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Everything posted by Dong21

  1. Thanks @Chapman7! Yeah I played Periera as a right winger in the second half of the season. I have similar concerns to the ones you have raised for his second season - he had a great first season and performed admirably but I am planning to try and sign a top quality right winger so that will limit his playing time. I also want to try and give Chong and Gomes more minutes if possible. Whenever I played Rashford or Lukaku it was always as an advanced forward (attack), so their sole responsibility was to score goals. The inside forward (Martial), right winger (Lingard/Periera) and advanced playmaker (Pogba) had the primary focus of supplying them chances. Rashford had a good season, getting 13 goals in Europe, however he only returned 6 league goals so there is still a lot of work to do there. I do intend to persevere with him though as I think he has the potential. I do not intend to sign a new first team forward.
  2. Season 1 - Part 3 March could not have gone any better as we steamrolled all opposition we took on in all competitions. The most noteworthy match of the month was the first one, against West Ham, in which we were losing at half time but after an aggressive half time team talk we came out a different team and thumped them 5-1. Lukaku scored four, including a hat-trick in three minutes straight after the break. Our good form continued into April, where a late goal from Tony Martial saw us win in the FA Cup Semi Final at Wembley. Our undefeated run finally came to an end away at Atletico Madrid (the run concluded as 31 games without defeat), where we were simply outclassed by our opponents. We then lost 3-0 to Man City where, although we weren't as bad as the scoreline suggested, the better team won. I wasn't too disappointed by these results as I see season one as a transition period and do not expect miracles at this stage - there is still much work to be done to improve this squad. What followed next was our performance of the season - our leader on the pitch Ander Herrera set the tone perfectly with a goal in the first minute and we carried this momentum forward till the full time whistle. We beat Atletico 5-1 to win the tie 5-3 on aggregate and progress to the Semi Finals of the Champions League. A special mention should go to Andreas Periera - I noticed that my usual right winger Lingard had not been providing much all season so played Periera who was magnificent in the game, getting two assists. From that moment onwards for the rest of the season Periera was my first choice right winger. League form continued well and wins over Watford and Newcastle saw us rise up the table to 2nd, our highest place all season. Finally, we ended the month with a first leg win over European giants Juventus, with Herrera once again shining. Juve had been in our Champions League group so they were a team we knew well. The end of the season was a period of mixed emotions. We finished the league campaign with wins against Everton and Spurs to come 2nd in the league. I was absolutely delighted with our league position as my target at this early stage was just to come top four. It should also be noted that up until Christmas Day our highest position in the league had been 6th, so it had been a pleasingly consistent run of form in the second half of the season that had delivered this. The big disappointment was that we fell to defeat against hated rivals Liverpool in the FA Cup Final. It had been an extremely close game that looked destined to go to extra time and penalties, until they scored from a corner in the 90th minute. The season did end on a huge high though, as we lifted the Champions League trophy, this time overcoming our rivals Liverpool. A drew in Turin saw us win our Semi Final against Juventus and set up this historic clash. We led 2-0 at half time, before Liverpool scored twice in the second half to take the game into extra time. A shot from Martial deflected in off Alisson and Rashford added another, to make it a hat-trick for the local boy and win the game 4-2. I did not expect European success to come so soon, but I am certainly not complaining! Rashford shined in the Champions League, scoring 13 goals in 11 appearances, but our success was as much down to our defensive organisation as it was our attacking capability. This can be seen by the fact De Ligt, Bailly and Dalot were voted the three best defenders in the competition, and De Gea was voted the best 'keeper. Interestingly Lukaku was voted Fans Player of the Season, despite me not considering him to be my first choice striker. The big man stepped up and delivered whenever called upon, particularly when Rashford was out injured for a spell. Lukaku was the club's top goalscorer, netting 24 goals in 49 games, although only 26 of those were actually starts. Rashford, by comparison, scored 20 goals in 39 games but I still consider him my main man and he has the potential to improve further - it could be argued that his hat-trick against Liverpool in the CL Final should be enough to keep in the team for life! Martial had a strong season in the inside forward position on the left wing, returning 21 goals and 10 assists. If I was able to award a Manager's Player of the Season, like Jose Mourinho famously did with Scott McTominay, I would definitely be giving this to Andreas Periera. The young Brazilian started the season as player who would come off the bench and fill in any of the three CM positions, and ended it as my first choice right winger. He provided an incredible 17 assists, the most of any player at the club by some distance. His versatility makes him a fantastic squad player to have. The player he took the place of at the end of the season, Lingard, still had a decent campaign and his 9 assists and 5 goals were enough for me to reward him with a new contract. My first choice back four of Shaw, Bailly, De Ligt and Dalot all had a great season. In midfield I played many different combinations of CMs and they all contributed. Pogba had a good season (11 goals, 7 assists), but I hope I can get even more from him in the coming years. Overall I am very pleased with our performance - 2nd place in the League, FA Cup finalists, Carabao Cup and Champions League winners. Usually after success in a United career I consider calling it a day as I like more of a challenge, however as we finished 20 points behind Man City in the League there is still work to be done. Therefore I plan to carry on and hope to try and close the gap to our rivals.
