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Back to Sincil Bank

  1. Back to Sincil Bank

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    Lincoln are back.

    Realistically, I have a lot to live up to this time. Some of the best regens I've ever seen, silverware by the bucketload and the adulation of fans everywhere.

    Now I'm back in the National League and it all seems so, so far away from me.


    First, a recap about Lincoln though. The club plays at the 10,000 capacity Sincil Bank. They've languished in the VNL for a few seasons; a drastic downturn in fortunes from the beginning of the century which saw five consecutive playoffs appearances including final defeats to Bournemouth and Southend.

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    I'd rather go down the Keith Alexander than the Chris Sutton route with this one, so let's meet the man in charge..

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    Look at that sexy beast. The wonders of technology folks.

    Now, with last year being an unmitigated success, I'm making this year a little rougher.

    - The club needs to remain sustainable. I was around when Lincoln nearly went into administration, it was horrifying. As such, it has inspired me to make sure that the club must not go into negative balance where possible, and certainly shouldn't be making massive losses.

    - Homegrown talent. Lincoln used to have a powerhouse of an academy for a lower league team, with notable graduates such as Lee Frecklington, Scott Loach and Jack Hobbs. In recent times, it has declined. One of my primary focuses will be to resurrect the academy.

    - Destroy Grimsby in every game I meet them in. They're a local rival, it's kinda expected of me at this point.

    - Brexit. It's the big thing this year. I don't know how Brexit will pan out in my world, but I will adapt a challenge based on the outcome. Come on Theresa, I'm counting on you here.

    So there you have it. My name is back on the door at the Bank.

    What have I got myself into this time?

  2. August 2016

    After what was an average pre-season, in which the focus was more on gelling the team that the results, we dove straight into the competitive stuff with an away day in Woking. Not the most glamourous place to make my debut perhaps, but I'll live.

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    Things didn't start particularly well, as we conceded very early on. Our quality shone through however, with Peterborough loanee Harry Anderson netting the first goal of my reign. Theo Robinson finished comfortably to give us the lead, and once Woking went down to 10, it was game over.

    My first time on the touchlines at Sincil Bank was a much more splendid affair however. Theo Robinson is only with us on N/C terms, and it is easy to see why I've made every effort to sign him after a five goal return against North Ferriby. Goals for Waterfall and Arnold upped the tally to 7 as we ran riot.

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    The party continued at Sincil Bank, as we played Sutton United. Theo Robinson wasn't finished in his exploits, as he netted twice more. Nathan Arnold scored a superb header to start us off as he settles in well after his move as well. The win puts us top, where we are competing in the early stages with Forest Green and Dagenham & Redbridge.

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    Speaking of Dag & Red, we paid them a visit in the midweek fixture. We put on a superb attacking display as the hosts battened down the hatches, so naturally we conceded first. It took a quality header from Woodyard to get us a point from the game, but we left understandably disappointed it wasn't 3.

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    Our key players were uncharacteristically poor for the visit of Southport, so it was refreshing to see that some of the other lads stepped up when it counted. Fergus Bell netted his first for the club, then a double for Muldoon off the bench got us all the points in what was an average performance from the Imps.

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    A trip to Macclesfield is always poignant for the Imps, as both Keith Alexander and Richard Butcher were favourites of both clubs. We led from the back as Waterfall was dominant from set pieces, before Bell and Anderson both netted. Theo Robinson ended his mini goal drought late on as we carried on our impressive goal scoring form.

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    The Bank Holiday fixture was our final game of the month, as we faced Gateshead at home. In one of the closest games we've faced so far, Gateshead, and specifically Mulroy, pegged us back twice before Bradley Wood was dismissed for a silly second booking. That allowed complacency to creep into the Gateshead back line though, and Nathan Arnold stole a march at the back post to give us a very late winner.

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    So, after an impressive first month in the job, we sit top of the pile. Aldershot have managed to keep up the pace with us, and Forest Green are slightly further back, but with some of the bigger names yet to fire, there is a definite need to press home the advantage we have.

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    All good so far. Now the hard work really begins.

  3. What a start mate! Great job and can't wait to see how you get on with Lincoln this year

  4. Quote Originally Posted by Linecoigne1998 View Post
    What a start mate! Great job and can't wait to see how you get on with Lincoln this year
    Can't complain about the start! Definitely looking forward to emulating last year, should be a good challenge.

  5. September 2016

    September saw us feature on TV for the first time under my reign, as we faced the long trip down to Torquay. It was worthwhile for the Imps fans that travelled though, as we destroyed them 6-1. Adam Marriott was making his first start of the season, and he celebrated with 5 goals as we ran riot. With a goal for Woodyard as well, we kept ourselves top of the pile.

