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FM14: The Sky Bet Football League Thread - Sponsored by William Hill

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That looks like some good business there Jogo. You're also a Mourinho-lite aren't you? (I mean that as a compliment by the way!) I can tolerate being a low scoring team, but conceding lots of goals just makes me mad.

Can you remind me what league you're in now? I've lost track with all the updates and my laptop being fubar. I'm guessing League One, or did you make it to the Championship?

Cheers Meester. Yes I much prefer a tight defence, and always try to keep it that way. I'm in the Championship, after two successive promotions. I'm definitely planning to bring more of the original youngsters in - Soriano, Daehli, Shpungin and Kalaba really didn't deliver as much as I wanted.

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Haha, nice. He was OK but no upgrade on O'Connor. However, as he was recruited for free, and only on £4.5k p/w, it wasn't so bad to get £115k p/m (£575k) + 20% of the wages paid. You could say that as an investment, he hasn't soaked up any expense at all so far - although he does have a contract until 2018.

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so i have managed to win league 1 with mk dons at the first attempt. i have hardly any money and not brilliant squad, any advise to strengthen it would be most welcome

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so i have managed to win league 1 with mk dons at the first attempt. i have hardly any money and not brilliant squad, any advise to strengthen it would be most welcome

Scottish leagues can be gold mines in the first few seasons - plenty of highly talented young players available for cheap prices. Have a look through, you should find a few! If you need more experienced players, scouring the free transfer market is always a good idea. Have a look at World Transfers (I think that's it, might be something different) and see who's been released. Or you could just look through each Championship/Lower half Prem club and see who's been released/transfer listed.

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Hello,

My last save was with RB Leipzig, 5 seasons, and now I want to go to Englando. I'm thinking to start a new game, in the Championship, with Derby, it's probabily a good challenge and it's possible to be in the premier league in the 3rd season.

Any suggestion? Should I change team? I want a good academy and a fun challenge.

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@ cesc, well done on the promotion. In addition to the tips given by jac, are there any specific positions you wish to fill and what sort of budget do you have?

@ pedro, welcome. Derby have some good players like Hughes, Martin, and a few others. Without too much cash, the young HG players will be important, and the club do seem to try this IRL. You should be able to gain promotion in the first or second season. As a matter of interest, at RB Leipzig in the early seasons, is it only EU players you can sign, or are you allowed any non-EU players before you reach the top league?

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@Jogo bonito

Just EU players in the 3rd league, in the 2nd you can have some non-EU (I think 3).

My plan is to buy 3 or 4 players (max) per season, and develop some young players. I like the team, and the mentallity of the club and infrasctrure that they have.

The budget will grow? I don't want to have to mutch buy, but with salary.. .

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@Jogo bonito

Just EU players in the 3rd league, in the 2nd you can have some non-EU (I think 3).

My plan is to buy 3 or 4 players (max) per season, and develop some young players. I like the team, and the mentallity of the club and infrasctrure that they have.

The budget will grow? I don't want to have to mutch buy, but with salary.. .

Derby is a great save , highly recommended!

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@ pedro: thanks, those rules seem ok for me at RB Lepzig one day. I'm not sure about those details as you progress with Derby, but the starting budget is only £250k-£325k. I agree they seem to be a solid club with good infrastructure and also (some years back) a top division pedigree. There are some Derby fans (and maybe managers) on here who could confirm, but the budget is likely to improve as you go on - although don't expect much unless you sell some players (not Hughes) or get promoted.

@ cesc: I've spent most of FM14 slumming it at Portsmouth, but can suggest Aaron Martin and/or Baptiste Martin as cheap central defenders for signing or loan. Not sure about Robinson, but would imagine he is reasonable if not specatcular. With no budget you won't get much. You can try Patrick N'Koyi for free? Look for released players, players about to end contracts, and loans from the Premier League clubs.

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OK, time for a proper update at Portsmouth!

After a poor 3rd season (16th in the Championship) where we leaked too many goals and left me questioning my willingness to continue, I have made some decisions that seem to have rejuvinated my interest.

1. I allowed numerous players to leave at the end of their contracts

2. I rejected the opportunity to renew any expiring loans

3. I decided to really push through my developing youngsters

4. I made a pledge not to take any loanees this season

5. I have been much more responsible on incoming transfers

6. I have gone for a different formation - radical for me

Preamble

So, first of all, the board were happy with me, even though I was not happy with our performance last season. Due to making a good profit, a transfer fund of just over £6m was awarded, and a wage budget of £130k p/w. I have been careful to extend all my important player contracts, and this summer alot of the staff were due to expire too. I made one change on that front, ditching my physio of three years (Chris Malkin) and replacing him with a much higher calibre one (Nick Worth). Malkin's skills had dropped alarmingly, but all of my other staff were given extensions. On the playing front, I triggered extension clauses on a whole host of players, and upgraded contracts on some more important players.

