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  • 1 Post By Conflictinbanno

A New Challenger Awaits

  1. A New Challenger Awaits

    First of all Hi to anyone who reads this, a few members recommended me putting up a story of my own, so I thought I'd give it a go.

    I didn't want to start a new save just yet as I wasn't ready, so you'll be joining me 3 years into my career. It has already experienced some highs and lows but that is what football is about right? Because when I started I saw myself as a beginner, I started my career as James Bannister and I'll admit, I put everything to the maximum like a true beginner.

    A brief history of my career so far
    A New Challenger Awaits-job-history.jpg

    First season to summarise, was a big success, I was expecting mid-table and I'll be honest, at one point I thought, I could make the Champions League, but unfortunately a dip in form towards the end of the season saw me lose out and come 6th, which I was still proud of, I had qualified for Europe in my first year in charge.

    My second season I classed as a disappointment, I struggled to get my tactics right and some of my players perform, which saw me struggle in the league and get knocked out of Europe in the group stages, and I only felt my tactics were right in the last couple of months, which climbed me to 10th, but overall I didn't feel that was good enough at all. I was annoyed at myself, but there was a bright future I felt, West Ham had just been taken over and I felt I could push to the next level with a bigger backing of finances, unfortunately I got a call in Pre-Season from the new chairmen: "I'm afraid we are going to bring in a new face as we feel we want to stamp our authority on this club and a new manager will show our ambitions to do this, your contract will be terminated immediately"

    I was distraught, the club I loved and supported decided I was no longer good enough and in pre-season too, I had just started working my team to play how I felt we could but that was it, I was out the door. Pre-season continued and I started my job hunt, ambitiously applying for the vacant Chelsea job as they had just won the league but decided to release Mourinho, I was quickly turned down. I then noticed two jobs that caught my eye, one being Everton, a solid Premiership team with some quality players like Lukaku and Barkley, they could almost match my tactics with West Ham, while another I thought could be appealing, was Ipswich, it would be a step down, to a mid-table Championship side, but it would be a chance to try something new, adapt myself to a new style and the dream of guiding a club back to the top division.

    I was offered both jobs after successful interviews, I sat down and thought about it and decided to join Ipswich, it was a gamble, a step down and it could back fire, but I felt I needed a break from the Premiership and a time to lower expectations of myself, as I had given myself extremely high expectations if I took the Everton job, I'd have wanted Europe instantly.

    I joined an already formidable side in my eyes, if used in the right way, although I did add a few faces myself, Perch was my only signing from Wigan as a solid defensive midfielder and then Rodriguez, Bellerin and Ojo on loan, the latter from my parent club Liverpool and Rodriguez from Chelsea, while Bellerin came in from Arsenal.

    This left me with a fairly decent squad.
    A New Challenger Awaits-ipswich-squad.jpg
    A New Challenger Awaits-ipswich-depth.jpg

    It quickly became apparent to me that Jesse Lingard was by far my best player. While I was lacking out wide in midfield, which quickly made me decide to use Lingard as a player in the middle to get the best out of him, while using the strengths in my side elsewhere. I had never ever in my life of Football Manager, succeeded in making a 442 Narrow Diamond, but it was the only formation I could possibly see this side playing. I had very good CB's and new signing Perch was a stand-out player for DM, I noticed my "best" LB Parr, was terrible defensively, but looked good going forward, while my RB Berardi had a bit of everything. In the end this was the formation I had decided on.

    A New Challenger Awaits-ipswich-formation.jpg
    My first team quickly became Steele, Parr, Chambers, Berra, Berardi, Perch, Collison (as an advanced playmaker), Hyam (BWM), Lingard, McGoldrick, Maynard.

    Rodriguez who I brought in was backup to Maynard, as he wanted to leave but no club has bid anywhere near what I would expect them too, while Bellerin was brought in as cover at RB, although an injury to Berardi has seen him feature a lot recently. Ojo I saw as backup, but would feature when one of my CM's was flagging, the kid has enough potential for me.

    I felt my new Chairmen's expectations of just above mid-table would be fine, so I agreed to this, met my team and said I felt we could finish in a good mid table position. They all agreed and we went to work. What happened next in my career would blow me away even more so than when I started out high flying with West Ham, I hoped to be near the play-off's this season, thinking next season, that will be when we go for it.

    After our friendlies we started our season, Away to Peterborough, I knew they were quite good going forward and felt that could be a threat, the game I'll be honest was poor (this was using a 41221 formation as I hadn't quite checked my squad enough at this point), I didn't feel anyone was involved enough and we drew 1-1.

    Then I sat down with the reports and actually looked at my squad like stated above and settled on the 442 Narrow diamond. We worked at it in training and already it looked better, we had AFC Wimbledon in the cup, a good chance to test it, we came out 2-0 winners and I felt already I saw a massive improvement compared to the last game, I was happy, we were drawn Bolton for the 2nd round so another game I felt we could progress in, although the Cups were not something I was looking to do well in, if anything, I hoped we would be knocked out quickly to not have a gruelling effect on our season with a lack of depth. Next it was back to the league, we would be at home to Middlesborough, another chance to see if the diamond was not just a one off. We ended up winning 1-0. The game wasn't perfect but it was promising, the formation going forward looked very good and that was pleasing me.

