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FM19: The English Football League thread

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@Reece3 Happy to have you with us. 

@Mr_Demus Wigan have just been bought, so I'd guess that possibility would be in the game. Other real-life candidates include Hull, Blackpool, Charlton and Bolton so might also be prospects in game.

@karanhsingh I'm guessing you mean young Billal Brahimi? Looks a prospect but his stats have a lot of room for improvement; I'll let you know how he gets on.

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@Reece3 Welcome. Hinds is a good player for the level and Diabate is even better if my experience is anything to go by.

@Mr_Demus Grimsby? I joke of course as there is nothing to suggest their takeover will bring any money in at all. Charlton are likely to be taken over quite quickly in the game and might be worth considering.

@karanhsingh Thanks, I'm looking forward to testing myself at Blundell Park.

Edited by Jogo Bonito

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Too many posts to keep up with here! 

Good luck to those just starting. 

@Jogo Bonito I believe Grimsby have a decent squad. John Welsh, Martyn Woolford and Wes Thomas all should be good for that level.

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10 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

@Reece3 Welcome. Hinds is a good player for the level and Diabate is even better if my experience is anything to go by.

@Mr_Demus Grimsby? I joke of course as there is nothing to suggest their takeover will bring any money in at all. Charlton are likely to be taken over quite quickly in the game and might be worth considering.

@karanhsingh Thanks, I'm looking forward to testing myself at Blundell Park.

I can see that there are a couple of teams with "willing to listen to offers" in the EFL. Blackpool, Charlton, Grimsby are among them. Can not remember the other two right now.

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@Gunner 101 Thanks, I hope so. I've tweaked a few things and improved the quality of the loan players. Unfortunately Welsh and Woolford are too old and slow for my tastes and would have been heading out of the club if anybody would have taken them off my hands. Solid players in their day though. Thomas will probably keep his place for the first season, if not beyond.

@Mr_Demus Best of luck finding the right one for you.

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18 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

@Gunner 101 Thanks, I hope so. I've tweaked a few things and improved the quality of the loan players. Unfortunately Welsh and Woolford are too old and slow for my tastes and would have been heading out of the club if anybody would have taken them off my hands. Solid players in their day though. Thomas will probably keep his place for the first season, if not beyond.

@Mr_Demus Best of luck finding the right one for you.

Snob!  :p

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Hi,

Started with Sunderland, and the team response is fantastic. First place in october and just buy A. Marin.

Now I searching for expiring contract players. Any sugestion?

Need 1 stricker, 1 LD and RD.

 

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Great write-up @warlock!

Looking to start in the Championship... I have been looking for a while now and still not coming closer to making a choice, so this could take a while :lol:.

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After some time going back and forth about what team I want I finally landed on Coventry City. I remember the old days with Gary McAllister, Bellamy, Keane, Hadji ++. It's sad to see what state the club is in now and it will be a great challenge to get them back again. They have some decent young players to build around so I really look forward to this challenge. 

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10 hours ago, warlock said:

@Reece3 Happy to have you with us. 

@Mr_Demus Wigan have just been bought, so I'd guess that possibility would be in the game. Other real-life candidates include Hull, Blackpool, Charlton and Bolton so might also be prospects in game.

@karanhsingh I'm guessing you mean young Billal Brahimi? Looks a prospect but his stats have a lot of room for improvement; I'll let you know how he gets on.

No I meant Da(e)l Fry :D 

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@DefinitelyTaylor @Bergbatov

Good to have you with us! Choosing is hard, but worth taking your time. And Coventry is a great candidate for a 'fallen giant' restoration. Good luck with that.

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1 minute ago, karanhsingh said:

No I meant Da(e)l Fry :D 

Man, that's a bad pun!:stop::lol:

But, yes, Fry is a genuine prospect - just 20 and not far off the standard of Flint, Ayala and Batth. Hoping I can hang on to him because I'm sure he'll be much in demand within a season or two.

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Having a great time managing Barnsley this year. It's proving a little harder than I first anticipated, so I might look at another EFL save or Chesterfield.

You can read about it here:

Sorry for the blatant plug. :D

 

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Middlesbrough: August 2018

Why the Boro? There's a lot to like: a very good stadium, a good chairman, 21,000 season ticket holders, so the basics are in place, and they're well-equipped for the Premiership (since that has to be the goal). The squad is solid, too, with plenty of quality throughout, although there are some issues to be solved. And while there are several promising youngsters in the u23s, none are close to a first team role yet. Finances are solid, but with signings already made, there's just £4m in the transfer budget - a nice sum, but without much room in the wage budget a certain amount of juggling is required.

