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Crewe Alexandra: Journey with the Railwaymen

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Full Name: Crewe Alexandra Football Club

Nickname: The Railwaymen, The Alex

Founded: 1877

Ground: Gresty Road

Capacity: 10,153

League: League 2

Media Prediction: 5th

Fierce Rival:

Port Vale

Other Rivals:

Stockport County, Stoke City, Shrewsbury, Preston, Wrexham

Transfer Budget: $15,540 p/w

Wage Budget: $39,930 p/w

Honors

Second Division

Play-off winners: 1997

League Two

Play-off winners: 2012

Milk Cup

Premier Section Winners: 1987, 1999

Junior Section Winners: 1990, 1998

Cheshire Senior Cup

Winners: 1910, 1912, 1913, 1923, 2002, 2003

Welsh Cup

Winners: 1936, 1937

Cheshire Premier Cup

Winners: 2009, 2010

Football League Trophy

Winner: 2013

In recent decades, the club has been associated with manager Dario Gradi whose 24-year tenure between 1983 and 2007 made him the longest-serving manager in English football; he had a further two-year spell in the role from 2009 to 2011. Gradi is known for focusing on youth development and promoting attractive, technical football. Notable players brought through the Crewe youth system include former internationals Rob Jones, Neil Lenon, Danny Murphy, Seth Johnson and Dean Ashton. Other notable players to have made their name at Crewe in that time include Geoff Thomas, David Platt and Robbie Savage.

 

Early years (1877–1921)

Crewe Alexandra were formed in 1877 as Crewe Football Club, separate from the successful Crewe Cricket Club, and named after Princess Alexandra. They were based at the Alexandra Recreation Ground and played their first match against North Staffs that same year, a match that ended 1–1. In 1883, Crewe Alexandra's first match in the FA Cup was against Scottish club Queen's Park of Glasgow, losing 10–0. In 1888, the club reached the FA Cup semi-finals, defeating Derby County and Middlesbrough en route, before going out to Preston North End. Crewe were founding members of the Football League Second Division in 1892, having previously been members of the Football Alliance, but lost their league status in 1896 after only four seasons. The club left the Alexandra Recreation Ground shortly before the end of the 1895–96 season, and after playing at a number of different venues, including in nearby Sandbach, they moved to the first Gresty Road ground in 1897. In 1906 the current Gresty Road ground was rebuilt to the west of the original site.

1921–1983

Crewe rejoined the Football League in 1921, during which season a record crowd of 15,102 packed into Gresty Road to watch Crewe entertain local rivals Stoke City, a game The Potters won 2–0. Crewe earned their first honours by winning the Welsh Cup in 1936 and 1937, before being barred from entering (not least since they were not in Wales). In 1936, Bert Swindells scored his 100th League goal for Crewe Alexandra. He went on to score 126 goals for the club, a record that still stands today.

1955 saw Crewe embark on a sequence where they did not win away from home for 56 matches. The dismal run ended with a 1–0 win at Southport.

One of Crewe's most famous matches took place against Spurs in the FA Cup in 1960. A new record attendance of 20,000 saw lowly Crewe hold Spurs to a 2–2 draw on 30 January, with Bert Llewellyn and Merfyn Jones scoring for the Railwaymen. On 3 February, Tottenham convincingly won the replay 13–2, which remains a record defeat for the club. Llewellyn and Nev Coleman scored for Crewe.

1961 saw Crewe's most notable win in their history, Jimmy McGuigan's side defeated Chelsea 2–1 in the FA Cup at Stamford Bridge. That particular Chelsea side contained the former Crewe player Frank Blunstone as well as Jimmy Greaves, Peter Bonetti and Terry Venables. The Crewe goals were scored by Billy Stark and Barrie Wheatley. Spurs won by a more modest 5–1 in the Fourth Round. In 1963, Crewe gained promotion for the first time in their history with a 1–0 win over Exeter City. Frank Lord became the local hero, scoring the only goal in front a crowd of 9,807. Lord also holds the record for most hat-tricks for the club, eight during his time at Gresty Road.

In the 1964–65 season, Terry Harkin scored a record 35 league goals for Crewe. 1977 saw Tommy Lowry play his record-breaking 475th and last game for the Railwaymen. 1979 would see manager Warwick Rimmer's most notable signing when Bruce Grobbelaar joined Crewe and played his first match against Wigan Athletic. During the season he scored from the penalty spot against York City and kept eight clean-sheets in his 24 matches played. In the same year the club went a record 15 matches without winning at Gresty Road.

The period from the 1950s to the early 1980s was generally not a successful time for the club, and few would have argued with Michael Palin's comment, in the 1979 BBC Great Railway Journeys of the World documentary when, in a shot over Gresty Road filmed from the roof of the adjacent Rail House he described Crewe as "like those other railway towns, Swindon and Doncaster, possessed of a football team which is perpetually propping up the bottom of the Fourth Division". Indeed, between 1894 and 1982, Crewe finished in last place in the Football League eight times, more than any other league club.

