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FM20: The English Football League thread

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20 minutes ago, warlock said:

Well, I didn't see that coming. Unfinished business, or so enjoyable you had to do it again?

Whatever the motivation I wish you well :thup:

Cheers. I liked managing them before, like some of their young players, like the new stadium plan (if it happens) and think they're a club on the up with the impact of Ian Holloway. I even feel like I already 'know' the Chairman and MD from my last spell there.  

P.S. Your comments on 6th November 2018: "I can say that I'll definitely be doing a Grimsby save this year - they just seemed like a step too far while I figure out how this year's version is going to work" and a day later: " It's Grimsby... there's definitely something fishy about your choice! :lol: .What can I say... I'm annoyed that you took one of my prospects; I'm delighted that you're giving The Mariners a chance at success (I know you won't let them down); and I'm annoyed that you took a punt on a tough challenge that I bottled out of. Yes, the last is on me, but still... :p. Seriously, I wish you well, and I'm looking forward to following your progress".

https://community.sigames.com/topic/454323-fm19-the-english-football-league-thread/

I still don't recall seeing you at Blundell Park though:herman:

Edited by Jogo Bonito

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21 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

I still don't recall seeing you at Blundell Park though:herman:

What can I say? I was going to do it after Ipswich but you just stole one of my prospects again :p

Oh well, looks like I'm going to be busy for a while... and with 6 games to go!

8asENxlh.png?1

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Congratulations with Ipswich. The beauty of L1 & L2 is that after one promotion you don't necessarily feel your time is over. Good luck sustaining yourself at the higher level. I'm off for fish and chips.

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4 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

I'm off for fish and chips

God, I could murder fish and chips :(

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Just now, warlock said:

God, I could murder fish and chips :(

Isn't that only allowed on a Friday? Should give you time to get to Grimsby :brock:

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Great updates guys!

@Jogo Bonito - loving the xmas tree formation. Although have never managed to make that work in FM. But I have fond memories of the Milan side with Kaka, Seedorf and Rui Costa doing all sorts of damage with it. Good luck with Grimsby! Are you putting the Swedish adventure on hold?

@warlock - fantastic effort with Ipswich. I had such a fun game with them on FM19. Are you playing Dozzell a lot?

@goonergez - have really enjoyed reading all your updates. I would suggest seeing the season out and then staying with the same save. Will be interesting to see what jobs you get. Also by this time there would have been a huge turn-around of players and I really enjoy scouting for & finding new-gens. Hopefully your reputation has improved enough to get one of the top Championship or struggling Premier league clubs, maybe even one of the relegated ones?

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3 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

Are you playing Dozzell a lot?

I was, but he suffered a hip injury in February that meant he missed the rest of the season. Hopefully, it won't affect his long-term development.

And I'm playing with most of Ipswich's youngsters - have had Dozzell, Downes and El Mizouni in the first team since week 1; Folami was promoted in December, Dylan Crowe (FB) in January, and Nydam in March when he returned to fitness. Not sure how much the last two will feature in the Championship, but they'll get their chance in the cups (as will Lankester).

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22 minutes ago, warlock said:

I was, but he suffered a hip injury in February that meant he missed the rest of the season. Hopefully, it won't affect his long-term development.

And I'm playing with most of Ipswich's youngsters - have had Dozzell, Downes and El Mizouni in the first team since week 1; Folami was promoted in December, Dylan Crowe (FB) in January, and Nydam in March when he returned to fitness. Not sure how much the last two will feature in the Championship, but they'll get their chance in the cups (as will Lankester).

I remember Nydam progressing very well for me and forming a great partnership with Dozzell as BBM & DLP. Lankester looked great when FM20 first came out but then seems to have been nerfed in the subsequent update. 

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19 minutes ago, karanhsingh said:

Lankester looked great when FM20 first came out but then seems to have been nerfed

Well, he hasn't kicked a ball in 10 months, and - currently in game - it will be at least another two weeks before he can begin recovery, so a nerf seems pretty reasonable. The question is whether he can recover. It'll be clearer once we get to pre-season.

My biggest problem right now is that HoYD Bryan Klug's contract is about to expire and the board won't let me give him the wages he wants to renew. He'd be a huge loss :(

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4 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

@goonergez - have really enjoyed reading all your updates. I would suggest seeing the season out and then staying with the same save. Will be interesting to see what jobs you get. Also by this time there would have been a huge turn-around of players and I really enjoy scouting for & finding new-gens. Hopefully your reputation has improved enough to get one of the top Championship or struggling Premier league clubs, maybe even one of the relegated ones?

I have indeed stuck it out. There was a mini revival but all in all it’s going to end up a very disappointing season. We’re nowhere near the play-offs and sandwiched down in the bottom half of the table.

im thinking I may stick another year out with Coventry yet, depending on if any really exciting jobs become available. I feel like I’m really close to getting things right with this side. The issue has been goal scoring really, and I’m regretting not bringing Brewster back again. Hunter started the season as he finished the last, and then about ten games in just stopped scoring altogether. Defensively we’re strong enough, and we absolute dominant some games. Just lack a cutting edge in front of goal. I reckon with just a couple of new signings in the summer I can take this team from the bottom half right up to fighting it out at the top.

ive got six games left in the season, so will assess once it draws to a close. But whether I stay or leave Coventry I’ve already started looking at potential targets for my current team in the summer. A striker is a necessity and I reckon a real creative goal scoring playmaker would come in handy too. Other than that I honestly believe this team is close.

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Going to start a save with Burton Albion tonight due to them having excellent training and youth facilities.

I had a really enjoyable save with Burton on FM2019 so looking to replicate that and will post my progress in here.

Has anyone else played as Burton on FM2020, any advice ?

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59 minutes ago, warlock said:

My biggest problem right now is that HoYD Bryan Klug's contract is about to expire and the board won't let me give him the wages he wants to renew. He'd be a huge loss :(

I had that with Klug too. But then at the death (possibly working on NC terms) he dropped his demands and signed on. I had this scenario with one of my U18 staff at Hull too, so keep going back in there and it should work eventually.

54 minutes ago, goonergez said:

ive got six games left in the season, so will assess once it draws to a close. But whether I stay or leave Coventry I’ve already started looking at potential targets for my current team in the summer. A striker is a necessity and I reckon a real creative goal scoring playmaker would come in handy too. Other than that I honestly believe this team is close.

Good to see you stuck it out and may even do another year. Fair play to you.

5 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

Great updates guys!

@Jogo Bonito - loving the xmas tree formation. Although have never managed to make that work in FM. But I have fond memories of the Milan side with Kaka, Seedorf and Rui Costa doing all sorts of damage with it. Good luck with Grimsby! Are you putting the Swedish adventure on hold?

