CityAndColour

A wonderkid in ..... Grimsby?

74 posts in this topic

Good evening from dreary Melbourne. I never did get around to going back to my Supermarine/Forest Green/Fulham save, and for some reason had a hankering to head coastal, and back to my favourite league in the world: the Conference National (aka the Blue Square Premier).

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Grimsby Town

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Grimsby Town Football Club is an English football club based in the seaside town of Cleethorpes, in North East Lincolnshire, England who compete in the Conference National. They were formed in 1878 as Grimsby Pelham and later became Grimsby Town. The club is located at Blundell Park where it has been since 1898.

Despite recently being the least successful, the club has previously been the most successful of the three professional league clubs in historic Lincolnshire, being the only one to play top-flight football. It is also the only club of the three to reach an FA Cup semi-final (doing so on two occasions) and is the only one to succeed in two finals at the old Wembley Stadium. It has also spent more time in the English game's first and second tiers than any other club from Lincolnshire.

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I am playing on the latest update, with the FM WeeGie database, and have holidayed up until June 2012. Current leagues loaded are England (to BSN/S), the A-League, the Swedish top division, Scotland (to Div 2) and the League of Ireland. I have no plans to add leagues, and may remove Sweden as it was only added so I could start in Feb 12 and have a quicker holiday.

The aim is purely to get as far as possible with the Mariners, and I will only switch clubs if sacked.

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We pick up the action with two games to go in the 2012/13 season. Most thought Grimsby's media prediction of 9th was on the generous side, as the club housed a small squad and was haemorrhaging money, as most full time clubs tend to do if they can't secure a swift return to the Football League.

Behind the goals of talisman Liam Hearn, the dazzling wing play of Louis Soares and the cool head of Clarke Carlisle in defence, an improbable promotion challenge was erected, and more surprisingly, maintained. One by one, teams visited Blundell Park and were dispatched, while travelling fans were treated to a number of stirring wins away from home.

So two games to go, with Barnet the final team to visit in the season proper...

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One team can win the title, the other can take top spot going into the final round of fixtures. Which club was making its return to the League?

Meanwhile, there was another name making waves in this seaside town. Fans had March 13th circled in their calendars, eagerly anticipating a new batch of youth players which would carry the hopes of a town. The club itself had not covered itself in glory of recent times, but the supporters still held out hope of finding the next Tony Ford, Gary Croft or Clive Mendonca. Most years it was like waiting for Christmas, and getting a pair of socks. Grimsby fans' feet were warm enough.

There was something different about a slightly-built kid who turned up to the local trials in 2013. Samuel Wylde sounded like a character from Shakespearen times, but he looked a class above. There were rumours he'd turned down Leicester in favour of the club five minutes from his door, and while no one wanted to say it, maybe the future didn't seem as bleak after all.

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20/4/13 - Grimsby Town vs Barnet

With a depleted line-up due to injuries and suspension, we quite rightly went into the match as underdogs. The Bees started the better, and were in front in the 30th through top scorer Dossevi, as a shanked clearance proved costly. The lead only lasted six minutes however, as Elding stooped lowest to head in at the near post. 1-1 at the break.

With an hour gone and we had the momentum, and plenty of possession, but couldn't find the elusive final ball that would unlock what was a very organised defensive unit. Like us, Barnet had employed a traditional 4-4-2 and their back four were disciplined. Adeyemi suddenly burst into the box, but his finish was wide when he only had the 'keeper to beat. Agony. On 75 they hit the bar with a thumping header from a corner, but the game fizzled out from there. Six shots apiece illustrated how tense a contest it was, and a share of the spoils was the fair result.

Final: 1-1

MOTM: Anthony Elding (Grim)

Att: 4,013

...

So the equation was simple. We had to win at mid-table Newport County on the final day, and hope already-relegated Gainsborough could pull off the shock of the season.

