A personal highlight

FM Career #3 – The Curse

We’re heading into the business end of 2018/19 and Rangers are all set for a tilt at glory on four fronts. Can they do it?

2019 clicked in and we were still in all competitions for the first time in a long time. Admittedly, we probably wouldn’t get past Manchester City in the Europa League but we were still in four competitions. So how did we do?

Well, we did have the small matter of the January transfer window where we saw the departure of Robbie Crawford (mentioned in the previous edition) on New Year’s Day. Transfer activity was minimal with only young defender Ian Miller leaving on loan to join Partick Thistle. We had managed to raid the MLS to snag Mexican defender Cesar Armando Hernandez (also mentioned last time) and a new striker in the Tunisian international Habib Ben Yahia. Highly rated by my scouts with a lovely, mixed skill-set, he should be the answer to my striking woes (Ben Craig is the new Nicky Clark and I’ve lost all faith in Guyon Philips) plus PSG only wanted £300,000 for the 22 year old so it was a perfect no lose deal. With all business done and dusted, I had settled back into the games ahead when deadline day hit us with a sucker punch. There had been rumoured interest in some of our players but one man who couldn’t shake it was Ismail Bouzar who was wanted all over Europe (Milan, Stuttgart, Monchengladbach) and eventually two sides made their interest concrete – Stoke and Spurs. £4.5 million was the amount offered by each for the now labelled “wonderkid” with both eventually agreeing to loan him back to me. I accepted, knowing that I have options and Bouzar was having an inconsistent season. He decided on Stoke over Spurs and the Algerian-born French youth international was no longer permanently ours.

On to the football and we’ll start in Europe because I think we all know what the outcome was. City were far more clinical than us in the first leg and just simply created chances in the second. A side containing Umtiti, Bernard, Willian and Vincent Kompany as a holding midfielder won 3-1 at Ibrox in a fairly even game decided by the clinical finishing by Balde Keita. Nicolas Gaitan’s goal gave faint hope that was destroyed in Manchester by Leon Goretzka’s double and Lazar Markovic. We had 60% possession though so positives.

Also mentioned last time was our trip to Celtic Park for the fifth round which did not go to plan at all. My big rallying cry pre-match led the boys to go out and concede after two minutes. Tommy Reid scored on the stoke of half time to leave us two down at the break and my words did get a reaction second half. Ben Yahia got one back before we fell apart conceding a Scott Brown penalty and a very late Jason Carroll goal to get mauled 4-1.

A personal highlight

A personal highlight

The League Cup gave us more joy though. We left off with us in a semi final against struggling Hearts and with no Celtic around meaning that we should really win it. We managed to brush aside the Jambos 5-2 to set up a showdown with Hibs. I got the boys all fired up and ready to go only to end up back in the changing room 45 minutes later 3-0 DOWN! Nicky Law and Barrie McKay got goals back but it was too little too late for us and Hibs deservedly won it 3-2.

So… three competitions down and three spectacular failures so far. Now you’re probably expecting some kind of fantastic failure here too but we kind of maybe did win the league comfortably. See, Celtic under Stuart McCall may have become slightly soft in tough away games and faltered at some unthinkable times (they lost at home to bottom side Dunfermline) while we just kept winning. We weren’t massively thrilling or amazingly unbeatable but we just managed to grind out the results. Less flash, more grit basically. We did comfortably win a few big games including a Marcos Lopes hat trick in a 4-0 derby win at Ibrox. We could have won the title at Celtic Park but they managed to nab a 2-1 win late on to prevent it before imploding the following week and handing us the title. I continued my tight grip on Manager of the Month awards, winning all but four all season and consequently swept the Manager of the Year awards. Nicolas Gaitan was Football Writer’s Player of the Year, Barrie McKay was Player of the Year and Ismail Bouzar got Young Player of the Year.

