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Thread: The County Championship

  1. #1
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    The County Championship

    The County Championship

    The aim:

    Win a trophy with a team from each and every county in England.

    Here they are:


    There are 48 counties in England.

    Spoiler!


    I may struggle with Isle of Wight and I don't believe Rutland has any teams but we'll see what we can do.

    Will be starting unemployed. After taking over Iran and resigning immediately.

    April 2015 Database starting in 2014 using Tapani 2.19

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    July 2014


    Germany have just won the Football World Cup, the Commonwealth Games are taking place in Glasgow, the search for Flight MH370 continues, Rolf Harris gets his commupance and Rory McIlroy wins the Open.
    It is marks the start of what I hope will be a very long journey. The start of my management career. It is a spur of the moment thing. I've always loved football but after I got too old to play at a decent level, I felt I had to actually go out and get a proper job.
    That was until one day in random conversation, someone said I should become a manager. I thought about it for a couple of days and then thought why not.
    I thought a lot of myself and figured I would be installed at a club within the next week or so.

    I was wrong!

    In fact, there wasn't even a job available until early October and that was Sheffield United, I was never gonna get that.

    It was 8 days before Christmas when my phone rang and I answered a very interesting phone call.
    Last edited by ebfatz; 07-12-16 at 10:30 PM.

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  3. #2
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    Nice idea mate, best of luck

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    Sounds interesting! Reckon Cornwall could be tough too, and depending what definition of county you use there are places like North Somerset, BANES (Bath And North-East Somerset), etc where you might struggle... Have you used the patch to get the Conference North in the game?

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    Yep. Northern Premier activated.
    Cornwall may be an issue. Yes. Need to hope a small town gets a promotion at some point.

    And just traditional, current counties as per pic in post 1.

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    Going to be a very long slog this one but it'll be a massive achievement at the end of it. Going to be a lot of a fun and games along the way too, plus are you counting the Charity errr Community shield as a trophy?

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  9. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ebfatz View Post
    Yep. Northern Premier activated.
    Cornwall may be an issue. Yes. Need to hope a small town gets a promotion at some point.

    And just traditional, current counties as per pic in post 1.
    Nice one, I'll be following

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    "Do you have any plans over the next few days?"

    "Er no. Bit of Christmas shopping I guess."

    "Well, if you can put that off for a day or so. We would like to speak to you with regard to the application we received from you for our vacant manager's post."

    The call was from a man named Nigel Collins. He seemed nice enough over the phone. More importantly, he seemed interested in offering me a job.
    I took the details from him and arranged to meet with him at 1pm the next day.

    On the train up, I had to do a bit of research on what could become the first club in my managerial career.
    I thought I knew a lot about football and although I had heard of the club, I knew almost nothing about them.

    They were an English football club, founded in 2007 by the merger of two local clubs.
    The club plays its games at a ground called Damson Park and competes in the Northern Premier League.

    The club was formally announced as being merged and details of the new club logo and kits for the forthcoming season were released in the summer of 2007.

    In one of their first games the club beat Birmingham City Reserves.
    This fixture happened annually as part of an agreement which allows Birmingham to play their reserve games at the home ground.

    The club ground is situated on Damson Parkway, about one mile north of the town centre.
    The ground has two seated stands. The main stand lies on the western side of the ground and is connected to the clubhouse. The stand itself has seating at the bottom and a balcony above where members can sit.
    The other seated area is situated on the southern side behind the goal and is shared with a standing area. This side houses the main turnstiles and can be split to be segregated between home and away supporters if demand requires.
    The southern side is also home to the club tuck shop which is a haven for both home and away fans during the half time break. The north and east sides of the ground are standing areas.

    With effect from July 2013 the ground was known as "The Autotech Stadium" for sponsorship reasons. The Autotech Stadium also welcomed Birmingham City Ladies for the first time in the 2014-15 FA Women's Super League, who also competed in the UEFA Women's Champions League.

