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The harsh life of football management
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  1. The harsh life of football management

    And so it beginning......

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    For some strange reason unknown to myself i have always had a soft spot for the canaries’, maybe it’s the yellow kits, maybe Delia’s drunken words at half time, or the recent resurgence of the club to the top flight who knows. I took over with the self made predictions of a tough first season, opted for the avoid relegation expectations as with next to no finances to spend and a less the generous kitty for wages I thought it’s best to play it safe, but i didn’t take over to buy in big names or to acquire some well known “FM legends”, I wanted to see what could do tactically with what I had and scrape to find, even if it meant torturous defeats and at times the mind baffling match engine leading to me wanting to break my screen. I threw away any usual habits this time around as I would start a new way of playing, no importing shortlists, no sticking to old tactics, no buying players I don’t need and the same players every game and picking players that suit the side rather than “ah he is unreal and cheap I gotta sign him”.First thing was to reshuffle the backroom doing the usual mutual termination of contracts and in coming of coaches to ensure at least 3 and half star rating in each training category, scouts to develop a vase network of knowledge to help bring in the right players and physios to correctly treat and predict length of injuries.

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    Delia and her men

    A pre season tour of the US would see the shaping of the tactics, with a solid all-rounder team but maybe of insufficient calibre to really take it to the competition the first thought was a simple yet robust 442 with the key focus on defence, another option was a wide diamond midfield or a 41212, it soon became apparent that neither was working for the squad available as holes were being shown. After much testing and tinkering a defensive 4411 would be the tactic of choice which later towards the end of this segment would see one center mid drop back further to fill the gap between defence and midfield. With the key being defence a deep line was employed, maybe not as deep as you may expect but just enough not to be caught on the break, although it aloud the opposition to play the ball around the midfield it did see very few clear or half chances created by them yet plenty of shots from range out of frustration which our keeper Ruddy was handling with ease. A standoff approach would be the way of the defending as the new season approached, often over looked as thought to be too risky and defensive but I have found the pressing game and also the high line to be far more dangerous as it comes with being caught out of position too often and unless you are a team of top stars it simply would be football suicide for a side like Norwich in the standard of league that is the Premiership holds. Sounds so far good but yes it lacks that bite in attack and you are really hoping on a cleansheet and the odd goal to win, concede early and where do u go from there, well that’s the plan to work from defence and balance the attack as we go along, we all saw Blackpool’s admiral passing football and attacking play see no reward due to leaking defences and you rarely see a side go down due to being too defensive in comparison to being complacent at the back.

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    Will it work?

    Usually I would splash out and try rebuild a team bringing in ten or more faces at the start of a new club, maybe it’s the Harry Redknapp wheeler dealer in me but most signings never get a look in and are not as calculated as they should be and which cash and wages low it’s not something i wish to be throwing around. This time it would not be the same, £6m spent and £6.5m received, to balance the books is always good but to have released the deadwood to cover the cost of replacements was not planned it just happened, I could pretend I did but why lie. The majority of the fees taken in were for Russel Martin, a right back who can also play center back, Although regarded as one of the best players at the club after seeing Reading accepted my counter offer of £5.5m I couldn’t say no and after finding a free replacement in Anthony Vanden Borre a highly tipped player in his early youth and versatile Belgian how could I. Another Free signing was Royston Drenthe, the Dutch flyer was brought in to add speed to a slow squad but in later weeks would show similarity to another well known Dutchman but for the wrong reasons. Highly rated Will Hughes, 17 year old from Derby was exchanged for David Fox plus £500k, Fox in my opinion was below the level needed and I would taken any price for a club to take his services, so to use him to get Hughes at a knocked down price was a ideal move for both parties. Hughes is sure to be the key to the side in years to come and a great future replacement for the aging Hoolahan. Also leaving was George Francomb, Simon Lappin and Chris Martin for a fraction of their supposed value. Youngsters Smith, Rudd and Steer were sent out on loan to grow as players.

