Jump to content
Sports Interactive Community


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won



About phnompenhandy

  • Rank


  • Biography
    Expat Anglo-Scot, lived in Cambodia since 2005.

About Me

  • About Me
    Professor of English


  • Interests
    Reading, aspiring music-creator, Football Manager.

Favourite Team

  • Favourite Team
    Little Oakley

Currently Managing

  • Currently Managing
    See my thread in FM Career Updates

Recent Profile Visitors

8,920 profile views
  1. phnompenhandy

    A Director of Football Challenge with a twist!

    With the 90 matches, it will be interesting to see how the team copes with fatigue, injuries, rotation. You can do this with IR but you can't manage substitutions and see the effects of fatigue in-match.
  2. phnompenhandy

    A Director of Football Challenge with a twist!

    NINETY games - ha ha! Finishing positions seem to go according to reputations, so no great surprises there. With Kings Lynn, have you been playing the matches or Instant Resulting them? I'm doing my own FM Career update story with a little East Anglian team that's a "Director of Football Challenge with a twist!" here: https://community.sigames.com/topic/459302-the-british-lions-toothless-roar/
  3. phnompenhandy

    A Director of Football Challenge with a twist!

    Sounds nuts! Looking forward to seeing how it goes. How often will you be updating? It would be good to give brief updates on how things are panning out in the Premier League as you focus on Kings Lynn.
  4. phnompenhandy

    The British Lions' Toothless Roar

    November 2021 Struggling Walthamstow were next up. They are actually struggling in the league, which seems to be a perennial tale but they’re always in the mire off the pitch too. I wasn’t sure what kind of travelling supporters to expect – East17 fans, grime monsters, arty-farty bohemians or what. At least the dog track is away so there wouldn’t be a load of whippets on a string. In the end the two who showed up were quite normal. The game was a dour, dogged midfield battle, only decided very late on by Hart for a 1-0 win. Three points though. Of our league rivals, only Canvey Island are left in any cups, so we’ll be spared Wednesday nights for sure. We were motivated to exact revenge on our next opponents. Grays Athletic who knocked us out of the FA Cup last season. They were far superior to us then even though the result looked close at 1-2, but it’s a measure of how far we’ve come that the bookies couldn’t separate us now. The bookies called it right – it was a tough game, especially as Allison was off-colour, but Armitage popped up to win it 1-0 again. The teams above us all won so we needed this to keep in touch. I’ve been concerned that young centre-back Kevin Liddle can never get himself matchfit enough for the first team. He’s outgrown the Under 18s so he’s been playing weekly friendlies in the Under 23s but to no avail. The physios informed me that his natural fitness, workrate, determination and stamina are all woeful, talented though he is. That combination’s a liability – I decided he had to move on; Gorleston snapped him up. On the pitch we welcomed Needham Market from the attractive small Suffolk town; the football club has been going through a golden period over the last few years although they’re currently mid-table at the moment. Allison’s definitely lost his mojo at the moment but the result was a more comfortable 2-0 win. To be fair, the bitterly cold driving rain that’s sweeping the region is hard on these young charges, but they keep going. Talking of Allison, a rash of league clubs are making enquiries – as soon as the year turns I’ll do my best to extend his contract with us. Worryingly though, the boy’s got himself an agent. At the end of the month I got the chance to take the lads to see Swathmore College in Clacton where I studied for the A level that set me on my academic career as well as the windswept, deserted pier where I got a part-time job in the bingo hall. Then it was on to face FC Clacton, who were getting into their stride after a slow start to the season. Could we stop them? Of course we could. We were hot, Hart got two, we won 4-1. Easy. Tight at the top
  5. phnompenhandy

