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  1. Season 7 Midpoint – A perfect first Nineteen I couldn’t ask for anymore of the lads after our first nineteen games. There’s been both excellent effort, and at times a great deal of quality to our play too. Here’s a glance of what our side can do, with our continuing pressure resulting in us scoring an equaliser against the reigning Champions Man United in front of our fans: We’ve spent some more money in the January window. I’ve decided to spend a large 26 mil on Josh Tymon. He’s a good left-back that will improve our backline. Very suited to the supporting full-back role, I think it will be a great long-term investment. At 25 years old, he’s got several good years in him. Safety Assured Thirty two points after 19 games, there’s definitely no threat of relegation this year. Keeping our feet on the ground, yes it looks like we’re not far off the European places but realistically a top half finish is what I’ll be looking for. It looks like there was a delay to our stadium expansion, so we have been playing at The John Smith’s Stadium in Huddersfield. This Summer is when our building work now will be completed. No to the Toon The Toon Army have now made an approach for me. Languishing near the relegation zone and with finances at Oldham in a good state, there’s no incentive to move away anytime soon. So onwards and upwards for the Latics.
  2. Season 7 – Premier League (Oldham Athletic) Everton approached me for the job over the Summer. It was tempting looking at their underachieving squad, but I think if I’m going to move now it’s only going to be to a top club that can compete for trophies. Things are looking up for Oldham especially since the takeover. Summer Dealings Just over a 60 million nett spend this time around. A mixture of cheaper players who will improve our squad depth, and the more expensive ones that will take a first team position. Keeper Position - Sorted My biggest worries are now over. We found a superb 19 year old Argentinian in Juan Pablo Piris. Some great attributes to fill in our keeper role, and an International for their under 20s. I was worried about getting a work permit, but on appeal we snapped him up for only 5 million. This is a real bargain for someone who I hope can potentially improve a lot in the future. We also invested really well in a back-up keeper. At only 750k David Bentley from Cardiff will be a safe back-up keeper. Good all-round attributes he’ll be very dependable if we need him this year. Better Full-backs Our full-back positions on both left and right sides have improved. Pace mainly on the left, with Borthwich-Jackson coming from relegated Derby. And a big signing in Max Aarons from West Ham costing 23.5 million was our biggest signing of the Summer. Able to play on both left and right sides, to me that was two signings. Given the real pace he possesses and the quality that he brings, his presence in the back-line will only be a positive one. Centre Midfield Also improved Herbie Kane and Jacob Davenport come in to fill in our defensive central midfield slot. Kane is considered a leader which is something we’ve needed in this team so he’ll be our first teamer. Davenport has good attributes to be a real solid backup. Both players aren’t naturally centre midfielders, but I believe with their attributes both can adapt well to the position. And highly experienced Irish International Liam Kelly comes in from Burley. He’s not as creative as Dozzell, but he still is good technically and poses a greater threat from set-pieces. He’s a slight improvement and hopefully his dead-ball abilities will give us the edge in some tight affairs, Offence More Potent Our two major signings here will present better threat from our right flank for a really good 2.5 mil deal for Ademola Lookman and a more suited deep-lying forward in Oliver McBurnie. McBurnie is a 28 year old Scottish International making many appearances and came from Celtic where he had two good years. He may not be a heavy goalscorer, but he also brings an aerial presence to him which I’m hoping will be useful in our set plays. Expectations I would say I’ve definitely had a more productive Summer than last. We’ve spent almost three times as much, but I believe these are players that are very capable of hitting the 40 points safety target. Both the board expectations and media prediction remain exactly the same as last year, to finish 20th and to fight bravely against relegation. We’re in a much better position this year. I’d be really disappointed if we’re struggling to stay up with a few games left to spare. A squad that now has 8 Internationals in total amongst us, I think we are in for a good year - with a healthy bank balance too.
