deltablue

[FM11]Deltablue Rising II: Delta's Darlings.

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No, as at Frigg I was mentioned in the running for BSP/L2 jobs (never as favourite) but nothing even of that nature since. Maybe because of a mix of being English but with a lack of time in England. I thought the cup would lead to a few links (it did the last save I had on FM11, with the Belarus cup as a first trophy just like now). However I backtracked (read: Saved just in case, and reloaded) on leaving just before the end of last season, having otherwise been set for Derby in the Championship, so I'm on solid ground as far as that level is concerned, or maybe top-div in a better nation but not sure quite how much better.

Good choice. Nobody wants to go to Derby fella ;o)

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Good choice. Nobody wants to go to Derby fella ;o)

Having made my mind up, how typical of the game to try and tempt me to stay...

Jul 2027

Vitebsk 1-3 BATE (HL)

At Vitebsk, they had the better of things early on, but that changed when Dubovik gave us a 26th minute lead followed by Korol 8 minutes later. They got a goal back 30 seconds after half-time, but we were on top and clinched it with a late Zen’ko penalty.

BATE 2-2 Rudensk (HL)

Bottom side Rudensk at home weren’t expected to be a problem, and thanks to a Korol brace in the 19th and 22nd minutes, they weren’t in the first half. That didn’t look like changing in the second, but they woke up a bit. Getting a goal back with 4 minutes left wasn’t expected to be enough but we managed to concede an equalizer in stoppage time as well, leaving me fuming.

BATE 2-0 Naftan (HL)

We managed to avoid a repeat against Naftan. Korol scored in the 1st and 24th minutes. While they still had their moments of threatening, we were able to stop them in their tracks before we had a repeat of Rudensk.

Minsk 1-0 BATE (HL)

We attacked for most of the first half at Minsk, but had ran out of steam after half-time, and they were free to push just as hard, getting a 61st minute goal, and another disallowed 10 minutes later, as the only goal of a wasteful game from both sides.

Neman Grodno 1-0 BATE (HL)

We were pounded from the start at Neman Grodno, eventually conceding before the break. We managed to relieve the pressure in the second half, but getting anything was never going to be likely.

League Table

Aug 2027

Slavia Mozyr 1-2 BATE (Bc)

We went to Slavia Mozyr in the cup. We didn’t get off to a good start when we went behind after 15 minutes, though as we gradually roused ourselves, a Zen’ko penalty levelled it shortly before half-time. The 55th minute saw a Korol header ruled out, but soon Panteleev scored the goal that ended up sending us through, though the latter stages were more tense then it should have been.

BATE 3-0 Dinamo Brest (HL)

Having struggled against them, we easily put Dinamo Brest to the sword at home. Dubovik gave us the lead in the 3rd minute, Korol added to it 10 minutes later, and Dubovik’s second after half an hour made it safe.

Gomel 0-3 BATE (HL)

A trip to Gomel was just as comfortable. Dubovik gave us the lead a few minutes in, the elderly Soroka adding another after half an hour. They threatened to come back in the second time, but their chances were limited, and Korol secured it anyway with a third in the 82nd minute, so no issues there.

BATE 3-1 Dnepr Mogilev (HL)

For once I was reasonably optimistic ahead of a Dnepr Mogilev game. Sure enough, Korol scored after 20 minutes, Panteleev adding another 8 minutes later. Korol got his second just before half time, and they weren’t going to come back from that, just a late consolation.

BATE 3-1 Partizan Minsk.

Partizan Minsk looked like ending our run when they took the lead in the 7th minute. Zen’ko soon equalized, in the 13th minute, and we really chased the game after that. Dubovik finally gave us the lead in the 64th minute, but we really took the foot off the pedal after that. After facing considerable pressure, Zen’ko wrapped up the win in the 84th minute. Could a surprise title challenge be on the cards? The answer was almost certainly ‘no’, but it was getting exciting for now. Does complicate the ‘stay or go’ question though.

League Table

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It is very close indeed,my only answer would be go with your gut instinct.

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It is very close indeed,my only answer would be go with your gut instinct.

It's unlikely we'll keep it up enough for it to be an issue, unless we actually do win or get very close there's not much chance of such long-running and deep-set plans changing.

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Farewell Belarus

Sept 2027

BATE 3-0 SKVICh (HL)

After easily overcoming a few trickier opponents, we had a theoretically easier pair of home games, starting with SKVICh. For once it was that easy, with Spasic giving us a 10th minute lead, having already established ourselves on top, Zen’ko adding to it a few minutes before the break, and Korol getting the last goal in the 64th minute.

BATE 1-3 Vitebsk (HL)

Vitebsk were rather more of a challenge, though Korol gave us the lead after 14 minutes. However a penalty a few minutes later levelled the scores, and they resumed their bombardment of our defence. They broke us early in the second half, and we were helpless as they kept on, getting a 3rd in the 69th minute. A win would have drawn us level with Minsk at the top, but as it was we were well beaten.

Granit 0-1 BATE (Bc)

We went to Granit in the cup. They weren’t as tough as Slavia Mozyr were in the last round, and Korol comfortably gave us the lead 5 minutes before the break. We very much quietened down in the second half, but they weren’t much threat as we took a lead to the home leg later.

Dinamo Minsk 0-4 BATE (HL)

We completely put Dinamo Minsk to the sword in front of their own fans. Zen’ko got a hat-trick in the first 33 minutes. Korol was unlucky to have a goal disallowed at the end of the half, and Spasic gave us the deserved 4th in the 65th minute, and it could have been many more.

Rudensk 1-3 BATE (HL)

We also cruised home to the win at Rudensk. Dubovik and Panteleev scored in the 5th and 8th minutes, the latter getting another from a 37th minute penalty. They got a goal back in first half stoppage time, but a red card early in the second half put an end to their challenge.

BATE 2-1 Minsk (HL)

Minsk was a key top of the table game. The first half was pretty dull, but a Panteleev penalty early in the second half gave us the lead, followed by an own goal on the hour mark. They gave us a load of chances to face, getting a goal back with 7 minutes left, but we survived to get a lucky win that took us top on goal difference.

BATE 2-1 (3-1) Granit (Bc)

We hoped to finish the job off against Granit. Zen’ko set us on our way after a few minutes, getting another half an hour later, and a second half consolation from them was irrelevant.

League Table

Oct/Nov 2027

Naftan 2-3 BATE (HL)

Naftan away was one of the trickiest games we could have right now. As I feared, we did not start well. They got a very quick goal, and restored the lead after Korol’s 31st minute equalizer. Hulk’s 64th minute penalty took us level, but it looked like that was all we could hope for until he repeated the trick with a few minute left to give us an unlikely win.

BATE 2-2 Neman Grodno (HL)

That put Neman Grodno, up in 3rd, and that was who we played next. Like Naftan, they took the lead, in the 22nd minute. Dubovik equalized in the 41st minute, and in the second half we both had a good go of taking the lead, which they managed to get in the 70th minute. We really threw everything at them, and Bakhno gave us a really late point, heading in a corner.

Dinamo Brest 1-3 BATE (HL)

There was a tough run in, with 3 away games starting at Dinamo Brest. They battered us for the first half an hour, so it was great when Korol and Dubovik gave us a pair of goals within 5 minutes, having been on the receiving end of similar shock goals so much. Dubovik got another early in the second half, while they woke up a bit later on, getting a consolation, but thankfully nothing more.

