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JonInMiddleGA 03-11-2012 12:58 AM

FM 12 - Rise of the Spartans
I've played FM before but it's been years (I still have to catch myself not to call it CM) so it's not quite like starting from scratch but considering how relatively little soccer I actually know combined with years away combined with having always been mediocre at best with previous incarnations ... well let's just say I suspect this may turn into unintentional comedy pretty quickly.

Still, I figure sucking at FM might at least provide some mild entertainment, maybe someone else even worse than me (hey, they gotta exist ... right?) could learn from one of the many mistakes sure to follow.

JonInMiddleGA 03-11-2012 01:05 AM

First order of business was to pick a team.

Past experience was that the higher I went the more overmatched I became, so I knew I'd start at the lowest level available. Reviewed all of the Blue Square North/South teams, with my preferences being a team with middling expectations, less than horrible financial situation (relatively speaking), and not the absolute pits in facilities.

It came down to two possibilities, one being Bromley and the other being the team I eventually chose (ridiculously based in part on the connection between their nickname and my son's school team mascot)

Active nations btw - all playable to the lowest level possible - England, Germany, USA, Ireland, Wales

Grover 03-11-2012 01:08 AM

Good luck at Blyth!

Will certainly be following along.

JonInMiddleGA 03-11-2012 01:10 AM

July 5, 2001

JiMGA takes Blyth hot seat

In what may be seen as a surprise appointment, the Blyth board has named a virtually unknown American head coach as their new boss. He was introduced to fans and journalists alike at Croft Park this morning.

Founded in 1899, Blyth Spartans are a semi-professional English club currently playing in the Blue Square Bet North. The club play their home games at Croft Park (4,400 cap / 563 seated) and possess adequate training facilities and basic youth facilities. The club also has basic junior coaching and a limited youth recruitment network. The club is affectionately known as Spartans and retains a fierce rivalry with Gateshead.

The club's reputation is Obscure, the club's financial status is Okay.

britrock88 03-11-2012 01:16 AM

Man, the FM dynasty field is getting crowded quickly. Good luck at Blyth!

JonInMiddleGA 03-11-2012 01:31 AM

So, what have I gotten myself into? Let's dive in and find out what we've got here.


Compared to this bunch, I actually don't suck too badly.

Ass't coach Gavin Fell is dazzlingly meh, and is the best of the lot. He's a good (14) motivator and a decent (12) disciplinarian. Otherwise he's shockingly bad at a lot of things including coaching GK's, Fitness, Technical, and Defending. He's also weak in Tactical Knowledge (6), Judging Potential (6) and Judging Ability (7). But next to the rest of them, he's a f'n genius.

Coach Adam Johnson is a disciplinarian (16) that brings nothing higher than a 7 in any coaching area.

GK coach Carl King is actually good at that (14) but he's also our best with Youngsters (15) and Mental (14). He actually ought to be our AssMan now that I look at it more closely.

Scout Matt Taylor must be someone's nephew. With Judging Ability & Judging Potential both at 3, I'm not sure what use he's going to be. Physio Susan Dale may actually be a board member's girlfriend, not sure how else to explain getting hired with Physiotherapy at 2. I'm even a little disturbed at how her Working With Youngsters (12) rating was acquired.

JonInMiddleGA 03-11-2012 01:32 AM


Originally Posted by britrock88 (Post 2620432)
Man, the FM dynasty field is getting crowded quickly. Good luck at Blyth!

I blame Amazon :)

Grover 03-11-2012 01:40 AM


Originally Posted by JonInMiddleGA (Post 2620437)


Compared to this bunch, I actually don't suck too badly.

My staff is still pretty terrible even into year three and two divisions up. They all want too much bloody money.

JonInMiddleGA 03-11-2012 01:48 AM

Gambling with the new interactions menu (amazing the depth really), I've recalled 30 yr old veteran MF Chris McCabe from his loan to Shildon after discovering his willingness to begin the coaching phase of his career now (he was planning to retire after the upcoming season). My hope is that he'll be classed as a Player/Coach, since he's also one of the few signed players who has a clue about playing an attacking MF role.

Speaking of which, I guess we need to take a look at the players we start with. I've been doing that already, might as well share the misery.

JonInMiddleGA 03-11-2012 03:16 AM

Probably bears noting here that, to this point at least, I'm leaning toward going with the Ass't recommendations of a 4-4-2 as the primary and a 4-3-1-2 as a secondary tactic. That could change if I actually find a personal preference and/or the roster makeup changes, but that's the plan at the moment.

Players as of July 5, 2011

Goalkeepers - 5 under contract
24 y/o David Knight is the clear starter here, with good enough Reflexes & Agility (13's) but so-so (5-8) at all other key attributes.

20 y/o Max Johnson is the likely backup/reserve. Not great mentally (7-8 in key attributes) but fair enough (9-11) at most of the key GK skills.

20 y/o Kyle Barlow isn't rated well by the staff but his key ratings are actually okay & I could see him as a backup.

18 y/o Matty Hunter (who was listed for loan by the A/I) has some potential perhaps. Rtgs of 8-10 at all the key attributes.

19 y/o Matty Crook looks like a stiff, all the key rtgs between 5-8 other than his 12 Agility I don't see much.

Defenders - 11 under contract (sort of)

DL/WB - 28 y/o Joe Kendrick is with us on loan from Mansfield. Can play competently or better at D(L), MF(L), and WB(L) and could move forward to AML if needed. We're hoping to use him as a WB since he prefers to get forward whenever possible anyway. An all-around average player (7-11) in virtually every way, that makes him stand out at this level.

DC - 18 y/o Jordan Mellish is an athletic jumper (13) and a pure defender with no offensive skill at all. I like his Teamwork & Work Rate (13's), he'll be asked to defend & not much else

DC - 24 y/o Carl Jones looks like an experienced version of Mellish, a little more offense but less mentally astute.

DR/WB - 20 y/o Danny Groves is a less skilled version of Kendrick, fairly balanced skills (8-9 range) but will get the first crack at starting on the right side.

DL - 24 y/o Phil Cave will likely back up Kendrick on the left side, could see action particularly when we're looking for goals & have to move Kendrick up a row.
DR - 18 y/o Michael Pearson serves a similar role to Cave, if Groves moved into the midfield then Pearson would get the call.
DC - 29 y/o Wayne Buchanan looks like the backup in the middle, could find himself rotating with Jones depending upon performance
DC - 27 y/o David Coulson might be useful as a man-marking specialist, as well as a guy we call on if we seem to be playing soft or scared (15 Bravery, 12 Aggression, 13 Influence)
DC - 31 y/o Darren Timmons is an expired contract that has nothing left to speak of outside of his experience & memories.
DR - 19 y/o Dylan Purvis isn't much outside of an above average jumper (14). Loan candidate perhaps.

ML - 25 y/o Wayne Phillips appears serviceable here (8-13 in key attributes), at least he better be, there's nothing behind him unless we move Kendrick up

MC - 22 y/o Shaun Vipond would be better on the right but we're weak up the middle at the moment. Solid Long Shots (16) with above average aggression might mean he'll be a secondary source of some goals, just have to hope his defensive shortcomings (Mark 4, Tackle 5) won't be too painful.

MC - 30 y/o Chris McCabe is tentatively expected to start here, or at least play as much as his Stamina (6) will allow. Technical skills have deteriorated pretty badly (all single digits) but we hope his teamwork & determination will make up for some of that until we find more options

MR - 26 y/o Chris Emms gets the nod here, hopefully his Crossing (12) and Passing (10) skills make up for poor defense and physical weaknesses.

D/MF/WB - 20 y/o Richard Slaughter is a versatile player that we can only hope will develop. Completely left-sided, he's our utility man that we hope we to use when we choose rather than when we have to
MC - 24 y/o Neal Hooks is an obvious backup. Not horrid at many things, just not very good at anything either.
MC - 18 y/o Adam Forster is the last option in the midfield. Abysmal at several things, good at pretty much nothing, can dribble (9) and finish (8) at least a little bit. Hopefully his playing time is next to nothing, otherwise then we're probably screwed.

ST - 23 y/o Jamie Mole looks like our biggest offensive threat with his Finishing (12), Flair (12), and Pace (12). Unfortunately that depends upon whether we're able to sign him since he's currently out of contract. We'll be addressing that immediately.

ST - 28 y/o Graeme Armstrong is the team captain and we're hoping he'll be part of a 1-2 punch up front. He can Finish (14) but his Passing (13) may ultimately be more important if he's paired with Mole as hoped.

ST - 21 y/o Glen Taylor is the next option if Mole doesn't stick around. I wouldn't be terribly upset at giving him a chance alongside Armstrong, he's just a couple of ticks behind Mole at every key attribute.
ST - 25 y/o John Alexander is physically skilled but that's about it. If he sees much playing time then we're going to struggle offensively I'm afraid.
ST - 22 y/o Phil Bannister can shoot the ball (Finish 12, Penalty Taking 10) but can't do much else. Mentally & physically average to below average. I'd rather not run him out there unless absolutely necessary.
ST - 20 y/o Lee Mason has some physical skills (several 12's) but no Stamina (5) to go with them. He's also pretty weak in all technical areas. Another guy that really shouldn't see much action at all if we hope to succeed
ST - 21 y/o Yanis Galas has been loaned to South Shields and I'm certainly content to leave him there. Nice Pace (14) and Flair (12) but nothing else at all to speak of. If he gets into our lineup this year then we're screwed.

