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FM19: The English Football League thread

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Welcome to the EFL in FM2019

Below you'll find brief introductions to the 72 clubs in the EFL, in order of their predicted finishing positions in game, together with information for ground capacity, and initial transfer budgets to help you make your choice. Please note that some details were already changed between the earliest and latest betas, and I may not have caught them all; and that budgets are often different in FM Touch, but these should at least put you in the ballpark. If you spot anything wildly inaccurate, let me know.

For many of us, the EFL thread and the saves we recorded therein were the highlight of FM18. I hope we'll make this year's adventure even better.

Edited by warlock

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1. Stoke                            Ground: 30,089        Transfer budget: £5m
Relegated Stoke are odds-on favourites for promotion, if not the title, but history shows that task to be a lot harder than many expect. Big-name departures were expected following relegation, but that generated money for the incoming signings of striker Benik Afobe, and midfielders Tom Ince, Sam Clucas and James McClean. Perhaps the best piece of business was retaining the services of Jack Butland and Joe Allen. Early season form shows just 4 wins in 14 games; can you do better?


2. West Brom                  Ground: 26,688        Transfer budget: £10m
The Baggies' bid to bounce straight back will be boosted by parachute payments, but they have lost key players, including Nacer Chadli and Jonny Evans, and new signings like 36-year-old Wes Hoolahan and 35-year-old Tyrone Mears do not instill much confidence. Early results, however, suggest otherwise and WBA look like a good long-term project.


3. Aston Villa                  Ground: 42,777        Transfer budget: £0m
Last season's play-off final defeat sent Villa into a spiral after the extent of their financial woes was laid bare. They needed to go up and failed, leaving owner Tony Xia scrambling to pay the bills but a surprise takeover by Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens saw a £30m investment in the club. That allowed the club to retain hot prospect Jack Grealish, and to sign CM John McGinn from Celtic and GK  Örjan Nyland from FC Ingolstadt. The squad has also been heavily reinforced by loan signings including Yannick Bolasie, Anwar El Ghazi and Tammy Abraham. Manager Steve Bruce didn’t survive the opening stages of the campaign; how will you do?


4. Middlesborough         Ground: 34,746    Transfer budget: £4m
Despite being tipped as potential title winners, Boro finished a disappointing fifth, and lost to Villa in the playoff semi-finals. They have the facilities for the Premiership, but the loss of key players like centreback Ben Gibson and attacking winger Adama Traore is a setback and whether replacements like Bristol City’s Aden Flint can fill in remains to be seen.


5. Leeds                              Ground: 37,890    Transfer budget: £1.5m
Footballing backstories don’t come much bigger than Leeds United’s, but it’s been a long time since they tasted football at the top level. A busy transfer window saw the surprising loss of Rolando Viera, and clearing out of considerable deadwood. New signings include the impressive Barry Douglas from Wolves and the less-impressive Patrick Bamford from Boro. A raft of loanees has bolstered the squad, and the club retained key man Spaniard Samu Saiz. Could do better than fifth.


6. Norwich                         Ground: 27,359    Transfer budget: £1m
Despite expectations of promotion in the past two seasons, Norwich begin their third consecutive term in the Championship. The loss of stars James Maddison and Josh Murphy will not help the cause and shopping has been done in the bargain basement. But there are decent players throughout the squad, and a good manager might be able to push them over the line this time.


7. Swansea                        Ground: 21,088    Transfer budget: £3.5
Swansea were relegated after seven seasons in the top flight and their tipped position around the playoffs looks generous given the departure of so many key players, including Alfie Mawson and the Ayew brothers. Outgoing transfers raised more than £44m, and little has been reinvested. At the beginning of the season the squad looks like a decent first 11 but short of depth throughout. Given Wilfried Bony’s injury history, it’s hard to see where the goals will come from. 


8. Derby County              Ground: 33,597    Transfer budget: £0.4m
The Rams start their 11th season outside of the top flight and seem doomed to be perennial also-rans – always close, but never quite clinching the deal. Although the loss of frontman Matty Vydra must be counted a blow, Derby have certainly strengthened up front with the signing of Peterboro star Jack Marriott, and the loan of Chelsea prospect Mason Mount. Longer term, the concern must be the ageing backline, and the certain decline of key midfielders including Huddleston, Johnson and Ledley, all 31.


9. Sheff United                Ground: 32,609    Transfer budget: £6m
Predicted to struggle last season, The Blades surprised many by finishing comfortably in mid-table and looked a good prospect for the playoffs midway through. They look capable of repeating that, or doing better, this time around. Brentford’s John Egan should be an upgrade in central defence, and loan signing Dean Henderson from Man Utd could challenge for the first team spot in goal. The squad is clearly set up for three-at-the-back formations, and in the long-term will require renewal with many influential players on the wrong side of 30. A generous budget means you could start reshaping immediately.


10. Nottingham Forest  Ground: 30,576    Transfer budget: £3.5m
Another club under new ownership promising stability after recent problems, and Forest fans have responded with optimism to the new regime. With an obvious nod to the successful Wolves template of last year, Forest have invested big in Portuguese attacking talent, bringing in Joao Carvalho and Diogo Goncalves from Benfica, and Gil Dias from Monaco, as part of a wholesale restructuring with 25 departures and 24 signings. Top flight football is 20 years in the past for Forest, but could this be their year?


11. Brentford                   Ground: 12,802    Transfer budget: £2m
The Bees have put together some impressive top-half finishes in the second tier despite managerial changes and struggling to keep hold of some talented players. Media predictions suggest a repeat performance this time, but the playoffs – and promotion – are not beyond a squad with many promising youngsters. That talent, and a new ground imminent, make Brentford an excellent long-term project.


12. Sheff Wednesday    Ground: 39,812    Transfer budget: £1m
After setting out their stall as playoff contenders for a couple of seasons, The Owls disappointed last time out, although rallied towards the end. The squad has lost some experience in Jack Hunt and Jordan Rhodes, as well as old stagers Ross Wallace and Glenn Loovens. But they still boast quality from front to back, bolstered by loan signings Michael Hector from Chelsea, and Josh Onomah from Spurs. A safe bet for midtable but should be capable of much more.


13. Preston                      Ground: 23,404    Transfer budget: £2m
A club steeped in English football history, Preston spent four long years in League 1 but have now firmly established themselves as a solid Championship side. The squad is a good mix of young talent and experience, but the club sold striker Jordan Hugill, and Premiership clubs are sniffing around important players like forward Callum Robinson and the ever-improving Ben Pearson. Retaining this kind of quality will be key.


