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[FM13] Oxford City - The DIY guide to lower league management

Current league table and linked match reports in the first post
Started on 9 March 2014 by BartS
Latest Reply on 8 June 2014 by Arch Mon
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22th September 2012
Match report #10

Paulton – Oxford City


Hello guys! Finally I'm back for the next match report and it's not just another one … of the bottle, it's a special one. Today we kick off another competition – qualifiers for the FA Cup. This is actually a big one for me and Oxford City because there is some serious money at stakes – 4.5k – can you dig it? Certainly, if you look at it from a PL perspective it's a sad joke but you have to know, that my transfer budget is only 1k, so this is really something. And there is a couple more reasons why this is going to be a cool game. First of all I have decided to go with another formation – the one that incorporates two inside forwards:

I picked this formation because a cup game has different priorities than a league game. Here we just need to score – a draw is no good. We have two IF – attacking F. Barcelos and supporting A. Holgate – and DLF S. Basham set to attacking. Somehow I mixed up the duties in the graphic – won't happen again. The rest of the formations stays the same as usual. I'm very curious how this is going to impact our defense. My best guess is, that Paulton could surprise us with some counter attacks on the right flank, as P. Stonehouse likes to charge forward, possibly opening space for the opposition to exploit. Other than that I don't see any good reasons why we should not win. But you never now!


The first signal that this is not going to be a walk in the park was sent out very early, just 2 minutes into the game. After a long pass from the right flank the ball went past the goal but then got headed back to W. Bent who went for the header at goal but M. Ingram managed to parry it and so we were warned. Paulton might not have the technical skills but they will certainly use their physical strength and that is something we should keep an eye on.

In the 8th minute I was more than happy to see my plan work: after a goal kick C. McNish headed the ball to S. Basham who was about 30 meters away from the goal, with 3 defenders in front of him. After getting the ball under control he saw F. Barcelos cutting inside between the two central defenders. Basham sent the ball into that space and Barcelos fired it at the near post, but the Paulton goalie managed to deflect it out of bounds.

Just 2 minutes later a very similar situation occurred. After a goalkick by Paulton C. McNish headed it to F. Barcelos, who was waiting for it between the defense and midfield line. Initially it looked like he wanted to do it himself but then he saw Basham passing by his defender and so he sent it to our topscorer who added another goal to his list, setting the score 0-1.

In the 18th minute there was another surprise for the host team. After goalkick a Paulton midfielder wanted to pass the ball back, but he did not hit the ball clean and so it went to our A. Holgate. He dribbled from the midfield line to the box where a defender tackled the ball away but straight to S. Basham who put it into the back of the net , extending our lead to 0-2.

After that our opposition had two really good chances. In the 26th minute they almost did profit from a corner when the ball came in really good, but W. Bent's header went to the crossbar. In the 39th minute it was even closer. An early cross was sent into the box where it missed one Paulton striker but at the long corner Davies was all alone with nothing but the keeper between him and the goal. He did not manage to hit the target and so we went into halftime with a comfortable 0-2 lead.

Then there was the 49th minute – and what a brilliant spot! Holgate ran down the right flank and whipped it to Lonsdale who came in charging at the right corner of the box. The center defender responsible for that area saw the danger coming and attacked our CM who immediately passed the ball to S. Basham – clear cut situation and it's 0-3 – fantastic goal!

After that we had 2 more situations with a long shot from Basham in the 66th minute and another attempt by our new irish CM Melligan who lost the one on one with the Paulton goalkeeper. Paulton remained harmless to the and end so we won 0-3 and advanced to the next qualifying round.


Finally a very satisfying result in an important game. Basham now has his hatttrick and I have seen the new tactic in action. I very much enjoyed F. Balceros runs and his good cooperation with S. Basham. As for the 3 clear cut situations for Paulton I have to say that again – like in the first match of the season against Chester – it were mostly individual mistakes that put our success at risk and so I'm not to worried with advancing my WM to IF. I'm very happy with the result, I love the 4.5k reward and I have a feeling that we might surpass our boards expectations regarding this competition – they expect us to reach the 4th qualifying round – we're already in the 3rd and the opposition is … Chalfont St. Peter, whatever that is. I will use the same formations as today but alter the duties a little bit – hopefully that will result in even more goals.

29th September 2012
Match report #11

Oxford City 3 – 0 Guiseley


Hello guys! I have decided to stop writing full reports for every single game – it's absorbs too much time and keeps me from writing what this blog is about – managing a club in the monthly reports. From now on I will write shorter match reports and keep posting the match facts in the spoilers. This way I will be able to produce maybe 1 monthly per week – I'm very much looking forward to this.

