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10 minutes ago, warlock said:

I imagine your setup will overwhelm a lot of teams, but if you establish yourself as a playoff candidate teams will sit deeper and narrower and you might struggle for chances while they hit you on the counter. Keep an eye on that, but I hope it keeps working for you :thup:

Yeah that is often the case but teams that park the bus, just nothing but counter attack goals for them.

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Quick update on my Reading save.

 

After an unbeaten pre-season, we typically started with a 1-0 home loss to Sheffield Wednesday. Things didn't get much better the week after as we scraped a 1-1 draw away at Hull.

 

Since that sticky opening patch we have been brilliant!

 

QPR (A) Carabao Cup 4-3 win

Cardiff (H) 4-2 win

West Brom (A) 2-1 win

Huddersfield (A) 2-0 win and a first clean sheet of the season

Millwall (A) Carabao Cup 1-1 - we won 8-7 on penalties!

Charlton (H) 4-1 win

Middlesbrough (A) 0-0

Blackburn (H) 2-0 win

 

 

We currently sit 4th in the league after 8 games with Fulham, Bristol City and Leeds ahead of us. 

 

An away trip to Newcastle in the Carabao Cup 3rd round is next up!

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1 hour ago, Samurai Cake said:

Not likely the right place to put this let me know. 

But I've decided to embark on a Luton Save as I hate all the other first team kits in the championship. 

Anyone know of any good signings for a 120K budget? 

What position are you looking for?

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4 hours ago, Jamesbfc1887 said:

Yeah that is often the case but teams that park the bus, just nothing but counter attack goals for them.

Drop the defensive line one notch and make Crowley a Defend duty and you'd likely see less counters against those teams and theoretically draw them out more to create spaces.

Also make sure your centre halves are very pacy in an extremely high press like that.

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12 minutes ago, Samurai Cake said:

Honestly anything, but a good striker or central defender - been a fair bit since I played an FM game, so feeling a bit out of me depth

David Goodwillie from Clyde in Scotland but he's a bit old, not sure if there's any free agents available. You'll struggle to find a player for £120K who's any good. Omar Bogle is transfer listed and available for loan.

I'd look at free transfers tbh. 

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17 minutes ago, swansongs said:

Drop the defensive line one notch and make Crowley a Defend duty and you'd likely see less counters against those teams and theoretically draw them out more to create spaces.

Also make sure your centre halves are very pacy in an extremely high press like that.

Thanks, I'll try it. Really struggling this year and getting no enjoyment from the game this year.

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4 minutes ago, Jamesbfc1887 said:

Thanks, I'll try it. Really struggling this year and getting no enjoyment from the game this year.

There's definitely some issues that make it a hard match engine to love.

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1 minute ago, swansongs said:

There's definitely some issues that make it a hard match engine to love.

Yeah I think it's really badly balanced tbh. The AI counter attack is OP, AI is adapting to the users tactics far too fast and effectively.

I just can't break down a parked buss, no matter what I do, dropping off and drawing them out, playing wider etc... Red card for the AI is basically a goal for them on he counter, I can't break them down again and from what I've seen it seems to make their players better.

Feels almost like a FIFA where there's definitely some dark arts at play, regarding scripting etc...

I'm pretty desperate for some success tbh. 

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3 hours ago, Burnley92 said:

Quick update on my Reading save.

 

After an unbeaten pre-season, we typically started with a 1-0 home loss to Sheffield Wednesday. Things didn't get much better the week after as we scraped a 1-1 draw away at Hull.

 

Since that sticky opening patch we have been brilliant!

 

QPR (A) Carabao Cup 4-3 win

Cardiff (H) 4-2 win

West Brom (A) 2-1 win

Huddersfield (A) 2-0 win and a first clean sheet of the season

Millwall (A) Carabao Cup 1-1 - we won 8-7 on penalties!

Charlton (H) 4-1 win

Middlesbrough (A) 0-0

Blackburn (H) 2-0 win

 

 

We currently sit 4th in the league after 8 games with Fulham, Bristol City and Leeds ahead of us. 

 

An away trip to Newcastle in the Carabao Cup 3rd round is next up!

Nice 👍🏻 

interested to see your formation/tactics if possible?

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2 hours ago, oi_oi_ginger_roy said:

What roles do you suggest for the Reading squad? - especially the midfield 3 (ie what works well together in the Championship?)