Dnepr Mogilev 1-2 BATE (HL)

That was just the first of a few hurdles, as the accursed Dnepr Mogilev was the next trip. Much like at Brest, we were up against it in the first half but Panteleev gave us the lead right before half time. We were much more confident in the second half Korol extended the lead, before a brief late surge from them saw a consolation, but I was delighted to get the last laugh against them.

Partizan Minsk 2-0 BATE (HL)

Partizan Minsk was the last away trip. They broke us early, which the other two sides didn’t. We couldn’t rouse ourselves in the second half, eventually conceding another goal, and the title went to Minsk for the second year in a row.

BATE 3-1 Gomel (HL)

We (and my time at BATE) finished at home to Gomel. It was a great farewell party. Zen’ko gave us a deserved 24th minute lead. Korol added to it in the 33rd minute, and a penalty gave Zen’ko his second goal shortly before half-time. We sat back more in the second half, conceding but still strolling to a win.

Final League Table

I wouldn't have imagined the season would be like this after an awful start, and if only we hadn’t struggled to 1 point (which we were lucky to get) in the first three games (and we were merely holding onto the top half midway through the season) we could have done it. As tough a decision as it was, even the title wouldn’t get me to stay. A good season had enough for an extra year in Bulgaria, but I’d spent so much time wishing I was somewhere else, and wondering when a good time to go was, that this time I felt I might as well go. Budgets had shrunk a lot more than balance, the lack of changes the past couple of years since we finished 2nd hadn’t brought the progress it should have done. In return higher squad status’ needed to be offered to keep players even without pay-rises, plus an overabundance of forwards had led to a lot of morale problems, so I wasn’t short on reasons to want to go. It wasn’t all bad, I had a cup, a couple of European campaigns, and for the most part far better finishes than the club had for a while before I arrived, so it was better than it felt a lot of the time.

As for what would come next, for a year or so I’d been intent at trying a long term project at a Championship level (Serie B and Liga Adelante counting as well) club, where (especially in England), the potential glory (three times have I taken Ipswich to a league title at least, once from mid League-1) plus back-to-back for Verona once in FM07) was considerable, though a few failures like West Brom last time or limited PL progress meant it was far from assured. It was still what I decided I’d try next, wherever specifically that would be. I know people sometimes moss the fact that I leave clubs, hope this is unambiguous enough.

Squad Stats

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I'd be determined to keep trying to get the league title there at BATE after coming so close, but it's your game, good luck wherever you go next. :thup:

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So close. Good luck with your next challenge.

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So close to winning the title,good luck with whoever you manage next season.

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I'd be determined to keep trying to get the league title there at BATE after coming so close, but it's your game, good luck wherever you go next. :thup:

Normally that's exactly what I'd do, but finishing 2nd a couple of years previously was followed by 1 1/2 years of disappointment until our late title challenge, and I'd already spent so much time wanting to be somewhere else, and wanting to try something different, that I didn't feel I'd be happy staying.

Frustratingly close!
So close. Good luck with your next challenge.
So close to winning the title,good luck with whoever you manage next season.
Very unlucky not to win the league.

Even having beaten them late on, they had it wrapped up before they lost their last game, plus we'd lucked out a lot during our late run (which we needed after a poor start), so can't complain too much. Without further ado, here's the new place. Far from the most exciting destination but it'll do nicely...

Coventry City

Summer 2028

I wasn’t in a rush, not liking too much joining during a season which still had ages to go. Decided to forego France and Germany at the start or I’d have probably got Arles Avignon shortly after leaving Belarus (though might have considered it after), rejected a Bolton side in an awful financial situation, and declined to go for Peterborough for the same reason, but in April got an offer from Coventry, which I decided to accept at the end of the season, despite how singularly unimpressive being manager of Coventry sounds.

The situation wasn’t great, they were a bit in the black but with massive loan debts, which very nearly scuppered the deal for me, the squad was pretty old, and with a few pretty high earners, and unfortunately the only couple of players coming to the end of their contracts were neither. On the pitch, they had been in the PL for a year at the beginning of the decade, and been ‘there or thereabouts’ regarding playoffs ever since, which was slightly better an on-pitch situation as I expected to be able to get. Promotion for the PL would be tough, but the future didn’t look promising if I didn’t get it in a couple of years unless I was really able to tackle the finances through a considerably slashed wage bill 190kpw was fairly high for the Championship, (though not terribly so) and I felt it needed to quite a bit lower.

Thankfully my first move was to grab a couple of players, (including possibly the first Kazakh I’ve ever had) just before the end of their contracts (with an older player already set to arrive at the same time), which was surprising as I thought that I was a little late to that party this year, but felt it was worth a go, and their very low wages were a good sign that I could manage to get a strong side together for relatively little wage cost, once I shipped out the high earners (with quite a few on over 10kpw, up to 19kpw). I decided to spare a couple who weren’t too old in order to avoid getting too weak, compensating by going quite a bit further down than just the 10kpw+ players.

By early July the wage bill was almost halved, but while squad size wasn’t really a problem, there was still a lack of potential new recruits to build a newer, younger, and better value side from. Plus while an initial 1M for transfers was a reasonable amount, I wasn’t massive and I was going to have to wait for January for one player in order to save a decent chunk of that budget. A bit of adjustment made things a bit easier later on I was able to push the price boundaries a bit further to get a few more of those I was interested in. I had probably slashed our chances for a quick promotion, though that was a tough enough project in itself that I felt it wasn’t worth keeping a lot of the high-cost veterans. The board were only interested in a top-half finish anyway (which was roughly what I felt as well).

However far I could take them (which could be all the way) the point about going to somewhere like here was that it (all going well) was going to be a long-term thing anyway, and one I was very much looking forward to. Even if it was Coventry.

Jackson

Jones

Knox

Nilsen

Schadlich

Shinkarenko

Transfers

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Coventy is definitely a move I wouldn't have thought of, but all the best in England :)

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Almost went out on a high then! Not sure that you deserved to be sent to Coventry, though ;)

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Coventy is definitely a move I wouldn't have thought of, but all the best in England :)
Almost went out on a high then! Not sure that you deserved to be sent to Coventry, though ;)

Whether they deserved to be sent me is the issue right now;) Been rather a slow start...

Aug 2028

Coventry 1-1 Portsmouth (CH)

My first game in England was at home to Portsmouth. We faced a lot of pressure at first, and even after we started getting chances, they deservedly took the lead in the middle of the half. We gradually got better as the game wore on, and just about deserved something, and we got point from sub forward Elliot (who only survived my cull of the higher earners as no one wanted him) in the last minute. It was a sign of tricky times to come.

MK Dons 2-1 Coventry (LC)

We went to League 1 MK Dons in the League cup. After hectic opening exchanges, we had a bit of a nightmare as they took control and soon went 2-0 up. We were lucky it wasn’t worse by half-time. In the second half, we tried to come back, but when Spanish star forward Rovira gave us a goal back in the 67th minute, we ran out of steam somewhat.

