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NormandyWept

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About NormandyWept

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  1. Wow, that's rough vikeologist! I see the international side of the tournament remains a difficult one, with opportunities so few and far between...
  2. After being inspired by the World Cup, I just logged in after a long absence and was delighted to see a notification that my exploits (referred to just a page ago) still live long in the memory! I'm a lot busier than I was a few years ago but I'm hopeful of catching up on your respective campaigns and maybe even joining again. Great to see this still going :-)
  3. NormandyWept

    The SAF Challenge

    Sir Alex Ferguson Challenge - Newcastle United - 2019/20 Transfers | Details Part 1& Part 2 Big-name free agent signings Ramires and Filip Kostic were joined by big-money young English defenders Mason Holgate and (club record signing) Ben Chilwell as we looked to bolster the first team as I planned in my last update. The squad overall is relatively stable and we have a good set of youngsters out getting experience on loan, but I'll keep looking for opportunities to upgrade our first team where possible. Season Performance | Competitions | Schedule Part 1 & Part 2 A fantastic season, as we were voted league overachievers after finishing in a brilliant 6th place - only denied 5th place on the final day when Tottenham scored two blatantly offside goals to come back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with us and stop us leapfrogging them. Thankfully, perforamnces in the domestic cups from teams above us mean that 6th is good enough for the Europa League Playoff and with it my first European campaign. The season of overachievement came in the nick of time: Mike Ashley finally sold up, replaced by a consortium headed by experienced football chairman Terry Robinson. With the team in great form as they took over, I was thankfully offered a new contract and therefore have managed to survive the takeover. The only mystifying thing about the new regime is that they felt the need to take a £48m loan on arrival, when the club has over £100m in the bank with more TV money due. However, it does seem they have ambitious plans to expand SJP and upgrade our facilities, so perhaps this explains it. We lost only seven league games all season: away to most of the big teams in the league and our perennial bogey team Derby County. This is fantastic and if we can simply turn a chunk of the many draws into wins, we'll be in contention for the top four. I'm optimistic of that after we had a much stronger second half of the campaign than the first. We got further than usual in the League Cup and looked to be having a superb FA Cup run too, but Man City and Chelsea put paid to our hopes. These games were evidence of a disturbing trend where we seem to be making a large number of individual mistakes in games against "big" teams. I'll be monitoring this closely to see if we need to sign some 'big-game' players to help our team through these games. Next Season As mentioned above, I'm hoping we can go one further and push for the top four, although we do have European competition to contend with so we'll have to see how the squad does: in theory I'm looking forward to more games for fringe and youth players, but we'll have to see how we can compete whilst doing this. Challenge Progress Domestic 0/13 Premier League titles 0/10 Community Shield wins 0/5 FA Cup wins 0/4 League Cup wins Continental 0/2 Champions League wins 0/1 Europa League wins* 0/1 European Super Cup wins Worldwide 0/1 World Club Championship * - Ferguson actually won the now-defunct Cup Winners' Cup. I'll settle for the Europa League, or a third Champions League trophy. Seasons Season League FA Cup Lg Cup Europe CWC Other & Notes ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2015/16 12 R4 Took over after 11 games, in 19th 2016/17 7 R4 R2 2017/18 9 R3 R2 2018/19 9 R5 R2 2019/20 6 R5 R4
  4. NormandyWept

