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kelabb

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About kelabb

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    Birmingham City / Nottm Forrest

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  1. kelabb

    The Final Campaign

    Ch Cheers Mark. Not actually new to the forum, been around since around FM2009, maybe 2008... but never posted anything like this before.
  2. kelabb

    Game Crashes after sub

    same issue at same time (approx) in same match with different players. Can navigate around game but can't finish the match. Play button is available but nothing happens when clicked. I didn't have the timeline, then suddenly I did. Tried the old wind it back a bit and it worked, second time. Match has progressed into extra time now and has just gone full time.
  3. kelabb

    The Final Campaign

    I began the save knowing it would be a short one, and getting in two full seasons actually exceeded my expectation. However, the Beta for FM2019 became available, so it's back to the Championship and trying to come to grips with managing this club and hopefully repeat my promotion and subsequent survival success. Thanks for those of you who read through to the end. It was fun to write, as as I mention at the end of each installment, your feedback is encouraged, and very welcome. Cheers Kel secondcityblues.com (a work in progress!)
  4. kelabb

    The Final Campaign

    Second City Survival – Part 2 The previous instalment saw Birmingham City sitting comfortably in 11th place at the end of December. What will the New Year bring, happiness or heart-ache? Read on to find out… Round Two There was only one new signing in the winter window, bing Victor Omeje, an 18yo central midfielder who looks like he has a future. There was also a couple of departures. Cohen Brammal saw he was not going to cut the mustard in the top flight and took an offer at Charlton when if came his way. Jonathon Grounds went on loan to Reading later in January. January West Brom came to St Andrews, and just like last time, ended up a draw, this time 2-2. We then had a 2-3 loss away to Huddersfield followed by a 1-1 Draw with Everton in the FA Cup. We’d have to go away to them in the replay. Tottenham gave us another welcome to the Premier League, putting 5 past us for the cost of 1. Everton proved too strong in the FA Cup replay so we could put all our attention into surviving the Premier League. January wrapped up with a home loss to Chelsea (2-4). We had only earned 1 point in January, but we didn’t give up hope, February We lost away to Leicester in February’s first game but we finally took all the points for the next four games! Burnley at home first of all with a 5-3 win, followed by away wins at Everton (3-1) and Watford (3-2). March Our biggest achievement in the Premier League was next with a 2-1 victory at home over Manchester United. Arsenal brought us as back to Earth with a 1-4 reality check and we passed the lesson on to Wolves in the next match, 4-1 at Home. A close run thing away to Leeds saw us emerge victors (4-3) to round out the month. April We hosted Crystal Palace in the next match and let them get all the points in a 1-2 loss. West Ham paid us back for getting the better of them in the first round, sending us home with a 0-1 loss. Next off was a home win against Swansea 2-1 and and away loss to Newcastle (0-1). May Another Mersey-side trip saw us lose 0-3 to Liverpool before hosting Manchester City who reminded us what the Premier League was all about with a 1-4 loss. We went into our last away game at Bournemouth knowing we had survived our first year in the top flight, and held fast to an early 1-0 lead to take the points. Round Two Wrap Up We had done it! At the beginning of the year we would have been happy with 17th place knowing anything higher would be bonus. We never envisaged a mid-table 11th place finish, exactly where we were at the half way mark.
  5. kelabb

