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About JoeyBaldwin

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  • Biography
    FMS Newcomer of the Year 2017

Favourite Team

  • Favourite Team
    Wycombe Wanderers

Currently Managing

  • Currently Managing
    Sun Postal Sports

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  1. With regards to the opposition we'll be facing in the Spartan South Midlands this season, here's the media prediction of where each of the teams will end up: Wembley Tring Athletic Berkhamsted Hertford Town Leverstock Green Stotfold Hillingdon Borough St. Margaretsbury AFC Dunstable Ampthill Town Harefield United Biggleswade United Colney Heath Hadley London Tigers Oxhey Jets Holmer Green Kings Langley Sun Postal Sports Cockfosters Hoddesdon Town London Colney
  2. To provide some background to this challenge, here's some information about Sun Postal Sports, to understand the starting point of this challenge: Sun Postal Sports, based in Watford, were formed way back in 1901, and are currently playing their football in the Spartan South Midlands Football League. Their home games are played at the Sun Postal Sports & Social Club, which has a capacity of 525. The club own their stadium, but its condition is Poor, and the club has Poor training facilities and Basic youth and corporate facilities. Furthermore, the club has Minimal junior coaching and Limited youth recruitment, so the infrastructure as a whole can only improve, and is definitely representative of a ninth tier club. The media are predicting a relegation dogfight this season, with the club expected to come 19th out of the 22 teams in the league. In the Spartan South Midlands, two teams are relegated but only the champions are promoted, so getting out of the league will be a considerable challenge from the very start, no matter how strong a squad I can build at this level. Financially, the semi-professional outfit are valued at £20K, with 65 season ticket holders paying £63 each for their season tickets. A match-day ticket costs £4. However, there is plenty of room to shape the playing squad in my first pre-season as the wage budget stands at £1.5K p/w, of which £1.3K p/w is remaining as I take over the club. This is good news as the playing squad I've inherited is extremely poor, so I'll be doing my best to overhaul this significantly throughout the course of pre-season. The expectations of the board are as follows: Spartan South Midlands Football League - stay clear of relegation. FA Cup - be competitive. FA Vase - reach the Second Qualifying Round. Spartan South Midlands League Challenge Trophy - not expected to get beyond the Second Round. Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division Cup - be competitive.
  3. Taking a team from the lowest playable league to the highest is one of the toughest challenges on Football Manager, as we all know, and it's one I've never managed to accomplish. I've taken Wycombe Wanderers to the Europa League on FM16, I've managed to start unemployed with no reputation and win two Champions League titles, and I've had a go at the 'Bottom To Top' challenge before, but never stuck at it long enough to make it happen. I managed to take Halifax Town from the Conference into the Champions League on the old Championship Manager 2006, but I had the Club Benefactor option ticked which gave me a significant advantage, and the game was relatively straightforward if you had your strikers on Gung Ho and Take Long Shots, so I don't really count that as an achievement. Now, however, I'm going to attempt the Bottom To Top challenge, I'm going to stick at it for a long time, and I'm going to make the challenge much harder for myself, and much more interesting in my opinion, by downloading the 7th, 8th and 9th tiers of English football onto the game and trying to take a team from the 9th tier all the way to the Premier League. In my U18 days I played for Marlow Town Youth, however the Marlow Town first team are in the Southern D1 Central, in the 8th tier, so I can't take them over to complete this challenge. However, there are teams I played against in those days who are in the tier below, and in the end I've settled for Sun Postal Sports as the team to base my career with. The aim is simple. I want to take Sun Postal Sports from the Spartan South Midlands Football League all the way to the Premier League. I'll be posting regular updates in this thread, so keep an eye out, and in the coming weeks and months hopefully we'll be making progress up the English football pyramid.
  4. After my last match of the season, I'd finished 11th with East Thurrock, the best finish they'd ever managed. Thus, I got the news article above! Despite there being zero matches left to play (could tidy that up), we'll apparently be striving to improve that position in the final weeks of the season.
