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Earnie is God!

[FM19] Doing the Ayatollah

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I rarely do these Career stories, so little time these days, but after a very successful FM17 9yr stint with Ilkeston Town, I'd wished I had made a thread for that save and so decided that I would do one the next time and here we are.

It's late and I need sleep so this will be brief to start with but will add to it tomorrow. First, a little story.

I moved to Cardiff when I was just two years old and lived there until my mid twenties. Grew up with a lot of pain from watching Cardiff play generally such poor football at a low level, but this was thankfully offset with the occasional bright moment.

One of those was our FA Cup run in 1994, when we were struggling in what is now League One. I still remember that season quite vividly. We scraped past Enfield 1-0 in the 1st round but only in a replay after a 0-0 draw at their place. We then travelled to Brentford and came away with a 3-1 win, in no small part thanks to an outrageous own goal, a bullet header from their defender who was trying to clear a corner.
'Boro up next in round 3 and we drew 2-2 at Ninian and faced a replay at Ayresome Park. Phil Stant was injured early on for us and could barely walk but he somehow managed to jump off his one good leg to head us into an early lead before being subbed straight after. Just when it looked like we were going to hold on, 'Boro equalised in the 89th minute and it went to extra time. I thought that was us done for but Nathan Blake scored the winner and into the 4th round we went!
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Then came Man City, in relegation trouble in the EPL at the time, but still far too good for us... surely? We were without Stant, who hadn't recovered from his injury at 'Boro, so that didn't help matters at all.
Man City started the game better than us and were awarded a penalty. Up stepped captain Keith Curle to take it but his effort was saved by GK Mark Grew and we were still in the game.
One piece of magic was to decide this match and it came from the left boot of Blake.

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We were all celebrating wildly in the stands and I was hugging some stranger next to me haha. In the picture above, I'm in the stand behind, off to the far right of the pic next to the steward in orange (I think).
We won the match 1-0 and when the draw was made for the next round, we were to play at home against the winner of the replay between Newcastle and Luton. Everyone expected it to be Newcastle who, under Keegan, were flying high in the EPL, but it was Luton, struggling in the division below, who came through that tie.
We definitely fancied our chances against Luton but it wasn't to be. They scored first and although we equalised in the second half, they got the winner in slightly frustrating circumstances. The new offside law had recently come into effect where you are only offside if you are deemed active, something that had caught Holland out at the World Cup in the QF defeat to Brazil a few months later, 35 seconds into this clip...

We fell foul of it too (although not so blatant as the Brazil one and mainly our fault) so out of the cup we went :(

Back to the humdrum of the league and we'd had a number of postponements, due to our cup run and the replays, so we had a fixture congestion and had to play every 3-4 days to try and catch up, including a rather ludicrous 3 games in 5 days! Our squad wasn't great and we were actually in danger of relegation to the bottom division. Results were poor but we scraped enough points together to be safe with just 3 games to go.
Our next game was at home against Cambridge, our 9th game in 19 days, and we were battered 7-2! But we didn't care by then as we were safe and we cheered every goal that went in. That might sound weird but it was just relief really. We lost all 3 at the end of the season but stayed up by 2pts.

Ah, those were the days! Before Sam Hammam and the mess he left us in, a mess that was only resolved 15yrs+ later (yet he was still given life presidency of the club as part of the payoff deal :mad:)
Plenty of fans' favourites amongst the players too: Phil Stant, Carl Dale, Jason 'bite yer legs' Perry, Lee Lee Lee Baddeley, Oh Nicky, Nicky.... Nicky Nicky Nicky Nicky Richardson (we weren't very original with most of our songs tbf).

Apart from one...Nathan Blake. ♫He's black, he's mean, he robs the fruit machine, Nathan Blake...Nathan Blake♫

So much for this being just a little story eh? I may have got a bit carried away. I think I'll stop there and then tomorrow actually talk about FM :)

♫Eddie May's barmy army!♫

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OK, let's get started shall we?

After meetings with the board and my backroom staff, most of which are pretty awful it has to be said and have had their contracts mutually terminated, it's time to see the report on our squad.

The first thing I get to see is our new signings and transfer obligations.

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Reid, Murphy, Niasse, Arter and Camarasa are all going to be 1st choice by the looks of things, with Cunningham, Smithies and Bacuna mainly backups. But that's a lot of players to try and fit into the 1st team so it may take some time for them to gel. Not ideal in a season that is expected to be a tough battle against relegation but it is what it is and we will have to make do.

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Gunnarsson, our only real DM is out injured for the next 2-3 months and there are warnings there about other players who might be injury prone. Hoilett in particular looks to have problems with his hamstring, so that will have to be monitored closely.

The new training schedules that have come in this season might take some time for me to get used to so, for the time being at least, I'm handing over training responsibilities to my AssMan.

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A sizeable trophy cabinet? Yeah, OK then. Don't let all those Welsh Cups, the last some time in the 90s, fool you. We have one FA Cup trophy from 1927 and the only other one worth mentioning was winning the Championship in 2013.

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Time to look at the report on our squad. It's not a pretty sight!

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Posted (edited)

1064854586_SquadReport1.thumb.jpg.475aba514a90785be6f963e8fdc4bcc5.jpg673104478_Squadreport2.thumb.jpg.8cb36e201c1a869df73af7a538528937.jpg

Some decent positives there on the face of it but when you delve deeper, some of them are just a repeat of ones already mentioned.
And I'm not sure what division they think we are in but a £5.5m transfer budget and £56k in the wage budget hardly constitutes 'plenty of room'.
That's one decent player in the EPL really and only if you can get him on the cheap.

OK, moving on to the weaknesses in the squad...

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Yikes! But is it really as bad as it looks? Hmm, let's see. Yup, it is.
Lack of quality and lack of depth, not something you really want to hear about your squad but it's pretty accurate.
But what are the key issues? Well, it would be easy to say everything! Anticipation, decisions, technique, flair, teamwork, work rate, stamina, bravery, aggression, agility, natural fitness, determination, composure, concentration, dribbling, passing, penalty taking, tackling and vision are all flagged as weaknesses.
And the confusing part is that our GKs are supposedly a strength but then they too get criticised.
Suffice to say we are one of the worst teams to have ever graced the EPL and are everyone's favourites to finish bottom.
Hey, by all accounts we'd do well not to take Derby's lowest points tally record of just 11pts.

Season expectations, do I want to adjust them?
Well, when the choices are 'attempt to avoid relegation', 'avoid relegation' and 'steer clear of the relegation zone' but there's only a small increase in our transfer and wage budgets for claiming we'll be anything but cannon fodder this season, I see little point in raising expectations so I confirm we'll be attempting to avoid the dreaded drop.

