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Old 11-01-2013, 11:37 AM   #1
College Benchwarmer
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
FM – From Semi-Pro Minnows to Champions League Glory: Dover Athletic FC

Table of Contents for this dynasty, with links to every season on our journey, is listed in Post #3!

It all comes down to this…

For eight years, we’ve worked our way up the ladder in England. I was hired at Dover Athletic FC by former chairman Jim Parmenter in early July 2010, as he looked to build upon the great success that my predecessor Andy Hessenthaler brought to the club in his three years at the helm.

My time at Dover started with the club in the Blue Square Bet South, one of the second divisions in the Football Conference in England. Along with the Blue Square Bet North, we were at the second level of the National League System, a semi-professional outfit and at the sixth tier overall in the English football league system, directly behind the Blue Square Bet Premier, npower League 2, npower League 1, npower Championship and of course, one of the most influential leagues in the world, the Barclays Premier League.

With able backing from my chairman, we built a club that dominated in my first year at the helm, gaining promotion to the Conference Premier in 2011. Over the following seven years, I’ve seen it all: huge wins in league play, devastating playoff losses that destroyed promotion dreams, cup success, a new chairman, games in stadiums that weren’t fit to hold matches in addition to games played on the largest stage, including Wembley Stadium, the Mecca in English football.

Our sure and steady climb through the ranks in England has astonished pundits and our opponents alike. We were a small club, with very limited financial resources yet here we are, eight years and four promotions later, holding on for dear life to 2nd place on the npower Championship table. Our early-season form in 2017/18 was incredibly good and for the first 20 games or so, we were comfortably leading the entire league. However, a month-long late-season swoon has seen us fall well behind 1st placed Bolton, who have long ago locked up the top spot.

There’s one game left on the schedule. We will be facing the Queens Park Rangers (QPR) at our home stadium, Crabble Athletic Ground, a 1000-seater with terracing that holds an additional 5500 fans. All 6500 tickets are sold well in advance and our fans are left to dream about what could be.

If we lose or draw, West Bromwich Albion will certainly overtake us and there is even a chance we’re passed by Derby County FC. If this happens, we’ll drop down to either 3rd or 4th place on the table and have to take part in a 4-team playoff. However, three points against QPR will lock down 2nd position on the table and gain our club automatic promotion to arguably the most famous league in football, the Barclays Premier League.

2017-18 npower Championship

1st C Bolton 45 32 6 7 103 41 62 102
2nd Dover 45 25 10 10 84 52 32 85
3rd West Brom 45 25 9 11 86 44 42 84
4th Derby 45 24 11 10 55 35 20 83
5th Wigan 45 24 4 17 82 56 26 76
6th Sheffield U 45 22 10 13 70 48 22 76

So, as I said earlier, it all comes down to this...

May 6, 2018 –

Dover Athletic FC (25-10-10, 85 pts – 2nd) vs. QPR
Crabble Athletic Ground, Dover, UK.

Dover: 4-4-2
GK – I. Wilke
D – B. Harris, L. McCullogh, O. Nicholas, C. Morrissey
M – S. Bouwman, L. Craig, D. Pratley, K. King
F – S. Rideout, Z. Bardi

Despite being out of form, we’re slight favourites over the mid-table Queens Park Rangers and being at home and needing a win, we’ll utilize our Control mindset.

9’ – QPR hits a free kick into our territory and DR Connor Morrissey out-jumps their winger and heads the ball up field. Our in-form striker Zoltan Bardi, on loan from Arsenal, uses his pace to beat the defenders and he’s in all alone. Bardi moves to his right foot and drives a low blast into the corner of the net! DOVER GOAL 1-0

14’ – A similar play develops off a goal kick, as our fine midfield acquisition Liam Craig out-jumps his opposite number and heads it over the QPR defensive line. Bardi’s strike partner, Simon Rideout is able to get to the ball first but shoots barely wide.

19’ – We continue to dominate. MR Keith King, a member of the Bahamas national team, sends the ball into space down the right and Bardi latches on to it. He swings a gorgeous cross into the box and ML Simon Bouwman heads the ball just over the bar.

20’ – DISASTER! QPR midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker starts the play and feeds the ball into the area to teammate Ian Black. Our fine young centre halfback Luke McCullogh, a permanent fixture on our backline, makes a horrible decision and pulls down Black by his shirt. Straight RED CARD! I’m forced to substitute ML Bouwman out for DR Jackson Ramm, moving Morrissey into McCullogh’s spot, Liam Craig into Bouwman’s wing position and then drop Bardi back from striker to MC, giving me a 4-4-1 formation.

22’ – Kris Commons steps up to take the penalty for QPR and makes absolutely no mistake. This can’t be happening…they pull level and we’re down to 10 men for the balance of the match. QPR GOAL 1-1

34’ – Despite being down a man, we continue to control play. We get a corner and Craig curls a ball to the far post. Morrissey wins the jump and powers a header that is just cleared off the line by the defender protecting the goal.

44’ – Our captain, midfielder Darren Pratley, plays the ball up to Rideout and his low blast is just turned aside by the QPR keeper.

45’+1 – On the resulting corner, Craig again gets a ball to Morrissey’s head and this time there’s no defender to save them. Into the far corner for the first half extra time stunner! DOVER GOAL 2-1

HALFTIME – We’ll move to a counter attacking mindset with a lead and only 10 men. Incredibly, that is Morrissey’s first ever goal for Dover in this, his 205th league game.

51’ – They are pressing and it’s Reo-Coker again doing the legwork. His through ball again goes to Ian Black but his shot in the area is way off target. Whew!

60’ – Reo-Coker takes a throw-in and threads a pass into the area to Doherty but his curling shot is gobbled up by a diving Wilke. Brilliant save!

67’ – We win another corner after a Rideout shot is turned aside by their goalkeeper Chris Dunn. Craig feeds yet another beauty into the box and this time it meets the foot of winger Keith King and he makes no mistake in depositing it into the net! Time to lock this sucker down! DOVER GOAL 3-1

71’ – Off a QPR throw-in, it’s Reo-Coker again getting a pass and heading up field. He exchanges passes with Ian Black, gets in the box and fires a missle into the top corner of the net. Damnit! Quick reply by Reo-Coker and we’re biting our fingernails yet again! QPR GOAL 3-2

75’ – Rideout grabs a Keith King through ball and is in alone but just boots it wide. So close!

76’ – Rideout is gassed and we bring in a fresh striker in Robert Kerkhof, with hopes of him using his speed on the counter-attack.

78’ – Bardi is injured in a challenge from Reo-Coker. Looks like he can shake it off but he’s ordered off the field by the referee for brief treatment.

90’ – We’re doing a great job of maintaining possession with the heat on. Craig gets the ball and dribbles down the left wing. He throws a cross from the byline into the box and once again, the ball meets the golden foot of Keith King. Easy tap in and the dagger has been laid down! DOVER GOAL 4-2

90’+2 – The official indicated that there were 2 minutes of injury time so we try to use as much time as possible by bringing in Spanish midfielder Carlos Gurpegi as a substitute for Bardi.


Dover 4 – 2 QPR
Goals: K. King (2), Z. Bardi, C. Morrissey
Assists: L. Craig (3), C. Morrissey
Man of the Match: Liam Craig
Attendance: 6500

West Brom won, as did Derby County but it doesn’t matter in the end. We’ve done the impossible…

The little club that could, Dover Athletic FC, has earned promotion to the Barclays Premier League!!!

I felt it was time to write a little bit about this particular save, as it’s brought me so much enjoyment over the past three years (I’m using FM2011) and it gives me a chance to document the experience. Many players take over big clubs when they play and that’s cool but I’ve always enjoyed taking on the smaller clubs and seeing what I can do on a limited budget.

Without question, this is the furthest I’ve ever gone in a game, starting with the 2010-11 season and as I write this, I’m smack dab in the middle of the 2019-20 season.

I plan on writing a recap of all the seasons I’ve played in this save, from our years in the semi-professional Conference right up through my first year in the Premier League with Dover. From there, I hope to deliver a dynasty similar in scope and layout to Radii’s incredible Woking/Ipswich dynasty “From the Bottom Up” which you can find right here: FM10 - From the Bottom Up - Front Office Football Central

Undoubtedly one of the greatest dynasties ever written on this forum, I’ll likely borrow quite a bit from Radii’s style and I’ve received his permission to copy at will. Many thanks to Radii for that and for his fantastic writing, something which sold me on Football Manager in the first place! I'm not entirely sure if I have the time to go into as much detail as Radii did but we'll see how things shake out.

While I’m doing this for me as a means of documenting the experience (and also getting some tactical tips from readers), I hope that it will be a piece that confirms that you CAN take a very small club all the way to the top of the food chain with the right tactics and player moves.

Now…how did I get to the Premier League and maybe more importantly – did I stay up after our first year? Season-by-season recaps from 2010/11 all the way to my current year of 2019/20 are forthcoming. I hope to have the 2010/11 recap up later today.

Thanks for reading!

Last edited by NoSkillz : 11-07-2016 at 11:58 AM.
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Old 11-01-2013, 02:38 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Madison, WI
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Old 11-01-2013, 04:02 PM   #3
College Benchwarmer
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada

Yearly Recaps Only
2010-11: Blue Square Bet South (1st Place - Win Automatic Promotion)
2011-12: Blue Square Premier (2nd Place - Lose Playoff)
2012-13: Blue Square Premier (1st Place - Win Automatic Promotion)
2013-14: npower League Two (1st Place - Win Automatic Promotion)
2014-15: npower League One (7th Place)
2015-16: npower League One (5th Place - Lose Playoff)
2016-17: npower League One (1st Place - Win Automatic Promotion)
2017-18: npower Championship (2nd Place - Win Automatic Promotion)
2018-19: Barclays Premier League (11th Place)
2019-20: Barclays Premier League (11th Place)

Full Season Writeups Begin
2020-21: Barclays Premier League (4th Place)
2021-22: Barclays Premier League (3rd Place) / UEFA Champions League (Quarterfinals)
2022-23: Barclays Premier League (2nd Place) / UEFA Champions League (Quarterfinals)
2023-24: Barclays Premier League (1st Place) / UEFA Champions League (WINNER)
2024-25: Barclays Premier League (2nd Place) / UEFA Champions League (Quarterfinals)
2025-26: Barclays Premier League (1st Place) / UEFA Champions League (Semifinals)

Yearly Recaps Only
2026-27: Barclays Premier League (1st Place) / UEFA Champions League (WINNER)
2027-28: Barclays Premier League (1st Place) / UEFA Champions League (Finals)
2028-29: Barclays Premier League (1st Place) / UEFA Champions League (WINNER)


Dover Athletic FC - Club History

Dover Athletic F.C. was formed in 1983 after the town's previous club, Dover, folded due to its debts. The new club took Dover's place in the Southern League Southern Division, with former Dover player Alan Jones as manager and a team consisting mainly of reserve players from the old club. Initially, Athletic struggled, finishing second from bottom of the table in the 1984–85 season. In November 1985, Steve McRae, who had succeeded Jones a year earlier, was sacked and replaced by Chris Kinnear.

Under Kinnear the club's fortunes turned around, with two top-five finishes followed by the Southern Division championship and with it, promotion in the 1987–88 season.

The team started strongly in the Premier Division, finishing in sixth place at the first attempt, and then winning the championship in the 1989–90 season. The club was denied promotion to the Football Conference, however, as Crabble Stadium did not meet the standard required for that league. After finishing fourth and second in the subsequent two seasons, Dover won the title again in the 1992–93 season and this time were admitted to the Conference.

Although Dover finished in eighth place in their first season in the Conference, the following season saw the club struggling against relegation, and Kinnear was dismissed due to a combination of the team's poor performances and his own personal problems. John Ryan was appointed as the club's new manager, but his reign was a short one and he was dismissed when the club lost seven of its first eight matches in the 1995–96 season. The club then appointed former England international Peter Taylor as manager but he was unable to steer the team away from the foot of the table. Dover held onto their place in the Conference only because Northern Premier League runners-up Boston United failed to submit their application for promotion before the required deadline.

Bill Williams took over as manager in 1997 and proved to be Dover's most successful Conference manager, leading the club to the FA Trophy semi-finals in the 1997–98 season and a best ever league finish of sixth place in the 1999–2000 season. Williams left the club to take a senior position with Conference rivals Kingstonian in May 2001. By now the club was in severe financial difficulties, with a number of directors resigning and debts exceeding £100,000. Amid the crisis, the entire board of directors resigned, forcing the club's Supporters' Trust to take over the running of the club and manager Gary Bellamy was sacked after just six months in the job. Former Everton goalkeeper Neville Southall took over but was dismissed just three months later, with Clive Walker taking over in March 2002 with the club rooted to the foot of the table. The club finished the season bottom of the Conference and was relegated back to the Southern League Premier Division.

The club's ongoing financial problems led to it entering a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), a process by which insolvent companies offset their debts against future profits, due to debts that were now estimated at £400,000.

In Dover's first season back in the Southern League Premier Division, the Whites finished in third place, albeit 17 points adrift of Tamworth, who claimed the one promotion place available that season. A poor start to the following season saw Walker replaced by Richard Langley. Dover finished the season in 19th place, before being switched to the Isthmian League Premier Division in the summer of 2004 following a re-organisation of the English football league system.

The new season started with six successive defeats, which saw Langley sacked, and the financial problems continued, with the club coming within two months of being closed down. Dover were relegated to the Isthmian League Division One at the end of the season, but were saved from possible extinction in January 2005 when former director Jim Parmenter returned to head up a consortium that took over the club. Parmenter quickly sacked manager Steve Browne and convinced Clive Walker to return to the club to replace him and also arranged for the club's outstanding CVA debts to be cleared, putting the club on a firm financial footing for the first time in many years.

Dover Athletic narrowly missed out on an immediate return to the Premier Division in the 2005–06 season, reaching the play-offs for promotion but losing out to Tonbridge Angels. The following season Dover again reached the play-offs but lost in the semi-final to Hastings United, after which Walker did not have his contract renewed and was replaced by former Gillingham manager Andy Hessenthaler. In his first season in charge he led the club to the Division One South championship and promotion to the Isthmian League Premier Division. He followed that up by guiding Dover Athletic back into the second tier of non-league football in 2008-09, with the club being placed in the Blue Square Bet South Division. In the 2009–10 season, Dover reached the play-offs for promotion to the Conference National, but lost at the semi-final stage to Woking.

Hessenthaler would be unceremoniously sacked and in July 2010, a completely unknown Canadian would be tabbed as his replacement...

Last edited by NoSkillz : 11-06-2016 at 05:53 PM. Reason: Added Table of Contents
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Old 11-01-2013, 04:48 PM   #4
College Benchwarmer
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
2010-11 Season Recap

Part One - Manager and Team Status 2010-11

Upon my hiring in July 2010, I had absolutely no status in the world of football (Sunday League footballer with "Obscure" reputation) and therefore was given a paltry salary of £350 per week, or £18,200 per year.

Dover was only a semi-professional club when I took over and carried an "Obscure" team reputation. We played our home games at Crabble Athletic Ground in Dover, UK, a stadium with a capacity of 6500 but only 1000 of those were seats. The stadium was in good condition and we had "Fairly Basic" corporate & training facilities along with Fairly Basic youth recruitment but "Minimal" youth facilities.

To sum up, we didn't have much!

Our average ticket price was £7.00 and we had 425 season ticket holders in my first year, paying an average of £140.00 per season ticket.

Our estimated value when I took over management of the club was £450,000, which ranked us 102nd out of the 160 English clubs in the first six tiers of the pyramid and 3rd in the Blue Square Bet South.

Our squad personality was deemed to be "Fairly Determined".

In future years, I'll chart out the history of all of these stats so you can see how things have changed over time.

Last edited by NoSkillz : 11-02-2013 at 11:43 PM.
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Old 11-01-2013, 09:34 PM   #5
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Preseason Expectations and Thoughts

The pundits predicted that Dover would finish in 5th position in the 2010/11 Blue Square Bet South and our board shared their optimism, saying they expected us to battle for promotion. By agreeing with their assessment, I was given the following wage and transfer budgets:

2010/11 TRANSFER BUDGET - £5,000
2010/11 WAGE BUDGET - £6,000/week

Needless to say, we'd have to do the majority of our work in the free transfer market!

I inherited a pretty decent and relatively deep club.


ST - Our strike force up front looks capable. Adam Birchall scored 18 goals in 43 total appearances in 2009/10, including 15 in Conference South league play. He'll likely team up with 21 year old Ben Hunt, a new signing from Bristol Rovers who arrived at the club just before I did.

D - We have some nice pieces at the backend as well. Olly Schulz may be our best player, a dominating presence at the centre half position and fellow DC Rob Gillman is the captain of the club. We also have nice depth at the fullback position.


GK - 26 year old Ross Flitney is decent but we can definitely use an upgrade in goal.

MF - We have some nice complimentary pieces at MC, with Jon Wallis looking like a jack of all trades but we could use a talent upgrade throughout the midfield.

Transfers OUT

DL - Dean Hill - Stalybridge - Free Transfer
DR - Joe Tabiri - St. Albans - Free Transfer
GK - Lee Hook - Released
MC - Sam Cutler - Released
ML - James Rogers - Released
DR - Jackson Ohakam - Released

Not much here. Hill was an assistant captain before his release.

Transfers IN

GK - Liam O'Brien - Free (Last Club: Portsmouth) - 19 years old
GK - Liam Hogan - Free (Last Club: Southampton) - 19 years old
DC - Oliver Nicholas - Free (Last Club: Arsenal) - 18 years old
MC - Paul Marney - Free (Last Club: Dundalk) - 28 years old
MC - Paul Caffrey - Free (Last Club: Sacred Heart) - 26 years old
MC - Harry Rubbins - Free (Last Club: Bristol City) - 18 years old
MR - Abdeltareck Sakali - Free (Last Club: Blackburn) - 23 years old
ML - Ismael Fofana - Free (Last Club: Charlton) - 22 years old
ML - Christian Nanetti - Free (Last Club: QPR) - 18 years old
ST - Kofi Poyser - Free (Last Club: Aston Villa) - 19 years old

All of these guys were signed off the street after being released from their former clubs. Most of the young guys were U18 players on Premier League clubs at one time. Nicholas is the most exciting prospect: a 4.5 star prospect according to my assistant manager but equally enticing are GK O'Brien (4.5 star potential), Sakali (4 star potential) and Fofana (4 star potential). Caffrey and Marney should provide experience and some needed influence to my young team and are certain starters.

Final Thoughts Before the Season Begins

I decide to leave DC Rob Gillman as the captain and name new arrival Paul Caffrey as the assistant. We'll keep things simple at this level, likely running a flat 4-4-2 for the majority of our games. Our "go-to" mindset will be a Control game and we will also utilize Attacking or Counter-Attacking mindsets for weaker or stronger opponents respectively.

Our first choice lineup to start the season will be as follows:

GK - Liam O'Brien
D - Nicky Nicolau/Rob Gillman/Olly Schulz/Matt Fish
M - Ismael Fofana/Paul Marney/Paul Caffrey/Abdeltareck Sakali
F - Adam Birchall/Ben Hunt
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Old 11-01-2013, 11:47 PM   #6
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
2010/11 Blue Square South Results

My first season in charge was incredibly successful. Our first league match was a tight 1-0 win away at Woking, with our only goal scored by 17-year old substitute ML Jake Marsh. We'd win our first six league games in succession and actually go 10 games before our first league loss, a 2-1 defeat to Chelmsford.

We'd actually lose our next game as well but then go on another tear, playing 12 games without a loss.

When all was said and done, we'd only lose four games all season in Blue Square Bet South play and we'd win the league in convincing fashion, gaining promotion to the Blue Square Bet Premier.

Blue Square Bet South 2010-11 League Awards

Top Goalscorer: Manny Williams (Havant & Waterlooville) - 23
Most Assists: Paul Caffrey (Dover) - 19
Highest Average Rating: Olly Schulz (Dover) - 7.53
Most Man of Match Awards: Olly Schulz (Dover) - 10
Player of the Season: Graeme Montgomery (Ebbsfleet) - 29apps 9g 10a 7.21 Avg Rating
Manager of the Season: Ian Baird (Eastleigh)

I was short-listed for the Manager of the Year award but fell to Baird. During the season, I was fortunate to win the Manager of the Month award three times (August, December & January)

We would set a couple of league records in 2010/11 that still stand as of 2020:
- Most Team Points in One Season: 98 - Dover
- Most Team Goals in One Season: 85 - Dover

Cup Competitions 2010-11

FA Cup -
We started off in the 2nd qualifying round of FA Cup play, drawing division rival Ebbsfleet at home, defeating them 1-0. We'd defeat lower league side Folkestone in the next round before drawing one of our bitter rivals Margate in the 4th qualifying round. We'd battle to a bore scoreless draw at Margate before the replay at home, where we defeated them handily 4-0 to advance to the 1st round proper. There, we'd lose a tough match against League One side Brentford, falling 3-2. A pretty solid run.

2nd Qualifying Round - Dover 1 Ebbsfleet 0
3rd Qualifying Round - Folkestone 0 Dover 2
4th Qualifying Round - Margate 0 Dover 0
4th Qualifying Round Replay - Dover 4 Margate 0
1st Round - Dover 2 Brentford 3

FA Trophy
The FA Trophy is a knockout competition held between all of the clubs in the top four levels of the National League System, equivalent to levels 5 through 8 in the English Football League System. We'd start off in the 3rd Qualifying Round, defeating Thurrock 4-0 at home. We'd follow that with decisive wins at home over Maidstone and Forest Green before hitting our first snag in the 3rd Round proper. We'd draw against Darlington away but come away with a great 3-0 win at home in the replay to move on. A 5-2 win over Bromley led to a two-leg semi-final set against Wrexham. We'd destroy them 5-1 at home in leg one and eased to a 1-1 draw in the second leg, giving us a spot in our first ever Cup final, drawing Gateshead as our opponent.

In easily our biggest match of the 2010/11 campaign, we'd defeat Gateshead 2-0 at Wembley Stadium in front of 22,000+ fans, getting goals from wingers Ismael Fofana and Abdeltareck Sakali to win the FA Trophy!

3rd Qualifying Round - Dover 4 Thurrock 0
1st Round - Dover 3 Maidstone 0
2nd Round - Dover 3 Forest Green 1
3rd Round - Darlington 1 Dover 1
3rd Round Replay - Dover 3 Darlington 0
4th Round - Dover 5 Bromley 2
Semi Final Leg 1 - Dover 5 Wrexham 1
Semi Final Leg 2 - Wrexham 1 Dover 1 (Dover wins 6-2 aggregate)
Final - Dover 2 Gateshead 0 (at Wembley Stadium)

Overall Dover Statistics

Top Goalscorer: Ben Hunt - 23
Top League Goalscorer: Adam Birchall - 15
Most Assists: Paul Caffrey - 29
Highest Average Rating: Olly Schulz - 7.58 (49 apps)
Most Man of Match Awards: Olly Schulz - 15
Fans Player of the Year: Olly Schulz

2010-11 Dover Best Eleven

GK - Ross Flitney - 26 apps 0g 6.87 avg
DL - Nicky Nicolau - 34 apps 0g 7.04 avg
DC - Olly Schulz - 49 apps 13g 7.58 avg
DC - Rob Gillman - 46 apps 5g 7.06 avg
DR - Matt Fish - 43 apps 1g 7.00 avg
ML - Ismael Fofana - 50 apps 11g 7.02 avg
MC - Paul Marney - 51 apps 1g 6.87 avg
MC - Paul Caffrey - 50 apps 6g 7.19 avg
MR - Abdeltareck Sakali - 51 apps 15g 7.12 avg
ST - Adam Birchall - 49 apps 20g 7.14 avg
ST - Ben Hunt - 51 apps 23g 7.13 avg

Other notables: GK Liam O'Brien 30 apps 6.82; DL Tom Wynter 26 apps 0g 6.82; ML Jake Marsh 44 apps 7g 6.85; DR Sam Long 25 apps 0g 6.80; ST Kofi Poyser 25 apps 11g 6.98; MC Jon Wallis 49 apps 6g 6.79; ST Elliott Charles 2 apps 1g 6.95

Schulz was a force in the air, as attested by his 13 goals, most of which came on set pieces using his head. My forwards were very productive and I even got 11 more goals from ST Kofi Poyser. Young GK Liam O'Brien was a slight disappointment in his first year and was outplayed by the veteran Flitney but otherwise, our preferred starters were our best players this season.

