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The Gloucester Kids - winning the Champions League with youth products

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2023/24 Season Review

Competitions

League 2 (21st)

Same league position again, despite bringing in some much more talented players. Not sure we've got the quality to make a major breakthrough next season either, but you never know. This team does tend to surprise me at times.

Cups - Did pretty badly in the League Cup and the JPT, but had a cracking run in the FA Cup. It was brilliant to draw rivals Cheltenham, giving us a record capacity crowd, and even better to draw Spurs in the next round, but the stuffing was fully expected, and really not as lucrative as you'd expect either.

Youth Players

Marc Halliday (YP1) - Not great, and has asked to leave. I'm inclined to let him go and pass his place to younger lads.

Leon Rae (YP4) - Overtaken now by younger rivals, not expecting him to make many appearances next season.

Ashan Perry (YP5) - Useless, and complaining about wanting to leave - I'm happy to let him go.

George Wilson (YP10) - Another bad start to the season, so I dropped him in favour of youngster Kellaway (YP22).

Howard Goodwin (YP11) - I've always been worried he might have a bad season - it has now happened, but thankfully others stepped up.

Nathan Tubbs (YP13) - Another good season, though injuries set him back. We now have alternatives, which helps a lot.

Lewis Langdown (YP14) - The most appearances of any player, but still not as impressive as he should be.

Carl Cunnington (YP15) - Still capable, but dropped in favour of youngsters with more potential.

Pete Butler (YP16) - Another bad season, but now we have deputies which will spell the end of his time at the club I suspect.

Karl Pym (YP19) - Slightly better - definitely needs to improve further but still very young for a CB.

Rhys Ricketts (YP20) - Already overtaken by new youth intakes - doesn't look good for him.

Colin Chenoweth (YP21) - Pym (YP19)'s standard partner at CB, only 16 years old and doing alright.

Dominic Kellaway (YP22) - Pretty poor, but no worse than Wilson (YP10) and lots of room to grow.

John Thomson (YP23) - Suffered when I pushed him out to LB, but still learning the position so I'm not too worried.

Marc Richards (YP24) - What a revelation! Really pushed Goodwin (YP11) out of the limelight, fantastic debut season.

Former Youth Players

Brendan Clinton (YP2) - Now transfer listed by the Isthmian's Bury Town. Apparently it can get worse.

Paul Fisher (YP3) - Much better season for Woking after they were relegated to the Conference South. I think he's found his level, finally.

John Lindsay (YP6) - Poor for Nuneaton, and keen to leave.

Bob Walton (YP7) - Wasn't getting games, so left on free transfer to Woking in Conference South. Did alright for them, should be a useful player.

Roy Slocombe (YP8) - Still at Maidenhead, and much more at home after their relegation to the Conference South.

Neil Megson (YP9) - Very dodgy for King's Lynn. His career is really on a downer right now.

Moses Makin (YP12) - One appalling season for Farnborough, and he wants a new challenge. Sure.

Richard Hayward (YP17) - Away on loan at Tamworth, dreadful. No way he's staying at the club.

Andrew Threlfall (YP18) - Another poor season for Gateshead. If he doesn't leave, I can't see any decent future for him sadly.

Club

Facilities - No changes here as far as I know.

Finances - Finally got the junior coaching dropped, which helped a bit, but we're still losing money hand over fist - only the Spurs game kept us in the black. We might need another reduction in junior coaching by the end of this season to stay afloat.

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Good balance in that lot, too - just need some decent left sided players!

Yeah it's probably what we needed really, as the only position we're particularly weak in is DL. Having strength in depth can be really important at the more busy parts of the season.

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Read trough some of your updates over weekend, quite impressive I must say.:thup:

Have you had many issues with players refusing to renew contracts with you since the last update, apart from Threfall of course?

Started something similar to this in Norway with a lower league club last week, trying to learn as much as possible from this thread.:D

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Read trough some of your updates over weekend, quite impressive I must say.:thup:

Have you had many issues with players refusing to renew contracts with you since the last update, apart from Threfall of course?

Started something similar to this in Norway with a lower league club last week, trying to learn as much as possible from this thread.:D

Thanks very much :D

As for your question - not really, no. Turning pro has made a tremendous difference, because I've been handing players 5 year contracts whenever possible, and frankly if they decide to go after that length of time then I don't mind - I've got some decent service from them. With the old contracts, where they only lasted 2 years, it was hard to keep anyone for very long - and obviously I couldn't compete with the salaries on offer at other clubs. And most of my players wanted non-contract terms, which meant I hadn't got a hope in hell of holding onto them.

In previous seasons, I lost Ashan Perry (YP5) and, as you mentioned, Threlfall (YP18) to contract refusals, but they were the only big ones. Generally with the other ones they were players I could accept losing. And honestly, even with the two major ones, I barely noticed their loss - Perry was immediately outshone by Goodwin (YP11), and Threlfall's departure allowed Richards (YP24) to have a terrific debut season.