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The final league table 2018/2019

 

Player performance across the board was solid if unspectacular. The fans voted Greg Pascazio as their Player of the Season despite patchy form in the first half of the season and then wonderful display towards the back end of the season. He even managed to chip in with 7 goals all after January. Sebastian Faure was immense all season as he passed 200 games under my management (I passed 300 in January) while Andy Murdoch despite injury was outstanding and reached 100 league games on the final day of the season. Nico Gaitan was incredible on the left wing and David Templeton even managed to play well when he got the chance. Jordy Clasie was meh at best while Nicolae Pusca missed a fair chunk of the season but did well when given the chance. Alexandr Klimovich didn’t hit the heights I was expecting but showed genuine moments of brilliance during the second half of the season. My curse with strikers goes on though. Ben Yahia started excellently then just stopped scoring and didn’t score again until May. He finished with six goals, Guyon Philips managed FOUR all season (only one was in the league) while Ben Craig hit nine. My strikers combined only scored one more than Gaitan did on his own. I’m cursed I swear.

We said goodbye to Liam Donnelly (who didn’t improve in three years, his broken leg probably destroying that); David Templeton (not good enough anymore and getting on) and some youngsters as their contracts expired. Club captain Lee Wallace left too. He’d already complained after we secured the title that he wanted to have a new challenge elsewhere so we sold in a cut price deal to QPR. £195,000 is on the low side but I wanted him out to develop Hernandez and Jamie Mills. Nicky Law is also one that is dispensable now. He has the ability to make a difference but his consistency is waning and he’s third choice in his position. Jose Baxter hasn’t repaid £4.5 million in two seasons for me either while I wish someone would take James Tomkins who is now fourth choice and on £30,000 a week.

Now hopefully we can build on this and move forward and there is some promise moving forward but we need to strengthen in a couple of areas. There are some promising youngsters that are going to get their shot this coming season including right back Derek Johnstone and right winger Ryan Mackintosh with new youth recruits like Anthony Young (who made a scoring debut on the final day of the season) and Johnny Doyle keeping our youth team exciting.

That’s all for season seven then. Who knows what will happen in season eight? Stay tuned to find out.

Not pictured: Jordy Clasie (1 goal in 24 games, 6.85 average rating); Ben Craig (8 in 28, 6.81) and Guyon Philips (3 in 23, 6.73)

FM Career #2 – Pulling A Chelsea

We’re halfway through season 7 at Rangers and 2018/19 is shaping up to be very, very interesting indeed…

So, season seven. When I left you last time, we were sitting at the start of August, holding a 2-0 lead over Besiktas and with big names Jordy Clasie and Nicolas Gaitan on board. Let’s see what has happened so far…

We smashed Besiktas 3-0 at home to cruise into the play-offs where we were given the worst possible draw – Diego Simeone’s Manchester United. With a new side including Kondogbia, Son, Lamela and Schneiderlin we were demolished 4-0 at Old Trafford before a 0-0 draw at Ibrox saw us bow out early in a game that we should have won with all the chances we had. So, Euro Cup again and this time we were given an OK draw – Debrecen of Hungary, Sparta Prague and fucking Real Madrid. Yeah. THE Real Madrid. In the Euro Cup. Jesus. Our first game of the group was the dreaded trip to the Bernabeu where we were undone 2-0 by a defensive mistake and being a man light (Andy Murdoch strained his knee ligaments late on) and had a couple of good chances. We smashed Sparta at home before inexplicably throwing away a two goal lead at home to Debrecen to lose 3-2 (3 shots, 3 goals). We got revenge in Hungary before a home draw with Madrid left us second level with Sparta meaning we traveled to Prague for essentially a play-off. Jose Baxter’s penalty was enough and we went through to the next round where we will meet Manchester City. We’re not having any luck with draws this season.