1. Departures

Leaving the club, from last season's group were: Evander Sno (£100k, VVV), Joe Partington (free, Dundee), Ryan Mason (free, Dundalk), Joel Lynch, Andy Barcham, Johnny Ertl, Simon Ferry, Yakubu, James Granger, Ben Close and Lewis Gill (all released). Most of those were U21 team members, but Sno, Ferry, Yakubu and Lynch did appear in the first team last season. Sent out on loan were Yuval Shpungin (loan fee £4.5k p/m and 100% wages, Burnley), Adam Webster (loan fee £8.25k p/m and 100% wages, Bolton), Lewis Horsburgh (Bromley), and Chad Field (Stalybridge). Numerous bids were received and rejected for many of my other U21 stars, who romped their league last season with a GD of +70. Reasons for refusal will be revealed later.

2. Expiring loans, not renewed

Mats Daehli, Joshua Murphy, Stipe Perica, Jonathan Soriano, Baptiste Martin had been on loan last season (Murphy for the third year, and Martin for his second). Whilst Murphy and Perica had been reasonable when selected, Martin was standing in the way of my own youngsters, Daehli never nailed down a spot, and Soriano was so disappointing that I actually terminated his loan before the end of last season. At this point I decided that I would plan not to use the loan market in season 4, because it will allow my own players to gain more minutes on the pitch, thus aiding their development.

3. The youngsters

Following on from the first two actions, I could now involve the younger generation much more in the first team squad. Wallace, Butler and Harris have all been involved heavily from day one, but towards the end of last season, I was able to give increased opportunities to Whatmough, Haunstrup, Rwakarambwe, Maloney, Tarbuck, Chaplin and even Ssewankambo (the only one of those not at the club when I took over). Webster and Horsburgh would also come in to this group, but had asked for loan moves. My strategy here is that if a player asks for a loan, I try and allow it - but if a club asks me, I reject their bids. These seven guys listed above are now getting occasional starts in my first team, or making the bench. In addition, they are all set to be available for my U21 team, so they get the best of both worlds.

4. Loanees are strictly prohibited

I felt that my squad-trimming was a good move, with my desire to use the youngsters as and when necessary. Their expected evolution also allowed me to take the bold step that no loanees would be required this season. It hadn't been the case before, where we needed the extra quality of other clubs assets to boost us, but we were now in a position where, financially, we didn't need to do rely on the loan market.

5. Sensible transfer business

The fairly strict recruitment philosophy also extended to my transfer dealings in the summer. The only arrivals were Jason Pearce, Jake Forster-Caskey, and Maximilian Thiel (all on free transfers), plus Robert Muhren for £775k. The return of Pearce, an ex-Pompey favourite, saw a captaincy change, with Aaron Martin (player of the season in all three campaigns, and captain for the last two) grudgingly now taking the VC role. Central midfielder Forster-Caskey is already involved but one for the future, Thiel is an exciting young winger stolen from FC Koln, and capable of playing on either flank. Muhren, a relation to one of my coaches (ex-Ipswich and Man Utd man, Arnold) is somebody I had been tracking for a season or two. After leaving Volendam, he has continued his good form at Roda JC and he offers a goal threat from an attacking midfield role.

6. What? No 442?

Well, after three seasons of my usual 442, it was time to re-think. With the number of goals conceded last year giving me nightmares, I convinced myself that my strength now lay in a three-man central defence, and wing-back's. McCarey is in charge of the gloves after the sale of Camp, with Veronese his understudy. In defence, apart from his leadership skills and familiarity with the club, Pearce was ideal for the role on the left of the central trio. Barbaric could sit in the middle and would become a ball-playing centre-back (with hot talent Whatmough the cover and rotation option), whilst Martin would be on the right side of the three. Ward had appealing attributes for the wing-back role on the right, and Butler would do the job on the left. I have O'Connor and Haunstrup to provide decent cover for those roles, and Webster could be recalled from loan if required.

Ahead of that, we now possessed two good wingers, and a variety of options in central midfield, although lacking some muscle in there. After deciding that Perica, Soriano and Yakubu were not needed again, I felt that my main goal-getter N'Koyi could perform well enough as a lone striker - with support from Harris, and the emerging Chaplin. Pre-season saw me content with two central midfielders (Wallace and Padovani), and two attacking wide-men in advanced positions (Mahrez on the left as a winger, Thiel on the right as an inside forward). With Tarbuck pushing hard for starts on the right-wing, N'Koyi also competent there as an inside forward if necessary, and Thiel capable of switching flanks, all eventualities seemed to be covered. However, this did leave me with Muhren, Kalaba and Forster-Caskey all out of the side.

As it turned out, Thiel picked up a significant injury (three months) in the final pre-season friendly, and after a couple of stuttering early performances, I made another switch. The unlucky man here is Mahrez, because the two wide-men have been removed. Instead, I now play with three central midfielders (Kalaba and Wallace on support, either side of Padovani on defend duty), and then one more advanced midfielder on attack duty (Muhren) tucked in behind my striker (N'Koyi, as F9). This allows me to benefit from a solid central area, with occasional width from Butler (defend duty for now) and Ward (supporting). It also gets the best out of Muhren (or Kalaba if necessary) who is contributing very well and helping the reliable N'Koyi. I'm confident that Harris and Chaplin can step in to the attack whenever required, whilst Forster-Caskey is already getting good minutes from the bench in midfield. Other youngsters are on standby across the squad, and I feel there is virtually no deadwood left. At the end of the season, Kalaba will be allowed to leave, Shpungin will be available if a club wants him, and Field doesn't look like making it.