Hammarby is not on hold, just on rotation with this and Brentford. If only you had created the thread, I would post my main squad, reserve squad and U18 squad so you can check some of the players I recruited. You probably saw I have taken Yahya Kalley and Kevin Harletun from Sweden to Grimsby (both should be easily available at the outset for English lower leagues). I am guessing you are struggling to get the number of Swedes you need in your match day squad over there, so they may be worth looking at.

I didn't suggest the formation was working at Grimsby though! It's not, to be honest. I'm in September and the attacking part of the side isn't really delivering yet. Defensively the side is not too bad apart from one disintegration which I will share on the next update. I've scrambled a couple of wins to date, but I am struggling in the league so far (bottom third). Far from putting me off, this is presenting exactly the challenge I was after. I've had too many unrealistic cruises to success in FM20 (Bristol Rovers in the demo, then Bolton and Hull) so this is refreshing. For that reason, I am persevering with the core aspects of the tactic even if it is failing me. Realistically Grimsby won't be challenging for promotion this year so this isn't causing me any anxiety at all*

*Next year, they are my tip for a PO spot in reality. I'm not sure if I will be capable of matching this bold prediction myself in game though.

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3 hours ago, Jogo Bonito said:

I had that with Klug too

Cheers, buddy. I was hoping it might resolve as we got closer to the new season.

3 hours ago, Jogo Bonito said:

this is presenting exactly the challenge I was after

Sounds good, and I'm looking forward to the update :thup:

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Coventry.png.8b360252107e04305d78cd39d3b

Coventry City: 2024/25 Season Review

After last seasons play-off heartbreak, we had a fairly busy summer preparing to attempt to at least match those achievements. I was very pleased with the squad that we were going to take into the season, and was confident that we could push on and have a solid and possibly successful season.

Those hopes didn't subside in the early stages of the season, as we kicked off by thumping last years play-off competitors Bristol City 4-0 away from home. A tremendous start, and we followed it up with another convincing victory over a potential promotion battling rival, by beating Brentford 3-0 at home. Our fine start continued with a third straight clean sheet, as newly promoted Hull City were beaten 2-0 to make it three victories in three games to kick off the season. We did suffer defeat for the first time in our next game, as we suffered a turnaround 1-2 defeat to Sheffield United, who we had beaten in last years play-offs. We ended the opening month strongly though, bouncing back to record victories against Millwall and Cardiff City.

September was a short and mixed month (a win, a draw and a loss), but we were still solidly sat near the promotion places. October then started with wins over Wigan Athletic and Middlesbrough before we picked up two, more than acceptable 1-1 draws against Huddersfield Town and recently relegated Nottingham Forest. The month ended in a disappointing defeat to Crystal Palace, but we still sat comfortably within the play-off positions. We were looking upwards rather than downwards, and performances had been pretty good. Defensively we looked solid, and up front Ashley Hunter was carrying on from last year by finding the net on a regular basis.

This was the point our season turned though. We went winless through a busy November, including a truly embarrassing 0-5 defeat away to Derby County. More disappointing as it was a team we beat both home and away last season. December didn't go much better, as we went all the way through to boxing day before we picked up a victory. Thirteen matches after our last win, we beat Huddersfield Town 2-1 at the Ricoh Arena, to at least stop the rot. We didn't manage to win back-to-back games though, eventually losing an entertaining game 3-5 to Norwich City to end the year. Very frustrating as we'd fought back from 0-2 to lead 3-2 midway through the second half.

The turn of the year saw the opening of the transfer window, and I felt we definitely needed some new faces around to try and help us halt the slide. I made my priority the signing of a striker, but we struggled to attract any particularly big names. In the end we signed a younger option, but a player i'd been watching for over a year. 19-year old John Coleman had been impressing in League Two with Solihull Moors, scoring 25 league goals over the last season and first half of this one. We moved quickly to grab his signature from a number of other clubs, agreeing a deal of £1,500,000 to bring him in. I have really big hopes for him over the next few years.

Our only other incoming was a goalkeeper, and wasn't really pre-planned. Despite a strong start I hadn't been impressed by Marek Rodak, and so 24-year old Billy Crellin joined us from Nottingham Forest for a £1,000,000 (potentially rising to £1,300,000 in appearances) fee. He'd conceded just 20 goals in 26 league games for them this season, and should've been a significant upgrade for us. His arrival was the cue for second choice keeper Joel Coleman to be shown the door. He joined DC United on loan for a year, with a mandatory fee of £1,000,000 at the end of it.

We raked in a little over £500,000 on two young players over the month. Centre back Ben Richardson departing for Fulham and Adam Street to Reading. Raising funds on players who weren't of use to us. We also managed to pick up even more money for players I didn't want to keep. Striker Joshua Rimmer looked an exciting prospect when I signed him, but he really hadn't impressed. Having not scored a single league goal all season, he was sold to Burnley for £2,000,000. Summer arrival Yang Mingyang also left, joining Lausanne FC in Switzerland for £900,000, after making just four league appearances for us. Finally was a deal I wasn't sure what to do with. Andre Green hadn't hit the heights of last season but had performed solidly enough. When Millwall offered us £3,400,000 (rising to £4,000,000 in add-ons) I accepted and he was gone. Andrija Vidovic and Sezgin Aleksiev were keeping him out of the starting line up anyway, and this deal funded both of our summer arrivals, with a chunk of money still making it into the clubs coffers.

We did kick off the new year with a win, but to be honest the transfers didn't make any difference to our form. We won a few games, but we still headed in a downhill direction. We did pick up the odd win, but lost and drew a whole lot more. Ashley Hunter had stopped scoring, and as a team we just struggled to put the ball in the net. Chances were created, but we weren't scoring goals. Wingers Aleksiev and Vidovic impressed, but we just struggled to put together any sort of positive form. We have to be thankful that we started the season so well, or else we could have found ourselves in real trouble as the season drew to a conclusion.

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Even the cup competitions were a disappointment for us, as we managed to only win the one game. We made complete changes in the League Cup, and crashed out at the first hurdle to Queens Park Rangers, losing 1-2 to a goal in injury time. In the FA Cup a much changed side smashed League Two Wrexham 4-0 in the Third Round, but were then dismantled 0-3 by Cardiff City in the next. We didn't perform that badly, just fell apart during the second half.

I'm still a little unsure as to what I should do next with my career. This is the first season in which I've felt we've gone backwards, and it worries me. I am edging towards sticking with it for another year, and having a proper good attempt to take this side to promotion. I really feel like this squad is not a million miles away from success. It's a young group that should keep improving, and with the right additions I think we can genuinely push on. A goal getter is an absolute must over the summer though. Especially in the latter stages of the season, our poor performances in front of goal seriously cost us. Too many games passed where we went down 0-1, and didn't have the fire power to fight back. That will have to be solved. I also feel that we need a truly creative attacking midfielder. I'm happy with our options on the flanks, and both Aleksiev and Vidovic popped up with goals. If I can add somebody to play just behind our striker, i'll definitely fancy us to move up the table. It was unbelievably demoralising to keep losing games 0-1 or 1-2, as well as controlling games and creating more opportunities than our opposition. It really feels like the biggest of summers lie ahead.

