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CDorling

Living it up in Exeter

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Hello all, I'm Dorling.

This is my first real foray into posting on here. Been a member (read: lurker) for a long time, but haven't really played any FM substantially since 2010. On there, I had a save that went well into the 2030s with first Blackpool and then my beloved Arsenal. FM16 is a new start though. I'm really impressed with the game so thought I'd share my experiences.

I've started a game with Colchester United - I always enjoy starting in League One. I have no real aims and just want to see where the save goes. I've only decided to do this half way through my first season, but plan on doing half season updates. So, to begin with, this is me (apparently). As you can see, I've made quite the impression on Lee Johnson, although Steve Bull is not a fan.

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The Squad:

Not a bad bunch here. Standouts are of course Marvin Sordell, Owen Garvan and George Moncur. Darren Ambrose has a lot of quality for this level and McAuley Bonne & Matthew Briggs have a good amount of potential.

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Welcome to the ranks of the active posters! :)

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Welcome to the ranks of the active posters! :)

Thanks! Good to be here!

The board gave me the target of avoiding relegation. A very, very small transfer budget was offered, but realistically the only choices I had were going to be free transfers and loans, so I set to work and bought in some players in positions I felt we were lacking. Since my main objective was going to be avoiding defeat a lot of the time, the defence and midfield needed at least a bit of cover.

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Ben Wyatt is a 19 y/o attacking full back, previously at Ipswich, and has been out on loan at Woking. He has yet to play but should injuries pile up may get a chance.

Josh Pritchard is a 23 y/o DM/MC who is happy being a playmaker, ball winner and central midfielder. His versatility is important and he has become a key part of the team. He started his career at Fulham and had loan spells in Norway and Finland before moving to Gillingham last term.

Sam Byrne is a 19 y/o CF who can poach, be a target man and a false 9. He has provided cover when needed. He started his career at Man U before moving on to Everton.

Genseric Kusunga comes via Oldham and Servette. The Angolan CB started the season in the first 11 but his form was indifferent. He has since been replaced by loan signing McGahey.

Nico Yennaris is a 23 y/o Cypriot full back who can attack and has a mean cross. He started his career at Arsenal and is on loan from Brentford. He is an important part of the team.

Connor Smith is a versatile 23 y/o Irish DM/CM on loan from Watford (via our new link up established early in the season). He fills a lot of gaps when needed.

The final loan signings were Harrison McGahey, a strong 20 y/o CB from Sheffield United and Cole Kpekawa, a 19 y/o DL/C from QPR. McGahey has made the centre half position his own alongside Frankie Kent, while Kpekawa has offered cover when required. Now that George Elokobi has returned from injury, he may find playing time more limited.

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Nice introduction - lets get a pic of Darren Ambrose!

Of course!

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After dallying with some asymmetric nonsense in the early season, a thorough read of the pairs and combinations guide lead to a much more balanced formation and system. The current lineup looks a like this:

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In a full strength side, Pritchard would be the DM with Garvan at DLP. Ambrose has also spent a lot of time as the right IF but has just come back from injury and Drew Wright, despite starting the season on the transfer list, has managed to get into the team and is in good form.

The results:

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From the first Chesterfield game onwards, the new system was put in place and the team soon started to produce results. The Coventry game was a particular highlight as Sordell and Ambrose both got injured in the first 5 minutes and the replacements Bonne and Wright managed 4 goals between them!

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So where does that leave us now?

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The answer is, 2nd in a very, very tight League 1. It's certainly all to play for.

My key challenges for the second half of the season are as follows:

- Beat Newcastle in the FA Cup Rd 3 (just kidding)

- Maintain form amongst the squad

- Deal with the hammer blow of Callum Harriott's loan spell ending imminently. With the wages he is on it is impossible to extend

- Think about the long term future of the squad and the possibility of promotion - this is a tricky one. Almost the whole squad is out of contract come the summer. Do I spend the money or save it for possible improvements as wage budget will definitely be tight. Sordell DEFINITELY won't sign a new deal as he has loftier ambitions.