I've just reached the end of August (transfer deadline day was a dream not looking for any players, fending off loan enquiries and major bids for some of my main men was easy enough) and results have clearly improved. We now seem to function as a team (unlike last season), the defensive aspect is exactly what I expect from a team of mine, we retain possession of the ball and seem to create enough chances - for now. The only issue I see on the horizon is that Mahrez (and Thiel when he is fit to return) might need to be re-trained or display some patience on the bench and/or sidelines, through no fault of their own. Having said all this, my start last season was also very good, and then the rest of the term we lurched along like you could never imagine possible. The setting is now on counter-attacking and rigid, which is toned down from last year as we try to concede less.

The Portsmouth squad, 2016/2017

This listing includes the U21 squad too, as the young guys are being given dual-responsibilties.

Goalkeepers: McCarey (24), Veronese (25)

Defenders: Pearce (28), Martin (26), Barbaric (27), Ward (26), Butler (22), Whatmough (20), O'Connor (23), Haunstrup (20), Ssewankambo (20), Webster (21 - on loan), Shpungin (29 - on loan), Field (19 - on loan)

Midfielders: Wallace (22), Padovani (26), Muhren (27), Kalaba (30*), Thiel (23), Mahrez (25), Forster-Caskey (22), Tarbuck (20), Rwakarambwe (19), Maloney (21)

Strikers: N'Koyi (26), Harris (22), Chaplin (19), Horsburgh (20 - on loan)

* I was disappointed just then, when I saw that Kalaba had a 30th birthday two weeks ago. Not because I forgot his cake and card, but because it therefore stopped me from having a whole club of players under the age of 30. Your time could be up soon Rainford, back to East Africa's third most important country with you...

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so the media completely mugged me off and predicted i would finish plum last in the championship with mk dons, finished 5th! just to get past west ham in the play-off semis and whoever after.

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1st leg finished in a tense 0-0 draw

2nd leg went to penalties after a 1-1 draw, i nearly had a cardiac arrest but we won 8-7 on pens

Wembely championship play-off final.

MK Dons 1

Huddersfield 2

Good effort but a step to far. Didn't help that 3 of my best players were on international duty.

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OK, time for a proper update at Portsmouth!

After a poor 3rd season (16th in the Championship) where we leaked too many goals and left me questioning my willingness to continue, I have made some decisions that seem to have rejuvinated my interest.

1. I allowed numerous players to leave at the end of their contracts

2. I rejected the opportunity to renew any expiring loans

3. I decided to really push through my developing youngsters

4. I made a pledge not to take any loanees this season

5. I have been much more responsible on incoming transfers

6. I have gone for a different formation - radical for me

Preamble

So, first of all, the board were happy with me, even though I was not happy with our performance last season. Due to making a good profit, a transfer fund of just over £6m was awarded, and a wage budget of £130k p/w. I have been careful to extend all my important player contracts, and this summer alot of the staff were due to expire too. I made one change on that front, ditching my physio of three years (Chris Malkin) and replacing him with a much higher calibre one (Nick Worth). Malkin's skills had dropped alarmingly, but all of my other staff were given extensions. On the playing front, I triggered extension clauses on a whole host of players, and upgraded contracts on some more important players.

1. Departures

Leaving the club, from last season's group were: Evander Sno (£100k, VVV), Joe Partington (free, Dundee), Ryan Mason (free, Dundalk), Joel Lynch, Andy Barcham, Johnny Ertl, Simon Ferry, Yakubu, James Granger, Ben Close and Lewis Gill (all released). Most of those were U21 team members, but Sno, Ferry, Yakubu and Lynch did appear in the first team last season. Sent out on loan were Yuval Shpungin (loan fee £4.5k p/m and 100% wages, Burnley), Adam Webster (loan fee £8.25k p/m and 100% wages, Bolton), Lewis Horsburgh (Bromley), and Chad Field (Stalybridge). Numerous bids were received and rejected for many of my other U21 stars, who romped their league last season with a GD of +70. Reasons for refusal will be revealed later.

2. Expiring loans, not renewed

Mats Daehli, Joshua Murphy, Stipe Perica, Jonathan Soriano, Baptiste Martin had been on loan last season (Murphy for the third year, and Martin for his second). Whilst Murphy and Perica had been reasonable when selected, Martin was standing in the way of my own youngsters, Daehli never nailed down a spot, and Soriano was so disappointing that I actually terminated his loan before the end of last season. At this point I decided that I would plan not to use the loan market in season 4, because it will allow my own players to gain more minutes on the pitch, thus aiding their development.