Crystal Palace 1-3 Coventry (CH)

We thankfully improved at Crystal Palace, despite a tricky start. We gradually came out on top later in the first half Rovira (who soon went off injured) giving us a 39th minute lead. They attacked hard and we were lucky to still have the lead at half-time, but in the second minute afterwards, Sandjong extended the lead, and the Cameroonian made amends for a poor debut against Portsmouth (as it was he who was taken off for Elliot) by making it 3-0 after 80 minutes. They got a goal back a few minutes later but it was a relief not to be struggling to get results.

Coventry 0-0 Nottingham Forest (CH)

Nottingham Forest were a little tricker. They just about had the better of the first half pressure, we managed to make it more even in the second half, on balance just about being the more relieved with a draw.

Wigan 2-2 Coventry (CH)

We were becoming used to facing a lot of early pressure, and did so again at Wigan. That made it all the sweeter that Schadlich gave us the lead in the 18th minute, Elliot following up a few minutes later. They got a goal back before the break, and the onslaught we faced was immense, our forwards could have gone to the pub and I wouldn’t have noticed. We very nearly managed to hold on to what would have been an incredible, but I couldn’t begrudge them an equalizer (or even a winner, had it come to that), which they got practically with the last kick.

League Table

Sept 2028

Fulham 2-2 Coventry (CH)

We faced a painful trip to Fulham, relegated last year, and early-table toppers. They scored in the 6th minute, and looked like getting a few more before right-winger Kok equalized in the 23rd minute, and somehow we kept the scores level to the break. We found ourselves in the lead in the 52nd minute when defender Mihci headed in a corner. Kok went off injured in the 62nd minute to leave us a man down, and surprisingly they didn’t pressure us too much until late on, though they did already have an equalizer, and perhaps should have got a winner. It may have been our 4th draw in 5 games so far but it was one I was very pleased about, especially as admitedly I’d given up on anything other than a heavy defeat early on.

Coventry 2-0 Brighton (CH)

As undefeated as we were, more than 1 win would be nice, and we hoped to get a second one at home to Brighton, who were just above the drop zone. A first start (after a sub debut against Fulham) was given to a forward I promoted from the youth team when I arrived, Devlin, and he rewarded me by giving us a 17th minute lead. It was nice to be comfortably on top in a match, Rovira extending the lead in the 54th minute, and while they had a few little patches of threat, they didn’t do so seriously until late on, when they couldn’t even get a goal, let alone a point.

West Ham 4-0 Coventry (CH)

A West Ham trip (they were another relegated side, and looked like a PL team) would be far tougher. They took the lead in the 4th minute, and we had to weather one heck of a storm to keep them from getting another in the first half. We weren’t so successful in the second half, and they got another couple of goals within 20 minutes, stomping all over us as we lost 4-0 (with another disallowed). I knew we’d lose soon, and this game was a good bet for it, but not that we’d be rolled over so completely.

Coventry 1-4 Bristol City (CH)

Bristol City was a rather less expected setback, the usual early pressure led to an own-goal in the 7th minute, followed by going another goal down. Walker, the guilty own-goal player, gave us a goal back but it all went horribly wrong in the second half. They got a third goal in the 62nd minute. We went a man down when Jones went off injured, a hole in the defence when Knox got a second red card, and with such defensive holes, they couldn’t fail to get a 4th.

Ipswich 0-0 Coventry (CH)

At Ipswich, we kept finding it difficult and survived with a point partly thanks to them easing off for a lot of the second half. At Villa, we probably thought we were playing West Ham again. We were on the back foot from the start, went behind in the 6th minute, and though Rovira equalized, they retook the lead very deep in stoppage time, which completely destroyed us as they went on to win 5-1.

League Table

Oct 2028

Coventry 2-1 Huddersfield (CH)

We had a 2 week break until we played 4th placed Huddersfield, and it did us the world of good. After the poor recent form, my reaction to Kok giving us an 11th minute lead, and Rovira extending it 5 minutes later, was genuinely ‘What! Really?’ They had a surge of pressure in the first half, but never really stopped after that as we were free to have more chances of our own, and they grabbed a very late consolation.

Coventry 3-1 Plymouth (CH)

We took advantage of a game against struggling Plymouth to get back-to-back wins for the first time. Elliot set us on our way in the 4th minute, but after we kept pushing in the first half, I was worried when they equalized at the beginning of the second, Elliot (ably assisted all the way by left-back Wilkinson) grabbed a double in the middle of the half, giving him a hat-trick and giving us a comfortable win.

Middlesbrough 5-3 Coventry (CH)

Interestingly enough, before we went to Middlesbrough I was favourite for the newly vacant job, and I must admit if it wasn’t for my personal rules, I might have been interested, especially after the game. They suddenly quietened our decent start with a 12th minute goal, we brightened up after Rovira’s penalty equalized after half an hour, but they silenced us again when retaking the lead before half time. We looked like getting a hammering when they made it 4-1 in the second half. Umoh got one back shortly after, and when they got 5th, an Elliot penalty capped off a defeat in a crazy game.

Coventry 3-6 Millwall (CH)

Hoping to get back on track against Millwall, we instead served up one of the worse first halves I have ever endured. They were 3 goal us up in just over half an hour, and got a 4th when Elliot got one for us. Elliot got another after the break but that was just met by a quick double from them. Elliot (who today was a god among a team of footballing amoebas) later got his hat-trick but that didn’t stop us going down 6-3. In fact I think I’ve just been unfair on amoebas as 10 of them would have been better teammates for Elliot today.

League Table

This is going to take even longer than I thought, if I last that long. The truth is we've faced players and sides who have been far stronger on the field in most games and it could be a lot worse than it is now.

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Some tough games there. Looks hard to get any sort of form going.

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Some tough games there. Looks hard to get any sort of form going.

I never did in the end.

Nov 2028

Notts County 5-2 Coventry (CH)

If it was possible to be even worse, we were at Notts County, being 4-0 down before Kok scored just before the break, and even then they got a 5th before the whistle blew. Costa, our keeper seemed for have completely forgotten how to do his job. After an hour, Elliot got another back in an otherwise quieter second half.

Coventry 1-1 Leicester (CH)

After 16 goals conceded in the last three games, we needed to shore up better against rivals Leicester. We were reasonably on top in the first half for once, getting the lead in the 41st minute when a Schadlich shot was deflected in for an own-goal. We were rather less comfortable in the second half, and they kept pushing enough that, not for the first time, I couldn’t complain when they got an equalizer in the 84th minute.

Peterborough 3-2 Coventry (CH)

Villa were the latest ‘Championship job I’m linked to that I’d rather have’, just before we went to Peterborough. We conceded in the 6th minute, but determinedly fought back. Elliot equalized in the 26th minute, before Rovira gave us the lead in the 42nd. However in the second half they really took control. Within 15 minutes they were 3-2 up, and kept at it so we hardly had a chance to come back.

Coventry 1-1 Sheff Wed (CH)

Sheffield Wednesday were rock bottom with just 3 points from 17 games when we played them at home, and if we couldn’t beat them... They took the lead from a 15th minute penalty, but otherwise were worryingly on top anyway. We woke up in the second half, Schadlich equalizing in the 51st minute, and we kept pushing enough that we should have got a winner, especially with a rejected penalty claim with 5 minute left.

