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ajcardall

[FM18] Welsh Dragons - Carmarthen Town

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A sea of green across the board. Financially we sky-rocketed this year, thanks to our participation in the group stages of the Europa League. Hopefully we'll be able to replicate that on a regular basis going forward.

 

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It comes as no surprise to see big jumps in co-efficients, national co-efficients, and competition rankings and reputation. It certainly makes up for the poor season last year in those respects.

 

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The 2023/24 season will see all Welsh clubs once again enter Europe in the 1st Qualifying Round. We've still a long way to go before we start seeing 2nd Qualifying Round entry spots, though.

 

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Improvements on a personal level, too.

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I'm really enjoying your writing style and the level of detail that you're providing is really appreciated. You also seem to be making great progress at the club with the nations coefficient coming along nicely too. Hopefully next season you can get a more favourable draw for the Champions League qualifier 1st round so that you can ease into the competition better as your team regains fitness. Great so far, KUTGW.

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On 17/01/2018 at 11:49, deltablue said:

Not a bad Europa campaign. 

Cheers, delta. Points against Udinese and doing well (despite losing) against Liverpool both home and away.

The Genk matches were disappointing. The inital 2-7 defeat did have me worried for the remaining games.

On 17/01/2018 at 11:44, pheelf said:

I'm really enjoying your writing style and the level of detail that you're providing is really appreciated. You also seem to be making great progress at the club with the nations coefficient coming along nicely too. Hopefully next season you can get a more favourable draw for the Champions League qualifier 1st round so that you can ease into the competition better as your team regains fitness. Great so far, KUTGW.

Thank you, much appreciated!

Just had the draw for the Champions League. It isn't the easiest, and we'll do well to make it through to the 2nd Qualifying Round

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2022/23 Champions League

1st Qualifying Round Draw

 

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We've been drawn against Cypriot side APOEL Nicosia in the 1st Round of Qualifying for this season's Champions League. They are a team that should rightly be looking forward to a comfortable victory against us if I am honest. However we did upset the odds against Udinese in the Europa League last season, so I do feel we do have a chance to get something over the two legs.

For comparisson:

Carmarthen vs APOEL Nicosia

Value

£1.08M vs £29.95M

Co-Efficient

10.100 vs unkown (not listed)

European Pedigree (best round)

Europa League Group Stage (21/22) vs Europa League Group Stage (18/19)

Reputation

1* vs 3*

 

So perhaps the game isn't going to be as comfortable for the Cypriots as I first thought?

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2022/23 Champions League

2nd Qualifying Round Draw

 

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If we overcome APOEL, then we have a very difficult draw awaiting us in the 2nd Qualifying Round against Austrian giants Red Bull Salzburg

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2022/23 Champions League

1st Qualifying Round - First Leg

 

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It appears that my caution heading into this fixture was misplaced. We were extremely comfortable throughout the game and thoroughly deserving of the 4-0 victory. APOEL never looked like scoring, and progression through to the 2nd Qualifying Round.

We'll travel to Cyprus in a strong position knowing a professional performance and we're through/

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2022/23 Champions League

1st Qualifying Round - Second Leg

 

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The 4-0 victory in the first leg proved vital as we fell short in the away leg, losing 1-3. We played well but struggled to get our shots away, whereas APOEL were much more clinical in front of goal. Of course they were always going to come at us strong as they looked to overturn the 4-0 deficit, so despite the progression to the 2nd Qualifying Round, I was still left disappointed that we didn't hold them back.

Regardless, its Red Bull Salzburg next, and it will take something special to make it through to the 3rd Qualifying Round.

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2022/23 Champions League

3rd Qualifying Round - Draw

 

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Provided we are able to pass the stern test that Salzburg pose, then we'll be facing off against either Lech or Malmo in the 3rd Qualifying Round. Both would be difficult matches, but out of the two I think I'd prefer to be facing Lech.

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2022/23 Champions League

2nd Qualifying Round - First Leg

 

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Wow! Just an incredible result and performance in the away leg! Two away goals and a clean sheet away against a team such as Salzburg is a brilliant return for us. I refuse to get carried away because there's no doubt that they will be looking to make amends when they travel to Wales, but taken in isolation this is a fantastic result and surely a testament to the progress we're making as a club.