I haven't managed them on FM20 but from my 532 experience with Ipswich you could possibly start with something like this based on a vague translation of real roles, positions, styles etc.

1398442825_Reading_Overview.thumb.png.c1620885a42cec2c7de1fdc786d74a64.png

Personally I would prefer Joao in the starting X1 as a more physical striker (probably TM) to partner a pressing forward, Pele is probably more natural in the DM role than Rinomhota, but you wouldn't want to lose him from the team so using Pele there would only work if Rinomhota went to CMR (carrilero). Now this you would potentially only do if one of Swift or Ejaria was not playing. As weak as the midfield might be defensively, you wouldn't choose not to start that pair when fit.

Ironically both Swift and Ejaria play just left of centre IRL, which isn't going to be something you could replicate here unless you push your DM up in to the right-sided CM role as mentioned before, and stick Swift more central of the three. Yiadom and your LWB (Richards/Obita) could be pushed up to natural WB positions depending on how open you are in midfield during your games.

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@warlock A cracking end to the season, nice work. You really had to endure some tough selection  issues at the end there, fair play for coming out of it successfully! Will you be looking for a new club or will you do the PL season?

@Burnley92 Nice work there, firmly back on track after a stuttering start. Good luck as you continue.

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47 minutes ago, Jamesbfc1887 said:

Yeah I think it's really badly balanced tbh. The AI counter attack is OP, AI is adapting to the users tactics far too fast and effectively.

I just can't break down a parked buss, no matter what I do, dropping off and drawing them out, playing wider etc... Red card for the AI is basically a goal for them on he counter, I can't break them down again and from what I've seen it seems to make their players better.

Feels almost like a FIFA where there's definitely some dark arts at play, regarding scripting etc...

I'm pretty desperate for some success tbh. 

Finishing chances as the overwhelming favourite seems to require some luck/black magic for deflections or mistakes. Had a ridiculous 17-1-1 record in my second season with FC Eindhoven with a high press 4-2-3-1 and then hit a brick wall on match day 20. Except for cup matches where I've beaten 3 top division sides in a row, including Ajax away 1-0 when they honestly could have had 5 or 6.

The AI isn't smart enough to actually "figure out" your tactics but where in previous years breaking down "park the bus" teams was hard (because "defensive" = cautious, patient, possession football), this year the chances still come due to dodgy defensive decision-making, and for some reason my Juve loan striker and Lauren Symons can't hit a barn door between them.

Robbie Burton from Arsenal has been ace for me (Bosman deal sorted Jan 2020). My boy Jack Evans terrific on loan. Neco Williams on loan as well. Man Utd wouldn't let me have Dylan Levitt because we're not good enough, so he's been rotting in their reserves poor lad. Shame Brexit hit and I might need a new job to continue the Welsh development save.

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16 minutes ago, swansongs said:

The AI isn't smart enough to actually "figure out" your tactics but where in previous years breaking down "park the bus" teams was hard (because "defensive" = cautious, patient, possession football), this year the chances still come due to dodgy defensive decision-making, and for some reason my Juve loan striker and Lauren Symons can't hit a barn door between them.

Robbie Burton from Arsenal has been ace for me (Bosman deal sorted Jan 2020). My boy Jack Evans terrific on loan. Neco Williams on loan as well. Man Utd wouldn't let me have Dylan Levitt because we're not good enough, so he's been rotting in their reserves poor lad. Shame Brexit hit and I might need a new job to continue the Welsh development save.

I found Symons was hit or miss with his one v ones, and Jack Evans is a star.

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Bolton Wanderers - Season 1 - Part 3

Season Update: Reality Check

I ended my last update full of positivity, stating my hopes of pushing on towards mid-table, despite our -12 points deduction. What followed in the months of November and December was a period of inconsistency which made me rethink my optimism.

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We began November by playing Fleetwood, a match made difficult after my stand-in LB Joe Bunney was sent off in the first 30 seconds for a bad tackle. Despite having 10 men we raced to a 2-1 lead, however our lack of bodies caught up with us as we fell to a 4-2 loss after a couple of late goals from Ched Evans. This defeat plunged us back into the relegation zone. We then picked up wins in the cup competitions but followed this by falling to two defeats in the league. At the beginning of December I thought we were back on track as we put in two good FA Cup performances against Peterborough (a better side than us on paper) and thrashed Wimbledon 4-0. However this was not the case as we then went on a run of four games without a victory. The most frustrating part in the three league games was that we had more shots and possession, but couldn't score the goals we needed.

