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FM19: The English Football League thread

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26 minutes ago, Rooks said:

I have never managed in England

Good to have you with us, and good luck :thup:

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32 minutes ago, Rooks said:

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Exeter City / Sky Bet League Two

England / Nation

Plymouth Argyle / Rivals

St James Park / Stadium

 

I was looking for a fun save, where there was no pressure from the club or myself really and I have never managed in England (a part from a lost season with Burnley (FM17) in the Championship in a save, 3 years in). Fasten your seatbelts. ;) 

 

Welcome to League 2, and good luck with The Grecians!

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Posted (edited)

188810974_CUFClogo.thumb.jpg.853fb348b4537fa757edb5484124420f.jpg

So, I've moved to Essex to begin a new challenge with Colchester United

The starting squad was quite decent, and with no transfer budget, I needed to be creative

I decided that Mikael Mandron and Tom Eastman (despite his years of loyal service) could move on - a real lack of pace for the latter being the reason

League 1 side Burton Albion paid £100k for the French striker, and a further £105k for the central defender, so thanks very much to them

I had already signed midfielder Tashan Oakley-Boothe on loan from Tottenham by then, and asked the board for a parent club 

The board agreed, and the club I wanted to come up (Tottenham) was one of the four options they gave me. Happy days, link formed

Next in was Mohammed Eisa on loan from Bristol City for a wage contribution of £1k per week

I expected the forgotten striker to lead the line and score the majority of my goals

But I didn't want to just rely on loan players, so I also signed ex-Burnley striker Jamie Thomas on a free transfer to replace Mandron

Tottenham had a whole host of promising young players willing to join me on loan, but I limited myself to just two more (three in total)

The other two I settled on were goalkeeper Alfie Whiteman and central midfielder Oliver Skipp

These are both great deals, I think. And Skipp was immediately installed as even-money favourite to be L2 Player of the Year

The hardest decision I had to make was the last one. I promoted a youngster from the U23 squad, but needed another reliable central defender

Once I decided against the Tottenham options available, I had three men left on the list

Eventually I decided that I didn't want another loan player, so the deal for Tom Holmes (Reading) was cancelled off

Then it was a straight choice, between two experienced free agents to take that final squad position

After much deliberation, ex-Brentford man Karleigh Osborne just edged out Troy Archibald-Henville to become the last of my new arrivals

I cancelled the loans of the two men who were at the club when I took over, as wingers Callum Roberts and Abobaker Eisa were not needed

Midfielder Diaz Wright was allowed out on loan too as I had more than enough options for that position, and I wasn't sure about his ability

The June transfers were of course made before I took over, so I was happy with how the squad would now look

I've also made some changes to the backroom team, notably appointing Alan Curbishley as my new Assistant Manager

Ex-Leeds defender Gary Kelly has arrived as Assistant Manager of my U23 side, and physio Eva Carneiro has also joined 

Club icon Mark Kinsella returned as a youth coach, and I'll try to get Joe Dunne and John McGreal back again too in time

 1864447344_ColchesterUnited_TransferHistory.thumb.png.7022190736a84e55f6f703e4d8f4a988.png

Here is the 22-man first team squad at my disposal, with some U23 players hopefully able to back-up when required

On that note, one of the things that attracted me here is the youth development work that gives a pathway to the first team

Of this squad, five of my men (Kent, James, Vincent-Young, Lapslie and Szmodics) already have Home Grown at Club status

1058518818_ColchesterSquad1.1.png.96241064b16bb8f37045ad3e65cdd0c1.png

1697209211_ColchesterSquad1.2.png.4cb01a742d6b7c2855239f8fc7f65577.png

The formation in pre-season was this rather unusual 4-1-3-1-1 DM AM narrow. That rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?

The image below was taken before Skipp arrived, but the strength of the team was clearly in central midfield and I wanted to make the most of it

It wasn't very creative, but it was certainly solid. So it was taken in to the regular season too

1622823293_Colchestertactics.thumb.png.cf40587af743692ac8b5e4dfd53530dd.png

So, how is it going on the pitch?

Pre-season was decent, although a lack of goals (and chances) against non-league opposition was a bit concerning

August saw much of the same, as my team didn't score more than one goal in any of the games. Defensively, I was delighted though

And running Wolves close in the Carabao Cup (losing on penalties) showed there was plenty of spirit to call upon

September started off alright, but the Cambridge home defeat was heavy, and a further three goals were shipped next time out too

The league form picked up again in October, but goals conceded are coming too rapidly for my liking

I've tweaked the formation a couple of times in these last few games, so hopefully I can strike the right balance again soon

And hopefully I will soon be out of the Checkatrade Trophy, with just one more defeat needed after losing to Plymouth!

