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FM19: The English Football League thread

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Season six is finished - including the 2024 Euros. I mentioned in my previous update that silverware would be needed, and I've won three trophies since then. Too bad only one of them was with Sunderland and that was only the league cup, but it's a start.

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A little bit on the Euros first. An odd tournament on our part. Topped our group with 1-0 wins over Turkey and Holland and a 0-0 draw with Poland, beat Spain on pens after a 0-0 draw in the last 16, beat Russia 1-0 with a late goal in the quarters, then beat Poland 5-2 in the semi-final and then Germany 3-1 in the final. Very strange, especially as I didn't really change anything tactically.

Back to Sunderland then. Our best season in the league so far, but still a disappointment.

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As late as early April we were fighting for the title, but seven dropped points in the space of four games in April allowed City to get a comfortable lead. After that we really didn't have a chance. A draw at already relegated Norwich and a defeat at Arsenal in the last two games were meaningless, but still a disappointing and frustrating way to end the season.

In the league cup we got a super easy run into the final, facing only non-premier league teams (Middlesbrough, Fulham, Luton, Birmingham) until the final, where we comfortably beat City 3-0. They had their revenge in the FA cup though, where we were handed one of the worst defeats I've ever had on any FM when we lost 7-1 in the 6th round. Not sure how it happened. I did field a relatively weak team but it was still incomprehensible. I guess everything just went right for them and wrong for us.

In the champions league we topped our difficult group of Bayern, Lazio and Porto, only to lose 3-2 on aggregate against Valencia in the first knockout round. Next season we'll be expected to make it into the quarters, so have to do better. We'll probably still be in pot 3 in the group draw, but hopefully we'll get a little bit easier group next time around.

Then the transfers:

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Quite a lot of movement and some seriously good players coming in in Gedson Fernandes, Jonathan Tah and Radoslaw Zalewski (German regen left back, only 19 at the time but one of the best left backs in the world). Wicherink is a striker, just 20 years old now, but looks insanely good with 3,5 star CA and 5 star PA. But his performances haven't been anywhere near what you'd expect, and I have no idea why. He has a good personality, doesn't appear to have any undesirable hidden attributes and has been very good in training most of the time. But he just hasn't been able to score goals, scoring just 6 in all competitions, with an average rating of 6,71. He's currently wanted by Barcelona, if they want him badly enough I'll have to seriously consider it, even though I'm sure he will improve next season. Thankfully we got plenty of goals from midfield, particularly from Fernandes and this guy:

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Bought from Inverness after our first premier league season for 700k. :lol: He was part of my first youngster shopping spree, which I always tend to do every few years after I start qualifying for continental competitions. Essentially I'm looking for young players available on the cheap- but who appear to have a good CA, to develop them and provide additional injury cover. Most of them never amount to anything, but on occasion some of them turn out great. I didn't play Johnstone at all in his first season, but he developed really well and I noticed my assman rating him at 2,5 stars CA so I gave him a rotation spot for the next season. By the end of the season he had basically taken Calhanoglu's place in the first XI. In the first half of last season he was incredible, scoring and assisting regularly and even though he faded a bit towards the end of the season he ended up with the highest average rating in the league.

Next season, the main aim will be to take that one last step and win the title. Not confident though, didn't get a lot of money so I couldn't really strengthen. Most of the players that would definitely improve our first XI would probably cost close to 100 million and are on 150k+ wages, so not really affordable. I've signed one world class player who had a 78 million release clause and financed that by selling a couple of rotation players that I could replace with high quality youngsters on the cheap. Other than that, I'll mainly hope that our high potential youngsters keep developing and improving and thus help push us to the next level.

 

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7 minutes ago, kozmik said:

I've won three trophies since then. Too bad only one of them was with Sunderland

I'm pretty sure Sunderland fans would consider any trophy a good trophy :).

Another successful season, I'd say. Unlucky to hit a drop in form at a critical time - in all of my saves there's always one rival team that just keeps winning. Hopefully, you'll win one of the big titles next time round!

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Swindon Town FC - Season 1 - Mid Season Review

I had planned on writing a pre-season write up but got carried away. 