  3. Season 1 - Part 2 The first few months as United manager were blighted with inconsistency, but form was picking up over time and I could see things going well if I was given time. December began with a draw at St Marys and a somewhat understandable defeat to Man City, so I was slightly worried our form was about to regress. I held a team meeting after the City defeat and told the squad in no uncertain terms that they needed to step up their performance levels, and they certainly responded well with a resounding 4-1 thrashing of Watford. Martial could have even got a hat-trick in that game, had he not missed a penalty. That victory began a run of seven wins in a row and included victories over Chelsea, Tottenham and a 6-0 demolition of Newcastle. The 4-1-2-2-1 (wide) formation I switched to in late November seems to be working well - in particular the freedom and space it provides Martial as an inside forward and Pogba as an advanced playmaker with space in front of him to roam. Limited options in the forward positions, and an injury to Sanchez, meant that Lukaku got more game time than I was expecting and that has certainly been a positive with the big man delivering several important goals. We concluded the Group Stage of the Champions League, qualifying comfortably but finishing second to Juventus. This was mainly due to the two unexpected draws against CSKA. That said, I was just happy to progress and we were drawn against Young Boys in the 1st Knockout Round. This seemed like a relatively easy draw on paper, however Young Boys had just finished top in a group that included Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Monaco (group of death!), so I knew we would have to be at our best against them. We needed penalties to defeat Birmingham in the Carabao Cup Quarter Final against Birmingham. My team, made up of youth and fringe players dominated our opposition, however two wonder-strikes from Craig Gardner made the game level. January had more draws than I would have liked - but overall I was pleased to keep our undefeated run going. The draws against Palace and Cardiff were disappointing, however the draw against Arsenal I did not mind so much as they sat above us in the table. Unlike in real life, Lukaku proved he could shine in the big games when he scored a magnificent hat-trick to beat our hated rivals Liverpool. In the cups we overcame Leicester (flying high in the top four of the league table at the time) over two legs in the Carabao Cup Semi Finals and beat Walsall in the FA Cup, albeit needing a replay to seal the deal. Transfers My main priority in the transfer window was to shift some of the deadwood that, so frustratingly in real life, still remain at the club after many years of under-performance. I was delighted to find suitors for Rojo, Smalling and Young. Unfortunately nobody would make an offer for Mata, so he will leave when his contract expires in the summer. I also want to shift Jones but I will wait till I find a suitable home grown replacement. Funds were limited so I looked to make small improvements, with the hope that I get a much bigger budget in the summer to make the changes I desire. Thomas Partey was transfer listed by Atletico at what I thought was a bargain price - so I tied up a deal for him even before the window opened. I felt I had really limited options on the wings, particularly with Sanchez injured, to the degree that Chong and Gomes were featuring consistently on the bench. After a lot of scouting I settled upon Serge Gnabry, a player I like, at a good price and who is also home grown in the UK. Near the end of January both Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial came off in games with injuries that would see them out for over a month. This left Lukaku as the only first team forward, so I looked to the loan market and brought in Vincent Janssen to make up the numbers. Looking to the future I signed 18 year old American forward Josh Sargent and then loaned him back to Werder Bremen to allow him to continue to develop. I also activated the £45m release fee of Real Madrid right back Achraf Hakimi and he will join the club when his loan spell in Dortmund concludes. February had two frustrating draws but otherwise things continue to be positive, with our unbeaten run now stretching to 23 games. We progressed to the FA Cup Quarter Finals and started well in the first leg of our Champions League tie with Young Boys. Undoubtedly the highlight of the season so far was winning our first piece of silverware, beating Bournemouth to lift the Carabao Cup. The unlikely hero was left back Durmisi, the loanee only featuring due to an injury to Shaw, who curled in a great strike. Our form over the last three months means that we are now within touching distance of the top four. Europa League football is already secured for next season but I am hoping our momentum can take us into the Champions League places.
