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Everything posted by Lestri

  1. Other than fatigueness re Gijon, are there any teams that take your fancy?
  2. I did wonder how putting the units on training that was more relevant to the other unit would go! They sure weren't happy. I have been a recent convert to doing the individual training for the whole unit rather than indivdually so I love the way you've shown it here and linked it to the DNA. I may have missed it, so I apologies, but is this solely for the kids or across the whole squad?
  3. Just like Robert Downey Jr's Oscar win today - I think it's time.
  4. Likewise. I'm slow when I'm at normal pace, so I try not to feel too pressured that I'm not churning the updates out. So much respect for those who do!
  5. I'd cull personally - those are pretty significant positions and I find the midfield is often more than not the ones to drag teams over the line, solely from vibes rather than any analysis.
  6. Just caught up with the save - exciting times in Chile!
  7. I'm one of those players who uses an attribute calculator that breaks down their best roles by their attributes as part of my arsenal, so take it with the usual caveats (e.g. unknown PA, personality, adaptability etc), but his best roles currently are: PF(A), W(S) and W(A) - 64% AF(A) and CWB(S) - 63% TRQ(A), IF(A), RMD(A) and CWB(A) - 62% PF(D), PF(S), FN(S), SS(A), IF(S), WP(A), IW(A), MEZ(A) and AP(A) - 61% ENG(S), IW(S) and MEZ(S) - 60% Looking at your formation above, W(S) and IF(A) seems to be the best ones, but if I was to pick a role to train him, I'd say the CF-(S) or CWB(A) role for a more rounded approach.
  8. The only one that matters in English football 😉
  9. POST #7 - End of the Season + Pre-Season Last time I left you with us being crowned League Two champions with six games remaining, something ahead of schedule on the Five Year Plan. In this update we'll briefly go through the final six league games of the season, the Papa Johns Final, and the usual off-season shenanigans before we kick start our League One adventure! League Harrogate made us work hard for a 3-2 win at home where James Tilley missed his fourth penalty of the season, forcing me to push him down the ranks. To be honest, we were sloppy, but I put it down to a bit of a party hangover from winning the title so early. However I demanded professionalism from the team, and we followed it up with a 6-2 away win at Stockport, with six different goal scorers, and ironically, Tilley from the spot. Swindon then took advantage of us going through a punishing final where a late winner punishes our wastefulness in front of goal in a 4-3 loss, and another missed penalty, this time by Zach Robinson. Salford were put to the sword after a three day bollocking by virtual me, with a 5-1 win at home, showing we seem to enjoy playing against a form of the 4-4-2, especially when they go down to ten men. Our penultimate game saw us head to Tranmere where Robinson scored a well deserved hattrick in a game where we had 69% possession in winning 4-2. Our final game saw us go three up at half time with goals from left back Jack Currie, newly appointed vice-captain Matty Longstaff and our tall striker Omar Bugiel. We then took the foot off the pedal, allowing players who were leaving a chance to say goodbye, and we ended up winning 3-2 to finish off a wonderful performance in the League. Papa John's Trophy Final This lovely news item informed us that this was the first time AFC Wimbledon were in the final of some form of the EFL Trophy. More surprisingly was that it was also Charlton's in their 100 plus year history. Charlton came into the final pushing for a playoff position in League One, some 17 or so places above us, which saw us a slight underdogs for this trip to Wembley. I live-slacked on FMSlack, with a link to my channel here. So how did we go? A tight game where both of our strengths was pretty much nullified by each other's tactics. Their 4-2-4 caught us out on multiple occasions, however we both forgot our scoring boots, making it 0-0 after 90 minutes. Extra time was bonkers with us taking the lead twice thanks to Josh Davison and Dejan Tetek, but we conceded pretty much straight after resulting in penalties. Alex Bass was our hero, saving two penalties as we beat Charlton 4-2 on penalties. We have done a domestic double! End of Season Thoughts I won't spam you with