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[FM17] The Long and Winding Road – Keymer and Hassocks/DCK Maidenbower

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DCK Maidenbower 2034/35 Season (League Two)

February-March

DCK saw an upturn in form, which helped them rise up the table. 4 points off the playoffs, it is not inconcievable that they could book their place and even see another promotion through the playoffs. However it would require help from several other clubs dropping points.

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Bury have won the league to nobody's surprise, spending pretty much the whole season way ahead of the rest of the pack. DCK will be hoping that they can emulate that next season.

DCK will be arranging a number of friendlies in between the Ebbsfleet and Accrington matches to retain fitness.

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DCK Maidenbower 2034/35 Season (League Two)

April-May

Having seen improved form return them to playoff contention, DCK were able to secure their playoff place in the final four matches of the regular season.

They playoff semi first leg was a disappointment, going down 0-1 at home to Gateshead. Sunday Anyamele helped turn things around though, scoring twice in the away leg to send DCK through to the final.

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DCK twice took the lead in the playoff final, only to be pegged back both times. The real heatbreak was yet to come though as Matt Williams completed his hat trick in the 90th minute to send Burton Albion into League One at DCK's expense.

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Season Summary

League

With manager Jamie Tabb initially only targeting survival, the board's expectation of a top half finish seemed unrealistic. Patchy form throughout the season including far too many draws saw them drop as low as 18th, but they rebounded to finish in the playoff places.

Although the playoffs didn't result in DCK being promoted, to have once again exceeded board expectations bodes well for next season, with DCK targeting automatic promotion which will require finishing in the top 3.

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Cups

In their first season in both the League Cup and Checkatrade Trophy, DCK were not expected to progress beynd the first stage. The League Cup went as expected, but DCK managed a run to the Checkatrade QF stage before being eliminated by West Ham u23s. The FA Cup also went about as expected, eliminated in the first round by Stockport County. This was the first season that DCK didn't win an FA Cup match, having won qualification rounds in previous years but entering this year at the first round.

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Top Performers

Without a standout striker averaging close to or more than a goal a game this season, the top performer was not a striker for the first time. Sunday Anyamele, who signed for free last summer, put in some excellent performances from the right wing, as did ball winning midfielder Ben Ellis. Shane Scott did however score the most goals for the club this season, with 17g 5a from 34 apps and more expected from him next year.

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DCK II

This season marks the end of the road for DCK II. Sadly the curse of the Mid Sussex Premier League bug means that DCK II, like Keymer and Hassocks, are stuck in Mid Sussex purgatory forevermore. After a season of leaving the league unloaded there may be one final attempt in the hope that reloading the league can reset the bug but in all likelihood the DoF aspect to this challenge comes to its end here. The efforts to achieve promtions in lockstep with DCK were greatly appreciated, with particular credit going to DCK II manager and Tabb favourite Rio 'Ferdy' Bryan-Edwards. He will likely be reassigned to a post managing the u23s or u18s in due course.

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This was the final table, with DCK II finishing just short of K&H in second place, and third place side getting the promotion.

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RIP DCK II.

Edited by sourgrapes11

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BREAKING NEWS

After 15 years of economic turmoil since Brexit, the citizens of the United Kingdom have voted to rejoin the European Union.

President of the European Commission Nigel Farage said that he was 'delighted to welcome the UK back to the fold after so long in the wilderness'. This came after, during the 'Bre-entry' referendum campaign, he controversially posed in front of a poster depicting a line of Brits waiting outside a chippy in the rain, with the slogan 'the EU is at breaking point'.

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Another surprise is the EU accepting Australia's application to join. Farage said 'We've let them compete in Eurovision for years, this really isn't any more barmy'.

Interesting times indeed.

 

 

 

 

 

 


I know it isn't realistic to be editing but ever since I downloaded FMRTE to add Crawley as local rivals for DCK it has been sitting on my desktop, softly calling to me like a siren from beyond the waves. My playing style, like many others, is heavily reliant on signing and developing teenagers and having ended up with a hard Brexit in this save file it would have been impossible to play the way I want to.

As for Australia I admit I was simply annoyed at having signed three promising Australian regens only to realise that not only would they not get work permits, but there was a high likelihood that they never would. Plus, Eurovision=EU is a very compelling case and I think it 100% for sure totally would definitely work IRL.

Now to delete FMRTE so I'm not tempted to do something crazy like adding Brazil to the EU in 5 seasons time...

Edited by sourgrapes11

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A Tribute to DCK's Departures

With DCK II being unloaded, for this season at least, it was difficult to justify renewing the contracts of the stars of the team. They were all on semi-pro contracts, mostly on less and often on far less than the current £160 p/w minimum required for new contracts now that DCK are in League Two. Manager Jamie Tabb attempted to offer a couple of them new contracts at or around the £160 mark but they all wanted at least double that. So, with a heavy heart, the players that helped K&H rise to the Mid Sussex Prem, and then helped DCK into the Football League are now free agents.

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For around 10 seasons, the most fearsome defence in Amateur and then Semi-pro football was

          RB                   CB                    CB                          LB

Warren Sutton - Mel Bell - Neville Wheeler - Scot Hopkinson

Other than RB Sutton, they had all had Driven, Resolute or similar personalities tutored into them and Tabb had been hoping that as well as helping DCK II as far as the Isthmian Leagues at least they could also act as tutor slaves once DCK reached the Championship/Prem and started investing in their youth system, which is currently non-existent.

Also released was long serving right winger Elliot Smith, who had played a crucial role (including scoring in the Playoffs) in helping DCK reach the Football League.

Between them they made a total of 1794 appearances under Tabb, roughly 360 each. Legends in the truest sense of the word, and it seems unjust to release them just when the teams in lower leagues have just been unloaded so there is nobody willing to pick them up. There is a strong risk that by the end of the season some of them may have retired and disappeared, despite only being in their mid to late 20s. If any of them go on to become staff then they will be immediately snapped up, as Robert Stenning was recently.

And finally, Paul Marchant retired this season. He hasn't ever really appeared or been discussed in the updates, because pretty much from the day he signed he has been irrelevant. He was however Jamie Tabb's first ever signing in the early days of K&H, and followed him to DCK for sentimental reasons. He never earned a penny for his efforts, staying on an amateur contract until the day he retired. Sadly he will not be joining the backroom as he has retired from football for good.

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DCK Maidenbower 2035/36 Season Preview - League Two

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Without the reliable old heads of DCK II to call upon in times of need, the squad will be stretched just a little bit more this season. However there is double the wage budget and 10x the transfer budget to play with this season, with £20k p/w and £600k respectively.

After pleading with the board the transfer revenue kept was increased from 25% to 40%, although not in time for Tabb to fully benefit from DCK's record sale, selling Jermaine Debayo to League One Stockport for £74k. The fee smashes the previous record of £13k set when Gareth Wiltshere moved to Charlton in 2032.

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DCK's board also agreed to expand the scouting range to cover all of Europe, albeit at a steep cost.

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If the board are unhappy with Tabb's transfer dealings then they have threatened to let him go, which would be scant reward after the incredible service he has given them.

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And also in a busy summer for the board, they took the payout for DCK's playoff finish in League Two and spent it all on a new training ground, something that Tabb had been pleading with them for since he joined.

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In terms of League expectations, the board want to see DCK finish in the playoffs again this season, although they are not demanding promotion. Cup wise the expectations are much the same as last season, albeit with a small run to the Checkatrade second round targeted.

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Transfer wise Tabb is happy with what he has brought in so far, although he may target another loan signing or two. The two Australians brought in from amateur side FFA COE are even more exceptional than scout Adam Berry initially suggested; striker McKenzie is already at League One level and midfielder John Grant is not far behind, despite both having only just turned 18. Loanee Joseph Amaefule from Burnley can cover both RB and RW. With a small squad, versatility is vital.

Serial loanees David Udoh and Romaine Lewis, despite being expected to become free agants this summer, extended their contracts with their parent clubs this summer and returned on loan for the coming season.

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Of the outgoings this season, the players to contribute to the first team last season were winger Will Allen-Williams, midfielder Debayo and loanees Connal O'Connor, Mitch Ashmore and Stephen Leather. 

This is the squad that will be targeting an automatic promotion place, minus any further arrivals before the end of the window.

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Edited by sourgrapes11

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DCK Maidenbower 2035/36 Season (League Two)

August-September

One match into October, and DCK are so far roughly where they had hoped to be though. The league has yet to fully have time to breathe though, and despite being in the automatic promotion places they are only 3 points above not even being in the playoffs.

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In terms of transfers DCK only signed AM Lee Stephens from Brighton on loan before the end of the window. However CM Paul Fisher suffered a broken foot just after the window closed, which will keep him out until Janurary. With the free transfer window still open, Tabb moved to sign back Mel Bell, who was released at the end of last season. He is not really of the quality required (he's only leading Conference N/S level), but he is a good person to have around the squad and can provide cover in several positions including CM.

