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danthemanwhocan

FM16: Aston Villa F.C. - Rear garde action and scoring goals. Nothing major then...

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Before we delve into the realms of Villa and football manager. Let me first give you a brief history lesson.

Aston Villa Football Club were formed in March 1874, by members of the Villa Cross Wesleyan Chapel in Handsworth which is now part of Birmingham. The four founders of Aston Villa were Jack Hughes, Frederick Matthews, Walter Price and William Scattergood. Aston Villa's first match was against the local Aston Brook St Mary's Rugby team. As a condition of the match, the Villa side had to agree to play the first half under rugby rules and the second half under football rules. After moving to the Wellington Roadground in 1876, Villa soon established themselves as one of the best teams in the Midlands, winning their first honour, the Birmingham Senior Cup in 1880, under the captaincy of Scotsman George Ramsay.

The club won their first FA Cup in 1887 with captain Archie Hunter becoming one of the game's first household names. Aston Villa were one of the dozen teams that competed in the inaugural Football League in 1888 with one of the club's directors, William McGregorbeing the league's founder. Aston Villa emerged as the most successful English club of the Victorian era, winning no fewer than five League titles and three FA Cups by the end of Queen Victoria's reign. In 1897, the year Villa won The Double, they moved into their present home, the Aston Lower Grounds. Supporters coined the name "Villa Park"; no official declaration listed the ground as Villa Park.

Mercer's forced retirement from the club in 1964 signalled a period of deep turmoil. The most successful club in England was struggling to keep pace with changes in the modern game, with Villa being relegated for the third time, under manager Dick Taylor in 1967. The following season the fans called for the board to resign as Villa finished 16th in the Second Division. With mounting debts and Villa lying at the bottom of Division Two, the board sacked Cummings (the manager brought in to replace Taylor), and within weeks the entire board resigned under overwhelming pressure from fans. After much speculation, control of the club was bought by London financier Pat Matthews, who also brought in Doug Ellis as chairman. However, new ownership could not prevent Villa being relegated to the Third Division for the first time at the end of the 1969–70 season. However, Villa gradually began to recover under the management of former club captain Vic Crowe. In the 1971–72 season they returned to the Second Division as Champions with a record 70 points. In 1974, Ron Saunders was appointed manager. His brand of no-nonsense man-management proved effective, with the club winning the League Cup the following season and, at the end of season 1974–75, he had taken them back into the First Division and into Europe.

Villa were one of the founding members of the Premier League in 1992, and finished runners-up to Manchester United in the inaugural season. For the rest of the Nineties however Villa went through three different managers and their league positions were inconsistent, although they did win two League Cups and regularly achieved UEFA Cupqualification. Villa reached the FA Cup final in 2000 but lost 1–0 to Chelsea in the last game to be played at the old Wembley Stadium.Again Villa's league position continued to fluctuate under several different managers and things came to a head in the summer of 2006 when David O'Leary left in acrimony.[28] After 23 years as chairman and single biggest shareholder (approximately 38%), Doug Ellis finally decided to sell his stake in Aston Villa due to ill-health. After much speculation it was announced the club was to be bought by American businessman Randy Lerner, owner of NFL franchise the Cleveland Browns.

The arrival of a new owner in Lerner and of manager Martin O'Neill marked the start of a new period of optimism at Villa Park and sweeping changes occurred throughout the club including a new badge, a new kit sponsor and team changes in the summer of 2007. The first Cup final of the Lerner era came in 2010 when Villa were beaten 2–1 in the League Cup Final. Villa made a second trip to Wembley in that season losing 3–0 to Chelsea in the FA Cup semifinal. Just five days before the opening day of the 2010–11 season, O'Neill resigned as manager with immediate effect. Reserve team manager Kevin MacDonald took over as caretaker manager, before the club appointed Gérard Houllier as permanent manager in September 2010. Houllier stepped down on 1 June 2011 due to ill-health, and was replaced b yBirmingham City manager Alex McLeish, despite numerous protests from fans against his appointment. This was the first time that a manager had moved directly from Birmingham to Villa. McLeish's contract was terminated at the end of the 2011–12 season after Villa finished in 16th place, only just above the relegation zone. On 2 July 2012, Aston Villa confirmed the appointment of former Norwich City manager Paul Lambert as the replacement for McLeish. On 28 February 2012, the club announced a financial loss of £53.9 million. Lerner put the club up for sale on 12 May 2014, with an estimated value of £200 million.With Lerner still on board, in the 2014–15 season Aston Villa scored just 12 goals in 25 league games, the lowest in Premier League history, and Lambert was sacked on 11 February 2015, with Scott Marshall and Andy Marshall being appointed as caretaker managers.Tim Sherwood was shortly installed as manager. After saving Aston Villa from relegation in the 2014–15 season, however, Sherwood was sacked as manager on 15 October 2015 after 6 consecutive league losses, with Kevin MacDonald taking the role of interim manager until a new manager is found. This is now the lovely home of Remi Garde, unless of course, you decide to take over…