Murphy suffered a serious injury at the start of December, which gave me the opportunity to finally shift Brewster up front. It kind of paid off, with 3 goals in 5 games, but this soon dried up in the rest of the month. During December I started to make decisions about players I wanted to keep at the club and which ones I was going to move on. I moved those marked for the exit into the reserves and promoted my most promising youths to start taking their place on my bench. With the points deduction, this season is a bit of a free hit so I now intend to give the youth with potential as many minutes as I can afford.

Transfer Update: Mid-season rebuild

January rolled around and it was time to make some changes. I allowed the loans of Thibaud Verlinden, Liam Bridcutt, Jake Wright and Josh Earl all to end, without any attempt to renew (of the four, Verlinden was the only one to contribute meaningfully to our season). I also let the contracts of Adam Chicksen and Will Buckley expire. The board finally allowed me to terminate the contract of Chris O'Grady, something I had been trying to do since the summer. I allowed Manucho to leave for the Spanish second division on a free, after half a season without a goal. Finally, Ali Crawford is a player with great attributes, but he spent the first half of the season perennially injured. With Levitt and Darcy as options for AM, I decided to cash in on Crawford, arranging a deal for him to move to Dallas for £400k on the 5th February. I tried to move on Luke Murphy but nobody could stomach his £9k a week wages, so he will continue to sit out his contract on my bench.

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With 9 players shipped out, I had room on the wage bill to make reinforcements. My most significant signing was that of Dominic Samuel from Blackburn. His physical stats particularly appealed to me and I thought he could make an impact in League One. Murphy would be returning from injury at the end of January, but at 36 there is little point building a forward line around him. I was down to 4 loanees at the club after all the departures and so returned to a source that had done me well so far this season, bringing in Angel Gomes from Man United with no wage contribution. Gomes would be my primary replacement for Verlinden but I further reinforced my wing options, bringing in Jon Gallagher from the MLS and promising teenage inverted winger Conrad Wallem from the Norwegian league, To replace Wright at CB I pulled off somewhat of a coup, signing experienced Haitian defender Romain Genevois who had been released by then Ligue Un side SM Caen.

Season Update: Back on track (for now)

1484745919_Schedule2.thumb.png.c7d8a64a647c09597283683fae4a1d1f.png

Luck hadn't been going our way, however that all changed when we visited the Stadium of Light on Boxing Day. We pulled off a shock win against the promotion contenders, benefiting from not one, but two own goals. It should be noted, however, that we were the better side on the day. Next up was another team in the Play-off positions, Shrewsbury, and it was hot prospect Darcy who stepped up to be the hero with a thunderous strike. Samuel arrived on January 1st, after I pre-agreed the deal in December, and he certainly hit the ground running, netting in each of his first five games. In amongst that run was a memorable trip to Anfield to face the Premier League leaders Liverpool in the FA Cup 3rd Round. I was extremely proud of the battling performance we put in, only losing 2-1 to  full strength side, despite going down to 10 men on the 30th minute. My fault, perhaps, for having so many passionate Man United players in my side (it was Levitt who got the red)! The game was good for the clubs bank balance too.

Table.thumb.png.c5bb505b82184d7ea025441e450d1199.png

The five league wins in a row saw us rise up to 16th in the table, and the hope of a mid-table finish seemed feasible again. Since then we have fallen to three narrow defeats, including to the league leaders Portsmouth, which has meant we have sunk back to 19th. I am pleased we are above the relegation zone, but it is only by two points so we can't take anything for granted. If we hadn't had the points deduction we would be 10th and enjoying a decent season after financial turmoil, but there is little point dwelling on that as I knew what I was getting myself into! The hope now is to push on and finish the season strongly. I am paying particular attention to the clubs young players as I begin to plan for next season.

Edited by Dong21
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3 minutes ago, robterrace said:

I found Symons was hit or miss with his one v ones, and Jack Evans is a star.

He does have one or two worrying attributes in my save (low balance iirc) which would effect his ability at a sprint. But overall he's way too good for the division I'm in, mad that I was able to get him on a free. My scouts played a blinder there. His release clause is 5x my record sale at £2.5m. Only downside I agreed to let him play as an AF-A when he's my best right winger and Elia Petrelli's a slightly better centre forward.