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27/4/13 - Newport County vs Grimsby Town

While County realistically had nothing to play for, such a mentality would be poison. They lined up quite offensively too, with two advanced wingers supporting a central striker. We stuck with 4-4-2 with the intent of keeping our shape. Goal difference wasn't a factor; we simply needed a win and a Barnet loss.

We started brightly, and Elding's shot was cleared off the line in the 11th minute, where an early goal would have been priceless. He headed wide in the 30th too, as we wasted a second good chance. We were restricting County to long shots at this point, however they were bossing possession which concerned me. Two minutes later and Elding's cross found his strike partner Hearn, who headed wide from only a few yards out. County then hit us with the ultimate sucker punch in first half stoppage time, lashing home their first shot on target after we failed to deal with a free kick.

Wylde came on at half time, and right on the hour Hearn slotted his 30th of the season to draw us level. But the news filtered through that Barnet had taken the lead at exactly the same moment. Gutting. We kept pushing, had a goal disallowed and several other good chances, but the deadlock would not be broken, as cries of "Newport will take this!" went around the media area. Barnet grabbed a second anyway so it was all academic.

Final: 1-1

MOTM: Tommy Fraser (Newp)

Att: 2,669

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In many years 96 points would win the league, however Barnet cracked the ton and were deserving champions. We therefore move onto the play-offs against Forest Green, with Mansfield or Burton our opponents if we make it to Wembley.

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Good to see a new save from you, CityAndColour :)

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8/5/13 - Forest Green vs Grimsby Town - Playoff Semi 1st leg

We come up against a Rovers side in form, having won four of their last five. They have certainly come to play too, fielding a 4-2-3-1 with two attacking wingers and a player in the hole. Interestingly enough, Rhys Styche starts alone up front, a player who spent the first six months of the campaign on loan with us. Meanwhile, we welcome back key defenders Carlisle and Borrowdale, and can field a full strength side for the first time in months.

The first goal in the playoffs is always crucial, and we grabbed it after just two minutes, as Elabdellaoui arrived late in the box to sidefoot home from 15. The lead lasted just eight minutes, as our two centre-halves got confused and allowed a runner right through the middle. Elding hit the post moments later then Hearn the crossbar, as the game comtinued at a frenetic pace. 1-1 at the half but Rovers ending slightly stronger.

We started the second half with intent, and a deep cross from the right found Borrowdale steaming in at the far post to plant a header, his first for the club. We looked the stronger side, but when Alnwick came out for a ball he was never going to get on 75, it left Vieira with the simple task of slotting into an empty net to level the scores. Frustrating and needless.

On came Wylde and almost immediately he was in the action, as his shot from six yards found the keepers legs. It rebounded into Hearn's path, and he made no mistake! Get in! To cap it off, a second yellow for arguing with the linesman was the end result, and we were able to hold out against ten men.

Final: 2-3

MOTM: Magno Vieira (FGR)

Attn: 4,548

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14/5/13 - Grimsby Town (3) vs (2) Forest Green - Playoff Semi 2nd leg

Surprisingly for this one, Rovers dropped back to a more conventional 4-5-1, swapping their attacking mid for a holding player, although with away goals not a factor they only needed a 1-0 win the force extra time. I did nothing differently in my preparations for the squad, keeping the same XI that ran out for the first leg and trying to maintain a sense of calm in the dressing room.

The nearly all went out of the window as it took a good low save from Alnwick to prevent them getting that goal after just 19 seconds, and again after three minutes. I had expected Rovers to come out all guns blazing but I was disappointed at how easily we were losing our shape. I shouted to focus on keeping the ball, as we slowly worked our way into the half, and again got the all important first goal as Kerr converted at the back post after a scramble in the box. Straight from the kick off the equaliser came, as we all stood like statues through a 15-pass move. Infuriating. Vieira then preserved his goal with a goal line clearance down the other end, and salt was rubbed into the wound as a 40-yard free kick was headed in. 4-4 on aggregate, and two goals conceded from two attacks.

