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Everything posted by goonergez

  1. Nuneaton Borough FC: 2021/22 Review My second season in charge at Liberty Way has come to a close and it was an absolute disaster. We suffered relegation straight back down to the Conference North after an awful campaign in which we just lacked the needed levels of quality. It was a long and hard season in which we teetered on the edge, eventually losing out with a game to spare. By my reckoning that makes me the first person in this challenge to fall straight down after a first season promotion. The summer saw us add nine new players to our ranks, including some who I thought may set us up well. 18-year old winger Jimiel Chikukwa was probably the stand out, signing after he was released from his youth contract with Leeds United. Centre backs Dinesh Gillela and Bashir Humphreys both looked exciting too, and we managed to convince last seasons top performer Fidel O'Rourke to sign a new deal here too. A number of players left the club, with the hardest one being that of Max Thompson. The young winger scored 18 league goals for us last season, but left at the end of his deal here after refusing to discuss terms on a new contract. He was picked up by Dagenham & Redbridge and made 35 appearances for them in League Two. We actually started the season alright, with a couple of wins and a host of draws seeing us sit in the top half of the table after ten matches. It was around the middle of November that things went wrong for us. We would fail to win a league game until march, an unwanted fourteen match run that saw us slide right down the league table. Fortunately for us there were a number of other sides performing just as badly, and we didn't actually drop into the relegation zone until after the 40th round of matches. We would never climb back out though, and a Woking victory on the penultimate matchday condemned us to an immediate return to the Conference North. A shocking tally of just seven victories proving the main catalyst as to why. We managed to get through one round in each of the cup competitions this season, at least managing to match the ambitions laid out by the board. In the FA Cup we beat Gateshead 1-0 away from home, before losing out on the road to Barrow 0-1. In the FA Trophy we beat Morecambe 1-0 at home after extra time, before losing 0-2 away at Hartlepool United in the Second Round. The only highlight of this season is that for the most part we proved ourselves to be competitive. We didn't deserve to stay up by any means, but we didn't actually finish too far short of achieving it. It'll be a busy summer for us, but I don't think that we will struggle too much to bounce back from this disappointment. Fidel O'Rourke was once again our best performer, although the 20-year old only managed 17 league goals this time around. He signed a new three year contract with us back in January though, so we should be able to use him as our focal point again next season. Financially we lost some money this season, but still have a healthy bank balance on the plus side of £200,000. It's going to be a crucial summer for us here, as I am definitely eyeing up an immediate return to the Conference National.
  2. Nuneaton Borough FC: 2020/21 Review As much as I want to I just can't shake this challenge, and hence I am back once again. Hopefully this one will be the one for me, and finally I can string together some success. I've opted to take a pop with Nuneaton Borough this time, who used to play within the Conference National. Financial difficulties hit and caused relegation, but the reformed club are on the way up. That has culminated with me taking the helm, as the club returned to the Conference North after promotion in game. The immediate draw for me was the clubs financial position. There was over £100,000 in the bank upon arrival, and I was presented with a healthy weekly wage budget of £9,000. I managed to bring in twelve new faces to the club, as well as clearing out several of the high earners who were on the books here. Even after all of our transfer activities it meant that we sat a comfortable £1,000 per week underneath the weekly budget which was extremely pleasing. There were some really exciting arrivals for us as well. Former Everton youngster Max Thompson and young ex Liverpool youth player Fidel O'Rourke were probably the most exciting of those. Former Tottenham centre back Malachi Walcott was picked up as well as ex-Reading midfielder Oliver Pendlebury. Of the players here before my arrival, only right back James Clifton and winger Alex Henshall would be regulars within our starting line up. I also made the decision to sign Bouwe Bosma on a free transfer from Coventry City after his successful loan with the club the previous season. Off of the field I replaced the whole of the backroom staff with my own team. Peter Crouch was the biggest name to join the club, forming our coaching team with former Championship defender Lewis Buxton. Tactically I wanted us to play a sort of defensive 4-5-1 with two attacking wingers and a holding midfielder in front of the back four I wanted us to be hard to break down, and exciting to watch on the counter attack. That style of play will be my long term plan for this football club. We started the season really well, not suffering defeat until our seventh game of the season. Worried about a potentially dip, we bounced back even better and strung together an impressive ten game unbeaten run. As December hit we sat top of the pile, in a tight battle with FC United of Manchester and Chorley Town. Kidderminster Harriers and York City had both started slowly, but the much fancied sides had started to string form together and climb up the table. December and January saw us hit a mini blip in form as we dropped points and fell from top spot. Unfortunately for us it was during this tough spell that FC United started to put together a good run that saw them race clear at the top. We picked up our form during the closing stages of the season, and although the title was out of reach the play-off places were never in danger. A 2-0 victory away at Hednesford Town on the final day clinched us 3rd spot, and a bye in the First Round of the play-offs. We played host to Kidderminster Harriers in the semi-final, and put in one of our best performances of the season. A superb strike from Bouwe Bosma gave us an early lead, and a late