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[FM20] Bangor City - The New Italian Job

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Don't you even think about a transfer embargo in the summer, you fool. After the drawn out takeover business before the January window, this is the last thing I expected to see 22nd May!

...two days later...

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You absolute git, Jones.

My first season of entry in to the EURO Cup II. I want to make sure my squad is strong enough early.

You got a month, fool, or I'm off.

Well, I'll be annoyed anyway.

Edited by anagain

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A World Of Football

I love to look at how the football world grows in FM, and saw there's been some interesting goings on in the leagues I have loaded. Why not do a quick post to show what's happening in my little alternate reality world.

Let's start with the British Isles. It's been a wonderful year for Liverpool; second Premiership in a row, FA Cup and CL. Not so good for Palace, Newcastle and Fulham.

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English Premier League 2020-21

Brighton and Bournemouth getting European football is a fantastic result for both. Going up to the EPL are Norwich, Aston Villa and West Brom.

Further success was there for the Reds in Europe. It was an all Spanish affair in the Europa League. Edit:I'm an idiot, Benfica are Portuguese!

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The league winners across Europe (a selection of bigger leagues - I have all Europe loaded) were:

La Liga: Atlético Madrid (six points clear)

Ligue 1: Paris Saint-Germain (two points from Lyon)

Serie A: Juventus (seven points over Roma)

Bundesliga: Bayer Leverkusen (a point ahead of Bayern Munich)

Scottish Premiership: Celtic (eighteen points clear of Rangers)

Eredivisie: Ajax (twenty-six points clear of PSV)

