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[FM17] Rotherham? In the Championship?

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Rotherham United

It's been an interesting start to the 21st century, if you're a Rotherham United fan. In the 1999-2000 season, Rotherham finished second in what is now the Football League Two, gaining promotion to League One. They weren't there for long. On the 28th April 2001, Alan Lee put Rotherham 2-1 up against Brentford at a sold out Millmoor, with that result meaning that Rotherham gained promotion to the Championship. They fought hard for four years, but eventually succumbed to the inevitable, being relegated in 2004-2005 back down to League One. Things got a lot worse.

 

The problem was, the club was in debt. Serious debt. A debt they couldn't solve. They survived their first season in League One on the final day, but a 10 point deduction for financial problems combined with being forced to sell their best players meant that Rotherham slid back down to League Two in 2006/2007. 

Things were looking better in the 2007/2008 season, with 'The Millers' spending most of the year in the automatic promotion places and looking like a shoo-in for promotion - but it wasn't to be. In March 2008, they were hit with another points deduction, which ended their hopes of promotion. Eventually, local businessman Tony Stewart agreed a deal to take over the club. In hindsight, this was the best thing to ever happen to the club - but it certainly didn't feel like it in 2008/2009, when a dispute with the landlords meant that Rotherham were ejected from Millmoor, the club's stadium and home for over 100 years. They struck up a deal to play their games at the Don Valley Stadium for the foreseeable future - but that was the Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield. Rotherham had been hit with two quickfire relegations, and now the club weren't even able to play their games in their own town. 

 

The fans weren't the only ones who noticed, either. The FA told the club that unless they could fund their own stadium in Rotherham, they'd be forced to enter liquidation and cease to exist as a team. How close was that to actually coming to fruition? Well, put it this way - Rotherham fans had to hold out buckets outside other teams stadiums to try and raise whatever funds they could. Eventually, Tony Stewart was able to purchase the land to buy the New York Stadium - and it's an absolutely beautiful ground. It only holds just over 12,000 people, but that doesn't matter to Rotherham fans. It's theirs. No-one can take that away from them.

After a few seasons of just falling at the final hurdle, Steve Evans was appointed Rotherham's manager in 2012, coming over from Crawley Town. Evans came with a 'reputation' (but that's a story for a whole different time), but he quickly won favour with the fans when, in his first full season as manager in 2012/2013, Rotherham crowned their new stadium back home by coming second in League Two, gaining promotion back to League One. They weren't there for long. In a season that became marked for Rotherham's penchant to fight back and take points from losing positions, a 16 game unbeaten streak saw the team end the season in fourth place. It was Playoff time.

 

They were drawn against Preston for the semi final, and drew the first leg away from home 1-1, with Alex Revell's opener being cancelled out by Joe Garner scoring one of the finest goals in the history of the Football League (seriously, go and watch it). In the home leg, they got off to a nightmare start, with a cross from a free kick evading everyone and bouncing straight in early on in the game. They fought back, and goals from Lee Frecklington, Wes Thomas and Kieran Agard gave the Millers a 3-1 win and sent them off to Wembley.

I've got to be honest - the build up to the Playoff final annoyed me. Their opponents were Leyton Orient, and the coverage for the match was almost exclusively pro-Orient, with Leyton being billed as 'the small team with the big heart' from the East End. The only problem with that is that Rotherham were, if anything, an even smaller club than Orient. In fact, only two of Rotherham's entire squad had been bought for any money - Lee Frecklington for roughly 100k, and Alex Revell - remember that name - from their matchday opponents Leyton Orient for around 50k. 150k to put together hardly screams 'big club', but the media weren't going to let the truth get in the way of good old London bias. Anyway.

 

Orient could easily have gone up automatically that season, but a slide towards the end meant they had to settle for third place. They showed their dominance early on and took advantage of Rotherham's nerves, going 2-0 up in the first half with a stunner from Moses Odubajo and a tap in from Dean Cox after some poor marking from the Millers. They had a chance to equalise with Ben Pringle's volley from 35 yards going close, but at Half Time, it was pretty clear who had the advantage.

Remember Rotherham's penchant for making comebacks? Well, 10 minutes after halftime, Alex Revell stabbed home from close range against his former team to give Rotherham a goal back. Then this happened.

 

I have to be honest, it was pretty fun being in the stands for that one ;)

The teams couldn't be separated after that, and the game went to Extra Time. Both teams had chances, but neither could break the deadlock. Penalties.