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2022/23 Champions League

2nd Qualifying Round - Second Leg

 

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A strong and professional performance in the second leg sees us progress to uncharted waters - the 3rd Qualifying Round of the Champions League! Delighted with how we did over the two legs, as I didn't expect us to have much of a chance against Red Bull Salzburg

In the other ties, Malmo overcame Lech, so we shall be facing off against the Swedish champions in the 3rd Qualifying Round. Ordinarily I would be pessimistic about our chances over the two legs, but we've shown that we are able to compete against pretty strong European opponents, so I do think we have a chance. Should we overcome Malmo, then we'll be into the Champions Playoffs, and just 180 minutes from the group stages of the Champions League, which would be a truly fantastic achievement!

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14 hours ago, Timetxu said:

Holy cow, this is something! 

 

7 hours ago, kidthekid said:

fantastic :applause:

 

Thanks, gents! Feeling like after a few years of struggling, we seem to have hit a magical point and are skyrocketing now. We're often competing against League One clubs when it comes to signing players, and they do occasionally opt to join us, which is mightily impressive!

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2022/23 Champions League

3rd Qualifying Round - First Leg

 

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This qualifying campaign truly is the gift that keeps on giving - at least as far as the Carmarthen faithful are concerned! We travelled to Sweden to face the reigning domestic champions, and were heavily unfancied. However a gutsy and battling performance - including a penalty save - ensured we came away with a 0-0 draw. leaving everything to play for in the second leg back in Carmarthen. It's still a big task, but we're edging ever closer to the Play-offs, and even the Group Stages.....!

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2022/23 Champions League

Champions Play-Off Draw

 

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Providing we're able to overcome the Swedish test in the 2nd Leg of the 3rd Qualifying Round, then a mouth-watering all-celtic affair awaits us in the Champions Playoff after we were drawn against, well, Celtic!

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2022/23 Champions League

3rd Qualifying Round - Second Leg

 

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A complete reversal of the first leg. In Sweden it was backs-to-the-wall as we held firm to deny Malmo in front of an expectant (overly so?) home crowd. When they arrived at our place, it was our turn to play. Unfortunately for the Swedes, they were powerless to resist the Old Gold onslaught, and we thrashed them 5-2 to progress to the Qualifying Play Offs.

The next scalp we need to claim is Celtic. After our performances so far in the campaign, I definitely wouldn't write us off.

180 minutes to go and we could be hosting Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Man Utd... etc!

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2022/23 Champions League

Qualifying Playoffs - First Leg

 

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My God, are we actually going to do it? Are we going to make it through to the Group Stage of the Champions League?!

 

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Great progress. Got to think you stand a good chance against Celtic. 

Either way, you've made a real breakthrough in the last season and a bit. Hope that improves the reputation of the Welsh league and national team as a whole.

How many of your first team are Welsh?

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10 minutes ago, vikeologist said:

Great progress. Got to think you stand a good chance against Celtic. 

Either way, you've made a real breakthrough in the last season and a bit. Hope that improves the reputation of the Welsh league and national team as a whole.

How many of your first team are Welsh?

I think we should definitely see big improvements this season. Our appearance in the group stages of the Europa League in last season's campaign gave Welsh football a boost, so I'd expect to see yet another (hopefully bigger) rise if we do overcome Celtic and make it through to the groups.

As for the nationalities, here's the first team squad and their nationalities:

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A decent core of Welsh players. To ensure we're competitive in Europe I have had to add some from the other home nations (and Ireland), and a couple of lads from further afield (Netherlands and Ghana).

Edited by ajcardall

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2022/23 Champions League

Qualifying Playoffs - Second Leg

 

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We've done it! We have qualified for the group stages of the Champions League!! Our first-leg victory was enough to see us through despite losing in the second leg!

I can't quite believe it myself. Carmarthen Town are into the Champions League proper! Teams like Barcelona and Juventus await!

 

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So. Much. Money!

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2022/23 Champions League

Group Stage Draw

 

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Arsenal, runners-up on one occasion.

Seven times winners and four-times runners up, AC Milan.

Lyon, the perennial contenders in the latter stages.

....and Carmarthen Town.

 

Let's do it!

Edited by ajcardall

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3 hours ago, After said:

Impressive European campaign already! :applause:

 

47 minutes ago, deltablue said:

No pressure ;)

 

Thank you, thank you!

The reaction of the Milan players when they rock up at Parc-y-Scarlets should be interesting. Far cry from turning out in front of 90,000 at the Camp Neu! :lol:

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2022/23 Season

Pre-Season Report

 

A very busy and memorable pre-season for the little club from Wales who have bloodied the noses of some far bigger teams and in doing so managed to qualify for the group stages of the Champions League! It took a big effort to get this far, and now we can reap the financial rewards that come from playing in the Champions League. I'm not under any illusions - I'd be surprised if we managed to more than 1 point - but qualification and progression isn't the target right now. If we can be competitive and not be totally steamrolled by the teams in our group, I'll take that as a win. I very much doubt that we'll be able to get any points from Arsenal or AC Milan (either home or away), but we may, if the Gods favour it, manage to sneak a point when Lyon come to visit.

