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Greyfriars Bobby

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    Old Woodstock Town

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  1. Greyfriars Bobby

    "The Gaffer John P" (FM 15)

    8 August 2014 July turned to August, and slowly, John's life began to take on more structure. He had moved into his lodgings in Livesay House, a small suite with a sitting area and a sleeping nook. The boys hadn't arrived yet, so it was quiet there. Once the term began, John would take his meals in the house's dining hall, but for now, he and the other members of the staff who were already on the grounds were eating at one of the other houses. John was enjoying getting to know a few of his colleagues. The Admission Office was a busier place. There were families making late decisions about schools, and John was already pitching in to help them understand the advantages of a St Dunstan's education. At first he shadowed his supervisor, MatthewHart. Matthew was the Director of Admission, a congenial gentleman in his early forties who looked like he was straight from Central Casting. He wore his St Dunstan's blazer stylishly, and his smile was ready and warm. He knew his business, too, and he was happy to share his insights with John. Matthew's thirteen-year-old son, Mick, was a pacey forward in Oxford United's youth system. Within a week, John had learned enough that Matthew let him lead a family on a campus tour, while he stood back and listened. John passed that test with flying colors--the family enrolled their son in Year Seven--and John was now leading tours by himself. Things were going well at Old Woodstock Town, too. John got on well with his assistant, Aaron Hudson. Aaron was in his mid-fifties, and had been around the club for most of his life, first as a player, and then as a coach. He'd filled in as a caretaker manager when the club couldn't find a man for the job, but Aaron had no desire to be the boss himself. John immediately noticed Aaron had a real talent for teaching the attacking phase of the game, and he seemed able to motivate players to work hard in training. John was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the players at his disposal. As Aaron pointed out, "These are real footballers, playing for a real club. They don't make it their life's work, but they take pride in a job well done. Some of them would be picking up a pay envelope somewhere, if they could make it work out. Unless--or until--they do, they'll turn out for us." Goalkeeper Ryan Ellis was the tallest footballer John had ever seen. The teenager stood 6 feet 9 inches, and he hadn’t turned seventeen. Still, he was surprisingly agile, with decent reflexes, and he didn’t look completely awkward distributing the ball to his defenders. The other ‘keeper would be Mark McDermid, a friend of John’s with whom he’d played youth football twenty years ago. Mark was an electrician by trade who had never completely hung up his gloves. A phone call from John was all it took to convince Mark to pull on a Woodstock shirt. He wouldn’t mind serving as Ellis’s backup, and his professionalism would be a welcome addition to the side. John was pleased to find a center back as well-rounded as Paul Stubbs in a club this small. He was suitably big and strong, aggressive and brave, and he was comfortable on the ball, too. Matthew James would probably be Paul’s partner most of the time. James was a little better in the air and a bit more conservative in possession, but both of them had a bit of pace. Bobby Hayward looked like the best bet at right back. He wasn’t fast, but otherwise he ticked all the boxes. The best left back was young Allan Lampard, but John probably wouldn’t play him there. He might use Mark Evans, a solid, no-nonsense fullback, and play Lampard in the midfield. Evans’s expertise on corners and free kicks gave John another reason to select him. Jake Anderson could fill in all along the back line. He seemed like a very ordinary player until he took a throw-in, a skill which he had raised to an art form. Like Paul Stubbs, central midfielder Daniel Ross looked like an exceptionally good footballer for the Hellenic League. Semi-pro clubs were already on his trail, but for now, Ross would be the heartbeat of the side and the captain of the club. His likely partner, David Leonard, was an eager, hard-working player who did the unglamorous tasks that flashier players might not care to do. John might have liked to have a more dynamic playmaker to pair with Ross, but for now, Leonard would do. Neither of the wingers, Lampard on the left and Ross Harding on the right, had the electric pace an ideal wide man would have, but Harding was a shifty dribbler and Lampard would run up and down his wing all day long. John had four forwards in the team, all of whom could see significant amounts of action. Liam Cherry, who had just moved to the area from Irchester, was fast and athletic, and he could also do a job on the wing. Sean Fletcher was big and strong, a deadly finisher with a silky first touch. Lee King was quick and scrappy. Rob Millar offered lots of pace and flair. All but King could serve as a target man, able to hold up the ball and play in his partner. This was the team John would lead into the first match of the Hellenic League Division One East season, away to Penn & Tylers Green. They had experienced fairly favorable results in their preseason friendlies, winning one and drawing three. The one journalist who sometimes covered the team, a friendly fellow called Ronald Camp, predicted a mid-table finish for the club, and that was what Michael Parsons had charged him with, too. Now it was time to see if John and his club had what it took to achieve that goal.
  2. Greyfriars Bobby