Both scored their first penalty, but Lee Frecklington missed Rotherham's second. I wasn't surprised - he'd given everything in the 120 minutes, gone down with cramp more than once, and could barely even walk by the end of the game. Advantage Orient, as they scored their second. Both scored their third. James Tavernier absolutely rammed home Rotherham's fourth, but Mattieu Baudry had his saved by Adam Collin. Deadlock. Richie Smallwood scored Rotherham's fifth, meaning it was all on Chris Dagnall to score.

He didn't.

Adam Collin saved it once again, and Rotherham - somehow - had achieved another back to back promotion, taking them back to the Championship. They were going to be working on the smallest budget in the league, but they were there. After nearly losing their team for good as recently as 2012, there wasn't a sweeter feeling.

 

The 2014/2015 season marked their first in the Championship, and it was nervy. They were clearly outgunned at times, and it was only Blackpool being so terrible that kept them in with a chance of survival. They kept battling away, and it eventually looked like they'd done enough to pull away from Millwall and Wigan at the bottom, when the news broke: Rotherham were being docked three points for fielding an ineligible player. Farrend Rawson had been on loan at Rotherham - initially for a month, but later for the rest of the season - and Rotherham had forgotten to send the paperwork confirming the extension to the F.A. Suddenly, they were in trouble once more. Ultimately, they were able to survive, with a 3-0 win over Reading confirming their safety (and meaning that Steve Evans turned up against Leeds on the final day dressed in a sombrero and beachwear).

2015/2016 wasn't exactly smooth, either. After back to back wins, it was announced that Steve Evans was leaving the club by mutual consent. Neil Redfearn was bought in as the new manager - an experiment that lasted just 21 games. After Rotherham lost to bottom of the table and second bottom in successive games (4-1 to Charlton and 2-1 to Bolton), Tony Stewart had to act. Redfearn was gone, and in came Neil Warnock. He had a tough task ahead of him. Rotherham were six points from safety, and there were just 13 games left.

 

A 2-1 win against Brentford promised good things, but fans really started believe the impossible might be possible when Rotherham knocked off Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 -  Wednesday being Rotherham's main rivals, and a real threat for promotion at the time. Things only got better from there, as after being dominated by Middlesbrough all night, Rotherham raced down the other end in the 88th minute, and Lee Frecklington smashed the ball into the roof of the net to give Rotherham the three points. It looked like Derby were going to halt their undefeated spell in it's tracks, going 3-0 up and utterly outplaying a lacklustre Rotherham side. Well...

 

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Never say die.

 

Rotherham went on an undefeated streak for ELEVEN games, going from surefire relegation candidates to comfortably keeping their head above water. Neil Warnock decided not to stay on as manager in search of another promotion - one that would give him the record for most promotions in history - and Rotherham needed to look for a new manager. In this FM save, that's me.

In real life, it's Alan Stubbs, with Rotherham paying Hibs an undisclosed fee in compensation for his services. How's that working out?

  • It's the worst start to a new manager's spell in Rotherham history
  • It's their worst start to a season since 2004-2005, the last time they were relegated from the Championship
  • They have the lowest point tally in the entire football league with just 6 points in 12 games, and just one win.
  • They're the only team in the top six tiers of England that are yet to win a single point away from home.
  • They've conceded the most in the entire football league, and the joint highest in every single major European league.

So... not great.

It's absolutely painful to watch. The team sit deep, don't challenge for possession and let the opposing team keep it as long as they want, and then seem surprised every time they concede 3+ in a game. Right now, it's looking almost certain that Rotherham will be playing next season in League One. 

I can't do anything about that in the real world. But in FM, I can. I'm going to try and keep Rotherham in the Championship, and - potentially - maybe even take them higher than they've ever been before. We'll see.

 

Let's go.

Edited by Jupjamie

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Here's the kind of talent I'm working with...

 

That happened about 15 minutes ago. We conceded 4 again.

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Game Setup

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I've gone with all the local leagues, as well as some of the main European ones.

 

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This is how I've chosen to start the game. I've got realistic coaching badges, but I've gone with zero past football experience, because clearly Rotherham are so good at the back that I need an extra challenge :rolleyes:

 

49180aa2555fa1e3d6d6c57c2ba4e476.png

*Gulp* 

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Good luck on this, Rotherham have been terrible in real life so hopefully you can perform better!

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14 hours ago, Jupjamie said:

 

  • They have the lowest point tally in the entire football league with just 6 points in 12 games, and just one win.

