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mjaferrie

The History Bhoys - From the Lisbon Lions to ____?

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Season Review 2024-25

Unfortunately, home and away defeats to Bayern Munich means we weren't involved in the Champions League after the 1st Knockout Round, so we turned our focus instead to the domestic front.  A draw against Hibs and a loss to Hearts, both away from home, are our only dropped points in the league since the January window, with only 3 draws and 2 losses overall.  This means we finish the season 8 points clear of Hearts, with Rangers slipping to 3rd and Dundee nicking the 4th European spot.  A 5-0 victory over Raith in the Scottish Cup final means the European place carries over to the league, and Kilmarnock join the Europa League fun.  Two new teams competing in Europe this season!  At the bottom of the table though, it's heartache for Tayside rivals St. Johnstone and Dundee Utd, who will be replaced next season by Falkirk and Motherwell.

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In other news, after Moussa Dembélé and Stephen Easton SP1d both equalled Jimmy McGrory's 53 goal for the season record, we have finally broken it in our 9th attempt!

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And to top it all off:

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Norris picks up both Player of the Year, both Young Player of the year and the Top Goalscorer awards.  A quintuple for him, defending his wins from last year.

End of Season Departures - ALL youth intake players from this season.  That was, in hindsight, maybe a bit too harsh.  But, I have to be ruthless when we have so many players on our books with much greater potential.  No other players or staff leave us at the end of the season.

Top 5 Young Players of the Season (Players 21 and under at the beginning of the season)
Christopher Norris YP5a - 
Age 20, Appearances: 41(14); Goals: 57; Assists: 14; Av. Rating: 7.73
Mo McLaren YP4a - Age 21, Appearances: 46(3); Goals: 1; Assists: 2; Av. Rating: 7.43
Gary Pooler SP7a - Age 20, Appearances: 21(18); Goals: 12; Assists: 15; Av. Rating: 7.38
Adam Preston SP6e - Age 20, Appearances: 16(5); Goals: 0; Assists: 3; Av. Rating: 7.33
Daniel Traynor YP4e - Age 21, Appearances: 5; Goals: 0; Assists: 0; Av. Rating: 7.24

Notable Mentions
Paul Park SP6a
Danny Simpson SP7b
Leivur Jacobsen YP7c
Sandy Jeffrey SP9a
Stevie McLaughlin YP4f


Happy that the tide seems to be turning, in favour of the youth prospects!

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23 minutes ago, argento said:

Enjoyable as ever!  Heartbreak against United, you'll get revenge on Mourinho soon, i'm sure of it!

He's 62 and his contract at United runs out in 1 year... I'm worried he'll retire before I get the chance :D 

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A fantastic career!

 

Just read from start to finish.

 

Might potentially be interested in doing something similar and so would like to know what you're using to determine if a players city of birth falls within the 30 mile radius? Is it just a basic UK map or have you something more specific to ensure you don't miss out on players born in smaller cities or towns even?

Edited by DBurns

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Re watching matches, just leave the match after 5 minutes or so. I never watch the full match, but have found that if I "leave" before kickoff the media doesn't remark on my presence...

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28 minutes ago, DBurns said:

A fantastic career!

 

Just read from start to finish. Might potentially be interested in doing something similar and so would like to know what you're using to determine if a players city of birth falls within the 30 mile radius? Is it just a basic UK map or have you something more specific to ensure you don't miss out on players born in smaller cities or towns even?

Thanks for reading!

You've probably seen the map at the beginning of the post - that helped a lot to get my head in the ballpark of where I'm aiming for.  I got that from https://www.freemaptools.com/radius-from-uk-postcode.htm

 It's certainly tricky, because a mile radius is not something that you can just filter out in the scouting window - so you need to have a method.  Mine has changed a bit as the save has progressed, as you find certain things that work for you, but it's something like this:

- Set the filters to 'Nation of Birth' = Scotland, and then 'Age' is At Most 21.
- Then I set any additional things I'm looking for, be it personalities or a minimum determination stat, or even specific positions.
- In the scouting menu, click on the '+' over on the right hand side, so you can add 'Birth City' to the scouting window.  This saves a lot of time you'd be spending by going into the individual players' profiles to find out.

The screenshot below is of all the players that my staff have scouted, who have a determination stat of at least 15:

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Now, I don't know where you're from, but local knowledge helps.  If you're unfamiliar with your chosen country, you might spend a lot of time in Google Maps at the beginning, but you'll quickly start to remember who you can sign and who you can't.  Here, I know that anyone born in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Invergordon, Dalkeith, Perth, Dundee, Inverness, Penicuik is going to be exceeding my 30 mile limit.  Whereas Hamilton, Stirling, Falkirk, Greenock, Kilmarnock etc. are a safe bet.  A few small towns I'd heard of, but couldn't at all place on the map, crop up - and in those cases it's just a case of Googling it and finding out.

Then - who interests me? - Hamish Toshney would be a great signing for us, but born in Dundee so no can do.  Stephen Chalmers on the other hand?  Perfect!  I fire all of the eligible signings that look good into my shortlist, and I'll start sending scouts to get more accurate reports on them.

And that's basically it!

The rewards?

Well, in other Celtic saves where I haven't put such insane restrictions on myself, what tends to happen is that I sign every Scottish player that is remotely interesting.  But I'm also signing the Europeans, the South Americans, the Fijian kid because he has a funny name, and the Scottish guys end up not developing at all.  Meanwhile the other Scottish teams end up with the 'best of the rest' kind of vibe.  Scottish football doesn't develop, the national team suffers, and I end up with unhappy players who aren't getting game time.

