Real life happened! So this midweek update will basically be an end of season, what happened and what’s my hope for season 2 kinda thing, all in one, like a last minute useless sack of…You know what, never mind. WE WON THE LEAGUE (2)!
Record points as well!
This surprised me massively, I didn’t realise that we were going to be so good. We just pretty much dominated the league, beat the record for club and league in terms of points won and games won.
We got to the semi final of the Checkatrade and got humped by Sunderland, lost 4-1 in the third round of the FA cup against Spurs at their gaff (nice little earner that) and lost in the third round of the League cup to Man U, after dominating the match and getting Mourinho’d, losing 1-0.
So all in all a pretty good season really.
McGugan is a legend. Player of the season, scoring 18 from midfield.
Manager of the year for me too!
So yeah it’s all been rather good really, Our first loss was away to MK Dons, who quite frankly shithoused their way to the win but that’s by the by.
This coming season is going to be more of the same. I managed to sign a fair few good players, Glover and Hall came in permanently. Leahy came in and so did Lloyd Isgrove, who’s quickly becoming brilliant. We’re still going with the control 4-2-3-1 in league one as it served us so well in league 2. We kept possession really well with it (naturally) averaging about 60% possession and shooting like crazy with 30 odd shots in some games. It’ll be much more difficult to do this in league one, but we’ll see how it goes.
Many free signings this season, like a whole new team worth of young prem and championship players who were released. I’m particularly excited about Harry Charsley as you can see below he looks like he’s going to be brilliant. He, Isgrove and Hemming will spearhead this attack and score a lot of goals this season.
So onward and upward. A little haphazard this week, people have been in hospital and all sorts of stuff has happened, but normal service shall be resumed at the weekend.
Well, Pre Season is done and dusted. We’re ready for the opening game against Colchester. By being ready I mean, we’ve had a good set of results.
I was particularly happy with the win against Bolton, we went down and came back and beat them quite easily. Which is a stark difference than Port Vale who kept going up and losing the matches.
I’ve been playing this tactic in pre season mostly.
The way I figure is I want to get the whole Juve way of thinking in early on, so attacking football where we see a lot of the ball and are quick in transition to win the ball back.
In terms of my other tactics, I’m going with a 4-4-2 wing play for games where I feel I won’t be able to keep the ball but we’re playing against a team that can be bullied at the back
We’re also going with a Gegenpress for the quality teams.
The idea here is we’ll use the press in a few games where we are up against teams that are a fair bit better than us, theoretically we can harass them to making some mistakes and try to nick a goal. Well, that’s the theory anyway.
For players, we’ll be using our immensely ridiculously sized squad of loans that I went overboard with:
Yeah, that’s a lot – I know. But the way I figure, it’s low risk as they are loans and if they don’t work out I can send them back. Besides, squad rotation will be a doddle now and I can easily do successive games with a press if I needed to. Everyone is pretty much a squad rotation player, with the exception of Tom Glover in goal.
However, these guys are going to be important to me this season:
They are going to be key as to how we do, if they fire then I can see plenty of goals and clean sheets. If they play well then we’ll play well, Hemmings already scored a couple of goals in pre season and Boldewijn has been very good so far.
We also signed Reo Coker – who is immediately installed as Vice captain.
So combined with the youngsters from the prem clubs I feel that we’re going to have a good season, playoffs for sure but I’m definitely hoping for automatic promotion from this lot.
One person who won’t be joining us on this journey though is David Vaughan
Bless the lad, he knackered his spine while lifting weights so has had to retire because he had an injury that would put him out for 15 months. At that age, that’s retirement. So yeah, that’s him done without even kicking a ball for County.
So this is my opening team, let’s hope that we don’t mess this one up.
Oh and finally, an apology. Notts County, as has been pointed out to me are not the oldest club in the world. That is Sheffield FC. What I meant from my previous post is that Notts County is the oldest Pro club in the world. So yeah, there is that. My bad.