images here as it would get lost in the update, considering I will be showing the off-season signings further below, but I thought I'd highlight a couple of things. We broke two league records this season, the most points with 122, and we only lost twice. Josh Davison took home Player of the Season, with 32 goal involvements in 37 games at 7.53 average rating, in fact an AFC Wimbledon player won Player of the Month five out of nine times. The one visual I'll show is this new item they provide us in the game, which I know many FM creator has enjoyed. I think this encapsulates the Wangledon style we have, high scoring, aggressive and open at both ends. Seeing that we had 32 set piece goals was very satisfying, in fact it has become a key part of our board culture and supporter expectation for next season. It does indicate that we do have a lot of shots faced per game, so something to keep an eye on for next season. Transfer Business I used my usual approach to transfers and player analysis that you saw above in Post #4. This enabled me to let go a number of players and sign both first team and youth prospects players. So lets start with the outgoings (as at the end of pre-season). Outs Centre back Paul Kalambayi left to Bolton for £210k upfront with £75k future fees plus 20% of his next sale. He was a regular starter, however his performance wasn't great, and he was a bit of a dick with training and general conversations, so I wasn't keen to keep him. Utility player James Ball went for £31k plus 10% of his next sale to Shrewsbury. He was handy back up who stepped up when we had some injuries, however he was barely League Two quality, so it was worth cashing in. Forward Josh Neufville went to Portsmouth for £220k plus 15% of his next sale. Neufville scored some handy goals, however he spent the longest on the sidelines of any of our squad last season. When Pompey came sniffing, I decided to entertain their offer, knowing if Neufville does hit his potential, we'll get a handy cut of any future sale. Starting Libero Jack Simpson went on the transfer list as previously mentioned, I didn't realise his real life controversy when I signed him, so I wanted him gone and Chesterfield paid his meagre release clause of £205k, where his value is now between £900-1.9 million. But this is all profit, and Lowdon will fill the Libero role very well in his place....... Lol - Jack Lowdon then wanted out when Middlesborough came calling near the end of pre-season. We negotiated up to £350k plus 20% of his next fee, so that should do nicely. As a result of this we were light in the Libero role, so Danny Rose is being retrained to be the starter there. Jake Reeves was a very handy midfielder in the Segundo Volante role last year, however he was replaced during the season with Dejan Tetek and so was surplus to requirements, so we were happy to send him off to Burton Albion for £230k plus 20% of his next fee. Ins We have 11 signings at a grand total of £0 spent, nine on permanent signings, and two on loan. In chronological order, let the screenshot spam commence! Adam Berry - free transfer from Man Utd - back up Mezzala. Jack Kingdom - free transfer from Man Utd - starting Ball Playing Defender Jayden Danns - free transfer from Liverpool - back up Advanced Forward Ethan Wheatley - free transfer from Man Utd - rotation striker Alex Murphy - free transfer from Newcastle - Backup Left Wing Back Max Thompson - free transfer from Newcastle - back up keeper Terence Miles - free transfer from Liverpool - back up Libero Kain Ryan - free transfer from Brighton - back up Ball Playing Defender Leo Castledine - half season loan from Senior Affiliate Chelsea - back up utility Mezalla and forward Lesley Ugochukwu - season loan from Senior Affiliate Chelsea - starting Segundo Volante Daniel Chesters - free transfer having been released from West Ham - squad player utility with high potential So how does this make my squad look? I go into the season with six of the same starters than last year in Lowton, Currie, Longstaff, Bugiel, Robinson and Al-Hamadi, with Rose, Johnson and Smithies stepping up from the bench to be initial starters with only Kingdon and Ugochukwu getting a starting berth, but I assume as the season progresses, we will see some of the new signings establish themselves as starters. So how did we go with pre-season? Whoops. Until next time, and as always, remember you're a Womble!