The team, and particularly the back four, copped a bake at half time. All four goals conceded in the tie were from defensive lapses and any more and we were likely out. We edged ahead again after 55, as Elding headed home, but could we hold out at the other end? On 67 we again went two goals ahead on aggregate, as Soares lashed home from the edge of the are after cutting in from the left. Adeyemi then applied the icing, being rewarded for a late run to the far post with a tap in.

Final: (7) 4-2 (4)

MOTM: Soares (Grim)

Att: 7,494

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We meet Mansfield Town in the final after they ousted Burton 2-1 on aggregate in the other semi. We beat them 2-0 at home early in the season, and they beat us 2-1 in the return league fixture.

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Good to see a new save from you, CityAndColour :)

Thanks. I wasn't going to start a new update thread but once Wylde came through in my first intake I changed my mind. Hopefully we can hold onto him.

Good luck in the final.

Thank you sir.

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2012/13 Conference Playoff Final

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25/5/13

Old Trafford, Greater Manchester

Kick-off: 3pm

Grimsby 5/4, Mansfield 7/4

Referee: Paul Melin

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We don't get the opportunity to play at Wembley, but probably the next best thing as we go to Old Trafford, as the 'away' side. Wylde won't get his first taste of a trophy match due to a twisted knee, and we will be hoping that our front two can see the match out, with no real support on the bench. We're also missing our captain Craig Disley through injury.

For Mansfield, they will look to play through Gary Roberts, who had 21 assists in the league, while their main goal threat will come through Jamaican international striker Ben Hutchison. The man who scored both Mansfield goals against us this season, Wesley Ngo Baheng, is out injured.

We've gotten off to quick starts in both legs of the semi, so can we repeat the dose in the big one?

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25/5/13 - Mansfield Town vs Grimsby Town - Playoff Final

Both teams lined up in their traditional strips, us in black and white stripes and Mansfield in their distinctive yellow and blue. We also both lined up in a traditional 4-4-2, son it promised to be a tight affair. Perhaps it would be a moment of brilliance which would decide it, or perhaps it would be a defensive error.

As expected, the game was very tense in the early going, with openings rare and much of the play in the middle of the park. We got a sight on goal after 22 minutes, but Hearn could only sting the 'keeper's palms, and the corner came to nothing. It was a completely different game to the two semi legs; a classic final it was not so far.

Just before the half hour mark, we lost possession in midfield, and such is the costliness of any error in a big game, we were duly punished. With our defensive line pushing up in anticipation of our own attacking move, the ball was lofted over the top. Alnwick did well to parry the initial effort, but unfortunately straight into the path of Louis Briscoe, who could hardly miss. 1-0 Mansfield.

This was a tough break, as it had been a game of few chances and suddenly we had to find one ourselves. We had no troubles spraying it around the middle of the park but finding that final ball was proving very difficult. Our opponents had the goal in a tight game and were showing no urgency to look for a second, but not to the point of complacency.

As we approached half time, suddenly the break we needed came. This time it was a Mansfield player getting caught in possession. With their back four out of position, Elding slipped a ball through to his striker partner, and Hearn did what he had done all season, slotting into the far corner with clinical precision. 1-1, and game on again!

Whether it was a slight switch off as the break approached I don't know, but we took our eye off the ball immediately after. We'd made a point of trying to close down Roberts to try and stifle his passing range, but he got free just forward of the centre circle. However, instead of looking for a pass, he strike forward and let fly from fully 35 yards, arrowing a thunderbolt into the top corner. Was that the moment of magic that would decide a tight contest? We were too slow to close down, but he still had a lot to do, and boy did he do it.

With my half time team talk changed on a dime, I stayed positive, imploring the lads for the most important 45 of the season. Hearn headed at the keeper from not even six yards, but we struggled to create anything else, as slowly and surely Mansfield got on top. We just couldn't break them down.

