What a Mare...

  1. What a Mare...

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    Weston-Super-Mare. A small club located on the Bristol Channel. There 11th season in the Vanarama Conference South was about to begin and they were looking for change.

    It wouldn't be an easy task but when I received the call I had no choice but to accept. I was a 20 year old who had attained his National A Coaching License at a young age. I had come through the ranks at WSM but knew from about 15/16 I was unlikely to make the first team so I decided to get the coaching badges.

    As I'd accepted the offer I knew it was a big risk. I had seen the behind the scenes workings of the club and knew the trouble they were in but had to do everything to try and save them. They deserve to be moving up, the fans are fantastic and the club needs better.

  2. What a Mare...

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    My first day. I had been going through meeting after meeting but I don't understand why, I've been here for years and knew the club like the back of my hand.

    I had finally been given a chance to sit in my office for the first time and my mate had sent me a link from some fan forum where the following post had been written:

    "Really? Really?! We are employing a youth player as our manager! Do the directors really feel that desperate to find a solution they are going to that extreme? Or are we really just that poor. I've not even heard of him, from what I've seen he hasn't even played for the youth teams in about 1 year. He will be out before October!"

    Wow so that's how the fans felt... It was my job to turn it around though. As I said it wasn't going to be an easy job, they are in a tough situation. I'd seen the odds for the season and we are 2000-1 to win the league, worst odds in the league and expected to finish bottom.

    As well as that there were money problems. I had tried asking for extra staff and wage funds during my board meeting to be told that whilst they wish they could put the money into the club they simply don't have any money. I would have to go over the budget by the looks of it. Most players were on non-contract terms but the key players wages took all but £100 of the budget and if we had any chance of survival I would need to sign players.

    At the end of my first day I had sorted my incoming transfers, a very busy day came to an end but a very productive day. I had focused on bringing some strong but developmental players who would look to become starters. Then I would add in some loan players later on in the window to bulk out the squad.

  3. What a Mare...

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    All my transfers for the summer window were done and it was a tough window. Being turned down by several players, denied the chance of adding a parent club and having no money to spend made it extremely tough.

    The only outgoing transfer was Ollie Barnes. He wouldn't be a big miss to the squad as a backup defender with no room for improvement at 26 and he went to be a starter at Farnbrough, the only team in the league to have the same odds as us for the title (2000-1).

    Incoming I had made 5 moves. The two loan moves were important in my eyes. I knew that a 2 striker system would work best at this level, my only problem was only having 2 strikers in the squad so I brought in Romario Reid from Walsall. Whilst he wasn't great he would be able to improve and had a lot of physical attributes which would allow him to bully defenses late in games.

    Another 17 year old was brought in on loan from Plymouth. Ryan Lane, he could play wide left but I would try use him as a playmaker in the middle to supply the two strikers. He was too good to be here but I wasn't turning him away.

    My other 3 signings were freebies. Sissoko was the first, he was a key signing. He would be used to control the middle of the park alongside Lane and hopefully would be solid cover for the back 4. He was 25, a little older than I wanted but he is a good well rounded player who would be key in survival chances.

    Then it was Seb Jenkins who is a 20 year old defender. He can play right or centre back and and was a similar quality to Ollie Barnes but could develop into a key player for the club and if I can stay up this year then I will use him as a key player for moving the club forwards and upwards.

    The final player was Soukouna and this was my best signing. A player who had offers from Conference sides decided to come here and he would be a key player. He has the ability to play anywhere on the pitch, YES ANYWHERE! He would mainly be used in the middle of the park when needed but otherwise he will be in defence. What's most impressive is that he is only 23 and my assistant rates him 4/5 and says he has the potential to play in the football league.

  4. What a Mare...

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    So... pre-season was over. And it was rough...

    I don't know what went wrong, I understand losing a couple of the games but we should easily have won some of them and it was just awful. These games made me realise the real toughness of the task in front of me and it was not going to be easy.

    It started awfully. I know that it didn't really matter as it was only against our under 21's but we should have won it. The game let me look at some of the talents I had played alongside for years and it was poor. The first goal was an own goal, a simple cross which could've been cleared was somehow headed in by left back Llewellyn to go 1-0 down. Then Teale gave away a penalty on the half hour to make it 2-0. After that it was just a boring game played in the middle of the park.

    Pre-Season Game 1: WSM U21's- Lost 2-0

    I had always seen pre-season as a fitness camp but this was poor. Chippenham hosted us and I was more than expecting an easy win but somehow they managed to control the game and keep it at 0-0. I don't know why but the players just couldn't create chances and we were left without a win in 2.