Goalkeepers

We start with two in the first team squad: Darren Randolph, easily first choice and a very good 'keeper at this level; and Dimitris Konstantopoulos, 39 and with his best years behind him. Was happy enough with him as backup until, in second week of training, he did his achilles tendon and will be out for up to four months. Lurking in the u23s is 34-year-old Andy Lonergan, once a decent 'keeper at lower league level but now rated at just 2 stars by my coaches. But with no alternatives available, he gets the spot on the bench and a fervent hope I never have to play him.

Defenders

A very strong unit, with four CBs all rated at 3.5 stars, and good players in the full-back positions. At CB, Daniel Ayala, Aden Flint and Danny Batth (on loan from Wolves) offer ability and experience in spades. 20-year-old Dael Fry has the potential to be better than any of them and I have no qualms about playing him while Ayala recovers from injury. At LB we have good options with both George Friend and Sam McQueen (on loan from Southampton) more than capable of first team status, and at RB we have the reliable Ryan Shotton. There is, however, no backup and this needs to be addressed.

Midfield

Another quality group, supplemented by the strength of Mo Besic, on loan from Everton. Solid experience is offered by Adam Clayton, Jonny Howson and Grant Leadbitter, and there are decent prospects in the form of Paddy McNair, George Saville and Lewis Wing. It's a unit strong on workrate but perhaps lacking a bit of creative flair. Out wide the good news continues, starting with Mr Reliable Stewart Downing; at 34 some stats are declining but still the first name on the teamsheet. He's backed by two young prospects in Marcus Tavernier and Harry Chapman. The problem here is that all three are better on the left, and with Chapman starting the season injured, a natural choice on the right is needed.

Strikers

On paper there's little cause for concern with four good options in Britt Assombalonga, Rudy Gestede, Martin Braithwaite and Jordan Hugill (on loan from West Ham). In practice there are serious questions: the latter three scored barely 20 goals collectively last season, and while Assombalonga managed 15, that was just one goal in every three games played.

Transfers

While that £4m transfer budget looks generous, the problem is that we need to be signing players capable of Premiership football. With a great deal of transfer business completed before the game starts, there aren't many bargains available. So, as I usually do, I turned to the loan market. The two requirements were on the right: a backup RB, and a backup AMR, either winger or IF. For the former, Arsenal's Carl Jenkinson was transfer listed but the combination of transfer fee and wages would have eaten that £4m entirely. But Arsenal accepted a year-long loan deal with a wage contribution of £13.5k a week. Done deal, with the possibility of a permanent signing next year.

For the AMR spot I identified several potential targets in Scandinavia and elsewhere, but none was interested in joining. But 20-year-old Matty Cash was listed for loan at Nottingham Forest, a natural as IF on the right. £1.3k a week in wages was agreed, and he was signed. Squad rota filled, and I'm happy with the business. So here's the squad:

odOo435.png?1

Pre-season

As often seems to be the case, pre-season went smoothly with six games played, five wins and one draw. Although we scored plenty, my concerns about the strikers were reinforced: Assombalonga started five of the games, scored none, no assists, and missed two penalties. Braithwaite, returning late from the World Cup, bagged a goal in his only appearance, and Gestede also scored once. My confidence in the rest of the team was also reinforced, with just one goal conceded.

tnrUlQe.png?1

There's a bigger question about tactics: with four strikers in the squad, we should be playing a 442, but none of the wide players is comfortable playing in the midfield line and for pre-season I only had two strikers available. So we've played exclusively with a 433 (what FM is now calling 4141dm wide). If I stick with that, Hugill's loan should be terminated because four strikers is far too many for a single-striker tactic. On the other hand, if I switch to a 442, Besic should be sent back since I'll have seven players competing for two midfield spots. Uncertainty abounds!

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Haven't decided on my team yet. Don't usually manage in the English Football Leagues, but looking forward to it this season. 

Considering Wednesday. 

What I really want is a team who can play Treq - Pressing Forward up top and wingers in a 4-4-2 from the off is preferable

 

If anyone knows of a team in the Champ or League 1 that can facilitate this style well, let me know. 

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7 minutes ago, SammyRai said:

What I really want is a team who can play Treq - Pressing Forward up top and wingers in a 4-4-2

Pressing forwards and 442 are pretty easy to come by, but outside the top flight a Treq is a rarer beast. Wednesday could do it, but you won't have a natural for the treq role. Forest might be a better bet, with Zach Clough at least accomplished there.

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@warlock - in my experience Matty Cash is far better as an MC - doesn’t have the pace to play out wide. But interested to see how he gets on. Being either footed does help

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17 hours ago, DefinitelyTaylor said:

Great write-up @warlock!

Looking to start in the Championship... I have been looking for a while now and still not coming closer to making a choice, so this could take a while :lol:.

