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Luton Town - The Path To Power

Started on 24 April 2014 by Justice / First Post
Latest Reply on 19 October 2014 by Justice / Last Post
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Justice's avatar Group Justice
5 yearsEdited

Season Four: Pre-Season


Back-to-back promotions seemed impossible at first, yet we won three consecutive league titles in magnificent style! We know that a fourth promotion in as many years would be difficult, but dare we dream? The Premier League is just one division away, let's fight to reach it!

Friendlies

Well, were we ever going to get a result against Man Utd, Barcelona or Liverpool? I only created these friendlies in order to test ourselves against top-class opposition, and we certainly tested. We will find that the league season will be considerably easier for us.

Transfers

This is the first summer where we've really splashed some cash, paying out £646k to strengthen our squad significantly. Eleven players were released on free transfer from us, and one was loaned out. We brought in no less than eleven players to replace our departures, with some of them being young players. I'm happy with my business this summer, now let's take a look at each player.

Justin Atkinson is a very promising young left-back who we signed from Harrogate Town. He has a lot of potential to become a great Premier League player in the future and we were fortunate to pick him up for such a small fee.
Fee: £9.25k
Value For Money:

Matthew Howes was signed for a very, very low fee from Basingstoke Town. He has the potential to become a quality Premier League striker and will hopefully score plenty of goals for us once he develops a bit. However, we do have a lot of strikers right now, so game time will be hard to find for the youngster.
Fee: £5k
Value For Money:

Adama Bamba is a guy who I have kept tabs on for a while. I'm delighted to have finally been able to sign him, now that he is eighteen. He has a lot of natural ability in him, although his natural position is MC for some reason. He will be trained to become an attacker where I feel he can be most effective.
Fee: Free
Value For Money:

Euan Smith needs no introduction. After scoring 68 goals on loan from Hibernian over the course of the past two seasons, we had to sign him. We were lucky to be able to sign him for just £200k and I hope that he can produce his epic performances of last season for us.
Fee: £200k
Value For Money:

Dean Cox was our most expensive transfer of the season and set us back £300k. However, he is certainly worth his cost, and his value is already twice his price, without playing a single competitive game yet. The English winger is very technically gifted and will provide a lot of creativity for us this season.
Fee: £300k
Value For Money:

Hólmbert Friðjónsson signed from Celtic for a very, very low fee of £18k. This guy is a quality attacker, and can play on either wing as well as up front. He is very tall and provides goal scoring ability to match. He was a super signing for us, considering his price, and I reckon he can become a key player for us.
Fee: £18k
Value For Money:

Ian McLoughlin joins us on a free transfer from Liverpool. The Irish goalkeeper had been playing third-string behind José Manuel Reina and Simon Mignolet for a whole season before deciding that he was best searching for a club where he could play consistently. He is a very solid keeper and could prove to be a gem for us.
Fee: Free
Value For Money:

Adam Morgan cost us £115k to take away from Yeovil. He may not be the greatest talents around but he is a reliable player, in my opinion. He adds to our attack and will hopefully get on the score sheet regularly this season.
Fee: £115k
Value For Money:

Nadjim Abdou joins us from Nottingham Forest, on a free transfer. The thirty-two year old from Comoros provides a lot of experience for our midfield and his tackling ability is fantastic. He will be important in winning the ball back and keeping it for us. I'm very happy with this transfer.
Fee: Free
Value For Money:

Cauley Woodrow comes to us from being a free agent. The former Luton youth left Fulham after not being able to find a way in to the Premier League's senior team. He is back at Kenilworth Road looking to revive his career and we are willing to give him that chance, provided he proves his quality.
Fee: Free
Value For Money:

Ronny Minkwitz completes our transfers for the summer. The German midfielder was on free transfer after spells at Fulham, Fleetwood, Bradford and Notts County. Minkwitz is a great leader and a determined individual. He will provide a lot of mental steel to our team and will hopefully shine for us.
Fee: Free
Value For Money:

July-September Fixtures

The start to our season could not get any harder as we face Hull City, Birmingham City, Crystal Palace and West Ham United in our first four Sky Bet Championship fixtures. Luckily, we play lowly Stevenage (League One) in the Capital One Cup. Hopefully we can pick up a fair amount of points in our first ten league games of the season, although it will certainly be a very tough challenge this season as money finally makes such a massive difference. C'mon you Hatters!