Here, I'm developing the players to their full potential (at least I hope so!), so the Scotland team benefits.  Guys that end up not making it here, get sold to other Scottish teams, so they benefit.  And all the awesome Scottish talent from everywhere 30+ miles out?  I cannae touch it :)

Edited by mjaferrie

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7 minutes ago, ManUtd1 said:

Re watching matches, just leave the match after 5 minutes or so. I never watch the full match, but have found that if I "leave" before kickoff the media doesn't remark on my presence...

I noticed that one as well, I just leave if the guy I'm after isn't in the starting line  - not really got the time for 88th minute substitutions!

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2 minutes ago, K Sherlock said:

Great save..I like Ranger more but still i will watch this....:)

Don't know if we can be having that mate ;) haha!

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Hmm.  Big Tam could be right you know, there's something about this year that has us filled with complete and utter unfounded hope.  I enter the 10th year of my tenure at Celtic Park.  After last seasons disappointing exit to Bayern Munich in the First Knockout Round, do I dare utter those fated words?  Could this be our year?

It was a busy summer.  I sat down with Dirk Kunert, my AssMan, and Derek Langley, my HOYD - and we set about tearing the squad apart.  As far as Kunert saw it, there were two camps (always hire a German as your assistant.  Organised, efficient, straight-talking, and effective).

Camp A:  Players that would develop to be Champions League quality for us.
Camp B:  Guys who might be regulars and effective on the domestic front, but don't have that final touch of class for us to really be a contender.

So with that in mind, here are our wheelings and dealings in the 30-mile round Transfer Window:

OUT

Jack Aitchison - £25m to Stuttgart
Adam Preston SP6e - £11m to Bournemouth
Stevie McLaughlin YP4f - £2.4m to Hearts
Shaun Lindsay YP1b - £1.2m to Nottingham Forrest
Elvis Lala YP2e - £16.75m to Sunderland
Jai Quitongo SP1b - £19.25m to Everton

Key players in recent years, Aitchison and Quitongo, both face the axe.  Aitchison was functional, but lacked creativity.  Quitongo on the other hand had become a bit of a nomad, not really finding his place in the team due to the brilliance of others.  Greenock reap the benefits of a 30% sell on clause.  The other four had been in and around the first team over the years, but never progressed further than a back up option, a last resort in case of injury or suspension to other players.  £16.75m for a player who's highest rating was 7 seasons ago and never rose about a 7.11 since?  We were Lala-ughing all the way to the bank.  I'm going to miss our German/Albanian though, the dressing room was never quiet with him around.

IN

Alex Redman SP10a
(17), born in Stirling - £275k from Falkirk
Stephen Chalmers SP10b (21), born in Stenhousemuir - £19.5m from Manchester United
Barry Stewart SP10c - (16), born in Hamilton - £325k from Hamilton
Shaun Lithgow SP10d - (16), born in Hamilton - £210k from Hamilton

BREAKING NEWS!
We finally flipping did it.  After 2 years of watching U23s games in the pissing rain under the pained hospitality of arch-nemesis Special Brew, we finally signed Scottish wonderkid Stephen Chalmers, for less than 20% of United's previous £103m asking price!

So how's the squad looking after our reckless fire-sale? 

FIRST TEAM SQUAD

Goalkeepers

Jim Maclean SP3e SCO (25) - 3.5 CA/PA, number 1.
Richard Main SP5a SP8a SCO (23) - absolute backup.  This is his 9th season in football and he's made a grand total of 13 appearances.  Likely to move on, I'm tracking an interesting prospect on Southampton's books.
Jim Wood SP9d SCO (21) - the third 'keeper.  No one really knows what he does.
The verdict:  Maclean into his 6th year as our number 1 keeper, amazing that he's still just 24.  

Right Back

Mo McLaren YP4a SCO (21) - 3CA/PA.  Thanked me for the starting post with incredible performances.  Thank the ****ing lord.
Andy Donaldson SP6b SCO (21) - 1.5CA, 3.5PA.  In for the departing Preston, and played all the League Cup Group games.
The verdict: I am still a complete and utter tool.

Left Back

Daniel Church SCO
 (25) - 3CA/PA.  Some say he likes watching the games from his penthouse apartment overviewing the stadium.  Still here because there's no one to replace him with.
Jon McNeil YP1a SCO (25) - 4 CA/PA.  The big man is now in his 10th year at Celtic Park.
The verdict:  Need sumdy in fer Church.  

Centre Back

Erik Sviatchenko DEN (33) - 2 CA/PA.  Will be 34 next month and has lost the captaincy to Ajer.  On the way out.
Scott Smith SP2b SCO (26) - 3CA/PA.  First choice.
Brian Wilson SP3b SCO (24) - 3CA/PA, rotates with Park.
Paul Park SP6a SCO (20) - 2.5CA / 3.5PA, rotates with Wilson.
Richard Donnelly SP5b SCO (21) - 2CA/3PA.  Insurance.
The verdict:  Smith and Wilson play the league, Park and Donnelly play the cups.  Sviatchenko is sometimes heard shouting something about Europa League success. 

Right Midfielders/Wingers

Leivur Jacobsen YP7c FRO (18) - 2.5CA/4.5PA.  Came on a huge amount last year and has been capped 10 times already.  He's now our number 1 on the right wing, which kinda gives me the fear, but I have faith in our young Nord. 
Paul McCann SP9e SCO (22) - 1.5CA 2.5PA.  Back up.  Ryan Christie will play here more often after being retrained.
Verdict:  Jacobsen is a beast, and is our 'Hot Prospect' on the club profile page.  What a monster.