  3. Season 6 Review – Final Day Yeps, the season went down to the final day. The battle laid between us and Derby County. We had the advantage very slightly with the goal difference and two points extra in the bag. We had Villa away who were battling for the last European spot with Southampton, whereas Derby had an away trip to already relegated Brighton. Keeper Woes & a Slice of Luck Peacock-Bradley consistently inconsistent gifted Villa a way back into the match after we went 2-0 up. Not wasting their opportunity Villa then went on and won the game 3-2, scoring a late winner in the 84 minute. But luckily for us Derby weren’t able to produce a last day saving performance where they went down 1-0. It summed up our year really, in the sense we could score enough to keep us up, but defensively especially with a weak man between the sticks we were so vulnerable where we’d throw away good positions in games. Derby Brighton and surprisingly West Ham all went down with only 32 points needed for survival – thank my lucky stars. Special Moment One moment I won’t forget in the second half of the season was our 3-2 away win vs Southampton. A game we were expected to lose, Adam Idah scored a brilliant solo goal. Running from our own half his pace took out three of their players, bursting passed to get one on one with the keeper. On his worse left foot he calmly slotted it low past the outstretched keeper. It proved to be the difference and gave us those three points – season defining for us, and it was his goals this year that kept us up. Here’s the goal: Key Players Adam Idah – Only behind Mbappe for goals scored all year long. Banging in 20 he was our saviour. Improving as a player, obtaining more caps for his country, his career is on the way up and I’m hoping he’ll perform well again for us next year. Marcus Harness – Fans player of the year, surprising given Idah for me would have been worth every vote. But he did have a decent season for us. Theo Archibald – For me takes the crown of second best place for us. Joint 3rd in the league for assists, scored second most number of goals and had our second highest average rating. His position I’m comfortable with leaving in the window, because of all these years I’ve had him, not one single time has he under-performed. He’s a true professional. Next Season We had a takeover during the second half of the season. With a new owner in place and my job not under threat from this, our club has now gone to “Rich” status! At one point having nearly 60 million in the bank, I immediately requested for a Stadium Expansion which was approved. It will take us up to near 16,500 capacity, and I’m sure it won’t take long to fill up those additional seats. Works will however take a while and only be ready for December coming. We also had a large amount of money given to invest this Summer. A little under 70 million, it’s definitely the off-season to increase our depth and bring in some key players. Overhaul Planned We had the worst defence last year and recruitment will be really important. But if I can find the right players to improve our first XI and find a new keeper then I’ll be a lot more confident of reaching the 40 points mark next season which would ultimately mean safety. Our-full backs seemed to struggle in ratings this year, so I’ll be looking at hopefully investing there. I need greater depth on the flanks and up front too. Our centre-midfield isn’t our strongest area either. A lot of wheeling and dealing will need to be done, but with funds and a good budget given although it won’t be easy to attract players still, we’re in a better position to invest than we were last year, with more quality being available to us.
  4. Season 6 Mid-Point – Uh Oh, We’re In Trouble… It’s been an almighty tough task to watch first half of the season. We didn’t have the best of starts, and have always been a few points off being outside the drop zone. You get to learn a bit about your players. With a number of new recruits I guess it’s always going to take time to gel. But in such a punishing league I hope our morale isn’t completely shot going into the second half of the season. Let’s Blame the Keeper Peacock-Bradley is most definitely a keeper that will get your heart beating faster – unfortunately for more negative rather than positive reasons. Already throwing away points, he’s very error prone and looks unstable between the sticks. Eccentric and poor decision making are his weak attributes. A number of times he’s been playing out from the back at the wrong times, and has been caught in no man-s land more often than not. There doesn’t appear to be any goalkeepers available that I can go in for, and with only a little over 4 million available I’m not going to be able to invest in sufficient quality here. The Unlucky Number However after nineteen games gone, a couple of more promising results recently catapulted us to 18th from bottom with 13 points. Still in the relegation zone, but a win would take us up to 16th. 104 point Championship Winners Derby are also struggling. Only eleven points they are bottom of the table. But surprisingly Leicester are 19th – I’m hoping they won’t improve much any time soon! We’re scoring just over a goal a game and conceding just under two a game. Not very pretty reading. Our best win did come against Leicester City away. A 4-1 victory with Idah at the double secured what could end up being a priceless win at the end of the season. Inevitable? Thirteen points is a really low total. But other clubs are also struggling and not faring much better. It is what I had hoped for before the season began I’m not going to be able to invest in January as there isn’t really anyone that’s going to improve my squad at a reasonable cost. I just have to hope that after playing half a season together, we will naturally have a bit more cohesion to our game and will improve our performance levels. One man that has been showing promise and continuing to improve is Adam Idah. He has an eye for putting the ball into the back of the net, and his goals will be vital in giving us a chance of staying up. Our recent 2-1 home win against high flying Aston Villa shows that there is hope. Perhaps a good run in the FA Cup will help give confidence rather than be a distraction to us.