July, August & September 2018

234551899_ColchesterFixtures1.1.thumb.png.eb8491b4e5003bb8d3278730da718449.png

October 2018

2134021667_ColchesterFixtures1.2.thumb.png.1f1976b4d437b1c7e71700f10a7ed38a.png

These results see the club sitting in a nice league position in 3rd, with one game in hand

That game in hand is a result of a postponement I requested due to international call-ups

I'd waived the right to do it once before, but having six out of my 22-man squad absent a second time wasn't ideal

I guess I brought that upon myself though as Eisa (Sudan), the three Tottenham men (England U21) and Thomas (Wales U21) were all my signings

270171014_RoyRace_Home.thumb.png.17508f7501a2afbd59105b0451c07ea4.png

Edited by Jogo Bonito

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At the moment my team takes Cruyff's quote a little too serious.. :eek:

 

Screenshot 2019-03-16 at 23.09.41.png

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Long time no see, people of the Football League thread.

The last time I had spoken to you we had just secured an unexpected promotion to the Championship and now my job is to keep us there.

There was some great news over the summer regarding the transfer embargo that the club had suffered through the past year.

So now I was allowed to make some much needed additions to the team.  

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50cfb5b9f3f051236749d08183359815bcff0d6a

Most of the summer was spent trying to recuperate the loan players that had left after their seasons loan expired, including Herbie Kane and our star man last season Nishan Burkart.

c52c9f1f3febf85176b9253724253b2936279720

This is how our squad looks going into the new season, as you can see we've managed to secure the services of some of our star players on loan last season, as well as adding a few new faces to the side. I could have bored you with screenshots of them all but decided not to, most of the people lurking around on here will know most of these EFL regulars I've brought in.

 

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Nice to see a little flurry of activity today. 

@Jogo Bonito: Nice to see you back with a new club. Colchester seems an interesting choice, but has the recipe to provide for a good challenge. A solid start, to say the very least. That transfer budget looks very healthy for potential new additions, if needed too. Looking forward to seeing how the next few months pan out.

@Rooks: Glad to see you took my advice and went with Exeter. :D A lot of goals in those first few games! 

@Jamesbfc1887: 10/10 for the signing of Jimmy Dunne! Some very shrewd signings there and the extension of Burkart's loan is fantastic. It's going to be a battle this year, once again, but I'm confident your abilities will allow you to thrive and keep Stanley up! 

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Thanks @DefinitelyTaylor hopefully we can have a good season and start involving the U23 prospects a bit more too. It's one of those where another season in L2 would actually be a good thing, as those youngsters won't get much chance if we go up. Who are you managing these days?

@Rooks A nice start in Devon, good luck.

@Jamesbfc1887 You've done really well there with all those obstacles. Best of luck in the new season.

@warlock Are you joining us in L2 or you've not decided if you're ready for the fight yet?

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9 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

Thanks @DefinitelyTaylor. Who are you managing these days?

I've been playing saves outside of the EFL lately, if I'm being honest. I really want to get into another save, given the success of this thread and the discussion you get from posting, but I just haven't got that standout team, unfortunately. I'm going to keep trying to find one though, definitely! 

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1 minute ago, Jogo Bonito said:

Are you joining us in L2 or you've not decided if you're ready for the fight yet?

Seem to have misplaced my mojo. In the last week or so I've started saves with Southampton (twice), Sunderland, Cambridge, Carlisle and Bury. In desperation, I went back to clubs I'd really enjoyed last year - Bristol City and Peterborough - and didn't get much past pre-season in any of them.

Even when I decide I need a break, I can't leave it alone and the next day I'm firing up another save. It's a sickness :idiot:

But I've been here before... pretty much every year, in fact. Something will click eventually.

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4 minutes ago, warlock said:

Seem to have misplaced my mojo. In the last week or so I've started saves with Southampton (twice), Sunderland, Cambridge, Carlisle and Bury. In desperation, I went back to clubs I'd really enjoyed last year - Bristol City and Peterborough - and didn't get much past pre-season in any of them.

Even when I decide I need a break, I can't leave it alone and the next day I'm firing up another save. It's a sickness :idiot:

But I've been here before... pretty much every year, in fact. Something will click eventually.

Strongly relatable! 

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2 minutes ago, DefinitelyTaylor said:

I've been playing saves outside of the EFL lately, if I'm being honest. I really want to get into another save, given the success of this thread and the discussion you get from posting, but I just haven't got that standout team, unfortunately. I'm going to keep trying to find one though, definitely! 

I understand. I always spend longer picking a team than I do on playing! I've done a year with Sporting in Portugal, and also got a really nice game going with OL in France, with some other foreign clubs on my radar. But the EFL and the discussion and encouragement in here makes this always an enjoyable place to write.

If I hadn't managed them before, I'd have gone back to Forest Green. They have the backing, and some really good players to start with. But I appreciate it has to be a club that grabs you, and not one that somebody else thinks is a good fit! Others I considered were Carlisle (but done them before), or first time attempts at either Port Vale or Bury, but I'm pleased with my choice.