Liga NOS: Benfica (eleven points clear of FC Porto)

~~~~~~~~~~~~

In International competition we have seen the following finals:

UEFA European Championships 2020

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UEFA Nations League 2021

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COPA América 2020

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Edited by anagain

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Just a bit of news on Europe.

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Shamrock Rovers. It's not ideal. I would have preferred a team from Andorra or Liechtenstein maybe. It's going to be a challenge to win this.

One other less than ideal piece of news is that Salford Cirty put in a bid for Lucas Defise, and they offered a paltry £1.9k for him. I said, bugger off unless you give me £5k plus potential extras. They withdrew their offer and it made Lucas unhappy, but talisman Serafino had a word and Lucas is happy to stay.

Until another of the interested clubs make a bid...

...and I'm still embargoed. This is far from ideal.

I have a European tie on 8th July, my squad don't return from their break until 5th July (and I seem to have no way to change that) and my chairman is a muppet...

...shall I just resign now? 

EDIT: My squad returned out of the blue. At least I can get them fit. I just can't buy anyone.

Edited by anagain

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Out of interest, I play Football Manager Mobile 2020 and the start date is the 22nd of July in the first season, (its always been the 1st July before, going back to 2014) this gives very little time to prepare the squad and if you select a club in Europe like Barry, TNS, Connahs Quay they have already played up to 6 games which you have no involvement, is the start date of the Welsh Leagues the 22nd July as well on the full version?

 

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1 hour ago, sammummery said:

Out of interest, I play Football Manager Mobile 2020 and the start date is the 22nd of July in the first season, (its always been the 1st July before, going back to 2014) this gives very little time to prepare the squad and if you select a club in Europe like Barry, TNS, Connahs Quay they have already played up to 6 games which you have no involvement, is the start date of the Welsh Leagues the 22nd July as well on the full version?

 

I'm pretty sure I started earlier than that in my first season. I was playing friendlies in early July. 

You might want to bring that up as a possible bug in the mobile forums. 

Edited by anagain

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On 12/12/2019 at 08:58, anagain said:

I'm pretty sure I started earlier than that in my first season. I was playing friendlies in early July. 

You might want to bring that up as a possible bug in the mobile forums. 

Its probably just the mobile version with the wrong start date.

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On 10/12/2019 at 13:19, anagain said:

Just a bit of news on Europe.

03_EC2_QR1Draw_Jun21.thumb.png.37d8d70c10c291935303ac87aa3bdd35.png

Shamrock Rovers. It's not ideal. I would have preferred a team from Andorra or Liechtenstein maybe. It's going to be a challenge to win this.

One other less than ideal piece of news is that Salford Cirty put in a bid for Lucas Defise, and they offered a paltry £1.9k for him. I said, bugger off unless you give me £5k plus potential extras. They withdrew their offer and it made Lucas unhappy, but talisman Serafino had a word and Lucas is happy to stay.

Until another of the interested clubs make a bid...

...and I'm still embargoed. This is far from ideal.

I have a European tie on 8th July, my squad don't return from their break until 5th July (and I seem to have no way to change that) and my chairman is a muppet...

...shall I just resign now? 

EDIT: My squad returned out of the blue. At least I can get them fit. I just can't buy anyone.

Out of interest how are a couple of players doing in your game that start of in the Welsh League?

-Noah Daley-17-Afan Lido

-Sameron Dool 20-Connahs Quay

-Evan Press-19-Barry Town

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17 hours ago, sammummery said:

Out of interest how are a couple of players doing in your game that start of in the Welsh League?

-Noah Daley-17-Afan Lido

-Sameron Dool 20-Connahs Quay

-Evan Press-19-Barry Town

Squad players at same club (except Daley who is squad at Barry).

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Just in case anyone is wondering where the updates have gotten to, we'll I've been a little preoccupied as Transport Fever 2 released this week. It's a game I'd looked forward to so I took a little break from FM, which is nice to do on occasion anyway. My job is frantic in the lead up to Christmas too

As way of a little update, the transfer embargo that coincided with the takeover, was lifted when a deal was reached. Our new chairman has inputted some funds in to the club. I forget the actual figure - it was that small - but at least he has some intention to invest. 

The wonderful result of all that is that I have an extra zero pounds to spend in the transfer window.

Can't wait for the next takeover!

There is a new face at the club that I believe will really take us forward as a club. I wanted him last year, but now he's had a year unemployed he seems to have come to his senses about how much he should be paid. 

Right, chairman meeting. I bet he's got me a money jar for the coppers he'll be investing... 

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Pre-Season and Welsh Premier League Preview 2021/22

June ended in a dubious position. The transfer embargo was still ongoing with the proposed takeover of the club still being discussed. I hoped the nattering would end in good time for me to attempt to improve my squad before our first foray in to European competition began on 8th July. I'm pleased to say it did. Aiden Jones took over the managing director position at the club in early July and this time our new boss decided to put some money in to the club. It wasn't a lot, but it boosted the coffers a little. He said it would boost the transfer jar, but it didn't. I suspect it just plugged a few more holes.

Early July saw one new signing head to North Wales. Alex Babos is a player I had looked very closely at last season after he was released by Derby County. He had wanted far too much money back then, and that must have been an ongoing story for him to have spent the last year without a club. He'd learnt a little humility since then and agreed to join us for a much more reasonable £325 pw. That still makes him one of the highest earners at the club, but I'm hoping he has the ability to make that money well spent. Alex is an attack focused midfielder that can easily slot in further up the pitch. He is back up for Serafino as well as competition for Piero Cauterucci. It's a position I have very much wanted to fill, and why I was so glad to welcome Alex to Nantporth.

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Five players have left the club and we thank them for all they have done for Bangor. Hopefully they can continue their careers elsewhere. Those players are Harry Blackburn, Azizou Zoumbare, Matteo Trinca (already at Virtus Francavilla), Massimo De Maria and Francesco Leghissa. We lost another Italian link in Max Leghissa. Max was my translator for the less accomplished English speakers in the early days, but sadly Bangor were unable to meet his wage demands. Richard Creese has replaced Max.

The European Bangor Bus Adventure

8th July 2021 was the date that saw us begin our first European adventure of my tenure at Nantporth. It would be a quick trip across the Irish Sea to Dublin for us, and a tie versus Irish club Shamrock Rovers. The journey was a lively one, the singing having begun as early as the A55 up to the port in Holyhead. The press had us as big outsiders, but I considered we had nothing to lose.

The Shamrock Rovers ground in Tallaght, southern Dublin turned out to be bigger by far than any ground we will visit in the Welsh Premier League. It's true that many of my squad have played at grounds like this in their history, but this was a first as a squad. In the dressing room the chatter was of doing ourselves justice and competing with these European regulars.

We set up more cautious than in most of our games. I understood the threat of Rovers, and there was no point letting them have it all their own way. The game was still very much one way traffic, the Irishmen pushing forward at will. The passion of my players was fantastic though. They battled for every ball, and it was that combined with some poor finishing from Rovers that saw the game end in a wonderful 0-0 stalemate. I couldn't have been more delighted.

I was less delighted between game when we received a bid for Lucas Defise. It would seem that Exeter City are targetting us for it was them that made the offer, as it was last summer when they took Yalany Baio off our hands. Lucas wanted the chance to talk to Exeter and I couldn't deny him that after I had already had to turn down one bid for him during the takeover embargo. I put in a counter offer to the Devoners. I wanted the £4.5k they had bid up front, but I wanted another £1.5k if Lucas played 20 games and 30% of any sale that might include Lucas later. I could have been greedier, but I'd only have had an unhappy player on my hands. Lucas has undoubted quality, so he should be able to prove that. He'd be available for when we welcomed Rovers to Nantporth.

That match took place on a warm July evening in front of nearly 2,500 fans. It also couldn't have been more contrasting of the away leg and turned out to be a belter of a game, and one of my most memorable matches as Bangor boss. I sent the boys out with orders to get forward, but with understanding to be careful. The first half was quiet, it wasn't until the last third of the match that things exploded. We'd soaked up anything Shamrock could throw at us till that point and it was our turn to be on the front foot. Neto spotted his left sided counterpart with space on the edge of the box, his ball was a peach, but only half as juicy as the skill Emmanuel Agyemang showed as he cut inside the Shamrock right back and fired a rocket past their keeper. Ten minutes later it was two, Aldair Neto pouncing on a deep cross from Sammartino.

We couldn't throw this away. I immediately pulled the team back in to a more defensive shape, Rob Evans slotting in next to Defise in defensive midfield. The expected Shamrock recovery was on and they got one back just four minutes later, a horrendous mistake from Eugenio Dalia gifting a cast iron chance. Now we were really on the back foot. Dalia came off for Chris Marriott and we sat back even deeper. It was a total surprise, then, that itw as us who scored the fourth goal. Neto pounced on a lose Rovers pass to fire a ball in to the path of Agyemang who blasted another sublime finish to make it 3-1. Surely we couldn't lose this now.

What came next was the nerviest ten minutes plus of my career. Shamrock Rovers were all over us. They got one back with a scrappy 82nd minute goal, but we held firm to record a win that no one saw coming. It was £215k in the bank and a game against Lech Poznań in the second qualifying round.

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I'd been looking for a new right back for much of pre-season and a number of faces had come and gone on trial. A few days before the Poles visited we welcomed our second new signing of the summer to Nantporth. Elliot Kebbie was released by our rivals The New Saints in the summer. He has the ability to be a good squad player for us that can even slot in on the right wing. The fans don't seem too impressed, but I'm glad to have Elliot on board.

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A few days later we welcomed Poznań to North Wales. If we thought that we were being labelled outsiders for the Irish tie, then we well and truly knew we were for this match. Poznań had only finished a point behind Ekstraklasa winners Legia last year and they had started strong this summer. We were up against it from the get go, and only a marvellous perfromance from Gabrielle Brino kept us in the game. The young Italian was now number one at Bangor, with Jack Bycroft having ended his loan spell (he wants too much to sign permanently even though he is now out of contract), and he showed I could rely on him with a number of fine saves to keep the score down to a 2-0 defeat.

If I had thought the Shamrock stadium was a sight then what greeted us when we visted the Euros improved Poznań stadium was bewildering. Sadly, we couldn't put in a display as shiny as the stadium and lost convincingly by 4 goals to 1. We hadn't been awful though, and I told the lads that they had done themselves proud. I think they took the defeat hard if their dressing room mood was anything to go by, and hopefully they can get their minds back on track for the visit of Cardiff when the Premier kicks off. We took home another £233k and a lot of experience. We must make sure to qualify next year because I enjoyed that short journey.

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The Bangor Bus returns to domestic football

Our focus was now on the league. Pre-season had been good with a number of friendlies complimenting the European adventure. I'd had a chance to see a lot more of my youth squad in having to rest my first teamers and I was very impressed with some of the talent we have coming through. Dave Dafydd has really shown an improvement and the fact that I now consider him firmly a first teamer, combined with the fact that he should get some game time, should hopefully see his development come on in leaps and bounds. Kristian Watson, too, has shown some improvement after his Port Talbot loan spell. I'll be looking to get him some game time somewhere this year. He's not as cemented in to the squad as his fellow first yearer.

I stepped up the search for a replacement for Defise, but it looked like Rob Evans would have to fill in for the first game. I've delayed the transfer, but I suspect Lucas will be off before Cardiff visit. The start of the season squad would look as follows:

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The league odds are unsurprisingly in favour of The New Saints avenging their third place of last season, but I was very surprised to see Barry only predicted fifth. I wonder if they might surprise people again. Francesco Serafino is again tipped to be top scorer. We will be hoping he can show his magic again. He is in his last contracted year and my staff believe he won't sign again.

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The New Saints have made seven signings during the summer and they look incredibly strong. Newcomers Colwyn Bay and Haverfordwest have also strengthened heavily. I'm tipping The Bay to surprise a few people.

So, with the kick off closing in we're ready to again at least repeat what we managed last season. It remains to be seen how good TNS really have become, but I feel we must get at least second. The squad is still internationally flavoured, but the Italian numbers have dwindled to ten. We could have nine Welshmen soon, if a potential signing happens.

It's not quite so easy to come up with snappy titles centered around Wales.

Five Go Mad In Wales? Did Enid Blyton write that ever? Not that there is even five of us.

Holiday On The Buses was filmed at Pontins in Prestatyn. It's just down the road. Maybe not...

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10 hours ago, Nobby_McDonald said:

It looks like there might be a three way battle for the next season or two.

I think there's five teams that could push next season. Bala had looked much better under new management. Barry and Cardiff will not be pushovers and TNS look very strong from what I can see of their players.

Should be fun when I finally get back to it. Little time to really play in lead up to crimble. 

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On 14/12/2019 at 04:15, anagain said:

Squad players at same club (except Daley who is squad at Barry).

How is Sam Pashen who starts at Cardiff Met getting on?

Is Danny Redmond the best player in the league (Outside the players you have brought in?)

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11 hours ago, sammummery said:

How is Sam Pashen who starts at Cardiff Met getting on?

Is Danny Redmond the best player in the league (Outside the players you have brought in?)

TNS have a buying power above and beyond what any other team can manage in Wales. The new players they bought this year look amazing, from what I can see of their abilities without having scouted. 

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20 hours ago, anagain said:

TNS have a buying power above and beyond what any other team can manage in Wales. The new players they bought this year look amazing, from what I can see of their abilities without having scouted. 

Is Danny Redmond still playing for TNS on your game?

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On 18/12/2019 at 19:29, sammummery said:

Is Danny Redmond still playing for TNS on your game?

Left on a free in 2020.

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August 2021

With our European adventure in the past it was time to turn our attention to the Welsh Premeir League. Lucas Defise departed early August to continue his career at Exeter City, our Liverpool to their Southampton. Interestingly, Yalany Baio is out of favour in Devon and wanted by Bradford City and Cheltenham, so hopefully we can gather a windfall if he goes for enough money, what with us having a 30% of next fee clause.

I wasn't going to be left behind with regards to the very important defensive midfield position in our team, and we welcomed Lucas's replacement to Nantporth just a day after the Belgian's departure. Marcus Dackers is a young and technical midfielder released by Brighton at the end of last season. He comes to us highly rated and will offer a more creative aspect to our lynchpin role.

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There is still time in the transfer window. I'd like to strengthen our wide options but possibilities are not jumping out at me. Lorenzo Castaldo and Kristian Watson have left the club on loan for a time, both to clubs in the tier below. I'm more worried about outgoings, and annoyed with Chesterfield putting in a £0 offer for Cameron Evans. It has our center back a little aggrieved that I turned the offer down, but how he can't see that £0 is a nasty move surely only done to unsettle him is beyond me. He's now annoyed with me but has acquired the ire of his teammates. I also received an offer for Serafino, but thankfully my talisman is okay with me turning down another cheeky offer. It is clear I value my players higher than the world of football does. Cameron Evans is easily worth £5k, but sadly even he doesn't believe so.

Our league challenge has started in so so fashion. We began things by welcoming Cardiff Met Uni to Nantporth and our first half was one of the poorerst I can remember. After our heroics in Europe I wasn't sure these were the same players. The second half saw the introduction of Nico Delvecchio for the woeful Agyemang, and he changed the game. One down to an unforetunate own goal, Nico scored the equaliser before Aldair Neto set up Serafino for an easy second and swung in a corner that Cameron Evans thumped home. A much better second half and a good 3-1 win to start the season. Even better that it was against our bogie team of last year.

A week later we travelled down to Carmarthen. I expected a win and we went all out for it. After a first half stalemate the match changed massively in the space of six second half minutes. Cameron Evans opened the scoring by volleying home a Rob Evans free kick, but our lead was short lived as Carmarthen broke to equalise. We weren't having that though, and just two minutes later Piero Cauterucci scored a peach of a volley to give us the lead back. Serafino got a tap in with fourteen minutes left and I thought that was that, but Carmarthen got a second to make it a squeaky bum end to the match. I was not pleased with our complacency, but two wins out of two was nice.

Bala Town were next at Nantporth and it was before this match that Chesterfield had made their tapping up bid for Evans. He put in a performance that spoke volumes of his unhappiness at me turning the bid down, but sadly so did much of my team. We lost the game to two first half goals, and it wasn't until Rob Evans got one goal back nine minutes from the end that I thought we might nick a point. It was a dismal performance.

An even nicer reason to have won the Bala game was that an away trip to Barry Town was next up. Thankfully Barry seem to have started this season as poorly as they did the last, and their finishing in this match was woeful beyond belief. They had a whopping twenty-three shots against us but only six were on target. We showed them how to finish with goals from Agyemang and Babos, the midfielders first goal for the club. It was a nice win to end the month with.

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Cameron Evans had been magnificent before the Chesterfield bid, and had he carried on he would have been far ahead as my Player Of The Month. Instead, I will give it to goalie Gabriele Brino. He's put in some good performances this month. He kept the score down against Bala and made some great saves in the Cardiff and Barry games. He's got much to prove after not being number one last season, and he has started well.

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Corbett Sports Welsh Premier Football League as at 18.00, Saturday 28th August 2021

Next month we make our debut in the Irn Bru Cup in Scotland and we got a tough draw for the second round having to travel up to Dumfries to take on Queen Of The South. Our opponents have had an average start to life in the Scottish Championship, so if we can perform to our best we can get a result. It will be nice to test ourself against Scottish opposition as it gives us a scale to measure up how good we can be. Saying that, it's more games to fit in. Are we going to win the cup? No. We do want to do Wales proud though.

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In the league in September is our first tie against TNS, and hopefully we still have our squad together from the end of the transfer window. If I get a reasonable bid for Evans I will have to let him go, but I will want a replacement. Success in Wales is always going to get notice from England. It is part of the territory here.

But damn you, Chesterfield. Tapping up my bloody players.

 

 

 

Edited by anagain

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September 2021

With no distractions from continental competition or transfer windows, September was a month in which we could concentrate on the league. And we did.

In scintillating fashion.

I say there were no distractions, but there was the small case of the Irn-Bru Cup and our visit to Dumfries. It wasn't a game I expected to win, nor is it a competition I overly care about. I don't even drink Irn-Bru. Though I do like their cream soda. Call it the Cream Soda cup and I suspect I'd put out my strongest side in hopes of getting the vanilla flavoured sparkly goodness in place of champagne in the winner's cup. As it was I rotated somewhat heavily. My charges put in a display that brought many further up the standings when it came to a team place in league games. Lennie Armstrong was particularly excellent at center back and was key to us leaving Dumfries with an unexpected victory. Lennie had scored our second goal with just sixteen minutes left, and I had hoped we could hold out. We'd been brilliant up to that point, containing whatever Queen Of The South could throw at us. It was a momentary lapse at center back that allowed them a late equaliser. That took the game to penalties, and a tense affair it turned out to be. They missed their first penalty, but just when we looked like we might capitalise Neto missed his spotkick. The shootout went to sudden death, and whilst we failed to take advantage of a second Queen missed penalty (young Dave Dafydd missing), we did finally secure the win after their third penalty miss. Rob Evans blasted home the last spotkick and we had secured an unexpected advance to the third round.

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The next round should be a much easier task as we welcome Arbroath to Nantporth. The Red Lichties are struggling in Scottish League One. Whilst I might not be concerned with the cup, I won't turn down a reputation boosting cup run. Beat Arbroath and we're in the QuarterFinals.

Back to the Premier League and September was a month in which we would have our first meeting with The New Saints. We got back in to the swing of things with a not altogether convincing 3-1 win over Connah's Quay. They took an early lead in a first half in which we looked still in Scotland. It took harsh half time words to turn the lad's attentions back to the game, and they answered me with three goals to secure the win.

Our rivals from just over the border were next. I set up defensively expecting a very tough game, but it would turn out that The New Saints player's minds were obvioulsy elsewhere. They probably had the better chances, but we defended passionately to secure an epic 2-0 win, two goals from Aldair Neto. A week later and TNS played before us in the weekend's fixtures. I was delighted when I saw them lose to a spirited Haverfordwest. Perhaps we had gotten to the league favourites.

Our game that weekend was a home tie with Cefn Druids. I decided to make a change in midfield. Cauterucci's form had not been good and I switched him for the more attack minded Alex Babos. Alex repaid me by showing how much we benefitted from a player that was more direct. Piero has it in him to get forward, but Alex did so with applomb. He linked up our midfield and attack so much better than Piero has done in two seasons. We look a much better team. Where this leaves Piero Cauterucci in my plans is a good question now. Alex Babos helped us to a convincing 3-0 victory over the Druids. We were fantastic from keeper to striker.

