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FM18: The English Football League Thread - EFL in FM18

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Welcome to the English Football League Thread - EFL in FM18

 

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Welcome to the 2017/2018 edition of the Football League thread for Football Manager!

Below are brief introductions to each of the 72 EFL clubs, listed in order of their FM18 media predictions.

I hope you will enjoy and contribute...

Edited by Jogo Bonito

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1. Middlesbrough

Despite being relegated last year, Boro are firm favourites to go straight back up. They’re a club that have the support, stadium, facilities and finances needed to match those ambitions – but that pressure might be a massive burden to carry. Unsurprisingly, they’ve spent big in attack, but that’s more than balanced out by their strength in defence. Centre-back Ben Gibson (nephew of the chairman) remains a key player at the Riverside Stadium.

 

2. Aston Villa

The Villans will be hoping that their second season at this level following relegation will see them mount a serious promotion challenge.  Champions of Europe in 1982, their facilities and fan base are still Premier League standard, but this brings with it expectations and pressure. The current squad is well balanced, and striker Jonathan Kodjia is very capable of scoring lots of goals at this level. 

3. Wolverhampton Wanderers

The famous old gold shirts are catching the eye again at Molineux. Rich owners from China, a strong connection with a Portuguese ‘super-agent’ and an impressive array of quality signings (mainly from Portugal) are just some of the factors behind the Wolves revival. At times unplayable, it’s hard to contemplate how they won’t be joining the big boys next summer unless they choke massively. To be saying all this without Helder Costa (last season’s star man) even being fit to roast opposition defences, shows how powerful this club is again now.   

 

4. Norwich City

The Canaries will see themselves as another of the clubs in with a good chance of promotion, and their fans will expect to see improvement after falling short of the top six last year.  An influx of German signings has given the squad a slightly different look this time around, but the potential star in the group is English attacking midfielder James Maddison, whose stock is rising at an impressive rate.

 

5. Hull City

There are major pros and cons to contend with when managing The Tigers. The fans hate the owners and the club has a very lengthy injury list to start the new term with, but they have a good stadium and facilities, some decent (fit) players and a massive transfer budget should the manager wish to have fun in the transfer market. The emergence of forward Jarrod Bowen has been a surprise, but a lack of numbers in central midfield is the first thing that needs addressing at this relegated outfit.

 

6. Derby County

The Rams, as they have done for a few years, have a squad with plenty of quality for this level. Unfortunately they still seem to be struggling to click on a consistent basis, and remain a challenge for even highly skilled managers. Finding the right combinations in attacking positions continues to bring dilemmas, but there is plenty of choice here in all areas of the pitch. The return of former teenage star Tom Huddlestone after 12 years away should at least help them control midfield better.

 

7. Sunderland

The Black Cats were finally relegated in 2017 after years of narrow escapes. This club has massive potential, with a large following and stadium fit for the top flight, but on the pitch they’ve been a shambles for a number of seasons. They’ve got some valuable assets, but also have many high earners that don’t justify their wage, so a serious clear out is needed before thoughts of promotion can be entertained. This is a tough job to take on, but with cash and parachute payments to call upon, and young attacker Duncan Whatmore in the ranks, a brighter future could be created.    

 

8. Fulham

Last season The Cottagers were beaten play-off semi -finalists, and another sustained promotion bid is expected. Clearly missing one or two strikers of real quality, and with their talismanic captain struggling to overcome injury trouble, a lack of creativity and goals are hindering those efforts.  Teenage sensation Ryan Sessegnon is still proving to be a massive talent anywhere down the left though, and there is still great potential at this West London club on the banks of the River Thames.

 

9. Reading

After being beaten in the Wembley play-off final last year on penalties, many expected The Royals to be in the mix again this year. On paper, the squad was improved with summer acquisitions, but results have been more akin to what most fans actually expected to see last year. The possession football tactic that helped the club massively overachieve last season has seemingly been sussed out by opponents, and injuries have hampered the club too. Centre-back Liam Moore remains critical to the cause, and at least the Academy continues to churn out good prospects.

 

10. Leeds United

This Yorkshire club has great top flight history, but it’s been a while since they tasted football at that level.  They’ve fought back from the third tier, and after steady improvement, this season sees a squad that can give their massive fan base a real sense of optimism. With a sprinkling of home grown talents blossoming, and an array of impressive picks from overseas, this is a club now ready to grab promotion. Improvements can still be made in defence, but there are numerous attacking threats – such as talented new Spanish import Samu Saiz.

 

11. Sheffield Wednesday

One of two teams from the steel city, The Owls have been knocking on the door of promotion in the last few seasons. The loyal fans here won’t be happy unless they’re in contention again this year too, and they seem to have all the right ingredients in place off the pitch to make that step up again. The goals of Gary Hooper should be important to the team, but with a surplus of strikers, they could balance the squad a bit better.

