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Can cunning coach create Chimney Corner continental champions?

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Introduction

I've decided to go for a slightly altered Gundo's challenge from N. Ireland again for FM17 as I enjoyed my FM16 save with Immaculata and I find the N. Irish league system the most interesting to play in out of all leagues in the British Isles. The Brexit scenario will provide an interesting unpredictability, if we were lucky enough to get Irish re-unification that would be great as work permits are a breeze in the R.O.I., on the other hand we could remain and get a hard brexit which would make the challenge exceptionally difficult but we'll have to wait and see.

I'll be attempting the challenge this time with the team Chimney Corner F.C.

chimney_corner_badge.png

The Antrim based club was founded in 1952 and the club has been regular participants in the lower reaches of the N. Irish leagues often playing seasons in the 3rd tier. They haven't ever graced the top flight in their history and have often struggled to maintain their status in the 3rd tier which was lost at the end of season 2013/14 when they resigned from the league and opted to join the Ballymena and Provincial Football League. They have some cup success with 4 Steel & Sons Cup and 4 Intermediate Cup wins but haven't enjoyed much success in the more significant League Cup or Irish Cup. 


Club

Nice to see some rivalries which I'll look forward to, the club is going to take a lot of work behind the scenes to become anywhere near decent though

Facilities 

A tiny little stadium but at least it has a grass surface, good to see some youth recruitment although I can't imagine any stars are going to come through the youth system without some serious investment

Squad 

We are going to need a rebuild without question as we don't even have enough players to fill the bench and I can't see many of these amateur players making the grade. How we go about building the squad is going to be vital, so the upcoming transfer window is going to be a flurry of activity for sure

Finances 

I guess I'll enjoy the positive bank balance while I can as once it's gone it won't be returning for quite some time

Game setup:

I've decided to load all the leagues from the UK & Ireland even though I'll be playing exclusively in N. Ireland. I've gone with a large database and added all current international players from around the world to give a database size of 31,900. I hope that it's balanced as I have a total of 17 leagues so I'm hoping to see a fairly active transfer market.

Starting Conditions:

Interestingly, Glenavon were champions of season 2016/17 with Cliftonville trailing them in 2nd, Glentoran finishing 3rd and Linfield finishing a lowly 4th. Those teams will be the nations representatives in Europe next season. Portadown finished an impressive 8th after their points deduction and Ards were relegated from the top flight. Warrenpoint Town got promoted back to the top division and Ballyclare will join us in the NIFL PIL giving us a couple of games against our rivals.

League Reputations

NIFL Premier Intermediate League - 359th

NIFL Championship - 290th

Danske Bank Premiership - 106th

All are falling which is to be expected. No club is professional and seeing as Linfield didn't win the league no club look likely to become professional either which is great as it gives us time.


I'd like to thank www.logo-world.net for their club and competition badges which I've added to the game

 

Edited by pheelf

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CHIMNEY CORNER F.C.

Season 2017 / 2018


SEASON EXPECTATIONS

I would like to start the climb up the leagues as soon as possible but given that I had so much work to do to build a squad capable of promotion a season of consolidation wouldn't be unwelcome



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League Table - Once I had the squad settled down we were actually pretty decent and were in the promotion picture practically all the way through the season. Our chances of promotion however were blown with a few too many draws when we conceded late goals. We also developed a bad habit of losing critical games against our main rivals for promotion which ended our hopes. Next season the league will be joined by relegated P.S.N.I and Annagh United so it's going to be a tougher battle for promotion next season but I'm ready for the fight. Was a bit disgruntled to see one of our rivals take home the title
 
Domestic Cups - Didn't expect much out of any of the cups but we put in a reasonable effort. The low point was losing 2-0 to non-league Ballymoney United in the S&S Cup whereas the highlight was the 0-0 draw we managed against Dungannon in the Irish Cup which could have easily been a win had we taken any of the multitude of chances we created. The cups aren't important for us yet but I was heartened to see the run of Newington in the Irish Cup. They made it all the way to the final to play Ballymena United and only lost narrowly 1-0 after conceding a penalty in stoppage time of extra time. It would have been quite a story to see a team from the 3rd tier play in Europe but on the other hand it wouldn't have been too helpful for the coefficient
 
Reserves - As our reserves don't participate in a league there was nothing to post here, I may start to create friendlies for them however as the team often struggled for fitness especially when trying to bed in previously unattached players mid season
 
U18s - Not bad considering that before the intake the team consisted of nothing but grey players
 
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Squad – It took a while but I feel with a few additions (which I'm working on) that this side should be more than capable of getting promoted. It has a much younger feel than earlier in the season when my 2 starting central defenders had a combined age of nearly 80 but as the season went on I began to bring in some younger players which are decent NIFL Championship level players. I've been given £600p/w more on the budget bringing us up to around £2,000p/w so I will be dipping into the transfer market again. I will be looking for a Goalkeeper to act as backup to Blaney, a couple of central defenders to go along with the quality player joining us on the 1st July, another central midfielder / attacking midfielder and possibly another Striker as Mullen was woeful in front of goal when he played which I feel cost us our chance of promotion

Transfers – A lot of activity as you can see, I'd say that the most significant transfers would be the transfers in after about say October as they were vast improvements on the players which came in earlier. I am however pleased that despite offers from higher divisions for some of our better players they remained loyal to us which I really appreciate, hopefully I can vindicate them by getting promoted as a reward
 
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Dale Noble – STC - Average Rating : 7.19
He did well and perhaps I was a little bit too keen to drop him when I brought Mullen into the club as while Noble scored, Mullen didn't so I should have had more faith in his abilities. He will definitely be around the first team next season

YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Sam Knox – DL - Average Rating : 7.07
A solid full back who did well defensively, would have been nice to see a better attacking contribution in terms of assists but if he can put in another similar performance next season I'll be more than happy

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Finances – The dreaded red rears it's head but to be honest I expected it to be far worse than it is so overall I'm not too concerned. I'd be very surprised if these don't get wrecked next season though as I aim for promotion and will be looking to spend every possible pound of my new higher wage budget

Facilities – No change which is going to be the case for quite some time

Youth Intake – You know what, for a first intake that's not too bad at all. Can't see many of them being able to help us too much on our journey but they could provide some very useful backups for unimportant games and when my first team players need a rest
 
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League Reputation – The top flight went up a couple of places which isn't too bad, hopefully I can get up into the top league and in a position to influence it before it drops too far
 
Club Domestic Reputation – The fact that I can see the top is promising and being ahead of both Annagh United and P.S.N.I gives me reason to be optimistic

Club European Reputation – We don't register on a European scale yet so I'll take the opportunity to report how the other N. Irish teams got on in Europe
 
Glenavon - Knocked out of UEFA Champions League 2nd Qualifying Round 5-0 on agg. by Rosenborg
Cliftonville - Knocked out of UEFA Europa League 2nd Qualifying Round 2-1 on agg. by FC Viitorul Constanta
Glentoran - Knocked out of UEFA Europa League 1st Qualifying Round 4-0 on agg. by Dacia Chisinau
Linfield - Knocked out of UEFA Europa League 3rd Qualifying Round 4-1 on agg. by HNK Hajduk Split
 
Next season the participants in Europe will be:
 
Linfield - League Champions - UEFA Champions League
Cliftonville - Finished 2nd in DBP - UEFA Europa League
Ballymena United - Finished 3rd in DBP and won Irish Cup - UEFA Europa League
Glentoran - Finished 7th in DBP and won DBP Europa League playoff - UEFA Europa League
 
A little ominous seeing Linfield as Champions as they will be getting a windfall from the Champions League, if they make a couple of rounds they probably go professional the season after which is a concern
 
Edited by pheelf

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CHIMNEY CORNER F.C.

Season 2018 / 2019


SEASON EXPECTATIONS

The board demands that we get promoted and that is what we should be aiming for this season



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League Table - I expected us to be able to stroll to the title, I was very wrong!!....This was a little bit too close for comfort. We started the season atrociously winning our first game but going on to lose the next 3. Thankfully, we recovered although we only guaranteed 2nd place after a scrappy 2-1 win over Annagh United away on the last day
 
NIFL Championship Relegation Playoff - I was really quite optimistic going into the playoff. We had good morale and they were suffering an injury crisis and had terrible morale. It was that which made the difference in the end as we convincingly put them away at their ground meaning that the home leg became more of promotion party than anything else
 
Domestic Cups - The Intermediate Cup final appearance was great even if ultimately we ended up on the losing side. Outside of that we basically repeated last seasons performance, was a little bit disappointed to lose to Lisburn Distillery in the Irish Cup though
 
Reserves - I scheduled a friendly every Wednesday which helped us to ensure that we had a first team full of match fit players which I sense helped us greatly
 
U18s - We done better in the league which is a bonus although the team became decimated before the new intake as non-league teams snapped up our youth players which were all on non-contracts
 
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Squad – I have added numbers next to the players name to give you a sense of why next season is going to have to bring another squad rebuild. According to my coach reports the number indicates the level of football that they see the player being at least decent at based on their current ability. As you can see we have 2 players (Dempster ST & Lavery AMR) who would be decent for the DBP and 3 players (Rodgers RB, Loughran CD & Hassett CM) who would be at least decent for the Championship. Outside of them they see nobody else capable of making the step up for next season. As a result we are going to need a lot of players and I hope that my board decide to increase the wage budget to allow this.
 
Another point I'd like to mention about the squad is that I've come to understand that more than anything else (tactics, training etc.) the single most important factor affecting performances is morale. Earlier in the season I was selecting players entirely based on their perceived ability and they just didn't perform well at all. When I started to select lower ability players even if they were tired or unfit as long as they had better morale than the player I was replacing them with I found that it correlated with better performances on the pitch. From now on my player selection considerations in decreasing order of merit will be morale, ability, condition, fitness and then form.

Transfers – We did alright in the transfer market although it was rather gutting to see one of our best central defenders Harwood leave for Dundela after only signing in July. The loans in added depth but didn't really set the world alight. We've got a lot of work to do next season as we are going to start to have to look for players of higher ability which may prove difficult
 
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Stefan McMaster – AMC - Average Rating : 7.31
Although he did a great job this season and the fans have a great affinity toward him I can't envision him being capable of making the step up that is needed. He may prove me wrong but I wouldn't want to have to depend on him to put in a performance like this again as against better players I feel he would get found out

YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Tre Sterling – CM - Average Rating : 7.01
A very acceptable performance with much consistency thrown in. I feel he could develop further and my coaches believe that he could become a decent DBP level player so he may still play a part in the first team next season if I can't find anybody of higher ability

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Finances – This is why I remain concerned over what the board will grant me at the start of next season as a wage budget. We need serious investment and if we are stuck with only £2,000p/w we are going to struggle to attract the type of player we need to further progress in this career. If I'm not given much extra budget then I'm going to have to start looking at player loans and possibly asking for a senior affiliate, I have an affiliation with both Ballymena United and Linfield but they are only for friendlies and I can't negotiate them

Facilities – No changes but the pitch is really in an appalling state which is beginning to attract commentary from other managers in the league. That is the issue with having natural grass surfaces but then again it may work in our favour as opposition teams won't be able to play a fancy dan tika taka against us which might help close the gap in ability levels when they are forced to scrap with us Wimbledon style

Youth Intake – Not bad, not good enough to tag any player though. The stars are relative to our team and the vast majority of players aren't good enough to play in the league which we got promoted into so I can't see them being much help to us, maybe one or two might surprise us...who knows?
 
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League Reputation – Happy to see that for sure as any improvement is welcome
 
Club Domestic Reputation – I find it quite odd that after promotion our reputation seems to have gotten worse, non-league Coagh United & Dollingstown are ahead of us for crying out loud

Club European Reputation – Until we register on this scale below is the performances of the N. Irish contingent in Europe

Linfield - Knocked out of UEFA Champions League 2nd Qualifying Round 3-3 on agg. on the away goals rule by FK Zalgiris Vilnius

Cliftonville - Knocked out of UEFA Europa League 2nd Qualifying Round 5-0 on agg. by FC Randers

Ballymena United - Knocked out of UEFA Europa League 1st Qualifying Round 4-1 on agg. by UMF Stjarnan

Glentoran - Knocked out of UEFA Europa League 1st Qualifying Round 5-0 on agg. by KF Kukesi
 
Next season the participants in Europe will be:
 
Cliftonville - League Champions - UEFA Champions League
Linfield - Finished 2nd in DBP - UEFA Europa League
Glentoran - Finished 5th in DBP and won Irish Cup - UEFA Europa League
Glenavon - Finished 7th in DBP and won DBP Europa League playoff - UEFA Europa League
 
Linfield's financial status has risen to 'Secure' which means that professional status may be coming the season after next
Edited by pheelf

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CHIMNEY CORNER F.C.

Season 2019 / 2020


SEASON EXPECTATIONS

You certainly can't level the accusation of being unambitious to the board. After promotion last season they want the club to be in the promotion playoff this season which means finishing at least 3rd. I would have been happy for a season of consolidation but perhaps I'm underestimating how good a team we really are and finishing in the top 3 isn't as far fetched a notion as first thought



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League Table - I was ecstatic with that result which led us to meeting the board expectation. It was an erratic season form wise as we often had dips where we couldn't buy a win and then other times when we would go and win 5 on the trot or draw 3 games in a row. Thankfully, the bad form runs were shorter than the good form runs which led us to finish where we did. We even had the luxury of playing a youth team for the final matchday as we secured our place in the playoff early which meant my first team players were well rested for the first leg against Carrick Rangers. The youth team even pulled off a final day 1-0 win at home to H&W Welders which was especially pleasing and meant we held on to 2nd. Was nice to get my first manager accolade when I got the Manager of the Month for February
 
Danske Bank Premiership Promotion Playoff - Oh my, what a tense couple of ties these were. In the first leg against Carrick we blasted our way into a 2-0 lead early which looked to justify my resting of players but they showed some unbelievable guts and scored 2 goals in a minute after 60 minutes to roar back into the tie. We stopped playing at that point and it was only thanks to some heroic defending and inept finishing by them that we escaped Taylor's Avenue with a draw. The second leg was no less tense, we were badly let down by our strikers but thankfully for us our defenders played well and kept them to a draw which gave us the lottery of the penalty shootout. Luckily for us they were terrible at penalties and we won 3-2 in the shootout.
 
Ballinamallard United was probably one of the most difficult teams we could have faced but I sensed a degree of weakness with them going into the 1st leg. As there is no away goals rule my game plan was to take a lead with us to Ferney Park. Once again our attackers drew a blank so we had to depend on our defenders keeping a clean sheet which they did. As the 2nd leg is a week after the 1st I knew that this was going to be a battle, they were going to be fresh and up for the challenge so I knew we really had to perform well to give ourselves a chance. They came out flying but once again my defence held firm and my attack flopped giving us the cruelest way possible to decide who would be playing in the top league next season. We lucked out!!...much like Carrick they were woeful at penalties with my goalkeeper saving 3 which were driven right at the centre of the goal which handed us the victory. Top flight here we come!!
 
Domestic Cups - We took massive strides this season in the important cups with the Irish Cup run being particularly pleasing. It was also nice to see us only narrowly missing out on the Co. Antrim Shield final, we lost only after a 119th minute penalty against Linfield. Given they are one of the best teams in the top league it gives me encouragement that we might have at least a reasonable chance of staying up next season
 
Reserves - I hope that next season we get placed straight into the Reserves league so that I don't have to faff about scheduling a whole bunch of friendlies all the time. If I do get the invitation it might then be time to hire a Reserves Manager too as they will be competing in the Intermediate and Steel & Sons Cups
 
U18s - Not too bad at all for their first season in the top youth league. The cup performance wasn't too impressive but I can't really expect miracles at this point from the players as they are at best division 4 players
 
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Squad – Once again at the end of the season I decided to tag the players. This time I've put letters next to the number which represents the league my coaches feel their current ability would allow them to play well in. G=Good, WS = Well suited, L = Leading and D = Decent. One thing is painfully obvious...I only have one player in AMR Lavery who is even capable of making the step up to the top flight based on current ability. In time some of the players might be capable of playing at the new level but I don't think that will be enough for me to stay up as I need that ability now and not in the future. All indicators lead me to believe that next season's summer transfer window is going to be hectic. I was badly let down time and time again by my strikers so that will be a priority. The ability to offer part-time contracts should hopefully make a massive difference to the players I can attract as previously good players weren't interested in signing a non-contract. I'm unable to offer PT contracts yet so I'm hoping that when the season reset date comes that I'll be able to do so then

Transfers – We were busy but didn't really do much to strengthen significantly as we couldn't as no player worth their salt was interested. Instead I opted to get what we could in the form of talented young players in unfortunate circumstances from lower levels such as Toal CM, Richardson RB and Cooling AMC. They did a very good job although some of the transfers in such as Soares AMC were complete flops. The Soares saga was a rather annoying one as he would only sign if I agreed to play him as an Advanced Playmaker AMC but his passing attribute is 3 and I feel when I succumbed to the request we suffered and it probably cost us putting in a proper challenge for the title.
 