    The Final Campaign

    Second City Survival – Part One Season one in the Premier League is always a challenge, and for a club who were only expecting a bottom half Championship place last season, surviving season one could be a stretch. We did better than expected on the transfer marker during the summer and have some challenging friendlies ahead of us to keep ourselves focused. As FM2019 beta is imminent, the remainder of this save will be played in holiday mode, with the Assistant Manager running the team. Let’s see how it pans out. Pre-Season The plan was to get the boys match-fit, then put them under pressure. I think we achieved that in spades! A warm up against Barnet tested the holiday legs of our boys but did a job in progressing their match fitness. Wins against RC Lens, Tours and Chateauroux had the boys thinking they knew what they were doing. Then along came the big guns! First to visit St Andrews was the Serie A outfit, Sassuolo who brought the boys back to ground. I was very pleased with keeping a clean sheet and not perturbed too much by our inability to beat their keeper who did everything his team asked of him. AC Milan than called in to say, “Ciao!”, and taught us some lessons in defending, imposing themselves in a 0-3 display of power football. Next to visit was Dortmund, and I was delighted that the lessons learned from the previous games were not wasted. We put two past their keeper but could not keep our own net secure, though we had bragging rights over post dinner drinks after finishing 2-1. We then put four answered balls past AFC Wimbledon who we arranged to visit in case we needed to boost our morale following the international friendlies. Television coverage for two of our friendlies brought in a very welcome 2.4 million pounds, so the Board were real happy with their Manager at this stage of the season. The next phase of our Second City Survival campaign was about to begin. Round One August First up was an away game at West Brom which we came home from with our first Premier League point. We were on the board! A tight home game against Huddersfield saw us snatch our first win, and this was one we needed to get. 3-2 to the Blues. As with last year, we crashed out of the Carabao Cup early, goind down to QPR on penalties. I didn’t mind too much, it allowed us to concentrate on the League which was always our priority. September We always struggled in our away fixture against Tottenham, with the home side convincing 3-1 victors. We played our final international friendly during the International break managing pleasing draws with AS Monaco followed by a 3-3 battle against Boca at St James. Back into the League saw us run out 2-0 winners against Everton at home, with Jota missing a penalty that could have rubbed salt into the Mersey side’s wound. A creditable 2-3 loss away to Chelsea where Vassell bagged a brace late in the game and kept our chins up. Wrapping up the month was a 3-1 victory over Leicester City, with Gyokeres slotting home twice and Weir completing the rout. October Another milestone next, picking up our first away win to come home with three points after beating Burnley 3-2, with rotation forward Jutkiewicz picking up a brace. We may have paid a heavy price, with Yoshida coming off injured after only 15 minutes! Watford brought us back to earth with a 0-3 home loss, but Yoshida was back into the fray proving it’s hard to keep a good man down. The next couple of rounds were set to be challenging, with Man Utd away followed by Arsenal at home. Challenging doesn’t go far enough, Man U handing us a 5-1 drubbing. November While things may have looked bleak as October came around, our answer to the previous bad day out was a face saving 2-3 loss to Arsenal, who scored all three of their goals in the first half. Che Adams snagged a brace late in the second half so the fans went home with some pleasant memories at least. Fellow promotees Wolves put us to the sword at Wolverhampton where we lost 1-3. With four losses on the trot, the boys saw the next fixture, at home to Leeds as a place to put a stop to our downward slide. Things didn’t go all our own way, but we secured a point to end our losing streak. December The first day of winter saw us travel to the capital and come home empty handed after losing 0-2 against Crystal Palace. We secured a 2-2 draw at home to the Hammers next followed by three wins on the trot. Our visit to Swansea saw us come home with all the points, winning 4-3. Yoshida scored twice, once for each team! A 2-0 victory against the visiting Magpies came next with Jota coming off injured after 7 minutes. Our second home game on the trot saw us see off Bournemouth 1-0 with Gyokeres securing the three points in extra time. Two more encounters with Big 6 teams saw us losing to Man City (1-4) and Liverpool (1-2) to close the first round. No Christmas cheer for the Blues, but we start the New Year in 11th place with 24 points. Gyokeres leads the way with 8 goals, Jota managed 7 assists and topping the average rating with 7.46 and has picked up 3 player of the match awards, shared with Gyokeres. The young striker looks set to join our club if his performances continue as they have started. Maxime Colin holds the most yellow cards (4) and so far nobody has earned an early shower. Jota has paid a price for all his efforts picking up some fractured ribs, which will keep him out of the team for the next couple of weeks at least. Round One Wrap-Up At the end of December we are sitting pretty in the heady heights of mid-table in the Premier League. This time a year ago we would have laughed at such a suggestion. The Board in an enthusiastic gesture asked if I would like to reassess my goals for the season. I thought about it, and upped the ante to suggest we could maintain our mid-table slot, up from merely avoiding relegation. The Board were so excited they gave me another 1.5 million pounds of transfer funds, enough to take up the option on young Gyokeres and have change left over. The only addition to the squad for the winter break was already wearing a Blues shirt, but now he would keep it! Our next instalment will cover the second round of our initial season in Premier league, I hope you can join us for it. As ever, I encourage and welcome you feedback. Onward…
  6. kelabb