    The British Lions' Toothless Roar

    October 2021 Unfortunately, if unsurprisingly, the kids reverted to type; they were never going to sustain playing so far above themselves and were outplayed in a comfortable 0-2 defeat to Felixstowe. I’d give them a chance to show me they could recover from this set-back in the upcoming Trophy tie. So it was back amongst the shipping containers, this time on the English Channel as we found ourselves in Portchester, sandwiched between Southampton and Portsmouth. They beat us, score-line 0-1. Some people would say we lost; I don’t see it like that. I noticed an inordinate number of our league rivals drawing, thus facing replays, and I’m looking forward to regular spells od recuperation and training. The results columns show three defeats on the bounce, but I feel fine – we’re coming back. We finally got to play that much-postponed tie against league leaders Canvey Island. I had the sense that they were as over-committed as us but that we’d rotated better, so we took the game to them at a high tempo, and we did wear them out, besting them 2-1. Told you not to worry! The lads were in no state to go again in three days after that high-energy performance, so it was the second-string that went out again to face 4th-placed Hanwell Town in the leafy West London district of Ealing. The defence was an utter shambles as we lost 2-4. Okay, now we’re on a strict schedule of weekends only (subject to weather and one or two possible cup reschedules). Time to reset. Go again. As we prepared to hosts the residents of the small Saxon town of Sawbridgeworth, our Under 18s coach departed. No biggie as all the youths have signed part-time contracts and moved up, but I called around to see who’s available and a chap who played one game for Wycombe Wanderers some years ago was game so he’s in. The match was a struggle; Allison and Hart baled us out for a 3-2 victory but we cut it fine and need to play better (incidentally, Allison has long since put his attitude away and is behaving like a consummate professional. Next season’s club captain for sure). Look at it this way – in the run of five matches against the top teams we won two and lost three. Now we have a sequence of six of the next seven against lower-table opposition. We just have to acquire the form of a flat-track bully to go top. One weekend at a time with careful training programs – we can do this. We ended the month with a trip to the first of these beatable teams in deepest Eastern Europe – or Hertfordshire if you like, as we met up with the cheery immigrants of FC Romania. Everything went according to plan and four goals from the icon that is George Allison eased us to a 4-1 victory.
  6. phnompenhandy

    The British Lions' Toothless Roar

    The recipient of our need was the Basildon side Bowers & Pitsea. I did my best to prepare the raw lads on the training ground but I noticed there was no one to lead them on the pitch. I had the ex-pros Andy, Karl and Luther hollering from the sides guiding them through every minute of the game. It did the business – 4-1 and a dominant display from the fresh boys with Calvin Foy-Hayes getting his first goals off the bench for the club, and defender Jarid Watson earning Player of the Match on his debut. After the game we learned that the Canvey Island clash was being put back again for a third time due to their continuing involvement in the FA Cup. That meant we’d have a week to prepare for our next game – our first FA Trophy tie. I promptly decided that these second-choice lads had earned the right to represent us in that competition and stake a claim for first-team squad places. That Extra Preliminary Round of the FA Trophy would be at Camberley Town who were going well in another Isthmian league down in Surrey. We went, we won. 3-1. Hart and supersub Foy-Hayes did the damage. They were bloody good again! Oh dear, never mind. They’d get a chance to show me up again in a fortnight against struggling Portchester, but my immediate attention turned the league where the next five games were against all of our top six contenders. The big guns, duly rested, were back for the trip to the rather nice historic market town of Bury St. Edmunds to challenge highly-fancied Bury Town, one place behind us in third. Where my second-string had proved so heroic, my first-choice stumbled, going down 0-1. Hmm, I guess I’d be putting the former out for our upcoming home tie against nearby Felixstowe & Walton United – another one of the many clubs in this division that lives in containers, but at least these boys share the same North Sea gales as we do, not some Estuary scum.
  7. phnompenhandy

    The British Lions' Toothless Roar

    September 2021 The next match was at home to neighbours and rivals Coggeshall Town, who, being bottom of the league were there for the taking in front of our fans. However, it was clear the first team desperately needed a proper rest especially as the following week we’d be travelling to second-favourites Bury Town. Ordering half the squad to take between three and five days of complete rest, I had to man-manage this and take a risk. Nervously, I sent out a clearly weakened side although after assessing their morale and understanding of my tactics, I felt quietly confident, not least because Coggeshall had just come off the bum-end of a 1-7 hammering by Canvey Island three days previously. Credit to our opponents, they were surprisingly positive although fortunately short on quality – as were we as we came away with another disappointing 1-1 draw. It’s clear that our well-oiled machine grinds to a half as soon as a couple of those cogs are replaced. I can only hope the rest has energized my first-choice players to keep going for the next seven bi-weekly games – which are due to commence in a week due to another call-off with Bury involved in an FA Cup tie. Good, back to the training ground. The next game would be against another bunch of dockers – a lot of them about in this league. Queen Elizabeth I famously gave a pep-talk to the lads at Tilbury which inspired them to reach the third round of the FA Cup four centuries later, but right now they were lying joint bottom – along with VCD and Coggeshall. We’d have to do better. And why wouldn’t we? The best boys were all back, we’d done the work they asked for as well as preparing for the game, we’d visited an Old People’s Home which made the lads feel worthy – morale was excellent and we were ready to go. And we did. It wasn’t a classic, but the 3-1 win was comfortable, took us to second with the help of a healthy goal difference, and sets us up for impending tougher challenges. The first one would be the rearranged local derby that should have been our first game in the Isthmian North, hosting FC Clacton. My first ever job as a teenager was working for a bingo caller on the pier in Clacton, and I got my best A Level there. I told the lads doing their A Levels to teach them a footballing lesson. Allison schooled them with both goals in a 2-1 win, but fatigue was showing already. I’d have a tricky job on my hands again as in a week we’d face the runaway leaders Canvey Island, but in three days we’d have another game and so I’d need to risk a weakened side again.
  8. phnompenhandy