    The SAF Challenge

    Sir Alex Ferguson Challenge - Newcastle United - 2018/19 Transfers | Schedule Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3 | Awards I am finding Football Manager 2016 much more difficult than the 2015 game. Breaking through to become a proper top team, in genuine contention for European qualification and trophies, is taking much longer than I would have expected and an inconsistent Newcastle ended this campaign like the last one, down in 9th place in the Premier League. It's just not as good as I'd like us to be and I need to figure out how I can really take us forward in the next couple of seasons. We were, however, bitterly unlucky in the FA Cup: again Manchester City were our conquerors, although we definitely deserved to go through to the 6th Round. Trailing 1-0 at home to City, we equalised through our goal of the season when Mitrovic blasted Hart's poor clearance back past him from fully 45 yards, and then took a late lead through Zapata only for City to score against the run of play in injury time to take the tie to a replay. We needn't have been daunted by another trip to the Eithad, however, as we absolutely dominated the game, but could score only once as Hart refused to make a second mistake after the miskick in the first game. The game went to penalties and City mercilessly scored all five of theirs to knock us out of the competition, effectively ending our season given our indifferent league form. Next Season A switch back to 4-1-4-1 did seem to give us some better results, although the 4-4-2 is the best way to get Cedric Bakambu firing it seems so will remain part of the repertoire. I think I also need to strengthen our first team more in the summer transfer window: I probably like my current team a bit too much, when I should be more like Fergie and mercilessly replace players. This is much more of a slog than I expected it would be to get to the Champions League stage, but it is still enjoyable and I'm definitely being tested tactically in trying to work it out. Let's hope I can do that sooner rather than later. Challenge Progress Domestic 0/13 Premier League titles 0/10 Community Shield wins 0/5 FA Cup wins 0/4 League Cup wins Continental 0/2 Champions League wins 0/1 Europa League wins* 0/1 European Super Cup wins Worldwide 0/1 World Club Championship * - Ferguson actually won the now-defunct Cup Winners' Cup. I'll settle for the Europa League, or a third Champions League trophy. Seasons Season League FA Cup Lg Cup Europe CWC Other & Notes ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2015/16 12 R4 Took over after 11 games, in 19th 2016/17 7 R4 R2 2017/18 9 R3 R2 2018/19 9 R5 R2
  5. NormandyWept

    The SAF Challenge

    Presumably Perez has been ousted from Madrid and, having heard tales of "Stokealona", has arrived to try and sabotage them? That is completely ridiculous. Europa League winners from the second flight? Should have freedom of the city, not the sack!
  6. NormandyWept

    The SAF Challenge

    Sir Alex Ferguson Challenge - Newcastle United - 2017/18 Transfers | Details The pre-arranged departure of Ayoze was added to by the exit of Sissoko to Arsenal in another big-money move, but I'd played myself into something of a corner by using too many of the eight transfers allowed under challenge rules to revamp our rotational/squad players, leaving me without much room for manoeuvre. I spent much of the season sitting on an £88m transfer kitty and £140m balance, leaving me very popular with Mike Ashley but somewhat frustrated with a lack of progress on the pitch. The result is that this year was more of a gradual evolution of the squad than an outright revolution. Joshua Emmanuel and Ben Pearson were good backups, Denisov and Ighalo were decent (if somewhat less extravagant) replacements for Sissoko and Ayoze, and Ryan Bertrand gave us a nice upgrade at left back. The only real star signings were Will Keane - very surprisingly our top scorer having been signed as third-choice striker - and Cedric Bakambu, who only arrived in January and spent two months injured but looked a very nice addition in limited playing time. However, the squad is in now very decent shape. A further squad player move is planned at full back with Haidara agitating for a move, but for the most part we can afford to focus most of our efforts and limited number of signings on direct first team improvement this coming summer. Season Performance | Competitions | Schedule Part 1 & Part 2 | Awards With so many new players to integrate, perhaps also changing to a 4-4-2 formation was quite a risky move: especially with fixtures against Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal to open the season. We duly lost all three, setting up a disastrous start to the season. We stablised in the middle of the campaign, but never really looked like pushing properly into the top half and finished only two places inside it. The league campaign then ended on a positive note, an eight-game unbeaten run including back-to-back 1-0 wins over the two Manchester clubs giving lots of hope for next season and suggesting I may have finally found the right balance to a 4-4-2 in games against the bigger teams. Overall, disappointing not to progress in the league but we did change our squad a lot this year and I must remember that this is the first time in quite a while that Newcastle has achieved consecutive top-half finishes. The League Cup saw our weakened team again knocked out early: perhaps I can change policy in a coming season, although it seemed too risky this year coming on the back of our brutal start. The FA Cup looks a similar story at first glance, although we were bitterly unlucky - not only were we drawn against Manchester City, but we battered them in the home game, extremely unfortunate to come away with only a draw and give them the chance to kill us off at the Etihad. Next Season Going by the original challenge rules, I must win a domestic cup next year. That would be quite some step up, so it's just as well I'm playing by some slightly different rules and just targeting (eventually, once I finally get to it!) a bucketload of silverware to match Sir Alex. I will of course still play a strong team in the FA Cup in particular, but the main focus must be on the league, and improving our showing to perhaps finally threaten the European places? Challenge Progress Domestic 0/13 Premier League titles 0/10 Community Shield wins 0/5 FA Cup wins 0/4 League Cup wins Continental 0/2 Champions League wins 0/1 Europa League wins* 0/1 European Super Cup wins Worldwide 0/1 World Club Championship * - Ferguson actually won the now-defunct Cup Winners' Cup. I'll settle for the Europa League, or a third Champions League trophy. Seasons Season League FA Cup Lg Cup Europe CWC Other & Notes ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2015/16 12 R4 Took over after 11 games, in 19th 2016/17 7 R4 R2 2017/18 9 R3 R2
  7. NormandyWept

