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ajcardall

[FM18] An anniversary special - SWFC

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Hello and welcome to my career as manager of my favourite club, Sheffield Wednesday. This is my 4th career so far with FM18, having experimented at different levels to try and get a good grip on the game, and I now feel ready to attempt a long-term career. I won't be playing with any imposed rules, or looking for any overall achievement, merely doing what most folks do with FM, and that is try and take their favourite club as far as they can. I feel this is a good time to take over at Sheff Wed without it being too immersion breaking - in reality, we have had 2 failed playoff campaigns and it could easily be believed that a change was made and someone new brought in in an attempt to freshen things up and take Wednesday over that last line.

My profile is set up using the recommended levels of coaching qualifications and experience to avoid any potential early-game problems with the new dynamics system. I was reluctant to do this, but as I am looking at a one-club career, I felt it was necessary to minimise the risk of getting the boot because the players decide that a random guy off the street with no experience in the game is now telling them what to do!

In terms of updates, I'll probably go for a tri-annual update, with updates pencilled for Pre-Season, Christmas and End of Season. Any notable events such as finals or major matches may receive singular updates.

It probably won't be a ground breaking, original, or even that interesting of a career read, but I'm going to track my progress here for personal reasons - a sort of diary of my career. If it transpires that people enjoy following and reading, then excellent! If not, I'm sure there are plenty of other career updates here that will pique your interest, and I shall beg your understanding in my own personal indulgence :lol:

 

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Sheffield Wednesday Football Club

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Wednesday are one of the oldest professional clubs in England, predated by only 3 other professional outfits - Notts County (1862), Stoke City (1863) and Notts Forest (1865). Founded in 1867, the club are currently celebrating their 150th anniversary, and promotion to the Premier League this season would be all the more sweet for it. There is some history in the game, with top division finishes in the early 1900s. More recently, we won the League cup in 1991, beating Man Utd in the final.

The club play at Hillsborough, a ~39,000 capacity stadium owned by the club. In real life, it is in need of some modernisation, but in terms of capacity, it is a good ground.

The training and youth facilities are below what I would like, and I shall be looking to get these upgraded when possible.

We start with a good squad, definitely one that should be pushing for promotion, albeit through the playoffs rather than the automatic spots. With that in mind, a top 6 finish has to be the target for the season, with a top 2 finish providing we have a bit of luck along the way. However, at the start of the game there are injuries to several key players, notably Fernando Forestieri (out for 7/8 months), Keiran Lee (our for around 2 months), and captain Glenn Loovens (out for 2/3 months). We also have some decent prospects in the youth setups, with players such as George HirstCameron Dawson, Joe Wildsmith, Eyad Hammoud, Connor Kirby and Jack Lee having a decent amount of potential. I shall be looking to offload some players, with Atdhe Nuhiu and Lucas Joao being amongst the first I will be looking to get rid off. Steven Fletcher may also be moved on - Rhodes and Hooper, with prospects such as Hirst and Hammoud waiting in the wings, and Sam Winnall out on loan, should be more than enough. I also plan on operating a lone striker set up, and rotating between Rhodes, Hooper and Fletcher wouldn't allow any one player to settle and hit a run of form.

The seasonal expectations are very reasonable - a top half finish in the league, 4th round of the FA Cup and 3rd Round of the League Cup. All should be achievable, although the cups do depend on the draws and whether we luck out. As I said in the opening, I'm going to be aiming for a top 6 finish and promotion, either via the playoffs or automatic promotion.

Financially we are ok, but not the best. There's little left in the budgets and some balancing may be required.

In terms of squad dynamics, I already have the backing of two players - Jordan Rhodes and Joost Van Aken. Unsurprisingly, a number of players actively oppose me at the start, Westwood, Bannan, Hooper and Hunt being amongst the most influential players who are currently against me. Naturally, getting off to a good start and building positive relationships is critical.

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First Team

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Expectations

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Finances

I've opted for a 4-2-3-1 system to start with, and the effectiveness will continually be assessed as the game progresses. The current first XI will look like this:

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Forestieri will slot into either the AP or left-sided IF role when he returns, and Kieran Lee will rotate with Barry Bannan in the DLP role in midfield. I'll be looking to evolve the tactic over time, depending on how results go for us.

 

The next update will come at the midway point.

 

 

 

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Just wanted to share this goal, which ranks among the best I've seen so far on FM18, and reminds me somewhat of Adam Reach's real life scorcher vs Aston Villa.

Not sure why the upload shows all kits as white, which is extremely annoying as the kits appear as should be in game. Bug?

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Sheff Weds

2017/18 Season

Christmas Update

 

SkyBet Championship:

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We made a very strong start to our league campaign, and we sit in first position as we approach the new year, although Middlesbrough are chasing hard and sit three points behind in second place. We have not struggled in finding the net, and at one stage scored a staggering 19 goals in 4 matches. The highlights of the season thus far are the 6-0 demolition of local rivals Barnsley, and beating fierce rivals and city neighbours Sheff Utd twice in back-to-back games, one in the league and one in the Carabao Cup.

