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Good to see you making progress. Sprinkle a few "Team Bonding" practice sessions in and morale will stay high.

 

Also I have decided to restart my Dafuge Save and emulating your Hyde career. Except I am managing your rivals Stalybridge!

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I actually haven't invested too much time in the training module this year despite it's overhaul - my single biggest criticism of the game in recent years is the amount of busywork and the frequency with which the games are rescheduled has me of the idea I'd spend an extra nn% of my time rearranging schedules which sounds like the opposite of fun? I saw Cleon is writing a guide about tailoring it to specific styles so I might have to dip my toe into the water as you're not the only person to mention the positive effects of things like team bonding - my worry is that like so many things it'll be hard to see the fruits of any effort and whether or not you're training optimally or actually having the opposite & negative effect?

I already have issues with players who can play in multiple positions - their individual (which i do control) role/duty training constantly swaps back to the position they last played in rather than the setting I manually specify (reported in the bugs forum by a few people) so I'm constantly having to tinker that in any case - I have to change someone like Meaney (who regularly swaps between STC & MC in games) 2-3 times a week as the game will leave him on default STC/MC training as opposed to the Mezzala/DLF programs i specify.

 

Good luck with the new save, interestingly it was Stalybridge I expected that I'd be playing as when I started this save (or Warrington at a push), I'd almost forgotten that Hyde existed after they 'got into bed with City' those few years ago - the fact that partnership has long since dissolved making me open but even then, the blue stadium almost made me re-roll for S'celtic -  but at least now they should be in capable hands! Such a great area of the country in terms of clubs - would love to see one of them make it to the PL in real life and shake things up a bit (fwiw, not a huge surprise given my personal bias but I have a big soft spot now for FC United and - predictably - Salford City). At the very least I expect a yearly friendly (that you purposefully lose) against Hyde to help them out a little bit! :) 

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Posted (edited)

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Flattered by the interest...

It's funny how the job offers seem to go in cycles - I don't recall having any for a while and now suddenly I appear to be very much in demand. I have to be careful how often I use the trick to force upgrades, not least because whilst our finances are better this year they're not bulletproof, I also want to make sure I don't irk the new board too much as I'm not sure how much patience they have for that sort of thing and am comfortable not finding out! All that being said, I often struggle to turn down the potters (for the many earlier mentioned reasons), especially when they're so average right now (two brief dalliances in the PL have come to nought for them this save).

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I have been starting to give some thought about what the end of this save looks like and where I'll go afterwards (if I'll still play etc) - I don't usually manage in England all that much yet this is the second long term English save on 19 so I think I'm done here for a while - if anyone has any suggestions then by all means throw them across - still going to be a good few seasons until we get anywhere near the PL/CL title (a pre-requisite of the challenge completion) so there's plenty of time to go - I haven't managed in the Netherlands for a while and doing something youth based there and beating Ajax at their own game appeals (but has also been done many times before) but so does going completely off script and managing somewhere completely out of left field! I'd definitely like to keep youth as the focus but maybe with a sprinkling of signings so somewhere with a self imposed 'domestic/regional based players only' thing may be a good shout, just maybe non-basque to avoid replicating what others have done so incredibly well before! :) 

EDIT: As if to prove a point, just a few days later;

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Edited by optimusprimal82

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Training Module is easy if you fake it like me. Let the AssMan do the general training. Check the Calendar every few weeks and tweak a little bit. Fill in a few of those rest blocks he leaves open. 

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Posted (edited)

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Every game's a cup final?

Wow! I said I loved the Championship and that's still certainly true - every game feels like a monumental challenge right now with difficult fixtures the norm instead of the exception! If last month looked tricky with QPR, Forest, Fulham & Stoke then this month looked impossible with Sunderland, Derby, Portsmouth (league leaders) Sheffield Wednesday and Aston Villa. Ouch. To our great credit we've come through it again in relatively good shape, taking 8 points from a possible 15 which is both more than adequate and than I expected! It was a tale of what could have been against Wednesday as we had a goal disallowed AND missed a penalty, one of two actually that Jared Kenyon (24A) missed this month - not sure why he replaced Fraser Meaney (21A) as taker but I've taken steps to ensure he won't again! Our talented young forward Shaquille Smith (24B) scored his first goal for the club, sadly coming in his 14th game which is a depressingly long time for him to wait. I attach no real blame to him, I've struggled all throughout this save to get my lone frontman scoring regularly - how much of that is tactical and how much is due to the low quality of strikers at my disposal is hard to say - they do become more prolific when fielded as a 2 though so that suggests it's the setup more than anything - the team is scoring though so I'm loathe to change too much, although I have been experimenting a little with roles between Smith and Allinson (23A). With finishing of 11, Shaq is the most 'gifted' striker we've had at the club the whole save, but naturally 11 isn't anything really to write home about at this level so I may just be expecting a little too much? The fact we're playing more defensively this year may mean the quality of chances isn't quite at the level needed for him to become the machine we're hoping he will be? I don't have a huge amount of options right now in any case unless we experiment with a front 2 again, sadly right now I don't think we're st'rong enough as a team to start experimenting like that - our league position continues to be incredible but our points total is simply 'good' - notice how our win count doesn't stack up well against the teams around us for example? Whilst we're drawing a lot of games, it's better to draw them than to lose - it's fine margins at the  moment so I'm sticking rather than doing my usual gutsy twist - there's always next year as we're certainly in no rush!

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Yikes - another month of tough fixtures to come - Merry Xmas indeed! Colchester trounced us last year in League One so not like that'll give us any respite! Have I mentioned I love the Championship? :D 

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Edited by optimusprimal82

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1 hour ago, Hootieleece said:

Training Module is easy if you fake it like me. Let the AssMan do the general training. Check the Calendar every few weeks and tweak a little bit. Fill in a few of those rest blocks he leaves open. 

Difficult question - do you feel/see any tangible benefit from doing it? Besides morale from team bonding etc? Seen a few people suggesting they score more from set pieces/concede less but curious how much of that is perception bias justification or actual endorsement etc?

Obviously the easy answer is for me to take the training wheels off and try it for myself, it just.... doesn't interest me all that much? Naturally as soon as someone proves it can improve performance by x% then I'll be all over it like a rash as I was with tutoring etc on the older games when they first introduced it (to the detriment of everything - and everyone - to begin with!) :) 

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@optimusprimal82: Difficult question - do you feel/see any tangible benefit from doing it? Besides morale from team bonding etc? Seen a few people suggesting they score more from set pieces/concede less but curious how much of that is perception bias justification or actual endorsement etc?

My answer is that I FEEL I score more from set pieces when I set the training to practice Set Pieces. The ONLY real feedback I can base it on is my AssMan's feedback.

I haven't done a research experiment with training or without....(It would take too much time and be too much like a job...I play for fun and escapism.)

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14 hours ago, Hootieleece said:

My answer is that I FEEL I score more from set pieces when I set the training to practice Set Pieces. The ONLY real feedback I can base it on is my AssMan's feedback.

I haven't done a research experiment with training or without....(It would take too much time and be too much like a job...I play for fun and escapism.)

Thank you - that's fair enough, I sometimes get the 'job' feeling when going through my youth intake/end of season review so don't want that bad habit of overanalysis to catch on! :D 

 

12 hours ago, WillHoward42 said:

Just read this today and caught up, fantastic read so far. KUTGW!

Thank you, really appreciated - makes writing it all 100% worthwhile! :thup:

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Posted (edited)

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The real cost of success...?

On the pitch it was another very good month for the club with a run of very difficult looking fixtures yielding 8 points from a possible 15. With 21 games left there's obviously a lot left to play for, but the gap to the relegation spots is now 17 points so whilst we're far from safe mathematically, I'm at the point where I can stop holding my breath as I think we've broken the back of our battle, all the sweeter as we stubbornly hold onto the final playoff place (albeit with vultures circling)!

Fixture wise, having just dropped out of the Premier League there was no surprise or shame in losing to Huddersfield - no complaints or protests from me, we were just overrun and unable to match them ability wise, I was instead very pleased with the fact we managed to get 2 goals having been 2 down! Considering Hull beat us 5-1 at our ground last year I played it much tighter this year and it paid off, totally because of my tactical tinkering and nothing to do with them having a man sent off in the 9th minute >Ahem<. Our best performance of the month undoubtedly came against Blackburn; before the season started I expected them to be pretty strong, however they find themselves down in the relegation zone so emboldened I experimented with my 2 up top tactical tweak that had served us so well towards the end of last season and it kind of paid off - I say kind of because we had the better of the game but it was obvious we're maybe not strong enough to play on the front foot at this level, although the greater time in the opposition box did yield two penalties - I suspect due to Blackburn using hard tackling which saw them picking up bookings like crazy (sadly no reds).

What this match confirmed for me is that the set piece settings for takers are a little bit dodgy - I've long since suspected as much but this proved it - following Jared Kenyon's (24A) recent pair of penalty misses I changed up my takers and set Ian Pollock (22F) - our rookie goalkeeper - as primary taker (for fun, and to at least join in a little bit with Jimbo's challenge). With our first penalty awarded, Pollock rightly stepped up and scored what I hope will be his first of many for the club, however with the second award, Jared Kenyon grabbed the ball and  duly smashed it in (at least he didn't miss!) before I could grab the mouse/swap the taker - funny thing is Pollock was still on the pitch, as were my 3rd, 4th & 5th choice takers, with Kenyon not even listed due to the amount he's missed already this year (suspect his 'handle pressure' rating is low considering he should be the best of my bad bunch at taking them?). Odd, but something I'll have to watch out for - imagine if he misses an important last minute kick? Not sure I'll be quite as forgiving in those circumstances!

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I've mentioned several times about our luck this season being in great form, well on top of the 2 penalties against Blackburn, we had it to thank for snatching a draw away at Brammall Lane as a 32nd minute own goal dragged us back into a game we were struggling to make any sort of headway in - a little routine from a throw-in seeing us score via a deflected cross in what must have been our first proper foray into enemy territory - the goal worked wonders for our team who then started to play, with the match finishing even stats wise as well as score - perhaps us just letting ourselves down with silly freekicks and yellows (yet again - which we duly paid for);

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All that leaves us with 39 points after 25 games and sees us sitting - quite comfortably - in 6th position, well on course for our target;

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Off the pitch, sadly things aren't looking quite as rosy...

 

Ugh, contracts...