 

12. Birmingham City

The West Midlands outfit looked to have recruited well in the summer, but performances haven’t met the standards that were expected.  The lack of a prolific striker looks plain to see, but defensively they should be able to keep things tight. Spanish attacking midfielder Jota has the ability to create chances, and his signing was a bit of a coup.

 

13. Preston North End

Another famous name of English football, but their heyday was a very, very long time ago. These days, the men from Deepdale are happy to be a fairly well established Championship side again – and they now have a competitive squad that can comfortably hold their own. This is a proud, traditional type of club that has recruited well from Ireland in recent seasons, but many of their hopes will rest on the form and fitness of burly striker Jordan Hugill.

 

14. Cardiff City

The Bluebirds have added more attacking options to a squad that already had defensive strength last year. If they continue to keep it tight at the back, the extra dimensions to their play further forward might make all the difference to the outlook in this part of South Wales. The purple patch that Danish striker Kenneth Zohore had last year marked him down as one to be feared this season, but there are others waiting to take their chance if that turns out to be a false dawn.

 

15. Brentford

The Bees have consolidated their status in the second tier despite struggling to keep hold of some talented players in the past couple of seasons. The Danish influence in the squad is growing due to the club owner’s links over there, but sorting out the future of midfielder Romaine Sawyers should be one of the first priorities at Griffin Park. 

 

16. Queens Park Rangers

This West London side has taken time to adapt to relegation from the Premier League, and they’re another outfit that would like to see a return of better days. Recently they’ve reverted to a transfer policy that has seen a larger number of British and Irish signings arrive at Loftus Road, and there seems to be a clear plan in place to recruit these types of player again. Whilst short of a prolific marksman or two, the likes of left-back Jake Bidwell should help them to stay out of trouble.      

 

17. Ipswich Town

The Tractor Boys have been stagnating at this level for quite a number of years now, and it’s hard to imagine them getting out of the league (in the right direction) anytime soon. A squad can still be successful as a result of a good team spirit though, and that is one thing that the side from Suffolk will rely upon. Goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski, together with an organised defence, might give a base to work from - but it won’t be easy.

 

18. Nottingham Forest

Another of the clubs in the division with European Cup winning heritage (1979 and 1980), but the side next to the River Trent are a long way from that level these days. The present side does have some quality, but they’re inconsistent and have struggled to build enough momentum to make a real challenge. Home grown products are now relied upon to make an impression, and midfielder Ben Osborn is arguably the pick of the bunch.  

 

19. Bristol City

The Robins are more equipped for a challenge at the right end of the table than this ranking would suggest. Generally solid defensively, they also recruited well in attack in order to negate the loss of departed loan star Tammy Abraham. However, the club also like to give opportunities to their own younger players, and that approach has been massively rewarded by the impressive performances of Bobby Reid in a more advanced role this season.

 

20. Sheffield United

After too many years in League 1, The Blades finally cut themselves free with promotion last season. This is another big club that will want to push on further, although the first job is to get used to performing in a higher division again. I'd say this prediction seems too harsh when evaluating their squad, it’s not one of the teams that should be dragged in to the mire. Attacking midfielder David Brooks is one that is really sparkling, and he looks to have a very bright future.

 

21. Bolton Wanderers

After promotion from League 1 last term, the financially stricken club were always likely to have a tough task this time around. Survival (even of the club itself) will be deemed a success for The Trotters, and the absence of young midfield talent Josh Vela won’t make the first few months any easier.  

 

22. Burton Albion

The Brewers deserve every credit for beating the drop on their first adventure at this level last time out, but another season of struggle is on the cards at this modest but well-run club. A year-long injury to new striker Liam Boyce is a major blow to their survival chances, and there will be lots of pressure on a midfield full of youthful promise and an ageing defence.

 

23. Millwall

The Lions from London were promoted from League 1 last season, and will be keen to lose their tag as a yo-yo club bouncing around between the 2nd and 3rd tiers . Backed by an exceptionally vociferous and intimidating support, they should be more than capable of holding their own at this level. The strength here is in the collective unit, but George Saville in midfield looks like a good capture.

 

24. Barnsley

The Tykes regularly punch above their weight, and have assembled a young and predominantly British squad that can prove this media prediction wrong.  This presents a good challenge, although some patience might be needed. Goalkeeper Adam Davies looks likely to play an important role.

 

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Edited by Jogo Bonito

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1. Blackburn Rovers

The 1995 Premier League winners are a well-known name in English football, but were relegated last term after a few seasons of decline under their controversial Indian owners. They have a stadium and support that is more suitable to playing at a higher level than this, and a budget that has seen them recruit players to take them straight back up. Experienced striker Danny Graham will need to score regularly in order to meet expectations of an immediate return.

 

2. Wigan Athletic

After their eight year Premier League stay ended in 2013, The Latics have been bouncing around between the 2nd and 3rd tier in the last few years. They look to be well-placed to challenge strongly again for another promotion, and seem to have enough quality at the club in defence, midfield and attack to perform well in League 1 again. Their loan signings look decent for this level, but winger Michael Jacobs is probably the one to watch the closest.   