    "The Gaffer John P" (FM 15)

    1 July 2014 Michael Parsons was insistent. "We're talking about two days a week. One weekday evening, and Saturday." Parsons was the director of Old Woodstock Town FC. They were an amateur club, whose New Road grounds were within walking distance from St Dunstan's. Parsons was looking for a manager for his club, and the thought of a bona fide professional, working at the school up the road, seemed like quite a piece of serendipity. John nodded. He already knew what the schedule would be like. Parsons had mentioned it the first time they spoke, which was a week ago now. That conversation had intrigued John enough that he discussed it with Peter Greene, and the headmaster assured him things could be worked out. "What's making you hesitate, John?" "I've spent nearly my whole life in this world, Mr Parsons. I still love football, but at the same time, I need to find out if there's anything else I can do, and do well. I don't want to jeopardize my position at St Dunstan's because I'm too wrapped up in football. And it wouldn't be fair to you or your club for me to take the job and not give it the time and energy it deserves." Parsons thought for a moment. "I'm willing to take that chance, if you are. We'd like to have you here. I think you'd help attract good players to our club, and help them get even better. What would you say to giving it a go? If it doesn't work out, then it doesn't work out. There's no money changing hands here, so the parting wouldn't have to be difficult." Now it was John's turn to pause, and think. "All right, Mr Parsons," he finally said, with a smile. "I'm in." The two men shook hands, and just like that, John Pearson was the manager of Old Woodstock Town FC.
  3. Greyfriars Bobby

    "The Gaffer John P" (FM 15)

    May 2014 John Pearson smiled as he scrawled his signature on the contract that lay on the table in front of him. "You've done this before," said the affable gentleman sitting beside him. His name was Peter Greene, and he was the head of St Dunstan's School. "A time or two," John replied. The two men stood and shook hands. "It's good to have you, John." Peter smiled warmly. "Thank you, and it's good to be here." With that, John became the Associate Director of Admission at St Dunstan's. It was the first real job he'd ever had that didn't involve kicking a football. St Dunstan's was near the town of Woodstock, in Oxfordshire. It wasn't one of the best schools in England, but it was far from the worst. It wasn't terribly large, or terribly small. It wasn't the oldest, nor was it the newest. It was, in most respects, a rather unremarkable school. Headmaster Greene wanted to invigorate the school, bringing in energetic teachers and staff who could liven the mood around the grounds. One or two of the board members had feared that hiring a former footballer would send the wrong message concerning the relative importance of athletics and academics at St Dunstan's, but John was able to put their minds at rest. He was intelligent and poised enough to convince them they weren't hiring a caveman. John's responsibilities included serving as an Assistant Housemaster for Livesay House, so the task of finding lodging in his new home was taken care of for him. That made his salary go that much farther. He didn't have to commute to work, which meant his car could remain parked most of the time. And it looked like he'd have an opportunity to coach one of the school's football teams, too. He didn't need the Continental C badge he'd earned to manage the St Dunstan's Fifth Form team, but he had enjoyed the courses, and he had received very positive feedback on his performance. "You'll make a fine manager one day," one of the administrators told him. For now, the only managing John was doing came in the evenings, when he opened up his laptop and immersed himself for a while in his Football Manager save. That, however, was about to change.
  4. Greyfriars Bobby

    FMS Community Thread / Episode VII / Goalfinger

    I've bounced in and out of the FMS forum for several years now. My absences have had nothing to do with the atmosphere surrounding FMS itself. In fact, the atmosphere is a big reason why I keep coming back. I enjoy long-form writing. I find the "roleplaying" element that's possible in this format fascinating. Before I discovered Football Manager (I'm in the USA), I wrote for the "Dynasty Reports" forum on the Out of the Park Baseball forum. I enjoyed creating fictional players and placing them into a setting complete with family, friends inside and outside baseball, and a nemesis or two. One of my creations turned out to be a lot better than I intended, one of the all-time greats, and I had endless hours of fun writing about his career and his life outside the game. I occasionally got messages from people who wished I'd "stick with the baseball," but most people seemed to enjoy the story lines that took place off the field. I get the idea the FMS crowd would enjoy those kinds of tales, too; I've read some epic examples of that kind of writing on FMS. There are some really good ideas for shorter, theme-based stories in the posts above. I might be up for giving those kinds of things a try, in addition to (hopefully) working on a magnum opus.
  5. This is absolutely great stuff, sir. I can understand how this might not be appealing to everyone, but I know I would enjoy it very much. I believe it would help me immerse myself more fully in the football world in which my save exists.
  6. Greyfriars Bobby