  4. Season 1 - Part 1 So after my light-hearted post about righting wrongs at Old Trafford, I thought I would post a more complete update on the first half of the season. In previous years I have almost found United saves too easy due to our quality players and vast resources and therefore have got bored quickly. This time around, in a reflection of the predicament currently facing the club, I have found it more of a challenge which is making it enjoyable. Pre-season As you will all know pre-season is an extremely unusual experience as the majority of the squad are absent, returning late from the 2018 World Cup. I actually really enjoyed the opportunity to manage the clubs' hot prospects in these friendlies. Players like Nishan Bukart, Tahith Chong and Callum Gribbin all impressed during this period. I also took the somewhat unusual step of bringing in Dimitar Berbatov, Patrice Evra and Giuseppe Rossi on four week trials. I had no intention of signing them but my thought process was that these former players could help make up the numbers and pass on some of their experience to the young players. The success of our pre-season schedule suggests to me that this worked. Staff Whenever I join a club the first thing I do is review the coaching team to see where I can make enhancements. I filled the essential positions of Director of Football (Cordón) and Assistant Manager (Holland), brought up the level of my coaching team with four new arrivals and brought in a number of physios and sport scientists. As previously mentioned I got my number one transfer target Matthijs de Ligt and business other than that was rather minimal. I moved on right backs Valencia and Darmian as I knew I wanted to go with Dalot this season and they both had a better resale value than Young. Dalot starts the season injured so in the end I opted to play Lindelof at right back for the first month, with Bailly and De Ligt at centre-back. I also signed young prospects Benoit Badiashile and Sandro Tonali, with Tonali returning to Brescia on loan as part of the deal. The final signing came on deadline day when I brought in left back Riza Durmisi to provide cover for Shaw. I will address the full back positions with a more long-term approach in a future transfer window when I have a suitable budget. Usually I loan more players out but I am starting this season with a relatively small squad (for my standards) so I decided to keep the youth around as further options. Rocky Start The league campaign started with the visit of Chelsea and presented an unusual scenario where some of the players selected hadn't played a moment of pre-season football. We had more shots and possession so, considering the lack of opportunity to build team cohesion, I was feeling confident for the season to come. My optimism diminished though after we were unable to beat Cardiff and fell to defeat against Arsenal. Then came the visit of Liverpool. Lindelof got sent off on the 63rd minute and I feared for the worst, however it turned out to be a great result as a long range Pogba shot hit the post and bounced back off Alisson and into the net, followed by Bailly adding another to seal the win. What happened the next day I believe has been the thing that has shaped by season so far - De Gea dislocated his shoulder in training and was ruled out for two and a half months. Mata also got ruled out, on the same day, for a similar length of time. Sergio Romero came into the team and we started hemorrhaging goals galore. In a match against Burnley (see below) he even dribbled the ball out, took a heavy touch and the opposing striker took the ball off him to tap into an open net... I have been left desperately wishing that Dean Henderson could be recalled from his loan. Despite our poor run of form, I should note that I was pleased with the attacking element of the team with all my forwards stepping up. Improvement (feat. blips) Our form has certainly picked up as the season has rumbled on. In the last two months we have achieved high scoring results against Arsenal, Juventus, Wolves, West Ham, Burnley and Dinamo. That said, there have been some disappointing blips along the way. We lost to a poor Fulham side, were thrashed by Brighton and have been unable to defeat CSKA Moscow in two attempts. As the season continues I will be hoping to iron out these slip ups. The Wolves game was notable for two reasons; it saw us switch formation from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-1-2-2-1 (wide), which has proven effective, and it also finally saw the return of De Gea to the side, which has led to the return of clean sheets. Both of these elements give me great positivity for the months ahead. From a personnel perspective, it is worth noting that Andreas Periera is having a great season, racking up six assists already. Shaw and Dalot are excelling in the full back positions and Sanchez has surprised me with his contributions so far. Table So at the end of November we sit in 7th place in the League, not at all where I want to be, after some inconsistent form, but close enough to give me hope that finishing in the top four is still achievable. I am hoping the board have patience and give me time to turn this club around - another transfer window or two would certainly be helpful. We have an extremely busy December ahead, with nine games that include Man City, Chelsea and Tottenham. This is followed by January in which we play Arsenal and Liverpool once again.
  5. Decided to finally start my annual Man Utd save, with the main objective being to right many of the wrongs that are frustrating me so much as a fan of the club in the real world. I'm only a couple of weeks in and I've already made progress with running the club the way it should be: 1. Hired a Director of Football Something United should have done years ago - hiring a qualified and competent Director of Football who can provide a long term vision to recruitment. I elected to go for former Monaco and Villareal Director of Football Antonio Cordón who has great stats for judging players ability and potential. 2. Renewed the contract of Ander Herrera Rather than letting the contract of one of our few passionate, natural, leaders run down, which results in them leaving on a free transfer, I have moved quickly to instantly renew the contract of Herrera. 3. Signing wonderkid Matthijs de Ligt Rather than ignoring the recommendations of the scouting department, I have chosen to snap up the talented de Ligt before his price increases exponentially. United's defence has been a real weakness over several seasons, having never really replaced Ferdinand and Vidic, and this move looks to begin rectifying this. 4. Renewed the contract of David De Gea Pay him what he's worth. I had no qualms in handing an improved contract to the player I consider to be the best goalkeeper in the world. I'm looking forward to righting more wrongs as this save continues!