3. The youngsters

Following on from the first two actions, I could now involve the younger generation much more in the first team squad. Wallace, Butler and Harris have all been involved heavily from day one, but towards the end of last season, I was able to give increased opportunities to Whatmough, Haunstrup, Rwakarambwe, Maloney, Tarbuck, Chaplin and even Ssewankambo (the only one of those not at the club when I took over). Webster and Horsburgh would also come in to this group, but had asked for loan moves. My strategy here is that if a player asks for a loan, I try and allow it - but if a club asks me, I reject their bids. These seven guys listed above are now getting occasional starts in my first team, or making the bench. In addition, they are all set to be available for my U21 team, so they get the best of both worlds.

4. Loanees are strictly prohibited

I felt that my squad-trimming was a good move, with my desire to use the youngsters as and when necessary. Their expected evolution also allowed me to take the bold step that no loanees would be required this season. It hadn't been the case before, where we needed the extra quality of other clubs assets to boost us, but we were now in a position where, financially, we didn't need to do rely on the loan market.

5. Sensible transfer business

The fairly strict recruitment philosophy also extended to my transfer dealings in the summer. The only arrivals were Jason Pearce, Jake Forster-Caskey, and Maximilian Thiel (all on free transfers), plus Robert Muhren for £775k. The return of Pearce, an ex-Pompey favourite, saw a captaincy change, with Aaron Martin (player of the season in all three campaigns, and captain for the last two) grudgingly now taking the VC role. Central midfielder Forster-Caskey is already involved but one for the future, Thiel is an exciting young winger stolen from FC Koln, and capable of playing on either flank. Muhren, a relation to one of my coaches (ex-Ipswich and Man Utd man, Arnold) is somebody I had been tracking for a season or two. After leaving Volendam, he has continued his good form at Roda JC and he offers a goal threat from an attacking midfield role.

6. What? No 442?

Well, after three seasons of my usual 442, it was time to re-think. With the number of goals conceded last year giving me nightmares, I convinced myself that my strength now lay in a three-man central defence, and wing-back's. McCarey is in charge of the gloves after the sale of Camp, with Veronese his understudy. In defence, apart from his leadership skills and familiarity with the club, Pearce was ideal for the role on the left of the central trio. Barbaric could sit in the middle and would become a ball-playing centre-back (with hot talent Whatmough the cover and rotation option), whilst Martin would be on the right side of the three. Ward had appealing attributes for the wing-back role on the right, and Butler would do the job on the left. I have O'Connor and Haunstrup to provide decent cover for those roles, and Webster could be recalled from loan if required.

Ahead of that, we now possessed two good wingers, and a variety of options in central midfield, although lacking some muscle in there. After deciding that Perica, Soriano and Yakubu were not needed again, I felt that my main goal-getter N'Koyi could perform well enough as a lone striker - with support from Harris, and the emerging Chaplin. Pre-season saw me content with two central midfielders (Wallace and Padovani), and two attacking wide-men in advanced positions (Mahrez on the left as a winger, Thiel on the right as an inside forward). With Tarbuck pushing hard for starts on the right-wing, N'Koyi also competent there as an inside forward if necessary, and Thiel capable of switching flanks, all eventualities seemed to be covered. However, this did leave me with Muhren, Kalaba and Forster-Caskey all out of the side.

As it turned out, Thiel picked up a significant injury (three months) in the final pre-season friendly, and after a couple of stuttering early performances, I made another switch. The unlucky man here is Mahrez, because the two wide-men have been removed. Instead, I now play with three central midfielders (Kalaba and Wallace on support, either side of Padovani on defend duty), and then one more advanced midfielder on attack duty (Muhren) tucked in behind my striker (N'Koyi, as F9). This allows me to benefit from a solid central area, with occasional width from Butler (defend duty for now) and Ward (supporting). It also gets the best out of Muhren (or Kalaba if necessary) who is contributing very well and helping the reliable N'Koyi. I'm confident that Harris and Chaplin can step in to the attack whenever required, whilst Forster-Caskey is already getting good minutes from the bench in midfield. Other youngsters are on standby across the squad, and I feel there is virtually no deadwood left. At the end of the season, Kalaba will be allowed to leave, Shpungin will be available if a club wants him, and Field doesn't look like making it.

I've just reached the end of August (transfer deadline day was a dream not looking for any players, fending off loan enquiries and major bids for some of my main men was easy enough) and results have clearly improved. We now seem to function as a team (unlike last season), the defensive aspect is exactly what I expect from a team of mine, we retain possession of the ball and seem to create enough chances - for now. The only issue I see on the horizon is that Mahrez (and Thiel when he is fit to return) might need to be re-trained or display some patience on the bench and/or sidelines, through no fault of their own. Having said all this, my start last season was also very good, and then the rest of the term we lurched along like you could never imagine possible. The setting is now on counter-attacking and rigid, which is toned down from last year as we try to concede less.

The Portsmouth squad, 2016/2017

This listing includes the U21 squad too, as the young guys are being given dual-responsibilties.

