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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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BartS's avatar Group BartS
9 yearsEdited

Match reports

22nd December 2012 - Match report #27

Oxford City 1 – 0 Histon

To be honest I don't have many recollection of that game, as it was plain and simple boring to watch. In the first half we were the dominating side and after 23 minutes of pushing the Histon defence we finally got through with a nice pass to S. Basham behind the defence line, who had no trouble putting it behind the line. Like before the goal, the game went on in a very chewy fashion. The tempo was really slow, attempts at goal rare and the few chances both teams had came mostly out of the blue. The second half brought an unpleasant surprise – Willmott injured. After the game we learned that bringing him back to perfect health would only be a matter 11 days, so I guess we got lucky. For the last 15 minutes I have decided to drop a bit deeper and to protect the thin lead using counter attacking strategy. My approach worked well and so we sent Histon home with no points to be happy about.

26th December 2012 - Match report #28

Brackley 1 – 1 Oxford City

Our next stop was Brackley. I was looking forward to this as they were one of the red lights of the league and for us an opportunity to snatch some easy points. I was quite sure that we could exploit their formation by using the flanks and at the same time having their one striker bounce off our defence over and over again. As for the first half I was right only about the bouncing part. One hour into the match I made the decision that this just can not be, sent in Barcelos and turned my left WM into a IF. The idea turned out to be gold as it was him to put in a nice cross in the 83rd minute: the ball passed several defenders and was netted by John Melligen, who was a key player for our team even before. Now – with less than 10 minutes to go – it looked like he was going to be man of the match. Unfortunately in extra time Brackley launched one of their few attacks over the flank and after a well timed tackle by McDonald were able to put the loose ball into the back of the net. I was angry with the result and the tactic I used – should have gone more attacking – but there was only me to blame for it. Sometimes it's really hard to have the balls and switch gears when there is a good opportunity, isn't it?

29th December 2012 - Match report #29

Boston Utd 1 – 0 Oxford City

This will probably sound very cocky but I think the game against Boston Utd was the first one where we were really dominated by another side. While possession-wise the game was even we never really got into the game and so in the first half the home team would dictate the tempo. And they started early as they scored the 1 – 0 in the 2nd minute of the match. The situation was kind of unlucky because the ball deflected off one of my defenders into the goal but to be honest lady luck was on our side, because by half time Boston should have been ahead 3 – 0. They did not however take their chances and so it was fight to the end. We had one good chance to make it 1 – 1 but J. Cook's shot in the 48th minute was not precise enough to outwit the Boston goalkeeper and so we only won the price for most fouls and yellow cards – nothing to be proud of.

Current league table and upcoming matches

Request for my readers

I would really appreciate if you guys – preferably the more experienced players – would comment on The 4141 - part II section of my latest monthly report. Your input – especially on tactics – is very important here as I consider myself a beginner and would like to learn from you – without your help I seriously doubt any success is going to be possible this season.

In case you missed the November monthly report and would like to catch up, here is the link:

Great reading,and you have done some great things with Oxford City! Gainsborough seems like the team to beet if you want to promote without the play offs! And at the same time as you get great results you have a great layout! Easy to read and to get updated! Keep up the good work, looking forward to the next updates! :)
Two more weeks of waiting and it's time for kick-off!

1st of January 2013 - Monthly report #5

Table of contents - links

Results, league table and outlook
Statisticians corner
The financial situation
Transfer politics
Music corner
Words of football wisdom
Stuff to work on in December

Results, league table and outlook

After a very disappointing November it was time to do some damage control. The focus was on not allowing our opposition to score. Anything else should be seen as a bonus. To achieve a good result I employed back the good old 4141 and so the following is what I have to report:

What a relief. After only short time to recover from the last November game we were able to beat Droylsden at Court Place Farm, securing the first 3 points since the 30th of October. The next game proved to be much harder as we were not able to snatch a draw from Bradford but at least it was a close game and we were able to execute our game plan rather well. After that we secured an impressive win in Chester that gave us enough energy to beat also Histon, this time in a very simplistic fashion, only 1 – 0. The draw in Brackley could have easily been avoided – they netted the equalizer in extra time – but on the other hand we were having a really hard time scoring the 1 – 0 so I guess that result is just fair. There is one good thing about this though - we get a re-match soon and will be ready to exploit all opposition weaknesses I have discovered. We ended a very successful year with an away defeat against Boston Utd.

As you can see our "safe" tactic allowed us to get back on track and so we close the year in 3rd position, with only Vauxhall and Gainsborough in front of us:

I think this is a very good result. We were able to achieve our goals and are still well within range to fight for direct promotion. The gap towards the bottom of the play-off zone is not that comfortable but still solid. After all this was a fantastic year for Oxford City and so I am positive that there are big things ahead of us – maybe even this season.