I am from Swindon and been to a fair few matches over the years so the choice for my first save on FM19 was obvious, like a bit of a challenge. Joined up and first team talk told the lads I wanted a top half finish, immediately morale drops and I’m told I don’t believe in the squad enough. Great Start.
Started the season with what was effectively a 4-1-2-2-1 formation, with 2 wingers. The rational being that shoring up the defence was the main priority and then as the season progressed, we would build a more potent attack.
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This shows how the tactics went, friendlies didn’t go great but the stats weren’t bad, the games were close enough for me to believe the tactics would work and when we played our first 3 games and topped the league I was delighted. I played a entirely different team in Carabao cup and Checkatrade Trophy games as the timings of these fixtures mixed with lack of squad depth led me to give up.
Our form dropped off and by game 15 we were 11th, the defence wasn’t awful but we made so few chances we scored barely any goals. Why did it take so long to change? I was stubborn. But a 0-0 against Cambridge who were down to 10 men 15 minutes in was the kick I needed.
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I changed to a more attacking minded 4-2-3-1, the possession in the next few games went up without a noticeable difference in results but patience won and we started to click. We were heavily relying on midfielders for goals, and still are now, but a change in fortunes was great to see.
A manager of the month award followed in December as we won 5 straight games. We now sit 4th, nearly every game we take the lead and move into top 3 live places before the teams above us equal our results. 6 points between 2nd and 7th show how close it is and I don’t expect Crewe’s run to last forever so the 5-point gap at the top might not last. Overall a very exciting season to be a part of and looking forward to a strong second half.

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This is my first play in FM19 so signing experienced players, for me 24-30, rather than my usual teens only strategy is seemingly paying off. There is a lack of leadership in the squad and no real No.9 has been available so looking to address this at the end of the year. We managed to get Manchester United as a parent club at the end of first transfer window so in January 3 youngsters have come in to help. The end of Sid Nelson’s loan from Millwall was the biggest blow and hoping Poole will plug the gap at CB, signs are promising.
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Lalkovic has been a great signing as joint top scorer, Martin Smith is also banging them in, his natural position is MC Advanced playmaker but I play him in a AMC position same role.
Right side of the team is very strong with Knoyle and Woolery playing really well together, the 2 CMs I inherited of Doughty and Diagouraga are really pleasing me. Diagouraga at 31 though will probably be replaced in the offseason or at least start to groom his replacement. 
The majority of the first 11, 7 or there about when all fit, are existing players so most of the signings are squad players. 
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Financially we aren’t great. End.
We are expecting to be in 1.4m of debt by end of the year so I’m thinking playoffs would probably be better than a second or third place but that’s a gamble. We finish paying a debt in June 2019 which is 200k a month, so next season should do better financially. Quite a few contracts will be expiring and I plan to use loans again so hopefully the future is bright, promotion or not. 

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So my career with Norwich went to the dogs - made some really bad choices - so in light of it being Christmas and having some time off work I am starting over!

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1 hour ago, steveyisatard said:

So my career with Norwich went to the dogs - made some really bad choices - so in light of it being Christmas and having some time off work I am starting over!

What happened? You planning on another Football league save?

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11 hours ago, steveyisatard said:

So my career with Norwich went to the dogs - made some really bad choices - so in light of it being Christmas and having some time off work I am starting over!

Mine has been a difficult season I’m currently in February and sitting in 8th but have been very inconsistent 

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18 hours ago, ellzo said:

What happened? You planning on another Football league save?

Didn't give the save as much attention as I should have - lost a lot of money, poor results - plan to start over and take things slower.

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7 hours ago, steveyisatard said:

plan to start over and take things slower.

Always a good strategy, I think.

Merry Christmas to all our past and present EFL managers. Hope to see you all riding the glory train in 2019.

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9 hours ago, warlock said:

Always a good strategy, I think.

Merry Christmas to all our past and present EFL managers. Hope to see you all riding the glory train in 2019.

Was my first save of the new game, was kidding myself that it would all go to plan and I wouldn't rush through to try everything out :rolleyes:

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Really enjoying this thread as always! I even started a Sunderland save to update you guys on, but I got too far ahead, and now I only have Max Power left from the original squad!

Keep up the good work, all of you, and have a merry Christmas! :D 

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Evening guys. I had initially set up my first FM19 save as Reading, however, due to the gap since I loaded it and watching their change in fortunes over the last couple of games, I've decided that I'm going to try and rebuild Sheffield Wednesday instead. 

Wish me luck.

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4 hours ago, smplfc123 said:

I'm going to try and rebuild Sheffield Wednesday instead.

Excellent choice! You'll know - I'm sure - that I led the Owls to a first season title. So... no pressure :lol:.

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11 hours ago, warlock said:

Excellent choice! You'll know - I'm sure - that I led the Owls to a first season title. So... no pressure :lol:.