Gradi era (1983–2007)

In June 1983, Crewe appointed Milan-born Dario Gradi as manager. At that time, Crewe had again just avoided being voted out of the Football League. Gradi quickly gained a reputation for developing young talent, allowing Steve Walters to become the youngest ever player to pull on a Crewe shirt: aged just 16 years and 119 days he played against Peterborough United on 7 May 1988. Gradi's efforts paid off in 1989 when Crewe won promotion to the Third Division. They went back down two years later, but were promoted again in 1994. In the same year, Neil Lennon became the first Crewe Alexandra player to gain an International cap for 60 years when he was selected to play for Northern Ireland against Mexico. Gradi then led his charges to Division One in 1997, after victory over Brentford in the Division Two play-off final, and kept his team there until 2002, despite a club income on which many more lowly clubs could not survive. Meanwhile, Gradi celebrated his 1,000th game in charge of Crewe on 20 November 2001 – an away fixture at Carrow Road, the home of Norwich City.

After one season in the Division Two the club were promoted back to Division One at the end of the 2002–03 season, having finished in second place; the first time the club had finished in the top two of any division, and the club prepared for life in Division 1.

Although managing to retain their place in the Division 1 in the 2003–04 season, at the start of the 2004–05 season they were rated one of the likeliest teams to be relegated from the newly renamed 'Championship'. In the event, they put in a good showing in the first half of the season; comfortably in the top half of the table, but after selling Dean Ashton to Norwich City for a record £3 million in the January 2005 transfer window, Crewe failed to win any more games until the final match of the season, when they defeated Coventry City 2–1 and narrowly escaped relegation on goal difference. The following year they were not so fortunate. Despite a good run towards the end of the 2005–06 season, they were relegated to League 1.

Crewe were named the "Most Admired Club" in the 2006 Football League Awards, sponsored by The League Paper and FourFourTwo Magazine.

2007–2009

By the summer of 2007, Gradi was the longest-serving manager in English league football; he had completed 24 years in sole charge of the club, although assistant manager Neil Baker took temporary charge between 22 September and 17 October 2003 while Gradi underwent heart surgery (Crewe only managed one point while Baker was in charge). On 20 April 2007 Crewe Alexandra announced that, from 1 July 2007, Gradi would take up a new role as the club's Technical Director while gradually allowing newly appointed first-team coach Steve Holland control of the team.

Holland's first season in this role, 2007–08, was a disappointment as the club narrowly avoided relegation after finishing 20th with 50 points. That summer Holland spent half a million pounds on new signings, including Calvin Zola, Anthony Elding and goalkeepers Steve Collis and Adam Legzdins, while striker Nicky Maynard joined Bristol City for a club record fee of £2.25 million. However, despite a positive pre-season, including a win over Premiership club Hull City, Crewe took only nine points from their first 16 games.

Following pressure from fans, the board relieved Steve Holland of his duties as first team coach in November 2008, and re-appointed Gradi as caretaker manager. Gradi's first game back in charge was a 3–0 defeat at home to local rivals Stockport County. On 24 December 2008 the Icelandic former manager of local rivals Stoke City, Gudjon Thordarson, was appointed as Holland's successor, though Gradi remained in charge of the team for a further six days before resuming his Technical Director role. Thordarson's first game in charge was a 2–2 draw away at Millwall in the FA Cup 3rd round, but although Thordarson received the Manager of the Month award for February, the team suffered a poor end-of-season run, not winning for 10 games, and were relegated to League Two. On 18 June 2009, Steve Davis was appointed Assistant Manager to Gudjon Thordarson. Davis left his role as manager of Nantwich Town, where he spent five successful years, gaining two promotions. Davis replaced former assistant Neil Baker, who was moved to a new scouting role within the club.

Return of Dario Gradi (2009–2011)

On 2 October 2009, after nine months in charge, Thordarson was sacked after a run of poor results. Dario Gradi was reinstated as caretaker manager in time for the following day's match against Rotherham. Despite lingering close to the playoff places for the majority of the season, another run of poor form saw the club finish in 18th place, only five places above the relegation zone. Gradi responded to this disappointment by refusing to take the team on a pre-season tour, stating that he "doesn't want to reward the players for what happened this season".

The club finished 10th in League Two in their 2010–11 season and also ended up with the League 2 golden boot winner: Clayton Donaldson scored 29 goals, but moved to Brentford in July 2011.

On 10 November 2011, the club announced that Dario Gradi had stepped down as manager and would return to his previous role as Director of Football focusing on youth development.

