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Old 11-12-2018, 03:44 PM   #1
NoSkillz
College Benchwarmer
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
FM19 - From Volunteer to the Premier League (Queen's Park/Morecambe/Middlesbrough)

The minutes of a meeting held on July 9, 1867 begin with the words: “Tonight at half past eight o’clock a number of gentlemen met at No. 3 Eglinton Terrace for the purpose of forming a football club.”

They might not seem the most noteworthy comments ever made, but they are the prelude to possibly the most important moment in the history of Scottish Football. That meeting in 3 Eglinton Terrace on the south side of Glasgow saw the formation of Queen’s Park Football Club, and the start of Scottish Football.

The game had been played before then, in public schools where they had their own code and their own established rules. But it was Queen’s who really set the ball rolling. The club set about laying down the foundation of the modern game, adopting a passing style of play which employed skillful ball control. The team worked as a unit, utilizing team tactics, unlike that of their contemporaries of the day who played an ‘individualistic’ style of game which used kick-and-rush tactics, ‘dribbling’ with the ball, hacking and rough play.

It also took a decision that its players would not be paid, adopting the motto: “Ludere causa Ludendi” – to play for the sake of playing. That decision holds good today, with no Queen’s Park player ever having received a wage from the club.

That amateur status is just one of the many factors that makes Queen’s Park unique in world of senior football.

From the history section at www.queensparkfc.co.uk

--------------------------------------------------

Well, after a two-year sabbatical from the dynasty forums here, I’m back with what I hope will be a reasonably entertaining foray into the newest version of Football Manager, FM19.

If you can recall, I wrote for a number of years about a long-term FM11 save using little Dover Athletic FC from the sixth tier of English football (that thread can be found here: FM – From Semi-Pro Minnows to Champions League Glory: Dover Athletic FC - Front Office Football Central.

I’d take that little club all the way to the top, winning multiple Premier League titles and three Champions League titles, in addition to countless other honours.

It was easily the longest time I ever spent with a save in any game I’ve played.

I played FM11 for over six years and finally broke down and bought FM18 a year ago but never really got into it…the scouting system was just too much for me and the game didn’t seem as fun anymore.

But great reviews for this year’s version of the game brought me back for another go. I started doing some research on finding a new team to manage and I’d eventually come across the fascinating story of Queen’s Park FC in Glasgow.

It looks like the club’s amateur status has been hardcoded into the game so you can immediately imagine the challenge of trying to forge ahead with a squad of volunteer, unpaid amateur players in a professional league, directed by a staff of volunteer, unpaid coaches.

It certainly won’t be easy but I’m guessing it will be a fun challenge.

The one difference from my Dover dynasty is this: while I always hoped I could get Dover to the top of European football, I have no such illusions about Queen’s Park FC. Therefore, I plan on handling this dynasty much differently and more like I would if I was an actual “Sunday Afternoon Footballer” trying to get into real-life management – I’d start at the bottom with a volunteer position and try to work my way into better paying jobs and bigger clubs as time moved forward.

So, if I have a chance to leave Queen’s Park for greener pastures, I will. I think my end game here is to work my way up the proverbial “management ladder” and eventually take the reins at one of the larger clubs in the world.

Hopefully I can take some readers along for the ride.


Last edited by NoSkillz : 02-15-2020 at 05:22 PM.
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Old 11-12-2018, 07:41 PM   #2
NoSkillz
College Benchwarmer
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Queen’s Park FC – A Brief History

Queen’s Park FC is the oldest football club in Scotland, having been founded in 1867, and is also the oldest club outside of England and Wales.

The early years saw the club enjoy a great deal of success, notably winning the Scottish Cup 10 times, the third highest total of wins to this day, with only Rangers and Celtic having won more. Considered pioneers of the modern passing game, the team was a dominant presence in the late 1800s, especially in cup competitions. However, the team’s last Scottish Cup win was in 1893.

The club enjoyed a prolonged spell in Scotland’s top league during the first half of the 20th century but struggled against their professional counterparts, usually finishing mid-table or lower during that stretch. The team was relegated to the second tier in 1948/49 and would win promotion back to the top flight in 1956/57. Two seasons later, the club was relegated once again and to this date, have never been back in Scotland’s top league.

Queen’s Park, affectionately known as The Spiders, was relegated from League One in 2017/18 and begin the 2018/19 season in Ladbrokes Scottish League Two, where 45 year old Canadian NoSkillz begins his managerial career, replacing incumbent Mark Roberts.



Manager and Team Status

Upon my hiring on June 25, 2018, I have no status in the world of football, with a “Minimal” reputation (one half star) due to being a “Sunday League Footballer”. Queen’s Park, as previously mentioned, is a very proud Amateur club and doesn’t pay their players or their staff. We’re all here because we love the game but the ambitious among us obviously want to use Queen’s Park as a platform to display our skills to other professional sides and hopefully, earn a job that actually pays us a salary one day.

I have a National “B” coaching license and hope to take classes that allow me to improve my modest managerial skillset. I have a decent “Attack” coaching attribute of 10, have a “4” rating in Tactics, Mental, Adaptability, Man Management and Motivating, “3” ratings in Determination and Level of Discipline and “2” ratings in Working w/Youngsters, Player Knowledge and Youngster Knowledge. All other coaching categories see me with a lowly “1” rating.

There are a lot of negatives to managing Queen’s Park, most of them relating to our amateur status and inability to pay our players and staff. I imagine it will be commonplace to see top players and coaches getting poached by professional teams but having volunteers means we can have a larger squad then normal simply due to the fact we aren’t paying anyone.

Another positive, and a large one at that, is that we play our games in historic Hampden Park, a 51,866 all-seater right in the heart of Glasgow. Despite being the national football stadium of Scotland, Hampden is still owned by Queen’s Park FC but we’ve come to an agreement with the Scottish Football Association that will see them take ownership of Hampden upon the expiry of our lease in 2020 for a fee of £5 million. We will then move to Lesser Hampden, our current training facility and reserves stadium and play our matches there.

Our team has a “Below Average” reputation with an estimated value of £95,000, which ranks us third in our division and 27th (out of 42 teams) in Scotland. Our squad is deemed to be “Fairly Professional”.

We currently have a whopping 250 season ticket holders, no wage budget, no transfer budget and a paltry £1200 scouting budget.

The media predict an 8th place finish for Queen’s Park in the upcoming season.

I’ll chart the history of all these stats on a year-by-year basis, so you can see how things change during my stewardship.

Last edited by NoSkillz : 11-12-2018 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 11-12-2018, 08:33 PM   #3
NoSkillz
College Benchwarmer
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Coaching Staff

-- Things look pretty bleak on the coaching front upon my arrival, with a goalie coach, a regular coach, a chief scout and a head physio on staff, along with a team doctor and two reserves coaches. I decide to let all of them go except for the doctor (who can’t be fired by the looks of it) and the two reserves coaches, with their jobs only saved due to the fact my board indicates I won’t be able to replace them should I let them go.

-- I begin my search for coaches and staff who are willing to work for free and I’m pleasantly surprised by some of the talented folks looking to get into football at the ground level. I make offers to fill the following vacant positions: Assistant Manager, Coaches X2, Head Physio, Physio, Chief Scout, Scout, Head of Youth Development, Reserves Manager, U18 Manager and a U18 Assistant Manager. I’m guessing I won’t be able to secure them all, but we’ll see what happens. I elect against hiring a Director of Football for the time being but may change my mind down the road.



Transfers IN

-- I’ll talk much more about my players in another post, but I get a note from the club’s Managing Director, Christine Wright, about some recent signings made by our predecessor.

GK - Jordan Hart (from Ayr) – 22 years old
GK - Jack Dunlop (Free) – 20 years old
DC - Gerry McLauchlan (from Cowdenbeath) – 29 years old
DC - Lewis Magee (Free) – 18 years old
DR - James Grant (Free) – 18 years old
DR - Gavin Lachlan (Free) – 26 years old
DM - Gregor Fotheringham (from Camelon) – 24 years old
MC - Jamie McKernon (from Glenafton) – 26 years old
AML - Smart Osadolar (from Clyde) – 27 years old
AMC - Kurtis Roberts (from Kilbirnie Ladeside) – 23 years old
AMR - Scott McLean (from Albion Rovers) – 20 years old
AMR - Adam Martin (from Alloa) – 20 years old
ST - Lewis Hawke (from FC Bulleen Lions) – 24 years old
ST - Josh Peters (from Forfar) – 21 years old

-- That’s a lot of new faces and you can bet there will be more once I start assessing the entire squad. Again, I’ll have more on these guys and the entire team in another post but it looks like we made some useful signings here.
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Old 11-12-2018, 09:13 PM   #4
NoSkillz
College Benchwarmer
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Start of Season Expectations

-- Our board is hoping for a top half finish in Ladbrokes Scottish League Two play this year. Here’s the budget they’ll give us to attain that finish:

2018/19 TRANSFER BUDGET - £0
2018/19 WAGE BUDGET - £0

Oh right. I almost forgot about that.

-- We also take part in three Cup competitions: the William Hill Scottish Cup (similar to the FA Cup in England), the Betfred Cup (ie: League Cup) and the Irn-Bru Cup (I’m guessing it’s similar to the Checkatrade FA Trophy). The board expect us to reach the third round of the Scottish Cup and simply “be competitive” in the other two competitions.



Preseason Friendlies

-- One of my first orders of business is to set our preseason schedule. We’re likely going to need a lot of friendlies in order to get our squad accustomed to our new tactics and to develop a sense of unity amongst the players. Here is a look at our friendlies:

June 27th – Queen’s Park Reserves
June 30th – AT Brora Rangers (Scotland Non-League)
July 3rd – Motherwell (Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership)
July 7th – Oxford United (Sky Bet League One)
July 10th – Hearts of Midlothian (Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership)
July 14th - AT Knockbreda FC (Bluefin Sport Championship)
July 30th – AT Carnoustie Panmure (Scotland Non-League)

-- My plan to have a more comprehensive set of friendlies is thwarted by the fact that the Betfred Cup (Scottish League Cup) group stage takes place from July 18th through July 28th. We actually have a pretty decent draw in League Cup play, with home matches against Spartans (non-league) and Dumbarton (League One) and away matches at Airdrieonians (League One) and Kilmarnock (Premiership). As for the friendlies, we have a couple home matches against Premiership opponents that will help our bank account, I’m sure. Motherwell is a parent affiliate and a key part of the agreement allows us to schedule an annual preseason friendly at Hampden Park and keep all proceeds.

-- Our first game in Ladbrokes Scottish League Two play is a tough one: away against Peterhead, the bookies’ choice for promotion this year. That match takes place on Saturday August 4th.



The Search for New Blood Begins…

-- We are currently without scouts but I have a lengthy chat with our chairman, who delivers a pretty exhaustive list of potential free transfer targets and a shorter list of potential loanees. I plan on bringing in a few of the free transfer targets in on trial agreements for the next month for evaluation purposes and once I have a scouting team in place, I’ll start looking at the potential loan candidates as well. There are a couple of good looking Premiership youngsters that might be willing to play for us and even though they are technically professional, our chairman will allow loanees as long as we don’t have to pay for their wages.

Last edited by NoSkillz : 11-12-2018 at 09:15 PM.
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Old 11-13-2018, 03:09 PM   #5
NoSkillz
College Benchwarmer
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
June 27, 2018


-- I always start the preseason with a friendly with either my reserves squad or my U18s.

Preseason Friendly – Lesser Hampden
Queen’s Park 2 - 3 Queen’s Park Reserves
Queen’s Park Goals – Ali Miller (7.2), Izhaak Ahmed OG
Queen’s Park Assists – Ciaran Summers (6.9)
Other Notables:

Reserves Goals – Grant Savoury (7.1), Dylan Thomas (PEN – 7.0), Fraser Murdoch (7.2)
Reserves Assists – Ross McLaughlin (6.9), Paul Kennedy (7.1)
Other Reserves Notables -
Player of the Match – Fraser Murdoch

-- My Queen’s Park squad was made up of mostly second-team players while my entire Reserves squad was made up of players here on trial. Needless to say, our lads should be embarrassed by this performance, as they were outclassed in every respect by their hungrier opponents.



Tactical Approach

-- I’m still not really set on how I want the lads to line up this year. Looking at our current roster of players, along with their best positions and roles, I’ve isolated about four to five players that are the class of the team and therefore want to build around them and their strengths. I have what I consider to be top-level players for our division at the following positions: GK, DC, MC, AMC and ST.

I’ve always enjoyed playing a 4-2-3-1 formation so that would certainly work but I’m relatively weak on the wings. A 4-3-3 was something else I considered (or a 4-3-1-2 perhaps) and I may try it out during the preseason. A flat 4-4-2 is always a lower-league staple and something I’ll likely incorporate into training.

I certainly didn’t get any clarity in our inter-squad match – we played some horrible 4-4-2 football there and were unquestionably outclassed by our trialists.

Tactics are very much a work-in-progress at this point.



Coaching Staff Additions

-- After firing almost all of our staff, we’re starting to get some new blood into the coaching room, bringing in two new coaches (including a GK coach), a physio, two scouts (including a chief scout), a reserves squad manager and a U18 manager. We’re still waiting for word on a few other potential staff members, as we look to fill our assistant manager position, one more coaching slot (looking at a fitness coach), a head physio, a Head of Youth Development position and a U18 assistant. Again, keep in mind I can’t pay any of these people and that’s already cost me my #1 choice for an assistant manager, who took a paying job elsewhere.



Queen’s Park Captain to Leave Club?

-- Our team captain is 24-year old DC Scott Gibson, who has incredibly been with our club since 2012. He’s our leader and our top defender but with that come opportunities. Two teams in our league, Stirling and Berwick, have offered him a contract and Scottish League One club East Fife are also interested in his services. Money talks so I’m guessing he won’t be with us much longer. We do have some decent depth at the squad and I have some solid options with the club on trial as well.


-- Speaking of trialists, we have THIRTY such hopefuls that are with the club at the moment training with our reserves. Some are professionals here on temporary loan (including a few from Celtic) but most are street free agents looking to stay in the game, based on recommendations from our club chairman.



Next Up -

-- Our preseason begins in earnest with a trip to the Scottish Highlands, as we visit Brora Rangers FC

Last edited by NoSkillz : 11-13-2018 at 03:13 PM.
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Old 11-14-2018, 03:49 PM   #6
NoSkillz
College Benchwarmer
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Sat. June 30, 2018

Preseason Friendly
Brora (Scottish Highland League) vs. Queen’s Park
Dudgeon Park, Brora, Scotland

Brora Rangers FC aren’t part of the Scottish Professional Football League, sitting one tier below us in the Highland Football League. They are a semi-professional club with salaried players so it will still be a decent test for us, I’m sure.

We elect to start most of our key players for the first time in this contest, as I look to find a tactic that works while also attempting to improve squad cohesion. I have one trialist in the starting lineup in 21 year old midfielder Dylan Thomas - he’s well suited to a deep lying playmaker role, which suits the tactic I’m trying for today’s match. We’re going to try a modified, “dumbed-down” version of a Gegenpress system. This is a very high paced, urgent pressing system likely more suited to better clubs but the ideal roles really match up well with our roster so I’m going to give it a go today.

Queen’s Park: 4-2-3-1 Gegenpress (Positive Mentality)
GK – J. Hart
D – C. Summers S. Gibson, D. Nimmo, J. Grant
M – J. McKernon, D. Thomas
AM – A. Martin, K. Roberts, S. McLean
S – J. Peters

Brora 1 - 2 Queen’s Park
Goals – Kurtis Roberts (7.1), Adam Martin (7.5)
Assists – Josh Peters 2 (7.2)
Player of the Match – Scott McLean (7.8)
Other Dover Notables - None
Attendance – 55 (25 away)

-- Actually, a pretty impressive start to the season, albeit against non-league competition. We’d fall behind in the 41st minute off a Brora corner but strike back immediately a minute later to pull level. The winning goal was scored when four of my attacking players closed-down a lone ball handler – he’d cough it up and an immediate cross into the box was punched home by Adam Martin, our left winger. We held 57% of possession in this one and had a 22-7 (6-4 on target) shot advantage. You can tell the Gegenpress system works better for players with more class then we have but we seemed to manage well with the demands required from the system, especially when out of possession.



July Update

-- We have an exceptionally busy month ahead, with friendlies remaining against Motherwell (home), Oxford (home), Hearts (home), Knockbreda (away) and Carnoustie (away). We also begin group stage play in the Betfred Cup (Scottish League Cup), with matches against Spartans (home), Airdrie (away), Dumbarton (home) and Kilmarnock (away). Nine games!!



Reserves Update

-- I’ve essentially split my squad into two full teams, with my reserves team being made up entirely of trialists. That trialist squad was good enough to beat my senior team backups in our first friendly so I sent them out against another side to see how they’d fare and they ended up walloping Clyde’s reserve team 5-0 at Broadwood Stadium in Cumbernauld. 16 year old midfielder Malky Breen scored twice, as did 19 year old fullback Kyle McDowell. Our 4-2-3-1 Gegenpress tactic was used here as well and our reserves held 66% of possession and outshot our opponents 22-3 (11-2 on target). Breen will likely be earning a contract offer after his performance.



Next Up -

-- We welcome our senior affiliate, Scottish Premiership club Motherwell, to Hampden Park for a preseason friendly!
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Old 11-15-2018, 08:51 AM   #7
NoSkillz
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Tue. July 3, 2018

Preseason Friendly
Queen’s Park vs. Motherwell (Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership)
Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland

Motherwell are our senior affiliate and as part of the agreement, we get to host an annual preseason friendly and keep all proceeds. So why not take advantage? Motherwell are starting their 33rd consecutive season in Scotland’s top flight and are pretty much a mid-table constant. They finished 7th on the table last year (out of 12) but had two wonderful Cup runs, finishing runner-up in both the William Hill Scottish Cup and the Betfred Cup, losing to Celtic in both finals.

I go with a squad that consists mostly of youngsters, with striker Josh Peters our only holdover – we have a huge squad right now, with about 20 players in on trial and I want to see as many as possible in game action before making any final roster decisions. Despite our classier opponent, I’ll stick with the same tactics and mentality as our last game.

Queen’s Park: 4-2-3-1 Gegenpress (Positive Mentality)
GK – J. McGovern (trialist)
D – S. Lidington (trialist), I. Ahmed (trialist), C. Foy, R. Gilmour (trialist)
M – M. Breen (trialist), J. McKernon
AM – S. Osadolar, D. McMeekin (trialist) B. Donaldson (trialist)
S – J. Peters

Queen’s Park 1 - 2 Motherwell
Goals – Jamie Stokes (8.1)
Assists –
Player of the Match – Ryan Bowman (Motherwell – 8.5)
Other Dover Notables – Joe McGovern (7.1), Ross Gilmour (7.0)
Attendance – 1539 (1014 away)

-- Another very promising game, as we hold our own against a team three divisions above us despite playing with a “positive” mentality. In fact, we held 53% of possession but shots were 10-19 (3-10 on target) – trialist goalkeeper Joe McGovern was excellent for us and will be offered a contract to become our backup this year.



Transfer OUT

-- We find out after the game that captain Scott Gibson has accepted a contract offer from Stirling Albion, one of our League Two competitors, and leaves with immediate effect. Gibson joined Queen’s Park in 2012 and spent six full years with our club – he was one of our highest rated players but he was a 5’8” DC, so I’m not entirely sure how effective he was in the air. That all said, he was an influential player and I’ll need to look for a new leader for the team.



Transfers IN - Senior Team

GK – Joe McGovern (from Cowdenbeath) – 24 years old, Northern Ireland
DC – Izhaak Ahmed (from Rangers) – 18 years old, Sweden
MC – Dylan Thomas - Free – 21 years old, Wales
MC – Malky Breen - Free – 16 years old, Scotland
AML – James Stokes (from Partick Thistle) – 19 years old, Scotland
AMR – Brian Donaldson - Free – 16 years old, Scotland

-- The biggest capture here is securing Izhaak Ahmed, a 3.5/4.0 DC who was released by Rangers. He’s a definite first-teamer. Dylan Thomas is perfectly suited to our deep lying playmaker role and fellow MC Malky Breen is very versatile – both will be rotational players at worst. 16 year old Brian Donaldson is very interesting – he’s a 3.5/4.5 winger and already our best option at the position but I hesitate to give a starting job to such a youngster…I’d like to see him in action a bit more before deciding whether he stays with the senior team or moves to our U18s. Stokes scored our only goal against Motherwell and is solid depth – we also have his twin brother Ian with us on trial as well. Joe McGovern was signed to back up our starting goalkeeper, the excellent Jordan Hart.



Transfers IN - U18 Team

DC – Tom McLaren - Free - 16 years old, Scotland
DR – Rhys Scullion - Free – 16 years old, Scotland
WBR – Craig McManus - Free – 16 years old, Scotland
ML – Mark Joseph - Free – 16 years old, Scotland
ST – David Fraser - Free - 16 years old, Scotland

-- I’ve always been a big believer in loading up on talent for the U18s – they could possibly provide depth for our senior team in case of injury and of the five players noted above, Rhys Scullion is rated well enough to play a role on the big team at some point this season.



