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Journeying Through Football

  1. Journeying Through Football

    Thank you to everybody that voted on the poll for what my next story would be. It was close but in the end you voted for me to do a Journeyman save starting with Weston-Super-Mare in the National League South. I'll hopefully be able to get this updated regularly and it will hopefully be my best story to date. Hope this gets a good following and looking forward to seeing how it goes...

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    That is me. Mr F.M. Saddler. I've managed to get my self into an odd situation.

    See I live down in Weston and recently they had a managerial vacancy. Living near the ground and being jobless after finishing University and struggling to do anything with what seems like a wasted 3 years, I mean degree, I thought I would apply for that vacancy.

    However when the club got back to me I was shocked, they actually wanted to interview me for the role. I accepted, as you would, I mean I love football and this could be my chance into the game. I mean come on look at me, I'm not getting a playing career any time soon am I.

    So I went to the interview and it all went quite well. With no experience at all in either playing football or being a football manager I have somehow managed to find myself sat in the managers office waiting for meetings with the board and my assistant manager.

    This is unreal. Like I said I have no experience managing or playing any sport but this has happened. Maybe my business management degree was seen as a positive when applying for the role. I don't know, but anyway here I am at Weston-Super-Mare starting my new journey.


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  2. Journeying Through Football

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    So my first day as a football manager was over and I still couldn't quite believe what on earth was happening. I mean the board must be crazy but maybe just crazy enough that it might have given me a new career path.

    I had a meeting with them and they basically just welcomed me to the club. It was more or less a meet and greet with them. They seemed like a decent bunch, so much so that I asked them a couple of favours there and then.

    It was nothing too big I just wanted a couple of scouts and a senior affiliate club. I mean we will need a couple of additions to our squad and we aren't exactly rolling in the money so hopefully this will help us out in the long term as well as me in the immediate future. They did agree to both.

    I then went to a meeting with my assistant manager, Mark McKeever. Seems a decent bloke; was happy to help out and get me on my feet around the club. He has just set up a friendly with our youth side and said he will give me a report on the squad. Also said he's happy to run our under 23 side as we don't have anyone doing it apparently.

    After a busy day I just finished by meeting the players. Let them know who I am, get to know who they are. Again pretty simple but it all needs to be done. They seem like a decent bunch of lads, shouldn't struggle in meeting goals but not likely to set the world alight.

    Bit of an odd first day really. I didn't know what to expect coming in but this isn't what I was expecting. Anyway I was here now, it was too late to back out and I was ready for the challenge. How I deal with the challenge is another question but I am sure we will find out over time.



  3. Journeying Through Football

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    Mark got me those reports over night. Honestly I expected it to take longer but it seems like he had prepared them in preparation of a new manager coming in.

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    Like I said we aren't superb but we have enough good options heading forwards.

    In net we have Luke Purnell backed up by Dan Jackson. Purnell is key to our season, probably one of the best keepers in the league his performances could make or break games. Jackson is more about the potential. He could be a starting keeper in the future but right now he is a sound backup.

    I'm pretty happy with our back line right now. I want to bring in another CB just to shore it up as it means we can shift Chris Barker to his preferred LB position but he is happy to do a job there for now.

    In midfield we need the most improvement. We need a real playmaker in the middle of the park, somebody who can control play and create chances. We also need some improvement down the left hand side; Eliot Richards is currently pencilled into the left wing role but he could easily be one of the best strikers in the league if we can move him into his preferred position.

    Then up front is our best position, even if it is because of loans. Like I said Richards is our best striker, he is quick and is a decent finisher. But we also have Meechan on loan from Newport and Brad Ash on loan from Barnsley. All 3 of them could likely start for any team in the league. We do need a bit more depth though, I'm looking to play 4-4-2 so if we can bring another striker or two in then I can be happy knowing we are covered for injuries.




  4. im currently mid first season with weston-super-mare, had to make a lot of free transfers and got them on £20 a week wages and got rid of some uneeded players for free who were on £100 a week.

    also richards is a beast.