Snap! Winning the league on goal difference ! This was on beta though, and I had to stop playing it as none of the players improved stat wise. Will try again on the latest ME.

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20 minutes ago, roggiotis said:

I want to start a new save with a team from Vanarama South/North , any suggestions ?

Not really our thing - we only go down to League 2.

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NORWICH CITY FC

July-August 2018

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In the only way I know how I have more or less gutted the non-playing staff to provide us with a solid team to acheive our goals, alongside a few changes to the first team squad, although most of my summer signings are ones for the future.

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We arrive at the close of the restricted transfer window going into September unbeaten in the league and with no major injury concerns which is good considering the heavy pre-season workload I put the team through. In terms of a playing style I have settled on a fairly basic 4-1-3-1-1 formation which gives us a solid base to build on at the back whilst still offering enough of a threat going forwards, will likely tweak this further as the season progresses if required.

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So I had the misfortune of a crash dump :( and had to replay the Bristol, Sunderland and WBA games, original screenshots left above but this is how the results and the league table now stand, thankfully still unbeaten despite the setback:

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Edited by steveyisatard

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12 hours ago, warlock said:

Not really our thing - we only go down to League 2.

Why  is that ?

I like the white-red color of shirt , If I choose league 2 , I am among Cheltenham ,Exeter and Lincoln. What do you think?

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1 hour ago, roggiotis said:

Why  is that ?

I like the white-red color of shirt , If I choose league 2 , I am among Cheltenham ,Exeter and Lincoln. What do you think?

I usually go with the team that has the lowest expectations. so Cheltenham, as then if I struggle first season there is not such a rush to sack me.

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End of Season Update?

So last game of the season (hopefully), and the race for the final promotion spot has come down to today.

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I am on a horrendous run of form, 2 wins from 10 have left me in the lurch and needing a win on the final day to secure promotion. At the other end the game between  Tranmere and Crawley is the stuff of dreams for SkyTV and a finger biting context between the fans.

Now I would usually screenshot the game but it was so dull I will leave it out.

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From Hero to Zero but with a chance to sort this out.

We have had a horrible run since end of Feb were I was runner up for manager of the month. 

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Still not sure what exactly happened. Player fatigue was not an issue, a few injuries came up but my only key player dropped out for the last 3 games. I have the best defense in the league despite losing my main CB in January conceding 38 goals and having 18 clean sheets, more passes than anyone (20,394 to Lincoln in second with 16,286) and more possession with an avg of 58%. You may have noticed a lack of goal stats and this appears to be the problem. We are 15th in goals scored, 21st in chances created, 24th in shots on target ratio and cross completion along with being the most fouled team in the league (anyone with a good set piece routine please let me know!)

I have made some tactical tweaks for the playoffs and hoping it will pay off.

To sum it up. I'm gutted, my last update I said that a playoff run would probably be better for me financially, but with our current form I can't see us getting a win. More to follow

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Swindon Town FC - Season 1 – End of Season Review

The last update finished with us about to go into the playoffs, although we should have been promoted automatically, and we drew Colchester (MK Dons and Lincoln making up the other 2 teams).

The first match went really well, we managed a 3-1 away win. This is probably the best we could have hoped for as form going into this was awful.

The second game at home we lost 1-0, not great but we made the final. This would have been 0-0 but I felt sentimental and gave Luke McCormick a home send off as he was retiring by bringing on the veteran GK in the 87th min, he scored an own goal in the 88th.

Bit of a panic last few minutes but we rode it out.

The final was against MK Dons, pre-season favourites for the title. In the pre match brief I told the lads we would be playing an attacking formation, as last time we played them they struggled to counter it and we won, this was met with universal criticism. Not a great start.

The game was a tense affair, 0-0 until the 85th when our CM Doughty stepped up and scored a beaut from the edge of the box. Smith scored again in the 91st to confirm our place in history and league 1.

 

Spoiler

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So looking to next season. I told the team we could beat the drop with a few additions.

 

Spoiler

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We look much better financially after our trip to Wembley with 831k in the coffers. I want to ask for better youth facilities but I think staying debt free may be more important currently as the last batch of youth was awful.

 

Spoiler

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There is one transfer pre-arranged from U.C.D with Farrugia joining us, and there is a 16 year old regen in the conference I am keen on. Other than that I expect more Utd players to join on loan and the majority of the squad to stay as is.

 

Spoiler

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Edited by ellzo

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there are 2 teams in Vanarama North ( Altrincham and Ashton Utd ) that have the the same nickname (The Robins) 

Is it a bug or its true ?