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    Tranmere was an arguably tougher test for us, and one we came out of with a point. Fergus Bell picked up a useful goal, but the game was end to end and realistically I can't complain too much with a point.

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    What I can complain about however is that Solihull Moors got a point, and that it took us until the 90th minute to score. We dominated the game but we just couldn't finish. Thankfully sub Marriott saved us with the last kick of the game, and our unbeaten record remains intact.

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    We failed to impress yet again, as another 1-1 draw with Barrow sees the chasing pack catch back up to us. Anderson continued his impressive form with us with a goal, but yet again we lacked the finishing touch.

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    The draws just keep coming. Yet another 1-1, this time with Dover. You can't complain that we aren't consistent. What it does mean however is that we drop off the top in time for the end of the month. Another goal for Marriott off the bench was cancelled out immediately, and we need to deal with our mini slump urgently.

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    The result of this month is that whilst we remain unbeaten, we drop off the top. It is immensely annoying. Aldershot are the beneficiaries of our misfortune, but it is still early days yet. Meanwhile, we face another taxing month. With the FA Cup being introduced next month as well, we have plenty to play for, and I'll need the team to kick on if we are to remain competitive.

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    Easy right?

  6. End of Season One

    I'm somewhat guilty for not updating the thread for a while, but I assure you, there was good reason. That reason was that I was so captivated by the events of the title race that I chose that as a priority.

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    First off, we did win the league. Hooray! However, it is just not that simple. The league was a three team race for the entire season, and it was only with two to play that Forest Green and Aldershot faltered. I thought we'd blown it with a 3-1 defeat at Aldershot, but we picked ourselves up and dragged the team back into the race. Naturally, the fans loved it..

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    And the table..

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    The fun wasn't over though, we had an FA Trophy final to deal with. We played plucky Tamworth, who were the league below us. Plucky summed them up pretty well in fact, as they pulled us back from 2-0 up with a late equaliser. Adam Marriott came on to kill the game though, and we finished it 5-2 aet; a result that was perhaps a touch harsh on the visitors.

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    So, the season shaped up something like this:

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    Now we just have the small matter of league football to deal with. Not to mention the renewals of rivalries between us, Grimsby and Notts County. This season promises to be the making or the breaking of me.
    Lippo255, Nurquidi98 and Nffcgem91 like this.

  7. So obviously I didn't quite hit the ground running with this this FM, however should people be interested, I am prepared to bring this thread back up to speed. The file is in 2024, so there is plenty to catch up with.

  8. I'd be interested!

  9. keen!

  10. i'd like to see it

  11. Quote Originally Posted by Godfish93 View Post
    So obviously I didn't quite hit the ground running with this this FM, however should people be interested, I am prepared to bring this thread back up to speed. The file is in 2024, so there is plenty to catch up with.
    Yes, I'd be interested

  12. Time flies when you're having fun..

    As promised, I'd said I'd catch the thread up. I'll go into detail with players, results and league tables in follow up posts to this one, but first we need to see where the club has actually got to since last time.

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    It's been a meteoric rise for the club since I took over in the summer of 2016. Straight promotions through to the Championship helped us significantly, with a league 2 title in the mix. A trip to Wembley beckoned in the league 1 playoffs, before we finally hit the proverbial wall the next season.

    Having finished 20th in our first Championship season, we looked to press on. Taking the title home was unprecedented however, and left me with a real fight on my hands for the following few seasons. The Premiership has been fun though, and I'll cover our time there in a later post.

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    Off the field there has been a lot of hard work as well. The most obvious thing to note is that in two years time, we will have a new home. Sincil Bank has been fun, but Brown Park is double the size. The revenue alone will be nice, but the new stadium is long overdue for the club. With an ever improving youth category, and quality facilities, the club has established itself at the top level.

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    We even have a larger trophy cabinet now too. The VNL, L2 and CH wins are all quality, but it is our first European honours that I'm proudest of. Again, I won't spoil how they happened, but they were the hardest fought trophies of the save so far. Now I just the Champions League to go with it, and maybe a Premier League title or two.

    Lippo255 likes this.

  13. The Players

    As it stands at the start of the 2025 season, this is the best XI for Lincoln.

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    There is one obvious thing to note here. All the players that feature are home grown. In all but Theo Robinson's case, they are eligible for the home nations and Ireland. This wasn't necessarily a deliberate plan, but more a by product of Brexit.