Match report

Today it was our pleasure to play against Guiseley and boy did we play... We started the scoring just 2 minutes after the first whistle, when Basham got to score from a penalty. The decision by the referee resulted from what appeared to be a dive but I don't have any problems with that – if you follow this blog you know that referees are not exatly our biggest fans so I will accept this decision as a reconciliation gift. Guiseley played really well in the beginning but we took over after about 20 minutes and never looked back after scoring again in the 28th minute. The 3rd goal in the 73th minute was icing on the cake – finally a solid win in front of the home crowd.

Man of the match – S. Basham

That was the last game this month and I'm very happy that we managed to win the last two games – it gives me a good feeling about the challenges that will come with October. That, the current league table and some creative writing will be part of the next monthly report that should be up by Sunday. Have a nice weekend!

Hello again Bart,

I just finished reading from where I left off lost time. It has been said before but it bares repeating, great job on the level of detail on the match narratives. It is especially helpful that you don't whitewash over tactical mistakes or bad performances because there is comfort in knowing we aren't the only ones experiencing these challenges and also we can learn from your experiences as well. I'm playing an LLM team as well and can definately relate to your frustration.

Oxford has had a bad string of luck with poor performances, injuries and dubius calls, but there have been some encouraging incremental improvements as the players get settled and more comfortable with the tactics. Congratulations on the big first round FA Cup win! Also, congrats to Basham on the hat trick! That 4.5K should come in handy.

For future issues to tackle, could you delve into finances a bit? I am trying to figure if an LLM club is really a viable business model or is it just a loss leader until promotion when real money can be made? How about how you go about building your squad. Do you offer appearance fees and bonuses for promotion or not being releagated? They always seem to insist on these bonuses when I try to sign lower league players. I am worried about a big baloon payment at end of season now. Also, are friendlies with big clubs a good way to make money or are they too big of a moral killer?

For training, how do you find the balance between rest and training. Are you keeping a light schedule with lots of rest? For tactics, do you keep things simple while the squad gets familiar with your main tactic or is it better to change things up for different opponents?

Anyway, keep up the good work on this story. Loving the Spiritual Home of Mediocrity photo - thing of beauty that is!

Cheers, Arch
BartS's avatar Group BartS
9 yearsEdited

29th of September 2012
Monthly report #2

Francesc Tito Vilanova i Bayó 17.09.1968 – 25.04.2014


It's so refreshing to finally write a monthly again. I definitely enjoy this way more, than the match reports. Ok so let's start with the league table after 10 matches:

Surprise, surprise – we are still in second position. As you can see we have played one more game than our competition but the result is still very respectable and I'm positive we are going to have a good shot at promotion in our initial season. The best part about this – check the goals against – now that's really something.

Ok, now let's have a look at the matches we played this month:

A little bit patchy, isn't it? I will put it like this: we were not the luckiest team this month. The first loss against Boston United we could have should have avoided, but it was early into the season, a couple of players not 100% match fit, I was fairly inexperienced and so we slipped. After the 3-0 against Altrincham we failed to win against 2 inferior teams and I will admit that our efforts were not really convincing (especially the finishing) but the referees certainly had a decisive influence on the outcomes. After that we got back on track and devastated both Paulton in the FA Cup and Guiseley in the BSN – both 3-0 – two mandatory wins.

Now, the top scorers table:

With a hattrick against Paulton, two player of the match and 7 goals to his name Steve Basham is the synonym for our success. Unfortunately his performance was not recognized in the player of the month ranking but I guess he can live with that, as he is well aware of his role and importance for Oxford City. Also, I decided to have him tutor one of our young prospects – this is the first step for him to become a coach one day – hopefully at Court Farm Place!

Team review

For games and games and games I have been talking about my players and how good they are and what not. Today I will cut the BS and show the stats of all my first team players. Perhaps, you will be able to suggest some changes that will further improve our performance.





Statisticians and strategists corner

Let's start with chances and goals – it is always a good indicator on how good you are actually doing. So in September Oxford City have had 87 attempts on goal and scored 11 times – in order to put it in the back of the net we needed roughly 8 attempts. This is definitely worse than last month – we needed only 5 attempts to score once in August – but at the same time we increased the number of chances we had per match: from 10,75 per game to 12,43. That is a big difference! Going with these numbers in August we would score 2 goals per game while in September we would score about 1,5 goals per game.

And now chances and goals against. In September we allowed our opposition 33 chances and they scored 3 times – this is a success rate of roughly 9%. Compared to last month – 12,5% - we actually improved. And we also improved at allowing chances at goal. While in August our opposition would get on average of exactly 6 attempts at goal, in September that number decreased to 4,7.

Sure … to give a qualitative answer which month was better I should incorporate standard deviation and stuff but I feel like … we were way better this month. The only difference is that in September out performance remained under the red line – in other words lady luck was not on our side and so we lost once when we were supposed to draw/win against Boston Utd and we also went really unlucky drawing twice against inferior teems who had the referee on their side. I mean have a look at the Corby game – that is a statistical improbability per excellence :D

Oh yes – and we were scoring like crazy in August – way above equity.

