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warlock

FM19: The English Football League thread

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Wasn't sure I was getting FM this year, but the lure was too great and my copy arrives this afternoon :)

As a long time Villa fan there is only one choice for me......make Villa great again.

Guessing it won't be as easy as I think, but should be fun (for fun read infuriating). Will post regular updates.

Edited by Spike

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8 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

Sure it’s not that bad! What kind of setup are you using? Still in the hunt for playoffs?

It's pretty bad. At the end of January and after the win against Derby, and a 3-0 victory away at Sunderland in the FA Cup, we've racked up two draws and a loss. With the exception of a goal against Sunderland, Assombalonga hasn't scored since early December, and Braithwaite hasn't scored since October. We're creating chances but just can't put them away. Next up is a visit to Chelsea in the FA Cup - a worrying prospect.

But having slept on it, I have found some resolve and will try and turn things around. Hopefully, before I get sacked!

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26 minutes ago, Spike said:

As a long time Villa fan there is only one choice for me

Welcome, Spike. Villa are doing really well in my save, and if not for Brentford's relentless form would be topping the division. I'm sure you'll have a good time.

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2 hours ago, warlock said:

It's pretty bad. At the end of January and after the win against Derby, and a 3-0 victory away at Sunderland in the FA Cup, we've racked up two draws and a loss. With the exception of a goal against Sunderland, Assombalonga hasn't scored since early December, and Braithwaite hasn't scored since October. We're creating chances but just can't put them away. Next up is a visit to Chelsea in the FA Cup - a worrying prospect.

But having slept on it, I have found some resolve and will try and turn things around. Hopefully, before I get sacked!

Hang in there, to succeed after some struggles will make it so much more satisfying. There's more to life (and FM management) than the Premier League, and you shouldn't be put off if it takes an extra year to put your own stamp on the squad and get that success.

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4 hours ago, warlock said:

Welcome, Spike. Villa are doing really well in my save, and if not for Brentford's relentless form would be topping the division. I'm sure you'll have a good time.

Interestingly Brentford won the championship in my game too first season. I think they seem OP in this game. 

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2 hours ago, Jogo Bonito said:

Hang in there, to succeed after some struggles will make it so much more satisfying. There's more to life (and FM management) than the Premier League, and you shouldn't be put off if it takes an extra year to put your own stamp on the squad and get that success.

Completely agree! 

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w570yQw.png?1

That's our form in 2019 :eek:. After the FA Cup tie at Chelsea where we held our own for 75 minutes before Pedro pounced on a loose ball to give them the win, I was optimistic. With the same tactic, and pretty much an unchanged team, we went to West Brom and were completely embarrassed. Against Leeds, Braithwaite's goal put us level with two minutes to play; Leeds waltzed through my defence and regained the lead in the 90th minute.

After the Leeds match I was summoned to a board meeting to explain our ineptitude, and they accepted my argument that Leeds were just too good for us. That was never going to wash after another dismal outing at Sheffield, and the second board meeting in a week left me in no doubt that my continued employment is on the line. I haven't been given a points target but I need to turn things around fast.

Unfortunately, morale in the dressing room is abysmal. My previously solid defence has crumbled - Shotton and Friend have simply stopped playing, Ayala and Flint are making catastrophic errors match after match. Up front, Assombalonga and Gestede still haven't scored this year, and a slight upturn in form from Braithwaite hasn't compensated for the loss of goals from Downing and the centre midfield. I've tried slight changes to make us more defensive, and more radical changes but to no effect. I know in previous versions, grinding out a couple of draws could halt the slide, but I haven't been able to manage that yet.

We're currently in 9th, six points off the playoff places and the board expectation, so even if I survive this crisis I'm not confident I'll be managing here next year. Let's see what happens...

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1 hour ago, warlock said:

w570yQw.png?1

That's our form in 2019 :eek:

Not the best, I have to say :(. Fingers crossed you can sort it out!

 

Just want to share how much I'm enjoying following your careers, I find myself checking the thread a lot during the day to see if there's been any activity. Keep up the good work all and I'm hoping to join in the discussion soon!

