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FM19: The English Football League thread

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1 hour ago, smplfc123 said:

I'm looking forward to see what you do with all that dough

Well, with less than a week of the window to go I can tell you that I haven't spent all of it :rolleyes:. That 'PL-level striker' I was looking for has proved to be elusive. Hoping someone will be available for loan, otherwise we'll be going with Woodrow/Shankland/Adeboyejo - and my coaches rate the latter two as only 'decent' Championship players. A chunk of it also had to be allocated to the wages budget as all of the usual promotion clauses kicked in.

I'll try to update tomorrow when we should have concluded our business and perhaps played the first couple of fixtures. We start away at Leicester, have Man Utd for our first home game, and an away trip to Spurs before the end of the month. Anything more than a point from those three games would be a bonus! The bookies have us as odds-on favourites for the drop - but they did last year, too ;).

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I'm expecting an update with at least 9 points from your opening fixtures and to see Shankland top of the scoring charts! :brock:

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Managed to win League Two at the first attempt with Bury. With Shotton and Hulme in the squad, they'll be the two guys we build the squad around long term. 

Needless to say I was busy in the free transfer market and brought in a lot of players to do a season/half-season job. Now the fun starts as basically the whole squad will be set for release as I try to mop up better quality free players. A couple of upgrades are already on their way.

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59 minutes ago, dothestrand said:

Managed to win League Two at the first attempt with Bury

Excellent! Good luck with the restructuring :thup:

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2 hours ago, dothestrand said:

Managed to win League Two at the first attempt with Bury.

Congratulations mate. Glad to see you've helped the Shakers bounce back immediately to League One. Looking forward to the shake-up (is that a pun? :lol:) during the summer.

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image.thumb.png.5a6aeb5cd026cb25ff0d194b5099d0d1.png

Sheffield Wednesday are a big club in my eyes, but not big enough to tempt me away from my Reading revival. Sorry Owls fans, i'm staying where I am.

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14 minutes ago, smplfc123 said:

Sheffield Wednesday are a big club in my eyes, but not big enough to tempt me away from my Reading revival.

Quite right! Towards the end of last season I was offered interviews by Aston Villa (twice), Burnley and Newcastle. The last one had me tempted to do a split save because I usually manage them at some point and haven't this year. But decided I have enough on my plate. Also, I've never done a journeyman... might have to give that a go some time.

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As much as a strike partnership of Will Keane and Joe Garner is physically good, they won't score me the 20+ goals a season I'm needing from a striker..

Devante Cole won't cut it, and I'm trying to find a proper out and out penalty box finisher to fit in my team..

Scouting throws a few free transfers up so, a couple of trials come in (along with a midfielder, a centre half and a full back on trial), as we need to find a player to replace Nick Powell, who leaves in January to Sheffield United (although, Angel Gomes, if he stays injury free will be the first choice).

So, trialists.

CB - Alex Pearce. Without a club since the summer and leaving Derby, has nearly 300 appearances at Championship level or above, but, only 9 games in the last 2 seasons.

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RB - Adam Matthews. Another without a club since the summer and leaving Sunderland. Would probably be second choice full back behind Thales. Has 200+ appearances at Championship level and above.

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ST - Manel. Spent almost 150 games in the Segunda and Tercera leagues in Spain, scoring 37 goals, including 10 in 24 last season for Murcia in the Segunda. Good finisher, but, perhaps lacks the positioning and workrate to be successful at Wigan.

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ST - Dani Iglesias. Another player with appearances in the Tercera and Segunda, as well as spending last season on loan at Istra in the Croatian Prva Liga. Similar record to Manel, with 42 in 144 appearances, not the quickest, but, has decent composure and anticipation as well as finishing. Could be the finisher we're looking for.

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We also made a couple of signings towards the end of the transfer window that I've not put on here.

Firstly, former Real Madrid defender, Gorka Zabarte came in on a Free Transfer on a 2 year deal, and went out on loan to FC Halifax to get experience. He'll probably become a fullback in the future due to his lack of stature.

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Secondly, former Crystal Palace midfielder, Jonny Williams joins on a free after a trial. He has his injury issues, and is susceptible to groin strains and other leg injuries, but, he provides an excellent depth option for us.