Now let's talk a little bit about formations. As you already know I'm using 2 formations right now. My standard is the 4141 with the following duties and mentalities:

I love this formation for how solid it feels in defense. The opposition attackers are constantly outnumbered and there is no space for passing on our half. The downside is that in attack I am limited to slow positional attacks and few counters only, as we don't really have winger/target man options. Nevertheless this is what we will use throughout the season when up against strong teams because not conceding is everything in league competition.

Next we have two attacking formations – and I love them both:

I started using them recently and so far both are working brilliantly. With the left I usually put F. Barcelos as left IF and S. Basham and A. Holgate are my DLF options. The right spot is reserved for J. Cook and sometimes A. Holgate albeit his mental abilities are subpar and so putting him in usually results in loss of poison on the right side. The right formations is a new one that I will use in my next BSN game. The idea is to put F. Barcelos up front – he actually is fast and has acceleration – and N. Stanley or P. Stonehouse to support him with passes into space for his runs through the defense. Most BSN teams use a defending 4 so 3 attackers can cause some serious trouble. Well they already did – check the last two games of September. To add some dexterity and mix it up we could certainly use a strong target man but that is not an option at the moment so we will stick to what works anyway. Maybe next season :D

I like the fact that I started using the more attacking tactics just recently because I feel like building up confidence with the first couple wins had a mayor impact on the players being able to perform well in a 41221 formation. Going this way is definitely better than loosing a couple of games due to a ballsy approach and then franticly looking for a way to repair the damage.

Writing in high detail

Writing a manager story with a high level of detail can be very rewarding but exhausting at the same time. Just like any other activity, hobby or work it requires a plan, resources and tools, that will help you produce new content and remain focused on the important stuff. Below I will share some concepts, which help me go on with this blog. I hope they will prove useful for you as well.

Beforehand, decide on what your product is and stick to it. This blog for example focuses on match and monthly reports. Occasionally I will add some short random announcements but that's it. Every time you bring in something new it keeps you from delivering the main product and playing the game. People - your readers - also tend to like stuff they already know and got used to, so don't waste their time - give them the stuff that awoke their interest in the first place.

Make the writing process as easy as possible by using template files, which already incorporate the format, bb-codes, paragraph headers and so on. Without much effort you will be able to deliver quality and focus on the content, not the form.

When writing very detailed match reports it's probably a good idea to do it asap after the game. You will still remember the dynamics and interesting spots - the key highlights review mode doesn't necessarily feature them.

Don't cue up writing more than 2 match reports. Never! Seriously, there is nothing worse than not being able to play the game because you rushed through a couple of games and now have to do the homework. And it actually feels like homework ... on a sunny day, when everybody is out but you.

Don't forget to do the PrtScs in halftime. Maybe I'm wrong but I believe fm13 doesn't allow you to go back to some stats after you clicked them away - not good.

From time to time bring in small changes to brake the routine. When your writing starts boring you, it probably started boring your readers two reports ago.

These are just some concepts that help me enjoying this. I'm sure there are tons of other things, that help you write your blogs and I would be really happy if u shared them with me!

Music corner

Today I would like to recommend to you a band that is probably my all-time favorite! Ok let's put it differently: all-time favorite contemporary band. They have nothing to do with football but when I think summer, nice weather … getting older and stuff, then there is always this one song on my mind. It also reminds me of my stay in England 4 years ago. I hope that some day they will come back from their hiatus with another fantastic record and finally get the recognition they deserve. Ladies and gentleman … enjoy Time Flies by Porcupine Tree!

Words of football wisdom

I will take this opportunity and comment on this months refereeing, employing the words of Lothar Mathäus:

Lothar Mathäus:
Becomming a referee in the future is out of question for me. I'd prefer a job that has something to do with football.

Stuff to work on in October

I still need to figure out a good rotation system :D Max Lonsdale does not perform on the level I expected, Albi Skendi is still out, John Melligan joined us just recently and needs to better his match fitness … I need to figure that out.

A very important thing to me is not to stop thinking about new tactics and improvements for the team. There is nothing worse than stagnation.

I wanna start uploading some highlights on youtube, to make the match reports a bit juicier :D

I will answer Arch Mon's question in an addition to this monthly. It's most def going to be out by ... wednesday I think.
BartS's avatar Group BartS
9 yearsEdited


Arch Mon: Hey Arch! Some real questions at last. These matters definitely deserve some more attention and so I will try to answer all of them - the best I can - in an addendum to the last monthly! Training and friendlies I will save up for the next monthly!

05th of October 2012
Addendum to the monthly report #2

To manage or not to manage?

Football or moneyball?