Jack Evans is one of those rare young midfielders with a working defensive brain. Anticipates danger and defends spaces well, not just a grafter/tackler/thug. Big fan irl and hopefully Steve Cooper gives him chances soon. Was terrific last night against Norwich U23s.

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35 minutes ago, swansongs said:

Finishing chances as the overwhelming favourite seems to require some luck/black magic for deflections or mistakes. Had a ridiculous 17-1-1 record in my second season with FC Eindhoven with a high press 4-2-3-1 and then hit a brick wall on match day 20. Except for cup matches where I've beaten 3 top division sides in a row, including Ajax away 1-0 when they honestly could have had 5 or 6.

The AI isn't smart enough to actually "figure out" your tactics but where in previous years breaking down "park the bus" teams was hard (because "defensive" = cautious, patient, possession football), this year the chances still come due to dodgy defensive decision-making, and for some reason my Juve loan striker and Lauren Symons can't hit a barn door between them.

Robbie Burton from Arsenal has been ace for me (Bosman deal sorted Jan 2020). My boy Jack Evans terrific on loan. Neco Williams on loan as well. Man Utd wouldn't let me have Dylan Levitt because we're not good enough, so he's been rotting in their reserves poor lad. Shame Brexit hit and I might need a new job to continue the Welsh development save.

Hmm interesting, I have to say the 1 on 1s oh god they annoy me, one of my strikers, Mohammed Daramy for Birmingham had no less than 7 1 on 1s in one game!!!! He scored 2 but it was pretty abysmal tbh, couldn't believe what I was watching! Still got a rating of 9.2 somehow, I guess it was kinda deserved, his finishing is the only thing letting him down, otherwise he's dynamite.

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1 hour ago, Jogo Bonito said:

I haven't managed them on FM20 but from my 532 experience with Ipswich you could possibly start with something like this based on a vague translation of real roles, positions, styles etc.

1398442825_Reading_Overview.thumb.png.c1620885a42cec2c7de1fdc786d74a64.png

Personally I would prefer Joao in the starting X1 as a more physical striker (probably TM) to partner a pressing forward, Pele is probably more natural in the DM role than Rinomhota, but you wouldn't want to lose him from the team so using Pele there would only work if Rinomhota went to CMR (carrilero). Now this you would potentially only do if one of Swift or Ejaria was not playing. As weak as the midfield might be defensively, you wouldn't choose not to start that pair when fit.

Ironically both Swift and Ejaria play just left of centre IRL, which isn't going to be something you could replicate here unless you push your DM up in to the right-sided CM role as mentioned before, and stick Swift more central of the three. Yiadom and your LWB (Richards/Obita) could be pushed up to natural WB positions depending on how open you are in midfield during your games.

Superb. Will give it a try 👍🏻

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2 hours ago, oi_oi_ginger_roy said:

Superb. Will give it a try 👍🏻

Good luck. You might not want all those custom instructions to start with, see how you perform defensively first and then evolve in to the team you want to be seeing.

@Dong21 A great read as always. There's lots of ups and downs going on but at least you're starting to get rid of those you don't want. Avoiding the drop is still a good season so if you achieve that, next year is yours. You said Murphy (D) is injured, or will it later emerge that he has been moving freely between the white lines again...

 

609131422_ITFCgrassheader.thumb.jpg.2ab0dcf6e59ee8c27eef7dc3facbac13.jpg

Ipswich Town - Season 2 preview

The transfer window was slightly more time-consuming than I wanted, but there were players not up to Championship standards

Released were Cole Skuse, Jordan Roberts and Danny Rowe plus four youth players

The loans of goalkeeper Will Norris and Aaron Connolly were not renewed either (Brighton were relegated and wanted to keep the latter)

I didn't really want so many loans, but an initial transfer budget of just over £400k wasn't going to buy much

Early moves were therefore reflective of the fact that I needed to fill certain gaps in the squad, and loans were often the answer

Goalkeepers

With Bartosz Bialkowski being sold due to his age and ability to command a fee, I needed to strengthen this position

I wasn't sure if Tomas Holy was good enough to be starting at the higher level, so started to look in another direction

Ajax youngster Stan van Bladeren was acquired first, the Dutchman joining on a free and as 3rd choice

Harry Wright was then promoted from my U23 squad to be second choice, and I earmarked Christian Walton as my starting 'keeper