    Pre-Season Game 2: Chippenham Away- 0-0

    This was an expected result. Whilst I would've liked to have kept it to a lower scoreline I never had high hopes against the league 2 side Plymouth. It finished 5-0 to the visitors who were fantastic and showed why they were one of the favourites for promotion in league 2.

    Pre-Season Game 3: Plymouth Home- Lost 5-0

    Out of all results this was the hardest to take.... Granted we were away but still a loss away to Yate?! Who even are Yate!!! Awful defending in the second half let them through to score the winner but the biggest problem was the lack of goals continued.

    Pre-Season Game 4: Yate Away- Lost 1-0

    Another game I expected nothing from and after the first 4 games I expected another Plymouth type game but I was pleasantly surprised. It was still a loss but 2-0 isn't that bad against some of the top prospects in football and we created some chances but suffered from poor shooting.

    Pre-Season Game 5: Liverpool U21's Home- Lost 2-0

    So 5 games, 4 losses and a draw... Whilst I can deal with the two losses against the bigger sides I was annoyed with the likes of the losses against Yate and the under 21's. My biggest worry was goalscoring. Through 5 games we hadn't scored a goal and it was knocking confidence.

  5. What a Mare...

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    August Preview
    August would be a busy month for me to get through and after an abysmal pre-season I wasn't hopeful of my chances of success. I was worrying that I had accepted something that was too large of a challenge for me. I mean I knew it wasn't going to be an easy task to keep them up but this was harder than expected.

    6 games were ahead to start the season and really I was just hoping to pick up a couple of draws and maybe a win against the other relegation favourite in Farnbrough. Realistically though I think to end the month with a point would be a good return judging off of pre-season.

    I made it clear to the players after the Liverpool game that whilst we would be playing defensive football as we would often be on the back foot and attacked from the get go we had to still play with some attacking intent and that is what we lacked in pre-season. They seemed to understand what I meant and I drew up some new tactical plans for them to look at in training sessions and they seemed to be impressed.

    The fans were still on my back. The board, much to my annoyance, decided to release details of the wage situation at the club and were blaming me for the money troubles. A new manager, learning the trades of management with the added pressure of the board publicly shaming him.

    I knew it wasn't good to be over budget but we needed to improve the squad and the signings were a must to survive. I'd got every player to go as low as possible for wages and then gave contracts to a couple of key players who were on non-contract terms and this had left me £781 over budget a week.

    I know it is bad but I honestly couldn't do anything about it and I had tried and tried and tried to resolve it but the only way was to get rid of the best players in the team and that would result in relegation.

    I knew defence would create our best chance of survival so decided to try and create tactics based around sticking back and attacking quickly. The aim of the game would be to hit quickly and hope that the 2 strikers could do enough to win points but it would be very risky. Sitting back could result in teams bombarding our goal but it was the only option I had....

  6. Danny''s Avatar Danny'Premium Member
    Good luck mate - keep it up Try adding photos and more pictures and screenshots to gain a regular following.

  7. Quote Originally Posted by Danny' View Post
    Good luck mate - keep it up Try adding photos and more pictures and screenshots to gain a regular following.
    Thanks, trying to get further ahead in the game so I can update more often and keep forgetting to take the screenshots.

  8. What a Mare...

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    What a month!
    Now after pre-season I wasn't expecting any success to start the season, as I said before I was just hoping to pick up a few points and saw the only winnable game being Farnbrough. So when we reached the end of the month and I looked at the league table this was more than pleasing for the club and fans had gone from hating me to wanting me to renew a contract already.
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    9th! I had no idea how but that abysmal pre-season had somehow lead to success in the first month. Honestly I was expecting to be sitting in the bottom 3 at this point but managed to pull off some fantastic results.
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    The first game was fantastic on so many levels. Never in my footballing career had I been a part of something like that! Bradley Ash did save us on many levels but it was a great team effort. After going down 1-0 early in the first half we looked down and out with no attacking threat but then in the 70th minute a defensive clearance lead to an equaliser. Unfortunately we looked headed to our first loss of the season when they went 2-1 up in the 87th minute. But Bradley Ash then scored, again, in the 88th minute to equalise.