The one tip I would give with these saves is that you really, really have to look at it as a long-term project. Effectively, you're working on permanent 17-18 year cycles, so even if you make no progress for 10 years, it's not necessarily over, and if you're not very good with tactics (I'm inept) that can happen. The reason I say ~18 years is because if you upgrade your youth recruitment, you might get a really good youth intake that year. Now in order for your squad as a whole to reach its full potential, you need to wait for that youth player to develop, mature and tutor the youngsters - say from 16 years old to 34 years. If you then get another youth recruitment upgrade, the cycle goes back to the beginning again. In the lower leagues, that doesn't make too much difference - I did this in an older version of the game and made it to the Championship (IIRC) before I had to let my YP1 go, and I think he had just turned 30 - but it is always worth bearing in mind when the short-term frustrations begin to set in.

Obviously later on, in the Premiership/CL, trying to compete with City and the like, it's definitely the case. Without 20 years of top quality intakes, you haven't got a hope in hell. And a big slice of luck is helpful as well!

Actually, my other tip should probably be to watch yourself with the junior coaching. I've been seriously screwed over by that in this game, and SI have confirmed that it's a bug in the finances/board requests module that I managed to get so far so quickly, and wasn't paying too much in expenses, before it suddenly exploded in League 2.

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Thanks very much :D

As for your question - not really, no. Turning pro has made a tremendous difference, because I've been handing players 5 year contracts whenever possible, and frankly if they decide to go after that length of time then I don't mind - I've got some decent service from them. With the old contracts, where they only lasted 2 years, it was hard to keep anyone for very long - and obviously I couldn't compete with the salaries on offer at other clubs. And most of my players wanted non-contract terms, which meant I hadn't got a hope in hell of holding onto them.

In previous seasons, I lost Ashan Perry (YP5) and, as you mentioned, Threlfall (YP18) to contract refusals, but they were the only big ones. Generally with the other ones they were players I could accept losing. And honestly, even with the two major ones, I barely noticed their loss - Perry was immediately outshone by Goodwin (YP11), and Threlfall's departure allowed Richards (YP24) to have a terrific debut season.

The one tip I would give with these saves is that you really, really have to look at it as a long-term project. Effectively, you're working on permanent 17-18 year cycles, so even if you make no progress for 10 years, it's not necessarily over, and if you're not very good with tactics (I'm inept) that can happen. The reason I say ~18 years is because if you upgrade your youth recruitment, you might get a really good youth intake that year. Now in order for your squad as a whole to reach its full potential, you need to wait for that youth player to develop, mature and tutor the youngsters - say from 16 years old to 34 years. If you then get another youth recruitment upgrade, the cycle goes back to the beginning again. In the lower leagues, that doesn't make too much difference - I did this in an older version of the game and made it to the Championship (IIRC) before I had to let my YP1 go, and I think he had just turned 30 - but it is always worth bearing in mind when the short-term frustrations begin to set in.

Obviously later on, in the Premiership/CL, trying to compete with City and the like, it's definitely the case. Without 20 years of top quality intakes, you haven't got a hope in hell. And a big slice of luck is helpful as well!

Actually, my other tip should probably be to watch yourself with the junior coaching. I've been seriously screwed over by that in this game, and SI have confirmed that it's a bug in the finances/board requests module that I managed to get so far so quickly, and wasn't paying too much in expenses, before it suddenly exploded in League 2.

Thanks for the reply. Some really useful things that I need to bear in mind.

I must say I hadn't really thought about the 18 year cycle process, but it makes complete sense. Usually I'm used to a degree of frustration in my saves on FM. The past few versions I have only signed players with the same nationality of the nation I'm managing in for example or other various guidlines. Whilst these youth type saves of course will test me a bit more for sure. Shorter seasons in Norway so that should help and of course no time consuming signing players either.

I will probably harass you some more in the future and I'll look forward to seeing your career progress.:thup:

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Thanks for the reply. Some really useful things that I need to bear in mind.

I must say I hadn't really thought about the 18 year cycle process, but it makes complete sense. Usually I'm used to a degree of frustration in my saves on FM. The past few versions I have only signed players with the same nationality of the nation I'm managing in for example or other various guidlines. Whilst these youth type saves of course will test me a bit more for sure. Shorter seasons in Norway so that should help and of course no time consuming signing players either.

I will probably harass you some more in the future and I'll look forward to seeing your career progress.:thup:

Yeah the speed is really nice, especially since I only have the one league loaded - it processes in no time at all. Last year I did an all-nations save and it was ridiculous, took forever for anything to happen and I turned off all the full detail processing that I could as well. It's certainly a challenge doing this kind of save, but that's why I appreciate it.

Good luck with your career :)

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Finances don't look all that bad to me, and given the quality of your last youth intake they may well be paying off!