Seasons 2011–2016

Steve Davis was appointed manager, and led the team to a 16-match unbeaten run in early 2012 up to 7th position, earning the club a play-off place. Crewe defeated Southend United in the semi-final with a 1–0 win at home in the first leg and a 2–2 draw at Roots Hall, extending the unbeaten run to a club-record 18 matches[13] and securing a play-off final against Cheltenham Town at Wembley on 27 May 2012 which they won 2–0 and earned promotion.

Before the 2012–13 season started, Crewe sold Nick Powell to Manchester United, and on transfer deadline day (31 August 2012) captain Ashley Westwood was sold to Aston Villa. However, with new players coming into the first team, Crewe won the Football League Trophy, beating Southend United 2–0 in the final at Wembley in April 2013. The team finished 13th in League One, ending the season by fielding a team whose starting 11 were all Crewe Academy graduates.[15][16]

On 22 February 2014, for 33 minutes of a match at Port Vale, two brothers played on opposite sides against each other – Crewe's Harry Davis and Joe Davis of Port Vale – while their father, Steve Davis, was manager of one of the teams (Crewe Alexandra).

In March 2014, Crewe chairman John Bowler (elected chairman in 1987) was honoured with the Contribution to League Football Award at The Football League Awards 2014. Dario Gradi had earlier won the same award, in 2011. In December 2014, it was announced that Bowler had, like Gradi (in January 1998), been awarded an MBE for services to football.

On 3 May 2014 Crewe ensured their place in League One with a 2–1 home victory over Preston North End ending the 2013–14 Season in 19th place four points above relegation. Although the season had not been successful for the first team, the Under-21s won the Professional Development League Two title with a 1–0 win over QPR on 30 April 2014; Max Clayton scored the goal. The under-18s were runners-up in their Development League.

Crewe started the 2014–15 season poorly, accumulating just four points from the first 11 League games. Some sustained runs of better results pulled the club out of the relegation places, but, needing a home draw against Bradford City to secure safety, Crewe lost 0–1 and had to rely on favourable results elsewhere to ensure League One football for another year, finishing two points above the bottom four in 20th position.

The following season started in a similar pattern, with the team winning just two of their first 15 league games, and crashing out of the FA Cup in the first round, defeated at Gresty Road by non-league Eastleigh, forcing Davis to defend his position as the 'right man' for the job. Crewe's relegation to League Two was confirmed following a 3–0 defeat at Port Vale on 9 April 2016, with five games remaining.

 

Player development

During Gradi's tenure the club gained a reputation for its youth policy, and earned official status as an FA Youth Academy. By concentrating on developing its own players the club remained profitable (a rarity in lower division football at the time) by selling them on after they have gained experience with Crewe. The Academy is known to stress technical excellence, which accords with Gradi's aim to have his sides play attractive, passing football.

Players who passed through the ranks at Crewe include the England international players Geoff Thomas and David Platt, Welsh international Robbie Savage, and Northern Ireland internationals Neil Lennon and Steve Jones (Platt was the most successful, totalling more than £20 million in transfers and captaining the England team). All these were youngsters signed from other clubs, but Gradi also had considerable success in nurturing Crewe's own trainees – most notably full England internationals Rob Jones, Danny Murphy, Seth Johnson and Dean Ashton and Wales international David Vaughan.

In 2004 the BBC's Football Focus asked fans of all professional football clubs in England and Scotland to vote for their cult hero. For Crewe, Seth Johnson won with 59% of the vote; Danny Murphy came second with 33%, and Craig Hignett third with 8%.

Edited by ahtanv

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Tactics

First Tactic for smaller team

2i0caif.jpg

Second Tactic for bigger teams

image.jpg

Normal Tactics

2lndzqd.jpg

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Nice.

I heard the name Crewe, obviously, but I never knew they place such high emphasize on Youth Development. I'll put this on my (growing) list of clubs I'd like to try one day. :)

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Just started a career with Crewe myself. Into November and sitting nicely in 3rd. Such great youth talent in the team. Couldn't see James Jones or Callum Ainsley in your squad list though. Did you sell them already? Managed to get a deal potentially work 1.6m for Ainsley. 

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5 hours ago, KF1990 said:

Just started a career with Crewe myself. Into November and sitting nicely in 3rd. Such great youth talent in the team. Couldn't see James Jones or Callum Ainsley in your squad list though. Did you sell them already? Managed to get a deal potentially work 1.6m for Ainsley. 

Yes at the start of the game I sold both of them. Callum Ainley to Newcastle for 3.3m & James Jones to Derby for 1m. There are some players who are way cheaper than these two players.

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6 hours ago, Jean-Luc said:

Nice.

I heard the name Crewe, obviously, but I never knew they place such high emphasize on Youth Development. I'll put this on my (growing) list of clubs I'd like to try one day. :)

I love Crewe because of their philosophy. Developing the youths & then sell them to higher clubs with profits. Just another version of Arsenal (which is my favorite team & supporting for the last 20 years) but in lower league. 

