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The return to the family - Dexther Bolle back to Crewe Alexandra.
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  1. Death Ball's Avatar Death Ball
    Modern Day Legend

    The return to the family - Dexther Bolle back to Crewe Alexandra.

    An American with Spanish second nationality, Dexther Bolle is said to have held the wish to train Crewe Alexandra from some years ago. Why is something he's not told to anybody. Whatever the reason, he has taken control of Crewe Alexandra after what is a surprise move for everyone involved. Not only it involves the team giving away the services of the man who led the team to League One, but also for Bolle's family, that can't understand how the heir of a strong Serie Z film company has turned hs back to the family business and travelled to England.

    The board has expressed their undestanding that the new man will bring an attacking style of play and will bring success to the side.

    Crewe has just been promoted, like my FM09 game, to League One, where I take charge of it. As I just found, the side had a run in Championship that ended 2004 and that is, I think, the highest the team has been.


    The start sets a few things: the goal is just surviving in League One as I don't want to put any more pressure than needed. The board wants me to play attacking football. While at first I think that's kind of irresponsable, upon having a look on the squad I find it's inevitable. The team is weak in the goal and defence and has its strength in the attacking areas. Also I find out there's no parent club, so I ask the boardroom, that needs a bit of convincing.

    Luke Murphy is the key man in midfield and in the attack Clayton, Leitch-Smith and Pogba will be the foundations for the attack, with West and Moore providing quality back up. For transfer market is considered a high priority to get a goalkeeper and a centerback. Beside that, it would be good to have a new leftback and to get back ups for Osman, Murphy and some to the attacking midfield. Goalkeeper and centreback are signed on frees, Sidibé earning being fist choice and Addo disappointing from need to adapt. The only player bought with a fee is Ian Henderson, for €90K, after Max Clayton gets a six month injury. Other places are filled with loans: during the window Coady comes as back up for Osman, Lletget and Doughty as both back up of Murphy and deep for attacking midfield. Outside there's loans of Norwood for the leftback.Two high quality creative players were approached on a free, but their work permit were rejected.

    The preseason was mostly satisfactory, though there wasn't any big test. The only negative, besides Addo showing his need to adapt, is that the team needed 87 mins to score the first goal against feeder Nantwich Town, something that I was not happy with and hence made the players know, which caused Osman and Clayton to express their unhappiness for being harsh against them. That disappointed me again, as it shows their lack of ambition. With the season started, there was bad luck in cups (which is good, as I don't want to get tired there) and getting mixed results in the league, alternating wins and defeats, with a string of three defeats at some point and then four unbeaten run of three wins and one draw. Never falling behind in the league, that appears tight, we never got more than four points behind play offs and we are currently sitting seventh tied in points with sixth and four points behind the leaders (though Leyton are tied up there with a game in hand). A very good position that at first seemed hard to be at at this point.

    That last game was impressive and a curious happening. We went 1-0 down after Adam Dugdale's own goal. We were playing 4-1-2-2-1 vs 4-4-2 diamond (MR/L) and we were in control other than that accident, but not managing to score. During the second half I changed to 4-2-3-1 (2xMC+3xAMC) and asked my defenders to pump the ball to the area. And we managed to get back superbly. A case where my changes worked? Not quite, as it wasn't by the reasons intended.

    My defence was having a bad day passing the ball so I shouted to pump the ball into the area so they'd not lose it near our goal, then I set the three AMCs to overload their DMC. The first two goals came from freekicks originated in positions that could as well have been earned by the 4-1-2-2-1 wingers, one in the right and headed by Purcell (signed on a free when Clayton injured and saw Leitch-smith I want on the wings and Pogba has no valid backup there) when he jumped over the defender and the other from the left that was tucked with a diving header by Lletget completely alone before it could reach the goalie. Then the third came from a pumped ball from defence (Mills) that Leitch-Smith reached one yard before the goalkeeper, which is not the thing I sought to get from the shout.

    In other bad news, Clayton isn't the only long term injury, as during the Walsall match Murphy got injured for no less than four months; but luckily the team is managing to keep performing without him or Clayton. And Addo seems to be starting to gel with the others, Osman has begun to react well to some teamtalks and maybe he'll stop being unhappy. The other signings are doing well enough and Sidibé is being class.

    The format this time is like I always do, but I may change it in the future, unless you want me to keep it.
    I'm back to using Photobucket as it works well again, it was a matter of noscript blocking some new scripts that have taken over management of some functions
    sdbrook likes this.

    Newcastle United and Aberdeen Modern Day Legend
    Always had a soft spot for Crewe (a very small one mind you) as back in Championship Manager 2 (93/94 methinks could be wrong) I always used to sign Neil Lennon and Danny Murphy off them. Lennon was a beast of an AMC who would score loads of goals - think he had 20 for finishing lol

  3. Death Ball's Avatar Death Ball
    Modern Day Legend

    - Fixtures:

    Not too happy. After the Brentford result, we prolonged a little more the unbeaten result, until it became in a winless run, with two consecutive comfortable wins against bottom sides in between two pairs of defeats.

