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Rotherham? They'll be down by Christmas...

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Rotherham United

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

He didn't.

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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Never say die.

 

Rotherham went on an undefeated streak for ELEVEN games, going from surefire relegation candidates to comfortably keeping their head above water. Neil Warnock decided not to stay on as manager in search of another promotion - one that would give him the record for most promotions in history - and Rotherham needed to look for a new manager. In real life, that was Alan Stubbs. He lasted 13 games, which was about 10 games too many. In FM, that's me. I didn't exactly fair much better in my first crack at this, being relieved of my duties with the team five points inside the relegation zone, having picked up 3 points from a possible 30 to end a miserable campaign. But if you can't beat them, try again, right? Sort of. Maybe.

 

I made some pretty significant mistakes first time around:

 

  • My first mistake was in setting up my manager profile. I went with Sunday League playing experience because I like to bite off way more than I can chew, but I decided that I didn't need to put many points into 'Player Knowledge', because I figured I knew enough about the English lower leagues to put the points elsewhere. Turns out, that meant that my knowledge about most players was non-existent. Combined with the fact that Rotherham start the game with not a single scout, scouting was basically impossible. I'm keeping with Sunday League playing experience, but I'm pumping all of my points into player knowledge this time. The other things can wait.

 

  • That mistake meant we were way, way behind in terms of player recruitment. We didn't bring in anyone significant in summer, because we just didn't have a big enough shortlist of players to target. Combined with how weak Rotherham's squad is for this level, we essentially dug our own grave before we'd kicked a ball.

 

  • That was made worse by never being able to settle on a tactic or an identity all season. We rotated through a fair few tactics and playing styles, but never were able to hit on one that fully capitalised on our strengths and hid our weaknesses. We need to do a better job of that this time.

 

  • That may or may not mean playing like 'typical Rotherham' (long balls and lots of physicality), but I definitely want to be more like the real life Rotherham in terms of finance management. We're one of the smallest clubs in the Championship, so there's no point trying to play with the big boys. Cut back on wages, get rid of unnecessary expenditure and make full use of the free transfer and loan market. The Rotherham way.

 

I'm feeling pretty confident about this one. That won't last long.

 

 

 

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The Squad:

Goalkeepers:

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I have to be honest, I'm not happy with Camp's stats on FM. In real life, he's one of the better keepers in the Championship and Rotherham's player of the year, but he looks distinctly average in FM. We may need to upgrade here at some point. He really didn't impress me in my first attempt, and he's on 7k a week. If we can bring in someone younger and cheaper, he's going.

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 A career backup who's decent and not taking too high a wage, Price should stick around for a couple of years unless we can find a younger prospect to fill the backup job.

Fullbacks:

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Kelly is a dependable veteran, but I'm not sure how much gametime he'll get. I like my FBs to be a little faster, especially with the quality opposing wingers have in the Championship these days. His wage isn't astronomical, so he'll probably stay around in the squad.

 

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

 

 

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

 

Centrebacks:

7916461cc0895004f2ae65e99b66794e.png In real life, Greg Halford is a nightmare to manage, extremely argumentative and a liability most of the time. Good thing he's our highest earner in the squad on 8k p/w then. He doesn't look bad, and his versatility could come in handy, but I'm not sure whether he'll be starting for us or not. I don't intend to pay a backup 8k a week, and there's not a chance I'm extending his contract past this year, which basically makes me look at this as a very expensive one year loan. I think we can do better, so I'm going to try and get rid.

 

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Real world liability #2! He looks distinctly average here, although that pace might come in handy. Not taking up a huge wage, either.

 

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Wood doesn't do much to separate himself from the pack. He probably won't play all that often. I may look to sell him in favour of someone younger, if we can find anyone.

 

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

 

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Bought from Spurs for peanuts this summer, I like Ball's potential, but I don't think he's ready for major playing time just yet - not at CB, anyway. 4 determination is not what you need in a relegation battle. I wonder if loaning him out would be the right move?

 

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Loaned in from Middlesbrough, Fry is an England U19. He looks really good on FM and will be my choice to partner Broadfoot, but we'll see if he makes as many rookie mistakes as he has done in real life. Still, for 2k a week, I can't really complain. 

 

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

 

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

 

Centre-Midfielders:

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

 

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

 

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Bought in this summer from Falkirk for 300k (a big fee for Rotherham), the jury's still out on Vaulks. Last time around, he was too hot and cold for me. I like him, but he'll need to perform.