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It's quite similar to my favorite team SC Freiburg in the 1. Bundesliga as well. Which reminds me that I always wanted to write a guide for them...

Keep up the nice work! :)

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I have just had a great 1st season with Crewe but I made some critical errors along the way which killed my enthusiasm to go a 2nd season.

i came 4th and lost the play off final 1-0. I struggled for goals but still amassed 70 points an FA cup third round tie against Man City which I lost 2-0. I did play a very good possession game with 57 per cent average and I conceded the least in the league with most clean sheets.

With the power of hindsight I would sell ainley and jones for massive money offered for league 2. Ainleys head was never in it for me and only had 12 games. Jones was better until rangers pinched him on an end of contract deal in January. I also lost Ben Garrett at the end of the season because he refused a new deal. My advise would be renew the contracts asap on the key players. Losing Alex kiwomya was also a blow but I did find good solutions to losing these players. Ainleys loss was George cooper as a cams gain. Jones meant Bingham moved to starter. Garrett went and McGee come in on loan from affiliate Tottenham and kiwomya left leaving kid from u21 Walsh I think his name was who came in and did very well. 

Charlue kirk is an outstanding talent though great crossing stat and can play left and right and did well for me on set pieces. 

As I said though my squad was raided after missing out on promotion and the rebuild was just too daunting. 

Edited by TottenhamBoi90

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Just finished my first season with Crewe, managed to get promoted with a 3rd place finish and even got to the 4th round of the FA cup where we narrowly lost 2-1 at home to Man City. 

Think the team has some excellent youth players, i'm constantly getting training reports stating that my plays has gone from a potential league 1 player to a potential championship player. This happens mainly to Ben Nugent and Callum Saunders. 

Only 6 games into league one and struggling a bit, finding myself in 20th place. Finances are not looking great as just spent 2 million upgrading the youth facilities. 

Find it really annoying that Ben Garratt doesn't sign a new contract, think he's a great keeper.

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On 11/30/2016 at 20:28, TottenhamBoi90 said:

I have just had a great 1st season with Crewe but I made some critical errors along the way which killed my enthusiasm to go a 2nd season.

i came 4th and lost the play off final 1-0. I struggled for goals but still amassed 70 points an FA cup third round tie against Man City which I lost 2-0. I did play a very good possession game with 57 per cent average and I conceded the least in the league with most clean sheets.

With the power of hindsight I would sell ainley and jones for massive money offered for league 2. Ainleys head was never in it for me and only had 12 games. Jones was better until rangers pinched him on an end of contract deal in January. I also lost Ben Garrett at the end of the season because he refused a new deal. My advise would be renew the contracts asap on the key players. Losing Alex kiwomya was also a blow but I did find good solutions to losing these players. Ainleys loss was George cooper as a cams gain. Jones meant Bingham moved to starter. Garrett went and McGee come in on loan from affiliate Tottenham and kiwomya left leaving kid from u21 Walsh I think his name was who came in and did very well. 

Charlue kirk is an outstanding talent though great crossing stat and can play left and right and did well for me on set pieces. 

As I said though my squad was raided after missing out on promotion and the rebuild was just too daunting. 

 

36 minutes ago, KF1990 said:

Just finished my first season with Crewe, managed to get promoted with a 3rd place finish and even got to the 4th round of the FA cup where we narrowly lost 2-1 at home to Man City. 

Think the team has some excellent youth players, i'm constantly getting training reports stating that my plays has gone from a potential league 1 player to a potential championship player. This happens mainly to Ben Nugent and Callum Saunders. 

Only 6 games into league one and struggling a bit, finding myself in 20th place. Finances are not looking great as just spent 2 million upgrading the youth facilities. 

Find it really annoying that Ben Garratt doesn't sign a new contract, think he's a great keeper.

I'm still with the Railwaymen at League 2. Couldn't finished the 1st season yet. At the start i got some freebies which helps me to currently be at top position with 7 games in hand & already promoted to League 1.

Matthias Lepiller: 31 games, 16 goals & 10 assists with an average rating 7.43

Feiz Shamsin: 33 games, 15 goals & 6 assists with an average rating 7.10

Matthew Knox: 49 games, 17 goals & 10 assists (all coming as sub)

Alberto Carbonell: 37 games with an average rating 7.36

Sacha Bastien: 25 games with an average rating 7.11 (solution for Ben Garratt departure problem & great keeper)

 

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Crewe is such a nice team on FM. Just finished my second season. Promoted to Championship after a great season in League One, we were top of the league but failed to win the last three matches so we ended up second. Here is my transfers:


Skjermbilde 2016-12-02 kl. 01.22.17.pngSkjermbilde 2016-12-02 kl. 01.22.03.png


Economy is good so we upgraded youth facilities and now the board just accepted to upgrade both youth and training facilities. Promising times ahead in Crewe!

