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About ajcardall

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    Engineering, FM, football, cricket

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    Sheff Weds
  1. Good evening, readers! This update will be painfully brief. The wife has been suffering badly with pregnancy sickness today, so I'm just throwing the end of season table up while she is passed out on the sofa. As you can see in the link, we managed to make it three-in-three in terms of promotions, and will be in the giddy heights of League One next season. The next update may take a while given the wife's sickly state, so I ask for your patience and understanding! Thanks for your anticipated support and patience! Rest assured, the story of Leamington's phenomenal rise will continue! Thanks, deltablue! We did have favourable draws throughout our run, the most challenging draw on paper was West Ham at home which we managed to over come. Sadly, as expected, the gulf in class between ourselves and Liverpool was several bridges too far. For reference: Liverpool secured the BPL title and the FA Cup in the 2016/17 season!
  2. Oops. But... Quarter Finals of the FA Cup. I'd have called you mad if you'd have told me that at the start of the season. Just hoping the humiliating defeat (6-0 at half team.... just like watching Brazil.... ) doesn't crush the lads!
  3. Votes cast. Some may not be eligible, but as a relatively new comer (or returning member, rather), I'm basing this on stuff I've read over the past month or two. Not ideal, I know...
  4. LEAMINGTON F.C. 2016/17 League Two August to December League Fixtures A cracking start to life as a professional football team, with a 5-0 drubbing of Crawley Town coming in our second fixture, and a 4-1 victory over pre-season promotion candidates AFC Wimbledon. The 3-2 reverse against Mansfield Town was frustrating, as we were 2-0 up, but 3 late goals saw us come away with nothing to show for our efforts. Consistency has been hard to come by, but this has been the same story for most teams this year, and the top of the table is very, very open. League Table At the turn of the year, we found ourselves in 3rd place. We have been top on brief occassions, but for the most part, Southend have been perched at the top of the pile. With just 9 points separating 1st and 10th place, it is very fluid at the top of the table at the moment. Past Positions This graphic demonstrates the openness at the top. We have bounced around a bit, but always found ourselves in a playoff/promotion spot, so no complaints. Carlisle's jump from 11th to 4th just shows how much a few victories can change the balance of power, ensuring a very thrilling and exciting promotion race so far this season. 2016/17 FA Cup Fixtures and Results A 5-1 thrashing over Bradford, and a solid 2-0 victory against Burton have seen us make progress into the 3rd Round of the FA Cup, where a home time against West Ham awaits. Everyone loves a giant killing, right.....? 2016/17 League Cup Fixtures and Results When life hands you lemons, you capitulate. 2016/17 Johnstone's Paint Trophy Fixtures and Results A second round penalty defeat to Wycombe was a blow, but the low attendance shows how little interest the fans had in the competiton. Off the Field News Job Offers Since the start of the season, I have either been linked with, or invited to interview for, no fewer than 13 jobs from clubs around the UK. The most prominent of the links was with the vacant Middlesbrough position, which would have seen me step up from League Two to the Championship! However, I refused all advances as I'm very happy with life in the Midlands, and we're enjoying our successes in the league so far. There are only two (realistic) job offers that would give me something to seriously think about: Sheffield Wednesday (fan!) or Chesterfield (home town team). Club Finances Our bank balance is still positive, but we are operating at a loss so far this season, and are projected to finish the season in the red. However, a good cup run (hint?) or promotion should ensure we avoid running into our overdraft. I apologise for the lack of cropping in the screen caps this time around, as well as the general brevity of this update. I've been dealing with a two year old on a huuuuge temper tantrum all day today....!
  5. Thanks, Craigus89! Glad you are enjoying it! Cheers, deltablue! Coping very well in League 2. I'll have the first half of the season update later, and we are right in the mix for promotion. We're not as consistent as we were in the non-leagues, but that was to be expected, but we are definitely surprising a lot of people so far. Accrington, who came up alongside us, are also exceeding all expectations and are flirting with the promotion places, too.