    It all sounded great. I could be taking on a team that has Champions League football.

    I couldn't find much else. A few bits of info on some of the players but not a lot.

    I was a little nervous as the train pulled into the station and as I walked out of the front entrance, grabbed a taxi and directed him to take me to the ground. I was a little early which would only be a good sign.
    I walked into reception and gave my name and was asked to have a seat.
    I was only there about 5 minutes when a man came through the lobby and introduced himself.
    "Hello. My name is Nigel Collins. We spoke on the phone. Welcome to our club. If you'd like to follow me."

    Soon we were sat in his office and making small talk about the journey and the weather. But soon it got down to the business at hand.

    "So what do you think you will be able to bring to the club? he asked.
    "Well. I would hope that I could bring stability to the club. And then with time, build and help the club to progress. Promotion would be an aim."

    "And how would you go about this?"
    "Well. I think I am quite a good technician. I am an advocate of the 'Non Wib Wob' School of thought so it will not be easy but I think I can manage the players well to create a strong squad who all pull in the same direction."


    We spoke for an hour about how I would go about the job if I was successful. I hadn't even thought about what kind of questions I would be asked in the interview so I was quite proud of myself for the answers I was giving.

    "OK." he said "I think I have heard enough. Don't need to go any further. You know the situation here, both squad wise and financially. If there is nothing you would like to ask?"

    I shook my head.

    "Well, I would like to offer you the job as manager here at our club on an 18 month contract. Would you like to think it over?"

    Again I shook my head.

    "Then all I have left to say is welcome to the club.
    Welcome, to Solihull Moors."



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  12. #8
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    Nice idea Ebz

    You are shit out of luck with Rutland alright. They don't seem to even have a club in the 9th tier of English football so you couldn't even add a club in for the sake of the story.

    Corby Town & Holwell Sports are within 15 miles of Oakham (Holwell being the closest)

    All these clubs are within 20 miles of Oakham

    Birstall United, Blaby & Whetstone Athletic, Deeping Rangers, Bourne Town, Desborough Town, Friar Lane Old Boys, Grantham Town, Peterborough Northern Star, Highfield Rangers, Ibstock Welfare, Kirby Muxloe SC, Leicester City, Leicester YMCA, Thurnby Rangers, Thurmaston Town, Oadby Town, Peterborough United, Ratby Sports, Shepshed Dynamo, St. Andrews Social Club
    Last edited by Dermotron; 27-07-15 at 10:11 AM.

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  14. #9
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    Great idea! I'll be following

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    Liking the look of this mate - will be watching!

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    First thing I needed to do was move house.
    I hadn't even thought of that when I jumped on the train from Kent.
    Hadn't even factored in the fact that if I was successful, I would be moving over 150 miles away.

    I had to call the missus. She took it surprisingly well. She had worked in Birmingham for a couple of years before we had met and knew people who still lived there so it went down ok.
    I made a few frantic calls and got her and a few friends to sort out packing and hiring removal vans and stuff and then had to get down to the nitty gritty.
    Meeting and assessing the squad I had inherited.

    Marcus Bignot, the previous manager had been let go a week before because the club were sitting in 16th in the Northern Premier.


    Personally, I didn't think that was too bad.
    I felt doubly sorry for him when I got my first glimpse at the squad the next day at training.

    Firstly, it was a big enough squad. 34 players to be exact.
    The problem was some of them weren't even there due to being on part time contracts and having second jobs to make ends meet.

    I met with the current assistant manager, Roger Ashby.
    He put the squad through their paces with the three coaches, John Reeves, Simon Redhead and player/coach Darren Acton.
    Ashby looked like he knew what he was doing and was pretty good for this level. Redhead as well looked ok. Reeves looked a little weak but after hearing about the finances the day before, I knew I was pretty much bound to keep him on.

