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The Mission

Take a club from the 9th level in the English pyramid all the way to the Premier League.

The Manager



The Club


































As you can see, the board expectation is fairly ambitious considering we're predicted to finish smack bang in the middle of the table. I'll have to be smart from the outset to upset the odds.

The Squad


It's not much to write home about. In fact when you dig deeper its even worse than that. A new sitter in midfield is a must and some cover in that area is pretty urgent too. We have 1p available in wage budget. Yes, you read that right. One Pence. The budget is £201 and we're spending £200. Luckily we're semi-pro and I'll probably be able to bring in some players on non-contracts and possibly a couple on loan. I'll still have to be careful with the money situation though, don't want to get a reputation as a club wrecker. We don't have an affiliate club and its not something that I am that interested in but if things get really bad I might have to bite the bullet and see whats out there.


Our best player is this guy:


I'll probably be playing him as a number 10 in a 4-4-1-1.


This is a very rough draft of a tactic. I've given it very little thought at all at this stage and just stuck my best players in their best positions and where possible tried to give them their best duties and roles. This will not only change over pre-season, this will be a work in progress throughout the save.

I think that'll be it for the first post, sorry for the length. First time I've tried my hand at this. Hope it goes well.


Edited by Atarin

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I was looking at this database on Steam, together with the level 10 one.  I will be curious how stable and/or buggy it is as they came out very very quickly after release.  You usual;y have to wait a few months for these.

I will be watching and reading with interest!  :thup:

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Which is why I am watching it with interest as my hometown club (North Shields) play in the ninth tier.  Their rivals, South Shields have won four promotions on the trot and they obviously wish to replicate this!

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Update 1:

With pre-season done we were in decent shape. No injuries, which is always a massive plus and we seemed to have a tactic that was functioning pretty well.


Fisher and West Essex were routine wins against weaker opposition, Gosport play 2 divisions above us so I wasn't too concerned by that defeat. Littlehampton was a little bit annoying as that was a game we should definitely have won, but we were experimenting so its not something to lose sleep over.


There was obviously a little bit of transfer business. You can ignore anything shaded red as they're just there because of a bug in the game. For example Rikcy Pither and Joe Gritt were already at the club when I arrived, whilst Michael Malcolm and Elliot Baptiste were only ever at the club on trial.

Joe Pearman is a left winger. Mus Dauti (absolutely no clue how you say his second name so I just call him Mus), who is an attacking CM. Charles Baxter is a 17 year old DM we've managed to bring in on loan. David Hicks and John Kyriacou are two players I'm familiar with through following Spurs, both were in the academy donkeys years ago...they're both into their thirties now.

All in all I'm delighted with that. We could have brought in more, and we will as you will shortly see but finding players is proving a real grind. I had an absolute ton of players in on trial but very few were up to standard. We're still pretty short of quality and especially pace in attacking areas.


While we're on transfer news, I've transfer listed Chris Mills. He's second choice right back, a coach with very little talent and also my highest earner by a distance. I'm having real difficult getting rid of him and it'll cost a few thousand pounds to terminate his contract. Looks like I will just have to grin and bare it. Its also annoying because he's taking up a valuable coaching spot that I want to use for a goalkeeping coach.


What I learned over pre-season is that my side aren't that good. My best striker needs support and can't really hold the ball up so systems like the flat 4-1-4-1 (that I was thinking about in the first post) are out. Santangelo needs close support. 4-4-1-1 seemed an interesting way to go but my wide options were abysmal at RM/LM. My compromise was to move my AMC out to the AMR, which he can also play, and brought in an AML to give us a front three. This solves (sort of) the width problem as well as addressing the striker's need for support. Another option I considered was a narrow diamond but again the lack of another striker I trusted was an issue as was the limited nature of the fullbacks I've got. I just couldn't see them providing the width I'd need. In midfield I slotted in my three new signings. This was really important because the central midfielders I had at the club were absolute garbage. Baxter was there to shield the back four and cover for the fullbacks. Hicks was our "playmaker" and Dauti was our attacking option from midfield. Dauti has bags of acceleration and an absolute rocket of a long shot so he's working really well. An unsung hero, and possibly my favourite signing is Kyriacou at right back. He's not fancy but he just does exactly what you want from a supporting fullback. Keeps it simple and provides support for everyone around him and above defends well.

I should add that what you see is what you get. There are no TIs, PIs or OIs. They'll come later as I learn both what the limits of the tactic and the limits of my players are.

Then it was time for the season proper to start...


We started brilliantly with three really confident victories. Against London Colney striker Santangelo got off the mark with a scrambled effort in the six yard box after a good move from us. The second was from a penalty after we had broken on them late in the game and drawn the foul.

The friendlies sandwiched in between were just a chance to get some new signings, some trialists and my subs bench some minutes.

We broke the deadlock against the London Tigers with another Santangelo goal, again from a scramble in the six yard box after my set-piece routine came up trumps. The second was an absolute beauty from Dauti. He's got it in his locker, as they say.


...and wouldn't you know who did it again? In the third match it was that man Dauti again with a goal worthy of winning any game.


He took the ball on his chest, knocked it outside the defender, took aim and thundered it into the keeper's near-top corner. I'll admit, I got a bit excited.

Unfortunately we came crashing back down to earth with a bump in the next game. I had a bad feeling going in. We were looking excellent. Everything was clicking. Crawley Green were in the bottom three and I just had a feeling that this was exactly the sort of game where things can go badly wrong. It didn't start that way. We actually raced into a two goal lead. This time is was Dauti's midfield partner Hicks showing that anything Dauti could do he could do too. Dauti gave Hicks the ball just left of centre about thirty yards out, his excellent touch took the ball inside the opposition midfielder and as he moved into the 'D' he let fly with a scorcher of a shot which beat the keeper at his near post. The keeper might have done better but I think the power beat him.
The second goal couldn't have been more different. Dauti was wrestled off the ball just outside Crawley Green's box, the defender lumped the ball down field. Joe Gritt, our centre half returned the ball which sailed over Crawley Green heads and into the box, Santangelo was racing (well, as fast as he can anyway which isn't all that fast) and finished well one on one with the keeper. Proper Hoofball. It was all going swimmingly, I was thinking that FM2019 was just too damn easy when, after 52 minutes the game turned. I need to do more analysis on what exactly went wrong but basically Crawley Green started to squeeze up and find spaces between our midfield and strikers where they could win the ball and ping it over our defensive line for their two strikers to run on to. Quick striker nipped behind our defence, squared the ball to his mate and knocked the ball past our exposed keeper. They did this not once, not twice...but three times, which I'll admit doesn't say much for my powers of observation. To be honest I kind of wanted to see what would happen if we just left things as they were and changed personnel. I'm still trying to find our about my tactic and this defeat might end up being far more useful for that than another easy victory, so silver linings and all that. Its also worth mentioning that their third was helped along massively by my left back who not only got on the end of the punt forward but had time to take a touch and lump it out. Only, he didn't do that. He panicked and just passed the ball straight to the onrushing striker. Ah, non-league defenders. You've got to love 'em haven't you.


That was August in the bag. We're in third and I'm still hopeful that we can get a player or two in as well as tighten the tactic up some more.

The final bits and bobs are to wrap up the transfers both player and staff as they are at the end of August...


Again, discard those shaded red. They didn't happen. or were actually trials. Ryan Carolan is a back up utility player. He can kind of, sort of, maybe do a job at centre half, left back and the deep-lying-player maker role. Joe O'Brien is an orthodox Right Winger. Tommy Hutchings is a Pressing Forward. I had planned on moving Santangelo to the bench to make way for Hutchings but 'The Saint' as I like to call him has been prolific so far and Hutchings has been woeful in the friendly appearances he's made as well as getting himself injured for a week and a half, just as I was getting him match fit. Adam Bygrave was a real coup of a signing. A real quality centre back. I had to agree to improving the staff (more on that in a second) and the defence. Well apparently seven days is long enough for Mr. Bygrave as he kicked up a complete stink just a week after arriving, complaining that I had broken my promise to improve the defence. He threatened to turn the squad against me so Mr. Bygrave was shown the door and told not to let it slam him on the backside on the way out. t**t. Jay Conroy was basically a direct, if inferior, replacement for Bygrave.

Towards the end of the month, after having time to properly assess my staff, I decided root and branch change was needed.


I have a new Assistant Manager, a new Coach and two new Physios. As stated above, I wanted a goalkeeping coach but without moving Chris Mills on that's not happening. I was also unable to find any scouts worth the name. Take it from me my additions are all massive upgrades on what was there before.

And that just about wraps up pre-season and August. Hopefully the four league fixtures in September follow the pattern laid down in our first three fixtures rather than the last one. Thanks for reading this far.

Edited by Atarin

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Update 2:

Let's start September with a transfer update.


The only addition has been Ben Gill, a central midfielder who can cover for Mus or David Hicks.

The finances are looking okay...


... and here's a peek at the dynamics...



Coming off of a defeat in our last game of August I wanted to see us get straight back to winning ways. Our first chance was against top of the table Stotfold (not to be confused with Bishop's Stortford)...


We opened the scoring on 9 minutes through Dauti as he recieved the ball near the middle of the pitch, pinged a pin point cross to Pearman on the left, continued his run into the box, arriving at the near post area just as the cross was swung in to send a powerful header into the back of the net. Great Start!

The equaliser came through a spell of pressure from Stotfold at the 24 minute mark. They eventually sent in an inswinging cross to our back post where the usually reliable Kyriacou was beaten to the header by the powerful run of the Stotfold left winger. Dissapointing. We'd been in control.

At the 61 minute mark Stotfold took the lead. It was from a deep punt into the channel and behind our defence. Their striker got to the ball and carried it deep into our box before hitting a low shot into the far corner. We need to get that sorted ASAP. Its happening far, far too often for my liking.

Try as we might we just couldn't break them down and find an equalizer even after going 4-2-4 and route one for the last ten minutes, I threw on a central defender to play up front in as a target man. The Stotfold defence was far better drilled than ours. They kept catching us offside or drawing fouls as we built our attacks. Very disappointing.

That was two defeats on the trot, one defeat is unfortunate, two is worrying, a third would be a bit of a crisis.

The tactical conundrum we face is that we need to play at least a standard defensive line on Balanced mentality or our striker Craig Santangelo is just too far away from goal. He doesn't have much pace and can't sprint into acres of pitch. He needs service into the penalty area. He is essentially a goalhanger. To play that way, though, means leaving a lot of space behind us for the opposition to run into and they are definitely making the most of that opportunity. Its something that I'm going to need to think hard about. We just don't have the quality to play in a radically different way.

Another problem raising its ugly head is that Key Player, Captain and Highly Influential Squad Member John McCabe has been absolutely dreadful so far this season. I had to speak to him about his poor form and a day or so later for his poor performance in training...


... at this stage I'm wondering whether another club would consider doing me a massive favour and taking him off of our hands. I can't see the squad taking it well if my relationship with McCabe deteriorates.

Our next match was going to be McCabe's last chance before getting dropped and the opposition were Arlesey...


...The first goal of the game was an absolute scorcher of a free kick from David Hicks. The offence was committed right on the corner of the box. Hicks let fly and the ball rocketed into the net.
We largely controlled the first half without managing to create a clear cut chance until just before half time. We'd gone to a Cautious mentality just to see the half out when The ball came to David Hicks on the half way line, he swept a beautiful pass straight through the middle for Santangelo to dawdle onto and The Saint duly finished with aplomb.

John McCabe had been largely woeful again so I decided to try something. I changed his Role to AP(s). it cuts down on our width but we weren't getting much because of McCabe's naffness anyway. You've got to try things. After 65 minutes without things getting any better I dragged him off and replaced him with backup winger O'Brien. McCabe may be set for a spell on the bench.

To help see the game out we went a bit more structured. Fullbacks switched to defend and the wingers went to attack and the changes brought about almost instant results. Hicks knocked the ball into the right channel for O'Brien to run onto, he squared the ball for the fox in the box Santangelo to slam home.

Arlesey clawed a late goal back which all stemmed from a throw-in deep into our half. After a probing around the box the ball went wide where it was crossed into the six yard box where their striker reacted quicker than our two defenders. Frustrating but none the less a very welcome three points and an end to the run of losses.

A day or so later we were drawn against Walton & Hersham in the FA Vase. W&H play a couple of divisions above us so its a tough draw and we'll have done extremely well if we advance to the next round.

Next up was our home game against Tring.


McCabe was dropped. O'Brien in. We took the lead when Kyriacou arrived at the back post from a free kick and after a scramble tucked the ball home. 1-0.

Like most Fox in the box type strikers Santangelo is a master of getting caught offside again, and again, and again...and again.

The second goal was a result of some fabulous play. A Long kick from our keeper found the head of Pearman on the halfway line, Dauti won the second ball and in one fluid motion turned 180 degrees before pinging in inch perfect switch of play out to O'Brien who was hugging the right hand touchline. O'Brien measured it up and sent in a lovely dipping cross that landed on the edge of the six yard box where, you guessed it, Santangelo was on the spot to tap in the goal that doubled our advantage. I experimented with a more Structured shape for the last 15 minutes to see if we could close the game out and we managed to avoid any nasty surprises.

With our momentum back I was looking forward to each new fixture again. Next up was Harpenden.


We started the game poorly. They had the lions share of possession in our half. I changed Mentality to positive and we started to edge our way back into it. Our opening goal came from a punt into the inside left channel that found Pearman, he got to the byline and clipped the ball over to the far side of the six yard box were opposite winger O'Brien was arriving late. 1-0.

I tried a few tweaks to tighten things up like dropping back down to Balanced and dropping our defensive line a touch. I also experimented with pressurising the guy I suspected of being their playmaker. David Hicks scored our second from the penalty spot. A simple route one ball opened us up again on 50 minutes despite having a deeper defensive line. Our DM had lost his discipline and got ahead of his two central midfielders. He then lost the ball which allowed Harpenden to hit us on the counter. Their strikers beat us for pace and slotted the chance away. Aggravating but not the end of the world. You can't expect Rio Ferdinand level defending when you're squad aren't even good enough to get paid.

So, with September done...


... the table looked like this. Sat in second and a point off top. Not bad I'd say.


Here's a quick look at the squad. 


and here's a more indepth look at Craig Santangelo...


... and a more indepth look at David Hicks and Mus Dauti.