 

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Great update @goonergez although I noticed that your goals for tally was actually one of the best in the division despite what you said about a lack of goals. Anyway, good luck with your new season, I hope the new recruits help you make more progress.

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Season 1

Well, what an interesting two months it's been since the League 2 campaign began with a very late set piece winner from central defender Luke Waterfall at Morecambe

As you can see after that my team couldn't score often, and when we did, we threw away a 2-0 lead at Forest Green and conceded three in the final 23 minutes to lose 3-2

In the very next game Colchester scored an equaliser after 90+5 minutes to deny us again, and we failed to score again in the next two games too as we plummeted to 19th

September got off to a nervy start but the defence was impeccable as confidence and momentum built up steadily in an unlikely unbeaten run of six games

Our shutout run was finally ended last time out, but my two main attacking hopes for the season suddenly found a goal each and we have hoisted ourselves to 6th

With two such contrasting months so far, anything can happen and it wouldn't be a shock at all if we went win-less in October

Time will tell on that front, but at least we have shown we can scramble a few results even if in truth we have been fairly unconvincing in our performances

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Edited by Jogo Bonito

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32 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

what an interesting two months it's been

That's a great turnaround from August to September. Here's hoping for more of the same in October, although with low expectations you can probably enjoy the journey :)

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4 hours ago, goonergez said:

I'm still a little unsure as to what I should do next with my career

Can't say much more than we said earlier, but you've certainly given them a fair go :thup:

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3 minutes ago, warlock said:

That's a great turnaround from August to September. Here's hoping for more of the same in October, although with low expectations you can probably enjoy the journey :)

Yeah, it's great not really having any pressure. And I don't mind where we end up as long as we aren't relegated. Now let us try to get some defeats in the Pointless Cup if we can...

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So my first season with Tranmere we pretty dire if I'm honest. After a flying start of 5 wins from 6 league games including some of the big boys we then knocked Newcastle out of the Carabao cup and went on to beat Doncaster 1-0 in a controlled performance the week after. 

It went downhill from here winning just 1 game in my next 20 (yes TWENTY) in all competitions including a 1-0 FA Cup first roun defeat at home to Stevenage. 

A major formation and system change helped me only lose 3 of my remaining games finishing 14th come end of the season.

A lot of players who didnt impress, youngsters and ageing players left leaving me with just 15 first teamers so a major rebuild is required, low finances my hamper this rebuild so I think a few seasons of money making may be needed in order to push on. 

Lets see what happens!!

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Coventry City: 2025/26 Season Preview

For the first time in my career I felt the need to spend some money this summer, chasing the two or three new arrivals that I felt we needed in order to push forward and compete higher up the league table. Thankfully although we managed to spend some money, we brought in just short of what we spent, which to me is still an important part of how I want to do things here. I listened to all the words from you guys on here, but decided that I just couldn't bring myself to walk away from this club yet. I feel a bit like I've only half completed my job here, so will be sticking here for at least this season.

I had already identified that we needed a creative midfield player, and a true goal scoring striker, but there was to be another position needed as well. Finding a central defender became a priority after Benfica denied us the opportunity to bring Sebastian Picco back to the club on loan. Veteran Craig Dawson also opted to retire (although he was nly really a fringe squad player for us), leaving us short of two players from last season who could play in the centre of defence. Furthermore we allowed young centre back Cian Cosslett to leave again too, joining Burton Albion on loan for the campaign in order to get some regular game time. Fellow youngster Bryn Collins also left on loan, joining Basingstoke. 

Young striker Alan Currie was allowed to leave at the end of his contract, joining Kilmarnock. I was very excited when we signed him from Luton Town a few years back, but baring the occasional glimpses he never really showed his quality, and I wasn't willing to give him a new contract. Fellow youngster Joao Vasques also left on a permanent deal, joining Chaves for £155,000 for the same reasons as Currie.

Our need for a striker was further enhanced, as I allowed two more of our options in that position to leave the club. Our top goal scorer of the last two seasons had become unsettled with the club, and towards the end of last season seriously frustrated me with his barren runs and wasted opportunities. I decided now was the time to cash in on Ashley Hunter, and he left to join Reading for £6,500,000 potentially rising to £7,750,000. We also allowed youngster Gareth Chambers to leave, and he went to AFC Wimbledon for £170,000. Our final departure of the summer was on goalkeeper Marek Rodak after just one season. He started strongly, but fell behind January arrival Billy Crellin in the pecking order. With Jakub Ojrzynski a more than able backup, we accepted an offer of £200,000 from Juventus to let the Slovakian leave the club.

We ended our summer having brought in six new faces, and filling the three positions I really felt we needed to address. Our most expensive signing was the man I was hoping would fire in goals for us on a regular basis. I parted with a lofty £6,000,000 to bring in 24-year old striker Timmy Abraham from AFC Wimbledon. He'd scored 54 goals over the last three seasons with them, and was the man I had already decided I wanted before the previous season came to a close. To back him up were two further options. 19-year old Daniel Pitman joined on loan from Tottenham Hotspur. He scored 23 goals in 43 league appearances for Blackpool in League One last season, and is also capable of playing on either of the wings. The same can be said for Gabriel Ogunseri, who was picked up on a free transfer from last season's Championship winners, Nottingham Forest. The 23-year old looks like a really bright talent, and came highly recommended from our scouting department.

Being unable to bring Picco back to the club on loan left a rather large hole in the centre of our defence, so big I actually worried it would be able to be filled. I think we managed it though, with 22-year old Australian international Michael Davidson. He will be first choice partner for Joel Latibeaudiere, and cost us just £800,000 from Sydney FC in the A-League. He was linked with a whole host of Championship clubs, and I was absolutely delighted to get him playing here with us at the Ricoh Arena.

The other position i'd highlighted was that of a creative midfield player to play through the centre. After looking around the options seemed limited, before a player popped up who looked like a perfect fit. Former Birmingham City and Hull City man Jon Toral had spent the last five seasons in Spain with Las Palmas, and was the chosen man. £500,000 later and the 30-year old was being photographed in his Coventry City shirt for the club website. Our final arrival was that of 25-year old winger Nathan Tormey. He was signed for just £250,000 from Leeds United and will offer cover for us on the flanks.

Having filled the necessary gaps in our squad, we can go into this season full of hope for a positive campaign. What's pleasing for me is that we managed to strengthen the squad, yet still without an overly ridiculous net spend. Progress on last season shouldn't prove very difficult at all, but I am expecting more than just that. I'm desperate to get another crack at the play-offs, although after our summer activity the media still only predict us an 18th placed finish. It is even worse with the bookmakers, who give us odds of just 9-1 to be relegated from the division. I'm confident that that won't happen, and even our board are showing a growth in ambition this season. They want us to finish in the top half of the league table, something I am very keen to achieve as an absolute minimum. 