Disappointing results include the 1-2 defeat at home to Hull City, and losing to title rivals Middlesbrough 0-1 at home.

However, we are playing above all expectations and Gary Hooper has been phenomenal so far, scoring 17 goals in 23 games in all competitions.

Pleasingly, we look a threat from set pieces, scoring 10 times from corners in the league, 4 ahead of second best Millwall.

Carabao Cup:

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We had a decent showing in the League Cup, reaching the quarter finals before going out away to Brentford, a team who have beaten us twice now this season.

Transfer Activity:

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We've seen a decent amount of comings and goings during the pre-season, with several players leaving the club permanently, including full backs Jack Hunt and Daniel Pudil, along with experienced midfielder Daniel Jones. I chose to invest the money frugally, and my transfer outlay is minimal, totalling less than £450,000, against incomings of over £7,000,000. Humam Tariq came recommended by my scouts, and as he was unable to secure a work permit, was immediately sent on loan. The report card gave him a recommendation of over 70, and indicated he had the potential to be a Premier League standard in the future. For a fee of only £400,000, I deemed it worth a shot. Jake Hesketh was brought in on a season long loan from Southampton and has had a major impact so far, scoring 5, assisting 7 and notching up an average rating of 7.33 in his 15 league appearances.

Star Performer:

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Despite Hooper's goal returns, the star player so far has to be Adam Reach. In 21(2) league appearances, he was set up 14 goals, found the net 7 times, and been MotM 5 times, which all results in an average rating of an amazing 7.98. His outstanding form has seen him attract attention from Premier League suitors, including Newcastle. He did speak about his desire to move to the next level, but a promise that we ourselves would be promoted this season was enough to persuade him to stay. He has been fantastic on the Left wing so far, and definitely the major reason behind our phenomenal start to the season.

Edited by ajcardall

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Sheffield Wednesday Football Club

2017/18 Season - End of Season Review

Championship

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We managed to gain promotion as champions, continuing the clubs recent upturn in finishes over the previous two seasons. The second half of the season wasn't as comfortable as the first - the sale of a key player to an established Premier League club seemed to affect us, and we struggled for any real consistency after the Christmas period. Fortunately, Middlesbrough, who finished second, were equally woeful - at one stage they gained just 9 points from a possible 33, which including a run of five defeat - and we hung onto the top spot to go up as champions.

Highlights from the second half of the season include thrashing Burton 8-0 as well as beating Arsenal 1-0 at the Emirates in the FA Cup Fourth Round.

Low points were the 5-6 defeat at home to Preston, as well as slipping to a 0-1 defeat away to rivals Barnsley.

 

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Initial Budgets

Upon securing promotion, the board set our initial budgets:

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£33M and £700K for wages. Will have to use this wisely and bring in the right players to help secure our Premiership status next season.

 

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Club Records

The season saw us break two records, goals scored and accumulated points. The latter record we managed to beat by just 1 point thanks to the draw to Norwich at the end of the season.

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January Transfers

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The January transfer window saw us bring in three promising players - Motjeka Modisha, Callum Styles and Mimito Biai. Modisha has been immediately sent on loan due to work permit issues, and Styles and Biai, both brought in by our HOYD, are currently with the U23 squad.

In terms of players leaving, the only activity was the sale of club Vice Captain Tom Lees leaving to join Liverpool for £12M, rising to £14.5M, along with 40% of any future sale of the player. Lees had been suffering from itchy feet, and had requested I allow him to leave the club should a Premier League team make a bid. His valuation was £8.5M, so pleased to have gained a little extra for him. However, his departure did affect us at the back, and we missed his prowess at corners.

Lukas Rotpuller found himself stepping up, and while he did a decent job, Lees absence was clearly felt.

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End of Season Awards

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Adam Reach was voted as the Fans' Player of the Year, unsurprisingly given his outstanding season. At the end, he clocked up 18 assists, 11 goals and 10 MOTM awards from 41 games.

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Gary Hooper was the club's top scorer, finding the net an incredible 33 times over the season.

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Facilities and Club Information

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Sheffield Wednesday

2018/19 Season

Pre-Season Report

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Pre-Season Friendly Results

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A good set of friendly results and a training camp in France have left us feeling ready for the challenges of the season ahead. Pleased to earn draws against Premier League opposition, coming via the 2-2 draws against Liverpool and West Brom. I feel confident and ready for the season ahead, and the players have reported back in good condition with no injury worries to trouble ourselves with.

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Transfers In/Out

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We had a busy transfer window, with eight players joining us and many fringe players and good prospects leaving on loan to gain valuable game time and experience. Jacob Butterfield was signed on a permanent transfer after the clause that allowed us to sign him for £2.5M was activated, which means we were able to secure him for much less than his true valuation, which is around £7M following his excellent season for us last time out. The clause has proven to be an inspired bit of foresight and one I am sure Derby regret agreeing to.

Of the other players who joined, I am excited by the following:

Sebastian Szymanski - a 19 year old Polish midfielder signed from Legia for £3M (rising to £5.5M should we avoid relegation). At 19 he has plenty of scope to improve on his already solid stats. He will be used to phase out and replace aging midfielders such as Ross Wallace and George Boyd.