14. Bristol City                 Ground: 27,000    Transfer budget: £2.5m
Predicted to struggle last time, The Robins confounded the pundits with a solid mid-table finish. A strong defence has been weakened by the loss of Aden Flint, and CB and club captain Bailey Wright starts the season on the transfer list. There should be no concerns up front, though, with forum favourite Mo Eisa joining the likes of Famara Diédhiou and Matty Taylor, and there’s plenty of quality in the wide positions.


15. Hull City                     Ground: 25,586    Transfer budget: £0m
Another former Premiership team that thought they had a return ticket, The Tigers struggled to finish the season in 18th position. Can probably put out a decent first eleven, but there’s not a great deal of depth, and there’s no money for reinforcements. Worse still, it’s hard to see many goals coming from the likes of Fraizer Campbell, Will Keane or the itinerant Chris Martin. A predicted 15th place looks flattering.


16. Reading                      Ground: 24,197    Transfer budget: £2m
After finishing the 16/17 season in third place, and losing the Wembley play-off on penalties, many expected The Royals to be up there again last year.  Instead, they narrowly avoided relegation. Defensive signings in the form of the ageing Paul McShane and the ancient John O’Shea mean key man Liam Moore is more critically important than ever. With Jón Dadi Bödvarsson leading the line, they don’t look any better up front. One for managers who like a challenge.


17. Blackburn Rovers     Ground: 31,363    Transfer budget: £5m
Rovers managed to halt long seasons of decline by winning the League 1 title, but face a stiff task in securing their Championship status. Defensively, they look capable with the likes of Darragh Lenihan and Ryan Nyambe, while Chelsea loanee Kasey Palmer and star man Bradley Dack will provide the creativity in midfield. But a team relying on goals from the ageing Danny Graham seems destined to struggle in attack. A healthy transfer budget gives you options, though.


18. Birmingham                Ground: 30,016    Transfer budget: £0m
The Second City side failed to live up to expectations last year, and are expected to struggle again. The lack of a prolific striker is an obvious issue but in real life they’ve played with two up front and that seems to be compensating. Solid enough in defence, and with the creativity of Spanish wide forward Jota providing the assists, they could do better than predicted; equally, a few key injuries and a relegation battle looks likely. Not one for glory hounds!


19. QPR                               Ground: 18,224    Transfer budget: £0m
The West London outfit have fallen far since they dropped out of the Premier division in 2015, and there’s little cause for optimism this season. Loan signings Tomer Hemed from Brighton, and Nakhi Wells from Burnley don’t look capable of racking up the goals, and there’s a potential problem on the left side of defence where Jake Bidwell is the only natural option. Avoiding relegation will be a major achievement.


20. Ipswich                         Ground: 30,311    Transfer budget: £1m
It is closing in on 20 years since the Tractor Boys from Suffolk last tasted top flight football, and despite coming close in 2015 and 2016, they have regressed since then. The squad boasts a good mix of wise old heads and youthful potential, giving you a base to work with, but the attacking options look severely limited.


21. Millwall                         Ground: 20,146    Transfer budget: £1.5m
Newly-promoted last season and widely tipped for the immediate drop, the London Lions were the division’s surprise package, narrowly missing out on a playoff place. While they might struggle to repeat that performance, the squad looks solid in defence and boasts plenty of midfield talent. The chippy eastenders look like a prospect if you like old-fashioned, unapologetic direct football.


22. Wigan                            Ground: 25,146    Transfer budget: £2m
Their record in the last four years reads: relegated, promoted, relegated, promoted, and few expect the former Premier leaguers to avoid another relegation this time around. But… under new Chinese ownership there’s a bit of money – some of it already splashed on hot prospect Leonardo Da Silva Lopes from Peterborough – and if frontman Will Grigg can repeat last season’s performances (26 goals in 56 games) who knows what might be possible.


23. Bolton Wanderers       Ground: 28,723    Transfer budget: £0m
The Trotters avoided the drop by the narrowest of margins last season, a final day 3-2 win against Nottingham Forest. With a squad pieced together on a shoestring, nothing in the budget – and a pre-season marked by disputes over non-payment of wages – Bolton looks like a job for a masochist.


24. Rotherham                   Ground: 12,053    Transfer budget: £0.3m
Who you callin’ a yoyo? The Millers have spent the last few seasons bouncing back and forth between the second and third tiers and they’re odds-on favourites for the drop again. Brighton’s Richie Towell , on loan for another season, should provide some dynamism in midfield but this looks like a serious challenge.

Edited by warlock

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1. Sunderland               Ground: 48,707    Transfer budget: £4m
A critical season in the history of the club. Following successive relegations a clean break with the recent pitiful past has been made, with new owners, a clearout of overpaid plodders, and transfer cash available. But that budget will need to be invested wisely. Pre-season will be a shot in the dark, with no less than seven of the first-team squad likely to miss the first two months through injury, but new GK Jon McLaughlin and former Peterborough captain Jack Baldwin provide the foundation of defence. Sure to be a popular save this year, the Wearsiders are odds-on favourites for the title, but promotion is utterly essential.

2. Charlton Athletic     Ground: 27,111    Transfer budget: £100k
The abiding story of recent years has been off the pitch: the hate-hate relationship between owner and fans. A takeover was close last season but ultimately failed, as did Charlton’s bid for the playoffs. With the loss of Ezri Konsa and Josh Magennis, and Jake Forster-Caskey set to miss the season through injury, the squad is heavily reliant on loans, with Arsenal’s Krystien Bielik and West Ham’s Josh Cullen the pick of the bunch. A good bet for the playoffs, but automatic promotion might be optimistic.

3. Fleetwood Town     Ground: 5,532    Transfer budget: £200k
The Cod Army have arguably over-achieved since escaping the Vanorama National League in 2012. They raced through League Two, and came within a whisker of the Championship in 2017, before falling back to mid-table last year. A repeat of that performance seems more likely than the predicted third place, but some shrewd loan business, including the return of Lewie Coyle from Leeds, has bolstered the squad. 

4. Barnsley                    Ground: 23,287    Transfer budget: £1.4m
The Tykes seem genetically coded to inhabit the border between the Championship and League One, always struggling to avoid relegation from the former, and threatening promotion from the latter. Nothing has changed this season: equally capable of automatic promotion or mid-table mediocrity. The goals of frontman Kieffer Moore will be vital.

