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@optimusprimal82 what tactic are you using as your base tactic these days ?

Is it still PrimalInstinct_451_BASE_19.3.1_v1.0 , or have you updated it , ive had great success with it , just wondered if you have updated it or are you using something new ? 

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On 06/04/2019 at 06:39, Hootieleece said:

You might want to Hold a team meeting or sprinkle in some Team Bonding sessions in your training.

I have found that team bonding sessions help to mitigate unhappiness in my current save (Monopli in Serie A) because I've been in a relegation battle and needed some way to combat morale drops.

(I think of it as the manager buying the boy's a beers at the local pub)

Indeed, I might have to go down that road but I'll hold off as long as I can - I like that they added something to combat poor morale, but it feels too much like a silver bullet at times so I try to limit it where I can, the issue being there's not an awful lot of alternative ways sometimes to pull your little guys out of the sulks. It almost feels like a band aid fix for something that isn't quite implemented properly? It's there and a functional part of the game so it should be ok, yet somehow I feel dirty when I use it, almost like I'm cheating? Not sure if that makes me more stubborn or stupid - possibly both!

11 hours ago, coolestrock said:

@optimusprimal82 what tactic are you using as your base tactic these days ?

Is it still PrimalInstinct_451_BASE_19.3.1_v1.0 , or have you updated it , ive had great success with it , just wondered if you have updated it or are you using something new ? 

I'm using completely new stuff right now made specifically for my current (Hyde United) side from scratch - I'm doing the Youth Academy challenge so not using any of my previously created tactics and avoiding any known exploits to keep in the spirit of the challenge. Naturally bearing that in mind I'm still following my own Mentality Masterplan methodology as I feel that's more in keeping with the spirit of the game and is my own work anyway? :) 

Sorry, afraid I haven't - nor do I expect to - update(d) it for a while, however I expect if (when!) I ever get Hyde into the PL that I'll need something a bit more expansive (once my players are on par) so I may revisit it - I'll update the thread if so, otherwise the Discord is probably a better place to scout around right now?

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Optimus_Hyde.thumb.png.ea6a189c9d4e8b5ff4b8a0843e6b94a1.png

Sorry all, had a bit of time away from the dugout - have long since had a rule with my lifelong FM addiction that as soon as I feel like the game is against me/out to get me that it's a good time to step away/play something else /read a book/do whatever until such a point that the 'managerial pull' returns! I'm sure most of you have gone through similar emotional waves with the game over the years - as much as it can amaze it can also frustrate, so rather than take it out on the game or conjure wild conspiracy theories I like to walk away, reset and come back with a clean head - if nothing else, to prevent making stupid in game decisions (tactical or otherwise) that can (potentially) impact my save long term. With that waffle out of the way let's get back to it!!

 

My last update 'results-wise' was way way back (at least in-game) in November, when we were facing a potential takeover, doing pretty well up in 12th and enjoying decent results overall (see here). Fast forward a couple of months and a decent December gave way to a terrible January which was ruined further by the sale of our best defensive prospect (Lewis Brown - 22D). With 3 defeats and a draw in our last 3 games I took a short (& incredibly cathartic thanks to some Borderlands fun) sabbatical and resumed again today ready to once again lead Hyde to the promised land!

With no small amount of grit and determination allied to our usual dose of luck we came through a tricky month (games all against teams doing well in the top half of the division), with 8 points from a possible 12 seeing us reach our pre-season safety target and climb - not for the first time this season - into the playoff places with 12 games to go!

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A lot of this run has been built on the form of my two MC's - it's now our 5th season yet Morgan James & Grant Roberts are still such vital players for us - when they play well, we play well! Grant is now 32 (with another birthday imminent) & I've been blooding a number of players to try and ease him out of the team but such is his overall quality and consistency (my managers player of the year for 2 years running remember) that it's been anything but easy - his February Player of the Month award being testament;

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3 goals as the more defensive of my MC pairing is certainly not to be sniffed at and is something I focused on during the last few games to ensure that he wasn't in goalscoring positions as a side effect of poor tactical instructions (his DLP setting not exactly encouraging him to charge into the opposition box!). John Jeffs (23D) has filled in for Grant on occasion but is more of a DC going forward (especially now we've lost Brown) and Steve Robinson (23C) & Colin Turnbull (23B) should turn into good players but both are more offensively minded (so better suited covering Morgan James than Roberts) but I'll keep plugging away until we find a solution. Gavin Thomson (20C) was doing a decent job but has struggled since we came into League One so it might be beyond him - suspect we need to wait on the FM gods answering our calls - on that note....

 Naturally there's still a long way to go and 12 games is a lot of points still left to play for. I could be foolish and start dreaming as the gap to the automatic spots is now so low, but I'd rather just coin a few clichés & amble along for now, taking each game as it comes and seeing where that leaves us come May - especially as my favourite time of year has come again!

Now I've long since given up caring about the ratings my HoyD places on the yearly youth intake - whoever taught him the words 'golden' & 'generation' was likely spelling them out using alphabetti spaghetti such is his casual usage of the phrase - what's this now, our third of the save so far?

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Early signs are very promising and this might be the most excited I've been about an intake during this save yet;

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Some very good potential there and - likely why the HoyD singled him out - Jared Kenyon is ready for first team football almost immediately and definitely looks like a player;

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How much he can actually improve is obviously going to be important - to be so high CA already gives me the not so faint whiff of an early bloomer but I could - and let's hope I am - just be wrong; if he gets much better than that at his age I doubt we'll be able to keep him all that long in any case so if he is near his peak - which the coaches say he isn't - then it could actually be a blessing!

I'll have more on the rest of the intake after I've spreadsheeted my face off and run them under the microscope but so far holy heck - there are intakes and then there are intakes!

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Finally a striker with lots of potential!!

Potential Grant Roberts replacement?

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A GK with 19 for eccentricity might finally see me join Jimbo's crazy GK challenge too;

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Just going through my youth intake now and came across this - two of my coaches have the same rating for judging current ability yet they see the ability level of one of my new guys differently - not exactly a huge difference but interesting nonetheless? I mentioned a good few pages back now about the potential variance in coach (and also scout) ratings given their rating/20. I don't think it's anywhere near as exact a science as this but this is the same rough formula I've used to try and gauge how much faith I put in their respective opinions;

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The only thing I can suggest that's making a difference to their opinion here is the type of coach they are - with one being defensively/mental biased and the other a GK specialist? Interestingly, the defensive coach was - I'm certain - listed as a mental coach earlier this season so his attributes have obviously changed to influence that? As the player I'm looking at is a defender, it'll be the defensive coach's opinion I'll be using for now (rightly or wrongly);

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Wow, Kenyon looks like a fantastic prospect! Sign him on as long as possible deal as soon as you can. I've found out that players will "always" accept a real contract from the get go, but might not want it AFTER they have signed a youth contract. So I would advise you to sign him on a real contract and just skip the youth contract. He will still be on a youth contract until he is old enough anyway.

Smith have every tool needed to be a good striker and will hopefully dominate for you in the coming years.

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1 hour ago, XaW said:

Wow, Kenyon looks like a fantastic prospect! Sign him on as long as possible deal as soon as you can. I've found out that players will "always" accept a real contract from the get go, but might not want it AFTER they have signed a youth contract. So I would advise you to sign him on a real contract and just skip the youth contract. He will still be on a youth contract until he is old enough anyway.

Smith have every tool needed to be a good striker and will hopefully dominate for you in the coming years.

That sounds like one of those incredibly handy tips that you've learnt through (possibly painful?) experience so many thanks for passing it on - actually feel for the first time like my squad has maybe the potential to get to the PL so it'd be heartbreaking if we lost a few now because of something silly like them refusing to even discuss a contract! Contracts themselves are just at that 'ultra-tricky' point where agents are just getting involved and asking for what would likely be considered modest fee's, but which quickly add up and are enough to bankrupt us if i'm not careful - so every little bit helps!

I'm more excited about Kenyon than any other player so far this save (even Meaney!) - his attributes coupled with him being able to play Mezzala, Carrilero AND DLP (my 3 key MC roles!) by default are all amazing plus points! Hopefully Smith is indeed the striker we've been waiting for - can't complain if not with the overall general quality of this intake - the facility improvements may have put us in a dodgy spot financially but another year or two like this and we should be making enough back that it pays for itself! :) 

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43 minutes ago, optimusprimal82 said:

That sounds like one of those incredibly handy tips that you've learnt through (possibly painful?) experience so many thanks for passing it on

Yes.... Yes, indeed. In my Kettering save I lost two players like that. So when I got hugely talented players from then on, I changed the initial contract from a youth-type to an actual contract. Of course, they will stay on a youth one until they are old enough, but then they will get one automatically. So you can't change your mind about it. But seeing the talent on Kenyon, I doubt you will change your mind!

45 minutes ago, optimusprimal82 said:

Hopefully Smith is indeed the striker we've been waiting for - can't complain if not with the overall general quality of this intake - the facility improvements may have put us in a dodgy spot financially but another year or two like this and we should be making enough back that it pays for itself! :) 

Yeah, since you are hovering just around the playoffs now, a squad with another year to develop will most likely help push you for a promotion (should you not get one this year!). And then.... well, you seem to be overachieving, so why not go for broke. I predict to see you in Premier League within 5 seasons. No pressure! ;)

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Optimus_Hyde.thumb.png.eb1632bf6a49a74a7880911ad54d4804.png

Youth Intake 2024

So with our finances struggling a little due to investment in our facilities it seemed only fair that I should head into this years intake day with slightly heightened expectations...? Setting myself up for a hefty gut-punch of disappointment I'm delighted to say we got nothing of the sort and I'm absolutely delighted overall with this years crop of youngsters and feel they should become the bedrock of our side in the future (better recruits/premier league notwithstanding!).

I highlighted Jared Kenyon above and I've already got high expectations for him (and he's in the first team squad already at 15 which speaks volumes of his ability), but aside from him Shaquille Smith looks very handy up top and we have a few solid options elsewhere, not least James Bush & Ian Sephton. Due to the numbers already in our youth team I've set this years PA cut-off at 2 stars, and ignored my own rule for Kieran Biggins; attribute & potential wise he's nothing special, but he's a Target Man with a physical presence which is something I've desired for our team for a while - in other words a Plan B!

Mental stats wise again it's something of a mixed bag with 'unambitious' cropping up far too much, as well as 'volatile' and 'confrontational' for media handling style; I think my HoyD must have a low Temperament stat but as proven last year he's the best of a bad bunch right now, but it's something we can look to change when we move up again; for now we can definitely work with what he's giving us and the players fit our core tactical shape which is a big plus!