Nimmo Upset with New Manager

-- I get a note from one of my players that 22 year old DC Daniel Nimmo is “not himself” at the moment. So I have a little chat with him and find out that he feels threatened by the addition of young DC Izhaak Ahmed to the squad. I see that Nimmo has a very low determination attribute so it’s obvious he doesn’t want to fight for his spot. Nimmo is a 3.0/3.0 rated player and at 6’ 4”, a prototypical centre back. I tell Nimmo that I’m never going to turn down opportunities to bring in players of that caliber and that doesn’t satisfy him whatsoever. I’ll have to monitor this but I was already upset with this guy, as earlier in the day, he turned down my request to welcome a couple of our other new players into the squad.



Next Up -

-- We host English League One club Oxford United here at Hampden Park in another preseason friendly.

Last edited by NoSkillz : 11-15-2018 at 08:57 AM.
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Old 11-15-2018, 10:05 AM   #8
NoSkillz
College Benchwarmer
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Sat. July 7, 2018

Preseason Friendly
Queen’s Park vs. Oxford United (Sky Bet English League One)
Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland

Oxford United are a pretty fascinating team with a wild history – they seem to have hit their peak back in the mid-80s, with consecutive 1st place finishes in both League One (83/84) and the Championship (84/85) to secure promotion to the Premier League. They’d last three years in England’s top flight but for the last 30+ years, have bounced around between the Championship, League One and League Two. 2018/19 will be their third consecutive year in League One and they are coming off a 16th place finish last year, with the media predicting an upper mid-table finish this season.

I continue to look at trialists and will be going with a “C” level lineup today and once again will stick with the same tactical approach as our previous two games.

Queen’s Park: 4-2-3-1 Gegenpress (Positive Mentality)
GK – J. Hart
D – S. Robertson (trialist), R. Breen (trialist), D. Nimmo, K. McDowell (trialist)
M – D. Thomas, G. Fotheringham
AM – Y. Galantes (trialist), M. Stowe (trialist) G. Savoury (trialist)
S – E. MacPherson

Queen’s Park 0 - 1 Oxford
Goals –
Assists –
Player of the Match – Ricky Holmes (Oxford – 7.2)
Other Dover Notables – Jordan Hart (7.0), Sam Robertson (6.0)
Attendance – 652 (109 away)

-- The scoreline flatters us here, as we got spanked in all facets by Oxford in this one. We held 48% of possession and shots were 3-20 (2-9 on target) in their favour. There were practically no positive highlights all game, other than the fine play by our starting keeper, Jordan Hart. I’m starting to make final cuts in the next week and finalize signings so we’ll have stronger lineups in our last two friendlies before the Betfred Cup begins in a couple weeks.



Transfers IN - U18 Team

ST – Connor Higgins (from Partick Thistle) – 18 years old, Scotland

-- A 3.5/4.0 rated poacher that may start with our U18s but he certainly has the class to play with our senior team already.



Transfers IN - U18 Team

DC – Harry Granger (from Partick Thistle) – 18 years old, Scotland
DR – Cameron Lumsden (from St. Johnstone) – 18 years old, Scotland
DR – Danny O’Halloran (from Hamilton Academical) – 18 years old, Scotland
DR – Sam Robertson (from Aberdeen) – 18 years old, Scotland
DM – Kyle Devlin – Free – 15 yeards old, Scotland
MC – Kieran Balfour (from Ayr United) - 18 years old, Scotland
MC – Taylor Berry (from Dundee) – 18 years old, Scotland
ST – Jamie Docherty (from St. Johnstone) – 18 years old, Scotland

-- Just adding more depth where I can.



Players RELEASED

GK – Jack Dunlop
MC – Dean Kindlan
AMR – Dan Kindlan
ST – Euan East

-- All four of these players were offseason signings prior to my arrival and none have the class to feature on our senior team, so they are given their outright release.



Roster Update

-- We still have 42 players with our senior team, with 14 of them being trialists. Still lots of decisions to make before we start our season and I’m still not overly satisfied with our depth at certain positions, with attacking midfield being my biggest concern.



Next Up -

-- Yet another challenging friendly, as we host Heart of Midlothian, yet another Premiership mainstay.
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Old 11-17-2018, 08:55 PM   #9
NoSkillz
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Tue. July 10, 2018

Preseason Friendly
Queen’s Park vs. Heart of Midlothian (Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership)
Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland

Hearts are yet another Premiership mainstay, having spent 33 of the last 34 seasons in Scotland’s top flight. They finished sixth last season and the media predict a 5th place finish in 2018/19. Their captain, DC Christophe Berra, is considered their top player.

This has certainly been a very difficult preseason schedule and we’re in tough again today. That said, I plan on starting a number our prospective starting eleven today, including DC Izhaak Ahmed, DL Ciaran Summers, MC Jamie McKernon and AMC Kurtis Roberts. One of my recent finds, 16 year old AMR Brian Donaldson, will also start – he’s got great talent (3.5/4.5) but I need to see if the youngster can handle a starting job at such a tender age. Top striker Josh Peters is banged up but will come off the bench and hopefully put in 30 minutes to aid his fitness. Same tactics and mentality – again, I’m not overly concerned with results this preseason, especially against top flight opponents and simply want to work on our main tactics and our fitness

Queen’s Park: 4-2-3-1 Gegenpress (Positive Mentality)
GK – J. McGovern
D – C. Summers, C. Foy, I. Ahmed, R. Gilmour (trialist)
M – J. McKernon, D. Young (trialist)
AM – A. Martin, K. Roberts, B. Donaldson
S – B. Mortimer

Queen’s Park 1 - 3 Hearts
Goals – Brian Donaldson (7.2)
Assists – Ross Gilmour (6.9)
Player of the Match – Steven MacLean (Hearts – 9.4)
Other Dover Notables –
Attendance – 3542 (1683 away)

-- The score doesn’t tell the whole story here, as their striker Steven MacLean scored all three goals, with two of them off set pieces and the other on a penalty. We acquitted ourselves well otherwise, with young Donaldson scoring on a screamer from the edge of the area and our team winning the possession battle 52% to 48%. We also outshot our more pedigreed opponents 14-12 (5-7 on target). Another decent display.

-- Our top midfielder, Jamie McKernon, suffered a twisted knee and will miss up to a week of action. We have one more friendly coming up and start Betfred Cup play in seven days so McKernon will be questionable for that contest.



Loan IN

-- Our parent club Motherwell in the Scottish Premiership agrees to loan us 18 year old midfielder Kyle MacDonald for the balance of the season. He’s a very versatile player and can slot in anywhere in defense or midfield and will likely be a bench player for us. He’s a 2.5/4.0 talent.



Offers Come in for Ahmed

-- The perils of being an amateur club rear their ugly head once again. Just a week after signing DC Izhaak Ahmed, we get word that three Swedish teams have offered him a contract. Ahmed is Swedish so I fully expect that he’s a goner too, just like our former captain Scott Gibson. Ugh…I immediately bring in a couple more central defenders on trial.



The Press “Press” Me About Nimmo

-- A news story starts circulating about DC Daniel Nimmo and his unhappiness with me about Izhaak Ahmed possibly taking his starting spot. Of course, with Ahmed likely heading out the door after only a week or so with our club, I’m going to need Nimmo. I tell the press I expect Nimmo to be an important part of our team and hope he’ll show he’s equally committed to our team. That elicits a positive reaction, thankfully.



Transfers IN

DL – Kyle McDowell (from Ross County) – 19 years old, Northern Ireland
DL – Sam Lidington (from Stranraer) – 21 years old, Scotland
DR – Ian Stokes (from Partick Thistle) – 19 years old, Scotland
MR – Conor Langton (from Falkirk) – 19 years old, Scotland
AMC – Dominic McMeekin – 19 years old, Scotland

-- These are mostly depth signings at this point. Lidington has the best chance to get some first-team action out of this group.



Transfers IN – U18 Team

DL – Ross Fleming (from Partick Thistle) – 18 years old, Scotland
DM – Kyle Devlin (Free) – 16 years old, Scotland

-- Some depth for our U18s, with Fleming having some decent potential.



Next Up -

-- We head to Northern Ireland to face Bluefin Sport Championship side Knockbreda FC in our last preseason friendly before we begin Cup play.
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Old 11-18-2018, 02:02 PM   #10
NoSkillz
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Sat. July 14, 2018

Preseason Friendly
Knockbreda FC (Bluefin Sport Championship) vs. Queen’s Park FC
Breda Park, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Knockbreda are part of the Bluefin Sport Championship in Northern Ireland, the second tier of the Northern Ireland Football League. They finished in 10th last year (out of 12 teams) and they shouldn’t pose too much of a threat to us today.

This is our final warmup prior to Betfred Cup play (Scottish League Cup) and we will once again try to get as many starters in as possible. I decide to try a different formation today, going with a 4-4-2 narrow diamond formation but keeping our Gegenpress philosophy. This formation features no wingers, a DM, two MCs and an AM. I’m hopeful this helps our offense a little bit. I’m not starting DC Izhaak Ahmed, as I expect he will be signing with a professional team later this week. Trialist Amin Bouzaig gets a start at AMC.

Queen’s Park: 4-4-2 Narrow Diamond (4-1-2-1-2) Gegenpress (Positive Mentality)
GK – J. Hart
D – S. Lidington, D. Nimmo, L. Magee, J. Grant
DM – G. Fotheringham
MC – M. Breen, D. Thomas
AM – A. Bouzaig (trialist)
S – C. Higgins, J. Peters

Knockbreda 1 - 4 Queen’s Park
Goals – Ewan MacPherson 2 (8.5), Amin Bouzaig (7.1), Josh Peters (Pen – 6.7)
Assists – James Grant (7.9), Gavin Lachlan (6.9), Kyle McDowell (6.9)
Player of the Match – Ewan MacPherson
Other Dover Notables – Jordan Hart (7.3), Lewis Magee (7.0), Daniel Nimmo (7.6)
Attendance – 79 (31 away)

-- Trialist Amin Bouzaig got us on the board in the first half but despite dominating, we didn’t pull away until late in the second half, with our substitutes scoring twice in the late going. Striker Ewan MacPherson bagged a late-game brace and we held 61% of possession, outshooting them 27-9 (11-7 on target). Solid!



U18 Update

-- Our U18 team plays their first preseason friendly, knocking off Premiership Hamilton’s U18 team 3-0. Strikers Jamie Docherty, David Fraser and Kieran Moore score the goals and left fullback Ross Fleming is named player of the match.



Ahmed Makes His Decision…Another Player Considers an Offer

-- Recent DC signing Izhaak Ahmed received offers to sign a professional contract with three different clubs in the third tier in Sweden, Ahmed’s home country. Shockingly enough, my assistant manager informs me that he rejected all three offers and has opted to stay at Queen’s Park. This is excellent news – he’s my top rated DC at 3.5/4.0 and a certain starter from day one, with great speed for this level (15 Acceleration and 13 pace). He’s undersized at only 5’ 10” but I can pair him with the 6’ 4” Daniel Nimmo and we should be just fine. Great news!

-- I guess this is just something I’m going to have to get used to, as one of our U18 talents, DR Danny O’Halloran receives an offer from Civil Service and is considering a move. He wasn’t in my first-team plans so this isn’t a big deal but again, with all of my players here as volunteers, I just have to understand that any semi-decent players are going to be targets and could leave with little notice.



More Pressure from Nimmo

-- DC Daniel Nimmo is reportedly looking to leave our club due to his issues with me and the Ahmed signing, according to press reports. He won’t talk to me right now so my options are limited – if this continues I may have to just release him. But in the end, he’s my second best centre halfback and part of my starting eleven.



Reserves Update

-- I schedule a friendly for our backups and trialists and we win 4-1 over Cowdenbeath’s Reserves. Trialist Zidan Akers, Billy Mortimer, Smart Osadolar and Conor Langton score our goals and loanee Kyle MacDonald wins player of the match honours.



Transfers IN

DR – Ross Gilmour (from Stenhousemuir) – 24 years old, Scotland
MC – Derek Young (Free) – 38 years old, Scotland
AMC – Amin Bouzaig (Free) – 21 years old, Spain

-- Gilmour has been here on trial almost since my first day. He’s been solid in the games he’s played in. Young is at the end of his career but is still a 3.0/3.0 player and will definitely feature in the first team on a rotational basis. Bouzaig just arrived here on trial, scored in our last game and is a 3.5 rated AMC who will play behind stalwart Kurtis Roberts



MORE Attempted Poaching!

-- You have to be kidding me!? Just hours after we complete the signing of Amin Bouzaig, a couple of Spanish clubs offer him a professional contract. Oh yeah, and three MORE Swedish teams make offers to DC Izhaak Ahmed. This all just reinforces why I’m going to need a much larger squad then usual here at Queen’s Park.

Last edited by NoSkillz : 11-21-2018 at 03:38 PM.
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Old 11-21-2018, 03:34 PM   #11
NoSkillz
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Meet Your 2018-19 Queen’s Park FC Spiders!

-- We head into our season opening Betfred Cup match Spartans FC with 37 first team players, an absolutely ridiculous number and one that I will be looking to reduce by at least ten, if not more. Here's a look at a breakdown of our senior team along with notes on our reserves and key U18 personnel. Preferred starters are noted in bold.


GOALKEEPERS -
Jordan Hart, 22 years old, 4.5/5.0
Joe McGovern, 24 years old, 2.5/4.5

IN: Jordan Hart (Ayr - Free), Joe McGovern (Cowenbeath - Free)
OUT: Jack Dunlop (Released)

Hart, who started 25 games for League One club Ayr last year, is arguably our best player. He will get at least 75% of our starts. McGovern is a capable backup who played well in our friendlies and was an upgrade over Jack Dunlop. Goaltending is a team strength, without question.


DEFENDERS -
Izhaak Ahmed - DC, 18 years old, 3.5/4.0
Cammy Foy – DC, 20 years old, 2.5/3.5
Ross Gilmour – DR, 24 years old, 2.5/4.0
James Grant - DR, 18 years old, 3.0/4.0
Gavin Lachlan – DR, 26 years old, 2.5/3.0
Sam Lidington- DL, 21 years old, 2.5/3.0
Lewis Magee – DC, 18 years old, 2.5/4.0
Kyle McDowell – DL, 19 years old, 2.0/4.0
Dom McLaren – DC, 21 years old, 2.0/4.0
Gerry McLauchlan – DC, 29 years old, 2.5/2.5
Daniel Nimmo - DC, 22 years old, 3.0/4.0
Ian Stokes – DR, 19 years old, 2.5/3.5
Ciaran Summers - DL, 23 years old, 3.0/4.5

IN: Izhaak Ahmed (Rangers - Free), Ross Gilmour (Stenhousemuir - Free), Sam Lidington (Stranraer – Free), Kyle McDowell (Ross County – Free), Dom McLaren (Kilbirnie Ladeside – Free), Ian Stokes (Partick Thistle – Free)
OUT: Scott Gibson (Stirling – Free)

Ahmed and Nimmo are the starters in the middle and we have capable backups in Cammy Foy, Lewis Magee, Dom McLaren and Gerry McLaughlan. At fullback, Summers and Grant will start and we’ve added tons of depth, with Gilmour, Lachlan, Lidington, McDowell and Stokes available as backups. We likely have two or three players too many right now and will need to pare this down a bit within the next couple weeks.


MIDFIELDERS -
Amin Bouzaig – AMC, 21 years old, 3.0/3.0
Malky Breen – MC, 16 years old, 3.0/4.0
Brian Donaldson – AMR, 16 years old, 3.5/4.0
Gregor Fotheringham – DM, 24 years old, 2.5/4.0
Conor Langton – MR, 19 years old, 3.0/4.0
Kyle MacDonald – MC, 18 years old, 2.5/4.5 (ON LOAN)
Adam Martin – AML, 20 years old, 2.5/3.5
Jamie McKernon – MC, 26 years old, 4.0/4.0
Scott McLean – AMR, 20 years old, 2.5/4.0
Dominic McMeekin – AMC, 19 years old, 2.5/4.0
Ali Miller – MR, 19 years old, 2.0/2.0
Smart Osadolar – AML, 27 years old, 2.5/3.0
Kurtis Roberts - AMC, 23 years old, 4.0/5.0
James Stokes – AML, 19 years old, 2.0/4.0
Dylan Thomas - MC, 21 years old, 3.0/4.0
Derek Young – MC, 38 years old, 3.0/3.0

IN: Amin Bouzaig (Free), Malky Breen (Free), Brian Donaldson (Free), Conor Langton (Falkirk – Free), Kyle MacDonald (Motherwell – LOAN), Adam Martin (Alloa – Free), Jamie McKernon (Glenafton – Free), Scott McLean (Albion Rovers – Free), Dominic McMeekin (Dundee United – Free), Smart Osadolar (Clyde – Free), Kurtis Roberts (Kilbirnie Ladeside – Free), James Stokes (Partick Thistle – Free), Dylan Thomas (Aberdeen – Free), Derek Young (Formartine United – Free)
OUT: Dan Kindlan (Released), Dean Kindlan (Released)

We have entirely too many players here but we plan on going with multiple formations this year, with some including wingers and some not. Still, I need to reduce our midfielder count by four or five players at least. Jamie McKernon and Kurtis Roberts represent excellent quality and we have a couple of other solid central midfielders in Malky Breen, Dylan Thomas and veteran Derek Young. We are very weak on the wings, with only 16 year old Brian Donaldson looking above average.


STRIKERS -
Lewis Hawke – ST, 24 years old, 2.0/4.0
Connor Higgins – ST, 18 years old, 3.5/4.0
Ewan MacPherson – ST, 19 years old, 2.5/4.0
Billy Mortimer – ST, 21 years old, 2.5/4.0
Josh Peters – ST, 21 years old, 3.5/4.0
Brendan Sharpe – ST, 21 years old, 2.0/3.5

IN: Lewis Hawke (from FC Bulleen Lions – Free), Connor Higgins (from Partick Thistle – Free), Josh Peters (from Forfar – Free)
OUT: Euan East (Released)

Josh Peters is the star up front and he plays the “Pressing Forward” role perfectly. MacPherson dazzled in our last pre-season game and will get a chance to ride shotgun in the early goings with Peters as a poacher in two forward formations. Young Connor Higgins is interesting but may need some time in our reserves or with our U18s before getting action with the main squad.


RESERVE TEAM -

None at the moment...we will utilize backups from the Senior Team and U18'ers for the reserves this season.


U18 SQUAD -

GK Elliot Anderson, DR Sam Robertson, DR Cameron Lumsden, DR Rhys Scullion, DC Harry Granger, DC Tom McLaren, DL Ross Fleming, WBR Craig McManus, DM Kyle Devlin, MC Kieran Balfour, MC Taylor Berry, MC Calvin McGrory, ML Mark Joseph, ST Jamie Docherty, ST Kieran Moore, ST David Fraser

We actually have some solid talent here, with all of these players being new signings. Robertson, Scullion, Berry and Joseph all have the ability to step in right now with our senior team but are blocked by better players at the moment.


PLAYERS AWAY ON LOAN -

None


-- Again, we will need to make some cuts here to get our squad down to a more reasonable number of players. I think we've made some improvements at key areas and we will be moving forward with two main formations this year: the 4-2-3-1 and a 4-4-2 Narrow Diamond (no wingers).


-- My main goal for the season is to be in the race for promotion in league play. I'm not overly concerned about cup play at the moment but we'll see what happens as the season progresses...



Next Up -

-- I make my official debut as manager, as we begin Betfred Cup group stage play (Scotland League Cup), hosting Lowland League club Spartans at Hampden Park.

Last edited by NoSkillz : 11-21-2018 at 03:39 PM.
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Old 11-21-2018, 10:41 PM   #12
NoSkillz
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Wed. July 18, 2018

Betfred Cup – Group E
Queen’s Park (0-0-0-0, 0 points, 3rd) vs. Spartans (0-0-0-1, 0 points, 4th)
Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland

Betting Odds: Queen’s Park: 4-5 (Favourites) Draw: 2-1 Spartans: 3-1
Past Meetings: 0W 0D 0L

Our season begins with group stage play in the Betfred Cup, which is the Scottish League Cup. We have a decent group, with Kilmarnock the stiffest competition and only Premiership team in our group. We have two League One teams in Dumbarton and Airdrieonians and one Lowlands League club in Spartans, our opponent today. We play each team once and the top point getter moves on to the next round, along with the best four teams who finish in second in their groups.

Spartans are coming off a championship season in the Lowlands League but lost out on possible promotion to League Two in a two-game, aggregate playoff loss to Cove Rangers FC. Interestingly enough, I see that they have signed GK Jack Dunlop, who I just released a couple weeks ago but it looks like he will be a backup in this contest. Spartans lost 2-1 to Kilmarnock in their first Group E game so they are already behind the 8-ball in this competition.

We’re favorites in this match and we really need to take care of business here because the last three games will be against teams in better leagues. We’ll stick with our two striker formation and narrow midfield that was successful in our last game. Ewan MacPherson scored two goals in that one coming off the bench and earns a start here. The disgruntled Daniel Nimmo starts alongside the guy that’s unsettled him in young Izhaak Ahmed. We also decide to start 16 year old MC Malky Breen after a solid preseason. Before the game, we name 26 year old MC Jamie McKernon as team captain. Positive mentality in this one.