5. Portsmouth              Ground: 19,669    Transfer budget: £125k
In their first season back in the third tier last season Pompey threatened the playoff positions but ultimately came up just short. Brett Pitman looks unlikely to fire the club to a better position, but the south-coast side have found a rich supply from wide forwards Ronan Curtis and Jamal Lowe who are both scoring and creating. A perennial “fallen giant” prospect, this could be a good year for Pompey.

6. Burton Albion           Ground: 6,972    Transfer budget: £100k
As ever with the recently-relegated, there is a widespread expectation that Burton should at least be a contender for the playoffs. But the squad looks rather lightweight compared to those of their expected rivals, and early signs are that a mid-table is the more likely outcome. A number of new faces arrived, but all of them free transfers or loans, and the result is a group that is heavy on goalkeepers and short on goalscoring ability.

7. Oxford United           Ground: 12,573    Transfer budget: £100k
After being playoff contenders in 2016, Oxford fell back to finish in 16th last season, but appear to have significantly strengthened the squad this summer. Luke Garbutt from Everton, and Marcus Browne from West Ham bring top flight potential, and Samir Carruthers and Ricky Holmes join on loan from Sheffield United. A fun challenge with decent possibilities.

8. Bradford City             Ground: 25,136    Transfer budget: £96k
With an astonishing level of support, and a series of almost-but-not-quite playoff runs, Bradford have potential to do better than current performances suggest – after 16 games played they prop up the division. The fact that attacking midfielder Jack Payne leads the scoring charts with just four goals indicates one source of trouble, but the 30 goals conceded suggests a toothless offence is not the biggest issue. Must try harder!

9. Scunthorpe United   Ground: 9,144    Transfer budget: £75k
Since winning automatic promotion from League Two in 2014, the Iron have arguably punched above their weight, and came within touching distance of Championship football in the last two seasons. Jak Alnwick, on loan from Rangers, gives some security between the sticks, and key players Rory McArdle at CB, and Josh Morris on the wing, provide some quality. But almost all of the strike force is loaned in, and early season form suggests they’re struggling to gel.

10. Peterborough          Ground: 14,084    Transfer budget: £400k
Posh were a popular save last year, with a wealth of talent built around a philosophy of attractive, attacking football. Much of that talent was ripped away in the summer, including the loss of striker Jack Marriott, wingers Gwion Edwards and Chris Forrester, and hot prospect Leonardo Da Silva Lopes. But a flying start to the season strongly suggests they have not only been replaced but improved. With 19 new faces, and the retention of star wideman Marcus Maddison, ‘Boro look as good a proposition this year as last. 

11. Luton Town              Ground: 10,413    Transfer budget: £120k
Luton finally made the step up League One after four years of trying, and will be looking for a season of consolidation free of the pressure of expectations. Summer business was solid, if unspectacular, but AM Jorge Grant from Nottingham Forest has the quality to run the show. Great youth and training facilities might make Luton a good choice for a long-term development save.

12. Southend United     Ground: 12,163    Transfer budget: £10.5k
After three years in the division, the Shrimper’s have established themselves as top-half candidates and this prediction looks a little harsh. But there are issues in the squad, which looks long on defenders and strikers, and short-handed in midfield. They start the season with a number of injured players, including new boy Harry Lennon and midfield prospect Dru Yearwood. Good squad management might see them playoff contenders again.

13. Bristol Rovers           Ground: 12,300    Transfer budget: £50k
With two solid mid-table finishes since they escaped from League Two, Rovers should be free from worries at the wrong end of the table but it will take something special to push them towards another promotion. The loss of key striker Billy Bodin midway through last season was a blow, and it remains to be seen whether a solid replacement has been found. The squad starts the season injury-free, and needs to stay that way because there’s not much depth beyond the first team.

14. Blackpool                    Ground: 17,338    Transfer budget: £0m
Under the ownership of the despised Oyston family, the club endured a precipitous fall from the top flight in 2011 to League 2 in 2016, but a promotion in 2017 halted the slide. The Oystons put the club up for sale a year ago but a long-running takeover has been mired in the courts. On the pitch performances have been solid, with early results showing a staunch defence but a reliance on set-pieces for goals. An ‘interesting’ choice if you’re prepared to gamble on a takeover.

15. Walsall                          Ground: 10,989    Transfer budget: £50k
A solid mid-table team, the Saddlers seem unlikely to exit the division at either end. CM George Dobson looks a good prospect, and he’s joined this season by Wolves’ Conor Ronan who could shine at this level. With a squad that seems capable of playing almost any formation, Walsall could be a good candidate for a manager looking to shape a club, but you’ll have to do it without much money.

16. Shrewsbury Town       Ground: 9,875    Transfer budget: £60k
Small clubs are always a popular choice for a challenge and the Shropshire side is a perfect candidate. You’ll inherit a large squad, starting the season free of injuries. Much of the quality is in the form of loan signings like Chelsea’s Charlie Colkett and Greg Docherty from Rangers, but at this level smart business in the loan market is often a key to success.

17. Gillingham                     Ground: 11,440    Transfer budget: £25k
The Kentish club have spent the last two seasons flirting with disaster and will hope to avoid a repeat this year. Some good business in the summer has brought in some experience, as well as potential in the form of Josh Rees from Burnley, to join the likes of streaky striker Tom Eaves. A decent mid-table finish could set them up for future progress.

18. Rochdale                         Ground: 10,208    Transfer budget: £50k
The big story at Rochdale is the arrival of erstwhile wonderkid Zach Clough, on loan from Nottingham Forest, and the question whether he will start to deliver on his undoubted potential. Certainly the Lancashire club will not be expecting much from 38-year-old Aaron Wilbraham, and striker Ian Henderson, a reliable source of goals, may not have the legs for another campaign. Three consecutive runs at the playoffs were followed last year by a near-disaster at the bottom. Safety first must be the aim this time around.

19. Plymouth Argyle           Ground: 12,797    Transfer budget: £85k
The Pilgrims were widely tipped for relegation last year, following promotion the season earlier, but performed far beyond expectations and narrowly missed a playoff position. Expected to struggle again, which early performances seem to confirm, Plymouth will need a season of heroics from AM Graham Carey, and more solidity than a young defensive group seems likely to offer.