    The SAF Challenge

    Sir Alex Ferguson Challenge - Newcastle United - 2016/17 Transfers | Details I had been planning mainly a defensive overhaul: Cristian Zapata, Johan Djorou and Emiliano Moretti all arriving on free transfers to bolster us at the back whilst Cheikhou Kouyaté arrived for £7m as an upgrade in the holding midfield role just in front of my back four. I was then forced to add to the defensive revamp when Chelsea made me an offer I couldn't refuse for Daryl Janmaat, with Carl Jenkinson quickly snapped up as a replacement. Similarly, I'd planned to give Cabella a chance on his return from Marseille, but they met the agreed fee in last year's loan deal at the eleventh hour to force a rethink there: in this case it helped me massively, as we swept for Nathan Redmond who was an absolute revelation. On the evidence of his first spell at Newcastle, Cabella wouldn't have been able to get near to what Redmond did for us this campaign. Elsewhere, it was mainly tweaks: we added talented young goalkeeper Ben Garratt to the ranks on a free, released a few unneeded squad players, and loaned out former captain Fabricio Coloccini back to his native Argentina for their season before selling him to LA Galaxy in February. (Galaxy also swept for Siem de Jong, picking us up some money from a sell-on clause on top of the fee we collected last season, as he further bolstered a growing ex-Premier League contingent headed by Gerrard and also including Arthur Boka and Josh McEachran.) Finally, we also received a mega offer from Real Madrid for Ayoze. This was hard to either refuse or accept at this stage, so I negotiated with Madrid that the transfer will go through at the end of the season. This gave me ample time to find a replacement (or turn Mitrovic into one), and made me the first Newcastle manager in over a decade to plan ahead in the transfer market! Season Performance | Competitions | Schedule Part 1 & Part 2 | Awards Before the season I'd have been absolutely delighted with where we ended up. Although it was frustrating that we again exited the Cup competitions early, player performance was at a far higher level in the first half of the league campaign in particular. We spent most of the season in the top five of the league and ended up in 7th. Unfortunately, the nature of our late results (a Kouyaté injury was likely to blame, along with some tough fiixtures in that run-in), slipping down to the lowest league position we'd held for 25 games, meant that the season ended up disappointing when actually we'd exceeded all expectations to finish comfortably in the top half of the Premier League. Nathan Redmond scooped PFA Young Player of the Year and was clearly our signing of the season, absolutely lighting up our right wing. His delivery paved the way for a far better goal haul this term from Mitrovic, the Serbian scoring thirteen league goals this time - much improved and hopefully the trend can continue with a serious goal tally due to depart with Ayoze to the Bernabéu. The single match highlight was undoubtedly our trip to Anfield. We went 4-0 down in the first half an hour, but unbelievably came back to draw the game 4-4 in scenes reminiscent of a previous Newcastle team's exploits against Arsenal: fantastic Boxing Day viewing for all concerned! Next Season Next year we hope to again compete in the upper echelons of the Premier League, and this time to finish the job by qualifying for Europe through our league placing. We also want to stay in the FA Cup beyond the end of January. To achieve this, we'll need upgrades in defensive midfield (Tioté is leaving and Watson ageing), up front and possibly on the left wing. I'd also like a good set piece taker as I'm sure we can do a little better than Jack Colback, although this is secondary to obtaining the needed qualities in open play. Challenge Progress Domestic 0/13 Premier League titles 0/10 Community Shield wins 0/5 FA Cup wins 0/4 League Cup wins Continental 0/2 Champions League wins 0/1 Europa League wins* 0/1 European Super Cup wins Worldwide 0/1 World Club Championship * - Ferguson actually won the now-defunct Cup Winners' Cup. I'll settle for the Europa League, or a third Champions League trophy. Seasons Season League FA Cup Lg Cup Europe CWC Other & Notes ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2015/16 12 R4 Took over after 11 games, in 19th 2016/17 7 R4 R2
  8. NormandyWept

