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Tom Ashley

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About Tom Ashley

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  1. Thanks, Neil. I appreciate the support--it's especially appreciated in the early stages of a new project! 8 August 2014 It was now time for the season to begin, and Bas took stock of the team he'd lead into the Eerste Divisie campaign. It had taken shape over the course of a preseason that had seen the Blauw-witten win twice, lose twice, and draw once. They had recovered well from a frightful 1-5 beating they took from Swiss top flight fixture Young Boys, but they hadn't faced strong opposition since then. Raffael Amrein was the first choice keeper, a spot he held onto despite
  2. Spring 2014 Bas van Harten was an Eindhoven lad, just like Valentijn Koordes had been. Valentijn had never been much of a footballer himself, but he had a fairly good eye for talent, and he'd recognized Bas's promise when the boy was no more than seven or eight. He wasn't alone. At seventeen, Bas made his debut with the first team. He was tall and powerful, a central midfielder who could control the middle of the park and set the tempo for his team. Bas was honestly too talented for the second division, so it was no surprise when he moved on to Groningen. The career highlights
  3. Prologue: Autumn 2012 This story began the day Valentijn Koordes said goodbye to the world. Not quite ninety-one years before, Valentijn was born in the city of Eindhoven, in the south of Holland. In the decades that followed, he never spent more than a few weeks away from his home town. Valentijn's printing business was prosperous, and he and his family lived comfortably, but not ostentatiously. His one indulgence seemed to be the money he spent supporting his favorite football club. Valentijn discovered FC Eindhoven as a young boy, and his love for the club never wavered. Oth
  4. I'm thinking about starting an Athletic Bilbao save, and I have a somewhat random question. It looks like the game does a fairly good job of generating Basque surnames for newgens. I like that, because it's going to increase the immersion factor considerably. I've also considered starting a similar save with an earlier edition of FM, with players like Mikel Arteta and Xabi Alonso. Do any of you know if previous editions of FM do as well with Basque names? Thanks in advance.
  5. 12 September 2014 Rudy Mathiesen was frustrated. He closed his office door, reached up to link his hands behind the back of his head, and sighed deeply, looking up at the ceiling. These movements prevented him from hammering the door, or perhaps the top of his desk, with a balled-up fist. His Lyngby club were languishing in sixth place. They had been as low as eighth, following a disappointing loss to Viborg FF at home, before bouncing back with a 4-1 result over bottom-dwellers Brønshøj. The Royal Blues had required extra time to see off minnows SC Egedal in the first round of the
  6. 22 July 2014 When Rudy took over at Lyngby stadion, the club had ten other coaches on its staff. His assistant, a young Swede called Nils Johansson, was a very good man manager with a talent for working with young players. But there was something about Nils that kept Rudy from connecting with him. He learned that Nils was good friends with Christian Pedersen, and had in fact gone to Flemming Lose's office to express his displeasure with the decision to dismiss the manager. "You might give some serious thought to bringing your own man in," Lee Wilkinson advised. "It's essential
  7. Rudy Mathiasen had never enjoyed drawing much attention to himself. Perhaps that's why, as a young footballer, he never wanted to be a star striker, like many talented lads. He preferred to play as a defender, calmly going about the business of keeping opponents from endangering his team's goal. He grew into the role, literally and figuratively; he was six feet, three inches tall and powerful. Rudy enjoyed his studies as much as he did his football. At age nine, he listed his career choices as "footballer," "architect," and "writer." As it turned out, Rudy got the chance to pur
  8. Unfortunately, this story is going to come to an abrupt, frustrating end. I enjoyed advancing through my first season at North Plainstown. Our winning streak ended with a loss to Central Hillsfield, the only side Aidan and the boys seemed unable to vanquish. Central went top after the next round of matches, when we drew and they won. Chris Mills became a fixture in the first team and kept firing in goals, but he still decided he wanted out in January. I let him leave for Central Plainstown, and they promptly stuck him in the reserves. Jamie-Luke Rutter left, too, which made it
  9. The Captain's Rest was one of the more traditional pubs on the island of North Rona. As such, it attracted those who considered themselves "old Ronans," those who believed they understood best what being Ronan was all about. On this windy, drizzly December evening, the Captain's Rest was warm and inviting, The sounds of friendly banter and laughter filled the main room, which smelled of fried food and good ale. Strings of brightly colored lights had been hung along the bar, a tip of the cap to the holiday season. Joe Clarke and Paul MacFarlane sat at their favorite table, pints
  10. 1 November 2014 Chris Mills handled the situation perfectly. The club's vice captain, Chris expected to be a first team player. To be fair, Chris Duguid had given him that assurance, not Aidan, but Aidan hadn't told Chris otherwise, either. In the season's opening month, he'd started the Independence Cup tie and come on as a substitute in two league matches, as the manager had preferred Jamie-Luke Rutter as the team's single striker. Rutter had yet to seize the job with both hands, however, and Aidan had actually been thinking about giving Chris a start or two in the league when
  11. 20 September 2014 Aidan's first match at the helm of North Plainsfield was not a thing of beauty, but it was satisfying nonetheless. Andrew Thompson arrowed in a free kick just past the hour mark to provide the first goal in a scrappy match, and Chris Mills, who came on for Jamie-Luke Rutter, scored five minutes from time to complete North's 2-0 victory. Mills's goal was what Aidan was coming to recognize as a classic North Ronan goal, albeit an especially well-taken one. Center half Jeremy Hope ran down a long clearance from a South defender and looped an even longer ball back in
  12. 10 August 2014 The passion with which North Ronans followed their teams was magnified by their close proximity. Four of the eight Premier League teams were based in Plainstown. Besides North Plainstown and South Plainstown, there were Central Plainstown and a side from the Plainstown Academy of Sport. All these clubs called the National Stadium their home ground. The other four clubs hailed from Hillsfield: East, West, Central, and the Hillsfield Academy side. They all played at Hillsfield Stadium. "Every match is a derby in North Rona." Max Palmer had said that to Aida
  13. 9 August 2014 Ben Joyce never thought he would be a football pioneer. A heady midfielder who saw the pitch well, Ben was released by his local club, Boston United, at the age of nineteen. He was picked up by another Lincolnshire club, Spalding United, but never got in a game. Five years later, he was playing amateur football and working. He figured his days of playing football for pay were over. A call from Aidan Harris changed that. Aidan's web of connections in the English lower leagues was still substantial, and through those connections he learned about Joyce. Needing a
  14. 2 July 2014 After three days as manager at North Plainstown, Aidan was already developing a sense of the task that lay before him. Most of the players had enjoyed playing for Chris Duguid. They were disappointed to see him leave, especially those who hadn't been around the club long enough to have played for anyone else. The news that an "English manager" was coming to take his place aroused some suspicion, especially when they learned he had never managed a club before. Aidan's first meeting with the team was, therefore, only moderately successful. He was heartened by the fact th
  15. 28 June 2014 North Plainstown Aidan shook hands with Paul Bunce. "Welcome aboard," the chairman said. "It's good to be here," Aidan replied. Three weeks earlier, Bunce had received the surprise resignation of North Plainstown's manager, Chris Duguid, who moved over to the Scottish mainland to take a job as Head of Youth Development at Buckie Thistle. Aidan learned about Duguid's departure while he was working a shift at Numbered Pages, a delightful book shop on High Street in Plainstown, two blocks from Government Square. Macy Watkins was shopping there, looking for
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