#FM15: To The Top! 2.1 -Rebuilding a Winning Squad

With our new chief scout signed, it was time to get down to business. After meeting with the chairman, I went to sit in my Fiesta to review reports and look at making phone calls for new signings. The horn’s been blowing nonstop since the summer transfer window opened, and my players were leaving the club almost faster than I could find more to strengthen the team. Ross Casey’s credentials spoke for him, and I was confident he’d be the man we’d need to get better, more accurate information on the players we could potentially sign. Now, it was time for us to sit in the car with our stacks of printed-off reports and discuss potential improvements to the team. It was more than a bit cluttered in the car, but what can you do when you don’t have your own desk and filing cabinet?

Welcome back, lads. I hope you all had a good break, now let’s discuss the pre-season and the objectives set in place for this team in Division Ten of the Mid-Sussex Football League.

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We have a new main kit sponsorship, and I decided for the fun of it to make a new kit every time we had a kit sponsorship as a way to keep things fresh-ish with new graphics, as well as give me an excuse to use Photoshop more often.

I think these things look quite good. In a move that leaves me dead to Chris Darwen (@comeontheoviedo), our new sponsor for the next two years to replace The Higher Tempo Press and Tales From the Top Flight is the Laptop Workshop, a small local business based out of Brighton and Haywards Heath, the later being the town Bolnore Village is a part of.

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After many months of attempting to get my assistant Oli into a coaching course for his first coaching license, the Chairman finally gave the green light and put some of that pure profit from the last season to work bettering this place.

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Callum McEachran, the goalie who was starting almost all of the matches last season and a key part of our team was one of several to accept a contract elsewhere and leave, being one of the more notable of all of our notable players to leave.

This will be something to get used to, as I’ve never managed a fully amateur side before, and it’s been annoying to have a team where I can lose players basically whenever someone else decides they want them.

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I had my named attached to one of the managerial vacancies over the summer, marking the first time another team has had my name attached to them. Naturally, I’m not leaving as the point of the save is to be with this one team for as long as possible and ideally up to reaching the Premier League.

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Promotion odds are in, and we’ve been made 1-5 favorites to win the Division Ten title this season, with the media agreeing with me that I’ve got one of the better teams in the division.

Assuming I can get in some depth to make up for the rapid departures of the first team, I am optimistic that I can field a team capable of winning the league again in a new division.

On to all of the matches that have happened in these last many months…

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Our first preseason friendly was a 2-3 loss, though I’m not concerned. I’m aware of the team’s quality, and we just need to shake the rust off and get the new boys comfortable.

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Next was a 3-3 draw where the teams were split virtually down the middle as far as stats.

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Our last two matches were a 1-3 loss where I felt like we deserved at least a draw, as well as a 2-1 victory where we ended up taking the win with a Nathan Walker penalty.

Our first league match was against Crawley United, who we opened up against last season, as well.

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We had a 2-1 win that was made difficult by a straight red to centerback Oak Mapson for a professional foul. We won the game only because of an own-goal from Crawley and we had a straight red on the season opener. Not the start I would have preferred, but three points are three points.

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Looking at our team outs, if you have followed this series from the beginning, you’ll notice we’ve lost a lot of key players – rotation striker Jordan Cross, starting RW Ryan McKechnie, LB Mark Boyce, GK Callum McEachran, rotation CB/CM Duncan Keown, vice captain Drew Shore, and captain Dominic Green.

That’s seven players who were important to me last season, and five of them were regular first team starters! I hope that these signings I’ve been trying to make are able to come good on it, because instead of adding depth, I’m replacing depth at a rate that hasn’t really enabled me to focus on strengthening the team depth.

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I pulled up the Board screen to review my confidence and I noticed that the chairman is willing to listen to offers for the club right now. It’s looking like we’ll possibly see a takeover offer in the future if the chairman is willing to listen to offers and potentially sell.

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I took this screenshot the day I got the fixture list, not after the recent results, so those aren’t shown in this image, but here’s our league schedule so far.

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Look at this. The board expects us to win the Division Ten title, as well as the Tester Challenge Cup, the Brian Hall Challenge Cup, and the Mid-Sussex Junior Cup.

I can’t say I approve of having the pressure of being told I must win, but the Chairman’s ideas of what the team can accomplish are in line with my own. As I said in the last post, I’m wanting to put in serious challenges for as many cups as I can, and I’m more than up for the challenge of a back-to-back promotion.

I’ll be back sometime in the future with an update on how the team’s looking in the leagues and the cups, and hopefully it will come with good news from what I hope to be quality signings!

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