If you don’t mind the small stadium, Brentford have a really good squad and some good youngsters 

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18 hours ago, pedromanuelpinto said:

Hi,

Started with Sunderland, and the team response is fantastic. First place in october and just buy A. Marin.

Now I searching for expiring contract players. Any sugestion?

Need 1 stricker, 1 LD and RD.

 

I am impressed that you got Marin down to league one! He wasn’t at all interested in joining me at Portsmouth. 

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3 minutes ago, karanhsingh said:

Isn’t Forestieri at Wednesday? He should be up to it?

Yes, he is. When I checked earlier he was out for three months with injury, but double-checking shows that as recent so he's probably OK at the start of the game.

Cash does lack a bit of pace out wide, but he got a goal and an assist in two pre-season starts; so far, so good.

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13 hours ago, warlock said:

Middlesbrough: August 2018

Why the Boro? There's a lot to like: a very good stadium, a good chairman, 21,000 season ticket holders, so the basics are in place, and they're well-equipped for the Premiership (since that has to be the goal). The squad is solid, too, with plenty of quality throughout, although there are some issues to be solved. And while there are several promising youngsters in the u23s, none are close to a first team role yet. Finances are solid, but with signings already made, there's just £4m in the transfer budget - a nice sum, but without much room in the wage budget a certain amount of juggling is required.

Goalkeepers

We start with two in the first team squad: Darren Randolph, easily first choice and a very good 'keeper at this level; and Dimitris Konstantopoulos, 39 and with his best years behind him. Was happy enough with him as backup until, in second week of training, he did his achilles tendon and will be out for up to four months. Lurking in the u23s is 34-year-old Andy Lonergan, once a decent 'keeper at lower league level but now rated at just 2 stars by my coaches. But with no alternatives available, he gets the spot on the bench and a fervent hope I never have to play him.

Defenders

A very strong unit, with four CBs all rated at 3.5 stars, and good players in the full-back positions. At CB, Daniel Ayala, Aden Flint and Danny Batth (on loan from Wolves) offer ability and experience in spades. 20-year-old Dael Fry has the potential to be better than any of them and I have no qualms about playing him while Ayala recovers from injury. At LB we have good options with both George Friend and Sam McQueen (on loan from Southampton) more than capable of first team status, and at RB we have the reliable Ryan Shotton. There is, however, no backup and this needs to be addressed.

Midfield

Another quality group, supplemented by the strength of Mo Besic, on loan from Everton. Solid experience is offered by Adam Clayton, Jonny Howson and Grant Leadbitter, and there are decent prospects in the form of Paddy McNair, George Saville and Lewis Wing. It's a unit strong on workrate but perhaps lacking a bit of creative flair. Out wide the good news continues, starting with Mr Reliable Stewart Downing; at 34 some stats are declining but still the first name on the teamsheet. He's backed by two young prospects in Marcus Tavernier and Harry Chapman. The problem here is that all three are better on the left, and with Chapman starting the season injured, a natural choice on the right is needed.

Strikers

On paper there's little cause for concern with four good options in Britt Assombalonga, Rudy Gestede, Martin Braithwaite and Jordan Hugill (on loan from West Ham). In practice there are serious questions: the latter three scored barely 20 goals collectively last season, and while Assombalonga managed 15, that was just one goal in every three games played.

Transfers

While that £4m transfer budget looks generous, the problem is that we need to be signing players capable of Premiership football. With a great deal of transfer business completed before the game starts, there aren't many bargains available. So, as I usually do, I turned to the loan market. The two requirements were on the right: a backup RB, and a backup AMR, either winger or IF. For the former, Arsenal's Carl Jenkinson was transfer listed but the combination of transfer fee and wages would have eaten that £4m entirely. But Arsenal accepted a year-long loan deal with a wage contribution of £13.5k a week. Done deal, with the possibility of a permanent signing next year.

For the AMR spot I identified several potential targets in Scandinavia and elsewhere, but none was interested in joining. But 20-year-old Matty Cash was listed for loan at Nottingham Forest, a natural as IF on the right. £1.3k a week in wages was agreed, and he was signed. Squad rota filled, and I'm happy with the business. So here's the squad:

odOo435.png?1

Pre-season

As often seems to be the case, pre-season went smoothly with six games played, five wins and one draw. Although we scored plenty, my concerns about the strikers were reinforced: Assombalonga started five of the games, scored none, no assists, and missed two penalties. Braithwaite, returning late from the World Cup, bagged a goal in his only appearance, and Gestede also scored once. My confidence in the rest of the team was also reinforced, with just one goal conceded.

tnrUlQe.png?1

There's a bigger question about tactics: with four strikers in the squad, we should be playing a 442, but none of the wide players is comfortable playing in the midfield line and for pre-season I only had two strikers available. So we've played exclusively with a 433 (what FM is now calling 4141dm wide). If I stick with that, Hugill's loan should be terminated because four strikers is far too many for a single-striker tactic. On the other hand, if I switch to a 442, Besic should be sent back since I'll have seven players competing for two midfield spots. Uncertainty abounds!