Queen’s Park: 4-4-2 Diamond Narrow – Positive Mentality
GK – Jordan Hart
D – Ciaran Summers, Daniel Nimmo, Izhaak Ahmed, James Grant
DM – Gregor Fotheringham
M – Malky Breen, Jamie McKernon
AM – Kurtis Roberts
S – Josh Peters, Ewan MacPherson
Bench – Sam Lidington, Cammy Foy, Gavin Lachlan, Derek Young, Dylan Thomas, Amin Bouzaig, Billy Mortimer

Spartans come out in a flat 4-5-1 formation, overloading the midfield, which is probably a smart move. Their lone striker up front is Harry Girdwood. I tell the team to go out and give a good performance for our home supporters.

5’ – Spartans have the ball down the right wing and our left fullback Ciaran Summers makes a lovely tackle and strips the ball away. We counter quickly, sending a long ball up to Ewan MacPherson, who settles the ball down and fires a shot from just inside the area past the Spartans keeper. Quick strikel! QUEEN’S PARK GOAL 1-0

24’ – We have a throw in down the left side around midfield and move the ball to captain Jamie McKernon. He delivers a long ball up to a streaking MacPherson and once again, he makes no mistake. MacPherson bags a brace! QUEEN’S PARK GOAL 2-0

HALFTIME – Pretty solid, all things considered. We have a slight possession advantage (51%) and a 13-2 (7-0 on target) shot advantage. Let’s keep it going!

64’ – DM Gregor Fotheringham has a yellow so we pull him off, move Izhaak Ahmed into his slot and bring in DC Cammy Foy.

73’ – Another substitution, as we take out captain McKernon and bring in some veteran presence in Derek Young.

74’ – We cause a turnover almost right away through Young, who sends a ball up to MacPherson near midfield. Spartans are sending men forward and there is only one defender back, allowing MacPherson to feed a pass up to a wide open Josh Peters. He runs up the middle and blasts a shot past keeper Blair Carswell to give us the three goal advantage! QUEEN’S PARK GOAL 3-0

85’ – We make our last substitution, taking out right fullback James Grant and inserting Gavin Lachlan.

That’s it. A solid performance in game one!

Queen’s Park 3 - 0 Spartans
Goals – Ewan MacPherson 2 (8.8), Josh Peters (7.5)
Assists – Ciaran Summers (8.7), Jamie McKernon (7.7), Ewan MacPherson
Man of the Match – Ewan MacPherson
Other Dover Notables – Daniel Nimmo (7.8), Izaak Ahmed (7.2), James Grant (7.3), Kurtis Roberts (7.0)
Attendance - 412 (23 away)

Possession was dead even, as Spartans took advantage of their five-man midfield to hold a lot of the ball but they couldn’t produce anything with it, as we outshoot them 20-2 (12-0 on target).

-- Kilmarnock destroys Airdrie 5-2 and moves to 2-0-0-0 in Group E, not much of a surprise as the only Premiership team in our group.



O’Halloran Departs

-- U18 fullback Danny O’Halloran accepts a contract offer with Civil Service and departs the club. Not a big deal.

-- Another U18 player could be leaving, as Tom McLaren has three contract offers come in. Again, this is just something I’m going to have to get used to on a club that has no players under contract.



Ladbrokes Scottish League Two Promotion Odds

-- Peterhead FC are the overwhelming favourites for promotion this season, with the bookies giving them 1-5 odds to move up. Clyde, Edinburgh City and Stirling are all giving even odds to get the bounce. At odds of 8-5, we’re ranked 6th out of the 10 teams in the league to move up. We’ll look to exceed those expectations. Albion Rovers, at 20-1, are favoured to finish bottom of the table.



Ahmed Elects to Stay (Again)…Bouzaig Departs

-- Izaak Ahmed rejects three more contract offers and elects to stay with Queen’s Park. He’s one of our best players so I’m guessing he’ll continue to be a target. However, only days after signing with our squad, attacking midfielder Amin Bouzaig accepts a contract offer from Racing in Santander, a fourth-tier club in Spain. He was on the bench for our 3-0 win over Spartans but did not feature in the game. Tough loss – he was a very talented player but was behind Kurtis Roberts on our depth chart so we will survive.



Transfer IN

We sign Zldan Akers, a 19 year old right winger. This youngster started in Reading’s youth program before moving to Scotland and into Heart’s youth setup. A very solid 3.5/4.0 player who will definitely get a chance to play if and when we utilize wingers.



Next Up -

-- We face League One Airdrieonians in Betfred Cup Group E play in Airdrie.

Last edited by NoSkillz : 11-21-2018 at 10:49 PM.
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Old 11-22-2018, 12:41 AM   #13
NoSkillz
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Sat. July 21, 2018

Betfred Cup – Group E
Airdrie (0-0-0-2, 0 points, 4th) vs. Queen’s Park (1-0-0-0, 3 points, 2nd)
The Penny Cars Stadium, Airdrie, Scotland

Betting Odds: Airdrie: 4-6 (Favourites) Draw: 9-4 Queen’s Park: 7-2
Past Meetings: 0W 0D 0L

Airdrieonians are in big trouble in this competition, sitting 0-2 with losses to Dumbarton and Kilmarnock and are longshots to move on. They finished two spots ahead of us in League One last year but the media feels they’ll be stronger in 18/19, with a third place prediction. My advance scout feels they are a hard working club but they don’t look to have any superstars. They usually play a 4-1-2-3 with a defensive mid, two wingers and one striker.

We’re pretty big underdogs here and I’m going to go with a more balanced approach to start while maintaining our 4-4-2 diamond narrow formation. We make one change to our starting eleven, inserting veteran Derek Young at midfield in place of 16 year old Malky Breen, who looked overmatched in our first game. AMC Dominic McMeekin is on the bench in this contest, replacing the departed Amin Bouzaig.

Queen’s Park: 4-4-2 Diamond Narrow – Balanced Mentality
GK – Jordan Hart
D – Ciaran Summers, Daniel Nimmo, Izhaak Ahmed, James Grant
DM – Gregor Fotheringham
M – Derek Young, Jamie McKernon
AM – Kurtis Roberts
S – Josh Peters, Ewan MacPherson
Bench – Sam Lidington, Cammy Foy, Gavin Lachlan, Derek Young, Dylan Thomas, Dominic McMeekin, Billy Mortimer

As expected, Airdrie come out in their 4-1-2-3 DM with one striker, two goal man Darryl Duffy. Scott Gallacher is their keeper.

HALFTIME – A drab affair but we are the better club so far, holding an impressive 64% of possession and a 4-2 (2-0 on target) shot advantage. Their keeper made a stunning save on a Derek Young shot to keep things scoreless. I tell the lads they’ve been the better team and to keep doing what they’re doing!

60’ – We continue to dominate possession and Airdrie have made a change to try to get things going. We work the ball outside and fullback James Grant is up on the play and crosses into the box. Airdie attempt to clear but it’s headed to captain Jamie McKernon just outside the box. He one touches a pass to fellow midfielder Derek Young and he steps into a ROCKET that goes past the diving Gallacher and it’s IN! What a strike!!! QUEEN’S PARK GOAL 1-0

68’ – We are pressing again but fullback Ciaran Summers loses the ball and Airdrie send the ball long. They have numbers and the ball eventually works its way to a wide open Kyle Wilkie and he easily deposits the ball past Jordan Hart and level the score. Shocking defending. AIRDRIE GOAL 1-1

71’ – We make our first substitution, taking out an exhausted Summers and inserting Sam Lidington.

77’ – Another substitution, with Dylan Thomas replacing our goalscorer, the excellent Derek Young.

We hold them off for the balance of regulation time but this competition doesn’t see overtime…we immediately move into a shootout!

And it’s a wild one, as their first five players all score…but they are matched by Josh Peters, Kurtis Roberts, Dylan Thomas, Ewan MacPherson and Gregor Fotheringham! So we move to sudden death…

Jonathan Page scores for Airdrie. AIRDRIE SCORES 5-6
Jamie McKernon scores!!! QUEEN’S PARK SCORES 6-6
Kieran Miller scores. AIRDRIE SCORES 6-7
Fullback James Grant also scores! QUEEN’S PARK SCORES 7-7
Josh Edwards keeps the pressure on. Damn! AIRDRIE SCORES 7-8
Can a goalkeeper make a save? Up steps young Izaak Ahmed and he scores! QUEEN’S PARK SCORES 8-8
Mark Finlayson is up and JORDAN HART MAKES THE SAVE!!!
Stepping up with a chance to win is disgruntled centre back Daniel Nimmo and he rips one into the bottom corner!!! QUEEN’S PARK SCORES 9-8

What a win!!!

Airdrie 1 - 1 Queen’s Park (Queen’s Park Win 9-8 on Penalties)
Goals – Derek Young (8.3)
Assists –Jamie McKernon (7.0)
Man of the Match – Derek Young
Other Dover Notables – Jordan Hart (7.0)
Attendance - 570 (198 away)

A very impressive road performance against a team in a higher league, as we hold 59% of the ball and an 11-5 (6-3 on target) shot advantage. Their keeper made a couple of point blank saves in the second half to keep the score level but we score on all nine penalties to take two out of three points!

-- Kilmarnock continues to dominate, beating up on Dumbarton 3-0 to move to 3-0-0-0 in the group with only us to play. We are comfortably in second place with 5 points and Dumbarton is in third with 3. If we can squeeze out one more win against either of those clubs, I’d say our chances of moving on as a wildcard are very good.



U18 Update

-- Our U18’s defeat Montrose U18 4-0 in a preseason friendly. Kieran Balfour scores twice and we get singles from Kieran Moore and David Fraser.



U18 Transfer IN

-- We sign 18 year old winger Lewis Hutchison to our U18 squad. Hutchison comes over from Aberdeen and is a 2.0/4.0 talent.



Transfers OUT

DC Dom McLaren (Released)
MR Ali Miller (Released)
ST Brendan Sharpe (Released)

-- We release three players that were all surplus to requirements. We have much more roster pruning to do but this is a start.



Tom McLaren Stays On

-- U18 fullback Tom McLaren decides to stay on board and rejects overtures from three other clubs. I have a feeling stuff like this will continue all year so I’m not going to mention it unless the player elects to leave.



Next Up -

-- We face another League One opponent in Betfred Cup Group E play, as we host Dumbarton at Hampden Park.
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Old 11-23-2018, 01:52 PM   #14
NoSkillz
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Wed. July 25, 2018

Betfred Cup – Group E
Queen’s Park (1-1-0-0, 5 points, 2nd) vs. Dumbarton (1-0-0-1, 3 points, 3rd)
Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland

Betting Odds: Queen’s Park: 7-2 Draw: 9-4 Dumbarton: 4-6 (Favourites)
Past Meetings: 0W 0D 0L

Dumbarton are coming off a six year run in the Championship but a 9th place finish in 17/18, followed by a playoff loss, meant relegation to League One for this coming season. They have an interesting history and are one of only two teams who have won a league title in all four of the top tiers in Scottish football. Their key player is attacking midfielder Dom Thomas, who played for Premiership side Kilmarnock last year and their top goalkeeper is Grant Adam.

I contemplate making some changes to our lineup but we’re playing well and the lads seem up for it from a fitness perspective so I’ll stick with the exact same starting eleven and the same tactical framework.

Queen’s Park: 4-4-2 Diamond Narrow – Balanced Mentality
GK – Jordan Hart
D – Ciaran Summers, Daniel Nimmo, Izhaak Ahmed, James Grant
DM – Gregor Fotheringham
M – Derek Young, Jamie McKernon
AM – Kurtis Roberts
S – Josh Peters, Ewan MacPherson
Bench – Sam Lidington, Cammy Foy, Gavin Lachlan, Malky Breen, Dylan Thomas, Dominic McMeekin, Billy Mortimer

We’re underdogs so I play that fact up in my pregame chat with the players and tell them to go out and show them our abilities. Dumbarton come out in a flat 4-4-1-1.

11’ – Dumbarton are controlling play early and work the ball towards the top of our area. Their left winger Bobby Barr, a right footed player, hits a curling stunner into the far corner of the goal past a diving Jordan Hart and we’re down early. DUMBARTON GOAL 0-1

14’ – Our opponents continue to dominate the early goings and have a throw in deep down our left side. Jamie McKernon attempts to head the ball away but it’s intercepted and passed to their key man Dom Thomas, whose left footed blast is sent past Hart and we’re in big trouble already. DUMBARTON GOAL 0-2

HALFTIME – Not good. We have zero highlights in that first half and despite possession being dead even, Dumbarton have outshot us 8-2 (4-0 on target) and are causing all sorts of problems. I tell the team I expect much better in the second half.

58’ – Nothing is happening so I make a couple changes, taking out a tired James Grant and Derek Young, bringing on Gavin Lachlan and Malky Breen as replacements.

69’ – There’s a bizarre sequence that sees Lachlan send a long ball up the right flank to no one in particular but their defender Willie Dyer heads the ball right into the scoring area. It’s a 50/50 ball and a diving Dyer wins the ball but it is sent right onto the foot of Josh Peters and he calmly left foots the ball past their keeper and we’re back in this thing! Brutal sequence for their defender. QUEEN’S PARK GOAL 1-2

76’ – We lose possession in their end and Dom Thomas hoofs a long ball over our defense to a streaking Calum Gallagher, who makes no mistake punching one past Hart and we’re done. DUMBARTON GOAL 1-3

77’ – I make one more change after the goal, bringing on Cammy Foy, who moves to DC while Izhaak Ahmed moves up to defensive mid, replacing Gregor Fotheringham.

Lackluster.

Queen’s Park 1 - 3 Dumbarton
Goals – Josh Peters (7.3)
Assists –
Man of the Match – Dom Thomas (Dumbarton – 9.0)
Other Dover Notables –
Attendance - 528 (130 away)

Well, we’re not quite ready for the big boys yet but the final stats were respectable, with us edging them on possession with 51% of the ball and a 13-12 (4-7 on target) shot advantage. We pressed hard in the second half and controlled play while they sat back.

-- If we had any aspirations of moving on in this competition, they just were dealt a huge blow. Kilmarnock has already locked up the group and sits with a perfect nine points and the Premiership club will next host us in our final group match. We’ll need them to rest their starters if we’re to have any chance by the looks of it. That said, Dumbarton is now a point ahead of us as well and face the cellar-dwelling Spartans so we don’t even control our own destiny at this point. Not a big deal either way…I’ll likely do a bit of squad rotating for that Kilmarnock game just to aid the fitness of those who haven’t suited up yet.

-- I get word that star striker Josh Peters sustained a tight thigh while being tackled late in the game. He’ll miss a few days of training but should be okay for our season opening game in league play.



Transfer IN

-- We welcome 20 year old DC Kesi Omolokun to the senior team. Omolokun was out of football last year after coming up through Aberdeen’s youth setup. He’s a 2.5/4.0 talent and will likely move into our rotation at some point.



Transfers OUT

DC – Dom McLaren (Released)
DR – Gavin Lachlan (Released)
DR – Ian Stokes (Released)
MR – James Stokes (Released)
MR – Ali Miller (Released)
MR – Scott McLean (Released)

-- We release a number of players to get our senior squad number down to 31, still a high number. But we aren’t paying any of them so I don’t see this presenting much of a problem, at least for now. Of the cuts, Lachlan may be a surprise, as he’s already seen some time coming off the bench but we have some younger players with more potential that can step in at right fullback.



U18 Update

-- Our youth team plays to a 1-1 draw against the Kilmarnock U18s, a solid result. Striker David Fraser scores our goal and right fullback Rhys Scullion is player of the match.



Next Up -

-- We are massive underdogs, as we complete group stage play in the Betfred Cup by travelling to Premiership side Kilmarnock.

Last edited by NoSkillz : 11-23-2018 at 01:53 PM.
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Old 11-23-2018, 03:57 PM   #15
NoSkillz
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Sat. July 28, 2018

Betfred Cup – Group E
Kilmarnock (3-0-0-0, 9 points, 1st) vs. Queen’s Park (1-1-0-1, 5 points, 3rd)
Rugby Park, Kilmarnock, Scotland

Betting Odds: Kilmarnock: 1-8 (Favourites) Draw: 5-1 Queen’s Park: 12-1
Past Meetings: 0W 0D 0L

Kilmarnock has become a Scottish Premiership constant, with 2018/19 being their 25th straight year in the top flight. They are coming off a solid 5th place finish last year, their best this decade and media pundits feel they once again are destined for a mid-table finish in 2018/19. Most of their historical success came in the mid 1900’s but they did win the Betfred Cup in 2012, their most recent championship. I can only smile when finding out that their key player is defender Stephen O’Donnell, a name I recognize from a former life (ie: my Dover Athletic dynasty, where he was a member of our club for awhile). Jamie MacDonald is their main keeper. They have guaranteed qualification for the next round so I’m hoping they rotate their squad to give us even the slightest chance of getting a result.

Speaking of squad rotation, we are a tired bunch and I decide to make wholesale changes to our squad and also decide to go with a 4-2-3-1 formation, utilizing wingers for the first time in the competititon. Joe McGovern will tend goal, new signing Kesi Omolokun goes directly into the lineup and Billy Mortimer will be our lone striker. Despite being massive underdogs, I’m going with a positive mentality to start and hope to jump on them quickly.

Queen’s Park: 4-2-3-1 Wide – Positive Mentality
GK – Joe McGovern
D – Sam Lidington, Cammy Foy, Kesi Omolokun, Sam Robertson
M –Dylan Thomas, Kyle MacDonald
AM – Adam Martin, Dominic McMeekin, Brian Donaldson
S – Billy Mortimer
Bench – Kyle McDowell, Gerry McLauchlan, Ross Gilmour, Smart Osadolar, Zldan Akers, Malky Breen, Connor Higgins

Kilmarnock come out in a flat 4-4-2 and both O’Donnell and MacDonald are starting, so they aren’t taking this game for granted. Hopefully we can keep this one reasonably close. I tell the players the pressure is off and just go out there and enjoy the game.

2’ – Kilmarnock have an opportunity in our end but we steal possession and work a long ball up the left flank to Adam Martin. He sends in a low cross and it’s right to striker Billy Mortimer. His point blank shot is stopped by MacDonald but the rebound pops right back to Mortimer and he slams the ball into the net. WHAT A START! QUEEN’S PARK GOAL 1-0

19’ – Kilmarnock are pouring on the pressure and score off a rush but the goal is ruled OFFSIDES! Whew!

31’ – It’s O’Donnell with the ball down the right flank and his cross into the box meets the head of Greg Stewart and it’s past McGovern and in. KILMARNOCK GOAL 1-1

32’ – Wow. Kilmarnock send a long ball up field and a header and a little touch pass springs Eamonn Brophy and he rips one past McGovern and just like that, they have two goals in two minutes. KILMARNOCK GOAL 1-2

35’ – Oh my god. They spring a counter attack after a horrible kick by our goalkeeper and loanee Kyle MacDonald brings down their striker in the box. That’s a PENALTY. Chris Burke steps up and rips it into the net. KILMARNOCK GOAL 1-3

HALFTIME – Wow. Such a promising start but Kilmarnock is just destroying us on the break and our defenders are way too slow to stop them. Keep in mind, this is our backup crew playing today against a club three tiers above us so I can’t get too upset. Kilmarnock held 53% of possession and a whopping 11-3 (9-1 on target) shot advantage. Poor Joe McGovern! He’s playing well!

68’ – We’re doing alright but just miss a great opportunity to get within one, shooting wide. I pull off winger Brian Donaldson, who has a yellow, and bring in newcomer Zldan Akers.

72’ – I pull off our goal scorer, Billy Mortimer, inserting 18 year old Connor Higgins.

81’ – Young Connor Higgins shows some brilliant moves, eluding a defender’s attempted tackle and crossing the ball to a wide open Dominic McMeekin but he shockingly shoots wide on an open net. Oh boy. We pull off Adam Martin and bring in Smart Osadolar.

Kilmarnock get a couple late chances but we are able to keep them off the board in the second half. Five bad minutes cost us here.

Kilmarnock 3 - 1 Queen’s Park
Goals – Billy Mortimer (7.1)
Assists –
Man of the Match – Stephen O’Donnell (Kilmarnock – 8.4)
Other Dover Notables –
Attendance - 2827 (229 away)

All things considered, I’m happy with this performance. We get playing time for our second team and are quite competitive versus Premiership competition. In the end, possession was dead even and Kilmarnock held a 17-7 (12-1 on target) shot advantage. Our keeper was excellent.



McKernon Named Captain

-- We are asked to officially name our captains for the season and we keep Jamie McKernon in that role, with fellow MC Dylan Thomas named assistant.



Next Up -

-- We have one last preseason friendly against Carnoustie before beginning Ladbrokes League Two play.
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Old 11-23-2018, 09:42 PM   #16
NoSkillz
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Mon. July 30, 2018

Preseason Friendly
Carnoustie Panmure (Scotland – East Superleague) vs. Queen’s Park FC
Laing Park, Carnoustie, Scotland

Carnoustie Panmure are part of the East Superleague in the Scottish Junior Football Association. They shouldn’t put up much of a fight in this one.

