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Matthew Le God

FM15: Southampton F.C. - #WeMarchOn

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Horrible squeaky bum time at the tail end of the season. We contrived to drop points in games we should have won; dominated against Stoke but held, Hull had 10 men for 30 minutes but we couldn't get through. All the while, the other contenders were racking up win after win :(

The FA Cup defeat to Chelsea was a bright spot. For some reason I rested players even though we weren't playing games close together, but their first team really struggled to get through us, so it's a doffed hat to the system - in the end, Chelsea were PL champions, so I can't argue with that!

screen-shot-2014-11-11-at-22-03-27.png

A draw at Old Trafford meant that I needed Spurs to slip up at Hull - a 2:2 for them gave us a very tight 4th spot o goal difference. Horrible, nail-biting and yet brilliant stuff! I need to figure out what to do next.....

screen-shot-2014-11-11-at-22-01-08.png

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I'm in a quandary. As the final league table showed, Liverpool had a stinker of a season - sufficient for Rodgers to get the sack.

They've offered me the job and I've created a separate save when I accepted. It's incredibly fickle of me, but they have offered a £45m transfer kitty (still have around £500k p/w in the wage budget too). They have sold nobody, signed Dede, and I found that if I offer out Balotelli for £40m, a host of clubs from Italy, Germany and England happily bid between ~£35m and £40m for him. So, a potential budget upwards of £85m, better players and bigger stadium (at least until St. Mary's is expanded in one year) is awfully tempting. However, I always tend to get bogged down on Premier League saves, so my head is all over the shop at the moment :(

The initial budget proposed at Saints is a generous £25m. I'd reject the chance to sign Bertrand for £10m but could see myself agreeing the Future Fee with Alderweireld. Joel Ward, Moussa Sissoko, Callum McManaman call all be secured within budget (I think) so lots of ideas swirling round at the moment.

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As the Stone Roses said "the past was yours but the future's mine". Do you want to be the 17548th manager to win the league for Liverpool or do you want to be the first Southampton manager to do it? Plus you've got Champions league football with Southampton.

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Go with the Saints, finish what you started. And if you do manage to win the EPL or the UCL, you'd probably be approached by even bigger clubs.

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As the Stone Roses said "the past was yours but the future's mine". Do you want to be the 17548th manager to win the league for Liverpool or do you want to be the first Southampton manager to do it? Plus you've got Champions league football with Southampton.

It's a fair point. I'm probably shying away from the fact that the additional CL matches (should we get through the qualifier) will stress what is a pretty small squad. I'm not sure I can possibly consolidate the squad with enough quality with the money available to allow us to compete as well in the Premier League next year. Fourth place was a huge over achievement and there's no way we can surpass (possibly not even match) that next season. This is likely to be my squad, if I get the signings I want:

Forster

Butland

Targett

Clyne

Ward

Alderweireld

Shawcross

Fonte

Gardos

Wanyama

Cork

Schneiderin

Davis

Ward-Prose

Sissoko

Tadic

Mane

Mayuka

McManaman

Pelle

Long

That's best case scenario. Some of those are just not good enough yet, or just aren't good enough full stop.

It's certainly an easier task at Anfield, or at Man City where Pellegrini was just booted - though I doubt I'd get that one. Decisions, decisions.

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Absolutely loving my Saints save at the moment - never managed them before and I don't know why but they just really appealed to me when trying to decide who to manage.

Will post screenies a bit later when I'm home from work but so far, so good. I amended my seasonal expectations to a Euro Cup position which gave me around £18m transfer budget. Immediately I had Spurs sniffing around Clyne and having seen that I could get Peruzzi for around £3.5m, I decided to go like-for-like and accepted £13m cash for Clyne giving me around £28m to spend. I then brought in:

Kimmich - promising young DMC in the deep-lying playmaker mould. £3m

Flanagan - Liverpool full-back, got him for £8m and he's been superb, been playing him at left-back and his attributes are all green arrowing nicely

Ibarbo - pacey, strong, versatile striker. Felt I needed someone who could stretch teams as Pelle only had single figure pace. £10m

Balanta - as we all know, a superb young Colombian defender. Paid around £9m for him over installments.

Gil Romero - brilliant and cheap Argie centre mid, I felt this would really bolster my options in there - £4m

Nacho - season-long loan from Real Madrid to provide great cover (D RLC)

Andre Ayew - probably my biggest signing in terms of wages, around 90k I think. But he's been brilliant and he really tracks back well, something Mane doesn't really do well. £6.5m bargain.