After losing 4-2 to Birmingham last night make that 6 points in 13 games and still no points away from home!:ackter:

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6 hours ago, BAFC said:

Good luck on this, Rotherham have been terrible in real life so hopefully you can perform better!

Thanks :( 

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28 minutes ago, clarkehwbu said:

After losing 4-2 to Birmingham last night make that 6 points in 13 games and still no points away from home!:ackter:

Not to mention another four goals conceded. Goals conceded in away games so far this season: 3,3,4,4,2,3,4. Some of the goals, as well...

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1 minute ago, clarkehwbu said:

I seen the penalty incident last night!:idiot::lol:

This is another of my favourites:

 

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Being a Blues fan I was at that match last night, you guys are decent going forward, your first goal was brilliant team play, but at the back you lot are (sorry to say) terrible

I hope you can get that sorted in game asap!

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1 hour ago, danmcconnell1 said:

Being a Blues fan I was at that match last night, you guys are decent going forward, your first goal was brilliant team play, but at the back you lot are (sorry to say) terrible

I hope you can get that sorted in game asap!

Cheers mate! Going forward we're actually surprisingly good (Izzy Brown is doing fantastically and Danny Ward is way, way too good for us), but our defending is absolutely shambolic so far this season. It's a mixture of the players themselves (we've got three CBs out injured and a fourth went off early against you, which means we're playing a 19 and 21 year old together at CB) and Stubbs' awful tactics, which put our weak defence under way too much pressure. I'll see what I can do about that in FM :D 

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Well, there we go. Alan Stubbs has just been fired. 13 games, 6 points. It's been absolutely woeful, and the only surprise is that he lasted this long.

I think I have a target to beat.

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4 hours ago, clarkehwbu said:

After losing 4-2 to Birmingham last night make that 6 points in 13 games and still no points away from home!:ackter:

"That's not bad form at all." David Moyes.

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12 minutes ago, Jupjamie said:

Well, there we go. Alan Stubbs has just been fired. 13 games, 6 points. It's been absolutely woeful, and the only surprise is that he lasted this long.

I think I have a target to beat.

What kind of cannon was he fired out of?

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Just now, BoxToBox said:

What kind of cannon was he fired out of?

One with far enough range to send him back north of the border!

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42 minutes ago, BoxToBox said:

"That's not bad form at all." David Moyes.

"6 points in 13 games means that in 13 games they've only got 6 points" - Michael Owen

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Well if Rotherham gets relegated I suppose their defenders can be comedians at least. :lol:

All jokes aside I'm sure they'll perform better under you and I'm intrigued to see what you can do! :)

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2 minutes ago, RCtheOnly said:

Well if Rotherham gets relegated I suppose their defenders can be comedians at least. :lol:

All jokes aside I'm sure they'll perform better under you and I'm intrigued to see what you can do! :)

Thanks, RC! I'm not sure how much better I'll do, but I know that I can't do much worse :lol: 

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d2d8bc0d25709a2940d8e93558377400.png

Remember how I said we had one of the smallest budgets? I wasn't lying. There's not much room to move in this transfer window unless we shift some serious deadwood. We're currently spending 133k p/w on wages, so we've got a 66k transfer kitty and 10k in wages to make moves with.

 

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Look at those lofty aims. They want me to win one cup game in each cup, and even if I do end up getting relegated, I might keep my job as long as it's close. 

Edited by Jupjamie

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4 minutes ago, Jupjamie said:

d2d8bc0d25709a2940d8e93558377400.png

Remember how I said we had one of the smallest budgets? I wasn't lying. There's not much room to move in this transfer window unless we shift some serious deadwood. We're currently spending 133k p/w on wages, so we've got a 66k transfer kitty and 10k in wages to make moves with.

Well, you're already used to it. How many years have passed since your last signing? 200?  :lol:

Will be following this career too, good luck!

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3 minutes ago, jengaehassim said:

Well, you're already used to it. How many years have passed since your last signing? 200?  :lol:

Will be following this career too, good luck!

Very true :lol: Thanks Jenga!

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The Squad:

Goalkeepers:

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I have to be honest, I'm not happy with Camp's stats on FM. In real life, he's one of the better keepers in the Championship and Rotherham's player of the year, but he looks distinctly average in FM. We may need to upgrade here at some point.

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Camp's backup should not be this close to his level. Lewis Price has been a backup for most of his career, and he actually looks really good on FM. He might challenge for the #1 shirt at some point.