January is not going to be an easy month but an important one, that's for sure. We should be able to win against Brackley, Guiseley and Halifax but Vauxhall and Stalybridge are BSN heavy weights and will do everything within their capabilities to stop us. Im looking forward to all these matches and will probably write a report on either the Vauxhall or Stalybridge game:

Statisticians corner

Obviously our stats for December should be much better than last time. We were able to score some goals but also a handful were scored against us. To give you all the information you need I will once again employ the graphic layout from last months report. First goes the amount of attempts per game:

As you probably know, in December I haven’t used any tactics with inside forwards and so a decrease of attempts per game was to be expected but I did not expect such a landslide to an all-time low. We have won some games but I would like to keep this number at a minimum of about 15 per match and so – given our defence remains solid – I will try to use the 41221 in January. Maybe that is not going to be necessary but it remains an option.

As you can see the chances needed to score went down to a borderline satisfactory level. I hope that we will be able to stabilize it somewhere around eight and will not ever have to witness such poor finishing as in November. It certainly looks like November was a one-timer and this makes me feel much more positive about our season goals.

As for defensive work we remained at season average of about 7 allowed attempts per game which is not much and so I don't see any reasons to worry about this. Could it possibly be lower? Well ... I don't think so. This number also includes very wide misses from long distance attempts and these I can't really avoid.

The above graph is also positive. Our defensive attempts were able to double the amount of chances the opposition players needed to score one goal and that is a great result considering last month. Hopefully we will be able to get even better, so the margin between our "chances needed..." and the opposition "chances needed..." will become bigger, because this month they were roughly the same.

December was not as bad as I expected. We have a solid defence that only sometimes allows the opposition easy goals. Our attacking is still on it's way to old form but getting there should only be a matter of 3-4 games. Should the amount of attempts remain low I will give the more attacking tactics a chance again, especially against the weaker teams!

The financial situation

November 2012:

December 2012:

It's a shame we did not win against Hinckley. The cup matches really made a difference here as we were able to earn some good coin on prize money and gate receipts. To be honest I don't expect any more income this season except for maybe during the play-offs, nevertheless I would be much happier winning the trophy and not having to fight for that one promotion spot.

In the beginning I have mentioned that I would like to expand our current stadium and would approach my board somewhere around January. Well, this is not going to happen just now as I would like to give my team some more games to convince me that this is a good decision.

Transfer politics

How should you approach the next transfer window when:

... your club is piss poor?

... when your current wage budget is lousy 1.9k a week and you don't know what to expect after (not) getting promoted?

... 90% of your current squad is sitting on their luggage anyways with salary expectations you can not make reality?

These are some good questions – the questions I am thinking about right now. The biggest unknown is the wage budget after getting/not getting promoted. From what I have heard I should not expect more then 4-6k a week. To be honest – with my current club – I would not be dreaming about 4k. 5 months with Oxford City have made me appreciate money and so I will put out that – given we win promotion – we are looking at about 3k tops. Which is still very good. I think that such an amount of money would allow me to build a very good squad. But how would I approach it?

My plan is to have 8-10 contracted players with wages ranging from 200 to 400 a month. Maybe like this: 400*3 + 300*4 + 200*2 = 2800. These players would form the core of my squad. But who gets 400? Well, I would definitely try to find a very good striker and a playmaker. These are my priorities. I can also see some nice earning opportunities on the winger/inside forward position. The 200 spots are reserved for players who contribute less to the game as a whole – limited defenders that is. The 300 spots are reserved for solid players on the other positions.

Ok, we have the contracted players – 9 – but that's not going be enough. How big should a LL squad be? To be quite frank I have no bloody idea but my guts say 20. This number will allow you to keep morale up and provide all of them with enough time on the pitch. Going by this logic there are 11 spots to be divide between "appearance fee players" and guys on loan. The goalkeeper is definitely going to be a loaned player – no way around this. You want somebody good and you don't want to pay him a broken dime. Now we have to find a good way to fill out the final 10 slots. Well – this one is easy. In my opinion you should find as many loan players as possible to add some quality to your squad and – of course – to save up some money. If you end up with 2-3 appearance fee guys you are probably set for a comfortable season when it comes to man management.

Future will tell if this is a good plan or rubbish. As for today I'm already exploring the market and checking out who is within my range. Well ... actually I have already signed on player – Jack Harris who joined us on loan last August. He was very solid as left full back throughout the season, can play multiple positions and will provide his services for a fair wage. Below you can find the details on our agreement:

Oh yeah – and we don't have to pay him until the season is over...