@warlock Perhaps mix it up a bit with a club in another country so that your EFL life is more fresh rather than just one after the other? I mean, can you imagine me enjoying a quest for Champions League football, spending nearly £70m in the first transfer window? OL is a great break from the norm and a real contrast to L2 in the EFL. Join me there if you fancy a change?

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1 hour ago, Jamesbfc1887 said:

Long time no see, people of the Football League thread.

The last time I had spoken to you we had just secured an unexpected promotion to the Championship and now my job is to keep us there.

There was some great news over the summer regarding the transfer embargo that the club had suffered through the past year.

So now I was allowed to make some much needed additions to the team.  

1247d13f2b2db239cd0542328a585e906dac7da9

50cfb5b9f3f051236749d08183359815bcff0d6a

Most of the summer was spent trying to recuperate the loan players that had left after their seasons loan expired, including Herbie Kane and our star man last season Nishan Burkart.

c52c9f1f3febf85176b9253724253b2936279720

This is how our squad looks going into the new season, as you can see we've managed to secure the services of some of our star players on loan last season, as well as adding a few new faces to the side. I could have bored you with screenshots of them all but decided not to, most of the people lurking around on here will know most of these EFL regulars I've brought in.

 

 

Can you upload the squad view?

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@DefinitelyTaylor Well, it brought me some points to begin with. Thats for sure! :D 

@Jogo Bonito Very good start in terms of points indeed. :thup:

 

1263641164_Screenshot2019-03-17at01_39_16.thumb.png.7f482271a469e07513578ba4f19b0a4b.png

In terms of points, we are off to a great start! Also trough to the third round of the Carabao Cup (v Derby County). Leaking goals all over the place! :herman:
Maybe my overkill Ajax tactic isn't the way to go here with a terrible squad that cannot play this tactic all season! Going back to the drawing board.. 

1078533348_Screenshot2019-03-17at01_42_11.thumb.png.bdf2cb4cb545678621d5554713a5fb8b.png

 

 

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Yes, good to see some old friends returning. I love this thread!

@Rooks That tactic is a bit kamikaze for the likes of  Exeter, but I guess you'll either blow teams away or get sucker-punched on the counter.

@Jamesbfc1887 Some quality signings there. Hopefully, they'll produce for you.

@Jogo Bonito A great start with Colchester, a town I have a deal of affection for - lived there for a few years around 1980 (jeez... 40 years ago!!!!)

I'm sure I'll be back in the ring soon. I'm currently looking closely at Macclesfield - the very definition of 'no great expectations' :lol:

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1 hour ago, warlock said:

Seem to have misplaced my mojo. In the last week or so I've started saves with Southampton (twice), Sunderland, Cambridge, Carlisle and Bury. In desperation, I went back to clubs I'd really enjoyed last year - Bristol City and Peterborough - and didn't get much past pre-season in any of them.

Even when I decide I need a break, I can't leave it alone and the next day I'm firing up another save. It's a sickness :idiot:

But I've been here before... pretty much every year, in fact. Something will click eventually.

This. Thank good I'm not alone in floundering for save ideas. :D

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37 minutes ago, warlock said:

A great start with Colchester, a town I have a deal of affection for - lived there for a few years around 1980 (jeez... 40 years ago!!!!)

I'm sure I'll be back in the ring soon. I'm currently looking closely at Macclesfield - the very definition of 'no great expectations' :lol:

Well, maybe you should be heading back there 'virtually speaking' - certainly an easier challenge than Macclesfield :lol:

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3 minutes ago, Jamesbfc1887 said:

I'm not alone in floundering for save ideas. :D

Well, it's not so much that I don't have ideas, but there has to be something that lights the spark. For example, I was really keen on the Sunderland save - I expected them to be among the most popular teams this year, and when I realised they weren't I was up for it. But eventually it occurred to me that nothing except automatic promotion was going to satisfy the board, and I'm not sure that they have the players to achieve that. So even halfway through pre-season there was a sense of impending doom :rolleyes:.

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1 hour ago, turgi said:

 

Can you upload the squad view?

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1565364336

It's just that, I can't take any of the credit for it but it's helped me out loads.

@Jogo Bonito Good luck with Colchester, Szmodics has always looked quality from highlights I've seen of him,  should be good for you.

@warlock Yeah, I often get plenty of ideas particularly around this time of day and end up thinking "Yeah I'll really enjoy ....... save" but when it comes down to it, it doesn't as you say light the spark, certain teams for me do light that spark such as Peterborough funnily enough. I've also looked away from the efl recently just started with AZ in Holland and that's really got me interested, I enjoyed Aberdeen last year as well, very similar saves really topple Ajax and PSV or Rangers and Celtic.

@DefinitelyTaylor Thanks! It'll be a tough run this season for sure.