    When Brexit struck in the 2019/2020 season, I was still a struggling Championship club. A hard Brexit was in place for the end of the season, and I had little to no chance of bringing in any foreign imports. My main two at the time were Justin De Haas on loan from AZ, and Mohammad Haddachi. I figured that I'd have to look locally for my next big talent to get me up the leagues.

    As it turned out, I did go abroad for my new player, but this was to bring Simon Church back to England. Partnering him up top with the newly released Kazaiah Sterling was a masterstroke, and they fired me to the title.

    Tim Krul joined the club that summer to shore up the net, but work permits were a serious issue for me. So as of then, the entire team is homegrown. There is one Algerian currently at the club, but is away on loan, and given my WP struggles, unlikely to play for me. Raiding the championship teams for players has worked well, with Andre Green, Jack Grealish, Joe Gomez and Aiden Wardley (regen) all establishing themselves as vital cogs in the operation.

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    Lincoln now have eight representatives in the England squad, albeit one of my creation following my appointment three years ago. With representatives for Scotland and Wales as well, the club is well established as a home for local talent.

  14. awesome work. quick question(s) with the hard brexit line have you had difficulty fighting off the 'bigger' from your homegrown players? have established homegrown players become un-buy-able?

  15. Awesome progress so far, I hope this will continue.

    Any chance of a screenshot of your favourite newgens??

  16. Quote Originally Posted by dave8721 View Post
    awesome work. quick question(s) with the hard brexit line have you had difficulty fighting off the 'bigger' from your homegrown players? have established homegrown players become un-buy-able?
    The prices have been hiked up definitely. The bigger clubs so to speak can still pull in the foreign players, so a lot of my team is picked up from the transfer list or relegations. But with players like Lewis Cook moving for 60m to Chelsea, or Harry Kane to Utd for 80m, it'll be a few years before I can really compete financially for key HG players.

    Quote Originally Posted by naterr View Post
    Awesome progress so far, I hope this will continue.

    Any chance of a screenshot of your favourite newgens??
    Absolutely! Watching the Lincoln/Ipswich match currently, but I'll be aiming to upload some more stuff before the end of the week.
    naterr and dave8721 like this.

  17. Obviously some fantastic progress made here, cant wait to hear how it all unfolded!
    Godfish93 likes this.

  18. Getting To The Premier League

    To get to where we are now, it took a lot of hard work. Here is the build up to reaching the top level..

    League 2

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    League 2 was very straightforward for us, culminating in our second successive promotion. We scored plenty of goals, but our defence started to wear a little thin, with too many conceded. Meanwhile, DJ's alma mater Grimsby rather satisfyingly got relegated, which they are yet to recover from. Accrington also join us as some of the smaller clubs finally get their reward for their work.

    League 1

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    League 1 saw a similar situation for us, as we scored plenty, but let in a few more than we would have liked. In what was a ridiculously close finish at the top of the table, we finished up in the playoffs. We dispatched Walsall, then beat Portsmouth on penalties in the final to go three in the row for the club. Having lost the least in the league, we were stupendous in this season. Had we been more decisive, the title would have been ours.


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    Our first season in the championship was always going to be about surviving. We didn't win enough games really, but our flat 4-5-1 proved tough to break, as we picked up 17 draws for the season. In the end, it proved to be enough, as we secured survival with 2 to play. Given the quality of the teams in the league, it was always set to be difficult, and with Wigan and Millwall going down, some good teams lost out. Both Welsh teams left the league, but have since returned to the Championship at least once.

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    Season two was much more successful. With the pairing of Sterling and Church up top, we knocked the goals in, racking up a league best 26 wins in the league. Boro bottled it in their chase to catch us, losing to us at Sincil Bank, and we brought home our second league win under my stewardship. At the bottom end, Villa and Blackburn's decline continued, whilst lucky survivors from last season Swindon can't avoid the trapdoor this time out. An East Anglian derby in the playoffs saw Norwich on top, but Southampton ultimately join us in the Premiership.

  19. The Premier League Adventure Begins

    As you would expect, the first season had the potential to be extremely rough. However, unlike previous seasons for us, there tended to be result from each game. With only 6 draws all season, the 15 wins went a long way to not only securing us a spot for the next season, but also bringing us into the middle of the pack for the season. Signings like Cauley Woodrow and Tyrell Warren, whilst cheap, helped to close out our most successful season at that stage.

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    The big question now was whether we would suffer from second season syndrome. Well... no. The arrival of 12.5m man Aiden Wardley was key to our aims, as were Grealish and Green, but it was the signing of Jamaal Lascelles for 2.9m that really helped us. Alongside other new recruit Joe Gomez (7m from Swansea), they stabilised the back four and made the CB positions their own. A wonderful 6th place finish saw us into Europe for the first time as well.