Final: 2-1

MOTM: Roberts (Mans)

Att: 10,842

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Grimsby Town - 2012/13 - Conference Premier

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Champions: Barnet

Promoted: Mansfield Town

Relegated: Bromley, Southport, Barrow, Gainsborough

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In most years, 96 points would be more than enough to win the title, but in the end we didn't win the key games in the final month, and Barnet did. We had plenty of contributors, headed by Liam Hearn (his 29 goals equal most in the league) and winger Louis Soares (15 goals and 25 assists in all competitions), but we couldn't pull away at the top earlier in the season and this proved costly.

In the end we were beaten by a world class goal in the final, and given the club's financial difficulties, to get that far was a great achievement. However, while we continue to function as a full time club, getting back into the Football League remains hugely important for the club's sustainability.

Player of the season: Louis Soares

Top Scorer: Liam Hearn (32)

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2012/13 - Conference Premier - 2nd (lost in playoff final)

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2013/14 - Grimsby Town - Preseason

Board expectation: Promotion

Media prediction: 2nd

Title odds: 8/1

Captain: Clarke Carlisle

Vice-captain: Louie Soares

No time to rest on our laurels after the playoff defeat, with the board putting two options on my desk: the title, or promotion. Despite no actual increased wage budget or transfer funds, the media felt the same way, predicting us 2nd behind Luton Town and just ahead of relegated Hereford. On a personal level, I signed a new two year deal, while a former director took over as chairman, taking no time in advising me that there were no plans for investment.

We've also opted not to field a reserves team, as our squad is not large enough to justify the additional costs involved.

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Transfers

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A number of players left, however only two were regular first-teamers, so on that basis I would say the squad has been strengthened considerably. Both Elding and Hearn wanted too much in wages for their respectively abilities, and the former's departure means Wylde will get the chance to start up front.

Former Man Utd u18s captain Tom Thorpe joined on a free, and he looks like someone who could develop into a very good player, with the ability to operate in central midfield as well. In Forbes, Percival-Knight, Marsh and Blackburn, I brought in four players with a lot of Conference experience between them, giving me a nice versatility to the squad.

Finding him on trial at MK Dons, I also picked up teenage midfielder René Berg...

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His mental attributes will need a lot of work but he looks like he could develop into a classy player.

Finally, we got our first media interest in Wylde, however no bid ever materialised...

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However, I did turn down cash bids for Alnwick and Borrowdale from Football League clubs.

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Friendlies

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Good wins over L2 sides Crewe and Rotherham highlighted a strong preseason schedule.

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On paper I feel the squad is good enough to get out of the division, but a lot will depend on how Wylde performs at such a young age with more responsibility. I do however feel we're stronger than last season.

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You did well last year so no reason why this shouldn't be the same. Hopefully, a push for top spot will negate the need for the playoffs :)

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August 2013

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Given the competitiveness of this league and the board's season expectations, we couldn't afford to get off to a poor start, and thankfully we navigated a potentially tricky month without a loss. Wylde announced himself to the fans with a brace in the local grudge match at Lincoln and then a last gasp equaliser against Forest Green, while an excellent display at title fancies Hereford was a terrific way to end the month. We are operating at one of the lower wage budgets in the league, and I think we have probably the best squad pound for pound.

On the downside, we suffered a lot with injuries and suspensions, to the point where we played several games with just youth players on the bench. Hearn is yet to open his account too, after 32 goals last campaign.

Wylde has starred with six of our eight goals and at least one in every match, which brought him the league young player of the month award, and 3rd in the main award. I finished runner-up in the manager of the month stakes.

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September 2012

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A tremendous month, winning five of six games and only conceding two in the process. The Tamworth game was won with two sublime Wylde strikes after going behind early in the second half, as he added another four goals to go with his six in August. The Dartford game was very disappointing, as an off the ball penalty gave the bottom side a point it scarcely deserved, however rather than drop our heads, we bounced back to record two excellent away wins.