  10. POST #6 - JANUARY TO THE YOUTH INTAKE Bit of a spoiler above - as the end of March saw us be crowned League Two champions with six games in hand! Looks like the keeper Bass is giving the coach a kiss, or is it a flick of his chin? This update will see us head to Stamford Bridge, concede over a goal a game, and see us take on League One teams in the Pizza Cup. Let's get to it shall we? January We had a lovely New Years Day with a 1-0 win against Forest Green where we had Al-Hamadi to thank with a late second half goal, in a game where we had 10 shots on target to two, and won the xG battle 3.32 to 0.51. We then had our FA Cup Third Round tie at the mighty Plough Lane against Premier League powerhouse Chelsea where three penalties were given that if VAR were in play, may have been overturned. Unfortunately for us, one of them was for Chelsea in the 86th minute. Two great goals for us by James Tilley from the spot, and Zach Robinson gave us a plucky 2-2 draw, with a replay at Stamford Bridge which would be very handy for the coffers. We then had a consecutive clean sheet in the league with a 2-0 win against Wycombe with James Tilley continuing his good form and Matt Lowton scoring from the Libero role. Unfortunately we lost our starting Segundo Volante Jake Reeves to a severe injury that will put him out for the rest of the season. A heavily rotated side beat Hollywood's Wrexham 2-1 with backups James Ball and Ryan McLean doing us proud, allowing our first team a good rest before our biggest game of the season. Would be a bad time to accept your physio's recommendation for rest right? Be a fine time to have your best striker go on holiday aye? F**K. We gave it a red hot go, with Huseyin Biler, Ali Al-Hamadi and Josh Davison getting us 3-2 up just after the hour, however Chelsea's bench quality overran us, going down 4-3. I can't be too upset with that. We finished the month unbeaten with a 3-1 win against local Crawley, 1-1 against Mansfield thanks to a late penalty by Lee Brown, and a 5-2 win in the Pizza Cup against Salford with second string strikers Aron Sasu and Ryan McLean getting on the scoresheet. January was also busy off the pitch, with two major deals done. One of them was gaining Chelsea as a senior affiliate, which will enable us to take advantage of their very strong youth prospects with little to no charge. Very handy for our rise up the leagues. We also made a free transfer signing. Dejan Tetek comes from Reading and looks like a handy pick up, with Championship level potential. He'll has a strong work rate, fairly consistent and a committed player, something I love in a centre midfielder. He'll be our starting Segundo Volante and I have high hopes. February Dejan Tetek decided to show his stuff against poor Bradford, scoring a hattrick and producing two assists in a perfect ten rating, however he did not get Player of the Match, with Josh Davison's brace and assist getting that in an 8-2 thrashing. Sure 8-2 be a Bradford player that day, soz. We followed that up with a 4-1 win against Barrow were we went down early, but recovered with Tetek scoring his fourth goal for the club, Davison having another brace, and left wing back Jack Currie getting in on the act. We had plenty of chances against Accrington Stanley, however a missed penalty by James Tilley cost us when Stanley scored an injury time equaliser in a 3-3 draw. We finished up the month with three wins on the trot, beating Morecambe 4-2, with Tetek, Robinson and Longstaff doing their magic. Robinson made it scoring two games in a row with a 3-0 win against Gillingham with Al-Hamadi coming in with a brace, and Robinson, Davison and Simpson scoring in a 3-1 win against Doncaster. February saw us meet our season objective of reaching the Playoffs early, and our youth facilities now becoming adequate. Finishing things early and being barely adequate - things we don't want to see often in real life, but a nice thing on FM. We also were designated overachievers of the EFL Cup, and Tetek and Robinson were crowned the best and second best player and young player of the month. We also had our fifth Manager of the Month award of the year. We also signed a new player from the free transfer market. Ex-England International Danny Rose joins after a long stint on our trial list after our back up left back started to decline very substantially. Rose will rotate with our starting left wing back Currie and I'll be surprised if I keep him after the end of the season, mainly based on his age. MARCH March has been eventful, and that's an understatement! On the pitch, we started off confirming our promotion with a dominating 3-1 win against our big rivals MK Dons, with Matt Lowton starting us off nicely in the opening minute, and strikers