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Thread: The World of Football Management - Chapter 7 - Global Attraction

  1. #551
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    Global Attraction - Season 4 - May
    Nations = 26
    Afghanistan, Andorra, Antigua & Barbuda, Australia, Burundi, Canada, Cyprus, England, Faroe Islands, France, Germany, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montserrat, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Saint Lucia, Spain, Sudan, Surinam, Wales, Zimbabwe


    Once again, we find ourselves playing the final game of the season with our hopes of a playoff spot resting on its outcome. I was boosted by the fact that we wouldn't lose our loanees this time, having ensured they're here until June. But the bad news was that both Janoi Donacien and Anfernee Dijksteel were called away on international duty once more for their first legs of Third Round for the World Cup Qualifiers. If we could just get through this game and qualify, we should have both players back along with Maziar Kouhyar who should be fully fit again only a few days after our last game of the scheduled season.


    League Two

    Harry Kyprianou and Alen Agovic are the duo that I turn to to replace Donacien and Dijksteel. The latter makes only his third start of the season but had scored a winner against MK Dons last time out. A third change sees Caolan Lavery start ahead of Mohamed Eisa after the Northern Irisman had been rested in the 3:0 hammering by Crewe.

    There were only two playoff spots up for grabs and if results go our way, we could still finish 5th which had been my target once again this season. However, if results don't go our way, we could find ourselves as low as 11th as six clubs battle for those two spots.

    For now, we'll concentrate on our own game and hope Barnsley (6th) and Northampton (5th) come unstuck against Swindon and Fleetwood. Typically, Northampton were the first to score so they actually moved up to 4th whilst we stay 7th.

    Scunthorpe then took the lead against Coventry and that was bad news for us. They were down in 9th place and overtook us to push us into 8th. After 33 minutes, we were in desperate need of a goal.

    Half-time arrived and we had only tested the Exeter goalkeeper once from four attempts whilst Exeter didn't have any chances at all. We may not be losing but it's not good enough as we would miss out and finish 8th.

    I made no changes and our patience was rewarded on the hour as Lavery (9) pounced on a loose ball to drive it home and give us a lead that puts us back into 7th. Elsewhere, Northampton had conceded but Barnsley were winning 4:3 against Swindon having been 3:2 down.

    My nerves were tingling as we approached the end of the game with only a one goal lead. But Tom King popped up with his first goal for the club to send us into a sense of relief and the game was killed off with Macauley Bonne (24) converted from a corner ball by Piotr Maczynski.

    Exeter 0:3 Leamington
    Pastoor 7, Valenzuela Lozano 7, Kyprianou 6, King 9, Agovic 9, Sousa Silva 7, Willock 7 (Eisa 7), Marsh 7, Bonne 8, Lavery 9, Maczynski 7.
    Goals - Lavery, King, Bonne.
    MotM - King.

    In the end, we qualified for the playoffs by only a point. Personally, I felt disappointed that we've finished 7th, feeling that it was a step back in our progress as a football club having finished 5th in the past two years. But as one pundit rightfully pointed, it won't be seen as a step back if the club can go on to win the playoffs.

    With that in mind, we must now prepare to play Wolves, a team we first met two years ago in a surprise 2:1 win in the FA Cup 3rd Round. We lost 1:0 at Molineux earlier this season before beating them by the same scoreline at our place. To make things even more interesting, the Wolves manager walked out just four days before we met to take over at Burnley!




    League Two Playoff Semi Final First Leg

    As everyone had expected and hoped, Kouhyar made a return to the side after returning to training with Jak Marsh relegated to the bench. Donacien (who drew 0:0 with St Lucia in his 23rd cap) and Dijksteel (didn't get on the pitch at all for Surinam) were both restored to the defence too with Kyprianou and King making way.

    As the first half got underway, both teams were trying to make a breakthrough but it was a fairly incident-free half until the last couple of minutes when Bonne was barged in the area but didn't win a penalty. Wolves went up the other end and scored only for it to be ruled out! Fair to say that both managers (or well, me and their assistant manager) were keen to speak to the referee as we headed off the pitch.

    Perhaps understandably after only just returning from injury, Kouhyar started to tire so Marsh got on the pitch after all along with Eisa who got injured in the dying minutes of the game as the match ended 0:0 and their goalkeeper got the man of the match award.

    Wolves 0:0 Leamington
    Pastoor 8, Valenzuela Lozano 7, Donacien 7, Agovic 7, Dijksteel 6, Sousa Silva 6, Willock 6 (Eisa 6 (Nelson 6)), Kouhyar 7 (Marsh 6), Bonne 7, Lavery 7, Maczynski78.

