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Everything posted by Dong21

  1. @IndyManager I'm at exactly the same point in my career too. Played a batch of six friendlies in December to pass the time and keep the players match fit. I generally find pre-season to be fairly dull, apart from concluding transfer deals, and you can't even do that in December - so not ideal!
  2. @warlock Congrats on winning League 2 with Mansfield! Good luck in League One. @DefinitelyTaylor @smplfc123 Thanks both! I have a bit of good news - got the result that I needed to ensure qualification for the Knockouts of the Europa League. Pacheco's late goal was the difference between us exiting the competition and winning our group! RB Liepzig await in the next round.
  3. Thanks @warlock - Yes managed to line up six pre-season friendlies in advance of the league restarting, so feeling positive about that. Season restarts with the FA Cup 3rd Round, then the League Cup Quarter Final and then the crucial final Europa League group stage match - so a high pressured run! Congrats on your start with Mansfield by the way, looking good for promotion.
  4. Haven't had much time to play much FM over the last few weeks, however I'm pleased to say I finally found a bit of time the last few days. There are too many posts to comment on since I last visited the forum, but I have enjoyed reading them and congratulations to everyone on their various successes. I was so excited to finally play again so I have played all the way through to the winter break (the Qatar World Cup 2022 can be played for this unusual occurrence) so apologies this will likely be a long update! As you will read this season has not exactly gone to plan, but I enjoy a challenge so look forward to turning things around... Charlton Athletic - Season 5 - Part 1 Due to the aforementioned World Cup, my season started on the 16th July and therefore in accordance with this the transfer window closed early too. This gave me limited time to conclude my business, so I had to move fast. Transfers I began by clearing out the players who had been surplus to requirements in our first Premier League season. Pearce, Kalinic and Burgy left on frees; Ayew, Taylor, Bahlouhi and Sasso sold; and stalwarts Kruse and Elliot retired. A large number of youth players were sent out on loan to develop, including new recruits Copping and Puklin. With a Europa League campaign upcoming, I was conscious of the youthful composition of my squad. I therefore looked to bring in some cultured experience to help us through this campaign, recruiting Hamsik, Perisic and Jones on free transfers. Although being 34, 33 and 30 respectively their stats looked good still and I hoped they had enough left in the tank to see me through what was to be a busy season. I was delighted to make two signings which I thought were absolute bargains; I picked up the talented Mahmoud Dahoud on a free transfer from Borussia Dortmund and winger Calvin Stengs for a snip at £5.5m. Last season's right back Garcia had returned to Lille after his loan spell so I was weighing up my options for this position. Then in pre-season disaster struck as my only other right back Coyle broke his leg and was ruled out for 6 months. I therefore had to get creative and signed two new full backs, Zampano on a permanent deal and Norrestrand on loan for the season. Transfer deadline day came around and I still had £20m left in the bank to invest if I so wished. I was fairly happy with my squad however I decided if I could pick up a striker who could make a significance difference and possibly take us to the next level, then I would make the move. I stumbled upon Kevin Cannavo who had just had two good seasons at Palermo and I made him our record signing. I have since read @smplfc123's updates and seen you have had success with this player (spoiler: I have not! So far, at least...). Pre-season and the start from hell I generally like to play six pre-season friendlies to build fitness and team cohesion but this was simply not possible with the early commencement of the league season. We suffered a demoralising heavy defeat to Liverpool in the Community Shield, a fixture I'd have rather we had not played. Those compiling the fixture list were extremely unkind to us, pitting us against Chelsea, Man Utd and Man City in 3 of our first 5 league games. We lost all three of these games, along with a loss against Leicester, so set a negative tone for the season. Momentum is extremely important in football, and we did not have this. Our form picked up in September as we secured a credible draw against Tottenham. I was particularly pleased with our home and away wins against Stuttgart in the Europa League and we followed this up with away draws in Seville and Lokomotiv Moscow. We also won twice in the Carabao Cup to progress to the Quarter Final stage. Our league form seemed to pick up somewhat as we went on a run of draws, including one against Arsenal, but draws weren't enough when we needed wins. This saw us slip into an unexpected relegation battle and the most devastating result was to local rivals and fellow league strugglers Crystal Palace. The results above don't look all that bad, but when you see the league table the trouble we are in becomes apparent: So a big challenge lies ahead in the second half of the season, as we look to climb out of the relegation zone and avoid relegation. Many of my signings have underperformed, in particular Dahoud who has an average match rating of 6.67. The team is really struggling for goals and record signing Cannavo has only mustered one goal since joining. I think a tactical shake up is needed, and perhaps a change of personnel in January. The board is luckily keeping faith with me at this moment, I assume due to a combination of my past glories with the club and also our strong performances in the Europa League. We sit 1st in our Europa group with a game to play. Hopefully we can secure one final result to progress to the Knockouts. Wish me luck for the second half of the season! It is going to be a challenge to turn this season into a success, but I look forward to trying to make it work.