Year-End Financials
Turnover - £680,551
Expenditure - £717,567
Net Transfer Spending - £0
Total Wage Costs - £513,775
Profit/(Loss) - (£37,016)
Bank Balance - £14,886
Average Attendance - 939

Closing Thoughts

We had an incredibly successful season, winning the league in dominating fashion, getting through to the 1st round of the FA Cup before falling to a League 2 team and finally, lifting the FA Trophy for the first time at Wembley Stadium in front of a huge crowd.

We'll hope to fare well next year at the top level of semi-professional football, the Blue Square Bet Premier League!
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Old 11-02-2013, 11:43 PM   #7
College Benchwarmer
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
2011-12 Season Recap -

Preseason: Manager and Team Status, Yearly Budgets, Board and Media Expectations

The board decided to give me a nice raise, almost doubling my salary in the process as thanks for taking Dover up to the Conference Premier. I'll take it! My reputation has increased to "Regional" from "Obscure" and I'm a media darling by the looks of it. Lets see what happens if we struggle this year…I doubt I'd be as popular.

There are no changes ahead with respect to stadium improvements/expansions. We don't have the money anyway and until we start filling the place up, I don't see the need to even start asking for any work to be done at Crabble. It would be nice to have better training or youth facilities though.

Now we'll take a look at how Dover as a club has progressed in the eyes of the public and our peers.

Our team reputation is up to "Local" from "Obscure" and moving up to the Conference Premier has allowed us to put a pretty sizeable price increase through to our supporters. We had the highest average attendance in the Blue Square Bet South last season so hopefully the fans aren't put off by the 20+% hikes! Looking at the nice increase in season ticket holders, my fears may be unfounded.

We've also had a slight bump in estimated value, which takes us to 100th out of the 160 clubs in the first six tiers on the English pyramid and we're ranked 9th in the Conference Premier out of 24 clubs.

The board feels we're strong enough to finish mid-table and I agree with that assessment. In doing so, they have given me a wage budget increase that's in line with the price increase we've put through to our supporters but no increase to the transfer budget:

2011/12 TRANSFER BUDGET - £5,000
2011/12 WAGE BUDGET - £7,500/week

That's workable - at this level, we're not likely to find the quality of players that would demand a transfer fee so we'll continue to supplement our current squad with players that are dropped from bigger clubs.

Preseason: Roster Status

GK - I'm pretty happy with what we have in goal. Long-time White (our team's nickname) Ross Flitney will not see his contract renewed and will likely be out the door come July 1st. We'll hand the baton to 20 year old Liam O'Brien, whom we picked up on a free last year but struggled a bit in his 1st season with us. Liam Hogan, another 2010/11 signing, will provide backup and we also have an interesting U18 prospect in Ben Humphrey, who may be a loan candidate.

D - We could do with some upgrades on our backline, especially at the fullback position. Our starting left fullback, Nicky Nicolau, accepted a contract offer from an Italian club and will be departing on July 1st. He'll need to be replaced for sure. Our player of the year in 2010-11, Olly Schulz, will be back and hopefully he'll dominate in the air as much as he did last year. Captain Rob Gillman is getting a bit long in the tooth and should still be useable but my prized prospect Oliver Nicholas, after spending the majority of last year with our U18 club, is ready for the jump to the senior squad this year.

M - A definite strength of the club. We have great wingers in Ismael Fofana and Abdeltareck Sakali, a creative and influential centre midfielder in Paul Caffrey and a pretty solid defensive-minded MC in Paul Marney. Jon Wallis is our versatile piece off the bench and plays most games due to his ability to play anywhere from the centre of the park, to right wing and even right fullback. A nice player to have and he has a rocket for a right foot.

F - Another great strength. Our two-man strike force last year, Ben Hunt and Adam Birchall, combined for an absurd 43 goals last year and I'm very high on Kofi Poyser as well. In fact, he may just overtake Birchall on the first team. I could use a depth signing here though, as we won't be renewing the contract of Elliott Charles.

Transfers OUT

GK - Ross Flitney - Released
ML - Kane Rice - Released
ST - Elliott Charles - Released
DL - Nicky Nicolau - Virtus Lanciano - Free
MR - Harry Baker - Folkestone - Free
MC - Luke l'Anson - Folkestone - Free

Flitney was a first-choice in goal for close to half of our games last year. The 27 year old had mediocre skills and was replaceable due to our young depth. He made 35 starts in his two years at Dover. Flitney would eventually sign with Corby in the Blue Square Bet North and play three years for them before finishing out his career in Scotland with lower league sides Bunillidh Thistle and Glenrothes.

Rice was essentially a reserve team player last year and only played one game for the club, scoring a goal in his only appearance while Charles played only two senior team games.

Nicolau is a tough loss for us, as he was a constant at left fullback last year but I was unable to compete with the offer made from our Italian counterpart. Baker and l'Anson were strictly spare parts for us last year and Folkestone can have them!

Transfers IN

DL - Jamie Reckord - Free (Last Club: Wolves) - 19 years old, England
DL - Rory McKeown - Free (Last Club: Ipswich) - 18 years old, Ireland
DR - Conor Morrissey - Free (Last Club: Manchester City) - 18 years old, Ireland
DR - Carl Jenkinson - Free (Last Club: Charlton) - 19 years old, Finland
DR - Stephen O'Donnell - Free (Last Club: Celtic) - 19 years old, Ireland
MC - Richie Ryan - Free (Last Club: Sligo Rovers) - 27 years old, Ireland
MC - Rhys McCabe - Free (Last Club: Rangers) - 18 years old, Scotland
AM/ST - Alan Murphy - Free (Last Club: Galway United) - 29 years old, Ireland
ST - Ben May - Free (Last Club: Scunthorpe) - 27 years old, England
ST - Connor Deards - Free (Last Club: Walsall) - 19 years old, Ireland
ST - Julius Gombala - Free (Last Club: Birmingham) - 18 years old, Slovakia
ST - Emerick Hippias - Free (Last Club: Manchester City) - 18 years old, France

MC/ML - Jake Caskey - LOAN (From Brighton) - 17 years old, England

We do a lot of maneuvering in the offseason to supplement our talent. Jamie Reckord will likely step right in as our starting left fullback as a 19-year old and Rory McKeown will provide backup. Stephen O'Donnell will likely step into a rotation at DR with incumbent Matt Fish while Conor Morrissey & Carl Jenkinson (both with 3.5 star potential) will likely suit up for the U18 or reserve teams.

At midfield, the big signing is Richie Ryan from Sligo Rovers. He's a cultured offensive midfielder with a big right foot and a keen knack for set-pieces and he may have the talent to move defensive-minded MC Paul Marney to the bench. Rhys McCabe will likely suit up for the U18s and has some interesting talent (3.5 star potential). The other big move was getting 17-year old Jake Caskey to come over on loan from Brighton - while very young, Caskey has enormous potential (4.5 stars) and can definitely step in as cover for Fofana at ML or in the centre of the park.

We picked up a couple of young strikers in Gombala and Hippias to work on the U18 team while Ben May and Connor Deards will be given the chance to work into our striker rotation with incumbents Ben Hunt, Adam Birchall and Kofi Poyser.

Final Thoughts Before the Season Begins

I decide that last year's captain, DC Rob Gillman, will be a second choice player for the coming season and decide to go in another direction with the on-field leadership. Last year's vice-captain Paul Caffrey will get the arm band for 2011-12 and our leader on defense, Olly Schulz will assume the vice-captain role.

We have an interesting preseason that helps decide some roster spots. Conor Morrissey will jump in as a rotational player at DR as an 18-year old over fellow new signing Stephen O'Donnell, we keep Paul Marney as our MC with defensive duties and Kofi Poyser is elevated to 1st team status over Adam Birchall, who was a 20 goal scorer for us last year.

Our first choice lineup to start the season will be as follows:

GK - Liam O'Brien
D - Jamie Reckord/Olly Schulz/Oliver Nicholas/Matt Fish
M - Ismael Fofana/Paul Marney/Paul Caffrey/Abdeltareck Sakali
F - Kofi Poyser/Ben Hunt

Last edited by NoSkillz : 11-04-2013 at 10:15 AM.
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Old 11-03-2013, 01:53 AM   #8
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
2011/12 Blue Square Bet Premier Results

Our first season success carried straight over into the Conference Premier, as we'd win our first game of the year 5-0 away against York. A 4-0 home win over Crawley followed by a 3-0 away win versus Gainsborough had us on top of the table with an incredible 12 goals for and 0 against.

We'd never lose more than two games in a row in the league and we'd end up finishing an impressive 2nd on the table with 83 points (tied with Macclesfield but ahead of them on goal differential), seven points behind league champion Grimsby.

This league offers only one automatic promotion spot into League 2 (and professional football) but the clubs finishing between 2nd and 5th head to a playoff series to determine the other promotion spot.

We'd draw 5th placed Accrington as our opponent, with the first leg held at The Crown Ground in Accrington. It was a very physical series, with many bookings and they'd take an early lead on a penalty when young left fullback Rory McKeown took down their striker in the area. We'd pull level off the foot of MR Abdeltareck Sakali, who had a monster season for us on the right wing but another goal would be converted from the penalty spot in the 63rd minute by Accrington to give them the 2-1 lead. Adding to the misery was a second yellow card for backup centre half Bobby Aisen, meaning an automatic ejection and forcing us down to ten men. We'd give up a third goal afterwards to lose 3-1 and head home with the significant challenge of winning by at least two goals.

Playing the pivotal second leg with a tired squad due to a cup tie (more on that in a bit), we'd try to press hard to get back into the series and after a 3rd minute goal from young striker Kofi Poyser, we were in control. However, a straight red card to DR Sam Long on a foul in the area led to a 3rd penalty goal for Phil Edwards in two games and forced us down to 10 men once again, this time for the majority of the contest. We'd battle hard but give up two more goals to lose 3-1 again and 6-2 on aggregate, allowing Accrington to move onto the playoff finals and we'd have to lick our wounds and prepare for a second season in the Conference Premier.

Devastating! As an aside, Accrington would prevail in the Playoff final over AFC Wimbledon on penalties to advance to the npower League 2 along with champion Grimsby.

Blue Square Bet Premier 2011-12 League Awards

Top Goalscorer: Curtis Main, Darlington - 27
Most Assists: Michael Hall, Accrington - 19
Highest Average Rating: Abdeltareck Sakali, Dover - 7.40
Most Man of Match Awards: Curtis Main, Darlington- 9
Player of the Season: Curtis Main, Darlington - 40apps 27g 7a 7.24 Avg Rating
Manager of the Season: Phil Preedy, Accrington

Darlington's Curtis Main dominated the proceedings, quite obviously. Our right winger Sakali was an absolute stud this year. More on him in a bit. I finished second in the Manager of the Year voting, but fell to Preedy. Grimsby's manager finished 3rd despite winning the league. Our 91 goals were a Conference Premier record that stood until 2017/18, when it was broken by Barrow (94 goals).

Cup Competitions 2011-12

FA Cup -
Being in the Conference Premier afforded us the luxury of starting in the 4th Qualifying round for the prestigious FA Cup. We'd easily handle non-league side Concord Rangers away before defeating Hinckley 2-0 at home in the 1st round proper. We'd draw Plymouth Argyle in round two away, a decent draw if we're thinking about money but a terrible draw if we're looking to advance. We were completely outclassed 4-1 and unceremoniously dumped from the competition.

4th Qualifying Round - Concord Rangers 1 Dover 4
1st Round - Dover 2 Hinckley 0
2nd Round - Plymouth 4 Dover 1

FA Trophy
We'd attempt to defend our title in this competition, starting with a tough 1st round draw against league rival Blyth away. We'd battle to a draw and dramatically win the replay at home in extra time to advance. We'd follow with a one goal win at home versus Salisbury and a big 3-0 win away at Staines. We'd face a tough Kettering side away and come away with yet another close win to send us to the semi-finals for a second consecutive year. A 2-1 away win at Farnborough gave us an advantage going home for the second leg and we'd fight for another 2-1 victory to win 4-2 on aggregate to reach our second straight final.

We'd have to throw out a very tired and young squad for the final against Darlington, as the match was held only three days after the first leg of our Conference Premier Playoff semi-final against Accrington. I was pretty conflicted - do I go for a second straight Cup or do I save my players for the second leg of the playoffs, which would be held only three days later.

I opted to go with many young players and in front of 33,987 fans, we'd defeat Darlington 2-1 to win the FA Trophy for the second consecutive year!

1st Round - Blyth 1 Dover 1
1st Round Replay - Dover 1 Blyth 0 (extra time)
2nd Round - Dover 2 Salisbury 1
3rd Round - Staines 0 Dover 3
4th Round - Kettering 1 Dover 2
Semi Final Leg 1 - Farnborough 1 Dover 2
Semi Final Leg 2 - Dover 2 Farnborough 1 (Dover wins 4-2 aggregate)
Final - Dover 2 Darlington 1 (at Wembley Stadium)

2011-12 Overall Dover Statistics

Top Goalscorer: Ben Hunt - 22
Top League Goalscorer: Ben Hunt - 17
Most Assists: Paul Caffrey - 14
Highest Average Rating: Abdeltareck Sakali - 7.33 (40 apps)
Most Man of Match Awards: Abdeltareck Sakali - 8
Fans Player of the Year: Oliver Nicholas

2011-12 Dover Best Eleven

GK - Liam O'Brien - 45 apps 0g 6.81 avg
DL - Tom Wynter - 38 apps 1g 7.07 avg
DC - Olly Schulz - 52 apps 5g 7.15 avg
DC - Oliver Nicholas - 47 apps 4g 7.19 avg
DR - Conor Morrissey - 41 apps 0g 7.07 avg
ML - Ismael Fofana - 44 apps 9g 6.99 avg
MC - Jake Caskey - 30 apps 6g 6.98 avg
MC - Paul Caffrey - 48 apps 2g 7.04 avg
MR - Abdeltareck Sakali - 40 apps 14g 7.32 avg
ST - Kofi Poyser - 26 apps 14g 7.22 avg
ST - Ben Hunt - 47 apps 22g 7.13 avg

Other notables: GK Liam Hogan 14 apps 6.78; DR Carl Jenkinson 10 apps 0g 6.79; MC Richie Ryan 46 apps 8g 6.96; MC Jon Wallis 42 apps 4g 6.93; ST Ben May 29 apps 9g 7.00; DL Jamie Reckord 24 apps 0g 7.00; AM/ST Alan Murphy 27 apps 6g 6.90

GK -
Liam O'Brien continued to improve throughout the season and looks like he could be quite a capable keeper in the future.

D -
A couple big surprises here. We were forced to play Tom Wynter quite a lot more than expected at DL due to injuries to new signee Jamie Reckord. Wynter acquitted himself nicely but the other major surprise was young Conor Morrissey stepping in as an 18 year old and playing 41 games. His aggressive tackling was contagious and he quickly became a beloved teammate for his spirit. His potential rating skyrocketed from 3.5 to 4.5 stars by the end of the season and kept incumbent Matt Fish on the sidelines for the most part. Oliver Nicholas was excellent, as hoped, in his first full year at centre half but was a surprising choice as our fans Player of the Year. Olly Schulz wasn't quite as good as last year but was solid, as usual.

M -
Abdeltareck Sakali likely was robbed of the Player of the Year award. 40 total appearances, 14 goals, 12 assists, 8 MoM awards and a 7.32 average rating. He was a marvel. Jake Caskey was rarely a starter and when he did play, it was mostly at ML so his choice in the best eleven at MC is a bit strange. Paul Caffrey slowed down a bit and new signee Richie Ryan was stellar on penalties and set pieces, adding a new dimension to our team. Paul Marney was mostly an afterthought and went from first choice midfielder last season to fifth choice this year behind Caffrey, Ryan, Caskey and Jon Wallis.

F -
Kofi Poyser was superb but couldn't stay healthy enough, scoring 14 goals in only 26 contests. Ben Hunt was a rock, steady as you can be as our deep-lying striker. Ben May and the left-footed and super quick Alan Murphy were capable rotation players while Adam Birchall, a 20-goal scorer last year, disappointed.

Year-End Financials

We had a great year at the gate, with attendance more than doubling and our turnover went well over the million pound mark. We'd turn our first profit as well and our bank account was looking quite healthy, making the board quite pleased with my frugal style.

Closing Thoughts

Our second consecutive FA Trophy win was the easy highlight but the semi-final Conference Premier playoff loss stung hard.

We have a young team with talent across the field and we did a great job of developing future stars like Liam O'Brien in goal, Oliver Nicholas and Conor Morrissey on defense, Abdeltareck Sakali at midfield and Kofi Poyser and Ben Hunt at striker. Hopefully we can bounce back next season and nail down that elusive promotion into professional football.

Last edited by NoSkillz : 11-03-2013 at 01:00 AM.
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Old 11-03-2013, 08:40 PM   #9
College Prospect
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Whitman, MA
Shall be interested to see what the Premier League says about your stadium since your auto promoted.

Hopefully they let you in!
FOOL - Ann Arbor Winged Lingerines
FOOLX - Portland Axemen

Hattrick - Fizzle United (222968)
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Old 11-04-2013, 10:09 AM   #10
College Benchwarmer
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Originally Posted by Tellistto View Post
Shall be interested to see what the Premier League says about your stadium since your auto promoted.

Hopefully they let you in!

No doubt! You'll see that the "Stadium Issue" will become a sore spot with me as I progress through the leagues.

My 2012/13 season recap will be posted later today or tonight. Thanks for reading!
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Old 11-04-2013, 11:22 AM   #11
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
I was going back through some old notes/spreadsheets and I noticed some player profiles that I had made up prior to the start of the 2011/12 season.

Just to add some flavour/colour to the proceedings, here are the key players from the past season:

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Old 11-06-2013, 11:05 PM   #12
College Benchwarmer
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
2012-13 Season Recap -

Preseason: Manager and Team Status, Yearly Budgets, Board and Media Expectations

Not much change in my status. I did get a slight bump in salary and I'm now at 100% in financial control after two years at the helm. For some reason, I dropped to 40% in loyalty to players. Not quite sure what that means...

No changes to our stadium or facilities, as expected. You need money for that!

We move into our second consecutive year in the Blue Square Bet Premier and kept ticket prices the same. Our season ticket holder base sees a very slight bump of around 2% but I'm happy to see that our estimated team value is up significantly, as we're rated in a tie for 85th in England and 3rd in our league.

The media pick us to finish 10th and our board asks that we go for a top half finish. I counter with the expectation of challenging for promotion and that gives me a nice bump in our transfer and wage budgets:

2012/13 TRANSFER BUDGET - £20,000
2012/13 WAGE BUDGET - £8,250/week

I haven't spent a cent in the transfer market in my two years at the helm but with £20,000, I may be able to utilize that on a player or two.

Preseason: Roster Status

GK - With Liam O'Brien showing nice improvement over his two years at the club, I feel like we're in capable hands. Liam Hogan will likely be our backup.

D - We won't be renewing the contract of former captain Rob Gillman so we could use a depth signing or two in the middle of the defense. Oliver Nicholas will be our anchor but we may need an upgrade over Olly Schulz, who was a demon at the Blue Square South level but may be a bit over his head in the Conference Premier. Conor Morrissey, a revelation at DR as an 18 year old will be a constant this year and I'm hoping that Jamie Reckord can stay healthy on the left side.

M - We are very deep in the midfield. Paul Marney, one of my first signings upon taking over the club in 2010, had an expiring contract and signed a new deal with Welsh club Llanelli. He'll move over there on July 1st. I want to give Richie Ryan more playing time and I'm going to attempt to bring Brighton's young midfielder Jake Caskey back on a loan agreement. We are excellent on the wings with Ismael Fofana on the left side and our star last year, Abdeltareck Sakali on the right side.

F - I'm always looking for better strikers. Ben Hunt will be our main man once again but I could use some upgrades elsewhere. Kofi Poyser has shown no ability to stay healthy so I'll need to reinforce our depth here.

Transfers OUT

ST - Ben May - Arbroath - £5000
ST - Kofi Poyser - Hitchin - £2000
DC - Bobby Aisen - Llanelli - £1000

GK - Ben Humphrey - Tooting & Mitcham - Free
MC - Paul Marney - Llanelli - Free
MC - Paul Caffrey - Tranmere - Free
ST - Adam Birchall - Northwich - Free

DC - Rob Gillman - Released
DR - Sam Long - Released
DR - Matt Fish - Released
ML - Jake Marsh - Released

I guess there are some surprises here. May was solid enough for us last year, scoring 7 goals in 24 games but he was a passenger in too many games so I felt he was expendable, especially for £5K. Poyser was a tougher player to move but he was quite injury prone during his two years at Dover. He leaves the club after playing 51 league games for Dover and scoring 21 goals. Aisen was a spare part so getting even 1K for him was a bonus.

As far as the free transfers go, the biggest move would be allowing team captain Paul Caffrey to leave after only two years. I really felt that Richie Ryan had the better skill set and was also quite a bit younger, making Caffrey expendable. Marney and Birchall both made significant contributions during our Blue Square South championship season but proved to be a bit overmatched at the next level.

Sam Long, Matt Fish and Jake Marsh had expiring contracts that I decided not to renew and they all left the club.

Transfers IN

DC - David Ogilby - £5000 (Last Club: Coleraine) - 27 years old, Northern Ireland

GK - Reice Charles-Cook - Free (Last Club - Arsenal) - 18 years old, England
DL - Michael Riley - Free (Last Club - Derby) - 17 years old, England
DC - Luke McCullough - Free (Last Club - Manchester United) - 18 years old, England
DC - Will James - Free (Last Club: Blackburn), 18 years old, Wales
MC - Luke Hendrie - Free (Last Club: Manchester United) - 17 years old, England
MC - Ben Sayer - Free (Last Club: Newcastle) - 18 years old, England
MC/ML - Tom Lawrence - Free (Last Club: Manchester United) - 18 years old, England
MR - Craig Moore - Free (Last Club: Derby) - 18 years old, England
ST - Razek Abdul - Free (Last Club: Manchester City) - 19 years old, Ghana
ST - Philip Roberts - Free (Last Club: Arsenal) - 18 years old, Ireland
ST - Samuel Ameobi - Free (Last Club: Newcastle) - 20 years old, England
ST - Jamie Maclaren - Free (Last Club: Blackburn) - 18 years old, Australia

MC/ML - Jake Caskey - LOAN (From Brighton) - 18 years old, England

Most of these signings are for our U18 team but the notable exception is David Ogilby, who is my first true foray into the transfer market, albeit at the modest sum of £5000. Ogilby is from Northern Ireland and is an extremely determined and influential centre halfback who my scouts rave about (3.5 stars). He is left footed and will immediately step into the left of Oliver Nicholas in the middle of the defense.