Omar Bugiel and Zach Robinson finishing things off. With the semi final of the Pizza Cup coming up three days later, I decided to rotate my squad and we met with a very annoyed Notts County who took advantage of our off day, beating us 2-1, to give us our first defeat in the league, only 38 games in. Can't be too upset with that! Our refreshed first team with a ten day break went up against League One side Cheltenham for a place in the Pizza Cup final, where we fell behind early, but got going with some quality finishing by Zach Robinson and a Omar Bugiel brace doing enough to get us over the line with a 3-2 win. Into our first cup final where we will be up against Charlton, a long time rival for my Crystal Palace and a fellow South London team, how poetic. Our last two games of this save were ones for the neutrals, with a 6-3 thrashing to welsh side Newport, and a 5-3 win against Crewe confirming us a League Two Champions! Off the field however, we were met with this Whoops. Thankfully I had already 'Set for Release' two players and after persuading another, who was earning over 2,000 a week and was at best a squad player, I was able to rectify this pretty quickly. Goodbye Pell, Little and Brown on a very eventful morning. Also you would enjoy Al-Hamadi being annoyed about his game time, when he was injured for a good chunk of this period. Gotta love FM! Only one way to celebrate, by signing another player off the free transfer market! I signed this old FM favourite of mine Alex Smithies as my starting keeper Alex Bass for next season was on loan to us, and his parent club were not interested at all at rolling that over to another season, and my current back up was naff. So the intention is for Smithies to hold that role for a couple years, with his determination being handy for any mentoring of future youth keepers. With the title wrapped up, we were notified of our budgets for next year, with our wage budget increased by 50% to 75Kp/w and our transfer budget at 784k, which is the first time we've really had some money to play with, which will make the off-season very interesting! We also were able to get the board to improve our Below Average Training Facilities and increase our Youth Level up to Level 2 before our first game of League One next season. Things that go to our long term objectives for this save to be a youth-centric save where we take advantage of our youth squad. Youth Intake Golden Generation? Probably overreach there, but I do like the look of four or five of the intake on face value. Alex Jones is the pick of the bunch with his 16 determination, pretty solid techincals and leadership qualities. Sait Dağaltın arguably has the highest ceiling, but his low self belief means he'll need a lot of TLC and mentoring if he gets to the first team level. I took the opportunity to sign 13 of the intake, who have PAs from 2.5-4.5 as this, after the release of all players below 2* in the Under 18s, will give us 16 players - 1 keeper, four centre backs, three wing backs, three centre midfielders and five centre forwards, which fits nicely with our 3-2-2-3 formation. Using the Ajax Way of youth development that was exceptionally written by SteinkelssonFM over at View From The Touchline, but with a Wangledon twist. While the Youth Intake was overall solid, I couldn't help see that my current Head of Youth Development hadn't wowed me with the players he identified, so I went on a search for a new one. I feel I have found a good one as a replacement, with an upgrade in HoYD attributes and personality. I'll leave you all with the overview of the table and player stats with six games to go. Until next time, and as always, remember you’re a Womble.
  11. Great point re injury protection - In the "Rest" tab under Training screen, you can select "No Pitch or Gym Work". Now from what I can read of the Recovery tab, this has the weights symbol, so not too sure if this counts as "gym work". If it doesn't, you could argue that selecting one session of Recovery and then straight into it would give those players who played a day off and allow the non-players to get one to two sessions on that day of training? Just spitballing ideas.
  12. I would love to have a played vs not played training schedule option for this exact reason. Though I haven't tried it, I wonder whether the effectiveness of the Match Review reduces when your team is in the upper levels of Team Cohesion and Tactical Familiarity, usually when you are post pre-season and playing a regular number of games, thus itself keeping things going on that front. So my hypothesis, so to speak, is that manually resting players, and having MD+1 to be a normal day of training may work until we can have different schedules for players vs non-players.