  5. Looking forward to this mate

  6. How do you get that report view, with the 'great/good' etc?

    Like the story so far

  7. Quote Originally Posted by aaronpayne11 View Post
    im currently mid first season with weston-super-mare, had to make a lot of free transfers and got them on £20 a week wages and got rid of some uneeded players for free who were on £100 a week.

    also richards is a beast.
    Yeah, I've not made too many signings as I've mainly focused on just filling the gaps of what isn't in the squad. Richards looks superb, hoping he can get a ton of goals

    Quote Originally Posted by neavie pops23 View Post
    Looking forward to this mate
    Glad to hear it mate! Hoping this goes better than the last one

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrianics View Post
    How do you get that report view, with the 'great/good' etc?

    Like the story so far
    Cheers mate, and to get that you go:

    Team Report (on the side bar) > Squad Depth (at the top) > Position Overview Current Ability (in the show drop down menu)

    Will hopefully get this updated tomorrow. Been switching between this and another save since getting it but will look to play through and update quite a bit of it tomorrow if I can. Cheers for the following so far and I hope everybody enjoys

  8. Journeying Through Football

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    It's been a month since my takeover at Weston and it's been tough. I mean I wasn't knowing what to expect but this has been a lot harder than I thought. I was expecting to just sort tactics and turning up on match days but I've had to be in training everyday from 6 till 10 due to the part time nature of the club.

    I'd got pre-season out of the way and to be honest it was mixed.

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    In the first friendly we were superb and a Richards brace gave us the win. After this game I thought managerial life would be easy, just send the players out and we will win. I was then brought back down to earth though.

    We travelled to Bishop's Cleeve and lost. Now we played well but the finishing was abysmal. I was furious but mainly just disappointed. I know we should be beating those sort of teams so to struggle to find the net was disappointing.

    We then got a superb result against National League Torquay. We controlled the play and were superb down the wings and we made the better team look poor. This was definitely my best result so far. I didn't expect a side of mine to play so well, although then again I didn't expect to be able to say "a side of mine".

    We then ended with another disappointing result against a lowly Dorchester. The game was way to even and it took 2 goals in the last half an hour to pull it back from 2-0 down and get the draw. This forced my hand to refine the tactics a bit more, but more about that later.

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    So these are the players I've brought in and to be honest I think it fills our needs perfectly. Nathan Ricketts-Hopkinson, or NRH, is exactly what you want in a striker; quick, deadly finisher and decent in the air and this will be good for us having him as a rotational option.

    I then brought in 2 players in a day. O'Cearuill was the first player I started talking to and he just adds a bit of quality in the heart of the defence. We then added Shpat Ismajli and he is a strong player. He needs a lot of refinement but he definitely has the quality to make a difference for us off of the bench.

    Then once again two signings in a day. Kelvin Douglas gives us a more creative head in the middle of the park, with good vision and strong passing he can be the creative spark we need in the middle. Nathan Evans then gave us that left winger we desperately needed, physically he is great for this level so hopefully he can be key.

    Then finally came another left winger. Hamilton is definitely one for the future but I signed him as an impact sub. Physically he isn't as good as Evans but it's his technicals which impressed me. His first touch and crossing is superb so if we can give him the ball in wide areas he can definitely cause problems late on.

    Really this is all I wanted from the window. We have filled key positions and made sure we have no empty areas in the squad. We still have around £300 a week to spend on wages so if we need anybody else the option is there. The only thing I may look to bring in is a defensive midfielder but I feel we can train somebody into this position.


  9. Journeying Through Football

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    So like I said before; after the Dorchester game I had to have a bit of a tactical re think. I thought we would just have the quality to dispose of teams with ease, especially in our strikers but the Dorchester result showed it wasn't just about quality. So I came up with 3 tactics, I think, well hope, they should work...

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    This is sort of what I was trying to play in pre-season. I just want to aim to control games and this should let us do so. Short passes to players in a structured system should allow us to move the ball around nicely. Richards will operate as a DLF to link up with Evans on that left hand side and with NRH as the AF we could really rely on that link up play to get goals.

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    This is a similar tactic but more aggressive. Using the flanks I want to spread the play and then let our strikers to score goals for fun. Richards will act as a poacher rather than DLF. On each wing we have players who can provide threats out wide so I am hoping that by spreading the play there will be more space in the middle for our two top men to take chances.