JonInMiddleGA 03-11-2012 04:20 AM

Well that was solved quickly enough.

We reached agreement with ST Jamie Mole on a 2 yr deal for $400/wk with small appearance & goal bonuses.

JonInMiddleGA 03-11-2012 04:52 AM

Speaking of contracts, we're in fine shape at the moment.

I'm content to accept the boards minimum goals of Avoid Relegation for a transfer budget of $4.8k and a payroll of $8.25k per week ... since our current salaries amount to only $5,739 per week.

Feeling froggy, I failed to get the board to agree to search for a parent club but succeeded in convincing them to increase the number of physios allowed (from 1 to 3).

JonInMiddleGA 03-11-2012 05:18 AM

July 6, 2011

Scout Matt Taylor has agreed to terminate his contract for a fee of $1.5k

New scout Craig Howard is a 37 y/o Englishman is an 11 judging ability and an 8 judging potential. Nice upgrade from the 3/3 of Taylor.

And oh yeah, my Ass't Coach Fell asked - and I agreed - for a friendly vs our reserves tomorrow evening.

We've also added friendlies against minnow Guisborough and the Premier League Blackburn Rovers. That brings our total of friendlies to 8 scheduled between now & 7/27. Regular season starts on 8/6 so we might throw another one or two in there for fitness/revenue purposes.

JonInMiddleGA 03-11-2012 10:45 AM

July 7, 2011 (morning)
We add a new Physio, 36 y/o Ewen Fairgreave. His 13 Physio, 12 with Youngsters and 18 Discipline seem like a wee bit of an upgrade over Susan "Just Call Me Kevorkian" Dale

July 7, 2011 (evening)

Blythe v Blythe Reserves (Friendly)
Well this is one way to get to know the club I suppose.
We start the anticipated regular season lineup
GK - Knight
D: Kendrick - Mellish-Jones-Purvis
MF: Phillips - Groves - Vipond-Emms
F: Mole - Armstrong

12:40 - Mole gets our first goal, nice & simple blast from 20 yards out with an assist from Armstrong. Just like we pictured it. (1-0)
Halftime - We've outshot them 8-3, doing pretty much whatever we want to this point, except scoring. 2nd half could get ugly as the reserves are very gassed from chasing us around.
49:00 - Mellish seems to be injured & leaves the field for treatment. We'll sub him asap, Coulson on at 53:00
62:00 - Cave on for Phillips, Kendrick moves up to MF
68:21 - Taylor on for Alexander, Mole flips to DLF, Slaughter on for Groves at 70:00
75:12 - Mole gets a second goal, off the rebound of a woodworked header by Wilson (2-0)
80:00 - Forster on for Kendrick, Buchanan on for Purvis, Hooks on for Emms (Vipond to WMR)
84:48 - Buchanan picks up a yellow, rather inexplicably
86:34 - Mole makes it a hat trick, on a nice 1-2 from the penalty spot with Slaughter (3-0)

Knight - 6.8
Kendrick 7.4 & 1 assist, Mellish 6.7, Jones 7.7, Purvis - 7.2
Phillips 6.6, Groves 6.6, Vipond 6.7, Emms 6.7
Mole 9.6 & 3 goals, Armstrong 6.8 & 1 assist
Slaughter 6.9 & 1 assist, Cave 6.9, Taylor 6.7, Coulson 6.3, Hooks/Forster/Buchanan unrated

For the reserves, Crook played the 1st half & conceded 1 goal, Barlow played the 2nd & gave up 2. Bannister played reasonably well (6.5) as did Alexander (6.5) while Timmons got abused (5.3)

JonInMiddleGA 03-11-2012 11:50 AM

July 8, 2011
We add a second new physio, 44 y/o John Whiley. Just an 8 but he's good with youngster and gives us some security in case our Fairgreaves were to move on.
We agree to mutual termination for Susan "I Could Break That For You" Dale for $2k (cheaper than paying her $120/wk to do more harm than good)

July 9, 2011
We bring in 25 y/o DC Nathan D'Laryea on a trial until the end of pre-season. Played last season for Hyde, is a former Man City prospect who also spent a couple of sparsely used years with Rochdale in League 2.

July 10, 2011
Stuart Pearce named England's next head coach, moving up from his role with the England U-21s. John Terry was named captain, Frank Lampard vice-captain.

We're awaiting a decision on a work permit for Brazilian DC Dionatan Teixeira. Word is expected at the end of the week. Would be a major upgrade to our back line.

kingfc22 03-11-2012 01:54 PM

I chose to play as Blythe before with FM08 based on their logo. :D

BYU 14 03-11-2012 04:13 PM

Hope you get Tiexiera, just started a Cambridge City game with
Uncle Rons level 8 mod and went after him. Got shot down, so I am appealing.

JonInMiddleGA 03-12-2012 01:06 AM

July 10, 2011 (evening)

Blythe v East Fife (Friendly)

Our first time out against someone other than ourselves, against a team from the Scottish Second Division. We'll roll a modified lineup against them, assuming a tougher opponent lies ahead in three days with a visit from Ayr of the Scottish First Division.

GK - Johnson
D: Cave - D'Laryea - Jones - Purvis
MF: Kendrick - Slaughter - Groves - McCabe
F: Armstrong-Taylor

30:56 -- After a half hour of being out possessed 2:1 and outshot 5:1, an awkward pass from a timid McCabe finds Glen Taylor in the box and he rifles it home ! (1-0)

35:21 -- Throw-in from the side, a few casual passes & Purvis suddenly lobs one into the box ... Kendrick is there with a header ... GOAL ! ... except that it's being waved off for offsides. "Blyth believes it should have stood" is quite an understatement.

Halftime -- Outshot 6-4, down 60-40 possession, yet we've got the lead. Has probably helped that our opponent lost two starters to injury including their best striker. Oh well, sucks like that sometimes. Slaughter got a yellow in the half but his condition is good so we'll just have him take it easy on the tackling for now. We'll bring Emms on for Groves (move McCabe to CM), bring Phillips on for a slightly tiring Kendrick at WML.

56:53 -- Phillips trots unmarked down the left side, the lefty lets one fly ... GOAL, a magnificent goal (2-0) ... subs time, we bring Mason on for Armstrong (flip Taylor to AF)

60:00 -- Two saves by Johnson to keep his sheet clean ... sub time again, Coulson on for Purvis (D'Laryea to RWB), Forster on for Slaughter (McCabe to CML)

65:45 -- A couple of nearly lost passes, back out to Forster ... he launches from 30 yards out & into the back of the net ! (3-0) ... sub time, Hooks on for Cave (Phillips to LWB), Mellish on for Jones

75:30 -- Feeling comfortable, get a few more subs in, Vipond for a tired McCabe, Bannister for a tired Taylor (Mason to AF)

90:00 -- Just before injury time, Neal Hooks picks up a slight injury & we have to sub, so it's Mole on for him

92:03 -- Playing out the string, loose ball in the box & Bannister knocks it in off the volley (4-0)

A strong finish lead to us outshooting them 13-10 & holding a narrow 52-48 possession edge. Didn't expect to fare nearly this well frankly but we'll take it.

Johnson 6.9
Cave 7.1, D'Laryea 8.0 & 1 assist, Jones 6.8, Purvis 6.8
Kendrick 6.8, Slaughter 6.8, Groves 6.8, McCabe 7.5 & 1 assist
Armstrong 6.2, Taylor 8.2 & 1 goal & 1 assist

Phillips 8.2 & 1 goal (MOM), Forster 7.5 & 1 goal, Bannister 7.3 & 1 goal,
Emms, 6.9, Hooks 6.8, Coulson 6.8, Mason 6.8, Vipond/Mole N/A

Hooks sustained a bruised head & will be out for 9-12 days.

JonInMiddleGA 03-12-2012 01:43 AM

Jul 12, 2011

26 y/o American LWB/LD Andrew Peterson agrees to come in on trial until the end of the preseason. He's had a cup of MLS coffee with Columbus, played in 2009 for the Minnesota Thunder in the 2nd division. Mostly looking for some pre-season depth here, hoping maybe to find a useful player to shore up our left side depth.

JonInMiddleGA 03-12-2012 03:01 AM

July 13, 2011
A veteran comes in on trial, 39 y/o Kevin Parr who spent most of the past decade with Stalybridge but appears to have been inactive for the last couple of years. He's a CM that at least warrants a look during the pre-season, depth is never a bad thing & his experience & attitude might be useful.

July 13, 2011 (evening)

Blythe v Ayr (Friendly)

We'll quickly find out the difference in caliber of the Scottish First Division, after rolling smoothly against a lower division side from the same league.
Trying out another version of the lineup, but the familiar names are waiting patiently to sub in.

GK - Knight
D: Peterson - D'Laryea - Jones - Purvis
MF: Phillips - Slaughter - Groves - Vipond
F: Armstrong - Mole

10:51 - A quick shot by Ayr from the top right of the box goes harmlessly wide, but they look a lot more agile than us so far.