  13. Plenty to do to get things back on track but that is what makes it so more exciting! Good luck
  14. I've seen a lot of people retrain their wingers into Wingbacks, which has its flaws, have you considered that? Noting that most do have pretty weak defensive attributes that it would be a risk.
  15. I always love the ageing professional with great mentoring ability signing. So I am pro Pedro!
  16. The overall plan is if that if I have no idea what my players are doing, then how will the opposition? Stamford Bridge will definitely help out the coffers!
  17. POST #4 - MID-SEASON ANALYSIS AND TALKING ALL THINGS CONTRACTS With 2023 coming to an end in our first season at beautiful Plough Lane, which you can see above, I always find it is a good time to take stock of how my players are going, for a few reasons. It is often around half way in the season, so it is a natural point to do a check in, to see if our players are performing, underperforming and checking them compared to their wage and squad status. Time to have a look at my own players whose contracts expire at the end of the season, and making a decision on them We are close to players becoming available to be signed on a pre-contract when the summer comes about, so this is a great time to check out any potential signings by comparing their attributes and statistical output so far. So let's get to it! How my players are going I go to the legend himself @FMStag's Player Performance Calculator and "What Does Good Like" for my analysis, as it's better than anything I have come up with on a statistical level. While the Player Performance Calculator is for FM23, it still holds well. For this I look at how our players compare to other players in League Two who have played at least 1,000 minutes, which is 11x90mins with some change to spare. Overall I am pretty happy with this, we have three players who are in the top five of Creative Output, the best Striking Threat in League Two with Josh Davison, and most of our core 15 players or so in the top 25% of their metric. Ali-Ahamdi usually starts with Robinson and Bugiel in the first team, but with Davison being the leading Striking Threat, I will see how it goes playing him in the first team. In the "What Does Good LIke", Stag benchmarked specific statistics based on specific roles after simulating the top five leagues and going through the data. Now of course we are in League Two, so I am not expecting super high levels across the board, but it does help me see how my players are going against benchmarks. After all, to see improvements, you need to baseline. Overall we are performing exceptionally well, with a number of our players in the top performing outputs for League Two. I am not surprised to see us in a position where we are first in the league, and should be based on our xG. However it was intriguing to see that we have scored ten goals more than expected, conceded 13 less and are 22 points ahead of where we should be. Is this due to individual player overperforming, or a bit of an ‘overpowered’ formation causing our metrics to be warped a bit. Either way, we’re in the position where we should be, and I can’t be too upset with that. Contract Renewals and Recruitment Priorities In the short term, we lose Charlie Lakin whose loan finishes 1 January 2024. His parent team aren’t keen to extend the loan, however his contract is up at the end of the season, so we may be able to get him on a pre-contract. He is currently fourth in Creative Output in League Two playing at the Left Wing Back position, however he is naturally a centre midfielder, so his flexibility and Decent Championship Player potential means it is a no brainer to try to get him permanently. We have 11 players out of contract at the end of the season. Using the above statistics, I have categorised them into three groups: Offer or trigger extension clause Paul Kalambayi - has come back from a significant injury so hasn't played a lot of minutes comparatively to others, but loves a tackle. Pulled the extension clause here. Jack Currie - my starting left back who is ranked #1 for Creative Output in League Two. No brainer. Huseyin Biler - similar to Kalambayi in that he has come back from a significant injury and has started like a house on fire with nine assists in 16 games so far. Ethan Sutcliffe - high potential centre back so it'll be good to keep him around. Omar Bugiel - fourth in Striking Threat in League Two. Highest shot conversation of the strikers. 