I'm happy to bring Jake Caskey back as well and the other key signing was Australian striker Jamie Maclaren from Blackburn, who despite being only 18 seems ready to step in right away. Razek Abdul is a bigger striker who may be well suited to back up Ben Hunt in our deep-lying role up front.

The other signings are more for the future but there are a few really intriguing prospects that I found after they had been released from Premier League clubs. GK Reice Charles-Cook is a 5 star potential prospect (!!) but even better is DC Luke McCullough, a player deemed expendable by Man United. McCullough is currently rated 3.5 stars with 5 star potential (all at this level of course), easily the best rated player I've had the chance to manage. I will likely keep him with the U18s this year but I may find him some playing time with the senior team as well.

More great prospects include MC Luke Hendrie (5 star potential), Craig Moore (4.5 star potential and notably my first "re-gen" prospect) and Ben Sayer (4 star potential). A really exciting prospect haul for us this offseason!

Final Thoughts Before the Season Begins

With last year's captain sent packing, I happily name newcomer David Ogilby as our captain. He's a natural leader and should do great in that role for Dover. Our most productive player in my two years at the helm, ST Ben Hunt, is named vice-captain for the season.

We have a dominating preseason, with a 2-2 draw against npower Championship side Sheffield United the only non-win on our schedule. Young midfielder Rhys McCabe was very productive and will earn a spot alongside Richie Ryan in the midfield and I decide to go with a strike force of Ben Hunt and Razek Abdul out of the gates.

Our first choice lineup to start the season will be as follows:

GK - Liam O'Brien
D - Jamie Reckord/David Ogilby/Oliver Nicholas/Conor Morrissey
M - Ismael Fofana/Rhys McCabe/Richie Ryan/Abdeltareck Sakali
F - Ben Hunt/Razek Abdul
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Old 11-07-2013, 12:21 AM   #13
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
2012/13 Blue Square Bet Premier Results

After a scintillating preseason, we were humbled by Gateshead in game one, dropping a 1-0 decision away to start the season on a sour note. We'd exchange some wins and a few losses, and sat near the upper half of the table with six wins and four losses through ten games.

We'd absolutely take off in late November, with a season-changing loss in the FA Cup refocusing our squad on league play. We'd lose only one game between November 24th, 2012 and March 9, 2013, going an incredible 19 wins 2 draws and 1 loss in a 22 game period and that was enough to propel us to the top of the Conference Premier table.

We'd have a brief three game losing streak after that but recover with 7 more undefeated league games before losing our season finale against Kettering but thankfully, that game didn't matter.

With 99 points, we were 9 points clear of second placed Darlington, giving us the Blue Square Bet Premier championship and most importantly, earning us promotion to League 2 and into fully professional football!

Blue Square Bet Premier 2012-13 League Awards

Top Goalscorer: Adi Yussuf, Histon & Guillem Bauza, Hereford - 24
Most Assists: Derek Doyle, Hereford - 22
Highest Average Rating: Paul McLaughlin, Wrexham - 7.38
Most Man of Match Awards: Ian Miller, Darlington- 9
Player of the Season: Guillem Bauza, Hereford - 46apps 24g 13a 7.26 Avg Rating
Manager of the Season: NoSkillz, Dover

Guillem Bauza was the top player in the Conference Premier for Hereford but could only lead his club to 4th place, where they'd eventually lose in the playoffs, missing out on promotion. I had a great year, winning the manager of the month award three times (November, December and February) and the Blue Square Bet Premier Manager of the Year for 2012/13.

Cup Competitions 2012-13

FA Cup -
It was a short stay in the FA Cup for us in 2012. We'd draw non-league side Tiverton Town at home in the 4th qualifying round and defeat them easily but drew League 2 side Rotherham United in the 1st round proper. We'd do well to battle them to a draw at home but would lose 3-1 away in the replay.

4th Qualifying Round - Dover 4 Tiverton 0
1st Round - Dover 1 Rotherham 1
1st Round Replay - Rotherham 3 Dover 1

FA Trophy
Could we pull off the three-peat?!

We'd get off to a roaring start in the competition, with two 4-1 away wins and a 3-1 home win in the first three rounds. We'd knock off a tough AFC Wimbledon team to get to the semifinals, where we'd match up against Boreham Wood. Despite being favoured, we'd lose 2-1 in the first leg, meaning we'd have to win by at least two goals (or win 1-0) to move on. Thankfully, we'd prevail 2-0 at home to reach our third consecutive FA Trophy final, this time matching up against league rival Darlington.

In perhaps the greatest game in FA Trophy history, we'd finish 120 minutes of football with the score knotted at 2, meaning the cup would be decided in a 5-round penalty shootout.

Our fine centre midfielder Richie Ryan would miss on our second attempt while Darlington's first four players all scored. Their fifth shooter, James Baxter, would miss, giving us the reprieve.

Shockingly, the next three players on each club would not score so through 8 shooters, we were tied 4-4. Interestingly enough, GK Liam O'Brien was up next for Dover and he calmly drove a low shot into the corner for the goal! Alas, Darlington would match his effort.

Defender Jamie Reckord was next for us and he'd score but so too would Padriac Ormsby for Darlington. Our 11th shooter was midfielder Jon Wallis and he made no mistake, bringing up Darlington's goalkeeper to keep his team alive. He would drive his effort wide and that gave us a thrilling 7-6 penalty shootout win and our third consecutive FA Trophy!!!

1st Round - Hastings United 1 Dover 4
2nd Round - Dover 3 Farnborough 1
3rd Round - Chelmsford 1 Dover 4
4th Round - Dover 2 AFC Wimbledon 0
Semi Final Leg 1 - Boreham Wood 2 Dover 1
Semi Final Leg 2 - Dover 2 Boreham Wood 0 (Dover wins 3-2 aggregate)
Final - Dover p 2 Darlington 2 - Dover wins 7-6 on penalties (at Wembley Stadium)

2012-13 Overall Dover Statistics

Top Goalscorer: Ben Hunt - 22
Top League Goalscorer: Ben Hunt - 21
Most Assists: Jon Wallis - 17
Highest Average Rating: Oliver Nicholas - 7.22 (45 apps)
Most Man of Match Awards: Ben Hunt - 8
Fans Player of the Year: Ben Hunt

2012-13 Dover Best Eleven

GK - Liam O'Brien - 43 apps 0g 6.86 avg
DL - Jamie Reckord - 37 apps 2g 7.14 avg
DC - David Ogilby - 45 apps 3g 7.14 avg
DC - Oliver Nicholas - 45 apps 4g 7.22 avg
DR - Carl Jenkinson - 20 apps 0g 7.20 avg
ML - Ismael Fofana - 47 apps 7g 7.01 avg
MC - Jon Wallis - 44 apps 3g 7.12 avg
MC - Richie Ryan - 46 apps 13g 7.01 avg
MR - Abdeltareck Sakali - 47 apps 12g 7.07 avg
ST - Jamie Mclaren - 29 apps 12g 7.14 avg
ST - Ben Hunt - 43 apps 22g 7.21 avg

Other notables: GK Reice Charles-Cook 13 apps 6.77; DC Olly Schulz 19 apps 0g 7.12; DR Conor Morrissey 33 apps 0g 7.02; ML Jake Caskey 31 apps 3g 6.94; MC Rhys McCabe 28 apps 1g 6.90; ST Razak Abdul 29 apps 8g 7.06; ST Connor Deards 15 apps 8g 7.14

GK -
Liam O'Brien continued to lead the way but Reice Charles-Cook forced his way onto the senior team over Liam Hogan, who I loaned out to Ebbsfleet for the season.

D -
Jamie Reckord stayed healthy all season and produced very well, while new captain David Ogilby showed leadership and grit in the middle of the defense alongside star defender Oliver Nicholas. The emergence of young DR Carl Jenkinson was a pleasant surprise, as he was forced into action after Conor Morrissey got injured. Olly Schulz saw his playing time decrease dramatically and it's looking like his time at Dover is close to an end.

M -
We continued to get excellent play out wide from Ismael Fofana and Abdeltareck Sakali and Richie Ryan was studly at our attacking MC position, with 13 goals on the year. The versatile Jon Wallis was our go-to corner taker and piled up a bunch of assists to prove his usefulness as a starter over players like Jake Caskey and Rhys McCabe.

F -
Without question, our best player this year was striker Ben Hunt and his consistent goal scoring has been very helpful in our rise into professional football. He has scored 53 league goals in 115 games at Dover. Jamie Mclaren was decent but very inconsistent while Razak Abdul battled injuries most of the season. We were shocked at the contributions of Connor Deards, who scored 8 goals in only 15 appearances so perhaps I'll have to utilize him more next season. Alan Murphy, a key pickup last year, was a huge disappointment despite his incredible speed.

Year-End Financials

Crowds seemed to stay away early in the season for some reason but started coming out in droves when we hit our hot spell in November. Still, one less FA Cup game and one less FA Trophy game meant almost 200K less in turnover while our expenses were up due to a larger squad. Our bank balance is still decent, thankfully.

Closing Thoughts

A wildly successful season that sees us lift a third consecutive FA Trophy and the Blue Square Bet Premier championship as well.

I think we're set up well to succeed at the next level, with a large stable of young prospects that will soon be ready to play on the senior team, along with a few key veterans. I'm a bit worried about the ramifications of moving into the professional ranks, especially with respect to salaries and hope our small club can get by.

I'm also going to have to start worrying about the lack of facilities at Dover, as it may be hard to recruit capable players to a club without decent training or youth facilities.

But for now, I'll enjoy our success and we look forward to our first year in professional football in 2013/14!

Last edited by NoSkillz : 11-07-2013 at 12:22 AM.
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Old 11-07-2013, 03:19 AM   #14
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Great write-up!
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Old 11-08-2013, 10:02 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by law90026 View Post
Great write-up!

Thanks for reading!
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Old 11-08-2013, 10:10 PM   #16
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
2013-14 Season Recap -

Preseason: Manager and Team Status, Yearly Budgets, Board and Media Expectations

Taking Dover from the Blue Square Bet South division up two steps on the ladder to League 2 has done wonders for my reputation and my wallet. I get a huge raise, going from £700/week to £1,000/week on a two-year contract renewal (my longest yet!) and I'm now nationally recognized for my achievements. My loyalty to players rating still is suffering but I have to guess that the constant roster turnover is the reason. And truthfully, I *have* to turn over my roster if I'm going to succeed, as I'm quickly finding out that those 3 star rated players turn pretty quickly into 2 star players at the next level!

Other than our yearly pitch relaying, there's nothing new to report at our stadium. I continue to go as wide and deep as I can with our dimensions to take advantage of our speed on the pitch.

The big move here is obviously our transition to a fully professional club. Interestingly enough, by the looks of it, any players with terms left on their "semi-professional" contracts will have to live up to their end of the bargain but any new contracts I sign must be professional deals.

We've raised our ticket prices close to 20% over last year to coincide with our move into League 2 and our season ticket base continues to grow, up around 30% to 868. Our estimated value has gone up slightly and we're now 83rd in England out of 160 teams.

The move into professional football brings much more difficult competition and both the media and our own board are wary of our chances. The media is picking us to finish dead last in the npower League 2 while our board expects us to battle bravely against relegation. I could be more ambitious in an effort to get more transfer and wage money but I decide not to tempt fate and go along with our board's expectations. That gives us the following budget:

2013/14 TRANSFER BUDGET - £18,000
2013/14 WAGE BUDGET - £10,000/week

I did a bit of tweaking with the budget to give ourselves a bit more wiggle room on the wage side of the equation.

Preseason: Roster Status

GK - I like our goalkeeping, with incumbent Liam O'Brien and fast rising Reice Charles-Cook coming on as his backup. We also have Liam Hogan sitting around so I'll likely try to loan him out again this season.

D - We're pretty strong in the back with Oliver Nicholas and captain David Ogilby manning the middle and Jamie Reckord and Conor Morrissey at DL and DR respectively. I slipped up, allowing Carl Jenkinson to move into his last six months of his contract and he was picked up on a bosman signing by Sporting Mahones, effective July 1st. I need to be more careful about stuff like this!! We will be letting former stalwart Olly Schulz leave the club without a new deal, along with Tom Wynter and Stephen O'Donnell, as all three would be overmatched at the League 2 level in my opinion. We could use some new depth signings here but we are looking forward to seeing what young 5 star potential DC Luke McCullough can do!

M - Our strength continues to be on the wing but I'm starting to worry that Ismael Fofana and Abdeltareck Sakali may not be up to playing at a League 2 level. We'll see. Richie Ryan will be our main man in the middle and I'll likely look for some additions so as not to put too much pressure on prospect midfielder Rhys McCabe.

F - Our star striker Ben Hunt is back but I'm afraid he might not be talented enough to do much at this level. We still have Jamie Mclaren, Connor Deards and Razak Abdul but I'll definitely need to find at least one striker who has played at this level in the past.

Transfers OUT

ST - Jamie Mclaren - Brondby - £10,000
MC - Ben Sayer - Dundalk - £5,000

DR - Carl Jenkinson - Sporting Mahones - Free

DL - Tom Wynter - Released
DL - Rory McKeown - Released
DR - Stephen O'Donnell - Released
DC - Olly Schulz - Released
DC - Luke Browne - Released
MC - Jon Wallis - Released
AMC/ST - Alan Murphy - Released
ST - Emerick Hippias - Released
ST - Julius Gombala - Released
ST - Connor Deards - Released
ST - Samuel Ameobi - Released

I knew I'd have to let some key players from our past go, simply due to the fact that after two promotions, they may be in over their head at this elevated level.

We moved Mclaren after only one inconsistent year at the club. Getting £10,000 in the deal proved to be impossible to turn down, especially in light of some of my offseason signings (see below for that). Sayer was a young midfielder with decent potential but he was at best our 6th option so I felt it was wise to grab the money and run when offered. I've already mentioned the disappointment of having Jenkinson leave - he was excellent last year and I would have definitely fit him in on a rotation basis with Conor Morrissey had I successfully resigned him.

Of the free releases, the toughest two were Jon Wallis and Olly Schulz, two fan favourites who had been with Dover for many years. Wallis leaves the club after playing 222 league games, a team record. He scored 30 goals and added 32 assists and was amongst the most versatile players you could ask for, handling DR, MC and MR roles equally well. Schulz played 158 games for the club over 5 seasons, scoring 24 goals from the DC position, with almost all of them coming in the air on setpieces. He was a very capable defender and will be missed.

It may seem surprising that I released young Connor Deards after he scored 7 goals in only 16 league games but again, I was able to find a few incredibly talented strikers in the lead-up to the new season, making Deards a surplus to requirements.

Transfers IN

ST/ML - Aaron Greene - £4,000 (Last Club: Bohemians) - 23 years old, Ireland
MC - Janusz Kedzierski - £3,000 (Last Club: Aalen) - 20 years old, Germany
DR - Mark Urquhart - £1,500 (Last Club: Burton) - 22 years old, Scotland
ST - Alexander Rattke - £1,000 (Last Club: Nurnberg) - 21 years old, Germany

DL - Aziz Deen-Conteh - Free (Last Club: Chelsea) - 20 years old, Sierra Leone
DC/DR - Robert Ryan - Free (Last Club: Manchester United) - 18 years old, England
MR - Khaled Laaloudj - Free (Last Club: FC Mulhouse) - 24 years old, Algeria
MC - Arron Williams - Free (Last Club: Birmingham) - 18 years old, England
ST - Patrick Cooper - Free (Last Club: Fulham) - 18 years old, England

DR - Derek Churchill - LOAN (From Watford) - 18 years old, England
ML - Francesco Falleni - LOAN (From Arsenal) - 17 years old, Italy
MC/ML - Jake Caskey - LOAN (From Brighton) - 19 years old, England

I'm very excited about some of these signings. Aaron Greene is a left footed striker who is extremely fleet of foot - easily the fastest player I've had at the club. Fellow striker Alexander Rattke has a good speed/size combination and flashed goal scoring potential in the lower German leagues. Janusz Kedzierski will be a great addition as a midfielder with defensive duties while Mark Urquhart was brought in to shore up our depth on the right side of the defines.

Among the free signings, Aziz Deen-Conteh (great speed at DL), Patrick Cooper (tall, great in the air and a capable finisher) and Arron Williams (great speed, technique) will be ones to watch for.

I brought Jake Caskey back on loan for a third consecutive season and added DR Derek Churchill and the very young ML Francesco Falleni in on season-long loans.

Final Thoughts Before the Season Begins

David Ogilby will keep the captain's armband for a second consecutive year but seeing that last year's vice captain (Ben Hunt) will be playing less, I name DL Jamie Reckord as this year's assistant.

There's some slight turmoil in our front office during the preseason. Likely due to our promotion into professional football, Dover chairman Jim Parmenter comes out and says he's interested in selling the team. Early in July, a consortium led by local businessman Martin Watts submits a takeover bid but ultimately they'd fail.

This would be a running theme throughout the year, as another gentleman would eventually join the fray and rumours persisted that if Parmenter left, my job might be on the line! This despite the fact that I had led the club to two promotions in three years! It was a nerve-racking time...

We had a couple of key injuries to start our season, most notably DC Oliver Nicholas. Our opening day lineup was as follows:

GK - Reice Charles-Cook
D - Jamie Reckord/David Ogilby/Luke McCullough/Conor Morrissey
M - Ismael Fofana/Jake Caskey/Richie Ryan/Abdeltareck Sakali
F - Aaron Greene/Ben Hunt
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Old 11-08-2013, 11:20 PM   #17
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
2013/14 npower League 2 Results

We obviously had a lot of roster turnover in the offseason but kept the majority of our starting eleven from the year previous. I hoped that continuity would help get us a mid-table finish but the team was full of surprises.

Our first game in the professional ranks was a thrilling 3-3 draw away at Morecambe, a game we trailed 3-1 late in the contest. New striker Aaron Greene led the way with 2 goals, giving us a look at the lethal speed and finishing skills he'd flash all season long.

Our early-season form was absolutely incredible - 13 games undefeated in our League 2 debut, winning 9 games and drawing 4 before consecutive losses to Grimsby at home and Port Vale away. Straight after, we'd go on another 13 game tear with only one loss and that was enough to build up a sizeable lead on the table heading into February.

We'd hit our biggest rough patch in March, losing four consecutive games but a 3-0 home win over Rushden & Diamonds locked up a guaranteed promotion spot then on the last day of the season, we'd win 2-0 away at Bury to finish off the campaign with 92 points, enough to fend off Notts County for the npower League 2 championship!

npower League 2 2013-14 League Awards

Top Goalscorer: Maceo Rigters, Bournemouth - 30
Most Assists: David Serrano, Oldham - 21
Highest Average Rating: Maceo Rigters, Bournemouth - 7.40
Most Man of Match Awards: Maceo Rigters, Bournemouth- 11
Manager of the Season: NoSkillz, Dover

npower League 2 Player's Team of the Year
GK - Janos Balogh, Bristol Rovers
DL - Rhoys Wiggins, Bournemouth
DC - Andy Iro, Notts County
DC - Andy Graham, Lincoln
DR - James Tavernier, Tranmere
ML - Stephen Pearson, Stevenage
MC - Stuart Duff, Rochdale
MC - John Russell, Rotherham
MR - Liam Feeney, Bournemouth
ST - Maceo Rigters, Bournemouth
ST - David Serrano, Oldham

Kind of strange that League 2 didn't have a Player of the Year category. Rigters certainly would have won it going away, with 30 goals in 38 league games. I'd win the League 2 Manager of the Month award only once (September) but was honoured with the npower League 2 Manager of the Year award, my second year in a row with the major piece of hardware!

Cup Competitions 2013-14

FA Cup -
We had a great season in league play but struggled in cup competitions. We throttled Exeter in the 1st round of the FA Cup but would lose a 2nd round replay to league rival Luton Town to bow out quietly.

1st Round - Dover 5 Exeter 1
2nd Round - Luton 1 Dover 1
2nd Round Replay - Dover 2 Luton 4 (Extra Time)

League Cup
This is the first time we qualify for the League Cup (Carling Cup), solely a competition between the teams within the top 4 levels on the English pyramid.

We'd be humbled early by Brighton in the 1st round.

1st Round - Dover 1 Brighton 3

Johnstone's Paint Trophy
Here's another competition that I got to take part in for the first time. The Johnstone's Paint Trophy is a competition held between teams in League 1 and League 2. We'd run into fierce rival Gillingham and get defeated in the 1st round, just like the League Cup. A tough year in cup ties!

1st Round - Dover 1 Gillingham 3

2013-14 Overall Dover Statistics

Top Goalscorer: Aaron Greene - 24
Top League Goalscorer: Aaron Greene - 20
Most Assists: Aaron Greene - 14
Highest Average Rating: Aaron Greene - 7.30 (43 apps)
Most Man of Match Awards: Aaron Greene - 7
Fans Player of the Year: Aaron Greene

The clean sweep for Aaron Greene! The new man was spectacular for Dover in 2013-14!!!

2013-14 Dover Best Eleven

GK - Liam O'Brien - 37 apps 0g 6.84 avg
DL - Jamie Reckord - 32 apps 0g 6.87 avg
DC - Luke McCullough - 31 apps 1g 6.85 avg
DC - Oliver Nicholas - 28 apps 4g 7.12 avg
DR - Conor Morrissey - 33 apps 0g 6.81 avg
ML - Ismael Fofana - 37 apps 6g 6.92 avg
MC - Janusz Kedzierski - 34 apps 1g 6.99 avg
MC - Richie Ryan - 39 apps 7g 6.96 avg
MR - Abdeltareck Sakali - 38 apps 9g 7.06 avg
ST - Aaron Greene - 43 apps 24g 7.30 avg
ST - Patrick Cooper - 29 apps 16g 7.27 avg

Other notables: GK Reice Charles-Cook 14 apps 6.65; DL Aziz Deen-Conteh 23 apps 1g 6.79; DR Mark Urquhart 16 apps 0g 6.82; DC David Ogilby 37 apps 0g 6.78; ML Jake Caskey 17 apps 0g 6.75; ST Alexander Rattke 37 apps 20g 7.09; ST Ben Hunt 15 apps 3g 6.79

GK -
Liam O'Brien continues to improve while Reice Charles-Cook struggled a bit after getting a real chance to run with the job early in the season. Liam Hogan was loaned out for the season to Sutton United.

D -
The only surprise here is to see young Luke McCullough in the best eleven over captain David Ogilby. McCullough got the chance to play much more than expected due to injured star centre half Oliver Nicholas, who battled with hamstring and ankle issues all year. Young fullback Aziz Deen-Conteh fared well in a backup role.

M -
Our excellent wing play from Ismael Fofana and Abdeltareck Sakali continued and German signing Janusz Kedzierski fit in capably alongside Richie Ryan to give us a potent midfield.

F -
We were fortunate to see incredibly inspired play from our strikers in 2013-14. Greene was the star all season long, with his incredible speed and potent left foot causing issues for every team in the league. Young target man Patrick Cooper forced his way into a rotation and scored 16 goals in only 29 games while our other big offseason signing, Alexander Rattke, performed equally as well, with 20 goals on his own. Between the three, that's an incredible 60 goals!

Year-End Financials

Our turnover came close to doubling after leaving semi-pro ball for the real thing. Costs skyrocketed equally and we lost over £160K on the year. The great thing to see was that our average attendance more than doubled. We haven't outgrown our stadium just yet but if we keep adding supporters at the same pace, capacity may become an issue.

