Beerish

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About Beerish

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    Amateur

About Me

  • About Me
    The harsh Lincolnshire wilderness. Up the Iron, and come on you Sheriffs.

Favourite Team

  • Favourite Team
    Scunthorpe United
  1. Oxford City - Season - Transfers Wallace, Spinelli and Pablo were rather speculative punts from free transfers, and only Wallace really proved his worth this season. Miranda and Spinelli proved very profitable and I certainly didn't miss them, while John-Joe O'Toole was re-signed desperately in order to give some much needed bite to our midfield. Pedro and the loan signings contributed little. Nick Warren was an embarassing misplaced investment, but I was gutted to lose Kroonstrom especially because we didn't pick up a fee for a player I really rate. Reynaldo was reluctant to stay and so I tried to cash in his value, but as a 30+ years old player with an expiring contract I had to flog him on the cheap. De Jong, King and the enigmatic Bustamente showed little to convince me of a contract extension. The Season! Back in the Championship I was hoping to make a strong start and we just that as perennial whipping boys Doncaster and Plymouth were spanked 4-0 and 3-1 consecutively, Karakas already bagging 4 goals. A drab 0-0 draw with Peterborough felt bizarre considering our presence up front, but this proved to be no exception as we lost three games in a row with just one goal to our names; the 4-0 home defeat to Crystal Palace being the lowlight of this run. Balance was restored somewhat with 3-2 and 4-1 wins over relegation battles Norwich and Swansea, but it was beginning to feel like we only performed as a team whenever Karakas was scoring. That theory was proved somewhat as he scored in scoring draws either side of a 4-0 drubbing at Sheffield United; he scored in the next game at Coventry but we still lost inexplicably 3-1 despite dominating the game and being 1-0 with ten minutes remaining. A second frustrating away defeat followed at Southampton. Whenever we didn't feed 'The Kraken', we didn't get a result. An always tricky Mansfield side were edged past 2-1 at the Oxford City Stadium. Home seemed to be where the heart was as we could only manage a draw at a disappointing Middlesborough, and for the 7th game in a row we only scored as a team when Karakas did, but Kroos was looking useful in a supporting role. Until he got injured, and Ozturk joined in the goalscoring fun against Brighton who were stuffed 4-1. As November began, our previous talisman David Hoilett was playing terribly, our league position did not reflect our ability and the squad was in disarray because they knew it themselves. And so, after a close defeat at a very strong Ipswich side, they decided to pull their finger out and do something about it. Milwall were smashed 6-1 in their own back yard, and Blackburn, Leicester and Bristol City saw 4, 3 and 5 goals go past them without reply; Michael Ozturk looked simply unplayable. Our 1-0 home win and 2-0 away win against Doncaster were much narrower, and we looked very fatigued against a poor Plymouth side, Pilar's last minute free kick giving us our 7th win a row. That's where the run ended though, as Peterborough hammered us 3-0 at London Road, but we showed good character to beat a disciplined Barnsley side 2-0. A rot set in with 5 games winless, but once again facing a poor Swansea side allowed us to take advantage, securing a decent 3-1 win in Wales. Once again a vital home game with Leeds would shape our season, and once again we came out victorious but only 2-1 this time, the crucial goals coming from the talismanic Karakas and Barile. Ozturk's fine brace sent another Yorkshire side packing, Sheffield United, in the same week. Another sojourn into sunny Wales ended in gloom, as Mark McGarry's magnificent hat-trick sent us back with our tails between our legs. 6 points were vital against the very beatable Southampton and Mansfield but we only managed 1; we made up for this somewhat as Jacopo Barile struck an unbelievable brace to vanquish Middlesborough 2-1, and our next game at Brighton was a thriller for the neutral - 4-4 it finished, but 3 points would have been so beneficial to our late play-off charge. Luckily, a 1-0 Karakas game against Milwall followed a useful point at Milwall, but despite Ozturk's best efforts we fell to defeat at Blackburn. We lost at home to Ipswich 1-0, and our destiny was out of our hands. We finished the season in a strong