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7 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

maybe you should be heading back there

Cheers mate! I don't know whether you meant that as a challenge, but I accept it as one. Colchester it is, victory to us both :thup:

PS: there's a definite Roman vibe to Colchester, and I came across this FM blog the other day:

http://www.historegens.co.uk/hail-caesar-again/

Be sure to click on all the screenshots - absolutely hilarious!

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, warlock said:

Cheers mate! I don't know whether you meant that as a challenge, but I accept it as one. Colchester it is, victory to us both :thup:

PS: there's a definite Roman vibe to Colchester, and I came across this FM blog the other day:

http://www.historegens.co.uk/hail-caesar-again/

Be sure to click on all the screenshots - absolutely hilarious!

Well, yes, I think I was hoping you may see it that way! Welcome (back) to Colchester,  and I look forward to seeing how you approach it.

I'm really starting to be encouraged by some of the U23 and U18 players, there's great promise in those squads as long as I don't make the club progress too far too soon.

And yes, very amusing comments from Rome!

@Jamesbfc1887 Thanks, Szmodics is definitely one that I am happy to be managing.

Edited by Jogo Bonito

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Great update @Jogo Bonito - that link with Tottenham already looks like a very shrewd move! Will be interested to see if Skipp lives up to his potential.

Looking forward to seeing how @warlock also fares at Colchester. Perhaps friendly competition with Jogo will light that spark you are looking for? :lol:

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Posted (edited)

Charlton Athletic - Season 6 - Part 1

All the posts on here over the weekend has reminded me to do an update of my own!

Squad Overhaul

Release.thumb.png.a715c0c37e33a25a7937f5617751d4d4.pngTransfers.thumb.png.d9aea0034bc2b966afb94742cc35d79e.png

I ended my last post by mentioning that my aim for the summer of 2023 was to overhaul my squad and move in a more youthful direction. Firstly I released the elder statesman of my squad Marek Hamsik and Ivan Perisic, deciding neither had earned a new contract after the initial one year deals I brought them in on last season. I then tasked my network of scouts with scouring the globe for hot prospects that I could build my teams around. After a lot of hard work I was able to identify three such players, all of whom were brought in at bargain prices. Diogo, an 18 year old centre forward from Gremio, Faruk Tasdelen, a 19 year old right winger from Frieburg and Fran a 20 year old deep lying playmaker from Valencia. As all three are regens I have attached printscreens of them below. I am really excited about developing these players and hope to be able to fulfill their potentials.

My star signing was Will Hughes who had made a big money move to Man City the year previous (for £33.5m) but had been unable to break into the team. I snapped him up for what I believe to be a bargain fee as his all round technical and mental stats are very impressive. Hughes also offers a great deal of versatility to the squad as he can play almost anywhere across the midfield. Last season was a struggle in parts and on reflection I concluded that one of the factors was a lack of quality in defence. I therefore raided Tottenham twice, first signing centre back Jemerson, shortly followed by full back Kyle Walker-Peters.

By this point the squad was now  inflated in size therefore I had to move on a large number of players. I sold players that I liked such as Cullen, Bandinelli, Engels and Coyle, as sadly they simply weren't going to get any playing time. I decided to loan out forwards Iuhas and Abraham as I want them to develop and the only way this will happen is if they get minutes on the pitch. One notable outgoing where I was torn on whether to do the deal or not, was the sale of youth academy prospect Jamie Le Tissier. The young right back only currently has very limited ability but my scouts rated him as having high levels of potential. Middlesbrough came in with a high bid from nowhere and I reluctantly decided to accept as his potential was not guaranteed. I will be keeping a close eye on his development with intrigue.

The final notable deals were the free transfer signings of Andre Schurrle and Jordi Alba. As previously mentioned, I had decided to move away from making experienced signings, however these deals were dictated by necessity. Early season injuries to Pacheco and Stengs meant I was short of wingers and my scouts rated Schurrle highly. After releasing James Husband in the summer I was on the hunt for a new left back, however every transfer or loan I lined up ended up falling through. With desperation setting in I moved for Alba who, although 34, still has good attributes. Before he signed he had already decided to retire in mid-November so he is very much a short-term fix. Left back is a position I will look to address in January.

Diogo.thumb.png.51469ca9fa447f53b352eb6a3ebb0c8a.pngTasdelen.thumb.png.1f1a6989121f7902c94325daeeb4d17f.png

Fran.thumb.png.05c94ee3a7a32cf27368f69663e22f7e.png

Positive Performances

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Season 6 could not have begun much better. The competitive season started early due to our involvement in the Europa League, a tournament we qualified for by winning the League Cup in the prior season. We beat FC Mattersburg 6-0 on aggregate with all goals coming from new signings, including a hat-trick from young forward Diogo who hit the ground running. We followed this up with another 6-0 aggregate win, this time over KuPS of Finland. Our final round of Europa League qualifiers in the month came against FC Viitorul in a slightly tighter affair that finished 5-3 - the star of this round was forward Cannovo who scored three. He had an underwhelming season last time around so I am hoping this is the start of good things to come for him. The only blip of the opening month was a defeat to Arsenal on the opening day of the domestic season, however we made up for this with two wins against sides we are more likely to be competing with this season.

