Well I didn't plan for this little piece of irony. Vince Taylor refuses to take a course of pain injections, feeling he could be jeopardizing his career or long term health. Who wouldn't want to play against Crystal Palace indeed!!!
-- Sam Cook's loan finishes, he returns to Liverpool. He played 15 matches for us, scoring 2 goals, making 4 assists and putting up an average rating of 7.43 for us. He was a huge part of getting us to this point, but now we've got to seal the deal without him.
-- Ed Upson is named in the League 1 team of the week.
April 17th, 2017
Crystal Palace(26-9-7, 1st) @ Woking (22-13-7, 2nd)
Crystal Palace are 4:5 favorites at Kingfield Stadium today. We're 3:1 to win. We're 1-0-1 against them, winning 3:1 at their place earlier in the year, but that was after they got a red card very early and played 80+ minutes with 10 men.
Crystal Palace's Chris Ojapah leads them with 40 goals but he's hurt. Their next scorer is Chris Brown with 10 goals, he's just coming off an injury too and is out. Of course we're missing Colin, Cook and Taylor, I start Zatara out left today and Harsanyi up front. We'll attack at home.
12': Constantino! An individual effort we haven't seen in awhile from him. Paulo passes it to him from midfield, he's 35 yards out or so, he goes forward a bit, cuts right, cuts left, and shakes off two defenders, getting into the area, aiming low and left, and he beats the keeper! 1-0
14': Nikolaou picks up a yellow.
17': James Chester picks up an injury and is forced out of the game immediately. Oh Lord. We're down to two healthy DC's on the roster pending the length of his injury. Christian Smith is in.
30': We've got 4 shots, they have one so far, all off target except for the goal.
38'; We earn a corner, its taken to Christian Smith, he makes his man miss and fires, its a clear cut chance, a really really good look, but the keeper makes the save.
40': We make a run down the left, Zatara to Paulo, he puts it forward for Ogogo who is in a real dangerous spot, but his shot is blocked and is behind for a corner, which we can't do anything with.
HALF: We get into the locker room with the lead. We've controlled things fairly well, possession is slightly in our favor, we've got 6 shots to their 3, and we've put 3 on target to their 0. Just need to keep it going for another half!
47': We attack right out of the gate, Upson to Paulo to Harsanyi who puts it into the area, Constantino times his break perfectly and he gets to it first, easily beating the keeper once he controls the ball!! 2-0
57': Twice in the last 5 minutes we've seen them play a ball forward to an attacker in a dangerous spot and only a perfect tackle by Marc in each instance prevented a run into the area and a one on one opportunity.
60': Harsanyi tries a through ball but they have a defender get their first, he tries to pass back to the keeper but its not aimed well, its off into an open area, Zatara and their keeper race for it, the keeper goes down, but he doesn't have control of the ball, Zatara is able to fidn it and poke it into the open net!!! 3-0
66': Subotic in for Constantino, Ferry in for Paulo, entirely to try to prevent more injuries, if we give up 3 goals in 25 minutes I'm uninstalling.
71': Well of course there's one goal. It comes with Nikolaou on the sideline receiving treatment for an injury. There's a through ball, a nice break by their attacker and a very easy goal. 3-1
80': They've got possession, and there's a pass into the right side of the area, Nikolaou is back but his fitness is shot and he's just hanging out it would appear. And they get an attacker behind him and he finishes well, putting a shot by Lynch. 3-2
The final minutes are uneventful as we finally bear down and put them away.
Woking 3 : 2 Crystal Palace
I tried really really hard to doom the team by using my subs early and pulling out key players early, they got it done though.
Man of the Match: Constantino (9.1)
Goals: Constantino 2, Zatara (7.2)
Assists: Harsanyi (7.4), Paulo (7.2) - Zatara's goal was unassisted.
Notables: Marc (7.7), Upson (7.1)
James Chester is going to miss 6-8 weeks with a knee injury he picked up today.
As the injuries pile up getting 3 points here is just massively big for us. Our schedule gets easier at least. gillingham win their match and move back into 3rd as Oldham draw with Wigan.
With 3 to go (unless otherwise noted)
1. Crystal Palace - 87 pts
2. Woking - 82 pts
3. Gillingham - 78 pts
4. Oldham - 77 pts
5. Stockport - 72 pts (4 matches remaining)
6. Rochdale - 67 pts (4 matches remaining)
7. Wigan - 67 pts
8. Swindon - 61 pts
We could clinch promotion in our next match if we were to win and Gillingham lost. Next:
#14 Bristol Rovers vs #2 Woking
#1 Crystal Palace vs #7 Wigan
#4 Oldham vs #11 Barnsley
#5 Stockport vs #3 Gillingham
April 22nd, 2017
Woking (23-13-7, 2nd) @ Bristol Rovers(14th)
We beat these guys bad at our place, 4:1 earlier in the year, we're 1-0-2 against them lifetime. Bristol Rovers are even money favorites today, we're 11:5 to win. We've reached a point in the season where if we can just get 1 point we're probably fine, wins would be better but we're so depleted right now. I don't think this much changes what I do, we're not exactly a team that can go get ties, we're a team that outscores people, so we just keep on trying to do that.
Bristol Rovers' Aaron McLean has 22 goals to lead them. That's really really good, but also slightly less than half the number of league goals Constantino has (46). Smith starts for the injured Chester & Taylor. Today Harsanyi is at AML and Subotic is in. Zatara sits. Standard mindset on the road.
7': First shot of the match comes after we work the offense a bit, Constantino ends up passing to an open Subotic who shoots from the edge of the box, but the keeper makes a nice save.