It's manageable now I've got the drop in youth coaching, but it's still a very precarious position. Question is, do I invest heavily in youth to earn a promotion, or cut back to ensure our financial survival? Right now I'm hovering between the two, but it's hard to know exactly where to draw the line.

That's some drop in junior coaching you're having.

Yeah, and the weird thing is that the cost of our youth coaching is absolutely all over the place right now. It seems to bear very little resemblance to the level of investment shown on the facilities page.

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2025 Youth Overview

mtpk.png

Sean Gardner

Not such a great one this year. Gardner will probably be useful and certainly has the quality to make it long-term in this league, but the overall quality of the intake has dropped really significantly. I would be very surprised if any of the guys with 3* potential become first team fixtures, but then there's no position that I need to strengthen in particular right now.

The problem is that even players with 4.5* in my current squad aren't necessarily achieving decent average ratings, and the squad is appalling compared to the rest of the league, so a few more 4.5* potentials won't help much - we need some blisteringly good kids, but we don't have the money to invest. Hard to know what the solution is, really.

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2024/25 Season Review

Competitions

League 2 (22nd)

Still stuck at the bottom of the table, but the league was much, much stronger this year and a huge number of teams were in the mix for relegation. We always looked like we would be safe, but still no signs of any major improvement in form.

Cups - Unlucky to draw quality opposition in the League Cup and JPT, but more fortunate in the FA Cup, drawing Gateshead from the Conference Premier and League 2 Tranmere, and even more so playing Tranmere at home. We got a decent tie away at Cardiff, but the small stadium meant we didn't really get much for our efforts other than a thorough stuffing.

Youth Players

Marc Halliday (YP1) - I wish someone would take him on a free transfer or loan. They won't.

Howard Goodwin (YP11) - Back on form, and hugely appreciated! Exactly what I've come to expect.

Nathan Tubbs (YP13) - Decent as ever, and his stats keep improving, but his form isn't.

Lewis Langdown (YP14) - Another average season - I frequently dropped him, but it made little difference.

Pete Butler (YP16) - Appalling. I'll try to get him out on loan next season.

Karl Pym (YP19) - Slowly improving, but I need him to pick up the pace a bit.

Colin Chenoweth (YP21) - Stagnated a bit, but hoping he will pick things up again next season - attributes are improving.

Dominic Kellaway (YP22) - Really poor - dropped in favour of younger talents, but no obvious alternatives yet.

John Thomson (YP23) - Would probably make a great CB, but that's not what I need. He's not a great LB.

Marc Richards (YP24) - After a brilliant debut season, I kept giving him opportunities, and he was useless. Not sure what I'm doing wrong.

Junior Matthews (YP25) - Now first choice RB, but needs to improve significantly as he's not a natural.

Geoff Paddock (YP26) - The biggest threat to Langdown (YP14)'s position, really strong debut season.

Stuart Hoskins (YP27) - The most talented player at the club, according to my assistant. Could be special.

Keiran Langdown (YP28) - With Richards (YP24) in poor form, I gave Langdown a few chances, and he really impressed. Great partnership with Goodwin (YP11).

Former Youth Players

Brendan Clinton (YP2) - New club, same dross.

Paul Fisher (YP3) - Struggled after Woking's promotion. At least he's got a steady contract.

Leon Rae (YP4) - Free transferred to Linfield, which is much more his level.

Ashan Perry (YP5) - Really not worth the money I invested in him. I paid him to leave, and no-one wants him.

John Lindsay (YP6) - Another rubbish season, this time for Bath.

Bob Walton (YP7) - After a dreadful season at Woking, his contract was terminated. Oh dear.

Roy Slocombe (YP8) - Really poor season for Maidenhead. I'd be surprised if they kept him.

Neil Megson (YP9) - Much better season now he's settled in at King's Lynn, could do alright here.

George Wilson (YP10) - Lost his place in my squad, and dropped by Forest Green as well.

Moses Makin (YP12) - Decided to stay at Farnborough, and has found his level in the Conference South.

Carl Cunnington (YP15) - Capable, but dropped in favour of youngsters - but no-one wants him.

Richard Hayward (YP17) - Finally got rid of him. Dreadful for Woking and wants a new challenge. I would suggest football is a challenge.

Andrew Threlfall (YP18) - Really, really awful season for one of my high hopes. And he's been offered another extension!

Rhys Ricketts (YP20) - Already overtaken by new youth intakes - and few offers coming in.

Club

Facilities - Much the same as last season.

Finances - JUst about holding things together. Might need a boardroom bailout soon, but the cuts to the youth coaching do seem to have helped. Hopefully our expenditure on that side of things should stabilise next season - it accounted for over 40% of our expenditure.

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Not too much to shout about at the moment. At least you didn't get relegated, though.

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It’s a shame that the images have been lost over the years, always enjoyed re-reading this when looking for some FM motivation.

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