Superb write-up cheers @warlock - as a Boro fan I think our squad is a really good challenge for managers expecting an easy ride due its unbalanced nature (4 forwards, about 7 CMs, no right wingers or AMs etc)

 

I started a save with transfers disabled, and set about trying to implement the Pulis way with a flat 5-3-2 (lets you make use of our ridiculous CB and CM options) focusing on set plays. All was going fairly well despite some teething problems until Britt did his cruciate leaving him out for the season...

After that results dropped off a cliff somewhat leaving me chopping and changing formations (a bit of 442, a bit of 433) with the dreaded board meeting demanding 9 points from 5 games going into January. Luckily I managed to bag 10pts thanks to a late penalty miss, and since then I've been able to finally strengthen the squad with Phil Foden, Ademola Lookman and Diego Dalot (all on loan of course).

 

These signings have enabled me to transition to a much more vibrant 4-2-3-1 which is really playing to new favourite Jordan Hugill's strengths (playing as a CF-s, now scored 7 in last 9) plus giving me pace on both flanks with Tav (developing really well, now rated 3.5*) and Lookman, and finally having a real creative player in Foden to channel play through.

 

Not at home atm so no screenshots just yet but despite still languishing in 8th we're starting to put together a real run and long may it continue! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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@hollij93 - thanks for that. Always good to hear from someone who actually knows the team. Sounds like you're doing OK after a mixed start - hope it continues. Meanwhile, my worst nightmare happened as Randolph suffered a hamstring injury in training! Won't be out for too long, but will have to play Lonergan for five or six games :eek:. I'm ready to eat my words if he does well, but we'll see.

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@warlock Argh good luck - I haven't even risked him or Dimi in the cup games in my save, hopefully he rolls back the years for you!

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@warlock Great intro to Boro, and I hope you have an enjoyable time there. I also hope Lonergan can silence the cries of 'dodgy keeper' that will be echoing around all those Championship stadiums :lol:

Edited by Jogo Bonito

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7 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

I hope you have an enjoyable time there

Cheers, mate. But I can tell you I'm not enjoying it right now. Two more games to play in August and then we'll have a little update.

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Middlesbrough: August interim update

Okay, first month of the season (almost) complete and it's been a very mixed bag. Off the pitch, I made the decision to stick with the 4141dm wide and ended Hugill's loan. Which was my first mistake... First game was away to Millwall and we managed a scruffy 1-1 draw with a fluked equaliser late on. Assombalonga was rubbish. We followed that with two decent home wins, 2-0 against Sheff United, and 1-0 against Birmingham. Looked better, and Britt got his first goal of the season. Yay! As noted above, Randolph suffered a training injury which put Lonergan between the sticks and the elevation of 19-year-old Bradley James to the bench for a visit to Bristol Rovers in the Carabao Cup.

With Asombalonga tired after starting all of the games to date, I put Gestede up front and was rewarded with a goal after 23 seconds. Rovers equalised late in the first half, but Gestede restored the lead midway through the second. Looking good and steady as we go. Then Gestede is stretchered off with a broken ankle (out for four months!), Britt comes on and manages less than ten minutes before he's off with a calf injury. Then Rovers equalise in the 89th minute, and it's a penalty shootout. Which we lose after Braithwaite hits his pen straight at the keeper. Lonergan never got near any of their pens, and since they scored two from two shots on target you can judge his performance yourself.

Next up, a visit to the other side of Bristol with a game against high-flying City. And if we were poor against Rovers, we were abysmal here as we suffered a thorough 4-0 spanking. My old favourite from last year's Derby save, Andi Weimann, did the damage with a hat-trick.

To add injury to insult, my 19-year-old backup keeper suffered shin splints and is gone for two months. So I have one fit but dodgy goalkeeper, one first-team striker... oh, and Ayala, just back from a seven-week layoff, managed 20 minutes against City and then did his hamstring in training so he'll be missing for another month. And next up is a home game against strongly-favoured West Brom.

What to do? First off, having opted for the 4141dm I decided to go back to my old favourite 442. But I only have one striker... so Ashley Fletcher is summoned from the u23s. Not enough manpower to play twin strikers, but I can put on him on the bench and opt for a 4411. I don't really have the personnel for this either, but Jonny Howson can be a makeshift AM, Braithwaite up front, Downing on the left-wing, Cash on the right... if you close one eye and squint, it doesn't look horrible. Let's give it a go...

Spoiler

1PLkbeY.png?1

Who knows what will happen next!