Edited by sourgrapes11

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DCK Maidenbower 2035/36 Season (League Two)

October-November

DCK's injury problems have worsened significantly, with the midfield down to its bare bones. As well as Paul Fisher's broken foot, they lost Ben Ellis to a broken ankle, John Grant to a hernia, a sprained ankle kept Adrian Russell out for a month and Jason Hawkins suffered broken ribs. They also lost star goalkeeper Dave Woodward for 3 months with a dislocated shoulder, as well as consistently having to cope without Liam Waters and Kevin Graham due to youth international commitments. In these conditions, for DCK to still be in the playoff places one game into December, within reach of the automatic promotion spots, is nothing short of a miracle.

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DCK also set a new personal gate receipts record against Conference side Boston United in the FA Cup 1st round.

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Unfortunately the game didn't exactly go to plan.

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Over the course of December most of DCK's currently injured players will come back from injury, with the rest returning in January. Hopefully then they can put together slightly more consistency and challenge Exeter for that 3rd place spot.

Edited by sourgrapes11

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DCK Maidenbower 2035/36 Season (League Two)

December-January

Despite short spells in the top three, DCK continue to spend most of their time this season just outside, in the playoff places. Despite having reached a fairly advanced stage of the season, the difference in points between top three and not even qualifying for the playoffs remains extremely small, and a couple of poorly timed defeats could see DCK plummet down the table. Tabb was especially pleased with the 1-0 away win against League leaders Tranmere, secured with a late winner from defender Kevin Graham.

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The January transfer window was a traumatic one for Tabb. As well as saying goodbye to club loan stalwart Romaine Lewis, he had to fight of incessant bids for two of DCK's promising Australian contingent, John Grant and Daniel McKenzie. Despite McKenzie flattering to decieve so far this season, Tabb was horrified to see the board intervene and accept an initial £325k offer from Burnley, especially as the offer was accepted on the 27th of Jan, leaving little time to properly scout and sign a replacement. Thankfully after he went pleading to the board they saw sense and dismissed the offer.

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Both Grant and McKenzie ended the window unsettled, but they should settle down in a month or two when the vultures lose interest.

With regards to incomings, DCK signed Portuguese defender André Raposo from Everton to replace Lewis, as well as a raft of u18 players, most of whom recommended by the clubs scouts who seem to be enjoying their newfound ability to scout in Mainland Europe. One player though, 16 year striker Brenton O'Sullivan, was found by Tabb himself while idly browsing FFA COE, the amateur Australian side from whom the club had previously signed Grant and McKenzie. Unable to scout him, he was signed purely on the basis that at 16 he was ranked as the clubs key player. Upon signing it was clear that he, like the other u18 signings in the window, was not even close to contributing to the first team but on reasonable wages they were all deemed worth the gamble and will spend the rest of the season with the club's u23 side.

Meanwhile, Kevin Graham's transfer fee, initially estimated at £21k, continues to rise due to clauses and will eventually cost the club at least £48k. Even at that price though he looks like money well spent having put in some good, albeit not spectacular performances so far this season with significant room to grow.

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Edited by sourgrapes11

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DCK Maidenbower 2035/36 Season (League Two)

February-March

This was the period where DCK started to truly flex their promotion credentials. They moved into the top three in Feb, but things were still painfully tight at the top until the final game of March. DCK beat Ebbsfleet comfortably, while main rivals Blackburn and Plymouth both lost, to Exeter and Gateshead respectively. It opened up some breathing space and made DCK favourites to gain an automatic promotion spot after Tranmere, who have long since been uncatchable at the top and will win the League in the next game or two.

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DCK still have six games to manage before the end of the season, with the matches against Birmingham (oh how the mighty(ish) have fallen) and Oxford right at the end looking like the most difficult. They will be hoping that before the Oxford match at the very latest their promotion will be confirmed, but it could still go right to the wire.  

 

Edit: another crash has taken me back to preseason 2035. When will I ever learn about saving regularly?

p.s we finished second in the end.

I won't update the fresh attempt at the season this time round but will provide a season summary at the end.

Edited by sourgrapes11

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DCK Maidenbower 2035/36 Season Summary (League Two)

League

Having reached the playoff final last season, the board were expecting more of the same; namely a playoff spot but no expectation of winning the playoffs. Manager Jamie Tabb however had higher targets in mind - a top three finish that would secure promotion without having to go through the lottery of the playoffs.

The season started with too many draws, but around the start of October DCK clicked into top gear and were absolutely unstoppable until Feb, going 10 points clear at the top at one point.

Worryingly, March saw a complete collapse of form and they weren't able to get out of their slump for the rest of the season, picking up only 5 points from their last 27. It was relegation worthy form, and it was enough to squander the lead at the top and see Hartlepool pip them to the League Two title. 

Despite the disappointment of not winning the title, DCK finished second and thus met Tabb's pre-season target, and next season will scrapping for survival in League One.

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Cups

With limited expectations in the Cups, DCK performed about as expected in the FA and League Cups, losing in the first round of both. The Checkatrade Trophy was another matter however. Only expected to progress from the group stage to the second round, they exceeded all expectations and claimed a few scalps along the way as they reached the final. During the run they knocked out several notable u23 teams, including West Ham u23 who knocked them out last year, and Southampton's famed academy u23 side, as well as League One side Swindon. In the final, Liverpool u23s proved too strong, but to get so far in the first place while also leading an assault on the League is an impressive achievement.

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Top Performers

DCK rotated their two strikers, Shane Scott and Daniel McKenzie this season. Both of them responded positively to the competition, and put in fantastic seasons. McKenzie was the clubs top scorer with 27 and achieved the club's highest match rating, but in terms of goals plus assists Shane Scott hit better numbers with 34G+A. Tabb is hoping that their form can translate to League One next season. 

DCK's newfound ability to scout all of Europe was put to good use this season, with a scouting trip to Austria proving especially useful. Of the three players signed, RW Philip Stadlbauer was the pick of the bunch scoring 15 and assisting 12 in all comps.

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Transfers

Having had an earlier attempt at the season lost, but with screenshots that meant that Tabb was able to sign the players he signed last season right from the start of the season without needing to scout them, the scouts were able to focus on finding new players, with the usual emphasis on youth.

They uncovered a number of good quality young players, particularly in Austria and France. The french players still need tome time on loan before they are ready but the Austrians were squad options from the start.

In terms of outgoings there were significant sales with DCK's record sale being broken several times. Firstly LW Oliver Harris departed for £24.5k; 18 year old Andrew Banks was already a better option. Then, Championship club Chesterfield came in with £150k for Jason Hawkins; he was a good young shadow striker but he had never really adapted to the Advanced Playmaker role and was easily replaced by signing Liam Stephens on loan from Brighton.

At the end of the summer window Tabb was happy with his squad, although he knew that long serving loanee Romaine Lewis would be leaving the club in January. When January rolled around he signed Andre Raposo immediately, who seamlessly fitted in and soon after signed again on loan until the end of next season.

The big departure was still to come. After only six months at the club, Australian midfielder John Grant signed for QPR for £350k, rising to £850k. It was very much against manager Tabb's wishes, especially as it came at 21.30 on deadline day leaving no time to get in a replacement.

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Other Items of note

DCK's 3,000 capacity stadium will be infufficient for next season, so an expansion is underway. While the work is being carried out they will once again move to Crawley's Broadfield Stadium.

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The playoff final, Gateshead vs Wrexham,  was won by a solitary header from George Addo-Mumuni, meaning that Gateshead will be joining DCK and Hartlepool in League One next season.

Edited by sourgrapes11

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DCK Maidenbower 2036/37 Season Preview - League One

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DCK's promotion last season was in many ways welcome, but as the rise up the leagues continues the financial belt grows ever tighter. The maximum wage has hardly changed this season, which has made it incredibly difficult to sign players good enough to fulfil the board's unreasonable expectations of a playoff finish. Most of the squad retained from last season is around leading League Two / decent League One level, and the signings to fill out the squad are similar.

DCK's record sale was again broken, as Leeds activated Haris Halilovic's £1m release clause. Once again, Tabb was frustrated to see a talented young midfielder leave against his wishes, like with John Grant six months ago. With 75% of transfer revenue now retained the sale was a huge boost to the transfer budget, but with such a restrictive maximum wage it has proven almost impossible to spend.

In addition to their league expectations, the board have set more modest cup requirements.

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DCK also saw coach Terry McPhillips retire this summer. McPhillips, who initially worked with Tabb for 11 years at Keymer and Hassocks before being tempted away by pastures anew, rejoined Tabb's backroom team at DCK in the summer of 2032 and continued to be an invaluable member of staff until his retirement. All the staff at DCK wish him a happy retirement as the remaining life slowly seeps out of his feeble body and he eventually gasps his final breath, presumably on a golf course somewhere surrounded by other geriatrics.

