Brimming with confidence after our surprising surge through League 1, I told the board that we would absolutely avoid relegation. This sets our transfer budget at 60k and our weekly budget at 71k p/w. Once again, the board seems to go against the grain by actually reducing my transfer budget even though we're making jump upward in terms of competition. In their defense, we did shell out a large amount during the offseason to upgrade our training facilities and to add on ~300 more seats. It's still aggravating, however, to be handcuffed when it comes to the transfer market. I had several players that I wanted to make moves on, but our transfer budget just wouldn't allow for it.
We secured a 1.9 million TV deal being in the Championship now, and the offseason was full of friendlies. On the advice given in the forums, I hosted my own mini-league. I convinced Bolton, Celtic, and friendly favorite West Brom to join our league for a 130k fee. Along with our usual offerings of friendlies against Premier teams, we profited nearly 3 million before league play even began. I'm hoping that this kind of financial performance will help spur on the board so we can get a proper transfer/wage budget increase next season.
I'm going to switch up the formatting a bit, and rather than talk about new players during updates, I'm going to discuss all of the transfers in/out as part of my season recaps.
Well, our first season in the Championship League is in the books and I'm happy to report we'll be coming back for a second! That means our preseason board promise of avoiding relegation was met. We finished in 16th position with 57 points; well above the relegation line of 38 points.
On the other hand, we finished 25 points out of the final playoff position. It was evident that we need to continue upgrading our roster in order to push on to the Premier League. The arrival of Tom Elliott gives us a capable player at the FCa spot and it also allowed promising Joe Ricketts to spend the season on the reserves where he racked up 18 goals, 5 assists, and an average rating of 7.35 over the course of 15 reserve appearances.
Ricketts is slotted to be the primary backup at the FCa position, which puts Nathan Modest in an undesirable spot. He's got decent talent, but his skillset doesn't work well at the FCd position because he isn't an able enough passer. He isn't quite the creative playmaker we need at the position, either. Not to say that current FCd Ishmel Demontagnac is the answer - because he isn't. Needless to say we will be going into the offseason wanting to address this situation.
When Demontagnac went down with a long injury, Modest actually did ok and our offense looked very fluid at times. When we got into tight battles, however, it was obvious that we need a better playmaker at FCd. In our offense, it's the critical link in the final third. If we can land an upgrade here, I think our offense will really take a step forward.
As it is, Matty Ritchie continues to be amazing (7.19 season average) and Elliott showed signs of being an excellent finisher for us. If we add a playmaker up front, it will free up Ritchie to attack even more rather than initiate the offense at times.
On defense, we NEED to get better on the wings. This is the primary goal during the offseason. We need to get faster and we need players that can tackle better. The top teams killed us with fluid passing games and it was painful to watch our defense just unable to make stops. We only finished -8 on the season and that is a true testament to our GK more than anything else.
All in all, I think we had a tremendous first season. I can really tell that we're getting close to the top of the mountain now, because the football being played is so much better. I sincerely hope the board responds with a more generous set of budgets in the upcoming season!
Final standings: 15/12/19, -8, 16th position.
Promoted teams: Leeds, Wigan, Hull
Relegated teams: Blackpool, Derby, Preston