Left Midfielders/Wingers

Gary Pooler SP7a ENG (21) - 2.5 CA/4.5PA.  Has taken the first choice slot, but these guys pretty much play 50/50.
James Angus SP7c SCO (23) - 2.5CA / 3PA.  Scotlands key man on the wing, my Assistant's recommendation hides some massive stats.

Verdict:  Ah sure, we're grand so.

Defensive and Central Midfield

Kristoffer Ajer NOR (27) -  3.5 CA/PA.  Our brand-new Captain!
Josh McGinn SP1a SCO (30) - 3 CA/PA, a hero at Celtic Park entering his 10th season.
Craig Malin SP4b SCO (24) - 2.5 CA/PA, regular for club and country.
Tony McPhee SP9g SCO (20) - Comes in to breathe a bit of life into the middle of the park.
Verdict:  I'm getting a bit worried about the lack of fresh faces here.  Shaun Lindsay came in, but wasn't up to it.  McPhee's in now, but looks to have the same future.

Attacking Midfielders

Ryan Christie SCO (30) - 3CA/PA, a regular anywhere in midfield.  Almost faced the axe as well, but decided to hang onto him after selling Quitongo and Aitchison.
Darren Duncan SCO (23) - 4.5CA/PA, our Key Player.  Chelsea were in for him in the summer, but a new contract kept any bids at bay. 
Verdict:  Will need someone in for Christie soon.

Strikers

Christopher Norris YP5a SCO (20) - 4CA/PA, subject to a £26m bid from Manchester United in the summer.  He wants to have a Champions League medal, I said give me some time to work with these young talents we have.  He agreed.  ****.  
Stephen Chalmers SP10b SCO (21) - 2CA/4.5PA, our wonderkid signing from United.  So happy he's here, but he'll have to put up with cup competition this season.
Danny Simpson SP7b SCO (19) - 3.5CA/5PA, a serious contender for the starting position and could potentially improve beyond Norris' level.  Exciting times at Parkhead.
James Duncan SP5d WAL (23) - 2CA/3PA, our last resort. 

Verdict:  All change here!  Norris is still first choice but I'm glad to have the competition this season.  It's our most overstocked area of the team, but James Duncan rarely plays and will move on (I tried to shift him this summer but nae'hin doin'). 

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With our strength in numbers in the forward area, I've decided to rejig our Kamikaze tactic from the original posts to make use of that.  By rejig, I really mean get tae.  It was fun, and it was destructive (not always in a good way...) but it was time for something that we could take advantage of.

So - looking at my three tactics of choice on page 1, move the Attacking Midfielder in Number 2 up to a Defensive Forward with Defend duty, and the jobs a good 'un!  Oh no, you saying you were getting excited for a departure from my norm, a gung ho 4-4-2 with long balls over the top and none of this possession based nonsense?  Not my cup of tea.  I want something I can use now that my guys already know what to do.

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With that in mind we go into the League Cup Group Stage, against some lesser opposition, to test it out.  21 goals from 6 games isn't as lethal as we have been, but we're through to the Quarter Final against Killie.  I'm happy with that!

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January Transfer Window 2026

So we're at the beginning of January, how's the season been so far?

Incredible.  We have only lost one game, a 3-1 defeat in the league away to Falkirk.  Our summer clear out has done the trick - less game time to serviceable, but not quite good enough, players means more game time for those who have the quality, and we're repaid with consistency.  A 2-0 win over Rangers in the Glasgow Cup Final sees us win the trophy for the first time in 3 years, while a thumping 6-0 win against Slavisa Jokanovic's Aberdeen side means we defend our League Cup title.  Into the January window and it's a case of two trophies down, three to go.

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In January, we're in quarantine.  No on gets in, no one gets out, it's as simple as that - there's no way in hell I'm going to risk a dip in form at this stage, we're going all out!  So far, it seems to be working.  We manage to get through 3 and a half weeks without a single bid for our players, which helps.  A few rejected ones later, we're on the other side of the window unscathed - with 4 wins and a draw in the league, and a 1-1 draw against Rangers in the Scottish Cup 1st round.  We storm through the replay, running out 4-0 victors, and it's into the second half of the season!

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Youth Intake Day!

This is much better than last year, and a few interesting ones as well.  Anyone for a Juan Manuel Clarkson?...

 

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Season Review 2025-26

In the league, after only dropping 4 points before the end of the January transfer window, we had a bit of a scare coming into the last two games.  Losses against Dundee, Rangers and Hearts meant that we were 1 point behind league leaders Rangers.  Fortunately for us, our city rivals couldn't handle the pressure and drew their last to games at Raith and Dundee, 2-2 and 1-1, while we won ours against Dunfermline and Morton - giving us our 10th title win in a row under my management and Celtic's 15th league title in a row.  In the Scottish Cup though, sometimes you just have to take your hat off.  In the quarter final, Kilmarnock held us to a 1-1 draw at Celtic Park before winning the replay 3-1 at Rugby Park.  They then went on to beat Motherwell 3-0 in the semis and lifted the trophy with a 3-0 win over Dundee at Hampden.  They've secured European football for a consecutive season, and have achieved back to back 5th place finishes in the league.  Nae bad lads!

Hamilton and St. Mirren face the drop this season, while Dundee United and St. Johnstone come straight back up.  Christopher Norris YP5a picks up all 4 player of the year awards and the top goalscorer award again this season, defending all 5 awards.

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Champions League

In the First Knockout round, we were drawn against familiar opposition - last season's French champions AS Monaco.  A 4-3 defeat at Rybolovlev Park (Monaco's 27,208 seat stadium, built in 2019) meant that we had a solid away goal advantage heading into the return leg in Glasgow, but we don't do scraping through!  We knock the (kind of) French for six, beating them 6-2 at Celtic Park and a 9-6 aggregate win.  Talk about entertainment!