Closing Thoughts

Despite struggling in all of our cup ties, we shocked the footballing world in our first year in the professional ranks, winning League 2 straight out and gaining the quick promotion to the third level of the pyramid!

We found three incredible strikers and seem to have a lot of strength in the middle of the park especially.

Those take-over concerns that I mentioned earlier would come to a head just after we finished up the season. A second gentleman, Chris Dunphy, would fail in a takeover bid in January but kept at it, eventually making an offer our long-time chairman couldn't refuse. So on May 13th, only 3 days after the completion of our season, Jim Parmenter would leave the club and Chris Dunphy was in, bringing with him two new directors.

Thankfully, I had become "favoured personnel" of the club's supporters and Dunphy would ultimately decide to keep me on despite some rumours to the contrary.

League 1…here we come!

Last edited by NoSkillz : 11-08-2013 at 11:25 PM.
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Old 11-09-2013, 09:57 PM   #18
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2014-15 Season Recap -

Preseason: Manager and Team Status, Yearly Budgets, Board and Media Expectations

Despite having another year left on my contract, the new chairman offered me a 20% raise for getting the club through to League 1 and I happily accepted, bringing my annual salary to £62,400. As indicated in one of my last posts, I'm now listed as "Favoured Personnel" by the Dover supporters.

I was able to get our new board to agree to a youth facilities improvement but for some reason, likely having to do with money, it was cancelled after the significant planning phase. Extremely disappointing!

Our promotion to League 1 sees Dover become a "regionally" recognized club and we also put a 20%+ increase through on tickets. Our season ticket holder base practically doubles, going from 868 to 1566 and our estimated value finally cracks the one million pound mark, sitting at £1.3m, 76th in England and 20th (out of 24) in League 1.

The media once again pick us to finish dead last and the board is just hoping we stay up. I tell them we'll attempt to avoid relegation and after some tweaking to get additional money allocated to wages, our budgets are as follows:

2014/15 TRANSFER BUDGET - £15,000
2014/15 WAGE BUDGET - £21,000/week

Our wage budget doubles, something that's a necessity as we have to deal with the larger professional salaries. I have yet to make a big splash in the transfer market and that won't happen until we get to the next level at the earliest.

Preseason: Roster Status

GK - Liam O'Brien has been with us through three promotions but he may be at his limit from a talent perspective. Reice Charles-Cook was a disappointment last year but he has much more potential than O'Brien. I may have to look outside the organization soon for a new keeper.

D - Now in League 1, we may have reached the point where our captain, David Ogilby, loses effectiveness. Already last year, young centre half Luke McCullough proved to be ready for senior football and at the very least, he will be in a rotation with Ogilby and our other fine young centre half Oliver Nicholas. Jamie Reckord and Aziz Deen-Conteh will likely rotate in at DL while Conor Morrissey should keep a hold on the DR spot.

M - I'm reasonably happy with our talent at midfield, especially in the middle of the park with offensive minded Richie Ryan and defensive-minded Janusz Kedzierski. Our wingers have historically been major strengths but ML Ismael Fofana and MR Abdeltareck Sakali may not be long for this level. I'll definitely need to shore up our depth on the wings at the very least. I also have a few intriguing prospects in the middle of the park, namely 4.5 star potential Luke Hendrie, who played for our U18 team for the most part last season.

F - We're in fantastic shape at striker, with Aaron Greene, Patrick Cooper and Alexander Rattke all returning after scoring 60 goals combined last season alone.

Transfers OUT

GK - Reice Charles-Cook - Sligo Rovers - £85,000
GK - Liam Hogan - Stevenage - £1,000

DL - Jamie Reckord - Raith - Free

MC - Harry Rubbins - Released
MC - Rhys McCabe - Released
ML - Christian Nanetti - Released
ST - Ben Hunt - Released

I had an offer I couldn't refuse on GK Charles-Cook and accepted it. The £85,000 is easily the largest fee ever received by Dover, breaking a record set in 1997 when the club sold Ricky Reina to Brentford.

Losing Jamie Reckord was avoidable, as I let his contract go without renewal into January and Raith offered him a deal. Despite offering him what he wanted, Reckord elected to move to Raith. Reckord leaves after three seasons with Dover, playing 85 league games, scoring 2 goals and assisting on 5 others.

The toughest loss for our fans is letting Ben Hunt leave the club without a new contract. Hunt joined the club at the same time I did but was signed by my predecessor just before my arrival. Hunt was a key factor in two of our three promotions but was our fourth or fifth choice at best last year in League 2. Hunt leaves the club after four full seasons, where he made 132 league appearances, scoring 54 goals and assisting on 22 others. The fans consider him to be an icon at Dover and were not happy that I let him leave the club.

Transfers IN

MR - Keith King - £18,000 (Last Club: Eupen) - 21 years old, Bermuda
DL - Denis Fidanov - £1,500 (Last Club: Lokomotiv Sofia) - 23 years old, Bulgaria

GK - Mick Ball - Free (Last Club: Watford) - 17 years old, England
GK - Bryn Halliwell - Free (Last Club: Norwich) - 33 years old, England
DC/DR - Michael Raynes - Free (Last Club: Norwich) - 26 years old, England
DC/MC - Tobias Figueiredo - Free (Last Club: Chelsea) - 20 years old, Portugal
MC - Mark Byrne - Free (Last Club: Sligo Rovers) - 25 years old, Ireland
ST - Lee Cochrane - Free (Last Club: Rangers) - 20 years old, Scotland

DR - Derek Churchill - LOAN (From Watford) - 19 years old, England
ML - Arsene Bamba - LOAN (From Arsenal) - 17 years old, France

Our biggest splash to date is made on Bermuda national team member Keith King, a young winger who can play both sides equally well. King is rated at 3.5 stars currently with a 4.5 star potential rating. Not bad! Denis Fidonov is a pacy fullback who should fit into a rotation with incumbent Deen-Conteh.

Of the free signings, DC Michael Raynes is the most polished player with a 3.5 star current rating. He's a highly determined and influential centre half back who can also play DR and should fit into our lineup on a rotational basis. GK Bryn Halliwell is strictly a backup at this stage of his career but I'm going to go with incumbent O'Brien for another full season.

I'm intrigued with Mark Byrne, who produced big numbers with Sligo over the past two seasons and will likely get some decent playing time. Lee Cochrane has the unenviable task of stepping in to replace the departed club icon Ben Hunt and will be our fourth choice at striker this year. Mick Ball will play for our U18 club in hopes of developing (3 star potential right now).

Our one new loan addition is a big one - despite being 17 years young, Arsene Bamba comes to us with a 3 star current rating and 5 star potential. Very pacy with great technical skill, he will likely rotate with our long-time left winger Ismael Fofana. We also bring back DR Derek Churchill from Watford for a second consecutive year.

Final Thoughts Before the Season Begins

With the departure of Jamie Reckord, I name young centre half Luke McCullough as our new vice captain. David Ogilby continues to wear the arm band despite seeing less playing time due to the competition provided by McCullough, Oliver Nicholas and newcomer Michael Raynes.

We continue to roll out a 4-4-2 for the most part but will sprinkle in some 4-5-1 when facing larger, more powerful clubs. Here is a look at our League 1 opening day starting lineup, where we played fierce club rival Gillingham, who were managed by our former skipper Andy Hessenthaler, the man I took over from.

GK - Liam O'Brien
D - Aziz Deen-Conteh/Oliver Nicholas/Luke McCullough/Derek Churchill
M - Ismael Fofana/Luke Hendrie/Richie Ryan/Abdeltareck Sakali
F - Aaron Greene/Alexander Rattke

Last edited by NoSkillz : 11-09-2013 at 10:01 PM.
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Old 11-09-2013, 11:18 PM   #19
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Location: St. Catharines, Canada
2014/15 npower League 1 Results

Throughout my history managing this club, we've seemingly had great success coming out of the gates each year and I figured that would again be the case in 2014/15. We beat up on Gillingham 3-1 at home to start the season off in style but we quickly realized that League 1 wasn't going to be easy.

We'd lose consecutive games to Leyton Orient and Plymouth before exchanging a few wins, along with some losses and draws. On October 25th, we were mired near the bottom of the League 1 table, with 3 lonely wins, 3 draws and 6 losses - only 12 points through our first 12 games.

We'd improve slightly on that early season form as we made our way through the middle portion of the season but after a 1-0 away loss to Charlton on February 7, 2015, we sat with 44 points after 32 games (13 wins, 5 draws and 14 losses). We were out of the relegation zone but certainly not out of danger.

Thankfully, that was precisely the point in the season where our fortunes changed…and they changed significantly!

We would not lose one more game all season, winning 8 games and drawing 5 out of our next 13 league appearances to shoot way up the table. On the last weekend of the season, we were in 7th place on the League 1 table, 3 points behind Leyton Orient for the last potential playoff spot. We'd do our part, handling Carlisle at home 3-1 and now waited on the result of the Leyton Orient game against Chesterfield. A loss would pull us into a tie with them and give us the last playoff spot due to goal differential. A Leyton Orient win or tie would see them take that spot away from us.

Unfortunately, they would hold on to a 1-1 draw, giving them 77 points to our 76 and we'd finish one agonizing point out of the 2014-15 League 1 playoffs.

Dover Athletic would be spending next year in npower League 1 once again.

npower League 1 2014-15 League Awards

Top Goalscorer: Jamil Adam, Barnsley - 36
Most Assists: Matt Ritchie, Sheffield Wednesday - 21
Highest Average Rating: Oliver Norwood, Norwich - 7.33 (44 apps)
Most Man of Match Awards: Jamil Adam, Barnsley - 12
Manager of the Year: Eric Roy, Charlton

npower League 1 Player's Team of the Year
GK - Christian Gratzei, Sheffield Wednesday
DL - Paul Robinson, Norwich
DC - Ionut Rada, Peterborough
DC - Elliott Ward, Norwich
DR - Thomas Bartsch, Charlton
ML - Matt Ritchie, Sheffield Wednesday
MC - Michael Woods, Sheffield Wednesday
MC - Oliver Norwood, Norwich
MR - Paul Gallagher, Sheffield Wednesday
ST - Jamil Adam, Barnsley
ST - Luke Freeman, Plymouth

Sheffield Wednesday finished first in the league and scored the most goals so I guess it's not surprising that they dominated the Player's select team, with four players on the top eleven.

Our late season charge brought attention to the club and I was awarded as the League 1 Manager of the Month for both February and March. I'd also finish in 2nd place behind Charlton's Eric Roy for League 1 Manager of the Year.

Cup Competitions 2014-15

FA Cup -
We actually had our finest performance to date in FA Cup play during the 2014-15 season. We had a tough opening draw, playing away against league rival Plymouth but knocked them off 1-0. From there, we'd defeat League 2 side Bristol Rovers at home and follow that with an impressive home win against Championship side Cardiff. In the 4th round, we drew another Championship side, Preston North End away and came away with a close defeat. Still, a very solid showing against good competition.

1st Round - Plymouth 0 Dover 1
2nd Round - Dover 2 Bristol Rovers 0
3rd Round - Dover 1 Cardiff 0
4th Round - Preston 2 Dover 1

League Cup
We'd win our first ever League Cup game in a scintillating away performance against Championship side Swindon Town before getting humbled big-time against another Championship squad, Burnley, in the second round.

1st Round - Swindon 0 Dover 3
2nd Round - Burnley 5 Dover 1

Johnstone's Paint Trophy
Like the League Cup, this was our second year of competing in this event and after bowing out in round 1 last year, finally saw a slight bit of success this year, winning away against Colchester before a home win against Brentford that went to penalties. In the South quarterfinals, we'd run up against Bristol Rovers again and they'd gain revenge for our FA Cup win by defeating us 3-1 at The Memorial Stadium.

1st Round - Colchester 1 Dover 2
2nd Round - Dover 0 Brentford 0 (Dover win 4-3 on penalties)
South Quarterfinal - Bristol Rovers 3 Dover 1

2014-15 Overall Dover Statistics

Top Goalscorer: Alexander Rattke - 15
Top League Goalscorer: Alexander Rattke - 13
Most Assists: Alexander Rattke - 13
Highest Average Rating: Aaron Greene - 7.18 (28 apps)
Most Man of Match Awards: Aaron Greene - 6
Fans Player of the Year: Alexander Rattke

The numbers were down considerably for our strikers this year, partially due to the fact Aaron Greene battled injuries for most of the year. Rattke was excellent all year.

2014-15 Dover Best Eleven

GK - Liam O'Brien - 48 apps 0g 6.85 avg
DL - Aziz Deen-Conteh - 38 apps 0g 6.88 avg
DC - Michael Raynes - 32 apps 2g 7.05 avg
DC - Oliver Nicholas - 45 apps 4g 7.01 avg
DR - Conor Morrissey - 34 apps 0g 6.86 avg
ML - Arsene Bamba - 35 apps 5g 7.09 avg
MC - Janusz Kedzierski - 43 apps 1g 6.90 avg
MC - Arron Williams - 21 apps 3g 6.96 avg
MR - Keith King - 30 apps 9g 7.13 avg
ST - Aaron Greene - 28 apps 13g 7.17 avg
ST - Alexander Rattke - 40 apps 15g 7.13 avg

Other notables: DC/MC Carl Graham 4 apps 0g 6.50; DC David Ogilby 31 apps 2g 7.01; ML Ismael Fofana 28 apps 5g 6.95; MC Tobias Figueiredo 18 apps 3g 6.75; ST Patrick Cooper 30 apps 10g 6.98; ST Razak Abdul 12 apps 3g 6.79; ST Phillip Roberts 11 apps 4g 7.03

GK -
Liam O'Brien basically carried the mail all season long. New signing Bryn Halliwell only played 5 games and was terrible in almost all of them. He'd never play another game of professional football after this season and to this date is actively looking for managerial jobs.

D -
Our defense was pretty solid, especially down the middle. New signing Michael Raynes stepped in and performed quite well alongside Oliver Nicholas and captain David Ogilby, who were both equally as good. Young vice-captain Luke McCullough dealt with two significant injuries during the season, tearing a calf muscle and later breaking his foot. Both injuries kept him out of action for 4 months each and he'd only play 7 league contests for us this season. Aziz Deen-Conteh and Conor Morrissey were both steady at fullback.

M -
Perhaps a changing of the guard? Noticeable by their absence on our Best Eleven are Ismael Fofana and Abdeltareck Sakali, who were passed by newcomers Arsene Bamba and Keith King. Bamba was sensational as a 17 year old, putting up 5 goals and 13 assists in 37 total appearances (both league and cup ties). King was very effective as well, with 9 goals and 5 assists in 32 total appearances. Sakali, who arguably has been one of our top players throughout my tenure, saw a dramatic fall off in the quality of his play, getting 0 points in 17 total appearances. He won't be resigned next year. Fofana was still effective when called upon. At centre midfield, young Arron Williams forced his way into the lineup, getting 7 points in 18 league appearances and using his great speed to his advantage. Janusz Kedzierski was solid defensively, as usual and despite not being listed above, Richie Ryan was a constant in our lineup, playing 38 games and scoring 5 goals.

F -
Like Luke McCullough, star striker Aaron Greene tore a calf muscle early in the season and missed over four months of action. He still was as effective as ever upon his return with 13 goals and 8 assists in 29 total appearances. Alexander Rattke was ever present up front, playing 40 games, scoring 15 goals and adding 13 assists to lead the team in both categories. New signing Lee Cochrane didn't make an impact but young strikers Patrick Cooper and Phillip Roberts continued to show great potential.

Year-End Financials

The move to League 1 certainly proved to be significant on the financial statement, as our turnover doubled from last year, going over £3.6m but our wage costs also doubled. Our sale of GK Reice Charles-Cook essentially provided our profit for the season, as for all intents and purposes, we broke even on the year.

Another very encouraging sign is that our attendance figures continue to shoot skyward, with an average of well over 5000 fans coming in per game. With a capacity of 6500 and only 1000 total seats, we're getting to the point where a stadium expansion should be considered.

Closing Thoughts

I guess I have to consider this season to be a success, especially after our incredible 14-game undefeated streak to end the season. Still, finishing one point out of the playoffs was a bitter pill to swallow.

Hopefully the squad has gelled with our late season success and I'm thinking we just may have a shot at promotion next year.
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Old 11-10-2013, 08:08 AM   #20
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Whitman, MA
Did a great job of player acquisition so far. Going up leagues like you have means you have to do that. Speed does tend to rule the lower levels, as well. As you've noticed.

FOOL - Ann Arbor Winged Lingerines
FOOLX - Portland Axemen

Hattrick - Fizzle United (222968)
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Old 11-10-2013, 08:44 PM   #21
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Originally Posted by Tellistto View Post
Did a great job of player acquisition so far. Going up leagues like you have means you have to do that. Speed does tend to rule the lower levels, as well. As you've noticed.


Thanks Tell - you're right, I've really tried to focus on getting fast players at all costs, especially early in the dynasty.

While I haven't ever had a player that could truly dominate (like Radii's Constantino), I've had some lesser players with great wheels that have been able to get the job done.

Thanks for reading!
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Old 11-10-2013, 08:44 PM   #22
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
2015-16 Season Recap -

Preseason: Manager and Team Status, Yearly Budgets, Board and Media Expectations

Through the years, I've been very careful not to ask for any additional salary for fear that any money that goes into my own pocket hurt our bottom line. So while I haven't ever asked for more money, I won't hesitate to take what is offered to me! Again, I'm offered a pretty sizeable raise despite our team staying in the same league and I gratefully accept the one year extension.

Our squad discipline is almost maxed out, not a surprise with us having a roster felt to be very professional in nature.

Again, no changes here. At some point during the season, I inquire about potential stadium expansion and I'm quickly rebuffed, with the board saying there simply isn't enough money for us to add on to our facilities at this stage.

The board decide to raise our ticket prices ~5% for the coming year - our season ticket holder base continues to grow, with us adding 105 more subscribers, an approximate 6-7% increase. Our estimated value actually drops a bit…not sure why.

The media predict us to finish in the bottom half of the table and our board are pessimistic as well. I decide to shoot low for now, targeting a mid-table finish and that gives me the following budget:

2015/16 TRANSFER BUDGET - £30,000
2015/16 WAGE BUDGET - £20,500/week

That's actually a slight drop in wage budget but last year I did some tweaking to get it to £21K. With a transfer budget of £30K, I can do some additional tweaking if I need some additional wiggle room on our wages.

Preseason: Roster Status

GK - Liam O'Brien has been a constant in the Dover lineup ever since I took over the team. I always seem to be looking for his successor and that's no different this year. We won't be keeping Bryn Halliwell, who was horrible last year. We definitely need a "goalkeeper of the future" soon - I'm not entirely sure if O'Brien is good enough to get us to the Championship.

D - I believe we are very strong down the middle with Oliver Nicholas, Luke McCullough and Michael Raynes. Aziz Deen-Conteh and Conor Morrissey are very capable fullbacks but I could use some rotational help on both sides, as I don't think I'll be bringing Watford loanee Derek Churchill back for a third consecutive year.

M - We have some solid talent at midfield but there may be room for upgrades, especially in the depth department. At the wing positions, Keith King was great in his first year at Dover and I'll look to bring back young stalwart Arsene Bamba on another one year loan. Long-time Dover left winger Ismael Fofana is starting to struggle at this elevated level so I don't see him contributing much this year. In the middle of the park, I anticipate that Richie Ryan, Janusz Kedzierski and young Arron Williams will be back, along with Mark Byrne

F - Our top two strikers are definitely Aaron Greene and Alexander Rattke so we don't need anything other than depth here. Some bigger clubs have been sniffing around Patrick Cooper and my hand may be forced to move him out if the money is attractive.

Transfers OUT

MC - Arron Williams - Hamilton - £250,000
MC - Luke Hendrie - Morton - £250,000
ST - Patrick Coooper - Sligo Rovers - £130,000
MC - Janusz Kedzierski - Polonia Bytom - £40,000
GK - Bryn Halliwell - Inverness Caledonian Thistle - £20,000

ST - Razak Abdul - Gimnastica - Free

DR - Mark Urquhart - Released
DL - Michael Riley - Released
MR - Abdeltareck Sakali - Released
MR - Khaled Laaloudj - Released
ST - Bob Porter (U18) - Released

So yeah, we made some moves before the season! I was having trouble staying within our pretty tight wage budget and started to figure out that I was probably keeping too large of a squad. By making these large sales, not only did it free up wages but pumped more money into our bottom line, which would pay dividends in the future.

Arron Williams was good enough to be in our "Best Eleven" last year but he was never really a first choice player for us. He was a very good prospect, along with Luke Hendrie but getting an incredible £250,000 each for them was impossible to turn down. Those are easily our two largest transfer deals. Williams leaves after two years that saw him play 19 league games, scoring 3 goals and adding 4 assists. Hendrie played parts of three years with us, appearing in 35 league games, scoring 3 goals and adding 3 assists. Janusz Kedzierski was a starter for two years, playing 69 league games, scoring twice and adding 16 assists. Patrick Cooper was starting to ask for additional playing time but I couldn't justify putting him in ahead of Greene or Rattke so that made him expendable. He leaves after two years and 52 league appearances, scoring 23 goals and adding 7 assists.

Every year we are forced to say goodbye to one of our team icons, simply due to the fact that they no longer have the required skill for the leagues we've been promoted to. This year that player is MR Abdeltareck Sakali. After 17 pointless appearances in 2014/15 with Dover, it was very apparent that he wasn't capable of helping our club and I didn't renew his contract. He is unquestionably one of the finest players in Dover history, seeing action in 159 league games, scoring 38 goals and contributing 30 assists. He leaves the club as "Favoured Personnel" but our supporters understand my decision, thankfully.

Razak Abdul was also a victim of the numbers game but played in 46 league games over 3 seasons, scoring 10 goals and adding 13 assists.

Mark Urquhart, Michael Riley, Khaled Laaloudj and Bob Porter never really made an impact at Dover and were expendable.

Transfers IN

ST - Craig Beattie - £5,000 (Last Club: Dunfermline) - 31 years old, Scotland
ML - Simon Bouwman - £1,000 (Last Club: NEC Nijmegen) - 22 years old, Holland

GK - Ingo Wilke - Free (Last Club: Bochum) - 21 years old, Germany
DC/DR - Bobby Hassell - Free (Last Club: Barnsley) - 35 years old, England
DC - Sam Barnett - Free (Last Club: Stoke) - 18 years old, England
DC - Matthew Thompson - Free (Last Club: Wolves) - 18 years old, England
DR - Ondrej Novak - Free (Last Club: Kladno) - 19 years old, Czech Republic
AMC - Isco - Free (Last Club: Valencia Mestalla) - 23 years old, Spain
MC - Carlos Gurpegi - Free (Last Club: Athletic Club Bilbao) - 34 years old, Spain

DL - Jasper de Leeuw - LOAN (From Arsenal) - 20 years old, Holland
ML - Arsene Bamba - LOAN (From Arsenal) - 18 years old, France
MR - Manuel Weinecker - LOAN (From Chelsea) - 19 years old, Germany
MC - Joe Blake - LOAN (From Arsenal) - 19 years old, England
ST - Matthew Moran - LOAN (From Arsenal) - 19 years old, England

A very modest year of incoming players, at least from a monetary standpoint, with only £6,000 spent out of the transfer kitty.

Craig Beattie is a prolific scorer nearing the twilight of his career (66 goals in his 116 games at Dunfermline) and will provide cover for Greene and Rattke. Simon Bouwman is a good young left winger who will most likely back up the returning Arsene Bamba, here on loan from Arsenal.