Anyway, onto other matters. Last season we were unbeaten in domestic football, and came very close to recording a perfect season - we drew just once. Perhaps this year we can record a perfect season. It'll be tough, but a good challenge to keep domestic football fresh and interesting.

 

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The full round-up of our pre-season efforts. Not many friendlies this summer - we were obviously busy in Europe! - but some brilliant performances. I believe the highlights are either the 5-2 home victory over Malmo, or triumphing 3-1 away to Celtic!

 

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For the first time since I started, we've been made the favourites to win the league. At this stage, it is difficult to argue.

 

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Babos is the favourite to finish as the leading scorer in the league. Unsurprising - last season he recorded and amazing 43 goals in the league!

 

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The board expectations were set as before. Almost £2M in transfer funds and a big increase in wage budget followed last season's European success. There's no way I'll need all that, but it's good progress none the less!

 

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A quieter off-season in terms of player movements, but we did bring in a few new faces.

 

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Aldermann, on loan from Bristol City, provides another option in the middle of the park, and has increased quality over some of the lads we were having to call upon last season.

 

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Amankwah was signed on a free transfer from Manchester City. He is our best defender by some distance, and was delighted to secure his signature in the off-season. He will prove to be exceptional domestically, I'm sure.

 

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James Prendergast is our record signing. Brought in from Drogheda for £115,000, he adds extra quality to the midfield, and has made a very good start to life in Carmarthen so far.

 

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Jake Taylor has been brought in on loan from Everton, and will provide cover and a rotational option with Alex Babos as our main goal threat. He hasn't featured too heavily just yet, but does add quality in terms of depth in our striking options.

 

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Bradley Webb, another loanee brought in from Bristol City, is again another who adds better options in terms of back-up in defence. A very solid player, he'll prove to be a dependable back-up and rotation option as the season unfolds.

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2022/23 Season

Welsh Teams in Europe

 

We have obviously carried the Red Dragon flag in Europe this year, making progress into the group stages of Europe's premier competition, but how did the other Welsh teams fare in their own European adventures?

 

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Aberystwyth Town and Connah's Quay Nomads offered little in their own campaigns, although Connah's Quay did get a "point" against Vaduz in their second leg. Aberystwyth offered nothing and succumbed to a 0-6 aggregate defeat at the hands of Videoton.

TNS, however, did at least make it through to the 2nd Round, and were close to progressing further still.

As we drag, kicking and screaming, the reputation of Welsh football, upwards thanks to our own impressive European exploits, I'm hoping to see the likes of TNS improve on the quality of players that they're able to attract. Whether this season was just luck, or a one-off, but I get a sneaky feeling that they could be close to breaking through to the next level, and progressing further into the qualifying campaign on a regular basis.

For the good of Welsh football, its reputation, our national co-efficient, and our qualification spots, I hope so!

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2022/23 Champions League

Group Stages - First Game (Arsenal vs Carmarthen Town)

 

Here we go. Away to Arsenal in our first appearance in the Champions League group stages. What can we expect? A thrashing? Probably. But we over-performed in qualifying, so maybe we can keep it respectable, and even pinch a goal or two?

 

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Wow. After flying high in qualifying, Arsenal were utterly ruthless and brought us back down to Earth with a massive bump.

We've got some ways to go, yet!

:ackter:

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13 minutes ago, pullthru said:

Incredible achievements!  

Thanks! Definitely making progress now :D

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2022/23 Champions League

Group Stages - Second Game (Carmarthen vs AC Milan)

 

After the 2-8 drubbing at the hands of Arsenal, it doesn't get any better in our second game. We welcome one of Europe's biggest and most successful clubs to Wales in the forms of AC Milan. As we enter match day, my focus is definitely on keeping it tight and hoping to remain within touching distance of the Italian. A two/three goal defeat is the target!

 

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Wow! We've just beaten AC Milan(!) 4-1! What a truly remarkable effort and performance, and one that will go down in the club's history as perhaps the greatest night of football witnessed so far! We had less off the ball and fewer shots, but we were able to make them count, and we post our first victory in the group stages! 

"Unbelievable, Jeff!"