Are y'all awake? Good. So where does that leave us now?

Well, we have quite clearly shown that Villa are a big club with a large historical presence. We have remained in the Premiership since its inception in 1992, but it looks like this could very well change in real life, unless Remi Garde is up for the fight and uses some rear-garde action, and the attacking nature he is noted for.

But, it’s up to you to make sure it doesn’t happen in the game! Hopefully this guide will go some way as to help you achieve that, or, at the very least persuade you take up the challenge!

Will your name fall with such legends as William McGregor, George Ramsey, and Ron Saunders. Or will you be an Alex McLeash, and Paul Lambert (who, I think, did the best he could under the circumstances) and, Tim " 'es one of the lads" Sherwood and face the wrath of this mild mannered American, Randy Lerner?

WIP.

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Club Information



Founded: 1874

Nickname: The Villans

Status: Professional

Reputation: National

Chairman: Randolph Lerner

Legends: William McGregor, Paul McGrath, Dennis Mortimer, Ron Saunders, George Ramsay

Icons: Gordon Cowans, Nigel Spink, Peter Withe, Brian Little, Gary Shaw, Tony Morley, Des Bremner,

Ken McNaught, Allan Evans, Gary Williams, Gabby Agbonlahor, Tony Barton, Graham Taylor

Favoured Personnel: Christian Benteke

Fierce Rivals: Birmingham, West Brom

Other Rivals: Coventry, Wolves

Media Prediction: 18th

Kits

images-%20Villa%20Kits_zps3dipicsm.jpeg

Stadium

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Villa Park, a stalwart in past international fixtures, up to and including senior national team level. Villa Park most notably playing host to three world cup matches in 1966, and four matches during Euro ’96.

There is definitely room for an increase in stadium capacity. So, when ready, have at it!

Capacity- 42,682

Record Attendance- 76,588 vs Derby County, March 2nd 1946, FA Cup 6th round tie.

Training Facilities



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As you may expect, Villa have fantastic facilities. The training ground being the highlight. I believe it was one of the first projects Lerner gave the go ahead for when he first arrived. In fact, it ended up being double the initial budgeted cost.

Training Facilities- State of the art training facilities

Youth Facilities- Superb youth facilities

Expectations



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Justifiably, we are expected to finish in the relegation zone, 18th to be precise. As such, you do have the choice to select avoid relegation as the target, and the players generally react well to that being the expectation.

Finances

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As you can probably guess, due to the low expectations and the recent fiscal policy, Villa start with a low transfer and wage budget; but this is mitigated by the low expectations and relatively strong squad. Whilst you won’t be able to acquire expensive talent, there should be some room to acquire good level freebies.

If you have been following the turmoil at Villa, you will also be aware that Randy is wanting out, as such the chairman status is set to, willing to listen to offers. There is hope yet my friends….

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Staff- Coaching

This is an area that needs a major overhaul. As you can see from the staff screen shots we are severely lacking in quality around the following areas: tactics, attacking, defending, etc. But probably the most important aspect to begin with is fitness training.

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As you will also need an assistant manager, my recommendation would be Michael Lindeman, He can do a job with tactical input, but, more importantly, is a very strong fitness coach.

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We also have the regulars in Gordon Cowans, Tony McAndrew (new Chief Scout) Kevin MacDonald, and the goalkeeper coaches, Tony Parks and Terry Genoe; the goalkeeper coaches are probably the only area I would leave be. For now, at least. And as you can see we have a pretty decent star rating for the aforementioned staff members.