Previous Post: I Am The Special One
Next Post: Ireland: The Rocky Road To Russia
Great update and some class signings!
Justice's avatar Group Justice
5 yearsEdited

Ireland: The Rocky Road To Russia


The Republic of Ireland kick-off their World Cup 2018 Qualifying campaign tomorrow when they face San Marino in Dublin at the Aviva Stadium. Ireland's manager Ryan Ferguson will be in the Irish dug-out for the first time ever, and he will be sure to receive a great welcome from the Irish faithful. The Boys In Green are in high spirits after reaching the Last 16 of the European Championships 2016. They are looking to build on that and hope to qualify for the World Cup 2018 which will be played in Russia.

Fergie's Squad

This is my squad for our two opening games against San Marino and Poland. Nobody is guaranteed a place in my squad, whoever gets in will have earned it. For now, I've picked a team which myself and my assistant manager, Roy Keane, have worked out to be the most suitable for the upcoming games. There is certainly some surprise inclusions, and surprise exclusions, but I have picked who I have picked and hopefully they can do the job asked of them

No. Name - Position - Age - CA/PA
Goalkeepers
13. Rob Elliot - GK - 30 - 67/67
N/A. Ian McLoughlin - GK - 25 - 66/68
14. Aaron McCarey - GK - 24 - 62/64

Defenders
2. Seamus Coleman - DR - 27 - 78/79
19. Stephen Kelly - DR - 32 - 72/72

12. Shane Duffy - DC - 24 - 77/79
5. Ciaran Clark - DC - 26 - 76/78
18. Alex Pearce - DC - 27 - 73/74
N/A. Richard Stearman - DC - 29 - 73/73

3. Aidan White - DL - 24 - 70/73
N/A. Greg Cunningham - DL - 25 - 65/67

Midfielders
7. James McCarthy - MC - 25 - 80/82
8. Darron Gibson - MC - 28 - 77/77
N/A. Jeff Hendrick - MC - 24 - 72/76
N/A. Eunan O'Kane - MC - 26 - 71/72

17. Jack Grealish - AMR - 20 - 74/83
16. Sean Murray - AMR - 22 - 74/81

15. Sean Scannell - 25 - 73/75
N/A. James McClean - 27 - 73/74

Strikers
9. Shane Long - ST - 29 - 76/76
6. Simon Cox - ST - 29 - 76/76
11. Joe Mason - ST - 25 - 75/77
N/A. Rory Donnelly - ST - 24 - 73/75

The one man to watch out for is James McCarthy. He has made a fantastic start to the season with Everton in the Premier League and hopefully he can take his form on to the international stage.

James McCarthy


Ryan Ferguson's Message

"We know that we are favourites for this match, but we cannot get complacent. This is a very important match for us as we want to set ourselves on the rocky road to Russia. We almost qualified for this competition four years ago, and eight years ago, but everything that happened before is in the past. We must act now. I believe in the players and the players believe in me. We are Ireland and we want to win tomorrow, come on you boys in green!"





Previous Post: Season Four: Pre-Season
Next Post: Republic Of Ireland vs San Marino
Your updates NEVER fail to impress! Good luck :)
1
Good luck against the mighty San Marino and nice signings too!
1
Justice's avatar Group Justice
5 yearsEdited

Republic of Ireland vs San Marino

Niall Quinn
Robbie Keane

Niall Quinn: "Well hello and welcome to Dublin! Niall Quinn here with a special guest commentator; the one and only Robbie Keane! In just five minutes we will bring you coverage of the Republic of Ireland's opening World Cup qualifier against San Marino here at the Aviva Stadium. Ireland have a new manager, Robbie how do you think they will fare tonight?"

Robbie Keane: "Well I think that Ireland are rightly favourites for this game but it is never easy for a side in their first match with a new gaffer. It takes time to get used to the system which he introduces and this will be no different. I reckon Ireland will win, but it could be a difficult fixture for them."