goal from Jack Byrne clinched us a 2-0 victory and a spot in the final at home to Chorley Town. Having only drawn and lost to our opposition during the regular season, I was nervous about what the play-off final would play out like. It started well enough, as Alex Henshall stepped up to convert a 4th minute penalty and give us the lead. Six minutes later, the game was level again. A defensive lapse saw us throw away our lead, and set up a pattern for the rest of the first half. We were completely outplayed, but held on to go in 1-1 at the break. Within fifteen minutes of the restart the game was all but done. We came out on fire and goals from Fidel O'Rourke, Alex Henshall and Max Thompson made it 4-1 to us. Promotion was in sight. We went more defensive, and desperately tried to cling on for a spot in the Conference National. Chasing an immediate return Chorley threw everything at us, but despite pulling one back we held on to win 4-2 and gain promotion. The cup competitions didn't give us much to write home about, although we certainly didn't embarrass ourselves. In the FA Cup we beat Wingate & Finchley 2-0 away from home, to draw Gainsborough Trinity in the Third Qualification Round. We drew 1-1 at home, before crashing out after a 0-2 victory away from home. In the FA Trophy we beat Hemel Hempstead 3-0 away in a superb performance, and then saw off Gainsborough 2-1 at home in the First Round. The Second Round draw gave us Solihull Moors away, and we were unlucky to lose out 0-1. A superb first season for us, culminating in our best performance of the season in the play-off final. To gain promotion at the first attempt is phenomenal, and I am excited to start building for next season. It's not going to be easy, and we are going to need to make some significant changes to ensure we don't get relegated straight back down. My first task will be to try and keep hold of our key players. Neither Fidel O'Rourke or Max Thompson will sit down and discuss new contracts, and if they go we will lose a combined 40 league goals. Financially we are in a great position though, the play-off final itself made us about £50,000. We sit with a balance of just over £200,000, and that's a nice position to be in. I'm excited to get stuck in, and I am confident we can avoid the drop straight back next season.
  3. Chesham United FC: 2020/21 Season Having attempted this challenge several times, I decided I would give it one final go to try and be successful. I narrowed my team selection down to just South Shields and Chesham United, with the Conference North seriously tempting me. In the end the financial muscle of the former put me off though, and I selected Chesham as my club. I picked them as my side as I remember on my Cray Wanderers attempt they flew up through the Conference South and were pressing for promotion from the national. I am also a fan of the club colours. The club are known as ‘The Generals’ and were founded back in 1917. On game this is the first time the football club have ever played at this level. The club play their home matches at ‘The Meadow’, with a capacity of 5,000 and containing 284 seats. The club won the Isthmian Premier Division back in the 1992/93 season, but were denied promotion as the ground didn’t match league criteria. My arrival at the club prompted a mass exodus of staff, and a whole new backroom team assembled. Former West Ham man Zavon Hines arrived as my assistant manager and Lewis Buxton joined our coaching team. I delved into the market quickly, bringing in no fewer than eleven new players for our squad. Strikers Callum Bunting and Bradley Clayton both left (for Dulwich Hamlet and Ebbsfleet respectively), freeing up over £1,000 on the weekly wage budget. The new signings gave our squad a much better look, with the likes of Kacper Kurylowicz, Malachi Walcott, Denis Cirkin, Conor Carty and Jay Mingi coming into the starting line up. Central midfielder George Hunt (formerly of Bournemouth) looked our most promising signing, although striker Conor Carty (recently released by Wolves) would challenge him for that. Excitingly we also picked up a 16-year old central midfielder in Kevin McGrath, signing him on a free transfer from Pickup Academy. He looked very promising, and was sure to earn some game time this season. In fact after all of our transfer activity 36-year old holding midfielder Matt Richards was to be the only existing player to remain in my strongest starting eleven. We lined up with a 4-1-2-2-1 formation, my old trusty quick counter attacking football. Expectations from the board were merely to fight bravely against relegation, although our transfer activities meant the media felt we were capable of a 10th placed finish. We started the season well enough, drawing at home to much fancied Dulwich Hamlet and Havant & Waterlooville, as well as picking up a thumping 4-1 away win over Maidstone United. We went seven matches unbeaten in fact, before back to back losses brought us back into reality. We stuttered our way through the next few months, before suffering a truly terrible month in January. We found ourselves just outside of the play-off spots after four defeats in five matches. At this stage I identified the signing of Jaden Thompson-Brissett to solve our problems. We were creating so many chances throughout games, but often found ourselves failing to outscore our opposition. His arrival, coupled with a change in system to become more direct solved that issue. Jaden Thompson-Brissett would pick up 9 goals in 14 games for us as we marched up the league table and comfortably secured a spot in the play-offs. We won 13 and drew 2 of our last sixteen league matches, only suffering the one defeat to champions Boreham Wood. We finished the campaign in 4th position, meaning we would enter the play-offs in the First Round, with a home tie against Dartford. We produced a superb performance against Dartford, even though we had to wait a long time before making the breakthrough. Right back Connor O’Reilly smashed a stunning long range strike home on 61 minutes to give us the lead, his first goal for the club. Twelve minutes later we put the tie to bed, as Dan Cashman popped up to give us a 2-0 lead, which we didn’t relinquish. I was nervous about our semi-final, as we travelled away to play Dulwich Hamlet who had finished the season in 2nd spot. My fears became reality on 32 minutes, as we fell behind to a beautifully worked