Also sold Cork to WBA (£5.5m) and Boruc abroad for 450k.

I've been playing 4-2-1-2-1 with two defensive mids in front of the back four. The DMRC is Wanyama as a ball-winning midfielder on 'defend' and the DMLC is Schneiderlin as a deep-lying playmaker on support. In front of them I've had Gil Romero or Ward-Prowse depending on the strength of the opposition. Ayew largely LW, Long (who has been superb) on RW and then Ibarbo as a complete forward up front. My back five of Forster, Flanagan, Balanta, Alderweireld and Peruzzi have been really solid.

------------------------Ibarbo---------------------------

Ayew/Tadic------------------------------------Long/Tadic

-------------------Gil Romero/JWP----------------------

------------Schneiderlin--------Wanyama---------------

Flanagan--------Balanta-----Alderweireld-------Peruzzi

--------------------------Forster--------------------------

Tadic had a two month injury lay-off but when he has played, he's been brilliant so I largely rotate Ayew/Long/Tadic in the two winger positions.

I'm in second place at Christmas and made the quarters of the LC only to be knocked out 2-1 AET at Arsenal.

Highlights:

Chelsea 1-1 Saints

Man Utd 0-2 Saints

Stoke 0-4 Saints

Saints 3-0 Liverpool

Really enjoying this save; I've gone for the possession approach, i.e. retain possession, short passing, work ball into box, look for overlap, high pressing... with team tactics set as control and flexible. My team training is purely 'Ball Control' and 'High' intensity, with Rene Meulensteen (4.5* ball control) brought in as a coach which I believe has helped massively.

Screenies later :)

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Nice to see those signings ThePigeon85! Given that I've retained Clyne and now have similar funds to what you had, I think I'll persevere and not be such a fickle sod!

Hopefully I can still out some free transfers and bargains on the transfer list to stretch the budget a wee bit more. Hopefully we can entice a few others to start a Saints save :thup:

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Delighted to have stuck with Saints. Still in preseason of season two, but my God the team has changed! :)

As a reminder, I had a £25m kitty before any TV money came in.

The side I spurned, Liverpool, offered £16m for Forster which I gratefully accepted, replacing him with Timo Horn (£3.8m release clause) AND Jack Butland, with cash to spare.

At the back, Shawcross, who I'd signed in season one for under £10m was signed by City for just shy of £30m, and was replaced by FM legend Balanta for £9m. Alderweireld didn't want to stay as he thought we couldn't match his ambition, so Ezequiel Munoz from Palermo was snaffled up for £3m and young Brazilian Samir joined for £7m (Gardos went to Lazio for the same; Fonte to Newcastle for around £3m). I picked up further Brazilian wing backs in Mayke and Telles for a combined £17m. Sebastien Coates was just £2.5m from Liverpool, so we have a very complete back line now. Bertrand was signed for a knock down £3m.

In midfield, Napoli paid £30m for Wanyama and was replaced by Lucas Romero and Lucas Silva (combined £20m). Ramirez is back from his loan and will feature. Cork and Davis accrued £15m between them, invested in Ross Barkley (£17m) and long term target Moussa Sissoko arrived from Newcastle. Out wide, Correa cost £6.5m from Velez to complete midfield.

Finally (gasp!) Long went to Chelsea for £13m, Pelle to Everton for £8m. In come Barbosa from Santos for £10m and Destro from Roma for £20m.

It's a ridiculous overhaul which is only possible on FMC (no squad gelling to worry about). All in all, we actually made a Net profit of around £10m from this, so have money available should the worst happen. All in all, it's a stupid transfer window but it reinforces the team, increasing quality and depth. It will be criminal if we don't match our 4th place - the board only want a Top Ten finish too :)

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Took me 5 hours last night to get through that transfer window and a couple of pre-season matches - even though I use FMC :rolleyes::)

Compare and contrast the squad options in post #107 with now:

GK

Butland

Horn

Def

Targett

Bertrand

Telles

Clyne

Mayke

Munoz

Balanta

Samir

Coates

Mid

Schneiderlin

Romero

Silva

Sissoko

Mane

Tadic

Barkley

Ramirez

Ward-Prose

ST

Destro

Barbosa

So, we are younger, but superior to season one. Defensively there is some raw talent and we are certainly less experienced here than before, so it is a risk. Fortunately the qualities of Romero and Silva and Sissoko should help to screen them somewhat.