Only real downside is the lack of a genuine replacement for Lewis Brown (22D) - his sale has left a hole we're struggling to fill - otherwise a great intake overall and well worth a little financial hardship (here's hoping the youth system becomes self-sufficient in a year or two!)

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22 minutes ago, XaW said:

Yes.... Yes, indeed. In my Kettering save I lost two players like that. So when I got hugely talented players from then on, I changed the initial contract from a youth-type to an actual contract. Of course, they will stay on a youth one until they are old enough, but then they will get one automatically. So you can't change your mind about it. But seeing the talent on Kenyon, I doubt you will change your mind!

Yeah, since you are hovering just around the playoffs now, a squad with another year to develop will most likely help push you for a promotion (should you not get one this year!). And then.... well, you seem to be overachieving, so why not go for broke. I predict to see you in Premier League within 5 seasons. No pressure! ;)

Ouch - duly noted! I've tied Kenyon to a deal until 2027 (2024 in my save right now) with an additional year extension (it wouldn't let me add 2 probably due to his age) as a result - hopefully we'll be in the championship (or the PL if we follow your schedule!) by then so we can tie him down further.

 

All joking aside, we're good enough to go up this year, but not comfortably or in any way the same as we were in our first two seasons - I can tell we're still behind some teams ability wise by how our play drops off and we struggle in certain games. Luckily right now I'm able to predict it reasonably well so can counter it through mentality/role changes but it's getting harder to bridge that quality gap so we badly need to turn some of our PA into CA if we're going to make that sort of jump up in that timeframe (not saying it's not possible, just cautious knowing how slowly players develop with training facilities as awful as ours!).

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Given you a follow and only half way through page one so far (being cheeky and reading up at work :brock:) with you just securing the league and got to say, top notch write ups :applause:.

Having just started Mozza's custom Scottish Lower League database I'm reading for tips just as much as entertainment.

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20 minutes ago, metallimuse said:

Given you a follow and only half way through page one so far (being cheeky and reading up at work :brock:) with you just securing the league and got to say, top notch write ups :applause:.

Having just started Mozza's custom Scottish Lower League database I'm reading for tips just as much as entertainment.

Thank you, appreciated - given that I struggle to write less than 5000 words at a time that's a lot of back reading so my apologies in advance unless you hate your job in which case, you're welcome!! :D 

Good luck in Scotland - the lack of cash-money is possibly the biggest hurdle, but get a few decent youngsters in and no doubt the PL dogs will come sniffing around!

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1 minute ago, optimusprimal82 said:

Thank you, appreciated - given that I struggle to write less than 5000 words at a time that's a lot of back reading so my apologies in advance unless you hate your job in which case, you're welcome!! :D 

Good luck in Scotland - the lack of cash-money is possibly the biggest hurdle, but get a few decent youngsters in and no doubt the PL dogs will come sniffing around!

Yeah the fact that I've literally spent since 09:30am reading and only now just at your season 2 preview on page 1 I'm astounded :eek:.

 

But love the in depth nature of it. I'm not nearly as in depth as you when playing, reading this I feel like Inception with just layers upon layers going on :ackter:. All great stuff and things which give me pause for thought about my own style and way I go about things.

Biggest thing so far I'm taking is your statement that you think with the right mentality a player can play in any role not just the green lit ones. My pal favours playing players in a role he wants but I generally go with clean lit for the position I want.

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Hmmm, question.

You keep making reference to your coaches judging ability, is this something you put a lot of stock in and deem important when choosing coaches for your club?

For me I normally go for an ass man with best judgement and go off that and my coaches I place most stock in working with youngsters, technical and then mental stats to develop my players.

With regards to my ass man's judgement I'm more looking for his view of PA more than anything as with CA once you are playing the squad you are judging them yourself with regards their average rating and performance.

So my question I think boils down to, does having coaches with good judgement help improve players or not?

 

(Just about to read through your title run in, here's hoping!)

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2 hours ago, metallimuse said:

Yeah the fact that I've literally spent since 09:30am reading and only now just at your season 2 preview on page 1 I'm astounded :eek:.

 

But love the in depth nature of it. I'm not nearly as in depth as you when playing, reading this I feel like Inception with just layers upon layers going on :ackter:. All great stuff and things which give me pause for thought about my own style and way I go about things.

Biggest thing so far I'm taking is your statement that you think with the right mentality a player can play in any role not just the green lit ones. My pal favours playing players in a role he wants but I generally go with clean lit for the position I want.

Well I can only hope that the time has flown and naturally I appreciate you taking the time - the interaction from you all and feedback is what makes posting all this worthwhile!

My friends say similar things about the depth and it's important I reiterate - and I always try to assume that this is implied - that this level of depth is absolutely not needed to enjoy the game/be successful; for example i don't go to the lengths of spreadsheet-ing my entire squad in a lot of my more regular saves, only these lower league/level challenges where the extra 2-5% may make the difference!

The roles thing is something I find very interesting and I'm not 100% decided on yet - it's something I've discussed with some of the major FM tactical guru's and all we can agree on is that it's preferable to play them in their favoured role, but if a payer has the relevant attributes they can perform well anyway (and i wish i'd kept some of the examples I had of this from my last save); what's far more important to me is getting the balance of roles/duties amongst the 11 to gel and then fit the players into that framework - but at the same time, building a framework with AML/AMR IF's and then trying to play MR/ML wingers in those positions isn't a good idea and you're just asking for trouble? I've asked a couple of the guys who build the download tactics to test the difference with players playing in preferred roles or not when they're running their big batch/unit tests but apparently the automation is down so have yet to get a proper response - all I have right now is opinion (which is based on my own experience) which in the absence of informed knowledge (as in from one of the SI guys) is my favoured type of understanding; I'll also quickly tack on that playing someone in a 'red role' may indeed penalise them still slightly, but i've yet to see that occur in-game explicitly (strikers maybe the notable exception - but they're twitchy as all heck this year form wise anyway!)

 

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, metallimuse said:

Hmmm, question.

You keep making reference to your coaches judging ability, is this something you put a lot of stock in and deem important when choosing coaches for your club?

For me I normally go for an ass man with best judgement and go off that and my coaches I place most stock in working with youngsters, technical and then mental stats to develop my players.

With regards to my ass man's judgement I'm more looking for his view of PA more than anything as with CA once you are playing the squad you are judging them yourself with regards their average rating and performance.

So my question I think boils down to, does having coaches with good judgement help improve players or not?

 

(Just about to read through your title run in, here's hoping!)

I don't think (or 100% know if) it makes any difference in terms of coaches improving the players and it's not something I focus on for the majority of my staff either - I just try to have one member of coaching staff with the highest possible value for judging both current and potential ability - whilst attributes are obviously important, sometimes it's too granular for comparisons at a squad level so I need (read: like) to be able to judge quickly (and naturally yes, my opinion of their performance/how they play also informs this and overrides a coaches opinion). I actually find the potential more useful, but the 'current' judge helps gauge accurately by how much more a player may improve (e.g. if an 18 JPA coach says a players has 5 star potential but a 4JCA says he's currently at 4 stars does he really have just one more star to grow or is the JCA guy so far out that he may have another 3-4 to grow and I should give them more development time?). Naturally with this being an academy challenge and my team being low rep without much cash, being able to judge my youth intake accurately and knowing who and who not to invest o can also save a lot of effort/money/anguish. Hope that makes sense?

Edited by optimusprimal82

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23 minutes ago, optimusprimal82 said:

My friends say similar things about the depth and it's important I reiterate - and I always try to assume that this is implied - that this level of depth is absolutely not needed to enjoy the game/be successful; for example i don't go to the lengths of spreadsheet-ing my entire squad in a lot of my more regular saves, only these lower league/level challenges where the extra 2-5% may make the difference!

The roles thing is something I find very interesting and I'm not 100% decided on yet - it's something I've discussed with some of the major FM tactical guru's and all we can agree on is that it's preferable to play them in their favoured role, but if a payer has the relevant attributes they can perform well anyway (and i wish i'd kept some of the examples I had of this from my last save); what's far more important to me is getting the balance of roles/duties amongst the 11 to gel and then fit the players into that framework - but at the same time, building a framework with AML/AMR IF's and then trying to play MR/ML wingers in those positions isn't a good idea and you're just asking for trouble? I've asked a couple of the guys who build the download tactics to test the difference with players playing in preferred roles or not when they're running their big batch/unit tests but apparently the automation is down so have yet to get a proper response - all I have right now is opinion (which is based on my own experience) which in the absence of informed knowledge (as in from one of the SI guys) is my favoured type of understanding; I'll also quickly tack on that playing someone in a 'red role' may indeed penalise them still slightly, but i've yet to see that occur in-game explicitly (strikers maybe the notable exception - but they're twitchy as all heck this year form wise anyway!)

 

No the depths you have gone to may not NEED to be so big for enjoyment of the game but I feel after 15 years playing the series this is the next step for me to really take on a new level with it which is why this past year I've really started reading more into the boards here for new ideas/thoughts on how to master it more.

With roles I've not placed huge importance on them in my FM life as of yet. For me, the formation and tactics are what I've placed greatest emphasis on previously and then have the role within that as what they are green lit on when possible. With my previous years experiences this has served me well but never played a custom database before this low down so starting to consider if things like roles play a big part.

Fascinated by the fact you have poured over your players and their stats and created tactics from there, that's a level I'm not yet at or a way of thinking I've employed.

I have a tactic and style that I find that works and plough ahead with it Pep/Mourinho/Wenger style if you will, I appreciate that you have probably created your tactic due to the fact you can't sign anyone in this particular save though lol.

 

I will defo finish this thread tonight, I've already decided I'm going to a quiet pub after my shift to have a pint and read through no distractions :brock: 

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Posted (edited)

My head hurts :stop: :lol:.

Just reaching third regen post and it’s all gold and a great eduction but wow.

Not put off in the slightest and loving it but might not end up catching up on the whole thing tonight as I said lol. 

Taken quite a few screen grabs to refer back to when playing my own save :brock:

Edited by metallimuse

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On 27/03/2019 at 09:19, optimusprimal82 said:

Yeah it's cool seeing them become successful, love seeing those little stories play out! I always like seeing my loan players help get their team promoted and all that stupid sort of stuff. The only time I weirdly drop all sentimentality out of the window is when they hit 30 and I can't get them out of the team fast enough - I'll keep them around for mentoring or whatnot but despite being fiercely loyal for most of their career it appears - in FM at least - that I am supremely ageist! Thankfully my employer does not subscribe to this same theory else I would have been out on my bottom a long time ago! :D 

Do you find that 19 (and maybe 18?) are far harsher when it comes to rotating? I am also a stickler for throwing kids at the team (and you mentioning that has inspired my next post!) as soon as I can but in recent versions have found that the game - quite rightly imo - has gotten the balance between tactics and player ability down much better? Not saying it's perfect - I still think I've overachieved with these guys for example - but I found I could rotate the kids in with much less risk say in FM12/13/14? All conjecture and opinion, but just a constant thought I've had whilst playing through 19!