  6. Cheers @Jogo Bonito, I was wondering when the next update from The Valley was coming! You've got to keep Charlton on the agenda now I'm stepping away Thanks @karanhsingh - Yeah England were my side hussle! Mixed things up a bit among all the Charlton action. Just recently went 30 games undefeated so was pretty enjoyable. Key players were familiar faces: Kane, Sancho, Cook and Alexander-Arnold, along with a couple of regens. There might have been an element of bias as I made all my English Charlton players (Henderson, Walker-Peters, Tymon, Hughes and Foden) all regular features in my squads Although I must say they did pull their weight!
  7. Catching up on the thread - thanks for the comments @warlock, @Jogo Bonito, @john1, @torquayfmer and @karanhsingh! Enjoyed reading the recent updates too. I have come to the conclusion that I will be stepping away from Charlton after a very enjoyable eight seasons. I finish up as the third best English manager of all time - I'll take that I think my next challenge will likely be my annual Man Utd save so that will mean less posts here, but I will certainly be keeping a close eye on the thread!
  8. Charlton Athletic - Season 8 - Part 3 February and March saw us embark on an FA Cup run in which we saw off Millwall, Tottenham and West Brom. Our Champions League run however, came to an end, although it was fine margins that saw us fall to European giants Bayern. A draw at home, in which we limited them to only one away goal, gave me hope that we might progress. Unfortunately a penalty and a late winner saw the Munich side defeat us on their home soil. Our league form in February was a mixed bag. We beat Brighton and lost to the eventual champions Man City - both results fairly predictable. The disappointing part was when we were defeated by a poor Blackburn side. Form at the end of March was much better and included a pumping of Nottm Forest in which both of my new forwards scored. Diogo went on a run of scoring three goals in three games against Tottenham, Everton and Bayern. It is worth noting that the forward is still only 20 years old, and I am excited that he has the potential to get even better. I signed him so young that he will become a home grown player at the club during the summer - The switch to signing younger players several seasons ago is starting to pay off. April saw us lose twice in a week to our landlords Chelsea. The FA Cup Semi Final was a very close affair in which we were only defeated on penalties. This was particularly upsetting as I am certain we would have beaten Watford in the Final, to add another trophy to the cabinet. The league result was nowhere near as close - I trialed a 4-4-2 to change things up from the cup game and it simply did not work. We rounded the league campaign off in good form winning three out of four, including beating Liverpool for the second time this season, before eventually losing to Arsenal on the final day. We finished 5th in the Premier League which is our best ever position, and with our highest points to date by an increase of five. I cannot help feeling underwhelmed though after missing out on retaining a place in the Champions League. The Premier League is a fun challenge because it is so tough and there are so many top (and rich) sides to overcome, but there comes a point where you think can I take this side any further? I will be thinking long and hard whether to take Charlton on for another season, or whether it's time to finally take on a new challenge. I spent a lot of money on centre back Renato Gomes at the beginning of the season, so I was delighted to see this vindicated when he won three of the four in-house awards at the end of the season. Gomes and Kamara formed a quality partnership in the middle of defence. Young Diogo scored several important goals against top opposition, but his tally of 14 as top scorer sums up one of the biggest problems we had this season, an inability to be high scoring. Wingers Chong (6 goals, 7 assists) and Tasdelen (8 goals, 9 assists) did contribute creatively, but I needed more from my forwards. Phil Foden was the star performer of the season (glad I decided to sign him up on that free in the end!), creating 7 assists and bagging 10 goals. He achieved all this in just 24 games, as unfortunately he spent almost the entirety of the second half of the season out injured. If he had managed to stay match fit all season I might now have been writing about a top four finish and an FA Cup triumph.