 

Fullbacks:

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Kelly is a dependable veteran, but I'm not sure how much gametime he'll get. I like my FBs to be a little faster, especially with the quality opposing wingers have in the Championship these days.

 

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Darnell Fisher is going to be our first choice RB. Alan Stubbs bought him in this summer from Celtic for 150k, and he already looks to be well worth the money, being the only player Rotherham have that can defend.  I'm very happy with his stats on FM, and he's one of our better players.

 

 

2dc719c20932e51e106a05284f3df600.png Joe Mattock looks fairly good - which is handy, because we don't have a single other LB in the squad. Not one.

 

Centrebacks:

7916461cc0895004f2ae65e99b66794e.png In real life, Greg Halford is a nightmare to manage, extremely argumentative and a liability most of the time. Good thing he's our highest earner in the squad on 8k p/w then. He doesn't look bad, and his versatility could come in handy, but I'm not sure whether he'll be starting for us or not.

 

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Real world liability #2! He looks distinctly average here, although that pace might come in handy.

 

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Wood doesn't do much to separate himself from the pack. He probably won't play all that often.

 

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Far and away the best CB at the club, Broadfoot's been injured for roughly a month in real life, and his absence has been pretty noticeable. Hopefully, he can stay healthy on FM.

 

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Bought from Spurs for peanuts this summer, I like Ball's potential, but I don't think he's ready for major playing time just yet - not at CB, anyway.

 

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Loaned in from Middlesbrough, Fry is an England U19. He looks really good on FM and will be my choice to partner Broadfoot, but we'll see if he makes as many rookie mistakes as he has done in real life.

 

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Injuries have meant that Belaid's only played 3 games since joining Rotherham, and he's out for 3-5 months to start the game, but he could be a very interesting option when he gets back to fitness.

 

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Thorpe joined Rotherham after being released by Manchester United, and is currently out on loan at Bolton for the year. I'm undecided over his future.

 

Centre-Midfielders:

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That's more like it. Smallwood is one of the best players at the club - a no nonsense CM who chases absolutely everything. Two years ago, he won Rotherham's Player of the Season, and the club would never have survived without him. Unfortunately, Alan Stubbs loaned him out for the season in one of the worst decisions possible. He's exactly what Rotherham need right now, but we'll have to cope without him for the year.

 

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It's a crime that the New York Stadium doesn't have a statue of Lee Frecklington yet. He's an absolute club legend. The current captain, Frecklington has been with the club since League Two (the only player left at the club that has been), and is potentially the most crucial player to the team. There's just such a difference when Frecklington plays to when he doesn't. He's the first name on the teamsheet when he's healthy - which, unfortunately, isn't all that often, as he has a persistent problem with his calf/hamstring. If we're going to stay up, we need Frecklington healthy.

 

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Bought in this summer from Falkirk for 300k (a big fee for Rotherham), the jury's still out on Vaulks. Personally, I think he's a cracking player in the right system, which would see him as the creative midfielder next to a more defensive partner. When asked to defend this season, he's so far proven to be too lightweight for the extremely physical Championship. I don't think his stats particularly reflect that, so we'll see how he does.

 

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On loan from Celtic, Allan is more of a 'luxury' player due to how little he offers when he's not in possession. I don't think we're good enough to have a luxury player, so Allan may not see much playing time.

 

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On loan from Cardiff, injuries have stopped him really making an impact so far this season. He looks pretty good, and he'll likely be competing with Vaulks for a CM spot alongside Frecklington should we decide to use 2 CMs.

 

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On loan from Brighton. On his day, he's a good player. He hasn't had that day once yet. My real life dislike for him may end up working against him here, because I don't think he's much better than Vaulks or Adeyemi.

 

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A youngster out on loan in Norway. I'd like to see him given a chance in real life, but I don't see a future for him here on FM.

 

Wingers:

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Rotherham's record signing, bought in for 500k from Peterborough this summer. I'm incredibly disappointed with his stats. Taylor is absolutely lightning, but thus far has struggled a little with the end product. His stats don't reflect that at all. He's pretty much average everywhere. He'll start for us, but he deserves to be better than he is.

 

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Izzy Brown's been playing in the hole for Rotherham in real life, but I haven't worked out where I want to use him on FM yet, so I'll list him as a winger. An England u19 international on loan from Chelsea, he clearly has an incredibly bright future in the game. I don't think his FM stats quite do him justice, but I should be able to find a spot for him.

 

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A pretty good winger who can also fill in at CM, I'd expect Newell to get a fair bit of gametime this season.