I hate contract negotiations even as a big club so it's no surprise that it goes doubly so when playing as a team like Hyde. With the end of year approaching I started getting the familiar mails through advising which of my merry band of mercenaries would shortly be holding us to ransom. The inital panic soon subsided; I say panic because some of the names on the list are very familiar having been a core part of our starting XI since the start of the save - the last 18 months however have seen something of a 'changing of the guard' however with players like Fagbola & Hughes making way for younger prospects (Notably Cahill - 22E & Jeffs - 23D).

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The one name I didn't want to see was Quansah - it's etched into my brain how difficult previous negotiations have been & I've already been trying for the last 9 months to get him to re-sign, somewhat unsuccessfully, so it was with a sense of dread that I approached him yet again only to be met by his agent once again making insane demands & pushing for a 500% salary increase. Needless to say negotiations failed yet again and we're faced with the very real possibility that we may lose him this year. Now the one bit of good news is that in previous years this would have been a disaster, however such is the growth of the squad that whilst I'd prefer to keep him, it's not as world ending as it would have been previously, with his CA/PA now around 3 stars instead of the squad leading 4.5+ it had been in years prior (with my best coach labelling him as a backup player no less). I think it's a little short sighted of the coach to rate him as that, he still regularly makes my starting XI - either as a DC or DMC and at worst I'd class him as first change for either of those positions (something the team report depth page agrees with so it's one of those situation where I'd really rather not lose him, but his departure leaves a sizeable hole that someone else could certainly step into.

As mentioned,I knew this situation was coming as I'm usually pretty pro-active at getting my guys tied down to long term deals - sometimes in the lower leagues I'll play chicken a little more as the additional wages soon add up, but at our level, long term deals keep values high at the very least so if we're forced to sell, it's not because we've been bullied by someone able to leave for free in the not too distant! In some ways the Quansah issue is practice for someone far more important to us/our chances - yes, Fraser Meaney's contract is now just 18 months from expiration. Initial discussions have failed and his (agents) demands are such that I'm currently coming to terms with the very real fact that we may be forced to sell him so we don't create a serious problem for ourselves in terms of wage structure;

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One of the hardest things in my current position is my own perception of what a 'good player' is - if coming to the save fresh I'd be able to judge my guys with a clean pair of eyes/without any performance bias from seasons past, but obviously now I have to weigh up whether I'm staying loyal to players because they've done well, despite the fact thy're maybe not good enough any more? Maybe it's from writing about them/sharing with you all but I feel that I'm being far less ruthless in this save than I normally would (also probably due to my inability to replace anyone directly) and it's a habit I'd like to stop as soon as possible! :D 

In some ways I can't blame him for taking us to the cleaners, he's been on the same £230p/w contract for a while now (without kicking up any fuss) and he definitely deserves to be among our top earners - what he's asking for though is over 3kp/w more than our current top earner and is more than our board will actually allow (even ignoring the £1k appearance fee which is just dangerous for a club like ours!). We've still got some time so I'll keep trying, I suspect his base demands will come down if I lower the minimum fee clause or let his agent have closer to his requested £60k fee for example, but I feel like we're being held over a barrel so I'm starting to think it might be time to cut the cord and let him go sit on a premier league bench somewhere and get what we can for him - our facilities have improved immeasurably since he came into the club so whilst it's a dangerous game relying on the FM youth intakes I can't help but feel that with yet more improvements this year we should be able to cover his loss - maybe not on a pure player vs player basis - but overall? His value is up now to £250k which still seems low considering his 10 goals, 3 assists and 7.2 overall rating this year, but it may well be factoring in his expiring contract and the fact we're such a low reputation club? The transfer window has just opened and Wednesday are again sniffing around him so we'll see what happens - I'd very much like to keep him for the rest of this season and let him go in the summer if we're going to, but as we all know, I'm likely not going to be the one making that final decision so he could leave for £5k with a £3.5 million fee due after 50 international appearances soon if the board get involved, we all know they love their clauses that are unlikely to ever reach fruition! :) 

One slight anomaly is that Brighton - still safely in the Premier League - approached me to take Adam Goodwin (23M) on trial. Adam isn't & has never been on my radar talent-wise, with him already on the slippery slope towards my 'release at contract end' list (which is the end of this current season) given his (incredibly) average attributes and relatively low potential. Obviously when a Premier League team come calling you reassess, but even then I'm not sure where this one has come from so if they make an offer I may just take it as I don't see anything truly special (he's tall/good in the air?) about him at all, something my scouts seem inclined to agree with;

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Form is... temporary... I hope?

Morgan James surprised me with a great return to form at the start of the season, rediscovering the goalscoring touch that had deserted him for a while, that's come to an end however and I suspect it's largely as a result of having this hanging aorund his neck - we've been getting these reminders since he got to around 63 league goals - on top form it'd only have taken him maybe 5 games to surpass the record, but it's been about 15 games since and he's added just 3 goals in that time and his form has been very patchy as a result (with his body language reflecting that he might be struggling too);

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Filling the improvement bucket...

Obviously with the contract demands above this may change very quickly, but for now our finances are decent in this division with us making a small but healthy profit every month - the TV money more than covering our youth expenses now!), definitely not too shabby when our average attendance is only 4186!

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Edited by optimusprimal82

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Into my third season in VNN with Stalybridge. Having many of the same problems as you did with Strikers scoring. If I could find a goal machine I would be promoted. I have finished 9th and 10th after being picked last each of these last two seasons, My defense is best in VNN gave up just 45 all season. Problem we only scored 50. Which led to another season of more ties than wins or losses.

What is keeping us up is our prowess in Deadball Situations. I have a FreeKick taker with a 15 rating in VNN. He was player of the year. (10 goals and 13 assisits)

Your bank balance seems a little low for a Championship side especially if you aren't buying any players. Do youth programs cost that much money?

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Hootieleece said:

Into my third season in VNN with Stalybridge. Having many of the same problems as you did with Strikers scoring. If I could find a goal machine I would be promoted. I have finished 9th and 10th after being picked last each of these last two seasons, My defense is best in VNN gave up just 45 all season. Problem we only scored 50. Which led to another season of more ties than wins or losses.

What is keeping us up is our prowess in Deadball Situations. I have a FreeKick taker with a 15 rating in VNN. He was player of the year. (10 goals and 13 assisits)

Your bank balance seems a little low for a Championship side especially if you aren't buying any players. Do youth programs cost that much money?

Ugh, it drove me crazy and is still something I struggle with - if I play 2 strikers they play together/off each other really well (hence my superb run at the end of last season), it's when I play a lone frontman that I struggle a lot more and obviously with my default setup being a 4141 it's an ongoing issue. I've obviously spent a fair bit of time addressing it but my solution has been more to spread the responsibility around the team (my wingers and MC Mezzala bearing the brunt) - not sure if that's something you can tweak/work towards? I do want to revisit the lone frontman thing and see if I can get one working well - I know the popular opinion is they just don't work as well in the current edition of the game but I can hardly subscribe to the theory when my strikers are either unsuited to playing a lone role (Meaney) or just bang average (the rest)! I did use a lone frontman in my FC United save to great effect - he was one of those guys with limited CA but just the right stats (super quick with great dribbling/finishing) though that I was very lucky my scouts turned up (as they were almost useless), but I kept him until the Premier League as he was still something of a super sub when everyone got tired. Irrespective his goal scoring record was very good (it does annoy me how this screen only seems to show total league goals, his first 5 seasons totals were actually 25, 23, 31, 26 & 12 - the championship was a step too far for him to be a regular but what a signing on a free!);

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Most of that save was pre-19.3 but strikers seem better post-patch than before so in that sense it should be easier to get them firing now? There might be a trick I'm missing, but as I say, it seems a little futile to spend ages testing when I know I'm working with 'flawed test subjects' :) 

Hopefully you can solve the issue as it doesn't sound like you're too far away otherwise?

Our low bank balance is a result of our high youth costs with relatively low TV income from the lower leagues over the last few years, yes - that plus my blackmailing of the board for upgrades at every opportunity! We have two upgrades going on right now that cost a cool £2.5 million alone so I guess I'm kinda responsible? Our takeover didn't bring anything in investment wise either which was a touch disappointing, but the flip side is that if they put nothing in they'll (hopefully) take nothing out? We are paying close to half a million a year currently for our youth setup but I think it's totally worth it (with guys like Meaney & Kenyon coming through), it's just taken a while for us to reap the benefit, especially with such low average attendance and TV income (although low is also relative when compared to Makoto in Africa, Jimbo in France etc!). This seasons TV money & season ticket income has transformed our finances thankfully, we were hovering around the £100k mark for a long long time;

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Edited by optimusprimal82

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50% isn't bad right?

Definitely glad to see the back of January - six games doesn't sound like a lot for an entire month but the scheduling wasn't the best with far too many of the games bunched together with minimal rest. We got off to a dreadful start away to a Cardiff side that'd been tipped to finish first (and who've spent £55 million this season) - our side being very tired from playing just a few days earlier. We huffed and puffed but they were just too strong for us and I'm not sure we'd have got anything from the game with a fully fit, full strength team. The next game saw us ride our luck after Jared Kenyon (24A) was sent off for a tackle the assistant feels wasn't deserving of a red (needless to say the FA thought otherwise and upheld the ban) - thankfully we were already ahead at the time of the dismissal which meant it was a tense 2nd half managing the game in order to advance/avoid a replay - thankfully we won and were in the draw, sadly we were drawn away to Premier League Leeds which was pretty disappointing as I knew we were unlikely to progress further - at home we might have had a chance given their poor form (and likely morale) but away would be an incredibly tough ask, and so it proved, although their manager - a Mr Maurizio Sarri - gave us plenty of motivation by writing us off before a ball was even kicked;

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As a Man Utd fan obviously I had double motivation at the thought of knocking both Sarri and Leeds out of the cup but we just couldn't get near them sadly and did well to escape having conceded just the one goal, to Casanova of all people...

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The worst bit of all of this is that I rested a lot of players for the home game against Preston just to ensure we were fresh for the cup, but we ended completely empty handed - booooo! Bit disappointed to have got to the fourth round and it all to have ended on such a low note but I guess it's about par for our current level? If nothing else, the gate receipts will come in handy - not quite Man City levels but not too shabby!

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In happier news, the game away to Boro was really something with our new goalscoring youth keeper (Ian Pollock 22F) having a great game, saving a penalty in the 43rd minute before scoring one of his own in the 66th (with our young left back netting a winner in the 92nd minute!). He's only played 17 times for the first team so far, but that's now his second goal - 1 every 8 games for a keeper isn't a bad return! :D

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Only other news of note is that our one time first choice DC Matty Hughes has announced that he will retire at the end of the current season. At 32 he seems a tiny bit young to be quitting, but he's only played twice this season (despite being our best defender along with Quansah in seasons prior). We are slightly short on numbers bearing this in mind now at DC, so hopefully we get a decent youngster or two in the forthcoming intake (first one in the Championship so super excited!).