Of the free signings, the most interesting is GK Ingo Wilke, a 21 year old 4 star prospect from Germany. He will get some playing time this year and battle long-time incumbent Liam O'Brien. Isco looks to have a lot of natural talent (3 stars current; 4 stars potential) and will certainly fit into our rotation in the midfield. Carlos Gurpegi has spent the majority of his career with Athletic Bilbao and is accomplished on the defensive side of things in the middle of the park.

I also continued with my strategy of picking up talented 18 or 19 year olds in the hopes of either developing them for our own squad (remote chance) or developing/selling them later (more likely). Sam Barnett and Matthew Thompson are two good looking DCs while Ondrej Novak is a towering DR; at 6'6" tall, I'll likely start training him at DC.

Bamba returns for another year at ML on loan and we also scoop three other players from Arsenal on loan in DL Jasper de Leeuw, MC Joe Blake and ST Matthew Moran. All of these Arsenal players have incredible potential and at the very least will work into our lineup on an occasional basis. Manuel Weinecker is a Chelsea prospect and he'll work on the right wing when I need to spell Keith King.

Final Thoughts Before the Season Begins

This year, more than any other, I find myself relying on loanees to help push us forward - this is allowing me to spend a bit more on quality roster players, since most of the loanees are coming in with their wages paid in full by their parent clubs. Squad cohesion may be an issue, however.

David Ogilby continues to be more of a rotational player for us at DC but will once again wear the armband for the third consecutive season. We name Oliver Nicholas as vice-captain over Luke McCullough - simply put, the team as a whole seems to respect Nicholas more than anyone else on the roster so I felt it was a warranted move.

We'll continue to run with a 4-4-2 for the majority of our games, utilizing a "Control" or "Attacking" philosophy. Here is what our starting lineup looked like for game one of the season:

GK - Liam O'Brien
D - Aziz Deen-Conteh/Michael Raynes/Oliver Nicholas/Conor Morrissey
M - Arsene Bamba/Joe Blake/Mark Byrne/Keith King
F - Aaron Greene/Alexander Rattke

Last edited by NoSkillz : 11-10-2013 at 08:50 PM.
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Old 11-10-2013, 10:26 PM   #23
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
2015/16 npower League 1 Results

There was a learning period for us in our first year of League 1 play last year, as it took quite a bit of time for us to adjust to the pace of the league. Thankfully, we started the 2015/16 season with much more assurance.

We'd lose only one of our first 12 contests in league play, with 6 wins and 5 draws putting us in 2nd place on the table at that point of the year.

One of the highlights of the year came in a wild home game against Brighton, a 5-5 draw that saw multiple lead changes and thrilled the masses at Crabble Athletic Ground. To this date (I'm in 2020 now), it's still the highest scoring game in club history (ie: total goals for both teams).

Near the end of the season, we were lying in third place, just outside the automatic promotion spots, as the top two teams move up to the Championship each year and the next four clubs battle it out in a playoff. At the time, I was just finishing some cup ties so I was having to field a tired squad for a few of the games and in the end, we'd go winless in our last six league games and drop all the way down to 5th on the table.

That meant a two-leg playoff date with MK Dons, who finished one spot ahead of us on the table.

Leg 1 was at Crabble Athletic Ground and the resulting game was very evenly played and fittingly ended in a 1-1 draw. That meant we'd need to get a result away to move on.

We'd give up a shocking goal in the 4th minute at Stadium MK but Aaron Greene would equalize two minutes later. Incredibly, we'd pile on the pressure and get goals from loanee Manuel Weinecker and Alexander Rattke, giving up a late half marker as well, to take a deserved 3-2 lead at the break.

We'd go to a more defensive style but whatever was said in the MK Dons dressing room worked, as they'd get three goals in the second half to our zero, winning the game 5-3 to move onto the League 1 playoff finals.

It was a devastating loss for our team and me personally as the manager of the club.

Could we ever take the next step? Could I ever get my board to match the players and manager's ambition? These were questions that I started to ask myself. More on this later...

npower League 1 2015-16 League Awards

Top Goalscorer: Teddy Gallo, Barnsley - 34
Most Assists: Robert Stoll, Crewe - 27
Highest Average Rating: Karim Toure, Colchester - 7.58 (38 apps)
Most Man of Match Awards: Karim Toure, Colchester - 12
Manager of the Year: Mark Fish, Crewe

npower League 1 Player's Team of the Year
GK - Ingo Wilke, Dover
DL - Shaun Cummings, Scunthorpe
DC - Billy Joe Burns, Crewe
DC - Sean O'Hanlon, MK Dons
DR - Mark Little, Brighton
ML - Lee Tomlin, Colchester
MC - Michael Zammama, Coventry
MC - Ravel Morrison, MK Dons
MR - Elliott Bennett, Peterborough
ST - Teddy Gallo, Barnsley
ST - Karim Toure, Colchester

New Dover goalkeeper Ingo Wilke was honoured as the best at his position by his peers in League 1. He took over the reigns quite quickly from Liam O'Brien, playing 35 league games in all.

Our hot start helped me win the League 1 Manager of the Month award for August and I'd win it again in January. However, I wouldn't be shortlisted for the yearly award this season.

Cup Competitions 2015-16

FA Cup -
We had a very tough draw in the FA Cup this season, with our first round opponent being fellow League 1 club Northampton away. We battle hard to come away with a draw, sending the replay back to Crabble Athletic Ground where we'd ease by them to get a date with another League 1 side, Crewe Alexandra. We'd win that game to set up perhaps the biggest game in the club's history to that point.

A third round matchup away against Premier League powerhouse Liverpool!

This was my first ever game managing against a Premier League opponent, at least in a game that counted for something! In front of over 35,000 supporters at Anfield, we'd battle hard but come out on the losing end due to a brace from Edinson Cavani in a 2-1 loss. Still, a great showing and a nice payday for the cup tie for our burgeoning club!

1st Round - Northampton 1 Dover 1
1st Round Replay - Dover 3 Northampton 0
2nd Round - Dover 2 Crewe 1
3rd Round - Liverpool 2 Dover 1

League Cup
We'd get a decent draw in round one, playing League 2 side Bournemouth but they came away with the shock victory, knocking us unceremoniously out of the competition.

1st Round - Bournemouth 2 Dover 1

Johnstone's Paint Trophy
We got off to a good start in this competition, winning by two goals at home versus Southend and by a single goal away at Leyton Orient. A 3rd round matchup at home versus Rushden & Diamonds proved tougher and we'd have to go to penalties before finally prevailing. The South Semi-Final was played at home versus Crystal Palace, a League 1 team that had been relegated from the Championship just last year. I figured it would be a tough match but they played like they didn't care and we throttled them 4-0 to set up a two leg divisional final against MK Dons. Yes, the same team that I'd run into at the end of the season in league play!

We'd draw 1-1 away and then hold on for a 1-0 win in leg 2 to move onto the actual finals against Coventry, another League 1 team just relegated from the Championship.

Like our three FA Trophy finals, the Johnstone's Paint Trophy final is played at Wembley Stadium and in front of the largest crowd I've ever seen, 72190 people (!), we battled to a 1-1 draw after 120 minutes, meaning we'd decide things in a dramatic penalty shootout.

We'd go eight players deep on both sides and it was veteran Bobby Hassell scoring the decisive goal that wouldn't be matched by Coventry, giving us the 6-5 penalty win and our first ever Johnstone Paint Trophy win!

1st Round - Dover 3 Southend 1
2nd Round - Leyton Orient 2 Dover 3
South Quarterfinal - Dover 2 Rushden 2 (Dover win 4-3 on penalties)
South Final (Leg 1) - MK Dons 1 Dover 1
South Final (Leg 2) - Dover 1 MK Dons 0 (Dover wins 2-1 on aggregate)
Final - Dover 1 Coventry 1 (Dover win 6-5 on penalties)

2015-16 Overall Dover Statistics

Top Goalscorer: Alexander Rattke - 20
Top League Goalscorer: Alexander Rattke - 17
Most Assists: Arsene Bamba - 18
Highest Average Rating: Alexander Rattke - 7.16 (48 apps)
Most Man of Match Awards: Alexander Rattke - 6
Fans Player of the Year: Alexander Rattke

Rattke becomes the first Dover player to ever repeat as Fan's Player of the Year.

2015-16 Dover Best Eleven

GK - Ingo Wilke - 44 apps 0g 7.07 avg
DL - Aziz Deen-Conteh - 34 apps 0g 7.04 avg
DC - David Ogilby - 44 apps 1g 6.99 avg
DC - Oliver Nicholas - 42 apps 5g 7.08 avg
DR - Michael Raynes - 34 apps 3g 7.01 avg
ML - Arsene Bamba - 33 apps 4g 7.20 avg
MC - Joe Blake - 46 apps 2g 6.94 avg
MC - Mark Byrne - 38 apps 8g 6.96 avg
MR - Manuel Weinecker - 27 apps 7g 7.14 avg
ST - Aaron Greene - 43 apps 17g 7.07 avg
ST - Alexander Rattke - 48 apps 20g 7.16 avg

Other notables: GK Liam O'Brien 16 apps 0g 6.81; DC Luke McCullough 28 apps 1g 6.91; DR Conor Morrissey 40 apps 0g 6.95; ML Simon Bouwman 17 apps 3g 7.04; MR Keith King 32 apps 5g 6.91; ST Lee Cochrane 30 apps 11g 7.04; ST Craig Beattie 15 apps 7g 7.07

GK -
New signing Ingo Wilke was an absolute revelation! Incredible athleticism and composure and his 7.07 average rating is by far the best I've ever seen from my goalkeeping. Liam O'Brien is now expendable.

D -
We continue to find a way to get four very capable DCs in the lineup, with captain David Ogilby, Oliver Nicholas, Michael Raynes and Luke McCullough all seeing extensive action. Raynes played a number of games at DR and that was enough to get him into the Best Eleven over Conor Morrissey. Aziz Deen-Conteh was very good again at DL.

M -
The loanees dominated our midfield this year, with three of them finishing on our Best Eleven. Arsene Bamba plays with much more composure than you'd ever expect an 18 year old to have and Joe Blake was ever present in a holding position in the midfield. Manuel Weinecker split time capably with incumbent Keith King and the only club contracted player to find his way into the Best Eleven was Mark Byrne.

F -
Once again, it was the Aaron Greene and Alexander Rattke show. 37 more goals between them and another 18 from Lee Cochane and Craig Beattie combined gave us a potent strike force no matter the pairing. Beattie was complaining much of the year about lack of playing time though so he may not be around much longer.

Year-End Financials

Turnover was up significantly, as were expenditures but with a net gain of ~£600K in transfer activity, we showed our largest profit yet and our bank balance is well over £800,000. Hopefully some of this will be reallocated to our club next year.

Closing Thoughts

The year ended on a very sour note, with us losing a lead in the second leg of the League 1 playoff semi-finals to miss out on a chance at promotion. Two tough years in League 1 is fine - I never thought it would be easy to keep earning promotions but I'm starting to seriously wonder if the board is as anxious to promote as I am.

I have a discussion with the chairman after the season to talk about expanding the stadium or at the very least, improving our training facilities. I'm immediately shot down.

I practically beg him, saying that I feel it's absolutely necessary for some improvements to our grounds if we're to attract top players and make a serious push for the Championship.

They are sympathetic but still deny my request and I storm out of the office.

Soon, news out of Birmingham appears - their manager may be on the way out and the pundits say that I would be their top choice as a replacement…

I've just finished six years of management and this is the first time I've EVER been considered for another job.

Birmingham finished the 2015-16 season in 5th place in the Championship but weren't able to get though the playoffs. They had just been relegated from the Barclays Premier League the year before and have played countless years at the top level in English football. They are a big club by my standards…a very big club. They play at a grand old stadium, St. Andrews in Birmingham, which seats over 30,000.


I really feel like I've hit a wall at Dover and declare interest in the position at Birmingham City.

The Dover fans are in shock but our board takes a more measured approach, saying they hope to be able to keep me at Dover and that they'll do whatever it takes to keep me there. Right!

I wait patiently for the job to open up but it never does…Birmingham ultimately decide to keep Luis Garcia Plaza at the helm and I feel let down once again.

They'd eventually fire Plaza in December of 2016 but by that point, there was no way I was leaving Dover for Birmingham…next year would be a very different year for fans of the Whites...
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Old 11-11-2013, 05:08 AM   #24
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Australia
Fantastic writing and level of detail. Keep it up!
Be not afeard. The isle is full of noises, sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight, and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments will hum about mine ears; and sometimes voices,
That, if I then had wak'd after long sleep, will make me sleep again; and then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open and show riches ready to drop upon me, that, when I wak'd, I cried to dream again.
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Old 11-11-2013, 03:52 PM   #25
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Originally Posted by Rawhide View Post
Fantastic writing and level of detail. Keep it up!

Thanks for the compliments and for reading along. I should have another season recap up sometime later tonight.

I'm almost finished playing the 2019/20 season and ideally, I'd like to be caught up on all of my season recaps here so I can have transition to a more traditional dynasty in time for the 2020/21 season.
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Old 11-12-2013, 12:54 PM   #26
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: ...down the gravity well
I'm enjoying this immensely
Formerly known as
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Old 11-12-2013, 03:12 PM   #27
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Berkley, MI
Love it too, great write ups.
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Old 11-13-2013, 02:34 PM   #28
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Join Date: Dec 2002
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Originally Posted by Qwikshot View Post
I'm enjoying this immensely

Originally Posted by gi View Post
Love it too, great write ups.

Thanks guys! I will definitely have some free time tonight so expect another update soon!
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Old 11-13-2013, 10:04 PM   #29
College Benchwarmer
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
2016-17 Season Recap -

Preseason: Manager and Team Status, Yearly Budgets, Board and Media Expectations

As I head into my 7th year of management and 3rd consecutive year in League 1, I am offered a modest raise and accept. I thought about taking a hardline approach, especially in light of the fact I'm not entirely happy with the way the board is doing things but I made the pledge years ago that I'd never get into a war of numbers with my paycheck. I see a little hit to my "Financial Control" numbers, simply because I went slightly over-budget last year on wages.

Ah, our woefully inadequate facilities…no changes as usual despite my constant nagging to the powers that be.

For a second consecutive year, the board decide to raise our ticket prices ~5% for the coming year. We've started to lose a bit of steam with respect to growing our season ticket holder base but still increased our number ~2.5%. We see a really nice increase in our estimated value though, likely due to all the cash on hand at the beginning of the season.

Despite two top-half finishes in a row, the media only predict an 11th place finish for 2016/17. The board ask for a top-half finish but I'm sick of setting the bar low - I promise that we'll battle for promotion and that gives me a big increase in the yearly budget:

2016/17 TRANSFER BUDGET - £72,000
2016/17 WAGE BUDGET - £27,500/week

A major increase for transfers and wages. We sold a lot of players last year and banked considerable coin in doing so. It's reassuring that the board has finally decided to invest a bit in the squad. Time to take advantage...

Preseason: Roster Status

GK - Ingo Wilke was absolutely sensational last year in his first season with us. He's unquestionably our starter. Liam O'Brien has been a good soldier for Dover over the years but I'll likely look to sell him this year if there is a market.

D - I continue to be satisfied with our defence, especially up the middle. Oliver Nicholas, Michael Raynes, captain David Ogilby and Luke McCullough will continue to all see time on the pitch. We have solid starting fullbacks in Aziz Deen-Conteh and Conor Morrissey.

M - We will need to build a better foundation in the midfield after utilizing loanees for the most part last year. I'm going to attempt to bring back stellar ML Arsene Bamba from Arsenal for a third consecutive year and Manuel Weinecker from Chelsea for a second season but there are no assurances there. We still have Mark Byrne to play the middle and he was better than advertised but we need a more dynamic presence in the central midfield.

F - Once again, I make a major mistake in the last six months of the previous season, taking too long to negotiate a contract with a star player. This time, it's our two-time defending Fan's Player of the Year Alexander Rattke. He gets scooped up on a Bosman transfer to Italian club Modena and I get absolutely nothing. Rattke had become one of my favourite players in this dynasty so I was pretty upset and he'll be extremely difficult to replace. Aaron Greene is back as are Craig Beattie and Lee Cochrane but I'll definitely be on the lookout for a top-line striker.

Transfers OUT

DC - Ondrej Novak - Jablonec - £350,000
DL - Alessandro Barbero - £140,000
GK - Liam O'Brien - Leeds - £20,000

ST - Alexander Rattke - Modena - Free
DL - Denis Fidanov - Ontinyent - Free
DR - Robert Ryan - Morecambe - Free
MC - Tobias Figueiredo - Shrewsbury - Free
MC - Richie Ryan - Hereford - Free

ML - Ismael Fofana - Released
DC - Will James - Released
MR - Tom Lawrence - Released
ST - Philip Roberts - Released
GK - Mick Ball - Released
MR - Faisal Nabi - Released
DL - Craig Brunt - Released

We make our biggest sale in club history, somehow getting £350K for towering defender Ondrej Novak - he wasn't even close to having the quality to start for us so it was a very easy decision to take Jablonec's attractive offer. He only played 1 league game for Dover. You may be wondering who Alessandro Barbero is, as I've never mentioned him before. Well, that's because we just picked him up earlier in the 2016/17 season on a free then sold him in the January transfer window for £140K! He actually played 18 games for us and played very well in those games (7.21 avg rating) but I picked up another highly touted DL in that window, making Barbero expendable.

Liam O'Brien deserves his own paragraph. He's been our rock at GK ever since I picked him up in my first year of management. At 19 he was rotating into our lineup and at 20 he was the main man in goal. In all, he spent six seasons at Dover, playing in 181 league games and putting together a spectacular 67 clean sheets. Thank you Liam for your great service to Dover fans!

I've already mentioned the Alexander Rattke move on a Bosman transfer. Rattke was a key man in all three seasons at Dover, playing in 109 league games and scoring 50 goals. He'd also contribute 29 assists and win 14 MoM awards in addition to his two Player of the Year nods by our supporters. He will be tough to replace.

The other key sale, albeit on free transfer, was MC Richie Ryan, who heads to Hereford after five underrated seasons with Dover. He was entirely out of his element last year, similar to another Dover legend Abdeltareck Sakali, as Ryan played 26 games last year without a point. Still, he was a commanding presence in the midfield for us for many years and leaves after 168 Dover league appearances, where he scored 29 goals and added 19 assists. The other players moved on free transfer (Fidanov, Ryan & Figueiredo) were all minor players for us.

As usual, there is one key player that doesn't get a contract extension due to age or diminished skills and this year we bid adieu to stalwart ML Ismael Fofana. Fofana was brought in as one of my first moves at Dover in 2010 and was a staple in our lineup for five years before becoming a backup to young loanee Arsene Bamba in his last season. Fofana played in 182 league games for Dover over his six years, scoring 33 goals and adding 31 assists.

Will James and Tom Lawrence were essentially backups during their time here while Philip Roberts, despite being very talented, would become a surplus to requirements after my transfer activity was completed.

I'd also loan out a few players in an effort to help their development. DM Carl Graham (a strong player out of our youth system), MC Carlos Gurpegi, ST Lee Cochrane are all sent away on season-long loan.

Transfers IN

DL - Bob Harris - £95,000 (Last Club: Queen of Sth) - 28 years old, Scotland
MC - Jamal Yildirim - £5,000 (Last Club: Lierse) - 21 years old, Morocco

DL - Alessandro Barbero - Free (Last Club: Tottenham) - 20 years old, Italy
DR - Jackson Ramm - Free (Last Club: Blackburn) - 23 years old, England
DM - Shaun Halsall - Free (Last Club: Blackburn) - 18 years old, England
MC - Jimmy Juan - Free (Last Club: FC Vaduz) - 33 years old, France
MC - Stuart Rogers - Free (Last Club: Tottenham) - 18 years old, England
ST - Robert Kerkhof - Free (Last Club: AZ Alkmaar) - 21 years old, Holland
ST - Martin Horny - Free (Last Club: Presov) - 19 years old, Slovakia

GK - Martin Read - LOAN (From Hearts) - 21 years old, England
ML - Arsene Bamba - LOAN (From Arsenal) - 19 years old, France
MC - Bernard Dunn - LOAN (From Chelsea) - 18 years old, England
AMC - Andrea Rocca - LOAN (From Arsenal) - 19 years old, Italy
AMC/ST - Zoltan Bardi - LOAN (From Arsenal) - 18 years old, Hungary
ST - Simon Rideout - LOAN (From Leicester) - 21 years old, England

Bob Harris becomes our biggest ever signing at just less than £100K. We'd bring him in during the January transfer window and he's a 3.5 star player with solid ratings across the board. Jamal Yildirim is a DM/MC with excellent potential.

I've already mentioned Barbero, as we'd sell him only six short months after getting him on a free. Jackson Ramm will give Conor Morrissey a run for his money at DR - Ramm is a 3.0/3.5 player with great speed for the fullback position and excellent stamina as well. Veteran MC Jimmy Juan was brought in to add some stability to our midfield. Robert Kerkhof has good speed and seems like he could be a decent rotational striker for us with Rattke departing. Halsall, Rogers and Horny are strictly youth prospects that we hope can develop into something.

In the loan department, Bamba returns for a third year at ML and we continue to work with Arsenal manager Unai Emery (he replaced a retiring Arsene Wenger in 2014) for more loanees. He was kind enough to provide two more key players for us: AMC Andrea Rocca and ST Zoltan Bardi. Bardi could be a superstar in waiting (3.0/4.5) and Rocca (3.0/4.0) has some great technical skill (18 corners/16 crossing/13 passing) and should be very useful in the middle of the park. Martin Read was brought in from our parent club Hearts on loan to backup Wilke. Simon Rideout may be a starter at striker for us - he has blazing speed and is rated 3.5/4.5 at the League 1 level. Bernard Dunn will provide cover for us in the central midfield.

Final Thoughts Before the Season Begins

The loss of Rattke stings but I feel I've done incredibly well to improve our striker position with the additions of Simon Rideout, Zoltan Bardi and Robert Kerkhoff. Our midfield is a slight question mark, as we'll once again be relying heavily on young loanees. I'm not worried about Arsene Bamba, as he's shown he's more than capable at the League 1 level with us over the past two years but Andrea Rocca and Bernard Dunn are unknown quantities. Our defence and goalkeeping should be very strong.

David Ogilby is a rotational player at best now for us at DC but will captain the club for the fourth consecutive season. Michael Raynes, another DC, will be appointed as our vice-captain for 2016/17.

We'll continue to run with a 4-4-2 for the majority of our games but I start implementing a new 4-4-2DM attacking system in the preseason as a potential second tactic. It utilizes one striker, three attacking midfielders (AML, AMC, AMR), two central midfielders and four defenders.

Here is what our preferred starting eleven looked like at the beginning of the season:

GK - Ingo Wilke
D - Aziz Deen-Conteh/Luke McCullough/Oliver Nicholas/Conor Morrissey
M - Arsene Bamba/Jamal Yildirim/Andrea Rocca/Keith King
F - Simon Rideout/Zoltan Bardi

Last edited by NoSkillz : 11-13-2013 at 10:30 PM.
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Old 11-13-2013, 11:47 PM   #30
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
2016/17 npower League 1 Results

To show the club I meant business this year, I ramped up the quality of our opponents during our preseason friendlies, with matches against Celtic, a traditional Scottish powerhouse and two Premier League teams in Liverpool and Aston Villa. We'd defeat Celtic 1-0 but lose home games to both Liverpool and AV 3-1. Still, I felt like it was better preparation for the year ahead.

