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[FM15] Keeping It Steel: Duroliponte's UK and Ireland Challenge

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Qualifying Rounds

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A brave effort, I think we could have got to the third qualifying round though. The good news is we look sharp in preseason, even leading a full strength Man City in a friendly up until the 60 minute mark before the tiredness showed and we went down 3-1.

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Start of Season Update

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Too many draws but we're in contention and unbeaten, I'll take it. Domestic giants Glentoran have really slumped and could be drawn into a relegation battle this season.

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Your hanging in there unlucky with Europe, but it could be a blessing in disguise having no European distraction this year. I must also say McKinstry is one of the funniest looking regens I have seen this year!

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Late October-Early December Update

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Definitely more good than bad, I was so angry when we lost at home to Portadown who had 10 men for nearly the whole game but a 4-1 win over Linfield confirms that we are capable of hammering the bigger clubs and sends us top.

The Cliftonville job became available, they've been the biggest club in NI for a few seasons now and compete in a few more tournaments but I resisted. I probably going to bid farewell to Northern Ireland for a bit after the season and hope I can win the league and league cup.

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Decent start there, shame about Europe but it was close which is encouraging for the future
Your hanging in there unlucky with Europe, but it could be a blessing in disguise having no European distraction this year. I must also say McKinstry is one of the funniest looking regens I have seen this year!

Thanks- and yes, I blame a popular hairpack extension for the state of McKinstry's barnet.

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Semi Final

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Which we win very convincingly against a team in great form. We lost the final last time round, but this time we'll have McKinstry (and McGurk and Arthur!)

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December Update

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Brilliant at home but two bad away results and we surrender the initiative. We send a new year's day warning to Glenavon though!

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What a signing he's been already.

Christmas Day 2018:

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Kyle Carson - Free transfer, Ballinamallard

This signing might enable me to change my tactical shape in time, but for now I'll just enjoy having another option in midfield.

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Looks like they had the better of you so it must have been a relief to beat them in the end.

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January Update

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I could focus on the silly defeat, but this was a great month culminating in a huge win over Portadown which feels like a cup final a few days after we play in an actual cup final. We're 2-1 down until the 67th minute where a virtuouso brace from Adam McGurk sends us to the top. AS a result, I win my first Premier League manager of the month award.

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The whole team is clicking, but it's no wonder this youngster is approaching interest from Hearts.

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Congrats on beating Glentoran :cool:
Good stuff on the cup final. Good season so far!
Looks like they had the better of you so it must have been a relief to beat them in the end.

Thanks everyone. As you can see they spurned loads of clear cut chances but once we took it to extra time I opted for 'overload' and managed to get the crucial breakthrough.

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February-March Update

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What a couple of months, the squad is stretched but performing brilliantly. As the league splits in wo, we're in a three-way tie at the top. Looks like we're on for a dramatic finish...

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In the meantime, I played the reserves in the Irish Cup as it was low on my list of priorities and we went out to Linfield.

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Semi Final, 1st Leg:

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Semi Final, 2nd Leg:

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We absolutely smash the current leaders of the Irish Premier Division 5-2 on aggregate, another final awaits and morale could not be higher. Especially good because in the first leg we conceded in 19 seconds!

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Starting to think about my next move. Sunderland were 23rd in the Championship, but that was a bit of a stretch and I didn't get an interview.

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16th in League Two, declined interview

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8th in Conference, an interesting project so I attended an interview but had firm views on needing a higher wage budget than the one offered. Just wasn't to be.

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Title run-in

Glenavon 1-2 Coleraine

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A huge win after a disappointing start.

Elsewhere, Portadown lose at home to Cliftonville! The league table makes for sweet reading. I think two more wins from the final four will be enough.

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Title run-in

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Glenavon equalise in the 92nd minute vs Linfield in a midweek game, rescuing what could be a massive point for them.

Crusaders 3-0 Coleraine

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Arthur's rallying cry lost on Hanley, who gets sent off for a horror tackle on 5 minutes. A truly dire performance and result against a team I've really grown to dislike.

Glenavon thrash Portadown 3-0. uh-oh.

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Title run-in

Coleraine 2-3 Linfield

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Oh no, exactly the sort of unpredictable game you don't want at such a vital time. We lead twice but capitulate, our first home defeat in the league since November.

All is not lost- Glenavon only draw at Cliftonville, albeit with another vital equaliser at the death. Portadown are held 0-0 by Crusaders. But the real worry is the fact our confidence has been hammered.

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Title run-in

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This couldn't be happening. When McGurk equalised I was convinced we'd go on and win, but instead we gave away a ridiculous penalty. We pressed hard at the end and carelessly conceded once more.

An utter disaster. Three defeats in a row, and we'd gone from first to third. As the final game was on us, I carelessly rushed ahead without getting a picture of the league table, but the bottom line was Glenavon 70 points, Portadown 69 points, Coleraine 68 points. We would play Cliftonville away in the final game, Glenavon would head to Crusaders and Portadown to Linfield.

Morale couldn't be lower. We needed a miracle to get the trophy that I honestly felt we'd deserved this time round. Would we get one?