It wasn't great either to have Richardson kick off about not adding to the coaching staff as I had promised right before the Ballinamallard United promotion playoff 1st leg, he should have waited until the season had ended then come to me. Given that he is on a non-contract it left me with only 2 options which were to endure his wrath or let him go which I didn't want to do as he is a very good player for us. Therefore what ended up happening was that we ended up with a player revolt which damaged morale severely going into the games. If we had ultimately lost out on promotion because of it I would have never forgiven him for that but we didn't so it's OK. It was also rather vexing how we lost Dempster ST to Coleraine as we were unable to adequately replace him which hindered us greatly. Hassett CM was also a big loss to Crusaders but I'm hoping now that we are in the DBP that we can hold on to players and start getting in some fees for them if they want to leave
 
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Jake Richardson – RB - Average Rating : 7.17
He had a great season and was very consistent which is surprising given his lowly attributes. His outburst before a vital game however left a very bitter taste in the mouth especially since the board wouldn't allow me to add to the coaching staff, that alone might be reason enough to let him go in the summer

YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Tre Sterling – CM - Average Rating : 6.96
I didn't feel he would be good enough for the Championship but he ended up playing the majority of the games and proved me wrong by putting in the best performances of all my players 21 and younger. I think the Premiership may be a step too far for him but I'd be happy to be proven wrong again if I'm forced to play him

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Finances – Starting to really plunge into the red here. However, I'm quite optimistic for the future as we are in the top division at the first time of asking which should give our finances a considerable boost. I'm not overly concerned about the situation and I will be spending every possible pound of the newly increased wage budget so that I can give us the best chance of survival. The board looks like they'll be sticking around for quite some time which is good so to improve the situation financially I'm probably looking at qualifying for Europe which could take a few seasons. Overall though I'm pleased as I feel the club is progressing ahead of schedule

Facilities – The pitch needs relaying but we don't have the money to do that so we are going to have to play in a mud bath for the near future. Mercifully, we don't seem to suffer all that many injuries but with the increased amount of fixtures next season that surely is going to be tested to the max and I know that I'm going to get it in the neck from visiting teams managers all season long

Youth Intake – I'm not sure what to really make of these intakes at the moment. I think the proper test will be next seasons intake when hopefully the stars will be a comparison between the youth candidates and DBP level players which will truly reveal whether they are going to have a future here or not
 
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League Reputation – What a wonderful improvement!!...We're almost as reputable as the 5th tier in England which is not bad going at all. If the teams can make some progress in Europe next season there is every chance we could make the top 75
 
Club Domestic Reputation – We're going to have the lowest reputation in the whole of the top flight but that's fine with me considering where we have come from

Club European Reputation – Until we register on this scale below is the performances of the N. Irish contingent in Europe

Cliftonville - Knocked out of UEFA Champions League 2nd Qualifying Round 7-0 on agg. by GNK Dinamo

Linfield - Knocked out of UEFA Europa League 2nd Qualifying Round 3-2 on agg. by Dinamo Minsk

Glentoran - Knocked out of UEFA Europa League 2nd Qualifying Round 5-0 on agg. by AE Larissa 1964

Glenavon - Knocked out of UEFA Europa League 1st Qualifying Round 5-0 on agg. by IF Elfsborg
 
Next season the participants in Europe will be:
 
Cliftonville - League Champions - UEFA Champions League
Glentoran - Finished 2nd in DBP - UEFA Europa League
Linfield - Finished 3rd in DBP - UEFA Europa League
Coleraine - Finished 5th in DBP and won DBP Europa League playoff - UEFA Europa League

In the words of Martin Lawrence from the film Bad Boys II "S*** just got real"....Linfield are now a professional outfit which is going to make life much more difficult...:(

Edited by pheelf

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CHIMNEY CORNER F.C.

Season 2020 / 2021


SEASON EXPECTATIONS

As long as there isn't a big R next to the teams name in the final league table I'll be happy and the board agree. The media however have us down as finishing 10th which would avoid the relegation scrap altogether but I'm not so sure about that



New_the_Season_logo.png
 
League Table - The definition of the word struggle. We started fairly well getting an opening day draw at home to Glenavon which was followed by a narrow 2-1 win over Crusaders which would become rivals in the relegation dogfight. We didn't win again until we had another 6 pointer (or in the case of N. Ireland 12 pointer) against Loughgall which we won narrowly 2-1 after a sequence of 4 games without a win. We then drew 2 games, then lost 3 and then drew another 3 before picking up a narrow 1-0 win away at Portadown. Then it all fell apart..:(...we didn't win another game throughout the whole of November, December or January and only managed a pathetic return of 3 points in 3 months. This had us rock bottom of the table and the situation looked dire, thankfully we pulled off a narrow 1-0 win over Glentoran to break our terrible run on the last matchday of February. Thankfully our post split form was much better and gave us 10 points out of a possible 15 which pushed us up into 11th and the relegation playoff
 
Danske Bank Premiership Promotion Playoff - I don't know whether they were tired but they were diabolical in that first leg and surrendered. 8-1 it finished at their ground which meant I could breathe easy for the 2nd leg and look forward to another season in the top flight
 
Domestic Cups - The cups probably tell the story of the season the best. Early on we did well in the League Cup & Co. Antrim Shield but as the grind of the league began to set in you can see how a combination of poor morale and terrible form quickly scuppered any progress in the Irish Cup
 
Reserves - Not too shabby for their first attempt at the Reserves league and cups. Mid table and a semi final is quite an achievement considering that the majority of the players in the team are Championship level players at best
 
U18s - A reasonable performance in the cup and steady in the league
 
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Squad – With the squad at our disposal it's no surprise that we struggled so badly in the league but I see reasons to be hopeful although I will again be investing heavily for next season. Our better players are young and with plenty of scope to develop which means that in time we should improve as a team. It's not like last season when a lot of them were going into the unknown having never played in the top flight, next season they will have a years experience to reference and should be far better adjusted to the level of performance demanded. Next season's summer transfer window will be spent looking for hot prospects to fill in areas of weakness such as RB and the AML slot with hopefully some experienced heads around to keep the upstarts in check. I have decided to adopt a new formation of a 4-1-2-3 Wide after scrambling around playing around with 4-4-2, 4-4-1-1 & 4-2-3-1 which I'm hoping will work out better

Transfers – I was more than happy with my deals this season. Once again I stuck to the strategy of buying talented youngsters from the lower divisions and giving them a chance to showcase their talents, this time in the top flight which has been great for their development. I was especially pleased with James Heslip GK who proved to be an inspired signing. Larne will come to rue losing him on a free especially since he just received a bid from Birmingham for his services so he must be pretty decent. The offer wasn't for much money but the 50% next sale clause could prove lucrative if he becomes the player I think he'll be. I'm glad for the increased wage budget which puts us at around £5Kp/w which gives me plenty of room to get some more quality players in
 
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Evan Keogh – ST - Average Rating : 7.40
Even in a struggling side the new signing from Ards (our first for a fee) was banging them in for fun on occasion and was DBP Young player of the year. He is already an important player at the club and with further development I can see him becoming a priceless component of the first team. I can't wait to see what a full season in the top flight will do for his attributes, I just need to get in better defenders so that we can better reap the rewards of his goal scoring form and turn some of those draws into wins

YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Conor Cooling – CM - Average Rating : 7.12
Another player who performed to a high standard in a team which overall wasn't doing well. He chipped in with some important goals and I sense that next season will only get better, if he has a weakness it most probably is his balanced personality meaning he won't develop as quickly combined with his below average passing attribute which isn't great for a central midfielder expected to control that area of the park

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Finances – Down into the well we go...where does it end? Nobody knows. At least there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon as we are in the middle of a takeover. Sadly for us it appears to be a local businessman which more than likely won't really do much other than take out a loan to cover our debt which is going to make the building of the club much more difficult. Maybe it'll flop and he'll revoke the offer so that a consortium can take over but I wouldn't hold your breath. It's not all doom and gloom though as I got a nice boost to my wage budget which will come in handy.
 
Also Brexit happened!!!...:eek:...yeah...nothing changed :lol:...perhaps the best outcome of them all...would have been nice to play in N. Ireland without work permits but at least this way I don't have to worry about rule changes

Facilities – Still no change but we are getting a bit desperate for a pitch relay. I wanted to ask for one but as I'm going through a board takeover it hasn't been possible. It needs sorting though as it's seriously hindering our style of play although without the funds I can't see it happening anytime soon even when the option is no longer greyed out

Youth Intake – The truth is...they're not very good. Maybe Brady might do something in time but the rest are just filling out the numbers really
 
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League Reputation – Carry on like this and we'll be 2 star without our team even kicking a ball in Europe, the amount of improvement does seem a bit strange to me considering that the teams that have been competing in Europe generally get knocked out in the first round they compete in
 
Club Domestic Reputation – Still no national reputation which is a little annoying as I would have thought that our appearance in the top league would give us national recognition at the very least. Hopefully if we can improve next season we might just get an extra 0.5*

Club European Reputation – Until we register on this scale below is the performances of the N. Irish contingent in Europe

Cliftonville - Knocked out of UEFA Champions League 2nd Qualifying Round 4-1 on agg. by FK Aktobe (that's a shocking result...they are by a wide margin the worst team they could have faced)

Glentoran - Knocked out of UEFA Europa League 1st Qualifying Round 7-1 on agg. by Beroe Stara Zagora (another disgrace quite frankly)

Linfield - Knocked out of UEFA Europa League 3rd Qualifying Round 3-2 on agg. by Sparta Prague (the only team which bows out with a shred of their reputation intact)

Coleraine - Knocked out of UEFA Europa League 1st Qualifying Round 5-0 on agg. by MTK Budapest FC (utterly pathetic)
 
Next season the participants in Europe will be:
 
Cliftonville - League Champions - UEFA Champions League
Coleraine- Finished 2nd in DBP - UEFA Europa League
Ballymena United - Finished 4th in DBP and won DBP Europa League playoff - UEFA Europa League
Glentoran - Finished 5th in DBP and runners-up in DBP Europa League playoff which owing to Coleraine winning the Irish Cup gave them a place - UEFA Europa League

Not good...Linfield missing out on Europe altogether won't be good for them financially and a bunch of terrible results in Europe, next season I can see the league reputation taking a nosedive

Edited by pheelf

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Cool to see somebody else starting their save out in NI - the first two seasons of my journeyman save have been there with Loughgall, where I was pleasingly successful - a freak Irish Cup win meant I had European money for my second season to really revamp the squad and push for the Premier Division title. Jake Richardson and Stefan McMaster were both part of that squad  :D 

Good luck with your save!! I'm no longer in NI, but I'd actually gotten quite attached to the league and had been thinking about doing a similar challenge to see how far I could push it. I'll be following this keenly!

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9 hours ago, ExiledKopite said:

Cool to see somebody else starting their save out in NI - the first two seasons of my journeyman save have been there with Loughgall, where I was pleasingly successful - a freak Irish Cup win meant I had European money for my second season to really revamp the squad and push for the Premier Division title. Jake Richardson and Stefan McMaster were both part of that squad  :D 

Good luck with your save!! I'm no longer in NI, but I'd actually gotten quite attached to the league and had been thinking about doing a similar challenge to see how far I could push it. I'll be following this keenly!

Thank you for your comment. Getting Europe with Loughgall is a great achievement, who did you have to beat to win the cup?

If you wanted to do a similar challenge that would be great, it's always interesting to see how other players approach the game

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CHIMNEY CORNER F.C.

Season 2021 / 2022


SEASON EXPECTATIONS

The board would be happy with a mid-table finish which I feel is fairly consistent with our standing in the league. Personally, I'd like to try to finish in the top half and challenge for a Europa League spot as I feel that we should be capable of achieving that



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League Table - Was quite gutted to narrowly miss out on the opportunity to fight for a Europa League spot. We started badly with 2 losses which had me feeling that perhaps we were in for another season of struggle. We then went on to win 4 on the bounce which had me feeling much more upbeat. Then once again our now customary collapse happened and we didn't win another game for 2 months. We recovered but were so inconsistent and couldn't seem to get any sort of a run going at all often having sequences such as WLWLW. We kept our hopes alive of making the top 6 approaching the split but narrow defeats to Ballymena United and Glenavon ruined our chances. We still were in the picture to finish 7th but a narrow 1-0 loss to Glentoran in our first match after the split pretty much ended that possibility. Have we made progress? Yes...Could we have done better? Definitely...if we could be a bit more ruthless going forwards and solid at the back we really could be challenging at the upper end of the table
 
Domestic Cups - It was pleasing to make the Co. Antrim Shield final even though our run wasn't overly difficult. Plan B for getting European football was winning the Irish Cup but unfortunately for us we threw away our 3-2 lead and were heavily beaten in the replay. The draw was opening up as Linfield were knocked out and if we could have got past Cliftonville then the worst we could have faced was Coleraine but it just wasn't to be, I am however encouraged by our progress
 
Reserves - Very good league performance but the cups were poor
 
U18s - We need money to invest in our youth team, until that happens I wouldn't expect to see much better performances going forward
 
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Squad – We have some very talented youngsters which is great but without a solid core to support them we are going to continue to produce inconsistent form. The CM, DMC & DR positions need attention with the CM position being of great concern. Having only one player at the whole club who is seen as decent for the DBP in CM is a real problem. Much like a domino effect, if my central midfield can't effectively control the centre of the park it has bad consequences for my defenders and front 3. If the supply isn't there it doesn't matter how good my front 3 are as we won't ever see the best of them. I've been scouting widely and have identified a few central midfielders which could be of interest  

Transfers – I needed to replace Crawford LB and Heslip GK and I feel we did well by acquiring O'Rourke LB and McGrath GK which are of comparable ability. There seems to be some decent goalkeeping talent in the lower leagues and I will continue to pluck players from obscurity if I feel they can make the step up. Lowry DM was a disappointment who was on a large wage but he is retiring so that should free up some room on the wage budget. Buchanan gives me great depth in the AMR position along with Lavery and Blair AML is now a first choice. The other free transfers out were mainly youth players
 
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Joey Jones – CD - Average Rating : 7.06
Given the amount of competition he has for the central defender role I was impressed with his ability to obtain a high level of consistency. He played the most games of my entire defence and was very solid. His low determination however is concerning and I feel that perhaps he is about to start declining so may need to be replaced

YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Evan Keogh – ST - Average Rating : 6.97
He personifies everything I look for from a young player. Good personality, consistent development and good performances. I feel that he could be even better if he has players behind him in central midfield with a comparable ability. I may never find out though as his contract expires at the end of the season and he doesn't want to negotiate as he feels the squad isn't strong enough to match his ambitions. I'm hoping that if I can get in some quality he may change his mind but he is just as likely to leave, worst still for the fact that Linfield have previously shown an interest in him

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Finances – This is why we so desperately need Europe and the cash influx it would bring. We are now nearly £400K in the hole. £221K from a loan taken out by the new local investor board and the rest being the negative balance you see in the screenshot. The finances are 'Insecure' and as a result the board won't grant me a single thing which is really slowing the progress we can make off the pitch.
 
