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About Dong21

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    Manchester United

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    Bolton Wanderers

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  1. Season 2019-2020: Part 2 Pre-season is all about building match fitness, squad togetherness, tactical awareness and team morale. In a busy period of games we scored more than four goals in seven out of eight pre-season fixtures, so I was certainly pleased with how things went. We carried our electric form into the start of the league campaign, thrashing both Sheffield United and Aston Villa. Martial got a hat-trick on the first day of the season and Rashford bagged a brace on matchday two. Fernandes was great in both fixtures. What followed was a frustrating period of four draws. They came against decent sides, but I felt we deserved so much more from the period. Spurs parked the bus in classic Mourinho style. We had 29 shots, 15 of which were on target and 63% possession, but only drew 0-0. To add salt in the wound, Sancho got ruled out for two months with an injury incurred only four minutes into the game. Then we were 2-0 up against Everton, when we capitulated and conceded in the 89th and 95th minutes to draw. The win against Getafe in the Europa League was a real highlight as I played a very young side and we won comfortably with Greenwood, Chong and Bellingham bagging the goals. Another young player, Macias, got his first goal - a late equaliser against Leicester. A 7-1 trouncing of Norwich was very enjoyable, but even more pleasing was the 3-0 win against Liverpool that followed. Hometown hero Marcus Rashford stepped up when it mattered scoring a hat-trick against the Scousers. This win was made more impressive, I thought, due to the fact that I had to start Lingard and James as Martial and Sancho wer both out injured. Although we'd had a few too many draws, I was very pleased we made it to late October without losing a match. Defeat finally came when we lost to Arsenal in a frustrating game in which we were the better side. I knew luck was not with us that day when David Luiz smashed in a world-class free kick. I played a younger side against City and we lost, exiting the Carabao Cup. Rashford won Premier League player of the month for October.At the point of writing this update we sit in 7th place, six points off 4th with a game in hand. I'm not disheartened as I knew this would take time with a very young squad. The defence needs reinforcements but that is a job for another transfer window as securing Sancho and Bellingham took precedence. A couple of our draws could easily have been wins, and that would have seen us into the top four. Plenty of season still to play. Update: I'm gutted to report that Fernandes has just been ruled out for two months with torn ankle ligaments. On the bright side, this creates opportunities for the likes of Bellingham and Gomes.
  2. Season 2019-2020: Part 1 After spending much longer than expected on an EFL save managing Bolton, I've finally got round to starting my annual United save. Generally I like to wheel and deal at whichever club I manage, but I'm going to try to be a bit more hesitant in the transfer window with this career as I'd like to give our many talented youth prospects the opportunity to develop. Here is how I've got on so far... Backroom Enhancements I believe a quality Head of Youth Development is essential, therefore I was delighted to secure my first choice for this position Bernhard Peters. Some managers don't see value in having a Director of Football but I sometimes like to utilise the 'suggest transfer targets' function to get fresh ideas - I hired ex-Barcelona and Milan Director Ariedo Braida. I cleared out most of the coaches, including Carrick who sadly just isn't good enough, and brought in a raft of replacements including Miguel D'Agostino and Danny McGrain. I was surprised to find that the standard of goalkeeping coach was poor across all levels, so I brought in six new goalkeeping coaches. Tactical Intentions I intend to play a 4-2-3-1 (wide) formation, with a secondary but similar 4-5-1 formation familiarised in case of the need to be more defensive. The desire to play Bruno Fernandes in a central attacking midfield position was a major influence when deciding on a tactic. Pogba would play deeper, hopefully building up a strong relationship with Bruno. Pogba had expressed an interest in leaving early into my tenure, however our private discussion went well and he has been settled thus far since. Player Recruitment My two primary transfer targets when commencing this save were Jadon Sancho and Jude Bellingham. Right wing is for me probably the biggest weakness in the squad and Sancho is a quality player with great potential who I wanted to secure before my rivals. Bellingham, on the other hand is a prestigious talent who I want the opportunity to develop. With a budget of £50m I decided to try something new and ask the board to handle signing for Sancho. To my delight they got the job done, securing him for £90m. I had a deal for Bellingham agreed, but that fell through when my budget was depleted to £0. I sold experienced players Mata (to