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In the Quarter Final, another team we've faced several times in the last decade - an SLB side managed by Gareth Southgate.  A narrow 2-1 defeat at Estádio da Luz gives us a valuable away goal again, but again we don't need it as 2 goals from James Angus and a penalty from Kristoffer Ajer puts us through to the Semi Final 4-2!

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So the 2026 Champions League Semi Final draw is rather... unorthodox?  West Ham United, who came 7th in the Premier League last season but qualified for the Champions League thanks to a 2-0 Europa League final victory over Monaco, will face our group stage foes Dortmund, while we have been drawn to play Barcelona, with the first leg at Celtic Park.  Goals from midfielders Kristoffer Ajer and Craig Malin give us a 2-0 lead over the Catalan giants, but we concede a 69th minute penalty which they promptly convert.  Late goals from Christopher Norris and Gary Pooler though seal us an important 4-1 victory in the first leg.  One week later, we're off to sunny Spain, and within 5 minutes of the match Barcelona show their intent.  An Eduardo Vaquero strike gives them an early lead, and brings the tie to 4-2.  If they can manage another couple more, they could edge this on away goals.  We switch to a more defensive minded strategy, and manage to keep them at bay until the 72nd minute, when a Christopher Norris goal from a corner puts the game at 1-1.  We're going through to the final!

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The Build Up

Arguably two of the best sets of fans in European football have arrived in Valencia, Spain, and the atmosphere is incredible.

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Dortmund arrive in the unfamiliar position of underdogs, as Celtic are undefeated in their last 6 games against the Germans.

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Social media is in overdrive - the Official club account is in an optimistic mood, but the fans have mixed feelings.

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The Build Up 2

Martin Ødegaard famously scored for Manchester United in the Champions League final against us 2 years ago.  The £33.5m signing starts tonight on the right wing for Dortmund.

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The teams are out... the captains shake hands...

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And we're off...

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62nd minute...

Celtic win a free kick just outside the area.  Christopher Norris YP5a is behind the ball.  He squares it to Darren Duncan SP3a.  Duncan threads it through to McGinn, waiting on the penalty spot.  McGinn is brought down in the box, is that a penalty?  It doesn't matter!  DANIEL CHURCH SMASHES IT HOME!  It's 1-0 to Celtic!

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63rd minute... 

Dortmund restart from the centre circle.  Luka plays it for Smit, who plays it back to Santiago at centre back.  Santiago to Juarez.  Juarez plays it long up to the right wing for Ødegaard, but the ball is won by Daniel Church who heads it forward to James Angus.  Angus runs with the ball through to the middle and lays it off for Darren Duncan, who plays the one-two.  Angus to McGinn, McGinn plays it over to the left for Daniel Church who has lost his man.  Church plays a beautiful cross into the box!  LEIVUR JACOBSEN!!! IT'S TWO IN TWO MINUTES FOR CELTIC!!!

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86th minute...

It's still 2-0 here in Valencia.  We just have to hang on to our lead for 4 minutes + added time....

We win a free kick in the centre circle.

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Ajer chips it for Christie...

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... who plays it first time to Mo McLaren overlapping on the right.

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McLaren lashes it into the box!

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IT'S CHRISTOPHER NORRIS!!! MARTINEZ CAN'T REACH IT, 3-0 TO CELTIC IN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL!  IT'S ALL OVER HERE IN SPAIN!!!!

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Lennox - I’ll never forget the final whistle – I was in the centre circle near John Clark and the two of us jumped into each others arms and jumped about deliriously.  Winning the European Cup was the making of the club. After that everyone knew about Celtic. We even beat Real Madrid two weeks later in Di Stefano’s testimonial. They’d won the European Cup the previous year and they kept saying they were the real champions, but we beat them 1-0 on their own patch in front of 135,000 people. That just proved to Europe that we were the best team.

Wilson - I jumped up and a Portuguese chap in a Celtic scarf got hold of me and he was shouting, ‘Celtic, Celtic’. I was on cloud nine.  I’d dug up a big bit of the pitch and brought it home in my bag. I took it to the pub the next day but everybody grabbed chunks and I ended up with a wee spot that wouldn’t fit in a box of matches. My mum put it in a plant pot in the window and said, ‘It’s always there if you need it’.

Boyle - It was one of the most beautiful goals you’ll ever see in a European Cup final. I’ve never hugged so many people in my life.

Against all the odds, we've done it!  Incredible scenes here at Nuevo Mestalla.  And the starting 11?  Apart from Kristoffer Ajer, who was already at the club, all were born within 30 miles of Glasgow, or came through the Youth academy of the club.

 

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6 minutes ago, argento said:

wow!  great stuff as per usual!  

Thanks for following, I can't believe we managed to put 3 goals past them!  Not sure where this journey will take me next, but Celtic has been some ride!

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Season Review 2025-26

59 years after that famous victory in Lisbon, a team of 9 Scots, one Faroe and one Norwegian embarked upon a journey to Valencia in Spain.  They faced off against Unai Emery's Dortmund, who they had defeated already in Germany that season.  A thrilling 3-0 victory saw those young men become legends at Celtic Park, as captain Kristoffer Ajer lifted the trophy for only the second time in the club's history.