20. Coventry City                 Ground: 32,609    Transfer budget: £0
After relegation to the fourth tier two years ago, and then immediate return via the playoffs, Coventry will be looking to consolidate this time out. There’s decent talent throughout the squad, with a notably strong midfield unit featuring Jodi Jones and Abu Agogo, but a long injury list seems likely to hamper their start to the season. 

21. Doncaster Rovers          Ground: 15,231    Transfer budget: £50k
Rovers returned to League 1 after a single season in the fourth tier, and secured a safe mid-table finish last time. Fans believe they should be competing much higher than this prediction, and they have some youthful talent in loan signings Herbie Kane from Liverpool, and Malik Wilks from Leeds. Goals from star striker John Marquis will be as vital as ever.

22. AFC Wimbledon              Ground: 5,234    Transfer budget: £50k
The reformed club has made steady progress from the lower levels of the English pyramid but appears to have stalled in the past two seasons, and the pundits expect them to struggle again. The squad features a number of old pros with the likes of Tom Soares, Liam Trotter, Anthony Wordsworth and Andy Barcham, but there’s little depth and a couple of serious injuries could be disastrous.

23. Wycombe Wanderers   Ground: 10,264    Transfer budget: £0k
A surprise promotion for The Chairboys sees them back in the division for the first time in seven years. You could say the squad is strong on experience, but in reality there are eight players on the wrong side of 33, and divisional rivals are sniffing around some of the better, younger players. Avoiding the drop will be a massive achievement.

24. Accrington Stanley        Ground: 4,551    Transfer budget: £80k
Stanley are a popular choice for a small club challenge, perennially hampered by a small ground and shoestring budget. But a title win last time out sees them return to the third division for the first time since 1959. The start of a fairytale, or just a blip? Keeping striker Billy Kee will be important in answering that question.

Edited by warlock

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1. MK Dons                         Ground: 30,303    Transfer budget: £50k
Two relegations in three seasons sees the Dons back in the fourth tier for the first time in a decade. Expectations are that the club will reset and bounce back, but the competition will be fierce. On paper the squad looks a level above, but they start with a number of injuries that will deplete the team for pre-season, and there must be questions whether they have the mentality for the knockdown, drag-out battle of the lower league.

2. Mansfield Town             Ground: 9,376    Transfer budget: £200k
After the disappointment of narrowly missing the playoffs last time, The Stags will be looking to go one better. There are questions over the squad, however, which looks seriously short of cover at the fullback and midfield positions. Striker Danny Rose is a reliable source of goals, and there’s money for reinforcements. A good prospect if you like pressure.
 

3. Lincoln City                     Ground: 10,120    Transfer budget: £100k
The Imps six-year stay in non-league was ended at the end of an impressive 2016/17 campaign, and they came within a whisker of another promotion until a playoff defeat against Exeter. New striker John Akinde, who racked up a goal every other game at Barnet, looks a good signing, and ex-Norwich prospect Harry Toffolo could shine at LB. Some shrewd business in the loan market adds to the feel-good factor.
 

4. Bury                                   Ground: 11,376    Transfer budget: £0k
Having finished bottom of the pile in League One last time, Bury are expected to be contenders for an immediate promotion but there seems to be little justification for that optimism. The squad lacks manpower, and features a number of under-20s who will have to deliver above and beyond performances. Star striker Jermaine Beckford looks set to miss the first half of the season; Caolan Lafferty, on loan from Sheffield United, looks unlikely to carry the load.
 

5. Exeter City                        Ground: 6,087    Transfer budget: £50k
With two seasons of playoff disappointment behind them, Exeter will fancy their chances at another shot. But the barebones squad will need reinforcing, with just 18 players in the first team and little support in the u23s. Jayden Stockley is a bright spot up front, but a couple of key injuries could be disastrous.

6. Northampton Town        Ground: 7,798    Transfer budget: £10k
The relegated Cobblers will be looking to mount a promotion campaign, but seem poorly equipped for it. There are plenty of bodies in the squad, but not a great deal of quality. Hakeem Odoffin, a loan signing from Wolves, looks likely to provide some flair in the RB position, but fans excitement at the signing of ex-Posh player Junior Morias is hard to fathom. A season of consolidation and a mid-table finish seems more likely.

7. Notts County                     Ground: 19,841    Transfer budget: £75k
Three seasons after relegation from League One, The Magpies seem to have found their feet and came close last year before stumbling in the playoffs. The squad is well-stocked in defence, although the pick of the bunch, Ben Hall on loan from Brighton, will miss the first half season through injury. There’s good depth in the wide positions, too, but central midfield looks woefully understafffed with just two players natural in the position. When one of them is 35-year-old David Vaughan you know there’s a problem.

8. Oldham Athletic                Ground: 13,612    Transfer budget: £0k
Someone, somewhere in SI towers, loves The Latics. Always predicted for a strong season, it is a decade since they finished higher than 10th, and last season managed to lose their League One status. As poor as the on-pitch performances were, they were overshadowed by a complete shambles off-pitch, with problems over wage payments, and an HMRC petition to wind up the club. Some decent potential (although little experience) has been brought in on loan, and they might have an outside chance of bouncing back. But a finish just outside the playoff places looks more likely.

9. Swindon Town                   Ground: 15,728    Transfer budget: £100k
Starting their second season in the division, after failing to mount a sustained promotion challenge last time, The Robins seem destined for another mid-table finish. A decent defence and a midfield strengthened by the arrival of journeyman Toumani Diagouraga, look OK, but the manager will need to find a way to get goals out of a lightweight strikeforce.

10. Carlisle United                 Ground: 18,046    Transfer budget: £28.8k
There’s an air of gloom at the Cumbrian club, after a troubled managerial transition and disappointing performances. The loss of key players, including star midfielder Nicky Adams and the experienced Clint Hill, hasn’t helped. Fans appear split between fears of a relegation battle, or cautious hopes of a mid-table finish. Loans from nearby Fleetwood have bolstered the squad, but they look short of a good RB and a consistent striker.
 

11. Crawley Town                  Ground: 6,134    Transfer budget: £5k
A meteoric rise from non-league to the middle of League One came to a halt in 2013. After falling back to the fourth tier and twice flirting with relegation, Crawley achieved mid-table stability last year and may have found their level. The squad looks good enough to avoid the lower reaches, but unlikely to threaten the top spots. The creativity of Portuguese Filipe Morais on the wing is a potential source of goals but they’ll need one of the strikers to step up and convert the chances. 
 