23': We win a ball i nthe midfield and pounce, Harsanyi with a pass to Subotic, Subotic is out wide 30+ yards from goal, he turns on whatever speed he has, he makes his man miss and gets into the penalty area and fires a strong strike that beats the keeper!!! 1-0
26': We have it in midfield, Paulo passes to Constantino, he's 40+ yards out and I think he's really just trying to one up Subotic... he receives the pass and makes a beeline for the goal, making one man miss, making a second man miss, getting into the penalty area and easily beating the keeper! 2-0
40': They've been trying without success to attack, we win a ball and try a counter, Constantino finds N'Guessan streaking down the right side and starts a long run from the midfield stripe towards the goal... N'Guessan stays out wide right, he sends it into the area, its deflected by a defender, but only slightly, and Constantino is there to bury it for his second goal! 3-0
HALF: Bristol Rovers shoot for the first time at the very end of the half, their only shot. we've got 8, 4 on target, 3 goals. This looks like a stomp, lets just finish it! Gillingham is losing 1:0 to Stockport.
54': They set up for an attack, McLean has it about 25 yards out, he hits it through to the left side of the area and attacker Child breaks perfectly on it, we've got no chance here, he scores easily. 3-1
70': They work the ball forward and send it into the box, Christian Smith with a key interception, he sends it behind, we clear the corner but they push it back forward, taking a shot from 20 yards out that's high.
72': A run down the right for a Rovers attacker, cross into the area, they win the header... its off the crossbar.
75': O'Sullivan in for Subotic, he's at MC, Paulo DMC, Constantino is our only forward. They're just pressuring too much, its time to go defensive.
84': midfielder Child with a yellow.
We finish it off nicely, that's it!
Bristol Rovers 1 : 3 Woking
Really, really strong performance today.
Man of the Match: Constantino (9.0)
Goals: Constantino 2, Subotic (8.3)
Assists: Paulo (8.2), N'Guessan (8.2), Harsanyi (6.9)
Notables: Ogogo (7.0), Marc (7.6)
-- My Math was off, Gillingham did lose so they can't get 2nd, but Oldham won and we're 5 points up on them with 2 to go, so we haven't officially clinched yet.
With 2 to go (unless otherwise noted)
1. Crystal Palace - 88 pts
2. Woking - 85 pts
3. Oldham - 80 pts
4. Gillingham - 78 pts
5. Stockport - 75 pts (3 matches remaining)
6. Rochdale - 70 pts (3 matches remaining)
7. Wigan - 68 pts
Swindon are officially out so they're off the list. Crystal Palace clinched promotion today. woking, Oldham, Gillingham and Stockport have all locked up playoff spots. Rochdale has a 2 point lead and an extra game to play so they're in spectacular shape, but Wigan aren't out yet.
Crystal Palace tied today so we made up a couple points. We're 3 out of first now.
Also, We have a goal differential that's 17 better than Oldham. One point wouldn't mathematically clinch promotion for us, but really, it would, we'd have to lose 9:0 while they won 9:0 to make up the goals. To promote over us, Oldham must win the last two while we win the last two.
-- Marc and Constantino are named to the League 1 team of the week.
-- Stockport and Rochdale play their make up matches, both against relgation level competition, both win. Doesn't mean a lot for Stockport as they're in the playoffs, but its huge for Rochdale. They now have a 5 point lead over Wigan for the last playoff spot with 2 to play, and a 7 goal differential edge.
April 29th, 2017
Colchester(13-11-20, 18th) @ Woking (24-13-7, 2nd)
We're slim 5:4 favorites today, they're 7:4. Colchester need 1 point(or help from Rotherham) to officially clinch a spot that avoids relegation, so they still have something to play for. We tied 2:2 at their place in December.
Colchester's John Mardsen has 20 goals to lead them. No one else has more than 6. No lineup changes today. We attack.
3': Harsanyi has a crack from about 25 yards out, he hits the crossbar with a solid effort.
8': Paulo with a wild shot. I notice Leyton Orient got a 1st minute goal against Oldham.
10': First attack for Colchester today, they center it from out left, there's a ball ahead to striker Finnigan and he beats Lynch from about 15 yards out. 0-1
18': Upson ahead to Constantino, he blows right by his man and has a clear cut chance, but he can't beat the keeper, its saved and deflected away. Harsanyi is there though and puts it into the net on the rebound!!! 1-1
19': Oldham ties Leyton Orient. Remember if they don't win we clinch regardless of what we do.
27': Holy crap out of nowhere! We're passing it around looking to build up, Ogogo is way out right, he plays a ball to Subotic 20 yards away, Subotic strikes it from there with his first touch and it just rockets by the keeper, what a goal!!!! 2-1
36': We lose possession in the midfield, there's a long ball forward to their star Mardsen and he's been left alone, he just needs a couple steps to get into the area and he beats Lynch. 2-2
40': Oldham takes a 2:1 lead over Leyton Orient.
HALF: We should not be tied. We have 9 shots, 6 on target. Our offense has looked really solid. We've allowed 2 shots. Basically two defensive breakdowns to allow clear cut chances that they've finished. I'm confident we can get another goal, we just need to shore up the defense a bit.
54': Leyton Orient ties their match with Oldham 2:2.
59': Subotic receives a pass 20 yards out and tries another quick shot, this one is just over the bar.
60': Defender williams gets a yellow for a hard challenge on Subotic... Subotic goes down hurt.
73': A deflected shot gives Colchester a corner. We head the first one behidn, allowing a second. This one we clear safely away.
73': Oldham takes a 3:2 lead over Leyton Orient. I get nervous as a loss here opens the door for a reasonable scenario not to promote. We need a point here and I'd like to just get a goal and lock it up.
74': Paterson in for the injured Subotic.
81': O'Sullivan on for Upson, Zatara in for N'Guessan.
90': Long ball ahead for Zatara, he fires a shot that's saved.. they try to clear but we work it forward again, Paterson has a great look from 18 yards out, the keeper makes a reflex save, the ball rebounds to Zatara, he fires... another save!! Oh man, what a stretch, three very strong looking shots (but not the best aimed in the world) saved by their keeper.
That's it, we come away with the point we need!!!!!
Woking 2 : 2 Colchester
Man of the Match: Harsanyi (7.6)
Goals: Harsanyi, Subotic (7.3)
Assists: Constantino (6.8), Ogogo (6.9)
Harsayi and Subotic were the only ones over 7.0 today.