Ha, thanks... I think? :) 

YES to all of this, you are my kind of manager and EXACTLY how I play the game :D

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9 hours ago, XaW said:

Wow, Kenyon looks like a fantastic prospect! Sign him on as long as possible deal as soon as you can. I've found out that players will "always" accept a real contract from the get go, but might not want it AFTER they have signed a youth contract. So I would advise you to sign him on a real contract and just skip the youth contract. He will still be on a youth contract until he is old enough anyway.

 

Yep always sign my best prospects to real contracts straight away.

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Fudge me I actually did catch up!

In true Kevin Keegan style “I loved it, LOVED it”. Fantastic read and lots of tips taken in and can’t wait to keep up to date in real time.

Incredible right ups I can not compliment you enough Opti :applause:.

 

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Good to see the new facilities coming through for you.

Now is the time to find a HYOD with a better Personality to improve those regen personalities!

(even though I find many more balanced and worse personalities in ALL intakes and across the game world as well.)

Need to get the Hyde FC "Autobot" assembly line of Model Professional regens up and running! 

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, metallimuse said:

Fudge me I actually did catch up!

In true Kevin Keegan style “I loved it, LOVED it”. Fantastic read and lots of tips taken in and can’t wait to keep up to date in real time.

Incredible right ups I can not compliment you enough Opti :applause:.

 

Sorry you had the last few hours(/maybe felt like days!) of reading without me adding more waffle/moving the goalposts - I'm in Oz so my hours online are a little away from the norm!

Thank you for the feedback/kinds words - definitely appreciated and as I said, it's what makes writing it all worthwhile! I guess the next step now is for you to throw up a thread of your own charting your route through the Scottish doldrums - I'm always interested to read how other managers go about things, I've yet to see a single person yet who is an expert at every facet of the game so the best players are usually (as in most walks of life) are always learning/looking for a way to improve - obviously I'll throw in the caveat that writing the thread can seriously extend playing time (although naturally you don't have to go into nerd level detail like I do!).

Next challenge away from the game is maybe @Jimbokav1971's thread (can find it here - maybe make sure no-one can see your screen when you first click if at work though! Not sack-able but you may get a raised eyebrow thrown your way!) if you haven't already read it I reckon? There's a lot of good thread's again this year (been reading them for many years but only felt brave enough to write my own this year - many of which I'm trying and failing to catch up on!) but his is my first recommendation, mainly because I like the detail of his updates, the story it tells and he seems to approach the game in a very similar way to me so I can follow his decision making processes (and pain!) very well!

His thoughts/points on mentality and personality are very interesting too, it was an area of the game I used to obsess over but have become far more relaxed about it this year, especially - as illustrated in this save - as the 'lesser personalities' are still more than capable (just maybe not as capable) of playing well/getting promoted.

 

11 hours ago, metallimuse said:

Fascinated by the fact you have poured over your players and their stats and created tactics from there, that's a level I'm not yet at or a way of thinking I've employed.

I have a tactic and style that I find that works and plough ahead with it Pep/Mourinho/Wenger style if you will, I appreciate that you have probably created your tactic due to the fact you can't sign anyone in this particular save though lol.

Absolutely 100% this, yes. The area of the game I'd (hopefully this doesn't sound arrogant) suggest I'm best at is recruitment so I often settle on a style of play and recruit towards that (which is how i suspect the majority of players play), filtering and analysing my way from a bad squad to a great one over a few years - it's exactly why I took on this challenge as it takes away what I believe is my core strength at gaining success, just had to consider that first though as it's also my favourite part of the game so felt like some of the fun was missing for the first few years - now I'm getting decent kids through, analysing them has become the xfer window 'fun replacement'.

When it comes to building a tactic around your team, you can (and in no way is this the only way) look to your Ass Man for help, there's an option called 'pick without restriction' where he'll select your best XI (currently fit/available) in the shape you've dictated and fit roles/duties around them - he'll point out that it's not a finished product (which should be obvious as it's not going to change the TI/PI's) but it can be useful for getting the hang of a new squad - the team report screens then backing you up to see how much cover there is (you don't want to back yourself into a corner if you have just one amazing winger for example!);

What's especially interesting is watching the ass man fill my tactical shape with the guys available, and then telling him to pick without restriction and seeing what he changes - he's never been a fan of my midfield 'magic triangle' for example, but it's interesting (and largely dictated by CA I suspect) to note who he picks for each of the roles/duties and how those roles/duties change afterwards;

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If i just tell him to pick the team, he puts Morgan James in as Carrilero with Meaney (21A) as the Mezzala with John Jeffs (23D) as the DLP. I don't like playing Meaney and James in MC (I tend to have them cover each other) so straight away I'd change that with Meaney likely going up top (possibly with his role changing to DLF), Morgan James moved to mezzala (although i sometimes swap the sides of Mezzala/Carrilero around to suit James' left foot), Grant Roberts coming in as the Carrilero and Keenan Quansah as the DLP (He likely would have picked Quansah but we're mid season and the guy is super-tired!). If I now tell him to go nuts and pick without restriction;

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He makes considerable changes across the board, not least to the MC's. If you look at his opinion of the players the changes actually make a lot of sense as he's pretty much just fitting them to what he considers their best role overall but not always which suggests that other calculations are at play?

Meaney's best/recommended role is as an AMC/Enganche, but in MC it seems very tight between 'Advanced Playmaker', 'Central Midfielder' or 'DLP' (with AP seeming the ranked best choice?) so why he picks CM is debatable, especially with the attack duty which I suspect comes down to some sort of attribute weighting?

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Meaney as an MC/Support;

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And as an MC/Attack;

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Possible looking at that, that my Ass Man feels his defensive stats will let him down more in a support role? Very interesting stuff anyway, obviously the temptation is to go with the Ass Man as he 'surely knows what he's on about' (tongue firmly in cheek) as coded by SI - but do I really want to play with two attacking MC's? This is a rabbit hole you can spend ages down if you're not careful - the good thing with my squad at the moment is I can easily identify my best 11 so I make it more about getting them on the pitch & getting the best out of them which makes some of these decisions easier - I'll be touching upon this in my next update but I've actually been toying around with 2 up front again (by moving one of the MC's instead of the DM) to great recent success and getting the roles right with the strikers has been the hardest of things but finally got them scoring a bit more frequently so hoping we've got a working solution going forward!

Edited by optimusprimal82

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4 hours ago, Hootieleece said:

Good to see the new facilities coming through for you.

Now is the time to find a HYOD with a better Personality to improve those regen personalities!

(even though I find many more balanced and worse personalities in ALL intakes and across the game world as well.)

Need to get the Hyde FC "Autobot" assembly line of Model Professional regens up and running! 

Absolutely agree on the HoyD, unfortunately there doesn't seem to be an awful lot of choice around right now, I did have a look at the end of last season when we had so many upgrades sanctioned and my search suggested we already have the best guy for the job.

The difficult thing is that regardless of how good the personalities are when they come through, my overall squad is ensuring they're being trashed sufficiently by the time they hit 24 - was just doing some digging when replying to one of Jimbo's awesome posts and it's quite shocking seeing some of the decline - Grant Doran had 18 Determination when I started the save and is now at (just) 13, Alhaji Salgado has gone from 15 to 11 yet James Hodges was 3 and has improved to 5 - and obviously this is just with the stats i can see!

I realise this effect will be lessened over time as the overall median of the group increases but it's not deviated (yet) since the start of my save slightly disappointing seeing just how bad the decay is organically - I guess the other way to combat it would be to break out the mentoring, but at this level I don't (unsurprisingly) have a great choice of mentors to pick from. If we can go up another level, let's hope I can grab a Model Cit and see if it can make a difference - the other thing that I think will help is getting more players like Meaney (with a good personality) to be stars of the team and thus having a higher effect on the others.

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What is good is seeing how much our facilities have improved - they'even better than listed there which no doubt explains why our intakes have improved so much;

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I really want the Junior coaching & Training Facilities increased but the pot is currently almost empty (although the takeover appears to be back on so hopefully that may soon change!);

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Posted (edited)

Optimus_Hyde.thumb.png.804fd4fcd2b98a32f6d05aeb408dd28b.png

It's Squeaky Bum Time Again....!

Wow, what a few in-game months it's been - my notepad is actually a little light on things to update you all about yet it feels like so much has happened, mainly down to the amount of tweaking and obsessing I've been doing over our tactical shape and general play. Reading back through my own thread I get annoyed by how I seem to contradict myself with regard to exactly how attacking I want/like to play. Historically I've always been a manager that prides himself on clean sheets but likes to score a lot of goals too (I know right - the promised land that every manager would like to live in?); give me a choice between a 1-0, 3-0, 3-1 or 8-2 I'll take the 3-0 every time as to me it's a sign of domination at both ends of the field and whilst I subscribe totally to the Cruyff (and now Guardiola) theory that "If you have the ball, the opposition doesn’t have it and can’t attack you" I also strongly agree with Pep's assertion that "Tiki-taka means passing the ball for the sake of it, with no clear intention. And it's pointless".