Next stop, the squad to see for myself.

 

Edited by Earnie is God!

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Posted (edited)

Some players clearly aren't good enough for the Championship, let alone the Premier League so I put seven players up for sale and hope to catch a nibble.
Sadly, it doesn't look like I'm in luck.

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But later in the day, someone bites :)

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Damour is only Championship quality and unlikely to improve. We picked him up on a free last season so £1.1m (potentially £1.4m) isn't too bad a price to get.
I decide to release a couple of the crappy youths who clearly will never make it here and tell Ashley Richards to find a new club.

The quality of our backroom staff is even worse than our players. Scouts with 10, 11 or 12 JPA & JPP simply isn't good enough and our coaches are even worse. Mutual termination is agreed with eight staff members and we advertise for replacements. I also search for new staff and manage to hire a couple already.
Kevin Blackwell is my AssMan but he's pretty useless too. A value of just 8 for Man Management, JPA & Tactical Knowledge is awful for an AssMan but he still has 2yrs left on a £5k a week contract so I'm a little reluctant to get rid of him just yet.

But back to the squad...

Our best players seem to be centrally, especially in midfield. Arter, Camarasa and Ralls could be good in the centre of the park, and Morrison, Bamba and Manga are all decent at CB, although they do lack a bit of pace. Out wide seems to be an issue. We have too many players who can play on the wing and they are all much of a muchness.

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I'll have to keep my eye on this new 'dynamics' thing too as don't want to upset some of the more influential players if I can help it.Dynamics.thumb.jpg.ae5620902116538c848a0039fa51f3e5.jpg

Bennett, Peltier and Connolly probably won't play much but thankfully the rest in the higher groups are all decent so don't envisage many problems there, although I have read reports of players dropping 10pts in determination overnight due to being in an unsuitable group so will see what happens with it.

Now to sort out some tactics...

Edited by Earnie is God!

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Posted (edited)

With the players at my disposal, I'm thinking of a 4-4-2 at home and probably a slightly more conservative 4-4-1-1 away. As mentioned, we have plenty of players to play out wide so a good idea to try and make the most of them.
Thankfully, this isn't FM17 where wingers didn't seem to be that great. Am hoping we can utilise them well in FM19 and cause some damage for the likes of Niasse, Reid and Zohore to take advantage of. Our fullbacks lack pace and ability and are quite defensive minded. Am going to try them out as IWBs to start with to hopefully try to contain our opponents better but will probably tinker with it as we go.

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Friendlies were already arranged when I started this save and it's a mixed bag but pleased to see we are mainly playing lesser opponents so will try and build up some confidence with some good pre-season results. First up we beat our U23 side 1-0 but plenty of chances were created so not too disappointed with that. Next we played Basel at home and our wingers created some good opportunities for our strikers. Niasse got one the end of a couple of our crosses to score twice but in the end we were holding on as our Swiss counterparts came roaring back in the 2nd half. Our defending was pretty poor but we managed to stay in front to edge the game 4-3.
The fixtures have been drawn for the new season and we face a tough start to our campaign, playing Arsenal, Liverpool and Man City in our first 4 games!

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So this is where we are up to now. Will update again once the league season is under way.

Edited by Earnie is God!

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Posted (edited)

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So after telling Ashley Richards he has no future here, as previously mentioned, he seemed to react positively to my request for him to find a new club.
However, after a couple of weeks or so of no offers and nothing seemingly happening, I decided to take the matter back into my own hands and offer him out again.
This was his reaction...
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Really? You'd already accepted you weren't going to play for me and you were supposed to be trying to find yourself a new club.
Now fearing that this will disrupt the squad, I was beginning to get annoyed.
Thankfully, we received a bid shortly afterwards and I was glad to see him leave.
We've also sold a number of other players who simply aren't good enough...
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I'm going to try to bring a couple more players in before the window shuts. I have 6 days to do so, it's just finding the right player for the right price.
Diogo Dalot is available for loan at Man U and we could do with a quality RB but unfortunately we already have our max of two long term domestic loans with Niasse and Arter. Can loan from abroad though so might try that. Need a very good AM too but will see.

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edit: Young RB Gotts and transfer listed AM Jozabed join the ranks. We only have £3m left to spend so that's probably it, barring maybe a few youngsters as our U23 and U18 squads are awful.
Oh, and apologies for the constant skin changes, trying a number of them to see which one I like the best.

Edited by Earnie is God!

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Almost the halfway stage now in the 1st season. I'll get to our results soon enough but first have to mention that we did manage to bring in a few more players before the window shut. Max Wober, a CB/LB came in on loan from Sevilla, young Chesterfield striker Callum Warner was signed for next to nothing (looks promising but only a cheap gamble so no big deal if he doesn't turn into much) and seeing his name reminded me of Callum Gribbin, who was a star for me in FM17 so I looked him up.

Scout told me we could get him for little more than £250k and I could see he still had some great attributes so didn't hesitate.
Ended up costing £350k but I still think that's a bargain.
Sure, he's not really ready for much in the way of first team football just yet but if he can strike a free kick as well as he could in FM17 and develop his other skills too then he'll end up being a great buy.
After a couple of sub appearances, and a goal, in the 1st couple of months I then notice he's unavailable for our next match. Hovering over the 'Una' label, it tells me he's unavailable to play any football for personal reasons, until 30/6/19. Erm, say what now?

No further explanation anywhere and googling it didn't help either. But then I searched through these forums and finally found the answer. He is apparently taking a break from football, as of October 2018 (which matches up with his unavailability in my save) and until his contract with Man U ends in June 2019. So at least that explains his absence in my game. I just wish I'd received some kind of notification about it in my inbox. Ah well.

Right, onto our season. Pre-season friendlies were already arranged and went pretty much as expected, beating all-comers, but I know better than to take much notice of all these great results and not just because two of these were against some teams in Singapore.
We did manage to beat Athletic Bilbao 6-0 (!) in our next to last friendly but I was gettign too carried away as all our players were now virtually fully fit and raring to go and I noticed that all of theirs still had roughly 50% match sharpness. Nonetheless, a very pleasing pre-season

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Onto our first game of the season..... Arsenal away.
Everyone, including me, expected us to get stuffed and although it didn't exactly turn out that way, we were never really in the game.
Ozil scored after 30min and they had chances to add to that but thankfully failed to do so for a long time.
They did add a late 2nd and then Bobby Reid, who was having an awful game, scored our consolation in the 89th minute. But it wasn't enough and we went down 2-1.

The annoying thing for me wasn't about the result so much but more the fact that Reid went from a rating of 6.2 to 8,3, and subsequently PoM, just for scoring his goal.

