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Posted (edited)

A very even game which Stoke edged thanks to a goal which bizarrely the game didn't show!  We also hit the woodwork 3 times, so the scoreline could have been a lot different.

But, we're through to the playoff final with a 3-1 aggregate win.

We will meet Norwich in the final, a club we drew with twice in the regular season.

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Edited by kevhamster

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Holy crap, we've only gone and done it!

Norwich took an early lead following an awful mix up between our centre backs and the goalkeeper, and I was thinking we were about to have a bad day in front of the Wembley crowd.

But, we bagged an equaliser with a well worked goal.  And we left it bloody late, but we got the winner and that's all that matters.  

It was a very close game, as the stats show.  But we've done it - we will be in the Premier League next season.

The really hard work begins now!

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In other news (as some interesting results have occurred elsewhere):

Arsenal have finally managed a major European trophy, beating AC Milan 3-0 to lift the Champions League.

Celtic's era of domination has been ended (for now) with Rangers winning the Scottish Premier League.

Man Utd won both the FA Cup and Carabao Cup.

Lyon have managed to win Ligue 1, ousting moneybags PSG from top spot.

Atletico Madrid won La Liga.

Inter won Serie A on goal difference, with Napoli 2nd.  Juve only managed 3rd place.

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2 hours ago, Nobby_McDonald said:

Well done getting promotion to the Premier League Kev.

Thanks!  I've not had too many successes over the years in FM (I'm sure you remember how poor I was in the old LLM days haha), so it was brilliant to get this done.  

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2020/21 - Middlesbrough - English Premier League

Board expectations: Avoid relegation.

 

So, Boro are back in the big time.  As you can see, we've been a bit busy in the transfer market:

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Essentially, the players brought in with a fee have been brought in to increase the overall quality of the first team.  Woodman looks like a decent backup keeper, although he sadly broke his leg shortly into the pre-season, so we won't be seeing him until the new year at the earliest.  Diaz increases our striker options in a surprisingly cheap deal.  Barja should increase our potency from the wings, and Maehle & Barisic are in to increase competition at the fullback slots.

Da Le Fuente and Insigne are fantastic looking freebies, and will provide further backup on the wings, and Mortimer is a useful backup player who can play as a striker, or again out wide in the unlikely event we're short in this area!  

Coyle is basically a youngster with excellent potential.   Although he's unlikely to feature too heavily in the first team this season, £600k looks like a snip for a talented youngster who can provide backup in the pivotal DM position and who is likely to improve significantly.

The rest of the inbound players are youngsters with good potential who've been released over the summer by other clubs.

Duncan Watmore, who had been very important in the run-in last season sadly took exception to the increased competition, and has been loaned back to Sunderland as apparently the best way to stake your claim for the team after saying you're worried about being replaced is to perform like a complete turd in training and friendlies!

Another unhappy player is Jayden Bogle, who had been competing with Ryan Shotton for the right-sided full-back spot last season, as he feels Maehle was brought in to replace him.  In reality, it was Shotton who I've had one eye on getting rid of as he's in his 30's and likely to decline soon.  Bogle is still only 20 and features heavily in my plans!

The other loanees out are youngsters who I feel have good potential, but would benefit from some first team football.

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The board want me to steer us clear of the bottom 3.  The media predict us to finish 18th, above the other two teams promoted.

The expectations are that we reach the 4th round of the FA Cup and the third round of the Carabao.

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Pre-season results were pretty good.  We looked sharp for the most part and really should have won against Fulham as well.

We kick off with a home game against fellow newbies Bristol City, and then a trip to the Etihad where we'll see if we can do a repeat of that first season result against Man City.

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1 hour ago, Nobby_McDonald said:

I doubt you were as crap as Pete. He was Crap Manager.

I don't remember Pete.

But I do remember Iajafer, and Brody's.  Although, I'm not sure Brody's would be allowed in these more PC times!!

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August 2020

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Ouch.  Well, I knew it wasn't going to be easy.

The first 3 matches were utterly miserable.  We should have done better against Bristol City, but too many players had an off day.

Man City absolutely tore us a new one.  They were just on another level altogether.  

Palace ripped us to shreds in the first half, and I was fearing a cricket scoreline as it was 5-0 at half-time.  We were a lot more solid in the second half, but even if we had been a little bit more effective up front, we had obviously left ourselves with too much to do.

It was at this point that I made some alterations to the tactics, as it was clear the system which had served us well in the second tier was not going to work against opposition which were technically more adept than us, which is clearly going to be most of the other teams at this level at this point.

