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FM19: The English Football League thread

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47 minutes ago, Jamesbfc1887 said:

an interesting project for sure, I just can't bring myself to manage them

We all have our little foibles :D. In the 20-odd years I've been playing CM/FM, I've never once managed Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea or Arsenal (or Leeds, come to that). Some things just can't be countenanced :stop:

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1716616751_Swanseafixturesandresults.thumb.jpg.4c6afa42c47047877168884c1a3331b9.jpg

Season 1

A promising start in August, with only one defeat (two late goals at Birmingham) and a fairly solid defence

September also went well, with only one league defeat again (and a Carabao Cup loss to Leicester)

That league form took my team to unexpected heights, and earned me the Manager of the Month award for September

Unfortunately the famous curse came in to play, and a woeful October saw my side plummet towards mid-table

Last time out I did scrape a nervous 1-0 win at home to Reading though, so perhaps this might turn the tide

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Here is the very topsy-turvy performance graph

8th place is satisfactory to me though, and if I stay around that zone I'll be content with my achievement

There's been nothing to write home about on the player stats, although Celina has made a good case for being in the preferred starting X1

The lack of goals isn't a surprise, and there is a clear lack of 'threat' in virtually every game

I expected the defence to be the strong part of my team, and it's proving to be the case

Meanwhile, the approaches to sign Bowen from Hull continue - and continue to fail as his agent hates me...

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Just started up a save with Sunderland, going to look to take them back to the top! Definitely aiming for automatic promotion in the first season. 

Looks like I'm going to be needing to make some staffing changes with the Assistant Manager, HOYD and Chief Scouts all looking quite poor. Got a few good youth prospects including Bali Mumba who I'm hoping I'll be able to keep hold of.

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2 hours ago, Jogo Bonito said:

a nervous 1-0 win at home to Reading though, so perhaps this might turn the tide

Fingers crossed! A pretty mixed bag of results, and a sickener against Blackburn to score 3 and come away with just a draw. Seems like you're still looking for the right balance between attack and defence. I'm sure you'll figure it out :thup:

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1 hour ago, torquayfmer said:

Just started up a save with Sunderland, going to look to take them back to the top!

Welcome to the party! I thought Sunderland would be a top choice this season, but hasn't worked out that way. Hope you can turn them around.

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Cracking read as always @Jogo Bonito

Real shame you couldn't get Bowen in before the window closed. I know you've probably done plenty of scouting, but just thought I'd throw in one name for the future for that midfield of yours. Matt Smith. On loan at Twente in season 1 from Man City, but is normally attainable after that and not on a high wage either. Can tackle and pick a pass.

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25 minutes ago, warlock said:

Fingers crossed! A pretty mixed bag of results, and a sickener against Blackburn to score 3 and come away with just a draw. Seems like you're still looking for the right balance between attack and defence. I'm sure you'll figure it out :thup:

Cheers, I was lucky to get a point with my equaliser! Time will tell, a consistent tactic hasn't really been nailed down yet.

16 minutes ago, smplfc123 said:

Cracking read as always @Jogo Bonito

Real shame you couldn't get Bowen in before the window closed. I know you've probably done plenty of scouting, but just thought I'd throw in one name for the future for that midfield of yours. Matt Smith. On loan at Twente in season 1 from Man City, but is normally attainable after that and not on a high wage either. Can tackle and pick a pass.

Cheers, appreciated. Yes good shout on Smith. He is already on my shortlist for when his loan ends as I also thought he's an ideal type of signing if it can be done.

@torquayfmer Welcome and good luck with Sunderland.

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Posted (edited)

Just catching up on this thread - two really interesting updates @Jogo Bonito, as always. I enjoy reading managers’ transfer strategies. Unlucky missing out on Bowen (sorry to bring up what I’m sure is a sore subject!) but things seem to be going well and I’m intrigued to see if you pick him up or another in January. 

Edited by Dong21

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Unfortunately the lack of funds really made it a struggle and with a lot of players wanting out, it just wasn't enjoyable and decided to finish my Forest save. Still, a short term success as I met the boards' initial expectations when I took over at Christmas.

Thankfully I've been able to go straight in to a new EFL save, which had probably already help me decide enough was enough at Forest as I was keen to get this new save going.

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With only £250k to spend and £1.95k in wages it doesn't look like I'll be bringing any players in permanently during the first pre-season at Sunderland. 

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This is the first eleven (injuries dependant) I'll be going with. 

Any recommendations on any loan signings to bring in? I'm thinking about looking for a bit of pace up front as we've got Grigg and Wyke as the two main forwards and neither are overly quick. 