  9. Really good start to life in the Championship that @Jogo Bonito - much better than my first season in the division! Reading about all your injury woes @warlock, I expected to see you much lower down when I looked at the table! Strong start with the potential to do even better when your squad gets fit. Thanks both for your comments on my save - I thought the forum had gone dormant after I posted
  10. Charlton Athletic - Season 8 - Part 2 We began October in fine form, with a trio of victories that included a 4-1 mauling of Atletico Madrid - one of the most satisfying results of my eight year tenure with The Addicks. That game was somewhat of an experiment too as with Diogo out injured I opted to start midfielder Mulatierri up front, rather than one of my other forwards - it paid off as the Italian bagged a brace. We then fell to a surprise defeat away at Leicester and then drew with Lyon and Chelsea. A draw against Chelsea seems like a good result on paper, but it was in fact a very frustrating affair as they had two players sent off in the second half and, despite us taking 20 shots, we were unable to capitalise on their lack of discipline. December was a big month for Diogo and Foden who both hit great form at an important stage of the season. I thought that putting five goals past Watford would be the highlight of the month but that was well and truly trumped when we beat both Arsenal and Liverpool in the space of three days. The away victory at Anfield demonstrated the strength in depth in the squad as I made nine changes to the line up that beat Arsenal. These results meant we went into 2026 full of positivity and in touching distance of European qualification positions. Victory in St Petersburg in the final round of the Champions League Group Stage meant that we qualified for the Knockout Rounds. It came down to goal difference in the end, but the players did great to escape what was a very tough group. A huge challenge now lies ahead as we were drawn against German giants Bayern Munich in the First Knockout Round. January Transfers In If I had to choose a word to define the January transfer window, it would be firepower. I identified the need to bring another striker in as, although Diogo was doing fairly well, my other forwards were making little impact when they were coming off the bench and we needed more goals. I bid for two forwards, thinking that I would end up signing just one of the two, but in the end after some deliberation I decided to sign them both. Firstly I signed the experienced Mauro Icardi from Man Utd. Icardi is no spring chicken at the age of 32 and demanded big wages, but his attributes are brilliant and therefore I decided he was worth giving an 18 month contract to. I am hoping he can be somewhat of a talisman too. At the other end of the experience spectrum is our other new arrival Artur Ferriera who is just 20 years old but has equally impressive attributes. Bids were accepted from a number of big clubs, so I was delighted when he chose Charlton as his destination. My scouts rate both Icardi and Ferriera four stars. January Transfers Out With the arrival of Icardi and Ferriera we were left with a large number of forwards, particularly when you consider that I operate with a formation which has a lone striker. I therefore shipped Cannavo and Markovic out on loan - with the view that I would consider selling them in the summer, depending on how they get on. One of the most pleasing things was that Sassuolo agreed to pay 70% of Cannavo's large £130k wages. We kicked off the New Year with a disappointing draw against Newcastle - the result was poor but the most upsetting element was that the in-form Foden tore his thigh muscle which ruled him out for two months. The one benefit was this means I can give more playing time to Frydek and Mulatierri who I suspected were soon to become unsettled by their lack of playing time. Results have been great from there onwards. Icardi scored on his debut and Ferriera did the same a week later. In the FA Cup Millwall equalised in the 90th minute after we had dominated them all game, which means we have added a replay to our already busy schedule. The month ended with a draw against Spurs, in a game where I thought we were the better team. So, we currently sit 6th in the league but are only a point away from 2nd. It is extremely tight at the top with only ten points separating eight teams. I expect us all to swap positions many times before the season is concluded, I just hope we are the ones left smiling when it is all said and done.
  11. Thanks @john1! Yeah really pleased to have found Gomes. Good point @warlock, plenty of football still to be played. Sorry to hear you weren't feeling it at Portman Road, but look forward to seeing how you get on at Derby. Cheers @DefinitelyTaylor and @Jogo Bonito, appreciate your kind words. Enjoyed your detailed update on your transfer plans Jogo - interesting approach going for London-based players. I would definitely recommend bringing Cullen and Bielik back as they both were key contributors in my rise to the Premier League. However, I appreciate you have managed them for a season and have likely made your own judgement on them. And Taylor, looking forward to an update from you, if that day ever comes!