    At that point I had settled for the point but somehow a clearance found Ash again as Bishop's stormed forward and a desperation tackle saw Ash win a penalty which he scored in the 92nd minute to earn the win. Somehow a goalless pre-season lead to 3 goals in the last 20 minutes of the first game of the season.
    WSM 3-2 Bishop's Stortford

    The next game was the only winnable game as I had predicted and it was an extremely dull game as Farnborough were keen to just sit back and defend the point leaving us to attack but the fitness levels were still low so the second 11 struggled to break down the host's defence. It looked as if we could've lost it late on after Roger Lee was sent off but we held on and almost snatched the points.
    Farnborough 0-0 WSM

    After a strong opening to the season I was hoping to continue the form but Eastbourne were just too strong. Syd Camper handed us a slither of hope with an equaliser before half time but the hosts stepped up their game to come away with the 3 points.
    Eastbourne Borough 3-1 WSM

    The toughest result to take of the month was next. A strong first half should've seen us ahead, hitting the visitors on the counter continuously but poor finishing let us down. With 2 goals in the opening 45 minutes of the second half for Gosport saw the scoreline swing unfairly. Again after they took the lead we dominated but we only managed to pull one back through a Camper penalty and poor finishing let us down.
    WSM 1-2 Gosport

    Staines away were next and again a game I expected to lose but another fantastic team performance saw us shock again. We were unlucky not to have won by more but it took a penalty, converted by Ash, to win the game. The foul lead to a dismissal for the home side which I thought was unfair but we got a hint of luck and managed to hold on to the lead.
    Staines 0-1 WSM

    The final game of the month was one I expected to get torn apart in. Hayes & Yeading had won all 4 of their opening fixtures and had only conceded once in the process. So holding them to a draw was a fantastic result. It was a shock as well.

    Having held on for the first hour the visitors brought on their top scorer who was rested for the game and almost instantly he managed to give them the lead. They looked set to take all 3 points but somehow in the final seconds of the game we managed to find a ball into Romario Reid, the loanee from Walsall, from the right side and he headed it home for the equaliser. I missed the goal as I had turned to get ready to walk away but a fantastic ending saw us get the point against 2nd in the table!
    WSM 1-1 Hayes & Yeading

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  9. What a Mare...

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    August Review
    Well it was a strong month. I think the best of the team came out as we settled into the tactics and started to improve on fitness. However I still wasn't getting my hopes up of being out of the relegation battle by April.

    It was 1 strong month but I keep looking back to pre-season where we failed to beat, or even score against, amateur sides. And I am still trying to keep that in the players minds, no matter how well we have started we are still going to have to improve in a strong league.

    Player of the Month
    Now there are a few options for this including left back Llewellyn and striker Camper but whilst they were fantastic in their performances there is one player who has to be given the award.
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    Yes, Bradley Ash. Whilst he had a couple of bad games he was one of the few players to feature in all 6 games this month and he was the difference between wins and draws and losses in a lot of the games. His hat-trick in the first game of the season more than earned this award as he single-handedly earned us our first points of the season.

    Many would argue that only one goal in the 5 games after that should take him out of contention but he did a lot more for the team. The youngest player in the league (he is only 17!) would often draw defenders away from his pairing striker whether it is Camper or Reid and open the game up for the two to score themselves (which they did, 3 times between the two of them).

    Moving Forward
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    September will be a lot more relaxed with only 4 games in the month. I am hoping to pick up 3 points from the month. Hemel currently sit in 20th and could easily be a win but at the same time I would settle for a draw in the away tie.

    After that we face Ebbsfleet and Chelmsford who currently occupy 6th and 12th in the league. For the Ebbsfleet game we will be without Camper and Fiddes. Camper has been our second striker so far and is our second top scorer so far (2 goals) and it leaves us with only Ash and Reid. Fiddes was strong on the wing in the first 2 games but broke his foot late on in the second fixture.

    We end the month with a cup game, we don't know our opponents yet. Personally I don't care about the FA Cup, we won't get past the qualifying rounds but the bored expect me to make the 4th qualifying round. I will look to see how the fixtures look after that and who we play to see how I will assess the game. If we have tough games in October I will play a weak side in the game to keep fitness up in key players.

  10. Keep on going mate. I was trying to play as WSM too, and I was failed miserably.

  11. Quote Originally Posted by ajee View Post
    Keep on going mate. I was trying to play as WSM too, and I was failed miserably.
    I am hoping that this career can last until I can get FM16. Wanting to do a real long career before the new one so I feel prepared for it :') Main focus at moment is keeping them up this season then trying to move forward with them, it'll be tough but could be interesting then I'll look at any job offers I get further into the game