15 goals in 22 matches. Probably a year until we either outgrow or he starts declining, so worth an extension. Alex Pearce - club captain, past his peak but solid to have around to mentor. Extension clause triggered. Hold until end of the season Matt Lowton - only picked him up recently so I'll run him down until the end of the season. Nik Tzanev - back up goalkeeper who hasn't played a minute so far. He is at best League Two quality and doesn't enjoy big matches, so I'll hold for now pending some end of season recruitment. Ryan McLean - similar to Tzanev, hasn't played a minute and doesn't really fit in the squad. Most likely will release. Set for release Lee Brown - handy utility player who can play Left Wing Back and Centreback, however he doesn't justify his 2.4k/week wage and is on the way down, so he is gone. Armani Little - bit unlucky as he is a good team player and plays in the CDM/CM areas, but much better players infront of him and he won't be better than League Two, so he goes. I also have three loanees that will leave us at the end of the season, who have contracts at their parent clubs that expire in June 2025, so I will reassess them at the end of the season if I want to keep them. We also receive Will Nightingale back from his loan at Ross County where he has played a grand total of one game so far this season. He is on way too much money for his quality, so I will be looking to ship him out quickly. As we are focussing on a youth-centric save, I won’t be shopping in the January window, and I don’t have the funds to go on a pre-contract splurge, so it’ll be a case of taking advantage of the generous approvals of our Youth Facilities and Youth Recruitment, however I do note to make sure you can actually afford it, as I learnt this the hard way with half of my bank balance being spent on it. How we set up I wanted to end this little update with showing you all how the Wangledon tactic looks like in practice. Below is how it looks on the tactic screen. Here you can see roughly the 3-4-3 shape that this tactic essentially sets us up in. In this situation, Alex Pearce in the right sided centre back role picks up the ball as we recover possession, with Libero Jack Simpson pushing up just to his left. We also see Matty Longstaff in the Mezzala role starting to move forward in the left sided centre midfield role, which is exactly what you want from a role that has the Get Further Forward instruction. Pearce distributed the ball to our Segundo Volante Jake Reeves, who played the ball past their midfield line to James Tilley in the Deep Lying Forward role who dropped deep. As he pushes up, you see he has five options ahead of him, the two wingbacks, the two forwards and Longstaff who has pushed up into the gap Tilley has left. Reeves and Simpson are also pushing up as well to join the attack, leaving our two centre backs as the last line of defence in a high line. This encapsulates the 2-1-7 I aim to get when we are attacking in possession, with Tilley picking out Robinson who splits between two of their defenders who then slots it on. Simpson slots in front of the two centre backs in the Libero role to aim to get back possession quickly and protect us from the counter attack if we end up losing possession. Yes it is ultra attacking and yes it leaves me very exposed (the amount of 4v2s I have seen when we have been caught on the break is quite high), but this is the plan and it's working so far! I'll leave you with the fixtures for 2024 with a spoiler or two. Until next time and as always, remember you’re a Womble.
  18. Indeed it does! I think we'll eventually have a correction, but I'm hoping it's in the shape of draws with a few losses rather than the dreaded red circles!