goal. We scrambled through until half time just the goal behind, and we changed system to try and change our fortunes. It worked, and Dan Cashman equalised for us on 68 minutes. The rest of the game saw a bombardment on our net, but we held on to force extra-time. Extra-time followed a similar pattern as I looked to get my side to complete one of the great smash and grab results. It didn’t happen, although we clung on to take a penalty shoot out for a spot in the final. Goalkeeper Kacper Kurylowicz played our hero, twice saving as we won 4-3 on penalties to advance to an away final against Concord Rangers. Truly gutting for us, although a game in which we should feel incredibly proud. In honesty we had plenty of chances to win the game, with Jaden Thompson-Brissett in particular being guilty of wasting opportunities. In the end it came down to the lottery of a shoot out, and Conor Carty and Connor O’Reilly both missed as we lost out. I wanted us to progress in the cup competitions in order to boost our finances, and also hopefully pick up some fans along the way. Unfortunately we didn’t really manage it. In the FA Cup we won 2-0 at home against both Peacehaven and Merthyr Town to reach the final round of qualifying. A tie at home to Barnet of the Conference National was our reward, and I was eyeing a cup upset. We should’ve done it as well, but fell to a 0-1 defeat after conceding a late goal. In the FA Trophy we drew Concord Rangers, who at the time were flying in our division. We never got going, and lost 1-2, although we did create a couple of chances late on that would have taken the tie to extra-time. A heart breaking end to a phenomenal first campaign at the helm. We probably didn’t deserve to go up in all honesty, although our form at the end of the season was sensational. The signing of Jaden Thompson-Brissett the catalyst, as Conor Carty struggled to find the back of the net. He did finish as our top scorer with 16 league goals, but was far from our best performer. Defensively we were solid, but central midfielder Jay Mingi was probably our best player. He scored 10 league goals, and impressed every time he played. It’ll be a busy summer, as I am determined to have another crack for promotion next season. The board concur, asking for a minimum finish within the play-offs. They have increased the weekly wage budget for those expectations, although financially the club isn’t in position really. We’ve got a balance of over £100,000 in the red, and there are constant rumours of a takeover being on the horizon.
  4. I’ll be back in here shortly as I’ve got through half a season so far with Chesham United. I’ll type up and post an update later
  5. @Jogo Bonito that sounds like a great idea. I’ll be keeping a keen eye on how differently you do things. My main advice would be to keep Jarvis Edobor at all costs. I’ll probably revisit my Dulwich game at some point, it just got a bit stale having a season of solidarity in league two.
  6. Bognor Regis Town FC: 2024/25 Review In all honesty this season was a disaster for us, and the less said about it the better. We strengthened well over the summer hoping to improve on losing in the play-offs last time around. Gael Kileba, Luke Davies and left back Kevin Berkoe all departed the club, and we replaced them and more with five new arrivals. Winger Harrison Brook joined on a season long loan from Portsmouth and central midfielder Gem Prout came in after his release by Tottenham. Our most established signing was probably Maurizio Pochettino who had spent the last couple of seasons with Hemel Hempstead and impressed. He joined on a free transfer and could play on both flanks and added depth to our options. We started the season well and by the turn of the year we were sat in 4th place. Hopes were high that we could gain some more consistency over the latter stages of the season and push on towards the title. That never materialised though, and instead we found ourselves woefully out of form and dropping from the pace. We went into the final game of the season needing to match the result of Slough Town just to scramble into 7th and secure the last play-off spot. Slough could only manage a draw, but we conceded a 91st minute winner to lose 3-4 and miss out of the play-offs on goal difference. Winger Harrison Brook endured a positive campaign on loan from Portsmouth, but creatively we struggled a little. Yet again it was only really Jaden Thompson-Brissett who stood out. He managed another 29 league goas this season, winning the top goal scorer award for the division in the process. Despite our disappointment in the league we actually did better that normal in the FA Cup this season. We won 2-0 at home to Fleet and then 2-1 away at Welling United to reach the final qualification round and were drawn at home to Sutton United. A superb display saw us win 3-1 and reach the First Round proper for the first time under my management. We drew Oxford City in what should have been a winnable tie. A drab 0-0 at our place meant a replay, but we performed terribly and crashed out 0-3. In the FA Trophy we drew Concord away in the final qualifying round, and picked up a strong 1-0 victory to progress. Dulwich Hamlet awaited us in the First Round, and at home we really deserved to win. We couldn’t and a 1-1 draw meant a replay which we lost 0-3. A really disappointing season, although there are some positives. To miss out on the play-offs only via goal difference is frustrating, but baring in mind we were poor for nearly half a season shows that we are a decent side. I reckon with the right additions we can look to perform much better next time around. Financially we are still suffering, but rumours are circulating that we are going to be taken over by a fans trust. It’ll be interesting to see what happens for sure.
  7. My season ended in disaster as we missed out on a play off spot on goal difference courtesy of a final day defeat. I then decided to take a few hours off and build a team to finally get my side out of this division only to be scuppered. A board takeover meant I was under embargo for much of the summer before I gave it up for the night. I’ve now got about two weeks until my first match of the season and I’m in need of new arrivals. Gonna be a busy period tonight trying to hunt down transfer targets. Most annoyingly I had my eyes on a centre back who’s now gone elsewhere because I couldn’t move to bring him in.