    We then went away to Derby, this to me I thought was the big test of my formation, low and behold we came out winning 4-1, we were dominant from start to finish other than some poor defending seeing us concede. We followed this up with a 1-0 win at home to Rotheram and repeated the feat against Bolton in the cup. We then faced Fulham away where we showed another convincing win, 3-1 was the result, which followed a crazy 4-3 win at home against Wolves, then we suffered our first defeat, a 4-2 loss away at Brighton, I was disappointed but not disheartened, these things happen and they were the first team to really expose us, this left us second in the table, on equal points to Blackburn who we happened to be playing away from home that Saturday, I was impressed and suddenly excited, could I lead this team to the play-off's at the first time of asking, or even go one better and get an automatic promotion. I felt I was dreaming and it would probably come crashing down against them. Then the game came. I didn't expect much so I just asked my players to give the fans a proud performance. That is when I saw the true powers of this side, we were dominating Blackburn then we quickly went 1-0 up, Blackburn started finding a way into the game though, so I quickly asked my full backs to be less attacking, it calmed them down and we were still looking good for our lead, then a sucker blow came, Blackburn equalised, I felt my team may lose from here if they didn't react, instead, however they reacted in the best way possible, quickly taking the lead again in the 80th minute, we went defensive and saw the game out, we were now leading the Championship table and looking good for it.

    Then came a game which I am most proud of since I've been in charge, we hosted Chelsea in the Capital One Cup, I was expecting nothing, I played down our chances in my press conference "You never know in games like this what could happen, but I would consider us major outsiders for this one, Chelsea are a quality side and this shows in depth." Thankfully the media hadn't heard of me applying for the job before so no questions were asked. Just before the game I told my players not to worry and just enjoy the run out playing players of such high quality like Diego Costa. Then the whistle blew, before I could even take my seat in the dug out Maynard had managed to pick up on a loose back pass, 1-0 Ipswich, what just happened? Everyone was going crazy, but before we could even settle back down, 1-1 Schurrle had equalised, then 1 quickly became 2 and I was wondering how we bad the score was going to be, I made a couple of changes, making my full backs less attacking being the main one, it made little difference though as went 3-1 down, game over it looked to be, but then we started finding our feet, we were causing Chelsea problems and suddenly we were back in the game at 3-2, Maynard scoring again. I didn't hold much hope but I was pleased, we are given them a game, unfortunately we gave away a penalty, the young Tyrone Mings was gutted but was only shown a yellow, Schurrle slotted it away and completed his hat trick. Before they settled though, we got back in it again, a screamer from McGoldrick made it 4-3, then we pinned Chelsea back, my side threw everything they had and definitely had them scrambling, unfortunately their keeper and the woodwork would deny us an equaliser, but we walked away with our heads held high, I could not fault a single player.

    Seeing that game has rejuvenated me as a manager, I had an extremely hard working bunch of players and I am now convinced, we could secure a play-off place at the very least. We continued our league campaing at home to Aston Villa, quickly hit with an injury to Hyam and a goal down, there were too many misplaced passes so I asked my team to control the game and play it shorter, which seemed to work as we found our feet again, working their keeper but not finding a way through, then in the 55th minute a scramble in the box saw Maynard get a shot away despite being knocked and the ball which was deflected of Aiyling (if I spelt his name right) roll ever so slowly across the line, we had equalised but another injury, this saw Rodriguez come on in Maynard's place, Villa started to press back at me, so we quickly went back to our usual counter and informed our team not to worry about passing it so short. It worked as McGoldrick who had just replaced an injured Lingard picked out Cole who laid it off to Rodriguez and on the turn made it 2-1 in the 88th minute, it was a hard worked come back but we had the lead, we then saw out the remainder of the game.

    And this is where you join me, preparing myself for the rest of the season, starting at home to Sheffield Wednesday.
    A New Challenger Awaits-schedule.jpg

    I still find us top of the league with 22 points, 5 clear of Ipswich, Lingard topping the assists charts and McGoldrick in the top 3 for goalscorers. We've also scored the most this season, although we have conceded a few more than I'd wish, mostly at home, which is a worry, I feel teams are hitting us on the counter to get goals when we play at home, something we are working to resolve quickly in training, but at the moment as soon as we concede, my side find this new found energy to work themselves back in front and that for me is the most pleasing thing.

    I'll be honest I'm still not convinced we will get an automatic promotion spot, I know just how hard the Championship can be, but if we can tighten up defensively, then who knows just what we can do.
    A New Challenger Awaits-league-table-september.jpg

    (Just as a disclaimer, in future I will be doing reports of the games in more detail, I just wanted to bring everyone up to speed with the career so far and hopefully if this save/story goes okay, I will start my new save about a Sunday League footballer who has always dreamed of becoming a successful manager! Thanks for reading so far!)
    TypeWriter likes this.

  2. Welcome to the storytelling ranks! Good start, even though I'm more of a lower league guy myself. Will be interesting to see how far you can take the Tractor Boys...

  3. Quote Originally Posted by dllu View Post
    Welcome to the storytelling ranks! Good start, even though I'm more of a lower league guy myself. Will be interesting to see how far you can take the Tractor Boys...
    Thanks! I do have a game in the pipeline starting at the bottom, but I want to feel confident enough in myself before really pushing myself!

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