  19. POST #3 - AUGUST TO DECEMBER 2023 - RESULTS, SIGNING & MURDER ON SUTTON'S FLOOR I must admit, this update took a lot longer than I expected, however sometimes life gets in the way, and since the last update I have changed jobs, started some renovations at my house, and now within six months until my wedding day, so I haven’t had much time to come up for air. I left you all with the foundations of my save, being a youth-centric save where we take AFC Wimbledon back to the top level playing a high octane tactic dubbed ‘Wangledon”, which is a 3-4-3 of sorts that when in possession is a 2-1-7. We also finished our pre-season and won our first three games, though with a number of injuries. This update will take us to the end of 2023 and will have a look at how we are going and what signings we have made. REST OF AUGUST - click on the image to see the match stats, FYI - left to right for chronological order on desktop view We started off knowing that our last game against Wrexham broke our attendance record, which I’m putting down to rumours that Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney were in attendance, more than anything football related. Our next game was away to Colchester, where we were passed off the pitch, however we scored a lovely headed goal by Omar Bugiel to give us the win. We followed that up with a 2-1 win away to our rivals Sutton, where we had half the shots at goal, and were doubled in the xG battle by Sutton, but goals from Zach Robinson and Omar Bugiel did enough to get over the line. We had a week off, and the rest was exactly what we needed, dispatching Forest Green 5-0, with five different goalscorers, and all the starting XI averaging more than 7.3. Nicely done indeed. We finished August with an absolute bonker match against Crawley Town where we came from 2-0 down, to 3-2 ahead, to 4-3 down with 8 minutes to go, only for Zach Robinson to equalise in injury time. Drama over? No chance, with our goalkeeper scoring on the 11th penalty kick to take a 10-9 win on penalties. We finished off August with Morgan Williams taking the Young Player of the Month with five assists in four games. We also picked up Manager of the Month, which is always good for the reputation boost. SEPTEMBER We started September dropping our first points of the season, where our 24 shots on goal and a late penalty by Harry Pell was only good enough for a 2-2 draw against Newport County. A heavily rotated side dispatched Colchester 4-2 three days later in our first Pizza Cup, aka the EFL Trophy game, aka the Papa John’s Trophy where Aron Sasu became our youngest goalscorer with a brace. We then had put five past Stockport, with James Tilley scoring a hattrick and the first perfect ten rating of the season. I had the first transfer window closed, so with September, comes the free transfer window coming open. We were lacking some quality in the Libero and Mezzala roles, so using an attribute calculator, I identified a range of players that fit the criteria, and after a trial where I was able to get both a coach rating on them, I picked up three signings throughout September. Signing #1 We picked up Jack Simpson on a free who was last at Cardiff. A good signing right? Well after signing him, I googled him and realised he was left by mutual consent because amongst other things, he racially slurred a teammate in preseason, leading to a FA charge, a ban and a fine after he left. So although he looks handy, I will get rid of them at the end of the season because I don’t want that at my club. Lesson? Do your research offline as well. Signing #2 We picked up the younger of the Longstaff brothers for free after he was released from Newcastle to play in the Mezzala role. Although he will need some TLC as he recently recovered from an ACL, so if I get him firing, I expect he will play a major role in our push up to the Premier League. Signing #3 Our third signing was Jamie Bowden who was released from Tottenham. He looks pretty capable to play in the Segundo Volante role, but he may be handy in the Libero role if I can get those heading numbers up. Our first two games with the new players didn’t disrupt our form with a late winner against Crewe being followed by Longstaff scoring a hattrick in his first start at the club in a 4-2 win against Walsall. We went into our third round League Cup game against Championship’s Leicester in good form and were 2-0 up after 40 minutes with Jake Reeves having a blinder. However we conceded a goal late in each half, leading us to penalties. Again. Thankfully this was done in regulation, winning 4-2 on penalties with Reeves scoring a cheeky paneka to take us into the fourth round against Liverpool. We finished off September unbeaten where we struggled, probably because we were still in party mode, and got lucky against Tranmere, with a hattrick from Josh Davison dragging the team to a 3-2 win. OCTOBER Seven games, seven wins. Can’t get better than that. We had Josh Neufville to thank for a 1-0 win against Harrogate, and followed it up with a 3-2 win against Mansfield where we made it closer than it deserved. We continued our good form in the pizza cup aka the EFL Trophy with a 4-3 win against Northampton with Ali-Hamadi getting the second