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    Finally is a more defensive tactic. Like I said we may need to bring in a CDM but I am currently training up Kane Ingram into the position and he should be able to do a job there. For the tactic we need to just drop deep and break quickly. It's as simple as that. Get the ball down the wings and then try and get the ball into the box for a poacher to score.
    Zorko7 likes this.

  10. Journeying Through Football

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    It's been a month since we last met. I have had a good month in all. I think I am finally getting settled here and starting to understand how the insides of football work, with some extra help from Mark. We had a bit of a mixed month to start the season.

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    Like I said we started off superbly. After a 1-0 win against Whitehawk to open the season we tore Bath apart in our first away game, NRH getting his 2nd in 2 and Richards getting a brace to open his account for the season.

    We then required some late luck at Welling as Meechan came on for Richards and got an 88th minute goal to win us the game. With fitness mixed after 3 games in 8 days we had to settle for a point against Poole. We were the better team but just struggled to find the net.

    We then returned to form though hitting 4 past then top of the league Dartford. Richards notched a hat trick whilst NRH made it 3 goals in 5 games.

    However we ended the month poorly. After going 1-0 down against Margate the introduction of Meechan gave us a lead but we through it away in the final minutes to head home pointless. We then went 2-0 against a top 2 St.Albans and we were superb. However Kington had other plans as he got himself sent off with a stupid challenge to give the visitors control of the game.

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    So that sees us 5th at the end of August. We could have been top, probably should have been if it weren't for some stupid mistakes in our final two fixtures.

    Whilst I'm frustrated by those results it was a superb start. We kept 4 clean sheets in a row to start the season and conceded just once in 5 games. We also scored 13 times in 7 league games, only failing to score once. We have all the pieces there I just don't know what happened late on.

    Margate and St.Albans are both decent sides so I'm not too fussed by the results but we need to bounce back and find that early season stride.


  11. Journeying Through Football

    Name:  WSM.png
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Size:  47.7 KBSo after a strong start we had a tough end to August and we needed to bounce back. I was still learning the ropes of football management and also at the club but this next month would be big. If we can replicate our early form we could push into a promotion battle, but if we continue from the end of August we could drop towards the relegation zone.

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    What a month it was, especially that first game. 8-2! YES 8-2!!!!

    Chelmsford weren't great but we gave a masterclass of non-league football with quick moves and good finishing. NRH got 5 (YES 5!!!) goals whilst Richards picked up MOTM with 2 goals, 5 assists and one of 3 10.0 ratings. 13 of the 14 players that feature had a rating of 9.0+ with only Purnell in goal failing to hit the mark at 8.6.

    We then backed it up with a poor loss though. With just 2 days to rest we were pretty tired but we should've still won. Poor finishing after 5 goals from NRH cost us the game as he had several chances to give us the win.

    But once again we back it up with a big win. Our top 3 strikers got goals as well as Evans adding to his tally from the left wing. Once again though... we lose in a poor performance as Hungerford somehow stop us from grabbing the win.

    However we ended the month with a routine win against Cinderford in the FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round and then a big win over Maidenhead who were expected to finish in the top 5 before the season.

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    So we continue to defy odds in the league standings. 5th after 12 games is not something I expected but I will definitely take it. I am still having some struggles and it is being shown in the losses we took this month where we just couldn't find a way to win despite being the better team.

    Whilst I would like to take all the credit for the fantastic start I have to say that it comes down to our strikers who should not be playing at this level. They have torn apart opposition teams all season and have the following stats:

    NRH: 13 games, 12 goals, 7 assists
    Richards: 13 games, 12 goals, 7 assists
    Meechan: 9 sub appearances, 4 goals, 1 assist

    Nathan Evans is the only other goalscorer so far in the squad with 3 goals to his name but those 3 strikers have been superb. I expected it from Richards but to get it from all 3 of them and have them being as good as they have I am shocked.

    With the board only expecting us to avoid relegation I think it is fair to say my job is pretty safe, especially with the way we have performed and how our newbies have been playing. I'm looking forward to building with this team but I still am only aiming for a mid-table finish, all it takes is one injury and we could lose our early season form.

  12. I think your font size should be just a little bit bigger!
    Or i am a little blind and i see this small :

  13. Quote Originally Posted by FMAdicct View Post
    I think your font size should be just a little bit bigger!
    Or i am a little blind and i see this small :
    Will have a look at it with my next post, may just need a different font or to make it bold.

