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Jogo Bonito

FM18: The English Football League Thread - EFL in FM18

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@smplfc123 Yeah I have a decent laptop and I don't do much on my days off so I tend to whizz through a season easily, I also have commentary only on the highest speed possible and have low detail level.

I have decided to become Norwich manager, I aint got much money to spend but managed to sell a transfer clause for Nathan Redmond that gave me 3m which I am using to buy Marcus Maddison off Peterborough so I can have the 2 Maddison's together even if they aint related lol.

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14 minutes ago, smplfc123 said:

@kozmik I just want to say thank you for inspiring me. I have been reading back through the last couple of pages to get some inspiration for club choice and I've decided to go with Barnsley. I can only hope I do half as good as you as my first aim is to stay in the championship whilst trying to implement my style.

I've stuck to a low rep and national quals with transfers off, so i'm really relishing this challenge.

You're welcome, and good luck, sounds like you're in for quite a challenge with that setup! Although the squad is surprisingly good, like I said earlier. Full backs who can attack, center backs with decent mentals instead of football league style brainless tanks, the works!. Just make the most of Knasmullner, he's quality. Looking forward to seeing your updates.

Will be posting my start of season update later today most likely, including a somewhat shocking (in a good way) signing.

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@smplfc123 Good luck with The Tykes.

@Ronaldo Beckham Bad luck at Hull, hope you enjoyed it whilst it lasted though.

927ad316ed2ff4a7681e481bf297b1b1.jpg.bbb9fdd5989e9ebab6765d5abe41b42a.jpg

Well, this isn't going well! The board haven't applied any pressure but we just can't get that crucial first PL win.

Our efforts in Europe are a complete contrast though. As we only seem to be able to play overseas, I can't wait to visit Swansea in the league...

Which would be great, but I forgot they have been relegated!

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5ad7ad8387b63_Progress2.2.thumb.png.744de22a434176c7042b1afe55d1e98d.png

Edited by Jogo Bonito

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Just broke my transfer record at Wimbledon twice in quick succession to get Jack Marriott and Ezri Konsa. Anyone have experience with either? That’s my budget done for now. 

Since I was struggling to get players to join I basically traveled through the squads of all the league one clubs and identified those with potential to make the step up. Made offers for a few players and these are the two guys who I could get. I essentially wanted to sign one forward and one defender anyway 

should be through the summer window soon so will post up a full update then 

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Just now, karanhsingh said:

Just broke my transfer record at Wimbledon twice in quick succession to get Jack Marriott and Ezri Konsa. Anyone have experience with either? That’s my budget done for now. 

Since I was struggling to get players to join I basically traveled through the squads of all the league one clubs and identified those with potential to make the step up. Made offers for a few players and these are the two guys who I could get. I essentially wanted to sign one forward and one defender anyway 

should be through the summer window soon so will post up a full update then 

Marriott was on fire for me at Peterborough, that was League 1 though. I only have limited experience managing Konsa, but he should be capable too.

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NORWICH UPDATE

I didn't get to sign Maddison from Peterborough yet as he wouldn't discuss a deal with me due to him signing a new contract with Peterborough, I will try again in January.

In the mean time I signed Josh Morris from Scunthorpe for for 1.3m, Erhun Oztumer from Walsall for 1m and also signed Omri Glaser for 1.4m from Maccaabi Hafia.

I sold Wes Hoolahan to Middlesborough for 250k and Alexander Tetley for 2m to Fulham.

My first league game I draw 1-1, then I beat Colchester 3-1 in the Carabo cup, the last game I have played before I posted this was a 3-2 victory over Sunderland.

I am playing a 5-1-3-1 formation to try it out and doing ok so far.

I will do another update tomorrow.

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2 minutes ago, Ronaldo Beckham said:

NORWICH UPDATE

I didn't get to sign Maddison from Peterborough yet as he wouldn't discuss a deal with me due to him signing a new contract with Peterborough, I will try again in January.

In the mean time I signed Josh Morris from Scunthorpe for for 1.3m, Erhun Oztumer from Walsall for 1m and also signed Omri Glaser for 1.4m from Maccaabi Hafia.

I sold Wes Hoolahan to Middlesborough for 250k and Alexander Tetley for 2m to Fulham.

My first league game I draw 1-1, then I beat Colchester 3-1 in the Carabo cup, the last game I have played before I posted this was a 3-2 victory over Sunderland.

I am playing a 5-1-3-1 formation to try it out and doing ok so far.

I will do another update tomorrow.

Three good signings, potentially. You seem to be quite chirpy about managing The Canaries. James Maddison is great, and usually does very well in FM too.

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21 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

Marriott was on fire for me at Peterborough

Yeah, me too. I think he got 30-odd goals in all competitions and I was fending off bids from lower Prem clubs. He never complained... top man!

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@Jogo Bonito Thank you, yeah I do like the look of Norwich, always had a soft spot for them since the early 90's team did well in Europe, I do rate James Maddison and he will be playing Prem football in the next year or 2 and pushing for a spot in the England team.

I have currently played 17 games in the league so far, winning 10, drawing 5 and only losing 2.

I ditched the 5-1-3-1 for a more familiar 4-3-2-1 formation, having Oliviera up front in a poacher role, he has got 10 league goals so far, a poacher isn't his best role but it is a role he has took to like a duck in water.