    The Hartlepool match was not a game I expected easy and defeat was a likely result, but I came out feeling we should have been able to win that. The Sheffield United result also ranks, as the match was being even with us appearing to have the edge, but they scored with two goals that make me very annoyed: first was a defender running with his back to the ball at the wing like defense wasn't his thing and letting it hit his ass like he were one so it fell to the feet of their striker, for the second Addo ran like a zombie into the way of a ball that Sidibé was going to catch, turning it into goal.

    The Tranmere match was an expected defeat for me, as they're one of the stronger sides of the league and I could see that in the League cup tie. No disappointment there.

    - Table:

    That run puts us at the middle of the season in eleventh position, but just two-five points from promotion play off places. That is something to be satisfied, as when the season began I was thinking we'd need some luck to get a mid table finish. However, I can't feel satisfied as we've not been consistend, having a season of runs. Also, the fact we're so close to the top feels to be more from demerit of those abov, who can't get the wins, rather than our success getting there. There's to be considered we've moved during most of the time in the edfe of play offs, being down after the later bad run.

    Thanks to one of the good runs I won the monthly manager award:

    - Performances:

    We've moved from the 4-5-1 of the start of the season to a 4-1-3-2 to make the team more dangerous upfront. The result has been that we indeed manage to find more the way into the opposition area, with the two last wins, though it's not been as solid when facing stronger sides (Tranmere, Hartlepool).

    Purcell has performed in general well, though he's passed through a goal drought, borken with the two aforementioned victories, and entered again in them, as well as Pogba, who's been in the bench or home since several matches ago. Purcell boasts one of the bes shots on target ratio of the league, which means he's earned my trust as first choice and Clayton will have to battle for it, or with Leitch-Smith.

    Assists are mixed between midfielders and strikers, main assisters being, by memory, Leitch-Smith and Lletget. With his six goals, Purcell is our top goalscorer, I think, likely followed by Leith-Smith with five.

    - Injury table:

    Purcell has been injured during the last match, but he'll be available for the next. What is best news is that Clayton and Murphy are not far from returning to full training, which should give us a boost.

    - The new formation:

    Is a 4-1-3-2, attacking fullbacks, deep lying playmaker defend, attacking midfielder in the middle with two box to box midfielders, or one and one Ball Winning midfielder support. Lletget with two of Osman, Coady or Doughty. When West takes Lletget's place, he may be advanced to attacking midfield line making a diamond. On top deep forward/poacher pair of Leitch-Smith and Purcell.

    The team is instructed to play standard, fluid and avoid shooting from afar with leeway only for Coady. And use counterattacks.

    - Transfer plans:

    With the formation chance I found in need of a good deep lying playmaker for the defensive midfield position. I found that Addo can make that role, but in some matches where there'd be too many defenders for the opposition attackers, I am considering the possibility of using him as ball playing defender with a playmaker in front. In that case, I'd need a back up for Murphy, who I will train to play in defensive midfield line. Sadly, no candidates appear possible for either sign on a free or loan for the season.

    Other than that, there is not really a need for anything else planned. Only one thing to report: as I didn't trust Robertson as second leftback and Tootle is to be employed as back up in the right for Harry Davis, I loaned Tom Kennedy for the leftback position, and he came just in the perfect moment, just before the Brentford game, where he made his debut with us because Horwood had picked a three weeks injury just that morning.
    sdbrook likes this.

  4. Nice spin on a story format, for some reason I don't like English lower tier saves, i can never get into the game like i can with a foreign lower division maybe it's because I know very little about lower foreign leagues so its more exciting.

    good job.... I wil follow, a good DMC is Alex Zambrano for a DLP look him up!

  5. Death Ball's Avatar Death Ball
    Modern Day Legend
    Thanks, will have a look at him.

    Edit: Not in my game, Spain is as View Only and he's not loaded.
    Last edited by Death Ball; 02/12/2012 at 01:39 PM.

  6. great story i myself started a save with crewe in pre-season will be following this
    hope you keep it updated mate

  7. Look forward to reading, i like Crewe a lot my cousin used to be left back for them

  8. Death Ball's Avatar Death Ball
    Modern Day Legend
    Quote Originally Posted by LufcAnt View Post
    great story i myself started a save with crewe in pre-season will be following this
    hope you keep it updated mate
    I will, I want to get this story done with Crewe in the top half of Premier at least. Hopefully competing en Europe. As high as I can, three seasons without breaking ceiling will be the limit, unless it's in Championship, then I may make it five to call it my end in Crewe. As my journeywoman story with which it shares time, it's being slow because I'm still working in the Spanish Complete database. Once I'm done with that I will pick a bit of pace. I'm undecided yet about which one will get the primary status, though. I guess it depends on how the woman does.

