Welcome back to Flight Of The Concords! We’re only in the bleedin’ Premier League!
If anyone’s new to the blog, and has a bit of time on their hands, Part 1 can be found here.
And if you missed it, here’s the previous part which covers most of our prep for our debut Premier League season.
It’s going to be a tough challenge this season. We’ve done incredibly well to get to this level by season 8, but there’s no doubt we’re favourites for the drop.
If we can stay up, I’ll be thrilled, but if not, I hope the board will keep faith with me. With parachute payments, the club would still be in great shape.
So here goes…
I thought seeing as we’re in the top flight, a little history lesson was in order:
As you can see, Liverpool and Man City have dominated, with nobody outside of England’s “big six” making an impact.
The Premier League remains the richest league in the world, spending over a billion pounds this summer:
And Brighton have spent £102m this window. Natch.
First up, I need to give some credit to my scouts. We were aiming to add at least two more faces to the squad, and they’ve found us four, brilliant work from our scouting team:
Gabriele Bellodi is the final centre back we wanted, and as he’s big, strong and fast, will be in the fight for a first team position.
We wanted another winger too, and the scouts found me Úmaro Embaló for a cut-price £9k from Benfica. He’s skillful and could be a steal, but he was that price due to a troubled history of injuries. We’ll have to be gentle with him.
We’ve also got a transfer arranged for January. The scouts really excelled themselves by finding Wolfgang Bielstein in Werder Bremen’s U19 side:
He looks a very promising right back, and we’ll sign him for £600k on his 18th birthday.
Finally, we’ve picked up Vincenzo Millico on a free after his release from Torino. He’ll be a back-up and his arrival facilitates Malcolm Hackett’s loan move to Bristol Rovers:
Connor Hughes and Taylor Webb are two of our more promising 18 year-olds, and hopefully they can develop through some first team football. Oliver Younger really needs to play well in the Championship to have any chance of staying at the club.
New signings Aleksandar Leposavic and Alex Inglis missed much of our pre-season schedule playing for their respective countries in U21 European Championship qualifiers, but despite their absence, we did well:
Getting almost 11’000 through the turnstiles against Canvey Island bode well for our season ticket sales, and lo:
We’ll be reverting to our defensive 4141 formation for the league, as any other approach seems like suicide to me.
The last piece of pre-season news is another unfortunate injury to goalkeeper Kieran O’Hara, who the day before our opener away at Spurs, injured his calf in training and will miss the first month.
A first match at New White Hart Lane looked an incredibly tough introduction, but our backs to the wall effort gained us our first point, with Kostas Galanopoulos scoring a fabulous goal.
Our first games at our temporary home of Selhurst Park both ended in victory, and more new signings scored the goals. Leicester brought us back down to Earth, kicking our asses in truth.
We’re raking in the cash, and I feel comfortable asking for a (surprisingly quick and cheap) upgrade:
I’m also making many staff additions, enhancing the coaching, scouting and medical teams.
Only Liverpool really looked totally out of our league, but the difference in finishing between us and our opponents was painful. I think an upgrade in goal would’ve been a good idea, and our full backs are struggling at this level. I fear my conservative approach in the transfer market has made our task even harder.
It’s especially disappointing to be shorn of a chance at a cup run so early, but the draw was once again unkind.
Still, the scouts have done it again:
Not only is he a South African called Nelson Madela, he’s also a very good prospect, and will be joining us in January. No you’re signing too many promising, left-footed, creative central midfielders!
Our U18 side has taken to league football like a duck to water, and are leading their division. In the Checkatrade Trophy, our U23 side (mostly made up of U18s) sits atop their group with a game to play. It seems like only yesterday we were playing against U23 sides…
Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it:
We were pretty good against big spending Brighton, and Alex Inglis was absolutely clinical.
Unsurprisingly, City had us on the ropes from start to finish and we ripped them off beautifully with a late counter attack (really our only one of the game!)
Our win against fellow newcomers Bristol City was far more dominant than the scoreline suggests though. They didn’t lay a glove on us, but it took an injury time screamer to win it for us. What a month!
We’ve bagged some top flight awards:
Simeone, Ancelotti, ha! Never heard of ’em.
We were 18th before October. Sweet, sweet October:
Our quest for 40 points (textbook manager speak…) has started well, and with Leeds and Bournemouth up next, hopefully we can end November trending toward the halfway mark of that total.
But there are a lot of very difficult fixtures ahead of us too. I’ve got the scouts out looking for goalkeepers and full backs, which are definitely our weak points, and hopefully they continue their great work.
It’s wonderful to see that we can regularly fill Selhurst Park, even if it does mean that we’ve already outgrown our new stadium two years before it even opens! I’ll have to keep the bank account pretty full for future expansion.
In the real world, I’m off on holiday next week, so it’ll be at least two weeks before my next update.
Thanks very much for reading!