SEASON REVIEW 2071/72
In the past twenty years, we have now won seven Premier League titles, as the Last Generation led us to our second title in last three years. The squad really came together, and from January onwards, we really got going and never looked like we were going to be unseated at the top of the table. At GK, Guest was great once again, and our never-aging DC George Watts continued to lead a strong defensive line that conceded less than a goal a game. The story in the backline, however, had to be the development of fellow DC Bryan Stanford, who – despite his young age – made the move up to be considered a World-Class defender. Our midfield continued to be our strong suit, and the foundation of this current squad, but I cannot discount Knight’s 29 Goals, which were immense in our recapture of the Premier League trophy. We also lifted the FA Cup for the second time in our history – funnily enough, we have yet to lose a Capital One Cup or a FA Cup Finals in our history! We did not fare so well in the Champions League, though, as we crashed out in the Quarter-Finals (again) to Mainz.
Dale Guest (2062), 26 Years Old: The greatest Premier League GK of his generation? It is becoming to look more and more like it, as Guest won his 4th consecutive PL GK of the Year (and 5th overall). This was his 10th season as our starter – he played in 38 Games, registering 0.95 Con/90, 15 Clean Sheets, and 6.82 AR. Yes, his AR always seems on the low side, but when you take into consideration all of his other statistics, and the fact that he commands the No.1 defensive team in the league despite not having the best defenders in front of him, then there can be no doubt about his abilities. He has now been our starter for 5 of our 7 PL titles, and there is also no doubt that he is the greatest Kafra GK of all-time.
Owusu Seidu (2065), 23 Years Old: My coaching staff do not think he will be any better than the 2.5/5 CA they have rated him, but if he continues to give me these kind of seasons with this kind of form, then I won’t care. He played in all 38 Games, registering 4 Assists (career-high), 3.35 TpG, 1.63 DpG, and 7.21 AR, up from 7.06 AR last year. This was his 4th year as a starter, and despite his average abilities he is actually vital to us because we don’t really have anyone of talent that plays the left back position except for him. Thankfully, his last 3 years have been relatively injury-free, and I am hoping next year will be like that, too. Overall, his 7.12 AR for his career is actually quite impressive, and I expect he will keep giving us 7.20+ AR seasons.
Bryan Stanford (2066), 21 Years Old: Watts announced his intention to retire at the beginning of the season, so I really needed Stanford to take that extra step and really show he was capable of leading this back-line after our ageless one called it quits – he did just that. It was not so much his numbers (which were fine) that impressed but rather his tenacity, consistency, and his attribute improvements – he is like the second coming of Watts! Overall, he played in 37 Games, registering 3 Goals, 2.67 TpG, 535 Interceptions (6th in PL), and a career-high 7.13 AR, which earned him his first call-up to the Premier League Select team. He made his debut for England, as well, and is now valued close to £30m – not bad at all for someone so young. The most important thing now going forward is how he will react to being the best player in the back-four, and how he will manage without Watts there to guide him.
Oliver Meyers (2055), 33 Years Old - Career: He has been our starter since the late 2050s, but his prime has definitely been the past 5-6 years. Since taking a more attacking approach, Meyers has flourished, and it has shown in his form. This season was no different, as he played in 33 Games, registering 2.95 TpG, 77% Pass Ratio, 1.43 DpG, and 7.32 AR. I think he has cemented himself as our greatest RB of all-time, surpassing Matthew Johnson and Mikele Burton – simply put, his statistics are better and he has been our starter for 5 of our 7 PL titles. I will start transitioning him out of the starting lineup next season, as I will need to see how capable Prince Collins is, but I will definitely keep him in the rotation and he will probably still be my first choice for the bigger games.
Lee King (2057), 31 Years Old - Career: A sports hernia (4 weeks out) and a sprained ankle (4 weeks out) cut into what was otherwise another fantastic season from the greatest CM in Kafra history, limiting him to only 28 Games. In those matches, however, he registered 5 Goals, 2 Assists, 3.21 TpG, 1.16 DpG, and 7.40 AR, bringing his career average up to 7.34 AR. I will probably see the end of King and Awad’s careers before FM17 comes out, and if anyone is to be associated with the “Last Generation”, it is those two. They turned what was previously one of the least considered positions on the squad into perhaps the most important, as their worth to the squad and our last 5 titles has been immeasurable.