We’re using this game to refine tactics and hopefully it will provide some confidence as we approach our first league game. We’re starting a mix of starters and backups and will go back to our narrow 4-4-2 formation.

Queen’s Park: 4-4-2 Diamond Narrow (4-1-2-1-2) Gegenpress (Positive Mentality)
GK – Jordan Hart
D – Ciaran Summers, Gerry McLauchlan, Izhaak Ahmed, Ross Gilmour
DM – Gregor Fotheringham
MC – Malky Breen, Dylan Thomas
AM – Kurtis Roberts
S – C. Higgins, Ewan MacPherson

Carnoustie 0 - 4 Queen’s Park
Goals – Connor Higgins 3 (9.6), Kurtis Roberts (8.3)
Assists – Ross Gilmour (9.0), Malky Breen (7.8), Ewan MacPherson (7.9)
Player of the Match – Connor Higgins
Other Dover Notables – Jordan Hart (7.2), Izhaak Ahmed (7.9), Gerry McLauchlan (7.6), Ciaran Summers (7.6), Gregor Fotheringham (7.5), Jamie McKernon (7.4)
Attendance – 65 (38 away)

-- We scored all four goals in the first half and then called off the dogs. 18 year old striker Connor Higgins looked like a superstar against admittedly poor competition but I may give him a shot to play in the first team at some point soon. We held 60% of the ball and outshot Carnousite 15-6 (7-4 on target). Honestly, I’m not super impressed…I’d like to see more shots on goal against such a poor team and we gave up too many good chances too. We need to be better when the games count.

-- Winger Zldan Akers has a tight hamstring and won’t be ready for our season opening game against Peterhead.



August Update

-- We hit August and we have a pretty reasonable schedule out of the gates, with four League Two games (Berwick Rangers and Albion Rovers at home; Peterhead and Annan Athletic away) and a first round Irn-Bru Cup match against Falkirk, a Championship side, in Falkirk. Tough draw.



Transfer OUT

-- Our worst nightmare comes true. After seeing him reject multiple overtures over the past month, stalwart centre half Izhaak Ahmed accepts a contract offer from Assyriska FF in Sweden’s third tier and departs with immediate effect. He was our best DC but now he’s making 250 pounds per week and playing professional football. A huge blow just before we start our league season.

-- After the announcement is made, fellow DC Daniel Nimmo, who has battled me since the day I signed Ahmed, comes out and says he wants to stay at Queen’s Park now that “his place in the squad is assured”. Give me a break – if I wasn’t desperate I’d cut him right now.



Transfer IN

-- We sign 20 year old defensive midfielder Ross Finnie, a 3.0/4.0 talent, on a free. Finnie comes from the Wolves youth setup in the English Championship so this feels like a huge deal for us. If he’s as good as I think he is, I’m guessing he’s a target for other teams as well. He’s better than incumbent starter Gregor Fotheringham and once fit, he’ll be playing.



Next Up -

-- Our regular season in Ladbrokes League Two play begins, as we travel to Peterhead to face the pundits choice for promotion.

Last edited by NoSkillz : 11-23-2018 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 11-24-2018, 08:17 PM   #17
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Old 11-25-2018, 01:42 PM   #18
NoSkillz
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Thanks for reading GE!
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Old 11-25-2018, 08:57 PM   #19
NoSkillz
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Sat. August 4, 2018

Ladbrokes League Two
Peterhead (0-0-0, 0 points, -) vs. Queen’s Park (0-0-0, 0 points, -)
Balmoor Stadium Peterhead, Scotland

Betting Odds: Peterhead: 1-6 (Favourites) Draw: 5-1 Queen’s Park: 10-1
Past Meetings: 0W 0D 0L

Peterhead come into the season as the media’s favourite for promotion, coming off a second placed finish in League Two last season. They spent the previous three years in League One and had a third place finish in that league as recently as 2015/16 so I get why their chances are so good for promotion. They also finished as runners up in the Irn-Bru Cup in 2016. Their key player is striker Rory McAllister, who also serves as their captain and their starting keeper is Greg Fleming.

Perhaps against my better judgement, I’m going with a positive mentality despite being sizable underdogs. I simply want to see where our team stands against the best in the league on the road. With no Izhaak Ahmed, I’m going to try loanee Kyle MacDonald at DC and I’m going with Ross Gilmour at right fullback. 18 year old striker Connor Higgins will also start up front after his hat trick in our last preseason friendly.

Queen’s Park: 4-4-2 Diamond Narrow – Positive Mentality
GK – Jordan Hart
D – Ciaran Summers, Daniel Nimmo, Kyle MacDonald, Ross Gilmour
DM –Gregor Fotheringham
M – Derek Young, Jamie McKernon
AM – Kurtis Roberts
S – Connor Higgins, Josh Peters
Bench – Sam Lidington, Cammy Foy, James Grant, Ross Finnie, Dylan Thomas, Dominic McMeekin, Ewan MacPherson

Peterhead are in a 4-3-1-2 formation. Interestingly enough, they are starting 18 year old Ryan Gibson in goal. I tell the team the pressure is off so go out and play well for our travelling support.

26’ – Peterhead’s left fullback Paddy Boyle sends a ball up the middle to their main man Rory McAllister and he’s behind our defense. He’s in on goal and passes left to strike partner Derek Lyle, and his shot deflects off Jordan Hart and is in. PETERHEAD GOAL 0-1

34’ – Ciaran Summers sends a ball to the opposite flank to Ross Gilmour. He crosses into the box and there is Josh Peters heading it home for the equalizer! QUEEN’S PARK GOAL 1-1

45’+1 – We’re into extra time and Peterhead play a long ball up to Lyle. He gets into the area and his shot deflects off one of our defenders and rolls slowly toward the far post. Our keeper seems completely oblivious to what’s happening and there is McAllister tapping the ball into the empty net. Brutal. PETERHEAD GOAL 1-2

HALFTIME – That goal in extra time was a killer, as we were holding our own that half. We held 53% of possession and shots were 10-10 (6-2 on target) in their favour. I stress that the pressure is off in my half-time team talk and to go out there and show our abilities.

49’ – Peterhead have a free kick just outside the area and Jamie Stevenson sends in a cross that meets the foot of Cammy Eadie and we’re down two. PETERHEAD GOAL 1-3

60’ – I pull off Gregor Fotheringham and bring in new signing Ross Finnie.

70’ – Another change, as I bring in Ewan MacPherson for the ineffective Connor Higgins.

71’ – Stevenson has a corner kick and crosses into our area and it’s headed in by Lyle. That’s his second and we’re toast. PETERHEAD GOAL 1-4

76’ – We have possession down the left flank and Ciaran Summers sends a long ball up to MacPherson. It’s a perfect ball and he’s past the defense and one touches a shot into the far corner of the goal. Beauty! QUEEN’S PARK GOAL 2-4

78’ – One more change, as we bring on midfielder Dylan Thomas and take out Derek Young.

Oh well. Onwards and upwards.

Peterhead 4 - 2 Queen’s Park
Goals – Josh Peters (7.0), Ewan MacPherson (7.3)
Assists – Ross Gilmour (6.6), Ciaran Summers (6.6)
Man of the Match – Derek Lyle (Peterhead – 8.8)
Other Dover Notables –
Attendance - 752 (127 away)

We held 54% of possession and outshot them 17-15 (7-10 on target) – this tells me a couple of things: first, we have enough talent to hang around with anyone in this league. Second, we’re just getting exposed in the back due to a plodding defense that has little speed to keep up with quick opposing strikers. I need to tweak my tactics against favoured opponents, perhaps dropping my defensive line and maybe I need to hold off on pressing until our opponent gets into our half of the field to eliminate the long-ball goals against. We’ve also been terrible on set pieces and that’s a huge weakness with our tactics right now as well.



Season Ticket Sales Announced

-- Barcelona, we’re not. The Queen’s Park ticket office announces we’ve sold 250 season ticket packages for the year. Hampden Park will be looking pretty empty this season!



Loan IN

-- 17 year old centre-half Scott Glover joins Queen’s Park on a season-long loan from St. Mirren. This 2.5/4.0 defender is currently on the shelf with sprained knee ligaments and likely won’t be available for about a month but he may be able to help us later in the season.



U18 Update

-- Our U18 team opened up their season with a rousing 5-3 victory, propelled by goalkeeper Elliot Anderson, who SCORED TWO GOALS on penalties! Don’t think I’ve ever seen that before from a GK! We also got goals from Ross Fleming, Calvin McGrory and Taylor Berry.



Reserves Update

-- Our reserves team fell 1-0 to the Ayr Reserves in game one of their season. Right fullback Sam Robertson was named player of the match in a losing effort.



Next Up -

-- We welcome Berwick to Hampden Park in our home opener in League Two play.
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Old 11-25-2018, 10:21 PM   #20
NoSkillz
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Sat. August 11, 2018

Ladbrokes League Two
Queen’s Park (0-0-1, 0 points, 8th) vs. Berwick (1-0-0, 3 points, 5th)
Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland

Betting Odds: Queen’s Park: 6-4 (Favourites) Draw: 2-1 Berwick: 13-8
Past Meetings: 0W 0D 0L

We are the slightest of favourites against Berwick Rangers FC, who are coming off a season-opening win against Stirling, 1-0. This is Berwick’s tenth straight year in League Two and they are coming off an 8th place finish last year. They’ve had extended periods of time spent in League One over the past 40 years but their last year in the Championship was 1980/81. The media picked them to finish 4th this year and their key player is Maciej Dabrowski, their goalkeeper. I’m also told we need to watch out for striker Greg Hurst in today’s matchup.

As favourites, I’m going to go with our 4-4-2 narrow diamond one more time. We will make a few changes to our starting eleven, bringing in striker Ewan MacPherson to play up front with Josh Peters. Vice captain Dylan Thomas will play in the midfield today and I introduce some speed to the middle of my defense, brining in newcomer Kesi Omolokun. Right fullback James Grant also comes in to start and brings a bit more speed to our backline.

Queen’s Park: 4-4-2 Diamond Narrow – Positive Mentality
GK – Jordan Hart
D – Ciaran Summers, Daniel Nimmo, Kesi Omolokun, James Grant
DM – Gregor Fotheringham
M – Dylan Thomas, Jamie McKernon
AM – Kurtis Roberts
S – Ewan MacPherson, Josh Peters
Bench – Sam Lidington, Cammy Foy, Ross Gilmour, Ross Finnie, Derek Young, Kyle MacDonald, Connor Higgins

I tell the team in the room I expect a much better performance today. Berwick start with a 5-2-2-1 formation, with two wingbacks and Greg Hurst alone up front. Dabrowski, as expected, is in goal for Berwick.

1’ – We take the opening kick and our opening attack is deflected out for a corner. Kurtis Roberts sends the corner into the box and it’s left fullback Ciaran Summers sending a forceful header into the corner of the net. What a start!!! QUEEN’S PARK GOAL 1-0

31’ – We have an extended period of possession and send a ball out wide to James Grant. His low cross is to the near post and Josh Peters slides and boots the ball into the net! QUEEN’S PARK GOAL 2-0

HALFTIME – A pretty solid half of football. We held 56% of possession and outshot them 8-4 (2-1 on target). I’d like more chances but you can’t fault a 2-0 lead through 45. I tell the boys I’m pleased.

64’ – Things are pretty quiet. I pull off an ineffective Jamie McKernon and bring in Derek Young.

68’ – We have another corner and again, it’s Roberts with a beautiful cross to the far post and it’s headed in by Kesi Omolokun, his first for Queen’s Park! QUEEN’S PARK GOAL 3-0

72’ – We bring on youngster Connor Higgins, taking out goalscorer Josh Peters.

78’ – One more change, as we insert Ross Finnie in place of Gregor Fotheringham.

We hold them off the rest of the way. Super.

Queen’s Park 3 - 0 Berwick
Goals – Ciaran Summers (8.6), Josh Peters (7.4), Kesi Omolokun (8.4)
Assists – Kurtis Roberts 2 (8.3), James Grant (8.4)
Man of the Match – Ciaran Summers
Other Dover Notables – Daniel Nimmo (7.6), Dylan Thomas (7.0)
Attendance - 1038 (186 away)

We held 57% of possession and outshot them 13-6 (5-1 on target). A very solid defensive effort here, as they had very few highlights in this one. We move into fifth place on the table with the win.

-- In other League Two action, Clyde destroys Stirling 6-1 and sit top of the table with a perfect 2-0-0 record and a +8 goal differential. Edinburgh City, Annan and Peterhead all win as well and all have perfect starts to the season as well.



League Two Players of the Week

-- Two Spiders make the Ladbrokes Scottish League Two Team of the Week, with fullbacks Ciaran Summers and James Grant getting honoured for their fine game against Berwick.


-- Speaking of Ciaran Summers, league leaders Clyde have been sniffing around the last couple weeks and I find out that they have offered him a contract. Once again, it’s looking like I’m going to lose yet another of my best players to a professional club. This isn’t an easy job!!!



Next Up -

-- We face the impossible, as we face Scottish Championship side Falkirk in the first round of the Irn-Bru (Challenge) Cup.
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Old 11-26-2018, 12:27 AM   #21
NoSkillz
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Tue. August 14, 2018

Irn-Bru Cup – First Round
Falkirk (Scottish Championship) vs. Queen’s Park
The Falkirk Stadium, Falkirk, Scotland

Betting Odds: Falkirk: 1-6 (Favourites) Draw: 5-1 Queen’s Park: 10-1
Past Meetings: 0W 0D 0L

We “face the impossible” in our first round match in Irn-Bru Cup play (Scottish Challenge Cup), facing Championship side Falkirk, who sit two tiers above us on the Scottish pyramid. Like us, they are 1-0-1 in league play thus far and the media predict a mid-table finish for them this year. Falkirk has bounced around between the Premiership and the Championship for the last 40 years or so, with their last appearance in League One all the way back in 1979/80. They finished 8th in the Championship last year but were runners up two consecutive seasons before that. They were also runners up in the William Hill Scottish Cup as recently as 2015. Their key player is Ghanaian midfielder Prince Buaben and we’ll need to be mindful of striker Marcus Haber, who already has four goals this year.

We are huge underdogs here and while I’ll stick with our narrow diamond 4-4-2, I’m moving to a cautious mentality and will give them their side of the pitch, holding off on pressing until they reach our side of midfield. I’m going to rotate the squad heavily today, as league play needs to be my primary focus. Getting starts today include GK Joe McGovern, DC Kyle MacDonald, DR Sam Robertson (very speedy), DM Ross Finnie (his first start with Queen’s Park), MC Derek Young and AMC Dominic McMeekin.

Queen’s Park: 4-4-2 Diamond Narrow – Cautious Mentality
GK – Joe McGovern
D – Ciaran Summers, Daniel Nimmo, Kyle MacDonald, Sam Robertson
DM – Ross Finnie
M – Derek Young, Jamie McKernon
AM – Dominic McMeekin
S – Ewan MacPherson, Josh Peters
Bench – Sam Lidington, Cammy Foy, Ross Gilmour, Gregor Fotheringham, Dylan Thomas, Kurtis Roberts, Connor Higgins

Falkirk are in their standard 4-2-3-1 formation. Haber is their loan striker but Prince Buaben is on the bench today, a welcome sight! Robbie Mutch is their goalkeeper. I tell our boys to pick up where they left off in the Berwick victory.

4’ – McGovern throws a ball out to the right flank to Sam Robertson and he hoofs one over the Falkirk D-line and Ewan MacPherson has a half step. He gets to the top of the area and boots one low into the far corner and it’s IN! WOW!!! QUEEN’S PARK GOAL 1-0

16’ – Falkirk work up the right flank and cross into our area. Marcus Haber jumps higher than Jamie McKernon and heads it to Scott Wright, who blasts one past McGovern and we’re now tied. FALKIRK GOAL 1-1

HALFTIME – Not too bad. They’ve definitely been the better team but considering we’re resting a number of key players, I’m very satisfied with this scoreline. They held 52% of possession and outshot us 13-6 (5-3 on target), one of the rare times we’ve been outpossessed AND outshot this season. I tell the players they are doing well in the half-time team talk.

59’ – I take off a tired Ciaran Summers and bring in Sam Lidington.

69’ – A very measured and careful second half so far, with few highlights. Out comes Ross Finnie and in comes Gregor Fotheringham.

81’ – Sensing we have a chance to get a result, I take out Dominic McMeekin and bring in stalwart AMC Kurtis Roberts.

88’ – We have possession and work a ball up to Roberts and we have numbers. He sends a gorgeous through ball to Josh Peters and he’s in on goal. His rocket is STOPPED by Robbie Mutch but the rebound pops right back to Peters and he slots it IN. Oh my God!!! QUEEN’S PARK GOAL 2-1

I change to a completely defensive formation, pulling Roberts back into central midfield and Derek Young into the defensive midfield, forming a 4-2-2-2. Lets hold them off!!!

AND WE DO IT!

Falkirk 1 - 2 Queen’s Park
Goals – Ewan MacPherson (8.3), Josh Peters (8.0)
Assists – Josh Peters
Man of the Match – Ewan MacPherson
Other Dover Notables – Joe McGovern (7.3), Sam Robertson (7.3)
Attendance - 5219 (315 away)

Obviously, this is the biggest win in my tenure thus far, as we knock off a team two tiers ahead of us. We ended up edging them on possession 51% to 49% but they outshot us 21-11 (9-5 on target). Simply superb and we move on to round two!



Transfers OUT

-- We lose yet another star defender in left fullback Ciaran Summers, who signs with current League Two leaders Clyde and leaves with immediate effect. Summers joined Queen’s Park last year from Stenhousemuir and leaves after 22 games. He already had a goal and two assists for us in only six games this year. This is a very tough loss – we have a couple of decent backups but they will be serious downgrades from Summers. Back to the free transfer market I go!

-- We also lose U18 striker Kieran Moore, who signs with Wick Academy. Thankfully this isn’t a big loss.



Irn-Bru Cup – Second Round Draw

-- After our thrilling victory over Falkirk, our name is pulled out first in the second round draw, locking up a home game. Our opponents? Northern Ireland Premiership champion Crusaders FC, who have already been through Champions League qualifiers (where they were eliminated in devastating fashion) and are now in Europa League qualifiers. Geez…seemingly a very tough draw again!



U18 Update

-- Our U18s drop a 1-0 decision to Greenock Morton U18, where midfielder Taylor Berry was our best player in defeat.



U18 Transfer IN

-- I pull off my first official transfer from another team, getting 18 year old left back Ryan Cairns on a free from Alloa in League One. He’s not very good (ha) but with the loss of Ciaran Summers earlier in the week, I need to add depth.

-- In a related move, I promote Ross Fleming from our U18s to the senior squad. He’s a 2.0/3.5 player and will likely be a rotational player going forward unless I find something better in the transfer market.



Next Up -

-- We head to Galabank in Annan, as we face the undefeated Annan Athletic in Ladbrokes Scottish League Two play.

Last edited by NoSkillz : 11-26-2018 at 12:29 AM.
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Old 11-26-2018, 10:22 AM   #22
NoSkillz
College Benchwarmer
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Sat. August 18, 2018

Ladbrokes Scottish League Two
Annan Athletic (2-0-0, 6 points, 3rd) vs. Queen’s Park (1-0-1, 3 points, 5th)
Galabank, Annan, Scotland

Betting Odds: Annan: 6-4 (Favourites) Draw: 2-1 Queen’s Park: 13-8
Past Meetings: 0W 0D 0L

We are the slightest of underdogs as we face undefeated Annan Athletic in their home park. They’ve been impressive so far, knocking off Elgin City and Cowdenbeath in league play and played very well in the Scottish League Cup as well, getting results against Morton and Stranraer while losing on penalties to Queen of the South. The team is coming off a 7th place finish in League Two last year but generally have been a mid-to-upper table side for the last ten years.The media predicted a fourth place finish in league play this year and their key man is left back Lewis Strapp, an 18 year old who just joined the club from Morton.

This is obviously a winnable game but I’m going to go with a “balanced” mentality today, essentially in-between a positive mentality and the cautious approach we utilized against Falkirk to good effect. Jordan Hart is back in goal, Sam Lidington is in at left back for the departed Ciaran Summers, Kesi Omolokun is back in at centre halfback and James Grant is back in at right back. Also back in the side are midfielders Dylan Thomas and Kurtis Roberts.

Queen’s Park: 4-4-2 Diamond Narrow – Balanced Mentality
GK – Jordan Hart
D – Sam Lidington, Daniel Nimmo, Kesi Omolokun, James Grant
DM – Ross Finnie
M – Dylan Thomas, Jamie McKernon
AM – Kurtis Roberts
S – Ewan MacPherson, Josh Peters
Bench – Kyle MacDonald, Cammy Foy, Sam Robertson, Gregor Fotheringham, Derek Young, Dominic McMeekin, Connor Higgins

Annan are out in a flat 4-4-2 and it’s Andrew Stobie in goal. Max Brown and Aidan Smith are their strike force, with seven goals between them already. I tell the boys to go out there and have fun.

