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Alokarin

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About Alokarin

  • Rank
    Amateur

Currently Managing

  • Currently Managing
    Billericay Town
  1. A final update with my Cove Rangers save: after 20 years with the club, I am calling it quits. The best I could do was maintain Ladbrokes 1 status with Ladbrokes 2 part-timers. I was firmly 8th in my final season with little prospect for sudden improvement. While I learned a lot about training from this, I think I'll move on to a game style where scouting matters (although still starting in the lower leagues).
  2. Alokarin

    FM16 Youth Academy Challenge

    For this, the second stint in Ladbrokes 1, I'll just post the injury report: This was the kind of season that reminded me of the ways that this game, at its best, can bring that same sense of tension and frustration that the real sport provides (I am, after all, an Arsenal fan). I knew I would be outmanned by most of the teams we faced; also, the senior squad had only 2 strikers, so I usually ran a 4-1-4-1, with a 4-4-1-1 for when I wanted a bit more attack from the midfield. However, as the table above shows, it was a season of squad juggling in many ways. The chief injury, Halsman, had been the rock of my midfield for many years, but was beginning to decline and be superseded by some other players. I would ease him back from injury slowly only to have him be injured in a u20 game for another stretch; he barely featured in the senior squad, and, as he wanted a premium contract the year after a testimonial game, he won't be with us next season. In his place I had Kelly, my star advanced playmaker, and Nicholson, a decent CM. Despite not having my best right wing at the beginning of the season, I was feeling hopeful: although we had the least effective offense in the league (due in part to the woeful form of our best striker, who managed 2 goals all season, and those only in the last two games), our league-best defense was helping us achieve enough draws to eke out 8th on the table. I agreed to change the goal from "fight bravely against relegation" to "avoid relegation." Within the week we lost our advanced playmaker and our only effective striker to injury during the January fixture list. What followed was a tense, game-by-game madhouse where I juggled lineups, brought in youth players, and tweaked settings until I found just enough scoring punch so that, when our best midfielders returned to health, we could steal a few wins. Those wins were so sweet: when the previously scoreless Robertson finally scored in the 35th game to get a win and push us out of relegation, I cheered. The oddsmakers had us favorites for relegation, and we finished 7th. The team loses little for next year, but will need to improve at DM. The youth intake featured a keeper and a striker with high promise, so I have some hope for next season. The board still refuses to relay the pitch, which is consistently criticized by managers and doesn't really help the passing game I am trying to set up. So it goes in the lower leagues. Still, this was one of those seasons that was tense, absorbing, and much fun.
  3. Alokarin

    FM16 Youth Academy Challenge

    Cove Rangers multi-year update (from 2026-27 through 2031-32) When I last updated these boards about the progress of my seemingly eternal Cove Rangers career, I was feeling a bit low: we had achieved a lucky promotion only to be quickly relegated, and finances and morale at the club were poor. A change in ownership soon followed, with the new owners showing a bit more ambition than the old; I wondered if they would have much less patience with me. the board seemed to expect a quick promotion which did not happen. In 26-27 and 27-28, we ended in 5th, just outside of playoff places, and the board waited until the last week to renew my contract; I thought my career was over. Several key older players moved on, and in 28-29 our youth were not ready to take over and we finished 7th. A 4th place finish and good playoff run in 29-30 gave the board more hope (and gave me more hope, and some of the players from the intake of 2025 finally started to come through), but the team regressed in 30-31 with a 7th place finish again. Nevertheless, I thought enough of our young players had come along that we could challenge for promotion the next year. In 31-32, we opened somewhat shakily (1-2-1), but then did not lost for fifteen straight games. After that run, we were top of the table and basically would stay there all season, securing first place with four games remaining. Our four key players include three from the youth intake of 2025, as well as our best right winger, Ross Mackie, who broke his leg late in the season: 21a Ross Mackie 25c James Kelly 25a Jonathan Robertson 25f Ally Esslemont Although he is developing into one of my best defenders, Esslemont whines constantly about his training load. Statistically, we had the best scoring defense in Ladbrokes 2, as well as the 4th best offense. I hope to stay up in Ladbrokes 1 in my seventeenth season with Cove Rangers. I also had my first testimonial game for a player who graduated from my youth academy this season. The youth intake in the last few years has offered no bright stars, which worries me; basically, this is the crew I make it with or don't.
  4. Alokarin