Given the increase in quality, I'm going to carefully massage my tactics into something more easy on the eye. In addition, I used last night to trial a 4-4-1-1 alternative to the 4-1-4-1, which uses the same back four and wide midfielders, but a CM (D) to the right of the Wide Playmaker (Attack) and a Roaming Playmaker beside him (to the left of the Winger (Support)).

The AMC is a Trequartista and the striker a Complete Forward (Attack). Early signs are that the Wide Playmaker and Trequartista can clash a little on the left looking for the ball, but they also combine quite nicely in other regards, so I'll keep an eye on that for the rest of pre-season. The Treq and CF move around really nicely too, so the only concern is whether or not I'll expose the defence too much. I've elected to use much the same TIs but am tinkering with Team Shape to see if I can safely create a more collective style.

I've also, sensibly, had a quick look at my corner defending (which I'd left on default, and not done at all badly with in season one). Now have a man on the far post, a couple of DCs Man Marking, 3 players zonally marking the six yard box, one up front, one on edge of area and some more marking dotted about.

EDIT - And I know the ME is a moot point, but when I test a new tactic I watch Full Matches or Comprehensive Highlights. I really enjoy watching it. Yes, there are some residual bugs but you can play some lovely football. It's going to get better over time too, so my enjoyment of FM is rekindled after a bit of a lull for me in FM14.

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Not Southampton related but Alderweireld wanting to leave is interesting in FMC. Was that a short message end of the year that he wants out? Just interested for FMC sake.

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Not Southampton related but Alderweireld wanting to leave is interesting in FMC. Was that a short message end of the year that he wants out? Just interested for FMC sake.

A few weeks before his loan contract was due to expire I offered the set Future Fee, which was accepted, but on contract negotiation he declined to negotiate.

Ryan Bertrand was also on loan and I didn't negotiate early. In that case, I was given a news item to advise that his loan deal was coming to an end.

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Only just got the game there now, was short on cash :(

Gonna get stuck right in. Primary target - Berahino. Think that MIGHT be it for the first window... We'll see if any bargains crop up ;)

Yeah, anyone got any good staff members to recommend? I always hit up Blackburn for Phil Cannon and David Fevre but don't really know who else...

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Dave Parnaby at 'Boro is always my go-to Head Of Youth Development.

Last night, I got through my first couple of league games and the Champions League Qualifier against Sporting. A 2-1 win over the Portuguese in the 1st leg at St. Mary's wasn't ideal having conceded a dangerous away goal. In the return leg we convincingly won 2-0. The prize? A horrible group featuring CSKA Moscow and minnows AS Roma and some German team called Bayern :(

Pre-season showed me that I can't quite get the 4-4-1-1 to click, so I've shelved that for the moment. It also showed me that Destro was a great signing; more than capable of replacing Shane Long who, in a classic bit of FM AI squad building, has been put straight into Chelsea's Reserve team :rolleyes:

In the league, we battered West Brom 4-0 at home in the first game, can't recall the second but it was another convincing win. All in all, we are looking OK and our early season fixtures are far more winnable than I had in season one. I'm keen to see how we match up against the big boys this season. If I can turn some of the defeats into draws, we can edge up the table. In spite of the board just wanting a respectable finish, I'm aiming for third.

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Here's my business in the market:

IN

Cedric - £3.8m

Berahino - £10m

OUT

Yoshida - £2.9m

Isgrove - Loan

Gallagher - Loan

I tried to upload a screenshot of the 'Transfer History' but when I click 'Upload' nothing happens and it says 'Undefined'. :confused:

Anyway, I played the first game of the season away at Leicester who beat me 2-0. :( Will update when I get to Jan, if I don't get sacked before then :lol:

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Hey guy, this thread's a great read. Just wanted some advice on my own S'oton save:

Just finished 6th in first season, currently in June 2015.

Players lost:

  • Wanyama (sold)
  • Schneiderlin (sold)
  • Alderweirlder (loan finished)
  • Bertrand (loan finished)
  • Ramirez (sold)
  • Maxwell (loan finished)

Sales of Wanyama, Ramirez and Schneiderlin has taken my remaining transfer kitty to 45m. I've brought in Romero as replacement and Anderson on a free isn't bad. Though this leaves me short of a good defensive mid, CB and fullback. I'm not entirely sure who to purchase right now, any suggestions are welcome.