Before I will go ahead and focus on building a squad, contract details and future plans I would like to make a statement on football in general: I think that a LL team is NOT a viable business model in the sense that – yes – you can grind out a small profit but without TV/prize money/grants any team … even those with great traditions are a high risk investment to put it mildly. Unless we are talking Arabs, Russian or Red Bull with an “if I wanted I could buy your life” mentality, the people who funnel their money, passion and heart into any club below division say 3 deserve the utmost credit and respect. Even if you look in the first divisions – say in Germany – you will find that sometimes it's a matter of only few years between great success and total disaster. VfB Stuttgart won the league in 2007 and now they struggle to remain in the Bundesliga! Why? Well you start doing good, you go up, eventually u win something big, next year you play Champions League, then another year CL, there is some serious money flow in, salaries go through the roof, in the third year you barely qualify for the Europe League, in the fourth year you finish 12th but hey – you signed the contracts, you made the investments – and this is where sh*t is getting real. There is also Werder Bremen who go way below their own expectations for years now and suddenly it's not a matter of getting back to the top but of staying in the BL! And don't get me started on Hamburg … So what is the key to a viable business/club that is not like … one of the top 20 in Europe? I would say it's a mix of very pragmatic management, a billion tons of hard work and in the end also patience of a saint. Oh and hopefully success will not come too fast and easy...

That being said I try to manage my Oxford City as if all this was for real. I hope that the next couple of paragraphs will give you a clear vision of my opinions and perhaps kick off a substantial discussion on all that stuff.

The current financial situation

This is my 2nd month with Oxford so it's hard to asses where we're at but let me put it like this: I think we're doing ok. To back this up see the income/expenditure tables bellow:

As you can see last month we were in the black but the only thing that actually kept us there were the grants. If it was not for them we would have been down 6k. We make about 30% of our income on gate receipts, a little less then 10% came from our payday in Paulton and about 16% was match day income. The rest I can not directly influence so I guess winning is the only strategy for more cash. Ohhh and spending less. Player salaries and bonuses will be discussed in another paragraph. With my staff the situation is the following: after joining Oxford I fired 2 or 3 guys (don't remember) and hired the same number plus 1, spending only 50ish more per week. I can not tell if raising the training quality from one to 1.5 star has an impact worth the effort, but it's only 50 more so I guess I can do that. Well I hope that the training got better, because I had to pay the old staff around 13k for leaving so the cost of my new staff is actually their salaries + the 13k thrown out the window … but even if the change of staff did not bring a boost in quality I would do it again because only from looking at my old staffs stats I would get internal bleeding in the skull … and a frontal lobotomy is definitely more than 13k :D

Building my squad

As for my squad I have one basic rule I go with “If I can not afford it or if somebody offers money for it – it's out” and since I did not have much money in the first place most of my players are payed by appearance (100-200) and by goals scored (20 tops). The only contracts I gave away where B. Montgomery's (70 per week), B. Quinn (90 per week) and J. Melligan (110 per week). Only Melligan gets appearance and goal bonuses (10/5). The guys who were already signed to Oxford when I arrived earn 200 tops, some get “allowance” for goals or appearance but never more than 20.

I terminated only one contract because the guy was already 23 and on the bottom border of average so that was not even a decision. Now I feel like I should have sacked Darren Pond as well but I guess it's already to late, he is only 100 per week so … kind of stupid to keep him as I hardly ever consider him but who knows … daaaahhh now I feel bad ... I will let him play the next time we have an easy match-up :D Below you can find the payroll budget for prove what a cheap bastard I am :D

Ok now additional bonuses. This year I would give only those bonuses that I would not have to regret by the end of the season. Promotion bonus – no chance. Salary/fees up after scoring 30 – yes, if the guy is a defender. Not being relegated – sure, how much do you want? To put it short: no bonuses – that's not an option with my financing. I would only make an exception if I were to find somebody really young but freekishly good, versatile and with tons of future potential. If that guy would agree on 200 … maybe 250 a week then I might consider a somewhat substantial extra for promotion or so but seriously … that would have to be the next Zlatan.

Future financial plans

Let's have look at some rough sketches of my financial planing for the near future. You already know my policy on team building so this will focus on the club facilities and my staff.

Looking at the financial status of the club, it's resources and "the Oxford situation" I have decided not to invest any money into youth development in the near future - that is 4-5 years. The reasons for that are quite obvious - we are a small club, we neither have the money to improve the facilities nor to pay youth coaches and quite frankly - there is no need for such a step because of "the Oxford situation". What is the situation? Well Oxford is home to 3 football clubs: United, City and the Nomads. United is a parent club to City and the Nomads are our feeder club. Instead of running our own youth team I will send my youngsters to the Nomads and follow their progress from safe distance - money wise. This seems to me like the natural thing to do at the moment. Of course I will not have any guarantee for their proper education but at least it's something.