Unfortunately he wasn't accepting my offer and so I eventually took Kelle Roos on loan from relegated Derby instead

Defenders

I slightly regret the signing of Jordan Obita - but only because I have ended up with three DL/LWB options

Luke Garbutt was asking for more than £20k p/w in wages at the time and it only emerged later he would accept much lower

Having been excellent whilst on loan in the first season, I still did the deal when his demands dropped

I'll potentially look to sell Obita when I can, as I don't want to block the pathway of Myles Kenlock too much

The clear intention is to continue with 532, but I do have some options for a 442 or 451 now if I struggle to perform

Angus MacDonald and Murray Wallace were good value deals in central defence, and I needed five options there

The latter wasn't my first pick as a left-sided central defender, but Jake Clarke-Salter was only a loan option so I chose against him 

It doesn't show here, but the loan of Curtis Nelson was also renewed for another year

On the right side, I only needed a back up to Kane Vincent-Young so had to pitch my recruiting aims at the right level

After a close call, I decided to free Mandela Egbo from his contract in Germany and brought the ex-Palace man back to England 

Midfielders

Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher was the only midfield reinforcement sought, and has the exact qualities I would need

No wingers were needed, but I do have Gwion Edwards to play on the right if I ever changed the team shape

Alan Judge was outstanding last season and will be a key player again this year (he is also the new club captain)

Strikers

Youngsters Marcus Forss and Akram Tsague joined on loan from Norwich and Nantes respectively

Finnish strikers are well regarded in East Anglia, so hopefully Forss can do what Pukki did for Norwich and fire some goals

Tsague is a bit raw, but did well for Nantes reserves in game (17 in 27 last season) and has caught the eye of PSG in real life

I've promoted Jack Lankester from the U23 squad but I'm a little concerned about the burden placed on James Norwood

I failed to land a host of more reliable striking options and feel I might be one good player short here

Missing out on Jonathan Kodjia (free transfer and sensible wages) was a spectacular blunder on my part

Transfer Summary

Apart from having one too many left-sided defenders, my only other concern is whether my strikers can perform consistently

On the other hand, I am delighted to have brought in £4.7m during this window, having spent only £425k

2029737403_IpswichTown_TransferHistory-2.1.thumb.png.538143c3770e079dd2d25abc7e54012f.png

In case the name Josh Green is not familiar to you, that is because he was one of my first year youth intake

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The squad

Heading in to season 2, this is the 24-man squad I have settled on - with a handful of youngsters in the U23 group backing them up

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Pre-Season friendlies

On the whole, I was quite happy with these results and performances - time will tell if it's false hope

1406220801_IpswichTown_Fixtures2.0.thumb.png.46bd0fdf536763728b05ce73e90c8a37.png

Board Expectations and Satisfaction

Well, they're hard to please but at least their satisfaction is better than last season (at the moment)

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1279935937_ITFCexpectations2.1.thumb.png.0da76087dba41497fb90f09b1e9c2075.png

 

Edited by Jogo Bonito
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15 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

You said Murphy (D) is injured, or will it later emerge that he has been moving freely between the white lines again...

I couldn’t possibly speculate... :lol:

D7BA586E-9392-4684-B38D-9715FE7CC64E.gif.66f6bf1c908d62fcd684aaa2c9884b62.gif

 

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2 hours ago, Jogo Bonito said:

Will you be looking for a new club or will you do the PL season?

I'll give it at least one season in the PL. Spent most of the afternoon trying to sort out the squad, deal with 20 new contract requests, identify how far my £30m transfer budget might go... the usual :). Just back after a dinner appointment (hic!) so might leave things until tomorrow. Imagine you're doing the same at Ipswich, or have you made the move to Reading?

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1 hour ago, Dong21 said:

If we hadn't had the points deduction we would be 10th

Yeah, I've seen a number of Bolton saves around the Internet where they'd be doing really well otherwise. 12pts is a hell of a handicap to overcome, so don't be too disheartened. As @Jogo Bonito said, survival is everything this season, and then you can start rebuilding. 

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58 minutes ago, warlock said:

I'll give it at least one season in the PL. Spent most of the afternoon trying to sort out the squad, deal with 20 new contract requests, identify how far my £30m transfer budget might go... the usual :). Just back after a dinner appointment (hic!) so might leave things until tomorrow. Imagine you're doing the same at Ipswich, or have you made the move to Reading?