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Posted (edited)

Charlton Athletic - Season 7 - Part 1

After spending a lot of time contemplating starting a new save and a fresh challenge, I eventually decided I couldn't yet walk away from The Valley. I am still getting a lot of enjoyment from this save and want to see how far I can take the young players that I brought in. I took the England manager job during the summer which is proving to be an interesting side project, however it is time consuming and means it is taking me even longer to get through a season!

Staff Improvements

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Due to the club's growth in stature the board granted my requests to increase the size of our coaching and scouting departments. I also decided to conduct a full review of my current staff and make changes where better replacements were available. This resulted in a busy period of comings and goings, which should hopefully prove beneficial in the coming seasons.

Transfers

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Last season I signed a lot of high potential players at relatively bargain prices, most of whom went on to play important roles in our season. This summer, therefore, I had to offer many of them new contracts on improved terms to better reflect their value to the team and to fend off interest from other Premier League sides who were circling. This took up a large chunk of my wage budget and, due to FFP rules, I was unable to move transfer budget across to the wage budget. This meant I had a lot less flexibility in the transfer market and resulted in one of the quietest windows I have ever had as a manager. As a result we made a net profit and the transfer window closed with us having £70m in the transfer budget unspent. Hopefully I get an opportunity to spend it in the future.

I decided to focus my limited resources on the centre-back position as although Jemerson and Phil Jones had formed a good partnership and played well last season, they are both 32 and at risk of starting to decline. Understudies Bielik and Antov were also not quite good enough so I decided to cash in on them. My coup of the window was signing Victor Lindelof on loan from Bayern Munich. He was transfer listed for £38m however I was delighted when they accepted my loan offer in which I am covering 0% of his wages and only paying a loan fee of £200k per month. I also signed  Dortmund defender Boubacar Kamara for a bargain price of £4.1m. At only 24 years of age he is one for the future. Lindelof and Jemerson have quickly established themselves as my first choice partnership.

I considered signing some wingers as I let Al Ghazi go after receiving what I thought was a fair offer from Burnley and released Pacheco as age had caught up with his physical attributes. In the end however I decided to go without in the hope of giving some of my youth team some competitive minutes on the pitch. You will notice I have loaned out a lot less players than in previous seasons as I would like to try and play some of the players and also I have not been seeing great returns in terms of development from the loan spells the players have been having. The signings of Frantisek Silhavy, Christian McDonald and Adie Higginson (CM, DM and CB respectively) are all players aged between 18 and 21 who seem to have potential. 

The final notable signing is that of central attacking midfielder Samuele Mulattieri on a free transfer from Inter Milan. My scouts rate him as one of the top five players at the club, however unfortunately for Mulattieri the player who is rated my best player, Christian Frydek, plays in the same position as him. I could not resist signing him though and he adds great strength in depth to the team, which will be especially useful as we once again compete in Europe. 

Promising Start

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Pre-season went without a hitch as we racked up seven straight morale-boosting victories. We were without Diogo and Guacui as they were at the Olympics with Brazil, although this was not a problem as it presented opportunities for some of the reserves to integrate with the squad. We then began the season in a fine manner, beating Man Utd to lift the Community Shield. The stats suggested we were the better side although it was fortuitous that Pogba missed an early penalty for United.

We did lose to Arsenal on the opening day of the Premier League season and I worried that this may start a run of bad form to start the season, as we had tough fixtures ahead. This was not the case though and we delivered a great performance to beat Chelsea 2-0 at The Valley.

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Our form since that Arsenal defeat was terrific as we went fourteen games undefeated in all competitions. That run included a dominant victory over Arsenal in the Carabao Cup and a 100% record against our Europa League group stage opponents. I have been particularly pleased how high scoring many of our games have been. Our most recent result, which saw us exit the Cup, was quite frustrating as we were the better side and only conceded after Spurs pounced on a rare mistimed back pass from one of my defenders. Our performance was not particularly poor though so I remain confident we can get back to good form.

League Standings

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So at the end of October things are looking good, however there is a long way to go so I am not getting carried away with thoughts of the Champions League football just yet!  Diogo, who missed out on a pre-season with the squad, has only got 5 goals so far and I am hoping he can contribute more in the months to come. Tasdelen and Frydek have been my key performers in the early stages of the season. Just after the transfer window closed AC Milan came in with an offer to loan Frydek, with the loan becoming permanent for a fee of £40m after he had played 5 games for them. I rejected him as he is worth much more to us and also I do not wish to lose him, however their interest remains so it will be interesting to see what happens in January.