  5. @smplfc123 Thanks! Looks like you are having a great season with Reading - I'm sure all the more satisfying considering you basically put together the entire squad. @warlock Mid-table is very respectable for your first season back in the Championship, so don't be too hard on yourself. I'm sure with a bit of luck you can push on from there too. Regarding the CB situation, have you taken a look at the free agent market? You can sometimes find some hidden gems there.
  6. Charlton Athletic - Season 4 - Part 4 I couldn't have asked for a better end to the season as we only lost once in the final ten games. We picked up draws agianst Tottenham, Arsenal and local rivals Crystal Palace, and secured a number of victories including one against Man City. One disappointment was that Abraham was unable to find the net all season, although this was alleviated by the fact young Markovic continued to score. Chong took a little longer than expected to get match fit, but once he was fit he made a big contribution. I will be hoping to try and renew his loan for next season. We finished the season in 9th place, which well exceeded my expectations from before the season had started. We have a young team and will look to try and bring in even more quality, so hopefully this is a great platform to build from. League success aside, the highlight of the season was that we were able to lift the FA Cup. After exiting the Carabao Cup at the Semi Final stage to Bournemouth, we exacted revenge and beat them at Wembley, in the FA Cup Semi Final. Iuhas, who is just 18 years old, scored an important goal in the game, before Cullen (who has been with us since League One) scored the all important goal in Extra Time. The Final pitted us against Arsenal, who had a strong season which included winning the Europa League after defeating PSG in the Final. We dominated possession and in fact could have even won by a greater margin (although I was more than happy just to win!). I was delighted to win my first silverware with Charlton and this means we will ourselves compete in the Europa League next season. That will present it's own challenges as we juggle Europe with our domestic commitments, but it is a challenge I am looking forward to taking on. Bielik was awarded the Fan's Player of the Season award - he featured in more games than any other player (48 times), was consistently resolute and formed a great partnership with Antov, who also had a great debut season in the Premier League. Henderson had a great season, with 18 clean sheets in all competitions - my big worry is that top teams are going to start paying him attention soon. I made Pacheco the club's record signing in the summer (albeit this was trumped by the signing of Tymon in January) and I feel the outlay was justified as he was our most creative player, providing 11 assists and scoring 9 goals Our top goalscorer was Markovic with 15 goals. A very respectable tally for a young forward, which would likely have been bettered if I had not regretfully dropped him for a period to accommodate new signing Abraham. One of the most satisfying elements of the campaign was the fact that, along with Bielik, players who have been with me since we were in League One - Cullen and Aribo - continued to make important contributions. Next season will be particularly interesting as the Qatar 2022 World Cup will see the Premier League feature a winter break for the first time - I am intrigued to see how this affects things.
