Matt123456

[FM11] Éire go deo - An Impossible Dream

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I thought exactly that when we drew M. Haifa :D. It's great to see that both our leagues are starting to climb up in the rankings, albeit rather slowly. That puts my being just behind the Swedish and Belarussian leagues into perspective, although we did have a bit of a headstart :p. The odd thing is, looking at the players you've bought your team looks at least as good as mine, and probably a bit better, despite the massive discrepancies between the reputations of our two leagues.

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Good to see you in Europe Matt, haven't checked in on your thread in a while, been busy setting up my one :p Sacked by Athlone in season 1 but I'm doing alright with Waterford United at the moment and hopefully can do what you've done and be successful in the Premiership, if I get promoted that is, then try my hand in Europe :)

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Well anything is possible!! There is not a huge difference between the first division and the IPD, apart from the duoply of Shamrock Rovers and Bohemians, so if you get promoted I think you'll definitely be able to stay up.

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Before I post the end of year summary I just want to show a few spoilers....okay I want to boast, but by god I think I've earned it.

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Wexford youths have qualified for the Europa League First Knockout Round after winning 3 out of their 6 group games. Two close, tense 1-0 wins over Hapoel Tel Aviv and a gem of a performance against Olympiacos, where we secured qualification with a 93rd minute winner, were enough to send us through to the first knockout round against Stuttgart of Germany. And if we manage to negotiate our way past them, a potential tie against english giants.....Nottingham Forest (:confused:) is on the cards. There's one word that can accurately describe my reaction when I realised we'd qualified from the group. OMGWTFHOWTHEHELLDIDWEMANAGETHATYEEEEEEEEEEEESWEAREGOINGTOTHEFINALANDTHENWINNINGTHEWORLDCLUBCUP!!!!! Okay, I might've been getting a bit ahead of myself, but after that result I do feel like I can accomplish anything with the Youths.

WexfordvOlympiacosInformation_Overview.png

EDIT: To show how much of an achievement this, this is how Dynamo Tirana, a similar strength team to us, faired in their group. 35 goals against and 0 scored in 6 matches. Ouch!

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I can't apologize enough for upstaging you (he says with a huge grin on his face)! Next step, get into the Champions League and get a point :D

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Well done on how you are going so far. I have been wanting to try this too as I usually have a game in the League of Ireland and with the dynamic reputation, I certainly want to do it on this game.

I probably wouldn't do as good as you have though. :D

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End of Season Report - 2014: The Dream Season

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League Position Graph

In the end it was relatively comfortable, but for a while I thought Shamrock Rovers were going to pip us to the post. The squad is not deep, a problem that I will need to address in the future, and with European games we suffered from fixture congestion that we really struggled to cope with. The first 11 is probably the strongest squad in the league, but with injuries, suspensions and simple lack of fitness, I could not play the first 11 every game. And the second team wasn't up to scratch. 4 draws in 5 games quickly ate up our 3 point lead, and as you can see from the League Position Graph above, we left it late to regain the lead. Only 7 wins from our last 7 games would guarantee us the league, and in a few of the games we didn't look like winning. The turning point for me was the 4-2 win over Galway United. Galways led 2-0 until the 81st minute, but 4 late goals gave us the win we needed. After that it seemed almost like fate. The team just didn't want to lose!.

FAI Cup - Although it took two penalties from Nikola Saric to secure the win, and the scorelines only differed by one goal, we controlled the match against our closest title rivals with a confidence that makes me look at next season with glee. The highlight of the campaign was not the final, but the 4-3 quarter final win over Bohemians, reversing the 3-4 loss in the EA Sports Cup in another pulsating, unbelievable match that left me gnawing my nails to nothing.

EA Sports Cup - Not much to say about this. It isn't particularly high on my agenda, and in the future it will be the arena where I blood my youngsters before introducing them into the league. The loss against Bohemians was disappointing, but it was a festival of beautiful football and we reversed the result in the more important much in the FAI Cup. The worst thing was conceding the late goal, but so is life sometimes.

Setanta Cup - I've said it in previous posts, but I do believe the Setanta Cup is a bit of a waste of time. It doesn't even appear on the Board's agenda, and it will be another place where I blood my youngsters. The pay-off, while good in the first few seasons, pales in comparison to the Europa League, let alone the Champions League, so I can't help but think it is all a bit pointless. Still, it would be nice to win it. It is the only domestic (ish) competition that we haven't won yet, so next season I will be setting my sights on it.

Europa League - Due to the odd timing of the Irish season compared to the European Leagues I haven't finished my Europa League campaign, so at the time of writing the squad is preparing for the first knockout round game against Stuttgart. Once the match has been played I'll add a screenshot and an edit to show the result. Apart from the unbelievable result of qualifying from the group, it was also quite humbling in some ways. Both Stuttgart and Olympiacos are champions league teams, Stuttgart especially, and we were handed three very eye-opening lessons about playing real football. Lesson one, Lesson two, Lesson three.