Overall, I'm very happy with the first half of the season. The system the team plays is logical and patient, reliant on good overlaps from the full backs and produces some excellent football at times. It is very defensively stable too. I believe that I'm getting the best out of most players.

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The squad was strengthened in January with the loan acquisition of Joe Lolley, Sullay Kaikai and Marcus Rashford, but the victory over Newcastle started a dodgy period of only 1 win in 8 games, including going out of the FA Cup to Brentford and dropping as low as 11th in the ever tight League 1 table.

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We did, however, pick up again at the end of February (a nice little victory over Southend in the Essex Derby not withstanding - although Phil Brown accused the club of lacking class) and on 5th March the table looks better, though still tight.

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Well, the season is over!

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Our form recovered following our sticky patch but defeats against 3rd placed Millwall and 1st placed Barnsley really damaged our chances. We went into the final game of the season at home to Rochdale in 3rd place on 75 points. Millwall were in 2nd with 76 points but an inferior goal difference, while Coventry were in 4th with 75 points and inferior goal difference.

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Remarkably, Millwall lost 3-0 away to 11th placed Gillingham while Coventry lost 3-1 at 17th placed Oldham. Our tame 0-0 against Rochdale was sufficient to secure 2nd place and automatic promotion!

Unfortunately, in the closing weeks of the season Darren Ambrose broke his leg and decided to retire as a result :(

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George Moncur took the plaudits in the end of season awards and rightly so. He has become the focus of the teams attack.

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Hopefully in the Championship I can stay up, fill the stadium and set down some footings to establish the club.

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Finally, these are the stats for the final playing squad. I used a LOT of players this season, with several of the youth players stepping up when required. I have had issues at depth with the full back and wing positions at times. Plenty of young central midfielders also got opportunities. Loan wise, a majority of the young players I have plans to keep obtained first team football at some stage during the campaign, mostly at Vanarama National League level. I like the fact the playing the odd youngster in this version of FM doesn't massively weaken your team. Thomas Lapslie has particularly impressed, attaining player of the month honours while on loan at Morecambe in League 2. He has also provided very capable cover in the first team when required.

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In the off season I will need to think carefully about where to strengthen. I have been given a transfer budget of about £135k and a wage budget of £77k, which is a sizeable increase.

Can I get Sordell to stay? Can I replace Ambrose?

Time will tell but I am looking forward to the next step up.

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Thanks for the congrats! Hard work starts now though. Just got through pre season and several changes have taken place.

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Firstly the staff.

I got rid of the head of youth development, the under 18s goalkeeping coach and physio, a scout and most importantly my assistant manager. They were basically rubbish, so contracts were not renewed. On of my first team physios retired. I also bought Matt Jackson in as DoF, primarily to help me get rid of players, which I did in large amounts.

Transfers Out:

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Marvin Sordell wouldn't sign a new deal so getting anything at all for him was a bonus. He'll be playing in the league below us this season. Louis Dunne had potential but it would take a long time to see it so I took the money for him. Gavin Massey and Tom Eastman both wanted first team football they might not get, so went out on loan. Chris Porter was adamant he wanted to leave and was annoying people so off he went. The rest of the outs were all of the hopeless players from my youth team. Jackson cleared it right out for me. We then got loan deals for the ones that wouldn't get near the first team this season.

Transfers In:

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A whole bunch of youth players released from Premier League clubs came in and these now make up my youth system. Most of them have very high potential for a club of our size. They also provide more squad depth and are a big step up in quality from the youth players that have gone.

Some first team players of course have joined:

Lee Nicholls will be the new first team GK and joins on the recommendation of our new DoF

Conor Townsend comes in from Hull and will provide competition for Matthew Briggs at LB

Luke Varney has a lot of experience and can play anywhere across the front 3. He was last at Cardiff.

Franck Moussa joins from Charlton and can play the IF role on either wing.

Florent Cuvelier had a decent season at Sheff Utd last time out, and can fill either of the attacking central midfield roles in the team. He will provide competition for Owen Garvan and George Moncur.