  7. @Rollin93 Fair enough! Sunderland have an abundance of resources, but that comes with increased expectations which presents it's own challenge. Good luck! This conversation has reminded me to write my latest career update, so here we go... Charlton Athletic - Season 4 - Part 3 With Carabao Cup Semi-Final legs and an FA Cup 3rd Round Replay, January turned into a mammoth nine game month! January It may have took two matches in the end but I was very pleased to beat Newcastle, a side that have been challenging at the top end of the Premier League this season, in the FA Cup 3rd Round. We then took on Nottm Forest and drew, to set up yet another replay - another test for the depth of my squad. I was heartbroken in the Carabao Cup, as we missed out on the Final by the finest of margins. We were unlucky to have lost 1-0 away from home in the first leg, but evened the tie by reciprocating their 1-0 win in our home leg. This took the tie to a nail-biting penalty shoot out, which Bournemouth ultimately won 12-11. Bournemouth went on to lose the Final to Man Utd. In amongst all this cup action we picked up an important win against Leicester and drew with Wolves and Forest - I was pleased not to lose any of these games, considering the fixture congestion. We had a respectable narrow loss to Liverpool, but the end of the month saw us thumped by Chelsea in our biggest defeat to date. I think the schedule finally caught up with us! Transfers The theme of the January transfer incomings was young English talent; Abraham was transfer listed at a bargain place and I could not resist bringing him in, left back was an area I had been looking to enhance so I splashed out on the highly rated Tymon and Chong came in on loan to provide a new dimension on the flanks. In terms of sales, I moved on three players who had traveled up the divisions with us but were not cut out for the Premier League (and all had only 6 months left on their contracts). February / March Our FA Cup adventure continued on as we thrashed Forest at the City Ground, before traveling to League One Hull where the weakened side I fielded left it late but got the job done. A Josh Cullen screamer in Extra Time saw us secure a huge victory away at Stamford Bridge. We now travel to Wembley for third Semi-Final of the season, which is once again against Bournemouth. Hopefully we can come out on top this time, after losing by the narrowest of margins in the Carabao Cup! Our league form was stuttering along and our defeat to Everton was one of the most frustrating I have had as, under no pressure, my centre-back Bielik turned around on the half-way line and chipped my goalkeeper. Truly one of the most ridiculous things I have ever seen on FM. This disappointment was soon forgotten though as we secured a huge victory against Man United, which led to a spell of good form. With just eight league games left of the season, satisfyingly we sit in 10th position. European qualification is too far away, so the objective is to hold on to our current position. There are good teams close around us, so that in itself will be a good challenge! Abraham is yet to score and Chong cannot get match fit, so I am hoping these things both change in the coming weeks.
  8. @Rollin93 Didn't see your post in time but I would have suggested Charlton who I am thoroughly enjoying managing!
  9. Charlton Athletic - Season 4 - Part 2 At the end of my last update I had just suffered a 4-0 defeat to Liverpool and I predicted that I would likely be on the end of similar results when facing other top sides - that proved to be the case as we were heavily beaten by Chelsea and Man United. I approached these games with a defensive mentality and a counter attacking philosophy, hoping to secure a 0-0 or a win on the counter attack - obviously this did not happen! Any advice for taking on vastly superior teams would be appreciated? Despite these defeats the players heads did not drop and we picked up important points against other sides. Record signing Pacheco began proving his worth, scoring a brace in a 3-0 win against Everton and another goal in a 3-1 win against Burnley. We continued our progress in the Carabao Cup by beating Wolves and Sheff Utd. Our biggest to date in the league came when we thrashed Newcastle 5-1, which was all the more notable when you consider that Newcastle are flying high in the league, occupying a place in the top 4 at the time of this game. This was an important game for young Jovan Markovic who scored his first two league goals for the team, coming off the bench after an injury to Kalinic. The Croat has been injured for other 2 months since, so 20 year old Markovic has led the line. We experienced a torrid November, but as we played both Spurs and Man City in the month this was no real great surprise. December has been much more positive with four wins out of six. I was heartened to lose only 2-1 to Arsenal, rather than the usual shellacking! Markovic and Pacheco have been key to our success. Henderson got injured prior to the Watford game but luckily Jed Steer has stepped in and performed well - Henderson is expected back in mid-January. The 4-1 win versus Cardiff was a highlight during this period, but clearly the most notable result was our win over Liverpool in the Carabao Cup Quarter Final. Liverpool dominated position and had more shots than us, but the team was resolute and we scored two goals late in the game to pull off the upset. We have drawn Bournemouth in the Semi Finals which, although won't be a walk in the park by any means, gives us a chance of making the Final. At just past the halfway point of the season we have exceeded all expectations and sit 11th in the Premier League. If we can continue to pick up points against the teams around us we might just stay there!
  10. @warlock Great update. Unlucky with the injuries but it clearly hasn't held you up, with some really impressive form there! As you say, the real challenge will be when you make it to the Championship, although I'm sure you will continue to do well. Also, I'm jealous of how many saves you've managed to get through - Charlton is still the only team I've played as so far on FM19! @steveyisatard Good work with Norwich - Look forward to seeing how you fare in the Premier League. @sammo10 Strong start with Forest Green, looks like automatic promotion is achievable - good luck! @smplfc123 Interested to see how you get on at Reading. I love it when I get to completely overhaul a squad and rebuild the team in my own image - a great challenge.
