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176 "Just keep swimming"

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  1. Any mention of Big Sam is enough to get my attention. 100% win record with England! Good luck.
  2. Good to see a new save up and underway, congrats on the very quick first success. One thing I like to keep track of for my youth players is a top ten for most games, goals, assists, etc., updated at the end of each season. I've hidden an example below. That being said, I am doing a 'normal' save rather than youth only, so it's easier to track the few players that break through rather than a whole squad of them.
  3. 2027/28 - Part 5 Tactic I made an adjustment to my tactic at the start of the season, pushing forward an attacking midfielder (shadow striker) into a striker (false nine) instead. Whether this was the difference-maker or not I don't know, but I hope it was. The team below is what I consider my strongest side to be at the end of the season, and is also the XI that won the FA Cup final. --------------------------------- Player Performance At the start of the season Faustino Anjorin wasn't a first-choice player, but he constantly did well off the bench and ended up having a great year and being our top scorer. Pedro Sartori was the top creator and player of the season for a second time. Hangman Page (24a) had a real breakthrough year and is now listed as a wonderkid. Wardlow (21b) scored fewer goals, but was still very important to us, and also made his England debut, scoring seven times in his first eight caps. Faustino Anjorin -- Pedro Sartori -- Hangman Page (24a) -- Wardlow (21b) ---------------------------------
  4. 2027/28 - Part 4 History Our best ever league finish, a first trophy in eight years, and Champions League qualification. Lovely stuff. ---------------------------------
  5. 2027/28 - Part 3 FA Cup In the FA Cup we had a fairly easy run through the earlier rounds, knocking out a few Championship clubs before coming up against our first top flight opposition. We nearly made a mess of it against Leicester, letting a 3-0 lead slip back to 3-3 before Wardlow (21b) got a late winner, but that was our toughest task en route to the final as we then beat Manchester City comfortably in the semi-final. The final came just six days after our Premier League heartbreak, but Faustino Anjorin swiftly put the disappointment behind him, scoring with the first attack of the game. He then capped off a man of the match appearance with an assist for Hangman Page (24a), as we won Fulham's first ever FA Cup, and added a second piece of silverware to my trophy cabinet. ---------------------------------
  6. 2027/28 - Part 2 Premier League With just four points from our first three games we didn't make a strong start. September was better, but a loss and draw at the beginning of October disrupted our momentum again, and left us outside of the European places. Then, everything clicked. From mid-October to the end of January we went 16 games unbeaten, and surged up the table into 3rd place. In February we travelled to Merseyside twice, losing to both Everton and Liverpool, but those were the last defeats of the season. Seven wins from the next eight games carried us up to 2nd, just one points behind leaders Manchester United. And in gameweek 36, they were our opposition. Get in! A victory by the narrowest of margins, and we hit top spot. Next up was Chelsea, and we swotted them aside with ease. Which brought us to the final game of the season, top of the league and with a two point lead over Manchester United. Could we do it? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Agonisingly close. So so close. One kick away! After scoring penalties in his last two games, after scoring twice already in this match and being in line for a hat-trick, Faustino Anjorin saw his 92nd minute spot-kick saved. We miss out on the title by goal difference. I know I should be devastated, but in reality I was still super chuffed with this season. Our previous best finish was 5th, so just getting into the Champions League would have been a success, let alone running the champions all the way to the final day. ---------------------------------