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Barnsley: Season 3 - Premiership, September

As promised, here's the update to our start in the top flight of England. Let's begin with the transfer dealings...

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The only departing player to bring a fee was striker Keiffer Moore, who went to Birmingham for £775 (rising to £1m). I released RW Lloyd Isgrove who was at the end of his contract, and I didn't want to renew at inflated wages and have him sitting on the bench. Meanwhile, our first new signing was CM Pedro Chirivella, who had been released by Liverpool. He was followed by an upgrade on Isgrove when we signed Maxwell Cornet, who was transfer listed at OL. He was swiftly followed by his OL teammate Lucas Tousart, who represents a major upgrade at DM.

LB/CB Brendan Galloway had been released by Everton and resigning him was an easy decision, so an offer was made. And to complete our central defence I brought in Kevin Danso on loan from Watford. I had played most of the previous two seasons with Galloway covering both the LB and CB spots, but with budget available - and looking to improve on our other LB Zeki Fryers - I found Tim Leibold at Nurnberg and he looked a decent bet. Then Galloway stunned me by choosing to join Leeds in the Championship, meaning a backup CB was required. Young prospect Krystian Bielik was set for release at Arsenal so he was snapped up on a free.

That left me short of a B2B midfielder, and I was also shopping for a better striker and a decent young GK to cover for Adam Davies. My scouts gave rave reviews to a young Scot, Lewis Ferguson at Aberdeen and he duly joined our midfield. He certainly has the attributes for long-term success, with 19 U21 caps for his national team, but he's struggled a little so far and the board have already judged him 'bad business'. Have I mentioned how much I hate my board?

Alas, no solutions to my GK and striker problems emerged.

Early results

Pre-season friendlies were the usual parade, although I was heartened by a good performance against Dinamo of Croatia, and delighted when Galatasaray came to town and we completely outplayed them. But pre-season form rarely translate to the business proper.

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We duly secured my hoped-for point away at Leicester, and duly succumbed to a spanking at the hands of Man Utd. What I didn't expect was a convincing victory away at Burnley, the narrow defeat to Spurs gave me renewed hope. We then suffered a humbling derby defeat to Sheffield Wednesday in the Carabao Cup, and followed that with another defeat at Swansea. Safe to say, a month of mixed fortunes. With the first international break upon us, I'm working on a less adventurous version of the tactic that got us promoted.

And here's a small indication of the challenge ahead:

kcPB6Z3h.png?1

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@robterrace: Some interesting players that are available and are currently up for trial. I'm intrigued to see if you do end up bringing them in. Jonny Williams is an astute signing and should be a good player if you keep him injury free. 

@warlock: It was always going to be a tough ask when you have achieved back-to-back promotions with a side to the Premier League, especially one with a stature like Barnsley in comparison to, say, Sunderland or Portsmouth. The only disappointing result there is the loss to Swansea, as the other losses were probably expected. However, you've achieved a win over one of your relegation rivals in Burnley and therefore, that will be the aim this season - picking up points against *those* teams in order to beat the drop. The final graphic of the income just highlights the battle you have on your hands to achieve this. If you do, you deserve an OBE. ;) Some good business though, as I'm more than familiar with Cornet and believe he's an excellent signing. Good luck and hopefully next update you can return with some good news!

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@DefinitelyTaylor Cheers! Absolutely right - in the league only the defeat to Swansea (we were away so I was hoping for a point) was annoying. But I'm reminded that this is almost exactly how we started life in the Championship, so I'm hoping the team can once again find their feet and push on.

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30 minutes ago, warlock said:

@DefinitelyTaylor Cheers! Absolutely right - in the league only the defeat to Swansea (we were away so I was hoping for a point) was annoying. But I'm reminded that this is almost exactly how we started life in the Championship, so I'm hoping the team can once again find their feet and push on.

There is plenty of time to pick up the results needed. It's a marathon, not a sprint! :D 

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Some cracking signings there @warlock, especially the 2 lads from Lyon! Great to get some early points on the board, even if you're start has been a bit frustrating with those last 2 results.