 

Edited by sourgrapes11

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DCK Maidenbower 2036/37 Season (League One)

August-September

DCK were on fire for the first two months of the season, making the step up from League Two to League One seem easy. After 9 games, they sit just a point off the top of the table.

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With an extremely young squad, DCK will likely dominate the young player of the month awards, and so it was in September.

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In the transfer market, DCK struggled to sign replacements for both Haris Halilovic and John Grant, who departed at the end of the last January window. In the end though, Tabb was happy with his recruits. 35 year old Lee Robinson, signed from amateur side Harold Hill, offers an immediate injection of quality in the midfield, albeit at the cost of him being the best paid player in the club's history at £1.9k p/w. Meanwhile David Webb is an 18 year old recently released by Newcastle who has a lot of promise and should grow into a strong Championship level player if given time.

Star striker Daniel McKenzie was again retained but he continues to get more and more upset with each passing window. Tabb will attempt to retain him until the end of the season, and if DCK aren't promoted straight to the Championship then he will be allowed to leave.

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DCK also underwent a takeover in September, but the new chairman shows no willingness to pull out his checkbook any time soon.

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DCK Maidenbower 2036/37 Season (League One)

October-November

The dominance continued through October and November, with DCK now surely the favourites to win the League. It's still early days though and the memory of last season's collapse is still fresh in the minds of most of the squad, reminding them not to get too far ahead of themselves..

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The continued fine form won Tabb the manager of the month award for November.

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DCK's FA Cup second round tie sees them face Conference side Eastleigh, which barring any upsets should mean progression to the third round and possibly even being drawn against a Champions League club.

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Edited by sourgrapes11

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DCK Maidenbower 2036/37 Season (League One)

December-January

The DCK juggernaut rolls on. At the end of January, they sit 10 points clear.

After navigating their second round tie against Eastleigh, DCK were handed a trip to Carrow Road to face Premier League side Norwich. The 0-2 defeat was a creditable end to their cup run, although once again they are making an attempt at the Checkatrade Trophy. If they continue their League form, then this season could be their last chance to win it, but Jamie Tabb has said that he is still prioritising the League over the Cup. The semi final sees them face Chelsea u23 towards the end of February.

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DCK also took their final opportunity to sell several players for peanuts before they departed for free at the end of the season, namely Kevin Bloor, Leon Griffin and Ben Ellis. Midfielders Tony Ashmore and Jake Knowles also departed, to make room in the first team for Norwegian prospect Rino Andre Simensen who joined the club back in November.

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DCK Maidenbower 2036/37 Season (League One)

February-March

DCK faltered a little during this period, only managing 6 points from a possible 21 before a win against Luton appeared to restore their confidence and form. The lead at the top was at one point cut from 10 points to 2, but has now icreased slightly to 4 points, with a game in hand. 

With the game in hand, five points sabove the playoffs and only four games to go DCK's promotion looks very likely.

They also have a Checkatrade final against Liverpool u23 coming up, a repeat of last season's showdown. That time Liverpool triumphed 1-3, so DCK will be hoping that this is their year - indeed, if they do manage to secure promotion then it will be their final chance at winning cup silverware until they are formidable enough to compete for the FA Cup or League Cup.

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Edited by sourgrapes11

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DCK Maidenbower 2036/37 Season (League One)

April-May

With five games to go and a respectable lead at the top of the table, DCK only needed to keep their cool to win the title. They managed it on the penultimate game of the season, resoundingly beating Shrewsbury 4-0 away from home.

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In the Checkatrade final, DCK did much better against Liverpool u23 than last time, making it to the end of 90 minutes without conceding. Unfortunately, in the proceeding shootout, they managed to miss four consecutive penalties to hand Liverpool the Cup. Alas, the price of working with young players.

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Season Summary

League

Once again DCK have suprassed expectations, achieving an unlikely promotion in their first (and hopefully only) season in League One. As usual they suffered a bit of a blip towards the end of the season, but they turned it around and wound up as champions.

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League Playoffs

In the playoffs, Swindon were triumphant, beating Crewe over two legs and then Walsall 4-0 in the final to secure their promotion alongside DCK and Stockport.

 

Cups

A sense of extreme sense of deja vu saw DCK make it to the final of the Checkatrade Trophy, like last season. In the final, they faced Liverpool u23, like last season. And Liverpool u23 emerged victorious, like last season. Unless DCK are relegated next season, the first team will never get another opportunity to win the trophy. 

The other cups were considerably less successful, not managing a significant run in the League Cup. The team did reach the FA Cup third round, but the trip to Carrow Road to face Premier League side Norwich was a step too far for the young side.

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Top Performers

An excellent set of performances across the board this season. Shane Scott led the club's scoring charts with 26 goals from 34 appearances, while leading assister Philip Stadlbauer managed 16 assists from 43 apps.551949922_Screenshot2019-09-2219_03.31(2).thumb.png.4209d15a60dd9e3068858dac7ac92e3f.png

Of the loanees none will be retained for next season, meaning an end to David Udoh's absurd six year loan spell. There are doubts about whether other long serving players, namely Nicholas Ince and Adrian Russell, will be able to cut it in the Championship next season so Tabb is said to be willing to entertain sensible offers for the pair.

 

 

Other Points of Interest

DCK's stadium expansion was completed at a fortuitous time, just in time for the final game of the season. The stadium was almost packed, absolutely smashing the club's previous attendance record, as fans flocked to see the newly crowned champions play their first match at their newly expanded home.

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Kamil Wasielewski, who displaced Northern Ireland no.1 Dave Woodward this season, set a new club record for clean sheets this season.

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With more money expected to be coming in next season in the Championship, the board decided to invest in further upgrades to the training facilities, without taking on additional debt.

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However, the additional money has not translated into Tabb's working budget increasing any further than from 'abysmal' to simply 'poor'.

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Thankfully the young squad, albeit mostly only at League One levels at the present, should grow rapidly when exposed to Championship football. With a few additions and some smart loan signings there should be enough in the squad to achieve a respectable finish next season.

 

Edited by sourgrapes11

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DCK Maidenbower 2037/38 Season Preview - Championship

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DCK are now so close to the Premier League that they can taste it (for the record, it tastes like foreign oil and arrogance). However they have a tough and competitive Championship to navigate first, and the media don't rate their chances of repeating last season's title, giving them a 500-1 chance of winning the league and predicting a 17th place finish.

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Manager Jamie Tabb has declared that his primary ambition this season is to stay up and let his young squad grow and adapt to the League before truly seeing what they're capable of next season.

Speaking of the squad, so far new recruits have been difficult to find, with not a single permanent signing for the first team as of the first match of the season. Tabb hopes to do more business before the window closes, and the summer transfer window will be summarised in the August-September update, including a look at the squad for the season and their Assman ratings.

In terms of board expectations, the goal they have set is a little higher than the media prediction, hoping for a mid-table finish. The FA Cup goal seems a little unrealistic, as targeting the fourth round will either require a lucky third round draw that avoids Prem teams or a major upset against a far bigger and wealthier team. The League Cup expectations are more realistic, only asking DCK to overcome local club rivals Crawley, who are in League Two. 

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DCK Maidenbower 2037/38 Season (Championship)

August-September

DCK suprised everyone, even their manager, with their form over the first two months of the season. They kicked off with a 1-4 defeat away from home at Stoke, and it looked like DCK were fast going to get a reality check about the standards of the division. They quickly bounced back though, and won six of their next nine league matches, enough to give them an early playoff spot.

In the League Cup they exceeded expectations, beating Crawley and fellow Championship side Burnley to reach the third round where they fell to two late goals against Spurs.

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Transfer Window & Squad

The transfer window was extremely difficult, with manager Jamie Tabb unable to bring in a single permanent first team signing, although not for the want of trying. The intentions of replacing midfielders Adrian Russell and Nicholas Ince, who are both more cut out for League One level, had to be shelved with the club not able to afford the wage demands of their replacements. In the end, on the final day of the window, DCK were able to bring in Dutch CM Henk Hogenkamp on loan from Man Utd which allowed Tabb to OK the sale of Ince for £400k. The first player that Tabb ever spent an actual transfer fee for, signing from Dartford for £3.5k when DCK were still in the Conference, Ince was an excellent signing and his sale represents a more than 1000% profit.

The loan signing of CB Dwayne Anguin is simply for more depth in the event of injuries, while AM Enrique Ruiz will compete with Adrian Russell for the no.10 role. Gary Morrow, meanwhile, is a young forward/winger who is not expected to appear in the first team this season barring an injury crisis.