12. Forest Green Rovers       Ground: 5,141    Transfer budget: £250k
Off-the-pitch achievements – becoming the UN’s first certified carbon-neutral football club! - tend to overshadow Rovers’ on-field accomplishments: winning promotion from the VNL two years ago, and avoiding the drop last time out. For a club with such humble status, they have attracted a surprising amount of quality in a squad that features the likes of ex-Fulham prospect George Williams and Peterborough’s Liam Shephard. They have not replaced star striker Christian Doidge but a generous transfer budget gives a new manager room to maneuvre.
 

13. Colchester United           Ground: 10,105    Transfer budget: £65.5k
It’s a decade since the Essex side lost their coveted Championship status and the years since have been marked by a steady decline through League One and into the middle of League Two. This year the squad looks horribly thin in places, with no natural left-backs and a lack of cover in the wide midfield areas. Anything better than 13th could be counted an achievement.
 

14. Newport County              Ground: 11,676    Transfer budget: £25k
While Welsh neighbours Cardiff and Swansea were taking their turns in the Premiership, County were working their way through non-league divisions before arriving back in the fourth tier six years ago. Recent seasons threatened relegation more than was comfortable, but last season resulted in a solid mid-table finish. Can they build on that this time out? Aiding the cause are some talented young loan signings, including the Bristol City duo Antoine Semenyo and Tyreeq Bakinson, but they will miss influential midfielder Joss Labadie until the second half of the season.
 

15. Cheltenham Town           Ground: 7,036    Transfer budget: £100k
Steady improvement seems to be the plan for The Robins, who have done better each season since briefly dipping into the VNL four years ago. Fifteenth place would achieve that aim. The loss of Mo Eisa will surely be felt, but some good business in the loan market adds to a talented young squad, including Brentford LB Tom Field, and Chelsea prospect Jacob Maddox at AMC. A good choice for a long-term challenge.
 

16. Stevenage                           Ground: 6,025    Transfer budget: £55k
The Boro have done well in seeking out talent in the non-league divisions, but after coming within touching distance of the Championship in 2012 they have fallen a long way back, and pundits predict a repeat of last season’s 16th place. The squad could play your choice of formation, as long as your choice is a 442. A new manager could do well by developing a relationship for loans with nearby Prem clubs Arsenal and Spurs.
 

17. Port Vale                              Ground: 19,148    Transfer budget: £150k
After dropping out of League One in 2017, the Valiants narrowly avoided back-to-back relegations last season and will do well to secure a safe position in the lower half of the table. The squad is short of cover at fullback positions, but Ben Whitfield looks like quality in midfield. Striker Idris Kanu, on loan from Peterborough, will be one to watch. After reputedly drawing the attention of Man Utd and West Ham as a youngster, it remains to be seen whether he can convert pace and dribbling ability into results on the pitch.
 

18. Grimsby Town                    Ground: 9,052    Transfer budget: £50k
After six seasons in the VNL, The Mariners returned to League Two in 2016 but have made little progress since. A finish in 18th place last year suggests that a relapse is more likely. Irish keeper James McKeown looks a good stopper at this level, and Elliot Embleton, on loan from Sunderland, is a bright prospect in midfield. But other gems are hard to find, and the lack of a natural goalscorer will surely tell.
 

19. Cambridge United              Ground: 8,696    Transfer budget: £25k
The most remarkable thing about this squad is the first choice goalkeeping duo having a combined age of 82. Of the rest, many seem better suited to life in the VNL than challenging for promotion. To compound the problems, two of the better players, CB Greg Taylor and AM Jevani Brown, start with long-term injuries. The U’s managed comfortable mid-table finishes in the last three seasons, but a predicted finish of 19th looks pretty accurate.
 

20. Yeovil Town                         Ground: 9,565    Transfer budget: £0k
A brief taste of Championship football was the high watermark for the Somerset side, who then suffered back-to-back relegations and have barely avoided a third drop in recent seasons. Like Cambridge, the squad features two pensionable keepers; unlike Cambridge Yeovil have at least secured a talented backup in the form of Chelsea loanee Nathan Baxter. Indeed, much of the talent in the squad comes from loans, including former Southampton prospect Olufela Olomola, back for a second spell, and Middlesbrough midfielder Alex Pattison. 
 

21. Morecambe                         Ground: 6,476    Transfer budget: £0k
Preserving their League Two status (if not their very existence) has become the goal for the Lancastrians, and they look destined for another season of struggle. Kevin Ellison, their most reliable source of goals, is approaching his 40th birthday and it isn’t clear they have anyone capable of helping the cause, although new signing Jason Oswell might do it. At the other end, CB Sam Lavelle is a vital presence but starts the season injured.
 

22. Crewe                                     Ground: 10,153    Transfer budget: £25k
The Railwaymen have been mired in the lower levels of the division for several seasons now, and the days when the academy produced the likes of England midfielder Danny Murphy are far behind. But there’s still a fair bit of potential in this young squad, aided by loan signings like Liverpool defender Corey Whelan, and Preston LB Kevin O’Connor. A shortage of natural wide midfielders means a back-three formation with the width coming from wingbacks, could be the way to go.
 

23. Tranmere                              Ground: 16,582    Transfer budget: £50k
After a precipitous fall from League One, Tranmere endured three seasons in the VNL before finally securing promotion last time. As a newly-promoted side, the pundits expect them to struggle, but they’ve made a bright start to the season and fans certainly expect them to compete at the top rather than the bottom. They have the personnel to play almost any system, but whatever way they go, goals from star striker James Norwood will be vital.
 

24. Macclesfield                         Ground: 5,988    Transfer budget: £0k
Despite beating Tranmere to the VNL title, Macclesfield look ill-equipped for League Two and their stay could be a short one. The squad looks like the classic non-league mix of ageing professionals and unproven youth. With the exception of Man Utd’s Kieran O’Hara in goal, the loan signings don’t appear to have added much quality. Undoubtedly the toughest challenge in the EFL this year.

Edited by warlock

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EFL: The 2019 winter update

Here are the revised predicted finishes, and new transfer budgets for all 72 clubs in the EFL. Bear in mind that the budgets are the default figures and it might be possible to increase them slightly by agreeing higher targets with the board, or by converting wage budget into transfers. However, you're more likely to be converting transfer budget into wages at this level!

