When asked what our expectations are for the upcoming season, I confidently told the board that we would achieve a midtable finish. That gives us a transfer budget of 207k (45k last season) and a wage budget of 26k (16.5k last season) per week. Clearly our success last season prompted the board to open up their pockets a bit!
We began putting our new budget to use as soon as July 1 arrived. The star rating is what our top talent evaluator - Ivano Bordon - rates the player.
We brought in youngster DL Sam Habergham who will play on the reserves for a season or two. 3 stars.
Jean-Francois Christophe will man the DMC spot while Jean-Paul Kalala recovers from a hip injury that has sidelined him for the past two months (~3 weeks until fully healthy). When Kalala returns, he will likely shift to the MCd position and bump current MCd Mark Hughes to the bench. 6 stars.
Ben Amos was brought on to be our immediate, and hopefully long-term, starter at GK. 6 stars.
I was like a kid in a candy store with my newfound wage budget! We brought in three new starters. One, a ST, was a player that we had targeted in an area of need. The other two FBs, were simply too talented not to upgrade with!
Nathan Modest will hopefully solve some of our scoring woes up front. He has the abilities of a target man, but I wonder if his lack of height will hinder him. Regardless, he looks capable of scoring with his feet also, athough I hope his pace increases. 5 stars.
Kieran Trippier is our new starting DR, supplanting Craig Eastmond who is better served as a DMC any way. If you recall, we were on the market for a replacement DR after Robbie Rice's contract demands were getting a little silly. Trippier is a definite upgrade that brings some offensive punch that Rice never did. 6 stars.
Not to be outdone, the left side of the back line now features Joe Bennett. How could I pass up on a talent like him? He provides an even greater offensive presence than Trippier and puts Sam Williamson into a super reserve role that I think he is better suited for. Williamson has been trained to play across the board in the back - DL, DC, DR - and will get plenty of match time as a sub. 5 stars.
I am extremely excited to see how our newest additions affect our team's play this season. We've gotten much better on 2/3 of the pitch, IMO, and if we get any increased production from our ST unit we could be in line for a playoff bid this season. Having gotten all of these players so far on free transfers, we still have 200k in transfer money at our disposal and 3.2k p/w salary free (before releasing at least one or two excess players).
15 games into the season and I think our team is still in the gelling process. I feel like we have been largely inconsistent so far, which is somewhat concerning. Hopefully we'll hit our stride soon and rattle off a series of games that changes my mind.
In all fairness, we did bring in a new starting FCd - Ishmel Demontagnac - to jumpstart our front line a bit and I think it's both helped and hindered. It's helped by bringing in some much needed speed up front. Demontagnac has provided 1 goal, 2 assists, and 1 MoM in six games so far, but more importantly he has helped open things up during attacking moves. FCa partner Nathan Modest has contributed 4 goals and 3 assists; while our stable of MCs continue to produce (Jimmy Ryan - 2 goals | Mark Hughes - 3 goals, 1 assist | Jean-Paul Kalala - 2 goals, 1 assist | Solomon Shields - 1 goal, 1 assist).
Being relatively new and lacking in the Teamwork department, Demontagnac is still getting used to his team and vice versa. Once he gets acclimated, however, I like the potential for a more fluid attack spearheaded by him.
Current standings: 6/5/4, +3, 7th position.
We've definitely begun to gel this season as we approach the home stretch. Even though we've dropped into 8th place, we're only 1 point removed from 7th and only 6 points separate us from 1st place.
We just recently lost starting FCd Ishmel Demontagnac, so it remains to be seen if we will be able to maintain our pace with one of our key players missing. He seemed to be getting comfortable as he had turned in a handful of good games in a row, just in time for him to get injured for ~3 weeks.
Current standings: 12/12/6, +10, 8th position.
What an end to the season! With 8 games left, we were sitting in 4th place and I really didn't want to risk our promotion chances by not placing in the top 3. One look at our final fixtures had me feeling good, with the majority of the games against mid-tier teams. We could only manage a win - at home, no less! - against a Dag & Red team that has been fighting relegation all season.
This game seemed to light a fire under the team, however, as we rattled off three consecutive wins to push us into 2nd place. Going into the final game, we were 2 points out of 1st place and not only did we manage to win our final game, but Barnet could only salvage a tie. So on the last day we ended up winning the league!
Expectations of a mid-tier finish looked reasonable, but as soon as we got on our late roll we powered into the top 3 and never looked back.
Like we have done in the past, we are already looking toward improving the overall talent level of our team. As of right now, I like the general makeup of the first team but I want to add more speed up front with our strikers.
Average attendance on the year was 3239 (4300 max, 1236 seated) with 1483 season ticket holders. Average attendance went up very slightly from last season (3233) even though our season ticket sales had dropped quite a bit (1635).
Pitch condition is terrible! Will be relayed this offseason.
Corporate facilities are adequate.
Training facilities are fairly basic. Undergoing upgrade this offseason.
Youth facilities are basic.
Click here for the final standings and here for the season in review.
Here is the final transfer information for the season.
And lastly here are the final team stats and here is our best eleven for 2012.
Joe Bennett - Coca Cola League 2 Players' Select
Me - Manager of the Year =D