  11. Happy New Year fellow EFL FM players! Just been enjoying catching up on all your posts from over the festive period and thought I'd add my latest update... Charlton Athletic - Season 4 - Part 1 After the heroics of last season we find ourselves swimming among the shark infested waters of the Premier League in Season 4. I wanted to give many of the players who powered us to promotion a chance in the Premier League, but I am a pragmatist and knew I would also have to add quality and depth to the squad if we were to stand a chance of surviving. What followed therefore, was once again a busy summer at The Valley. I once again reviewed and enhanced my coaching staff, with the most notable appointment being that of former Liverpool manager Gérard Houllier as my new Director of Football. This is a role I find very useful, making sure to always request transfer suggestions, which has often proven fruitful. Going into the transfer window my primary objectives were to improve my options at centre-back, on the wings and up front. In the centre of defence I had relied on Jason Pearce for far too long and, although he had performed admirably whenever called upon and had always demonstrated great leadership skills, he was essentially a League One standard player over-performing. I addressed this by signing Valentin Antov (a 20 year old Bulgarian with vast potential) and Bjorn Engels. Last season our wing options had included loanees Ince and Mbenza, along with Championship Player of the Season Robbie Kruse. The loanees had now left and age meant Kruse was starting to decline so I looked to start afresh here. I was delighted to sign Anwar El Ghazi on a free transfer, in what I think was a major coup for the club. Our one significant financial outlay was for Dani Pacheco who I beat off significant competition for to recruit as my new inside forward from the left wing. I am hoping these two players provide the quality we require to stay in the division. They will be ably supported by further recruits Andre Ayew and Scott Sinclair. When recruiting forwards, my approach was similar to my signing of Antov, whereby I looked for young high potential players who had performed well at youth international competitions. I therefore signed Jovan Markovic (20 year old Romanian), Vlad Iuhas (18 year old Romanian) and Driss Khalid (22 year old Morrocan). I was not planning to make further attacking recruits however later in the transfer window I noticed that Nikola Kalinic was available and I could not resist adding some experience to my ranks. Unfortuantely this means that the striker who's goals took us to the Prem, Lyle Taylor, is unlikely to see much action this season - but I could not ignore the opportunity to improve my squad. Elsewhere on the pitch I brought Victor Garcia in as a second choice right back and, with the expectation that more defending will be required in the Premier League, I brought in experienced DM Nampalys Mendy. I reluctantly released Forster-Caskey, who was a player I liked but seemed to pick up a weekly knock, and replaced him with Italian central midfielder Fabio Castellano. There were no notable sales as I hung onto the star players who took us up. I loaned out players who had become surplus to requirements such as Pearce, Burgy, Bahlouli and Uhre. I signed a young goalkeeper with high potential from Monaco called Loic Badiashile, but there was no way that he would be able to displace Dean Henderson from my team so I sent him out on loan to gain experience. Likewise, due to my vast number of forward options, I also sent forward Khalid out to aide his development. So going into my fourth season with Charlton my strongest eleven looks as follows: Pre-season was completely uneventful and we played nobody of note. We took on a large number of free agents on trial to run the rule over them and, as you read above, several of them were recruited. The squad started the season with a clean bill of health and high morale after five victories and a promotion in recent memory. The fixture list composers were kind to us as we started the season with some winable games. The opening day was frustrating as we dominated Forest but only came away with a draw. This was soon forgotten though after two great wins against Cardiff and Leicester. Reality set in at the end of the month after we were thrashed by Liverpool. I am expecting several results like this against the top sides in the division where the gap in quality is vast, however if we can try to pick up results against the teams in the bottom half of the table then we could be okay.