  9. Death Ball's Avatar Death Ball
    Modern Day Legend
    After winter transfer window

    - Fixtures:

    After a poor set of results, interrupted by two wins against MK Dons and Shrewsbury Town that looked like we were going to end in a relegation battle, there was a return to good form after a return to the 4-5-1 (V) formation, With Addo as the deep lying playmaker and Lletget as advanced midfielder, while Murphy was still out through injury. A good run following that was marred by the African Cup of Nations taking Sidibé away, when neither Philips or Martin are any guarantee. First, Philip's inability to keep the ball in his hands served to lose a two goals advantage against Yeovil, a match we should've won. Then a 4-2-3-1 formation with a couple of oversights by my part ((I realized it was late right after entering in the match so I rushed it)) caused the unbeaten run of six games to ind in a calamitous 1-4 defeat to Carlisle. First I didn't tell Davis to play as fullback instead of wingback, which caused his back to be won for the first goal, then a defensive too far forward allowed for a counterattack and another later despite correcting that, so I returned to taking risk in an attempt to come back, we got one goal and chances to draw, but in the end we couldn't do more.

    - Table:

    That last run of results puts us in tenth place, two points behind the play offs and eight off top two in a very tight table in which anything is possible. I have still hopes to qualify for the play off, but no real hopes of achieving promotion. One can't help but remember those matches, like Yeovil, that should or could have been won as those points would have us in the play offs right now. But it's not about where we are now, it's about where we'll be after 46 games. I don't expect we've be much different than we are right now.

    The good standing at new year provided for a chance to review goals and so I did, changing objective to midtable finish, which resulted in a substantial increase of budget. ((To the point I think it can well be a bug))

    - Performances:

    When it comes to performances and statistics, there is little in which we stick out in the league. As team, we are top in the recent away form, which is very good indeed, and when it comes to players, Purcell is among the best in shots on target ratio.

    Inside our current squad, Purcell, Leitch-Smith and Henderson are our top scorers, with Osman being the unexpected second top assister behind Tadhg Purcell. Lletget is the expected man to play the most key passes, given Murphy's injury. He's also has the most accurate passes with Pogba. It is good the centrebacks lead the interceptions, but not so much that only Osman is above them in tackles won, and not too very good rate of success either.

    There was one match to note, in that we won despite the opposition dominating, having the PoM and our team having the two worst players of the match. It was a lucky counter in the second half. We had also managed to limit their amount of chances, at least.

    - Injury table:

    With Murphy finally out of injury and Addo out of a short term that he suffered during January, we're just one match away from having Sidibé and Pogba back from the African Cup of Nations..

    - Transfers:

    Originally I was expecting a quiet window, but when the departure of Sidibé proved something that would be catastrophic, I decided I had to make some moves. The first of them was, obviously, getting a goalkeeper I could trust in. That led to breaking the record for a signing when we hired Owain fon Williams from Tranmere. for €1.7M, second most expensive signing of the league this season. His first match was the 1-4 defeat, but that wasn't his fault but mine, in the matches after that he performed well enough. Of course, the first deal of the window already had been made, loaning Kevin McHattie from Heart of Midlothian to fill the void left by Harwood and Kennedy in the leftback position. Later in the month Gary Naysmith would join to play in leftback, in his case definitelly as a defensive fullback with ability to cross, on account of his lack of speed, this time he was bought or €7K from Aberdeen.

    There was another set of signings, which were loans for midfield as a review of what had been done. Two players joined us in this account, Ryan Tunniclife from ManU in a free loan and Chris Lines from Sheffield Wednesday with a €3Kp/m fee and a future fee of €275K to sign him permanently. One to have a back up defending midfielder and the other to have a backup creator. As consequence, Doughty was considered surplus, as he had not performed specially well and his lack of defensive ability when he'd be mostly usedin centre of midfield, his loan was terminated.

    Apart from those two, there were other two from looking at players available for loan: Neil Harris and Dele Adebola came in from Southend and Rochdale for the sole purpose of tutoring our young players, as they have very high mental attributes. They may have a few appearances to keep them happy.

    The look in the free transfers provided a few extra deals: Joseph Debayo as a promising youngster that was signed on a professional contract few days later. And then Jari Litmanen, who was on a free and with his great mental stats I wanted to sign for tutoring, maybe some participations and with sight of possibly being my new assistant manager when he decides to retire, as that's his plan for the future, to be assistant manager. He did in fact debut the first match after signing him, setting a new record for oldest player.

    Rory McKenzie signed a contract at the end of December to join us next season, a promising youngster.