Goalkeepers: McCarey (24), Veronese (25)

Defenders: Pearce (28), Martin (26), Barbaric (27), Ward (26), Butler (22), Whatmough (20), O'Connor (23), Haunstrup (20), Ssewankambo (20), Webster (21 - on loan), Shpungin (29 - on loan), Field (19 - on loan)

Midfielders: Wallace (22), Padovani (26), Muhren (27), Kalaba (30*), Thiel (23), Mahrez (25), Forster-Caskey (22), Tarbuck (20), Rwakarambwe (19), Maloney (21)

Strikers: N'Koyi (26), Harris (22), Chaplin (19), Horsburgh (20 - on loan)

* I was disappointed just then, when I saw that Kalaba had a 30th birthday two weeks ago. Not because I forgot his cake and card, but because it therefore stopped me from having a whole club of players under the age of 30. Your time could be up soon Rainford, back to East Africa's third most important country with you...

Very good read that Jogo, nice to see you continuing your game and reinventing your squad/team. It'll be interesting to see if your young squad can push you up the league. What is the season aim? Top half/play offs or just take it as it comes?

I have just been promoted with Leeds after 43 games. Despite at one stage running away with the league, a run of just 2 wins in 9 games saw us collapse and throw away our lead, however, Wigan and Notts Forrest also dropped points and we have now secured promotion, although I would like to win the title which will happen if we win once more.

A more thorough update to come, plenty of work to do before the Premier League begins.

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With me only needing one more win to secure the title I expected us to do it, and we did with a 3-1 win against 4th placed Leicester at Elland Road....What I didn't expect was already relegated Doncaster (with just 6 wins all season) to be 2nd placed Nottingham Forrest.....8-0 - What on earth!!!

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Congratulations to you Mr Layzee, nice to see Leeds back in the big time. Bad luck to you cesc, but getting to the play-off final was a fantastic achievement.

I'm in mid-September of season 4, and my new strategy (so far) and formation/tactic is really satisfying me. I have a good solid defence again, my midfield pass the ball around and keep possession, and my SS/F9 combo is interchanging very nicely. I'm sitting 10th in the Championship: PL7, W2, D4, L1, GF7, GA6, PTS10. The one defeat was the opening game of the season, where we caved in after taking a first half lead, and lost 3-1 to Burnley (who have won all seven league games so far). After losing the next match (COC) 1-0 at MK Dons, I made my formation switch and things are looking much better now. The first game with my new shape saw a 0-0 draw at QPR, then a 3-1 victory at home to Sunderland. Following this we earned a 0-0 draw at Leicester, another 0-0 at home to Norwich, a 1-1 draw at Bolton, and a 2-1 win at home over Birmingham (it was 2-0 before a red card and late consolation for them). I'm looking for a finish in the top half, which would be successful in the circumstances.

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Welcome White. Birmingham should be a good save (if you like that kind of club building). I like the way you're going to approach it - I find those sort of saves are the most 'realistic' and enjoyable.

Just how bad are the finances? I've noticed in all my saves so far Brum normally get some kind of takeover fairly early on - any sign of one yet?

I have a rather pleasing mid-season update to post, I'll do it when I get a moment (at work at the moment).

Finances are okay in the sense you start with a decent balance but with Zigic taking up 60k wages and him refusing to move i am really struggling. I refuse to spend more than 8k per week on any players to keep my finances in order, so its a struggle to sign anyone. I am probably going to lose about 6m a season without getting promotion. With Zigic gone i should be able to balance the books.

With regards to the take over, i have had three embargo's in place with regards to takeovers but none have gone through. One including Adam Pearson who is someone who has been brilliant with my club in real life in the past so would of loved him to be involved.

Good to see your updates guys, sorry for the lack of mine.

Welcome to you, White Rose. I confess that Birmingham are a club I don't really warm to, but having said that I do llike the idea of a proper challenge and your approach to them.

I actually wish my Portsmouth save had been more realistic in the first two seasons, but ironically now that I have a really good side in the Championship (season 3), I really am struggling to find consistency and after a superb defensive record for two seasons, I now have a GD of about -10, easily the worst of any clubs around me in the table. I'm in January at the moment, but more looking to prune my squad than add much, hoping to bring through more original youngsters that started season 1 in the U21 and U18 teams. I actually wish I did that more in season 1, instead of feeling the pressure of securing promotion with a much-improved group of players.

I can see why, don't get me wrong not a huge fan of them at times but i just thought it would be a good challenge before i go take on a League Two side.

Mid Season Update

So here we go with my mid season update. Well i didn't mention my system but i will be using a sort of 4-2-3-1. With my Specter and Shinnie as the CM's who will just look to sit in front of the back four and spray the ball out to the two wingers or the AMC so we can break quickly. I won't be playing directly but i will be using a fairly high tempo as i want the front four as i call them to press the opposition quite high up. Lets hope it works well.

The League and Cups

League Table

As you can see i am delighted with my performance in the league, we are predicted to finish 18th so where i am currently is excellent. We have had a bit of a down spell recently, losing two games at the beginning of January and now losing to Derby has set me back. As most of the teams around me have dropped points to and i have missed a lot of opportunities to go into the top two which is very frustrating. However despite the poor form currently i still have a great chance of gaining promotion. I still don't think we are ready for promotion but we need the financial boost that goes with it. My next game is against Watford away if i could get something out of that it would really give me a boost.