For a bit of balance here's John McCabe's particulars...



That's it for this update. October up next.


Thanks for reading.

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Update 3:

Discipline news - Backup centre back Jay Conroy was reprimanded over his poor training performance and reacted badly. I've got very little patience with bad eggs so he's on thin ice.

Our first game of of October was against Wembley...


We opened the scoring after 7 minutes through Joe Pearman. We had a Free Kick from the corner of the box. The strike was decent but it went straight through the keeper. Not complaining. 0-1.

I'd Selected the "Always Close Down" OI for Wembley's playmaker after he'd sent a couple of dangerous balls over our defence. I also dropped the defensive line a touch but it still wasn't enough to stop Wembley equalising in the 64th minute. The ball went through to the right-hand channel. Their winger beat Kyriacou in the air and nodded down centrally just outside the 'D' for an onrushing midfielder to hammer a low half-volley into the corner of the net. Our response was to remove the OI & PI and increase our mentality to positive. Try and get some control back. 1-1.

With twenty minutes left I Wanted to open Wembley up. I Changed O'Brien to a W(a), Kyriacou to  a WB(s) and Fuller to a NCB(d). The idea was to Stretch them out on the right and hit them early with long balls from Fuller but we were still not creating enough. So I Set Pearman to W(a), Birch to WB(s) (which mirrored the right flank) and gave Dauti the PI's Move Into Channels, Dribble More and Take More Risks. We were really going for it.

Wembley seemed happy with the draw so I made a triple substitution - Mills for the tired Kyriacou, Gill as a CM(s) for the ineffective Hicks and Hutchings for the wasteful Santangelo and with the seconds ticking away in the 94th minute there were extraordinary scenes. Freekick midway into Wembley's half, Pearman sticks it into the mixer, defender heads it to the edge of the box where Gritt head it back in, the same defender that cleared the ball completely slices the clearance and it bobbles along the goal line with sub Hutchings on the spot to tap into an empty net. Ecstasy. Before the game could restart I reached for the in-game 'Park The Bus' preset and we walked away with the three points. 1-2..

Transfer news - We've secured the free transfer of former Watford trainee Aaron Tumwa from Quorn. He should be an excellent addition to our defence.

Squad news - After the arrival of Aaron Tumwa I was informed that Jay Conroy was unhappy. Captain McCabe was unable to resolve the situation. We had a conversation and, basically he didn't want to train hard and announced he was leaving. Am I bovvered?! The immediate concern will be that, unbeknown to me, Tumwa is an active international for Antigua & Barbuda and will be away for the upcoming FA Vase match against Walton & Hersham.

Next it was Tommy Hutchings down in the dumps. McCabe was unable to address the issue so I had to talk to him. He wanted to play more, I explained that Santangelo was doing well and Hutchings threatened to leave. I've agreed to give him some starts, it shouldn't bother Santangelo too much as he's listed as a Backup. We'll see what Hutchings can do over the next five games. He will add some much needed pace up front.

A week later and Jay Conroy's training efforts were worse than ever. As soon as Tumwa was available I decided I'd be releasing Conroy.

Up next was the difficult cup tie against Walton & Hersham...


Walton opened the scoring on 8 minutes when a cross came in from the left, found a supporting midfielder on the edge of the box. He had the time and space to carry the ball across the 'D' before letting rip with a shot that flew low and into the corner. Not the ideal start. 0-1..

Things went from bad to worse on the 20 minute mark when Dauti went down with no one around him. The alert suggested that he'd pulled his knee ligaments. So we'll probably be without one of our most threatening players for a number of weeks. On came Gill.

We were offered an opportunity to get back into the game on 42 minutes when a Walton defender handled in the area. Hicks sent the keeper the wrong way to level up.1-1.

On 58 minutes Walton took the lead again. A long ball released the right winger who knocked over a cross that was latched onto by the Walton striker. Our defenders were left flatfooted. 1-2.

The game was put to bed on 74 minutes when Walton added a third from a freekick. The foul was given at the corner of the box and the taker managed to get the ball up and down and in at the keepers near post. I made a couple of substitutions mainly to rest up for the more important league games. We avoided a hammering so there's that. Onwards and upwards. I thanked the players for their effort and their reaction was extremely poor. Apparently they'd prefer it if I laid into them regardless of whether we had a chance or not. Not the brightest bunch.

Injury news - Mus Dauti is out for 3-4 weeks meaning he could miss 4 to 5 games. Ouch!

Team news - With Tumwa back from international duty he was thrown into the side at the expense of the under-performing Joe Gritt. I'm not including the cup game in Tommy Hutchings run of five starts, that wouldn't be fair so his run officially starts now. I will be monitoring DM Charles Baxter's performance. Another poor showing and I'll rotate.

The third of our four matches this month was against Colney Heath...


After controlling much of the first 25 minutes and having multiple chances to take the lead we finally broke the deadlock. Pearman took a corner. Baxter positioned at the other end of the box headed the ball back across goal where there were a couple of deflections before it fell at the feet of 17 year old left back George Birch who tucked it away from 1 yard. 0-1.

Colney Heath had been by far the better team in the second half but we'd kept them out, so to shore things up I switched the 'Park The Bus' preset and brought on some fresh legs. That was enough to see us get the points which is all that matters. in relation to the form of Charles Baxter and Tommy Hutchings... 6.4 and 6.3 respectively. So Baxter is going to be getting a rest with youngster Nazron Sawyers getting his chance. Saywers is an absolute workhorse in training getting 9.5's every week and despite some attribute concerns, particularly a 5 in the crucial Positioning attribute, he should be fine. Hutchings has another four games to show me that he deserves to start instead of The Saint.

Transfer news - Jay Conroy had been getting increasingly unhappy so I decided everyone would be better off if he just left. So he did. Also one of our reserves has left us, Dennis Flint didn't have a future here and someone was willing to take him off of our hands.


League update - We're top of the table for now but there's still one game to play before this month is in the bag.

Our final opponent's of october were Oxhey Jets, who sat in third...


We opened the scoring with a wonderful route one goal. Birch at left back picked the ball up from the keeper turned, had a look and launched a lob over the advancing Jets defence for the pacey Hutchings to run on to. The striker made no mistake and tucked the ball past the keeper. 1-0.

After 30 minutes I Changed to a Cautious mentality to try to invite them on an create space behind for the pacey Hutchings to run into.

Oxhey had a man sent off for a second yellow card on 42 minutes. I wanted to see what they'd do before I made any changes. They went with 4-4-0-1 so I split my centre backs, set Tumwa as a DC(st) and Fuller a CD(c). I hoped this would disrupt their buildup by nullifying their only outball.

My changes seemed to be working until 73 minutes when all I felt was Complete frustration as we conceded to make it 1-1. Oxhey had a freekick midway into our half which was launched into our box. Somehow their striker got free and headed the ball back across the goal, it clipped off the bar, bounced straight down before ricocheting of the keeper and into the net. In order to get straight back into the game I switched to the 'Wing Play' 4-1-4-1 preset and had a defensive reshuffle. Kyriacou went to Left back and Mills came on at right back for the departing Birch.
With 5 minutes of normal time left desperation kicked in and I moved our defensive line as high as it would go to really camp in their half and bombard them but sadly we couldn't break through. Not the worst result on paper but frustrating given that we were playing against 10 men for 45 minutes.

Two wins and a draw out of our three league games this month isn't too bad. I'm just a perfectionist, that's all.


The table looks like this...


The form, fitness.etc of the squad is as follows...


Squad update - Left winger Joe Pearman really isn't all that great and I'm actively looking for a replacement. We've had lots of young players from local clubs in on trial to see if they could do a job, probably on a loan. Hopefully there'll be some movement on that during the month of November.

Joe Pearman Profile.jpg

Thanks for reading!

Edited by Atarin

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Dave Hicks would make a better AP than McCabe.

McCabe only excels in Determination and Leadership...…

Your doing a GREAT JOB!

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He's got good first touch and technique, decent bravery, good flair, decent off the ball, good agility and according to his attributes he's supposed to have 11 pace although I've never seen any sign of that. Obviously the issue is his dreadful technicals, its all 5s and 6s which just isn't good enough. The problem I have is that he's the captain and a locker room leader. I have tried to shoehorn him in but having tried it I just don't think its going to work.

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If it's North GREENford, why are your team "The Blues"? Can I nickname them "The Colorblind" instead? :D 

Pretty convincing start (tho I have no idea how your team compares to the rest of the division). :D 

Edited by noikeee

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You may well ask. It confused me as well. You could ask the same question of REDbridge fc who play in blue. Boggles the mind.

As for how we compare...not great tbh. We are predicted to finish 10th out of 20 and at the start of the season I would have said that that was fairly optimistic.

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Update 4:

Injury news - Central defender Steve Fuller picked up a slight injury and would be missing from the Hadley game. Joe Gritt would step in with reserve Ryan Carolan making the bench. Also Mus Dauti would make the bench after returning from injury with the plan to give him the last 30 minutes. Dropping off of the bench would be DM Charles Baxter.

Our first assignment of November would be Hadley...


We played some incredible possession football, probing around their box in the first 10 minutes but failed to test the keeper. We got a shock on the 24 minute mark when Hadley had the ball in the net but their striker had gone too early and the goal was ruled as offside.

After a lot of huffing and puffing we finally took the lead on 40 minutes. Kyriacou at right back launched a huge long pass which went between and behind the Hadley centre backs. Hutchings timed his run and his pace took him clear before he calmly found the corner. 0-1.
We increased our lead three minutes later with an almost identical move but this time left back Birch providing the assist. Hutchings went down the middle this time. 0-2.
Mus Dauti replaced Ben Gill in midfield on 60 minutes as planned. I gave it five minutes and then I lowered the defensive line to invite Hadley to give us even more space behind.
But that was how the game finished. We won without actually playing very well, a sign of how poor the opposition were, but three points is three points however you win them.

Fixture news - We have a 13 day break until the next game. I'll probably take the opportunity to have a couple of friendlies to give some minutes to the squad players.

Player update - Mus Dauti had been called up by Albania U21 for a couple of friendlies which meant he'd missed our next league match against Leighton.

Discipline news - I had to speak to striker Tommy Hutchings about his poor training and he had a bad attitude about it. Not sure where we go with that one. He's playing well, but I can't have ill discipline at the club.

the second of three fixtures this month was Leighton...


Leighton were set up extremely defensively. They played a deep 4-4-1-1 with 2 DMs and what looked like WB(d)'s in front of their FB(d)'s.


We completely controlled the open stages, creating a number of great chances and having incredible possession around the box. We managed to break them down after 12 minutes after an absolutely masterful period of play. It started with a throw in in their half and what followed was a 24 pass move followed by ping out wide right to O'Brien. The winger carried the ball to the byline before clipping a cross back across the six yard box for the lurking Hutchings to nod in at the far post.

We are playing a ridiculously simple system and yet we still manage to play lovely complex, flowing football. You don't need a gazillion PIs and TIs. 1-0.

We extended our lead on 54 minutes. After some neat football in Leighton's half Hicks pinged a ball out to Pearman who was attacking the inside left channel. Pearman cut the ball back to Hutchings who was able to tuck the ball away at the near post. 2-0.

Leighton grabbed a concillation goal in the 92nd minute that they absolutely didn't deserve. They'd offered absolutely nothing all game but young left back Birch gave away a very cheap corner late on. They swung it far too deep but recovered it, sent it back where a striker was lurking at the near post and he was able to beat the keeper from six yards. Poor, poor defending from us. Our performance up to that point had deserved a clean sheet. 2-1.
And that was how the game stayed. Another three points. This result made it 8 unbeaten.

Team news - Mus Dauti came back in after international duty replacing Ben Gill.

Player news - I was alerted that captain John McCabe was feeling down. David Hicks was unable to fix the situation so I had to speak to him. He didn't need much convincing, apparently just turning up to the chat was enough to convince McCabe what a great guy I was and that he should get his head down. wow! Never had that before.

Discipline news - I had to lecture Tommy Hutchings about his training performance again. This time he showed some respect and promised to improve.

The final fixture of November was away against Biggleswade who sat 10th in the table...


It was only a couple of minutes into the game when I noticed that there was something that needed to change. We had a freekick high up the pitch and they were leaving three men up. This was a problem as we generally only have two back. I quickly remedied the situation and hoped we'd closed off that opening before it was exploited.

After an extremely tight first 56 minutes in which both sides stayed compact and looked for opportunities to spring a quick counter over the top we broke the deadlock. Kyriacou took a throw-in in line with the penalty box. Hicks recieved the ball on the corner of the box and passed the ball into striker Hutchings who was in the inside right channel. Hutchings fired a quick pass back to the edge of the 'D' where Dauti was waiting and Dauti did what Dauti does, he took a touch with his right which set the ball nicely onto his left and he let fly with another absolute rocket of a shot which flew high and centre into the net. 0-1.


Having taken the lead I decided to try something new. I dropped my wingers back to RM/LM and changed them to Attack duties. I changed Hutchings from an AF to a PF(d) which he prefers anyway and stuck the fullbacks on defend duties. I then dropped our defensive line and line of engagement as low as they would go, set pressing to more urgent and told everyone to stay on their feet. The idea was super compression and aggressive low block plus plenty of room to break into with our pacey (sort of) front three.

The tactical change seemed to be working beautifully, that is until one of their central midfielders scored direct from a free kick from the corner of the box on 70 minutes. There isn't a lot you can do about those. Tactically we reverted to something close to plan A. We threw our wingers back to AMR/AML, put our fullbacks back to support and pushed Hutchings back up as an AF. I pushed the line of engagement and the defensive line up one setting to Lower. I still wanted to play quite deep.

On 76 minutes I felt we needed a change but one of the big issues we face in-game is that you look at the bench and there are no impact subs. No pace to throw on. No variety, like a Target Man. Anyone we threw on would be slower, more ponderous, less physical.etc We need a solution to that if we want to sustain our challenge. In order to change things up I swapped our wingers over, changed them to IF(a)'s and changed Hutchings back down to a DF(d).The idea was to try to create some movement and unpredictability up top.

With 10 minutes to go and still no breakthrough I made some changes from the bench. The tired Dauti was replaced by Gill and the ineffectual O'Brien was replaced by Santangelo. The Saint went up top with Hutchings moving out to the left. This move necessitated moving the Line of Engagement back to standard. As we've discussed before, Santangelo has no pace and needs to play near to the goal.