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On ‎13‎/‎11‎/‎2018 at 06:08, karanhsingh said:

@sedge11 - congratulations on the promotion! Hopefully I will soon follow you with my Pompey side :) I like the mix of experience & youth in your signings.

Thanks, I'm excited for the challenge of the prem, took me a little longer to get there than I wanted, but I feel that we are more than prepared for the challenge now.

Good to see you doing well with Pompey, see if you can get back to back promotions.

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2 hours ago, warlock said:

w570yQw.png?1

That's our form in 2019 :eek:. After the FA Cup tie at Chelsea where we held our own for 75 minutes before Pedro pounced on a loose ball to give them the win, I was optimistic. With the same tactic, and pretty much an unchanged team, we went to West Brom and were completely embarrassed. Against Leeds, Braithwaite's goal put us level with two minutes to play; Leeds waltzed through my defence and regained the lead in the 90th minute.

After the Leeds match I was summoned to a board meeting to explain our ineptitude, and they accepted my argument that Leeds were just too good for us. That was never going to wash after another dismal outing at Sheffield, and the second board meeting in a week left me in no doubt that my continued employment is on the line. I haven't been given a points target but I need to turn things around fast.

Unfortunately, morale in the dressing room is abysmal. My previously solid defence has crumbled - Shotton and Friend have simply stopped playing, Ayala and Flint are making catastrophic errors match after match. Up front, Assombalonga and Gestede still haven't scored this year, and a slight upturn in form from Braithwaite hasn't compensated for the loss of goals from Downing and the centre midfield. I've tried slight changes to make us more defensive, and more radical changes but to no effect. I know in previous versions, grinding out a couple of draws could halt the slide, but I haven't been able to manage that yet.

We're currently in 9th, six points off the playoff places and the board expectation, so even if I survive this crisis I'm not confident I'll be managing here next year. Let's see what happens...

All it will take is 1 lucky win, or a win due to a late winner and that form will turn around.

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So the start of the 5th season and back in the big time of the prem.

We only added one more player of Kenneth Omeruo on loan. 

The fixtures have been fairly kind to us, but we have had an incredible start.

879170102_startofprem.thumb.png.fe47fcf257791f73ce6b452ef5ec8b2c.png

Considering I was looking for another keeper, but couldn't find any decent keepers I could sign, MacGillivray has a good start with 4 clean sheets in 7 games. Geubbels has been incredible, plus Lowe who has been with me the whole journey has been great too.

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So having been unable to play any FM18 or FM19 over the last few months due to work commitments, I’m excited that I finally have time to get started this weekend!

I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s updates in the meantime and it’s been great to see so many new contributors to the EFL thread, along with the usual familiar faces! As ever I am amazed how quickly people can get through their seasons.

I have been pondering which club to start with, seeking a long-term save akin to my Fulham save on FM18 and my Hull save on FM17. After much deliberation I have settled upon...

D3BD7257-6084-4F2B-8F6E-093CD8906CF6.thumb.jpeg.492d4ad3fa6e3644497a5e0399885d6f.jpeg

As a former Premier League club, Charlton are somewhat of a fallen giant. The club has a great stadium, and for its level a decent reputation. The challenge lies in the expectations of promotion which appears not to factor in the limited depth of the squad and the long-term injuries to a number of key players, including the club’s best player Forster-Caskey who is injured for 12-13 months. I also have the uncertainty of the ownership situation to consider - hopefully Roland is replaced soon.

I shall, as always, keep you updated how I get on.

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14 minutes ago, sedge11 said:

So the start of the 5th season and back in the big time of the prem.

Yup, that's a decent start :thup:

20 minutes ago, sedge11 said:

All it will take is 1 lucky win

Well, one decent draw seems to have done the trick:

56TtaQ2h.png?1

I don't understand this game sometimes! Same players, pretty much the same tactic, completely different performances. For Blackburn I set us up to not lose, and it worked. With QPR coming to ours, I upped the mentality from 'cautious' to 'balanced' but otherwise made no changes - during the course of the game I switched to shorter passing to up our possession a bit. For the away trip to Wigan (fresh off the back of their Carabao Cup win against Southampton in the final) I decided to keep things the same and was rewarded again. And ditto for the visit of leaders Brentford, who have gone off the boil a little, but were too strong for us to hold a narrow lead.