Edited by Dong21

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25 minutes ago, Dong21 said:

things are looking good

I'd say so, especially in Europe. A couple of frustrating draws in the league, but only one league defeat looks impressive.

Top 3 for Christmas? :D

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So I've decided my next challenge will be with QPR. A club with struggling finances and no clear direction.

I'll be trying a completely new tactic for a new challenge and something I've never really had any success with. Fitting in QPR's best players into a successful system will be a tough ask.

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4 hours ago, warlock said:

Top 3 for Christmas? :D

*Cautious*

"We can't get ahead of ourselves; we'll take it a match at a time and build on each positive result as and when it arrives" :lol:

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Nottingham Forest: Season 1, September

So, I know I said it would be back to Sheffield United but, as much as that save appealed, I realised that I'd been talking about a Forest save for more than a year and never got around to it. So, I decided the time was right...

The squad

Normally at this point we'd be talking about all the great players I'd signed to make up for all of the holes in the squad. Forest present a rather different problem - the squad is ridiculously large, with a number of loan signings who aren't much (if at all) better than players already at the club, and we were paying a huge amount of money for them. In central defence we had five CBs on the books and had loaned in Molla Wague for an extra £10k a week - perhaps justifiable if we were going to play three at the back, but we don't have the wingbacks to play that setup. Wague was sent home. Speaking of wingbacks, we have two decent-ish RBs, including loan signing Saidy Janko, but had also loaned in Sam Byram from West Ham, for whom we were paying around £30k a week in wages plus loan fees making him the most expensive player in the squad. And he starts with a long-term injury. Bye Sam!

In midfield, we have more than enough bodies to cover either a 442 or 433, but had loaned in Pele from Monaco for £33k a week. Good player but a luxury we can't afford. Terminated! For reasons known only to the idiots on my board, we were also paying £35k a week for the services of Jack Colback. Er... no thanks! On the right-wing, we have Joe Lolley and Matty Cash, two good players, but have also loaned Diogo Concalves from Sporting Lisbon. Unfortunately, his loan can't be terminated; fortunately, he's only costing us £4k a week; unfortunately he's the worst of the trio, so we just have to live with it.

Up front, we are also paying a fortune for the loan services of Leo Bonatini from Wolves. Leo has good days and bad days, but not enough of the good ones to justify paying Wolves £26.5k a week. Sadly, since I'm resolved to play a classic 442 with Forest, I need him as a fourth striker and can't find anyone better. Reluctantly, I allow him to stay. The only alternative was to put my faith in an ageing Daryl Murphy, and having managed him at Ipswich last year I had very little faith. When US clubs started showing an interest, it was easy to let him go to DC United for £100k. Also leaving was Liam Bridcutt, a decent player but good for only a DM role, which I had no intention of using; he went to West Brom for £2.6m. Also aboard the outbound train was 32-year-old Jamie Ward, who joined Orlando City for £400k. All told, we raised more than £3m in transfer fees, and freed up more than £150k a week in wages.

Did we actually sign anyone? In fact, we did. On first joining, the squad has no LB, with only Colback providing makeshift cover. Languishing in the u23 squad was 24-year-old Jack Robinson, who looked to me more than capable of doing a job. No sooner had I brought him back to the senior squad than Middlesboro and Swansea showed transfer interest, which was duly rebuffed. But that still left us short of cover. There was talk on the (virtual) street of a hot young Spanish LB at Real Madrid who was available for loan. Enquiries were made and quickly Sergio Reguilon was lured to the exotic realm of Nottingham (@Jogo Bonito: cheers, buddy!!)

Early form

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Pre-season presented the usual lack of obstacles and nothing is to be read into the results. Except, perhaps, the fact that in 7 games we scored 33 goals and conceded only 3. Whatever...

Happily, we carried that form into our first competitive game, beating Sheffield Wednesday away. Less happily, we followed that with a pretty dismal home draw against a poor Ipswich side who did just enough to prevent us finding the net for the first time since I took charge. By the beginning of September, we are unbeaten in the league and with just a single defeat - in R2 of the Carbao - to blemish our record.

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So, third place - got to be happy with that.

Board expectations are top-half finish; media prediction is 8th; my own expectation is a playoff place but, inevitably, hoping for better. The only downside so far (apart from the early Carabao Cup exit) is the form of Lewis Grabban up front - despite tipped as a candidate for the league's top scorer, he's found the net only once, and that from the penalty spot. Well, that and the performances of CB Yohan Benalouane, who thinks he's god's gift to football but in fact has the worst record of all our backline. Two players who need to buck up their ideas!