Five minutes from the end and Biggleswade stole, and I do mean stole, the points. They had a corner which went to the near post. We cleared to the edge of the box but they got the ball back to the corner taker who swung a cross in. Left back Birch tried to block it but the ball deflected off of him and past the keeper at his near post and nestled into the net. I looked to the skies in disbelief. 2-1.

Needing a goal we went 3-4-1-2. I wanted possession in the final third. I wanted very quick recycles when moves broke down. I wanted to focus on chance creation.


It sort of worked but we couldn't break through. A disappointing result.

We're five games off of the half way point of the season and here are the results and the table...



If you'd offered me second place, six points better off than third and only 1 point off of first place at this stage of the season back in August I would have bitten your hand off but our dropped points still rankle with me. As well as we've done we could be doing better with a couple of signings. A left winger with some pace and crossing ability and a more physical striker to bring off of the bench would, I think, make a huge difference to our season. Whether we can find those players is another matter. We're not going to settle for any old rubbish, they have to be the right players.

The squad is looking like this...


Our dynamics are still good...



And finally our finances are looking decent if not spectacular...


See you for the December update and thanks for reading!

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Update 5:

Transfer news - Target man Ellis Remy has joined the club. We'd been on the look out for one for a while, not as a Plan A but as an option from the bench when everything else hasn't worked.


Team news - Ellis Remy takes Craig Santangelo's place on the bench for Baldock game.

Discipline news - Charles Baxter, the young loanee DM, is the latest to feel my wrath for slacking off in training.

Our first opponents of December were Baldock Town...


A very cagey first half an hour was broken by Tommy Hutchings 7th goal of the season. Pearman took a corner from the right which Birch nodded on at the near post. Hutchings was lurking at the far post and had the simple job of directing the ball towards goal with his head. 0-1.

With the match still a very tight affair I decided to try something different. Our wingers were having no luck whatsoever so O'Brien came off with Remy making his debut. We shaped up like this...

On 78 minutes Gill replaced the hopeless Pearman and five minutes later we made our last change in an attempt to shut up shop. Hutchings came off and Gritt came on, making it a back five with the fullbacks now set to defend.

We held out. Not a great performance by any means but it got us back to winning ways.

Transfer news - Reserve defender Barry Bellotti asked for his release which was granted. Not good enough.

Discipline news - Ben Gill had to be taken to task for his training performance. He took it well.

Team news - Its perhaps a sign of the times that I've decided that instead of John McCabe on the bench I'd prefer to have Craig Santangelo. McCabe is currently considering a contract offer from Sutton Common. I hope for both of our sakes he takes it.

Edgeware were next up...


 Our opponents came into the game in woeful form and that looked set to continue as we took the lead after 41 seconds. Kyriacou had the throw in line with the Edgware box and from there we worked the ball around beautifully until Hicks, on the edge of the box, squared the ball to Dauti who let fly in his usual style and left the keeper for dead. 0-1.

It has to be said, after we scored we started playing really poorly and Edgeware were more threatening than us. Their improvement and our sluggishness came home to roost on 49 mins when, despite giving our players a rocket at half time we conceded and it was the only classic hoof over the top, squared, tap-in. I'd seen enough. Changes were needed. I selected the 4-2-4 Wing Play preset and threw on Remy for DM Sawyers. We were going to have a go at Edgware because they were there for the taking. 1-1.

My changes paid almost instant dividends. On 51 minutes and Edgeware attack broke down, the ball came out to O'Brien who was deep in our half. O'brien looked up, saw Hutchings on the shoulder of the last defender and pinged a sent a beautiful curling ball into his path. Hutchings went one on one with the keeper and coolly slotted awat. 1-2.

We should have scored again straight from the kick off. Kyriacou, at right back, sent a straight ball up to Remy who headed the ball forward in classic target man style for Hutchings who was ready to pounce but unfortunately Hutchings put it wide.

We did get our third a moment later when on 53 minutes Tommy Hutchings scored from the edge of the box. Pearman had taken a corner on the right which had been headed clear but not well. Birch collected on the edge of the box, squared the ball to Hutchings who was loitering on the edge of the 'D' and he let fly low and into the far corner for his 9th goal of the season. 1-3.

On 61 minutes I saw one of the most bizarre moments I've ever seen in FM. Edware had a corner and the corner taker miskicked, sending the ball slowly behind for a goal kick. The ball barely moved, just trickled a couple of inches around the post and behind. Weird.

If we hadn't already wrapped the points up we made absolutely sure on 62 minutes. Tumwa, taking a deep freekick, sent the ball long. Ellis Remy turned his man and got behind the defence, he squared the ball and there was Hutchings on the spot to tap in for his hattrick, the first for the club.

I decided to rest the important Dauti on 70 mintutes and threw on Gill to replace him. With a desperate Edgeware coming back into the game I switched to the Direct Counter-Attack preset and with that we were able to see out a fairly comfortable final 20 minutes.

Transfer news - First item of business, John McCabe has moved on. He accepted the offer from Sutton Common. No ill feelings, it just wasn't working out. Second item, Coach and second choice right back Chris Mills has been taken off of the transfer list. There's been no interest in him and he's recently finished a coaching badge which has increased his abilities to an adequate level. We still need a goalkeeping coach though. I did ask the board to allow another coach but they weren't biting. We have also found a left winger. Not as good as I would have liked but he has good development potential. Eddie Skerry was released by Lingfield of the Southern Combination. Finally, Reserve fullback Matt Dennis asked to leave for first team football. His request was granted, as he wasn't anywhere near good enough.


Player news - With McCabe gone we needed a new captain. I elevated Kyriacou from VC and replaced him with goakeeper Sam Peace. I ordinarily don't like picking keepers as captains but there weren't a whole bunch of options.

Team news - New signing Eddie Skerry will replace Craig Santangelo on the bench.

Discipline news - Craig Santangelo hasn't been training well and I had to talk to him. I had to threaten him with a transfer before he'd come round.

Our third game of a busy month saw us take on Cockfosters...


A first half in which both sides created but wasted a bunch of chances took a turn for the worse when, on 42 minutes, Mus Dauti pulled up with injury. The alert suggested he'd pulled his knee ligaments again.

Four minutes later things got even worse. A Cockfosters throw-in mid way into our half landed at the feet of the right winger, who spun and floated a cross over to the far channel where the left winger was waiting. He cut the ball back to the penalty spot where a runner from midfield was able to side-foot a shot past keeper Sam Peace. 0-1.

With Dauti unable to continue we needed to make a change. I decided against a straight swap and instead changed shape. I selected the 4-2-4 Wing Play preset and threw on Remy, the target man.

By 63 minutes we hadn't made much progress so I decided to go a little more direct. I reached for the Route one preset.

Ten minutes later we were still struggling to create a clear cut opportunity. Eddie Skerry came off the bench for the disappointing Pearman for his debut.

We were unable to get anything going. Losing at home to an inferior side is unacceptable. It was a truly dreadful performance. An aggressive team talk was had and we move on.

Injury news - Mus Dauti will be out for 3-4 weeks. Not the best news but could have been worse.

transfer news - Reserve fullback Karl Brown asked to be be released when I had made it clear that he wasn't going to get first team football here. He was allowed to go.

Discipline news - I had to have another "talk" with Santangelo. I had to threaten him again to get him to accept my criticism. This can't carry on for much longer.

Our fourth and second to last fixture of December was against Potton...


In a game we really needed to win we started poorly. The first half was dogged by a lack of quality form both teams. Passes went astray and strikers couldn't stay onside. On 50 minutes I withdrew the awful Pearman and threw on Skerry.

After 65 minutes of stalemate I decided to switch to the 4-2-4 Wide Play preset. Potton were playing ultra-defensive with four defend duties in the back line. We needed depth, width and the brute physicality of a Target Man. Remy came on, Sawyers made way.

Potton had come for a 0-0 and that's what they got. We hammered away at them but couldn't break them down. I lost count of how many times Hutchings was caught offside, it had to be 20+

Team news - After a run of poor form Joe Pearman lost his place in the first 11 to new arrival Eddie Skerry who had shown enough in his short cameos to just suggest that he would give us more from the left

Transfer news - We're starting to get serious interest in our better players. Its a worry, especially as we're unable to pay any wages it seems. The only contract I'm able to offer is an amateur one.
One of the players attracting interest is David Hicks. He's 33 so can't go on forever anyway and for both those reasons I'm starting the process of finding a replacement. In the short term, as insurance, just in case we do lose him, I've brought in Scott Curley who's a seasoned midfielder who can put in a tackle and play a forward pass.


Our final assignment of a mixed December was Leverstock Green...


Our poor form showed no sign of ending. After 23 minutes of not very much from us we conceded. Leverstock had possession in our defensive third and were working the ball around. The ball was finally crossed over from our left flank where the striker managed to squeeze a shot under the keeper at this near post. Poor, poor stuff from us. Whatever is wrong, we need to snap out of it. 1-0.

At half time we switched the the 4-1-4-1 Wing Play preset and immediately got ourselves back in the game. Birch clearned the ball from left back, Skerry picked it up midway in our own half and sent the ball forward to Hutchings who came short to the half way and laid it into the path of Skerry's forward run. Skerry got to the half way line as Hutchings was turning and running into the space behind the defence and curled a ball through the left channel into Hutchings run. Hutchings carried the ball into the box before unleashing a powerful shot past the keeper. 1-1.

Desperate for the win to break our bad run I went 4-4-2. Hicks switched to BBM, new signing Curley slotted in at BWM(d) and Remy went up top, partnering Hutchings. Sawyers and Gill made way.

Our performance improved but once again we couldn't break the opposition down. We've reached that stage of the season when the opposition, no matter who they are, seem superhuman and we seem totally lacking in confidence and ability. Closer analysis reveals that teams are defending much, much deeper against us, are playing with a higher tempo, are closing us down quicker and tackling us more aggressively. They also seem to be using more Defend duties so when we do get forward there's a wall of defenders that we can't break through. If that is the case then a change of strategy may be in order.


So...with December in the bag and at exactly the half way point of the season we're still top but have played a game more than Oxhey Jets in second. If Oxhey win their game in hand they'll leap frog us.


Hope to see you for the January update. Thanks for reading.

Edited by Atarin

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From the January update I'm going to try to be a bit more brief both to make it easier for people to read through and also for me to start ploughing through the game because there's a lot of football to get through before we get to the Premier League (and maybe Champions League) and I'd kinda like to be done before FM 2020 comes out. :lol:

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Update 6:

The league table going into January looked likes this...


we had four games this month...


Transfer news - We made six incoming transfers in the month of January and four departures...

Two central midfielders arrived and swiftly departed in James McElligott and Sam Ruff. Neither were up to standard. 

More successful arrivals have been aggressive midfielder Frankie Curley (no relation to Scott, as far as I'm aware)...


...rapid striker Chris Wedlake, who has replaced Tommy Hutchings...


...quick centre back Dylan Ebengo who will, like Steve Fuller, be the quick CB to partner the slower one, in Tumwa...


...and a young winger called Alexander Falconer who we won't be able to see until November 2019 for contract reasons that I don't really understand.

Moving on to our results...


We started the month in the worst possible way with a 2-0 defeat. Our front 3 got bullied. Both Colney goals came from set-pieces.
The London Tigers match provided a desperately needed 3 points. It wasn't a classic but we scored early and held on.
Against Biggleswade we took the lead only to wilt in the face of Biggleswades pressure and surrendered it midway through the second half. Biggleswade snatched the points in the 87th minute. Heartbreak.
For the final game of January we decided to try a new system. I reached the for the Route One template and going forward we're going to building from there. We bossed the whole game and only conceded from a poor pass from the struggling Dauti.

That leaves the table, going into February, looking like this...


Injury news - We lost midfielder Ben Gill for most of January due to a groin strain. We have now lost defender Steve Fuller for a month and he will be unavailable for all of our February fixtures.

Transfer Xtra - Striker Tommy Hutchings and central defender Joe Gritt tried to turn the dressing room against me. The pair demanded a team meeting to resolve their issues. When it became clear the rest of the squad didn't support them I informed both that they were rotten eggs and would both be leaving. The contracted Gritt accepted a termination and Hutchings accepted an offer from another club. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

On a final note our finances seem to be going in the right direction...


I hope you check in again for the February update, and once again, thanks for reading.

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Something I don't think I've ever talked about on here before is that when I play I only sign players from the region my club plays in. I almost always play in the lower leagues, levels 7-9. For me, if you're an amateur or semi-pro club based in London there's no way you would be able to attract players from Newcastle or Lancashire or even birmingham. Its too far to travel for the kind of money on offer. So, its a realism thing. Yes, it can make the game harder than it needs to be but its a trade off and one that I feel I need to make otherwise the game loses all realism.

As an example; my club, North Greenford United are based in West London/Middlesex. 

My signings have been John Kyriacou who's from Enfield, North London and has played in and around the London/Hertfordshire/Middlesex area. Dylan Ebengo, who has played in West London and the surrounding area, Aaron Tumwa who is from Watford and has played around the London area. Joe O'Brien who has played in North London most of his career. David Hicks who's from Enfield, North London and has played mostly in North West London and Middlesex. Frankie Curley (one of the further afield players) who has mostly played in East London and Essex. Eddie Skerry is another from slightly further afield, he came in from Lingfield, Surrey, but its still the South East. Ellis Remy who has played all over the South East, including London. Chris Wedlake arrived on loan from Hastings, which is on the south coast, which is about as far away as I'm willing to look. Aaron Fray is from South London and has spent most of his career there. Mus Dauti is from North West London. Ben Gill is originally from West London but has played all over. Scott Curley is from East London but has played all across the capital. Joe Pearman is from East London. 

There have been players who would have improved the squad but were just too far afield for my liking. Everyone has their own way of playing the game but this is mine.

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I agree @Atarinand I play the same way when in lower leagues.  When I am in tiers 7 and lower, I rely 100% on my scouts.  They have to find the players.

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Update 7:

Transer news - Reserve winger Julian Burton-Bruce left the club looking for more football. He wasn't good enough.
The one arrival this month has been fullback Aaron Fray. He can cover left and right. Fray's arrival allowed me to offer coach/back up right back Chris Mills a contract termination which he accepted. Mills was our highest earner by a distance.