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Very nice stuff @Bergbatov Definitely a huge benefit selling those big Crewe stars first season. Nice to see you bring Max Clayton back, As i didn't go up i was looking at bringing back Byron Moore and 1 of the former right backs. My scouts were raving Leanardo Da Silva-Lopes so be good to hear how he does. Was Ross Bowler a youth graduate? Tidy profit on him if he is.

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Hey Bergbatov and the rest of you here. I too have enjoyed a Crewe save this year. I always have a league 2 to Prem challenge and having done Plymouth and Portsmouth I wanted one which focused more on youth. For this reason I adopted a different approach to you and refused the big money for Ainley and Jones ensuring I tied them down to 2 year contracts each. I also refused to sell Garrett knowing that he was likely to leave on a free at the end of the first season. Should out to Pickering as well who also had interest but I promoted to the first team and he comes out with a great contribution. Much better than his attributes suggest.

 

So I approached first season with my usual 433.

team%20first%20season.jpg

I'd encourage you to build your team around Ainley and Jones in cm. Try and get the Kiwoyma isolated on the right wing and as Nugent and Davis are a solid pairing at this level you shouldn't go too far wrong. The squad has the right players for a possesion game. I'd advise having Hollands or I signed Bishop to go behind Ainley and Jones to let them roam free. As you can see they were really creative all season. 

I had to fend off a lot of interest for both of them and at times they were unhappy, but my first decision as manager was too extend their contracts and sign a determined leader. With Bishop encouraging them to stay and tutoring them it meant I got the best out of them for most of the season. I'd encourage you not to sell especially when you see Jones' performances in league 1!

 

i didn't really make any signings and made sure as this was Crewe I used all the high potential youth I could. I wanted all the youth to reach their max potential.

With that I had Davis, Turton, Jones, Ainley, Kirk, Pickering, Cooper, Saunders, Ng, Guthrie and Ray all play a key part for me throughout the season. Almost the full team with youth players!

 

I finished the season top of League 2, promotion was never really in doubt, although there was some major brain freeze moments from my defence trying to play a high line with offside. My main issue was Nugent's aggressive nature pushing him to far forward which meant clubs exploited the space in behind him. I knew this was something i;d have to fix next season and I wouldn't be able to go so gung ho in my tactics. 

league%202.jpg

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So now it was time to embark on my league 1 adventure. My major problem to start with was Ben Garrett, his contract had ran out and he was attracting lots of interest from Championships clubs. I had tried numerous times to tie him down as well as getting Dario Gradi in the room to talk to him as well, but no successs! He knew he was good enough for championship football. 

ben%20garrett.jpg

Having said this Garrett proved just as difficult to negotiate with for other teams as well and the weeks ticked on and soon I found myself on the opening day of the season with Ben still at the club on a week by week basis. I decided to play him and for one reason or another he couldn't agree a deal with another team come the end of the transfer window. There was a window of about 5 days where Garrett decided he would at least sit in the room with me and I swiftly gave him the contract that he desired with a £10m release clause. I was so relieved he signed as he really is and going to be a great keeper. He swiftly realised 5 days later that he was too good for this level again and became unhappy but i didn't care, I wasn't going to lose this talent on a free and at least someone would have to stump up some cash for him!

 

 

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Tactically going into League One I knew I couldn't take as many risks with my defence, too many average teams in league 2 had got in behind me.

I changed my tactics from Very Fluid / Control. To Balanced / Counter / Control depending on the games. This was for two reasons, I needed the team to implement positional play better and be a bit more spread out, to make sure I would not be beaten by so many long straight balls. The second was because I couldn't strengthen my personal in defence despite numerous attempts I decided that we would defend by keeping the ball and starving the other team of possession. 

 

total%20squad%20performance.jpg

 

I had managed to add Hyndman and Crewe favourite Luke Murphy which meant I was embarrassed with talent in the cm playmaker department. My average possession by the end of the season was 61.5% and pass completion of 85%. My use of the ball was vital in defending as well as attacking. 

 

The other bonus that Balanced gives you is that it lets your wingbacks get high up the pitch and be the teams main outlet. With me having no natural width apart from when I played Pickering my oulet was the two Wingbacks. They were remarkable with me as you can see from the stats below. Bell who I recommend anyone to sign got 12 assists and Randall got 10. 

team%20performance.jpg

 

 

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I wanted to make sure that I still kept my focus on developing the young and opportunites were still given to Kirk, Cooper etc.

The three standouts though were Pickering, Ainley but particularly Jones. I rotated him for the first few months as he was unhappy at me rejecting a bid from Celtic and I had such strong competion in my midfield with Hyndman and Murphy that he wasn't going to start if he was unhappy. However he eventually knucked down and completely turned his season around, getting 15 goals from midfield! 

 

james%20jones%20stats.jpgJames%20Jones%20attributes.jpg

If you go for a save with Crewe please don't sell this kid! He is worth persevering through the tantrums and he will deliver if you play him in the right system. 