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@warlock Good work with the clear out! I’m sure your finances look much healthier now. All the best with your quest to reach the playoffs :thup:

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Posted (edited)

@warlock Great start, your defence is looking really strong, hopefully that continues for you.

I've been really frustrated in my quest to find a new save, QPR was a real struggle, I tried to play a 4321/ Christmas tree formation than a narrow 442 diamond and a 4231 narrow. Basically anything I could do to avoid using wingers, in an attempt to find a new style but unfortunately Crossing Simulator 2019 will not allow that, we really struggled until I swapped to a 4231 wide and won 2 games on the bounce- scoring 8 goals in two games.

But playing with wingers is exactly what I've tried to avoid doing, I know it works but I can't seem to find anything else that works. :seagull:

Edited by Jamesbfc1887

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So it seems four day Bank Holiday weekends are the perfect time to finally make progress on an FM career...

Charlton Athletic - Season 7 - Part 2

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November was a frustrating month at Charlton Athletic. Defeats against Man City and league leaders Liverpool were expected and therefore not the source of frustration, instead it was draws against Real Sociedad, Brighton and Basel that drew my irritation as in all three games we had superior possession and shots on target. The blame for our inability to convert chances can be shared across our team, but I have been particularly disappointed in Diogo who has not replicated his goal-scoring form of last season. 

We seemed to be returning to our early season form at the start of December, with a hard fought victory at the New White Hart Lane being a particular highlight. Our away victory against APOEL was one of my favourite games of the season - this was not because we won 4-0, but because I gave full debuts to academy graduates Jones and Miller and they both made it onto the scoresheet.  That result completed our Europa League group stage phase and meant that we topped the group. We take on Feyenoored in the First Knockout Round, who will be without forward Iuhas as he is on loan from my club.

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A narrow 3-2 loss at Old Trafford commenced our worst run of form of the season, as we lost four games in a row (see I was right not to get carried away @warlock! :lol:). Man Utd and Arsenal are tough opponents and we never ever beat our rivals Palace, but I was still upset with this run that saw us tumble out of European qualifying places. We headed to West Ham hoping to turn things around, but found ourselves in a tough match where we were seemingly the worse team. I switched things up in the second half, changing to a 4-4-2 and pumping the ball in the box and we were able to snatch a late equaliser. I hoped this could be the catalyst for a change in fortunes.

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A resurgence in form has been seen in January, I am relieved to say. Admittedly some of the results were morale boosting trips to lower league opposition, but you can only beat what is put in front of you. These games were good opportunities to play fringe players, so this helped appease many players who were looking for more playing opportunities.

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Our performances in the league have improved recently and I hope I can carry that into the final months of the season. Our current position is no disaster, but I was aiming for better.

Out

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Besides a number of loans, the notable outgoings in January were the sale of unused squad players such as Abraham and Schurrle. Both had played useful roles in the past but were now deemed surplus to requirements.

In

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The January player sales, combined with my frugality in the summer, meant we were now in a position to enter the market in January if the right opportunity arose. In my last post I mentioned how I had decided on not making signings on the wings in order to give youth prospects the opportunity to play. This had been working fine but I decided that if we wanted to push on this season, we needed to add some quality. I have found over my seven seasons at Charlton that the success of my 4-2-3-1 formation is dependent on the quality of the inside forwards / wingers. First I brought in Shoya Nakajima who I found transfer listed for £37m. When I realised I could sign him on loan for no fee and only 30% of his wages, it was a no brainer. Secondly, on deadline day United's Tahith Chong came available and I moved to make him the club's record signing. Chong has great all round attributes and at only 25 still has room to improve. Chong came on loan to us in January 2022 and scored three goals in seven games. I wanted to keep him then but United had flat out refused - now I have finally got my man.

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@Dong21 @smplfc123 @Jamesbfc1887 Cheers, all. Enjoying it so far.

2 hours ago, Jamesbfc1887 said:

I tried to play a 4321/ Christmas tree formation than a narrow 442 diamond and a 4231 narrow. Basically anything I could do to avoid using wingers

When I did my early save with Sheff United, I had some good success switching between a 4132 for tougher games, and a 4312 for easier opponents just by moving the DLP from DM to the middle of the midfield three, and a CM up to AMC. I've always felt that a flat 3 in the middle gives you better coverage across the field than the narrow diamond. But it's hard breaking out of your comfort zone and figuring new setups from scratch. I love wingers, so most of my success comes from tactics that employ them. Also think QPR is a really tough challenge this year - they're currently in 23rd spot in my save, with six defeats in their first 8 games.