 

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A young winger signed on a free from Walsall in summer. He's not bad, but he's got some growing to do.

 

Strikers:

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This is the one I'm most disappointed with. Danny Ward is clearly too good for Rotherham in real life, but you wouldn't be able to tell that from his FM stats. He's a good striker, but he deserves to be so much better. He's also extremely injury prone, so we could be in trouble there.

 

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This one still hurts. Clarke-Harris is a young striker with all the talent in the world (he was their old record signing, having been bought for 350k from Oldham), but needs more experience and maturity to take his game to the next level. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL 10 minutes into Rotherham's preseason, and he'll miss the majority of this season. One of my favourite players in real life, he'd be starting for sure if he was healthy. As it is, we'll have to wait and see what shape his physicals are in by the time he gets back.

 

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Rotherham went into this season with one senior striker healthy, and that was Ward, who never stays healthy for long. They signed Blackstock on a free to make up for that. He doesn't look great, if I'm honest.

 

Youth Prospects:

Almost non-existent. It's true Rotherham's youth academy is absolutely woeful in real life - and that's going to be something I really try to sort out on the game - but there are two players in real life that I think could make the breakthrough. Lets take a look at them:

 

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Jerry Yates earned a little bit of gametime this year and he impressed, scoring two in his full senior debut against Morecambe in the EFL Cup. He doesn't look terrible on FM.

 

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I'm both disappointed and confused. I'm not saying Bailey-King deserves to be a worldbeater, but he's one of the fastest players at the club, and his pace just doesn't reflect that at all. His potential is through the floor on FM as well. He's never going to make it here, unfortunately.

 

We do also have this guy as a good youth prospect:

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I'm going to be honest - I did not know he played for us. I've never heard of him before. I've heard of everyone else in the U23s, but not him, which is a little surprising. It seems like we took him away from Leeds on a free at some point. That suits me.

 

 

 

 

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Staff:

Just as an example of how incompetent Rotherham are sometimes:

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Right now, the club does not employ a single scout. The scouting department involves one bloke sitting at home sticking on a DVD of opponents games before realising 5 minutes in that he's forgotten to turn the oven off. He comes back in the 85th minute, makes notes on the last five minutes and hands them in to the boss, who promptly leaves them on his desk, forgets about them, and the cleaner throws them out.

Rotherham in real life are 'upgrading their scouting department'. Hey, lads, bit of advice. You fired your chief scout back in September. Did you not think to maybe replace him with someone? I'd start there.

 

So we've got zero scouts, and I have no idea what a Chief Data Analyst does, which is good. How are the coaches looking?

 

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Jesus wept, I was better off in San Marino!

 

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Here's my assistant. In real life, he followed Stubbs out the door. I'd like to do the same, but I can't afford to because of his three year deal, so it looks like he's here to stay. Great.

 

Facilities:

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I can't argue with any of that. I actually think that 'average' is a bit too high for our training facilities. In real life, the club are trying to upgrade them, because they're nowhere near good enough for this level. I'm very cautious of overspending, though, because we're working with such a small budget, so facility upgrades will have to wait a while.

 

63cdaa4aafb7a15722f9d6cfeda640f0.png

That's the budget. I'm not sure how healthy that is.

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Started my Rotherham save as norm.  Pre-season we did well but we've hit the league and struggling.  Draws vs Wolves and Brentford.  Losses by 1 goal vs Villa and Brighton.  Lost 1 - 0 to Oldham in the cup.

Changing my tactic now but struggling in the league for Ward to pick up any sort of form.  It's tempting to try and sell him out but I won't get the value back if I do I feel.

Only players I've brought in are Jay Dasilva on loan as he was the only LB I could find who would come cover Mattock and I've signed a player named Gregory Nelson who can play MR/AMR/ML/AML and isn't too bad.  He hasn't fit form at all but it's early days,  He'll play rotating with Izzy as an AML-IF for me.  Taylor(who's been injured for me) and Forde on the right.

I haven't sold anyone either.  Only Halford and Wood I offered out to be fair.  No one was interested.  Newell for £1.2mil!?  That's silly if they offer that!

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1m for Newell is absolutely crazy, but I'll just chalk it up to 'Merica not being too smart with this whole soccer thing :D 

I don't think I'm going to sign anyone until January. Give the squad six months, then use the cash in January to target players that I've had a chance to take a long, hard look at. Hopefully, we aren't too far adrift by January.

