Update for FM'15 Wandering the Isles and across the North Sea
26-04-2015, 12:53 PM (This post was last modified: 27-10-2015, 10:36 AM by Wolve. Edit Reason: typos )
Leagues loaded:
  • England - Conference North/South
  • Scotland - Scottish League Two
  • Wales - Welsh Premier League
  • Northern Ireland - NIFL Championship 2
  • Republic of Ireland - League of Ireland First Division

I may be a bit verbose at times, just deal with it. Tongue

Season 1: 2014/15: Unemployed
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For my latest adventure I took the plunge as an unemployed, poorly qualified manager, with only the most obscure history of playing football. Surely that must sound like a match made in heaven to most clubs!

They were so incredibly blown away by my resume, that for months, I didn't even get as much as an interview. But I did dutifully keep applying for any job that became available, so at least I could keep my state benefits.

After a few months my luck finally turned. Completely unexpected I was offered three interviews in as many days! A Conference Premier club and two Conference North clubs invited me over. One of the Conference North sides wasn't all that impressed and didn't offer me the job. But, due to some miracle, both the other teams did offer me the job! The Conference Premier side was struggling and were hoping to avoid relegation. They were hovering just inches above the relegation spots. And their proposed budgets didn't seem all that promising, no room to turn this team around. The Conference North team was merely inches away from the promotion playoff spots. Their expectation was to at least reach the playoffs. Their wage budget was used all up, but the depth of the team seemed reasonable, and the current assistant manager was more than capable. I figured this team had more potential. And fighting for promotion is always a lot more rewarding than fighting against relegation.

And that's how I ended up at Hednesford Town F.C.

Season 1 (cont'd): 2014/15: Hednesford Town F.C. - Conference North
[Image: LtNk5B5.png]

Board expectations: reach promotion playoffs
Transfer budget: £0
Wage budget: £4k/wk
My contract: £210/wk P/T
Players in: 2 on loan
Players out: 2 released, 4 end of contract
Season tickets: -


When I arrived, the team was only two points off from 5th place, the lowest place that would still qualify us for the playoffs. They must have had a few results turn against them that resulted in the sacking of their previous manager, as they were so close to their goal. It worked out for me though, as it was now my turn to give it a go!

After a long meeting with The Assman, I had an idea of the capabilities of my players. While the squad had good depth in general, it was lacking talent and depth on the left side of the pitch. Both my DL and ML/AML positions both had just one capable player, with a single awkward backup. And they weren't even that good to begin with.

After having made a bit of room in my wage budget by getting rid of some deadwood (who needs 7 central midfielders anyway?), I decided to turn to my scouts to fix that left side of the pitch.

There was only one problem..... we had no scouts! So, off to the job centre, I really needed some reinforcements before I could get some new reinforcements. Now let me jump forward in time a bit. I received some applicants, some not so great, but some fairly decent ones as well. The board set a maximum of two scouts, so I approached my two favourites, who were even willing to join on non-contracts, which given our finances was a great help. But then the board said no. Apparantly, I agreed not to make any backroom changes. While there were no scouts.

Oops! Blink


With all that figured out, it was time to crack on and see my lads in action. Tactics set, instructions given, let's do this! They promptly managed to win their first match with me in charge and we suddenly saw ourselves moving up into the playoff spots. Definitely not the worst start! After that, it turned into a bit of a mixed bag of results. Winning against the top team, losing against relegation candidates. While the offence was scoring goals in most matches, the rear was just leaking too many goals and costing us points. And with the top teams being very tight, only two points between the 2nd and 8th placed teams, I was starting to develop serious vertigo. In the span of a few matches, we popped up to 2nd place, and moved back down to 7th. One day the board were happy, the next day they were getting impatient again.

Luckily, the embargo on backroom changes was eventually lifted so I could get my scouting staff, who quickly managed to find me a more than decent ML/AML and a not completely incapable backup DL on loan for the rest of the season.

It did make the offence a bit stronger, but the defence were still always just too late to the party. After an especially embarrassing result when I was up 2-0 by halftime and still ending up losing the game 2-4, I found myself being called into the boardroom. I was told in no uncertain terms that they expected an improvement in the results. Not wanting to test their patience even further, I agreed and promised them what they wanted.