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End of Season Departures

Erik Sviatchenko - retires

Top 5 Young Players of the Season (Players 21 and under at the beginning of the season)
Christopher Norris YP5a - Age 21, Appearances: 51(6); Goals: 53; Assists: 21; Av. Rating: 7.70
Scott Simpson SP8b - Age 21, Appearances: 5(1); Goals: 6; Assists: 1; Av. Rating: 7.55
Mo McLaren YP4a - Age 22, Appearances: 42(6); Goals: 1; Assists: 4; Av. Rating: 7.44
Danny Simpson SP7b - Age 20, Appearances: 31(21); Goals: 27; Assists: 12; Av. Rating: 7.33
Gary Pooler SP7a - Age 21, Appearances: 12(18); Goals: 13; Assists: 5; Av. Rating: 7.30

Notable Mentions
Graeme Clark SP9b
Daniel Traynor YP4e
Paul Park SP6a
Leivur Jacobsen YP7c
Tony McPhee SP9g


An incredible season at Celtic Park leaves me with a decision to make on my future.  All will be revealed very soon!

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The Numbers Game: A Ten Year Review

The ashes have settled, the hangovers are cured - interest in Scottish football has never been greater, but what does all this mean for Scottish Football?  Let's look at the total spends and incomes for each club that has played in Division One.

Aberdeen - Total Spend £7.6m; Total Income £1.7m
Airdrie - Spend £2.37m; Income £4.8m
Ayr - Spend £1.44m; Income £286k
Celtic - Spend £82m; Income £277m
Clyde - Spend £256k; Income £515k
Dumbarton - Spend £654k; Income £558k
Dundee - Spend £8.61m; Income £7.2m
Dundee Utd - Spend £1.64m; Income £2.87m
Dunfermline - Spend £3.63m; Income £1.92m
Falkirk - Spend £6.7m; Income £7.88m
Hamilton - Spend £5.21m; Income £15.73m
Hearts - Spend £23.6m; Income £15.84m
Hibs - Spend £14m; Income £10.63
Kilmarnock - Spend £7.15m; Income £11.11m
Morton - Spend £1.93m; Income £2.34m
Motherwell - Spend £5.1m; Income £4.56m
Partick Thistle - Spend £2.16m; Income £6.17m
Queen of the South - Spend £4.98m; Income £303k
Raith - Spend £9.23m; Income £3.76m
Rangers - Spend £59.25m; Income £68.75m
Stirling - Spend £148k; Income £390k
St. Johnstone - Spend £3.26m; Income £3.65m
St. Mirren - Spend £2.44m; Income £2.57m

TOTALS
Spend - £253.36m
Income - £450.56m

Wow.  
That is an insane increase in spending, and income, from our 5 year totals, with almost every club increasing their yearly average.  Positively, most clubs are getting more money in than out, and most clubs are dealing with others in Scotland, which means the money stays here.

Here's the last 10 winners of the big 3 competitions in Scotland:

Division One

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Scottish Cup 

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Scottish League Cup

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And how about the big 5 leagues across the world?  At the moment, those are England, Germany, Spain, France, Italy:

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So how about my immediate future?  Well, I decided against resigning for the moment.  I want to have a go at the European Super Cup, which we've lost twice to Manchester United, and the Club World Championships.  I'm going to resign from Celtic heading into the January transfer window.  This will allow me the chance to take over an Irish team at the start of their season, or spend a while 'on sabbatical' (pissing my winnings against the wall of Bar 67 while I relive our 3 goals against Dormund) on the look out for a suitable team to take the reigns at.  For now, I'm at Celtic Park, in 6 months time?  The UK or Ireland is my oyster!

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It's the 12th of September 2026, which means there are just over 3 months until the Club World Championships, and my subsequent resignation as manager at Celtic Park.  With that in mind, I want to leave as big a stamp of my philosophy that I possibly can on the club, so all youth intake players from last season have been retained, as well 7 more local signings to add to the mix.  The squad is now way too big, so there are plenty out on loan or in the U20s, but it should give the next manager at Parkhead plenty to work with.

OUT

Brian Kane SP4c - £2.1m to Motherwell
Richard Donnelly SP5b - £2.8m to Hearts
Stuart Thomson SP4a - £700k to Inverness
Tony McPhee SP9g - £4.8m to Blackburn

Four players I signed who just haven't developed as much as I'd like, but 3/4 stay up here in Scotland.

IN

Graham Lamont SP11a
 (18), born in Greenock - £10m from Southamption
Kevin Crawford SP11b (16), born in Glasgow - Free from Queen's Park
Stewart Marshall SP11c - (16), born in Livingston - £71k from Livingston
Andy MacLeod SP11d - (17), born in Stenhousemuir - £91k from Stenhousemuir
Stuart Leitch SP11e - (16), born in Coatbridge - £105k from Albion Rovers
Lewis MacAusland SP11f - (16), born in Greenock - £350k from Morton
Calvin Henry SP11g - (16), born in Greenock - £130k from Morton

The goalkeeper I mentioned I was having a look at this time last year finally makes his move to Celtic Park, and it doesn't come cheap.  This guy will be a back up for now but in the long term I can see him displacing Jim Maclean in the number 1 slot.  

FIRST TEAM SQUAD

Goalkeepers

Jim Maclean SP3e SCO (26) - 3 CA/PA, number 1.
Richard Main SP5a SP8a SCO (24) - man, I regret resigning this duff.  Valued at £81k after moving to us for £3.2m, epic fail. 
Graham Lamont SP11a SCO (18) - 4.5PA, so could end up Celtic's no. 1
The verdict:  Maclean into his 6th year as our number 1 keeper, amazing that he's still just 24.  

Right Back

Mo McLaren YP4a SCO (22) - 3CA/PA.  A year on year top performer.
Andy Donaldson SP6b SCO (22) - 1.5CA, 3PA.  Plays the cup games.
The verdict: Pretty strong here, McLaren is pacy. 