  12. Charlton Athletic - Season 3 - Part 3 In my last update I finished by previewing the biggest match of my season, against fellow promotion contenders Huddersfield who were only one point behind us. Huddersfield had 15 shots to our 8, however our defence stood firm and after goals from Ince and Taylor we went on to be victorious. Our form continued throughout February and March, including some high scoring victories against Sheff Weds, Stoke and Reading. We went top of the table after defeating Preston, which presented a new challenge, how would we cope with the pressure of leading, rather than chasing. Our form continued in early April as we drew with fellow promotion hopefuls Cardiff and thumped our local rivals Millwall once again. We went into the final three games of the season with a healthy five point lead ahead of second place Burnley. I was feeling particularly confident as we had been undefeated for sixteen games - morale was high and the players were in good form. The worst case scenario then happened, we lost to local rivals QPR and were then thrashed by Leeds. Burnley won one of their two games, so going into the final match-day we were left with a two point lead. We took on Sheff Utd and the game started poorly - defensive midfielder Gragera was sent off in just the 23rd minute. We then conceded two penalties, however the heroic Henderson saved them both! With our vastly superior goal difference I knew a point would be sufficient to lift the title, so I switched to defensive with the hopes of hanging on to a 0-0 draw. Then, in the 90th minute, our opposition scored. I had seen earlier that Burnley were winning so I was certain we had thrown away the title. After the game I checked the results and to my relief Burnley had also conceded late to draw - so we finished the season champions! Having been predicted to finish 20th in the league at the beginning of the season, and with the 21st largest wage bill in the league, we achieved the unthinkable and won the Championship. With the second meanest defence in the league and the top scoring attack, every part of the team played their part in this achievement. Key to my success this season was that Taylor, who finished the league's top goalscorer with 29 goals, stayed fit for the entirety of the season. Taylor, however, did not finish in the top three of the fan's Player of the Season vote, which is indicative of the depth of strong performers in the squad. The top three was made up of players who had been brought in the summer transfer overhaul - Husband, Kruse and Bielik. I was a very proud manager when I saw that eight of my players had made the Players' Team of the Year and Robbie Kruse had picked up the league's overall Player of the Year accolade. I also was awarded the Manager of the Year award for my efforts. Now comes the daunting challenge of the Premier League. I have been given a budget of £33m to improve my squad with the hope of surviving in the top division's shark infested waters. I am in two minds whether to try and make wholesale changes once again, or to perservere with many of my young squad who have got me this far. Time will tell what I settle upon.
  13. @DefinitelyTaylor @warlock @Jogo Bonito Thanks all for your comments - loving this save at the moment. Time for another update... Charlton Athletic - Season 3 - Part 2 The season rolled on and I'm pleased to report that our good form continued. Taylor kept scoring and his teammates started joining in too. The months of October and November saw some notable wins against the likes of Stoke and Middlesbrough, however the highlights had to be the derby win against local rivals Millwall (fresh off their recent relegation from the Premier League) and a thrilling 4-3 win against QPR that featured a hat-trick from my defender Krystian Bielik. In early November we unsurprisingly lost to league leaders Burnley, however since then we have won eight league games in a row and our role as unlikely promotion contenders lives on. The one low point was our early exit to Birmingham in the FA Cup - we were leading the game, however we conceded in the 91st and 94th minutes and lost the game (in similar fashion to our League Cup exit). I am not too disheartened though, as our league performance continues to be my priority. Transfers After such a busy summer transfer window, the winter period was decidedly quiet by comparison. The only notable incoming was 20 year old Spaniard Gragera - even at his young age he was rated the best defensive midfielder at the club and went straight into the starting eleven. In respect of outgoings, many of my young players were sent out on loan to gain experience and hopefully develop. One of my summer signings, attacking midfielder Bahloudi, was sent out on loan as he had became unhappy at his lack of playing time. We ended up favouring the 4-1-4-1 DM wide or the 4-4-2 much more frequently than the 4-2-3-1 and therefore his opportunities ended up being limited. We signed him on a free and are gaining a £300k loan fee, so it has worked out fairly well. So with over two thirds of the season completed we see ourselves sitting 2nd in the table and in contention for an unlikely promotion. We are currently top scorers in the league (Taylor is the league's top goalscorer with 20 goals) and have conceded the least amount of goals. I am not getting carried away just yet however as there are 14 tough fixtures ahead. Our next game is an important one as we are about to play an in-form Huddersfield who sit only one place and one point behind us. A final update for the third season will follow shortly, I am sure. Wish me luck!