position, winning successive tough games against Bristol City and Forest. Going into the last game of the season at home to Stoke, we had to beat them and hope Leeds lost. Early goals from Ozturk and Pilar put us firmly on top as Leeds trailed early on; but eventually they rallied to win the game and yet another season in the Championship awaited us. Final League Table Considering my weirdly efficient play-off record (4 successes in 4 attempts) this felt like losing out on the last automatic place. Squad (End Of Season) Our lack of depth up front probably shows our dependence on certain players. Finances (End Of Season) Better get back into the Premiership soon... FA Cup Required a late bail-out of a goal from Karakas against Grimsby, but my only priority in the Cup was just to not get embarassed. League Cup ...which I didn't achieve. Key Players Marco Vacca Keeps growing in stature, quickly becoming our most consistent and accomplished defender. Great vice-captain. Martin Pilar Found his feet a bit more in the Championship, but I still wonder what his best role is; he often doesn't last 90 minutes due to poor fitness. Oguzhan Karakas What can I say? 31 goals in 43 appearances, he's devastating every season and there's no question of him leaving. One of my favourite players ever. Michael Ozturk Ably supported Karakas up front; he seemed to be able to lead the line and drop deep depending on the situation. Jacopo Barile Another consistent season, but I feel he could offer more in the way of excellence. Season League Position Achievements ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2010/11 Blue Square North 2nd Promoted via play-offs 2011/12 Blue Square Premier 11th - 2012/13 Blue Square Premier 3rd Promoted via play-offs 2013/14 Coca Cola League 2 7th Promoted via play-offs 2014/15 Coca Cola League 1 16th - 2015/16 Coca Cola League 1 2nd Promoted 2016/17 Coca Cola Championship 13th - 2017/18 Coca Cola Championship 13th - 2018/19 Coca Cola Championship 11th - 2019/20 Coca Cola Championship 7th Promoted via play-offs 2020/21 Barclays Premiership 18th 2021/22 Coca Cola Championship 8th - Next Season Get the hell out of this division; it needs a strong push, but I think we're in a much better position to cope in the Premiership this time around.
  2. Normal service is resumed! http://img69.imageshack.us/img69/7190/9oguzhankarakas2.png
  3. Didn't change anything, I'm starting to think my game has gone completely loco: http://img84.imageshack.us/img84/151/italyvukraine.png
  4. ...that he decided to change skin colour. I don't have a picture of him before his 'change', unfortunately, but his skin complexion was about the same as this: http://img7.imageshack.us/img7/9463/3joolemos.png But suddenly, after being in my team for approximately 5 years, he suddenly changed into: http://img29.imageshack.us/img29/6366/9oguzhankarakas.png I don't recall giving him a leave of absence to THE CORE OF THE EARTH.
  5. Oxford City - Season 2020/21 - Barclays Premiership NB: I forgot completely about my write-up after the season, so some information may be missing. Thank you. Pre-Season, and all the hopes and expectations therein Transfers I released several players at the start of the season because - with the possible exception of John Joe O'Toole, in hindsight - they were deficient in too many areas to cut it in the Premiership. O'Grady, Wedderburn and Celebi were sold in January to cash in - but only after I played Wedderburn who now has the proud record of playing in every league in England, from BSN/BSS to the Prem. Rasmussen and Bergsma were signed with half an eye to the future, whereas I hoped de Jong and Schmeichel would give us some more experience especially at the back where we've traditionally been vulnerable. Bolanos, Konstantinatou, D'Arcolangelo and Warren were all money down the drain, because they all contributed very little and we could only recoup 550k for Warren at the end of the season. Antonio, Ozturk and Pilar were probably the few signings to really justify their fees in their first season, and Bustamante was somewhat enigmatic - great stats, but a lousy player. McGeady and Kroos were two very handy experienced players I managed to snag on frees. The Season! Not for the first time, it was to be Burnley who gave me a tough welcome to life in a new league. Once again we were lucky to get the result, though this time it was simply a 1-1 draw with Ozturk scoring on his debut from the penalty spot. Our next game was against more claret and blue, but a 2-0 defeat at West Ham