    The British Lions' Toothless Roar

    I kept the same squad together for the next fixture, the following Wednesday down in The Smoke at Romford. I thought I’d take the opportunity to see if the building still stood where my sister squatted with druggies when she was 15 before snaking to the ground where these nomads are currently squatting down at the docks in East Thurrock. Romford once got to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. Admittedly that was in 1881 and they lost 0-15, but still, you can’t take that away. With no weekend fixture we had an unprecedented six training sessions and a team-bonding activity between games; surely the players would be happy with that and show the fruits over 90 minutes? The run of training sessions did allow me to see clearly that our two coaches focusing on physical skills are outstanding and producing results; it’s the technical and tactical skills that are not developing (and there’s little I can do for the goalkeepers). We’d then have three league fixtures before we’d get back on the training ground. We’re scheduled to have a relentless two matches every week before the FA Trophy gets underway; I have no idea how teams still in the FA Cup are supposed to cope with that; I wouldn’t be surprised if one or two or our games are re-scheduled due to that. I was feeling confident but even so, I couldn’t have anticipated just how dominating we’d be. Lee Hart’s double in the first ten minutes set us up for a comfortable 5-0 victory in which every cog in this machine operated supremely. Everything had clicked into place – just add oil. A rest and three days later we finally got to play our first Isthmian home tie as we welcomed Brentwood Town, whose ancient and contemporary history as well as environment is virtually a carbon-copy of Romford. Brentwood were a far more confident outfit and despite another excellent performance, it took two stoppage time goals from Allison, adding to another brace from Hart, to put the tie to bed in a 4-1 score-line. We’re in second place behind Canvey island but with a game in hand. We were on such a roll I was loathed to change anything despite the next game being just three days away. Armitage and Hart couldn’t go again and were replaced by young playmaker Justin Willsmer for his first start and promising Calvin Foy-Hayes, but I sent the rest out to go again. That game involved another trip to Ol’ Man River Thames to the legacy of a team of gun factory workers, VCD Athletic. We felt we should be able to blow them out of the water if we could just summon up enough energy. We couldn’t. The boys were clearly very tired and struggled to salvage a 1-1 draw.
  9. phnompenhandy

    The British Lions' Toothless Roar

    Thanks to our early exit from the FA Cup, we may make a better start to the league than we’re used to, and maybe we will actually challenge for a third successive promotion. For all that, something troubles me. In our evening training sessions as and when we can fit them in, things are not going as well as I’d like. I have a squad of determined and professional young lads, but the fixture-load is tiring the first team, and the reserves are not stepping up. What’s more, in order to grind out results, I’m focusing on preparing for upcoming games at the expense of long-term development, and the players are complaining. As I said earlier, something has to give. I assume so long as results are good, the players will grumble but suck it up, but they won’t significantly improve their skills to enable them to thrive at a higher level. My solution is to quietly pester the board to use our income to further enhance our junior coaching assets so that I can put incoming 15- and 16-year old academy kids straight into the first team squad. That’s probably not sustainable at a much higher level but unless we turn fully professional, I can’t see an alternative strategy. Talking of income, our early gates are looking very healthy. They are all fair-weather fans, however, they aren’t interested in season tickets and numbers substantially fall away after a bad result. With both fans and players, while the sun shines all is good; as soon as the weather changes we’re on a cliff-edge. Such are the vagaries and insecurities of a football manager!
  10. phnompenhandy

    The British Lions' Toothless Roar

    Played Dulwich Hamlet in a pre-season friendly. This absolutely happened Lower League Loveliness
  11. phnompenhandy