 

24 minutes ago, Dong21 said:

Tahith Chong came available and I moved to make him the club's record signing

I'll be interested to see how he performs. In my slow United save I'm barely up to September in season 2 and just started introducing him (and Angel Gomes) for cup games. Cause for optimism from those January results - more like that should see you back in contention for Europe.

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, warlock said:

But it's hard breaking out of your comfort zone and figuring new setups from scratch. I love wingers, so most of my success comes from tactics that employ them

Yeah, it's so difficult to have the 'discipline' -so to speak, to not use wingers when I know good results are right there if I wanted them, it feels like I'm intentionally losing :idiot:.

Edited by Jamesbfc1887

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2 minutes ago, Dong21 said:

Here's how he looks in 2025

Looks pretty good! Does he have an end product to go with that pace and dribbling?

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Just reading and catching up with posts from the last few days. Good luck to everyone starting new saves, @smplfc123 with whoever you have decided to go with, @Jamesbfc1887 with QPR and @warlock with Forest. Nice to see a fresh face in @torquayfmer, best of luck with Sunderland.

Some good work elsewhere from @Dong21 and @Jogo Bonito, keep it up lads. :D 

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Posted (edited)

Sunderland Update

Pre-season went well with two losses, the first of which I really wasn't phased by against Legia as the team had only just started pre season training and they were't match fit. 

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As I said previously, we've barely had any funds available so our only real option was loan signings if we weren't looking to sell. The only player who had any interest in them was Brian Oviedo, but I was happy for him to stay and rejected a bid of £2.6m from Nottigham Forest.

We made two season long loan signings. First to join was MIchael Obafemi who joined from Southampton. I was looking for someone with pace upfront to make a difference late on in games if needed and he fits the bill.

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The second loan signing was Josh Pask, a CB from West Ham as a back up option. He's quick and although not the best, he will be adequate cover for the season.

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I've had messages through regarding a £1m clause for Jordan Pickford that is about to be activated after his next appearance and Patrick Van Aanholt for £500k after another five appearances, so that will help the funds a bit and we may be able to look at making a signing come January if needed.

 

Edited by torquayfmer

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2 minutes ago, Jamesbfc1887 said:

I see you beat the mighty Darlo in pre-season. @warlock will not be pleased :p

They always beat Darlington, even when I'm managing the Quakers :D. Although they did well to hold the Mackems to a single goal - I usually conceded 3 or 4! Darlington's affiliate status with Sunderland never contributed much for me (although that annual pre-season friendly was a bit of a financial boost); of the youngsters available for loan, the best went to the likes of Gateshead or Hartlepool and most of the rest would decline my offers. 

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One thing I forgot to mention in my last Forest update... when I took over I was somewhat surprised to find Roy Keane as my AssMan. As a Man Utd fan, I love Roy but he's only an OK coach and pretty rubbish in the role: attributes of 9 for man management, JCA and JPA, with 11 for tactical knowledge and 9 for tactical coaching. I rely on my AM for taking care of training and tactical briefings, so usually Roy would have been first out of the door. Unfortunately, he's on £10k a week for 104 weeks :eek:.

Several months into the save, I'm not convinced that Roy is setting the best training schedules, but I'm absolutely convinced that his pre-match briefings suck. Every time - perhaps to no-one's surprise - it's 'kick seven bells' out of the AI's best player, usually accompanied by 'put your boot in his groin' for their next-best player. I think I'm paraphrasing here :lol:

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I decided to start a new game with Sunderland using the latest database from the January transfer window. I had them 1st/2nd consistently throughout the season but, like in real life, far too many draws and I ended up getting sacked with a month of the season to go with us in 2nd! I got offered the Charlton job with them in 19th place, I got the offer of taking over immediatly or the end of the season, I started immediatly and picked up 7 points from the remaining 4 games to finish 16th. New season I was given 0 transfer funds due to financial problems and ended up getting promoted to the Championship as champions. This was despite a mid season blip where I lost 5 games in a row and was given an ultimatum to pick up 10 points from 5 games. I managed to pick up all 15 points and only lost another 2 games for the rest of the season.

New season is almost upon us and Ive got 220k to spend, god help me :lol:

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3 minutes ago, Mackem742 said:

I ended up getting sacked with a month of the season to go with us in 2nd!

Harsh! I'm guessing they demanded nothing less than the title?

Good luck with Charlton in the Championship :thup:

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Nottingham Forest: Season 1, February

Things have moved on considerably since my last (first!) update, and there have been many changes at the City Ground.