  6. Understood - thanks anyway!
  7. Hey people! Just a quick question: is there a save-game compatible "fix" for the generic non-licensed Competition/Team (eg, Champs League, Bundeslia, Schalke 04 etc...) names? Similarly, is there a "fix" for the German, Japanese and Korean national teams? I don't want to restart my career, as things are going well, and I'm enjoying the story, but at the same time the 'false' names are starting to bug me more and more, and if there's a way that I can apply a fix that will work for my save game, I'd be delighted. I did a quick google search, but most of the db fixes that are save-game compatible don't appear to work for the 'latest' patch.
  8. LEAMINGTON F.C. 2016/17 Pre Season Build-Up Transfers In/Out As we make the step up to the professional leagues, it was necessary to bring in some new faces who can provide a little extra to the squad. Despite our good season, I have my doubts over the ability of the players - some of whom who have been part of the team since the Conference North - to keep us in the football league. It's hard not to feel a tinge of sympathy for the players who grafted for us in the non-leagues, but football is a results driven business, and to ensure we get the results, a better calibre of players are required. Selected Player Profiles The following players are the ones I feel can do a good job for us in the season ahead: Remi Matthews - Goalkeeper Signed on a free transfer from Ipswich Town, Remi shall become my starting goalkeeper straight away. A decent looking goalkeeper for a League Two signed, and for a free transfer, it is hard to resist. Jack Midson - Striker Signed for a measley £550 from Eastleigh, I'm hoping Jack can lead the line well for us. Boasting high fitness levels, work rate and determination, he strikes me as a player who will never say stop trying for his time. The return of just 12 goals in 55 games for Eastleigh is a concern, but I'm hoping he will suit our style of play and be more prolific. Alex Rodman - Attacking Midfielder A player comfortable on both wings, I shall be using him in place of Lee Moore, who pales in comparison, down the left flank. Luke Hubbins shall remain our starting right winger, out of loyalty for the club captain who has been brilliant for us in the previous two seasons, but Alex's ability to play down the left or right make him extremely versatile, a great trait to have. Friendly Results We began with a very successful tour of Wales, followed by the usual formula of a mixture of lesser quality mixed with higher quality opposition. The 2-0 victory over Hull was the highlight, and the new faces that have been brought in seem to have adapted and blended in well. No real concerns thrown up by the friendly matches, but we shall see come August just how ready we are for life in League 2. Financial News During the summer, we were the subject of a takeover by a local businessman, Joe Campbell. Sadly, he is no sugar daddy, and the only real change is I now have to answer to a different face than I did previously. There were no rumours or notions of replacing me as manager, and the whole takeover was completed very quickly. A very dull buy out, one could say. League Predictions Much the same as the previous season, we have been made rank outsiders by the experts and the bookmakers, with odds of 2000/1 offered on us getting promoted. However, as we proved last season, the bookies can (and do) make mistakes, so we shall be paying this very little attention indeed. Squad Numbers Announced The biggest news here is that Remi Matthews has been given the number 1 jersey to reflect his status as out first choice keeper, with Liam Maher now taking the number 13 shirt. New England Boss Appointed Following Roy Hodgson's victorious Euro 2016 campaign, he stepped down as England manager and went into legend amongst the English fans. The FA wasted little time in appointing a successor, and Jorge Jesus, formerly of Manchester United, is the new supremo.
  9. LEAMINGTON F.C. Euro 2016 Group Stages There were a few shocks in the early stages of the tournament, with Spain continuing from their shocking world cup form, and exiting the competition in the group stages, without recording a single victory. Elsewhere, Ireland managed to top their group, winning all three matches, while the Netherlands were also eliminated in the group stages. England qualified with ease, scoring an impressive eight goals in their three group matches. Tree The major shock is ENGLAND WON EURO 2016! Final
  10. Aside from a few saves with Kaizer Chiefs, I've never done much in Africa, so I'm enjoying reading through this one. KUTGW!