Still got to be happy with our league position overall - yes we've dropped out of the playoffs but who here really expected us to stay there/win them anyway? I like my guys but wow, we'd struggle in the premier league right now so definitely a blessing in disguise!

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We're now just 5 points away from safety (with 17 to play) if our target is to be believed too - surely Preston/Ipswich can't catch us from here?

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The cup draw shows no signs of redressing the balance - I guess with how our luck has gone this season in general I can't complain too much but I can't wait to see how this miserable pattern may translate to the Champions League in season to come!

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Do you have the game sort out the Cup draw's all at once or one at a time? or do you "manually" pick the matches? 

I always have the program do them all at once for the larger rounds but I always "manually" pick the matches for Quarterfinals or better (if I'm involved)

And I find the Cup matches relatively balanced but I will pay attention starting this season.

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6 minutes ago, Hootieleece said:

Do you have the game sort out the Cup draw's all at once or one at a time? or do you "manually" pick the matches? 

I always have the program do them all at once for the larger rounds but I always "manually" pick the matches for Quarterfinals or better (if I'm involved)

And I find the Cup matches relatively balanced but I will pay attention starting this season.

I pretty much do the same as you - I always prefer the auto '1 by 1' draws but do the 'full at once' in the larger rounds.

I think it does seem largely just to be down to me/my luck/my saves rather than any trend within the game itself, but now I've started it'd be rude if I didn't/don't continue - at least I can try and use it to gain additional sympathy in future seasons etc :) 

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Posted (edited)

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Finding form...

Sometimes you get the results your play deserve and this month that was very much the theme as some truly abject performances - certainly the worst of the season so far - were rewarded with some decidedly average results that we can have few complaints about - the only real bit of cheer being that we hit our pre-season target of 50 points!!. Having done very well defensively - at least in the league - all season, we seemed to abandon that philosophy as we shipped 12 goals in the 5 games, having conceded just 33 in the preceding 29 so clearly there's an issue I need to address as - whilst again- there were some tricky ties, we've certainly had tougher months. Silver lining is that hopefully we've scored our way back into form; having taken the lead against a decent QPR side, we surrendered it in the 29th minute equaliser before they took the initiative with a 60th minute penalty. Throwing caution to the wind (and determined not to finish the month without a win) we went for it and thankfully it paid dividends, the best part being Morgan James finally breaking the League goals record for Hyde so hopefully he'll be free of the pressure (and i'll be free of the mails!).

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Can you name your best XI?

I realise it's been a while since I did a really deep dive into the current state of my squad - notwithstanding the spreadsheet updates at the end/start of every season. Obviously we've had quite a few youth intakes and a lot of development so I think it'll be interesting to see which intake so far has been the most successful in terms of appearances (although Meaney's ability from a young age may skew the results slightly)/goals/overall/etc - I mentioned recently there's been a slight changing of the guard with regard to our starting XI but haven't gone into more depth about that and exactly which intake has provided us with our best XI, possibly because I'm not entirely sure who my best XI are, or often mix it with our best potential XI to ensure they're developing. With this many youngsters about it means you can potentially miss a prospect or two - I mentioned Goodwin (23M) going on trial to Brighton, sadly it never went any further for him but I wondered if there was anything I'm missing, another player is Colin Turnbull (23B), a player the coaches like and keep recommending to me but who's someone I've given plenty of chances to (he's played 28 times for the first team) yet he never seems quite able to make the step up - what prompted me to write this was the coaches again reaching out and recommending I find a place in the team for him;

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Unfortunately whilst he's got the ability and his attributes are decent, he just doesn't quite do it on the pitch (possibly due to inconsistency) in an area where we have a lot of competition and are perhaps strongest (with Kenyon 24A, Bush 24D, Morgan James, Fraser Meaney 21A, Keenan Quansah, Grant Roberts & Steve Robinson 23C). I'll persevere a little longer (of course) - perhaps a role tweak will bring the best out of him, but that's the problem (for me) when a player is labelled as inconsistent or kicks up a fuss, I'm just far less prepared to work with them to find what suits best as any positive may just be a blip - when the team plays well overall as a whole then I'm more inclined to make them fit or work towards the guys who've already proved themselves, Morgan James is also inconsistent for example, but still gives us far more on a regular basis than Colin right now - I don't expect my young guys to play 10/10 every week but I need to see something from them in the time I give them in order to continue weakening the side to help them develop and he just isn't showing me anything right now.

We've got another intake due very soon given that we're at the end of February - I'll assess this years intake (so so excited!) and then perhaps drill back into the numbers a little bit to show how our squad has evolved and which intake has been best for us overall so far (quick glance suggests 2023 has given us the most current first team squad players right now, but have they combined played half as many games as Fraser so far?

 

Close that window...!

Another transfer window came and went, this one being veeeeery quiet until the final day when Shaquille Smith (24B) suddenly became the focal point of a very insistent Crystal Palace manager (Adrian Mutu of all people - probably still trying to pay Chelsea off!). I like Shaquille and attributes wise he may be the best striker we've had so far from our intakes - he hasn't had the best of seasons just yet with 4 goals coming from his 21 appearances but he's played mostly as a lone striker (which seems to guarantee low numbers for me!) and in a difficult division in terms of standard, going up against a lot of lower premiership quality defenders. Value wise he's only worth £24k apparently, but that didn't stop Palace from making repeated offers as the window was closing to try and force a deal - thankfully our chairman avoided getting involved (possibly due to our current balance being well over £1M) which was also good to see - they submitted four offers in the end, all slightly improved but - for now at least - I rejected them to see just how good he can become;

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Since the window closed Everton have now also become interested in him so there's definitely something about him - rated at 3.5 stars CA, he's apparently rocking 4 in terms of PA so he'll still improve but that suggests that it won't be by a tremendous amount - could be that their scouts are better judges than my coaches however (almost guaranteed that is the case!)

Away from Hyde, other clubs in the Championship were spending money like crazy, so much so that the Championship combined outlay beat all but the Premier League and Bundesliga overall;

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The wage expenditure update for this year confirming something else I already knew, highlighting our plight;

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Edited by optimusprimal82

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You can win everything with kids...!

I've spent a bit of time digging through my squad in order to assess just how good our youth products have actually been throughout the save - we're now in the Championship, some 4 divisions higher than we started so there's obviously something about them, but is it the work of one amazing player or based on the efforts of many? Are the youth products running the show now or are the original crew still doing the bulk of the work? Let's find out...

I'll throw this up first again for starters, it's an in-depth list of every player currently in my first team squad - I deliberately keep my youth players separate until they're promoted to analyse them more fairly/identify weaknesses in the squad overall better;

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Just looking at that this year suggests that we're pretty weak overall in terms of CA, but that PA wise we've definitely got the makings of a solid team. We also have 4 players at urgent need of replacement age wise with another 3 who'll be beginning their 'old age decline'shortly too - I've been trying to replace Grant Roberts for a long time but haven't ever really got the right type of MC through that fills the same role. Jared Kenyon (24A) has been doing a decent job this year but he offers so much going forward too that it's almost a waste to have him just in a holding role? Ian Pollock (22F) has also started quite a few games this year; with Peter Crook having been a great servant I'm in no rush to get rid of him but we need to have one eye on the future - Pollock has scored 2 goals this season too which is a nice bonus! An example of future planning is at right back - Kyle Harrison was our first choice a few seasons back but is now first change and is almost 30 so it's a sure sign that we need a new backup; Owen Willis (22C) has done pretty well and established himself now as first choice, but will he really be good enough when we get into the Premier League? This is where a new high PA youngster would be perfect as he could play understudy to Willis who has plenty of years left and develop at a good pace - given the increase in PA over the last couple of seasons (due to better facilities/us being in a higher league) it stands to reason that any new RB intakes should likely be a good upgrade on our current options. Based on this, in the summer I'll almost certainly be promoting Jack Appleby (24F) to the first team squad (naturally unless a better option comes in the forthcoming youth intake) as his 3.5 PA is nothing to be sneezed at and we'll need the cover pretty soon. My idea is that moving into the Premier League I'll begin to sell players around 28-29 as they'll have some value as opposed to my guys now (Harrison is worth 4k so better value with us for cover)

Overall we've got 28 first team players this year, and encouragingly (and unsurprisingly given we can't buy players) 18 of those came from our youth system since I've been in charge (special mention to Elijah Gabriel who was a youth player already at the club when I joined!), what's more exciting/interesting is seeing how many of those 18 make our first choice XI now;

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Yes, that's right - 7 of our first 11 are all home-grown youth academy products which is incredible and makes me so happy - especially when we're doing so well as a team overall! To break it down further, these are the guys;

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and to take it further still;

  • None of the first XI come from our very first intake (2020) - indeed the only players still in the first team squad from that intake are the highest (& 2nd highest) rated prospects Stephen Wells (20A) & Emeka Jibrin (20B), neither of which feature all that much anymore (sadly)
  • Fraser Meaney 21A (unsurprisingly) is our leading academy player in terms of appearances (unless we count Gabriel who was here when I joined who has 8 more than Fraser), goals and assists. He is one of only 3 players still with the club from the 2021 intake, the other two being set for release this summer. It wasn't until last year's intake that anyone other than Meaney was classed as our best player/talent (he was replaced in that sense by Jared Kenyon 24A) - I think it's been clear for a long while that Meaney was a cut above the other talent we've had from our intakes so far - but whilst the coaches think he "could still improve" he's at 4/4 for CA which is his PA score too so I'm not sure if he will get any better? What's obvious is that with 52 goals, 25 assists and 21 PoM awards, he has been an essential part of our rise through the leagues - he also nearly left until the board backed down when the sale was protested by the Hyde manager
  • 2023 is currently the best intake in terms of number of players within the first team squad with 7 representatives. 2024 currently has 3, but there are a few high potential youngsters from that crop still playing in the U18 squad until a gap opens up (the aforementioned Jack Appleby being on the cusp of promotion for example)
  • Of the 80 youth prospects we've had arrive during the intakes since I've been at the club, 38 remain at the club on contract terms (with 7 set for departure shortly). Of those 38, only 14 have not made a first team appearance for the club (yet).