Good luck in the PL. Pre-season takes ages, doesn't it?!?

I'm ready for season 2 with Ipswich. My edited post above shows what has been going on.

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5 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

post above shows what has been going on

Oh yeah - plenty! At least it looks like the board isn't demanding too much, although i suspect their definition of 'fighting against relegation' will differ from yours and mine. Hope you can carry that pre-season form into the competitive games :thup:.

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Birmingham City:

birmingham-city-f-c.thumb.png.c5a7aa53b14404ec844fc84effcd93b3.png

So I have embarked on a new save, where I hope to bring back the good old 442!

I'm still not happy with the ME and I haven't managed to get a real good rip of things, I'll keep it short and sweet because I don't know whether I'll be in Birmingham for too long.

Outs:

ee381e6704554003f02fdc5a86ec94abc63b0103

Nothing really to see here, David Davis goes out on loan, as does Odin Bailey who was heavily involved in pre-season fixtures.

Ins:

77e588d77f5e5a172eba1d31a7596183443ff461

 

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Mohamed Daramy, he's already progressing nicely and it's only December. Loving the physicals and the dribbling, he's not really a striker based on those stats. He could do with improving that finishing which starts at 11.

 

dedb93dccb4a0b44d24fde6a5abe5d8446f6a9ac

Mathias Ross, we needed a young 4th choice centre back as Wes Harding won't cut it when stationed in the middle. So in comes the young Danish centre back. Lots of potential I think he can really go a long way.

 

9bc67ad2e2555b2e7f9239885a7fb3fba6e01f99

I think I've signed Aaron Hickey on every EFL save I've done this year, he's an absolute bargain and a real gem. Either footed and natural at left or right back!!!

 

Update on results to follow :thup:

 

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15 hours ago, oi_oi_ginger_roy said:

Nice 👍🏻 

interested to see your formation/tactics if possible?

 

I primarily use a cautious 4-1-2-3 DM Wide. I'm useless at posting screenshots so I'll type it the rest :lol:

My tactical style is a custom route one.

 

In possession:

- Slightly more direct passing

-Hit early crosses

- Play for set pieces

- Be more disciplined

- Overlap left/right

- Higher tempo 

- Waste time sometimes

 

 

In transition:

- Take long kicks

- Distribute to target man

- Slow pace down

- Counter and regroup

 

 

Out of possession:

- Defend narrower

- Lower defensive line

- More urgent

- Get stuck in

- Use tighter marking

 

 

 

GK - Defend

FB - Support

CD - Defend

CD - Defend

FB - Support

 

DM - Defend

DLP - Support

Mezzala - Attack

 

IF (L) - Support

Winger (R) - Support

 

TM - Support

 

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So.

 

Started the season in League One. 

The Bookies, Board and everyone else are expecting us to be in the bottom half, perhaps even battling relegation.

I like to think we can go for Mid Table, and push on.

With the money left over from the departures we've had, I'm looking to strengthen our central midfield options, as we have very few 'natural' players there, and George Maris looks like hes going to be leaving, as hes been moaning about wanting a new challenge, and has missed training several times.

So, a few hours spent going down transfer lists from all over Europe and looking at potential targets.

The first one was found in the Portuguese Liga NOS, where he had been transfer listed at Maritimo.

Although there were large bits of his attributes missing, the bits that could be seen, were advantageous, and he came in on a 3 year deal for £16000. As a natural mezzala, he will fit in the centre of midfield well.

image.thumb.png.c4b51213313653f4444913e0f66bf6a4.png

The second player, again, was found in Portugal, and was a slightly bigger risk, however, as a natural winger who can play on both sides, he offers us something. As well as that, he isn't the quickest, but has great first touch and dribbling for League One standards, so will hopefully trouble full backs.

image.thumb.png.1e5968cacbc25da3105d9f570eacf374.png

£20k also went out on Adrian Lapena, a Spanish CB who has been playing in Belgium for the last few seasons, but has over 100 appearances in the Sociedad setup to his name.

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The last signing to come in this window, is former Barcelona youngster, Ferran Sarsanedas. He'll fit in at the base of midfield, and allows me to push Zebli forwards to provide a bit more protection to the likes of Darcy and Teles.

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Hugo Redenstrand is also showing signs of fantastic development, with this performance for our U23s.

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As for August, we go undefeated in the league, with a poor cup performance against local rivals Peterborough the only disappointment.