Transfers in (2015)

  • Romero (CM) - 6m
  • Ben Arfa (LM) - free
  • Anderson (CM) - free

Transfers in (2014)

  • Miguel Lopez (DR) - 375k
  • Maxwell (DL) - Loan
  • Balanta (DC) - 7.5m

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Munoz and Coates are OK, cheap DCs that will do a job for a year or two until quality upgrades are interested in signing.

Scour South America for players. Really good players available and usually seem to get a work permit on appeal. I got Mayke, Samir, cheaply.

Lucas Silva is a great all round midfielder, could suit your DM position.

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An update from me, early in season two. Things are going very, very well so far. In contrast to season one, we've had a great set of opening fixtures; we've taken full advantage so far:

screen-shot-2014-11-15-at-18-18-44.png

I'm delighted with how we are playing, but more delighted by a deserved win over City - these are the games we need to take points from to improve on 4th.

That streak of green has had the inevitable result:

screen-shot-2014-11-15-at-18-19-31.png

I'm posting now, because I'm about to embark on a match against Bayern - clearly the biggest test of my tenure so far. We've started with wins against CSKA and Roma to get a maximum six points. I'm aiming to draw at home, lose admirably away at Bayern, and then get four points from the remaining games; 11 points should see us through.

screen-shot-2014-11-15-at-18-20-06.png

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Oi just go do a CU thread already RTH, riveting stuff. :D Had great fun with the Saints in FM14 with their ridiculously good squad. Was a bit hesitant to give them a try in FM15, but after reading this thread now I'm quite keen to.

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Impressive season so far RTH! What is your team instruction like?

Always have Higher Tempo (which I'm tempted to remove), Shorter Passing, Work Ball Into Box, Push Higher Up, Close Down More and (now) Prevent Short GK Distribution.

Then I tweak Mentality, width and "Exploit The......" based on the AI she - that's it. Haven't changed this all season and it has resulted in this so far:

screen-shot-2014-11-15-at-22-12-48.png

There are signs of a downturn in form, and it's because we've lost Tadic and Mane for a month at the same time. The results at Roma, Arsenal and Fulham were phenomenal, as we were 2-0, 2-0 and 3-0 down in each, so we've shown real character to level those matches.

screen-shot-2014-11-15-at-22-12-25.png

screen-shot-2014-11-15-at-22-13-16.png

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Oi just go do a CU thread already RTH, riveting stuff. :D Had great fun with the Saints in FM14 with their ridiculously good squad. Was a bit hesitant to give them a try in FM15, but after reading this thread now I'm quite keen to.

I'm liking FM15 so, so much more than FM14. With hindsight I might have started a Careers thread, but the guys posting there do such a good job of presenting their stuff, that mine would look bobbins :) I'm happy just banging out a few images now and then. Absolutely LOVING this save. I had a great time with Saints in FM13 and this is as enjoyable already. I'm thinking I should aim for the title this season and a CL Semi Final place. Not really bothered by domestic cups, but if we dispose of Arsenal in the QF of the Capital One, we should be nailed on to retain the cup.

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Finally got into my save and have played to end October in the 1st season. I am a pretty slow player and like to take my time over things (I also have a 9 month old son so can't always manage to play every day!!)

Tactic

http://s1378.photobucket.com/user/WhiteRose1974/media/ScreenShot2014-11-16at124055_zpsfbd7b892.png.html?sort=3&o=2

Roles

http://s1378.photobucket.com/user/WhiteRose1974/media/ScreenShot2014-11-16at124111_zps87de2221.png.html?sort=3&o=4

Instructions

http://s1378.photobucket.com/user/WhiteRose1974/media/ScreenShot2014-11-16at124134_zps570d5337.png.html?sort=3&o=3

League Table

http://s1378.photobucket.com/user/WhiteRose1974/media/ScreenShot2014-11-16at123348_zps256db9ec.png.html?sort=3&o=1

Results

http://s1378.photobucket.com/user/WhiteRose1974/media/ScreenShot2014-11-16at124209_zps461881a1.png.html?sort=3&o=0

I'm getting goals from everywhere, Pelle, Long, JWP, Aldereweid, Tadic and Davis. Davis leads scoring charts with 5 currently. Defensively we are reasonably solid, a couple of howlers earlier in the season when the tactic wasn't fully fluid but recently it has really clicked. I was delighted to hold a strong Chelsea side to 0-0 draw and the performance to beat Man City 2-1 at the Etihad was nothing short of sensational - at 2-1 up with 25 minutes to go I went defensive, took Pelle off and stuck Cork on alongside Wanyama as DM (D) and killed the game off!!