Thorpe really stood up this month, and Hearn got his first three goals of the season, however injuries still continue to hit, and we suffered two more red cards for professional fouls. I took out manager of the month after going so close to a clean sweep.

We start October with home games against the side who shares top spot with us, Gateshead, and title favourites Luton, before a tough trip to playoff contenders Cambridge Utd. However, we finish with another two matches at home so it's a good chance to establish ourselves right in the title race.

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As you've used an update, is the 'real' year 2014?

Always hated the updates because they don't update the date.

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I can understand that. I used an update which gave all clubs their current squads, but obviously a season ahead of real life (which i holidayed anyway). However once you get 2-3 seasons in it doesn't really make much difference, especially given most of the important transfers in world football are a long way from Lincolnshire!

Not only that, but I generally just play in the English leagues, so the same players tend to get released after the first couple of seasons anyway and it can be harder to scout without outside knowledge. I much prefer it when newgens start to come in.

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October 2013

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After conceding only five goals in our first 11 league games, we morphed into mid 90s Newcastle, taking a "you score, we'll score more" approach. Wins over Gateshead and Luton re-affirmed our title favouritism, which we then consolidated by travelling to Cambridge and coming from behind to take the points. We preserved our unbeaten record with a stoppage time penalty against Stockport, after a diabolical performance which earned the players my wrath.

While we've picked up our offensive game, defensively we have been very poor. In four of the five matches we conceded first, while Gateshead equalised within minutes. With three away fixtures in November we will need to tighten up, as despite winning 12 of 16, we still only lead the table by a point.

Wylde continued his torrid form, bagging eight goals to win the player of the month award. I'm convinced this kid could play for England at some point, and don't fancy our chances of keeping him long term. Former Stoke youth product Ryan Brunt joins on a free to provide some depth up front.

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bergtransfer.jpg

Good bit of business for the club. He's struggled to hold down a first team spot and he's probably not going to fulfill his potential in the lower leagues with poor mental attributes. He gets the chance to develop at a top division club and we get the full fee up front, and a sell-on clause.

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Unlucky on missing out on promotion but it looks like you've made an excellent start to the season.

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bergtransfer2.jpg

15th in the Premiership vs 1st in the Conference Premier. Whaaaaaaaaat?

Going to log that in the bug forum I think.

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November 2013

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We finally achieved the perfect month in the league, and sorted out our defensive troubles without giving up anything up front. We were poor against lowly Hinkley and scraped the points with an own goal, and after letting the lads know that three points didn't excuse the performance, they came out and gave Burton a real battering.

We suffered our first loss of the season in the FA Cup, although the fans being 'devastated' at the result was a little bit over the top. I know they're a local rival but they're two divisions higher than us. The players shut out any criticism however, and scored 10 in the next three to establish a nine point buffer at the top of the table.

On an individual front, Wylde had a phenomenal month. He missed the Alfreton and Hinckley matches with food poisoning, but then roared back with three hat-tricks and a brace in the other four fixtures. It can only be a matter of time before a big club comes in for him.

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December 2013

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A shorter month in terms of league fixtures, as we only played one up until the Christmas schedule, in which we dominated Altrincham and should have won by a much larger margin, as they converted their only shot on goal, and also benefited from an own goal. We then traveled to Gateshead and opened our FA Trophy campaign with a solid win, bringing a trip to Boston United in the next round.

We finished the month with two draws. We were behind at half time at Braintree, scored twice and then conceded late on, while the local derby with Lincoln fizzled out as two tired teams struggled to make any impact.

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So we end the year unbeaten and with a handy gap at the top, and with a game in hand too, although from past experience fortunes can change dramatically in the hectic Jan/Feb period. Wyldes's 31 league goals comfortably top the charts, and it will be a relief if we can get through January with him still a Mariner.

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Don't be so sure...

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We also lost Soares and Carlisle in the same match.