What tactic have you gone with, @SpillBlood? Are you using Stubbs' 4-4-1-1, or did you come up with a tactic that actually involves trying to get the ball back? I'm currently looking at this being my main tactic:

 

ad970552ae7e707fa3efe39397782c03.png

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I'm trying something like this but my wide players are not getting involved in any formation/role I put them in.  It's costing me.  I might have to bring them back and play them in a flat midfield.

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I'm using this with personnel rotating.  Frecks would usually be in there for FC but I'm struggling to get Adeyemi to do anything in the DM role.  Training Vaulks there and he hasn't been too bad so far.

Newell and Fry are my stand out players.  Mattock is doing pretty good aswell.

Danny Ward just scored this and I went mental.  2 - 0 up and I still ended up drawing 2 - 2 :(.
 

 

Edited by SpillBlood

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23 hours ago, Jupjamie said:

I've got to be honest - the build up to the Playoff final annoyed me. Their opponents were Leyton Orient, and the coverage for the match was almost exclusively pro-Orient, with Leyton being billed as 'the small team with the big heart' from the East End. The only problem with that is that Rotherham were, if anything, an even smaller club than Orient. In fact, only two of Rotherham's entire squad had been bought for any money - Lee Frecklington for roughly 100k, and Alex Revell - remember that name - from their matchday opponents Leyton Orient for around 50k. 150k to put together hardly screams 'big club', but the media weren't going to let the truth get in the way of good old London bias. Anyway.

Not that I'm bitter or anything (I swear) but they weren't wrong to call us the small team with the big heart. You say 150k isn't a lot but that season, our squad was put together for not a single penny. Absolutely nothing. That wasn't London bias, we were a small squad, put together for nothing, with very little success in their long history who'd been sitting in the shadow of West Ham, Tottenham, Chelsea etc. 

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Sounds like you pretty much need to build the club from the ground up, on the pitch and off. Shouldn't be the case with a Championship side...

Hell, I bet if you ask for a stadium upgrade the reply will be asking have you any bricklaying experience.....

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10 minutes ago, Orient1996 said:

Not that I'm bitter or anything (I swear) but they weren't wrong to call us the small team with the big heart. You say 150k isn't a lot but that season, our squad was put together for not a single penny. Absolutely nothing. That wasn't London bias, we were a small squad, put together for nothing, with very little success in their long history who'd been sitting in the shadow of West Ham, Tottenham, Chelsea etc. 

I completely agree with you. My problem isn't that they spoke about Orient's amazing rise, but the way that it was all they spoke about. Orient had every right to be praised for their amazing run, but my memory of the coverage is that it was 90% Orient, 10% Rotherham and that, by omission, they made Rotherham sound like big spenders and a big club, neither of which were true.

I liked Orient before the game, I liked them after the game and I still like them now - but what happened to go from dominant in L1 to relegated in a season? I know your ownership changed hands and you changed managers, but there has to be more to it than that, surely? 

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11 minutes ago, BoxToBox said:

Sounds like you pretty much need to build the club from the ground up, on the pitch and off. Shouldn't be the case with a Championship side...

Hell, I bet if you ask for a stadium upgrade the reply will be asking have you any bricklaying experience.....

We're a Championship side run like a Non-League one at times, genuinely. We decide to revamp our scouting operation - two months after the transfer window closes. Now where did I leave that shovel?

Edited by Jupjamie

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Good idea Jamie! Will be following. I always casually root for Rotherham to escape the drop each season, but I'm sure you'll be able to do quite a bit better than that with them in FM.

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1 minute ago, oriole01 said:

Good idea Jamie! Will be following. I always casually root for Rotherham to escape the drop each season, but I'm sure you'll be able to do quite a bit better than that with them in FM.

Thanks, Oriole! I wouldn't get your hopes up ;) 

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Preseason:

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A pretty mixed bag. Losing to Oss was unacceptable (especially because they completely outplayed us), but putting 4 past Feyenoord cheered me up pretty quickly, before two easy friendlies at the end to raise morale.

 

Transfers:

9a610d90111197a8cad2673c3d589dfb.png

Yup, that's it. I'm scouting out a couple of guys, but for now we're going into the season with the squad I inherited, minus Joe Newell.

 

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Frecklington and Adeyemi both hurt themselves during preseason, and they're not fit for the start of the league season. Not ideal.