-- Crystal Palace didn't play today.
With 1 to go (unless otherwise noted)
1. Crystal Palace - 88 pts (2 to go)
2. Woking - 86 pts
3. Oldham - 83 pts
4. Gillingham - 81 pts
5. Stockport - 78 pts
6. Rochdale - 76 pts
Rochdale clinch promotion as well, bye bye Wigan.
So we lead by 3 points with one left. We have a +40 goal differential. Oldham have a +24 goal differential. So unless we lose our last match by 8 and Oldham wins by 8 or some similar combination, we are through. Though its not recognized in game yet, Woking have clinched Promotion to the Coca-Cola Championship!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That's a lot of FM today, we'll play the last match to make it official tomorrow.
Grats on the promo!
Congratulations on another great season! Your profile has got to be high enough to get some pretty interesting job offers in the off season.
-- Barnsley beats Crystal Palace in a makeup game. That was quite a surprise. We are now just 2 points behind them with 1 to go. We have the edge in goal differential. We must win our final match to have a shot at first, but, if we do manage a win, Crystal Palace must win to hang on to first. If we win and they tie we would win the league.
-- The board is delighted with my leadership, thanks to league 1 performance. Abu Ogogo's recent play is a concern. Man, that's pretty harsh. He did put up a 5.3 against Oldham and a 5.9 against Shrewsbury but in our last 10 games he's also had two games over 8. I'm ok with him! We made a profit of $38k last month.
May 6th, 2017
Woking (24-14-7, 2nd) @ Carlisle(15-15-15, 10th)
Carlisle are even money favorites today, we're 11:5 to win. Our first match we scored twice in the first 10 minutes, led 3-1 30 minutes in... and lost 4-3. So yeh, lets not have that happen again.
Mickael Colin is back from injury today, he's not full strength but this is our last game of the year and we have a shot at the title so he plays. We attack at their place.
6': Constantino has it 20 yards out, he passes it back to Upson, Upson plays a ball into the area and N'Guessan is well behind the defense, his first touch is bad but the keeper isn't ready to pounce, N'Guessan recovers and puts it in!! 1-0
26': They have a long ball lofted ahead from the midfield, an attacker runs onto it, eh's in the area... Lynch does... I dunno what Lynch just did. But he just moved away from the attacker and left the net wide open, I might go back and fraps this. Their striker... 10 yards out, net wiiide open... and its in the side netting.
31': We earn a corner, Upson sends it to the far end of the 6 yard box, Marc comes charging in, gets up, gets his head to it, and its by the keeper!! 2-0
32': Harsanyi picks up a yellow.
HALF: They got one logn shot that hit the crossbar but we are pretty solidly in control here. We have 8 shots, 6 on target, they have just 2 shots, both off target, though one is maybe the worst miss I've ever seen. We should have this, but we need another solid half. Crystal Palace and Leyton Orient are tied. We would win the league if it ends this way.
60': Boring half so far, we earn a corner but they clear easily. they try to counter but we cut it off. Palace is still tied 0:0.
67': Carlisle have a throwin deep in our end, they turn that into a corner, then a second. Harsanyi commits a foul as we work to clear out the second. They get a free kick and shoot well wide.
67': Crystal Palace have taken a 1-0 lead over Leyton Orient. They would now win the league should things stay the same.
80': After some buildup they have a shot from about 20 yards out that would beat Lynch but ends up just wide, very close.
86': We put O'sullivan in for Colin, move Harsanyi to AML, O'Sullivan MC, Paulo DMC to try to seal this win.
88': Leyton Orient scores!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Carlisle 0 : 2 Woking
We'll need one last check of the scores in case there is extra time action we might not have seen in the little updater.
Man of the Match: Ed Upson (9.0)
Goals: N'Guessan (8.2), Marc (8.1)
Assists: Upson 2
Notables: Ogogo (7.6), Nikolaou (7.6), Smith (7.4)
Solid, solid win.
-- Four Matches ago, we played Crystal Palace. If they won that match, they would have clinched the league title. At that point with 4 matches to go we were down by 8 points to them. We beat them but still trailed by 5 with 3 left... Including the loss to us, Crystal Palace finish the season 0-2-2. Woking including the Crystal Palace match go 3-1-0. We needed every single point. Even as our last match ended Crystal Palace led Leyton Orient... it took an 88th minute goal by Leyton Orient to tie the match. That goal sealed it.
WOKING HAVE WON THE COCA-COLA LEAGUE 1 TITLE.
-- A woking fan spokesman in celebrating our victory wonders aloud that if I'm able to do this with the resources I have at Woking, I will probably be coveted by much higher profile clubs.
-- The woking board declare that I've done a remarkable job leading Woking to "unbelievable" promotion.
-- Ed Upson praises me, his head coach, for the job I did leading the team to promotion.
-- Woking are given $171,000 for our play in league one this year.
Oops I didn't realize I'd cut off 24th place in that screenshot. Rushden went 9-12-25, 45 goals for, 78 against for a -33 goal differential and just 39 points.
And a screenshot of our superstar's player screen, because really his totals this season are so outrageous its pretty hard to believe without seeing.
Been waiting for kickoff all day, well worth the wait :)
This is funny to me. I had the exact same experience with Chester when I signed him for my Bury game. His attributes made him look like he would be head and shoulders above my other defenders but he drove me crazy. The weird thing was, his game ratings weren't that bad, maybe in the 6.8 range usually, but it seemed like every time a header was missed or striker got behind the defense it was Chester's fault.
Glad to see it's not just me.
So, input requested!!
I decided to try to catch management when they were elated about winning the league. I go to the board and I ask them to expand the stadium (building a new one isn't an option, just expansion). There is an instant reply:
"The Woking board indicate that "the council will never allow planning permission to expand the current stadium due to a lack of space"
I just find it very hard to believe that this team could advance further with a 6500 capacity stadium. Only 2500 of those are actual seats. What would you guys do/want to see/recommend? Sell high and jump ship, or keep pushing onward and remain loyal to Woking for awhile longer?