  5. Season 6 – Premier League (Oldham Athletic) Moss Stays On After job offers coming in during the course of last season and the Summer, West Brom, Norwich, Everton and West Ham have all offered the managerial position to no avail. So the sixth season it is at Oldham, and perhaps the most difficult challenge of keeping the club in the top flight soon awaits. Dealings An overall budget of just under 34 million was made available to try and give us a chance of survival. I’ve kept under budget and spent a little over 24 million in total. With Brexit, it has been difficult getting players from abroad and it was even more frustrating this time around. The player pool is very limited, and attracting good players was still a real struggle despite our promotion. So I had to try and get what best I could. I’ve attempted to improve the squad all over in the central positions. Players that aren’t too old and have good potential to improve over the course of the season. A number also have international experience which is always a good thing. The main men to look out for this year are Adam Idah as our poacher upfront. An Irish international coming in very cheap from Burnley for 1.5 million. It looks like he can finish. Joachim Anderson comes in from Fulham costing 9.5 million. Sevilla were after him, but with a release clause in his contract I purchased him fully on cash. He’s 27, a Danish international and just entering him prime. He’ll be vital to keeping our defence organised and I'm hoping he'll be that rock for us. The new Sean Goss is Andree Dozell. Bought from Ipswich costing a mere 425k, he has all the same qualities minus international experience, but on the plus a much harder working player. In this division this will be critical as we’ll still be playing a 4 man midfield this year. Other signings include Liam Miller to pair Idah up front, Joe Roden our ball-playing defender coming in from The Villa on the cheap and Mads Bech another Danish international coming in at left back. Our new Keeper Peacock-Farrell cost just 245k from Bolton. A natural Attacking Keeper Sweeper, but an eccentric one. I’ll have to wait and see how dependable he is. I did want to spend a lot more on a goalie, but no-one decent was interested and available. So here’s my main Squad for the year: Expectations This division is a different level to the Championship. Our board want us to fight bravely against relegation, with the media giving us no hope of staying up predicting us to finish 20th. I’m not sure how we’ll fare either. I wouldn’t say I brought in my ideal players. I’d like a quicker back-line, but for the ones available at a reasonable price and within our wage budget I invested as well as I could have done. It’s going to be a struggle, and I can only hope there will be a few teams that find collecting points hard to come by. We are short of quality, and definitely do lack depth so I can’t see us getting near the 40 points mark. With a bit of luck a number of teams will all be languishing down there with us, in the hope we can sneak ourselves above the drop-zone at the end of the year. The Positives A capacity of just over 13,000 and over 11,000 season tickets were sold – so there is demand to watch the Oldham! There were talks of a takeover, but unfortunately these broke down so we are still in a tough financial situation, although I’m hoping with low wages being expended and TV money coming in we’ll be able to better that situation by the end of the year. At which this time I will attempt to expand our stadium, as at this point iwe don’t have the funds to. I was though able to improve our training facilities, to try and get the most of what personnel I currently have at my disposal.