underlined the difficulty of our task in this division. Conceding a last minute equaliser at QPR showed how much we needed to keep focused for 90+ minutes, letting Ephraim free at the back post undermined hard graft and good goals from Hoilett and D'Arcengalo. A fine draw at home to a strong Chelsea side was helped by another Hoilett goal, and it looked as if our defensively minded tactics might just work. Not so. Our next three games were tough, against Villa, Everton and Man United; but losing all three without scoring was a bitter pill to swallow. The rot was stopped somewhat with a narrow 1-0 home win against West Brom, our first of the season, but it required some bizarre refeering to send off Albian's Conrath after 39 minutes. I wasn't expecting anything from Arsenal or Sunderland, and I didn't get anything, not even a goal. A televised away match at Bolton was vital to our chances, and even early in the season it felt like Brierley's late winner would dictate where we finished. It would have to be him, too, who failed to set the world alight at Oxford City on loan, but now scored against us for fun. After we went 2-0 down at home to Hull it looked like a 4th straight defeat was on the cards, but the lads rallied superbly to draw and could have won it late on. We broke our duck in style at Coventry, firing 3 past without reply where young defender Rene Bergsma looked more like the Dutch Destroyer I imagined him to be when I signed him, and not the nincompoop from the Netherlands that his early form made him look like. Portsmouth took advantage of a smash and grab at the Oxford City Stadium to take all 3 points, but we countered with two magnificent wins, at fellow relegation battlers Birmingham and at home to Liverpool, where we had the luxury of a missed penalty - Kroos and Ozturk scoring in both games. Ozturk's goalscoring was fine, but the problem was getting him into the team, as he continued to pick up niggly injuries. The good run stopped there, as Tottenham taught us a lesson at White Hart Lane to win 3-0. League leaders Man City eased to a 2-1 victory, before Wolves exposed our system to smash us 5-2. We put up a good fight but lost out 1-0 to Chelsea, and several near-misses were plunging us closer to the bottom of the table. 3-2 and 4-1 defeats to Burnley showed off the risks you take in using an attacking strategy in the Premiership, but we stopped the rot somewhat with a 2-2 draw at home to QPR...AND ANOTHER LAST MINUTE EQUALSIER FROM HOGAN %£"^&ING EPHRAIM. We responded magnificently to win 3-2 at Aston Villa, Kroos rolling back the years with a fine brace. Arsenal away proved to be a step too far and we succumbed to a 4-2 defeat. I thought a draw at home to Everton was a good result, but nothing could compare me for the next game: We beat Manchester United 4-1 at home. Despite losing Ellis Jones and Reynaldo to injury, and having Vacca sent off after 27 minutes, despite having alan quinn make his league debut, we stunned them, Kroos looking particularly lethal to grab another brace. Joao Lemos' late, late header shocked West Brom as we completed our first double, and we were out of the relegation zone for the first time in aaaaaaaages, even with a patched up back 4. Successive home 1-1 draws saw us slip back under, but only by goal difference...it was a 1-0 away defeat at Hull and only managing to draw against Coventry which cemented our position. Our worst defeat of the season came next, a 4-0 thrashing at Anfield, before we managed by some miracle to get a 1-1 draw at Portsmouth despite our woodwork being rattled 4 times. Our next game, with 34 games played, a point off safety and in the middle of an injury crisis was at home to the team directly above us and the relegation zone, Birmingham. We dominated the early stages but with only Lemos' header to show for it we were always vulnerable and so it wasn't too surprising Birmingham equalised and it ended 1-1. We never looked like beating Tottenham at home and with two games left - away at champions Man City and at home to a very useful Wolves side with 3 points to make up, matters looked bleak. BUT THEN-Jacopo Barile scores a screamer from nowhere to silence the Man City fans. It looked unbelievable, Birmingham were losing and we were seconds away fro-oh...they equalised and meant we went into the last game of the season needing to win and relying on other teams to lose. Never looked like happening as Wolves strolled to a 2-0 win. An agonising end to the season, but considering the luck I had in getting