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6 hours ago, roggiotis said:

Why  is that ?

Because this is the EFL - English Football League - thread, and not the Vanarama National League thread.

 

10 minutes ago, roggiotis said:

there are 2 teams in Vanarama North ( Altrincham and Ashton Utd ) that have the the same nickname (The Robins) 

As do Bristol City and Swindon, among others. Full list here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_football_club_nicknames_in_the_United_Kingdom

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Swindon Town FC - Season 2 – Season Preview

So most important thing first – Transfers

As I mentioned in my last update I had 2 main targets and then for there I would see how the market went in terms of players running out of contracts so not to worry about my transfer budget. By the end of the window I have a much larger squad than I anticipated, lacking real depth in CB position. I am very excited by Farrugia who I posted in the last update, but even more so by Kalantari.

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He looks like he is ready to start scoring in league 1 at his current age (16) and I hope he will become a club legend, though I see that being dependant on how quickly I am promoted. He has scored 6 goals in 5 friendlies and as I have also played my first league fixture he scored 2 goals on his debut.

Sid Nelson comes back after rejecting extending a loan spell with us and becomes 1st choice CB alongside Conroy, Ogilvie is first choice LB. Callum Roberts is now first choice on the right and Angel Gomes on loan from Utd and worth more than my top 12 players seems a coup. I but bids in for most of the Utd U23’s and then selected from those that accepted the loan offers.  

The rest are squad players filling in where we struggled last season holding only 11 real first team players (probably 8 or 9 in reality). I will probably look to get a CB in on loan in January if we struggle with 3 good options as it stands. We are heavily stacked in the AM area.

Tactics will be the same as last season, maybe bit more defensive as we look to hold possession.

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As mentioned earlier, Kalantari was banging them in during friendlies which we all of. Especially sweet was a 6-3 victory over Utd at home that also made me some money so win-win. The Checkatrade Trophy draw has been fair this year so might try a cup run now we have the squad for it.

Goals are now middle of the pack finish, as mentioned in the last update the squad were distraught when I said we would stay up and they all said we are going down. This time after the transfers came in I said again lets stay up and they said I was aiming too low. No winning with this lot. ON a side note we cant play our rivals Oxford as they got Promoted, but Reading and Bristol Rovers are in the league so that is a plus. Bristol City made the Prem.

Financially we are looking good with the projection for the end of the season sitting at 200k in the white. If we get a cup run and FA Cup draw is good to us, I would like to see 500k, then we can look again at improving youth facilities.

That lends well to my final point.

I have to keep a fairly poor ST in my matchday squad as no youth has come up in an even reasonable state to play in League 1. It’s a pain, but not much I can do about it, it looks like it is going to make a difficult squad management task even harder.

 

Edited by ellzo

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Started again with Sheffield Wednesday, my beta-game as said before was a mess (no players improved in the entire game) and wanted to try the challenge again. First summer transfer window is fun (£0 transfer, 1k wage available) so its alot of wheeling and dealing. As a SWFC fan myself, certain players are safe and others not.

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I admit after buying Xadas on Palermo save he was always going to be my first signing (Marin is beyond my budget). Sunderland did me a huge favour taking both Boyd (25k wage!) and Mattias off my hands and Morgan Fox has left on loan which will be permenant at the end of the season. I tried my best to get rid of Nuhui and Davy Jones but nobody has even shown a glimmer of interest. The squads major weakness is at R(W)B so I've got Walker-Peters as first choice and CAM so Foden (who from my last save was brilliant and injury prone) as an option alongside Onomah and Xadas. Bannan (arguably our best player) was ruled out for 3 months, so I brought in Gaudino as he can be relied upon to play a simple game.

Trying to play 5-3-1-2 or 5-2-2-1 with no wingers (the squad is blessed with Forestieri and that's about it).

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On 30/12/2018 at 11:41, ellzo said:

Callum Roberts is now first choice on the right and Angel Gomes on loan from Utd and worth more than my top 12 players seems a coup. I but bids in for most of the Utd U23’s and then selected from those that accepted the loan offers.  

The rest are squad players filling in where we struggled last season holding only 11 real first team players (probably 8 or 9 in reality). I will probably look to get a CB in on loan in January if we struggle with 3 good options as it stands. We are heavily stacked in the AM area. 