For those that are interested, Albania, Montenegro & Serbia all joined the EU at the end of the season. I wonder if that's hard-coded like moving the 2022 World Cup (which will be hosted by Argentina in this save) or whether it's a random element like Brexit. If it's the latter it could certainly make for some interesting situations such as Turkey joining too

Facilities – I can really see the negative effect of the pitch on my team as when we play on a decent surface the play at times is brilliant but we can't seem to replicate that at home

Youth Intake – Lowry looks decent, outside of that nothing special
 
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League Reputation – Well, contrary to what I thought, we are still on the rise and have reached 2*. I would say KUTGW to the teams in Europe but they haven't been doing well, maybe if they did better we'd really start flying up the list
 
Club Domestic Reputation – Still not 'National' reputation but at least we haven't got any lower league clubs above us

Club European Reputation – Until we register on this scale below is the performances of the N. Irish contingent in Europe

Cliftonville - Knocked out of UEFA Europa League Playoff Round 3-0 on agg. by SC Braga (a very decent showing this season)

Coleraine - Knocked out of UEFA Europa League 1st Qualifying Round 2-0 on agg. by Stromsgodset IF (not bad)

Ballymena United - Knocked out of UEFA Europa League 1st Qualifying Round 4-2 on agg. by Slovan Bratislava (against an entirely greyed out squad...perhaps they should have done better)

Glentoran - Knocked out of UEFA Europa League 1st Qualifying Round 5-3 on agg. by KF Kukesi (they were the better side so the loss was disappointing)
 
Next season the participants in Europe will be:
 
Linfield - League Champions - UEFA Champions League
Cliftonville - Finished 2nd in DBP - UEFA Europa League
Portadown - Finished 4th in DBP and won DBP Europa League playoff - UEFA Europa League
Crusaders - Finished 5th in DBP and runners-up in DBP Europa League playoff and Irish Cup - UEFA Europa League

Nice to see Linfield back in Europe but they have reverted back to semi-pro status which works out well for us as it makes it easier for us to compete

Edited by pheelf

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21 hours ago, pheelf said:

Thank you for your comment. Getting Europe with Loughgall is a great achievement, who did you have to beat to win the cup?

If you wanted to do a similar challenge that would be great, it's always interesting to see how other players approach the game

Fortunately for us, Linfield - the only team I legitimately felt we didn't have a sniff against - had been knocked out in the quaters, so we ended up scraping a nervy 1-0 over Lurgan Celtic haha. The European money was a an absolute game-changer though. We signed Jamie Glackin and Rory McElroy the following season from relegated Dungannon, and they tore things up. Glackin as a shadow striker was legitimately unplayable at this level, genuinely one of the best seasons I've ever seen from someone on this game - he won us the league. Now the full game's out, I'm going to start a new save - just need to decide what to do.

Progress is progress! How do you fancy your chances of a European spot push next season? Those finances look bleak, mate. Seem to recall my European run (Beat Differdange in the qualifiers, and narrowly lost on aggregate to Vaduz) netted us about £350k, so you might need a few seasons to really get yourself secure financially. Wish I'd stuck around for the CL now, just to see what it would have done to my bank balance.

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2 hours ago, ExiledKopite said:

Fortunately for us, Linfield - the only team I legitimately felt we didn't have a sniff against - had been knocked out in the quaters, so we ended up scraping a nervy 1-0 over Lurgan Celtic haha. The European money was a an absolute game-changer though. We signed Jamie Glackin and Rory McElroy the following season from relegated Dungannon, and they tore things up. Glackin as a shadow striker was legitimately unplayable at this level, genuinely one of the best seasons I've ever seen from someone on this game - he won us the league. Now the full game's out, I'm going to start a new save - just need to decide what to do.

Progress is progress! How do you fancy your chances of a European spot push next season? Those finances look bleak, mate. Seem to recall my European run (Beat Differdange in the qualifiers, and narrowly lost on aggregate to Vaduz) netted us about £350k, so you might need a few seasons to really get yourself secure financially. Wish I'd stuck around for the CL now, just to see what it would have done to my bank balance.

Lurgan Celtic made the final?!...well...what a topsy turvy save!!...You must be pretty good at the game to win the league so quickly, I'm still trying to get anything approaching consistency in the league although now I've changed my tactic things seem to have improved.

In my next update you'll see that all those financial issues are a thing of the past (well at least temporarily). CL money is where it's at...I might need to wait a few more seasons for that though

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CHIMNEY CORNER F.C.

Season 2022 / 2023


SEASON EXPECTATIONS

Again the board would settle for a mid table finish but I would hope that we could do better than that, especially given our dire financial situation, we desperately need European football otherwise we could be looking into the abyss and start declining



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League Table - No improvement in position which isn't great but the terrible form forced me to re-look at my tactic and shook me into action which actually proved to be the medicine we needed. Once I changed back to my trusted 4-4-1-1 things picked up greatly and for our final 10 games we won 6, drew 3 and lost 1 which was a dramatic change considering our record in the previous 10 games was that we won 1, drew 4 and lost 5. Trying to play the 4-1-2-3 was too taxing for my players, as I don't have Messi, Neymar & Suarez upfront and a pitch that resembles a swamp it was never going to work
 
Domestic Cups - A remarkable improvement and is why we have an EC next to our name in the table. We certainly deserved to win the Irish Cup as we had such a difficult route to the final. When Cliftonville came out as the first team we would be playing I was seriously downbeat as I thought that our European qualification prospects were done for. We were not positioned well in the table and this just seemed the worst possible draw at the worst possible time. Then we played them and put in a wonderful performance which put a smile on my face. Dunmurry Rec were a surprisingly difficult nut to crack but we beat them to draw Linfield :(. We held them at home to force a replay, I thought our chance had passed us by as I didn't feel we could go to Windsor Park and win but we did...narrowly but into the semis we went and into uncharted territory.
 
We played fantastically in the semi final against Ballymena United who had a great season so I thought we had a chance for the final. I went into the final with the wind in my sails and felt we had momentum but also a memory of the storms which we had previously navigated through when we played them in the season. Our record against them was terrible, losing twice and drawing once in the 3 games we played against each other. Thankfully, we turned up on the day and put in a very convincing performance to give me my first trophy with the team. The run to the semi finals of the League Cup was also pleasing as it gave us a rest from our dreadful league form at that time
 
Reserves - Not the best of seasons for the team
 
U18s - Pretty rubbish really
 
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Squad – We seem to be getting there with the squad. The majority of players are now at least decent for the Premiership which is great. Slow incremental changes to the nature of the squad is what is required going forward. We probably will need to invest in another goalkeeper as the excellent McGrath won't sign a new contract. I'm not overly worried though as I have Henry who will be coming back after his loan ends at Queen of the South and McKendry who looked decent when I was forced to play him in the cup final because of an injury to McGrath. The spine of the side probably needs some work with a quality striker being at the top of my wishlist, as the board has been generous and granted me almost £10Kp/w for my wage budget I think I'll be able to get what I'm looking for especially now I have the lure of European football

Transfers – I shipped out a lot of the players who I thought didn't have much of a future and loaned out a few youth team players to the lower leagues. If I were to rate my new signings into the club I'd say they were average, I really struggled to replace Keogh ST (felt even worse when he scored against us). For every gem I bought in such as McCalmont CM I ended up with a flop such as Newberry ST but overall the team has improved which is the main thing I suppose
 
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Alfie McCalmont – CM - Average Rating : 7.21
He put in some real quality performances and provided a good number of goals and assists. At 23 years old he'll probably stop developing but he should be good for a few more seasons with us as he is anyway

YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Josh Devine – RB - Average Rating : 7.01
A very handy full back with a very good personality. He's got a lot of room to improve according to my coaches and I will be looking to see how he develops next season. It would be nice if he could add some assists but if he can keep up his level of consistency that would work out well too

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Finances – Where did all that money come from you ask...welcome to the wonderful world of transfer clauses. My former goalkeeper Heslip had a 50% of next sale clause and it got triggered by Burnley who snapped him up for an inflated £1.1M which meant that I got a nice £550K windfall from Birmingham, not bad for a player I sold for £525. I'll certainly be looking for more of that!!...Given we will be playing in Europe next season, we should be getting a nice little boost there also which I'll try and use to improve the side into title contenders
 
Facilities – Owing to our improved financial status I had the opportunity to ask for an increase to junior coaching which was granted taking us from 'Minimal' to 'Basic'. I asked once again for the pitch to be relaid but that was refused so we'll have to continue to suffer that for a while longer. The priority for the club is to turn pro so until then the only money that will be spent will be on improving junior coaching and sorting out the pitch

Youth Intake – Carson and Bingham look to have some decent potential but the rest won't ever make it at the club
 
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League Reputation – A fall was always on the cards, it wasn't too large a drop though so no biggie
 
Club Domestic Reputation – Still not 'National' even after winning the 'National' cup isn't ideal but hopefully next season will provide the breakthrough we need

Club European Reputation – Until we register on this scale below is the performances of the N. Irish contingent in Europe

Linfield - Knocked out of UEFA Europa League Playoff Round 5-1 on agg. by Villarreal (a nice run which should have filled the coffers for them)

Cliftonville - Knocked out of UEFA Europa League 1st Qualifying Round 5-4 on agg. by Derry City (I'm sure they'll be pretty disappointed to lose an all Ireland clash)

Portadown - Knocked out of UEFA Europa League 1st Qualifying Round 6-0 on agg. by Young Boys (the scoreline was a little harsh but the result wasn't)

Crusaders - Knocked out of UEFA Europa League 1st Qualifying Round 5-2 on agg. by FC Lugano (that completes the hattrick...all teams were knocked out of the Europa League at the first round...doesn't bode well for us does it)
 
Next season the participants in Europe will be:
 
Cliftonville - League Champions - UEFA Champions League
Glentoran - Finished 2nd in DBP - UEFA Europa League
Linfield - Finished 4th in DBP and won DBP Europa League playoff - UEFA Europa League
Chimney Corner - Finished 8th in DBP and Irish Cup winners - UEFA Europa League

Now that we have made Europe I should register on the European scale so this will be the last review of all the other N. Irish teams competing in Europe

Edited by pheelf

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CHIMNEY CORNER F.C.

Season 2023 / 2024


SEASON EXPECTATIONS

The board wanted a top half finish whilst reaching the semi finals of both the League Cup & Irish Cup. My ambition was set slightly higher than that and I'd be disappointed if we didn't get at least a Europa League spot



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League Table - We are slowly clawing our way up the table and this is our best finish yet. However, I can't help but feel it should have been so much more in the end. We started the season so well and were joint top after the first round of games but then our form deteriorated badly and when the 2nd round of games was completed we were 4th. We never managed to recover and ended the season in 5th. If we could have managed to get on a run we could have made a serious bid for the title but once again our achillies heel was our inability to turn draws into wins. The fact that we drew as many games as we won tells the story really, had we won half of the games we ended up drawing our record would have been comparable with Cliftonville and we might have won the title
 
Danske Bank Europa League Playoff - Well at least we managed to get the benefit of Europa League football which is so important for our finances. The Crusaders game was tense and they gave us a real battle but we prevailed. I was expecting the worst against Glentoran, given we had to play extra time in the semi-final. I was concerned that our tiredness would prevent us from putting in a strong performance, I needn't have worried as we put in a great effort which handed us a comfortable victory and place in the Europa League 
 
Europa League - I had hoped to do a lot better than this but fell at the first hurdle. O'Neill's penalty miss proved so costly and deprived us of some much needed funds and a game against Randers. On the plus side we did get nearly £275K so we need to do better next season
 
Domestic Cups - Although we added a second trophy to the cabinet with the Co. Antrim Shield our poor showing in the Irish Cup was contemptible 
 
Reserves - They did a great job by winning the league
 
U18s - Predictably awful
 
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Squad – Has the squad improved? In a sense...yes...I was glad to bring McGrath GK back into the club, the young players look about ready for a growth spurt in their ability and there doesn't appear to be any major weaknesses if we look at the star ratings. However, once you begin to look a little deeper then there is a number of problems which come to the surface. If the team is so great then why did they fall apart in the league? We are still missing in my opinion an elite level striker, quality backup for Cooling in AMC and a star CM. I've also decided to institute a policy for assigning my squad statuses as previously I was ending up with so many complainers asking for 1st team football. As a result, I've decided that for players with CA 4* and above they will be considered Key Players, 3* or 3.5* they will be considered First Team players, 2.5* will be considered Rotation and 2* and lower will be considered Backup. I felt the need to do this as I've observed the damaging impacts of players on the team such as Sesay CD who seems to hate my guts because I didn't sign a new coach when actually I did (a GK coach). Managing morale is so important and I'm going to try harder to get it right

Transfers – I thought Gallagher may have been the marquee striker we were looking for so I spent big in order to land him. That was a mistake, although he has definitely got great potential he is some way off realizing it so I should have waited and held off for somebody better. I feel that the signings were solid but I'm still yet to uncover a player who would be considered a star for the top flight or even a leading player. I feel we may need a few of those to really take the next step and become title challengers
 
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Gerard Buchanan – MR - Average Rating : 7.19
A massively influential player without doubt and when he played well the team usually did well. I expect to see more assists from him next term though  

YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Conor Cooling – AMC - Average Rating : 7.12
He really has come on leaps and bounds this season. If he can improve his passing ability he could really make that Advanced Playmaker (Attack) role his own as he certainly has the physical attributes needed to pull it off

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Finances – All gone...This just shows how critical Europe is for us as without it we would have been looking at a huge loss come the end of next season. I'm hoping we can scrape through a couple of rounds in Europe as that could give us what we need to compete at the higher reaches of the table. I'll be looking to have a staff review next season as previously I have placed the renewal of the contracts with my board. As a result we have staff which were signed in the 3rd division here who just aren't going to cut it and need to leave. My Chief Scout for example only has JPA 5 and JPP 5 which is useless really, my Head Physio has Physiotherapy 6 and my HOYD has JPA 6 & JPP 9...not good enough for what we are trying to build here.
 
Facilities – The pitch got relaid which was great and I also got my junior coaching upgraded to make it 'Adequate'

Youth Intake – I'm hoping when the junior coaching begins to kick in and I get a better HOYD in to see an improvement
 
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League Reputation – The league is really plummeting now. Hopefully I can help next season
 
Club Domestic Reputation – Finally we get a 'National' reputation and are now 1*. I'm hoping that may prove useful when trying to buy players from other teams in the league
 
Club European Reputation – We really are low, teams from Gibraltar are ahead of us. Our coefficient is tiny so we will be unseeded for sure
Edited by pheelf

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It appears that I'm going to have to put this save on hold for a while until the game is patched.

The issue is given in the thread below

As I like to play wide systems with 2 players on each flank the way the match engine currently functions won't work for me. The problem with this all is that there is no workaround as the width instructions are for when your team has the ball and outside of changing formation there isn't any real way to change defensive shape. I therefore only have 2 options:

1) Abandon my 4-4-1-1 and play a narrow formation such as a 4-1-2-1-2 which in testing excelled, especially against teams which adopted a 4-4-2. This feels exploitative and isn't really a road I wish to go down

2) Wait until the defensive positioning of wide midfielders is sorted out

It feels as if in attempt to solve the issue of too many goals being scored from crosses that the game has been nerfed. It also doesn't solve that problem anyway and just makes the team more vulnerable through the centre as a new channel exists between the wide midfielders and central midfielders which affords the opposition a load of time and space

UPDATE: I've decided to carry on even with the presence of this issue. To try to workaround it I have decided to change my MR & ML roles from Wide Midfielders to Wingers. As I'm not getting any defensive contribution anyway I might as well go for a role which has more of a bite offensively

Edited by pheelf

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CHIMNEY CORNER F.C.

Season 2024 / 2025


SEASON EXPECTATIONS

Qualification for the Europa League is seen as a minimum requirement from the board. I tend to agree whilst at the same time hoping that we might be able to put in a title challenge



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League Table - This season was the ultimate rollercoaster of emotions. It started rather disappointingly as in our first 10 games even though we remained unbeaten we only won 4 and drew 6 which had us in 3rd position. We then had a very patchy run of form and by the end of the year were sitting in 4th and 10 points off Linfield at the top. At that point I abandoned the notion of us putting in a title bid and focused solely on trying to finish as high as we could. It was almost as if my players sensed this and realized that the pressure was off and started to play decent football. After that point we didn't lose another game and only drew 3 times against our title rivals which proved vital.
 
Going into the split the lead had shrunk to 4 points and all of a sudden the title challenge appeared to be back on. In order to have a chance we would need Linfield 1st and Cliftonville 2nd to slip up. On the 34th matchday we got what we needed. We managed a 2-0 win against Portadown while Linfield lost at home to Glentoran 1-0 and Cliftonville drew 1-1 with Glenavon. This pushed us up to 2nd and put us within striking distance of Linfield should we beat them. It would all count for nothing though if we couldn't follow it up with a good result against Cliftonville who I was still weary of. In a tight title race they had a significant edge on goal difference so it was imperative that we didn't lose to them and allow them to retake 2nd whereas Linfield had a comparable goal difference to ours.
 