    The Final Campaign

    Second City Summer – Part 2 Our last instalment detailed our plans for the summer break. Now let’s dive right in and see what happened… Staff We were wanting to sign some new coaches and scouts, and maybe improve the quality of our medicos during the break. The biggest decision of all came down to whether to replace Lee Carsley or not. Players We had hoped to convince a few top flight veterans to join our ranks… Unfortunately, things didn’t go to plan. Terence Kongolo (CD) and Ki Sung-yueng wanted far too much in wages but I did have some wins. Maya Yoshida came to us for a fee of 4 million pounds. My scouts found Jefferson Lerma and I just had to take the punt. While he is a specialist Advanced Playmaker in the centre of midfield, I can use him as a Box to Box, with Keftenbeld playing the holding role. Davis can play either role and with Weir and Gardner as rotation options, we look better than had expected in midfield. My scouts did a fine job for me up front too, identifying Nano Mesa who I can use in an Advanced Forward role. I couldn’t believe when they identified another too, Viktor Gyokeres, who looked promising. I secured a season long loan with an option to buy for 5 million pounds so I’m looking real good at the tip of the spear. Adams and Vassell can share support AF and Right Midfield Winger duties. While I was expecting that Sam Johnstone would jump at the chance for a first team slot with us, his wage demands were excessive so I wished him well. Once more, the scouts came up trumps finding Diego Marino and Dani Martin to keep the ball out of the net. Diego came for 3.7 and Martin for 3.5 million with add-ons but at 20 he will be a long time servant for us. Fabrinni was able to find himself a season long loans with 70% of his salary paid, and Jason Lowe was let go at the end of his contact. He probably could have played a back-up role in Midfield and Right Defender, but I still had both Gardner and young Weir who could do that, so Lowe was surplus to requirements. Gardner sees the writing on the wall and has asked for permission to leave, so he is on the Transfer List awaiting an offer for his services. The gentle giant, Brock-Madsen left for a first team role on the continent and I wish him well. He is a player who sometimes punches above his weight, but I think the Premier League is a step too high for him. I also secured loans or released a lot of the U23 and U18s who were at the end of their contact, many securing positions in lower league and conference level clubs. See the screenshot below for the full list of comings and goings. The screenshot below shows all the comings and goings. Training I thought it way too late in the FM2018 world to worry too much about experimenting with training plans, so I’ll stick all players on the Role Training for where I want them to play, and add focus or PPM training where applicable. Concluding We all know we’re in for a tough year, and have no illusions that coming in 17th will mean a successful season, and anything higher will be a bonus. I plan on some challenging pre-season matches to get the lads accustomed to tough times, with Boca, AC Milan, Dortmund and Sassuolo from Serie A all agreeing to Second City friendlies. See how we do in the next instalment. As always, your feedback is most welcome.
  7. kelabb