Well the League Cup was a bit of a washout losing in the second round to Crawley was annoying. The FA Cup has gone a bit better, i drew Arsenal in the first round. The first match was a 0-0 with Arsenal dominating but we hung on. The second game was 0-0, and despite numerous chances we couldn't put them away. Then after another goalless extra time we went to penalties where we won. We got Crystal Palace at home in the next round and we performed brilliantly to win 3-2. In the 6th round we play league two Hartlepool so we have a great chance of going through.

Player Performance

Well with our outstanding position there have been many highlights. The first is Jake Cassidy on loan from League One Wolves his 16 goals in 24 games have been vital and see him in third place in the goalscoring charts. Chris Burke's 12 assists see him top of the assists charts with Brian Howard on 5 from the bench most of the time. Scott Allan and Shane Ferguson on loan have been excellent. The highlight has been how well Keane and Bartley at the back have performed they have been my mainstay throughout and they also have 6 goals each in the league. Things have gone well, however in January i lost Michael Keane to injury for 6 months, Scott Allan for 5 months and Ferguson for two months. Despite trying i couldn't bring anyone in on my budget until the last day of the season. Even then it was only Casseti a former Watford and Udinese man on a free transfer. He scored 12 minutes into his debut was off thirty minutes into it injured. Typical.

The first half has gone well and i know i am overachieving but i want at least the play offs now. Next season i will be Zigic less and will have a lot more money to play with even if i don't go up. So wish me luck.

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End of season/pre season

So the 2013/2014 season has ended with us being promoted to the Premier League along with Notts Forrest and Leicester who won the play offs. Relegated from the Premier League were C.Palace, Hull and West Ham, three teams that may provide us with some options in the transfer market, especially West Ham who have some decent players that may be available on the cheap.

My squad I feel is OK and doesn't need much depth adding, more just quality players and players who I know can/will perform in the top flight.

We have an initial budget set by the board of just 13m so I am going to have to be clever with what we spend and on what positions. As ever, I will have to have a look round the transfer lists and players who's contracts are expiring and see if we can sign one or two to bulk the quality of the squad.

In terms of departures, we unfortunately don't have a great deal that can be sold. Some of the loanees will be let go, such as Stephen Warnock, whilst Stephen Hunt and a number of youngsters contracts are due to expire and will not be renewed. Perhaps Noel Hunt, Rudo Austin and a few other 'fringe' players may be let go if we can obtain a decent fee. The biggest question is regarding Ross McCormick, a target for a number of teams who seem willing to spend around 3-4m on him. He was by no means prolific in the Championship which has me questioning his ability to step up against better opposition. I don't think I will look to sell him, but if a decent bid comes in I will have to consider it.

In terms of players coming in, Jordan Rhodes is someone I always target although I think he will more than likely be either too expensive or opt to join a more established premier league team. A goalkeeper is a must as Paddy Kenny is prone to make a mistake, a new left back would be nice and the middle of the pitch needs some premier league class adding. Pace, strength and work rate are the stats I will be looking for as we aim to play a more compact and perhaps direct style next season as I just don't see our passing style paying off unless we can sign someone prolific to bang the goals in.

More soon.

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another season done with and more play-off misery for the dons, didn't make it to the final this year lost to leeds in the semis 3-2. Maybe i have taken them as far as i can

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You still got Austin Plainlayzee? I had both him and Murphy at Yeovil and Murphy was by far the better player. I like players such as Austin on FM, the combative, no-nonsense types, but he seemed to do absolutely nothing for me Murphy was a top player before I eventually sold him. Got a fair few assists for me IIRC.

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You still got Austin Plainlayzee? I had both him and Murphy at Yeovil and Murphy was by far the better player. I like players such as Austin on FM, the combative, no-nonsense types, but he seemed to do absolutely nothing for me Murphy was a top player before I eventually sold him. Got a fair few assists for me IIRC.

Yeah I have still got him although I have tried to sell him a few times. West ham agreed a deal but it fell through due to work permit issues!

Will post a ore season update later, just trying to sell some more of the rubbish and balance the books since I've spent 14m!

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Some great updates guys.

@WhiteRose: It looks like you're doing really well there mate. I didn't realise Zigic was on 60k! It looks like you're steadying the ship nicely.

@Layzee: Congrats again Sir. £13mil looks like a tidy enough amount, especially as you're not planning to overhaul massively.

@cesc: Unlucky man. Third time lucky?

As for my own save, it's slow progress again. I've just got to the end of the January transfer window, but I haven't made any additional signings since my last update. The only change was that I sent Joshua King out on loan.