All that being said, I've mentioned numerous times how my team struggle to score goals as that's the perception I get from watching them, yet we're in the top 5 in the league for goals scored in every season I've played on this save so what on earth am I talking about? I think a lot of it is down to how I view this years ME - for me, the first goal is vital in this years iteration (like it often is irl - goals change games!) as it controls how the opposition react tremendously. I've mentioned my 'mentality masterplan' numerous times and that's all logic based on observing how the AI sides react at different stages in the game depending on whether they're winning/losing - my overall/overriding belief this year is that if you can score first then your chances of winning improve exponentially as the AI becomes easier to play against (so long as you don't go too crazy)! Where I get frustrated with my guys is that when I make us solid defensively we often become incredibly toothless in attack, keeping the ball with little to no penetration. I've made no secret of my issues with the quality of our strikers and to be fair to them, our over-achievement in being promoted so frequently has definitely not helped as any good prospects have been dimmed by the higher standard of defenders. To combat this I tend to play far more attacking than I logically/probably should in order to ensure my guys get the first goal and manage the game from there - the knock-on effect is that whilst results are fantastic overall, our general play is disappointing and statistically and analytically we're a mess, summed up perfectly by this graphic from our tactical analysis screen;

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I won't lie - I was pretty devastated when I saw that and even though we've definitely succeeded in this save overall, I actually feel like I'm failing a little bit as it suggests to me that somewhere or another I must be exploiting the game - something our current league position only serves to back up (more on that in a second). Now friends argue that I'm being silly, and that the only exploit is my stupid obsessions with watching/reacting to what's happening in-game - their proof being that when one of them offered/tested my current tactic sets they suffered consecutive heavy defeats whilst struggling for any sort of performance - this renewed my faith a little but it also made me determined to sort a few things out with my guys over the next few seasons and aim to get a few more 0's in the against column! To balance this, obviously I need a healthy swig from the reality chalice - I'm not allowed to buy players and my board sold my best defender so on that basis I should be well within my rights to ask "does it even matter?" and I think a lot of people would answer "no"? Simple answer being if we're getting promoted then all's good? I think for me, whilst winning is important, it's how you do it that matters - if my team won 3-0 from penalties all won through diving I'd be mortified and the achievement would be forever tarnished and so it is now when I look at the table;

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Following a serious tactical tweak we have stormed into the playoff positions and sit just outside the automatic spots, yet the goals against column has me almost weeping and feeling... almost embarrassed? Yep, think that's definitely the right word? The one constant I've maintained throughout this thread/whilst playing 19 is that attack is definitely the best form of defence and so it's proven this season yet again, although I do take some pride when seeing that free scoring Exeter are proof that scoring goals alone isn't enough by itself - so whilst my balanced/positive/attacking style is likely to blame for our high number of concessions, so it is too responsible for the fact we have an outside chance of promotion yet again, all on the back of our results (and Hull's) over the last 12 games;

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Going back to my striker talk, the interesting thing to notice is that despite being the current league top scorers, we don't actually have a player in the League's top 20 for goals scored - it's 100% a team effort with 5 players having 8+ goals so far. Whilst that's incredible, it does still mean we struggle in some games and we are not the most clinical of sides (a 69% CCC conversion rate isn't shabby, but still far behind the AI's 78% against us!) so it's something I'd like to arrest before stopping goals at the other end. Attempts earlier in the season with a 442 backfired eventually, but it's something I've still been thinking about as I loved the way my team played with 2 up top - so I decided I had to revisit it. As alluded to in a post above, I decided this time to move one of the MC's forward as opposed to the DM I'd sacrificed previously so my team setup is more like this;

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Now it's still a WIP, but so far it's doing so well for us, with the DLF/AF combo suiting Meaney (21A) down to the ground (he plays DLF) alongside either Stephen Wells (20A) or Gary Allinson (23A) who both come alive when played with a partner, so much so that in the last 12 games we've scored 29 goals, 9 of which have come from Wells/Allinson as the STCR, with 7 coming from the STCL (primarily Meaney, sometimes Skelton - 22A) which is a big improvement given that Wells (20A) has 13 for the season overall and Allinson ((23A) just 8! At the other end, we conceded 14 in the 12 games which is also a lower average and compared to 21 in the previous 12 games (which doesn't factor in strength of opposition) also bodes well from a defensive viewpoint - it'll be interesting to see how we develop going further ahead with it, in some ways it seems a little unorthodox but at the same time it's effectively just a 442 with a more pronounced MC split?

The one thing I need to bear in mind is potentially the intensity as quite a few of my players are in need of a rest if I listen to the medical team (which I most definitely do!)

 

Help from elsewhere...

Now good results are great, but you can only move up the table if your results are better than the teams around you so whilst we've taken care of things our end, more important has been the implosion of teams around us - namely Shrewsbury & Hull;

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Hull in particular - powered up by an always on fire Will Grigg - are all over the place at the moment, they were in apparent freefall before destroying Mansfield and then the Shrews in consecutive games - luckily their very next game saw them away to the runaway leaders but the signs are good that we can catch them up if their form doesn't improve, what we don't want to is to end up in the playoffs having to face them as it's clear that in one off games they're very strong!

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With just 4 games to go it's obviously very tight, but with just a single point separating us, Hull's form being all over the place and our fixtures - on paper at least - looking the more favourable, the odds are good that we may make the Championship certainly a few season earlier than I was expecting with yet another fairytale season in the offing!

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Playing favourites...

I've waxed lyrical far too often about Grant Roberts throughout my save (just go back a few updates if you've forgotten!) - the winner of two prestigious 'Manager's player of the year awards' he's been a rock in our midfield and the consistent foil for our goalscoring Mezzala's - I'd used my favourite Carrilero/Mezzala/DLP combo to great effect in my last save but hadn't expected to be able to use it so freely in this save/at this level, but the fact he could/can play the Carrilero role & Morgan James is the epitome of a lower league Mezzala made it a perfect fit - but it looks like there'll be no happy ending as his contract ends this season and his demands are beyond ridiculous for a 33 year old listed as a backup. His current contract;

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His demands;

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Now I've since convinced him to fire his agent but the agent - for once - wasn't that unreasonable, but whilst we have plenty of overhead in our wage budget, the fact our finances are in the toilet means I'm really loathe to double his weekly wage, especially when we may get promoted and a lot of other players (particularly Meaney/Kenyon) will undoubtedly want raises... It's a bit of a dilemma because he's been amazing for us and we still don't yet have a clear/obvious replacement for him - but even the coaches list him now as 'surplus to requirements' so I'm really torn between my loyalty to a great player and my more usual heartless & money orientated style of play. For a high level view we can afford it from my allowance point of view but given that my board seem to be running the club into the ground it feels irresponsible to hand him a 'double his money' deal;

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Digging into the finances a little more (and remember they already forced me to sell Lewis Brown - 22D), our balance is now the lowest it's been since the Man City windfall and whilst it's easy to pinpoint specific outlays (ground & youth team improvements) that have eaten into our reserves it looks to be a combination of our board getting used to big cup-led gate receipt incomes and higher youth team spend that is causing the damage;

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One of the big anomalies looking at that is the 'bonuses' section - the only one I can remember us paying is the yearly one to the entire team for winning promotion but the amount seems ludicrous now with hindsight and should we go up again I expect another significant outlay having left the bonuses at normal/default level so as not to upset anyone. I would have hoped with me only utilising ~50% of my wage budget though that we wouldn't be facing these sort of issues - seems that next season may be the time we finally have to cash in on guys like Meaney (21A) if we're to improve any further...? Let's hope the aforementioned takeover does happen and we get better owners - but naturally the grass may not be greener so I'll be careful what I wish for!

One guy who definitely wasn't a favourite was Goalkeeper James Hodges - already at Hyde when I joined, he recently left on a free (end of contract) to join Halifax having never played a league game for us in 5 seasons. He did make 8 cup appearances which showed us what we weren't missing as he conceded 17 goals which is pretty remarkable! Peter Crook has been outstanding for us in goal since I joined so Hodges leaving is the first time I've thought about the position for a while; with Crook now 29 it might be time to start playing someone like Ian Pollock (22F) next season to try and get him ready for first team action - with just 2 star potential though he may not be the guy we're looking for and it may be worth throwing 15 (or 16 as he will be by then) year old Ryan O'Sullivan (24G) in at the deep end as he's clearly a better long term option as he's rocking 3.5 stars PA.

 

Edited by optimusprimal82

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4 minutes ago, optimusprimal82 said:

So um, which is it I wonder...?

Weeeeeeeeell, the top is the actual effort in training and the lower is his general approach to training? I guess he has a low rate of professionalism, determination, and/or ambition? ;)

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1 minute ago, XaW said:

Weeeeeeeeell, the top is the actual effort in training and the lower is his general approach to training? I guess he has a low rate of professionalism, determination, and/or ambition? ;)

So he tries really hard to be an asshole? :) 

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58 minutes ago, optimusprimal82 said:

So he tries really hard to be an asshole? :) 

Something like that! :p

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Optimus_Hyde.thumb.png.82334d8736fd63f026a3e56a644811bb.png

3 Games to go...!

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Well what a bum clencher that was! :eek: Hull had played a day earlier, only managing to draw 1-1 away to Luton so we knew a win would take us into the automatic promotion spots...

Obviously my guys are low scoring pressure wise as - with a lot riding on this game they were nervous and struggling from the off, with us letting them score an easy goal in just the 11th minute! We were slow, ponderous and barely recognisable after that and I honestly believe if they hadn't have had a guy sent off then we'd have struggled to draw the game, let alone win it! Absolutely shocking performance that the match stats completely hide - if we play like that in the next three games we have no chance - at the very least though, we've secured a playoff place (although that will feel like a wooden spoon from here)!

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Just 3 games to go - we'll do very well to get anything away to Notts County (we beat them 1-0 at our ground) and we owe Coventry before facing the inevitable banana skin of bottom side Lincoln, away on the final day. My hope is that we can tie it up before then - not sure my nerves can handle another run-in this close otherwise - but Hull's next 2 games are against 19th & 23rd so not hopeful!

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Posted (edited)

Optimus_Hyde.thumb.png.9d6f83ea6575d158b0541ad78140c997.png

Smash & grabbed...!

We got a huge boost before kick off when it was announced our best player actually doesn't hate us and is happy to stay (for now);

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He's had a good season if maybe not quite as spectacular as his ability would suggest - but as he's been unhappy for the majority it's hardly a huge surprise - hopefully this will give us the impetus over the final few games!

It was only a few posts back I was talking about shoring up our defence - I didn't at that point imagine I'd be 'doing a Mourinho' just a few games later! Now it wasn't full on bus-ball we played but I certainly made sure we focused on keeping the ball out of the net early on as it's become something of  a pattern for us but to our great credit we were much more solid, albeit at the expense of attacking output. Now if we were good at scoring from set pieces that may well have been a gameplan, but with just 4 goals from corners all season (and they're largely in part to Allan Cahill being a beast in the air!) I wasn't pinning any sort of hope on them - instead it was Joe Nolan (22B) making his first appearance since damaging a knee cap (ouch!) that made the difference as he beat the defender to a through ball played more in hope than belief to score the only goal of the game and earn us another nervy but precious 3 points!

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Peter Crook in goal deserves a shout out too as he was once again immense at repelling anything that came his way! Hull predictably won their fixture 3-0 (at home to Bolton) so we carry on into the final 2 fixtures - at least now goal difference shouldn't come into play, losing out to that would have killed me (United beat me to the PL title one season in my last save by +2 GD!);

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Edited by optimusprimal82

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Posted (edited)

Optimus_Hyde.thumb.png.9f271631b251ecb5ddc00fc8a0f355f0.png

The goal that takes us to the Championship...?