  5. By Paul Scholes, I meant Steven Gerrard
  6. ENGLAND HIRE FISHER TO REPLACE CAPELLO Following England’s farcical World Cup campaign in South Africa, the FA have decided to dispense with the services of Fabio Capello, and have replaced him with home-grown coach Max Fisher. Capello, who has enjoyed a glittering managerial career, boasting Real Madrid, AC Milan and Juventus among his previous employers, became the England manager in December 2007. He successfully led England to the World Cup without too many problems, but performances in South Africa were very poor, with Capello coming under scrutiny for both his tactics and selection. Many fans were left bemused by his preference for Emile Heskey over Peter Crouch when England were chasing the game against Germany, while his attempts to shoehorn Steven Gerrard into the side by playing him on the left to accommodate Gareth Barry and Frank Lampard into a 4-4-2 also left fans and pundits unimpressed. Managers can get away with contentious selection choices if results are good. Uninspiring draws with USA and Algeria, followed of course by the hammering at the hands of the Germans, have not supported him, and eventually the FA have decided – rightly, in the opinion of this writer – to go in a different direction as they look ahead to the 2012 European Championship qualifying campaign. The FA hadn’t given any indication that Capello was about to be replaced, but the quick announcement of Max Fisher suggests that the decision had been made a while ago and potential candidates assessed. Fisher has a growing reputation in football, helped by a fourteen-year career in which he learned his trade working as a youth coach at Birmingham City and Newcastle United, before moving to West Bromwich Albion as assistant manager. The big risk with his appointment is that he has never held a direct managerial role before – he has been thrown in at the deep end in this respect, and some fans will need to be convinced. However, he ticks a lot of boxes. Fisher is a charismatic and passionate character, the kind of man who commands the respect of all that he works with, and the West Brom fans certainly had a feeling of warmth towards him. Obviously the issue of a language barrier is removed – one of Capello’s big drawbacks was his inability to speak English and his reluctance to learn it. There will of course be those who are critical of the appointment. However, there’s no doubting that Fisher has the ingredients in his character, intelligence and knowledge of the game to take England forward and progress. His first match in charge is a friendly against Hungary in August, which will be useful as he looks to work out his system and best eleven going into the European Championship qualification campaign. England have been drawn into a fairly tough Group G. Neighbours Wales have the growing talents of Gareth Bale, along with vociferous support at the Millennium Stadium, while Switzerland are one of Europe’s strong ‘second tier’, including players such as Liverpool’s new £6.5m signing Tranquillo Barnetta. Montenegro, who have the attacking talents of Roma’s Mirko Vucinic and Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic up front, and Bulgaria, who boast Bolton winger Martin Petrov and former Manchester City striker Valeri Bojinov, are the other two nations in Group G. England expects qualification. Now is the time for Max Fisher to deliver.
  7. INTRODUCTION In the summer of 2018, Iceland will compete in their first ever World Cup, having surprised everyone to reach the European Championship Quarter-Finals in 2016. They are undoubtedly a country on the up in international football - however, back in 2010, this was not the case. Gylfi Sigurdsson was an emerging talent, while the likes of Eidur Gudjohnsen and Gretar Steinsson were in the twilight of their careers. Even in light of their recent success as a nation, Icelandic domestic football has never achieved anything of note. My challenge is to change that. There are only two manageable divisions in Iceland, creatively named the Premier League and the First Division. There are 12 teams in each, and to give myself more of a challenge, I decided to take over at the smallest club in the First Division - Bi/Bolungarvik. This is the obvious choice - they are the only amateur side out of the 24 manageable sides, and the club is supposedly worth just £28K (the top clubs in Iceland are around the £2m mark). Torfunesvollur, the home stadium, has a capacity of just 600, and there are just 30 season ticket holders - that's not even families and friends! The challenge will be to build Bi/Bolungarvik up from pretty much nothing into the dominant force in Iceland, and eventually upset an apple cart or two in European competition. DOMESTIC STRUCTURE There are three competitions in Iceland. The domestic league season begins in early May and runs through to September, with each team playing just 22 league games per season - for my mind, this means more excitement as every game is crucial from the beginning. The Icelandic Cup runs parallel to the league season, however the Upper League Cup precedes it, running for two months from late February through to the end of April. The 24 top teams are split into 3 groups of 8, who then play each other once, with the top two from each group progressing to a Quarter-Finals (along with the two best third-placed sides). The ULC adds a good two months of competitive football onto the start of the season, and is generally taken seriously. My start date at Bi/Bolungarvik is the 22nd December 2010, so we're already halfway through the first season of the major European leagues on the game. However, the 2011 season will be my first in charge of the only amateur side in Iceland. We're predicted to finish rock bottom (two teams are relegated and two teams are promoted, there are no Playoffs of any kind), so my aim for the first season is simply to be as competitive as possible and survive in the First Division. Before the 2011 ULC begins, I need to strengthen the playing squad, and organise some friendlies. The challenge starts now!
