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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.




















  3. #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

  4. #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.

  5. #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!




  6. #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

  7. #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

  8. #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!

  9. #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!

  10. #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.

  11. #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!

  12. #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.


  13. #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.

  14. #814
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    Andy Hopkins you say?

    I'll have to do some research on him!

  15. #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!

  16. #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

  17. #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!

  18. #818
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    April 2023 (cont'd)

    My first days at the club. Bound to be interesting as I get to look at the players and see who will be playing and not playing.

    Matches and Roundup

    I had listened a lot to various pundits since I had joined the club. Some were saying that there was a lack of quality in the squad and changes would need to be made. Some said that there were some gems hidden in the squad. I agreed with both points after I had seen them in the first couple of training sessions.

    In the goalkeeper departments, Ben Amos looked good enough but at 33 I would have to keep an eye on him declining. One thing that may hasten in way to the exit door is the fact that he is currently earning 120,000 a week. That can't be sustainable so it's either a big wage cut or he may be on his way. Lewis Kelly looked a decent back up and he'd be battling with Gaizka Murcia for that back up spot. In fact, I really like the look of Murcia so he may well become the number 1.

    Defenders wise, Ashley Buswell as I knew him previously would probably stay around, Alex Grant as well possibly. It's a shame Jordan Turnbull has decided to leave at the end of the season as he may have got games. There must be something about Tom Reid in the fact that he has managed to pick up 6 international caps at 21 years of age so he may have something to him and may hang around. I'm interested to know if Mick MacDonald will grow into anything as well.

    The midfield looks OK with the likes of Romeu and Pereira will stay. Balestra will also stay on the books as he looks a decent prospect for me.
    Tom Cairney is currently taking home 65,000 a week so he will be another that will have to pull his weight or be on his way.

    In the forward positions, there was nothing that inspired me but I had to give them all a chance. Maybe someone could really impress me over the last 6 games remaining in the season. The fact that Rory Donnelly and Aleksander Boljevic have been picking up 45,000 and 42,000 a week respectively and returned just two substitute appearances between them was just not going to fly.

    The challenge would be whether I could convince other teams to take these players off my hands. If I could, there was some decent money to be had. Pawel Kurowski was valued at 13m, Grzegorz Tomasiewicz 9.5m, Roy Ormerod 6.5m.

    All this though was a matter for the end of the season. Nobody would be transfer listed until the season had ended. Everyone would have a chance to impress in either a match situation or in training.

    Their first opportunity to do so was just 5 days after my unveiling as manager. I would have to wait for my home bow as my debut as Brighton manager would be away at Elland Road as we faced Leeds United.

    I settled into my new office and threw out a couple of bids to see what kind of pull the South Coast had before picking my first squad and making our way north for the match.

    The match would be the 419th of my career.
    The other fun stat at this stage is that during my career, I have signed 122 players. I have sold the exact same amount, 122.
    This is the most in both categories.


    I managed to sew up the first signing before that first game came around. He of course would not be with us until the summer but he was the player I went for at Watford before signing John Stones. An attacking full back who was competing his 8th season at Benfica. He would be a great addition.

    It was a timely addition as the media were getting on the current right back's case, saying he may be a little too old to be holding down a spot in the Premier League.


    They may be right but I need him for the remainder of the season so I backed him up.

    The time for my first line up arrived and I went with:



    It was a decent enough side. They didn't know my philosophies fully but had learnt the beginnings of what it takes to play for me. Full backs who get forward and attack, central defenders who are tough in the tackling but also comfortable on the ball. Central midfielders with an eye for goal but also vision to create and forwards who can pounce on anything whilst also defending from the front.

    We would see how this eleven got on against a Leeds side who were two places and three points worse off than us going into the game. All I wanted them to do was put a shift in. Show me they were up for a challenge, up for battling for the shirt and the project we had ahead of us.

    We played well. Leeds was not the strongest test we could face so it was probably a good start for us. We were solid at the back. Neil Eardley thumbed his nose at the press who said he was passed it by not misplacing a pass for the first hour of the match.
    We didn't have a lot going forward though which was an issue. Kurowski was putting in the effort, George Barker not the best of games so he was replaced on the hour.

    Tom Cairney for all his big wage was showing tiredness after 70 minutes so he was also replaced. But nothing further happened in a pretty dull first game at the helm.


    Spoiler!



    And so onto my home bow as Brighton manager. Fans started arriving at the AMEX as there was a lot of anticipation about having me in the hot seat.
    15 minutes before kick off, I made my way out to the pitch to take my bow and be welcomed by the fans. Then I went back in to the changing room to speak to the selected players.

