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

  1. #1976
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    Yeah, he hasn't got started officially yet after looking so good in pre-season!

    Depends which way you look at it, I suppose. Being in the top half is cool, but we should definitely have gotten more points on the board.

  2. #1977
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    Solid enough start and could have been better

    Again, the signings continue to improve overall squad depth

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  4. #1978
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    That's the upside, for sure. Squad is definitely improving over time now with the new policy in place. Just hope it's enough to keep me in the job.

  5. #1979
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    Global Attraction - Season 21 - September
    Nations = 32
    Albania, Angola, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Cape Verde Islands, Central African Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guadeloupe, Hungary, Italy, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mali, Netherlands, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, Uruguay, Wales


    I couldn't help but feel frustrated that we weren't able to win at least two of our opening three fixtures. It's true that the positive is that we've got that monkey off our backs in terms of a first win having taken eight games to manage that feat last year. Still, I'm fully aware of the pressure that's on from the board to get things right and as a result, this month is going to be crucial with some very tough games on the agenda too.

    Before the action gets underway, Ecuador left-back Jonathan Anangono has again attracted an offer, a 3.1M bid from Quilmes which has been rejected. They later return with a rejected 3.7M offer whilst a bid of 12.5M from Man City is also turned down for Ghanaian attacking midfielder Derek Tetteh. Everton also join in with the fun, seeing a rejected 12.75M offer for Cristian Perdomo who has yet to appear this season. Both Atletico Madrid and Chelsea then see a 15.25M bid rejected for the Spaniard.

    Meanwhile, Dorian Diakhaby was issued a first official warning after failing to attend training on the eve of our first game of the month after the international break. The Frenchman had made it known he's not settled in and wishes to leave the club and if such an attitude continues, he may well find himself transfer listed before long.

    Premier League
    After a long 13 days, our first game of the month comes at Fulham where four changes are made after a very poor performance at Brighton. Gentian Basha, Bruno Carvalho da Silva, Musaba Ngama and Muhammed Ozturk are the ones to be replaced by Sven Leys, Marko Simic, Mohamed Diallo and Tetteh. Our new Argentinian recruit Cristian Schmidt also makes it on the bench, having been handed the number 43 shirt. After an uneventful first half, we don't register our first shot at goal until the 56th minute but thankfully, it's in the net as Henry Montiel scores his first Leamington goal. All that's required after that is to shut up shop and we come within seconds of doing so as Fulham score a late equaliser.

    Fulham 1:1 Leamington
    Brown 8, van den Brink 7, Leys 7, Capuano 7, Simic 7, Diallo 7, Monteiro 7, Montiel 8, Thorne 7 (Lafferty 7), Tetteh 7, O'Brien 7 (Ozturk 7).
    Goals - Montiel.
    Assists - Thorne.

    Premier League
    Despite a good team performance at Fulham, two changes are made to the XI that then welcomes Arsenal with Carvalho da Silva and Ozturk returning for Paolo Capuano and Dominique Monteiro, the latter not quite firing in the league despite a superb pre-season. It's been four years since we last managed to beat the Gunners who we hold to a goalless draw after the first half. After the break, with Schmidt coming on for his debut, we see him go down in the area after a foul but the referee turns down the appeal. Instead, we finish up 0:0 which is a good result in itself I suppose, after Arsenal failed to even have a shot on target.

    Leamington 0:0 Arsenal
    Emery 7, van den Brink 7, Leys 6, Carvalho da Silva 7, Simic 8, Diallo 7 (Ngama 7), Ozturk 7, Montiel 7, Thorne 7 (Lafferty 7), Tetteh 7, O'Brien 7 (Schmidt 6).
    MotM - Simic.

    EFL Cup Second Round
    Having played Arsenal on Monday Night TV, we then face Sheffield Wednesday at home on the Wednesday for the EFL Cup. Naturally, that means all 10 outfield players are rested for our first game against the Owls in two years, having last met them in the same stage of this competition. It's an opportunity for those coming in to make an impression with Schmidt making his first start for the club. 21 year old Dane David Olsen puts us ahead though, before the visitors are left with 10 men after just 18 minutes thanks to a red card. It allows Ngama, Schmidt and Capuano to score in the first half but I'm left annoyed that the 10 men do pull one back. Perdomo's first goal of the season then wraps up a 5:1 win. We will face top of the Championship Watford in the next round.