    "The Gaffer John P" (FM 15)

    July 2011 The Kings Head, Carlisle "You don't think you're going to miss playing?" Conor Dolan was John's best friend, and he'd never shied away from asking him tough questions. John waited a moment before he answered, and took a long sip from his pint. "Of course I will," he said. "There's nothing quite like the feeling you get when you walk out onto the pitch." "That's better than hearing the crowd singing your name?" Conor had never played at a higher level than the Sunday leagues, so he'd never experienced any of those thrills. "Much better. The supporters can turn on you if you don't play well, or if you sign with a rival club. Nobody can take the moments before the match away from you. They're personal, they're yours." Conor shook his head. "You never signed with a rival, John. You were Carlisle to the core." "That's making this decision a lot harder, to be honest." John had spent twenty years in the club, from youth level on up. He'd made 304 appearances with the senior team over the better part of nine seasons. The ankle he'd ripped up back in '02 didn't cost him as much as it would a quicker player. "You can't lose your pace if you never had any," he liked to say. "What are you going to do now?" Conor asked him. Another pause. "I've put in to be a supply teacher. I might ask around to see if any of the clubs around here need a volunteer coach. Otherwise, I'm not sure." It had taken a while, but John had finished his degree in history. There were several teachers in his family, so the career had always appealed to him. He could envision himself teaching history, coaching football, becoming a part of the life of the school. "You ought to get your coaching badges," Conor suggested. "You like studying, learning new things...a lot more than I ever did." Conor grinned mischievously. He'd never let his schoolwork get in the way of a good time. John took another sip. "I have been thinking about that, actually." John didn't have anything, or anyone, tying him down. He was willing to move for the right job, or jobs; he knew he would never earn enough coaching football to eliminate the need for a second job. "If you don't do it now, you never will, and you know it." "You're right." That evening, John registered for his first coaching course. As soon as he closed his laptop, a feeling of contentment came over him. He'd taken the first step down a path that somehow felt right.
  7. Greyfriars Bobby

    "The Gaffer John P" (FM 15)

    Thank you, gents. It's good to be back, too. November 2002 Carlisle UTD v. Bury His left ankle seemed to scream at him every time he took a step, but there was no way John Pearson was going to miss today's match. Only a few of his teammates, the ones who, like him, had been at Carlisle since their schoolboy days, remembered why he wanted so badly to beat Bury. The reason was simple: the cocky lad with the shaggy dark curls wearing the number nine shirt. Robbie Evans had already scored once. Bury were awarded a penalty, and Evans took it and scored. John hadn't been anywhere near the play when the foul occurred, but that didn't make him feel any better about the situation. Watching Robbie Evans celebrating a goal never felt good. In the nine years since the run-in that saw John sent off, the two of them had clashed several more times. Robbie had a big mouth, and he boasted openly about the talent he had for pushing John's buttons. The fact that John was a good player only made his ability to provoke him that much more satisfying. Honestly, Robbie didn't need to run his mouth. He was a very good player himself, a pacey striker with a nose for goal who was one of the Third Division's leading scorers. He could have let his game do the talking for him, and that's what bothered John the most. About mid-way through the second half, Carlisle won a corner. John was known to be a dangerous man on set pieces. Somehow Bury left him unmarked, and he rose up and drilled a powerful header past the 'keeper's outstretched glove, drawing the Cumbrians level. Shouting with joy, John wheeled around to celebrate his goal with the supporters in the Warwick Road End. Did he deliberately cross paths with Robbie Evans, grinning and nodding his head? Only John knew for sure. Five minutes later, John was limping off the pitch. He'd probably tweaked his ankle when he leaped to head home that corner kick, and the adrenaline rush he got when he scored kept the pain manageable for a short time. When his manager saw how badly John was laboring, he knew he had to take him off. That's why John was seated on the bench, a hood pulled over his head, when Robbie Evans lashed the ball into the upper left corner. It was left for the Carlisle supporters to wonder if Evans would have scored with John helping patrol the back line. Bury got the three points, which made the match a rather typical one for the Cumbrians that season. They escaped relegation by a single point. Meanwhile, Robbie Evans and his Bury teammates slipped into the promotion playoff. The painfully torn ligaments in John's ankle kept him out of action for the remainder of the season.
  8. Greyfriars Bobby

    "The Gaffer John P" (FM 15)