 

3. MK Dons

Since their controversial formation (officially branded in 2004) this club based in Milton Keynes has had trouble gaining acceptance by many football fans. However, whilst there are very valid reasons to dislike their identity, there are also facts that are conveniently buried in relation to their replacement of the old Wimbledon FC. Midfielder Chuks Aneke stands out in a squad with good quality and decent options.

 

4. Charlton Athletic

The Addicks are one of several clubs that have a hateful relationship between fans and owners. There’s every chance that a change at the top will bring the feel good factor back to The Valley, but in the meantime it’s not an easy working environment. The team is strong in defence, with right-back Chris Solly regularly reliable, but could do with a prolific striker or two to propel them forward.

 

5. Fleetwood Town

The Cod Army have made great strides as a club dating back to their non-league days. It’s impressive that they’re now knocking on the door of a first-ever promotion to the second tier, but their small ground and limited fan base will make it hard to compete if they achieve it. The current squad is definitely good enough to deliver though, with a mix of smart loans and talented individuals like forward Conor McAleny.   

 

6. Rotherham United

The Millers were unsurprisingly relegated last time out, but for League 1 they have a strong enough squad to be right in contention. Some decent loan arrivals have boosted those chances, with Brighton midfielder Richie Towell one of those who could play an important role.

 

7. Oxford United

After the loss of some key players in recent times, The U’s have been creative in their recruitment. This approach has seen a more cosmopolitan squad assembled, and they’ll expect to be pushing on again this season. Central defender Curtis Nelson remains one of their key assets.

 

8. Bradford City

The Bantams have an incredible 18,000 season ticket holders due to an attractive pricing structure, and the support is there to sustain the club above this level. On the pitch, they keep going close to promotion, so maybe this will be their year. Striker Charlie Wyke carries the burden of goals, but has good support from this useful squad.

 

9. Bury

The Shakers are a bit of an enigma. They seem to have a budget in place to attract some very decent players (particularly on the flanks and up front), and yet at the same time there are always question marks over their finances. Looking at their squad, you wouldn’t expect them to be struggling, but they still seem to manage it. Central defender Nathan Cameron is a good player if kept fit, but his vulnerability to injury will need careful handling.

 

10. Oldham Athletic

The Latics have been in League 1 for 20 consecutive years now, but for the last few of those it’s been a surprise that they have been able to stay up. Following on from last year, they again have an extremely high media prediction, so must have some friends in high places. Their most valuable assets are all on loan, but right-back Cameron Dummigan has the quality to out-perform any of them anyway.

 

11. Scunthorpe United

The Iron have shelved plans to move in to a new stadium, and having gone close to promotion in recent years, maybe the mood of optimism has taken a bit more of a hit from this news. Despite this mid-table prediction, they’re much more likely to be nearer the top than the bottom. Well stocked in the striking department, they also have one of the best central defenders in the division. But left-sided star Josh Morris is the one to watch, and his future needs to be sorted out as soon as possible.

 

12. Peterborough United

The Posh have a tradition for turning non-league talent in to stars, and they’ve followed this formula again in their recent transfer business. Built on attacking principles, the philosophy of the club is to entertain the fans, and if they can get back to doing this well, they’ll be an attractive side to follow. Their riches in central midfield are the envy of other League 1 clubs, but forward Marcus Maddison is arguably the jewel in their crown.

  

13. Southend United

It’s ten years since these Essex boys were relegated from the second tier, but their 7th place finish last time out was encouraging. There’s plenty of experience in this squad, but you might want to draw the line at using every tool you find in your ranks. I won’t name or tag the person I’m thinking of, and would instead prefer to highlight the ability of central midfielder Ryan Leonard as the potential key man.

 

14. Portsmouth

Promoted last season, Pompey finally managed to end their longer than expected spell in the 4th tier. They have plenty of support behind them at Fratton Park, and their squad has a good mix of youth and experience in it. New captain Brett Pitman falls in to the latter category, but the striker has plenty of younger legs around him. With new owners from Disney now involved, there is a story to be written here for sure.  

 

15. Northampton Town

The Cobblers looked to have recruited well in the summer, raising expectations that they could push themselves near the top of the table. A slow start to the season tempered that belief, but they should have more than enough to stay out of trouble. Their loan signings should play a big part, and none more so than striker Chris Long who is borrowed from Burnley.

 

16. Shrewsbury Town

The Shropshire side have performed well above expectations this season, after several years of struggle. I’m at a loss to see how they’ve managed to transform their fortunes so drastically, but credit to them for whatever they are doing. Goalkeeper Dean Henderson, on loan from Manchester United, is certainly one that could be relied upon to perform, but good management and team spirit are the key ingredients here.