    Leamington 5:1 Sheff Wed
    Emery 7, Basha 8, Anangono 7, Capuano 7, Olsen 7, Ngama 9, Monteiro 8 (Malec 7), Perdomo 8, Lafferty 7, Audrain 7 (Machado 8), Schmidt 8.
    Goals - Olsen, Ngama, Schmidt, Capuano, Perdomo.
    Assists - Anangono, Monteiro, Ngama.
    MotM - Ngama.

    Premier League
    Next up is an always tough trip to the Etihad where only Bira Emery, Basha, Ngam and Perdomo (with Montiel on international duty) keep their places. After 21 minutes though, Shaun Thorne is injured and Matthew Lafferty comes on. The hosts then lead in the 34th minute but we turn it around amazingly with Simic (1) equalising and an own goal putting us ahead. Ngama (3) then makes it 3:1 with 11 minutes left which should make for a comfortable end only for Man City to score in injury time. It's just as well that Ngama scored that goal!

    Man City 2:3 Leamington
    Emery 7, Basha 7, van den Brink 8, Carvalho da Silva 6, Simic 6 (Leys 7), Ngama 7, Ozturk 6 (Schmidt 6), Perdomo 8, Thorne 6 (Lafferty 6), Tetteh 7, O'Brien 7.
    Goals - Simic, own goal, Ngama.
    Assists - O'Brien, Perdomo.

    We're down a place in the league from 6th to 7th despite an unbeaten month. I felt the month should help to lift the pressure off my shoulders but apparently, the board don't feel that way. They have showed no reaction to the Man City victory, only our third against them and remain disappointed overall with my performance as it stands.


    Our Gabonese captain is simply a superb player, keeping his form up with two more starts this month. His competition in Perdomo is pushing him close after starting the last two games whilst special mentions must also go to Tetteh and Emery for being consistently good.


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  7. #1980
    After the draws at the start that was a great month, can't believe you dropped a place in the table and can't believe your board aren't happy!

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  9. #1981

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    Just the one loss and the defence is starting to play well again.
    Montiel could be the new Moura
    Your board should look at the 4 teams who are behind you in the table
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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  11. #1982
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    Quote Originally Posted by James_y View Post
    After the draws at the start that was a great month, can't believe you dropped a place in the table and can't believe your board aren't happy!
    If we can keep it up, we should hopefully feel a bit more secure in the job!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kingsley View Post
    Just the one loss and the defence is starting to play well again.
    Montiel could be the new Moura
    Your board should look at the 4 teams who are behind you in the table
    I do like Montiel, it's been a long time since we had a CM regularly scoring goals!

    My board should look at a lot of things but clearly don't

  12. #1983
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    Global Attraction - Season 21 - October
    Nations = 32
    Albania, Angola, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Cape Verde Islands, Central African Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guadeloupe, Hungary, Italy, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mali, Netherlands, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, Uruguay, Wales


    At first glance, with only one defeat in the first six games of the season along with progress in the EFL Cup, you'd be forgiven for thinking that all was rosy at Leamington, especially on the back of eight new arrivals for a combined 35,995,000. Since we made a point of targeting specific players to improve our squad, we've now spent a total of 76,995,000!

    I hope that the investment in the squad in this manner will improve our fortunes this season but the board are clearly close to self-imploding. They don't appear to be praising the team for their work on the pitch and they are a bit too sensitive to any defeat, in whatever manner it may be. I can only hope that we keep up such form to keep those vultures at bay and slowly regain their trust once again. A trust that should have been there from day one having now spent 21 years at the club and changing the foundations of the football club completely in that time.

    Premier League
    First up is a trip to Ipswich who won the Championship title last year to make an immediate return to the top flight after relegation. Despite the win at Man City, five changes are made as an injured Shaun Thorne is replaced by Matthew Lafferty but Sven Leys, Mohamed Diallo, Henry Montiel and Dominique Monteiro all replace Bruno Carvalho da Silva, Musaba Ngama, Cristian Perdomo and Muhammed Ozturk. Perdomo is especially unlucky but Montiel had been on international duty last time out and is always a huge miss. However, after a first half where we fall behind before seeing Lafferty score his first of the season in response, I can't help but smile wryly as Montiel is then sent off in the 49th minute, meaning Monteiro is sacrificed for Perdomo. It also seemed like a harsh red, a straight one for holding back a shirt. Still, we dig in for the rest of the game to pick up a point but I do think we'd have gone on to win.