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Still, a narrow loss wasn't so bad. Liverpool up next and then away trips to Wolves and Man City. Eek!
We did indeed lose those away games, 2-0 at Wolves and 5-0 at Man City but that was only after we surprised everyone with an impressive 2-0 home victory against Liverpool.

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Fantastic performance with goals either side of HT from Niasse and Peltier. I was hoping to build on that but, as just mentioned, we then lost our next two away.
However, I noticed that a lot of our chances were coming from the middle of the pitch and if I could find a way to get Arter and/or Camarasa further forward then we might have some joy. Josh Murphy seemed to have the knack of finding space on the left wing too and if we could get the ball to him on occasion then perhaps we could cause some more damage. Tinkering with my tactic has worked wonders since then. The wide men create space for the likes of Arter to get forward more and he is now our top scorer. Murphy is also doing well, with Reid and Zohore our next best.
We've had a coupe of decent unbeaten runs and are also through to the SF of the Carabao Cup, beating Everton, Man City, Liverpool and West Ham and are now set to play AFC Wimbledon (?!!) in the semis over two legs. Spurs and Man U are in the other SF.

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We currently sit 7th in the table :cool:

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As you might expect, the board are absolutely delighted with our form and have given me a new contract already. I know we are going to concede lots of goals but if we can continue to do well with Keegan's "if they score 3, we'll score 4" mentality then I'm not really bothered about our dodgy defence. We are going to concede regardless I reckon so we may as well try and make the most of our chances going forward.

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Posted (edited)

End of season update

Well, we didn't finish 7th... we managed to get 6th! :D

Results towards the end of the season were a bit hit and miss but we overcame Wimbledon in the League Cup Semis and then went on to beat Spurs 3-1 in the Final.

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Zohore was injured very early on but Niasse played the role of supersub to score twice. Exciting game with plenty of chances and we did have a bit of luck as Spurs squandered a number of opportunities but the boys came through and we are in the Europa League next season!!
As you can see with our matchday squad, it's pretty much the same as in real life. Jozabed joined in the summer for £2.6m, a bit of a bargain really, and then we signed Simone Verdi to play right wing in January. He was more expensive, £18.5m, but he wasn't getting games for Napoli and wanted to leave after just 3 appearances for them since his £22m move from Bologna in the summer. This was funded by the sale of Neil Etheridge to Lyon for a whopping £16m (a shame really as he has been fantastic for us IRL but couldn't turn that down) and I got shot of the useless Bacuna to Vigo, and Tomlin, Bogle and Madine were shipped off to lower leagues in England in permanent moves. We also managed to pick up a few exciting youngsters and we got 4 decent kids through our youth system in March, one of whom could be great in a few years but more on them later. Results and final table...

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So we will be in the Euro Cup Best Placed 2nd Qualifying Round in July and I was a little concerned who we might get in such a draw. I really wanted us to have a decent run in Europe and didn't want it all to end before it had begun. Turns out it will be against either Molde or Ballymena so I'm not quite so worried about it now :)

edit: I forgot to say that Josh Murphy ended up our top scorer with 19 goals, on-loan Arter managed 11 and Bobby Reid 10. Unsurprisingly, Murphy was overwhelmingly voted our Player of the Season by the fans with a massive 74%. Arter was great but he could barely go a game without being booked. That, combined with a £20m asking price for him, meant I decided not to try and make his loan move permanent. Camarasa, on the other hand, we did end up signing, for £8.25m after a promising season here on loan.

Edited by Earnie is God!

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The four kids I kept from the Youth Intake...

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Two similar strikers in a sense but Giles is the star, was only 15 at the time and we're hoping he has a big future here. They have all of course agreed to sign professional terms when they turn 17 and I will do my best to keep hold of them all. Would be great to see them all turning out for the first team on a regular basis but that's a little way off right now.

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Posted (edited)

After a successful first season, the board have backed me with funds for the new campaign with the best part of £50m and an increase in our wage budget from around £800k last season to £1.2m this. Nice!
I've continued to offload the dead wood. Junior Hoilett and Mendez-Laing have both gone, as has old man Sol Bamba. They all wanted to leave for one reason or another anyway so was pleased to see them go as they are not really up to the standard. Not at all impressed with the way players act and speak in FM19. Too many crybabies not willing to put a shift in for the cause. I'm only to happy to get rid of them at the first opportunity and hope this will impress upon the remaining players not to be so...erm...ungentlemanly:stop:


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After 7yrs with the club, Matthew Connolly also asked to leave. Saved me the hassle of trying to sell him myself as he isn't really good enough anyway. Sunderland, promoted back to The Championship, took him off our hands for £1.7m (£2m).

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Edited by Earnie is God!

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Posted (edited)

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As I mentioned above, we signed Camarasa permanently. I also spotted a young kid who was a free agent, Pavol Nosko. He didn't even have a previous club listed; I can only presume he came through in the Youth Intake but wasn't given a contract. He's a decent young RB and my scouts think he could be good so no risk in giving him a go.
Two strikers have also come in, both on free transfers (out of contract) and very different from each other. Eggestein looks like a great prospect and I was delighted to get him to sign. Carroll could give us something different to what we have at present, as long as he can stay fit of course. He's still only 30yo so not past it yet. Wasn't going to bother with him but he only wanted £28k/wk (I forget what he was on at WHM but much more than that) so took the risk.
My scouts told me Gagliardini would be a superb signing, although they warned that he'd fail to get a work permit, even after appeal. Still, I went for him, agreed terms and he was granted the work permit immediately. Woo-hoo!

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With Paterson and Peltier our options at RB, we really needed better. Nathaniel Clyne was available at Liverpool and he's precisely what we need and, with our increased wage budget, his £95k/wk contract doesn't kill us... not too much anyway. Peltier has agreed a move to the MLS to play for LA Galaxy, he moves next week. Brown is a young defender who really isn't up to much so he could be moving on soon too.
Bournemouth have now also come in for Clyne. He's just had a good season on loan to them so I think he might opt for them instead but we'll see. If he does, Spurs are selling Trippier so might try for him instead. My scouts tell me Trippier will want even more in wages than Clyne though so we might not get him either.

Edited by Earnie is God!

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It's been a month since I updated this and I've completed our 2nd and 3rd seasons in that time. I don't have too much time right now so will try and keep it relatively brief.

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Posted (edited)

Season Two - 2019/20

Brexit happened and there are now certain rules with foreign players and wages but tbh it shouldn't affect us much at all, and it hasn't really.
Still managed to sign a number of foreign players without difficulty. If anything, it's easier now to get a work permit for them than it was before!