Josh Murphy is my bright young star with an average rating of 7.46 and has 6 assists and 8 goals so far. he plays very well on either wings but he prefers the left wing and moving into the box to shoot.

Other standout players for me have been Onel Hernandez who is a decent winger but Marley Watkins has done well in his absence. Harrison Reed has been a rock in the centre of midfield forming a good partnership with Tom Trybull.

My finances aren't very good as I am 5 million in the red and it is the middle of November, I will need to sell to balance the books or hope I get promoted to the Prem in the first season.

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So, I'm four games into the new season. 1-2 defeat at home to Stoke, 2-1 win at Swansea, penalty shootout win at home against Nottingham Forest in the league cup after a dreadful performance, and a 2-2 draw against City at home, where we came back from two goals down to draw. So four points, 8th in the table.

I mentioned a shocking transfer... Here:

vKUJqvr.png?1

Dortmund activated Petagna's release clause so I had to get a good striker in as a replacement. Noticed Kean was still on a low-ish wage at Juventus and loan listed, so went and bid for him. Managed to negotiate a decent deal with Juve and agree a contract with Kean, so here he is. Hasn't had a particularly good start to life here, but I'm sure he will improve once he gets properly settled. I'm under no illusions of keeping him in the long term, but a couple of good seasons and a decent profit and I'll be happy.

Here's all the transfers:

sAmInZ3.png?1

What isn't seen here is that I managed to not only extend Fryers' and Isgrove's loans at Sunderland, effectively getting rid of them as their contracts are up next summer, but even get them to pay a larger monthly fee. Now I've basically got rid of all the deadwood. Lindsay and Yiadom are the only two players left from the original squad, and both are now rotation/backup players. Berenguer was initially loaned out to make room for Burke but then I got a bid for Coco, so I sold him and recalled Berenguer. I also had a bid accepted for Watford's Doucoure, but his initial demand included a 160k p/w wage and signing on fees about 3-4 times the maximum my board would allow so I didn't even bother to negotiate, went for Hughes instead who accepted a surprisingly low wage, 25,5k p/w. Doucoure ended up at Monaco.

This was pretty funny:

0OI3Qr5.png?1

4th highest spenders in the world :lol: Net spend is only 52 million though.

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19 hours ago, kozmik said:

You're welcome, and good luck, sounds like you're in for quite a challenge with that setup! Although the squad is surprisingly good, like I said earlier. Full backs who can attack, center backs with decent mentals instead of football league style brainless tanks, the works!. Just make the most of Knasmullner, he's quality. Looking forward to seeing your updates.

Will be posting my start of season update later today most likely, including a somewhat shocking (in a good way) signing.

Thanks mate, I'm looking to use Knasmullner in a central role at the minute in a 4-1-2-3 DM with us reverting to a flatter 4-1-4-1 for games I want to be a bit tougher to crack.

Kean is an incredible signing! I hope he lives up to his potential for you.

@Jogo Bonito I'm sure that first win will come mate, at least you have managed to pick up a few points with the draws and are doing well in europe! 

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Started a save since the last time I posted on here...went with Preston North End in the championship. I somehow managed to win the championship with over 100 points which I was thrilled with despite not having the best squad.

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These were my transfers:

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Going to be tough to build on this in the Premier League as in the championship we had very small wages compared to some other teams and now everyone wants a rise!

Edited by RageMaster

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12 minutes ago, RageMaster said:

Going to be tough to build on this in the Premier League as in the championship we had very small wages compared to some other teams and now everyone wants a rise!

Congrats on your promotion! I had the same as you, everyone asking for improved contracts. Not sure why, but everyone accepted when I told them the club can't afford it. Which is pretty bizarre.

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Been a while since I have updated. I have been busy so haven't been able to play as much as I would have liked.

The deadline has just closed, a week before season two.

Here is my business. I have been busy - I just hope players are able to settle.

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So I will be going in the Premiership season looking like this:

 

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I'm just coming up to the close of the summer transfer window and I am very happy with the business we pulled off.

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I am even more pleased with this though...

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Not so pleased with our Pre-Season and opening fixtures though.

29mufco.png

 

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NORWICH UPDATE

I basically had a way better season then I thought I would with Norwich, I won the Championship joint on points with Wolves but I have no idea how I won as me and Wolves had the same goal difference and points total, I assume if that happens then it comes to alphabetical order I think.

Nelson Olvieria was awesome for me getting 37 goals in 50 games for me, Josh Murphy had the best average rating of 7.51. Marley Watkins is an assistant king with 18 in the season.

I had to sell Timo Klose in January to balance the books a bit but by the end of the season I am 15 million in the red but the promotion and tv money will sort that out.

I have been given 38 million to spend, so will be using it wisely as my Norwich squad I have will really struggle in the Prem.

Norwich Season 1.png

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NORWICH UPDATE - TRANSFER SPECIAL

I managed to sort out my transfers out quite quickly. I knew who I wanted to sign and also knew who wouldn't crack it in the Prem

Transfers IN

First priority was bringing in Angus Gunn permanently, so he came in for 7 million, next one in the door was Ryan Sessagnon who will play at least 20 games this season with the aim of making him first team player by the next season. I also signed Sessagnon's team mate at Fulham in Matthew Riley for 7.5m.

I bought Kenneth Zohore from Cardiff for 4m to give back up to my other strikers as I was a bit low on strikers, I signed Matthew Clarke for 2m from Portsmouth, John Flanagan for 1.5m from Liverpool.