The pressure was on. With only three matches left, I told my lads to dig deep and give it all they had. Due to some injuries, I had to mix up my tactics. The lads did dig deep and pulled off a great result against the runners up. We saw ourselves moving back into the playoff spots, and the media was lauding my tactical genius. Such is the life of a football manager. You're only as good as your last result.

After a draw in the penultimate match, were were still in the playoff spots, albeit by goal difference alone. We just had to win our last match, otherwise one of the teams breathing down our necks would swoop in and take that spot, which would also most likely result in the sacking of yours truly.

The final match was a nail biter. And not a pretty one. In a very physical game, which left me wondering if we accidentally fielded rugby players, they managed to scrape a 2-1 victory. A job well done I congratulated my team on working hard till the very end and getting us that hard fought playoff spot.

The playoffs were an absolute disaster. With a few injuries and many key players in desperate need of a rest, they did little more than turn up. We lost both legs of the playoff semi final without a fight. They were all sent home to get their rest.


With the main goal achieved, I stepped into the boardroom, this time voluntarily, and asked to get my contract renewed, as it was about to expire. They were satisfied with my result, so they agreed and promptly did offer me a new contract. No raise, and only a one year extension, but I'll take what I can get. With an idea of the team's strengths and weaknesses, I was looking forward to another season in the Conference North, hopefully making a decent push for promotion.

League: 4th
Playoffs: lost semi finals
Cups: out before I joined
Average attendance: 696

[Image: A6Bx7BM.png]

Season 2: 2015/16: Hednesford Town F.C. - Conference North
[Image: LtNk5B5.png]

Board expectations: respectable league position
Transfer budget: £0
Wage budget: £6k/wk
My contract: £210/wk P/T
Players in: 5 free agents, 2 on loan
Players out: -
Season tickets: 215


Unfortunately, the winger I managed to get on loan returned to his club. Our main striker, who had been brought in on loan before I joined, also returned to his club. The best player in the club, the right defender, was not interested in renewing his contract and joined a better club for twice the salary I would've even been able to offer him. One of my central defenders has meanwhile turned 38, becoming even slower than he already was. So I was getting quite a few gaps by now. I did manage to renew a number of first team players contracts, and get a few backups to go for non-contracts with appearance money. While

With one of my scouts sent to to find free agents and one of my scouts sent out to find cheap loans, I managed to dig up a few good first team players and a couple of decent backups. This was helped because the board unexpectedly increased the wage budget for this season, despite slightly lowering their own expectations. While still not having a brilliant defence, it did look a lot better and more balanced.

Apart from getting new players in, pre-season was fairly uneventful.


Once the competition started, the team just carried on doing what they did last season. They produced another mixed bag of results. Winning against the top teams, losing against the relegation candidates, I never quite knew what to expect. My team had no problem scoring quickly, despite my striker not scoring a single goal in the first 9 matches, the defence always seemed to collapse after a while, allowing the opponents to turn it all around again.

The team started off bouncing up and down, just outside of the promotion playoff spots, but after a particularly bad stint, in which we lost 5 games in a row after being ahead at halftime in all of them, we started to fall down to mid-table mediocrity.

A shuffle in the tactics seemed to pay off, but we quickly started to pick up our bad habits again of unnecessarily spilling points from seemingly comfortable leads. This team was starting to tick me off. Despite a clear amount of quality, they just couldn't show any form of consistency.

This is when the Bray Wanderers gave me a call. They wanted to have a chat with me, as they fired their manager after getting relegated from the Irish Premier League. Apparantly I made an impression, as they even offered me the job.

They looked like a decent squad with decent facilities. And I felt I should be able to get them back up to the Irish Premier League again. And because I felt I was getting a bit stuck with my current team, I decided to go for it.


I left Hednesford Town F.C. in 11th position, only just in the top half, in January, midway through the season. Waves

Season 2½: 2016: Bray Wanderers A.F.C. - League of Ireland First Division
[Image: aB8r2e6.png]

Board expectations: reach promotion playoffs
Transfer budget: negative £5k
Wage budget: £2.5k/wk (£400/wk over budget)
My contract: £275/wk P/T
Players in: none
Players out: 3 free, 1 for £4k
Season tickets: 231


While I left my old team halfway through the season, I arrived here coming into a new season, as in Ireland they are playing their seasons in sync with the calendar year.

