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Thread: The County Championship

  1. #801

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    Agree with the others, Brighton seems your next destination.

    Benatia unlucky not to play more thanks to Morris's good form, Morris looks a beast for either DC or DMC but I see him more as a DMC due to his high passing stat while his lack of jumping is not as much of a problem there compared to in the heart of defence.

    Either way though it did the trick as you raced to the title.

  2. #802
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    April 2023 (cont'd)

    So, as we reach departure date, a review of the players that got me to where we are today. Part 2.

    Midfield

    Johannes Nieminen has been an absolute revelation. I brought him in on a free in the hope he would fill a spot. I wasn't even sure when he came whether he could actually fulfil my brief of playing as one of a centre midfield three but he should me he could and how. 16 goals and 12 assists across the season at an average of 7.83. I'll be keeping tabs on him after I've gone.

    Birama Toure was signed to be my powerhouse box to box midfielder and he fulfilled that task with aplomb. Broke up play well but also contributed at the other end with 14 goals and 6 assists in the season at an average of 7.56. 1.4m well spent.

    Ryan Freeman came in on loan from my former side Stoke. An attacking midfielder by trade but he spent the season playing in the defensive midfield position for me as a kind of deep lying playmaker able to start attacks from deep. He wasn't quite as creative as I hoped he would be with just 4 goals and 4 assists but he did play well, averaging 7.41 across his 27 games played.

    Haris Vuckic was in and out of the side and couldn't nail down the starting spot for himself only managing to do so after Lucas Piazon left. He struggled to finish 90 minutes or if he did he struggled to be fit for the next match. But in the games he played, he played well. 8 goals and 8 assists from midfield was a decent return for just 21 starts and despite not being a mainstay of the side.

    Rohan Ince was not one of the players I was looking to keep when I first joined the club. I felt he just wasn't good enough to help me acheive what I wanted to acheive. This was one of the reasons Freeman played in that position. But as it turned out, as I wasn't able to sign a replacement, he actually did a job for me. In fact, he was probably a little more productive than Freeman who played more games. Ince played 22 games and although he didn't score, he did provide 7 assists in that 'Pirlo' type role.

    It very quickly worked out that the signing of David Silva was essentially just throwing 50,000 a week down the toilet. In a nutshell, his legs had gone. He started one game for me and after he was withdrawn after 72 minutes, and it should have been a lot sooner, we all knew that at best, he was going to be an impact sub. Maybe I expected too much from a man who was already 36. He made 12 sub appearances during the season also and you could see he still had the talent but his legs just didn't move as fast as his brain anymore.

    Shaun Haslam came into the side late and only really got involvement after Piazon left us. He played just 6 games but did score 2 and assist 2 during that time. He played well after waiting so patiently on the sidelines for most of the season.

    Nikola Zivkovic played just 2 matches and that was only because both Ince and Freeman were unavailable at the same time. He did alright but his mind had already been made up that he didn't want to be at the club anymore and mine was quickly made up that I didn't have plans for him in the first team squad.

    Sam Matthews didn't make an appearance all season.




















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  4. #803
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    Wow - you had some of those midfielders puching above thier weight!

    David Silva big flop!



    Defenders - a mix of top quality experience and immense youth in Morris!

    Stones a tad dissapointing maybe - again - couple of average players pulled up trees for you as well

  5. #804
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    Benatia yes was unlucky. I just couldn't bring myself to reunite the veteran centre backs when they were both fit again. Morris was a revelation but I've mentioned previously who's regen he is so it's not a surprise.

    The midfield were immense. Nieminen could do no wrong all season, if Toure hadn't got injured at around the mid point of the season, I'd have had it won even earlier I think.

    Stones I can left off as he was playing right back instead of his normal centre back.

  6. #805
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    April 2023 (cont'd)

    So, as we reach departure date, a review of the players that got me to where we are today. Part 3.

    Attack

    All the attackers chipped in well and ended up with decent records, even though some will have wanted to play more than they did.

    Daniel Sturridge notched the most games mostly down to pressure to play him due to his high wage (60,000 a week). 36 starts and two sub appearances and a return of 23 goals is very good. And in the fact he also bagged 11 assists as well and he was very much worth breaking the wage structure for. His average rating of 8.34 shows that despite his 33 years, he is a class above this division.

    Andy Hopkins, my old friend, continues to score goals and whatever level he plays at. As I leave the club, he has scored a very impressive 19 goals in 23 games. I can only hope that the same happens again and whoever my successor here at Watford is, doesn't want to play him and I can pick him up again.

    Uffe Bech came in with a big reputation for scoring goals and if it wasn't for Sturridge coming in, he would have lead the line. As it is he only made 14 starts and 6 sub appearances but still managed 9 goals. I like the look of Bech and he'll be one I keep my eye on as well.