  6. Season 5 Review – Two the Lucky Number Going into the second half of fixtures, we were twelve points behind the leader in eighth position. The arrival of Sean Goss proved to be the perfect tonic for our squad as I had hoped – with marvellous results. We had our two wingers in 1st and 3rd place for highest average ratings in the Championship. Marcus Harness took the top spot at 7.39 with Theo Archibald in third at 7.29. Meanwhile Goss topped both of them! Averaging 7.42 and contributing both with goals and assists he effectively was the player of the year for the time he has been with us. We ended up finishing in second spot for the 2nd half of the season, only behind Derby who walked away with the league finishing on 104 points. Snatching 2nd This run in the second half of the season gave us the chance to pinch the second automatic promotion spot – which we did on the very last day of the season. Both Leeds and The Eagles of Palace were right in the mix and were both better positioned going into the final day. But with both teams dropping points and us comfortably winning against lowly Portsmouth meant we came second via goal difference of plus 2, the margin we beat Portsmouth by. Leeds who were the unlucky team in 3rd have a +20 goal difference after the first twenty three games and we only had +4, meaning a 16 goal difference was made up plus. Our side had played excellent attacking football all year – but that extra vision, playmaker controlling the middle of the park and now being a threat from set pieces made such a big difference. Key Players It’s quite clear who the three difference makers were. Harness winning the Championship Player of the Year Award and Archibald with the pace and trickery down the flanks, with Sean Goss for the impact made in the second half of the season. But there’s no way I can get Super Tyrese Campbell. A reliable poacher grabbing goals all year round, he scored 22 in the league only one behind the top scorer with 23. My only criticism of our side would be on the defensive side of things. With that said, it was a new team that needed time to gel. And our defence second half of the season was much better, conceding only 20 in the last 23 compared to 34 at the start. Next Season We will need to improve again. And the main area will definitely need to be at the back. We were top scorers in the Championship. We had defenders that could fit the system last year, but they were not of the best quality. This goes for the Keeper too. My hope is I can get some good deals with players listed or on a free. The decision then is to decide whether I should splash some heavy cash on players…or think abour the club’s infrastructure. Our attendance fell just about short of the maximum capacity at Boundary Park at just over 13,000. I may choose to request a stadium expansion and improvement in training facilities – and see if we can escape relegation after our first year returning to the very top flight of English football.
  7. Super Ty! Super Super Ty, Super Tyrese Campbell. Yes, the free signing of the Summer didn’t take long to make his mark amongst the Oldham faithful with the chant here to stay. Making an instant impact, a superb hatrick away at Bolton saw The Latics win the game 4-3. The winner a true poacher’s finish from inside the box, dramatically right at the death gave us all 3 points helping us achieve an excellent start to the season. As with last year, it looks like we’re not going to be in danger going down. If anything, I am quietly confident we can make a real promotion push. Twenty three games in, only 13 points separate the top twelve. Our team performances have been consistently good this year, even in the games we’re losing or dropping points in. Here's his first hatrick for the club, hoping for many more! The Missing Piece of our Jigsaw I firmly believe this squad is two players from being a really good outfit. Our Keeper Sweeper currently does a good job between the sticks, but he really lacks the distribution and vision to get the most out of how I want us to play. More importantly, we lack a Paul Scholes and a Set Piece specialist. Our team needs a playmaker with vision and the ability to play a pass. Since Jose Baxter is not in our First XI anymore, we now struggle to make the most of set plays. In those tight games we are drawing or losing, we’re getting punished by not having this X-factor…but I’m really looking forward to January because I have purchased a player that was listed on the cheap and I know he’ll be the perfect fit for the areas we are lacking. Sean Goss – NI International Transfer listed by Scunthorpe, he has great vision, first touch, technique, passing, composure, and can take free kicks, corners and penalties. An absolute gem and I’m clueless as to why he was listed. We are a solid and really competitive football side despite having players considered League One quality. I’m confident with this player in our team we’ll be a top five side in this division. I believe that without serious injuries, we are fully capable of pinching a playoff place, or if the top sides lose form considerably be placed in a top five position. Twelve points off after 23 games in this division can turn quickly… time will tell if my hunch is right.
  8. Cheers, yeah it's going well so far...I'm pretty confident in a lot of the players I have at Oldham so I think I'm definitely going to try and stay with them for a while. Perhaps long-term aim would be to just make a Euro competition with them and see what happens from there I guess.
  9. Keep the faith mate, make it work! It'll be a great achievement doing it with this club. I'll try and give it a pop myself although I won't be as daring as you I'll demand better players!