    The Final Campaign

    Second City Summer – Part 1 Here we are, basking in the midland summer sun contemplating what we’ll do to prepare for the Premier League. Of course there’ll be a step up in quality, speed, touch and temperament, but how do we get ready? Right or wrong, the ball is at my feet, and I can only hope I make the right decisions, at least some of the time. Clearing the decks First thing to do will be to reduce the number of playing staff at the club. I know this is a brutal move, but resources are tight, and my time is tighter so I don’t want players around who will never amount to anything. I’m not talking about getting rid of anyone who will never make the First team, but those who would even struggle to step foot on the U18 pitch! Out they go… Some of the starting staff contracts are about to expire, so it’s a good time to re-evaluate the various coaches, scouts, physios and other hangers on just standing around not even using a broom. Out they go… Some of the guys out on loan would have struggled to make the U23 team let alone the Firsts in The Championship. No way will they be good enough for the Premier League. Out they go… Get better… everything! I know I will have to make some hard decisions about the guys in the senior team too, but that can wait for now. It’s still May so I have a month before some contracts expire, so time is currently on my side. As at the beginning of the save, I look to boost quality staff numbers first. Better and more numerous scouts top my list of priorities. I have one with average attributes I can let go, and I’m confident the Board will let me increase the numbers, by at least one. This gives me an opportunity to hire guys with knowledge outside the UK. This will make scouting Europe faster and hopefully more detailed. I may also be able to swing another Coach, and technical coaches will be the top priority. I’ve been waiting for the U18 Manager to have his contract run out so I can replace him. I may promote his assistant, who I promoted to that role at the start of last season. I’m always on the hunt for good technical coaches for the u18s and this year will be no exception. This year’s cash injection will largely go on Wages and Transfer Fund, so this isn’t the time to ask the Board to improve youth facilities or programs, though both will be on the agenda next year. My initial budget is 29m for Wages (up from 14m) and 31m for Transfers (up from nothing last year!). I know the established teams will be throwing everything at me, so improving my defence is the first priority. My strike force was average for the Championship, so I know I’ll need to improve the point of the spear too. While Adams proved to be more effective than I thought he would be in the Championship, he isn’t yet Premier League standard, though he certainly has the pace we need. He’s yet to turn 22 so he has time on his side. Isaac Vassell did very well for me last campaign, but other than speed he doesn’t really have much going for him. I think he’ll be a backup player unless top flight experience lets him blossom. Jutkiewicz will be another backup I feel, without the stats to make it in the top flight. Looks like I need at least one top class striker who can ferret out goals from half chances. I played Jota at right midfield (just like Gary Monk does) but I’m not sure that will be the best use of his talents. I’m tempted to try him as a Deep Lying Forward, but I suppose I really should have done that in the Championship where there would be less pressure on him. He made the right midfield his own last campaign, and I’d need to plug that gap if he were to move more centrally. Maghoma on the other flank is aging, but I think the old warhorse can hold his own for another season. Centre midfield is a conundrum though. Davis and Kleftenbeld are clearly the best centre midfielders in the club and early indications are I’d have to spend a chunk of the transfer fund to replace either of them. Davis is a stalwart, but Kleftenbeld has shown an attitude I haven’t seen in other saves. I’m hoping I can convince Ki Sung-yueng to join them, his Premier League experience should help get us through. I’m not confident Harlee Dean has the chops for Premier League though he could play a rotation role. I’m looking at Maya Yoshida and Terence Kongolo if I can get them to be our Pillars of Hercules. I am hoping Keita and Colin can do the job for me on the defensive flanks so I can spend what I need to on other positions. Sam Johnstone (GK) is coming to the end of his contract, and Man Utd never seem to re-sign him, so while he may not be up to their standard, he is up to ours. The System While the tried and trusted 4-4-2 will be the shape going forward, a bit of a revamp will be needed to the roles. The jury is out concerning the guys up front as I’m wondering whether to use Jota as a DLF. I don’t think a Defensive Forward role would get the best out of him, and as he is my best technician, I want him to be able to put his skills to use. I could use him as a Shadow Striker too as he is able to score from outside the box and he has the Gets Further Forward trait which will help. I could keep the fleet-foots (Adams and Vassell) as Advanced Forwards utilising their speed and play Jota as a Deep Lying Forward on Support. Central midfield will be made a little simpler, opting for a pair of Central Midfielders, one on Defend (Davis) and the other on Support (Kleftenbeld). Other than that I don’t see a lot of changes other than dropping the mentality to Counter. I’m thinking that I’ll keep the shape as Flexible and Use More Discipline to help keep the lads in position. I may need to change the shape to Structured or use Stay In Position depending on how we go. I’ll keep the defensive core as Central Defenders at first and consider changing to Defensive Centre Backs if needed. Training As per the Second City System, for seniors (21+) not learning new positions, I’ll leave the training as generic and boost attributes through focused training or work on traits as required. Juniors will probably benefit most from specialised role training as it provides training in all attributes important for the roles. As usual, mentoring to improve Determination or Personality will be the focus for the youngsters. Concluding Well, there’s the plan. Next post will cover what manage to achieve in the lead up to Pre-Season, and will detail new signings of staff and players we’ve managed to join the Second City Blues. As always, your feedback is most welcome.
  8. kelabb