We looked far better against Liverpool, and even took the lead.  However, they had won all of their games at this point and a good result was always going to be a big ask.  And so it proved as their better quality ultimately triumphed, although the improved performance gave me some hope that my alterations were on the right track.

We managed a win against Millwall, back in the Championship after one season.  Hey, I'll take that.

And finally, the holy grail to close off the month.  A win.  With a clean sheet no less.  We had to rely on a top quality performance from keeper Darren Randolph and some pretty desperate defending at times, but a win is a win.  And a clean sheet is a clean sheet.

The table doesn't look very pretty at the moment, but we were rock bottom before the West Ham game, so it could always be worse,

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On 17/06/2019 at 22:53, kevhamster said:

I don't remember Pete.

But I do remember Iajafer, and Brody's.  Although, I'm not sure Brody's would be allowed in these more PC times!!

Brodys are allowed, I have 34 of them.

Iajafer hasn't changed a jot from my visits to the other forum.

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, Nobby_McDonald said:

Brodys are allowed, I have 34 of them.

Iajafer hasn't changed a jot from my visits to the other forum.

Which other forum?  I lost track of it all as I largely lost interest in FM until 19 came out. 

Edited by kevhamster

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3 minutes ago, Nobby_McDonald said:

The zealot forum.

OK thanks! 

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Posted (edited)

September 2020

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Well, it hasn't got any easier!

Leicester probably deserved to win by more.  Wolves deserved to win by less.

I have no idea how we lost against Brentford.  We peppered their goalmouth with attacks and shots, but couldn't get the breakthrough.  And we were back to our old penalty missing ways.

We should also have beaten Preston, but we can't seem to get any luck.  We did at least score a penalty, but conceded a goal to a 20 yard shot which took a wicked deflection.

Our defence is improving, but I'm still not entirely sure how to make our attack more potent. 

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Edited by kevhamster

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55 minutes ago, kevhamster said:

September 2020

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Well, it hasn't got any easier!

Leicester probably deserved to win by more.  Wolves deserved to win by less.

I have no idea how we lost against Brentford.  We peppered their goalmouth with attacks and shots, but couldn't get the breakthrough.  And we were back to our old penalty missing ways.

We should also have beaten Preston, but we can't seem to get any luck.  We did at least score a penalty, but conceded a goal to a 20 yard shot which took a wicked deflection.

Our defence is improving, but I'm still not entirely sure how to make our attack more potent. 

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What kind of tactical setup are you using?

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October 2020

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We still can't score.  Unless it's from a 25 yard shot apparently.

We actually had some luck against Swansea, as Randolph saved a penalty.

We're still rooted to the bottom.  And next up is the Tyne-Tees derby match against Newcastle at the Riverside.  I don't think the supporters will be happy if we carry on this form to that match.

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1 hour ago, Northernpilgrim said:

What kind of tactical setup are you using?

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This is the adjustments I'd made to the primary tactic I'd used in the Championship.  Previously, I'd had the WB's on attack duty, but this left us way too exposed.   Ignore Assombalonga being out of position here, as that's just because I've quickly switched from the tactic I'm going to use in the next game.

Also, I'd previously played at a high tempo, but that only really works when your players are more technically gifted than the opposition, which to be frank we really aren't.

However, I am going with a 4-4-2 against Newcastle, as I want to see what we can do with two strikers.

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May be worth thinking about changing your DMC from BWM(D) to either DLP(D) or DM(D). As a BWM(D) he isn't going to offer your centre backs much help, which is probably why you've conceded quite a few. The only other question I'd have would be having two BPD's at CB. Unless they're both technically gifted, I'd switch one or even both to CD(D) as if they're giving the ball away, they'll be under pressure and they're lacking support.

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2 hours ago, Northernpilgrim said:

May be worth thinking about changing your DMC from BWM(D) to either DLP(D) or DM(D). As a BWM(D) he isn't going to offer your centre backs much help, which is probably why you've conceded quite a few. The only other question I'd have would be having two BPD's at CB. Unless they're both technically gifted, I'd switch one or even both to CD(D) as if they're giving the ball away, they'll be under pressure and they're lacking support.

I had actually already changed the CD's away from BPD's - I twigged this worked well in the Championship where we had a very good technical level, but wasn't going to work so well in the Premier League when we're up against world class players each game.

I will have to tweak the DM position as you say.  The defence has improved markedly from the first month, but we are still error prone at times.