here, not too bad overall. Final League Table Without last minute equalisers and winners against us, we'd be home and hosed. Finances (End Of Season) If it wasn't for some stupid signings, this would be looking a lot more healthy and wouldn't put so much pressure on me for the next season. FA Cup Didn't care about it. A replay against Walsall was an annoyance, and my youth team pretty much rolled over for Palace. League Cup As above. The cups were very, very low in my list of priorities. Key Players Joao Lemos Solid season from the captain. Represented a full circle for him, as he'd been loaned to us from established Prem team Burnley and then released because he wasn't good enough. Marco Vacca A massive surprise, he was just immense all season. The most reliable defender, several international wingers came a cropper against him. Kasper Schmeichel In the early stages of the season, he pretty much WAS our team - our outfield was so awful, it was solely down to him that we managed to grab any kind of result. David Hoilett My personal player of the season, he continued his fine form despite several annoying international call-ups. Faded a bit towards the end of the season; I might have taken a punt extending his contract considering his age. Jacopo Barile I had to adapt him to an unnatural ball winning position, but he handled it with aplomb and scored some absolutely unbelievable long range goals - probably winning us a handful of points on their own. Season League Position Achievements ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2010/11 Blue Square North 2nd Promoted via play-offs 2011/12 Blue Square Premier 11th - 2012/13 Blue Square Premier 3rd Promoted via play-offs 2013/14 Coca Cola League 2 7th Promoted via play-offs 2014/15 Coca Cola League 1 16th - 2015/16 Coca Cola League 1 2nd Promoted 2016/17 Coca Cola Championship 13th - 2017/18 Coca Cola Championship 13th - 2018/19 Coca Cola Championship 11th - 2019/20 Coca Cola Championship 7th Promoted via play-offs 2020/21 Barclays Premiership 18th Relegated Next Season Hard to tell. AI teams from the Premiership have tended to fare pretty well (even Birmingham, who went into administration) but this is my first ever relegation in any version of FM. Like my sojourn into the Premiership, it's entirely new territory.
  6. Oxford City - Season 2019/20 - Coca Cola Championship Pre-Season, and all the hopes and expectations therein Dominated at Platense and Swindon with Karakas, Kroonstrom and Reynaldo scoring in both games, so perhaps their goalscoring form of previous seasons was no fluke. Fellow CCC team Birmingham never looked like losing as they cruised to a 2-0 win, and a narrow win and draw respectively against Accrington and Rotherham proved a disappointing end. Transfers Cashed in on Parker, Enoh, Elokobi and Ruiz because for the most part they were too old, or I just felt the opportunity cost of losing their squad player status was less than the money received. Baptiste and Hess were signed as promising centre backs; Celebi and Hoilett would battle it out for the right wing position and I was delighted to re-introduce former loan signing Goncalves, but strictly on a squad player basis. Creaney, Leon and Whitehead were signed on loan to cover any defensive injury problems, and it was a similar story for Ian Harrop as goalkeeper. Garcia Garcia was signed on a free partly out of desperation and partly because of his amazing name, but he turned out to be top drawer. The Season! Once again we were presented with a tough opening game at home, and once again we managed a narrow 1-0 win, Crossan coming off the bench for a late winner. Peterborough away was disappointing, losing 1-0 and never really looking much of a threat, but that was incomparable to our next game at home to Newcastle. Leading 1-0 and then 3-2 with 8 minutes left, we inexplicably allowed Gary Hooper to grab a late brace and all 3 points for Newcastle. I thought the game would drain my players, both physically and mentally, but following this they just...didn't lose. Derby were vanquished at Pride Park but we required a sending off and late goals from Reynaldo and Karakas, and an impressive David Hoilett's first goal of the season earned us a draw at home to Norwich, a lower half team that were very difficult to beat. It was a different story at traditional fliers Middlesborough, but a strong comeback from 2-0 down (not our first at the Riverside) got us the same number of points. A third consecutive draw followed suit at Watford, Reynaldo adding to his already