Niall Quinn: "Looking at the two line-ups tonight, Ireland have the more recognisable names and it does look like Ferguson is going for a more cautious approach, stacking the midfield with three players who are known for their ball retention and ball winning abilities. It will be important for Ireland to hold the ball and put San Marino under a lot of pressure"


Robbie Keane: "That is a very strong team which Ryan Ferguson has put out. With the strength of that squad, Ireland should win this game comfortably."

Niall Quinn: "And speaking of Ireland, here are the two teams! We will be back in less than a minute to bring you full coverage of Ireland's World Cup qualifier against San Marino. Now, it is time for the anthems!"





Niall Quinn: "It is time for kick-off now!"

Kick-off: NQ "San Marino start the game attacking the East Stand."

11' Shot - saved: NQ "Ireland have started the game with some good passing moves, but nothing decisive so far. You can see the possession system which Ferguson is trying to install in to his team.... Coleman wins the ball. Murray back to McCarthy...exchanges passes with Coleman here on the halfway line. ... Ireland keeping the ball very well at the back.... now it comes to Grealish in a more advanced position and he picks out Hendrick thirty yards from goal.... the ball falls for Grealish who puts Long through.... saved spectacularly by Gatti in the San Marino goal and cleared away! Ireland have cut open San Marino for the first time this game and are unlucky not to have taken the lead." ||| ||| ||| RK "Like you said Niall, that's the first time Ireland have broke through San Marino's defence this game and they were unlucky not to score. Ireland passed it around well at the back and once the ball came to Jack Grealish, the move came to life. He attempted to pick out Hendrick who couldn't control the ball but it came out for Grealish and he hits a lovely first time through ball around the centre back for Long to run on to but he couldn't force the ball past a magnificent Gatti. Great move, but unfortunately no end product."

14' Shot - missed: NQ "Murray sends an overlapping Coleman down the right wing.... He feeds Murray the ball as he runs in to the box!.... He beats one and pulls the trigger!.... Just wide from Sean Murray, and that was a great chance for Ireland to go ahead!" ||| ||| ||| RK "Ireland are starting to pick up momentum here but once again without end product. It was a lovely move between Coleman and Murray, with Murray breaking in to the box superbly. Unfortunately for him and for Ireland, he places his shot wide when it was perhaps easier to score."

19' Shot - woodwork: NQ "Grealish floats in his free-kick.... Headed away easily but only as far as McCarthy who passes to Hendrick.... Back to McCarthy and on to GREALISH.... Oh, his shit pounds off the crossbar! Ireland putting all the pressure on San Marino but are yet to find a way to score." ||| ||| ||| RK "Jack Grealish was really unlucky here. McCarthy did spectacularly to pick out Grealish's run in to the box and he hits an almost perfect shot which I think the keeper parries against the bar.... He did get a hand to it, great save yet again. Ireland still can't break the deadlock!"

28' Shot - woodwork: NQ "Hendrick picks out Grealish who has been very lively so far this game.... He's gone past one, two players and OFF THE POST!!.... Grealish has come the closest to breaking the deadlock so far after a surging run and a long range effort which has left the post rattling and the San Marino keeper shaking!" ||| ||| ||| RK "Jack Grealish is really enjoying his new role under Ryan Ferguson, he has been fantastic so far! As soon as he picks up the ball, he's already thinking two moves ahead of everybody else on the pitch and he makes that count. He skips around the defenders and unleashes a venomous shot from all of thirty yards which cracks off the post. That's the second time he has been denied by the frame of the goal this game and he looks the most likely to score the opener. Still nil-all here."

45+2' Half-time: NQ "It's all square going in to the break but Ireland have looked the most likely of the two teams to score with Jack Grealish pounding the post twice. Can Ireland find the breakthrough in the second half? They will need to keep their heads to do so."



Kick-off: NQ "Ireland open the second half but can they open the scoring?"

60' Substitution - Ireland:
Sean Murray; Jeff Hendrick
Sean Scannell; Simon Cox

71' Goal - Grealish: NQ "Coleman to McCarthy, and on to Coleman in space here near the corner flag.... His cross is headed away by Vitaoli BUT GREALISH SCORES!.... You just knew that it would be this man who would open the scoring this game, and deservedly so!" ||| ||| ||| RK "Ireland have finally taken the lead! Coleman and McCarthy combined well and the former got in to a lot of space to deliver a cross which put San Marino under a lot of pressure. The cross was only half-cleared and there was Jack Grealish ready to pounce on the rebound and he made sure it ended up in the back of the net. One-nil to Ireland!"