  14. Charlton Athletic - Season 3 - Part 1 After securing a respectable mid-table finish in my first season back in the Championship, my main objectives for the summer of 2020 was to improve the quality of my defence and to bulk up the depth of my squad, whilst not relying so heavily on loan signings. Thanks to the sale of Karlan Grant in January I had a little more financial flexibility in this transfer window. It's been a busy summer to say the least! Outgoings The most notable outgoings were that of Dijksteel, Ecule Manga and De Laet - these players were all mainstays in my defence last season and I was determined to move them on from the club, therefore I was delighted to be able to find suitors for them. Arrivals Those of you who are familiar with my updates will probably know how much I love the free transfer market. I always find, particularly in lower league management, that if you put the time in and scour the free transfer options available you can find some great talent that represent so much more value than if you were to buy from other clubs. Now when you consider that I made 24 permanent signings, that may seem excessive! I should note though that I still had a large portion of my transfer budget unspent as the transfer window closed and still ranked only 21st in the league for wage bill size. Ten of the free transfer signings were teenagers with very high potential who had been released by top Premier League academies. The purpose of this is looking to build towards the future. I have been caught out in previous iterations of FM whereby I have made wholesale changes to teams to drive them through the divisions but then fell short of the home-grown player rules - deals like these are with the hope to counter this. A large number of these young players were sent straight out on loan to try and gain some match experience. I was delighted to bring Beilik and Cullen in on free transfers, after they played integral roles in my team over the last two seasons whilst on loan from their respective parent teams. My third loan star over the previous two seasons, Jonathan Leko, had two more years on his contract and unfortunately WBA would not let me loan him again. They said they planned to use him in the first team, however it has been frustrating to see that he is yet to feature for them. With my summer priority in mind, I reinvented my defence by signing right backs Coyle and Chandler (on loan from Frankfurt), centre backs Sasso and Burgy and left back Husband. After a solid season and an improvement to his attributes, I was feeling comfortable sticking with Steer as my first choice goalkeeper. This all changed however when I realised that signing Dean Henderson was a posbility. Henderson is a player I admire greatly and I was shocked to see he was available on a free. I moved quickly for him and believe his signing is my most significant to date. I bulked up my 'keeper options further by signing the experienced Elliot - useful if Steer gets unhappy on the bench and forces a move! Central midfielders Bandinelli and Meylor filled gaps in my central midfield options that had been occupied by loanees last season. I signed CAM Bahlouhi to give us the flexibility to play 4-2-3-1 if we so wished. We now have three different formations to choose from and I have utilised each of them several times already this season. In the absence of Leko I added some quality to my wing options with the signings of Ince (on loan from Stoke), Mbenza (on loan from Montpellier) and Australia international Kruse. Finally, I brought in striker Wickham to provide a different type of forward option to Taylor. Pre-season Usually the objective of my pre-season is just to build morale and fitness. This time round there was an added focus on team cohesion after the large scale renovations I had carried out on my squad. A tour of the Algarve went well and we were ready to start the season. So far, so good... The early stages of the season have gone well for us and we find ourselves 4th in the table. I can't imagine we will finish this high when it is all said and done, however I am at least hoping we can improve upon our 13th place finish from last season. Taylor has been in great form, bagging 8 goals, however he is the only player to score multiple goals thus far and I will need others to contribute if we are to maintain our form. Husband, Kruse, Aribo and Cullen have all played really well so far and I hope they can continue in this manner. We exited the Carabao Cup in frustrating manner, dominating the game and losing to a 95th minute goal. That said, it is perhaps for the best as it allows us to focus on our league fixtures.
  15. @DefinitelyTaylor I vote you go for it! Can't beat the EFL You would yes, but you'd also have no job security as they could sack you at basically no cost!
  16. @warlock I'm thinking that I will most likely stick with the 4-1-4-1 DM wide as it worked well in the final stages of the season. All depends on who I am able to acquire in the transfer window though - if a quality striker is available it might tempt me back to the 4-4-2! Great work surviving in the Premier League btw - impressive result against Spurs!