 

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On loan from Celtic, Allan is more of a 'luxury' player due to how little he offers when he's not in possession. I don't think we're good enough to have a luxury player, so Allan may not see much playing time. Considering he's on a ridiculous 7.25k a week to be a backup player, this is a no-brainer. He's heading back north. We can use that money elsewhere.

 

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On loan from Cardiff, injuries have stopped him really making an impact so far this season. 8k a week though... if I can find a decent CM to loan in for cheaper, Adeyemi's going, but he looks decent enough to stick around otherwise.

 

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On loan from Brighton. On his day, he's a good player. He hasn't had that day once yet. My real life dislike for him may end up working against him here, because I don't think he's much better than Vaulks or Adeyemi. 4.1k a week isn't extortionate though, so he'll stick around.

 

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

 

Wingers:

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

 

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

 

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A pretty good winger who can also fill in at CM, I'd expect Newell to get a fair bit of gametime this season, but that likely won't be as a starting option to begin the year.

 

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

 

Strikers:

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This is the one I'm most disappointed with. Danny Ward is clearly too good for Rotherham in real life, but you wouldn't be able to tell that from his FM stats. He's a good striker, but he deserves to be so much better. He's also extremely injury prone, so we could be in trouble there. In real life, he's stayed healthy, and has 8 goals so far in the league. Not bad, considering Rotherham in total only have 17.

 

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

 

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

 

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This is a weird one. Odemwingie signed with the club about three weeks ago on a deal that only takes him up to January. It's a huge coup for the club IRL, but I'm not overly impressed with his stats here. He's good, but is he good enough to start, considering I may only be playing one upfront? Is he good enough to be earning 8k? The short term deal gives us flexibility, at least.

 

Youth Prospects:

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

If you haven't noticed - I'm paying a lot of attention to the wages players are on. Rotherham's budget is tiny, and succeeding with them means getting the most out of what you've got. We're going to need to cut loose some players to free up cash, me thinks.

 

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I realise that was a little long, so here's my keep/ditch list:

 

Keep:

GK - Lewis Price. Unless we can find someone cheaper, which is doubtful, he's here to stay as a backup.

CB - Kirk Broadfoot. Our leader at the back.

CB - Dael Fry. He's on loan for just 2k a week. Bargain.

CB/LB - Aymen Belaid. He'll be important when he recovers from injury.

CB - Kelvin Wilson. Probably cheap enough to keep around for the year.

CB - Dominic Ball. He's 20, and was only signed in Summer. He might be going out on loan, though.

LB - Joe Mattock. He's our only competent LB,

RB - Darnell Fisher. Quality player on very cheap wages.

CM - Will Vaulks. New to the squad and on low wages.

CM - Lee Frecklington. Mr Rotherham.

CM - Jake Forster-Caskey. Cheap enough to keep his loan deal running.

RM - Jon Taylor. He's new, our record signing and a good winger.

LM - Izzy Brown. Here for free.

ST - Danny Ward. Our best player. I need to give him a contract extension ASAP.

ST - Jonson Clarke-Harris. We'll see what state he's in when he recovers from his injury around about March.

ST - Peter Odemwingie. I don't think he's worth 8k, but he's here until January whether I like it or not.

ST - Dexter Blackstock. I don't want him, but he's just joined, so I'm stuck with him.

 

Sell:

CB - Greg Halford. Not a chance he's worth 8k.

CB - Richard Wood. He's old, earning 4.5k and is a backup at best.

CM - Scott Allan. I've already terminated his loan. That's 7.25k we badly need on someone who'll actually help us.

 

Maybe:

GK - Lee Camp. Not as good as he is in real life, and on pretty high wages. I want to bring in someone younger.

RB - Stephen Kelly. I can't decide. We're not going to get much money for him, but I just don't think he's got the pace to keep up in this division.

CM - Tom Adeyemi. 8k a week is very hefty for him. If we can bring in someone as good, this is a definite termination.

LM - Joe Newell. He's decent, but we got a big offer from America for him last time round. If that happens again, he's gone.

 

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We don't exactly have a lot of room to manoeuvre in the market right now. Loans and frees!

 

Edited by Jupjamie

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Staff:

Just as an example of how incompetent Rotherham are sometimes:

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

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

 

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

2bf3f9954f080780863d413561e2bb81.png

 

Jesus wept, I was better off in San Marino! Lots of work needed. LOTS.

