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

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Into January 2018 and I have some very big transfer news. Lucas Ocampo, who joined us in January 2017 for 1.4m, has completed a 32m transfer to Manchester City. As much as I really wanted to keep him as he's an outstanding player, he wanted to leave for a bigger club and I just couldn't turn down a fee like that, especially as it is all up front.

In terms of replacing him, it looks like Theo Walcott will be joining us for the rest of the season on loan which should do before I look for a permanent replacement in the summer.

Twenty games into the season and we're currently placed seventh, one point behind Arsenal in sixth and five points ahead of eighth-placed Newcastle.

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Great work Maxey, and fantastic money there from Ocampos! Will also look forward to reading your next update Symbolic.

Preston_OverviewProfile-2_zps09afd729.png

I've just made it to the start of January 2016 at Preston, so it's time for an update...

Our performances in the Championship have improved greatly, and following a fine run of form in November and December, we have risen to 3rd place. I'm not convinced that will last, especially as I'm starting to give more of the original youngsters (Alex Nicholson and Lyle Magolis are the latest) a chance in the match day squad. I've survived a club takeover, and kept my job after they gave me a chance to deliver positive results early on.

Finances are improving a lot, and I'm very happy with everything at the club. It's worth noting that the step up from League 1 has been achieved comfortably with an outlay of only £65k - spent on just a few players and a handful of loan extensions. It's difficult to pick out 'best' players this season as we have the best defensive record, consistency in midfield, and strikers who score goals. I'll cover that in more detail at the end of the season...

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There hasn't been a need to do much transfer activity at all - the last player signed was 1st July 2015 - and I don't have plans to recruit in January either. I've allowed Dan Gosling to leave, with Ipswich paying £600k for him on New Years Day. He was only a back-up but had been signed for free so it was good business. I've also decided to terminate the loan of Christian Atsu because he has just been ruled out for three months. There is plenty of flank cover at my disposal already, and Kieran Agard should return soon too (a broken leg has kept him on the sidelines since the opening day of the season). On the staffing side, I've added Steve Mautone and former fans favourite Paul McKenna as coaches.

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I was only given 11m of the Ocampos money to spend but that was all I needed to bring in four new players to St. Andrews. The direct replacement was Florian Thauvin, who joined from Marseille for 1m. His contract was up at the end of the season and Marseille were looking to get at least a little money for him. Ghislain Jourdan cost me 600k from Lyon and certainly looks like a fantastic prospect. Nelson Escobar joined from Club Brugge for 1.2m and at 21 already has 15 caps for Colombia to his name. Robin Perrot was the most expensive signing of the window a 2.9m, but from a look at his attributes that looks well worth it already. Sandro Jozak also joined, a 525k transfer that I'd arranged a few months prior to the window.

One more player left the club - a 2.9m deal saw Jelle Vossen sign for Real Betis, a 1.6m profit on a player that only scored five goals this season.

Into April 2018 now and I'm still in seventh place with a decent gap between me and the eighth-placed team. A fantastic run in the FA Cup has got us into the final where we will face either Arsenal or Southampton. We've defeated Stoke, Reading, West Brom, Chelsea and Tottenham along the way and I'm very much looking forward to my first career club cup final.

I'd just like to show you all the fantastic record this season of wonderkid Gustavo Torres. Without a doubt he's been my best player and he is definitely key to the club's future. Hopefully we can hold onto him for a least a few more years.

GustavoTorres_OverviewAttributes-3_zps3928a38f.png

On the international side of things, I qualified for the upcoming World Cup with the USA and have been handed a tough group of Italy, Colombia and Scotland. Might be able to nick second place but I'm not too bothered about it. Considering leaving the post after the World Cup and see if I can take control of a better nation or perhaps just completely focus on Birmingham. If the club makes Europe then I will most likely resign from the USA.

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So Gillingham's first year back in the Championship is officially up and running under my guidance.

