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…
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.