 

Ainley's stats arn't as good as Jones, but I was trying to develop him into a more rounded footballer this season, teaching him to play an Iniesta type role off the left as I was already strong in cm. So he was very versaitaille for me and often would get the assist before the assist playing in the wingbacks. 

 

ainley%20stats.jpgainley%20attributes.jpg

You will get big big offers for this kid, but again I would say its a lot funner trying to match the ethos of this club and try and develop the players a bit more before you sell. 

His composure teamwork and first touch make him such a tidy performer.

pickering%20stats.jpgpickering%20att.jpg

Finally we have Harry Pickering who is a lot rawer than the other too but i've singled him out as others may overlook him. His stats have improved a fair bit, and first took notice of him when Bristol City were monitoring him. I put him in the first team and gave him a longer contract. The best thing about him is his goals return for one so young, and he has now got great pace. He was in and out the team both season and he is being mentored constintly to improve his mentals but he score some really important goals for me and I would advise you to play him. Second season he dropped out the team mainly because I moved Ainley out to the left to get the most out of my wingbacks, but he still provided a great threat of the bench.

 

Give youth a chance!

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So how did the season go having said all that. Well it was up and down, a great start, a tired middle, and I picked up a lot second half once the tactics were ingrained in my players.

Here are the transfers I made if anyone wants any tips

transfers.jpg

Bell joined the previous winter for 200k which was quite a fee, but I knew how important wingbacks are in my system. 

It's hard to pick the best signing. Bolado, Mcanaley and Facey I signed because they were a decent fit for my system but more because I knew I could make a fee on them at the end of the season. You have to find ways to make money as a small club! They did all contribute at times though.

Roberts proved a far better loan signing than Fletcher who had his moments but generally didn't live up to they hype. I've already mention Hyndman and Murphy who were key loanees for how I play.

The one signing that topped them all though was the creative Spaniard Anton

anton.jpg

He was old and slow and didn't really fit my pressing game, but moving to a much more patient approach I knew i needed someone that could unlock a door and boy did this guy provide it. I've never been prolific from corners and set pieces and in League 2 I was awful. Although I wouldn't say my team was prolific or even above average in League 1 this guy just seemed to pop up with a free kick or corner just at the right moment. I played him as an advanced playmaker off the right am slot, and just let him have a free role. He was the guy my team turned too in their hour of need and none more so approaching the last game of the season...

 

With five games to go I was in the hunt it was going to be 2 out of 3 for the automatic promotion slots. Fulham, Reading and Crewe. I was a couple of points behind them and having clawed back a bigger deficit earlier on and with them both having to visit my stadium I was confident even though they had a game in hand on me. However the home match with Reading with 5 games to go was a disaster, we lost 4-0 all but ending our automatic promotion hopes. The lads were distraught and I knew I was going to have to pick them up for the playoffs. I felt they were ready to move onto the championship so this would be a blow if we couldn't get up. Everyone has those moments where they try and justify rage quitting and I feel guilty that the thought did enter my head but I have never gone there and just couldn't bring myself to quit knowing it wouldn't feel the same if we went up on a false premise. 

 

We went to the next game which was the Checkatrade final against Southampton and our boys couldn't get over the slump and lost, however just as I was continuting I noticed that on that Tuesday evening both Reading and Fulham lost their games in hand, and so after a couple of more bad results for Reading we reached the final game of the season. Fulham were top and would win the title on GD, Reading were next and I would overtake them if I won and the failed to do so. 

 

I was playing the champions Fulham, with Tim Sherwood, who as a spurs fan I have a particular distaste for, and Reading were away to already relegated Fleetwood. I wasn't exepting much. 

Readings match ended up 4-4 and my match was 1-1 up until the closing 10 minutes when Alvaro popped up with this.

 

 

The goal to get us promoted! A volley inside the area with great technique summed up our season. I couldn't believe it. This to me is what Football Manager is all about. Seing your team, influenced by your tactics and signings doing well and producing moments like this.

 

league%20table.jpg

Now I have a new challenge and am going to take on the championship.

 

I will stick with the youth and have actually had a takeover as Bowler and Gradi have retired which have increased my budget to 4m so at last I have some money to play with!

 

I hope if people like lower league saves they try Crewe because it has some great youth products to work with.

 

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23 minutes ago, Timothy. said:

So how did the season go having said all that. Well it was up and down, a great start, a tired middle, and I picked up a lot second half once the tactics were ingrained in my players.

Here are the transfers I made if anyone wants any tips

transfers.jpg

Bell joined the previous winter for 200k which was quite a fee, but I knew how important wingbacks are in my system. 

It's hard to pick the best signing. Bolado, Mcanaley and Facey I signed because they were a decent fit for my system but more because I knew I could make a fee on them at the end of the season. You have to find ways to make money as a small club! They did all contribute at times though.

