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Exeter City Update: Sept. 2021-Sept. 2022 
Posted on September 23, 2016 at 03:25 PM.

September 1, 2022

- Exeter, UK

Exeter City would begin their second Premier League season with 3/4 of their defensive line new to the team. Free transfers Jores Okore (81 OVR) and Cedric (80 OVR), along with recent purchase Inigo Martinez (82 OVR) from Real Sociedad, would join Danny Rose (77 OVR) in Exeter City's defense and try to stabilize the team for a shot at the BPL title.

The ECFC board had stated before the season began that their expectations were another mid-table finish but many found this to be inaccurate. Many fans expected the team to put in a full year of football reminiscent of the first half last season; a half season which had the Grecians tied for second place on January 1st, 2021 and with enough points that they could finish mid-table after not winning a single game after February 1st.

"Our goal is Champions League football," stated Exeter City manager koszak27. "Anything short of that would be a failure in my eyes. Everyone has seen how good this team can be when they are in form and the new additions to the team only make us deeper and stronger."

With the summer window closed, Exeter City sat mid-table by September 1st, 2022 with one win, one draw and one loss. The new ECFC players on defense had immediately started to contribute as the team recorded two clean sheets during these three opening games. The arrival of fall and cooler weather also brought in some more scoring for Exeter City as bench player Yaya Sanogo (77 OVR) had scored some great goals for the team and began to challenge incumbent starters Jose Izquierdo (79 OVR) and Sebastian Romero (78 OVR) for playing time. In the midfield, quality play from new arrival Michael Bradley (82 OVR) had helped to sure up the midfield alongside team captain Fabian Delph (79 OVR).

Exeter City striker Yaya Sanogo has made a case to start recently with his unique combination of size, speed and strength.

In fact, there wound up being more players in form than could play in Exeter City's games. The Grecian manager found it difficult to play everyone and as the team kept winning, fewer changes needed to be made.
Several players had started to show signs of discontent in not playing and some even came out publicly.

One such player, center back Do Heon Kim (76 OVR), was not happy with losing his starting role. "I have been with this team since I was 16 years old and joined the youth academy. I have given everything to this team for the last 7 years and I still can't find my way onto the pitch this season." The Korean national had been playing well for his home nation but couldn't contribute that good form to his Premier League side.

By December, Exeter City sat in sixth place just outside European football. When the winter window opened on January 1st, 2022, Exeter City sat fourth in the table trailing league leaders Chelsea by 12 points. The Grecians had put together another strong first half of the season but couldn't forget what happened last year. An interview with manager koszak27 during this time gave some insight into the team's inner workings. "We have money to bring in world class players which could secure our current position in the league. Unfortunately, we already have too many quality players to play enough that they will be happy. The solution is to find a balance to this problem and still meet our goals."

The Grecians had been good on defense to this point, registering seven clean sheets and only allowing more than two goals in three contests. The scoring had been the bigger problem with neither Romero nor Izquierdo finding the type of dominant form that ECFC fans had seen in years past. In fact, substitute striker Sanogo had kept pace with them even with much fewer minutes on the field.

Exeter City winger Jose Izquierdo has seen his form and his goals drop off lately. Will his minutes be next?

It seemed likely that based on the team's performance through the first half and the team's budget, an active window would be in the cards. But, as many Exeter City supporters have come to learn throughout koszak27's tenure with the club, the Grecian manager was rarely predictable.

The first move in the window was not surprising, however, as disgruntled center back Do Heon Kim was granted his transfer request and sold to Aston Villa for $8 Mil. Kim had been with the team for his entire career to that point but just couldn't take not playing any longer. Following Kim's departure was another former youth academy player being sold. Center midfielder Javier Rios (66 OVR) was sold to Valencia for $4.3 Mil.

During the winter window, another player came forward publicly with their discontent at not playing. This time it was Polish center back Damien Robak (61 OVR) who had joined ECFC from Brighton in 2017. Robak was granted a transfer to Dundee for $230,000. As the end of the winter window drew closer, supporters began to criticize the team for their inaction during the window. Was the team being cheap and just selling everyone? Were they saving up for a late window deal for a world class player?