One thing I will definitely dump some money into is our stadium. Currently we offer only 300 seats and 2700 standing places at Court Place Farm. While for a low profile BSN club that might be enough (or not?), our goal is to win promotion asap - hopefully this season - and I don't wanna wake up one division higher with only 300 seats. Just have a look at the attendance from the last game against Guiseley - 378 - already we should rename our stadium Cosy Place Farm :-) So what is the plan? Well I will keep an eye on the attendance, the results and our finances and then, say in December, talk to the board about it and ask for a buildout of the existing facilities. I have no idea how much that would be, how long construction would take but ... 1.5-2k seats should be enough for BSN-L2. Just like youth facilities, a new stadium is out of question until we really need it.

There is one thing though that I would like to change asap: the quality and quantity of my staff. In my opinion we are in desperate need of another coach. The perfect candidate should have strong technical coaching skills, attacking, motivating, level of discipline and and motivating. Anything around 10 at all those skills is fair enough. I will check what is or will be on the market this year and make some moves :-)

PS: I forgot to mention two things in the squad section. The first thing is that I obviously brought in some guys on loan and so the "listed for loan" market is the first place for me to find players, second are free agents and 3rd are the transfer listed but since I don't have any transfer money that is not a option. The second thing is that I had to let one player go who was actually first squad in the pre-season. I raised his appearance and goal fee from 100/0 to 180/20 but somebody gave him 250/200 and he signed - I would not have given him that much, no chance.
BartS's avatar Group BartS
9 yearsEdited

02nd October 2012
Match report #12

Hinckley 0 – 4 Oxford City

Match report

How should I put this game into one sentence? We thrashed Hinckley. No, that's not the right way. We violated them … nope, still not good. Oh now I have it: we stomped them in the ground and then walked our dogs on the pitch. While in the first half we only kept the game under control and in the 32nd minute scored a nice counter attack goal, the second half was almost like a storm, a tornado … a hurricane over Hinckley. First it was Jamie Cook, who finally popped his cherry and scored his first goal from a recycled corner. Then the Felipe-Barcelos-Show got underway. The young Brazilian IF came in after the halftime brake for the drab S. Basham and really made a name for himself. In the 64th minute he scored from a penalty and then – about 15 minutes later - he finished off a fantastic counter attack to set the final score 0-4 and secure today’s man of the match.

Man of the match – F. Barcelos

I think this match came in the right moment for us. Hinckley are of course the weakest team in the league and so I felt really confident sending out a very attacking eleven but after winning the first half and seeing a very solid defense I had the opportunity to experiment a little bit and go even more attacking – and boy did that pay off. Another great win and even more confidence for the next couple games. And we certainly need confidence because next time it's FA Cup again – with some serious money up for grabs!

Arch Mon's avatar Group Arch Mon
9 yearsEdited
2014-04-27 20:33 BartS :
"I think that a LL team is NOT a viable business model"

I agree with that assessment. Without cup money and leeching off of the big clubs it is very difficult financially for a LL club.

2014-04-27 20:33 BartS :
"As you can see last month we were in the black but the only thing that actually kept us there were the grants."

Makes perfect sense, don't spend more than you are bringing in. Safest way to operate so long your management skills and on field talent can bridge the gap. If the results aren't there, fans lose interest and even less money is coming in. How do you get grants? Is it something built into the setup or does it happen organically in the game?

2014-04-27 20:33 BartS : "As for my squad I have one basic rule I go with “If I can not afford it or if somebody offers money for it – it's out” and since I did not have much money in the first place most of my players are payed by appearance (100-200) and by goals scored (20 tops)."

You are in far better shape financially than I am. I over indulged way too much on the first free agent market. Now I am going to have to make some serious cuts next transfer season. Maybe a good way to weed out the weak? We'll see come January.

2014-04-27 20:33 BartS : "Ok now additional bonuses. This year I would give only those bonuses that I would not have to regret by the end of the season. Promotion bonus – no chance. Salary/fees up after scoring 30 – yes, if the guy is a defender. Not being relegated – sure, how much do you want? To put it short: no bonuses – that's not an option with my financing."

Yeah, I'm scewed if we don't have a big windfall for promotion. Almost everyone is set to get a promotion bonus. Oops.

2014-04-27 20:33 BartS : "there is no need for such a step because of "the Oxford situation". What is the situation? Well Oxford is home to 3 football clubs: United, City and the Nomads. United is a parent club to City and the Nomads are our feeder club."

How do I get a feeder club when we are at such a low level ourselves? I will try to set up some parent club affiliates in order to get some good loans in the future. Seems the smartest way to go.