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    Will Hughes the future

    Now to the big signings, Firstly with Holt on the wrong side of 30, Morrison ability at this level questionable and Jackson looking like a championship player a striker was wanted, one to lead the line who could play up top alone. Many were looked at but finding a player who could finish, head, and have some pace was hard for the funds available, I wanted a real physical presence but not just a tower to aim at, a tower that could play and I found him. Nicklas Helenius, 6 ft 5 of pure power signed from AaB for £2.6m, he seems to have it all and so far has shown himself as a great signing and at 21 has years ahead. Lastly was a defender to accompany Bassong as Turner’s lack of pace can be a worry in the fast pace of the English league. Senegal’s and formerly Anderlecht defender and defensive midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate, a powerhouse of a man, 6 ft 4 and a physical specimen, for £3m seems the ideal man to partner Bassong in what on paper looks a mean duo for any striker to face.

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    A giant of a man

    The initial quarter of the season was not kind to Norwich fixture wise with games against the stronger of the sides that could be faced. The opening game against Fulham at Caven Cottage ended 1-0 in favour of the home side but we looked good and Berba was the decider, was hoping for a draw but didn’t feel to dishearten by the defeat. The next game would be the first home game of the season facing the former Norwich manager Lambert and his return was not a nice one for him and his side as we got our first victory with a 3-1 scoreline and thats when the run began...

    Barnet, League Cup 2nd round, Away, 3-0 win.
    West Brom, Away, 0-0 draw.
    Man City, Away, 1-1 draw.
    Man Utd, Home, 1-1 draw.
    Chelsea, League Cup 3rd Rnd, Away, 1-0 win.
    Newcastle, Home, 1-0 win.
    Sunderland, Away, 1-0 win.

    An eight match unbeaten run against sides of that level, what a start to the season! The defensive approach was paying off with narrow wins, Man City nearly lost but for a last minute goal saved them a point, as for the other Manchester side if not for a Baines freekick they may had been pointless and not the good pointless with Alexander Armstrong the bad Fergie hairdryer pointless. But like all runs it had to come to an end, Rodgers Liverpool passed us to pieces running away 3-1 winners, next a loss to Everton 1-0, United got revenge in the League Cup winning 5-2 and lastly Spurs 5-2 also. Against Spurs and United it seemed that the defence were handing the ball to the attackers, misplaced back passes, poor clearances, poor marking. Having said that the last four games were deserved defeats and emphatic ones, does it mean change tactics? Not necessarily, it seemed tactics may have been lost in translation and some unneeded teaks made that unbeaten run crumble to a halt, but at the quarter point I can be happy. 10th in the league with most of the tougher games out of the way, what is important is that hopefully it wasn’t the case that the side rose to the big sides and will fail to gain motivation when facing the less glamorous sides, only time will tell but so far life looks good at Carrow Road, Only thing that is causing distress in Drenthe thinking he is Robben cutting inside everytime and shooting, it’s ok with Robben he bangs them in but Drenthe hits it on his weaker foot and flumps it, unless he is aiming for the corner flag he should be shot for his accuracy, hopefully I will see him start to listen to instruction as he changes to an old fashioned winger I’m looking for, but without a doubt a frustrating figure. Next time the half way mark, thanks for reading, please remember to like, rate and comment.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails The harsh life of football management-3407648699-soccer-barclays-premier-league-norwich-city-v-everton-carrow-road.jpg   The harsh life of football management-barclays-premier-league_-overview-stages.png   The harsh life of football management-norwich_-transfers-history.png  

    The harsh life of football management-nicklas-helenius_-overview-attributes.png   The harsh life of football management-royston-drenthe_-overview-attributes.png   The harsh life of football management-anthony-vanden-borre_-overview-attributes.png  

    The harsh life of football management-cheikhou-kouyat-_-overview-attributes.png   The harsh life of football management-will-hughes_-overview-attributes.png   The harsh life of football management-s-bastien-bassong_-overview-attributes.png  

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    Last edited by Dunc; 14/01/2013 at 04:28 PM.
    Slimchap likes this.

  2. gd luck with leeds united reserve team lol
    casey32 and SJW123 like this.

  3. good luck!
    casey32 likes this.