The last week of January 2022 would see the press and fans really get on the Exeter City management team. Koszak27 had stated that money wasn't an issue but to this point in the window, the team had only sold players and not improved the team. Supporters were anxious that another second half collapse would be imminent without outside support. The team would not grant their wish however, as shockingly the next move was the sale of starting keeper Simone Scuffet (77 OVR). Scuffet was sold to Marseille in Ligue 1 and the media was sent into a frenzy.

Transfer shocker: Simone Scuffet sold off by Exeter City to further pad their wallets! The unsuspecting Italian keeper is sent packing to Marseille for $13 Million with no replacement in sight.

Exeter City had done something no one could expect. They sold off their starting keeper, who had performed well during his past two years with the team, and have limited replacements on the squad. Internally, the only other goalies on the ECFC squad were former youth academy players Mamadou Mensah (60 OVR) and Felipe Marcano (57 OVR) who were both still teenagers. With less than a week left in the window, the team surely had plans to sign a world class talent as a replacement.

At this point, Exeter City had shed some players and increased an already large transfer budget but were now left with no first team quality goalie. Everyone was eager to see who ECFC would sign to replace Scuffet and rumors were abound. Could it be De Gea, the Manchester United goalie who had demanded a transfer? Maybe Neuer would want to try a hand at dominating England instead of Germany for a change.

The Grecians would ultimately sign a goalie during the 2022 winter window, but he would not be reporting to Exeter until the following summer. Julian (76 OVR) was signed on a free transfer from UD Almeria in La Liga. The 31 year old Spaniard was in the final year of his contract and it did not seem like he would be staying in Spain. His move to Exeter next season left his role with the team in question as there was no current starter to judge against.

To the Grecian supporters' disappointment, the only other moves in the winter window were further free transfers who would not play for the team until the following season. The free transfers are:

Julian (GK, 76 OVR) - 31 years old from UD Almeria
Luke Conlan (LB, 88 OVR) - 27 years old from Burnley
Dominic Iorfa (RB, 74 OVR) - 27 years old from Wolverhampton
Bennett Giordano (LM, 91 OVR) - 24 years old from Leicester City
Dmitriy Gasilin (RM, 73 OVR) - 24 years old from Arsenal Tula
Shane Gleeson (CB, 70 OVR) - 25 years old from Reading

Luke Conlan will join Exeter City next year on a free transfer.

These additions seemed like good signings for next season but none of them could help Exeter City with finishing off their current run for the Premier League title. The Grecians found themselves with just two teenage keepers to finish off the season and the transfer window shut.

In an effort to help mitigate the issue, a youth academy goalie in Spaniard Fernando Monzon (65 OVR) was called up. The 6'5" 17 year old had been in the academy for a year and showed promising talent. He quickly displayed even more talent as he was thrust into the starting role ahead of Mensah and Marcano immediately.

With a 17 year old rookie keeper, Exeter City set off on February 1st still in third place. They had been eliminated in all cup competitions by this point and only needed to focus on improving or at least holding their strong table position. Typically, a manager would surround a young, rookie keeper with added defense to help keep the ball away from the net. As usual, Exeter City did the exact opposite and changed to a 3-5-2 formation dropping the fourth defender.

To the ECFC fans and supporters it seemed like the team was sabotaging itself. Indeed, it was very difficult to foresee the team being as successful or better than the first half of the season after selling off the starting keeper and only signing future help. Thankfully for management, the team came out firing on all cylinders and continued their great form. Scoring increased, thanks to the new formation which allowed more offensive talent on the field. The three starting defenders were solid enough to help Monzon record five clean sheets in the 15 games he played for Exeter City.

The Grecians held their own through the end of winter and into spring with the team even improving up into third in the Premier League. Sanogo had really found his scoring touch by this point and was leading the team in goals once the calendar turned to March. Solid play from the starters had again kept many of the depth players unhappy with their lack of matches. Exeter City had no choice this late in the year, with such a tight race at the top of the table, to spot start anyone unless absolutely necessary.