FYI Callum Gribbin has been superb for me. Started life in League One and now in my first season in the Champions League. He’s been with me each season, initially on loan for the first 3 then signed him on a free. I don’t play with an AMC so I’ve played him AMR as an IF and he’s now natural there. Managed 20 assists last season and wasn’t even first choice. 

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Struggling with motivation for this year's game, I was looking for a challenge in the lower leagues and found Blyth Spartans. Picked them only for the name and the logo.

I'm hoping to get into the playoffs this year and maybe promote through.

After 10 games, it's going better than I thought.

 

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Reading FC end of season 2 update

It's been a pleasure reading all of your updates, so I thought I'd make sure I did mine too.

Having been promoted to the prem, my squad was in serious need of strengthening. GK, CB, LB, CM, CAM and ST were all areas I wanted to focus on. However, with just £35 million to spend I had to sell a few players first and raised another £7 million to fund the purchases of these guys:

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I was very much hoping just to avoid relegation as many of my players were still of Championship quality. However, a combination of the brilliance of Knap's tactics, the performances of my new signings and an easy start to the season saw us win 7 out of our first 8 home games! 

We were 5th for much of the season, before some shocking results for the sides around us let us in to the Champions League places, where we managed to stay until the end of the season. I don't think I've ever seen such low points totals for 5th and 6th places, so next year may prove much harder.

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I'm about to start pre-season for season 3, and have brought in Fiete Arp after courting him all season (free transfer), Oxlade-Chamberlain (£14 million - transfer listed) and Tonali (£17 million - transfer listed at Leicester after they failed to meet a promise). 

Our top goal scorer last season was Bodvarsson with 12 prem goals, so hopefully Arp will help on that front. Tonali should fill the hole left by Torreira who was superb last season. However, players like Nasri and Klavan, key players last year are on the sharp decline, so there is a lot of work to do and just £14 million left to spend. I also have big decisions to make regarding players like Gunter and Omar Richards - they have performed well but will they be able to do it again now teams know what we are about? They are also obviously home grown which is another issue to consider.

This is the squad thus far:

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Posted (edited)

Happy New Year fellow EFL FM players!

Just been enjoying catching up on all your posts from over the festive period and thought I'd add my latest update...

Charlton Athletic - Season 4 - Part 1

After the heroics of last season we find ourselves swimming among the shark infested waters of the Premier League in Season 4. I wanted to give many of the players who powered us to promotion a chance in the Premier League, but I am a pragmatist and knew I would also have to add quality and depth to the squad if we were to stand a chance of surviving. What followed therefore, was once again a busy summer at The Valley.

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I once again reviewed and enhanced my coaching staff, with the most notable appointment being that of former Liverpool manager Gérard Houllier as my new Director of Football. This is a role I find very useful, making sure to always request transfer suggestions, which has often proven fruitful.

Transfers.thumb.png.3c167c8b308c43dae1ab8018329a02e8.pngRelease.thumb.png.aa4efcd2b51b2140c03451c157dc4240.png

Going into the transfer window my primary objectives were to improve my options at centre-back, on the wings and up front. In the centre of defence I had relied on Jason Pearce for far too long and, although he had performed admirably whenever called upon and had always demonstrated great leadership skills, he was essentially a League One standard player over-performing. I addressed this by signing Valentin Antov (a 20 year old Bulgarian with vast potential) and Bjorn Engels.

Last season our wing options had included loanees Ince and Mbenza, along with Championship Player of the Season Robbie Kruse. The loanees had now left and age meant Kruse was starting to decline so I looked to start afresh here. I was delighted to sign Anwar El Ghazi on a free transfer, in what I think was a major coup for the club. Our one significant financial outlay was for Dani Pacheco who I beat off significant competition for to recruit as my new inside forward from the left wing. I am hoping these two players provide the quality we require to stay in the division. They will be ably supported by further recruits Andre Ayew and Scott Sinclair.

When recruiting forwards, my approach was similar to my signing of Antov, whereby I looked for young high potential players who had performed well at youth international competitions. I therefore signed Jovan Markovic (20 year old Romanian), Vlad Iuhas (18 year old Romanian) and Driss Khalid (22 year old Morrocan). I was not planning to make further attacking recruits however later in the transfer window I noticed that Nikola Kalinic was available and I could not resist adding some experience to my ranks. Unfortuantely this means that the striker who's goals took us to the Prem, Lyle Taylor, is unlikely to see much action this season - but I could not ignore the opportunity to improve my squad.