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I did get completely carried away with transfers though and all of these players came in for the 2019/20 season:

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As a result, we didn't play very well at all in season 2. Started well and managed to get into the group stages of the Europa League very comfortably.
We weren't expected to get out of the group but we surprised everyone by topping the table.

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Unfortunately, our form then took a nosedive and a month later we lost in the knockout stages to Freiburg. Still, a relatively successful European campaign, just a shame the same couldn't be said about the league as we ended up 10th, 15pts worse off than in season 1.

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We leaked goals massively but the board were reasonably happy as we were expected to finish mid-table so this was seen as a decent season.
But I knew the issue was all the new players, and a subsequent chopping and changing of formations when things weren't going well.

 

Edited by Earnie is God!

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Posted (edited)

Season Three - 2020/21

I decided for the 2020/21 season that I'd not sign m(any) players and work with what we have. All I needed was a GK as Smithies had had too many poor games.
I tried to sign Jack Butland but Stoke wouldn't let him go. Then I spotted that Kalinic wanted to leave Villa due to relegation and managed to get him for a knockdown £6m.

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My HoYD spotted Alvarez and placed the bid on him. Looked an absolute bargain so I let that stand. But I took away the buying powers from my DoF. He was bidding on far too many players, and partly why we were in the mess we were in last season, so he now sits there in the corner and just sulks :D
Part of the problem is that I love a bargain and a number of players he found and bid on last season were great deals and I really didn't want to miss out on a great player for peanuts. But I know that we need to build this squad slowly and adding yet more players is not the way to go.

That doesn't mean I can't sell some though and it really was needed as the squad was too big and players unhappy with their playing time.
Out went: Joe Bennett, Ecuele Manga, backup GK Provedel and Andy Carroll.
Carroll had done well in Europe actually but didn't feature much in the league. With his injury record, I decided it best to let him go.
In January, Chelsea came in for Rob Holding and he wanted to leave. Tried talking to him but no luck and so he left as well. We got £16m for him meaning we doubled our money but I would have much preferred he stayed. Ah well.

The season started brightly but fell away in the middle and we suffered 4th round exits in both domestic cups.
We did manage to pick up form in the latter part of the campaign though and finished a more than respectable 7th.
This has got us into the Europa League qualifying rounds next season as Liverpool won the League Cup. Should be fun to go again in Europe.

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Josh Murphy, who was our player of the season two years running, suffered from injuries and a lack of form this time around.
And so it was Vietto who took the award this season, bagging 19 goals along the way to also finish 3rd in the Golden Boot.

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Edited by Earnie is God!

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Posted (edited)

Season Four - 2021/22

I want to add a couple more players this coming season but am also keen to give our decent youth players more of a chance. Young wingers Gwenalt and Harford stepped up when Murphy and Verdi were injured and they have done well. We also have defenders Reynolds and Redman who I think are going to do very well for us, especially Redman who looks fantastic. We've been nurturing him along so far but maybe this season is the one where he really comes through and shines. A little concerned over his mental attributes but they are improving and I think plenty of games will be just the tonic he needs to bloom into a real star.

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Edited by Earnie is God!

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Just caught up to this thread, I am doing a Cardiff save too. Good work so far. Those youngsters look excellent!

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Posted (edited)

Thanks. The game's been trying to tell me for 2+ seasons that Redman is a RB but he's clearly a CB, and that Reynolds is a CB but he's more suited to RB.
Because of that, and that their names are similar, I had to add CB and RB to their names so as not to make a mistake.
Meh, that's what old age does to your memory I suppose :D

Going to try and sign a couple of players tonight. See if I can grab a bargain or two.

Edited by Earnie is God!

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I both love and hate the transfer window, but mainly hate. As a smaller club, we always have the vultures circling, offering pitiful amounts for some of our best players :(

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Thankfully, we rejected an offer from Real Madrid for Gagliardini last season and managed to keep hold of him, even though he wasn't that happy that he couldn't move to Madrid. But he got over it, so I'm sure Watford don't pose too much of a threat.
My biggest concern is the Arsenal bid as they are a much bigger club and he's my best defender. I fear he's going to go whether we like it or not so looks like I may be dipping further into the transfer market than I had hoped to do.

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Posted (edited)

It's ended up worse than expected. We've been gutted. Camarasa left for Lazio, Spurs took both Jonas Hector and John Souttar and Vietto's off to Southampton.
Worst of all was losing Lisandro Martinez to Arsenal. We managed to negotiate a decent price for him, £56m, but I'd have much rather just kept him here.
I talked to him to try and convince him to stay but he wasn't listening.
If all that wasn't bad enough, Gagliardini's agent has just told me he wants to leave for Monaco :seagull:

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I was quite happy to sell Hector tbh. He's 31yo and to get £17.5m (£21m) for him was a decent deal. I didn't mind selling Vietto either. He has been great, scoring 36 goals in the two seasons he was here, but we have other strikers who are almost as good as him and with plenty of years left in them too. Getting £17.5m (£26m) for him is good enough. But Martinez going is very painful. Got to fight to keep Gagliardini now too.

Edited by Earnie is God!

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We kept hold of Gagliardini! In the end it was pretty easy to do but just goes to show the randomness of this game. He wanted to move to Monaco because they could offer better wages so I asked him how much he wanted. Now, bearing in mind he was already on £62k a week, I was dreading he'd come back and say he wanted at least double that but thankfully that wasn't the case. He asked for £78k and I negotiated it down to £74k. Just a £12k increase and he's now on a new, long contract. Worked out perfectly... until he comes to me in 3-6 months and tells me he wants to move again of course :mad:

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We managed to do a bit of business, bringing in a number of players (all bargains of course!). We had lost two CBs, a LB, a CM and a striker.
In came CB/RB Callum Chambers for £8m from relegated Fulham, CB Mavropanos for £4m from Arsenal, CB Eric Garcia on loan from Man City, CM/AM Carles Alena for an unbelievable £1.1m from Barcelona, Ben Woodburn for just £5.75m from Liverpool and AM Morosini on loan from Chievo who I might use up front if needed. Might be difficult to fit in all three of Alena, Woodburn and Morosini but I thought we'd be losing Gagliardini. We'll see how it goes.

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With Chambers coming in, it meant we cold let Lowton go. He's just turned 32yo and never performed that well for me anyway, happy to see him go. Oh and the two freebies are 18yo GK Glover and 20yo winger Amaechi. Not sure either are going to make it but no risk involved bringing them in really.

So much for me trying to stick with the squad I had eh? Hardly my fault though, with all those players going.

Right, let's crack on with the new season. Just started with a 3-0 home win over Palace but needed that good start as we now face Arsenal, Man U, Chelsea and Liverpool. Eek!

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Lost to all 4 of the big clubs, including a 6-1 drubbing at Anfield, but then beat Norwich. Sitting in the bottom half right now though.

