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About Atarin

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  • Biography
    Married with kids. Support Spurs and the mighty Leyton Orient. When not playing FM, I'm playing Minecraft or reading about politics which is my other great passion. "Workers of the World Unite!"

About Me

  • About Me
    Formerly Teabs.


  • Interests
    Politics. Football. History. Music.

Favourite Team

  • Favourite Team
    Spurs/Leyton Orient

Currently Managing

  • Currently Managing
    North Greenford United

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  1. Cool contribution. I'll be honest, I just go cross-eyed when I look at things like this. Too much information in too small a space, but good stuff none the less.
  2. It most definitely can, I'm a 4-4-2 guy. Bare in mind 4-4-2 can be played a whole range of different ways. As long as you know what sort of players you're going to need for your style then it works just fine. I find that you can have almost any types of players and have it work but its absolutely crucial that you get central midfield right because unless you have someone else supplementing them then they could occasionally find themselves exposed. my perfect balance in central midfield is always one with acceleration, off the ball and passing and one with positioning, aggression and tackling.
  3. Update 22: We began September as we finished August with a comfortable 2-0 victory. This time our opponents were Waltham Abbey. Winger Josh Hutchinson stabbed us ahead after 13 minutes and centre back Dylan Ebengo grabbed his 3rd goal of the season on 86 minutes, rising majestically to head home from a freekick. We followed up with a 3-1 stroll in the park against Westfield. Left back Mekhail McLaughlin got us off to a good start slotting the ball under the keeper from an angle on 5 minutes. Westfield inexplicably equalised after we failed to deal with a very innocuous attack down our left. After giving the boys a rocket at half time they responded with Billy Jones Slamming home on 46 minutes. Chris Wedlake put the icing on the cake with when he ran onto a ball over the top and confidently found the top corner. On the downside midfielder Billy Smart got himself sent off on 71 minutes after a ridiculous two footed challenge. It was another comfortable victory in our next match as we came out 2-1 winners at Cheshunt. Chris Wedlake headed us in front on 4 minutes. Midfielder Perry Ryan doubled our advantage on 44 minutes. Cheshunt hit back on the 55 minute mark but we were able to control the remainder of the game. We managed to complete the signing I'd hinted at an update or two ago. Young goalkeeper Aiden Jennings. I think Jennings is a great prospect and real option should Peace's form dip. I want to be loyal to Peace because he's never let me down but I'm already fairly certain that Jennings is the future and that transition is going to happen sooner or later. If I want to Jennings to develop then it will have to be sooner. Our final opponents of September were 9th placed Carshalton, who started the season as 2nd favourites for the title. The truth is we got what we deserved, which was nothing. There was a general lack of intensity and too many players underperformed. Players aren't machines but consistency is what wins championships. Carshalton took the lead on 4 minutes, Chris Wedlake levelled for us on 13 minutes . Both teams had a host of chances but wasted them until the 68th minute when Carshalton got back in front. We responded on 78 minutes when Chris Flood curled in a fantastic freekick and it looked like we might just get away with a point we scarcely deserved when Carshalton hit us again, this time on 82 minutes after a melee in the box. I had to lay down the law after the game. One or two weren't happy but I demand certain standards to be met. We're in second and still going strong, despite the disappointment against Carshalton. If we can go on another strong run fairly quickly then the points will start to pile up and we should get a bit of a cushion. I am still incredibly confident. That's September wrapped up, I hope you can join me for the October update, which will be coming very soon. C'mon you Blues!
  4. No, the plan is to take North Greenford United to the Premier League. I generally don't have the patience to play saves that long. After three or four season I usually get the itch to start all over again, but this time I'm going to try really hard to stick at it and get this club to the very top. Clubs can come in for me, I'll just politely decline. There'll be other saves to climb the ladder with different clubs.