4’ – We gave up a really good chance in the first minute but Jordan Hart made a great save. A couple minutes later, it’s captain Jamie McKernon, very quiet thus far this year, making a brilliant pass upfield to Ewan MacPherson. He has a step on the defense and left foots a shot past Stobie and it’s in! Another great start men! QUEEN’S PARK GOAL 1-0

23’ – I like the way we’re playing right now but they take advantage of an opportunity. Annan recover the ball on the right flank and a Kyle Bradley cross is karate kicked past Jordan Hart to tie the game at one. ANNAN GOAL 1-1

25’ – We win a corner and Kurtis Roberts sends a cross to the near post. It’s headed by Kesi Omolokun and then headed again by Josh Peters and it’s past their keeper and IN! QUEEN’S PARK GOAL 2-1

27’ – Ugh…this game. We just are defending very poorly and turn the ball over up the middle and it’s Scott Roberts putting a shot off Hart and it dribbles past him and in. ANNAN GOAL 2-2

37’ – THIS GAME! Hart rolls one out to Daniel Nimmo who passes left to Lidington. He bombs one up field and there is that man MacPherson, behind the defense again and he rips a bomb that deflects off one of their sliding defenders and it’s past Andrew Stobie for our third lead of the half! QUEEN’S PARK GOAL 3-2

HALFTIME – What a crazy half of football! We score three goals and we also hit the woodwork three more times. In all, we outshoot them 11-8 (5-4 on target) and held 54% of possession that half. I tell the players to keep it up in the second half.

46’ – Right off the opening boot, we move up field and another gorgeous long ball from McKernon finds Ewan MacPherson and he takes the ball in strike and hits it into the top corner for his HAT TRICK!!! That took all of 12 seconds!!! QUEEN’S PARK GOAL 4-2

69’ – We take off the excellent Josh Peters and bring in young Connor Higgins. We hope some fresh legs up front can secure one more goal to lock this up.

76’ – We continue to look fantastic out there and off a free kick, we work the ball up to MacPherson. This time, he decides to be a playmaker, slotting a pass over to young Higgins and he throttles it past the beleaguered Annan keeper for his first senior level goal!!! QUEEN’S PARK GOAL 5-2

78’ – We pull off the excellent James Grant and bring in Sam Robertson.

86’ – Our captain Jamie McKernon gets a yellow so we pull him off and bring in Kyle MacDonald. McKernon’s best game thus far!

88’ – Our domination continues, as we work beautiful little passes along the right side deep in their territory. In the end, it’s Ewan MacPherson again with a lovely ball into the six yard box and there is Kurtis Roberts touching it home. His first at Queen’s Park and we are in complete command!!! QUEEN’S PARK GOAL 6-2

What a great performance!

Annan Athletic 2 - 6 Queen’s Park
Goals – Ewan MacPherson 3 (9.7), Josh Peters (7.4), Connor Higgins (7.2), Kurtis Roberts (8.5)
Assists – Jamie McKernon 2 (8.8), Ewan MacPherson 2, Kesi Omolokun (8.3), Sam Lidington (8.1)
Man of the Match – Ewan MacPherson
Other Dover Notables – Jordan Hart (7.2), James Grant (7.3), Daniel Nimmo (7.9), Ross Finnie (8.1), Dylan Thomas (7.6)
Attendance - 473 (120 away)

Boy was that ever fun! Every single one of our starting eleven get ratings over 7.0, MacPherson has five points and we may have something with our tactics now. I still feel that we give up too many grade-A chances but our offense is on tilt right now. Brilliant stuff. We end up holding 54% of possession and outshoot Annan 16-11 (9-5 on target).

-- We move up to second on the League Two table after the victory, one spot behind the idle Clyde due to goal differential.



League Two Team of the Week

-- Our huge win over Annan brought accolades from the media pundits, with six of our players making the Ladbrokes League Two team of the week. Among the eleven players honoured were Sam Lidington, Daniel Nimmo, Kesi Omolokun, Kurtis Roberts, Jamie McKernon and, of course, Ewan MacPherson.



Transfer OUT

-- We release 29 year old DC Gerry McLauchlan from the team on a free. He was a peripheral member of the squad and a fifth choice option at best so I decide to let him go.



U18 Update

-- Our U18s drop another decision, this time losing 2-0 versus Fife Elite FA. No one performed well in that contest for us by the looks of it.



Next Up -

-- We’re back home and will host Albion Rovers, currently bottom of the table, in Ladbrokes Scottish League Two play.
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Old 11-26-2018, 08:45 PM   #23
NoSkillz
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Sat. August 25, 2018

Ladbrokes Scottish League Two
Queen’s Park (2-0-1, 6 points, 2nd) vs. Albion Rovers (0-0-3, 0 points, 10th)
Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland

Betting Odds: Queen’s Park: 5-4 (Favourites) Draw: 11-5 Albion Rovers: 7-4
Past Meetings: 0W 0D 0L

We are reasonable favourites against bottom of the table Albion Rovers, the only team in the league without a point thus far. In fact, they haven’t scored a goal in league play yet but did put three past league leaders Clyde in a 5-3 Irn-Bru Cup loss. Like us, they were relegated from League One last year and have flip flopped between those two leagues since 1989/90, their last season in the Championship. Albion basically did nothing in the transfer window and seemingly have lost many of their best players, with the media predicting a second consecutive relegation. Their key player is 26 year old midfielder Gary Fisher, who has played with the club since 2014/15.

We will stick with what works and make no changes whatsoever to our starting eleven. I’m going to use a positive mentality to start in this one as favourites at home.

Queen’s Park: 4-4-2 Diamond Narrow – Positive Mentality
GK – Jordan Hart
D – Sam Lidington, Daniel Nimmo, Kesi Omolokun, James Grant
DM – Ross Finnie
M – Dylan Thomas, Jamie McKernon
AM – Kurtis Roberts
S – Ewan MacPherson, Josh Peters
Bench – Kyle MacDonald, Cammy Foy, Sam Robertson, Gregor Fotheringham, Derek Young, Dominic McMeekin, Connor Higgins

Albion Rovers come out in a 5-2-3 WB formation, with one striker (Graham Gracie) and two wingers. Interesting to see Yrik Galantes playing AML for them – I had him here at Queen’s Park on trial during the preseason. He’s property of Hibernian in the Premiership and is obviously on loan at Albion Rovers for the season. Peter Morrison is their keeper.

3’ – We have a free kick just outside the penalty area and Kurtis Roberts sends a ball to the far post. Charging in is Daniel Nimmo and he heads it past Morrison and IN! Nimmo’s first goal at Queen’s Park! QUEEN’S PARK GOAL 1-0

12’ – On an innocent looking play, the referee calls a foul on us in our area and that’s a PENALTY. Bryan Wharton steps up and slots it into the lower left corner and Albion Rovers have their first goal of the year. ALBION ROVERS GOAL 1-1

14’ – We have possession off the ensuring kickoff and we send a long ball down the right flank to Josh Peters. He sees Ewan MacPherson running in the middle of the field unmarked and his cross is perfect, with MacPherson making no mistake. He’s on FIRE! That was TOO EASY! QUEEN’S PARK GOAL 2-1

15’ – Jamie McKernon is fouled just outside their area and again, Roberts takes the kick. This time, he bends a ridiculous shot around their wall and it’s into the right corner of the net. Two goals in two minutes!!! QUEEN’S PARK GOAL 3-1

24’ – Geez. Albion Rovers have a corner and it’s Gary Fisher, their key player, crossing into the box and Wharton outleaps our defenders and heads it in for his second of the game. ALBION ROVERS GOAL 3-2

35’ – This is ridiculous. They have extended possession in our end and an Aaron Reid cross is booted home by an unmarked Graham Gracie. They have three shots and have capitalized on all three. ALBION ROVERS GOAL 3-3

HALFTIME – Wow. This isn’t what I expected from an opponent that hadn’t scored all year. We only held 52% of possession and outshot them 9-3 (5-3 on target) but we did absolutely nothing in the last 20 minutes of that half. I peel paint in the dressing room during the halftime team talk. We need to be much better!

63’ – We need a spark of some sort and take off James Grant, who has a yellow. In comes Sam Robertson.

77’ – We have absolutely nothing going on. I pull off our goal scorer MacPherson and bring in Connor Higgins, hoping fresh legs up front will help us.

85’ – Still nothing. We pull off an exhausted Sam Lidington and bring in Kyle MacDonald.

89’ – It’s an Albion Rovers goal kick and we intercept the ball at midfield. Captain Jamie McKernon sends a long ball up the middle and the fresh legs of Connor Higgins are able to outrun their defender. He’s in all alone and SCORES!!! QUEEN’S PARK GOAL 4-3

We immediately move to a defensive mindset.

We squeak it out.

Queen’s Park 4 - 3 Albion Rovers
Goals – Daniel Nimmo (7.6), Ewan MacPherson (7.0), Kurtis Roberts (8.5), Connor Higgins (7.2)
Assists – Jamie McKernon (7.6), Kurtis Roberts, Josh Peters (6.8)
Man of the Match – Bryan Wharton (Albion Rovers – 8.8)
Other Dover Notables –
Attendance - 1490 (424 away)

Well that was an interesting contest – from ridiculously loose first-half play to a tightly contested final 45, we somehow find a late goal to grab three big points. In the end, we held 54% of possession and outshot them 14-7 (8-5 on target). I think the positive mentality is leading to an exorbitant amount of chances against so I may start utilizing more of a balanced approach in future contests. That said, one goal was scored on a penalty and another on a setpiece but still, our opponents are simply getting too many chances and we’re allowing way too many goals against.

-- We hold onto second place in the league, tied on points with both Clyde and Peterhead, who both sport perfect 3-0-0 records and play each other mid-week. We should be able to continue this run for another couple games, as we next face Cowdenbeath and Stirling Albion in league play, who sit in 9th and 8th place respectively on the table.



U18 Transfers IN

-- We sign 17 year old DL Michael Thomson and 16 year old ST Danny Jackson to our U18 squad. Just provides some depth at positions where we have been poached by other teams recently, with Jackson’s 2.5/4.0 ratings providing some promise.

-- A couple of days later, I sign 18 year old AMC Mitchell Foy, who comes to us after spending two years with Inverness CT in the Championship. Again, this is a depth signing for us, as his 1.5/4.0 potential doesn’t really look good for his chances to play senior team football for Queen’s Park.



Reserve Team Update

-- Our reserve team run riot on Raith’s Reserves, winning 5-2 in league play. 16 year old winger Brian Donaldson scores twice and we get singles from Cammy Foy, Kyle MacDonald and Lewis Hawke. We ran with a 4-2-3-1 formation in this game, as I look to get our wingers some playing time, just in case.



Scottish League Two Team of the Week

-- Three members of Queen’s Park make the Ladbrokes Scottish League Two team of the week. Daniel Nimmo, Kurtis Roberts and Connor Higgins all make the squad. I notice that recently departed left back Ciaran Summers makes the team for Clyde, his new squad.



League Two Update

-- Peterhead and Clyde battle to a 1-1 draw, with both teams moving one point ahead of us to 10 on the year. We now sit third alone on the table.



Transfer Deadline Day

-- We get a note that the transfer window will be closing today and I’m asked if I’d like to take part in any media calls to discuss our plans. Of course, I have nothing really on the go but I decide to participate and get a couple questions asked of me. The really cool thing about FM19 that is different from what I’m used to on FM11 is the dedicated Transfer Deadline Day screen that details all of the deals being consummated that day, by league. It’s a great summary and looks fantastic. Kudos to the FM team…I’m sure this will be a lot of fun once/if I get to a top league where I can spend some dough!



September Update

-- We reach September and have four league games scheduled (vs. Cowdenbeath, AT Stirling Albion, vs. Edinburgh City, AT Elgin City) along with a second round Irn-Bru Cup match (vs. Crusaders FC).



Scottish League Two Monthly Awards

-- Clyde MC Chris McStay wins Scottish League Two player of the month honours and our very own Kurtis Roberts finishes in second, scoring two goals and adding three assists in four league games.

-- Meanwhile, Clyde’s Jack Boyle, an AMC, wins young player of the month, with Ewan MacPherson and Kesi Omolokun finishing second and third respectively. Nice!

-- Clyde pulls off the clean sweep, with Danny Lennon winning manager of the month. I finish in third behind Peterhead’s Jim McInally.



Board Confidence Update

-- The board is pleased with my management of the team, with the main positive being our convincing 3-0 win over Berwick in League Two play and the main criticism being our signing of U18 player Ryan Cairns. Ha!

-- We’re looking good financially too, turning a profit of ~£35K last month. Easy to do with no wages!



Next Up -

-- We host 9th place Cowdenbeath in League Two play at Hampden Park.

Last edited by NoSkillz : 11-26-2018 at 08:53 PM.
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Old 11-26-2018, 11:04 PM   #24
NoSkillz
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Sat. September 1, 2018

Ladbrokes Scottish League Two
Queen’s Park (3-0-1, 9 points, 3rd) vs. Cowdenbeath (0-1-2, 1 point, 9th)
Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland

Betting Odds: Queen’s Park: 6-4 (Favourites) Draw: 2-1 Cowdenbeath: 13-8
Past Meetings: 0W 0D 0L

We are the slightest of favourites at home against Cowdenbeath. “The Blue Brazil”, as they are affectionately known, are on a poor run of form in recent years – they were in the Championship as recently as 2014/15, were relegated to League One after that campaign and then relegated again the next year to League Two, where they’ve finished LAST each of the last two seasons, only staying up due to playoff wins. The media doesn’t think much of their chances this year either, with a 9th place prediction. Their top player is left fullback Jason Talbot; strikers Josh Skelly and Kris Renton are tied for the team lead with 3 goals apiece.

Once again, I’m sticking with the exact same starting eleven but I will pull back somewhat on our tactics, going with a more balanced approach as opposed to the aggressive pressing we did in our last game.

Queen’s Park: 4-4-2 Diamond Narrow – Balanced Mentality
GK – Jordan Hart
D – Sam Lidington, Daniel Nimmo, Kesi Omolokun, James Grant
DM – Ross Finnie
M – Dylan Thomas, Jamie McKernon
AM – Kurtis Roberts
S – Ewan MacPherson, Josh Peters
Bench – Kyle MacDonald, Cammy Foy, Sam Robertson, Gregor Fotheringham, Derek Young, Dominic McMeekin, Connor Higgins

Cowdenbeath come out in a 4-1-3-2 formation, with Skelly and Renton up front and David McGurn is their keeper. I tell the team to give the fans their money’s worth.

7’ – We have the ball out wide and cross it into the middle but Josh Peters is taken down. That’s a PENALTY! Peters steps up to take it and his shot to the right corner is STOPPED by McGurn. Oh NO!!!

10’ – We have a corner and Kurtis Roberts’ shot is headed away by Cowdenbeath but right to Dylan Thomas. He one touches a left-footed ROCKET past McGurn and it’s in! That’s Thomas’ first goal with our club! QUEEN’S PARK GOAL 1-0

HALFTIME – Well, that was pretty dull. I guess that’s what I wanted when I pulled back with our pressing. Not much in the way of chances, although Cowdenbeath had more opportunities late in the half. We’re dominating possession, with 60% of the ball and outshot them by a 6-4 (2-2 on target) total. I’d like to see more from my team here and I tell them they are capable of better.

65’ – I have to pull off Josh Peters – he’s getting tons of chances but he’s down in the dumps after missing the penalty early and his rating is brutal. I need some confidence in there and hopefully young Connor Higgins can find me another goal.

72’ – I pull out a “nervous” Ross Finnie and put in veteran DM Gregor Fotheringham.

78’ – We work some passes in midfield between Thomas and Jamie McKernon and it’s Thomas sending a long ball up field. Higgins has those fresh legs and beats the defenders to the ball but his shot rattles off the crossbar. Their goalie is down and attempts to scoop up the rebound but Higgins gets there first and punches it home. That’s three games in a row where Higgins has scored from off the bench! QUEEN’S PARK GOAL 2-0

89’ – I take out the excellent Sam Lidington and bring in Kyle MacDonald.

Hey, we can play defense too!

Queen’s Park 2 - 0 Cowdenbeath
Goals – Dylan Thomas (8.3), Connor Higgins (7.2)
Assists – Kurtis Roberts (7.8)
Man of the Match – Dylan Thomas
Other Dover Notables – Jordan Hart (7.1), James Grant (7.8), Kesi Omolokun (7.5), Sam Lidington (7.6), Jamie McKernon (7.4), Josh Peters (5.7)
Attendance - 772 (63 away)

Things opened up a bit in the second half and we got yet another key goal from substitute Connor Higgins to lock things up. We held 58% of possession and outshot them 19-11 (6-6 on target) – they had one sequence late in the second half where they had three point blank shots on Hart in succession and our keeper turned them all aside. Inconsistent efforts from our players in a “feast or famine” type of match, with seven of eleven starters getting ratings over 7.0 and the other four all at 6.5 or lower, topped by Josh Peters and his horrid 5.7 rating. He had plenty of chances but just lacked confidence after that penalty miss. Fellow striker Ewan MacPherson did absolutely nothing all game, a rarity this season. I’m very pleased with Thomas’ game today – I was *this* close to putting Derek Young in this game instead, as Thomas had struggled to produce this year, but I’m glad I stuck with the youngster.

-- Clyde continue to roll, winning 4-3 over Annan Athletic but Peterhead drop a heavy 4-1 decision against Edinburgh City, allowing us to vault into second on the table.



Reserves Update

-- Our reserves win a 3-0 decision over Albion Rovers Reserves, with goals coming from Kyle McDowell, Connor Higgins and Billy Mortimer.



Scottish League Two Team of the Week

-- We have three players named to the league’s team of the week. Getting honoured are Sam Lidington, Kesi Omolokun and Dylan Thomas.



U18 Update

-- Our youngsters battle to a 1-1 draw against Elgin City’s Reserves team in a friendly. Newcomer Mitchell Foy was player of the game and loanee Scott Glover suited up for the first time since returning from injury.

-- The U18s play a league game a few days later, dropping a 2-1 decision to St. Mirren’s U18s. Striker Danny Jackson scores our only goal.



Next Up -

-- We head into the second round of Irn-Bru Cup play, welcoming Northern Ireland Premiership champion Crusaders FC to Hampden Park.
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Old 11-27-2018, 02:27 PM   #25
NoSkillz
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Sun. September 9, 2018

Irn-Bru Cup – Second Round
Queen’s Park vs. Crusaders FC (NIFL Premiership)
Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland

Betting Odds: Queen’s Park: 6-4 (Favourites) Draw: 2-1 Crusaders: 13-8
Past Meetings: 0W 0D 0L

This competition is pretty interesting, as we now face Crusaders FC, who are coming off a championship winning season in the NIFL Premiership (Northern Ireland), their third title in the last four years. That title earned them a spot in the Champions League first qualifying phase, where they matched up against Serbia’s Crvena Zvezda in a two leg tie. Unfortunately for the Northern Ireland side, they were squashed in both matches, losing 10-0 on aggregate and were dropped into the Europa League second qualifying round. There, they’d face Suduva, a Lithuanian side and again, they’d drop both games and be eliminated from the competition. Despite their exposure to European competition, we are favoured here, which boggles my mind. Their key player is their keeper, 18 year old Rory Brown.

I’m only making one change to our side that’s won four straight games, bringing in backup goalkeeper Joe McGovern. Otherwise, we’ll stick with our balanced mentality for this contest and our narrow diamond 4-4-2.

Queen’s Park: 4-4-2 Diamond Narrow – Balanced Mentality
GK – Joe McGovern
D – Sam Lidington, Daniel Nimmo, Kesi Omolokun, James Grant
DM – Ross Finnie
M – Dylan Thomas, Jamie McKernon
AM – Kurtis Roberts
S – Ewan MacPherson, Josh Peters
Bench – Kyle MacDonald, Cammy Foy, Sam Robertson, Gregor Fotheringham, Derek Young, Dominic McMeekin, Connor Higgins

Crusaders are in an Attacking 4-2-1-3 DM, with a lone striker in Matthew Johnston. They are going with goalkeeper Ian Scott today instead of their normal starter Rory Brown. I tell the team I expect them to keep our positive streak going and the lads seem motivated.

It’s raining pretty hard at kickoff but off we go!

HALFTIME – Nada. We are completely dominating in every facet but can’t break them down yet. We held 61% of possession and a 9-1 (6-0 on target) shot advantage. I don’t feel the need to make sweeping tactical changes but I’m going to engage our fullbacks a bit more and attack a bit more.

50’ – Their goalkeeper continues to impress but we finally break through. Our fullbacks are fully engaged in the offense now and it’s James Grant up the right flank, crossing low into the area and it’s Josh Peters knocking it home. QUEEN’S PARK GOAL 1-0

71’ – The Crusaders have turned it on here and I pull back with my tactics, as they’ve had a couple of solid chances go to waste in the last ten minutes. I pull out Kesi Omolokun and bring in Cammy Foy, as Omolokun had a yellow.

72’ – We have a throw in deep down the right side and Grant throws it to Peters. He threads a perfect ball into Dylan Thomas and he left foots home a blast for his second goal in as many games! We’re comfortably ahead now! QUEEN’S PARK GOAL 2-0

78’ – James Grant, who was excellent again today, comes off for Sam Robertson.

