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About danmcconnell1

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About Me

  • About Me
    Just a young chap wondering through the virtual football world...


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    Birmingham City

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  • Currently Managing

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  1. The Dictator and the Hammer

    For a side with Grassy in their name, there's not much there........
  2. Started with Rafa, now we're here

    Fantastic insight to your clear love for Newcastle. They are the typical sleeping giant, the club is huge but had under performed for a huge number of years for reasons I'm sure you can explain better than I, but I'll definitely be following what is a brilliantly written piece so far.
  3. FM18 - Dare To Dream? Road To The Premiership

    Definitely following, managed to get Blues promoted in my first season playing a crazy 4-3-3 with barely any signings. Best of luck, play offs deffo still achievable. Who's been getting your goals?
  4. Not quite sure how I managed it if I'm honest! Have played ahead so will finish the season then update tonight.
  5. October 2020 My first full month in charge will see us face some big challenges but I'm hopeful we can face them all well. The month began wonderfully with a birthday win for me against Empoli by two goals to nil, Diawara and youngster Arfang Sarr on the score sheet. We then followed that up with another win against Spal, Cervi and another for youngster Sarr again. We then embarked on a very bad run of form, starting with an unlucky 1-0 defeat against Leverkusen in the Champions League but lost successive games 4-0 against Juventus and Sampdoria. We ended the month with a very big win against Lazio, Diawara, another youngster Esposito and a brace for Origi gave us a much needed 3 points in that game. This poor month has seen us move up to 7th but we do need a sustained run of form and stop conceding so many goals. We sit in 3rd in our Champions League group and face Leverkusen in our next game as we try to exact revenge on them for the 1-0 defeat this month and try to catch up with the top 2. Brugges look dead and buried and I'd be surprised to see them pick up a point, so it looks like it's a 3 way race for qualification at the moment. Player of the Month Divock Origi is my player of the month this month. It's been a tough decision with so many bad performances but he has shone in all apart from the Juventus match. He's bagged 3 goals this month too and is our top scorer so far. Special mentions to youngsters Arfang Sarr and Esposito though for both scoring their first professional goals this month, long may that continue!
  6. September 2020 So my first month in charge of the giants that are Napoli went as follows. I joined on September 3rd therefore I had 9 days to try and work out who was worth playing in the team and who wasn't. Our first match was at home against Palermo where we could only manage a 1-1 draw. I then ventured into the Champions League for the first time as a manager and got what I thought was a respectable looking point against Atletico Madrid. It could have been so much more but for a 92nd minute Diego Costa equalizer. Back to league matters and another 2-2 draw ensued against Fiorentina this time. I got my first win in charge against Cagliari which was soon followed by my first defeat to Milan. We ended the month well though with a 2-0 win away to Brugges in the Champions League. Our tame start in the league saw us in 9th after the first 6 matches, I'd like some more wins though to stop the rot. As for the Champions League, well we've started very well. We face a double header against Leverkusen next so will need to take points from each match to be in with a real chance of qualification as Atletico will come good against Brugges I'm certain of it. Player of the Month Jose Callejon wins the first award of my tenure. He's yet to score from wide right but has provided a couple of assists so far and I've been very impressed with the link up he has with Jonny, the right back. Hopefully his good form can continue in what is a squad short on depth. Hopefully we can do some business in January to try and bolster the numbers.
  7. September 2020 After numerous interviews with a few clubs on the continent and in England, I stumbled across a huge opportunity..... The giant Italian club offered me, yes me, the managers job! I'd be a fool not to take it, therefore that's exactly what I did! This Napoli side are champions of Italy currently and boast some of the European Championship winning team in it also. They've started the season with a win and a defeat before their previous manager left for Real Madrid. I'm hoping I can continue the great success brought to the club in recent times and try to do well in the much coveted Champions League also.
  8. UEFA Euro 2020 So as we got closer and closer to the championships, I started to get more and more worried about our chances as I realised the strength of the sides we were going up against. First up was Croatia. They absolutely battered us and we began the tournament with an embarrassing 4-0 defeat. Things weren't about to get any easier either as we faced Belgium in our next tie. We held out for an hour and should have been in front by at least 2 goals as we had a clear cut chance through Maguire which he put wide and James McLean hit the post, but the Belgians put us to the sword in the final half an hour, meaning we were all but out of the tournament after just 2 matches. Our final game was against Sweden. We took the lead through Jordan Graham but were pegged back soon after. Shortly before half time, John Egan was given his marching orders for a second booking and from the resulting free kick, Sweden then took the lead. McLean did get us back on level terms but a late Swedish winner gave them the 3 points meaning we ended the tournament without a point to our name. I decided to leave the Irish national team there as I didn't feel the nation had the necessary players to sufficiently challenge in the future, therefore I'll be looking to try and get myself back into club management ahead of the new season. There has been the usual merry go round of managerial activity so there are jobs available and now I don't have the Irish job which could potentially have been seen as a hindrance to a chairman, I can now solely focus on a new job. I'll update again as and when a new job comes around.
  9. Ireland Update So before the European Championships started, we had organised a single friendly against Norway at the Aviva. We could only manage a 1-1 draw thanks to a late Sean Maguire equaliser at the Aviva. Here you can also see our group in the Euros, we'll be facing Croatia first, then Belgium and finish the group stage against Sweden. Here is the squad I've selected for these European Championships. I am excited to try and upset some of the odds as it looks like we could end up being seen to be the weakest team in the group, but I am happy to try and upset those odds and who knows, maybe even grab that elusive in most groups third spot.