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22 hours ago, Bergbatov said:

After some time going back and forth about what team I want I finally landed on Coventry City. I remember the old days with Gary McAllister, Bellamy, Keane, Hadji ++. It's sad to see what state the club is in now and it will be a great challenge to get them back again. They have some decent young players to build around so I really look forward to this challenge. 


Coventry City - January 2019 report

After half a season we are fighting for promotion. I didn't have that in mind when I took over. I really have to recommend the 19 year old midfelder Tom Bayliss. Playing as a Mezzala and is really the heart of this team. We play to control the game and averaging 64% possession so far this season. I just ended Luke Thomas loan spell and is going to try to upgrade the AML position now. Even tho we started this season really good, I don't think we will fight for direct promotion because the squad is really voulnerable for injuries and the defense doesn't have the quality compared to a lot of other teams.

 d91fb033d45433fa55ad8d953df98bef.png897f2bfe2737ec6350a60bbf5514b39b.png

My vision: Football is entertainment. Coventry might not have the best squad or the money to compete with the best, but we will definetly bring a show for our audience. Since the club is in a bad economic shape we need to be smart on the transfer market and our main goal is to buy young and develop them into possible transfer targets for bigger clubs. 

The club is now £400k in minus so we really need to cut the wages. We can't afford to hold on to our best players if the right offers comes. But that was something I knew when I took the job and a part of the process. It will be an exciting second half of the season!

 

Edited by Bergbatov

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4 minutes ago, Bergbatov said:

After half a season we are fighting for promotion

That's a good first half! I'll have to take a look at young Bayliss, too.

Any progress is good progress, so a finish anywhere in the top half would be an achievement, But sorting the finances is always tough outside the Premiership.

Keep up the good work!

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22 hours ago, warlock said:

@DefinitelyTaylor

Good to have you with us! Choosing is hard, but worth taking your time. 

Certainly is. I have managed to narrow down my search to either Blackburn or Swansea. Thoughts? I am really struggling to decide! Blackburn is attractive due to the heavily domestic bias they seem to have, whereas Swansea are a challenge to get straight back to the Premier League, with a number of emerging players such as McBurnie, Rodon etc.

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@warlock You had me laughing to myself there, that's cruel luck. But then that thrashing of West Brom was incredible, well done and hopefully things will settle down a bit for you now.

@Bergbatov Excellent start with Coventry. They have a really good youth system there and maybe the likes of Bayliss and Shipley could one day emulate what Maddison is achieving.

@DefinitelyTaylor Blackburn have a massive transfer budget too. I'd probably go for Swansea, although neither are near the top of my own list.

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1 hour ago, warlock said:

That's a good first half! I'll have to take a look at young Bayliss, too.

Any progress is good progress, so a finish anywhere in the top half would be an achievement, But sorting the finances is always tough outside the Premiership.

Keep up the good work!

Thanks. As always i'm starting as a Sunday league player with no coaching badges, so it's always difficult at the start. My goal now is to secure a playoff spot.
Great posts on your Boro save as well, can't wait to see what the future bring over there as well.

@Jogo Bonito I really hope so. It's just a matter of time before Bayliss is going to a bigger club. Nottingham Forrest are lurking around and I won't be suprised if more clubs comes along. Hopefully we get a good youth intake because we need all the help we can get to keep or spendings as low as possible. Shpley have been injured for a long time, but is starting to play more and more. Hopefully he develops good as well.

Edited by Bergbatov

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Been struggling to get into a good save since the start of FM18, gave my home team Norwich a go in the Beta and loved it, until I got a corrupt file. Been dawdling for the past week over multiple options but after reading all these posts I'm going to give my beloved Canaries another go... Mainly because I hate how we've been IRL the past few seasons (yes we are doing well now, but when your manager looks like a character from the IT crowd you know it's not going to end well). Will try post once or twice a season, primarily to make me crack on with the save, but also being a lurker here for many years I'd thought i'd give this posting malarkey a go. Will post later with the starting season...

 

OTBC

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11 hours ago, warlock said:

Middlesbrough: August interim update

 

Yikes that is some bad luck with injuries :eek: But good results especially the West Brom thrashing. KUTGW!

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11 hours ago, Bergbatov said:


Coventry City - January 2019 report

After half a season we are fighting for promotion. I didn't have that in mind when I took over. I really have to recommend the 19 year old midfelder Tom Bayliss. Playing as a Mezzala and is really the heart of this team. We play to control the game and averaging 64% possession so far this season. I just ended Luke Thomas loan spell and is going to try to upgrade the AML position now. Even tho we started this season really good, I don't think we will fight for direct promotion because the squad is really voulnerable for injuries and the defense doesn't have the quality compared to a lot of other teams.r audience. Since the club is in a bad economic shape we need to be smart on the transfer market and our main goal is to buy young and develop them into possible transfer targets for bigger clubs. 