Schalke our a world class team, and was our first experiences of playing against world class players. Rakitic, Adler and N'Kolou especially wouldn't look out of place in any team of the world. I was happy with only losing 2-0 and 1-0 in both games, and that was through playing incredibly, unbelievably defensively and defending our hearts out. But it was a wake-up call that we had a long way to go before we could tussle with the giants. The Olympiacos game seemed like the least close of the three, and we were completely and utterly ripped to shreds. However, I played a very weak team against them, including 3 of the, if i'm being honest utterly useless, members of the under 18 squad, and tried to play for the draw. We were unsuccesful, but who had the last laugh? :D

With the league win, the players won a number of different awards. The team had three players in the IPD Team of the Year, which I think was a fair enough reflection on the team's peformance. The fans player of the year was Nikola Saric, who also won the IPD Player of the Year, deservedly so. His average rating was an incredible 7.63, and if he hadn't been out injured so many times and ended up playing more games than his 23, he would've almost definitely won the golden boot, and smashed the IPD scoring records as well. James Kavanagh was pipped to the post for the IPD Young Player of the Year Award, and I think he really did deserve to win it. He fought for a first team place as the team playmaker with John Russel, and was always worth an assist or two when he played. Michael Keane again won the Irish U-21 Player of the Year but in my opinion he's had a disappointing season. He's been pestering me to allow him to move to a bigger club, each time he was met with a stoney face and shown the door of course, and his peformances dropped as a result. His attributes have also not improved all season, so it looks to me like he's unfortunately hit his peak a little early.

On a side note, there have been a number of things going on with the club that I've forgotten to mention. Wexford is a feeder club to both Stoke City and West Brom, which is so odd for me since we're in the First Knockout Round of the Europa League and they aren't even taking part in any European Competition. Unfortunately neither of these have given me any worthwhile players on loan, and I'm trying to build up to the point where I can become a feeder club of a team like Chelsea or United. The board have also announced, after persistent nagging from me I'll admit, plans to build a youth academy. I honestly have no idea how this effects the intake of regens, but it can only be a good thing. Unfortunately it won't be finished until after this years youth intake, so hopefully next year will be the year.

EDIT: I forgot to put this in originally, but with the European results Wexford has finally gone professional. This should be a big bonus in attracting players, and shows that we are now serious as a football club.

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jod123 - Cheers, I've been totally surprised myself about the success. I definitely recommend giving it a go.

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Can't wait to hear what Stuttgart do to yo.... er, that is, how you fare in the knockout phase. :D

Don't count on the Academy to do too much right away. :(

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I really really hope that we will prove you wrong, but being totally honest......we're probably gonna get thumped.

That is a crying shame about the youth academy, but I think it could only be a good thing to do with youth recruitment.

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Pre Season Report: 2015

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This pre season was more about my frantic scrabbling to buy good players to take the club to the next level, and my success, albeit limited, in that field, then the actual friendly games. Apart from the absolute domination of Guangzhou, the games were riddled with poor peformances against weaker teams we should be knocking in 4 or 5 goals against. The matche against Tralee Dynamos was especially disappointing. However, these limp performances were more than made up for the new signings.

There were three main signings that have strengthened the squad this seasons: David Edwards, Zeli Ismail and Dean McAuley. David Edwards is probably the most talented player to play in the IPD for a long while, and has all the attributes to make a perfect, hardworking box-to-box midfielder. My only disappointment is that he doesn't have a higher creativity attribute, so he isn't particularly suitable for the playmaker role, but that's made up for by his excellent mental attributes and stamina. Zeli Ismail and Dean McAuley were both loan signings from Chelsea, but both have loan-to-buy options for £2.5 million and £1 million respectively. I'm seriously considering using that option, but I don't really want to spent £3.5 million on two players unless I can make sure they will fill their potential (both are rated 5 stars my both scouts and the Ass Man.) But if they do, I'm pretty sure that they will be fixtures in the team for years to come.

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And it was soooooooo close

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The dream is over, and in the most geniunely heart-breaking way. I could've faced being stuffed. If Stuttgart had knocked 4 or 5 goals past us in each leg it would've been less painful than the actual result. They probably should've knocked at least 3 or 4 past us in each game. But the lads defended incredibly, and the young Irish goalkeeper Joe Coll played out of his skin, getting man of the match in both matches. I almost feel guilty about the lengths I've gone (unsuccesfully unfortunately) in trying to replace him.

The first leg was quite simply unbelievable. It was one of those games when it just seemed like things were going to work out for us. If I was the Stuttgart manager I would've been apopletically angry that they lost. We scored with our only goal on target, and although the possesion was relatively even, Stuttgart, at times, seemed to be able to carve our defense open at will. But somehow they didn't score. And I truly believed that we could salvage something in the second leg. I even shunned the usual super defensive tactic to play our normal controlling, possession game, and if you look at the possesion split that worked. But the team couldn't carry the possession into the right areas, and Stuttgart could, and that told in the end. The most frustrating thing was conceding a goal from a corner.

Then of course came the sending off. Byron Anthony was the last man and brought down one of their strikers, who was through on goal, with a clinical challenge. I think it was what had to be done in the situation. It prevented an almost certain goal and gave the team the oppurtunity of holding on with 10 men. And hold on we did. In fact for a lot of extra time it was actually Stuttgart who were on the back foot against the plucky, under-paid, under-appreciated underdogs from Ireland, who, despite being a man down, put their heart and soul into the game. Once Stuttgart had Papadopoulos for a second yellow I started to believe we could get a late goal. Unfortunately, this time, fate was against us and it got taken to penalties. Tom Wattimury's miss was not a great start, but a great save by Joe Coll levelled up the proceeding. Then it was substitute, debutant, Dean McAuley's time to shine and immediately endear himself to his new fans by scoring the penalty. He missed, leaving Stuttgart needed only one more penalty to qualify. They duly converted. Not a particularly auspicious debut, but at least it's not as bad as Wayne Bridge's for West Ham at the weekend :D.