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How are you doing so far?  I'm basically doing as well as Stubbs.  I still can't get wide players to perform at all.  My players/goalkeeper cannot handle crosses.  Camp fumbles alot of things, including crosses going away into his own net.  And alot of crosses somehow turn into shots against me.  This is pretty stressful.  Getting to the point where I'm going to have to admit defeat and start again.  Hasn't helped with the amount of injuries I've had to my midfielders.

Edited by SpillBlood

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10 minutes ago, SpillBlood said:

How are you doing so far?  I'm basically doing as well as Stubbs.  I still can't get wide players to perform at all.  My players/goalkeeper cannot handle crosses.  Camp fumbles alot of things, including crosses going away into his own net.  And alot of crosses somehow turn into shots against me.  This is pretty stressful.  Getting to the point where I'm going to have to admit defeat and start again.  Hasn't helped with the amount of injuries I've had to my midfielders.

I'll write up my first update soon, but it's interesting, because I haven't had any of those problems. My wide players have been the most impactful ones, we're doing pretty well against crosses, Camp has been as heroic as in real life, and I haven't had a single cross turn into a shot against me. 

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11 minutes ago, jengaehassim said:

The squad looks way too big in my opinion, you could sell some CBs and CMs to get rid of their wages.

The transfer window's just closed, but in January I'll try to offload the deadwood. A lot of the CMs are in on loans, though - we only actually 'own' two CMs that are currently with the club.

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August

Real life:

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FM:

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Our goal difference and performance in the cup is a big improvement, but I'm disappointed to also have only taken three points in the league.

The Wolves game was the first time most of the squad had played together in a competitive game, and it showed. A much stronger Wolves side ran rings around us, and there's no complaints about the result.

I kept the team strong for the Doncaster game, and we were dominant throughout. They scored two sloppy goals, but they never posed a serious threat regardless.

Aston Villa is one of the biggest scalps in the club's recent history. Villa were dominant, but some heroics in goal from Lee Camp combined with excellent counter attacking football gave us a huge upset win in front of 32,000 people.

I was really disappointed with the result of the Brighton game. We were 2-1 up heading into the last 20 minutes, but we just threw it away. We have to get better at closing out leads.

We bounced back really strongly against Bournemouth. We were the better side for most of the game - while their superior quality eventually shone through, we really made them work for that win.

Losing to your rivals is always extremely disappointing, and the Barnsley game is no different. We were the better side, but just couldn't get the ball in the back of the net, and Sam Winnall's goal on the stroke of half time was all it took for them to take the three points.

 

Players

Izzy Brown has been the standout player, with 3 goals and 2 assists in 7 starts on the left wing. Jon Taylor has been putting in some good displays down the right and has 3 assists, but he just can't find that elusive first goal for the club. 

 

 

In goal, Lee Camp has done pretty well. He's made some fantastic saves, but there have been moments that he's looked a bit shaky.

Joe Mattock at LB and Dael Fry at CB have been excellent defensively. Kirk Broadfoot has taken the other CB role and performed well, while Darnell Fisher on the right has been up and down.

Dominic Ball has seen some gametime as a DM depending on the formation we use, and he's done nicely there. We've had an injury crisis at CM, with Lee Frecklington, Scott Allan, Will Vaulks and Tom Adeyemi all missing time. Frecklington is the worst one - after straining his groin in preseason, he lasted just nine minutes of his first league start before straining his calf. We really need him healthy if we're going to perform.

Danny Ward has also been snakebitten upfront, featuring in just two games so far. Dexter Blackstock wasn't bad leading the line in his absence, but we really need Ward and Frecklington to stay fit.

 

Tactics

This is the first time I've ever done this, but I don't actually have one default tactic that I use in most of my games. Instead, I've been rotating through two based on the way the opposition line up. Here they are:

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They're fairly similar, but sometimes I'll feel that we need that anchorman just to solidify things at the back. I'm pretty happy with the performances so far with both, and I'm confident the results will soon start to follow.

 

Transfers

The transfer window slammed shut, but not before we made one signing, bringing in Mark Russell from Greenock Morton for £66,000. Exciting, right?

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He's a young player with good potential at a position we desperately need cover in. I'm happy enough with the signing. Expect us to potentially do some big business in January.

 

So... I've never done a monthly update before. Anything I've missed out? Anything that I've done excessively and you don't need to see?

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Nice update :thup:.  Well done beating Villa but Barnsley loss :(.  I took your comments into consideration, changed formation slightly and my god my luck has changed.   Moved up to 17th on 21 points after 18 games.  Izzy got a hat-trick vs Reading so I found myself singing "Izzy Izzy Brown, Izzy Brown, Izzy Izzy Brown" :lol:.  Won 5 out of my last 6.  Wilson/Fry are beasts conceded 2 goals in 6 games!