  5. Update 21: Pre-Season was out of the way. The bulk of our recruitment had been done. Now it was time to get to work. I've been given a wage budget of £2,664 which is over a £1000 more than it was. With our finances looking a little sketchy, I'm wondering where they're finding this extra cash. The boards expectations are for a mid-table finish, I decided to play it safe and agree with them. The player's on the other hand were more ambitious and so I told them we were aiming for the play-offs and they were very supportive. I'm not concerned, I genuinely think we've got a chance at automatic promotion. Qualifying for the play-offs is the minimum I expect. We made two more signings before the first game of the season. 19 year old winger Mike Lam who is someone we can maybe develop, he's another left footed that can, and will, be deployed from either wing. Josh Hutchinson and Chris Flood are first choice, Paul Taylor is 1st backup and Lam will be behind him. It just gives us that little but more depth. The second signing is another 19 year old, the the versatile KJ Osu. Osu could develop into a decent box to box, goal scoring midfielder and he's pretty much two-footed so there's the possibility of him covering both fullback positions. Down to business... We started the season with an absolute sickener. Stowmarket, despite being big favourites and predicted to finish 2nd, were extremely defensive. We totally dominated them, creating chance after chance without managing to take one. The inevitable happened and on 86 minutes they managed to convert from a corner when new boy Anthony Furlonge lost his man at the far post. Stowmarket's 92nd clincher was from a counter as we chased the game. It flattered them big time. We got back to winning ways immediately though, winning our very next game against Tooting & Mitcham. Again, it was a game we dominated with Tooting sitting back and soaking up pressure. Chris Wedlake broke the deadlock on 44 minutes and with Tooting rattled Billy Jones scored with a clinical effort from inside the box into first half injury time. It looked like we were going to cruise to victory until a simple ball down the middle carved us open, our usually super reliable centre half Dylan Ebengo went to sleep and their striker strode through for a one v one with keeper Sam Peace and calmly finished. We were good for the 3 points though. Back on track. We're still not back to our sharpest but we're improving. Potters Bar didn't cause us any problems. We ran out comfortable 2-0 winners with, first, Billy Jones tapping in a close range effort on 5 minutes and then Callum McNaughton rising highest to power in a header from a freekick on 67 minutes. Chipstead were the next side to be swept aside by the blue tidal wave. Dylan Ebengo powered home a header to give us the lead on 44 minutes and 2 minutes later Chris Wedlake blasted a volley into the top corner to make it 2-0. That was how it stayed. It was a similar fate for Molesey who were dispatched with a now familar 2-0 scoreline. Billy Jones scored from a trademark powerful header on 9 minutes and Dylan Ebengo rounded out the scoring with a similar finish on 50 minutes. We were comfortable throughout. Apart from the harsh result in the first game we've been very consistent. 4 wins out of 5, 4 straight wins... Its early days but we're looking good and we've not really hit our stride yet. Tables are meaningless at this stage but this is how things are shaping up after 5 games. With August wrapped up I completed by coaching course. Knowing the board tended to respond more positively when our form was good I chanced my arm and asked to be allowed to start the next qualification immediately. They happily agreed, and I'm well on my way up the coaching ladder. This is how I'm shaping up... Its a case of so far, so good in my career I'd have to say. Onwards and upwards. Bring on September, I'm ready for ya! Thanks for reading and I hope to see you back here for the next North Greenford United update.
  6. Update 20: Pre-season 2020/21 is done. Our results looked like this... Performance wise it was what you would expect, rusty but decent. The Charlton and Brentford games brought in some much needed money. The only downside to pre-season was that we lost Tanasheh Abrahams and Billy Jones early and they missed most of the games. Both are back training but lacking in match fitness. The media have predicted that we'll finish 8th, which isn't bad considering we were among the favourites for the drop last season. I'd be utterly disgusted if we fail to match last season's top 4 finish at the very least. As I said, the finances are looking a lot better than they were at the end of last season. I was given a very generous wage budget which, of which there is still plenty left. Speaking of the wage budget, this was our transfer business. I tried to really bring in some top quality but it wasn't really possible. We're still being routinely turned down by players that would take us to the next level. We've had to be smart. Some signings are short term, some are longer term but all have been brought in with a purpose. The outgoing transfers highlighted in red were players signed this transfer window but deemed not good enough and so released without having played a game. Its not ideal as it affects my player loyalty rating but without reliable scouts or much of a scouting budget I don't have many options. Max Wood you met at the tail end of last season. Our first proper signing this summer was right back Anthony Furlonge. He's a small improvement on Michael Kamara but is significantly taller and should help us from set-pieces situations. Michael Kamara is demoted to back up right back. Next we signed Paul Taylor, like Max Wood, a player I've been trying to bring in for 3 years. We finally got him. He's a left winger with a decent right foot who will cover both wing positions. He's an excellent prospect that I have high hopes for. Replacing the released Ricardo Joseph at left back is Mekhail McLaughlin. Left back was a position we really needed to strengthen and we have, but not by much. I tried so hard to bring in a significant upgrade but it just hasn't been possible. The hunt