    The Final Campaign

    Into the breech The previous post set the scene for the 2017-18 season for Birmingham City, the Second City Blues. How will the tactics serve the hopes, dreams and aspirations of all involved? Will the lack of new first team recruiting help or hinder the Blues in their season to come. The press speculated a 16th position finish for The Blues, but I know what this team is capable of (or so I thought) and promised a top half finish to the sceptical Board. If I didn’t deliver, I’d likely not last till Christmas, but failure is not in my skillset! Pre-Season I set us up for plenty of matches in Pre-Season to give me a chance to get the first choice and the rotation players up to match fitness by alternating them. I also threw the kids with potential into the middle for a game or two, to see how they perform against adults. We had a training Camp in Holland which I quite like as the quality is much the same as the Championship, though I only had the final planned match against a team likely to cause us trouble, which they did, giving us our only loss of the Pre-Season. First Round Wrap-Up We got off to a slow start, losing to Ipswich away, which while not devastating, brought us back to earth after our promising pre-season. The rot didn’t set it though, and the boys nipped and tucked, ducked and weaved and grunted and groaned their way through the competition, one team at a time. Some days were diamonds, others rocks, but as the weather cooled, the promise that I’d made to the board didn’t look unattainable. We slipped up in our Carabao Cup second round loss to Rochdale, which while embarrassing, wasn’t too upsetting. Maybe we could have a run in the FA Cup come the New Year? The festive season saw us in 10th position, which wasn’t too bad given I hadn’t brought in any high profile signings in the summer. Our Top Half position meant we were meeting expectations and in touch with the play-off spots while relegation was only a distant cloud on the horizon. Transfer wise, I allowed Cheikh N’Doye to look for greener pastures as his playing time was too scarce for him, though the Board decided to pocket most of the fee. This helped our bottom line so I couldn’t complain too much. When I saw he was on the transfer list, I scooped up previous loanee, Cohen Brammal to have some specialist backup for Maghoma. Second Round Wrap-Up Our younger players seemed to benefit from their mentoring during the first half of the season, with some tremendous improvements in determination and personality tempered by a few without much impact at all. Our Third-Round tie in the FA Cup saw us put Bolton to the sword but set us against Arsenal who ended our cup campaign with a 1-4 drubbing. Meanwhile, we steadily climbed the Championship table, finally peaking at fifth, which earned us a first round home game in the playoff against 6th placed Brentford. We took an early lead thanks to a neatly taken penalty by Maghoma, only to have it pegged back shortly after the restart by a well struck volley from Judge. It looked likely we’d go to London on equal terms but a viscous shot from Maghoma rebounded off Brentford’s Rico Henry and into the goal, giving us a late lead going into the return match. We went a goal up in the second minute thanks to Jutkiewicz and put Brentford on the back foot. Canos struck back on 28 minutes and we went into the sheds at one a piece. The scoreline had us level pegging, but this time I felt we always looked the stronger team. Maghoma struck early in the second half and we had Wembley in our sights and didn’t give Brentford any opportunity to hit back. Bristol City lost out to Ipswich in the other Semi-Final and we faced off against the Tractor Boys to decide who would step onto the hallowed Premier League turf next season. It was brutal! Mick McCarthy’s fingers were bleeding at the tips, and mine weren’t in any better condition. This one was going down to the wire, and the wire was drawn taut as a bowstring! Che Adams slotted one through after 12 minutes to draw first blood, but the lead didn’t last long. A mighty effort from Joe Garner and we were at level terms again. As if it were a personal rebuke, Adams struck again on 23 minutes and we hit the lead again. That man, Garner did not want to be outdone by a stripling and slotted home again shortly before the break. Two each! The second half was set up to be a cracker, but I thought we might edge it as quite a few of the Ipswich boys were blowing hard going in for oranges. A clearance from deep sent Adams down the right chased by dogged defence but he managed to centre his cross for Jota to tap it towards Gardner who thundered it past Brentford’s hapless keeper. We had the lead again, but could we hold it? It wasn’t to be; a momentary lapse of concentration and they were through on goal and Nydam punished the mistake. It was even once more with 18 minutes left. Would this go into extra time? Our boys were in better shape than Ipswich, but I’d rather not go through the pressure-cooker. Three minutes later, a bad pass, a tricky dribble, a slide tackle and Maghoma was clear down the left racing for the byline. He was being forced wide and put his boot to the ball and found Jutkiewicz who almost broke the net! 4-3. Could we hold on for 15 minutes? “Park the bloody bus!” I shouted and the boys did just that. There was no way through, over or around and the referee finally blew time. We’d done it! Concluding Our promotion well and truly exceeded pre-season hopes and the Board were pleased as Punch. I had earned my two year extension and salary raise, and nearly everyone was happy. It’s amazing that amongst such jubilation, some could still find things to whine about. Players! Can’t live with ‘em… Jota picked up the Player of the Year from our supporters with Che Adams the Young Player of the Year. Signing of the Year went to a versatile young gun James Weir, who spent time in every position across the midfield during the campaign. The next post will detail preparations for our first season in Premier League under my stewardship, and I look forward to your feedback, which as always, is most welcome.
  9. kelabb