Last up in September was a potential stumbling block as we headed down south to meet strugglers Penybont. We were all over them from the get go, though the way we struggled to deal with some of their long balls was concerning. Alec Babos was instrumental again, scoring a lovely second goal to secure us a 2-0 win. Rob Evans was even better from where I was sat. Five key passes, two chances created and an assist was my assistant's calculation.

Ten league goals scored, just one conceded and a good result in the unknown cup. We look very good.

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So who do I give my Player Of The Month to after a month like that? For the way in which he has changed our game, I am going to give the award to Alex Babos. He only played two games, and he did have a right strop when he decided I hadn't upgraded the squad to his liking in the transfer window, but something has changed in those last two games. We really have a chance of winning this league. I firmly believe that now. We'd looked unconvincing in August.

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Corbett Sports Welsh Premier Football League as at 17.00, Sunday 26th September 2021

So, we have a game in hand and good goal difference over The New Saints. Let's not chuck this one away with poor losses when we have a lead. The Penybont game showed we have a little more confidence about us this year. I think we might have drawn, or even lost, that game last season.

It is interesting to see how well Haverfordwest are doing. Pre-season I predicted that the surprise team would be Colwyn Bay. The Bay started well but slipped back. They recently lost to relegation threatened Carmarthen. Haverfordwest look very good, and have a very in form striker in Ibraim So Sani. He is now on my scout list after scoring four in four. The fact he is amateur is handy.

The biggest surprise so far is Barry. Their form is patchier than hand me down trousers in a family of fifteen kids. We have eleven points on last season's surprise package already. It's just Haverfordwest to worry about now, and we play them early October.

Bring it on. I've been to Pembrokeshire. You can't play decent football in a place as windy as that. We have this!

 

Edited by anagain

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October 2021

October proved to be a tense month in which a number of players failed to shine, and bought the team down with them. Francesco Serafino has not hit form this season really, Piero Cauterucci is now firmly behind Alex Babos in the running to fill the more attacking midfielder slot and Aldair Neto has been poor. Alex Babos and Cameron Evans continue to sulk, and Babos's brief flurry of form when I put him in the team has turned to simply doing the basics. Luckily, but for one match, we're still getting results, we're just not blowing teams away like we know we can. I suppose they do say that if you can win when not performing that that is a sign of title winners.

The month's first two games came in quick succession versus Llanelli Town and Haverfordwest. Against Llanelli we scored two early goals and held on to win, where as the Haverfordwest game we more ground out and secured the points with a late Gozzerini penalty. It was Matteo's first goal for the club, so congratulations to the lad.

With Serafino looking lacklustre young Gozzerini has featured more. Indeed, he started the Irn-Bru cup game against Arbroath and got the only goal in a tight game, a fourth minute penalty. It was a game that ended up being crammed in to a week in which we would also travel to Cardiff due to the weather delaying the cup game. My players looked bored to me. Once we had scored we just sort of held on. At the end of the day, however, we're through to the Quarter Finals. That match will be home to Dundee Reserves in November. That has to be a winnable match against youngsters, but we'll see. I've become rather pessimistic with the form of my players.

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Prior to the trip to Cardiff, and the same day as the Arbroath match should have taken place, was good news from South Wales. Carmarthen had beaten The New Saints. If we could beat the students at the weekend then we could really pile the pressure on the favourites and punish them for losing at relegation threatened Carmarthen.

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If only. Our display was aboust as lacklustre as a display can get. We managed five shots, Rob Evans was sent off (thought I'd call it unforetunate) and we failed to punish our rivals. Cardiff, too, have been pushing at the top of the league. Allowing them three points puts them well and truly back in the title race.

Next up were Carmarthen and we showed TNS how to beat them, though we made hard work of it. I had had a word with a number of players during the week leading up to the game. Francesco Serafino was one of those players and he answered my questions to him with a two goal match winning performance. There was still something missing though, and that was very much in evidence a week later in Snowdonia where we could only beat Bala Town 1-0. Serafino had a stinker here, and it was only an Emanuel Agyemang wonder goal that secured the points. A win is a win, but I wish I could see some passion.

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A busy month coupled with frustration then. Two players only have been shining lights amongst the drizzle. Keeper, Gabriele Brino has done well, but the Player Of The Month award goes to Marcus Dackers. Our young defensive midfielder's form has been the shining light of October. Marcus offers something more than our past two season's midfield lynchpins. He can play a pass and it can be wonderful to see his defense splitting balls open up the match.

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Corbett Sports Welsh Premier Football League as at 17.00, Sunday 31st October 2021

So we are still top of the pile, three points clear of The New Saints, but I can't help thinking we could have been better off, and that we really should have punished our rival's losses more. Cardiff Met Uni are looking dangerous and newcomers Haverfordwest continue to defy the odds. The top four have a nice gap now, champions Barry getting left behind. The Welsh Cup and out Irn-Bru Cup Quarter Final take up two of the weekends in November, with a game versus Barry bundled between them. I hope the end of November sees us looking more accomlished than we did in October.

Perhaps Alex Babos is right to be wanting to see us strengthen in midfield. I think I shall be looking to do so in January.

 

Edited by anagain

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@Toonrock

If you have nothing constructive to add to a career thread, please do not bother posting in it.

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On 30/12/2019 at 21:53, Nobby_McDonald said:

It's not going very well for Penybont.

Yep, the villagers are not having a good season. Progress has been a bit slow on my save over Christmas, but I'm back to it now. I feel a change in the air for the minnows.

They were lucky to stay up last season really.

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November 2021

I really don't know what is wrong with the team currently. The phrase that goes along the lines of we couldn't hit a barn door springs readily to mind after our last few matches.

We'd started off November so well too. We travelled far down south to meet second tier village side Undy in the 3rd round of the Welsh Cup. We were pronounced firm favourites and my team went out and put on a display worthy of that tag. I was delighted with the performance and looked forward to a good month on the back of what I had seen.

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I still wasn't getting the form out of Alex Babos that I wanted too however. He came to see me this month to inform me his grievance was over and that he was happy to stay at the club. That was a relief, but I'm still getting so little out of him. In our next game, at home to inconsistent Barry Town, I decided I would switch to a 4-4-2 to play Babos up front and try to find something else from him. It was a gamble considering our form the last time we tried a 4-4-2, and that gamble was proven to be an unwise one. Barry destroyed us and Babos was so appalling I dragged him off. I had a word with him after the game and he promised me he would show what he could do.

Babos hasn't. It's starting to **** me off.

The next game was home to Dundee Reserves in the Irn-Bru Cup. We weren't favoured but my own view was that our opposition wouldn't trouble us. They didn't, but our own performance was, for want of a word, uninspiring. The game went to a second successive penalty shoot out in this extra fixture creating competition and poor Simone Rea missed his final kick to hand the win to the Scotsmen. They hadn't deserved it really. Whilst we were uninspiring, we were also on top most of the game. What I said earlier abour our inability to hit barns doors was making for what would be a very safe farm. Scarily, Francesco Serafino had joined Alex Babos is the form lacking-could be better camp. I'd had to have words with our Italian talisman already this season and it might not be long before I needed to repeat those words. According to my coaches he won't sign a new contract, and I think he's telling me so.

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We ended the month with two Premier League games against two teams on the fringes of the drop zone. A visit to Llanelli Town was first up and we travelled home with a lucky 1-0 win. Agyemang had slotted the ball home after some nice interchange play between our wingers. A week later was a home game with Connah's Quay and a very tepid 0-0 draw. The performance prompted me to speak to both Serafino and Babos. Babos assured me he would prove he could be a good player for this team and I hope he is true to his words. This time. Serafino was not so accepting of my words with an indignant but I feel I've performed well. "You haven't", I'd told him and he sulked away. I've dropped him for the next game already. Time to prove yourself, Matteo Gozzerini.

That next game we welcome The New Saints to Bangor. If Matteo proves himself I'll kiss him. Italian-style, of course.

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These Player Of The Month decisions are causing me a great deal of trouble of late. Lennie Armstrong has come in to the team this month to replace the underperforming (yes, another one) Cameron Evans. The youngster has done well and really not put a foot wrong. Despite us not showing any threat to the barn doors of Wales, we've been hardly threatened in defence. Lennie has given me no headache in dropping Evans.

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Despite my indifference regarding our current form, both TNS and ourselves have managed to open up a little gap at the top. It was this time last season that Barry started to rise up the table though, so I'm not going to get complacent. As much as I'd like to win the league, I know I would have taken second behind a vastly improved TNS at the start of the season.

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Corbett Sports Welsh Premier Football League as at 17.00, Sunday 28th November 2021

There have been a couple of ins and outs, in fact one each way, in November. I've also been looking at some triallists with a mind to improve the squad and provide more impetus to push our complacent stars onwards. Youngster Joey Banks has joined Bala until the end of the season in a move that really does show the strength of my squad.

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Joey went straight in to the Bala squad when they travelled to struggling Penybont and he took part in this classic, setting up three goals. This loan could make him a serious first team prospect next year.

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I also signed a winger who can play both sides of the pitch to bolster the squad and provide cover for the injured Nico Delvecchio. Reece Meekums has played regularly at non league level in England. My coaches rate him as valuable back up and I'll test him out when he gets some fitness in his legs. He is fast, even if I secretly think his ball skills could improve.

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TNS, Cefn Druids, Penybont and Colwyn Bay are up in December, in what is a far quieter month than most would think it would be. If we can't score a few goals against a Penybont team who recently conceded seven then something needs changing.

Oh, we also got our cup 4th round opponents this month. The New Saints. Lovely.

I've put an ad in the Bangor Chronicle for a barn door. We'll learn to hit that and then move on to goals.

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Posted (edited)

December 2021

Well, you don't really get too much more contrast between the high and low moments as we saw in the month of December. I'd failed to get a barn door, but I set the lads to practising their shooting, as well as learning to actually be footballers again.

We'd had a bad run, but I was sure we could claw our way out of the dip in form. We had been getting points thgough, and I suppose I should be glad that things weren't worse. To go in to December top of the league and six points clear of our nearest contender, that was not The New Saints, had to be taken. I just felt we could be doing so much better. I'd hate to let complacency take its toll and let someone sneak their way in to contention like Barry did last year.

Our first contest of the month was hardly the one I wanted, our closest rivals The New Saints. As it turned out the lack of a barn door didn't ptove to be a problem. Six minutes in and Rob Evans was tripped in the box. Penalty! With Francesco Serafino having been dropped by me for poor form, attention turned to our captain Rea to take the spot kick. He duly slotted home to give us an early lead. TNS came back at us and equalised when we left their left back alone in acres of space. You could have found a sheep farm in the space he had. That was how it stayed when the break came. We'd been well on top and it was frustrating to have conceded so simple a goal. I told the lads to keep going and sent them out for the second period, and it turned out to be a half in which they really showed they still knew how to play football. We dominated our rivals, and after they had a man sent off for two yellows we really turned the tables on them. Rea, again from the spot, and a nice easy header for Neto, after he was set up by new signing Reece Meekums, gave us a fantastic 3-1 victory.

Now all we had to do was capitalise on the win over our competition for top spot. TNS had slipped up in October and we lost to Cardiff when we really should have made them pay. I thought it was all downhill to finish the year, and boy was I wrong.

We travelled to the Wrexham area to face Cefn Druids in the next game and were forced to trudge home with our heads in our hands after a devastating 4-0 defeat. My hands were clenched in to fists after such a dire performance as we had shown. Only Piero Cauterucci was heading home with any respect from me. Most of the rest were so poor that any forfit board we had would be crowded at the top.

The next training session found me a little more relaxed and I had to guide them on to a victory against lowly Penybont in the next match. Surely we could be as bad as we had been. But, yes, we could. I sat stunned as we feel to an early 2-0 deficit. Penybont were hitting us on the break with regularity and my players didn't seem to know how to deal with it. Harsh words were shouted from the touchline and my players, red-faced, looked to make amends for a slow start. By half time we had managed to claw the game back level through goals from Neto and Serafino (who I'd decided I needed to force back to form on the pitch). During the interval I told the lads to forget the first half and go out and end these minnows. The minnows proved stubborn however, and a late goals, from another breakaway, made us look like the bottom of the league team. A 3-2 defeat and I knew the press would be having a field day the next morning.

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Our training sessions that week turned to the classroom and much talk with my players. "What the **** is up with you all?" I asked. "You're better than this and we have a title to win. This weekend I expect you all to go out on that grass and play like you know you can. Buck your ******* ideas up!" They all had the common sense to look ashamed of themselves, and the following training session felt like a field full of Rocky Balboas, ready to show the world they were the greatest.

And so on to the final match of 2021 and a trip east to face Colwyn Bay. Fair credit to the lads because my words obviously hit home. There was a little squeaky bum time in the second half when the Bay pulled things back to being close, but we ultimately ran out comfortable 3-1 winners. Reece Meekums was pure class banging in a brace and Cauterucci showed what I've so longed to see from him with some sublime football on the right wing. I'd be forced to move the Italian midfielder to the right win with Neto ill, and I may just have found his best position. Mracus Dackers turned his back on a fornight of abjectivity with an assured display between the defence and the midfield.

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I'm so glad that month is over, and the final game made my task of picking a Player Of The Month much easier. I'm giving it to Reece Meekums for easing the tension that was caused by our mid-month calamities. He really has given us a boost.

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Corbett Sports Welsh Premier Football League as at 21.30, Friday 31st December 2021

Whilst we could have been in so much better a position we can also be happy that our title challengers all failed to close the gap in December. TNS only managed a win and two draws and Cardiff managed only five points in December. Haverfordwest managed to negotiate December unbeaten and have closed their gap on us to five points. However, Cefn Druids are the team on the roll with twelve points and a whopping eleven goals to two goal difference for the month. Could they be this season's Barry Town?

So it is on to 2022 and our last two league games of this season's first phase, as well as the small matter of a cup game versus TNS. January also sees the opening of the transfer window. First on the cards might well be a loan signing, and then I feel inclined to use some of the money we made on the European Bangor Bus journey to raid some of our competition. There are some good players in this league that I hope might look fondly at a move to a stronger title candidate. We have no transfer budget, but we do have two grand to spend on wages.

I can see Cameron Evans leaving during the window. I've stated I want £5k for our center back and the board have assured me I'll get 25% of any revenue. A grand is more than enough to sign a couple of our rival's best players. There is a chance Serafino could leave, too, but the good news is he agreed to a contract offer and I am waiting for his signature. I'm hopeful a new contract and some pressure in the form of a signing can get the old talisman back.

I certainly want no more months like December.

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Edited by anagain

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Losing at home to Penybont is borderline embarrassing.

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3 hours ago, Nobby_McDonald said:

Losing at home to Penybont is borderline embarrassing.

Hehe, yes it was. That was a City losing to Norwich level shock.

I played those two defeat games in one session and had to have a break for a day or two after.

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January 2022

As we headed in to a new year I was looking for more consistency from my players, but had a firm eye on the now open transfer window.

Of course, we didn't have much time to focus on the window before the first game of 2022 at home to Colwyn Bay on New Years Day. It turned out to be a match that made me want to think again about that barn door. In actual fact, I wonder if we'd have hit an airplane hangar door in this match. Seventeen shots at goal. One shot on target. The Bay defenders had been busy and blocked six of our efforts, but we had to be better in attack. Defensively we were solid, and Rea put in a display equal to some of his best in a Bangor shirt. Marcus Dackers was also outstanding in defensive midfield, but I had eyes on a player that might allow the youngster to play further forward and let us use his creative side more.

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(no idea what happened to that match banner, but can't be doing it again)

Mid week I made my first foray in to the transfer market of 2022 to bolster our midfield options. There is also the sneaky and devious fact that I have made Cardiff Met Uni worse with our new signing. Tom Price is our new man and he will happily do what I planned above. Despite the somewhat underwhelming fan reaction I have high hopes for Tom. Cardiff are easy prey though, what with being mostly amateur. Despite our European Bangor Bus plunder the board have been unwilling to give me more transfer funds, so raiding the likes of Barry Town or Llanelli, both of whom have players highly recommended by my scouting team, is more of a task.

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I stepped up the offers of trials for a number of players before our next game, and the final game of the first stage of this year's league, at home to Haverfordwest. No less than six potential signings would come to us before the end of January, all looking for a club. It might even have been seven or eight. To be honest I lost count. Most would want too much in wages, but don't get me started oin the fact that that is another area where I feel the board are being stingy. We made a lot of money in Europe. We can't have lost it already, and if my understanding of our finances is good enough we haven't. I have little to do with that though.

The game against Haverfordwest was a rollercoaster of a match that had me feeling dizzy. The team from windy Pembrokeshire had gained promotion at the end of last season. In my season preview I tipped Colwyn Bay, the other promoted team, to spring a surprise. It has ended up being Haverfordwest that have done just that however. Much of their challenge could be down to their star man, Tom Dyson. I've tried to sign him twice now, but he always says I can't match his ambition. Probably explains why the chump is strill down in windy Pembrokeshire. Yeovil are after him now though, as are TNS. If the latter sign him I will be unamused.

We started the match in commanding fashion, securing a two goal lead by the 30th minute. We looked in control, but that is always when complacency rears its ugly head. It did so again and we found ourselves pegged back right at the end of the first half. I told the lads to concentrate and put in the same performance in the second period as they had at the start of the first. They obviously didn't listen because we found ourselves level four minutes in to the half. Midway through the half it was even worse, their front man latching on to some horrendous defending to make it 3-2.

The boys were obviously as gutted with their own failures as I was because we levelled just a minute later. Alex Babos showed just what he can do with a wonderful ball to put Serafino clear through on goal and our talisman finished neatly. We pushed hard as the match drew to a conclusion but couldn't find the winner. There were some positives to take out of the result. Babos had finally shown some form and Tom Price had made his debut in defensive midfield with what was a wonderful performance. Marcus Dackers had moved forward and done really well in a more advanced position. I was just frustrated thatw e had finally shown our goalscoring touch only to now not avoid conceding.

The only man not so happy was Rob Evans who had been relegated to the bench with arrival of Tom Price. He knew it too. He'd asked to speak to me and I could only tell him it was up to my players to show they merited a spot in the team. he hadn't recently, and hopefully he'd learn from that.

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We had a two week break before our next game, in the cup against TNS, and I dove headlong into the market to improve my squad and hopefully give us back the edge we had lost. I can be nothing less than happy with the help my director of football gave me in doing this. He knows his football and made some great suggestions. Arriving at the club before the end of January are two new loanees and a youngster with a special name.

Firstly, we have a young man I have taken on loan until the end of the season but whom is out of contract at that time. I tried to sign him outright but Sunderland wanted £24k. Hopefully Ryan Wombwell will impress enough in the next three and a bit months to earn himself a contract. In truth, he is also cover for Cameron Evans  who has accepted a contract with Macclesfield Town and will leave in July. I'm not really spiteful, but if he wants to leave then he can practice warming the bench now. Ever since the cheeky offer he got from Chesterfield, Cameron has been a pain in the derriere. Ryan has enough about him to be as good as Cameron.

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Our second loan signing is front man pressure to try and kick Serafino's complacency issues in the butt. Paul Master is highly rated and arrives from English Premier League club West Bromwich Albion. The youngster is a natural deep lying or pressing forward but could fill in on the right wing. He's also out of contract at the end of the season.