will go on. We needed beefing up in the centre of midfield and in Billy Smart we've added decent cover for midfield destroyer Nazron Sawyers. Smart is an upgrade on the released Ben Butler but only a short term one. Peter Arnold is a youngster I brought in as goalkeeping cover for first choice Sam Peace. He is a mixed bag and may end up on the scrap heap fairly soon as we've finally made progress in negotiations with a very good young keeper who could even replace Sam sooner rather than later. We've got Dylan Ebengo & Callum McNaughton as our first choice centre halves, Max Wood was always going to be 1st backup but I wanted a bit more depth. How do you bring in a competent defender who's willing to be 4th choice? You bring in another youngster, not quite as rated as Max Wood but still will heaps of potential and that's what we got in Luke Evans. Yes he's raw but I love his aggression, positioning, acceleration, agility, balance, jumping reach and natural fitness. There's also much to like about his anticipation and decisions. We can definitely work with that and may even end up with a quality defender at the end of it. One of our most important signings has got to be Perry Ryan. We only ever signed Tanasheh Abrahams last season as cover and he ended up playing over 20 games, including our short play-off run. That was a sign of our lack of depth in that area. One of the major tasks for the summer was to find a player who could contribute goals from midfield. They still had to be able to do all the other things you want a central midfielder in a midfield 2 to do. It wasn't easy but we managed to find Perry Ryan and he is as close as we're going to get to that player. Our final signing to discuss, and by no means the least important, is a player you will all know well. He's a player we had on loan last season, and the season before that. I give you Chris Wedlake, now in his 3rd season-long loan with us. Can he better his 26 goals from last season? I intend to give him every opportunity to do just that. A brief word about those we let go... Aaron Tumwa was released during our ill-fated play-off run, as you know. veteran midfield playmaker David Hicks had run out of gas and was right to retire, he'd been out of our first team squad for a while. Left back Ricardo Joseph played over 30 games for us last season and was never more than barely adequate. At 33 there wasn't much hope of him improving. Ball winner Ben Butler signed for us last summer and started off with a bang, putting in some stellar performance but suspension forced him out of the side and we was never really the same after that. He turns 33 shortly, so again, probably the right time to move on. Jordan kelly, Jamie Farrell and Francis Udoh were young reserves that weren't going to make the grade. A number of other youth players and young reserves also left this summer. You might recognise the names of George Birch, who played over 30 games for us at left back in my first season and Hayden Friar who had a brief spell in the side early last season. None of the above were going to make it here. That leaves the squad looking a little something like this... Bare in mind Billy Jones will be first choice and Casey Eoin back up. Jones just needs a bit more easing back in before he's ready. That about wraps up the pre-season review. The next update will be for August and will take in the first month of the season. Its a busy period as we have 5 games that month. Thanks for reading and I hope to see you then.
  7. Update 19: The crucial month of April started with a routine win against 7th placed Swindon Supermarine. Swindon actually took the lead after an awful headed backpass by rightback Michael Kamara but we levelled on 13 minutes. The goal came in bizarre fashion when a clipped pass was headed backwards and over tje keepers head by Chris Wedlake. Billy Jones finished off a slick move with a tap in at the far post to put us into the lead and Chris Wedlake put the gloss on the performance with a sledgehammer of a striker from the edge of the box, which took him to 22 league goals for the season. The victory against Swindon kept us in 4th, still 1 point above Chipstead and Potters Bar in 5th & 6th. We also have a +2 goal difference over Chipstead and a +3 goal difference against Potters Bar which might not be much but it could be the difference between success and failure. 14th placed Waltham Abbey was another game ticked off. We ran out very comfortable 2-0 winners. Our strikers Billy Jones and Chris Wedlake popping up with the goals. Waltham Abbey were another one of those teams playing 4-2DM-3-1 where they packed the central area around their goal and hoped to hit us on the break with 4 forwards. It took us a good 30 minutes of grinding them down before we broke the deadlock. After that they seemed to lose their confidence and it was only a matter of time until we added the crucial 2nd. The goal came on the 53 minute mark and after that it was pretty plain sailing. With that win the play-off spots began to take shape. The top 3 were set. We were in 4th with 62 points. Chipstead were tucked in just behind us, in the final play-off spot, on 61 points. Potters Bar were a couple of points behind on 59 points and behind them were Swindon Supermarine on 58. Our goal difference over Potters Bar was now a very healthy +5. In transfer news young winger Billy Barden accepted a deal elsewhere. He'd been told he was getting released at the end of the season so it was no big deal. A slight concern is that young midfielder Nazron Sawyers is starting to get a bit of a big head. We've already spoken about his bad attitude when his peformances were criticised. Clubs are starting to take an interest in him and to head off that interest I tried to offer him a new deal. He felt he deserved to be a key player and one of our top earners. I disagree, especially if we go up this season. I've given him a lot of football this year and he has definitely developed nicely but I don't believe he's ready to be our lynchpin in our team yet. It was the same score and a similar performance in the penultimate game of the season against 19th placed Street. Our opponents played the 4-2DM-3-1 and sat deep but they were no match for us. Wedlake broke the deadlock on 11 minutes and substitute Reece Grant slammed in a 2nd on 73 minutes. We were never in any danger. 