With the wage budget already stretched and the transfer budget already overspent before I came in, I didn't have many possibilities during the break and pre-season. Where I wasn't allowed to make any backroom changes, at least this time around I did have scouts (yes, plural!). I sent my best scout out to see if there was anyone to pick up on a free loan, as that was all I could afford. My other scout was sent out to just build up some knowledge and find some end of contract players for the next season. Unfortunately, there wasn't much up for loan in my very limited scouting range. And due to a lack of funds, I didn't sign any players all season.

Despite the winter break, the players were still quite upset about their relegation in the previous season. Most of them wanted to play for bigger teams. While I said I would listen to reasonable offers, no one came knocking. I didn't really want to lose them anyway, as I felt that the current team would provide me with enough quality to fight back into the Premier League. Morale was definitely an issue. Most players slowly settled into their new rhythms, but two of them just couldn't deal with it. They were eventually released/sold, which at least brought the wages down to the limit.

Pre-season went alright. The team seemed competitive, especially given the club had arranged almost all their friendlies against Premier League sides. It also allowed me to try out a few different tactics, as a number of players were quite capable if several positions.


The season started terrible. Picking up a few bad injuries during the first few games didn't help. The fact that they throw away a 2-0 lead didn't help (now where have I heard this before...). The fact that they caused two penalties and and picked up two red cards in a single match didn't help. After six games, the team was second to last. Three draws and three losses. This wasn't going very well...

Something had to be done. I completely abandoned my favourite tactical setup, which should've worked well for this team, and went for something simpler. The effect was incredible. The team went from not being able to win to not being able to lose. Slowly but steadily they started to climb the table, culminating in claiming the top spot halfway through the season.

The second half of the season was a bit more stable. I won some, I lost some, an occasional draw. The team was moving up and down in the top 3. With three matches left, reaching at least the playoffs was secured.

With two matches left, I was in second position, only one point behind the top spot. And in that penultimate match we would be playing them. And with a very entertaining 5-2 we took over the top spot. Given our goal difference, all we needed was a draw in the last game. But the boys were so eager they left nothing up to chance and with a 4-1 win we claimed the title!



No one cared about the League Cup. Nonetheless, we won the first round against a premier division side. In the second round we came up against a non-league side, which should've been no trouble. Unfortunately, they held us to a 2-2 draw and penalties. After 11 (!) penalties each, our opponents won the lottery and we were out. Despite it not being an important cup, I was somewhat disappointed we couldn't beat that team.

The Senior Challenge Cup was of slightly more importance. We were put straight into the second round, which saw us playing another non-league side. After yet another poor draw, we managed to just scrape a 2-1 win in the replay. In the third round we drew a fellow First Division side, against whom we promptly drew again. We played poorly in the replay, sending us out in the third round. Target achieved, but we could've gotten more out of it.


After overachieving our league target, the board promptly offered me a new contract. Unfortunately just for one more year at the same wage. I tried to push for an extra year, but they wouldn't have it. A bit of a shame, but I was happy to take up the challenge of playing in the premier league and happy with my squad, so I signed it anyway.

The board did offer me a major increase in wage budget, due to our promotion. This allowed me to renew the contract of pretty much my entire first team and a few promising youngsters. The signing on fees did eat away a bit of my budget (by having to move some of it over to transfer budget), but after that, I still had about twice my original budget. So that left me with enough space to find a few new youngsters or even a good extra first team player.

All in all, it was a great season, despite the rough start we had.

Looking forward to next season, hopefully we'll be able to make a bit of cash while avoiding relegation. We've managed to roughly break even over the last season, but are still in debt by about £200k which is preventing club and personal growth. I'll have to make sure to keep wages well below the limit to do so.

Looking back at Hednesford, they finished their season in which I left in a poor 14th position and are still hovering mid-table in their running season. I have no regrets about moving away.

League: 1st
Cups: League Cup 2nd round, Senior Challenge Cup 3rd round
Average attendance: 277

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26-04-2015, 01:56 PM
Excellent start to this career. A play-off place followed by a championship and promotion is not to be sniffed at.

Also being so keen to get to work that you didn't read the small print in the first contract, love it Mrgreen

26-04-2015, 03:26 PM
Interesting stuff. Good to get a pot in the cupboard early on as well.

It'll be interesting to see where you can go from here with the club.
(15-02-2018, 10:50 PM)Rodderas Wrote: Maybe this upset the team? Fucked if I know.