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9 minutes ago, ajcardall said:

Thanks! Definitely making progress now :D

Hopefully you won't be making progress at 5:30pm this evening :thup:

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Just now, pullthru said:

Hopefully you won't be making progress at 5:30pm this evening :thup:

Haha, I was gonna go up today, but I've come down with a dread case of manflu so it'll be a sofa-and-TV job for me today.

Good luck today. I have a guilty soft-spot for Neil Warnock :ackter:

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2022/23 Champions League

Group Stage - Third Game (Carmarthen vs Lyon)

 

So far we've been battered by Arsenal, but followed that up with a memorable 4-1 victory over the giants of Italy, AC Milan. Our third match is the home fixture against French side Lyon. Prior to the group stages getting started, I targeted Lyon as a team I felt we could get points against, especially in our home match. After the 4-1 victory over Milan, it's proving difficult to predict. Was the Milan match a fluke? A rare off-day, and the only positive from what will eventually be a difficult and hard group stage campaign? Or was it a thoroughly deserved victory, and should we be expecting to get something from Lyon, especially in Wales?

 

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Ooh! I'm definitely putting this one down as a missed opportunity. At home, against 10 men for the most of the match, and with a late winner conceded. It was a disappointing defeat, and I was left frustrated afterwards.

Yes. The manager of Carmarthen Town was frustrated following a 1-2 defeat against Lyon. Not something many people would have ever expected to happen, I'm sure! 

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1 minute ago, Jupjamie said:

Superb stuff :applause:

Thank you! Making some incredible progress over the past couple of seasons! Really hoping that the likes of TNS, Aberstwyth and Prestatyn can start making improvements, otherwise any progress we make is going to be hindered by them in Europe :D 

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2022/23 Champions League

Group Stages - Fourth Game (Lyon vs Carmarthen)

 

In the reverse fixture, we failed to beat ten-man Lyon after conceding a late goal that saw us end up 1-2 losers in the match. The away fixture is always going to be more difficult, but I was still hopeful that the players could show a response.

 

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:mad:

ANOTHER late goal, in the exact same minute, cost us yet another point against Lyon! A 3-4 defeat isn't the worst result away from home, but we could - maybe even should - have come away with something to show for our effort!

Lyon were dominant, but I felt we matched them - especially being down to 10 men ourselves.

A big positive is we were 0-3 down, and managed to claw back to 3-3. But still, disappointed we couldn't see it out and claim a memorable point in France.

 

Edited by ajcardall

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All too easy now domestically!

(For the record, this news article is dated 9th November 2022. So we've gone 20 months without losing in domestic league football!

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2022/23 Champions League

Group Stage - Fifth Game (Carmarthen vs Arsenal)

 

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Eh. What is there to say?

One day we stick four past Milan and are able to run Lyon very close. Then we play like amateurs and ship four at home to Arsenal. Maybe I'm becoming too accustomed to our over-achieving, but this was just a poor, poor effort. 

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Still it was amazing just to qualify and then to beat Milan. That counts as a success. The UCL revenue changes everything now.

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8 hours ago, kidthekid said:

Still it was amazing just to qualify and then to beat Milan. That counts as a success. The UCL revenue changes everything now.

Yeah, you're absolutely right! Like I said, I guess I got swept up in our overachievement s :cool:

 

The key is definitely consistent qualification for the huge cash windfall it brings!

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2022/23 Champions League

Group Stage - Sixth game (AC Milan vs Carmarthen Town)

 

So we're down to the final game of the Champions League group stage, and from our point of view there is a case of 'what might have been'. We were dreadful in both games against Arsenal, but I honestly feel we could have gotten at least a point from both games against Lyon. In both of those games we fell to late goals that saw us come away with nothing to show for our efforts.

Surprisingly, Milan have been just as woeful - if not worse! Here's how the group table currently stands on the eve of the final round of matches.

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Both Arsenal and Lyon have comfortably qualified for the knock out stages, but the battle for 3rd place and entry into the Europa League is very close. If - and this is a huge if - we can come away from the San Siro with a point, we'll clinch third place by virtue of the victory over Milan in the reverse fixture.

 

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Sadly it wasn't to be and Milan laid to rest the humiliation the suffered at our hands in Wales.

Our European adventure is over, and I left ruing those late, late goals we conceded against Lyon. Not that it would have made the difference in the end, of course.

Next season - providing we qualify - I hope we can beat our 3 point haul.

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Outstanding effort! You are setting the bar very high for a Welsh Premier club!

0-0 probably a fair result overall, even if Zohore's goal should have stood. 

