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About Ukchris

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    Hull City

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  1. Nice 2nd place there Dong, good to see improvement each season. And congrats on survival Gareth I found a little time to finish off the 4th season from months ago. Started slowly but by the later stages I was in with a pack of several teams fighting for the spots from 4th - 8th (the top 3 being some way ahead). In the end I had a strong finish and just claimed 4th position, giving me Champions League for the upcoming 5th season after missing out on Europe completely last time. That should help me keep this squad together and add a couple more, though it's this stage in a save I normally switch focus to finding regens. I decided to stay focused on a back 3 this save as in previous versions I've always ended up using some version of a 4231, 4411 or 442. This season I tried a few things but settled on a 3511 which brought my best results (more or less a 352 but an AMC in behind a lone striker). For original players I still have Robertson and Tymon at left wingback, and hope to keep them both as long as they want to stay. Robertson is still first choice with the big teams making bids. Mason is still here, but instead of being a key first choice he's now usually on the bench to come on at either MC or AMC. Maguire is a constant at the centre of my back 3 and has broken into the England squad as a result, with the top teams trying to sign him. I also still have Kuciak and Mannion as keepers, with Mannion going out on loan to get regular games for development while Kuciak sits on the bench as backup for Szczesny. Key signings for me recently have been Oliver (Spanish) as a creative AMC, Jack Wilshere as a creative MC and Marco Grujic as a great all-round box to box MC. Batshuayi also came in as new first choice striker to good effect, though I may look to see if I can find someone better for the Champions League. The aim now is to become a constant top 4 team and start bringing youth through. Oh, I also had a new Stadium set into motion which will be a 39k capacity. Not the biggest increase, but every bit helps in the long run
  2. I made one final signing on transfer deadline day, Kieran Tripper in for £9m. I've used him in previous versions and with Elmo now over 30 and his contract expiring next summer I decided I'd spend the cash now. That gives me Trippier and Jenkinson competing for the right wingback position. I had to sell someone to raise the extra funds so Henriksen went. I hadn't used him as much the previous season as he's just too slow for my liking in an attacking role and too weak defensively as a holding player so he didn't quite fit in for me.
  3. I had a takeover of the board half way through last season so the Allams are no longer there. The new consortium (not a tycoon) gave me £36m for season 3 for a mid-table finish, which I adapted to £42m for a top half finish. I may not have been too efficient but used it all on a couple of key positions: GK - Wojciech Szczesny - £31m, Arsenal MC - Jack Cork - £12m, Swansea AMC - Oliver - Free I know the price for Szczesny is big but Marshall and Kuciak are both starting to decline so I needed a new #1. There were a few others but I figured I'd go for the best available, and I know in previous versions he's gone on to be very good as Arsenal's #1. I usually don't use high eccentricity keepers so it'll also be a good chance to see how that works over a full season (he has 16). Cork comes in as a holding midfielder, decent both defensively and passing the ball around. He should add a little extra quality in the middle. Oliver is a typically highly technical Spanish playmaker I picked upfor free. Not great physically but I figured I'd see how he does. I let Davies' contract expire as he's 34 this season and speed going below 10 now. McGregor retired after being backup for 2 seasons and after I signed Szczesny Arsenal then signed Marshall as a backup there (I'm using Will Manion as a #2 this season to help him develop and kept Kuciak as a low wage #3). Livermore wasn't getting much playtime and wanted to leave so I sold him for £2.4m after signing Cork. Hernandez, Robertson, Maguire and Mason will all be key players again from the original squad. Snodgrass, Henriksen, Elmohamady, Tymon, Manion and Kuciak are all still in the first team squad. They won't all start each week but each will get used through the season, some more than others.
  4. Oh, this was unexpected! I thought I just missed out as Swansea won the League Cup instead of someone ahead of me, but I was just doing some scouting with the World Cup about to start and this popped into my news. That'll help a bit with new player negotiations Edit: I just realised Liverpool won the Europa League this season, so they qualified for the Champions League via that and all league position qualifications below them moved down an extra slot. Thanks Liverpool!