25:44 - D'Laryea free kick blasted well wide, no serious threats so far but they seem content to let us control possession. I almost feel as though we're getting sucked in here.

38:00 - Mole gets a chance in close but it's blocked. Ayr turns things around & Jones gives up a throw-in deep in our end. Powerful shot by Shaun Miller is blocked & an offsides ends the threat.

41:30 - Vipond's corner goes to Jones but his header is wide.

44:30 - Vipond's corner from the other side again reaches Jones but his header is over the bar.

Halftime - We've outshot Ayr 7-2, been on target 2-0, have a 68-32 edge in possession yet somehow I feel like we're just weathering the storm. Phillips and Purvis are both looking weathered, we'll sub Kendrick for Phillips at WML and McCabe for Purvis (Groves to RWB)

47:30 - Sives does everything but finish on a nice run that found him free about 10 yards out

51:30 - Kendrick plays a long ball ahead to Armstrong who takes a long shot with the keeper coming out to meet him but it goes well high & a bit wide.

55:10 - Vipond fires a long shot but it's high & wide right. We decide to try to shake something loose & flip flop Mole & Armstrong up front.

69:00 - Vipond plays it to Kendrick about 35 yards out, his quick shot is blocked & richocets deep to an opportunistic Armstrong, he passes through three defenders to Mole who was waiting in front & knocks it home (1-0) ... we sub Mellish in for a tiring Vipond (D'Laryea to RWB, Groves back to CMR), also sub Bannister in for Armstrong ... we also change our approach for the first time all season, switching to counterattack from standard.

80:00 - Fatigue certainly starting to show now, we tell D'Laryea to lay back as a FB, switch strategy from counterattack to defend. Also sub Emms in for Groves (shift McCabe to CMR)

87:30 - D'Laryea draws a yellow from Miller, we sub Forster in for Slaughter who is spent. Hoping the energy gained is worth the tackling lost. Sub doesn't take place until the 90th minute, there's three minutes of injury time added.

91:15 - Near disaster, Knight's long goal kick was played ahead to a streaking Parker but Knight made the save on a long shot easily.

92:00 - Long ball for Bannister is taken away, Ayr gets organized but the long shot is wide. Scrum at midfield, Mellish draws a foul & kills some time before the free kick. A deep ball to no one and time expires.

The press said we should expect "a basketball score", instead it's a baseball score & we get a surprising win. Great effort all around, we outshot them 12-7, finished with 53% of possession, could have been higher except for struggling in the passing game on the defensive end. That's forgivable since the defenders didn't allow a single on-target shot all night.

Knight - 6.5
Peterson 7.2 - D'Laryea 6.7 - Jones 6.9 - Purvis 6.8
Phillips 6.8 - Slaughter 6.7- Groves 6.8 - Vipond 6.8
Armstrong 6.8 & 1 assist - Mole (MOM) 7.4 & 1 goal
Kendrick 6.8, Mellish 6.8, McCabe 6.7, Bannister 6.5, Emms/Forster N/A

JonInMiddleGA 03-12-2012 03:44 AM

July 14, 2011

30 y/o Jamaican DC/DL Stevland Angus will come in on a trial until the end of the pre-season. Good jumping ability would be a plus.

30 y/o DL/WBL Brendan Gallen comes in on trial as well, has bounced around six different teams without making a match appearance. Initial scouting impressions are pretty favorable, I'm wondering whether he's a head case or something (although it's more likely that his 5 stamina & 3 strength are the problems)

We also add depth in a surprising area: Striker. 20 y/o Jason White comes to us for a 1 yr deal on a free, more likely he'll see time at CMF where's he's also comfortable.

July 15, 2011
Dionatan Teixeira's work permit application was turned down. Blyth have appealed against the decision.

Izulde 03-12-2012 04:01 AM

Blyth looking good in preseason. :D

JonInMiddleGA 03-12-2012 05:21 AM

July 16, 2011

Blythe v Guisborough (Friendly)

Hoping for an easy one here as we welcome a visitor from the Northern D1. They're a pacy bunch but not much else going for them on paper so we'll try out a new tactic & play some of our backups. Hopefully that doesn't backfire on us.

GK - Johnson
D: Cave - Angus - Coulson - Pearson
MF: White - Parr - Emms
AM: Forster
F: Taylor - Bannister

11:24 - Remember what I said about backfiring? We dominate play from the outset & allow a goal for the first time all year off a simple corner to Tony Challinor. He was free & just bounced it past Johnson. (0-1)

12:51 - Taylor wasn't going to have it, he just dribble past three defenders & blasted it home (1-1)

17:40 - Emms corner to Coulson was true & the defenseman didn't miss out on his opportunity (2-1)

35:00 - Forster picks up a knock & comes off for treatment. We decide to take no chances & sub here. Groves in for Foster (Emms to AMF, White to MR, Parr to ML, Groves at CM)

43:00 - Emms corner kick goes to Angus who steps into a diving header & scores a nice one (3-1)

45:33 - Angus plays a long ball that Bannister runs down on a bee line for the goal, he's tangled up by Anthony Bostock & a foul is called. Wait, there's Mathieson talking to Bostock, goes to his pocket & brings out a red card. A free kick from the edge of the box sails over & we head to the break.

Halftime - 12-1 shot advantage, 63% of possession, passing well. It's all going our way after giving up the easy goal, something that the attitude during warmups might have predicted. We sub Mason in for a complacent looking Bannister, Gallen in for Cave.

51:00 - Timmons on for Pearson (Coulson to RD)
60:00 - Alexander on for Taylor, Vipond on for Parr, Mellish on for Coulson
74:00 - Buchanan on for Emms (Angus to CM, Vipond to AMC), Peterson on for Groves (Gallen to LMC)
76:17 - Vipond to Mason on the run one on one, easy peasy (4-1)
Sub Hunter in for Johnson at GK

87:45 - Challinor gets behind the defense, hits the crossbar

Full time - If you outshoot a outmanned team 25-2 you'd kind of like to win by more than 4-1 but considering the first time formation & several players who spent time playing out of position, it's probably to be expected

GK - Johnson 6.8
D: Cave 6.8 - Angus 7.8 & 1 goal - Coulson 7.5 & 1 goal - Pearson 6.7
MF: White 7.1 & 1 assist - Parr 6.8 - Emms 8.2 & 2 assists
AM: Forster 6.8
F: Taylor 7.6 & 1 goal - Bannister 6.8

Mason 7.3 & 1 goal, Vipond 6.8 & 1 assist, Peterson 6.6, all others 6.8

JonInMiddleGA 03-12-2012 05:22 AM


Originally Posted by Izulde (Post 2620922)
Blyth looking good in preseason. :D

Yeah, that's kinda what I'm afraid of. However we've got a couple of friendlies coming up that should take care of any overconfidence ;)

JonInMiddleGA 03-12-2012 05:44 AM

July 17, 2011

Blyth fans are exicted by the signing of 18 y/o striker Leeroy Chinthengah from Zimbabwe. An above average dribbler with a good first touch, he's got a certain flair about him. A former Oldham prospect, he scored 3 goals in 4 gams for Leigh Genesis in the NPD1 in 09-10.

We also sign 15 y/o AMR Chris Ferguson. He's shown considerable young promise with penalties & has a decent work rate. We expect to have to work to keep him away from the media however, he's not what you'd call, umm, media friendly.

And we add depth to our coaching staff with the addition of 33 y/o Dean Harris. He's got talent at teaching both sides of the ball and should improve our gains from coaching.

JonInMiddleGA 03-12-2012 10:01 PM

July 18, 2011
Blyth has signed 18 y/o DC Tom Seery, a youngster with good aerial ability. There are concerns about both his concentration level & his marking skills but he's still young so there's room to improve on both things.

23 y/o DR Junior Osborne has joined Blyth on a trial basis until the end of pre-season. Has limited match experience with Aldershot but spent 4 of the past 6 seasons with Watford (only 1 appearance).

July 19, 2011
Blythe v Blackburn (Friendly)

For as well as things have been going, I can only hope that we don't get beaten down so badly here that it has a lingering impact on the club. This is a major step up in weight class but we're hoping the gate makes the likely outcome worthwhile.

GK - Knight
D: Peterson - Purvis - Jones - Groves
MF: Kendrick - Slaughter - McCabe - Emms
F: Armstrong - Mole

00:30 - It's took them less than a minute to work the ball down for an easy shot on goal, luckily it went harmlessly into the side of the net. It may be a looooong night.

3:12 - Next shot hit the crossbar but it only saved us for a second as Modeste pounced on the rebound and gently headed it in (0-1)

23:00 - Modeste again, this time he spins past Purvis & just fired it home from just inside the box (0-2)

31:30 - Formica fires from just outside the arc, Knight makes a diving save to his right but Olsson puts home the rebound ... wait, he was offside & the score remains the same.

40:30 - Emms puts up our first shot of the match, an horrible wide effort from looong range that was generously called a shot.

44:00 - Holy crap, signs of live. Emms finds Armstrong on the break, his shot is saved by Bunn, Kendrick gets the rebound but it's blocked by Ramm.