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image.thumb.png.576a886229f76255a67d060e6e8ac67c.png

A weak moment in accepting the interview, but rejected them in the end. Burnley, who are currently bottom of the Premiership have offered me an interview too. That would be tougher to turn down....

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3 minutes ago, smplfc123 said:

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 Burnley, who are currently bottom of the Premiership have offered me an interview too. That would be tougher to turn down....

You still have a project in progress at Reading, in my view. It would be a shame to see you leave your work unfinished. However, it's ultimately down to you. :) 

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I agree @DefinitelyTaylor I do have unfinished business with the Royals, so I rejected Burnley too. However, when this offer came in, I froze:

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I've been promised nearly £30m to save them from just outside the Championship drop zone and get them to the top half of the table. No philosophies that I would be required to stick to. Living in the North East has made me want this job even more. My head is telling me one thing whilst my heart tells me another. So I've delayed it for a week.

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52 minutes ago, smplfc123 said:

Living in the North East has made me want this job even more.

Yeah, I was tempted. You could do what I thought of and do a split save - take on Newcastle but keeping your current save available to come back to later. Sliding doors scenario!

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The one thing I absolutely love about the EFL is the number of appealing teams there are to manage. However, and I've said it once and I'll say it again, it's a mammoth task trying to narrow down a few options into one. :lol: Expect a post... whenever I manage to make a decision between three different clubs!

Edited by DefinitelyTaylor

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So, following a successful trial, Dani Iglesias joins on a free transfer on a 2 year deal. This allows us to let Devante Cole leave, as his chances in the first team have been limited.

Williams and Gomes will play the number 10 role, and, we're looking for improvements at Left back, as, although Konate and Toffolo have offered something, I'm looking for more from them (Konate averages 6.98 over 8 games, and Toffolo 7.4 over 14. However, Thales on the other side has supplied 9 assists to the 4 from the two left backs, in 4 less games.

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My save is Notts County. The Magpies are headed for relegation in real life but they’re much better in the game. 

In 18/19 we won League 2 pretty easily. Enzio Boldewijn and Nathan Thomas are young stars at winger, and were the foundation of the club. The board overruled my objection and sold Boldewijn to Orlando FC for $800,000 in the January transfer window. Surprisingly that didn’t slow down the team and we rolled on with Terry Hawkridge at right winger. 

We play a 4-2-4 WB wide to take advantage of the talent at winger and wingback. We’re uptempo with short passes. Crosses are our specialty and we rain them down on opponents until they crack. We average 20+ shots per match. A little less than 50% are on target and we score 2 to 5 goals most matches.

Aging Jon Stead was our effective target man and leading scorer. Kane Hemmings played beside him at advanced forward and was good but sometimes frustrating. Hemmings struggles to finish the many opportunities he’s given. 

Noor Husin is a real-life Magpie who is a talented box to box midfielder in the game. I brought in Robbie McKenzie on loan from Hull to play central midfielder (auto). 

The wingbacks were Kellett and Tootle, who were already on the team. Brisley and Turley did well at D(c) (defend). Fitzsimons doesn’t have the best overall ratings at GK, but his agility is sky high so he stopped almost everything. 

Other than McKenzie’s loan, my only moves were some cheap free transfers for backups. The “fans” and board thought I did a great job, but really I didn’t have to do much. 

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59 minutes ago, 3runhomer said:

In 18/19 we won League 2 pretty easily.

Congratulations mate! The squad has a lot of quality so it is rather bizarre to see them struggling at the foot of the League Two table, irl. I think there will be a lot more work to do to succeed in League One next season, but I wish you luck with it.

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Midway in the 19-20 season, I am mid table in League One with Bury. However, a soon to be relegated from the Premier League (they're around 10 points from safety) Fulham have offered me a job. Dare I take it? Their squad isn't that good (Sessegnon has been sold) so if the big names wanted to leave in the event of relegation there's a hell of a lot of rebuilding to do.