Indeed!! I was going to kinda breeze through the last match since I figured there wouldn't be much to play for. Seeing Crystal Palace lose their next to last game changed everything.
Hah, I'm glad to see that as well! Good stuff. I thought I had a huge steal when I signed him.
Sounds to me like you may have found the ceiling. I would at least determine which jobs might really be "too good to pass up". If you find 20 that fit that description, your answer is really clear I think. If there's only 1 or 2, then it's a lot grayer area.
I agree with Jon. If there are jobs out there with a better future than Woking I'd go for it myself. If the game enforces the rule of stadium size/configuration you won't make it into the EPL anyways with that stadium. I don't know if the game enforces that or not, however.
I thought there was a rare chance you could have a new stadium built if there wasn't room and you had a ton of cash. Even if that is the case, it could take a while to get there.
I agree with the above, jump if there is a good opportunity.
Really depends on what your ultimate aim is.
I once had a game where I brought Weston-Super-Mare to League 1 but decided to jump ship to Crystal Palace because of the stadium issue. Really fun game but I still wonder whether I should have stuck it out with WSM.
You also have to consider the worth of what you have-how many of the players owned by Working are Championship players. My sense is not many, and I wonder if you will have the resources needed to completely retool your side.
This is definitely true. And that challenge would be super fun if I thought there was a reasonable chance the board would be willing/able to pump out resources necessary to try to continue the journey. Right now however I feel like the rug has been pulled out under me as far as the potential reward.
My gut feeling when I posted last night was that I need to start considering all job offers seriously and no longer blanket reject all offers. I think the comments here so far pretty much reinforce that..
I'm gonig to progress through the end of season stuff as always, and if job offers come up, I'll pause and consider them.
**GA = Goals Allowed | SO = Shutouts
Lynch was basically the same guy he was last year in League 2.
**GL = Goals | TCK = Tackles/game
Our starters were solid as always. Marc was a very solid loan, Taylor/Nikolaou/Marc/Ogogo were great, and really Christian Smith was fine as a backup this year, Alcock was acceptable. Wiggins and Chester were both massive disappointments.
**GL = Goals | TCK = Tackles/game
We also had Sam Cook here for 3 months and he was extremely impressive. Paulo and Upson were both very solid and consistent in the midfield this year.
**GL = Goals | Drb = Dribbles/game
N'Guessan stepped up big time this year and was outstanding for us. Colin was solid but not nearly as strong as last year.
** GL = Goals | Drb = Dribbles/Game
Constantino is just absolutely amazing, and I've talked about him non stop this season, but Zoltan Harsanyi deserves an immense amount of credit as well for being able to score reliably when Constantino draws a doubleteam and to hit through balls to Constantino to the point that he actually leads the team in assists.
Woking 2016/17 History/Leaders
2009/10 - BS South - 1st - 24 W - 12 D - 6 L - 62 for - 39 ag - +23 GD - 84 pts
2010/11 - BS Premier - 17th - 14 W - 10 D - 22 L - 60 for - 65 ag - -5 GD - 52 pts
2011/12 - BS Premier - 4th - 26 W - 12 D - 8 L - 87 for - 51 ag - +36 GD - 90 pts
2012/13 - BS Premier - 1st - 26 W - 11 D - 9 L - 88 for - 56 ag - 89 pts
2013/14 - League 2 - 18th - 12 W - 17 D - 17 L - 50 for - 54 ag - 53 pts
2014/15 - League 2 - 9th - 20 W - 9 D - 17 L - 57 for - 58 ag - 69 pts
2015/16 - League 2 - 1st - 30 W - 8 D - 8 L - 102 for - 50 ag - 98 pts
2016/17 - League 1 - 1st - 24 W - 14 D - 7 L - 103 for - 61 ag - 89 pts
Top Goalscorer - Constantino - 49 goals
Top League Goalscorer - Constantino - 48 goals
Most Assists - Harsanyi - 17 assists
Highest Average Rating - Constantino - 7.75
Most Man of the Match - Constantino - 13
League 1 Playoff Semifinals
Stockport 0 : 1 Gillingham
Rochdale 2 : 2 Oldham
Gillingham (5) 4 : 1 (1) Stockport
Oldham (2) 0 : 0 (2 Rochdale - Oldham wins on penalties
League 1 Playoff Finals
Gillingham 1 : 0 Oldham
They were the most deserving team based on my experiences in the regular season. Gillingham promotes to the Championship along with Woking and Crystal Palace.
-- We pay out $400k to the players to split as a bonus for winning League 1.
-- Our first place finish in League one is a new high for Woking.
-- Constantino is officially noted as the top goalscorer in league one.
-- I win manager of the year in League 1.
-- Stelios Nikolaou, Ed Upson, and Constantino are named to the League 1 Team of the Year as selected by the players. 3 players from Crystal Palace, 3 from Gillingham, one from Stockport, one from Preston.
-- Arsenal beat Wolverhampton 1:0 to win the FA Cup. This is Arsenal's first win since 2010. Tottenham, Chelsea, Man City won the last 3 years.
I'm not considering it, I want to continue the build to the EPL... but I'm floored:
-- AC Milan chairman Franco Baresi has offered you a 2 year contract on $47,500/wk to take the coaching job at San Siro.
Transfer budget: $26,000,000
Payroll Budget: $2.7M/wk
I'm pretty set on taking over a League 1 or Championship team right now, but that's amazing!
-- Christian Smith, Simon Ferry, Matthew Paterson, Craig Alcock and Joe O'Sullivan are all set to have their contracts expire. I won't be re-signing any of them. I'm especially sad saying that about Joe O'Sullivan but its the way to do it.
World Cup Qualifying is well underway and that's really the only June Dates of note other than contracts expiring.
-- The board is absolutely delighted. Winning league 1 will do that. We lost $456k last month, $400k from the bonuses.
-- Youth players are released by top clubs. I scout a large number of them and find many that are not good enough to play in League 1 yet but who should be able to if they develop. Unfortunately, we' don't develop players so I don't go after anyone.