Wolves) and Matic (to Leicester) for a combined £25.5m. This allowed me to renegotiate with Birmingham and complete a £22m deal. I offered out Periera and Lingard as I would prefer to give Greenwood, Chong and Gomes opportunities, however the bids I received were below my valuations of the pair, so I elected to keep them, for now. I pulled off what I believe to be somewhat of a masterstroke though, recalling Marcos Rojo from his loan and then selling him to Guangzhou Evergrande for £16.5m. My final deal of the window was for Mexican wonderkid striker José Juan Macias for £16.5m from Chivas. The only downside was I had to pay him £80k per week wages in order to secure his work permit. I tried to sign 17 year old Anderlecht winger Jeremy Doku during the transfer window, however his club wanted a deal totaling around £15m and we just didn't have the money so had to step away. After the window had closed Doku became unsettled and handed in a transfer request. I was frankly shocked to see him listed for £1.3m so I swooped up and signed him. He joins in January. Youth Focus One of my first order of business was to renew the contracts of Tahith Chong, Aidan Barlow and Angel Gomes (if only we could have done this in real life...). I asked the board for a feeder club and selected Derby from the options presented due to their excellent training facilities and the chance for my players to play alongside Rooney. I sent Garner and Laird there and I am really hoping they get a lot of game time. I intend to give some of the younger players opportunities in the Europa League, where we have drawn PSV, Getafe and AIK.
  3. Just stumbled across this thread @Jogo Bonito and enjoyed reading about how you’ve been doing. I can tell by the pace you are going at you are liking this save! Although a long-term visitor of the forum I’ve never really ventured much into the Career Updates section. Your thread has made me think I might like to give it a go, I think I’d enjoy posting more detailed updates.
  4. I’ve managed Bolton for five seasons @wattzy, although I started the game before the January update. I’ve wrote regularly about my save in this thread if you’re interested. Will keep an eye out for how you get on with The Trotters!
  5. Bolton Wanderers - Season 6 - Preview Not a single ball has been kicked since I last wrote an update, but already there have been some interesting developments heading into our first season back in the Premier League: Taking advantage of my 100% board confidence status, I persuaded the board to commit to investing in upgrading our youth facilities, youth level and training facilities. I don't want to just spend all the money generated by promotion on players, I am looking for long-term success for the club and that includes continuing to develop our own players. I've agreed a new three year contract with the club. This will give me a bit more security if we struggle next season. The board set us a target to look to bravely battle against relegation. To my surprise and delight Man United have allowed me to take James Garner on loan for the sixth successive season. This is, once again, without us contributing anything to his wages. Spurs have no interest in letting me take Hirst on loan again. As you are only allowed to take two players on long-term domestic loans in the Premier League I will look to move away from a heavy reliance on loan players this season. I have decided to not renew the contract of club captain Tom Lockyer, meaning he will depart on a free transfer this summer. First choice centre-back the season before, he has barely featured this campaign. I've also made the decision to release my young French CM Eric Junior Dina Ebimbe as although when signing he had great potential, a five month injury this season has taken that away from him. I've decided I'll take my chances on a replacement in the transfer window. Shortly after the season ended I tried to make an offer for a player and was told I could not make any signings as we were under transfer embargo with the club being in the process of being sold. The media said two different consortiums were battling it out. This has come at an unfortunate time when I was looking to rebuild the squad in advance of the big step up to the Premier League. In early June it was announced we had been taken over by Ryan Ryan. This caused me some bemusement at first as my second choice regen 'keeper who is out on loan at AaB is also called Ryan Ryan. My goalkeeper is an Aussie and my new owner is English however, so there fore I'm assuming I don't have a Player/Owner scenario! The new owner doesn't appear to be a tycoon type owner. He has modestly increased the standard £38m promoted team transfer budget by £3m up to £41m. I feel no feeling of excitement regarding this takeover as I'd already successfully balanced the books. I could have done with a new owner who would clear the club debt any time during the first four seasons. Feels a bit like shutting the barn door after the horse has bolted 😂
  6. Thanks @Jogo Bonito! You know me, I like a challenge! Quite often I'd want to get my back-up striker John-Jules on but didn't really want to lose Hirst or Tedic so I'd sub off my right midfielder and switch Hirst there to utilise his pace.