Not pictured: Jordy Clasie (1 goal in 24 games, 6.85 average rating); Ben Craig (8 in 28, 6.81) and Guyon Philips (3 in 23, 6.73)

Not pictured: Jordy Clasie (1 goal in 24 games, 6.85 average rating); Ben Craig (8 in 28, 6.81) and Guyon Philips (3 in 23, 6.73)

League wise, it was a tough start. Our new look side was struggling to gel quickly and Hearts mugged us off at Ibrox 3-1 on the opening day of the season. 3 consecutive away 2-1 wins helped get some confidence into the boys with Sebastian Faure’s last minute winner at Aberdeen really getting the mood up. Everything was going well until we traveled to Easter Road and got mugged off royally. Hibs had three shots on goal and won 3-1. A win in the Old Firm Derby got us back on track again and from there we were near unbeatable in the league. It wasn’t pretty at times but we were grinding out results in games that caused us problems last season – Hearts, Dundee United, St. Mirren – and all this despite very few stand-out players. It was all solidly brilliant right up until we lost the last game of the calendar year at Celtic Park 4-0. They had five shots on target too which is starting to become an alarmingly regular thing too. We’re still second though after our run of 11 straight wins.

We’re still in both cup competitions too. Clyde were dispatched easily in the Fourth Round of the Scottish Cup which earned us a tie at Celtic Park in the next round. In the League Cup we’re into the semi finals with relative ease where we’ve drawn Hearts. Interestingly, Celtic fell by the wayside which leaves us as the favourites meaning that I’ll be disappointed if we don’t win.

In transfer news, the one deal that I mentioned I was working on was to bring in Belarus international Alexandr Klimovich and it was successful. At 21, he is already outstanding and provides more midfield depth. On the outs was young striker John Easton who prompted Liverpool to agree to my £2.5 million asking price. Youngster Kevin Cowie also left the club permanently to join Ross County for £10,000. Cowie was a decent young player and had a little potential but he was simply not good enough for Rangers and is away to carve out a mid-table SPL career. Robbie Crawford is also gone, with League 1 side Wycombe taking him off our hands for nothing. It’s sad to see him go but we’ve upgraded and moved on and that’s the sad reality of sport sometimes. We’ve also got another new player for nothing too – Cesar Armando Hernandez, a Mexican full back playing in the MLS was out of contract and my scouts rate him very highly so I nabbed him on a pre-contract and he has just arrived. Plus, anyone remember Jamie Moore from the FM Story on this save, the regen I sold to Chelsea for £5 million? He’s on loan… at Celtic. Traitor.

A good first half of the season...

A good first half of the season…

Strangely, I’ve found myself in the running (according to the media) for a number of jobs at some quite high-profile clubs. Both Everton and Inter sacked their manager early in the season and I was amongst the frontrunners for both jobs but never got invited to an interview while the media said I was favourite for the vacant Toulouse job and Lille actually interviewed me and offered me the job but I turned it down (I do have a second file where I will accept). It does seem that my personal reputation is growing within football which is always a good sign that you’re doing a good job. Winning all of the Manager of the Months bar August’s is also a good sign.

The managerial merry-go-round was in full swing too during the season’s opening. Hearts sacked Paul Hartley in November as they sat bottom of the table and replaced him with Grant Murray while Hibernian lost Scott Leitch to Fulham and replaced him with St. Mirren’s Danny Lennon. The Buddies hired Steve McLaren (yeah, the ex-England boss) who had funnily enough been sacked by Fulham. Even better was the fact this wasn’t the most shocking move. Athletic Bilbao sacked Marco van Basten and decided to replace him with none other than Celtic boss Neil Lennon. Celtic got Rangers legend Stuart McCall to replace him too. This game is something else.

January 1st also saw some other awards announced. Erik Lamela of Manchester United  won the World Golden Ball while Eden Hazard was named World Player of the Year. Youri Tielemans of Monaco was named World Golden Boy for his performances in France.

From a personal view, performances haven’t been outstanding but this side has ground out some pretty impressive wins and is perhaps the best side I’ve had at Rangers. The board gave me a three year extension too meaning that there is belief in me throughout the club which is nice. I have concerns defensively as we have conceded too many for my liking while up front the goals haven’t exactly flowed for our front men. In fact, Guyon Philips has had a nightmare season (3 in 23) while Ben Craig has started to impress despite his youth and inconsistency (he’s on 8 in 28). Goals haven’t been an issue but they have been spread pretty evenly across the squad. Our top scorer is Nicolas Gaitan with 12 and he’s been superb this season, a wonderful buy. Jordy Clasie has not been amazing but he’s done a job while Nicolae Pusca and Alexandr Klimovich have made reasonable starts for youngsters in a new league. There’s plenty to be excited about with some youngsters stepping up recently too – Andy Gilmour is getting more and more game time ahead of Cammy Bell, Ismael Bouzar is nearly first choice centre back and Jamie Mills is practically ahead of Lee Wallace in the pecking order now too. It’s been mostly positive and I’m looking forward to the rest of this season.

