kipfizh

AI Experiment - The Bandits are back for FM09

2,156 posts in this topic

£500 a month isn't too bad, if Kip doesn't think it's enough then he isn't worth our adulation! :mad:

I don't think I'd want anything missing from the current format, even if it made it considerably quicker. Admittedly this gap has been a bit much, but there are mitigating circumstances, what with Kip's miraculous recovery from swine flu and so on. That said, if it's not here by tomorrow, heads will roll.

Firstly, that's idiotic.

Secondly, £500 a month wouldn't even pay half my mortgage. Hell, my monthly season ticket into work is £350 a month so £500 doesn't go far. Methinks you haven't left school yet/live independently of your parents.

When the report comes, it will be worth it.

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Firstly, that's idiotic.

Secondly, £500 a month wouldn't even pay half my mortgage. Hell, my monthly season ticket into work is £350 a month so £500 doesn't go far. Methinks you haven't left school yet/live independently of your parents.

When the report comes, it will be worth it.

Uni student here saying that I live on less than 500 pounds a month (around $1000/month here). That's assuming I sit on my arse all month and not drink, not smoke, not eat out at all.

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We are (The mighty Bandits) not a created team that you read pages of updates every week. The bigger the success, the longer we have to wait ;)

Kip, I, talking only for myself, won't even mind if you write the report one month later. I, as an avid follower of the '07 experiment and as the proud creator of the facebook fan group, would like US to write history all over rather than romping through updates. I'll be one of the happy bunch when we celebrate our first EPL trophy while the Sheriffs were drooling over our success.

I couldn't agree more!

From time to time we had very long breaks in the 07 experiment as well, and in my opinion that just makes it even more enjoyable when the update arrives.

Also, the suggestion of people helping out Kip by writing certain parts of the reports, doesn't sound good to me. One of the reasons why I'm enjoying this experiment (and the 07 one of course) so much, is Kip's excellent writing style :)

Take your time Kip - I'll always be advocating quality over quantity!

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Helping out wouldn't mean writing the narrative, it could just consist of doing donkey work inputting stats. Also, there must be some other people on here who could write well. I don't think anybody is having a go at Kip, we all appreciate how much work this is and that he has a life. Were all just making suggestions to help him out, because looking at it objectively it seems he is having trouble getting the reports out.

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Well as much as a lot of the time some of us (well me anyway) think of this mostly as following the fortunes of our teams... This is an experiment first and foremost, of more then simply how the teams do. I may be personally following a few (though thats increasing) areas but many follow those I don't so I appreciate the depth provided for anything anyone might want to follow, especially as I'm interested in far more now which I'm glad are there. And as an experiment it helps to have a wide range of things to test. Better to start off with lots then realize later there's something you should have tracked but couldn't, especially if some patrons of this fine thread have wished for it. Also he's running far more leagues now so it'll take longer to get to the report writing in the first place and more places to look for the players and stuff he needs to report on. I know thats not an issue with people but that alone means reports will be less frequent then last time without things like flu and busy periods at work getting in the way. Admitedly while I didn't expect that it'd be this long after the teaser for the rest to appear that's just the way it goes. You can't rush genius. Especially busy genius.

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Unfortunately I have to agree with those hoping for quicker updates. I understand that Kip has made this experiment a lot more extensive and that means more detailed (and excellent) reports as well as more processing time.

However, we're currently getting through around one season a month. That means it will take at least 12 months before the starlets even retire. The original experiment took on a whole new dynamic once this had happened and we had many many seasons looking at not only the progress of the Bandits, but the managerial/coaching careers of the retired starlets. At this rate we'll only have 24 seasons done in a real time two year period, which is only a fraction of what was achieved in the '07 experiment.

Unfortunately I feel that the only way to speed things up is for Kip to dedicate more time to it, and it's unfair of anyone to ask him to do that as we all have real lives to live. Unfortunately for him his excellent experiment and writing style has meant that we all want an experiment that is as extensive and addictive as the last one.

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To the post which brings up helping to write, I think it would ruin the suprise and shocks of the updates, i wouldn't want to help write it just because it'd ruin it for me. We have to realize Kip has been ill during most of the wait for the update. Once this updates out, i suspect that he'll be giving us updates quicker. Think it as an american tv season. You watch a few episodes then it takes a winter break for 3-5 months, then when its back, its worth the wait.

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Firstly, that's idiotic.

Secondly, £500 a month wouldn't even pay half my mortgage. Hell, my monthly season ticket into work is £350 a month so £500 doesn't go far. Methinks you haven't left school yet/live independently of your parents.

When the report comes, it will be worth it.

firstly, my tongue was burrowing a deep hole into my cheek throughout. ;) Secondly, I am, in fact, earning a whopping £570 a month - a figure which puts me in line with about 2m fellow Britons - from part-time work which has to fund me through my entirely financially independent life and part-time studies. Admittedly no children and so on, but still! Kip has a choice to make; his family or us. ;) But anyway, let's be stoppin with the fussin and the feudin, this is a thread of love!

I think we should also remember that this experiment probably (hopefully) won't last as long as the last one. We got so far with that one because the Bandits just plain ol' refused to be successful, but if the improvements evident in this experiment keep coming, then they'll be the top side in the world in no time, and the Sheriffs will settle wherever they settle (hopefully doing all they can, Dick Dastardly style, to steal the Bandits' crown, but if not, that's why it's interesting!), and we can see how the original superstars do in management (by which point reports will be drastically shorter), and then when they're done, that's that. So 20 years or so of this intense, detailed stuff, then a smooth ride through another 25 years, and then a satisfying conclusion (if Kip's computer survives those mighty save files). It's all good.

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firstly, my tongue was burrowing a deep hole into my cheek throughout. ;) Secondly, I am, in fact, earning a whopping £570 a month - a figure which puts me in line with about 2m fellow Britons - from part-time work which has to fund me through my entirely financially independent life and part-time studies. Admittedly no children and so on, but still! Kip has a choice to make; his family or us. ;) But anyway, let's be stoppin with the fussin and the feudin, this is a thread of love!

£570 a month pays your rent, bills, food, etc and studies?

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that's right. I have been blessed with a tuition fee waiver so only have to buy note-taking materials and books, which I get second-hand as cheap as possible, then £260 rent (yeah it's a bit of a craphole, but it's livable) and £60 council tax leaves me with about £60 a week for the rest, which is workable. Housing Benefit rules will see me have £30 a week extra once I turn 25 (just now I get pretty much no Housing Benefit), but don't get me started on that particular topic of my recent ire. I'll never stop.

Maybe we should have a "discuss your household budget" thread. Perhaps with a contribution from the Bandits chairman to make us all jealous...

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There are some outrageous comments flying about in here. Anyone that's run an experiment should sympathise with kip - the amount of data and reports he has to do will take days not hours imo. Well worth the wait :thup:

I reckon the vast majority of the comments are in sympathy with Kip. With the exception of a couple of morons who maybe posted once and were never seen again, i think the followers of this experiment fully understand the workload that has gone in to creating this experiment. I cant speak for everyone, but it seems the general consensus is that we want kip to make this as easy as possible on himself so he himself continues to enjoy his work and isnt geting too bogged down and bored with the amount of work he is giving himself.

My suggestion that a few people help him out with it has also come under fire. Again i am not saying sack Kip and lets take over. The guy is a legend because of his writing style and dedication. If it were up to me id give him a knighthood. All i am suggesting, kip if you are reading this, is that if there is any way that you see fit for us to help, then feel free to let us know. If not, fair enoughm not really sure what we could do specifically, but the offer is there. You have a legion of followers ready to do your bidding. Say the word.

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The gaps just build anticipation. Take your time kip, however long it takes it will be worth it.

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Yup the anticipation is most definetly worth it imo

less whining over the gap more speculation please

Im going for both teams to be undefeated in the leagues all season with both having length runs in the FA cup

the stars themselves will be driving their teams onwards making them the top teams in europe, while the idiots continue to reign destruction and relegation in what ever team they end up in

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Been away for work for a good few months and the trip home was made all the sweeter thanks to a text to let let me know the Bandits redux was going strong!

Excellent work, as ever Kip; two and a bit seasons in and it's as compulsive (if not moreso) than ever!

Have to say I'm siding with the Sheriffs for this one - nothing like knowing the manager and board are complete numpties to make them seem like the underdogs.

Don't think either team will gain promotion this season, particularly the Bandits given the huge step up required but predict a solid top ten finish.

Hope the Bandits get a top draw in the 3rd Round of the League Cup though - let's get some giantkilling going.

P.S.

*waves to Iacovone* Long time no see!

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Good to see you back WW :)

the proud creator of the facebook fan group

By the way what is the name of this fan group - I cannot find it:confused:? It seems that every second group in FB contains "bandits" in its name:)

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StewartJRobertson, before you start calling people morons after making the presumption that im a one time poster and have no right to express my opinion because of that, how about looking back at the previous experiment where i actually posted more than you. I followed the first experiment from the beginning to the end and have thus far with this experiment aswell. If i was actually criticising kip's work then yes i would expect to be called a moron! However, I was not and was merely offering an opinion on the current experiement all be it a negative one which im sure kip himself wouldn't even mind as he has often expressed his desire for peoples feedback. I understand Kip has other commitments and im not stupid enough to think this experiement is going to be the most important in his life but this experiment is also a stroy to some people and is difficult to follow with such long breaks between posts and hense why i said less detailed reports may be a good idea.

