Sunday, 26 July 2009

Southampton story: 1st season: Season taking shape!

Hello all, and welcome to another post of my Southampton story. Last time around, I was 12th in the league and cruising, but financial concerns always had been at the forefront of my thoughts. As the transfer window opened, I knew that to push on to an even better finish, I would need a striker, and some more money, so in the run up to our opening game, I negotiated deals for Bradley Wright-Phillips and Paul Wotton to leave the club, for a combined total of £350k. I also sold one more player at the tail end of the window, take a look:

Simon Gillett was a good midfielder, but he wasn’t needed as we got ourselves one of my favourite Football Manager players, and one who you are all familiar with.

Yes, that’s right; Franco Zuculini and I have been reunited (see QPR story) and he is my marquee signing for the January window. Egoitz Sukia is a thoroughly decent striker, and has been signed on a 6 month contract. Why? Because he is 33 years of age, and his 15/20 finishing attribute will not last much longer. I got him on a relatively low wage, just £1000 a week, which was nothing compared to Wright-Phillips, Wotton and Gillett (all over it), and as Zuculini has only got a £3200 a week contract, our wage budget has been sorted because of this window. Plus, we haven’t actually spent any money, as the purchase was paid for by our departures, and the others were loans and frees! Happy days. Anyway, let’s crack on to our results:

As you can see, we have been in a great run of form. Scoring a lot of goals, conceding relatively few, it’s a great combination! This has mainly been down to my excellent midfield, who I believe are good enough for a mid-table Premier League side. Excellent results against Derby, Crystal Palace (twice), Doncaster, Bristol City, Birmingham, Charlton and Watford far eclipsed the disappointing ones, namely QPR, Newcastle and Cardiff. I’m sorry I couldn’t win that game for you Liam! Let’s have a look at how the league table is shaping up then:

9th in the league, not bad at all! And what’s more, we are only 6 points away from the playoff places; not something I imagined would happen when we were 16th at the start of the season! With just 6 games left in the season, I am hoping for a playoff place, and hopefully an appearance at Wembley. I really do not want to get promoted, as I feel we will just go straight back down, but a Wembley appearance will generate some cash that hopefully I will be able to spend on some defenders and some strikers. Then we may be able to get in the Premier League next season, and then be able to at least fight relegation, not just be a Derby County (see 2007/2008 season) and make up the numbers. Although, if we keep our midfield then I think we can do better than 20th in the Prem, but as I said, that’s not my ambition. Anyway, let’s get onto the player ratings:

Some great scores there, not least by new signing Franco Zuculini. 3 goals and an assist in 9 starts have to be credited, along with a rating of 7.22. Anyway, top scorer is Stephen Appiah (are you really surprised?) with 14 goals in 41 starts. Second is Morgan Schneiderlin, with 10 goals in 37. Finally, third is Rudi Skacel, grabbing 6 goals in 33 starts. Top assister is Skacel, getting 15 assists, with second being Schneiderlin, on 9 assists and third, on 8 assists, being Stephen Appiah. Top rated players are Schneiderlin, Zuculini and Appiah, being on 7.32, 7.22 and 7.19 respectively. Best passer is Zuculini, 78% of his passes finding their mark. Second is Egoitz Sukia, with 77% and tied third are Morgan Schneiderlin and Marek Saganowski, both on 76%. What is quite baffling is the fact that Egoitz Sukia, my January signing, has got 6.51 despite scoring 3 goals in 7 starts. A little worse than 1 in 2 surely isn’t worth that terrible score is it? Granted, 0.15 tackles a game and 0.29 dribbles aren’t great scores, but how he can deserve such a bad score I just cannot understand. Maybe it’s a typo and the .5 should actually be a .9! Anyway, here are my updated tactics, revised after Zuculini joined us:

I have gone for a very attacking formation, as shown by the forward arrows on everyone except the defence, striker and goalkeeper. For particularly tough teams, I like to take off the arrows on DMC, AMR and AML, but this way has suited my team fine through our purple patch of form, so it shall be kept for the while.

Anyway, that is it for this post, next one coming in 2 weeks because I am going on holiday to Cyprus! Take care everyone!


  1. Well, I must say, I am impresed. But, who are you midfield three now? Is Gerard a bench warmer now?

    It's nice to see that you are self-sufficient in the transfer market, too! Zuculini is a great buy - as you know!

    Lol, either Gillet or Wotton (the latter, methinks) are the Assistant Manager of Southampton now!

    It's nice to see that we're second, but only on GD... Gah. And Reading are storming ahead! Crystal Palace rock bottom is also quite a shock.
    Well, it's quite good that they're bottom - for you, that is. Buy their best players for cheap when they go down! It's what I normally try to do!!

    Man, why do you have to go on holiday? I'll be bored for 2 weeks!

  2. Why thank you Liam. My midfield trio is now Zuculini, Appiah and Gerard, with Adam Lallana bench warming again. My formation will become really unstable if I do something like DMC, MC and AMC, so I decided to keep him on the bench until I can find out what to do with him.

    Yeah I was thrilled with Zuculini, and he has already done very well as you can see.

    Yeah Paul Wotton is the assistant manager now I think, which is quite alarming. I've never been fond of player/managers or even player/coaches, which is why I renegotiated Michael Svensson's contract so he is not a coach anymore.

    Yeah, Swansea are doing well so far, of course there is still time for them to make that second place their own! At the moment though, it's looking like a hell of a fight for that other promotion place, really too close to call.

    As for Crystal Palace, that is hopefully what I can do if the chairman gives me some funds to work with, which is looking unlikely at this moment in time. I may need to start looking at players who's contracts run out in the summer. Quite disheartened about that, seeing as I only need £1m to sign Rafhael (my old defender from QPR who I sold for £52m), and I cannot currently get enough leeway from my wage budget for this.

    Yeah, sorry about the holiday thing, plus I will be going to Sweden for 3 weeks after that. But, on the bright side, I am well ahead with my game, already in the second season and having written Word documents for the end of the 1st season and transfers for the second season. So hopefully if I can get internet access over in Cyprus, then I can possibly post from there? Fingers crossed and all that!

    Regards, Mike.

  3. So, where's Schneiderlin???

    I think Wotton is JUST the AM, though.

    I just hope that we either go up and STAY up, or, we don't go up, but be continuously good.

    Man, that's rubbish, isn't it? I hope you find money from somewhere!

    5weeks away!
    The longest holiday I've been on is 1 week. To Cornwall...

  4. I commented on your last blog in error.

    This is actually the formation I used, w/o the sweeper system.

    All the best

  5. ive beem promoted!!!
    some great new buys also
    will post today

  6. mike do u do ur trainin if u do culd u post it fo rme plz