    Unfortunately, Eisa's season was now over after twisted his ankle and being told to rest for three weeks. It's a bit of a blow although he's not hit the same heights that he'd set in his first two loan spells with us, scoring only 6 in 38 appearances this season. Meanwhile, Wolves appointed a new boss four days before the return leg.


    League Two Playoff Semi Final Second Leg

    Other than Eisa, we had no fitness concerns for the second leg but I made three changes either way. King was back in for Dijksteel, Luis Sousa Silva was replaced by Erik Stokke and Dominic Wells got a start on the right flank in place of Chris Willock. Our little 6,000 capacity stadium was disappointingly just over half filled for such a crucial game and this time, we scored a goal in the first half (Bonne) which was ruled out. We played really well in the first half with Wolves not even having a shot on target but hadn't scored.

    My worry in the back of my head is that Wolves would come out as a different team but one man was not going to be denied. Ten minutes after the interval, Bonne got his 25th goal of the season to put us ahead as we continued to dictate play and in all honesty, Wolves never threatened as Lavery then confirmed our trip to Wembley with his 10th of the season!

    Leamington 2:0 Wolves
    Pastoor 7, Valenzuela Lozano 7 (Dijksteel 7), Donacien 7, King 7, Agovic 9, Stokke 8, Wells 7 (Willock 7), Kouhyar 9, Bonne 8, Lavery 9, Mazynski 7.
    Goals - Bonne, Lavery.
    Assists - Kouhyar, Stokke.
    MotM - Lavery.

    Who do we play at Wembley itself? Well, Barnsley had beaten Northampton 3:1 on their own patch and then lost 3:2 at Sixfields. The way we got through both Wolves games without conceding gives me hope that we look the stronger side going to London. We've met each other four times now and we've won three of them and drawn the other. Hopefully that is also a good omen!

    The only issue that I had was than Janoi Donacien had injured his wrist in training and would be a doubt for the game. But he still travelled to St Lucia and I was left outtraged at Francis Lastic as Donacien STARTED their second leg World Cup Qualifier which they lost 1:0 to Surinam with one Anfernee Dijksteel also starting for his 5th cap as Surinam go through to the next round.

    In other news, Bonne and Jonahan Muleba earned callups for Zimbabwe and Burundi which thankfully aren't scheduled until the start of June so they wouldn't miss the date at Wembley. We also tied coach Bari Morgan down to a new contract to ward off interest from Hull who would have had to pay a £120,000 compensation fee if Morgan had chose to leave. The contracts of scouts Lewis Haldane and Connor Kane were also due to expire so both accepted extensions. However, I chose to let Chris Rees go who leaves us after a foul year spell and is replaced by another Welshman and a distinct relative of Liam - Jamie Randles.




    League Two Playoff Final

    Donacien was the only player that I was worried about but to my delight, he passed a late fitness test and will start at Wembley as I make no changes at all to the team with Donacien himself leading the players out on his 140th appearance for Leamington. Hopefully we would fare better than we had twelve months ago when we'd fell behind to York, had Harry Kyprianou sent off, Jamie Byrne equalised to take the game all the way to penalties where despite Ben Wilson saving twice, we lost!

    After the national anthem is sung (which only Wells sang along to!), the game got underway to a roar from the 35,583 attending fans (probably mostly Barnsley!), they were left stunned after three minutes when Agovic again demonstrated his prowess at set pieces with a headed goal in the third minute.

    After wild celebrations, I hoped we'd build on the early goal by delivering another knock out punch and we threatened to do so three times with Kouhyar, Bonne and Lavery all having chances saved before Wells was also fouled in the box but didn't get a penalty.

    After that penalty shout, Barnsley got their first attempt and though Pastoor parried it away, Barnsley typically scored with the follow-up.

    Half-time arrived and the players were clearly gutted but I soon geed them up, pointing out their luck in scoring with the only chance as we dominated the rest of the half. Urging them to get back out there and score another goal, we were left shell shocked as Barnsley then went ahead just after an hour.

    The goal came just as I took off Lavery as he was struggling with a thigh problem. Willock had come on with and went on the left wing and Maczynski moved inside but Barnsley had scored straight after that change. Our hearts were then in our mouths as Obafemi then hit the bar after an attempted lob over Pastoor!

    We soon rallied, Maczynski receiving a throw-in and taking on a player before working his way into the box before being dragged back by his shirt! This time the referee had to give the penalty and a yellow card. Bonne stepped up and calmly converted the ball to put us back in it with 13 minutes to go!

    To say we were riding our luck now could be an understatement as Barnsley rattled the bar with their next attack! But the game went to extra-time (again!) as Willock had the chance to take a free kick but sent it over the bar.