After my Port Vale debacle, (which I still insist I was unfairly dismissed from!) I took a good look at what I want to actually do in this blog. The answer is still take a team from lower down and take them to the premier league and win the whole shebang. So I got to thinking, which team could satisfy that request? I mean I already tried record breaking Port Vale – the team who’s been in the English professional game the longest without ever being in the top flight, so let’s try to beat another record (and this time hopefully last longer than January in season 1)
Step forward Notts County. Oldest professional club in the world, founder members of the football league and have NEVER won the premier league/Division one.
They as their badge suggests, were founded in 1862 and their main claim to fame (other than once being randomly managed by Sven Goran Ericsson and having Sol Campbell quit because he had to get changed in a portacabin or something,) is kitting out Juventus.
Yes, Juventus when they first started out wore pink, they were fed up of washing pink so they wanted new shirts that were better colours and they plummed for Notts County colours. Because Nottingham is the fashion capital of the world after all.
Anyway, Notts County are naturally based in Nottingham at Meadow lane, which is near the river trent and literally a stone throw from the City Ground and the Trent Bridge Cricket Ground, in which County used to play in until the FA forced them to relocate. This is because the cricket club weirdly told them that cricket took precedence and any fixture clashes meant that County would be bowled out and play at Forest’s Town Ground. (I’ll get me coat.)
They actually started out playing on the grounds of Nottingham Castle, which to be honest should have stuck. I’d love a team to just kit out a whole Castle and have it fully built with turrets and all sorts of stuff. That’d be rather unique and rather insane.
Meadow Lane is on the left of the river, the city ground on the right and the Cricket ground far right
Meadow Lane is just shy of 20,000 capacity, which is nice for league 2. However there is much room for expansion if you fill in the corners and build outwards, unlike those fools across the river who has a stand literally on the water. Idiots. I’d want to expand the stadium as quickly as possible as our fans can literally see the City ground if they sit in the Kop of the Jimmy Sirrell stand.
Speaking of which, I appreciate a stand called the Kop, being a Liverpool fan myself this is a good sign. A ground with a Kop is a good ground that’ll make some noise and some history so this bodes well I think.
Other than being the oldest club in the world and basically kitting out Juventus, County haven’t really done *too* much. They have spent time in the top flight, won a few FA cups at the turn of the century here and there and basically survived through about 32 takeovers this week I think. At the time of writing, we are owned by a dude called Alan Hardy, but with this being Notts County we could be owned by someone else within a couple of days.
So County are the older but least successful brother of Forest. They look on enviously at the younger club who has those fancy dan European cups in their cabinet and league titles, thinking that one day they will get them. They were supposed to be the special ones for crying out loud, they were trendsetters, fashionistas, the first ever pro club.
Getting them to the prem won’t be easy though, as I saw with Port Vale – league 2 can be easily screwed up if you don’t do things right and, well, even though we’re tipped for a playoff place we’re not that great of a team.
Warning, incoming bar chart spam.
As you can see by the graphical dump that I just amateurishly threw up there, we’re a pretty middle of the road team. Highlights for me include being great at corners and crossing (for league 2 standards) as well as being the best at longshots and vision. We’re laughably slow upfront though and seem to have a poor set of goalkeepers and no real stamina, so with this current squad a pressing formation might not be the best thing, depending on how quick our wingers are though, we may be looking at a wing play team.
The collective squad determination is very low though, which is concerning for me. I like to have a determined squad full of professionals with a good workrate and drive to win, so this might need to be worked on. In terms of formation? Not sure yet, I’ll have to look at individual squad members first and then decide.
Not much in the kitty
For transfers I won’t have too much money to bring in players, so I’ll be relying on free loans from prem/championship teams and maybe even a parent club. This will all depend on what I decide on the next blog – which will be a little more in depth in terms of players and tactics than my laughable attempt at a Port Vale save.
Long term, I’ll be looking at emulating Juventus, after all we inspired them, so in turn they’re going to inspire us. I want to make County the “English team” of well, England really. This involves bringing up exciting prospects from England, signing majority English players and earning the right to wear the flag of St George on our shirt, so we’ll be heavily investing in youth as soon as possible and trying to build us up to be super rich mega club status eventually where we can supplement our amazing English talent with world class players.