I'd take Milan over the outskirts of London anyday! Are Milan having going through trouble? I'd not think someone who just promoted to the Championship would be on their radar.
I take a look at the jobs screen, looking at "job security" of jobs around the world. Looking at the small list of jobs that are "insecure" or below. There are three in League 1/Championship. I am not guarenteed to get any of these but there is a "Declare Interest In Job" option that I will use if I see a team worthy.
We hate Wigan. I could stop there. But lets see.
-- $5.5M Value, $55M in loan debt (ouch!!)
-- 25,138 seat stadium built in 1999
-- Good Corporate Facilities, Average Training Facilities, Average Youth Facilities
We hate Wigan, they have $55M in debt and I just can't betray my good friend Quiksand by going after this job. No.
-- 10th in L1 last year.
-- Team valued at $2.3M
-- 15,314 capacity (9614 seated)
-- Adequate corporate facilities
-- Fairly Basic training facilities
-- Basic youth facilities
Better, but there's one more.
-- Franchise Value $15.5M (loan debt $36M)
-- 30,331 seat stadium
-- Average corporate facilities
-- Good training facilities
-- Good youth facilities + Youth Academy
3 years ago Ipswich spent one season in the EPL. They finished 20th and dropped back down immediately. Other than that every year since 2002/03 was in the Championship. The year they promoted they finished 2nd in the Championship, other than that they'd not made the playoffs (top 6) in this time span.
Ipswich is basically the best team I'd be willing to take over. I don't want to be handed an EPL side, but I want a team I can take "the rest of the way". Its very, very difficult to find teams with 20,000+ stadiums who don't have a good deal of success, for obvious reasons.
If I jump to Ipswich I clearly would be jumping to a better club but I'd still have to get out of the Championship. Given the jobs that could potentially come open this is pretty much perfect.
-- I click the "Declare Interest in Job" button.
They finished 4th in Serie A last year. I'm still stunned they offered me this job. Its just too big a jump for me. Completing the rise from a lower level team to a top level league is a critical goal for me. Its pretty much impossible to make a straight lateral move and find a team with the resources I'm looking for. But I think the job I just waved my arms about is about right.
Friday AM - June 16th
I declare interest in the Ipswich job.
Friday PM - June 16th
A prominent member of the Woking Board speak to The League Paper and hope that I'll stay with the team i've coached for 8 years. I feel a twinge of guilt.
Sunday June 18th
-- Arsenal, QPR and the GH Academy all offer Woking friendlies. We take them, the Arsenal one will pay us $90,000.
Sunday June 18th
Terry Butcher has had his contract terminated with immediate effect by Ipswich Town
In a lunchtime interview, Ipswich chariman Simon Clegg announced that Terry Butcher had been relieved of his duties as head coach and that the club would be looking to replace him in the very near future, but strenuously denied that a replacement had already been identified.
-- I asked for this, I went out of my way to publicly signal interest in a job where the coach had a low level of security due to not meeting expectations. But seeing that they fired their coach 2 days later makes me feel extremely guilty. Wow.
That same day...
Ipswich Approach Dixon
Ipswich Town chairman Simon Clegg has offered you a two-year contract on $2,800/wk to take the coaching job at Portman Road, believing you to be the ideal person to replace former head coach Terry Butcher.
Transfer Budget: $85,000
Payroll Budget: $325,000/wk
That's a looooow transfer budget, though I assume I could get it to go up significantly by lowering the payroll a bit.
I essentially asked for this job. There's a 90% chance I'm taking it. But I'm going to do a little extra 'due diligence' before I click accept. I'll do that in the next post.
-- There isn't much financial information that I can see. I can't see if they are making or losing money, team finances are "insecure".
Ipswich 22 y/o striker Matthew Kahn is valued at $5.5 million. He makes $30,000/wk, I see a finishing of 17 and accel 16, can't see pace. He scored 21 goals in 37 matches last year. He's the star.
Ipswich have 6 players valued at over $2 million and another 4 over $1 million on the senior squad. They have an additional 3 guys on the U18 squad valued between $1M and $2M.
This makes me feel like we're going to have options. Can we bring in loaners like Colin and Constantino and see if we can sell some guys to pay off our loans? I wouldn't go into the job with that plan, but finances are clearly a huge huge deal here.
These player valuations are pretty much in line with most other teams in the Championship. Salaries seem mostly in line with the rest of the league as well. There's a huge difference in teams that are down on their luck and rushing back to the EPL (southampton's top two players make more than Ipswich's payroll, but no other team in the Championship are close to that insanity).
As mentioned above, Team finances are "insecure". Not many other teams are "insecure". How big a worry should this be?
Are they going to demand promotion to the EPL and that we don't spend money at the same time? I'd be perfectly fine playing the game of turning around the finances and tread water before we "go for it". I'd be ok spending like crazy to get to the EPL.
Spending more time looking through the Championship, this is one of the bigger stadiums, many teams have average training/youth compared to the good at Ipswich. Leeds might be a better job. Leicester would be a great job. And that settles it for me. Comparing training, youth facilities, history, and stadium size, of the teams I'd be willing to take jobs at, there are only a couple clearly "better" than Ipwich. Most are worse for sure. A few I might feel "safer" taking but if we can restore financial stability Ipswich is clearly, clearly better.
Lets roll the dice.
I accept the head coaching job at Ipswich
Kudos to anyone who read that giant wall of text.
-- The Woking board were quick to pay tribute to their long-serving manager, declaring that whilst they were sad to see Richard leave, his announcement had given everyone an opportunity to celebrate one of the club's most faithful servants.
-- Woking staff members Jason Broom and Dean Emerson have left the club in the wake of former head coach Richard Dixon's recent departure. They want to join back up with me. To be honest they aren't that great. I haven't looked at Ipswich yet though so we'll see.
-- Ipswich Chairman Simon Clegg has welcomed me to Portman Road, assuring me I can rely on the full support of the board. $2800/wk for 2 years is my contract.