Highlight, apart from the results, is the performance of Assombalonga - back-to-back scoring games for the first time this season, and is now into double figures. I just hope he can keep it up.

But I think it's too llttle, too late. With ten games to go, we're in 8th position, but 9 points outside the playoff places. We'll have to put together an incredible run and still hope that two of the teams above us fall apart.

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@Dong21 Welcome back. I'm sure you'll be able to work your usual magic on the Addicks - owner permitting, of course. In my save they're neck-and-neck with Sunderland in 3rd/4th place, as Barnsley run away with the division and Portsmouth chasing. Lyle Taylor has been banging them in with 29 goals so far!!

Looking forward to following your progress.

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@warlock I'm really pleased you found your form again. If you can't bridge that gap, at least you should be well set up for the second season, assuming the board keep the faith!

@Dong21 Good to see you back in London, best of luck with The Addicks. Apart from the injuries and Roland Rat (early departure is quite likely I think) it's a great base to work from, but it's quite a tough ask to get promoted with all those unavailable players. With Lyle Taylor, a solid bunch of defenders and some good youngsters, you've still got some good assets and hopefully you can get them going again. 

I'll do another update at Grimsby soon, I'm in February of season 1 now.

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7 hours ago, sedge11 said:

So the start of the 5th season and back in the big time of the prem.

We only added one more player of Kenneth Omeruo on loan. 

The fixtures have been fairly kind to us, but we have had an incredible start.

Considering I was looking for another keeper, but couldn't find any decent keepers I could sign, MacGillivray has a good start with 4 clean sheets in 7 games. Geubbels has been incredible, plus Lowe who has been with me the whole journey has been great too.

Good job so far! How come you only made one signing? Must have been given a healthy transfer budget I am sure?

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7 hours ago, Dong21 said:

So having been unable to play any FM18 or FM19 over the last few months due to work commitments, I’m excited that I finally have time to get started this weekend!

I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s updates in the meantime and it’s been great to see so many new contributors to the EFL thread, along with the usual familiar faces! As ever I am amazed how quickly people can get through their seasons.

I have been pondering which club to start with, seeking a long-term save akin to my Fulham save on FM18 and my Hull save on FM17. After much deliberation I have settled upon...

s a former Premier League club, Charlton are somewhat of a fallen giant. The club has a great stadium, and for its level a decent reputation. The challenge lies in the expectations of promotion which appears not to factor in the limited depth of the squad and the long-term injuries to a number of key players, including the club’s best player Forster-Caskey who is injured for 12-13 months. I also have the uncertainty of the ownership situation to consider - hopefully Roland is replaced soon.

I shall, as always, keep you updated how I get on.

Best of luck with the Addicks! There is a striker there Karlan Grant I think who I had scouted and he looked excellent for league one level. 

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6 hours ago, warlock said:

Yup, that's a decent start :thup:

Well, one decent draw seems to have done the trick:

56TtaQ2h.png?1

I don't understand this game sometimes! Same players, pretty much the same tactic, completely different performances. For Blackburn I set us up to not lose, and it worked. With QPR coming to ours, I upped the mentality from 'cautious' to 'balanced' but otherwise made no changes - during the course of the game I switched to shorter passing to up our possession a bit. For the away trip to Wigan (fresh off the back of their Carabao Cup win against Southampton in the final) I decided to keep things the same and was rewarded again. And ditto for the visit of leaders Brentford, who have gone off the boil a little, but were too strong for us to hold a narrow lead.

Highlight, apart from the results, is the performance of Assombalonga - back-to-back scoring games for the first time this season, and is now into double figures. I just hope he can keep it up.

But I think it's too llttle, too late. With ten games to go, we're in 8th position, but 9 points outside the playoff places. We'll have to put together an incredible run and still hope that two of the teams above us fall apart.

Some good results there! Did you buy Dennis Man as well? How is Xadas getting along? 

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A quick match report for you'll... 

