Welcome back to Flight Of The Concords! I’ve had a couple of weeks off, but I’m looking forward to concluding my journey. With the spectre of FM19 looming, I don’t know how much life there is left in this save, but I’m still loving it!
If you need a little refresher, here’s the link to the previous part.
Last time out, we began life in the Premier League with mixed form. Which is way better than I was expecting.
A scary run of defeats was followed by three wins out of three in October, including a smash and grab 1-0 win over perennial title contenders Manchester City, and we sat in 8th place as November approached.
I’m hoping to end this part with relegation fears in the rear window, and I’d really, really like to get past the 3rd round of the FA Cup…
Behind The Scenes:
We’ve continued to grow the club, and this is the first of three data facilities upgrades we will complete by February:
We’ve also obtained a new feeder club in Mladost of Serbia:
It’s good to have a proper feeder club at last. They both expand our scouting knowledge and give us first option on their players.
After numerous requests, I’ve also got the percentage of transfer revenue retained all the way up to 100%.
The vagaries of the Premier League schedule mean we have just the three games in November, but a whopping seven in December.
One player stood out in November, and won himself an award:
And meanwhile, in darkest Stevenage:
After a little kick up the backside due to unconvincing form, Gerry Brewitt has stepped up his game, is banging in goals and showing some good developmental signs.
So, how are we getting on?
We extended our winning run to five with good wins against likely relegation battlers Leeds and Bournemouth, before facing three tough games on the bounce.
We couldn’t hold Man United at bay, and Watford and West Ham are both fighting for European football. The three points against West Ham were big, restoring team spirit to help us to get a measure of revenge against Stoke for our earlier cup exit.
Having four games on TV landed us an extra five million quid, a welcome change after not being selected for TV coverage at all during last season.
We’ve continued to find goals hard to come by and our last four games of this section show that. But we’re solid at the back, with even the best sides struggling to break us down. Four points more hauled in.
Aleksandar Leposavic continues to be our standout performer, running things from the middle:
He’s been a hell of a signing.
We’ve made four additions to our squad at the start of the January window:
Madela and Bielstein join as anticipated, and we’ve also secured a new goalkeeper, with Kamil Grabara making the short journey from Selhurst Park to err… Selhurst Park, to become our new number one. He’s a significant upgrade on O’Hara, and though he’s Polish, he has English second nationality, so doesn’t add to our ever increasing list of foreign players. We’re very close to the post-Brexit 17 player limit now.
Matteo Persico is our latest in a string of Italian centre backs, and looks like a steal. I think we have four solid options there now, and three of them are Italian.
As ever, there are some youngsters going out on loan:
Most important among them is Rhian Stephens, who will get much needed first team football in League One, keeping goal for Oxford.
Perhaps surprisingly, Dimitris Nikolaou is off. He wanted stacks more money, and hadn’t played well in his few starts, so getting the best part of two million with his contract up was a no-brainer. Although the fans think we’ve been had.
Neco Williams will also be leaving us in February. He hasn’t managed to force his way into contention, and will be joining LA Galaxy for £750k plus appearance money.
2025 has arrived:
As long as our “mixed results” continue to contain more wins than draws, we’re gonna be just fine.
On paper the big result is a stunning five nil win against Burnley. We busted out the 442 for this one, with Burnley deep in the brown stuff at the bottom of the table. We hammered them, and Alex Inglis showed what he can do with good service.
We tried the 442 again against Leicester, and it didn’t work out so well…
For me though, the win over Watford in the cup was huge. Big John English winning us the tie with practically the last kick of the game, and sparking himself into form for the first time this season. The prize? A winnable home tie against Fulham in round four.
We are dominating the Young Player of the Month awards:
Inglis bags it based on his heroics against Burnley, but my choice would’ve been Wolfgang Bielstein, who has started brilliantly in his first month at the club.
And things continue to look rosy in the standings:
Usually, our defensive football leads to plenty of draws, but not this year. Our ability to snatch a one goal win from the jaws of a draw (is that a thing…?) has been the main factor in keeping us out of the relegation dogfight.
So far, our best performers are Gabriele Bellodi at the back, who has been an absolute rock, the previously mentioned Leposavic, who is at the heart of almost everything we create, and Alex Inglis, who’s hitting his goals in clumps, but at 18 years of age has been a real find.
And after six months in the Premier League, we are absolutely minted:
English football is broken.
But we are not! With fourteen games to play, we only need four points to reach the magic forty point mark, and I’m confident we are safe.
It’d be nice if we could get a few more goals and perhaps improve our home form, but once again defensive football has worked a treat with the step up.
I’m all in on a cup run this season. We’re safe and I’m determined to get past the 5th round of the FA Cup for the first time. Fingers crossed!
Thanks again for reading, join me again for FM18’s twilight weeks…