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26-04-2015, 04:39 PM
I forgot to mention, I managed to snatch up the manager of the year award as well! Nice little bonus to have.

(26-04-2015, 01:56 PM)keefa Wrote: Excellent start to this career. A play-off place followed by a championship and promotion is not to be sniffed at.

Also being so keen to get to work that you didn't read the small print in the first contract, love it


I felt rather silly when I discovered that... Doh

(26-04-2015, 03:26 PM)JD95 aka Fidsy Jr. Wrote: Interesting stuff. Good to get a pot in the cupboard early on as well.

It'll be interesting to see where you can go from here with the club.

I think the team has enough quality to stay up, so hopefully I'll be able to keep the finances under control. That'll be my main target for the first season in the Irish Premier League.
26-04-2015, 09:39 PM (This post was last modified: 26-04-2015, 09:41 PM by Barside.)
Those job interview promises can be a bugger. I had one to not criticise the board & found myself begging for forgiveness months later because I forgot about it when asked about whether I thought the chairman was doing a good job for the club, I lasted another 6 weeks before being sacked when I missed out on the play-offs by a single point.
26-04-2015, 10:57 PM
Not a bad start to life, enjoy the craic on the emerald isle
27-04-2015, 02:47 AM
Nice work in Ireland after starting off with the keys...

Currently managing: Kazincbarcika Sports Club, Hungarian Division I
27-04-2015, 11:26 AM
Thank you all! After not getting the team to work properly in my second season at Hednesford I was afraid I was going to have a hard time. So I was happy to have been given a different opportunity. And after the rough start there I was quite relieved once they got going. The relegated team was good in quality, but poor morale definitely was a big issue that held us back at first.

(26-04-2015, 09:39 PM)Barside Wrote: Those job interview promises can be a bugger. I had one to not criticise the board & found myself begging for forgiveness months later because I forgot about it when asked about whether I thought the chairman was doing a good job for the club, I lasted another 6 weeks before being sacked when I missed out on the play-offs by a single point.

That sounds harsh. They may have forgiven you if you hadn't done that, always a shame when you've spent a season trying to build the team and already planning how to improve on it for the oncoming season. At least in my case, they simply prevented me from firing/hiring anyone, thus not affecting their confidence in me.
05-05-2015, 04:57 PM
I had a bit of time to spend the last couple of weekends, so it seems I'm going through a season faster than I've done in a long long time. The promotion may have encouraged me as well there. Just three matches left in the current season and then I'll have an update. Given what I've written so far, it might turn out to be a bit of a novel again... Blush
05-05-2015, 09:11 PM (This post was last modified: 06-10-2015, 12:51 PM by Wolve. Edit Reason: typos )
Season 3½: 2017: Bray Wanderers A.F.C. - League of Ireland Premier Division
[Image: aB8r2e6.png]

Board expectations: avoid automatic relegation
Transfer budget: £100k
Wage budget: £5.7k/wk
My contract: £275/wk P/T
Players in: 4 free, 1 for £5k
Players out: 2 free
Season tickets: 279 (+48)


I was quite happy with my squad and the way they played. So I ended up renewing all my first team regulars' contracts. However, with an increase in league matches (from 28 in the First Division to 33 in the Premier Division) and hopefully a few more cup games, I expected my team to struggle with fitness at times. With a number of players capable of multiple places, I felt a few first-team worthy players would help me through the occasional injury or suspension without having to put youth-quality players on the pitch.

I managed to snap up a good right back and a striker to become part of my starting 11. I also picked up a good backup striker and two two promising youth players. Apart from some singing and agent fees, they were all free end of contract players.

One thing I was gutted about was the fact I just missed out on a good left back and a goalkeeper who decided to sign elsewhere. My current left back was slightly sub-par and always struggling with fitness. My goalkeeper was quite promising and really grew on me, but he was struggling with the higher quality opponents and I was afraid he might cost us a few very important points. Hopefully the continued first team exposure will quickly help him improve.

In the backroom I replaced my physio whom I wasn't too impressed with and signed an extra coach and a dedicated fitness coach. Otherwise I didn't feel the need to make any changes.