Ireland 1-0 San Marino

74' Goal - Cox: NQ "Gibson switches the play to Grealish.... Good play to free up space for Coleman who picks out Cox retreating from the box.... That's on to White, on to Scannell who squares the ball for Cox first time WHO SCORES!.... Ireland have doubled their lead in a matter of minutes, incredible stuff!" ||| ||| ||| RK "Fantastic play yet again from Ireland! Cox has been lively and energetic since coming on as a sub and he may have sealed the win with that goal. Grealish and Coleman were instrumental in the build-up play but it was Scannell, who also came off the bench, and Cox who made the difference. It was a brilliant passing move and Ireland are deservedly two goals up!"

Ireland 2-0 San Marino

84' Substitution - Ireland:
James McCarthy
Eunan O'Kane

90+3' Full-time: NQ "Ant the referee calls an end to Ferguson's first game in charge of Ireland who has been approved by the Irish faithful today after an opening win to the World Cup Qualifiers. Full-time; Ireland two, San Marino nil."







Previous Post: Ireland: The Rocky Road To Russia
Next Post: Ireland: September 2016
Nice victory! Great update! :)
1
well done, grealish is a beast
and lol @ johhny logan
1
(Assertively) That was a good win boys, well done :P

A very in-depth match report, and a good win :)
1
Justice's avatar Group Justice
5 yearsEdited

Ireland: September 2016


vs San Marino (02/09/2016)


My first game in charge of Ireland came against San Marino in a World Cup qualifier. Despite dominating the entire game and having over twenty shots, we only won the game 2-0. However, I'm not disappointed by the scoreline at all. I know that the first few games in charge of a new team are always difficult and we faced a stern challenge against a team who had everything to prove. I am happy with the football we played and the total domination which we achieved. In the end, it was a magical performance from Jack Grealish which won us the game. Hopefully this win is the start of many at the helm of Ireland.

vs Poland (06/09/2016)


Our next game was to be a much more difficult challenge. We travelled to Poland in our second qualifier and we were outclassed for a significant part of the game. While our team was still adjusting to the new regime under Ryan Ferguson, Poland were on full swing and did not give us any respite. We went 1-0 down, as expected, during the first half. However, I late revival saw us go 2-1 ahead with five minutes remaining but it was not to be as Krychowiak scored his second of the game in the ninetieth minute to tie the game. I'm happy with this result as we were expected to lose but we came out with a very valuable point. Hopefully we can build on this.

World Cup Qualifying (EUR) Group 6

We sit in second place, by means of goal difference. Croatia have stormed to the top after two wins from two, while Poland are also on four points but are behind us by a goal difference value of just one. Israel, FYR Macedonia and San Marino have proven to be the lesser teams so far as neither of the three have claimed a win yet. It is looking like a three-way race for the top two spots. I am hoping that we can get in the top two to remain with a chance of reaching the World Cup.

Next International Break

Our next set of games is in a month's time, when we play FYR Macedonia and Israel. I am hoping for six points from these two games, as this would set us on our way to qualification. Hopefully it can be achieved.



Previous Post: Republic Of Ireland vs San Marino
Next Post: Ireland: Manager Talk - September 2016
good luck against Macedonia and Israel!
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Justice's avatar Group Justice
5 yearsEdited

Ireland: Manager Talk - September 2016


Reporter: "Ryan, congratulations on what was a very successful first set of games as the manager of the Republic of Ireland. How can you describe this new experience?"

Ryan Ferguson: "Thanks Beth, it has been an absolutely amazing experience for me! International management is a very different job to club management in almost every aspect. Training is much more difficult for us, as we don't have the players with us every day. It can also be quite difficult to call up the best players for the games in question. However, one thing does stay the same; the game itself. It is still ninety minutes long, there are eleven players on the pitch for each team and objective of scoring the most goals remains. I hold international matches in high regard and every single game it is an honour to represent your country. Even though I'm not Irish myself, I still try my best for the country."