January the 1st. 2019. Manager Andre Jenson sets up a whole new team of loans to take this club forward, now the transfer window is open he thinks “well, this can be a new start to the season.”
The New Years day fixture is Lincoln City at Cincil bank. 5th place. We, at the foot of the table could do with a win or something, but everything is tight down at the bottom, 1 point seperates the bottom 3 teams.
We draw 2-2, the bottom 2 clubs Tranmere and Macclesfield lose. Happy days, we’re out of the relegation zone and onward and upward, right?
Sacked. In January. That’s a record for me I think. So yeah no longer Port Vale manager.
Where did I go wrong though?
Well I’m pretty sure I didn’t do the squad review properly, it was rushed, completely haphazard and nonsensical. In fact, just look at the blog post on it, it was literally nothing. Thinking about it, I should have stuck with a simple 4-4-2. When we started to lose I switched to gegenpress and all sorts of nonsense. My team wasn’t exactly blessed with amazing quality and what little we had was on the wings. Unfortunately it was stacked on the right wing and only Whitfield was decent on the left. Which leads me to my next, and rather more major issue.
I didn’t play the loan market enough.
In my first transfer window I figured that it’d be alright, that I didn’t need an overhaul or anything and thought that my squad was good enough for at least the first season. How wrong I was!
So I leave the Port Vale series, with a measly 3 mediocre posts and an underwhelming performance to be sure. Onwards and upwards though eh?
Now what next? I’m torn between either a new save or taking over someone else and really shitting on Vale. I’ll think on it and decide. Crewe maybe…
I knew Port Vale were bad. Like a really bad team in real life that only Robbie Williams could love, like the kind of kid with a face only a mother can love.
I wasn’t expecting this though:
No balance, no heart, no commitment. Robbie would most certainly not approve of any of this.
So what can I do? I was trying to play with a 4-4-2 wing play formation, I create plenty of chances of course, but concede more. Maybe Brown is just not up to it and I need a new keeper. Maybe a whole new defence. Either way it’s only a matter of time before I go get myself canned I think.
Let’s hope I can survive until January. Maybe, maybe not. EIther way I gotta throw out a prayer for Tom Pope to come save me here.
So Straight away I wanna thank Fox in the Box, he had a ridiculously handy video which helped me figure out how to play and how to do some squad analysis, which is why you’ll see random numbers on my screenshots. Check him out.
Anyway, to Port Vale. Should we play fancy dan attacking football? Tiki Taka? Gegenpress? Fast attacking crazy intricate passing?
No, of course not, we’re in league 2 and we have this guy up front.
Tom Pope – Talisman, legend, Mr Vale.
We’re blessed with a decent target man in Pope, (that I’m pretty sure I’d be lynched if I tried to drop) and a couple of good wingers and full backs in Ben Whitfield and Mitch Clark . So I’m looking at the classic 4-4-2 with wing play, hoof it to Pope and hope he does something with it. At least that’s the theory anyway, this is our ine up against the u23s.
So yeah, the theory is Clark will combine with Worrall on the right, while our left back will overlap with Whitfield and cross in for Pope to score or knock down to our more pacey strike partner. The only issue I have is we have one natural left back. He’s going to be great, but he’s 17. So we need a left back in the transfer market. I got no problems playing a teenager, but I have to have backup – a fair few players can play left back in my team but not naturally. So I’ll have to go sign a left back in pre season.
All in all, we have a relatively well balanced squad. There should be no problems hitting mid table or even playoffs this year. As long as nothing will go drastically wrong at least.
Things will go drastically wrong, won’t they?
Anyway, this is just a small post for now, a bit more of a breakdown of my team will happen when we get further in to pre season and I can watch them a little more.
Hello! Welcome to my little corner of this place. I’m Wool, a 36 year old guy from over in Staffordshire. More about me will be added to the about section at some point in the near future. Obviously the site is a little bare bones right now, it’ll be built over time as I get more experienced at things and generally be more comfortable, so stay with me here.