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Edited by optimusprimal82

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Youth Intake 2025 - First Look

Bit of an odd one here as I was just starting to wonder what was happening as the date kept progressing and no youth intake - I'd be lying if I said the thought "bug?" hadn't flashed before my eyes as a general wonder but the date is obviously fluid and it happens when it wants to! Anyway, let's take a look, first at our always optimistic HoyD's opinion;

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Well the words 'golden' and 'generation' are here yet again for anyone playing 'intake day bingo' so we can dismiss that as part of the usual nonsense, not sure I've seen him single a guy out as being 'very gifted' like that before though (I know he always picks one guy out, I mean that particular language strike me as unusual). Let's delve in, as always I'd like a good striker (only been saying it every year so far), but this year I feel like there are quite a few areas we could do with improving, notably GK, DC & ML - let's hope that Taylor Nottage is as good as his name sounds, can't wait to type that 20 times a day! :D 

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An absolute mixed bag in terms of personalities with Low Determination being the obvious (and depressing) standout, doubly so when heavily seasoned with 'unambitious' yet again. Still struggling to upgrade our HoyD so there's little we can do about it - guess we can be fussy when our reputation isn't still sat 5 leagues below us and silver lining, the HoyD's 'best pick' is listed as Professional so that's a good start?

Ok, so PA wise we're looking very good, don't recall having that many 4-5 star prospects in one intake previously so in that aspect this may be the best so far? Obviously we'll need to see ceiling though before we get carried away - potential is only that if their personalities mean they train just twice a week (see Jimbo's fun and games over his last few in-game weeks for an example of a guy who won't likely reach his maximum!). The drop off after the first 4 guys is noticeable, but as I've mooted before, it almost feels like there's a maximum pool of potential points you seem to get across your intake and it's down to the FM gods whether it's spread evenly around or stuffed into one or two (probably undeserving) prospects - the year of Meaney saw him and few others for example, whereas the year before last we had quite a few come in to bolster numbers within the team - if this year is just 3-4 standouts then I'm more than happy, although positionally they're far from what I'd have chosen with the wings seemingly the focus, although a striker (or two) could be interesting, just sadly no DC's which is starting to become a concern with age swiftly catching up with our back line!

Ok, so Bob Reed is..... again left footed (Meaney, Skelton, Kenyon & Smith are all also left footed - seems to be incredibly common this year?) aaaaand... otherwise ok? Maybe it's because I'm rushing to write this (have to be elsewhere but like to get my initial take down so when they turn into world beaters/dropouts I can look back!) I'm being too harsh but I see a decent player there but not a whole lot else - not standout tall, not incredibly quick (although only 15 and has a good base level of physical stats), decent finisher but nothing extreme, good dribbler, awful passer, poor vision, good off the ball for a young un combined with poor anticipation. Feel like he'd be a good inside forward maybe if retrained? His best role at AML though is winger - not with that passing/crossing combo though for me. I dunno, maybe I'm being harsh but he smacks of a 'high ability/poor attribute spread' prospect to me, at least so far, let's visit him again in a year maybe? Obviously you don't 'not sign' a 4-5 star potential youth prospect when you're Hyde! :) 

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Tommy Holmes is rated as ready for the first team now which is kinda worrying looking at him, although I feel he'll be very quick once he matures - should mean he gives the ball away quicker if nothing else! :D Gallagher I'm excited about for his height if nothing else, although his average heading stat means I foresee additional training in his near future! Don't mean to sound so pessimistic, just rushing and tihnk I got my hopes up waaaay too high given our facility improvements of late - roll on next year!!

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NB: Taylor Nottage has a LONG way to go before he'll be playing for Hyde, let's just say that for now.

Naturally a more in-depth look coming in the not too distant (that means spreadsheets, just for a change!)

 

Small correction

I mentioned that Morgan James became Hyde's record league goalscorer recently after he scored what's becoming an increasingly rare goal of late? The fact I didn't have a deluge of mails after the game should have tipped me off that all was not right, sure enough he only tied the record so he's still anxious in every game and still has more chance of KO-ing a spectator than scoring with most of his attempts. Best of all I'm still getting 2-3 mails before every game about it - yay! :D 

 

Edited by optimusprimal82

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Do you have any players with good personalities to combat low determination? Mentoring does help....just don't overload the mentoring group or your good players will lose their "good" personalities. 

I am finding training low determination and Unambitious up to "Balanced" isn't that bad....in fact IMHO "Balanced" has gotten a bad rep from the fact that "Good" Personalities were too plentiful and easy to train.

As long as your team Leaders have "Good" Personalities and support you....you will have few problems with players and be able to give lots of "hair dryers" at halftime!

 

Edit: I think Tommy Holmes will make a respectable winger if you fix his determination...

Edited by Hootieleece

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8 hours ago, Hootieleece said:

Do you have any players with good personalities to combat low determination? Mentoring does help....just don't overload the mentoring group or your good players will lose their "good" personalities. 

I am finding training low determination and Unambitious up to "Balanced" isn't that bad....in fact IMHO "Balanced" has gotten a bad rep from the fact that "Good" Personalities were too plentiful and easy to train.

As long as your team Leaders have "Good" Personalities and support you....you will have few problems with players and be able to give lots of "hair dryers" at halftime!

 

Edit: I think Tommy Holmes will make a respectable winger if you fix his determination...

Not amazingly so no - it's a problem that seriously bothers me but I only mention it sporadically as I don't see there's an awful lot I can do about it in this type of save - at least in the short term.

According to the mentoring panel, these are the most significant 'influencers' in my squad;

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Yet a quick perusal at their stats show how deep the problem runs with very average determination across the board;

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John Jeffs is possibly my best hope here but is only classed as an 'average' influence right now so might be decent as a mentor but not legendarily so (and putting him in a group might backfire and reduce him!)? The problem is that away from mentoring the entire squad now influences each other and the trend for determination in my squad as a whole has been a depressing backwards one, with Grant Doran being a poster boy for the problem, starting at 18 when I first took over and now being rated at 12 - no specific mentoring, none of those random 'event drops' that sometimes occur, just gradual and painful decline!

Determination is the one thing we really can't upgrade from a HoyD perspective either;

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I guess in some ways I'm paying for having played people like Morgan James since the start of this save - I mentioned in one of my very first posts about how his super low determination rating is everything I hate in an FM player, yet he proceeded to continually play well to the point I couldn't leave him out (which taught me a lesson too), the issue then of course is as he's improved, so has his influence which in turn means he rubs his 'dirty low determination' all over the other lads which no doubt brings them down towards his level (which is a dismal 3). I've learnt to relax a fair bit more in this save about the personalities/mental stats than I ever normally would purely because I'd go crazy otherwise such is the limit on my powers of being able to do anything - I don't have many options to improve on my staff and I obviously have no ability to buy in decent role models etc so it's got to be a slow and gradual improvement which means frustration and some high PA youngsters may fall by the wayside but heck, I guess that's why they call it  the Academy challenge! :D 

Edited by optimusprimal82

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Youth Intake 2025 - Who makes the cut?

A few days away finds us almost on page 2 but we're back with a bang having gone through our youth intake and assessed who's a keeper and who's for the footballing scrapheap!

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Looking at the guys this year and our current youth squad I've set '2 stars PA' as the bar they need to clear to earn a youth contract which see's 10 players making the cut. Worryingly none of them are Goalkeepers or Central Defenders, positions which are fast becoming a priority but we've got another year before it starts to become a little more desperate - it just might mean that I have to revisit some of the existing young guys I was considering cutting from the side (such as Dan Young - 24I).

Once again a lot of red spread around Personality and some of my preferred mental attributes, will be interesting to see how they develop of course over the years - one trend I have noticed is an overall increase in Natural Fitness but guess that's not a huge surprise given the better facilities/higher youth standards etc?

It's been a long time since our last match so I'll bash through some and see how our season ends shortly - expecting it to be a bit of a non-event, but it's our first season in the Championship still of course so non-event >>> relegation battle! :) 

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March-ing towards the Premier League?

A great March only fell short of flawless due to a Stoke team that seems to definitely be playing in the wrong division (we were completely outplayed and couldn't lay a glove on them!). The team is in great morale at present and it shows with some of our results (winning away to Forest/Brentford and beating Fulham/Sunderland) - although now this far in to the save I suspect that the 'real life bias' we subconsciously apply to our opponents ability levels may be skewing my view a little?

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It's taken an enormous amount of time (and e-mails) but Morgan James finally got his record which I hope means he'll score a few more before season end - it's incredible how - based on my perception at least - the record hanging over his head stunted his goalscoring form this year. He's got 8 this year (so far - from MC) which isn't far off his average from the last few years, but earlier in the season he was finding the net much more regularly (he's now scored 2 in his last 20 games).

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Looking at the table, I'd stopped cehcking it really after we dropped out of the playoffs but this months form has seen us creep back in - our goal difference isn't amazing, but interestingly it is better than the teams we're competing with so whilst still an outside bet we could  still sneak in - dangerous to talk about so early but getting this lot promoted in the first year would be up there with my greatest FM achievements I reckon? Long way to go though before we look at all that - we need to finish in the playoffs and then there's the small matter of Newcastle & Huddersfield (although we did well against Newcastle this year);

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The Meaney contract saga part 25

I joke a little, but it does feel that I'm never far from contract negotiations with this lad and his bum-face of an agent. As you'll all well-know by now he has been by far the standout product of our youth academy from this save (and he's still only 20 years old!), coming through when we were still in the Vanarama National! Other players now match him for CA/PA stars and he was usurped as our clubs 'key player' last year by Jared Kenyon (24A) and attribute wise he's certainly not as 'stand-out' as he once was - but he's been a great player for us overall and I decided that if we could afford it we'd renew, which is exactly what we've done - either he'll be with us for a while or we should (note the minimum fee clause) get a sizeable fee for him which will secure our financial future (and maybe pave the way to a new stadium?). Interestingly the teams that were interested in him have now dropped their interest - I'd prefer to sell (if we do) once we're in the Premier League (if we make it!) anyway due to the increased value etc - will be interesting to see the dent in our finances this'll cause - we're still making a monthly profit (which should cover this increase) and we're still over 12k below our weekly wage budget so hopefully shouldn't be an issue!;

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(Note the stats totals don't - infuriatingly - count cup goals for whatever reason - maybe there's a way to toggle that but I don't know where if so - there are an extra 8 goals and 5 assists not counted there anyway; may sound petty but I like to be exact!)

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Good to see you back.