I finally signed Marcus Maddison to join his namesake James, I was a bit low on defenders so I signed Mark Beevers and Scott Wooton to give experienced back up, I got Angelino and Masssdio Haidera on frees. Also coming in on frees was Jefferson Monteiro but he needs a work permit so tried to shift him on loan with the aim to sell him for profit next season.

I managed to get 2 very good strikers on loan in Cutrone from AC Milan and Isak from Dortmund, they will be my 2 main strikers with Zohore as back up.

TRANSFERS OUT

I got rid of Rusell Martin for 750k, Steven Naismith for 500k, Mario Vranic for 500k, Christoph Zimmerman for 6m and to balance the books a bit and cos I had better options I made the controversial decision to sell Nelson Oliveira for 15m to Huddersfield and I wish him luck at his new club.

I have only played 2 games in the Prem so far, I lost 4-1 to Everton and then beat Arsenal 4-1 lol.

 

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Loving the progress of everyone's saves, keep up the posts. Great to see the thread being so active at the minute. 

 

Had a heavy night last night as you can imagine, but I'm steadily going along with a new save. Anyway, we are going up! :D

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Finished season 3 last night. Comfortable, and yet ultimately disappointing.

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Our best run of form saw us go ten games unbeaten, although it started with a draw and ended with four draws, with five wins in the middle, but it included beating Liverpool and drawing with United at home. We were safe from relegation near the end of it, but after that our form turned to **** and we finished the season with 5 defeats from last 6. Looking at some of the games where we dropped points there isn't really any excuse for not finishing in the top half, with home draws against Palace and relegated Huddersfield and home defeat to also relegated Brighton particularly sticking out.

We've been decent in attack but the defending is just atrocious. I really have no idea how I should be setting the team up to not concede goals from crosses almost every game, and I have to admit it's getting a bit too frustrating for my liking.

Anyway, ended up doing a bit of business in January.

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Nick Pope has obviously become victim of the eternal cycle for goalkeepers not good enough to start games at good clubs. When I signed him he was unhappy at Burnley because of lack of first team action, then when City came calling he wanted to move to a bigger club. I'll give it a year at most before he's wanting out of City because of no first team football. Then he might move to be first choice, then some big club will want him as an English backup, he'll move and then be unhappy again soon. It's stupid.

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Good to see all your updates, keep it going.

I'm struggling on at Fulham and suffice to say that I have no chance of achieving the 13th position or 47 points that @kozmik managed at Barnsley!

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42 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

Good to see all your updates, keep it going.

 

Agreed - easily my favourite thread on the forums. I've just got back from a long weekend away but hope to have an update on my Wolves save tomorrow - still working my way through pre-season trying to reinforce the squad where needed. I've converted some of season 1's loanees to permanent signings, and I have new loan bids for Grujic from Liverpool and Cutrone from AC Milan. Fingers crossed!

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I've officially reached the stage where I'm going through the squads of all the Brazilian teams to find affordable wonderkids. Desperately want to sign this guy just so I would get to type his name in my updates here:

etXKqO3.png?1

:lol:

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NORWICH SEASON 2 UPDATE

So I managed to stay in the Prem with the skin of my teeth, it came down to the last game of the season, it was me or Wolves going down, I drew with Liverpool and luckily Wolves lost.

Cutrone was my best player with 21 goals for me but he is going back to AC Milan at the end of the season and leaving me a massive gap, my main priority is to get a proven Prem goalscorer if possible and some decent defenders as I am letting in too many goals.

 

Norwich Season 2.png

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So I’ve decided to play another non-top division save and I’ve plumped for SUNDERLAND, mainly for their stadium and as I have mates who are long suffering Sunderland fans.

 

Just closed the Summer 2017 transfer window and I’m currently top of the Championship and through to the third round of the Carabao Cup (beat Mansfield but only just and then stuffed Rotherham).

 

Tried to overhaul the staff and squad as best as I could.

 

STAFF

 

·        I have added Derek Langley (unattached) to my scouting team.

·        David Moss has joined as Director of Football, his stats were decent and he has ‘perfectionist’ personality.

·        Bobby Nash (unattached regen) has joined as Head of Youth Development.

·        Phil Neville and Steve Black joined my coaching team – both were unattached.

·        Only staff I paid compensation for were a few from Scottish clubs.

 

TRANSFERS

 

·        First thing I did was terminate all loans except Jonny Williams (including the two U23 squad loanees).

·        I started the game on 30th June and immediately had a few unattached players interested in signing for me so I offered a contract to former Chelsea central defender Ricardo Carvalho and he accepted so he’s partnering Lamine Kone in the heart of my defence.

·        Shani Tarashaj and Emerson Hyndman have joined on loan from Everton and Bournemouth and after getting Hyndman, I also terminated Jonny Williams loan.

·        Goalkeeper was an issue and after being turned down by a few I managed to get Adrian Ortola on loan from Barcelona B. His eccentricity is 15 so hopefully won’t cost me but his other stats were good and he’s an improvement on what I had.

·        Moving into August and I noticed a few players were still unattached. Tried to get Kaka but no chance and expected the same when I approached Andrea Pirlo but to my surprise he has joined for a wage of only £1.7k per week !!

·        All three of my current loans were no monthly fee and paying 50% of the wages.