Left Back

Daniel Church SCO
 (26) - 3CA/PA.  From 'eh, is he still here?' to Champions League hero, scored one and created another.  And to think I almost sold him a year ago.
Jon McNeil YP1a SCO (26) - 4 CA/PA.  Plays more often at CB. 
The verdict:  Decent.

Centre Back

Scott Smith SP2b SCO (27) - 2.5CA/PA.  First choice.
Brian Wilson SP3b SCO (25) - 3CA/PA, rotates with Park.
Paul Park SP6a SCO (21) - 2.5CA / 3.5PA, rotates with Wilson.
The verdict:  All get regular game time and have developed nicely since signing here.  Could do with a bit more quality, so McNeil and Ajer are still dropping into this area a lot.  

Right Midfielders/Wingers

Leivur Jacobsen YP7c FRO (19) - 3CA/4PA.  17 caps, and already a hero here.  He has a bright future.
Danny Simpson SP7b SCO (20) - 4CA/5PA, after retraining as a right winger he's become our first choice on the wing.  A bit injury prone though, so Jacobsen still plays more often.
Verdict:  Our strongest area these days.

Left Midfielders/Wingers

Gary Pooler SP7a ENG (22) - 2.5 CA/3PA.  
James Angus SP7c SCO (24) - 3.5CA/PA.  These two guys rotate 50/50.

Verdict:  Ah sure, we're grand so.

Defensive and Central Midfield

Kristoffer Ajer NOR (28) -  4 CA/PA.  Captain Fantastic, started the move that led to our 3rd goal in the Final.
Josh McGinn SP1a SCO (31) - 3 CA/PA, due a testimonial after 10 years here.  Could be the first to retire that I brought into the club.
Craig Malin SP4b SCO (25) - 2.5 CA/PA, regular for club and country.
Verdict:  A bit ropey in terms of the future.  Not enough quality coming in the youth ranks in this position.

Attacking Midfielders

Ryan Christie SCO (31) - 3CA/PA, a regular anywhere in midfield.  Had a testimonial in the summer.
Darren Duncan SCO (24) - 4CA/PA, Chelsea still after him.
Verdict:  Christie another one heading for the retirement package.  

Strikers

Christopher Norris YP5a SCO (21) - 4CA/PA, happy to stay after winning the Champions League.  At 21 years of age, he's already scored 201 goals in the Hoops.  
Stephen Chalmers SP10b SCO (22) - 2.5CA/3.5PA, got his head down and developed a bit this year, looking for more from our record signing.
James Duncan SP5d WAL (24) - 2CA/3PA, rarely plays due to the quality in this area.

Verdict:  Few more miles on the clock, but nothing new here.

Scottish League Cup Groups and the European Super Cup

In the League Cup this year, 5 wins and a draw sees us qualify easily for the quarter final, scoring 25 goals in the process.

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Unfortunately an absolute hammering against Manchester City in the European Super Cup Final, as they run out 6-1 winners, means I won't pick up the trophy as manager of Celtic.  But some day!

Edited by mjaferrie

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Love the old school pictures, and the fact that the Bairns of Falkirk scalped you early on :lol:

Congrats on a great win!

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On 1/28/2017 at 01:34, ManUtd1 said:

Love the old school pictures, and the fact that the Bairns of Falkirk scalped you early on :lol:

Congrats on a great win!

Thank you sir! Some cracking pictures right enough!

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Season Review Aug-Dec 2026

Well, you might as well go out with a bang huh?  Or eh...

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An absolute hammering at Hampden sees Hearts lift the League Cup trophy.  I literally have no idea what I just watched, the Edinburgh side have just inflicted our greatest defeat.

The Glasgow Cup was a closer fight, with Partick Thistle edging it on penalties after a 3-3 draw.

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In the Champions League this season we were drawn against Real Madrid, Hamburg and SK Rapid Wien.  Home and away victories against the Austrian side coupled with home victories over Real Madrid and Hamburg mean we top the group with 12 points.  In the Europa League meanwhile, Hearts and Rangers both top their group as well!  Hearts take 13 points from Porto, PSV and Legia, while Rangers take 11 from Olympique Lyonnais, Spartak Moscow and Trabzonspor.  Kilmarnock's 6 points is only enough to claim 3rd place in a group containing Braga, Udinese and FC Nantes.

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Can't get over that 8-0 defeat though!  Check this out, these are our results immediately before and after.  What went wrong?! :D

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Edited by mjaferrie

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Celtic Football Club are in chaos this morning with rumours that manager Ferrie is set to quit following cup final defeats to Manchester City, Hearts and Partick Thistle.  The Champions League holders are struggling to replicate last season's successes which saw them win the quadruple, and while they qualified comfortably in the end for this year's knockout stage, they looked shaky in defeats to Real Madrid and Hamburg.  Could last month's sensational 8-0 victory for Hearts in the Scottish League Cup final have been the last straw?  

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Edited by mjaferrie

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We're live now with Celtic captain Kristoffer Ajer.  Kris, congratulations on a fantastic result today, what can you tell us about these rumours surrounding the manager's departure?

Well Chick, we're just looking ahead to the Final against Jiangsu now, it's going to be a massive game for us at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

But are you not worried about the impending departure of an integral part of the club's successes over the last 10 years?

Yeah, you know, we have big games to focus on in the league too, with Hearts away next Wednesday. They have been exciting to watch, they've come to Celtic Park and got points and we have struggled up there so hopefully we can do a little bit better this season.

The manager, Kris, is he leaving?  Yes or no?