I'm still struggling with Stalybridge in Season 6 in the VNL! I was promoted as Champion of VNN after season 4 in 2023. Also Still Semi-Pro!

I'm about to lose my Captain. a Winger with a deadly freekick (15) that knocks in 10-15 goals and about 10-15 assists. Even though all his attributes are average or below average except Free Kicks and Leadership(18)

I have Championship Team asking for Interviews for their coaching jobs!

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13 hours ago, Hootieleece said:

Good to see you back.

I'm still struggling with Stalybridge in Season 6 in the VNL! I was promoted as Champion of VNN after season 4 in 2023. Also Still Semi-Pro!

I'm about to lose my Captain. a Winger with a deadly freekick (15) that knocks in 10-15 goals and about 10-15 assists. Even though all his attributes are average or below average except Free Kicks and Leadership(18)

I have Championship Team asking for Interviews for their coaching jobs!

Thank you sir - I was happy to be back until approximately  30 seconds after my last post when I checked the fixtures for next month - all that silly, giddy optimistic talk of playoffs (we're not definitely out of them, but I hadn't spotted we had an away day to the league leaders coming up!) has backfired spectacularly now!

Sorry to hear it's not going tremendously well - 15 for free kicks in that divisions is certainly not to be sneezed at! I managed to snag an ex Man Utd youth with a high free kick stat in my last save in League Two and he scored double figures too so I can certainly feel your pain if he does go! There's so many things I'd like from our youth intake, but someone with high free kicks would be very welcome for sure - they're very useful this year it seems!

Do you think you'll move up or are you sticking with S'celtic through thick & thin?

 

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The road to the playoffs...?

By goodness, if there's one thing I'll remember this save for it'll be the amount of luck we've had along the way - things such as Hull's capitulation last season and some of our other playoff/FA cup shenanigans (guy being sent off in the first 20 minutes for City?) - this season may see us on the receiving end of yet more good fortune as we head into crunch time. As alluded to above, we've had a very average start to April with 2 draws and a defeat seeing us drop down to 7th (and out of the playoffs), looking at the table though;

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A great win against Villa and a draw for both Huddersfield and Derby saw us close the gap right back up - looking ahead the fixtures are very interesting, firstly ours;

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Yep, a home game against Huddersfield basically becomes a 'winner takes all' match, unless we draw of course, in which case they're still in the driving seat. Where the plot thickens however is looking at the fixtures after that, namely the last day of the season;

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Yep, that's right - our two biggest rivals for the final playoff space play against each other - wonderful! We still have to do our part of course (and we lost 4-2 away to Huddersfield earlier in the season), but knowing they can't both pick up maximum points make things look all the sweeter! :) 

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Time to buy a lottery ticket...

What was I saying about luck? Our 'must-win'game against Huddersfield was an abhorrent mess of awful possession from both sides and one of our worst performances of the season. Careful not to commit too many players forward we struggled to create anything of note, although Huddersfield weren't exactly prolific on that front either? With the game drab and lifeless, it rolled into the 88th minute before suddenly coming alive - a bad tackle from behind (on our ML) saw the Huddersfield RB receive his marching orders. With just a few minutes to go I pushed our guys forward, expecting little having registered just a single (off-target) strike so far all game! Then this happened (in injury time no less!);

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A little slower perhaps?

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I love the fact that the commentary records it as a 'Header from Michael Skelton - 22A!!' as if he meant it and it didn't just thump into him! :D 

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Needless to say, that was enough for us to take the all important victory and leapfrog both Huddersfield and Derby (who also lost) - it's going to be very difficult for us not to make it now (rest assured we are up for the challenge of not making the playoffs though!)!!

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Edited by optimusprimal82

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@optimusprimal82:Playoffs for sure.

Like above poster:Would you welcome an unlikely promotion?

 

As for my Stalybridge save I will stick with it , but money is scarce (Payroll is $360,000/year and bank account has about $400,000) and they only ever give me one year extensions.

I'm playing 4-1-4-1 DM Wide and sticking 10 men behind the ball and grinding out results with set pieces like Burnley or Newcastle. Unfortunately most often not well enough for playoffs, but top half.

Eventually I will get bored of the lower league slog but I am still invested in these Kids of mine.

 

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22 minutes ago, Hootieleece said:

As for my Stalybridge save I will stick with it , but money is scarce (Payroll is $360,000/year and bank account has about $400,000) and they only ever give me one year extensions.

I'm playing 4-1-4-1 DM Wide and sticking 10 men behind the ball and grinding out results with set pieces like Burnley or Newcastle. Unfortunately most often not well enough for playoffs, but top half.

Eventually I will get bored of the lower league slog but I am still invested in these Kids of mine.

Is Skelton the modern day Ricketts! haha!

Honestly, I'd be happy in your place no matter what the result, I mean, another year in the Championship is another year of growth!

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Hootieleece said:

@optimusprimal82:Playoffs for sure.

 

Yeah surely even we can't mess it up from here! :) I was trying to understand why it wasn't confirmed until I spotted Swansea with a cheeky game in hand - they drew that game (at home to Fulham) and they seem to be the only ones who can rob us of our place now - they're away to Preston on the final day and looking at the goal difference need to win by several goals & us to lose by a few to take our place. We're at home to Colchester, I'm always confident when playing at home so I reckon we'll get the job done which bring us nicely on to;

10 hours ago, WillHoward42 said:

Playoffs looking good now. Are you ready/wanting that promotion?

 

3 hours ago, Hootieleece said:

Like above poster:Would you welcome an unlikely promotion?

This has been a question we've had to face a few times in this save - I reckon/believe overall that tactically we're consistently overperforming by about 15-16 positions (complete guesstimate) - especially when looking at the team report comparison screens and seeing that we are/are still bottom for pretty much every stat on average. There's definitely a ceiling in each division that we can't overcome - the recent game against Stoke proved that not matter how much I tweak and adjust there are levels we just can't compete against (they just beat us extremely comfortably playing in what looked like 2nd gear). By that logic we've not been ready for any of our promotions really, except maybe the very first one when our team was probably in the top percentile ability wise (with players such as Morgan James rocketing goals every week)? That's the only season where we've been able to attack pretty freely and largely been on top in most games. As I've said in previous seasons, I don't think you can ever really say no to a promotion but right now I don't feel like we've improved all that much this year (I'm sure there have been some positive changes) so with us already at what I consider the limit of our 'over-performance' I think we'd be in very real trouble of relegation if we do go up - the way we struggled against Stoke & Sheffield Wednesday (league leaders dispatched us easily 4-2 two games past) indicative of the struggles we'd likely face - FM doesn't always follow this logic too well (as in teams often don't seem to achieve a finish consistent with their ability levels) but when Stoke were relegated back down, they finished bottom of the Premier League by a margin - they've sold a few and bought a few since then but they're still clearly better than us right now so I think we'd be really up against it - but then who doesn't love a challenge? The other issue is I'm not really convinced by this years youth intake - in other promotion years I've felt that we've had the youngsters who could grow/keep us in the division, but I don't have that feeling right now, especially in central defence/up top - if we go up I'll obviously be happy but for once I have to let head rule over heart and admit that in terms of gameplay enjoyment I actually think another year in the Championship will be much better for us long term (will stop everyone demanding new contracts and the likely mess if we go back down with clauses etc too). That's the boring answer I know, but rest assured there's another part of me that really wonders how we'd do - and I do love a relegation battle! :D 

The biggest obstacle with the playoffs for me is the two-legged semi-final. I think in a single one-off game we could beat any of the teams (especially as the AI sides tend to play on the extremes of attack/defence in finals), but over two legs we are going to really struggle to beat the other sides, especially when taking this seasons results into consideration;

Stoke

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Newcastle

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Bristol City

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Huddersfield

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Swansea

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Not exactly great reading - especially when the only win in that group is courtesy of that ridiculously lucky Skelton goal in my previous post? I'm not saying we can't win - I was this pessimistic when we were drawn against Crewe in previous playoffs - they'd schooled us both Home and Away but we still prevailed so anything is possible, I guess I just don't feel as comfortable this year as I can tell that the relative strength of my team is less by performances and how much effect tactical tweaks have - when the team is stronger the changes have a much greater effect, this year I can't influence games as much due to the quality gap so I have less confidence in us overcoming the odds is all. Phew, that was a long winded answer to a simple question - maybe your TL;DR is "Yes, but not really"? :D 

 

3 hours ago, Dev'o said:

Is Skelton the modern day Ricketts! haha!

Honestly, I'd be happy in your place no matter what the result, I mean, another year in the Championship is another year of growth!

He's certainly the same kind of lucky, that's for sure - had to feel for Huddersfield as Skelton doesn't even play all that often anymore, I only brought him on due to fatigue, that was his first (and only) goal of the season too!

And absolutely, there's no real disappointment for me if we miss out, we're about 5-6 seasons ahead of what I expected was our likely schedule in terms of division and as you suggest/I mention above, another year in this league will do us the world of good - facility upgrades are due for completion soon so the extra season (or indeed 2) could be the very real difference in us coming straight back down or being able to make a proper go of it in our first year up there!

 

3 hours ago, Hootieleece said:

As for my Stalybridge save I will stick with it , but money is scarce (Payroll is $360,000/year and bank account has about $400,000) and they only ever give me one year extensions.

I'm playing 4-1-4-1 DM Wide and sticking 10 men behind the ball and grinding out results with set pieces like Burnley or Newcastle. Unfortunately most often not well enough for playoffs, but top half.

Eventually I will get bored of the lower league slog but I am still invested in these Kids of mine.

I love the 4141 but really struggle for performance with it using AML/AMR's when we're a weaker team and find we play much better/are more solid with MR/ML's set as either Wingers or Wide midfielders (WM's have no PI's if 'support' duty so I can customise them more)... The positioning/movement of the AMR/AML's can be troubling for me too as they tend to make forward runs far too early in the build up for my liking often meaning they sit tucked in on the opposition FB's without trying to find space/make additional runs (I wrote a lot about it during the beta that you can read here if interested)- can make play very stodgy and static (but may just be the way I use them!). Not saying you're (not) doing this/this will work better for you/far be it from me to tell you how to play your game but certainly an observation of this years game. I also massively prefer playing with 2 up top when I've only got average strikers but that's a luxury I often can't commit too (one day soon I hope!). Other tip I'll throw in here is that I find 'Counter-Press' is incredible if i'm top 5-8 relative side for the division, otherwise I'm usually 'regroup' all the way, often still with counter on for a quick transition (handy with direct passing)! Feel your pain with the finances - selling players at that level is useless as you can barely get 10k for them which doesn't make even the slightest of dents! Good luck - hopefully this year is the year - imagine what turning pro will do for your guys too!

