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kevhamster

[FM19] Time to Tee off

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This is my first crack at a career save in quite some time. I'm playing in FM19, with the following countries loaded (all divisions):

 

Belgium

England

France

Germany

Italy

Netherlands

Scotland

Spain

 

I decided I'd set up my manager as myself. My plan was to start unemployed, holiday until November in the first season as this tends to be when the sackings start coming thick and fast and so means more potential jobs to apply for.

 

I set myself with a reputation of Professional Footballer (National Level).

 

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Posted (edited)

CAREER OVERVIEW

Season Team League Final position Achievements
2018/19 Middlesbrough Championship 7th  
2019/20 Middlesbrough Championship 5th Promoted via Playoffs
 
Edited by kevhamster

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Posted (edited)

So, as stated in the original post, I holidayed until the start of November and then started applying for jobs as they became available. The first interview I got also ended up as my first offer, which I accepted. So, off I head to the North East of England.

2018/19 – Middlesbrough – Sky Bet Championship

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Media Prediction: 6th

Current position: 10th

 

Date of appointment: 22nd November 2018

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So, the club had been expected to be up there in contention for the playoffs. However, form had been a little bit disappointing and the club found itself more in contention for mid-table mediocrity, 5 points off the playoff places. So, whilst not disastrous, not good enough for the club's expectations (taking into account as well that the club is at the higher end of wage bills in the division).

The club wanted me to play possession football as part of my role, so this was something I looked to implement.

 

NOVEMBER 2018

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I had two games left this month by the time I'd been hired. I started off with a fairly routine win over struggling Brentford. The game against Preston was every bit as dull as the scoreline suggested, with neither team posing much of a threat. The supporters complained about the turgid display, and I can't say it was without justification! Still, a promising enough start to my managerial career.

Edited by kevhamster

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Posted (edited)

DECEMBER 2018

8Y1HRlI.png

An excellent month. The Villa result was particularly sweet – not only because they were one of the league's best performing teams at this time, but also because we twice came back from a goal down and ended up winning with a late goal.

But, an almost perfect month with plenty of goals to enjoy. The last couple of weeks of the month had quite a congested fixture list, as is the way with English football so to have such a good month was brilliant.

This view was shared outside the club as well, as my first full month also saw my first manager of the month award.

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This was nice, but then I remembered that in past FM games a manager of the month award usually results in a significant dip in form. Also, January was to start with a tough league match against Derby and then the FA Cup 3rd round, in which were drawn against some small club called Manchester City.....

Edited by kevhamster

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Posted (edited)

JANUARY 2019

yiBhDDI.png

Well, what can I say?  The Derby match was as tough as I expected it to be.  We were 2-0 down at half-time and looking down and out.  A tactical rethink at half-time did the trick and 2 late goals saw us come back from the dead. 

And then, the City match.  For a bit of context, they were (perhaps unsurprisingly) sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League and so perhaps unsurprisingly heavy favourites.  The assistant manager suggested a very defensive gameplan, which seemed logical.  But, having thought about it, my thoughts would be that this would be just inviting them to attack and with their quality, I didn't want to give them any more of an invite into my penalty area than they'd already have.  So, against all advice I went for an attacking variation of the 4-2-4 system I'd been using to good effect so far, thinking that perhaps if I tried to just take the game to them it would throw them off, as I thought we'd be expected to just sit back and wait for the counter.  City took an early lead, so I was thinking that perhaps my slightly gung-ho approach may result in a cricket scoreline.  But no, we equalised soon after City's opener, and by 21 minutes it was 2-1, and both of our goals were well-worked team goals.  We matched City up to around the 65 minute mark, at which point they started dictating play a lot more.  Despite much pressure, we held on for an excellent win.

Sadly, our cup run would go no further than the 4th round, as QPR handed me my first loss with a late goal in a very even game which probably deserved to be a draw.

The Millwall result was excellent, as they were in 1st place at this time.  For the Bristol City game, I'd found myself with a bit of an injury crisis at left-back, which left me with no option but to bring in one of the players from the youth team to fill in.  Brilliantly, the youngster was involved in both goals - with a cracking cross for the assist for the first goal and then he made a superb pass to the player who assisted the second.  So, despite the cup loss this was still a very good month for league results.