  8. @Superowl90 look forward to reading on your progress but that’s a top start there. @Brent Jolicoeur unlucky there mate. Carbon copy of two of my campaigns so far.
  9. Bognor Regis Town FC: 2023/24 Review After the disappointment of last season for me it meant this season would be huge and focused on pushing on once again. In my opinion this team should’ve been good enough for the play-offs last season, so to fall short felt like a huge underachievement. This time around the board were happy to settle for a top-half finish. In my opinion anything other than at least making the play-offs would be considered a failure. The summer saw a number of players depart the club and freed up some much needed room on the wage bill. We did manage to replace our departures effectively though, which left me feeling as though we had done a great job of strengthening our squad. Goalkeeper Jacob Russell was allowed to leave after 112 appearances and 45 clean sheets for the club, and was replaced by 18-year old James Charlton who was released by Arsenal. After 129 appearances and 26 goals for the club we let winger Harlem Hale depart too. He was replaced by 20-year old Matt Stubbs who had been released by Portsmouth. My most exciting signing was probably 18-year old winger Kieran Smith. He was released by Arsenal and can play on either flank, or as a backup for striker Jaden Thompson-Brissett. We started the campaign off in fine form, winning consistently and fighting it out at the top of the league table. Ourselves, Salisbury Town and Borehamwood breezed away from the pack, and as new year hit we found ourselves almost guaranteed a play-off spot and instead in a three way battle for the league crown. The transfer window brought with it a problem though. Young goalkeeper James Charlton had conceded less than a goal a game across over 20 appearances, but was sold over my head to Luton Town. We picked up £7,750 up front potentially rising to £10,000, although the deal did include a 40% sell on clause. It was gutting to lose such a key figure though, although backup Mike Gregory slotted in well for the rest of the season. As march hit we picked up a huge 1-0 victory away against Salisbury Town to move five points clear at the top of the table with just five games remaining. Then disaster struck. Just the one win, one draw and three defeats as we plummeted to third spot and denied the league title. We would meet Slough Town at home in the semi-finals in what would prove the most tense match of my reign so far. 0-0 after 90 minutes, we took the lead in extra-time through Jaden Thompson-Brissett. Looking to cling on we conceded an equaliser with nine minutes remaining and the game went to a penalty shoot out. Strike after strike was converted until we missed and lost out 13-14. Condemning us to another season in this league. Again the cup competitions didn’t provide much of an outlet or funds for us. In the FA Cup we performed well to beat Chippenham Town 4-0 at home and then Folkestone Invicta 2-0 away. We drew Ebbsfleet of the Conference National in the final round of qualifying. We performed well and should’ve won at home, only to take a replay after a 1-1 draw. The replay didn’t go so well and we lost out 0-2. In the FA Trophy we comfortably saw off Truro City 2-0 at home to make the First Round, where we were beaten 1-3 away by Conference National leaders AFC Fylde. A good season although we really deserved to win the title and so to miss out was a real disappointment. The play-offs are always a lottery and even more so when it goes to penalties. Hopefully we can finish the job next season because I really am feeling the need to get out of this division. Financially we are in ruins, and a cup run is beginning to become essential. We’re about £350,000 in the red now, and cant raise any money from selling players. Promotion is beginning to become pivotal. The board have reduced my wage budget by £500 per week which isn’t too bad. We do need some new faces to improve the squad depth though. The board want us to get a spot within the play-offs, which is exactly what I am hoping to achieve as well. We’ve managed to convince Jaden Thompson-Brissett to sign a new contract which is huge for us. He got 30 goals in 47 league games last season, and has 84 in 181 for the club. I’m delighted to keep our all time record goal scorer here for at least another season.
  10. I firmly disagree. Frustrating as hell
  11. Bognor Regis Town FC: 2022/23 Review After reaching the play-off places last season I was after more of the same this time around. Losing out in them was disappointing, but having the opportunity to play for promotion was a real high. A high that once again I am chasing for my side. I was fairly happy with the squad we had and decided to have a quieter summer and keep the majority of last seasons side together. Disappointingly we lost right back William Warnock and winger Amari Miller who both refused to sign new contracts with us. We brought in six new faces to the club, with young goalkeeper Mike Gregory (released by Bournemouth) and midfielder Louis Corley (released by Brighton & Hove Albion) the two most exciting arrivals. We hit the season running and strung together some strong form right up until the end of the calendar year. We were firmly in the play-off hunt and looking good to compete within the post season. From the end of January things went wrong though. One win in our next fourteen matches saw us drop right down the league table, at one point to a season low of 16th. A brilliant run in our final ten games left us just a point behind Salisbury in the final play-off spot ahead of the final game. We drew our last game although it wouldn’t have mattered anyway as Salisbury picked up a thumping 4-0 victory to clinch the final spot. The cup competitions were yet again nothing to write home about, although we again managed to match the expectations of our board. We needed extra-time to see of Bowers & Pitsea 2-1 and again for Kings Langley away from home 1-0. We played host to Slough Town in the final qualification round and lost out 0-1 to a stoppage time goal. In the FA Trophy we met Hampton & Richmond in our first game, and disappointingly lost 0-1 away from home. A disappointing season although somewhat boosted by a very good end to the league season. Things just didn’t seem to function quite so well this time around, hence finishing off worse than last time. Jaden Thompson-Brissett got just 17 league goals this season, which certainly didn’t help our cause. Winger Harlem Hale had a shocker too, and he will be leaving the club this summer. Central midfielder Jhonnahan Alexander Ruiz actually performed really well this season, slotting in having come through our youth system. I didn't expect much from him, but he performed as well as any of our more established players. In all honesty nobody performed particularly well though. Financially we are £250,000 in the red though and a complete financial mess. We really need a good cup run next season, and also really need to start thinking about promotion.