Reality Check

1837077229_Schedule23.thumb.png.2fea0b2c549bd4a020aca7012b78c0a3.png

I was feeling extremely positive at the end of August, thinking this is the season we finally push on and challenge for a top half finish. September, however, proved a stark reminder that my side is still very much a work in progress. We failed to beat West Ham, Palace and Blackburn, sides that I really think we should be beating. Palace have the unpleasant role of being both our local rivals and our bogey team - I just can't seem to get the better of Pochettino's side. We exited the FA Cup in disappointing fashion as we dominated the match but ended up losing on penalties.

We drew a tough Europa League group, being paired with losing finalists from last season Real Betis and Udinise. We lost away at Betis, however I was really encouraged with our dominating victory over Udinise. We secured a huge and deserved victory when we beat Man City 4-3. It really was a thriller with one of Tasdelen's goals winning the Premier League goal of the month competition, and Hughes' goal coming second!

Table.thumb.png.25b263420f0734e5262bbddd51af51cb.png

At this early stage of the season we are not quite where I would like to be in the table but hopefully we can push on upwards as the season progresses.

Edited by Dong21

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@Dong21 Thanks, it's good to be back and hopefully @warlock will feel enthused by the Colchester challenge!

Good to see you're still battling on with Charlton. That's quite a busy summer there, but the Jemerson deal looks a very good one. You had a really great start, but the recent results have been a bit painful. Hopefully you'll sort them out and continue to work your magic!

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1 minute ago, Jogo Bonito said:

@Dong21 Thanks, it's good to be back and hopefully @warlock will feel enthused by the Colchester challenge!

I second - or third - that motion. Haven't had a chance to do much more than look through the squad, recruit a few staff members, and have a superficial think about tactics.

That was a radical shift in fortune between August and September, @Dong21. But you're only one win away from the top half, so I have no doubt you'll be able to push on from here.

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24 minutes ago, warlock said:

I second - or third - that motion. Haven't had a chance to do much more than look through the squad, recruit a few staff members, and have a superficial think about tactics.

I'm looking forward to seeing how you approach it. Best of luck!

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2 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

I'm looking forward to seeing how you approach it

Me too!

2 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

Best of luck!

You too!

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Nice to see you making it through to the group stages of the Europa League, @Dong21, although that's a tough group you've drawn! Some good work in the transfer window and I'm looking forward to seeing how the likes of Will Hughes and, as @Jogo Bonito said, Jemerson do. A real mix bag between August and September, but I have faith in you to find the consistency needed to move up the table and perhaps even force a top-half finish. Good luck!

@Rooks: Well you can look at that in two ways. You scored three times against Championship opposition, or you can argue that conceding six isn't good enough, albeit to Championship opposition! :lol:

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@DefinitelyTaylor Looked it on the positive side, scoring 3 against a championship side is always good! :thup:

 

Exeter City / October

October went way better than expected, switching tactics was necessary as the overkill tactic isn't working (not surprised :p). The only thing I'm concerned right now is the lack of depth in the squad and with almost no fundings it's going to be a long season if we can't do something in January. Trying to get rid of some players that never play to get free players more suitable to the roles I use. 

1812964946_Screenshot2019-03-18at07_56_02.thumb.png.d366e7b77c7ab5ccaab76735ba510e13.png

 

Switching to the new tactic after the Swindon game, it worked wonders so far. Scoring 11 and only conceding 3 with the best result against number 1 Forest Green. And we are still in for automatic promotion and most important, 7 points clear from 7th play-off place. 

1041054080_Screenshot2019-03-18at07_56_19.thumb.png.401140ce9081f604f28d446956302d68.png

 

Best Player / October

It is a hard one. Tristan Abrahams scored 5 and assisted 2 in 7 games, but Jayden Stockley also scored 5 and is now topscorer. So probably just both.. :lol:

Jayden Stockley

1803535316_Screenshot2019-03-18at08_10_34.png.94285d4e954209330a880a51eefe8763.png

 

Tristan Abrahams

1114056538_Screenshot2019-03-18at08_10_44.png.9d02ac40d35384f0bea524d14b7a0f24.png

 

Fixtures / November

A win over Swansea U23 see us going trough in the cup. The FA Cup first round is a must-to-do task. 
Not to impressed by our opponents in the league, hoping for a good amount of points. 