·        I still have £36k in the wage budget to play with and £1m transfer budget if needed in January.

 

TACTICS

 

I’m playing one of Knap’s tactics with inside forwards and my current best eleven is:

 

GK: Adrian Ortola (sweeper keeper)

 

DR: Adam Matthews (wing-back)

DC: Lamine Kone (ball playing defender)

DC: Ricardo Carvalho (ball playing defender)

DL: Bryan Oviedo (wing-back)

 

DM: Andrea Pirlo (deep lying playmaker)

CM: Lee Cattermole (box to box midfielder)

CM: Emerson Hyndman (mezzala)

 

AMR: Duncan Whatmore (winger)

AML: Aiden McGeady (inside forward)

ST: Shani Tarashaj (deep lying forward)

 

The tactic is supposed to be two inside forwards but Whatmore is so suited to a winger role I’ve gone with that and I’ll have to see how it affects the tactics.

 

Paddy McNair will be back-up to the two centre-backs and also Pirlo who I don’t think will be able to play lots of games.

 

I’m trying to train McNair to play as a central midfielder to give me more options and also Whatmore to play AML so I can play him as an inside forward. I will have to see how that goes for both of them.

 

I chose ‘Reach Play-offs’ in my season expectations so lets see how I get on.

Edited by duds
Spelling mistake

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Duds it is so funny cos I literally started a new save with Sunderland today after getting bored of my Norwich save lol.

People will get sick of Sunderland by the time we have finished posting on here lol.

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I doubt I'll be getting around to it but I've thought of doing a Sunderland save too, although I'd use my Lincoln save as a starting point. In the last season I've so far played in that save (2027-28) they finished 21st in league 2, would be an interesting challenge to try and bring them back into premier league.

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I heartily recommend signing Pirlo. He actually played all 25 league games for me. Sadly I knew he was retiring but he retires on 31st December 2017, not summer 2018 like I thought so he's now gone.

 

JANUARY 2018 TRANSFERS

* Samuel Bastien joined on loan from Chievo. He will replace Cattermole with McNair replacing the retired Pirlo. Cattermole replaces McNair on the bench.

* Sebastian Jung joined on loan from Wolfsburg. He will be starting DR instead of Matthews.

* I let Duncan Whatmore join West Ham. He pushed for the move and I declined and the players were angry saying I should let him go........ so I sell him and they ask why I let him go!!! He went for £12.5M with an extra £3 in add-ons.

* West Ham also came in (amongst other clubs) for Lamine Kone and he too was unhappy but as the transfer budget percentage is low, I made West Ham pay £14.5M in full and up-front. I got stung with Whatmore going and only getting £4.6M added to my budget.

* Diego Goncalves joined on loan from SLB (Benfica) to replace Whatmore.

* Raul Navas joined on loan from San Sebastien (Sociedad) to replace Kone.

 

CURRENT LINE-UP

Ortola;     Jung, Navas, Carvalho, Oviedo;      McNair;     Bastien, Hyndman;      McGeady, Tarashaj, Goncalves.

Actually a pretty balanced side.

 

COMPETITIONS

Second in the Championship behind Wolves with thirteen games to play.

I'm drawn against Derby in the FA Cup quarter-final.  I have beaten Liverpool 5-4 along the way - expectation was to reach fourth round.

Lost in Carabao Cup third round to Arsenal - expectation was to reach third round.

 

TAKEOVER ??

Had one possible takeover earlier in the season from a consortium but that fell through. Currently in the midst of another possible takeover from a tycoon. Not sure how I feel about a tycoon - will be great to have the considerable debt wiped out but I worry it will make the game too easy. I won the Premier League second season with West Brom on another save which actually got me down as shouldn't happen so I deleted that save.

Really not sure how I feel about a tycoon at all.

 

 

 

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Only five loan players allowed in match day squad and I have seven on loan. Guess a bit of rotation is needed then.

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I might also be tempted by Sunderland in FM19!

 

927ad316ed2ff4a7681e481bf297b1b1.jpg.a2d0eb9a6c883f42cdf2069a4a90fa71.jpg

The contrast between our Premier League and Europa Cup campaigns remains incredible.

But at least we have won a handful of PL games now, and are not completely cut adrift.

Ryan Sessegnon is on a one man mission to keep us up, but unfortunately Charlie Austin suffered a significant injury against Man Utd.

5ade358a3aa2d_Fixtures2.3.thumb.png.c3ae488a62eae7a82ad0a7e4c65f89d1.png

And here is a recap of our Europa League results. I would have traded all of this for PL wins to be honest.

But having come this far, I have to say I would be disappointed not to win our knockout tie with Vitoria Setubal.

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As I was advised, the finances have improved throughout the season.

I'm still expecting to go down though.

5ade37e11c5a6_Progress2.3.thumb.png.6a6d679741d41f923fd46ac4104755c3.png

Edited by Jogo Bonito

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16 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

I might also be tempted by Sunderland in FM19!

 

927ad316ed2ff4a7681e481bf297b1b1.jpg.a2d0eb9a6c883f42cdf2069a4a90fa71.jpg

The contrast between our Premier League and Europa Cup campaigns remains incredible.

But at least we have won a handful of PL games now, and are not completely cut adrift.

Ryan Sessegnon is on a one man mission to keep us up, but unfortunately Charlie Austin suffered a significant injury against Man Utd.