    Nine changes, it was a totally different side bar Romeu and Pereira. Every one was going to get a chance before the end of the season. It was a chance for those 9 players to lay down their marker for the future. I'd be interested to see how Ahlberg does. And Tom Reid at right back as well.

    Charlton would be an interesting test. They were two places and five points better off than us so it would allow us a chance to gain some points on them but it was more about gaining points to get away from the drop zone as we were only 5 points above the relegation places as well.

    The game started well for us, we passed it around well, we dictated tempo but as with the previous game, we had no cutting edge going forward. We were toothless and we were made to pay.
    On 28 minutes, Charlton opened the scoring and it stayed ahead until half time. I decided to see if more direct approach might work in getting the ball to the front men and getting them involved.
    Did it work? Well it did and it didn't. It worked in the fact that Donnelly managed to get a few more shots on goal, Andreas Pereira was the main goal threat coming forward from midfield but it didn't work in the fact that none of the 14 shots we had on goal in the game resulted in a goal and so we lost the game.

    Spoiler!


    After some deliberation, my old job at Watford went to Antonio Conte. I think he might be following me around as he followed me at Sheffield Wednesday as well.
    But Watford of course was now part of my past. My hope was I would be playing matches against them next season but to do that, we had to stay up. Our next fixture took us away to West Ham who were 10th.
    Everyone else below us had played before we took to the field for Monday Night Football. If we lost, we had not lost out to this point. Sheff Wed had lost so we were still 5 points above the drop zone and with the opportunity of making that gap bigger but even if we lost, 5 points ahead with 3 games to play should be enough.

    But we would be going out to get something from the game. What I have gleaned from my first two games in charge is that we have difficulty getting the ball to the front two and when it gets there, they can't do much with it. I think the latter is more of the problem but we will see.


    A few players, Gaizka Murcia, Mick MacDonald and Roy Ormerod were all away with their respective U21 national squads so there were some changes to be made.
    Lewis Kelly got his chance in goal, likewise Andy Edwards at left back. Alex Grant came back in at centre back with Cairney coming into midfield ahead of Reid. Up top, Kurowski replaced Ormerod with young James Richards, without a senior appearance to his named lining up on the bench for an unlikely cameo. I do like to give youth a chance on occasion and that was showing in the inclusion of a number of players 21 and under and this would have been more if Murcia and MacDonald were available.

    It was a side I thought could do damage but the West Ham side was good also. Containing players like Butland, Bartra, Savic, Bergwijn and Chiriches they were solid. They also had former players of mine in Volodya Papikyan (from Sheff Wed days) and Kari Petursson (from my Newcastle stint).
    And they were pretty good at home. We would be in for a tough ask.

    We needed to start well and put them on the back foot.
    What happened looked like a pre season friendly. Neither side wanted to attack with any purpose, despite me urging them forward, neither wanted to put in a tackle, it looked like a game that was essentially a dead rubber and in essence it was, we were safe enough from the drop, West Ham too far away to be reaching European places.

    West Ham then scored almost by accident just after the half hour and that spurred us into a little bit of action. The midfield doing the damage with Ahlberg assisting Pereira to score his 14th of the season.
    10 minutes into the second half and West Ham scored again and this time there was no way back. Another loss on the record. But it was giving me a good insight into who might be up for the challenge as we go into next season.

    Spoiler!


    One more game in the month and another away game as we travel to Carrow Road to take on Norwich City.
    They were embroiled in a relegation battle as they currently sat 19th and 6 points from safety. A win was a must for them. They would be going all out to win the game. We had to keep them at bay. It seemed weird to say that a team on the verge of relegation would be all over a team that was not but that was how it was at the moment. My predecessor somehow had manage to create a defensive mentality at the club which I was struggling to shake. How he did this with only three recognised centre backs on the books was a mystery to me.
    They just seemed to have it ingrained that they should not or could not get it into the final third. I had to change that mentality as the summer.
    But for now it was about setting up a team to try and counter attack a team in the relegation zone.

    Unfortunately, Grzegorz Tomasiewicz was injured on international duty and would be out for three weeks. I also completed terms on two new players for the summer. The first, a new defensive midfielder. He'd been on trial with us and looked like he could cut it. It was a position I already had cover in with Romeu and Balestra on the books but this guy looked like a decent player who could step in when needed.
    The second was a Belgian who had somehow only mustered one international cap. He would come in and give us a little flair in the midfield and aid us going forward. It would be a big move for him though as he had never played outside his homeland before but he had racked up 12 seasons with Anderlecht over two spells so he was no raw upstart.
    Ben Amos resumed in goal after I'd had a look at all three that could play a role for me. Buswell returned at right back. MacDonald replaced Grant at centre half. Kasenga Lua Lua was asked to play away from a wing as a cetral midfielder in place of Pereira who had proved his worth to me and John Ross, used as a winger in the previous regime, was given a run out up front.