 

17. Walsall

The Saddlers have lost some real quality from their ranks in the last few years, and these departures have hindered ambitions they had to rise out of League 1. Mid-table stability should be manageable though, and I’d tip on-loan Burnley striker Daniel Agyei to prove a useful acquisition, especially if supported well by the so-called Turkish Messi.

 

18. Rochdale

After three consecutive top 10 finishes, the challenge for Dale remains the same. Can they get themselves up to the second tier for the first time in their 110 year history? The return of forward Matty Done is unlikely to be enough to help them make the step up this year.

 

19. Blackpool

This club has become a joke under the ownership of the Oyston family. A series of relegations took them from the top flight in 2011 to League 2 in 2016, but a promotion last year sees them back in League 1 now. The fans hate the owners and boycott games, but get them out and there is a good club hidden here. Defensive midfielder Jay Spearing is the kind of player to drive them on.

 

20. AFC Wimbledon

Former FA Cup winners who re-formed in 2002 and have since fought their way back via non-league. They’re sponsored by Football Manager, and will finally be going to their brand new Plough Lane home in July 2019. In the short term, the goals of striker Lyle Taylor will be vital to preserving their League 1 status.  

 

21. Bristol Rovers

One known as The Pirates, but now nicknamed The Gas. Despite the slightly sinister names, this is a likeable club with lots of potential even if the budget won’t echo that notion. Plans to buy their own stadium have been ditched, but if they keep improving a redevelopment of the current venue may not be out of the question. Strength in this squad is in the attacking sphere, with Billy Bodin perhaps the standout player.

 

22. Doncaster Rovers

Rovers returned to League 1 after just one season below, and will now be looking to build some momentum. They’ve got a fabulous stadium with the rarity of a moat, so managing or watching here can be an enjoyable experience. Hard-working striker John Marquis should be a key player for a club that generally uses the loan market to good effect.

 

23. Gillingham

The Gills are facing another real battle to avoid dropping out of League 1, and there doesn’t seem to be too much here to indicate they will manage it. This is a youthful group, so the role that will be played by the handful of senior men could be important. Forward Josh Parker has been surprising a few defences and will need to continue showing that form to keep the Kent side out of trouble.  

 

24. Plymouth Argyle

The Pilgrims are tipped to go straight back down after promotion last time out, and it’s hard to present a strong case to disagree. Graham Carey has been a shining light for the Devon club in recent years, and the attacking midfielder will need to be at the top of his game if they’re going to confound the critics.

 

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Edited by Jogo Bonito

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1. Coventry City

The Sky Blues have been on a steep downward spiral since leaving the Premier League in 2001. Relegation last year sees them playing at this level for the first time since 1959, but they’re strongly fancied to secure promotion at the first attempt. They’re still burdened by the controversy of their ownership and stadium status, but they have some good young players coming through the ranks to help talented attacking midfielder Jodi Jones.

 

2. Mansfield Town

The Stags will be looking to make a sustained promotion challenge this year, and have built a decent squad for this level. Whether they have enough to fight off some of the other major contenders remains to be seen, but they’ve got half a chance with striker Danny Rose in their ranks. 

 

3. Luton Town

This former top flight side would appear to have an excellent chance of heading to League 1, and have improved their team consistently over the last few years. This term, they have probably the best two strikers in the division paired together, and the midfield promptings of Luke Berry also make them a team to fear.

 

4. Swindon Town

The Wiltshire outfit will now be seen as one of the big sides after dropping down to League 2. Their squad is solid rather than spectacular though, and they might have a harder challenge on their hands than many would predict. Goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux is one of the better glove men at this level, but finding the right combinations in attack might pose the biggest dilemma.

 

5. Cambridge United

The U’s have a handy squad but perhaps lack something special for a promotion-seeking team. The sale of their leading goalkeeper won’t help the cause, and they might be too reliant on strikers who sometimes flatter to deceive. Harrison Dunk still provides useful versatility anywhere down the left hand side. 

 

6. Colchester United

The Essex side are always likely to be knocking on the door and should be close again. The club has generally relied on developing their own youngsters, and there are plenty in that category within the ranks. The loss of left winger Brennan Dickenson to injury will be a big dent to their hopes though.

 

7. Carlisle United

The Cumbrians will be looking to build on their 6th place finish last term, and they certainly have lots of experience to call upon. There seems to be something missing though, and I’m not convinced they can repeat what they did last time out. Winger Nicky Adams is probably still their key player.

 

8. Chesterfield

The Spireites were relegated last season and don’t look at all ready to return any time soon. This side isn’t a patch on what they were just a few years back, but those players have long since departed. Experienced striker Chris O’Grady can still be more than a handful, but it’s not likely to be enough.

 

9. Exeter City

Despite the loss of their main attackers and also their star teenage prospect to Chelsea, the indications are that The Grecians can still be very competitive this year. The return of former loan striker Jayden Stockley was warmly received by the fans, and the Devon club might surprise a few people. 