In this league, you get to play all teams three times, for a total of 33 matches. Of the twelve teams, only four were full time professional. The rest of us were all part timers. The professionals were always dominant and getting the league wins in the previous seasons. We were definitely not ready to challenge this status quo. Our fight was going to be to stay up in the Premier Division. Looking back at the previous seasons, 33 points, or an average of one point per match, should normally be just enough to scrape a 10th position, clear of direct relegation (12th) or relegation playoffs (11th). So that would be our minimum target. And that didn't seem too unrealistic, as the press fully expected us to finish 10th.

The league started off according to plan. We picked up enough points to stay clear of the relegation spots. Not winning as often as last season did mean that morale was a bit lower, but it didn't fall apart altogether. The extra depth in the squad was really helpful and rarely did I have to field under qualified players to compensate injuries or tired legs.

With a third of the games done, we were in 10th place. We were only a couple of points behind on schedule, but still above the relegation spots. The bottom places were very tight though. Which wasn't helped by giving the bottom team 3 points, their first win on the season in round 11. Luckily we still managed to pick up the occasional win, keeping us safe so far.

Mid season break

Halfway through the season there was a break of 37 days in which we had a short transfer window as well. We had picked up a few more points setting us slightly ahead of schedule. The bottom teams seemed to fall apart, giving us a nice cushion to avoid relegation.

Because I only received a one year extension of my contract after the last season and because I was on target for this season, I figured this might be a good time to ask the board for another extension of my contract. They agreed that it would be beneficial for both parties to commit on working together for longer. After quite a few back and forths, they didn't want to give me a two-year extension, which is what I was hoping for. Not to come away with nothing more than the one-year extension, they did agree to a nice wage increase. Effective immediately, I would be receiving £350/wk, a nice £75/wk increase. 2cents

While I was hoping our goalkeeper would start to improve with the better opposition we were facing, he seemed to let through a few too many easy shots. Maybe he couldn't deal with the pressure. Maybe he just wasn't good enough. My scouts managed to dig up an experienced, but ageing, goalie. I signed him up for the rest of the season. I didn't want to commit to him longer than that due to his age.

My scouts also found a full back who could also be used as a left midfielder to try and tighten up that part of our defence. While I originally signed him on a pre-contract for next season, I could get him immediately for a fairly small sum.

I also played a friendly to not completely lose our match fitness, but otherwise I let my players rest for some time, to re-charge them for the second half of the season.

League (cont'd)

We picked up where we left off. We did spill a few more points than I was hoping, but we never fell behind our schedule. Unfortunately, the bottom teams suddenly came alive. They picked up quite a few points against the top teams. At one point, we were only three points ahead of direct relegation, despite being on target.

Towards the end of the season the bottom team fell back again. With three games to go, while technically still possible, I didn't see us finishing last anymore. The race to avoid the playoffs was really tight though. Only four points separated the teams in 7th and 11th place. We had already over achieved our target and accumulated 35 points in 30 games. But in 8th place with only 3 points more than the team in the playoff spot, we weren't secure just yet.

The third to last game was an away game against St. Pat's in 6th place. After conceding one goal in the first half our lads turned fought bravely and pulled back to a draw. We did move up to 7th position, but results in the other matches meant that the 7th to 11th teams were even closer, having 36, 36, 35, 35 and 33 points respectively.

The second to last game was at home against Galway, the team in 11th position with only three points fewer than us. If we win, we're definitely safe. Otherwise, it'll come down to the last day. Luckily for us, it didn't come down to the last day. By halftime we were already up 4-0. A decent second half saw us ending the match with 6-1 on the scoreboard. We were definitely staying in the premier division! Celebrate

The final game saw us lose an eventful match 2-1 against fellow relegation strugglers Limerick, who apparently weren't too keen on ending up in the playoffs. Other results were quite favourable, so we managed to hold on to our 7th place on goal difference. A great result I wouldn't have found possible before the start of the season.


The League Cup, which no one cares about, saw me exit at the first possible opportunity.

In the Senior Challenge Cup I might a slightly bigger first. As a Premier Division team, we entered in the second round. We brushed aside a non-league team to reach the third round, which was also the minimum expectation from the board. A 2-3 loss in the last few minutes of the match against fellow relegation strugglers meant we could focus our attention on the league. I was almost relieved we didn't hang on to extra time (or a replay, I don't know), as this match came in the middle of quite a bit of fixture congestion, and we needed all the points we could get in the league.


My prediction was almost spot on. 33 points only barely wouldn't have saved us from the relegation spots. Finishing in 7th place was definitely a wonderful end of this season.