Hopefully you do too…

This year's ins and outs

FM Career #1 – The Rangers Story Continued…

Continuing on from the Football Manager of Rangers’ rise back into the upper echelons of Scottish football (which can be read here), where do the Gers go from where we left off…

If you want to know how we got to this point then look back at the FM Story that was done on this save (link above). Anyway, season five ended meekly. We struggled into second place and the Champions League qualifiers after some really sketchy league form in the home stretch that included a 3-0 pasting by Celtic at Ibrox. Our old rivals also managed to knock us out of the Scottish Cup in the quarter finals too despite Guyon Philips’ best efforts. Europe was our one bright point as we reached the quarter finals of the Euro Cup (again), hammering Galatasaray and sneaking past a really talented Swansea side, before losing by the odd goal in seven against Milan. We did manage a battling 2-2 draw in the San Siro and should really have won it late on but alas it was not to be.

The final league table. Celtic slightly ran away with it in the end

The final league table. Celtic slightly ran away with it in the end

Transfer wise, January saw us do little but it did see a few notable names leave not least my star man in midfield Jordan Hammill. With his contract running into it’s last eighteen months and the player keen to move, I had to cash. The best I could get was £2 million from Norwich and Aston Villa and Hammill chose East Anglia over Birmingham. Chris Hegarty was also sold down south as Ipswich came out of nowhere with £825,000 and Hegarty was off. I also managed to fall out with Geoffrey Mujangi Bia because he was crap and he didn’t think so. My efforts to sell proved fruitless but Saudi side Al-Ahli decided in April to loan him from me, paying £220,000 for the “privilege” as well as the majority of his large wages and having the option to buy him for close to £1 million. I guess money doesn’t buy sense.

The end of the fifth season caused me to re-evaluate everything about my squad and I had a number of tough choices to make regarding player movements. I had two big players coming in on pre-contracts – Jordy Clasie from Feyenoord and Nicolas Gaitan from Benfica – but my squad was brimming with quality and I had to cut it down quickly. So, the underperforming players were deemed dispensable. David Templeton played poorly more than he did well so he was the first to be offered out but thus there have been no takers. Robbie Crawford is a hard working guy that I’ve loved from the start but it was time for an upgrade but he’s been unable to attract a buyer too. One man who did was Andy Little, the man who fired me up the leagues. Hibernian wanted Little on loan and gave me £115,000 for him. I’m still paying his wages and there’s no purchase option on their end but it was good to get him out the door. Youngsters that failed to make the grade included big names such as Darren Ramsay, Ryan Hardie, Andy McKinnon, Tom Walsh, Derek Wilson, Davids Martin and Harris and many more. Steven Bonar went down south to Watford for nothing because Bobby Smith is better while Mark Gordon and Tom Forbes were allowed to join Aberdeen and St. Mirren respectively for nothing. Shock transfer of the summer was Manchester City signing Liam Kelly for £55,000 to sit on the bench while I raided Sheriff Tiraspol of Moldova for their 20 year old Moldovan international midfielder Nicolae Pusca. He had an utterly outrageous rating last season that suggested he was far above the Moldovan league and Sheriff sold me him for £325,000 which was less than what they paid for him. Superb business all round there. There is also another deal in the pipeline but I can’t say too much right now…

This year's ins and outs

This year’s ins and outs (not pictured: the tears of the released youngsters)

Pre-season was the usual batch of meaningless games I let my assistant deal with. We won three, drew with Clyde and lost to Mainz in a “who cares?” set of games. Champions League qualifiers are up first and we’re in the Best Placed Third Qualifying Round which is the pits. We drew Besiktas (the toughest team of the lot) and are currently 2-0 up after winning in Turkey (Andy Murdoch and Saidy Janko scored). Not the best thing to go through though – teams like Manchester United and Shakhtar Donetsk await us in the Playoffs.