Still need to try and work out a way of carving out more chances.  November so far has also been grim, but then apart from Newcastle, our other games were Manchester Utd (who are looking unstoppable at the moment), Arsenal who are in the mix at the top end and one to come against Chelsea who are also up there!  So, maybe not the best of months for trying to get a result.

That said, it will be decision time soon.  Do I stick with it until the bitter end and end up sacked (although job security is still "stable" at the moment)?  Or do I say maybe this is beyond me and leave in the hope someone can come in and save them, as strange as this seems this little adventure has seen me grow somewhat attached to Boro and I desperately want the club to stay up.

Another issue is the signings I've brought in haven't really performed.  Barisic has been utter crud, even though he should be better than George Friend.  Maehle has had a bit of a mixed time, but his season start was delayed considerably as he picked up an injury in pre-season and wasn't really ready to play until late September time.  Diaz hasn't been great, but then to blame him would be harsh when he's had very little in the way of service.  

Only Kike Barja has really shown glimpses of the quality he's supposed to have had!

I went with scout recommendations, but for whatever reason they haven't really worked.  The best performing players have been ones already at the club before this season.  Dael Fry, Simeone Santoro, Paddy McNair and Lewis Wing have probably been the best performers (Fry has been top by a mile, even being part of the shaky defence).

I'm wondering if I should have looked for some loan signings instead to get us settled in.  Everything is easier with hindsight as they say!

Edited by kevhamster

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1 hour ago, kevhamster said:

I had actually already changed the CD's away from BPD's - I twigged this worked well in the Championship where we had a very good technical level, but wasn't going to work so well in the Premier League when we're up against world class players each game.

I will have to tweak the DM position as you say.  The defence has improved markedly from the first month, but we are still error prone at times.

Still need to try and work out a way of carving out more chances.  November so far has also been grim, but then apart from Newcastle, our other games were Manchester Utd (who are looking unstoppable at the moment), Arsenal who are in the mix at the top end and one to come against Chelsea who are also up there!  So, maybe not the best of months for trying to get a result.

That said, it will be decision time soon.  Do I stick with it until the bitter end and end up sacked (although job security is still "stable" at the moment)?  Or do I say maybe this is beyond me and leave in the hope someone can come in and save them, as strange as this seems this little adventure has seen me grow somewhat attached to Boro and I desperately want the club to stay up.

Another issue is the signings I've brought in haven't really performed.  Barisic has been utter crud, even though he should be better than George Friend.  Maehle has had a bit of a mixed time, but his season start was delayed considerably as he picked up an injury in pre-season and wasn't really ready to play until late September time.  Diaz hasn't been great, but then to blame him would be harsh when he's had very little in the way of service.  

Only Kike Barja has really shown glimpses of the quality he's supposed to have had!

I went with scout recommendations, but for whatever reason they haven't really worked.  The best performing players have been ones already at the club before this season.  Dael Fry, Simeone Santoro, Paddy McNair and Lewis Wing have probably been the best performers (Fry has been top by a mile, even being part of the shaky defence).

I'm wondering if I should have looked for some loan signings instead to get us settled in.  Everything is easier with hindsight as they say!

You could try changing your AMR to IF(A) and AML to IF(S), as wingers can easily drift out of the game, whereas IF's will come looking to get involved.

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November 2020

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A very difficult run of fixtures.  The 2-0 scoreline against Man Utd did flatter us a bit, but Newcastle and Arsenal were both improvements in terms of overall performance.

The Chelsea match wasn't as awful as the scoreline suggests, but they took advantage of slack defending and punished us.

I'll take a couple of positives in that we've scored a couple of goals and the board has agreed for me to take my Continental C coaching badge.  Whether I'll still be in a job at the time it finishes is another matter, but my job security is still stable at this point in time.

Honestly, at this point I'm fully expecting us to be relegated as you can't really go into December on only 5 points and expect survival.  But next up is a match against Everton, who also have been crap this season and currently occupy a spot in the bottom 3. 

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A little spoiler for anyone following in terms of the December results.

We drew 1-1 with Everton, after which their manager, Marco Silva was sacked.  After this, we had our unluckiest league defeat yet, 2-1 against Fulham.  We played well, probably even better than the solitary win against West Ham.  But were undone by a cracking 20 yard free kick and a cleverly placed corner.

Then, this comes into the inbox.  Given my own job security with Boro is now showing as insecure, I'd be daft to at least not attend the interview.  I should add, my name was linked in the press, but given how my season is going I thought nothing of it.  I didn't apply, but they've approached me.