Our first game was a 1-0 away loss to Plymouth in an evenly played match but our second game was a 6-0 annihilation of Torquay in the League Cup 1st Round. That was the start of an 8-game winning streak across all competitions. We were in solid position on the table by October 1st and that's when we really hit our stride.

We'd go undefeated for 17 GAMES in all competitions, at one point winning 13 games in a row! Our new 4-4-2 DM formation (ie: 4-2-3-1) was a huge success and we were scoring goals at an unprecedented rate for our club.

We'd hit the inevitable rough patch in December and kind of languish for two months at .500 football but we'd hit another hot streak in February, going another 11 matches without a defeat.

On April 8th, with four league games and almost a month remaining in the season, we'd travel to our hated rivals Gillingham and throttle them 4-0.

We'd battled hard for three years in League 1 but those three points were enough to guarantee Dover promotion out of League 1 and into the npower Championship for 2017-18!

One week later, in front of our home crowd at Crabble Athletic Ground, we again prevailed by a 4-0 score, this time over Barnet and that was enough to lock up the npower League 1 title for 2016-17!

Championship…here we come!

npower League 1 2016-17 League Awards

Top Goalscorer: Michael Chopra, Cardiff - 30
Most Assists: Arsene Bamba, Dover - 22
Highest Average Rating: Robert Kerkhof, Dover - 7.57 (32 apps)
Most Man of Match Awards: Robert Kerkhof, Dover - 8
Manager of the Year: NoSkillz, Dover

npower League 1 Player's Team of the Year
GK - Ingo Wilke, Dover
DL - Luke Garbutt, Cardiff
DC - Luke McCullough, Dover
DC - Steven Paulle, Swansea
DR - Angel Rangel, Swansea
ML - Steve Boyle, Portsmouth
MC - Mark Browne, Cardiff
MC - Andrea Rocca, Dover
MR - Elliott Bennett, Peterborough
ST - Michael Chopra, Cardiff
ST - Alain Baclet, Plymouth

Arsene Bamba led the league in helpers but unheralded Robert Kerkhof was incredible for us this year, leading the league in average rating and MoM awards.

Ingo Wilke was honoured for a second consecutive year as the best keeper in League 1 and had some Dover company! Luke McCullough finally fulfilled his huge promise with a wonderful season at centre halfback and Arsenal loanee Andrea Rocca was immense in the central midfield. More on these players in a bit.

I'd win League 1 Manager of the Month in November and April and also get the great honour of being League 1 Manager of the Year for 2016-17.

Our club would set a few League 1 records that still stand today: Most Team Points (99) and Most Team Goals (113).

Cup Competitions 2016-17

FA Cup -
We had a pretty easy road to the third round this year, with cupcake matchups against Conference teams Mansfield and Lewes in round 1 and 2 respectively. That easy road got substantially tougher with a third round matchup against Premier League side Southampton.

Despite being a last place club in the BPL, it was still a hefty step up in opponents for us and we'd lose a close match away at St. Mary's Stadium to get knocked out of the competition.

1st Round - Mansfield 1 Dover 4
2nd Round - Dover 3 Lewes 0
3rd Round - Southampton 1 Dover 0

League Cup
We'd have our best showing in League Cup competition in 2016-17, starting with the massacre of Torquay that I mentioned above. Our second round tie was a personal grudge match against Birmingham. If you recall, I was considered a front-runner for a potential opening there but the club would ultimately decide to keep manager Luis Garcia Plaza, leaving me no choice but to continue forward with Dover.

Needless to say, this was a match I was geared up to win and we would do just that, heading into the Championship side's own stadium and defeating them 3-2. We'd draw Liverpool away in the 3rd round, the second meaningful cup tie against them in two years and this time it was no contest, as we'd drop a heavy decision to bow out of the competition.

1st Round - Torquay 0 Dover 6
2nd Round - Birmingham 2 Dover 3
3rd Round - Liverpool 4 Dover 1

Johnstone's Paint Trophy
We were defending champions of this event and had another great run this year.

We'd dominate two road matches against Brighton and Gillingham in the first two rounds then prevail in two consecutive home ties against Cardiff and Swansea. That set up a 2-leg semi-final against Colchester and we'd win convincingly to head to our second straight final.

We'd draw Walsall in that final but lose a bore 1-0 decision in front of 31756 at Wembley Stadium, missing out on our chance to add a fifth cup win to our record.

1st Round - Brighton 0 Dover 4
2nd Round - Gillingham 0 Dover 3
South Quarterfinal - Dover 2 Cardiff 1
South Semi Final - Dover 2 Swansea 0
South Final (Leg 1) - Dover 2 Colchester 0
South Final (Leg 2) - Colchester 0 Dover 1 (Dover wins 3-0 on aggregate)
Final - Dover 0 Walsall 1

2016-17 Overall Dover Statistics

Top Goalscorer: Robert Kerkhof - 24
Top League Goalscorer: Robert Kerkhof - 22
Most Assists: Arsene Bamba - 25
Highest Average Rating: Robert Kerkhof - 7.50 (36 apps)
Most Man of Match Awards: Robert Kerkhof - 8
Fans Player of the Year: Luke McCullough

Kerkhof was sensational but McCullough, who has been with the club since 2012, finally breaks out and is a deserving winner of the supporters award.

2016-17 Dover Best Eleven

GK - Ingo Wilke - 40 apps 0g 6.97 avg
DL - Aziz Deen-Conteh - 27 apps 1g 7.09 avg
DC - Luke McCullough - 40 apps 8g 7.43 avg
DC - Oliver Nicholas - 43 apps 2g 7.27 avg
DR - Conor Morrissey - 24 apps 0g 7.15 avg
AML - Arsene Bamba - 38 apps 7g 7.31 avg
MC - Isco - 28 apps 7g 7.09 avg
MC - Jamal Yildirim - 39 apps 4g 7.04 avg
AMR - Craig Moore - 26 apps 5g 7.10 avg
AMC - Andrea Rocca - 46 apps 14g 7.32 avg
ST - Robert Kerkhof - 36 apps 24g 7.50 avg

Other notables: GK Martin Read 19 apps 0g 6.74; DC David Ogilby 21 apps 2g 7.02; DC Sam Barnett 1 apps 1g 7.30; DR Jackson Ramm 35 apps 0g 7.14; ST Aaron Green 27 apps 11g 7.17; ST Zoltan Bardi 32 apps 14g 7.15; ST Simon Rideout 16 apps 8g 7.28

GK -
Ingo Wilke wasn't quite up to his standards set last year but didn't need to be, as we practically scored at will this year. Martin Read was just okay as a backup.

D -
Without question, one of the finest defensive showings in my tenure. Everyone was excellent but it was truly a breakout year for Luke McCullough, with 8 goals and 6 assists from a centre half position. He was a dominating presence all season long.

M -
Once again, it was the loanees that stuck out the most. We knew what we were getting with Arsene Bamba and again, he didn't disappoint but Andrea Rocca was essentially the main cog in our offensive attack, scoring 14 times and adding 15 assists. Jamal Yildirim was excellent in a defensive role. Craig Moore is a former U18 signing who took advantage of injuries to regular starter Keith King to get additional playing time.

F -
We had incumbents like Aaron Greene and Craig Beattie along with high-profile loan additions in Zoltan Bardi and Simon Rideout. In the end, it was my fifth striker at the start of the season, Robert Kerkhof, who ended up dominating up front. Injuries took their toll on Greene and Rideout especially, forcing Kerkhof into the lineup and he started scoring immediately to the point where I simply couldn't take him out of the lineup. He definitely overachieved based on the scouting reports but you can't argue with the results: despite playing alone up front in our 4-2-3-1 formation, he'd score 22 goals and add 12 assists in only league 32 games, perhaps one of the great individual seasons in Dover history. Overall, our strikers were absolutely sensational all year.

Year-End Financials

Our turnover was very similar to last year but costs went up dramatically, with most of that spent on wages. We'd lose close to 400K on the year but the board certainly wasn't going to complain with our results! We still had a positive bank balance and we'd hopefully reap greater financial rewards in the Championship next year.

Closing Thoughts

Perhaps my finest year of management yet - I feel like I found something with the exciting new attacking formation we went to almost exclusively in the middle of the season. I'd likely have to look at grabbing some more attacking midfielders next year if we want to continue running this style of play but we'll look into that before the season starts. A plus 71 goal differential!!! Just beautiful football to watch!

We've finally taken that step up to the Championship - we're only one more promotion away from the big time! I'm going to press the board now, more than ever before, to make the appropriate commitments to me and the lads if we're to take that final step.
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Old 11-14-2013, 10:42 PM   #31
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Whitman, MA
Great writeup and great season! Go Dover!

FOOL - Ann Arbor Winged Lingerines
FOOLX - Portland Axemen

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Old 11-15-2013, 11:03 PM   #32
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
2017-18 Season Recap -

Preseason: Manager and Team Status, Yearly Budgets, Board and Media Expectations

I accept a relatively modest salary increase as we move into our first year in the Championship - I'm sure I could have asked for more, especially in light of the fact that I was contemplating a move away from Dover but I continue to just accept what's offered.

I've fought very hard for close to three years to get some sort of facilities or stadium upgrade to no avail. We've sold out a few games in the past two years (mainly cup ties) and I have to imagine that we'll sell out a few league games this year as well. We're definitely in position where demand may be higher than supply, so to speak.

We raise ticket prices over 20% with our move to the second tier on the English league system. It doesn't hurt season ticket sales, as we end up seeing close to a 25% increase there by the start of the year. Our estimated value hits £2.5m, which ranks 53rd in England out of the 160 teams but last in our league. Through the player moves I've made in the offseason, our squad personality has changed to "ambitious" from "professional".

The media predicts tough sledding for Dover in 2017-18 and expects us to finish dead last. The board asks me to fight bravely against relegation and I agree, which gives me the following budget:

2017/18 TRANSFER BUDGET - £110,000
2017/18 WAGE BUDGET - £50,000/week

A huge increase in both numbers versus last year!

Preseason: Roster Status

GK - Incumbent Ingo Wilke has been sensational both seasons here at Dover, winning GK of the Year awards both years. He will be our main cog at the back and I'll look to bring Martin Read back from Hearts on loan as his backup.

D - Our defence was a strongpoint last year and I hope that moving up a level doesn't hurt us too much. There will be one major move though: we'll be letting our long-time captain leave in July. I don't feel that David Ogilby is cut out for the Championship level so he will be leaving the club on a free transfer deal on July 1st.

M - We've enjoyed luck in bringing in key loan players over recent years for our midfield but I don't know if that will be the case this year. I think I'm going to concentrate on finding players to bring in under contract to our own club.

F - The guy who came out of nowhere last year, striker Robert Kerkhof. will be back again this year. There will be plenty of question marks beyond that, as most of our other contributors were loan players.

Transfers OUT

MC - Mark Byrne - Crewe - £40,000
MC - Jimmy Juan - Kansas City - £20,000
DC - Michael Raynes - Portsmouth - £10,000
ST - Craig Beattie - Shrewsbury - £10,000

DC - David Ogilby - Ayr - Free
DM - Carl Graham - Northwich - Free
DL - Aziz Deen-Conteh - Aves - Free

MC - Ben Hazel - Released
MC - Carlos Gurpegi - Released
ST - Aaron Greene - Released
ST - Lee Cochrane - Released
ST - Karl Connolly - Released

My transfer fees captured pale in comparison to last year. Byrne leaves after three seasons, having appeared in 59 league games over that period, scoring 9 goals and assisting on 7 others. Juan was a big disappointment for us in his only year and at his age, he was losing physical skills quite rapidly. Juan played only 13 games for us, assisting on 4 goals. Craig Beattie didn't make much of an impression either, playing sparingly over two seasons. He scored 13 goals in 33 games and heads to Shrewsbury in League 2. Michael Raynes was a great presence for us on defence for three years but he simply doesn't seem cut out for the Championship at this late stage of his career. He leaves Dover having played 78 games, scoring 5 goals in the process.

The two biggest players leaving are unquestionably long-time skipper David Ogilby and stalwart striker Aaron Greene. Ogilby was named captain upon his arrival in July of 2012 and served in that capacity right until his release. He played five seasons at Dover, scoring 8 goals and appearing in 178 games. His determination and influence will be greatly missed. Greene arrived one year later and immediately became a fan favourite at Crabble Athletic Ground, with his incredible speed and deft scoring touch. Greene leaves Dover after four full seasons, having played in 124 league games, scoring 55 goals and assisting on 31 more.

The last key player to leave is Aziz Deen-Conteh, who arrived in 2013 just as Greene did. Deen-Conteh had great speed as well at left fullback but he'd be struggling for playing time after our addition of Bob Harris last year. Deen-Conteh played 105 league games for us, scoring twice and adding 9 assists.

Carl Graham, Ben Hazel and Karl Connolly were U18 grads who played on the reserve teams or in the rare cup tie and were all expendable. Carlos Gurpegi and Lee Cochrane didn't make much of an impact during their time at the club.

I'd loan out two 19 year olds to get them some valuable experience in league football - ST Martin Horny would head to Millwall and DC Sam Barnett will play at Southend.

Transfers IN

ST - Simon Rideout - £75,000 (Last Club: Leicester) - 22 years old, England

AM/ST - Zoltan Bardi - LOAN - £65,000 Fee (From Arsenal) - 19 years old, Hungary
DR - Bogdan Dragnea - LOAN - £16,000 Fee (From Everton) - 19 years old, Romania

GK - Eduard Hanke - Free (Last Club: Nurnberg) - 20 years old, Germany
DL - Leo Creemers - Free (Last Club: Feyenoord) - 21 years old, Holland
DC/DM - Jeroen Simaeys - Free (Last Club: West Bromwich) - 32 years old, Belgium
DM - Benjamin Stumpf - Free (Last Club: Dortmund) - 22 years old, Germany
MC - Darren Pratley - Free (Last Club: Swansea) - 32 years old, England
MC/ML - Liam Craig - Free (Last Club: West Ham) - 30 years old, Scotland
AM - Marvin Emnes - Free (Last Club: Sheffield United) - 29 years old, Holland
ST - Victor Anichebe - Free (Last Club: Getafe) - 29 years old, Nigeria

GK - Simon Hayward - Free (Last Club: Manchester United) - 17 years old, England
DC - Andy Brown - Free (Last Club: Sheffield United) - 18 years old, England
DC - Gareth Mace - Free (Last Club: Manchester United) - 17 years old, England
ML - Steve Ingram - Free (Last Club: Manchester City) - 17 years old, England
MR - Ismail Mkhize - Free (Last Club: Tottenham) - 18 years old, England
MR - Frankie Taylor - Free (Last Club: Huddersfield) - 18 years old, England
ST - Lukasz Cichy - Free (Last Club: Lech) - 18 years old, Poland
ST - Darren Hicks - Free (Last Club: Chelsea) - 18 years old, England
ST - Sam Holden - Free (Last Club: Watford) - 18 years old, England

GK - Martin Read - LOAN (From Hearts) - 22 years old, England

Our big money signing is striker Simon Rideout, who we had here on loan from Leicester last year. Rideout scored 3 goals and added 4 assists in 13 league games and will be counted on this year as our #3 striker behind Robert Kerkhof and loan player Zoltan Bardi, who is back for a second consecutive year thanks to our friends at Arsenal. Dragnea will be a backup behind Conor Morrissey and Jackson Ramm at DR.

We sign a number of key players on a free. Benjamin Stumpf is a technically gifted DM/MC with great work ethic and stamina. DC/DM Jeroen Simaeys is a veteran who will provide leadership and cover behind our starting centre half backs Luke McCullough and Oliver Nicholas. Darren Pratley and Liam Craig are both dependable vets that will provide leadership and production in the middle of the field. Marvin Emnes should fit in quite nicely in an attacking role at AMC in our 4-2-3-1 formation and Victor Anichebe is a big Nigerian striker who should be a nice rotational player at the deep lying forward slot. I decided to bring back Martin Read on loan from parent club Hearts as our main backup at GK - I'll likely loan out new signing Eduard Hanke at some point.

I also signed a number of good looking U18 players, with the most intriguing of the bunch being MR Ismail Mkhize, a very tall and fast winger with 4 star potential.

Final Thoughts Before the Season Begins

We've added a TON of new players in order to ensure we have the right quality at all positions. I set up a much longer preseason schedule, arranging 9 friendlies to help bring the new squad together. We breezed through the preseason without a loss so perhaps my fears are unfounded.

New central midfielder Darren Pratley quickly earns the respect of his teammates and is chosen as their captain for the upcoming season, taking over from the departed David Ogilby. Luke McCullough is named vice captain, an honour he's had in the recent past (2014-15 season).

We'll rotate between three formations this year: a standard flat 4-4-2, our attacking 4-4-2 DM (4 defenders, 2 central mids, AML, AMC, AMR and 1 striker) and a standard 4-5-1 (with four midfielders and one DM).

We open our first year in the Championship against Nottingham Forest. Here is our starting eleven for game one (4-4-2 DM):

GK - Ingo Wilke
D - Bob Harris/Luke McCullough/Oliver Nicholas/Jackson Ramm
MC - Jamal Yildirim/Darren Pratley
AML/AMC/AMR - Liam Craig/Zoltan Bardi/Keith King
ST - Robert Kerkhof

Last edited by NoSkillz : 11-15-2013 at 11:05 PM.
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Old 11-16-2013, 12:23 AM   #33
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
2017/18 npower Championship Results

I was worried about squad unity heading into the season but after an undefeated preseason, I started thinking more positively. Needless to say, after our first Championship match, we proved that we belonged at this level.

Using our splendid 4-4-2 DM formation, we'd rip apart Nottingham Forest to the tune of 6-0! Loan forward Zoltan Bardi, playing AMC, netted a hat trick and we'd also get goals from newcomer and captain Darren Pratley, last year's star Robert Kerkhof and winger Keith King.

That was only the beginning…

Amazingly, our club, predicted to finish in dead last by the pundits, rang up an 18-game undefeated streak to start the season, tying only 1 game. That's a 17-1-0 start!!! Needless to say, we were in first by a mile when we'd finally lose our first game, a 2-0 away defeat to West Bromwich.

We'd lose three of our next four in league play but were still well in front after gaining 3 more wins during the Christmas season. A 5-2 win on New Year's Day put us at 21-1-4 and we were on top of the world.

That's precisely when our form went into the gutter. We'd go ten consecutive games without a victory in all competitions, not winning another game until March 10th. In the process, we fell into 2nd place behind Bolton, who were having a great season of their own. We'd win three in a row to close out March and were in the title hunt at the beginning of April. However, another cold spell saw us win only 1 of our next 7 matches.

That was enough to give Bolton the Championship title going away and we'd reach our final game of the season, a home match against QPR, needing a win to lock up 2nd place and an automatic promotion to the Premier League. A tie or loss would knock us down to either 3rd or 4th and we'd have to battle it out in a playoff to see who gets the third promotion spot in the EPL.

As you know by now, having read the first post in this dynasty thread, Dover was able to prevail despite falling to 10 men, 4-2, thereby finishing second in the Championship and gaining promotion to the Barclays Premier League.

The little club that could, Dover Athletic FC, was heading to the big-time.

Dover was heading to the Premier League!!!

npower Championship 2017-18 League Awards

Top Goalscorer: James Hunter, Nottingham Forest - 27
Most Assists: Sebastian Dubarbier, Bolton - 25
Highest Average Rating: Liam Craig, Dover - 7.52 (38 apps)
Most Man of Match Awards: Daniel Pappoe, Barnsley - 10
Manager of the Year: NoSkillz, Dover

npower Championship Player's Team of the Year
GK - Ingo Wilke, Dover
DL - Danny Earls, Norwich
DC - Oliver Nicholas, Dover
DC - Gary Cahill, Bolton
DR - Nathaniel Clyne, West Bromwich
ML - Sebastien Dubarbier, Bolton
MC - Craig Gardner, West Bromwich
MC - Andy King, Bolton
MR - Chris Eagles, Bolton
ST - James Hunter, Nottingham Forest
ST - Jonathan Pereira, West Ham

Dover MC/ML Liam Craig was also named to the team as a substitute. Ingo Wilke has been named to the player's select team all three years he's been with our club. This is Oliver Nicholas' first league award.

Our hot start enabled me to win the Championship Manager of the Month award for September and I'd win the Manager of the Year award as well.

We won 11 games in a row between August 12th and October 7, 2017 and that is an npower Championship record that still stands today.

Cup Competitions 2017-18

FA Cup -
Talk about a short stay in a competition! We'd get a bye into the 3rd round where we faced Premier League club Fulham at Craven Cottage. They'd knock us off with ease and just like that, we were out!

3rd Round - Fullham 3 Dover 1

League Cup
Thankfully, we had a bit more success, and an easier road, in the League Cup.

We faced League 2 side Rushden & Diamonds in the 1st round at home and knocked them off with relative ease before facing division rival West Ham in round two. We'd need extra time, getting a 98th minute goal from Liam Craig to move on before running into Blackburn, a Premier League club. We'd play them very tough and take them to extra time at Ewood Park but an own goal from young loan defender Bogdan Dragnea in the 105th minute led to our defeat.

1st Round - Dover 2 Rushden 0
2nd Round - West Ham 2 Dover 3 (in extra time)
3rd Round - Blackburn 3 Dover 2 (in extra time)

2017-18 Overall Dover Statistics

Top Goalscorer: Liam Craig - 14
Top League Goalscorer: Simon Rideout - 12
Most Assists: Liam Craig - 25
Highest Average Rating: Liam Craig - 7.56 (40 apps)
Most Man of Match Awards: Liam Craig - 7
Fans Player of the Year: Liam Craig

New signing Liam Craig stole the show for us this year, leading in practically every category as a winger/central midfielder. Simply an incredible statistical season!

2017-18 Dover Best Eleven

GK - Ingo Wilke - 36 apps 0g 7.02 avg
DL - Bob Harris - 36 apps 0g 7.11 avg
DC - Jeroen Simaeys - 29 apps 2g 6.98 avg
DC - Oliver Nicholas - 44 apps 5g 7.28 avg
DR - Conor Morrissey - 25 apps 1g 7.02 avg
AML - Liam Craig - 40 apps 14g 7.56 avg
MC - Darren Pratley - 37 apps 7g 6.98 avg
MC - Jamal Yildirim - 34 apps 3g 6.99 avg
AMR - Keith King - 32 apps 8g 7.17 avg
AMC - Zoltan Bardi - 30 apps 12g 7.04 avg
ST - Simon Rideout - 35 apps 12g 7.03 avg

Other notables: GK Eduard Hanke 13 apps 0g 6.85; GK Martin Read 1 apps 0g 5.80; DC Luke McCullough 24 apps 1g 6.92; DR Jackson Ramm 28 apps 0g 6.91; ML Simon Bouwman 19 apps 1g 6.92; AMC Marvin Emnes 28 apps 6g 6.94; ST Robert Kerkhof 30 apps 12g 7.02

GK -
Ingo Wilke was at his acrobatic best once again, winning a third straight "GK of the Year" nod from his peers. Young GK Eduard Hanke played enough cup ties to keep busy.