Rochdale 2-2 Coventry (CH)

Going to Rochdale, I was aware that this was another side we shouldn’t lose against. We looked shaky to start, but Rovira gave us a 32nd minute lead, which lasted just 3 minutes. In a scrappy second half, the Spaniard did it again in the 87th minute, and it looked like we’d sneaked a win, but lightning struck twice with the ‘equalizer after 3 minutes thing’, which was probably offside, and yet again we fell short of three points.

League Table

Dec 2028

Coventry 2-4 Watford (CH)

My job was very insecure, unsurprisingly so, when we faced Watford next, at the beginning of a busy month I may not survive, the plus point was how far behind points-wise the bottom three were, to dropping into the relegation zone wasn’t a worry. They gradually took control and the lead, in the 18th minute. We managed to get some spirit into our game, and Elliot was very unlucky to have an equalizer disallowed 10 minutes from the break. Rovira gave us one finally in the 65th minute, after a lot of trying, and 7 minutes later Elliot finally got on the scoresheet to give us the lead. However they battered us from the point, grabbing not just an equalizer and a winner, but another for good measure.

Derby 1-2 Coventry (CH)

The trip to Derby started out in a painfully one-sided way, until Jackson gave us a shock lead in the 18th minute. As predictable as ever, we conceded an equalizer before half time. We tried gamely to retake the lead early in the second half, but ran out of steam and started getting pounded again. We were reasonably good at surviving that sort of pressure, though not in some games, but that hadn’t been enough due to a lack of wins. This time Rovira struck in the last minute to give us our first one in 9 games. ‘Relieved’ doesn’t really cover it.

Coventry 4-3 Reading (CH)

We were next against Reading , the third relegated side, whose forward pairing were together on about as much as all our squad. It showed when they soon took the lead, and got another just before the break. They got it to 4-0 before Rovira gave us a goal 10 minutes from the end. However that was followed by another from him, and from Umoh, making the score surprisingly close at the end.

Final Coventry League Table

After that they sacked me, and I’d be the first to say ‘quite right too’, though I had hoped I could weather the storm (like I unexpectedly did at BATE) to see things come together. Sadly it wasn’t to be. Speaking of BATE, they won the title this season, but I had no regrets about leaving to pursue a longer-term project in a bigger nation, and I intended to continue doing so. As much as it seemed that defence was the problem (and at times it was), we were on the back foot so often that we actually survived to get a point (though never three) quite a lot of times, and the rest of the games saw us genuinely being that overwhelmed rather than letting the opposition score with fairly few shots.

That also highlighted the toughness of the Championship. Some leagues are tough to survive in after promotion, some to get out of, and some to be challengers in, but the Championship couldn’t be beaten for a tough ride throughout the table. This made the 3rd time in a row that I had taken a Championship job that it hadn’t gone well, though I seemed to do rather better after being promoted from League 1, with 2 promotions to the PL as well out of 2, including West Brom in the last career.

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Tough sacking. What was the predicted finish for Coventry?

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Argh, hate it when that happens. I'm sure you could've built on that but clearly the board aren't patient enough. What are you thinking of doing next?

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Tough break with the sacking,thought the board would have been a bit more patient.

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Harsh season there, I'm sure you can bounce back at your next job though.

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Tough sacking. What was the predicted finish for Coventry?

7th, and actually with the season nearly over they're just 21st, a few places lower than when I was sacked.

Argh, hate it when that happens. I'm sure you could've built on that but clearly the board aren't patient enough. What are you thinking of doing next?
Tough break with the sacking,thought the board would have been a bit more patient.
Harsh season there, I'm sure you can bounce back at your next job though.

Only slightly harsh, I had been expecting it for a month or so as I knew we were considerably underperfoming. We were also losing a lot of money even with a greatly reduced wage bill so I'd have had to rely on my new side coming together and admitedly there were quite a few of them so I could have expected some improvement from the side I had next year. The pre-contract market would probably have been very bountiful as well. I still want to build a club up long-term (in fact for a while I've been thinking of basing my next career about only (with 1 or 2 exceptions) doing lower league clubs and trying to work at just that for a while) so will probably go and do that in Italy, Spain, Germany or France (in fact I've hardly ever been to the latter in FM), where there should be a potentially smoother ride. Will probably avoid the Championship for a while as it's turning into a bogey division. Plus will pay more attention to 'loan debt' warning signs.

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Bad luck there, the Championship is indeed a harsh mistress! I don't think I've ever really enjoyed managing in that league the way I have the others in the English pyramid - it's a bit too much of a mad scramble to the finish line (no matter what your aspiration, as you said) for my liking!

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Unexpected move to to Coventry, I hope you can work up the table through to promotion soon. You take each club as far as reasonably expected, great job :D

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Unexpected move to to Coventry, I hope you can work up the table through to promotion soon. You take each club as far as reasonably expected, great job :D

I'm sure I could have if I hadn't been fired. Still not got anywhere new over a year later in-game due to a combo of the game doing months at a time ('browse' is only occasionally responsive), not much on offer when I can apply, and the fact that I now have standards but due to the rep blow from the sacking, I have no idea precisely what that is now, with the good and realistic English prospects out of bounds due to my rule of not being in a nation twice in a row. Looks like whatever's next will be one of those rather unexpected moves for which I'm becoming known around here.

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Delta do you have any idea how to not concede so many goals from corners? It's driving me insane :|

Hoping to see something crazy like Finland next haha

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Delta do you have any idea how to not concede so many goals from corners? It's driving me insane :|

Hoping to see something crazy like Finland next haha

Nope sorry, defenders who are good in the air (and marking) perhaps? As it happened I very nearly did go to Finland but the club's loan debt was shocking so I didn't apply. Going to have to disappoint you (though it's not somewhere I was thinking of when I started looking), as lo and behold, as I was typing the above post, an opportunity came up.

Ferrol

Not quite like London buses, this was followed by a vacancy at St Pauli, but more stable finances got me chosing Spain despite far smaller budgets (just 9.5kpw, using a relatively massive 12.66kpw and nothing for transfers) and greater distance from promotion, a place of perhaps better stability rather than potential admitedly. I had been in the Second Div B way back in FM05, and I must admit I had been interested in returning for a while. With 3 games to go in this season, Ferrol were 10th, and about as mid-table as you could get. Still, being described as 'relatively unknown manager' I had a bit of a way to climb back up before being able to push on, and I was happy to have somewhere again.

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I completely expected you to show up at somewhere like Uzbekistan, but interesting move. Bit of a slight step back from Coventry tho? It's one league further down the ranks in a similar pyramid.

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I completely expected you to show up at somewhere like Uzbekistan, but interesting move. Bit of a slight step back from Coventry tho? It's one league further down the ranks in a similar pyramid.

It is, but it had to be, my rep was down to 'regional' for the first time all save (and as I mentioned, I was treated as a surprise appointment due to being unknown, though the press conference did mention the step down as well), so there was at least a bit of rep damage. Sometimes you take a bit of a step back and have to get back up to speed. After relegation from the PL in the last career there was that brief spell in Uruguay (a 2.5 star league) as the best I could do, and Hungary after that when thankfully a number of trophies got me into the big time. I quickly realized that aside from England I was unlikely to get a second level job in one of the bigger countries so if I wanted to build someone up in that way like I wanted to do with Coventry, I'd have to settle for third level.