Nico Yennaris joins on a free after a great season with us in League One. His contract at Brentford was up.

Chris Eagles was a late addition but he can also play both IF roles and has experience and quality.

In terms of loans, Marcus Rashford and Sullay Kaikai are both back for another season while target man Stipe Perica joins from Chelsea for the season and false nine Jerome Sinclair comes in from Liverpool.

Aaron Armstrong was the only player I paid a fee for and was recommended by my new head of youth development, who came from Exeter. He is a decent looking centre half.

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I took the team on a little European Tour preseason to build up some form and morale, as we're going to need it this season. The first games themselves have been tough. Not to worried to be out of the League Cup early and in truth the cup games will not be a priority this season. The 4-4 with Birmingham was a tad annoying as, after going 2-0 down we were 4-2 up before Jacques Maghoma scored two worldies to bring Birmingham back into it. It did suggest to me I should try bringing in another defender if possible.

Anyway, onward we go!

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So, into November and it's not going well at all.

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So much so that this happens:

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Things were getting really tough, the dressing room turned on me and the board were very unhappy. 1 unsuccessful interview with Sheffield Utd later...

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It was an opportunity I couldn't turn down. I'm currently studying at Nautical College in Fleetwood and indeed went to watch them today. It felt right.

The squad is very good for League 2 level, as you'd expect for a team relegated the season before. They find themselves right down at the bottom of League 2 though, and lots of players want to leave. A challenge ahead.

First thing I did was bring in Wes Thomas and David Vaughan. Vaughan is very experienced and can fulfil several roles in the centre of the park. Wes Thomas can lead the line and is adept at playing the false nine role that is so important in my preferred system.

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Here is the system, and I'm happy with the players we have for the most part. It will depend how the players that want to leave react.

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And it has begun well!

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Couldn't you have waited until you lost to Ipswich first? You gave that other lot 3 points so it's only fair :D

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Unlucky at Colchester, great first season though, I thought I had it bad in my game until I saw that run of yours.

Good luck with Fleetwood.

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Liking the updates and good luck with Fleetwood. Do you think it was the quality of players (or lack of) or tactical issues that caused your Championship misery?

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Did you change your tactics at all in the Championship? Your tactic looks like it should get torn apart down the wings.

Good luck with Fleetwood - Sarcevic was a legend for me in FM14.

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Liking the updates and good luck with Fleetwood. Do you think it was the quality of players (or lack of) or tactical issues that caused your Championship misery?

A mixture of the two. The players definitely weren't good enough as a whole, but finding the best way to get what I could out of them was definitely a challenge. I had real lack of depth in quality, particularly in defence. All my preferred targets were well out of my price range or just not interested.

Did you change your tactics at all in the Championship? Your tactic looks like it should get torn apart down the wings.

Good luck with Fleetwood - Sarcevic was a legend for me in FM14.

Yeah I did - the main problem with my preferred tactic was more pace of the centre backs from what I was watching. I never really increase the style of play above 'standard' so the wing backs actually got more involved defensively than you'd think. However, yes, I had to try alternative styles but it was a case of risk and reward - as soon as I attempted to make some kind of headway in an attacking sense, the quality of the back four was exposed. Some of the games in that run were very close. I had at least 5 penalties against me, 3 red cards (so that's 8 games that we were really up against it) and a lot of late winners. Live and learn though! I have a couple of alternative tactics I'm working on to take into account situations where the quality of my players will be an issue.

As for Sarcevic - he left on a free to Bradford at the end of last season. He was ok yesterday when I went to watch but in a team that performed very well to win 5-1 he was probably the most anonymous.

Unlucky at Colchester, great first season though, I thought I had it bad in my game until I saw that run of yours.

Good luck with Fleetwood.

Cheers. Not been a bad start!

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Even managed to get a win over Fulham in the FA cup. But yeah, 10 wins out of 13 and undefeated is good enough for me!

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Well, another season is over and a bit of a disappointing ending.

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The squad was strengthened with former Arsenal and QPR left wing back Armand Traore, and right winger Ragnar Larusson, who was released by Reading earlier in the season.