  10. Season 5 – Championship (Oldham Athletic) Perceived The Same The board again are expecting us to try our best to fight off relegation. And the media have predicted us to finish 23rd. So yet again we’re considered as a side doomed for relegation. I do believe things may be a little trickier, in the sense that following our recruiting this Summer we probably are going to be weaker going forward. And with the 442 system I am now going to employ, we will have a weaker midfield presence too. With that said, I’ve been able to invest in a couple of centre-backs that do have relatively decent pace to suit the system. And with only playing with 4 midfielders this was an area crucial to try and improve upon. Our new Defence Remie Street our backup comes in from the Gills for 230k. Harrison Mcgahey we brought in from Scunthorpe for almost double this fee. He’ll be a starter and although not the tallest of centre-backs, he’s capable of playing quite well from the back and doesn’t have a weakness as such. And like a brand new signing, after a year of trying to get him to extend his contract, Marcel Djalo finally was approved a work-permit and stays at the club. He’s not the quickest still, but he is dominant in the air. I believe playing alongside some one with a little more pace will hopefully compensate. We’ve also got a Sweeper Keeper in Brad Collins. Costing 100k from Forest Green although not the best at launching attacks from deep, he has the attributes to do a solid job on the defensive side of things. Freebies Our remaining players brought in all came in on free transfers. Three of these will be backup players, but the one of note whom I have decided to pair with the ageing Vassell is Tyrese Campbell. Coming in from Stoke, our scout indicates he has great potential to improve. At the moment I’d say he definitely has to be played as a poacher given he’ll never be able to create goals for his team mates. But I’m hoping if he does improve in the areas he’s at the moment fairly decent at, he could become a competent finisher. He will be the man playing our poacher role in my 442. Good Quality Don’t be disillusioned with our free backup players. The other three that have been brought in are of good quality, whom should be able to do a good job for when our first team is missing. Jayson Molumby comes from Brighton. Good tackling and work-rate, along with determination, naturally fit and a team player will mean he’ll slot in well for our Leader and Captain Ryan Leonard. Another former Stoke man Tom Edwards comes in at right back. He’s on par already with our current one TJ Eyoma and could even steal his spot. Both players are extremely young and hopefully hungry to continue to improve themselves. And Kyle Mcallister will make our bench ahead of purchase Jordan Roberts last year. His durability to play on both the left and right side of the pitch and the potential for him to improve, at 23 years of age I believe he can provide a positive impact off the bench. Expectations I feel if our team can settle quickly into the new system, then I’m confident we can again avoid relegation without getting involved in a heavy scrap. It will however require my attacking centre-mids who I had trained to get forward often, to now play in the complete opposite way by holding their position under the advanced playmaker position. My only concern is if we do happen to have a poor start, it’s never easy to get yourselves out of a rut and it could lead to a real downward spiral in confidence and performances. The other is by not playing Baxter in my First XI, we now don’t have a set-piece nor penalty specialist. Given how important set-pieces are, I feel this area is now the missing piece in the puzzle in having a good allround side. But there still remains the time to splash some cash before the deadline ends. I’ll be watching the available players very carefully to see if someone fits the bill.
  11. Season 4 Review – Safe as Houses We continued our excellent performances into the second half of the season, and we got our just rewards…and were able to secure a top half finish ending up in 11th position. A fantastic achievement with not one player in our squad worth 1 million pounds. Defying the odds, West Brom approached me to take over…they actually had some good players in their team and it was a tempting offer. Players such as Ryan Fraser were amongst their ranks, but the expectancy levels at that club generally seem to be unrealistic – so if I was to move, it would likely only be to a struggling Premiership outfit. We didn’t fare the best in either the FA Cup or the Carabao. Disappointingly we lost at home vs Hull on penalties in the Carabao 2nd round, and in the FA Cup 3rd round we lost away to Chelsea, though that can be forgiven.. Key Players Theo Archibald – Came as second best in the average player ratings in the Championship. Surpassing what his attributes appear to be capable of, he had an outstanding season. Marcus Harness – Was subject to several bids across the course of the year. A very good winger who was our assist king for the year setting up 14 goals. Also scoring 10 it was a great contribution to our total goal tally. Kyle Vassell – Had a really good year for us coming joint second top scorer in the division. Using his pace to torment defences, he scored some spectacular goals over the course of the season and ended up grabbing 22 goals. However now hitting 30, his pace is diminishing already, so I’ll have to consider this when choosing my investments in the Summer. Board They were very pleased with our league performance by far exceeding expectations of fighting against relegation bravely. Predicted to finish 24th but coming 11th. With maintaining our Championship status, the board although again a tiny budget being shown as available, flexibility is allowing us to go to a maximum of 1.9 million. Next Year Given players now appearing to be demanding much higher wages to stay on with us along with those on frees expecting a Championship wage, it’s going to have to be careful spending on positions where I can’t identify a free transfer. The key areas are my goalkeeper, centre backs, and potentially a striker. We could do with a generally stronger squad in depth overall too. However with the Summer looming, my intention is to finally make a branch into a solid 442 formation. Part the reason is with both Vassell and Jose Baxter now passing their prime years, they’ll be less key to the squad and not be able to offer much in the way of improving our league position. One real difficulty is with BREXIT. All attempts to sign foreign players or even contract renewals are being met with a rejection of work-permit application. This makes things a lot trickier and a smaller pool of players we can target for improving our squad.