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Scouting

With regards to scouting, it is probably the area I would leave untouched. We have an ok-ish scouting team right now. The highlight being Tony McAndrews JPA, and the general roundedness of Janne Wilkman, and Tony Cotton attributes.

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Medical Staff

As always we save the worst for last, wait that doesn't sound right.... Anyway, this, along with fitness coaches should be priority one. We need quality and quantity here. There tends to be a few knocking about in the lower levels, that will in the time being, be good stop gaps until you increase Aston Villa's reputation. Maybe if you do get Robert Duverne, like Garde has done, he wont be as awful as he was in real life. Anything is better than Crump, right?

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In summary, the only real concerns would be fitness coaches, and medical staff. At least those would be my two concerns. Doesn't matter how well the players can train if they're never fit!

Players will follow later tonight. I know that's what y'all are waiting for......

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Senior squad analysis



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Here is the senior squad ranked in order of potential.

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As you can clearly see Grealish is at the top, and rightly so. But what may come as a surprise is Veretout's standing as second. This maybe due to the coaches JPA rating.

Key Players



Jack Grealish

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He has some strong attributes, dribbling, passing, technique, crossing, and corners. Good mental attributes as well, and he has some speed off the mark. It would be my suggestion to build the team around him. His position rating would be high for left midfield as an inside forward. His solid composure and average finishing should mean can do a decent job.

Carles Gil

Along with Grealish he will be the creative force in the team. Play him as an attacking mid and he has all the right attributes to provide assists. Solid passing, technique, first touch and vision. He is also, if you play him right, very valuable in the second season. I sold him for about 16million in the second season.

Micah Richards

Micah has been around long enough for us to know what he lacks, concentration and positioning- but his pace and strength more than make up for this. HIs pace will allow you push higher up the field should you so choose- especially when paired with Okore. Richards heading ability and jumping ability will also make him valuable for both attacking and defending set pieces.

WIP- Will be updating intermittently throughout the weekend.

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** Sorry for the hiatus lads; I was snowed under with kids ( a new one on the way), work and school**

Transfers

Out

As much as this makes me sick; although I also think his time us almost up with us, I tend to offer out Agbonlahor. He tends to fetch me a tidy sum anywhere from 5.5-6 million.

Charles N'Zogbia is also on the chopping block- as are:

Senderos

Carlos Sanchez,

Lescott

In

First season in I tend not to purchase many, if any, players. I have however been known to purchase:

Lewis Cook

Zach Clough

I tend to use the resources freed up from both the transfer fees received and the reduction in wage expenses to sign the likes of Gil, Okore, Amavi to longer duration contracts; as well as offer the likes of Andre Green, Rushian Hepburn-Murphy and Easah Suliman pro deals or contract extensions.

Tactics

This is where it gets interesting, for me anyway. I think we have enough in the squad to employ either a fast, direct approach or a slower, more methodical approach. With the likes of Gil, Westwood, and Grealish being decent on the ball, we have "some" playing ability.

With this in mind I tend to utilize the following:

I most often employ a 4-2-3-1. 

GK-- Guzan

Lb-- Amavi

CB-- Okore

CB-- Richards

RB-- Hutton

CM-- Guaye 

CM-- Westwood

LW- Grealish

AM-- Gil

RW-- Adama

ST-- Ayew. 

 

Edited by danthemanwhocan

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Fantastic start to the thread, Dan. Looking forward to seeing the rest if you maintain that level of quality.

I decided on a 4-2-2-2 with wide attacking midfield players to get the best out of Grealish on the left. Only got through the friendlies so far, but it seems to be paying off. Using TM and fast poacher as my 2 SC.

Got rid of a fair few players: N'Zogbia, Bacuna, Senderos, Richardson and Sanchez. Brought Albrighton back to Villa and also bought Meli from Boca. Albrighton has been incredible in the off season matches, hope he can continue onwards. Meli... not so much. But it's early days yet.