Music corner

Today’s music corner I will dedicate to a band that is very dear to my heart and will put out another record – their 11th - on the 17th of June. Since 1990 they are/were the ... I don't know if these are the proper words ... avant-garde of death metal. Avant-garde, because they would not limit themselves to one genre but find inspiration and influence in 1970's prog and heavy metal in general. The first song is of their 7th record "Damnation", which was a radical departure from the death metal style and a journey into the world of clean vocals, clean guitars and the mellotron. Their name is Opeth and this is "Closure":

And the next tune: "When" from the "My Arms, Your Hearse" record. This one is a little bit more up-tempo and doomy but it should give you a good idea why you should not judge a book by it's cover.

Words of football wisdom

Today Gérard Houllier will tell you something about football and life in general:

Gérard Houllier:
One of the things I am in the habit of saying is that the only place success comes before work is in the dictionary .

Stuff to work on in January

Find some possible transfer targets and bring them up in the next monthly.

Make a decision on expanding the stadium.
Another superb update Bart. You're writing is flawless and I'm looking forward to the next one! Hopefully you'll be able to drive into first place!
BartS's avatar Group BartS
9 yearsEdited

Match reports

01st January 2013 - Match report #30

Oxford City 1 – 0 Brackley

The first match of the new year was a re-match against Brackley, who just 2 weeks ago managed to snatch away a draw, scoring the important 1 – 1 in extra time. We have learned our lesson from that game and put the button on attacking over the flanks, as the opposition manager decided to stick to his formation without wide midfielders/wingers. My game-plan worked really well, we were able to put a lot of pressure on the opposition and so, after just 21 minutes of play, it was 0 – 1. In the second half Steve Basham scored his second goal and set the result of the match to 0 – 2. Happy new year then!

05th January 2013 - Match report #31

Oxford City 4 – 0 Vauxhall

Against Vauxhall I expected pretty much any scenario but this one. After all they are a serious contender for direct promotion. It was by far the most entertaining, surprising, eventful and funny game this season and therefore I would like to write a full match report on it, with all the details, some print screens, tactical background and comments. Should be up before the next monthly.

19th December 2012 - Match report #32

Oxford City 0 – 0 FC Halifax

This is a game I would love to forget about but I can't. About half an hour into the first half our first choice playmaker Liam Malone was injured and had to be replaced. I was hoping that it was nothing serious but unfortunately he twisted his ankle and will be out for about 2 months. In the midst of fighting for promotion this is a mayor disaster as you can imagine. The first half was somewhat strange, as FC Halifax were not having any attempts at goal but their presence on our half of the pitch remained a permanent menace and so we had to drop deeper and wait for a good moment to push forward. That moment came after about 65 minutes, when Halifax gave up attacking and we started swinging really strong. I pulled out one wide midfielder, sent in Barcelos as IF and yeah ... after just 3 minutes he was back on the bench with two yellow cards for diving in the opposition box. What an idiot ... and what a Brazilian thing to do, seriously! Last game I was laughing at Vauxhall's managers choices, now I think the laugh was one me. Anyways, a couple minutes later Halifax's Adriano Moke got injured and had to go off with no replacement, so we continued our attacking efforts but they would not bring any results in the form of a goal and so Halifax were more than happy to bring home one point from their trip to Oxfordshire.

Current league table and upcoming matches

Request for my readers

The topic of the week/month is transfer politics in lower league management. It's January, my Oxford City is looking at promotion, but about 80% of the squad is going to leave by the end of the season and so I need your help with squad building. How do you approach this situation? Is there something special I should be looking out for? I have written a little paragraph on this topic in my last monthly - transfer politics - but without your feedback I can not be sure what the best plan is. Thank you in advance for helping me with this, I appreciate your input!

In case you missed the December monthly report and would like to catch up, here is the link:

Promotion is close, I can smell it! :)
A great update as usual! Love the graphics, keep it coming!

About the transfer question: my only tip is to look for free transfers. Ex Premier League or Championship players is the players I would recommend. Get in a good mix between young and expeirenced players, and you might fight for promotion nwxt year in the BSP! Good luck! :)

Match reports

22nd January 2013 - Match report #33

Guiseley 2 – 2 Oxford City

The Guiseley match was another hard birth for us. It started really bad, with an unlucky own-goal (deflection) by Mills and after just 20 minutes we were one behind. Then came another injury – lately it feels like we can't go one game without an injury – and a forced substitution in the first half – that's never good. For the rest of the first 45 minutes we were defending really good, attacking like it were not goals, but the most stupid passes to decide who the winner was and yeah ... the usual Oxford City struggle. In the second half the game became a bit more even but all our efforts would end with the ball out of bounds. With 20 more minutes to go, Guiseley extended their lead with another goal. At that point the game was over to me, as we have never before made a come back this season (not even being one behind) but the team surprised everybody with 2 goals that set the final score 2 – 2. After all this felt like a real success and so I praised the team and it's performance to push morale.

