After last seasons rather disapointing relagation from League Two the board were expecting us to go straight back up, one problem was I again failed to bring in any new attacking players and was left to just bolster the defence.
We took another blow when my Captain Jean-Francois Christophe demanded a transfer, luckily I kept hold of him for the season with him leaving on a free at the end of the season.
We did get some good news when my Assistant Manager recommended two quality defenders to me - Centre Back Pedro Mendes from Sporting and Ajax Left Back Arjan Artoumian who both arrived on frees after trials.
Other initial transfers saw the arrival of Mark Fitzpatrick whos a natural leftback and centre back who was released by Sunderland and Defensive Midfielder Steve Patterson who was released by Reading.
Interestingly just before Jan my Manager Reputation must have increased as I could now attract players from Irish sides (even managing to sign a few players from youth contracts including 14yo right back Peter Reeves who looks like he'll be a class player)
I also spent the bulk of my transfer budget on a premiership potential midfielder Tom Ruddy from Bury and a striker Steve Ellison from Merthyr - Ellison picking up an injury before he signed for me didn't help him this season and his struggle for match fitness reduced his impact.
The season didn't quite go to plan, we again struggled for goals and would have to settle for a playoff spot.
The playoffs drew us against Barnet and we'd be without my Keeper Pedro who was injured in the last game of the season and stand in Captain John Simpson who got himself sent off in the last game also.
The first leg ended 1-0 to Barnet, in the second leg we took the game to Barnet with Sendoa evening things up on agg after the hour, but we couldn't find a second goal and extra time would be needed, where with injuries and international duty reducing my strikeforce I had to bring on Swedish Striker Rasmus Jonsson who hadn't scored in 1,146 minutes (since the second game of the season - nearly 13 games) to replace Sendoa who'd taken a knock and somehow he grabs two goals in 3 minutes to send us through to the playoff final (not the best goals mind you - scrappy tapins from a few yards out but they all count).
The playoff final would see us face Rochdale at Wembley and it appeared the occasion got to both our defences as they both just stood around ball watching leading to a 3-3 draw, which went down to pens that were won by Rochdale thanks to Fitzpatrick smashing his pen against the post :( - something weird happened to the pens this season before this season every pen involving my team was scored, this season saw one saved in a shootout, two were saved during a game (one for and one against me) and Fitzpatrick's was the first I've seen strike a post, just need one to go wide now.
Playoff Final Report.
League Table - Shrewsbury stormed the league claiming the title back in March, things didn't go too well for Morecambe or Oldham who were the early pacesetters. We had the best defence in the league, but our inability to score let us down again (and seems to let me down in the challenge every year).
POS graph - we had a good start to the season, not conceeding for the first 5 games, however we couldn't keep it up and once we lost the leaders we never caught upto them, whilst Rochdale snuck promotion out of nowhere.
Squad - my Keepers Pedro and Dawson were rotated this season as both were in fine form.
Defensively rightback Jai Gray had a fantastic season and is showing a lot of potential after being snatched from Oldham for £35K last season, and my faith in him let me sell Bentley to QoS for £100K at the start of the season, one worry was at the start of the season he moaned about first team football when he hadn't missed a league game when fit - rotating him could be a problem, on the left Arjan Artoumian was a rock aswell, as were my centrebacks Pedro Mendes and Mark Fitzpatrick who was given a chance when Christophe decided to leave.
In Midfield my wingers again proved to be a stong point with Gilligan and Coleman rotating on the left whilst Tamer Ross provided cover for Ramos on the right.
On the middle of the field John Simpson struck up a good partnership with Steve Patterson.
Upfront I may have finally have found my goalscorer - 18yo Irish Striker Paul Carter signed from Bray on transfer deadline day for what loose change I had lying around (the board just about let me pay £3K over 24mths for him) - with my other strikers underperforming or injured he was given a chance against bottom of the league Darlington and scored twice and didn't stop scoring since.
Sendoa Guarrotxena again lead the line, Swedish Striker Jonsson had a poor season, but his goals in the playoffs means I'll give him a chance next season before selling him.
Best XI and Overall XI - the Overall XI again is broken - Dawson somehow replaces Pedro in goal, Saganowski replaces Sendoa upfront and Allan who was onloan in the past, ousts Captain Christophe?
Snapshot - The cups didn't go that well this season - In the FA Cup we smashed League One Preston 4-0, but then went and lost 2-1 to league rivals Morecambe in the Second Round. The Carling Cup saw us lose to Newcastle, whilst in the Paint Trophy we beat Oldham on pens before losing to Bury yet again.
Also being in League Two is not good for our finances.
Manager Profile - Appartently I favour an attacking style, yet we cannot score.
Club Info and Club Facts - An Average age of 20 both good and bad - they have time to improve, but lack the fight sometimes. A low average wage also shows what we are up against.
So next season we need to make a run at the Automatic Promotion spots, otherwise I'll struggle to keep hold of my players and my job will be in doubt.
|2009/10||Blue Square North||1st||Promoted - Champions|
|2010/11||Blue Square Prem||5th||Playoff Final|
|2011/12||Blue Square Prem||1st||Promoted - Champions|
|2013/14||League One||24th||Relegated||2014/15||League Two||6th|