Free from doubts, worry and despair, Fraser Meaney (21A) was back to his best against Coventry and stepped up when we really needed him with this little beauty which was enough to get us a 1-1 draw that should be enough to clinch promotion with just 1 game remaining;

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Yes it's not the best goal we/he will ever score, but considering that it was yet another stuttering performance it was nice to see something of a team effort to get us on the scoresheet; our LB Brownhill clipping a ball into our STCR (Skelton 22A) who lays it off for our ML; cutting inside, the ML plays it into our DLP who finds Meaney (21A) unmarked on the edge of the box. Needing just 1 touch to set himself, the ball is on his favoured left peg so Fraser then steers the ball past the helpless GK - lovely stuff! I literally cannot wait for this season to be over, we are playing so so poorly that I don't even recognise my guys at the moment and I'm having to watch the full games to try and maintain a modicum of control.

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Sadly we couldn't hold out for the win, a direct 55th minute free kick undoing our hard work, but we held on (and we really were holding on at the end) to get a vital point - all the more important as the score came in from the Memorial stadium and we found out that Bristol Rovers (a team I retain a fond spot for having sold me the incredible Mark Smith, Trevor Challis & Jamie Shore back in the CM3 days!) had beaten Hull 3-1!

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I know we're trying our hardest to bottle it now, but you have to feel a little for Hull, they've thrown the automatic promotion away with this terrible run - but their loss is most definitely our gain (if we make it, got to stop tempting fate!);

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Our final game is one of those FM games you can just predict the frustration... We have to win (if we draw and Hull win then they'll go up due to superior GD) away from home to bottom side Lincoln (who are already relegated) I can already envisage missing chance after chance and either scraping a draw (following a late counter attack equaliser from them) or a narrow win by a solitary goal with an underwear threatening final 10 minutes! We beat them 3-2 at our place and the game was pretty even looking back at the stats so if we take it lightly we may be very well struggle! Hull are at home to playoff chasing Barnet so their task isn't easy either (I'd take our game let's put it that way!)

Edited by optimusprimal82

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Posted (edited)

Optimus_Hyde.thumb.png.df625d1293316516e951a29f88d31efc.png

Mission Accomplished (Just)...

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Whisper it but I think I may love him! :) 

 

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Another game we tried our hardest not to win - overall performance was again way below what I'd expect. Lincoln are obviously in a false position as ignoring our performance they played way better than teams we've played chasing promotion and caused us no end of problems - even having a goal (correctly imo) disallowed in the 83rd minute that I'll admit drew a naughty word or two from the Hyde manager! As it turned out, a solitary corner goal from our aforementioned giant Allan Cahill (22E) was enough to seal the 3 points which meant irrespective of Hull's result (as it turns out they lost yet again!), we're going up...

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I risk sounding like a right miserable git here, but being completely honest, I cannot for the life of me ever remember accomplishing something in all my years of CM/FM and feeling this joyless/empty/hollow about it - obviously I was relieved to beat Lincoln and am pleased that we're in the Championship but even though we had a hell of a run to end the season (unbeaten in 16), such was the manner of Hull's collapse that it doesn't really feel like we fully earned it (if that makes sense?)? They're undoubtedly a better team than us (they trounced us 5-1 at our ground), as are a few others so for reasons I can't quite put my finger on I feel almost dirty at going up? Sure when I get used to it I'll cheer up, but right now I feel a little disconnect with my team and the save which I hope to get over fast - this is normally the take off point for my saves, I LOVE managing around the Championship level normally as it feels like you've finally escaped the doldrums and get to work with proper players and are dealing with proper transfer fee's but right now, apathy is the overriding feeling, very very odd, but possibly due to over-achievement and what I feel is a deep seated resentment of the Man City money having skipped us forward a few years? It's saved me time and (probably misery) yet somehow I feel like it's cheated us forward? Looking at the state of our finances right now it may have done the opposite long term but let's be honest, we're one decent takeover/sale away from sorting that out so it's not world ending - on that very subject;

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£300k....

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EDIT: Just two days later;

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What have Mansfield got that Hyde hasn't? Huh? Huh? Not that we could spend it anyway, but think of what youth improvements that could get us! :) 

 

 

Edited by optimusprimal82

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12 minutes ago, optimusprimal82 said:

I risk sounding like a right miserable git here, but being completely honest, I cannot for the life of me ever remember accomplishing something in all my years of CM/FM and feeling this joyless/empty/hollow about it

You right miserable git! :p

Well, it all depends on the expectations. If you were expecting to struggle, but don't, then I guess it's a rather strange feeling. However, you are resembling a tactical genius here, so it just goes to show how much tactics can influence things.

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, XaW said:

You right miserable git! :p

Well, it all depends on the expectations. If you were expecting to struggle, but don't, then I guess it's a rather strange feeling. However, you are resembling a tactical genius here, so it just goes to show how much tactics can influence things.

I think that may be the crux of it - it often feels in 19 that relegation battles aren't always that difficult/as difficult as they should be - obviously player ability means you get smashed a lot of the time but because of the overly attacking way the AI teams come at you/teams with lower reputations, you can usually do enough to survive (and I'm conscious that I'm making some sweeping statements here which I dislike enormously) - weirdly I like being beaten in games (so long as it feels fair) but i think the reputation system is a little screwy this year so if you're playing as a top team, sides are too quick to go ultra-defensive on you, and inversely, if playing as a minnow like Hull, teams will attack far too much and leave acres of space to exploit. I actually expect this to get more difficult to counter as we come up against more ruthless strikers (League one was already a step up in this regard) so hopefully I get the proper relegation battle I crave - that first season we survived in League Two has actually been my favourite/the most fun of the save so far as it genuinely felt like we were up against it every week (and losing 21 games suggests we were!) so it was a real achievement staying up.

In other news, the takeover has once again hit the rocks to no-one's surprise - at least it should mean I can make board requests again soon (and hopefully sneak a few upgrades we can't afford in!).

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This just happened too, but as far as I'm aware it's just a status/youth league thing and has no bearing on newgen quality?

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Edited by optimusprimal82

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1 hour ago, optimusprimal82 said:

This just happened too, but as far as I'm aware it's just a status/youth league thing and has no bearing on newgen quality?

If I'm not mistaken, your youth team will play against better youth teams and thereby improve more when playing youth games. So it's something you will want to happen!

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Good job with promotion and my guess is you will get your wish: A Relegation Battle in the Championship!

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Now don't start that again...!

Yes it's vulture time again! We've not played a game in the Championship yet, he's not played for the first team at all so far (only due to registration timing), yet Jared Kenyon (24A) is a wanted man with the vultures already circling overhead. The standout star of this year's youth intake he's already - much to my surprise - ranked as our best player overall, even surpassing Fraser Meaney (21A) which is pretty incredible given his lack of game time;

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We've already fended off a few offers, Huddersfield and Norwich doing the early running;

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Given our finances (which were devastated by a £220k bonus payout before being boosted by a £725k solidarity payment from League One) I was a little surprised the board didn't step in with Huddersfields second offer - what surprised me even more was that having negotiated Norwich up to a flat £575k up front deal that they didn't force me to take that either - if im being honest, if Norwich had offered that and let me add a future clause (they made it non-negotiable) then I may have actually accepted it as that would have been a sizeable boost for us for someone who's never even played a game (and you can't miss what you've never really had right? As it is I've rejected and am just hoping we can get to the end of the window with him and let him play/increase his value to see if we can get a million plus in January - if he's already rated better than Meaney it could be him playing will do us a lot more good this year than money in the bank we can't spend?

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On the subject of finances, this may well come back to bite us, but following the solidarity injection, some lovely season ticket money and improved commercial income (mainly a new kit deal!), I asked the board for a couple of improvements and to my great surprise they said yes to a few - they won't spring for youth/training facility upgrades right now but I believe they're some of the pricier/up front options so that makes sense. Given that I'm only at 50% of my wage budget and the TV money this year is substantially higher (£3.36 million compared to £485k) I'm actually hopeful that we may be able to make a profit this year and maybe spring for some of the pricier upgrades further down the line - even more so if we sell a player or two (although I'd like the values to adjust a little more first)! If nothing else, extra cash in the bank may dissuade the board from accepting dodgy offers for our young stars! 

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In other news...

Fraser Meaney (21A) unsurprisingly swept the board at the club awards (more on that in the end of season review!), but he strangely didn't make the League One Team of the Year, with the voters instead opting to pick his midfield enforcer Grant Roberts. Given his (Roberts) achievement and performances yet again, I bit the bullet and extended his contract for another year (with an option for a second if he plays in 15 games - his game time this year will depend strongly on his decline/recovery and whether we can keep hold of Kenyon/how well Kenyon adapts to the first team);

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Over achieving all the way?

You could argue that given our FA cup exploits in recent years that going out in the 2nd Round to Wrexham was actually pretty poor in comparison - not according to the media who still saw fit to recognise us as the years biggest over achievers in the competition - a sure sign of how low our reputation still truly is!

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12 hours ago, XaW said:

If I'm not mistaken, your youth team will play against better youth teams and thereby improve more when playing youth games. So it's something you will want to happen!

Ah, absolutely something we want then - anything to get the guys developing a bit quicker! Finally got some loan-based interest happening now too which bodes well for the next few seasons - it's taking approximately (bit of a guesstimate) 2.5 seasons for my guys to become 100% ready for the first team (the Meaney & Kenyon's aside) so anything that cuts that down is (obviously) of enormous benefit, if nothing else to prevent me investing time in/playing guys who won't ever make it! :) 

 

10 hours ago, Hootieleece said:

Good job with promotion and my guess is you will get your wish: A Relegation Battle in the Championship!

Thank you! I most certainly expect so given this feels like the luckiest promotion ever achieved and more a consequence of Hull's implosion than our awesomeness. Hull did rally and go up via the playoffs so I don't even have my 'banker'games for next season (normally calculate the other promoted teams as points we should get as theoretically I'd expect my squad to be better - not so in this case!).

 

 

Edited by optimusprimal82

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Season 5 - End of Year Review - 2023/24

Competitions

Sky Bet League One | Board Expectation - Fight Relegation | Media Prediction: 24/24 | Actual Finish: 2/24 (Promoted)

Well what a strange old season that was... If you'd asked me around the Christmas period where we'd have finished I could have given you an answer anywhere between 4th and 22nd I reckon? What was interesting this year is that our early season form wasn't as robust as it has been in seasons prior; normally keen to get points on the board quickly we tend to play it safe and go from there, this year however - I believe maybe as a result of me rotating in kids too much - we struggled a little early on as I tried in vain to find the sweet spot between defending and attacking that suited our side and circumvented the overall ability gap between us and the other teams. Gradually we improved before really finding our groove in February when a tactical switch sent us on an unbeaten run to close the season out and snatch the last automatic space. Whilst our form was good, what was more important over this period was Hull's decline in form - they lost 12 games in the league all season, 9 of which came in the second half of the season - something we were well placed to capitalise on!