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Results were good, but a sticky spell over the last 4 games, including a horrible 4-2 defeat at AFC Wimbledon having been 2-0 up with 67 minutes gone, meant that we missed out on the playoffs by 1 point. Very hard to take when we were just 1 point off automatic promotion with 4 games to go.

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Some major squad rebuilding may be necessary in the summer. Several players have requested to leave over the season, having not been happy with relegation the season prior. Still, having been asked to avoid a relegation battle, the board are very happy with my performance and my job is safe.

1 problem has cropped up - as part of my contract I was requested not to make any backroom changes. I was fine with that, but when my assistant manager and head of youth development were poached by other teams, my replacements were blocked by the board due to the aforementioned agreement. It will be negotiated out of my next contract. For now, coach Curtis Fleming has been promoted to assistant.

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SACKED_zps0kpmex9z.png

I applied for the Southend job and I was fired.

I think the backroom staff thing I mentioned might be a bug. Nowhere in my contract negotiations was I able to change the 'no changes to backroom staff' thing and it just meant that I was woefully understaffed and not allowed to employ anybody. Ho hum. We move on.

I guess the title of the thread will have to be changed again at some point!

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So here it is, the new job!

I guess that means the thread title needs to be changed again.

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Exeter have just been relegated to the Conference, but with a good budget and decent squad will be looking to get back into the league. It's my first non-league appointment on FM16, so let's see how it goes.

I was offered the job at Gillingham, who have just been relegated from League 1, but Exeter was the more attractive package. Onward!

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moving on swiftly then...didnt fancy the change to try again with fleetwood then (before the sack obv)

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moving on swiftly then...didnt fancy the change to try again with fleetwood then (before the sack obv)

Very difficult when you have a backroom staff of 4 and you're not allowed to add anyone to it. Was a bit of a gamebreaker not being able to replace my head of youth development and assistant manager when they were poached away.

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Very difficult when you have a backroom staff of 4 and you're not allowed to add anyone to it. Was a bit of a gamebreaker not being able to replace my head of youth development and assistant manager when they were poached away.

Unlucky with the staff stipulation. Interesting read so far though! :)

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Bloody hell. It was worse for you at Colchester than for me at Cheltenham on the last version. At least I won one game out of twenty four. :D

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End of August signalled the end of the English transfer window and, as you would expect, there were a lot of changes as many of the players wanted to leave following relegation. Those that I could convince to stay have, those that wanted to leave have left. I learned from Fleetwood that if players wanted to leave, perhaps it is best for morale to let them.

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Joe Gormley is the standout purchase, a club record in fact. The rest were all signed after extensive scouting and trialling. The defence wasn't too bad but the forward line definitely needed bolstering. Seamus Conneely is a good player for this level and very versatile - he can play all across the back line and central/right midfield. Ademola Lookman has a lot of potential and can fill a number of roles on the wings with his pace. Austin Lipman is a former Arsenal youth and could have an impact, and Steven Kinsella is a Republic of Ireland U21 international. In fact, the club now has internationals from Brunei, Haiti, Benin and Somalia.

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A decent pre-season and early few games sees us lying 6th as the players get to know each other and the systems I will try to play. We march onward with the desires of the board to attain automatic promotion ringing in our ears.

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A steady start so far, hopefully it doesn't go downhill in next update like Fleetwood.

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A steady start so far, hopefully it doesn't go downhill in next update like Fleetwood.

Hopefully not! My performance at Fleetwood, staff and player friendships aside, was actually really good. I only lost 6 games out of 32!

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SACKED_zps0kpmex9z.png

I applied for the Southend job and I was fired.

I think the backroom staff thing I mentioned might be a bug. Nowhere in my contract negotiations was I able to change the 'no changes to backroom staff' thing and it just meant that I was woefully understaffed and not allowed to employ anybody. Ho hum. We move on.

I guess the title of the thread will have to be changed again at some point!

