Welcome to Flight Of The Concords Part 22. You can find out how season six began in Part 21.
When I linked to Part 1 last time, I didn’t really expect anyone to read the whole story, but a couple of people did, which is brilliant, thanks! I hope you came back for more.
Somehow, we find ourselves in 5th place after the first two months of the season.
Whilst I have no doubts this level of achievement cannot possibly continue, it has made me optimistic that we can comfortably avoid the drop this season…
I can’t recall what prompted me to look this up, but it helps to explain why we continually struggle to sign players. Our reputation rating puts us between the bottom of League One and the top of League Two:
Très irritating. I suspect this is a problem only time can fix.
Sky Bet Championship (October – December):
October brought us down to Earth a little:
Admittedly, six points is not too bad a return, but I’d hoped for better results from the MK Dons and Barnsley games. MK came up with us, whilst Barnsley prop up the league. We’re not playing particularly well.
In November, things improved again, mainly off the back of some sterling defensive efforts:
Our new full backs Ilias Chatzitheodoridis and Max Aarons have really improved the back line and have made us more solid, despite the fact that our centre backs aren’t the best.
We’re not particularly consistent, but if we keep doing what we’re doing, we’ll be safe with room to spare.
We had to make significant changes to the line up for the Charlton match due to fixture congestion, which worked very well. So I kept faith with them for the next few games, and was largely rewarded with good performances, and even better, points.
Robbie McKenzie, Kelvin Mellor and Jonathan Russon in particular excelled.
Russon went from not even getting on the bench, to Young Player of the Month, keeping Danny Pearson from becoming a repeat winner:
On paper December looked a tough month, but we did pretty well:
Whilst not spectacular, our ability to hold firm at the back is proving to be a solid foundation, and with John English back in form to replace the disappointing Denville Gumbs, we’ve done very well.
The Aston Villa game was my 300th match in charge, and I can’t think of a more suitable result than a hard fought 1-0 win to cap off the day.
I had a few objectives for January. Firstly a centre back, where we lack not only depth, but a reliable partner to Davide Mondonico. Manny Monthe has been mistake prone. Secondly, a proper defensive midfielder rather than a playmaker forced to do the role, and lastly, a cheeky bid for perennial loanee, Max Broughton:
We got him! For £150k, plus £100k after appearances and £250k after promotion, Max is officially our player after three and a half seasons on loan. We’ve had him so long now that he counts as a Concord Rangers home grown player. Bonus.
Additions at CB and DM were harder to come by. We’ve taken a punt on Oliver Younger – D(C) from Burnley. He’s the best we can do and perhaps with a little luck he could have a bit more development in him. He’s 23 years old and has good attributes for the centre back role, although he’s not a very well rounded player.
José Manuel – DM / D/M(C), comes in on loan from Leicester to hopefully provide a more solid shield in front of the back four.
We’ve loaned out a few more players (the media has accused me of hoarding players, like some sort of financially decrepit Chelsea or something):
Danny Weston is the latest in a long line of 18 year old players who are given a last shot at development on loan at Whyteleafe. So far no player loaned there has secured a new deal with us.
Ben Greenhalgh, club legend, is not getting any game time, so heads to Bishop’s Stortford. I haven’t managed to tempt him down a staff path either, which is a shame, as I love a legend in the backroom team.
Ronnie Rutherford and Malcolm Hackett have just completed training on new traits (“Dictates Tempo” and “Plays With Back To Goal”), and at 18 years old, are sent out for more game time. With Hackett going to Carlisle, we recall Kameron Stanley to be a back up in case of an injury crisis.
It’s solid, it’s reliable, but sexy it ain’t:
We’ve had a lot more rotation this season, both due to injuries and the players struggling for consistent form. I’d say however, that the above picture shows our first team.
We’ve beaten a Premier League team!
We totally dominated Tony Pulis’ Middlesborough in both games. They couldn’t even muster a shot on target in the replay. It was made sweeter by Pulis spouting nonsense in the media both before and after, first saying (paraphrasing) Concord are shit and then claiming our victory was a fluke. What a goit. Hope he gets the sack.
But unfortunately we once again failed to go very far in the FA Cup. Watford are still much better than we are. We did well to keep the score respectable.
Sky Bet Championship (January):
A rough month no doubt. When Palace attack against us, they score. They’re just so damn fast. Our performances got what they deserved, but I’m not gonna panic just yet. I might start working on a new tactic though, just in case things don’t improve. I’ve got a couple of ideas, I’m just not sure we’ve got the players for it…
We’re only five points off of achieving my pre-season target of 50 points:
We’re still solid, and we still aren’t scoring many, but as it’s largely by design, I’m happy. We’re safe from the drop and I think I’m tempted to tinker with the tactics in the last 16 games…
Unless there’s a highly unlikely play-off challenge, or an even more unlikely plummit towards the zone, most of the focus of next week’s post will be on tactics, youth development and club development.
I’ll also be doing a thorough audit of the playing squad. Some difficult decisions are lurking on the horizon, and we may have to say goodbye to some favourites.
Thanks for reading, see you next time!