    Moors had a balance of around 600,000.
    In debt. There was no money. And when I looked at the accounts, it didn't look like there was much way of making money either.
    The highest gate receipts listed for the season were just 8,000 for a match against Boston. They had made just 98,000 for the season to date. They had spent 20,000 more than that in wages. In just one month.
    The enormity of the task hit me.
    This may not go well.


    After training, I sat down and reviewed what I had seen in training and went by what the backroom staff had told me on the ones not present.

    Goalkeepers

    Darren Acton - the current number one and player coach. Doesn't look great. Could be a blessing that he has already agreed to join Bristol Rovers in June.

    Lawrence Matthewson - Decent age. Decent agility. Currently playing reserve football. May play.

    Matt Pegler - currently at the club on loan. Think he will be returning home at the earliest opportunity. Saving me 675 a week in wages if for no other reason.

    Spoiler!


    Full Backs

    Alex Dean - Can play right back or left back which is to his advantage. His average in the couple of games he has played is not. Has played better in reserve games though.

    Michael Blackwood - Age is not on his side. Can be deployed in midfield if needs be. Not sure anyone would want to buy him if I tried to sell him on.

    Ashley Buswell - Now this is a bit better. This one's a keeper. Currently out with a calf strain but could be vital.

    Jordi Gough - Currently in the reserves. Will probably stay there. Unhappy at lack of games.

    Spoiler!


    Centre Backs

    Karl Broadhurst - Looks ok. Shame he's 34. Could do with him hanging around a bit longer than that.

    Emmit Delfouneso - Young. Can't tackle but has time on his side. Could be a decent squad player.

    Rob Elvins - Can play centre half or centre forward. Doesn't look great at either.

    Tom Kemp - Has played well in the two league games he has been afforded so far. May get more game time if he can keep it up.

    Dominic Langdon - Another defender who dispite appearances can't actually tackle that well. He may have to get games though.

    Stuart Pierpoint - Wrong side of 30. Not looking hopeful for him.

    Spoiler!


    Wingers

    Junior English - Not been getting games. Unhappy about that. Has some interest in him.

    Dior Angus - Stupendous name. Certainly pacey. Has a transfer to Forest Green arranged for the summer.

    Peter Till - Looks ok. Has been in hot form for the reserves.

    JJ Melligan - Can also be deployed in the centre. Actually a player I had heard of so know a little of him.

    Spoiler!


    Centre Midfield

    Andre Francis - Defensive midfielder come right back. Unhappy about lack of football despite playing 24 of the 27 league games played. Probably won't be playing many more.

    Nick Williams - Young and may improve. Although if something better comes along. I'll snap it up.

    Alex Price - Looks like a decent enough player. Can play all across the midfield. He'll be staying for now.

    Mathew Birley - Has been fairly regular in the side. Will be a squad player and used when needed depending on incomings.

    Mitch McPike - Another genius name. Doesn't seem to have a lot going for him but has plaed well when called upon.

    Tim Gould - Passing leaves a lot to be desired and at 33, may not have much of a future.

    McCauley Shillito - Where do these names come from. Young. Good pace. Hopefully has improvement to come.

    Luke Webb - Looks not too bad but his performances so far this season say something different. Will have to keep tabs on this one.

    Spoiler!


    Forwards

    Omar Bogle - If he was 17, he might have a future. As it stands, probably not.

    Steve Jackson - May have to be used. Would hope I won't have to though.

    Owen Story - 3 goals in 21 starts this season says it all really.

    Gary Birch - Has scored 5 in 4 starts. Also had 13 sub appearances so the bright start for him suddenly disappears.

    Jermaine Clarke - He is awful. Just really bad.

    James McPike - Another that I would hope I will never have to call on.

    David Moyo - This one could have a future. Has a decent ratio this season. I'm hoping he will continue that.

    Brian Quailey - 36 years old. Says it all really.

    Richard Walker - 37 years old. Says it all really. It's like this place is an old people's home!!

    Spoiler!


    I would certainly need to look at reinforcements. The transfer market would be opening in a couple of weeks time so I would have to think about where and how I can improve the squad.