  12. Charlton Athletic - Season 8 - Part 1 The Charlton saga rolls on into an eight season, with this campaigns new challenge being the addition of Champions League football. Going into the transfer window the two players in my team who were attracting the most interest were my central midfield pairing of Fran and Will Hughes. I rejected a £55m offer from Man Utd for Hughes and although he was initially unhappy he seemed to get over it fairly quickly, The Fran situation, however, was more difficult. Real Madrid made a series of bids, reaching the heights of a staggering £95m. Unfortunately when I signed Fran I foolishly allowed a clause to be included that means Valencia will receive 50% of sale proceeds, therefore there was very little appeal in letting him go. I rejected Madrid's advances which led Fran to handing in a transfer request and becoming very unhappy. I thought this would lead to his exit, however Madrid did not come back in with another offer and eventually, to my relief, he dropped the issue. I signed Argentinian international Oscar Faur, a mezzala from River Plate, as he had great attributes and was a bargain thanks to a low release clause. I also recruited Faur with the view that either Hughes or Fran would likely leave. As I managed to keep hold of them both I will have to rotate the three players in an attempt to keep them happy. I moved on Dahoud to make way for the new man. Jemerson lost his place in the centre of my defence mid-way through last season and due to his age his attributes were starting to decline, I therefore decided to move him on. Victor Lindelof's loan ended and Phil Jones also departed as he decided to take an early retirement at just the age of 33. Central defence therefore became my number one priority in the 2025 summer transfer window. I splashed out and spent £44m on a young centre-back called Renato Gomes from Sporting Lisbon. I was hesitant to spend such a large amount of money, however he has impressive attributes, is young enough to keep developing and that price does seem to be the going rate for players of his ilk. I bulked up my centre-back options with two other quality recruits, Filip Benkovic on the cheap from Atletico Madrid and Lukasz Bejger on loan from Man Utd. I bulked up the English contingent of the squad with the free transfers of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ray Quigley, a 20 year old left winger who had been released by Man Utd. There was another Englishman who arrived on a free, with this being a transfer I was really not expecting to make. On this save I am juggling my Charlton commitments with being England manager and during the summer we won the Nations League and the Confederations Cup with Phil Foden starring for me in the CAM role. It came to my attention that his contract with Man City was coming to an end, but I thought I would let him move elsewhere as I have two terrific CAMs in Mulatierri and Frydek. June 30th passed and to my shock nobody approached Foden and he became a free agent. My scouts rated him four star (and better than the other two players) and he only wanted £42k per week, so I decided it would be remiss of me not to sign him. After signing, his transfer value was immediately over £40m so at least I know I can likely make a decent return from him if I was to sell him on! Foden's early form has been good though, so I don't think he will just be a money maker. Many of my young players were sent on loan in the hope that game time helps them develop so they can fulfill their potential. I've had quite poor results from loaning players out in the past on this save but I'm hoping this time will be different. I requested a new feeder team and ended up selecting Preston where four of my players have been sent. Pre-season went well and I've already shared in this forum the unexpected thrashing of Man Utd on the opening game of the season. The first month went really well, with the only defeat coming against the run of play, against Newcastle. I had expected to pair Gomes with Benkovic at the back but when Benkovic arrived late in the window he was not match fit - I started Gomes with Kamara and he scored against United and has kept his place in the team ever since. We added another trophy to the cabinet when we pumped Chelsea 4-1 in the European Super Cup. The match was played in Frankfurt but could really have happened at Stamford Bridge since we share the stadium. We did play Chelsea in a 'home' game later in the month, this time knocking them out of the Carabao Cup. Frustratingly, in the last game I played before writing this update we went out of the same cup to Millwall on penalties, drawing the game 1-1 after they had been awarded a penalty in the match. I played eleven players who had not featured in the game prior, however I had thought that there would be enough quality to take us through to the Quarter Finals. Our Champions League group couldn't have been much tougher as we were drawn with Atletico Madrid, Lyon and Zenit. So far we have beaten Zenit and would also have beaten Lyon if it hadn't been for a 91st minute equaliser. We did lose to Guardiola's Atletico but I will not be losing too much sleep over that as they are an impressive side. We sit 2nd in the group on goal difference - here's hoping I can keep it up and progress to the knockouts. Our league form over the last few weeks has been poor which has seen us fall to a disappointing 8th place. Now this is not a terrible position, but with the squad I have assembled I have higher aspirations. A defeat to league leaders Man City was understandable, but the losses against Brighton and Palace were simply unacceptable. We did win our last league game, albeit against a struggling Everton, so I'm hoping for an upturn in form as we approach the new year. Striker Diogo is injured and this is not helping our main issue, which seems to be a lack of goals. Our top goalscorer is currently Foden with six.
  13. Congratulations on your promotion @Jogo Bonito and nice touch coinciding it with The Addicks real life promotion too! Surprised to see Taylor underperforming for you and Parker overperforming. I suppose it doesn't matter who, as long as someone is getting the goals. Looks like Aribo had a great season for you - I am hugely fond of him, great player who delivers when it matters. That is an absolutely huge transfer budget for a team just promoted to the Championship. Interested to see who you spend it on. With that sort of money to play with I'm sure you will be in contention for automatic promotion.
  14. @warlock Absolutely terrific season bringing European football to Carrow Road after just two seasons! Looking forward to seeing how you get on, if you do continue that is. Longer term saves aren't all that bad in my opinion! @john1 That's a great turn around in results. With you now being only two points off the play-offs after such a strong December, I can see you maybe sneaking a promotion!
  15. @john1 The Valley is being expanded by 13k seats so we’ve moved into Stamford Bridge for the season. Good luck at Cheltenham!