    Ipswich 1:1 Leamington
    Emery 7, Basha 6, van den Brinkj 6, Leys 7 (Carvalho da Silva 7), Simic 8, Diallo 8, Monteiro 8 (Perdomo 6), Montiel 7, Lafferty 8, Tetteh 7, O'Brien 7.
    Goals - Lafferty.
    Assists - Monteiro.
    MotM - Lafferty.

    Premier League
    With the exception of a year when they finished 13th, Palace have finished in the top six in the last five years and currently top the league table, unbeaten. It seems they mean business now as we welcome them in a midweek fixture. Montiel's ban is upheld after a failed appeal, but his place goes to Angolan Laurent Durand to make his debut in the only change. The first half is uneventful, except for Lafferty being forced to go off injured, allowing Jamie Lawrence to feature for the first time this season. However, he's unable to make an impact as we stay strong at the other end to pick up another point, making it a win and two draws from our home games so far this season.

    Leamington 0:0 Crystal Palace
    Emery 8, Basha 7, van den Brink 7, Leys 8, Simic 7, Diallo 10, Monteiro 7 (Ozturk 6), Durand 7 (Perdomo 7), Lafferty 7 (Lawrence 6), Tetteh 6, O'Brien 6.
    MotM - Diallo.

    An international break follows which may be good timing given Lafferty is out for a month and it allows Thorne to return to full fitness. Carvalho da Silva is handed an international debut for Brazil as 13 players feature for their countries, including David Olsen scoring his first goal for Denmark.

    Premier League
    17 days later, we finally play again as Liverpool come to Leamington with Carlos Quesada in their lineup. Thorne starts in place of Lafferty but we also bring in Perdomo, Cristian Schmidt and Jose Machado in place of Durand, Greg O'Brien and Derek Tetteh. We've gone our last three games against Liverpool unbeaten but they score within two minutes of the kick off. It's a bit of a poor first half from our centre halves but Lawrence comes on at half-time and puts us back on level terms by the 68th minute. Five minutes later, they're down to 10 men with a second yellow for knocking down Machado. But we're unable to capitalise as we draw for a third game in a row.

    Leamington 1:1 Liverpool
    Emery 8, Basha 8, van den Brink 6, Leys 5, Simic 5, Diallo 6 (Ngama 6), Monteiro 6 (O'Brien 7), Perdomo 7, Thorne 6 (Lawrence 8), Machado 6, Schmidt 7.
    Goals - Lawrence.

    EFL Cup Third Round
    It's time for cup action against Watford who were top when we drew them in the hat but are now 4th. It's been three years since we faced them in the league, with a record of 5 wins to their 3 in 12 meetings. Just two changes are made for this one with Olsen and Lawrence coming in to replace Simic and Thorne. For the third time this month, we concede first and have a penalty shout denied in an even first half. Afterwards, Watford double the lead and though Schmidt scores his first goal in the 83rd minute, we are out of the competition at this stage for a third time in four years.

    Watford 2:1 Leamington
    Emery 6, Basha 7, van den Brink 6, Leys 6, Olsen 6, Diallo 7, Monteiro 7 (O'Brien 6), Perdomo 6 (Durand 7), Lawrence 7, Machado 7, Schmidt 8.
    Goals - Schmidt.

    Premier League
    After that disappointing elimination in the EFL Cup, I'm looking for a reaction three days later against Sheff Utd at home. Montiel is welcomed back from his ban with a return straight into the team whilst Monteiro and Schmidt are rested, allowing Tetteh to return along with Tomas Malec starting his first game of the season. Guess what happens? Nothing. No goals. A fourth draw in a row and a fourth clean sheet, which is already halfway towards the 8 we kept last year!

    Leamington 0:0 Sheff Utd
    Emery 7, Basha 8, van den Brink 6, Leys 6, Olsen 7, Diallo 7 (Diakhaby 6), Malec 7 (O'Brien 7), Montiel 7, Lawrence 8, Machado 7, Tetteh 7.