Plus I'd spent a day of real time and 15 in-game months in my longest unemployed spell ever in FM so anything that wasn't too small or financially unstable (Midtable constitutes underachievement for a Ferrol side predicted 4th so they're not too bad, despite the budgets, and Coventry have barely been keeping afloat in the Championship since I left so he gap isn't that massive) was something that would suffice for now, even if I'm unsure about what I can do in the short-term.

Didn't expect you at Coventry!

No one expects Deltablue!

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Never been a huge fan of Segunda B. It's one of those league when you can finish top and still not get promoted due to the stupid playoffs!! :mad:

But, good luck! :D

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Never been a huge fan of Segunda B. It's one of those league when you can finish top and still not get promoted due to the stupid playoffs!! :mad:

But, good luck! :D

Good luck at Ferrol :thup:

At least 4th gives you a shot which is better than a lot of other leagues when you need to be top 1 or 2 and even then have a playoff. not exactly a worry at the moment.

Feb/Mar 2030

Ferrol 1-3 Guadalajara (D2B)

The first Ferrol game was at home to Guadalajara who were just above us. We took the lead after 6 minutes, then just sat back, which was a bad idea given we were weakened by a few defender suspensions, and were caught out, when they equalized late in the half, took the lead just before the break, and were free to get a third afterwards.

Ferrol 2-4 Zamora (D2B)

Zamora was a similar level game. We were on the back foot for a while, and they eventually grabbed a pair of goals to get a 2-0 lead at the break. Admitedly I wasn’t expecting this mess of a side to rouse themselves for the rest of the season, and in the second half Zamora proved that point. They went to 4 goals up before we grabbed two goals in as many minutes around the hour mark to make it look more respectable.

Real Alcala 4-0 Ferrol (D2B)

The first away trip was at Real Alcala, just below us. That changed when they took the lead shortly before half-time. We mounted a decent second-half effort, but collapsed in the last 10 minutes with 3 more goals conceded.

Ferrol 1-1 Pontevedra (D2B)

We were back at home against holders Pontevedra. We got a little lucky as they had a goal disallowed before we took the lead late in the first half. We would have been really lucky to hold on to it, and I was just glad for a first point despite their 70th minute equalizer.

Montaneros 2-0 Ferrol (D2B)

A trip to Montaneros was a survival mission from the start, and we managed it for a while until they broke the deadlock in the 54th minute, and again 10 minutes later.

Ferrol 1-1 Ourense (D2B)

Ourense were a couple of places below, in the relegation playoff place (thankfully we had far too much of a cushion to worry about the 4 automatic relegation spots). The only good thing footballing-wise in the first half was their taking the lead. We improved to ‘average’ in the second half, and grabbed an equalizer from a penalty with a few minutes left, which kept us 7 points above them with as many games to play, meaning we didn’t need to worry too much about facing a playoff.

Apr/May 2030

Gimnastica 4-0 Ferrol (D2B)

I wasn’t awash with confidence when we went to table-topping Gimnastica. They were 2 goals up after just over 5 minutes, but surprisingly failed to pile on the goals. We made a pretty good go of coming back in the second half but veteran Argie keeper Medina just gave up and conceded a 3rd after 70 minutes, and a 4th in stoppage time, which stopped us looking respectable.

Ferrol 0-1 Burgos (D2B)

From 1st, to hosting 2nd placed Burgos. We were actually reasonably good in an even and goalless first half, but slipped up when we conceded the only goal of the game at the beginning of the second half, in what otherwise had looked an alright performance.

Ferrol 2-0 Ponferradina (D2B)

We made up for it against Ponferradina, though it looked like we’d blown the chance again when they had a goal that was disallowed. Hungarian forward Czegledi gave us the lead before the break instead, and before we could ruin it, sealed it in the 77th minute for our first win in forever!

Amurrio 1-2 Ferrol (D2B)

We took the lead again after 7 minutes, at relegation batting Amurrio. While we kept pushing in the first half, we were quieter in the second, at least until we extended the lead in the 70th minute. They got one back 5 minutes later, but thankfully we didn’t throw away the win.

Salamanca 2-1 Ferrol (D2B)

The last trip of the season was a tough one to Salamanca. Czegledi gave us the lead again in the 12th minute, but it wasn’t going to be as easy this time, and 28th and 33rd minute goals gave Salamanca a 2-1 lead that we couldn’t take away.

Ferrol 5-0 Cultural Leonesa (D2B)

The other forward, Brunet, scored twice in the first 7 minutes against Cultural Leonesa, and we were soon 3 up after 12 minutes. 5 minutes into the second half, sub Juan Carlos got in on the action, and in the 62nd minute we had a fifth. This (like the maiden win against Ponferradina) was against a side just outside the playoff places.

Ferrol 1-2 Fuenlabrada (D2B)

Relegated Fuenlabrada were the last opponents of the season, and we didn’t seem too bothered with them. They took the lead midway through the first half. Brunet equalized just before the break but we couldn’t do much more, and conceded again in the second half to fall to a disappointing defeat to end the season.

Final League Table

Experience has taught me that taking over a side mid-season often leads to continues mediocrity at best until the following year, so I wasn’t too bothered with how poorly things went for so long, especially with a lot of changes already confirmed, already done deals, and wage demands ensuring a lot of departures, with a decent amount of pre-contract replacements.

That said this lot were probably the most spiritless shower that it’s been my misfortune to manage thus far, even my ‘1 point’ Hogaborg side looked like they’d get something in quite a few games. However their only rivals for that ‘honour’, BATE, proved themselves after a while so there’s hope. If it wasn’t for the ‘1 year minimum rule’ I’d probably decided to leave before things really perked up near the end (making what went before rather mystifying).

True judgement could only be made from next year, I wasn’t expecting a playoff challenge but was now rather more confident than I was of an improved season. Looks like things won’t be as much of a disaster in Spain as I feared for a while.

How the past teams did.

Krsko haven't reappeared in the Second League.Hogaborg's 3 year run in the PL ended and haven't been close to returning since. Frigg continue to be mid-table in the Second Division. Sportist had a struggling season before returning to be a good top half team over the next 2 years. BATE won the title the season after I left but have been struggling since then, just like when I found them. After struggling for the rest of the season they sacked me, Coventry recovered from a bad start to be mid-table.

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Sounds like that was an underwhelming half-season, albeit looking more positive towards the end, hopefully with a full summer to plan things and build the squad properly you'll turn Ferrol back onto the right track.

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Sounds like that was an underwhelming half-season, albeit looking more positive towards the end, hopefully with a full summer to plan things and build the squad properly you'll turn Ferrol back onto the right track.

'Underwhelming is correct, I like to try and be commited and professional but there was a serious amount of 'can this be over soon?' going on in my head. I've certainly managed to do a load of building up a far stronger squad, but as I'd done quite a few pre-contract deals as a precaution against the number of departures as I wasn't expecting to be able to do that, I rolled with the policy of a massive overhaul as I was taking a bit of a stability hit anyway so I might as well do a massive upgrade (and then some, it's up there as one the busiest summers of activity I've ever had in 7 years of FM and hundreds of seasons), but there will probably be a considerable short-term cost so getting on the right track will take a while, though if we get through that phase it'll really pay off.