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And so this is the squad for the season, or at least until January. It seems that, roughly speaking, 2.5* is leading League One, 3* is decent Championship, 3.5* is good Chammionship. Even star player (and man who is very upset that he still hasn't been sold) Daniel McKenzie, well out ahead of the pack according to my Assman ratings at 4.5*, is still only leading Championship level.

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DCK Maidenbower 2037/38 Season (Championship)

October-November

The expected tailing off of DCK's fine start has yet to materialise, and they continue to be in and around the playoffs going into December. The young squad has recieved an extra boost as well to their development speed from playing Championship football. Most are now either decent or good Championship level, which bodes well for next season's big promotion push, assuming of course that DCK don't achieve promotion a season ahead of schedule.

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When promotion arrives however, be it this season, next season or later, there will need to be a huge revamp of the squad. Although their progression is coming along very nicely, the majority are predicted to top out around good/leading Championship level, and would not be good for much more than squad fodder in the Premier League.

With the need to revamp the squad, and lacking the funds to do much that will achieve immediate impact, Tabb directed a large portion of his scouting team to look for young players in Scandanavia over September/October/November, mindful of the fact that contracts there (other than Denmark) expire in winter rather than summer. The scouts were able to find four young players who fit the criteria in terms of affordable wages, probable Premier League level potential and expiring contracts. They will join in January, with the task on Tabb's hands now to find a way to integrate them and to give them minutes. With Rino Andre Simensen already shining this season, DCK's midfield will start to take on a very Scandanavian feel, and Tabb has promised to download Wallander and Borgen for long coach trips to make the new recruits feel more at ease.

After 18 months of sulking about not being granted a move, star player Daniel McKenzie finally calmed down and was willing to open talks over a fresh contract. WIth the previous record wage at the club being Lee Robinson's £1.9k p/w, the new deal puts him way ahead of the rest of the squad. His potential sale value a few years down the road however makes it a wise investment. 

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Shortly afterwards, DCK's other freescoring striker Shane Scott also agreed a new contract, making him the club's second highest paid player, albeit a very distant second.

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In other major news, DCK have listened to Tabb's pleas and Ok'd worldwide scouting, meaning that they can now jump aboard the ship sailing to the lands of tasty South American regens. Attempts to get a work permit affiliate continue to fall on deaf ears so from next season there may need to be a wider selection of nations loaded than simply England, in order to facilitate loans.

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The next update will be December-January, including the January transfer window.

Edited by sourgrapes11

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DCK Maidenbower 2037/38 Season (Championship)

December-January

Strong(ish) form sees DCK still in the playoffs at the end of January. A relatively easy set of cup fixtures saw them progress past the FA Cup third round for the first time. They will face, and probably lose to, Man City in the fifth round.

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Tabb also passed a major milestone in January.

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In the January window, DCK signed the four Scandanavians mentioned in the last update. Danish CM Henriksen was sent on loan for the rest of the season to League Two, while the other three will stay at the club and hopefully get some minutes. To aid this, Tabb sold LW Sam Prangley, to make room for Norwegian LW Hopen, while 37 year veteran CM Lee Robinson will complete a £100k move to Montreal Impact in Feburary.

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The major signing however was made late in the window. South African RW Ntuthuko Makhoere had been tracked by DCK for several months, and at the age of 18 is comfortably the club's best winger according to our Assman. With him in the team, the club stands a much better chance of making it two automatic promotions on the bounce.

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Edited by sourgrapes11

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DCK Maidenbower 2037/38 Season (Championship)

February-March

The incredible run of form had to end somewhere, and it stopped stone dead at the end of January. DCK spent the Feb-Mar period in what was essentially relegation form, collecting 8 points from 30. It saw them drop out of the playoff places, and they currently sit 10th. Eight points below the playoffs with six games to go, it seems certain now that next season will also be spent in the Championship.

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Additionally, to the suprise of nobody, Man City knocked them out of the FA Cup rather comfortably, ending their (non-existent) cup aspirations.

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DCK Maidenbower 2037/38 Season (Championship)

April-May

With the playoffs seemingly now out of reach, and DCK certain to finish in the top half, the team seemed to lose the pressure they had been playing under and restored themselves to form. They ended up finishing in a respectable 8th position, only two points off the playoff spots.

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Season Summary

League

With a pre-season media prediction of 17th, DCK's 8th place finish was very creditable, although it is a record low finish for manager Jamie Tabb, who in his 22 year career to date has never finished below 6th (League Two, 2034/35). The young squad benefited enormously from playing Championship football and hopefully will be ready and able to launch an assault on the playoffs or even automatic promotion spots next season.

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In the playoffs, QPR beat AFC Wimbledon in the final to join Aston Villa and Huddersfield in the Prem. Meanwhile, the Championship will welcome relegated Wolves, Sunderland and Brentford from next season.

 

Cups

DCK slightly exceeded expectations in both cups this season, reaching the third round of the League Cup and the fifth round of the FA Cup, where they went out to eventual winners Man City, who also won the League Cup.

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Top Performers

While Shane Scott struggled a little with the step up from League One to the Championship, his fellow striker Daniel McKenzie revelled in tormenting second tier defences, averaging more than a goal a game. A numer of other players, including Rino Andre Simensen and Philip Stadlbauer, also put in good performances this season.

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Other Points of Interest

Kevin Graham's new contract, signed at the end of the season, makes him the club's second highest earner behind McKenzie. Graham remains the club's most expensive signing at £57k but that record is set to be broken in the summer.

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The summer will also see a number of improvements to the club's facilities. DCK are adding another 750 seats at the stadium, to max it out at 6,000. When they are promoted to the Prem they will undoubtedly need a new ground. The Tabb Arena, perhaps?

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They are also investing in the training ground, and for the first time ever are actually putting money into the youth system. 

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They remain uncategorised, but Tabb will now start pushing for youth investment at every possible opportunity.

 

Edited by sourgrapes11

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The Tabb arena sounds good, here's hoping you get that shiny new stadium built when you inevitably get to the premier League. Good post as always.

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DCK Maidenbower 2038/39 Season Preview - Championship

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DCK are not expected to be promoted this season. The board wants a top half finish, while the media are predicting a 7th place finish - one higher than last season but still outside the playoffs. Manager Jamie Tabb, however, has his eyes on only one prize this season - the automatic promotion that comes with finishing in the top two. Despite only recently signing a new contract, Daniel McKenzie has resumed his bi-annual sulk at having to continue to live in Crawley and the only realistic hope of keeping him is to be playing Premier League football next season.

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The board has significantly loosened their maximum wage restrictions, with DCK now able to offer up to £15k a week. This has allowed a shift from signing solely youth players to actually being able to bring in some players coming into their prime. The transfer window will as usual be summarised in the August September update but as DCK prepare to kick off the season they have already broken their transfer record twice (and also broken their record sale).

They new players represent a significant upgrade in terms of quality, with most being leading Championship level. The player brought in to replace DCK's new record sale could well be good enough to be a first team player possibly until the club reaches the outer fringes of European qualification if he develops well. Once the new signings have all fully bedded in, DCK will be a side to be rekoned with in the Championship.

Famous last words!

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Posted (edited)


DCK Maidenbower Summer 2038 Transfer Window

The original plan was to summarise the Summer 2038 window as part of the August-September update, but it was such a significant window for DCK that it deserves its own post.

Major Departures
 

Adrian Russell

Russell was released at the end of the 2037/38 season. Having joined in August 2031, when the club were in the Isthmian Premier, his seven years of service made him the club's longest serving player at the time of his departure.

Russell made a total of 261 appearances for DCK, scoring 44 goals and making 63 assists. However he was deemed to be not quite cut out for Championship football, let alone the Prem football that the club hope to be playing from the 2039/40 season onwards. Upon his release he signed for Scottish Prem side Kilmarnock, where he is expected to be a rotation option in midfield.

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Kamil Wasielewski

21 year old Kamil Wasielewski had been DCK's first choice goalkeeper for almost three years when Portuguese side Sporting came calling. Manager Tabb had fought off repeated bids from him ever since he was installed as the club's number one, but in the summer the situation changed when DCK secured the Bosman signing of a new goalkeeper who would have pushed Wasielewski to number two. Instead of seeing an excellent prospect wasted on the bench, Tabb decided to cash in and was able to negotiate a fee that could (and probably will) rise to £7.5m, which smashed the previous £1m record sale.

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Daniel McKenzie

When DCK failed to obtain promotion last season, a clause in McKenzie's contract allowing him to leave for £10m was activated. Tabb had been praying that nobody would come in for him, but a 21 year old striker who averaged more than a goal a game in the Championship is always going to be hot property. Towards the end of the season Sunderland's interest led to a bid that met the clause, and Tabb was left with the task of replacing the club's talismanic striker. His form at the start of the season had led the DCK fans to hope that he was going to fire them into the Prem this season, scoring at a ludicrous rate in the first four games of the season.