Transfers

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I started the season with a healthy transfer budget of £1.5m and a wage budget of £195k p/w. I decided early on that I wouldn't really need the transfer budget as, in an effort to be financially prudent, I would be focusing on bosman's and loans. Firstly, I had already agreed deals to bring Wilson Palacios and Gael Kakuta to Priestfield before the season ended as, alongside the attacking mindset of Bradley Dack in the heart of my midfield, I felt that Wilson could shore up in front of my back 4 to a better extent than club captain José Semédo and Gael would add more of an attacking threat in the AMC position than Congolese international Amine Linganzi. I then found a gem of a right winger in Hideki Ishige, he had just been released by Japanese club Ballena Shizuoka and with 18 for pace, 16 for flair and 17 for dribbling I really couldn't pass on the opportunity of bringing him in for free. I had also agreed pre-contract deals for attacking midfielders Jack Dunn and Andreas Pereiras before the end of the previous season in order to give us some strength in depth and to add a bit more flair in the attacking side of things. Patrick Bamford joins the club with the sole intention of playing second fiddle to last season's 38 goal striker Willian Jose. Bamford has that bit of quality needed for games in which we are trailing and I might decide to go with two up top. Next, comes the first of my three marquee signings; John Flanagan joined the Priestfield revolution after being released by Liverpool. He wanted £15k p/w to begin with which was well over my £10k p/w wage cap, but with some added bonuses I managed to negotiate him down to £9k and he now plies his trade in the South of the country with us. The next two to come in are my best signings so far with this team. Jason Steele and Slobodan Rajkovic have joined up with my team and will be forming the core of my defensive line up. Boro released Steele in the summer as they could not guarantee him regular first team football, and Slobodan parted ways with HSV after he played the majority of the season in their reserve team HSV II. My last three signings of Kenneth McEvoy, Jordi Ortega and Ziggy Gordon were purely made with the intention of adding strength in depth to some key areas, plus they all have either 4 of 4.5* potential so they could be come integral members of my team in the years to come. I also renewed the loan of right winger Jake Sinclair as due to his match winning performances last season and his new found affinity for the club, I couldn't let him sit in the Southampton reserves for the season.

August Result

Game of the Month

Gillingham 3-1 Sheffield Wednesday

The first game of our spell in the Championship came at home to Sheffield Wednesday. Prior to kick off there was an excitable buzz around the ground as fans got used to the fact that their beloved club were now a Championship side. 9,062 people packed into the Priestfield, a higher attendance than any game last season. Luckily for the roaring home faithful, the Gills started the season how they had left the previous, a wonderful ball from Jake Sinclair took a nick off a Wednesday defenders leg and set up perfectly for Gael Kakuta to volley home on his home debut. The half ended 1-0 to us and we went in to the dressing room with spirits high. However 12 minutes after the restart Bradley Dack inexplicably shoved Wednesday centre back Claude Dielna to the ground inside the penalty area and Gary Madine converted the spot kick. 21 minutes later and we had a penalty of our own. In a moment of madness and what must have been pure stupidity, Gary Madine pushed our own Wilson Palacios to the ground inside the 18 yard box and Wilson stepped up to confidently strike the ball home. Then, in the 92nd minute, Jake Sinclair, the man of the match, made sure the game was safe, latching onto a deep cross from Jonathan Cháves before cooly slotting home.

Capital One Cup - 2-1 Oxford AET (Cháves 8, Kakuta 101) H

Sky Bet Championship - 1-4 Swansea (Egan 49) A

Sky Bet Championship - 2-1 Sunderland (Willian 57, Palacios pen 69) H

Sky Bet Championship - 2-0 Cardiff (Ishige 52, Willian 87) A

Capital One Cup - 1-0 Watford AET (Willian 110) A

Sky Bet Championship - 1-2 Bristol City (Willian 26) A

September Results;

Game of the Month

Gillingham 4-1 Huddersfield

After a very solid opening month in the Sky Bet Championship which saw us sitting 7th and in the 3rd round of the Capital One Cup we welcomed Huddersfield to the Priestfield for our first game in September. Luckily for us, the game was over inside the opening 25 minutes. 9 minutes in Gael Kakuta reacted first to a save from the Huddersfield keeper to nod the ball past him. A mere 12 minutes later and it was 2-0, Jonathan Cháves slotting home after his earlier effort had rebounded back off the post. Next, it was the turn of Willian José. Coolly slotting the ball home after Jonathan Cháves had released him. We did have a slight scare after Adam Hammill converted a penalty after John Egan had fouled Ayoze Perez but Willian José sealed the victory 2 mintues from time, heading in another cross from Jonathan Cháves.