Edited by optimusprimal82

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Playoffs here we come...!

Well it surely comes as little surprise given how the fixtures went yesterday that we scraped into the playoffs? I say scraped because we just didn't turn up in our final match and could easily have lost against a poor Colchester side, the game finishing 1-1. Irrespective, it was enough for us to end up in 6th overall (a fantastic achievement in our first Championship season in it's own right!), however that ensures we play Stoke in the playoffs who I'd argue are the best side we've played this season (and a side I have huge affection for as mentioned numerous times!) - not awesome.

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The only team on Stoke's level has been Sheffield Wednesday and credit to them, they've absolutely dominated the league this year and are more than worthy winners. They've been pretty dirty too, setting the worst disciplinary record before they were overtaken following the final fixtures by an even dirtier side... Oops!

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One small ray of sunshine is Stoke's (relatively) poor form - they've certainly not been at their best over the last few weeks but they were far from shabby before that!

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We'll give it our best shot etc but we're certainly up against it this year but - and I'm not just saying this - I actually feel a twinge of relief that we likely won't do it...!? I hate that feeling because it feels out of character for me but I just think it'll be better for us overall as mentioned in my last post so I feel really half-hearted as I sit here planning our approach.

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Posted (edited)

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Championship Playoffs Semi Final 1st Leg. Wow.

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No idea where this result came from but I'll take it! I'd explain the changes I made tactically but in all honesty there weren't that many - I went with my modified 4141 (the variant with 2 strikers and 1 MC) and started cautiously with slightly more direct passing - the rest was done by my guys, young Shaquille Smith (24B) in particular; he'd only scored 5 senior goals in his career total before this game and he goes and fires a hat trick!? Absolutely crazy but we ripped them to shreds in an attacking sense (how often do you create 6 CCC's in a game?);

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The result lost a little gloss with the yellow cards and the subsequent red - Grant Roberts had 4 assists in this game prior to his dismissal (so we learned that they can't defend crosses from the right!) so disappointing in that sense but we already have the record now so why not make sure we keep it for a long time? :D 

There's still work to be done - sure we've all seen the AI thwomp away a lead before but if we can keep it tight then there's every chance we can make the final. That I don't want to win. Apparently.

EDIT: And this just happened. It seems that the 5 Premier League & 4 European Cup titles won (along with the other titles) in his six years in charge wasn't enough to safeguard him against finishing a lowly 3rd - as a United fan irl I'll not comment further to save any potential teary breakdowns! :(

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Edited by optimusprimal82

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The Final Countdown...

Well we only went and bleeding did it didn't we...? After the goalfest of the 1st leg this was an altogether more cagey affair as we killed the game as much as possible, to try and ensure they didn't get any sort of momentum. It was pretty tense and there were times I felt a mistake from my lads coming on but to their great credit they stuck to their task and we held on - would have been interesting to see if that'd still have been the case following their late goal if the aggregate had been much closer buuuut it wasn't so really, who cares? :D 

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In the other game Bristol City saw off Swansea which is mildly disappointing as they're the only side this season to beat us both home and away (not even Wednesday managed that!). The mail announcing the fixture was keen to point to their great form which is a concern, having just looked back through at their few losses though, the good news for us is that every single defeat they've had has been against a team playing either 4-4-2 or 4-1-4-1 (ignoring the fact they obviously beat us whilst we were using the very same) so if i look at the manager stats of the teams that beat them i may be able to see if there's a constant to how those teams played (direct passing/counter attacking etc) - not saying any of that will make any difference but it's interesting to drill down when you spot trends like that etc;

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Fantastic job getting to where you have, and whilst absolutely loving this story I’m afraid it has to be another season in the championship for you (I’m a Bristol City fan) in all seriousness really good luck! I missed out on first season promotion with Kettering, first half of the season we were flying, then lost my main cb to some rubbish in conference south, the worst part was had he stayed fit for me he would easily have gotten to 500 appearances for us! Killed our season but managed to scrape into the playoffs on the final game. Also our experienced keeper left leaving me with a 16 (fairly decent though)

play off semi went to a shoot out, unbelievably my 16 year old keeper saved all their pens, I’ve never seen that happen not for me anyway! Sadly we lost the final on pens but we were shocking in that game so no complaints!

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, samboing said:

Fantastic job getting to where you have, and whilst absolutely loving this story I’m afraid it has to be another season in the championship for you (I’m a Bristol City fan) in all seriousness really good luck! I missed out on first season promotion with Kettering, first half of the season we were flying, then lost my main cb to some rubbish in conference south, the worst part was had he stayed fit for me he would easily have gotten to 500 appearances for us! Killed our season but managed to scrape into the playoffs on the final game. Also our experienced keeper left leaving me with a 16 (fairly decent though)

play off semi went to a shoot out, unbelievably my 16 year old keeper saved all their pens, I’ve never seen that happen not for me anyway! Sadly we lost the final on pens but we were shocking in that game so no complaints!

Thank you! :) 

I quit the game last night with the final fast approaching because I feel so torn about it - can't remember an FM game I've ever wanted to 'not-win' before but I just can't bring myself to throw it either? Sounds almost like 'he doth protest too much' with me constantly banging on about it and I/m boring/irritating myself, let alone you fine folk - might just have to download a skin with 'instant result' and get it over with/out of the way?

If I could spend xfer money naturally I would be doing anything to win the game! :D 

Sorry to say that Bristol is one of those weird footballing 'I prefer XXXXX' places and sad to say that in this case it's Rovers, purely because of FM back when it was in it's 'Championship' days - they had some young guys that turned into world beaters (Jamie Shore, Mark Smith, Trevor Challis) they helpfully sold on the cheap, always had a slight affinity for them of the two sides since then (similar story with Wednesday over United, WBA over Wolves). Odd but true! :) 

Unlucky with your save, one player really can (and often does) make such a difference down in that level - you've barely got enough budget for a good first 11, let alone backups! Hopefully you can redress the balance this year - sounds like you're not far off!

Edited by optimusprimal82

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1 hour ago, optimusprimal82 said:

Thank you! :) 

I quit the game last night with the final fast approaching because I feel so torn about it - can't remember an FM game I've ever wanted to 'not-win' before but I just can't bring myself to throw it either? Sounds almost like 'he doth protest too much' with me constantly banging on about it and I/m boring/irritating myself, let alone you fine folk - might just have to download a skin with 'instant result' and get it over with/out of the way?

If I could spend xfer money naturally I would be doing anything to win the game! :D 

Sorry to say that Bristol is one of those weird footballing 'I prefer XXXXX' places and sad to say that in this case it's Rovers, purely because of FM back when it was in it's 'Championship' days - they had some young guys that turned into world beaters (Jamie Shore, Mark Smith, Trevor Challis) they helpfully sold on the cheap, always had a slight affinity for them of the two sides since then (similar story with Wednesday over United, WBA over Wolves). Odd but true! :) 

Unlucky with your save, one player really can (and often does) make such a difference down in that level - you've barely got enough budget for a good first 11, let alone backups! Hopefully you can redress the balance this year - sounds like you're not far off!

Wow, it’s amazing how quickly you can go off of someone lol

I signed a few of the youth intakes and have played them during pre season and they are banging them in, 3 a piece and my main striker from last season hasn’t got any so far, toying with going with a 16 and 17 year old up front but it does put me off a little, and an Attacking midfielder who I left in the youth squad but on second look he’s pretty good, so may have to switch up my tactics as I have literally two wingers neither left footed.

Good luck against the only team in Bristol

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2 hours ago, samboing said:

Wow, it’s amazing how quickly you can go off of someone lol

I signed a few of the youth intakes and have played them during pre season and they are banging them in, 3 a piece and my main striker from last season hasn’t got any so far, toying with going with a 16 and 17 year old up front but it does put me off a little, and an Attacking midfielder who I left in the youth squad but on second look he’s pretty good, so may have to switch up my tactics as I have literally two wingers neither left footed.

Good luck against the only team in Bristol

I am doing a youth only Dafuge Save with Stalybridge Celtic. I've made it to the VNL Playoffs this year (in 7th place) with an entirely homegrown starting 11. I've never been as invested in my players as I have been in this save. I actually Shortlist them indefinitely to keep tabs on them when I cut them.

I have one player who has been indispensable during my run as manager he is 25 and the Captain. He came with the team so I nicknamed him and the others "OG's" I have only two left, but my youth intakes have been great. Mostly because I hired a HOYD that has a good personality and prefers the same formation as I am playing.

I also have instituted some of optimusprimal82's ideas on youth development.

Good luck in your save!

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Well, s***...

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Ok, so I decided to stop being a moaning a***hole and just get on with the game, going with my cautious/counter attacking 4-1-4-1, looking to keep things tight and we were fortunate enough to score first, a cross from the right (we seem to have scored a lot from right wing crosses of late - they're what did for Stoke in the 1st leg of the Semi's?). As I've mentioned many times throughout this thread, my mentality first/masterplan approach comes into it's own when you can go ahead, although naturally with a team as weak as this it's far from a given. Luckily the game was really poor overall with quality in short supply. We gave away a lot of fouls but I toned down our tackling late on (tackling/pressing is set much lower in my more defensive tactic variants anyway to ensure we don't give stupid free kicks away late in the game) to avoid free kick equalisers and worse, second yellows (well known by now that my lads like a yellow card or two!). As Bristol poured forward I ticked 'Counter' back on and set our MR to a more attacking mentality with a right wing focus (never sure actually how effective that is - my gut feel has always been it has the potential to limit rather than enhance when set to just the one wing?) and sure enough it almost paid dividends with an incredibly swift break - but cruelly the goal was disallowed which meant another tense ten minutes were left with just the one goal in it. They had a chance in the 89th minute which our keeper earned a new contract by keeping out, otherwise it was relatively comfortable, the stats reflecting the pretty tame nature of the game overall.

So yeah, we're going up. After just one season in the Championship - our 2nd promotion in 2 years and fifth in six overall which is a bit surreal. I mentioned luck a few posts back and I really don't remember a save ever being as 'lucky' as this one overall - yes you have to be doing pretty well anyway to take advantage of said luck, but reading back through some of the posts/results and looking back at a fair few of the games, we've won so many games in the last few minutes or had our keeper save a penalty late on or something that ordinarily I wouldn't associate with any of my FM sides - long may it continue because holy heck are we going to need it next year!

