Friday, 30 October 2009

Poll CLOSED: Team for FM2010: Newcastle United

Hello everyone, and welcome to my first post about Football Manager 2010! An amazing 140 of you voted (thank you everyone) and by a close 2 vote victory, Newcastle United pipped Notts County to be my first team for FM2010. I am getting the game on Sunday morning and am really excited about starting the story.

For those of you who don't know, Newcastle are a once-big team who got relegated from the Premier League last year. With financial problems pinning down the club amid concerns about the chairman, it will take a lot to get this club back where it belongs, in the Premier League. Nevertheless, promotion is something I hope to achieve in my first year.

Anyway, that's it from me, and I hope you like the new story. Check back soon!

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Southampton story: 3rd season: The end of an era

Hello and welcome to the final ever post of my Southampton story, and indeed my Football Manager 2009 adventure. I was hoping to end it on a high, and we were certainly doing so, sitting in 6th place in our debut season in the Premier League. I was willing us to go even better, try and get into the top 4, but I knew we were not up to a job of that greatness. And without further ado, here are the final results of my Southampton story:

Our form tailed off a little, but we still won a few crucial games. Out of 13 games (12 in the Premier League) we won 4, drew 4 and lost 5 (4 in the Prem). Notable results include draws against Man Utd, Liverpool and Arsenal, with wins against Everton and Blackburn giving us a much needed boost. Some terrible results include the double defeat to Fulham, putting us out of the FA Cup and losing us ground on our Premier League rivals. The Chelsea game was to be expected, but a 4-1 loss to West Brom really stung. But what would these results do to the table?

An amazing achievement; 5th place. Despite the last day defeat to relegated West Brom, we held on to 5th place on goal difference, with Aston Villa only mustering up a 1-0 win over Ipswich. The amazing thing is that we finished above big spending Manchester City, whose squad value is over £200m, while ours is less than £20m. I may be a City fan, but it does make it a whole lot sweeter when you haven't spent that much money, ala Arsenal or Everton. Anyway, let's get on to the ratings:

Surprisingly average ratings there, only 6 players having an average rating of 7 or above. Moving on, top scorer is Ched Evans, getting 13 goals in 29 starts. Second place goes to Morgan Schneiderlin, with 7 goals in 38 starts. Third place is a tie between Miku (6 in 29), defender Mark Beevers (6 in 35) and fellow central defender Jan Simunek (6 in 38). Top assister is left winger Adam Johnson, collecting 12 assists in 30 starts. Second place goes to Nathan Dyer, with 11 assists in 26 starts. Third place goes to Lee Holmes, (6 in 6) and Jake Thompson (6 in 10). Best rated player is defensive midfielder Franco Zuculini with 7.17 from 30 starts. Second place is Jan Simunek with 7.12, and third place goes to Lee Holmes with 7.08. Finally, top passer goes to Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana, both getting 79% passes on target. Third place is Morgan Schneiderlin with 78% passes, and fourth place goes to Franco Zuculini and former goal machine Stephen Appiah, both on 77%. Now, lets get on to the board confidence:

As you might expect, the board is very happy with me, and mostly to do with our Premier League performance. Our squad harmony is very high, no reports of bust-ups in the training ground or anything like that. Our wages are well under control, and our club stature has grown immensly over the past 3 seasons. It seems I really have made a difference to the club, here's hoping that I can do the same in Football Manager 2010!

This is the last Southampton post, but you only have 6 more days to vote for who I should be in Football Manager 2010. Notts County and Newcastle are streets ahead of everyone else at the moment, and County are winning by a slender 6 vote advantage. I am grateful to the 100 odd peopele who voted in it, and urge the rest of you to get voting as soon as possible! This is the end of my post, so I shall bid you farewell.

The End.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Southampton story: 3rd season: Staying up there!