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An unbeaten run in September saw us securely in the promotion slots, although the string of draws at the end of the month did not bode well. Sure enough, we started October with a dismal defeat at home to Stoke, looked to have settled with back-to-back wins, and then a spell  of inconsistency before seeing out November with a horrible run of results. The explanation of that lies in happenings off the field.

It started with the most bizarre toys-pram incident when Benalouane missed out on selection at the first international break. He promptly appeared in the media accusing me of ending his international career, despite the fact that he'd played every single one of our 7 competitive games at that point :idiot:. (He went on to play 3 internationals after that!) As a team leader, he sent morale plummeting. Next up was RB Tendayi Darikwa who 'demanded' more starts; he'd started more than half our games and missed a few through injury. Usually I can talk my way around these issues but Darikwa immediately put in a transfer request. Defensive midfielder Claudio Yacob was next in line - in four starts he'd averaged 6.2 (and was never better than 6.5) and consistently turned in the worst training performance. Another transfer request. And the production line of whine kept running... LB Jack Robinson (who I'd promoted from the u23s) was followed by CB Milosevic, then CM Guedioura, then CF Ansarifard. Two dressing room rebellions (thankfully resolved) meant that throughout this period our squad morale and team cohesion was in the tank.

I managed to get Darikwa back on side, but by the beginning of December I'd had enough and all of the troublemakers were transfer-listed and offered out. I was, naturally, worried about such wholesale changes in the January window but I called a team meeting, told the squad we had the quality to turn things around, was met with cheers and an instant morale uplift. Our form picked up immediately.

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After the loss to Swansea (:p) we are unbeaten in the league with 6 wins and 2 draws. And we finished january by beating PL Leicester in the FA Cup.

Transfer business

First out the door was the abysmal Yacob, to a Brazilian outfit for £1.5m. The board weren't happy but since we signed him on a free that's good business in my book. LB Robinson went to Swansea for £2.5m, Milosevic to Middlesbrough for £2.9m. Still at the club but leaving imminently are Guedioura (£1.1m) and Michael Dawson (£38k), both to MLS sides. Dawson was never in the troublesome group but at 35 years old, his time was up. So around £6m raised... except that I only get 50% in my transfer budget, so some bargain hunting was required.

I decided to use the window not just to bring in reinforcements but also to reshape the squad for a 433dm. Not for the first time in my FM saves this year, I've found a second striker to be a luxury that often doesn't pay. Moving that player to the DM spot often produces a significant improvement in defence at the cost of only a slight loss of firepower up front. We made the switch early in January and I believe it has already paid off.

Without a need for four strikers, I was able to cancel the loan of Bonatini, freeing up another chunk of wage budget. I was hoping to be rid of Ansarifard by this point, so brought back Zach Clough from his loan; unfortunately, no-one will touch the Iranian so he's still around to annoy me. First new signing was Francisco Trincao for £1.7m, not really a necessary signing but with big clubs starting to take notice I wanted to get him while I could. I needed a rotation option at DM, so Portuguese youngster Duarte Valente was signed for £1.8m, a decent cover option but I'm sure he'll be a star in the future. With Robinson gone at LB, I needed another body there, but there wasn't much available. Old favourite Jake Vokins joined on loan from Southampton - at this point he's still young and undeveloped but I think he'll do a job for us.

Finally, with an extra man in midfield with the new tactic, and with Guedioura about to depart, we needed reinforcements at CM. Daniel Johnson (who had impressed me during my brief spell at Preston) was my big-money signing for £4m. He has excellent passing and vision, and good attributes across the board. To back him up, Newcastle's Sean Longstaff joins on loan. £10k a week in wages is more than I wanted to pay, but my scouts and coaches rate him as a solid option.

Even with all that, I still have £3.5m in the transfer pot, and I'm £48k a week under the wage budget. Which is just as well, because we're just about to run into the red and with a loss of around £2m a month, will probably end the season £10m in the hole. Hoping for a big FA Cup payday in the next round!

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Following our horrible run of form pre-December we had fallen as far as 7th, but the current unbeaten run has lifted us back to 4th. Up front, Soudani has provided most of the goals, although he's hit a recent dry spell. Thankfully, that has coincided with Grabban at last finding some form so he's netted a few recently. Top creator, and best overall rating, belongs to Carvalho with 6 assists and 5 goals of his own. 

Looking ahead, I'm confident in the squad and cautiously optimistic about winning promotion one way or the other. Which will be a necessity, I think - I don't want to go into another Championship season with finances as they are.

