SSW Season 2012/13 - Quadruple Winners!
Apologies to McGeady10 as I have ripped off his season review post setup.
Started off my pre-season by offloading Stokes(Huddersfield £2.7m) and Samaras(Monaco £3.2m) whilst also sending Miku back to Getafe to free up some wages, so looking pretty light up front to start the season so in came Libor Kozak from Lazio for £1.9m to adda different dimension to my attacks if necessary when Hooper is out. I only play with one striker and advanced wingers so no need to carry more than a few who play that role. Lukasz Zaluska and Paddy McCourt also found themselves surplus to requirements with the former loaned back to Poland and McCourt allowed a free transfer to Middlesbrough. Completing the incoming first season transfers were Borek Dockal, Jonas Svensson, Gary Mackay-Steven and Martin Lejsal to cover Forster.
NB. Necid has just been signed at end of first season to facilitate a possible change of tactics.
Despite winning the league by 20 points I was really frustrated with it through the season where it seemed to be like real life Celtic, I would struggle badly with any sort of domination of teams few and far between. The standards of my teams performances and displays alsmost caused me to chuck it, ala Lennon last week. Looking at the results it shows 3 of my losses came in the last 4-5 games where I had bigger fish to fry, still the overall performance throughout he league was unacceptable.
Reached the Champions League Group stage with a little scare by Maribor only a few weeks into the season. I was drawn a pretty difficult group that I managed to sneak out of and drop into the Europa League. My incredible first group match day in the Champions League ultimately was the only win and more importantly was the result that saw me stay in Europe after Christmas. The Champions League Final was contested by the two Manchester clubs of which Manchester Blue came out on top making up for losing the English Premier League to Manchester Red.
Champions League Results
Group E Table
Dropping into the Europa League gave me a shot in the arm and allowed me to take my mind off the troubling domestic performances. I just had that feeling you sometimes get when playing and performing above our level, the same feeling most SPL clubs felt against me almost like feeling no pressure of expectations not just from the game but myself seeing each game as a bonus to develop my team and players and boy did it work out! I use the same tactic for all games occasionally tweak a few little things now and again for each game but always revert to the one tactic and philosophy that has served me well for years. There were a few scares but we never felt out of it and indeed seemed to perform brilliantly when the pressure was on beating some excellent teams on the way to a dramatic penalty shoot-out win against a very good Borussia Monchengladbach side. I now have my tactic for Europe next year!
The domestic cups were nothing but formalities but we made it hard for ourselves with some woeful performances again. The highlight being a very boring tussle with Rangers in the Scottish Cup final with both teams amassing a total of 6 shots between us with only the one on target from ourselves, seeing off Third Division minnows 'The Rangers'.
If it weren't for some excellent individual displays and input then this season would have been nowhere near as successful, indeed without James Forrest and Borek Dockal we would have struggled to any competition win including the league, not forgetting a very good second half of the season from Gary Mackay-Steven just as young Forrest was struggling for form and fitness. Other honourable mentions to Gary Hooper, Efe Ambrose, Joe Ledley, Thomas Rogne and Adam Matthews who were consistently reliable wherever ther they played.
Player Of The Season
With the new season still a few months away we go back to the drawing board adding to the back room staff and playing squad. I will be looking to implement a new tactic for the league to help us in that regard whilst maintaining my tried and tested for tougher games and hopefully another lengthy European adventure. Tomas Necid has been added with the aforementioned tactical alterations in mind.
Gaetan Bong(DL,WBL) Freedom of contract (Valenciennes) - Will give competition to the left back spot which saw Mulgrew cement his place in the second half of the season as the main man here. May allow for potential movement out.
Federico Casarini(MC) Freedom of contract (Bologna) - Excellent midfielder who will go on to be one of the higher earners however looks a great buy and will hopefully add a little more class and creativity to the middle of the park.
Simone Colombi(GK) Freedom of contract (Atalanta) - Exciting young prospect who will add depth and competition to the two current keepers, Forster and Lejsal.
Jon Daly(ST) Freedom of contract (Dundee United) - Again with SPL in mind next year the consistent and versatile Daly may come in very handy especially at what could be excellent value at only £5k a week.
Neal Eardley(DR) Freedom of contract (Blackpool) - The experienced and classy Eardley comes in again to add competition to a thin squad, may also see one or two move out.
Jon Egan(DC) Freedom of contract (Sunderland) - Young cheap central defender prospect, one of my very frequent no risk punts on free youngsters. Will see how he goes.
Karl Ratchford(ST) Freedom of contract (Fleetwood Town) - Interesting find by John Park this one, 18 year old striker who looks like he has a good bit of ability any advice on handling him would be appreciated.
With a few guys coming in and a big transfer budget thanks to last seasons performances will probably look to transition the squad to compete at the next level. Guys who I can see possibly leave are Lustig, Wilson, Izzaguire, Lassad and Commons. With my reputation high with the board will hopefully implement the foundations to grow the club down the line.
Looking forward to the summer transfer madness and the beginning of next season!
Any questions or queries fire away...