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There are two very good youngsters at Villa. I don't want to spoil it for anyone by player naming so I'll hide it

Easah Suliman has turned into a world class CB for me. Andre Green also became very good, but not top-top level. Definitely worth it to have them tutored by a proper pro and give them game time :)

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Had a few crashes in my warm up save during the beta which is to be expected so ill be starting a proper save when the full game comes out, think Villa have a decent amount to work with this year. The staff are terrible though and I think ill fire every single one and completely hire fresh when I do start.

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Hey all. Good to have this thread back. I'm just toying around with tactics on the Beta at the moment, waiting for the full game to launch the career.

The squad isn;t great obviously, bu it's not terrible either and there's more depth there than previous years. I'm currently using a counter attacking 4411 / 4231 but you could feasibly play anyone of about 6 formations with the squad available. I think the key is going to be getting a good striker in...

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Thanks for the kind words! I have been unusually busy this last week, school, kids, work and all that good, fun stuff.

Will be cracking on with this through the weekend! Appreciate your patience!

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Good start although we have been in the top flight since 1988. Football didnt begin when Sky started showing football.

I will begin my save once FM installs. I am on a break at the moment so the internet is **** poor = slow download :(

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So I have started my save and I have recently kicked off the season..

Here is my summer transfer business:

transfers.jpg

Getting rid of some of the high earning average players like Agbonlahor and N'Zogbia has helped free up a fair bit of wages aswell which always puts you in the boards good books!

I won 6/7 of my pre-season friendlies (drawing the other).

And I have got off to a 2-1 away win against West Ham, followed by a 1-1 home draw against Manchester United, before a 2-1 defeat away at Sunderland.

Season Aim: Get to 40 points as quickly as possible.

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6 games in..

Not a bad start to the season so far as you can see.

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The cup game, I decided to give some fringe players a go but they let me down and i scraped through.

Then the Spurs game really annoyed me. Drawing 0-0 after 75 minutes and then Timo Horn gets injured (now out for 3 months - major blow) and I had no subs left. So I had to put Micah Richards in goal. Spurs get a free-kick which results in Peruzzi being sent off. Down to 9 men. The resulting free-kick see's Erickson score.

Man City next up in the cup so that will be hard with only Bunn and Steer available in goals.

Few players who have impressed so far..

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With a £6.5m min fee and the fact I hate Guzan IRL it was a no brainer really.

One of my buys in the Bundesliga with Wolfsburg.

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Mid-Season update..

I got took over and the new owner immedietly pumped money into the youth setup. They have also recently given me a £20m transfer kitty for January. Really want someone who can dictate the game from the middle of the field - attacking wise mostly. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

League Table:

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Results:

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As you can see, I am drawing far too many games, especially recently. I am kind of just looking to get to 40 points as soon as possible and then I can begin to start planning for next season.

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What Formation are you playing? I'm thinking of a 4-2-1-3

Horn

Richards - Illori/Lescott/Clark/Okore - Amavi

Gueye - Westwood

Vertout

Ayew/Traore - Calleri - Grealish/Sinclair

Vertout as a roaming play-maker to run the center of the pitch, while Ayew/Traore go wide to make a bit of extra space for him to run into?

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What Formation are you playing? I'm thinking of a 4-2-1-3

Horn

Richards - Illori/Lescott/Clark/Okore - Amavi

Gueye - Westwood

Vertout

Ayew/Traore - Calleri - Grealish/Sinclair

Vertout as a roaming play-maker to run the center of the pitch, while Ayew/Traore go wide to make a bit of extra space for him to run into?

I have mostly used a control/contain basic 4-5-1 formation. I wanted to keep it simple and not ask the players to do to much. As soon as I started changing things, I went on a 7 game unbeaten run. Return to the basic 4-5-1 and I win 3-0.

I would look for a back up option for Amavi - he can be very hit and miss.

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Vertout has been very good as ap for me. Also great as dlp. Ayew has scored 17 goals in 23 games, voted african footballer of the year. Playing him as cf (s). I'm 2nd in the league halfway in first season. This was just a save to learn the game but now it getting serious :)

No transfers in. Sold Hutton, Senderos and Kozak. Gabby wants to leave, so does Bacuna.

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Thanks for that guys, I've just started my "Serious" Villa game, and just got through Pre-Season:

Preseason Results:

ED91atg.png

One loss from 6 wasn't bad, especially as it was before many of my transfers actually came in. Injuries troubled my Preseason, with Gestede, Clark, Illori, Traore and Crespo picking up knocks or injuries along with many backup players (Gardner, Cole) during it.