    After I couldn't shake a case of writer's malaise that lasted for months, I finally listened to some wise advice from my 11-year-old daughter, an aspiring writer who will be much, much better than I ever was. I simply didn't try to write anything for a while. Now, I'm back, with an idea I hope we'll all have fun with. I'll do my best to keep this one going. FM 15, England to Level 10 database, fictional names. March 1993 Bury U13 v. Carlisle U13 Johnny Pearson was on the verge of losing his temper. For the last sixty minutes, the curly-haired Bury forward had been annoying him. First he called Johnny names, and when that failed to get the desired result, he took things to the next level. Six inches shorter and not nearly as solid, the pest dug an elbow into Johnny's ribs as they battled for position on a corner kick. After the Carlisle goalkeeper saved his shot and held on, he stepped on Johnny's foot as they turned to jog back up the pitch. Johnny was a center back, and a good one. Tall and strong, he wasn't used to opponents getting excessively rough with him. He felt his temper rising, and that upset him even more. Five minutes later, Bury went on the attack. Johnny retreated into position, watching the play as Curly Hair dribbled the ball forward. He spread the ball to a teammate on the right wing and continued his run into the area, where Johnny moved up to mark him. Curly Hair's teammate tried to put his return pass where Johnny couldn't get to it, but he mishit it slightly, and Johnny saw his opportunity. As Johnny went for the ball, Curly Hair stuck out his foot, and his studs connected with the side of Johnny's ankle. The whistle blew as the two boys tumbled to the turf. Johnny leaped to his feet, his face red and angry. Curly Hair lay on the ground for a moment longer. When he finally stood up, Johnny hit him with a sharp, two-handed shove. The smaller boy tumbled back to the floor. Johnny stood over him menacingly as the officials moved in, whistles blowing, The referee pulled out a red card. Johnny's eyes stung with tears as he walked off the pitch. Robbie Evans pushed his dark brown curls back from his eyes and smirked. That was too easy, he thought.
  9. Hello, everyone. I've enjoyed FM much more since I learned to keep things simple tactically. I'm playing FM 14, and I've been using a very basic 4-4-2 tactic that I've been using as the starting point for my teams. It looks like this: DLF(s) AF(a) W(a) CM(s) CM(d) WM(s) FB(s) CD(d) CD(d) FB(a) GK(d) Standard mentality; Balanced fluidity. Team instructions: only one or two; usually Work Ball Into Box or Pass Into Space, depending on what my players do well and what their opponents can do to stop them. I have the goalkeeper set to distribute to his defenders. I sometimes switch the central midfielders, so the support role is on the right and the defend role on the left. I'll also use an AP(s) in place of the CM(s) sometimes. It's been working well for me. Even in the lower leagues, I can get a team playing well enough that I can keep my job, which gives me time for fine-tuning if I'd like. The roles are basic enough that I can find players who fit them fairly well. I've been trying to set up a similarly basic setup for a 4-3-3 and a 4-2-3-1. I'm struggling to get the roles and duties sorted for the midfielders and forwards. Could any of you suggest a setup that will provide a good, balanced base? Thanks, in advance.
  10. Greyfriars Bobby

    Youth Intake ineffective

    I have a question that's related to this point. I enjoy having players in my team who have the ability to play a number of different positions. Will the players who are generated in Plymouth Argyle's youth intake arrive with the ability to play multiple positions? If that's the case, I'd enjoy playing a save with them. Just curious...
  11. Greyfriars Bobby

    Bell' Italia (FM 15)