Sky Bet Championship - 1-1 Charlton (Willian 64) H

Sky Bet Championship - 1-3 Burnley (Rajkovic 88) A

Capital One Cup - 2-1 Middlesbrough (Willian 42, Ishige 45) H

Sky Bet Championship - 2-0 Rotherham (Morgan OG 18, Cháves 28) A

Sky Bet Championship - 2-0 Ipswich (Cháves 12, Ishige 85)

--

So we are currently sitting 3rd in the table at the end of September. To say I expected that at the start of the season would be a complete lie. We have been sensational and the gelling process has taken no time at all. I am so confident in my team that I've even shipped out last season's centre half stalwart Shaun Brisley on loan to Preston until January. Here's hoping that it'll continue.

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Some good signings there Symbolic, Kakuta especially. He was instrumental in getting me promoted to the Premier League and still does a job off the bench now.

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Well, I know that FM14 is so 'old news' now, but I wanted to finish my third season with Preston before seeing how FM15 looks...

Preston_OverviewProfile-2_zps09afd729.png

With the season going well, I decided to make no additions in the winter transfer window, and apart from the New Years Day sale of Dan Gosling to Ipswich, the squad remained the same until the end of my third season.

Picking up from where I left off at the end of 2015 (in 3rd place) the squad maintained their form to the end, and a point was required on the final day to guarantee automatic promotion to the Premier League. In the end, Huddersfield also only drew their last match at Brentford, so our point at home to mid-table QPR was somewhat irrelevant. I'm pretty sure that the stability of my squad was largely responsible for the unexpected success - few new players were signed over the previous 1.5 seasons. Joe Garner justified a bumper new contract by ending the season as my top scorer (22 in the league), and we had achieved this with £2m of transfer budget untouched and £100k p/w wage budget unused (almost 50% of our allowance).

Here are the results, final Championship league table, and player stats for the players across all competitions (excludes Atsu and Gosling who made 22 and 11 league appearances respectively before departing the club)....

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This is probably a good time to exit this save, and look forward to the SkyBet FM15 thread...

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Hi Jogo,

Same here as I'm enjoying my save with the Blues far too much, currently in my 4th season in the Premiership and doing well.

I usually get the game on the day of full release so it be back to square one managing my beloved Birmingham City so will be posting more regularly in the new SkyBet FM15 thread :D

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Looking forward to the FM15 thread! With my beloved Posh looking like a fantastic team to manage this year (as usual), I think this will probably be my most active thread. Along with my Posh team thread too. Hopefully I'll see a few of those FL thread regulars in there, definitely think a Peterborough save will be one of the most enjoyable in the Football League this year.

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Haha, Peterborough does seem an interesting save they do seem to get huge fees for players going out IRL.

Unfortunately my save will be consequently even harder this year! ahh well bring it on.

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Haha, Peterborough does seem an interesting save they do seem to get huge fees for players going out IRL.

Unfortunately my save will be consequently even harder this year! ahh well bring it on.

I'm currently Barnsley on the beta (my hometown club) and it's so enjoyable. One of the things that took the sting off relegation last year (even though we deserved it) was the fact that FM would be a much better save.

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I'm currently Barnsley on the beta (my hometown club) and it's so enjoyable. One of the things that took the sting off relegation last year (even though we deserved it) was the fact that FM would be a much better save.

Yeah, this years FM was a really tough save with all the finance turmoil surrounding the club which has got cosiderably worse over time, so I'm expecting an even tougher challenge.

On the plus side, we have a very small squad so I can pretty much put my own mark on it instantly (transfers permitting) :lol:

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