  11. You're not wrong, promotion can be a double-edged sword in certain twisted respects. Our facilities are poor, but they are being upgraded, thankfully. The stadium is being overhauled in as much as areas of terrace are being replaced with seating, but there are not capacity expansions this time around!
  12. LEAMINGTON F.C. Vanarama Conference January to May 2016 started horribly for us and it took until the middle of February until we were able to win a league game, a run that saw us surrender the top spot to promotion contenders Eastleigh. We held an emergency team meeting to ensure the lads' heads didn't drop, and it seemed to work, as we broke the rut in a ding-dong 6-3 victory over Braintree. The final run in saw us lose just 3 games, drawing 2, meaning we dropped just 11 points out of 39. Going in to our last three matches, we needed 5 points to guarantee top spot. The pressure got to the lads, and we ended up securing just one point. Fortune was on our side, however, as Eastleigh failed to capitalise on our inability to put the race to bed, and ended up dropping points as we did. It fell to the Kidderminster game, a point - or an Eastleigh defeat - and we would be champions. We fluffed our own lines, but thankfully so did Eastleigh, and despite losing 3-2, we had secured the title and with it, promotion to the football league! Final Table It is hard not to feel sympathy for Eastleigh. Hot on our tails for most of the season, and top of the league in early 2016, it all ended in tears in the playoffs as Accrington managed to secure promotion. Off the Field Financial News Things are still looking healthy in financial terms, and the board have once again announced a stadium upgrade to ensure we meet the football league criteria for stadia. It does mean the club has had to take our further finance to cover the costs, and with the costs of going professional (increased wages, full-time contracts etc), it means I'll be hoping that the New Windmill Ground is packed out upon completion to help offset and get on top of the associated costs. On the brighter side, we have doubled our old sponsorship agreements, as local businesses flock to support the now professional team from Leamington. We also received £120K for our final league position, which will help provide a nice cash buffer for the club. Contract News In recognition for the outsanding achievement and our double-winning season, the board have seen fit to offer me a new contract. I had no hesitation in accepting the offer. Provisional Budgets Set Excited by the increase in wage budgets, most of which will doubtless be eaten up when our squad who shall be retained are offered full time deals. However, there will be a clearing out of dead wood that will free up some salary allowance. I shall also look for free transfers, and thus adjust the budgets accordingly by reducing the transfer kitty. Around the Leagues Here are the final tables and competition results from around England and Europe: Premier League Championship League One League Two Conference Conference North Conference South FA Cup League Cup Johnstone's Paint Trophy FA Trophy Community Shield Champions League Europa League Liga BBVA Ligue 1 Serie A Bundesliga Eredivise Expectations Review Last season, I said the aim was to consolidate and to survive, with an outside view of a mid-table finish if things went well. Naturally, these expectations were smashed. We also exceeded my own aims for the FA Trophy, but fell short in the FA Cup. Avoid Relegation FA Cup First Round FA Trophy Semi Final Next Season I would be very, very surprised if we were to have such a successful season next year, as I fancy the step up to be a very large one, and a lot of changes need to be made in terms of personnel. I'm looking at avoiding relegation in terms of league goals. As far as the cup competitions are concerned, a 2nd Round appearance in the FA Cup and League Cup would be nice financially, and for the Johnstone's Paint, the Quarter Finals would be nice. Avoid Relegation FA Cup: 2nd Round League Cup: 2nd Round JPT: QF
  13. The season isn't quite finished yet, but we need 5 from our remaining 3 games to secure top spot. Should have been more comfortable, but we had a shocking start to 2016 and couldn't buy a win! Thanks! I'll have the end of season round-up posted later today. As I mentioned above, it featured a torrid Jan. At one point we had two wins in 13 games! Exactly! Not the most prestigious, but I'd rather have it in our cabinet that somewhere else. The FA Trophy actually provided a nice tonic during our shocking run of form. It looks certain now that we'll be upgrading to the Johnstone's Paint next year