You were treated poorly at Fleetwood. That last five game thing seems to be a bug, as I have read about others with this issue, as it takes no account of where you are doing in league or cups, or how many games in hand. Also the fact a manager came in with side fighting relegation. Gaining one point in last five games at Colchester is completely different to last five games at Fleetwood.

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Well. It's been interesting so far at Exeter. The board are very clear that they expect me to get promoted, and it has not been plain sailing.

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After a decent start, results became very patchy and it was hard to get the team performing consistently. A large part of this was down to the fact that so many players were new I think. I couldn't settle on a system that was defensively sound and I didn't know my best team. However, after going through the team piece by piece and looking at attributes in detail, I was able to decide on my best players for a 4-4-1-1 type formation with, like so:

GK: James Hamon - he and my other keeper Christy Pym are fairly equal in terms of ability, but Hamon is slightly stronger mentally so gets the nod

LB: Lescinel Jean-Francois - the Haitian is the most complete player I have available at left back. In the fastest defence in the league, he is the quickest and has good mental stats to remain disciplined. Also takes a mean penalty.

CB: Daniel Alfei - The former Swansea man is impressive physically and has a good attitude in terms of teamwork and work rate.

CB: Adam Jackson - A very accomplished defender, capable of playing the ball out of defence and can cover at RB if needed. Strong mentally.

RB: Cameron Dummigan - Irish former Burnley youth has stats in the all the right places to be defensively efficient. Could do with better crossing but a good attitude and strong physical attributes mean that he can get up and down all game.

LM: The pacy former Charlton winger has 13 goals in 19 games and is getting better at crossing. Works well.

CM: David Morgan - Started his career at Nottingham Forest and has moved around the lower leagues a bit. Good mental stats and physically and technically very sound. Very consistent and good in the tackle.

CM: Luke Summerfield - The former Plymouth man operates in a defensive role and is there to break up play and make late runs forward. He does all that is asked of him and his experience of league football shines through.

RM: Joe Ward: Very fast and technically good right winger who joined Brighton from Chelmsford but couldn't make the grade. Likes to shoot a bit more often than he should but creates a lot too.

AM: Jack Blake - Spent his youth at Nottingham Forest and had a spell out of league football with Ilkeston. Has good technical abilities, works hard and has a lot of stamina, which is what he needs operating behind the forward as he does.

CF: Jamie Veale - Keeping record Joe Gormley out of the side, Veale has excellent work rate and strength. Which is good, because my team is rated 24th out of 24 for strength in the league. He is a workhorse and gets on the end of crosses, puts his foot in and does the dirty work. Gormley is a bit more polished and perhaps better suited for the next division up.

After analysing my first eleven, I put it into practice and things picked up:

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Which is good, as I had to keep a promise to the board after the Braintree game to get 10 points in 5 games. They were not happy!

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But now, they're happier, and my name is getting linked with other jobs.

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The league is looking good after that great run and the awards are piling in.

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I didn't make any signings at all in January because the squad is where it needs to be and I don't want to upset the rhythm. Go Grecians!

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We did it! We made it hard for ourselves but we did it and that's the main thing!

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League form was ok but a slip up against Dover started a sticky spell where we couldn't buy a win. The board were not impressed as we dropped from 2nd to 4th, moving from 3pts to 11pts behind the leaders. My name was regularly featured in the 'sack race' predictions.

We also crashed out of the FA Trophy at the semi final stage on penalties to Barrow and that was hard to take. At the end of the regular season we scraped into the playoffs on the last day by virtue of Kidderminster slipping up. We lost to Braintree and we had to get over that quickly as they would be our playoff semi final opponents. We played magnificently and made it to the final where we would face a Boreham Wood side undefeated in 20 games.

Step up Joe Ward in the 88th minute to hit a shot that was deflected twice on it's way into the net to send Exeter back into the Football League!

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Here we can see how close we were to not making the playoffs and me definitely getting sacked.