    Callum Wilson is another who when he signed, I imagined being first choice but circumstances also worked against him and just 11 starts and 9 sub appearances later he did have 6 goals and three assists and had played well but will probably see it as a season of his career wasted.

    Paul Duffy was unfortunately for him the black sheep of the forward line. He had been at the club the season before I arrived and had scored a decent number of goals but I ultimately wanted to bring in my own men and he unfortunately dropped further and further own the pecking order. I gave him a run of games but he went through a bit of a barren run and then never really got back into the side. Seven starts and 3 goals though is a decent enough return.












    The Departed

    And finally, a quick overview of those that I let leave the club in my time here.

    Some deals were already in place before I came. I looked at them and decided the right decision had been made so Jim Miller (140,000), David Barrett (575,000) and Cammy Smith (free) all left.

    Maris Savinovs was the first outgoing that I arranged myself and he went to Fulham as part of the deal that brought Shaun Haslam to the club. Only played 9 games since leaving.

    Carl Hulse (450,000) was a winger who was never going to get game time for me, Patrick McLaughlin was sold to Gateshead for 250,000. They must pay Watford another 500,000 if he plays another game for Northern Ireland. Considering he couldn't even get in the Gateshead side who finished bottom of the Championship, I wouldn't hold my breath for that cash.

    Sam Higgins (500,000) was a little too hold to warrant a first team place at our level. He dropped down to Lincoln and did very well for them.

    Rolando Aarons was another who would have no future with me as a winger. I was very happy to get a fee of 3.2m for him. He has also done well since leaving keeping his side mid table in our division.

    Rasmus Falk Jensen went the other way in the part exchange that got me Christy Pym. He could have been good enough to stay with us and he has proved that at Burton. 14 assists in the season show he still has the quality.

    Ruud Boffin (800,000) was moved off the wage bill just due to his age. At 35, he was too old to cut it in my opinion even for a keeper. Leicester didn't think so and he played a large portion of their season as they are currently in the playoff positions behind us.

    Graham Burke falls into the McLaughlin group of decision. I allowed Graham Burke to move to Blackburn on a free transfer, the stipulation being they need to pay Watford a hefty 8m if he plays just one international match for the Republic of Ireland. That looks very unlikely at the moment as he has managed just 4 starts at an average of 6.53 since moving.

    Leo Chambers was sold on after we received a 1m bid. Martin Hopper (250,000) similarly was young and I sold him to give him the opportunity of first team football.

    Zach Clough was probably the most high profile person to leave at the start of my time. He went West Brom for 4m. He did well, scoring 18 times but his side were under performers.

    Jorman Aguilar left for another 1m. He'd only made 1 sub appearance at Watford in over three years. He also went to Gateshead and scored goals. Just not enough to keep them off the bottom of the Championship to date.

    Chris David played twice under me but when a 4m bid came in, I couldn't turn it down. He moved to Crystal Palace and barely got game time there either.

    Lucas Piazon was the last man I sold and just a month ago. He had been superb in my midfield in the season and I could do nothing about it as they met his release clause. But looking at the clubs finances, I couldn't afford for it not to go through really. The 6.5m received and kept the club afloat. He has made one start since he joined the Premier League side.

    Spoiler!




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  8. #806
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    Otamendi done well for his age!

    I can see Morris following your around now, perhaps...?

    Get Kyprianou out before he causes trouble

  9. #807
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    Why does Higgings have missing att's?!

    That "Harry" is a bad egg!

    Amazing again how you got numbers our of the poorer strikers as well

    Studge and Hopkins though

  10. #808
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    Just seen the next page! The Finnish guy doesn't look impressive at first glance but done a fine job. Sturridge too, great amount of game time given his age and injury proneness!

  11. #809
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark View Post
    Otamendi done well for his age!

    I can see Morris following your around now, perhaps...?

    Get Kyprianou out before he causes trouble
    I think Morris's transfer fee could be a hindrance to that. He's only shown as 3.8m at the moment but as soon as he goes back to Southampton I think that'll rocket. On the good side, I left Saints in such a good position that they are currently 3rd in the Prem and the Champions League Quarter Finals. They may buy other centre backs meaning they may let him go. We'll have to wait and see.

    Kyprianou is gone, going on a Bosman to Burton I think. He couldn't wait to get out. Deal was done by about January 5th!

    Quote Originally Posted by Redknapp69 View Post
    Why does Higgings have missing att's?!

    That "Harry" is a bad egg!

    Amazing again how you got numbers our of the poorer strikers as well

    Studge and Hopkins though
    The strikers are not the best but they have better than average stats in decent places.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mark View Post
    Just seen the next page! The Finnish guy doesn't look impressive at first glance but done a fine job. Sturridge too, great amount of game time given his age and injury proneness!
    Yep. Sturridge did well. Justified that wage!