 

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@goonergez An absolutely fantastic update and great to read all about your ins and outs. I really hope your enthusiasm is rewarded with a tremendous season.

@QuassoRP I think that is a decent finish with Tranmere and with a small 15 man squad left, hopefully you can get the right additions to improve in season 2.

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12 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

@goonergez An absolutely fantastic update and great to read all about your ins and outs. I really hope your enthusiasm is rewarded with a tremendous season.

Cheers for the kind words once more. Trust me i'm hoping that this is the season as well. I've got a day off work today, so it'll be a marathon in Coventry for me. We've started the season pretty well though, so long may it continue.

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SWFC Feb2021:

At Christmas I was unconvinced that I would manage to topple Burnley and Southampton, and despite some indifferent form, I'm now 6 points behind Burnley but 6 points ahead of the Saints who have competely fell off the rails!

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January was quiet, I brought in an extra man in CM in Aursnes as Bannan and Kane have struggled with injuries. Westwood retired saving 33k per week, but I was unable to secure any improvement in goal, so I have Dawson as my only keeper for the year. I'm hopeful for promotion, but have just lost Kadeem Harris to a broken ankle and Forestieri after a sensational 2019/2020 season has been plagued by injuries all season.

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Burton Albion Season 1 Review

In my first season at Burton Albion was better then I thought as I got promoted as Champions of League 1.

I don't have the best of squads so was surprised by how well I did.

My main players were top scorer was Josh Barrett with a massive 11 goals lol, Barrett also got 9 assists, I have made an offer to loan him again for another season from Reading.

 Jacob Butterfield with the best average rating of 7.32 and has the most Man Of The Match awards with 9.

I got given 350k to spend in the summer but shifted that into my wage budget as I am mostly going to sign freebies and loan in players for the difficult 2nd season.

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1 hour ago, Ronaldo Beckham said:

 Jacob Butterfield with the best average rating of 7.32

I've been a fan of Butterfield for a couple of years now, but I think L1 is about his level. And having won L1 at a canter with Ipswich, I should warn you that we're currently P4 L4 in the Championship :seagull: But, I honestly wish you well in the Tough Division :thup:

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@Ronaldo Beckham Nice job getting Burton promoted. They have some handy players like Hutchinson, Akins, Fraser and Boyce (now departed), whilst the likes of Quinn, O'Toole and Murphy have all had decent careers in the past. I see that Fraser and Boyce aren't in the screen shot, did you cash in on them both?

@jonathan44 Good luck in your promotion challenge, you obviously put some pressure on Southampton and they crumbled.

@warlock Ouch! I'm interested to see how your squad shaped up. Keep the faith, you'll be alright.

 

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Season 1

I'm rattling along at Grimsby (for my usual pace, which is about 0.01% of the speed most of you go...)

October saw a slow start but one of those defeats was in the world's greatest Cup competition so can be counted as a win really

After that, the league form was good and by the end of the month we were in the top six

November also started slowly and exiting the FA Cup at home to Fleetwood was especially disappointing (nobody likes losing to Joey Barton)

Even worse, we followed that up with a win in the Leasing.Com Trophy to turn a 4th placed standing in to 2nd and qualification for the next round (away to Fleetwood)

Hopefully, we can rile Barton enough in the build up so that his side can dump us out of that cup too 

We ended the month with a home win over Newport who were second at the time and a bore-draw at Northampton to sit 6th as we enter December

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As the graph below shows, results and our league position have been up and down, but that's all good and to be expected

What is clear is where the strengths and weaknesses of this team are (probably because of stubborn ideas about our tactics)

No teams have conceded less goals than us (12) but only three teams have scored less than our 18 in 19 league games

In other news, key player and shadow striker Moses Ogbu has unfortunately been transfer listed by request

Although the Nigerian should have Swedish as a second nationality, we look unlikely to be acquiring a new work permit for him when his contract ends in the summer

We already knew this because the plan had been to extend his contract, but it seems he has become aware and is concerned about his future  

The interaction options don't allow you to say what you want on this topic although ironically his agent says he doesn't want to leave (neither do we at the club)

All we can do is play him regularly until the end of the season as there are unlikely to be any takers at the inflated £250k asking price we have put on his head

Young defenders Mattie Pollock (son of ex-Middlesbrough midfielder Jamie) and Yahya Kalley have both been away representing their U18 national teams

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Edited by Jogo Bonito

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8 hours ago, warlock said:

I've been a fan of Butterfield for a couple of years now, but I think L1 is about his level. And having won L1 at a canter with Ipswich, I should warn you that we're currently P4 L4 in the Championship :seagull: But, I honestly wish you well in the Tough Division :thup:

Yeah I am looking forward to the challenge, I get bored of saves where I win easily, my favorite ever FM save was with Coventry when they were still in the Championship, I did 8 seasons and mostly only just stayed in the league, the highest I got was 15th.

 Cheers @Jogo Bonito, I still got Boyce, he got 7 goals for me but was injured a fair bit or I prefered to play Oliver Sarkic up front as he is a nice young player who has improved for me.

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I also got rid some of the old guard like Bywater, Quinn etc, I also got rid of O'Toole cos he was moaning a lot.

Here are my transfers for last season and the start of this season.

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I got high hopes on Devante Cole being a decent goalscorer for me.

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845741195_Grimsbysmall.jpg.dd8e33de2e9e34c608d43834ca66af57.jpg

Season 1

A common theme at Grimsby seems to be starting the new month slowly, and we did this again in December

Luckily this saw us dumped out of the Leasing.Com Trophy by Fleetwood and on the back of that high we then put in two excellent performances

The win at Carlisle was notable for a late goal by Chuma Anene who had started every game since his last goal in October and drawn a blank

Dropped to the bench for the trip to Brunton Park, he finally found the net again to put the gloss on a 2-0 win

Next time out he was restored to the starting line-up again, and the rejuvenated striker grabbed a brace as leaders and local rivals Scunthorpe were smashed 3-0

We somehow managed to lose 2-0 at bottom of the table Macclesfield after that, but Anene then scored both as we beat Crawley 2-0

The 'start of the month' curse struck again in January with two heavy losses, but a very fortunate and undeserved late win at Leyton Orient put us back on track

The last two outings have also seen wins to keep us in and around the play-off zone (5th at the end of January)

You'll see a couple of new names on the score sheet there in the last few games, the story behind that will be explained below

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The transfer window has been and gone, and whilst we couldn't offload the unwanted Isaac Buckley-Ricketts, we did add some quality to the ranks

The first of the new arrivals was a coup for us, with Shrewsbury midfielder Josh Laurent willing to drop a league for a fee of £120,000 and wage of £1800 per week