Summer 2030

This wasn’t going to be a vintage season. I had achieved a reasonable wage bill saving (which didn’t do me much good at Coventry), and was rewarded by a budget increase giving be a few thousand spare, some of which was turned into 120k for transfers which I hoped would be enough for a few decent players despite keeping a strict wage filter in place. We had already lost a majority of the first team, had to lower the bar for promoting youth players (but they were still at least of reasonable potential) to get a decent squad size, and even then we were woefully short on defenders. That meant a lot of scouting, and looking through a list of over 2,000 free agents (not kidding, and that’s with the tremendous player search list streamlining benefits of the U21 thing) for anyone that might look decent enough.

As it happened there was still plenty of quality available, German central defenders seemed to be a particular speciality this year, bargains galore (though relatively high wages promoted more budget balancing) and I lapped them up. There were a surprising English bunch as well as I rarely have any on my radar when abroad (and even when as a strong PL club in England, native signings are thin on the ground) I was already going to have a much-changed and unsettled squad even had I done very little this summer, so I decided if I was going to take a big stability hit, I might as well have a strong squad (or at least a lot of potential) while I was doing it. In the short term, that stability might be very damaging. Plus the budgets had been balanced all the way back and I was just over a maxed out wage budget. The board expected a top-half finish. Achievable, but very uncertain, and the future might be more fruitful than I expected (which when I arrived, wasn’t very) but whether I would get that far remained to be seen. However my attitude toward Ferrol had very much changed from ‘this’ll do, but not getting my hopes up’ to a far better ‘Excited to see how things go’.

Bermudez

Charlton

Cipriano

Garcia

Oliveira

Paez

Sasso

Wanchope

Transfers

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I check in to see how you're doing in England and you're already gone! Now Spain has to deal with you ;) Always love seeing where you're going next.

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Mixed season, but something to build on.

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I check in to see how you're doing in England and you're already gone! Now Spain has to deal with you ;) Always love seeing where you're going next.

Bets are already open for next time, though I'm pretty sure it'll be back to England.

Mixed season, but something to build on.

Rather generous assessment, though it seems you're predicting this season.

Sacked from Coventry? Oh dear :D

Just glad it wasn't Sheff Utd, maybe next time eh.

Sept 2030

Zamora 3-2 Ferrol (D2B)

We started with a tough trip to Zamora. Left-winger Agirre was the only player in the starting lineup who wasn’t making his debut, but we showed promise when one of the new forwards, Jorge, had a goal disallowed after 2 minutes. We kept pushing and Argie defender Garcia soon headed us into the lead. The other forward, Perez, also had a goal disallowed after half an hour. I had a feeling the disallowed goals would be costly, and they equalized in the last minute before half time, which seemed to knock the wind out of us completely. They got two further goals in the second half, before Jorge got a 75th minute consolation in what was a very unlucky defeat, and a good sign of the side’s potential.

Ferrol 1-0 Lemona (D2B)

We were on the back foot much more at home to Lemona, but Jorge gave us a 34th minute lead, and we managed to keep it in a far more confident second half.

Candas 2-4 Ferrol (D2B)

We had a pair of promoted sides next, starting with a trip to Candas. We were reasonably good in the first half. Jorge and Agirre got a goal each in the lst 5 minutes to give us the lead. They looked like coming back, midway in the second half, getting a goal, but Jorge put them to the sword with a pair of goals in the 71st and 78th minutes, and they got a consolation in added time.

Ferrol 3-0 Lealtad (D2B)

Lealtad at home was the other one. However they had done much better so far, and they took a 19th minute lead. We could have fought back but they hit us with another a couple of minutes into the second half which silenced us.

Gimnastica 3-0 Ferrol (D2B)

Gimnastica was always going to be a tough trip, as much as the holders were only having a mid-table start. They had a goal disallowed but took the lead anyway in the 26th minute. We went all out in the second half, but a couple of injuries weakened us and they grabbed a couple more in the last 10 minutes.

Ferrol 3-1 Pontevedra (D2B)

Agirre gave us the lead after just a minute against Pontevedra, and it was followed up by Czegledi just over 20 minutes later. However they had a massive second half comeback, more than deserving to turn it around, especially as they had a goal disallowed, before they had a late goal back, and in the last minute Czegledi got a second goal that made it look a lot more confident than it deserved.

League Table

Oct 2030

Cultural Leonesa 2-4 Ferrol (D2B)

Czegledi gave Leonesa a Cultural experience when scoring a 4th minute goal at theirs. Bermudez’s first Ferrol goal extended it after 20 minutes, and things got better when they had a goal disallowed 7 minutes later. They made a particularly strong fightback in the second half, eventually scoring in the 64th minute. 10 minutes later, Wanchope scored to make it much safer for us, and just as well as they got a deserved second at the beginning of stoppage time, with enough left for Gonzalez to wrap our victory up with our 4th goal. They were 2nd before the game which made it especially pleasing.

Ferrol 0-4 Ponferradina (D2B)

It was our turn to be hit at home, against Ponferradina. We made a bright start but the sky fell in after they took the lead after 20 minutes. They followed it up before the half-hour mark, and again before half time, with a 4th after as we just fell apart.

Ferrol 3-1 Guadalajara (D2B)

Battered, we were relieved to have Gonzalez give us the lead after half an hour against Guadalajara. They quickly levelled it, but we were much improved for a lot of the second half, Gonzalez’s second header restoring the lead in the 58th minute. They had a strong finish, and were very unlucky to have a goal disallowed just before Czegledi put it beyond them in the 85th minute.

Univ Oviedo 5-0 Ferrol (D2B)

Unfortunately our form was flip-flopping like mad, and we were capable of making even struggling Univ. Oviedo look like giants in front of their fans, as they got three goals in the second 10 minutes, and we gifted them an own goal before the break. They completed the humiliation (as that’s definitely what it was) with a 5th goal in the 58th minute. If there was a ‘storm out in disgust’ option I’d have definitely used it during the match.

League Table

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Nov 2030

Ferrol 1-2 Arandina (D2B)

We even messed up a simple home game with Arandina, this after Czegledi gave us 10th minute lead. They quickly equalize, and we were much more likely to make something happen, but their early second half winner rocked us too much.

Arenas 3-4 Ferrol (D2B)

We went to the once proud Arenas (one of the strongest sides from the early years of Spanish football), who were bottom with just 4 points, and found them tragically easy going. Czegledi and Oscar scored between the 20th and 30th minutes to give us a comfortable lead. 5 minutes later a goal gave them hope, but Garcia restored the 2-goal margin in the 40th minute. They got a second goal early after the break, but it was a fairly quiet half, punctuated at the end with an own-goal in our favour and a third for them.

Ferrol 1-3 Lugo (D2B)

Lugo was a far tougher game, and they took the lead almost instantly. Szegledi equalized after half an hour, but that was the sum total of what we managed and coupled with a weak defence meant they quickly returned to the lead, and surprisingly just got one more in the second half.

Llanes 1-4 Ferrol (D2B)

A trip to Llanes was an easier game. Cipriano and Agirre gave us a 2-0 lead within the first 15 minutes. A bad error from Gonzalez gave them a goal back, but they weren’t too much of a threat and a second Cipriano goal in the 41st minute put us in a stronger position. The second half was quieter for the most part, but Oscar gave us one more in the 78th minute. Their manager praised our defence after the game, which earned him a comedy award, or at least should have.