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My final signing of January was recommended to me by my director of football and I did a double take when the name came up. "He's too old, you fool", I'd said. This young winger has talent in his blood. He was born in Barcelona. His papa is more recognisable than any Z list celebrity on any celebrity version of any show on Channel 4. Someone else in football told me he was rubbish though, but I'll give him a chance for the name alone.

Please welcome Maurizio Pochettino. That's Maurizio, not Mauricio. Z's were obviously an issue for Poch. Daddy is currently flying high with Bayern. His wee lad has joined the mighty Bangor.

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Don't look a whole bit like him, but the fan's ain't unimpressed. Though, if you look at the hairline.

Stop it...this don't make me continental. He might really be pants.

All that was left of January was the small matter of another derby with my chief rivals The New Saints. Myself and Scott Ruscoe had our usual spat before the match. Dear Scott has come to realise we're not as tinpot as he thought, but he never does like our pitch. Complains about it before every game. We've beaten our rivals in the last two matches in which we have faced them, and that gives us confidence. Tom Price was cup tied so Rob Evans would get the chance I told he he'd get to impress. Sadly, he was sulking. Alex Babos had had his game in which he showed what he could do and had returned to his lacklustre form. It may not have been the be all and end all but the two made for a porous midfield and TNS were firmly in the driving seat for most of the game. We managed to pull the game level deep in to the second half, and after I could deal with no more of Evans and Babos we almost looked like we might wrap up the game in normal time, with Cauterucci and Dafydd in the middle of the park.

The game went to extra time, and it was our new man up front that scored the winner. Masters latched on to Serafino's cross to head us in to the next round, and to secure yet another victory over TNS. If only we could be as competent against everyone else.

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The small matter of my Player Of The Month is easier this month. Marcus Dackers has been oustanding in January. He scored his first Bangor goal and ended the month with a 7.8 average rating according to the press.

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Corbett Sports Welsh Premier Football League as at 17.00, Saturday 29th January 2022

 

There's still time left in the transfer window, and I wouldn't say no to another new face. I've made offers of contracts to no less than three central midfielders but they've all been too damn greedy to make it work. The board feel we have the budget needed to succeed. They must think I'll bankrupt us.

Just another ten games to go against the five best teams in the league. Hopefully our new signings come good.

 

Edited by anagain

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February 2022

February marked the start of the Championship Conference and ended up being a nother month of patchy form. We weren't losing, but we were missing chances to capitalise on poor results of our nearest challengers. We've also let The New Saints pull out a lead at the top. February also saw the close of the transfer window, but the only move at Bangor was that young Lewis Foster moved on loan to Newtown until the end of the season. He joins Kristian Watson in east Wales and the two have already struck up a defensive partnership for the Robins. 

February saw us get three draws, and the first of these was at Bala Town. We had so many chances but our finishing was very poor. Ryan Wombwell made his first league start and he has begun what can hopefully be a fruitful partnership with Simone Rea.

The rest of the month saw a string of home game that I had hoped we could build from. We started great when we welcomed the dangerous Haverfordwest to Nantporth. A dominant display saw us run out 3-1 winners. I wanted to follow this great win up with six more points from the next two winnable games over Cefn Druids and then Cardiff, but we limped to two draws; 0-0 versus the Druids and 1-1 with Cardiff.

I wonder if I am expecting too much. I called the team together after the Cardiff match and told them we were doing okay but could kick on and do even better. They told me I expected too much and my hopes were unreasonable. I was shocked at the response. The lads look a disconsolate bunch. We haven't lost in eight games, but nor have we really looked convincing. Only versus Harverfordwest did we really show how we can dominate a match. I'm not really sure what to do if the players feel like that.

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I don't really know what else to say before I think long and hard of my Player Of The Month. It's not been a month for words, if truth be told. It's been damn boring. My monthly award goes to Ryan Wombwell. He's come into the team in place of Cameron Evans and has done excellently. We might not be scoring freely, but thanks to Ryan we've not really looked like conceding. Sadly, he and Simone Rea both got injured in training before the Cardiff game. A double blow from one session.

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Corbett Sports Welsh Premier Football League as 17.00, Sunday 22nd February 2022

I've never really had quite so little to say about a month. Where is the form that saw us win eight games in a row in September, and concede just three goals? That had been part of a period in which we had lost just two games in the first three months of the season. At the start of November we thrashed Undy 5-0 in the cup and since then our form has been as patchy as it can get. We've not put two wins together since.

The form of my two full backs, Dalia and Sammartino, has been poor. Could that be the key? I feel like some big changes are needed for our next game. It's a trip to Colwyn Bay in the cup. We have a nice five point gap to Haverfordwest in the league but I really want us to win the cup to secure that European spot. Europe is the key. If we don't make that then the season is a failure.

I've managed to get the lads together for a pizza this Friday. That's quite a task for a part time club, but we need some team time. The Italian crew can talk of the true pizza, and how Dominos is a cheap substitute. Probably. The rest of the lads can get some time together. The squad has changed a fair bit, and maybe they need some cohesion.

Kicking them up the arse hasn't helped. They think they're doing well.

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That's all folks...

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March 2022

March would be a big month for our European hopes. We could blow our chances with a poor month or pretty much secure participation next season if we can start to score more often. Games against The New Saints and Haverfordwest would prove key. First up, however, was a trip along the coast to Colwyn Bay and a Welsh Cup Quarter Final.

We were considered strong favourites against relegation threatened Bay, but it required extra time to see us through to another semi final. It was our hosts that took the lead, a strong header from their center back on thirty minutes. We equalised through deputising center back Lennie Armstrong just fifteen minutes later. Cameron Evans was sent off after two bookings in a six minute period in the second half, and it was tough going from that point on. We never looked seriously threatened, but I was starting to get happy for the match to go to penalties when Nico Delvecchio finished a speculative effort fromthe edge of the box with just three minutes to go. I was very much relieved to have gotten through that game. The draw, a few days later, set us up with an away tie at Llanelli in the semis.

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Next up was a tough trip to Oswestry to face The New Saints. To try and arrest the complacency that was very evident over the last few months I decided to play both Tom Price and Dackers deep and move Babos forward to play shadow striker to Serafino's false nine. Two minutes in I was wondering how mad I'd been as TNS took the lead. They were so dominant from that point onwards that I decided to switch back to our usual formation. The reaction was immediate and we started to hot TNS on the break regularly. We were 2-1 up before half time through two Serafino breakaway goals. Things took a turn even more in our favour right after the break as TNS had a man sent off. We took advantage of this, scoring two more goals to go home with a fantastic 4-1 victory. Yet again we had pulled out a performance against our nearest rivals.

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The next game, at home to a form deprived Bala Town was back to our usual inability to turn possession in to goals. I was so disappointed with Alex Babos that I pulled him off early in the second half. I was so lost for words that I came to the decision that a change of mentality was needed. We needed to be more direct and I set about altering training to concentrate on getting the ball forward quicker down the wings. Alex Babos would get his last chance in the final match of March against Haverfordwest, and I'd switch him to a box to box role to see if that might get the best out of him.

We had a week off and I arranged a friendly to test out the new game plan. We thumped Llandudno Junction 7-0 and I dared to hope I might have kicked some complacency in to touch. We travelled south to Haverfordwest to hopefully see that new gameplan do the job. It was a tight game but we ran out 1-0 winners and it sealed our qualification for next year's Euro Cup II. We had Gabriele Brino to thank in truth. He saved a late penalty from Tom Dyson. Yes, the very same Tom Dyson that I have tried to attract to Nantporth. The same Tom Dyson that has turned us down both times, and whom is wanted by bigger clubs. Screw you, Tom!! Penalties are easy, you clod.

I'm not bitter at all.

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I'm handing my Player Of The Month award to young Lennie Armstrong. He sits patiently in the wings waiting for his chance, and when he is needed (as he has been with Simone Rea's injury) he has come in and done brilliantly. He was great in March, and has helped secure our finish of at least second in this year's league.

There was also the small matter of our youth intake arriving in March. It would seem I failed to mention the preview of this youth intake when it was handed to me back in December. With all the frustration on the pitch it has been the last thing on my mind. This is what my coaches had promised me.

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The young keeper is far from the great prospect he was hailed as.

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It is interesting that my coaches failed to mention defenders as my big hope is a center back, and I must mention a young midfielder that has arrived and whom I feel could be much better than my coaching team thinks he could be.

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It's far from a golden generation. In three years now I've not seen a young full back who might push either dalia or Sammartino, but I've happy with the center backs comeing through. Young Kristian Watson is doing great at Newtown and Mike Gosset has enough potential that he and Kristian might one day be the backbone of a future Bangor team.

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Kristian has come on in leaps and bounds

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Corbett Sports Welsh Premier Football League as at 17.00, Sunday 27th March 2022

We can't be caught in second place now, and it's down to a two way fight between us and The New Saints. The two of us meet at Nantport on April 9th, and then we finish our schedule with away games at Cefn Druids and Cardiff Met Uni. It's a tougher finish than The New Saints, who have home ties with Bala and Cefn Druids, but I'm confident that if we can make up the three points in the big rivals battle then we can win our last two games to bring the title to Nantporth.

It promises to be a spectacle...if my nerves hold out.

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Can we do the double? 

It's something to keep an eye on!

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Edited by anagain

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13 hours ago, Nobby_McDonald said:

I'm watching...

Soon

Just negotiating disappointment...

 

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April 2022

April would prove to be a busy, long and mixed month. There was the league to be decided and the small matter of our challenge for the Welsh Cup.

Things kicked off down south in Llanelli with the semi final of the Welsh Cup. Francesco Serafino had a mare in what has been an up and down season for our talisman. He missed a penalty and had a terrible way of things in and around the penalty area. He did take the free kick that led to Poch Junior scoring our first goal, but I ended up taking the main man off after seventy-one minutes, much for his own sake. His replacement was loanee Paul Masters, and it was he who stepped up with a beautiful goal to secure a 2-0 win and our passage to the final.

It was a peach. Feint on to the left foot, completely bamboozling the defender, and slot the ball home.

https://streamable.com/9oc5g

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A week later we welcomed The New Saints to Nantporth for a huge league tie. You'll recall we ended last month just three points behind our rivals. Win this game and we'd top the league on goal difference with just two games to go. They wouldn't be easy games, but winnable. It would prove to be a tight game of end to end football, and it was us who got off to a great start. Emmanuel Agyemang picked up a loose ball on the left side of the area before weaving amongst the TNS defence and firing low past the 'keep.

 I'd just shouted at the lads to keep it up when TNS were awarded what, in my opinion, was a decidedly dodgy penalty for a foul from Lennie Armstrong. He hardly touched the lad, but the ref had made his mind up. The kick was duly dispatched and we were 1-1. The second half was more of the same, with either side unable to find a breakthrough for the first quarter of an hour. The calamity struck as Armstrong sent what should have been an easy clearance right on to the left foot of the TNS star striker. We were 2-1 and had it all to do.

I stepped up the pressure, and bought on Babos, Delvecchio and Serafino within seven minutes of each other. Babos had lost his place to Cauterucci and Serafino was on the bench after his Llanelli mare. Nico Delvecchio stormed in to the box late on, trying to get on to an inswinger from Sammartino. He rose and the TNS defender simply backed in to him. Penalty! Serafino, on the picth for twelve minutes, stepped up and slotted home. 2-2.

Now you're expecting a big finish. I know you are. Sadly, there wasn't one. That's how the game ended. A point was better than nothing, but having beaten TNS four times already this season I had hoped for more.

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The Cefn Druids game was a cracker for the fans, but not so great for my nerves. We were 2-0 up within fifteen minutes before the Druids managed to level up either side of half time. I was furious we'd let a lead slip and hammered in to the lads from the touchline. I guess nerves were getting to them. It was our talisman that rescued us, latching on to a Cauterucci reverse ball to nod home with the faintest of touches. It was a shame we had to save the game like when our second goal from Marcus Dackers could have won any game of football.

The ball taken down by Serafino who passes it on to Cauterucci before he sets up the onrushing Dackers for a classic team goal.

https://streamable.com/vuf7i (I just noticed the random people on the pitch - no idea where they came from - not in my game. Just ignore them and they'll go away)

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We'd done our bit, and a day later The New Saints welcomed Bala Town to their ground. I hoped our fellow Gwyneddians could do us a favour. Boy, did they!

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That result left us joint top of the league, both on 62 points, but we had the advantage witha  goal difference of 23 to theirs of just 16. Our final game was away to Cardiff Met Uni, who we would incidentally also meet in the cup final at the end of the month. TNS faced a home tie with Cefn Druids. I hoped they'd give TNS as much of a game as they had us.

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Yes, Smithers. The New Saints won 4-0. They did their job. I'd toyed with calling the squad together before the match, but my feeling is they don't thrive under the pressure well. Much of this season has been just that; a battle against us being fancied. We never got a foothold against Cardiff. No one really showed what they could do. The lovely fluidity we showed in our first two goals against Druids? It took a long walk. God knows where.

TNS won the league. I wanted a bottle of something. I don't drink. I settled for a Cream Soda. What? Cream Soda's a drink of substance.

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Corbett Sports Welsh Premier Football League, Final Table 2021/2022

 

Things are getting a bit long. Let's come back for the Cup Final, shall we?

 

Edited by anagain

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2021-22 Welsh Cup Final

The big day came around far too fast. I spoke to the team about doing our best in this game, and not letting things slip like we had in the final league game. It was a half and half response. Some of the lads loved my words whilst other told me the pressure was too much. Can't bloody win.

Tom Price wouldn't be able to play as he was cup-tied for Cardiff. Dackers replaced him in defensive midfield and Alex Babos came in to the team to fill Dacker's box to box role. In goal would be Atkinson. He had played every cup match this season and it would be unfair to leave him out for the final. Rea was in defense over loanee Wombwell. I just figured our captain was the man to have for big games. I still hoped to entice Wombwell to Bangor next season though.

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The pre-match talk was the usual grumbles from the visiting manager about the Nantporth pitch. We're hardly invincible at home, and the pitch really isn't a quagmire. I don't know what they complain about. I told the press to shut up and concentrate on important things. You know, like how cream soda tastes in the Welsh Cup trophy.

We had a drizzle for the game, hardly weather befitting a cup final. It is weather befitting North Wales however, and the lads know it well. We started on the front foot, myself having told the lads to go out there and put the game to bed. Cardiff were slow out of the block (must be the quagmire), but once they found their feet it made for a great game of football.

First blood was ours. Just after the half hour Lennie Armstrong rose to head down a junior Poch inswinging corner. It fell to the feel of Agyemang and he turned nicely to give himself the most gaping shot at goal you could imagine. He duly turned hom to make it 1-0. That's how it stayed until half time.

"Good job, lads", I told them. "You're playing great. Just go back out there and hang on. We deserve this, we're the better team. Prove it and lift the cup!"

Just before the hour mark we made it 2-0. Serafino gathered up a lose ball, one that no one seemed to want, near the right corner flag. Cardiff gave him all the space in the world, so our talisman simply played the ball on to the onrushing Piero Cauterucci. Our Italian midfielder caught it sweet as could be and the ball flew in to the net. It was a stunning goal to give us a 2-0 lead.

https://streamable.com/uuvv4

Sadly, it turned out to be the catalyst for a Cardiff fight back. A minute later they were level when our defence failed to deal with their directness. From then on it was all nerves for us. We were continually on the back foot and I honestly thought we were going to throw the game away. I replaced Eugenio Dalia with Wombwell to solid up the defence a bit more, but still Cardiff came at us.

We were now hitting them on the break, however, rather than how it had been much of the first half. We won a throw in high up the pitch with fifteen minutes left. Wombwell took it and his long throw landed right at the feet of Agyemang. It took him three attempts but he finally smashed the ball home to give us a two goal cushion again.

I chanelled my inner Pulis from that moment, telling the lads to get stuck right in and defend for your lives. We did and the final whistle was like that moment in Lord Of The Rings when Gandalf comes over the hill with a horde of horsemen. Light was shining in my eyes and an orc had his arms around me though...no, it was my assisstant.

"We did it!" He was shouting...in my ear.

I could only smile, inanely, and manage a little fist pump. He was right, though. 

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I couldn't be more proud, and the cream soda had a tinge of tears.

The powers that be recognised my greatness a few days later.

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Manager of the Month tends to mean a bad next month. Bugger. We're getting relegated...

It had been a mixed bag of a final month. We missed out of the league, but had had a good day in winning the cup. I think Piero Cauterucci deserves my Player Of The Month award for April (you all thought I'd forgotten, didn't you? I'm like a bloody...oh, what's it called? Hippo?). Piero scored a belter to win us the cup and it was his beautiful assist that was instrumental in our fantastic team goal at the Druids. He's forced his way back in to the team this month, and filled my new midfield playmaker role that has helped give us back our identity.

Good season...if a little bitter.

 

Season Review & Awards

Club awards day is getting grander. Remember when we held it in the chippie? We booked a room in the pub this year.

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Francesco helped himself to the Fan's Player Of The Season for the third year running, and, at the young age of 24, wins the young player of the season award too. Goal of the season was deservedly Piero's belter in the final. Lastly, congratulations to Marcus Dackers for being selected in the Welsh Premier League Team of the Season in his first year here.

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Season Stats (you'll need to open this one)

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And the players who have been fulfilling their club service elsewhere

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A few days later and the players are off on their holidays. Pontins, as a group, I think. Pwlheli. Still Pontins, innit?

Anyway, the boss called me in for a chat.

"Good season Nid, though you could have won the league."

"Came close. Won the cup."

"I know", he beams. He points behind me. "Looks good, don't it?"

Turning, I ask. "We don't have a trophy cabinet?" I'm a little deflated he's acquired it.

"You don't want players?"

"Players, sir?"

"I'm giving you £60k, Nid. £8k wage budget this year." He looks happy. "That cup run hefted the coffers."

He don't sound too Welsh. "The European Bangor Bus, sir."

"That." I don't think he likes the turn of phrase. "Spend it well, Nid. No demands, just keep us in Europe." A pause. "And, Nid"

I'm halfway to the door now. I thought he'd excused me. There was a flicker of the hand. "Sir?"

"Have a holiday. You look like you've been dragged through a quagmire."

Not him, too.

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I'm already rubbing my hands together. I have ideas.

See y'all later. Euro Cup II in less than two months.

Edited by anagain

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Pre-Season Shenanigans

I felt like I'd add this to my journals. I had an impromptu meeting with my players today, or at least a selection of them. It was Francesco that came to me on behalf of the lads.

"Bossa. A-how do I say a-this?"

I just looked at him, shrugging.

"The squad", he continued, "it is, a-how do I say thees. Sheet? We have not enough players."

I thought his English had improved. Evidently it is still, how do I say this? Getting there? Sheet? "Let's go have a chat." I replied.

Five minutes later there is a group of eleven first teamers clustered around me. "I understand there's some concern over the squad."

"Yes boss. We a-need more players."

Simone Rea chimes in, as captain. "How we win with this squad?"

"It's July 1st, lads. The transfer window opened today, lads." There's muttering. Something dawning? "I know we've lost numbers, but give me chance lads."

More muttering. Francesco looks a little sheepish. There are one or two glances at the floor.

"Keep your eye on the news the next few days, and be ready to welcome new faces. Trust me lads." I've got 'em. They walk away buzzing.

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The cuplrits...bless 'em.

Euro Cup II Draw

Firstly, a point. I am aware it's the European Conference...or something like that. I like Euro Cup II. I've started so I'll finish.

We've struck gold in the First Qualifying Round of the Best Placed section of the draw, I feel. We've drawn FC Santa Coloma of Andorra. Their league is ranked over thirty places below us in the reputation tables.

When we beat them we have a tie with the winners from Hibernians or Radnik Bijeljina. That's not the Scottish club. It's Malta, and their league is only a little better than ours. Radnik are Bosnian, and they're a little more scary a prospect. They're not the biggest team in Bosnia however. They last won the league in 2012. I'm confident.

If we could reach the 3rd Qualifying Round then that would signify a fantastic achievement. I'll hope for Hibernians to be on the safe side. If we lose to Santa Coloma I'll be miffed.