    The SAF Challenge

    Newcastle are the best team I've seen down there. In theory, though, you could get someone like Liverpool down there: if you're not using real fixtures then it's possible on any new game to possibly have a nightmare set of fixtures for a team which could drive up the chance of them having a bad start. I was 'offered' Aston Villa more than any other team. Entertainingly, on the game I eventually used (was reloading until I got Newcastle into a realistically awful position!) Villa have ended up being quite a decent team, finishing in the top half last year and joining me in making quite a good start to the 2016/17 season.
  9. NormandyWept

    The SAF Challenge

    Good luck Joe, will be interesting to see how you get on. I think there are 3 teams worse than Watford, so hopefully you'll dig your way out of the mess they've found themselves in.
  10. NormandyWept

    The Danny Drinkwater Challenge

    If you give it a go yourself and post some updates here, maybe it will encourage some other players to take part? I assume you're allowed to use your own youth system too during this challenge, and that players can come via other clubs (e.g. you mention former Man Utd players at Leicester, they also have Danny Simpson who they didn't sign directly). So I could say, I'll use my club's youth system and former Barcelona players, for example, and it doesn't matter whether I sign them directly from Barcelona, or from other clubs, as long as they played for Barca at one point. I'm doing the Sir Alex Ferguson Challenge at the moment but maybe I'll try this one in the future.
  11. NormandyWept