  7. 2027/28 - Part 1 Transfers A perfectly balanced £64 million in, and £64 million out. I like it. We were a bit limited in terms of bringing players in, as we were close to falling foul of the rule where we're only allowed to register 17 foreign players (thanks Brexit!). This wasn't helped by our sales of Sammy Guevara (20b), James Garner, and Alfie Mawson, which reduced our English contingent further. So in the summer we brought in just two players. Phaisan Chaiwong was a 17 year old French/Thai right-back with a ton of potential, while Gojko Prentovic was a cheap option to be fourth choice centre-back. He then annoyed me when he asked for a new contract after less than six months at the club and found himself loaned out in January. Also being loaned out in January were Antoine Grosjean and Mitch Long, just days after joining. A pair of wonderkids at very affordable prices so I couldn't say no to them, but there wasn't really space in the squad for them to get any gametime yet. I was mainly looking for English players, so getting Long is a bit of a coup. --------------------------------- League Cup Not much to say about this. The run was over as soon as it started. --------------------------------- Europa League We smashed through the group stage without any trouble, a perfect run of six wins from six. Once we reached the knockout rounds though a bad first left gave us too much to do in the return fixture. ---------------------------------
  8. May 2027 I was slightly worried going into the Everton game as we'd lost to Liverpool just two days earlier, but the rotated side had enough about them to take an early lead, then double it shortly after to kill the game off. We then played West Ham in a game that looked like it was going to fizzle out into a draw before a late injection of quality gave us all three points. On the final day we misplaced our shooting boots, but it didn't matter anyway. --------------------------------- 5th place! Our new best ever finish, and qualification for the Europa League. One point fewer than last year though. Manchester City went 100% with their run-in so catching them wasn't a possibility, while Arsenal had a shocker in the final month and couldn't get near us. --------------------------------- Goalkeepers: I'm still happy with both of my keepers. Maarten Vandervoordt is a good first-choice for the league, and Maxwell Jacob Friedman (21a) got a lot of action as our cup goalkeeper. They actually matched each other for clean sheets, 12 apiece. Defenders: Bram Feys didn't reproduce the goalscoring heroics of last season, but has firmly stamped himself in as the cornerstone of our defence. Gilberto Amado is likely to be his partner going forward, with Lyanco as an able backup. Alfie Mawson has earned an additional year, but I still think I'll be bringing in another centre-back over the summer. Steven Sessegnon continues to be a threat from right-back, while Samir Benrabah is growing into a really good left-back. Midfielders: James Garner caused a fuss about not playing enough, but when I tried giving him more gametime he kept getting injured. He's now in a huff and wants to leave this summer. With Andre-Franck Zambo Anguissa now the wrong side of 30 and starting to slightly decline, that leaves just Ryan Gravenberch and Emiliano Bonetti as quality midfielders. So I need to decide whether to bring in someone this summer, or if it's time to promote Lance Archer (23b) from the under 23s. In the more attacking position Lars Dose started the season as first choice, but over the campaign Faustino Anjorin won back his position. Both are good choices, but the latter offers more assists. Wingers: Paulo Cesar and Andrea Andorlini both played well in their first full seasons at the club. Strikers: Wardlow (21b) had a great season, scoring 24 goals (19 in the league). He struggled last year so started this season on the bench, but when he came into the starting line up he hit the back of the net regularly and never gave up his spot. Pedro Sartori also made a decent contribution, but with the lone striker role taken he played out wide on the right instead. Between injury and the form of those two Diego Moro failed to make much of an impact. --------------------------------- Wardlow (21b) is continuing to soar over everyone else from our academy, topping all of the charts and reaching a half century of goals. Sammy Guevara (20b) and Maxwell Jacob Friedman (21a) also saw plenty of gametime this season as backups in their positions, though the latter has the more long-term potential. Maxwell Jacob Friedman (21a) could be our first-choice keeper one day, while Sammy Guevara (20b) will only ever be a backup right-back. He could be replaced by a better option, but he is cheap, doesn't complain, and helps with homegrown quotas. With Darby Allin (23a) leaving Lance Archer (23b) saw his chances of getting some games in midfield improve, while Hangman Page (24a) got a few chances up top and contributed with a goal and a couple of assists. Wardlow (21b) -- Maxwell Jacob Friedman (21a) --------------------------------- Elsewhere in the Premier League: Liverpool won the title for a seventh time in eight years, and with 25 titles compared to Manchester United's 20, have well and truly claimed their position back on the perch. Erling Haaland (Chelsea) was the top scorer with 27 goals, and at the opposite end of the pitch Alisson (Liverpool) was stopping them with 24 clean sheets. Thiago Almada and Troy Parrott (both Manchester United) had the most assists and best average rating, with 11 and 7.46 respectively. Elsewhere in England: Burnley won the Championship, and Southampton and Sunderland