Welcome back to the save and my second update. Check out the previous update for a rundown on what’s going on here, but in short, we’re aiming to take charge of a team from the 24th (absolute lowest) level of the English Football League and get them all the way to the Premier League.
I won’t fluff this intro up too much. I tried coming up with some creative writing for it, but I couldn’t think of anything interesting, so let’s just get underneath the cut and see what the body of the blog is, shall we?
Here’s the schedule, all the way to the end, naturally minus the cup fixtures that we haven’t had announced.
I won’t get into the preseason too much. The team wasn’t to a point where I considered it filled out and ready until we were two or three matches into the league, so a lot of silver-starred reserves were being fielded, and the last two opponents were in the Counties Leagues.
However, we’ve been on a good run so far. Our expectation in the league was to be competitive, but with 4 wins, 1 draw, and 1 loss, we’re in the lead in the league, so the board are naturally pleased about our start.
Highlights for the matches played across all competitions include:
This 2-2 draw against Crawley United was our opener to the league. We saw two minor injuries in our side and Jordan Cross was the man responsible for both of our goals. The match could have been smoother, but like I said, we weren’t quite ready as a team yet when the first match of the season came around.
This was actually a pretty nervy game for me, with my emotions flying between frustration and elation as we traded goals in the regular time before kicking it into extra time and the goal blitz that brought the score from 2-2 to 3-5 in our favor against a team that is two or three leagues up, if I remember correctly. Not that league difference seems to make a difference this low. From my looking around, it appears like we’ll be playing against similar quality players for years to come!
This Ashurst Wood III match wasn’t interesting in my opinion as far as goals go, with the actual moves to score goals being quite boring, aside from the humorous own-goal by the Ashurst player that went in in such a way where I am convinced that he scored on purpose to help us out!
This last good match to share, against AFC Haywards II in the first round of the Tester Challenge Cup, was amazing to watch, and I was thrilled to see the goalscoring prowess our strikers can have when they want to, and it’s hard to complain about a performance like this! It really makes that single quid that tickets run for worth the money of the fans to see such action at home!
Our goals for the Tester Challenge Cup, the Mid-Sussex Junior Cup, and the Brian Hall Challenge Cup that we’re not drawn for yet, are just to be competitive, and since we’re into the second round on two of the three, I’m quite optimistic about the future.
Now, I want to highlight a few specific players that I am liking the performances of, and it was hard to narrow it down to just a few, as I could easily write a book instead of a blog if I covered all the players in the squad.
Callum McEachran is our 20 year old starting goalkeeper. There are a couple of stats I’d like to see higher, but he’s reasonably decent in many attributes, and his physical stats are looking decent enough. At 20 years old, if he impresses during the season, I feel like he could be our starting goalkeeper for a good many years until we get to the point where we need to do major upgrades.
Oak Mapson is our 20 year old centerback. Statistically, his technicals are quire miserable looking, in my opinion, but he’s been solidly performing, so who am I to turn down all those 1s and 3s? We’ll just have to keep him tackling and tightly marking, but leave other stuff to other people, and it’ll work out.
Again, at 20, as long as he can impress in the season, we may hold him for a bit as part of the team until it’s time to do an overhaul or someone just incredible shows up.
Mark Boyce is a player who’s comfortable on the flanks from defense up to midfield, so he’s an option for either side to put in as-needed, though he’s primarily operating as a defender in my current plans.
32 year old Drew Shore and 20 year old Jordan Cross are two of my better strikers. At Shore’s age, he’s more of a short-term player, but I feel like he’s able to get a job done. He’s been out for a couple of weeks and still has a month to go. taking a major injury in a match, but we’ve been getting on fine without him, though anxiously awaiting his return.
Adrian Ibbetson is a striker who initially wasn’t someone I was putting much stock into, but when he’s come on the pitch during rotations, he’s been impressing, so I’m keeping an eye on him to see what he can do. My initial 4th choice striker could well end up bumping in regularly as one of the front-three strikers in the 3-4-3 formation I’m rocking at the moment.
Stuart Richardson is another striker of mine, and he’s been impressively banging out goals. He had the one bad game just two matches ago, but he’s the team’s leading goalscorer at the moment, and he’s a top striker who’s starting as often as I can start him. And, we’ve got a couple of strikers in place, so those two “competent” ratings at ML and MR mean in an absolute pinch, I have an option there if the injuries the team’s been dealing with threaten the wings, which are admittedly the weakest in the team as far as depth goes.
Last, but certainly not least, is midfielder Dominic Green. He’s had an average first couple of matches, but he’s been on a gradual increase in performances lately, going off just his ratings, as well as some excellent assists he’s provided to the front-three.
And, lastly, I want to share my managerial screen, just so we can look back when we’re in a couple of years and see how far I’ve progressed, starting as a Sunday League player with no coaching badges. I put in a request for a coaching class, but the chairman rejected it because I was needed on the pitch. Okay, fair enough, it’s just me and assistant manager Oliver Busby in charge of training at the moment, so it’s not like I have someone to delegate my work to. Besides, I’ve got 24 years minimum to work on getting that Pro license, so there’s no need to fret.
That’s it for this update. I’ll be back in the future when I see a nice stopping point to put in and update.