perfect ten rating. Jack Simpson scored his first for the club with a long range deflected strike as we cruised to a 3-0 win at home against Bradford City, getting us a rare clean sheet. Josh Davison led the comeback with a brace in a 2-1 win away to Barrow, before two consecutive 3-0 wins against Accrington Stanley and Morecambe rounded off the month, with Huseyin Biler scoring his first of the season after coming back from a long term injury. NOVEMBER Our first game of November was also our first loss of the season, where unsurprisingly we were outclassed by Liverpool, losing 3-1 at Anfield, which was very flattering for us. A fourth round run in the League Cup is nothing to frown about though, and what better way to make up for it than the first round of the FA Cup, where we went to Doncaster and battered them 4-1 with a heavily rotated team. Unfortunately for them, they then had to then travel to our home ground against our first team who decided to make up for the loss to Liverpool by putting six past Doncaster in the first half, with five different scorers. We were then back to the pizza cup where a rotated side beat Ange’s Spurs Under 21s 4-2 at home in a proper tale of two halves, where we were 2-0 at half time, and a right old bollocking galvanised the team to score four in the second half. We then went to Milton Keynes to play our arch rivals MK Dons, and you could tell our players were nervous with a scoreless first half where there wasn’t much on offer from our side and were lucky MK Dons couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net. An encouraging half time team talk allowed our players to relax and start to play the football that’s been working all season, and three goals in the second half led us to a 3-1 win, causing chaos for MK Dons who were seeing themselves stuck in the mid table as we took a bigger lead at the top. We finished November with two 5-1 wins against Notts County and Gillingham, where we saw two hat tricks for Robinson and Neufville, who produced our third perfect ten of the season. This game also produced the Goal of the Month, with Matty Longstaff scoring a belter in injury time. DECEMBER We started December with another free signing! We picked up Matt Lowton on a free after he had been released from Burnley. With Biler coming back from his injury well, it allowed me to push Isaac Ogundere out on loan for more regular football, so getting in an experienced head at the Right Wingback role was deemed beneficial. He comes in on a seven month contract so it is low risk. Our first game of December was away to Conference South team St. Albans with an absolute bonkers game where we were 7-0 up, turned off the engine and ended up winning 7-3, with Jake Reeves having our fourth perfect 10 of the season. A heavily rotated team three days later stumbled to a 3-2 win against Forest Green, where we conceded a goal in both half’s injury time, and we were gifted with arguably the most bizarre goal I’ve seen. A 5-0 demolition at home against Swindon helped take our winning streak in the league to 15 games, with Omar Bugiel scoring a hattrick and providing us with our fifth perfect ten of the season. Our winning streak ended with two back-to-back draws against Salford and second placed Grimsby. Both were disappointing, considering Salford played with 10 men for 30 minutes and Grimsby scored with their only shot on target. But regular programming came back into fruition, with a 3-1 win away to Crawley, a 4-0 home win to rivals Sutton and closing out 2023 with a 5-1 win at home to Colchester, with Matt Lowton scoring a brace. Unfortunately this game left us with Neufville with a broken ankle, out for nearly the rest of the season, and Joe Lewis with a twisted ankle, out for January. We also lose Omar Bugiel to the Asian Cup, so we have lost a bit of our depth for January. Huseyin Biler claimed the Player of the Month with one goal and four assists in the five games played over the month. HOW WE ARE GOING Very nicely. Nearly averaging four goals at home, and 22 points ahead of second place. I'll follow up this update with an analytical take on these four months, and how we plan to approach our signings. Until next time, and as always, remember you’re a Womble.
  20. Whoops - meant to say, if the scouts are Spanish/Mexican and your preferences, that should keep it close. Forgot a few words!
  21. I would assume that keeping the scouts to Spain and Mexico should keep it relatively close regarding your intake spread?
  22. It does get frustrating when the Board starts to prioritise the first team over the youth production line. I was always under the impression that Youth Recruitment was more focussed on your ability to be up the pecking order for domestic pre-intake, i.e if you have a higher rating, more likely to pick up those pre-intake players without any good ones being poached before they join the Youth Intake for that year. I was under the impression the nationalities of your intake players are dependent on scouts/HoYD country familiarities and any club linkages overseas. But I have no evidence to back that up! Handy positions for your three teams to be in though, can't be upset with that.
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