  12. What a Mare...

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    Crashing Down To Earth
    After last months fantastic start I reiterated the point over and over to the players to not get ahead of themselves as we were still perceived as one of the weaker teams in the league and boy did that show this month. If my talks didn't make them notice this month definitely did.
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    Looking at the table it didn't look so bad. 14th for a team expected to finish in the bottom two, where the odds had the down for guaranteed relegation. But it wasn't the table that bothered me this month it was the performances and the results.
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    First game of the month was the real eye opener. A team who had struggled this season somehow demolished our back 4. The only positive is that it was only the back 4 who were poor. The midfield controlled the game and our forwards were only stopped by fantastic defending. But it was Hemels fantastic defending which lead to their fantastic counters and goals. What made it more infuriating was that the first goal, which really opened the flood gates, was a penalty given from a needless challenge.
    Hemel Hempstead 3-0 WSM

    The next game was one which could easily have been a draw. The dominant midfield which was shown in the last game continued their form whilst the strikers continued to tear apart defences. However once again we went 3-0 down against Ebbsfleet. AGAIN(!!!) the first goal was a penalty! Another needless challenge. They then added a second from a fantastic free kick.

    And you ask what is worse than conceding 2 penalties in 2 games.... conceding 3 penalties in 2 games! A back 4 which was so strong for the most part of that first month had collapsed so far this month and was letting teams take points away from us despite us being the better side.
    WSM 1-3 Ebbsfleet

    The next game saw us pick up our only points of the month and after a good draw for the cup I decided to play our best (fittest) side. An own goal had given us the lead early on but the Chelmsford defender shouldn't have felt too bad as if he didn't touch it Reid was there to tap it in. Reid then did find the net on the half hour mark after some fantastic play eventually saw him head home for his second of the season.

    The dominant performance then took a bit of a knock when we got to the hour mark as 3 substitutions were made in which our 3 best players were replaced due to fitness. This saw Chelmsford have a couple of chances, one of which they converted to make it a nail biting end to the tie. An injury with 20 minutes left saw Jacob Cane, who replaced Reid, limping around (he would later be ruled out for 5-7 weeks with a twisted ankle) saw us clinging onto the lead desperately but we were the only side who almost added a goal as a crippled Cane hit the post with minutes left.
    Chelmsford 1-2 WSM

    The most infuriating game of the month was saved till last though. A team one division below us, Paulton, hosted us in the FA Cup qualifying. Fielding a weakened team I expected nothing but a win. My defensive tactics worked perfectly in the first half as I looked to settle the fixture down a bit and stagnate their attacking football which was exhibited from the get go.

    However they were a very dirty side. 2 injuries in the space of 2 minutes in the first half forced me to make two changes, one in defence and one in midfield. Another knock to a midfielder forced me to change tactics and go all out attack. With the desperation of playing players out of position and Ash in an attacking midfield role I tried to claw a victory out after they had scored a free kick just after half time.

    In the last 5 minutes Ash had scored an equaliser BUT (of course there is a but, there always has to be a but...) play was called back for offside, against ROMARIO REID! He never touched the ball, he was on the other side of the pitch at the half way line the entire time! After having the dodgy call against us for offside the players looked frustrated and failed to build up the motivation to claw it back leading to our 3rd loss in 4.
    ​Paulton 1-0 WSM

  13. What a Mare...

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    September Review
    Well that was a tough month to take. I knew the great start wouldn't last but I am just grateful we managed to at least get 3 points out of a possible 9 in the league, without them we would be around 18th rather than 14th.

    I think it was just the players lost sight of the real goal. I tried to keep them focused, reminded them that we were a relegation battle waiting to happen and not a top half team, as much as I would like to be.

    Player of the Month
    This isn't easy to give as very few players managed to put in good performances outside of the win and I would be able to say nobody but I have to give it to this kid.
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    Romario Reid... He scored the winner in the only game we managed to not lose this month and he was probably the most consistent performer of the month. Playing in 3 of the 4 games this month (missing out on the loss to Ebbsfleet) he managed to pick up a goal in the winner and despite having average performances was better than the rest of the team in those 3 games.

    It is a kid that I picked up as a backup but with players consistently picking up knocks he has had to play more than I'd like to have used him but he has done well. At only 17 he has a bright future ahead of him and I loaned him to aid him in his development. He may have to become a first team player after this month and play a key role in the squad in the Target Man role.

    Moving Forward
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    Another tough month is coming up. We face all of the current top 3 in Wealdstone (1st), Maidenhead (2nd) and Boreham Wood (3rd) as well as a St.Albans who currently sit midtable but have pulled off some shock results so far this season.

    The aim for the month has to be to pick up a win against St.Albans. With the top 3 all being fantastic so far and being split by only 3 points all of them will be keen to pick up full points against us and will put in top performances. The home fixture against St.Albans does seem to be the only winnable game.