It was another mixed month in terms of results but we're now unbeaten in 5 which has steadied the ship a little bit. Since going 4-4-2 we've looked a lot more resilient.


A 74th minute goal by Crawley Green dashed our hopes of a valuable away win. The game finished 2-2. We followed it up with an absolute hammering of Arlesey, it finished 5-0 but it could have been so many more if we hadn't been so wasteful. The Tring game was truly dreadful. Both sides lacked any quality what so ever. It finished as a 0-0 bore draw. We finished the month with an incredibly satisfying win against Wembley. We completely dominated the game. We spent so much time camped in their half, creating chance after after chance after chance but one thing or the other kept us out. Whether it be post, bar, keeper, offsides, 10 men behind the ball, or just rank bad finishing. We finally broke down the wall on 74 minutes and Wembley basically crumbled. We added another four minutes later to put the game to bed and, once again, could have had a couple of more if not for more bad finishing.

That leaves the table looking like this, as we head into the month of March.


We're top, a point above second and three above third although Colney Heath do have a game in hand. We're not the division's highest scorers by any means but we do seem to have a very tight defence. Its a very tight league with four teams definitely still in it and another three not completely out of it, although in all likelihood we're looking at the divisional winners coming out of us, Oxhey, Colney or Potton.

C'mon you Blues!

Thanks for reading and I hope to see you next time for the March update.

Edited by Atarin

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9 hours ago, Atarin said:

Something I don't think I've ever talked about on here before is that when I play I only sign players from the region my club plays in. I almost always play in the lower leagues, levels 7-9. For me, if you're an amateur or semi-pro club based in London there's no way you would be able to attract players from Newcastle or Lancashire or even birmingham. Its too far to travel for the kind of money on offer. So, its a realism thing. Yes, it can make the game harder than it needs to be but its a trade off and one that I feel I need to make otherwise the game loses all realism.

As an example; my club, North Greenford United are based in West London/Middlesex. 

My signings have been John Kyriacou who's from Enfield, North London and has played in and around the London/Hertfordshire/Middlesex area. Dylan Ebengo, who has played in West London and the surrounding area, Aaron Tumwa who is from Watford and has played around the London area. Joe O'Brien who has played in North London most of his career. David Hicks who's from Enfield, North London and has played mostly in North West London and Middlesex. Frankie Curley (one of the further afield players) who has mostly played in East London and Essex. Eddie Skerry is another from slightly further afield, he came in from Lingfield, Surrey, but its still the South East. Ellis Remy who has played all over the South East, including London. Chris Wedlake arrived on loan from Hastings, which is on the south coast, which is about as far away as I'm willing to look. Aaron Fray is from South London and has spent most of his career there. Mus Dauti is from North West London. Ben Gill is originally from West London but has played all over. Scott Curley is from East London but has played all across the capital. Joe Pearman is from East London. 

There have been players who would have improved the squad but were just too far afield for my liking. Everyone has their own way of playing the game but this is mine.

I do a similar thing. I sign players who have come from or were last at a club in the locality, or were born in the area. The higher up the leagues, the further I spread my net. When my club turns pro (if ever), the whole country becomes fair game.

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Update 8:

Staff news - With Chris Mills no longer hogging a staffing space I have been able to bring in a very good goalkeeping coach which was the main thing that we were missing.

Transfer news - After a real struggle I've managed to sign a player I always like to bring in. Michael Noone is a 28 year old, London born Irishman who can play anywhere across midfield although I see him as primarily a left winger and occasional attacking central midfielder. We've also added veteran Target Man Calum Willock as back up for Ellis Remy and another target man as a hot prospect; former Barnet youngster George Booker.


Youth news - We had our youth intake. Not much to write home about. I offered them all a contract, they won't be getting paid anyway so it made no difference. Yes, I do run a sweatshop.


Form news - I've tried to be patient with young left back George Birch but his form is pretty terrible. He'll be getting a rest for a while, Aaron Fray will fill in at left back.

Fixtures - We had a field day against Harpenden, decent performance all round with 2 goals for Wedlake and 1 each for Remy and O'Brien. We followed that up with a really dispiritng defeat to second place Colney heath, who leapfrogged us in the table. They were by far the better team but it still took two worldies for them to actually break us down. I had to give the boys an absolute rocket at half time but sadly we just didn't have the quality where we needed it. Wedlake bagged the consolation.
The third game of the month was 2nd against 3rd. Oxhey Jets were the opponents and we battled out a very aggressive and nailbiting 2-2. We fought back from 1-0 to lead 2-1, with goals form strike duo Wedlake and Remy, only to throw away the 3 points on 81 minutes from a set piece. As expected we took three points from our home game against rock bottom Hadley. Goals from Chris Wedlake and Aaron Tumwa sealed the deal. We wreapped up March with a solid if unspectacular 2-0 against Biggleswade Utd. Chris Wedlake bagged himself a brace.


That leaves the table looking like this...


We're top with a four point lead over second and an +8 goal advantage. Every team has 6 games remaining. Speaking of those remaining fixtures, here they are...


The next four games are all winnable, against teams in 9th, 16th, 10th and 18th. The final two games are trickier with our opposition currently sitting in 4th and 6th.

The next update will probably be for April and May combined, which means update 9 will be a season wrap-up. Hope to see you there. Thanks for reading.

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Update 9:

Fixtures - We turned in a reasonable performance against 9th placed Leighton, running out 3-1 winners. We'd gone a goal down and had to fight back which was good but we certainly didn't look at our best. Our lacklustre performances came back to bite us on the backside in our next game. We were playing 16th placed Baldock Town and took a 2-0 lead into half time only to throw it away in the second half by conceding two very preventable goals from free kicks. Baldock managed to hold us at bay for the last 15 minutes, as far too many teams have managed to do when we're behind, and we took a point when it should have been 3. Our goals were from Wedlake and the Baldock goalkeeper who headed the ball into his own net after the ball ricocheted off the post. Things didn't get any better in the third fixture of April as we fell to a 2-1 defeat against Cockfosters. 'Fosters took the lead, we quickly equalised shortly afterwards and started to have the better of the game but they grabbed a goal midway through the second half and, once again, were able to keep us out. We are pretty dreadful at chasing games, especially in the last 15-20 minutes. To add to the frustration striker Chris Wedlake picked up a knock and was touch and go for the Edgware game. Something is abundently clear, we desperately need a new left back. Youngster George Birch has had a go and isn't good enough. Right back Aaron Fray has had a go and is just as dreadful. The problem is that I just can't find one. The final fixture of April failed to bring any joy either. We were held to a 0-0 draw by the truly awful Edgware. We faced a wall of defenders and once again just couldn't break them down. In the first half it was a tale of endless ofsides and in the second under a barrage of our crosses they just blocked everything. Both sides missed a penalty. Regular penalty taker David Hicks has now missed three in a row. I don't see how I can leave him on penalties.


Altogether a miserable month for us and at the worst possible time. To take 2 points from a possible 12 is nowhere near good enough and if, IF we do manage to go up we're going to have to make major changes because as things stand we're pretty limited. With all of that said, somehow, we still find ourselves top and with a 2 point lead over second. It really wrankles with me that after the Leighton game we had a 7 point lead. The month of May sits before us with six points up for grabs. The fixtures are tricky with us facing Potton who sit 3rd and Leverstock Green who are in 7th. We absolutely cannot afford to be at anything but our best. Drop points now and we're in big trouble. To make matters even worse, to try to give the players a bit of a boost I called a team meeting. You know what came next...totally negative reaction. Now we're really in trouble.


Transfer news - Young loanee DM Charles Baxter has been out of the first team picture for quite a while and his manager at East Grinstead wasn't happy so I terminated his loan. One arrival this month has been former Swindon winger Lloyd Macklin. He was signed as a key player mainly because there was serious interest in him and I didn't think he'd agree to a trial so I took the plunge about brought him in without seeing him. Unfortunately he has really declined, to the point where he's not even good enough for my youth team. Yikes! You win some you lose some. 

And rounding out an absolutely dismal month Mus Dauti decided that he preferred the south coast as he accepted an offer from Peacehaven & Telscombe FC who are top of the Southern Combination. Its a loss, make no mistake. Okay he hadn't managed to continue his early goalscoring form but he was still a quick and mobile central midfielder in a squad without many of those. So...yeh, f**k April.

And so with trepedation we head into the month of May...


The penultimate game of the season. Absolutely critical result. 1-0 to us. God knows how we managed it but we did. We went ahead very early after Remy capitalised on a defensive mix-up and despite playing desperately poorly we managed to hang on and with Colney Heath losing their game 3-2 that meant........We. Were. Champions!!! Talk about dragging your near dead corpse over the line. We certainly made hard work of it but we got there.



We wrapped up our first season with a decent 2-1 win over 6th placed Leverstock Green. Calum Willock and Chris Wedlake.




Injury news - On the down side Target Man Ellis Remy suffered shin splints and is out for 4-5 months. He won't be ready to return to training until late September/October.


The club are in decent financial shape so after we wrapped up the season I requested that board send me on my first coaching course and they happilly agreed. I'll be studying for my National C Licence over the summer. I should be done around September time.


Here are some stats for the season...












This is the squad that we finish the season with. There are a few rejects in the U23s and they'll all be going. I'll need to see who I can bring in before I make an concrete plans but at first glance there are a number of areas that we need to strengthen ASAP. Centre half Aaron Tumwa is declining at a frightening rate and will need to be no more than a back up in the league above. The same goes for John Kyriacou. Left back George Birch isn't going to develop anywhere near enough to justify keeping him around. Michael Noone has been a dissapointment and we'll be looking to strengthen both wing positions. David Hicks is in the same boat as Tumwa and Kyriacou, he's 33 and showing serious signs of decline. He'll need to be back up. Gill and the two Curley's, Scott and Frankie are both past it and need to go. Eddie Skerry is a young winger with potential and who can still do a job as a rotation player. With Remy out for months Willock might have to stay as a squad option or even a first choice target man if we can't strengthen. It would be wonderful to keep Chris Wedlake but I'm not optimistic. Without him we're a lot more blunt up top so that is also an area of concern. Nazron Sawyers hasn't had as much football as he deserves this season and I want to use him more in the coming one. I think his potential versatility is another string to his bow, I can see him covering CB, RB, LB, DM and CM. Aaron Fray has been completely awful since arriving so he'll most likely be moved on. Wingers Joe O'Brien and Joe Pearman have both been consistent underperformers and so I expect both to move on. O'Brien might get a reprieve as a backup if I can't find sufficient quality. Good old Craig 'The Saint' Santangelo. It seems such a long time ago now, those hazy crazy days when he was banging in the goals. Sadly he's just not good enough to rely on so he'll go. At 29 Steve Fuller is also not going to get any better and so is probably best moving elsewhere. One player missing from the image is young target man George Booker who will probably stay around.

All of that means I have a lot of work to do over the summer if we're to be anything like ready for the Isthmian South.

...And with that we wrap up season 1. Update 10 will reveal what we got up to in the transfer market and how our pre-season went. Hope to see you there. Thanks for reading.

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Great job keeping it all together for win! 

Hope you can find some depth and upgrades for your team!

I always have a hard time finding quality backups.....especially some who don't whine about playing time or have their heads turned by Transfer rumors.

Edited by Hootieleece

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Update 10:

So the season ended and the players disappeared off on their holidays but as we know there's no holiday for a football manager. I got straight to work and I'd love to say there's lots to show for it but the truth is reshaping the squad has been like pulling teeth, lots of strain, lots of pain and not a lot to show for it.

We should probably start with the transfers as that's what everybody always wants to know...


...Incomings first - I must have approached, at least, two thousand players and sadly the vast majority wouldn't give me the time of day. Of those that would agree to a trial the vast majority were just plain awful, of those I would have gladly added to the squad 99.9% weren't interested in negotiating a contract with the club (which does beg the question why on earth did you agree to a trial in the first place, but there you go, that's footballers for you!) 

As a last resort I began offering contracts to some players without seeing them just so I could assess them. Jack Newman, Tyrone Berry and Billy Hebson were three such players and were all awful. They left pretty much as soon as they arrived. The remaining three were not at all of the quality I was looking for but at this point I was getting desperate.

The most obvious signing, and perhaps in the simplest was the extension of Chris Wedlake's loan deal. That was a really important singing for us. His pace is crucial because pace is something we don't have bags of.

the rest are...


Ben Butler is an okay central midfielder, he'll do as a ball winning partner and legs for David Hicks who's physical decline means he'll have to stick, largely, to playmaking these days.


Ricardo Joseph is a stop gap, no question. He's nowhere near good enough for us going forward but we desperately needed a new left back and he's a bit better than last season's left back George Birch.


We were looking for an upgrade in the Target Man department, its debatable whether we've actually achieved that. Eoin isn't the footballer that Ellis Remy is but he is more physical and he has the added bonus of not being injured until September, which Remy is. I'm desperately hoping Eoin can do something for us with his brute force.

There's not much to report on the outgoings really. I had planned on keeping Calum Willock around but he decided to retire. The rest of the departures all needed to go to make room for fresh blood.

That leaves the squad looking like this...


It looks very similar to last season's squad which is obviously a major concern. I'm still working on bringing players in and that will continue over the course of the season. Going into the first game of the season half of the bench will be made up of youth players. 

Pre-season was a complete write-off in terms of developing a tactic or settling a side in. I was constantly fielding tons of trialists and trying different things. It was a mess. The entire pre-season just served to help me seperate the "get rid of" trialists from the "might be able to do a job" trialists and nothing else.


The results don't look too bad but believe me, very little thought went into winning any of the games.

Finally, before we go into the off-field stuff, I've decided to take a slightly different approach tactically for the second season. In the first season I started off with my own bare-bones tactic but very quickly got distracted by the shiny new presets, (its a new game and a new feature - what can I tell you?!). This season I'm determined to be a bit more disciplined with myself, a bit more cerebral, a bit more "tactical". With that said the tactic, such as it is, that we will be starting the season with looks a little something like this...