    After four draws in the league, we've dropped down only two places to 9th but more worryingly, lie only 3 points ahead from 17th place! We've lost only once which I think is starting to calm the board down but we simply have to start turning some of the those draws into wins. Off the pitch, it seems we're having a problem with Perdomo who conducted an interview to say he'd like a move to Chelsea. It's earned the Spaniard an official warning and I am beginning to consider offers for him given that he's now upset some of his fellow squad members. The lack of harmony in the squad is a concern and I have taken the decision to list both Perdomo and Dorian Diakhaby in an attempt to restore the balance. I'm also considering the futures of Lawrence, Jonathan Anangono and Muhammed Ozturk after rumours reach me of a lack of confidence in my management...


    Somewhere in the chaos, there is a shining light in Mohamed Diallow who was simply out of this world against Crystal Palace. Hopefully he can start contributing towards goals though.


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  14. #1984
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    You've somehow turned into draw specialists.

    Better than losing I guess but need that cutting edge. Could that be down to the determination of some of your guys. Just don't have the drive to put games away.
    I don't know.

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  16. #1985
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    Someone will be along shortly and say it's due to a lack of a quality striker

    I think we're looking good defensively so the opportunity to sign a new striker or two cannot come quickly enough. Thorne still hasn't found himself a new club though despite interest.

  17. #1986

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    Don't think you'll survive by drawing every game
    Desperately need someone to step up to the plate
    Cup loss is disappointing
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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  19. #1987
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    I'm hoping that now that the board has settled down (for now?), I can try to address the disharmony in the squad to help.

  20. #1988
    The draw specialists are back!!!!

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  22. #1989
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  23. #1990
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    Meh - Cup run over

    Unbeaten is great and currently a solid platform in defence but you may as well win one and lose one rather than draw 2!

    I'll be that person who'll say when you have some top class goalscorers then I hink you could rocket (further) up the table!

    Shame the lik of Lawrence questioning your ability when you made his career!

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  25. #1991
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    Indeed, feeling that Lawrence is a bit of a prat now

  26. #1992
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    Global Attraction - Season 21 - November
    Nations = 32
    Albania, Angola, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Cape Verde Islands, Central African Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guadeloupe, Hungary, Italy, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mali, Netherlands, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, Uruguay, Wales


    Though it's nice in 9th place after 10 games, it's actually quite a sobering thought to then see that we're only 3 points away from 17th place. It's absolutely vital now that we start to put together more wins having drawn 7 of those opening 10 games. Hopefully it's been a case of the players getting to know each others game before we start to click, having brought in eight new faces this Summer as well as those three we'd signed in January.

    Meanwhile, perhaps the dressing room harmony will be improved having made the tough but sensible (I hope) decision to try and move on Jonathan Anangono, Dorian Diakhaby, Cristian Perdomo, Muhammed Ozturk and Jamie Lawrence who have all started to show signs of negativity within the squad. The five players join Tomas Malec, Zoltan Meszaros and Shaun Thorne on the transfer list which hopefully frees up spots in January to continue bringing in quality.

    In fact, we will definitely be investing in a new left-back as Anangono has completed a very quick 3,000,000 switch to Al Arabi of Qatar, leaving us with only Sven Leys and Wim van den Brink as options for left-back. Arriving as our first Ecuadorian three and a half years ago for 1.2M, Anangono went on to play 68 times for us, scoring twice and managing 8 assists including one in his only appearance this season. He also featured 16 times for his nation during his time with us and was quickly shipped out after I learned he'd apparently lost confidence in my management. We have targeted a Senegalese as a replacement which will hopefully be secured before January. However, he turned us down which turns my sights to an English left-back instead.




    Premier League
    Having played an extra game to most in the league, we're now two behind most as we don't play in the first two weeks of November. Eventually, the visit of top of the table Southampton comes around where both Wim van den Brink and Sven Leys are not available due to playing in World Cup Qualifying playoffs. After selling Anangono, that leaves us without a recognised left-back so I'm forced to ask Vaslios Nikolaou to play there for this one with Bruno Carvalho da Silva taking his place. Wingers Cristian Schmidt and Dominique Monteiro are also back in for Tomas Malec and Derek Tetteh whilst Matthew Lafferty takes the place of Jamie Lawrence up front after regaining full fitness after injury. After a quiet first half, Southampton grow into the game but it still looks to be a stale mate when Schmidt (3) pops up with a winner in a big result for us as only a 3rd win of the season in 11 games.