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ROYAL REVIVAL UPDATE:

So after the will he? Won't he? tussle, I decided that I was going to stay put and not leave the Reading Revival unfinished. When I took over them destined for League 1, the aim was to get them back in to the Championship instantly and then build for a 2/3 years before getting in to the Premiership. I decided that despite offers from Newcastle, Derby and Norwich in the Championship, Burnley and Everton in the Premiership and Celtic, I was not going to leave the Royals behind.

We've had a completely mixed season. 10 wins, 12 draws and 10 defeats in 32 games sees us sitting on 42 points and 12th in the table. Whilst some the dropped points have been incredibly frustrating, I have to keep reminding myself that 50 points + and avoiding a relegation scrap is the target, one we are easily achieving at the moment. 
 

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So we sit in 12th, 12 points off the play-offs and 12 points off the relegation zone. Surely that is the definition of mid-table?? :lol:

In January, Jonathan Grounds left on loan to Colchester and Antonio Colak was moved on to Wigan for £250k. He was my top scorer last season, but with just 1 goal in 14 games this season and constant injury problems, I decided it was time to move him on to make space for Dwight Gayle. 31 years old now, but for £625k, i thought he was worth the risk, with goal scoring being our biggest issue. Julien Serrano has joined on loan from Monaco to fight for the left back spot with Omar Richards, giving me the chance to play Obita further up in Left Midfield.

I'm hoping that we can hit that 50 point mark as soon as possible and then I'll start to look at improving the first team for next season, instead of buying squad fillers. 

Hopefully my loyalty will pay off. Wish me luck!

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Apologies for a long absence as I've been back in Africa and not had time to play or post for some time. A belated happy new year to you all, and it was interesting to read your updates (even though there were pages of them).

I've finally finished season 2 with Grimsby Town, and I've achieved what I wanted to do (several years earlier than I expected), so will be looking for an alternative challenge now. I might have a spell overseas, and have a couple of teams in mind but I've not yet decided on that so may be back in EFL action sooner than I think!

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December saw a narrow home loss to table-topping Reading (we were 2nd) and a pretty poor month that continued in January too

February was better and we ended the month as strong contenders for a play-off spot or better if the form could be maintained

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March and April were good months, and as you can see, striker Rodel Richards scored in 10 consecutive league games until we lost again to Reading

But he, and the team, responded well and promotion was secured with a convincing 3-0 win over bottom side Notts County with a game to spare

Champions Reading also won their last game and deservedly claimed the title, but finishing 2nd was about 18 places better than our target

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Teenage striker Richards was the clear star, with 30 league goals making him League 1's top scorer

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And here are the player stats for the season

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It was a very enjoyable time managing Grimsby, but being such a slow FM player means that it's time to start up somewhere else

The original aim was to put The Mariners back in the second tier, and it's been done

In truth, this was expected to take four or five years, but I think FM is a little easier these days and success seems to roll on without being a genius

I hope my story was interesting even if short and sporadic, and I'll no doubt see you all again soon!

 

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1 hour ago, Jogo Bonito said:

Apologies for a long absence

No apology needed, glad to have you back - even if you're going to abandon the EFL for a spell. Been hankering after an overseas save myself.

That was good work with Grimsby... might have been relatively straightforward to a manager of your calibre but I think there are a few around here would give you an argument about it being too easy :p. Good luck with your next project.

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Coming into December, looking to make the push for promotion a real one..

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Brought this guy in on trial, with the intention of him signing as a backup centre back, that way, we can send Sheaf back to Arsenal, and look for another loan player elsewhere if needed. Especially since I'm returning Garner to Man U after rupturing his knee.

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Also had an offer accepted for this guy from IFK. Hes a current Swedish U21 international, and would fit into the scheme we want to play.

 

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2 hours ago, warlock said:

No apology needed, glad to have you back - even if you're going to abandon the EFL for a spell. Been hankering after an overseas save myself.

That was good work with Grimsby... might have been relatively straightforward to a manager of your calibre but I think there are a few around here would give you an argument about it being too easy :p. Good luck with your next project.

Cheers for that. I'm really a bang average FM manager. It's not easy as such, but it seems that when you got on a roll it seems easier to keep it going. Maybe I'm finally getting better at FM but this version doesn't seem as difficult to me. Congrats on your success too, always a good read along with the likes of Dong21 and smplfc123 (I'm enjoying the rebuild of Reading - they're an absolute shambles IRL and will probably be a great L1 save in FM20).