~~~~~

I really hope we do have some good news on the transfer front. I have hopefully pulled off a coup. A coup, Rodney.

This club is going places.

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Season 2022/2023 - July 2022 - Part Uno (oh c'mon, we're still a bit Italian)

After the pallaver with the players, I set about negotiating the busiest month I would be yet to encounter in this job. The second European Bangor Bus set out on its journey, transfer business happened a plenty, and the players frustrated me no end.

In all the matches we've been playing the results have been far better than the performances. Far, far, far better in fact. There have been highlights from some players, but on the hole I can't seem to get the best from any of them. Emmanuel Agyemang has been in scintillating form, and it's he that has probably seen us get where we have.

I set about my transfer business early. Not just because the players had demanded it, but I had goals and I wanted to make sure I got them. For the first time in my job I had money to spend and my first little foray made great use of that. What I pulled off I believed would come to be seen as a coup in later years. It's not quite got there yet, but we need to give new faces time.

It was outgoings first, however, and as you know it was them that prompted Francesco's trip to my office. Cameron Evans leaves the club to join Macclesfield Town in the English League Two. I wish him luck, but to be blunt he never showed me how good he could be after Chesterfield's cheeky bidding last year. I got nothing for him, but it is wages off the book. Also leaving Bangor are Chris Marriott, Elliot Kebbie, Lucas Surber, Pavel Viera and Chike Kandi. Lucas Surber and Pavel Viera had been here from my first days and have both given great service, but Lucas wasn't getting game time and he deserves that. The same was true for Pavel. Elliot Kebbie only joined last July, but he never really showed enough to warrant staying. A number of youth players have left too. I hope everyone finds their next clubs soon. I never like moving people on.

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Our first new face arrived 3rd July. I'm pleased to announce the signing of Liam Edwards from our rivals The New Saints for a club transfer fee of £10k. The fee may rise to £12k, but I have high hopes this will go good for the club. The boss said it better, and I've assured him he must have faith. The fool just sits there all days staring at the Welsh Cup. I believe he's lost the plot. I heard he told his secretary that one day it'll be the Euro Cup II. He's going to need to stump up more than £60k for that.

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Liam will be competing with our talisman for the striker spot, but for now I'll be sticking him out wide. Hopefully he can provide from the right what Agyemang has for so long given us from the left. Goals. The reaction from the fans was subdued, but I often wonder if they aren't more worried about their flocks than the football. Sheep.

The transfer won't be slowing down any time soon, and indeed a second new face arrived a day later. Well, to be fair, he never actually got here. This lad is one for the future. I've signed him from Cymru South side Brickfield. I didn't see him getting abundant game time, so because I want him to improve he'll be staying at Brickfield for a season. I believe I can recall him should he be fantastic for them. Alan Wandless is a very promising young midfielder and only 17.He only cost us £500. Bargain. I am the Delboy of Bangor City.

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Finger's crossed it don't go flat...

Next up was a young man on loan from Sheffield United. Clive Camm is a full back and someone I hope can give Eugenio Dalia more of a run for his money than Elliot Kebbie managed last season. He was very highly rated by my scouts so I took a punt. It costs us extra money to scout over the border, and as there's no bottomless well of gold it is sometimes necessary to be bold. Clive's done okay in training, has some growing to do, but hopefully we can help him build a good career. He fills an U19 slot in our Premier League team sheets too. That is always needed.