Transfers In:

Jonathan Calleri - Boca - £5.5m

Marcelo Meli - Boca - £4m

Andres Cubas - Boca - £3.5m

Afonso Figeiredo - Boavista - £1.6m

Emanuel Mammana - River - £4m

Timo Horn - Koln - £6.5m

Transfers Out:

iZ0U1dy.png

Still Listed: Brad Guzan, Libor Kozak, Joe Cole

I over spent slightly, although with Guzan and Kozak listed and questions being asked of Clark once Okore's back I could end up making money by the end of the season. Add to that my Wage budgets down and I've bought a lot of good potential there and I'm happy wth my business over all.

Main Formation

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I also have a counter attacking variation. Things I'll look at during the season include:

* Play a 4-2-3-1 with a line of Grealish - Gil - Traore

* Try Calleri as a Ramdeuter

Staff Comparison & Scouting Knowledge

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I do have an Argentinian scout coming in, to bulk up my knowledge of South America as well as hopefully raise my JPA and JPP

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Sorry chaps! Got dumped with more assignments this week. I will be adding more as I go through.

Good to see how far people have gone. Some cracking transfers there, avillafan.com!

Any changes to your tactics since the full fat version came out? I havent had a chance to sit down and play yet!

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Sorry chaps! Got dumped with more assignments this week. I will be adding more as I go through.

Good to see how far people have gone. Some cracking transfers there, avillafan.com!

Any changes to your tactics since the full fat version came out? I havent had a chance to sit down and play yet!

I never played the beta version so I have only used the systems I have used this season.

Generally a flat 4-5-1 with no intructions has worked best for me.

I do keep playing with other formations like a 4-2DM-1-2-1 formation or the 4-1-2-2-1 wide formation but I am having mixed results with them.

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Result of the season so far for me..

upload.jpg

I forgot to update but my January Transfer business looked like this:

In: Charlie Austin (£3.5m), Jose Enrique (£675k), Tonny Trindade de Vilhena (£7.25m), John Obi Mikel (loan).

Out: Jose Angel Crespo (£2m), Arthur Boka (£125k).

Both Austin and Vilhena got injured very early on after signing so havent been able to use them as much as I would like but Adebayor is finally available and has started to contribute towards the goals. Only gave him an initial one year deal but will need to decide weather to extend that or not - Just as I write this. He is ruled out for three weeks!

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Vertout has been very good as ap for me. Also great as dlp. Ayew has scored 17 goals in 23 games, voted african footballer of the year. Playing him as cf (s). I'm 2nd in the league halfway in first season. This was just a save to learn the game but now it getting serious :)

No transfers in. Sold Hutton, Senderos and Kozak. Gabby wants to leave, so does Bacuna.

Is Ayew playing up front on his own? He doesn't look like a lone striker that's all.

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Yes on his own. I play a 4-1-2-2-1. Standard/Flexible. With close down more, push higher up and a few more TI.

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Has anyone had any problems with getting rid of Agbonlahor? I am looking at selling him as I have just spent £5million on Erick Torres.

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Has anyone had any problems with getting rid of Agbonlahor? I am looking at selling him as I have just spent £5million on Erick Torres.

I sold him for £1.7m mainly to offload his £55k a week wages.

However, I have seen people say they have sold him for £5.5m.

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Had a bad ending. Finished 4th. only 1 point in the last 5 games. Ayew scored 30 goals in 39 games...not bad.

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Has anyone had any problems with getting rid of Agbonlahor? I am looking at selling him as I have just spent £5million on Erick Torres.

Got 4.6m for him from Norwich after my first season, taking that all day!

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As a non-Villa fan is Gabby really as bad as his stats suggest? I mean below 10 for dribbling, finishing, technique and composure. I understand his consistency stat should probably be a bit low as i've seen him be unplayable at times and then just anonymous but those stats don't seem fair to me.

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As a non-Villa fan is Gabby really as bad as his stats suggest? I mean below 10 for dribbling, finishing, technique and composure. I understand his consistency stat should probably be a bit low as i've seen him be unplayable at times and then just anonymous but those stats don't seem fair to me.