We also added Preston midfielder Tom Bayliss on loan and these two are a real touch of class for this level

The reason they were both recruited is two-fold, the first reason being that Harry Clifton picked up a calf injury in training on New Years Eve (ruled out for six weeks)

At exactly the same time, we lost Elliott Whitehouse to suspension (two games) and Jamey Osborne was needing a rest - leaving us with one fit central midfielder (we play with three)

On checking the squad at this point, it also became clear that this quartet had only produced one goal and two assists between them in 94 appearances this season

That was nowhere near enough, and if it wasn't for the goals of Moses Ogbu and Anene and assists of left-back Sam Habergham (our set-piece taker) we would never score at all

Paying £1800 per week for Laurent and the same for the loan-man Bayliss should hopefully boost the goal and assist likelihood for the rest of the term

Strangely, for a side scoring so few, we didn't make much effort to sign any striker in the transfer window

We did try to persuade ex-Mariners favourite Omar Bogle to return, but he wasn't ready to do so even though Cardiff had agreed a loan deal or a permanent transfer for him

Instead, the only striking addition was a pre-contract move that we had gambled on back in the autumn, and this was completed on 1st January

The man in question is a little-known Englishman called Joe Knowles, who has spent his professional career in Australia and had played a little for Perth Glory 

He has joined up with the U23 group, where he will be competing with Kevin Harletun to see who can be promoted to the main squad first

Next up is a clash with promotion challenging Forest Green, and we owe them after throwing away a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 there early in the season

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Edited by Jogo Bonito

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31 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

The last two outings have also seen wins to keep us in and around the play-off zone

Steady as she goes! If you win that game in hand will you start to feel some self-imposed pressure? :lol:

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15 minutes ago, warlock said:

Steady as she goes! If you win that game in hand will you start to feel some self-imposed pressure? :lol:

I'm not sure - maybe! The game in hand is after a snow postponement in January. Enjoying this, but would really like more than one season at this level.

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21 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

Enjoying this, but would really like more than one season at this level

I can see why - to both parts of that sentence. Maybe give some of the kids a go?

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I've already got 12 players aged 21 or under in the first team squad, five of them being 18 or under. Two or three of them play most games including a 17 year old centre back who is a regular. But yes, I might be able to start a few more of them more often.  The youngsters are making good progress and the number of HGC players in a year or two should be tremendous.

How are you getting on with The Tractor Boys?

Edited by Jogo Bonito

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Enjoying the updates fellas!

@Ronaldo Beckham on my last save Burton produced an amazing young English keeper who looked like he would go on to play for England and was drawing multi million pound offers. So yes it does seem like there's a good youth setup there. Hopefully you get a couple of gems 

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54 minutes ago, karanhsingh said:

Enjoying the updates fellas!

@Ronaldo Beckham on my last save Burton produced an amazing young English keeper who looked like he would go on to play for England and was drawing multi million pound offers. So yes it does seem like there's a good youth setup there. Hopefully you get a couple of gems 

Yeah they have state of the art training and youth facilities as they use St Georges Park which is the National Football Centre the England set up uses.

The problem is that the junior coaching and youth recruitment were rubbish but I am slowly upgrading them so I will hopefully start seeing some good youngsters coming through soon.

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11 hours ago, Jogo Bonito said:

How are you getting on with The Tractor Boys?

Haven't managed to play much over the weekend, which is a blessing really because we're struggling badly in the Championship. This is how we've started:

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I could forgive some of the early defeats against established Championship sides, but the home draw against Shrewsbury who came up with us from L1 was a major disappointment, as was the Carabao Cup draw against L1 Portsmouth, salvaged only by the penalty shootout. After that, I switched to a back-three/five to shore up the defence, which looked to have worked against Bristol City who were in the playoff places, but we were terrible against Hull, who were the only team in the division who started worse than us. We had a 2-1 lead in the final 10 minutes but couldn't hold on for the victory.

I wasn't able to improve the squad in the summer. The £500k transfer budget had to be moved into wages, so I had to rely on free deals that were barely like-for-like replacements. RB Donacien suddenly developed an ambition to play in Norway and he left for Molde on a £600k deal (of which the board gave me £200k), and he was replaced by young Portuguese Costinha on loan from Rio Ave. The only other fee received was £600k for Gwion Edwards to Hibs, but again only about £200k was made avaiable. Freddie Sears was finally moved out, but only on loan to Oldham who are, at least, paying his wages. LB Garbutt was released by Everton, but he wanted about twice as much in wages as I could afford to pay, so he was replaced by Brentford's Tom Field on a free.

On transfer deadline day, Stoke - who were promoted to the PL - came in with a last-minute bid for CM El-Mizouni. Although that raised an initial £1.2m (rising to £2.5m plus sell-on clauses) by that point the board had cut the retention rate to 20%, giving me around £500k in the transfer budget, and no time to spend it.

Our final piece of business was forced by the decision to play a back-three. Needing another CB, I picked up ex-Bristol City man Bailey Wright on a free.

As I say, not much improvement overall, but you'd think a squad that had the best attack and best defence en route to a record-breaking title in L1 could at least hold its own in the Championship.

I'm not entirely secure in the job, either. For that absolutely fantastic season in L1, the board rated my performance as a B-, and during a 13-game winning streak from January to March, they gave me a C for on-pitch performances (apparently, we should have been winning every game 3-0) :idiot:

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3 minutes ago, warlock said:

...but you'd think a squad that had the best attack and best defence en route to a record-breaking title in L1 could at least hold its own in the Championship.

I'm not entirely secure in the job, either. For that absolutely fantastic season in L1, the board rated my performance as a B-, and during a 13-game winning streak from January to March, they gave me a C for on-pitch performances (apparently, we should have been winning every game 3-0) :idiot:

Tough times, not an easy transfer window for you and that appears to be showing on the pitch. Hopefully the board will mellow a little and remember what you did last season. They do seem a 'hard to please' bunch from all of our experiences there though. That first league win will be massive, and it could change your fortunes. What was the board expectation for this season?

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Just now, Jogo Bonito said:

What was the board expectation for this season?

Battle bravely against relegation. Which should mean I'm safe, but I don't trust this board at all. That first win can't come soon enough!

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Burton Albion Season 2 Review

I managed to again outdo my expectations and get a very respectable position of 12th in the Championship despite probably having one of the worst squads in the division.

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My stand out players were Devante Cole who scored 18 goals, Jacob Butterfield again had the best average rating with 7.30 rating. Thomas Toure was my other standout player with 7 goals and 8 assists.

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I sold Liam Boyce as I had better players and got a decent fee of 500k for him, Stephen Fletcher barely made an impact so he went to Oldham on a free.

I am minus 1-2 million in the bank so my aim is to sell one of my high valued players to help with the bank balance.

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1 hour ago, Ronaldo Beckham said:

Burton Albion Season 2 Review

I managed to again outdo my expectations and get a very respectable position of 12th in the Championship despite probably having one of the worst squads in the division.