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Morgan Ruffier - £600k

A winger signed at 16 from amateur French football, Ruffier supposedly had the potential to one day play at Championship level, but at the rate that DCK are growing he would never be useful for the first team. Getting £600k for him from Brentford was a nice bonus, as he probably would have been released after a couple more years in the u23s anyway.

 

 

Signings

 

Cédric Moreno and Adam Meszaros - £0, £0

Tabb couldn't believe when Moreno agreed to sign for DCK. The 20 year old goalkeeper, soon to turn 21, had been  Charleroi's first choice in the Belgian top division for the past two seasons and upon signing immediately overtook McKenzie as the club's best player (as well as the club's top earner!)

Moreno's arrival led to the sale of Kamil Wasielewski, and he is expected to be the club's first choice goalkeeper well into the Premier League, perhaps even good enough until the club are competing for a place in the top six or top four and the European places that come with it.

Meszaros, meanwhile, is not ready to play for DCK, but is seen as the future number two behind Moreno and has been sent on loan for the season.

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Ibrahima Gaye, Mfiki Molefe, Bafana Plia - £160k, £0, £0

Gaye, Molefe and Pila are Africans without work permits who will be spending the season on loan in Spain. Senegalese striker Gaye briefly broke the club's transfer record, but £160k is chicken feed even for a Championship side with a relatively small budget. South Africans Molefe and Pila meanwhile were both free signings. It is quite likely that none will ever get work permits, but a few years of development on loan should see them sold for a tidy profit.

 

Erdi Dağ, Mikel Calderon, Mamute - £0, £0, £325k

20 year old Dağ and 24 year old Calderon were both free signings, having been released by Danish side Esbjerg and Spanish Segunda side Valladolid respectively, while Mamute was transfer listed by Middlesbrough and signed for a paltry £325k. All three are Central midfielders, although Mamute can also play Centre back when needed. Dağ probably has the potential to play in the Prem, while the purpose of Calderon and Mamute is mainly to help the club to promotion, when they will likely be sold on.

 

Fernando Bengoetxea - £850k

Bengoetxea is a Defensive midfielder brought in to compete with 19 year old Stanislav Knoblach in front of the defence. He spent his whole career at Real Sociedad but never broke into the first team, and at the age of 24 was transfer listed and allowed to move on for £850k (essentially a million euros), which smashed the transfer record recently set by Ibrahima Gaye. He has some strong stats for the Championship and alongside new keeper Moreno should help the side to a big defensive improvement this season, which will be sorely needed in a team that has just lost its star striker.

 

Gjergji Hoxha - £3.6M

The final signing of the window and by far the most expensive, Hoxha had been tracked since the end of last season as insurance in the event of McKenzie's sale. DCK moved fast once Sunderland triggered the clause, bringing him in for a fee that shatters the transfer record for the third time in the window.

Hoxha is a 17 year old Albanian forward who in truth is nowhere close to McKenzie's ability, but has the potential to be even better than him (although who has the higher overall ceiling is anybody's guess). He will not be expected to hit the same kind of figures that McKenzie got last season, meaning a lot of burden now falls on 23 year old Shane Scott to step up and make up the difference.

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Loans

With a major revamp in central midfield, three of last January's Scandanavian influx were loaned out, to Leagues One and Two. They also sent goalkeeper Adam Meszaros and forward/winger Gary Morrow to fellow Championship sides. The club's work permit-less Africans were sent to to Spain to get first team football; Molefe to La Liga, and Gaye and Pila to the Segunda.

DCK thought they were done with loans at that point, but then Swansea offered to take LW Andrew Banks on loan. There had been no intention to loan him out, but Tabb decided to ask for a £500k loan fee and Swansea accepted. Michael Browne was signed on loan (with no loan fee) from Norwich to replace him and is more versatile - as well as left wing he can also fill in at CM or AM where needed, although the team is now fairly well stocked at CM and the new formation drops the AM for a DM so he'll mostly play wide left.

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That was all of DCK's business this summer, with the team bringing in £15.5m (potentially £18.5m) and spending just under £5m. The big transfer profit is in part swallowed up by a massive rise in wages compared to last season - the wage bill has roughly doubled from £50k to £100k per week.

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And so this is the squad for the season - more experienced than last term but still skewed as young as a primary school. The image shows the Assman assessments, positions and important contract info like wages and release clauses.

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And DCK's new tactical formation, with an emphasis on solidity, simplicity and breaking fast down the flanks.

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Edited by sourgrapes11

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DCK Maidenbower 2038/39 Season (Championship)

August-September & Tactical Tweaks

DCK started strongly, and the switching the AM to a DM has definitely seen a marked defensive improvement. However, the change also blunted their attack, a change that was only really seen once Daniel McKenzie left - his 9 goals in 4 games this season, including a hat trick in his final match, had been masking the deficiency.

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The problem seemed to be that the striker was left isolated by the big gap between the midfield and attack. Tabb was left with the struggle of how to close this gap without sacrificing the balance and defensive astuteness of his new formation.

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One of the CMs could have been shifted back to AM, but this idea was rejected because it would be too narrow, sacrificing control of the midfield half-spaces that in later FMs might be filled by a mezzala.

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The other option was to change player roles rather than positions. With this in mind, the AP (support) was changed to AP (attack), and given instructions to get forward. The CM (support) was given the same instructions. Further, the wingers were changed from winger (support) to winger (attack).

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The instructions will take a bit of time to sink in, but Tabb hopes that this can improve DCK's goalscoring record. At least record signing Hoxha seems to be settling in well, so by the end of the season he may be closer to replacing McKenzie.

 

In another frustrating development, DCK lost their first choice LW for the majority of the season in mid September. Thankfully, despite now slightly regretting loaning out Andrew Banks, the side still has a few options for the position, with Ryan Pratezina,  Michael Browne and David Webb able to play there.

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Edited by sourgrapes11

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DCK Maidenbower 2038/39 Season (Championship)

October-November

Despite the large outlay on wages to bring in better players this season, DCK's season already seems to be falling apart without Daniel McKenzie. After 18 games last season, they sat on 34 points; the aim this season was to considerably improve on that. Instead, bereft of firepower, they sit on 29 points and are in the middle of a dreadful slump.

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Outside the playoffs, and six points off the automatic promotion places, they require considerable improvement if they are to achieve their season's goal of promotion.

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With Shane Scott continuing to struggle this season, and Gjergji Hoxha only 17 years old, manager Tabb is working hard with his scouting team to find another striker to arrive in January who can boost the side's goalscoring record. DCK have a tough December schedule to get through first, however.

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DCK Maidenbower 2038/39 Season (Championship)

December-January & Winter Transfer Window

If October-November was a tough period for DCK, then December-January was the exact opposite. After drawing the first two games of December, a 3-1 win against League leaders Sunderland (who started with Daniel McKenzie up front) saw the confidence flood back and the side went on a highly impressive run of 10 wins in 11 games. It was enough to see DCK leapfrog the playoff places, and they now find themselves top of the table on goal difference. 8 points clear of the playoffs feels like a significant gap, but with 16 games still to go things are far from certain yet.

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The massive upturn in form was recognised with Tabb winning January's Manager of the Month award.

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DCK signed a raft of new players in the January window, however all but three of them headed straight for the youth teams. Of the first team signings, perhaps the most significant is Connor Steele - Having been released by Liverpool last summer, six months out of the game were enough to convince the 32 year old striker to lower his wage demands to a reasonable level. DCK's Assman believes that he is just about a decent Prem level player, and he will mainly rotate with Hoxha as the lone striker. Shane Scott, who performed so well for DCK in Leagues One and Two, never really adapted to Championship football and he will likely be sold at the end of the season.

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The other two first team signings are Emiljano Dhrami, a LW who DCK secured on a pre-contract back in December after the side's second long term LW injury, this time to Ryan Pratezina.

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And on the final day of the season Jamie Tabb secured 24 year old Romanian CB Gabriel Marcu. He had been transfer listed by Genk, and had only six months left to go on his contract so Tabb could have had him for free if he'd waited. The defence looked rather light at the time though, and it would only have taken one long term injury at the back to spell disaster for DCK, so the £900k was deemed to be peanuts if he helps secure Prem status.

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Edited by sourgrapes11

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DCK Maidenbower 2038/39 Season (Championship)

February-March

With DCK on a strong run of form going into February, and sitting top of the League, the goal was to keep it up and to put some distance between themselves and the playoffs, so that the end to the season would mainly be about if they could secure the title, without worrying about dropping down and facing the lottery of the playoffs. That is exactly what they achieved, only dropping four points in nine games (23/27 points). It was enough to see them open a commanding 13 point lead over third-placed Stoke with 7 games to go, as well as seeing them 6 points clear of second place Sunderland.