5ade358a3aa2d_Fixtures2.3.thumb.png.c3ae488a62eae7a82ad0a7e4c65f89d1.png

And here is a recap of our Europa League results. I would have traded all of this for PL wins to be honest.

But having come this far, I have to say I would be disappointed not to win our knockout tie with Vitoria Setubal.

5ade359569e32_EuroFixtures2.1.thumb.png.bbc804772ac51b281b7197a04a3b8bc6.png

As I was advised, the finances have improved throughout the season.

I'm still expecting to go down though.

5ade35a31cf00_Progress2.3.thumb.png.2ecd805db651113df8fe5044cbf6e5b2.png

 

What skin are you using mate?

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We should all do a Sunderland challenge and see who can get them the most success in 5 seasons ?

SUNDERLAND UPDATE

I am currently 2nd in the league after 16 games played, I have won 9, drawn 3 and lost 4.

My aim was to bring the wage bill down and replace high earners with hungry, young players.

 So out went Cattermole for 2.5m, Billy Jones for 2m, Bryan Oviedo for 1m and Kone for 10m.

I tried to get rid of Rodwell but of course nobody would take him, not even on a free or a loan with 20% wage contribution, I sent him on loan for free to Sheff Utd in the end, I am hoping someone will come in for him in January.

I bought in Luke Hyam for 500k, Aleks Philer for 500k, Adam Jackson for 1m, Saman Ghoddas for 4m and Jesper Karlson for 1m, I bought in a few players on the loan, the following players come in on loan

Beni Baningme, Andrea Pinamonti, Atakan Akkaynak, Tomas Conechny, Cristian Barrios, Vitinho and Djorde Jovanovic.

Here is a photo of my starting 11 and tactics I use.

Sunderland.png

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Wolves: The Premiership

Season 1 saw Wolves win the Championship at a canter - to no-one's great surprise. We had the title tied up with five games left to play, our 4231dm tactic was effective in both attack and defence. The summer of 2018 saw us try to consolidate the team in a way that would allow us to compete in the top division, the board demanding a safe mid-table position. A transfer budget of around £30m gave us some room to operate but having succeeded with around eight loan signings in season 1, there were a great many gaps to fill for the top flight.

Transfers

Of the loan signings in our first season, N'Diaye, Boly and Diogo Jota were obvious candidates to convert to permanent status and all were duly signed. Striker Bonatini was less compelling, but was available at a bargain price and was added to the squad. With several players returning from loan, we also had additional cover at RB and AMC, in Iorfa and Ronan, respectively. Jordan Graham, natural at both AMR and AML, also looked competent for Premiership football, which left the squad needing strengthening at GK and LB. Predrag Rajkovic was signed for a bargain £4.5m in goal, and Josh Tymon came in on loan from Stoke at LB. Midfield was also strengthened with the loan signing of Marko Grujic from Liverpool. The last piece of the puzzle was Patrick Cutrone, signed on loan from AC Milan for 50% of wages.

On paper, the squad looked capable of delivering the necessary level of football, but as someone once said, football isn't played on paper and early results left a lot to be desired. After an opening day win at home to Brighton, we proceeded to rack up five games without a win before earning a crucial - and unlikely - three points away at Old Trafford. Anyone who thought we'd turned a corner was sadly mistaken, as we immediately succumbed to a 0-2 home defeat to Arsenal. Deciding that the 4231 was too expansive, I decided to switch the AMC to a DM to create a 4123dm wide, and that seems to have paid dividends as we earned our first back-to-back wins away at Burnley and at home to Birmingham. Those victories have seen us leap up the table and after 10 games we currently sit in eighth place - the middle of the table is incredibly tight with just two wins separating fifth from 14th. While we're scoring at a reasonable rate, we're leaking like a sieve at the back.

Performance

You always hope that the players who shone in the lower division can make the step up, but experience shows that isn't always the case. Club captain Danny Batth looks completely out of his depth at this level, and LB Barry Douglas has been poor, to say the least. AMC Bright Enobakhare showed great promise at the end of season 1, but has struggled at this level. John Ruddy was an exceptional goalkeeper in the Championship but has conceded a frightening number of goals, while Rajkovic is much more highly rated by my coaches, but hasn't delivered on the pitch.

On the upside, Costa, Jota, Graham and N'Diaye have done well, and new signings Cutrone and Grujic have also impressed, but they are the only players to rate better than 7.0 after ten games.

In summary, those first ten games have included four against the top six clubs, where we might expect to have struggled, and injuries to key players mean we haven't been able to field our strongest 11 in any game so far. So the jury is very much out: we now sit in the top 10, better than the mid-table expected of us, but on balance I think mid-table is a reasonable hope, and it wouldn't take much to plunge us into a relegation battle.

 

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SUNDERLAND SEASON 1 UPDATE

I ended up winning the Championship by 8 points, with a massive 71 goal difference, the tactic I used managed to get me tonnes of goals, my 3 strikers on Pinamonti, Ghaddos and Conechy got 91 goals combined that season, even Marc Wilson got 12 goals and Honeyman got 8 goals. young striker Joshua Maja played 10 games and got 7, him and Asoro will play more next season as Pinamonti wont come to me.

I have managed to sign Conechy on a permanent deal and also bought Galloway and Browning on permanent deals and got Beni Bangime back on loan for my season in the Prem.