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Hard luck man, very close indeed. penalties are always a hard way to be knocked out in any cup, never mind in Europe. At least it should improve the rep a bit and bring a bit of cash for some world class transfers ;)

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It actually wasn't very close at all, and really the game should've been beyond our grasp by the end of the first game, but you're right, it always feels bad to lose on penalties. I am banking on the rep increase, although it still seems to be annoyingly slowly - you'd think the fact we were playing in Europe would attract more players, but apparently not. It definitely does bring in cash though! :D

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Start of Season Report: 2015 - Flashes of Brilliance

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The start of the season has been marked by frustratingly inconsistent performances. Against the top teams we have been imperious, putting in the best few performances of my Wexford reign. In particular, most of the performances against Bohemians have been nothing short of incredible, and the 3-0 away win against Shamrock Rovers wasn't too shabby either. But then those matches would be followed by performances against the teams towards the bottom of the table, who would just park the tank, and despite dominating the game we would struggle to score. The two 0-0 draws against Shelbourne were particularly disappointing, as we could and should have had 5 or 6 in both matches, and the 2-1 loss against Derry City, which brought our 26 match unbeaten run in the league to an end, had me shutting down my laptop with disgust. They scored with their only two shots in the match.

Looking at the positives, we have by far the strongest team in the League, and despite not leading the table, no team can live with us on our day. I can't get over the 3 thrashings of Bohemians. They've been our bane in so many other seasons, beating us when we most needed a win and generally being incredibly difficult to beat. Yet we managed to beat them 4-1, 5-1 and 7-1! That last performances had me staring at the screen with slack-jawed disbelief as I put one less goal past them as they let in in the entire first third of last season! It also led to this Team of the Week, which has never happened to me on FM before. It shows how well the team performed! Yet the team can't continue these performances against the weaker teams, who simply set up shop. I think I'll need to create a tactic to rip open these defences, but I can't really think of one. Any ideas? :p

On another positive note, we've finally won the Setanta Cup. And what a way to win it. It was the kind of performance that Chelsea would put in towards the end of last season. We didn't play particularly well - we've played better, dominated the much more and lost - yet we just couldn't stop scoring, and I really wouldn't have wanted to be a Sligo Rovers supporter there.

The three players I showed in the pre-season report have all played out of their skins. David Edwards especially has been on inspired form. He is waaaaay too good for this level, and is the beating heart of everything the team does. Unfortunately he's 29, so will only have 2 or 3 more years before he gets too old to play in the team. If he was three or four years younger, I could see him becoming a club icon or even a legend, such are the level of his performances. Zeli Ismail and Dean McAuley have also been on excellent form. Although they are both liable to the odd poor game here and there, they are young and will continue to improve. Ismail has been a right handful with his pace and skill, and has managed to be the team's top scorer despite only having 8 for finishing and 7 for composure (stats that I am desperately, and unsuccesfuly, trying to raise) and Dean McAuley, despite naturally being a wing back, has been as much of a handful as Ismail on the wing, and with his more rounded metal stats he has performed more consistently. I think I will use both of their loan-to-buy clauses towards the end of the seaon.

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I suspect it may be a complacency issue with the lesser teams. Try challenging your players in the team talk, and in the news conference beforehand.

Sad that you went out to Stuttgart on PKs. Rips your heart out, those do. :(

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Good progress in Ireland. Bad luck with the penalty defeat in Stuttgart- done well to get to knockout rounds though

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DSYoungEsquire - I hadn't thought of that, but I think you might be right. I've thrown in a bit of "oooh it could be a hard game for us, we may not win" in here and there and it's worked wonders. The stuttgart result was such a killer though, even though we got absolutely battered in both games, even though we didn't deserve to do as well as we did, I let myself hope going into the penalty kicks, which was a mistake.

AK22 - Cheers, but it hasn't been particularly hard. The difference in class between the leagues is practically non existent apart from the top two seasons, and the other teams are so hopeless on the transfer market that it hasn't been difficult to assemble the best team in the League. I was delighted about getting to the knockout rounds, but really if we had beaten Stuttgart it would've been a travesty.

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Good to see someone attempting to bring an Irish club to such high heights. On a previous game, I managed to turn limerick FC into a european super club, did well (with some edits to reputation of league etc) but I always start every career game with Limerick and work my way on - instead of taking over my fav club. It certainly adds to the game I find

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Thanks, I think it is a hard but ultimately fulfilling task that I've attempted and I'm getting slightly closer season by season! Unfortunately Limerick FC are still languishing in the First Division, and the closest they got to promotion was when we pipped them to the playoff spots in the very first season :p.

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So Matt, how goes the European dream? :) I'm still lingering down in the Belgian Division 3 :p No Irish clubs have come back in for me yet, but I'm determined to be back there one day.

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Mid Season Report: 2015 - Champions League here we come!

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What is it about the middle third of the season that spurs the team on to perform well? Last year we went 11-0-1 in the league for the middle 12 games. This year we equalled that, and with wins in the Champions League and cups we put together a quite outstanding run of form in all competitions, smashing the previous club records, and league records. We won 20 games in a row in all competitions, which is a quite outstanding sequence of wins, and 12 in a row in the League. In all competitions we went 25 games unbeaten - 16 games in the league, which didn't actually break the IPD unbeaten record because we already held it, with a run of 26 games from the end of last season to the beginning of this season. Unfortunately both those runs were ended with the dire loss to Derry City, where the midweek Champions League game forced me to play a severely weakened team. It previous matches the reserves had done an excellent job in holding the fought, but here the performance was simply lacklustre and Derry deserved their win. They're the only Irish team to have beaten us all season.