    The Final Campaign

    Introduction With Fm2019 beta only a couple of weeks away, I launched into my final FM2018 save, again! This will be the first save I have reported, so please bear with me as my style, and level of detail are worked out, both by me, and by you, my readers. As always, feedback is most welcome. The Early Days The Staff In previous saves I sacked Lee Carsley and replaced him with somebody with higher attributes for picking the starting team. I took a different approach this save and opted to keep him as I couldn’t find an assistant with a better Tactical Knowledge attribute. I felt quite able to pick the playing team myself, and wanted to see how using the tactical advice would go. There were no senior coaching slots open, so I asked the Board for more coaches which they approved. I had three slots available for the U23s but I had plans for them. I hired an additional goalkeeping coach and then another U23 keeping coach, a fitness, and a technical coach for the u23s who did double duty for the seniors. I took on the attacking role and had four stars in all training roles except Tactical with three and a half. The scouting team comprised an analysis geek and two lacklustre scouts. I sent the latter packing and hired in my favourite Scout xxx with 17 and 20 for actual and potential attributes and gave him the chief’s role. I then found a rather uninspiring Polish scout who had a good knowledge base and a reasonable Tactical Knowledge rating to be my next opponent reviewer and two guys with moderately good potential attributes to find my young blood. I beefed up the medical department with some decent physios and went to see the players. The Squads The Youth team had a handful of 16 year olds who looked like they might develop okay, so I organised some mentoring to boost their determination, personality or both. The 17 and 18 year olds of potential (3 ½ stars) went into the U23s if they had a full star in Actual. The U23s boosted by some youngsters with potential was a tad unwieldy, with only a few candidates for long term careers with the club. There were quite a few who might develop a bit who could be sold off for cash, but there were many playing the same position which proved to be a bit troublesome as finding playing time worth a damn was going to be difficult. The younger ones I paired up with mentors where I could and the older ones I set to training either new traits or on individual traits as advised. The seniors looked a good bunch, and from previous saves I knew most could be counted on for making a good account of themselves. First thing I did though was to send all the loanees back to their home clubs. This freed up over 2 million pounds of salary, and gave me a transfer budget if I could find players better than my squad already had. My only concerns were lack of depth at Goalkeeper, both in their 30’s and only one star youngsters to back them up. I also had concerns with left wing, though the best replacement for Maghoma was away on loan, I still needed some backup. There were similar concerns for left defence, as Grounds’ backup were one star youngsters of 16! My central midfield was solid, with Kleftenbeld and Davis destined to be the starters with xxx, Gardner and xxx capable backups, the latter two able to rotate into Right Defender as well as Midfield. Ngoye I would set to learn Central Defence to provide some more quality backup there too, having doubts about the long term viability of Dean and Roberts who I had experience with from FM2016, and the veteran Morrison would be solid for only a couple of seasons at best. I didn’t even consider starting club legend xxx in the first team. The System Training In previous saves I put all players on the training schedule pertinent to the position I wanted them to play, to either increase their familiarity with it or to increase their relevant attributes, or both. I can’t say the results were impressive that way, so I thought I’d try another for this last hurrah in FM2018. All players were left on the playing position default, so they trained in the position they had been playing in. This allowed me to put them on focus training or new trait training, sometimes both. It would be interesting to see the results at the end of the season. Scouting I only had two scouts to assign as one was reviewing the next opponent, and the Chief was left free to take a look at players I identified myself. I assigned one scout to UK and the other to Central Europe looking for Hot Prospects. I set the Chief up with a selection of free agents I thought might be interesting. I was hard pressed to find anybody better than already available so in the end I opted for youth… well young