  5. A 1-1 home draw with Norwich in the penultimate game cost me.. if I'd won that I would've qualified for Europe even with the final day loss to Man City. Oh well, still a good season! I just hope my reputation goes up enough to attract a few new players. As for contracts, I do all I can to avoid Minimum Release fees. There's nothing worse than having a key player poached mid-season for £20m, so when I negotiate contracts I'll do whatever I can to not have a Min. Release in there - I'd rather offer a bit higher wage and bonus instead. If a player does insist on a Min. Release I'll try to negotiate it to something high like £120m, which is unlikely to be triggered by AI teams. Right now I only have Jenkinson on a generic £60m release to anyone and Grujic on £120m release to Champions League clubs, which were both necessary to get them to sign. Everyone else I was able to leave them out, including Keane. The other thing I do with contracts is start renegotiating with 2 years to go for players I know I want to keep, and aim for 5 year renewal (or 4 if 5 isn't possible). It gives more time to negotiate and talk a second time if things go badly at first, rather than have a player enter the final year with other clubs showing interest that can unsettle them and make them not want to sign a new deal. It's annoying when one of your top players is in his final year, won't renew and bids are coming in as you want to use them this season but would lose them for free if not selling now. Renewing at 2 to go solves that, or gives you longer warning and extra time to sort the issue if a player is unhappy.
  6. Season 2: 2017-18 I finally finished the second season and so nearly qualified for Europe. I was sitting in 4th/5th for a while until a couple of losses in the last few games saw me drop to 7th. It was close enough that 4th - 7th went down to the final day and unfortunately for me I was away at Man City On the plus side we played great most of the season. Hernandez finished 2nd highest scorer in the league on 23 with only Harry Kane ahead on 26. Berahino was 3rd, actually playing for Everton currently this save. Robertson was my highest assister on 9 as a wingback. You can see I made a few signings there. Bony cost £5m, and though he's on £110k per week he adds a different dimension being a strong hold-up player. He grabbed 11 goals and 7 assists as the support forward. Marko Grujic joined from Liverpool for £13m and filled that B2B role, allowing Mason to play further up (where he's played well) and Rene Krhin was the best holding midfielder I could convince to join, only costing £1.8m from Granada. I bought Michael Keane for central defence as I have the past couple of versions and added Carl Jenkinson as a right wingback. Jenkinson isn't as creative as Robertson but did a job. In January I also signed Joel Campbell from Arsenal as another pacey forward and the young Alexander Isak to train up, along with James Tomkins who was on the transfer list as another centre back with Davies and Bassong both getting older. Henriksen and Snodgrass both rotated in but were injured a lot. I also gave Tymon games when I could to keep him developing. So Marshall, Maguire, Robertson, Mason and Hernandez all remain core players from the original squad. Kuciak, Tymon, Elmohamady, Henriksen, Snodgrass, Davies and Livermore also squad players but more rotation (or injured a lot). Disappointed to miss out on Europe but my key players are tied down for the coming season with contracts so if I can find a couple more quality additions hopefully I can finish a couple of positions higher next time. I think a new keeper and better holding midfielder will be top of the list if I can find anyone suitable.
  7. Nice going with the 7th position, looks like you made some nice signings there. Berahino is a good pacey forward to have leading the line and always seems to end up at Spurs in my games. I've always found 442 to be a strong formation against weaker teams being nicely spread out for width but then that spread works against you when facing tougher teams who often outnumber the setup in the middle. If you can keep your key players and add a couple more it should be possible to push on into Europe, and once there you can attract even better players to continue the upward trend. It's all about that first season breaking into Europe, whether via top 6 in the league or a cup win, and keeping hold of your top performers for the 2-3 seasons that takes.
  8. Congrats on staying up It doesn't matter too much where you end up in that first season outside of the top 6, as survival enables a good rebuild whether 10th or 17th. Team reputation doesn't change drastically until you start getting into Europe so top players still won't join yet regardless of transfer budget. It just opens up the next 'tier' of player quality to make the next step up. I sent Manion out on loan for season 2 too. Tried to get him a team for the first season but no one was interested, though it did give me the season to tutor him. Hopefully a full season of game time will see him develop nicely and maybe become a squad member for season 3.