I have 11 million left so will have a look and see who I can bring in, I might need another striker but will see who is available for loan first before I spend money.

Sunderland Season 1.png

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SUNDERLAND SEASON 1 COMPLETED

 

COMPETITIONS

Championship - Finished second behind Wolves. We swapped the lead all season and heading into the last match I was two points behind them. Last match was Wolves at home!!! Sadly a 1-1 draw meant they beat me but automatic promotion was secured.

FA Cup - Lost in sixth round (quarter final) to Derby. Expectation was to reach fourth round.

Carabao Cup - Lost in third round to Arsenal - expectation was to reach third round.

Ultimately my lack of knowledge on the loan rules cost me the title with seven loanees but only five allowed in matchday squad so I had to rotate more than I wanted to.

 

TAKEOVER

My Tycoon takeover was completed so not sure how I feel about that. I think it might make the game too easy with the Knap tactic I use.

I do have a transfer budget of £61M and a wage budget of £1.7M (current wage is £330k). 

 

TRANSFERS

I lost all seven loanees plus I let nearly all 2018 expiring contracts go - John O'Shea, Marc Wilson, Billy Jones, Darren Gibson, Kazenga Lua Lua.

Jermaine Lens and Fabio Borini have gone on their pre-arranged transfers and more importantly Jack Rodwell has been palmed off to Celtic on a free transfer but his £70k wage has gone!! To be honest he was transfer listed all season and I kept offering him to clubs but no one was coming forward until Celtic piped up.

Takeover will help financially but I am still such a poor draw for players that getting Premiership quality players in will be hard and realistically I need a whole starting eleven. Will have to look at promising youngsters I guess.

I will look at Ronaldo Beckham's signed players though.

 

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I had to mutually terminate Rodwell's contract for the price of 1.5m as nobody wanted him, not even on a free.

2nd Season Transfers Ins and Outs

Transfers In

Justin Shaibu - 750k

Tyrone Browning - 17.5m

Birger Meling - 750k

Tomas Conechny - 10m

Joe Worrall - 8.5m

Brendan Galloway - 20m

Joel Ward - 4m

Sergi Palencia - Loan

Connor Goldson - Loan

Florin Gardos - Free

Khama Billat - Free

Ianis Hagi - Loan

Angelino - Free

Sam Johnstone -  Free

Cristian Cuevas - Free

Joao Gamboa - 1.2m

 

Transfers Out 

Jason Steele - 500K

Didier Ndong - 6m

Jermain Lens - 3.6m

Fabio Borini - 5.25m

Wahbi Khazri - 7.5m

Duncan Watmore - 1.5m

Papy Djilobodji - 7.5m

Also sent a few players like Embleton and Asaro out on loan.

I will update tomorrow as I aint played any games yet.

 

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So, an early season update for the 2020-21 season...

We've had a very promising start:

d7Cm6MR.png

Obviously it's only three games, but the point is that the three games were difficult ones... United at home, a 3-2 win and our first win against them, Chelsea away, 1-1 and our first point against them and Leicester away, a 1-0 win where my whole back line got 7+ ratings, which never, ever happens unless we win by several goals and don't concede stupid goals, which is rare enough in itself. Hopefully we can keep going, although Liverpool away is just one game away so I'm not optimistic about going on any sort of extended unbeaten run. Our two consecutive seasons of avoiding relegation have gone to the chairman's head, as he's now expecting a mid table finish. I have the players to do it though, maybe go a bit further and finish in the top half or even challenge for the Europa places but we need to be much more consistent than we've been last two seasons, particularly in defence.

Transfers:

Our first proper Brazilian wonderkid!

6Ar3gaQ.png?1

That name sounds like royalty. Are you royalty? :D His adaptability is apparently very low, but he's started well enough and I'm hoping our Portuguese-speaking contingent of Geraldes, Braganca, Carbina and my assistant Filipe Pedro are enough to keep him happy. An 18-year old striker pretty much on par with my first choice striker for just 14,25 million (his release clause) was far too good to pass up on.

j8xWoXY.png?1

So, lots of movement again, but I'm happy with our business. Managed to sign a few good (and surprisingly cheap) English players to help with the post-Brexit quotas, a few 18-year olds with high potential and a couple of quality freebies in Grujic and Keko. The only loss I'm annoyed with was captain Diop, but it was always a losing battle when Monaco became interested.

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2 minutes ago, kozmik said:

the three games were difficult ones... United at home, a 3-2 win and our first win against them, Chelsea away, 1-1 and our first point against them and Leicester away, a 1-0 win where my whole back line got 7+ ratings

Good start! But that's a lot of changes - hope you can keep it going.

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1 minute ago, warlock said:

Good start! But that's a lot of changes - hope you can keep it going.

Nothing new, mate - I've averaged around that amount for the past three seasons. Although that might explain why we've been struggling for consistency... :lol:

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1 minute ago, kozmik said:

that might explain why we've been struggling for consistency... :lol:

Yeah, I've always struggled with form if I bring in more than two or three players per window. Seems to take ages to get team cohesion up but if your players aren't good enough, they're not good enough and changes have to be made. Struggling with the same issue in my Wolves save, although we're holding on to a top eight position in the Prem. Horribly inconsistent though... which seems fair!

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Nice to see the updates from Wolves, Sunderland and Barnsley.