Elsewhere on the pitch I brought Victor Garcia in as a second choice right back and, with the expectation that more defending will be required in the Premier League, I brought in experienced DM Nampalys Mendy. I reluctantly released Forster-Caskey, who was a player I liked but seemed to pick up a weekly knock, and replaced him with Italian central midfielder Fabio Castellano.

There were no notable sales as I hung onto the star players who took us up. I loaned out players who had become surplus to requirements such as Pearce, Burgy, Bahlouli and Uhre. I signed a young goalkeeper with high potential from Monaco called Loic Badiashile, but there was no way that he would be able to displace Dean Henderson from my team so I sent him out on loan to gain experience. Likewise, due to my vast number of forward options, I also sent forward Khalid out to aide his development.

So going into my fourth season with Charlton my strongest eleven looks as follows:

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Pre-season was completely uneventful and we played nobody of note. We took on a large number of free agents on trial to run the rule over them and, as you read above, several of them were recruited. The squad started the season with a clean bill of health and high morale after five victories and a promotion in recent memory.

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The fixture list composers were kind to us as we started the season with some winable games. The opening day was frustrating as we dominated Forest but only came away with a draw. This was soon forgotten though after two great wins against Cardiff and Leicester. Reality set in at the end of the month after we were thrashed by Liverpool. I am expecting several results like this against the top sides in the division where the gap in quality is vast, however if we can try to pick up results against the teams in the bottom half of the table then we could be okay.

Table.thumb.png.d50c3c0e8ddfaf9aa8b66fe9d271cd13.png

Edited by Dong21

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It was surprsingly easy, qualified with 5 games in hand.

Now the real hard work begins. My keeper is pretty bad and I'd be happy to find a CM and a DC for next year

 

KJFKSDFJF.PNG

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On 30/12/2018 at 11:41, ellzo said:

Tactics will be the same as last season, maybe bit more defensive

 

On 27/12/2018 at 22:19, steveyisatard said:

going into September unbeaten in the league

 

20 hours ago, Dong21 said:

we find ourselves swimming among the shark infested waters of the Premier League

 

23 hours ago, Jaketomsett said:

Having been promoted to the prem, my squad was in serious need of strengthening

 

On 30/12/2018 at 20:51, jonathan44 said:

Started again with Sheffield Wednesday

Happy New Year to all, with special thanks to those of you who found time for a festive update (and apologies if I missed anyone).

Looks like some of us are enjoying continued success, with quite a few now in the top tier. Congratulations!

For myself, I have been casting around for a new save. Tried Brentford with some success but injuries sapped the life out of it. Spent a lot of time almost being lured back to Peterborough (again!) but finally resisted. So finally settled on the challenge of returning Barnsley to the Championship, and - hopefully - higher. Started the game yesterday and will put up a post when I've reached the end of the transfer window.

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On 01/01/2019 at 10:54, Jaketomsett said:

Reading FC end of season 2 update

It's been a pleasure reading all of your updates, so I thought I'd make sure I did mine too.

Having been promoted to the prem, my squad was in serious need of strengthening. GK, CB, LB, CM, CAM and ST were all areas I wanted to focus on. However, with just £35 million to spend I had to sell a few players first and raised another £7 million to fund the purchases of these guys:

381081684_Screenshot(21).thumb.png.c5ff0ecd63ea52c11e6405a327d29365.png

I was very much hoping just to avoid relegation as many of my players were still of Championship quality. However, a combination of the brilliance of Knap's tactics, the performances of my new signings and an easy start to the season saw us win 7 out of our first 8 home games! 

We were 5th for much of the season, before some shocking results for the sides around us let us in to the Champions League places, where we managed to stay until the end of the season. I don't think I've ever seen such low points totals for 5th and 6th places, so next year may prove much harder.

1526935648_Screenshot(19).thumb.png.b1f33699421fe6afd184950a773d6797.png

I'm about to start pre-season for season 3, and have brought in Fiete Arp after courting him all season (free transfer), Oxlade-Chamberlain (£14 million - transfer listed) and Tonali (£17 million - transfer listed at Leicester after they failed to meet a promise). 

Our top goal scorer last season was Bodvarsson with 12 prem goals, so hopefully Arp will help on that front. Tonali should fill the hole left by Torreira who was superb last season. However, players like Nasri and Klavan, key players last year are on the sharp decline, so there is a lot of work to do and just £14 million left to spend. I also have big decisions to make regarding players like Gunter and Omar Richards - they have performed well but will they be able to do it again now teams know what we are about? They are also obviously home grown which is another issue to consider.