Only bought Peruzzi and Kimmich in the 1st transfer window. Had a bid accepted for Andre Ayew but he went to Spurs.... Managed to keep hold of Clyne despite him whinging about wanting to play in Europe etc etc...not a peep out of Schneiderlin though!! Still theres always the January transfer window for it all to kick off again!!

Absolutely loving this save!!

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Great job there! :) Did you set any player instructions to each of them :) ?

The BWM and the RW have Mark Tighter (theres no point setting it for the IF(A) because Tadic is lousy at it! :lol:). I get enough cover down that flank anyway from Schneiderlin.

The two Full Backs have Close Down More.

Thats it..

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Right, we've moved on again. Here are a few screens to depict our progress.

Still performing brilliantly in the league, and we overcame a sticky looking Christmas programme with relative ease.

screen-shot-2014-11-16-at-20-35-48.png

As stated with the City result earlier this season, it's great to have nicked a point at Old Trafford and these extra "not lost" points stand us in good stead past the half way mark in the league. Most effective attack and defence, which isn't something I've been able to say often in recent FM's:

screen-shot-2014-11-16-at-20-36-17.png

I've recently got Mane and Tadic back from injury to reinforce us. Mane's reward is to be offered out for sale in spite of excellent work both this season and last. The reason? I hate losing players to the African Cup Of Nations for a month or so every time that competition comes around. Whilst I initially hoped I could attract £30m+ for him, I ended up accepting a staggered £18m from Milan for him - which is below his value but offsets the price P-SG accepted for his transfer listed replacement:

screen-shot-2014-11-16-at-20-37-34.png

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Sacked in December! Wanyama, Tadic, Pelle and Mane all got injuries early on, and I never recovered. Was floating around between 10th-15th. Final straw came as I was sitting in 15th and lost a 1-0 lead against bottom of the table Burnley, who scored the winner in the 93rd minute! I want to start again but kinda don't at the same time, awful first save for me :(

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Will be looking start a Soton Save tonight! I have the next 4 days off work!!!! Yippppy!

I was thinking of having Ward-Prowse as an AMR as an Advanced Playmaker; Support Duty due to his good passing, vision and crossing, also due to having a strong aerial striker will help. I would then add an IF A on the left wing with a DLP S and a CM A with maybe an Anchorman or DM on Defend Duty to round out my mid and attack. What do you guys think? Also how has Prowse progressed for you all?

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Sounds well balanced dan. Bear in mind that in Tadic and Mane you have great natural widemen and Pelle likes getting on the end of things. JWP is coming along steadily for me. Of the youngsters, it's Targett who has progressed the most in my save.

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Still theres always the January transfer window for it all to kick off again!!

With all too much predictability Wanyama asked for a meeting wanting to and play CL football for Monaco. I said I would consider a bid if it matched my valuation etc etc...lo and behold in comes a bid which I eventually negotiated up to £12.25m + £12m.25m over 12 months so he's off in January. He is now in my U21 side whilst I give Cork some game time (killing 2 birds with one stone as I want to see if Cork merits a new contract). Also scouting Lucas Romero and Lucas Silva as potential replacements per suggestions earlier in the thread.

Won 3 and drew 4th game in November - still 2nd. Won Manager of the Month, JWP got Young Player of the Month and Player of the Month (I think) - Saints players also filled positions 2 and 3 in the latter award, and we won goal of the month as well.

The Saints are definitely Marching On!

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Sounds well balanced dan. Bear in mind that in Tadic and Mane you have great natural widemen and Pelle likes getting on the end of things. JWP is coming along steadily for me. Of the youngsters, it's Targett who has progressed the most in my save.

I would agree with RTH here - JWP is far more effective in the middle of the pitch IMO. Targett's progression with game time is phenonemal. I will probably end up not exercising the option on Bertrand (might try and buy him on the cheap!!)

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I would agree with RTH here - JWP is far more effective in the middle of the pitch IMO. Targett's progression with game time is phenonemal. I will probably end up not exercising the option on Bertrand (might try and buy him on the cheap!!)

Really, I have played Targett a fair bit, and hes showing almost no sign of improvement at all. Got 4 league starts and 6 cup first season and in December 2nd season hes played 8 league games and 4 cup. Really trying but his poor performances and low stat rise are forcing him away from my plans! JWP on the other hand, fantastic as a roaming playmaker! Green arrows galore with him.