  9. I finished the first season, ending up 10th in the league after my form dropped with only 1 win in the last 6 games. I did play the likes of Arsenal, Man City and Liverpool in that time though so not too surprising. My defence was key as I had the joint 3rd least goals conceded. Only the top 2 (Arsenal and Man Utd) conceded less, so that was great. I didn't score a massive amount, often winning by a single goal, but I did enough to maintain a positive goal difference which was enough to finish top half. Hernandez ended as top scorer with 14 goals, Snodgrass next on 9 in his new role up front. Mbokani only scored 7, and all 3 played almost identical minutes (2283, 2288 and 2287!). The three of them rotated the two striker positions, with Hernandez picking up more injuries than the other two. A useful trio for the first season anyhow. Diomande and Keane only played backup roles for me. Mason and Henrikson did nicely in central midfield with 4 goals each, and I think next season I'll try to use them a bit more offensively at the right times. Huddlestone just felt a bit too slow for my liking, Meyler lacks skill and Livermore is a bit weaker version of Mason but they all did their bit at times in my midfield 3 (usually in more of a holding role). I started using Clucas a bit towards the end too, either at DMC or AMC depending on opposition setup. Weir didn't get much look in, and didn't make much impact when he did get chances. Maloney just didn't fit for me, being too slow for an advanced role and having no competency at MC. My wingbacks provided most asssists with Robertson (7) and Tymon (4) on the left out-assisting Elmo (3) and Bosingwa (2) on the right. I think next season I'll try to find a more powerful right wingback if I stick with the 352. Odubajo didn't play, though he would've had a few games as backup to Elmo after recovering from injury if I hadn't signed Bosingwa. Bassong played most games in the defending 3 on the left side but the others rotated a bit. Davies had second most minutes, usually on the right but sometimes central, with Maguire finishing the most frequent trio in the centre (being the slowest). Fenger wasn't far behind, and played on the right when he was a starter, with Dawson not used too much - I just felt his low speed and agility were a liability, he'd get bypassed too easily by nippy forwards. Bruce only got 65 minutes all season and gave away a penalty in that time, which sums him up! Marshall was fairly reliable through the season and it wouldn't be too bad if I have to stick with him, though he'll turn 33 next season so decline isn't far away. I still feel Kuciak is a decent option too and they'd be my top two keepers with McGregor in rapid decline and Jakupovic lacking mentally. The squad was definitely capable of that top half finish and I think I should've ended a bit higher but I did spent quite a few games tinkering with changes. I think I could've managed without signings but Bassong and Fenger were great to have as I never had problems puttng a back 3 together, and Bosingwa being there meant I had no concerns on the right. I'm sure someone will be able to finish top 6 in the first season with the right approach/signings but I'm happy with top 10 after continuing this from the beta and mostly using the original squad. No doubt I'll make big squad changes soon but this first season was much less of a struggle than I expected.
  10. I started the season playing a 532 with fullbacks and a trio in central midfield. As the season has progressed I've moved more towards this: Mostly playing on Standard / Flexible I've kept things fairly tight defensively, plenty of clean sheets. Marshall eventually came into the team and outperformed Kuciak so he's stayed in, and Maguire has been progressing nicely in that central spot to push Fenger out onto the bench for now and move Davies out wider. Davies is doing nicely in that outside cetre back spot while he's still 11accel / pace but I think Fenger would come back in there if he drops below 10. I was mostly using Livermore (as a B2B) instead of Henriksen but lately I've used Henriksen more in that roaming role as his technical ability can open things up. Mason is the all-round engine in midfield next to him with Huddlestone sitting behind to collect the ball from defence. The two wingbacks get involved a little more pushed up to those spots, I just keep them on support for that little extra defensive cover compared to attack. Bosingwa was the regular starter on the right but since turning 34 he's lost a bit more pace and now I feel Elmo creates more opportunities. Bosingwa has now actually been coming off the bench at DMC when Huddlestone is tired to play as an anchor man. Tymon has had a number of games to keep him developing but Robertson is first choice on the left. I'm happy with Snodgrass's conversion. I usually play him a little deeper than the other striker as a DLF, often with Roaming on. He still gets behind defences when the right through ball is played but he tends to drop into space more than the other on this role which helps.9 goals and 4 assists so far isn't too bad. Hernandez has been the primary scorer with 13 and as a CF(s) he both brings midfielders into play and bursts forwards. I was playing him in an attack role earlier on but he got too isolated in quite a few games. Mbokani is good, I've been changing a bit between him and Snodgrass, and usually also plays as a CF(s). He just hasn't been as clinical as Hernandez. Dawson, Keane, Weir, Diomande and Clucas have played occasionally during heavy fixture periods, cup games or covering injuries. Only really a handful each. Odubajo hasn't played since returning from injury, he's still regaining fitness in the U23 squad, and both Bruce and Maloney will only feature if there's a dire emergency. 9th in the league at the moment on 40 points after 27 games and still in the FA Cup 5th round. It's really close around me in the league with Chelsea 6th on 43 and Sunderland 10th also on 40, so positions fluctiate each week. My target now is to hold onto a top half position for extra budget/recruitment power in the summer.