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In fairness, during our horrible run the squad was destroyed by injuries. Lescinel Jean-Francois becomes my second player after Darren Ambrose to retire through injury as he ruptured a cruciate ligament. Jamie Veale and Joe Gormley were injured for long spells, leaving us short up front. James Maddison missed 5 months of the season. 2 of my three centre backs spent time on the sidelines. Ademola Lookman lost form. It was tough. A couple of reinforcements came in to assist.

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Boadu has potential and provides cover in the AM and CF positions. Brooks and Miller came in to provide cover in midfield, Miller the more worthy of the two.

Here are the final squad stats:

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A few of the youth team not pictured got games early on when I was trying to find a system, but the first team squad was relatively settled for the most part and several players will return for the league campaign. Adam Jackson looks like he won't sign a new deal though. Rommy Boco will most likely leave too. Other than that, a successful season and a new league to look forward to!

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At least you managed it in the end.
That was a terrible run! Good thing you ended up with the Promotion.

It was massively frustrating. We went from dominant to unable to finish teams off overnight.

Was Jamie Veale out with a calf injury? :D

Actually he did miss 3 weeks with a calf injury...

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Preseason is complete as we head into our League 2 campaign, the board hoping for a comfortable mid table finish.

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My chief scout wouldn't sign a new deal, and Dave Leadbetter is going to retire, so both left. The under 18s manager also refused to sign a new deal.

A new scouting team comes in, and is much improved. Paul Robinson joins as a GK coach and Kenny Pavey is the new U18s manager. We didn't have an U21s manager so now David Hunt is that man.

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Player wise, a lot of the fringe players and young players that weren't quite up to it left. Adam Jackson was the biggest loss and Charles Dunne was never going to sign a new deal after being unhappy all season in the Conference.

John Rogers is a young left back that joins after being released by Man City and is straight to the youth team.

Josh Carson joins on a free from York after his contract expired. He can play on both wings, has 4 Northern Ireland caps and is the new club captain.

Jordan Tillson rejoins the club after departing for Preston when we were relegated. He is now first choice centre half.

Chris Whelpdale also rejoins after leaving the club for Wycombe last year. He can also play on either wing.

Former Newcastle trainee Ryan Donaldson joins from Cambridge and will be our new attacking midfielder to sit behind the striker.

Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain is Alex's younger brother and heads into the U21s. He has potential but he's not ready for first team football yet.

Frederik Fisker is a CB coming in from Notts Forest on loan and will provide good cover, while Patrick Reading will be first choice LB this season.

Cody McDonald joins from Cambridge and is the only player I paid for. He will start up top and hopefully link up well with his former team mate Donaldson.

Gerry McDonough is very decent looking striker who will provide competition for McDonald and Gormley - unfortunately I don't think Jamie Veale will be good enough for League 2.

Finally, James Wesolowski joins to bolster the midfield and may well be a starter as a defensive central midfielder after his release by Shrewsbury.

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Pre Season was a good effort by the lads over all. Swindon, Coventry and Colchester are all in League 1 - can't say it wasn't nice to get a win over my old team though!

It's unlikely I'll add any more to the squad before the season kicks off unless something excellent comes along. The first game is at home to Northampton. C'mon the Grecians!

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Mid season report time.

After the summer transfer window a couple of new faces were brought in with the squad further strengthened in January. No players left the team during this period and the board are happy. The bank balance is over £1.3m and we are £3k below the wage budget.

Midseason%20transfers_zpshkzl0fqy.png

Harry Hickford came in for a short loan spell to provide cover at CB but he didn't play often and his loan was eventually cancelled.

Eoin McKeown is a former Colchester youth team target man and is in the U21s, and former Newcastle CM Mackenzie Heaney joins him.

Brandon Haunstrup was a transfer target in the summer and plays both full back positions, but he largely failed to impress and went back to Coventry after 6 weeks.

4 players came in on the first day of the January window, with Billy Clarke being the most impactful. He plays all AM positions as well as centre forward and provides good cover and depth, especially as injuries began mounting up in in December and January.

Victor Guldbrandsen only played 2 games for Sutton United on non contract terms after being released by Ipswich and comes in to the U21 squad.