 

10. Port Vale

The Valiants dabbling with European imports set them on the road to relegation, but they’ve abandoned that policy now and the squad looks much better for it. Central defender Nathan Smith has been kept, and should form the backbone of the club as they look to reinvent themselves.

 

11. Wycombe Wanderers

It’s hard to see The Chairboys making a promotion challenge, but at the same time they’re going to be comfortably out of the relegation battle. The squad is packed with experience, and although he has lost his central defence partner, Anthony Stewart should be a reliable presence in the backline.

 

12. Stevenage

The Boro should be commended for giving opportunities to players scouted in non-league, and their main striking options include players who scored frequently for teams like Ebbsfleet and Tamworth. Those players have continued their good form since arriving at the club, which is nice to see. Attacking midfielder Ben Kennedy is another youngster making an impression when injury free.

 

13. Notts County

The Magpies are one of the oldest clubs in the country, but are having some trouble finding their way out of League 2. Things do seem to be going in the right direction now though, and one of the division’s bigger teams would not be out of place at the next level up. Attacking midfielder Jorge Grant, on loan from city neighbours Forest, is a wonderful recruit for the Meadow Lane outfit.

 

14. Crawley Town

The Red Devils are light years away from their illustrious Premier League namesakes and operate a tight ship that is unlikely to ever push them closer. Midfielder Dean Cox looks to be the key man here, but mid-table looks about right for this side.

 

15. Grimsby Town

The Mariners adapted well upon their return to the football league, with a solid mid-table finish behind them. A similar season beckons again, although they might believe they can do better. Attacking midfielder Sam Jones made a good impression last term after arriving from Gateshead, and will want to build on that.

 

16. Cheltenham Town

The Robins were much closer to the drop than they would have liked last term, and any improvement on that showing will be welcome. They’ve recruited some promising young players on loan from Bristol City to aid their cause, but the most interesting capture is young Sudanese forward Mohamed Eisa, who had a decent goals-to-games ratio at Greenwich last year.

 

17. Lincoln City

The Imps six year stay in non-league was ended at the end of an impressive 2016/17 campaign, and they’re now looking to re-establish themselves in League 2. They looked to have recruited well and appear strong defensively. Captain Alex Woodyard is an effective defensive midfielder who leads by example.

 

18. Crewe Alexandra

The Railwaymen used to be renowned for developing youngsters that were sold off for big fees, but those days seem to have passed now. Most of the staff is familiar with the old Alex way, so the spirit of the club remains intact even if the production line seems to have stopped. The star man at the club is central midfielder Conor Grant, although ironically he’s only there on loan from Everton.

 

19. Yeovil Town

Somerset’s only (ever) league club, are now a bang average League 2 team despite being in the Championship as recently as 2014. The last two terms have seen them struggle to 19th and 20th place finishes, and similar is expected this time too. Southampton loan striker Olufela Olomola is a lively front man, but there isn’t much else happening at Huish Park.

 

20. Accrington Stanley

Stanley are perennially underestimated, but they’ve been in League 2 since 2006 now and the truth is they’ve come much closer to exiting upwards than falling through the trap door to obscurity in that time. The lowly ranking is mainly a result of their small budget, but they could expect a little more respect by now. Midfielder Seamus Conneely is captain and star man at the Wham Stadium.

 

21. Forest Green Rovers

The eco-friendly club had been trying to get out of the 5th tier since 1998, but finally achieved their dream last season and are now debuting in the football league. The club has a very strong ethos of sustainability that filters down from solar panel roofing to their vegan only diet, match day facilities and pitch. Striker Christian Doidge is proving to be a big hit at the club, and is the one to watch.

 

22. Newport County

The Exiles re-formed in 1989 after dropping out of the football league, and are now in their fifth season back. The Welsh club need to do better than their last two finishes which both ended in 22nd spot, but the men from Rodney Parade should have enough to survive again. Young striker Lamar Reynolds is one to keep an eye on, as he looks to make the step up after 26 goals for Brentwood last term.

 

23. Morecambe

The Shrimps have been in League 2 since 2007, but as with others operating on a small budget they always have a fight on their hands to survive. When lots of hope is pinned on a veteran striker like Kevin Ellison, you know that the odds are stacked against you.

 

24. Barnet

The Bees are another club with a small budget and stadium, although in fairness The Hive is actually quite a neat little ground. I’m not sure they should be tipped to finish bottom of the pile, as their squad managed to finish 15th in each of the last two campaigns. Much of that was due to the prolific goal record of striker John Akinde, who starts this season injured – but even so they have other decent attacking options to call upon.

 

 

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Edited by Jogo Bonito

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Thanks again @Jogo Bonito for putting this thread up, much appreciated!

I'll be busy for a while yet with my Manchester United save, but will probably end up in this thread again next. No idea what team to pick yet, maybe league 2 this time.