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    Season three in the PL promised much and turned into a bit of damp squib on the domestic scene. Our European adventures follow this post, so stay tuned for that. But an early exit in the FA Cup, and some poor late season form saw me fairly disappointed in how proceedings had gone. Ryan Kent and Dan Ejaria's arrivals did temper my bad mood somewhat, and they have gone on to be key players for me.

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    Owing to Wardley's stupendous first two seasons for us, the sharks started to circle. In preparation, I signed Ciaran Black from Soton for 20m+, a new record for the club. Wardley didn't leave, but his 2 goal return suggested my stubbourness backfired somewhat. That said, we recorded a new record high as we finished 5th this time out, but the elusive CL qualifying spots continued to evade us.

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    Last season was the best yet however. With the arrival of City reject Chris Scott, and Ciaran Black going to kill his career at the Etihad, we had a solid front line. The arrival of England wonderCAM Callum Gribbin strengthened us significantly in the middle, with a 25m move becoming my new record. The move for Jamie Knight to replace the departing Wildsmith was also key, as he broke the clean sheet record for the club in his first season. A high position of third suggests that progress is still steady. With better cup progress as well, maybe the current season is the one where we'll finally win domestic silverware.

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    naterr, PatrickLFC and KillerRoo like this.

  20. Lincoln Go Continental...

    The last three seasons have seen us participate in European competition. Whilst we may not have silverware on the domestic front, our European cabinet looks a lot healthier.

    The first european game saw us play Plzen away. A comfortable win was followed by a good win in our first home game to Kiev. In fact, we weren't really challenged until Roma at the Bank. One up after the first leg, we put in a dominating display to score twice, with a late Roma consolation not doing much. We then put in some performances worthy of the 05 Liverpool Istanbul team, as we escaped despite heavy-ish defeats to Ajax, Sevilla and AC Milan. The vanquishing of Milan was complete as a Wardley inspired final saw us beat Inter 5-2 to bring home the most important silverware of my reign. It also gained us Champions League despite a disappointing 7th place finish.

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    We did well on our Europa League bow. We didn't do so well in our Champions League one. It started so well with a win over Rangers, but At Madrid and PSG were a class apart. We just about squeezed home in third to give us something to play for. An easier EL run this time out saw us against Europa League giants Sevilla, but an early battering, and a captains performance from Ejaria, saw us bring home our second piece of silverware from abroad.

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    The Champions League started with a comprehensive thrashing in the Bernabeu. It perked up though, and a win at Sincil Bank over Real goes down as one of my finest moments. Having made it through, we turned into the Monaco team of a few years back; basically defending our way to the title. The Chelsea game was a nightmare for me, having never beaten them. A wonder run and goal from the invigorated Gribbin gave us the lead and we clammed up tight. The Millenium Stadium saw the red and white of Lincoln shining all around as we won the continents premier competition. Starting to think we should turn the league into a knockout competition, I may get to win it then.

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    ... And I Go Global

    While all this was happening, I was appointed as Camacho's heir to the England job. A nervy start saw me under immediate pressure after a loss to Belgium in the ENL semis. You would have thought a Euro's win would have helped, but no, a defeat to Spain in the ENL semis saw much under the cosh again. Bring about the World Cup of 2026, and this is the result.

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    Might keep the FA off my back for a season or two.
    naterr and PatrickLFC like this.

  21. So Where Are We Now?

    Having come off the back of a good league campaign, a successful European adventure and restoring English pride in Canada over the summer, this season promises to be one of my biggest yet. First up, a look at the squad is necessary.

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    The squad is a nice blend of youth and experience, and it is incredibly satisfying to have the ability to have an England international striker on the bench. Josh Ryder is the latest record signing at the club, costing a cool 47.5m from Chelsea during the off season. A regular in my England squad now, I'm very happy to have him alongside Scott and Wardley as striking options.

    Jamie Knight

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    In the case of Knight, who is my first choice keeper without question, I got extremely lucky. Having left Spurs in a big money move to Championship Southampton, I tracked him to see if he would develop. I hadn't anticipated that he would be around so cheaply two years later. I was rapidly losing patience with Wildsmith and some comedic errors, so took a punt at 5.75m. A place in the England squad behind Butland has also followed, and it should mean I don't need to replace my keeper any time soon.

    Tyrell Warren

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    Tyrell was my first signing on entering the Premier League. Listed by United, I thought he'd be a useful one season stop gap until I could afford someone better. The reality is that he turned out to be a very consistent signing. Consistent ratings and his versatility meant that he remained a key part of the team, especially when Gomez got injured last season, when Warren was required at RB and CB.