  7. Thanks @karanhsingh! Here he is: He's already an England international, scoring on his debut in March of the season just completed, although England manager Dyche hasn't elected to take him to Euro 2024. I think it is virtually impossible for me to get him back next season - Tottenham have just renewed his contract and he is clearly good enough to get in their first team. I wouldn't be able to afford signing him permanently either. So there is quite a void to fill going into the Premier League campaign!
  8. Bolton Wanderers - Season 5 - Part 4 Our red hot January form continued on in the beginning of February as we put Sheffield United, Middlesbrough and Oxford to the sword, without conceding against any of them. Perhaps predictably, our forward in electric form, Hirst, scored in each game, but goals also came from throughout the squad. On the night we beat Oxford, our closest rivals Burnley slipped up losing 5-3 against a Millwall side who occupied the relegation zone. We had Millwall up next and I mistakenly took their result against Burnley as a fluke and approached our game in the usual manner I would against a team in the bottom half. This mistake cost us as we lost 4-2. This was much more than a fluke for Millwall, in fact it was a resurgence as these wins commenced a run of seven wins in nine which ultimately would see them avoid relegation comfortably. This loss saw us slip to second in the title race and was confounded by draws against Portsmouth and Derby, two matches we could and should have won. March was magnificent. We begun by thrashing our local rivals Blackburn 4-1 at their own ground. We then traveled to the Molyneux in the FA Cup, having already knocked out, another Premier League side, Bournemouth. We more than held our own, drawing 1-1 but eventually losing on penalties. This gave me promise for if we were to make it to the Premier League. The match was subsequently voted the best FA Cup match of the season. Otherwise it was all victories in the League, including beating Playoff contenders Brentford and Crystal Palace. The win against Palace took us back top of the table as Burnley slipped up with a draw. With only seven games left apiece it was extremely tight at the top. Then the unthinkable happened as we were beaten by third place Birmingham. This was the first time all season I can recall us being beaten resoundingly, and it couldn't have come at a worse time. I hoped that it was a blip but we lost again, to Stoke, and then again, to Fulham. The loss to Birmingham had given the upper hand in the title race to Burnley, but the following two losses had me looking over my shoulder and fearing we would drop out of the top two for the first time since the first week of October. Our late collapse in form didn't bode well if we were to compete in the Playoffs. Next up was Sheff Weds and the pre-match press conference did my nerves no good as the reporter informed me we had failed to beat Wednesday in seven previous attempts. I rallied the troops though and they stepped up to the plate with a big win. We won and Burnley lost to Palace, reducing their lead at the top to just three points, but they had superior goal difference. We still could influence the final outcome though, as we had Burnley to play up next, followed by fourth placed West Brom. When we visited Turf Moor I took the pressure off the players, telling them nobody expected them to be anywhere near promotion so don't worry if we don't win. Burnley dominated the game in terms of shots and possession but we got the all in important goal to win the game. It was scored by James Garner, a player who poetically has been with me every step of the way over the past five seasons. Next up was another dangerous trip, this time to the Hawthorns. We won again through narrow margins, though this was a much closer game. To my delight I saw post-match that Burnley had drew with Stoke sending us top. All we needed to do was beat Bristol Rovers and we would be champions. In a surprisingly stress-free final day of the season we beat Rovers with goals from each of my strike partnership, Tedic and Hirst and were crowned winners of the SkyBet Championship. Promotion to the Premier League seems even sweeter after five seasons at the club, which in the early stages felt like somewhat of a slog. It was a joy to manage this team, all of whom I had recruited except for academy graduates Boon and Browne. Having a supremely talented forward clearly made a difference. Jimmy Hirst scored 26 goals to pick up the Golden Boot and his average match rating of 7.43 was not only the best in the Championship this season, but the best in Championship history. Hirst was voted man of the match on 14 different occasions, therefore it was not exactly a surprise when he was awarded both the Championship Young Player of the Year and Player of the Year. We were by no means a one man team however, with five of our players making the Championship Team of the Year: I was surprised not to see Correia also make the league's Team of the Season as he had a stellar campaign, he may have missed out though as he played just under 30 games due to his injury early in the season. Five seasons in a row I have wrote the same thing; James Garner was absolutely essential to the success of my team. He does not get many goals or assists, but he is the link in the team that starts off the attacks - like Scholes in his later years at Man United. Tedic was a great signing for me, he may have only bagged 11 goals but his partnership with Hirst was invaluable. When switching to 4-4-2 I made the unorthodox decision to play players who were traditionally inside forwards on the wings in positions they were not natural in, purely so that they could provide crosses with their natural foot. This paid off as we had the best crossing completion in the league (26%) and best heading completion (67%). We set up with a primary focus of looking to get the best out of Hirst and Tedic. The defence deserve praise too as we conceded fewer goals than anyone else in the league (just 36). Dahlberg looks even more of a bargain at £300k after delivering 21 clean sheets, but of course all of the back four deserve praise. I began the season expecting Lenihan and van den Berg to be my centre backs but I gave 21 year old academy graduate Shaquille Browne (previously fifth choice CB) an opportunity and never looked back. He played and starred in 23 matches. The experience of Lenihan alongside him surely helped his development.