The thought behind it is as follows. In this division we should, by rights, be getting smashed by everyone. So...by my logic we need to be exceptionally solid and hit teams on the break. For that we need two characteristics - pace to hit the space, and power to retain the ball up top when the space is closed off. The reason I'm playing Wedlake as an SS (AM is not a position that he is currently comfortable in) is because last season he had trouble staying on side and he especially lacked the intelligence to unlock packed defences. So, I've withdrawn him, this - combined with us playing a lot deeper as a team, should create more space behind teams as well as giving him a lower starting position from which it will be a lot harder to get caught offside. It seemed a no-brainer that we needed a Target Man up top and so that's what we've gone with. We had trouble on the wings last year and we're sadly (for now) stuck with the same misfiring wingers we had then. So, I've got them playing as WM(a)'s instead of Wingers. This will hopefully see them focusing on getting into areas off the ball rather than relying on mercurial dribbling skills that they don't possess. As a team we're instructed to Hit Early Crosses which I hope will see our wide men hitting the ball up to the TM and then following the ball into the attacking third rather than being ineffectual and peripheral out wide. If the tactic doesn't play out that way then I may tell both wingers to cut-inside when them team has the ball  - which I hope will address that issue. We'll have to wait and see.
Central midfield will remain a pretty fluid set up. I have no hard and fast rules there. We'll adjust to whatever we might need. That will become easier if I can bring in upgrades. As things stand I think this set up is the best use of Hicks and Butler. One providing the aggression and mobility, whilst the other provides the know-how and creativity.
The fullbacks will start every match on Defend. We'll see how matches develop before deploying them in a more progressive way. the centre backs are standard but may become NCB's if necessary. Again, I'm actively looking for upgrades in this department. I relatively happy with my keeper. And there you go. A simple tactic that will develop as its faced with the realities of this division.


We'll be playing in the Isthmian South Central Division this season. This is the Media Prediction screen with the teams ranked by predicted finish. As you can see we're expected to finish rock bottom.


Thankfully the board agree with that assessment and don't expect anything more this season than a struggle against relegation. Unless I'm missing something I can't really lose with this. We're odds on to go down (90/1 to win the league) and so anything better than that and I'm a hero. For the record, I do expect to do better than that, a lot better than that.


I signed a new contract straight after the conclusion of the last season and I think my standing with the board is pretty good so it bodes well.


The board, much to my surprise gave me a very generous increase in wage budget. I had been limited to £250 (although most of my players were on £0 a week because they were on amateur contracts). The only pity is that I've not been able to make a dent in that £1429 because I've not been able to bring in the reinforcements that I wanted to.

The dynamics are all looking fine for now. Hopefully we can avoid going on any long winless runs because that really seems to effect squad moral badly.



Not pictured here is my staff improvements. I've done good work behind the scenes and I'm very happy with my team.

Lastly there's me. You can already see the benefits of my experience and (I assume) the coaching course that I'm on.

The one concern that I have is that, inexplicably, my Determination and Player Knowledge has declined. I have no idea how the latter has gone down given how many players I've cast my eyes over this pre-season but there you go.


...and finally, finally.


These are the fixtures for August. It won't come as a surprise to you to learn that we are massive underdogs for every game.

Update 11 is going to be a review of the month of August. I'm hoping to have taken at least 6 points from the above fixtures, let's see if we do. I'm also hoping to have made at least a couple of signings that actually improve us. Again, we'll have to see.

Thanks for reading and I hope to see you for the next update.

Edited by Atarin

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Addendum to update 10:

Its a small tactical point but I had planned on playing Wedlake as an SS but just before I took the screenshot I had actually changed his role to AM(a). There was a very good reason for this. I wanted him to be on his toes and ready to sprint into space when/if Casey knocked the ball down or a ball went over the opposition defence and that would seem to suggest that SS would be a good fit, however SS comes with the PI - Takes More Risks, which instructs the player to take more risks with their passing. Now, given that Wedlake is far from a good passer with Passing of 4, Vision of 3, Composure of 3 and Decisions of 5, I thought it best not to mess around with that PI. So, I used a far more generic Role and just added the PIs from SS that I liked, such as Dribble More, Move Into Channels and Close Down More. This way I'm hoping that Wedlake plays far more like a withdrawn striker than a creator.

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Update 11:

Augusts results look a lot worse than they are...


It was an eye-opening experience in our first game of the season against Chalfont St. Peter. We went down 2-1 and yet I was not too down-hearted, both of Chalfont's goals came in the aftermath of set-pieces not regular plays. We did some good things and I quite liked the way the tactic functioned. Its not perfect and I can already see some potential improvements but ultimately it wasn't about tactics. Chalfont were just quicker, strong, more clinical...better than us. The performance was especially sobering given that Chalfont are predicted to finish 14th, so they're nowhere near the best team we're going to face this season. *Gulp!*

It looked like we were going make a huge statement in our second match. We were a goal up with 15 minutes to go and looking good but a burst of quality from our opponents levelled the score and that was how the game ended.

It was rinse and repeat for our third game of the season against 3rd favourites for the title Potters Bar as our 53rd minute goal from Eddie Skerry was cancelled out on 85 minutes as the opposition piled on the pressure. We executed our tactical plan perfectly and I was pretty satisfied with the football we were playing. The simple system I've developed is doing pretty much what I asked of it and our shortcomings are down to quality not effort or tactic. What ultimately cost us was a lack of depth. As the players tired I had no choice but to throw on a couple of untested youngsters. All in all though I felt quite proud of our effort. The only major concern is that striker Chris Wedlake hasn't adjusted to his new role at all. He's been largely anonymous so far and we can't afford to carry him.

Towards the end of the month we managed to secure three signings. I can't say that they're 100% massive improvements over what we already had, they are better...sorta but mostly its about marginal improvements and just improving the squad at the moment until a player comes along that can really take us to the next level. Singing #1 is central defender Callum McNaughtonl. McNaughton is a direct replacement for the struggling Aaron Tumwa although we'll have to wait a couple of weeks for him to regain some match fitness. Signing #2 is right back Marc Weatherstone, who we picked up from local side Wembley. He's really not an improvement mentally or technically over John Kyriacou but he is far fitter and stronger which may count for a lot in this division. We'll have to wait and see. I'm really torn about dropping Kyriacou because although his performances have been absolutely shocking he is a leader, the club captain and a very influential squad member. Lastly, is signing #3 - left back Teddy Nesbitt. He's marginally better than Ricardo Joseph but also offers us options at set-pieces with his decent delivery.





We managed to battle to a 0-0 draw in our game against Tooting & Mitcham. We were never really in it from an attacking point of view but the defensive display was very welcome as was the point.

Another signing followed the Tooting game. Veteran winger Callum Saunders came in without me being able to assess him. It was immediately obvious that he was not even as good as Joe O'Brien and so he was sent on his way.

Our final game of August was a case of groundhog day. Going into the game I had two questions in my mind. First, would changing our wide players to Winger (Support) actually give us more penetration in the final third and secondly, would reverting Wedlake back to a striker get him contributing more going forward and if it did would it reduce our defensive stability. Our opponents were North Leigh and we actually raced into a 2 goal lead, our goals coming from Casey and Butler with both wingers on support playing a vital role. We held on for as long as we could but on 71 minutes North Leigh got the goal that gave them hope and we just couldn't withstand the onslaught. On 86 minutes they levelled and that's how the game ended. Looking back we had some golden opportunities to extend our lead but wasted them but that says something about our situation that we don't feel safe unless we're 3-0 up. I'm really not sure what we can do to tighten things up any more they already are. The jury is still very much out on Chris Wedlake at this level even as a striker. He's not the prolific goal-getter that he was last season. He's not even threatening goal at the moment.

The worst news to come out of the North Leigh game was that Ben Butler, ball winner and arguably our best player this season had twisted his ankle and would be out for 4-8 weeks. That is a seriously bad piece of luck.


So that's August in the bag. Not quite the 6 points that I was hoping for but four points none the less and only one defeat. our first win of the season can't come soon enough though and that has to be priority number one for September. Draws are fine but wins are what success is really made of. All in all though I'm reasonably satisfied with the foundation that we've laid.

After five games the table looks like this. Its still very early days.



Edited by Atarin

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I had the same experience in my save as Portsmouth(second job of Journeyman save, they were in League One. Double Promotion due to Luck and Gengenpress) just promoted to Premier League. I played a Man City team with Mbappe and Dembele they were to fast and Clinical for my team. My Team was home and won a lot of Set Pieces. (My team is Tall and Strong) and lost 6-3...

I just love it when a tactic almost works...

watching this with great interest.....KUTGW!

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Update 11 Xtra:

One signing I forget to include in update 11 was this guy...


He's not going to set the world alight but quite frankly beggars can't be choosers. He's got decent passing, good vision, decent anticipation, decent composure, decent decision making and so he should make a half way decent backup to playmaker David Hicks.

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Update 12:

September was an action packed month...


We didn't have to wait long for our first victory of the season as we managed to put Ware to the sword with a dogged 2-0 display. It was good to do it at home infront of our own fans aswell. Target man Eoin Casey bagged the first after somehow getting in behind the opposition despite lacking any pace and cooly slotted past the keeper. Our second was a fortuitous own goal but no complaints. We held on under some pressure but the quality was missing for Ware. The one dark spot to come from the game was that we lost Chris Wedlake to a pulled hamstring which will mean he's out for 3-5 weeks. He's been anonymous, its true, but it does mean we now have absolutely no pace in the side.

Following the Ware game we added veratile forward/wide-player Josh Hutchinson to the squad. I'm familiar with him from his time as a Spurs U16, he's originally from London. He's left footed but can cover both wings and he can also do a job as a number 10 and a striker. He's got decent acceleration, pace, agility, dribbling, first touch, vision and technique aswell as good determination, Teamwork and work rate. He's not outstanding but he can give us options and other than being left footed he might be the upgrade on Joe O'Brien that we've been looking for.


Speaking of Joe O'Brien, almost as though he knew what was coming he decided to accept an offer he'd recieved from another club. I would have liked to have kept him around for squad depth but I wasn't going to get into a bidding war to keep him. So, he's gone and Hutchinson is straight into the matchday 11.

Another player on the move was right back Aaron Fray. He was dreadful last season and hasn't been selected in a matchday squad this season either. He complained about his not playing so I agreed that he should leave. He did.

1 win turned into 2. Our next opponents were Molesey and rather than tell you what happened I'm just going to post a couple of images, they pretty much speak for themselves. Hayden Friar is one of our U18s. We were very short of players and so he made his debut as the no.10 behind Eoin Casey. He's not great at all but on the day he was simply outstanding.



As always with us bad news tends to follow good news, so on that subject we lost midfield playmaker David Hicks to a twisted ankle. We will be without him for 5-6 weeks which isn't great at all. We're super stretched.

Our next match pitted us against Hertford. We played well in the first half but missed a bunch of excellent chances which ultimately came back to bite us on the backside. They fluked a goal after a lucky deflection and were able to get a second as we pushed for the equaliser. Its important to remember that we're missing our first choice central midfield as well as our only forward player with any pace.

Even with Ben Butler returning shortly we are really short of numbers and quality in central midfield so we brought in 20 year old playmaker Jack Richards. We tried to get him in the summer but he wanted to be a Key Player. At the time I didn't see him in that role so we had to move on but since then he has reduced his demands and we managed to get him in as a Hot Prospect. We did bring in another central midfielder; Greig Stewart (another player I was familiar with from Tottenham's U16s) but he wasn't the kind of midfielder we were looking for so he was moved on shortly afterwards.


In personal news I completed my coaching course and I'm already thinking about asking the board to send me on another one.

Our final game of September was against league leaders and favourites Rugby. I almost don't know what to say about this game. They were so much better than us it was scary. We wasted tons of chances and they strolled into a three goal lead and then in the second half somehow, I have no idea how, we staged a comeback culminating in a 90th minute equaliser. It was unbelievable, Jeff...and then after going ultra, ultra, ultra defensive left back "super sub" Ricardo Joseph managed to hoof the ball into his own net from 5 yards and elation turned to despair. Rugby even had time to add a 5th as we desperately pushed forward for a scarcely deserved equaliser. Right back Marc Weatherstone had an absolute shocker, scoring a 5.7 rating. After the game I warned him about his abysmal performance and he threw it back in my face. I take a very dim view of players that do that and Mr. Weatherstone is one more infraction away from finding himself without a club.

Over all I'd say that the month of September has been pretty decent. We secured 6 points from 4 games which is about what I had hoped for, I'm a tad disappointed by the showings in our final two games but we have to remember who we are and where we're playing. The big picture is that we're a quarter of the way through the season and we're midtable.


Thanks for reading and I hope to see you for the next update.

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Can't wait till your team is good enough to make the Rugby Football Team want to play Rugby!

Hint: become bigger faster stronger! (all signees +6Ft Tall and Strength, Pace, and Acceleration 10 or above. As well as appropriate attributes.) 

That is the secret of my success at this game: buy better Athletes.....

Edited by Hootieleece

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Update 13:


It was an absolutely gutting start to October as we lost 2-1 to 5th placed Yate. We had taken the lead on 30 minutes from Casey with Yate drawing level six minutes later. It looked like things were going our way when on 40 minutes Yate had a man sent off but the truth is that the game was very evenly poised until the 90th minute when left back Teddy Nesbitt fouled in the box and up stepped their man to tuck it away to absolutely steal all three points. To say I was deflated would be an understatement. That's also three defeats in a row now. We needed something from the next game even if it was a tedious 0-0, I didn't care. We could not, must not, lose 4 on the trot.


I approached the board about sending me on another coaching course and got this completely unnecessary and out of order response. Quite how we're underperforming in the league I can't imagine. The board's expectation was a fight against relegation and we're sat in 14th. It Maybe wasn't the best time to ask but still...rude!..

In order to beef up our defence I signed versatile defender Michael Kamara. I'd tried to bring him in multiple times before but he wanted ridiculous money. Finally I managed to get him for a very reasonable £210 per appearance. The only slight issue with him is that now I can properly see him he's not actually as good as I thought he was going to be. He would never agree to a trial so I had to sign him on the hunch that he was good given the calibre of teams interested in him but the truth is that he's not actually any better than Marc Weatherstone, in fact, if anything he's not quite as good. He has signed as a First Teamer so I'm not exactly sure what to do about this one. The one advantage of Kamara is that he is hugely versatile.