Halftime - Not a pretty picture, but not as ugly as it could be either. Outshot only 8-3, possession almost even now at 49-51. Problem is that we've got some players who seem to be taking things a little more lightly than intended (Groves, Purvis, McCabe, Kendrick). Meanwhile Jones is trying but isn't playing well at all (5.9), neither is Purvis (5.7)

Subs: Vipond on for McCabe (tired), Coulson for Jones, Buchanan for Purvis (Coulson to LCD)

48:30 - Formica finds Modeste 10 feet away & he lazily bonks it off the right post, Groves puts it out for a corner. Daly's ensuing header sails over the bar.

51:30 - Emms fires an agonizingly close shot that sails a foot wide of the post

56:00 - Blackburn subs Modeste out, we'll make changes as well, with D'Laryea in for Groves, Phillips for Kendrick, Cave for Petersen

61:40 - Vipond hits a rocket that Bunn saves over the top for a corner. Emms left the set piece short & Blackburn clears with ease, right into a fastbreak for Formica & two wingers but Cave cuts in & clears the danger.

63:00 - Forster in for Slaughter, Chinthenga for Mole

78:50 - Armstrong & Chin. play a little two man game at the top of the box, the captain finds Emms breaking in from the right for a good chance ... but he's offside ... Parr subs on for Emms (Vipond to RM), Taylor on for Armstrong

81:45 - Morris with a long free kick ... Olsson steps off the defender & scores (0-3). That was disappointing as he simply went unmarked for an easy one.

89:00 - Forster plays a long one for Taylor that he one-times to force a save over the bar for a corner but it comes to nothing.

Fulltime - Outshot 15-7, ended up winning possession battle 51-49. Did a nice job denying their crosses (16%), there were some good physical things on the field at times although it seemed that Blackburn let up a bit after taking the early lead. Could have been worse though, and if not for that last goal I'd actually be feeling even better about this. Modeste is, predictably, MOM with 2 goals and an 8.7 rating.

Knight 6.5
Peterson 6.4, Purvis 5.7, Jones 5.9, Groves 5.8 (last three had poor games)
Kendrick 6.5, Slaughter 6.6, McCabe 6.5, Emms 6.7
Armstrong 6.5, Mole 6.4
Subs: Chinthengah/Buchanan/Vipond 6.8, Forster 6.5, Phillips 6.4, Cave 6.3, D'Laryea 6.1, Coulson 5.8, Taylor/Parr N/A

JonInMiddleGA 03-12-2012 11:15 PM

July 21, 2011
Andrew Peterson's move to Blyth has been put on hold after his initial application for a work permit was turned down. Blyth have appealed against the decision. I think this one is hopeless but might as well try

July 23, 2011
Blythe v Spartans (Friendly)

No, we're not playing against ourselves. These Spartans are a semi-pro club from the East Scotland Premier League. Honestly, no idea what to expect here as we're going with several backups after playing most of our expected starters very hard duty against Blackburn. Back to our usual 4-4-2 with a more balanced focus.

GK - Johnson
D: Kendrick - Mellish - D'Laryea - Pearson
MF: Phillips - Parr - White - Osborne
F: Taylor - Chinthengah

17:40 - Kendrick has a free kick from the far right outside the box, plays it in but the defender Rae has it measured ... he stumbles, hits the ball awkwardly ... it's an own goal. Well that was certainly different. (1-0)
Let's switch to a Control philosophy & see if we can catch them in a doldrum.

Halftime - So much for them suffering a lapse or anything. Once again we looked a little overconfident in warm ups & it should have foretold a rather dull performance. We've outshot them 5-0, conceded 58% of possession, and have been uncharacteristically lazy defensively to pick up 5 fouls (to their 2).

Just before the half Pearson took a knock, so we'll sub Jones in for him (D'Laryea to RWB), and also bring Hooks on for Parr (shift White to LCM). Parr had three off-target shot opportunities in the 1st half, maybe White can get the same but capitalize on them.

46:30 - Osborne takes a random elbow to the face, the offender gets a yellow card for his troubles.

50:32 - Kendricks throw in from near the corner leads to a shot by Taylor that gets tipped aside for a corner. Chinthengah gets it to Jones on the opposite side of the box but his header sails harmlessly wide & out.

53:34 - Taylor gets a little bit of space & tries a long whistler that just goes high & out

58:00 - Another corner, this time to Mellish in traffic but it's blocked & cleared.

61:20 - Phillips finds Taylor who broke the offside trap, he's headed in alone, the keeper starts out, hesitates, Taylor lobs it up and ... in (2-0)

Sub Ferguson in for Osborne, Forster for White, Bannister for Chint., and Gallen for Kendrick

74:00 - Sub Angus for Mellish, Mason for Taylor (Bannister to DLF)

88:00 - Bannister shoots one about a half mide wide as the two teams just plod along toward the finish

Fulltime - A yawner as we outshoot them 11-1 despite only 48% possession. 10 fouls is our highest total of the year IIRC, 7 of the 11 shots were off target, only 67% pass completion. It's a win but it's just meh. The Non-League Paper was surprised, I wasn't particularly.

Johnson 6.7
Kendrick 6.8, Mellish 6.8, D'Laryea 7.3, Pearson 6.8
Phillips 7.0 & 1 assist, Parr 6.8, White 6.7,Osborne 6.8
Taylor (MOM) 7.4 & 1 goal, Chinthengah 6.8 & 1 assist
Subs: Jones/Gallen 6.8, Forster/Bannister 6.4, Ferguson 6.3, Hooks 6.2, Angus/Mason N/A

JonInMiddleGA 03-13-2012 12:09 AM

July 25, 2011
Andrew Peterson's proposed move to Blyth has been cancelled after the appeal for a work permit was turned down.

July 25, 2011 (PM)

Blythe v Linfield (Friendly)

Only three friendlies left before the season begins, this time it's a member of the Northern Ireland Premier Division. Should be a step up from our last opponent, Non-League Paper says "Linfield will win with ease". We shall see.

GK - Knight
D: Kendrick - Angus - Purvis - Osborne
MF: Slaughter - Groves - Vipond - Ferguson
F: Mole - Armstrong

0:10 - Armstrong gets warned after a careless trip, avoided a card though.
2:00 - I sure hope my crappy pre-match pep talk doesn't cause us to play below ability.
15:17 - Slaughter gets a nice run going on the left and is dragged down by Alan Morrison of Linfield ... That's going to be a penalty ... the youngster Ferguson will take it, strikes it smartly ... and it's off the woodwork to his left :(

18:00 - Vipond has suffered an injury, let's take him off & bring on Parr (have to make a decision on whether to offer him a contract soon)

20:30 - Armstrong with a nice run deep on the right but he's soon caught up in traffic ... Beattie sticks out a leg & catches him ... that's going to be another penalty .. No card, just a warning though .. Armstrong spot kick is a mile high over the bar :(

30:00 - Ferguson quickly to Armstrong in the box, another shot missed wide.

45:00+ - Cromie runs past Parr & gets off a shot, Knight punches it away & Angus clears it over the side.

46:49 - Too much possession allowed to Cromie & his mates, he finds Morrison in the box with a little room & Knight can't get to him in time (0-1) ... Groves protests that he was offside but to no avail, looked close to me for sure.

Halftime - Shots equal at 3 but possession is 64% their way. Not sure what to think after two missed penalties, you'd think we'd have gotten at least one. Then again, you'd think that I'd have managed not to have Ferguson playing up front with Mole stuck on the right side of the midfield too.

Sub Jones in for Angus who has been awful (5.8)

47:41 - Parr is down after fouling Dean McCann, have to sub in McCabe for Parr. Will also sub White in for Osborne (move Groves to RWB)

55:05 - Mole gets roughed up by Crawford, he's going to the side & we'll take no chances with him, on comes Taylor for our leading scorer

66:00 - Now White takes a knock, he can stay on but we'll get him out as soon as possible. Gallen on for White (Kendrick to LMF)

89:42 - Armstrong finds Ferguson at the point, he lets fly maybe our best chance of the night but Cairnduff makes the save against his body & holds on.

Fulltime - We outshot them 5-4 but allowed them to control far too much of the match (only 38% possession for us). Much more physical game than we've had thus far, got knocked around more than usual. Now we await the physio reports

Knight 6.7
Kendrick 6.7, Angus 5.8, Purvis 6.8, Osborne 6.0
Slaughter 6.8, Groves 6.8, Vipond 6.8, Ferguson 5.3
Mole 6.0, Armstrong 6.4
Subs: Parr/Gallen/Jones 6.8, McCabe 6.7, White 6.6, Taylor 6.4

July 25, 2011 (late PM)
Physio reports hit my office. Jason White suffered a pulled hamstring & will be out for 4-5 weeks while being treated by the club. Shaun Vipond suffered a damaged elbow after a heavy fall & will be out 2-3 weeks while being treated by the club physios.

JonInMiddleGA 03-13-2012 01:48 AM

July 27, 2011 (PM)

Blythe v Airdrie Utd (Friendly)

Next to last friendly, this time it's a club from the Scottish 2nd Division. Media says they'll have too much quality for us, I'm thinking otherwise frankly.