  10. April 2020 So with the noose already around my neck, April's results didn't exactly help my situation... 2 more defeats against Hull and Preston sealed my fate and unfortunately, I didn't mean the points target set for me by the chairman, therefore I was no longer the manager of Birmingham. I do of course still have the European Championships to look forward to with Ireland, but depending on how that tournament goes, I'll definitely look to continue this story in club football, either still with Ireland or focusing solely on club football if an opportunity that was right for me was to come along potentially at the end of the season. I do feel like I did a good job at Blues so don't think it'll be difficult to find another job sooner rather than later, but I am gutted to lose the Blues job.
  11. March 2020 It was a short month domestically for us due to the first international break of the year, which I'll get onto later. Here's how we got on in the league. The first match of the month was a huge second city derby against Villa which we really should have won looking at the stats, we just couldn't find the winning goal. A loss to Burton ensued, which resulted in a board meeting where the expected me to pick up 8 points from the next 5 games. I agree form hasn't been great this year but do believe I've done enough for the club to deserve more time than that. The beginning of that 5 match run started badly with a 3-1 defeat away at Brentford, leaving the table looking like this. We fell another 2 places down to 15th. The play offs are now all but impossible, but the main priority now is to make sure we reach this points target. Player of the Month Ibrahima Konate picked up the player of the month award although it was a tough call as I wouldn't say anybody stood out this month. Ireland Update My first match in charge of Ireland was a European Championship play off semi final away from home in Slovakia. Ranked 11 places higher than us, we were underdogs, but definitely fancied our chances at a shot at the European Championships later in the year. And we were right to. We found ourselves 4-0 after an hour and despite a very big scare with Slovakia coming back with 3 goals of their own in what was a roller coaster of a match, we found ourselves 90 minutes away from European footballs elite international competition. Standing in our way would be Russia. We definitely fancied our chances against them as this time we were in Dublin at the Aviva Stadium with 51000 Irish men and women cheering us on. And we rewarded them with a 1-0 victory thanks to Patrick Bamford's header just after the half hour mark! Ireland were heading to the Euros! The draw takes place in April.
  12. February 2020 So after a disappointing start to the year with us going out of the FA Cup, it did mean we could concentrate solely on improving our league form. Unfortunately for us though, that didn't happen. Just 6 points from a possible 15 has seen us stay in mid table, despite wins against Sheffield United and Fulham we lost 3 against West Ham, Leeds and bottom club Cardiff which was the most disappointing of them all. Again we remain in 13th place and if we are to make a late season push then we need to start as soon as possible. Player of the Month Seeing as he won the young player of the month, it's hard to argue that he deserves the award internally also. A brilliant hat-rick away at Fulham in the final game of the month was enough to earn him the award in my book and long may his goal scoring form continue.
  13. Reckon I should take a chance on this fella @Neil Brock ?
  14. January 2020 So the new year began with a favourable FA Cup 3rd round tie but would then be just as tough in the Championship. Here's how we got on. The aforementioned FA Cup 3rd round tie against Exeter should have been a formality, but a slightly weaker team, by no means full of reserves, could only manage a draw meaning we faced a replay away from home. We then responded brilliantly with an emphatic 5-0 win against Bristol City at home. We really needed that result to boost some confidence. That confidence was then shattered though as we lost in the replay away to Exeter to a Jayden Stockley 119th minute goal in extra time. I was not happy to go out of the cup at such an early stage against such lowly opposition. We responded well to the cup disappointment again though and beat struggling Fleetwood 3-1 thanks to 2 goals from new signing Jon Toral and yet another from Che Adams. The final 2 matches of the month though saw us gain just 1 point from 6, that coming against Ipswich after losing away to Blackburn. This all meant the table looked like this. We have moved up a couple of places into 13th but still need to find some more consistent form if we're to have a second half of the season push towards the top 6. We're 9 points behind those play off spots and while it's not unheard of, it's very unlikely considering our patchy form. Transfer News We did do some January business, both in and out. The aforementioned Jon Toral has come in and started well, but when I noticed that Ruben Loftus-Cheek was available at a cut price I couldn't resist going in for him. He's accepted significantly lower wages than what he was on at Chelsea which says a lot about the player, he wants to come here and impress. I was very happy with the signing as it meant that Ravel Morrison could be moved on. He has not performed up to now this year and has been affecting what has always been a good atmosphere in the dressing room during my team here, therefore I offered him out at his value which was approx. £9.5m, although I never expected to receive anywhere near that kind of money. In the end, we agreed a loan deal with the option to buy at the end of the season with Ipswich, something which could work well for all parties. We did try to sign the Portsmouth striker Omar Bogle on deadline day for £4.6m, but Pompey were adamant nothing was going to happen until they signed a replacement, something I couldn't really argue with as he was the league's 2nd top goal scorer with 19 already. Unfortunately for us, Pompey couldn't sign a striker therefore this deal is off, at least for now. We also saw Assane Gnoukouri leave on loan too. He's also been moaning about the position the team is in at the moment and although he's been injured for a large portion of the season already, when he has been given opportunities he also hasn't performed. He'll join Huesca in Spain until the end of the season. All other outgoings were loan spells for youngsters. Player of the Month Since re-joining from Hull, Toral has been in inspired form, far better than the outgoing Morrison and Gnoukouri, justifying their temporary departures for me. He's capped off a great start to his time with us again with 2 goals against Fleetwood which ended up winning us the game, as well as 4 performances with a rating of 7 or more, I'm happy with his start.