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11 minutes ago, pullthru said:

Outstanding effort! You are setting the bar very high for a Welsh Premier club!

0-0 probably a fair result overall, even if Zohore's goal should have stood. 

Can't argue with that, was a decent game with good chances for both teams. Good luck with the rest of the season. You've got a great chance of going up :thup:

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2022/23 Welsh League Cup

Review

 

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We've retained our league cup crown for the fourth consecutive season, and our victory in this competition was never in doubt.

 

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No goals conceded this season in the league cup, can't ask for better than that.

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2023 Youth Intake

 

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The class of 2023 have graduated and the best prospects have been given trials with the club. At first glace, there aren't really any players that jump out as outstanding prospects. The personalities of the better prospects are also disappointing and will need tutoring.

Here is a look at the better prospects. All of these have been offered youth contracts.

 

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2022/23 FAW Cup

Review

 

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We managed to retain the FAW Cup once again, extending our run to 5 victorious seasons. This streak brings us level with Cardiff City, who also won the trophy for 5 consecutive years from 1966/67 to 1970/71. We are still someway off being the all-time record winners, an honour currently held by Wrexham with 23 wins to their name. For comparison, we currently stand at 6 victories.

 

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Here's a look at our route to the cup victory. Some high-scoring games during the competition, and no team ever looked like threatening our dominance.

 

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And here are the player stats for the 2022/23 campaign. Our lads managed to top the Goals, Assists and PotM Awards charts for this season's campaign.

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2022/23 Welsh Premier League

Review

 

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Another league win, unsurprisingly. We didn't have a perfect season - or even an unbeaten one! - but it does mean that goal is still something we need achieve as we moved forward. We were very comfortably clear at the top of the league at the end, and the nearest challengers were all some way off of the pace. Interesting to note that TNS dropped off this season, replaced by Prestatyn - whether this is a sign of a mini power shift, or just a blip, remains to be seen.

 

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A comfortable season. Disappointed that our only defeat came at the hands of our fierce rivals Aberystwyth, but we move forwards regardless. Dropped points at the end of the season when some of the younger players were given opportunities to impress, so no concerns at all there.

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On 14/01/2018 at 16:49, ajcardall said:

 

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So, a slight snag.

The above quote shows the changes to foreign player registrations following Brexit. Apparently we were getting the 17 FGN limit, which is, in many ways, the better outcome.

However, I've just tried to sign two young players, both German, but failed as they were refused a work permit?! Confused I decided to check the league squad registration rules, and found this:

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So the game has decided, for what ever reason, to "change" what Brexit deal occured, and now we have a Brutal Brexit where all non GB/RoI players required Work Permits?!

This is maddening! :mad:

 

***EDIT***

 

I see my error. "Leagues which have squad registrations...." - Wales does not have a registration process for the Premier League. Argh, that's annoying! But at least it isn't a bug!

Edited by ajcardall

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2022/23 Season Review

 

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Another strong season domestically, and also one that saw us make great improvements in Europe, as we managed to reach the Group Stages of the Champions League, and even record a famous 4-1 victory over AC Milan. The challenge now is to repeat that success on a consistent basis, so the target for the next season has to be qualification once more - either for the Champions League, or the Europa League. After two consecutive seasons of making the group stages of either competition, to fall short in qualifying next season would certainly be a disappointment, and would run the risk of undoing the hard work we have done to improve the profile of the club and of Welsh football on the whole.

 

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Our star players once again shone through and provided excellent performances both at home and in Europe.

 

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We've been granted a gigantic transfer budget of over £7M for next season! That's definitely overkill, and will largely be untouched, as we're not yet in a position to be able to attract the kind of talent that would demand such an enormous transfer fee.

Our wage budget has also been raised massively, but we are still limited by what the highest offers we can make are, so again that will be largely untouched.

The limits on what we are able to offers players is definitely our biggest stumbling block at the moment. I'm hoping another season or two in Europe, establishing ourselves as regulars in the group stages, will help loosen those purse strings to allow us to really push on.

 

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Big improvements for the club and competitions. The Welsh Premier League has raised its reputation from 1* to 1.5*, which is an extremely encouraging sign. The next goal has to be to breach the top 100 for both for ourselves, and the league ranking.

 

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We also got handed a decent scouting budget for next year. But given that the amount on offer doesn't provide enough to pay for UK/Ireland scouting, it will be unused. Given that all non UK and RoI players require work permits, there is little point in scouting Europe at this stage. Those who would be granted work permits will be too big for us to even consider approaching at this stage.

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