What was immediately obvious this season is the increased lethality of opposition teams and how they needed fewer chances to score a goal. Considering the number of goals we conceded this year this is something we'll have to be incredibly mindful of next year as we'll likely face much more clinical finishers - having Lewis Brown (22D - a player the board forced us to sell) would definitely have been a bonus in this regard!

Overall, any season in which you get promoted can't be classed as a bad one, but the gap between us and first place (Colchester demolished us when we played them, as did Hull) highlights perfectly my feelings that was an incredibly lucky promotion more down to other teams (in this case, Hull) failings rather than as a result of our team being better than the rest. With some of our newer youngsters stepping up, I definitely feel that we were a better side than the year before, but I'd love to have seen what would have happened with another year (whether we could have bridged the gap and won the league) - but to flip that on it's head could we really have expected to keep Meaney (21A) or Kenyon (24A) for another year if we hadn't have gone up?

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Checkatrade Trophy | Board Expectation - Group Stage | Achieved: Second Round Exit (Burton Albion)

Standard Checkatrade nonsense; we did qualify from the group this time (our kids did a great job) but Burton were a step too far and I wasn't prepared to risk my first team on a trophy I could care less about. I believe that's the last time we'll play in it now so some may regard it as a missed opportunity, but I see little renown in winning it - can anyone name the winners from real life for the past 5 years as an example?

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English FA Cup | Board Expectation - Reach First Round | Achieved: Second Round Exit (Wrexham)

A slightly disappointing year in our favourite cup this season as a winnable draw against Wrexham turned into a much trickier replay. Whilst disappointing to go out to a team from a lower division, Wrexham won League 2 quite comfortably and my teams strength is consistency rather than overall ability so it could be argued that on paper they actually have a stronger 11 than us? Irrespective it meant that we missed out on a decent payday which I believe was a big contributor to this years financial shortfall. At least the media thought we did well though - because we care what they think?

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Carabao Cup | Board Expectation - Reach First Round | Achieved: First Round Exit (Oldham)

Another year, another away draw and another early exit in the Carabao as we were drawn away to an Oldham team that salary and value wise are well above us, but who've just dropped out of the football league, finishing bottom in League Two. Disappointing in that sense but our time will come - I think perhaps the 1st round of this always comes as we're settling into a rhythm and I don't pay it enough attention so may prioritise it a little more next year - obviously league results depending. Our first game has already been drawn for next season as I write this, we've been pitched at Home (for a change!), but against a very decent looking Blackburn Rovers side that finished 6th in the Championship last year. Not sure if this is a good or bad thing (yet) but we actually play them two games earlier in the first game of the league season so that should be a good opportunity to get a look at them and see in greater detail how they play etc.

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The 'Cup Draw' Table

A lot more away games this year, with a solitary 'home'addition (the extra home game coming from the above mentioned Carabao draw for the coming season);

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Youth Intake 2024

A great intake overall with Jared Kenyon (24A) being particularly remarkable as he's rated as our best player already and has already been subject of transfer bids that will shatter our sales record! Jared aside, I'm excited about Shaquille Smith (24B) as we've needed a natural finisher for a long time and whilst his stat is only 11, it's better than anything else we have/have had. Our main two strikers (Wells & Allinson - I don't count Meaney in this group) finished with 22 goals between them which certainly isn't too shabby but I'm not confident they'll be able to cope all that well with the step up in class so my hope is that Shaq can develop quickly and hit the ground running else I'm back to my yearly finger crossing for a new striking starlet! James Bush (24D) is the other guy to keep an eye on (and might finally be the guy to push Roberts out of the team), but his personality type of 'Mercenary' has more than my eyebrow raised in his direction and he'll be shipped out at even the first sign of trouble - there's no way we'll avoid relegation with an unhappy camp!

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Transfers

We've had the usual rollercoaster with Fraser Meaney (21A) demanding to leave for a bigger club, but right towards the end of the season he decided he's happy here. He's got 2 years left on his contract but is again being courted, but anyone wanting him will have to submit an offer that's seriously above his £130k value to tempt me, they may just have to match it to tempt my board however... I mentioned in my last post that Jared Kenyon (24A) is also the subject of intense interest with some decent bids already submitted - I actually expect that he'll leave before the season starts such is the willingness of the AI teams to negotiate/pay over the odds. £575k is the highest I've been able to attract so far but if we can get over a million I'll be delighted given that he's never played a game - I'd prefer he stay with us for a season or two but obviously that money could help us get more Kenyon's in the next intake so it's a double edged sword. 

Obviously we lost Lewis Brown (22D) in January this year which for a pittance (£145k) but which was a forced transfer that left a bad taste given he's by far an away our best defensive prospect and good central defenders seem much rarer than strikers/midfielders? He's already valued now at £1.8 million despite never having played a game for his new club (Sheffield Weds) so it shows the short-sightedness of the board yet again and has me wondering how much we could have got with another year or two under his belt - I'm convinced he was/is good enough for the Premier League but it's questionable if he'll make it now given he's rotting in Wednesday's reserve team - perhaps he'll make his debut this year against us just to rub my nose in it? James Hodges (our backup GK) left on a free to Halifax which was fair enough, I also let quite a few youngsters leave this year who just weren't going to make it; Owen O'Keefe (22G) was constantly listed as having high PA but just never developed, Tom Pratt & Alhaji Salgado were other notable departures, both having played a decent part in our earlier seasons but coming to the end of their contracts;

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Squad Statistics

Top Scorer - Fraser Meaney 21A (15) | Most Assists - Luke Porritt (10) | Top Rating - Fraser Meaney (7.18)

A very interesting year numbers wise but no real surprise seeing who's at the top of the pile, yes golden balls himself takes the plaudits once more, although I'll reserve special praise for Stephen Wells (20A) who got into double figures for the second season in succession, and also Gary Allinson (23A) who scored 9 in his first full season with us. I expect both players to struggle a little more this season, and they'll have competition from Shaq (24B) perhaps if he can make the step up! Meaney scored a lot of his goals from an MC Mezzala position early in the season before our tactical switch saw him deployed more often as a DLF as part of a front 2. Luke Porritt again did well in terms of assists and it's been a strange season as the coaches have really gone off him, deeming him 'surplus to requirements' despite a lack of real alternatives.Luke Madden (23L) plays in the same position and has reasonable potential (currently 2.5 stars) but he's got a way to go, may never make it and provided just 2 assists in comparison so not sure what my Ass Man & Co are smoking? Do we need an ML/AML upgrade? Yes. Do we have a clear one right now that means we should discard Porritt? Heck no!

I mentioned that Morgan James' powers may be on the wane last year and it certainly seems to be the case with his return this year of 9 goals being his lowest so far. Given the license he has in our stock 4141 setup it's very surprising that he was outscored by his MC partner Grant Roberts who got 12 (plus 6 assists) from his favoured Carrilero role (although he was the player sacrificed for the additional striker as part of our promotion winning tactical tweak so even more impressive given he played less games overall!).

 

Sky Bet League 2 Player of The Season: Perry Moss (Walsall)

A midfielder with 22 goals and 5 assists sounds a pretty good choice for player of the year? I don't remember seeing his name crop up too much throughout the season but that doesn't mean he didn't play well, his 7.21 rating being higher than anyone in my side.

 

Sky Bet League Two Top Goalscorer: Ross Morgan (Exeter- 28 goals)

You know if you're beating the 'mighty Will Grigg' in the scoring charts you're doing something right! Exeter finished as second top scorers overall thank in no small part to this lad. Bristol Rovers actually took the top scorer prize overall (we fell away due to our shocking performances over the last 3-4 games) but had no-one in the top 20 players for goals scored (we had Meaney at joint 18th)

 

Sky Bet League 2 Manager of The Season: Optimus Primal (Hyde United)

I've heard some good things about this guy, definitely someone you should just give money/beer to if you ever come across him!

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Sky Bet League 2 Team of the year;

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Biggest surprise is the absence of Meaney (21A) but Roberts'inclusion was enough to win him a new contract and delighted to see Quansah get some recognition as he's been one of the unsung heroes of our charge up the table!

 

Hyde United FC Awards Night: 

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A huge big dose of 'not surprised' following our awards night, Morgan James is fast becoming the forgotten man though - at 75k it might be worth offloading him if we can get close to that as it's clear that we may now be above his level?

 

Managers Player of The Season: Fraser Meaney

Well who else could it be really? Sir limelight himself had to win it else it would become something of a mockery? Not happy with just being the best player, he's also often the best trainer along with top scorer and most assists. Some fans were unhappy with him for asking to be transferred, but his climb down towards the end of the season coupled with his goals and play in general ensure the fans favourite is also the managers choice for a second year. Having said all that, I'll quickly follow that up by again stating that he's still not an FM favourite of mine and nor do I expect him to become one really... Despite every post I write containing his name maybe 3-4 times, I just don't seem to have the same attachment to him & he hasn't been anywhere near as integral to our promotion climb as a few guys in my previous save or some other legendary players over my (far too) many FM years (he's no Mark Smith/James Flood/Ian Moore is maybe what I'm trying to say!)?

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In other news

Premier League Winners: Manchester United (5th year in a row)

FA cup Winners: Liverpool

League Cup Winners: Chelsea

Champions League Winners: Manchester United (4th time in 6 years!)

Europa League Winners: Milan

La Liga Winners: Barcelona

Bundesliga Winners: Schalke (First time since 1958!)

Serie A Winners: Milan

 

Board room updates

Whilst we've been performing miracles on the pitch it's safe to say that off the pitch the club is a mess. Takeover talks have been on and off for months with the owner looking to move on but the situation seems to yo-yo almost daily with no-one really knowing what's going on.

We've managed to squeeze a few more facility improvements from their sweaty paws, but the state of our finances susggests an element of financial mismanagement. We're not buying any players and have been around 50% of our wage budget for the past 3 seasons yet we lose money consistently. some of the blame must lie with me for keep asking/manipulating them into improving our youth setup, but that doesn't tell the whole story, especially when they forced me to sell one of our best prospects for an absymal 145k!?

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The board are - somewhat unsurprisingly - delighted with how everything is going otherwise!