    Leamington 1:0 Southampton
    Emery 8, Basha 6, Nikolaou 7, Carvalho da Silva 7 (Simic 6), Olsen 6, Diallo 8, Monteiro 7 (Audrain 6), Montiel 7, Lafferty 7, Machado 7, Schmidt 8.
    Goals - Schmidt.
    MotM - Emery.

    Premier League
    With more internationals taking place in midweek before facing Swansea, Gentian Basha came back to us not quite ready to play at Swansea so Nikolaou was moved to his natural right-back position in our only change as Leys played on the left. We've beaten Swansea just twice in twelve games but with them down in 17th, I was hoping for a good result. The hold that they have over us was evident again though with a 6th minute opening goal. But Mohamed Diallo and Monteiro both chose a good time to score their first goals for the club within 19 minutes of each other to hand us a lead by the 39th minute, which we then protected to take home maximum points.

    Swansea 1:2 Leamington
    Emery 8, Nikolaou 6, Leys 6, Carvalho da Silva 8, Olsen 8 (Capuano 6), Diallo 8, Monteiro 8 (Audrain 6), Montiel 7, Lafferty 6, Machado 7, Schmidt 8.
    Goals - Diallo, Monteiro.
    Assists - Olsen, Schmidt.
    MotM - Schmidt.

    An international break follows which may be good timing given Lafferty is out for a month and it allows Thorne to return to full fitness. Carvalho da Silva is handed an international debut for Brazil as 13 players feature for their countries, including David Olsen scoring his first goal for Denmark.

    Premier League
    Our third and last game of the month comes against Tottenham, who sit only a place and a point above us in the table. With Basha now fully fit, he takes over from Nikolaou as one of two changes with Lafferty losing his place to Lawrence. In a solid first half performance, we got a deserved lead through Montiel (2) and though we didn't register another attempt in the second half, Spurs only tested us twice as we held on for the win and a 6th clean sheet of the season.

    Leamington 1:0 Tottenham
    Emery 8, Basha 7, Leys 7, Carvalho da Silva 8, Olsen 7, Diallo 8, Monteiro 7, Montiel 8, Lawrence 7, Machado 7, Schmidt 7.
    Goals - Montiel.
    MotM - Diallo.

    That brings to an end a month of just three games but three wins, taking us up to 7th and more importantly, a cushion with games to play in hand too. We currently have the joint second-best defence (Palace have conceded only THREE) and with 16 goals, are we now finding form there too?


    Malian Mohamed Diallo is still running the show in defensive midfield and I got my wish in asking for more involvement in goals/assists by seeing him score in our comeback at Swansea. Special mentions must also go to Bira Emery and Bruno Carvalho da Silva in helping us to stay solid in defence whilst Cristian Schmidt looks like he's making the left wing spot his own.


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  28. #1993

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    Boom !
    What a difference a month makes.
    Good job moving on Angongono quickly.
    Didn't realise that there are currently no signed english players in the squad
    Midfield are getting the forward out of jail
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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  30. #1994
    I know theres been a lot of draws but only 1 league defeat so far this season. Be hard pushed to find a time you started so well

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  32. #1995
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    Brilliant month!

    Lucky win v Swans obviously

    Defence much tighter this year which is helping

    League is a bit mad with everyone having played different amount of games

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  34. #1996
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingsley View Post
    Boom !
    What a difference a month makes.
    Good job moving on Angongono quickly.
    Didn't realise that there are currently no signed english players in the squad
    Midfield are getting the forward out of jail
    Yep, haven't any English players since Berry left! The first time I think. Lawrence is English though

    Quote Originally Posted by James_y View Post
    I know theres been a lot of draws but only 1 league defeat so far this season. Be hard pushed to find a time you started so well
    Be back when we cruised the Football League! No draws this month though

    Quote Originally Posted by Redknapp69 View Post
    Brilliant month!

    Lucky win v Swans obviously

    Defence much tighter this year which is helping

    League is a bit mad with everyone having played different amount of games
    Lucky We turned it around nicely!