  12. Bognor Regis Town FC: 2021/22 Review After a solid opening campaign I was rewarded with a one year contract extension to lead the side. I was already fairly happy with the squad that we had, but felt that we needed to strengthen if we wanted to push further into the top-half of the league. Expectations from the board were for a top-half finish and I was confident in our abilities to do that comfortably. Eight players arrived at the club over the summer although goalkeeper Joshua Owulayemi would depart midway through the season. Defensive midfielder Toumani Diagouraga was probably the biggest name to arrive, although wingers Gael Kileba (released by West Ham) and Amari Miller (released by Birmingham City) were the most exciting to come into the club. I decided to keep the core of last seasons team together, hoping that Jaden Thompson-Brissett could improve on his tally of 13 league goals last season to boost us. We had a fantastic season although really let ourselves down with a poor finish. A superb start meant that we sat top of the league at the turn of the year and looking in really good shape. In the end the title fell from our grasp, although we did compete for it all the way until the end of the 44th matchday. Defensively we were superb all season and up front Jaden Thompson-Brissett was vastly improved from last season. He bagged 24 goals in 42 league appearances as he fired himself to third in the top scorer rankings for the division. A 4th place finish was a significant step up from last season, and meant we had secured ourselves a spot within the play-offs. Unfortunately for us it simply wasn’t meant to be. We played host to Billericay Town in the First Round, a team who had scrambled into the play-offs only by winning on the final day of the season. Jaden Thompson-Brissett gave us the lead from the penalty spot shortly after half time, but we eventually fell behind in the last minute of the game. We threw bodies forward chasing an equaliser, but conceded again to succumb to a 1-3 loss. Again the cup competitions didn’t provide us with an outlet, or provide us with much funds. In the FA Cup we beat Street 3-0 and Chesham 3-1 at home to reach the final round of qualifying. A tough tie at home to Yeovil Town was our reward and despite taking an early lead we fell 1-3 to miss out. A good effort but not quite good enough to raise a significant level of funds. In the FA Trophy we lost out at the first hurdle losing 0-4 at home to Dulwich Hamlet who were flying within our division at the time. A great season for us although for a long time it looked like it may end up even better. We showed significant improvements though, and I am delighted that we got to compete within the play-offs. We have a young squad and the experience may be helpful if we find ourselves in that position again. Financially the club isn’t in a very good place, not helped by the board having to spend £10,000 extending the seating capacity at our ground. Unfortunately that was compulsory to comply with league regulations though. I don’t anticipate a particularly busy summer although will be looking to bring in a couple of new faces. We have a good squad already and I am confident that we can at least match this campaigns effort next time around.
  13. Bognor Regis Town FC: 2020/21 Review My first season in charge was all about building my club up and getting set for what would hopefully be a long and successful future. My arrival brought wholesale changes both on and off of the field as I looked to stamp my authority and lay my mark on the football club. A whole new back room staff came in that saw Micah Richards arrive as my number two, and Ben Bulkowski and Chris Millington arrive to form my coaching team. Transfer wise we brought in nine new players and went into the season looking in really good shape. I set up a sort of defensive 4-5-1 formation, looking to make us solid at the back and fluid and fast on the counter. Initially it worked and board expectations of avoiding a relegation battle were quickly brushed aside. We spent much of the season chasing the last spot in the play-off places until a poor end to the season cost us. Eight matches without a victory meant we needed a victory and a whole lot of results to go our way on the final couple of matchdays. That didn’t happen and we ended up finishing in 11th place. Slightly disappointing as a solid start means a kind of missed opportunity. Minus winger Dan Smith and summer recruit Harlem Hale we struggled for goals, and a safe mid-table finish was probably about fair. The cup competitions didn’t provide us with much of an outlet either, with expectations of the board being matched but little else. In the FA Cup we saw off fierce rivals Worthing at home 1-0, before losing in a replay to Oxford City in the Third Round of qualifying. In the FA Trophy we needed a replay to see of Wantage before losing narrowly 2-3 at home to Billericay Town in the First Round. Nothing spectacular but we managed to keep the board happy by matching their pre-season expectations. A solid enough first campaign that sets us up really well for the coming years. We weren’t fantastic but we matched our pre-season expectations and that has to be looked at positively. We brought in some really promising players, and leave us in a good position to have a crack at the play-offs this season without doing too much in the transfer market. I am positive I can make some clever additions and hopefully keep the bulk of this seasons side together. The summer will all be about trying to find some goals. Financially we lost a chunk of money but nothing that a good cup run next season wouldn’t solve. We are in the red, but not alarmingly so. Attendances hovered around the 700-800 mark and so there is definitely something to build upon. I’m confident that we’ve had a good start to life under my management, and hopefully next season we can show some improvements.