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StewartJRobertson, before you start calling people morons after making the presumption that im a one time poster and have no right to express my opinion because of that, how about looking back at the previous experiment where i actually posted more than you. I followed the first experiment from the beginning to the end and have thus far with this experiment aswell. If i was actually criticising kip's work then yes i would expect to be called a moron! However, I was not and was merely offering an opinion on the current experiement all be it a negative one which im sure kip himself wouldn't even mind as he has often expressed his desire for peoples feedback. I understand Kip has other commitments and im not stupid enough to think this experiement is going to be the most important in his life but this experiment is also a stroy to some people and is difficult to follow with such long breaks between posts and hense why i said less detailed reports may be a good idea.

Fair enough. Wasnt actually referring to you but never mind

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If I was Kip I wouldn't bother anymore. You're all filling this thread with a pointless bloody argument. Can I suggest that from now on unless there's a discussion or question or prediction etc related to the experiment that people keep their ore firmly out.

Anyone new reading this thread and hitting the last 100 posts is gonna give up.

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So what, we live in a free country. People should be able to post on whatever they want. Anyway, most of the above discussion is related to the experiment, namely how slowly its going. I think people are more likely to give up because we're two and a half months in and have had two seasons.

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Maybe it would be better if there was one thread specifically for the experiment, and a separate one for the discussion of the experiment?

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I think it was suggested before, and I believe the general consensus was that it would stymie discussion.

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It wouldn't be great for discussion. How about everyone just relaxes and waits for the update. If you don't like that its going to slow, don't post in here. If you don't mind, great, lets talk about how the Sheriffs are gonna win the Premier League before those loathsome Bandits :p

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Indeed. How the Sheriffs are going to win the league first is not at all.

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Season 2010-11

Club reports – Summer Transfers

Following hugely successful seasons for both the Bandits and the Sheriffs, that saw them win their respective leagues, it was anticipated that both would strengthen their squads ready for the next challenge. For the Sheriffs, that meant the Blue Square Premier, and for the Bandits, that meant league football in League Two.

Bandits

Having secured promotion to League Two, the Bandits took a hard look at their squad and decided that plenty were simply not going to make it at the higher level. In total, ten were released in the first two days of July, all on free transfers. Plenty of the top twenty from last season were included, but they were lower down the last and/or aging to a point where non-league football was all they could strive for.

The important thing was building a side capable of challenging in League Two. As a guide, a CA of 100 puts you in the upper echelons (37 players in League Two), a CA of 110 puts you in the top ten in the league, and a CA of 120 makes you a star.

With that in mind, Dream Manager began to assemble his new squad. His first signing was a bit inauspicious, 31 year old striker Chris Templeton arriving on a free transfer from St. Johnstone. With a CA of 71 and falling, he was unlikely to make much of an impact. Star striker Liam Dickinson (53 goals last season) had little to worry about.

Next came Clark Keltie, costing £8k from Lincoln, and the 27 defensive midfielder is reasonable – a CA of 88 is unlikely to reach the PA of 105, but he makes for a good squad player. Following him came Matt Phillips, a 20 year old winger costing £80k from Wycombe. His CA of 89 also makes him a decent player in League Two, but his PA of 127 means he could grow with the club for a good while.

And then, out of the blue, the manager signed a very familiar name – Marcus Bent. The striker was now 33, and having been left out in the cold during Birmingham's doomed Premiership campaign last season, he decided to move on, joining the Bandits for a paltry £30k. With a CA still at 121, he instantly became one of the stars of the division, and the prospect of him joining forces with Dickinson had the fans salivating. It had been a slow start to the summer, but business had most definitely picked up.

Looking to the future, the manager then picked up the unattached Tom Miller, a 20 year whose CA of 67 could rise to 128 in the future. Costing nothing, he had nothing to lose. He then turned his attention to the defence, signing 25 year old Michael Townsend for £250k from Cheltenham. His CA of 95 was very healthy.

Two more would arrive before the window closed, and the first was another prospect, and another free tranfer – Martin Hunter is a 20 year old keeper, with a CA of 63 and a PA of 110. If the Bandits remain in League Two, he could become a real player in the long term, but hopefully by the time he gets there the club will have outgrown him.

The final transfer was an expensive one, but probably the best capture of the entire summer. Somehow, the manager convinced Norwich to part with Mark Burton, one of their brightest prospects, for £1m, a lot of money for a League Two club but absolutely value for it. Burton is a versatile defender who can play anywhere across the back, and has a CA of 113, putting him in at the very highest level of League Two. And the most incredible thing is that he is just seventeen years old, and has plenty of time to aim at his PA of 163. Capped at England youth levels, he is a stunning signing.

And with that, the manager closed his book. Last season, he had just three players with a CA over 90, but he has added to that considerably this summer, building a solid squad and including a couple of absolute stars. It should be enough to secure safety, but how far can the likes of Marcus Bent push them?

Sheriffs

The Sheriffs had the most powerful squad in the Blue Square South by a distance last season, and ended the season with six players above 80 CA, the only six in the division. In the Blue Square Premier, the average number of 80 CA players was four, so already they had a decent set of players, but in this league there are also around twenty players with 90 CA, and a few in three figures. Nonetheless, a solid squad is a good starting point – the summer gave an opportunity to add some star quality.

As with the Bandits, the Sheriffs released a group of players that could not make the step up a division – six were let go. Believing the squad to be talented already, the manager decided to take the approach of finding the right target or two instead of making wholesale changes, and in the end signed only two players.

But both were worth waiting for. Nathan Ellington's contract with Derby had expired, and somehow he was convinced to relocate to the south coast and join the Sheriffs – still only 29, the striker's CA of 114 was ten higher than anyone else in the entire league. His signing was a major coup – he would be the sixth best player in League Two, so he is clearly playing at a level below that which is capable.

That got the fans exceptionally excited, and the second signing was pretty decent too – left winger Ryan Smith arriving from Grimsby for £110k. The 24 year old has a CA of 102, with a PA of 120 being very reachable, and is the third best player in the division.

So the Sheriffs took their squad, allowed some of their youngsters to improve (some rose to the 90 CA mark), and signed two of the three best players in the league to drive them forward. Will it be enough to ensure another successful season?

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Club reports – August-December

Bandits

It was a new horizon for the Bandits as they played league football for the first time. Pre-season had not been kind, their ambitious attempts to take on the likes of West Ham, Rangers and Sevilla resulting in heavy defeats, but a single goal was enough to ensure that they took three points from their opening game, away to Lincoln.

Next up was a great chance for a cup shock, a home game with Championship Stockport in the League Cup, and a 3-2 victory in their first ever game in the competition gave the home crowd plenty to sing about. And they didn't stop there – a 5-0 hammering of Barnet in their first home league game giving them hope that this season could be yet another success story.

Remarkably, they would go on to win their first eight league games, to sit proudly on top of the league, far beyond the expectations of their fans. To add to the joy, they dispatched another Championship side, Barnsley, in the second round of the League Cup, although they finally tasted defeat, losing 2-1 at home to League One Swindon in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.

A trip to Turf Moor to face Burnley saw the League Cup campaign come to an end with a 2-1 defeat, the side unable to beat their third Championship opponents of the season, and the defeat seemed to knock confidence a little, as they lost five league games in ten. However, they took maximum points in the other five, and the lack of draws meant they remained second, behind only Bournemouth, who were having a fine season.

By the time they faced their south coast rivals, their FA Cup campaign had ended, defeat to League One Colchester following a win over Blue Square North Boston.

With the Bandits and Bournemouth clear promotion rivals, they finally met in the league, the Bandits delighting their home fans with a thumping 4-0 win to move close to their beaten opponents. A draw at Accrington in the following game was a setback, but their fantastic home form continued with a remarkable 8-0 destruction of Stockport, Marcus Bent scoring five in a match that broke all sorts of club records.

The Bandits ended the year with two more wins, over Bury and Exeter, the latter taking them back to the top of the league, with both they and Bournemouth having a healthy lead over their rivals. It had been a great first half to the season.

Sheriffs

The Sheriffs also came into the season off the back of promotion, and were looking to follow the Bandits up into the league structure. They were mainly reliant on last season's team, making only two signings, although Nathan Ellington was expected to have a big impact.

The new level certainly didn't seem to faze them in their early season – three wins opening the campaign and continuing the feelgood factor around the club. But their winning streak was not as lengthy as the Bandits, as they drew with Torquay before losing to York.

Those were minor setbacks, however, and seven wins in their next eight put them firmly on top of the league before the cup season began with a 3-0 cruise over Staines in the Setanta Shield, and competition they now had high hopes for.

After a draw with Ebbsfleet, two more league wins put distance between them and their rivals, and a 1-0 win over Lewes ensured that they would reach the first round proper of the FA Cup, the only competition in which a meeting with the Bandits was a possibility.

By the end of November, their lead had been extended in the league, three more wins pushing them further away from the pack despite a 2-0 reverse at Oxford, and they were still in both cups – wins over Weymouth and Thurrock putting them in the quarter final of the Setanta Shield, while two friendly draws in the FA Cup, against Newport County and Blyth, resulted in comfortable victories that pushed them into the big time of the third round. That the Bandits had fallen at the second round was icing on their cake.

December opened with a rare goalless draw with Salisbury, before a win over AFC Wimbledon put them back on track. Revenge was in the air as the FA Trophy began – the first round opponents were Oxford, one of only a few sides to beat the Sheriffs this season, and they were dispatched after a replay.

