Restrictions: Can only sign players who are transfer listed, loan listed or found by scouts.
Don’t worry too much about Carlisle you guys, they deservedly won through the play-offs.
With the title in the bag, 100 points and 117 goals, I really should start with the positives.
Ian Stonebridge continued with his impressive goalscoring and deservedly got his second Fans Player award.
Brian McGlinchey was superb, assisting fifteen times from left back. Although many of my summer signings didn’t excel, Steve Thomson was excellent, with seven goals and fifteen assists, mostly playing in defensive midfield.
The signings later in the season did better, Tony Warner in goal was a big improvement on Paul Smith and Tobias Koch, and Rabi Youssef scored fourteen in twenty two games, with an average rating of 7.70. On loan Tonton Zola Moukoko scored thirteen goals from twenty one games and averaged a brilliant 8.09. His £210k signing goes through without a hitch.
And obviously, the manager is great:
However, I do have concerns. Despite having good facilities for Division 3 and having excellent coaches, most of our young players aren’t showing any sort of attribute development. Only Marcus Martin looks to have made improvements. Even Ian Stonebridge hasn’t really improved since I took over. Can he make the step up to Division 2?
Our defence continues to look weak, and we were pretty inconsistent, not managing to go more than eight games without a defeat.
Our scouts are not finding an awful lot of talent, and new signings this summer are fairly thin on the ground.
However, Division 2 looks far more lucrative than what we’ve been used to:
Our finances are looking incredible compared to where we started, and I’ve even asked for the youth facilities to be improved.
I’m very happy with the board expectations, although personally I expect more. At least top half, and I’d be delighted with a run at the play-offs.
I’ve released a bunch of dead wood from the reserves in the hope that our youth setup promotes some talent, and although there are a couple of duds, one stands out with potential:
Some more money has come in from our very wise 25% sell on clause strategy:
As well as the below image, there’s a further £65k for Worrell, I assume as he came through our youth system?
Michael McHugh’s retirement does come as a surprise, as he’s only 32, but he probably would’ve been 5th choice striker for the coming season.
Right. Transfer business round up. I’ve mentioned Tonton, but otherwise there are only six additions:
Frank Amankwah (DRLC) on a Bosman from Arbus, somewhere in the depths of the Italian non-league. He’s a talented 31 year old Ghanaian international who can play anywhere across the back line.
Rhys Weston (D/DMC) joins on loan from Cardiff City. He’s on almost £11k a week, so no chance of signing him permanently.
John Convery (DC) on a free after release from Celtic. 23 year old, Northern Irish international, who hopefully will step in and help stop the constant flow of goals.
Stephen McManus (MC) also on a free after Celtic released him. 20 year old Scot should be a back up with potential to grow.
Jeff Lucas (STC) for £30k (rising to £50k after 50 league games) from Rushden. He scored against me last season, and looks very promising. Still just 18 years old.
And finally, Morten Karlsen (D/DMRC), for the exact same fee as Lucas, from B 93, which I assume is a football team and not an American aircraft. The 24 year old Dane becomes my top earner on £3.5k a week and should be able to excel in as many as seven positions in our 4-1-3-2 system. He’s the new Colosimo.
Notable departures include Sean Evers (scorer of the only hat-trick so far) to Stoke for a 25% sell on clause only. Craig Kerr and Thorbjorn Sveinsson are released on free transfers after disappointing with a lack of progress.
We’ll continue with our 4-1-3-2, although some tactical tweaks are on my mind, perhaps making the full backs more defensive. We’ll see.
Bizarrely, more people show up for our pre-season friendly with Tiverton Town, than showed up when we sealed the title last year. Hopefully an indication of things to come…