    The SAF Challenge

    Sir Alex Ferguson Challenge - Newcastle United - 2015/16 Transfers | Details With the contracts of Williamson and Elliot running down, it made good sense to accept some offers from Wolves and at least recoup something for them. Siem de Jong was struggling to fit into my system or deliver good performances, so we cut our losses on him when Dinamo Kiev offered £2.7m. Finally, Ciprian Marica had been a bizarre signing from McClaren especially on such a long contract at his age and I was delighted when we had the opportunity to offload him to Braga. The money was quickly reinvested where needed to add depth to our squad in the January window: cut-priced fees picked up both Ben Watson, giving us more options in central midfield, and Ryan Taylor, an extremely versatile squad player who Newcastle shouldn't have let go the previous summer without a replacement: a mere £76k corrected that mistake. Andros Townsend joined on loan until the end of the season, somewhat mimicking real life, albeit with the virtual Mike Ashley not willing to fund the permanent signing. I look forward to having some proper money to spend in the summer, although I won't be going mad. I've already lined up some defensive reinforcements on free transfers and we'll then look to make a difference in one or two key areas. We also have several players returning from loan who I'll need to evaluate: in particular Rémy Cabella may be an interesting addition if he can settle better second time around. Season Performance | Competitions | Schedule Part 1 & Part 2 | Awards We lost my first game in charge 3-0 to Manchester United and the one-man (and extremely overrated-on-FM) show that is Memphis Depay, but from there we had little problem in keeping up generally decent form on our way to a 12th place finish that I'm pretty happy with given the very slow start. NUFC had won just one game before my arrival, but went on to pick up nine other wins and a number of decent draws. Unfortunately, the FA Cup was again a disappointing area for Newcastle as we went out to Bournemouth, albeit somewhat unfortunately having had many good chances, our opponents mercilessly picking us off on the counter-attack. We must improve our performance in Cup competitions, for our fans and for the purpose of getting closer to challenge landmarks. The season highlight was undoubtedly the end of our recent dismal run against Sunderland: we dismissed them confidently at SJP (1-0, but with the win never really in doubt) and picked up a battling draw at the Stadium of Light to ensure their recent run of wins in the fixture became history. This turned out vitally important when Sunderland slipped to relegation: we won't have a Tyne-Wear derby next season and it was vital not to let the fixture disappear with our rivals in control of bragging rights. Next Season 12th even after a slow start was more than decent this season, so next year we'll look to improve 3 or 4 places and finish in the top half of the table. We need to improve our defensive record, coax more goals from Aleksandar Mitrovic (he scored only twice all season, and just once under my management) and meet expectations in the FA Cup. We have a decent foundation, the system has been working well and I think we will make a few steps forward in 2016/17, if not quite troubling the silverware targets of the challenge quite yet. Challenge Progress Domestic 0/13 Premier League titles 0/10 Community Shield wins 0/5 FA Cup wins 0/4 League Cup wins Continental 0/2 Champions League wins 0/1 Europa League wins* 0/1 European Super Cup wins Worldwide 0/1 World Club Championship * - Ferguson actually won the now-defunct Cup Winners' Cup. I'll settle for the Europa League, or a third Champions League trophy. Seasons Season League FA Cup Lg Cup Europe CWC Other & Notes ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2015/16 Took over after 11 games, in 19th
  12. NormandyWept

    The SAF Challenge

    I had the choice of Villa twice in my five attempts at getting Newcastle, but in this save they're definitely not in relegation trouble. They've beaten Chelsea 5-0, and just won against Man Utd 2-0 so they're 8th after 22 games. They are a long way from being as bad as the real Villa side this year!
  13. NormandyWept

    The SAF Challenge

    Sir Alex Ferguson Challenge - Newcastle United (Yes, technically not the current Newcastle United logo, but a reminder that we are the Magpies. and its about time we acted like them, and started getting some damned silverware!) Mike Ashley finally pulled the trigger on the Wally with the Brolly on 6th November 2015, but infuriated fans with his choice of a completely unknown manager to replace him. In twenty year's time, with the benefit of hindsight, would fans look back on this as the move that finally changed the fortunes of a sleeping giant, or just another managerial blunder from their much-maligned owner? Aside from the real-life summer business McClaren had made just two moves: loaning out Gabriel Obertan to Fulham for the season, and picking up striker Ciprian Marica on a free: he's yet to score in five games and I don't see him as getting ahead of Mitrovic/Ayoze/Cisse into my plans, so for all intents and purposes I'm running with the Newcastle starting squad and trying to help them recover from a disastrous start to the season where they've won just one game, against fellow struggler Norwich. I'm not sure if I'll force myself to win trophies as quickly as suggested by TouchyFM in the opening post: instead I'll see whether I can remotely trouble Ferguson's trophy haul. (Which going by my last challenge, the Ultimate Football Manager Challenge on FM15, might take some time!) Challenge Progress Domestic 0/13 Premier League titles 0/10 Community Shield wins 0/5 FA Cup wins 0/4 League Cup wins Continental 0/2 Champions League wins 0/1 Europa League wins* 0/1 European Super Cup wins Worldwide 0/1 World Club Championship * - Ferguson actually won the now-defunct Cup Winners' Cup. I'll settle for the Europa League, or a third Champions League trophy. Seasons CAREER SUMMARY Season League FA Cup Lg Cup Europe CWC Other & Notes ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2015/16 Took over after 11 games, in 19th
  14. NormandyWept

    The SAF Challenge

    Surprisingly I just the other day decided to do this myself, and I'm also Newcastle! (Although admittedly, Newcastle is the team I wanted, and I had to holiday to 6th November five times before I finally got them...) Let's see how our Newcastle stories differ!
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