Roberts proved a far better loan signing than Fletcher who had his moments but generally didn't live up to they hype. I've already mention Hyndman and Murphy who were key loanees for how I play.

The one signing that topped them all though was the creative Spaniard Anton

anton.jpg

He was old and slow and didn't really fit my pressing game, but moving to a much more patient approach I knew i needed someone that could unlock a door and boy did this guy provide it. I've never been prolific from corners and set pieces and in League 2 I was awful. Although I wouldn't say my team was prolific or even above average in League 1 this guy just seemed to pop up with a free kick or corner just at the right moment. I played him as an advanced playmaker off the right am slot, and just let him have a free role. He was the guy my team turned too in their hour of need and none more so approaching the last game of the season...

 

With five games to go I was in the hunt it was going to be 2 out of 3 for the automatic promotion slots. Fulham, Reading and Crewe. I was a couple of points behind them and having clawed back a bigger deficit earlier on and with them both having to visit my stadium I was confident even though they had a game in hand on me. However the home match with Reading with 5 games to go was a disaster, we lost 4-0 all but ending our automatic promotion hopes. The lads were distraught and I knew I was going to have to pick them up for the playoffs. I felt they were ready to move onto the championship so this would be a blow if we couldn't get up. Everyone has those moments where they try and justify rage quitting and I feel guilty that the thought did enter my head but I have never gone there and just couldn't bring myself to quit knowing it wouldn't feel the same if we went up on a false premise. 

 

We went to the next game which was the Checkatrade final against Southampton and our boys couldn't get over the slump and lost, however just as I was continuting I noticed that on that Tuesday evening both Reading and Fulham lost their games in hand, and so after a couple of more bad results for Reading we reached the final game of the season. Fulham were top and would win the title on GD, Reading were next and I would overtake them if I won and the failed to do so. 

 

I was playing the champions Fulham, with Tim Sherwood, who as a spurs fan I have a particular distaste for, and Reading were away to already relegated Fleetwood. I wasn't exepting much. 

Readings match ended up 4-4 and my match was 1-1 up until the closing 10 minutes when Alvaro popped up with this.

 

 

The goal to get us promoted! A volley inside the area with great technique summed up our season. I couldn't believe it. This to me is what Football Manager is all about. Seing your team, influenced by your tactics and signings doing well and producing moments like this.

 

league%20table.jpg

Now I have a new challenge and am going to take on the championship.

 

I will stick with the youth and have actually had a takeover as Bowler and Gradi have retired which have increased my budget to 4m so at last I have some money to play with!

 

I hope if people like lower league saves they try Crewe because it has some great youth products to work with.

 

Wow, what a goal to get promoted! 

I've been playing FM for over 10 years now and I have goals like that etched in all across my memory. You never forget the ones that grab you promotion on the final day, win you the cup or even help you avoid relegation on the last day. 

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Great read @Timothy. you've inspired me to start a Crewe save. Love the model that they've got in place of developing and selling talent. Some decent players has come through that youth system

Edited by ryan045

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I agree TMason was a great feeling! 

 

I'm glad Ryan, Kirk and Cooper are Liverpool fans too ;)

 

Just to update Jones got the POTY award 

jones%20poty.jpg

 

oh and as i said earlier I signed Bolado knowing he probably didn't have the mentality or attributes to hold down the striker slot for the whole season but this is one of the moments of magic he produced that got him goal of the season!

 

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11 hours ago, TottenhamBoi90 said:

Very nice stuff @Bergbatov Definitely a huge benefit selling those big Crewe stars first season. Nice to see you bring Max Clayton back, As i didn't go up i was looking at bringing back Byron Moore and 1 of the former right backs. My scouts were raving Leanardo Da Silva-Lopes so be good to hear how he does. Was Ross Bowler a youth graduate? Tidy profit on him if he is.


Yeah, those transfers did gain the development of the club. We also got 30-40 % of the next transfers of those young players that I hope will gain us in the long run. Especially Bowler who was a great youth graduate.  Da Silva Lopes is decent. Hopefully he will develop good this season.

Skjermbilde 2016-12-02 kl. 14.00.10.pngSkjermbilde 2016-12-02 kl. 14.01.42.png


But the guy thats impressed me the most is Callum Saunders, unfortunately he got injured 5-6 months last season.

Skjermbilde 2016-12-02 kl. 14.03.21.pngSkjermbilde 2016-12-02 kl. 14.03.10.png


Will be interesting to see who we do in Championship...

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Nice to read those inspirational comments & those great tactics & transfer. Currently in the 2nd season with Crewe with 8 games left to be played & already got promoted to Championship.