541311429_Screenshot2019-03-18at08_11_50.thumb.png.5266362cdb451753645dd1458dd8bd85.png

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Colchester: Season 1, 1st Quarter

Unlike Sr Bonito, I'm never confident making early moves in the transfer market so I decided to go with pretty much what we had. There was an urgent need for better depth at GK, so Tom Glover came in on loan from Spurs. Additional cover was also needed at the LB and RB positions, so Jake Vokins (Southampton) and Connor Randall (Liverpool) were also signed on season-long loans. With three strikers (none of them very good) and a number of wide players, the boring old 433dm wide was dusted off.

Pre-season was the usual stroll in the park, although longer than I usually like as the AssMan setup no fewer than 8 games. All were won, with 28 goals scored only 1 conceded, albeit against lower-league opponents. But the tactic, and the team, was looking good as we went into the first competitive game of the season, away to Notts County. Which we duly lost. Next, a home game against Port Vale was a good opportunity to put up some points... after a miserable performance, securing the draw with a goal four minutes from time, harsh language was applied to the team. I also implemented a small change to the tactical approach that had looked so good in pre-season, swapping the 'positive' mentality for 'balanced'.

Whether the tactical switch, or the four-letter teamtalk, did the trick, we set off an a streak of 8 consecutive wins in all competitions, which should have been 9 when bottom-placed Cambridge came to the JobServe Community Stadium but we never got going and posted a pitiful 0-1 defeat.

In the Carabao Cup we saw off Championship opponents with a 2-0 win away at West Brom, and then repeated the feat away at Reading. An R3 tie against Exeter looked less challenging, but we again confounded the bookies by losing on penalties.

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A couple of decent home wins pushed us back towards the top of the table, where only goal difference separates the top 3.

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Frontman Luke Norris leads the scoring chart with 5 goals in 6(3) appearances, with the bulk of the rest coming from our widemen, and the usual handful from CBs at corners and other setpieces. The wingbacks have been our main providers, creating 10 goals between the four of them.

That's not a bad start at all, but we look equally capable of a good win or a poor defeat. I'm already looking ahead to January and the chance to strengthen. In particular, the two wide loan signings of Eisa and Roberts have not been impressive, and a better rotation option is needed up front where Mandron and Nouble have failed to convince.

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@warlock Good results and a nice position on the table! Hopefully you can keep this up. 

 

Top boss, I like the sound of that! :cool:

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@warlock That's a great start to life as Colchester gaffer and those victories over Championship opposition indicate you may be able to do well at a higher level!

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@Rooks Going great there, exciting times at Exeter!

@warlock Excellent start, I'm already feeling the pressure! I also looked at Vokins, he looks really promising for an 18 year old. I see you made the same conclusion as me on the two original loans, and also struggling for goals out of the strikers. You didn't get rid of anyone at all? How are your finances?

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@Rooks: Good work mate! To remain unbeaten for 15 games is a fantastic feat. :D 

@warlock: Glad to see that your form has picked up after a slightly rocky start. Jake Vokins is a fantastic piece of business, from experience. Luke Norris is also a great player and should provide the goals needed. Good luck!

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Colchester United - Season 1 (November & December)

My solid start to the season continued as November arrived

A league win and a victory in FA Cup Round 1 were pleasing, although progression in the Checkatrade Trophy wasn't in the script

The month tailed off a bit at the end with one point from nine, but December saw FA Cup Round 2 and a winnable home tie

Sadly, a drab 0-0 against Tranmere didn't show signs of a return to form, but that was put right against high-flying Crawley

Four more wins saw progress in the FA Cup and the much-loved Checkatrade Trophy, but the three league wins were the most important

A couple of defeats either side of Christmas halted momentum, but the year ended well with another win over Morecambe   

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All of that sees my side well-placed in 4th at the turn of the year, with it still being tight near the top of the table

And as the finances are heading south, the funds from hosting Everton in FA Cup Round 3 will be very welcome

The formation was switched to a 4-3-3 some time ago, and seems to be more consistent than my original wacky idea

I'm concerned that Eisa has stopped scoring, but whilst the goals are being shared around, I'm happy enough

The transfer window is now open again, but I'm not likely to be bringing many new players in  (if any at all)

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Thanks to all for the words of encouragement. Immediately after posting my update I had to go away for a couple of days*; just got back.

On 18/03/2019 at 22:02, Jogo Bonito said:

You didn't get rid of anyone at all? How are your finances?

No, there were no departures at all. Have several of the U23s available for loan but there were no takers. Finances are looking pretty grim - first week of October and we have a positive balance of just £4,000, and we'll be well into the red by the end of the month. But I always take the view that I take care of the football and the board takes care of the money. My three loan signings are costing us nothing at all, and I'm about £3.7k a week under my wage budget so - IMHO - I'm doing my bit. Of course, I expect the board to reduce my share of any transfer dealings (and they already have), but equally I expect them to beg, steal or borrow the money to keep us going through the season.

Mrs W is still away so I'm looking forward to a serious session of FM this evening. Should get up to Christmas!

