Flight Of The Concords: Part 21

Welcome back to Flight Of The Concords, and the start of season six! If you fancy reading the conclusion to season five, this is the place: Flight Of The Concords: Part 20

If any truly sick person is filled with the desire to read the whole journey so far, the first part can be found here: Flight Of The Concords: Part 1


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Either by heavenly intervention, or dare I say it, good management, we’ve gained back to back promotions and are up into The Championship.

It’s a big jump and the squad needs upgrading. Four promotions in five seasons is fantastic, but we could be in danger of being massively outgunned this year…


Makeovers:

A few of my players have had their faces sorted out:

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Massive thanks and appreciation go to Laura (@wtforkgaming on Twitter) for her amazing work on these face packs.

They’re so much better than the default newgen faces, and really add to the game.

As new youngsters come through, or get signed, I’ll assign them appropriate faces.

I’m particularly happy with Malcolm “Andy Carroll” Hackett, it’s perfect!

Finances/Transfers Out:

We’ve made another leap in terms of season ticket holders:

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However, our continuing financial problems are beginning to bother me. I’m on the verge of upgrading them from “problems” to “woes”:

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Although the board don’t seem to share my level of concern, giving us a substantial boost to our budgets:

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Possibly, increased income this season will render my fears unwarranted…

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…but I have still taken some actions to cut down our expenditure.

Firstly, I’ve reduced the amount of staff we have. I’ve let go one first team coach and four under-18 coaches. They didn’t seem to be achieving much anyway. Our chief scout and head physio have also gone, and to save money, we’ve promoted from within.

After five seasons of solid right-back play, one of our first ever signings, Perry Cotton, has left the club to join Vanarama National Boston United for £40k. His stats for us finished thusly: Apps 167(14), 1 goal, 9 assists and an average rating of 6.95. I’m sure he’ll be a success for them, but he’s just not up to Championship level.

Damien McCrory has also gone. Although we couldn’t find any takers for our ageing left back, he was easily convinced to have his contract terminated, which saves us a grand a week.

We’ve also released some 18 year-old dead wood, and loaned out a bunch of youngsters, most of whom will have a least a portion of their wages paid by the loaning clubs:

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For many of these players, it’s their last chance to show some improvement before I release them into the wild…

Transfers In/Tactics:

There were a few names on the above screenshot that have only just arrived at the club, and feature amongst our summer signings:

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The players that were loaned out are: Bernard Greaves – M(C) / M(R), ST, a Barbadian central midfielder recently released from West Ham, and Alan Wilson – M(C) / DM, M(R) and Declan Morris – M(C) / AM(C), a pair of promising central midfielders released by Manchester United. They are all 18 years old.

Gerry Brewitt – ST / M/AM(L) also joined from United, but as a 16 year old, he’ll be staying here for some tutoring.

With these young players signing, I’m obviously hopeful they can develop into good players for us, but it’s also in my mind that we can potentially make a bit of money from them too. We need income from somewhere.

Our other signings will be vying for first team action. Although we have a few different nationalities in the squad, Dmitry Zherdev – GK, is our first foreign player as he doesn’t have a British second nationality.

In defence, we’ve added Max Aarons – D/WB(R) to provide competition for Kelvin Mellor, and Ilias Chatzitheodoridis – D/WB(L), who becomes our first signing for actual money (£90k), and our second foreign player.

Our midfield is bolstered by several arrivals, Aaron Bolger – DM / M(C), Danny Pearson – M(C) / DM, AM(C) and Luke Dreher – M(C) / DM, who should all provide upgrades on what we already have. We stole Dreher from Southend on a free, which was very satisfying, and he fills the leadership void left by the departure of Labadie.

Jonathan Russon – M(C) / D(C) and James Mulvenna – AM(R) / M(R), ST should provide capable depth from the bench.

After a fairly underwhelming transfer window, we will be starting out with our already familiar defensive tactics this season.

Depending on the quality of opposition, it’ll either be our defensive 4141 or “Old Reliable”, with our defensive 442. These were the mainstays of our early efforts when we climbed into the League, and are designed to be solid, whilst reducing mistakes from our own players.

Pre-Season:

We had another good pre-season:

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To peek behind the curtain though, it’s during this period that I began to panic a little bit. Although we had managed to get in a couple of decent full backs, this year I couldn’t find a centre back that was both better than what we had, as well as actually being interested in joining us. To make things worse, Chris Smith went down with an injury to leave us really short.

With an early season injury to Kevin Brown too, for the first time I succumbed to panic signings:

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Davide Mondonico – D(C) / DM is a small upgrade on what we have, but with a fee of £75k (possibly rising to £165k with appearances) and the fact he’s smashed our top wage with £5k a week, it’s a signing that smacks of desperation.

Similarly, Alain Oyarzun – M(L), AM (LC), although much cheaper, has really only been brought in to cover Brown’s injury. A 29 year old foreign player on a one year deal isn’t usually how I roll, but The Championship has me worried.

Carabao Cup:

Another satisfactory, if unspectacular League Cup effort:

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As usual, we dispatched teams below us with little fanfare, but were outclassed by superior opposition.

Sky Bet Championship:

It’s been a tough start, but we’ve managed to get some points on the board:

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We weren’t bad against Cardiff, and the second half against Palace was just chaos. Otherwise we were parking the bus.

We’re facing teams with a staggering financial advantage over us. Derby for example, are paying one player (Tom Lawrence) £67k a week. We are paying our entire first team squad, U23 squad, U18 squad, manager and every coach we have combined less than that.

Something happened:

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Our defensive 4141 is really doing a great job slowing down our opponents, and our new midfield signings have made us dangerous in the centre of the park as well as the wings.

If you add the Stevenage cup game, we had five home games in a row, and during these we saw our cohesion and morale massively improve, which can only help.

We were great against Ipswich, who were top at the time. Danny Pearson, on loan from Spurs, was outstanding in that game, and has been superb overall, deservedly scooping an award:

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He’s definitely been our best player so far. Alongside Aaron Bolger in central midfield, we’ve now got a threat that prevents us being a one dimensional “get it down the wings” sort of a side.

We’ve been impressive, and I’m more optimistic than I was. After going unbeaten, I got an award too:

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It’s been a hell of a month, and we’re already well on our way to the 50 point target I have in my head to avoid the drop.

The table makes for ludicrous, unbelievable reading:

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I have frequently poured cold water on good starts, and this season is no different. There is absolutely no way that we are a play-off side.

There’s a lot of positives for sure, and I’m now pretty confident that just by being hard to beat, we can do enough to be relatively comfortable this year. Kevin Brown is just returning to fitness too, so we can finally roll out our first choice midfield.

It’s great that we’re so solid, but we’re finding goals very difficult to come by. All of our strikers have been wasteful so far, with Joey Stevens being the best of them, though he can’t stay fit.


So what’s next? How good are we? I really have no idea how the next few months will go. If we can stay clear of the relegation battle I’ll be satisfied. A run in the FA Cup would be nice, but I won’t hold my breath.

See you next time, thanks for reading!

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