We're still top, 4 points clear of QPR (who have a game in hand). The pair of us have opened a small gap between the play-off zone, so I'm praying that we can maintain our form - we've not had the dreaded form dip yet, so I worry it's due. Speaking of which, we're through to the 5th round of the FA Cup, but have been drawn at home to Chelsea. :(

Rhodes is going through a dry patch in front of goal at the moment, but luckily Rochina is absolutely tearing things up at the moment. Of the new sigings, Mellis has settled in nicely though Annan is obviously adjusting. Typically, Goodwillie got injured in his first training session after returning from his loan, so I've not been able to offload him. He does look like he'll fit into my system though, so I'll keep him as a backup with a big sign round his neck - "Only Use in Emergency". Hopefully he won't score too many! :D

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Good to see you guys all performing so well.

WR & MC, you're both doing superbly to have your teams right in the mix. Cesc, it's clear you have done good things at MK Dons, it's got to be worth another crack? PL, it looks like the contact book has been put to good use. I wonder how many of your new players are familiar faces :)

I'm still in October (season 4) at Portsmouth, and my defensive record is still very good with my new formation and tactic. I'm not scoring many goals at the moment, and drawing lots of games, but this comes on the back of four successive away games in the Championship. As we are very hard to beat, I feel that I should maintain or better my position in mid-table as time goes on.

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Good progress Jogo, it's always nice to see a long term approach, especially as you're blooding the youngsters who were at the club originally. It'd be nice to see a few of them in the title winning Portsmouth team :D

@Pedro, what type of player do you want? One for the future, someone who will do a job now and could be released in a couple of seasons? Big money, cheap deal? Need more information really so people don't just reel off 100 players that they've came across at one point or another.

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Nice work there Krosotv! That is quite a season, especially given your finances at the start. I'm liking the Scandinavian feel of your team.

Do you think you'll get some decent backing in the transfer window for your first Premiership season?

Oh and don't worry about long posts, we love long posts in this thread. :D

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I'll be especially keen to see how Rhodes and Mellis do for you as I have them in my Blackburn side which is currently 1st in the Championship and seemingly on course for promotion. £3.7m is a very good price indeed for Rhodes. I guess my AI counterpart didn't manage to get the wages under control.

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just beat Shamrock rovers in the europa league been drawn against AAA Gent in the playoff round,oh thanks to the fixtures first game in the prem is Villa away thanks!

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So proud of the lads! Top of the Championship versus top of the Premiership.

BlackburnvChelsea_OverviewOverview_zps5e0a9f69.png

As you can see they had us under the cosh most of the game, but we defended like defendy things and they just couldn't get past. Special mentions to Kean and Kilgallon who were immense and deserved much better ratings. This game has also convinced me that I need to sign Annan once his contract with Schalke expires and to try and snatch Kane from Chelsea if I can.

I'd set the team out in our normal formation, but with a Defensive mentality. As the game wore on we became more and more attacking and ended up with an Attacking 41222, mainly because I didn't want a replay. Then Boom, three minutes into stoppage time Dunn bundles in the winner.

I had to laugh though - in my post game team talk I told them they had played magnificently in a Passionate tone and was expecting a rousing response. Instead I was met with blank looks and a wall of indifference. Ho hum.

Edit: We've been drawn at home to Hull in the next round, so I have real hopes of getting into the Semi-finals. Only Man Utd and Arsenal are left of the 'big' clubs.

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Great result MC. These talks and conversations are really odd. I find the worst one is the start of season team meeting, which brings the most bizarre conversation and reactions I have ever seen in my life. I'd love to be able to skip that one, but alas it must be done even though it's pure FM nonsense every time :herman:

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Generally I'm ok as I rely on man management to make up for a) my tactical shortcomings & b) my being a cheapskate in the transfer market. I very rarely have Red results or negative feedback

I'll have to keep an eye on it though, as I would hate to alienate the squad with some poorly chosen words.

Sorry to hear about the save Krosotv. Are you going to do another Brum save, or pick someone else?

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Like you, MC, I always value the importance of good squad morale (and usually get it).

It doesn't have to be poorly chosen words in those pre-season team meetings. Your opening comment is usually fairly easy to get right, and generally goes down well. The issue comes when a player responds (agreeing or at worst cautiously agreeing), and your limited choices mean the best answer is 'that's exactly the kind of reaction I was after'. In my experience, watch all players reacted badly literally seconds after they were all positive about it!

Like your responses after the Chelsea win, they should have been raising the roof with those words. The same happened in FM13 after play-off wins. When you have just delivered that speech, why would they stare in to space and look normal or flat?

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I always enjoy lower league management in Football Manager. I think there is no better feeling than managing a team through the divisions and guiding them into the Premier League.

I thought it was about time I gave lower league management a go on this years game. Who did I pick? AFC Wimbledon.

After I revamped the staff, I looked at the play staff. I decided on a 4-4-2. All we required to have two players per position was a left back, center midfielder and striker. I tend to spend as much time as possible on transfers, looking for the best options available to me. The left back I brought in was Jordan Mustoe on loan from Wigan. The great thing about this loan is that Wigan didn't require any wages to be paid for him.

I had a lot of difficulty finding a center midfielder. Players were either not good enough or wanted money I couldn't offer. I ended up offering a contract to Mario Taccinardi. It was a risk because I couldn't scout him but it was a risk which paid off. My assistant rates him as a leading Sky Bet League Two player. Oh, and I'll trust my assistant, he has 15 in current and potential ability.