Nathan Kennedy - another one for the future, the 17 year old centre back was signed from Leyton Orient for £650,000. He has a good base to improve from and a good level of determination. With good tutoring and guidance, he could become a decent defender in the future. He has been loaned out to Oldham to enable him to get game time.

Ben Pearson - another youngster, although a little older than the others. At 23, Ben already has some first team experience at Preston, who negotiated a tidy sum of £9M for him. He is extremely determined and has a driven mind set, so should improve further. He will be kept on hand and figure in a rotational basis in our midfield.

Elias Abouchabaka - and 18 year old German midfielder, signed for £1.5M (rising to £2.5M if we avoid relegation this year) from Red Bull Leipzig. Another who will feature in and around our first team and be a replacement for some of our aging players in the middle of the park. During the summer he won the golden boot in the UEFA U-19 Championships for Germany.

Another player to watch, although he wasn't a transfer, is Eyad Hammoud. The Bulgarian striker has high levels of determination and even made a few appearances at the end of last season in the Championship, where he more than held his own. He has gone on loan to Wycombe to give him further first team exposure and hopefully bring him on to the next level. He is highly rated by the coaching staff, who believe he could surpass Gary Hooper in the future.

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First Team Squad

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All told, this is the squad for the upcoming season. I'm fairly confident that the players have enough about them to help us beat the drop this season, but much will depend on Gary Hooper and Adam Reach, and whether they can continue last season's form on into the next level.

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Season Preview

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Our return to the top flight gets off to the toughest start possible, facing Man City away.

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The bookies and pundits have us pegged to make an immediate return to the Championship, alongside our fellow newcomers Wolves and Middlesbrough. Man Utd have been made favourites for the title, with Man City second favourites.

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Our personal expectations are to avoid relegation from the top flight, and reach the fourth and third rounds of the FA and League cup respectively.

I shalln't be putting any focus or attention into the cups, and instead shall be heavily focused on keeping our heads above the water this year.

After all, that's where the money is....

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Sheffield Wednesday

Premier League - 2018/19 Season

Christmas Update

 

Results & Tables

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We could not have wished for a better start to life in the Premier League, even so far as winning our opening fixture against Man City. We've performed exceptionally well against the teams we should be targeting for priceless points, and have even had some good, spirited performances against the league's bigger sides. Defeats to Tottenham, Man Utd and Liverpool were to be expected, so they haven't caused me too much worry or upset, and us picking up points against Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal was very pleasing indeed. The highlight was the 6-0 thrashing of Brighton, in which we looked unstoppable. The low point was the 2-6 defeat against Tottenham - the manner in which we capitulated and were carved up time and time again was very disappointing.

All told, the results leave the table looking like this:

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Finding ourselves in 3rd place was beyond wildest expectations, and at the turn of the year we have hit the mythical 40 points target, and any thoughts of a relegation battle are long out of my mind. Given our current position and fantastic opening half of the season, we can realistically look to aim for a European qualification finish this year, barring an absolute disaster during the close of the season. Other interesting things to note are Watford's equally brilliant performance thus far, and Man City's struggles, as they languish in a disappointing 8th position at the turn of the year.

 

First Team Squad

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I've promoted a few of the brighter prospects out of the youth teams and into the senior squad, and I have been attempting to bleed them into the side here and there. I am happy with our depth and balance, as well as our high levels of performance so far this year. For me, the key man so far this season has been Elias Abouchabaka, the young German midfielder signed this summer. From 8 starts and 9 sub appearances, he has found the net 7 times with 3 assists, and has been named the Young Player of the Month on two separate occasions.

The team harmony is doing well, and I maintain the support of the majority of our players, including the most influential players.

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Boardroom News

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Our healthy finances and excellent form have led the board to agree to several of my requests to improve the facilities at Hillsborough and at our Middlewood Road training centre. Our Youth and Training facilities have already seen some investment over the previous summer, as well as our Junior Coaching and Youth Recruitment levels, all of which will help us bring through some high quality youngsters in the years to come.

The expansion of Hillsborough to a proposed 44,084 seats will see our stadium become the 8th largest in the division, overtaking Chelsea's Stamford Bridge stadium. We are currently averaging 38,000 attendance this season, which equates to 98% of our total capacity, including 25,500 season ticket holders, so the expansion approval was no great surprise.

 

Other News

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This is the first time I've approached Brexit on FM18, but my first thoughts are that this is what would be considered a 'soft' Brexit, as it will scrap the work permits system and replace it instead with a Foreign player cap of 17 per squad.

Currently, I have 8 foreign players (I am basing this count of Scottish/Welsh/Northern Irish players NOT being classified as foreign), so I am comfortably underneath the proposed limit.

The looming Brexit event has given me an idea for a future rule change to this save, and that is that I am toying with the idea of restricting myself to UK only players once Brexit takes effect. Current players on the books who are not UK nationality will either see out their contracts, obtain UK citizenship, or be moved on. Not sure if I'll pursue that yet, but it's something I've been putting thought into to add an extra dimension to this career.

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