 

The good news is, FM haven't updated our new Assistant Manager under Kenny Jackett, which means I'm free to bring in my own right hand man. That's excellent.

 

Facilities:

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

 

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

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Here's the expectations I'm going with. It's a risk, but I need the extra wages. Besides, I'd consider this a failure if I were to get relegated, anyway.

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Good luck, will be keeping an eye on this. If you're struggling for depth later in the season with injuries, suspensions etc, i'd suggest dipping into the welsh, Irish and Scottish leagues. Some really cheap gems in there if you can actually hire a scout by then!

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Early Tactical Plans

This is going to be a ramble, because I'm just going to write out my thoughts as they come. Apologies for that, but hopefully you find it interesting seeing my thinking process behind the creation of our tactics for the season.

 

  • First things first - you always have to play to your team's strengths. So, let's take a look.
  • CBs are, for the most part, big but slow. Deep line, I think.
  • Talking of CBs, how many do we want? My favourite personal formation is a 5-3-2 using WBs, but we don't have the players for that. Could we use a back five with attacking FBs, then? That wastes some of our best players, because Jon Taylor and Izzy Brown don't fit into a team using a back 5. Probably not, then.
  • FBs are decent going forward. Not fantastic, but decent. 
  • CMs aren't great. In general, our team are not fantastic passers. A possession game does not suit us.
  • We do have a couple of players who could play DM adequately, though. I don't trust our defence, and with a deep line, a DM may come in very handy.
  • Any decent CAMs? No, not really. Izzy Brown could play in behind the striker, but I'd rather have him on the left.
  • We're not bad on the wing, with Izzy Brown and Jon Taylor being pretty good options. Not much depth there, but oh well.
  • I'm not a huge fan of crossing, to be honest, unless you have a proper Target Man. We don't. I don't think putting the ball into the box when the rate you complete a cross successfully is about 10% is a fantastic idea for us. Izzy Brown and Jon Taylor are both good inside forwards (Izzy Brown is right footed on the left, which is perfect), so I think I'll use them in those roles.
  • I think we're pretty much forced to use one striker, which will be Danny Ward. Peter Odemwingie does look decent, but I think a one striker formation suits us best, right now.

 

  • I want my striker to be a workhorse, which Danny Ward is. I need him to close down a lot, to stop the opposition having space to play out. 
  • Wingers are going to cut inside, as the IF role suggests. My FBs can go outside on the overlap to support them when needed - my hope is that the IF will run inside, and drag the FB inside with him, creating space for the FB to put in a cross without being under pressure, which may give us a better success rate.
  • If we're going with a DM and only one striker, that means my two CMs can both support the attack. That gives us some options.
  • The DM is going to be a BWM. I want someone to come out and challenge the opposition before they reach my back four.

 

With all that in mind, here's what I'm thinking:

 

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I'm going to tweak with it, but here's what I think I'm going to try first. We're a big team, so force teams to kick the ball out long from the back. Rather than put crosses in, hold off while a WB can bomb up the pitch. Keep things narrow, because - as aforementioned - I don't like crossing. We're going deep because we're slow, we're going direct because we're bad on the ball, and we're whipping crosses in because that seems to be effective.

 

Our AF is being told to close down much more. Our BBM is being told to get further forward, because I think having him arrive late from deep could be very useful, and we should - maybe - have the defensive cover to make up for him going forward. I can change that if it doesn't work out. 

Our WBs are being told to stay wider and run wide with the ball, because they're the ones providing our width. The GK is told to kick the ball out short to the FBs, because we don't have a huge physical presence upfront, and Camp's kicking is only 12.

 

That's our first tactic. Here's our backup:

 

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4-4-2. I don't see what else really suits us, to be honest.

Edited by Jupjamie

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39 minutes ago, Jakarooney said:

Good luck, will be keeping an eye on this. If you're struggling for depth later in the season with injuries, suspensions etc, i'd suggest dipping into the welsh, Irish and Scottish leagues. Some really cheap gems in there if you can actually hire a scout by then!

Excellent point, and that's exactly why I've loaded those local leagues. I'm about to do a big post on my scouting plans for the save, which will again be a bit of a ramble, but I will be looking at the local leagues specifically :) 

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Initial Scouting Plans:

I messed up recruitment badly last time, and I want to make sure that doesn't happen again. Here's what I'm thinking:

 

  • We aren't trying to compete with the big boys. We're going with frees and loans for the most part. Any signing that actually involves money better be the right one, because we don't have much to spend.
  • We want to get younger in a lot of positions. Buying older players is not a smart or viable long term plan. That's not to saying buying older players is a bad idea, because it's not - just that we can't rely solely on them.