82’ – I take out Dylan Thomas and bring in Derek Young.

Super duper.

Queen’s Park 2 - 0 Crusaders
Goals – Josh Peters (8.0), Dylan Thomas (7.5)
Assists – James Grant (8.6), Josh Peters
Man of the Match – James Grant
Other Dover Notables – Daniel Nimmo (7.8), Sam Lidington (7.8), Jamie McKernon (7.1)
Attendance - 799 (105 away)

Two clean sheets in a row and we secure a win over a club that tasted European football this year. Not bad! We ended up with 59% of possession and a 14-3 (9-1 on target) shot advantage. This formation really allows our fullbacks to get involved in the offense and that facilitates some pretty impressive ratings when things go well. Grant was player of the game and deserved the honour.



Donaldson Impresses in Training

-- A name you don’t see often is that of 16 year old AMR Brian Donaldson, who is earning praise from my assistant manager due to his diligent training. He’s a 3.5/4.0 player already but due to the fact he’s essentially my only solid winger, I’m not using a formation where I can utilize his talents and thus, he’s not featured on the side. He’s doing well with our reserves and I’m sure there will be a point when I bring out the 4-2-3-1 formation.



Irn-Bru Cup Third Round Draw

-- There are only 16 teams being drawn for this round and there are still some minnows available as opponents. Our name is drawn third, giving us another home tie but unfortunately, we draw Championship side Partick Thistle as opponents. That will be a toughie.



Transfer OUT

-- I get word from our captain that left midfielder Smart Osadolar isn’t himself and I meet up with him to discuss it. He’s adamant he deserves a first-team opportunity but when I tell him he’s going to have to wait his turn, he says he may have to leave the team for first-team football. I release him right after our meeting – too bad, I liked him but I can’t have anyone disrupting our chemistry right now.



Reserves Team Update

-- Our reserves drop a 2-1 game to Albion Rovers reserves team in the SPFL Reserve Challenge Cup. Connor Higgins continues his fine recent play with a goal and young midfielder Malky Breen is named player of the match despite the loss.

-- We get news after that game that AML Adam Martin suffered a hamstring strain and will miss 4-5 weeks. We release Smart Osadolar yesterday and now we lose our only healthy AML. Not the biggest deal in the world, since we’re exclusively using a winger-less formation at the moment but that could change at any time. Tough loss. QUEEN’S PARK INJURY – ADAM MARTIN (4-5 WEEKS)



U18 Team Update

-- Dundee United’s U18s defeat us 3-1, with Lewis Hutchison scoring our only goal.



Next Up -

-- We travel to Forthbank Stadium to take on Stirling Albion in Ladbrokes League Two action.

Last edited by NoSkillz : 11-27-2018 at 02:32 PM.
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Old 11-29-2018, 05:56 PM   #26
NoSkillz
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Sat. September 15, 2018

Ladbrokes Scottish League Two
Stirling Albion (2-0-3, 6 points, 7th) vs. Queen’s Park (4-0-1, 12 points, 2nd)
Forthbank Stadium, Stirling, Scotland

Betting Odds: Stirling: 13-8 Draw: 2-1 Queen’s Park: 6-4 (Favourites)
Past Meetings: 0W 0D 0L

We are favourites on the road for the first time this year, as we travel to Forthbank Stadium to face Stirling Albion. They are coming off a fine 3-2 win over Elgin City in their last contest and have moved up to 7th on the League Two table as a result. This is a club that has moved between divisions quite frequently in the past 30 years and were in the Championship (two tiers above) as recently as 2010/11. Last year, Stirling finished third but the media expects a bit of a fall this year, with a 7th place predicition. Their key man is 19 year old vice-captain Ronan Hughes, a right midfielder. With five goals, Mark Stewart is their leading goal scorer while Calum Ferrie is their top keeper.

I see no reason to make changes to a winning side, other than bringing our top keeper, Jordan Hart back in. Otherwise, we’ll stick with our balanced mentality for this contest and our narrow diamond 4-4-2.

Queen’s Park: 4-4-2 Diamond Narrow – Balanced Mentality
GK – Jordan Hart
D – Sam Lidington, Daniel Nimmo, Kesi Omolokun, James Grant
DM – Ross Finnie
M – Dylan Thomas, Jamie McKernon
AM – Kurtis Roberts
S – Ewan MacPherson, Josh Peters
Bench – Kyle MacDonald, Cammy Foy, Sam Robertson, Gregor Fotheringham, Derek Young, Dominic McMeekin, Connor Higgins

Stirling are playing a 5-2-3 WB Wide formation, with a lone striker up front in Mark Stewart, along with two attacking wingers. I tell the team to carry on the momentum we’ve built from the previous match.

HALFTIME – For the second consecutive match, we have a scoreless tie through 45 minutes. We had the better chances in the first half, holding 60% of the ball and a 9-4 (3-4 on target) shot advantage. Stirling getting all four shots on goal is not encouraging. Like last week, I’ll ask our fullbacks to push up more in the second half as we try to get a goal or two. One thing to watch out for is DC Kesi Omolokun, who seems to have taken a slight knock and I’ll likely have to take him out at some point in the second half.

65’ – We are not playing well right now and Stirling’s wingers are definitely taking advantage of the fact that our fullbacks are pushing forward. I take out Omolokun and bring in Cammy Foy at DC.

75’ – We need a goal so I take out Ewan MacPherson and bring on Connor Higgins. Can he come through again for us??

85’ – Last change, as we pull off left fullback Sam Lidington and bring in Kyle MacDonald.

We move to a positive mentality. Let’s score late!

Nada.

Stirling Albion 0 - 0 Queen’s Park
Goals –
Assists –
Man of the Match – Ronan Hughes (Stirling – 7.9)
Other Dover Notables – Jordan Hart (7.1), Daniel Nimmo (7.4), Kurtis Roberts (7.2)
Attendance - 693 (128 away)

Our six game winning streak comes to an end in a bore scoreless draw. Stirling were much more dangerous in the second half and we were pretty fortunate to escape with a point here. In the end, we held 57% of overall possession and a 16-13 (5-6 on target) shot advantage.

-- Clyde edge Albion Rovers 1-0 to maintain the division lead while Peterhead win 2-1 over Cowdenbeath to pull level on points with us in a tie for second.

-- We’ve been pretty fortunate to escape injuries thus far but Kesi Omolokun hurt his heel and will miss the next two weeks or so while recovering. QUEEN’S PARK INJURY: Kesi Omolokun -Damaged Heel (2 Weeks)



Reserves Team Update

-- Our reserves team defeat Berwick’s Reserves 3-0, with goals coming from Dominic McMeekin, Malky Breen and Connor Higgins.



Injury Update

-- We get news on two more injuries suffered during training. DC Cammy Foy is dealing with a tight calf and will miss a couple of days. Bad timing, as he was in consideration to start due to Kesi Omolokun’s injury. I have to call up U18 DC Harry Granger to help out. QUEEN’S PARK INJURY: Cammy Foy -Tight Calf (1-2 Days)

-- The news is more serious for backup goalkeeper Joe McGovern, who sustains a hernia during weight training and will miss 5-6 weeks. QUEEN’S PARK INJURY: Joe McGovern - Hernia (5-6 Weeks)



U18 Update

-- Our youngsters continue to struggle, dropping a 1-0 decision to Partick Thistle’s U18s. Goalkeeper Elliot Anderson was our assistant’s choice as our best player.

-- The injuries keep mounting, as Calvin McGrory twists his ankle and will be out 5-6 weeks. QUEEN’S PARK U18 INJURY: Calvin McGrory – Twisted Ankle (5-6 Weeks)



Next Up -

-- We’re back home, hosting Edinburgh City in League Two play.

Last edited by NoSkillz : 11-29-2018 at 05:58 PM.
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Old 12-13-2019, 03:13 PM   #27
NoSkillz
College Benchwarmer
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Despite not doing any write-ups on this career since November of last year, I've been continuing this save and have completed three seasons thus far.

It's been a fun and interesting game so I thought I'd offer a brief recap of my first three years of management within this universe.

------------------------------------------

2018/19 Ladbrokes Scottish League Two - First Half Results


Picking up where I left off, with the team sitting in a tie for second place and on a seven game unbeaten run. We'd drop a crazy 6-4 decision to Edinburgh City that would begin a rough stretch where we'd win only three out of nine matches and drop a couple spots on the table.

It would take a tactics change for us to turn things around. Earlier in the season, we were utilizing a 4-4-2 Narrow Diamond formation (a defensive midfielder, two central mids and a central attacking mid), which left one of our top players on the sidelines in young AMR Brian Donaldson.

We'd start utilizing a 4-2-3-1 formation in November, with three attacking midfielders joined by two central mids and while it took some time to get used to the change, those efforts finally bared fruit in December, as we'd close out the calendar year on a four game winning streak.

We'd reach the midpoint of the season in second place with a record of 10 wins, 2 draws and 6 losses, good for 32 points. That placed us four points behind leaders Edinburgh City.

Our 46 goals placed us second behind Edinburgh City's 48 but our defense struggled, with our 33 goals against placing us 7th in the ten team league.


January 2019 - Transfer Window


Due to having no wage or transfer budget, we knew teams would be tempting our amateur players with professional contracts once the transfer window reopened and that certainly was the case.


Transfers OUT


GK - Elliot Anderson - Free - Civil Service
DL - Michael Thomson - Free - Whitehill Welfare
DR - Rhys Scullion - Free - Inverness CT
DR - Cameron Lumsden - Free - Gala Fairydean Rovers
DM - Kyle Devlin - Free - Inverness CT
MC - Malky Breen - Free - Hibernian
MC - Calvin McGrory - Free - Cumbernauld Colts
ML - Matthew Rooney - Free - Whitehill Welfare
MR - Conor Langton - Free - Airdrie
AMC - Mitchell Foy - Free - Cumbernauld Colts
AMR - Brian Donaldson - Free - Dundee United
AMR - Keiron Campbell - Free - Cumbernauld Colts
ST - Ewan MacPherson - Free - Raith

The two biggest losses here were Brian Donaldson and Ewan MacPherson. The 17 year old Donaldson, a left footed AMR, was a revelation once I went to a 4-2-3-1 formation, scoring 8 goals in 17 appearances, while adding four assists along the way. He was uber-talented and would be impossible to really replace.

Also leaving due to the dollar signs was our leading goal scorer MacPherson, who left the team after scoring 16 times in only 27 appearances in '18/19, adding five assists as well.

The only other real contributor among the group noted above was midfielder Malky Breen, who made 11 appearances for the club, seven of which came from the bench.


Transfers IN

DL - Andy Mair - Free (from Civil Service) - 22 years old, Scotland
DR - Kieran Hall - Free (from Stirling University) - 18 years old, Scotland
MC - Gary Fraser - Free (Free) - 24 years old, Scotland
AMR - Sean McManus - Free (from Brora) - 19 years old, Scotland
AMR - Jordan Elliot - Free (Free) - 18 years old, Scotland
AMC - Kyle Clark - Free (Free) - 18 years old, Scotland
ST - Jai Holland - Free (from Gretna 2008) - 20 years old, Scotland

Mair is a very versatile piece with the ability to play any position on the left flank. The biggest addition is midfielder Gary Fraser, as he has the ability to step in immediately as a starter. Jordan Elliot should also be useful as a replacement for Brian Donaldson.


Loan IN

ST - Joel Macbeath - Free (from Ross County) - 17 years old, Scotland

Fleet of foot young striker that will offer some cover for our incumbents.

Last edited by NoSkillz : 12-13-2019 at 03:15 PM.
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Old 12-17-2019, 10:09 PM   #28
NoSkillz
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
2018/19 Ladbrokes Scottish League Two - Second Half Results


We'd enter the second half of the season on a four game winning streak and extend it to six games until a scoreless draw away to Stirling.

The loss of right winger Brian Donaldson to Dundee United was a tough pill to swallow and forced us back into the 4-4-2 diamond formation for a number of games. Our only loss in January or February was a heavy defeat in Scottish Cup play, as our unbeaten streak in the league would run 12 games before an early March defeat against Annan.

Key players during this run were striker Josh Peters, attacking midfielder Kurtis Roberts, left winger Adam Martin and newcomer Gary Fraser.

We'd regain our swagger the next week in a huge 3-2 away win in Edinburgh City, our main rival at this point and we'd take the lead in the division as a result. We'd have a disappointing scoreless draw against Elgin City but rack up five wins on the bounce, with a 2-1 win over Annan in our third last game enough to clinch the Scottish League Two title!

We'd play youngsters in our final two games, losing 3-2 away at Clyde and battling to another scoreless draw at home to Peterhead but we'd finish the second half of the season with a scintillating 10-6-2 record (only two losses) to ultimately edge Edinburgh City by a single point.

QUEEN'S PARK WINS THE 2018/19 LADBROKES SCOTTISH LEAGUE TWO CHAMPIONSHIP!

We'd finish with a record of 20-8-8 (68 points) to edge Edinburgh City by a single point. Edinburgh would prevail in a four team playoff to get promoted to League One alongside us and deservedly so. Our +26 goal differential was second to Edinburgh City and we were also second to them in goals scored, with us scoring 80 and Edinburgh City scoring 86.





Ladbrokes Scottish League Two 2018-19 League Awards


- Top Goalscorer: David Goodwillie, Clyde - 20
- Most Assists: Kurtis Roberts, Queen's Park - 13
- Highest Average Rating: Kurtis Roberts, Queen's Park - 7.39 (30 apps)
- Most Man of Match Awards: Graham Taylor, Edinburgh City - 6
- Scottish League Two Player of the Year: Kurtis Roberts, Queen's Park - 30 apps 10 gls 13 asts 7.39 avg

So yeah, Kurtis Roberts was pretty good for us this year!

Roberts led the league in assists and average rating and that helped propel him to League Two Player of the Year honours, a pretty awesome achievement.

There is no Manager of the Year award in League Two but I was named Manager of the Month on two occasions.


Scottish League 2 Team of the Year


GK - Jordan Hart, Queen's Park
DL - Sam Lidington, Queen's Park
DC - Conrad Baltoni, Edinburgh City
DC - Liam Henderson, Edinburgh City
DR - James Grant, Queen's Park
ML - Graham Taylor, Edinburgh City
MC - David Turnbull, Edinburgh City
MC - Owen Bell, Edinburgh City
MR - Craig Thomson, Edinburgh City
ST - Josh Peters, Queen's Park
ST - Blair Henderson, Edinburgh City

Perhaps a little more variety may have been nice here but Queen's Park and especially Edinburgh City dominate the team of the year, with us having four players make it and Edinburgh City has the rest. We'll take it!
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Old 12-18-2019, 09:58 AM   #29
Critch
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
Big changes at real-world Queen's Park. After 152 years of being amature, they've decided to turn professional. Semi-pro, I guess.

Scotland's oldest side Queen's Park to turn professional after 152 years

Guess that'll change your future FM2021 career.

Last edited by Critch : 12-18-2019 at 11:15 AM.
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Old 12-18-2019, 10:44 AM   #30
Chas in Cinti
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Cincinnati, OH
following along, again
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Old 12-18-2019, 11:38 AM   #31
NoSkillz
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Quote:
Originally Posted by Critch View Post
Big changes at real-world Queen's Park. After 152 years of being amature, they've decided to turn professional. Semi-pro, I guess.

Scotland's oldest side Queen's Park to turn professional after 152 years

Guess that'll change your future FM2021 career.

Yes, a monumental change for Queen's Park - will be very interesting to see how this affects the real-life team down the road.
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Old 12-18-2019, 11:39 AM   #32
NoSkillz
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chas in Cinti View Post
following along, again

Thanks for reading Chas!
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Old 12-21-2019, 09:01 PM   #33
NoSkillz
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Cup Competitions 2018-19


Betfred Cup


The Betfred Cup is the Scottish League Cup and we've already summarized this earlier in our recaps. We fared decently, winning our first two games before dropping consecutive 3-1 losses to two teams ahead of us in the Scottish league system. We'd ultimately finish third out of the five teams in the group and would be eliminated in that group stage.

Group E
Queen's Park 3 - 0 Spartans
Airdrie 1 - 1 Queen's Park (Queen's Park win 9-8 on penalties)
Queen's Park 1 - 3 Dumbarton
Kilmarnock 3 - 1 Queen's Park


Irn-Bru Cup


We also did quite well in the Scottish Challenge Cup, edging Falkirk and Irish Champions League qualifier Crusaders before bowing out to Partick Thistle in the third round.

1st Round: Falkirk 1 - 2 Queen's Park
2nd Round: Queen's Park 2 - 0 Crusaders
3rd Round: Queen's Park 1 - 3 Partick Thistle


William Hill Scottish Cup


We had a solid draw in the Scottish Cup, getting non-League Inverurie Locos in round two, where we won handily. We'd prevail in round three against Elgin City before running out of steam in the fourth round against Premiership side Aberdeen, who ran riot in the first half to the tune of five goals to knock us out of the competition.

2nd Round: Queen's Park 4 - 0 Inverurie Locos
3rd Round: Queen's Park 3 - 2 Elgin City
4th Round: Aberdeen 5 - 1 Queen's Park
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Old 12-24-2019, 09:09 AM   #34
GoldenEagle
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Little Rock, AR
Oh I didn't see this get bumped. I will have to get caught up.
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Old 12-24-2019, 02:40 PM   #35
Greyfriars Bobby
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Join Date: Sep 2013
It's good to see you back, NoSkillz. I'll be following.

You've also inspired me to give Football Manager another spin.
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Old 01-07-2020, 11:09 AM   #36
NoSkillz
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
2018-19 Queen's Park Recap and Statistics






2018-19 Queen's Park Best Eleven


GK - Jordan Hart - 40 apps 0g 6.90 avg
DL - Sam Lidington - 37 apps 4g 7.15 avg
DC - Kyle MacDonald - 30 apps 2g 6.87 avg
DC - Daniel Nimmo - 32 apps 1g 7.02 avg
DR - James Grant - 39 apps 1g 7.06 avg
MC - Dylan Thomas - 24 apps 5g 7.02 avg
MC - Jamie McKernon - 43 apps 4g 7.03 avg
AML - Adam Martin - 25 apps 8g 6.98 avg
AMC - Kurtis Roberts - 37 apps 10g 7.27 avg
AMR - Brian Donaldson - 17 apps 8g 7.24 avg
ST - Ewan MacPherson - 26 apps 16g 7.17 avg

Other notables: DC Stephen Welch 16 apps 0g 6.83; DC Kesi Omolokun 15 apps 1g 6.82; DM Ross Finnie 22 apps 1g 6.80; MC Gary Fraser 13 apps 4g 7.18; AMR Jordan Elliot 11 apps 2g 6.81; ST Josh Peters 37 apps 18g 7.05; ST Connor Higgins 12 apps 6g 6.84


Queen's Park Fans Player of the Year: Kurtis Roberts





The stats shown above take into account all competitions with our senior team and include everyone who played at least one game for the big club this past season.
* - DENOTES PLAYER DID NOT FINISH SEASON WITH CLUB



Goalkeeping


-- The 22 year old Hart was our main keeper and one of our best players all year, while also being named to the Scottish League Two Best Eleven. He was very solid. Joe McGovern was a capable backup but only played a few low key league and cup games.


Defence


-- Daniel Nimmo led the way in the middle of our defence, playing the most games while also being the most effective. He had a bit of a feud going with me early in the season when he felt his job was being threatened but once a couple of our solid young players were poached by bigger clubs, he settled in and led the way. One of the turning points of the season was inserting on-loan defender Kyle MacDonald into the starting lineup - he is a very versatile player who can play just as effectively at midfield but he was ever-present late in the season at CD. We got solid contributions from Kesi Omolokun and on-loan defender Stephen Welch as well throughout the year. Losing captain Scott Gibson and talented youngster Izhaak Ahmed early in the season didn't help but we did a solid job with what we had.

-- Our top fullback option to start the year was Ciaran Summers but he was wooed away by a club that could actually pay him and that left us shorthanded, or so we thought. Thankfully, unheralded Sam Lidington stepped in and was incredibly effective, notching 12 points from the left fullback position. James Grant was ever-present on the right side, with Sam Robertson and Gavin Lachlan getting a few games in backup roles. Both Lidington and Grant were named to the league's starting eleven, a wonderful honour.



Midfield


-- The best player for Queen's Park last year was attacking central mid Kurtis Roberts, who scored ten goals and pitched in with 13 assists over the course of the year. He was the Scottish League Two Player of the Year and obviously our supporter's player of the year as well. Our captain, Jamie McKernon, was also extremely productive with 14 points (4 goals) in his 43 appearances. We also got solid contributions from Gary Fraser (4 goals in 14 late season appearances), assistant captain Dylan Thomas (5 goals in 19 starts) and holding midfielder Ross Finnie.

-- Early in the season, we went exclusively with narrow formations that didn't require wingers but we noted that 16 year old Brian Donaldson, a dynamic right winger, may be the most talented player in the squad. So we changed formations mid-season, moving to a 4-2-3-1 and Donaldson erupted for 8 goals and 4 assists in only 16 starts before getting poached by Dundee United early in 2019. It was a tremendous loss for us. The other big surprise out wide was on the left side, as unheralded Adam Martin scored 8 goals and added 3 assists in 24 starts. Jordan Elliot took over from Donaldson late in the year and was pretty effective as well.