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@warlock Looks like a good base to build form there, really hitting form now and always great to see Jake Vokins in a save (for the millionth time :p).

Started a save as Rotherham after binning my QPR save, I just couldn't get a narrow formation to stick. But although Barnsley aren't exactly rivals with Rotherham, it still feels a little bit wrong. I'm now looking for an efl team to try a 5 at the back formation with, the obvious choice is of course Sheff Utd but that is definitely not happening. 

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1 minute ago, Jamesbfc1887 said:

I'm now looking for an efl team to try a 5 at the back formation with, the obvious choice is of course Sheff Utd but that is definitely not happening.

I'm trying to think of other teams that are either ready to play with 3 CBs or are close to it, but as you say Sheff Utd is the obvious one; the other that comes immediately to mind is Sheff Weds. Bristol City and Derby are two other possibles. Of course, Forest is another candidate - loads of CBs, but you'd need to recruit a couple of WBs to along with them - only Darikwa is a natural in the role.

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Sunderland August Update

image.thumb.png.e6b21868a300e7053c1f692d443ed444.png

We made a good start at home to Charlton, dominated early on and got a deserved goal and held on well. Unfortunately, it is probably the only performance of the month that I was happy with, although the final results have been OK. The Scunthorpe result was really disappointing, we collapsed at the end of the game and they scored two goals 85+m to win the game after we'd been in the lead. Will Grigg got us out of a mess two games in a row, the first after he'd been dropped after not really performing. 

September's fixtures are, I believe, all winnable games and I'll be disappointed if we drop any points.

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I had my eye on one more player, another loanee, from our affiliated club (Man Utd). I wanted him earlier but they weren't willing to let him go at the time. 

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I'm looking forward to seeing how he performs for us, he's definitely got the ability.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, warlock said:

Derby are two other possibles. O

Yep that's the one I'll go with- Longshots FC or maybe 'Greedy but quite good wingers (inside forwards really) that always shoot from 30 yards rather than pass to each other FC' as I like to call them :D.

Edited by Jamesbfc1887

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WotwcUNh.png?1

Think automatic promotion is beyond us now; even the playoffs are not guaranteed as we sit 7pts above 7th place. A poor run through February and into March cost us dearly - strikers couldn't buy a goal! Happily Soudani has found his shooting boots and has four goals in his last two games. If he can keep that up, we're in with a shout.

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8 hours ago, Jamesbfc1887 said:

@warlock Looks like a good base to build form there, really hitting form now and always great to see Jake Vokins in a save (for the millionth time :p).

Started a save as Rotherham after binning my QPR save, I just couldn't get a narrow formation to stick. But although Barnsley aren't exactly rivals with Rotherham, it still feels a little bit wrong. I'm now looking for an efl team to try a 5 at the back formation with, the obvious choice is of course Sheff Utd but that is definitely not happening. 

How far down to you want to go?

FGR generally play five at the back and have the squad to do so. Two excellent wing backs in Mills and Shephard, plus a whole glut of central defensive options.

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18 hours ago, warlock said:

Top creator, and best overall rating, belongs to Carvalho with 6 assists and 5 goals of his own. 

Great update as always @warlock hope you seal a play-off spot. Out of interest, where are you playing Carvalho and in what role?

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18 minutes ago, smplfc123 said:

Out of interest, where are you playing Carvalho and in what role?

When I started out with the 442, he played on the left-wing as an WP on attack, rotating with Ben Osborn in the same role. Both were excellent.

When I moved to the 433, Carvalho plays AP on support in the AML position. Osborn is less comfortable there so Trincao rotates in as a Winger on support. Lolley looks like he should be good there but struggled to perform; he and Cash rotate the AMR position as IF on attack.

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Anyone had anything like this happen in game?

 

I mean why is the agent fee so ridiculous or is this just an unfortunate bug?

Mark Hewitt_  Inbox.png

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@warlock Ah fair one mate. Reading your updates are warming me to the idea of giving Forest a proper crack instead of just taking over half way through to save their season.

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45 minutes ago, Chewy2006 said:

 

Anyone had anything like this happen in game?

 

I mean why is the agent fee so ridiculous or is this just an unfortunate bug?

Mark Hewitt_  Inbox.png

:eek: £12m for a player currently on £375 a week....seems bugworthy to me.

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Posted (edited)

Nottingham Forest: Season 1, The End

I believe there's an ancient Greek proverb along the lines of, those whom the gods would destroy, they first send on an unbeaten run in January.