We got an absolutely crucial point against Bedfont Sports in our second game of the month but oh deary me it should have been more. Josh Henderson put us in the lead on 14 minutes and he's one signing I'm extremely happy with at the moment. Sports equalised on 22 minutes before we edged in front again on 73 minutes. It looked for all the world like we were going to hold on, we were defending superbly and then we countered...cheaply gave away the ball in midfield and then they countered on us and on 90+2 minutes their striker took the ball round our keeper and slotted the ball home. Agony. Pure agony. Yes we got the point that we wanted, and needed, but Bedfont were there for the taking, without doubt. All we had to do was defend properly. How many times have I said that about this side? We really have a problem with letting in late, late goals and they're are hurting us.

We managed to grind out a 2-1 win against second from bottom AFC Dunstable. It was far from a classic and it took a tactical change to get ourselves going at all. Dunstable played a 4-2DM-0 3-1 Wide system (I wish there was a simpler way of describing that) and basically sat deep and compact and tried to hit us on the break with their four attacking players. It was effective for the first 70 odd minutes. We couldn't land a glove on them and anyone watching would have thought that we were playing a team from a couple of divisions above. Dunstable fluked a goal on 13 minutes and it took us until 73 minutes before finally carved them open. I had been forced into going Route One 4-4-2 as nothing else seemed to work and the change was very profitable as Wedlock and Hicks grabbed us the points.

After the Dunstable game I released midfielder Bradley Barber. He wasn't really good enough. Also on the transfer front I've been dealing with more and more interest in centre back Dylan Ebengo. So far I've managed to get him to agree to stay but the calibre of club coming in for him is getting higher and higher. How much longer we can hold onto him I just don't know.

In our final game of October we battled to an incredible 3 points away at 4th placed Buckland who's team are so out of our league its rediculous. Our attacking play was poor but we defended heroically and a big part of that was Michael Kamara who replaced the grossly out of form Marc Weatherstone at right back. We were trialling a new system designed to get both Wedlake and Casey into the same side without playing 4-4-2 or playing Wedlake at AM where he does not prosper and it was Wedlake who came up with the goods in the 93rd minute to turn what had looked like a creditable draw into an incredible win.

Here's the new system...


I always start my tactics out as simple as I can.


I've told Chris Wedlake, who will be playing as an AF to close down more and tackler harder, I'm not looking for a high-press as such but I don't want opposition defenders to feel comfortable playing out either. I want Wedlake to generally just be a nuisance when we don't have the ball.


I've tailor made this role for Eoin Casey. I don't want a front two but I do want both strikers in the side. Here I'm trying to recreate the target man in the AM strata. Obviously he won't attract the ball like the role does but I've given Hold Up Ball, Dribble Less, Shoot Less Often, Tackle Harder and Close Down More. What I'm hoping for is for a very aggressive player on and off the ball who roughs DMs & deep lying CMs up whilst also offering good, strong, hold up play when the ball does go forward. He can also offer added punch through the middle when play goes out wide, arriving late for whipped or floated crosses.

So, with October in the bag this is what the table looks like...


We're not doing too bad at all, really. Automatic promotion was never really on the cards and the play-offs, although a very tall order, are still only 7 points away. We're 11 points above the relegation places which was the target at the start of the season. October landed us 7 points out of a possible 12 which is not only our best points haul of any month so far, its also the best proportionately as well. That's progress if you ask me.

The next update will take in the month of November during which we face 2nd placed Carshalton, 10th placed Chipstead, 8th placed Swindon Supermarine and 6th placed Waltham Abbey, so another very tough month for us. Realistically we'd be over the moon with four draws, so four points from that run is a decent enough bar to set. Its not a high bar but we are where we are.

Thanks for reading and I hope to see you for update 14!

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Update 14:


Yeh. Just let that sink in.

Our game against Carshalton was one of those days at the office that you just want to forget. We went down 3-0 but it was so much worse than that. Our performance was dreadful. Playmaker David Hicks suffered a pulled hamstring and misses 3 weeks. Left winger Eddie Skerry suffered a twisted ankle and will miss 5 weeks. Ball winner Ben Butler got himself sent off and left back Ricardo Joseph who had been whinging about wanting a chance in the first team came in and delivered a truly diabolical performance, finishing with a rating of 5.8. There were no positives to take from this game what-so ever. By the end of my post-match team talk there were no teacups left un-smashed.

With the squad depleted I was forced into making a couple of signings. To cover us in midfield I recruited Tanasheh Abrahams, another one of those ex-Tottenham U16s I can draw upon. He's okay but little more. I also took the opportunity to bring in target man Billy Jones. he's got good physicals, good finishing, excellent aggression and work rate and useful determination. At 6'2 he could be a useful option to have. We also finally got Alexander Falconer, that winger we signed about a year ago that couldn't be completed for some reason. Well he's here now and as you can see, it was well worth the wait. (You can't see me but I'm rolling my eyes). Falconer was released shortly after arriving.




Second game of the month and its the same old story. We went ahead got pegged back a few minutes later after some diabolical defending. We looked relatively comfortable after that and should have wrapped up a very decent away point only to give away a goal from a set-piece on 84 minutes to walk away with nothing. True, we were decimated by injury and suspension but still... We can't keep throwing away points at the end of games.

Now behind Billy Jones, Eoin Casey and Chris Wedlake in the striker position George Booker and Ellis Remy were released from their contracts. Incoming was striker Reece Grant who will provide a bit of back up for Chris Wedlake's pace.


Going into the Swindon game I decided Eoin Casey needed to be dropped. He'd had enough chances and just wasn't delivering. It created an interesing problem though. Who would replace him. In the end I opted to go a different route from the converted big man and instead threw in the languid playmaker Jack Richards in the hope that he could thread passes into the channels for Wedlake, Hutchinson and Barden to run onto with their pace. Barden is an U18 left winger who has been on the bench a lot due to a lack of depth. With Skerry out injured I've been forced to give him a run in the side and the results have not been pretty. He's absolute dross. Quick as anything but no talent what so ever.

Difficult to really understand the result against Swindon. For large parts of the game it felt like it it was only a matter of time until the goals started to come but we just never really managed to create a really good opening. Far too many times Chris Wedlake ran into cul-de-sacs or got caught offside. Both of Swindon's goals were the result of set-pieces, which is another reoccurring theme of our season. Our consolation goal was scored by McNaughton from a corner in the 5th minute of injury time. A third defeat in a row that heaped massive pressure on us for the last game of November. Getting something from that game had become absolutely imperative. If 3 defeats in a row is a crisis what on earth do you call 4?

We went into the Waltham Abbey game with one objective and one objective only. To not lose the game and you know what they say? If you don't concede then you can't lose the game so we set up ultra defensively. We defended fantastically well for the first 60 odd minutes but ultimately we couldn't keep them out. There's not a lot you can say to your players after that. We played pretty well. We just weren't good enough. Story of our season.


...and with that we put an utterly miserable November in the rear view mirror. 12 points on offer, zero points secured. Every single opponent was noticeably quicker, more powerful, more clinical and just plain better than us. Wish us luck, and may god have mercy on our souls.


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You need some tall defenders to help with that Set-Piece Problem...any 

I generally zonal mark the 6 yard box with my tallest players...I put my shortest (worst headers) on the posts. With my best passer on edge of area.  and Striker(or fastest player) near mid line. Any left over players man mark Tall players...

It's not perfect...but keeps AI Set-Piece's to a minimum.

Which is why I like tall players!

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This is my backline from right to left....





My centre backs aren't hugely tall but they're not small either. I'm generally happy with them from open play. Ebengo is the standout defender. His mentals might not be anything to write home about but his physicals are outstanding for this level and he's a decent tackler and I love his level of aggression. He snuffs out most opposition attacks. McNaughton is clearly not up to much but he's the best we're currently able to attract. The fullbacks are, again, the best we can find at the moment. As to your point about height, its a fair point and if I could find a 6'6 central defender with positioning, anticipation, concentration, bravery, aggression and strength above 7 then I'd seriously consider it but I haven't. 



And my defensive set-pieces look like this...



Direct Free Kick


Direct (small chance)


Wide routine


Deep routine


Edited by Atarin

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Update 15:

With the bruises from November still sore we headed into the Christmas period where, at least on paper, the fixtures were a little kinder. FC Romania were 13th, Street 17th, Chalfont 12th and Westfield 18th. It may have been ambitious but I set the goal of securing at least 8 points from the 12 on offer.


On the transfer front fullback and club captain John Kyriacou left for pastures new. He'd slipped down the pecking order despite being a really important influence on the squad. The choice of new captain wasn't easy as we don't have a natural successor. In the end goalkeeper Sam Peace took the job with Callum McNaughton acting as VC. Neither are perfect and a new candidate for captain is definitely on the list of things upcoming tasks.

On December the 3rd I had a career first. University College Dublin approached me for a job interview. I'm sticking with North Greenford throughout my career so I'll politely dicline but I am definitely flattered.

We began with a valuable point against FC Romania, which put an end to the horrible run of defeats. We started out very defensive but concede after just 5 minutes. We stuck to the gameplan for a good 60 minutes and created a number of good chances for striker Chris Wedlake but the youngster continued his poor form in front of goal. With thirty minutes left we pushed forward, trying to exploit the wide areas and we managed to get a goal back. Striker Billy Jones netted on 76 minutes. We dominated the remainder of the game without managaging to find that all important second goal.

We secured the signing of winger Chris Flood. He'll be thrown into action almost immediately as I'm extremely dissatisfied with our current options on the left wing.


We followed up our encouraging performance against Romania with an emphatic 3-0 victory away against Street. Chris Wedlake found the net after being played in behind with a peach of a pass by Josh Hutchinson. It took us until the 84 minutes before put the game to bed with penalties from David Hicks and Teddy Nesbitt both for fouls on substitute striker Reece Grant.

That took us to the midway point of the season.

We kept the momentum going against Chalfont St. Peter with another impressive victory, this time coming from a goal down to win 2-1. Chalfont's goal was extremely fortunate, they scored after being awarded what looked like a very dubious penalty on 55 minutes. We huffed and puffed but when chances came along we wasted them with striker Billy Jones being particularly guilty. Eventually we broke them down and Wedlake bagged a brace, the first on 75 minutes and the eventual winner on 79. Tactical it was a game of cat and mouse with both myself and my opposite number trying to outmanoeuvre the other. We even had opportunities to bury the game late on when Wedlake spurned the opportunity to claim the match ball after fluffing his lines from the penalty spot. 

We rounded December off with a convincing win at home against strugglers Westfield. Striker Billy Jones got us off to a good start after 19 minutes. Tanasheh Abrahams doubled our lead on the stroke of half-time. Chris Wedlake stretched our advantage on 53 minutes and Reece Grant came off the bench to add a 4th on 80 minutes. I was slightly disappointed that we lost our focus towards the end and allowed Westfield to rob us of our clean sheet. Can't get distracted by that though terrific result.

So, that was December. The perfect antidote to our miserable November. It was an easier run of fixtures, no doubt, but I'd also credit the arrival of Chris Flood with our up turn in form. The left winger has made so much difference. He can pass, cross, he knows how to find space, he's got good vision and makes good decisions.etc He's a huge upgrade on what we had before. We managed to do better than my target of 8 points from 12 by bagging a magnificent 10! Those 10 points see us finish 2019 in 12th spot.

December League Table.jpg

Onwards and upwards. Thanks for reading and I hope to see you back here for update 16. 

Edited by Atarin

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Update 16:


We started 2020 with a fantastic result away at Potters Bar, beating them 3-1, although I have no earthly idea how we did it. They had over 60% of possession and had stupendous amounts of chances but we defended like lions, throwing our bodies in the way. All of our goals were scored on the break away and it was the pacey Chris Wedlake who was on target each time to bag what I think is his first hattrick for the club. Potters Bar had been awarded a very dubious penalty with the score 2-0 and I feared we were going to throw two points away again but we held on and not only that hit them for a third. I was absolutely delighted with the performance and the result and we extend our winning run to 4 games and our unbeaten run to 5.

Following the Potters Bar game we released playmaker Jack Richards. He wasn't featuring for the first team, he was on decent money and his potential had been steadily declining so it made sense to cut our losses. Following that fullback Marc Weatherstone complained about not playing enough. The fact is when he did play he was poor. We talked it out but couldn't resolve it so we agreed he should leave. He did. It does cause a problem though as we're now critically short of right backs. There is a young kid in the U18s who has a tiny bit of potential but I don't know whether to take the risk on him.


In personal news the board approached me about a new contract. I did try to wrestle some training ground improvements out of them but they weren't budging so I accepted the deal on offer which ties me down for another year. I also tried to get them to agree to send me on a coaching course but, again, they refused.

We had 4 games in the month of January and 5 in February but 2 postponements meant we spent three of the weeks of January without a game. The final week of January had to two games squeezed in and then February was going to be a hellacious month with 6 fixtures, mostly three days apart. That was going to put an almighty strain on the squad.

You wouldn't think a 1-0 win against a team in the lower reaches of the table would be one of my more satisfying results and performances but it absolutely was. Ware were a very stubborn opponent and extremely hard to break down. It was the sort of game that can easily slip away from you and in the past has, but we kept at it and got the goal we deserved when Dylan Ebengo headed in a corner. We handled the remainder of the game extremely well, sitting deep, letting them come to us before hitting them on the counter with our pace. The only slight negative was Josh Hutchinson picked up a knock and had to come off but he shouldn't miss any football.

It was a real struggle against Tooting & Mitcham in the first of our 2 games in hand. Tooting were sitting deep and playing for a 0-0 but on the stroke of half time we managed to batter down the door when striker Billy Jones rose highest in the six-yard-box to power in a header. Frustratingly Tooting got a goal back on 68 minutes. With only two days rest we looked very tired and our opponents took advantage hemming us in. We made a couple of changes, both personal and tactical and we started to dominate again. We were handed a slice of good luck when, having used all of their subs, Tooting lost a player to injury. The extra man allowed us to stretch them and Chris Wedlake popped up with a terrific strike to claim the 3 points our performance deserved on the 90th minute.

Because of weather it was a very truncate month, fixture wise but we navigated it as well as could be hoped. 3 wins from 3 was what we wanted from 3 winnable fixtures and that's what we got. We're now on a 7 game unbeaten run and a 6 game winning run. The table makes very satisfying reading given our early season struggles. I'm not getting carried away but it hasn't escaped my notice that we're only 7 points off of a play-off spot.


A brief preview of February highlights why I'm not getting carried away... We play 4 of the top 5. We start off at home to 13th placed Moseley, follow it up with another home game, this time against North Leigh. Next we're away to 2nd placed Hertford, followed by an away game against 4th placed Yate. After that we've got a home game against top of the table Rugby and we finish the month with at home to 12th placed Bedfont Sports.