The year was then completed in perfect style, with 2-0 and 3-0 wins over Kettering and Southport. They would enter 2011 with a healthy lead at the top of the Blue Square Premier, and still in three cup competitions. It had been a perfect half season.

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Club reports – January Transfers

Bandits

The Bandits have a history of making few changes in January, and with the season going so well, they continued in that vein, letting no-one go and bringing in just two players.

The first was journeyman 32 year old centre back Darren Ward, a £40k capture from Portsmouth, and a brilliant signing given that his CA remained at a very healthy 110, putting him head and shoulders above most of the rest of the league.

The second was less inspiring, but cost nothing – Mark Phillips was let go by Brentford, and the centre back makes for decent cover with a CA of 90. At 29, he is a short term signing, but increases the size of the squad, a sensible action given that the Bandits can afford the wages.

Bandits Transfers

Sheriffs

For the second season running, the Sheriffs decided that they did not need to make any changes in January, so completely ignored the transfer window.

Sheriffs Transfers

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Bandits report - squad

Top 20 in Squad (sorted by CA)

Name, Pos, Age, CA-PA

Kilbey, 20, AMC, 123-157 (+8)

Bent, 33, ST, 121-145 – new signing

Burton, 17, D RLC, 113-163 – new signing

Ward, 32, DC, 110-122 – new signing

Parker, 23, D/AM L, 106-125 (+2)

Mulligan, 24, D/MC, 96-135 (+14)

Dickinson, 25, ST, 96-97 (+1)

Townsend, 25, DC, 95-105 – new signing

Howarth, 25, GK, 94-110 (+8)

Mark Phillips, 29, D RC, 90-120 – new signing

Matt Phillips, 20, AM RL, 89-127 – new signing

Keltie, 27, DM, 88-105 – new signing

Bignot, 25, DR, 85-109 (+10)

Moxey, 27, D/WB/AM L, 80-91 (+5)

Bryant, 17, DC, 77-176 (+5)

Riley, 18, MC, 76-137 (+9)

King, 17, AM R/ST, 75-154 – new signing

Templeman, 31, ST, 71-90 – new signing

Miller, 20, MC, 67-128 – new signing

Spender, 25, D/WB R, 66-92 (+1)

Players in last season’s top 20 who have left the club:

Hinton, 32, D RC, 76-88

Garry, 26, D LC, 75-89

O'Leary, 32, D RC/DM, 74-90

Brown, 25, M LC, 72-100

Bavidge, 30, ST, 71-95

Crook, 19, AMC, 66-84

Coughlan, 35, DC, 64-125

Sinclair, 37, AMR, 58-157

Players in last season’s top 20 who have dropped out of the top 20:

Inglis, 19, GK, 63-127 (+5)

Klein-Davis, 21, ST, 62-69 (+2)

20 year old Kilbey may be the best player in the squad, but he is well backed by a pack of new signings – seven of the club's best twelve players are new in this season. Those that remained from last year are young and improving – the manager seems to know what he is doing.

Notable others:

None

CA of X or above:

190 : 00, 00, 00

180 : 00, 00, 00

170 : 00, 00, 00

160 : 00, 00, 00

150 : 00, 00, 00

140 : 00, 00, 00

130 : 00, 00, 00

120 : 00, 00, 02

110 : 00, 01, 04

100 : 00, 02, 05

090 : 00, 03, 10

080 : 00, 05, 14

070 : 00, 13, 18

060 : 01, 18, 25

050 : 03, 23, 26

The squad is improving immeasurably every season, which bodes extremely well for the future. The current manager is mixing youth and experience very well.

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Sheriffs report - squad

Top 20 in Squad (sorted by CA)

Name, Pos, Age, CA-PA

Ellington, 29, ST, 114-130 – new signing

R Smith, 24, AM L, 99-132- new signing

Philliskirk, 20, MC, 94-146 (+6)

Godsmark, 21, AM RLC, FC, 91-127 (+3)

Afzal, 20, D RC, 88-122 (+5)

Ifil, 24, D/WB R, 86-115 (+3)

B Smith, 18, ST, 86-132 (+22)

Harris, 20, D/M C, 84-132 (+2)

Elding, 29, ST, 82-105 (-)

Pead, 29, D/WB R, M RC, 79-107 (-)

Underwood, 18, GK, 79-156 (+14)

Newey, 28, DL, 78-85 (+2)

Miller, 18, MR, 74-177 (+3)

Rigley, 22, D/M L, 71-100 (+6)

Taylor, 19, ST, 68-89 (+1)

Stanley, 17, GK, 60-138 – promoted from youth academy

Skelton, 18, D/M C, 58-104 (+9)

Raven, 17, SW/D RLC, 58-119 – promoted from youth academy

Jones, 19, MC, 57-115 (+9) – new entry in top 20

Brown, 32, AM/F C, 56-95 (-5)

Players in last season’s top 20 who have left the club:

Griffin, 30, ST, 54-71

Thom, 20, DC, 49-107

Creaney, 21, D LC, 49-89

Players in last season’s top 20 who have dropped out of the top 20:

Clifford, 19, DC, 53-105 (+2)

Binns, 29, AM L, 52-85 (-)

Not many new signings for the Sheriffs, but they already had a squad capable of taking on the Blue Square Premier, and had plenty of youth waiting to improve. They should continue to do well.

Notable others:

None

CA of X or above:

190 : 00, 00, 00

180 : 00, 00, 00

170 : 00, 00, 00

160 : 00, 00, 00

150 : 00, 00, 00

140 : 00, 00, 00

130 : 00, 00, 00

120 : 00, 00, 00

110 : 00, 00, 01

100 : 00, 00, 01

090 : 00, 00, 04

080 : 00, 06, 09

070 : 00, 09, 14

060 : 01, 14, 16

050 : 02, 17, 25

The Sheriffs improve once again – last season their best player was in the 80 CA range, this season they have one player over 110 CA. It is an excellent squad for the Blue Square Premier.

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Club reports – January-May

Bandits

In stark contrast to the Sheriffs, the Bandits had only the league to concern themselves with, and it was looking highly promising that both they and Bournemouth would be playing League One football next season. All they had to do was keep it going.

A 4-0 thumping of Lincoln was the perfect start to 2011, but a slip up away to Barnet brought Bournemouth back into play. Their incredible home form continued with a 5-0 win over Hereford, but draws against Brentford and Notts County were not ideal.

At this point, Bournemouth were breathing down their necks, with Barnet only six points further back. But with three teams automatically promoted, signs were still very good – there was a big gap from Barnet to the rest of the pack.

Four wins and two draws cemented their position as promotion shoo ins, although Bournemouth were keeping up the pressure win a fine run of their own, so when the Bandits lost to Aldershot, their south coast rivals leapfrogged them to the top of the league. With ten games to go, promotion was almost assured for both teams and Barnet, and the real issue became whether another trophy could be lifted.

A draw with Yeovil allowed Bournemouth to pull away slightly, but four wins in a row was too much for the Cherries to compete with, and the Bandits returned to the top of the table with five games left.

All of which made the clash between Bournemouth and the Bandits a crucial one, but a goalless draw at Dean Court ensured that the Bandits stayed clear. Three wins and a draw in the final four matches were enough to seal it, especially after Bournemouth lost to Wycombe, and for the third season running, the Bandits were lifting a league trophy.

In the end, they won the title by four points, with Barnet in third placed, twelve points behind them. All three were comfortably promoted, as the playoff teams started another eight points behind Barnet.

It had been another stunning season for the Bandits, and after three promotions, they were now just two rungs from the Premiership. At what point does the rise slow down?

Sheriffs

The Sheriffs had promotion aspirations of their own, and had certainly had a fantastic start to the season, but the fixture congestion was leading some to wonder whether more bodies should have been signed in January. With three cup competitions still holding interest, the players would be in for a busy time.

Their 2011 began with a trip to face Bristol Rovers in the FA Cup, and despite putting up an excellent fight, a 2-1 defeat saw the end of one of their cup dreams for another season. A 3-3 draw with Woking followed in the league, their previously watertight defence having an off day, before the fixture list became more congested after a 1-1 draw at Telford in the FA Trophy.

They were playing in a different competition every match, and next up was a Setanta Shield quarter final with Ebbsfleet. In the end, it was an easy victory, a 3-0 result pushing them closer to a cup final appearance. But back in the league, another draw, this time with Chelmsford, ended their long stint at the top of the table, Kidderminster taking over with twenty games remaining.

With only one automatic promotion spot available, and the Sheriffs having already lost one playoff battle in their short history, there was now real concern that their cup exploits would keep them in the non league structure for another season. It would certainly be a fight now. But before they could put things right in the league, the FA Trophy replay against Telford had to be played, a 2-0 victory keeping that competition alive in their season.

2-0 wins over York and Dagenham put them back to the top of the league, but by this point their players were taking to the field every three days. Next up were two more cup fixtures – first Kidderminster, one of their chief league rivals, were knocked out 2-1 in the FA Trophy, taking the Sheriffs to the quarter final, and then a tricky trip to Luton in the semi final of the Setanta Shield resulted in a tremendous 4-0 victory. Ironically, the final would be played at the Bandits' ground.