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Final Thoughts

I've written a fair bit over the last few posts which reading back sounds almost churlish? Need to be clear that I don't resent the fact we've got promoted - not at all, just that perhaps the Man City FA cup money helped us more than it appeared by speeding up our facility improvements and getting us better prospects sooner, but there's no guarantee that's the case! What have I really missed regardless? An extra few seasons (and the hours of clicking that would entail!) shouting obscenities at players as we languished in mid table obscurity potentially watching our best players leave having grown impatient waiting for the team to improve! I definitely think this season is one of the luckiest promotions/achievements in my CM/FM career - there looked to be no chance of automatic promotion, but Hull's run was a thing of nightmares that we were extremely lucky to capitalise on! I'll stop moaning about it from here on in, we've got a big and exciting relegation battle to come next year up in the Championship - one of my favourite leagues to play in - and I can't wait to get started! Catch you all soon for the season preview!

 

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Edited by optimusprimal82

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Season 6 Preview

Doesnt' seem like more than a few hours since I last wrote this buuuut the players are back from holiday, most of the friendlies are done and dusted and the opening weekend is fast approaching - we're up with the real bright lights of the English game now so we'd best get planning and plotting a way for us to survive long enough that we even smell the Premier League. The Championship is one of my favourite leagues to manage through in FM because the diversity amongst the teams is so huge - you get teams relying on 1-2 standout/star players, others with a recently relegated squad that's got far too much ability but are all at each others throats, teams with big parachute payments burning holes in their pockets and other smaller teams being bankrolled in a throwback to the Jack Walker/Sir Jack Hayward days! It's a footballing mismash and I love it!

Fun fact; I mentioned my soft spot for them previously but I always used to start in the Championship for each new FM as Stoke City (until they 'selfishly' got promoted and stayed there for so long!); although brought up as a mad-keen United fan by my old man (once asking him "why can't we support a good team?" as we lost at home to Norwich, a game that brought us keenly back to earth following what had been our first away win of the season in the game before at Anfield - amazing how vividly I can remember all that!) my Grandfather regularly used to take me to the Vic(toria Ground) - not to mention Vale Park & Gresty road - as a kid to watch the Potters (and Vale/Crewe). He was a lifelong Boothen End-er who teared up - the only time I ever saw it happen - the first time he saw them play at the Brit, though despite buying some (no doubt overpriced) engraved brick in the ground as it was built, he never took to the new 'pad in quite the same way (like so many), mentioning numerous times that "it isn't the same as our Stan never played there!"

We're just days away now with our opening fixture taking us to Ewood Park for an incredibly tricky looking fixture against a team that finished 6th last season. Joining us in the division this year are the runaway League One winners Colchester and Hull (the team who gifted us their automatic space) who stormed through the playoffs! Newcastle, Cardiff & Huddersfield have just come down and are - quite understandably - installed as the favourites to go up this year - Cardiff's top earner taking home more per week than my entire squad budget to highlight the size of the task facing us!

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Running up that hill...!

My apologies, I realise that in previous years season previews I've posted a few pictures of the 'Team Report - Comparison' screens but I forgot to ever follow those up with a few as we got better youth players in/our squad developed - would have been nice to see the comparison towards the end of last season as we went on the storming run that took us to promotion! Needless to say those screens again make dismal reading, with the number of quality players we'll be facing putting us bottom for almost all stats across the board (although we've improved in the height department), though promisingly we fare well in the Acceleration/Pace categories in attack which probably explains why we score so frequently on the counter attack against sides that over commit as they try to "smash puny Hyde"!

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I'll try and remember to update these screens more regularly to illustrate how we develop as a team in comparison to the league - hopefully as we improve our results do too to illustrate that although I believe we're tactically punching above our weight, that only takes us so far!

 

In terms of actual squad strength, we've not quite as 'great' anymore;

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However if we can keep the team together and everyone develops well then my predicted "5 year's to the Prem" may be reduced - let's see if we can survive first though before making those sort of calls!

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It's especially interesting to note how much potential the coaches think we have in the wide areas as I feel we're struggling in those areas hugely so may have to re-cast an eye over some of them.

In terms of squad composition, last year was the best so far in terms of academy representation! The old guard are still hanging on in there but the situation is changing rapidly with 5 of the regular starting XI now being academy products that joined after I took over! With age, decline and some new talented players joining us I expect that trend to continue this year - if we can keep hold of Jared Kenyon (24A) then he'll certainly displace someone and I'll be experimenting at ML to try and find a solution to 'the Poritt problem'; his quality is heavily questioned by our coaches, but he's hit double figures for assists for the past three years which is no small feat - his goals have dried up though so whilst he's performing, I firmly believe we can do better given someone with the right potential.

Other players to move up are Ian Sephton (24C), Ian Pollock (22F) and Shaquille Smith (24B) - there are another few good young players I'd like to move up with high PA but who're a bit behind ability wise that I may try to find loan moves for (James Bush (24D) being a good example). The squad feels HUGE right now (29 players) and is much bigger than I normally care for so I'll be looking to move a few players on as soon as I can, either due to age, relative ability decline (Fagbola?), on loan or perhaps as I've got no choice (Meaney/Kenyon). The overall levels of CA are noticeable as being low now overall with only 8 players being 3 stars or above and 13 being 2.5 or less!

One huge thing of note is the amount of my players noted as being inconsistent - it's something that normally stops me buying anyone over the age of 24 and think twice if younger - yet a staggeringly high percentage of players in this team is labelled as such?

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With 4 promotions in 5 seasons I'm unsurprisingly not planning much different tactically this year. It's going to be yet another year of holding teams and counter attacking although it'll be interesting to see how we cope with faster, more technically gifted players/lethal finishers and whether we can get the goals we'll need to keep us up too - it still took us 3-4 chances to get a goal in League One so i don't think a summer tanning ourselves in Tenerifé will have done much to change that!

I worry that our defence is now just short of quality overall and wish we still had Lewis Brown (22D) here but we may have to move Keenan Quansah from his long term DMC position back to DC - a position he's natural in as our now top rated defender. John Jeffs (23D) has come on leaps and bounds over the past year and can play both positions so I may alternate the two as and when I can. Grant Roberts is another year older so may well be suited to dropping into DMC away from his usual MC Carrilero role too, the arrival (if we can keep him) of Jared Kenyon hopefully covering his Team of the Year performances from last season.

It's a big season for Morgan James - people who've been with us through the start will remember how pivotal he (or more importantly, his goals) were to us in our first few seasons, and whilst he still scores a few, he's definitely far from the consistent match winner that he was. Given that we're now considerably higher ability wise I'm not going to hold it against him - there's a reason that Premier League teams don't regularly buy League Two players for example - but this may be a make or break year for him and if we can get a decent offer for him it may be best for all parties.

 

The need to be self-sufficient...

With our takeover off more times than it's on it's unlikely that we're ever going to get the oft mentioned injection of cash so longer term it only makes sense to base our existence on being self-sufficient; should we make the Premier League then naturally the TV/Prize money will take care of an awful lot, but until such a time, I think it's feasible at this level to start considering selling 1-2 of our dent young players a season to swell the coffers and get all of our facilities to max level as quickly as possible. Yes we may be delaying a potential promotion, but so long as we get sufficient compensation then it will likely mean we're better prepared, with a higher standard of young player in our ranks and who should be able to develop quicker than if we go up sooner? This may sounds like defeatist logic - and I definitely don't want to become a 'selling club' long term - but I think it's a reasonable approach at the current time given our stature and team strength overall - I doubt we could win 5 games in the Premier League at present, let alone the 10-15 we'd likely need to avoid the drop (and yes, 1 season would grant us riches but would tear the heart out of the club with unhappy players etc).

It's clear that we won't be able to rely on things such as sponsorship too much either with not many people wanting to tarnish their brand by hanging their logo on the 'paint peeling walls' of Ewen Fields!

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That's an astronomical difference, with us not even earning 1% of the total sponsorship income?! 

The bright spot this season is the increase in season ticket holders which, coupled with our increased ticket prices has seen a HUGE increase in cash received which has boosted our bank balance back up towards the 1 million mark!

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Aiming high...?

Nope, avoiding relegation again seems to be the target, although the fourth round of the FA cup is considerably further than any cup objectives they've set previously - they must be dreaming of Man City cash again!

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No Checkatrade trophy this year which is great news as I just viewed it as injury baiting, though the chance to give some of the younger guys a run out will be sorely missed - how much they actually got (I'm talking purely FM here, not real life) from a single game though is very much up for debate!)

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Yep, the media have again given the other promoted teams better odds of staying up than us, considering they were better than us though I can't blame them this time!

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17 minutes ago, optimusprimal82 said:

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Say what....? :eek:

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When Mike Ashley looks like an upgrade...

So yeah, quite an eventful week in-game. On loading up we were suddenly hit by a deluge of transfer offers for Jared Kenyon (24A), all of them getting close to my 500k tipping point (future fee clause dependent!). Out of nowhere Norwich suddenly threw a 675k shaped grenade over the fence that our leaving/staying/leaving/staying/leaving/staying/asshat of a chairman couldn't wait to get his greedy paws all over!

I've only successfully protested a transfer once that I can remember, that was Fraser Meaney (21A) last season using Jimbo's stellar approach that paid dividends - sadly that didn't work this time but I'm not really sure what came over me next? Not normally one for ultimatums - especially in FM - a rush of blood at their short sightedness (Lewis Brown is now worth over ten times what we sold him for!) caused me to lay it on the line to them and to my amazement they backed down and rejected the offer. How long we can keep him for now I have no idea - I'm pretty sure he will leave before too much longer, but for now it looks like he's staying which is a huge boost as we head into the new season (and to his great credit he hasn't so much as raised his voice in complaint. Yet.)

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Edited by optimusprimal82

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The Battle to Beat the Drop (Again!)

It seems relegation battles are largely the theme of this save but that only serves to remind that we're doing well I guess? We've yet to lose one (so far) so we'll stick with tradition and do it the way we've always done - point totals that would have guaranteed safety in the Championship throughout this save being 49, 46, 42, 52, 42 & 44 giving us a Mean target of 46, Median of 45 & Mode of 42 - in honour of Fraser we'll naturally go with the Mean and seeing as I like to be sure we'll add a points cherry on top and set this year's target at an intimidating 50 points - right now I'll be happy if we score that many goals! First game coming up soon - here we go!

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Early Season Promotion form...?