  11. I've checked the release database and nothing seems to be different from us. Same as Beta as far as I can see.
  12. I might start again as I noticed since the full release I've lost the German national team, names reverted etc. and no changes bring them back. A shame as I was in January sitting top half with good performances but I can't continue a save with all that locked. I'll check if anything is different on the release database.
  13. I'm only 7 games in so far, been slow and steady as I've not had much time, but somehow I'm sitting 2nd with 4 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss (my last game, 2-1 away at Everton). The 532 isn't the most entertaining going forwards but seems very solid defensivey this year, I'm keeping a lot of clean sheets. Robertson is an assist machine on the left, Snodgrass is doing great as a deep lying forward (4 goals and 3 assists in 7!) while Hernandez and Mbokani both perform well as the more advanced striker. Bassong and Fenger have been great so far as the two outside centre backs, using their pace to protect someone slower in the middle. Kuciak is the player I'm most surprised with. I had him pencilled in as 4th choice when I assessed the squad but he's keeping Marshall out as #1 with a string of clean sheets. Clucas and Maloney are the two suffering most from my system, lacking a role and not getting played.
  14. Congrats on staying up How was your budget for the second season - plenty of resources for a rebuild?
  15. I looked through the squad and (relatively) low budget and decided to keep everyone but find a few key players to bolster the defence. I decided to go with a back 5, which may seem an odd choice when 3/4 centre backs have lengthy injuries but there were two key reasons: 1. All 4 CBs are quite slow (8 accel/pace isn't great!) so if they play when fit again I don't want to be caught out easily with quick passes behind a back 4. I'd rather put a slower defender in the middle and find a couple with some more pace to play either side. 2. The squad lacks pacey wingers, and although Snodgrass and maloney can play there I'd rather just use Robertson and Elmohamady to provide the width. If I'm using them in a wingback role I want the 3rd centre back behind for cover. With all the central midfielders in the squad I decided using 3 of them was the best choice, so 532 pretty much chose itself. I focused all my signings on the defence: DC: Sebastien Bassong (£4m) - Norwich DC: Mads Fenger (£300k) - Randers, Denmark DR: Jose Bosingwa (Free) Bassong and Fenger come in to play as the two outer DCs, both having better speed and agility than the existing centre backs. I was surprised to get bassong so cheap as he still has a few good years in him and should perform well at this level. Fenger isn't top class but he's cheap and did a good job for me last season. He'll hopefully do the same again, with most key attributes around 14. Bosingwa I added as a 4th right back/wingback for the squad on a season contract due to Odubajo's injury, to compete with Elmohamady there. He's 33 but still looks very capable and wages were fairly low. I'll probably be playing like this: GK: Kuciak, Marshall, Jakupovic DR: Bosingwa, Elmohamady DCr: Fenger DC: Davies, Dawson, Maguire DCl: Bassong DL: Robertson, Tymon MCr: Mason, Henriksen MC: Huddlestone, Meyler MCl: Livermore, Weir STC: Hernandez, Mbokani FC: Snodgrass, Keane, Diomande With this setup I have cover for almost every position. My main issue will be if either Bassong or Fenger miss matches as I'll then have to shift a slower centre back out to one of the wider spots but Davies will do that if needed as he has a little more than the others, and then Dawson or Maguire into the central spot (when they're back to fitness). I'm treating McGregor, Bruce and Odubajo as non-existant until January as they're injured for so long. I actually think the squad looks quite good with those 3 additions. Certainly better than the media prediction of 20th, I'd hope to avoid a nasty relegation battle.
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