    I am hoping that we can get out of this month remaining outside of the bottom 3 as in November we face an easier schedule with another break at the end of the 11th month for the FA Trophy. Whilst this month has a large break in the middle I would prefer continuous fixtures to try to get the squad into some form without breaks in fixtures.

  14. What a Mare...

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    What a shocker!
    How on earth this happened I will never know. We faced the top 3 and an in form, on the rise mid table team... AND DIDN'T LOSE! After last months drop I was fully expecting to drop like a fly this month and saw the only possible game to get points from being St.Albans at home but we surprised everybody and came away unbeaten. This run lead to us being 9th in the league at the end of October!
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    This was an absolute shock of a picture. From what I had seen of the team as a player when I was appointed manager I didn't know what to expect. It was never going to be easy, and it hasn't been, but how on earth we have ended up 9th.
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    The first game was possibly our strongest defensive performance of the season so far. Purnell was man of the match and more than deserved it as he was fantastic but the defense was playing at a high level as well. Whilst we created little to no chances we were strong at the back and put in a fantastic structured performance against promotion chasers Wealdstone.
    WSM 0-0 Wealdstone

    The next game was unlucky for us. After going 1-0 up in the first half through Romario Reid we dominated the game and were only denied by a fantastic keeping performance from the home side. Early in the second half we were denied an obvious penalty but then Maidenhead became restless being 1-0 down and changed tactics.

    At the hour I made 3 changes, all 3 subs came on and tore apart a tiring Maidenhead side. Within the next 10 minutes I had to take of 3 players to injury leaving me with 8 men to play out the final 20 minutes. Maidenhead could only pull it back from a corner as we continued to control the game despite playing with 8 men and no strikers. And it was us who came closer to all 3 points as the hosts continued to struggle to create anything against a strong back 4.
    Maidenhead 1-1 WSM

    Match number 3 of October and the game I perceived as the only possible game we could get points from. Another 2 injuries were picked up early on at the back which lead me to promote Seb Jenkins to the senior squad after the game. But 10 minutes in it was the man in form, Romario Reid, who gave us the lead and the winner as he headed home a fantastic delivery from out wide to get our first win of the month.
    WSM 1-0 St.Albans

    The final game of the month. Boreham Wood; top of the league, the leagues top scorer and unbeaten in 6! And it looked like it would be a miserable end to the month for us as the home side went 1-0 up just 40 seconds in. 2 more injuries occured, including one to the newly first team Seb Jenkins who started well and another knock for Romario Reid.

    The back 4 tightened up after a poor start and the first half saw no real chances for either side. The second half was a completely different story though. The kick off automatically lead to us hitting the post. This saw the confidence knocked out of Boreham's back 4. It wasn't till late on that we managed to open our scoring though. Syd Camper wanted to claim it but it was a home defender who knocked the ball in and it was 1-0.

    With 10 minutes left I was content with a point against the table toppers but they were tired so I just told them to get forward and Camper got his goal with 5 minutes left after Ash played him through to tap it home for 2-1! A knackered Boreham couldn't pull it back and we got our second win of the month, a 4th of the season!
    Boreham Wood 1-2 WSM
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  15. What a Mare...

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    October Review
    Another fantastic month for us to make it 2 good months from 3. The key would be to calm the players down again ahead of a busy November but I was confident of avoiding the drop now and was hoping for more. I wasn't expecting miracles such as playoffs for the season but mid-table was easily achievable by the looks of it if we could continue to upset teams like we have so far.

    Player of the Month
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    There is no other option. Romario Reid was fantastic, as was the entire back 4 but it was this man who earned us what we got. Luke Purnell is a keeper who is below his level and should easily be at least a league up in the Conference National but here he is seen as a hero, especially after this month.

    The first game was all about him as he earned a place in the team of the week as he ended the month with 4 games where he only conceded twice. The performances weren't as strong after the first game, but they didn't need to be, however he did continue to make key stops and command his area well.

    Moving Forward
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    A busy month coming up as we have 6 fixtures in November including an FA Trophy qualifier. We currently sit above all 5 teams we play in the league and I expect at least 2 wins from the month. I am hoping we don't yoyo between months as a bad month here could see us drop to the lower end of the table.

    I am hoping that injury worries can clear up as we continue to be swamped in short term injuries which don't allow us to pick a consistent starting 11. I am hoping that we can pull away from the lower reaches of the table even if the injuries don't clear up as we currently sit on 19 points and my aim is to have 45 by the end of the season to avoid relegation.

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