We ended the month in 4th place, only 2 points off of top-placed Millwall.

o9FsXAo.png

 

 

Edited by kevhamster

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6 hours ago, Northernpilgrim said:

Solid start 😀

Thanks! Shocking because I'm usually useless 😂

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I don't get the golfing reference in the title in relation to the career (so far?)

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1 hour ago, Nobby_McDonald said:

I don't get the golfing reference in the title in relation to the career (so far?)

Because Middlesbrough is on Teeside. :)

It was the best I could think up lol.

 

 

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1 hour ago, kevhamster said:

Because Middlesbrough is on Teeside. :)

It was the best I could think up lol.

 

 

I guess if you end up at Newcastle it'll be Tyne to Tee Off?

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20 minutes ago, Northernpilgrim said:

I guess if you end up at Newcastle it'll be Tyne to Tee Off?

Maybe. I do love a good pun! 

But I imagine being in charge of Boro may work against me if I were to apply to Newcastle in the future! 

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On 29/04/2019 at 23:49, kevhamster said:

Because Middlesbrough is on Teeside. :)

It was the best I could think up lol.

 

 

Tim Vine you aren't.

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21 minutes ago, Nobby_McDonald said:

Tim Vine you aren't.

Indeed lol.

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FEBRUARY 2019

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Definitely the worst month yet.  We had a good win against Leeds, but elsewhere our defense was shambolic, not least against QPR, who beat us again, this time handing our first league defeat since I took over and in spectacular fashion.  Seems I need to find some kind of answer to shore things up a bit.

We're still in the playoff places, but an improvement is definitely needed in March.

igEmg7e.png

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13 minutes ago, Nobby_McDonald said:

Maybe you are Tim Vine after all... as a Football Manager.

Not entirely sure where one-liners come into it...? lol

On a different note, that looks like Euro Truck Simulator 2 in your profile pic.  Which is a quality game.  Trying to figure out if I prefer it with or without Promods installed!

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Yes it is. It's a very good game and surprisingly deep, though I rarely get chance to play it now. I'm a Promods user, their work is superb.

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MARCH 2019

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Despite another loss, and to a struggling team we'd beaten without breaking a sweat in my very first game, this was definitely a better month.  The Wigan match was a hard fought, but deserved win and we absolutely dominated against Norwich and only conceded thanks to a howler from my 3rd choice keeper, who wasn't match fit and in the side due to injuries to the two ahead of him.... only 4 weeks til my first choice returns!

The Preston and Villa matches were very even, although we came a couple of minutes away from a solid win against a decent Villa side, but a defensive lapse in injury time saw Villa earn a point.

The other reason I'm pleased with the results overall, is the fact that the squad was decimated by injuries, meaning we had some solid results with a number of fringe players - which certainly gives me food for thought as the season approaches the business end of things.  Aside from the Brentford match, which was absolutely dire and we probably were lucky to not have a heavier loss, we put together a much more pleasing set of performances here.

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Posted (edited)

APRIL 2019

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Well, April was an utter disaster.  I'd had high hopes following the Norwich match which had seen us finish March in style, and Swansea brought me down to Earth with a bump.  And whilst they were assisted by yet another shocking display from the 3rd choice keeper, the entire team had a shocker and the loss was very much deserved.

The Win against Bolton was the only highlight, as we threw away leads against both Hull and Reading.  It was very frustrating, as in reality the only game where we actually played badly was the Swansea one.  We had the better of the play in all the losses at the end but it was the opposition who really made their chances count.  The Reading game was a real smash and grab on their part as we peppered their goal with shots, but couldn't stick in the net.

Naturally, the local papers had a field day.

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As it says above, we've basically blown it with regards to promotion, with even a playoff place requiring a very fortuitous set of results to happen.

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Despite all that, I wanted to share the part I enjoyed most out of the limited enjoyment to be had this month, which was the goal which ultimately proved to be the winner against Bolton - perhaps the best team goal I've ever seen one of my teams score in any edition of Football Manager.