We drew 0-0 with Cliftonville which I wasn't too disheartened with as it kept us in 2nd but saw that Linfield had won 1-0 away to Glenavon which pushed the lead back to up 3 points which meant that goal difference would now come into play should we beat Linfield on the final matchday. We needed to ensure that our record was perfect which it proved to be. We earned a critical 3-0 win away at Glentoran which closed the goal difference gap by 2 as Linfield only managed a late winner against Cliftonville which put us level on goal difference. The penultimate matchday saw us squeeze a narrow 2-1 win over Glenavon at home which had me worried that if Linfield could pull off a big win then it would mean we would have to win big at Windsor Park. Thankfully, they didn't manage to win well and scraped a 1-0 win away at Portadown. At this point Cliftonville had fallen away as a contender and it was between us and Linfield.
 
This then set us up for an extraordinary title showdown at Windsor Park. Going into the game they were 3 points ahead of us and had the same goal difference of +25. We needed to win as nothing else would do. You could sense the tension in the air as it permeated its way through the crowd and the players on the pitch. The players on both sides looked terrified, Linfield's players feeling immense pressure as the title was practically in their hands and they didn't want to throw it away whilst our players were incredibly nervous as they knew the opportunity was there to snatch the title from their clutches. What then followed as a first half was what I'd like to call 'Stifled football'. Neither side willing to take risks and playing a safe restrictive brand of football.
 
The second half was no different, in an attempt to calm nerves I gave the team talk of 'No Pressure' a number of times but it had little to no effect. Time was moving on, two thirds of the game had passed and there were no goals and we needed to win. Seeing that Murtagh our main man up front wasn't performing well I decided to roll the dice and replace him with Simpson. We then got one of our first highlights, the ball is fed through and finds its way to Simpson who is on the left side and inside the box, he's one-on-one with the goalkeeper. He shoots...BANG!!...bottom far corner, unstoppable...we have a precious lead. I'm elated and all of a sudden switch from wanting more time so we can get a goal to desperately wanting the time to fly by and the game to end. Those last 20 or so minutes seemed like an eternity as they notched up the pressure and my players became a nervous wreck. I sacrificed my AMC and put in another CD and told the team to Retain Possession. If we hold the ball, they can't score and it worked!!...They had a few more chances but we held on to pull off one of the most incredible comebacks and title wins I have ever witnessed. We are CHAMPIONS OF N. IRELAND on the basis of one goal scored...not many teams win a title by a finer margin than that!!
 
Europa League - I really dislike having to start in the 1st Qualifying Round of this tournament. All my players are exhausted and it greatly diminishes our chances of progression. I was however pleased to beat Kairat as it gave us a little bit of extra money. I wasn't happy to lose to SJK though, this time by an even bigger margin that last season. If we could have overcome them then we would have got a money spinning tie with Borussia MGB but we couldn't so we'll have to wait a while to play a big team in a competitive game. Hopefully this season will be the last where I have to enter this competition at this stage as there is no way I can adequate prepare which is a huge disadvantage
 
Domestic Cups - With that League Cup win, we now have won every major trophy there is to win in N. Ireland. I wasn't all that pleased with our narrow loss to Loughgall as the board wanted the semi-finals at the least but I'll take the league title over the Irish Cup anytime
 
Reserves - They retained their title which was nice but didn't do well in the cups
 
U18s - The improvements to Junior Coaching appear to be paying dividends. This may be the season of the 'nearly men' but is a dramatic improvement and is their best season yet
 
New_the_Players_logo.png
 
Squad – Heroes, every single one of them. They performed above and beyond what I thought they were capable of and looking at the ages of a lot of them they could be doing so for many years to come. They are only getting better so I'm expecting big things from this bunch. That is not to say that I won't be adding to the team as I will need to. Kane ML is retiring and Wilson MC looks like his usefulness is at an end. I can see weaknesses in the DL, ML and AMC positions which I'll need to address. I replaced a lot of the poorly attributed staff this season with much more capable staff

Transfers – All the signings we made I thought were great and they added depth and ability. I fully believe that had we not been busy and signed those 5 players on deadline day we wouldn't have won the title. Every player contributed massively, Murtagh ST scored some vital goals, Kane ML provided great cover for the injured Cooper, Jim Knox CD was brilliant in defense and Luke Ferguson CM was sensational in the centre of the park. The board once again have given me a nice wage budget so I'll be searching for the best I can get
 
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Aaron Bradley – MR - Average Rating : 7.28
Magnificent season from the winger. He scored a few, assisted plenty and was consistent throughout. He is only 22 with room to improve so next season could be brilliant for him

YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Barry Gallagher – ST - Average Rating : 7.12
A player who started the season magnificently, so well in fact that he was keeping new star striker Murtagh out of the side. Maybe I should have given him more of a chance as when Murtagh was up to speed I dropped him but he made his contribution and can rightly claim his championship medal. Whether he is good enough to continue at the club however is up for debate as I can see him leaving when his contract expires at the end of the season

New_the_Club_logo.png
 
Finances – These seem to be going up and down like a yo-yo. This season we got the prize money from Europe and another big boost from the 50% clause we negotiated for Heslip GK. It appears there were more clauses in the deal that took him from Birmingham to Burnley so overall the transfer was for £2.6M, I think it may have been an international debut clause which gave us a nice little boost. We still need to build up the balance as I'd like to turn pro as soon as possible but I'll be looking to spend and utilize the increased wage budget so that we can retain the title and try to make progress in the Champions League. If we could get a reasonable draw and get through the 2nd Qualifying Round it would do wonders for us financially
 
Facilities – Once again Junior Coaching got a boost up to 'Average' and the pitch got relaid. Still got a way to go to make any dramatic improvements here though

Youth Intake – A mediocre intake
 
New_the_Stature_logo.png
 
League Reputation – Still falling which is galling. We need to be careful as we could end up losing our 1.5* status putting us on a par with leagues such as the Gibraltarian First Division which would be disastrous
 
Club Domestic Reputation – We're 'National' but not 1.5* which I feel is a little bit silly considering we have just won a 1.5* league
 
Club European Reputation – Our coefficient is abysmal, hopefully we can get a bit of luck and draw the team which just about squeezes into the seeded pot otherwise we are going to be destroyed
 
 
Edited by pheelf

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Now that we have made the Champions League I will be posting more in-depth on the games until we reach a group stage

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Season 2025/2026


EUROPEAN SEASON EXPECTATIONS

The board expects us to reach the 3rd Qualifying Round which I think is wildly optimistic. We are going to need to get a very favourable draw to have any chance of meeting that expectation. If we draw a big team, all I want is for us not to get beaten too heavily


THE DRAW
 
There were certainly some difficult teams we could draw and then some which we might have a chance of being competitive with. I wouldn't want to draw FC Copenhagen, Dinamo, Red Bull Salzburg, Maccabi Tel Aviv or Malmo whilst I wouldn't mind drawing out of the hat a team such as Slovan Bratislava for example.
 
Who did we draw?
 
copenhagen_badge.png
 
:rolleyes:
 
We are going to get destroyed. The hardest team that is the highest seed of the teams in the 2nd qualification round against one of the lowest seeded teams in all of Europe. Positives, well at least we can practically guarantee a sell out at the Showgrounds and a breaking of the record attendance. If by some miracle we win we'll be seeded for the next round. For all the optimism though I feel we are going down and we are going down hard
 
Our squad
 
482730_20161114134528_1.png
 
Their squad
 
482730_20161114134541_1.png
 
Even though they have a few greyed out players and injuries to some of their better players they are still overwhelming favourites for the tie
 
2nd Qualifying Round 1st Leg
 
Here's how the two teams lined up:
 
482730_20161114134830_1.png
 
Anything I can take advantage of here? Well their formation is a narrow 4-3-3 which means that we should have an advantage on the flanks so I've added the TI exploit the flanks. Outside of that I'm hoping that we can grab a few set pieces as that might give us a chance as my pre-match training has been on attacking set pieces. Technically they are vastly superior so we are going to have to try and stifle their play which may prove impossible
 
Result
 
FC Copenhagen 3 Chimney Corner 1
 
482730_20161114140055_1.png
 
When we scored early I almost fell out of my chair. At that point I should have probably made some changes such as put on the TI 'Retain Possession' and tried to frustrate them but I don't think it would have made much of a difference in the end. They dominated the game anyway and hit the woodwork several times, if I'm being honest the scoreline rather flatters us, maybe we have a slight glimmer of hope but it's going to take something unbelievable to turn this around
 
2nd Qualifying Round 2nd Leg
 
Here's how the two teams lined up:

482730_20161114140551_1.png

The are playing with the same narrow formation so I'll keep the exploit the flanks TI on. If we are to have any chance at all we are going to need to score early and have a bit of luck

Result
 
Chimney Corner 0 FC Copenhagen 4
 
FC Copenhagen win 7-1 on aggregate
 
482730_20161114141127_1.png
 
Ouch, that was painful. We were less in this game than the last. Even though we edged them on possession they were incisive. The balls their midfielders played over the top absolutely destroyed us as a lack of pace in our defence cost us.
 

EUROPEAN SEASON REVIEW

To be expected really, we can't compete with a club like FC Copenhagen. Hopefully next season if we make it here again the draw will be a bit kinder to us. Financially it's been great though as we have nearly £1M in the bank balance, not enough to turn us pro but a serious step towards it

 
Edited by pheelf

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Great to see you back to Northern Ireland! The Immaculata career was one of the most entertaining to read here in the previous version. Looks as if the first part of this challenge is done, easy. ;)  The work to break down Europe starts now...

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20 hours ago, noikeee said:

Great to see you back to Northern Ireland! The Immaculata career was one of the most entertaining to read here in the previous version. Looks as if the first part of this challenge is done, easy. ;)  The work to break down Europe starts now...

Thank you for your kind comments. The title win was a bit of a shock but I'm pleased as it means we are ahead of schedule. We've won the title quicker this time around which is great as the only way to develop the club is by getting the money from the Champions League. Hopefully I can get some luck next season and get a nice draw in the Champions League to help us along

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CHIMNEY CORNER F.C.

Season 2025 / 2026


SEASON EXPECTATIONS

After our stunning title victory last season we needed to retain the title at all costs. Anything else would be a disappointment, the board would be happy with just Europa League qualification but I feel we should be able to mount a serious title challenge



New_the_Season_logo.png
 
League Table - We managed to retain the title but it was a titanic battle with surprise challengers Crusaders pushing us all the way. Our start was terrible as we lost to both Linfield and Crusaders in our opening 2 games which had me thinking that perhaps the title win was merely a fluke and we were going to really struggle. We then picked it up and didn't lose again for another 3 months. In that time we flew up the league to be 2nd behind Crusaders who had managed to accrue a 7 point advantage. I wasn't overly concerned as I thought that Crusaders were due for a fall as they started the season magnificently. As I predicted the collapse happened and we seized the initiative to grab top spot.
 
At one point we managed to build what appeared to be an unassailable lead being 5 points ahead of 2nd placed Crusaders and 13 points ahead of Linfield and Cliftonville. Unfortunately for us our form then started to falter which allowed the challengers to work themselves back into the race and by the time of the split we were only 1 point ahead of Crusaders. We then lost the first game after the split narrowly 1-0 to Linfield while Crusaders smashed Glenavon 3-0 to take top spot. I was enraged, we seemed to be throwing the title away after being so comfortable. Our next game was against Crusaders a few days later, the importance of the fixture wasn't lost on me. We needed to win and regain the control of the title race, a draw would leave it out of our hands and a loss was unthinkable.
 
We went to Seaview and scraped a narrow 1-0 win against 10 men which was a huge relief. Our title fate is back in our hands and I'm feeling optimistic. Perhaps it was complacency or overconfidence but we then conspired to lose the next game 3-0 away at Glenavon. Another crushing blow, the only consolation being that Cliftonville held Crusaders 2-2 which reduced our lead to 1 point going into the final two games. Next up was Cliftonville at home. It was an epic game, we started badly as they scored in the 7th minute. I knew we needed to respond quickly and we duly obliged by equalizing in 13th minute. That seemed to give us a huge boost and we then scored another 2 goals to give us a 3-1 lead. They got one back in the 45th minute to give a half time score of 3-2. I kind of was in a terrible limbo, do we try and get another goal or do we try and defend what we have? In the end I couldn't commit to either option which probably led to our issues in the 2nd half. They scored in the 58th minute to make it 3-3 and all of a sudden the possibility of losing the game is very real. Suffice to say they put our goal under siege. At this point they still had a very slim chance of winning the title so threw everything they could at us. Mercifully we held on for the draw and Portadown managed a late winner against Crusaders to put our lead back up to 2 points going into the final matchday.
 
The final matchday gave a few interesting possibilities. If we beat Portadown at Shamrock Park the title is ours regardless, if we draw then we win the title provided Crusaders don't win at Windsor Park by a 3 goal margin as the goal differences were +30 for us and +27 for them going into the game. If we lose we have to hope that Crusaders don't win. It set up a thrilling end to the season much like the last. If we could get an early goal it would settle us but we couldn't, then devastating news from Windsor Park. Crusaders go 1-0 up and all of a sudden everything is up for grabs. Try as we might we can't break through and go in at half time 0-0. The second half starts and proceeds and nothing appears to be happening for us, the game is ticking away but we don't look like scoring. Then some great news from Windsor Park, 72nd minute and Linfield equalize which takes the pressure off our result.
 
I don't know whether my players sensed this or not but they then decided to start playing and scored a double salvo in the 80th minute and 83rd minute. With that I knew the title was coming home and to make our victory seem more comfortable Linfield scored in stoppage time to beat Crusaders giving us a flattering 5 point advantage in the final table. These tense title challenges are certainly keeping the tension going but I'd much prefer not to be put through the wringer and wrap up the title up more easily. Realistically, until we turn pro I can't see it changing all that much and I expect a resurgent Cliftonville and Linfield next season to put in a much stronger challenge (although bizarrely neither team sent their players on holiday which seems like a bug...quite a few of the teams in the league didn't...hmmm)
 
UEFA Champions League - If we draw a team as difficult as them again I wouldn't expect to see much improvement. Hopefully we can get a bit of luck next season
 
Domestic Cups - Almost a clean sweep but a red card in the League Cup final cost us against Cliftonville. Our first appearance in the Scottish Challenge Cup was a poor showing but it's not an important cup for us
 
Reserves - They seem to have developed a dominance in the league but the cups evade them
 
U18s - Congratulations to the team for winning the cup, was so unfortunate not to win the double as they only missed out on the title to Linfield by one point, maybe next season will provide the breakthrough
 
New_the_Players_logo.png
 
Squad – I feel that the squad is fairly balanced. We have a good amount of depth which I feel helped us to challenge for all the different competitions. We have a good blend of youth and experience which is proving fruitful and all the players I want to keep have all agreed contracts and will be staying at the club for at least the next season unless I get some good offers for them. I spent to improve the side and overall I think it has been successful, next season perhaps I should be looking to bolster the central midfield but outside of that I feel no dramatic changes are necessary. We need to give who we have the chance to play games and develop, so adding to the squad might end up causing more issues than it solves, the exception being if there is some wonder player out there willing to come that would improve us greatly

Transfers – I was certainly busy here as I looked to bolster our ranks whilst also having the side benefit of weakening our rivals. I managed to get a number of talented youngsters which with time could become something special. Glentoran seemed to be an especially good source for exceptional young players and I will continue to scout around the top flight. I will continue to sign young where possible and haven't been adverse to signing players who were previously on youth contracts
 
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Brian Henry – CD - Average Rating : 7.14
What a signing he proved to be!!...Young, great attributes and a brilliant personality. One of the highest earners at the club but worth every penny

YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Aaron Dinsmore – MR - Average Rating : 7.32
A player with much room to develop who played well when the two players who supposedly are ahead of him for selection got injured

New_the_Club_logo.png
 
Finances – This is why we need progress in Europe. The balance given is after I sold the 50% of next sale clause for Neil Crawford LB which raised £150K. We have lost nearly £750K in the space of one season which shows just how unsustainable we currently are. Unless we can get through in Europe I would expect to see a very negative balance this time next season
 
Facilities – Once again we upgraded the Junior Coaching to 'Good' which puts us on a par with the best teams in the league. I would like to upgrade it again next season but whether I can or not may depend on the state of our finances around March, another upgrade would put us ahead of every other team in N. Ireland in terms of Junior Coaching. The pitch was also relaid

Youth Intake – I could be waiting quite some time before anyone decent comes through but I'm not too dismayed as lower league teams can't seem to get enough of my youth players. The majority will probably be going out on loan
 
New_the_Stature_logo.png
 
League Reputation – Still falling but only slightly, we also hold on to our 1.5* status which is welcome
 
Club Domestic Reputation – Not top yet but getting there. Nice to be in the company we are though
 
Club European Reputation – We've improved our coefficient which is something but I can't see it helping us to get a better draw. Basel and FC Copenhagen are seeded for the 2nd Qualifying Round so there is certainly the chance of a nightmarish draw again...crosses fingers
 
Edited by pheelf

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Season 2026/2027


EUROPEAN SEASON EXPECTATIONS

The board still expects us to reach the 3rd Qualifying Round but whether we can reach that lofty target will much depend on who we draw. Basel, FC Copenhagen, Dinamo are all seeded for the 2nd Round Qualifiers


THE DRAW
 
I don't really mind who we draw provided we can at least be competitive against them
 
Who did we draw?
 