    It's been a while, but I'm back. I'm playing FM 15, with "fake names" so I can create heroes--and villains--as I see fit. Prologue: 1983-2014 It was no wonder Dan craved stability. He had enjoyed precious little of it growing up. His father, Richard Harrod, was a businessman, and a successful one. In 1983, he was working in Perugia, a lovely old city in central Italy. There, he met a vivacious girl named Francesca. She lived in Assisi, only about a dozen miles away, and she fell in love with him almost at first sight. Richard left Italy that July. A month or so later, he got a phone call from Francesca. She was expecting their child in four months or so. Francesca was going to have her baby, and Richard didn't try to change her mind. On 1 December, she welcomed their baby boy into the world, and named him Daniele. Daniele's father had plenty of money, and he generously supported his child, sending checks to Francesca on a regular basis while he went on with his life in England. When the boy was seven years old, Francesca began dating a man named Roberto. At first, her new boyfriend seemed to like the lad. He enjoyed kicking a football around with him, and it was Roberto who first noticed the boy possessed some talent for the game. But, as his relationship with Daniele's mother deepened, Roberto's attitude toward the boy changed, and not for the better. Francesca, blinded by her love for Roberto, either didn't notice...or chose not to. Roberto and Francesca married in 1995, when Daniele was eleven. Six months later, Roberto hit his step-son for the first time. To her credit, when Francesca discovered the bruises on Daniele's face, she realized she had to protect her son, and she quickly contacted the boy's father. Years later, Francesca admitted she should have left Roberto, then and there. Had she done so, he wouldn't have had the opportunity to hit her, too. Richard quickly arranged to bring their son to safety in England. Richard had also married, and he and his wife had a five-year-old daughter. Now they also had a twelve-year-old son with a lot of adjustments to make. “Daniele Odorisi” became “Daniel Harrod,” and it was on the football pitch that the lad felt most comfortable in his new home. Dan's schoolboy coaches immediately noticed his almost total lack of pace. “He runs like an overweight, fifty-something pub league goalkeeper,” one of them observed. They also, however, noticed his ability to spray passes all over the park. Dan went to university, took a degree in history, and played a bit of football. He turned out for a variety of semiprofessional teams and acquitted himself well. A former teammate who had signed for Bishop's Stortford recommended him to his manager; Dan went there on a trial and was impressive enough to earn a contract. Between 2005 and 2011, he was a more-or-less regular presence in the first team at Woodside Park. Dan had never been happier. He retained his ability to carve a defense apart with one raking pass after another, even after a knee problem robbed him of what little pace he'd once had. The supporters loved him, and he did well enough to earn the opportunity to sign a one-year deal with Eastleigh. He made eleven appearances there, earned the title “professional footballer,” and earned another gig with Bishop's Stortford the next season. By now Dan was thirty. His knee was probably no worse, but it was also no better. He decided it was time to consider life away from the football pitch. But where would he pursue that life? He briefly considered asking his father to give him an opportunity with one of his companies (now plural). Dan had inherited both his father's charm and his mother's grace, and he could smile, shake hands, and banter well enough. But was that truly what he wanted? He decided it was not. It was a former teammate who first put the idea of returning to Italy into Dan's head. Tom Waite was a classic English center half, tall, strong, and hard as oak. His manner off the pitch was every bit as direct. “Did you like Italy?” he asked Dan over a pint one evening. Dan paused. This wasn't an easy question. “Mostly.” “Ever thought about going back?” Dan nodded. “I'm not sure what I'd do there.” “You're not sure what you'll do here either, mate.” Tom smiled when he said it, so Dan smiled back. “You have a point there.” “What city are you from again?” Tom asked. “Assisi.” Tom took the last swallow of ale from his glass. “Is there any reason why you can't go back?” Another pause, longer than the last one. “No. Not at all.” Dan knew his mother and Roberto had left Assisi years ago. They'd lived in Florence for a while, and then Roberto disappeared. Francesca hadn't seen him or heard from him since. She was in Verona now, living with her sister and working as a teacher's aide. Roberto had always hated Assisi, so Dan knew there was no chance he'd turn up there. That was a good thing, because Dan was afraid he'd end up in jail if Roberto crossed his path again. Within a month, Dan had sold, given away, or stored most of his possessions, and he was on his way to Assisi.
  12. Thank you, Dr. Hook. That answer is just what I needed. I can extend it logically to the other situations where there's a role that can be played at different strata, too.
  13. But they will take slightly different positions when defending?
  14. I've been puzzling over this question. If I understand correctly, the formation I choose for my tactic determines my team's defensive shape. So, if I pick 4-4-2, my midfielders and defenders will drop back into two blocks of four when the other team has the ball. What my team does offensively is, then, driven by roles and duties, and by player and team instructions that relate to attacking play...right? That's what I understand to be the case. That leads to my primary question. There are several roles that can be played by players who line up in different strata on my tactics screen. A Wing Back can play in the back line, or in the next level higher. I can have a Deep Lying Playmaker in the middle of my 4-4-2, or in the DM spot in a 4-1-2-3, etc. How much does the player's spot in my tactic affect his offensive play? In other words, will a Wing Back on Attack duty who's placed here, in a flat back four: behave in possession like a Wing Back on Attack Duty who is placed here? The description of the role on the tactics screen looks the same in both cases. And, if they behave similarly in possession, is the only difference between them going to be the position they establish when we're defending? I hope that makes sense. Thanks in advance.
  15. I'm having an issue with the Create-a-Club mode that I'm hoping someone will be able to help me with. I've been trying to create a team in the Conference North or South. I'm very careful to stay within the budget I'm given for creating my team. But, when I finish assembling it and the game begins, I see that I'm way, way over my wage budget. In other words, the player values are in line, but their wages aren't. I'd understand it if I were adding veteran stars whose values have fallen, but who would still be pulling in big wages. Instead, I'm trying to find good younger players, with a few veteran leaders mixed in. I can fix that with the editor, but I'd much rather sort it out the right way. Do any of you have any suggestions? Thanks in advance!