Turki Awad (2058), 31 Years Old - Career: One of the finest DMs in the world today and an England legend, Awad makes up the second half of what has been perhaps the greatest midfield combo in the world for this generation. This season, in 31 Games, he registered 2 Assists, 5.34 TpG, 79% Pass Ratio, 1.22 DpG, and 7.36 AR, which brings his career average up to 7.27 AR. I always thought that Awad never quite lived up to his potential, but the past couple of seasons made me realize he is a highly underrated player who is much more valuable than he seems. Our team plays completely different when he is off the pitch – the fluidity of the whole team becomes a lot stiffer and we seem a lot more exposed at the back. He has 102 Caps for England, so obviously I am not the only one that sees just how valuable he is.
Jason Ziccardi (2064), 24 Years Old: Is he potentially our future greatest CM of all-time? If he keeps playing like this, then there can be no doubt. Already his 7.41 AR for his career is higher than anyone else’s, and he has not even entered the prime of his career yet. This season, he registered 35 Games, 2 Goals, 9 Assists, 4 PoMs, 3.10 TpG, 1.73 DpG, 163 Key Passes (6th in PL), and 7.47 AR – statistically speaking, he was more impressive than both King and Awad, and as such was named in the Premier League Select for the first time of his career. He is obviously going to be the leader at CM in a couple of years as the other two age, but he is already a very valuable member of this squad – between Ziccardi and Al-Thagafi, who came up in the same Youth Intake, it has been the former who has proven to be the greater player despite my coaching staff thinking initially it would be the latter.
Jermaine Ward (2057), 32 Years Old - Career: After a 5-6 peak that rivalled the peak of any player I have had, Ward finally started to show his age and his form suffered drastically. It is the same thing that happened to Nathan Dawson a few years ago – they have such reliance on their pace that when that starts to fade, their form drops. In 32 Games, he registered 6 Goals, 5 Assists, 2.54 TpG, 2.85 DpG, and 7.09 AR – which was a drastic drop from the 7.51 AR of the previous year. I am not worried, though, because we have an absolute stellar prospect in Parker who will transition Ward from starter to rotational player, and I don’t believe the squad will miss a bit – Parker is that good.
Charlie Parker (2066), 21 Years Old: A pure winger, Parker showed this season just how good he potentially could be. He played in 26 Games, registering 8 Goals, 9 Assists, 3 PoMs, 3.16 TpG, 5.26 DpG, 75% Shot Target (Best in PL), and 7.38 AR – all of this while starting in only 10 Games. When he came up from the Youth Academy, he was considered a decent but unspectacular prospect. Now, however, he is easily one of our brightest prospects and considered a vital piece for the future of the team. Starting next season, he will be our defacto starter at left wing as I transition Ward into a rotational player.
Steve Hibbert (2066), 22 Years Old: On this team, Hibbert has become my favorite player, and I really hope I get to witness most of his career before I get into my FM17 save. It was another spectacular season from the youngster – 35 Games, 10 Goals, 20 Assists (Best in PL), 7 PoMs (Best in PL), 1.94 TpG, 6.60 DpG (2nd in PL), and 7.61 AR. Even those crazy numbers were probably his worst of the last three seasons, speaking to just how talented he is. I cannot believe he is still only 22 years old – he won his 2nd English Players’ Player of the Year and was selected to his 3rd straight PL Select team. He has already solidified himself as one of the English national team’s most important players, and I can only imagine what the next few years will bring.
Ali Al-Thagafi (2064), 24 Years Old: The AM pretty much replicated his form last year – 35 Games, 7 Goals, 4 Assists, and 7.12 AR – the exact same numbers as last season. Part of the same Youth Intake as Sean Knight and Jason Ziccardi, Al-Thagafi was initially thought to be the most talented of the three, but stagnant development now has him rated as the least accomplished! Still, all three players have become valuable members of the first team, and Al-Thagafi has given us consistency and solidity at the position since the retirement of the legendary Daniel Friar.
