#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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#FM15: To The Top! 2.4 – Board Takeover?

Remember in part one of this season when I said that Tony was willing to listen to offers for the club? Well, it’s time now, and a local businessman is negotiating with him for ownership of the club.

Before we get to that, however, we’ve got a couple of months and a handful of matches to cover, so let’s get down to business, since this will probably be a decent length post even without a few paragraphs of creative writing thrown in.

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#FM15: To The Top! 2.3 – Steady As She Goes!

Time for another update on my progress with AFC Bolnore in my quest to take this little village town from their community recreation center to the Premier League.

Right now there isn’t anything particularly dramatic going on in the save that I can spin into creative writing for an introduction and “theme” to the post as a whole, so we’ll just quickly get into recapping what’s been going on since we last left off.

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#FM15: To The Top! 2.2 – A Career Change?

My 23rd birthday was spent at the Heath Tavern after the Buxted match having a few brews with Oli. My friend and  assistant sat staring at my iPhone in stunned silence. The media was reporting that I had no more than six expressions of interest in my services from other teams in the span of a couple of weeks. Word was getting around that a young American was in Haywards Heath and breeding winners at AFC Bolnore, and more than a few desperate clubs from here to the Counties were interested in taking a punt on my signature.

“What do you plan to do?” Oli had asked me that day. A fair question. I wasn’t sure what to do, and I had responded to the 31-year old honestly. I didn’t know what to do. We sat in silence sipping at our lagers.

“Well,” Oli said after staring thoughtfully at me for a some time, “you’re still very young, but you’re already showing your potential as a leader. A move could be very good for you. If you can make in in the County Leagues, why couldn’t you eventually make it to the National League or even the Football League?”

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#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?

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#FM15: To The Top! 1.5 – Victorious!

“When the final whistle blew, the lads went wild, jumping up, screaming, hugging each other, with congratulations all around. I threw my arm over my assistant’s shoulder yelling “we did it, Oli, we fuckin’ did it!” before joining the jubilant players — my boys both young and old, who defied the odds to secure promotion to Division Ten — on the pitch to celebrate. We had, of course, mathematically won the league already, but now that the dead rubber was out of the way, we were finally able to celebrate in earnest. Though we failed out of all of our cup competitions, the league title was ours, and our young club was ready for its first baby-step up the ladder that is the English soccer pyramid.”

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#FM15: To The Top! 1.4 – Holding Together a Fractured Dressing Room

“You wanted to see me, Mister Chairman?”

I stepped into Tony Wilkinson’s office with a slight apprehension. It was time for the monthly meet with the main man, and Oli warned me that the Chairman had wind of our current situation with the players’ discontent and how it affected our current performances. The meeting started off well enough, with Wilkinson prefacing the discussion by saying that our league performances and continued hold on the lead was outstanding, as was our cup run so far, and that he was still pleased with me being the team’s skipper. Or “gaffer” as the Brits say. However, we had a long, intense talk about the squad’s harmony and the rift right down the middle of the dressing room.

It’s my fault, to be fair. Following a draw where we scrapped through by the skin of our teeth, I let the team know in no uncertain terms that I felt like my expectations weren’t met, and that they needed to work harder. Looking back now, I still feel like my decision to take the approach was justified, though a section of the team, including vice-captain Drew Shore, disagreed with me, putting the club into what could very well end up a downward spiral as some of the older, established players put into the squad the seeds of doubt about their young skipper’s ability to lead them.”

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