 

Edited by kevhamster

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MAY 2019 - END OF SEASON

Just one match left.  We were away to Rotherham, who were already relegated and rooted to the bottom of the table.  We needed results to go our way, including at least a 6 goal swing to make the playoffs.

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Well, the players gave it their best shot.  We were probably assisted by the red card to one of Rotherham's players, but we were already 1-0 up at this point and well in control.  A great performance to end on, a deserved win.  And the first clean sheet for 3 months.  Would it be enough to secure a top 6 spot?

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Sadly not.

Ultimately, the incredibly poor April cost us a shot at promotion.  But, overall I'm satisfied with the 1st season.  I managed to improve the club's league position from where I took over and just fell a little bit short of where I'd have liked to ended up.

The summer will require a bit of a rebuild as a number of the players in the squad had been loan players, who will obviously be returning to their parent clubs.  There's a couple I'm going to try to sign again - permanently if I can, otherwise I will try to get them on loan again.

My aim for next season is promotion.  Time will tell how this goes......!

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I've just spotted this - Middlesbrough in real life also finished 7th with 73 points.  With exactly the same record in terms of wins, draws and losses.  Goals record isn't the same, but still a hell of a coincidence!

And all 3 relegated teams are the same, albeit in a different order of league positions.  A case of FM imitating life it seems!

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Close on the final day, that would have been some story to come back and clinch a play-off spot from needing a 6 goal swing. Time to get ready to go a few places better next season, hopefully!

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21 hours ago, theBlackPrince said:

Close on the final day, that would have been some story to come back and clinch a play-off spot from needing a 6 goal swing. Time to get ready to go a few places better next season, hopefully!

Indeed it would have been!

I was into pre-season and lost some progress when my laptop decided to freeze on me.  Annoyingly I last saved before replacing my retiring assistant manager and signing a couple of players (one permanent and two loanees), so hopefully I will remember who I'd signed so I can re-do it.

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Posted (edited)

2019/20 - Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship

Media prediction: 5th

The pre-season was a busy one.  I needed to bulk out the squad, as a number of the players I'd been using in the first team had been loanees, and two players had requested transfers due to lack of playing time (deservedly so, as they'd not impressed at all when I'd given them the game time they'd requested).

A signed a number of players, and two of last season's loanees came back.  A lot of the players I'd signed were young unattached players who the scouts said had significant potential, so more of a future investment than for the current season.

We had 9 friendlies in July, one of which was a testimonial offer by West Brom for the retiring James Morrison, who was a former Boro player.

W0aGvTv.png

These were mostly about fitness given the fact a lot of the opposition teams were below our level, but two very creditable wins against Eredivisie teams.  The Chester-Le-Street match was notable for two reasons.  Firstly, it showed that my 2nd choice keeper is likely not good enough, as he faced two shots all game, both of which he should have saved easily and fluffed both of them.  Secondly, Marcus Tavernier, who was my most threatening winger last season, suffered a cruciate ligament injury which is going to basically rule him out for the entire season.  That is a huge blow.  I am now looking for a loan player to replace him for the season.

Edited by kevhamster

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1 hour ago, Nobby_McDonald said:

You ****ed that up royally in April. Cracking goal though.

Indeed! We really weren't helped by the sudden injury crisis. Annoyingly, we actually played OK aside from the Swansea game. But we just couldn't get the ball in the net. 

And thanks, I enjoyed the goal too! I will share more goals as time goes on, as long as they're worth sharing! 

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Posted (edited)

August 2019

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No doubt about it, this was a poor start to the season.  I'd made some changes to the tactics over the course of the pre-season with the intention of being more defensively solid.  It didn't really work, as you can see.  Our defence wasn't great and our attack was mostly useless.  The wins against Sheffield Wednesday and Luton were not exactly convincing.  

In the Carabao Cup, we earned a penalty shootout thanks to an equalizer with pretty much the last kick of the game, and promptly lost the shootout 3-0.  We also missed from the spot in the 1-0 loss to Cardiff.  