Nice result against Hinckley! Well done. Will you be starting Barcelos next time out?
Hey Bart, enjoying the story a lot, you're commitment is truly inspiring. Just thought I'd let you know that you've missed out a code in your previous post as you're story has shifted to the right. I'd suggest looking at your coding and see what's gone wrong. :)
BartS's avatar Group BartS
9 yearsEdited


Arch Mon: Hey Arch! I asked google about grants in fm13 and it was not able to find any results. I'm pretty sure though that you can not influence them. Getting your board to set up feeder clubs when you are LL is a tough one as you don't earn any money on it but you should try – who knows? :D Felipe Barcelos is my first choice left IF so I guess you will hear a lot from him. Hopefully he will make me less Basham dependent. I also hope that J. Cook's goal was a break through and will make him a staple on the right IF position.

Josh_MU: Thanks for the tip! I knew there was something wrong with my post (could not find the permalink) but I did not know it was due to bad coding. Of course I messed up sth in the table. Maybe I should stick to the editor :D

06th October 2012
Match report #13

Chalfont St. Peter 0 – 4 Oxford City

Match report

How are you doing today? I'm doing fine and this is not only due to our next win in the FA cup but also some other things I will tell you about in the next paragraphs but let's start with the game. I have decided to use my attacking formation again but hey – it would not be me if I did not try something new, right? So the new thing was to set up a midfield triangle with Quinn as DM in defensive mode, L. Malone as AP in attacking mode and – brace yourself – P. Stonehouse as BWM as support. So far he has proven to be of great value on 2 positions and that is why putting him in CM looked like the next thing to do. And it worked juuuuuust great! Stonehouse won pretty much every single tackle he launched, was always there were I needed him and even contributed to our attacking, adding one goal in the 23rd minute. Unfortunately J. Harris on left full back got yellow carded and so I had to switch Paul back to his FB position and make a substitution: Lonsdale for Harris. Stonehouse kept being ball wining and his impressive performance gained him the player of the match award.

Scorer of the 0-3 and player of the match – P. Stonehouse

The first half was amazing. I send my players out with two instruction: play through defense and exploit flanks. Chalfont were in trouble from the first whistle as our attacks were highly dangerous and effective. After only 9 minutes Harris scored his first goal for us from a corner. Just minutes later Chalfont suffered from an own goal by the stressed out M. Chambers. He surprised everybody with a complete black out and header on his own goal. After that the game was over for Chalfont but not for us. Stonehouse's and Basham's goals set the final result to 0-4 but it could have been 0-6 or even 0-7, as Barcelos kept making insane runs at goal and if it was not for Basham's bad timing on two occasions … man … that game could have been one for eternity. Also J. Cook seemed a little bit more adventurous with his long ranged shots – adding to the general stress level of our opposition. In the second half we did not score even though we had some good situations but then again we did not push anymore because the 0-4 was fair enough. Another fantastic win and perhaps the best 45 minute I have seen from my team so far.

News from the transfer market

I have some bad news and some fantastic news. Let's start with the bad news. You remember my post about LL football not being a viable business model and that success can be dangerous? Well it just got us in an uncomfortable spot, as Andrew Gunn is now under transfer bid by Maidenhead form the BSP and I guess that I will not be able to keep him. Since he is my back-up for B. Quinn and therefor quite important for the squad, I have decided to make the transfer as expensive as possible for Maidenhead and raised his appearance fee from 100 to 200 pounds. Maybe it will convince him to stay? The only other thing I can offer is being part of a team that keeps winning by 3-4 goals … that's something, isn't it?

The fantastic news is that I have signed another coach and he is just awesome. Since he only asked for a very low salary – considering his skills – I gave him the longest possible contract of two years. This is a man who is going to be an important factor in my plan to get Oxford City to the highest levels. Ladies and gentleman, let's welcome our new fitness coach, Mr Scott Taylor!


Oh, I almost forgot. We have made Oxford City history by going 7 games without loosing. I will do my best to prolong this streak but it's going to be a tough one - our next FA cup opposition is going to be Newport Co … no more bums for us.
BartS's avatar Group BartS
9 yearsEdited

13th October 2012
Match report #14

Oxford City 3 – 0 Workington

Match report

In the 12th match of the season it was our pleasure to welcome Workington at Court Place Farm for another episode of the “Play against Oxford – get minimum 3 goals”-series. I really fell in love with my very own BBC (Barcelos, Basham & Cook) and so I sent out my attacking formation to make the home crowd happy. For the first goal we had to wait almost 37 minutes but it was a piece of beauty and a display of nice teamwork between Stonehouse, Basham and Barcelos, with the last to score from about 14 meters. Barcelos also played his part in the next goal, when he executed a free kick from the left corner. The ball went to Jack Mills, who – all alone – did not give the opposition goalkeeper any chance and put it into the back of the net . By halftime the game was pretty much over for Workington and so I decided to give my attacking department some rest before our next game and sent in Holgate and Stanley for Basham and Barcelos.