Luton had an immediate chance for revenge in the league four days later, but a tired Sheriffs side edged them out 2-1, before Torquay took advantage of their weariness, beating the Sheriffs by the same margin. Now both Kidderminster and Torquay were applying pressure to the Sheriffs at the top of the league.

Wins over Crawley and Stevenage gave them a little bit of breathing space before the cups took over again, a 2-1 win over Chelmsford taking them to the semi finals of the FA Trophy. Their form continued with two more wins in the league, and by the end of February their status as favourites for the title were reestablished.

All of this was great preparation for the Setanta Shield final, a tie with York that proved exceptionally close, until young Sheriff striker Ben Smith popped up with the winner to add to the fantastic season they were having. Winning a trophy the Bandits never secured was simply a bonus.

A win and two draws in the league ensured that they had a decent lead with the FA Trophy coming to it's conclusion, allowing them to focus on a trophy that the Bandits did currently hold. Ebbsfleet came to town for the first leg of the semi final, and the two stars, Ryan Smith and Nathan Ellington, scored the goals that ensured a very healthy 2-0 lead. Their opponents scored early in the second leg to make the tie tense, but were unable to get the second goal they needed to force extra time, and the Sheriffs were off to Wembley.

Before all that, however, they were looking to secure promotion, and five wins in their last nine games were eventually enough to take the title with room to spare – Torquay ended ten points back, while Kidderminster and Dagenham failed to keep up their challenge, twelve points behind the eventual winners, the latter going up via the playoffs.

And so to the final challenge of the season, the FA Trophy final against Kettering. Like the Setanta Shield final, the match was tight, but goals from Afzal and Philliskirk shortly before half time put the Sheriffs in a commanding position, and one they would not give up despite Anthony Elding's second half red card. The 2-0 win ensured that the Sheriffs would be taking home three pieces of silverware from their final season as a non league club.

It had been almost perfect – the league was won with ease, and with over a hundred points, the two non league cups had both been won, and they even reached the third round of the FA Cup, even further than their great rivals. Their only disappointment was seeing the Bandits remain a league ahead of them, but both sides are looking exceptionally strong.

Bandit Honours:

League Two (2011)

Blue Square Premier (2010)

Blue Square South (2009)

FA Trophy (2010)

Sheriff Honours:

Blue Square Premier (2011)

Blue Square South (2010)

FA Trophy (2011)

Setanta Shield (2011)

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Bandits report - Season summary

2008-09

Blue Square South: (Pos 1), P 42, W 37, D 4, L 1, F 112, A 15, GD +97, Pts 115

(Media Prediction: 8th)

FA Cup: Third Round

FA Trophy: Fourth Round

Setanta Shield: Semi Final

2009-10

Blue Square Premier: (Pos 1), P 46, W 37, D 5, L 4, F 122, A 29, GD +93, Pts 116

(Media Prediction: 20th)

FA Cup: Third Round

FA Trophy: Winners

Setanta Shield: South Fourth Round

2010-11

League Two: (Pos 1), P 46, W 30, D 9, L 7, F 108, A 27, GD +81, Pts 99

(Media Prediction: 24th)

League

FA Cup: Second Round

League Cup: Third Round

Johnstone's Paint Trophy: South First Round

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Sheriffs report - Season summary

2008-09

Blue Square South: (Pos 2), P 42, W 26, D 4, L 12, F 72, A 37, GD +35, Pts 82

(Media Prediction: 22nd)

FA Cup: Fourth Qualifying Round

FA Trophy: Second Round

Setanta Shield: South Second Round

2009-10

Blue Square South: (Pos 1), P 42, W 35, D 5, L 2, F 105, A 22, GD +83, Pts 110

(Media Prediction: 10th)

FA Cup: First Round

FA Trophy: Fourth Round

Setanta Shield: South First Round

2010-11

Blue Square Premier: (Pos 1), P 46, W 31, D 9, L 6, F 97, A 36, GD +61, Pts 102

(Media Prediction: 23rd)

League

FA Cup: Third Round

FA Trophy: Winners

Setanta Shield: Winners

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Bandits report - Best and Worst

General

Stats

New records:

Too many to mention

This season:

Best player – Bent, 7.53

Top scorer – Bent, 35

Worst player – Mulligan, 6.93

The forwards were immense – Marcus Bent scored 35 goals in 43 games, Dickinson managed 24 in 51, and Kilbey 19 in 46 from midfield. Left winger Dean Moxey managed 22 assists, and Ben Parker another ten from left back. It seems the Bandits were awesome down that flank.

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Sheriffs report - Best and Worst

General

Stats

New records:

Too many to mention

This season:

Best player – Ellington, 7.20

Top scorer – Ellington/Elding, 28

Worst player – Skelton, 6.83

Unsurprisingly, Nathan Ellington had a big impact in the Blue Square Premier, scoring 28 goals in 41 games, but he was well supported by Anthony Elding who managed 28 in 62, adding 21 assists in a fantastic season.

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Finance and Staff

Finance:

The Bandits and the Sheriffs both fall behind Real Madrid in the rich list.

Rich Clubs

Bandits Balance – £86.3m (+£5.8m), with a transfer budget of £38m (-£1m).

Sheriffs Balance - £40.0m (+£7.7m), with a transfer budget of £23.5m (+£3.5m).

Staff Reputation

Dream Manager – 5832 (+1140)

Idiot Manager – 4701 (+1566)

Both the initial assistants are still out of work.

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Player reports - Superstars

Goalkeeper 1 (Argentina)

2008-09, Bandits, CA 150: Apps 30, Conc 11, Cln 22, MoM 0, YC 5, RC 0, Avg 7.31

Transfers to Sunderland for £1.9m

2008-09, Sunderland, CA 158: Apps 12, Conc 14, Cln 5, MoM 1, YC 3, RC 0, Avg 6.78

2009-10, Sunderland, CA 170: Apps 46, Conc 53, Cln 16, MoM 3, YC 1, RC 0, Avg 7.03

2010-11, Sunderland, CA 176: Apps 45, Conc 53, Cln 15, MoM 5, YC 0, RC 0, Avg 7.13

Notes: Improves his performances slightly from last season, as do his club, rising to eleventh in the Premiership. Has now played five times for Argentina.

Honours

None

Goalkeeper 2 (England/Brazil)

2008-09, Bandits, CA 153: Apps 22 (1), Conc 14, Cln 12, MoM 1, YC 3, RC 0, Avg 7.01

Transfers to Rangers for £525k

2009-10, Rangers, CA 166: Apps 54, Conc 33, Cln 30, MoM 0, YC 0, RC 0, Avg 6.95

2010-11, Rangers, CA 176: Apps 46, Conc 39, Cln 18, MoM 2, YC 1, RC 0, Avg 6.99

Notes: Continues to play in Scotland, picking up his second consecutive SPL title, while playing to a decent standard. Brazil continue to pick him for their youth side, but have yet to give him a full cap.

Honours

Scottish Premier League (Rangers: 2010, 2011)

Scottish Co-operative Cup (Rangers: 2010)

Left Back 1 (England)

2008-09, Bandits, CA 150: Apps 22, Gls 1, Asts 7, MoM 0, YC 5, RC 0, Avg 7.21

Transfers to Everton for £625k

2008-09, Everton, CA 161: Apps 11, Gls 1, Asts 0, MoM 0, YC 0, RC 0, Avg 6.81

Transfers to Arsenal for £7.5m

2009-10, Arsenal, CA 181: Apps 42 (2), Gls 2, Asts 3, MoM 1, YC 1, RC 0, Avg 7.11

2010-11, Arsenal, CA 188: Apps 38 (3), Gls 3, Asts 5, MoM 2, YC 2, RC 0, Avg 7.10

Notes: Continues at Arsenal, narrowly missing out on the Premiership, coming second, but does make his international debut, playing seven times for England and scoring once.

Honours

English FA Cup (Arsenal: 2010)

Left Back 2 (England/Denmark)

2008-09, Bandits, CA 156: Apps 41 (1), Gls 1, Asts 16, MoM 8, YC 7, RC 1, Avg 7.35

Transfers to West Ham for £650k

2009-10, West Ham, CA 181: Apps 40, Gls 1, Asts 1, MoM 2, YC 3, RC 0, Avg 7.05

2010-11, West Ham, CA 190: Apps 41, Gls 0, Asts 1, MoM 0, YC 4, RC 0, Avg 6.85

Notes: Remains at West Ham, but possibly not for long as they continue to struggle in the Premiership, finishing 17th. Is yet to make his international debut.

Honours

English Blue Square South (Bandits: 2009)

Right Back 1 (England)

2008-09, Bandits, CA 150: Apps 36, Gls 1, Asts 16, MoM 3, YC 2, RC 0, Avg 7.48

Transfers to Fulham for £1.2m

2008-09, Fulham, CA 165: Apps 10, Gls 0, Asts 0, MoM 0, YC 1, RC 0, Avg 6.52

2009-10, Fulham, CA 182: Apps 42, Gls 4, Asts 6, MoM 3, YC 0, RC 0, Avg 7.03

2010-11, Fulham, CA 194: Apps 43, Gls 4, Asts 5, MoM 3, YC 5, RC 0, Avg 6.98

Notes: Continues to improve his CA at a very healthy rate, and contributes to Fulham finishing an excellent eighth. Is now a regular for England, with nine caps.