I ended up neglecting posting updates on my Posh save last time around, ended up winning everything except club world cup as I basically stopped playing after winning the champions league. The striker I had was too overpowered to keep me interested but couldn't bring myself to sell him. :lol:

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Thanks for your comments, hopefully this is one of the threads that will continue to attract visitors and contributors. 

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Great to see this up and running! Will be starting my yearly Posh save soon. Extremely pleased that Maddison signed a new deal irl, otherwise he would've been very hard to hold onto.

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Had a year off last year due to life but back this year and will be starting a save with my team, Barnsley. Media prediction is 24th for some insane reason with the newly promoted teams and us finishing comfortably mid table last year but it's the usual.

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Started a save as Cardiff. Usually hate being my team as I end up keeping players I shouldn't solely because I like them IRL.

Not a very busy summer as I like the squad and doing well IRL so thought would give everyone a chance. Just signed Skalak from Brighton and Grujic from Liverpool (both on loan) as I needed numbers and a bit of creativity. Sent Feeney back to Blackburn to as not a fan on the game or in reality!

Seems to be working so far. 11 games in top of the league by a point having won 7, drawn 2, lost 2. As in reality the league is very tight though and am always a couple of losses away from mid table!

Zehore has been a beast so far as well with 8 goals (including a 4 game dry spell when west brom came sniffing) and Lee Tomlin has been brilliant! Trying to build systems like Warnock so solid at the back first which has created a lot of wins by 1 goal.

Long way to go but delighted with the start!

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Will start my usual save as my team Spurs but really wanna try my first ever attempt with my local side Southend...never started in the lower divisions before so will probably be in here a lot once that gets started

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4 hours ago, lewis999 said:

Had a year off last year due to life but back this year and will be starting a save with my team, Barnsley. Media prediction is 24th for some insane reason with the newly promoted teams and us finishing comfortably mid table last year but it's the usual.

It's tough this year for us, that's for sure

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I'm really torn between Wolverhampton and Leeds... Wanna start a save as one of them, but I can't decide which one.

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Good to see a variety of teams being managed (or planned). I hope the guide helps those who can't decide, good luck to you all.

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Superb guide as always @Jogo Bonito

 

I'm contemplating starting a game with Cardiff. Does anyone know if they can quality for Europe via the domestic league?

 

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Thanks for kind words, appreciated as it's a lot of effort to do this every year!

No reason I know of why Cardiff couldn't get in to Europe through an English Premier League or English cup qualification.

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1 minute ago, nico_france said:

Great work once again @Jogo Bonito !!

I might be tempted to a journey in the english finest football ;)

Thanks nico! Please do, it would be great to see you cross the border at last. Go and get that passport ready :lol:

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Don't forget the Brexit, though... My friend showed me a screenshot after it went through, and he could only registrer 12 foreign players out of the 25... So plan ahead :p 

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14 hours ago, Micks112 said:

Superb guide as always @Jogo Bonito

 

I'm contemplating starting a game with Cardiff. Does anyone know if they can quality for Europe via the domestic league?

 

Yes you can still qualify for Europe :thup:

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Anyone started with Wolves? I'm thinking of starting a save with them, and was looking at the squad. Seems like the position to strenghten (if any) is the goalkeeper. You have John Ruddy, and Carl Ikeme can't play ball until 2019... So a new keeper might be a priority. And has anyone managed to win promotion with Wolves? Does that give you a decent budget?

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Thinking about a few clubs. Fulham and QPR mainly, but also Coventry - a secret love story dating back to the Panini days in the mid-nineties...

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9 hours ago, Gungner said:

Anyone started with Wolves? I'm thinking of starting a save with them, and was looking at the squad. Seems like the position to strenghten (if any) is the goalkeeper. You have John Ruddy, and Carl Ikeme can't play ball until 2019... So a new keeper might be a priority. And has anyone managed to win promotion with Wolves? Does that give you a decent budget?

Yea I started with Wolves, won the championship in the 1st season, they gave me £35million budget for the prem and I made another £20mil in selling players, so you get plenty of funds. I am in the 3rd season now, still in the prem and they gave me £80 mil to spend 👍🏻.

John Ruddy is a good keeper and prem quality as well, so I kept him and had a young keeper as back up, but I've now replaced him with Joe Hart in the 3rd season, who I got on a free.

The players I brought in the 1st season were Taverneir from rangers, Cairney from Fulham, Mctominay from Man Utd  and Crouch as a back up striker. Sold a couple as well and made 6-7 mil.

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That's cool... I've brought in Romaine Sawyers for £3,2 million, as he was listed by Brentford. Thinking of making an offer for Masaidio Haidiro from Newcastle, listed for £1,1 million, but his wages might be a problem. Also looking at Rudy Gestede from Middlesbrough... 

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17 hours ago, Pablo Sanchez said:

hey i need a club please suggest one that is fun but not to hard

Championship: Wolves, Middlesbrough, Leeds

League 1: Wigan, Blackburn, Peterborough

League 2: Luton, Coventry, Swindon

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On ‎16‎/‎11‎/‎2017 at 09:34, Mr_Demus said:

Thinking about a few clubs. Fulham and QPR mainly, but also Coventry - a secret love story dating back to the Panini days in the mid-nineties...