I know I ruined the surprise with the title, but Champions League qualifying was not as much of a challenge as I expected. High scoring defeats of Häcken and Dinamo brought us to the Champions Playoff Round without breaking sweat. Due to our performances in last year's Europa League we were seeded for the draw, which gave me hope for qualifying. With this seeding we were giving what, on paper, seemed like a relatively easy match against the Cypriot team Anorthosi. I was quietly confident preparing for the first leg, which was at home, but the confidence was shattered when Anorthosi almost immediately bagged an away goal. The match then turned into a goal bonanza as we pulled ahead into a 2-1 lead, got pegged back to 2-2, finally took the lead again to make it 3-2 before 2 late goals from Anorthosi gave them a value away win and 4 away goals. It was a poor result, but I wasn't panicking. A two goal win could still get us through. But we left it late. That scoreline does flatter us a little. Over the two legs both teams were evenly matched, and it could've very well been Anorthosi that got through. They were leading on away goals right up to the 85th minute, but two very late goals from Jake Cassidy put a gloss on the scoreline, and made Irish footballing history. Wexford Youths have become the first Irish team in history to reach the group stages of the Champions League!!

Groups A-D

Groups E-H

It wasn't the hardest group that we could've drawn, but it wasn't the easiest either. I just thank the FM Gods that we weren't drawn in the group with Benfica, Fiorentina and Barcelona. It could've gotten very embarassing. As it is, I'm still struggling to think where we could get points from. We might be able to get a draw from Celtic in Ireland, and possibly Genoa as well if we play out of our skins, but I could see Athletico knocking quite a few past us over both legs. I have the spanish leagues playable, and Athletico have been in the top 5 every single year, and finished a very respectable third last year, albeit light years behind Real Madrid and Barcelona. I'm genuinely worried that their world class players, Aguero and Hamsik in particular, could have far too much quality to handle. We've also been given 5000-1 odds to win it. That reflects how little chance we have in the competition, but I would say it's worth a cheeky tenner just in case.

This July transfer window I may have gone a bit overboard on the signings. It has significantly strengthened the squad, and the new signings were part of the impressive Champions League performances, but it has come at a price. The wage budget has over double, and is now £50 000 per week. This has really caused our profits to take a tumble, and along with agent fees and signing on fees, the finances dropped from a healthy £5 million in the black to nearer to £2 million. Fortunately the Champions League qualification has made money a moot point for us now, as we have far more than we need, but for a second I thought I'd spent too much.

I've strengthened the team with no less than 10 signings, 2 of which will join in the next few years. Jon Daly, Dominic Vose, Pablo Donnet, Jake Cassidy, Frederic Veseli, Ben Marshall, David Martin and David Stockdale are all great additions of the team, and they are some of the best players in their position in the whole division. Two players have as a result of this left - James Kavanagh for £110 000 and Michael Keane for £210 000.

Jon Daly was signed as a short term target man - because of his age and rapidly declining physical attributes he will be our target man for the next year or so until I can find someone better. Yet he hasn't performed well. His stats are better than Wattimury's in just about every way, yet Wattimury is scoring more, and performing better. Daly has only 2 league goals in 12 games, which is a shocking return for a striker, and although he has 5 assists he'll have to improve or he'll be quickly on the way out. Dominic Vose was our big money signing. He cost £1.3 million from Arsenal, although most of it will be paid over 48 months, and has the ability to walk straight into the team. I'm also hoping he'll improve even more in the future and become one of our star playes. Pablo Donnet is a young fullback who I prefer over Michael Keane because of his more rounded ability. He has 5 star potential, and I competed with Barcelona (!) for his signature. Why he chose us I'll never know. Jake Cassidy is another Welsh star, who's all round ability should give us a reliable goalscorer to have when Saric is injured. Frederic Veseli is a young defender with very similar attributes to Byron Anthony, and he still has time to improve. He adds depth to our central defenders and allows me to relegate the unreliable Jack Mills to the reserves. Ben Marshall was signed simply because of his versatility, and because he is better than Billy Bodin. David Martin was my answer to the goalkeeper problem the team has. He's a lot better than Joe Coll, and under 30 as well. After I'd signed him my assistant alerted me to David Stockdale. Stockdale was even bettter than Martin, so I signed him as well. At least my goalkeeper problem is now over.

The 2 future signings I've made are two very talented Brazilians, with incredible amounts of potential. Digão is another goalkeeper, and he has the potential to far surpass both Martin and Stockdale. Léo is a very talented looking young midfielder, who, once developed, should become a fantastic deep-lying playmaker.

I wanted to do a quick update on a young player I signed a while back who has really come into his own. Paul Murray has improved incredibly if you compare to when we first bought him. I'm having to fight off bids from titans such as Valencia and Porto, and it seems only a matter of a time before he leaves. I'm quite astounded about hwo much he's come along. He's now surpassed Byron Anthony's ability in the eyes of the Ass Man, having blossomed under his tutouring, and shows no signs of stopping developing. On top of the development, he is an absolute monster from corners or indirect freekicks. His 10 goals this season so far is way too many, and I think his towering height and jumping means he's exploiting the fact that it is way too easy to score from corners on this patch. I've actually had to change my tactics so he scores less goals, and even then he still pops up with an important goal every so often. I can see him becoming the defensive rock at the heart of my team for years to come.