The match against Forest was every bit as bad as the scoreline suggested.

After that, I decided I was going to give up on the changes I made to the system as I'd clearly got something badly wrong.  So, I reverted back to something very similar to last season's tactics against Burnley and the difference was immediately obvious.  Although we didn't get the win, we looked far more threatening and were mainly foiled by a very unfortunate own goal from our goalkeeper.  But, if we can keep up this level of performance going forward, I think we'll be much more like where we want to be.

d13V2E0.png

Edited by kevhamster

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SEPTEMBER 2019

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In terms of results, a mixed month.

I decided to make use of the international break and line up a friendly where I could hopefully get some of the fringe players a run-out against some competitive opposition.  A very good performance saw us dispatch Kilmarnock with ease.

We were unlucky to not win against Hull.  We were definitely the better team, but a combination of an excellent performance by their goalkeeper and some wasteful shooting from us meant we didn't get the win we deserved.  The Huddersfield match could have gone either way, and went theirs.

Against Leeds, we came back from 2-0 down to rescue an excellent draw.  

The QPR match was a joy to watch.  They took an early lead, but then we got into gear and they simply were unable to deal with us.  Not only was our attack in excellent form, including a hat-trick from Colin Kazim-Richards who is beginning to look like a very good free transfer, but the defence was also excellent, restricting QPR to a paltry 2 shots all game.

The QPR match also saw this peach of a finish:

In summary, the results could have been a bit better, but there were some good performances.  Plenty to be encouraged by!

BH1IzrW.png

 

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Posted (edited)

October 2019

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It is said that in football, the key to success is consistency, which is largely what our problem is.

We started the month well, coming off the back of the 5-1 dismantling of QPR with an equally convincing 3-1 victory over Brentford.  Then came Reading, and this one really lived to the old saying "game of two halves".  We were 1-0 up at half-time and seemingly in control having taken the lead in the first minute.  Reading then came out and destroyed us in the second half.

October saw another international break, so I arranged another friendly.  Anderlecht seemed like a decent team to go up against, and I was pleased with the performance and win.

Sheffield United and Norwich were both fair draws.  United had taken an 80th minute lead and we equalised as stoppage time was about to start.  We'd taken the lead against Norwich and they equalised soon after.

We tried our best to shoot ourselves in the foot against Barnsley - their first goal was from a free kick which had been conceded needlessly by my left-sided inside forward and the second was from a penalty when we'd recklessly clattered one of their strikers.  Aside from these moments, Barnsley had not really threatened so anything less than a win would have been really annoying.

15 games in - 5 wins, 5 draws and 5 losses.  20 scored, 20 conceded.  We're consistently inconsistent.

But at least we're scoring goals now!

That said, given the board's expectation of reaching the playoffs, a significant improvement is needed as I have a feeling if we're not there or thereabouts by January my position will start being under threat.  They're aleady annoyed at the first round knockout in the Carabao Cup, although they're "satisfied" at the moment.

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Edited by kevhamster

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November 2019

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After a loss to Stoke in which we were very much second best, I was summoned to the boardroom.  It was official, my results weren't at the standard wanted and my job was under threat.  My answers bought me a month it seems.  

I thought the loss to Portsmouth, who were mired deep in the relegation zone, would hasten my exit, but was pleasantly surprised to find out my P45 has been lost in the post and I still have a job..... for now at least.

We bounced back from two poor losses with a fantastic performance against Derby, and a hard fought win against West Brom.

We closed off November with a goalless draw against struggling Wigan, in a match we should have won. but were twice denied by the woodwork and even more times by their keeper. 

On the plus-side, another run of 3 games unbeaten and 2 clean sheets in a row.  And also up to 11th in the table and edging closer to the playoff places.  Hopefully this is the start of a needed turn around.

Oh, and this goal.

 

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31y83t.jpg

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I really wish there was an option to say "perhaps if you weren't always on the treatment table after breaking a ****ing nail, you might have started more games".

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On 22/05/2019 at 22:22, kevhamster said:

In the Carabao Cup, we earned a penalty shootout thanks to an equalizer with pretty much the last kick of the game, and promptly lost the shootout 3-0.  We also missed from the spot in the 1-0 loss to Cardiff.  