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Interestingly the transfer budget we've been given is even less than I received in my FC United save so maybe it's a blessing that I can't spend it (although that pre-season scouting for PL capable bargains may have been one of my favourite ever!).

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Thanks Fraser, absolutely certain we couldn't have done a lot of this without you!

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The board gave me a new contract before the game too, be interesting to see if they honour that if we do come back down?

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One final shout out must go to young Shaquille Smith (24B) - you regular reading folk will know I've had a painful experience with strikers throughout this save and the fact I got so excited when he came into the club speaks volumes as attribute wise he's not that special, as proven by his dismal 5 goal in 26 (11)  return prior to the playoffs. He's not noted as being a player for the big games but holy heck did he step up, firstly with that insane hat trick against the Potters and then with the sole goal against Bristol's second team - the coaches reckon he's "currently operating at Vanarama National Level" which is alarming but at the same time, it's done the trick for now at least!

 

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Shaquille Smith is a legend in the making!

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1 minute ago, XaW said:

Shaquille Smith is a legend in the making!

Let's just see how he gets on against goalkeepers who can catch a ball first! We're going to need a new stadium at some point so I'll be livid if they name it after a striker with just 9 senior goals and a finishing stat of 11! :D 

Not that they'll be naming it after me anytime soon, hmph. Maybe my manager avatar needs to get a picture shaved into his hair? Or something?

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7 minutes ago, optimusprimal82 said:

Let's just see how he gets on against goalkeepers who can catch a ball first! We're going to need a new stadium at some point so I'll be livid if they name it after a striker with just 9 senior goals and a finishing stat of 11! :D 

Not that they'll be naming it after me anytime soon, hmph. Maybe my manager avatar needs to get a picture shaved into his hair? Or something?

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Well, I made it the Premier League with a striker who had a 6 in finishing. He scored over 160 league goals on my journey up... Everything is possible!

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12 minutes ago, XaW said:

Well, I made it the Premier League with a striker who had a 6 in finishing. He scored over 160 league goals on my journey up... Everything is possible!

Did you sell him to Stoke when you made it up there? They've had a penchant for non-scoring strikers of late! :)

Bob Reed is the future if you listen to my coaches in any case, they won't stop banging on about him. Something doesn't sit right with me about him and I think it's the name Bob, it'd be a fine name for Baseball or F1 I reckon, or even a Goalkeeper, but not a striker. Maybe I'll have to rename him as Bobby, or maybe Gianfranco at a push? If just his initial then he'd be G. Reed which gives me a weird sense of satisfaction as I sit admiring the plethora of new contract requests I've received!

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42 minutes ago, optimusprimal82 said:

Did you sell him to Stoke when you made it up there? They've had a penchant for non-scoring strikers of late! :)

Bob Reed is the future if you listen to my coaches in any case, they won't stop banging on about him. Something doesn't sit right with me about him and I think it's the name Bob, it'd be a fine name for Baseball or F1 I reckon, or even a Goalkeeper, but not a striker. Maybe I'll have to rename him as Bobby, or maybe Gianfranco at a push? If just his initial then he'd be G. Reed which gives me a weird sense of satisfaction as I sit admiring the plethora of new contract requests I've received!

No, I sold him to Burton Albion if I remember correctly. For much more than he were worth... They released him a year later and he retired.

Bob Reed is a strange name for a player, I agree. Bobby would be more suitable.

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Congrats on Promotion!

At least one of us is "Lucky"!

Now Pull a Leicester! 

I wonder what your odds will be in Premier League? I don't think they go higher than 1000-1.

Just started season 7 of Stalybridge Celtic in VNL. We are masters of the Draw! Had 18 of them each of the past two seasons. Last Season got to Playoff Semi-Final after finishing 7th. I hope for promotion so I can ask for professional status. Board has been uncooperative with ANY facilities or Youth Program Upgrades even though I'm pinching every penny possible. Because after our promotion to VNL it said something about exploring a new stadium...which hasn't happened and isn't an open board decision. 

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11 minutes ago, Hootieleece said:

Congrats on Promotion!

At least one of us is "Lucky"!

Now Pull a Leicester! 

I wonder what your odds will be in Premier League? I don't think they go higher than 1000-1.

Just started season 7 of Stalybridge Celtic in VNL. We are masters of the Draw! Had 18 of them each of the past two seasons. Last Season got to Playoff Semi-Final after finishing 7th. I hope for promotion so I can ask for professional status. Board has been uncooperative with ANY facilities or Youth Program Upgrades even though I'm pinching every penny possible. Because after our promotion to VNL it said something about exploring a new stadium...which hasn't happened and isn't an open board decision. 

Yeah I’ve had something similar the board upgraded one thing which I can’t remember what that was, and there must have been a message I missed about a stadium increase but I did read the one that said due to lack of funds it won’t be happening (more likely cos the team missed out on promotion we won’t give u anything)

Everytime I ask for anything they just say nope! Even though the bank balance is +£250,000 I think! 

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15 hours ago, Hootieleece said:

Congrats on Promotion!

At least one of us is "Lucky"!

Now Pull a Leicester! 

I wonder what your odds will be in Premier League? I don't think they go higher than 1000-1.

Just started season 7 of Stalybridge Celtic in VNL. We are masters of the Draw! Had 18 of them each of the past two seasons. Last Season got to Playoff Semi-Final after finishing 7th. I hope for promotion so I can ask for professional status. Board has been uncooperative with ANY facilities or Youth Program Upgrades even though I'm pinching every penny possible. Because after our promotion to VNL it said something about exploring a new stadium...which hasn't happened and isn't an open board decision. 

Ha, I'll most definitely try (pulling a Leicester!) - going to be a good few season until we're winning the league though I reckon - it took me 3 season in my FC United save and that was a better team and I could buy players so what shall we guesstimate here, maybe 6? Obviously we've been 'successful' over the last few years but is it because we're awesome or - as I see it - we've been lucky with teams such as Hull imploding and gifting us easy passage? it's been a while since we even won a league that we're in - in fact the only league we have won is the Vanarama National League North in this save now I look back, all the other promotions were as 'best of the rest' via automatic spaces or the playoffs?

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I'll throw up the odds when I see them, we'd surely be in the millions to win the thing - whether the game calculates that unlikely a thing though remains to be seen!?

I had the 'exploring a new stadium' thing in my last save, not exactly sure if that means you're at the 'searching for a site stage' yet though or if your board are even earlier in the process than that? It was a year before they came back and announced their plans - it wasn't listed under board decisions/requests but there was something recorded about it on the main facilities screen (handily have a save from each of the seasons to look back on such things!)?

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I got a mail through at the end of that season confirming the plans etc (not sure if this is exactly the same situation as you/even remotely helpful but shared it on the offchance!)

 

15 hours ago, samboing said:

Yeah I’ve had something similar the board upgraded one thing which I can’t remember what that was, and there must have been a message I missed about a stadium increase but I did read the one that said due to lack of funds it won’t be happening (more likely cos the team missed out on promotion we won’t give u anything)

Everytime I ask for anything they just say nope! Even though the bank balance is +£250,000 I think! 

I found that they were most likely to upgrade things such as junior coaching and youth recruitment when we were so low on cash - the actual facility upgrades were far more expensive. Obviously keep one eye on your incomings/outgoings as my board probably indulged me too much at one point and we were spending way too much on our youth setup - we got away with it but if we'd missed promotion things could have gotten hairy! For context we spent £444k last season on our youth setup and have more than doubled that this season to £1.4 million - our facilities are now pretty good but our income was dreadful until this year so definitely a balancing act (naturally I apologise if i'm telling you stuff you already know/is blindingly obvious!).

Naturally an FA cup away day at Man City also helps with all of this enormously (and has shaved seasons off this save I 100% believe!)

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Posted (edited)

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Season 6 - End of Year Review - 2024/25

Competitions

Sky Bet Championship | Board Expectation - Fight Relegation | Media Prediction: 24/24 | Actual Finish: 6/24 (Promoted via playoffs)

Feels like a long old time since I've had to write an end of season review which I guess reflects how life got in the way of this season a little and perhaps how it was a bit more of a slog - the novelty/fun factor certainly dropped a little with us snatching wins/draws/results every week rather than bossing the game as I'd like. It goes with the territory of course with this challenge but there is a certain sense of fatigue that sets in considering how long a season takes to play through & when you continually have an issue with certain positions and you're powerless to do anything but wait for one random drop each season? I'm still delighted overall (of course) with how things are going but what I wouldn't give to go on a shopping spree and freshen the team up - a feeling that I can only imagine will grow this season as we make the ultimate step up in class and take our place amongst the elite - we were the lowest ranked team for nearly all attributes in the Championship so I can't imagine we'll be much better in the Premier League?!

As for the season itself, it hasn't quite sunk in yet that we're going up after just the one year. The Championship is a tough league and I found a lot of the games were really tough to try and get a foothold in, yet we still managed to consistently grind out results which ultimately made the difference. A quick look at the table and 18 draws read one way would suggest we have a problem, but if 9 of those were instead losses then the problem instantly becomes bigger. We were actually not too bad at keeping the ball out of our net, finishing a respectable mid-table for goals against. As for putting the ball into the net ourselves, we have to be happy with 6th overall given the paucity of our resources, but it's still disappointing when taking into account that we finished top of the table for 'chances created'? We've got players who can 'do a job' up top but no-one, not even playoff hero Shaquille Smith (24B), really stands out as potentially top class (let alone world class) and it's something that's been hurting us for a number of seasons - although if we hadn't continually have been promoted then naturally some of our existing prospects would undoubtedly have flourished!

Overall I think we've once again overachieved looking at the quality of players in our squad - man for man Stoke are a better team than us and if it hadn't been for a freak result in the first leg then I suspect it would have been them going up. Bristol City can also feel a little aggrieved having beaten us both home and away in the regular season - there were a lot of teams better than us this year who just couldn't match our consistency  -that's going to have to be our trump card again next year as I'm sure that without even looking we'll have the weakest team in the league - not a comforting thought when thinking back to how easily Stoke & League winners Sheffield Wednesday dismantled us in the league fixtures.

We'll take it anyway for now, promotion certainly isn't going to do us any lasting damage - yes if we get relegated we may lose a few players, but with us not buying anyone our finances should be secured and we should also be able to recruit a few higher quality coaches. Relegation clauses will sorely be needed in contract discussions, but being in the Premier League may help us tie down some of our better players on longer term deals, or get a better price if there's anyone we'd like to sell.