2016/2017 - League 2

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Transfer 2016/2017

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Tactics for 2016/2017

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Edited by ahtanv

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Standout Performer for 2016/2017

Matthias Lepiller

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ocj68.jpg

Zakaria Fdaouch

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Callum Saunders

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Feiz Shamsin

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Matthew Knox

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Transfer 2017/2018

hurl1h.jpg

2evxbvm.jpg

Got 4 good regen which i have sold in the January window for positive cash flow & snap up 2 new regen.

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Nice to see this thread, Crewe have been my FM team for years to the point they are now my 2nd club in RL.

Something I've been wondering, does FM properly simulate the rules for players under the age of 24 who are out of contract? Garrett has 1 yr left on his contract, as I understand, in RL the club could offer him a contract, he could refuse, but when he left any club recruiting him would have to agree a transfer fee or compensation would be agreed by a tribunal.

In the game a player can just leave for nowt regardless of age. Really frustrating.

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Great to see you guys playing with my team and good luck to all.

3 hours ago, Blood On The Quad said:

Nice to see this thread, Crewe have been my FM team for years to the point they are now my 2nd club in RL.

Something I've been wondering, does FM properly simulate the rules for players under the age of 24 who are out of contract? Garrett has 1 yr left on his contract, as I understand, in RL the club could offer him a contract, he could refuse, but when he left any club recruiting him would have to agree a transfer fee or compensation would be agreed by a tribunal.

In the game a player can just leave for nowt regardless of age. Really frustrating.

As far as I know, the game correctly simulates the rules for the above.

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4 hours ago, ssestig said:

Great to see you guys playing with my team and good luck to all.

As far as I know, the game correctly simulates the rules for the above.

When I try and offer a new contract to Garrett the message from the agent is "my client isn't interested..". My only option is to exit talks, I cannot offer a contract, so I unless I am missing something I don't see how it reflects the rules?

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Nice to see others having great success with Crewe as well. 
Half way into the third season. We have done pretty good in the transfer market so the team is pretty good. The signing of Zach Clough is huge, such a great player.
My board accepted the offer for Felix Horn Myhre, so there was nothing I could do which was disappointing since I belive we could get had a lot more for him.

Skjermbilde 2016-12-07 kl. 00.42.50.png


Currently on a four game win streak against good opponents so we are starting to really settle. Maybe we can go all the way and get promoted this year as well? Who knows.. If we don't get any big injuries on our best players then I actually think we have a chance. The club is growing in all levels and we just finished another upgrade on our youth- and training facilities, so the future looks really good. After spending a lot of money on that and transfers I have to sell one or two guys to straighten up the economy, we are 1mill negative, and I don't like that. Not a crisis since we only loose 100k a month, but I always like to keep an healthy economy. 

Skjermbilde 2016-12-07 kl. 00.41.42.pngSkjermbilde 2016-12-07 kl. 00.42.14.png

 

 

Edited by Bergbatov

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@ahtanv you seem to sell all your potential talent very quick, is there a reason for that? I'd of thought letting them develop abit more first would be better. Do you have any rules when it comes to this stuff? Interested to know

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11 hours ago, ryan045 said:

@ahtanv you seem to sell all your potential talent very quick, is there a reason for that? I'd of thought letting them develop abit more first would be better. Do you have any rules when it comes to this stuff? Interested to know

@ryan045 nope i don't have any rules. rotated them all along the year with the main team to find them which are performing  according to my tactics. at the end of the year i sold injury prone & under performing players for a positive cash flow.

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16 hours ago, Blood On The Quad said:

Any thoughts on which 2 of the CDs of Davis, Guthrie, Ray and Nugent are worth starting? They all seem pretty samey to me and letting one go would free up some funds. 

I found success with Nugent and Ng as my starting 2 and then using Ray as the main back up if one of them didn't perform well or got injured/suspended. I didnt really use Guthrie as CB, favored him more as a LB but even then he was fairly poor. 

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6 hours ago, KF1990 said:

I found success with Nugent and Ng as my starting 2 and then using Ray as the main back up if one of them didn't perform well or got injured/suspended. I didnt really use Guthrie as CB, favored him more as a LB but even then he was fairly poor. 

Ng?! Wow, interesting, he didn't look first team ready at all to me. Nugent does seem the best but I'm toying with whether  his £2k wages can be better spent elsewhere. 

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16 hours ago, Blood On The Quad said:

Ng?! Wow, interesting, he didn't look first team ready at all to me. Nugent does seem the best but I'm toying with whether  his £2k wages can be better spent elsewhere. 

Yeah, Ng develops really well so worth keeping him in the team just for the development. Defensively he wasn't always the best but he contributed with about 6 goals, very good in the box for corners. Nugent may be worth selling, Rea and Davis are more than capable replacements. 

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Nugent should be your left side starter, I paired him with Davis as he is a club favourite so helpful to get the fans onside. They wern't that solid, but Ng and Guthrie were not better. Guthrie got sold second year. Ng is on loan now with a league 1 club while I am in the championship.

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