Hello everyone, hope you are well. Now, in my last post we were on a massive high, holding 5th place after 13 league matches. Let’s find out how our next 13 went:

A solid 13 games, but our recent form is a bit worrying. 1 win in 6 games isn’t the best I could’ve hoped for, but seeing as we drew the other 5 games, it’s all good. If we want to remain in this top 5, we will have to get a few wins under our belts though, as showed by the table:

Still an excellent position for our debut Premier League season though. From 3rd to 8th only 6 points are in between (and that’s even with third place United playing a game more). The media are still saying that a drop in form is just around the corner, but I really think we could finish in the top 6 this year (something it took me 5 odd seasons to do with QPR). Of course this shall take a lot of hard work, and a lot of luck, but it’s something I believe we can achieve. Now, onto our player ratings:

The top name will be unfamiliar to you, Yohann Andreu, but I shall explain about him later on. Top scorer is Ched Evans, the new signing from Man City, with 9 goals in 19 starts. Second place goes to Miku, who has just come back from injury. He has got 6 goals in 14 starts. Third goes to defender Jan Simunek, who has grabbed 5 goals in 26 starts. Best assister goes to the impressive Adam Johnson, getting 12 in 23 starts. Second place goes to Nathan Dyer (5 in 18) and Jake Thompson (5 in 9), with fourth place going to Franco Zuculini (4 in 18) and Lee Holmes (4 in 2). I am happy with the assist totals, because it shows that we have 4 good wingers, all capable of getting assists (and goals in some cases). Best rated player goes to Yohann Andreu, with 7.20 being collected from just 1 start. Second place is for Franco Zuculini, with 7.18, and third place going to Jan Simunek, getting 7.13. Top passer is a tie between Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge, both having 79% passes complete. Tied third are Franco Zuculini and Morgan Schneiderlin, both getting a tidy 77%. Finally, tied fifth are playmaker Ferrie Bodde and energetic midfielder Stephen Appiah, both on 76%.

Anyway, let me talk to you about Yohann Andreu. I bought him from Saint-Ettiene of France on loan until the end of the season, for a princely sum of £550k. He is a top class right-back, and I only brought him in because new signing, and first choice right-back Coke Andujar felt that he needed to go after just 6 months into his stay. We got £1.8m for him, and spent £550k on a better right-back until the end of the season. It’s my last season, why not! Below are his attributes, which don’t really look too impressive really:

He has no outstanding attributes, but he is very able because of his heading, tackling, positioning, anticipation, agility and stamina, all really important for a right-back. He has decent crossing too, which could come in handy if I ever played him as a wing-back (which I have been trying out recently). I have high hopes for this guy, especially as right-back has been a problem area this season where we have been conceding many goals.

Anyway, that’s it for this post. I hope to be able to post soon, and complete the season in the next post.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Southampton story: 3rd season: Unexpected start!

Hello and welcome to the second post of my final season with Southampton. A reminder again to vote in the poll for who I should be in FM10, and now straight to business. After a very successful transfer window, bringing in a host of Premier League standard players, hopes were high for this season. Unfortunately, the media didn’t seem to agree with me:

This didn’t deter me, or the team, as our results show:

An absolutely fantastic start to the season, one that no man could have ever imagined. Amazingly, we have won 8 out of 15 (7 out of 13 in the League) with 5 losses (4 in the League) and 2 draws. This is European football form, as you can see by the table:

5th in the league, with 23 points. Wow. If we had better goal difference we would even be in 4th place (which we were at one point)! I think it’s fairly certain that we are going to be safe this season, but I am getting so excited about our realistic prospects for the season. How far can we actually go in my last season in charge? We shall soon find out. Meanwhile, here are the ratings for the season so far:

For our first Premier League season, the ratings are very good, but what surprises me most is the goal scoring statistic. Top goalscorer is our back-up striker Miku with 4 goals in 8 starts, with second place going to midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin (3 in 13) and new defender Mark Beevers (3 in 13). 4th place goes to Adam Lallana (2 in 4), Ferrie Bodde (2 in 9), Jake Thompson (2 in 4), Ched Evans (2 in 8), Stephen Appiah (2 in 9) and Paul Huntington (2 in 2), with almost all of our players at least on 1 goal. This is heartening; because that means that we are getting goals from all over the pitch, not just from midfield as we were before. Best assister is new left winger Adam Johnson, getting 8 assists in 10 starts. Second place goes to Franco Zuculini (4 in 7) and Lee Holmes (4 in 2). Lee Holmes has done brilliantly, and is definitely pushing Johnson all the way. 4th place goes to Daniel Sturridge, with 3 assists in 6 starts. Best rated player is Morgan Schneiderlin, getting a rating of 7.18. Second place goes to Oliver Lancashire, getting 7.15 from 2 starts. Third place goes to Adam Johnson, getting 7.14. And finally, top passer goes to Daniel Sturridge, an amazing 82% of his passes finding their mark. Second place goes to Schneiderlin, Johnson, Lallana and Bodde, all getting 75%. 6th place goes to Lee Naylor, with 74%.
Before I go, I would like to let you guys in on the secret to my success. A coach for everything. If you don’t understand me, take a look at this:

I discovered that if a coach covers too many categories at once, he doesn’t perform any of them adequately. So what I did was I brought in a few more coaches, and assigned each of them to a maximum of 2 categories, and now the stars for each of them are quite high. Plus the coaches do not get overworked, which allows me to pay them less. An all round good option that I recommend to any Football Manager players. (If you’re wondering why Rui Barros doesn’t have any assignments, it’s because he’s my assistant manager)

And on that note, I bid you farewell. I hope you’ll be back for the next instalment of my 3rd season. With form like this, you can’t miss it!

Friday, 2 October 2009

Southampton story: 3rd season: Excellent transfers!

Hello and welcome to what is unfortunately the final season of my Southampton adventure. Football Manager 2010 is coming out soon (vote in my blog regarding what team I should be) and I will be looking forward to that immensely. Meanwhile, there is the small matter of my Southampton team, and when I left you last I had been promoted to the Premier League for my 3rd season! Happy days, and while I do not have the screenshot unfortunately, I can tell you that the board gave me a massive £17m to spend on transfers. Seeing this large amount of money was very rare for my Southampton days, so as you can imagine, I spent spent spent! Take a look:

I spent £7.5m on a brand new central defence, in top class centre backs Jan Simunek and Mark Beevers. I have high hopes for these two, and I hope that Oliver Lancashire and Paul Huntington never have to be used again! Coke Andujar is a solid right back from Rayo, and with Lloyd James injured, he shall be our first choice right back for the first month or so. If he performs well, who knows, maybe he could nail down a first team place! I recruited 3 of Manchester City’s reserve players, goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, and strikers Chedwyn Evans and Daniel Sturridge. All 3 are Premier League quality players, and at a combined cost of £7.1m, a bargain I think! I also showed that I still have a good feel for free players, with striker another striker, Miku and former Celtic left back Lee Naylor joining the squad. They will be very good cover for our first teamers, and both have experience playing at the top level. Finally, I brought in left winger Adam Johnson from Middlesbrough, who is now one of the best players at the club. I hope that he can be a big success here for my final season. Now, you may think that I have too many strikers now, but the next screenshot will tell you the real story:

4 first team strikers offloaded, at a combined cost of £2m. Along with those 4, reserve player Aarran Racine, goalkeeper Kelvin Davis, left back Joseph Mills and experienced left winger Rudi Skacel have all been sold for a price of £3m. I thought I would miss Skacel a lot, but with Adam Johnson now at the club, things are looking a lot rosier. I definitely think that the £13.5m outlay was worth it, because now our squad is well equipped, and definitely odds on to stay up. Only something spectacular could take us down now! (I’ve jinxed it now haven’t I)
I chose not to have many pre-season fixtures, but I certainly did not envisage only 2 matches. Unfortunately, that is what we got and now we enter the season not fully match fit. Not going to tell us much, but here are the 2 results:

A surprising result was the 2-0 win over West Ham, an established Premier League side. Goals from new signings Jan Simunek and Mark Beevers secured our win and a good defensive display kept West Ham’s attackers out as well. Recently relegated Reading put up a fight, just 2 days after our West Ham match, and grabbed a 2-2 draw. Goals from our end came from Nathan Dyer and goal machine Stephen Appiah. I shan’t bother to do a ratings section from 2 matches, so this shall be the end of my post. Until next time, goodbye!

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Football Manager 2010: What team should I be?

A new poll will open today regarding what team I should be for Football Manager 2010. I thought about Southampton, and I have shortlisted them, along with Leeds, old team QPR, recently relegated Newcastle, League 2 side Notts County, and finally Championship side Nottingham Forest. It's going to be a tough decision, so I'll leave it up to you. Here are the teams again:


Leeds United

Queens Park Rangers

Newcastle United

Notts County

Nottingham Forest

Pick wisely!