Welcome back to The Journey. I’ve had a good bit of play time going before Thanksgiving, so I decided to write up a new blog post before leaving for the family dinner that I can have scheduled to post today, since as I said, I’d be away and not online or gaming.
How are things looking since my sack from Barnstaple? Well, quite rosy, and it’s nice to say that. Barnstaple’s lack of funding and underperforming players were beyond stressful, but Faversham’s are actually reasonably decent, and I’ve been rocking a 3-4-3 tactic that I’m testing out, and things have been going splendid! In fact, we’re sitting in 4th place right now, which is a massive over-achievement for the team, not that I can claim all the credit. My predecessor Ray Turner did a decent job setting up this team before his puzzling desire to bail for relegation candidates Hythe. Let’s see how things are going!
The highlighted Folkestone fixture was my first in charge of the team. As you can see, we’ve had some excellent results, including my personal favorite result of the run, that 1-0 victory against Vanarama South side Concord Rangers, which was something we were strongly predicted to lose. I’ll be honest, it was more of a smash-and-grab than anything, and arguably Concord deserved something out of that match, but a win is a win, and it gives me optimism about the future.
The one match I am disappointed in was the match against South Park. Statistically, we were in charge of this match, but we had to fall behind to a goal in the first half and then only come back for an equaliser with less than 10 minutes to go. It bothers me, but to be fair, one of my key players and a solid performer was out for the first match of a two match ban for collecting red cards. He got a bollocking, needless to say. I really lack depth in this side, and with the club over $300 over budget, I can’t afford to bring in needed depth, and I also am not able to justify cutting out Ray Turner’s top-notch, high-earning players, because they are important to our successes. We’re pretty much stuck in a position where we have to ride the over-budget waves for a while.
Here’s a look at our squad. It’s not the best it could be, but we do have a couple of excellent players in key positions, and I’ll point out my favorite ones here.
Simon Overland is our starting keeper, and he’s quite brilliant. He’s one of our strongest in the back without a doubt, though his wages reflect his ability, and he’s one of the club’s highest earners. Considering he wants almost 300 quid to sign a new contract, he will be going no matter what the results in the team are when the summer window comes in and his contract expires, because he’s someone we really can’t afford to keep on the bills any longer than the end of the season.
John Scarborough is the starting lone centerback in the back three of this 3-4-3 formation, and he’s been a consistently solid man. His wages are on the high end of reasonable, however, and at 35 years old, I really want to start looking at younger, long-term replacements in the summer, since he’s not going to be around forever.
David Perpetuini is the sole signing I’ve made, coming in on a free transfer. At 35 he’s a decent player up the left flank, though I brought him in as a short-term fix to a serious left-back problem, since my existing one was dreadful. As with Scarborough, I’ll be looking for younger replacements in the summer window.
Sam Berwick is another good player who’s able to play up and down the right of the pitch and even in the middle in a pinch, though he’s primarily used as a right-back at the moment. He actually just got off a two match suspension for collecting a red card three matches ago. He’s got a bit of a habit of picking up cards, it seems, but he can play, and right now we need people who can play, so I’m more than happy to keep him for as long as he can remain effective.
Charley Robertson looks to be a good player up the center of the pitch, according to my staff, but I only saw him perform in the Hythe match that we just finished playing, since he was on a long-term injury prior to my arrival and just returned to fitness. We’ll see how he looks on the pitch. As a loanee, he’s also just a short-term solution to a depth issue in the team.
Mohamed Eisa is my favorite of the three forwards, and he’s been in excellent for alongside his teammates up there. He’s quite young and rated highly by my backroom, so he could have a place in the side for a while if his wage demands remain reasonable.
Speaking of the Hythe match, it’s the one match I’m going to share the details on, since it was against Faversham’s former manager Ray Turner, who as I have said had made the bizarre decision to abandon his over-achieving team in favor of relegation candidates.
Hythe were actually better than us when it came to getting that ball towards the net, but Overland’s excellent keeping kept them at bay until we were able to knock a few into the net at the end of the game for the equaliser and then the lead following an 80th minute send-off on their side.
This run of results leaves us on a seven match unbeaten run in the league, and people are finally overlooking the fact that I was sacked months before from another job, so that’s nice to read.
Now, where does this leave us? Looking into the future, I plan to challenge for those two promotion places and move up with Faversham. I also need to put some serious work towards scouting for virtually all positions, because while I have a strong starting XI, I don’t have much by way of backups, and as soon as I have any real issues with the XI, such as injuries or suspensions, I’ll be in trouble, especially on the attacking front, where our team really struggles if someone has to miss the match. Our team performs better with a front three than anything else in my testing, but we don’t have the depth to rotate that front three well, which is an issue.
That does it for this blog, and I’ll be back some time in the future to provide an update on the state of my career.