will be joining them in promotion. Huddersfield (with Freddie Ljungberg in charge) won League One, and Newport County topped League Two. Liverpool completed the double, beating Bournemouth 2-1 in the FA Cup final. Both goals came from Ansu Fati. Elsewhere in Europe: PSG won Ligue Un for the 10th year in a row, completing a decade of dominance. Real Madrid were level on points with Barcelona at the top of La Liga, but took the title due to the superior head-to-head record. Bernardo Silva was the player of the season and has had an incredible career there. Liverpool turned their double into a treble with a 3-1 win over Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final. England Hall of Fame: With another Premier League and FA Cup trophy in the cabinet Pep Guardiola is now the second most successful manager in English football history. He's just over halfway towards Sir Alex Ferguson's haul, and you wouldn't entirely rule out the possibility that he catches him. ---------------------------------
  9. April 2027 Our Europa League run came to an end at the hands of Chelsea. They were the side I wanted to avoid at this stage, so inevitably we drew them. After getting thumped in the first leg I played the second string in the reverse fixture, and they did well to keep it down to just the one and avoid a whooping. Back in domestic action we started the month with a couple of 1-0 draws, which were good enough for me but wouldn't have been much fun for the neutrals. The goals started flowing after that though, as we hit five past Aston Villa and another three past Tottenham, Wardlow (21b) scoring twice in each game. The win over Spurs could be vital in our aim for a top six finish. We scored three again when we visited Liverpool, but unfortunately we weren't as good at the other end and we conceded four times to leave Anfield with nothing. I made a mistake here, as we have another game coming up on 1st May so I meant to play the second string and keep the first-team ready for the next match. I forgot to make that change though. Hopefully that error won't scupper our chances in the final month. --------------------------------- With three games left we stay 5th in the table. If we win all three and Manchester City slip up we could even get into the Champions League places. But if Arsenal win their games in hand and we slip up, we could fall down into 6th. Our final fixtures are Everton (away, 17th), West Ham (home, 18th), and Sheffield United (away, 19th). --------------------------------- Elsewhere in the Premier League: Liverpool need just five more points from their final four games to clinch the title. At the bottom nobody is relegated yet, it could be any three of West Brom, Sheffield United, West Ham, Everton, and Brentford. ---------------------------------
  10. March 2027 Rubbish. Not even any new nationalities. ---------------------------------
  11. March 2027 Fiorentina are 5th in Serie A so I thought they'd be more of a challenge. The first leg was close if you just look at the stats, as shots were nearly equal and they had a lot more possession. But we were clinical in front of goal, giving us a big advantage going into the second leg. Before that though we had a trip to bottom-placed West Brom. Last time we played a side in 20th we lost, but this time we never looked like conceding and Wardlow (21b) got the only goal of the game. With our lead from the first leg already giving us one foot in the next round we were able to rotate a bunch of players for the home tie against Fiorentina. The lads that came in did well and we produced a professional 2-0 win to wrap up the big victory. The draw for the quarter-finals was next, and looking at the teams left I wanted to avoid Chelsea. Did we get them? I'll give you one guess. The benefit of resting players against Fiorentina was that we had fresh legs against Arsenal, in what could turn out to be a sixpointer. They went ahead on the cusp of half-time and were looking good, but we made a triple substitution at the interval that turned the game around. Wardlow (21b) scored the winner with his ninth goal in 11 games. We ended the month with an FA Cup tie against Liverpool, and after they knocked us out of the League Cup last month, they repeated the trick here. --------------------------------- We stayed in 5th place due to the win over Arsenal, but they do still have a game in hand. That being said, we also have an additional game to play compared to Manchester City above us. --------------------------------- Elsewhere in the Premier League: Manchester United have cut Liverpool's lead to just five points, but the Scousers have two games in hand. Dean Smith left Brentford during the month to join Everton. Since then Brentford (17th) have emerged from the bottom three, while Everton (18th) have dropped in. Zinedine Zidane was sacked by Tottenham (7th) after less than a season and replaced by Leonardo Jardim (who was last seen being fired by Sevilla). Elsewhere in England: Qualification for Euro 2028 began with easy wins over Lithuania and Moldova. ---------------------------------