A very solid season to finish 12th - well done.

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1 minute ago, Jogo Bonito said:

A very solid season to finish 12th - well done.

Cheers buddy, I would of hated it if I got promoted to the Prem straight away, I have more fun struggling every year to stay in the league lol.

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Coventry City: 2025/26 Season Review

So another season has come and gone at the Ricoh Arena, and after a solid summer we were well prepared to get going. I was delighted in the calibre of players we managed to bring in during the transfer window, and we had filled all of the gaps that I felt was within our squad. Timmy Abraham had joined as our most expensive signing (under my management at least), and was given the huge task of firing the goals required to get us competing near the top of the league table.

We began the season in perfect fashion, smashing Preston North End 4-0 away from home on the opening day, before repeating the score line in a victory over Hull City a week later. A draw with recently relegated Portsmouth wasn't to be complained about, before a strong showing against Brentford gave us another win. A narrow 0-1 defeat to Fulham was very harsh on our performance, but we bounced back in perfect fashion. A seven match unbeaten run followed before we eventually suffered an extremely disappointing defeat away at Charlton Athletic. A defeat that saw us drop below West Ham at the top of the table.

November started with three straight defeats, before we finished the month strongly by beating Luton Town and Cardiff City. We were sat within the play-off positions, but already beginning to drift behind West Ham (who were flying along), Crystal Palace and Fulham. A loss to Reading started December off on the wrong foot, before we finished the year in red hot form. Defender Jordy de Wijs rescued us a point against Sheffield Wednesday, before we strung together four straight victories to sit comfortably in 4th position.

So January had come with us in the play-off positions, and I didn't feel we needed to conduct much business at all. Goalkeeper Joel Coleman completed his mandatory £1,000,000 move to DC United, which brought in some money to use. Our defence had been pretty strong so far, but was lacking in numbers. I moved to bring in a central defender and 22-year old Strahinja Jovanovic was the chosen man. He joined us from Paris St-Germain for £250,000 and looked more than able to perform when needed.

Deadline day was a hugely hurtful day for us though. Clubs had began circling around right winger Andrija Vidovic, and interest from the Premier League had turned his head. He demanded a transfer out of the club, much to my disappointment. In the end he didn't go up a league, but we were forced into selling him to fellow championship side Portsmouth. A club record received fee of £15,000,000 couldn't be declined. So after 120 league appearances for us with 22 goals and 27 assists, the 22-year old departed the club. Disappointingly to a team lower down the league than ourselves.

On the pitch the new year started with a cracker, as we came back from three goals behind to complete a turnaround and stun Stoke City 4-3. We followed it up with victory over Hull City, before dropping points to Preston North End and Portsmouth. February brought a tough start, with games against league leaders West Ham, and second placed Fulham. Shockingly we recorded victories in both, effectively clinching a play-off spot and allowing us to focus on fighting for automatic promotion. We followed those performances badly though, failing to score in our next four games, losing two and drawing 0-0 twice. Automatic hopes had basically gone, and we stuttered through the rest of the campaign. We ended up scrambling into the play-offs with a game to spare though, following a drab 0-0 draw with Huddersfield Town. We ended the season with a dire 0-2 defeat to Blackpool, but it didn't really matter. A 5th place finish my highest in charge of the club, and giving us a play-off campaign. We would play Stoke City over two legs, with Fulham and Bristol City competing in the other semi-final. We'd achieved my pre-season target, now it was about trying to go one better than two years back and clinch promotion. Our play-off campaign will be covered in a future update for reasons that will shortly become apparent.

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The cup competitions also proved to be positive for us this season. The League Cup came first, and I decided I would rest our key men and use some of our fringe players throughout. The First Round saw a delightful display from us against Reading away from home. Goals from Omar Banton, Gabriel Ogunseri and John Coleman saw us race into a first half lead, and although we switched off late on we held on, winning 3-2. My changed side yet again impressed in the Second Round. Centre back Michael Davidson and striker John Coleman scoring in each half to help us defeat Luton Town 2-1. The Third Round drew us against Manchester United at the Ricoh Arena. I decided to stick with my changed side, and we surprisingly managed to control the contest. A goal from Suso in first half injury time left us ruing our chances though, and we crashed out after a far from deserved 0-1 defeat.

The FA Cup has always felt important to me, and unlike in the League Cup I decided to name full strength sides throughout. The Third Round draw gave us Reading at home, and despite leaving it late we won. An 83rd minute goal from Andrija Vidovic giving us a 1-0 victory. Premier League opponents Wolves gave us a stern test, but a superb display gave us a 4-2 victory and a famous cup upset. Andrija Vidovic scored twice for us just days before he left the club. Fellow Championship side Portsmouth were next (Vidovic thankfully cup-tied), and a superb display again managed to put us into the Quarter Finals. Timmy Abraham bagging a brace in a dominant 3-1 victory.

My first FA Cup Quarter Final saw us drawn against Premier League opposition, as we travelled away to Everton. In a quite superb performance we took a 19th minute lead through an incisive finish from Timmy Abraham. We held on for so long before finally conceding an equaliser in the 73rd minute of the game. From then on we were defensively sublime though, holding onto the 1-1 score line through the final twenty minutes and the entirety of extra time. Goalkeeper Billy Crellin was our penalty shoot out hero, saving twice. Before club captain Jamie Allen stepped up confidently to stroke home the winning kick and put us into the semi-finals.

The semi-final stage couldn't have been harsher, with Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United making up the participants. We were drawn against Manchester United, and could look forward to a trip to Wembley, expected as nothing more than a nice day out for the fans. What came was probably the teams best performance under my management. Having clung on to 0-0 for much of the first half we were awarded a penalty in first half stoppage time. Consistent midfielder Harvey White put the ball down, before comfortably finding the corner of the net to give us the lead. The second half was as tense as it comes, but our defence stood firm. Time after time we denied the United attack, and clung on to win the game 1-0. Unbelievably we had reached the FA Cup final. The first team outside of the top flight to do so, since Millwall back in 2004. We would play Tottenham Hotspurs in the final, a game which will be reviewed in my next update.

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Overall a season which really couldn't have gone much better. Its a shame we couldn't fight it out for automatic promotion, but I said I wanted a play-off spot and we achieved just that. The FA Cup run is just an absolute fairy tale and almost beyond belief. I didn't expect us to win it, but to be in the final is an incredible achievement for us. Regardless of what was to happen in the play-offs or the FA Cup final, I don't think I can see myself walking away from this football club yet.