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On 26/05/2019 at 21:01, Earnie is God! said:

The season started brightly but fell away in the middle and we suffered 4th round exits in both domestic cups.
We did manage to pick up form in the latter part of the campaign though and finished a more than respectable 7th.
This has got us into the Europa League qualifying rounds next season as Liverpool won the League Cup. Should be fun to go again in Europe.

Unfortunately, we fell foul of the bug that tells you you've qualified for Europe when in fact you haven't :(

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I was waiting for the draw to be made, and waiting and waiting, but it never came for us. Now the Euro Cup is well under way and even the group games have started and we aren't a part of any of it.
So the extra players I brought in, especially the two loanees who I'm paying more than £1m a month to have here, really aren't needed. I was not amused.

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1 hour ago, Deisler26 said:

Oof. Not good.

Thankfully, our results improved massively after those games...

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Can't complain with that! Need to keep it up now and actually qualify for Europe, instead of being told we have only to find out it was a lie.

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It's January and therefore Hunting Season, as everyone has started coming in for all my players again!

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Part of the problem managing the smaller clubs I suppose but it doesn't mean I have to like it.

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Posted (edited)

Kalinic left for £12m (£14m) and we managed to sign Pickford, who was still at relegated Everton. A solid replacement although a bit miffed at the £15.25m price.
Not that it was a bad price but that was his value and my scouts had just told me that I'd need to bid anything from £16.5m-£20.5m to get him. I went in lower at £15.25m and it was accepted straight away which makes me wonder how much cheaper I could have got him for.

Ah well.

Edited by Earnie is God!

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Posted (edited)

End of season review

An excellent run of results mid-season put us in contention for a top six finish and an outside chance of finishing in the top four.
However, three defeats in the final four games put paid to any hope we had of catching Arsenal in 4th.
Still, 5th place is our highest finish yet although our tally of 67pts only matches what we achieved in our 1st season.
Mustn't grumble though.

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New signing Carles Alena was voted our Player of the Season and what a bargain he was! Delighted with his contributions this campaign.

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Chances are though that bigger clubs will be in for him and others again this transfer window. Let's see if we can hold onto most of them this year.
We've been linked with Jordan Henderson who hasn't played too much for Liverpool this season. He's 31yo so not past it yet and would be a great addition but he's currently on £140k a week so would want similar, if not more, and I'm not sure I want to pay that for a guy the wrong side of 30. There'll probably be bigger and better suitors in for him anyway.
But yes, a successful campaign and one that has earned me my 2nd Manager of the Season award :D

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And, after turning down the chance to manage Leicester mid-season, I've now just declined an interview with Chelsea too.

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Looks like my stock is on the rise but I'm happy where I am. Ask me again in a couple of months when my team is ripped apart by the vulture agents of other clubs yet again and I may regret not going for the Chelsea job.
But we are moving forward as a club and improving, upgrading facilities and playing in Europe next season so there is hope that our stature will increase to a sufficient level where we are not picked off every season. Sooner rather than later please!

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Edited by Earnie is God!

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Gagliardini has left the building :(

For either the 3rd or 4th transfer window running, he wanted to leave but all we were getting were offers around his £25m value. In the end, I gave up and promised him I'd sell him before the season started. Not ideal but this did at least allow me to reject some low offers without him instantly throwing his toys out of the pram and I managed to negotiate the price up to £55m. Would have preferred him go out of the league but his desire to join Chelsea meant we'll have to play against him. Ah well.

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I needed a replacement for Gag, ideally a bite yer legs type of CM or DM as I felt we were lacking in that department. I also wanted a marquee signing or two but knew that those at the top of their game were never going to give us a 2nd look. Aguero's 34yo and his contract has ran out at Man City but, too late, he'd already agreed a move to the MLS. I should have been more on the ball before the season ended really. Baaaaaa
Benzema's also 34 and was still available. Went into contract talks with him and he, rather bizarrely, only wanted £28k a week. Was hopeful of getting him.
Victor Wanyama was put on the transfer list by Milan with a snip of a price at £10.75m and we'd offered him a contract too. £58k/wk seemed very reasonable.
Those two would be ideal I think.

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Unfortunately, Wanyama decided to go back to one of his former clubs, Southampton, for £9.5m and £35k/wk with Milan also paying him £16,750 a week :rolleyes:

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After waiting two weeks for Benzema to decide his fate, he decided to return to France and sign for Lille. He's on £81k/wk there, more understandable.

A bid for ex-Arsenal DM Coquelin was too late as he'd just agreed to sign for Chelsea. Yeah, so he can team up with Gagliardini 🤬
We also missed out on Axel Witsel as he chose Man U. Nobody else was good enough so I went into the loan market and managed to get Oriol Busquets who is pretty tidy.

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Struggling to find players who want to sign for us but then I spotted one :)

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Leicester were relegated last season and so he wanted to move and I couldn't resist at that price for a regular international with those attributes.
Still needed a striker but none came through so, on deadline day (21st July due to the Qatar World Cup), we also signed Maguire's Leicester teammate Maddison.

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Yet to play for England but I think it's only a matter of time. He's an AM but can play as a DLF or F9 if needed.
We got shot of a number of youngsters who failed to make the grade, although one of them moved to Liverpool for a fair whack, more than I expected so we took the cash.

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Also made a tidy profit on Alvarez who had moved down the pecking order here.
Morosini, on loan here last season, signed permanently and we picked up a couple of youngsters too.

Early season results have been very good and, after 6 games, we are 2nd, with just the one loss at Newcastle. The new boys have settled in quickly and I'm hoping for a top four finish this time, after being 6th, 10th, 7th and 5th in our four seasons so far.

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I can see a potential issue with our fixtures this season. The World Cup is in Qatar, from 21st Nov to 18th Dec and we are supposed to have two Europa League games while it's on so that will be fun!

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Not that anyone's probably interested but here are those two freebies we picked up this season:

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A bit of a schoolboy error with Andrada. Spotted him a year or more ago and the scouting reports were promising. Agreed a deal without thinking but he was underage so couldn't move until this window after he turned 18 😖
He's been sat twiddling his thumbs for more than 12 months and he probably has little chance of making it now.

However, Goncalves more than makes up for that. Already valued at £15.5m, he looks very promising. Needs a bit of work here and there but hoping he'll be around for years to come.

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Posted (edited)

After our great start to the season, we stumbled. Not ideal with our Euro Cup games around the corner and we were beaten home and away in our first two games of that.
We did recover to go on a decent run but our early losses in the EL meant a defeat at Fiorentina in our final group game saw us fail to qualify for the knockout stages.

