Restrictions: Can only sign players who are transfer listed, loan listed or found by scouts.
On the face of it, 8th place is the worst place to finish, but from where we started, I’m happy with it.
Ian Stonebridge finished the season as our top scorer with 27 goals, and led the squad in average rating, with 7.47. He rightfully secures the Fans Player of the Year award.
A tip of the hat to Matt Edwards. I don’t know how (he doesn’t look particularly good, attribute-wise), but he scored 12 and got 21 assists.
Macclesfield take the last promotion place with victory over Hull in the play-off final.
Elsewhere in English football, Arsenal win the Premier League title, whilst Man United take the domestic cups. Man United also bag the Champions League to send Alex Ferguson into retirement with a bang.
The World Cup is won by Argentina, who beat Spain 1-0 in an incredibly dull final.
For Plymouth, it’s been a very busy pre-season. David Friio’s big money move to France has gone through, but he’s not the only one of our first teamers to move on. Luton Town bid a massive £1m for our right back David Worrell. I like him, he’s solid, but after negotiating the bid to tack on £500k after 20 league games and a 25% sell-on clause, I let him go.
We won’t be getting Simon Colosimo back, as he completes a £325k move from Man City to Huddersfield. Another 12 squad members go, for free or for minimal fees. Including FA Cup hero Lee Coxon, who never scored another goal for Plymouth. For some reason nobody will bid more than £10k for Mickey Evans. I let him go to Rotherham, just for the weekly wage reduction, and his value jumps to just north of a million quid. Irritating.
With the money from transfers and season tickets, I’ve been able to spend on transfer fees for the first time. And it helps a lot, as my scouts haven’t been unearthing many gems on the free agent market, and no-one capable of kicking a ball is even remotely interested in joining on loan.
Altogether, 14 players come in to the club, including Paul Smith (GK) for £9k after impressing on loan last year. In total, I’ve only spent £160k, but money makes a hell of a difference.
Tobias Koch (GK) German, 20 years old, cost £9k too, from Dusseldorf. Should compete with Smith.
Roberto Morris (DRC) Scottish, 22, signed from Forfar for £30k. Will start as the first team DR.
Markus Buttner (DR) German, 29, Bosman from Ditzingen. Reliable looking back-up.
Dominic Ludden (DL) English, 28, 20k from Halifax. Back-up to McGlinchey.
Richard Walker (SW/DLC) English, 30, Bosman from Cheltenham.
Michael Jackson (DC) English, 28, Bosman from Preston. Should lead the defence.
Dennis Melander (DRLC) Swedish, 19, 22k from Trelleborg. Versatile prospect.
William Gibson (D/DMC) Scottish, 21, Free after release by Rangers.
Steve Thompson (DMC) English, 24, £75k from Crystal Palace. Should fill our Friio-shaped hole in the DM role.
Paul Barrett (MC) English, 24, Bosman from Wrexham.
Daniele Proietti (MC) Italian, 26, Bosman from Sangiovannese.
Adrian Forbes (AM/FRL) English, 23, £45k from Luton. Really fast.
Michael McHugh (FC) Northern Irish, 31, Bosman from Coleraine.
I’ve possibly signed too many defenders, but our defensive record wasn’t good enough last year, so hopefully a decent unit will emerge.
I’m not entirely convinced by our forwards, we look over reliant on Stonebridge for goals. An injury to him could leave us short. Still, I’m hopeful we can make a challenge for automatic promotion…