impressive tally. An impressive win at home to Cardiff was backed by an even better first away win at Wigan, Karakas scoring vital goals in both games. A brief hiccup at home to Crystal Palace which required a last minute penalty from Kroonstrom to get us out of trouble proved to be the exception as Bristol City were vanquished two nil in their own backyard, Karakas and Reynaldo once again blossoming in their attacking roles. A 4-1 home win against a well-drilled Huddersfield was memorable itself, but Karakas equalled our goalscoring record in a game (joint held by Shaum Cummings who plundered 4 against Corby in the BSP), each goal another slice of brilliance. Another great home win against Brighton preceded two solid draws at Leeds and Southampton. Ivan Boledo's 21st minute wonder strike for Southampton proved to be the last time we would concede in a while - my back four of Garcia Garcia, Lemos, Jones and Vacca looked extremely resolute while John-Joe O'Toole worked tirelessly in front of them. Here is the sequence of results in that fine run: 0-0 Stoke (H) 1-0 Swansea (H) - very difficult side to break down 1-0 Doncaster (A) - two in two for Karakas 2-0 Blackburn (H) - massive result, 3 in 3 for Karakas 0-0 Sheff Utd (A) 0-0 Bolton (H) - would win the league by a country mile ...normal service was then resumed at Milwall, where goals from Reynaldo and Karakas (again!) secured us a 2-2 draw at Millwall. Away wins were fine and everything, but we needed to convert them to wins if we had any hope of catching the runaway train at the top of the division called Bolton Wanderers. I felt a draw at play-off contenders Birmingham was fine, but a 1-1 draw at home to Peterborough where we were bailed out by a Jacopo Barile special was a bit more disappointing. Our reunion at St. James' Park with Newcastle proved to be one of the best turnarounds I've ever seen; we absolutely dominated and deserved to win by more than 3 goals to nil; Reynaldo and Karakas were unplayable that night. Wedderburn scored his token goal in the next game, a 2-0 win that completed an impressive double against Derby. In our next game, our squad was ravaged by injury but we still managed to-NO! We actually lost a game! 4 points from Middlesborough and Huddersfield suggested a return to form, but we then went into a mini-slump, 6 games yielding 4 points and 4 1-0 defeats - our attack was losing its venom. I thought the turnaround against Newcastle was remarkable, but nothing prepared me for the events at home to Leeds. We dropped our early lead quickly, but were strolling 3-1 at half time. Leeds brought the scores level with 4 minutes to go, only for talismanic winger David Hoilett to score the winner in the last minute and spark dramatic celebrations. Crossan's late winner at Swansea helped to consolidate our strong play-off position, but I still felt we should have been in the automatic places. Disappointing outings against Stoke and Doncaster and our total against those disappointing relegation sides was a measly 1. Despite a 4-1 win at home to Southampton, the scoreline always flattered and an injury-plagued run (only 4 of my first choice XI available at one point) of two draws in which Mike Barker made some stunning saves and a loss saw us desperately scrambling to fight for the final play-off place. Probably not the best time to play away at already promoted Bolton, then. Bolton took an early lead through Michael Potts, but we levelled 5 minutes later with Kroonstrom's cool finish. The game turned extremely tense until Ander Blanco popped up like a phantom on the rebound of a blocked Karakas shot and we rode the storm of Bolton pressure in the second half to secure a memorable win, and make sure we went into the final round of fixtures knowing all we had to do was match Newcastle's result as we were level on points with a superior goal difference. We did this, as Newcastle were held at Stoke we had the game wrapped up at half-time, hammering Milwall 3-1 and make the final play-off spot ours. Peterborough were to be our first barrier in the way to unprecedented Championship football, and I could scarcely believe it was the same team that had done the double over us - Blanco and Hoilett tormented them all game and we should have won by more than 2-0. The second leg was extremely tense as Peterborough had their three required goals...disallowed. We held firm and our route to the final was secured, amidst considerable controversy. Bristol City were my favoured opponents and so I was happy they vanquished