Thankfully, our league form had picked up again and we were also doing well in the cups. A run of 8 wins on the bounce saw us through to a double header v Man U; in the FA Cup 5th round and the Carabao Cup Final. We scraped through in the FA Cup but were surprisingly dominant in the Carabao Final. Winning both games was a great boost for us, or so it should have been.
Instead, we lost 4 of the next 6 games and then also had a winless April in the league. This saw us drop out of contention for the top four for yet another season.

We were still going strong in the FA Cup though and after wins over Palace, Bolton, Man U, Huddersfield and Arsenal, we had a showpiece match at the end of the season against Man City. Could we do the cup double......?

Erm, no.

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Three times we came back from a goal down but three certainly wasn't the magic number for us as we then missed all three penalties in the shootout, City scored all three of theirs and it was a very disappointing end to the season.

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Another top six finish isn't to be sniffed at but for long periods of the season it looked like we were finally going to break into the top four so there was certainly a lot of frustration there. However, 73pts is our best tally yet so there are positives to take out of it.

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Alena voted player of the season for the 2nd time running. Unfortunately, when I signed young Carles two seasons ago, I had promised him that we'd qualify for the CL within two years. As this hadn't happened, he was annoyed. Tried to talk him around with no luck and he demanded to leave. Another top player we were set to lose then :(

Edited by Earnie is God!

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Alena was valued at £27m at the time of his transfer request. This did drop a little as I refused to play the grumpy sod in our final games of the season but the offers we were getting for him were very poor indeed. Top talent who had had a great season and all we got were piddly nonnegotiable ~£18m offers from crappy teams like this:

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After more than a month of trying to get somewhere close to a £50m offer, we finally got a semi-decent one from Leeds although still nowhere near the amount I wanted.
It was clear we weren't going to get any better than that and so I succumbed.

I did manage to resist bids for some of my other players, mainly Chambers and Woodburn, without a riot. Chambers was disappointed I wouldn't allow him to join Wolves but I rode the storm and managed to keep hold of him.

I didn't want to make the same mistake I made last season, waiting too long to try and bring in some top notch players, and when Krzysztof Piatek was made available by Man City for just half his £55m value, I swooped in.

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Two more classy players were to join as free agents, Marcos Alonso and Aaron Ramsey, both 32yo.

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We needed a better LB as Cunningham really isn't good enough and to have Rambo return to the club he left as a teenager brought a smile to my face as I've been a long time admirer. Murgia and Oriol Busquets' loan deals were made permanent and we also picked up a couple of youthies.

Going out: Andrada, the GK I made that mistake buying last season hadn't kicked on enough and so he left for a paltry £35k. There were plenty of suitors though, due to his potential presumably, but he's never going to make it. With Alonso coming in, Cunningham left as did young exciting winger Christian Tue for a whopping potential £38m.

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Our 1st and 2nd (youth) XI prior to transfers this season...

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Overall Best XI

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Youngster Sabag

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Hopefully star striker Piatek

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Was hoping for a relatively easy start to the season when the fixtures came out but instead we ended up with this :eek:

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Man City, Arsenal, Man U & Chelsea for our first four games. I guess the 'glass half full' view would be that we then have an easier run-in but still.

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We won two, lost two of those games v Man City, Arsenal, Man U & Chelsea. Not so bad after all.
And a great run shortly after that, including wins in the Europa League, put us in a good position going into the busy Christmas period.

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This of course also brings the transfer window around again and it's no surprise that teams are in for our best players. Thankfully, I managed to stave off the wolves but decided to let one of our players go, he wasn't playing that much anyway.

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The good form continued and we found ourselves in 5th place but with a few games in hand due to our success in the cups. The fixtures were piling up but we kept on winning and faced Arsenal in the final of the Carabao Cup. Unfortunately, they were slightly too good for us and we lost 1-0.

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Successes over Nice, Villarreal and Real Hispalis (Betis) have seen us get through to the Europa Semis and a whopping 7-1 win over WBA means we will face Man U in the FA Cup final at the end of the season.

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This has led to a rather ridiculous situation of having to play 5 games in 9 days.

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With our players really feeling the pace and starting to struggle, we lost a couple of defenders to injury and so I decided to go more attacking as I wasn't convinced we'd be able to hold firm at the back. This lead to a number of rather interesting results.

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But we were now up to 3rd and if we won our game in hand, we'd go top.

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Already relegated Palace were our penultimate league opponents and our 4th of 5 games in 9 days.

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And so we were top, for the first time all season long, and with just one game to go.

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Leicester weren't going to be pushovers, they'd had a very good season and already beat us at their place in the return fixture on Boxing Day.
And if we slipped up, then Arsenal, just 1pt behind us and away to Palace in 18th would surely pounce.
It was time to rally the troops!

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Our patched up side went into this game exhausted but also confident and in high spirits. So when Leicester took the lead after just 17min, it was disappointing but no reason to panic. Half an hour in, our young defender Ryan Reynolds (yes, that's his real name!) picked up an injury and had to come off but Arsenal were only drawing and Man U, the other team who could deny us the title, were losing at home to Chelsea. It was still in our hands and I was confident we would get back in the game. After all, we'd won 13 in a row and were scoring for fun, it was only a matter of time, right?

Just 3min later and I wasn't so sure any more. Guto Gwenalt (where do they get these newgen names from??!!), our brilliant LW who had been magnificent all season, went flying into a tackle two-footed and we were reduced to 10 men. I changed from 4-4-2 to 4-4-1, with star striker Piatek moved to LM for the time being. Having already made the one sub due to Reynolds being injured, I didn't want to commit to a 2nd with just 33min on the clock. Piatek can play LW so he'd cope well enough at LM, until HT at least.
But 4min later and Leicester made it 2-0 :(
Piatek pulled one back on the stroke of HT and we still had a chance, especially as Arsenal were still drawing and Man U losing.

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An inspiring HT team talk saw our 10 men come flying out of the blocks and 7min into the second half we were back on level terms through Ben Woodburn and now pushing for the winner. However, the football gods weren't following the script and another double whammy hit us hard. In the game at Palace, Arsenal had just taken the lead to move into pole position and Leicester were awarded a penalty in our match.

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But Bryn, our reserve GK who had stepped in for Pickford after he picked up yet another injury, didn't let us down as he pulled off a great save from the spot kick.

1271627657_Finalgame2-2penaltysaved.thumb.jpg.b2845c06786357b05479639b9cce6897.jpg

1467278384_Finalgame2-2ArsenalwinManUdraw.thumb.jpg.dc8ec22a7fbf0caed07aad9db4d2afa0.jpg 10min later and we were still level, Arsenal 1-0 up but now Man U had equalised.