1489821679_arsenalcup.thumb.jpg.88f55d73e3ce5ae79e669f196b452cf1.jpg

For a moment there, we could dream. We thought we could do it. 0-3 down after the first leg, we took a quickfire 2-0 lead  within 14 min at home against the mighty Arsenal, playing a close to full strength side. They were truly on the rack. But then they score from a counter attack. Still we pushed on. We hit the post. We had a shot cleared on the line. We kept banging on the door. Unfortunately, Arsenal scored  through a defensive error in the second half to make it 2-2. Still we pushed on, hoping to at least get the win. We created chance after chance and absolutely dominated the rest of the game.

After the game, I was proud of the team. More than anything, it showed that we will be able to hold our own next year if as expected we get promoted.

We are still top of the league, with a 10 point gap and 14 games to go. Jason Cummings is now up to 28 goals, I am so happy I managed to negotiate a buy-out clause in his loan deals. Interestingly 3 of our best performing loan players are actually from other Championship clubs as opposed to Prem - Cummings, Kamara and Dozzell. I think I will definitely be looking to activate permanent transfers for Cummings & Dozzell in the summer.

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1 hour ago, karanhsingh said:

Good job so far! How come you only made one signing? Must have been given a healthy transfer budget I am sure?

Oh I meant 1 more signing on top of the ones already made, from the previous post that I have put below.

On ‎12‎/‎11‎/‎2018 at 22:48, sedge11 said:

601904981_season5transfers.thumb.png.f19fc1ee03694dfff153b314c0d2d749.png

Good to see you are still top, and looking very good with that 10 point gap. How many points ahead of 3rd?

Edited by sedge11

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3 minutes ago, sedge11 said:

Oh I meant 1 more signing on top of the ones already made, from the previous post that I have put below.

Good to see you are still top, and looking very good with that 10 point gap. How many points ahead of 3rd?

Ah okay got it. I don't have the game open right now but I think something like 18 points. However we would like to win the league! 

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Well, that didn't go well...

 

Tried for a while to get into a save with Norwich, but like every year I can't do it with my home team.

Instead I have gone back to my Beta save with Bristol Rovers. Just finished season two so will do a post tomorrow as a kind of catch up

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Aston Villa Season 1 - Pre Season Update

Started my game last night and was a little disappointed that there is zero transfer budget and barely any wage budget available. That has kind of hampered my transfer activity, with only Oleksandr Zinchenko (Man C) coming in on loan so far. At least he can cover multiple positions, including backing up (or maybe starting in place of) Neil Taylor.

I was hoping I could offload Richards, Bunn & Lansbury to free up some wage space and bring in a bit of transfer cash. Haven't had any offers yet for Richards or Bunn, while Lansbury has gone out on loan to free up £20k in wages. Also had an offer of £1m+ for Jedinak and although I had intended to keep him, I thought it was a decent offer for a player on the decline and in the last year of his contract (also frees up £50k in wage budget). 

I am still only in July so hoping a few more players can yet be offloaded to help with FFP. I have already decided I probably won't renew any of the contracts up at the end of the season, freeing up around £200k in wages. I have promoted Jacob Bedeau and Jake Doyle-Hayes to provide cover and also gain some first team experience as they both have high potential. Andre Green would also have seen plenty of first team action had he not been out on loan.

I have had slightly more success overhauling my backroom staff, with all training now being covered by 3*/4* training staff. Most of my scouts have been released as we had far too many, and have been replaced by a handful of much better scouts.

I have played the first 5 preseason games with 4 comortable wins and 1 draw, albeit against poor opposition.

One thing I can't make sense of though. We are playing really well, on average creating 25-30 chances compared to a couple for the opposition and yet the player ratings are only averaging out at around 6.7 unless they have scored or assisted. Seems a bit odd.

Edited by Spike

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3 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

Did you buy Dennis Man as well? How is Xadas getting along? 

Dennis came in on loan in January. Took him a while to settle in but he's playing really well now. Xadas is a top prospect and gives us the creativity we were missing in midfield. He's combined really well with Braithwaite and Assombalonga ahead of him. Unfortunately he's missed a few games through injury: out for two weeks immediately after signing, and now out again for another two weeks. Hope that's not an indicator!

Looks like you're going very well. Cummings is on my radar - I really need some pace up front. He's currently not setting the world alight on loan at Peterborough, but looks great for you.