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Really, I have played Targett a fair bit, and hes showing almost no sign of improvement at all. Got 4 league starts and 6 cup first season and in December 2nd season hes played 8 league games and 4 cup. Really trying but his poor performances and low stat rise are forcing him away from my plans! JWP on the other hand, fantastic as a roaming playmaker! Green arrows galore with him.

I'm still in December 1st season and he has probably featured in 50% of the games either as a sub or starter (I'm at work so dont have detail). I drew Utd in the 3rd Round of the Carling Cup and got knocked out so I'm waiting for the FA Cup to start in the New Year and he will definitely get a run in the comp (assuming we progress :) )

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I would agree with RTH here - JWP is far more effective in the middle of the pitch IMO. Targett's progression with game time is phenonemal. I will probably end up not exercising the option on Bertrand (might try and buy him on the cheap!!)

In my case, I picked up Bertrand for a knock-down £3m shortly before his loan contract was due to expire (you do not have to pay the full £10m Future Fee!)

However, such is Targett's progress in season two that I've now sold Bertrand for £3.6m to West Brom. I would say that if you can afford another decent left back for the start of season two, that you can let Bertrand go.

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After the sales of Wanyama and Schneiderlin, life for the Saints felt bleak. Though having brought in a few new faces I felt I had a good chance of maintaining a similar level of performace as last year (having finished 6th with 65 points).

2015/16 Transfers:

dc5b6cc915760cb72b21e132af19eed5.png

Having brought in Lucas Romero on the advice of this thread, I can see why! He's a consistent performer and my team feels noticeably weaker when he's no included in the starting 11. Should be a fantastic player for S'oton, assuming I'll be able to keep hold of him for a little longer.

After the departure of Bertand and Maxwell (both on season long loans) I felt the need to bring in my own choice of permanent fullback, settling on Cresswell as he suits my attacking fullback style. Although he has a 7.16 rating in 23 prem games, when actually watching the matches, he lacks that willingness to cross which in my eyes is a huge drawback. Until a potential replacement is generated; he'll do.

Brought Cahais in purely because he could provide cover at CB and LB after Aldeeqwiewld's departure.

Deeply regret the purchase of Arrizabalaga, needed a back-up GK as I let Boruc go. He's developing okay, but in hind-sight I think 8m was a little too much to spend on a back-up quality GK.

Anderson and Ben Arfa in on frees purely to help bankrole the next set of transfers. Ben Arfa performs okay and is still valued at 7m but with the rotation of Long, Tadic, Rodriguez he doesn't really get much game-time. Anderson, simply put, is a pile of ****. Don't buy him. Tried to offload him in January for 2.5m but he demanded 1.5m compensation which quite frankly I wasn't prepared to pay.

Starting 11 and tactics

2d33c78f6cfeb7bc7b6400b27b8f941c.png

Loving the way this tactic works, thoroughly enjoy watching my fullbacks bombing up the pitch, especially Clyne who's amassed 12 assists in 29 prem games. Having Long and Rodriguez playing as IF(A) is also fantastic to watch, both are lethal finishers, with Rodriguez looking to carry the ball centrally a lot of the time. Seen some awesome solo runs and goals from Rodriguez.

Pelle/Osvaldo both work well as false 9's. Pelle scored 17 in 30 last season and is currently on 17 goals, 12 assists after 33 games this season.

Finally, Ward-prowse has developed well and has just recieved his first international cap. Haven't seen too many goals/assists from him but he's always dictating play and most of my moves go through him.

League Table / Fixtures

120cfd0666d82f8526abb667ebf70f95.png

Went off to a flying start with 5 wins out of 6, then a drop in form through October-November saw us plummet but now we're back up with the big-boys. Unfortunately another dip in form towards the end of the season has rather dashed my hopes of finishing 2nd. Though Champions League football is still on the cards. An abysmal set of fixtures to end the season with but hopefully we can claw a few points out of the last few games despite losing Clyne who's currently the second best performing player in the league behind Hazard; quite a feat!

a94e425ef3900379754967322fffc7b8.png

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Demoralising end to the season.

1-1 vs Manchester United.

2-2 vs Liverpool

0-2 vs Tottenham

2-3 vs Chelsea

Finished 5th on 72 points, just lost out on Champions League to Man City on 76 points.