The club is now £400k in minus so we really need to cut the wages. We can't afford to hold on to our best players if the right offers comes. But that was something I knew when I took the job and a part of the process. It will be an exciting second half of the season!

 

Good stuff mate :thup: How are your attendances in League one? stadium is quite big right?

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10 hours ago, DefinitelyTaylor said:

Certainly is. I have managed to narrow down my search to either Blackburn or Swansea. Thoughts? I am really struggling to decide! Blackburn is attractive due to the heavily domestic bias they seem to have, whereas Swansea are a challenge to get straight back to the Premier League, with a number of emerging players such as McBurnie, Rodon etc.

I had a really fun game with Blackburn last year, Raya is excellent and Nyambe develops well. However Rankin-Costello doesn't look as good in this edition.

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Portsmouth 2019/20 Pre-season Update

Guys, my transfer activity for the summer is done, so thought it's time for a quick update. To recap, we just got promoted to the Championship, which honestly will be a pretty big step up looking at our squad. The Board gave me 4 million to spend which I thought was pretty decent, more than I was expecting. Our 18k avg attendance in the last season helped the finances a lot. Hopefully we will have a packed house week in week out this season. 

Now onto the transfers, I tried and failed to extend loan deals for Andre Green & Sean Goss, two of our best performers from last season. So they had to be replaced and more players brought in. Also the usual loan suspects i.e. Tuanzebe, Wilson, Palmer, etc. didn't want to join us & their owners wanted them to go to bigger clubs. Which is a good thing I think because it means I have gone for mostly new players I have not managed in any FM before. Without further ado -

2068349892_transfers1920.thumb.jpg.da72907077053e872f5e65445788caea.jpg

Danny Loader - he will be my replacement for Green on the left side of midfield. Reading got relegated so he was willing to join us. I have been scouting him for a year and have seen his attributes all go up. He has well-rounded physicals, quick & strong with good stamina, and decent technical ability. Plus seems to be a lot of room to grow further with a professional personality. Now hopefully he can fulfil that potential at Fratton Park.

Josh Vela - our other "big" summer signing. Again Bolton went down so he was available. He will be our new box to box midfielder. In my Bolton game on FM18 he was a beast and even held his own in the Premiership. So I am definitely expecting a lot from him especially with the fee shelled out and at 12k/week he also becomes our best paid player.

Dominic Iorfa - quite pleased with this one on a free, although I had to pay 9k/week to fend off Birmingham. However he is very quick & strong, will probably become our first choice RB and also provide cover if needed at CB.

Angel Gomes - comes in on loan, will probably play the inverted winger role from the right side of midfield. He's two footed, very good technically and has a nice 20 for flair. But, also a 9 for work rate. Very different player to Loader, let's see how he gets on.

Jason Cummings - again a loan signing but with an option to buy for 6 million. He seems to have the right attributes in the right areas for a striker. He will be competing with Kamara & Lowe for one of the two spots up top.

Andre Dozzell - a player I have wanted to manage on FM for a while. Again I had been scouting him and noticed a good development in his attributes. I am not sure why Ipswich decided to loan him out as to me he looks good enough for this level. He will be our new deep lying play-maker, replacing Sean Goss. This is a two year loan with a buy option for 12m, which would likely only be exercised if we make it to the Premier league by then.

As a  reminder, we also have Ruben Vinagre and Aboubakar Kamara still with us on loan deals as well.

So that's that, Tactics wise I am planning to stick to the 4-4-2 formation that got us promoted, with 2 players covering each position -

GK - Craig MacGillivray / Luke McGee
DR - Dominic Iorfa / Nathan Thompson
DL - Lee Brown / Ruben Vinagre
DC - Matt Clarke / Christian Burgess
DC - Jack Whatmough / Dominic Iorfa
MC - Josh Vela / Tom Naylor
MC - Andre Dozzell / Ben Close
MR - Andre Gomes / Gareth Evans
ML - Danny Loader / Ronan Curtis
SC - Jamal Lowe / Jason Cummings
SC - Aboubakar Kamara / Brett Pitman

We promptly lost our first friendly of pre-season so hopefully things pick up from there!

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2 hours ago, Catley20 said:

thought i'd give this posting malarkey a go

Welcome, and good luck with Norwich. You might find - as several of us have - that posting about your save makes you a lot more involved. You find yourself watching performances and games more closely, thinking harder about transfers and youth development. Of course, several of us find that posting about our progress takes as much time as making the progress :D. But there are no rules - you can post an update at the end of every season, or at the end of every month, or whenever you feel there's something worth sharing. Have fun!

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@karanhsingh That's a good squad you've put together there. What are your board expectations? I think you'll be able to do better than fighting relegation.