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33 minutes ago, Spike said:

We are playing really well, on average creating 25-30 chances compared to a couple for the opposition and yet the player ratings are only averaging out at around 6.7

The ratings thing was a notable change in FM18. Without goals or assists, most players will build their rating slowly through the match, improving as they do something good (interception, key pass) and diminishing for mistakes (giving the ball away, shots off target). Other aspects include the fact that if you score four or five goals, everyone in the team gets a big ratings boost, even if they've played badly. But goalkeepers seem to get better ratings this year, while defensive midfielders rarely do unless they score, assist or rack up large numbers of key passes.

Second - and this is very much a personal opinion - I don't read much into getting a lot of shots. It's easy to create a tactic that will generate 30 or 40 or more shots on goal, but that doesn't make it an effective tactic (especially in the current match engine). And, as you've noticed, a lot of missed shots will hit the players' rating through wasted chances. I usually aim for 10 to 15 shots on goal, between 4 and 7 shots on target, resulting in two or three goals. A lot of FM managers view a high number of shots as a positive and an indicator that they're 'dominating' matches. I take the opposite view, that it's a definite indicator that my tactic isn't working. But the key metric, for me, is getting between 40% and 50% shots on target. (Bear in mind that, given the AI preference for packing the box in this match engine, having shots on target doesn't mean they're getting anywhere near the goal - a lot will be hoofed away, be blocked, or just bounce off defenders; hence the huge number of corners in this version.)

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2 hours ago, Catley20 said:

Tried for a while to get into a save with Norwich, but like every year I can't do it with my home team.

Seems a lot of managers struggle with their favourites, maybe because you have to forget what you know about players in real life and focus on how they are in the game. If I manage Man Utd I always have to put aside my feelings about Sanchez because in FM he's still pretty good. A lot of United fans loathe Fellaini but he's always done well for me in FM.

Anyway, hope you find success with Rovers!

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2 hours ago, warlock said:

Dennis came in on loan in January. Took him a while to settle in but he's playing really well now. Xadas is a top prospect and gives us the creativity we were missing in midfield. He's combined really well with Braithwaite and Assombalonga ahead of him. Unfortunately he's missed a few games through injury: out for two weeks immediately after signing, and now out again for another two weeks. Hope that's not an indicator!

Looks like you're going very well. Cummings is on my radar - I really need some pace up front. He's currently not setting the world alight on loan at Peterborough, but looks great for you.

Nice one that is two good prospects you have, along with Fry Tavernier etc. 

Cummings has been fantastic. He got 20+ for Posh in the first season and fortunately I snapped him up, been using him as a Pressing Forward on attack. 

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1 hour ago, warlock said:

Seems a lot of managers struggle with their favourites, maybe because you have to forget what you know about players in real life and focus on how they are in the game. If I manage Man Utd I always have to put aside my feelings about Sanchez because in FM he's still pretty good. A lot of United fans loathe Fellaini but he's always done well for me in FM.

 Anyway, hope you find success with Rovers!

United are still seriously over-powered in FM. Not just Sanchez but also the likes of Pogba and Lukaku!

EDIT - and I am a United fan too IRL. However I cannot remember the last time I managed them on FM

Edited by karanhsingh

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Hi, just wondering if anyone has managed Sunderland, started the game with transfer activity disabled, approaching January and ive noticed I have £27 million to spend, is this normal? not complaining. 

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2 hours ago, warlock said:

The ratings thing was a notable change in FM18. Without goals or assists, most players will build their rating slowly through the match, improving as they do something good (interception, key pass) and diminishing for mistakes (giving the ball away, shots off target). Other aspects include the fact that if you score four or five goals, everyone in the team gets a big ratings boost, even if they've played badly. But goalkeepers seem to get better ratings this year, while defensive midfielders rarely do unless they score, assist or rack up large numbers of key passes.