League Table

Dec/Jan 2030/1

Ferrol 1-0 Salamanca (D2B)

Advent started with a game against table-topping Salamanca. Surprisingly Oscar gave us the lead in the 12th minute. Even more surprisingly was the relative lack of pressure, though they had enough that we could have thrown away the win on another day, though thankfully not this time.

Ferrol 1-1 Montaneros (D2B)

Montaneros were another tricky visitor to Galicia, and again we took the lead from Szegledi in the 27th minute, we did let the lead slip soon but after a quiet second half I was pleased with a point from this, which actually our first draw.

Palencia 4-1 Ferrol (D2B)

A trip to relegated Palencia was yet another tricky one. Again we had the lead, in the 11th minute from Gonzalez, and while they equalized we were still level at half-time. Not so much in the second half when 10 poor minutes saw them get 3 goals.

Ourense 2-1 Ferrol (D2B)

The last game before the festive break was at Ourense. Disappointingly Oscar’s 7th minute goal was cancelled out just 2 minutes later, and much like against Palencia, we went on to lose but only by a goal on the hour mark.

Ferrol 0-1 Langreo (D2B)

I had a pretty short return, as we were starting to sink down the bottom half of the table, which I had feared, but were looking like avoiding. The straw broke after we played Langreo, a fairly even game where both side had decent chances, but it was they who scored late on to deal us the blow that got me fired.

Final Ferrol Table

However while last time I was out for 15 months, this time it was just 4 days. I already knew roughly where I would go, having been courted by Championship clubs, and reasonably big League 1 names since I joined Coventry, of a far higher calibre than I could expect in any other nation. The very latest link had been just before my last Ferrol game, as it happened it was still vacant when I was given my marching orders from Franco’s hometown club. Sure enough I got it, straight into the League 1 promotion race. Farewell Ferrol, Hello Brighton, out of a very packed playoff zone on goal-difference (and one of a few teams with a game in hand), 5 points off 2nd, and I am definitely going for promotion, especially automatic. Hopefully it would we 3rd time lucky with this 'long-term in a big nation' thing. Might seek another 'Sportist' if this fails.

A couple of other points. 1) I do seem to be moving a lot recently (though you hardly have a choice when fired), seems odd thinking that at the top of the page I was having a rather bad start with BATE, and 2) just noticed my 'Youth team' forum title, rather apt really.

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I'm sure Brighton has a nicer pier than Ferrol, anyway!

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I'm sure Brighton has a nicer pier than Ferrol, anyway!
Good luck at Brighton :thup: A good move.

We seem to be getting on very well.

Jan 2031

The situation when I arrived at Brighton was like this...

First Brighton Table

They had been relegated from the Championship a couple of years back, and lost in the playoff final last year. I was blessed with a strong set of loans (though not all were until the end of the season) supplementing an already good squad, though we were short on forwards, especially fit ones. The financial situation was pretty good. 94kpw was one of the more reasonable wage budgets (especially when we were in the Championship) I’d seen. Plus there was 17kpw spare and just over 500k for transfers which I was looking to make use of, though unsurprisingly the fact that we were such a strong side for a fairly low and unattractive level meant that I ended up not doing so.

Brighton 1-0 Stockport (L1)

The first game was against relegation candidates Stockport. A very new tactical setup (not helped by the injured forwards) plus low morale meant it wasn’t as comfortable as it looked on paper, but we managed to be reasonably strong on the pitch, our lone frontman Robinson scoring in the 15th minute after we had been on top from the start. The second half was less comfortable, though we still had our chances, and they came pretty close to getting an equalizer. However we deservedly got the narrow win, only the second time in the career that I’ve won my first game with a club (Sportist being the other), and from the club’s point of view, it was a good start to my reign having won just one of the previous 6 games.

Brighton 2-0 Gillingham (L1)

Former landlords Gillingham were next, and expected to be only a little tougher. Robinson scored again in the 12th minute, but they were quickly on the offensive and there were some hairy moments before a 34th minute own-goal extended our lead, and in the second half we were far more on top.

Cardiff 1-0 Brighton (L1)

The first away trip was to Cardiff, a far trickier test against a side just below the playoff places that we were now sitting comfortably in. Even opening exchanges died down, but suddenly they struck 10 minutes from half time. They kept pushing too much for a lot of the second half for us to have a shot at equalizing, until we had some late chances. As much as it was a pity to lose I knew it didn’t matter too much if we could consistently beat most of the other sides, and indeed we had a good run of far more manageable games for a while.

League Table

Feb 2031

Brighton 1-0 Lincoln (L1)

We were expecting to get back to winning ways at home to Lincoln, and got a deserved 16th minute lead from a header from defender Pitman. We surprisingly ran out of steam and they were free to attack pretty strongly in the second half, but we held out.

Brighton 3-2 Dagenham (L1)

Things looked more comfortable against Dagenham (our 4th home game in 5) when one of the loanees, winger Etchebarne, gave us the lead in the second minute. A woeful defence put paid to that idea when they gifted Dagenham two quick goals to take the lead. We chased them in the second half, an own goal levelling it 10 minutes in, and there was much relief all around when Robinson gave us a winner 5 minutes from time.

Doncaster 1-2 Brighton (L1)

We faced a pair of trips to the north, starting at Doncaster. A hectic start saw them go ahead in the 20th minute, but we pushed back immediately and more than deserved our equalizer from right-back Lucas a few minutes from the break. We were on top enough to deserve a winner, but when we got it in the 81th minute it came in admittedly controversial style, when an alleged handball from Lucas assisted fellow defender Salemme.

Accrington 0-3 Brighton (L1)

We went over to Accrington (who are they?), and they frustrated us for a lot of the first half. We sped out of the blocks in the second half, and eventually took the lead in the 69th minute from Etchebarne. Pitman got a deserved second with a minute left, and there was even a third in stoppage time from an otherwise disappointing Robinson. That result took us to within a point of Newport in 2nd, and just 3 from top. I also became Ghana manager after the match.

Brighton 2-0 Charlton (L1)

We were at home again against Charlton, just below the playoffs. It was pretty tight, but thankfully Robinson was on form hitting a pair of goals, in the middle and end of the first half The second half was quieter, with the few chances going to them but they didn’t get anything. At the weekend a defeat for Newport meant confirmed our position 2 points ahead of them in 2nd.

League Table

Mar 2031

Wrexham 1-0 Brighton (L1)

We went to Wrexham and were very unlucky. We had a goal disallowed in the 7th minute, and they soon took the lead. In the second half we went at them enough that we really should have had an equalizer at least.

Brighton 2-2 Crawley (L1)

We struggled a bit at home to Crawley, shipping a goal late in the first half before Robinson equalized on the stroke of the whistle. We pushed in the second half, but they retook the lead in the 73rd minute, and we at least managed to grab a point, though it should have been all three, a couple of minutes towards the end.

Watford 2-3 Brighton (L1)

It would only get trickier as next we went to Watford, who were promotion rivals. Surprisingly Pitman gave us the lead in the 26th minute, but they hit us with a force that shattered the defence and they were ahead at the break. They kept on battering us in the second half, but amazingly sub Rose equalize in the 65th minute, and an own goal gave us the lead in the 72nd minute, which we somehow kept to record the most important win of the season. We remained in 4th, 1 point behind 2nd, but were well placed to take an automatic promotion if we had a strong late run.