  14. Journeying Through Football

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    I cannot believe what is happening. Here I am just 4 short months in to my management career and I sit in a play-off spot with a team expected to get relegated. We have been superb and my tactics seem to be a part of it. We continued our good run in October including earning ourselves a place in the FA Cup 1st round!

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    6 games, 5 wins, 1 loss.

    I would like to say I'm disappointed with the loss but I'm not. We started off with a superb win in the FA Cup qualifier against table topping Eastbourne. We deserved the win but gave away to easy goals so when we came from 2-1 down to win 3-2 I was thrilled.

    We then beat 3rd place Ebbsfleet 2-0 in the league. They were poor, we were superb. Richards continued his superb form as he scored and assisted the goals in the game. It was then a pretty routine win against amateur side Basingstoke to earn our spot in the FA Cup 1st round where we will play Exeter.

    We then faced bottom of the league Oxford City and it took longer than expected to break them down but two good goals from Evans sealed the 3 points for us.

    The loss came down to a mixture of things. Firstly East Thurrock are one of the only teams in the league close to matching our form but after a poor start sit mid-table. But also two injuries to Douglas and Pope left us with a central midfield pairing of Kington and Barker. We kept it close but we just lacked the edge to win it.

    But we returned to our successful ways to end the month with a demolition of Hampton. They sit in the relegation places and to be fair to them they showed some fight but we just had the quality. Richards once again provided goals and assists whilst NRH continued his strong form.

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    So 16 games in and we sit in 4th. This has me rated as untouchable by the board. We have been superb and honestly I would be happy for the season to end today but I am still aiming for mid-table. Of course I'd like to get us promoted but with the budgets and squad we have compared to some of the teams around us it will be tough to keep this going long term.

    One thing that is worrying me at the moment is the contract situation in the squad. We don't have the money to give non-contract players part-time contracts. This leaves us at risk of losing the following players:

    Pope, Evans, NRH, Richards, Withey, Ismaji, Hamilton and Camper.

    Whilst the last 4 are all rotation players the first 4 are all key players. Pope has been performing way above his ability and has been key alongside Douglas in the middle.

    However it is the front 3 of Evans, NRH and Richards which worries me. Richards wants £775 a week, which would put us around £500 over our budget. But how can you replace 35 goals and 22 assists between these 3 players. I'm going to try negotiate with them all but it will put me over the budget and having already asked for more money the board have said no, understandably.


  15. Journeying Through Football

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    So I've spoken to the 4 starters about their contract situation and it is sort of looking good.

    Richards is a no go. The board refuse to give a player more than £350 a week and he refuses to stay for less than £600 a week. So whilst a promotion may be able to tempt him the question of keeping him here short term remains as I feel football league clubs will soon come sniffing around our star man.

    However there is good news. Pope has agreed £50 a week with £100 appearance fee. The appearance fee may seem high but he does rotate with Kington so it shouldn't hurt us too much.

    Evans received the biggest new contract which sees him on £75 a week with £180 appearance fee. This is the only way I could get him to stay. I didn't want him to be on a high wage as if he get's injured we can't afford to be paying him upwards of £100.

    Finally is the contract of NRH. He has been key to our season and I was surprised with the contract he accepted. £75 a week, £75 appearance fee, £75 goal bonus, £75 unused substitute bonus. Basically he is on £150 a week with goal bonuses. I don't mind paying him more if he continues to score.

    The 4 backup contracts are going to be left. With the amount they feature I can't see many teams looking at them but if somebody does then I'll look to offer contracts. Currently we will likely be hitting our budget or just over it with these contracts finalised but it has to be done as if we were to lose all 4 players then we could drop down the table quickly.

    I'm frustrated that I can't get Richards to budge on his demands but he shouldn't be at this level so I can see why he wants so much. It wouldn't surprise me if he made the jump up into the football league in January as he has the quality to do so.


  16. Journeying Through Football

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    It's been my busiest and probably toughest month as a manager. We struggled to find any consistency in our form and performances but I also had other things to deal with looking ahead to the thick of the season.