51 goals conceded, definitely something that needs addressing next season and yeah, when I do lose it's due to the oppositions wingers. Arnautovic always seems to run games when I play Stoke.

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June 2016 - Transfer Window Opens

It's that fantastic time of year again, time to delve into the transfer market and see who Saints can pick up to solidify their challenge for a top 4 spot and that all important Champions League qualification. Or so it would be if I didn't have Barcelona, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United knocking on my door...

Attempted to tell both Ward-Prowse and Romero that we're gunning for Champions League qualification but unfortunately they weren't taking no for an answer and to make things worse, the rest of my squad agreed I should let them go. So i'm resigned to letting them go, but not before I can negotiate a good price and arrange some replacements.

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My second season is all going rather too well - I'll pop some images up this evening. After 30 league games we are unbeaten, but still somehow not at the top of the table - Chelsea are ahead but we will overtake them if we win our game in hand.

Using the same approach as detailed earlier in the thread, we have been beaten just twice all season; a 3-0 humbling at Bayern and a 3-1 defeat at White Hart Lane in the 2nd leg of the Capital One Cup semi (we won the first leg 3-0).

We hold a slim 1-0 CL QF advantage over Real Madrid, and the return leg at the Bernebau is my first game of the night tonight. Whatever happens there, we are going to improve on the season one league position.

As is often the way with me, this success, whilst pleasing, brings out an inherent desire to self destruct and try something different tactically for season three. However, even with the stadium expansion due to complete before the kick-off of the new season, I'll need some pretty significant TV and prize money to restructure the squad to fit my haphazard tactical vision. I'm thinking of offloading Mane (due to my aversion to losing players to the African Cup Of Nations) and Ramirez to raise some cash. Tadic too could leave as I have always had a tendency to kick players out who are remotely old (he's 27/8) before their sell-on value starts to decrease. He has been great again this season, but is outperformed by the younger Correa.

My preparedness to lose wide players is based on the possibility of reverting to some form of 5-3-2 with CWBs. I'm hoping that the security of a back three will allow me to not only be ballsy on both flanks, but also relatively brave in central midfield. I then want a front three which moves dynamically and vertically - a CF (S) may well pair with a F9, with a Shadow Striker behind. That's all for the pre-season though - Real to get out of the way first.

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So, lots of fixtures played since the last update:

screen-shot-2014-11-18-at-19-02-07.png

screen-shot-2014-11-18-at-19-02-27.png

Following the Madrid game, we've played two fewer games than Chelsea in the league whose potent goalscoring means I need to aim to win the title on points because their goal difference looks likely to be superior to ours. Look how well Man U are doing too - that is title winning form in some seasons.

screen-shot-2014-11-18-at-19-02-43.png

The stats from the Madrid game don't tell the whole story. We had a lot of the ball but were poor at finishing. The turning point came when Hulk went off injured; they had used all their subs. Then, they adopted a narrow 4-4-1 diamond, we played narrower and exploited the flanks - and scored shortly after.

screen-shot-2014-11-18-at-19-03-57.png

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Well. A ridiculous end to the season saw us lose our 36th league game at Liverpool, to shatter any dreams of emulating Arsenal's Invincible season.

However, that proved the only significant stumbling block for the remainder of the season. Not only did we win the league, but we beat Man U in the FA Cup, Arsenal over 2 legs in the CL Semi and then Chelsea in the CL final (1-0 down to 3-1 up and finally 3-2). I'm trying to dig out the FM13 Saints thread to see how things compared in terms of achieving early success but I can only find the FM14 thread :( However, a season two quadruple is more than I expected :) This was in spite of losing Destro and Barbosa at the same time for a three week spell - Moura stepped up and scored some crucial goals at crucial times :cool:

I sort of got a bit lax in the last few games and even Instant Resulted a couple of "easier" league matches to finish the season as quickly as I could, so I'm not really sure if my heart is in 100% in this save, but I have longer term plans to change that. As things stand, my stadium expansion completes in July 2016 and is something I'll stick around for. We amassed some cash as a result of our prize winning form, and I have a clear idea of who in the squad is sub-standard given our new status, or not required due to other criteria:

Butland is treading a fine line. He's a good player but I'm not sure he has the long-term quality to hold a place. I've scouted for similar aged goalkeepers and younger newgens and I can see Jack leaving. Timo Horn is good and young, so is not under threat.