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One more signing before we get around to playing any matches, and that is a young Nigerian recently released by Kettering Town and once at Crystal Palace and Norwich. Denzelle Olopade has two U20 caps for Nigeria. He maybe didn't hit the heights that were hoped for, but he has potential to be a great signing for us. He can be part of what is looking a very strong midfield at Nantporth now.

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Bangor ins of early July

I told you July was busy. Off for a cuppa and a chat with the boss, then back with the Bangor Bus.

It's dead exciting. Promise.

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Edited by anagain

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Season 2022/2023 - July 2022 - Part Due

The Second European Bangor Bus departs

As I've said before, we got what could be considered an easier draw in this years Euro Cup II. The Andorran league is one of the least ranked in Europe, and we've drawn FC Santa Coloma. We were confident, or at least I was. I never do know of the lads are. Registration is a hassle. Most of the newcomers have arrived too late to be included, and indeed only Liam Edwards is in of the new lads.

The first leg would take place in the beautiful mountain city of Andorra La Vella, and in the National Stadium because our opponent's ground was obviously too small. We set up to go at our opponents, hoping to put them on the back foot immediately. We ended the first half two goals to the good, Serafino from the spot and Agyemang with an incredible solo goal. That's pretty much where the good ended. Santa Coloma came out for the second half obviously encouraged by their manager and within ten minutes they had pulled it back to 2-1, and that was despite having had a man sent off. I don't know why it is, but we never do well against ten men.

I shouted at the lads to concentrate and bought on Poch Junior and Babos for the underperforming LIam Edwards and Dalia. It meant a reshuffle, Price moving to right back, but it must have had an effect as Poch put us back two ahead. Again we failed to keep the supposed minnows quiet though. They made it 3-2 just a couple of minutes later, and that was how the game finished.

We had had thirteen shots on goal and scored just three. Santa Coloma had manage two goals from just four on target. Many will say a win is a win, but to wimp to that was not impressing me. We would have to do better in the home leg in a week's time.

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There was a break midway between the legs for a nother new face to arrive at the club. Scott Wilson is a center back I have been aware of for a couple of seasons now. Upon being released by Burnley we have taken a chance on the 22 year old after he impressed on trial.

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Scott would not be able to play in Europe just yet, and that would be down to the same team that travelled to Andorra. I told the lads to just go out and do something more with the dominance we were predicted to show the minnows. I wouldn't accept more calamities at the back.

It was fair to say they were dominant.

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When you look at dominant stats like the above you would be free to assume we battered them. We didn't though. We won by a measely two goals to one. Seventeen shots on goal and two Serafino first half efforts to show for it. When we conceded a late Santa Coloma goal I was not happy. We went through 5-3 on aggregate but I knew a performance like that would see us battered my many clubs in the main draw of this competition. I told the players so.

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We knew we'd get either Hibernians of Malta or Radnik Bijeljina of Bosnia in the Second Qualifying Round. I hoped it would be the Maltese but it was the Bosnians, and they were rated much higher than us. We had to perform better or we'd be out.

A number of players left the club on loan before or after the home match with Santa Coloma. Hopefully the four players concerned will do themselves justice. Kristian Watson was in the European squad, but with the arrival of Scott Wilson it is better he gets guaranteed game time at Barry. The former champions dropped down the table a little way last season, due to a poor start, but they actually had the thrid best points total by the end of the split. Kristian will get a good education there.

We also decided to let Reece Meekums go on the day of the home leg with Bijeljina. Reece had never quite hit the heights I'd hoped from him and had fallen down the order at Nantport. We got £190 for him from Boston United. I shall spend it wisely. Perhaps on a trophy cabinet from Ikea.

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The first leg was in the east of Bosnia, near the Serbian border, in the picturesque little city of Bijeljina (yeah, I look this stuff up folks(YouTubs, photos etc)...and I always have google maps open on whatever stadium my match is in. It's a tradition of mine when playing FM). The Gradski Stadium was less impressive than our little home, and compelte with what I assume was a speedway track. The football is what was improtant though, and I did assume we'd be up against it. We didn't play truly awful though. Emanuel Agyemang gave us the lead midway through the first half, though we allowed the Bosnians to equalise about ten minutes later. I was convinced their equaliser should have been flagged offside, the shot from their midfielder hitting an offside player of theirs before deflecting past Brino. It did me no good to argue with the fourth official though. The game was really quite even and we had periods in which we were on top. Sadly we couldn't put any chances away. We did frustratingly allow Bijeljina to score a winner with about fifteen to go, but I suppose I had to be happy with an away goal.

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I just often believe this team can do so much better than they do. Is that down to me or a lack of belief from the lads? Am I too hard on them, putting pressure down when I should encourage. I just want to win.

That wanting to win has seen me very busy in this transfer window and another new face joined us between the legs with Bijeljina. Massimo Sammartino has been one of the chief culprits for complacency in recent weeks, and with his left back deputy, Owen Beck, failing to really develop I decided to sign another left back. Kris Owens will be real pressure on Sammartino, or at least I think so. Strangely Connah's Quay chose to release him this summer. Whether he wanted to leave, I don't know.

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And that concluded our business for July. We'll see if I'm done yet though. Serafino and his little gang still believe we're weak in defence. I'm looking at a loanee center back.

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We welcomed our Bosnian opponents to Nantport on a drizzly July evening. We had a recognised face on the pitch in the form of Martin Atkinson in black...or whatever colour refs wear these days. It's rarely black, I guess. It was another close game, the predictions for the outcome of this tie proving to have been innaccurate. Both teams were failing to make efforts on goal count, but I was most disappointed with the body language on show from my lads. Massimo Sammartino looked decidedly abject in everything he did. It was almost as if we really didn't care if we won or lost.

I told the lads this wasn't acceptable at half time, and to give them their dues they turned it on second half, and especially Massimo. Our left back put in an incredible display in the second forty-five. It was he who, with just under fifteen minutes remaining, put a pinpoint cross on to the head off Junior Poch. The ehader hit the back of the net and we were remarkably 1-0 up. We had the advantage on away goals, but one Bijeljina goal would see them ahead and we'd have to score two more. Thatw asn't going to happen so we had to shut up shop and hope to see the game out.

I won't keep you waiting. We did it! One better than last year. I was proud of the lads. Then we got the news our next round opponents would be NK Maribor of Slovenia. This would be another step up.

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That's not it for July though. I told you it was a busy month. We were more active than a shovel at Aintree on National Day.

The last act of July was the small matter of our Premier League opener...at home to The New Saints. The games was played at a frenetic pace...for thirteen minutes. Our rivals had a Champions League qualifying tie midweek too, and I think both of us had one eye on our cup journeys. A penalty for them and another Agyemang goal for us made it 1-1 and that was how the game finished. We might have won the game through Junior Poch, but a point is better than none.

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I don't think we need bother with a table...we're not top...but I will finish my rambles with my Player Of The Month. I think it's safe to say whom this is this July. Emanuel Agyemang has begun the season with three goals and some great performances. Our talisman is jointly on three, but he really has missed so much. He should have had six against Santa Coloma. Keep it up, Emanuel.

Our fixtures list is hectic. A busy end to July and a frantic start to August.

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New Saints are down now, but it's two games a week.

I need a lie down...

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"Nid!" The chairman's voice.

I whisper to the receptionist. Of course we have one...we're not peasants. "I was never here, you never saw me." I fling myself behind her counter.

"I thought I heard the manager."

"He left ten minutes ago, sir." Good girl.

Good job I walked in today. I duck out and sneak walk home.

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Edited by anagain

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At least you won one half of the double.

And a good start in Europe this new season.

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On 27/01/2020 at 21:39, Nobby_McDonald said:

At least you won one half of the double.

And a good start in Europe this new season.

Thanks. Haven't had a chance to play this week, but when I finally get around to an update there might be some league bonuses. 

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August 2022

August would be another busy month for us. Two legs with Maribor and the league would get well and truly in to full swing with four games. There is also the continuation of the summer transfer window to see out. However, with our business so far it is unlikely Nantporth will see many more incomings. At least not after the 8th of August. Francesco Serafino and his little gang were still unsure about the depth of our center back options, so when I saw the news from my scouting team that a player I had been keenly watching for some time had been placed on the loan list by Crewe I decided to pounce.

Billy Sass-Davies is a very capable ball playing center back and adds real quality to our squad. In my opinion, Sass-Davies is a level of quality above what we have currently, and I hope this signifies intent on my part to take this league by storm.

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Sadly the signing was too late for our Maribor tie. We welcomed the Slovenians to north Wales and a media frenzy. The game would be played at Wrexham's Racecourse ground for capacity reasons, but that didn't change the fact that the local press were very keen to see us progressing so well in Europe, and it was my opinion that they got a litle ahead of themselves. Beating Bijeljina was being hailed as a great result for the club, and some were expecting just as good against Maribor. I knew, however, that Maribor were a strong team and established European paticipants. On a gloomy Thursday evening we would have to be at our very best to get any sort of a result.

Indeed, our opponents got off to a flying start and found themselves 2-0 up within quarter of an hour. I was starting to fear the worst, and it got even more drastic when they scored a third in first half stoppage time. I really wasn't happy with my players and tasked them with making a better effort in the second half. Serafino managed to get us a goal in the 70th minute with a lovely header from a Poch corner, but that was the final goal of the game. A 3-1 loss meant that if we were going to advance then we'd have to do it in Slovenia.

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At the weekend our league challenge continued with a trip south to face Llanelli Town. This was a game in which I tasked Liam Edwards with the goal of finally showing the form I wanted from him when I paid £10k to TNS. Suffice it to say I was happy when he knocked in his first of the season after fourteen minutes. We'd gone 1-0 down after eight minutes and it was a perfect response from the team. By half time it was 3-1. Serafino finished an impressive Cauterucci cross before Kris Owens scored his first in a Bangor shirt four minutes before the break. Owens' goal was a belter from the edge of the box and Caterucci has been in good form this season in his new deep creative midfield position. Things are not going well for The New Saints. Whilst we were beating Llanelli they were losing 3-1 at home to Barry. One point from two games for our main rivals.

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The Llanelli win put us in good spirits for our trip to Slovenia a few days later. Alas, our opponents got off to a good start again, taking the lead on eighteen minutes and making it 2-0 before half time. Again my half time team talk was one of trying to coax the best from my players. "Just show the world how good you are", I told them. On fifty-seven minutes we found a lifeline courtesy of an outside of the box ripper from Olopade. It was quite a sublime strike. We'd have to score two more to win, and I had some hope with the way the lads had gone about the game in the second half. Sadly, it was our Slovenian opponents that got two goals to pretty much seal the tie for them. Serafino managed to get us a second to prove that we were no walkovers, but more's the pity that the European Bangor Bus Tour was over for another year. I don't think losing 7-3 on aggregate to a team of Maribor's calibre was all that disgraceful and I told the lads that in the changing room. They seemed a bit down, and I don't think they agreed with me. I'll take that as a sign that they want to do better. That can only be a good thing.

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The really great thing that came out of this year's European Bangor Bus Tour was the £700k that we have gained in prize money. It is a huge sum for us.

We would finish the month off with home ties versus Bala and Cardiff and a trip to Connah's Quay. The Bala game ended with a very pleasing, and rather dominant, 3-0 win. Liam Edwards got us off to the best possible start with a third minute second goal of the season for him. It took us until the last fifteen minutes to really put our dominance on the scoresheet though. Goals from Agyemang and Dalia gave us a great 3-0 win.

I wanted to keep the form going a week later versus Connah's Quay and the lads duly delivered a 2-1 win with a much improved second half display. It was all good for Liam Edwards as he got his third goal in three league games to win the tie. The winger was starting to show the form that our £10k expenditure warranted. I think he is enjoying himself. I certainly am enjoying his performances.

Conversely, Denzelle Olopade is struggling for form. He may have scored a belter in Europe, but in the league his performances have been poor. It meant I dropped him for the home tie with Cardiff and Alex Babos came in in his place. Annoyingly, it was Tom Price who failed to find a performance against his old employers, and with the game goalless I decided it was time for Denzelle to show I shouldn't have dropped him in the 65th minute. In a much more attacking set up it was the Nigerian who provided the assist for Scott Wilson to score his first Bangor goal in the 80th minute of the game. One man I have been very impressed with in both training and U18s friendlies is Matteo Gozzerini. The young Italian has never found it easy to force his way in to the team, but that good work of late pushed me in to giving him a chance on the bench. He came on for a Serafino that was struggling to put the ball away versus Cardiff, and he looked hungry to show me I was right to trust him. It was Matteo who finally put the game to bed in the 88th minute when he tucked away Neto's free kick. I was proud of the lad.

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The Cardiff win also meant another great milestone for the club.