We've got to be looking to take something from Moseley and Bedfont because the games against North Leigh, Hertford, Yate and Rugby are going to be really, really tough.

Thanks for reading and I hope to see you for update 17.

Edited by Atarin

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Update 17:


January started with a 3-2 victory over Molesey. The score definitely flattered Moseley who, in truth, created very little. They were awarded a penalty after 6 minutes, from which they scored and they immediately went on the defensive. We worked very hard to draw level through Chris Wedlake and added a second, to take the lead, on the stroke of halftime from Dylan Ebengo. On 55 minutes striker Billy Jones netted our third and it looked like plain sailing but almost immediately Molesey hit back, scoring after a scramble in the box following a set-piece. We held on though and kept those runs going.

We only had a couple of days to prepare for North Leigh, the team occupying the last play-off spot, but it didn't seem to matter as we thrashed them 3-0. We raced into a 2-0 lead after 10 minutes with goals from strikers Chris Wedlake and Billy Jones, Wedlake finished the rout after 56 minutes. It was an incredible performance, despite the obvious tiredness the squad were feeling. Morale was incredibly high as we extended our run of victories to 8 and our unbeaten run to 9.

Another short turn around and we were back in action, this time against 2nd placed Hertford. We managed to grab a creditable 2-2 draw. We weren't at our best that's for sure but still managed to edge ahead when Josh Hutchinson cut inside and snuck a shot inside the near post. Hertford levelled in first half injury time and took the lead after the break after an spectacular hit from outside the box. As I said we weren't at our best and we weren't getting enough shots on target but thankfully a Hertford defender tripped Billy Jones in the box allowing defender Michael Kamara to step up and bury the penalty to draw the score level. Both teams tried to find a winner but without creating any clear cut chances.

With a week between the Hertford and Yate games we were able to go in reasonably fresh. We played yate at a good time as their form had really tailed off, they had 1 point from their previous 3 fixtures and we offered them no respite as we stormed into a 3 goal lead. Chris Wedlake added his 14th and 15th goals of the season on 6 and then 15 minutes. Defender Callum McNaughton headed in a 3rd from a corner. We looked by far the more dangerous team throughout and should have bagged more but our clinical finishing deserted us. Yate grabbed a consolation goal on 86 minutes but we still had enough time to reestablish our 3 goal lead when substitute Reece Grant powered through Yates beleaguered defence and smashed home our 4th.

With that victory we stretched our incredible unbeaten run to 11 and found ourselves, beyond our wildest expectations, in 6th, 1 point outside of the play-off places. Automatic promotion was out of the question as Rugby had an 18 point lead on us and speaking of Rugby, they were up next.

I nearly made myself cry after making what could have been a very costly mistake. Every time a club offers a contract to one of my better players I offer them a new contract to convince them to stay. Well, a couple of clubs offered out star defender Dylan Ebengo a deal. I opened negotiations as I always do but unfortunately got distracted and accidentally walked away from negotiations, upsetting Dylan and making it impossible to restart them. I had a very nervous few minutes while I waited to see what Ebengo would decide to do. Thankfully he opted to stay. I don't need to tell you how disastrous it would have been had he left.

We met this years new youth intake this month. There's a couple of lads in there that might develop quite nicely, for example the ludicrously named Ken Bird and Dylan Thomas, but no one that will blaze straight into the first team.


Controversy. That's the word that sums up the Rugby game. Both sides were evenly matched and played an attacking game from the outset. It was end to end stuff but both defences held firm. As the game headed deep into injury time it looked for all the world like we'd have to share the points but then in "Fergie time" there was a scramble in our box and the Rugby striker managed to stab it home. There were serious question asked of the official after the game. The goal was recorded as having been scored in very nearly the 6th minute of injury time when only 4 had been indicated. To say I wasn't best pleased would be an understatement. in fact completely disgusted with the match official would be more accurate. With friends like that no wonder Rugby are flying away at the top of the table.

With Rugby ending our unbeaten run at a hugely impressive 11 games the Bedfont Sports match offered us the opportunity to get straight back to winning ways. We didn't take it. We roared into a two goal lead only for Bedfont to grab a goal back as the referee was about to put the whistle to his lips to blow for halftime. On 69 minutes Josh Hutchinson restored our 2 goal lead to make it 3-1 but our energy and application noticeably dropped. Bedfont looked increasingly confident and grabbed a goal back in the 78th minute and kept coming, grabbing an equaliser a minute later. We looked shell shocked and it was about to get worse. In the first minute of injury time Bedfont raced forward and their striker blasted the ball past Sam Peace in our goal to put them in the lead for the first time. I was absolutely fuming. We'd actually moved into the play-off spots before the comeback. I shouted from the sidelines for the lads to push forward and it seemed to shake off the cobwebs because push forward we did and substitute Reece Grant rose to head in a freekick and draw us level. We pushed for another one but there just wasn't time. A really disappointing collapse, result and performance. We brought it on ourselves.

And on that slightly deflated note we draw a very, very long February to a close. It was a gruelling month with some terrific performances and some excellent results. Its just a shame that luck abandoned us against Rugby and our mindset let us down when we had a chance to really make a statement and push for the play-offs against Bedfont. We sit in 8th just 2 points off of 5th. Just two months of football remain. 8 Fixtures. Four home, four away. 24 points are on offer. March, where we face three of the top 6,  is a lot tougher than April, where we play 3 games against bottom half opponents. If we can stay in the hunt over March then we're in with a decent shot.


Thanks for reading and I hope to see you back here for more North Greenford United news in update 18.

Edited by Atarin

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Update 18:


AFC Dunstable were rock bottom of the table as we faced them so you could have been forgiven for expecting a cricket score. It didn't pan out like that. Dunstable were parking the bus and we found it extremely difficult to cut through them. We tried attacking them, we tried inviting them on to us but neither gave us the clear cut opening that we were hoping for. Both our strikers missed multiple oppertunities although I'm not sure any of them could be called clear cut. Eventually I threw on some attacking subs and hoped for the best but it was actually one of our defenders who broke the deadlock. On 88 minutes we had a freekick deep into Dunstable's half and Dylan Ebengo was up but instead of us going the aerial route the ball was played out to him on the edge of the box where he curled it around the mass of defenders on the penalty spot and it nestled inside the far post. The relief was palpable. To have dropped points here would have been incredibly demoralising. The promotion push rumbled on.

Following the Dunstable game we made a big staff appointment. Wayne Boud has agreed to become Assistant Manager and Head of Youth Development. Boud succeeds Jason Crowe as Ass Man and is a huge upgrade. We didn't have a HoYD and Boud should do a terrific job with his excellent scouting abilities.

8th placed Buckland were swept aside with Billy Jones bagging a double and Chris Wedlake grabbing a 3rd. Whilst the score was still 1-0 Buckland had their right back sent off. They pulled a goal back on 86 minutes when a youngster I'd brought off the bench lost his man at a corner but despite that we saw out the game very comfortably.

As I've said before I hate it when a player doesn't take criticism and throws it back in my face. I had to warn young midfielder Nazron Sawyers, who's played a lot of games this season, that his form a dipped and he responded badly. I'm in a conundrum, do I drop him and if so for who? We don't have much quality behind him. Or do I leave him in the side and hope that he improves? This why a manager gets paid his money.

Next up was a massive 6 pointer against 4th placed Chipstead and despite being big underdogs we managed to win comfortably. Chipstead scored after only 3 minutes and I feared the worst but we fought back with Chris Wedlake grabbing a lethal hattrick, scoring on 20, 45+2 and 76 minutes to take a huge step towards the play-offs.

With one game left in March we found ourselves sat 4th in the table but with only 1 point between us and 6th placed North Leigh. Rugby (1st) and Hertford (2nd) had both wrapped up play-off places at the very least and Carshalton (3rd) weren't far from doing the same, having a 5 point lead on us. However Carshalton were who we were facing next, so another massive 6 pointer which could have a massive impact on the final placings. Anything less than a win would be a big set-back this close to the end of the season.

We completely dominated the opening 20 minutes against Carshalton, who looked quite poor and one dimensional - sit deep and hit it up to the big man and hope for the best. On 21 minutes the ball broke to the Carshalton striker in the box after a knock down and he buried it into the top right hand corner. We kept playing our game and eventually, into first half injury time, we returned the favour. Billy Jones nodded down a long ball for Chris Wedlake, who carried the ball forward before slotting it past the exposed keeper. The second half was a non-event. Both sides lacked quality and looked exhausted. It looked like the game was petering out until a defensive calamity gifted all 3 points to Carshalton. A defender hoofed the ball from one end of the pitch to the other and Callum McNaughton had time and space to deal with it. Instead McNaughton wanted the keeper to come out miles form his goal to deal with it. While the two of them talked it out Carshalton's striker strolled past them and knocked the ball into the net. Absolutely gutting.

Somehow after that nonsense in the Carshalton game we still found ourselves in 4th, still with a point lead over 5th and 6th. Carshalton in 3rd were long gone with an 8 point lead which would be a miracle if we clawed it back with just 4 games to go. And what are those 4 games? Let's take a look.


First we face Swindon Supermarine who sit in 7th, then we play 13th placed Waltham Abbey, following that we play Street who are second bottom (19th) and we finish the season off against FC Romania who are languishing in 16th. You'd be expecting to win all of them and that has to be our aim. No ifs. No buts. 12 points are on offer. 12 points are what I want. Win all of our games and we're in the play-offs, guaranteed.

Thanks for reading and I hope to see you back here for update 19, which will take us all the way to the end of the season...it could be 4 games but hopefully 7!

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Update 19:


The crucial month of April started with a routine win against 7th placed Swindon Supermarine. Swindon actually took the lead after an awful headed backpass by rightback Michael Kamara but we levelled on 13 minutes. The goal came in bizarre fashion when a clipped pass was headed backwards and over tje keepers head by Chris Wedlake. Billy Jones finished off a slick move with a tap in at the far post to put us into the lead and Chris Wedlake put the gloss on the performance with a sledgehammer of a striker from the edge of the box, which took him to 22 league goals for the season.

The victory against Swindon kept us in 4th, still 1 point above Chipstead and Potters Bar in 5th & 6th. We also have a +2 goal difference over Chipstead and a +3 goal difference against Potters Bar which might not be much but it could be the difference between success and failure.

14th placed Waltham Abbey was another game ticked off. We ran out very comfortable 2-0 winners. Our strikers Billy Jones and Chris Wedlake popping up with the goals. Waltham Abbey were another one of those teams playing 4-2DM-3-1 where they packed the central area around their goal and hoped to hit us on the break with 4 forwards. It took us a good 30 minutes of grinding them down before we broke the deadlock. After that they seemed to lose their confidence and it was only a matter of time until we added the crucial 2nd. The goal came on the 53 minute mark and after that it was pretty plain sailing.

With that win the play-off spots began to take shape. The top 3 were set. We were in 4th with 62 points. Chipstead were tucked in just behind us, in the final play-off spot, on 61 points. Potters Bar were a couple of points behind on 59 points and behind them were Swindon Supermarine on 58. Our goal difference over Potters Bar was now a very healthy +5.


In transfer news young winger Billy Barden accepted a deal elsewhere. He'd been told he was getting released at the end of the season so it was no big deal.

A slight concern is that young midfielder Nazron Sawyers is starting to get a bit of a big head. We've already spoken about his bad attitude when his peformances were criticised. Clubs are starting to take an interest in him and to head off that interest I tried to offer him a new deal. He felt he deserved to be a key player and one of our top earners. I disagree, especially if we go up this season. I've given him a lot of football this year and he has definitely developed nicely but I don't believe he's ready to be our lynchpin in our team yet.

It was the same score and a similar performance in the penultimate game of the season against 19th placed Street. Our opponents played the 4-2DM-3-1 and sat deep but they were no match for us. Wedlake broke the deadlock on 11 minutes and substitute Reece Grant slammed in a 2nd on 73 minutes. We were never in any danger.

5th placed Chipstead suffered a 4-0 hammering at league leaders Hertford meaning we had officially secured a play-of place. We had an unassailable 4 point & +7 goal difference over them. Whoever out of Chipstead and Swindon Supermarine got the better result on the final day would make up the play-off line-up. If both results were the same then Chipstead would advance because of their far superior goal difference.

We finished off the regular season with a very comfortable win at FC Romania. The biggest challenge we faced on the day was complacency. The lads knew the game was meaningless and found it difficult to focus, particularly Nazron Sawyers. Dylan Ebengo got us stated with a header from a set-piece on 38 minutes. Chris Wedlake wrapped up the points with goals on 44m and 66m. A minute later our complacency came back to sploil our cleans sheet when a raking pass split our centre backs and the Romania striker slotted home. There was never any danger of a comeback.


We already knew we had qualified for the play-offs but it was nice to end up closer to Carshalton in 3rd than Swindon Supermarine in 5th. If we could have closed the point gap with them it would have been us in 3rd as our goal difference was superior, our +26 to their +19.

Knowing that my stock was high I decided now was the time to return to the board and ask them to send me on a coaching course. They happily agreed so I continue my personal development by acquiring a National B Licence.


I tied up key members of my staff for next season and have made some improvements, replacing my retiring goalkeeping coach, my chief scout and a regular scout.

Teams were already starting to make signings which is not something we could really do because we didn't know what division we were going to be in or what our budget was going to be.

There was pretty much a full months break between the last game of the regular season and the start of the play-offs. I decided not to play any friendlies, didn't want any injuries. The play-off system is a bit long-winded. 28 teams qualify from all of the divisions at this level. 16 teams are drawn in a quarter-final. 8 teams advance where they face 8 new teams in 16 semi-final games. 8 teams advance and two new teams are added where they play in five finals with 5 teams gaining promotion. Like I said, long-winded.

I'm surprised it took this long but as we headed into the play-offs backup defender Aaron Tumwa complained about his lack of first team football. He only had 9 starts this season. The problem is his legs have gone and he just isn't good enough any more. I told him to wait but he wasn't happy so we agreed he could go. The problem was that we didn't have any cover for centre back. We'd have to hope and pray that Dylan Ebengo and Callum McNaughton could remain injury free until the end of the season.