26th January 2013 - Match report #34

Stalybridge 1 – 1 Oxford City

That was the game of the month to mee. Stalybridge started the season really slow but at a certain point they caught some incredible momentum and made their way through the league table right to the top. With us and Gainsborough struggling for the wins lately they have become the main candidate for promotion and it was on us to bring their record of 10 games unbeaten (5 wins/5 draws) to a halt. Naturally I was expecting trouble so I sent out my defensive outlet on boaaaay did I get trouble. Stalybridge were absolutely dominant throughout the first 30 minutes and would not allow us a second on their side of the pitch. After scoring their first goal they would not stop pushing really strong. Unfortunately that also meant some strong tacking and so we had to make another early substitution as they roughed up C. McNish really good. After the first 45 minutes we were lucky to go into half time only one goal behind. The second half did not change much possession-wise but we came out with more dynamite in our boots. Our attacks would more often than not end with attempts at goal and all the sudden Stalybridge found themselves in a situation where they had to balance attacking and defending. After just 20 minutes of play there was another shocker for us – this time they went hunting for Paul Stonehouse and they hit him really bad – 2 months of recovery. After another forced substitution I was furious and so were my players. Just 6 minutes after entering the pitch Jamie Cook fired at goal from about 20 meters – it looked like he put all his anger and frustration into this attempt – the ball went like a rocket against the crossbar and behind the line, leaving the goalkeeper without a shade of a chance. We managed to hold the result and bring back 1 point from Stalybridge but this draw came with a price that might be too much for us. Not having Stonehouse on the squad for the most important matches of the season – including 2 games against Gainsborough and 1 against Bradford PA - spells trouble to me. Hopefully he will come back for at least 1 or 2 games in April ... ugly, ugly, ugly ...

Current league table and upcoming matches

Request for my readers

The topic of the week/month is transfer politics in lower league management. It's January, my Oxford City is looking at promotion, but about 80% of the squad is going to leave by the end of the season and so I need your help with squad building. How do you approach this situation? Is there something special I should be looking out for? I have written a little paragraph on this topic in my last monthly - transfer politics - but without your feedback I can not be sure what the best plan is. Thank you in advance for helping me with this, I appreciate your input!

In case you missed the December monthly report and would like to catch up, here is the link:

BartS's avatar Group BartS
9 yearsEdited
Maybe this is why passing is so bad in the lower leagues?!

Match reports

February – March 2013 - Match report #35 - 44

Once again I have changed my plans for this manager story. Since I have failed to induce any discussions about LLM, music or anything else I will stop writing reports until the season is over and then decide about the future of this blog. Here are the results of the February/March matches:

As you can probably imagine it was a very frustrating time for me. We failed to score from the most obvious chances in the easiest matches, penalties and one on ones. On the other hand we did not concede much but some of the draws were really disgraceful and so we have put ourselves into a very tough spot in the league table:

Very tough when it comes to direct promotion, because the play-offs are pretty much in the bag. The goal for the rest of the season is to enter every game with a win/lose mentality. I have found a way to better attacking a bit – it worked for the last two games – and so we still have a slight chance for direct promotion - I would say 10-20%. Our rest program is not exactly easy but somehow we do better against stronger sides. Luckily we still have one match against a direct rival – Gainsborough - winning against them is a vital part of my last minute plan:

Below you can find the rest programs of the other 3 teams still in race for direct promotion:

Request for my readers

The topic of the last monthly report was transfer politics in lower league management. My Oxford City is still looking at promotion, but about 80% of the squad is going to leave by the end of the season and so I need your help with squad building. How do you approach such situations? Is there something special I should be looking out for? I have written a little paragraph on this topic in my last monthly - transfer politics - but without your feedback I can not be sure what the best plan is. Thank you in advance for helping me with this, I appreciate your input!

In case you missed the last monthly report and would like to catch up, here is the link:

Even if you don't go straight up, you'll probably go up via play-offs. Good luck in the latter part of the season! Btw, I really like your writing and updating style!
Hey thanks! I wish I could share your enthusiasm about the play-offs. Our finishing is a disaster lately. There is good, average and bad finishing, next you have rubbish finishing, followed by 50 meters of mud and then there is Oxford City 2013 finishing :D Hopefully my tactics tweak will change that ASAP!
2014-06-07 18:10#179093 BartS :
My Oxford City is still looking at promotion, but about 80% of the squad is going to leave by the end of the season and so I need your help with squad building. How do you approach such situations?

My advice: Don't panic. Everyone is replaceable, usually with even better players than before. This season you found the type of players that work well in your system and the type that don't. Where it worked well, try to keep that player or sign a similar player. Where it didn't, upgrade.

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