I’ll see you all at the start of January. Hopefully, my laptop doesn’t give me the blue screen of death anytime between now and then.

Thanks!

Greenwell was beloved at Barcelona

Historical Football #14 – The Globetrotting Man From The North-East

Historical Football returns with a look at Englishman Jack Greenwell, a miner’s son from Crook in the North-East who went on to achieve glory around the world…

The differences between Crook Town and Barcelona could not be more apparent. One is a global brand, reaching far and wide with their collection of superstar talent and a philosophy and set-up that is the envy of nearly every club around the world. The other is a small club that is barely known outside of the North-East. However, they are linked by one man. A man born a miner’s son who would turn Barcelona from a small Catalan club into a force in Spanish football. That man is Jack Greenwell.

Born near Crook on the 2nd of January 1884, Greenwell developed an interest in football at a young age and made his debut for Crook Town in 1901. An accomplished wing half, Greenwell would help Crook win the English Northern League in his first season with Town and would also star as a guest when New Zealand’s West Auckland won the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy in 1909. He would remain in the North-East until 1912 when he decided to leave for Spain and young side FC Barcelona.

Greenwell’s spell as a Barcelona player would be relatively successful winning two Catalan championships in 1913 and 1916, striking up a very good partnership with a young forward named Paulino Alcantara. Greenwell would retire from football after the successful 1916 season and thought he would be gone for a little while. However, Barcelona’s manager, fellow Englishman John Barrow, managed to draw the ire of pretty much everyone at the club and was sacked towards the end of 1916. President Joan Gamper appointed Greenwell full time at the start of 1917 and the rest was history.

It wasn’t all glory for Greenwell though. He experimented with players out of position, notably Alcantara at the back, and results suffered as a result. With the expectant Catalan public demanding more he eventually returned Alcantara up front with deadly consequences. Barcelona’s side under Greenwell became a winning machine with the likes of Alcantara and Ricardo Zamora firing the club to five Catalan championships and two Copa del Reys. One of the key reasons of Greenwell’s success was his popularity with his players, many of whom were teammates of his and recommended him to Barcelona president Gamper. Alcantara was a close friend and his immense popularity saw him manage the club for seven successive seasons, second only to a certain Johann Cruyff, with Greenwell’s success often credited as the club’s first golden period.

Greenwell was beloved at Barcelona

Greenwell was beloved at Barcelona

Greenwell left Barcelona in 1923 to take charge of smaller clubs UE Sants and CD Castellon whom he turned from bottom feeders to teams pushing the top half of the table. He then had a spell at Barcelona’s great rivals Espanyol where he won a Catalan championship as well as the club’s first Copa del Rey. He left Espanyol in 1929 for a year in charge at Mallorca before returning to Barcelona in 1931.

Greenwell’s second spell in charge of Barcelona was nowhere near as successful as his first and he only won one Catalan championship in his two years back at the club. He left in 1933 to take over Valencia and, while La Liga form was patchy, he managed to win the regional championship and reach the final of the Copa del Rey where they lost 2-1 to Madrid CF (the forerunners to Real Madrid) who had a side containing old friend Ricardo Zamora in goal. He left after a year though and had a year spell with Sporting Gijon that ran until 1936.

Jack Greenwell’s life changed drastically in 1936. With the Spanish Civil War now raging in the country, Greenwell was considered a Catalan sympathiser where General Franco’s nationalists were unleashing terror. Inside a volatile and dangerous country with fear for his life, Greenwell left Spain to continue his management career in Turkey. There are barely scraps of information about Greenwell’s time in Turkey but it did not last very long. With Europe on edge as Nazi Germany moved into Poland in 1939, Greenwell left Europe all together with the impending war and headed to South America and more specifically Peru.