The first leg against Stamford wasn't quite a catastrophe but it wasn't far off. We were dreadful. Stamford looked exceptional. They played a very compact 4-4-1-1 but unlike our previous negative opponents Stamford had a quality target man and extremely solid defenders. We had a couple of chances but we wasted them. At 1-0 we were still in it but 2-0 down was a huge ask. It was going to take an absolutely incredible performance to take us through to the next round.


With Aaron Tumwa gone we needed a new centre back but finding one that could take the place of regulars Dylan Ebengo and Callum McNaughton was always a tall order so rather than bring in a has been I decided to go down the hot prospect route. I'd been trying to bring in Max Wood since day one but we finally got him and not a moment too soon. He is definitely a work in progress but then so was Dylan Ebengo when we brought him in and look at him now. Undroppable.


The second leg could not have started better. Tanashah Abrahams seized on a loose ball on the edge of the Stamford box and smashed a shot into the far corner. We were back in it! On the 8 minute mark we struck again. Billy Jones this time clinically finishing of a great move down the right. On 15 minutes we were in dreamland as Billy Jones added our third, his towering leap took him above the Stamford defenders to head in Chris Flood's floated cross. 3-0 on the day, 3-2 up on aggregate. Incredible stuff. We spent the rest of the first half camped in Stamford's half peppering their goal with shots. The 2nd half started in the worst possible way. Stamford looked more up for it and scored from a freekick on 48 minutes. We needed to re-find our aggression and quickly. We didn't and they added their 2nd of the game from a corner (another damn set-piece!) putting us a goal behind in on aggregate. We were now chasing the game again. On 64 minutes Stamford scored again from, you guessed it, a corner. Things were looking bleak. Billy Jones gave us hope on 73 minutes we he powered in a header at the far post from a Chris Flood cross but we were unable to find the goal that would have sent the tie to extra time. The game ended 4-3 to us. Over the two legs were weren't good enough. 


I'll be honest, I'm very disappointed. At the beginning of the season I thought promotion was completely out of the question, so in a way I can't be too gutted but to get that close hurts, especially as we didn't give our best.

We'll be back next season, the first team will be stronger. We'll have more depth and I'll be setting a target of automatic promotion. Its ambitious but given what we achieved in the second half of the season I am quietly confident. We're only three or four good signings away from being an excellent side. As you see in the post season stats coming up it was the first half of the season that killed us. We took too long to find our feet, bring players in etc. I'll be trying to get things in place much quicker this summer, plus we have a far better core to work with.

...And for those interested here's the stat attack.



As the following two graphics show we had a very slow start but once we got going we were unstoppable.



Here are the players stats...

After a slow start youngster Chris Wedlake really hit form find the back of the net 26 times in the league. He signed a contract extension with his parent club and I'm going to try my damnedest to get him back here next season on loan (which would be 3 seasons straight).


Josh Hutchinson enjoyed a great season for us. His left footedness added a real extra dimension to our play. He's playing as an attacking winger which instructs him to attack wide and hit the byline but because of his preference for his left he often cuts inside, overloading the left sided centre backs zone or moving inside into space and finding a defence splitting pace for the strikers. Going forward I'll definitely be looking to use left footers on both flanks.


Its no surprise to see Chris Wedlake and Josh Hutchinson on this list, they've been outstanding.


For a keeper rated as only good enough for the division below Sam Peace hasn't done bad at all. He's got a good couple of centre backs in front of him but he hasn't really put a foot wrong. A new keeper is a definitely possibility just to give us a slight boost but I'm not that concerned with that position. 


Our dynamics are looking good even with the disappointment of losing in the play-offs.


And here's how I'm doing. p.s - never mentioned it but my name is not Jamie Wilkinson. He's just a made up dude that has a backstory that I was going to share but decided not to.


Thanks for reading this loooooong post and I hope to see you back here for episode 20 where I'll go over our pre-season and summer dealings.

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Update 20:

Pre-season 2020/21 is done. Our results looked like this...


Performance wise it was what you would expect, rusty but decent. The Charlton and Brentford games brought in some much needed money. The only downside to pre-season was that we lost Tanasheh Abrahams and Billy Jones early and they missed most of the games. Both are back training but lacking in match fitness.

The media have predicted that we'll finish 8th, which isn't bad considering we were among the favourites for the drop last season. I'd be utterly disgusted if we fail to match last season's top 4 finish at the very least.


As I said, the finances are looking a lot better than they were at the end of last season. I was given a very generous wage budget which, of which there is still plenty left.


Speaking of the wage budget, this was our transfer business.


I tried to really bring in some top quality but it wasn't really possible. We're still being routinely turned down by players that would take us to the next level. We've had to be smart. Some signings are short term, some are longer term but all have been brought in with  a purpose. The outgoing transfers highlighted in red were players signed this transfer window but deemed not good enough and so released without having played a game. Its not ideal as it affects my player loyalty rating but without reliable scouts or much of a scouting budget I don't have many options.

Max Wood you met at the tail end of last season. Our first proper signing this summer was right back Anthony Furlonge.


He's a small improvement on Michael Kamara but is significantly taller and should help us from set-pieces situations. Michael Kamara is demoted to back up right back.

Next we signed Paul Taylor, like Max Wood, a player I've been trying to bring in for 3 years. We finally got him. He's a left winger with a decent right foot who will cover both wing positions. He's an excellent prospect that I have high hopes for.


Replacing the released Ricardo Joseph at left back is Mekhail McLaughlin. Left back was a position we really needed to strengthen and we have, but not by much. I tried so hard to bring in a significant upgrade but it just hasn't been possible. The hunt will go on.


We needed beefing up in the centre of midfield and in Billy Smart we've added decent cover for midfield destroyer Nazron Sawyers. Smart is an upgrade on the released Ben Butler but only a short term one.


Peter Arnold is a youngster I brought in as goalkeeping cover for first choice Sam Peace. He is a mixed bag and may end up on the scrap heap fairly soon as we've finally made progress in negotiations with a very good young keeper who could even replace Sam sooner rather than later.


We've got Dylan Ebengo & Callum McNaughton as our first choice centre halves, Max Wood was always going to be 1st backup but I wanted a bit more depth. How do you bring in a competent defender who's willing to be 4th choice? You bring in another youngster, not quite as rated as Max Wood but still will heaps of potential and that's what we got in Luke Evans. Yes he's raw but I love his aggression, positioning, acceleration, agility, balance, jumping reach and natural fitness. There's also much to like about his anticipation and decisions. We can definitely work with that and may even end up with a quality defender at the end of it.


One of our most important signings has got to be Perry Ryan. We only ever signed Tanasheh Abrahams last season as cover and he ended up playing over 20 games, including our short play-off run. That was a sign of our lack of depth in that area. One of the major tasks for the summer was to find a player who could contribute goals from midfield. They still had to be able to do all the other things you want a central midfielder in a midfield 2 to do. It wasn't easy but we managed to find Perry Ryan and he is as close as we're going to get to that player.


Our final signing to discuss, and by no means the least important, is a player you will all know well. He's a player we had on loan last season, and the season before that. I give you Chris Wedlake, now in his 3rd season-long loan with us. Can he better his 26 goals from last season? I intend to give him every opportunity to do just that.


A brief word about those we let go...

Aaron Tumwa was released during our ill-fated play-off run, as you know. veteran midfield playmaker David Hicks had run out of gas and was right to retire, he'd been out of our first team squad for a while. Left back Ricardo Joseph played over 30 games for us last season and was never more than barely adequate. At 33 there wasn't much hope of him improving. Ball winner Ben Butler signed for us last summer and started off with a bang, putting in some stellar performance but suspension forced him out of the side and we was never really the same after that. He turns 33 shortly, so again, probably the right time to move on. Jordan kelly, Jamie Farrell and Francis Udoh were young reserves that weren't going to make the grade.

A number of other youth players and young reserves also left this summer.


You might recognise the names of George Birch, who played over 30 games for us at left back in my first season and Hayden Friar who had a brief spell in the side early last season. None of the above were going to make it here.

That leaves the squad looking a little something like this...


Bare in mind Billy Jones will be first choice and Casey Eoin back up. Jones just needs a bit more easing back in before he's ready.

That about wraps up the pre-season review.

The next update will be for August and will take in the first month of the season. Its a busy period as we have 5 games that month. Thanks for reading and I hope to see you then.


Edited by Atarin

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Update 21:

Pre-Season was out of the way. The bulk of our recruitment had been done. Now it was time to get to work.

I've been given a wage budget of £2,664 which is over a £1000 more than it was. With our finances looking a little sketchy, I'm wondering where they're finding this extra cash. The boards expectations are for a mid-table finish, I decided to play it safe and agree with them. The player's on the other hand were more ambitious and so I told them we were aiming for the play-offs and they were very supportive. I'm not concerned, I genuinely think we've got a chance at automatic promotion. Qualifying for the play-offs is the minimum I expect.

We made two more signings before the first game of the season. 19 year old winger Mike Lam who is someone we can maybe develop, he's another left footed that can, and will, be deployed from either wing. Josh Hutchinson and Chris Flood are first choice, Paul Taylor is 1st backup and Lam will be behind him. It just gives us that little but more depth.


The second signing is another 19 year old, the the versatile KJ Osu. Osu could develop into a decent box to box, goal scoring midfielder and he's pretty much two-footed so there's the possibility of him covering both fullback positions.


Down to business...


We started the season with an absolute sickener. Stowmarket, despite being big favourites and predicted to finish 2nd, were extremely defensive. We totally dominated them, creating chance after chance without managing to take one. The inevitable happened and on 86 minutes they managed to convert from a corner when new boy Anthony Furlonge lost his man at the far post. Stowmarket's 92nd clincher was from a counter as we chased the game. It flattered them big time.

We got back to winning ways immediately though, winning our very next game against Tooting & Mitcham. Again, it was a game we dominated with Tooting sitting back and soaking up pressure. Chris Wedlake broke the deadlock on 44 minutes and with Tooting rattled Billy Jones scored with a clinical effort from inside the box into first half injury time. It looked like we were going to cruise to victory until a simple ball down the middle carved us open, our usually super reliable centre half Dylan Ebengo went to sleep and their striker strode through for a one v one with keeper Sam Peace and calmly finished. We were good for the 3 points though. Back on track.

We're still not back to our sharpest but we're improving. Potters Bar didn't cause us any problems. We ran out comfortable 2-0 winners with, first, Billy Jones tapping in a close range effort on 5 minutes and then Callum McNaughton rising highest to power in a header from a freekick on 67 minutes.

Chipstead were the next side to be swept aside by the blue tidal wave. Dylan Ebengo powered home a header to give us the lead on 44 minutes and 2 minutes later Chris Wedlake blasted a volley into the top corner to make it 2-0. That was how it stayed.

It was a similar fate for Molesey who were dispatched with a now familar 2-0 scoreline. Billy Jones scored from a trademark powerful header on 9 minutes and Dylan Ebengo rounded out the scoring with a similar finish on 50 minutes. We were comfortable throughout.

Apart from the harsh result in the first game we've been very consistent. 4 wins out of 5, 4 straight wins... Its early days but we're looking good and we've not really hit our stride yet.

Tables are meaningless at this stage but this is how things are shaping up after 5 games.


With August wrapped up I completed by coaching course.


Knowing the board tended to respond more positively when our form was good I chanced my arm and asked to be allowed to start the next qualification immediately. They happily agreed, and I'm well on my way up the coaching ladder.


This is how I'm shaping up...


Its a case of so far, so good in my career I'd have to say. Onwards and upwards. Bring on September, I'm ready for ya!

Thanks for reading and I hope to see you back here for the next North Greenford United update.

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So far so good...planning on changing teams?

your coaching badges and limited success will attract attention!

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No, the plan is to take North Greenford United to the Premier League. I generally don't have the patience to play saves that long. After three or four season I usually get the itch to start all over again, but this time I'm going to try really hard to stick at it and get this club to the very top. Clubs can come in for me, I'll just politely decline. There'll be other saves to climb the ladder with different clubs.

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Update 22:


We began September as we finished August with a comfortable 2-0 victory. This time our opponents were Waltham Abbey. Winger Josh Hutchinson stabbed us ahead after 13 minutes and centre back Dylan Ebengo grabbed his 3rd goal of the season on 86 minutes, rising majestically to head home from a freekick.

We followed up with a 3-1 stroll in the park against Westfield. Left back Mekhail McLaughlin got us off to a good start slotting the ball under the keeper from an angle on 5 minutes. Westfield inexplicably equalised after we failed to deal with a very innocuous attack down our left. After giving the boys a rocket at half time they responded with Billy Jones Slamming home on 46 minutes. Chris Wedlake put the icing on the cake with when he ran onto a ball over the top and confidently found the top corner. On the downside midfielder Billy Smart got himself sent off on 71 minutes after a ridiculous two footed challenge.

It was another comfortable victory in our next match as we came out 2-1 winners at Cheshunt. Chris Wedlake headed us in front on 4 minutes. Midfielder Perry Ryan doubled our advantage on 44 minutes. Cheshunt hit back on the 55 minute mark but we were able to control the remainder of the game.

We managed to complete the signing I'd hinted at an update or two ago. Young goalkeeper Aiden Jennings. I think Jennings is a great prospect and real option should Peace's form dip. I want to be loyal to Peace because he's never let me down but I'm already fairly certain that Jennings is the future and that transition is going to happen sooner or later. If I want to Jennings to develop then it will have to be sooner.


Our final opponents of September were 9th placed Carshalton, who started the season as 2nd favourites for the title. The truth is we got what we deserved, which was nothing. There was a general lack of intensity and too many players underperformed. Players aren't machines but consistency is what wins championships. Carshalton took the lead on 4 minutes, Chris Wedlake levelled for us on 13 minutes . Both teams had a host of chances but wasted them until the 68th minute when Carshalton got back in front. We responded on 78 minutes when Chris Flood curled in a fantastic freekick and it looked like we might just get away with a point we scarcely deserved when Carshalton hit us again, this time on 82 minutes after a melee in the box. I had to lay down the law after the game. One or two weren't happy but I demand certain standards to be met.


We're in second and still going strong, despite the disappointment against Carshalton. If we can go on another strong run fairly quickly then the points will start to pile up and we should get a bit of a cushion. I am still incredibly confident.

That's September wrapped up, I hope you can join me for the October update, which will be coming very soon. C'mon you Blues!

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