Scott Wootton is a former Man Utd youth DRC and DM and joins after his release from Leeds. He is an accomplished player, but will face a struggle to displace Jordan Tillson and Dion Conroy from the first team.

Dean Winnard comes in following his release from Accrington and can cover all across the back four. His versatility and decent mental stats are the main reasons for signing him as cover.

Finally, M/AMR/FC Fraser Preston joins on loan from Sheff Wed as added squad depth and scored on his debut as we smashed 8 past Dagenham.

Speaking of which, here are the results so far:

Fixtures%20to%20Feb_zpswzvkwdpw.png

There was a sticky spell at the beginning of the season and the longest unbeaten spell has been 7 games. While we haven't been able to put a long winning streak together, we continually provide stiff opposition for our opponents and this is where the table is at the end of January:

League%20Table%20end%20of%20Feb_zps6ocuhook.png

We lay in a good position in 5th, and with 3 automatic promotion places available, hopes are high that we can push on. Steven Kinsella, Ademola Lookman and Josh Carson, who all started the season in great form, are due to be back from injury soon and once that happens we will have real depth.

Here are the half season stats:

Stats%20end%20of%20Jan_zpsschlkr8q.png

Turns out I was right about Joe Gormley being better suited to League 2 football than Non League. His superior skills to Jamie Veale mean that his strength deficit is not so much of a problem with a slightly higher standard of football.

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Time for the end of season report!

The team this season have been frustratingly inconsistent. It has been hard to get a good, long run of wins going, but a couple of decent undefeated streaks kept us in contention.

The team was strengthened with one signing, a 20y/o Polish GK who will only ever provide depth in extreme GK injury crises. Which at one point we had, but he remained on the bench throughout.

Final%20Transfers_zpsojtgxtea.png

Here are our results up to just before the final game of the season.

Final%20Fixtures_zps4zgppab7.png

At times free scoring, at times seemingly defensively incompetent. The upshot of this was that, going into the final game of the season, we were in 5th place. Above us, Leyton Orient and Dagenham and Redbridge. By this point Chesterfield and Northampton had been promoted.

It looked like this:

Dagenham 72pts GD +4

Leyton Orient 71pts GD +14

Exeter 69pts GD +37

Blackpool 69pts GD +13

Dagenham faced promoted Northampton at home, while Leyton Orient and Blackpool met at Orient. So the situation was clear - Exeter had to win at home against 12th placed Southend and hope that the others slipped up. Our goal difference was the bonus in this situation. And so the final matches of the season were played:

Final%20Results_zpsojyl8bex.png

A 35th minute penalty from Joe Gormley was the difference in a close game at St James' park, while Blackpool smashed Leyton Orient and Northampton narrowly defeated Dagenham and Redbridge!

Promotion_zpswk83lbbh.png

It was ours!

Final%20League%20Table_zpskoyvmirt.png

Two promotions in two years and the board are ecstatic! Better still, both of my previous employers will be in League 1 next season so a chance to show them what they are missing. Colchester narrowly avoided relegation in and Fleetwood finished 13th.

Here are the season stats:

Final%20Stats_zpsdnh24n6k.png

Jordan Tillson was a great signing, returning to the club and being solid as a rock at CB all season. Joe Ward and Steven Kinsella shined on the wings, while Ademola Lookman was good when he was playing, but had a 5 month spell on the sidelines. Billy Clarke was a great signing, playing in the hole behind Joe Gormley consistently, which was important as Ryan Donaldson was plagued with injury in the second half of the season. Jack Blake was excellent in midfield, although he let himself down with 2 straight reds in the last 10 league games. Josh Carson also started the season well on the left wing but was beset with injuries from December onwards.

Up front, Joe Gormley was impressive and was top scorer, although the goals dried up towards the end of the season.

Scott Wootton did manage to get himself into the first team and performed well at CB, while Patrick Reading was outstanding all season - we don't really have a viable alternative to him at LB as Chatzitheodoridis is probably going to be too small to compete - I hope we can extend the loan. If not, a replacement will be my primary summer target.

All in all, a great season and I'm happy to be moving on up to League 1!

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