GK - Johnson
D: Cave - Angus - Coulson - Osborne
MF: Peterson - Hooks - Emms
AM - Forster
F: Mason - Chinthengah

17:00 - First shot of the game finally comes, an off-target speculation from the point by Emms.

23:00 - Only a brilliant save denied Chinthengah a goal on a shot from the right side of the box

30:00 - Osborne gets a yellow for tripping Murphy

33:00 - Cave is injured & has to come out, Phillips in (Peterson to LWB)

Halftime - Outshot 3-2, possession in their favor about 60-40. We'll switch to our more familiar 4-4-2 for the second half. Sub in Seery for Osborne (he simply hasn't impressed us at all during his trial unfortunately) and move Coulson to RWB

49:00 - Murphy feeds Allison in the box & he just overpowers Johnson (0-1)

55:00 - Taylor on for Chinthengah

57:15 - Mason was denied on a diving stop after a beautiful feed from Taylor. Almost drew level there

62:32 - Mellish on for Peterson
70:00 - McCabe on for Hooks
80:00 - Switch to Attacking strategy, Groves on for Emms (McCabe to RM)
84:41 - Forster finds Phillips for a shot but he was clearly offside ... Bannister on for Coulson (Groves to RWB)

Fulltime - Not much to see here, outshot 8-7 but it was losing the possession battle (44-56) that cost us.

Johnson 6.8
Cave 6.8, Angus 6.6, Coulson 6.7, Osborne 6.8
Peterson 6.7, Hooks 6.6, Emms 6.7
Forster 6.6
Mason 6.0, Chinthengah 6.1
Subs: Taylor 6.8, McCabe 6.5, Mellish 6.4, Phillips/Seery 6.1, Groves/Bannister N/A

JonInMiddleGA 03-13-2012 03:07 AM

July 29, 2011

Brendan Gallen earned a spot on the squad with his play during trial & we've reached agreement on a contract. Nothing permanent though, just a $375 appearance fee deal.

Also, we've extended the contract of Carl Jones to 2014 at a small increase to $500 per week. Our second highest player value at $18k, seemed worth keeping around.

July 30, 2011
World Cup Quals (EUR) draw is today. England is drawn into Group 8 as the #1 seed along with Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, San Marino & Ukraine. Matches start 9/8/12.

Jamie Mole, our highest valued player at $50k, signs a one year extension with a raise to $625/wk.

Luton's Ed Asafu-Adjaye, a talented DR, rejects our loan offer

July 30, 2011 (PM)

Blythe v Barnsley (Friendly)

Our final friendly could get ugly, as Championship side Barnsley visits Croft Park for an afternoon affair. We'll be in a defensive posture in our 4-4-2 and hope for the best (which probably mean no injuries)

GK - Knight
D: Kendrick - Jones- Mellish - D'Laryea
MF: Phillips - Slaughter - Groves - McCabe
F: Armstrong - Mole

7:00 - A sudden counter sees Armstrong hit McCabe on the run but he had to hurry his shot as defenders closed & it sails well wide. Got a buzz out of the crowd though.

10:15 - Another unexpected rush through midfield sees Mole with the ball eyeing Armstrong ahead when Scott Golbourne took him down with both feet. That's a red card & we'll be up a man for almost 80 minutes, perhaps the complexion of this game just changed.

29:00 - Digby finds Gray who outpaces the field but Knight managed to tip the shot up & over.
41:25 - A wild clearing attempt after Armstrong lost the ball in the box leads to a corner. Mellish fires one that wildly hits the crossbar & gets knocked out for another corner, which also comes to naught.

Halftime - Interesting times, outshot 3-1 despite being a man up, although possession is in our favor 52-48. Barnsley has been content to clear the ball out of play whenever possible (15 throw-ins for us in the half)

Sub at the break will be Emms for McCabe (who is tiring), we'll also gamble and switch to Standard from Defensive.

50:00 - Forster on for a tiring Slaughter

60:00 - Kendrick sends a free kick just high, if he had kept it down the velocity might well have been enough ... Bannister on for Groves (he'll play out of position in the midfield, hoping for a little more offense)

70:00 - Gallen in for Phillips (Kendrick to LM), Taylor on for Mole, who has had a rotten day (5.8)

81:00 - Knight makes a nice safe to keep things scoreless ... Hooks on for Kendrick (Forster to LM)

88:00 - Disaster, as a corner produces a loose ball out in front that everyone seemed to lose sight of, except for Barnsley's Ngoma who just tapped it in (0-1) ... on replay we see that Knight came out in front too far & Ngoma slipped behind him

90:20 - In full overload, Taylor sends one just high on a decent chance.

Fulltime - So close, but realistically only because they were playing with 10. Outshot 7-5, possession 50-50. Still, we tell the team we're happy (even though we're disappointed inside) and they seem pleased with that.

Knight 6.4
Kendrick 6.9, Jones 6.8, Mellish 7.1, D'Laryea 6.7
Phillips 6.8, Slaughter 6.7, Groves 6.7, McCabe 6.7
Armstrong 6.8, Mole 5.8 (lousy 1/9 on tackles presumably killed his rating)
Subs: Bannister/Emms 6.8, Forster 6.7, Gallen/Taylor 6.5, Hooks N/A

July 31, 2011
18 y/o Striker Shane Bennett has agreed to terms & will join the club after two seasons in the Shrewsbury system. He brings decent pace (10) and a left-footed option although he'll have to play his way into match shape before being able to contribute

Hull MR Daniel Emerton rejected our loan request, pity because he would have given us a quality option on the outside

We decide to keep Graeme Armstrong as Captain for the upcoming season but name Brian McCabe as Vice-Captain (replacing Shaun Vipond)

Aug 3, 2011
Leeroy Chinthengah has been called up by Zimbabwe U20 for their Aug 9 match against Algeria

Of the various trialists still around, not much to be done at this point.
Andrew Peterson was denied a work permit but we'd love to have kept him
Nathan D'Laryea got miffed at our negotiations & won't discuss things further
Kevin Parr was a prick at the negotiation table & can go hang
Stevland Angus was a disappointment after his first outing & we're not going to make an offer
Junior Osborne was just disappointing period & will not be offered

JonInMiddleGA 03-13-2012 03:34 AM

August 4, 2011

Versatile 25 y/o MF Paul Matondo has agreed to join Blyth on a per appearance basis. A good passer with decent pace & the ability to finish, he could bring a new dimension to the Spartans attack. He comes on a free from Drogheda Town of the Leinster First Division.

August 5, 2011
One day until my official debut in the Blue Square Bet North season opener. Managed to get through the pre-match presser without peeing in any of the punch bowls (as far as I could tell).

JonInMiddleGA 03-13-2012 05:12 AM

August 6, 2011

Blythe (0-0) v Workington (0-0)

The schedule makers give me a gift, opening the season at home against a team that may be fighting against relegation just like we're expected to do. It's Workington who comes to call as my career officially begins.

The oddsmakers are being nice too, making us 6-4 favorites on a dry 69 degrees Saturday afternoon.

We'll stick with what we know best to start things, 4-4-2, Balanced & Standard.

GK - Knight
D: Kendrick - Jones- Purvis - Groves
MF: Matondo - Hooks - McCabe - Emms
F: Armstrong - Mole

3:00 - First shot of my tenure comes from McCabe, who headed a nice cross from Matondo right over the bar

28:00 - McCabe picks up a yellow, just about a minute after Kendrick got one. We've got to stop tripping people almost randomly.

28:32 - And now Armstrong gets a yellow (he almost got one earlier)

36:42 - Armstrong pushes the ball to Hooks just outside the arc, he finds Mole in deep ... a little nubber and a GOAL (1-0)

Halftime - Two good chances just before the half sends us to the break with a feeling of momentum. 7-2 edge on shots, 62% of possession. The three yellows have me a little nervous. Purvis seems nervous too & I can't calm him even with a little chat. Mole is really showing signs of wear, must have taken a knock somewhere along the way, no chance that he'll finish the match but I'll try to squeeze a little more out of him before subbing.

47:40 - McCabe bangs one off the post, that could have been a huge goal
48:35 - Kendrick sent Bell diving to make a save, another near miss
59:30 - Phillips on for Mole (Matondo to F)
71:00 - Buchanan on for McCabe (Groves to CMR)
74:45 - Kendrick goes in hard & gets his second yellow, we're down a man
Slaughter on for Armstrong as we figure to go into a shell, Phillips drops back to LFB
79:38 - Hooks gets a yellow trying to make something happen in the offensive end, played a little too rough with Hewson. If you're keeping score at home, that's our fifth card of the match
88:15 - Emms gets a ridiculous card for doing little more than sharing the same pitch with Workington
88:40 - Purvis stumbles a bit & the Reds get a clear shot but it goes into the side of the net
90:00+ - Two fouls in stoppage time only earn warnings for Workington

Full time - Whew. 8 yellows (6 on us) and 1 red, Mole gets MOM but it should go to Referee Scott Duncan who had more action than any player on either side. We outshot them 14-4, had 59% possession, passed well enough. On the whole we'll take it.