Financially, we were spending more than was coming in. While keeping a tight lid on wage expenses, not using quite a bit, we made a loss in most months. Despite being on the highest level, we were only drawing crowds of about 400 people. Compared to the top teams that draw a few thousand people to each match, we are losing out on quite a bit of income there. Hopefully that will pick up next season. Otherwise it might be a long struggle to climb out of the bottom half of the league.

Looking forward, I don't feel I have to change much. A replacement goalkeeper for our temporary veteran is on his way in, but otherwise, I'm quite content. If I can get a good fee for a player to clear some of the debt, I would go for it and try and find a good but cheaper replacement. Otherwise, I could just carry on. Most of my players are quite young and still improving, so that should hopefully give us some nice results in the next season. It's just a shame that our facilities are quite poor, so they may not always reach their full potential.

Also, being a part-time team in a league that has a few dominant full-timers, I don't see us pushing for European football anytime soon. Going full-time might help, but I don't see how we could possibly afford that at the moment.

Looking back at Hednesford, they continue to float around mid-table in their league. Regrets are still non-existent.

League: 7th
Cups: League Cup 2nd round, Senior Challenge Cup 3rd round
Average attendance: 389 (+112)

[Image: ORUNdrJ.png]
05-05-2015, 10:52 PM
Well done to stay up at first time of asking, especially in a season where it ran a bit tighter than it usually does. (I usually calculate what I need to stay up based on the largest amount of points that would be necessary historically, i.e. I look at past league tables and if one year the final team relegated got 34 points (as they did here), I would assume that 35 points would be my target for staying up as that would have meant staying up in all previous years.)
06-05-2015, 01:04 AM
A very good outcome in the top league. Keep it up.

Currently managing: Kazincbarcika Sports Club, Hungarian Division I
06-05-2015, 10:56 AM
Seems like you have a big challenge to get Bray to compete at the business end of the table, however well done on jumping the obstacles in place thus far.
06-05-2015, 02:54 PM
Thanks! Thup

My main concern this upcoming season would be "second season syndrome". But I've hardly made any changes to my squad, so they should still be able to work well together.

Ideally, I would like to make the team fully professional. That would help a lot in player development and fitness. But I don't think that would be a financially sound decision unless we actually start pushing for the top spots in the league and getting some more people into our stadium.

I will be staying at Bray for at least one more season (which is how long my contract runs for, I've not been able to get more than one year extensions so far). If we are keeping up our progress, that may very well be extended further. But if we get stuck in the middle I might start looking around to see if I can find a fully professional outfit somewhere in Engalnd or Scotland. All in due time though, at the moment I'm enjoying life at Bray.

(05-05-2015, 10:52 PM)Scratchmonkey Wrote: Well done to stay up at first time of asking, especially in a season where it ran a bit tighter than it usually does. (I usually calculate what I need to stay up based on the largest amount of points that would be necessary historically, i.e. I look at past league tables and if one year the final team relegated got 34 points (as they did here), I would assume that 35 points would be my target for staying up as that would have meant staying up in all previous years.)

I looked at the previous season to have an idea what we would need. That's how I came up with 33 points.

I've looked a bit further, and apparantly, I should've dug a bit deeper. In the previous two seasons, 33 points would've been enough, but the year before that, the team in 11th place also got 34 points, just like this season. So 35 might have been a better target.
06-05-2015, 03:21 PM
Good job staying up. Thup  Especially nicking a nice 7th place finish.
19-05-2015, 07:16 PM
It's always nice to set records with your club!

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19-05-2015, 11:10 PM
Hmmm, Bray Wanderers...

(Northern England, dialect) to hit or beat (someone or something) hard; to bang

Seems pretty accurate to me.
[Image: jptykes.png]
"Whattya saying? That you wanna be like me? Don't you understand that I just barely wanna be like me?"
20-05-2015, 09:10 AM
I didn't know... it is surprisingly accurate!