Pre-season friendlies always seem to have something of a bad rep when I talk to other players about them and whilst I can understand the frustration when they get in the way of transfer deals and can be the root cause of injuries, they're also really important (at least to me) to get morale high and confidence flowing through your guys so that you hit the ground running when the league starts - sure enough that's done us the power of good yet again this year as we finished our first month unbeaten in the league which is a massive achievement having watched the games!  Knowing that we'd struggle for goals a little more and recognising how leaky we were in defence last year, I've tightened it up a bit this season so far, playing my original 4141 (instead of the 4132 I used at the end of last season) and whilst we're not quite as free scoring as I'd like, we're currently tied for having conceded fewest goals in the league so far (3 in 6 games) which is an incredible improvement and something that see's us sitting in the playoff spots (although let's not get carried away just yet - there are plenty of warning signs (more on those in a second)!

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It seems we're not the only newly promoted team going well, with Hull absolutely smashing it so far (although we know from last year they may tail off!) and Colchester sitting in a very respectable 8th - this lends credence to my theory around the game this year having a few flaws with regard to AI tactics and mentalities; I'd have been less surprised if all 3 of us were in 18-20th position in the table.

Some great results so far, especially away from home - although the home draw against Cardiff was a particular highlight given the standard of player they have and the level of investment they made over the summer! The Blackburn result in the cup finally broke our first round Carabao cup hoodoo (and was even more surprising given my luck with penalty shootouts!), however an away draw to Southampton in the next round ended our unlikely charge before it had really started - what pleased me though was how well we competed in the game, with their 3rd coming in the 95th minute!

Morgan James obviously got wind of my season preview as he's smashed in 3 goals already this season, two of which were GWG's and interestingly for him, they've taken him a step closer to an important milestone;

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On the subject of records, before Southampton put us to the sword we set a new team record for games unbeaten - I'm not huge on records but of any, these are the sort I like;

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So that's the good bits of the games so far, the bad bits are that there's just no way our luck will hold like this for the entire season - we've seen in seasons prior that Morgan James won't keep this level of consistency and our GK and the woodwork can only save us so many times. We're low down the table for possession and passes completed, however our counter attacking, direct style has us tied at the top for one very important statistic which goes a long way to underlining how we're enjoying such early season success;

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Creating chances and scoring them are obviously two very different things, as looking at the table in order of goals scored;

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But the positive is that we are creating them - with better finishing/finishers (and perhaps a tweak or two) this should improve!

Talking of goals, Jared Kenyon (24A - the subject of this summers transfer drama) secured his place in the Hyde history books (for now) by becoming the youngest ever goalscorer with his first goal for the club in the win against Sheffield United - if he does half as well as the guy he deposed we'll have a heck of a player on our hands;

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One unwanted characteristic of my team has returned and that's an insane collection of yellow cards with 15 in 6 games - you may remember we had terrible trouble with this in our first few seasons and I think a lot of it comes down to playing a more pressing, defensive game when you're much lower ability than the other side. I've got notes of the changes I made a few years back so will look to make some changes there - you don't want to stop pressing and tackling completely else you're just letting the other team play through you - it was (I believe) hard tackling that won us the game against Sheffield United as we bullied them out of possession time and again (it's one of the few games we've finished with superior possession).

 

Transfer Updates

We managed to close out the window without any further drama, though it was quite galling seeing our former star defensive prospect going on loan to Sutton United (I don't believe under the official rules of the challenge I'm allowed to re-sign him, although if/once I finish the challenge it may be a rule I add/play by) - he's far too good for them and should be playing for Hyde! Booooo, boooooo to the board!!

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I'll let it drop one day, I promise! Just not today >mumble grumble<

Elsewhere, I mentioned being happy with the draw against Cardiff and this is why - they've certainly been redistributing their wealth;

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Naturally as per the rules of our challenge we haven't spent a penny! With regard to the Premier League, it was pretty tasty and I'm certainly not in a rush to get there after seeing this!

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Note Colchester (our fellow promotees) taking the 'most active' award! We're also punching well above our weight when it comes to total wage spend too as my PA was quick to point out;

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Those values may have changed a little since based on the xfer window closing, but as of right now, Hyde are the only team in the Championship spending less than £1 million p/a on wages which I really love as it shows how truly the underdog we are!

Financially things are looking much better after a great season ticket bounty - we increased the number of season ticket holders this year by over 25% (up to 2095 from 1397 which with the price increase meant we raked in a record £911k putting us in a much healthier financial state; 

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On that basis - and considering we have over £1 million in the bank with only 50% wage budget utilisation and £3-4 million coming in this year from TV revenue I chanced my arm with an upgrade and it's no wonder they've turned down the training/youth facility ones so often previously - they agreed this time but the cost is an eye-watering (at least for a club like Hyde) £775k so my hopes of having everything maxed in the next year or two may have to be put on hold for a while unless we start selling players for serious money (and serious means 8 figures minimum!)

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Here we go again

I'm not even going to write about this BS anymore, I'll just post the pictures as updates as it's just beyond tiresome right now, it changes almost daily;

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38 remaining...

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Edited by optimusprimal82

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5/12? We'll take it!

A short but tricky month safely (relatively) navigated which saw us finally open our 'L' account, but we bounced back in emphatic fashion to pick up a valuable three points against a struggling Ipswich side largely due to some goalkeeping heroics from Peter Crook who took home the Player of the Match award which was only his first of the season much to my surprise - he would have been totally deserving of it in the Newcastle game considering we were incredibly fortunate (Newcastle had 2 goals disallowed!) to come away with anything having been dominated from the off, Morgan James however stole the show with a long range equaliser being enough to see us escape with (read: steal) a point !

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Our league position is incredible so I can't complain too much, although we're going to be in serious trouble if we don't stem the flow of yellow cards as we picked up 12 across the four games (with 7 coming in a single game) - it won't take much for some of those to turn red and the suspensions will cost us dear as our subs are nowhere near the ability level of our first XI (who in turn are nowhere near the ability level of most of our opponents!) - the fines are also annoying of course;

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Fraser Meaney (21A) got off the mark this month so let's hope he goes on a run now, we'll need him at his very best to keep our form going - unfortunately a little 'Wnt' has appeared next to his name with Sheffield Wednesday sniffing around him again. His value has almost doubled in the short time we've been in the Championship, but £180k is still obviously way below what he's worth to us. I've mentioned that maybe we need to sell 1-2 players each season to grow the club a bit quicker - especially given that our stadium is still comparatively tiny and we'll need a new one sooner than later - so Fraser may be one of the guys we have to sacrifice, although it's hard for me to put a value on him, specifically because as good as he is, he doesn't fit tremendously well in our system when we play defensively, he becomes more of a force when we play with two up top and he can play in the hole (a bit of a luxury). Ballpark in my mind is if we can get £5 million+ and include an add-on clause then I'll be satisfied, especially with Kenyon (24A) still at the club and Morgan James returning to form!

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Pretty happy at stealing draws from both Swansea and Newcastle (especially away to the magpies) but we can't get complacent as we have some very tricky looking games coming up next month;

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Life has it's little bonuses

Maybe this is the FM gods trying to make up for us losing Lewis Brown (22d)? Young John Jeffs (23D) had a good season last year and is doing pretty well this year, alternating with Keenan Qunasah between DCR and DMC, I was delighted to see this little nugget of info land in my inbox;

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He had a determination stat of 13 when he first came into the team, however such is the constant overall draining/negative effect of the squad it had dropped since then down to 11 before being boosted up by 6 points here. Normally when I see this message the player tends to get a bump/drop of 10 points so not why the random number this time but absolutely no complaints from me, the more determination in the squad the better (and it should lessen the draining effect etc.

 

Time to say goodbye...

It's always sad saying goodbye to players you've been fond of/have served you well, but it's even more difficult when it's for non age/end of career reasons. Chris Sutherland was our first choice MR/AMR for the first few years and did very well in tandem with his opposite flank, yet he dropped out of the team last year with the coaches suddenly going right off him and his performances dropping (with no real noticeable attribute decline. At 29 years old he wasn't going to get any better and we have a few decent potential players in his position so he was playing less and less, but not once did he complain or ask about more playing time/a transfer (although it turns out he was a little unhappy) so I was a bit surprised to see this randomly with him having never put a foot wrong before;

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I issued him a warning - which he accepted - but sensing warning signs as other players started to react I decided to cut my losses and nip it in the bud - any sort of big negative squad event could have catastrophic repercussions during a relegation battle so I decided safety first and paid the £1k necessary to mutually terminate his contract.

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It was sad saying goodbye, but he left on good terms and we're grateful for his service (and goals!)- not sure at this point whether he'll get another club but naturally I'll keep an eye on him (as I do with all my ex players), although with a scout rating of 12 I doubt we'll come up against him again unless it's cup related!

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Finally!

So so tired of this saga so delighted that it's finally over - it seems to have made little difference to us (so far) other than we have a new longer term loan to replace the old one and the monthly repayments have dropped from £10k to £4.5kp/m. The best news for me is that - as of yet - we haven't had any irritating philosophies imposed that I was concerned about (such as buying high profile players or scoring from set pieces etc);

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I haven't investigated/studied the language used in this part of the game very much, but it doesn't sound like he'll be here forever if I compare the status to what I've seen before at other clubs?

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Regardless, not having to read daily mails about the takeover being on/off/on/off again is a definite bonus!

 

Staying On Target...

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Edited by optimusprimal82

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Draw Specialists...

Far from the worst month of results you'll ever see but we were once again indebted to lady luck as Peter Crook saved an 88th minute penalty at home to Forest and a lucky bounce of the ball from a free kick (conceded when having a man sent off) allowed us to counter and equalise with ten men against QPR! They say these sorts of things even themselves out in the end, if that's true then we're due an absolutely terrible run of luck/disallowed goals/missed penalties at some point!

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6 points from 18 doesn't sound like the greatest haul, but just a solitary defeat keeps morale quite high & more importantly it keeps us on course for our target and see's us still sitting (somehow) in the playoff places. I don't for one minute think we'll be there by season end but it's good motivation at least!

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Obviously wins are more use to us than draws, but we're not strong enough right now to really attack much more than we are doing so it's a tricky balance until we can develop a little further - 5 points per month until season end will do the trick for us though so whilst draws are doing it the hard way, a point is a point is a point - obviously I may have to revisit this philosophy if our wins dry up!

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A bit of blackmail to welcome the board!

Blackburn Rovers offered me the chance to interview for their vacant managerial post and despite having absolutely no intention of taking the post I went along with a view to gaining leverage - sure enough the plan worked flawlessly with the new Hyde board organising a meeting soon after to persuade me to stay! Knowing that we're in a much better financial position now I requested that our youth facilities be upgraded to convince me to stay and they duly obliged - although the £1.6 million cost is higher than I was expecting - we don't have that much right now but we are making a profit each month currently so the hope is we should be ok come the end of the season when I expect the funds will be required.

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Edited by optimusprimal82

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