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The final day

15:54: GOAL Linfield 1-0 Portadown (Daniel Hughes)

19:22: GOAL Linfield 2-0 Portadown (Daniel Hughes)

22:52: GOAL Cliftonville 1-0 Coleraine (Jude Winchester heads home from a pinpoint cross)

26:39: RED CARD Robbie Garrett (Portadown). Linfield 2-0 Portadown

32:10: GOAL Crusaders 1-0 Glenavon (Curtis Dempster)

38:20: RED CARD Ryan Catney (Cliftonville), who gets a second yellow for barging into Alan McKinstry. A bit soft, but a lifeline in the context of the match if nothing else. Cliftonville 1-0 Coleraine

HALF TIME

48:51: GOAL Linfield 3-0 Portadown (Rodney Brown)

58:48: GOAL Crusaders 2-0 Glenavon (Jordan Owens)

62:00: Davy McLaughlin (Coleraine) hits the post with a long range effort. Cliftonville 1-0 Coleraine

69:03: GOAL Crusaders 2-1 Glenavon (Barry Lavery)

70:09: GOAL Linfield 3-1 Portadown (Jay McGee)

85:10: GOAL Cliftonville 1-1 Coleraine Alan McKinstry cuts in from the left wing and hits a long range screamer straight into the Cliftonville net.

86:15: Nathan Arthur (Coleraine) comes within inches of hitting a winner with a long range effort that the Cliftonville keeper just manages to push over the bar. Cliftonville 1-1 Coleraine

86:41: GOAL Cliftonville 1-2 Coleraine Eric McVeigh slots home from the resultant corner after a low cross from McKinstry.

88:58: GOAL Cliftonville 1-3 Coleraine Davy McLaughlin receives Jason McGilloway's through ball to win the match for Coleraine.

89:28: GOAL Linfield 3-2 Portadown (Sean Mackle)

93:00: FULL TIME CLIFTONVILLE 1-3 COLERAINE

COLERAINE ARE CHAMPIONS

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***

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Outraged! (Yeah ok, that lad from Glenavon is pretty good as well)

***

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***

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What a trophy-packed 18 months (or 18 days irl) that was!

***

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Sneaked the title.

We did indeed. Couldn't believe it, against nine men but kept to the 'defensive' philosophy, so three goals in four minutes was unbelievable.

That was an eventful end to the season!

You really won't believe what happens next...

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Been keeping an eye on this the last couple of weeks - looking forward to seeing what happens next!

Thanks for distinguishing this thread with your first comment! Await no further...

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As for me, that's five seasons, five trophies, which is far more success than I expected at this stage. However, that means there's 33 to go and, given that there's bound to be a few fiddly ones that I'll struggle with, at least 40 more years of management before I can even begin to think about retirement.

I do slightly miss having a project spread over 5+ seasons so at some point in this save I intend to take over a lowly-ranked club and enjoy gradual success, to the obvious detriment of silverware. But I didn't think that's particularly suited to the early stages of this challenge, and so my preferred option for now was to go to a good second or third tier club in England or Scotland as a springboard for managing a big club. There are very few jobs available in Wales for obvious reasons, and TNS are probably the club who could get me the three trophies quickly.

That was the plan, but how did it play out?

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May 2019:

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I had an interview with Morton on the day of the Setanta final (I'm assuming it was by Skype). Just relegated to Scottish League One, it seemed like a good fit and I was surprised when I didn't get a job offer.

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A few weeks later, and Livingston got in touch. They'd finished fourth in the Scottish Championship and had recently been part of a medium-sized takeover. Again however, I must have rubbed the Scots up the wrong way as I was interviewed but didn't sell them a dream.

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Mid table League 2 team Blackpool were next. I wasn't too keen on the financial restrictions, but attended the interview out of curiousity. This time the job went to Karl Robinson, who has clearly stopped managing the devil's own football club whilst I've been in Northern Ireland.

July 2019:

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The perennial League 1 underachievers then approached, it just didn't grab me and I declined an interview.

August 2019:

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Here's one I actually applied for and really wanted. Having just dropped out of the SPL, I knew they'd have a solid foundation. But they ditched me in favour of Gary McAllister. It's lucky that as a neutral I have fond memories of his end of 2000/01 season spell at Liverpool, because otherwise I don't know what I'd do.

Unbelievably, it was not until October that I got an offer from somewhere:

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Dundalk

SSE Airtricity Premier Division

Club Information

Squad (n.b. no Assistant Manager at the time of my hiring)

Star Player: Andy Boyle

Facilities

Finances

I'm not going to hide something from you - the team won 11 games in a row before their manager jumped ship to Gillingham. This means that they are top of the league after 31 games and, though I assumed there would be a split after 33, apparently not. In other words, they are two games away from the title. Not only that, they have reached the FAI Cup Final.

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Late October Update

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The two wins clinch the title.

That's it, just three games after winning the Northern Irish top flight I've added the Irish equivalent to my cv. Technically I have won another trophy but obviously it doesn't sit too easily with me, so I'd best make sure I win it again next time round. The squad (obviously) seem really good.

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Not sure I'd be so charitable, but then, not sure I'd have joined Gillingham either.

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heh, that was easy! :D Unfortunate end to a fantastic season with Coleraine I guess but really it's not all bad. Will you try and take Nathan Arthur to Dundalk or leave him in Northern Ireland to progress?

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Quick work :D

I could try and make a claim that because tactical familiarity was low it was actually a struggle to win the two games, but...nah.

heh, that was easy! :D Unfortunate end to a fantastic season with Coleraine I guess but really it's not all bad. Will you try and take Nathan Arthur to Dundalk or leave him in Northern Ireland to progress?

I wanted to! By the time I got to Dundalk Coleraine had let him go to St Mirren for nothing :(

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Robbie Coughlan - Season-long loan, Watford

The guy was a major factor in Dundalk doing the double last season, so I considered it completely necessary to maximise my wage budget to get him back for another year.

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Albert Molyneux - Season-long loan, Manchester United

We looked weakest in goal so was delighted to get a promising recruit in from Manchester United.

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