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Remember that poor start for TNS? Well, they've been busy in Europe and it really has knocked their start to this year's league. They followed up their loss to Barry with a 1-0 blank at Cefn Druids. Only against newly promoted Llanrhaeadr did they start to deliver. They didn't find it easy though, and some would say they laboured to a 4-2 win. Losing to Icelanders Valur in the 4th Qualifying Round of the Champion's section of the Euro Cup II may have done them some good as they beat Haverfordwest 2-0 in the final game of August. I'm sure they'd take league form over reaching the group stage of the Euro Cup II, but who knows? It grieves me a little that they made it a round further in Europe than we did, but they did manage to lose to Estonian minnows FC Flora in the Champions League prelims. Is it bad of me to smirk at that or should I be wishing better of Welsh football in Europe? Our coefficient is looking good, and we'll have three teams in the Euro Cup II next season because of it. We can continue to be the team that boosts Welsh football in European team competitions, so allow me a moment and let me continue to smirk at the start to our rival's season. I'm a bastard, okay?

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We have a six point lead on them at the end of August too.

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Corbett Sports Welsh Premier Football League as at 17.00, Sunday 28th August 2022

For my Player Of The Month for August I am going to go all out and thank Liam Edwards for the upturn in form he has shown with three goals in three league games. Hopefully it is the start of a brilliant season for the lad.

A quick mention for Billy Sass-Davies though. He came in to the team off the bench in the Bala game. He looked a class above in the mere thirteen minutes he got, and then he picked up a knock. I rested him against Connah's Quay, but gave him the whole game against Cardiff. He was fantastic and can hopefully be key for us this season. Where this leaves Simone Rea is the downside. Simone has been an immense player for our club, but he's starting to find himself behind both Sass-Davies and Scott Wilson in the pecking order. I am sure Simone will still have a huge part to play in this season. He's certainly a big player behind the scenes. He's our club captain and a role model for the youngsters.

September sees us enter the Irn Bru Cup with a game against Cork City, and hopefully we can follow that up with four more good performances in the league. There is also the small matter of the closing of the transfer window on Friday 2nd. I'll listen to offers for a few players, but I do doubt we'll see more incomings.

It's been a good start.

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Yep, let's keep it going.

Edited by anagain

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September 2022

The start of September saw me awarded the dreaded Manager of the Month award for our great August form. It sadly had its usual effect on the team, but was something we would turn around in a topsy-turvy month.

The transfer window ended uneventfully, and I believe it was only us that spent any money. As far as I can tell only us and TNS have spent money in the past three seasons. Rhyl, it seems, spent £220 one season. It is a league of big spending that we belong to. A tale of free transfers and loan deals.

The window behind us, we travelled to southern Ireland for an Irn-Bru Cup 2nd round tie with Cork City. We were predicted to lose to the bigger club, and I really didn't care for this cup. The board insist we are competitive however, so we travelled with a strong squad. Jack Atkinson continued as my usual cup keeper and I experimented a little in midfield. I replaced Tom Price with Billy Sass-Davies, trying our new loan player out in midfield to accomodate Simone Rea at center back. Sadly Sass-Davies is wasted here, and when Cork opened the scoring in the twenty-eighth minute I feared my experiments might send us out of the competition. That would be unlikely to please the board.

We stepped up the pressure after the break and made a much better go of things in the second half. I must confess, one of the lads told me that Barrs, the makers of Irn-Bru, make a rather nice cream soda too. "Do it for the cream soda", I said. I got some sideways glances, but there was a glint in the eyes. "Just beat the bigger team and make a name for yourselves", I conceded. The second half was a much closer affair and we tested the three time Irish Premier League winners. The game exploded on seventy-five minutes. After a few attempts to get the ball in to the box a ricochet landed at the feet of Kris Owens. Our left back just hit it and the ball flew in to the back of the Cork keeper's net. It was a wonderful strike and had us level.

I sensed a tremor and ushered the lads onwards. With two minutes left it was Emmanuel Agyemang's turn to show off. And show off he did. Picking the ball up just inside our half he went on a mazy run before letting fly from a good thirty yards. It was a strike worthy of winning any game, but now we had to hang on. We did more than that however. In stoppage time, and not to be undone, Liam Edwards let fly with the third rocket finish of the match to hand us the tie 3-1. It was something to win a game with three strikes of such quality. I guess the lads might just like cream soda too. Perhaps they're just thinking it's an old man's drink.

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Our participation in this Scottish exhibition cup means our fixtures get moved around, so three days later we were in action again, and another long trip down south to windy Haverfordwest. This was a game we should have dominated and easily won. However, as is so often the case, we looked a shadow of our usual selves and never found a way in to the game. Of course, we could have found that way had Serafino managed to tuck away a fifth minute penalty. The Pembrokeshires took the iniative and delighted their fans with a 2-0 win. Their keeper had performed heroics, but I wasn't happy.

Could we be full time then we'd have stayed down south for our next tie, another three days later in Barry. We're not, of course. We bus it everywhere. Were they to do bus miles then we'd be sorted. So, after another long bus journey, we met fellow title challengers Barry Town on a gloomy Friday evening. The match was equally gloomy and both sides showed the sort of finishing that wins wooden spoon awards. There were two shots on target in this entire game and we both went home with a point. My office was busy over the next few days of training. Performances had not been good enough, and extra finishing training was coupled with stern words to a few lads.

We welcomed Cefn Druids to Nantporth with a buzz around the club. My words appeared to have sunk in and I could sense a renewed atmosphere. The Druids couldn't cope with the new us and we demolished them in an excellent first forty-five minutes, Edwards and Serafino getting the goals. It was great to see our talisman back scoring, but I would have liked to see us keep scoring in to the second period. "Never be content", I told the lads. "If you can get another goal then do so."

Another away trip a week later, and in the heart of the Welsh countryside in the tiny village of Llanraeadr-ym-Mochant. I swear there were more sheep than people. It was pretty though. I think the lads may have taken my words on board as we triumphed 3-1 despite the first half setback of Alex Babos being rather unjustly sent off for two yellows. We were 1-0 up at the time and the refereeing scandal must have galavanised the lads. We delight in scoring belters this season, it would seem, and Denzelle Olopade's sealer was another of these. Just call us the Bangor Belters!

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I was pleased with the lads to have turned the tables on our dismal showings in Haverfordwest and Barry. Billy Sass-Davies has been a revelation since joining us from Crewe, and it is he who gets my Player Of The Month award for September. He just keeps getting better, and scored his first for us in the Llanraeadr game.

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Corbett Sports Welsh Premier Football League as at 17.00, Sunday 25th September 2022

Not as much to talk about in September, unless you count the holes in nets up and down the Welsh lands from the lad's rockets. If we can have more rockets finished well, and less Haverfordwests and Barrys, then I can see this season marching on well. Headers are a worry. Either we're a short team or my players duck when heading at goal. Head down lads.

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Bangor finishing...rockets and poor headers

 

I just looked at the fixtures list for October. Bloody Qatari World Cup. As if Welsh Premier League players are going to be there. No games in November and one in December.

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Feet up and watch the World Cup, I think. I'll need to sit down after October.

 

 

 

Edited by anagain

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It does seem a bit crazy... but have Wales qualified?

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16 hours ago, Nobby_McDonald said:

It does seem a bit crazy... but have Wales qualified?

Nope. They lost out to...Bulgaria! Drawing in Armenia didn't help.

It might be something that was fixed before release. This save is early beta old. I know there are mistakes in Wales.

Might do a couple more seasons and start a new 'reliving an old save' save with Koper of Slovenia. Another team that got big time demoted irl and are now playable again. Had I not been enjoying this Bangor save so much I might have start afresh by now.

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October 2022 - Part Uno

With October being such a busy month - due to the infernal world cup in Qatar - I feel it best to shorten things in to two parts this month. It's strange that it should happen this way. Firstly, I very much doubt there are any players in our league that will be going to the World Cup. I haven't looked too hard, and I know there are some U19s that get call ups, but you would think any player good enough for international duty would have been snapped up by the English leagues by now. Secondly, Wales haven't even qualified for the World Cup. They found themselves in a group with England, Bulgaria, Andorra and Armenia. Andorra were dispatched efficiently enough, but a draw in Armenia, a loss to Bulgaria and England doing the double put paid to any journey to Qatar.

But still we have near two months off the league schedule.

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The Welsh FA chairman...

Anyway, my players are knackered, we've done more miles than Marco Polo and results are suffering. The players are already planning a holiday in November. I'll let them have a break. With the European Bangor Bus the lads don't get as long a summer as some. Let 'em do a week in Benidorm, or something.

Well, back to business, and October got off to a pretty good start as we welcomed Aberystwyth Town to Nantporth. With Babos' sending off in the last match, Dave Dafydd came in for his first start of the season. He's not developed quite as well as I'd hoped has Dave. I think maybe he could do with a loan spell after Christmas. The only issue with that is that he fills the second U18 spot in my team selection every match, with him being so flexible of position centrally. I'm not sure who else might fill that. It was my thinking that he deserved the chance to impress and he was solid enough against Town. It was his midfield partner that really shone in this match however. Olopade continued his fine form with a peach of a strike on thirty minutes. Serafino got our second a minute in the to second half and we just had to see out the game. Sadly complacency reared its ugly head and we conceded a very late Town goal. A win is a win, but we really should see out games.

Just three days later we made the trip down the A5 to play The New Saints in Oswestry. After their poor start our main rivals had upped their game and this was by no means going to be an easy tie. Cauterucci slotted in beside Olopade in this game and Tom Price sat back to guard the defence. It turned out to be one of those games where no one really shone, and I'm honest enough to admit that TNS dominated this match. There were two goals in it and they both came in the last ten minutes. Poch Junior has had to sit in the shadows this season. Agyemang had a blistering start to the season, but his form has dropped off a little. It was disappointing enough in this game that I bought on Poch late on. He repaid me with interest, slotting in at the far post just four minutes after coming on. Sadly, TNS scored almost from the kick off and after the match I told the press a draw was a fair result. The air between myself and Scott Ruscoe has become a little warmer since he accused us of being tinpot a couple of years back, and he thanked me for being honest. They deserved to win really...but no one tell him I said that.

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We had a whole four days off before the next match, an Irn-Bru Cup 3rd round tie at Tranmere. I didn't need this tie and I rested a few faces. Clive Camm and Massimo Sammartino came in to the full back slots and I gave Dackers a chance to shine in defensive midfield. Marcus has never really lived up to the roles Lucas Defise and Yalany Baio fullfilled in that position. Nor has Tom Price, really, and I'm always on the look out for ways to get the best out of my team in midfield. After his late goal in Oswestry, Poch Junior slotted in on the left wing. Boy did he thank me for including him.

Before the match I wasn't really sure how we would fare against a Conference team, and especially one of the stature of Tranmere Rovers. We did indeed start on the back foot, as the press had been kind enough to suggest we would be for the entire game. Poch opened his magic chest shortly before half time though. In the first minute of stoppage time he spun brilliantly on a pass from Alex Babos to turn the ball home before Babos decided not to be outdone and set up Olopade with a fantastic dinked ball over the defence. I had decided to switch Babos to more of a playmaker role, in a continued effort to find his best position, and it seemed to be working wonders.

There hadn't been many minutes of the second half before Poch decided he wasn't going to let Babos outshine him and he volleyed home a Clive Camm cross to make it 3-1. This was beyond my wildest dreams and I told the lads to tighten up. Tranmere tried everything to get back in to the game. Things got nervy on sixty-five minutes when they pulled one back, but the lads held out marvellously to win the game 3-2. This cup either brings out the best of us in very against the odds matches or the press are a bunch of idiots.

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We're in to the Quarter Finals again though, and we'll face a trip to the winner of Larne FC or Airdrieonians FC. We really do see Britain in this cup. I'd like to head to Northern Ireland, but we'll see.

Another generous break of four days later and we travelled in to the heart of Gwynedd for a match with Bala that the press love to hype as a derby. Bala have been rising up the table of late, so I wasn't expecting an easy game. I was expecting a win though. Sass-Davies powered in his second of the season with a dominant header from a corner, but an unlucky Kris Owens own goal put paid to three points and we went home with a point. It was a tepid second half to the game. I think the lads were feeling the pressure of so many games.

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Halfway there. We're off for energy drinks. The games space out a bit towards the end of the month, but that doesn't mean we're not all exhausted.

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Come back for October - Part Due. You know you want to. 

 

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October 2022 - Part Due

The month of hell is over and it truly was hell for everyone in our league. No one found any form in October, resulting in draws aplenty from a bunch of tired players. Only three teams have less than four draws after sixteen games and it has resulted in a very tight table. As to our own perspective, well we're not losing, but nor are we winning enough. We managed five draws in October, and it pretty much signifies our inability to hold on to a leading position in most cases. In just one game did we come from behind to salvage a point.

Francesco Serafino hasn't scored since the win over Aberystwyth at the start of the month, and nor does he look like scoring. It's not that we're failing to score, but if we could put our chances away then we might not be drawing so much. I spoke to Francesco at the end of the month and told him he needs to get back to scoring ways.

Three days after the Bala match we welcomed Connah's Quay to Bangor for a televised match. We continued with box to box man Olopade partnering Babos playing in a more attacking playmaker role. It was another game in which Olopade failed to perform and it was down to Liam Edwards to get our goal, latching on to a long, searching ball from Babos before coolly slotting past the keeper. It was an equaliser to a Quay penalty just three minutes before, Babos having bought their man down on the edge of the area. Neither team really hit the high notes in the second half, and 1-1 was how the game ended.