Leeds. However, the fact that Garcia Garcia and Lemos' yellow cards meant that they would miss out on the play-off final I was less than happy about. I was doubly miserable when I realised Lemos would have to be replaced by David Baptiste, making his DEBUT FOR THE CLUB at 19 years of age. I had nothing to worry about. He was flawless. The first half was very unsettled, neither team finding a rhythm until BANG! Just before the half-time whistle was about to blow, Kroonstrom picked up the ball 25 yards from goal and showed his considerable shooting prowess to absolutely nail one. The second half was a similar affair, Bristol clearly reeling from the loss of the influential Sissoko to injury after 9 minutes. Hoilett secured the win and the promotion on 72 minutes when he picked up Baptiste's flick from a long throw to slot in a the near post and seal a magnificent 2-0 win at Wembley. Final League Table Sneaked it. Positions Graph Looking at this, it's easy to see why I was disappointed we didn't wrap up promotion earlier. Stats Solid stuff from Garcia Garcia and Barker in particular. Squad (End Of Season) A bit of trimming to do in order to prepare for the Prem. -------Forgot to get a screenie for my finances, I do apologise-------- League Cup Sander Kroonstrom struck two wonderful long range strikes to cover a disappointing team performance at Gillingham, and Accrington were just awful. We gave Tottenham a good go but their class told in the end. FA Cup Non-league AFC Wimbledon ran us very close as we narrowly won the replay 1-0, in which they had more than a few chances to win it. We lost a two goal advantage against Crystal Palace but edged the replay; and we put in one our most impressive cup performances against Man Utd at Old Trafford, a very different scenario to our schooling at Chelsea the other season. Key Players Ander Blanco Prodigal son, returning for his second loan spell and showing us what we'd missed down the left wing - with him and Hoilett running the lines we looked more potent as an attacking force than ever. Marco Vacca Getting steadily better every season, which is amazing considering he was my 4th choice RB in League 1 at one point. Oguzhan Karakas The stats speak for themselves. An irreplacable player for us at CCC level. No team has really got to grips with him so far. Reynaldo ...and here's the reason why. A superb partnership, with Reynaldo showing unbelievable class in 'the hole'. Has the ideal stats for the position, I got very lucky with this signing indeed. David Hoilett Signed as one of four potential starters on the right wing, I chanced him in the first game and never looked back. Useful as an experienced player in a young squad, he crossed well, had a nice finish, and dribbled even better. I believe he's one of the few players who can really make a difference next season. Season League Position Achievements ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2010/11 Blue Square North 2nd Promoted via play-offs 2011/12 Blue Square Premier 11th - 2012/13 Blue Square Premier 3rd Promoted via play-offs 2013/14 Coca Cola League 2 7th Promoted via play-offs 2014/15 Coca Cola League 1 16th - 2015/16 Coca Cola League 1 2nd Promoted 2016/17 Coca Cola Championship 13th - 2017/18 Coca Cola Championship 13th - 2018/19 Coca Cola Championship 11th - Next Season I don't know. This is the first time I've been promoted to the English Premiership on FM, so apart from staying up I have literally no idea how I need to organise finances, staff etc. Should be fun!
  7. I think it was bound to happen eventually; I've had so many lucky promotions over the years that I deserve to have my ass handed to me. It's probably just more irritating that it should be at the top level, where consolidating your position really means something. How do teams in this challenge generally fare when relegated from the Prem? Highest league I've got to before is League 1, where I stayed for ages last time I attempted this.
  8. We're wasting our time. We get embarassed every single game. I'm bottom, on the back of a six game losing streak in January. Players, tactics, mean nothing. It's absolutely abject no matter what.
  9. Wow. If I play soon to be sold Nathaniel Wedderburn by January, he will have (with the help of other clubs admittedly) played in every league in England, incuding Blue Square North and South.
  10. So, uh, any advice for the first season in the Prem? I'm getting killed at the minute...but it's all very narrow 1-0 losses. Only problem is we never look like creating anything.