    Hopefully investments in defence is starting to show

  35. #1997
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    Global Attraction - Season 21 - December
    Nations = 31
    Albania, Angola, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Cape Verde Islands, Central African Republic, Croatia, Denmark, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guadeloupe, Hungary, Italy, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mali, Netherlands, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, Uruguay, Wales


    Moving into December, it's at this point of the season where I resign myself to losing players for nothing as they enter the final six months of their contracts. Indeed, Tomas Malec is already in talks with Oxford to discuss a potential move whilst Levski are monitoring Shaun Thorne. No team has ever been interested in Zoltan Meszaros whilst the futures of Mohammed Ozturk, Dorian Diakhaby, Cristian Perdomo and Jamie Lawrence are also under scrutiny since being made available last month. Funnily enough, Ozturk and Lawrence have stopped complaining since our turnaround in form but it won't change my mind in accepting bids should we receive any. In terms of a replacement for Jonathan Anangono who left us last month, we are getting close to signing that English left-back and I'm confident it'll be completed in time for him to join us on 1st January.

    As for our form on the pitch, it certainly has been much better with a sense of harmony being restored too. It's been seven games since we last conceded more than two goals, four of which we've also kept clean sheets. We're enjoying a 9 game unbeaten run and with six games to play this month, I'm keen to see where we'll stand in the league table once we've come through them. Four will be home games, where we are unbeaten so far this season, so I'm hopeful we'll be in prime position to register a best ever finish having previously come 9th two years ago.

    Premier League
    We kick off in a key game at Old Trafford with Man Utd only a point ahead of us. With Gentian Basha picking up a minor injury in training, we're forced into a change at the back with Vasilios Nikolaou taking over at right-back. Having been so tight defensively, it's frustrating to see Man Utd score with their only shot on target in the first half. They then score again with their second attempt with Mohamed Diallo (2) scoring in between. We were the slightly better team and deserved more out of the game but lacked that killer instinct.

    Man Utd 2:1 Leamington
    Emery 7, Nikolaou 7, Leys 6, Carvalho da Silva 7, Olsen 7, Diallo 8, Monteiro 7 (Malec 6), Montiel 7, Lawrence 7, Machado 7, Schmidt 7.
    Goals - Diallo.

    Premier League
    Back on home territory, it's a good chance to bounce back from defeat against a side in the bottom three. Basha has recovered to come straight back in for Nikolaou but we lost Henry Montiel to injury, allowing a start for Laurent Durand rather than Perdomo who is rumoured to have completed a move to Germany for January. It's a game we dominate, as Lawrence (2) scores on the half hour. Forest though, find a way through to equalise in the 58th minute and we're unable to find a winning goal, though Lawrence did see disallowed right at the death for straying offside.

    Leamington 1:1 Nottm Forest
    Emery 7, Basha 8, Leys 7, Carvalho da Silva 6 (Capuano 7), Olsen 7, Diallo 10 (Diakhaby 6), Monteiro 7 (Malec 7), Durand 7, Lawrence 8, Machado 7, Schmidt 7.
    Goals - Lawrence.
    MotM - Diallo.

    Premier League
    After getting a rare win against Swansea last month, I'm hopeful we'll do the same against Exeter who we've beaten just twice in ten games. There's another enforced change to the team for this one with Bruno Carvalho da Silva getting injured against Nottm Forest, which sees Paolo Capuano replace him at the back. Within a minute of kick off, we have a lead through Jose Machado's first goal on his 9th start but Durand gives away a penalty, allowing Exeter to equalise. With three bookings in the first half alone, I worry the players are losing their heads but thankfully, Sven Leys is on hand to head in a winning goal with half an hour remaining.

    Exeter 1:2 Leamington
    Emery 7, Basha 6, Leys 8, Capuano 6, Olsen 6, Diallo 7, Monteiro 7 (Malec 6), Durand 7, Lawrence 7, Machado 8, Schmidt 7.
    Goals - Machado.
    Assists - Diallo, Machado.