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DCK's reputation has also increased to the point where they are now able to start poaching other English side's top youth prospects before they are tied down to contracts, although sides in the Premier League and most in the Championship are still safe for now. Tabb is pleading with the board for youth system upgrades at every opportunity, but progress is slow so poaching is the only way to get a crop of young English players coming through. The poaching used up a significant portion of Tabb's remaining transfer budget for the season, but as long as promotion is achieved the club will be awash with money from next season.

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DCK Maidenbower 2038/39 Season (Championship)

April-May

With a healthy six point gap over second place Sunderland with 7 matches remaining, all DCK had to do was to hold their nerve and continue their fine form to be crowned champions. Unfortunately they chose the worst possible moment to come apart, and despite winning the six-pointer at the Stadium of Light it wasn't enough. On the final day of the season, with DCK ahead on goal difference, Ipswich prevailed 1-0 to hand Sunderland the title. A second place finish still means that DCK secured promotion to the Premier League, and the task next season is not to cock it up and get relegated.

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Season Summary

League

DCK never truly had any serious aspirations to win the League at the start of the season; the only goal was promotion and they didn't care how it arrived. As such the season is an unqualified success; despite coming so close to the title and then falling short it doesn't really matter in the end when both of the top two get the same amount of lovely TV money next season (depending on league position next year). 90 points would have been enough to win the Championship on six occasions since the start of the career (2016/17) and a number of the young players grew significantly this season. The influx of slightly more experienced players also seemed decisive, with DM Fernando Bengoetxea and CB Gabriel Marcu (both 24) helping DCK to record the best defensive record in the League.

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In the playoffs, AFC Wimbledon defeated Brentford 4-3 after extra time to join Sunderland and DCK in the Premier League.

 

Cups

The Cup highlight of the season was undoubtedly the run to the 5th round of the FA Cup, beating Prem side Huddersfield along the way before Southampton defeated them in a replay on penalties. In both cups, DCK managed to reach one round further than the board expectations before meeting their match.

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Incredibly, both the FA Cup and League cup were won by Middlesbrough, completing an unlikely demestic cup double.

 

Top Performers

Although he lost his place on the team sheet to the more talented South African Ntuthuko Makhoere, Philip Stadlbauer kept his head down and produced some excellent performances when given a chance. Despite DCK's Assman only rating his potential as Championship level, he has earned himself a shot in the Premier League on the back of his performances.

Gjerji Hoxha, DCK's record signing, put in some solid performances after being brought in to replace some Australian geezer.

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Speaking of McKenzie, after his £10m move to fellow Championship side Sunderland he struggled to get in the team, only being a bit-part player this season as the Black Cats preferred more experienced options up front. HE LITERALLY STARTED MORE INTERNATIONAL GAMES THAN CLUB GAMES FFS

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Other Points of Interest

With their stadium at it's maximum capacity of 6,000, and the club still servicing debt two from previous loans to first build and then expand the stadium, DCK were caught between a rock and a hard place of needing a new ground but not wanting new debt. The board's solution was to pay off the old debt in one go and then take out a new £12.8m loan to expand the unexpandable stadium.

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The maths of the expansion also makes no sense - The previous capacity was 6,000 so a 9,500 expansion should mean a capacity of 15,500 rather than 12,500?

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Finally, as almost all of the squad are rated as Championship level players, there will need to be a major squad overhaul in before the start of the new season. Hopefully the board will provide the necessary funds, but previous experience with their Scrooge-like tendencies suggests that this isn't likely.

Edited by sourgrapes11

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Think I've figured out the puzzle re. the stadium expansion numbers not adding up - I think it's because the stadium was 3,000 seated and 3,000 standing, so the 9,500 seats added also has to take into account losing the 3,000 standing that are lost due to Prem all seater rules.

Still not quite sure though how the board have managed to expand the stadium at all given that it was already at its maximum expansion level - perhaps they're knocking down a stand to build a much bigger one in its place?

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DCK Maidenbower 2039/40 Season Preview - Premier League

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DCK have finally made it to the Premier League, and are expecting a baptism of fire.

These are the kind of messages that manager Jamie Tabb lives for.

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These, on the other hand, are definitely not. The media think that DCK will finish rock bottom, and the board agree. Tabb however has been doing significant surgery to his squad, selling players and focusing where possible on free transfers and transfer listed signings. The summer business will be vital in deciding if DCK will stay up or not so like last year it will get its own post.

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Cup wise the expectations haven't changed since last season, which is a small blessing at least.

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Even if DCK don't manage to stay up, the parachute payments should help them quickly regain Prem status. Tabb is quietly confident however that they can beat the drop.

Edited by sourgrapes11

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DCK Maidenbower 2039/40 Season (Premier League)

Summer Transfer Window

Fire Sale

Although the squad of last season managed to get DCK to the Premier League, a large proportion was deemed not cut out for the higher standard required. Several former prospects who had worked their way into first team contention departed, as did a number of players who had only signed for the club last season.

Former Prospects

Lee Stevens (LB, £450k-550k), Shane Scott (ST, £195k), Ryan Pratezina (RW/LW, £1m), Martin Milne-Brunskill (RB, £950k), David Webb (CM, £900k), Andrew Banks (LW, £1.2m), Thomas Boekh (CB, £1.4m), Ibrahima Keita (RB, £7.5m), Total - £13.695m

All but Keita were sadly not good enough for the Prem and were sold at the earliest available opportunity, some for well below their market value to get them off the books. The saddest departure was Shane Scott, who had been a fixture in the team since promotion to the Football League and went for a paltry £195k. Sadly with little interest in purchasing him Tabb was forced to accept a nominal sum to afford him the regular playing time that his fantastic service to the club had earned him.

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Keita on the other hand was a transfer made against Tabb's wishes - after several years of other clubs attempting to pry him away from DCK it was the  lure of AC Milan that led Keita to hand in a formal transfer request. Rather than keep an unhappy player, Tabb allowed him the move and acted swiftly to replace him.

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Didn't Stay Long, aka the CM Purge

Mamute (CM, £1.5m), Mikel Calderon (CM, £6.75m) Erdi Dag (CM, £10m), Conor Steele (ST, Loan), Total - £18.25m

Three CMs who were important cogs in last season's side were sold to raise a considerable sum to reinvest. Tabb actually had no interest in selling Dag, but the massive bid from Wolves was enough to change his mind. Meanwhile Conor Steele wanted out after only six months; DCK were happy to oblige after he never really hit the goals in the Championship they were hoping for, and Atalanta were willing to cover 100% of his wages.

In total the sales raised £32m this window, of which 70% or £22.36m minus agent and other fees went towards the incoming budget.

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Purchases

Youth System

Danny Heywood (CM, £74k), Dean Dasaolu (ST, £145k), Colin Sayer (AM, £450k), Francesco Varlet (GK, £450k), Marco Theissen (AM/LW, £0), Daniele Leonetti (LB, £700k-1m), Total - £2.12m

Tabb and the board recently agreed to add a focus on young signings and on developing the club's youth system to the clubs philosophies at a recent meeting. With the youth facilities & recruitment roughly in line with a League One side, although improvements have now started arriving, the onus for now is on signing the best young prospects possible. Of those poached, the best may well be Milwall's Dean Dasaolu, who has a fantastic personality and what looks to be extremely high potential.

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First Team

Andy Pritchard (CM, £6.75m), Cristian Aynol (CB, £42k), Alex Neves (RB, £250k), Mohamed Yahi (LB, £0), Nicolas Carpentier (CM, £3.6m), Ilir Ramadani (RB, £1.2m), John Javier Tapia (CM, £3.2m), Total - £15.04m

A total of seven incomings for the first team, with Tabb especially excited about the cheapest of the lot (bar free signing Yahi), Cristian Aynol. The transfer had been pending for two years, as it had to wait for Aynol to turn 18 before he could leave Argentina. Although he starts the season as the club's fourth best CB, with fast progress he could end up first choice by the end of the season alongside Scottish international Kevin Graham.

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Similarly, Andy Pritchard is an extremely exciting prospect. DCK's new record signing, like Dasaolu he comes from what looks like a very impressive Milwall academy, and will likely be in the DCK midfield for years to come. At 17, his physical stats already look obscene.

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LANS (Like a New Signing)

Mfiki Molefe

After an impressive loan spell with Eibar in La Liga last season, Molefe signed a new contract in the summer. With Tabb expecting to loan him out again this season, to his pleasant surprise the young South African was granted a work permit when he signed the deal. The decision allowed DCK to OK the departure of Conor Steele, and he will compete with Hoxha up front this season. He is, as the late (in game, presumably, as he would be over 90 by this point) and great Arsene Wenger would say, 'like a new signing'.

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The full list of signings.

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All in all Tabb ended up happy with his squad - they are unlikely to pull up any trees but should be good enough to have a shot at staying up and like every year are an extremely young bunch with the potential to grow considerably. Here is the squad for the season (or at least until January).