I've managed Coventry quite a bit in recent years, and that's where I'm at in FM18 too. There was an interesting story on English TV this week about football sticker albums, and most of that was about Panini.

Edited by Jogo Bonito

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19 hours ago, Gungner said:

Anyone started with Wolves? I'm thinking of starting a save with them, and was looking at the squad. Seems like the position to strenghten (if any) is the goalkeeper. You have John Ruddy, and Carl Ikeme can't play ball until 2019... So a new keeper might be a priority. And has anyone managed to win promotion with Wolves? Does that give you a decent budget?

I wouldn't bother strengthening the goalkeeper position. Ruddy should easily do a job, and Will Norris (at least in real life) is more than adequate back up for cup games etc. You also have Burgoyne coming through the youth ranks before Ikeme is due to return from his leukaemia treatment in 2019. In real life it's one of our strongest positions.

If I were you, I'd be looking at signing a RB to compete with Doherty and sign some form of back up for Bonatini because we're lightweight in the striker positions (despite the ability of Costa, Jota and Cavaleiro in the inside forward roles). 

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Just go to mid Jan on my Port Vale main save. But i've hit a bit of a cross-roads. Top of the league but i've been offered the Notts Forest job. The plan was to take Vale to the PL and win it, eventually. Forest, with their history etc might be too good to turn down! They're 22nd atm so promotion with them this season is highly unlikely.

Any insight would be appreciated!

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Great intro thread! Lost all interest in my loved Blackburn over the past few years due to the ownership! Been a tough save the past few years in the championship but league 1 gives a season to reset. My one and only plan on this year's game

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I'm in with Forest in Championship !

Started with transfers disabled as usual, team is not that bad especially upfront imo

Currently 7th at the end of January 2018, playing a flat 4-4-2

Shifted some deadwood during the winter windom and brought in 2 loanies, Woodburn (seems immense) from Liverpool and Thompson from Norwich (bwm)

I started marvelously and then, got 4 defeats in a row in November, and some draws in December

Upfront the pairing Cummings (whos's now a full international player)/Clough is not bad at all

Not far away from the playoff spots, league table is really tight,  hope we will have a nice spring !

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The pull of the Football League proved so strong that I didn't play my United save beyond the first year. Trawled around the league one & two teams and squads but struggled to find anything really appealing. Ended up with:

phgmdVs.png

First season is already well under way, currently fourth after seven games so off to a good start. Brought in several players, mainly free loans.

lcB6hQUm.png

This is the tactic I'm mainly going with:

3YJksDKm.png?1

Although I've found myself switching to counter in most games. Control + tall target man seems to result in a bit too many long balls towards the TM.

At this point I'm not yet sure whether I'm going to stick with Lincoln in the long term or move clubs later. Will decide as and when interesting opportunities arrive.

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I started with Coventry, not doing terribly but should be better really, 7th at the start of November, finding consistency a real problem

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When Brexit becomes active, England becomes an impossible place to manage :( 

Everyone I make offers for gets their WP denied... spanish, french, german and so on... 

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6 hours ago, Gungner said:

When Brexit becomes active, England becomes an impossible place to manage :( 

Everyone I make offers for gets their WP denied... spanish, french, german and so on... 

It hasn’t become active in my game yet but has been “announced”. The latest article about it suggested there would be a foreign player quota rather than work permits 

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I suppose it depends on wether you get the "soft" or "hard" Brexit... A friend of mine showed me his save, and in that he was only allowed 16 non-brits in the squad. So yeah, I guess there's several ways that Brexit can happen. 

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I've paused managing Coventry after deciding to have a crack on 'create a club'. I've never done it before, but it took me about 6 hours last night to set my club up, sign my players etc.

I've started in League 2 having replaced Forest Green Rovers with Melchester Rovers, so I have made it difficult for myself having one of the smallest budgets and smallest stadiums in League 2. For anyone that hasn't tried, you get given an overall playing budget (mine was £2.66m), and I decided to clear out all FGR players with the exception of one (and a youth player who doesn't count on the budget).

I then proceeded to add players to my squad, but it's a bit odd. Even players on a free transfer could cost upwards of £2.0m in respect of the budget, and yet I signed a top notch striker from abroad for a budget cost of less than £150k. Anyway, having started from virtually scratch, I've now got 20 players in my squad - and it looks more than decent for League 2. This includes a couple of youth players who will get action as I won't have capacity to run anything other than a senior squad.

The trouble is, having put all these players in to the squad at Mel Park (yes I used the same ground name and old Rovers red kit with yellow line for anyone old enough to remember it from the comic) there was a shock awaiting me. Under 'create a club' it automatically sorts the player wages and lengths of contract, but you don't know that until you've hit the continue button. So now the weekly wage bill at my tiny League 2 club is £44,000 (more than double what I would want). Only four players are on more than £2,000 p/w (range between £2,000 p/w and £2,800 p/w) but my star striker (the one who cost less than £150k of my budget) is on a staggering £11,750 per week wage!!!!!