    The British Lions' Toothless Roar

    August 2021 Life at Isthmian altitudes began the same way the last two seasons began – an Extra Preliminary Round of the FA Cup. We had to endure hours of concrete and brick wasteland as we wound our way across London to Bedfont to face CB Hounslow United, bizarrely relegated to a level ten South Midlands league. Regardless that our league campaign would start four days later, we didn’t want to humiliate ourselves or begin on a downer, so we set up to dominate the game. And What. A. Game. 2-3 We bombarded their goal from start to finish. They had three shots (four actually; Harding saved a penalty) including a wonder free kick that was bent like Beckham. It was just one of those days – there was always a body or keeper’s glove blocking a shot. In the last five minutes we got two back and were floating a cross into the box for Allison to equalize when the ref blew her whistle. Amy! I’m sure the board will be furious, but on the bright side that relieves our fixture list; already our first midweek tie is postponed as Clacton drew. Bad day, I’m okay. A second August match – favourites Canvey Island - was put back to September due to their FA Cup tie; we might be facing two or three exhausted sides in league clashes with any luck. Our Isthmian league campaign would therefore commence at Witham Town, a place I hate with a passion. It is the site of the only time I’ve been subject to an unprovoked attack – as a teenager, but I’ve never forgotten. My aim to was to leave with three points and burn the place to the ground. Witham opened their account midweek with a defeat, so they’d be tired and depressed. Perfect. Well they do say ‘revenge is a dish best serve cold’. What they don’t say is forty years isn’t cold enough. We were all over them but a combination of poor finishing and inspired goalkeeping did for us although we did salvage a late equalizer for a 1-1 draw. Four days later we were on the road again to what I remember as a child as a village outside Maldon but now has been swallowed up by the town. Wrong bird though, we were playing Heybridge Swifts. I dropped three of the underperformers but the others just got a rest and were pressed back into service. They put on a truly majestic performance. Hart got an early brace which prompted Allison to find his shooting boots to match him in a 4-1 score-line, but it’s the goalkeeper Harding and the defence that deserve special merit. 20-21, we have arrived.
  12. I've been monitoring this. Most weeks when they complain about the specific training program they've actually improved in those very attributes. I just ignore them now.
  13. phnompenhandy

    The British Lions' Toothless Roar

    Allison came back from his hols with quite the ego, slacking off in training (last season he got weekly accolades) and being way below par in some of the friendlies. That wasn't due to the vc as I hadn't sorted that yet. This is the danger - he got what he wanted - key player and nice pay rise; complacency is a danger. Worst of all, he knows I can't afford to slag him. Will be interesting to see how this goes.
  14. phnompenhandy

    The British Lions' Toothless Roar

    I’ve actually got no one with a ‘presence’ in midfield to assert their authority on the game, whereas most of the teams in this division have at least one or two hard men who will terrify our wee boys. I trust snarling Goodall to give as good as he gets, but I fear he’ll be steamrollered by some of the brutes we’ll come up against. The chief tactic will be to hump the ball up to Allison in the micro-second before you get your leg broken and trust him to dance past the defence. Friendlies against lightweight opposition doesn’t tell you much about what to expect in that department, but they did help me realise my asymmetric thing was unnecessary as all I want my full backs to do is lump the ball either down the flanks or into the channels for the strikers to run onto. Keep it simple, eh? St. Albans in the Vanarama South were letting it be known in the press that they might court me, and they duly invited me for an interview. I’m still miffed with the chairwoman/wife cutting my salary after the fortune in wages I’m saving her, but with the foundations I’m putting down here, with the kids I’m bringing through, I couldn’t bear to walk away now. Another job interview was lined up for one of my mediocre coaches. I could have asked him to stay but I was still pursuing Karl Duguid so I stayed schtum. It was worth the wait; I duly got my man. Whilst I introduced him to his backroom team, due to the number of friendlies we were playing, there was actually no time to schedule pre-season training sessions, a point a number of players grumbled about. When you’re a part-time outfit you can’t have it all – choices must be made. Worse is to follow – the schedule gives us two matches per week from the beginning of August relentlessly – cup replays could prove an utter nightmare. Forget training, guys. I get the impression that we’ve reached a level where the game is not going to be so much fun. Gone are the quaint little village teams – in this league there are three or four pleasant small towns, but he rest are based in unattractive conurbations. In addition, as I’ve already alluded to, no longer will we encounter some lazy fat amateurish defender who’ll put a friendly arm around my 16-year-old kids after the match; they’re going to be kicked from pillar to post by thugs who bitterly resent that they never got a professional contract.
  15. phnompenhandy

    The British Lions' Toothless Roar

    Here are all the reserves As you can see, the squad of 32 is very thin and I can’t add anyone until the next academy intake eight months away. At least I’ve tied everyone down to contracts so hopefully no one will leave.