This is the squad thus far:

370396869_Screenshot(23).thumb.png.e7725b91754c402ffc3e1f76e21ce155.png

1121239542_Screenshot(25).thumb.png.a907245abb29cfe3033fc6995f883c1a.png

 

That's an astonishing finish for your first season in the Premier League. Fair play :applause:

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Just started a new save as Blackburn. Currently 7th after just the six games, unbeaten I might add. Lots of draws tho but having lots of fun! Any one else have a save with them or any advice?

 

ps Dack is a machine! 5 in 6

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2 hours ago, Corndog69 said:

Any one else have a save with them or any advice?

Welcome to the fun house. Pretty sure there's a couple of Blackburn saves earlier in the thread, if you have the patience to read all the way through.

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On 02/01/2019 at 12:58, dino said:

That's an astonishing finish for your first season in the Premier League. Fair play :applause:

I think I have to thank Knap for his tactics, I've adjusted them slightly for away games etc, but the base for my success is those tactics. Some of my signings turned out to be extremely good, Torreira and Akkaynak scored 14 goals in the prem between them and Liam Kelly has been smashing them in from range too. Let's see if I can repeat it this season!

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Barnsley: Season 1

For my first save of 2019 (the year, not the version!) I wanted to go below the Championship, to a team I hadn't managed before. Despite being drawn to Peterborough - who I managed two or three times in FM18 - I eventually opted for Barnsley. I had intended to post this after the transfer window closed, but I'm having such a good time I just kept on playing. So we're now just before Christmas, with exactly half the season complete.

Playing squad & staff recruitment

Having just been relegated from the Championship, Barnsley start the season with a pretty strong squad (although one that wasn't strong enough to keep them up). By L1 standards, they have a decent keeper, a good FB on each side, three strong CBs, a very good midfield both in the centre and out wide, and two good strikers. Unfortunately, there are a few issues to be addressed. First, they start the season with two long-term injuries to LB Zeki Fryers and LW Ryan Hedges. Second, with only three CBs, any injury there is going to be a problem. Third, I really wanted to play a 442, but with only two first-choice strikers and two young prospects that looked a tricky proposition. And fourth, the injury to Fryers meant we had no cover at LB for the first few months.

First solution was to sign Brendan Galloway from Everton on loan - a natural LB and decent CB, which solved two of my problems at once. I assumed that once Fryers recovered, Galloway would provide cover at CB but in the event, first choice LB Dani Pinillos ruptured his knee ligaments in mid-November and will miss the rest of the season so Galloway is providing rotation at LB and cover at CB. And he's doing a fine job in both positions.

The injury to Hedges at first looked less problematical since the squad had adequate cover. But the season was barely underway when first-choice RW Brad Potts broke his ankle and has been missing ever since, and won't return until mid-January. Then playmaker Alex Mowatt tore his hamstring and would miss the whole of September and October. So Middlesbrough's Lewis Wing was brought in on loan.

I had a generous transfer budget of £1.4m available but with regard to the shortage of strikers I had the age-old problem of trying to recruit for an expected/hoped-for promotion to the Championship and the players I could afford either wouldn't consider the move to L1, or weren't convincing for the Championship. So I decided to ignore the problem. My third-choice striker, 20-year-old Victor Adeboyejo looked a decent prospect, and I had another 20-year-old in Jacob Brown who could probably do a job in emergencies. In the event, he's only had to make a couple of appearances and bagged a goal in his only start. So job done!

Behind the scenes, I undertook a wholesale replacement of the backroom staff, keeping only the chief scout. None of the new recruits was top quality, but were good enough to give us the best scouting and medical team in L1, and almost the best coaching unit.

Tactics and results

I opted for a pretty simple 442, balanced mentality, low block, careful in possession but poised for any opportunity to counter. More by luck than judgement I hit upon something that worked from the off and has proven to be pretty much plug-and-play. And the results, frankly, have been stunning:

8NJKd4Sh.png?1

In the league, we're unbeaten so far after 23 games, and until the most recent (and disappointing) draw against Blackpool, we racked up 17 consecutive victories. Perhaps not surprisingly, we have both the best defence and attack in the league. Cauley Woodrow - currently on loan but joining permanently in January - is our leading scorer with 19 goals in 28 starts. Sadly, he's having to do it on his own most games as Keiffer Moore and Adeboyejo have just 11 goals in 28 between them. The CBs have chipped in with 10 goals from setpieces, and the midfield unit have contributed around 20.