As a Birmingham boy, I feel qualified to confirm that yeah, he's pretty awful technically. The bloke's pure pace - that's the only reason he's made in the game. One of his youth coaches is on record stating that as a kid, his first touch 'would take him to Newcastle' but despite an almost complete lack of natural talent, the club persevered owing to his pace. In many ways, this approach is symbolic of the failing youth development and warped priorities in England...

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Thanks guys I will try and sell him when possible I just wanted to make sure I could get rid of him and not upset the other players to much.

As a non-Villa fan is Gabby really as bad as his stats suggest? I mean below 10 for dribbling, finishing, technique and composure. I understand his consistency stat should probably be a bit low as i've seen him be unplayable at times and then just anonymous but those stats don't seem fair to me.

Also another issue Gabby has is he has gone from having players such as Carew,Barry,Young,Milner,Laursen and Mellberg taking pressure away from him to playing with younger players such as Grealish and players who are still trying to get upto speed with the league such as Amavi and Ayew, he has had more pressure put on him which I don't think he has coped with.

Plus 6 Managers in 9 years and injuries haven't done him any good either.

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Yes on his own. I play a 4-1-2-2-1. Standard/Flexible. With close down more, push higher up and a few more TI.

Hey Heddy. I'm just wondering you're able to share the roles / players you had in and around Ayew in that front three / and the middle?

I've been trying Grealish If (S) / Traore W (A)

Then midfield Gueye (B2Bs) VEretout (AP (s) Westwood DM (D)

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Hey Heddy. I'm just wondering you're able to share the roles / players you had in and around Ayew in that front three / and the middle?

I've been trying Grealish If (S) / Traore W (A)

Then midfield Gueye (B2Bs) VEretout (AP (s) Westwood DM (D)

Mainly IF (s) and W (a) just as you. Then CM (a) DLP (s) with PI more direct pass.And DM (d) . Some of the goals Ayew scored was due to the direct pass from dlp and great running from Ayew.

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go snatch up perez from newcastle seeing as they got relegated!

Berahino and Butland as well.

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I am about to start my second season. Ideally I will bring in another striker (false 9) as I am down to just the two at the minute.

Transfers Out: Rudy Gestede (£2.1m), Callum Robinson (£800k), Carles Gil (£5.25m), Jed Steer (£400k), Joe Bennett (£240k), Charlie Austin (£9.5m), Jose Enrique (£2.5m), Jordan Ayew (£3.9m), Joleon Lescott (£600k), Mark Bunn (£225k). Plus a load of free transfers and loans.

Transfers In: Ryan Shawcross (£5m), Itumeleng Khune (£400k), Timothee Kolodziejczak (£6m), Calum Chambers (Loan - Can buy for £15m at any point), Asmir Begovic (Loan - Until Khune gets his work permit), Martin Odegaard (£12.5m).

Charity Shield..

charity.jpg

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Hi there, glad i found this thread. Ive started a Villa save that was originally only going to be a tactic tester but Ive really enjoyed it so im going to continue.

Finished my first season in 5th place on 73 points. Only made 3 signings - Mauro Zarate (3.2m), Ludwig Augustinsson (2.2m) and Markus Rosenberg (1m). Thell latter 2 were named signings of the season, getting into the team of the season and young player of the season and PL top scorer (25 goals) respectively.

GK - Sweeper Keeper, Guzan

DR - FB Support, Richards / Bacuna

DC - CB Defend, Ilori

DC - CB Defend, Okore / Clark

DL - FB attack, Augustinsson

DMR - Roaming Playmaker, Veretout

DML - DM support, Gueye

MR - Winger attack, Traore

ML - WM attack, Grealish / Agbonlahor

AMCL - Trequartista, Zarate / Gil

STCR - CF attack, Rosenberg

Already made some great sigings for season two, the tactic is Sacchi inspired (but moulded to include a treq).

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Hi guys, I started off unemployed and holiday'd through the first season, unfortunately for you, Villa finished bottom! I got offered the job and thought it would be a challenge to build a team and see how far I could get!

Remarkably there was no transfers made during the first season apart from a guy in on loan!

So I'm going down to the Championship with the original squad, who would you recommend I cash in on?