Molde_FK.png

 

I'm not really sure what to make of this draw to be honest. They aren't the hardest team we could have got but they certainly have a few dangerous players that will cause us problems. I think we might be able to compete with them but beating them is another proposition altogether
 
Our squad
 
482730_20161115154116_1.png
 
Their squad
 
482730_20161115154125_1.png
 
Hmmm...Their forward line is formidable but they also have a load of greyed out players. I'm cautiously optimistic
 
2nd Qualifying Round 1st Leg
 
Here's how the two teams lined up:
 
482730_20161115154314_1.png
 
Didn't really want to have to face the same formation we play as man for man they have better players but we'll give it a go and see where we end up
 
Result
 
Molde FK 1 Chimney Corner 2
 
482730_20161115154714_1.png
 
What a magnificent result that was. It could have been even better as they scored late to reduce the deficit. They dominated the game as the stats would show but we edged them on possession. This sets up a rather interesting 2nd leg and we can go into the game knowing that we don't even need to win to progress which is superb. As Molde FK were seeded if we can hold on we will be seeded for the 3rd Qualifying Round which would be incredible
 
2nd Qualifying Round 2nd Leg
 
Here's how the two teams lined up:

482730_20161115160355_1.png

Quite an odd formation for them to play considering they need to get goals but I'll take everything I can get. Our wingers should have a blast whilst we need to be careful not to be completely dominated through the middle

Result
 
Chimney Corner 2 Molde FK 0
 
Chimney Corner win 4-1 on aggregate
 
482730_20161115160634_1.png

Well, I'm rather taken aback after that. We took the lead early and never looked back even adding a second in 1st half injury time. I'm delighted as we are going to have at least another 4 games in Europe which should do wonders for our bank balance. Onwards and upwards

 

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Season 2026/2027


THE DRAW
 
After our miraculous win over Molde FK I'd be happy to drop out and get into the Europa League Playoff
 
Who did we draw?
 
FC_Dinamo_Bucuresti.png
 
For a supposedly unseeded team this is about as hard as they come. I would even state that their team is probably better than Molde FK so this is going to be a struggle. More than likely we are going to lose but we'll try our best
 
Our squad
 
482730_20161115163419_1.png
 
Their squad
 
482730_20161115163429_1.png
 
They look to be a significant notch up on the difficulty meter. I'm glad for the fact that some of their better players appear to be injured but it's going to be an uphill battle
 
3rd Qualifying Round 1st Leg
 
Here's how the two teams lined up:
 
482730_20161115163543_1.png
 
What is this obsession with that formation? I'm glad for it though as once again it should give my wingers acres of space to operate which suits me. I am however more concerned of losing the battle for the central midfield as these players are better...here goes
 
Result
 
Dinamo Bucharest 2 Chimney Corner 1
 
482730_20161115164043_1.png
 
Madness!!...We took the lead early and even had the opportunity to score a second when we got a penalty just before half time. Unfortunately for Keogh ST it was saved which meant we had to settle for a 1-0 lead. They predictably came roaring back in the 2nd half but I'm happy with the result and the performance. We have proven we can compete with them and that gives me confidence that we might just be able to turn it around at home (well..Windsor Park)
 
3rd Qualifying Round 2nd Leg
 
Here's how the two teams lined up:

482730_20161115164614_1.png

What's the plan here? It seems overly defensive from them. I understand that they would want to defend their lead against us but it comes across that they are terrified of us which is bizarre. Maybe they are hoping to hit us on the break which we are going to have to be ready for

Result
 
Chimney Corner 1 Dinamo Bucharest 0
 
Chimney Corner win on away goals rule after 2-2 draw on aggregate
 
482730_20161115165332_1.png

WOW!!!...They dominated us in nearly every department but we held them off. We took the lead shortly before half time with a cracking shot into the top corner and didn't look back. The passage was made more difficult when Mitchell LB decided to get himself a second yellow card in the 63rd minute but we seemed to cope well with being down to 10 men. When we conceded a penalty in the 80th minute I was devastated as I saw how hard we had worked to keep them at bay and it felt like we had thrown our golden opportunity away. Thankfully the pressure proved too much for their striker and he blazed it wide, I was elated. They played on our nerves for the rest of the game and crafted some more opportunities to score but we stood tall and held our ground. Truly a game where boys became men...onto the playoff and guaranteed Group stage football...Aw yeah!!   

 

Edited by pheelf

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Season 2026/2027


THE DRAW
 
I've already achieved more than what I wanted so now it's probably time to gracefully bow out and prepare for the Europa League group stages. We are going to need a miracle to progress any further in the Champions League and I think we've already had our miracle in the previous 2 rounds
 
Who did we draw?
 
dynamo_kiev.png
 
Yikes!!..What a terrifyingly difficult prospect
 
Our squad
 
482730_20161115175725_1.png
 
Their squad
 
482730_20161115175734_1.png
 
This could be brutal...My hope is that we can keep the scoreline down as our chances of getting a result against a team of such quality are slim
 
Playoff Round 1st Leg
 
Here's how the two teams lined up:
 
482730_20161115175823_1.png
 
Given the offensive formation they are fielding I think it's fair to say they haven't come here to mess about. They not only want to beat us they want to control the game. My only hope is that the front 4 have an off day, this could get ugly
 
Result
 
Chimney Corner 0 Dynamo Kyiv 2
 
482730_20161115180556_1.png
 
We didn't have a chance. They slaughtered us throughout and to be honest should have won by a far bigger margin. They missed a penalty, hit the woodwork numerous times and forced McGrath into making some incredible saves. They probably took pity on us in the end
 
This press conference response from my Assistant Manager gave me a good laugh:
 
482730_20161115182321_1.png
 
Really Jason? Really?
 
Playoff Round 2nd Leg
 
Here's how the two teams lined up:

482730_20161115182452_1.png

For Dynamo Kyiv it appears to be a case of, If it ain't broke don't fix it...let's hope we don't end up conceding a bucket load

Result
 
Dynamo Kyiv 4 Chimney Corner 1
 
Dynamo Kyiv win 6-1 on aggregate
 
482730_20161115183006_1.png

Not too bad, it could have been a lot worse for sure. They just overpowered us and in the end were well worthy of their margin of victory

 

EUROPEAN SEASON REVIEW

We have made a mint and seeing over £5M sitting in the bank balance means professional status is coming next season. We drew Valencia, AS Saint-Etienne & Lech Poznan in our Europa League group. Quite possibly we might be able to scrape something out of Lech Poznan. Overall though I can't see how the whole group won't just become an exercise in keeping the score down although anything we can get will be a bonus.

 

Edited by pheelf

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Congrats on the run in Europe and good luck in the Europa League. Will be following, have played at Chimney Corner's stadium quite a few times!

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18 hours ago, deez0r said:

Congrats on the run in Europe and good luck in the Europa League. Will be following, have played at Chimney Corner's stadium quite a few times!

Thanks for the good wishes, the lads put in quite a shift against Dinamo Bucharest especially with only 10 men. In the end their penalty miss may prove to be the turning point of the whole career.

You say you've been to Allen Park a few times, which team were you playing for?

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It was mainly at u18 level and then after that it would be playing their reserve team who play quite a few of their games there. Carrick Rangers u18's then it was more at amateur league level with teams from my local area in Newtownabbey.

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CHIMNEY CORNER F.C.

Season 2026 / 2027


SEASON EXPECTATIONS

The hope is that we can progress in Europe to get the money to turn professional as soon as possible. Retaining the title is a must as we need Champions League football. Hopefully the title race won't be as nail biting as it has been in the previous two seasons



New_the_Season_logo.png
 
League Table - We got there in the end but the final table is slightly misleading as it gives the impression that the win was comfortable when it really wasn't. Owing to our European commitments the period before November was practically a write off. We gained a total of 18 points out of a possible 42 from our first 14 games which testifies to how bad we were. We were sitting in a lowly 8th position, a full 12 points off the summit. At that point I thought it was over and just decided to try and finish as high as we could. We then went and won 6 games in a row which propelled us back up to 3rd, Cliftonville and Glenavon still had the advantage but their lead had been cut significantly.
 
We then lost narrowly away Ballymena United and drew away to Cliftonville which kept us in 3rd. I knew that in order to have any chance we were going to have to be perfect. We were!!...we didn't lose another game all season and drew only 4 games blasting our way to the title. It was such a remarkable turnaround that by the time the split came around only 1 point separated the top three, we then blitzed the Championship group winning 4/5 games. I think that was the last chance for the rest of N. Ireland to delay us from domination, it was an almighty battle as a last hurrah but it looks likely the challenge is over for now until either Linfield or Cliftonville get enough money together to turn professional
 
UEFA Champions League - This run in the qualifiers has changed the club forever and will make us much more competitive for future seasons in Europe
 
UEFA Europa League - As predicted we were only really competitive with Lech Poznan who we gained our only point against. We took a few heavier beatings along the way but nothing to be ashamed of when you compare our status with a team like Valencia

Domestic Cups - No trophies this season unfortunately. The Irish Cup final was infuriating given that morale was sky high after we won the league but it wasn't to be

Reserves - Credit goes to them for winning the league and S&S Cup, maybe next year they can get the full set

U18s - Still can't seem to pull off winning the league but surely must be coming soon
 
New_the_Players_logo.png
 
Squad – As the squad was so balanced I didn't make many alterations to it and did what I suggested last season of giving the players already here a chance. That will not be happening next season however. There are a few players I'd like to keep but expect to see a very different makeup to the squad next season. I've brought in a load of new staff and can now scout the world so I'll be taking advantage of that fully. To give you an indication of the difference in quality of player I can now attract have a look at Barwick CM who I just signed and how he is considered compared with the rest of my team. It's going to be a fun summer!!

Transfers – Only the one transfer in which was Curran CM who was absolutely fantastic for us all season. This is going to be full to the brim next season
 
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Aaron Bradley – MR - Average Rating : 7.37
A wonderfully consistent player who laid on plenty of assists and chipped in with a fair amount of goals. The DBP Player of the Year probably won't be given as many games next season as I should be able to find better but he was magnificent and deserves his moment in the sun

YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Tommy Curran – MC - Average Rating : 7.20
A stalwart in the central midfield who even with a terrible finishing attribute of 5 still managed to bag himself 11 goals. Linfield will be regretting letting him go as cheaply as they did as he probably proved to be the difference between us winning the title or not in the end

New_the_Club_logo.png
 
Finances – I know that I'll have to be careful with these which is why my signing policy will be based on the free transfer market and loans. I'm confident that even if we don't repeat this seasons heroics in the Champions League again next season that I should be able to ride it out given the balance we've built up. The model for the club must be to buy young and cheap to develop then sell high so that I can gain a surplus to build up the clubs infrastructure which is still that of an amateur club
 
Facilities – The option to upgrade Junior Coaching wasn't available so I couldn't do that. I have however upgraded both the training and youth facilities for around £300K and will be looking to upgrade the facilities at the end of every season going forwards if the finances allow it

Youth Intake – I'll start to reserve judgement on these as the overall level of the team is going to improve so those shown with poor ability may actually be decent given development time

 

New_the_Stature_logo.png
 
League Reputation – No doubt assisted by our performances, we once again start to rise and significantly at that
 
Club Domestic Reputation – Only Cliftonville left to topple which should hopefully come next season
 
Club European Reputation – The coefficient has risen well but I doubt it will be enough to get us seeded for the 2nd Qualifying Round so I await another tricky game
 
Edited by pheelf

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1 hour ago, deez0r said:

It was mainly at u18 level and then after that it would be playing their reserve team who play quite a few of their games there. Carrick Rangers u18's then it was more at amateur league level with teams from my local area in Newtownabbey.

Cool...always nice to hear from someone who has actually played the game...do you still play?

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17 hours ago, pheelf said:

Cool...always nice to hear from someone who has actually played the game...do you still play?

I do but had 2 serious knee injuries so play more for a bit of fitness & fun now rather than at any decent level!

Congrats on the league title, lets hope you can sneak your way into Europa League again and make that big step to becoming professional!

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CHIMNEY CORNER F.C.

Season 2027 / 2028


SEASON EXPECTATIONS

Given our new professional status the aim was to retain the title and begin to dominate on the domestic front. If we could repeat last seasons success in Europe that would be very helpful in supercharging the development of the club



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League Table - I have to give credit to Cliftonville as they pushed us all the way. It took until the penultimate matchday of the season and a win at Solitude to clinch the title for us. Once again our early season form was blighted because of Europe and the amount of domestic cup fixtures. At times we had to play a game every other day which didn't help when trying to gel all the new players into the team as I was forced into regular rotation throughout. I thought that turning professional would help us to dominate in N. Ireland, I hoped that it would give us time to build the club up to a position where we could be competitive in Europe before the other teams caught up.

This notion has been thrown away as Cliftonville turned professional at the end of the season. Given their incredible form when they were semi-professional this season it looks like I'm going to have a much stiffer test than I imagined for domestic dominance. I know one thing for sure though, we can't allow Cliftonville to build a lead like they did this season and hope to claw them back. We must start next season better which may mean sacrificing the domestic cup competitions for now

UEFA Champions League - I was pleased to get seeded for the 2nd Qualifying Round which gave us a much easier tie. On the other hand I'm not sure how much of a help it has actually been. I think it would have been better if we were unseeded and won as then we would have been seeded for the 3rd Qualifying Round. That way we would have avoided drawing a team like Olympiakos and had a chance of making the playoff round. The performance at Georgios Karaiskakis was a disgrace and is a world apart when contrasted to our performance last season against Dinamo Bucharest
 
UEFA Europa League - After being knocked out of the Champions League I had serious doubts whether we would be playing group stage football and when I saw the section for the Europa League playoff draw I was left feeling utterly bereft of confidence. Thankfully we drew the best team we could and faced a rematch against Molde FK. We narrowly beat them on away goals but a win is a win, we claimed the £2M and got ready for another Europa League group adventure. We got our now almost customary 1 point but perhaps we should have had more as we played really well against OGC Nice only losing after late goals both times

Domestic Cups - We had a domestic clean sweep going until we decided not to turn up for the Irish Cup final. Two serious injuries to our two main central midfielders the day before the final probably didn't help (Seems a tad suspicious if you ask me). Cliftonville perhaps deserved the win but our penalties were terrible, the loss to Arbroath in the Scottish Challenge Cup was another kick to the balls we could have done without

Reserves - Best season yet for them, still can't win all the cups but getting closer

U18s - They keep narrowly missing out on the title and well and truly bottled it this time after leading for much of the season, they are beginning to get a 'reputation'...sort it out lads for crying out loud
 
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Squad – A total revamp of the squad but I was rather disappointed with the quality of player we could attract. We couldn't seem to get any young talent at all with the reason for a lack of interest being that they didn't want to play in the Danske Bank Premier. I couldn't even get to 1st base in negotiations and make promises to them in an attempt to persuade them. It was ridiculous seeing players which preferred to rot on the free agent list and retire rather than play for us. As I still needed to strengthen, what that left us with was a bunch of Vanarama level rejects which were decent but nowhere near the level we need to make progress in Europe. More worryingly perhaps is that it seemed that a lot of the players we brought in weren't much better than what we had before with the exception of perhaps Barwick CM and Humphreys CD. The squad is aging and needs a lot of work to get it up to a level which I feel might give us a chance of getting to the Champions League group stage
 
Transfers – A beehive of activity for players in but sadly the only player of note was a leaving player. Murray AMC left for Dundee United for a derisory fee but I made sure to slap in the 50% of next sale clause as I feel he could do well and Dundee United may just be a stepping stone to bigger and better things (at least I hope so)
 
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Aaron Bradley – MR - Average Rating : 7.49
This goes to show that you can't keep a good guy down. I tried to replace him but it turns out he's just too good to be replaced. The DBP Player of the Year did great, scoring and assisting plenty which means he probably will be around the club for some time to come. His level of consistency is fantastic and to be the best player two years in a row shows he must be doing something right

YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Seamus Mitchell – LB - Average Rating : 7.04
Very nice from the left back although his lack of assists is a little troubling considering the full back has an attack duty. All those orange arrows also have me concerned but he has a good personality and could still develop some more

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Finances – This is why getting into the Champions League group stage is such a priority. We can't continue to make losses like this as it will seriously slow the growth of the club, We need to have a good balance so we can continue our investment in the facilities. Given that another team in the league is professional the financial stakes may just have been raised a notch
 
Facilities – Both the training and youth facilities got an upgrade and will be getting another one next season. This time the cost is ~ £1.4M which is a much greater expenditure, we also managed to upgrade the junior coaching to give us the highest level in the whole of N. Ireland. I won't be asking for any stadium expansions for now as we aren't anywhere near selling out a game yet, the pitch seems to get relaid automatically now every season end. It would be nice if we could have the option to install undersoil heating

Youth Intake – Mulhall CD and McGovern GK look like they could develop into decent players, the intakes are still somewhat lacking in depth though

 

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League Reputation – Moving on up which is great. I'm hoping that the boost will make the team more attractive for incoming players. I think the real change will happen when we hit 2*, we need to get above leagues such as the Vanarama National as that level of player isn't competitive in European competitions
 
Club Domestic Reputation – Top of the tree now which is nice
 
Club European Reputation – A much better coefficient than we've had which should be enough to see us seeded for the 2nd Qualifying Round of the Champions League
 
Edited by pheelf

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CHIMNEY CORNER F.C.