Greenwell’s decision to move to Peru may seem random but he had been in contact with the country previously. He was asked by the Peruvian FA to help then-national team coach Alberto Denegri with tactics ahead of the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin where the Peruvians were controversially eliminated in the quarter finals. So when Greenwell arrived in the country in 1939 he was appointed manager of one of the nations biggest clubs Universitario and the national team. Greenwell would lead Universitario to the league title that year and would lead Peru to a historic Copa America (then South American Championships) win on home soil. It made Greenwell an instant legend in Peru and also made Greenwell the first Englishman to coach a side to an international championship and the first (and, to date, only) non South American to win the Copa America.

Greenwell helped Valencia to the Copa del Rey final

Greenwell helped Valencia to the Copa del Rey final

His success in Peru lead to Colombia asking Greenwell to take charge of the national team in 1940 ahead of the 1942 Central American and Caribbean Games (which were eventually cancelled due to the war). He left his post as national team manager in 1942 to take charge of club side Independiente Santa Fe whom he lead to the final of the Torneo de Cundinamarca where they lost to America de Cali. This would be Greenwell’s last major final as in late 1942, just two days after Independiente beat local rivals Deportivo Texas 10-3, Greenwell suffered a massive heart attack and died on his way home from a morning training session. He was just 58 years old.

Greenwell’s popularity in Catalunya was immense, his fluent Catalan and Spanish endearing him to the public and friends even more. His love for the game was incredible too as when he was asked why he went to Colombia who were not FIFA affiliated nor even had a national league he simply asked,

“did the people of Colombia not deserve the beautiful game just because FIFA deemed so?”

A man with a giant love for the game that took him for a small North East town to Spain to Turkey to Peru to trying to develop football in Colombia, Jack Greenwell was a man that took a chance on heading abroad to fulfill his passion and succeeded. That he is not as revered in England as he is in Catalunya or Peru is a tragedy and one that should really be actively pursued at being changed by the FA.

As for Greenwell, he will always be a man that lives in history and there is no more appropriate tribute to a man than that.

Further Reading

Thanks!

Steam Powered #7 – It’s Not Perfect

Back on track and with the goals flowing, Steam FC is steaming through the Conference South. It can’t all be perfection can it?

We played twelve games in November and December. We won them all bar a draw against Basingstoke. We had back-to-back 8-0s. Jordan Ferri won’t stop scoring long range screamers. Nearly everybody is playing superbly. We’ve tightened up at the back considerably. So, is this the perfect side?

No.

Far from it.

Problem 1 – Sebastian Czapa is an appalling striker. Honestly the worst finisher I have seen in all my years in football. The boy couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat. He turned down the Ekstraklasa to join us and I was excited by that. Oh, hindsight. He’ll be sold in January because I can’t take it anymore. He’s scored once all season – against a side in the league below us. And even then it was a struggle. Not my best signing.

Problem 2 – Anthony Stewart. Every single time he plays we concede. He can’t defend and this is someone who was a regular in League 2. I can see why Wycombe released him.

Problem 3 – Injuries. Where do I start with injuries? It seems no matter what I and the physios do, we always get some kind of injury in a game. Ryan Mason has had it the worst – groin strain, thigh strain, bruised shin – but we’ve also lost Jospeh Yobo to a bad hip injury for a couple of months, Jordan Richardson to a broken foot, Shane Ferguson to a number of injuries and so many more. The squad is starting to look a little threadbare.

We’ve even had to blood a couple of youngsters during international breaks because of the number of players we have that are starting to become international regulars at youth and senior level. Marnick Vermijl has just made his Belgium debut, Rafael Floro is a regular for Portugal’s U21s, Etien Velikonja has forced his way back into the Slovenia side while Kristian Kostrna is knocking on the door of Slovakia’s side. Add in the regular leavers – Jordan Ferri, Zak Bakkali, Kaspars Gorkss, Shane Ferguson – and we struggle to fill out a 16 man squad at times.

Still, we’re heading into January top of the league and in the FA Trophy with a second round tie against Conference Premier side Nuneaton which should be a good test.