24-05-2015, 05:25 PM (This post was last modified: 06-10-2015, 12:56 PM by Wolve. Edit Reason: typos )
Season 4½: 2018: Bray Wanderers A.F.C. - League of Ireland Premier Division
[Image: aB8r2e6.png]

Board expectations: mid-table finish
Transfer budget: £120k
Wage budget: £10.2k/wk
My contract: £350/wk P/T
Players in: 5 free, 1 for £40k
Players out: 9 free, 1 loan
Season tickets: 285 (+6)


Despite making a loss of £110k in the previous season, the board decided to double the wage budget. Completely bonkers, given we're about £400k in the red. There was no way I was going to use all of that. The board must be expecting some new revenue stream. Or maybe they're just trying to run us into the ground. Who knows. Shrug

With my team performing admirably in the previous season, I didn't think I had to change much. With quite a few young players, simply having another year of first team experience made them better.

However, I did sign a few players for my first team. First was a goalkeeper, as I knew I would have to replace my temporary veteran. This was already sorted during the previous summer, but he only joined us now after his previous contract had finished. I also signed up a central midfielder who would hopefully give us a bit more bite and control in the midfield. I wasn't too sure who would have to drop out of the team for him though.

I also brought in a striker, my first "big" purchase for just sky of £40k. I was hoping to strengthen my team in the back, but I couldn't find any viable replacements. So hopefully putting a bit more punch up front will also give us the result of bagging a few more points here and there. I didn't really want to spend this much, but hopefully it'll help the push for the top half of the table and pay for itself in the long run.

Two further acquisitions were a good allrounder defender and a good allrounder midfielder, both signed up as backups.

In the backroom I let go of my chief scout. He was a lazy bugger who wouldn't even be able to point out talents if you sent him to the youth academy of Barcelona. I received quite a few responses to my advert, and a new chief scout was appointed. Another talented applicant to my advert didn't want to sign up as chief scout, but as a regular scout. I wasn't too sure why he even replied, but lucky for him that was a vacancy we've had for quite a while, so I signed him up as well. My board allowed me an extra coach, so I placed an advert for that as well. One of my current coaches was clearly sub-par, so he was let go and I signed up two of the applicants. While my facilities were poor, at least I had some decent coaches now.


Last season saw us gather 39 points. With a mid-table finish sounding realistic, with the professional teams still dominating the league, I was targeting 45 points for this season. That should put us in the top half (5th or 6th place), just shy of European football. I only saw three full-time professional teams in the league. I'm not sure if I miscounted earlier or that one of the teams had to revert to semi-professional due to financial struggles.

The season started better than hoped. The top teams were dropping points, and the whole of the top 8 teams were in a big brawl. And we were right in there with them! My new goalkeeper who should be a lot better than my previous one seemed to be a bit flaky though. Making fantastic saves on minute, then buggering up a simple shot the next. Also, my pricey new striker was not looking too well. 8 games in he still hasn't scored a goal. Hopefully they'll settle in soon and start playing well.

That's when out of the blue my phone rang. Sligo Rovers, who had promoted to the Premier Division this season, offered me an interview. With the advert showing a lower wage budget, and the club having even worse facilities than us (I'm not sure how that was possible) and the team being in a lower league position than us, I wasn't even curious about what they could offer me. I turned them down.

Towards the mid season break, form started to slump a bit. A series of 7 league games without a win put us in a more realistic position. Though we did win the last game before the break, giving us a bit of confidence for the rest of the season.

Mid season break

We found ourselves right on target in 6th place with 23 points out of 16 games. Despite our reasonable success, we were still losing money hand over fist. Despite not spending a large chunk of our wage budget.

I tried to offload some players for cash, but apparently, no team in Ireland has any money to spend. I did offload one for free that had signed for another club for the next season. So at least that saved me half a years of wages for a backup player.

For the first time in my career, the board have injected some cash, a generous £85k, to help with the running costs of the club. Hopefully that'll keep ticking us over until we start generating some more revenue.

After the cash injection, the board also accepted my request for a new contract. Unfortunately, they were only willing to add one more year, despite me asking for two more years over and over again. Despite that, I did manage to get £50/wk more, which brings me to a nice salary of £400/wk. Not too shabby for a part timer!

League (cont'd)

The second half of the season kicked off great. Five straight league wins pushed us all the way up to third place. Well above where we should realistically be. A few poor performances brought us back down to earth and 6th place. With 8 matches left we were still very much on schedule for a top half finish. But the places five through eight were all quite close, so anything could happen. The top four teams were starting to pull off, and the bottom two teams couldn't keep up with anyone.