    Calum Chambers

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    The former England prodigy has found himself at the Bank for the last few years of his career. Having not made himself a permanent fixture for the Gunners, he moved to Lincoln with the intention of being the new right back. Instead, he has spent a fair amount of time at CB covering injuries. A solid performer, his experience has proved vital at the back for us.

    Bob Peers

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    Bob may only be 26, but has already been at four clubs. It was his progression at Boro that really brought him to my attention though, and I recognised the potential for him to be part of my England set up as well. The 15m we paid was well worth it as we set him up alongside Gomez, but he has also partnered Chambers, Warren and Lascelles comfortably. Happy with scoring from set pieces as well, Peers should form part of the backline for years to come.

    Kieran Tierney

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    I chased Tierney on arriving in the Premier League, and finally got my man a couple of seasons ago. An average first season gave way to much stronger performances, and any early doubts I had were soon extinguished. The ideal left back for me, it's meant that I have a stable back line. Pushed into a slightly more attacking role this season, he's provided 2 assists in 3 as he looks to adapt.

    Dan Ejaria

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    My midfield maestro. I regard him in much the same role that Gerrard had at Liverpool; a dynamic midfielder that is happy anywhere over the pitch. One of the most consistent players in the team, he has a knack of turning up and piling in a long range finish without being picked up, or ghosting into the box for a tap in. Both his England goals were 25 yard screamers at crucial points of the game. Captain of the club until the end of the 2024/25 season when he chose to stand down, he runs the midfield, and in my opinion is probably the most important player on the team.

    Jamie Harrington

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    Jamie is a relatively new arrival to the club, having joined from Arsenal last year. Going down the well trodden path from Southampton to the Emirates, I saw an opportunity to pick up a promising youth player and took it. Having seen him play for the England youth teams, I expected to sign him and maybe loan him out for a bit. Instead, he became a first teamer straight away. His first season wasn't spectacular, but there is plenty of room for him to improve.

    Callum Gribbin

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    The playmaker of the team. Having had a great career at United, Callum moved to us last year after a stunning Confeds peformance. With goals and assists aplenty, his most crucial act last season was the Champions League winning goal against Chelsea. The designated set piece taker on the team, he is capable of playing on the right wing as well, a position he made his own towards the end of the season.

    Steven Benjamin

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    Another to join from United, but this time to save his career. His development since joining us has been spectacular, and is now regularly pushing for an England squad place. Despite a steady, yet unspectacular first season, we chose to keep faith with him over the departing Adam Robertson, and this season will be key in his career.

    Sheyi Ojo

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    Sheyi followed the Jordon Ibe route initially in joining Bournemouth, but upon their relegation, he moved to Lincoln. Generally found on the left wing, he's formed a useful partnership with Tierney. However, he will need to kick on this season with the end of his playing career coming ever closer.

    Josh Ryder

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    My latest record signing. The Chelsea grad was often getting stuck behind lead striker Jamie Murphy and for the sake of his international and club ambitions, was receptive to a move to us. We started talking before the CL final, and after a month of negotiations, we concluded the deal whilst out in Canada. Set to battle it out with Scott and Wardley, he has displayed some impressive talent so far, and is also comfortable moving out left if required.

    Aidan Wardley

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    Aidan is very much a case of what could have been. A spectacular first two seasons after joining saw him take the league top goalscorer award. However, with bigger clubs taking interest, his form spectacularly nose dived, and he hasn't really recovered since. He remains a useful part of the squad, but he really needs to get over the last two years fast if he wishes to stay with us.

    Ryan Kent

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    Ryan was a player I'd been tracking for a while, so when the opportunity to bring him in came up, I jumped at it. Some superb performances got him into the England squad, but injuries and poor form have played their part recently as the ex-Liverpool player often finds himself in a more cameo role these days. Nonetheless, he remains a useful winger to have.

    Chris Scott

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    I did try and sign Scott before he went to City, but he was lured by the big paypacket. He saw the light though, and jumped ship to us after one appearance in Manchester. It worked well as he finished as our top scorer for the season, and with a Champions League medal to boot. He started this season with an opening day hattrick, and has set down an early season marker for the other two.

    Joe Gomez

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    Joe was set to be a key player for us, but a cruciate ligament injury has rather set him back. Until then, he and Lascelles/Peers dominated league defences. For 7m, he was a steal. Despite a potential move to LA Galaxy, I have every intention of keeping him at the club, and bringing him back to as high a level as possible.
    naterr and PatrickLFC like this.

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