anyway. A versatile midfielders capable of playing anywhere from DM to AM and left to right, though a specialist ball winner, and a young left fullback to relieve Grounds when he needed a breather. Cohen Brammal joined during the winter window after being placed on the transfer list. Tactics I think it’s fair to say the System evolved somewhat through the year, but was always looking to allow the players free rein in interpreting the team instructions. From time to time I changed a few things, and changed them back again. Even the Team instructions changed as the year went by, as our reputation relative to the other clubs in the competition changed. As usual, I had a standard 4-4-2 utilising a Deep Lying Forward and Advanced Forward combo, but later this changed to Target Man/Advanced Forward whenever Jukewicz was playing. I chose to have a Winger on the left and a Wide Midfielder on the right both on attacking duty. Both Fullbacks set to Support and the Central Defenders to Defend. In the centre of midfield I ended up with a Central Midfielder on Defend Duty as my holding player and a Ball Winning Midfielder on Support to do the running around. I experimented with various combinations utilising Deep Lying Playmakers on Defend or Box to Box Midfielders, but the Central Mid and BWM ended up the most effective. Eventually, the Team Instructions ended up as: Flexible Shape with Standard Mentality. Tempo, Width and Closing Down remained on default, while Defensive Line was set to Slightly Deeper and GK distribution set to be hindered. I set Passing at Direct most of the time, and fiddled with retaining possession at times throughout the season. In the end I did without it, unless the Assistant harped on about possession during a match. I asked the guys to play with more discipline, and left the final third settings at default unless he was beating his brow about longshots. I issued a few Player Instructions: The keeper was asked to distribute quickly to flanks, but rarely did; Central Defenders told to close down much less and to ease off tackles; The Box to Box / Ball Winning Midfielder was asked to Close Down More, Move into Channels and Get Forward; Both wide midfield players were asked to Close Down More; Both Strikers were asked to Close Down More. Concluding While the System was developed during the season and not just prior to ball meeting boot, any changes were gradual and not necessarily permanent. The next post will cover the 2017-18 season. Read on, to see how the Second City Blues went putting theory into practice. As always, your feedback is heartily welcome.
  10. Hi Cleon, Maybe I'm a dinosaur among the young and hip, but I don't know what I need to do to have my blog posts appear in my group (secondcityblues). You mention RSS feeds but I don't have one... yet. I see everyone else has managed it, I'm just not that savvy with this fancy technology stuff... (still coming to grips with this new wheel thingy!) Can you set out some instructions like for us dummies? Thanks, Kel
  11. I agree with all the advice above. It could be the CBs are being pulled out of position to cope with somebody further foward being beaten or a gap being opened where it shouldn't. I have found teams defend better when there is not a lot of difference in the player's setup. I notice you have one FB on attack duty. Try dropping that back to support and give him the Get Further Forward PI. He will still go forward, but he'll be caught out of position on transition less, which the CB has to adjust for. If you really want to kep the FB(a) you could set that side flanker to IF(s) so hee'll track back better, which will give the CD more confidence to stay back in position. You could also look at changing the BPD to a CD. He may be finding himself out of postion if he has just played a ball forward and it's been lost. There are lots of things to try but I'd recommend going back to FBs CDd CDd FBs with no PIs and take away the Tight Marking and More Closing Down TIs. Keep them for tweaks rather than a permanent setting. You haven't indicated what mentality or team shape you are using. I would suggest going to Standard mentality with Flexible shape, and the More Disciplined TI. This will provide some freedom of movement, but not too much and will help keep the team in position. Try making adjustments one at a time, and see what works better (or worse) slowly. Good luck.
  12. Hi all, It's still in its infancy, but I'd like to introduce my new fansite, www.secondcityblues.com that has just gone live. If you take a look, there isn't much there at the moment but I hope to keep adding bits and pieces along the way. Any feedback will be greatly welcomed. Cheers, Kel
  13. kelabb