My striker I signed was Nicolas Bignall. He has 10 finishing which is decent but with 14 pace and 15 strength, he should cause havoc in defences.

My aims for this season is for a mid table position. Any more is a plus. First season is just about getting a feel of the squad and then improving from there.

We also a parent club in Aston Villa. Not many of their players will join me but they're giving me money every year so that's a plus.

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Cheers Jogo! Had a decent start to the season so far, unbeaten in three league games (won two, drawn one) and was unlucky in the CoC 1st Round against Brentford (threw away a 2-0 lead).

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Welcome Dino, good luck with Wimbledon!

If they are anything like my Villa save in FM13 you should get some corking youth players to loan in a season or two. I know it might not strictly be in the spirit of things, but I can highly recommend Quentin Boesso as a striker. He was immense in my Argyle save before I lost it.

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Cheers Meester!

I imagine whilst I remain in League Two, not many players will be willing to make the drop down but I can see the situation changing if I get promoted up to League One. I'll have a look at Boesso, cheers for the recommendation.

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This is him midway through the first season playing as an AF in a 442 with an F9 supporting him. His Finishing attribute is a little iffy, so he'll frustrate you at times, but with his pace he should get lots of chances.

QuentinBoesso_OverviewAttributes_zps9dad65d0.png

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I won't complain about the missed chances if he scores as many for me as he did for you! :lol: That record in the league is pretty decent.

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Hehe. Yeah he tailed off a little after that screenshot, I think mainly due to teams adjusting how they played against us (we were top top of the league), but he still finished on 29 league goals for the season.

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no play-off heart ache for the dons this season.

automatically promoted, missing out on the championship title by 3 points from norwich.

see you in the premier league :brock:

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Hello Guys!

I loved this thread in FM13 and I can't believe it's taking me so long to get in to this one for FM14!

First real go at the lower leagues and i'm going to have a go with Derby County! Anyone else playing with them at the moment?

My aim is to get them promoted within 2 seasons! Good luck to all your saves!

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I've just hit November with The Dons.

We find ourselves 3rd but my word is it close! There are 10 points between 3rd and 22nd. A few defeats for us and we could find ourselves sliding down the league.

I have to admit, I am surprised with our performance so far. As I said in my last update, I would be happy for a mid table position and so to be 3rd after 15 games is fantastic. There is a lot of the season still to play and anything could happen.

In all honestly, I think I underestimated my team. When I look through it, there are some quality players and if we're to have success this season, those players need to perform on a consistent basis. I've build my team around a counter attacking 4-4-2 which has worked but recently we have been on a slide. We have the meanest defence in the league along side with Dagenham & Redbridge (1st) conceding 13 and the highest amount of clean sheets (7) but we have only scored 18 leaving us with a goal difference of +5. This might not sound a lot but when you consider we have the 4th highest goal difference in the league, it makes me feel a lot better.

As I have already mentioned, our recent form has got me a bit worried we might drop a few places. We have won once in our last five games including a 3-1 and 4-1 defeat. I imagine this has a connection with us having six players out, with three of them being considered key players with three also being defenders.

We went out in the Capital One Cup to Brentford losing 5-2. Now when I say we lost 5-2, it doesn't sound that great but the fact we took a 2-0 lead and gave Brentford a good battle, it shows we can hold our ground. It showed even more when we knocked Crawley out of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy 2-0 only to be thumped 4-0 by Gillingham in the next round. We have Forest Green Rovers in the F.A. Cup and so that gives us a good chance of progressing into the next round (no offence Forest Green Rovers fans).

We added Aaron Morris to our squad with the most appealing thing being that he could be a leading League One player. Jordan Mustoe has been decent with Giovanni Taormina cementing himself a key player in our squad. Nicholas Bignall has been dire though. The former Reading striker has scored three times in ten games. Unfortunately I couldn't sign Boesso who had already been snapped up.

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It seems you're doing well dino. Have you had a look at Yoann Guichard and Thomas Lebon? The former is a striker whilst the latter is a keeper. Not sure whether they'd be in your game or if they've been snapped up but if you're looking for someone who can get goals I'd recommend Guichard as an alternative. I'd also have a look at the rest of Reunion as there can be some gems available. I'd also check the French non-league teams as you can get some crackers from there as well.

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Oh no, after getting 3 games in to the season with Derby, i decided to read the last couple of pages of this thread, just to see how other people were doing, when I got fixed on Plainlayzee's updates on his Leeds game!

I've been drawn in to it! Cheers for the inspiration PlainLayzee, let's see if i can match your well doing!

UPDATE

Unfortunately, I tried changing too much and tried getting rid of too many of the high earners and it's completely backfired :( Sacked after 4 months in charge.

I am now looking for a new football league challenge if anyone has any good suggestions in mind!

Another Update

I've decided to give Sheff Utd a try, similar to Leeds in that it's a massive club in a low league with potential to build and progress. Anyone else currently playing with them?

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