  4. At the Halfway Point...

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    As I look back over the first half it has gone swimmingly for the club, their has been patches of worry but that was and will be expected in the development of a new tactic and new way of management, a creation of a philosophy for a club without a defining one. After the first game since the last post, a 5-1 defeat away against Arsenal lead to initial worries of a sacking, yes we had a hard run of games but five straight defeats is hard to come away from with your job intact. Two home games saved the worry for the time being with two victories over the newly promoted Reading and Southampton, 2-0 and 3-0, most pleasing to myself was the clean sheets something of which I’ve become obsessed by. This period of glee did not last long as the following two matches both away to Stoke and QPR ended with back to back defeats, the Stoke game an unlucky 1-0 loss but the QPR was a tearing apart of Norwich piece by piece, embarrassing to say the least.

    The harsh life of football management-_64847678_adel_.jpg
    Pulling the strings for QPR

    I found myself not wanting to play the next match as although the good start I felt we did defend well in games but lacked controll and the character of a successful side, it seem the luck was up and it was a matter of time before the wheels would fall off. Rather then think of the next match I sat down to read “The Football Men” by Simon Kuper, while reading through it and reminiscing about players like Davids, Bergkamp, Veron and Litmanen it suddenly hit me, my tactics I was employing will never work as a whole, it lacked the personality in which great team and great players have. I completely redefined each role yet keeping my overall approach and core principles the same, the problem was I would set out a tactic for a team forgetting that it’s a group of individuals, each of which need relationships and traits and attributes married within themselves (the player) and each other (the team as a whole), It’s hard to explain. Tettey was a player who could play the Davids role he has all the traits and attributes needed, maybe not at that level but to a degree, the rest of the team started to follow, Carlos and Cafu like fullbacks….. Veronesque deep laying sprayer of the ball….. Schmeichel like long throws to launch counters, it slowly was building into a philosophy built on my favourite time in the game, the late 90’s to early 00’s, but would it work.

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    Can Tettey emulate "the Pitbull"

    First test was an out of form West Ham side at home, with Helenius injured the goalless Holt would lead the line as the target man and Howson would play in the Veron role, not exactly suited to him but with not many others standing out and Johnson out for a month he stepped in, there was a temptation to throw in Hughes but I felt it was too much too soon. Holt ended his drought scoring not once, not twice but finishing with a hat trick in a 5-0 thrashing, early signs were promising. Next away to Swansea, 2-0 win, Holt started after his fine game against the Hammers but was poor, Helenius from the bench bagging both goals as if to say he is the main man, Helenius has been scoring for fun since Drenthe learnt to cross and was even being tipped to win the Golden Boy award which in the end went to Chelsea’s Eden Hazard. Wigan at home saw Norwich dominate but they couldn’t seem to score, Wigan ended up taking the lead thanks to a poor pass from a Norwich centre back went straight to the Wigan strikerforce, this moments after the Wigan keeper Al Habsi had saved a penalty but the match ended in shame for him despite playing so well, first scoring an own goal bundling in a cross over the line and lastly in the 88th minute of play missing one completely that sailed over his head similar to Ronaldinho vs. Seaman in 2002, Wigan lucky not to loss by more, Norwich lucky to come away with anything, a crazy game, match stats below at the end of the post.

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    You can't save them all

    The big game was at home to Chelsea, we took an early lead through Helenius doing what he does bests by heading home a well placed cross. It was a close game although Chelsea control possession they failed to control the game. The pace and skill of Hazard, Mata and Ben Arfa won them the game and even after Lampard was sent off in the 77th minute with his side 2-1 up, the pure threat of the strike force stuck fear in Norwich to push forward to chase a late equalizer. The calendar year ended with a game at Carrow Road, vistor Fulham who beat us on the opening day were to snatch another narrow win, this time more hurtful, Pilkington in for suspended Drenthe passed the ball across his box to the feet of Sidwell who tapped it in. Yet another goal conceded through a misplaced pass in our third, having said that Norwich didn’t play well but did create three clear chances and should of gained atleast a point.