Honours

None

Right Back 2 (France)

2008-09, Bandits, CA 150: Apps 6, Gls 0, Asts 3, MoM 2, YC 0, RC 0, Avg 7.72

Transfers to Rennes for £220k

2008-09, Rennes, CA 155: Apps 9, Gls 0, Asts 2, MoM 0, YC 0, RC 0, Avg 6.84

2009-10, Rennes, CA 155: Apps 1, Gls 0, Asts 0, MoM 0, YC 1, RC 0, Avg 7.00

Transfers to Man City for £11m

2009-10, Man City, CA 175: Apps 35 (1), Gls 1, Asts 2, MoM 1, YC 0, RC 0, Avg 6.87

2010-11, Man City, CA 186: Apps 40, Gls 1, Asts 3, MoM 1, YC 2, RC 0, Avg 6.88

Notes: Continues to play reasonably for Man City without setting the world alight, but does make his international choice, making his first appearance for France.

Honours

None

Centre Back 1 (Germany)

2008-09, Bandits, CA 150: Apps 35, Gls 1, Asts 6, MoM 0, YC 2, RC 0, Avg 7.08

Transfers to Fulham for £1.4m

2008-09, Fulham, CA 165: Apps 15, Gls 0, Asts 0, MoM 1, YC 1, RC 0, Avg 6.83

2009-10, Fulham, CA 179: Apps 42, Gls 5, Asts 1, MoM 2, YC 7, RC 0, Avg 6.84

2010-11, Fulham, CA 192: Apps 35, Gls 4, Asts 1, MoM 3, YC 11, RC 0, Avg 6.95

Notes: Another unspectacular season with Fulham, but his ability has not gone unnoticed, and after a series of snubs, has now appeared for Germany, playing six times and scoring once. Has a bit of a problem with discipline this season, with eleven yellow cards.

Honours

None

Centre Back 2 (Holland)

2008-09, Bandits, CA 150: Apps 25, Gls 1, Asts 2, MoM 2, YC 3, RC 0, Avg 7.36

Transfers to Lyon for £775k

2008-09, Lyon, CA 157: Apps 2, Gls 0, Asts 0, MoM 0, YC 1, RC 0, Avg 6.35

2009-10, Lyon, CA 169: Apps 34 (4), Gls 0, Asts 1, MoM 0, YC 4, RC 0, Avg 6.84

2010-11, Lyon, CA 191: Apps 51, Gls 9, Asts 1, MoM 6, YC 7, RC 0, Avg 7.13

Notes: Has an excellent season with Lyon, although Marseille pip them to the French title. He does pick up a French Cup medal, however, and is already a regular for Holland, playing fifteen times and scoring once. His CA made huge strides this season.

Honours

French Ligue 1 (Lyon: 2010)

French Cup (Lyon: 2011)

French League Cup (Lyon: 2009, 2010)

Centre Back 3 (Italy)

2008-09, Bandits, CA 150: Apps 9, Gls 0, Asts 0, MoM 1, YC 1, RC 0, Avg 7.28

Transfers to Chievo for £75k

2008-09, Chievo, CA 157: Apps 16, Gls 1, Asts 0, MoM 3, YC 1, RC 0, Avg 6.67

Transfers to Sampdoria for £3.5m

2009-10, Sampdoria, CA 174: Apps 50, Gls 3, Asts 3, MoM 1, YC 4, RC 0, Avg 6.93

2010-11, Sampdoria, CA 192: Apps 51, Gls 3, Asts 3, MoM 0, YC 4, RC 0, Avg 6.97

Notes: He was the subject of much transfer speculation this season, with countless bids being made by other Italian clubs and rejected by Sampdoria. In the end, he stayed, and played well even though his club slipped to tenth. Has now played nine times for Italy.

Honours

None

Centre Back 4 (England)

2008-09, Bandits, CA 150: Apps 9 (1), Gls 0, Asts 1, MoM 2, YC 3, RC 0, Avg 7.09

Transfers to Hibernian for £30k

2008-09, Hibernian, CA 154: Apps 14, Gls 1, Asts 1, MoM 0, YC 3, RC 1, Avg 6.68

2009-10, Hibernian, CA 154: Apps 2, Gls 1, Asts 1, MoM 1, YC 0, RC 0, Avg 7.90

Transfers to West Brom for £2.5m

2009-10, West Brom, CA 173: Apps 40, Gls 2, Asts 0, MoM 0, YC 5, RC 1, Avg 6.86

2010-11, West Brom, CA 184: Apps 41, Gls 2, Asts 0, MoM 1, YC 7, RC 0, Avg 6.85

Notes: Once again, he plays reasonably but perhaps below the standard expected of someone with his ability. That may not be helped by the presence of Idiot Goalkeeper behind him, but West Brom still comfortably survive in twelfth. He makes his debut for England, playing twice.

Honours

None

Left Mid 1 (England)

2008-09, Bandits, CA 150: Apps 23 (2), Gls 10, Asts 10, MoM 0, YC 5, RC 0, Avg 7.03

Transfers to Man City for £1.1m

2008-09, Man City, CA 165: Apps 6, Gls 0, Asts 0, MoM 0, YC 0, RC 0, Avg 6.45

Transfers to West Brom for £10.5m

2009-10, West Brom, CA 179: Apps 39, Gls 8, Asts 8, MoM 5, YC 6, RC 0, Avg 7.12

2010-11, West Brom, CA 190: Apps 35 (1), Gls 7, Asts 3, MoM 3, YC 6, RC 0, Avg 7.07

Notes: Doesn't have quite as good a season as he did last time around, but it is still enough to mean he reaches six England caps.

Honours

None

Left Mid 2 (England)

2008-09, Bandits, CA 150: Apps 16 (1), Gls 6, Asts 3, MoM 1, YC 3, RC 1, Avg 7.06

Transfers to Everton for £1m

2008-09, Everton, CA 167: Apps 17, Gls 2, Asts 1, MoM 0, YC 2, RC 0, Avg 6.60

Transfers to Chelsea for £8.75m

2009-10, Chelsea, CA 184: Apps 50 (2), Gls 11, Asts 19, MoM 6, YC 2, RC 0, Avg 7.19

2010-11, Chelsea, CA 194: Apps 45 (1), Gls 6, Asts 7, MoM 5, YC 0, RC 1, Avg 7.03

Notes: After scoring or getting the assist for thirty goals last season, his much reduced number was quite a disappointment this season, which went along with Chelsea's slip from first to fourth in the Premiership. Does better at international level, with seven goals in seventeen caps.

Honours

English Premiership (Chelsea: 2010)

Right Mid 1 (England/Mexico)

2008-09, Bandits, CA 150: Apps 30, Gls 11, Asts 11, MoM 1, YC 4, RC 0, Avg 7.11

Transfers to Blackburn for £1.3m

2008-09, Blackburn, CA 165: Apps 14, Gls 6, Asts 1, MoM 0, YC 0, RC 0, Avg 6.91

2009-10, Blackburn, CA 165: Apps 7, Gls 2, Asts 4, MoM 2, YC 0, RC 0, Avg 7.44

Transfers to AC Milan for £14.5m

2009-10, AC Milan, CA 177: Apps 2 (5), Gls 1, Asts 0, MoM 0, YC 0, RC 0, Avg 6.80

2010-11, AC Milan, CA 177: Apps 5 (5), Gls 2, Asts 3, MoM 0, YC 1, RC 0, Avg 7.13

Transfers to Chelsea for £22.5m

2010-11, Chelsea, CA 189: Apps 18 (1), Gls 4, Asts 6, MoM 2, YC 0, RC 0, Avg 7.14

Notes: Spent the first half of the season begging for first team football at AC Milan, who were refusing to play him, and finally got his wish when Chelsea came in with a massive offer for him. He has started well at his new club, but is still to be capped at international level.

Honours

None

Right Mid 2 (England)

2008-09, Bandits, CA 150: Apps 11 (1), Gls 4, Asts 8, MoM 0, YC 0, RC 0, Avg 7.26

Transfers to Rangers for £220k

2008-09, Rangers, CA 160: Apps 19, Gls 4, Asts 4, MoM 0, YC 0, RC 0, Avg 6.58

Transfers to Liverpool for £7.5m

2009-10, Liverpool, CA 178: Apps 34 (5), Gls 4, Asts 3, MoM 1, YC 1, RC 0, Avg 7.03

2010-11, Liverpool, CA 192: Apps 54 (3), Gls 18, Asts 14, MoM 10, YC 3, RC 0, Avg 7.29

Notes: What a sensational season. After a massive CA rise, he scores eighteen goals from the wing, manages many more assists, and plays a massive part in Liverpool lifting the Premiership for the first time in over two decades. His fine form makes him impossible for England to ignore, and he scores twice in his first five internationals.

Honours

English Premiership (Liverpool: 2011)

Scottish Premier League (Rangers: 2009)

Scottish Co-operative Cup (Rangers: 2009)

Centre Mid 1 (England)

2008-09, Bandits, CA 155: Apps 52 (1), Gls 17, Asts 13, MoM 2, YC 9, RC 1, Avg 6.93

Transfers to Middlesbrough for £1.1m

2009-10, Middlesbrough, CA 176: Apps 40, Gls 10, Asts 3, MoM 7, YC 0, RC 0, Avg 7.16

2010-11, Middlesbrough, CA 192: Apps 44, Gls 19, Asts 4, MoM 7, YC 1, RC 0, Avg 7.35

Notes: An excellent rise in CA and a stunning season see him score nineteen goals from midfield, while averaging 5.45 tackles per game, fantastic for a midfielder. He is comfortably Boro's best performer in a season where they finish ninth, and he is recognised with his first six England caps, scoring three times.