Knight 6.7
Kendrick 6.7, Jones 7.0, Purvis 7.1, Groves 7.0
Matondo 6.7, Hooks 7.2 & 1 assist, McCabe 6.2, Emms 6.8
Armstrong 6.7, Mole (MOM) 7.3 & 1 goal
Subs: Buchanan 6.7, Phillips 6.3, Slaughter N/A

July 6, 2011 (PM)
Kendrick is, of course, suspended for our next match.
We've been fined $800 for failing to control our players.

July 7, 2011
Our final season ticket sales amounted to 200

July 8, 2011
Next up for us is Colwyn Bay tomorrow. They're a Pick'Em favorite at home, we're an 11-5 underdog on the road.

JonInMiddleGA 03-14-2012 12:29 AM

August 9, 2011

Blythe (1-0-0) at Colwyn Bay (0-1-0)

Our first match away from the friendly confines of home, we'll be without Kendrick (suspended 1 match) and Chinthengah (Zimbabwe U20).

With fatigue & absences, we'll start out in our 4-3-1-2 (Counter), trying to relieve our issues at MF a bit.

GK - Knight
D: Cave - Buchanan - Mellish - D'Laryea
MF: Slaughter - Forster - Groves
AM - Taylor
F: Armstrong - Bannister

09:55 - Knight goes high in the air to rob McEvilly of a goal, nice header off a corner, even better save.

Halftime - That's right, it's halftime already. Not much in the way of highlights to talk about, we outshot them 4-3, each team had only 1 on target, possession 54-46 in our favor. Groves picked up a yellow but otherwise reasonably quite, although we could have gotten a couple more.
Content for now, eyeing subs & possible formation change but not just yet.

60:00 - Forster has picked up a yellow & isn't playing well in the middle (5.8), might be time to try to spark something here. Phillips on for Forster (although he'll be playing out of position & could be ineffectual). Would love to go to McCabe but am trying to keep him fresh for the weekend.

67:00 - A legit chance for Corwyn Bay on a quick cross to Newby but he put it wide left.

68:00 - Phillips answers with a shot just a little high & over. Cave pushed way upfield on the attack but it seemed to work out okay I guess.

73:20 - Taylor finds Armstrong deep on the right side & he puts it home ... but was well offside before doing so. We're showing signs of wear here, let's bring McCabe on for Groves and Jones on for Cave. We'll gamble & push Buchanan into the midfield horribly out of position, drop Phillips back to LWB to give us fresher legs. Would like to get out of here with at least a point if we can.

78:50 -- Mellish plays it forward on a free kick just short of midfield, CB's Hughes climbs above Armstrong and heads it away. Sinclair gains possession for CB, Bannister tries to tackle ... and the foul is called on COLWYN BAY. It's a PENALTY ... Sinclair gets a yellow for his troubles.

80:00 - After a sub by CB, Bannister runs up ... and puts it harmlessly wide left. A very weak attempt.

81:40 - A corner on the other end, into an unmarked Allen who taps to a well positioned Hughes & it's an easy goal. (0-1) Oh how quickly fortunes can turn. We'll go on the attack here & try to salvage something, would just as soon lose by two as by one.

90:00+ - Sinclair fouls Armstrong hard, he'll have to get some treatment. Less than a minute later Taylor took down Sinclair & left him writhing in pain & seeking treatment.

Fulltime - Nothing doing in extra time & we basically pissed away a point with poor set piece defense. I know we were on the road, I know we were playing people out of position, I know we were a little shorthanded, but we had at least a point here in our hands. And if we could figure out how not to look silly on penalties we might have gotten more than one point. I'm disappointed & I tell them so. (Groves & Phillips appear motivated, McCabe & Jones appear fired up, no negative body language from the others, maybe I got the tone right).

Knight 6.8
Cave 6.8, Buchanan 6.8, Mellish 6.7, D'Laryea 7.1
Slaughter 6.1, Forster 5.9, Groves 6.7
Taylor 6.5
Armstrong 6.7, Bannister 5.6
Subs: Phillips/McCabe 6.6, Jones 6.5

Aug 9, 2011 (post-match)
I schlep through a brief post-game media session to learn afterwards that Colwyn's Player/Coach Jon Newby announced that "it was clear to everyone that we had the better side even before the match started". I'm none to impressed by his mouth & give the press a little something to play with, telling them that Newby's comments were unprofessional and that on a personal level "I'm not his biggest fan, put it that way". I'm surprised to discover on this screen that Newby "has a fairly poor opinion" of me ... the feeling is now mutual peckerhead.

JonInMiddleGA 03-14-2012 12:35 AM

Aug 10, 2011
Leeroy Chinthengah played 78 mins with a 6.0 rating in Zimbabwe's U20 4-1 loss to Algeria.

Shaun Vipond has resumed full training

In international action, U.S. & Mexico play to a scoreless draw at Lincoln Financial Field, England & South Korea play to a 1-1 draw at Wembley

JonInMiddleGA 03-14-2012 12:50 AM

Aug 13, 2011

Blyth U21's fall to Corby U21's 2-1. Shane Bennett scored & "looked lively". Michael Pearson played like crap (5.4) & gave away a goal, Tom Seery had a 6.3, Chris Ferguson just a 5.9, Matty Hunter a 6.1 in net. I doubt I'll comment much on these, just figured I'd mention the names that have come up in the dynasty previously

JonInMiddleGA 03-14-2012 02:20 AM

August 13, 2011

Blythe (11th, 1-0-1) vs Altrincham (6th, 1-1-0)

Back home, but at 4:5 underdogs to Altrincham. We're 3:1 to win, 2:1 to draw. A good early test here, as I don't think we're at the level of team that was just demoted from BSP. We'll go back to our standard 4-4-2 and see how it goes.

GK - Knight
D: Kendrick - Mellish - Jones - Purvish
MF: Phillips - Matondo - Groves - Emms
F: Armstrong - Mole

04:15 - Matondo casually plays it to Groves near the arc, he calmly gives it up to Mole about 8 feet inside the box, and Moles takes one sidestep to make some space & fires .... GOAL !!! (1-0) ... that stunning turn of events puts Altrincham into more of an attacking mode (hope we didn't just wake a sleeping giant or something)

14:31 - Groves blew past one of their Flynn brothers (I assume they're bros anyway) and fed Mole who made a steady run to get off a solid shot on goal. Right in the breadbasket of their keeper but it was quality.

23:58 - Emms corner to Mole, his header goes over but was reasonably close. We've got the better of them in the midfield right now, Groves particularly looking sharp ... but I wonder if we're being rope-a-doped here.

36:54 - Oops. Lee hits Twiss on a beautiful long pass that he takes in stride, long run, Knight has to come wide to meet him ... and Redshaw puts the pass into a wide open net to even things up (1-1) ... and Altrincham "goes back to their familiar style"

42:23 - Emms on the corner, into the box for Matondo, he soars for a twisting header and ... SCORES [b](2-1)[b/] Right back atcha

Halftime - Well, can't say it's been boring. We've outshot them 8-2, 4-2 on target. Possession is 55-45, and we've scored more in a half than in the last 2 matches. Groves & Phillips have done much to contain them in the midfield, Jones & Mellish are a combined 8/9 winning aerial battles, Mole is getting his shots (4) which is probably one of our keys to success. Have to watch fatigue, but this has been pretty pleasing so far.

51:00 - Kendrick's long free kick is a ferocious blast that has the keeper beaten ... but not the crossbar. So close there.

55:45 - Emms with a corner in low, Jones is off-balance & plays it away from the net ... right into the defender Barnes, the balls caroms off his leg & their keeper never had a chance. An own goal makes it (3-1)

Hooks on for Armstrong (Matondo to DLF)

74:00 - Mason on for Groves, who has been brilliant but is dragging now. Matondo back to the MF. We'll spend a few minutes in counter mode before probably going into a shell.

77:00 - Diddling away some time in the midfield, Mason to Mole back to Mason ... who spots Phillips with space wide left ... in stride, fires ... GOAL (4-1) ... Mason hadn't looked as though he could get rid of the ball soon enough to suit him, suddenly he does just the right thing at the right moment ... We also notice that Jones fitness is suddenly way down, let's bring Coulson on for him

84:41 - Still defending well, Altrincham maybe a little frustrated as Barnes bangs into Kendrick & picks up his second yellow in less than three minutes. Yellow+Yellow = Red, so we'll finish this one a man up.

Fulltime - Wow. Didn't see this coming at all. 11-5 shot advantage, actually only 49% possession, passing was sharp, we frustrated their crosses (10%), won in the air. Just. Wow.

Knight 6.9
Kendrick 7.3, Mellish 7.1, Jones 7.4, Purvis 7.4
Phillips 7.9 & 1 goal, Matondo 7.9 & 1 goal,
Groves 7.6 & 1 assist, Emms 7.3 & 1 assist
Armstrong 6.8, Mole (MOM) 7.9 & 1 goal
Subs: Mason 6.8 & 1 assist, Hooks 6.8, Coulson N/A

Aug 13, 2011 (post-match)
A happy press conference indeed.

JonInMiddleGA 03-14-2012 02:50 AM

Aug 16, 2011
Paul Matondo was selected in the BSB-N Team of the Week first eleven.

Blyth has signed 18 y/o MF Jack Harrison. An aggressive dribbler, he's seen as a prospect for the future as well as a bit of depth for the present.