European Coefficients and Rankings Update:

World Ranking - Ireland's world ranking has plummeted even further since last year to 62nd. It serves them right for choosing Owen Coyle as manager instead me. Yet now my reputation is Continental, which should bode well for my choice when Owen Coyle gets sacked.

European Coefficients Ranking - As this table shows, the Republic of Ireland's reputation has risen back to 30th. With my success in Europe this season, this should rise even further, giving Ireland more qualification places.

Irish Premier Division Ranking - I've given up trying to work out how this is calculated, but the IPD is still rated as 2 stars so it shouldn't make that much of a difference.

Wexford European Ranking - The Europa League achievements last season have really sent our Club ranking through the roof, and this is why we were seeded for the Champions League Playoff draw, which enabled us to qualify. However, this massive rise hasn't been reflected in a massive rise in our club reputation. We're still not the most reputeable club in Ireland yet, which is incredibly annoying. IRL we would be by far the biggest team in Ireland if the same events had transpired.

EDIT: I forgot to add my "other news section." In other news, Byron Anthony gets his first Welsh international cap at the ripe old age of 30. I'm happy for the guy, and I'd like to think I had something to do with it, coaxing the best performances out of and what not. Unfortunately for him, it has preceeded him losing his place in my starting 11. You win some you lose some. Also, being a feeder club has finally paid dividends. I think I've forgotten to mention it earlier in the thread, but I've had links with Stoke and West Brom established for the past two years, yet they have been as good as useless, sending no loanees over, having no loanees available. Yet this transfer window I find that I'm getting two players, one from each club, on loan. I have no say in it. We don't have to pay anything. We're essentially getting free players. And they're not half bad either. Most other Irish clubs would kill for players like Karl Gough and Jordan Harvey in their team. They're both very able deputies, and I'll never turn my nose up at free players.

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Congrats on the groups!

We might be able to get a draw from Celtic in Ireland

You can't possibly be expecting much home field advantage in that match-up!

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Leo and Digao look like too very promising youngins there Matt, congrats on Champions League. Who knows, a couple sneaky wins at home and you could push for a 2nd spot, or even the Europa League, could come down to yourself and Celtic.

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Celtic could be managable. Who knows the other 2 aren't the strongest either so maybe you could nick a point or 2.

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How did I not discover this sooner? Great thread, great career. Just read through the whole thing, and has the makings of an absolute classic. I can't believe how quickly you've progressed! Best of luck going forward!

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Heh, as usual, you seem to be tracking along with me, but probably just a bit ahead of where Prestatyn are. Best of luck with the coming group games! :)

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rferry - I expect a home advantage when Waterford United pop over to play from about 20 miles away, so we definitely have one over Celtic! Or at least in my opinion.

AndrewFM - I have high hopes for those too, they already look good enough for the rest of the league and they'll only improve. That prediction certainly is optimistic, but I think we're going to come stone cold last. Celtic have just stuffed as 4-1 in Scotland and I think I'll be lucky to pick up a point really.

deltablue - I think you may be estimating the strength of my Wexford side. Although I'll admit that I'm just as guilty on that front. Unfortunately Celtic taught us a bit of a lesson when we travelled to them, and so did Genoa. Oddly enough Athletico Madrid were oddly underwhelming, but then again we did play them at home and they still won relatively comfortably.

EdSB - That's high praise :) , thanks a lot. I can't believe how fast I've progressed either, but then again the Irish League isn't the hardest league. The Premiership it is not!

DSYoungEsq - I know, our two saves parallel each other so eerily. When we drew a cypriot team in the playoff round I had a premonition of losing similarly to Prestatyn, but luckily we fought through :). I think Wexford are probably a bit ahead, but we did have a head start :p. Thanks. I'm half way through atm and have the sweet total of played 3 lost 3, scored 1, conceded 7. But two of those games were away.

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End of Season Report: 2015 - Triple Threat

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League Position Graph

2015 was a unbelievable year for Wexford Youths. We won a famous treble, breaking numerous records, including points and number of goals scored, and became the first Irish team to ever reach the Champions League group stages. The League ended in a comfortable win. We hit first place at the half way mark in the season and never relinquished it, opening up a very healthy lead that enabled us to win the Championship with 5 games to spare. This was the season where our superiority really showed, and I hope we'll be able to build on that for next season. Towards the end of the season I had my 300th game in charge of Wexford against our great rivals, Bohemians. At this point the title was already secured, but I played a strong team, hoping I would have a 300th game in charge to remember. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a horror show. Not only was this our first home loss in the league this season, but it stopped us improving on our "games won in a row record" that we set earlier this season. I was so gutted at the end of the game, and although it meant nothing - we had already won the league by this point - never have i been more tempted to play a game again.

FAI Cup - Like last season, the FAI Cup was taken to a replay. Whilst the stats make the game look even, we hit the woodwork 4 times in this match, and could've had 3 or 4 on a different day. As it is, a 89th minute penalty gave Bohemians the equaliser they didn't deserve (you should've seen my reaction, I'm glad there was nothing breakable close). The replay was so one sided that I don't have much to say about it, an efficient, consumately professional performance giving us our third FAI Cup in a row, and 4th in 5 years. With this win, I'm now a club Icon, surpassing Danny Murphy, Wexford's longest serving and most consistent player with 271 appearances, 194 of them in the League, and Nikola Saric.