With 10min to go, Man U had taken the lead and it was time for us to give everything 665241754_Finalgame2-2ArsenalwinManUwin.thumb.jpg.48c2db566bbbee6aeba799cf3c5713c5.jpg

Sadly, it wasn't to be. Our knackered 10 men were caught out not once, but twice by Leicester on the break.

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Arsenal held on to their 1-0 lead to steal the title from under our noses and Man U's comeback victory pushed us down into 3rd. I wanted to cry.

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Yeah, well done Arsenal :mad:

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Posted (edited)

We couldn't mope for too long though. We had an FA Cup final to play and thankfully at least a few days of rest for our weary players beforehand.
Gwenalt's red card was only valid for league games (a rule change IRL this year) so he could play in the final if I wanted. I decided to give him the chance to redeem himself.
That may have backfired...

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Admittedly, we were 2-0 down at the time but for him to be sent off in consecutive games simply isn't acceptable. The thing is, he'd never seen red before and barely been booked (just twice this season). Maybe it's an inability to cope in big matches or perhaps it's my tactic but he went in two-footed yet again. I'll have to look into it properly.

As for the game, despite creating plenty of chances we couldn't take them and were punished by a better side.

That's 3 failures this season: 1-0 loss to Arsenal in the Carabao Final, throwing away the title on the final day, and the 3-0 defeat to Man U in the FA Cup final.

We had the small matter of the Europa League Final just three days later. No time to rest or ponder what might have been, I had to get the boys back up off the floor for one last game of a gruelling season.

The media were on our backs and starting to call us bottlers. My management was being questioned and one person who called in to a radio show suggested "Williams is just like Klopp. His teams play some great football but when it comes to finals, he's a perennial loser." :eek:

Determined not to lose even half of the 6 finals in a row that Klopp lost, while at the same time very flattered to be mentioned in the same sentence as he, we prepared for the final against Inter Milan, our first ever Europa League final in our 125 years history.

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The game itself was a blockbuster as we smashed the Italians 7-3!  20190629191104_1.thumb.jpg.651d79c6b1367a6af99c83edb3e57b62.jpg

Although I'm not too hot on the celebration scenes...

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Edited by Earnie is God!

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Season 2023/24 Summary

Despite falling at the final hurdle three times over this season, I have to be delighted with our improvement this campaign.
3rd place in the league with 85pts, 12pts better than last season, qualifying for the CL, winning the Europa and being in both domestic cup finals is a great achievement for us.
We also broke a number of our own records and I'm hoping to break even more in the coming years. I signed a new 5yr contract this season too.

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The club is growing :)

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End of season awards & updated Best XI

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Club captain Sean Morrison decided he wanted to leave for pastures new in January

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In a way I was quite relieved as he was almost 33yo and starting to struggle. Everton were quite welcome to him :)
Reserve GK Alex Smithies also left. Brighton placed a bid and, as another oldie, it was an easy decision to accept.
Although he didn't really see it that way...

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Season 2024/25

The aim this season, like most, is to build on what we achieved last time if we can. I'd love another title battle but will settle for a top 4 place again, especially as we have the Champions League to contend with this season for the first time. I'm going to abandon the Carabao, it's more hassle than it's worth tbh. I don't want us to be going through that end of season fixture nightmare again so might not be trying too hard in the FA Cup either ;)
We'll see how it pans out.

A bit like Man U back in 1992, we had one fantastic year of youths coming through and very little since. Perhaps the odd one here and there but nothing like the class of Redmond, Reynolds, Gwenalt and Hanford. As my U18s have all outgrown that side now, as too have any other decent players we have had, I felt it was time to invest in youth players, both at home and from abroad. We picked up Liam Corbett from Man U in January and have just signed two Brazilians and a 19yo English wonderkid (all newgens of course).

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Granger cost a bomb but he looks amazingly good. No doubt, after a year or so of being here, the bigger boys will try and pry him away but I'll cross that bridge when it inevitably comes.
We also have plenty of other players coming in. Due to their young ages, some will not arrive this transfer window but over the next 3-4 windows instead. I don't mind that as that will be a steady flow of young talent coming into the club.

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Ben Davies is arriving on a free from Man U and will give competition to Marcos Alonso at LB. Our other LB, Jay Dasilva, will probably move on this summer.

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Posted (edited)

I was pleased we didn't have a nightmare set of fixtures to start off our season.

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And, as usual, the vultures were circling for our best players...

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As you might expect, Maguire was quite eager to move to Man U but I managed to talk him around and we agreed he could leave if a bid of £41m came in. Thankfully this never materialised and we managed to keep him here for another season. Verdi, on the other hand, I didn't particularly mind losing as we have an abundance of players who can play in his position and he wasn't getting any younger. A 31yo valued at £35m, entering the last year of his contract, I decided to try and get £50m+ for him if we could. Only Wolves were interested and, although I didn't get my £50m, was happy enough to get £42m for him.

We also moved on a number of youngsters. Some of them weren't quite good enough, a few we really didn't have room for and others weren't going to make it.
We also loaned out a fair few players, some of whom are in their make or break season and I'll have to decide next summer if I'm going to keep them around.
Our transfers this season...

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edit: I see it didn't show them all but it's just missing a few loans. Here are the cash buys/sales

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Edited by Earnie is God!

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Our first Champions League campaign and I was all excited. As Europa League winners, we were somewhat flatteringly one of the eight 1st seeded teams and have been placed in Group C.

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The 2nd seeds are a bit frightening. Of course, we can't face either of the Manchester clubs but there's only really Benfica who I'd want to play.

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We avoided the giants but Leipzig were no pushovers.
Of the 3rd seeds, I'd rather not play the Milan clubs.

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Zenit? I'll take that! As for the final team, I wasn't too bothered. Havign Celtic might be interesting but I think I'd prefer either the Turks or the Danes.

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PSV have to be one of the stronger 4th seeds but, overall, I have to be happy with that draw.

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Going back to my earlier question, how did our season go? Well, let's start with the bad news...

We were knocked out of the Carabao at the first hurdle. Not too disappointed as we have won it twice since I've been in charge but my semi-rotated squad did manage to throw away a 2-0 lead by conceding in the 71st and 94th minute, before losing on penalties. Meh.

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We managed to progress in the FA Cup by beating Oldham 1-0, Millwall 3-0 and Man U 3-1, before being trounced 6-0 at Wolves :eek:

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3 goals down inside 10min! And this with our usual cautious approach for away games too. Before I knew it we were 4-0 down and, even though I then made changes, things hardly got better and we were totally blown away. Baaaa
But that pretty much is where the bad news ended.

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Champions League 2024/25

We got off to a flyer in our maiden season in the elite European competition by beating Zenit 4-0 and winning 2-1 at PSV. We did then lose 3-2 at Leipzig but got our revenge with this result...