Brighton 7-0 Southampton (L1)

The home game with Southampton was a great chance to state our intentions, and boy did we ever! Robinson set the tone by giving us the lead in the 6th minute, and we didn’t let up in the first half. The 21st minute saw him get another, and within 10 minutes, Etchebarne added a pair of goals of his own. Robinson finished off his hat-trick in the 34th minute. We spared Southampton any further humiliation until late on when Robinson got his 4th of the day in the 84th minute, and a few minutes later, a penalty secured Etchebarne’s hat-trick. Talk about winning in style.

Shrewsbury 2-2 Brighton (L1)

We attacked just as strongly at Shrewsbury, but met with strong resistance and they held firm in the first half. They headed in a corner at the beginning of the second half, which is the closest I’ve ever come to having an ‘It’s not fair!’ tantrum. More pressure from us came to naught and I was starting to curse Shrewsbury very loudly. First they kick start Grant Holt’s rise to glory and now this! At least out other 2 promotion rivals were losing as well. We were sort of saved by right-winger Duxbury who got two goals, in the 72nd and 79th minute, but they denied us a win with a late goal. Results elsewhere meant it didn’t cost us too much beyond a missed opportunity.

League Table

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Excellent start with Brighton,the game with Southampton looks to be a very impressive showing.

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Excellent start with Brighton,the game with Southampton looks to be a very impressive showing.

Sadly we couldn't quite keep it up, especially away.

Apr/May 2031

Brighton 3-0 Plymouth (L1)

Plymouth were just below us and gave us a very tough time for a lot of the first half, Robinson giving us a 40th minute lead was a massive relief. The 52nd minute saw Salemme (in the last game of his loan) head in a corner to give us another. The second half was surprisingly easy, and a Taylor freekick in the 65th minute wrapped up a 3-0 win. Amazingly we were now in a 3-way tie at the top with Newport and Bury (who we played at home on the last day), with Watford just a point behind. This was quite a promotion battle.

Wycombe 3-1 Brighton (L1)

We let ourselves down very badly at Wycombe, going behind after a few minutes. We equalized 20 minutes later from Roberts but were just a mess from that point, as they regained the lead, and comfortably got a third.

Brighton 1-0 Stevenage (L1)

Stevenage was a fairly comfortable game we couldn’t afford to mess up. Regular periods of pressure in the first half were wasted, and the second half started off even, then became worryingly quiet indeed. A win would put us back into a three-way tie at the top (with Newport as the team 2 points behind), so it was quite a relief when Robinson scored 6 minutes from the end. Had that been disallowed it would have been such a blow. That was our last game that looked that easy on paper, it was 3 mid-table sides (2 away) followed by rivals Bury at the end, what a game that would be!

Sheff Wed 3-0 Brighton (L1)

Things did not go well at all at Sheffield Wednesday. They scored twice in the first 15 minutes, and added another shortly before half-time. If it wasn’t for Smits in goal it would have been a complete humiliation and we survived the second half without any further goals conceded, as the only positive.

Brighton 3-0 MK Dons (L1)

Thankfully things were far better at home to MK Dons. Etchebarne scored in the 10th minute, followed 8 minutes later by Robinson, who added a second in the 72nd minute, which took us to a point off Watford, but worryingly 3 behind Bury, given I very much hoped it would be in our own hands on the final day.

Yeovil 1-4 Brighton (L1)

If we slipped up at Yeovil our automatic promotion dream would be all but over, and despite good having a good recent playoff record, I would never be too confident about them. We didn’t do too much in the first half, Robinson grabbed the lead right before the break though. In the second half we really let fly, Robinson scoring just after the restart, followed by Taylor and Etchebarne within 5 minutes of each other in the mid 60’s. They finished the game very strongly, though far too late, getting a consolation in the 75th minute, and could have had more. Results elsewhere weren’t so favourable. Bury coming from behind to stay 3 points clear was as much of a blow as a Yeovil comeback would have been, the goal-difference gap being far too great (we would need to win by 8 goals, not going to happen in a month of Sundays) to be able to overhaul them even if we beat them, plus Watford remained a point ahead and if they won at Crawley (who were 14th, so far from certain but still pretty likely) it would be the playoffs for us.

Brighton 3-0 Bury (L1)

We did our part splendidly, Robinson gave us the lead in the 27th minute, while the scores were still level for Watford. However they took the lead before half-time, and I knew the game was up. Duxbury extended our lead in the 67th minute, and Robinson scored in injury time, but as great as the win was, it wasn’t enough to avoid the playoffs. Shrewsbury were relegated, but if we failed to go up I would forever curse their name, as that was where the most disappointing dropping of points was for me.

League Table

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So so close in the league. Good luck in the playoffs.

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ONORE, SHREWSBURY!!!!!!!!! (And you too Newport!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Playoffs 2031

Cardiff 1-0 Brighton (Playoff Semi)

My 600th career game was the away leg against Cardiff, and given we were rather unreliable away I was a bit worried. They scored in the 15th minute, but we had a few chances before the break. They came our much stronger in the second half, and I was very relieved not to concede another.

Brighton 3-1 aet (3-2) Cardiff (Playoff Semi)

Inspired by Taylor on the left wing, we tried to overcome them at home. Roberts scored in the 3rd minute, but late in the first half they had a strong period of pressure and restored the aggregate lead. We had it all to do in the second half, Etchebarne scored in the 53rd minute, but we couldn’t get a winner, at least until defender Rosso headed one in during the first half of extra time. They did have a bit of a threat afterwards but we survived to make the final.

Newport 1-0 Brighton (Playoff final)

In the final we’d face Newport, who had easily cast Plymouth aside, and had been table-toppers in early spring, and fellow challengers before form dropped off at the end. I was hoping to avoid a second playoff final defeat in a row for the club. Amusingly the ref was called ‘Nick Knock’. The game itself was reasonably quiet in the first half, but they took the lead after half an hour. We were able to claw back some balance in the game, but had limited chances to equalize, and being just about second best, we went down to a second final defeat.

It was utterly devastating, while we had been outside the playoffs when I arrived, the fact that we were soon in the automatic playoff mix meant that the playoffs were a very unsatisfactory resolution to the regular season, especially given how much I was engaged in the promotion race, with all its joys and frustrations. With Newport given the home team weighting that occurs even in ‘neutral’ games I knew that would be a hurdle too far. I hoped I could find a bit of reinforcement for the side in the summer, and would at least have a full season to go all out for promotion next year, though it would always feel a year too late. I choose Shrewsbury as the costly result as they were who we should have most beaten both on paper and on balance of play yet only just missed out on doing so, a plague on their house to be sure. However if I was able to take Brighton places I would definitely look back in a ‘see how far we’ve come way’, just like after a defeat to a similarly relegation-bound Charlton in my first game for an Ipswich side I took from League 1 to ultimate glory, as well as in a ‘let’s see whose laughing now bastards!’ way, even in the short term they had league 2 to look forward to. Newport may well get the comeuppance one day as well. Yes I was rather emotionally involved in this.

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Such a shame, sounds like a close final. Theres always next year :p

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So unlucky missing out on promotion.

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Unlucky on missing out,hopefully a full season will be more beneficial for you.

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