  14. Bognor Regis Town FC: Takeover I have not hit much success on this challenge just yet, but I have decided to give it one more crack. This time I have gone for Bognor Regis Town FC, and hopefully this will finally be the time that things will kick in for me. I have thoroughly enjoyed this challenge though, and it really gives you a different perspective on how to play the game. I have found that you really must focus on everything, including the finances of the club if you want to make a long-term success of it. I have chosen to have a go with ‘The Rocks’, better known as Bognor Regis Town FC and based in West Sussex. The club play in the home colours of green and white and play their home matches at the 4,500 capacity (with 250 seats) Nyewood Lane stadium. They were founded in 1883. The club have played a few times within the Conference South, with their best effort being a 9th placed finish back in the 2004/05 season. The 2015/16 season in probably the most successful in the clubs history, although it ended in heartbreak. The side finished 2nd in the Isthmian Premier Division and lost to Dulwich Hamlet in the end of season play-offs to miss out on promotion. They also made it all the way to the semi-finals of the FA Trophy, before losing out 1-3 on aggregate to Grimsby Town to narrowly miss out on a trip to Wembley. The following season saw them promoted back to the Conference South, although they finished rock bottom and were immediately relegated back. In the FA Cup the club have somewhat surprisingly reached the Second Round proper of the competition on three occasions, as well as the First Round a further two more.
  15. Well my previous save has come to an abrupt end as I was sacked after a poor start to the second season. I’ve decided to give this one more go and this time with Bognor Regis. I’ve played through the first season and have started the second. I’ll post an update later on
  16. Leatherhead FC: 2020/21 Review Having restarted this challenge, Leatherhead FC have completed a first campaign under my leadership. It was a campaign of false hope really, as we ended up narrowly missing out on the play-off spots and securing a spot safely within mid-table after a strong finish. We kicked off the season having brought in nine new faces and overhauling the majority of the football club. A new back room team was put together and my system and methods were presented before the pre-season had even begun. We started the season brilliantly, going eight games unbeaten before we suffered our first defeat. A spot in the play-off spots was ours until the turn of the year when our form died and we began sliding down the table. We were never in danger of relegation, and were always looking upwards rather than downwards. Summer arrival Jaden Thompson-Brissett bagged 25 league goals, but at times cut a lonely figure. Defensively we started the season really solid, but by the end of the campaign our back line looked exhausted and a little out of our depth. Our league finish comfortably surpassed the expectations of our board, but in the end was a bit of a season of nothing. The cup competitions weren't bad, but could have been even better. Board expectations weren't too demanding, and in the FA Cup we beat Wingate & Finchley (2-0 away) and Hayes & Yeading (1-0 at home) to reach the Fourth and final qualifying round. We managed to take Dover Athletic to a replay, but lost out to miss out on reaching the First Round proper. Irritatingly if we had managed to get through we would've had a nice money making home tie against Salford City. In the FA Trophy we beat Met Police1-0 at home, before narrowly losing 2-3 away at Havant & Waterlooville in the First Round. Both competitions leaving us with thoughts of what may have been. It wasn't a bad season, but it could've been better. We did a good job of staying well clear of any relegation trouble, but that was about it really after a strong start. I'm going to have to make quite a few changes in personnel for us to push on next season. Match day attendances were around 500-600 which really isn't too bad. That helped us to make a loss of only around £100,000 for the season. We're in the red, but not too bad. Even bringing in a number of new players I don't see us losing much more than that next time around. I want to push towards the play-off places next season, and that will involve a large number of new arrivals. There are a few players I would like to keep, but not too many. I'll also be able to clear some room on the wage bill as a couple of big contract players from before my arrival will be allowed to leave. It's going to be a busy summer, but I am confident in my personal abilities to take this side forward.
  17. Having struggled to get going on a couple of different attempts I’ve returned back to my Cray save. Hopefully the little breather from it can bring the excitement back for me!
  18. I’ve ended up with Rushall Olympic in the Conference North, and I’m about half way through my first season in charge. The joys of being at home for so many hours! I’ll wait until I’ve finished the campaign, then post an update.
  19. Having played through a chunk of my next season I have kind of lost motivation with Cray Wanderers. The club cannot make money, and the board keep selling off my best players for peanuts which doesn’t help anyways. Think I’ve bitten off more than I can chew with a club so small. Attendances haven’t increased, and performances on the pitch have flatlined. I’ve turned Cray into a conference national side, but I don’t think I can take them any further. im looking at sticking with this challenge but maybe starting with a bigger club. Weston and Bognor are both tempting me, although I’m reluctant to take on someone who’s already being attempted. Also South Shields, but I worry it may be a bit too simple. Anybody know anything about Met Police in regards to attendances or anything? They’re tempting me too, although their reputation doesn’t differ much from what I’ve taken on at Cray.