Striker


-- We relied on our strikers to a great extent all season. While Josh Peters was likely the most talented forward, it was 19 year old Ewan MacPherson who impressed early and often, scoring 16 goals in only 23 starts, adding 5 assists along the way. However, like many of our other top players, he was a transfer target and having someone offer him money to play football was too enticing, as he'd leave in January for Raith FC. Peters would pick up the slack in his absence, ultimately leading the team with 18 goals on the season. Connor Higgins was a fine backup, scoring 6 goals in 20 appearances (including only three starts).



LOAN PLAYERS


-- We didn't loan anyone of note out to other teams this season.



U18 PLAYERS


-- Any of our best U18 players were put on to the senior team roster so nothing really to see here either!



Year-End Financials


I didn't note our final financial numbers but the team did exceedingly well due to the fact that we had no wage bill for players OR staff members. It doesn't hurt playing in a huge stadium like Hampden Park either!



Closing Thoughts


This season was an undoubted success, as we gain promotion to Scottish League One despite having a roster of unpaid players and a full staff of volunteers as well.

This career is meant to be much different from my past Dover career in that I plan on using smaller clubs as stepping stones in order to manage one of the world's biggest teams. It's a different challenge for me, for sure, but Queen's Park is definitely not a club I intend to stay at for long.

As such, I put my name out there as a potential hire and unfortunately get only one interview: it's with Dundee United from the Scottish Championship but my interview does not result in a job offer unfortunately.

It looks like I'll be heading back to Queen's Park for the 2019-20 season.

Last edited by NoSkillz : 01-07-2020 at 11:12 AM.
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Old 01-07-2020, 11:37 AM   #37
NoSkillz
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
2019-20 Season Recap -


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






My reputation goes up slightly and a couple other ratings see minor changes as well. At the end of the day, the most important number is the big fat goose-egg in the contract column, as I continue to manage this team on a volunteer basis.






Our team's reputation improves to "Average" and our ticket prices see about a 20% increase due to us getting promoted. The wage budget is still zero for our staunchly amateur club - you'll notice above that the chart shows we had a £336 wage budget last year - that was just an in-game glich for year one, as one of our players (accidentally?) had a wage...likely a data error.






Queen's Park will be playing games in Hampden Park, a sprawling 51,866 all-seater, for the last season, as we'll be moving to our training grounds at Lesser Hampden for the 2020-21 season, a more appropriately sized venue for sure. We got our board to improve a couple of things last year, hence the slight increases in Junior Coaching and Youth Recruitment.



The pundits actually predict a sixth place finish for the coming season, a tad surprising considering the fact we just got promoted and don't have a wage allowance. My board ask me to fight bravely against relegation and I agree, which gives me the following transfer and wage kitty:

2019/20 TRANSFER BUDGET - £0 (Last year: £0)
2019/20 WAGE BUDGET - £0/week (Last year: £0/week)

Oh...right...

We will once again have to be very creative and flexible with our roster and carry extra players at all spots to ensure proper cover for when the bigger teams come calling with promises of real money for our players and coaches.

Last edited by NoSkillz : 01-07-2020 at 11:41 AM.
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Old 01-07-2020, 10:32 PM   #38
NoSkillz
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
2019/20 Preseason: Roster Status



U18 Graduates


No one of note



Senior Roster


GK - We have last year's League Two goaltender of the year returning in Jordan Hart and he was backed up capably by Joe McGovern. Hart should be good at this level but I may need to look at upping the quality of our depth for the League One level.

D - Both of our fullbacks starred last year in League Two, with DL Sam Lidington and DR James Grant both impressing. I'm not entirely sure if they will match up well at the next level. At DC, Daniel Nimmo was ever-present in our lineup but he may not have the quality or speed for League One football. We have some capable depth in guys like Kesi Omolokun but I may need to look at loans here or bringing in new talent.

M - Midfield was a strength on last year's team and this year should be no different. League Two player of the year Kurtis Roberts returns and he will lead our offense from the attacking central midfield position. Captain Jamie McKernon should be fine in a box-to-box role but we can use a bit more of a creative spark in central midfield. On the wings, unheralded AML Adam Martin will be back - his talent for this level is suspect but as a right footed left midfielder, he's ideally suited to playing the Inside Forward position in our Gegenpress 4-2-3-1 system.

F - Main striker Josh Peters, our leading goal scorer last season, returns and should be fine at this higher level. We'll need to add reinforcements to help him out but we plan on utilizing one striker formations for the majority of the season so we won't need to go overboard on this position.


Overall, we need to up the quality of our depth in all positions as we look to stay afloat in Ladbrokes Scottish League One. DC, AMR and MC are the biggest concerns at the moment.
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Old 01-07-2020, 11:04 PM   #39
NoSkillz
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
July 2019- Transfer Window


Transfers OUT

GK - Blair Penman - Cumbernauld Colts - £0
DL - Ryan Cairns - Clydebank - £0
DL - David Clougherty - Ayr - £0
DC - Lewis Magee - Brechin - £0
DC - Daniel Martins - Giwa FC - £0
MC - Aidan Kemp - Irvine Meadow - £0
ML - Paul Scott - Brighton - £0
AMC - Nathan Cuddihy - Morton - £0
AMR - Jordan Elliot - Kilmarnock - £0
AMR - Lewis Hutchison - Raith - £0
ST - Connor Higgins - Raith - £0
ST - Danny Jackson - East Fife - £0
ST - Kieran Dall - Whitehill Welfare - £0
ST - Jai Holland - Vale of Leithen - £0


Thankfully, we don't lose too many worthwhile players during the early transfer window. Of the 14 players listed above, only two of them played in games for Queen's Park: AMR Jordan Elliot and ST Connor Higgins.

Elliot joined us after serving time at Swansea and played 11 games last season for us after the departure of Brian Donaldson. He scored 2 goals and added three assists. Meanwhile, Higgins was a third choice striker for us most of last season after spending the previous two years for Scottish Premiership side Partick Thistle. Higgins notched 6 goals in 20 total appearances for our squad last year.



LOAN OUT

- None



RETIREMENTS

MC - Derek Young

Young was a long-time stalwart for Scottish Premiership side Aberdeen and was brought in to provide some veteran leadership last year. However, he had very little left in the tank at 38 years young and as such, only got into 10 games for us last year, scoring one goal.



RELEASED PLAYERS

GK - Joe McGovern
DL - Ross Fleming
DL - Scott Gray
DC - Cammy Foy
DC - Greg Forrest
DR - Ross Gilmour
DM - Gregor Fotheringham
ML - David Brown
ML - Liall Smith
MC - Mikey Hopkins
AML - Kyle Clark
AMR - Zldan Akers
AMR - Sean McManus
AMR - Dylan Weldon
ST - Billy Mortimer
ST - Jamie Docherty
ST - Jamie Penker
ST - Ally Wilson

Of the names above, Ross Fleming, Cammy Foy, Ross Gilmour, Gregor Fotheringham, Zlden Akers and Billy Mortimer made contributions to Queen's Park either last year or in year's past. None would help us in 2019/20 so they were cut.
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Old 01-07-2020, 11:53 PM   #40
NoSkillz
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
July 2019 - Transfer Window


Transfers IN - Senior Team


GK - Paddy Martin - £0 (From Hibernian) - 19 years old, Scotland
DL - Jack Wilson - £0 (From St. Johnstone) - 18 years old, Scotland
DL - Michael Kennedy - £0 (From Forfar) - 22 years old, Scotland
DC - Josh MacDonald - £0 (From Vale of Leithen) - 20 years old, Scotland
DC - Jamie Hamill - £0 (From Stranraer) - 32 years old, Scotland
DC - Jason Krones - £0 (From Motherwell) - 20 years old, Scotland
DR - Craig Thomson - £0 (From Edinburgh City) - 27 years old, Scotland
MC - Jack Breen - £0 (From Hamilton) - 19 years old, Scotland
MC - Liam Miller - £0 (From St. Mirren) - 18 years old, Scotland
MC - Anton Eadie - £0 (From Partick Thistle) - 19 years old, Scotland
MC - Robbie Leitch - £0 (From Ayr) - 20 years old, Scotland
MC - Liam Brown - £0 (From Motherwell) - 19 years old, Scotland
AMR - Danny Carmichael - £0 (From Queen of South) - 28 years old, Scotland
AMR - Grant Nelson - £0 (From Brora) - 20 years old, Scotland
ST - Matthew Aitken - £0 (From Forfar) - 21 years old, Scotland
ST - Leeroy Makovora - £0 (From Hearts) - 17 years old, Scotland

Lots of depth and quality was added before the transfer window closed. Notable signings include Michael Kennedy, Jack Breen, Liam Miller, Danny Carmichael and Leeroy Makovora. All of those players could earn starting positions this season.



Loans IN - Senior Team


DC - Harris O'Connor - £0 (From Rangers) - 16 years old, Scotland
ST - Kieran McGrath - £0 (From Celtic) - 17 years old, Scotland

These are both outstanding pickups. Harris O'Connor should be very capable, even at 16 years of age while Kieran McGrath is one of Celtic's best prospects. He will hopefully provide capable cover behind incumbent starter Josh Peters



Transfers IN - U18 Team


GK - Jack Wills - Free - 16 years old, Scotland
GK - Brian Kinnear - Free - 18 years old, Scotland
GK - Sam Jackson - Free - 18 years old, Scotland
DC - Kane O'Connor - Free - 18 years old, Scotland
DC - Luke Lyons - Free - 18 years old, Scotland
DC - Conor Power - Free - 16 years old, Scotland
DR - Chris Finnie - Free - 16 years old, Scotland
DR - Joe MacPherson - Free - 18 years old, Scotland
DR - Marky Munro - Free - 18 years old, Scotland
DR - Josh Robertson - Free - 18 years old, Scotland
DR - Lee Duncanson - Free - 18 years old, Scotland
MC - Kieran Connelly - Free - 18 years old, Scotland
AMC - Scott Banks - Free - 17 years old, Scotland
AMR - Archie Morrison - Free - 17 years old, Scotland
ST - Niyah Joseph - Free - 17 years old, Scotland
ST - Kieran Shanks - Free - 16 years old, Scotland
ST - Jordan Northcroft - Free - 17 years old, Scotland

Lots of depth additions here. That said, I could easily see guys like Kane O'Connor, Luke Lyons, Conor Power, Scott Banks and Archie Morrison providing immediate dividends on the senior team as early as this year. Banks especially looks like a stud but he's blocked by our star AMC Kurtis Roberts.



Final Thoughts Before the Season Begins


We've done a pretty solid job of enhancing our roster for the jump to League One, with a good mixture of youth and experience.

We had great success moving to a 4-2-3-1 Gegenpress system in the middle of last season and our plan is to move forward with that as much as possible this year.

Jamie McKernon keeps the captain's armband while newcomer Michael Kennedy, our new starting left fullback, is named assistant captain over Dylan Thomas.

Due to Scottish League Cup action starting in mid-July, we're only able to get four preseason friendlies scheduled prior to the year starting, with the team going 2-2 in those games. We fought hard against Inverness CT and Motherwell, two Premiership sides but ultimately lost those games 2-0 and 3-2 respectively, while beating Darlington 3-2 and Civil Service 6-0 in the other two games.

As indicated, our primary tactic will see a Gegenpress system utilizing a 4-2-3-1 formation and a positive mentality. We will also utilize a 4-4-2 at other points of the season, I'm sure.

While our board will be happy if we fight hard against relegation, as always, I'm shooting for more.

Here is our starting lineup for our first Scottish League Cup match against Stranraer:

GK - Jordan Hart
D - Michael Kennedy - Jamie Hamill - Harris O'Connor - James Grant
M - Jamie McKernon - Liam Miller
AM -Adam Martin - Kurtis Roberts - Danny Carmichael
ST - Josh Peters

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Old 01-11-2020, 09:15 PM   #41
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
2019/20 Ladbrokes Scottish League One - First Half Results


Our first game in Scottish League One play would be against Airdrieonians in their stadium, where we would press and attack at will in a convincing 4-0 win.

We'd continue to play wonderful attacking football right through September, with our first loss in league play coming at home against Alloa 2-0. This was after a whopping eleven straight wins to start the season!

We'd continue to play inspired football through December, finishing the first half of the season with draws against Forfar and last year's League Two rivals Edinburgh City to finish the first 18 games with a phenomenal mark of 14 wins, 2 losses and 2 draws. That was good for a five point lead on the table over Edinburgh City!

Our 42 goals placed us second behind Edinburgh City's 48 while our defense shined, allowing only 12 goals in those 18 contests.



January 2020 - Transfer Window

We were in solid shape on the table and thankfully didn't have to worry too much about having top players poached this season. So the January transfer situation was reasonably quiet.



Transfers OUT

DL - Jack Wilson - Free - Airdie
DR - Joe MacPherson - Free - Leon de Huanuco
AMC - Scott Banks - Free - Ayr
ST - Matthew Laird - Free - Brighton

The two biggest losses here were Jack Wilson and Scott Banks, both new pickups this summer. Wilson split time at left fullback with Michael Kennedy and was a solid contributor, playing 14 games (10 starts) and giving us two assists along with a fine average rating of 7.25. Banks, thought to be a pillar of our youth team, became valuable when Kurtis Roberts had a brief injury spell. He ended up scoring three goals in 8 starts (13 total appearances) and his talent would be missed.



Transfers IN

GK - Neil Parry - Free (from Alloa) - 33 years old, Scotland
DL - Willie Dyer - Free (Dumbarton) - 32 years old, Scotland
DR - Kieran Swanson - Free (from Dunfermline) - 17 years old, Scotland
MC - Ewan McLevy - Free (from Falkirk) - 18 years old, Scotland
MC - Jordan Sinclair - Free (from Brechin) - 22 years old, Scotland
AMR - Innes Murray - Free (from Hibernian) - 21 years old, Scotland

Most of these players are just here to add some depth. Nothing really noteworthy, although Jordan Sinclair is a very capable looking player.



Loan IN

None
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Old 01-11-2020, 09:51 PM   #42
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2019/20 Ladbrokes Scottish League One - Second Half Results


The second half of the season would start with a wild 3-3 draw away to Airdrie but we'd reaffirm our dominance with a scintillating 5-1 win on Boxing Day over Alloa.

We'd continue to play inspired defense and sprinkle in a number of low scoring wins along with a number of draws to control our own destiny as we headed into April. We'd beat Stranraer 2-1 on April 4th to set up a chance to clinch the League One title with four games to play in an away match against Montrose. There, we'd get a 40th minute goal from star winger Adam Martin and that was all that we'd need, as we'd prevail 1-0 to lock up promotion to the Scottish Championship!

We'd play youngsters and backups in our final three games, going 1-1-1 in that meaningless stretch - that 5-2 loss to Brechin was our only loss in the second half of the season.

QUEEN'S PARK WINS THE 2019/20 LADBROKES SCOTTISH LEAGUE ONE CHAMPIONSHIP!

We'd finish the season at 24-9-3 (81 points), with Edinburgh City once again finishing second to us with 69 points Our +46 goal differential was second to Edinburgh City's +47 and we were also second to them in goals scored, with us scoring 78 and Edinburgh City scoring 85, mirroring what happened last year in League One. Only this time, we're the only team getting promoted to the Championship.






Ladbrokes Scottish League One 2019-20 League Awards

- Top Goalscorer: Blair Henderson, Edinburgh City - 26
- Most Assists: Sean Ward, Airdrie - 17
- Highest Average Rating: Blair Henderson, Edinburgh City - 7.67 (36 apps)
- Most Man of Match Awards: Blair Henderson, Edinburgh City - 10
- Scottish League Two Player of the Year: Blair Henderson, Edinburgh City - 36 apps 26 gls 9 asts 7.67 avg]

Blair Henderson was the unquestioned superstar in League One play, dominating in practically every category.

There is no Manager of the Year award in League One but I'd be honoured as Manager of the Month on three occasions (August, September and January).


Scottish League One Team of the Year

GK - Harry Stone, Edinburgh City
DL - Ruaridh Donaldson, Edinburgh City
DC - Jordan Armstrong, Edinburgh City
DC - Kesi Omolokun, Queen's Park
DR - Craig Thomson, Queen's Park
ML - Adam Martin, Queen's Park
MC - Antonio Diaz, Edinburgh City
MC - Jamie McKernon, Queen's Park
MR - Danny Carmichael, Queen's Park
ST - Lewis Smith, Edinburgh City
ST - Blair Henderson, Edinburgh City

For the second consecutive season, Queen's Park and Edinburgh City dominate all eleven spots on a League's Team of the Year. Five of our players are honoured this year, up from four last year.
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Old 01-11-2020, 10:09 PM   #43
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Cup Competitions 2019-20


Betfred Cup

Last year, we'd finish 3rd out of the five teams and get eliminated in the group stage. We'd fare a bit better in 2019. We'd start the season with a shootout win over Stranraer before destroying Clyde 7-0 to take the lead in the group. A shocking 2-0 win over Scottish Premiership side Hamilton away locked up first place in the group, rendering our final group stage game meaningless. We'd lose on penalties in that last game against Dumbarton but move on in the competition.

In the 2nd Round, we'd have to travel to Premiership side Ross County and they would eliminate us from the competiton.

Group H
Queen's Park 2 - 2 Stranraer (Queen's Park win 7-6 on penalties)
Clyde 0 - 7 Queen's Park
Hamilton 0 - 2 Queen's Park
Queen's Park 0 - 0 Dumbarton (Dumbarton win 4-2 on penalties)

2nd Round: Ross County 3 - 1 Queen's Park


Irn-Bru Cup

We had a long, fruitful run in Irn-Bru Challenge Cup play in 19/20. A challenging win over Alloa on penalties in Round One set the table for a long run through the competition, as we'd make it all the way to the semi-finals, winning three times on penalties, before losing a heartbreaker away to Greenock Morton in the semi-finals.

1st Round: Queen's Park 0 - 0 Alloa (Queen's Park win 10-9 on penalties)
2nd Round: Queen's Park 1 - 1 Cork City (Queen's Park win 4-2 on penalties)
3rd Round: Arbroath 1 - 4 Queen's Park
Quarter Finals: Queen's Park 2 - 2 Edinburgh City (Queen's Park win 3-1 on penalties)
Semi Finals: Morton 1 - 0 Queen's Park


William Hill Scottish Cup

We'd start Scottish Cup play in the 3rd round, winning convincingly against Arbroath before losing to Falkirk in the next round.

3rd Round: Arbroath 2 - 4 Queen's Park
4th Round: Queen's Park 1 - 3 Falkirk

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Old 01-12-2020, 01:01 AM   #44
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
2019-20 Queen's Park Recap and Statistics







2019-20 Queen's Park Best Eleven

GK - Jordan Hart - 38 apps 0g 6.96 avg
DL - Michael Kennedy - 32 apps 2g 7.16 avg
DC - Harris O'Connor - 33 apps 2g 7.14 avg
DC - Kesi Omolokun - 39 apps 3g 7.20 avg
DR - Craig Thomson - 36 apps 4g 7.45 avg
MC - Jack Breen - 34 apps 5g 7.04 avg
MC - Jamie McKernon - 37 apps 7g 7.09 avg
AML - Adam Martin - 37 apps 8g 7.07 avg
AMC - Kurtis Roberts - 38 apps 13g 7.33 avg
AMR - Danny Carmichael - 39 apps 11g 7.17 avg
ST - Kieran McGrath - 23 apps 13g 7.22 avg

Other notables: DC Josh MacDonald 20 apps 1g 6.95; DL Jack Wilson 14 apps 0g 7.25; MC Liam Miller 19 apps 0g 6.77; AMC Scott Banks 10 apps 3g 7.23; AMR Archie Morrison 24 apps 3g 6.83; ST Josh Peters 31 apps 17g 7.09; ST Leeroy Makovora 15 apps 5g 6.78

Queen's Park Fans Player of the Year: Craig Thomson




The stats shown above take into account all competitions with our senior team and include everyone who played at least one game for the big club this past season.


Goalkeeping

-- Jordan Hart once again was ever-present for our squad and he was even stronger this year despite the higher level of football.


Defence

-- It's interesting that we had an all-league central defender in Kesi Omolokun who barely could get on the pitch last season in a lower league. Needless to say, when he got his opportunity this year, he ran with it. Loanee Harris O'Connor paired up with him on most gamedays and he was also excellent. Josh MacDonald was our main backup and was also solid.

-- New signing Craig Thomson was superb at right fullback, garnering all-league honours in addition to our supporters choice as Queen's Park player of the year. He was a solid leader and equally impressive on both ends of the pitch. Michael Kennedy split time early in the season with Jack Wilson on the left side but Kennedy took over in the second half of the year when Wilson left the club. Last year's main right back, James Grant, was fine in a backup role.