-- I'm given a brief history of Ipswich Town, a club founded in 1878/ Ipswich are affectionately known as "The Tractor Boys" (really!?). Our main rival are Norwich City, also currently in the Championship.
Ipswich's best success was in the 1960s, winning the English Top Division in 1962 and finishing runner up twice. The Club won the EURO Cup in 1981, the FA Cup in 1978 and has 3 times won the 2nd tier league (1961, 1968, and 1992).
Basically it looks like the club was doing really well financially until they made it into the EPL, took a ton of chances to try to succeed there, failed, and are digging out of that hole now.
Last season Ipswich brought in $33.7M in revenue but spent $43.5M. Salary costs were $29.7M.
Ipswich have 3 sponsorships totally $824k/yr. A Jersey sponsorship of $773k/yr is the vast majority of that.
Last year Ipswich sold players valued at $4.9M and spent $4.8M buying players. Loan repayments account for $3.5M/yr, about half of the operating loss the team suffered last season.
Oh, this will be an issue:
Total Payroll Budget: $328,104/wk
Current Payroll Total: $393,239/wk
Not surprisingly reducing salaries is my first job (something I'm told as I go through the 'board confidence' screens.).
... So here's what happened. When the club promoted to the EPL, the chairman loaned the team $40 million, to be payed back over the next 15 years. With that $40 Million, in the 2014/15 season, Ipswich spent $24.5M acquiring new players. They went 5-6-27 in the EPL, finishing in last place, 6 points behind next to last and 14 points behind a safe spot avoiding relegation.
Its late, tomorrow we'll introduce the players, and then start selling them!!!
Congrats on the new job!
All things considered, I think I'd probably have taken the job as well.
This switch will be intriguing to watch.
I can't believe you got that poor guy fired. Does Butcher's personal page show that he "hates you more than satan, himself?" :)
Good luck at the new club! You're loan-first mentality should help you get a good grip on the payroll between seasons 1 and 2 of your contract.
I'm on board with it too. Definitely following along.
Looking forward to this, good luck!
I was always amazed that with its rise Woking wasn't able to find more resources to support you. I'm a bit sad to see you leave them but I like that Ipswich will give you a bit of a challenge as you continue on to the EPL.
Good luck...I've decided to challenge myself with Paris FC in the National. They seem to thrive on mediocrity.
I would have taken it as well. Good luck. :)
It might take through the weekend to get through this offseason, ending a normal season is a huge rush of matches and then you have the lull of needing to handle offseason chores, with a new team I'm going to have to build up a bit of momentum.
Ipswich Roster Review
GK Brian Murphy - 34 y/o - $30,000/wk - $1,300,000 value - 16 reflexes, 11 handling, 16 command of area, 15 communication, 16 determination, seems better than Lynch! Also 34 years old. Allowed 56 goals in 38 matches last year, 6.84 rating.
GK Tom Heaton - 31 y/o - $8,000/wk - $55,000 value - 14 reflexes, 15 handling, 12 command of area, mental attributes not nearly as good as Murphy. Better athlete for what that is worth at keeper. Played mainly on the reserve squad last year. At 31 he's not the up and coming replacement for Murphy that's for sure.
GK Lee Camp 32 y/o - $10,500/wk - $70,000 value - 15 reflexes, 14 handling, 12 command of area, 13 concentration. 9 matches/12 goals allowed last year, 6.84 rating.
We have no keepers on our Reserve or U18 squad. Heaton and Camp's contracts end June 30th. That would knock $18,500/wk off the payroll, but we need a backup GK. Except the max I can offer for a "first team" player until the wage budget is under control is $3,500/wk. So these guys are gone and we'll deal with a backup later.
Expiring GK Salary: $18,500/wk
DR/MR Sylvain Berthet - 23 y/o - $26,500/wk - $3,400,000 value - 12 pace/16 accel. 15 passing/15 marking/11 tackling/15 technique. 17 teamwork all other mental attributes in the 10-13 range. 34 matches/7 assists/6.95 rating last year. A starter for sure, just DR or MR?
D LRC/DMC/MC Billy Jones - 30 y/o - $23,000/wk - $1,400,000 value - Physical Ratings all 12-14. 19 Determination/15 positioning/15 bravery, all other Mental between 11-14 except Flair. 14 marking/13 tackling/12 heading/11 passing. 6.79 rating in 39 matches last year.
DC Troy Brown - 26 y/o - $15,500/wk - $725,000 value - 14 sta/15 str, other physical ratings low. Mentally very very strong, 19 concentration/16 influence/17 decisions, 6 other ratings 14+. 14 heading/18 marking/15 tackling.
DRC Alex Bruce - 32 y/o - $11,750/wk - $180,000 value - 8 pace/10 accel, 15 str though for a DC I guess. 18 bravery, 15 aggression, 14 decisions, 14 positioning. Many other 11-15 mental attributes. 15 marking/14 tackling/13 heading. 6.80 rating in 38 matches.
DRC Michael McKerr - 27 y/o - $10,500 - $375,000 value - 15 pace/14 accel, better athlete than the other guys. 16 concentration/16 determination, other mental attributes 11-14. 15 marking/11 tackling, no other technical attribute above 10. Played 30 matches last year, started 18. 6.32 rating. He's a good athlete but technically he seems weaker than everything else i've looked at at this level.
DLC Zeki Fryers - 24 y/o - $15,250/wk - $275,000 value - 15 pace/15 accel. Mentally almost all between 10-12. 14 marking/14 tackling/9 passing/10 heading/11 technique. 19 matches last year, started 12, 6.35 rating.
DL Stuart Kirkland - 17 y/o - $1,200/wk - $2,000,000 value - 11 pace/14 accel. 17 teamwork/16 work rate/16 aggression/17 bravery. 8 marking/12 tackling. Reserve squad guy, only played in 11 matches last year. If he develops he could be very very good. He's not good enough yet for this level.
D/M L Giovanni Rossi - 33 y/o - $7,750/wk - $120,000 value - 11 pace/11 accle. 16 determination/15 anticipation, other mental ratings 11-13. 12 marking/11 tackling/13 passing (12 crossing if we look at ML). 10 matches with a 6.65 rating last year.