Positions:

GK - I'd like to look at bringing someone in to replace Lee Camp, or maybe to be a backup and get rid of Lewis Price, but that would ideally be someone younger at a similar level. That would mean spending money, so that's taking a backseat for now.

FB - I'm happy with our starters. We could do with a backup, though.

CBs - I guess our starters will do for now? We'll see. We do have a lot of bodies back here, so we aren't going to be bringing in anyone for depth.

CMs - I'm looking for someone better and cheaper than Adeyemi on loan. CM is definitely a position I'd like to improve the starting quality of, and I'd like to bring in someone capable of playing at CAM if needed.

Wingers - We could definitely do with some depth here.

ST - I don't want to keep Blackstock and Odemwingie probably won't be sticking around, so we could do with bringing in someone young here.

 

Countries:

England - Most players from England are overpriced, unfortunately. This will be my first port of call for loans and frees, but probably not so much paid players.

Wales - Not sure how much talent there is in Wales, with most teams not being Professional. There are some tidy Welsh players who don't play in Wales, however.

Northern Ireland - Ditto.

Scotland - A fair amount of talent here, and it's where Rotherham have targeted in real life this summer. I'll definitely be taking a look here.

Ireland - I know Dundalk are having some players looked at by Championship teams in real life, and one's already moved to Brighton (I forget his name). No harm in looking at them. I don't think the rest of the league has a whole lot to offer.

Scandinavia - This is where I'm going to be taking a heavy look. There's a lot of cheap talent here.

Italy/France/Spain/Germany - Possibly. 

Holland - There's some decent talent here. 

There are other countries, for sure, but these are the main ones. Scandinavia is hopefully going to be fruitful for us.

 

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New Staff!

Well, I've bought in an actual scouting team, a couple of new coaches and an Assistant Manager. I think we may be done for hiring staff, at least for the moment.

5a8fa94ed90cbae9ae9b063c81e938d6.png

I've taken a risk with my Assistant - his only previous backroom experience is managing a few Amateur/Semi-Pro Northern Irish teams. It's a huge step up, but his stats look really good. I'm confident in him.

 

Scouts:

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I'm happy with these five. We've got room to bring in another scout, but I can't find one worth the money right now.

 

Here's how our training looks:

82b7398b00e68431edea77386ecb6e15.png

It's still a mess, but it's better than it was.

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14 minutes ago, Jupjamie said:

Ireland - I know Dundalk are having some players looked at by Championship teams in real life, and one's already moved to Brighton (I forget his name). No harm in looking at them. I don't think the rest of the league has a whole lot to offer.

Ritchie Towell, tidy enough player in FM, don't think he's got a look in, in real life.

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2 minutes ago, BoxToBox said:

Ritchie Towell, tidy enough player in FM, don't think he's got a look in, in real life.

That's the one! Don't think he's actually played a game for them yet, though :( 

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Preseason

f53a2c66b045430ae03765364fc9114a.png

You learn pretty much nothing from such a short preseason. We got our players matchfit, at least.

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August

Transfers:

e91b54517d9bc2e3558907c487d0813b.png

A quiet window, mostly because we couldn't actually find many players who wanted to join us. Scandinavia turned up a lot of gems, and every single one refused to even enter contract talks with us. Still, we did manage to dump Halford's massive contract and get rid of Stephen Kelly, and bring in two loans:

 

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Holgate replaces Stephen Kelly as a backup FB, and he's earning £0 a week. Not bad.

 

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A backup winger, he may come in useful later down the line.

 

Results:

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Rotherham vs Wolves:

Cost to build Rotherham matchday squad: 1.2m

Cost to build Wolves matchday squad: 17.325m

A boring but even match, we were beaten by Broadfoot clearing the ball off Joe Mason's face and into the goal in the 15th minute.

 

Rotherham vs Cambridge:

We battered them, but two sloppy goals and an inability to finish our own chances meant we needed extra time to get the win,

 

Aston Villa vs Rotherham:

Cost to build Rotherham matchday squad: 1.2m

Cost to build Aston Villa matchday squad: 70.3m

They were by far the better team. No complaints about the result.

 

Brighton vs Rotherham:

Cost to build Rotherham matchday squad: 1.4m

Cost to build Brighton matchday squad: 14.175m

We stole this one, to be honest. They battered us, but we made the better chances, and you're damn right we took them.