Has anyone else been relegated or played in the championship? Who should I bring in?

Thanks

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Quick update on my season - I'll post a full rundown when I get it finished.

Anyway I started off with budgets disabled and a takeover bid at Christmas meant I couldn't make signings - I did manage to offload Richardson, Nzogbia and Senderos for a combined total of about £1million though.

Anyway there were early cup exits but I'm somehow sitting 6 points clear in 4th place in the league at the start of February. I have second best defence but goals are tough to come by.

Ayew has been the star, leading the league with 16 goals so far, Traore has been a surprise star at RW. At the back Richards, Clark and Okore are doing well and Amavi has been a revelation. I need to get Gil and Grealish performing but hopefully I can see out the season in the Champions League places.

Whatever happens I aim to get at least 50% of any new players from youth system but am scouring Europe for young, cheap talent too. Am also heavily scouting Benteke as Liverpool aren't playing him and I hope to bring the beast back!

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So I thought I'd do a little update after finishing my first season.

As usual I didn't activate transfer budgets in the first window and was under transfer embargo in the Christmas window so this is with the original squad (save for a last minute Kieran Trippier loan). I did however manage to ship out Richardson, Senderos and NZogbia for a combined total of about £1million.

Anyway it turned out pretty good with a solid 4th place finish, just missing out on 3rd due to some sloppy late games.

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I was particularly well with how the team played, relying mostly on the counter attack I ended the season with the third best defence in the league, which is something I took great pleasure in.

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I also won Manager of the Year which is a first for me.

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Standout performers were Ayew who was tops corer, Traore who thrived scoring 10 goals and looking good on RW> Gabby even performed well for me with 7 goals I think and a handful of assists. The only problem was that I could;t get Gil and Grealish to play together and I struggled for goals at times.

Now it's the off season. I've already signed a promising 15 year old target man then got Dennis Praet for a bargain 4million. I'm hoping he can offer cover / eventually replace Gil, will need him if i get into Champions League proper. I'm also looking at Charlie Austin and Breel Embolo but I've decided to try and get at least 50% of my players form my youth system so Callum Robinson and Hepburn-Murphy might be promoted alongside Baker and Webb.

Tactics wise I'm still hoping to play on the counter, refining my set up with help from Cleon's excellent thread, but I'm going to have develop a Plan B as my reputation dusts. I'm going to toy with a Pochettino style press given my players' excellent aggression stats.

Anyway that's where I am. I only wish Villa were doing anywhere near this well with the same squad in real life!

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Nice save mate, I'm really enjoying my Villa time as well.

I'm only half way through my second season, I really struggled for consistency from Ayew (after a long injury), Gestede or Gabby, I could never get them to find the back of the net despite reasonable chances so I moved them all on and now use Benteke and Stancu up front.

Grealish, Traore, Sinclair and Amavi have all been pretty good for me all scoring and assisting. But I've have cashed in Amavi. Gil was good for me in the first season but seems to have dropped off a bit this season. Gueye and Veretout have been solid without being remarkable.

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Thought I'd log on quickly to share one of the best moments of an FM save I've ever had.

After finishing fourth in the previous year (see above) I was faced with a tricky Champions League qualifier versus Sevilla. The first leg was away and they took apart my previously stable counter attacking tactic to beat me 3-1. This coming off a 0-0 draw with Southhampton where my strikers missed a handful of chance.

What made it worse was the transfer embargo another failed takeover had handed me, meant I missed out on top target Breel Embolo. With no goals in sight and a humbling early exit on the cards I was down in the doldrums. Then on the morning of the second leg I receive news of a training ground bust up between a certain Christian Benteke and his manager which left the beast transfer listed. I immediately threw in a loan to buy offer which was accepted. I know this is impossible in the game but I like to think there must have been a buzz around the stadium as we beat Sevilla 2-0 and go through on away goals, with Bentekkers signing on the dotted line right after the final whistle!

Admittedly I've lost 3-1 to both Spurs and Man City since then and been handed a group with PSG, SLB and Ajax - but who cares? The Beast is back!!!

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How in earth do you finish 3rd and have the 3rd best defence with this squad? I finished 9th in my beta save and i conceded like 60 goals in the end i think.

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