    FM16 Youth Academy Challenge

    Cove Rangers (Scotland) 25-26 (10th season) The season after my promotion into Ladbrokes League 1 was ultimately frustrating, as a promising start (two wins) was followed by a slow decline. By the last nine games, the team had fallen into 10th, the automatic relegation spot, and an inept offense (we ended up scoring 28 goals in 36 games, including 4 goals in the final two meaningless matches) ensured that we wouldn't climb out. Despite the relegation, the board offered me another contract, although the club is losing significant money and I was ordered to sell players. My best player refuses to sign a new contract, but no other club is interested. I've shed a number of older and marginal players to help with payroll. My question to those with more experience in these challenges might be: when does it become clear that it's time to give up? The board has refused to improve training facilities, youth facilities, or youth coaching. My best youth intake players seem to be about the level of Ladbrokes 2, making staying up in the event of another promotion a challenge. I'm probably in for a long slog, not having the clear tactical acumen of so many on these boards.
  5. Alokarin

    FM16 Youth Academy Challenge

    Cove Rangers (Scotland) season 9 (24-25) At last, a season where things went right. The team opened strong, scoring well in the first nine games before teams adjusted and we had to focus more on defending well. At the midway point of the season, we had dropped to 5th, then had a stretch of good form that saw the team lead the table for a month before a stretch of tough games saw us fall to 4th. 4th was still good enough to get in to the relegation playoff, where we improbably defeated higher league Steinhousmuir 3-0 on aggregate before squeaking past Stanraer (a team who we had not defeated all season) on penalties to earn promotion to Ladbrokes League 1. Now, we will get to see if we have a chance to stay there. I had been hoping that promotion would help convince the board to take the club to professional status for full time training; they want me to prove myself first (I assume by staying up with part timers for a year). They wouldn’t even let me get another badge. While the squad had some promise, I may have been premature in going up. We will see. In our youth intake, a striker, right back, and midfielder show some promise, but next year I will need to think short term. Here are the attributes of my main squad and my U20 squad (with this year's intake). I'm afraid we lack pace for the next league, but we shall see. Any advice for the long-suffering newly promoted? Cove Rangers 25 squad attributes Cove Rangers 25 U20 squad attributes
  6. Alokarin

    FM16 Youth Academy Challenge

    Rather than do a year-by-year report, I thought I would summarize the slow grind I am currently having with Cove Rangers (Scotland). The basic flatness of the story can be seen with the history: While I haven't been relegated, I have rarely achieved the mid-table finish that the board expects, let alone the top half finish that would represent progress toward promotion (and, hopefully, a shift to professional status which would allow for full time training). On the bright side, I have managed this consistency while bringing in increasing numbers of products from our own youth system (which, combined with tight control of payroll, probably explains why I haven't been fired yet). Here is the current squad before season number 9: My coaching staff still thinks in terms of the Highlands-Lowlands leagues as their point of reference, so the stars are somewhat inflated. I have the youngest team in the league, as well as the lowest payroll by far (making us relegation favorites of the oddsmakers every season). I have managed to craft a "fairly professional" team identity, and I consistently lead the league in possession (playing a patient, counterattacking 4-4-2 or 4-1-4-1 given that we are usually outmanned). Some youth players who have grown into key roles include: 17a Miller, who is still my only effective DM, a center back with somewhat effective midfield skills who led the league in yellow cards; 19f Morrison, the first of a wealth of center backs I currently have on the team (I have two others who will be competing with him for playing time); 21a Donaldson, one of two strikers who have come on quickly--in the last season, he led the league in goals scored and holds the club record as well; 21c Mackie, currently the best player on the club on the right wing, second only to veteran Thompson with 9 assists to Thompson's 10. Compared to our league, our defenders are strong and somewhat slow; our midfield has great teamwork and poor first touch and passing; and our strikers have good finishing but poor positioning. I am not sure how to progress going forward, but I will say that avoiding relegation with this team has been a more engaging gaming experience than winning 4 cups my first year with Arsenal.
  7. Alokarin

    FM16 Youth Academy Challenge

    I'm so impressed by the people who have completed this challenge. This is my first year even attempting it, and I feel very much stuck with my Cove Rangers (Scotland) save. I'm in my 4th season having only managed to avoid relegation each season. I have some promising youngsters, but only one who has excited interest from bigger clubs (a keeper, who is currently starting about half time as a 16 year old). I just can't figure out how to progress. This challenge is hard, but fun.
  8. Alokarin