  14. LEAMINGTON F.C. The FA Trophy The Build-Up Contesting the FA Trophy this season are Halifax FC, and Leamington. The game marks Leamington's second appearance in the final in two years, losing last year 2-1 to Wrexham. In the pre-match press conferences, both managers had their say. Press Conferences I shall be continuing with a possession based approach, with emphasis on testing the opposition goalkeeper as often as possible. Halifax boss Neil Aspin played down the occassion: However, after the heartache of falling at the last hurdle in the previous season, its definitely not just "one more fixture" in my eyes. Any silverware at this level is a huge boost, both financially and for the stature of the club, so while Neil Aspin may be talking down the importance of the game, I shalln't be taking the same view. Pre-Match Predictions The bookmakers put us as slight favourites, while Sky Sports News are predicting a Halifax victory, albeit after a close encounter. The Game Dream Start for Halifax! De-ja vu for Cardall! (0-10 minutes) Halifax 1 -0 Leamington Halifax made a bright start and went ahead after 10 minutes of play thanks to a Will Hatfield goal. Visions of last season started to appear. From the touchline, I told the players to calm down and not to get too disheartened. Several of the players featured in the defeat last season, notably Aron Wint, Declan Gordon and Jordon Goddard. My only concern right now was making sure the goal didn't affect our game plan. We were behind, but there was still a lot of football left to the played. We just needed to focus on our game and have the confidence and belief in ourselves and our gameplan. Leamington begin to play (10-20 minutes) Halifax 1 - 0 Leamington Tentatively, we began to play our game and started to dominate possession. Halifax were lined up tight at the back, and breaking them down was proving tricky and difficult. Frustration began to creep in and we kept giving away silly fouls. Once again, I called for calm. The boys responded. We start probing, peppering the Halifax goal with shots. However, we couldn't find the goal to bring us back on level terms. Aron Wint Levels the Game! (20-30 minutes) Halifax 1-1 Leamington Our patient approach paid dividends in the 28th minute. After a good passing move, Luke Hubbins supplied a superb through-ball to top scorer Aron Wint, who cooly slotted past the on-coming keeper, and tied the game up 1-1! I was still mindful of last season, when we leveled against Wrexham, only to be undone by a last minute winner. I wasn't about to let the history repeat itself. Yellow for Sellers (FC Halifax) (30-40 minutes) Halifax 1 - 1 Leamington Following the equaliser, Ryan Sellers saw yellow for a crunching tackle against Frederick Champion. Halifax enjoyed a spell of good football following the equaliser, and a top notch save from Liam Maher kept us level at 1-1 as we neared half time. The perfect time to score! (40-45 minutes) Halifax 1 - 2 Leamington As the half-way point approached, Aron Wint struck again in the 44th minute to send us into the lead. It was a scrappy goal following a corner, but neither me nor the 10,000 or so traveling Leamington fans were about to complain. Focus is the name of the game (Half time team talk) I was assertive in the dressing room, reminding the players that yes, we'd scored at a crucial time and were now on a high, but there was another 45 minutes of football to play yet, and to remain focused on the task in hand and see the game through. Halifax would no doubt come out all guns blazing, seeking for a early equaliser to settle their own nerves, so we would soak up the pressure for the first 10 minutes, before looking to put the game beyond all doubt. Most of the players nodded in agreement, and seemed to gain focus. This was it, 45 minutes to go.... The counter the wasn't (45-55 minutes) Halifax 1 - 2 Leamington For all my talk of inevitable pressure, it never came! Halifax did have the majority of possession after the restart, but they threatened very little, bar a few long-rang shots that gave Maher not trouble at all. We were able to defend outside of our 18 yard box, and Halifax didn't look like breaking our lines. Had the goal just before half time crushed their spirit? Yellow for Pearson (55-65 minutes) Halifax 1 - 2 Leamington In a relatively quiet passage, the only real highlight was the yellow card for Halifax man Matty Pearson in the 63rd minute. As far as I was concerned, quiet was good. Quiet ate up the time, and every minute that ticked by, we drew closer to glory. Hubbins makes it three! (65-75 