After the next match, in which we welcomed struggling Llanelli Town to Nantporth we had a couple of longer breaks between games, but the game itself was the biggest farce you might expect to see. There are matches every year where people say the refree had no control, well this referee had too much control. Had he been a traffic cop then it would have been a bumper day for money recouped from traffic fines. He dished out nine yellow cards and, much worse for us, he sent Billy Sass-Davies off in the sixth minute for a second yellow card. Yes, I did say sixth minute. To be fair, from the moment the ref dished out a yellow to Billy, in the second minute, then the defender should have been the definition of calm. For him to go rashly in to a challenge just four minutes later showed a lack of discipline I had to address after the game.

Despite the chaos we actually took the lead twice in this game. You might be thinking, 'wow, a man down and they still bossed the game'. I was happy with that, I won't lie. But to hand it back to Llanelli so easily was a matter of utmost frustration for me. It was the defensive quality...or lack of...that had me fuming. For their first equaliser my defense managed to switch off enough to leave three - count them, three - Llanelli players unmarked at the back post. For the second goal, Scott Wilson was apparently bird watching when he allowed their forward to waltz past him and finish unopposed.

It was a shame for Wilson after he had given us the lead right on half time with a powerful headed finish from Serafino's free kick (our talisman might not be scoring, but at least he can provide from time to time). Our first goal had been a well timed back post header from Liam Edwards. 2-2 was how the game finished and I was far from happy. Sass-Davies took the brunt of my wrath.

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As I said, we had a nicer break before the next match. We had a whole five days off before we travelled down to Cardiff to face the students. Our opponents were having a good season, and we would have to be at out very best to take three points home. Capitano Rea was back in defence to replace the suspended Sass-Davies, and I replaced the poor of form Tom Price with the defensive, yet more creative, Marcus Dackers. It turned out to be a good move. We were fantastic as we trounced the student team 3-0. Alex Babos opened the scoring with a lovely edge of the area strike off an Edwards lay off. After that I will be honest and say that Cardiff bossed possession. They failed to do much with that possession however, and I feel we just wore the amateurs down. Denzelle Olopade scored our late second with another long range strike and Poch Junior finished them off when he stabbed home a Neto cross. I travelled home very happy.

The last game of our mammoth month was after a wonderful seven day break. We travelled westerly down the coast to Aberystwyth, a town that feels miles from bloody anywhere. Having secured a good 2-1 win at the start of the month against the same opposition I hoped for more of the same. Sadly, it was another case of not holding on to a lead. We really looked devoid of any passion, and had it not been for Poch and Scott Wilson we may have gotten absolutely nothing from the game. After Wilson had turned home a Poch freekick for his third goal of the season we looked comfortable enough that I really thought we'd see the game out. Poch was knackered and I gave him a rest on seventy-eight minutes. Two minutes later they scored from a free kick that Atkinson flapped miserably at. Our young English keeper has been above Brino in the pecking order for a couple of months now, but I wasn't happy with that flap. My scouts have made me aware of a very able goalkeeping talent that is transfer listed at Maidenhead. I dropped Brino because he was making bizarre mistakes, and now his deputy. I may have to spend more money in January.

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Things are tight at the top of the Premier, and that is frustrating what with us dropping ten points this month. I've been urged to consider that we played three teams challenging at the top of the table this month, in TNS, Bala and Cardiff, so perhaps we got a reasonable haul of five points from those games. We still dropped six points to teams we should have beaten however, and that is what bugs me. Six points would have put us in a very commanding position.

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Corbett Sports Welsh Premier Football League as at 17.00, Sunday 30th October 2022

With the games done, that just leaves me to decide upon my Player Of The Month for October 2022. Maurizio Pochettino has been fantastic in a month in which I really needed my whole squad. When I handed him a start he took it with open hands and delivered the goods. He got a payrise, too, for appearances and fully deserved it. Thank you Poch Junior. 

We have two cup games in November; the 3rd round of the Welsh Cup and an Irn-Bru Cup Quarter Final in Northern Ireland. Then it is a nice break before fixtures start up again on New Year's Eve. Should we negotiate the Irn-Bru Quarter then we may face a Semi in early December, but we'll see, what with the World Cup. I've pencilled in a break for the players late November though. We'll need a mini pre-season late December.

Prestatyn and Larne to come, then a rest for all. Even me, I think. I'm sure the boss will want me for something though.

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Edited by anagain

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November 2022

Just the two cup games in November and two differing results. It felt very much like a winding down to a season, and just because our next game will not be for over forty days. I could sense the players were looking forward to the break I had promised them.

First up was the Welsh Cup and a trip along the coast highway to Prestatyn. Prestatyn is nice in the summer. Beaches, amusements and the general buzz of the British seaside. A November afternoon in the drizzle does not evoke the same feels, and I think my lads were in the mood of the latter. It was a nervy affair won by us through a defence stretching Edwards goal and another long ranger from Alex Babos. I ask my midfielders to shoot on sight and it's working for Babos and Olopade.

Sadly, Olopade didn't get the chance to try from range. He was sent off by another over zealous referee inside fifteen minutes. It was not worthy of a straight red, but my post match appeal fell of death ears.

Another reason for the nerves may have bene the fact that I experimented with a new wing back based formation for the game. My full backs are evidently not fans of playing as the focused widemen though. Both Dalia and Owens had games that were a shadow of their normal efforts. I'll put that one in the cupboard for later.

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A week later we travelled over to Northern Ireland for the cup competition I wouldn't overly mind bowing out of. We faced Larne FC, who are currently heading the Danske Bank Premiership. They also managed the same round in the Euro Cup II as we did, only losing narrowly to Grasshoopers. It would not be as easy a tie as I had thought it might be.

We reverted back to our practiced 4-3-3 for turned out to be a very cagey affair in which neither team got in to full flow. My lads were just devoid of interest, and I think it may have rubbed off from my dislike of having to be in this competition. There was so little effort, and when I asked them to show some passion they looked at me as if I were asking them to wash my car...with a tissue.

The match was won my Larne courtesy of a very unfair deflection off of Alex Babos in to our goal. I told the lads that I didn't mind losing, but the manner of defeat was what upset me. I think we can be proud of two Quarter Finals in two years in this tinpot cup.

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Whilst there were just two matches I will keep up with my Player Of The Month tradition. It's hard to pick anyone from the Larne game, so I'm making my choice on the Welsh Cup tie. It goes to Alex Babos for a very good performance against Prestatyn.

We had one training session after the Larne game and then let the lads head off for some free time. There are youth games during the break, so it's not like the club will be quiet. The lads will be back in December for some friendlies. I fully intend for us to take this league by storm when games re-commence.

Edited by anagain

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World Cup and December 2022

Qatar Winter World Cup

The first ever winter world cup kicked off November 21st as Qatar hosted Croatia in their first world cup appearance. In front of their home fans many hoped it'd be a successful first appearance. It wasn't quite so. The hosts lost all three games in Group A; 0-2 versus Croatia, 1-2 versus U.S.A. and, in the decider for bottom spot, 0-1 versus Morocco. In the group A top spot decider the U.S.A. shocked Croatia 1-0.

Germany were Group B winners, trouncing Uruguay 4-1 in the process and finishing with three wins out of three. South Korea and Sweden packed their bags and headed home, the Asian team failing to score.

In Group C Portugal slipped up against Burkina Faso. They drew 0-0 with the African newcomers in a game in which they managed twenty-two shots but only thirty-six percent possession. This slip up allowed Argentina to claim top spot. Burkina Faso failed to capitalise on their point from the Portugal game, losing 0-3 to Argentina and 0-2 to Greece. Portugal did bounce back to secure second place courtesy of beating the Greeks 3-0.

Group D was well and trully bossed by a rampant France who won all three games without conceding. Australia were the surprise runners-up courtesy of securing the only other win of the group against Senegal.

In Group E it was England who progressed unbeaten, and they were joined by Chile who won their decider with Poland 3-2.

Group F saw favourites Belgium and Spain progress, but Iran took them close. The west Asian nation scared Belgium when they nearly turned over a 3-0 deficit and then managed a 1-1 draw with Spain. They thrashed Costa Rica 6-1 but ultimately went home. Los Ticos will be seriously disappointed with their showing, conceding a whopping thirteen goals.

Group G saw Brazil progress comfortably win three wins, and then saw Mexico send home the Dutch with a 2-0 win. The Dutch had looked great in their first match, thrashing a luckless Mali 5-0, but they were disappointing versus the Mexicans and the Brazilians. Gabriel Jesus scored a hattrick in seven minutes as ten man Brazil whooped the Dutch. Coutinho had been sent off midway through the first half, but it took the Dutch also having a man sent off to see them score.

Group H was by far the closest with Italy, Russia and Colombia fighting amongst themselves to qualify. The results would depend very much on who could do best against a poor showing Nigeria. Colombia could only draw 2-2 with the Africans, and despite beating Russia 2-1 in the final game goal difference saw them going home. Russia qualified courtesy of holding the Italians to a 1-1 draw. The Italians beat both Nigeria and Colombia 5-1 in their other games. Italy looked very good.

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Germany and Italy continued their rampant form in to round 2, beating Croatia and Mexico respectively. England and France made it count on penalties, where as Belgium and Uruguay managed to do the business with an extra thirty minutes. Argentina and Brazil managed less than spectacular wins over Australia and Russia to reach the quarters.

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The Quarter Finals, the first day of matches saw Germany battle through a tight game versus Argentina and then France dominated Uruguay to march on. The matches on day two of the Quarters were by far the tightest. It took a late Divock Origi penalty for Belgium to beat Brazil 3-2, and then England progressed courtesy of a late Maddison volley.

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The Semis were two very contrasting affairs. France needed two late goals to beat Belgium in an entertaining first match. The second Semi ended in a very tight 1-0 scoreline in favour of Germany, but the match was anything but tight. Germany more than bossed the tie but English resiliance took it close. England's Danish manager, Jonas Dal, will surely be gutted that it took a ninety-third minute Antonio Rudiger header from a corner defeated his men.

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England claimed third place with a 2-1 victory over Belgium in Doha, before the lights came down on the big final between France and Germany a day later. It was the German center back pairing of Niklas Süle and Matthias Gunter that dominated to help the Germans secure a 2-0 victory. A fifth German victory to take them level with Brazil.

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It was a great tournament for Tottenham front man Divock Origi, securing the Golden Boot and being named third best player. It ultimately ended in disappointment as belgium were beaten to fourth spot. Bizarrely Origi has only managed six appearances and one goal since he moved to Tottenham in the summer.

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Back Home

Back home in North Wales we could only watch the stars from afar. The lads returned from the little break I had given them and we set about a mini pre-season before they enjoyed Christmas with their families. We returned to league action on New Year's Day as we welcomed strugglers Harverfordwest to Nantporth. In a world away from the megastars battling out a World Cup win, we at least performed like stars to record a great 3-0 win.

Francesco Serafino got his first goal in eleven games to open the scoring, and then Edwards and Wilson backed him up. Haverfordwest were never in the game, and it was great to see my lads at their best. With Olopade suspended I had played Tom Price in the box to box role and I think I may have found his best position. Our midfield was so dominant.

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We go in to 2023 with a two point lead over Bala and Cardiff. The New Saints struggled to a 1-1 draw with bottom placed Connah's Quay to give us a nice four point edge on them.

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Corbett Sports Welsh Premier Football League as at 18.00, Saturday 31st December 2022

Not much football to analyse to pick my Player Of The Month and I'll give it to our talisman Serafino. He's back to scoring ways and he played a great link up forward role against Haverfordwest, creating two chances. I'm just glad he's scored again.

Six games in January. Another busy month in which we're still working around the World Cup. It's an easier month too. Just Barry are having a great season. We meet them in the cup, but it's the league encounter in a week that could define our season. Not going to matter if we can't beat the smaller teams though. 

If we perform as we did against Haverfordwest then we will win all our games. We have a transfer window too. Aldair Neto wants out and I'll try to sell him, but anyone we get in is going to be doing so because they're quality. Maybe I'll try for Haverfordwest's Dyson again. He can't be happy in the relegation places, but will he still want too much.

Back next year.

 

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On 10/02/2020 at 20:41, Nobby_McDonald said:

Back to normality now then.

As far as Germany ploughing their way through another tournament, yeah. Not so sure about Origi being golden boot...

I am ready for another episode, when I find time to write it. 

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Cracking read.  

I too had to Google 'Bangor City' to see if this was fiction or not...  their squad looks nuts!!

Which skin do you use?  Looks great

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On 12/02/2020 at 16:06, davey247 said:

Cracking read.  

I too had to Google 'Bangor City' to see if this was fiction or not...  their squad looks nuts!!

Which skin do you use?  Looks great

Thank you. Yeah, I notice their squad is even more diverse now. For some reason they are not setting the Cymru North alight in real life however.

The skin is Heffem.

 

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