Joel Ward was a good, versatile player who provided coverage across the back line and at DM. However, he has only been used off the bench and when I've had injuries and suspensions. Not a starter, not a long term prospect. When he is sold, I might not even replace him as I will still have 4 DCs.

Balanta, Samir and Munoz are all excellent DCs. They are young and can develop further. Coates, on the other hand, has served his time. He is a solid but unspectacular player. His value has more than doubled since we signed him from Liverpool at the end of season one, and I reckon we can attract an offer near £10m for him. I have no specific targets in mind to replace him but there will be a new recruit.

Out wide at the back, three of the four slots are safe. Mayke and Clyne are great players on the right and Telles is equally superb on the left. Targett is under review because whilst he is playing well and is a genuine Saints player, I need to be convinced of his long term ceiling in terms of potential. The jury is out - I'm so harsh :)

DM is very well catered for with Romero and Silva consistently excellent. Never a question of losing these two. Central midfield will see change. Sissoko and Ward-Prowse are safe, with JWP having scored some great goals in the final few matches. Schneiderlin is after some more money, which he probably deserves, and I'll retain his services. Gaston Ramirez scored some important goals too, but I'm unsure about his future. I think I'd rather move Barkely inside and take advantage of Ramirez' high value to supplement the squad out wide.

Moura really stepped up in the last 5-10 games and scored some lovely goals and created some beauties too. I'm unsure about his best position but am likely to continue to play him wide in a flat midfield four. Depay from PSV is listed and his trickery is of extreme interest to me. Mane will leave due to my reluctance to lose players to the African Cup of Nations and Tadic' value has rocketed and he has attracted interested from big clubs. I reckon that pair could generate some big bucks and I currently have no idea who to replace them with.

Up front, no change. Destro was sensational and put the still excellent Barbosa in the shade.

My interest in this save will be maintained by building the infrastructure of the club as much as I can until the stadium reaches whatever maximum capacity is. In the 1-2 season horizon, I'm aiming to bring in the best young players I can afford to, who are ready for the first team. In parallel, I'm going to focus on U20 players and newgens with a view to the next 3-10 seasons. All the while, I need to think about some tactical innovations to liven things up, but we remain effective in attack and defence, so I'm not quite sure what I'll do. In the FM13 save I got to the point where I set a target of scoring an average of 3 goals per game (which proved elusive, just), so I may introduce that in a few seasons time.

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A really quite incredible achievement RT. Aided by completely restructuring the squad but to win the Champions League in your second season is quite incredible. (Up there with me winning the Champions League in my 3rd season with QPR in FM13. My only trophy with them).

Interested as to how your new tactic will work and how you will utilise your squad. Congratulations.

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Interested as to how your new tactic will work and how you will utilise your squad. Congratulations.

I'm pretty much resigned to not changing too much tactically whilst things are going so well. I'll see what my scouting tonight reveals and see how that could impact the balance of the squad. I always have a lot of ideas knocking about and do want to try a 3 centre back, 2 striker system at some point on some save, as I had it working very early on FM15 with a throwaway save.

I'm miffed that I can't find the FM13 Saints thread because I overachieved with Saints then, but am not sure that I got success so early. It was unquestionably helped by the quality of the season one players, and their subsequent sell on value. We owe a lot to the likes of Wanyama, Shawcross, Forster, Pelle, Cork, Long and Davis for swelling the coffers to allow me to scoop up reasonably priced players as direct replacements. Swapping Barbosa for Long? Yes please! Wanyama for Silva AND Romero, with money left over? Yes please!

This is set to continue again this year because I'm sure I can generate a Net profit based on the over inflated fees of the players I want to sell, relative to the (hopefully) lower price fees of young / unused South American players. Without doubt, squad building remains the easiest way to succeed in FM.

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I'm miffed that I can't find the FM13 Saints thread because I overachieved with Saints then, but am not sure that I got success so early.

Here you go.

PS- click the link :cool:

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Here you go.

PS- click the link :cool:

Thanks :thup: I know what I'll be reading this afternoon :)

EDIT - Having read that thread, on FM13, I finished 4th in Season One as well, but with a safer gap back to fourth.

Also finished first in season two, won the CL and FA Cup - so I'm consistent between versions! Looks like I spent a bucket load at the end of season two on FM13, so I hope to be in a position where history repeats itself again.

I only stayed the course for four seasons in FM13, but I use FMC now and so progress will be far quicker. There were a few regular posters on Saints saves back in FM13, so it would be great to see numbers swell in here over time.

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