 

You have Stokeitis.

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23 hours ago, Nobby_McDonald said:

You have Stokeitis.

I'm assuming from this comment that Stoke have an appalling record from penalties??

On an entirely different note, it seems Burnley cannot agree with themselves:

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December 2019

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December kicked off with a poor result.  Birmingham came out of the blocks with their bums on fire and raced to a 3-0 lead in the first 26 minutes.  We pulled a goal back near the end of the first half, and although we were far better in the second half we'd left ourselves with too much to do.

Bristol City and Preston were both top of the table at the start of the day when we played them - this means the 0-0 draw was a solid clean sheet and the 4-1 win was fairly unexpected but very welcome - the scoreline was absolutely a fair reflection of the game.

The Blackburn game was also a solid point against a good side who had gone 6 games unbeaten prior to this match, and we were very unlucky not to come away with 3 points.

Luton had been struggling and this showed in their play.  We won 4-0, but should have won by more in all honesty - but you can't really be unhappy with a 4-0 win.  Plus, we scored a penalty, which was good to see as our record from the spot has been appalling.

We finished the month in 10th, but the division is very close and we're only 3 points away from the playoff spots now.

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January 2020

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Just like last month, January started with a 3-1 loss against a team we should really have done better against.  Then we were dumped out of the FA Cup by Reading in a match where we were better in all of the stats aside from the one which really matters.

However, the remainder of January was a significant improvement, with 3 solid wins against teams which were above us in the table at the time the game kicked off.  We're edging closer to the top six, but equally there's plenty of time for us to royally screw it up as well.

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Transfer madness update!

As we all know, January is a time of transfer madness.

I accepted an offer of £7m for Martin Braithwaite, who although he was a player I valued, he made a real stink when I rejected the initial transfer (I didn't want to lose him as he's been a productive player), but I figured it was a good deal for a player approaching 30 and at £40k a week, he was being paid a lot.  So I accepted the second offer after negotiating the fee upwards.

Then, a few days after this, Bournemouth came in and met Jack Clarke's minimum release fee clause and he moved after this.  So, all of a sudden, I was down two Wingers, when I was still waiting for Tavernier to recover from his injury.

However, I had agreed a transfer for Duncan Watmore from Sunderland for £400k, so that helped a little.  I also managed to get Celtic to sell Lewis Morgan for £1.4m, which I'm hoping will end up as a very good deal.

I also had an offer for £750k for Kazim-Richards - I accepted this.  He'd come in on a free in the summer and he'd gone off the boil a bit recently.  He'd been inconsistent in any case (but when he was good, he was very good).  That said, I saw this as a good deal for a 33 year old who I'd previously signed on a free.

A few other youngsters have come in, primarily as future prospects.  

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February 2020

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It seems there's a few things you can rely on.  Death, taxes and Reading bringing me down to Earth!

I'd had a near on perfect month up to that point (QPR had rescued a point with basically the last kick of the game).  But, a series of very good performances.  Even the Reading game was a decent performance, but we just couldn't get a lucky break.

We did reach as high as 4th during this month, but we are still in the playoff places at the end of the month.  I'm hoping we can maintain the kind of momentum we've gained over February to keep us in the mix.

SzHMQDq.png

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On 28/05/2019 at 21:04, kevhamster said:

I'm assuming from this comment that Stoke have an appalling record from penalties??

 

God damn awful. On a par with Saido Berahino's goalscoring record in general.

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16 hours ago, Nobby_McDonald said:

God damn awful. On a par with Saido Berahino's goalscoring record in general.

In that case, my Boro side are definitely suffering a severe bout of Stokeitis.  From memory, we've had 11 penalties all season (including the shootout) and scored from 2 of them.  On the other hand, we've faced something like 7 or 8 penalties and only one has been missed.

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Good luck in the race for promotion. Looks like it will be a close run battle between a lot of teams.

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34 minutes ago, psychonaut said:

Good luck in the race for promotion. Looks like it will be a close run battle between a lot of teams.