  11. Oxford City - Season 2018/19 - Coca Cola Championship Pre-Season, and all the hopes and expectations therein 7 in 7 for Karakas, but our peformances suggested my tactics needed some refinement - Santiago running us very close and Macclesfield beating us. Transfers Tomas Hubocan became my record signing and only second ever purchased player, but completely unjustified his price tag and the years (years!) I'd spent trying to scout him and sign him. I don't know what it is, but decent centre backs are so hard to find on this version of FM. Barile was a mammoth coup because his mental stats are some of the best I've ever seen for a 24 year old. O'Toole, Rose, Reynaldo, Crossan and Ellis were all signed as backup but ended up commanding first team spots. Jose Javier made me a very nice 250k profit despite being my 2nd choice right back, and all my other signings contributed very little. I shipped out some players who were too old before the season began, and managed to collect some very tidy fees in January that helped keep our finances fairly stable. The Season! Despite a tough opening fixture at home to recently relegated Burnley, our mysteriously brilliant opening day form allowed me a measure of warranted confidence - Reynaldo scored on his debut in a very narrow 1-0 win. We built on this with another result at the Madjeski Stadium, Reynaldo carrying on his impressive early goalscoring form with an effort in a 2-1 win. The two 1-1 draws that followed against Sheffield United and especially bottom club Swansea were frustrating, but our slack 1-0 loss at home to Cardiff seemed to provoke the side into making Oxford City Stadium a fortress; we were to lose there only 5 times all season. The Cardiff loss was frustrating, but was incomparable to our next three games; we were royally tonked three times. Notts County 4-1, Crystal Palace 3-1, and cruellest of all, 5-1 at Ipswich. The 451 tactic was being compromised, but I risked keeping the same shape at home to perennial relegation battlers Watford. It paid off. Reynaldo and Crossan each got braces inside 25 minutes, and we should have won by far more. London Road was proving a tough venue to travel to and choked once again in a 2-0 defeat. Our turnaround from 2-0 down to earn a draw at Stoke was fantastic, but it was Sod's Law that we should play so well at home to Plymouth and get the same number of points; I could see unconverted wins were going to cost us dear this season. Bizarrely, we managed to score 4 goals within 25 minutes once again at home to Bristol City but as we always do, took our foot of the gas and gave them two easy goals to make it a nervy ending. There was to be no repeat of our heroics at Bolton from last season as we crashed 3-1; but once again we blasted in 4 goals at home and thankfully this time, without reply. Oguzhan Karakas scored his first hat-trick for the club and in doing so brought his tally to 7 goals in the last 5 games. He added another at Brighton, and Reynaldo's late winner gave us 3 wonderfully unexpected points. Huddersfield were another team that tended to do us no favours on their patch and this was proven again as their strike force dominated us and lashed in 3 goals to our 0. Next up was the televised game at home to Middlesborough and we finally managed to break our telly curse with a superb 3-2 win that saw us take the lead 3 times. Unfortunately our next two games didn't generate the same level of drama as we lost 1-0 at Milwall before we had the same result in our favour at home to Norwich; a team who seem to be allergic to good games of football. A good performance at Leicester merited a draw, but it seemed half of our players got injured in that game and would miss the crucial home game against Birmingham...so naturally those players who filled in for them starred off the bench as we came back to win 2-1. I decided to keep faith with the same line-up, and they rewarded me with a good draw at Burnley, who would only lose once at Turf Moor all season. Consecutive wins against Reading and Scunthorpe saw Kroonstrom, Crossan and Karakas all continue their good goalscoring form. Two more points were squandered in a bore draw over Swansea before we reverted back to '1-0 Karakas' ways against Sheffield United - I hate to think where we'd be in the CCC without him, so integral he is to our play. A good win at Cardiff was bettered by a win at home to the always impressive Notts County. A rare blip saw us go down at Crystal Palace, but we responded magnificently to beat league leaders Ipswich at home 2-1 and edge out Watford 1-0 at Vicarage Road. This proved to be the last game Karakas would score in until the end of the season. Considering this was the 2nd of February, our next run of games shouldn't come as too much of a surprise...bear in mind at this point we were in the play-offs by 2 points. We just couldn't buy a win. Super keepers, poor refereeing decisions, inexplicable one-on-one misses - everything that could go against us did, and I saw our play-off spot fall out of our grasp as we squandered a point here, sometimes even 3...a strong win with a weakened side