budget in the league. But League 1 is a different ball game and is a considerably harder league to get out of than League 2, with its 4 promotion spaces. Although we in the media were quick to write off VS Croydon from even getting promoted from League 2 this season, so perhaps they do know what they're doing at Virgin after all. One thing that is unsure is David James' future. He's lead the side from the 6th tier to the 3rd as Head Coach, which has helped shine a light on him, as it is being widely reported that recently relegated League 1 side, Southend United, are very interested in making him their new full-time manager after sacking Michael Flynn. Whilst this would be a step down for James who has just won promotion to League 1 with VS Croydon, some journalists believe he would still be interested in the Southend role due to the greater amount of influence and control he would wield at the club, since at VS Croydon he has very limited input on transfers. Statistical information on Virgin Sports Croydon's season in League 2 can be found below:
  11. Virgin Football

    Yeah should be able to get one up at some point tonight
  12. Virgin Football

    VS Croydon upset the odds to qualify for League 2 Playoffs Despite being backed to go back down to the Conference this season after their lack of summer investment, the Virgin backed League 2 side have finished 7th in League 2, qualifying for the Playoffs in the process. This could lead to an incredible 3 promotions in 3 seasons, which would represent real progress from David James and his team. The strike force of Harry Smith and Dayle Southwell have done them well this season, with Cassian Thomas and Jacob Mellis in midfield also impressing. Virgin Sports' first venture into the League Cup saw a 3-1 loss at Cardiff, with their FA Cup hopes shattered by League 1's Gillingham in the 1st Round after taking them to a replay. They reached the 3rd round of EFL Trophy, but were eliminated by Luton Town of League 1. One big topic of debate this season has been the continued lack of interest by the locals in watching VS Croydon, as so far this season they've recorded the lowest average attendance out of anyone - just 1,898 people, although this number could well be boosted up to over 2,000 if they get a decent crowd for their home Semi Final leg in the Playoffs against Doncaster Rovers.
  13. Virgin Football

    VS Croydon sign JUST FOUR players as they prepare for debut League 2 campaign Bookies have tipped Virgin Sports Croydon to be challenging for relegation this season, with Head of Recruitment, Phil Hart making just 4 signings this summer, to a side that many consider very fortunate to have gotten promoted in the first place. Fraser Franks (Stevenage), Jacob Mellis (Bury), Terell Thomas (Wigan) and Sam Slocombe (Blackpool) are the only players to join the club, all free transfers following their releases in the summer. They join former Wigan, Cardiff and Norwich player, Leon Barnett, who at just 33 years old decided to retire in the summer to pursue a career in coaching - he begins this at VS Croydon, as he replaces outgoing Head of Youth Development, Neil Redfearn who has joined Bolton. Some believe that Richard Branson may have lost interest in the project and that's his reason for refusing to grant funds for further investment, although if the rumoured wages quoted in some newspapers are to be believed, VS Croydon will have one of, if not the highest wage bill in the entirety of League 2 this season. Kieran Richardson is believed to be on £5.5K pw, with Gabby Agbonlahor allegedly on £4.7K pw. There were rumours that former Man United youth prospect, Matt Willock was on trial over the summer, but it seems Phil Hart opted to stick with the likes of Cassian Thomas in midfield, showing faith to players that have helped guide from through their two back-to-back promotion campaigns. Or they could just be looking to save some money. We would certainly pay a penny for Head Coach, David James' thoughts on the window!
  14. Virgin Football

    20th May 2019 James takes the plaudits as VS Croydon secure 2nd successive promotion at Wembley VS Croydon confirmed their place in the Football League next season, with Josh Walker's late strike securing a 2-1 win against Salford. It had been a ropey end to the season for the David James and his team, as they only guaranteed their spot in the Playoffs on the final day of the season. They didn't have the easiest path to Wembley either, as they came from 2-1 down in extra-time to sink Aldershot away from home, before only scraping past Guiseley in a penalty shoot-out. The rumours were that James would be sacked if he failed to deliver promotion regardless of the the circumstances, so he'll surely be delighted that his side managed to achieve it in the end. Salford will perhaps feel aggrieved at failing to gain promotion themselves, as at some points during the season they were actually top of the table, so to ultimately end up missing out to VS Croydon will surely hurt the Class of 92 backed outfit. None of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, Gary or Phil Neville could be reached for comment, but none of the players have spoke too highly of Branson's brainchild when acting as pundits on TV. Some within the media have tried to discredit VS Croydon's achievement of promotion, with some suggesting that in actual fact to not win the competition outright was an underachievement - and if they fail to invest over the summer, they'll stand no chance in League 2. Perhaps the biggest story coming out of the club is that Nigel Redfearn is set to leave his role as Head of Youth Development to join Championship Bolton in the same role - there is currently no news on who Virgin Sports may replace him with. Statistical information for VS Croydon's season can be found below:
  15. Virgin Football

    6th January 2019 Former Premier League aces join non-league Virgin Sports Croydon! In a double move that is being season as a desperate attempt to try and bring automatic promotion via becoming champions, VS Croydon have signed Kieran Richardson and Gabby Agbonlahor, both free agents who have been without a club since the summer. Richardson has been on trial at the club for 3 weeks now, so his signing did not come as a big surprise, but Agbonlahor, who made 11 appearances for Aston Villa in the Championship last season, scoring just 1, has come as a big surprise and is a relatively out of the blue development. Both Richardson and Agbonlahor have been capped for England in the past and they both bring a wealth of Premier League experience too, with over 500 Premier League matches between them. They join a VS Croydon side sitting in 4th place, with 11 points being the difference between them and top of the table Salford City, who are hotly followed by Leyton Orient. Some are questioning the transfers as another case of "jobs for the boys" at VS Croydon, who some believe seem to care more about big names than actual talent. It is believed that Assistant Manager, Tony Adams, could have played a part in convincing Phil Hart and/or David James to bring them in, as he apparently wanted to bring in Kieran Richardson to La Liga when he was managing Granada. It isn't certain who it was exactly that has brought these players in, as whilst Head of Recruitment, Phil Hart, tends to be in control, it would be slightly out of character for him to bring in two aging players, as he'd often favoured young inexperienced players with potential. Perhaps Hart has theorised that to do well at this level in the National League you do need some experienced and physical characters in the team and in the dressing room, with Agbonlahor and Richardson both definitely sure to bring those qualities to the table. These two signings, on the rumoured wages that they are on, almost certainly put VS Croydon as the biggest wage spenders in the league this season, which puts more pressure on Head Coach, David James, to secure the promotion that Virgin are expecting. They have shown faith in James since hiring him at the start of this project, but if he should fail even with the addition of Richardson and Agbonlahor to his already decent looking squad, he may well find himself without a job come the end of the season.
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