Our season was mainly down to our defence. Joel Latibeaudiere and Michael Davidson have formed a superb partnership at the centre of our defence, and in goal Billy Crellin has been sensational. To concede just 42 goals in our league campaign really is a great effort, and significant progress. Summer signing Timmy Abraham managed to do exactly what I wanted as well. £6,000,000 was a huge fee, but to bag 22 league goals in 45 appearances has gone a long way to justifying it already. I said last summer I wanted us to bring in a goal scorer, and he definitely stepped up to the plate. Losing Andrija Vidovic is a blotch on our season though, especially as I feel responsible for his development. Unfortunately as a club we can't turn down a sum like £15,000,000 though. He was on the cusp of earning international recognition whilst with us, something he did shortly afterwards. He managed to score on his Croatia debut too, and enjoyed a good end to the season with his new club. 

I don't think much strengthening will be needed in the summer, depending on whether we go up to the Premier League or not. This squad feels close to being heroic, and I wouldn't expect a very busy summer window. It may just prove to be a job of finding some promising younger players to add some squad depth. A lot would depend on what division we wold be playing next season...………………………………….

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@goonergez Regardless of what happens, that's a fantastic season and very much deserved. Good luck in the PO matches and the FA Cup final. Well done for the signings you made last summer to achieve this too. I noticed Allen was still there as captain, I recall many years ago signing him for Coventry when he was still at Rochdale (before his move to Burton), so for me it's nice to see him still heavily involved for you.

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Coventry City: 2025/26 Post Season Review

In a remarkable season for the club, Coventry City went into the post season still on the hunt for promotion back to the Premier League, and with a remarkable opportunity to compete in the final of the FA Cup. Having finished in 5th position in the Championship, we would play Stoke City across two legs for a spot in the play-off final. The first leg as at the Ricoh Arena, and despite a fairy poor finish to our league season I chose to name effectively the same side. It was a game of very few chances, and could almost be described as a game between two teams who really didn't want to lose. We never really got going, but defensively we were very rarely troubled either. A 0-0 draw was the end result, meaning the second leg at the Brittania Stadium just three days later, would be a one game shootout to reach Wembley.

The second leg was also a tense affair. We struggled to gain momentum early on, and our opponents controlled the ball and the game. As the first half wore on we went slightly more attacking, but it simply wasn't happening for us. Half time came and went, but two minutes into the second period we fell behind. Poor defending from a corner saw Paddy McNair head home from close range. We still struggled to create anything of note, and eventually conceded a second on 77 minutes. Despite chucking bodies forward late on, we couldn't break them down and lost 0-2. Another season in the Championship awaits us.

Fortunately we had another focus just two weeks later, with a shock appearance in the FA Cup final. The first for a team outside of the top flight since 2004. Tottenham Hotspurs would be our opponents, in a game nobody was fancying us to win.

After a bright start the game took shape, and we had our backs up against the wall. On 31 minutes our resistance was undone, and in controversial fashion. A corner was swung in by Spurs, and a Tottenham player went down claiming contact. VAR was called upon, and a penalty was awarded. Marcus Rashford stepped up, his kick was saved by Billy Crellin, but parried straight back to him to tap home. 0-1 and a big uphill task facing us. An uphill task that got worse just seconds later. Sezgin Aleksiev went down, and was replaced with an injury. His replacement John Coleman lasted just five minutes, before steaming into an unnecessary tackle. He was given a straight red card, and we were down to ten men for over a half of football. We clung on until half time, but faced a huge task ahead.

The second half was one hell of a grind. We created very little, but with ten men it was all about staying in the game for as long as possible. If we could remain just the one goal behind I fancied we would be able to create jut one opportunity. We did get that chance, but not until the 80th minute. Winger Wesley Jobello had come on, and he was involved immediately. A long ball forward released Timmy Abraham, one on one with the goalkeeper. He struck it straight at him, but it was parried back to Jobello to tuck it home. 1-1 and ten minutes to go. Five minutes later and absolute pandemonium in our end. A Spurs corner was cleared and winger Nathan Tormey raced onto it. He pumped it over the top of the defence and onto it raced Timmy Abraham who smashed it beyond the keeper. Shockingly we were in front, and with only a few minutes remaining.

Unfortunately our lead lasted for all of two minutes. A free kick was curled into our box, and Fernando Bernadeschi rose highest to head beyond Crellin and make it 2-2 with just a couple of minutes remaining. We chucked everybody back and managed to hold on and force the game into an extra time. The first added period came and went without any incident. Our ten men holding on, and our superior opposition unable to break us down. I didn't feel like we were going to score, and for me it was about keeping the ball out of our net and taking the game to penalties. A minute into the second period that hope had gone. We didn't deal with a cross, Crellin made a fantastic stop, but Steven Sessegnon smashed home the loose ball to give Spurs the lead. We tried hard to get back into the game, but we had simply run out of puff. The legs had gone in my players, and we were beaten 2-3.

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So within the space of a couple of weeks our season had gone flat. The excitement of a play-off campaign and an FA Cup final all ending in disappointment. The FA Cup defeat was expected, but to miss out on promotion was really hard to accept. After going through play-off disappointment two years back, I had really hoped it would be different this time around. So its back to the drawing board for me now. When emotions have died down I probably should feel proud of my team really. We had a good season, achieving all of our aims. Now its a case of trying to make sure we can do well again, when the new season kicks off in August.

 

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13 minutes ago, goonergez said:

So within the space of a couple of weeks our season had gone flat. The excitement of a play-off campaign and an FA Cup final all ending in disappointment. Now its a case of trying to make sure we can do well again, when the new season kicks off in August.

Wow, what an end to a long hard season. Your team really fought hard for you, and whilst that is incredibly disappointing to come away with nothing, it's been a really positive campaign. Good luck lifting the spirits and going again. As a manager that must be mentally tough, but fair play if you keep trying.

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24 minutes ago, goonergez said:

I probably should feel proud of my team

You absolutely should, and of yourself, too. A very good season, and I'm so impressed that you've played on this long :applause:

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@Jogo Bonito thanks for the words. It feels so harsh but I’m still loving this save. Many commitment and hard work will pay off if I do finally manage to clinch promotion.

 

@warlock I love a save I can stick with. I tend to float from save to save a lot. But when I find one I enjoy I can stick with it for ages. This ones grabbed me, can’t put it down. I just wanna clinch promotion and start a new league. I have a couple of saves I want to try at some point (Bradford city being a big one), but at the moment I have no intention of ditching this one.

@Ronaldo Beckham great work with Burton. A very nice platform to push on next season. You’re sure gonna outshine me by getting promotion well ahead of me

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@goonergez - that is some bad luck, but a fantastic season nonetheless. Incredible run in the FA Cup! All the best for the new season, fingers crossed for you.

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Coventry City: 2026/27 Season Preview

Now that the dust has settled, its fair to say that last season was a phenomenal one for this football club. We way overachieved on our pre-season targets, and had a truly memorable season. The first team outside of the top flight since 2004 to make the final of the FA Cup, as well as a play-off campaign in the league. It was disappointing to miss out on any success, but a platform has been set now, and everybody in the country knows who Coventry City are. I had said previously that I didn't expect  particularly busy summer for us, and believed that the squad was near enough where it needed to be. I stand by those comments now. The only area I felt needed strengthening immediately was on the right wing. The January deadline day deal to lose Andrija Vidovic to Portsmouth giving us no time to bring in a replacement, and we certainly missed him over the remaining months of the season. 