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    Karl isnt the only Pilkington being called an idiot

    So 9th in the table with 18 league games to go, very happy, hoping to stay in the top ten is the main aim, Europe would be an added bonus yet a tad unrealistic, 11th or 12th acceptable, anywhere lower although would meet our initial aims would be disappointing after a solid first half of the season. 2013 doesn’t look like it will be kind though, a FA Cup 3rd tie away to Arsenal, losing both first choice center backs to the African Cup of Nations and only £625k to spend despite the sales of three players, that budget will more than likely mean a loan more to cover the absences during January and February of Bassong and Kouyate, such a shame as the two have been a brick wall for the side and without doubt key to the seven clean sheets so far in the league. Leaving the club is Morrison to Wolves for £2.8m, a good player but was being wasted at Carrow Road and with Helenuis scoring 12 goals in the league and Holt around he was surplus to requirement, Tierney to Forest for £1.5m and Ward set to move on a free to one of three clubs yet to be decided as the player is in contract negations.Ideally Norwich would be looking for a center back, a right back (and have been linked with Simpson), a quick and nippy striker and a deep laying midfielder to controll the tempo but they'l be lucky to get one of those listed. Next time we will be at the 30 game mark in the league and seeing just how things are likely to end, until then thanks for reading, please remember to like, rate and comment.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails The harsh life of football management-norwich-v-wigan_-stats-match-stats.png   The harsh life of football management-norwich-city_-fixtures-schedule-3.png   The harsh life of football management-barclays-premier-league_-overview-stages-2.png  

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    Last edited by casey32; 11/01/2013 at 08:56 PM.

  5. Any chance of a screenshot of your tactic mate?

  6. Transfer Window Shuts…..

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    A quick little update to announce the comings and goings during the month of January as it was quite the eventful one in both the market and the league fixtures and cup game. The first game took place at Villa Park, Aston Villa under new management after the sacking of Lambert were again beaten by the Canaries as the ran away 3-1 winners despite the rotation of half their squad due to fatigue, should have been 3-0 but Turner had a shocker and failed to keep Bent from beating him for pace to score the goal that broke the dead lock, Turner was sold after the following two games were he was at fault on a number of occasions, the center back has gone to Celtic for £2.3m. Next was the FA Cup 3rd Rnd at the Emirates, Arsenal winning 3-0, it was tighter then the scoreline would suggest, substitute Theo Walcott used his pace to take advantage of tired Norwich legs to score twice in the final ten minutes of play. Norwich then failed to impress at home with a 3-1 loss at the hands of West Brom, the Baggies were clinical and took every sniff at goal possible, Norwich would struggle without they main men at the back and have done so fare this month.

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    The power of pace

    St James Park, a debut for three new signings, Strandberg, Carvajal, Suarez and new boy Wellington sat on the bench. Barnett also got his first start of the season pairing with new signing Strandberg, and Barnett scored what turned out to be the winner in a 2-1 win. Norwich fought off much competition to secure Stefan Strandberg, signed from Rosenborg for £275k he looks good cover in the center of defence and may even be seen in midfield after the preferred two return from the African Cup of Nations. Wellington a Brazilian similar to Ramirez in style of play and attributes has been loaned in for the remainder of the season for free from Sao Paulo, Carvajal a Spanish right back has also come in on a free loan from Leverkusen. Lastly Mario Suarez a cultured midfielder will play his trade at Carrow road on loan from At.Madrid for a monthly fee of £55k.

    The harsh life of football management-210999hp2.jpg
    Suarez: adding some class to a workhorse midfield

    Along with Turner a few other faces left the club, Surman to Hull for £500k, Jackson to Bournemouth on loan, Pilkington to Southampton on loan with a monthly fee of £100k and Snodgrass to Sunderland for a reported £1m. This money coming into the club along with money from wages freed up aloud Norwich complete a new record signing, after much pleading with the board and adjusting of budgets. Welcome Georginio Wijnaldum, signed from PSV for a whopping £7.5m. The 22 year old, 5’8”, Dutch international with 2 caps and 1 goal, can play anywhere across the midfield but judging by his new number 10 shirt he will surely play behind the target man in a number 10 role, Wijnaldum has signed a contract till 30.6.2016 on £20,000 per week. He made his debut at home to Man City, not an easy start, Norwich unexpectedly won the game 1-0 thanks to an all-round team performance with Helenius scoring the winner. Still sitting 9th in the league yet out of all cup competitions things are still looking good for Norwich. Thanks for reading, please remember to like, rate and comment.