 

Rotherham vs Brentford:

Cost to build Rotherham matchday squad: 1.4m

Cost to build Brentford matchday squad: 8.75m

We were just flat - a common theme throughout our early games. We didn't offer much going forward at all.

 

Rotherham vs Newcastle:

Cost to build Rotherham matchday squad: 1.4m

Cost to build Newcastle matchday squad: 48.5m

Yeah... this could have gone better.

 

Barnsley vs Rotherham:

Cost to build Rotherham matchday squad: 1.4m

Cost to build Barnsley matchday squad: 1.35m

The first team who's squad was built for less than ours, and it showed. This was the introduction of our new tactic (more to come on that...), and it worked pretty well, although it did help that Barnsley are definitely one of the weaker teams in the division.

 

So, overall - not bad. We're out the EFL Cup, but we were never going to beat Newcastle, and 6 points from 5 games isn't too shabby.

 

Tactics:

Our 4-1-2-3 just wasn't working. We weren't getting enough players forward to support the attack, and Danny Ward was getting completely isolated upfront. So...

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I'm hoping this will give us a lot more balance, with the CMs supporting the defence enough to keep us solid at the back, and enough bodies forward to actually create chances.

The players we have in our 4-2-3-1 actually aren't that physical, and are pretty good technically - definitely better with the ball at their feet - hence the change to shorter passing. Hopefully, this works out for us. The first game we used it in was the Barnsley game, and Lee Frecklington scored two screamers from the edge of the area. It could have legs.

 

Squad:

Lee Camp broke his collarbone, so Lewis Price is in goal for the foreseeable future. Joe Mattock strained his abdomen against Barnsley, which means he'll be out for a month. Darnell Fisher will slide over to LB and Mason Holgate will get the start at RB. Dael Fry and Kirk Broadfoot have been our CB pairing, and they've done fairly well.

Jake Forster-Caskey has started off well as a creative CM, Lee Frecklington has done fantastically and Tom Adeyemi has been more than competent as our more defensive CM. Will Vaulks is yet to start a game, having strained his groin early on.

Jon Taylor missed the start of the season with an injury, and is yet to find his form. Izzy Brown is playing well.

Danny Ward has done decently upfront, but Peter Odemwingie has impressed off the bench. Dexter Blackstock is out for three months after tearing his hamstring on international duty. He's stealing a wage.

Edited by Jupjamie

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September

Results:

d22c83c151c344c7268f59da3579a344.png

It's not as bad as it looks. Well...

 

Rotherham vs Bristol City:

Cost to build Rotherham matchday squad: 1.4m

Cost to build Bristol City matchday squad: 10.1m

We were the better team, but they scored twice from two corners.

 

Rotherham vs Nottingham Forest:

Cost to build Rotherham matchday squad: 1.4m

Cost to build Nottingham Forest matchday squad: 3.6m

Would you believe me if I said we were the better side? Once again, the other team took their chances, and we didn't.

 

Blackburn vs Rotherham:

Cost to build Rotherham matchday squad: 1.4m

Cost to build Blackburn matchday squad: 600k

Blackburn's squad is cheap, and it shows. We battered them, but they hit back twice, including a 90th minute equaliser. Gutted. 

 

Rotherham vs Cardiff:

Cost to build Rotherham matchday squad: 1.4m

Cost to build Cardiff matchday squad: 9m

They deserved the win, but it was fairly even. They scored one from a corner and had another cleared off the line.

 

Huddersfield vs Rotherham:

Cost to build Rotherham matchday squad: 1.4m

Cost to build Huddersfield matchday squad: No idea. Literally all their transfers are undisclosed.

Conceded two corners.

 

So, if you haven't worked out the major issue so far...

 

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Ridiculous. That's more than you should be conceding in a season. It's no wonder we're losing games when we're conceding a corner in 2/3 games we play. Nothing I've done so far has worked, so if you have any ideas..

 

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It's early days.

 

Squad:

Lewis Price hasn't been fantastic in goal, but I didn't expect him to be.

Dael Fry and Kirk Broadfoot have been solid at CB, but Darnell Fisher and Mason Holgate were woeful at FB this month. We get Aymen Belaid and Joe Mattock back soon, which will help things.

Lee Frecklington has just done his hip, which is 2-3 months out. That's a huge hole at CAM, which Jake Forster-Caskey will have to fill. That means Will Vaulks will get more gametime alongside Tom Adeyemi.