FM 19 is out! Which is a good place to start, we’re all super excited and starting to take their teams on an epic journey to conquer their respective leagues and, well, I’m no different. I usually take on my favourite club, Liverpool but this year I figured in what might end up being a complete disaster to take on a team closer to home this time around, a team that represents the grand old city of Stoke-on-Trent. A team that is closely followed by the elite celebrities of the world and has won a grand total of diddly squat in history, minus the odd Autoglass Trophy or whatever it’s called now (I want to say Checkatrade).
Yes, I’m talking about the misfits of Stoke-on-Trent
Yes, Port Vale. Located in Burslem (because a place called Port Vale doesn’t exist), one of the 5 towns of Stoke-on-Trent. Previously of Hanley, the City Centre of Stoke-on-Trent, Cobridge and er, Burslem before that. They play their home games at the aptly named Vale Park which, when you look at its history is laughably brilliant. More on that in a minute.
First, a brief history lesson.
Port Vale were first founded in 1876 as an amateur team playing in Longport before moving to Westport then Burslem for a year before going pro and moving to Cobridge. They were founder members of the Football League, Division 2. As is the pattern throughout their history, they completely failed to impress, spending 13 years in the league and a couple of seasons in the midland league before going into liquidation.
End of story, right? Nothing to see here. If they went into liquidation, why the hell are they in FM? Well, my friends, you know how I said they played in Cobridge for a bit? Well that only inspired Cobridge Church – an amateur team to change their name to Port Vale when it became available. They soon went pro, moved to Hanley and got back into the Football league, replacing Leeds City. After time though, they decided that Burslem wasn’t so bad after all, I mean they were only there for a year so it is as good a place as any to be a spiritual home, besides, Stoke were in Stoke – way too close. Let’s move away a little bit and forget about the Eviction notice by the council.
This is where the hilarious history of Vale Park comes in.
Vale Park, courtesy of Port Vale’s official site. https://www.port-vale.co.uk
This was built in 1950, Vale were at their height and they were ridiculously optimistic after being evicted from Hanley. They submitted plans for a “Wembley of the North” an 80,000 spectator stadium which would be the envy of the North, despite being in the Midlands. The pitch was immaculate, the most expensive money can buy – tickets were on sale for £100 so all the movers and shakers could be there. Surprisingly 100 people did go on and buy them, further cementing Port Vale as the celebrity club of Stoke-on-Trent.
Unsurprisingly the 80,000 dream didn’t take off, Vale were forced to downgrade their plans to 40,000 because a third division team didn’t have the funds to do this kind of thing, why would they? This wasn’t the last time they went and messed it up either. I mean 4-4-2 magazine apparently wrote in a piece once that Port Vale are “Britain’s most dysfunctional football club”. This is highlighted most by the Lorne Street Stand at Vale Park, which was a partially built stand from back in the day. Someone had the idea in the 90s to redevelop it, finish it off and boost the capacity of the stand to around 8/10,000.
It never got finished. They literally fixed an incomplete stand with an incomplete stand.
The Lorne Street Stand – from http://www.groundhopping.se
Not much happened since, they were in the Championship for a while in the 90s, slugging it out with Stoke, before they both got relegated and slugged it out some more. Vale even won the Autoglass trophy at some point in time and even played in the Inter Toto or Anglo Italian cup, whichever. They didn’t do well anyway.
So yeah, Port Vale have survived more dysfunction than the Kardashians, they were in administration in 2012 but yet still managed to hold on and survive. Their fans are celebrities, pretty much, boasting Phil “The Power” Taylor and Robbie Williams amongst their biggest fans. If you ask any Vale fan though, I’m sure they’ll claim Lemmy and Slash because they lived in Burslem at some point or another or something. They have also set a record – the most seasons in the football league without ever playing in the top flight.
Armed with our legions of celebrity fans, our not-quite-completed stadium and pretty much no money, along with a probable dispute with Stoke-on-Trent council and an owner who might or might not own another stadium somewhere in Nuneaton I think, we take on the job at Port Vale with one aim in mind.
End that record and get into the Premier League – hopefully before Stoke.
Next time, join me while I review our squad (God help us if Tom Pope can’t score) and see what we do in pre season.