Two goals in the last two matches and player of the match against Workington – J. Mills

The second half was way slower and the quality of the attacking efforts went down. My defense was just amazing – they put in a flawless performance – and so was Stonehouse who kept fighting for the ball and more often then not succeed. In the end it was him, who began the attack that resulted with a 3rd goal for Oxford City. After a recycled attack on Workington's goal the ball was hammered against the crossbar by our ball winning all-over-the-placer and again it was Cook who made the rebound and tipped it into the goal.

Another great victory in front of our home crowd, 3 important points for the BSN table and series of massive wins that does not seem to end. At this point I slowly start to consider us a potential winner of the competition but shhhhhhhh – let's not start dreaming of the BSP just yet...


Today I have a question for you guys – technical one. As you may already know I just signed a new coach – Scott Taylor – who is responsible for the fitness of my players. Unfortunately during the contract negotiations I missed to give him a fitness coach position and signed him as a regular coach instead. Is it possible to change that without giving him a new contract? I would like to keep the one coaching slot open in case I find somebody new worth signing – I seriously doubt that my board will allow more than 2 coaches :/
Hey Bart, Scott Taylor looks like a monster of a Fitness coach! I would snatch him up for a Premiership club in an instant. Unfortunately, I have not found a way to change staff positions after a contract has been signed, other than re-signing them. Perhaps the FMEL editor? I'd be interested in hearing if anyone else found a work around.

It looks like you have found a solid core group of players. Each one bringing something to the table. It seems a matter of bringing the best out of each player and going with whatever talent they may offer. Liking the formations very much. When you have a couple of strong wingers it makes all the difference.

One other point on the statistical analysis. It is important to remember that your opponents are not a constant. They are each different teams obviously, but also they are improving throughout the season as well. Therefore, your team is improving at a faster rate than their's and that is down to good management. Well done.
BartS's avatar Group BartS
9 yearsEdited


Arch Mon: Hey Arch! Indeed, finding and hiring Taylor was the best move I have made this season. As for the contract situation I guess there is nothing I can do about it. Maybe next year or when I hire another coach I will simply prolong his contract (bumping up his salary), this time setting the right role. The team is working really good, the results are amazing but I already see some flaws to work out. First of all I need another striker to diversify the quality of our goals and also to support the IF's even more. The second thing – and this is very important – I need to find an advanced playmaker with some creativity and you know … stardust on his boots. Malone is average/good – I want very good. Hopefully the current squad will keep it's performance up for the rest of the season because I don't really have more money for improvements.

24th October 2012
Match report #15

Oxford City 1 – 2 Newport Co

Match report

So this was the big one. We have reached our goal in regard of this competition – the 4th qualifying round – but the last draw did not put us into a favorite … not even a good position to win the match. That being said I had a hard time to decide on which formation I wanted to send out. The 4141 seemed like a god choice with all its defensive quality and control but on the other hand it's a cup game and all that matters there is goals and the last couple games gave me a good clue where to get those goals from, so it was 433 time again. Nevertheless I ordered my coaches to give the team a defensive set pieces training because I expected Newport to come out swinging and so lots of corners and freekicks were to be expected. In the end it turned out I was not wrong. The first half really belonged to Newport County. It was painfully impressive how they killed my attacking efforts with intense pressing on our side of the pitch. For the first 30 minutes it was only our defense that kept giving Newport a hard time. In the 33 minute came what had to come – a corner by Newport that resulted with a goal , putting us 0-1 behind. At first Ingram did really well, putting the ball away but it went straight to Minshull who lost his defenders and buried it in the back of the net. Then came the 39th minute and what turned out to be the decisive situation of the match. In an attacking effort the ball was put to R. Willmott on the right flank who went for an attempt from really far. The ball floated for about 22 hours towards the goal and unfortunately M. Ingram had one of his occasional black-outs letting the ball go through his hands and into our goal . The first half ended with a pretty good chance for Felipe Barcelos but he was not able to get the ball under control and put it over the goal. That would have been a really important goal. In the 2nd half I made some changes and went for attacking mentality. The measures taken worked really good when it comes to the number of attacks and re-gaining possession but the Newport defense were giving us a really hard time and so only few attempts were off real danger. We managed to score the 1-2 in the 86th minute and went balls to the walls causing Newport County to change formation minute-wise but I guess it was already to late to repair the damage and so we had to say good bye to the cool 12.5k prize money and a chance to play an even higher profile team for another round of FA cup football.