A back line of Jones/Brown/Bruce/Berthet seems likely here. These are the guys on the senior team. Two defenders are on the reserve squad, notably an aging Bobby Convey, 34 y/o, he played 12 matches last year and he's ok, but he's 34, currently a reserve and makes $14,500/wk. Sad b/c he's the only american on the team, but this is the single most obvious place to cut salary.
U18 DLC/ML Jack Hughes 16 y/o - $90/wk - $1,600,000 value - 15 pace/11 accel/15 sta. Determination 19/Bravery 17/Work Rate 16/Teamwork 15. Other ratings are in the 6-9 range. Influence is actually a 2. 7 marking/10 tackling/13 passing/10 first touch/11 technique. He seems to have a solid base set of skills, since I've never really managed with actual player development I have a lot to learn, what are the chances this guy makes it, etc. He's one of 3 youth players we have worth over $1 Million.
Expiring Defender Salary: $17,600/wk
Add in the goalkeepers and we have $36,100 coming off the books so far. We need $70,000 gone.
DM/MC Gordon Donnelly - 22 y/o, $31,500/wk, $3,500,000 value - 17 pace/17 accel. Jumping is 8, other physical ratings 12-15. Creativity 15/Determination 15/Positioning 14. Off the ball is only 9, Teamwork 10. Other ratings are 11-13. Passing 14/Dribbling 12/Technique 13. Other technical ratings are 8-12. With his speed this guy would seem to be one of our stars. If his technical ratings can improve some more since he's only 22 he'll definitely be a star at this level through his mid 20s. 10 goals/6 assists last year, 6.73 rating. MC starter for sure.
AMR Gabriel Torje - 27 y/o, $11,250/wk, $2,500,000 value - 13 pace/15 accel. 14 flair, 13 off the ball, 13 bravery. Most other mental ratings 10-12. Positioning and teamwork are 9. 9 passing/14 tecnique/12 crossing/13 dribbling/11 first touch. Started 15 matches last year, 6.80 rating. Can play MR as well as AMR.
AMR Neil Gordon - 21 y/o, $12,000/wk, $1,900,000 value - 13 pace/12 accel. 17 anticipation, 17 creativity, 16 off the ball. Most other mental ratings 11-14. 8 positioning. 18 crossing/16 dribbling/14 finishing/14 first touch. Just 10 passing but his technical abilities blow Gabriel Torje away. Gordon spent last year loaned to St Mirren in the Scottish Premier League, scoring 6 goals in 33 matches.
MC Owen Garvan - 29 y/o, $34,500/wk, $1,600,000 value - 12 pace/10 accel. 17 fitness/17 stamina though. Creativity 15, Teamwork 15. All other mental ratings are really strong, 11-14 with most tending towards the high end. 15 passing/12 tackling/11 marking. 13 first touch/11 dribbling/10 crossing/11 finishing. Solid all around. 21 starts last year, 4 goals/2 assists/6.83 rating. About 11 weeks of injuries last year. More than that the year before.
[i]MC Paul Coutts[i] - 28 y/o - $16,750/wk, $775,000 value - 6 pace/10 accel. Mental betwen 10-16, pretty solid. 17 passing/13 dribbling. Other ratings 8-10. Started 14 matches last year with a 7.28 rating and 6 assists.
MC Josh Walker - 28 y/o - $16,500/wk, $425,000 value - 11 pace/10 accel/16 sta/14 str. Mentally between 10-13 on everything but Decisions(14) and Work Rate(14). Passing 14/Marking 11/Tackling 11/First Touch 12. Everything else under 10.
MC Michael Johnson - 29 y/o - $16,500/wk, $170,000 value - 9 pace/8 accel. Physically bad, 8-10. 18 determination/17 work rate/15 teamwork, a bunch of others are 14, nothing below 10. 12 passing/12 crossing/11 dribbling/12 finishing/15 first touch/9 marking/11 tackling. Physically he's awful but mentally and technically he's awesome. Did not play a league match last year. Just a reserve.
AM RL/ST Jonathan Walters - 33 y/o - $13,250/wk - $24,000 value - 10 pace/10 accel. mentally almost everything is 14+. Decisions 12, Flair 10. Literally every other mental rating is 14, 15, or 16. Heading is 15, all other technical ratings are 9-12, more 9s than 12s. Played 8 matches last year, 6.63 rating.
Michael Johnson's contract comes off the books at the end of June. Donnelly and a combination of Garvan/Coutts/Walker seem to start at MC. Last year Torje started some but it looks like D/M R Sylvain Berthet played MR more than anyone. And he's solid looking there with great passing and crossing ratings. I think the team loaned in a defender or two last year. I dunno WTF they did about a left midfielder, b/c we sure don't have one. That's nothing new to me, I've been loaning different ML's in to Woking ever year for the last 7 years in a row.
I have one big problem. Owen Garvan is the highest paid player on the team. He's been with Ipswich his entire career going back to 2004/05. He's INSANELY injury prone. 24 matches last yaer, 30 the year before, 12 the year before that. It looks like the team has intended him to be a full time starter but he hasn't played more than 35 matches in 5 years. My first instinct is that I want him gone, I can't justify him being my highest paid player when he is going to miss 2-4 months of the season with injuries. I'll worry about that later though.
Lastly, Neil Gordon was loaned out last yaer. He looks ready this year. He needs to be on the field for me I think. Does this make $2.5M valued Gabriel Torje expendable? If we could sell Torje and Garvan it would cut tons of salary and provide us with transfer budget. Getting ahead of myself here too.
We have $5,500/wk on the books on the reserve squad that is expiring at the end of the month.
Midfield Contracts Expiring: $22,000/wk
That brings me to $56,100/wk in expiring contracts.
I forgot to check the U18 squad, this is the youth guy that i'm most excited about.
DR/MR Clive Jackson - [u]17 y/o, $90/wk, $1,600,000 value[/b] - 17 pace/16 accel. 19 bravery, 17 determination, 15 flair, 14 work rate. Others all over the map from 4 to 11. 14 crossing/11 dribbling/11 heading. Others in the 7-10 range.