Championship
1 West Brom         £5m
2 Aston Villa           £0
3 Norwich              £1m
4 Leeds                  £2.5m
5 Middlesbrough  £4m
6 Stoke                   £10m
7 Derby                  £2m
8 Nottm Forest     £3.5m
9 Swansea             £0
10 Sheff Utd         £5m
11 Brentford        £2.5
12 Bristol City      £5m
13 Preston           £500k
14 Hull                  £1m
15 Sheff Wed       £0
16 Blackburn       £5m
17 Reading           £2m
18 Birmingham   £0
19 QPR                 £0
20 Wigan              £2m
21 Ipswich            £250k
22 Milwall             £2.5m
23 Bolton              £0
24 Rotherham     £100k

League One
1 Sunderland           £250k
2 Charlton                £100k
3 Barnsley                £800k
4 Portsmouth          £125k
5 Scunthorpe           £75k
6 Luton                      £120k
7 Oxford                    £90k
8 Burton                    £100k
9 Bradford City         £0
10 Fleetwood            £0
11 Shrewsbury          £60k
12 Peterborough      £400k
13 Gillingham           £25k
14 Blackpool             £0
15 Coventry              £0
16 Bristol Rovers     £50k
17 Southend            £0
18 Walsall                 £50k
19 Doncaster           £50k
20 Plymouth            £85k
21 Rochdale             £50k
22 AFC Wimbledon £50k
23 Accrington          £50k
24 Wycombe            £0

League Two
1 Lincoln              £150k
2 MK Dons          £50
3 Mansfield         £10k
4 Bury                  £0
5 Carlisle              £29k
6 Colchester        £0
7 Oldham            £0
8 Northampton  £10k
9 Exeter               £75k
10 Swindon         £20k
11 Newport Co   £25k
12 Forest Green £100k
13 Cambridge     £25k
14 Port Vale        £150k
15 Grimsby         £0
16 Crawley         £5k
17 Stevenage     £50k
18 Cheltenham  £100k
19 Morecambe   £0
20 Notts County £75k
21 Tranmere      £50k
22 Yeovil             £0
23 Crewe            £25k
24 Macclesfield  £0

Edited by warlock

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Great start @warlock! I’m sure everyone will appreciate the time and effort you’ve put in to getting this up and running.

I’m currently managing in France with JA Drancy but will keep my eye out on updates and no doubt I’ll be contributing before too long.

Good luck everyone and here’s to another successful thread!

Edited by Gunner 101

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@warlock Great work there, very informative and your excellent summaries of each team made it a really good read. I am sure this will remain one of the most popular threads on this part of the forum, and seeing your write up makes me wonder why I didn't ask you to do the thread years ago :applause:

I'll be joining in soon after my dalliance with OHL in Belgium.

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Thanks fellas!

1 hour ago, Jogo Bonito said:

seeing your write up makes me wonder why I didn't ask you to do the thread years ago :applause:

Very kind, but it certainly made me appreciate how much work you've put in for previous years :idiot:

1 hour ago, shakey.bridge said:

I am a masochist and am managing Bolton Wanderers, god help me !

Well done... somebody has to do it :lol:

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Great first posts! Super introduction for people to the thread. 

I have a game going with Portsmouth, half way through the first season. enjoying it a lot. Will update soon. 

Impressed that they almost sell out the stadium consistently in league one too! Hopefully we make it back up the leagues soon. 

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6 hours ago, shakey.bridge said:

Good job warlock :brock:  excellent summaries, I am a masochist and am managing Bolton Wanderers, god help me !

Keep us updated mate!

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@karanhsingh, @Dong21

Good to see some early interest. I've been so busy putting the write-ups together I've barely had time to look at the game. As soon as I've figured out what's what with the new version I'll be diving in. I have a number of potential candidates - about enough to keep me going until FM20! - but I'd like to go somewhere new so that requires a bit more thought.

But I'll be on it ASAP.

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1 minute ago, Nottingham Forest said:

Great job @warlock. Not that it matters much, but on the full release Forest have £3.5m to play with, or did.

Cheers, I'll edit that, but these changes between beta and release have been the bane of my life lately!

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2 hours ago, Nottingham Forest said:

Great job @warlock. Not that it matters much, but on the full release Forest have £3.5m to play with, or did.

Thats a lot to do with the Brereton funds being in from game start IIRC.

 

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Great OP! I'll be in here a lot this year - really fancy taking Villa back to the PL, big club and have made some decent summer signings!

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Not sure who I am going to go as this year if I end up doing a Football League save (which I usually do, but considering starting in the conference this year instead or even doing create a club). I have hit quite a few of those teams now, namely Sheffield United, Blackpool, Preston and Blackburn Rovers. Thinking I might finally do Wimbledon this year, a save I have meaning to try for ages. Also think Plymouth or Burton could be fun but am still making up my mind.

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Great to see a football league thread up again, thanks @warlock! Still trying to decide which team to pick this year - ideally I'd like to uphold my tradition of always picking a team I've not managed before but I really like the look of Peterborough's squad. Played with them in FM17 and had a great time. That side also had the best player I've ever managed in FM so lots of fond memories.

I did do a brief Sunderland save in beta trying to recreate my go-to tactic from the last couple of FM's and didn't manage to make it work at all, so it looks like I'll have to do something different this year.

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6 hours ago, Banks_87 said:

Great OP! I'll be in here a lot this year - really fancy taking Villa back to the PL, big club and have made some decent summer signings!

Started my Villa save on Friday night. Tough job due to the unbalanced squad (no quality defenders) and zero transfer budget. Difficult to sell the deadwood as well.

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Guys thought someone on here might know, my Portsmouth team has no U23 squad. Will it get added on later in the game? 

Not been so much of an issue in the first season with us playing over 60 games but I can see us needing it in the future 

Edited by karanhsingh

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Portsmouth is a club I really want to manage on FM19. I think I signed about half of their squad in my Forest Green Rovers game last time, and it will be great to be in charge of Clarke, Lowe and Curtis particularly. Regarding your lack of U23 squad, I recall there was some chat in the Pompey data thread about it, so probably worth you checking there (data research is in the bugs forum).

I've made and adjusted (several times) my EFL shortlists now. This has left me with about 12 teams I want to try (pretty much four in each of the three EFL leagues). I've picked my first challenge now, and it's a L2 team I have never managed on FM before to start me off. What surprised me the most about choosing this club, is that I've never even considered them before. Not only that, they weren't even on my shortlist a couple of days ago. I've literally got no idea how I ended up there, but I'm very much looking forward to it. I've gone for a tough one, so fully expect to be in L2 for more than one season - especially as most of my transfer targets snubbed the chance to come on board.