Season 2028 / 2029


SEASON EXPECTATIONS

Cliftonville turning professional has put a spanner in the works in terms of domestic domination but getting into the Champions League is essential for us financially therefore we must find a way to retain the title. We also need to make the breakthrough into the Champions League group stage at some point, no time like the present



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League Table - It looks like winning the title is going to be a battle every season. We had to break the record points total and win 30/38 games just to win the title by 1 point after a final day win against Glenavon to overtake Cliftonville who had already played their final game 2 days earlier. The DBP has become akin to the SPL with two teams dominating and battling it out for the title. The only way this is going to change is if another team becomes professional (Linfield please) which will make it more competitive or Cliftonville reverting back to semi-professional status which seems unlikely at the moment

UEFA Champions League - We need to get seeded for the 3rd Qualifying Round as once again we drew the most difficult team possible in FC Copenhagen which blocked our path to the playoff. I feel we are getting closer to making the breakthrough and qualifying for the group stages but we may need a bit of luck with the draws
 
UEFA Europa League - It was fantastic to beat FC Midtjylland to make the group stage again as that money influx has become essential for us now. It seems that we get unlucky in the Champions League draw but lucky in the Europa League Playoff draw as we could have drawn AC Milan but dodged them. Once again we claimed our measly point and in a way took a step backward in terms of getting our first win as we suffered a few heavy beatings. I'd be happy to repeat an appearance in the group stage next season but I'd like to win a game to boost our coefficient and give us a better chance of being seeded for the 3rd Qualifying Round of the Champions League

Domestic Cups - I played a mixture of Reserves and Youth for the League Cup, Co. Antrim Shield and Challenge Cup and was slightly irritated to make progress as we did as it meant more fixtures for tournaments the board don't care about. For the Irish Cup that the board wanted us to win I decided to field my first team as the fixture congestion had gone by then which resulted in our raising of the cup

Reserves - Getting so close to a clean sweep, they just need to take that final step

U18s - At last...they silence the doubters and bring home the league, could have had a chance of winning the double had they not shot themselves in the foot against Portadown. Winning the league is quite an achievement considering how many of their ranks get loaned out every season
 
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Squad – I've resolved to focus more on attributes (Natural fitness, First Touch, Determination and Work Rate) and personality (As professional as possible) in order to shape the team into a highly professional outfit that is determined to succeed. I feel we are going to need that ruthless cutting edge to consistently win the title given the challenge from Cliftonville. We are going to need to develop the resilience to overcome adversity and grind out wins even when we aren't playing at our best. Given this new criteria if we look at the squad we can see the defenders as a weakness (except Atkinson who is past his best). As a result I will be looking to bring in some new defenders and a left midfielder. I may also need to replace some players which have attracted interest from Scotland such as Gracey
 
Transfers – Gracey CM was an exceptional signing who has developed brilliantly. Given my frustration in my inability to sign the players I wanted I recruited a DoF and gave him the responsibility to find some players. He gave me McCarthy RB on loan who was distinctly average and Chiddick LB who didn't even grace the first team and left on loan, as a result I won't be giving him that responsibility again. To be fair to him he did try for some better players but they declined the opportunity to come to the club on loan. The best signing of the season was a player which came from Glenavon so maybe I should keep looking closer to home for new talent
 
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Aaron O'Driscoll – CD - Average Rating : 7.28
A class act who developed a remarkable knack of scoring in vital games. A very good defender who needs better players around him. If his personality was professional I'd get him to tutor another player but ambition isn't really what we need from our young players

YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Scott Gracey – CM - Average Rating : 7.11
The DBP Young Player of the Year has been a revelation since his arrival. His development has been remarkable and it looks like he could develop quite a lot more too. He is the epitome of the type of player we want at the club, young, good personality and with PPMs that compliment his role within the team. As a Central Midfielder (Support) he is magnificent for us and I really hope that I can hold onto him or at least get a great deal from one of the clubs that are looking to buy him

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Finances – Even with the positive bank balance the finances are seen as 'Insecure' which is why we need to get that Champions League group stage money. All development of the club has stalled as a result which is problematic. The problem is best explained when you compare the average league attendance of Cliftonville to us. They on average can bring in 4,000 per home game where we barely break 300, that makes a huge difference to our respective domestic incomes which means we are starting at a huge disadvantage. Our ticket prices and season ticket prices have rocketed up over the last few years. We have the 2nd most expensive season tickets in N. Ireland and the 3rd most expensive average ticket price. My hope is that the prices have peaked and that we now begin to see increased attendances going forward 
 
Facilities – No changes as we can't afford any

Youth Intake – Not bad, although I feel I'm going to need to change my HoYD who has a Balanced personality for one who is more professional

 

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League Reputation – Hmmm...This isn't good at all
 
Club Domestic Reputation – Maintaining our position at the top is what we should be seeking going forwards
 
Club European Reputation – We seem to be rising quite well, whether that coefficient will be enough to be seeded in the 3rd Qualifying Round is open to debate
 
Edited by pheelf

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CHIMNEY CORNER F.C.

Season 2029 / 2030


SEASON EXPECTATIONS

The challenge is to keep Cliftonville at bay domestically to starve them of Champions League money and get into the Champions League group stage



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League Table - Once again we had a fight on our hands to win the title. Our performance this season was actually worse than last but we still managed to finish above them which is all that matters. It took until the penultimate matchday to overtake them with a close 3-2 win at home to them and then a final day win at home to Linfield to secure it. As our goal difference is miles better than theirs I feel that domination isn't impossible at this point, we just need to stop dropping points against the weakest teams in the league

UEFA Champions League - I was really pleased with our win over SK Rapid Wien as they were a seeded team. Basel proved to be a step too far for us but it's an improvement on last season. This career has certain stages and the next game changer for the club is making the group stage of the Champions League. I would have liked to progressed to the next stage sooner considering this is the clubs third season at professional status but the draws have been rather unkind. Maybe next year can give us the breakthrough we need
 
UEFA Europa League - Yay, we got our first win!!...I perhaps expected it to be against Hibernian who we took a point from but we performed brilliantly at home to Schalke 04. We also destroyed our record attendance when Manchester United bought over 10,000 fans to Windsor Park, more of that would be very welcome

Domestic Cups - We pulled off a treble this year which was good. The attendances in the Scottish Challenge Cup are terrible though. Incidentally, Cliftonville ended up winning the Scottish Challenge Cup, the first non Scottish team to do so. It would have been nice for us to make that history but congrats to them anyway

Reserves - They finally get it right in both the cups and then miss out on the league...typical

U18s - That's what I like to see, especially pleasing considering how weakened they are with all the loans out. The team also took part in the U19 Champions League 1st Round but lost on penalties to Malmo
 
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Squad – There appears to be more red attributes (>14) than last season which for me signals progress. The squad personality is also considered to be professional which is another great boost. There is always room for improvement but I'm finding once again that I'm getting the best results out of young players that I poach from clubs domestically. Chiddick was great this season which makes me think that perhaps my DoF does have a clue about new signings and maybe I'll get him to make offers on players again. A lot of the old guard will be leaving which will need replacing
 
Transfers – I think I did some reasonable business, even if I may have overspent on a couple of players. McCaffrey RB was a gem and Henry LM was also great where as I don't feel I've seen the best of Fernandes CD yet. The transfers out were two very talented players which were a shame to lose but once I again I have 50% of next sale clauses
 
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Aaron Bradley – MR - Average Rating : 7.62
The DBP Player of the Year was magnificent for us all season. He was an assist machine and scored a good amount from a wide position. Long may it continue

YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Ronan McCaffrey – DR - Average Rating : 7.21
The N. Ireland U21 international is a very talented team player with a good personality and scope to improve greatly. Bought into the club for peanuts and exceptionally consistent throughout the season. What is there not to like?

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Finances – I was torn as to whether I should ask for improvements to the facilities but decided against it. This is not a comfortable balance and should we miss out on group stage football next season wouldn't be enough to see us through to next season which could jeopardize our professional status. We need Champions League group money to really kick on, we now have the most expensive average ticket price in N. Ireland and the 3rd most expensive season tickets but still our domestic revenues are paltry at best. The board need to stop the yearly price rises now and allow the fan base to grow and fill the stadium up as we haven't seen any great improvement in our attendances in recent seasons. I had a fan day this season but it didn't prove successful as we only managed a boring 1-0 win against Ballinamallard United, hopefully I can get another next season which proves to be beneficial
 
Facilities – I didn't touch the facilities but I did decide to max out the Junior Coaching which is now exceptional

Youth Intake – I decided to fire my HoYD and replace him with one which has a Model Professional personality. It appears to have had a positive impact as a few of the better players in the intake have professional personalities which is going to be great for their development. Strictly based on attributes, Bennett AMR looks great although his personality could be better

 

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League Reputation – That's better!!...At last we can claim to be better than the Vanarama National League. If I can do well in Europe we might just get that 2* status next season
 
Club Domestic Reputation – The elite of us, Cliftonville and Linfield are pulling away from the rest
 
Club European Reputation – A very good improvement to our coefficient, whether it will be enough to see us seeded for the 3rd Qualifying Round is on a knife edge. We have 12 teams in the 'Champions' Route which are seeded better than us and 28 which are seeded worse than us. 20 teams take part in the 3rd Qualifying Round so that gives 10 seeded and 10 unseeded. We may get it provided that a seeded team suffers a shock and gets knocked out in the 2nd qualifying Round but as I say it's going to be close
 
Edited by pheelf

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CHIMNEY CORNER F.C.

SEASON 2030 / 2031


SEASON EXPECTATIONS

Keep up the domestic dominance and breakthrough into the Champions League group stage


 
 
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League Table - A fantastic season which led to the points, clean sheet and games won records being broken. To only concede 10 goals in 38 games is a remarkable achievement, long may it continue

UEFA Champions League - Finally we grace the group stages. We squeezed past Dinamo on away goals after a thriller at Maksimir to make the group but once we got there it was one embarrassment after another. I'd be happy for a repeat performance and to make the group stage next season with hopefully some incremental improvement. At this stage it's just about getting the prize money so that I can build the club up into a competitive force in Europe

Domestic Cups - With the Scottish Challenge Cup victory we complete the domestic set and have now won everything there is to win in N. Ireland

Reserves - A cup win and runners up in the league, not bad

Under 18s - It was encouraging to see them beat PSG in the U19 Champions League and win the league with a side decimated by players being loaned out
 
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Squad – They did exceptionally well to achieve what they did but that isn't going to be enough next season which means another rebuild. The Champions League money has given us a much larger wage budget as it has risen from around £50Kp/w to £200Kp/w. My hope is that the wages we should be able to offer now might tempt some of the players on the free transfer list who would be great improvements into joining us. We desperately need to freshen up the side as some of the aging players we do have aren't what I'd consider to be an acceptable standard to play in the Champions League. The defensive area looks to be an area of great frailty which I will be seeking to improve as a priority 
 
Transfers – It's really difficult to fit all the players into one screenshot but all the important transfers are shown. New signing Jones CM was a really good performer all season and won the DBP Young Player of the Year. Outside of that all the other transfers in were either backup, rotation or reserve players. It was a shame to lose McCaffrey RB but in the long run it could be the right decision
 
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Aaron Bradley – MR - Average Rating : 7.43
A really consistent performer who I am struggling to replace because he is that good. He is not blessed with superb attributes but makes the most of what he has

YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Ranjae Chiddick – DL - Average Rating : 7.19
I didn't think much of this guy when my DoF signed him but he has really proven himself to be a quality player. My coaches seem to think he can improve further, I'm rather skeptical but willing to give him a chance

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Finances – Very, very nice indeed. Considering this is after the money was taken out for the improvements to the facilities I'd say we are fairly comfortable. We had a failed takeover attempt by a local investor and the chairman is willing to listen to offers. Hopefully an ambitious consortium will oblige as it would really help accelerate the building of the club. Our debt will be clear by July and things are looking rosier than they have ever been. I know how quickly that can change however if we don't continue to make the Champions League group stage so I will be pumping some serious investment into the first team to give us the best chance of achieving that
 
Facilities – Both the training and youth facilities will be getting upgraded and I even requested a stadium expansion but understandably it was refused as we aren't anywhere near selling out the stadium. At the moment the ticket prices just keep rising which is suppressing demand and keeping the improvements to our attendances artificially low. As we now have the most expensive tickets in the whole of N. Ireland perhaps it's time to stop raising the prices further and allow the ground to fill

Youth Intake – Campbell ST and Kennedy CM look quite impressive but I am somewhat disappointed to see all the players with 'Low Determination' personalities. I'm unsure of the cause as my HoYD has a 'Model Professional' personality but I hope that it's not the beginning of a trend

 

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League Reputation – So close to being a 2* league and yet so far. If we can make the Champions League group stage again and the rest of the N. Ireland contingent in Europe can get their finger out maybe next season we can achieve it
 
Club Domestic Reputation – We are 2* team and in a league of our own as we break from the rest of the pack 
 
Club European Reputation – The coefficient is coming along nicely, whether it's enough to get us seeded for the 3rd Qualifying Round is another question though. I'd say our chances are good for being seeded in the 3rd Qualifying Round but we definitely won't be for the Playoff so will be hoping for a reasonable draw to give us a shot at the Group Stages again. I'll be looking to avoid teams like Anderlecht, Basel and Dinamo to give ourselves the best chance
 
Edited by pheelf

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CHIMNEY CORNER F.C.

SEASON 2031 / 2032


SEASON EXPECTATIONS

The domestic challenge appears to have subsided so the focus has to become reaching the Champions League group stage


 
 
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League Table - It wasn't as convincing as last season but it was still very comfortable overall. This season saw a resurgence from Linfeld who we had a terrible record of W0 D1 L3 against, I'll be demanding better next time

UEFA Champions League - This was a season of euphoric highs and terrible lows but ultimately we met expectations and our performances in the group stage were significantly better than last season. We started poorly with a dreadful 3-2 loss to the Estonian champions Infonet which had me rather perplexed but we soon corrected it with a resounding 7-0 win in Estonia. I was pleased to win but disappointed to drop vital coefficient points. We weren't seeded for the 3rd Qualifying Round which meant we had to face seeded team Dinamo. As we had struggled to get past them last season I didn't expect to win the tie but we managed to edge them out on away goals which was pleasing. Legia was one of the easier draws for the Playoff but still posed a stern challenge. In the end, I have to give enormous thanks to McGrath GK who saved 3 penalties to book us a place in the group stage.
 