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This wouldn't be the last we'd see of Leipzig's good home form and horrendous away days but more of that later.
We lost 1-0 in Russia to leave ourselves and Ze Germans on 9pts, with Zenit on 7pts and just one game to go.
PSV at home for us and the other fixture was Leipzig v Zenit. We needed a win to make sure we not only progressed but won the group.
I needn't have worried...

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The final group table...

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In the 1st knockout round, we were paired with Benfica. Quite happy with that, could have been a lot worse. We thrashed them home and away.

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The teams who made it through to the QF stage are all top notch. Spanish giants Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico are all there, as are PSG and German duo Bayern and Leipzig who have finished in the top two in Germany for many seasons now.

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Last but by no means least were the highly impressive Napoli. 5-time Serie A champions no less, that's 5 times in the past 7 seasons!

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We were the last representatives from the EPL in the competition as Man City were knocked out by Bayern in the last 16 while both Man U and Arsenal failed to make it out of their groups! I wasn't that confident about playing any of them tbh and we ended up with Napoli, a stern test for sure.
Away game first and we took a 2 goal lead into HT. Unfortunately, we couldn't withstand the pressure and Napoli roared back in a very entertaining game which ended 2-2. A little disappointing for us not to hold onto that lead but a score draw away from home against such a talented side was not to be sniffed at. I always fancy our chances at home and was cautiously optimistic we'd come through.

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As for the other QF 1st leg ties...

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Some big home wins there!

In the return leg, we lost our rock at the back, Maguire, to an early injury and we struggled a little. A first half strike from new boy Marcos Paulo was the only goal of the game and saw us sneak through the the semi finals.

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In the other QF matches, surely the 3-0, 4-0 and 4-0 1st leg victories for Barca, PSG and Leipzig respectively would be enough to see them through to the SF, right?
Well, not quite. Remember me saying earlier about Leipzig's stark contrast in form from home to away? It cost them again, and big time.

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A mahoosive 8-1 2nd leg thrashing by Bayern! Geez, I wouldn't want to play them in the SF!
Yup, you guessed it. SF draw saw us play Bayern and Barca face PSG :seagull:

 

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We needn't have worried though. An imperious performance in Germany saw us come away with a 4-0 win! PSG also won 4-0.

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The 2nd leg was a mere formality 1205250324_CLSF2ndleg.thumb.jpg.a0c70c449338f3177ff50dc2dcda545a.jpg

So it's PSG for us in the final, a game I have yet to play. Before that comes about, I'll let you know how our league campaign went, and it was another nailbiter!

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Posted (edited)

I went into this league campaign full of confidence, perhaps too much. I falsely believed that we could blow most teams away and that was my intention, to be respectful against the top 6 but try and smash the rest. How wrong I was.
We were completely outplayed at Everton in our first game and lost 3-1. With a little perspective, I decided to tone down our attacking play and even grind out results if needed. The results were good and we were still putting 3, 4 or 5 past a few teams but was happy to scrap it out where needed and would even take a draw if I felt that was likely the best we could get.

As the Christmas break approached, we were in a solid position in the top 4.

We were also being linked with some top players, although I'd never sign Pogba, even on a free.  I can't stand the arrogant £^&^$£.pogba.thumb.jpg.86308dc6d50ba7301c6805285aa536bd.jpg

Being knocked out of the Carabao early and the FA Cup in the QF certainly allowed us that little extra breathing space and I think it helped in the run-in. It also helped that Liverpool weren't quite at their best and that Chelsea, Man City and Spuds were well off the pace.

And with just 5 games to go, it was a 3-horse race for the title...

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All 3 of us had to play some top teams and I was quietly confident, seeing as we'd just beaten Man U 3-0 and drawn with 4th placed Liverpool.
We did then lose 1-0 at Spurs but bounced back with victories over Newcastle, Southampton and an excellent win at Man City.
Both Arsenal and Man U kept it up too, that is until Arsenal lost 1-0 at relegation threatened Leeds in the penultimate game of the season.
That left it as a 2-horse race, going into the final weekend, between ourselves and Man U.

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Just goal difference separated us and I just had to hope that we would beat Watford in 17th by at least two goals more than Man U beat Leeds.
Well, we did our part with a 5-1 thumping of Watford which ultimately sent them down.
But of course Man U twonked Leeds by an even bigger scoreline, 7-2, and so pipped us at the post and we miss out on the title on the final day of the season yet again!

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Edited by Earnie is God!

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Season 2024/25 Summary

The less we talk about my unsuccessful application for the Liverpool manager's job towards the end of the season the better :rolleyes:
But I think I should mention it regardless.

689150425_Liverpooljobunsuccessful.thumb.jpg.cf9fb9b453001c4bc9b0edef70d06523.jpg I asked to take over after the end of the season. They went for Tuchel instead

Bayern were also interested but I turned them down 1072308175_Bayernrejection.thumb.jpg.e8799e0cd55c8a1a5b30c8f5dd679e75.jpg

472184786_Cardiffjobretain.thumb.jpg.07fb1a2e67a7ec6ea356afa17b4e4ad4.jpg Cardiff proposed talks for me to stay but I declined

I'm glad Liverpool decided against hiring me though as I still have business left here with Cardiff. Thankfully, there doesn't seem to have been any fallout about me going for the Liverpool job.

Both on and off the pitch it has been yet another success story
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With our CL Final still to come too

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Champions League Final 2024/25

PSG are unbelievably good. Mbappe and Neymar will cause us all sorts of problems and we may have to rely on catching them on the break.

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Posted (edited)

Every time Mbappe had the ball, he was ripping us a new one. It was only really a matter of time I guess and his goal came on the half hour mark.
We were creating our own chances too though so I was reluctant to push the panic button just yet.
Our equaliser came after 38min in rather fortunate circumstances. Chasing a through ball and Eder got the sliding tackle in first but all he could do was poke it past their helpless GK and it rolled into the net :D

Half time teamtalk was basically more of the same and, although we survived a number of times as they squandered a few opportunities to retake the lead, I was quite happy with how we were competing with them.

A few subs later and the fresh legs did us good. Marcos Paulo and Lainez were introduced on the wings and they started to give us a slight edge.

Just as it looked like it was heading into extra time, a great throughball from midfielder Marko bulat found young striker Ian Giles, who has come on leaps and bounds this season, in space and he took a touch before smashing it past Rulli.
Defend, defend, defend after that for what seemed like forever but the final whistle came and we were Champions of Europe! :cool:

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Ha ha, unlucky Tuchel! That's what you get for stealing the Liverpool job from me :brock:

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Edited by Earnie is God!

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