    I really wanted to see us work in this game. Really work hard. We started well. We weren't overly troubled by our opponents and all was going well. The only down point was an injury to a second Polish player in as many days as Pawel Kurowski was replaced on 40 minutes after picking up a knock.
    But things improved just after as makeshift, or maybe reborn forward John Ross opened the scoring. Things got even better on the hour as we again broke well from a defensive position and made it pay with Alexander Ahlberg adding the finishing touch.
    A goal from debutant James Richards off the bench was the icing on the cake for a great win that all but mathematically confirmed our stay in the Premier League. Sheffield Wednesday would have to win all three of their remaining games and other results would have to go against us.

    Spoiler!








    Transfers

    IN -

    Joao Cancelo - Free Transfer (Summer)


    Hasan Ozkan - Free Transfer (Summer)


    Dennis Praet - Free Transfer (Summer)



    OUT -


    The month ended with a win was a great feeling and would give us a little confidence going into the final two games of the season.
    I am very much still getting used to the players in the squad, working out who might stay with me next season and who might be moved on. It's a difficult decision at this point.


    Just the one home game since taking over and it brought an attendance of 30731. The capacity is 30750 so for a team in the bottom half of the division to be filling out it's stadium is great. Will need to wait and see whether they were just there as it was my first game or not.

    Income for the month was 1.71m and expenditure at 3.73m. So we made a loss for the month but I'll need to wait and see whether that balances out with additional home games in a month.

    So the bank balance at 38.34m and a transfer fund back up to of 36m.

    Last edited by ebfatz; 09-08-19 at 12:08 AM.

  19. #819

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    Heluva write up

    Table is a Watford table?

    Cancelo

    MASSIVE win v Norwich that - I was worried you were getting properly dragged in!

    Great that nearly a full house there - good to see!

    Decent other signings as well (bit of quality in Praet)

    Risky but good you are playing everyone so you have an idea who can cut the mustard - will be a busy summer!

  20. #820

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    Really tough start. Can tell you're giving players a chance to impress but not many grabbing their chance. Expect big changes at the end of the season.

  21. #821
    ebfatz is offline Social Media Bod
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redknapp69 View Post
    Table is a Watford table?
    Amended.

  22. #822

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    Dennis Praet is a beast. You did will to land him. Like the look of the other 2

    Until Norwich you couldn't buy a goal. I think those are the 3 points that will save you.

    Need to find someone who will put the ball in the net regularly

    Do you have to win the Premier League with Brighton (big challenge) or will one of the cups do (still a challenge) ?
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

  23. #823
    ebfatz is offline Social Media Bod
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    Any competition. So league or Cup. Will be a very difficult task this one.

    One a seperate note, it shows the immense scouting skills of our Update Team.
    This is the April 2015 data release and I've just signed Joao Cancelo and Dennis Praet as they move to Manchester City and Leicester in the real world.

    Kudos to them.

  24. #824
    ebfatz is offline Social Media Bod
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    May 2023

    The end to the season and then onto planning for the future.

    Matches and Roundup

    Just the two matches to complete the season and just one objective. Gaining the points needed to guarantee Premier League football next season. Before we even stepped near a football pitch in the month though, Leeds in 18th would play away to 7th placed Liverpool. This match would go some way to telling us what we needed to do to stay up. And it was a 90th minute equaliser from Leeds that gained them a point to drag them out of the drop zone on goal difference and keep them in the hunt for staying up.

    We also confirmed the summer signing of a keeper on a free transfer. He had been without a club after leaving Solihull 22 months before. No idea why no one else had picked him up as he looked the real deal. Maybe if Solihull hadn't released him, Gareth Southgate may still have a job. He was fired the same day with the first club I managed second bottom and already relegated from League One.
    At 29, he may be getting on in years but goalies can go forever. He could theoretically play for another decade.
    After having a check back in my history, I realised that I had been the one who signed him for Solihull so we would be working together again. After looking closer into the man, it turned out he was incarnated (regen) of a very famous Irish goalkeeper.



    He would be a great addition.