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January 2012

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A frustrating month, with injuries and suspensions, but we still managed to keep collecting points in the league. I felt Forest Green would be the trickiest game, but two goals in the second half gave us a valuable three points, before disaster struck at home to Hereford. They hardly got a kick in the first hour, before we lost Wylde and Soares to longer term injuries, and they equalised from a corner in the last five minutes.

I thought this might kick off a slump, but we re-grouped and won our next two league games, sandwiched around a fairly insignificant exit from the FA Trophy (sort of relief to be honest, given the way the squad is being stretched). Unfortunately we finally succumbed to defeat in the league at lowly Newport, but given we had a man sent off and then gave away a penalty late, I can forgive the lads for an unlucky loss.

Three winnable league fixtures kick off February and we still hold a seven point lead over Salisbury after 30 games.

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You last table had you up 10 points. Injuries aside, I think you're still going to be good.

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February 2014

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A solid enough month that keeps us with a bit of space at the top, currently seven points over Salisbury. The month started with an abysmal performance at lowly Stalybridge, as the debut of new signing Zander Diamond did nothing to shore up a depleted defence. We promptly went down 0-1 at half time to Kidderminster too, before I took a risk on a bunch of players with horrible morale, giving them the hairdryer treatment anyway. We grabbed an equaliser without improving our overall play too much, but then went on a nice little win streak to end the month.

We are really missing Wylde's ability to create a chance out of nothing, especially early in games. The likelihood is he won't be back until the end of March, so hopefully we can keep our lead until then.

March brings with it a crucial trip to Luton, and also a fresh youth intake; however my request for increased junior coaching was rejected due to lack of available funds.

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Youth intake 2014

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I am fairly certain I've used up my intakes luck for the next decade with Wylde, and it was no surprise when the latest crop came through with not even half a star current ability. Miller has some okay-ish attributes but is likely never going to get near the first team, and no one else is worth mentioning. My current u18s side is mainly greys and that is not going to change.

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March 2014

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Despite being on the verge of the title, I am sick to death of the complacency and performance drop I've seen from this team in the last six weeks. We traveled to Luton and got absolutely creamed, conceding 19 shots (11 on target) and despite a close scoreline, anything other than a Hatters win would have been an injustice to the sport. We re-grouped and were good against Cambridge and very good against Northampton, before a lacklustre display against part-timers Hinkley which earned the lads a spray afterwards.

This worked, as we absolutely battered Burton next up, and in similar fashion to the Luton game, they grabbed two goals out of pure luck than any attacking intent or imagination. With four wins in a row and a poor run by Salisbury, this put us 16 points clear after 40 matches, with the chance to clinch the title at 16th placed Stockport. However, we produced an appalling display which resulted in me fining two players and warning another for poor performance, and delivering a stinging post-match spray, both behind closed doors and in the media.

Brunt certainly stepped up to the plate however, coming second in the young player of the month award, while it didn't take Wylde long to get among the goals on his return from injury either.

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Grimsby Town - 2013/14 - Conference Premier

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April 2014

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After the disappointment of the Stockport game, we raced into a 3-0 lead at half time away to Dover. Unfortunately I almost blew it, as I accidently told the players I was disappointed with their performance, and then then when I tried praising individuals they just became confused. Dover pulled it back to 3-2 however we ran away again, with the rare feat of both strikers, Wylde and Brunt, bagging hat-tricks in the same game.

After the fanfare had worn off, we played out the month with a draw at Telford and a home swansong against Altrincham, before the players were mentally absent as we signed off from the Conference with a poor display at Macclesfield.

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Champions: Grimsby Town

Promoted: Mansfield Town

Relegated: Dartford, Altrincham, Stalybridge, Hinkley

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Just an excellent season. We 'cracked the ton' for both points and goals scored, and it took until January for us to suffer a loss in the league. We were led by the phenomenal exploits of teenager Samuel Wylde who scored 38 goals despite missing two months with a hip injury, and we also got strong contributions from Tom Adeyemi in midfield and Louis Soares on either flank. There were a couple of hiccups in February and March but we managed to put together a strong run going into April, as the teams below us faltered.