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English FA Cup | Board Expectation - Reach Fourth Round | Achieved: Fourth Round Exit (Leeds)

A pretty non-descript year in our favourite cup with a solid result against Sunderland rendered obsolete by a tough away draw to Premier League Leeds. The ease with which they beat us should set some serious alarm bells ringing for next season, but we'll just have to get on with it as no-one can help us but ourselves!

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

Well Southampton made a mockery of my desire to give this one a better go this year - we finally made it past the first round but were utterly destroyed by a superior side and can have no complaints. I imagine I'll be concentrating on league fixtures next year to avoid injuries to important players so this cup may again have to take a backseat

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The 'Cup Draw' Table

Not a huge amount of cup games this year with early exits but a slight increase to the 'away' column;

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Youth Intake 2025

Still not sure about this years intake as no-one really stands out. My coaches are very excited about Bob Reed (25A) but I'm yet to see anything special, whilst Tommy Holmes (25C) & Luke Fisher (25D) are decent prospects but slightly flawed and - more frustratingly - covering positions we're already well stocked in. Central defence is becoming a serious concern with Fagbola well below the standard now and Matty Hughes retiring this summer. Our first choice Goalkeeper - who has been immense for us - is 31 now too but we have no real quality alternative in the side, certainly not one I feel could become first choice in the next few years - this years intake did nothing to solve either of these problems or our long standing striker issue (unless Reed is the real deal after all - but a long way to go on that one)

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Transfers

Not much to talk about here this year, unless you count the drama pre-season when I issued the board an ultimatum over Jared Kenyon (24A)? Thankfully they backed down and he had a solid season for us, his versatility being super useful as we deployed him at MC, DMC, ML & DL on occasion! Only other business of note was we lost a young GK on a free but no real concerns there as he wasn't as good as our other prospects who themselves aren't good enough!

Unsurprisingly we signed no-one. Because we can't. They're the rules. Boooo!

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Squad Statistics

Top Scorer - Fraser Meaney 21A (14) | Most Assists - Owen Willis (7) | Top Rating - Peter Crook (7.07)

A very real difference in our stats across the board this year with the two most noticeable aspects being perhaps that our Goalkeeper had the highest average rating and that the number of assists across the team was way (way!) down overall, with only 3 players registering more than 5. I guess you could skew this argument in multiple directions and it is good to see so many players registering assists, but players getting 2 assists a year aren't the sort of numbers you take satisfaction from - if a defender hits 20 long balls forward every game you'd hope he might get 1-2 lucky assist each year (for example)? The stats definitely reflect our relatively lower ability overall and how we play more negative/counter attacking/hopeful football as a result.

 

Sky Bet Championship Player of The Season: Leonardo Mancuso (Sheffield Wednesday)

No surprise to see a Wednesday player pick this up - a classy (at least for this level) AMR who bagged 19 goals this season along with 10 assists and an average rating of 7.34 - not too shabby at all!

 

Sky Bet Championship Top Goalscorer: David Rokka (Hull - 26 goals)

Not a bad effort at all for a guy playing in a newly promoted side (way better than any of my guys managed for instance!). He didn't score past us though which makes him a worthy winner!

 

Sky Bet League 2 Manager of The Season: Ralph Hassenhuttl (Sheffield Wednesday)

Not a huge surprise really. I've have given it to the Hyde manager but then I'm slightly biased?

 

Sky Bet Championship Team of the year;

Sheffield Wednesday. Plus 2 Newcastle defenders and David Rokka.

 

Hyde United FC Awards Night: 

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Should Meaney really be eligible for Young player of the year now? Really?

 

Managers Player of The Season: Peter Crook

Probably the biggest unsung hero of the save so far. When putting your save in the hands of the FM gods with regard to what players you'll be able to play I don't think I truly understood how huge a bonus it was that Hyde came with a keeper of such awesome quality that he has been a rock every season so far. He doesn't get the plaudits of the others, but he rarely has a bad game and never kicks up a fuss. At 31 he's just reached the age that I'd like to start blooding an understudy but there's no-one really at the club even close to his level. I have played Ian Pollock (22F) a few times but he's way below the level of Crook in both in C and PA terms.

 

In other news

Premier League Winners: Liverpool

FA cup Winners: Liverpool

League Cup Winners: Liverpool

Champions League Winners: Manchester City

Europa League Winners: Arsenal

La Liga Winners: Real Madrid

Bundesliga Winners: FC Bayern

Serie A Winners: Milan

 

Board room updates

Well I thought we were in a good place following the take over. The new board seem pretty reasonable and given control over wages this year we've made a steady profit each month this year so were ok financially. That's just (literally as I was writing this review) come to a crashing halt however as the following mail dropped;

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Now whilst a new stadium is usually a good thing, I'm pretty disappointed at this news. We're leaving behind a stadium we've played in since 1906 to move to a new ground that will still be the smallest in the Premier League (if we're still in the Premier League when it's finished) by a considerable margin. There's no mention of expansion capacity on the new stadium so that's one potential thing we can improve on, just spending 14-15 million as a club of our size seems a tad irresponsible - although naturally 9 million of that comes in the shape of a loan. With us unable to make transfers the TV money we get in should more than cover the cost, yet somehow it's annoyed me and I don't really know why - maybe because it just doesn't feel like a priority, especially when our average attendance was far from stellar? Admittedly Ewen Fields falls short of the Premier League requirements,but we're renting the Univeristy of Bolton Stadium whilst the new one is built so we could've just used that for a season and judged how we got on - if we go back down we could have waited etc? Regardless, our finances are now listed as 'insecure' as we sit well in the red following the initial outlay and further expenditure they've made for other facility improvements (not at my behest for once!);

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

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Final Thoughts

Not a lot else to add on from this year, although contracts are already breaking me - my (very) average young DC has just demanded a new contract, currently on £400p/w he's now asking for a slight raise to £17,000p/w. His agent wants a £500k signing fee too - welcome back to the Premier league >sigh< Can't wait to see how much Meaney asks for (yikes!)... Needless to say, there will be wage reduction clauses in everyones contract in the event of relegation etc.

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Edited by optimusprimal82

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Good Luck in the Premier League! Even with the new stadium your finances should be fine.

No wonder my finances suck...I only have 79 season ticket holders as Stalybridge Celtic. What I would do to have 2095! (that would make the team self sufficient @$379/year)

My Stadium Sponsor shells out $14.5K/year

But I have saved over $500k in the bank

and the board would let me spend nearly $800k for transfers.

I think we will have to go pro to make anymore progress...if we can afford it. 

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7 hours ago, Hootieleece said:

Good Luck in the Premier League! Even with the new stadium your finances should be fine.

No wonder my finances suck...I only have 79 season ticket holders as Stalybridge Celtic. What I would do to have 2095! (that would make the team self sufficient @$379/year)

My Stadium Sponsor shells out $14.5K/year

But I have saved over $500k in the bank

and the board would let me spend nearly $800k for transfers.

I think we will have to go pro to make anymore progress...if we can afford it. 

Thank you! Yeah money shouldn't really be an issue - I mean I've got an £18 million transfer kitty which you would hope they've budgeted for before spending on the stadium so the fact I won't be touching that plus the insane total of the TV revenue (£95 million) means I'm not too worried. As you mention, season tickets now (finally) bring us in a tidy sum too, hoping for even more this year in the prem and with a larger (albeit not our) ground. 79 seems abysmally low for season ticket holders even though you're dirty (dirty!) s'celtic? We had 512 the year we were in the Vanarama National so odd that it's so much lower? I know reputation plays a part (I'd be willing to bet Salford & FC United) get a lot more for example (I didn't track the numbers on my FCU save).

I'm convinced that with all that in the coffers they'll go pro when you go up, I'd just love to see a projection/overview of the cost differences between the two - we were in a different division when we went pro (after promotion) so although I could compare yearly finances it wasn't exactly like for like (think that was the year Man City drowned us in cash too if i'm not mistaken?

Someone else joined the Academy Challenge overnight (well, overnight for me!) and they're playing as S'Celtic too, so will be interesting to see how they get on and if they have the same struggles turning pro etc?

Fixtures have just come out - a couple of 'potentially winnable' home games near the start which I can't complain about, but with a Chelsea and City landmine thrown in for extra spice? Happy to report that the magical '40 point' barrier that real life premier league managers aim for is a myth in my current save, with 33 points being the average total needed for safety. Naturally I'll add a few on for extra safety (imagine hitting a target and still going down!) but whichever way I spin it the number is daunting until we've played a few games and assessed exactly how good/bad we are? I know i've voiced my concerns for the past few years having been promoted and we've not struggled anywhere near as much as expected (except for the first year in League Two which I thought was a fair reflection of our teams ability overall?) but I don't see how we're going to be anything like a force in this division so it's going (got) to be backs to the wall.

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Interesting to note that our players values have increased now too, with our supposed best player (Jared Kenyon 24A) being worth a colossal £120k and Meaney now up to £700k. For context, Palace were relegated as the bottom side last season and their top 10 player values are;

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Player values are no way to accurately assess our chances of course, just interesting to note is all! Pre-season preview is surprisingly generous so far - shows how much of a mockery/tied to reputation it is though as Wednesday dominated the league last year yet Newcastle are comfortably higher than them and neither side has made any signings (yet);

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I'll bash through a few more weeks and capture any more of this waffle in the season preview anyways, I didn't want the promotion (think I may have mentioned?!) but I'm excited now that we're here! :D 

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Posted (edited)

Forgot to add, one of the reasons the new stadium made me sad is because I've read (in several places) that there's an in-built rule into the game where you can only get a new stadium every x many seasons - no idea what x is/could be or if this is even true, but it's kinda realistic if so I guess - how many teams would build 2-3 new stadiums in a supporters lifetime? Just that i'm not sure Hyde building a stadium right now is as realistic? I guess that's what worries me - with an initial capacity of just 12k are we ever likely to be able to expand it up to United/Wembley levels? I sadly doubt it - but we'll see I guess - maybe I won't play that long for it to be an issue? I tend to get bored quick in the prem (usually because I can sign players and it's not so tough to build a winning side - naturally this is going to take a fair bit more effort I expect!), but i'd certainly like to establish them properly (and maybe play a season or two post challenge where I can add 'paid for players' and see how good we can really be before moving on!?)

Literally cannot wait for youth intake day - expecting a whole raft of higher level youngsters who'll improve the team so I expect to be massively disappointed as there's no way I'm getting a class of 92 like i'm imagining (just for the love of all that is holy can I get a good GK, DC & STC!? Pretty please?)! :D 

Edited by optimusprimal82

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