Thanks!  It is pretty close, although the top 3 are a fair bit ahead, so 4th is the best we can realistically aim for.  I'll take anywhere in the top 6 though!

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March 2020

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A challenging month, with us playing two of the other teams in the mix and two other games which would be the classic banana peel variety.

However, we kicked off with a 3-0 win against Sheffield United in what is probably the best performance we've had since I took over.

Norwich was a good result, not only because of their league position but because at two different points in the game Norwich had a 2 goal lead.  It was 3-2 at half-time, and the equaliser was assisted by the returning Marcus Tavernier in his first game back following his 7 month injury layoff, when he came on as a sub in the second half.

We utterly battered Barnsley from start to finish, but were kept at bay due to a man of the match display by their goalkeeper (MOTM by the game's reckoning as well, not just mine), including another bloody penalty save.  I think I need to look at whether there's a training option for penalty practice as our record from the spot is a joke.

We ended the month with a solid win against Stoke, one of the teams also in the promotion mix.  It's getting tight at the top end!

I've just had a look at the fixture schedule and I think if we're going to make the playoffs, we really need to have it in the bag before the last two games, as our last two fixtures are a trip to Bristol City and then a home fixture against Preston, which as you will see are the two teams currently in the automatic promotion spots and quite some distance ahead (especially Preston, if they win both games in hand).

Not to say that we can't get results, but I'd rather not have to rely on getting wins from both of those!

UGxKBSD.png

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March also saw me win Manager of the Month for the second time, plus a player of the month for Duncan Watmore, who has won over the fans (not easy considering I bought him from Sunderland!).  Sadly, he also got injured in the last game!

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I've been offered a new 2 year contract, which I've accepted.

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Posted (edited)

Mid-April 2020 update

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April last season was where we fell apart.  Thankfully, this season has seen an improvement, albeit not without its drama!  As you can see, the matches came thick and fast, and an update before the last 2 games of the season seems apt, because the final two games will be against 2nd placed Bristol City and then 1st placed Preston.

Bristol City still have it all to play for, as 3rd placed Norwich can still overtake them.  Preston however have already wrapped up the league title.

We started with an excellent win against Portsmouth, which pleasingly included a real rarity - an actual goal from a penalty!  We then dropped 2 points against Derby, followed by a loss to West Brom who scored against us on the break twice.

We had to come from a goal down against both Wigan and Birmingham, with the winner against Birmingham being another converted penalty.

So, we have two games to play against the top two teams in the division.  We need two points to guarantee a playoff spot.  Huddersfield are the only team currently outside of the playoff spots who can overtake us, and they finish up with two away games against Stoke who are fellow promotion candidates, and Luton who may or may not be relegated by the time that game comes around.

So, we have a very good chance of securing a top 6 place.  We managed a draw against Bristol City earlier in the season and a 4-1 win against Preston.  

I'm still nervous!

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Edited by kevhamster

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I'm a bit confused - the game is saying we've secured a playoff spot, but we're only 5 points ahead of the 7th placed team with two games to play.

It may possibly be because Stoke and Huddersfield are playing each other meaning we can't be overtaken?  Either way, I won't be taking anything for granted until we've finished game 46!

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Posted (edited)

May 2020

SxLH1C2.png

Hardly a glorious end to the regular season.  We conceded early against Bristol City thanks to a bizarre own goal by Dael Fry.  It stayed at 1-0 for most of the match with us pressuring City's defence all game.  We then conceded another on the break in the 89th minute.  They completed the rout with a penalty in the 95th minute.  A bad result, but the performance wasn't anywhere near as bad as the scoreline suggests.

We then gave a good account of ourselves against the champions, but we couldn't quite hold on to our lead.  I'm hoping that's our wobble out of the way, as we now have the playoffs to contend with, and if things go well, 3 games away from the Premier League.

We finish 5th, and unless I'm mistaken that means we will play 4th placed Stoke in the semi-final.

Final table:

9ylD8RD.png

 

Edited by kevhamster

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We've given ourselves a great chance of progressing to the final with a superb performance.

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