minutes) Halifax 1 - 3 Leamington In the 70th minute the game was put out of Halifax's reach. Luke Hubbins, our right-wing wizard, made it 3-1 with a whipped free kick from just outside the box. The Halifax players looked utterly deflated, and it seemed they knew the game was beyond them. In the stands, the Leamington fans sang the praises of Luke Hubbins, the man who had just seemingly put the game to bed. Leamington press for a fourth! (75-90 minutes) Halifax 1 - 3 Leamington Despite the two-goal cushion, we continued to press and try our luck. We dominated possession in the last 15 minutes, and Halifax were just chasing shadows. Attack after attack bore down on the Halifax goal, but we were unable to score a fourth. Not that it mattered at all. After 4 minutes (plus change) stoppage time, Mark Clatterburg called time, and we had banished the ghosts of last season. We had won the FA Trophy! Fallout and Reaction
  15. LEAMINGTON F.C. 2015/16 August --> December August - December League Fixtures | League Table | FA Cup Fixtures | FA Trophy Fixtures League Fixtures and Results An amazing start to life in the Vanarama Conference, with just three defeats so far leaving us in first place above Eastleigh. The team took no time at all in replicating the form that saw us promoted as champions last season, producing some amazing performances against the likes of Aldershot (6-0) and Ebbsfleet (4-0). The Ebbsfleet victory was especially special coming off of a weekend defeat to Eastleigh at home, who have been hot on our heels for most of the season, and find themselves in second place. All told, it leaves the table looking like this: A decent six-point lead over Eastleigh, and a very strong goal difference, which could prove vital towards the end of the season. Our home form has been superb, conceding just 7 goals in 13 matches so far, making the New Windmill Ground a tricky obstacle for teams to overcome. Our form away from home has also been very pleasing, however Eastleigh top us in the away form stakes, as they currently stand unbeaten on their travels! Cup Competitions A disappointing early-exit from the FA Cup at the hands of Kidderminster, so there was to be no repeat of last season where we reached the First Round. However, the board expectations for the competition were met, so there was no real negative feedback emanating from the directors. It is a better story as far as the FA Trophy is concerned, with a hard-fought victory away at Macclesfield setting up a trip to Sutton Utd in the 2nd Round. As you may remember, last season we managed to reach the final, and while a repeat performance will be tough, I'm at least hoping we can progress a little further in this competiton. STAR PERFORMER Jordan Goddard Our midfield playmaker has been brilliant this season, with an average rating of 7.36 in the League so far. CLUB FINANCES We're operating at a loss for the sum of a season thus far, but we have recently returned to the upgraded and expanded New Windmill Ground, which has seen a sharp rise in match day attendances and revenue, accounting for the healthy profit made last month. The club have also completed works on the Youth Facilities upgrade, which I'm hoping will help bring through a better class of young stars. Naturally I'm not expecting us to unearth the next Ronaldo or Messi! OTHER NEWS A Man in Demand I was offered a string of interviews from various clubs following our brilliant start to life in the Conference. I declined the overtures of all clubs. For reference, I was approached by: Torquay United Glenavon Galway United University College Dublin Forest Green Bury Bristol Rovers Altrincham The Bury position did tempt me briefly, as they are in League Two and thus would have been a step-up, but given the very encouraging start we have made, I have no doubts that we shall be in League Two ourselves in the near future. As for the other interview requests, most represented a step down to teams below us in the Conference, or to nations that didn't offer the same potential for growth and as England (Ireland and Northern Ireland). New Contract Signed Whether because of on-the-field performances, or in an attempt to stave off would-be suitors, the board deemed it the right time to offer me a new contract just prior to Christmas. I had no hesitation in putting pen to paper. As you may notice, I raised league expectations following our amazing start, and added two job remits - possession football, and a development of youth players. The Other Divisions Here's a look at the other English league tables as they stand at present The Premier League Championship League One League Two