* There are three stages of adulthood. First Stage is all about weddings and parties. Second Stage is all about babies and parties. Third Stage is all about funerals and not being bothered about parties. This week was a funeral, with another one next week - sad, of course, but as long as I'm not the star guest at the funeral I figure I'm doing OK.

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On 19/03/2019 at 00:48, Jogo Bonito said:

All of that sees my side well-placed in 4th at the turn of the year, with it still being tight near the top of the table

Yes, that's not looking bad at all. All of those recent defeats are by a single goal so room for optimism at this stage :thup:

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On 19/03/2019 at 00:48, Jogo Bonito said:

   All of that sees my side well-placed in 4th at the turn of the year, with it still being tight near the top of the table. 

Not bad at all, I would argue. I see the fact the goals are being shared out as a real positive, but indeed it is nice to have a striker you can rely on to provide the goods. Hopefully Eisa can step up on that front. 

No heavy defeat, as of yet, which is always pleasing. Just two points adrift also, in what seems an awfully tight league currently. Fingers crossed you can keep a good run of form and move up a few places! 

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1 hour ago, DefinitelyTaylor said:

what seems an awfully tight league

Very much this! Because it's so tight at the top and teams keep swapping positions, it sometimes seems like every game is against a Top 6 opponent :rolleyes:.

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Posted (edited)

Charlton Athletic - Season 6 - Part 2

November

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An important victory was achieved away at Everton to start November off in a positive fashion. We had two defeats in the month, although only the loss to Tottenham was a fair reflection of the football played. Against Real Betis we dominated the game with far more shots and possession, however conceded two late goals that meant we fell to defeat. Young forward Diogo continued to impress, scoring three goals in three league games.

December

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This was followed by a very pleasing month in which we beat Arsenal, drew with the champions and league leaders Liverpool and thrashed Fulham, Wolves and Bournemouth. Andre Schurrle proved to be an important player during the festive period, netting in four games in a row. This was particularly useful as during this time our top goalscorer Diogo was completing a four match ban for a mistimed tackle. Due to various injuries I gave several first starts to youth team players during this period, which makes the positive results even more satisfying. In Europe we concluded the group stage with another victory over Udinise. This result saw us finish second in our group and progress to the Knockouts where we have drawn the prestigious AC Milan.

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January

The opening day of the transfer window saw us complete three deals that I had been working on in November and December. Continuing my theme from the summer, I continued to look to the future by signing three players under the age of 21. Asier Valencia arrived from Real Sociedad for £10m as my new second choice left back, following the recent retirement of Jordi Alba. Versatile Guacai arrives from Corinthians for £9.25m as the understudy full back on the opposite side of the pitch; I therefore sold Zampano to Aston Villa for £3.5m as he had become surplus to requirements. Finally, young Davie Duff joined the club from Aberdeen for £8.5m and is one for the future in the goal scoring domain.

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Our form continued into January and we have now gone 15 games undefeated, including achieving clean sheets in the last seven matches. Diogo and Guacai have been absent for the majority of the month as they have been competing for Brazil in the South American qualifying for the Olympic Games. Whilst it was frustrating that this has taken place during the season, it has been encouraging to see Cannavo step up and take on the goal scoring responsibility in recent weeks.

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Edited by Dong21

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4 hours ago, warlock said:

No, there were no departures at all. Have several of the U23s available for loan but there were no takers. Finances are looking pretty grim - first week of October and we have a positive balance of just £4,000, and we'll be well into the red by the end of the month. But I always take the view that I take care of the football and the board takes care of the money. My three loan signings are costing us nothing at all, and I'm about £3.7k a week under my wage budget so - IMHO - I'm doing my bit. Of course, I expect the board to reduce my share of any transfer dealings (and they already have), but equally I expect them to beg, steal or borrow the money to keep us going through the season.

I know what you mean. My club balance was around £1m in the first transfer window after the sales. My only loan payments/fess/wages are the £1k per week for Eisa, but that is less than the two original loans that I terminated. The two free transfer recruits are earning peanuts too, so I definitely improved the weekly wage bill. Anyway, despite all that the balance has just been going down rapidly each month and we are now in the red. Likewise, my retention of sales dropped several times, it's now about 20% retained I think. At the end of the season, competition payments should balance us out again, so I'm not worried about the debt even if it looks (and feels) bad.

Thanks for your encouragement, hoping to see how your big FM session goes now. Sorry to hear why you have been away, it's more four funerals and a wedding now than the other way round, isn't it.

@DefinitelyTaylor Thanks for your comments, yes going quite well at the moment.

@Dong21 A fantastic spell there, right back on track and looking very strong. Hoping you can keep that up!

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3 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

it's more four funerals and a wedding now than the other way round, isn't it.

Just so :lol:.