    Next job would be to decide on a formation to play.

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  18. #12
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    Got to get rid of players, get the wage bill down - nine forwards, surely some of them can go? Hopefully a few will retire soon too.

    I think Omar Bogle is my favourite name there (closely followed by Junior English)

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    That's some bag of nails even for Conference North. Rob Elvins should be a stand out performer at that level though

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    Good luck! There's only 1 team in Berkshire so look forward to your Reading stint. I remember a save I had once were Soliull Moors turned up in the Premier League, had a look at them and Wayne Bridge had managed them there all the way from the Conference North.

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    Missed you starting this story, nice idea. I suppose in situations where there's no club in a particular county, will you just try to work with the team that's closest to that county?

    Starting off in the deep end, that's for sure. Only a couple of names stick out for me but most are veterans! McCauley Shillito is young free agent at the start of the game, I think. He's half-decent

    Get your scouts out in youth searches, seems like your best hope!
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuy View Post
    Got to get rid of players, get the wage bill down - nine forwards, surely some of them can go? Hopefully a few will retire soon too.

    I think Omar Bogle is my favourite name there (closely followed by Junior English)
    Yes. Far too many forwards. Could lose a couple of centre mids ideally as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dermotron View Post
    That's some bag of nails even for Conference North. Rob Elvins should be a stand out performer at that level though
    Not sure on Elvins but he may well get a chance to shine depending on who comes in.

    Quote Originally Posted by loyal_royal1 View Post
    Good luck! There's only 1 team in Berkshire so look forward to your Reading stint. I remember a save I had once were Soliull Moors turned up in the Premier League, had a look at them and Wayne Bridge had managed them there all the way from the Conference North.
    Good old Wayne Bridge. Managerial genius!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark View Post
    Missed you starting this story, nice idea. I suppose in situations where there's no club in a particular county, will you just try to work with the team that's closest to that county?

    Starting off in the deep end, that's for sure. Only a couple of names stick out for me but most are veterans! McCauley Shillito is young free agent at the start of the game, I think. He's half-decent

    Get your scouts out in youth searches, seems like your best hope!
    Not sure if I can't find a club. Will cross that bridge when I get to it.
    Shillito was indeed signed on a free.
    Only got the one scout. May look at signing some more if available.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Baz View Post
    Going to be a very long slog this one but it'll be a massive achievement at the end of it. Going to be a lot of a fun and games along the way too, plus are you counting the Charity errr Community shield as a trophy?
    Wasn't planning on it.
    Just the regulars.

    League
    FA Cup
    League Cup
    Vans Trophy
    FA Trophy

    European Cup
    UEFA Cup
    World Club Cup

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    I had 10 days until I made my management bow against Tamworth away.

    Christmas was officially on hold for me as I started to think about what I could do with the squad.
    First thing I did was send Matt Pegler packing, end his loan and send him back to Maidenhead.
    Next my only current scout was sent off to search for youth players.
    Then I sat down and had a look around for myself. He wasn't the best scout in the world so I thought I'd give him a hand.

    First thing I did was find a list of players available on a free and contact a handful of them to see if they would like to come for a trial at the club. I don't hold out much hope as it's the Christmas period but I can but try.

    Next, I left the club offices and visited a local car hire firm. Again, being Christmas time they didn't have much in.
    My car was still back in Kent so I had to take whatever I could get.


    I used the car to travel to some of the local schools and the local universities, Warwick and Birmingham, to again invite aspiring players to an open invitation trial day at the club.

    It ended up being a relatively successful day numbers wise. We had young guys from school, college students, uni members, overseas students and mature students.
    Word had obviously spread and people who were not even connected to any of the places I visited attended as well.
    Before the end, I handed a number of players a piece of paper inviting them for extended one month trials at the club. Again we would have to wait and see ho replied.
    I ended the day by chucking out a couple of hopeful loan bid emails and went back to the hotel to sleep.