  8. Thanks very much. Currently playing a save with the same premise, but in which the character has to regularly argue with the board and relentlessly criticise referees - will be interesting to see how far the sanctions go, and whether an angry manager can be successful!
  9. Just seen this, flattered to have won the award for Best Newcomer! Thanks very much for those who voted and congratulations to the other award winners. Been struggling to find the time of late to finish stories I started over the last few months, but hopefully over the Christmas holidays I'll have more time to carry these on. Thanks very much!
  10. “Hi Roy, how are you doing?” “Very well thanks, just been running through my squad selection for our friendly tomorrow at Broadfields. Yourself?” “Excellent, I’ve got some very good news – as far as I’m concerned, anyway. I’ve got myself a manager’s job!” “Really? That’s fantastic mate!” Danny was having an excellent week. He’d worried about Megan’s opinion about his new chosen career path, but he needn’t have bothered – she knew how much he loved the game, though she did suggest that she didn’t want to move. “I knew it would have to be a local team”, Danny told her, and with that her only potential barrier had been broken down. He’d applied for five jobs, all within the Spartan South Midlands Premier Division, and he’d been fortunate enough to have interviews at all five, despite his lack of coaching badges and prior experience. In the end, the £1,500 wage budget for new players proposed by Oxhey Jets chairman Stephen Linley had been enough to persuade him to join, albeit somewhat ironically on an amateur contract. The other four teams didn’t even come close to that wage budget figure, and when Danny had considered his options, the opportunity to work with a budget that would allow him to reshape the squad was too good to turn down. Located in South Oxhey, a suburb of Watford, Oxhey Jets were formed in 1972 and have never won a trophy in their 45-year history. The club finished 17th in the Spartan South Midlands Premier League last season, taking just 36 points from their 42 league matches, and Simon Franks, a sports journalist for the Watford Observer, has already predicted another season of struggle – ‘without significant improvement, this could well be the season that Oxhey Jets fall out of the Spartan South Midlands’.
  11. “Lads, you’re not gonna believe this! South Africa replied!” Danny’s application for the South Africa manager’s job had caused hilarity amongst the Chipperfield FC group chat, with many expressing their surprise that he was still in the country, given his newfound penchant for international job-seeking. “Look at this: ‘Dear Danny. On behalf of the South African Football Association, I’d like to thank you for your interest and application for the role of Manager. On this occasion, we’ve decided not to invite you to interview. We wish you the best of luck for the future. Kind regards, Dennis Mumble’ Pretty cool eh?” “If they’re replying to you, imagine what a decent non-league club might do? They might offer you an interview, then who knows? You could be a proper football manager! You could be the England manager one day!” “You know there are plenty of manager’s jobs going in the lower tiers of the game Danny. If your injury stops you from playing, and you still want to be involved in the game, why not have a look through and see if there’s anything you like?” Roy Banks, the Chipperfield manager, didn’t share Tim’s prior over-exuberance, but he was being serious, and the thought had crossed Danny’s mind several times since the awkward landing that had sidelined him. “There’s a few local jobs going I think – I used to play for Holmer Green, and I hear they’re looking for a new man to come in”. A builder by trade, Danny’s injury had essentially rendered him unemployed. He’d received a small amount of compensation from his employers, but he hated relying on Megan’s income to sustain the pair of them. Did he love football? Absolutely he did. Did he feel like he had a good understanding of the game? Well, it’s all opinions, isn’t it? Did he have the strength of character to be a football manager? Hmmm… Danny looked over at his sleeping girlfriend. It would have to be a local job, if any – he had his doubts that Megan would be wholly supportive of the idea, especially given the lack of job security, never mind if they’d have to move . In the end, as he began to fall asleep, he made a mental note to search the Holmer Green website tomorrow - no harm in looking, he reasoned.