Reporter: "Now that you have two matches under your belt, what impression do you have of the squad that is available to you?"

Ryan Ferguson: "Irish football isn't regarded to be up there with the likes of Spain, Germany, Brazil, etcetera, but it is improving every single day. The players that I have at my disposal are all hard-working professionals who are very talented at their job. I think that you only have to look at what these players achieved in the European Championships over the summer under Martin (O'Neill) to discover how good they are. The likes of Jack Grealish, Seamus Coleman, James McCarty, Joe Mason, and many others are fantastic players who have served their clubs and country very, very well. It is still early days for them in my system so they will only play better once they get more and more used to my style of play. You can already see how much they've benefited from it with the two results!"

Reporter: "Your style of play is considered by many to be overly aggressive, yet it does help claim possession from the opponent. How would you describe your style?"

Ryan Ferguson: "I try to get my team to dominate the ball throughout the entire game. This means playing fast, short, intricate passes to keep possession, whether it be around the back or in dangerous areas of the pitch, and battling to win the ball back when we don't have it. If we concede free-kicks, it is because we want to win the ball. It is a style that I feel comfortable with and a style which has worked wonders for many teams. Statistics prove that 79 times out of 100, the team with the most possession wins the game. So in theory, we should be winning almost eight out of every ten games. Of course there is more to it than that, but we dominate the ball and it works for us."



Previous Post: Ireland: September 2016
Next Post: Season Four: July-September Update
Justice's avatar Group Justice
5 yearsEdited

Season Four: July-September Update


Results

We started life in the Championship with a thrilling 3-3 draw away to Hull City where we conceded an equaliser in the 92nd minute. However, our form in the Championship so far has been rather inconsistent and we have struggled against opposition which has outclassed us in terms of player quality, thanks to their financial power. We won three, drew one and lost five of our league games over the past three months. We were knocked out of the Capital One Cup in the second round against a much stronger West Brom (BPL) team.

Player Of The Months

Daniel Kearns has been our best player so far this season. The Irish winger hasn't been fazed by the advance in opposition quality and has been very productive for us in advanced positions. He has been very creative and has found the back of the net a few times too. Hopefully he can continue his great form and help us survive in the Championship this season.

Daniel Kearns' Season Stats
Appearances: 11
Goals: 3
Assists: 6
MotM Awards: 2

Yellow Cards: 0
Red Cards: 0

Pass Completion Ratio: 81%
Dribbles Per Game: 1.73
Fouls Committed: 11
Fouls Against: 17

Average Rating: 7.22

Sky Bet Championship

As expected, we are in danger already. We sit just one place and two points above the relegation zone, with Sheffield Wednesday having a game-in-hand over us. We do have a game-in-hand ourselves over most teams, which could see us climb to thirteenth if we were to win it. I'm not surprised that we are where we are, as our squad is considerably weaker than those around us. As long as we can survive in this league, I can continue to strengthen the team until eventually we can challenge for promotion. However, it may take a couple of seasons but I'm not afraid of staying in the Championship, provided we don't get relegated back to League One.

New Signing

I don't normally make mid-season signings but I needed to strengthen my defence and a thirty-four year old Joleon Lescott on a free transfer was exactly what I wanted. The former Everton, Man City and England defender has a lot of experience under his belt, and several winners medals too. I'm hoping that his experience and ability will help keep the ball away from our goal. He is here in just a one year contract, which is due to his age. I reckon that he can play a massive part in our season and our quest for survival!
Fee: Free Transfer
Value For Money:

October Fixtures

We play six games next month, all in the Championship. None of the games will be easy as we face six high-profile Championship teams. QPR, Nottingham Forest and Leicester City are all fighting for promotion to the Premier League so they will be very tough teams to play. I'm hoping that we scrape together a few points, as we need as many as possible in order to acquire safety.



Previous Post: Ireland: Manager Talk - September 2016
Next Post: Fergie: Not A Bad Start
Pompey back in the Championship, nice to see! And Lescott is a great signing for Luton. Good luck in the rest of the season, I think you'll survive
1
Some great set of updates and mostly incredible ones! Can we see a ss of Grealish?
1

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