5th placed Chipstead suffered a 4-0 hammering at league leaders Hertford meaning we had officially secured a play-of place. We had an unassailable 4 point & +7 goal difference over them. Whoever out of Chipstead and Swindon Supermarine got the better result on the final day would make up the play-off line-up. If both results were the same then Chipstead would advance because of their far superior goal difference. We finished off the regular season with a very comfortable win at FC Romania. The biggest challenge we faced on the day was complacency. The lads knew the game was meaningless and found it difficult to focus, particularly Nazron Sawyers. Dylan Ebengo got us stated with a header from a set-piece on 38 minutes. Chris Wedlake wrapped up the points with goals on 44m and 66m. A minute later our complacency came back to sploil our cleans sheet when a raking pass split our centre backs and the Romania striker slotted home. There was never any danger of a comeback. We already knew we had qualified for the play-offs but it was nice to end up closer to Carshalton in 3rd than Swindon Supermarine in 5th. If we could have closed the point gap with them it would have been us in 3rd as our goal difference was superior, our +26 to their +19. Knowing that my stock was high I decided now was the time to return to the board and ask them to send me on a coaching course. They happily agreed so I continue my personal development by acquiring a National B Licence. I tied up key members of my staff for next season and have made some improvements, replacing my retiring goalkeeping coach, my chief scout and a regular scout. Teams were already starting to make signings which is not something we could really do because we didn't know what division we were going to be in or what our budget was going to be. There was pretty much a full months break between the last game of the regular season and the start of the play-offs. I decided not to play any friendlies, didn't want any injuries. The play-off system is a bit long-winded. 28 teams qualify from all of the divisions at this level. 16 teams are drawn in a quarter-final. 8 teams advance where they face 8 new teams in 16 semi-final games. 8 teams advance and two new teams are added where they play in five finals with 5 teams gaining promotion. Like I said, long-winded. I'm surprised it took this long but as we headed into the play-offs backup defender Aaron Tumwa complained about his lack of first team football. He only had 9 starts this season. The problem is his legs have gone and he just isn't good enough any more. I told him to wait but he wasn't happy so we agreed he could go. The problem was that we didn't have any cover for centre back. We'd have to hope and pray that Dylan Ebengo and Callum McNaughton could remain injury free until the end of the season. The first leg against Stamford wasn't quite a catastrophe but it wasn't far off. We were dreadful. Stamford looked exceptional. They played a very compact 4-4-1-1 but unlike our previous negative opponents Stamford had a quality target man and extremely solid defenders. We had a couple of chances but we wasted them. At 1-0 we were still in it but 2-0 down was a huge ask. It was going to take an absolutely incredible performance to take us through to the next round. With Aaron Tumwa gone we needed a new centre back but finding one that could take the place of regulars Dylan Ebengo and Callum McNaughton was always a tall order so rather than bring in a has been I decided to go down the hot prospect route. I'd been trying to bring in Max Wood since day one but we finally got him and not a moment too soon. He is definitely a work in progress but then so was Dylan Ebengo when we brought him in and look at him now. Undroppable. The second leg could not have started better. Tanashah Abrahams seized on a loose ball on the edge of the Stamford box and smashed a shot into the far corner. We were back in it! On the 8 minute mark we struck again. Billy Jones this time clinically finishing of a great move down the right. On 15 minutes we were in dreamland as Billy Jones added our third, his towering leap took him above the Stamford defenders to head in Chris Flood's floated cross. 3-0 on the day, 3-2 up on aggregate. Incredible stuff. We spent the rest of the first half camped in Stamford's half peppering their goal with shots. The 2nd half started in the worst possible way. Stamford looked more up for it and scored from a freekick on 48 minutes. We needed to re-find our aggression and quickly. We didn't and they added their 2nd of the game from a corner (another damn set-piece!) putting us a goal behind in on aggregate. We were now chasing the game again. On 64 minutes Stamford scored again from, you guessed it, a corner. Things were looking bleak. Billy Jones gave us hope on 73 minutes we he powered in a header at the far post from a Chris Flood cross but we were unable to find the goal that would have sent the tie to extra time. The game ended 4-3 to us. Over the two legs were weren't good enough. I'll be honest, I'm very disappointed. At the beginning of the season I thought promotion was completely out of the question, so in a way I can't be too gutted but to get that close hurts, especially as we didn't give our best. We'll be back next season, the first team will be stronger. We'll have more depth and I'll be setting a target of automatic promotion. Its ambitious but given what we achieved in the second half of the season I am quietly confident. We're only three or four good signings away from being an excellent side. As you see in the post season stats coming up it was the first half of the season that killed us. We took too long to find our feet, bring players in etc. I'll be trying to get things in place much quicker this summer, plus we have a far better core to work with. ...And for those interested here's the stat attack. Thanks for reading this loooooong post and I hope to see you back here for episode 20 where I'll go over our pre-season and summer dealings.