Midfielder Jose Mauri is not happy with his playing time.

By April, Chelsea had run away with the league having lead by as many as 15 points throughout the season. In second place, Liverpool had remained for most of the year with a combination of Exeter City, Manchester City and Manchester United all vying for third. By May, Manchester City had fallen out and given way to a resurgent Arsenal side that had given Exeter City fits all season. It would prove to be the Red Devils, however, who gave Exeter City their toughest fight yet.

On May 11th, 2022 Exeter city sat in third place trailing Liverpool in second and Chelsea who had already clinched the Premier League title. ECFC had only two games remaining; first at Old Trafford and then the final game of the year at home against the just anointed BPL Champs. Exeter City had clinched Champion's League football for the following year at this point and only needed to find out if qualification was necessary should they finish in fourth.

Exeter City was only one point ahead of Manchester United for third place at this point and the game in Manchester would prove to be a tough challenge. Both sides played extremely tough football with several cards handed out but in the end, the Grecians walked away with a single point still separating them from fourth place Man United after a 0-0 draw.

The final game of the year saw Exeter City with control of their own destiny: Win the final game at home to Chelsea and they would clinch a spot in the Champion's League. If they lost or drew to the Premier League winners, they would have to wait on the Manchester United result to find out if they would need to go into Champion's League qualifying. Exeter City would waste no time taking advantage of the situation by scoring with a powerful Yaya Sanogo header from about 12 yards out to open scoring in the 20th minute. From there, the Grecians added a defender and played back only taking counter attack opportunities when available. Exeter City would add a second goal in the 79th minute with Chelsea attacking all out and sealed a place in the Champion's League for next season.

Exeter City has done the impossible and will compete in the 2022-2023 Champion's League.

This is the league table to end the 2021-2022 season:

For the second half of the year, this was the Grecian starting XI with their ending ratings:

These are the player stats for the season:
Soccer Leaders - Updated: Jul 1, 2022
1. Jose Izquierdo371. Yaya Sanogo14
2. Joaozinho372. Sebastian Romero12
3. Fabian Delph373. Jose Izquierdo8
4. Cedric374. Joaozinho8
5. Michael Bradley375. Marco Asensio6
AssistsAClean Sheets (GK)CS
1. Joaozinho81. Simone Scuffet7
2. Jose Izquierdo62. Fernando Monzon5
3. Marco Asensio53.
4. Sebastian Romero44.
5. Fabian Delph45.
Average FormAFOverall IncreaseUP
1. Yaya Sanogo1. Lorenzo Curiale4
2. Jose Izquierdo2. Mamadou Mensah4
3. Sebastian Romero3. Martinho Feijo4
4. Joaozinho4. Felipe Marcano4
5. Marco Asensio5. Marco Asensio3
Overall DecreaseDWN(Points/Games) + Average FormPGA
1. Michael Bradley-11. Yaya Sanogo7.75
2. Jose Izquierdo02. Sebastian Romero7.36
3. Joaozinho03. Jose Izquierdo7.28
4. Sebastian Romero04. Joaozinho7.23
5. Fabian Delph05. Marco Asensio7.04

Once the celebrations died down, Exeter City was sad to have long time captain Michael Schimpelsberger (71 OVR) leave the team with an expiring contract. The right defensive back had been with manager koszak27 from the start and it became clear that no amount of wages could be offered for the 30 year old to stay with the team and not play. Youth academy graduate CB Basil Xenakis (59 OVR) would also leave the team after an expired contract when the season ended.

Manager koszak27 had finally reached his goal of Champion's League football, even after several attempts (in the fans' eyes) to foil his own plans. He was able to take the Grecians from League 2 all the way up to the Premier League and qualify in only the second season there for the pinnacle of European football.

The 2022-2023 season would start with the winter window's free transfers reporting to the team. Many of the players were unquestioned starters for their former teams and likely demanded similar time in their new home at Exeter. With the addition of Champion's League games to the schedule, the team would need significant depth for mid-week games.