The two goalscorers Robbie Willmott and player of the match Michael Flynn

In the end I was happy with my team and choices in this game. Sure, we could have gone for the 0-0 but what then? A win away? That's certainly not an easy thing to achieve. The goals that we conceded – or maybe the situations they resulted from – prove that even when attacking, our defense is tight. I might however have to think over the midfield triangle in tougher games. It's certainly the AP position that is our weakest spot and so there is some room for improvement. Another role? Maybe a new player? John Melligan appears to be really up to this, always going really brave and with the right spirit so maybe in the long run L. Malone will not be my weapon of choice? Well certainly not if we get promoted … I guess there is still lots of time to think about it and to experiment. All in all a respectable performance by my team and now we can put the button on the BSN and FA Trophy – the third qualifying round will be drawn on the 05.11.2012.

Shame about the defeat but a very nicely detailed update! Keep it up! :)

Josh_MU: Hey thanks! The defeat is a shame but what can you do? We'll have another shot at success in cup football when the FA Trophy kicks off – wish me luck!

24th October 2012
Match report #16

Vauxhall 0 – 1 Oxford City

Match report

Hello again! After failing to win the 4th qualifying round clash against Newport County it was time again to play for supremacy in the BSN. And this time nobody expected another walk as we were up against the 4th team in the league and what is more away venue. After giving it some careful consideration I have decided to employ the defensive approach to secure at least one point. Well, 4141 is not exactly a synonym for the word harmless when you are up against Oxford City but Vauxhall certainly did not expect too much action in front of their goal, that I am sure of. Turns out they were wrong. We managed to launch some fast attacks and Paul Stonehouse was perhaps our most dangerous weapon, firing it from long distance with some accuracy. The Vauxhall goalkeeper certainly would not have time for naps in the first 30 minutes of the game. Of course these attacks were not very spectacular in comparison to the BBC attacks but still I was very happy to see that it was us to dominate in Vauxhall and not the home team. The first half lost some of it's tempo after 30 minutes and turned into a serious bore as Vauxhall would never really get through and we … well, we were playing 4141, what do you expect :D And then, just when everybody thought the first half was over, we were given a corner that resulted in a goal by Adam Learoyd. It was a classic corner/rebound situation with Adam not leaving the opposition goalkeeper a ghost of a chance.

Man of the match Adam Learoyd scoring the important 0-1 in the 45th minute

The second half I would like to dedicate to Jose Mourinho, as we parked the bus really good … man, we even used the handbrake. Vauxhall's build-up looked like somebody playing tennis against a wall, our attacking movement was reduced down to the occasional counter and for the spectators it must have been a rather painful experience. The scoreline did not change and I am very happy to say, that I actually have a freekishly good defense here. Usually, when you read LLM guides or articles the message goes like this: “don't expect clean sheets” - well, I don't really subscribe to this point of view. So far we have played 13 BSN games and only 3 times our opposition managed to score – good defense or luck?


Another change in my manager story. Today I would like to introduce “the current league table” section in the first post of this thread. I will try to remember to keep it up to date with my progress. This is for you to have a better idea who we are up against and what our current league position is. Of course I will still post it in the monthly reports and comment on the situation exclusively there.
BartS's avatar Group BartS
9 yearsEdited

27th October 2012
Match report #17

Oxford City 0 – 1 Stalybridge

Match report

Another one of those games where you just can not put the ball into the goal, no matter what you do. We did start quite good actually with lots of long range shot, some over the goal, some just wide … a couple of times it slammed against the aluminum. It's that kind of game where you know after 30-40 minutes that watching it will only make you angry. In fact I was angry right after the 8th minute when McNish was given a yellow card. It was like … his first defensive action? And what is more he backed into his opponent – nothing bad or on purpose. I don't see why it was so absolutely necessary for the referee to straight away book him but yeah … it's the referee … if he was any better at playing the game he would not have to run around with a whistle. In the second half we fell victim to unlucky timing. Around the 60th minute I felt like there was no sense pushing it, 1 point against Stalybridge was not bad, so I made the decision to change to 4141 and pull out my IF to send in two WM. Just one minute later Stalybridge were given a corner and ofter some ping pong in the box Corey Gregory tipped it over the line to put Stalybrigde 0-1 ahead. Another stupid situation, bad timing there we were - with no proper attackers and 24 minutes to go. I went into berserk mode, advised the team to go for it at you can only imagine how loud my F-words were, when we slammed it another 2 times against the woodwork. All in all a very unlucky loss of points and yeah … sure, I did not send out the best team, but we had a couple of games in a short period of time and so I had to go with what was left. Maybe for the future I will not make double substitutions like that again...


Another change in my manager story. I would like to introduce “the current league table” section in the first post of this thread. I will try to remember to keep it up to date with my progress. This is for you to have a better idea who we are up against and what our current league position is. Of course I will still post it in the monthly reports and comment on the situation exclusively there.

I'm sorry for not going into detail and extending the reports but lately I feel a bit like a self entertainer – maybe the next monthly (second post from now) will finally kick off some discussions.

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