  20. Cray Wanderers FC: 2023/24 Review Our second season in the Conference National has come to an end, and in all honesty it was a bit of a non-event. We didn't perform as well as we did last season, but we were never really in any danger of falling into a relegation battle. From an early stage we sat in mid-table and comfortably clear of the drop zone. A brief run of good form in January saw us climb into the play-off spots, but we couldn't maintain it and fell back into mid-table. Shawn McCoulsky was once again our top scorer, although he only managed 15 this time around. Defensively we weren't quite as solid as we have been, but it was converting our chances that really hurt us. We created plenty throughout the season, but nobody really managed to perform consistently enough. Transfer wise we didn't do much, but Owen Gallagher (top-scorer for us during my first season) was allowed to join Stranraer on a free transfer in January. The cup competitions were once again disastrous as we crashed out of both of them early on to lower league opposition. We really need to get our performances in the cups improved. The summer is going to be a big one for us, as I am desperate for us to start showing improvements. We look comfortable enough in this division, but it would be nice to be able to think more positively. I want to start looking upwards, and eyeing up a move into the Football League. Financially we are still in struggles, and running at significant losses. I'm looking forward to trying to improve our squad, but its not going to be an easy summer. We need to strengthen, but financially it may prove tough for us to do so. ------------------------------ Cray Wanderers FC 2020/21 2nd in Conference South (Lost in play-offs) 2021/22 3rd in Conference South (Play-Off winners) 2022/23 9th in Conference National 2022/23 14th in Conference National
  21. Cray Wanderers FC: 2023/24 Preview Our second season in the Conference National is about to be upon us, and I am excited to get another pop at this division. Last season proved to be a rousing success, and we only very narrowly ended up missing out on a spot within the play-offs. Not a bad effort seeing as it was the first time in the club's history that we had played at this level. We can go into this season with a lot more positivity, and I feel like relegation shouldn't be a fear even now, before a ball has even been kicked. Expectations haven't increased for us though, with our board still expecting us to struggle in a battle against relegation. I'm fine with that though, as the low expectations should give me more patience and job security if we perform to a decent standard. The media predict us to finish in 19th position, and we really are heavily fancied to suffer a season of struggle. Contract expiration day saw the end of three players time with the club, and two of them were regular fixtures within our matchday squad. Goalkeeper Cameron Plain was keen to move on after losing his starting spot, and central defender Marques Muir was in and out of our side last season. Right back Ben Mundele was also released, although he only really featured for us within the cup competitions. The big outgoing deal saw us bring in a fee for a player for the first time during my managerial reign. Young winger Aguinaldo Mulenessa was brilliant for us last season, but we picked up a £275,000 fee from Reading for his services. We also allowed regular central defender Andi Janjeva to join Crawley Town on a free transfer. He had a clause in his contract to have his wages match our highest earner, and after gaining an increase I felt he really wasn't worth the money he was getting. We welcomed another six new faces into the club this summer, with all of them exciting young prospects. The most exciting of the lot being that of Archie Buck after he was released by Tottenham Hotspurs. His wages are high for my liking, and in honesty it was his weekly wage that led me to shift Janjeva out of the club. I did contemplate not bringing him to the club, but his quality just looked far too good to turn down. His arrival should seriously strengthen our midfield, and I am excited to see him form a partnership with former Billericay Town player Ben Chapman. A whole host of 18-year olds joined our rank, incuding wingers Dmitri Essoue Malcolm and Lucas Smith (released by Arsenal and Tottenham respectively). Central defender Paul Taylor was released by Southampton and comes in as a ready made replacement for Andi Janjeva. George Price can play anywhere across the defence, and comes in as a versatile cover option for our squad. For me our other exciting signing is that of 20-year old winger Terrell Pennant. He was released by Leicester City at the end of his youth contract, and comes in as a perfect replacement for Aguinaldo Mulenessa. His wages are much lower too, and I am really excited to see what he can bring to our squad. He's also an exciting option for set-pieces, something which we have really lacked in the past couple of years. I am really pleased with our summer activities, and I feel like we have done a really good job of building our squad. We lost two key components of last season's success in Mulenessa and Janjeva, but brought in good money and managed to cut our wage bill in the process. I didn't particularly want to lose either of them, but financially it was the right thing to do for the future of this football club. We've managed to bring in new players on smaller wages, and I certainly don't feel like our squad has been weakened by doing so. Staying up shouldn't prove too difficult for us, and I would definitely happily accept a season like the last one. Staying in this league will be considered a success, and anything more is just a bonus. I'm still unsure that we have the ability to compete with the top sides, but hopefully we will prove people wrong. It's going to be another long and tough season, but I am keen to get going. Hopefully we will also be able to right the wrongs of last season in regards to the cup competitions too. A good cup run would really help us out financially, as we're projected to end the coming campaign about £300,000 in the red. I could also do with the match day attendances increasing as well, and a good run in the cup competitions may help that. We really need to get our finances in check, otherwise we're consistently going to need to sell our star players. We're currently in a consolidation period really, and its going to take a while before we can really think about promotion and reaching the football league. ------------------------------ Cray Wanderers FC 2020/21 2nd in Conference South (Lost in play-offs) 2021/22 3rd in Conference South (Play-Off winners) 2022/23 9th in Conference National 2022/23 Ongoing
  22. A fellow key worker!!! I’m on the food delivery side though! I haven’t caught your update. Where abouts is it and I’ll take a look?