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Birmingham: Season 2 - Transfers

A mixed transfer window as we tried to prepare for life in the Premiership. The combination of our low reputation and being favourites to go straight back down made for a difficult job in attracting anyone of quality. I'm happy enough with the new signings, but I wasn't able to strengthen as much as I'd hoped. (Ignore the free signings of McGee and Burton - HoYD Kristjaan Speakman was responsible for those.) I was hampered by a small scouting crew that meant it took several weeks to get a spread of reports for each position.

Ins

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After Gimenez disappointed last year, I was keen to find a more reliable striker and my scouts highlighted Torles Knoll in Germany, where he scored 19 in 33 games last season, albeit not at the highest level. Still, he has great physicals, good mentals, and 15 for finishing, with room to grow. He'll rotate with Rhian Brewster, who returns for another season on loan from Liverpool.

Also joining from Liverpool but on a permanent deal is young CB Nathan Phillips. He's brave, strong and fast, with good attributes for marking and tackling. I'm hoping he'll develop a good parternership with Badiashile.

With both GKs allowed to run out their contracts, one of our most pressing needs was for a first-choice replacement and for a long time it looked as though I was going to hit the jackpot. Jack Butland was transfer listed at Stoke, we met their price, agreed a contract with the player... and then Norwich gazumped me, offering him way more in wages that I could. So off he went. Eventually, I turned to Radoslaw Majecki who had been flagged up by my scouts towards the end of the season. He has a good spread of attributes and plenty of potential: my coaches rate him as a possible 5-star prospect.

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Next on my shopping list was a DM. To help with the step up to the higher division, I felt we'd be better shifting a man from the forward line to help protect the defence and we only had one natural in the position. August Erlingmark is another young player with room to grow. At 22 he has good mental attributes, and if he can pick up a point or two for pace and tackling he should be great.

Another urgent requirement was a rotation option for Villalba at AML. This one took up a huge amount of the window as I scouted a dozen prospects, had offers accepted for several and then had contract negotiations break down over wages. Among those through the revolving door were Marko Pjaca of Juve, Amin Younes of Napoli, and Alex Berenguer at Torino - all were willing to join but wanted more than I could pay. In the end I opted for another youngster in Man Utd's Angel Gomes who came in on a season-long loan deal.

Finally, through pre-season I became more and more convinced that although first choice left and right backs were okay, the rotation options were going to be a liability. Andoni Gorosabel was originally flagged by my chief analyst for his performances at Real San Sebastian. Although at 24 he probably won't improve much, he has a good spread of attributes and I hope he'll do the business for us, eventually taking over the RB spot from Maxime Colin.

Outs

Most of the departures were older players at the end of their contracts, and the club vision frowns on longer contracts for players older than 30. Which led to my biggest headache. Jutkiewicz wanted a new contract, and I was happy to offer one but not for the 3 years nor the huge pay rise he wanted. I walked away, he accused me of breaking a promise, I pointed out that I'd promised to offer him a contract and I had. He said that wasn't good enough and I hadn't heard the last of it. So I transfer-listed him, Rosenborg offered £9m and he was gone. Happy days... until club captain Harlee Dean had a meltdown over the sale and I haven't been able to talk him down. So he's mad at me and trying to foment a dressing room revolt. So far it hasn't amounted to much but it's a problem I could do without.

Another problem I could do without is an opening day fixture that sends us away to Old Trafford. Talk about your baptism of fire!

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23 hours ago, warlock said:

Birmingham: Season 2 - Transfers

A mixed transfer window as we tried to prepare for life in the Premiership. The combination of our low reputation and being favourites to go straight back down made for a difficult job in attracting anyone of quality. Another problem I could do without is an opening day fixture that sends us away to Old Trafford. Talk about your baptism of fire!

Best of luck for the new season. A mix of some very familiar and popular names and some interesting overseas recruitment. Hopefully they will gel together and make it an enjoyable year.

@Jamesbfc1887 Sorry, I missed your update there but it was a good read. Those signings look like good value, hopefully your time at Birmingham gets your confidence back and proves to be an enjoyable experience.