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1 hour ago, Jogo Bonito said:

most of my transfer targets snubbed the chance to come on board.

I know that feeling...l

Me: We're really going places.

Player: Call me when you get there.

Good to see some familiar names back, and some new contenders. I'm having a hard time picking my team, so many interesting challenges.

 

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Update on my first season at Pompey 

The expectation going into the first season was definitely to win promotion. Our squad I felt was good enough for it, with players like Jamal Lowe, Tom Naylor, Craig MacGillivray and Lee Brown. However it is at centre half where we have the best depth, with two excellent youngsters in Matt Clarke and Jack Whatmough, alongside Christian Burgess. Add to this mix the likes of Andre Green, David Wheeler and Joe Mason on loan, and you have a good team for  League One. I had disabled first  window transfers so anyway was working with what we had. 

The first half of the season went well, we were consistently in the top 3 in the league and making progress in the Checkatrade trophy. We went out of the Carabao cup on penalties against Reading. By the time January rolled around however my players were exhausted with the number of games coming thick & fast. I moved for some reinforcements on loan, bringing in Aboubakar Kamara, Sean Goss, Ruben Vinagre and Jon Stankovic on short term loan deals. We got rid of a few fringe players too.

Our league form improved further, and we had a biggish scalp in the FA cup beating Burnley away 2-1. However in the next round we again received a tough draw away to rivals Brighton and this time it was too much for us as we went out with a hard fought 1-2 defeat. Eventually though we  managed to climb to the top of the division and just about stayed there on the final day on goal difference.

Table1.thumb.jpg.b57fb5d27b7b36ec2c037e678bad277a.jpg

We also managed to pick up the much coveted (:D) Checkatrade trophy overcoming Lincoln in the final. 

262438303_checkatradefinal.thumb.jpg.b4960cfba06f9eaba933c98170fc7150.jpg

In terms of player performances, I have to say that it was truly a team effort with big contributions coming from all across. In terms of pure attacking returns, Jamal Lowe and Andre Green were the best, with double digits each for goals & assists. I tried very hard to renew Green's loan but Villa were having none of it. He really is a big talent in the game this year.

At the back, Lee Brown was magnificent contributing 19 assists from LB. Clarke, Whatmough and my keeper MacGillivray also excelled. However, in the new contract negotiations I have been forced to hand release clauses to both Clarke & MacGillivray. Hopefully that doesn't come back to bite us. 

What I am struggling with is getting the Board to upgrade any of our facilities, as they keep on refusing for financial reasons. I heard that we need to upgrade our youth level to try and get an U23 team in the future. Also, for some odd reason I didn't get any newgens in my first season, I checked other clubs and they have been added to the game so I am hoping it's just some sort of anomaly.

My scouts did find this guy available on a free so we snapped him up, and he seems to have good potential. 

westbrooke.thumb.jpg.f1b41afdb3f2e5d49f483b9cccc967aa.jpg

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@karanhsingh

Congrats on the thread's first title of the year. Good luck keeping your better players - release clauses are a pain in the proverbial. Young Westbrooke does, indeed, look like a prospect.

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15 hours ago, r_amanze said:

Started my Villa save on Friday night. Tough job due to the unbalanced squad (no quality defenders) and zero transfer budget. Difficult to sell the deadwood as well.

Yep already had issues - Chester has left for Palace, could't really get no one of quality in. Managed to sign a Dutch fella Douglas on a free at CB, but hes just been injured for 7 weeks! Max Broughton from Bolton but hes 16 - looks a real prospect though and only cost me 500k

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3 minutes ago, Banks_87 said:

Yep already had issues - Chester has left for Palace, could't really get no one of quality in. Managed to sign a Dutch fella Douglas on a free at CB, but hes just been injured for 7 weeks! Max Broughton from Bolton but hes 16 - looks a real prospect though and only cost me 500k

Broughton has terrible positioning and jumping reach. His attributes actually look better for a mid.

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13 minutes ago, warlock said:

@karanhsingh

Congrats on the thread's first title of the year. Good luck keeping your better players - release clauses are a pain in the proverbial. Young Westbrooke does, indeed, look like a prospect.

Cheers! Yes I realise I should have just removed the release clause on the first negotiation. Anyhow let's see how they get on.

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2 minutes ago, karanhsingh said:

Broughton has terrible positioning and jumping reach. His attributes actually look better for a mid.

I noticed, I'm trying to improve his positioning at the minute, signed Marin and Zurkowski also - two decent prospects should get enough game time in the Championship to improve ready for the PL

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Just now, Banks_87 said:

I noticed, I'm trying to improve his positioning at the minute, signed Marin and Zurkowski also - two decent prospects should get enough game time in the Championship to improve ready for the PL

Marin as you probably already know has immense potential and yes Championship is a great grooming level for him. Are you managing to get the best out of Grealish too?

Haven't heard of Zurkowski, where is he from? You could probably get Xadas as well to Villa.

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1 minute ago, karanhsingh said:

Marin as you probably already know has immense potential and yes Championship is a great grooming level for him. Are you managing to get the best out of Grealish too?

Haven't heard of Zurkowski, where is he from? You could probably get Xadas as well to Villa.

Polish side Gornik, looks decent mate. B2B. Yeah I did get Xadas, again I hope the Championship can bring out the best in him ready for next year. Grealish has been decent for me as behind the striker. Abraham btw, immense so far, hit 4 last game

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Great write-up @warlock

I've started my annual save with Peterborough and can't wait to keep you all updated.

Only just started but already signed Remi Streete on a free transfer to get some more depth in defence.

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1 hour ago, MaxeyN17 said:

I've started my annual save with Peterborough and can't wait to keep you all updated.

An excellent choice! I was tempted myself, but I did two saves with them last year so I'm inclining towards a new club. Good luck!

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Well done @karanhsingh and hopefully you can keep your better players for a while longer. As for my chosen team, you'll have to wait for the first update (however long that might be) :lol:

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After quite some indecision, I finally made my pick for a first save.

Congratulations Middlesbrough!  I think I last managed them about 15 years ago when they were a mainstay of the Premiership. Didn't manage them last year because they looked too strong, which certainly isn't the case this year! But since I haven't had any time in FM19 at all so far, I wanted a bit of a challenge but nothing that was going to throw me in at the deep end with two or three seasons of restructuring. I think they'll be a great start to the FM19 experience. Boro have a lot of good players, but some significant weaknesses - especially down the right side - and start with a bunch of injuries. Staffing is poor across the board, too.