    After the break, fresh legs came on as Kouhyar and Inaki Valenzuela Lozano were replaced by Marsh and Dijksteel. Marsh himself put wide a header and had an element of fortune later as he lost the ball but Maczynski took it on, finding Bonne in the area who turned well and smashed it home!

    He'd scored in the 102nd minute, meaning we had another 3 minutes and 15 minutes of a second half to play. We kept it simple after that, using possession wisely to frustrate Barnsley and slowly approached the end of the game. It finally arrived and Maczynski, who'd been superb, was mobbed along with Bonne as the final whistle went and we were promoted!

    Barnsley 2:3 Leamington
    Pastoor 8, Valenzuela Lozano 6 (Dijksteel 6), Donacien 6, King 6, Agovic 7, Stokke 7, Wells 7, Kouhyar 7 (Marsh 7), Bonne 9, Lavery 7 (Willock 7), Maczynski 10.
    Goals - Agovic, Bonne x2.
    Assists - Maczynski x3.
    MotM - Maczynski.



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  3. #552
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    Great news!!!!!!!

    Well done on securing promotion!!!!


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  5. #553
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  6. #554
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    Redknapp69 is offline Soccer Manager - Division 1 Title/Cup
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    • Professional performance v Exeter. Agovic came in and played a blinder!
    • Christ – Wolves look the worst team to play out of those 4
    • WOW – Wolves manager sacked – surely they can’t come through this?!
    • Massive call dropping King who had a “9” rating last out?!
    • Hmmmmmmmm – 0-0 is ok but do away goals count? If so, you would have liked 1
    • Shite from Leamington not to fill stadium
    • Ah great stuff – comfortable win in the end!
    • Crikey - £120k for a coach – I’d have been tempted to let him go
    • Did Chris Rees have a “foul” spell with your or 4 years
    • National Anthem
    • Solid amount of fans for the final – maybe your glory hunting fans turned up!
    • Yes – BONNEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
    • What a fecking nervy game – sounds like you deffo rode your luck but after last year deserve to get promoted this year
    • I find it crazy how well Bonne has done
    • And what a time for the “Pole” to come to the party!
    • Very interested to see how the land lies with finances when you get going next year, how the attendances flush out and what changes you may wish to make in summer. Surely should get more interested players now (and maybe further improve backroom staff)

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  8. #555
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    Agovic showed no signs of cobwebs at all, finished strongly!

    Wolves didn't sack the manager, he went to Burnley.

    Yep, Donacien and Dijksteel still had the better form over their last 5 games despite King getting that 9.

    I do worry about our attendances. Such a small stadium yet is it even worth trying to upgrade if we don't fill it?!

    Must admit I was tempted to let Morgan go too. I did look for potential replacements and the only one that I wanted was asking for too much in wages so I decided to get Morgan tied to a new deal instead.

    Foul spell Great typo!

    I think we are in for a tough time now at the next level but we'll certainly try our best. Simply need to start generating our own revenue as we won't be able to sustain the finances otherwise.

  9. #556
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    I wonder if you HAVE to upgrade stadium or not? (not sure if you got to that point or if anyone knows otherwise from moving to Div 2 to 1)

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  11. #557
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    Great news on the promotion !

    I don't think stadium expansions come in until the Premier League.

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    Wow ! You do like the drama. (although I did think it was looking like penalties again)

    It seems odd that your least consistent season of the last 3 is the one that gets you promoted. Makes me think that there might be work to do. That said, if you can hold onto Bonnes, you are always in with a shout.

    How are the finances looking ? The TV money should be improved with you moving up a league
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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  15. #559
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redknapp69 View Post
    I wonder if you HAVE to upgrade stadium or not? (not sure if you got to that point or if anyone knows otherwise from moving to Div 2 to 1)
    We should be OK. It's only from the Conference to League Two when you need a particular capacity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Beardo View Post
    Great news on the promotion !

    I don't think stadium expansions come in until the Premier League.
    Yep, that's my understanding too!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kingsley View Post
    Wow ! You do like the drama. (although I did think it was looking like penalties again)

    It seems odd that your least consistent season of the last 3 is the one that gets you promoted. Makes me think that there might be work to do. That said, if you can hold onto Bonnes, you are always in with a shout.

    How are the finances looking ? The TV money should be improved with you moving up a league
    Well we were 300k in the red in February so I dread to think what the debt is like now We'll see if the TV money will help but I fear I'll be using the loan/Bosman market for a little while.

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    Macauley Bonne what a legend, can he do it up another level!!??

    Incredible scenes, your team produced when it mattered after stuttering all season.

    Hope you got some quality signings lined up, you are going to need it!

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