 

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Ipswich Town - Season 2

A very short update from me, but as it's been a real surprise I thought I would post it before the wheels fall off

Any doubts about Marcus Forss have been dismissed emphatically - even that OG winner over Preston looked like a tap in from him to me

He also landed the Player of the Month award for August (with captain Alan Judge in third)

Most of the others are performing well, but striker Akram Tsague's cameos from the bench suggest he won't be good enough

A couple of these wins were effectively draws converted in to wins with very late goals, but I'm delighted with this start regardless

I gave the squad players a chance against Forest Green and they didn't really grasp their opportunity

A trip to Anfield to tackle Liverpool in the Carabao Cup probably isn't what I wanted in September, hopefully it won't impact the league form

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Edited by Jogo Bonito
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2 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

Hopefully they will gel together and make it a enjoyable year

Sadly, they didn't. A combination of dismal performances on the pitch and endless problems in the dressing room did for me. We played six league games and lost five, including a defeat to a struggling Newcastle side, and in the derby against Villa, managing just a goalless draw at home to Wolves. We also lost in the Carbao Cup R1 to League One Bristol Rovers. Harlee Dean continued his vendetta and the dissent spread rapidly through the squad. Two team meetings were held but I couldn't talk the rebels round. Morale was at rock bottom and the board immediately forgot about last season's success and were on my case constantly. So I jumped before I was pushed.

Glad to see someone doing much better than me. Hope the good form continues :)

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6 minutes ago, warlock said:

Sadly, they didn't. A combination of dismal performances on the pitch and endless problems in the dressing room did for me. We played six league games and lost five, including a defeat to a struggling Newcastle side, and in the derby against Villa, managing just a goalless draw at home to Wolves. We also lost in the Carbao Cup R1 to League One Bristol Rovers. Harlee Dean continued his vendetta and the dissent spread rapidly through the squad. Two team meetings were held but I couldn't talk the rebels round. Morale was at rock bottom and the board immediately forgot about last season's success and were on my case constantly. So I jumped before I was pushed.

Glad to see someone doing much better than me. Hope the good form continues :)

Oops, sorry to hear that. I've always felt the jump from any league is fine other than when taking an EFL team in to the PL. That's why I virtually never do it, it's not fun getting smashed every week. Now it's time for a new save, or you will continue it at a new club?

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3 hours ago, Jogo Bonito said:

Now it's time for a new save, or you will continue it at a new club?

New club - I've never continued a save after leaving a club, might be interesting to try it. But not yet :lol:. I'm taking a long, hard look at the Stoke squad - I've never managed them, largely I think because when they were in the PL they weren't very interesting, and after they dropped down everyone expected them to bounce straight back. After they finished last year closer to relegation than promotion, I think there's a good challenge there. Not sure yet, but I'm desperate to get away from 442 and 433 and they look to have the players for some variant of the narrow diamond, particularly the 4312.

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1 minute ago, warlock said:

Well, don't sell Jutkiewicz is my first bit of advice :lol:

I've played up to January, I'll update soon so I don't want to give too much away. But he's not be terrible for me (unlike Gimenez).

Unfortunately I've come down with a strong case of man flew recently and I've been busy at job interviews, landed one as well! :D

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10 minutes ago, Jamesbfc1887 said:

I'll update soon so I don't want to give too much away

I'll be waiting patiently.

11 minutes ago, Jamesbfc1887 said:

I've been busy at job interviews, landed one as well! :D

Good for you :thup:

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19 minutes ago, Jamesbfc1887 said:

Who is the man responsible for this monstrosity? :lol:

That was Andre Telles, the Portuguese midfielder who I got for £10k.

The ball to the left wing was a belter as well.

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Reading mid-season update.

 

We lost 2-1 away at Newcastle in the Carabao Cup 3rd round, despite taking a 1st minute lead. We bounced back with 3 straight wins at home to Fulham (4-0!) and away to Swansea and Bristol City. 3 straight draws followed by a 1-0 defeat at home to Preston dampened my mood as we were 2 points off the top of the table at one point but we dropped down to 5th.

 

4 wins out of 5 in November saw us back up to 3rd but 12 points behind runaway leaders Leeds who we beat 2-1.

 

December has been a mixed bag with wins against Derby and Birmingham but then drawing with Stoke and losing to bottom of the table Barnsley :seagull:

 

23 games played and we sit in 2nd place on 47 points with 14 wins, 5 draws and 4 losses. Leeds are still 8 points clear at the top and, surprisingly, it is Wigan that is pushing us the hardest who are just one point behind us in 3rd place.

 

I'm hoping for some new year consistency!

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