  12. #810

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    Nieminen definitely the star man, he always seemed to pop up with important goals while Toure, Freeman and Vuckic all chipped in. It was a shame you couldn't keep Piazon but the league was near enough done by then anyway, but it has opened your eyes to minimum fee release clauses (I always offer relegation release clauses of 0 instead - I'm never getting relegated ). Shame David Silva didn't offer more but physically he's gone and like you say his big wages were effectively going down the drain - did you not try sell him when it was clear he couldn't offer anything?

    To the strikers and after a slow start Hopkins did what he does best and that's hit the back of the net, while Sturridge also scored his fair share (and assisted well too) as you decimated the league. Useful contributions from Bech and Wilson too, not surprising Duffy couldn't get many chances with all of them performing ahead of him.

  13. #811
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    Didn't even think to sell Silva. Could have saved me a wedge of cash.
    I'm sure he was ok stamina wise when I signed him but he just went off a cliff after that first game he played!

  14. #812
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    April 2023 (cont'd)

    As you have all guessed, I would be leaving the wilds of Hertfordshire and making my way to the South Coast.


    I take over from Paul Lambert, who was in the job for just over two years and I would be getting myself into the Premier League so in theory, it was a better job. I would getting myself into the top tier a couple of months before Watford officially got there. There was still a small risk of relegation but I felt they had enough of a buffer for them to be safe from any relegation battle.
    All the board wanted from me at this stage was to stay clear of relegation so I should be able to fulfil that.


    And then there was the estimated 37m they were willing to offer me in transfer funds. I wouldn't able to use them yet but it was good to know. The clubs full bank balance being 39.3m.

    Now was a time, with 6 games to go in the season, to have a look at the players I had inherited and see who I would want to keep for the next season and who would be surplus to requirements.

    Now to assess the players.

    ***I'm not going to put my thoughts, I will leave you guys to do the analysis and let me know who YOU think is any good and who should stay or go.***

    Bear in mind, my stock formation to play is the default 4-1-3-2 so if there are any wingers that you think might be able to do a job in a central midfield three, be sure to let me know.


    Goalkeepers

    Spoiler!



    Defence

    Spoiler!




    Midfield


    Spoiler!



    Attack


    Spoiler!


    You may note that I have worked with a few of the players before.

    Andreas Pereira was with me at Sheffield Wednesday, Ashley Buswell was my player at both Solihull and Newcastle and Alex Grant was a Newcastle player whilst I was there also.


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  16. #813

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    Well done to everyone else for getting Brighton. I had five guesses and they were all wrong!

    Goalkeepers look alright. Amos is getting good enough ratings and Murcia can probably stake a claim to be number one.

    Defence is a bit of a mixed bag. Grant and MacDonald look to be the pick of them but you could certainly do with a better right back or two, as well as a bit more depth in across the back four.

    Midfield looks promising, with Romeo playing in the Pirlo role, while Pereira should be your main creative source. Tomasiewicz with 20 for off the ball should be good too and I don't know why Lambert didn't play him a lot more. No wonder he got sacked (or at least I assume he did). Ahlberg should also be able to do a job for you.

    There was always likely to be a disaster area and this time it comes in the form of the so-called strikers. None of them have come close to netting regularly enough, with Boljevic arguably the best of a very bad bunch and he hasn't even featured for most of the season. Luckily you have a decent transfer budget to rectify the problem and I'm sure a hefty proportion of it will be spent on new strikers. There's a bloke at Watford called Andy Hopkins who's been ripping up the Championship this season. Have you heard of him?

    Overall, there are deficiencies in the squad but it could've been a lot worse. You probably need one more win to be safe from relegation but I'm sure you'll get it. There are no out and out wingers at the club, so you won't need to play anyone out of position. It's just a question of improving the personnel in the summer.

  17. #814
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    Andy Hopkins you say?

    I'll have to do some research on him!

  18. #815
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    Still work to do this season yet as not safe!

    GK - 3 of the 4 look great! Bin off the Botswanen

    DEF - Grant is only real quality - plenty of overhaul here I reckon!

    MID - Romeu will do a job at DM. Pole and Swede look interesting. Periera standout. That's a bit to work with but leaves you with scope to bring in others as well

    STR - Shit show - would prob sell all except Ormerod as some sort of potential and may graft and possible the Pole. Defence and Attack is where the money will go!

  19. #816

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    OMG. Those strikers are the pits. Ormerod and Kurowski are passable.

    Get Ahlberg back from his loan. He may not be burning the heather in Colchester, but he looks decent.
    Quite a few lacking stamina (my cut off for a starter is 12) so several you can bin.
    One or two older heads who might retire and save you a problem.

    No out and out wingers, so it should fit your formation.
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

  20. #817
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    Some absolute tripe in that squad

    Looks strong in midfield though. Romeu to do a job in DMC and the Pole looks like he could be lethal. I like the look of the Swedish loanee too, get him back!

    Bring in Hopkins for next season!

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