  9. @karanhsingh Congrats. Just surviving in the Premier League is an achievement, let alone winning the league by 10 points! I’d be interested in seeing a screenshot of your tactical set-up? It might be useful if I somehow manage to steer Bolton to the promised lands! Now the big question; where next?
  10. Bolton Wanderers - Season 5 - Part 3 Our form continued into November, with Hirst once again the star as we defeated Cardiff. The win against Derby marked 13 games in a row without defeat. This would unfortunately end in our next game though, as we lost to Sheff Weds in a game that we dominated. We then lost to Reading and I started to fear that this would be the start of a negative run of form that would see us plummet down the table towards the sort of position we had been expected to finish in. My fears were allayed though in a busy December in which our form returned to being very satisfying. A win against local rivals Blackburn certainly lifted morale. Avenging their 3-2 win from last season with one of our own. A draw with Brentford saw us drop to 2nd, just behind Burnley in the table. A 2-2 draw with promotion chasing Brentford was by no means a bad result however. We lost to Bristol Rovers who have quickly established themselves as our bogey team, but otherwise won the 4 other matches that followed the Brentford match. The 4-0 destroyal of Nottm Forest was a particular highlight. The Christmas period was as hectic as ever and meant that our emphatic victory over Forest was followed just two days later by our game against Cardiff. I played a very changed side and unfortunately they could not get the win. The 6-0 win against Luton in the FA Cup 3rd Round was one of the most enjoyable of the season, to date. This was not just because of the scoreline, but because I gave opportunities to a lot of squad players who all stepped up and performed. Third choice striker John-Jules got a brace and utility option Mbenza delivered a hat-trick from left wing. We had been interchanging positions at the top of the table with Burnley, but our 1-1 draw with Barnsley, coupled with a defeat for The Clarets, saw us take the lead at the top of the table by a point. Two wins apiece since then has meant the margin has stayed the same. Carlo Holse has proven to be a key player over the last three months as the winger has stepped up to score important goals when it has mattered most. We are well placed in the table but this is over a third of the campaign still to go, so I don't intend to start getting complacent. The month ended with a victory against Bournemouth in the FA Cup 4th Round. It was reassuring to be able to beat Premier League opposition, with promotion potentially on the cards, particularly as it wasn't a 'smash and grab', we were the better team. The next round see's us face Wolves who are 7th in the Prem; an even sterner test. Transfers It was an uncharacteristically quiet transfer window by my standards, primarily as things were going so well I didn't see much reason to change things. Eddie Brown was not seeing many opportunities due to the great form of Hirst, Tedic and John-Jules, therefore I loaned him out to Bristol City to continue his development. There were a couple of sales of youth players, but neither of them had much potential so it was nice just to receive a fee for them. There was only one incoming player; someone who is quite popular on this forum! In one of my press conferences a journalist asked me for my views on Reading manager Maarten Stekelenberg transfer listing Danny Loader. This was the first I had heard of this. Reading were having a good season (at that time they were 7th in the league) and Loader was in good form with 7 goals from the left wing - I therefore assumed he must be transfer listed by request due to ambitions to play for a club of greater stature. This was not the case however, as I discovered he was listed due to the club's financial status. In fact, the entire team was transfer listed and the club's financial position was listed as 'In Debt'. I don't recall seeing something quite this extreme before. He was transfer listed for £8.75m. I liked the player but I was well stocked on the wings and did not really need to change a winning team. I thought I'd be kind to Reading and see if they would accept a reduced offer but with the big benefit to them of keeping him on loan for the rest of the season. They accepted £6m with the loan and the deal was agreed. When the summer comes Correia will return to Man City and Schurrle will be a year older, so Loader will see opportunities on the wing at Bolton more plentiful. Reading ended up selling 14 players in January, with a few loan incomings to plug the gaps, it will be interesting to see where they finish in the league.