    FM16 Youth Academy Challenge

    Cove Rangers Youth Academy challenge After learning a bit more about how relegation works in Scots Ladbrokes 2, I assumed the manager position at Cove Rangers. The Rangers are looking for a mid-table finish this year with a squad that is a mix of old veterans and new talent: Two center backs are in their mid-30s, but most are in their early 20s and injuries in training camp show a general injury-prone tendency in the squad that will be problematic. Stamina and strength are low, but there is a health amount of fitness and agility to the squad that will be useful. I take over the squad late in the training camp, leaving me one friendly to hire staff, put tactics into place, and prepare for some cup ties against big clubs. The squad is imbalanced, with a surplus of center backs and strikers and almost nothing in the middle. Keiller is more naturally a winger, meaning my only natural central midfielder starts the season injured. I begin training the team captain, an AM, to drop into an advanced playmaker role for a 4-3-1-2. There is one midfielder and one flexible defender on the U20 squad who can cover. The main theme of the first season is whining; a number of players complain constantly about playing time (Maxwell, in fact, is given a release in one of those conversational forks where I didn’t realize that was what I was doing). But, after months of slowly working on tactics at the semi-professional training pace of the club, the team put together a good run and ended the season just out of a playoff spot: The youth intake for 2017 has some promise, with a few players to help the midfield, but no one of a potential to transform the club.
  9. Alokarin

    FM16 Youth Academy Challenge

    I'm sorry. As it was my only job offer, I assumed it was a newly promoted club. My apologies. Edit: I just tried to restart in Scotland, and Ladbrokes 2 contains no teams promoted from below--just 2 relegated from Ladbrokes 1. I just realized that I need to holiday to the point where I can restart based on the relegation playoff. My bad.
  10. Alokarin

    FM16 Youth Academy Challenge

    For my second attempt at the challenge, we move north to Scotland and Ladbrokes League 2's newly promoted East Stirlingshire. The team is a blend of older and younger, with 31 year olds at left and center back. Balanced personalities overall, but low stamina across the team will mitigate against any more energetic strategies. Had a rocky start, not getting a win until the ninth game, but eventually the counterattacking 4-4-2/4-5-1 system took hold with the players and I began to get some good performances. By the last months of the season, things were clicking and we threatened to earn a playoff position before settling into 5th with 56 points in 36 games (well above the predicted 9th). The youth intake offered six players with some promise: The team ended the season with a small financial loss. I released two of the weaker players, hoping to create some room to develop some youth and improve the payroll (I hired a fourth coach to make our training level some of the best in the league). I am currently right before the youth intake in the second season, having not been sacked this time. As with the first season, we struggled to get a first win (four 0-0 results in the first eight games, the rest losses). However, we find ourselves on a good run in February and March and in 4th (the lowest playoff spot) with six games remaining, all but one against teams in the bottom half of the ten-team table. I'll be losing a good center back to retirement, and Hoskins, my 31-yr old left back, has always been weak (but better than any youth replacement yet). I don't know if the team is competitive were we to get promoted, especially with a young back line next year. We'll see what the youth intake brings.
  11. Alokarin

    FM16 Youth Academy Challenge

    Unfortunately, the second season featured an only marginally improved defense combined with a total goal drought by Atkinson (as well as a rash of injuries to my first 3 strikers). I was playing 3-4 youth intake players on regular rotation by January because of injuries, and it showed in league-worst goals and goals allowed. The board sacked me in February. Still, for a first challenge, I learned a few things about how to develop a team. I think I'll give it another go.
  12. Alokarin

    FM16 Youth Academy Challenge

    Finished my first season with the Ilkeston FC Robins. The first month was painful, as I had 18 non-grayed players on the roster. In the August window, my best center back and both keepers left for other clubs, leaving me with exactly four defenders (one 16 years old), with two center midfielders who could also play right back in a pinch. Our experienced full backs suffered from poor motivation all season, knowing that I had no one to put in should I want to bench them for poor form (both refused to sign new contracts, so they know they are on the way out). So, even though we scored a 3rd best 71 goals in the league, we allowed a league-worst 87. The keeper I took in on youth intake day moved immediately into a starting position on the senior squad. Still, we managed to narrowly avoid relegation (and I narrowly kept my job): The youth intake was large and quite promising: Unfortunately, I see only a bit of help with my thinness on defense. I've signed my best strikers to longer term contracts, so training defenders (and a defensive midfielder, which the team currently lacks) will be a priority for season two.
  13. Alokarin

    FM16 Youth Academy Challenge

    Hello all. This is my second year with FM, and my first attempt at a Youth Academy challenge. I will be managing the Ilkeston FC Robins: The oldest player on the main squad is 23. But first, to hire some staff!
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