Manchester 62 F.C. season preview
Last season for Manchester 62 F.C. it was a very up and down season where the club was all over the place in the table. Early on in the Teemu Neimenen era the club struggled and at the end of the 2015 portion of the season they would only have four wins, one draw and six losses. At this time he was on the verge of getting fired as his club were in sixth place. Somehow when the calendar changed to 2016 the Red Devils turned things around and finished in third place.
Review of the last year:
The turnaround in 2016 has really energized the club and their supporters. During this time they would climb to the third spot reaching the Europa League for the first time in history. Lead by Jeremy Lopez and John-Paul Duarte the Red Devils were able to get a few upsets including wins over Europa FC and Lincoln Red Imps. In cup play they would exit in the semifinals of both the Premier and Rock Cups.
Since the end of their season in May the club has had a very short rest period due to European play. For the first time in club history they were drawn in the first qualifying round of Europa League. Facing a really good side in HNK Sibenik of Croatia, the Red Devils were thought to have been obliterated. Somehow in both legs Teemu Neimenen was able to get the club ready. The two scores of the round were 4-1 and 5-1 giving a 9-2 score on aggregate. It could have been a different outcome in the second leg if injuries and a biased referee had not interfered. Overall it was a great first appearance for Manchester 62 in Europe.
Player Movement and Rumors:
Veterans Carl Hoefkens and Aaron Payas are by far the biggest names who have left so far this summer, with both becoming free agents. It is reported that neither player were pleased with the way the club was ran and had refused renegotiating their contracts. Both Hoefkens and Payas were among the highest earners of the club so hopefully Manchester 62 can get some suitable replacements. Seven others left the club as well.
Anthony Phillips has been the big name linked to the Red Devils all summer, but the deal has yet to go through. The 16 year old who currently plays for Philadelphia Union Academy has been on Neimenen radar for the last several months. Rumor has it that Phillips does not want to leave his club in America and a really good deal will get him to make the switch. Previously talks have broken down between the parties. If he does join the club he will not be able to join due to his age. This is a big risk that Neimenen has taken.
The first major question that is to be pondered is if Teemu Neimenen can keep up the good run of form the club has had since January. If he can continue the progress of last season it would not be a surprise to see Manchester 62 up close to the top of the table by seasons end. One way the club will be working to improve everything is that during the preseason the Red Devils are facing a few Ligue 1 reserve sides to get ready for the season.
Another question is on the transfer front. Will Manchester 62 be able to add a few more players, especially ones that can fill the vacant roles of Hoefkens and Payas? Due to the money that was made during Europa League the club has been able to finally invest in scouts and that should help Manchester 62 find the best talent they can find.
It would be stunning if the Red Devils didn't one again finish in the top three. They should be able to continue the amazing run from last season and the Europa League matches and friendlies against better teams should help. In cup play they should be able to make the semifinals and even push for a shot at the finals if all things go well. There is a small chance Manchester 62 could finish in second place or first if lucky but a lot of things need to happen first. Europa and Lincoln are once again the teams that will be in the way of trophies.
Argus Insurance Premier Division: Third
Gibraltar Rock Cup: Semi Final
Gibraltar Premier Cup: Semi Final