  11. @Parmie I’m impressed at the rate at which you get through seasons! It’s taken me about 6 months to find the time to get 5 seasons in with Bolton 😂
  12. @karanhsingh Looks like you are on course for another cracking season! Balancing performing well in Europe and the league is impressive. Looks like some solid recruitment there @Jogo Bonito with the signing of Abraham certainly a coup. I expect him to be a real threat at that level. Good luck for the upcoming campaign. @serg__23 I might be biased but Bolton have some quality youth and, for me at least, the academy has continued to produce. Just up to you if you want to start with the challenge of starting on -12points!
  13. Thanks @karanhsingh. I’m still favouring a more fluid approach, rather than direct as I like to play possession based football. We are set up to counter attack primarily though, playing to the pace of Hirst.
  14. Bolton Wanderers - Season 5 - Part 2 Pre-season went very well with many of my new signings building momentum by getting on the scoresheet. We also conceded quite a few early doors, but that was mainly before my new centre back signings had arrived at the club. We didn't play any particularly big clubs as I prefer to build morale and fitness over glamour ties, for example against Premier League opposition. During the course of pre-season I made a tactical change that would stick going into the new season. Last season we had operated with a 4-1-2-2-1 formation with a midfield trio anchored by Garner, an inside forward on the left and a lone central forward. I decided to change things up though after signing Hirst and Tadic. Both strikers seemed too good not to start. This switch was potentially harsh on one of my centre mids Brownhill who will now get less games and perhaps means less goals from the wingers, but these were sacrifices I'm willing to take. You will see from the image I have been playing Holse and Wallem in positions they are uncomfortable in - both are more used to playing further forward and on the opposite flanks, but I decided I wanted the option for more crosses with their natural feet with two capable forwards to feed in the middle. The fixture list was kind with four seemingly winnable league fixtures to start the season. We won three of these, with the other a frustrating loss against Luton when we'd had 28 shots at their goal. We ended the month with a respectable draw at Sheffield United. A good start to the season, but I expected this to drop off slightly once we took on tougher opposition. I gave my squad players an opportunity in the League Cup. We ended up losing on penalties in the end but the match itself was an exhilarating experience. We took a 2-0 lead and looked comfortable, Blackpool roared back into a surprising 3-2 lead, before we scored a goal in stoppage time to take it to pens. I was feeling positive about this season, but was has happened next has shocked even me. We have beaten a series of top half Championship sides, embarking on a terrific run of form. In the prior season our top goalscorer got 6 goals all season whereas, as you can see above, Jimmy Hirst delivered 8 goals in 6 games at one point! Hirst has rightly been getting the headlines but his strike partner Tedic has repeatedly put in strong performances, acting as the perfect foil. James Garner has been top class in the centre of the pitch - negating my fear that we may fall short without a third centre midfielder. We have conceded the second fewest amount of goals in the league, with new signings Dahlberg and Lenihan showing their worth. Our current league position is well above expectation (we were predicted to come 12th), so don't be surprised if we drop off at some point. I am loving this season though thus far. Still a long way to go, but returning Bolton to the Premier League in 5 seasons would be a proud achievement. Fingers crossed.
  15. Thanks. It certainly does @Jogo Bonito! Much more satisfying than starting a fresh save with a club with money I think. I decided that I was happy with my squad and recruits so didn’t feel the need to spend more. Hopefully I don’t live to regret that, but so far so good! An update on how the season has gone so far will follow shortly. You’re doing terrifically with Sunderland, keep up the good work 👏🏼
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