Training has been exceptional, he is a great manager to work under, what he has done for the club, the way we play, the great style of football and we are trying to improve on that all the time at Celtic Park.

Thanks for your time Kris.  

Cheers.

Edited by mjaferrie

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19th December 2026: The End of an Era

So it's all comes down to a trip to Melbourne to play in 23º heat against Chinese side Jiangsu Suning.  They have never won the Chinese Super League in their history, but an Asian Champions League win two years ago saw them go on to the Club World Championship final loss against a Manchester United side that had defeated us in the European equivalent 6 months earlier.  Could history be about to repeat itself?

The Build Up

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The line ups are announced...  Injuries to Jim Maclean, John McGinn and James Angus mean Celtic field an understrength side...

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and we're underway here in Australia!

Edited by mjaferrie

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07:35

Jon McNeil YP1a with the throw in on the left hand side.  It's a short one for Gary Pooler SP7a, who knocks it down for Darren Duncan SP3a.  Duncan back to McNeil, who plays it short for Ajer.  Ajer takes on his man and he's into the middle of the park.  He lays it off for Craig Malin SP4b, who plays a stunning switch to Mo McLaren YP4a who's shot up the right hand side.  McLaren volleys it first time into the box!  It's knocked clear by Emerson, but only as far as Craig Malin.  Malin to McNeil, back over on the left hand side now.  McNeil plays it forward for Pooler.  Pooler dummies his man and it's into the box, IT'S DANNY SIMPSON SP7b, IT'S A GOOOAAAAALLLL FOR CELTIC!!

 

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HALF TIME

It's still 1-0 to Celtic here in Melbourne.  Elis kicks off the second half for Jiangsu, and plays it back to Bazoer.  Bazoer plays it left to Baba, who tries to take on Leivur Jacobsen YP7c but loses out.  Jacobsen plays it short for Ajer, who plays the one-two.  Jacobsen into the middle of the park for Craig Malin, who plays it forward to Darren Duncan.  Duncan loses his man and it's out left for Gary Pooler, Pooler for Simpson.  Darren Duncan is bombing into the box and Simpson's seen it, that's a beautiful through-ball!  DARREN DUNCAN MAKES IT TWO FOR CELTIC!

 

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54:28

Jon McNeil with another throw, high on the left hand side.  This time it's a long one all the way back for Craig Malin.  Malin plays it across for McLaren, waiting on the edge of the box.  Oh! McLaren loses his man and shoots! But it's blocked by his own team mate!  The ball bounces back for Malin, who plays it first time for Pooler.  It's all Celtic here!  Pooler for McNeil, unmarked on the left wing.  McNeil switches it for McLaren, who plays it short into the middle for Duncan.  Surely not?! OUT OF NOWHERE!!  IT'S 3-0 FOR CELTIC!  There was no power on that at all, what was the keeper thinking?!

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70:53

It's all too easy for Celtic at the moment.  Jiangsu need to do something to get back into this.  It's Pooler on the half way line for Celtic.  He plays it to Darren Duncan in the centre circle, who plays it long out to the right for Leivur Jacobsen.  Jacobsen switches it for McNeil who plays it first time for Pooler, overlapping on the left.  Pooler's into the box, he shoots!  OH, IT'S OFF THE POST!  The ball falls for Christopher Norris, but he's brought down by Maksimovic.  Is that a penalty?  The ref doesn't think so.  It's back out to the left for Gary Pooler.  Pooler tries the cross but it's blocked and ball is deflected back for Christie on the edge of the area.  HE SHOOTS FIRST TIME, OOOOHHHH THAT IS SENSATIONAL!!!!!! CELTIC 4 - 0 JIANGSU

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73:39

Ryan Christie with the free kick on the edge of the area.  Surely he's going to shoot from here?  HE DOES! But Ma Yongjiu gets a hand to it!  The ball falls for Christopher Norris, he's forced out wide to the right hand side.  He rounds his man, and crosses back into the box!  Duncan controls it and plays it to the left for Pooler.  POOLER HITS THE VOLLEY FIRST TIME, IT'S A STUNNING GOAL!  IT'S FIVE FOR THE BHOYS!

 

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89:55

Celtic don't look finished here!  It's Mo McLaren on the right hand side a free kick deep in Celtic's own half.  He plays it into the centre circle for Ryan Christie, who hits it first time for Duncan.  It's short for Danny Simpson, who rounds his man and lays it off for Leivur Jacobsen.  It's back to Duncan, who chips it high up the right hand side for Mo McLaren who has shot down the wing.  McLaren volleys it first time into the box!  But Ramirez heads it clear.  The ball falls to Christie, who plays it to the edge of the area for Simpson.  Simpson to Norris, he's just onside! 

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Norris shapes to shoot!

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IT'S A GOAAAAALLLL FOR CELTIC!

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It turns out history did repeat itself, in a rather unexpected way!

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In the aftermath of our stunning victory, it was time to come clean to the press, the fans and the board.

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And with that, I tender my resignation.  The media's bet for my successor?

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Oh dear lord.

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Wow, this was unexpected.

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Two fallen giants, one a mid-table League One side, the other in a Championship relegation scrap.  The big question is, do I make the move to England so soon?

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Part Two
'Rome Wasn't Built in a Day, But I Wasn't On That Particular Job' - Brian Clough


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It's the 6th of March, 2027, and I find myself haunting the path of another truly great British manager.  Nottingham Forest have fallen on hard times of late though, and have spent recent years yo-yoing between the Championship and League One.