As a result of this, I've been put under a transfer embargo even before my first friendly - and I need to trim £1.5k p/w from the wage bill to pass the next FFP assessment in one month. I also had to build my staff up from scratch, but unsurprisingly the board terminated the appointment of my Assistant Manager, HOYD and goalkeeping coach! Luckily, I've just about managed to recruit people for the essential positions, even if the workload is going to be a bit high!  

This has all the potential to be a great save and a real challenge, but the club may be bankrupt before the season opener. It's real Roy of the Rovers stuff, and hopefully Roy Race can find a way out of this managerial mayhem before getting sacked. 

5a1753db09582_MelchesterRovers_Profile.thumb.png.0efcb1bdce45f95170224fe82a4f5fce.png

Here's the Melchester Rovers squad I have put together. I'll need to sign a first choice GK on a no-contribution loan...

5a17546076258_MelchesterRovers_PlayersPlayers.thumb.png.e04d523bf1f426bf1ad12cd61cfe5d6a.png

Great news then...

5a17549f93776_RoyRace_Inbox.thumb.png.d98e31ed8d64bc1a4783d7c5052eec83.png

Edited by Jogo Bonito

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Before i got FM 18, i knew i wanted to try a long term save with Wolves. And after trying with Liverpool, i decided to get started with Wolves. They have a exiting team, and this is going to be a fun journey. Will be playing a 3-4-3 formation, which suits the team well. So need to retrain some of the attacking midfielders to strikers. 

Didn't buy any players in the first window, to get the teams as realistic as possible. Only loaned out two players in Connor Ronan and Daniel Armstrong. Currently made it to september, sitting on 2nd place with 4 wins and 1 loss on the first 5 games. Also through in the Carabao Cup.

Will update after the season.

 

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I just finished my first season with Lincoln. What was a good start turned into a near phenomenal season:

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I'm saying *near* phenomenal, since aside from the record points haul and record winning run (14) we did get, rubbish performances against Carlisle (finished 15th) and Port Vale (24th) late in the season cost us record wins, record few defeats and record unbeaten run.

In addition to all the records loanee Michael Folivi was league 2 player of the season, Bostwick got goal of the season with a ridiculous 30 yard volley and I got manager of the season.

Matt Rhead and Michael Folivi formed a great partnership up top, scoring 40 goals between them. Harry Anderson came on in leaps and bounds and forced himself into the 1st eleven. Loanee Callum Gribbin was at times fantastic on the left. But I think the key thing why the 442 worked so well was the CM partnership of Woodyard and Bostwick. Bostwick is way too good for league two and Woodyard compliments him nicely, and with their work rates they cover a lot of ground.

Both Gribbin and Folivi were free loans by the way, can definitely recommend both. Ended the season as 4-star players.

As for next season I'll be looking to switch to my preferred 433 formation. Whatever benefit I had from that midfield duo will probably be lost in league one as they aren't a cut above the rest anymore. Hopefully I'll manage to renew some of the key loans for next season to keep my first eleven at least somewhat intact. My first XI had 4 loaned players, and of the other 7 only 4 are good enough to be starters in league one. Will be interesting to see how the new dynamics system reacts to a large player turnover. I always managed that before, almost routinely replacing 5-6 players in the starting lineup alone as I made my way up the leagues, but might be more difficult to do that now. A part of me hopes it will be, as it used to be pretty unrealistic.

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On 16/11/2017 at 23:23, laneystain said:

If I were you, I'd be looking at signing a RB to compete with Doherty and sign some form of back up for Bonatini because we're lightweight in the striker positions

Good RBs are hard to find (Sessegnon at Fulham is buyable for a couple of million); until you get one, Oscar Burr in the reserves does a decent job as back-up to Doherty if you're playing 343 - I doubt he'd work as an out-and-out defender. And for striker, I brought in Lys Mousset from Bournemouth on loan and he did very well.

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6 hours ago, warlock said:

Good RBs are hard to find (Sessegnon at Fulham is buyable for a couple of million); until you get one, Oscar Burr in the reserves does a decent job as back-up to Doherty if you're playing 343 - I doubt he'd work as an out-and-out defender. And for striker, I brought in Lys Mousset from Bournemouth on loan and he did very well.

I managed to get tavernier from rangers in the 1st season for wolves, only cost £900,000. Was a very solid right back for me, even in the prem.

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2 hours ago, sedge11 said:

I managed to get tavernier from rangers in the 1st season for wolves, only cost £900,000. Was a very solid right back for me, even in the prem.

Duly noted for future reference! I think I might have ruled him out because, stats-wise, he looks more like a winger than a defender but as an attacking wing-back he'd work.

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