The board knew that we massively overachieved last season, and so kept this seasons expectations at a very manageable level A mid-table finish all they were after, and they presented me with an £18,000,000 transfer budget in order to achieve it. I had no intentions of spending anywhere near that much, unless a truly unbelievable deal threw itself at us. With the financial position of the club basically sorted, there doesn't prove an need in us to sell players anymore. Especially after picking up £15,000,000 for Andrija Vidovic in January. I still like to fund my incomings through sales though, and we managed it yet again. I've managed to turn a profit over every season I've been in charge so far, something I'm incredibly proud of. Especially considering that we've been fairly successful on the field too.

The only planned sales were to be those of veteran Wesley Jobello and young striker John Coleman. Wesley Jobello left to join Sochaux for £2,000,000, in a deal I wanted to complete anyway. The 33-year old had become somewhat of a fringe player over last season, and I decided to cash in now whilst we could still get some money for him. I didn't particularly want Coleman to leave, but he's caused me nothing but problems. At 20-years old he was beginning to look like a tidy player, but the trouble maker was packed off to Burnley in a £3,000,000 deal.

Unfortunately, those two didn't end up being the only major sales that took place though. Our FA Cup semi-final hero Harvey White had been a consistently positive performer for us since his move from Tottenham, but he was snatched from right under our noses. Crystal Palace came in with a £8,750,000 offer and matched his top division release clause, meaning we were completely powerless to prevent him from leaving. A gutting sale for us, and a hard one to accept. 

There were two further cash sales, albeit for much less funds. Midfielder Heiri Canella hadn't impressed since he arrived at the cub, and had an abysmal injury record too. I was more than happy to accept an offer of £275,000,000 from Lugano of Spain, and get him out of the club. Young defender Steven Voice left for the Premier League, joining Derby County for an initial £170,000, potentially rising to £375,000. Squad player Jack Iredale left at the end of his contract with us, joining Al-Rayyan, and midfielder Omar Banton was released at the end of his. I had expected big things from the Jamaican, but he just never seemed to get any better. Finally we allowed a number of young prospects to leave the club on loan deals to help with game time and development. Cian Cosslett is one I'll be keeping an eye on, and he's gone to Rochdale for the season.

As I have said several times already, I didn't feel the need to conduct much business into the club, only feeling that we were short on the right hand side of our midfield. Other than that I was only really looking to add some depth to our squad, or bring in some promising younger players to try and develop. One thing I'm incredibly proud of at this club, is the margin of profit we've managed to make. I've significantly improved the clubs financial position by bringing players in on cheap deals, and selling them on for large profit.

I did indeed manage to find a right winger, although he also fits into my bracket of being a future prospect. 19-year old Julian Brayford had a breakout campaign at Lincoln City in League One last season, and looks as though he's going to become a very impressive player indeed. He came to the club on a long term deal after a £1,000,000 bid was accepted. Another winger who joined was Thierry Nevers. The 24-year old joined on a free transfer from Hull City, and enjoyed a fruitful campaign on loan at Blackpool last season. He looks to possess more than enough talent to be a good rotational option for us.

Two further players came in to offer cover for our squad too. Attacking midfielder Zbynek Tafat was on my radar a couple of years back, but chose Napoli instead of us when he left Viktoria Plzen. I snapped the 22-year old up from the Italian side for just £1,000,000, a cracking piece of business. He will offer competition to Jon Toral for the spot behind our striker, Toral was decent but not exceptional last season. 26-year old Steven Sessegnon also joined us, from Fulham on a season long loan deal. He can play anywhere across the defence and that versatility will be perfect for us over the course of a long hard season.

19-year old central midfielders Benjamin Leverington and Quincy Breach were both picked up on free transfers for us as well (from Leicester City and Manchester United respectively). Both look to have promising futures, although Leverington looks like the better of the two. He's been sent away to Wycombe Wanderers on loan for the season, and i'll be watching his development closely.

I'm very happy with the business we conducted, although losing Harvey White is a bitter blow to us. I hadn't planned for his departure and didn't want to rush out and panic into buying anyone to fill the gap. Jamie Allen is to miss the first two months of the season with a hip injury, but upon his return will partner Jake Cain in the centre of our midfield. Cain wasn't particularly impressive last season, but hopefully with the pressure on he will step up his performances for us. It also means that young summer arrival Quincy Breach will definitely get some game time for us too. As is common now, we are not expected to have a successful campaign. Even after last years successes, odds of just 11-1 are given on us being relegated down to League One. The media predict us a 15th placed finish, but I am expecting a hell of a lot more than that. I'll be disregarding the cup competitions this season, and focus solely on trying to finally achieve my goal and take this club back into the Premier League.

 

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@goonergez I like the detailed season preview and hopefully this is the year for you!

 

541846428_Grimsbysmall.jpg.7300149be833a240de38492e8ef9b755.jpg

Season 1

We finally managed to buck the trend of starting months slowly as we emerged unbeaten from our seven league games in February

Striker Chuma Anene had a particularly good time of it, which was good news as Moses Ogbu has gone on a barren spell as he nears the end of his contract

There seems no way to beat the WP obstacle in our way, and his pending departure is going to seriously affect how we play next season as he is the fulcrum of the side tactically

March started with a fine win at neighbours Scunthorpe, a result which led to the sacking of ex-Mariners boss Paul Hurst

A lethargic home loss to mid-table Carlisle checked progress, but next up we saw off table-topping Cambridge in fine style at Blundell Park

That win saw us hop over them and our very next fixture was a credible 2-2 draw at Cheltenham, who were now sitting 2nd themselves

We were able to cling on to top spot as Cambridge couldn't take advantage, and the three of us seemed to be nervously edging to automatic promotion

We handed the pair an even better chance to overtake us next time out, as mid-table Plymouth headed back to Devon with an unexpected 4-2 win

However none of the teams behind us claimed maximum points either, and we ended March top on GD but with the bunch closing in on us

As worrying as the results were that month, my biggest concern was the goals drying up for both Anene and Ogbu at the same time as neither notched a single one between them

April will see the remaining five league games fulfilled, and at the end of that we should know whether the improbable dream has been achieved way ahead of schedule

If we lose our nerve, we are very likely to be taking our season in to May and the lottery of the play-off deciders at the very least

We have had stories about a likely takeover dragging on for months, but hopefully they will go away as it's nice having  John Fenty & Ian Fleming in control

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112250629_GTFCprogress1.4.thumb.png.19d9b6d11753619b0a28117c99e5b904.png

Edited by Jogo Bonito

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