  16. He cost me £9.75m in January 2022 - so relatively cheap really. He's always been solid for me. I've got a 21 year old Spanish left back who is currently pushing him for his place at the moment.
  17. Now you're testing my memory Jogo! Good job we write these updates, so I can remind myself. Looking back, I won League One in my first season, followed by a season of consolidation in which we came 13th in the Championship and then my third year we went on to win the Championship. Unusually I had two takeovers in the first season, both local businessmen. The first had no money, the second had a small amount of money. I see your potential new owner is described as a tycoon so it looks like exciting times could be ahead for you. Great result that, @Carlf788 - Bongiovanni already making an impact for you. Talking of starts to the season, we have just started our eight season in style too: Only problem is results can only really go downhill from here!
  18. Welcome to The Valley @Jogo Bonito! It's a great club and I hope you have as much fun managing them as I have had. I look forward to seeing how you get on. Also I didn't realise I've been managing the haddocks all this time, so cheers for that!
  19. Cheers @DefinitelyTaylor! I'm juggling managing Charlton with managing England and I have both the Nations League Finals and the Confederation Cup this summer so it might take me even longer than usual to post an update about how we get on at Stamford Bridge! Thanks @Jogo Bonito, very kind of you. I sometimes wonder if I am mad persevering with the same club I started with when the game was released, but I get such a lot of satisfaction building a club up over time that it's hard to move on! Great work with Swansea - although, knowing how you feel about managing in the Premier League, as soon as I saw how well you had done I knew you would be moving on to pastures new! @warlock What a terrific start to life in the Premier League! Looking forward to hearing how the rest of the season goes, when you return from your long weekend away. @Carlf788 Looks like you have done a good rebuild of the squad there. Particularly intrigued to see how James gets on for you. @torquayfmer Congrats on your promotion. Great to see Chong doing the business for you too.
  20. Some exciting news on my save - Several years after planning permission was approved, we're finally expanding The Valley! I'm interested to see if playing our home games at Stamford Bridge for the season will have any impact on our performances. This investment in infrastructure has been possible due to my tight control of the purse strings at Charlton: In other good news, the board have also allowed me to aim for Youth Level 1 which should hopefully see a higher quality of young player come through our academy. The youth set up is already showing some promise as my U23 team lifted the Division 3 title last season.
  21. Cheers @Carlf788! We did surprisingly well in our first season back in the Premier League, finishing 9th. I think the key to our success was that upon promotion I quickly identified many of the squad were not cut out for the top division and therefore made wholesale changes. I retained key men who took us up such as Cullen, Aribo and Bielik, but added an array of new faces (trying to forget any emotional attachment I had for some of the players!). If I recall correctly I believe we brought over 20 players in and moved over 20 on. I made quite a few free transfer signings in an attempt to make my budget stretch as far as possible. I also looked for bargains in remote leagues such as Romania, making the most of some bargain minimum release fees in some instances. Another thing I did which I would recommend, was completely overhauling the backroom team as we were now able to attract a better calibre of staff. Good luck for the rest of your season with Brentford! I'm sure you will steer them safely away from the drop zone.
  22. Thanks @warlock, appreciate your comments. Congrats on your promotion with the Canaries! Looking forward to seeing how your young players get on in the Prem.
  23. Charlton Athletic - Season 7 - Part 3 At the end of January, and the end of my last update (it's been a while!) we sat in 8th position in the Premier League and were about to commence the Knockout stages of the Europa League. What happened next... February was a very productive month with four out of four wins in the league. One may look at the results and suggest we rode our luck with away wins at Southampton and Villa decided by an 89th minute winner and an opposition own goal, however we were much the better team in both fixtures and deserved to take home all the points. As pleasing as our league form was, it was in Europe where this month delivered my greatest satisfaction as we thrashed Feyenoored 8-2 on aggregate, an outcome more dominant than I had expected! After the first leg I had feared luck may not be on our side as we had been 2-0 up and playing well when they scored in the 90th and 95th minutes to level the game. I told the team in no uncertain terms that they were not to let their performances drop like that again and they certainly responded well with a 6-0 win at The Valley. The Second Knockout Round was once again against Dutch opposition, however AZ proved to be tougher competition and we needed to rely on away goals to overcome them. In the FA Cup I used the Huddersfield fixture as an opportunity to play young players and squad players, however I did include Mulatierri whose brilliance led to a comfortable win. Unfortunately we exited the FA Cup at the Quarter Final stage to Liverpool. It was a close game but they are extremely clinical; they went on to win the FA Cup and also the Premier League by a margin of nine points ahead of second. This Liverpool team is definitely the strongest side I have faced in my seven years at The Valley. In the league we narrowly lost to Liverpool, once again, and Man City, results I couldn't be too mad