    __________________________________________________ ________
    As a curiosity, compare Kevin McHattie when I saw his scout report and McHattie when he joined us three days later. Only minor error by the scout or so close for variation of stats
    Last edited by Death Ball; 12/12/2012 at 02:04 AM.
    sdbrook likes this.

  10. Death Ball's Avatar Death Ball
    Modern Day Legend
    End of season

    - Fixtures:

    The second half was alike the first, with marked runs of form, only this time longer but with the bad one not being sparkled with draws.

    Only one match to be unhappy about: Bury's last minute loss, very angry as three went to mark one player leaving in acres of space the one I told them to mark always, always tightly. A game we should have won.

    There were some games we lost that a draw or a win were expected, but they weren't matches we had that much advantage and all things considered they were well on the cards.

    The disappointment comes from the bad impression left by the bad run, in which the team had more trouble than usual to create chances, though not always. The feeling we were poor and that it was because of tactical errors I could have easily solved remains and are strengthened by the final good run in which I addressed them.

    - Table:

    The latest run of bad form saw us fall down as low as fifteen, but the tendency was reversed and, though I had lost any hope for play offs with seven games to go, we went into the last two games with mathematical chances of entering promotion. That made the aforementioned feeling of disappointment greater, as one feels a few results changed we would have fought for promotion. However, when I go over the fixture list, I can't get enough matches that should've gone other way that give enough points for that. Bury would be one, the last against Tranmere, where it could have easily been a 5-2 win and maybe turn a couple losses into draws, barely the seven points off we got from playoff.

    For the next season I recognize Wycombe as a team coming right back to L2, while from Championship will come Peterborough, Ipswich and Charlton.

    - Performances:

    Neither Crewe in the team stats nor any player in the individual charts figure at the top of any statistic. From within the side, the best player has been obviously Tadhg Purcell, who's at the top of the goals and assists charts, even though he's gone through two goal droughts, the second of which was quite long. He also got one goal of the month, for April. Leitch-Smith made most during the first half and we've missed his contribution in the second.

    Many of the loanees have earned to be signed on permanent basis: Lletget, McHattie and Tunnicliffe, whereas Naysmith was very disappointing in his first match. When he got unhappy because he didn't play I talked him firmly and he showed to be unprofessional, so his contract was terminated. At least he accepted it.

    As during the first half, a worrying stat is that the centrebacks top the tackles made.

    If you see the squad stats screenshot, you'll see the players are in a 4-1-2-1-2, that was for the last match, the others used the 4-1-2-2-1 that was our main formation

    - Injury table:

    We've had little injury trouble, and when some has been had, the team had enough depth to deal with it. The longest was Litmanen's, who was out for three months. Not a big issue since I wanted him for tutoring rather than playing, though he only accepted first team contract, so a few games have to be given. The more serious was Addo's in the 1st April match; but we didn't feel it at all as after that began our good run. But was also worrying the eight week injury to one of our more promising youths, Christopher Toase.

    - Transfers:

    Goal is set with Sidibé and fon Williams, Martin as young backup.

    In defense, things have been shuffled around. While Dugdale has not been bad, the pair Ellis-Davis seems better, with Addo as a player to move between deep playmaker and defence, Dugdale being a fourth choice. McHattie in the left has earned to be signed on permanent basis and the move of Davis to the middle leaves the right side with just young Mellor or Tootle, the latter of which would be backup for either side. A full back with a decent offensive flair in attack will be sought for the right side.

    Ahead, there's deep playmaking and defensive midfield positions, covered with Addo and Murphy (who's training to become natural in deep midfield) and Osman and Tunniclife (who's signing permanently on his good latest form). As more offensive creators, Lletget has been also signed permanently, Litmanen's contract renewed; but Litmanen is more for tutoring, so there's a hole that could be filled with Chris Lines, who's improving his performances but is not too happy with the few time he's had. One one hand he's a good choice, better than Lletget, on the other I wish someone better could join.

    In the attacking midfield band, Ian Henderson has been solid more often than not, Leitch-Smith has done goot contributions; West started well but has been declining in performances, though not so in training. Max Clayton has been a disappointment and I agree with other former players from the club when they say he's not prepared for first team. Up front, Purcell has been our best goalscorer, though with a couple of long droughts and Pogba has not been used as he probably should have.

    As conclusion, the transfer needs for the summer will be: choose between Lines or someone else, find a winger for each side and one striker. Look for teams to loan all the young players that will see few time, including Max Clayton.

    The youth intake 13th March had a few interesting players, and I signed a couple more for the future.

    - Other

    The board was satisfied with the season as we overachieved the initial goals and the transfers in generally worked well, specially Purcell, so they offered a new contract that I happily signed.

    And I decided to end the holidays soon to get seven weeks in which to bring the squad back to fitness.

    Last edited by Death Ball; 19/12/2012 at 12:51 AM.
    sdbrook likes this.

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