With his speed and dribbling/crossing tending to being his best ratings I kinda want to see him turn into a midfielder, though he could also be great as a DR coming forward into the attack. With that speed I'm excited about seeing him develop!
ST Matthew Khan - 22 y/o, $30,000/wk, $5,500,000 value - 15 pace/16 accel/16 agility/15 stamina/15 balance. 15 determination/14 off the ball/15 composure. Mental ratings not as good as some of my other players. 5 flair for my star scorer kinda sucks. 8 creativity, 4 positioning, oof! 15 dribbling/17 finishing/15 heading/11 first touch. He isn't perfect, but he's the star of this team. 37 matches/21 goals/7 assists last year, 6.89 rating. And just 22.
ST Rob Lewis - 19 y/o, $2,000/wk, $2,000,000 value - 11 pace/14 accel. 16 balance. 15 determination/14 flair/14 off the ball. Just 7 creativity, teamwork 11/13 work rate. Seems a bit better than Khan but again not rock solid like some of the other guys i've seen. 13 dribbling/15 finishing/16 first touch/10 long shots/10 passing. Just 19, was a reserve last year. Is he ready to see some action? Scored 17 goals in League 2 two seasons ago for Brighton as a loaner.
ST Jon Stead - 34 y/o, $12,250/wk, $200,000 value - 11 pace/10 accel. Mentally very strong, Influence/Aggression are 10. Everything else is 12-15. 13 dribbling/12 finishing/14 heading/13 long shots/13 passing/14 technique. 21 matches last year, 6 goals, 7.15 rating.
Danny Graham - 31 y/o, $12,000/wk, $40,000 value - 7 pace/9 accel. 14 teamwork/17 work rate/15 off the ball/16 anticipation. 13 finishing/13 heading/12 technique/10 dribbling/12 first touch. 6.61 rating in 13 matches last year, 4 goals.
U18 ST Ian Taylor 17 y/o, $90/wk, $1,700,000 value - 9 pace/13 accel. 12 off the ball, 10 flair. Other ratings all over the map. 14 finishing/13 heading/10 dribbling/10 long shots. Oter ratings in the 2-5 range, very very low. Scored 41 goals for the U18 team last year. Will be interested to see how he develops.
None of these guys come off the books in June.
So, we've got $56,100/wk coming off the books. We probably have yearly raises kicking in though so we'll see where we end up come July 1 (its June 18th in game right now). Just putting together a quick little 4-4-2 lineup:
GK: Brian Murphy
D: Billy Jones/Troy Brown/Alex Bruce/Sylvain Berthet
M: ??????/Gordon Donnelly/Own Garvan/Neil Gordon
ST: Matthew Khan/Rob Lewis
Neil Gordon is the only one here that didn't start consistently last year.
We'll need to trim some salary for sure, how much will be the big question. The top two targets in my mind that could make us some money as well are Owen Garvan and Gabriel Torje.
I can look in the history of matches and see that Ipswich made use of loaners last year, and we will very clearly have to do that again this year.
I click the "Meet the Staff" option and get an overview of things.
Concentration: Ipswich is one of the best in the league. Woking are identified as the worst.
First Touch: We are solid here. QPR (demoted from the EPL) are the best. Woking are the worst.
Flair: We are in the bottom half. Stoke are #1, Scunthorpe worst.
Height: We're short, near the bottom. Crystal Palace are tall, Swansea shorter than us.
Speed: We're near the bottom here too. QPR at the top, Charlton the bottom.
Passing: We are one of the better passing teams. Leicester are the best, Woking the worst
Strength: We are weak. Burnley are strong, Swansea weaker than us. Outside our DC's I don't remember seeing much here. I value and notice speed more though.
Technique: We are near the top of the league here, and I did notice a ton of players who were very good in this area. Burnley are #1, Woking last.
Our coaches feel that a 4-4-2, 4-4-1-1 or a 4-1-3-2 would be the best formations for the club. Youngster Neil Gordon is a good AMC, putting him up there and adding some depth could let Sylvain Berthet play MR to make better use of his passing and crossing than he might in defense, making the 4-4-1-1 an option. None of our strikers can drop back to play AMC though.
I'd already realized it but we're officially told that due to the poor finances of the club we can't bring in players, just pull from the youth team. I hope(assume?) that cutting payroll will allow at least some free transfer action, but we'll see.
-- I have my press conference to introduce myself to the media as the new coach at Ipswich. Most of it is boring stuff, I state that I prefer to play an attractive attacking style of football. But there's one question that can set things in motion:
"You have taken charge of ipswich at a time when it is expected that Owen Garvan may well be leaving the club. What are the chances of you keeping him around?" I don't take the most aggressive "he's gone" option, but rather the second most... "I will be looking to take advantage of the interest in Owen"
After this I figure I'm committed, so I go ahead and transfer list Garvan. He's valued at $1.6M. I'm officially asking $1.3M. Nottingham Forest in the EPL have shown some interest. I fax out notices to teams that he's available.
-- Middlesborough's Head Coach announces that they're interested in my young midfielder Neil Gordon. He's already a favorite of mine after just reviewing the roster and I hope he develops into a key player for me. I respond and "issue a hands off warning". MINE.
-- Ipswich receive $18,000 from a transfer clause for a former player, Danny Woodward, who is now bouncing around Scotland. We'll also get $50,000 over the next couple years. Hooray.
-- Four teams immediately make $1.6M offers for Owen Garvan, should I have asked for more? Hrrm. Frankfurt and Nottingham Forest are the most notable. Also Bari in Serie B and Koln in the German First Division along with Frankfurt.
-- Neil Gordon is pissed that we're all talking about him in the media and wants everyone to be friends. He also says Middlesborough wouldn't be so bad, though he's not unhappy here.
-- Liverpool are selling off MC Sam Cook, the 19 y/o I loaned in at Woking for 3 months last year. Oh to have the money to offfer. Alas.
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