Outside of the league, we have lost only two games all season: an expected defeat to West Ham in the R2 of the Carabao Cup, and a penalty defeat to Walsall in a dead-rubber in the Checkatrade Trophy group. In the FA Cup we face a R3 home tie against Aston Villa having despatched Mansfield 3-0 and Crawley Town 4-0.

Current standing

iEhkTmIh.png?1

Not quite top of the world, but comfortably top of the division with a 17-point lead over second-placed Peterborough. In my usual pessimistic manner I have been expecting the wheels to fall off this glory train but the lads just keep on pulling out great performances, Blackpool notwithstanding where we just couldn't break them down to find a winner. If there's a fly in my ointment it is an understandable drop in form of Woodrow who, for the first time this season, has gone three games without scoring - hopefully a short-term blip and not an omen. I'll probably try to bring another striker on loan in January to give him a bit more support.

Here's hoping for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for The Reds!

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@warlock Brilliant first half of the season - 17 consecutive wins is bloody impressive. 

 

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@warlock Great start to the season, it's seams to be pretty easy with Barnsley this season.

Difficult time of year irl to start a new save with the January transfer window, Potts has just been sol irl as well. I was looking to start a new save in the EFL, something a bit more challenging! Rotherham was the initial thought but the January window kind of put me off as Ryan Manning has already gone back to QPR, I might wait until after January to start a new save.

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@dino Cheers! I was pretty miffed at that draw against Blackpool - we were in control the whole game, then they nicked the equaliser with a 30-yard screamer in the 83rd minute and we couldn't find a winner.

@Jamesbfc1887 Pretty easy? Yeah, maybe - I was hoping it was because I'm a genius :lol:. Don't want to count my chickens (he said, counting said chickens) but I'd expect life back in the Championship to be a lot tougher. As for the updated squads, you'll be without a game for a while since the usual FM update isn't until March-ish, or you could download one of the unofficial databases that get updated regularly. For myself, squad personnel doesn't really bother me - outside of a few clubs I don't know the players so getting to know them is part of the charm.

I enjoyed your manager story with Barnsley - checked it out when I took them on to see how others might have fared. Are you done now?

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3 minutes ago, warlock said:

I enjoyed your manager story with Barnsley - checked it out when I took them on to see how others might have fared. Are you done now?

Cheers, I've not finished with it quite yet, in the Prem it almost feels like another game though, having an entirely different squad after 3 years is slightly strange, now it's all about finding regens in 2021 and it's also weird seeing the club I support in the Premier League doing really well, the struggle of the EFL is where my heart belongs :D.

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Just now, Jamesbfc1887 said:

now it's all about finding regens in 2021 ... the struggle of the EFL is where my heart belongs :D

Have to agree with that. I can't maintain much enthusiasm for a save once regens start dominating squads, and there's a couple of us here who always lose interest when we get to the PL. On the other hand it means I get to manage about 12-15 different teams across each version of FM.

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11 minutes ago, warlock said:

Have to agree with that. I can't maintain much enthusiasm for a save once regens start dominating squads, and there's a couple of us here who always lose interest when we get to the PL. On the other hand it means I get to manage about 12-15 different teams across each version of FM.

Exactly my thoughts, but then I look at people who have saves in 2045 or something, with regens who have already retired having played for them for 20 years!!!!! and think "Why can I not do that", it's nice to see there are other like minded people and it's not just me :lol:.

@warlock How many teams have you managed already this year?

 

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14 minutes ago, Jamesbfc1887 said:

How many teams have you managed already this year?

Well, I've done one full season with Middlesbrough, Sheffield United, and Gateshead. Into a third season with Sheffield Wednesday, and in my Darlington save I'm midway through the second season. Have half a season completed now with Barnsley, and had a half season with Brentford (couldn't cope with a stream of injuries). I always do a save with Man Utd and have started one this year but left it because pre-season is an abortion with most of the first team squad missing until August for post-World Cup holidays; makes it impossible to figure out your tactics until September at the earliest. But I will get back to that one. Usually also do a Dafuge Challenge save but that's a big commitment (takes hours of searching for players!) I haven't found time for yet.

I'm retired, so I get to play a lot :).

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14 minutes ago, warlock said:

I'm retired, so I get to play a lot :).

Yeah, complete end if spectrum for me, I don't have the time to do that.

I've done 3 seasons with Barnsley, 1 and a half with Man Utd and 2 at Chesterfield which became a journeyman when I went to West Ham.

Right I'm off to do some revision :lol:

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