D -
Oliver Nicholas had a very strong season on defence, along with DL Bob Harris. Newcomer Jeroen Simaeys played well when called upon, especially when Luke McCullough went down due to injury. We continue to get good rotational play at right fullback from both Conor Morrissey and Jackson Ramm

M -
The story at midfield was the incredible season put forth by newcomer Liam Craig - he took corners, played wing or in the middle of the park and was a waterbug out there all season long. A fantastic pickup for us on a free! Darren Pratley, our new captain, provided great leadership and a big right foot down the middle. Arsenal loanee Zoltan Bardi played mostly at attacking midfielder and was inconsistent but effective when needed.

F -
Last year's star player Robert Kerkhof had a horrendous mid-season slump and saw his playing time plummet near the end of the year. Simon Rideout was arguably our best forward.

Year-End Financials

We saw close to a 50% increase in turnover but our costs were significant, as we spent more money on wages in order to make a push for the Premier League. It was all worth it in the end! We had a negative bank balance at the end of June but I'm pretty sure that would be taken care of quickly upon our move to the top league! Average attendance was just short of our capacity and we sold out close to half our games this year. Will we EVER get the board to expand our stadium?

Closing Thoughts

I can't tell you how thrilled I am at getting Dover all the way to the Premier League. Five promotions in eight years - it makes it sound like it was an easy road but it was anything but!

My agent told me that my ability to get Dover to the Premier League had not gone unnoticed by clubs around the world, saying I would likely be getting some offers to move elsewhere. I nodded and told him to keep in touch.

An offer came in almost immediately from Stoke City. I was being offered £20,000/week to manage at Britannia Stadium. £20,000 PER WEEK?!! I was currently making only £1,800/week…hell, I'd exceed my current yearly salary in five weeks with Stoke!

I didn't think too long before rejecting the offer. I had no interest whatsoever in moving to Stoke, a team that just was being relegated back to the Championship. Stoke is obviously a big club but that's a step back as far as I was concerned.

I yearned for Premier League football.

Two days later, I got a call I never thought I'd get.

Liverpool FC, one of the largest clubs in the world, wanted me to come and manage at the brand spanking new Liverpool Stadium, a 60,781 all-seater that would be opening for play in the coming season.

Liverpool was offering me £45,000 PER WEEK to manage the club but that's not all.

How about a weekly wage budget of £1.8 million? Yes…MILLION! My wage budget at Dover this year was £50,000/week.

Oh and that transfer budget, you ask? How about £30,000,000?

Holy mother of God.

I asked the Liverpool chairman to give me a week to think about it and they were accommodating.

Their club is in great shape, coming off a 3rd place finish in the Premier League, meaning they'd be playing Champions League football. The CHAMPIONS LEAGUE! And in a brand new stadium with a very new chairman, as Ian Ayre just recently was promoted after John Henry left the club in February.

I don't know if I'll ever get a better opportunity in the world of football. Fans at Dover feared the worst and our board could only wait and hope for the best.

In the end, I just couldn't leave the club that I had given so much to over the past eight years. I declined the Liverpool offer, much to the delight of the Dover board and the supporters.

I had to see this through.

What a challenge this will be!

Last edited by NoSkillz : 11-16-2013 at 12:32 AM.
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Old 11-16-2013, 12:40 AM   #34
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So, we've come full circle on this story...

In post #1, I started off with the last game of the 2017-18 season, a promotion clinching victory over Queens Park Rangers to send little Dover Athletic FC into the Premier League. This, only 8 short years after I took over management of the club in the Blue Square Bet South division, five full divisions below the EPL.

I've now gone back and recapped our entire history to this point to bring us right back to July of 2018 and the start of our first year in the Barclays Premier League.

At the present moment, I'm just finishing off the 2019-20 season so I'll offer a recap of the 2018-19 first before going into a bit more detail about the current campaign.

Was I able to keep the Whites up?

Updates to come...
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Old 11-16-2013, 10:06 AM   #35
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Nice work! Looking forward to more!

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Old 11-17-2013, 03:58 PM   #36
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2018-19 Season Recap -

Preseason: Manager and Team Status, Yearly Budgets, Board and Media Expectations

It doesn't take me long to realize how different the Premier League is from the Championship. I'm offered a contract extension that sees my salary skyrocket from £1,800 per week to £13,250! My annual salary goes all the way up to £689,000! WOW.

I'm now considered to have a "Continental" reputation and the Dover supporters now consider me to be a team icon, which is a step up from "favoured personnel" and just one step down from being a team legend.

For years, I've attempted to get improvements made at Crabble Athletic Ground and I've been turned away every single time. Well, the board can say no to me all they want but there was no turning away from Premier League officials, that's for sure!

Due to Premier League regulations that don't allow standing terraces (due to the Hillsborough disaster in 1989), our club was forced to tear them all down and replace them with seats. Our board passed a £750,000 expansion project that would see Crabble Athletic Ground become a 7000 capacity all-seater by mid-November. On an interim basis, while construction is ongoing, our capacity is reduced to 5675 with only 890 of them being seats. Therefore, during Premier League matches, we'd only be able to accommodate 890 people at most until the expansion is completed. For cup ties, we were allowed to use any existing terraces, thereby allowing us to house 5675 supporters.

Needless to say, I'm elated that we're finally DOING SOMETHING, even if it's just because Premier League officials put a gun to our head!

Our team reputation is now up to "National" from Regional. Moving to the Premier League allows us to hike ticket prices substantially and we put through close to a 50% price increase on single game tickets and ~40% on season tickets. Despite the large increase, we sell almost 1500 more season ticket packages versus last year, a stunning 60+% increase!

Oh, and our team's estimated value skyrockets from £2.5m to a whopping £24.5 million!!! We are now ranked 24th in England.

I was pretty excited to head into our budget meeting before the season started. I knew the media were practically laughing about our prospects in the Premier League and I expected our board to have modest goals. Indeed, they hoped we would fight bravely against relegation and I told them the lads would give it their best effort. Our budgets were quite different to what we were used to...

2018/19 TRANSFER BUDGET - £9,000,000
2018/19 WAGE BUDGET - £135,000/week

The Premier League effect is a wonderful thing! What am I going to do with nine million pounds?!? I end up tweaking things a bit to give us a larger wage allowance, dropping the transfer budget to around 7.5 million.

Preseason: Roster Status

GK - I don't expect to make any changes here. Ingo Wilke has done nothing but impress at every level with Dover thus far and he'll get the opportunity to lead us at the top level in English football.

D - I'm generally happy with our backline but could likely use an upgrade here and there. Oliver Nicholas and Luke McCullough should be capable enough at this level but Jeroen Simaeys may be getting a bit long in the tooth. At fullback, Bob Harris, Conor Morrissey and Jackson Ramm will have to prove they are all up to the challenge. We could likely do with some upgrades in the centre especially.

M - We have some pretty decent players here, especially the versatile Liam Craig but could use a more dynamic presence in the middle of the park.

F - We were a tad weak at striker last year, getting a disappointing performance from Robert Kerkhof but decent play out of Simon Rideout and Zoltan Bardi Upgrades would be useful here as well.

Generally speaking, I needed to upgrade depth everywhere and add a few key pieces at starting positions to bring more "Premier League quality" to the squad.

Transfers OUT

DM/MC - Jamal Yildirim - St. Gallen - £1,500,000
ST - Robert Kerkhof - Granada - £1,000,000
AMC - Marvin Emnes - AaB - £825,000
ST - Lionel Lavigne - Betis - £350,000
ST - Victor Anichebe - Portsmouth - £100,000
ST - Martin Horny - Northwich - £1,000

MC - Isco - Bristol City - Free

DL - Carlos Dussaut - Released
ML - Simon Bouwman - Released
MR - Craig Moore - Released
ST - Darren Hicks - Released

We grab our largest transfer fee ever in selling capable midfielder Jamal Yildirim to St. Gallen. He played parts of three years for us, appearing in 73 league games, scoring 7 goals and adding 8 assists. Perhaps the most surprising move is selling striker Robert Kerkhof after only two years with the club. Kerkhof was instrumental in our promotion from League 1 to the Championship but was very inconsistent last season. It was questionable as to whether he was going to be able to make an impact at the Premier League level so when I was offered a million pounds for him, I decided I couldn't pass up on the value. Kerkhof leaves after scoring 32 goals in 62 league games, adding 18 assists and 10 MoM awards as well. New signing (see below) Lionel Lavigne fetched an incredible sum for a 19 year old who hadn't yet played a league game for the club. I loaned him out last year and couldn't pass up 350K for him when he didn't have a spot on our club for the foreseeable future. Marvin Emnes and Victor Anichebe made modest contributions to our team last year while Martin Horny was a perennial loan candidate. None will be missed.

Isco was a pretty unheralded and underappreciated player for us over the past three years. He was a capable offensive player but not really skilled enough for the Premier League. He leaves for Bristol City on a free transfer, having played in 65 league games for Dover, scoring 8 goals and assisting on 10.

Of the released players, Simon Bouwman and Craig Moore made impacts with our club. Bouwman was more or less a second choice here during his three seasons at the club, whether it was behind loanee Arsene Bamba or Liam Craig last year. Bouwman played in 52 league games, scoring 6 goals. Moore was one of our first "regen" signings as an U18 player and was with our team for six years. He was loaned out to Histon, Braintree, Ebbsfleet and Chelmsford over that period of time but also made an impact with the Whites, playing in 54 games and scoring 4 goals. Carlos Dussaut and Darren Hicks were U18 players released when their contracts expired.

I loaned out a ton of players over the course of the year, most notably receiving £150,000 from Ipswich for sending striker Simon Rideout to them for the season.

Transfers IN

ST - Gerardo Escobar - £2,200,000 (Last Club: Manchester United) - 21 years old, Spain
AMC - Andrea Rocca - £1,600,000 (Last Club: Celta) - 21 years old, Italy
ST - Robbie Benson - £1,500,000 (Last Club: Dundee) - 26 years old, Ireland
MR - Petr Kostal - £1,300,000 (Last Club: Reading) - 23 years old, Czech Republic
AMC - Aitor Zubizarreta - £1,000,000 (Last Club: Manchester United) - 20 years old, Spain
ST - Zoltan Bardi - £850,000 (Last Club: Arsenal) - 20 years old, Hungary

DC - Rayane Hamon - LOAN - £300,000 Fee (From Liverpool) - 20 years old, France
DM - George MacKenzie - LOAN - £275,000 Fee (From Chelsea) - 20 years old, England
MC - Andre Zacher - LOAN - £200,000 Fee (From OM) - 19 years old, Germany

GK - Fraser Forster - Free (Last Club: Leicester) - 30 years old, England
DR - Glen Johnson - Free (Last Club: Liverpool) - 33 years old, England
DR - Jozef Kuciak - Free (Last Club: Liverpool) - 24 years old, Slovakia
DC - Joleon Lescott - Free (Last Club: Wigan) - 35 years old, England
DC - Stephane Mbia - Free (Last Club: CD Sedan Ardennes) - 32 years old, Cameroon
AML - Ashley Young - Free (Last Club: Aston Villa) - 32 years old, England
ML - Cristian Rodriguez - Free (Last Club: Chelsea) - 32 years old, Uruguay
AMC - Jose Manuel Jurado - Free (Last Club: Schalke) - 32 years old, Spain
ST/AMC - Roberto - Free (Last Club: Los Angeles) - 19 years old, Brazil

U18 Team Additions -
GK - Ryan Alnwick - Free (Last Club: Liverpool) - 18 years old, England
DC - Andrew Stanley - Free (Last Club: Tottenham) - 18 years old, England
DC - Jamie Matthews - Free (Last Club: Liverpool) - 18 years old, England
DR - Rachid Diallo - Free (Last Club: Pau FC) - 18 years old, Togo
DC/DM - Emmanuel Agbo - Free (Last Club: Tottenham) - 17 years old, England
ST - Lionel Lavigne - Free (Last Club: OGC Nice) - 18 years old, France
ST - Dennis Kunz - Free (Last Club: Jena II) - 17 years old, Germany

We make sweeping changes to the roster in light of our promotion to the Premier League.

There are a few key moves, one of which is adding young Spanish striker Gerardo Escobar, who never played a league game for Man U but played on loan in Ireland and France the last two years. I hope he makes a big contribution right away. I'm also ecstatic to bring back attacking central midfielder Andrea Rocca to Dover - Rocca was here during our League 1 promotion year and was arguably our most important player that season. We expect him to contribute right away for our club this year. I also decide to buy Zoltan Bardi from Arsenal - Bardi has played with us on loan the past two years and fit in very well so he is a nice bargain addition. Robbie Benson will be a third or fourth choice at striker and he has blazing speed. Petr Kostal will get a chance to play in a rotation at MR while Aitor Zubizarreta is brought in more for the future.

We bring in three players on loan - I'm going to give Rayane Hamon a chance to play regularly at centre half (3.5/4.5) and I'm hoping George MacKenzie can play at DM when we go to a 4-5-1 formation, something I expect to rely on often at this level to keep games close on the road against superior competition. Andre Zacher is a dynamic and skilled centre mid.

As for the free additions, I bring in a number of veterans with experience not only at the top level but international experience as well. Glen Johnson comes to Dover with an incredible 93 caps for England while Ashley Young has played 32 times for England. Joleon Lescott will be another England international adding experience to our backline.

GK Fraser Forster has the talent to unseat incumbent Ingo Wilke from our nets. Jozef Kuciak will likely work into a fullback rotation with newcomer Glen Johnson and incumbent Conor Morrissey. Cristian Rodriguez, Stephane Mbia and Jose Manuel Jurado will all make contributions as well as adding some needed influence to our young team. Young Brazilian striker Roberto comes to us after spending one year with Los Angeles but will be a loan candidate.

I continue adding prospects to our U18 pool but don't expect any to contribute anytime soon.

Final Thoughts Before the Season Begins

I really have no idea what to expect in our first year of Premier League play. Squad unity may be a major issue due to all of the new additions but I'm excited to see if we can hold our own at the top level of English football.

We make no changes to our team leadership, with Darren Pratley and Luke McCullough maintaining the captain and vice-captain roles respectively.

We will likely rely on two formations for the most part this year: a standard 4-4-2 and a 4-5-1 with a defensive midfielder.

Our first ever Premier League contest will see us host Liverpool, the team that offered me the managerial position in the offseason. They'd end up hiring veteran Martin O'Neill when I turned the job down. I'm sure they will have something to prove when they visit Crabble Athletic Ground!

We decide on a narrow 4-4-2 formation for game one. Here is the starting lineup for our first game in the Barclays Premier League:

GK - Ingo Wilke
D - Bob Harris/Stephane Mbia/Oliver Nicholas/Jozef Kuciak
M - Cristian Rodriguez/Liam Craig, Darren Pratley, Ashley Young
ST - Gerardo Escobar/Zoltan Bardi

Last edited by NoSkillz : 11-17-2013 at 04:02 PM.
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Old 11-17-2013, 04:20 PM   #37
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Let's go Dover! Let's go Dover! Let's go Dover! Let's go NoSkillz!

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Old 11-17-2013, 05:15 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Tellistto View Post
Let's go Dover! Let's go Dover! Let's go Dover! Let's go NoSkillz!


Thanks Tell! More updates coming...
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Old 11-17-2013, 07:46 PM   #39
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2018/19 Barclays Premier League Results

We were thrown into the fire right away with a home match against Liverpool in our Premier League debut. We'd handle the pressure and stress well in game one, splitting possession equally with our much more cultured opponents but a goal in the 36th minute from Israeli international Ben Sahar was enough for Liverpool to escape with a 1-0 win. We'd win our first ever top flight match in week two, in an away contest no less, defeating Fulham at Craven Cottage 1-0, with new signing Ashley Young scoring the goal, our first in Premier League play.

Understandably, we'd have trouble scoring goals and an equal amount of difficulty in keeping the ball out of our own goal as well. That said, we were determined enough to avoid long losing streaks, with our longest league losing streak only lasting four games. Our longest winning streak was three games but what a streak it was, starting with a 3-2 away win at Wolves before our biggest win of the season, a 1-0 stunner at home against powerhouse Arsenal! We'd then win a 3-2 decision away versus Sheffield United to give us our lone three game win streak of the year.

One of the main things we'd need to correct going forward was our tendency to lose big: the game immediately after the Shef United win was a 6-1 drubbing at the hands of Liverpool and I'd lose a few weeks later by the same score against Manchester United, the eventual league champions.

Our biggest loss was in the penultimate game of the season, against Arsenal. Gaining revenge for their embarrassing loss to us earlier in the season, they put on an absolute clinic at Emirates Stadium in London, defeating us 7-0.

Thankfully, we won more than enough to stay afloat for another year in the Premier League, finishing 11th on the table in 2018-19.

Barclays Premier League 2018-19 League Awards

Top Goalscorer: Enrique, Manchester City - 51
Most Assists: Bruno, Manchester City - 19
Highest Average Rating: Enrique, Manchester City - 8.20 (35 apps)
Most Man of Match Awards: Enrique, Manchester City - 17
English Footballer of the Year: Enrique, Manchester City - 35 apps 51 gls 12 asts 8.20 avg
English Players' Player of the Year: Moussa Sissoko, Manchester City - 33 apps 11 gls 11 asts 7.38 avg
English Players' Young Player of the Year: Bruno, Manchester City - 26 apps 2 gls 19 asts 7.33 avg
Manager of the Year: Oscar Garre, Sunderland

Barclays Premier League Players' Team of the Year
GK - Emiliano Viviano, Manchester United
DL - Gareth Bale, Tottenham
DC - Simon Kjaer, Manchester City
DC - Nchimunya Munyao, Arsenal
DR - Luiz Carlos, Manchester United
ML - Fabio Coentrao, Manchester City
MC - Jack Wilshere, Arsenal
MC - Moussa Sissoko, Manchester City
MR - Bruno, Manchester City
ST - Enrique, Manchester City
ST - Yaya Sanogo, Manchester United

Enrique is simply an astonishing player. The 24 year old Spaniard is worth over 35 million pounds and is just lethal - he was purchased in 2016 from Real Madrid and scored 59 goals across all competitions this year, winning the European Golden Boot and was also named as the best player in the Champions League as well. A remarkable year. As for Bale being listed as a DL - well, I don't know - he played most of the season at ML/AML but obviously played enough at DL to get consideration at that position.

I'd finish in 3rd place in the Barclays Premier League Manager of the Year voting - not bad for finishing 11th!

Cup Competitions 2018-19

FA Cup -
Another tough year in FA Cup play - we'd draw Peterborough, a Championship side in a 3rd round matchup at home and win 3-1 but run into Arsenal in the 4th round. We did well to play them to a scoreless draw away despite being dominated throughout and then fought gamely in the replay at home. We'd be scoreless through 90 minutes despite playing with only 10 men from the 2nd minute of the game, as young defensive midfielder George MacKenzie got sent off for a professional foul. However, their class ultimately came through, courtesy of Aaron Ramsey in the 94th minutes then an embarrassing own goal from Glen Johnson and we'd be out of the competition.

3rd Round - Dover 3 Peterborough 1
4th Round - Arsenal 0 Dover 0
4th Round Replay - Dover 0 Arsenal 2 (extra time)

League Cup
We faced Brighton, a League 1 side in the 2nd round and won easily before a huge 2-0 win away at Premier League side Fulham. We'd then host another Premier League squad, Everton, in the 4th round. We'd be tied 1-1 through 90 minutes but similar to the FA Cup replay against Arsenal, we'd run out of gas, giving up two extra time goals to bow out of the League Cup.

2nd Round - Dover 3 Brighton 0
3rd Round - Fulham 0 Dover 2
4th Round - Dover 1 Everton 3 (extra time)

2018-19 Overall Dover Statistics

Top Goalscorer: Gerardo Escobar - 9
Top League Goalscorer: Gerardo Escobar - 9
Most Assists: Gerardo Escobar - 8
Highest Average Rating: Ingo Wilke - 7.02 (24 apps)
Most Man of Match Awards: Zoltan Bardi - 3
Fans Player of the Year: Zoltan Bardi

We had great trouble scoring goals all year against top flight competition, with no players getting into double digits. Escobar showed great potential but had a bit of trouble settling in to the club. Bardi was a surprising choice as top player, to be honest.

2018-19 Dover Best Eleven

GK - Ingo Wilke - 24 apps 0g 7.02 avg
DL - Leo Creemers - 19 apps 0g 6.84 avg
DC - Luke McCullough - 29 apps 3g 6.78 avg
DC - Rayane Hamon - 25 apps 0g 6.75 avg
DR - Jozef Kuciak - 23 apps 0g 6.60 avg
DMC - Darren Pratley - 35 apps 5g 6.71 avg
MC - Andrea Rocca - 20 apps 6g 7.29 avg
MC - Liam Craig - 37 apps 6g 6.89 avg
AML - Cristian Rodriguez - 27 apps 3g 6.84 avg
AMR - Petr Kostal - 25 apps 4g 6.72 avg
ST - Zoltan Bardi - 34 apps 7g 6.86 avg

Other notables: GK Fraser Forster 20 apps 0g 6.66; DC Stephane Mbia 20 apps 1g 6.74; DC Oliver Nicholas 22 apps 0g 6.73; ML Ashley Young 25 apps 2g 6.67; ST Gerardo Escobar 35 apps 9g 6.69; ST Robbie Benson 13 apps 3g 6.74; ST Roberto 7 apps 2g 6.86

GK -
New signing Fraser Forster got plenty of chances to take the reigns at GK but played very poorly for us, showing terrible rebound control and making poor decisions. Ingo Wilke, despite having less natural talent, was the better keeper, without question.

D -
Defensively, we were a mess against top flight competition - we just don't have the requisite speed to keep up with the pacy Premier League strikers, especially guys like Man CIty's Enrique and Man City's Sanogo. Young loanee Rayane Hamon was arguably our best defender all year. Right fullback Glen Johnson, a very cultured and highly pedigreed star, was absolutely terrible all year and his declining pace was shocking to witness as opposing strikers and wingers rocketed by him each game.

M -
Our midfield was our best area all year. Andrea Rocca was excellent when healthy (7.29 avg rating in 20 games) but he missed 3 months due to a calf injury. Ashley Young, like many of the veterans we signed, saw his skills decline rapidly throughout the year. Liam Craig, after a very special year getting us to the Premier League, was shuttled back and forth between left wing and central midfield and his production suffered as a result.

F -
We had trouble scoring goals all year up front, with new signing Gerardo Escobar leading the team in both goals and assists but doing so in unimpressive fashion. He showed glimpses of greatness so I'm hopeful he'll continue to grow next year. Zoltan Bardi played a lot at midfield in addition to his play at striker. Robbie Benson showed an appalling tendency to dive (and get carded for it) and I'll likely try to move him in the offseason. Young striker Roberto came up with a couple of key goals as a substitute and with proper development, I can see him turning into a contributor. We could really use a game-breaker at striker.

Year-End Financials

The money in the Premier League is absolutely ludicrous! And I mean that in the best possible way

We see close to an 800% increase in our revenue, with television rights money being the biggest contributing factor. Our wage costs quadruple and our net transfer spending was north of five million pounds but despite all of that, we clear a profit of well over £13 million in 2018-19! Our bank balance is extremely healthy and I'm hopeful that we can not only make a splash in the transfer market next year but also make some much needed improvements to our facilities.

The only number above that might not make sense on the surface is our average attendance, which was down considerably from last year. Remember that we had a three and a half month period where we were playing in a reduced capacity stadium and had Premier League matches with a maximum capacity of 890 people until mid-November.

Closing Thoughts

We had our growing pains in our first year of top-flight football but an 11th place finish likely has to be deemed a success. We need to drastically reduce the amount of goals against and tighten up much more against bigger clubs. We still need talent upgrades throughout the lineup and I'm guessing I'll get much more money to play with in the transfer market next season, which will help us reach our goals.