The first move in the summer 2022 transfer window was the sale of young RB Martinho Feijo (69 OVR) to Real Madrid for $7.5 Mil. The youth academy product had completed a loan spell at Luton Town in 2020 but had not featured yet for the Grecians. After this sale was a purchase from Real Madrid in center midfielder Mateo Kovacic. The 28 year old Croatian was purchased for $18 Mil.

Mateo Kovacic is headed to Exeter City and the Premier League from Real Madrid for $18 Mil.

Two players were sold following the purchase of Kovacic. Ben Davies (68 OVR), the English left back who had also been with manager koszak27 and featured opposite Schimpelsberger since 2014, was sold to Middlesbrough for his $1.3 Mil. evaluation. Davies had also been disappointed with his lack of play time for a few seasons now and was in the final year of his contract.

Middlesbrough sign 26 year old left defensive back Ben Davies from Exeter City for $1.3 Mil.

Next in the transfer window was the sale of Jose Mauri (76 OVR), the Argentinian midfielder who was upset over his role with the team. Internazionale came in with an $8 Mil. bid for the 26 year old but accepted a payment of $10 Mil. in the end.

The final transfer of the summer window was the purchase of Salvador Ruiz Pena (81 OVR), a center midfielder from Atletico Madrid. Exeter would have to pay $18 Mil and throw in CB Fabien Danic (69 OVR) in order to complete the deal for the 23 year old. Pena was an exciting prospect at Atletico and should play nicely into the Grecian's future plans.

The only other roster changes in summer 2022 were the loans of striker Tom Nichols (70 OVR) to Doncaster and CB Sheyi Harris (70 OVR) to Leicester City.

This is the depth chart for Exeter City's 2022-2023 season:
Exeter City Depth Chart - 2022
GKJulian (76)Monzon (66)Mensah (64)Marcano (61)
RBCedric (82)Iorfa (74)
RCBMartinez (84)Gonzalo (74)
LCBOkore (83)Medieros (77)
LBConlan (88)Letizia (76)
RMJoaozinho (82)Nkoudou (79)
RCMBradley (81)Asensio (83)
LCMKovacic (83)Pena (81)
LMGiordano (91)Gerso (77)
STRomero (78)Curiale (81)
STSanogo (79)Izquierdo (78)

This is the starting XI for Exeter City's 2022-2023 season:

Exeter City would finish August with three points having won only one out of three Premier League games. It was a typical slow start for the Grecians who sit in 15th place as of September 1st, 2022. There is still a lot of football to be played though, especially with the team's inaugural Champion's League campaign.

Champion's League Group E:
Exeter City
FC Barcelona
Dynamo Kyiv

Manager's Note:
WE DID IT!!! It took 8 full seasons but we went from the lowest in-game English league to Champion's League games. I managed to hold onto just two original random players throughout. It could have been three if I didn't sell Davies but I felt bad letting him rot in my reserves at still only 26 years old.

I was happy with all the transfers we made but selling Scuffet really had me worried. Once Marseille accepted an offer for double his evaluation, I knew we needed to act quickly on a replacement but I had absolutely no goalies scouted. All the world class goalies wanted way too much money and I had offers already accepted at that point for three free transfers so my budget wasn't very high.

It was a nail biter simulating games with Monzon in goal at only 66 OVR but he held his own. Danny Rose has been rapidly declining in stats so I dropped him in favor of adding a fifth midfielder in Marco Asensio who went up three this season to 83 OVR. The 3-5-2 ended up working out and Yaya Sanogo is an absolute beast up front. He can get to almost any cross with his height and strength.

This will actually be my first time playing in the Champion's League in FIFA because usually I use low rated teams and never get this far. I'm excited and need to hurry up and play some before FIFA 17 comes out next week. We drew a really tough group but I am going to prioritize my starters for Champion's League and try to go all out and win it this season. Won't matter if we get fired for the league finish now that I've accomplished my goal and the new game is almost out.

Next update will be September 1st, 2023.
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