  12. Despite it being a warm summers evening, the fading light was beginning to prompt the patrons at the Two Brewers pub to move inside. “Mind your knee Dan, there’s a step”, said Harry Brookland, mindful of the anterior cruciate ligament that his long-time midfield partner Danny Evans had snapped towards the back end of the 2015/16 season, while playing for Chipperfield Corinthians. “Ooh, injury friends!” “Get out Tim”, laughed Danny, taking a sip of Chenin Blanc. Harry himself had suffered from knee tendonitis a couple of years previously, and had missed six months of that particular campaign. He was aware, more than most, of the limitations Danny would be struggling with throughout his recovery. “How long you out for?” “Indefinitely, it sounds like. Might have to try and make myself useful helping Roy manage you lot!” “The South Africans are still looking for a manager aren’t they? Why don’t you stick an application through international special delivery?” The three friends burst out laughing at the thought. “So long as you pay for it, I’m not wasting £20!” An enjoyable night, Danny thought, an enjoyable night with the lads. His girlfriend Megan was still awake when he hobbled out of the cab and into their Bovingdon flat. They’d been living together for two years now, with her role as Head of Marketing at a sports management company in London allowing them to live in moderate comfort on the edge of Hertfordshire. “You don’t smell of alcohol as much as I thought you would”, teased Megan. “Megan, get this, yeah, I’m applying for the South Africa manager’s job, cause you’re my best mate”, Danny slurred. His excellent impersonation of a drunk was a regular occurrence following a night at the pub, and Megan, who’d learned long ago to expect it, sighed in bemusement. “I’m only messing, I’m not drunk. The lads were talking about becoming a football manager what with my injury stopping me from playing. Timmy chucked me £20 for me to send my CV in to the South African FA – gonna do it for a laugh, of course”. “Well, good luck with that. I’m gonna get to bed; some of us aren’t too injured to work!”.
  13. THE GREATEST TIE IN HISTORY What. A. Tie. Our Champions League Last 16 tie with Valencia will go down as one of the greatest in the history of the competition. Not even the greatest playwright could have produced something like it. Valencia have a very strong side. David Mathieu and Hedwiges Maduro marshal the defence, with David Albelda protecting the back four. Ever Banega, Juan Mata, Alberto Costa and Joaquin are the creative force, while Roberto Soldado spearheads their attack. We knew we’d be in for a tough first leg at the Mestalla, but even so, we shot ourselves in both feet with some absolutely atrocious defending. The first goal set the tone – Sagna misjudged a long ball, allowing Mata in behind, and the melee resulting from his cross ended with Rodwell, Henderson, Sagna and Jones all leaving the ball for each other, allowing Costa to beat Almunia at his near post. We were level within four minutes, and it was a wonderful strike from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Joe trusted him to perform from the start, and he delivered a wonderful curling shot beyond Miguel Angel Moya to score a crucial away goal. What followed was utterly farcical. First, Sagna crashed a clearance into Koscielny, with the ball rebounding into the net. Then, a shot from Ever Banega struck the post and found the net off the back of Almunia – another own goal! In the second half, a mix up between Sagna and Almunia allowed Mata to tap in to an empty net, and the hosts added a fifth when Joaquin sprinted clear down the right and crossed for Banega to slide home. Our misery was complete in added time – Valencia walked through our defence once again, and this time it was Jonas Oliveira who slotted home with ease. It finished 6-1 to the Spaniards, and was quite comfortably the most embarrassing performance of our season to date. To be honest, I’ll be gutted if anything comes close. The tie looked all but over. However, it’s the mark of a good team to never give up, never know when they’re beaten. 59,812 fans believed, and the cacophony of noise at the Emirates was amplified further when Jack Wilshere found the net after just three minutes. By half time, we’d reduced the arrears further - a superb move culminated in a wonderful through ball from Wilshere putting Chamakh in the clear, and the Moroccan striker placed his effort into the bottom right corner of the net. The game started to peter out. We’d lost our momentum and the fans were seemingly resigned to our fate. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored a thunderbolt from well outside the area to make it 6-4 on aggregate with 22 minutes to play – the comeback was back on! Within ten minutes, the absolutely unthinkable had happened. A fairly weak Fabregas effort was only parried by Valencia keeper Vicente Guaita, allowing Nasri to tap the rebound home, and one minute later, Robin van Persie struck home from the edge of the area to give us the lead on away goals! Nobody could believe it – we were 5-0 up on the night, and heading through with the aggregate score at 6-6! Now, one could easily be forgiven for thinking, following the pattern of traditional epic comebacks, that would be the end of the drama. But with the fans already beginning to celebrate, there was one final twist in the tale. Having not mustered a shot on target in the entire match, Valencia earned a corner in the 92nd minute. Joaquin’s delivery was met by the head of Hedwiges Maduro, who buried his header past Almunia and sent the travelling fans into raptures. The Emirates was stunned into silence. Not even Joe, usually so animated on the touchline – a trait quickly making him a favourite among the fans – could muster anything more than a shocked expression. Valencia were through, 7-6 on aggregate. We were out, in the most despairing manner possible. It’s the hope that kills you. This tie will live long in the memory, especially for the Valencia fans. For us, it’s time to focus on the Premier League and the FA Cup. Cosford out.
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