Second - and this is very much a personal opinion - I don't read much into getting a lot of shots. It's easy to create a tactic that will generate 30 or 40 or more shots on goal, but that doesn't make it an effective tactic (especially in the current match engine). And, as you've noticed, a lot of missed shots will hit the players' rating through wasted chances. I usually aim for 10 to 15 shots on goal, between 4 and 7 shots on target, resulting in two or three goals. A lot of FM managers view a high number of shots as a positive and an indicator that they're 'dominating' matches. I take the opposite view, that it's a definite indicator that my tactic isn't working. But the key metric, for me, is getting between 40% and 50% shots on target. (Bear in mind that, given the AI preference for packing the box in this match engine, having shots on target doesn't mean they're getting anywhere near the goal - a lot will be hoofed away, be blocked, or just bounce off defenders; hence the huge number of corners in this version.)

To be fair I have only been giving players 45-60 minutes in the pre-season games so far, so that has probably contributed to the low player ratings.

Will be able to measure it better when the season starts properly and they are playing the full 90 minutes.

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12 minutes ago, Brads-Wigan said:

Hi, just wondering if anyone has managed Sunderland, started the game with transfer activity disabled, approaching January and ive noticed I have £27 million to spend, is this normal? not complaining. 

its a bug. I posted about it and one of the mods messaged back. It happens if you disable first window transfers, then the transfer budgets go for a toss all across, and they get closer to the bank balance of the club. Newcastle get 70 million etc.

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17 minutes ago, Brads-Wigan said:

Hi, just wondering if anyone has managed Sunderland

Check out @kozmik's posts starting here:

 

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6 minutes ago, Spike said:

Will be able to measure it better when the season starts properly

Yeah. I also think (in my experience) a lot of players don't really put the effort into pre-season matches. It can also be the case that breezing through pre-season is no indicator of a solid start to competitive games.

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1 minute ago, warlock said:

Yeah. I also think (in my experience) a lot of players don't really put the effort into pre-season matches. It can also be the case that breezing through pre-season is no indicator of a solid start to competitive games.

I did notice in the post match team talks that players were disinterested etc, which will definitely contribute to the low ratings.

As for breezing through pre-season, I am totally with you on that one. I fully expect the first few games of the season to be completely different to pre-season.

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22 minutes ago, karanhsingh said:

its a bug. I posted about it and one of the mods messaged back. It happens if you disable first window transfers, then the transfer budgets go for a toss all across, and they get closer to the bank balance of the club. Newcastle get 70 million etc.

thanks, thought it must have been, are they in the process of sorting it? I had a bug on the last version when i disabled the first transfer window.

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Middlesboro: Season 1 - Squeaky Bum Time

0BAetMdh.png?1

While we have continued our good form - barring a slip against Norwich - we still face a mammoth task with six games of the season remaining. A win against Preston at home, an excellent 2-1 victory at Villa, and another at Swansea have seen us close the gap to the playoff places. The visit of Norwich, between Villa and Swansea, should have allowed us that target but some sloppy defending gifted them a slim lead that we just couldn't overturn and they scuttled off back to the Fens with our precious three points.

There's been much change at the top - Stoke have risen remorselessly from mid-table, while Brentford and Villa have slipped badly.

At the Riverside, Assombalonga has continued his impressive form with 7 goals in 6 games; sadly, Braithwaite has fallen off again. The big problem is Shotton who will miss the remainder of the season with a broken foot. He hasn't been great but I have no real backup for Jenkinson - if I have to rotate the choice is between an 18-year-old who is miles away from the first team, or Paddy McNair :rolleyes:.

Our next two games should be winnable, away at Bolton and then a visit from Hull, both of whom are fighting against relegation. But the going gets tougher after that, with games against Stoke, Forest and Reading. Will we rise to the challenge, or crumble under the pressure? I honestly haven't a clue!

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3 hours ago, Brads-Wigan said:

thanks, thought it must have been, are they in the process of sorting it? I had a bug on the last version when i disabled the first transfer window.

They said they are aware of the issue so presumably fixing it but obviously it wouldn’t affect an ongoing save game. 

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Kz9OC5H.png

 

Ut74Fzf.png

 

I finish first season with Blackburn. We aren't promoted but I'm very satisfied with this result. 

Edited by SlobaFMB

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So in the penultimate pre-season match Bolasie goes down with cruciate ligament damage, out for 7-8 months.