  8. Update 18: AFC Dunstable were rock bottom of the table as we faced them so you could have been forgiven for expecting a cricket score. It didn't pan out like that. Dunstable were parking the bus and we found it extremely difficult to cut through them. We tried attacking them, we tried inviting them on to us but neither gave us the clear cut opening that we were hoping for. Both our strikers missed multiple oppertunities although I'm not sure any of them could be called clear cut. Eventually I threw on some attacking subs and hoped for the best but it was actually one of our defenders who broke the deadlock. On 88 minutes we had a freekick deep into Dunstable's half and Dylan Ebengo was up but instead of us going the aerial route the ball was played out to him on the edge of the box where he curled it around the mass of defenders on the penalty spot and it nestled inside the far post. The relief was palpable. To have dropped points here would have been incredibly demoralising. The promotion push rumbled on. Following the Dunstable game we made a big staff appointment. Wayne Boud has agreed to become Assistant Manager and Head of Youth Development. Boud succeeds Jason Crowe as Ass Man and is a huge upgrade. We didn't have a HoYD and Boud should do a terrific job with his excellent scouting abilities. 8th placed Buckland were swept aside with Billy Jones bagging a double and Chris Wedlake grabbing a 3rd. Whilst the score was still 1-0 Buckland had their right back sent off. They pulled a goal back on 86 minutes when a youngster I'd brought off the bench lost his man at a corner but despite that we saw out the game very comfortably. As I've said before I hate it when a player doesn't take criticism and throws it back in my face. I had to warn young midfielder Nazron Sawyers, who's played a lot of games this season, that his form a dipped and he responded badly. I'm in a conundrum, do I drop him and if so for who? We don't have much quality behind him. Or do I leave him in the side and hope that he improves? This why a manager gets paid his money. Next up was a massive 6 pointer against 4th placed Chipstead and despite being big underdogs we managed to win comfortably. Chipstead scored after only 3 minutes and I feared the worst but we fought back with Chris Wedlake grabbing a lethal hattrick, scoring on 20, 45+2 and 76 minutes to take a huge step towards the play-offs. With one game left in March we found ourselves sat 4th in the table but with only 1 point between us and 6th placed North Leigh. Rugby (1st) and Hertford (2nd) had both wrapped up play-off places at the very least and Carshalton (3rd) weren't far from doing the same, having a 5 point lead on us. However Carshalton were who we were facing next, so another massive 6 pointer which could have a massive impact on the final placings. Anything less than a win would be a big set-back this close to the end of the season. We completely dominated the opening 20 minutes against Carshalton, who looked quite poor and one dimensional - sit deep and hit it up to the big man and hope for the best. On 21 minutes the ball broke to the Carshalton striker in the box after a knock down and he buried it into the top right hand corner. We kept playing our game and eventually, into first half injury time, we returned the favour. Billy Jones nodded down a long ball for Chris Wedlake, who carried the ball forward before slotting it past the exposed keeper. The second half was a non-event. Both sides lacked quality and looked exhausted. It looked like the game was petering out until a defensive calamity gifted all 3 points to Carshalton. A defender hoofed the ball from one end of the pitch to the other and Callum McNaughton had time and space to deal with it. Instead McNaughton wanted the keeper to come out miles form his goal to deal with it. While the two of them talked it out Carshalton's striker strolled past them and knocked the ball into the net. Absolutely gutting. Somehow after that nonsense in the Carshalton game we still found ourselves in 4th, still with a point lead over 5th and 6th. Carshalton in 3rd were long gone with an 8 point lead which would be a miracle if we clawed it back with just 4 games to go. And what are those 4 games? Let's take a look. First we face Swindon Supermarine who sit in 7th, then we play 13th placed Waltham Abbey, following that we play Street who are second bottom (19th) and we finish the season off against FC Romania who are languishing in 16th. You'd be expecting to win all of them and that has to be our aim. No ifs. No buts. 12 points are on offer. 12 points are what I want. Win all of our games and we're in the play-offs, guaranteed. Thanks for reading and I hope to see you back here for update 19, which will take us all the way to the end of the season...it could be 4 games but hopefully 7!