 

927ad316ed2ff4a7681e481bf297b1b1.jpg.1e6f380a0f5a1eacbc86bae1a6e19795.jpg

Meanwhile, in South West London we have had a surprising transfer window as we try to pull rabbits out of a hat...

Incoming

With Goldson, Flint and Odoi struggling in the top flight I was desperate to find an experienced leader to shore up the backline.

I tried and tried and tried to get Chris Smalling back to the club as the ex-Cottager would have been a perfect fit for us.

United wanted crazy money for a loan, but £9.5m for a transfer was quite reasonable. 

They also agreed £5m plus Samir Nasri, which would have been even better for me.

Unfortunately, Smalling wasn't having it despite being unhappy and transfer listed, so we had to concede defeat in spite of all my hard work.

In view of this, I took a gamble on Ryan Shawcross from relegated Stoke. Only a small fee, yes. But he has made a woeful start in his first few games.

His poor form pushed me to recruit Declan Rice from West Ham at the end of the window as I needed yet another option back there.

The other two new signings are both former Fulham players, a theme I am looking to continue.

The key signing of the window was undoubtedly Aleksandar Mitrovic from Newcastle.

Our former loan striker was a bargain at just £1.9 million, with the £21k per week wages a considerable drop on the £60k per week Newcastle had been paying him.

The tragic news is that, somehow, he has failed his WP and therefore he won't be able to play the remainder of the season. Nightmare!

Cardiff goalkeeper Neil Etheridge was the final signing, with the player willing to return as deputy to Bettinelli - you will see why in a moment.

Other failed transfer targets included three more ex-Fulham men Mousa Dembele, Moussa Dembele and Patrick Roberts - plus striker Seydou Doumbia.

5ae0d32f6bffb_Transfers2.2.thumb.png.0b9ad9556c5347041b94918f72f10c2d.png

Mitrovic.thumb.png.bd017198efa445533e2c810c5e2bb60b.png

Outgoing

Well, this is where it gets a bit more surprising.

Jake Bidwell's stats looked very good since he joined last season, but his performances and ratings had always been mediocre at best.

As such, I decided he was free to leave and with a contract expiring in the summer, the £2m fee was too good to turn down.

Cauley Woodrow was going to be drafted in to the first team squad but he informed me he would leave on a free transfer so again I had to take the money on offer.

Jack Butland had disappointed somewhat after such high expectations. His arrival also made Bettinelli unhappy with his limited appearances.

Despite all this, it wasn't entirely my choice to let Jack join Arsenal. Unbeknown to me he had a release clause of £19.25m for teams in the Champions League.

One small consolation was that I could put Bettinelli back in goal without any guilt, and in Etheridge I could sign a player happy to be understudy.

The final deal was repayment on a six month wage investment after signing promising Nigerian striker Ayiah for free in June, knowing he had no WP.

FC Porto recognised his potential and, as I still couldn't get him on the pitch, a fee possibly rising to £4.9m (and 50% of future profit) was not too shabby.

5ae0d33eb4876_Transfers2.3.thumb.png.2a1aaa4b1ead9e4d3676b733f19e2f8a.png

 

Edited by Jogo Bonito

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@Jogo Bonito Very unfortunate there with Mitrovic's WP. Did you not get the message asking for confirmation, where it said he has been denied a permit? Or do you have a staff member tasked with finalising transfers?

Bettinelli looks good to me. Had a very good game against us earlier this season when we lost to Fulham 2-0 at home. You should be okay with him in goal. Hope you made profit on Butland though, I hate it when stuff like that happens! Is he actually playing at Arsenal? Or is he a backup?

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17 minutes ago, kozmik said:

@Jogo Bonito Very unfortunate there with Mitrovic's WP. Did you not get the message asking for confirmation, where it said he has been denied a permit? Or do you have a staff member tasked with finalising transfers?

Bettinelli looks good to me. Had a very good game against us earlier this season when we lost to Fulham 2-0 at home. You should be okay with him in goal. Hope you made profit on Butland though, I hate it when stuff like that happens! Is he actually playing at Arsenal? Or is he a backup?

Yeah, I like Bettinelli so am quite happy to have him back in goal. I made just over £3m profit on Butland, so not too bad. And yes, it looks like he is first choice so far at Arsenal.

I did see the WP warning on Mitrovic, but thought it was now or never on those terms. I hoped he might get his WP sharply as he was injured at the time, and so I thought that might have limited his international appearances. I was actually quite surprised when the appeal failed. It's doubly disappointing as Cutrone's form has tailed right off and Austin is still out for a few more weeks following the injury on 16th December against Manchester United.

 

Edited by Jogo Bonito

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21 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

I did see the WP warning on Mitrovic, but thought it was now or never on those terms.

A cruel blow, indeed. And it looks like the window expired before you could spend all that money... doubly frustrating.

I'm coming up on the business end of our first season in the Premiership with Wolves but our next game is against Liverpool at home. We're on a shocking run of form - something like six games without a win - and I fear another humiliation. So for the last three days I've been procrastinating and indulging in displacement activity. Since @Dan McCullough appears to have reneged on his thread in the career forum, I've started a Darlington save :D. But I'll probably get back to Molineux tomorrow and should finish the season by the end of the week.