I wasn't expecting an awful lot from the group stage but my team showed a great deal of resilience and were very competitive in the games. Chelsea gave us our largest defeats with a 3-0 loss for both games but for me that was a victory as it showed a remarkable improvement considering the 7 goal beatings we suffered last season against a similar quality of opposition. We even looked like might win a game when we took a 2-0 lead at home to Lyon but they came back in the second half to claim a point. The draw against Celtic was also quite impressive and could have easily been 3 points if we had gotten a bit of extra luck. The campaign gives me great encouragement for next season as the gap between us and the European elite has reduced. If we can continue our improvement, there is no reason why we can't begin to win games in the group stage next season

Domestic Cups - We retained the Scottish Challenge Cup which was great but the loss to Ballymoney United in the League Cup was awful

Reserves - Great stuff from the Reserve team. They were boosted by some former first team players who were no longer good enough which assisted their success

Under 18s - As soon as my youth players turn 17 they get offers for loans which greatly weakens the ranks but it didn't show as they were dominant domestically and matched our 2 point haul in the U19 Champions League
 
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Squad – We appear to be much improved from last season and have been able to acquire some real quality players. My concern however remains the average age of the squad. We only have 3 players who are Under 21 in the first team which isn't great as it means to improve further we are going to need to buy some new players as all my players are playing at their potential. I am not going to be too critical though as even given our weaknesses there are a number of positives which I can see. Our Club DNA is stronger than ever, the personalities of the group is largely positive and we have strong and cohesive team who have largely bought into the new style of play. We are going to need a few additions into the defensive positions with an emphasis on unearthing young talent
 
Transfers – You may wonder why I keep selling all our young talent (Jones CM) but what it comes down to is trying to keep the squad happy. I know where we stand in the greater scheme of things and denying players moves to clubs of a higher reputation isn't a sensible strategy at this point. For now, they can leave with my blessing and a 50% of next sale clause. We are still a selling club and will be for a while. Our job is to find young talent and give them a chance to play at the highest level possible in the Champions League. As a result we also need older players of established quality to ensure we get into the Champions League group stage which provides that elite platform for the younger players to gain valuable experience and develop. That is what my transfers in this season have been about. I have had to pay excessive wages for some of the older players but that seems to be the only way to bring in the quality we need. Hopefully as the league and club reputation rises such wages will not longer be required as our club will be seen as a far more attractive proposition
 
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Brad Martin – ST - Average Rating : 7.34
The goals in a season record for the team was broken by him and he did a great job in that respect. There were however times during the season where he appeared to switch off and would play poorly which was concerning, it most likely being a result of his dislike of big matches. He has been declining recently and wants to leave and I have promised to sell him so will be looking for interested clubs

YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Jordan Coupe – DR - Average Rating : 6.99
He is our best player who is Under 21 which shows how little young talent we have in the first team considering he is a loan

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Finances – If we can keep the balance around this figure at the end of each season it should give us the ability to keep improving our facilities. We got taken over by a consortium who promised to pump £17.5M into the club. They didn't end up putting any money in at all but my hope is that they have that money ready but are being smart and will only release it when the club requires it. We still have loads of room on the wage budget to invest into the squad which I feel is needed in order to facilitate an easier passage into the Champions League group stage and the money that brings
 
Facilities – Upgrades to both youth and training facilities will take place which will give us the best facilities in N. Ireland. No need for a stadium expansion yet and the option for improving the youth recruitment isn't available

Youth Intake – A somewhat mediocre intake this time with McMullan MC looking the best of the lot

 

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League Reputation – We are now a 2* league which is fantastic. The next step will be breaking into the top 50 which I'm hoping Cliftonville, Linfield & Portadown can help us with by performing better in Europe
 
Club Domestic Reputation – As the league has become 2* there is every chance that the clubs 0.5* lead will disappear next season
 
Club European Reputation – There are only 7 teams seeded better than us for the 'Champions' qualifying route so we should be seeded for the 3rd Qualifying Round
 
Edited by pheelf

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Fantastic to see your progress over the last couple of seasons, to make the Champions League group stages twice is a huge step forward. Your standards for players is also clearly improving as noted by how good Brad Martin is, Aaron Bradley also appears to have improved a lot over the years.

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6 hours ago, noikeee said:

Fantastic to see your progress over the last couple of seasons, to make the Champions League group stages twice is a huge step forward. Your standards for players is also clearly improving as noted by how good Brad Martin is, Aaron Bradley also appears to have improved a lot over the years.

Thanks, things appear to be going in a positive direction which I'm pleased with. Brad Martin was a great striker but I feel I didn't get the best out of him by making him play the Advanced Forward role as he isn't that great a dribbler which is a large facet of the role. Aaron Bradley was legendary on that right wing which kind of runs contrary to the whole 'attributes are king' idea as his attributes were average at best but he performed well above himself while he was here. We just need to keep qualifying for the Champions League group stage for now to bring in that annual windfall to build the club up

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CHIMNEY CORNER F.C.

SEASON 2032 / 2033


SEASON EXPECTATIONS

We appear to be more competitive in the Champions League group stage, let's get there and see what we can do


 
 
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League Table - A clean win with another breaking of the goals scored record but the unbeaten season still eludes us

UEFA Champions League - Surprisingly we were seeded throughout the qualifying rounds which certainly helped us to avoid the nail-biting encounters which typified our previous qualifying campaigns. Especially pleasing was the trashing of Sparta Prague but the joy was short lived as the tables were turned in the group stages. It felt harsh to ship 12 goals to Man United but we're nowhere near their standard. I was a little disappointed to get less points than last season but can understand the reasons. We may need a slightly easier group to have realistic expectations of sneaking 3rd and having a run at the Europa League

Domestic Cups - Felt gratifying to lift the Irish Cup again but we probably should have done a clean sweep, complacency cost us I feel

Reserves - Absolutely superb, to only concede one goal in both cup runs is a testament to how brilliant they were and they richly deserved the treble

Under 18s - They done the unthinkable and actually beat Man United U18s which had me stunned, they also did great domestically and claimed the double
 
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Squad – A talented if somewhat aging bunch of players. I have been trying desperately to get in some quality defenders but it has proven a difficult task up to this point. I have changed the squad status criteria as I was ending up with too many players on key players status. I've changed it to the following with respect to CA stars:
 
4* and above - Key Player
3.5* - First Team
3* - Rotation
2.5* - Backup
 
Anybody with lower CA stars than that gets put into the reserves. I'll once again go searching for talented youth but they aren't all that interested in us at the moment. I was rather shocked when I saw that Paul Taggart GK and Samet Aydin MR had made the Champions League Dream Team but if they are impressing on a continental stage then more power to them. 
 
Transfers Part 1 / Transfers Part 2 – I decided to break it into two screenshots so I could show all the important transfers. We've almost become the feeder club for Hamilton although no official partnership exists seeing as they keep putting in offers for our players and have bought 3 players so far. The transfers out were mainly to satisfy players that wanted to leave and would have caused morale issues if they were forced to stay. The cash deals for transfers in were all the doing of my DoF, they weren't very good for the money that was paid so he will be losing that privilege next season. The free transfers in such as Fernando CD, Stenner LB, Lasa CM and Pop ST were all great improvements and I will looking for more of the same next season  
 
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Samet Aydin – MR - Average Rating : 7.89
Bizarrely he is considered the best performing right midfielder in all of Europe this season as he made an appearance in the Dream Team. He was an assist machine and if he can continue that form next season he'll be one of the first names on the team sheet for sure

YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Simon Hassan – DC - Average Rating : 7.25
The best U21 player in the first team which doesn't say much considering he is now the only U21 player in the first team. He was decent enough but it's worrying how lop sided the age distribution of the squad has become

New_the_Club_logo.png
 
Finances – We are relatively comfortable given that this is the balance after the facility upgrades were paid for. The wage budget is now ~ £300Kp/w, we should be able to build a squad that is competitive in Europe with that sort of financial clout behind us
 
Facilities – Continual investment in the training and youth facilities as usual for ~£3.5M but no other options for improvement available

Youth Intake – Anderson ST looks very good but the rest won't ever be good enough based on first impressions, not pleased to see my HoYD personality not being represented in the intakes

 

New_the_Stature_logo.png
 
League Reputation – I'm going to need help from the other teams in N. Ireland as even with a good amount of coefficient points earned by us the DBP remained in exactly the same place. It may be necessary to start giving some of the other teams a helping hand, how to go about it will require some thought though as we aren't secure in our position yet
 
Club Domestic Reputation – No real changes here
 
Club European Reputation – I felt we got lucky to sneak into the seeded pot for the Playoff this season, the improved coefficient for next season gives us good chance of being seeded throughout again 
 
Edited by pheelf

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CHIMNEY CORNER F.C.

SEASON 2033 / 2034


SEASON EXPECTATIONS

We need to keep qualifying for the Champions League group stage to continue the development of the club


 
 
New_the_Season_logo.png
 

League Table - A very comfortable win which may be the way of things for a while given that Cliftonville reverted back to semi-professional status at the seasons end

UEFA Champions League - We were unseeded for the playoff round but we got the easiest of the possible draws and overcame Malmo FF to make the group stage again. Once we got there we were pretty poor and we are going to need to find a way to step it up next season. The outstanding performance of Norwich City was a shock as not only did they win all the games in the group they went all the way to the final where they lost 4-1 to Man City. English teams seem to be dominating this tournament too much as an English team has won the last 10 tournaments in a row so I'm going to add the top leagues in Germany, Italy, Spain and France to try and balance the game

Domestic Cups - We were cleaning up nicely until our central defenders had a shocker against Linfield

Reserves - No cups this season

Under 18s - Great job in Europe with 2 wins, domestically they were underwhelming
 
New_the_Players_logo.png
 
Squad – My intention was to freshen up the team with some youngsters and I feel that objective has been achieved. The development of the young players was impressive and I'll be hoping to continue that theme going forwards. I have also decided to start signing high potential young players to loan out so that I can build for the future. The season was quite annoying for injuries, Aydin MR tore his calf muscle twice and was missing for a total of 8 months, my star youth prospect Anderson ST who I loaned to Cliftonville broke his leg and was out for 4 months, Henry ML tore his hamstring and was out for 3 months plus the seemingly unending amount of sprained ankles, stubbed toes and groin strains which had the medical department busier than an A&E on a Saturday night
 
Transfers Part 1 / Transfers Part 2 – I spent big on Suleiman ML who I saw as a replacement for Hackett ML. Hackett had very good CA but wasn't going to get any better and would start to decline whereas Sulemian looked a highly gifted youngster who could develop well even though his CA was only considered to be 2*. The former Arsenal player hadn't made any appearances and it was clear he wasn't ever going to break into their first team so I took a gamble on him and he has rewarded my faith in him by developing into our best player. I'll be looking for more of those sort of deals hopefully for lower transfer fees. The free transfer market proved to be very fruitful and I'll be looking at it again next season, a lot of the signings became valuable first team players and others which went on loan did well also.
 
I'll be losing a few players for next season such as Kelly ST & Monjac MC as they want to leave and others are wanted by clubs. I'm not overly concerned though as their development phase is over, they are as good now as they will ever be which isn't what we need when we are trying to close the gap in ability between us and the elite teams in Europe. Once they depart they will open up a spot for a young talent to step into the team so I can develop them which in the long run will work out better, especially if the young player has a higher potential ability and just needs games to reach it
 
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Ionel Bogdan – MR - Average Rating : 7.87
Owing to Aydin MR and his unfortunate injuries I had no choice but to play Bogdan regularly. He didn't disappoint and was very consistent throughout, he will now face stiff competition for his place from the Scottish youngster Inglis MR whose attributes for a winger type player far exceed his

YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Henry Suleiman – ML - Average Rating : 7.64
Worth every penny!!...I can't wait to see how much he develops when hopefully he gets a full season of football

New_the_Club_logo.png
 
Finances – They appear a little bit on the low side but bear in mind that this is after the £3.6M was taken out to upgrade the facilities. We still have plenty of room on the wage budget so I'll be looking to maximize the use of that in order to build a competitive team in Europe
 
Facilities – Another season and another upgrade to both training and youth facilities which will give the club 3.5* training facilities, which leaves just another 3 upgrades needed to max them out. I still haven't been given the option to upgrade my youth recruitment which is a pain as it severely limits our ability to produce home grown talent that will ever be good enough to grace the first team. I had the idea to ask for an affiliation to access another teams youth which was granted but our choices weren't that great and we had to settle for Knockbreda who were just relegated into non league. My hope is that we can get a club from across the border like Cork City or Dundalk who have extensive youth recruitment but that could take a while given their vastly better league reputation. It would be a way to not only improve our scope of youth recruitment but to get in players who can't get work permits

Youth Intake – This is why we need better youth recruitment, our intakes aren't going to improve much until we find a way to increase it regardless of who our Head of Youth Development is

 

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League Reputation – A nice improvement which brings 2.5* into range. I'm however concerned that Cliftonville reverted back to semi-professional status as we need the other teams in the league to put in decent performances in Europe to help us with the coefficient. The only reason we really rose at all was because all the teams won their first round Europa League qualifiers which added to the coefficient. It led to us now entering one of the teams from the season after next into the 2nd Qualifying Round as opposed to all three entering in the 1st Qualifying Round. I have started to bulk buy young talents in the hope that they will go on loan to these clubs and strengthen the league as a whole. The stronger I can make the N. Irish league the easier it's going to be for us to succeed in Europe
 
Club Domestic Reputation – Clear air at the top
 
Club European Reputation – We really should be seeded all the way now as there are only 4 teams in the 'Champions' route with better seeding. 5 teams are seeded for the playoff round so we should be the lowest in the seeded group regardless of the results of other games
 
Edited by pheelf

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Looks as if you hit a bit of a ceiling the last 2 seasons, but at least you're making the group stages consistently which should bring in good money for the club.

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TACTIC

After suffering much frustration with the teams failure to make the breakthrough in the Champions League, I've decided to start from scratch again with the 4-4-1-1 and rebuild it from the ground up.

Below is the screenshot of the tactic which shows the defensive shape (blue dots) I'd like to adopt and attacking shape (red dots) which I hope to create with my tactic

Tactic.png

THEORY

Before I even began to create the tactic I started with a complete blank canvas with only knowledge of the formation I wanted to use.

Then I broke the strategy down into three components that would govern how I want my players to conduct themselves on the pitch: 

A) Defensive Contribution

B) Transition Contribution

C) Attacking Contribution

I then assigned a number to each position in the formation for the amount of contribution I would expect:

1) Little Contribution

2) Moderate Contribution

3) High Contribution

It was the use of these numbers which then allowed me to define the duties of each player in the formation which gave me the following:

GK - A3 C1 (Defend Duty)

DCL - A3 C1 (Defend Duty)

DCR - A3 C1 (Defend Duty)

DL - A1 C3 (Attack Duty)

DR - A2 C2 (Support Duty)

MCL - A3 C1 (Defend Duty)

MCR - A2 C2 (Support Duty)

ML - A2 C2 (Support Duty)

MR - A1 C3 (Attack Duty)

AMC - A1 C3 (Attack Duty)

STC - A1 C3 (Attack Duty)

Now that I had my duties sorted out the next step was to sort out the player roles which I was going to use. The roles I see as defining the contribution to the transition phase. I then broke it down even further and decided to think about what a player actually does on the pitch stripped down to nuts and bolts and it comes down to 2 actions for each phase of the game.