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Just now, Northernpilgrim said:

If they offer it to you, TAKE. THE. JOB. :)

In fairness, I'd be mad not to if I do get offered it.  Their aim is to avoid relegation, and I think that's more than achievable.  I need to be offered the job first though!

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And, I didn't get offered the job.  I didn't even get a notification to say I'd been unsuccessful.  Not sure if that's because I never directly applied?

They've reappointed Roberto Martinez!

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December 2020

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A huge improvement, undoubtedly our best month in the Premier League so far.

Each of the drawn matches we came from behind, which was pleasing.  Especially the Bristol City match, when we found ourselves a man down when Paddy McNair was sent off for a professional foul only 8 minutes into the match.  Bristol City had a 2 goal lead, but our 10 men came back with the first match this season in which we've scored more than 1 goal!  A superb effort, and I was really chuffed.

Naturally, being a Southampton supporter our first win since August came against the Saints. :lol:  What the hell, I'll take that.

I honestly think we were unlucky to lose against Fulham.  It was a decent performance, certainly compared to much of what had come before.

We were a tad lucky against Bournemouth, as Randolph saved a penalty which would have killed the game off, and our equaliser was scored with almost the last touch of the game from a corner which McNair headed home, which makes up a bit for his red card in the Bristol City game.

So, only one loss this month, plus a long awaited win.  And for the first time this season, a month where we've scored in every game.

And we're off the bottom.  For now at least!

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Edited by kevhamster

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January 2021

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So, this was the start of the new year.  An absolute contrast to the league match back in August where Palace stuffed us 5-0.  They barely threatened and we had them under the cosh for the entire game.  Sadly, we weren't able to kill the game off, and they equalised with a very late penalty for a very undeserved draw.

After this came the Leicester offer shown in the previous post.  I have to be honest, I had to have a proper think about whether it was the right thing to do.

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And I did!

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So, after the unexpected offer, I decided to take the plunge and move to Leicester.  The club who shocked the world in 2016 when they were surprise winners of the Premier League.  In real life, the way they gave the big boys a bloody nose and their super-effective counter attacking style endeared them to me greatly.

They've perhaps unsurprisingly been unable to do anything like emulate that feat since.  In the two season before this, they've been solid if unspectacular.

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And the table so far this season shows they've had similar issues with getting the ball in the net as my Boro side did. 

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This definitely won't be easy.  The board want a mid-table finish, and their media prediction was 10th.  But this Leicester squad is definitely better than the league positions suggests it is.  I hope whoever takes over as Boro manager can keep them up!

Edited by kevhamster

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16 hours ago, Northernpilgrim said:

Good luck with Leicester mate :)

 

Thanks!

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So, not off to a glorious start.  In fairness, Leicester had been on a poor run of 5 losses in a row when I took over, which had included a consecutive 5-0 and 4-1 losses at home to Everton (who, as we know have also had a torrid time so far).

The Chelsea game was tight, and they edged it.  The win against Spurs was superb - our wide players were unbelievable.

The draw against Bristol City was about as exciting 0-0 draw that you'd ever see, with both teams going for it, but the day belonged to the keepers.

Man City are different class, and I've now idea how they're so far behind the top 2. 

Then of course, we lost to Middlesbrough.  We took the lead, after a corner got planted directly at Harry Maguire's enormous head and he smashed it in off the noggin.  Then we got caught on the break twice.  The stats say we should have won, but there you go.

Next up is a huge game against Swansea.  We also have matches against Man Utd, West Ham and Crystal Palace.  We really need to win 3 of those.  I don't expect to get anything against United, who are still on course for a possible unbeaten league season.

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16 hours ago, Nobby_McDonald said:

Losing at home to Middlesbrough must have hurt.

I was half expecting to, purely because I'd only just moved away and these things tend to happen.  The main reason it hurt was because we were definitely the better team overall, but they had two quick breaks which they took brilliantly.  I knew there was a reason I'd signed those players!!

 

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February 2021

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Well, that's a bit better.  The Swansea match belonged to the defenders.  A very close fought match.  Neither team was able to find the breakthrough and the draw was a fair result.

The Man Utd result was kind of to be expected.  They're bossing the league this season (and have already won the Carabao Cup as well) and we did well to keep the score at 2-0!

Then two excellent wins to end the season.  I feared the worst when Palace took the lead, but we equalised immediately with the first attack after the kick-off and then went on to get an great result.

Against West Ham, our wide players gave them all kinds of problems with their deliveries.  The 4-0 scoreline didn't flatter us at all.

An improved position.  Also good to see Middlesbrough continuing to pick up points.

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