at home to Brighton offered a glimpse of hope, but this proved to be our only win as the curtain call of the season approached. Our fringe players showed how it should be done by sending Scunthorpe down with a great 2-0 win on the last day of the season, Karakas finally ending his 15 hour drought and Wedderburn getting his first in about two years. The result was bittersweet, because I hated taking responsibility for sending Scunthorpe down, even if it's only in the game...an agonising season was brought to a halt in the best and the worst way. Final League Table I love how tight the Championship is in the game, it's just like real life. Positions Graph NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Stats All of Joao Lemos' goal attempts would have been part of my corner routine (for which he scored 7 two seasons ago). Some of those at crucial times in the season and I might have been laughing. Squad (End Of Season) The number of settled first teamers once again expanded, but Elokobi will be gone by next season and difficult to replace; I can easily see some regression next season if we're not careful. Finances (End Of Season) Steady growth, though I fear we may become too reliant on player sales and cup runs. FA Cup After playing them in the League Cup, Stevenage were something of a formality, even with a second string team. A fellow Championship team at home tends to be a tense affair and our 4th round match was no exception, looking for all the world to be heading for a replay until Robbie 'Hero' Crossan popped up with a winner. Chelsea away showed me how far I am from completing the challenge; it was like shooting practice for them, and we only managed one decent chance in the whole game. League Cup After several humiliating cup defeats in recent years, we bossed Stevenage but required extra time goals from Reynaldo and Crossan to edge through. Stockport put up brave resistance but faltered in the latter stages of the second half, and we were then drawn at home to Notts Forest, a Premiership team whose comeback from 3-0 down in the Cup two years previously still rankled me. Reynaldo gave us an early lead, but after a period of sustained pressure they won a penalty which Daniel Sturridge...blasted wide! This seemed to change the whole shape of the game, and shortly afterwards Forest's Pontius Wentebloom was sent off and from the resulting free-kick a fine move saw Robbie Crossan smash home what proved to be the winner. The next round saw us drawn at home to QPR, recently promoted to the Premier League, but they nullified us quite brilliantly and added some late goals to gloss the scoreline a little. Key Players Danny Rose Had a blistering start to the season, then had a terrible form, and met a happy compromise towards the end. As our only specialist left winger, we were lucky he steered clear of injuries. Robbie Crossan Greatest sub ever. Skillful, fearless, and quick as lightning, he scored goals for fun off the bench and when he started as well. It's almost unfortunate we operate with a lone striker... Oguzhan Karakas ...and here he is. I didn't think he could get much better, but he broke his goalscoring records and seemed to bring others into play much more; his relationship with the next bloke flourished greatly. Reynaldo Fans' player of the year, which isn't surprising given the embarassing abundance of skill he possesses. Operating in the hole, he caused opposition defences nightmares. He would have off games sometimes, but that was generally caused through a lack in supply. Sander Kroonstrom Came into the team after an injury to Jacopo Barile and never looked back. Scored a few goals and provided some assists from set pieces, and was the model of consistency as he held his own in the side despite my previous doubts. Season League Position Achievements ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2010/11 Blue Square North 2nd Promoted via play-offs 2011/12 Blue Square Premier 11th - 2012/13 Blue Square Premier 3rd Promoted via play-offs 2013/14 Coca Cola League 2 7th Promoted via play-offs 2014/15 Coca Cola League 1 16th - 2015/16 Coca Cola League 1 2nd Promoted 2016/17 Coca Cola Championship 13th - 2017/18 Coca Cola Championship 13th - 2018/19 Coca Cola Championship 11th - Next Season Avoid a slippery slope. I think a play-off place is beyond our grasp simply because the other teams are improving quicker than we can, but I just don't know where our next promotion push is going to come from.
  12. It depends. If you rise too quickly without establishing a bit of the club's infrastructure (what I call the bends) then you eventually get brought back down to earth. like michaelmurray said, League 2 is pretty much ideal to build yourself up; there's much less risk involved.
  13. I have to say, signing centre backs who are dominant in the air has always worked better for me than ones with great marking stats, but that's probably more to do with my tactic; soaking up pressure by forcing direct play and hitting teams on the break (which can often come from defensice clearances)
  14. Why the frick can I never get the code right?!!!?!?!