  9. Update 17: January started with a 3-2 victory over Molesey. The score definitely flattered Moseley who, in truth, created very little. They were awarded a penalty after 6 minutes, from which they scored and they immediately went on the defensive. We worked very hard to draw level through Chris Wedlake and added a second, to take the lead, on the stroke of halftime from Dylan Ebengo. On 55 minutes striker Billy Jones netted our third and it looked like plain sailing but almost immediately Molesey hit back, scoring after a scramble in the box following a set-piece. We held on though and kept those runs going. We only had a couple of days to prepare for North Leigh, the team occupying the last play-off spot, but it didn't seem to matter as we thrashed them 3-0. We raced into a 2-0 lead after 10 minutes with goals from strikers Chris Wedlake and Billy Jones, Wedlake finished the rout after 56 minutes. It was an incredible performance, despite the obvious tiredness the squad were feeling. Morale was incredibly high as we extended our run of victories to 8 and our unbeaten run to 9. Another short turn around and we were back in action, this time against 2nd placed Hertford. We managed to grab a creditable 2-2 draw. We weren't at our best that's for sure but still managed to edge ahead when Josh Hutchinson cut inside and snuck a shot inside the near post. Hertford levelled in first half injury time and took the lead after the break after an spectacular hit from outside the box. As I said we weren't at our best and we weren't getting enough shots on target but thankfully a Hertford defender tripped Billy Jones in the box allowing defender Michael Kamara to step up and bury the penalty to draw the score level. Both teams tried to find a winner but without creating any clear cut chances. With a week between the Hertford and Yate games we were able to go in reasonably fresh. We played yate at a good time as their form had really tailed off, they had 1 point from their previous 3 fixtures and we offered them no respite as we stormed into a 3 goal lead. Chris Wedlake added his 14th and 15th goals of the season on 6 and then 15 minutes. Defender Callum McNaughton headed in a 3rd from a corner. We looked by far the more dangerous team throughout and should have bagged more but our clinical finishing deserted us. Yate grabbed a consolation goal on 86 minutes but we still had enough time to reestablish our 3 goal lead when substitute Reece Grant powered through Yates beleaguered defence and smashed home our 4th. With that victory we stretched our incredible unbeaten run to 11 and found ourselves, beyond our wildest expectations, in 6th, 1 point outside of the play-off places. Automatic promotion was out of the question as Rugby had an 18 point lead on us and speaking of Rugby, they were up next. I nearly made myself cry after making what could have been a very costly mistake. Every time a club offers a contract to one of my better players I offer them a new contract to convince them to stay. Well, a couple of clubs offered out star defender Dylan Ebengo a deal. I opened negotiations as I always do but unfortunately got distracted and accidentally walked away from negotiations, upsetting Dylan and making it impossible to restart them. I had a very nervous few minutes while I waited to see what Ebengo would decide to do. Thankfully he opted to stay. I don't need to tell you how disastrous it would have been had he left. We met this years new youth intake this month. There's a couple of lads in there that might develop quite nicely, for example the ludicrously named Ken Bird and Dylan Thomas, but no one that will blaze straight into the first team. Controversy. That's the word that sums up the Rugby game. Both sides were evenly matched and played an attacking game from the outset. It was end to end stuff but both defences held firm. As the game headed deep into injury time it looked for all the world like we'd have to share the points but then in "Fergie time" there was a scramble in our box and the Rugby striker managed to stab it home. There were serious question asked of the official after the game. The goal was recorded as having been scored in very nearly the 6th minute of injury time when only 4 had been indicated. To say I wasn't best pleased would be an understatement. in fact completely disgusted with the match official would be more accurate. With friends like that no wonder Rugby are flying away at the top of the table. With Rugby ending our unbeaten run at a hugely impressive 11 games the Bedfont Sports match offered us the opportunity to get straight back to winning ways. We didn't take it. We roared into a two goal lead only for Bedfont to grab a goal back as the referee was about to put the whistle to his lips to blow for halftime. On 69 minutes Josh Hutchinson restored our 2 goal lead to make it 3-1 but our energy and application noticeably dropped. Bedfont looked increasingly confident and grabbed a goal back in the 78th minute and kept coming, grabbing an equaliser a minute later. We looked shell shocked and it was about to get worse. In the first minute of injury time Bedfont raced forward and their striker blasted the ball past Sam Peace in our goal to put them in the lead for the first time. I was absolutely fuming. We'd actually moved into the play-off spots before the comeback. I shouted from the sidelines for the lads to push forward and it seemed to shake off the cobwebs because push forward we did and substitute Reece Grant rose to head in a freekick and draw us level. We pushed for another one but there just wasn't time. A really disappointing collapse, result and performance. We brought it on ourselves. And on that slightly deflated note we draw a very, very long February to a close. It was a gruelling month with some terrific performances and some excellent results. Its just a shame that luck abandoned us against Rugby and our mindset let us down when we had a chance to really make a statement and push for the play-offs against Bedfont. We sit in 8th just 2 points off of 5th. Just two months of football remain. 8 Fixtures. Four home, four away. 24 points are on offer. March, where we face three of the top 6, is a lot tougher than April, where we play 3 games against bottom half opponents. If we can stay in the hunt over March then we're in with a decent shot. Thanks for reading and I hope to see you back here for more North Greenford United news in update 18.