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Jasmin Hasanovic and Dean Dasaolu will mostly be playing with the youth teams this season but have been included as they may get a few minutes here and there.

In terms of Assman CA ratings, 2* is League 1 all the way down to Conference Level, 2.5*-3* is Championship, 3.5* is leading Championship/decent Premier League and 4* is firmly Premier League quality. Assman Sonny Watch has JPA 16, JPP 14, so there may be some innacuracy in the ratings, especially in potential. 

And finally, after selling 11 players and only keeping 70% of the proceeds, right at the end of the transfer window the board announced that the transfer revenue retained would rise to 100%, far too late to help with the reinvesting money from sales in one of the most important windows in the club's history. Thanks a bunch.

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Edited by sourgrapes11

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DCK Maidenbower 2039/40 Season (Premier League)

August-September

DCK started the season fairly strongly, not scoring a huge number of goals but also not conceding too many either. The highlight so far is undoubtedly the 1-0 smash and grab win against Man City - DCK faced wave after wave of City attacks but held firm to keep the clean sheet and the three points.

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The results are enough to see DCK sit in 13th place. It is still early days but to be above the relegation zone is never a bad thing.

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Edited by sourgrapes11

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DCK Maidenbower 2039/40 Season (Premier League)

October-November

DCK are refusing to be drawn into a relegation fight, and despite their form fluctuating they continue to find themselves in lower midtable. They managed a barely believable 7-0 away win against Leicester at the start of October, and followed it with another smash and grab 1-0 against Spurs, before their form faltered slightly.

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Sitting in 11th, they would undoubtedly take that position at the end of the season. For now they have plenty of games to go until then, and another window in January to come where they may be able to further improve their squad.

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Meanwhile Southampton and especially Huddersfield are the suprise packages this season. Huddersfield were in the Championship with DCK back in the 2037/38 season, so for them to be potential title challengers two years later is an incredible achievement and perhaps something to emulate?

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I read this, nicely done.  I'm almost doing the same that you raising a team from the very low, right now I'm in L19 and have no real competition right now, maybe when I reach the semi-pro teams that something will change.

Good luck with DCK!

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18 hours ago, krakonico said:

I read this, nicely done.  I'm almost doing the same that you raising a team from the very low, right now I'm in L19 and have no real competition right now, maybe when I reach the semi-pro teams that something will change.

Good luck with DCK!

I wish I could tell you that things get interesting at semi-pro, but I doubt you'll fail to win the league easily until you've at least reached the Conference. Kinda makes the challenge a bit pointless when you can play down to the Conference on FM vanilla with no mods - only real reason I'd ever do it again is if I wanted to manage a specific team that started below the Conference N/S.

Good luck!

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DCK Maidenbower 2039/40 Season (Premier League)

December-January & Winter Transfer Window

A surprise 4-2 win against Man Utd in early December was not enough to halt DCK's woeful run. They have now not won in nine games, and their position is starting to look slightly precarious.

DCK also suffered a measure of karma - after absurdly beating Leicester 7-0 in October, they were beaten by Arsenal in December by the same scoreline, and bid adios to their positive goal difference.

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The two matches coming up against Leicester and Spurs will be crucial to the season - with them in 19th and 18th place respectively, four points are needed at a minimum against clear rivals in the relegation scrap.

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(on a side note, the main joy of the season, as an Arsenal fan, has been to see Spurs in the relegation zone. Long may it continue!)

Winter Window

In the transfer window there was little in the way of significant business. Philip Stadlbauer had failed to impress when given the opportunity to make his mark in the Prem, so the intention from long before the window opened was to sell him to the Championship where he had proved already he was able to thrive. In the end Barnsley came in with an offer of £3m and he was allowed to depart with best wishes.

In his place, Tabb once again raided Scandanavia for an expiring contract, bringing in Ivar Hopmark from Molde. He is most naturally a Complete Forward, but is competent on the right wing and should improve further in that role with training and game time.

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Otherwise the only incomings were youth players, and the only other outgoings were loans for young prospects to get match experience. Tabb considered moving for a big player to help the club arrest their form and survive, perhaps a commanding new Centre Back, but was unable to find anyone good enough at a price he was willing to pay. He will need to find at least one more CB in the summer though, with both Gabriel Marcu and the club's longest serving player Ted Boddey both likely to depart (assuming DCK stay up).

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Edited by sourgrapes11

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DCK Maidenbower 2039/40 Season (Premier League)

February-March

DCK's shocking run continued through February, and by mid March they found themselves ahead of the relegation zone by just a point and in the worst form in the League. The two games against Leicester and Spurs, identified in the last update as games where the side hoped to pick up four points, ended up yielding zilch. With things looking grim, Tabb tweaked his formation slightly and was rewarded with DCK's first win in 14 games, against Reading. A further point against Southampton followed before the end of the month. The gap over the drop is now four points, although with six games still to play things continue to look highly precarious. DCK have to turn this tiny amount of momentum into some decent form over the rest of the season, or they will be spending next year in the Championship. Squeaky bum time indeed.

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DCK Maidenbower 2039/40 Season (Premier League)

April-May

DCK needed to build upon their four points they managed at the end of March, and although it looked at first like they would do that and pull themselves away from danger, they quickly faltered once again and were pulled back into the mix. Come the final game of the season, they were far from safe and knew that failure to win, coupled with a win for either Leicester or Bournemouth, would send them down, although with the superior goal difference of the three they would stay up if they finished level on points.

Mindful of retaining their goal difference, DCK focused on remaining tight at the back, and managed a creditable 0-0 with Arsenal.

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Unaware of precisely what was going on in the other games, when the news broke that Leicester had drawn and Bournemouth lost, several DCK players were seen to collapse onto the pitch in relief. Tabb was seen hugging his captain Florian Audibert and club stalwart Ted Boddey rather tighter than either seemed entirely comfortable with, and the residents of Crawley were so happy that they forgot for a few hours that, unfortunately, they lived in Crawley.

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DCK manager Jamie Tabb is already hard at work figuring a way to escape relegation by more of a margin, or perhaps even reach midtable next season. For now though, the players depart for their holidays, having kept DCK up against the odds.

 

Season Summary

League

Predicted to finish rock bottom, and given 2-5 odds of relegation, to stay up is yet another in a long line of achievements for manager Jamie Tabb and his side. 34 points is still a sobering number however, and the same total next season could very well see them go down. Improvement is therefore needed next season. Encouragingly, Tabb's sides have never finished lower than the previous season, so fans will be expecting safety to come slighly easier next year.

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Cups

Not really much to talk about here, the cups were a bit of a damp squib as DCK focused on staying up above all else. Perhaps the main thing of interest regarding the ups was that last season's Championship winners Sunderland, who just about pipped DCK to the title, won the League Cup and thus qualified for Europe. Man City won the FA Cup to complete a domestic double.

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Top Performers

Not too many DCK players covered themselves in glory this season. LW Emiljano Dhrami was perhaps the pick of the bunch; the 20 year old's performances were enough to interest PSG though so Tabb could lose him this summer. Mfiki Molefe was the side's top scorer with 13 goals, a respectable return given how heavily he was rotated up front with Gjergji Hoxha. In particular, his purple patch towards the end of the season undoubtedly kept DCK up. Finally, althought his performances weren't all that special, Jasmin Hasanovic made considerably more appearances than initially expected and forced Fernando Bengoetxea out of the side.

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Other Points of Interest

Further improvements to the club's youth facilities are another tiny step towards the club becoming the English Barcelona.

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There's still some way to go yet, though.

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The massive Premier League TV deal, combined with DCK operating on a Championship budget still, has led to the club's directors effectively becoming Smaug sitting on a massive pile of gold.

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It was enough to see the club hit with their first ever tax bill.

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Paying off the club's roughly £12m stadium debt, therefore, was chicken feed.

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Finally, with the season over and safety secure, Tabb took the time to attend the Champions League final. Held at Old Trafford this year, it was an easy journey and a particularly tasty looking showdown - an El Clásico between Barca and Real. In the end Barca triumphed 2-1 in an enthralling match.

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However, Tabb's attendance itself became a story, with dimwits in the media (presumably Mail 'journalists') bemused by a Premier League manager attending a European final held in his home country. The idea of attending a football match for pleasure clearly has never crossed the tiny minds of these absolute imbeciles.

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Edited by sourgrapes11

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DCK Maidenbower 2040/41 Season Preview - Premier League & Major News

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After just barely escaping last season, DCK are hoping for greater success this year. Of course, greater success would mean lower mid table rather than silverware, but progress is progress. After predicting them to finish rock bottom last year, the media have been slightly kinder to DCK this year - they reckon a 16th place finish is achievable. Tabb is hoping for slightly higher, roughly 10th-15th, but as with last year the number one goal is survival.