As for transfer business, the key areas of improvement will be a cover full back and new cover striker because Sebastian Czapa is out of here. Neither major overhaul nor massive signings. We’ve got a good group here and I don’t want to rock the boat.

Especially since Seb wouldn’t hit water if I did…

If you want to do this challenge yourself on Football Manager, the link to the Steam workshop is here.

Catch up with the last part of Steam Powered here.

Thanks!

Lots and lots of money

Steam Powered #6 – Bouncebackability

Defeat at Bromley had left questions around Steam FC and whether all their money would guarantee success. Was this the start of a glorious implosion?

Midfield wise, we were being overrun by big, physical teams and while we had competent midfielders in Kayal, Rodden, Grimstead and Coley, there was something lacking. That’s why I went after Lyon’s Jordan Ferri. He has everything I want in a midfielder and does it all with a carefree swagger.

Still, we had to bounce back from defeat at Bromley and everything was going fine on Jordan’s debut right up to the point we conceded an 83rd minute equaliser. Yeah…

Another bollocking ensued and this one really hit the boys hard. Wealdstone were destroyed with ease but did manage to break Craig Rodden’s foot but it was win after win following that with the goals flowing.

Twenty five in five thanks in large part to a tweak in formation. With Rodden out for a while, the anchor man was gone so we pushed him forward into a more aggressive ball winner right in the heart of midfield. We were instantly more dominant and controlling and when I let the boys have a little more creative licence on the pitch, the results went through the roof.

6-1 at Concord Rangers.

5-3 against Staines

5-0 at Farnborough

5-2 against Bath

It was dominance like I’d never seen. Mr. Ferri was also proving to be a difference maker and was banging in goals like no tomorrow. And when I say banging, I mean from 25 yards. Every. Single. Time.

We hit November top of the league having dropped just the five points when I received an email from Mr. Sawyer personally regarding finances…

Lots and lots of money

Mr. Sawyer likes to refer to himself in the third person

Just a small jump there then…

If you want to do this challenge yourself on Football Manager, the link to the Steam workshop is here.

Catch up with the last part of Steam Powered here.

Thanks!

Bromley 4-2 Steam FC

Steam Powered #5 – Something Needs To Change

Opening day away day navigated, Steam FC were now on a long and difficult journey up the football ladder but all was not immediately well in their debut season…

It had been coming.

There was something not quite clicking for the team. We were streets ahead in terms of spending, talent and experience but the wins were not quite as easy as they should be. Eastbourne Boro were comfortably dispatched in the first home game of the season with young Jordan Richardson making an encouraging scoring impact from the bench but it was the next game at Ebbsfleet that started to plant seeds of doubt in  my mind.

Shane Ferguson got a first minute goal but from then on we were sloppy on the ball and even sloppier in front of goal. Ebbsfleet were very much in it until the last few minutes when they had a man sent off. They’d booted us off the park, injuring Ryan Mason for a few days in the process, but I’d blamed our deficiencies on complacency which led to a good old fashioned bollocking in the dressing room.

It sort of worked. Hayes and Yeading and Bishop’s Stortford were seen off eventually but the ease of the opening couple of games of the season was gone and we were starting to become overrun in midfield and, worse, sloppy at the back. Hayes actually scored the first goal we’d conceded but August had passed with us unbeaten at the top of the league.

Then September appeared on the calendar. A trip to Bromley was up first and signaled the end of our formation as we knew it. We took the lead early on through Zak Bakkali but conceded twice in quick succession to go in 2-1 down at half time. Marnick Vermijl got us level just before the hour mark but the entire game changed in the 67th minute. Pierre Joseph-Dubois lost young Sam Magri in the box and headed home to end our second half dominance and put Bromely ahead. Chasing the game, Bromley picked us off with Adam Birchall making it 4-2 and a humbling experience for everyone involved with Steam FC.

How do you fix the problem?

A strong bollocking.

And by throwing big money at a new player.

Enter all £9.75 million of Jordan Ferri…

Bromley 4-2 Steam FC

If you want to do this challenge yourself on Football Manager, the link to the Steam workshop is here.

Catch up with the last part of Steam Powered here.

Thanks!