about. Premier League Our league form to end the season was good with our only defeat coming against Tottenham. I was particularly pleased to finally beat our local rivals Crystal Palace, who up until this point I have had an appalling record against. We rounded off the domestic campaign with a resilient draw against Man Utd and then sent the traveling fans home happy with a 4-0 thrashing of Bournemouth on the final day of the domestic season. Despite our end of season form we only climbed from 8th to 7th in the second half of the season. The damage was done in the first half of the season and our rivals did not slip up. I am, however, not disheartened as this was both our highest points total and goal difference in the Premier League under my management. One thing I was particularly pleased with was that we had the third highest average possession in the league, with 55% - this is indicative of the possession based football that I have tried to play. Europa League Now for the exciting part (and you may have already spotted the spoiler in the league table above! ). The Europa League Quarter Finals saw us drawn against Turkish heavyweights Galatasaray. I thought we had pulled off a first leg win when we scored late, until Bernard scored later to even the score. I was, though, pleased to leave Turkey with two goals. The away goals did not turn out to be important however as we won the home leg after Mulatierri converted two penalties. It was an interesting night for attacking midfielder Mulatierri as he was also sent off later in the game - this meant he was suspended for the first leg of the Semi Final. I had little hope of progressing to the Final when we were drawn against Liverpool in the Semi Finals. As I have already mentioned they are a dominant force and a team we have a poor record against. In the first leg I elected to play defensive and was pleased just not to lose heavily. We had 66% possession which helped keep them at bay, but no real chances of note up front. Going into the second leg I was apprehensive about a European night at Anfield, and when we went 1-0 down, and 2-0 on aggregate, after 25 minutes the prospect of defeat looked likely, however passionate my half-time team talk may be. I subbed on forward Cannavo on the 60th minute to provide additional firepower and he made an immediate impact grabbing a vital goal. This was quickly followed by a goal from fellow marksmen Diogo, assisted by the sublime Will Hughes. We held on for over 25 minutes to win the tie on away goals, a result I am immensely proud of. After the league campaign ended I noticed that strangely there were 17 days until the Europa League Final. Keen to keep fitness levels up and morale high, I arranged two friendlies to keep us occupied until the big day. In the end the Final proved to be a much more simple affair than the Semi Final as we beat fellow Merseysiders Everton comfortably. I was delighted to deliver both the first European trophy and Champions League football to Charlton Athletic - made all the more sweeter by the fact that we started this journey in League One. Five of my players received the accolade of being named in the Europa League Team of the Season, including Mulatierri who was named Player of the Season after his seven goals and numerous match winning performances in the competition. Not bad for a free transfer signing! I have really benefited from having two top class central attacking midfielders this season - something I have never had before. Frydek, who started 35 games, provided 11 goals and five assists and Mulatierri, who started 26 but came off the bench just as many times, scored 12 and provided four assists. Their goals helped share the load for young forwards Diogo (16 goals) and Cannavo (13 goals) who once again had good campaigns. I do believe however if I had a 20+ goal a season striker then we would finally crack the top four. Top assistor for the season was Stengs who provided 8 assists to match his 8 goals. Somewhat surprisingly fellow winger Tasdelen only provided two assists, he did however have a great campaign, making up for this with 14 goals. The last time I posted an update, @warlock asked me the question whether my January deadline day signing Chong had the end product to go with his pace and dribbling. With six assists and two goals (one of which was in the Europa Final) in just 13 games, I'm pleased to report it's looking like he does! Henderson had another good season in the sticks, providing 20 clean sheets in all competitions which is a new club record. No player played more games than Lindelof and I will be looking to bring him back to the club next season either on another loan or permanently. He started the season by being partnered by Jemerson but he was quickly replaced by young Kamara who is developing nicely. On the subject of development, it has been promising to see the rise of full backs Valencia and Guacai whose game time increased exponentially as the season came towards it's conclusion. A final mention should go to my central midfield metronomes Fran (6 assists) and Hughes (7 goals, 7 assists) who allow me to play the possession based style and do the hard work that allows the attackers to take the glory. Barcelona and Real Madrid have reported interest in the Spaniard Fran, but that's a challenge for another day. Now to start planning for Champions League football at The Valley!
  24. Haven't had much of a chance to play any FM recently as I've been in the process of moving house, but have been keeping an eye on this thread. Some really great detailed posts and it's been good to see quite a few new faces among the regulars - welcome all! Hoping to find some time to finish my seventh season at The Valley soon. @Jamesbfc1887 I have a feeling Aribo will be a cracking signing for you - he's certainly served me well over the years!
  25. Thanks @warlock! Here's how he looks in 2025 if you're interested:
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