  12. Good luck! I'll be following ...235 is a formation I've been tempted to play with on this FM version just haven't got around to it yet. It could work on last years but this is a complete different ME. I think you should be open to any variant 235 of your choosing though to give yourself a chance!
  13. Moss Knows Best – A Cause for Optimism My predictions on how well my squad would fare this year is so far on track. After half a season gone, we’ve put ourselves in a good position to fight off relegation @ the Midwaypoint. Our season started off with a real bang, dispatching the Black Cats 4-1 on our home turf….we were quite literally in dreamland. Good performances continued, and although as suspected we would get exposed with our slow back-line at times, we’ve been good enough in offence to put those teams to the sword we would need to. And then there is Vassell up front. Although he can be inconsistent at times, he can also put in some real match winning performances….most recently winning 4-3 away at QPR, with him scoring a hatrick. One goal was Mo Salah like - dribbling from the before half way line to showing the necessary composure to score past the keeper. Here was his Hatrick: Current Concerns My greatest worry is that we do have a number of players out of contract at the end of the year. We are behind our wage budget and there is no room for transfer or contract manoeuvrability. This means we’ll likely lose these players at the end of the year. Hopefully our attendances will continue to increase and perhaps we’ll have an increased wage budget that will allow us to snap up some decent freebies. So rather than sell these players now and not be able to replace them, I’ll have to make do and hope that wherever this season takes us, we’ll then be able to bring in reinforcements to replace them. But as things stand, currently in 14th and 11 points clear off the relegation zone things are looking very promising to achieve our objective of staying up.
  14. Season 4 – Championship (Oldham Athletic) A New Offense Well this has been a good pre-season. By far from perfect, but we’ve addressed many areas that will enable me to play a more offensive game. We now have two Northern Ireland internationals amongst our ranks. Kyle Vassell joins us from Rotherham in a deal worth 190k. Fellow Irish forward Shay Mccartan came in from Lincoln in a deal right on the 200k mark. His durability in both the AM and SC positions is like two signings in one. Pace Two new full-backs that have pace were brought in too. TJ Eyoma at 21 years of age has great durability being able to play at both full-back or centre-back. He is however only 180cm so he’ll be our right back for the year. On the left comes in Brandon Haunstrup. Also with good pace he’ll fit well into our higher defensive line system. Finally a Real Leader Our final signing is our Roy Keane, going by the name Ryan Leonard. The hard man in the centre of the park, a leader, good teamwork and experienced at 29 years old. He’ll be important in holding the team together in those tight knit games, and only cost us 85k from Barnsley. Problems Only one area I missed out on in my aim. I don’t have a natural Keeper Sweeper although I believe Jamie Jones can still adapt okay to the role. It’s my centre-backs. The pace of all four in my squad is poor. Perhaps Marcelo Djalo will suffice in this area with pace 13 and acceleration 9, but the remainder are slow and lack the anticipation to cover this up. So I do foresee problems against those sides that have pace up front to punish us there. New System – 4411 And it’s for that very reason rather than playing a very offensive 442, having the extra man helping out the centre of our midfield was the option I’ve gone for. We're playing higher, pressing high but no counter-press, and also re-grouping when we need to. It's very flexible. The game focuses on regular counter-attacks, exploiting the flanks utilising our wingers to cause our opponents problems, and an Attacking Midfielder that aims to support the man up top at every opportunity. Our Advanced Forward is also playing in a creative nature so both players in these roles can feed off of each other. A Xabi Alonso in the middle of the park will dictate the play when in possession, and be the guy to feed when looking to launch defence splitting passes on the break. And a Javi Mascherano our destroyer in the centre of the park to bring the solidity in our midfield. Although it will play very much like an offensive 442, with that extra man in the middle we should at least have a little more element of control that will enable us to grind out a few results instead of going blindly gung-ho. Here is our First 