  17. Charlton Athletic - Season 2 - Part 3 You may recall we ended 2019 in bad form and with me hoping that form would pick up in new year. Well form certainly picked up as we enjoyed a six game undefeated spell in January, with Taylor, Aribo and Pearce particularly hitting form. It had been a distinctly quiet January transfer window, on account of our complete lack of funds. That all changed however on transfer deadline day when Crystal Palace activated the £9m release clause in Karlan Grant's contract, taking the talented young forward away from The Valley. The release fee was a condition I had to accept back in League One, when he was close to entering the final six months of his contract. Although disappointed to lose a home grown and high potential member of my first team, I felt the fee was good and would provide some financial stability and a platform to grow from in future seasons. Grant had delivered 6 goals in the league up to that point, a decent return for a young player, however he trailed Taylor and Washington on this front which left me with confidence for the rest of the season. I considered splashing the cash (the board gave me £3m of the fee to use) however I decided to bank most of it and just bring in pressing forward Mikael Uhre for £325k. During January Cullen, Tchouamani and Forster-Caskey all picked up injuries ranging from 4-8 weeks, so I looked to the loan market and brought in Manu Garcia from Man City to provide cover. Alongside our travails in the Championship, we had a good run in the FA Cup. I was proud that we were able to defeat league leaders (and eventual Championship winners) Nottm Forest in the 4th Round. We came crashing back to reality with a 5-0 defeat at Anfield however! I thought this could derail our league form, but luckily this was not the case... After the sale of Grant I had been persevering with my 4-4-2 formation, however against QPR I decided to switch to a 4-1-4-1 DM wide. This saw Taylor play as lone striker, supported by Leko and Fosu on the wings and Forster-Caskey came into the side to sit behind two of my other central midfielders. The players reacted positively to these changes which led to us finishing the season strongly in the final two months. We finished the season in 13th place, with only goal difference separating us from a top half finish. This may not be a league win or European qualification like some people in this forum have achieved, however I am really pleased with the achievement of a mid-table of finish, with the resources I had available to me. Lyle Taylor was once again my main match winner, delivering an impressive 20 goals in just 33 games. Stand-in forward Washington deserves great credit though, as he provided 14 goals and 7 assists from only 27 starts. I'm glad that I kept faith with the wingers who served my strikers so ably in League One. Fosu provided 14 assists and Leko contributed a further 12. I was pleased to see West Brom secure promotion as I am hoping that means they will allow me to take Leko on loan for a third season. My personal player of the season however was Aribo who was a driving force in many of best performances. Aribo scored 5 goals and also provided 9 assists. Defence was the weak point for my team last season and so I recruited the likes of De Laet, Ecuele Manga and Robinson to try and improve upon this. Unfortunately all three were unspectacular and this will be an area I will be looking at once again this summer. Right back was a particular problem area with De Laet and Dijksteel taking it in turns to deliver turgid displays. My assistants rate Pearce as only a League One defender, however I brought him into the team for the underperforming Ecuele Manga and he performed admirably, including 9 important goals when going up for corners. Pearce did so well that I have recently rewarded him with a new 2 year contract. So another season in the Championship awaits. I am hoping the board allows me to reinvest some of the Grant funds into my squad so I can look to equal or better our league finish.
  18. Lots of good updates from everyone! @Chevie Good start to the season there. Novakovich, Surridge and Baxter seems like a very strong attacking trio for League 1. Looking forward to seeing how you get on. @warlock That's a really good start to life in the Premier League. You've done really well to pick the team and get some points on the board after what must have been a demoralising start to the season against the top sides. I also like the youthful signings that you have made. Welcome to the thread @janneff - great work getting successive promotions. Good luck in the Premier League!
  19. Charlton Athletic - Season 2 - Part 2 September began in the best possible way with a very convincing win over Sheffield United. Washington scored a hat-trick and could even of had a fourth if he had not had a penalty saved. However the majority of the next two months can be considered a difficult period. There are not too many positives to mention here, however Washington can be considered to be a shining light during this time. The small size of my squad and the limited amount of depth (not helped by a series of injuries) meant we did not have the ability to change things up particularly from a losing position, whereas our opponents would bring on quality players. Things picked up however as we moved into November and a six game undefeated spell saw us pick up some invaluable points. Interestingly, my first choice goalkeeper Jed Steer broke his collarbone in training after the Bristol City game and was ruled out for 8 weeks. This left me very worried as my only other 'keeper was 35 year old Mark Bunn who my assistant only rated as 2 star. I was pleasantly surprised though as Bunn's introduction to the team coincided with five straight clean sheets - it's a funny old game! To provide cover I signed young 'keeper Phillips on a free transfer, a player that I had released from the club 5 months prior. Lyle Taylor returned from his three month lay-off at the end of November - this presented me with a dilemma as on paper Taylor and Grant are my best forwards, however Washington has performed admirably and is the 3rd highest top goalscorer in the league. This is a question I still have not answered, as I continue to test different combinations. Our form has fallen away once again in the last few games, so I am hoping for a fresh start in the New Year. So, at the half-way point in the league campaign we sit in 15th place and are closer on points to the Play-Offs than the relegation zone - I would certainly have taken this if offered it earlier in the season!