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I come into another club with a massive history, and once again I have my sights set on turning this sleeping giant into a Champions League club once more.  Our 30,576 seater stadium, The City Ground, is certainly more worthy of Premier League football than Championship scraps, we have excellent training and good youth facilities, with average junior coaching and above average youth recruitment.  I'll be adhering to the same strict transfer policy as at Celtic Park, so I will only be able to sign U21s born with 30 miles of The City Ground, and hopefully we can get those standards a bit higher for junior coaching and youth recruitment.

3 straight victories since David Edwards' sacking means that I join a club who are in 11th in the Championship, 9 points off the playoffs with 10 games to play.  With that in mind, I have a look at the squad, and a familiar mess faces me.  When I came to Celtic, the squad was bloated - oversaturated and under-talented.  At Forest we have 64 players on our books, including 8 loan signings, which doesn't suggest a long-term plan to me.  A massive overhaul will be needed in the summer, but for now here is where we stand:

FIRST TEAM SQUAD

Goalkeepers


Joey de Zeeuw NED (25) - 3.5 CA/PA, number 1.
Scott Hinchcliffe ENG (26) - 2.5PA, backup keeper.
The verdict:  Both signed this season, so unlikely to leave soon.  Decent age to work with.

Right Back

Mason Holgate ENG (30) - 3.5CA/PA. Vice-Captain.
Darnell Fisher ENG (32) - 3CA/PA.  The former Celtic defender has been round the block since leaving Glasgow, turning out for Rotherham, Bristol, Aston Villa, Leeds, Sunderland and Huddersfield.
The verdict: Ageing - we need fresh faces here.

Left Back

Oscar Krusnell SWE (28) - 3.5CA/PA.  First choice, too defensive for my liking though.
Robert Moore ENG (20) - loan from Middlesbrough.
The verdict:  Will need someone to replace Moore.

Centre Back

Tom McIntyre SCO (28) - 3.5CA/PA.  A solid option I almost signed for Celtic.
Dan Bramley ENG (21) - loan from Newcastle.
Luke Martin ENG (19) - loan from Manchester United.
The verdict:  We are going to be seriously understocked here at the end of the season.  Anyone for the kamikaze tactic? 

Right Midfielders/Wingers

Jacob Murphy ENG (32) - 3.5CA/4PA.  Ageing.
Messèdé Bessan FRA (20) - 3CA/3.5PA, will see out this season for us.
Verdict:  Bessan will hopefully be around for a while.

Left Midfielders/Wingers

Nathan Mathieu BEL (22) - loan from Everton
Daniel James WAL (24) - 3.5CA/PA.  First choice.

Verdict:  Another loan signing in what is a key area for me... this is going to be some undertaking.  

Defensive and Central Midfield

Jamie Allen ENG (32) -  3CA/PA.  A good playmaker and our captain.
Shaun Lindsay YP1b SCO (26) - reunited with the £1.2m signing.
Steve Evans WAL (24) - 2.5 CA, 3.5 PA.  Room for improvement.
Fernand Niambélé MLI (22) - loan from Girondins de Bordeaux
Matt Conway ENG (21) - loan from Wolves
Sofiane Jaziri ENG (20) - loan from Arsenal
Verdict:  Bloated, unnecessary number of loan signings in this area - only Jaziri offers us a bit of quality.  

Attacking Midfielders

Verdict:  No one in this area.  That's a problem for me tactically.

Strikers

Liam Cullen WAL (27) - Second option, with 3.5 CA/PA.
Shane Cook ENG (26) - First choice, a nifty complete forward with nice physicals, Professional personality and 15 determination.
Lee O'Brien ENG (21) - Lacks the potential to stake a claim here.
Julio Carrasquero ESP (21) - loan from Everton.

Edited by mjaferrie

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I'd like to make some snap decisions with the squad, but with it being mid-season that's not possible.  Which is actually possibly a good thing, allowing me to get my own staff in, and more accurate reports on my players potential.  Our finances have been in almost free fall for 3 years though, and we're currently more than £4m in the red.  I have a transfer budget of £800k, with £288k wage surplus.  It's not exactly Premier League material, eh?  Nonetheless, we have a couple of youngsters out on loan who look promising, and the youth intake day looks promising.  I'm very intrigued about the level of determination from YP11a/b.  A quick look at our HOYD reveals a Model Professional personality - excellent!  Off to a good start.

 

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3 minutes ago, BoxToBox said:

What a story so far, and Forest seem like the perfect way to continue.

I'm looking forward to the challenge!  Wasn't planning on England being the next destination, as I usually face burn-out managing in the English system, but with set targets it should be grand.  

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Season Review 2026-27

After joining Nottingham Forest in March, I made a couple of quick decisions.  Assistant manager Gareth Holmes would be departing us in favour of Cliftonville's Kyle Spiers, who brings a Professional personality to our backroom staff.  Meanwhile 13 players were released on free transfers, bringing the total number down to 51, giving some room for youth intake players to come in and get game time.  Here's how the first team looks:

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Results in the league were reasonably positive, we took 4 wins and 3 draws from our 10 games which means we finish this season in 14th.  That's down 3 places from when I took over, but we're only 1 point behind 11th and 4 points behind 7th, so the league has become pretty tight in the closing stages.

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Expectations for next season?  Well, that all depends on what I manage to get done in the summer to be honest.  With 8 players leaving us as their loans expire, we're going to have a first team squad of 14 players...  Interesting times!

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I'm a big fan of this decision!

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It's fair to say my philosophies are blown out the window though.  He's fired 9 of my staff, and spent £60m on Brazilians, Germans, Italians, English...  What's he like.

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First game of my first full season here in Nottingham and we're already breaking records:

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It's the 8th of August, a full season preview will follow at the end of the month as usual!  Lots of player movement been happening here.

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