Midfield

-- The straw that stirred the drink continued to be AMC Kurtis Roberts, who once again was sensational on offense, notching 13 goals and 7 assists sitting directly behind the striker. Team captain Jamie McKernon played our box-to-box role well and he was supported by Jack Breen in more of a holding role. Scott Banks was grabbing a bigger role as the season progressed but he was poached when the January transfer window opened. Liam Miller was the main backup.

-- We had impressive performances from both of our main starting wingers, with both Adam Martin and newcomer Danny Carmichael being named to the League One Starting Eleven. Young Archie Morrison was the main backup and played very well when needed.


Striker

-- We went with one striker for the majority of the season, with incumbent Josh Peters getting most starts early in the season. He was certainly solid but battled injuries throughout the year, which opened up an opportunity for young Celtic loanee Kieran McGrath. McGrath was sensational in the late stages of the season and could be an exciting player to watch in Scottish football. Matthew Aitken and Leeroy Makovora provided solid support.



Year-End Financials

I once again forgot to note our financials for the 2019/20 season but our balance sheet continued to be *very* strong due to having no wages for players or coaches.



Closing Thoughts


I must say I was surprised at how smooth this season went. I definitely figured guys like Jordan Hart, Kurtis Roberts or Josh Peters would be targets for bigger clubs but we were somehow able to avoid losing anyone important.

Having some continuity with our roster certainly helped make my job easier, although injury concerns throughout the season meant that a whopping 49 (!!!) players played at least one game for our senior team in 2019/20.

We only lost two games in a row once all year...and that was in the preseason. We never had to battle adversity and our 4-2-3-1 Gegenpress system worked wonders all year, enabling us to earn our second promotion in as many years.

However, my mind was on furthering my career.

I've spent two years at Queen's Park, won two promotions but in the end, I'm just a simple volunteer at this staunchly amateur club.

I hoped that my two years of incredible success would open some eyes and more importantly, offer some opportunity.

Therefore, on May 3, 2020, the day after our season-ending 4-2 win over Edinburgh City, I went into the office of chairman Gerry Crawley, thanked him for believing in me and handed him my resignation.

It was time for a new challenge...
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Old 01-13-2020, 02:40 PM   #45
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
The Job Search Begins

It was certainly risky to resign from a role where I was guaranteed to be coaching a Scottish Championship club in 2020/21 but I felt this was the right time to look at turning this into a paying career. I guess I could have waited until a job offer came my way before resigning but I was a bit put off by the fact that my board at Queen's Park, obviously worried that I was going to be looking at other opportunities, rejected my request to take a coaching course while on summer holiday.

I thought that was ridiculous so I decided to take my chances and resign with immediate effect.


May 4, 2020

I was able to guide Queen's Park to two promotions in as many years and certainly was gaining respect as a result in the football world. That said, my reputation within the game was still considered "Nominal" at 30%, up considerably from June 2018 when I started at Queen's Park with a "Minimal" 5% rating.

I'd be concentrating my efforts on continuing my work in Scotland but I didn't want to go back to League One or Two...I felt I had earned the right to manage in the Scottish Championship or perhaps even the Premiership but we'll see what opportunities present themselves.

I'd also be considering moving to England if the right opportunity was available. I figured League Two in England would be an acceptable starting point.

So on the morning after my resignation from Queen's Park, my agent came to me with a list of potential openings in the job market:

- Dundee United (Scottish Championship)
- Norwich City (English Championship)
- Rotherham United (English League One)
- Newport County (English League Two)

The opportunity at Dundee United looked interesting. The club had just finished 8th in the Scottish Championship to barely stay afloat in that division. Manager Frank Nuttall resigned on May 3rd (just like I did) so this was a brand new job opening in the same division that I would have been managing in if I had kept the Queen's Park job.

Norwich City and Rotherham United sacked their managers (Frank Lampard and Scott Parker respectively) on the same day: April 18th. So these jobs had been open for a couple weeks, meaning they were likely already in the interview phase. Norwich is a pretty big club...maybe too big for me at this point but they are coming off a 20th place finish in the English Championship, good enough to stay in the second tier for another season. Meanwhile, Rotherham was 17th in League One.

Lastly, we have Newport County - they finished 19th in League Two and sacked manager David Wilson two days ago.

I decided to apply for the jobs at Dundee United, Norwich City and Rotherham United. I'd hold off on Newport County for now.

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Old 01-13-2020, 03:09 PM   #46
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
May 5, 2020

It didn't take long to hear back from one of the clubs - Norwich City sent thanks for the application but they had already found their man, hiring Carlos Carvalhal as the replacement for the sacked Frank Lampard. This was a definite long-shot so no surprises here...

I also get acknowledgements that Rotherham United and Dundee United have received my applications and they will let me know how things progress.


May 8, 2020

Well, it certainly didn't take long for my former club to find a replacement.

Word comes out that Queen's Park has hired Paul Hartley to take over as manager. Hartley is considered an icon at Hearts and had an impressive 17 year career as a player, spending most of his time in Scotland. After retiring from Aberdeen in 2010/11, he immediately went into management, taking over at Alloa Athletic for close to three years before moving on to Dundee. He'd spend three years there and most recently was at Falkirk for one season as manager. He's been out of management for close to two years so it will be interesting to follow my former club and see how things progress in my absence.


May 10, 2020

I get word from Dundee United - they want me to come in for an interview for the position!! I immediately accept.

I get grilled on a number of issues: specifically why I've applied for so many jobs (uhh, I'm out of work and need the money?!), what type of philosophies I'd have for running the club, budgetary needs, etc. I must say that some of the questions they asked made me think quite a bit. Honestly, I left the interview and wasn't super enthusiastic about how it went but would hope for the best.


UP-TO-DATE JOB TRACKER

1. Dundee United (Scottish Championship) - APPLIED - INTERVIEWED
2. Norwich City (English Championship) - APPLIED - Hired Carlos Carvalhal
3. Rotherham United (English League One) - APPLIED
4. Newport County (English League Two)

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Old 01-13-2020, 03:33 PM   #47
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
May 12, 2020

I get an email from Rotherham United, thanking me for the application but that they've decided to go in a different direction. I find out soon after that they have hired Neal Ardley to take over the job last held by Scott Parker. Another one bites the dust.

Later that day, I notice that Tottenham have fired manager Massimillano Allegri. Tottenham are coming off a 6th place appearance in the Premier League so they won't be playing Champions League football in 20/21 and will have to settle for the Europa League. While this is a job I'd love to have eventually, I know I have no chance so I don't apply for the position, instead just coming out in the press and declaring interest. Needless to say, the press report that comes out ridicules me, saying I have no chance of even being considered. Well, alright then!


May 13, 2020

This is a big day, as four managers get sacked across three leagues of interest.

The Queens Park Rangers finished last in the Championship and will be relegated to League One for the 20/21 season. They fired Tony Pulis as a result. Is this kismet? Leaving Queen's Park in Scotland only to end up at Queens Park outside of London? I immediately apply for the job.

Rochdale also announce that they've fired manager Keith Hill. They finished 22nd in League One and have also been relegated for the upcoming season. Colchester United also fire manager Keith Southern after finishing 12 in League Two.

Finally, Leyton Orient finished 8th in the Vanarama National League and fired Anthony Wright.

I decide to hold off on applying for those last three openings for now.

At this point, I'm the bookies choice to get the Dundee United job so I'm very hopeful to hear some good news soon!


UP-TO-DATE JOB TRACKER

1. Dundee United (Scottish Championship) - APPLIED - INTERVIEWED
2. Norwich City (English Championship) - APPLIED - Hired Carlos Carvalhal
3. Rotherham United (English League One) - APPLIED - Hired Neal Ardley
4. Newport County (English League Two)
5. Tottenham Hotspur (English Premier League) - DECLARE INTEREST
6. Queen's Park Rangers (English League One) - APPLIED
7. Rochdale (English League Two)
8. Colchester United (English League Two)
9. Leyton Orient (English National League)

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Old 01-13-2020, 03:52 PM   #48
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
May 20, 2020

So I've been out of work for a couple weeks now but I'm not panicking quite yet. I figure that as long as I can get into a job by the beginning of June, I'll have time to build a staff and bring some players in before pre-season begins late in the month.

I hear back from Queen's Park Rangers. They are looking for someone with much more experience than I have so I'm out of the running there. Disappointing - I loved that documentary on QPR that came out a few years ago (The Four Year Plan) and it would have been equally as cool moving from one Queen's Park team to another. Oh well...the search continues...


May 25, 2020

Another big day, as a new job opens up at Crystal Palace. They finished 5th in the Championship but obviously wanted better results, as they sack Sam Allardyce to open up that managerial spot. If I can't get a sniff at QPR after they've been relegated to League One, I'm guessing this job is out of range as well. I don't even say anything in the press about this one.

On the same day, Tottenham announce that Fatih Terim has been hired to manage the club.


May 26, 2020

QPR announce that they've hired Lee Johnson to take over from recently sacked Tony Pulis. Johnson will be tasked with getting QPR back up quickly from the depths of League One.


May 27, 2020

Two more jobs get filled: first, we hear that Rochdale have brought Paul Cook in to replace sacked manager Keith Hill. Rochdale were relegated to League Two for the 20/21 season so Cook will have his hands full there.

Next, we see that Leyton Orient will look to Simon Clifford in hopes of getting back into league football. Leyton Orient are mired in the National League at the moment after an 8th place finish last year.

I didn't apply for either of these jobs but with things still eerily quiet out of Dundee United, I'm starting to regret my inaction there.


UP-TO-DATE JOB TRACKER

1. Dundee United (Scottish Championship) - APPLIED - INTERVIEWED
2. Norwich City (English Championship) - APPLIED - Hired Carlos Carvalhal
3. Rotherham United (English League One) - APPLIED - Hired Neal Ardley
4. Newport County (English League Two)
5. Tottenham Hotspur (English Premier League) - DECLARE INTEREST - Hired Fatih Terim
6. Queen's Park Rangers (English League One) - APPLIED - Hired Lee Johnson
7. Rochdale (English League Two) - Hired Paul Cook
8. Colchester United (English League Two)
9. Leyton Orient (English National League) - Hired Simon Clifford
10. Crystal Palace (English Championship)
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Old 01-13-2020, 10:05 PM   #49
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
May 29, 2020

Devastation.

Word comes back from Dundee United - they thank me for taking part in the interview process but ultimately would prefer a more seasoned manager to take over their club.

We find out later that day that Carsten Jancker is hired to lead Dundee United in 2020/21.

What a kick in the teeth this is. No disrespect to Jancker, but he's younger than me (by a year) and has only been managing one year longer than I have. He started his managerial career at SV Horn in Austria and left there after a year to take the head job at Bradford City. He was sacked after 12 months in that job and six months later is hired by Dundee United.

He had a long history as a player, however, and his reputation must precede him...what a disappointment.

We also hear that Colchester United has hired Phil Brown to take over their managerial job after the club had sacked Keith Southern a couple weeks back. I did not even apply for that job.


May 31, 2020

Just when I thought I had run out of viable options, two more managerial jobs open up, both here in Scotland.

St. Johnstone just finished 5th in the Scottish Premiership and we find out today that manager John Toshack has retired after a 40 year career in management.

Also on this day, we find out that Barry Robson has left his role at Livingston, who he led to a 6th place finish in the Scottish Championship in 2019/20.

Both of these look to be excellent opportunities and I apply for both positions.


June 1, 2020

We have more openings!

Birmingham City finished 18th in the Championship and Gregorio Manzano resigns as manager. This is a very appealing job opening for me and brings back memories. In my old Dover career, I had a chance to leave Dover for Birmingham when things were going tough after a few years in League One but they never ultimately offered me the job. I'd stay at Dover, get promoted the next year and never look back, ultimately winning a bunch of domestic and European trophies.

I immediately apply for the position.

We also hear that manager John Sheridan has resigned at Portsmouth. Unfortunately, Portsmouth finished dead last in League One and will be relegated to League Two in 2020. I've thus far resisted applying for jobs at League Two clubs in hopes of getting offers in better leagues but I'm starting to think I've been a tad too optimistic about my prospects.

Portsmouth are a pretty big club, even though they are taking the drop and I decide to apply for the job.

Jobs also open up at Bristol Rovers and at Aldershot Town. Bristol Rovers finished 5th in League Two while Aldershot finished 10th in the National League. Neither of these jobs appeal to me at the moment, as I'd prefer to wait and see what comes out of these most recent applications.


June 3, 2020

A big day.

First of all, one more job opening presents itself in Barnet, who finished 2nd in the Vanarama National League but missed promotion. Manager John Still retired from the job and it's now available.

I hold off on applying, as I've received a job interview at Livingston!

This is my second interview and things start out similarly to my interview at Dundee United. They want to know why I'm applying for so many jobs and I simply tell them I'm just taking advantage of any opportunities that are out there.

I think I handle this interview a bit better than my previous attempt and I'm cautiously optimistic. The club has only been in existence since 1974 but spent time in the Scottish Premiership as recently as two years ago. I think this is a solid opportunity and I hope for the best.


June 8, 2020

Crystal Palace hire Dean Smith for their open managerial position. This job was likely unattainable for me so I didn't even apply. Smith takes over from Sam Allardyce, who was fired on May 25th.


UP-TO-DATE JOB TRACKER

1. Dundee United (Scottish Championship) - APPLIED - INTERVIEWED - Hired Carsten Jancker
2. Norwich City (English Championship) - APPLIED - Hired Carlos Carvalhal
3. Rotherham United (English League One) - APPLIED - Hired Neal Ardley
4. Newport County (English League Two)
5. Tottenham Hotspur (English Premier League) - DECLARE INTEREST - Hired Fatih Terim
6. Queen's Park Rangers (English League One) - APPLIED - Hired Lee Johnson
7. Rochdale (English League Two) - Hired Paul Cook
8. Colchester United (English League Two) - Hired Phil Brown
9. Leyton Orient (English National League) - Hired Simon Clifford
10. Crystal Palace (English Championship) - Hired Dean Smith
11. St. Johnstone (Scottish Premiership) - APPLIED
12. Livingston (Scottish Championship) - APPLIED - INTERVIEWED
13. Birmingham City (English Championship) - APPLIED
14. Portsmouth (English League Two) - APPLIED
15. Bristol Rovers (English League Two)
16. Aldershot Town (English National League)
17. Barnet (English National League)
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Old 01-14-2020, 12:00 AM   #50
NoSkillz
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
June 9, 2020

The transfer window opens today...it's been five weeks since I resigned at Queen's Park and I'm still jobless. Still hoping for the best at Livingston.


June 12, 2020

I get word from three teams that they are not interested in my services: Birmingham City, Portsmouth and St. Johnstone all indicate that they appreciate my interest but that they are looking for someone more seasoned for their openings.

Ugh.

This is getting frustrating.


June 14, 2020

The news gets worse.

Livingston get in touch with me to say that despite having a good interview, they are going in a different direction and hiring Martin Canning for their managerial opening. Canning had a long playing career in England and in Scotland and spent two and a half years managing Hamilton in the Scottish Premiership. He was sacked in early December and takes over Livingston six months later.

Three other positions get filled on this day as well.

First, St. Johnstone hire Frank Nuttall to replace the retired John Toshack. I had applied for this position but the Premiership team was looking for someone with more experience. Nuttall, who resigned from Dundee United (my top job choice a couple weeks ago), offers just that. Understandable hire...

Next, we hear that Neville Roach was hired at Aldershot Town. I never showed interest in this National League job.

Finally, Portsmouth hire Jim Bentley to take over their role. An interesting hire - Bentley spent a lifetime at Morecambe in English League Two, first as a player from 2002 to 2010, then as the Reserves team manager until 2011 and then took over managing the Senior team on May 13, 2011. Morecambe finished 5th in League Two last year then won the playoff to earn promotion to League One next year. He now decides to leave that job and take Portsmouth's job, even though they are getting relegated to League Two.

Fascinating...Morecambe's managerial role is now open and I see that their financial situation is dire, likely the reason for him leaving.

I'm starting to panic a bit now. Only four potential job openings currently exist: Newport County in League Two (which has been open for over a month without being filled), Bristol Rovers in League Two, Barnet in the National League and now Morecambe, who are being promoted to League One.

I decide to apply for the jobs at both Newport County and Morecambe


June 15, 2020

More news comes in.

Birmingham City, who said thanks but no thanks when I applied for their position a couple weeks ago, ends up hiring Gary Bowyer to replace Gregorio Manzano. Bowyer resigns with immediate effect after spending a year and a half managing Gillingham in League One. This is another fascinating hire - like Jim Bentley, Bowyer took a team that finished 5th in league play and then wins the playoff to get promoted to the Championship. He sees an opportunity at perhaps a bigger club and takes it even through he had great success in a short time at Gillingham.

This obviously opens up the job at Gillingham but with them getting promoted to the Championship, I seriously question whether they'd be interested in me.


June 16, 2020

Bristol Rovers hire Joey Barton to take over from Dean Keates, who resigned on June 1st. I didn't apply for this particular position.


June 17, 2020

Another job is filled, as National League club Barnet hire Michael Flynn to replace the retired John Still.


June 18, 2020

Oh boy. I get asked to come in to interview for the Morecambe position!!!

As indicated above, long-time manager Jim Bentley resigned from Morecambe after being offered the job at Portsmouth. This despite the fact that he managed Morecambe to a playoff victory in League Two, thereby earning a promotion to League One for next season.

I can see that the club is struggling with their finances and much of our interview concentrates on the fact that their next manager will need to be very mindful of the budget and concentrate on bringing in young, cheaper talent. I just want work at this point so of course, I tell them that I'll be happy to work with whatever budget they give me and that I'd plan on keeping all current staff members intact in order to avoid any unnecessary termination wages. For the first time, I also tell them that I'd prefer to be judged on something else during my tenure, saying that I want to play an attacking brand of football and that seemingly gets a favourable response.

A pretty good interview!


June 19, 2020

Now I hear from Newport County, also want to bring me in for an interview!

This Welsh club has been around since 1912 but went into receivership in the late 80's and eventually went out of business in 1989. The club was reformed to start the 89/90 season and have slowly worked themselves up through non-league football in to League Two.

The interview goes quite well - I'm actually surprised that this job is still available, considering the fact that former manager David Wilson was sacked over six weeks ago on May 2nd. They also seem keen on signing young players and I also tell them my intentions of playing an attacking brand of football.


UP-TO-DATE JOB TRACKER

1. Dundee United (Scottish Championship) - APPLIED - INTERVIEWED - Hired Carsten Jancker
2. Norwich City (English Championship) - APPLIED - Hired Carlos Carvalhal
3. Rotherham United (English League One) - APPLIED - Hired Neal Ardley
4. Newport County (English League Two) - APPLIED - INTERVIEWED
5. Tottenham Hotspur (English Premier League) - DECLARE INTEREST - Hired Fatih Terim
6. Queen's Park Rangers (English League One) - APPLIED - Hired Lee Johnson
7. Rochdale (English League Two) - Hired Paul Cook
8. Colchester United (English League Two) - Hired Phil Brown
9. Leyton Orient (English National League) - Hired Simon Clifford
10. Crystal Palace (English Championship) - Hired Dean Smith
11. St. Johnstone (Scottish Premiership) - APPLIED - Hired Frank Nuttall
12. Livingston (Scottish Championship) - APPLIED - INTERVIEWED - Hired Martin Canning
13. Birmingham City (English Championship) - APPLIED - Hired Gary Bowyer
14. Portsmouth (English League Two) - APPLIED - Hired Jim Bentley
15. Bristol Rovers (English League Two) - Hired Joey Barton
16. Aldershot Town (English National League) - Hired Neville Roach
17. Barnet (English National League) - Hired Michael Flynn
18. Morecambe (English League One) - APPLIED - INTERVIEWED
19. Gillingham (English Championship)


June 21, 2020

Oh boy.

I hear from Morecambe…

They want to follow up on our interview, with their chairman inquiring about the other jobs I've applied for and expressing reservations about my commitment.

I give him the stock answer that I'm just trying to cover all bases at this point and he asks a question that stops me in my tracks. He wants to know if he hires me, will I promise not to seek out opportunities at other clubs for at least a one year period.

I don't really hesitate: I tell him of course, I'd be willing to make that promise. He says he'll get back to me shortly...

Minutes later, I get the call back.

Morecambe have offered me a one year contract to manage their club!

I'm being offered a salary of £1600 per week (£83,200 per year) to take the job. They indicate that finances are rough right now and that they can only offer a weekly wage allowance of £21,868 for 2020/21 and NO TRANSFER BUDGET.

Looking quickly at their team, I see they are right up against that wage budget already. They have a good looking, veteran team but some high wages that will need to be purged if I'm going to make this work. I can't see their financial figures but I know that their finances are considered to be "insecure" so that's an issue I'm going to have to deal with if I take the job.

The team plays in a new, cozy modern stadium (Globe Arena) that was just built in 2010 but only holds 6476 (and seats only 2173).

This team has jumped in early, knowing I interviewed at Newport County and obviously want me to make a decision.

At this point, I have one offer and it's to manage a newly promoted League One club. How cool is that?!?

I don't need any more time to think it over.

I accept the job and take over as Manager at Morecambe FC in Sky Bet League One with immediate effect

Last edited by NoSkillz : 01-14-2020 at 12:02 AM.
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