18 with the new System and Roles in Play: Expectations The media predict us to finish rock-bottom of the division. That sounds realistic enough. Our board also want us to fight off relegation bravely. They don’t sound too optimistic either. I’m probably the only one that has a degree of optimism. I think our recruitment has been good and geared towards playing in an offensive way, but also with the ability to be combative and win in tight situations. The key for me this year was bringing in Ryan Leonard as our defensive centre midfielder. His ability and leadership is what the club has needed, and I believe he’ll be able to lead us to safety, irrespective of our defensive frailties of the lack of pace. Not all teams will have quick strikers. We’ll need to make sure that in games where the opponents won’t cause us as many problems, we make the most of these opportunities to take points.
  15. Season 3 Review – An Unexpected Triumph After analysing our past seasons in our current system, although scoring more than we conceded we were still letting too many in for my liking. The number of games we lost last year were too many and leads being thrown away. With Matt Butcher a natural B2B midfielder and Ollie Palmer more a supporting target man instead of an attacking one, I implemented these changes into the system. This in the hope that we’d be better in our midfield defensive structure, whilst a greater retention of the ball will occur to relieve any pressure being built in our low block. Our B2B Midfielder was also playing very similar to how our Attacking Centre Midfielder played by supporting our striker at every given opportunity. Automatic Promotion Gained on Final Day As a result of the changes, we had the second best defence in the league and that really counted for something. Although we won around the same number of game as last year, many of our previous defeats turned into draws. And this means less points given to rivals, and more points on the board for us. The first half of the season was a good indication here. Difficult to dislodge with a significant number of draws was enough to bring us into contention to automatic promotion. I was happy to escape yet another playoffs. It was too tense for my liking last time around. And with six games to go, the gap was 3 points between 2nd place and 6th place. Fortunately with Bolton dropping points at lowly Peterborough on the last day, our away win at Shrewsbury was enough to see us through – typified by a clean sheet for our back-line. Key Players Jose Baxter – A full season from the former Evertonian meant he was back to his best this year. Winning the fans player of the year and both scoring and assisting in crucial goals meant he was pivotal to our season. Matt Butcher – Proved he was an absolute bargain coming in on a free. A player only 23 and improved over the course of the year, his long shots from range were a constant threat with a few belters flying into the net this season. If he can continue to improve he’ll play a big role in our quest to avoid relegation next year. Ollie Palmer – It’s never easy playing alone up top. But his contribution was critical, and it is true you do defend from the front. Scoring 18 goals was a good return, although it remains to be seen whether he’ll play a role for The Latics next season. Hope for Next Year We most certainly don’t have a good enough squad to stay up next season. We just don’t have the quality in all areas of the football pitch. I’m hoping that there will be some players on the market. By playing in the Championship there should be a greater pull to join us, and it is my intention to change our philosophy. Parking the bus against more capable teams with a lack of fire power will be a recipe for disaster. This unfortunately for Ollie Palmer will mean he won’t have a role to play for us. He’s been a great servant the past couple of years, but attacking football is going to be the way to go. Board Expectations Unsurprisingly delighted with our effort of our success on the pitch, more pleasing was our financial predicament still continuing to improve. We made it to the 3rd round of the FA Cup, but lost away to Championship side Millwall. A nice home draw against Liverpool was made in the Carabao Cup – but no surprises with the result there, yep we took a 5-0 hammering. It’s going to take a lot of planning to get a squad that will have a chance of staying up. I highly doubt though we’ll have sufficient funds for a complete overhaul. So I’ll have to look for players that are a good deal on the transfer list, and focus on key areas to suit the system I will choose to employ.
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