  12. February 2027 The FA Cup went well as we beat Norwich in the replay, then dispatched of Everton easily in the fifth round. But the league form was truly pathetic. We had 21 shots against Leicester compared to their four, we should have beat them several times over. A similar story against Norwich, 19 shots is plenty enough to score at least one goal. And what kind of cretins lose to the team bottom of the table? --------------------------------- We've dropped a place, and given that Arsenal have a game in hand I think it's safe to say we'll drop at least one more too. Just one point from nine this month is abysmal, these morons are trying to throw away the good work that's been done so far. --------------------------------- Elsewhere in the Premier League: Liverpool lead by ten points and have a game in hand, it looks like the trophy will be theirs again for the seventh time in eight years. Elsewhere in England: It's not all going Liverpool's way though, as they lost 3-1 to Leicester in the League Cup final, all of the goals coming in extra-time. ---------------------------------
  13. January 2027 Forgot to include the league table in the update above. And it's a good one too! We've somehow made our way up into the Champions League spots, I'm pretty sure this is the highest I've been in the table this deep into a season. ---------------------------------
  14. January 2027 Igor Diveev had been my third-choice centre-back and he was whining about not getting enough playing time. I gave him more games, but it still wasn't enough and he put in a transfer request. I offered him out for £60 million, a few clubs offered £20-£30 million, and eventually he was on his was to Manchester United for £40 million. He only cost us just over £5 million in the first place, so even with a chunk of around £6 million from this sale also going to CSKA Moscow due to a sell-on clause, we've made a large profit on him. --------------------------------- We'd have been needing a new centre-back at the end of the season anyway with Alfie Mawson's contract running out, but the sale of Igor Diveev necessitated an earlier action. Half of the money we received was used to bring in a replacement, 20 year old wonderkid Gilberto Amado from Corinthians. He'd already made over 75 senior appearances for them, including 20 league games when they won the 2025 Brasileiro. --------------------------------- A very busy month this, which we just about got through. We entered the FA Cup with a big win over Brentford, which gave us Norwich in the next round. Between two bigger games we rested a lot of players for that tie, but we still managed to earn a goalless draw which is good enough for now. That gives us a home replay next month where hopefully we can finish the job. In more cup action we played Liverpool twice in the League Cup. In the first leg we narrowly lost 2-3, which left us in a decent place going into the return leg at home. We won this match to make it 3-3 on aggregate, but in the penalty shootout Liverpool were impeccable while we missed once, and a chance of making the final disappeared. In the league Bram Feys scored his first goal of the season against Newcastle, before nabbing the only goal of the game against Wolves. We lost as expected to Chelsea, but then beat Manchester City for a third consecutive time. The days of them beating us 9-0 and 7-1 are long gone! We finished the month with a dull draw against Wolves. Wardlow (21b) scored five times this month as he reached double figures for the season. That's now seven goals and two assists in his last nine games. There was some talk in Jimbo's Barca thread about unsuccessful crosses, which led me to checking our stats in this area. They weren't particularly impressive, but changing the type of crosses to low balls seems to have improved this considerably. --------------------------------- Elsewhere in the Premier League: Liverpool are dominant at the top with an eight point lead, though Chelsea do have a game in hand. Sheffield United, Brentford, and West Brom make up the bottom three, though West Ham and Everton could easily be dragged into trouble. Niko Kovac was sacked by Wolves (14th), and Vincent Kompany left Feyenoord to take over as their new manager. Elsewhere in Europe: Manchester United spent over £170 million on reinforcements, including £102 million on a newgen from Norwich that I tried (and failed) to sign several times over the years. Romelu Lukaku's combined career transfer fees reached £300 million as he returned to England with Arsenal after setting Serie A alight with Fiorentina. ---------------------------------
  15. That's insane, what a hero. I can go whole seasons with all my strikers combined not getting that many.
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