So after somehow winning the League One playoffs last season we find ourselves in the Championship.
Where we will be up against 18 ex-premiership sides, the expectations as always is to avoid relegation with the board helpfully giving me £85K to it with :(
Things quickly got worse when my entire defence declared their intentions to leave the club.
Whilst my scouts went searching across Europe for a new defence, I went about selling off the unhappy or unneeded players to raise funds, the sale of Peter Tanner to Barnsley for £1m raised enough funds to stregthen the team not that my scouts could find that many good players interested in signing for me (or with wage demands I could afford).
When January came around the loss of two first teamers at least raised a fair bit of money - Spanish Winger Jose Manuel Ramos joined Bolton for £2.5m, he wasn't that much of a loss as he'd spent the whole season so far injured, the loss of centre-back David Robertson was a blow though he was by far my best defender though the ~£5m Dinamo gave me for him made up for it in part.
So with a couple of million in the bank I could finally afford some premiership potential youngsters, though again my scouts struggled to find quality players in Europe (this doesn't seem to be my scouts fault, it looks like they only bother to report back on people who have some interest in signing for me, manual scouting reveals better players but with no intention to sign for me, hopefully our reputation will increase enough for us to attract some better players) a record £2m was spent on young WBA striker Tim Williams, unfortantley he got injured in a reserve game and would miss the entire season (well he came back for the last two games)
The season got off to a good start, largly due to our home form where we were unbeaten until November, however our away form was woeful only managing our first away win in November also, with our second away win coming against Fierce rivals Leeds.
Though with my entire defence wanting out and then not turning upto games we found ourselves in trouble and sliding down the table suffering 7 one goal defeats in a row during December and January sent us into the relegation spots.
Another losing streak this time four games in February had looked to have killed any fight left, especially when it ended with a 4-0 mauling by league leaders Barnsley.
However we breathed some life into our chances by beating Stoke 3-2 at thanks to youngster Scott Gerrard grabbing two goals from the bench, he then came off the bench in the next two games to grab the winner in each against Gillingham and in our last and third away win at Fulham.
We then looked to have undone our good work when we could only claim two hard fought home draws against Bristol City and Crystal Palace and away defeats to MK Dons and a hammering from Southampton left us with two games left one point above Stoke, but at least Blackpool and MK Dons had already cliamed the other two relegation spots, whilst Coventry and Ipswich were the only teams above us in danger of relegation.
So the 45th game of the season would see us play Fierce Rivals Leeds at home and with Stoke losing earlier in the day to Ipswich a victory would keep us in the Championship, and yet again my team were up for some Leeds bashing, Captain Sendoa opening the scoring just before half-time and Tom Ruddy added a second in injury time, to give us our third 2-0 victory over Leeds in three games and more importantly kept us in the Championship :)
Final Table and Positions - we really need to improve our away form next season, if I actually had players who wanted to play for me we would have done a lot better, there was only a couple of games we were outclassed in - 14 of our defeats we by just one goal, a few more clean sheets or goals would have made a lot of difference.
Squad - Keeper Pedro played the entire season and had a solid season, with my want away defence not helping him out - right back Jai Gray started well but when he demanded a move he switched off and was dropped before breaking his leg, he did in the end sign a new contract in July, though if anyone does ever make a bid for him he is gone, with Gray out my two young Irish right backs Peter Reeves and Arron Hilton were given a chance, though with them both struggling is the main reason why I let Gray stay.
Left back proved to be more of a problem Ross Birch was solid until he demanded a move and then he fell apart on the pitch, he was replaced by Graham Holsgrove who did well until he also fell apart after demanding a move :(
In the centre of defence with the loss of David Robertson in January, it fell to Mal Thompson to fill his shoes, and he filled them admirably winning fans player of the year. Partnering him was George Dootson who started moaning at the start of the season, was quiet enough when no one wanted him to sign a new contract, but towards the end of the season starting moaning again, so I gave my young Spanish Centre-back Diego a chance.
In Midfield with Ramos injured then sold it was chance for Tamer Ross to claim the right wing position, however he had a poor season capped off by his demands to leave at the end of the season, providing cover was Mark Metcalf not highly rated by my staff but was solid when used.
Also at the end of the season both my left wingers Colin Coleman and Lawrie Woolley demanded to leave the club.
In the centre of midfield Steve Patterson was solid as ever and is being pushed hard by new signing Andy Batchelor, partnering them was Tom Ruddy who had a good season until he too demanded a transfer towards the end of the season.
My Strikers struggled this season against Championship defences, Captain Sendoa plugged away ending up top scorer with 8 goals, his partner Steve Ellison had a disapointing season though he did get himself a Welsh cap and at the end of the season he shockingly demanded a transfer, we were then hit by my other Welsh Striker Kevin Pearson demanding a move to a bigger club after just 18 months at the club, at least one of my new signings brigthened things up youngster Stuart Gerrard bought from Barnsley for £90K, proved to be something of a supersub finishing second top scorer with 7 games from mainly sub appearances.
Best XI - from the first XI there only Sendoa, Patterson, Thompson and Pedro don't want out.
Snapshot - The cups didn't provide much luck again, we took Hull to a replay in the FA Cup Third Round, in the Carling Cup we beat Oldham before falling to Spurs.
Manager Profile - minor changes to my attributes, whilst at the end of the season for some reason the game wiped all of my manager knowledge?
Manager Info - My 500th game saw us lose to bottom club Blackpool :(
Club Info, Club Facts showing how out matched we are in the Championship.
One good thing about the Championship is the money, for the first time ever I got more prize money than the squad bonus cost me.
With my scouts out scouring Europe for talent my knowledge increases, though is it just me or do the scouts seem to take longer in FM09? I like the roaming feature, saves me having to remember to send them out again.
At the end of the season you'd think we'd been relegated with all the demands to leave the club I got :(
So the plan for next season is too first see how many players I have left who want to play for the club, then rebuild and try and avoid relegation.
|2009/10||Blue Square North||1st||Promoted - Champions|
|2010/11||Blue Square Prem||5th||Playoff Final|
|2011/12||Blue Square Prem||1st||Promoted - Champions|
|2015/16||League Two||4th||2016/17||League Two||1st||Promoted - Champions||2017/18||League One||3rd||Promoted - Playoffs||2018/19||Championship||21st|