    Premier League
    Everton had finished 7th last season which wasn't like them after winning the title the previous two years. They're not having the best of seasons either, down in 12th but still only 2 points behind ourselves. I'm delighted to welcome back Montiel and Carvalho da Silva from injury to take over from Capuano and Durand but a third change is also made as Nikolaou gets the nod to start ahead of Basha. Can we deliver a knock out blow to Everton on Boxing Day? It starts well with Dominique Monteiro (2) scoring early on but we then lose Leys to injury to leave us without a natural left-back as Basha comes on to play out of position. As it was last month where we had to play Nikolaou out of position, it proves not to be an issue as Nikolaou himself doubles our lead and we confirm a fine 2:0 win in front of a record crowd of 17,899 spectators. It's only one short of a sell out!

    Leamington 2:0 Everton
    Emery 8, Nikolaou 7, Leys 6 (Basha 7), Carvalho da Silva 8, Olsen 7, Diallo 9 (Ngama 6), Monteiro 8 (Tetteh 7), Montiel 7, Lawrence 8, Machado 7, Schmidt 9.
    Goals - Monteiro, Nikolaou.
    Assists - Lawrence, Schmidt.
    MotM - Schmidt.

    Premier League
    We remain at home to welcome 17th placed Mansfield four days later where in addition to an injured Leys, nine players are rested in a test of our squads strength in depth. Only Bira Emery and Monteiro stay in the side as Wim van den Brink, Tobias Kruger, Paolo Capuano, Noel Kone, Musaba Ngama, Durand, Malec, Derek Tetteh and Matthew Lafferty start. A Guinean centre midfielder features for Mansfield, who is being strongly linked with a move to our team as a replacement for Perdomo and it is he who sets up Mansfield's opening goal with their only shot in the 29th minute before being reduced to 10 men after a second booking. But despite playing for 49 minutes with an extra man, we can't even find an equalising goal, never mind a winning goal as we lose our unbeaten home record.

    Leamington 0:1 Mansfield
    Emery 6, Kruger 9 (Simic 6), van den Brink 7, Capuano 4, Kone 7, Ngama 8 (Diakhaby 5), Monteiro 7 (Meszaros 7), Durand 6, Lafferty 7, Tetteh 7, Malec 6.

    Premier League
    It's a third game in a row just two days later as we welcome rivals Birmingham against whom we've won, drawn and lost eight times each. Those rested in the last game (Nikolaou, Carvalho da Silva, David Olsen, Diallo, Machado, Montiel, Lawrence and Schmidt) are all straight back in though with Leys still injured, van den Brink stays in. Two other surprises are in store with Meszaros starting his first game for three years and James Brown takes over from Emery for his first appearance of the season. We are issued a helping hand after 10 minutes with another red card as Birmingham's winger takes out van den Brink with an ugly two footed lunge. But can we take advantage this time? We certainly do as Argentinian Schmidt springs into life, scoring a hat-trick before Lawrence makes it 4:0.

    Leamington 4:0 Birmingham
    Brown 7, Nikolaou 7, van den Brink 6, Carvalho da Silva 7, Olsen 7, Diallo 8, Machado 8 (Ozturk 7), Montiel 9, Lawrence 8, Schmidt 10, Meszaros 7 (Audrain 7).
    Goals - Schmidt x3, Lawrence.
    Assists - Diallo, Montiel, Audrain.
    MotM - Schmidt.

    Having been six points from top, it's no surprise to see that after losing twice this month, that gap has increased to 9 points. But with two wins and a draw, I'm happy to see we remain in 7th place though it's certainly disappointing to have lost our unbeaten home record to 10 men.


    Schmidt had been superb in a number 10 role having usually played on the left wing but the star man once again is Mohamed Diallo who got his first assists of the season as well as scoring a second goal of the season. The Malian really has settled in extremely well and is definitely earning his comparisons with Joao Paulo Moura.


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  37. #1998
    Mostly a good month, shame you couldnt beat Mansfield because youd be second! Still right up there and hopefully challenging for a European place second half of the season.

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  39. #1999
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    Crazy isn't it, we really ought to have beaten them too. And shouldn't have lost to Man Utd either.

  40. #2000
    Tournaments Won: 4

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    Diallo 3 for Strength as a DM

    On though as are Leamington!

    Game in ahnd and could go 2nd!

    European dream is ON

    Board/fans must be happy now?

    Kick in the nads that Mansfield game

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