As if that isn't bad enough I can't cancel his loan and he's costing over £200k per month in wages & loan fees :(

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Good to see everybody's updates. Portsmouth & Sunderland seem popular this year. The former were going to be my first L1 save, they have such a good squad this season.

@Spike That's a very costly injury for Bolasie indeed, bad luck with that. I'm amazed at how unbalanced your squad was despite the financial situation. Relying on just a couple of central defenders seemed crazy to me, but in FM you can hopefully address that.

@warlock Great job getting back in contention for a top-six spot. KUTGW, you can definitely get in there.

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So, winter arrived with my team performing well above the modest expectations I had when I took the job on

Until the transfer window opened, I'd muddled through with a squad of 22 men after ostracising a few of my unwanted veterans

I like a smaller squad, it gives opportunities to use HG youngsters and keeps everyone motivated that chances will come

But I wanted to make one or two adjustments to the squad, and did this quite astutely I think

Arriving on free transfers were central midfielder Liam Kinsella (Walsall) and winger Andy Dales (Scunthorpe)

Kinsella had been made available for no fee and was a perfect transfer target for me

A deal had already been agreed in December, and he joined up with the club on 1st January

Ex-Derby youngster Dales had joined The Iron after doing well in non-league, but hadn't made an impression

When I spotted he had been released, I felt he was a decent free addition until the summer, and he joined in mid-January

The only other signing was on loan, with Tottenham striker Rodel Richards (18) joining on 17th January

That brought the loan players up to six, but Ben Pringle had been injured for some months and I felt I could juggle this upon his return

The youngster is a bit of a prospect but I retain hopes of landing him for free in the summer if they don't renew his contract

That loan move was pushed through after I allowed JJ Hooper to join Billericay on loan as he wanted more first-team action

Also departing were Martyn Woolford (Kidderminster), John Welsh (Wycombe), Danny Collins (Bradford) and Luis Robles (Lleida)

I didn't get any fees for that quartet, but saved more than £5k p/w in wages for them, whilst Billericay also paid £1k of Hooper's £1.1k p/w wage

Ironically Hooper has been on fire for the Essex side, with seven goals in his first four matches for them!

I might have to check my recall option as Richards got a long-term injury after just a few games, time will tell on that

In the meantime, the squad was looking like this. Cosmopolitan group isn't it?

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So, by the turn of the year I was well-placed in the league, preparing for Round 3 of the FA Cup, and somehow still in the stupid Checkatrade Trophy 

But I hadn't won in four league games, and that became five when then-leaders Mansfield scored a late equaliser on New Years Day

A trip to Fratton Park in the FA Cup followed. They had a man sent off after six minutes and I felt this might be my day

Unfortunately despite taking the lead in the first half they fought back to force a replay at Blundell Park

Two comfortable league wins followed, but Portsmouth won the FA Cup replay to end this year's dream

I followed that disappointment up with another one, a humbling League 2 loss at Lincoln in the local derby

And then out of the blue, my team travelled to Shrewsbury and beat them 3-0 in the annoying Checkatrade Trophy

The next game was even better, as league leaders MK Dons came to town and were hammered 4-0 (even after the loss they were six points clear of 2nd) 

Newport were then seen off emphatically, and I struggled through another Checkatrade round by beating Bradford on penalties

The league form then fluctuated a bit with two defeats in the next three, but February ended with a win over Oldham in the Checkatrade

Somehow, in a competition I have no time for, I'm now in the Northern Area final

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And here is how things are looking generally

Finances are good due to the cups, the wage bill is down, and with 12 league games to go, I could finish anywhere between 2nd and mid-table

I think lots may rest on the continued good form of strike pair Wes Thomas and Kyle McFarlane, who have both excelled so far

The defence could be tighter, and that's clearly the area of the team that is weakest

But overall, I'm doing alright I think. Until next time, Up The Mariners...

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Edit: Apparently winning the Northern Area Semi Final of the Checkatrade Trophy gets you in to a Wembley final!

I found out when I looked to see who my Northern Area final opponents were, and thought Southend were a bit southern

Let's get those half and half football scarves under production then...