EA Sports Cup - Another cup final, another easy match that we made more difficult than it actually was. We dominated the whole match but somehow only managed to score one goal, meaning that the tie went to penalties. I as much as anyone know how much of a lottery that can be, but the team held their nerve and scored all their penalties to win our first EA Sports Cup since the first season in 2010, having lost in the final in 2012 and 2013.

Setanta Cup - I've already shown this screen shot, but I'm quite proud of the result. It was an emphatic way to win our first Setanta Cup, and the £1 million pay off afterwards wasn't too bad either.

Champions League - In the end we only got one point, but I'm proud of the boys for even getting the point. They performed admirably, despite the two disappointing defeats to Celtic, the team I thought we had the biggest chance of beating, and pulled of some excellent performances. There were two close loses, against Athletico Madrid and Genoa at home, where I thought we might hold out for a point. The Genoa match especially was disappointing, as the outmatched their illustrious opponents in every category apart from the score. Two very comprehensive beatings, against Genoa and Celtic away, was followed by another home loss against Celtic which was a lot closer than the scoreline suggested.

The two performances against Celtic were the big disappointments here. They simply showed us how to finish, especially in the second match. In fact this was the big lesson of the campaign. Class strikers are the difference between winning and losing, or winning and drawing, or drawing and losing in some cases. Time and time again we made chances but just couldn't finish them, whilst our opponents scored the chances they got. I'll be looking for a good young striker next season, but unfortunately I don't think our reputation has risen enough that we can buy one of the quality I want. Lastly, in our only point scoring game, we played Athletico Madrid in Madrid itself. It was a marvellous game, and by far the greatest performances by my Wexford side so far. Athletico Madrid won every other game they played, yet we completely outplayed them on their home turf, dominating both possession and chances. Pulling off a win here would've been one of the European upsets, but I am incredibly happy with a draw, and I hope this result will inspire the team next season.

With this record breaking season came numerous awards. We had 4 players in the IPD Team of the Year, and there are strong arguments to suggest that Zeli Ismail and Jake Cassidy should've been included at MR and ST respectively. David Edwards won Player of the Year, Paul Murray won Young Player of the Year and Danny Murphy won the Irish IPD Player of the Year. If you look at the Goalkeeper of the Year, we won first second and third. Again this is really bugged, and I hope it's worked out in the next patch. Last but not least, Danny Murphy won Wexford's Player of the Year. It was a deserved win by someone who's been a fixture in our team for the last 5 years or so.

Last but not least, the improvement to our Youth and Training Facilities has finally been announced. My only worry is that it cost so much money, £4.9 million to be exact, which negates nearly all of the winnings from qualifying for the Champions League Last season. With me making huge losses every month because of the £55K pw wage budget, I really need to qualify for the Champions League again this season, or debt will start to mount up. However, the improvement to the training facilities, youth facilities especially, is absolutely priceless and should help us develop our young players that are coming through, especially Paul Murray, Pablo Donnet and Léo.

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Another great season, you are making good progress with Wexford.

When you're bottom seeds, all the Champions League groups are difficult! A point in Madrid is not to be sniffed at and you didn't take any serious hidings either. KUTGW!

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I think you should be quite proud of the lads, with an away draw against Madrid, and a very strong result in the League. Next year can only be better.

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Pre Season Report: 2016

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Due to the lack of depth in the squad and lack of youth players coming through friendlies have become simply ways of regaining match practice for my best players now. We never reached the heights of our best performances of last season, namely the 7-1 destruction of Bohemians, and the Salthill performances was simply dire, but that was mainly because we'd lost two of our best attackign players - Zeli Ismail and Dean McAuley. I wasn't able to buy any of them, or extend any of their loans, and that means I now have no quality wingers, and at the moment I am desperately trying to bring some in, if only on loan. This is the problem with how slow the reputation of my team rises. I am only predicted to finish second in the League by the media, meaning I'm not even the biggest team in Ireland and am finding it difficult to find good players, yet IRL any team that's got to the Europa League first knockout round and Champions League group stage in the past two seasons will be able to attract players of decent standard.

Our first youth intake with a youth academy was not encouraging. I am thinking that having a youth academy will have less of an effect that I hoped, but hopefully as the reputation of the team rises it will help bring in excellent youth players at some point in the future. Also on the youth development front, the improvement to the training and youth facilities have been finalised. We now have top training facilities and average youth facilities, and immediately after they were completed I succesfully petitioned the board for even better youth facilities, which are scheduled to start being built at the beginning of next season. This should all help us bring through youth players, which I think is the main way I'm going to make Wexford a European force.

For the first time our board seem to view us as much of a title contender as I have for the past view seasons, and have insisted that we win the title season, giving us a not too shabby transfer budget and wage budget to do it with. Looking at our backroom advice we really should be winning the league as our players are simply a lot better than the rest of the league. Apart from being slightly slow and having the oldest squad (ironic given our name is Wexford Youths), we are the best or nearly the best in every other attribute and that gives me confident as we try to win the league for the 4th time in a row.