  20. Charlton Athletic - Season 2 - Part 1 I began the summer by converting my £400k transfer budget into wages, as I knew I would get the most value for money in the loan and free transfer markets. I once again upgraded my coaching staff with 9 leaving and 9 incoming. The most notable was the return of Bradley Wright-Phillips to The Valley, but this time as my under-23s manager! One of the most important things I did was that I was able to renew the contracts of my key or young players such as Taylor, Aribo, Fosu and Page. Three of my most essential signings are not displayed in the image above - I managed to renew the loans of Leko, Cullen and Bielik, all of whom had been essential to my League One winning campaign. This meant I could start the season with the same front six who created/scored 100 goals in the prior campaign. Our area of weakness in the previous season was our defence where we shipped 54 goals, therefore I prioritised strengthening this area. I signed De Laet as my new first choice RB, Robinson came in on loan to be my new LB and I was delighted to secure Ecuele Manga to partner Bielik at CB. To make way, and to balance the books, I cashed in on Afougou and club captain Solly. Solly had been dependable but not spectacular so I was comfortable letting him go. They are not shown above, however I also released Billy Clarke, Nicky Ajose and Dillon Phillips to free up some wages. Steer returned to the club on a free, after spending last season with us on loan. Long-term I will likely look to improve in this position, but in the short-term he was a familiar face at an affordable wage. I added strength in depth to my squad with the signings of Washington, Gapka, Kamara and Tchouameni. The other incoming signings are youth prospects, many of whom will likely see game time in a long Championship season. I thought I would share this news story I received about wage expenditure as it perfectly puts into perspective the challenge I face this season! Although operating on a shoestring budget, and the board expecting us just to fight to attempt to avoid relegation, I actually went into the season quietly confident that we could exceed these expectations. I have a young, talented squad who I think could cause a few upsets. Pre-season went well, with lots of goals to build up our collective confidence. Wins against Toulouse and Krasnador were satisfying, however as always, the main objective was just to make sure the entire squad was match fit going into the new season. I had a large number of players on trial at the club during this period, some who impressed me and secured contracts and others who did not and were promptly released back into the wild. The season began with a defeat to Brentford, but the fact that we scored three goals gave me confidence that we might just have a fighting chance. I was disappointed to exit the League Cup in the first round, frustratingly we had been leading 2-1 against our old rivals Barnsley, before conceding a 92nd minute own goal and then going out on penalties. Since then we have exceeded expectations and picked up three wins in the league. One big blow to our season was that Lyle Taylor went off injured in the 5th minute against Aston Villa and has been ruled out for three months with a hip injury. The silver lining has been that Washington has performed really well in his absence, which I hope to see continue. I took James Wilson, Will Keane and Fraizer Campbell all on trial with the hope of signing one to bulk up our forward options in Taylor's absence - unfortunately due to our tight budget constraints I could not afford any of them (@karanhsingh @DefinitelyTaylor Keane was the free transfer I had to cancel as I couldn't afford the signing on fee!) So we sit in 8th place with 10 points, after the first month of the season - which is better than I ever expected. There is a long way to go and I do worry our form could drop off and we could find ourselves in the relegation mix. We don't have a great depth to our squad, so I am hoping that Taylor will be our only significant injury this season. That said, things are going great and hopefully this can continue.
  21. @Jogo Bonito What a great start to life in League One! I'm impressed with how defensively solid you've been. You've left us on a cliffhanger as I'm intrigued to find out how you get on against league leaders Reading in your next game! @DefinitelyTaylor Good luck at Shrewsbury! I was at Wembley for the League One Playoff Final last season and was impressed by how hard they work. Will Keane seems like a shrewd signing and I've managed Mvoto before on Oldham saves over the years and he was always very solid. Charlton update incoming...
  22. @karanhsingh By contrast, I just had to cancel a free transfer signing because I couldn't afford the £44k signing on fee!
  23. @Chevie Congratulations on your promotion. Oldham back in their rightful home, League One! Looking forward to seeing how you get on. As you say there isn't to much of a gap between the divisions so hopefully you can continue your momentum. @warlock Great work winning the Championship, and by some margin too! Good to see you achieving your objectives with a Sheffield team - and a more positive update too! Good luck in the Prem!
  24. @warlock I noticed in your write up you described Marco Matias as mediocre. I currently have him on trial at Charlton and was considering offering him a deal to provide depth to my wing options. Would you suggest I avoid? I expect we will be involved at the opposite end of the table, so maybe will be judging on a different criteria!
  25. @warlock Reading your write up you would think you were in a relegation battle! Great start to the season and it looks like you are hitting form now your injured players are returning. KUTGW.
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