#FM15: To The Top! 2.5 – Invincible Bolnore!

Welcome back, it’s time to wrap up season two in charge of AFC Bolnore in what will certainly be a long post, because there’s quite a lot to cover. As you will gather from the title, “Invincible Bolnore!“, we’ve finished the league unbeaten! Our team always had the gap in quality from being able to secure so many Mid-Sussex D1 players for the team, but it’s nice to see it on paper that we finished unbeaten, especially considering some of the results that could have easily ended up different.

As you’ll recall, we were in a battle to win the Tester Challenge Cup, win the league, and survive a board takeover in the last part. Let’s get to work.

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Our first match since we left off was a 3-0 home win against Peacehaven United III, which was most noteworthy for defender Sol Patterson-Bohner getting in his first goal for the club, although it was otherwise standard fare as far as league performances go.

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Winning the Peacehaven match secured mathematical promotion from the league, although with another few matches to go, we weren’t mathematically secure with the title.

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Next match was a 5-0 win in the league with Terry Rymer grabbing an additional two goals for his impressive tally and adding another MOTM to his list of achievements.

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With this result against Buxted III, we have mathematically clinched the title with four matches left to play! We’re still in the Tester Challenge Cup, and with our league performances so far, I was shooting for an invincible season, with it looking more and more likely as the season went on.

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Here’s the resolution to the takeover attempt from the last update. It collapsed, with Tony Wilkinson remaining in charge for the time being, although hinting at the possibility of another bid being taken in the future.

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After the chairman ended his negotiations in the failed takeover, he finally let me go in for another coaching license, which he’d been holding out on me for, so I’m now going for the highest National license, which should in theory be wrapped up late preseason or early next season depending on how quickly I complete the course.

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Our next match was a 0-2 away win against Wivelsfield Wanderers. The performance from the players was only average, with nothing standing out from anyone, but it’s one step closer to an invincible season to cap off our title win.

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Our next match was against Tester defenders Cuckfield Development, and we had a 4-2 victory to advance to the final. Rymer got in a hat-trick in one of his usual stellar performances, and he was Man of the Match.

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The draw for the final puts us up against Scaynes Hill from Division Nine. Let’s hope we don’t screw this up and report to Tony that we failed in all of his cup expectations!

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Immediately following our match against Cuckfield Development in the Tester Challenge Cup, we traveled away to their ground to meet them in the league, and we secured a 1-3 away victory.

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The next match was a bit concerning, but it was a win nonetheless, following a second-half goal from Burgess Hill to bring them up to 3-2 in the second half. They had some good chances at goal, and I was almost expecting to draw them. I’m pleased we won, because you could have argued that they deserved at least a point with their performance in the match.

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Our next match was a 0-3 away win to Scaynes Hill to secure the Tester Challenge Cup! We can report back to Tony now that we won one of the three cups he expected us to win! This victory added $10k to the bank. With $17/18k in the bank, we’re doing quite well since a busy month of matches can turn a profit for the club and we’ve got low expenses to deal with in the off-season when we aren’t performing.

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Our last match was a 3-1 home victory to end the season.

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As you can see, with 17 wins and one draw, we ended the season unbeaten!

To wrap up our season performances, we finished ubeaten in the league, were knocked out of the Brian Hall Cup in the second round by Crawley United, were knocked out of the Junior Cup Quarter Final, and we’ve immediately promoted from Division Ten up to Division Nine.

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Here are the player stats across Division Ten. Just like last season, we had the highest average ratings for individual players, despite coming in partway through the season, Terry Rymer topped the score chart. Right-winger Shane Elworthy topped the assist chart, though all of the team were providing assists.

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Speaking of Terry Rymer, if I had to name one specific player as player of the season, it has to be him with 26 goals in 20 appearances across all competitions. Despite being upset about Watson’s injury at first, after that season I’m actually glad that I was forced to scout a new striker, because he’s been a fan favorite all season and was really the one who put our already strong team over the top.

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In early May the Chairman was offered another bid for takeover. Maybe this one will end differently than the last one!

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At the end of May the chairman received a proper offer and we were once again put under a transfer embargo.

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Three weeks later, Harry O’Grady took over as the new chairman and the transfer embargo was lifted, enabling me to look at new talent for the squad. So far, however, we’ve not had bids for our current players. While I’m setting up contingency plans for all positions, ideally I love the current setup so much that I’ve offered in the post-season talk to have faith in the squad in Division Nine, and I meant it. I might add depth to the CM, which is a space that can be improved slightly, but otherwise we’re solid as-is.

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It took until the end of June for these announcements, but Terry Rymer was, unsurprisingly, the fans’ favorite player, and this was our team of the season. I’m actually surprised that Sam Fisk  was only a substitute and not the starting leftback in Hill’s place, because he was undoubtedly the better man, in my opinion. Whatever, this is the supporters’ vote, not mine.

It’s been quite a successful season, in my opinion, and I’m hoping for more of the same next season. I’ll see you guys in the near future with an update on the start of season three and our expectations and goals for Division Nine.

P.S. Want to find some more Football Manager blogs, video series, or story-telling or want to share your own? Check out the new subreddit The Manager’s Corner, a subreddit spun off from the main FM subreddit and dedicated to such content.

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