We haven't been particularly active during this transfer window, although we will be more active towards the end of the window I hope, and have only brought in one player, and him as a backup on loan, Craig Elá. I think he's slightly worse than Pablo Donnet, but in case of injury or tiredness he'll do a more than able job of replacing him. The brazilian defensive midfielder Léo has also arrived, after turning 18, and didn't have a half bad debut, getting 4 assists in the 6-0 win over UCD. He looks absolutely fantastic, and if he can continue to develop he will be at the heart of the team for many years to come. Nikola Saric was the only player to leave not on a free, and for the princely sum of £2.2 million!! It was an incredible sum to secure for him, given that he only played nine league games last season, scoring only two goals, he is incredibly injury prone and that his attributes have declined. The fans weren't happy, but the sum has gone quite a way to paying for the training facilities, and Saric was too injury prone, which made him a liability.

I'm less confident this season than last season, due to our lack of strong wingers. It will be same old same old. We want to do well in Europe, increasing the club rep and league rep as we do. On the domestic front it is simply win everything we can. Hopefully Léo, Paul Murray and Pablo Donnet can continue to improve, which should give us top class players in three positions at least.

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Congrats on the draw with Atletico, great result. Would have been nice to get one win and maybe get a sneaky pass into the Euro Cup but nonetheless another good season! Keep it up :)

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The draw with Athletico was one of the highlights of my career so far. Of course coming last in the group was disappointing but I am relatively happy with it so far!

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Start of Season Report: 2016 - A Solid Start

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Our frantic scrabbling in the transfer window to try and sign left wingers ended up with us signing two slightly below par left wingers. Pete Wisdom and Mauro are fighting for their place on the left wing, but they don't have a patch on Dean McAuley's performances last season. Fortunately the performances from other players have more than made up for it. Léo has been an absolute revelation, and at the time of writing has 19 assists in 17 games, and both Wattimury and Jake Cassidy have found a rich vein of form and are scoring for fun. Paul Murray has been a titan, and has scored an incredible amount of goals from corners. He is completely unstoppable and has a ridiculous highest rating. All these performances have led to only two defeats so far, both of them undeserved.

The 4-2 loss against Glenavon in a match that we were overwhelming favourites for was a huge shock, especially since it was in a semi final, but they simply finished better than us and on the day deserved to win. The 3-0 reverse in the home fixture showed that we had more class than them, and helped us get through to our second Setanta Cup final. The result wasn't bad either. I was slightly worried when Bohemians managed to get through. Despite us destroying them in three games last season, they still are in my opinion the second strongest team in Ireland, and could give us a tough game. Fortunately it wasn't a tough game. We were always in control and ran out deserved 2-0 wins to win Wexford's second Setanta Cup final. Hopefully the first trophy of many to come this season.

We have only lost one game in the league this season, against the perennial title contenders Shamrock Rovers. Normally I would hate giving away points to a team so close to me in the league, but with Shamrock Rovers languishing just above the relegation zone I won't begrudge them a few points. As usual Bohemians are hot on our heels, and their manager is promising to break our domination of the Irish leagues and re-establish Bohemians as the best team in Ireland. However, Shelbourne and Athlone Town are in 3rd and 4th are the surprise packages of the season so far. Shelbourne are looking to regain their place at the top of the Irish football league - a pedestal they occupied as short a time ago as 2007 - after being relegated for bankruptcy, but Athlone's Town success is completely unexpected. I'm glad to see another team who started with us in the Irish First Division managing to stay in the league, and actually create a challenge for the European places. I really do hope they succeed. It would be fantastic to have a team with the suffix "Town" playing in Europe.

We haven't quite hit the heights we reached on occasions in last season, but it's great to see that we're still leading the league and progressing in all the cups without playing our best. I'm hoping when we hit our best form we'll be able to completely run away with the league again. Maybe finally Wexford will be the biggest team in Ireland. Apparently it only takes 4 league wins in a row. :confused:

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I've decided that I'll start putting up videos if a really special or important goal is scored by team. This goal isn't a bad one to start off with. It's 0-0 in the EA Sports Cup semi-final against Bohemians, and getting dangerously close to the last 10 minutes. Pablo Donnet decides it's time to score his first ever goal for the club. And just look at it.

[video=youtube;vHRbUZM0Jh0]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHRbUZM0Jh0

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Not a bad first goal at all at all, decent start to the season as well I suppose ;)

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I was quite pleased with it :D. It seems a relatively average start considering how much more quality we have than the rest of the League, but it is the first time that we've ever been leading after 12 games so it is an improvement of sorts.

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Mid Season Report: 2016 - Everything On Track

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Well we're on track-ish in the league this season. Because of our European campaign, we are so many games behind the rest of the league it is getting ridiculous. I normally post the table after we've played 24 games but since some of the other teams have already played 29 I thought I'd put this up now. It also coincides with the start of our Champions League group campaign. I don't want to leave with you with a cliffhanger :p. If we win all our games in hand then we'll have a slender two point lead over Bohemians. Whilst we've got 11-0-1 in the middle part of the previous seasons, this season are record has been marred by one loss and two draws. Not the end of the world by any means, but it is disappointing two drop points. Two of those games came after a European, midweek game, so they could be attributed to a midweek hangover, and the Monaghan United game came after a nearly two month lay off due to the European games, so that can be attributed to lack of match practice. Okay I'm making excuses, but I think they're valid one. The only surprise this season is Shamrock Rovers awful performances. Although they have a few games on hands on their fellows, they're still in the playoff relegation zone with less than a third of the season to go. It's almost unthinkable that they get relegated, but it is still a possibility!!

