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[FM20] The Bottom Corner: A Journey from Non-League to the Football League and beyond

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Hello and welcome to another Northernpilgrim Journeyman Adventure. In case you're wondering, the title comes from a book I read over the summer about hope and glory in non-league football

The Bottom Corner

The Manager

I'm managing as myself, but I've given myself a Continental Pro Licence and regional professional footballer as past experience. Here I am


The Challenge

Beginning (appropriately enough, given the title of the thread and book), in the lowest playable league on FM20 (National League North/South), I'm going to work my way as far up the pyramid as possible before the FM21 Beta comes out (I pre-ordered it already). I'm hoping as a bare minimum to get a season in the Football League. The only rule is that I must manage in each league in sequence, and I can only move on once I've secured promotion with the current club.

The Starting Point

As already stated, the challenge begins in the National League North/South). I'll be in the North division, as I have become the manager of


and this is the squad I've inherited. 




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We had a busy, but perfect set of pre-season results


Nine players have arrived since last season, but I'm only responsible for three of them


Centre back Denzel Williams


Who will be partnered by Jay McEveley


and goalkeeper Will Henry, who will be backup to Russ Griffiths


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October wasn't quite so good


as we were eliminated from the FA Cup by lower division Radcliffe


and failed to beat Farsley despite dominating


We do end the month 9 points clear though, and on target to exceed the board demand of a playoff place


Although it's early in the save, there are elections for the Chairmanship, with the incumbent not standing, so there will be a change


And the new Chairman isn't pumping money in


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February was a good month, as we dropped only 2 points in 5 league games


extending our lead to 14 points, and securing at least a playoff spot already


The bigger news was that the board agreed to my request to go pro, having refused earlier in the season. That has increased the chances of me sticking around to try and get Chester back in the Football League


and these are the youth intake players I'm offering deals to

Youth 2020.PNG

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Only four matches in March, with just 2 wins


as we were beaten at Farsley


and held at home by York


It doesn't matter, as with only four games to go, we're 14 points clear. The title is ours, along with promotion to the National League


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We finished the season in style, winning our last 4 matches


ending the season 19 points clear of Kidderminster


We have now turned professional


I won another Manager of the Month award


Our striker Akwasi Asante was player of the year 


and won the Golden Boot


and I won Manager of the Year


Contract 2020.PNG

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I set up a difficult and arduous preseason, with a couple of easier friendlies thrown in to keep morale up, and we generally did well


Five players have been released, with three of them retiring


and we made four signings, with one youngster going out on loan


Cummings is a centre back


as is Jay Williams


Orafu comes in as a defensive mid


as does Nolan


This is our squad for the new season, with a few youth team players ready to be promoted and they have joined the squad


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An unbeaten November in the league, our only defeat coming in the FA Cup


and we're up to 9th, 3 points off the playoffs, with a game in hand. Hopefully we won't be involved in the relegation battle that was predicted at the start of the season, although we're going to need a bit of luck, as Griffiths, our goalkeeper, suffered a broken leg in training after the Solihull Moors game


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26 minutes ago, Northernpilgrim said:

The same day as having to turn down an interview at League 1 Doncaster, I was offered one I could go for, at National League Yeovil


good luck

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I lost the first two matches in charge, but ended the month 4 unbeaten, winning three


which saw us move up 1 place in the table. I don't think we will make the playoffs, so we're probably targeting a top 10 finish now


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Unbeaten in January, including a 4-0 thrashing of leaders Barrow


and that sees us into the top half and 11th place. I still think we're too far behind to make the top 7, but we're going to give it a right good go.


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Not a bad preseason, and with the season proper kicking off in July as well, we got off to a winning start, despite having a man sent off


which left the early league table looking like this, with the board demanding promotion



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Four players have been released when their contracts ended


and we've brought in 6 players, with 8 more leaving


Left back Kyprianou


Goalkeeper Rogerson


Centre back Sowunmi returns to Yeovil


Left winger Salam


Centre back Vassell


and striker Ponticelli


Which leaves the squad looking like this


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August started really well, but ended with successive defeats


as we lost despite utterly dominating Torquay


and should have had at least a point at Dover


which left us third, a point off the top


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21 minutes ago, Lenzar said:

Interesting. Managing a team from the Westcountry that play in green...and it isn't Argyle. ;)

As an Argyle fan and a Cornishman, I dispute the assertion that Somerset is in the Westcountry. Anybody from Cornwall knows that Somerset is in the midlands, and Bristol is in the north ;)

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Our form wasn't great in September, as we failed to put two wins together all month


which leaves us in the playoffs, but already getting cut adrift of the leaders


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We returned to form in November, winning four of our five games, and all three league games. The exception was an FA Cup draw away at Rochdale, meaning we'll face them at home next month, a place in round 3 awaiting the winners


That lifted us to 5th place and a playoff spot, just 3 points off the top, with a game in hand


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On 08/10/2020 at 16:35, Northernpilgrim said:

As an Argyle fan and a Cornishman, I dispute the assertion that Somerset is in the Westcountry. Anybody from Cornwall knows that Somerset is in the midlands, and Bristol is in the north ;)

Being from Somerset, I am compelled to angrily wave my pitchfork at you for such an insult. ;)

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We were also unbeaten in December


and although we threw away 2 points against 10-man Macclesfield, we could have lost to Stockport


and that has seen us reclaim top spot going into the new year and the transfer window


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March had some good wins, but was a frustrating month


as although Stockport deserved a draw, they only got it via a 94th minute penalty


Boreham Wood nicked a draw with their only shot on target, a game we bossed from start to finish, only to give away a late penalty


and we controlled most of the Dover game, but couldn't convert any of our chances, this time a first half goal ruined our day


and we are now second in the table, three points behind relentless Chester, with a game in hand, but a worse goal difference. Whether the fact we still have to play them is a blessing or a curse, time will tell


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