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1 hour ago, karanhsingh said:

Good stuff mate :thup: How are your attendances in League one? stadium is quite big right?

Thanks :thup: The board just sold Bayliss behind my back for £800k in total, so that was a blowback but the club needed the money so it wasn't really a shock. Sure I could have got the double.. We have great facilities with a 32 609 all seats stadium built in 2005. We have an average attendence of 10 999, so hopefully it will increase with our success and positiv football. Got Brewster in on loan to be a inside forward at AML so i'm pretty happy with the squad even tho we lost our golden boy Bayliss.

Edited by Bergbatov

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1 hour ago, Bergbatov said:

Thanks :thup: The board just sold Bayliss behind my back for £800k in total, so that was a blowback but the club needed the money so it wasn't really a shock. Sure I could have got the double.. We have great facilities with a 32 609 all seats stadium built in 2005. We have an average attendence of 10 999, so hopefully it will increase with our success and positiv football. Got Brewster in on loan to be a inside forward at AML so i'm pretty happy with the squad even tho we lost our golden boy Bayliss.

I will check out Bayliss in my game.  My board accepted an offer for Clarke as well but when I fiercely protested it they backed down, and then he signed a new contract with us (albeit with a release clause of 4m) 

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1 hour ago, warlock said:

@karanhsingh That's a good squad you've put together there. What are your board expectations? I think you'll be able to do better than fighting relegation.

I have already committed to avoiding relegation, but am hoping to do better than that. Ideally I would like to use this season to be competitive in the division and develop some of the players in the squad, then make a promotion push next season. 

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Coventry City - 2018/2019 Season review & SISU out?

When I took charge of Coventry my goal was a secure mid table finish the first season. The squad was to weak, no money and I only have a Sunday league excperience and no coaching badges. We started the season pretty good and Tom Bayliss was really great and had the best average rating in the leeague. I knew we couldn't afford to keep him if bigger clubs came but I got suckerpunched by SISU(the horrible owners) and they accepted without even giving me a possibility to express my opinion on the case. Even tho we sold Bayliss, we had no money to get a replacement and had to relay on an even thinner midfeld. So my expectations for the second half of the season wasn't really big, even tho we were fourth. With Bailyss out Jodi Jones stepped up and had plenty of big games and proved me wrong. We fought hard and almost managed to get direct promotion but Sunderland proved to be just a little to strong. 

Top goalscorer: Jordy Hiwula, 25 goals
Assists: Jodi Jones, 13 assists
Best average rating: Dujon Sterling, 7.15 avg 
Biggest surprise: The biggest suprise in the squad has to be our wing backs Dujon Sterling and Brandon Mason(7.12 avg). When I started I thought our backs would be our biggest issue, but they proved me wrong! 

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And the playoff final? I have no words....

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One of the greatest things that happened is that the club might not be in SISU hands anymore, talks are ongoing and hopefully a new owner is on board soon. (If you don't know the story about SISU and Coventry you have to check it outhttps://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/football-league/coventry-city-once-great-club-unmitigated-disaster-a8144561.html). 

Thoughts about the next season:
After the great season we still can't compete budget wise but hopefully will get some good signings on free transfer and some loan signings that can give us an helping hand. I really need to strengthen the defense and the midfield because we didn't have enough quality to go all the way, and it showed in the playoff-final that we need investments. 

Stay tuned for more news

Edited by Bergbatov

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That's a great effort @Bergbatov, you should be proud but obviously you'll be disappointed too having come so close to promotion. 

Hopefully you can use the summer wisely and bring in some players to give you just that little bit extra you need next season. 

Also good luck on new owners, would be great to see SISU out.

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@Bergbatov A brilliant effort and great update. I'd like to think you can take that extra step next season, and more importantly it will be great to see the back of SISU at long last.

@karanhsingh Healthy looking squad there at Portsmouth. You're using Lowe as a central striker in what formation? I'd have thought he was more of a right sided forward in a 433 but agree he has the attributes to play as a central striker too. Like others have said, I don't think you'll struggle to stay up at all!

@Catley20 Norwich look like a good option to me and are one of the Championship teams that I'm tempted by. I like the two young full backs and the fact that you always seem to produce good youth prospects. Your club has tradition and with the facilities it's a good set up, and I think they could easily be converted away from the German influences with some British replacements. I'll be watching your progress with interest, good to see you join in the fun of the EFL thread.

Edited by Jogo Bonito

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@Gunner 101 & @Jogo Bonito Thanks guys. The takeover is a reallity but our economy wasn't affected so we still need to be really smart on the market. We got £50k in transfer budget, but our wage budget got a little bumb. Some great signings are done and I will make a post tomorrow when the window is closed. 