Honours

English Blue Square South (Bandits: 2009)

Centre Mid 2 (Portugal)

2008-09, Bandits, CA 150: Apps 31 (1), Gls 10, Asts 11, MoM 2, YC 7, RC 0, Avg 7.04

Transfers to Sporting for £1.1m

2008-09, Sporting, CA 163: Apps 17, Gls 3, Asts 2, MoM 1, YC 2, RC 0, Avg 6.86

2009-10, Sporting, CA 179: Apps 40 (3), Gls 12, Asts 3, MoM 3, YC 1, RC 0, Avg 7.22

2010-11, Sporting, CA 194: Apps 49, Gls 22, Asts 12, MoM 7, YC 1, RC 0, Avg 7.39

Notes: Another terrific season for the man who has chosen Portugal as his home at club and international level. Sporting are again pipped to the league by Benfica, but he does pick up his first trophy with the Portuguese Cup. Has now scored four times in eleven appearances for his country.

Honours

Portuguese Cup (Sporting: 2011)

Centre Mid 3 (England)

2008-09, Bandits, CA 150: Apps 15 (4), Gls 9, Asts 4, MoM 0, YC 5, RC 1, Avg 7.21

Transfers to Bolton for £675k

2008-09, Bolton, CA 164: Apps 12, Gls 1, Asts 2, MoM 0, YC 2, RC 0, Avg 6.77

Transfers to Liverpool for £16.5m

2009-10, Liverpool, CA 188: Apps 38 (1), Gls 14, Asts 4, MoM 5, YC 3, RC 0, Avg 7.15

2010-11, Liverpool, CA 198: Apps 44 (9), Gls 5, Asts 10, MoM 3, YC 5, RC 0, Avg 7.05

Notes: Has the highest CA of any of the former Bandits, although his performance levels don't really reflect that, after a season in which he did not contribute as much as he would hope to. But ironically, Liverpool raise their game (with the help of two other former Bandits), to claim the Premiership crown for the first time in 21 years. Now has nine England caps to his name, with six goals, an excellent record.

Honours

English Premiership (Liverpool: 2011)

English Carling Cup (Liverpool: 2010)

Centre Mid 4 (England)

2008-09, Bandits, CA 150: Apps 4 (3), Gls 2, Asts 1, MoM 0, YC 0, RC 0, Avg 6.93

Transfers to Reading for £75k

2008-09, Reading, CA 154: Apps 22, Gls 3, Asts 2, MoM 0, YC 0, RC 0, Avg 6.71

Transfers to Hull for £2.1m

2009-10, Hull, CA 165: Apps 29, Gls 6, Asts 3, MoM 1, YC 5, RC 0, Avg 7.14

Transfers to Liverpool for £12.75m

2010-11, Liverpool, CA 189: Apps 36 (21), Gls 10, Asts 11, MoM 5, YC 2, RC 0, Avg 7.07

Notes: Having experienced relegation with Hull, it was inevitable that he would move on in the summer, and Liverpool offered the sufficient money to see him return to the Premiership instantly. He managed to raise his CA considerably, which was lagging behind the rest, and played a decent part in Liverpool claiming the Premiership, scoring at a healthy rate from midfield. He also made his first three appearances for England, and appears to have his career back on track.

Honours

English Premiership (Liverpool: 2011)

Striker 1 (Spain)

2008-09, Bandits, CA 165: Apps 46 (4), Gls 34, Asts 12, MoM 14, YC 8, RC 0, Avg 7.87

Transfers to Sevilla for £1.3m

2009-10, Sevilla, CA 178: Apps 51 (1), Gls 30, Asts 14, MoM 8, YC 1, RC 0, Avg 7.26

2010-11, Sevilla, CA 191: Apps 54, Gls 36, Asts 13, MoM 10, YC 2, RC 0, Avg 7.34

Notes: After a remarkable 30 goals in La Liga last season, it seemed impossible for him to do any better, but he managed 36 this time, at an increased performance rate too, although it was only enough to help his club to fifth. They did, however, claim the Copa del Rey, and he has now chosen Spain at international level, scoring three times in his opening three games. He is some player.

Honours

English Blue Square South (Bandits: 2009)

Spanish Copa del Rey (Sevilla: 2011)

Striker 2 (England)

2008-09, Bandits, CA 150: Apps 32 (3), Gls 22, Asts 5, MoM 8, YC 9, RC 1, Avg 7.96

Transfers to Newcastle for £1.5m

2008-09, Newcastle, CA 160: Apps 12, Gls 4, Asts 1, MoM 0, YC 4, RC 0, Avg 7.06

2009-10, Newcastle, CA 180: Apps 34, Gls 18, Asts 9, MoM 5, YC 1, RC 0, Avg 7.14

2010-11, Newcastle, CA 189: Apps 50, Gls 29, Asts 15, MoM 10, YC 0, RC 0, Avg 7.20

Notes: Continues to improve both his CA and his performance levels, and manages 29 goals in an excellent season. His club, however, slip to 14th, and he seems to be their only bright spark. Despite those struggles, he continues to be recognised by England, and has five goals in seven appearances.

Honours

None

Striker 3 (England/USA)

2008-09, Bandits, CA 150: Apps 5 (5), Gls 6, Asts 1, MoM 1, YC 0, RC 0, Avg 8.04

Transfers to Sheff Utd for £55k

2008-09, Sheff Utd, CA 161: Apps 23, Gls 10, Asts 5, MoM 4, YC 5, RC 0, Avg 7.14

Transfers to Rangers for £2.6m

2009-10, Rangers, CA 170: Apps 52 (1), Gls 51, Asts 18, MoM 22, YC 0, RC 0, Avg 7.66

2010-11, Rangers, CA 189: Apps 48, Gls 58, Asts 18, MoM 22, YC 2, RC 0, Avg 7.79

Notes: After scoring 51 goals in a season, expectations were high, and yet somehow he still managed to exceed them, scoring a frankly ridiculous 58 goals in 48 games, proving that this league is now way below the standard he needs to be playing at. Gets the man of the match award in nearly half his games, leading his side to the SPL title again, by twenty points this season. But despite his exploits, Capello continues to turn his nose up and refuses to cap him for England.

Honours

Scottish Premier League (Rangers: 2010, 2011)

Scottish Co-operative Cup (Rangers: 2010)

Striker 4 (England/Vanuatu)

2008-09, Bandits, CA 150: Apps 15 (4), Gls 14, Asts 4, MoM 3, YC 0, RC 0, Avg 7.85

Transfers to Dundee Utd for £85k

2008-09, Dundee Utd, CA 156: Apps 18, Gls 11, Asts 1, MoM 4, YC 2, RC 0, Avg 7.13

Transfers to Hull for £10m

2009-10, Hull, CA 175: Apps 49, Gls 24, Asts 9, MoM 8, YC 3, RC 0, Avg 7.09

2010-11, Hull, CA 175: Apps 22, Gls 20, Asts 2, MoM 8, YC 0, RC 0, Avg 7.46

Transfers to Sampdoria for £21.5m

2010-11, Sampdoria, CA 183: Apps 14 (1), Gls 2, Asts 4, MoM 2, YC 0, RC 0, Avg 7.10

Notes: After Hull's relegation, many expected him to leave in the summer, but the club fought to keep him, and he began the season in the Championship, unsurprisingly destroying allcomers and taking Hull to third. But in January, the board went over their manager's head to accept a huge offer from Sampdoria, so he was off to Italy, where he is still settling in. He is yet to be capped, and Hull faded after his departure, finishing sixth and losing in the playoffs.

Honours

None

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Player reports - Idiots

Idiot Goalkeeper (England)

2008-09, Sheriffs, CA 150: Apps 51, Conc 46, Cln 22, MoM 5, YC 5, RC 0, Avg 6.99

Transfers to Falkirk for £80k

2009-10, Falkirk, CA 150: Apps 25, Conc 26, Cln 11, MoM 1, YC 0, RC 0, Avg 6.84

Transfers to West Brom for £2.7m

2009-10, West Brom, CA 150: Apps 16, Conc 15, Cln 6, MoM 0, YC 0, RC 0, Avg 6.94

2010-11, West Brom, CA 150: Apps 35, Conc 47, Cln 7, MoM 1, YC 0, RC 0, Avg 6.95

Notes: After two transfers last season, he finally settles with West Brom, but hardly sets the world alight as his club finish 12th. Capello, however, has seen something in him, and given him his first three England caps.

Honours

None

Idiot Defender (England/Northern Mariana)

2008-09, Sheriffs, CA 150: Apps 5, Gls 0, Asts 3, MoM 1, YC 1, RC 0, Avg 7.46

Transfers to Blackburn for £700k

2008-09, Blackburn, CA 145: Apps 18, Gls 0, Asts 1, MoM 1, YC 3, RC 3, Avg 6.64

Transfers to Hull for £5.25m

2009-10, Hull, CA 145: Apps 37, Gls 0, Asts 4, MoM 0, YC 9, RC 0, Avg 6.48

2010-11, Hull, CA 140: Apps 38 (4), Gls 1, Asts 2, MoM 1, YC 5, RC 0, Avg 6.77

Notes: After helping Hull get relegated from the Premiership, it seemed to everyone as if he would find himself another club in the summer. But his falling CA and terrible attitude seems to be putting everyone off, and as a result he was forced to spend the entire season in the Championship. He can't even play well there, and Hull fail to get promoted, losing in the playoffs. Remains uncapped, and that may never change.