    Mental attribute training

    I play FM16 and I have found ways to increase a player's mental stats through positional training. If you have a player lacking in agression or bravery, try putting him on the DM-Ball Winning Midfield positional training, regardless of where he plays in the pitch. While these seem to be position related, it may be easier to just think of them as a group of attributes being trained and their label happens to be a position/role name. Playing a position/role is more effective than just training, so without playing as a DM-BWM your player isn't suddenly going to become one. What do you have to lose? Cheers, Kel
  14. When using a 4-4-2, the main strength is its solid shape, and relative lack of gaps. Keeping this shape is one of the keys to success, and using Structured or Highly Structured shape will assist greatly in this regard. You could also look at Be More Disciplined in order to maintain shape stability, though it's probably overkill with a Structured or Highly Structured shape. The key to unleashing an effective counter attack is to have a healthy amount of players on an attack duty, but the team on a more defensive mentality. In FM, a counter attack will trigger whenever the opposition has the required number of players in your half, regardless of your mentality. However when you have "Counter" mentality, that number is lower, so it triggers more often. For example, if you play with your wide midfielders or wingers on attack, and perhaps use a centre midfield attack, you'll have three players ready to burst into attack mode whenever the counterattack trigger goes off. By using a low mentality like Defensive or even Contain, the individual players tendency to take higher risks will be curbed to an acceptable level. By setting a Deeper or Slightly Deeper backline, you entice the opposition forward, and hence increase the likelihood the counterattack trigger will be activated. Of course, if you are Watford playing Chelsea, it might not be a good idea to play too deep, but remember even without setting the backline deeper, Defend and Contain (and Counter too, for that matter) use a deeper line as Normal. As usual, it's a risk/reward ratio that you need to work out based on the strength of your team within their division.
  15. Don't forget the quality of the training ammenities also affects the star ratings any coach will achieve. As an example, I had a manager set up that gave me 4.5 stars in Attacking at Birmingham City, but only 3 stars at Cambridge United. Cheers.
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