    One thing I wanted to do this month was bring in some higher quality depth. We signed 4 players. Henry Lander comes in and he is a CB who could likely start for us but with the form our back 4 has been in I didn't see the need to make changes.

    We also brought in 3 midfielders. Brierley, Last and Bennett. All 3 of them are decent players and are better than the backup we had. Our performances in the middle of the park dropped towards the end of October and this month so I needed the improved depth.

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    3 wins, 1 draw and 3 losses. We started off with a battle against 5th placed Bishop's Stortford and it was a very even game but they just took the points as we failed to take our chances.

    But then was my biggest game yet. League 2 Exeter away and we were superb. Exeter seemed to be expecting an easy game so when NRH gave us a 2 goal lead they didn't know how to react. From that point on the game was in the hands of our in form defence and they controlled it only allowing a slight hope for the hosts.

    However we struggled to back it up. Our worst game of the month as we created nothing and looked lazy defensively. Gosport were just the better team and I was furious after the game as we missed our chance to gain on the leaders.

    We then destroyed Eastbourne. It was a superb performances and a half time rollocking kicked us into gear as we looked a bit slow in the first half. We couldn't take it into the Hungerford game though where neither team created anything forcing a replay which we well and truly controlled with NRH getting 2 goals set up by Richards.

    You see how we start December with a huge FA Cup 2nd Round tie at home to Coventry. We have been told the match will be televised which will bring £70k into the club but also with it being at home we expect a bumper crowd. This could be huge for the clubs finances but it may also give us some room to negotiate with leading man Eliot Richards.

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    So we finish in 5th, 4 points clear of the chasing pack and 5 points off of the top of the table Whitehawk. We are struggling to find the consistency that we need to truly keep the battle on for the top spot but I'd be happy to finish here.

    Still if we drop out the top 5 I am not going to be annoyed. We are expected to be relegated remember. The media reckon we should be scrapping and just surviving and that's all our board want so anything from mid-table upwards is superb.

    One final comment and I know I say it every single month but our top 2 strikers are superb. NRH now has 19 goals and 9 assists from 25 games. Richards has 16 goals and 14 assists from 25 games and that's just ridiculous. Between them they have contributed to 58 goals, we've only scored 53 in all competitions!

    Basically they either score or set up the other. They have scored 35 of our 53 goals and it wouldn't surprise me if they had set up all of them for eachother. Without them we are at the opposite end of the table, out of the FA Cup and FA Trophy and I am probably sacked by now. Instead I seem to be attracting attention of bigger clubs with my names mentioned for Plymouth in League 2 and Gateshead in the National League, none of the rumours amounted to anything but it's nice to see me getting realised so early on.

  17. Journeying Through Football

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    So with my name bouncing around in the higher tiers of English football after a superb start with Weston it was time for my biggest game yet. We had a televised FA Cup 2nd Round tie against League 1 Coventry City.

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    I won't lie, it wasn't our greatest performance but we played well. Defensively we were shaky but it is to be expected. We took the lead through Richards, who as you can probably guess was set up by NRH. From that point on we just had to defend well and we did to some extent.

    There was a lot of last ditch defending in the first half but eventually Coventry broke through. The second came down to fitness. With the lads putting 100% effort in for 85 minutes they were knackered and struggled to get back quickly enough after having a free kick cleared.

    Reid who had been on the pitch for 10 minutes used his pace and power to run past Simpson and Williams and he just slotted past Purnell who for me was man of the match. It was tough to take but we gave them a tough game.

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    This pissed me off. I understand we were 1-0 up but our fans reacted as if we were expected to win. I mean come on we are in the 6th tier and were facing a 3rd tier side, and only lost by 1 late goal!!!

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    So there it is. The big thing about this game as we take a massive haul of money from the TV rights and bumper crowd. I have asked the board for more money to help keep Richards, they said no. I also asked if I could go on a coaching course, they also said no to that as they want me to be at training.

    This is massive for the club and going off of the figures so far this season it could probably keep the club going for the next 6 months! It's good to see we are doing well and I will continue to negotiate with Richards in the hope of getting him to lower his demands to stay with us.


  18. Just to let everyone know this will be continued I'm just currently away and not had a chance to update. I've played to Feb so far and am ready to update to then when I get a chance

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