  10. Update 16: We started 2020 with a fantastic result away at Potters Bar, beating them 3-1, although I have no earthly idea how we did it. They had over 60% of possession and had stupendous amounts of chances but we defended like lions, throwing our bodies in the way. All of our goals were scored on the break away and it was the pacey Chris Wedlake who was on target each time to bag what I think is his first hattrick for the club. Potters Bar had been awarded a very dubious penalty with the score 2-0 and I feared we were going to throw two points away again but we held on and not only that hit them for a third. I was absolutely delighted with the performance and the result and we extend our winning run to 4 games and our unbeaten run to 5. Following the Potters Bar game we released playmaker Jack Richards. He wasn't featuring for the first team, he was on decent money and his potential had been steadily declining so it made sense to cut our losses. Following that fullback Marc Weatherstone complained about not playing enough. The fact is when he did play he was poor. We talked it out but couldn't resolve it so we agreed he should leave. He did. It does cause a problem though as we're now critically short of right backs. There is a young kid in the U18s who has a tiny bit of potential but I don't know whether to take the risk on him. In personal news the board approached me about a new contract. I did try to wrestle some training ground improvements out of them but they weren't budging so I accepted the deal on offer which ties me down for another year. I also tried to get them to agree to send me on a coaching course but, again, they refused. We had 4 games in the month of January and 5 in February but 2 postponements meant we spent three of the weeks of January without a game. The final week of January had to two games squeezed in and then February was going to be a hellacious month with 6 fixtures, mostly three days apart. That was going to put an almighty strain on the squad. You wouldn't think a 1-0 win against a team in the lower reaches of the table would be one of my more satisfying results and performances but it absolutely was. Ware were a very stubborn opponent and extremely hard to break down. It was the sort of game that can easily slip away from you and in the past has, but we kept at it and got the goal we deserved when Dylan Ebengo headed in a corner. We handled the remainder of the game extremely well, sitting deep, letting them come to us before hitting them on the counter with our pace. The only slight negative was Josh Hutchinson picked up a knock and had to come off but he shouldn't miss any football. It was a real struggle against Tooting & Mitcham in the first of our 2 games in hand. Tooting were sitting deep and playing for a 0-0 but on the stroke of half time we managed to batter down the door when striker Billy Jones rose highest in the six-yard-box to power in a header. Frustratingly Tooting got a goal back on 68 minutes. With only two days rest we looked very tired and our opponents took advantage hemming us in. We made a couple of changes, both personal and tactical and we started to dominate again. We were handed a slice of good luck when, having used all of their subs, Tooting lost a player to injury. The extra man allowed us to stretch them and Chris Wedlake popped up with a terrific strike to claim the 3 points our performance deserved on the 90th minute. Because of weather it was a very truncate month, fixture wise but we navigated it as well as could be hoped. 3 wins from 3 was what we wanted from 3 winnable fixtures and that's what we got. We're now on a 7 game unbeaten run and a 6 game winning run. The table makes very satisfying reading given our early season struggles. I'm not getting carried away but it hasn't escaped my notice that we're only 7 points off of a play-off spot. A brief preview of February highlights why I'm not getting carried away... We play 4 of the top 5. We start off at home to 13th placed Moseley, follow it up with another home game, this time against North Leigh. Next we're away to 2nd placed Hertford, followed by an away game against 4th placed Yate. After that we've got a home game against top of the table Rugby and we finish the month with at home to 12th placed Bedfont Sports. We've got to be looking to take something from Moseley and Bedfont because the games against North Leigh, Hertford, Yate and Rugby are going to be really, really tough. Thanks for reading and I hope to see you for update 17.
  11. Update 15: With the bruises from November still sore we headed into the Christmas period where, at least on paper, the fixtures were a little kinder. FC Romania were 13th, Street 17th, Chalfont 12th and Westfield 18th. It may have been ambitious but I set the goal of securing at least 8 points from the 12 on offer. On the transfer front fullback and club captain John Kyriacou left for pastures new. He'd slipped down the pecking order despite being a really important influence on the squad. The choice of new captain wasn't easy as we don't have a natural successor. In the end goalkeeper Sam Peace took the job with Callum McNaughton acting as VC. Neither are perfect and a new candidate for captain is definitely on the list of things upcoming tasks. On December the 3rd I had a career first. University College Dublin approached me for a job interview. I'm sticking with North Greenford throughout my career so I'll politely dicline but I am definitely flattered. We began with a valuable point against FC Romania, which put an end to the horrible run of defeats. We started out very defensive but concede after just 5 minutes. We stuck to the gameplan for a good 60 minutes and created a number of good chances for striker Chris Wedlake but the youngster continued his poor form in front of goal. With thirty minutes left we pushed forward, trying to exploit the wide areas and we managed to get a goal back. Striker Billy Jones netted on 76 minutes. We dominated the remainder of the game without managaging to find that all important second goal. We secured the signing of winger Chris Flood. He'll be thrown into action almost immediately as I'm extremely dissatisfied with our current options on the left wing. We followed up our encouraging performance against Romania with an emphatic 3-0 victory away against Street. Chris Wedlake found the net after being played in behind with a peach of a pass by Josh Hutchinson. It took us until the 84 minutes before put the game to bed with penalties from David Hicks and Teddy Nesbitt both for fouls on substitute striker Reece Grant. That took us to the midway point of the season. We kept the momentum going against Chalfont St. Peter with another impressive victory, this time coming from a goal down to win 2-1. Chalfont's goal was extremely fortunate, they scored after being awarded what looked like a very dubious penalty on 55 minutes. We huffed and puffed but when chances came along we wasted them with striker Billy Jones being particularly guilty. Eventually we broke them down and Wedlake bagged a brace, the first on 75 minutes and the eventual winner on 79. Tactical it was a game of cat and mouse with both myself and my opposite number trying to outmanoeuvre the other. We even had opportunities to bury the game late on when Wedlake spurned the opportunity to claim the match ball after fluffing his lines from the penalty spot. We rounded December off with a convincing win at home against strugglers Westfield. Striker Billy Jones got us off to a good start after 19 minutes. Tanasheh Abrahams doubled our lead on the stroke of half-time. Chris Wedlake stretched our advantage on 53 minutes and Reece Grant came off the bench to add a 4th on 80 minutes. I was slightly disappointed that we lost our focus towards the end and allowed Westfield to rob us of our clean sheet. Can't get distracted by that though terrific result. So, that was December. The perfect antidote to our miserable November. It was an easier run of fixtures, no doubt, but I'd also credit the arrival of Chris Flood with our up turn in form. The left winger has made so much difference. He can pass, cross, he knows how to find space, he's got good vision and makes good decisions.etc He's a huge upgrade on what we had before. We managed to do better than my target of 8 points from 12 by bagging a magnificent 10! Those 10 points see us finish 2019 in 12th spot. Onwards and upwards. Thanks for reading and I hope to see you back here for update 16.