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Edited by Jogo Bonito

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1 hour ago, Jogo Bonito said:

winter arrived with my team performing well

Do I detect a lack of enthusiasm for the Checkatrade Trophy? :lol:

You're going fantastically well, I think. Looks very tight from 5th to 10th but you're definitely on course for a playoff place (and a major piece of silverware).

My season ended last night on a note of bitter disappointment... details up next!

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@Jogo Bonito Nice update, sounds like things are going well. Great to see that both of your strike partnership are producing the goals. Now to overcome the frustration of having to be involved in the Checkatrade Trophy, by winning it!

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@Dong21 @warlock

Thanks for that, it's been enjoyable so far. Disappointed not to get a chance to bow out of the Checkatrade Trophy yet, but as I seem to have been given a bye in the Northern Area final (surely that can't be right) I guess I should make an effort to win at Wembley. I'll still be using my second-string players (a couple of players are cup-tied too) that have got me there. Hopefully the cash from participation there and merchandise sales will be worthwhile, and should cover the fuel costs.

Warlock, sorry to hear you say that but look forward to the update!

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A quick question.

I haven't posted updates on the forums for a few years and previously used Photobucket for uploading screenshots.

I note that they are now charging to use their service. What other free alternatives are there?

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Middlesbrough: Season 1 - the end

When we last left my Jekyll and Hyde team, we were within touching distance of a playoff spot, and I predicted two easier games, followed by a tougher run to the finish. It will surprise no-one that we won the toughest games against Stoke and Reading, and lost the easier matches. Those results saw us going in to the final day of the season, miraculously, still in with a shout. If we could beat Rotherham - just safe from relegation and with little to play for - and other results went our way, we'd just creep in to sixth place.

Well, the other results did go our way, and three points would have put us into sixth on goal difference. Unfortunately, Rotherham hadn't read the script - they scored in the 7th minute, parked the biggest of buses and we couldn't get back into the game. Season over.

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This was my first save of any kind in FM19 and I picked Boro for what I hoped would be an easy introduction. It turned into a much wilder ride than I was expecting. But having found my feet, it's time for pastures new...

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2 minutes ago, Spike said:

What other free alternatives are there?

There seem to be plenty but imgur works for me - easy to use and there's a few editing tools so you can crop pix online.

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Just now, warlock said:

There seem to be plenty but imgur works for me - easy to use and there's a few editing tools so you can crop pix online.

Thanks

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Started a game with my beloved Sunderland in League 1 and what a monumental challenge this is going to be. 4 million transfer budget but next to no wage budget but ill be disappointed if I dont get promoted back to the Championship, we are the bookies favorites to be champions. Injuries at the start of the game are also horrendous with players like Charlie Wyke, Duncan Watmore and Jerome Sinclair starting the game injured.

Started off by looking to fill the squad out with decent players for this level, transfers are as follows:

Ins

Alex Crean GK - Free, young goalkeeper, was recommended in the scouting centre

Alexander Sorloth ST - Loan from Crystal Palace, Josh Maja got injured just before the season started and is out for a few weeks.

Marco Matias AMR - Loan from Sheff Wednesday, signed just to improve this area of the pitch as I only really have Watmore who is just coming back from injury

Jacob Butterfield MC - Signed for actual money from Derby for 250k, again just to flesh out the squad

Nathan Dyer AMR - Loan from Swansea, again just to flesh out the squad

Dennis Man AMR - Loan from Watford, as above, although now it appears Ive overloaded on AMR position!

Outs

None

Results so far

Friendly Club Brugge H - 2-1 Win

Friendly MK Dons A - 1-2 Loss

Friendly Tranmere A - 4-0 Win

Friendly Poole A - 2-0 Win

Friendly Northampton A - 4-2 Win

League 1 Charlton Athletic H - 2-1 Win. Chris Maguire proved to be the hero with a goal inside the first minute before Lynden Gooch got himself sent off for an elbow in the 32nd, Charlton equalised through Karlan Grant on 68 before Maquire popped up again in the 74th. I then went defensive and manged to hang on for the win.

League 1 Luton Town A - 1-0 Win. JacoB Butterfield smashed in his first goal for the club on 55 minutes in a fairly dour dull game.

Happy with 2 wins out of 2  going into a Carabao Cup game against Exeter.

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