We're still on course for the promised mid-table finish, but had been as high as sixth with one hand on a European spot. Patchy form and a string of critical injuries put an end to that. Midfield powerhouse Alfred N'Diaye blew his cruciate ligaments and will miss the second half of the season, and if Helder Costa was a horse we'd have shot him - he's barely played two consecutive games in 18 months. In one game against Newcastle I lost three first team regulars for a month to six weeks (and we're supposed to have one of the best medical teams in the division). But the season could have been worse, and if we can find a bit of good form and string together some decent results we might still bag a top 10 finish.

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@warlock Yes, bad news about Mitrovic, but not getting the deal for Smalling done might not be a bad thing when we get relegated...

Your Wolves save has many similarities to mine with Fulham. What worked really well to get us up has not worked in the top flight. But your position is much healthier than mine. I'm almost at the end of February now, so will do a results update when I get to that point. I have created a new and possibly unique tactic in my last 1.5 games, but whether it will work out remains to be seen. The early signs have been encouraging, but it's only 1.5 games...

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1 hour ago, Jogo Bonito said:

I have created a new and possibly unique tactic in my last 1.5 games, but whether it will work out remains to be seen.

Would be interested to see that, and how it works for you. I've been switching between the 4231dm that got us promoted, and a more conservative 433dm-wide. But neither has been consistent, and the real problem is the defence. Batth has been poor all season, and Boly got his head turned when Sevilla expressed an interest - he basically sat on his hands all through December and January waiting for a bid that never arrived. According to my coaches, Hause is the weakest of my CBs but he's the only one who has performed to an acceptable level (although Ryan Bennett, who was poor in the Championship) has also done well. The search for the elusive 'consistency'!

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56 minutes ago, warlock said:

Would be interested to see that, and how it works for you. I've been switching between the 4231dm that got us promoted, and a more conservative 433dm-wide. But neither has been consistent, and the real problem is the defence. Batth has been poor all season, and Boly got his head turned when Sevilla expressed an interest - he basically sat on his hands all through December and January waiting for a bid that never arrived. According to my coaches, Hause is the weakest of my CBs but he's the only one who has performed to an acceptable level (although Ryan Bennett, who was poor in the Championship) has also done well. The search for the elusive 'consistency'!

I can relate to that. Bettinelli outperformed Butland for me, and there are various other examples like that. In fact, without Ryan Sessegnon doing his magic again, we would have been down by Christmas! OK, I have just hit the end of February so here goes...

927ad316ed2ff4a7681e481bf297b1b1.jpg.5f019d84730cfa88c233f23247bbf4f9.jpg

So, we aren't completely doomed. The odd league win here and there keeps us in touch - but there have been some big beatings handed out!

In the Europa League, things are going amazingly well. I don't do anything different in Europe, so it doesn't make sense to me.

Next up will be RB Leipzig though, so I think our adventure will be coming to an end...

5ae1135ccee9c_Fixtures2.4.thumb.png.dfaf5ec3ea89f6adf6453cf4175e86c0.png

I'm delighted with the financial improvements, so should we go down we will be able to remain competitive again next season.

The graph on the left shows we haven't ever been higher than 17th this season. It hasn't been easy at all.

5ae1136a07450_Progress2.4.thumb.png.a79f8bc6a472b886c52491d3828f85d3.png

And here is the new tactic. We were 3-0 down at half time against Tottenham, and I knew something had to change.

With Austin still out, Mitrovic unable to be selected without a WP, and Cutrone out of sorts, what point was there in playing a striker?

I'd been trying to give Odoi more minutes for a while, but in FM he can't cut it as a centre back despite lining up there every week in reality.

So I hit upon this idea of using him as a sweeper behind two big central defenders.

I don't recall ever using a sweeper in FM before, so it was a big thing for me to try this out at such a stage.

Others have raised their game as a result of the change, but I'm convinced it's the sweeper that is making all the difference. 

The right-back position had been held by Fredericks, but I have lost faith in him and brought back Christie in the last few games.

The midfielders, who have been quite decent throughout, now seem to control the game better.

They keep the ball, pass, and even break forward in to the box. Our opponents seem not to cope with them arriving from deep.

The pace and running skills of my wide men (the right rotates between Sema as IF and Leko as a winger) still provide an attacking threat.

And most importantly, the backline looks much more solid. I don't miss not having a striker, but do have that extra cover at the back.

It's also quite interesting to see the opposing centre backs having the ball a lot, with no clear action plan.

On the ball they don't know what to do, and having nobody to mark causes confusion. It basically just wastes 2/10 of their outfield players.

OK, it's early days and fixtures have been reasonable, but for the last 3.5 games we have actually looked like a competent and cohesive unit.

I will have a dilemma when Austin eventually comes back, but so far this seems to be the best tactic I have found all season.

I'd loved the 4123 wide of season 1, and persevered with it for much of season 2, but it (and 433 amongst others) just wasn't working.

5ae11385a01a6_Fulhamsweepertacticoverview.thumb.png.40b61e738540f88b112dfc685fc959c9.png

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Jogo Bonito

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6 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

I knew something had to change.

Well, that's creative! It looks like it shouldn't work but I can see how it would throw the AI into confusion. I'd probably be tempted to try an attack duty on the right-hand midfielder but if it works, it works. As for Fredericks I have to say he's been solid for me in the Premiership - goes through lean spells but so far is rating above 7.0 for the season with a couple of assists for good measure, but he's on strict game-by-game rotation with Iorfa.

Hope you can hang in there... 17th looks precarious and two or three wins away from a more secure position. Good luck!

 

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