  12. This is my backline from right to left.... My centre backs aren't hugely tall but they're not small either. I'm generally happy with them from open play. Ebengo is the standout defender. His mentals might not be anything to write home about but his physicals are outstanding for this level and he's a decent tackler and I love his level of aggression. He snuffs out most opposition attacks. McNaughton is clearly not up to much but he's the best we're currently able to attract. The fullbacks are, again, the best we can find at the moment. As to your point about height, its a fair point and if I could find a 6'6 central defender with positioning, anticipation, concentration, bravery, aggression and strength above 7 then I'd seriously consider it but I haven't. And my defensive set-pieces look like this... Corner: Direct Free Kick Direct (small chance) Wide routine Deep routine
  13. Update 14: Yeh. Just let that sink in. Our game against Carshalton was one of those days at the office that you just want to forget. We went down 3-0 but it was so much worse than that. Our performance was dreadful. Playmaker David Hicks suffered a pulled hamstring and misses 3 weeks. Left winger Eddie Skerry suffered a twisted ankle and will miss 5 weeks. Ball winner Ben Butler got himself sent off and left back Ricardo Joseph who had been whinging about wanting a chance in the first team came in and delivered a truly diabolical performance, finishing with a rating of 5.8. There were no positives to take from this game what-so ever. By the end of my post-match team talk there were no teacups left un-smashed. With the squad depleted I was forced into making a couple of signings. To cover us in midfield I recruited Tanasheh Abrahams, another one of those ex-Tottenham U16s I can draw upon. He's okay but little more. I also took the opportunity to bring in target man Billy Jones. he's got good physicals, good finishing, excellent aggression and work rate and useful determination. At 6'2 he could be a useful option to have. We also finally got Alexander Falconer, that winger we signed about a year ago that couldn't be completed for some reason. Well he's here now and as you can see, it was well worth the wait. (You can't see me but I'm rolling my eyes). Falconer was released shortly after arriving. Second game of the month and its the same old story. We went ahead got pegged back a few minutes later after some diabolical defending. We looked relatively comfortable after that and should have wrapped up a very decent away point only to give away a goal from a set-piece on 84 minutes to walk away with nothing. True, we were decimated by injury and suspension but still... We can't keep throwing away points at the end of games. Now behind Billy Jones, Eoin Casey and Chris Wedlake in the striker position George Booker and Ellis Remy were released from their contracts. Incoming was striker Reece Grant who will provide a bit of back up for Chris Wedlake's pace. Going into the Swindon game I decided Eoin Casey needed to be dropped. He'd had enough chances and just wasn't delivering. It created an interesing problem though. Who would replace him. In the end I opted to go a different route from the converted big man and instead threw in the languid playmaker Jack Richards in the hope that he could thread passes into the channels for Wedlake, Hutchinson and Barden to run onto with their pace. Barden is an U18 left winger who has been on the bench a lot due to a lack of depth. With Skerry out injured I've been forced to give him a run in the side and the results have not been pretty. He's absolute dross. Quick as anything but no talent what so ever. Difficult to really understand the result against Swindon. For large parts of the game it felt like it it was only a matter of time until the goals started to come but we just never really managed to create a really good opening. Far too many times Chris Wedlake ran into cul-de-sacs or got caught offside. Both of Swindon's goals were the result of set-pieces, which is another reoccurring theme of our season. Our consolation goal was scored by McNaughton from a corner in the 5th minute of injury time. A third defeat in a row that heaped massive pressure on us for the last game of November. Getting something from that game had become absolutely imperative. If 3 defeats in a row is a crisis what on earth do you call 4? We went into the Waltham Abbey game with one objective and one objective only. To not lose the game and you know what they say? If you don't concede then you can't lose the game so we set up ultra defensively. We defended fantastically well for the first 60 odd minutes but ultimately we couldn't keep them out. There's not a lot you can say to your players after that. We played pretty well. We just weren't good enough. Story of our season. ...and with that we put an utterly miserable November in the rear view mirror. 12 points on offer, zero points secured. Every single opponent was noticeably quicker, more powerful, more clinical and just plain better than us. Wish us luck, and may god have mercy on our souls.
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