    The harsh life of football management-1671305_w2.jpg
    Norwich's new playmaker

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails The harsh life of football management-georginio-wijnaldum_-overview-attributes.png   The harsh life of football management-barclays-premier-league_-overview-stages.png   The harsh life of football management-norwich-city_-fixtures-schedule.png  

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    Last edited by casey32; 11/01/2013 at 09:01 PM.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by caveman210 View Post
    Any chance of a screenshot of your tactic mate?
    Will do at the end of the season, its quite basic, just good chemistry of players, i would say the key is the RM and LM being set to marking on specific to the player on their wing, eg the RM marking the AML and tightly with the full back on zonal, this doubles up on the wingers and can take them out of the game, yet they can still cause problems on the break.

  8. Those look like some good signings, hope they can at least secure middle table for you
    casey32 likes this.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Stokee99 View Post
    Those look like some good signings, hope they can at least secure middle table for you
    Thanks for the support

  10. #10
    Only eight to go…

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    Now with only eight games to go in the league its now business time, teams start to crack or rise as the pressure mounts on both the players and the managers. Norwich started February with a win over Sunderland, a convincing win, Sunderland did score but the result was never in doubt, Helenius scoring twice. The five games for the Canaries would be tricky, big sides who’s drive at this stage of the season can see them stream roll sides at a drop of a hat. United came to town and where 2-0 up within no time, substitute Holt came on as Norwich went looking for a dramatic comeback, which they got soon it was 2-2, Holt getting both the goals, but it typical United fashion a late RVP goal secured the points for the Red Devils as they climb up the table after a poor first half of the season, Hernandez ended any doubts United would win making it 4-2 before the final whistle. After two defeats their was worry that moral would sink and lead to a decline for the remaining fixtures this season, surely the bubble had to pop at some point, but no, back to back victories against the two Merseyside teams proved otherwise. A 3-1 win away to Everton which could have been more, see below for match stats, and an iconic win against Liverpool at Carrow Road. Holt again was the inspiration, after falling behind twice at 1-0 and 2-1 Norwich kept pushing and the super sub Holt came on to score the equalizer and then assist Wijnaldum to score the winner, his first for the club.

    The harsh life of football management-grant-holt-norwich.jpg
    Fighting for a place

    Next was the top two sides in the league, the north Londoners, Spurs and Arsenal. Arsenal tore Norwich apart despite Norwich performing to a reasonable level, the pace of Arsenal’s break aways were too much to handle for the Norwich back four and Armero the Arsenal left back ran the show with his constant running up and down the touchline, defending superbly, providing assists and one long mazy run from the halfway line before he slotted the ball in the back of the net, a sublime goal. Arsenal have been scoring for fun in the league so it wasn’t too surprising when the went away 6-2 winners. As for the game at White Hart Lane, Norwich took the lead through a Suarez deflected drive from 25 to 30 yards out, Norwich looked to hold the lead and were defending well as they aloud Spurs have the ball, Bassong must have thought he was still playing for Tottenham as he passed the ball across his backline straight to the feet of Adebayor, 1-1. In the dying moments serial villain of late Javier Garrido gave away a penalty, Parker dispatched 2-1, 3 points dropped for Norwich. With eight games left to go the remaining fixtures are quite kind and the side may be able to pick up some momentum. With the exception of Chelsea you can argue that all the games are winnable and a push for Europe if results go Norwich’s way and a lot of luck may be on the cards. Helenius is second in the scoring charts for the league but Holt has been fighting for his place in the team and has impressed from the bench but when started seems lost. Next end of season review, thanks for reading, please remember to like, rate and comment.

    The harsh life of football management-245303hp2.jpg
    Goal of the season maybe?

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails The harsh life of football management-barclays-premier-league_-overview-stages-2.png   The harsh life of football management-norwich-city_-fixtures-schedule-2.png   The harsh life of football management-everton-v-norwich_-stats-match-stats.png  

    The harsh life of football management-georginio-wijnaldum_-overview-attributes.png   The harsh life of football management-grant-holt_-overview-attributes.png   The harsh life of football management-nicklas-helenius_-overview-attributes.png  

    Last edited by casey32; 11/01/2013 at 09:01 PM.

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