Warlock, maybe I'll see you wherever I land up next. I'll be back in the EFL soon though, either as a secondary effort or once I'm done elsewhere.

 

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@dothestrand: If you feel like you can't take Bury much further, then it could be an idea to rebuild an ailing Fulham side. It's all whether you feel like you still have work to do with Bury on not, personally.

@smplfc123: I was just thinking after you wrote about the record of wins/draws/losses that it was bang-average form and almost the definition of mid-table! :lol: Glad to see you have noticed that too. That's more than good enough though considering you've just returned to the division after promotion last season and top-half is more than good enough. Have to admit, I'm glad you've stayed with Reading.

@Jogo Bonito: Welcome back and I hope you had a great time in Africa. Where did you go exactly, out of interest? You've had a fantastic time with Grimsby and it's great to see you end the save on a high, by achieving promotion to the Championship. I hope to see you contributing to the thread again soon, as I always enjoy reading your posts (as I do everybody's!)

@robterrace: Bad luck with those injuries! :( 

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@smplfc123 Thanks mate. Am pleased you're sticking with Reading and enjoy reading about it.

@DefinitelyTaylor Thanks, appreciated. it was back to Tanzania (lived and worked there for some years and still have a house and other assets there that I need to check on regularly).

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8 hours ago, DefinitelyTaylor said:

Congratulations mate! The squad has a lot of quality so it is rather bizarre to see them struggling at the foot of the League Two table, irl. I think there will be a lot more work to do to succeed in League One next season, but I wish you luck with it.

Actually my high-flying Notts County Magpies have already completed the 2019/2020 season too. I didn’t add it to the previous post because it’s a more involved story and I was tired of typing. 

Anyway, Notts County finished 2nd in League 1 and earned automatic promotion to the Championship. Woo!

Going into the final day of matches we were in 3rd, but our match was against 1st place Bolton. One of our central defenders decided to make things interesting by getting sent off in the first half. At that point it was still 0-0. 

Then all hell broke loose. We scored, then they did and it went back and forth. Amazingly the score finished 4-3 with us leading. 4 goals a man down! (I think the game struggles to realistically handle games after a player is sent off). 

 

A21577C4-4EAA-4A52-961F-C88B216E354C.png

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11 hours ago, DefinitelyTaylor said:

@dothestrand: If you feel like you can't take Bury much further, then it could be an idea to rebuild an ailing Fulham side. It's all whether you feel like you still have work to do with Bury on not, personally.

@smplfc123: I was just thinking after you wrote about the record of wins/draws/losses that it was bang-average form and almost the definition of mid-table! :lol: Glad to see you have noticed that too. That's more than good enough though considering you've just returned to the division after promotion last season and top-half is more than good enough. Have to admit, I'm glad you've stayed with Reading.

@Jogo Bonito: Welcome back and I hope you had a great time in Africa. Where did you go exactly, out of interest? You've had a fantastic time with Grimsby and it's great to see you end the save on a high, by achieving promotion to the Championship. I hope to see you contributing to the thread again soon, as I always enjoy reading your posts (as I do everybody's!)

@robterrace: Bad luck with those injuries! :( 

Thanks - I think I'll keep two saves available. I think I'll keep Bury in mid-table in League One and would hope to build towards promotion to the Championship in the next season, or the one after. Fulham are a mess; I'd rather take over in the Summer tbf and do all the rebuilding then, rather than oversee their pitiful relegation for the next five months. I'll keep the Bury game going :)

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ROYAL REVIVAL UPDATE:

So the aim at the start of the season was to avoid a relegation battle and finish somewhere in the midst of mid-table. This how the table looks at the end of the season:
 

image.thumb.png.de81ef7ad8cc3c1281ade3ab2fcd0dd2.png

14th and 57 points, can't really complain about that, stayed well clear of a relegation battle and put in some good performances along the way. However, I am a little frustrated as we reached 52 points with a home win over Cardiff, with 8 games remaining in the season. We then decided that we didn't fancy playing anymore, picking up just 3 points from the final 18 available. 