Still trying to plug those gaps, and pick my way through the new aspects of FM... I'll post an update tomorrow, I think.

I will say, Stewart Downing, hell of a player. Still!

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Good luck with Boro @warlock and everyone else who has picked their teams so far! Hopefully you'll make the most of Downing whilst you can!

I'm just knocking about in my very lonely JA Drancy thread but will be keeping an eye on progress and of course will join in here too before long!

Edited by Gunner 101

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@Gunner 101 Looking forward to having you back here. But I hope you enjoy that lonely French save in the meantime :)

@Jogo Bonito Tell me what odds you get... I may make a punt!! I know they're not the toughest challenge, but equally there's a lot of stiff competition in the Championship this year, with the three 'rich' relegated Prem sides, the previously-relegated 'strong' sides like Norwich and Boro, and the usual nearly-was teams like Derby. Seemed like a good choice for a first save.

I can say that I'll definitely be doing a Grimsby save this year - they just seemed like a step too far while I figure out how this year's version is going to work. Ditto Lincoln. Ooh, and Brentford. And after my success last year with Derby and Bristol City I definitely want to do them again. I'm also cursed with where I live in west London - I'm about equi-distant from Brentford, QPR and Fulham so they're always major candidates in FM. What's a manager to do?!?

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@warlock Agreed, always a very competitive league but it sounds like you have even more games planned than I do which is incredible (and surprising).

And after your announcement, it's clearly time for me to do the big reveal myself. I've completed pre-season and have no doubts over the team I picked. 

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2 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

it's clearly time for me to do the big reveal myself

Oh, way past time!! :D

Seriously, I'm eager to see where you've chosen, and whether you're going to run multiple saves at once this year! (Still haven't got the hang of that.)

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1330688053_GTFC140logo.thumb.jpg.41fc2071b681a9e6c2ca7253a3d944a5.jpg

A new FM. And a new club for me, as I've never managed (or even considered) them before in any version

Why Grimsby Town? Well, they're celebrating 140 years and decided this strange landmark deserves a special badge this season

It also marks 40 years since I started regularly going to watch football. Yes, it really was in the 1978/79 season

My team was in the old Division 4 at the time, and so were Grimsby. They both had very good seasons, and it was the first time I ever saw Grimsby play live

I had no idea at the time, but they would have been in their centenary year at that point. So it seems fitting that I celebrate this 'massive' 140 thing with them

 OK, it's not massive really. But who knows where we will all be in 10 years time, right?

484011368_GrimsbyTownGeneral.thumb.png.57e31d87c2be87c2fa11ba966a5569ff.png

The Mariners aren't tipped to finish particularly high in League 2. And I like that kind of challenge as no step is too far...

The club have sold 3000 season tickets for the 2018/19 season, so there should be good attendances and support for the team

Unfortunately, since taking on the job, it has emerged that Chairman John Fenty wants to sell and a boardroom takeover is in the pipeline

That's disappointing as I like original owners who have put time and effort in to a club, but maybe John has his reasons 

 I am aware they've been trying to build a new community stadium for two decades now. It will come, but who knows when? 

The new stadium designs look impressive. But In the meantime, Blundell Park isn't the worst stadium to have in League 2

It's a 9052 all-seater stadium built in 1899, but I think it still looks pretty decent myself. Open corners aren't so cool, but full roofing is nice

742156901_GTFCstadium.thumb.png.2377aedd3011fc14cc2027ef3da86bd9.png

47934943_GTFCsketchup.thumb.jpg.4a1261c60f2b7d26ddc50906dc45640c.jpg

 My aim is to get this club back in to the second tier, where they spent much of their time the 1980's and 1990's

They've not been anywhere near that level since relegation in 2003, and in fact they went down from League 1 the following year too

In 2010 they dropped out of League 2, but after promotion in 2016, they're now looking to re-establish themselves back in the EFL

So, that's my introduction to Grimsby Town and next time we will talk through what has happened since I took the job on

Sorry @warlock but I promise there's nothing fishy about my choice! You'll wish me luck, won't you?

1131012418_GTFCgoodluck.thumb.jpg.2a2f1397cac715a7421cf5ca8d2fb794.jpg

 

Edited by Jogo Bonito

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12 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

I promise there's nothing fishy about my choice! 

It's Grimsby... there's definitely something fishy about your choice! :lol:

What can I say... I'm annoyed that you took one of my prospects; I'm delighted that you're giving The Mariners a chance at success (I know you won't let them down); and I'm annoyed that you took a punt on a tough challenge that I bottled out of. Yes, the last is on me, but still... :p

Seriously, I wish you well, and I'm looking forward to following your progress.

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Cheers @warlock and I do recall the only time I went there to watch a game (many years ago) it was very noticeable that the whole place (plaice?) did smell of fish. A weird experience indeed.

I couldn't believe that you wrote they were on your hit list, but felt it was time to come clean. Maybe the town (yes, I know the stadium is in Cleethorpes) might want to do the same. Maybe it already has?

I'm delighted and annoyed with you too. But at least you'll get to see my mistakes before you waltz in and do it properly! In fact, knowing the speed I play FM at, you'll have finished with Boro and be well under way at Grimsby by the time I get my next update up :lol:

Edited by Jogo Bonito

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Hi All, 

Starting a long term save with Sunderland. First season goal is to be promoted to the Championship. May be a challenge early due to current injuries in squad.

Early Transfers:

S. Caulker - Free

K. Hinds - Free

D. Poyet - Free

B. Galloway - Loan

F. Diabate - Loan

 

Pre-Season: 

Enjoyed a successful pre-season. P5 W4 D1 L0

Game 1 vs Charlton: 3-1 Win

(Goals: Maja, Diabate, Own Goal)

 Will keep you all posted with progress.

Some great saves going on at the moment. Love this thread. 

Great Job All!

 

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As always, I too will venture into the EFL at some point. Already narrowing down club choices.

Are there any clubs that are likely to be taken over within the first 6 months or so? I fancy managing a club with a chance of a tycoon this year.

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@Jogo Bonito - good luck with Grimsby! Seems like quite the challenge. I have never managed in league 2 in any of the FM games always felt a bridge too far. Will be looking out for your progress. 

@warlock - similarly with Boro, fond memories of them in the premier league growing up. And they’ve always had a good tradition of using their academy. Plus the guy who sounds like an Indian food dish looks excellent this year ;)

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