England has move up to 4th in the current World Rankings, Holland ascends to the #1 spot, supplanting Spain. Germany remains 3rd, while Uruguay, Brazil, Italy and Portugal round out the top 8. The U.S. climbs three spots to #29.

Meanwhile, I've decided it's nice to have a week between matches. Lots of scouting going on, a little less frenetic pace for the first time since I've taken the reins at Blyth.

Aug 19, 2011
"Record Low Expected for Hyde" ... that's not a weather report, that's the anticipated attendance for our match at Ewen Fields tomorrow.

Now if you think that's interesting, try this on for size:
We're 2-0-1 and in 5th place
Hyde is 0-0-3 and dead last, with a -11 goal differential
{wait for it}
Hyde is a 4:7 favorite at home, Blyth is a 4:1 underdog

Oh wait, I bet I see why ... "The referee for the match is Scott Duncan"
Aug 19, 2011 (PM)
Blyth has signed 18 y/o striker Matt Rickard. A versatile forward with a great deal of flair for his age, he's a youngster with some potential.

Aug 20, 2011
Blyth U18's got their first win, beating Dorchester 2-1 thanks in part to an own goal in the 8th minute. MF Joe Lamb's tap-in made it 2-0 before the half. The young Magpies got a consolation goal in the 80th minute to deny Matty Hunter a clean sheet.

JonInMiddleGA 03-14-2012 03:50 AM

August 20, 2011

Blyth (4th, 2-0-1) at Hyde (22nd, 0-0-3)

On the road again, but how will it treat us? Curious game ahead, Hyde has been terrible so far, we're coming off a great outing ... so why are we such underdogs? What do the bookies know that I don't? Is it the ref? Meanwhile BBC Manchester at least likes us "I think they have enough quality to see off the challenge of Hyde today".

4-4-2 again, Vipond gets his first action since returning from injury

GK - Knight
D: Kendrick - Jones - Coulson - D'Laryea
MF: Phillips - Matondo - Groves - Vipond
F: Armstrong - Mole

4:41 - Here we go again. D'Laryea gets a yellow. Apparently my instructions to be cautious when tackling weren't enough.

9:10 - Mole's second shot of the match is saved & put out for a corner. This one much more online than the first one a minute or so earlier.

12:00 - Mole gets manhandled & goes down rather hard. Referee Duncan issues a stern verbal reprimand. That'll teach 'em {rolls eyes}

25:25 - Vipond gets taken down from behind while awaiting a throw-in. PENALTY ! Haigh gets a warning. ... Mole fires and SCORES ! (1-0)
Finally, one of those pays off.

37:30 - Second yellow card for Hyde in the past minute, this one lowers Matondo's fitness (85) but we'll keep him on for a while & hope he can play through at least until the half ... or not, he's going to have to come off for good. Emms comes on (Vipond to CMR, Groves to CML)

41:41 - Griffin with the corner for Hyde, Havern knocks it home with a header (1-1)

Halftime - That could have been better. Outshot 5-4, slight possession edge for us (53-47). Since the early going, it's now 4 yellow on Hyde to our 1. Neither team is passing well, our crosses aren't working today either. Hated to have to use a sub so early, we're looking tired already in several spots.

65:04 - Purvis on for Coulson (D'Laryea to DCR)

89:30 - Vipond takes a knock, we'll try to get Hooks on for him.

93:15 - Armstrong red carded, almost inexplicably, after tangling briefly & mildly with Richman. WTF? Luckily the ensuing free kick sails high over the bar, nowhere near.

Fulltime - Harumph. My assistants are all thrilled, I'm in a different frame of mind about this one. I take a deep breath & calmly tell the boys they were just unlucky today. More than half the squad "appears motivated" by that, so I guess it was the right call. Still, we outshoot 'em 8-7, dominated 2nd half possession (59% total), we passed well ... just couldn't get another decent crack at it. Eh, we'll take the point on the road & go home happy enough I suppose.

Knight 6.7
Kendrick 6.8, Jones 6.8, Coulson 6.8, D'Laryea 6.8
Phillips 6.8, Matondo 6.8, Groves 6.8, Vipond 6.8 & 1 assist
Armstrong 6.7, Mole 6.8 & 1 goal
Aug 20, 2011 (post-match)
We've looked at the tapes & we'll appeal Armstrong's suspension. That was as inexplicable a red as you'll ever see. He actually had his back to the defender the entire time.

Meanwhile, bad luck for Paul Matondo (and the rest of us). A bad ankle sprain will keep him out 7-8 weeks while it's treated by club physios.

And the media recap explains the red, called for a deliberate handball. We'll stand by the appeal & hope for the best.

The press conference didn't go too well, I get warned by the FA for my comments about the red card. Touchy they are, all I said was that it looked harsh from where I was sitting. Replay allegedly show it was the right decision, but how can the replay judge whether it was deliberate? Guess that tells me how the appeal will go :(

JonInMiddleGA 03-14-2012 04:06 AM

Aug 21, 2011

Jason White has resumed full training after his hamstring injury

We've signed 16 y/o AMC Craig Cresswell to a youth contract. He shows good work rate, influence, and flair for his age. We're hopeful he might become a useful part of the team sooner rather than later.

Aug 23, 2011
Sigh. I'm getting too familiar with the sound of physio Ewen Fairgreave's voice on the phone. Leeroy Chinthengah suffered a calf strain during training. My options are injections that would get him through the next game but keep him out 6-7 weeks or therapy that would have him back in about a month. Duh. I don't like needles anyway.

As expected, the FA disciplinary committee upholds Armstrong's one match suspension.

We've signed 18 y/o DR Jordan Kay to a part-time contract for just $80/wk. Former Nottingham Forest prospect is a pretty good tackler, better pace than most of our players already. At worst he's cheap depth on the back line, and he's on board until 2014.
August 25, 2011
We sign 16 y/o DC Rory McKeever to a youth contract. Probably the best jumper on our squad at any level, he's got a lot to learn in other phases but he's already good enough that I wouldn't be afraid to play him if I absolutely had to.
August 26, 2011
We sign 18 y/o DC Lloyd Foot to a contract. He's an older, ever so slightly less physically gifted version of young McKeever. Lacking mentally but his basic skills are good enough to see some action.

JonInMiddleGA 03-14-2012 04:48 AM

Aug 27, 2011

Blyth U18s beat Colwyn Bay 2-1. Goals by Bennet & Cresswell. Lloyd Foot was MOM (7.5)

Next up for us will be 11th place Harrogate today. We're 6:4 favorites at home.

JonInMiddleGA 03-14-2012 09:53 AM

Just FYI, in case anyone is reading, this is probably delayed until Friday night. My son (and his FM running laptop) are headed to his grandparents for a couple of days.

BYU 14 03-14-2012 09:56 AM


Originally Posted by JonInMiddleGA (Post 2622325)
Just FYI, in case anyone is reading, this is probably delayed until Friday night. My son (and his FM running laptop) are headed to his grandparents for a couple of days.

You should let him run the squad for a couple of days :)

JonInMiddleGA 03-14-2012 11:00 AM


Originally Posted by BYU 14 (Post 2622327)
You should let him run the squad for a couple of days :)

He's got West Ham to deal with, better keep his hands off my Spartans ;)

Barkeep49 03-14-2012 11:04 AM


Originally Posted by JonInMiddleGA (Post 2622325)
Just FYI, in case anyone is reading, this is probably delayed until Friday night. My son (and his FM running laptop) are headed to his grandparents for a couple of days.

How is your son's squad doing? You seem to be off to a great (if penalty filled) start.

JonInMiddleGA 03-14-2012 01:26 PM


Originally Posted by Barkeep49 (Post 2622371)
How is your son's squad doing? You seem to be off to a great (if penalty filled) start.

I think he paused after playing through his first couple of friendlies, at least in part because he also got Civ 5 at the same time. Might be a bit intimidated by seeing the depth that I go into things versus his more familiar "dive in & play" approach.

He was actually handling the basic mechanics pretty well as far as I could tell (I haven't been asked a single question yet) but given that his soccer knowledge is even less than mine, a little bit of shellshock is to be expected I think.

JonInMiddleGA 03-16-2012 11:42 PM

August 27, 2011
Blyth (5th, 2-1-1) vs Harrogate (11th, 2-0-2)

Back home, would love a win to keep things rolling smoothly. Especially against one of our "other rivals". They're not Gateshead by any means but there's still some rivalry here.

Armstrong serves his 1 game suspension, Chinthengah & Matondo both out. Where do we find enough help for Mole to generate any offense?

My usually lukewarm assistants want me to tell the team they're expected to dominate, I settle for "expecting a win" and get no real reaction at all.

GK - Knight
D: Kendrick - Mellish - Jones - Purvis
MF: Phillips - Slaughter - Groves - Emms
F: Taylor - Mole

10:20 - Emms corner swings out high, Jones loses the aerial battle to a defender (which is kind of unusual for him). Harrogate gets out on a little fast break but Purvish broke it up.

15:45 - Harrogate is pressuring us more than we're accustomed to seeing, we're having problems making consecutive passes without them breaking the flow. Groves comes up with a lose ball in the midfield & turns, see Taylor down the middle & hits him with a little lob ... in space just outside the box & he fires ... GOAL !!! Taylor from some ways out for the lead (1-0)

19:30 - Groves again to Taylor, this time stationary from the opposite side of the arc & he puts it right into the keeper's gut.