@Dong21 As Jogo says, that's a fantastic run you're on. Mildly surprised to see you outside the top 6 with that form. Good luck!

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@Jogo Bonito @warlock Thanks both, although just had some news which has soured my mood!

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Opportunity for my 20 year old Egyptian goalkeeping protegee to step up I guess... 

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1 minute ago, Dong21 said:

@Jogo Bonito @warlock Thanks both, although just had some news which has soured my mood!

Henderson.thumb.png.d90a2de19c0f2c4edad1c7019960abbd.png

Opportunity for my 20 year old Egyptian goalkeeping protegee to step up I guess... 

Ouch. Specialist time? Hopefully your new keeper can do a pharaoh job in his absence...

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Posted (edited)

Colchester: Season 1, 1st half

As promised, Christmas has come and gone.

Results in October pretty much sucked. Yes, we didn't lose too many, but there were a lot of games we should have won that ended up as draws. The problem was always the same - we took the lead, then putzed about, then conceded a late equaliser and couldn't find a winner. Even against Grimsby where we had a two-goal lead after 11 minutes we were lucky to see out the win. No matter how much hairdryer was applied at halftime or fulltime, the pattern repeated. So I tried a change of tactic, switching to a 442, which worked against Swindon but failed dismally against lower-league opposition in the FA Cup at Bromley. So with a Chuckagame Trophy match against Southampton U23s - a game I really wanted to lose - I ventured a 4231, a formation I've never had any success with in any version of FM. And, sadly, it worked. But more excitingly, it kept on working, racking up 6 consecutive league wins and getting us to the R3 of the FA Cup. Yes, it eventually failed against L1 opponents Coventry in the first knockout round of the Checkatrade, but who cares?

Perhaps even better than the results, the 4231 delivered better performances all round - star striker Luke Norris started hitting the goals and is now on target to beat 20 for the season. Smodics - one of our better players who had been played badly out of position as a Mez in the 433 - scored and created like never before. And we started scoring more than one goal a game. If my wide attackers could hit a barn door we'd have won a bunch of games by three or four goals.

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Going into December we were looking good, and a home draw against a mediocre Macclesfield side was more than compensated by away wins at Carlisle and MK Dons.

So ahead of our last fixture of the year against Morecambe, we sit in first place with a four-point cushion.

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I said last time that I wanted a better rotation striker, and to end the loans of Eisa and Roberts out wide. The form table backs up my verdict: all three are poor. Mandron has an average rating of just 6.57 (and a solitary goal) after 12 appearances; Roberts is averaging 6.84 after 23 appearances, and Eisa not much better with 6.88 in 15. In their last five starts they are the three worst-performing players in the squad. In better news, we have maintained our record as the second-best goalscorers in the division, and improved our defensive record from second to first.

So, going into the New Year I'm happy with where we stand, and I'm optimistic that we can strengthen in January and push on for an even better second half to the season.

Edited by warlock

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@Dong21: Your form in the last two months, especially, has been extremely strong. To go 15 games unbeaten is some achievement! You're really knocking on the door of the top six and who knows, keep this up and you could force your way in. Nice to see you've also progressed from your Europa League group. AC Milan will be a tough test, but there's no reason you can't beat them, especially with this recent form. Some nice work in the market, too. A real focus on young talent is a good strategy, either shoehorning them into the first-team over time to become a star player, or using them to sell on for a profit in the future. Keep up the good work! Although Henderson's injury will be a real blow. 

@warlock: The best managers always have a plan B! :D Glad to see the change in tactic has brought about wins after a slight dip in form. Luke Norris seems to be your talisman at the moment, bagging quite a few goals. It's always nice to see your strikers coming up with the goals, as there is nothing worse than a striker in need of a goal, in the midst of a drought. A four point gap at the top is pleasing, although that eleven point gap between yourself and fourth place is even better. Wouldn't be surprised to see you hold out - no pressure. ;) 

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19 minutes ago, DefinitelyTaylor said:

Luke Norris seems to be your talisman at the moment

Yup! In the 10 games before the tactical switch he had 1 goal. In the 10 games since he has 7. But I really need some cover for him - Mandron and Nouble have been poor, even in the new tactic, and as a result Norris has started 15 of the last 20. If he gets injured we'll be in the proverbial.

29 minutes ago, DefinitelyTaylor said:

Wouldn't be surprised to see you hold out - no pressure. ;)

Perhaps I'm lucky, but I just don't seem to feel pressure, he lied :lol:

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The wally with the brolly...

FA Cup R3 saw us drawn against Championship side QPR and manager Steve McLaren was mouthing off to the press about what an easy game it was for them. You can imagine my delight when we held them to a 1-1 draw. For the replay at Loftus Road he was at it again. Then this...

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The injury to Smodics is a blow - he'll be out for 6-8 weeks. On the upside, we have a visit to Leicester in the next round - hoping for a decent payday from that one!

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