Cups were nothing to write home about, as we made early exits in both the FA Cup and FA Trophy, but the league was my biggest priority and we did that in spectacular fashion. I then received a job offer from Sydney FC almost immediately after our final game, which I promptly turned down, before winning manager of the year.

Player of the season: Samuel Wylde

Top Scorer: Samuel Wylde (38)

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2012/13 - Conference Premier - 2nd (lost in playoff final)

2013/14 - Conference Premier - 1st (promoted as Champions)

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2014/15 - Grimsby Town - Preseason

Board expectation: Consolidate

Media prediction: 20th

Title odds: 6/1

Captain: Louie Soares

Vice-captain: Tom Thorpe

The bookies must know something everyone else doesn't, as the board just wanted us to enjoy the experience and the media has us just avoiding relegation. From my experience, a team that performs strongly in the Conference will normally do quite well in League Two, and we only have to be better than two of 24 teams in order to survive.

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Transfers

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With several players getting improved contracts and promotion bonuses, we added around £2K to our wage bill, even with player departures after their contracts expired. The board kept it at the same level as we had in the Conference too, meaning I could offer potential players £90 per week as a maximum. So we went to the loan market, with Jordan Willis and Luke Adams joining from Coventry and Swindon respectively, replacing the outgoing Carlisle and Diamond, while Coventry also sent us Charlie Telfer to boost midfield stocks.

After rejecting Fulham last season, Berg then rejected Championship side Millwall, before finally agreeing a move to Hull City, who had just been relegated from the Premier League. I didn't see any of the £250K fee for transfers, however the board increased my wage budget sufficiently to be able to offer a halfway decent contract. At the time of posting this, we had several irons in the fire with free agents.

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Friendlies

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A couple of wins over strong reserves outfits highlighted a fairly good preseason.

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At least you finally got your good deal for Rene.

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Congrats on promotion.

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At least you finally got your good deal for Rene.

Which has upset the fans as Hull are listed as a fierce rival. It has allowed me to sign a handy replacement and extend Wylde's contract however so a great deal for the club.

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August 2014

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Given we lost Wylde for the first six weeks of the season with an ankle injury, we put in a very solid month, with two wins and three draws in the league. The win over Bury was particularly impressive as they had just been relegated, while we had chances to win all three draws.

The story of the month though was definitely in the League Cup, where we knocked out Championship side Norwich at home, before then going to the Liberty Stadium and defending brilliantly after Adeyemi had given us an early lead against Prem side Swansea.

We also brought in German prospect Kai Hoogland as a replacement for Berg...

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September 2014

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Carrying the momentum from our League Cup displays into the league, we really made a charge this month. Despite going out of the JPT at the earliest opportunity, wins over Cheltenham and Northampton eased that pain somewhat, as Hearn continued his good early form.

A trip to Oldham culminated in probably the best performance under my reign, whacking in six without reply, with a Brunt hat-trick the standout performance. We then showed we could grind out a result too against Torquay, as Wylde's return from injury was marked in style, deciding a tight game with an 80th minute winner.

Walsall were the latest team to be dispatched on our magical League Cup run, completing the set (one Prem side, one Champ side, one L1 side), before we ended the month on the wrong side of the ledger at Leyton Orient, in a game much closer than the score suggests.

Charlton away is our 4th round opponent in the cup, as we are the only side outside the top two divisions remaining in the draw.

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October 2014

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We were always likely to have a let down, given the strains our fixture list had put on the small squad, and it certainly came in October. We got a late equaliser against Doncaster with a depleted squad, grabbed an undeserved 90th minute winner against Chesterfield, before being played off the park against Yeovil and Morecambe.

Our League Cup fairytale finished abruptly against Championship high-flyers Charlton, with the fans choosing to be 'devastated' rather than celebrating what was a remarkable run. Oh, and Wylde picked up yet another injury, this time out for five weeks with a pulled hamstring.

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