So after narrowly avoiding relagation last season, any hopes of climbing the table this season were quickly dashed when nearly my entire team declared their intentions to move to a bigger club, regardless of whether anyone else wanted them or not :(
Last season was barely over before midfielder Tom Ruddy demanded a move, that was followed by both my left wingers Coleman and Woolley demanding moves, quickly followed by my remaining right winger Ross, star Striker Ellison and Promising Strkier Pearson all demanding moves aswell, we then came full circle as my only left back Holsgrove demanded a move as did centre-back Dootson and then my right back Gray demanded a move after just signing a new contract in July and recovering from a broken leg. I also sold off some youngsters who didn't develop or refused to sign a new contract.
So I added an extra £10m onto the £8m I raised last season and with my socuts scouring Europe for U18 good/leading Premiership youngsters I went about rebuilding my team, the irony being that most of my signings came from the youth teams of Premiership clubs, good Europe players are out there they just don't want to play for me.
With a new young inexperienced team we didn't get off to the best of starts losing nine of our opening ten league games.
With the tactics based on the tactics forum not working, I switched back to my old style of tactics - leave everything on team settings and tweak for the person.
I set up a defensive counter-attacking 4-4-2, with low creative freedom, with the MCd set as slightly more defensive, the MCa more attacking and gave the MCa and Wingers some more creative freedom, upfront I dropped the closing down to create some space and upped the mentality of the fast striker.
The tactical change seemed to work we were playing better and creating chances winning the next four of five games.
We quickly pulled ourselves of the bottom of the table and out of relagation, however we just couldn't put together any sort of run - if we were up for the game we'd win, if we didn't turn up we'd struggle.
A good February saw us win three games from six, but after that we seriously struggled, we claimed spirited home draws against Newcastle, Fulham and Norwich, but we fell apart away with both Swansea and bottom side Burnley putting four goals past us.
After defeat to Burnley we were five points above relagation with four games to go, a 1-1 home draw to Bolton left us five points clear with three games remanining, and that just left us Watford and Coventry fighting to avoid the last relagation spot.
Our next game was away to Coventry, a win for us would see us safe, but Coventry were determined not to go down, and despite a fine defensive performance Coventry claimed a winner in the 84th minute to leave it looking like we were heading back to League One.
However if we could win our last home game of the season against Nottm Forest we'd be safe and in the end a 19th minute goal from Lewis Mintus was enough to secure our Championship survival for another season :)
Table - we again finished 21sth, but with two extra points on last season. Whilst Gillingham managed to throw away the automatic promotion spot on the last day. Our eary form didn't help and the bookies seemed to be correct about our odds.
Squad - Only three of my players have played a full season before this Pedro, Patterson and Captain Sendoa.
In Goal new signing Mark Galley proved to be good competition for Pedro.
My new look defence saw Romanian Marian Balu claim the right back spot after Jai Gray left with Peter Reeves and new signing Richard Allan competing for it as well.
On the left Omar Cardozo was signed from Arsenal and is my only left back, with cover being provided by loanees.
In the centre of defence Spanish Defender Diego took command and was in fine form, only spoiled by him demanding a transfer at the end of the season. Partnering him was vice-captain Mal Thompson and new signing Dave Whitbread.
My new look midfielder saw another Arsenal player on the right winger David Owen, with cover being provided by Greek youngster Giorgos Fotiadis, on the left wing was signing of the season and fans player of the year Gonzalo Alonso who was signed on a free from Sevilla, providing cover was Chris Friar who was signed from Man City.
In the middle Steve Patterson provided the experience, whilst Keith Hurrell was the creative spark of the side after being signed from Portsmouth for £1.4m, providing cover was english youngsters Andy Batchelor and Harry Gudgeon, along with promising Swiss midfielder Gilbert Fievet.
Upfront Sendoa lead the line with new signings Lewis Mintus, Richard Burge and Tim Williams impressing.
Best XI - from the starting XI only Striker Sendoa has played more than one seasons worth of games for me.
Snapshot - we went out of both cups to North East sides Middlesbrough and Newcastle - Boro needed a late goal to beat us 3-2 whilst Newcastle held on to beat us 1-0 after having their Keeper sent off.
Manager Profile - the new patch wiped all of my knowledge and it doesn't want to come back :( - this happened to anyone else?
Club Info - still only regional reputation, whilst the media prediction of last in our second season shows our reputation is quite a bit lower than everyone elses, considering next season we are expected to finish last again. At least the board put some money towards improving our facilities they are now rated Good and Average, though I could do with getting away from Gigg Lane as the pitch is awful.
Club Facts - An average age of 19 at least means my players can only get better if they stay that is, whilst wage wise we are still out of our depth.
So the plan for next season is to try and keep hold of my players and hopefully start to climb the table.
One thing I couldn't resist was appointing old rivals Merthyr as my feeder club when offered, as the withdrawlal of their tycoon bankrupted them.
|2009/10||Blue Square North||1st||Promoted - Champions|
|2010/11||Blue Square Prem||5th||Playoff Final|
|2011/12||Blue Square Prem||1st||Promoted - Champions|
|2016/17||League Two||1st||Promoted - Champions|
|2017/18||League One||3rd||Promoted - Playoffs|