Sean Knight (2064), 24 Years Old: The new Kafra Player of the Year, Knight delivered us an absolute stormer of a season. In 33 Games, he registered 29 Goals (2nd in PL), 7 Assists, 5 PoMs, 3.87 DpG, 53% Shot Target, and 7.67 AR, a career-high and indicative of the type of season Knight had. He was named in the Premier League Select for the first time, and fully deserved it, as he had probably the most impressive season of any PL striker. He has replaced Duncan both at the club and international level, and has become England’s primary weapon up front – 28 Goals and 28 Caps. Officially a World-Class player now, I doubt it will be too long before he is considered a club legend.
Prince Collins (2069), 20 Years Old – Right Back: The future of the right-back position at the club whether we are ready for it or not, he actually played decent in the limited playing time he had. He is a very similar player to Owusu Seidu, who has done fine for us at left-back, so hopefully he will also do well as we transition him to become the starter for us as Meyers enters the twilight of his career.
Alistair Lee (2071), 17 Years Old – Central Midfielder/Attacking Midfielder: He is now considered a 5/5 PA prospect, which of course I take with a grain of salt because my coaching staff seem to throw that judgment around too easily, only to pull back from it as the player ages. Still, Lee is an exciting prospect – he played in 10 Games and showed potential, registering 2 Assists and 7.14 AR. He is capable of playing at either CM or AM, but he seems better suited for the latter.
Daniel Henry (2071), 17 Years Old – Central Midfielder: Much more of a pure CM than his Youth Intake colleague Lee, Henry is rated at 4/5 PA after showing some heavy improvements in his attributes throughout the year. He has yet to make his debut for the club, and I will look to send him out on loan due to the influx of talent I have at the position.
George Watts (2051), Career – Biography: Even Daniel Friar was not such a resoundingly important member of the first team in his final year of football the way Watts was – the 37 year old could probably play one more season at the top level of football if he wanted. Want an incredible athlete – the fact that his career has spanned 22 years without a hitch is monumental. He is the only player to have been a part of every one of our seven PL titles, and the only player to be an important part of every one of every one of my Premier League generations – The Golden Generation, Generation 2.0, and the Last Generation. Easily the best defender that the Kafra Youth Academy has ever produced, he came within 5 games of becoming England’s all-time leader in Caps. An 8 time PL Select team member, many will argue that he is perhaps one of the greatest five CDs in the Premier League this century, and really, I will second that. His importance to us is second to none, and I consider him one of the greatest Kafra players at any position. A legend that will probably be missed more than anyone else.
Nathan Dawson (2053), Career – Biography: The most decorated player in the history of Kafra bar none, Dawson peak was unrivalled by anyone. He had 9 20+ Assists seasons, 3 of which were 30+, and one of which was an insane (and Premier League record) 39 Assists! His career mark of 308 Assists is something I have never seen in any of my FM saves, and his 7.54 AR is amongst the highest of any Kafra player ever. He was a 4-time World Team of the Year selection, the 2057 European Golden Boy recipient, 2x English Young Player of the Year, 2x World Golden Ball runner-up, 2x English Footballer of the Year, World Player of the Year runner-up, and Best Player in Europe award recipient – as you can see, that is a lot of awards. The right winger of his generation, there is no questioning his place in both club, country, and football history.
Callum Rutherford - Tommy Emblen
This is more like it, Louis! We got two good prospects, with Rutherford looking like he could push Knight for the starting spot in a few years. Emblen will challenge Owusu, which is good because left-back has been one of our weakest positions the past few years. After giving us three sub-standard Intakes in a row, legendary left winger now HOYD has put aside all questions about his judgement and delivered us what looks to be like a great Intake.
2072/73 PRESEASON REPORT
With FM17 coming out probably in a week’s time, we have 2 or 3 more seasons at most in this save, so I am just trying to make the most of it. I really want to see what Hibbert will end up doing in his career! Other than that, we should be contenders for the PL title again, but the real aim is to at least advance to the CL Finals one more time!