February was brutal, especially coming after such a good run in the previous  two months
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The home draw against Villa was actually pretty good as the visitors were running away with the title. After that, it was all downhill (bar the win against L1 Portsmouth in the FA Cup). March was a month of inconsistency with defeats following wins. Throughout this period our strikers were abysmal - neither Soudani nor Grabban could find the net. With the crushing defeat against Chelsea in the cup I expected the team to collapse. Instead, we went on another miraculous run and suddenly Soudani couldn't stop scoring. In our last four games of the season, wins against Rotherham and - stunningly - against second-placed Swansea meant we were within touching distance of automatic promotion. And then the players froze :seagull:. We ended the season with two spineless defeats and the prospect of the playoffs.

We were given the worst possible draw in the playoffs, derby games against... um, Derby, with the first leg away. In the two league games against them we had suffered a narrow defeat at theirs, and a narrow victory at ours. So I wasn't optimistic but I was hopeful. Which lasted precisely 8 minutes into the first game when Marriott bagged his first for the Rams. Lampard's team tore us apart and at halftime we were 2-0 down, having had just 28% possession. The hairdryer was duly administered and we started the second half brighter, pulling it back to 2-1, which only served to annoy Marriott and co, who ran out 4-1 winners. Back to ours and with it all to do, our dying hopes lasted less than 2 minutes when Benalouane attempted a simple clearance and scuffed it into his own goal. Game over.

So, close but no cigar.

And as I noted in the last update, our finances were looking dodgy and I expected a budget clampdown if we failed to win promotion. But since I had a few million left in the transfer budget and was comfortably under the wage limit, I thought there might be a bit of wiggle room. Wrong!! The board just informed me that next season's transfer budget will be £99k. Worse, wage allowance has been slashed to £325k a week, meaning we're already £33k a week over budget. And revenue from transfers is now down to 20%, so I can't sell to buy.

I'm essentially where @smplfc123 was in his brief spell. And it doesn't look like fun. It's been an interesting challenge but I'm off again in search of greener pastures.

Edited by warlock

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Unlucky in the playoffs @warlock - going to be tough to grow the club with the budget cuts but doable.

In my save I finished 15th in the Championshipin my 4th overall season, in my current season I've lost 5 of the last 6 to drop from 5th to 10th with 2 games to go :ackter:

On the bright side I've got a great crop of youngsters coming through, well attacking ones. 4/5 of them have been getting regular game time. I can't decide on a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 or a hybrid of the two at the moment and it's frustrating me. I've got a great AMC coming through so want to play 4-2-3-1 ideally.

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Unlucky @warlock . 

I'm still undecided on my next venture as i'm actually in the unusual position of having a few that i'm interested in.

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4 hours ago, smp20 said:

Unlucky in the playoffs @warlock

 

38 minutes ago, smplfc123 said:

Unlucky @warlock

Given our inconsistency throughout the season, the disappointment was always on the cards. And if the board had been even semi-reasonable - an untouched wage budget, or even 50% of transfer fees available - I think I'd have stuck it out.

Anyway, onwards and upwards (hopefully!). Just starting that save with Sheff Utd I talked about. See if I can't get my head around a back-three system.

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13 hours ago, CityAndColour said:

How far down to you want to go?

FGR generally play five at the back and have the squad to do so. Two excellent wing backs in Mills and Shephard, plus a whole glut of central defensive options.

Thanks for the suggestion, I'll give them a go.

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Sunderland Update

So in my last update I said I'd be disappointed with any dropped points in September, as I felt every game was winnable....

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...and I got what I wanted with five wins in the league and one in the Checkatrade Trophy, meaning we are currently on a seven game winning streak.

I made some changes to our starting eleven and changed to a 4-2-3-1 formation. 

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Obafemi has pushed Will Grigg out the starting line up and has scored four in his last five games. Lewis Morgan on the left wing has also really upped his game, which has made recent loan signing Angel Gomes having to try to make an impact from the bench. 

I've also got a couple of players leaving in the next transfer window. I wasn't involving them in the match day squad and when they asked for games, I couldn't tell them they'd get them. 

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I thought I'd probably be able to get more money for O'Nien and thinking about it now I should probably have held out for more, but he was expecting the offer to be accepted and I felt it was right to let him go.

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The other player leaving in January is Chris Maguire. Again, he hadn't played and I didn't like him as a player. He'll more on and it'll boost the transfer budget for January.

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I've got a little bit more money to spend now, and although defensively we've been quite good, I'm looking for a centre back in the next window. I'd also like a new striker to compete up top. Any suggestions?

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Just starting a Bolton Wanderers save, I must be mad 

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