Qualification to the Champions League Group Stages has been assured, but it wasn't all easy going. The second qualifying round game against the Kazakh team Atyrau was a clinical destruction of a weaker team, and I was slightly disappointed that we didn't get into double figures over the two legs. The third qualifying round game was where it all nearly went oh so wrong. Crashing out there would've left us out of all European Competitions, and it would've been catastrophic for our finances. After a tense, 2-1 win in the home leg where we didn't play well at all, we trekked to Bosnia and got promptly outplayed. With the game equal at 3-3, and only 20 minutes left, we contrived to give away a penalty. Letting it in would be sending us out. Fortunately Stockdale made a fantastic save to keep us in the game. It promptly went to extra time, where a penalty of our own and 2 towering headers from Paul Murray gave us a comfortable win that was not comfortable at all. We went into the Champions Playoff Round as overwhelming underdogs, but I thought our team had the quality to beat the Bulgarian Champions and in the end it was relatively simple. Two wonder goals from Mikhail Lisovskiy at the beginning of either legs put our position under pressure but a brace in each leg from loanee Mauro made it comfortable.

The group we were given was actually relatively easy, probably the easiest group there, and it is one that I could see us coming third in, when all goes to plan. If all goes to plan. And it is quite a big iff.

Champions League Groups

Also have a look at the odds to win the Champions League. I'm thinking a cheeky pound on Wexford winning could do the trick.

You might not have noticed yet, but I like to manage a la Arsene Wenger, buying young players and developing them. On top of Pablo Donnet, Léo and Paul Murray I've brought in three more players: Nathan Berkeley, a titanic centre back who I think will be our captain once Danny Murphy retires, Julio Guajardo , another centre back who I bought before Nathan Berkeley. It looks like I don't really need him now, but he's rated as having 4 and a half star potential and has attributes in all the right places bar jumping, and Diego. The young left back may not have great starting attributes, but he's rated 5 stars by my scouts (!) and it looks like he could become a beast physically if I develop him properly.

Performances this season have been on average absolutely brilliant. Léo has already become one of my greatest ever signings, and his 30 assists in 31 games is absolutely outstanding. The two titanic central defensive partnership of Paul Murray and Nathan Berkeley, with an average height of 195 cm, have also performed brilliantly. Unfortunately this is not necessarily because of their defensive abilities but rather their abilities to score from corners. Defensively they've been okay, but can be exposed by pace since they're both rather slow. On the European stage this has been a marked problem, especially against such strikers such as Sergio Aguero. The two surprises this season have been that David Edwards has not kept up his level of performance, and that Tom Wattimury has refound his goalscoring form. He's barely improved since I first bought him, but with good players around him he's finally managed to score. I think learning English has helped, although I still want to find a replacement for him. David Edwards has been mostly relegated to the wing this season, and that might be why his performances have dropped. 7.28 is not a bad average rating by any means though, but I would like it if he can find the form that had him average over 7.5 per match.

European Coefficients and Rankings Update:

World Ranking - Well we're up to 56th again. It is quite shocking. Why oh why did they appoint Owen Coyle instead of me? My reputation is world class now though, so I hope that I'll be the favourite to take over the job once Owen Coyle finally leaves.

European Coefficients Ranking - The seeding is exactly the same as last year except we're up to 28th now. If you look at the points the last two seasons we've been getting around 3.000, just from our success in Europe. If we continue that over a five year period our ranking will jump right up to into the top 20, and I can see us doing a lot better than that and getting into the top 15 if we do well.

Irish Premier Division Ranking - We're right back up to 57th, exactly where we were two seasons ago. It still isn't enough to attract the players I want, but it is an improvement of sorts. Also note that it is La Liga not the Premiership that is the topped rank team. That's what the Barcelona effect will do for you.

Wexford European Ranking - We'll be breaking the top one hundred next season. I'm hoping for the top ten at some point.

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Wonderful result in Europe, and yes, I think that's a soft group, you might sneak into third, which means you get seeded into the EURO Cup knockouts.

Just so you know, if you lose your tie in the Third Qualifying Round of the UCL, you don't crash out of Europe: you get put into the Fourth Qualifying Round of the EURO Cup. A win there sees you safely into the EURO Cup groups. It's not up, yet, but that's what happened to Prestatyn this season (my 11th in the save).

Good luck on the rest of the season!

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CelticvWexfordInformation_Overview-1.png

A little sneak peak into our Champions League Campaign. We've finally claimed a proper scalp, and it's just revenge for our humiliation at their hands last year.

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DSYoungEsquire - It is indeed, it is the kind of group I was hoping to get, although Porto were very, very good when we played them.

Thanks for clearing that up, I thought that we almost flirted with disaster against Zeljeznicar.

Cheers, I'm hoping that this will be the season that we break through in Europe.

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I've been on holiday for a while so I haven't been able to update this. I've already finished the season and will be putting up the end of season summary in the next day or two.

[video=youtube;9eqZblcyEk8]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eqZblcyEk8

This is the goal which won us the Irish Premier Division for the 4th time in a row. It wasn't the best goal he's ever scored, but certainly one of the most important.

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Another beautiful goal here for you all to salivate over, and it is David Edwards again, and it is another important goal.

[video=youtube;GwDqTLx2Low]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwDqTLx2Low

It was the winning goal to record our second Champions League win ever, against Celtic, and maintain our chances of qualifying for the Knock-out Rounds.

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Ah, see, you are doing it again, going where Prestatyn are already ... er, that is, excelling at playing European footie! :D

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