Honours

None

Idiot Midfielder (England/Yemen)

2008-09, Sheriffs, CA 150: Apps 23, Gls 9, Asts 9, MoM 0, YC 12, RC 3, Avg 6.80

Transfers to Celtic for £1m

2008-09, Celtic, CA 150: Apps 15 (3), Gls 2, Asts 2, MoM 0, YC 5, RC 1, Avg 6.46

2009-10, Celtic, CA 150: Apps 1, Gls 0, Asts 0, MoM 0, YC 0, RC 0, Avg 7.20

Transfers to Aston Villa for £8.25m

2009-10, Aston Villa, CA 149: Apps 31 (3), Gls 1, Asts 4, MoM 0, YC 4, RC 0, Avg 6.94

2010-11, Aston Villa, CA 149: Apps 13 (1), Gls 2, Asts 2, MoM 0, YC 1, RC 0, Avg 6.88

Notes: Remains at Aston Villa, but his poor attitude means his CA isn't going up, and as a result he isn't a regular in the side. When he does play, he doesn't do that well either. Is still uncapped.

Honours

Scottish Cup (Celtic: 2009)

Idiot Striker (England/Zambia)

2008-09, Sheriffs, CA 150: Apps 5, Gls 5, Asts 0, MoM 0, YC 0, RC 0, Avg 7.46

Transfers to Blackburn for £775k

2008-09, Blackburn, CA 149: Apps 2 (2), Gls 1, Asts 0, MoM 0, YC 0, RC 0, Avg 6.67

Transfers to Hull for £4m

2009-10, Hull, CA 149: Apps 39 (4), Gls 7, Asts 8, MoM 0, YC 7, RC 0, Avg 6.71

2010-11, Hull, CA 143: Apps 19 (19), Gls 8, Asts 3, MoM 1, YC 3, RC 0, Avg 6.74

Notes: After an extremely poor scoring record in the Premiership last season, Hull were hoping that he would be more effective in the Championship. Unfortunately, he wasn't, so he lost his place in the team, as his abilities faded. Winning a cap ahead of Striker 3 would be a travesty that fortunately has not occurred yet.

Honours

None

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Competitions - England

Premiership

Liverpool win their first top flight title in 21 years, winning the Premiership by five points from Arsenal, perennial runners up. The traditional big four are back, with United third and Chelsea fourth, Everton's European exploits preventing them from repeating last season's third spot.

At the bottom, it was a depressing story of the three promoted sides going straight back down again. The only team that came close to them was West Ham, five points clear, but 16th placed Reading ended a massive thirteen points from the drop zone. Those three sides just weren't good enough this season.

Arsenal managed to claim some silverware again, beating Chelsea 2-1 in the FA Cup final to retain the competition, and this season one side from outside the Premiership – Wigan – reached the quarter final, although that was because the draw was kind enough to keep them away from the top flight sides, and Spurs then hammered them 4-0. That wasn't the only beating the Premiership sides dished out – Liverpool put six past Accrington in round three, Fulham seven past Bristol Rovers in round four, and Arsenal eight past Plymouth in the same round (the irony being they had drawn at the Emirates and this was the replay). Plymouth, incidentally, lost the Championship playoff final, so were nearly in for a season of pain.

Spurs made up for losing the Carling Cup final 5-4 last season by going one better, beating Man City 2-1, while again no side from outside the Premiership reached the quarter finals.

In Europe, Barcelona returned to the summit with a 3-0 demolition of surprise finalists Werder Bremen, who had enjoyed a remarkable semi final win over Bayern – having lost the first leg 3-0, they won by the same score in the second leg thanks to a late goal, and then added two more in extra time for a 5-3 aggregate win. United and Chelsea were the last English participants, losing in the quarter finals.

Incredibly, the UEFA Cup final was a local derby, Everton beating Liverpool 2-1 in extra time. Everton had reached the Champions League group stage but fallen into the UEFA Cup, while Liverpool's disappointing fifth place last season left them in the secondary competition.

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Premiership Analysis - Reputation

(league position in bold)

1 (1). Chelsea (4) – 9279 (-122)

2 (2). Man Utd (3) – 9127 (-180)

3 (3). Liverpool (1) – 9004 (+27)

4 (4). Arsenal (2) – 8914 (+21)

5 (6). Everton (9) – 7762 (+287)

6 (5). Tottenham (5) – 7711 (+96)

7 (7). Man City (6) – 7477 (+189)

8 (8). Aston Villa (13) – 7368 (+159)

9 (9). Newcastle (14) – 7222 (+150)

10 (11). Middlesbrough (7) – 7015 (+157)

11 (10). Blackburn (10) – 6968 (-37)

12 (12). West Ham (17) – 6799 (-27)

13 (14). West Brom (12) – 6766 (+224)

14 (13). Bolton (15) – 6735 (+123)

15 (16). Fulham (8) – 6669 (+334)

16 (15). Sunderland (11) – 6563 (+128)

17 (17). Reading (16) – 6392 (+178)

18 (-). Stoke (18) – 5802 (-474)

19 (-). Portsmouth (19) – 5801 (-582)

20 (-). Wolves (20) – 5786 (-154)

Promoted sides

Watford- 5683

Leeds - 5872

Preston – 6288 (+490)

Elsewhere

Bandits – 2797 (+782)

Sheriffs – 2004 (+527)

Not many changes this season, with the top four staying as they were. A couple of swaps further down the list, but it was only really the relegated clubs that suffered big losses (Wolves apart, who already had a low reputation). The Premiership is a bit of a status quo at the moment.

Of the sides coming up, Watford and Leeds grabbed the automatic spots, but both are far behind anyone in the top flight and will really struggle. Preston, up via the playoffs, have the bonus of having been in the Premiership two years ago, a yo-yo effect that has helped their reputation, and may allow them to survive.

Overachievers : Fulham

Underachievers : Everton

Title Prediction : Liverpool to retain

Relegation Prediction : The three promoted clubs to all drop for the second season running

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Competitions – League Two

Best players in League Two:

1 (-). Heaton (Yeovil, 25, GK, 125-139)

2 (-). Kilbey (Bandits, 20, AMC, 123-157)

3 (-). Bent (Bandits, 33, ST, 121-145)

4 (-). Henderson (Bradford, 27, GK, 118-125)

5 (-). Thornton (Bradford, 24, AMC, 115-130)

6 (-). Forecast (Lincoln, 24, GK, 114-135)

7 (-). Burton (Bandits, 17, D RLC, 113-163)

8 (-). Bennett (Bradford, 21, DC, 111-130)

9 (-). McGeough (Stockport, 20, AMC, 111-116)

10 (-). Ward (Bandits, 32, DC, 110-122)

Heaton is an excellent keeper for Yeovil and tops the list, but otherwise it is the Bandit show, with four entries. Kilbey goes from being the best player in the Blue Square Premier to the second best in League Two, and both he and Burton stick out because of their youth and potential. Bradford should've been more of a force this season.

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Competitions – Blue Square Premier

Best players in the Blue Square Premier:

1 (-). Ellington (Sheriffs, 29, ST, 114-130)

2 (5). Craddock (Luton, 24, ST, 104-110)

3 (6). Osano (Rushden, 24, D RC/MR, 102-120)

4 (-). Smith (Sheriffs, 24, AML, 99-132)

5 (4). Parkin (Luton, 30, ST, 98-127)

6 (8). Gilbert (York, 27, DL, 97-123)

7 (9). Mazel (Oxford, 28, D RC, 96-120)

8 (10). Laird (Stevenage, 25, MC, 95-119)

9 (-). McCay (Luton, 25, D/WB/M L, 95-110)

10 (-). Philliskirk (Sheriffs, 20, MC, 94-146)

Plenty of players that remain on the list from last season, and Luton will be especially disappointed in their final position of twelfth in the league. Nathan Ellington is, unsurprisingly top of the pile with a CA that would put him on the top ten list of League Two.