Last edited by NoSkillz : 11-17-2013 at 07:53 PM.
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Old 11-17-2013, 08:15 PM   #40
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Now that's what we're talking about when it comes to making money in the footy world! Time to get that team built up! Let's just hope that they have enough room around that stadium to increase it's size. Not sure how long you'll have to stay in the Prem before they'd build an entirely new stadium.

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Old 11-17-2013, 09:05 PM   #41
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2019-20 Season Recap -

Preseason: Manager and Team Status, Yearly Budgets, Board and Media Expectations

There's not much new here to see - I signed a three-year contract in July 2018 and for the first time in my nine years at the club, I'm not offered a salary increase.

Upon entry into the Premier League, our club was forced to tear down all standing terraces and replace them with seats. By the end of the season, we had ourselves a lovely 7000 all-seater. Demand has continued to swell among our supporters and for the first time, likely due to our blossoming bank balance, the board said yes to a couple of requests!

First, they agreed to improve our training facilities for the first time. We spent ~£600,000 on upgrades that would bring our training facilities to an "adequate" rating from "fairly basic". Then, the board agreed in July to expanding the capacity at Crabble Athletic Ground for a second consecutive year. We engaged in a £4.4 million construction project that saw our capacity increase from 7000 to 10,500 seats, with construction being completed on November 10, 2019.

I can also say that the club is currently in the planning stages of building a Youth Academy!!! Whether that goes through or not, we'll have to see but things are looking up here in Dover!

Our ticket prices are bumped up modestly for the 2019-20 season and we see another big move in the estimated value of our club, with Dover now being valued at approximately £32,500,000, which places us 18th in England and 17th in the division.

The media give us enough respect after an 11th place finish in 2018-19 to predict that we'll stay afloat another year, with them predicting a 16th place finish, just above relegation. I'm a bit more optimistic and tell the board I'm planning on a mid-table finish. For that outlook, I'm granted the following in wage and transfer budgets:

2019/20 TRANSFER BUDGET - £18,000,000
2019/20 WAGE BUDGET - £195,000/week

Holy CRAP! 18 million pounds!!! We can definitely try to reel in a big fish this year!

Last edited by NoSkillz : 11-17-2013 at 09:08 PM.
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Old 11-17-2013, 09:23 PM   #42
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Preseason: Roster Status

GK - I can't tell you how disappointed I was in new signing Fraser Forster. He's making a huge salary and I'll be looking to dump him to the highest bidder. Hopefully, I can bring in a more capable keeper to assist Ingo Wilke

D - Our defence was pretty poor last year. In reality, we need help everywhere but I'd really like to upgrade our fullbacks. Bob Harris, our usual starting left fullback was outplayed by his backup Leo Creemers last year. At right fullback, long-time White Conor Morrissey is likely on his way out the door with an expiring contract - he's been an incredible player for us through multiple promotions but he just isn't a Premier League quality player. Fellow right fullback Glen Johnson was atrocious for us in his first year at Dover - he's got one more year left on his contract and will be retiring after this season. I may be forced to keep him. Jozef Kuciak was decent at DR last year but is more suited to a backup role. At DC, long-time Dover soldiers Luke McCullough and Oliver Nicholas are still here but I'll need some reinforcements at that position. Nicholas especially is showing signs of not being able to keep up to the speed in the division.

M - We're in decent shape here, especially in the middle of the park. Andrea Rocca was sensational when healthy and Liam Craig continued to produce and show great versatility. We're quite weak on both wings though - veteran signings Cristian Rodriguez and Ashley Young saw big declines in training last year and MR Keith King is more suited to a backup role at this level.

F - Gerardo Escobar was decent last year but I'm looking for more out of last year's big signing. Zoltan Bardi will be back as well and young striker Roberto impressed in limited appearances. I could really use a gamebreaker at this position.

With such a large transfer budget, I'm going to prepare to make a big splash on a player, especially if I can find a stud striker, which is so important at this level. I'm also going to look for upgrades everywhere - I think the key will be to find one great young(ish) player at each position - it might take a few years to build my club this way but if I can get a full squad of 4.5 potential types, I'll likely be in pretty good shape.

My big needs in the first transfer window:

1. Try to bring in a world-class striker
2. Look for at least one starting fullback
3. Look for at least one starting winger
4. Look for at least one starting central midfielder
5. Look for a capable backup keeper or someone to challenge Wilke for the #1 spot

Last edited by NoSkillz : 11-17-2013 at 09:24 PM.
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Old 11-17-2013, 09:23 PM   #43
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A real budget! Hooray! Can't wait to see how you spend it.
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Old 11-17-2013, 10:21 PM   #44
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
July 2019 - Transfer Window

Transfers OUT

GK - Fraser Forster - Derby - £2,500,000
MR - Keith King - Recreativo - £2,000,000
ST - Robbie Benson - Fulham - £1,600,000
AMC - Jose Manuel Jurado - Granada - £900,000
GK - Eduard Hanke - Las Palmas - £800,000
ML/AML - Ashley Young - QPR - £250,000

DL - Leo Creemers - Stade de Reims - Free
DC - Sam Barnett - Brentford - Free
MC - Benjamin Stumpf - FC Sochaux-Montbe - Free
ST - Lukasz Cichy - Melilla - Free
ST - Sam Holden - Crystal Palace - Free

DR - Conor Morrissey - Released
DC - Jeroen Simaeys - Released

I fetch my largest transfer fee ever in moving Fraser Forster to fellow Premier League club Derby. I feel I got a premium for him over his value simply due to the fact I'll have to play against him at least twice a year. He had a rough season with us, giving up 42 goals in only 19 appearances last year.

Keith King joined our club in 2014 and played five full seasons at MR/AMR. King, who has 83 international caps for Bermuda, played 124 league games for Dover, scoring 30 goals and adding 21 assists. He could have hung on as a backup here but he wasn't quite starter material at the Premier League level.

Robbie Benson, Jose Manuel Jurado and Ashley Young only played one season for Dover - Benson scored a few goals for us as a fourth choice striker but I got tired of his annoying penchant for diving. Jurado was one of the most skilled players we've ever had here at Dover, with flair to spare (ha) but at 33 years old, his declining skills and speed kept him from producing against the best players in England. Young, the English international, scored Dover's first ever Premier League goal but he was a non-factor too often on the left side of the park. Eduard Hanke was a backup keeper for us during our Championship season and a pretty good one, as he allowed only 11 goals in 9 starts. I loaned him out to Las Palmas in Liga BBVA last year and they liked him enough to buy him for 800K. That was an easy deal to accept.

Leo Creemers outplayed Bob Harris at DL last year, making it into our best eleven. However, he was a middling talent and I ended up selling him on a free to Stade de Reims. He leaves after two seasons at Dover, 32 league appearances and 1 goal. Defensive midfielder Benjamin Stumpf had loads of talent, great work ethic and was a tireless player but he simply didn't produce in his two years at the club. He played 23 scoreless games for us and leaves for France. Sam Barnett, Lukasz Cichy and Sam Holden are former U18 prospects that I deemed expendable.

Of the released players, the toughest to say goodbye to is perhaps one of the more under appreciated defenders I've had: Conor Morrissey. I picked up Morrissey in 2011, my second year at Dover. He was destined for our U18 squad but impressed so much during our preseason friendlies that I kept him on the senior team. Every year, there was another player brought in to challenge him but he always held off his competition. Over eight seasons at Dover, Morrissey played 215 games. He only scored one goal and it was a big one that's been noted here previously - he scored in the final game of our Championship season against QPR, helping us gain promotion to the Premier League. He wasn't here to score: he was a wonderful defender and enthusiastic tackler who routinely racked up the highest tackle totals on our team. Thank you Conor for your tremendous service to the club!

Jeroen Simaeys spent two years at Dover and leaves after 34 league appearances - he scored 2 goals and added 2 assists during his time with the Whites.

I'd loan out a number of young players who recently graduated from our U18 program or would be a surplus to requirements for our upcoming year: DC Michael Thompson, DR Jackson Ramm, MC Frankie Taylor, ST Roberto, MR Ismail Mkhize, DC Andy Brown, MC Stuart Rogers, AMC Aitor Zubizarreta, DR Rachid Diallo and DM Shaun Halsall all get loaned out to help their development.

With that all out of the way, it's time to start adding to our squad!

Last edited by NoSkillz : 11-17-2013 at 10:25 PM.
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Old 11-17-2013, 11:34 PM   #45
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Transfers IN

We had made a couple of seemingly minor deals just after our season concluded, with two foreign players joining Dover upon completion of their seasons abroad.

DC - Mohamed Lamine Yilmaz - £120,000 (From INF Clairefontaine) - 16 years old, Morocco
DM/DC - Mancini - £500,000 (From Cruzeiro) - 20 years old, Brazil

Yilmaz will be put into our U18 squad with hopes of developing - he's currently rated 1.0/4.0, which is very promising for a 16 year old. Mancini is loved by my main scout (3.5/4.5) and will step in right away as our starting defensive midfielder in 4-5-1 formations.

We also bring in young Jonathan Adam from Aston Villa on a free after he was dropped from their U18 roster. Adam is an 18 year old AMC/ML with great pace (15 acc/16 pace) and flair (16) and 3 star potential.

When July 1st hits, we immediately start looking for our striker. Initially, our scouts lead us to Brazil and we find two absolute studs: 24 year old Thiago on Palmeiras and 23 year old Toninho on Flamengo. Both are rated 4 stars+ right now - Thiago has ridiculous stats with Palmeiras: in two seasons and 73 games, he's scored 54 times while Toninho has scored 45 goals in 54 league games for Flamengo.

I'd even go so far as to schedule a preseason friendly with Palmeiras to see Thiago up close. In a scintillating display, he absolutely CARVED US UP, scoring three goals in an impressive 5-3 win in Brazil.

I'd put in substantial offers for both players in the vicinity of 17 million pounds - both would get accepted and I was free to offer contracts. I came to terms on a contact for Thiago but stunningly couldn't get his agent to agree to his fee - he wanted a number higher than my board was willing to go and ultimately, I had to walk away from the deal, simply because of a greedy agent. Unbelievable!

With Toninho, he was asking for more money than I could afford - we got very close on terms but ultimately I had to walk away there as well. Talk about disappointing.

My striker search kept coming back to one guy - a Greek striker who was at Arsenal and likely played on the U18 team with current Dover striker Zoltan Bardi. This guy has blazing speed and my scouts think he could be a difference maker - 21 years old with 3.5/4.5 ratings. He scored 10 goals in 18 games for AEK Athens in the Greek Superleague last year on loan. He's also been called up a couple of times to the Greek national team but has yet to receive his first cap.

Arsenal are looking for a huge premium over his value and after some hemming and hawing, we finally agree to terms with Arsenal on easily the largest deal in Dover history. We spend £14,250,000 to bring striker Giorgos Gesios to Dover!!!

Holy smokes…14.25 million pounds!!! He better be good!

ST - Giorgos Gesios - £14,250,000 (From Arsenal) - 21 years old, Greece

Gesios is 21 years old, 6' tall and 174 pounds. Top attributes include corners (15), free kicks (17), penalties (17), bravery (14), determination (14), off the ball (18), acceleration (19!), agility (17), balance (16), pace (17) and strength (17).

I hope we've found our lethal striker!

Here are the other players we brought in during the July transfer window:

MR - Gianluca Bolis - £4,000,000 (Last Club: Manchester City) - 20 years old, Italy
ML - Cameron Murray - £3,800,000 (Last Club: Hibernian) - 23 years old, Scotland
MC - Frantisek Kroulik - £2,300,000 (Last Club: Rangers) - 20 years old, Czech Republic
ST - Petr Simek - £300,000 (Last Club: Leiria) - 25 years old, Czech Republic
DL - Jozef Varga - £130,000 (Last Club: Stuttgart) - 23 years old, Slovakia

DM - Simon Woodman - LOAN - £275,000 Fee (From Arsenal) - 19 years old, England
DC - Alen Krivic - LOAN - £250,000 Fee (From Schalke) - 19 years old, Germany

GK - Lukasz Fabianski - Free (Last Club: Arsenal) - 34 years old, Poland
DC - Lukas Stetina - Free (Last Club: Stuttgart) - 28 years old, Slovakia

Keeping with my plan of adding top talent at all positions, the key moves this year are obviously the previously mentioned Mancini and Gesios, along with Gianluca Bolis, Frantisek Kroulik and Lukasz Fabianski. Bolis is a young right winger rated 3.0/4.5 with excellent speed (17 accel and pace) while Kroulik, who comes to us from Rangers in Scotland, is also a 3.0/4.5 player. Fabianski is older but goalkeepers tend to reach their peak much later than position players.

Cameron Murray is a 5'5" little bundle of energy that will add some depth to the left side. Petr Simek is another ridiculously fast striker, with 18 pace and 19 acceleration along with lethal finishing ability (16). A true poacher if there ever was one! He should be great as a rotational choice or coming off the bench. DL Jozef Varga and DC Lukas Stetina played together at Stuttgart and will fit in nicely as rotational players. We're also bringing in a couple of solid prospects on loan in Simon Woodman and Alen Krivic. Krivic especially should get a lot of opportunities to start for us.

I stay away from bringing in U18 players this year, as you can see.

Final Thoughts Before the Season Begins

I scheduled perhaps our toughest ever set of preseason friendlies and we show a distinct lack of unity with the great number of key additions, winning four and losing four.

We experimented with a number of different formations in the preseason, something else which likely contributed to our poor showing. I added a 5-3-2 look, with two wingbacks, one defensive mid, two centre halfbacks, three central mids and two strikers (no wingers). I figured this might be a decent tactic against strong sides. We'd still rely greatly on our flat 4-4-2 and a 4-5-1.

Once again, we made no changes to our on-field leadership, with MC Darren Pratley keeping the captain's armband and DC Luke McCullough maintaining his vice-captain role.

We were favoured in our first league game of the year, a home match against Fulham, a team we've had decent success against over the years. We decide to go with a 4-4-2 to start the season. Here is our starting lineup for game one of the 2019-20 season:

GK - Ingo Wilke
D - Bob Harris/Luke McCullough/Oliver Nicholas/Glen Johnson
M - Liam Craig/Andrea Rocca/Zoltan Bardi/Petr Kostal
ST - Giorgos Gesios/Gerardo Escobar

Last edited by NoSkillz : 11-18-2013 at 12:15 AM.
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Old 11-18-2013, 12:09 AM   #46
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
2019/20 Barclays Premier League - First Half Results

Simply put - we struggled immensely in the first half of our season.

We opened the year at home as favourites against Fulham. We had enjoyed historical success against them, winning 3 of our 4 matches against them in the past. We also had a fully healthy roster going into the season.

Unfortunately, we'd lose 1-0 despite carrying play (56-44 possession) for the majority of the game. Thankfully, we'd bounce back one week later with our first win, an away victory at Everton 2-1. Our 14 million pound man Giorgos Gesios scored his first Dover goal to salt away the victory.

As expected, we'd lose heavily to powerhouse Manchester United 4-0 at Crabble Athletic Ground but our next contest, a winnable game against newly promoted West Bromwich was a killer: a 3-2 loss that sent us into the relegation zone.

We'd come back with an impressive home win against Derby, another club that was just promoted from the Championship. Just when we thought we were turning the corner, we went on another bad run of form, winning only 1 of our next 8 contests. The win was a good one: a 2-1 home victory against Arsenal and you could justify the losing somewhat, considering how difficult a stretch it was for us, with games against many of the top teams in the league: Huddersfield (L3-1), Chelsea (L3-0), Liverpool (L3-1) and Man City (L1-0).

Perhaps the ugliest game of the season was a home match against Blackburn, who were mired in last place in the league and had only scored 7 goals in their first 14 games. We had no luck breaking them down and in fact, they'd even control play for the most part in a bore scoreless draw, a game that infuriated our fans and me as well.

By that point, we were missing a number of key players, including Gesios, who missed four weeks in December due to a sprained ankle.

We'd battle to a spirited 1-1 away draw at Tottenham on December 29th and reach the opening of the January transfer window with a record of 5 wins 2 draws and 12 defeats. Our 17 points in 19 games was only good for 18th in the league.

We had reached the halfway point of the year and we were in the relegation zone. We weren't scoring and our defending was only marginally better - 21 goals for and 35 goals against in 19 games just wasn't going to get it done.

A lot of our poor play could be traced to my management - there was no consistency with my tactics and we were coming up with different formations each game, many of which we hadn't properly trained for. I needed to simplify things greatly in the second half if we were to stay in the Premier League.

Last edited by NoSkillz : 11-18-2013 at 12:11 AM.
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Old 11-18-2013, 01:03 AM   #47
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
2019/20 Barclays Premier League - Second Half Results

We made one relatively significant move once the transfer window opened in January. I brought in 18 year old Renato Gaucho, a 6' 4" Brazilian left fullback from Internacional on a free transfer. Gaucho is a GREAT prospect - 2.5/4.5 - I'm shocked to be able to get a young player with such potential for nothing. He will immediately step into a rotation with Bob Harris at DL and we immediately send July DL signing Jozef Varga out on a six month loan.

I started to simplify our tactics in the second half of the season, utilizing a flat 4-4-2 and a 4-5-1 for games against tough opponents. Our first game of the second half, an away game against Fulham, saw us come away with a 2-0 win, gaining a measure of revenge for our opening day loss.

January would be a great month - we'd follow with a 2-1 home win over Everton before falling to Manchester United at Old Trafford 3-0. 34 year old Wayne Rooney, the legendary Man U striker, was one of the goal scorers in the United victory.

That would be our only loss of the month and we'd finally display some of the goal scoring ability that I'd hoped to see at the beginning of the season. We destroyed West Brom 6-1 at Crabble Athletic Ground, getting a hat trick from Giorgos Gesios and a brace from strike partner Gerardo Escobar and followed that up with an equally impressive 5-2 win over Sunderland. Gesios scored a brace in that contest and Escobar one as they started to show some impressive chemistry together.

We'd continue to win, knocking off Derby 2-1 away then most impressively, a 1-0 win against 3rd placed Huddersfield away, making it six victories in seven league games in the new year, including a season-high four in a row. By this point, we'd reached 9th place in the league and were within shouting distance of the coveted 7th position, a spot that would provide European play for the following year.

The team to break the streak would be Middlesbrough and it was partially due to a gruesome challenge on our striker and big signing Gesios that saw him come up with a broken arm. We'd lose the game 1-0 and Gesios would miss the next five weeks of action due to the injury and never really recover in time to make an impact at the end of the season.

That started a stretch of games where we lost four in a row, including an FA Cup tie but we'd thankfully finish on a high note. We'd go on a season-long six game undefeated streak (2 wins and 4 draws) before losing heavily to Arsenal in our third last game. Season ending victories against Aston Villa and Tottenham allowed us to finish our second half in style: we won 10 games, had 4 draws and only 5 losses in our last 19 games for 34 points.

We would finish 11th on the table for the second consecutive season but had four more points this year. Our goal differential was much improved: from minus 35 a year ago to minus 7 this year.

I truly believe we are on the right path.

Barclays Premier League 2019-20 League Awards

Top Goalscorer: Enrique, Manchester City - 43
Most Assists: Omar Hernandez, Manchester United - 23
Highest Average Rating: Enrique, Manchester City - 8.11 (34 apps)
Most Man of Match Awards: Enrique, Manchester City - 15
English Footballer of the Year: Enrique, Manchester City - 34 apps 43g 8a 8.11avg
English Players' Player of the Year: Miralem Pjanic, Manchester City - 34 apps 5g 16a 7.40avg
English Players' Young Player of the Year: Andrea Rocca, Dover - 35 apps 6g 14a 7.38avg
Manager of the Year: Carlo Ancelotti, Manchester City

Barclays Premier League Players' Team of the Year
GK - Joe Hart, Manchester City
DL - Gareth Bale, Tottenham
DC - Leonel Galeano, Arsenal
DC - Salah Abbes, Manchester City
DR - Daniel Schwaab, Manchester City
ML - Diego Perotti, Liverpool
MC - Jack Wilshere, Arsenal
MC - Miralem Pjanic, Manchester City
MR - Bruno, Manchester City
ST - Enrique, Manchester City
ST - Steve Pates, Sheffield Wednesday

Only 43 goals for Enrique this year? He's slipping!

Andrea Rocca gets named as the best young player in the league by his peers. A monumental honour for young Rocca!

I'd win nothing this year: in January and May, I finished 2nd in the Manager of the Month voting but that's it.

Cup Competitions 2019-20

FA Cup -
A pretty solid run in the FA Cup, with victories against League 2 side Aldershot and Championship side Queens Park Rangers but we'd run into a wall in the fifth round against Chelsea, a team we've yet to knock off.

3rd Round - Dover 3 Aldershot 0
4th Round - Dover 3 QPR 1
5th Round - Dover 0 Chelsea 3

League Cup
A great draw to begin the event and a horrific draw for our second match. We played Man U tough, losing 1-0 away against a relatively weak side.

2nd Round - Dover 3 Bristol City 0
3rd Round - Manchester United 1 Dover 0

2019-20 Overall Dover Statistics

Top Goalscorer: Gerardo Escobar - 11
Top League Goalscorer: Giorgos Gesios - 9
Most Assists: Andrea Rocca - 14
Highest Average Rating: Andrea Rocca - 7.35 (37 apps)
Most Man of Match Awards: Andrea Rocca - 4
Fans Player of the Year: To be Determined

Escobar leads the team in goals for a second consecutive season. Gesios was a pretty big disappointment considering the fee I paid for him but I'm willing to give him a pass for this year - he had two significant injuries, missing over two months of action and also took some time to get acclimated to things here at Dover. Zoltan Bardi was putrid in the first half of the season but got VERY hot in the last two months, coincidently when Gesios went down to injury, to bring his stats back to respectability, finishing with 6 goals and 5 assists for the year. If Andrea Rocca doesn't win our supporters player of the year, I may get a tad angry. The guy is a huge difference maker for our club in all facets of the game.

I just hope I can keep him, as the vultures are starting to swarm...

Last edited by NoSkillz : 11-19-2013 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 11-18-2013, 01:15 AM   #48
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
With that, I am completely caught up with this dynasty!!!

I will now offer regular updates as I play, including game recaps, signings as they happen, etc.

I'll start with a rundown on all of our player stats for the season and go from there. I hope to have that up by tomorrow.

Thanks for reading all of those recaps! Hopefully I can keep things interesting as we move into a different format from here on out.
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Old 11-18-2013, 04:59 AM   #49
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Australia
This has been an outstanding dynasty thus far, a wonderful read.

I predict you'll be in the Champions League before long. Once you sort out the defensive issues the wins will pile up again.
Be not afeard. The isle is full of noises, sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight, and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments will hum about mine ears; and sometimes voices,
That, if I then had wak'd after long sleep, will make me sleep again; and then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open and show riches ready to drop upon me, that, when I wak'd, I cried to dream again.
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Old 11-18-2013, 10:26 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by Rawhide View Post
This has been an outstanding dynasty thus far, a wonderful read.

I predict you'll be in the Champions League before long. Once you sort out the defensive issues the wins will pile up again.

Thanks for the compliments!

My unofficial goal for this year will be to try to qualify for European play - I think we're ready for that step. A top 7 finish shouldn't be out of the question for us this year.

That said, I'm not sure if I'll be bold enough to suggest that to the board in my budget meeting - I think I've got plenty of rope right now based on my past success (I'm rated as "untouchable" right now) but I may have a new chairman soon that may be a bit more ambitious...more on that later.
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