  23. Cray Wanderers FC: 2022/23 Review Our first season in the Conference National has drawn to a close, and all things considered it turned out to be a really positive one. We dwarfed all expectations of a relegation battle, although didn't end up achieving anything more than stability. We actually struggled in the early stages, as our defence didn't quite perform as solidly as the previous couple of years. After a slow start of conceding too many goals, I made the bold and slightly emotional decision to replace Cameron Plain in goal. The transfer market was scoured, and we moved to sign 19-year old Tony Bull. He had been released by Brighton & Hove Albion in the summer, and came straight into our side. Winger Ellis Iandolo was picked up as well to ease an injury crisis on the flanks, although the 25-year old didn't really impress. The arrival of Bull between the sticks steadied us, and defensively we performed much better. That added to the consistent goal scoring of Shawn McCoulsky saw us climb up the table, and we spent the second half of the season fighting it out to try and reach the play-off places. A poor end to the season hurt us and prevented that, but we finished very respectively in the top half of the table and with plenty of positives to take. The 27 goals scored by Shawn McCoulsky going a long way to aid our achievements. To finish in 9th and just two points off the play-offs was superb, but unfortunately the cup competitions did not follow suit. We disappointingly crashed out of the FA Cup on penalties after a poor 0-0 draw away against Conference South St Albans. The FA Trophy didn't fare much better either. An extra-time 3-1 victory away at Gloucester put us into the Second Round, where we were beaten 1-2 at home by Kettering Town. The lack of a cup run really hurt us financially, and required the board to step in again. They injected another £110,000 into the club, but we still ended the campaign in the red. Off the pitch the club is not in good shape, but on it we were impressive. We took to the step up in quality really well, and to finish 9th is a fantastic effort. Hopefully we can bring in some new faces this summer, and look to push on next season. I'm really hoping that the financial situation here wont encourage the board to put restraints on our spending, but we will have to wait and see. ------------------------------ Cray Wanderers FC 2020/21 2nd in Conference South (Lost in play-offs) 2021/22 3rd in Conference South (Play-Off winners) 2022/23 9th in Conference National 2022/23 Ongoing
  24. Cray Wanderers FC: 2022/23 Preview We head into a first ever season in the Conference National, and it is fair to say I really am not feeling very confident about our chances. Our squad isn't strong enough for this level, and improving it proved incredibly tough, as we just didn't have the required funds in the bank to do so. Financially this club is haemorrhaging money, and even fighting it out at the top of the league last season didn't boost attendances. Expectations from the board are purely to stay in the division, and we are really expected to struggle. The media think we will finish rock bottom, and few people give us a sniff of avoiding the drop. I'm included in that, and would happily take anything that involves our stay in this division lasting for more than just this one season. Only five players departed this summer, although three of them were deals I would rather not have seen. Central midfielder Kyron Farrell had managed 15 goals and 31 assists over four years with the club. Unfortunately he had already signed a contract with St Pats Athletic, and returned to his home country. Winger Tom Murphy had also impressed, bagging 31 goals over three seasons with the club. His wage demands were far too high for my liking though, and we turned down the opportunity to tie him down. Central midfielder Xavier Simons had been an absolute rock in our midfield, but was always too good for our level. He refused a new contract with us, and left to join Derby County in the Championship. Winger Harlem Hale had experienced two really average seasons with us, and we allowed him to leave when his contract ran out. Five new players came in, with two defensive players joined by three more offensive ones. Right back was a worry as we had filled the position last year with a loan signing from parent club Peterborough United. They accepted a bid for us to extend the deal, but the player himself rejected it. Young Ben Wyss was picked up from Bromley on a free transfer to fill the hole. In midfield we had allowed both of our starting players to leave so needed to bring in replacements. Jurgen Amborn was picked up after his Southampton contract expired, and Ben Chapman signed after being released by Billericay Town. Neither look superb, but both should perform consistently enough for us. Our most exciting signing though is that of Aguinaldo Mulenessa after he was let go by Chelsea. The young Albanian can play as an understudy to Shawn McCoulsky (who we signed to a new two-year deal here), but will be used primarily on the right flank. I have really high hopes for him, and see him perform superbly at this level. For the first time since I took over here, I am really worried about what lies ahead for us. We still have an extremely small squad, and I am not convinced we possess enough quality to survive the drop. Strengthening was hard, as I spent most of the summer worrying about the financial situation here. We've got the lowest wage bill in the league, but the club is still projected to lose around £350,000 over the season. We're going to need a good cup run to help us, but to be honest there isn't much we can really do. I'm just hoping we can avoid relegation, then we can look to build for the future in a slow and sensible way. I need to keep looking after this club, even if its going to prove incredibly tough to do so. ------------------------------ Cray Wanderers FC 2020/21 2nd in Conference South (Lost in play-offs) 2021/22 3rd in Conference South (Play-Off winners) 2022/23 Ongoing
  25. Still some good stuff going on in here, and it's great to keep track of it all. I've benched my Dulwich Hamlet save for now to take on the daFuge challenge. I'll return at some point but for now I won't be inundating you with updates.
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