    Next day I was back in early. And focussing on backroom staff. I few people and a couple sounded interested so I sent them contract offers.

    I was itching to hear back from some of the players I had contacted. If they were successful, I could really start to put my own mark on the team. I was really conscious that they would all fail though. I mean, who would want to play under someone who had no experience whatsoever and had been in his job for a grand total of about 50 hours!

    As expected, over the next couple of days, rejection after rejection landed in my email inbox.
    No one wanted to join the club on trial.
    Dejected wasn't the word.
    One bright note was that one of the coaches I had contacted decided he did want to join the club.
    And he was someone I had heard of as well.



    The former Millwall, Wimbledon and Republic of Ireland man should be a good addition.

    Then a call out of the blue from a non league side called Southam. They wanted Junior English on loan and would happily pay 50% of his wage to do so. I accepted. It was only for a month but I saw it as 300 saved!

    Shortly after Goodman, a second new coach came in as well. Dennis Rofe, at 73 years old, probably wouldn't be around for long but hopefully he could pass on some wisdom of his days playing for Leyton Orient, Leicester City, Chelsea and Southampton and various coaching roles at Southampton, Bristol Rovers and Stoke among others.




    With those two the only incomings of my first week as a football manager, it was soon time for the short 20 or so mile trip to Tamworth for my first game.

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    The Faggy Fiat makes a return

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    We love a busted old Fiat!

    Two decent appointments there, I've hired them both plenty of times!
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    2 good coaches for youth and outfield players

    Looks like a big job re-shaping the squad.

    Board given you any expectations yet?

    Missus settled into Brumland?

  31. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dermotron View Post
    The Faggy Fiat makes a return
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark View Post
    We love a busted old Fiat!
    Gotta love a bit of Punto Power!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Redknapp69 View Post
    Looks like a big job re-shaping the squad.

    Board given you any expectations yet?

    Missus settled into Brumland?
    Huge job. Don't even know where to start. Scout needs to strike gold!
    Expectations are respectable league position.
    Oh and the missus? Christmas at home. Will move in the New Year!

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  33. #23
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    I know I put it there by mistake but delete your default_pic.rgn

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dermotron View Post
    I know I put it there by mistake but delete your default_pic.rgn
    Sorry boss!
    Done!

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    December 2014

    This was it.
    I cancelled the team bus and got the players to drive themselves to the ground as it wasn't that far.
    Another cost cutting measure.
    As I drove there with new coaches, Goodman and Rofe in tow, my mind wandered. I was going to be in charge of a, semi professional at least, football club.

    I thought I had chosen my desired starting XI, injuries besides and when I got there and looked at the players frame of mind, I confirmed it.


    I was hoping to always play a 4-3-1-2 but it may not always be possible but we shall see.
    The only thing I didn't know was who was going to be captain so I left that to the assistant to decide. He went with JJ Melligan.

    I parked myself in the dugout and my career began.

    Matches


    Transfers

    Brian Quailey, Tim Gould, Jermaine Clarke and Omar Bogle got the worst Christmas present as they were told they were being placed on the transfer list. Bogle the only one to gain initial interest.
    We accepted bids from both Tulsa and Southam for him and both subsequently pulled out when I asked for 25% of any future fee.

    Roundup

    The first game of my career couldn't have started worse as left back Jordi Gough, making his first team debut saw read after 23 minutes. Tamworth then scored but centre back Dominic Langdon equalised on the stroke of half time.
    But Tamworth made the man advantage count as they scored five minutes from time to win it.
    Tamworth 2-1 Solihull

    Buswell came in for Gough after he got a three match ban. And my home debut did not result in a win. But it wasn't a defeat either. Solihull had the best of it and Barrow didn't even get a shot on target but Moors could not take advantage.
    Solihull 0-0 Barrow

    The month ended with Solihull in 18th place. Seven points above the drop zone but having played one, two and in a couple of occasions, three games more than those around them.


    Spoiler!

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