There's going to be a few heading out of the door this summer, with the main focus being on bringing in players that will improve the starting 11 and are not just squad fillers. I've been given a £4m transfer chest and plenty of freedom in the wage budget to hit mid table next season. My aim is simple, finish with more points and in a higher position next season.

Wish me luck.

 

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@smplfc123: A solid season there. I think a lot of managers will be able to understand your problems with the run-in when you've little or nothing to play for. I remember Tony Pulis had a massive issue with that at West Brom, which I'm confident he openly discussed at one point. Good luck next season. The budget is modest but with some astute business, there's no reason why you can't push further up the table. You've already demonstrated your abilities in the first two seasons with the club, so I have faith you'll be able to meet your targets.

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3 hours ago, DefinitelyTaylor said:

I think a lot of managers will be able to understand your problems with the run-in when you've little or nothing to play for

@smplfc123 Wot he said! I've had it with teams from the PL to the VNN - once they think the season is done, you're done. Depends on your targets for the season, of course - if your collective goal was avoiding the relegation battle then, once that's secure, players will tend to switch off. One of those little subtle issues in FM... I think many of us view the season aims as a way of gaming the board expectations and budgets but really you're setting the objectives for the campaign. If the squad meets the objectives, you can't really complain about what happens afterwards. (Hope that makes you feel better :D).

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@warlock Just finished season 1 with Accrington. Jeez it was difficult. Definitely one of the hardest jobs in the efl this year. 

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On the point of players switching off, survival was pretty much guaranteed with about 5 or 6 games to go which started a run of 3 red cards in consecutive games. Madness.

Also

Billy Kee :ackter:, showed me that's for sure. After I said he'd been as useful as a silent alarm clock :lol:

a4fbcee806ccaf46e2215bce6b059d10ceb47cd0

Edited by Jamesbfc1887

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12 minutes ago, Jamesbfc1887 said:

Just finished season 1 with Accrington. Jeez it was difficult.

That's a brilliant season with Stanley - and great management to challenge your main striker to show you what he's got :D. I see you managed to get Barnsley up as well.

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31 minutes ago, warlock said:

Traitor!!! :p

I'll probably split the saves if I get the Forest job. 

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2 minutes ago, smplfc123 said:

Finding first team players is really hard in this summer window for some reason. :seagull:

Might be a reputation thing - seems like your rep drops with relegation a lot further than it rises with promotion. Back-to-back promotions with Barnsley have left me really struggling to find anyone who can improve the squad. Just coming up to the January transfer window in our first PL season and I'm mired in the slough of despond - have £10m in the kitty and no-one to spend it on. No-one of any quality wants to join, all of the decent loan prospects are signed up until the summer, and I'd sell my granny for a striker who can get into double figures for the season (Woodrow is my leading scorer with four - it's now Christmas week and he hasn't scored since September).

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12 minutes ago, robterrace said:

Its on.. :)

I'm currently very uncomfortably perched on the pointy bit of the fence with my Barnsley save. And I'm currently very interested in taking on Forest for my next save - a Cloughie-style 442 and see if we can't get them back into Europe. I've never, ever managed Forest, but I remember them well from my youth*.

*For all you young 'uns - those were the days when there was almost no live football on TV. The only games we saw were the cup finals, and European nights (and World Cups). In those days, you could see Forest live on TV almost every week!

Edited by warlock

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19 minutes ago, warlock said:

Might be a reputation thing - seems like your rep drops with relegation a lot further than it rises with promotion. Back-to-back promotions with Barnsley have left me really struggling to find anyone who can improve the squad. Just coming up to the January transfer window in our first PL season and I'm mired in the slough of despond - have £10m in the kitty and no-one to spend it on. No-one of any quality wants to join, all of the decent loan prospects are signed up until the summer, and I'd sell my granny for a striker who can get into double figures for the season (Woodrow is my leading scorer with four - it's now Christmas week and he hasn't scored since September).

Yeah I think that doesn't help. Makes me all the more determined to succeed though! I'm hoping last season's signing of Kevin Cannavo will be a hit this season after spending last season back out on loan with Palermo.

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