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Competitions – Around the world

Your annual guide to the major competition winners from across the globe:

[number in brackets after a win indicates how many consecutive wins that club has now had]

World

World Club Cup – Valencia

Europe

Champions League – Barcelona

UEFA Cup – Everton

Belgium

Jupiler Pro League – Anderlecht (Relegated – KV Kortrijk, Promoted - Roeselare)

Confidis Cup – Germinal Beerschot

England

Premiership – Liverpool (Relegated – Stoke, Portsmouth, Wolves, Promoted – Watford, Leeds, Preston)

FA Cup – Arsenal (2)

League Cup - Spurs

France

Ligue 1 – Marseille (Relegated – Metz, Sochaux, Le Havre, Promoted – Troyes, Cannes, Brest)

Coupe de France – Lyon

Coupe de la Ligue – PSG

Germany

Bundesliga – Bayern Munich (3) (Relegated – Koln, St. Pauli, Promoted – Nurnberg, Bochum)

DFB-Pokal – Bayern Munich (3)

Italy

Serie A – Inter Milan (Relegated – Ascoli, Siena, Mantova, Promoted – Modena, Chievo, TBD)

Italian Cup – Inter Milan

Netherlands

Eredivisie – AZ Alkmaar (!) (Relegated – Excelsior, SC Cambuur, Promoted – Heracles, Den Dosch)

Dutch Cup – Vitesse

Portugal

Liga Sagres – Benfica (3) (Relegated – Gil Vicente, Chaves, Promoted – E. Amadora, Leiria)

Taca de Portugal – Sporting

Carlsberg Cup – Benfica (3)

Scotland

SPL – Rangers (3) (Relegated – Morton, Promoted – St. Mirren)

Scottish Cup – Celtic (3)

Co-operative Cup – Celtic

Spain

La Liga – Real Madrid (3) (Relegated – Almeria, Tenerife, Gimnastic, Promoted – Recreativo, Espanyol, TBD)

Copa del Rey – Sevilla

South America

Copa Libertadores – Sao Paulo

Copa Sudamericana – Pumas

Argentina

Primera A – River Plate (3) (Relegated – Belgrano, Union, Quilmes, Promoted – Gimnasia, San Martin, Rafaela)

Brazil

Brasileiro – Sao Paulo (Relegated – Nautico, Goias, Figueirense, America (RN), Promoted – Sport Recife, Fortaleza, Ipatinga, Parana)

Copa do Brasil – Vitoria

International

World Cup – Italy

African Cup of Nations – n/a

Asian Cup – n/a

European Championships – n/a

Gold Cup – n/a

Oceania Nations Cup – n/a

Copa America – n/a

Confederations Cup – n/a

Olympics – n/a

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Summary

Three promotions and three title winning campaigns for the all conquering Bandits, who are now just two rungs from the Premiership. Undoubtedly life will become more difficult as they rise up the leagues, but right now their manager is taking them up faster than anyone could have predicted.

As for the Sheriffs, their season was near perfect – the league title, coupled with the two non league cup competitions in their last season there. They even reached the third round of the FA Cup – a great achievement. It will be interesting to see if they can follow in the Bandits' promotion footsteps until their great rivals slip up or reach the Premiership.

The starlets have mostly found clubs they are happy with, but Striker 3 might want to leave the SPL – 109 goals in two seasons have not been enough to earn an international cap – astonishing.

As for the idiots, it looks like their careers are never really going to take off – they lack the desire to better themselves, and consequently the starlets now have a great deal more ability. How long until they all get frustrated and start to kick up a fuss?

Starlets and Idiots

Bandit’s former manager watch

No former managers

Sheriffs’s former manager watch

No former managers

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World View – Club Reputation

The top twenty clubs in the world, based on their reputation:

1 (4). Barcelona – 9328 (+64)

2 (2). Real Madrid – 9325 (-53)

3 (1). Chelsea – 9279 (-122)

4 (3). Man Utd – 9127 (-180)

5 (7). Liverpool – 9004 (+27)

6 (5). Valencia – 8924 (-149)

7 (8). Arsenal – 8914 (+21)

8 (6). Inter Milan – 8906 (-86)

9 (9). Bayern Munich – 8675 (-55)

10 (10). AC Milan – 8598 (-41)

11 (11). Juventus – 8530 (-96)

12 (14). Fiorentina – 8451 (+18)

13 (13). Roma – 8381 (-99)

14 (12). Sevilla – 8379 (-120)

15 (15). Lyon – 8309 (-77)

16 (18). Atletico Madrid – 8119 (+146)

17 (-). Werder Bremen – 8112

18 (-). Zenit – 8002

19 (17). Galatasaray – 7969 (-36)

20 (20). River Plate – 7921 (+18)

Dropping out:

21 (16). Porto – 7911 (-161)

22 (19). Benfica – 7878 (-84)

Spain return to the top, but it is a bad season for Portugal, with their two representatives dropping out.

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World View - Ones to watch

Your annual guide to the stars of tomorrow:

Tamer Ozdemir (Konyaspor/Turkey, 17, DC, 98-197) is already a regular for Turkish lower league side Konyaspor, although he is struggling to play well. He has appeared for the Under 21s already.

Previous tips

Loic Pelletier (Troyes/France, 18, MC, 108/197) gains another fourteen points of CA, and has now finally made his debut for Troyes, appearing a handful of times this season and doing fine.

Steve Tucker (Motherwell/England, 18, D RC, 106/197) only gains six CA points, a disappointing tally given his huge potential, and still only plays sporadically for his club. His performances are fine when he does get a chance.

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World View - World beaters

Kaka (AC Milan/Brazil, 29, AM C, 194/195) stays joint top of the list, but still can't quite reach his potential. He plays reasonably well, but not superbly. Could be doing much better.

Kaka

Lionel Messi (Barcelona/Argentina, 23, AM RLC, 194/195) stays just below his potential, as with Kaka, and also like Kaka has a good but unspectacular season. He does however win the Champions League trophy.

Lionel Messi

Cristiano Ronaldo (Man United/Portugal, 26, AM RL, 194/195) is the third player on the list to sit of 194 CA, one short of their potential, and he perform slightly better than his two main rivals.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Iker Casillas (Real Madrid/Spain, 30, GK, 191/192) is still only 30, despite seeming to have been around for twenty years. His CA remains static, but he has a fantastic season, winning La Liga and conceding only 21 goals in 53 games.

Iker Casillas

Number of 190+ CA players : 4 (-) (excluding starlets and idiots)

Number of 180+ CA players : 36 (+8) (excluding starlets and idiots)

Number of 170+ CA players : 133 (+19) (excluding starlets and idiots)

Number of 190+ PA players : 23 (-1) (excluding starlets and idiots)

Number of 180+ PA players : 158 (+2) (excluding starlets and idiots)

Number of 170+ PA players : 653 (+54) (excluding starlets and idiots)

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World View - Distribution of 180+ CA players

(excluding starlets and idiots)

The clubs

Team                Number of stars                         No. of Bandit stars
Real Madrid         6 (+2) (191, 186, 183, 183, 181, 180)
Barcelona           5 (+3) (194, 183, 183, 180, 180)
AC Milan            3 (-) (194, 182, 182)
Man Utd             3 (-1) (194, 184, 183)
Arsenal             3 (+1) (189, 184, 183)                  1 (+1) (188)
Liverpool           3 (-) (187, 183, 181)                   3 (+3) (198, 192, 189)
Chelsea             2 (-1) (189, 184)                       2 (+2) (194, 187)
Juventus            2 (+1) (188, 180)
Lyon                2 (+1) (186, 180)                       1 (+1) (191)
Roma                2 (+1) (184, 180)
Atletico Madrid     1 (-) (187)
Bayer Leverkusen    1 (-) (185)
CSKA Moscow         1 (+1) (182)
Valencia            1 (-) (180)
Fiorentina          1 (-) (180)
Fulham                                                      2 (+2) (194, 192)
Sporting                                                    1 (+1) (194)
Sampdoria                                                   2 (+2) (192, 183)
Middlesbrough                                               1 (+1) (192)
Sevilla                                                     1 (+1) (191)
West Ham                                                    1 (+1) (190)
West Brom                                                   2 (+2) (190, 184)
Newcastle                                                   1 (+1) (189)
Rangers                                                     1 (+1) (189)
Man City                                                    1 (+1) (186)
[b]Total               36 (+8)                                 20 (+20)[/b]

A very good year for Spanish football sees Barcelona and Real Madrid top the list, although Liverpool also have six stars when you include their three former Bandits. CSKA Moscow appear on the list for the first time.

The leagues

Country   Stars     Bandit stars

Spain     13 (+5)   1 (+1)
England   11 (-1)   14 (+14)
Italy     8 (+2)    2 (+2)
France    2 (+1)    1 (+1)
Germany   1 (-)
Russia    1 (+1)
Portugal            1 (+1)
Scotland            1 (+1)
[b]Total     36 (+8)   20 (+20)[/b]

Spain fly to the top of the list, while Russia appear for the first time. Portugal and Scotland have former Bandits, getting them on to the list too.

The nationalities

Country   Stars     Bandit stars

Spain     8 (+2)    1 (+1)
Italy     6 (+2)    1 (+1)
Argentina 4 (-)
France    4 (+1)    1 (+1)
Brazil    2 (+1)
England   2 (-2)    14 (+14)
Holland   2 (+2)    1 (+1)
Portugal  1 (-)     1 (+1)
Ghana     1 (-)
Germany   1 (-)     1 (+1)
Czech Rep 1 (-)
Mexico    1 (-)
Macedonia 1 (-)
Slovakia  1 (+1)
Russia    1 (+1)
[b]Total     36 (+8)   20 (+20)[/b]

Once again Spain looks strong, but England, who would be struggling otherwise, have fourteen ex Bandits. However, some of those have not confirmed their chosen nationality yet.

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Right, hopefully the extensive delay in the report (early April was the last seasonal update - there has been a World Cup report since, but still, that's a long time!) is softened slightly by the few new bits and bobs in today's. The eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed:

1) The Sheriffs have a 'Best and Worst' section, with screenshots of the whole first team squad, including seasonal stats - peruse at your will.

2) All the starlets and idiots are now screenshotted (my new favourite word...)

3) The world view includes not only clubs relegated from the top divisions, but those promoted to it - wait for the minnows to arrive.

4) The final section, the distribution of world stars, is codified to look pretty, and include the former Bandits (thanks to zyzzy for the suggestion and VonBlade for telling me how to do it).

Enjoy :)

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Wow. Did Striker 3 kill Capello's cat or something? That's astonishing form. Both clubs are probably odds-on for promotions again next year as well, I'd say.

Great update, kip.

(long time reader, first time poster. great stuff!)

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