Welcome back to the save, ladies and gentlemen. We’re back with AFC Bolnore in Division Eight to get in that promised update on how things are going.
I seem to remember promising to do an update on the transfers, and I really wasn’t as busy as I expected, not really finding anyone interesting who was willing to sign, so I’m going to cover those that I did bring to the squad, which is a short list, then move on to the progress in our competitions.
Going out, we lost goalkeeper Leigh Overton after one season, as well as winger Lee Smith and winger Toby Adekunle. Pat Mortlock was a regen youth who wanted playing opportunities but wasn’t up to snuff for even the youths, so I let him go, and I let go of Francis Pallen and Adrian Ibbetson, two strikers who had been with us from the beginning. We’re looking strong in the striker department, and they’ve been seeing less and less playtime and are now the weakest links up front, so it was time to just let them go.
Coming in, I only found three that I like so far. Aaron Ward-Baptiste has made his way over to the amateur leagues from Bristol, and David Cowley comes into the midfield and Lewis Hilliard will alternate as a winger and striker to replace our losses. Harry Bonar is going to be our starting goalkeeper, having come in at the end of last season as a keeper comparative to Overton, who was on a long-term injury at the time.
Our first match for this update is a 3-0 home win against Portslade Athletic II in the league. A convincing enough performance, as is expected of us.
Our next match was another league win away at Lindfield III that ended 0-5 in our favor. Not really much to say. We did what was expected and took a good solid win.
Our next match was in the Parsons Challenge Cup and ended 10-0 at home! Ward-Baptiste got in five of his own, and opposition goalkeeper Gowan Pallen needs to be fired, because he let in virtually every ball that came remotely close to him and also contributed two goals to our final score with some humiliating own goals!
Ward-Baptiste’s five goals scored has set a new club and cup record, as has our winning margin of ten goals to none.
Next up we met Ditchling II at home and took in another comfortable 4-1 win. We’re still a game-in-hand to Ridgewood in second and we’re still tied for points and leading on a solid goal difference.
Our next match was a disappointing 3-1 defeat away to Pilgrims in the league. Not sure what to say aside from that it was unacceptable and mildly frustrating to lose it like we did.
Next up we took a solid 4-0 Mid-Sussex Junior Cup win. Interestingly enough, because Ward-Baptiste, Talisman Terry Rymer, and Jamie Baxter were all injured, I put three players out of position in striker, and they did the job with youth center-mid Carl Creed getting a brace on the day and being the second highest rated player of the day to Lewis Hilliard on the wing.
Our third round draw will be against Scaynes Hill from Division Nine, a team we’re quite familiar with and who we should have a positive result against.
Next up was a salvaged 3-2 win against Handcross Village II. We had a comfortable performance as a whole, but Bonar was off his game or something and let slip a few easy ones that he otherwise would have had. A win is a win, though, and we’re now two points ahead of second, though Ridgewood sits third with a game in hand and could still tie up for points again.
Now that the performance updates are out of the way, I’ve got a confession to make. I’ve spent about a season and a half completely burned out of AFC Bolnore. I need a challenge that Bolnore isn’t giving me. I’m a manager who will only stick around a handful of years at a time at a club and will leave, because I need things to be different for me and I can’t stand falling into an easy rut where I can just win things with no effort.
There’s the long-term challenge of getting this team to the Premier League, but the short-term will be a decade of fairly easy amateur leagues and that is getting old pretty quickly because I’m doing so well with AFC Bolnore and winning most of my games with a comfortable margin. There’s the odd frustrating moment where I see the team have a bad day, but it’s hardly a challenge for me.
I’m still interested in the concept of moving myself from my initial local reputation to the big leagues, but the more I play the more I feel like AFC Bolnore won’t be going up with me, because I don’t think I can handle the grind of the Mid-Sussex Football League.
St. Ives in the English Southern League First Division is sitting in 14th at the conclusion of my play session and have been on the bottom half of the table for a couple of years. After looking around their set-up and players for a bit, I’m interested in using them as a spring board to advance my career, since I’m predictably attached to the job, which has been the case will all jobs since the end of the first season.
I’ve formally attached my name to the running for the job, to the dismay of the fans who hold me as a club icon and are keen for me to stick with the team. Unfortunately for them, I feel like I’ve got the rest of this season at most left in me for Bolnore and the Mid-Sussex Football League, so even if the St. Ives opportunity goes tits up, I’ll definitely give consideration to openings that come up in the summer window.
As usual, you can follow me on Twitter @EricSnowmane or follow the blog for updates on my progress with the save. If you want to review any posts from the last three seasons, check out the season-by-seasons page on the AFC Bolnore drop-menu.
I know it’s getting a bit spammy at this point, but if you use Reddit and want to see more Football Manager blogs or YouTube series, check out /r/TheManagersCorner, a new spin-off subreddit from the main /r/footballmanagergames that’s dedicated to sharing with others your blogs, video series, or other creative writing related to the Football Manager series. Why not give it a look?