    And so it meant that with us sitting on 38 points, and the teams in 16th, 17th and 18th all on 33, we needed just one of those three to lose and to pick up one point in the next round of games to secure safety with a game to spare. If not, we would still have a game to do it.
    The first of our remaining two games had us at home to QPR, the side in 19th and who needed to win to have any chance of avoiding the drop.

    Alex Ahlberg inexplicably turned out for the reserves so was not fit for the tie and was replaced by Andreas Pereira. That change was ok. The other change I needed to make was with the misfiring forwards. Pawel Kurowski picked up a damaged foot in the win over Norwich and hadn't recovered fully. I thought about risking him but decided against it but that meant replacing him. The rest of the forwards as we know are not world beaters but I had to reward young James Richards who, after coming for Kurowski in the last game, scored on his debut.
    The kid was no good, his finishing was poor (rated 5), he had no stamina (rated 7), no strength (rated 5), his decision making was atrocious (rated 1) but he had scored so I had to give it to him!

    Apart from that the side stayed the same from the Norwich win. All we needed was a point. There was no better place to get it than against QPR considering we had already played the side below them in the table in Norwich.

    We started well and meant business and it was no surprise when we took the lead. The suprise came from the source as Oriel Romeu scored his first of the season. But things went downhill quickly from there. We lost our rhythm and QPR got themselves back into it by scoring on 19 minutes. That seemed to stir us a bit and we got back on an equal footing and it was 1-1 at the break.

    Things got worse just after the hour though as Quincy Promes, who'd somehow found his way to West London gave them the lead. When they scored again 5 minutes later, it was all over. We had no way back and it was a poor home result. It didn't save QPR though as Leeds and Middlesborough bth picked up a point but they went down fighting!




    Spoiler!


    After the game, we secured the signing of a Mexican international forward as I started to begin the rebuild of the front line. He also comes on a free but due to his record of scoring 10 or more goals in every season he had played for his previous club Monterrey, he would be commanding a wage of 100,000 a week. He would need to justify that with goals next year if he is going to have any long term future at the club.
    This transfer came on the same evening that Sheff Wed lost away to Everton to confirm that we had done enough to stay up mathematically and that we could go into the final game free of pressure.

    So the final game of the season, with nothing riding on it rolled around and, after a two week break, we made our way to the Emirates Stadium to take on Arsenal.

    Tom Reid dropped out at right back for Neal Eardley to play probably his last game for the club. Jordan Turnbull stayed in at centre back as this would be his last before he leaves on a free at the end of his contract. Mattia Balestra came in to play defensive midfield and Ahlberg played across the midfield three in place of Andreas Pereira.

    It was a nothing game but I hoped the players would still put in the effort and show me what they could do. A bit of pride to play for. And there might be a little extra prize money in it for us as well.

    The first 45 minutes was played just like a game where there were 22 men who didn't particularly want to be there. Genuinely nothing happened. The ball was passed around across defences and midfields and there were no attempts on goal.
    When the second half started, we made the bad move of actually going on an attack and even worse, sticking the ball in the back of the net, the goal coming from Alexander Ahlberg.
    Arsenal didn't like that and over the course of the next 20 minutes, they slowly turned the screw and overturned the deficit and turned it into advantage. We had 15 minutes to try and save the tie but we just didn't go up through the gears and it would be our 2nd straight defeat and third in 4 matches at the end of the season.

    Spoiler!











    Transfers

    IN -

    Eoin Murphy - Free Transfer (Summer)


    Mario Vela - Free Transfer (Summer)




    OUT -


    On the face of it, it was a pretty poor month, played two lost two. But others were worse than us and despite not picking up points, we managed to stay up and be four points clear of the drop zone.

    Now the difficult part of the job will begin. Trying to get rid of all the dead wood in the squad, players that just are not good enough.
    There are others who are unhappy as well. Zanka, the centre half and Oriel Romeu want a new challenge. Many are angling for new contracts and Andreas Pereira has just decided that he wants to move to a bigger club.

    It'll certainly be an interesting summer!

    One of the two matches in the month was played at home and the attendance of 30072 is still pretty good at just around 700 short of capacity.

    Prize money came in this month so it skewed the figures somewhat but income for the month was 16.54m and expenditure at 9.89m. So a profit of 6.65m for the month. I wasn't expecting that much going out if I was honest. It shows as going to signing on fees so I will need to keep my eye on that and whether anymore goes out.

    So the bank balance is now 44.32m and a transfer fund for the summer up to 39m.


  25. #825

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    Not great results but you stayed up due to others and that is main thing

    Sounds a blow Romeu and Zanka wanting out

    And Periera - basically the decent players you have all want out

    2 good signings


    A BIG summer of wheeling and dealing...........

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