My tactics now

 

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You shouldn't of sold Newell!  Just beat Leeds 1 - 0 with this goal!   Not stressed anymore :lol:.
 

 

Edited by SpillBlood

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@SpillBlood: 1m is 1m :lol: Looks like your fortunes are changing, but it's interesting that you've using Wilson. I haven't used him once yet, but I might have to change that. Fry is fantastic, though.

Izzy Brown, Taylor and Ward are a superb attacking trio - just like it should be in real life!

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Wilson came in due to Broadfoot being injured and Ball is cutting it at all.  Wilson played 13, scored 3 avg of 7.24.

Have you been using Vaulks?  He's been pretty good just likes getting injured :lol:.

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Just now, SpillBlood said:

Wilson came in due to Broadfoot being injured and Ball is cutting it at all.  Wilson played 13, scored 3 avg of 7.24.

Have you been using Vaulks?  He's been pretty good just likes getting injured :lol:.

I really like Vaulks (both in real life and on FM). All my CMs are constantly getting injured, so I'm pretty much forced to rotate them all into the lineup. I've found that Ball is a useful DM, but I wouldn't trust him at CB. Halford is on the sidelines and complaining, just like real life :lol: 

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Yeah my CMs are like an injury rotation.  Just lost Ward for two months aswell.  Blackstock isn't pulling any string though.  Izzy upfront maybe?  I tried Ball as DM but I'd rather play Halford there if Adeyemi isn't available.

Edited by SpillBlood

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September

Real Life:

9ed8f82387afc4f3db953d742caddacb.png

FM:

83e40cdba8db67b79f09a0ef6ad99510.png

Better. Much, much better.

The Bristol City game was won by pure tactical genius, if I do say so myself. They were playing a 4-2-3-1, with Lee Tomlin at CAM and Atdhe Nuhiu at ST. I moved to our formation with a DM, and told our DM (Dominic Ball) his only job was to sit on Tomlin all game. I then moved one CB (Kirk Broadfoot) as a stopper and told him his only job was to man mark Nuhiu (who is huge, but a bit rubbish) and nothing else, with our other CB going as a covering defender behind him. The end result was us absolutely battering them. Every time they got the ball, they'd look for Tomlin, but Ball could just step infront of it and win possession back. If it got past Ball, Broadfoot was standing right on Nuhiu. Their only option was out wide - it eventually got them one goal, but they just weren't in the game at all. It could easily have been 4 or 5 to us.

We went 2-0 up on Nottingham Forest early. They fought back quickly and had chances to snatch a point, but just couldn't find the target.

Blackburn... the less said the better. We just didn't turn up for that one.

Cardiff gave us a good battle, and it marked the first time I was up against Neil Warnock, but he won this round. They were everything you'd expect a Neil Warnock side to be, and a goal in the first minute was enough to give them the win.

Lastly came Huddersfield. They probably had the better of the chances, but we were just more clinical than they were on the day.

9 points from a possible 15 is a superb achievement, especially considering Rotherham in real life will be lucky to have 9 points from 15 games. We need to keep that up come October.

 

Players:

We've had a disaster on the injury front. In that Huddersfield game, both Jon Taylor and Izzy Brown got injured - Taylor is out for 6-7 weeks, Brown for 3-4. That means we have one proper winger left in the squad in Anthony Forde. I'm going to need to sign an emergency free agent, and fast. What makes it even worse is that those were two of our standout players. We're going to be a lot weaker without them.

Dael Fry was extremely inconsistent this month, but Kirk Broadfoot was a rock alongside him. Joe Mattock and Darnell Fisher are putting in solid performances at FB for us.

DM/CM is still a revolving door. Dominic Ball also fell victim to the injury curse, and he'll be out for two months. That means Greg Halford or Tom Adeyemi will have to step up into that DM role when we use it - but I prefer Adeyemi at CM, and Halford may be needed on the wing for now. At CM, Lee Frecklington, Will Vaulks and Jake Forster-Caskey are playing well, while Scott Allan is recovering from injury.

Danny Ward is back fit and on fire, which means Dexter Blackstock hasn't got a look in this month. As long as Ward stays healthy, he's the first name on the teamsheet.

 

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Good form! Harsh luck with injuries though.

I remember Darnell Fisher from FM 14, I think, used to be a very good signing in that game.

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