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After 3 titles in the first 3 seasons, and still not having any transfer budget (needed it all on wages and hope for free transfers) I thought the following prediction for the new season would be very accurate. Many teams in there that have 2x - 8x my total wages. Somehow the season has been going amazing so far though, totally unexpected! Expecting to pick up a few losses soon, but who knows. As long all is going well everything is possible. Only bad thing was losing second round of the Carabao cup on pens, had the subs and reserves playing.

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Edited by XcilPersion

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1871674312_GTFCkits.thumb.jpg.405be25a2eb30fdae4cbd783f797ef73.jpg

So, it's time to get this show on the road. 140 years of Grimsby Town

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My first tasks were to sort out the staff, sort out the loans, and get some replacements in positions that were most pressing

Getting players in was reasonable, but it soon became clear that I couldn't even give some of my players away for free

At one point I had about eight or nine players on loan, a few were already at the club, and I had my own targets joining me too

The new arrivals were Trueman, Edwards, Hughes, Rinomhota, McNeil and McFarlane, whilst Pringle was already at the club on loan

Although both joined me originally on loan, I soon went back and paid Birmingham £56,000 for Trueman and £50,000 for McFarlane

So this left an original first team squad looking like this. 23 names, and seemingly nicely balanced too

Within days, I realised that veterans Collins and Welsh were not for me. Nobody else wanted them either, but both quickly dropped in to the U23 squad

Unfortunately lots of the defenders started off injured, and soon afterwards a few more joined them. That balance wasn't quite right by then

So I also signed a 19 year old central defender called Callum Ellesley on a free transfer after Norwich released him, and promoted him in to my main squad of 22

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Pre-season went quite well. Wins over Aberdeen & Dukla Prague surprised me, as did the opening draw against League 1 side Wycombe

Some of the other results surprised me too, with a couple of draws in there that weren't quite what I was after

But my team was unbeaten heading in to the League 2 campaign, and I was very happy with that

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Tactically, I was set up in a 433 formation as I wanted the wide attackers high up the pitch in support of Thomas or McFarlane

Pringle had to play as a left back as both naturals for that role started my era with injuries, and McNeil needed to be pushed high on the left

I felt that a direct counter attacking formation would suit the team best, but a few weeks in to the season I decided this should be changed

So after a couple of weeks of competitive action, I began fielding a flat 442 and started using a fluid counter attacking system instead

I also felt that if my team was to have a good season, home form would be crucial. Perhaps this kind of pre-match exchange would help too?

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Anyway, on to the action. And luckily I was starting on home turf at Blundell Park

Somebody in the town even likes making some nice little vintage graphics to help me tell my story

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As you'll see below it was a great start in the league. My FM18 charges of Forest Green were seen off comfortably to launch my new era

But I was brought crashing down to earth when likely strugglers Macclesfield battered my team better than my fishy fans could fry in the local chippy

An early Carabao Cup exit to Reading and a league defeat to a strong MK Dons side showed my team's modest ability

But sandwiched between those two losses was a cracking home win over Lincoln, in a derby match watched by a healthy 8,347 spectators

A first win on the road (Newport) was backed up with a home win over Yeovil, and two further league wins followed a Checkatrade loss to Blackpool 

By this point my side had won six and lost two in the league, a lack of draws seeing me hit the top of the table against all the odds

I wasn't fooled by this, and was sure that kind of form wouldn't last long

Since then it's been up and down in the league, but I've done enough to remain 5th by the end of October

I've also beaten Notts County on penalties in the pointless Checkatrade Trophy - but fortunately I am bottom of my group with one game left

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The performance graph shows it's been a bumpy first segment of the season, but ultimately I am over-achieving to even be in the top half of League 2

The players catching the eye the most so far are strikers Thomas and McFarlane, with Rinomhota also doing well as a box-to-box midfielder

The board are also happy. And I'm pleased to say the takeover fell through and John Fenty remains in control of the club

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9 hours ago, Jogo Bonito said:

@Bergbatov

@karanhsingh Healthy looking squad there at Portsmouth. You're using Lowe as a central striker in what formation? I'd have thought he was more of a right sided forward in a 433 but agree he has the attributes to play as a central striker too. Like others have said, I don't think you'll struggle to stay up at all!

@Catley20

Thanks! Yes I am playing Lowe as a striker, in a 4-4-2 formation. I used a 433 throughout FM18 so thought it was time for something new. I don’t think Lowe would have the attributes to play a lone striker though. But he’s formed a good partnership with the on loan Kamara. 

Nice update with Grimsby and love the vintage graphics. Are you hoping for a playoff push? 

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@Jogo Bonito I might have been wrong about Welsh and Woolford but at least I was right about Thomas. That Oldham game must have been an enjoyable watch! How are the finances projected to go? Seemed to have shot up but then slowly in decline? 

Keep up the good work

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