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To aid with having a more successful season than last, there have once again been major moves made in the transfer window, which will be detailed in the next post. In the cups, the board expectations are slightly higher than last year; for the FA Cup they want the fifth round rather than the fourth, and in the League Cup they are looking for the fourth round - last season DCK were unable to progress past the third.

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However, the big news doesn't involve DCK at all. A terrible showing at the 2040 Euros, culminating in a first knockout round exit to Serbia, led Leonardo Jardim to resign from his role as England manager.  The FA, upon sitting down and discussing potential replacements, came up with one outstanding candidate - Jamie Tabb, the man who had led DCK Maidenbower from nowhere into the Premier League.

Negotiations hit a stumbling block when Tabb declined to leave DCK; he felt that his work there was unfinished. The FA however agreed that he could remain as DCK manager while taking on his new post, and so Tabb signed a contract (on wages that far eclipse the £6.25k p/w he makes at DCK) to take over as boss of his home country. He is the first English manager they have had in six years, since Alex Smithies (a former FM wonderkid goalkeeper when he was at Huddersfield) lasted just under two years.

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Note: It was a tough decision for me to make to decide if it was the right path to take in the career of Jamie Tabb. In the end I decided that there's no way he would turn it down. Plus, it will at least make the international breaks more interesting.

 

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DCK Maidenbower 2040/41 Season (Premier League)

Summer Transfer Window, DCK Squad and First England Squad

Summer Window

GK - Cedric Moreno/Harri Webb

Cedric Moreno was expected to be DCK's first choice goalkeeper for the next decade. Alas, this summer he was unsettled by Real Madrid. Madrid put in a series of derisory bids, refusing to meet Moreno's very reasonable £20m release clause. Tabb knew however that it was only a matter of time before the transfer went through, which it eventually did on deadline day when Madrid blinked and paid the clause, and so he moved to sign Newcastle's 33 year old goalkeeper Harri Webb.

Webb has spent most of his career as first choice, until a couple of seasons ago when a new signing forced him onto the Newcastle bench. Only really a stopgap measure at 33, and an expensive £10m one at that, he fills DCK's short term needs and gives Tabb time to find a longer term option between the sticks. 

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CB - Gabriel Marcu, Kevin Graham/Craig Dean, Matthew Keen

Although the plan had always been to sell Marcu this summer, it was Ted Boddey who was lined up to depart alongside him, not Kevin Graham. In the end though, Tabb simply couldn't bring himself to sell Boddey, a club stalwart who has been with the team since the Conference South. Instead, Watford's bid for Graham was accepted.

In their place, Tabb moved for two centre backs at opposite ends of their respective careers. 18 year old Dean is a player that DCK attempted to sign when he spawned at 15, but he wouldn't discuss terms with the club at the time. Several years later, he joins for a princely £12.5m having broken into the first team last season and made 39 appearances in the Championship. Keen meanwhile is 33 and was released at the end of last season by Southampton. Like Webb, he brings a wealth of Premier League experience to an otherwise extremely young backline.

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LB - Mohamed Yahi/Daniele Leonetti

Yahi was signed on a free transfer last season to compete with club captain Florian Audibert. He never really succeeded in displacing the Frenchman however, and was sold to Crystal Palace to make room for Daniele Leonetti. Leonetti is not actually a new signing this summer, but he has recently returned from a season on loan in League One with Bury and is seen as the club's long term option at left back so it makes sense to give him gametime as soon as possible.

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CM - Rino Andre Simensen, John Javier Tapia, Fernando Bengoetxea/Ryan Davis, Fitzroy Joinville, Tomasz Wozniak

Rino Andre Simensen was, like Graham, not a player that DCK had anticipated selling this summer. Norwich's bid however was enough to change Tabb's mind. Otherwise, with Tapia and Bengoetxea, the plan had always been to let the go if the price was right, and indeed DCK made a significant profit on the pair. In their place, Tabb signed three extremely talented young midfielders. The best of the bunch may be the cheapest, 20 year old Frenchman Joinville, who joined from Ligue 2 side Lens. All three though are extremely good young players. Davis, signed from Championship side Everton, carries a small English player tax, but DCK had relatively few English players in the team and Tabb wanted to begin to correct that in this window.  

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LW/RW - Emiljano Dhrami, Milivoj Tucakovic

Not exactly a straight swap. Another example where Tabb's plans were changed when he received a strong bid, Reading's bid for Dhrami, which could rise to £25m, was too good to refuse, and helped to fund the signing of another winger, Croatian right winger Tucakovic. He is DCK's new record signing, a deal which could rise to £21m, and they had to fight off some strong competition to sign him. Both Liverpool and Real Madrid were interested, but DCK gazumped both of them before they had the chance to make a bid and agreed a deal for one of the finest young prospects around. His signing led to Ivar Hopmark departing on loan, and he will compete with Ntuthuko Makhoere for the right wing spot. Dhrami's departure meanwhile opens the door for 18 year old Lazar Kovac, signed last season, to get some minutes.

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ST - Gjergji Hoxha/Mario Carlon

One factor that caused DCK to struggle last season was undoubtedly a lack of goals. Hoxha rotated with Mfiki Molefe last term, before the latter established himself as the first choice no. 9 by scoring the goals that kept DCK in the division. With more goals required this season, Tabb signed Mario Carlon from newly relegated Leicester. A big money signing for DCK, and a relatively old one at the geriatric age of 26, he has been given the task of making this year a little easier for the fans by scoring a bucketload of goals. No pressure!

Hoxha meanwhile is still an excellent prospect so has been sent on loan to Borussia Monchengladbach rather than being sold.

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Major Loans - Ivar Hopmark, Gjergji Hoxha, Jasmin Hasanovic, Dean Dasaolu, Stanislav Knoblach

Hopmark, Hoxha, and Knoblach all departed for a year to gain experience, with the aim of them being competitive options in their positions upon their returns. Hasanovic however left primarily due to a tactical switch, with DCK moving back to the 4231 that had served them so well before they abandoned it in their second and successful Championship season, and thus Hasanovic's DM position became redundant. Upon his return he will be assessed to see if he can be a viable option either in midfield or at centre back. Striker Dasaolu, meanwhile, is still a little further from being ready for Premier League action, and again will be assessed upon his return in 12 months.

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DCK Squad

Those are the main moves both in and out, and this is how the squad is shaping up.

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As per the Assman ratings, 2* is decent Championship and below, 2.5* is good to leading Championship, 3* is leading Championship to decent Prem, 3.5* is decent to good Prem and 4* is firmly good Prem.

The squad is definitely still weak in goal, with the club's next best option after Webb being 17 year old Francesco Varlet. Left wing is also an issue after Dhrami's departure. Although Kovac is an excellent prospect, he is not good enough to entirely make up for the shortfall in the long term. On the positive side, central midfield looks very strong and is full of players with lots of room to grow even further, as does the right flank.

Overall the squad is probably a little stronger than last term, even if Tabb is praying that Webb stays healthy in goal.

Tactically, this is next season's 4231. DCK are still focusing on counter attacking, but will at least be a little more adventurous than last season. More team instructions are likely to be added as the season progresses.

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First England Squad

England fans were waiting for Jamie Tabb's first squad, to see if he would be as religiously wedded to youth with the national side as he is with DCK. In the end the squad left them unsure what direction Tabb would take, with several uncapped young players called up as expected, but Tabb also tempting 37 year old Arsenal centre back Danny Duncan out of international retirement. Duncan will be retiring at the end of the season, but England are light on quality centre backs and Tabb wanted his experience and quality for his first year in charge as he attempts to qualify for the 2042 World Cup. 

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Tactically, England will line up slightly differently to DCK, with the no.10 more withdrawn and more of an emphasis on possession. Again, instructions are likely to change a little.

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Edited by sourgrapes11

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DCK Maidenbower 2040/41 Season (Premier League)

 

August-September

A strong start to the season saw DCK pick up valuable early points and progress in the League Cup against Championship side Swansea. Three draws in the opening six matches wasn't ideal, but last season DCK may well have lost one or more of those matches.

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The results see DCK in 11th place, a position they occupied at times last season as well. The surprise package of this season, buiding on a fantastic previous campaign, is Huddersfield who sit top of the table, albeit at a very early stage with most of the season still to be played.

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England

Tabb's England career kicked off with a friendly against Austria, where they conceded an early goal but came back to win 2-1. The second game, England's International League opener, was more dramatic still - against Portugal, ranked second in the world, England again conceded first, roared back and took the lead, were pegged back, took the lead again and went 4-2 up before collapsing and losing 5-4. Conceding five goals, even away from home against the second best team in the world, underlines the dearth of quality defenders available to Tabb. He will be hoping that new DCK signing Craig Dean can be a long term solution for England as well as his club side.

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