22:33 - Slaughter to Phillips at about the spot where Taylor scored from, but he puts it wide to his left. Decent chance there

31:39 - Phillips from deep on the left plays one into the box for a sliding Mole ... it's about a foot wide to the left

37:49 - Slaughter plays one into the center of the box for Mole but it's tackled away ... Emms scoots in for the loose ball on the right edge ahead of a sliding Radcliffe ... finds Taylor in acres of space about six feet out ... GOAL !!! (2-0) Not too shabby there, not shabby at all.

44:00 - Taylor on a looong run from nearly midfield, into the box, takes a shot but it's punched out. Denied a hat trick but it was a fair crack at it

Halftime - 9 to 1 shot advantage, 58% possession, we're crossing well & denying them entirely. Would almost like to be up by more here but let's not get greedy. I tell them I'm pleased & to keep it up, to a man everyone looks delighted. I'd love a couple of early goals here in the half & a chance to comfortably go deep on the bench.

61:00 - Purvis & Phillips both pick up quiet yellow cards, we'll sub in White for his first action, replacing Phillips (Slaughter to LMF). Did I mention who the ref was today? Yup, you guessed it, our pal Stuart Duncan.

70:15 - They get a yellow for knocking Kendrick down. We'll bring on D'Laryea to replace Purvis, no sense letting him get a second yellow here. While we're preparing the change, White picks up a foul & after a stern warning avoids a card. See what I mean?

78:00 - Groves clears a spot of danger & the ball covers about half the pitch ... Mole actually catches up to it near the box but his lob goes high & wide.
Our star has looked a bit complacent so, even though he's fresher than Taylor, I'll sub Forster in for him at MF (White to DLF). Figuring they'll have to attack here, we'll switch to a Counter strategy for a bit.

82:54 - Harrogate doesn't appear too stressed here, pushing the ball upfield, suddenly Brayson finds himself in space in the box & leaves no doubt. (2-1). Let's make that strategy Defensive & not fall prey to disaster here.

90:00 - 3 minutes of added time. C'mon boys.
92:00 - Emms plays a corner long for Jones ... his header is ... over for a goal kick.

Fulltime - Good start, meh finish. We hang on but I'll just be neutral in the locker room. It's a win, and that's good. It wasn't pretty when it could have been, and that's not so good, especially our tendency to be lackluster after about the 80th minute. 12-3 shot edge, 52% possession edge.

Knight 6.6
Kendrick 7.1, Mellish 6.9, Jones 7.0, Purvis 7.1
Phillips 6.9, Slaughter 6.7, Groves 7.3 & 1 assist, Emms 7.4 & 1 assist
Taylor (MOM) 8.8 & 2 goals, Mole 6.7
Subs: D'Laryea 6.5, White 6.4, Forster N/A

Aug 27, 2011 (Post-match)
Nothing fancy in the presser, we move on, it's just three days until we visit Bishop's Stortford.

JonInMiddleGA 03-16-2012 11:57 PM

August 29, 2011
Prematch press conference for the match at Bishop's Stortford, where we'll be a 6:4 favorite against a team currently 20th in BSB-North. Noting here that the referee is Darren Bond, who has handed down only 4 cards (3y/1r) in his three matches this season. Kind of the anti-Duncan.

Nothing notable in the presser.

August 30, 2011
Glen Taylor was named to the BSB-North Team of the Week first eleven

JonInMiddleGA 03-17-2012 01:07 AM

August 30, 2011

Blyth (4th, 3-1-1) at Bishop's Stortford (20th, 1-1-3)

We're actually a fairly mild favorite on the road against a team that's really been struggling. With another match coming up on Saturday, we're going to roll the dice a little bit here and give Max Johnson his first action in net. I mean, if you can't play him against a team in 20th place that's scoring only 1 goal per game then when could you play him?

We'll try to help him out a bit early, starting in a defensive minded 4-4-2.
GK - Johnson
D: Cave - Jones - Coulson - D'Laryea
MF: Phillips - Hooks - McCabe - Vipond
F: Armstrong - Bannister

5:00 - A throw-in falls in the box for a shot that bangs off the right post. Jones quickly clears and we avoid early disaster. That ought to get Johnson's heart pumping.

15:43 - Hooks from the arc shoots just wide left. Nice to get our first shot finally though.

24:50 - A corner out high gives Bish another crack at it, this time a header pings off the crossbar. Johnson is living a charmed life at the moment.

42:23 - McCabe gets his pocket picked at midfield by Prestedge, who plays it ahead to Shulton, who finds Quainoo just inside the box, touch pass over to Sappleton moving in, his right footed try finds nothing but the back of the net (0-1)

Halftime - Well that was rather dismal. Outshot 4-1, even gave up possession 52-48. Defensive posture not suiting us at all, we'll go back to our standard, also flip Vipond inside & McCabe to the outside. No subs yet but there could be one forthcoming fairly early in the second half if things don't pick up. I assertively tell them I expect much better, about half the team looks motivated, the other half is kind of "yeah, whatever".

50:30 - Hooks gets another chance from near the arc, it's right at the keeper for a save.

54:45 - Hooks another chance, this time from the edge of the left box, keeper has to hop up to make the grab.

56:30 - Armstrong into the box deep on the left side but he can't get turned for a shot, gives it up to Phillips who puts it wide.

60:30 - We get a lot of pressure on the right side but Bish finally concedes a corner. Armstrong is furious that nothing was called on Prestedge for a hard tackle in the box, a clear penalty that gets no call at all. Sub White in for Hooks who has suddenly taken a dip in fitness.

68:15 - Bannister from the arc, Gudalevic juggles the save but holds on.
Sub Mole in for a tiring McCabe (Bannister to CMR)

79:27 - Phillips plays one down low from the left side, Bish heads it up & over for a corner. We'll go full on Attacking mode here, have to level this up.
Philips corner flies untouched the width of the field & we turn it over.

89:43 - Gallen on for an exhausted Cave, we've got two minutes of added time to get a miracle goal.

90:00+ - Instead of a goal all we managed to do is defend against two minutes of pressure.

Fulltime - Yuck. Just bloody ugly. I think at least some of this falls on me, although I didn't cause them to suck I also didn't give them the best chance to succeed by going defensive in the first half either. We ened up outshot 8-5, but sure more chances would have improved our chances at getting a goal. We didn't complete a single cross in the entire match.

Johnson 6.8
Cave 6.2, Jones 6.6, Coulson 5.8, D'Laryea 6.6
Phillips 6.5, Hooks 6.8, McCabe 6.8, Vipond 6.7
Armstrong 6.7, Bannister 6.5
Subs: Mole 6.5, White 6.4, Gallen N/A

Aug 30, 2011 (post-match)
I avoid trouble by declining comment on the denied penalty.

I take a cheap shot from the Bishop Stortford coach about my ability, I respond that he's probably not the man to take them anywhere either. Bunch of pricks coaching in this league, apparently trying to get their names in the paper any way possible.

August 31, 2011
Somehow we lose that match & manage to climb a spot in the standings. We're now 4th, two points back of 3rd place Hinckley, one point ahead of a five team pack in 5th, and five points behind FC Halifax & Droysden who are tied for the lead. Through 6 matches we've played teams that are 6th, 7th, 8th, 16th, 17th and 22nd. Next up is 9th place Worcester at home.

Also today, our U18's lost to Eastwood 4-3 at home in the opening round of the U18 Cup. Shane Bennett was MOM with two more goals (in extra time before the half & in the opening minute of the second half) but Matty Hunter was awful, allowing three goals after Bennett had given us a three goal lead. Tom Seery added

JonInMiddleGA 03-17-2012 01:20 AM

Sept 1, 2011
FC Halifax striker Lee Gregory is named Player of the Month for August with 5 goals in 6 appearances.
FC Halifax coach Neil Aspin is Manager of the Month, deserved with a 5-1 record.

Assistant Gavin Fell tells me that Groves (aerobic) and White (strength) have not impressed in training but that Kyle Barlow (strength) has. Nothing particularly positive nor negative from the youth.

English transfer window has closed, with $180m in spending (dollars, not pounds). Man City dropped nearly a third of that, including $16m to acquire midfielder Danny from Russian club Zenit. Arsenal gave up $23.5m for MF Walter Montillo from Cruzeiro. MF Clint Dempsey joins Liverpool for $9.5m.

Blyth Spartans were the most active team with 14 new acquisitions.

The Board is satisfied with my coaching of the team, underlined by the fan's joy at the 2-1 win over Harrogate. Fans were still disappointed by the 0-1 loss to Colwyn Bay. We lost nearly $47k last month.

JonInMiddleGA 03-17-2012 01:37 AM

Sept 3

We sign 39 y/o utility man Simon Osborn to a $190 appearance contract. He's here to provide some additional depth & versatility, capable of playing inside or outside in the MF. No stamina to speak of, he's pretty much a backup that might be a useful mentor. Could end up being our youth coach at some point (13 working with youngsters).

Our U18s lose to Gainsborough 1-0, on a free kick in the 86th minute.

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