Jon Taylor was disappointing on the wing, losing his place to Joe Newell. Izzy Brown did well on the other wing. 

Danny Ward was woeful this month upfront. 11 games started and just 2 goals to show for it. Not good. Peter Odemwingie is declining quickly, and I don't see him being here past January. We're so weak upfront.

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The 4-2-3-1 isnt suited to counter at all really as you have too many players at the top end of the pitch, also with WBs and two CMs on support plus four attack roles you're far more attacking than a counter attacking team is usually. In a counter system you shouldn't have more than one player on attack mentality. 

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2 hours ago, LATB said:

The 4-2-3-1 isnt suited to counter at all really as you have too many players at the top end of the pitch, also with WBs and two CMs on support plus four attack roles you're far more attacking than a counter attacking team is usually. In a counter system you shouldn't have more than one player on attack mentality. 

Yeah, I've sort of come to that realisation myself. Here's what we're going to try next:

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I'm not sure how suitable those CM roles are, but we'll give it a go. We sort of need it to work, too - here's how October went...

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That's one point from ten games.

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There is one bit of good news, though. We've managed to bring in Samba Diakite on a free:

1780db436afa17e2bd1a874764ac3fd8.png

At just 3k a week, this is a superb deal for us. If we do use a BWM, it's a role he's tailor-made for.

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27 minutes ago, Jupjamie said:

Yeah, I've sort of come to that realisation myself. Here's what we're going to try next:

57c517df8ca0c964d3efc3f3f9ddccfd.png

I'm not sure how suitable those CM roles are, but we'll give it a go. We sort of need it to work, too - here's how October went...

35dea3897e605c51b51c6764362131ad.png

That's one point from ten games.

Good luck. Rotherham looks an interesting challenge for sure. 

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Good luck again dude!  My fortunes improved alot when I played 4 - 2 - 3 - 1.  Taylor and Fisher should be your strongest players.  Fisher is doing great at RB for me even in season 3.  Have you tried Wilson at CB?  He played better than Kirk for me.  I'd play Fry at LCB aswell.   First season is solid though.  Nice to see you got money for Halford!

Try something like this and see how it goes.  Let Izzy play at AML and Ward uptop. 

7065d9171d86584a7ec8f41cb21a9632.png

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4 hours ago, SpillBlood said:

Good luck again dude!  My fortunes improved alot when I played 4 - 2 - 3 - 1.  Taylor and Fisher should be your strongest players.  Fisher is doing great at RB for me even in season 3.  Have you tried Wilson at CB?  He played better than Kirk for me.  I'd play Fry at LCB aswell.   First season is solid though.  Nice to see you got money for Halford!

Try something like this and see how it goes.  Let Izzy play at AML and Ward uptop. 

7065d9171d86584a7ec8f41cb21a9632.png

Thanks, Spillblood! Unfortunately...

 

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I can't see why they fired me.

 

I'm a bit stunned. I've failed before, but never like this. We were on pace to set the lowest points ever scored in a Football League season. The weirdest part is, we weren't actually playing that badly - performances did collapse by the end, but we were actually the better team in a lot of our games. I felt like we played better this time around than last time, if I'm honest.

There's no way I'm going out like this. I'm going to give this a third and final try, fix the stupid mistakes that I made this time round as well, and we'll see what happens. I don't think it can go much worse.

19 games without a win...

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That's a shame =[.  Try get a parent club this time and if you can sell Halford again and send back Allan and try play more with formation I posted above or alike.  It seems to work with this M.E.  Might need a better LB than Mattock though. 

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Cheers for not giving up, mate. I know how bad it feels not managing to achieve anything in a new version of the game.

If I had one suggestion to you, it would be to keep things as simple as possible until you've got the hang of the tactics in the new ME.

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15 hours ago, SpillBlood said:

That's a shame =[.  Try get a parent club this time and if you can sell Halford again and send back Allan and try play more with formation I posted above or alike.  It seems to work with this M.E.  Might need a better LB than Mattock though. 

Good advice, SpillBlood. I do like a 4-2-3-1, and I think I could get it to work while still keeping tight defensively. Hopefully, anyway.

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7 hours ago, jengaehassim said:

Cheers for not giving up, mate. I know how bad it feels not managing to achieve anything in a new version of the game.

If I had one suggestion to you, it would be to keep things as simple as possible until you've got the hang of the tactics in the new ME.

Thanks, Jenga! I'm going to take that advice. Back to the basics :) 

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