When the player receives the ball he can only do one of two things:

D) Dribble with the ball

P) Look to pass (Which in my definition means either passing, shooting, crossing or heading)

In addition when a player isn't on the ball, again he can only be doing one of two things

M) Moving

H) Holding Position

As a result I decided to assign a pair of letters for the each of the different positions to define exactly what I want my player to be doing during the transition phase

GK - PH - Assigned role: Goalkeeper

As I want my GK to look for a pass and he isn't particularly proficient in that department I felt it made sense to add the PI of 'Fewer Risky Passes' and 'Distribute to Fullbacks' as they are usually unmarked and an easier target to receive the ball. As I don't want him rushing out of the goal a Sweeper Keeper simply wasn't a viable alternative

DCL / DCR - PH - Assigned role: Central Defender

No need to have them do anything special and the role comes as default with players instructions which reinforce how I expect them to play

DL - PM - Assigned role : Fullback

I want my LB to be bombing up and down the wing but I don't want him to attempt to dribble the ball as the concern is that he loses the ball in a dangerous area. As a result I have given him the PI of 'Dribble Less'. As he is not alone on the left wing I don't need him to provide that for the team and I'd rather he passes forward to the more technically gifted players. His responsibility is to get into dangerous areas to provide width and get crosses into the box when appropriate

DR - PM - Assigned role : Fullback

The RB has a player ahead of him with an attack duty and as a result he needs to be more conservative. He doesn't need to provide width to stretch teams but instead to provide an option out wide if the team need to recycle possession. I have also given him the PI of 'Dribble Less'

MCL - PH - Assigned role : Central Midfielder

 I've given him the PI of 'Dribble Less' as I see his contribution as being the defensive pivot in the system. It is imperative that he doesn't lose the ball needlessly by trying to dribble the ball and losing it as he is the last line of defence for my central defenders and I don't want them to get exposed. The holding position component comes as default with the duty

MCR - PM - Assigned role : Central Midfielder

This was a rather straightforward decision as his job is simply to be the linkman between the defensive pivot to the left of him and the attacking pivot AMC ahead of him. As a result he needs to be mobile but needs to keep that movement for off the ball situations, therefore he has been given the PIs of 'Dribble Less' and 'Get Further Forward'. I gave him the 'Get Further Forward' instruction as the formation isn't top heavy and having a runner from deep can be difficult for the opposition to deal with

ML - DM - Assigned role : Wide Midfielder

The alternative roles I felt wouldn't have given me what I wanted. A winger would get in the way of the attacking full back behind him, a defensive winger can't be made to cut inside and has a hard tackling component which can't be turned off. Lastly, a Wide Playmaker wouldn't be desirable as I don't want him to attract the ball and direct my play down the left flank. Therefore my only option was to customize the wide midfielder role to suit what I wanted and that is a player who dribbles the ball and is constantly moving and looking for space.

Given that responsibility I have attached the following PIs to the role. 'Dribble More' as I want him to dribble the ball to pull defenders out of position for the full back, 'Roam From Position' as I want him to be difficult to mark, 'Fewer Risky Passes' as the role is all about running with the ball and not looking for the pass, 'Sit Narrower' as on the opposite flank the player is sitting wider and finally 'Cut Inside With Ball' as that is where the space is going to be for him to dribble into

MR - DM - Assigned role : Winger

I was tempted to make the right midfielder a Wide Midfielder and just adjust the role through PIs to make him behave like a Winger but then thought against it. I feel the Wide Midfielder is also a more defensively responsible role whereas I just want a player on the right wing who is going to run at defenders all game long given he has a more conservative player behind him

AMC - D&PH - Assigned role : Advanced Playmaker

I played around with the Enganche role as I thought that was what I really needed. After all he is a player that looks to pass the ball and holds his place in the hole giving me a PH which made sense for a player in a striker partnership where the other player ahead of him is a DM. However, after watching the matches play out I didn't like what I was seeing. Low scoring games, predictable build ups and excessive gaps between the front two making any partnership difficult. As result I chose the Advanced Playmaker role which I feel offers a much better link up.

I added the 'Hold Position' Player instruction so that he stays in the danger zone when he doesn't have the ball as I don't require an off the ball runner for my attacking pivot. As the player is likely to be one of the most technically gifted in the team the idea is to make him utilize his vision to decide when to pass the ball off and when to run with it. My hope is that by giving him two options when he receives the ball that he becomes unpredictable for opposition defenders who won't know whether to close him down to prevent him from dribbling or stand off and mark the passing options around him

ST - DM - Assigned role : Advanced Forward

Given the attack duty I only had a choice of four roles. The Trequartista isn't a great choice for a lone striker and he would roam far too much to be a consistent threat in the box. Playing a Deep Lying Forward I feel would get in the way of the Advanced Playmaker behind him. The Poacher seemed a reasonable idea but then the role is restricted in his ability to dribble the ball, in addition the Poacher offers no 'give and take' in the sense that he isn't going to look to link up with the AMC behind him which could again result in predictable attacks when the opposition mark him out of the game. Finally, the Complete Forward would be attempting to do too much which isn't required and could actually prove damaging so that left the Advanced Forward. He dribbles a lot and makes a lot of runs off the ball, that is all I really want so is the ideal role for me to use

I have kept the TI of 'Work Ball Into Box' which I feel is needed so that we don't end up with ridiculous shot counts every game, in addition I have shifted the Team Shape back down to Flexible. I know exactly what I want from my players I don't want that being compromised because of being given too much freedom. The mentality will remain Standard and that pretty much wraps it up. The early signs are encouraging but I'm sure more fine tuning will be required in time

Edited by pheelf

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On 12/6/2016 at 16:52, noikeee said:

Looks as if you hit a bit of a ceiling the last 2 seasons, but at least you're making the group stages consistently which should bring in good money for the club.

Unfortunately so, my hope is that the new tactic can breathe new life into the team and help our performances in the group stages

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CHIMNEY CORNER F.C.

SEASON 2034 / 2035


SEASON EXPECTATIONS

Keeping up our yearly qualification for the Champions League group stage is a must in order to reduce the gap between the club and the elite of European football


 
 
New_the_Season_logo.png
 

League Table - Accruing 100+ points is always great, we still are waiting for the unbeaten season though

UEFA Champions League - Qualification for the group stage was a breeze but we drew a group of death which made progression through the group incredibly difficult. The results and performances in the group were dreadful as the opposition dominated us in every match. It was this inability to be competitive which prompted me to change my tactic

Domestic Cups - Just the two cup wins this season

Reserves - A nice double

Under 18s - They did great to beat Barcelona and win the league
 
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Squad – The squad is definitely more balanced than it has been in the past with regards to age distribution but to me it appears that we have gone backwards. The left flank could benefit from some quality for both the LB and LM positions. I need to find a star for the AMC position as they should be one of the best players in the squad, therefore the average ability players we currently have aren't going to be good enough. I will also need to invest in another ST who can bang the goals in regularly. The team will also need a quality RB and some decent rotation options down the spine. Overall, the squad is probably going to need another rebuild
 
Transfers Part 1 / Transfers Part 2 – We were raided...pure and simple. I had no choice about the Suleiman transfer as my board went over my head and accepted the offer because it was too good to refuse. I spent a bit to try and bring some young talents into the squad but probably would have been better off just sticking to the free agent market as my best signings came from there. A lot of the other transfers out were just to keep squad harmony as they wanted to leave. It is rather disheartening however to see players which would be great for us retire on the free transfer list, what a tremendous waste of talent
 
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Alen Spadina – MR - Average Rating : 7.71
The DBP Player of the Year was a real class act and I'll be interested to see how he'll perform now that he has been given the Winger (Attack) role which gives him the freedom to focus entirely on his attacking game

YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Martin Dunne – ML - Average Rating : 7.16
He's okay but perhaps I would have expected better given his price tag. I'll try to give him more games but I now seriously question whether he can ever get close to his potential ability

New_the_Club_logo.png
 
Finances – The youth facilities upgrade had to be scrapped because of the low balance and the fact that it would cost £4M. The wage budget has actually gone down which makes this situation appear much worse. Thankfully, I can see some light at the end of the tunnel. Our attendances and season tickets have spiked which is great and it appears that our ticket prices have plateaued with only a slight increase this season which means that next year we could see an even bigger increase to our ticket sales. This encourages me as it shows that we are finally beginning to grow our support which should have a positive impact on our income not only through ticket sales but merchandising sales. Our main source of income is still going to be the prize money from the Champions League and player sales but points to a positive future going forward. We could very soon be in a situation where expanding the stadium becomes a viable option which would help to address the last remaining advantage our fellow N. Irish teams have over us
 
Facilities – Only could afford the training facilities upgrade but in a choice between either the youth or training facilities I'm glad that the board opted for the training facility upgrade. The reason is that our youth players are pretty poor and wouldn't benefit all that much from increasing the rate at which they could reach their PA. As the youth recruitment is terrible we aren't producing many high potential players anyway so upgrades would provide minimal benefit at this point

Youth Intake – We had a potential star GK in McClean come through and a decent MR in White but outside of those two the rest are never going to make it here unfortunately
 
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League Reputation – Making good strides towards 2.5* which has become a realistic aspiration for next season. I'm hoping that this boost might convince some of the players that had reservations about joining the DBP to at least allow us to talk to them
 
Club Domestic Reputation – The gap between us and the rest is growing which is good in one respect as it will help us to dominate by attracting players which they can't but bad in the respect that it shows that they aren't strengthening along with us and makes loans to them increasingly unlikely. We need the whole league to come along with us and become competitive in Europe otherwise it slows down our improvement. Being at 2.5* means we could probably do with playing youth players in the domestic cups to give the other teams a chance to boost their reputations being a whole star ahead of Linfield isn't sustainable in my opinion
 
Club European Reputation – We are going to be seeded all the way through the qualifiers as now only 2 teams in the 'Champions' route have more coefficient points than us. Next season will be the first when a N. Irish team will enter at the 2nd Qualifying Round of the Europa League, Linfield will be the first beneficiaries of that improvement we have brought to N. Ireland
 
Edited by pheelf

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Looks like this season was business as usual. You mentioned a change of tactic this season, what prompted it and what did you change?

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On 12/11/2016 at 19:04, noikeee said:

Looks like this season was business as usual. You mentioned a change of tactic this season, what prompted it and what did you change?

I decided to change the tactic because I was concerned by how badly we were getting beaten in the group stage and the dominance the opposition seemed to have over us. We weren't really pulling up trees domestically either which was disappointing given our wage expenditure when compared with the other teams in the league, even though we were dominant we weren't destroying teams like we should have been.

After much thought I've decided to once again abandon the 4-4-1-1 and have decided to opt for a 4-4-2. I think I've been over complicating things and will be changing my strategy going forwards. I'm going back to the basic approach that I used to adopt. In previous games I would select my starting players based on form which I haven't been doing (Quick Pick being the culprit).

My new 4-4-2 looks like this

                AF (A) DLF (S)

WM (S)  CM (D)  DLP (S)  WM (A)

FB (A)    CD (D)   CD (D)   FB (S)

                      GK (D)

Standard mentality, Flexible Team Shape, No TIs with only these added PIs

GK (D) - Fewer Risky Passes, Distribute to Full Backs

FB (A) - Dribble Less

FB (S) - Dribble Less

WM (S) - Dribble More, Cut Inside With Ball

CM (D) - Dribble Less

DLP (S) - Dribble Less

WM (A) - Dribble More, Run Wide With Ball

DLF (S) - Dribble Less

It may be basic but lets give it a try

Edited by pheelf

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CHIMNEY CORNER F.C.

SEASON 2035 / 2036


SEASON EXPECTATIONS

The years are rolling by and we haven't made much progress in Europe since we started qualifying regularly for the UCL group stage, luck has got to change at some point, right?


 
 
New_the_Season_logo.png
 

League Table - Done what was necessary but a poorer performance than last season, it was the amount of draws we had in the early part of the season which convinced me that the tactics needed altering

UEFA Champions League - We couldn't have hoped for an easier route to the group stage as the teams we faced in qualification were way below our standard. The group however was an unmitigated disaster, defensively we were a shambles, we struggled to compete with our opponents in any meaningful way and couldn't seem to muster anything resembling build up play which left our attack as blunt as a butter knife. Things can't continue like this!!

Domestic Cups - We looked like winning it all but a red card against Linfield cost us dearly, they then went on to win the Challenge Cup making them the 3rd N. Irish team to do so

Reserves - A full trophy haul this time around

Under 18s - A league title and a couple of draws in the group stage of the U19 Champions League
 
New_the_Players_logo.png
 
Squad – We are starting to get a younger feel to the squad which is the direction I'm looking to take us in and most encouraging of all we are beginning to see the emergence of home grown talent such as McClean GK and Anderson ST. The wage bill is a little bit high for what we are getting out of the team and the squad could do with some trimming especially for players which play in the AMC position as I no longer can accommodate them. McClean GK will be leaving as he wants to go to play in the Championship which he can do with my blessing for £450K +50% of next sale clause. Ludwig LB has gone on loan for 70% of his wage to Tours FC which I see as a great bit of business, he is on a high wage and isn't going to get any better so to get the burden of his wage off the wage bill is great and if we suffer any injury crisis he can always be recalled
 
Hudson LB, Johnson CD, Watkins AMC & Mulholland AMC all look like leaving when their contracts expire. I'll be in the market for a LM and CD, curiously, Campbell ST a player I loaned to Cliftonville ended up winning both the DBP Young Player of the Season and DBP Player of the Season so I'll be interested to see how he has developed when he returns. I also decided to bring retired club legend Aaron Bradley MR back to the club as a member of staff, he will be the new Reserves Assistant Manager
 
Transfers Part 1 / Transfers Part 2 – Once again our best signings were found on the free agent market, the transfers out were either to maintain squad harmony or because they were seen as surplus to requirements
 
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Paul Henry – ML - Average Rating : 7.55
He did great on the left wing and has a complimentary PPM which led him to pick up a fair amount of goals. He's getting a little bit old and will need replacing soon but I enjoyed his performances this season

YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Ismael Lopez – DR - Average Rating : 7.31
A very good start to his career at the club, he also scored a beauty of a free kick

New_the_Club_logo.png
 
Finances – We aren't in a great position but at least it was enough for us to invest in a stadium expansion
 
Facilities – We couldn't afford any upgrades to the training or youth facilities but got granted permission to expand the stadium. Even though the expansion is pretty lousy as it adds only 700 standing places, on the other hand I get to play an entire season at Windsor Park which should give us a great indication of how our fan base has evolved

Youth Intake – I'm going to start to give these more attention as it has been relatively productive of late, McFerran ST looks to be a very good Target Man who I'll be looking to shape into a Deep Lying Forward, Baird GK and McLoughlin CM look like the best of the rest
 
New_the_Stature_logo.png
 
League Reputation – We have reached 2.5* which is fantastic. Next up will be trying to get the league reputation better than the R.O.I. Premier League. That way I can try and get a work permit affiliation and start to bring in some young stars from outside the EU (who are usually loads cheaper) to send to them on loan until they get a work permit
 
Club Domestic Reputation – Linfield closed the gap which is great, my hope is that they go on a bit of a run in Europe and turn professional soon. My sense is that if they turn pro others will follow
 
Club European Reputation – There are 4 teams in the 'Champions' route with a higher coefficient than us so we once again should be seeded all the way to the group stage
 
Edited by pheelf

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Hang in there, you'll eventually catch a break in Europe.

I'd completely missed the hugely detailed post above about the tactic, that's why I asked you what had you changed! Looks as if you're still searching for the perfect system though. Watch out - sometimes it's easy to get drawn into tactical overthinking. I know I've spun my wheels loads in previous careers, moving from system to system! (in fact that's been the story of my current career so far...)

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TACTICS

Even with the switch to the 4-4-2 the performances haven't improved enough so I've decided to tweak it further and have come up with the following:

4_4_2_tactic.png

Image courtesy of www.lineupbuilder.com

Alterations made:

1) The Wide Midfielders have been changed to Wingers with default PIs. The reason for the change is that the players I have in the ML and MR positions have their best roles as Wingers and it appears to be nigh on impossible to get good Wide Midfielders. The Wide Midfielder role also appears to be more technically demanding where as my wide players aren't particularly gifted in that department with the exception of crossing and have their greatest strength in the physical aspects of the game which the change of role should place greater emphasis on

It's going to make the attacking play a bit one dimensional as the only players in my midfield that will be looking to break the lines are the wide players. My hope is that by having different duties it layers the attacks and pulls the opposition defensive lines apart to create space

2) The DLF (S) and AF (A) positions have been swapped. My initial thinking was that by having the DLF (S) directly ahead of the DLP (S) that they would get close enough to link up more effectively. Unfortunately what I was observing was the DLF (S) not dropping deep to gather the ball at all. Having it this way should allow him a bigger space to drop deeper into. Additionally, I feel that I have done everything possible to ensure that players won't be getting in each others way.

More than likely the tactic will need further refinement but lets see how this plays out

 

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