Encouraging was that my goalkeeper and my new overpriced striker started to pull their weight. Despite the defence letting through a few more chances than I was comfortable with, it didn't result in too many goals. And my striker started finding his aim, but was also starting to provide a nice amount of assists, thus giving a nice boost up front.

We picked up enough points to keep us in a good fight for those higher up spots. Spilling 6 points against two of our direct opponents and wasting 3 more points against the team at the bottom of the league meant we couldn't punch our way up. I felt fixture congestion combined with a long season was catching up with us. With some other results working for us, we did manage to keep hold of our place. We finished in 6th place with 48 points. Pretty much exactly where I had aimed to be. So in that respect it was a succesful season. Being only 4 points away from qualifying for European football was a great achievement, but it also felt we just missed out.


The League Cup, which still no one cares about, saw us draw some of the weaker teams in our league. With relative ease, we managed to breeze our way into the semi finals. The semi-finals were tough. We battled ourselves into extra time. In the extra time we grabbed a vital goal and managed to hang onto it, sending us on to the finals! In the finals we met St Pat's Athletic. After getting behind 0-1 in the first half we didn't have the most pleasant of half-time talks. It seemed to do the job as they banged in two after halftime, making it 2-1. The final minutes were nerve wracking, but they managed to hold on. We won our first cup! Champ

In the Senior Challenge Cup the board expected us to reach the third round. We entered in the second round against a first division side. We professionally disposed of them to reach our target. The fourth round was quite the thriller. After getting behind 0-2 we managed to pull level in the last ten minutes to force a replay. In a nail-biting replay we were managed to hang on to a 1-0 lead and we managed to get through to the quarter finals! In the quarter finals we were up against one of the few professional teams: Derry City FC. At the time they were second in the league and we were expected to be blown away. What I didn't expect was being up 3-0 in less than 15 minutes. They did claw one back before half-time. Despite the scoreline they were the stronger side, so I decided to park the bus. They had a few chances, but they couldn't convert them. With them pushing further forward, we even managed to score one more and beat them 4-1. On to the semi-finals! In the semi-finals we met with Sligo Rovers. Of course my goalkeeper decided to get injured just before the match. After a very entertaining match, in which me managed to squander away a 2-goal lead twice, the final score was 5-5. I felt we could've won if we had our goalkeeper. In an equally insane replay, in which we at least had our goalkeeper available again, we managed to push them aside with a hard fought 4-2 win. On to the finals! In the finals we met up with Dundalk. They had just won the league and were on a massive high. The long season combined with the sheer quality of their fully professional squad saw us fall completely apart. No matter what I tried, in the whole match we only had two shots, neither of which was even on target. We lost 0-2. A slightly deflating end of the season, despite massively overachieving to even get this far. We didn't get to have a (short...) adventure into Europe. Despite the other finalists qualifying for the ECC, the spot went to the team in 4th place of the league.


It was a great season in which we achieved everything we wanted and more. Our cup runs were outstanding and we massively overachieved there. They also helped us out financially. Though it's only a drop in the bucket.

One of my strikers, according to many my best player, isn't interested in renewing his contract. This would be a massive disappointment. He doesn't even want to talk about it. Hopefully he'll change his mind, but it looks like we're going to lose him. His many assists make him a vital part of our attack.

I'm not sure where to take the team from here. I have one good defender coming in, but otherwise players who would improve my squad aren't interested in a move. I have plenty of wage and transfer budget, but no one to spend it on. The top three teams of this season were all full time professionals, which I think might be the only way to make us attractive to get players in and make that final push for the top few places. On the other hand, there isn't any money to make from selling players, as none of the other teams have any to pay us. So I don't see us turning professional any time soon.

I've slowly started to look around for other jobs. But the more interesting jobs have no interest in me. Also, the board isn't that keen on me shopping around. It's looking likely I'll have another season here at the Seagulls. Depending on how the next season progresses, I'll have to see if we have any more forward momentum. Given the lack of quality players coming in, we might be looking at a similar mid-table/top-half season again next season.

League: 6th
Cups: League Cup winners, Senior Challenge Cup runners-up
Average attendance: 425 (+36)

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24-05-2015, 07:10 PM
Slow progress is progress nonetheless.

Keep plodding along and I'm sure you'll get somewhere eventually.

Out of interest, what level of badge do you hold?
(15-02-2018, 10:50 PM)Rodderas Wrote: Maybe this upset the team? Fucked if I know.

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