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Ryan Ferguson: The Unorthodox Approach

For most, the battles stay on the pitch. For Ryan Ferguson, his battles are off it.
Started on 7 May 2017 by Justice
Latest Reply on 21 October 2017 by Aaron
Justice's avatar Group Justice
6 yearsEdited

Season Five: Season Review

An Overview Of Whitehawk FC In Season 2020/2021

Ryan Ferguson: English media had taken notice of us. Four consecutive league titles and promotions, along with our route to the FA Cup semi finals last season, had given the press plenty of reason to talk about us. We had come a long way from playing in the Vanarama National League South, in such a short time. We had progressed to the Sky Bet Championship, the second highest division in English football, and we were ready to mix it with the big guns.


Tyler Walker Left For Motherwell In A Club Record Transfer Sale

A number of important Whitehawk players departed from the club over the course of the season, including club captain Ramón Marimón (DC), for a fee of £78K. Theo Wharton (MC) left to MK Dons for £275K, while Southend United acquired Anton Rodgers for £200K. The biggest sale of the season, however, was Tyler Walker's (ST) move to Motherwell. The move cost an initial fee of £750K, with £200K potentially moving along in other clauses.

A number of very experienced players were signed to add plenty of know-how of the Sky Bet Championship. Alex Baptiste (DC), Shane Ferguson (AML), Marcus Olsson (DL), Stephen Darby (DR), Tom Aldred (DC), Tyler Blackett (DC), Nicolo Fazzi (MC), Ashley Fletcher (ST), Jeremie Boga (AMC/R) and Jack Barmby (AML) all signed for free throughout the season. The majority of these players had plenty of experience at the top level. Big fees were paid for Mitchell Beeney (GK) and Callum Saunders (ST), while Jack Taylor (AMR/ST) and Sean Welsh (MC) also commanded small fees.

Defence had always been my priority, as Whitehawk coach, and Andrea Punzi found himself a new partner in the middle of it, in the shape of former Manchester United player Tyler Blackett. With experience on either side of them in the form of new club captain Stephen Darby and Marcus Olsson, with Mitchell Beeney in goals behind them, our defence was set for a long season in the Championship.

Sky Bet Championship

Whitehawk Struggled For Goals At Times But Held Strong In Defence

It took a while for us to start finding the back of the net regularly, as goal scoring was certainly an issue for us at times. Luckily, our defensive performances were top notch as we held strong, and we often didn't require more than one goal to win games. As the team became more fluent with my demands, we hit form, displayed by a twenty nine game unbeaten run from September until March. We finished the season with a 24-18-4 run.

League Table

Whitehawk's Troubles In Front Of Goal Did Not Stop Them Winning The Title

Once again, a strong defensive display came out on top, as we put the other Championship sides to shame. Conceding just twenty seven goals over the course of the season saw us top the table by two points, earning promotion to the Premier League. Our progress was sensational.

Bolton Wanderers, Ipswich Town and Coventry City faced relegation to the Sky Bet League One. Alongside ourselves, Bristol City and Middlesbrough had found ourselves earning passage to the Premier League; the pinnacle of domestic football. It was a dream-come-true.

FA Cup

Whitehawk Could Not Emulate Previous Runs In The FA Cup

Well, it was nowhere near as spectacular as the previous FA Cup campaign. We defeated Wolverhampton Wanderers in the third round, but Tottenham Hotspur proved too strong in the fourth.


Whitehawk Continued To Struggle In The EFL Cup

Why did we struggle so much in this competition? For the life of me, I could not figure out this dilemma. We did not put out weaker teams, and we tried to take it as seriously as possible, but continued to struggle none-the-less. Credit had to go to Crawley Town for knocking us out.

Whitehawk Football Club

Whitehawk's Defenders Were Truly Unbeatable In The Championship

No surprise, as it was Andrea Punzi & Tyler Blackett who shone for Whitehawk. The two defenders were relentless in their defensive duties, and proved too difficult for opposition attackers to pass at times. The midfield performed very well too, especially Niccolo Fazzi and Jeremie Boga, while the attack disappointed somewhat. We didn't score enough goals to be happy with, but luckily our defensive play more than made up for it.

World Football

Manchester United Were Victorious In Their Champions League Campaign

José Mourinho's Manchester United were relentless in their pursuit of the UEFA Champions League, and came out trumps in the final. They defeated a determined SL Benfica side in the final, and were deservedly named as European champions.

Barcelona's Neymar was named as the winner of the Ballon d'Or, while Real Madrid's James Rodríguez won the FIFA World Player of the Year award. Both were named in the FIFA World Team of the Year, alongside La Liga stars Gareth Bale and Luis Suárez. FC Bayern Munich's Jerome Boateng and David Alaba made the cut, while Paris Saint-Germain's Thibaut Courtois and Alessio Romagnoli were also included. Juventus' Leonardo Bonucci was the only Serie A representative, while Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne and Arsenal's Mesut Özil made the cut for the Premier League.

Ryan Ferguson's Message

Ryan Ferguson:
"A big thank you to the magnificent fans of this football club for their incredible support over the last year. They have rocked the Sky Bet Championship from top to bottom, helping us finish top of the league table. We played against some of the most historically significant football clubs in England, and blew them away with our support and, of course, our performances on the pitch.

The players, coaches, and other staff, had put in a truly fantastic shift this year to fight for any chance we possibly had to reach the Premier League. Our hard work and resilience proved to be enough to reach the big time, and it just goes to show what we are capable of when we set our mind to a task.

Next season we will be playing against Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, and the other top teams in the country. We will be playing at Old Trafford, the Emirates Stadium, Anfield, New White Hart Lane, and more incredible stadia. I think I can speak for the players when I say we are very excited about what we might be able to achieve next season.

We know next season will be tough. We might not have the resources available to us that other clubs do, and we might not have a 50,000 stadium to play in. But what we do have is a great spirit among the players, and among the fans. If we show our true colours, we can make wherever we play our home, and our eleven players on the pitch will feel like one hundred players. We can achieve anything, because we are Whitehawk!"

Comment Section

MJK46, thank you. As for the success? It's just all about making sure we get the basics right. If we don't concede, we don't lose. If we don't lose, we're at most one goal away from winning. That philosophy will always remain the same, no matter what players I have at my disposal.

ScottT, nah, anything is possible once you set your mind to it!

mgriffin2012, haha your words are too kind! :)

Previous Update: #8 - Season Four: Season Review
Next Updated: #10 - Season Six: Season Review
Sucks about the FA Cup but congrats on promotion to the Premier League!!
Another fantastic season, but that was to be expected from yourself. All credit to Crawley for that fantastic win, difficult to side to play against as I've found out previously. Hopefully you can continue an amazing journey by having a good season in the Premiership. :)
these updates are terrific! its been a meteoric rise so far, be interesting to see if you can keep it up: I've got faith
What an incredible campaign man, that defence really was unbeatable and it bodes well going into next season in the Premier League! It doesn't matter too much about scoring 3/4 goals a game when your defence is that tight!
Justice's avatar Group Justice
6 yearsEdited

Season Six: Season Review

An Overview Of Whitehawk FC In Season 2021/2022

Ryan Ferguson: The Premier League was the most reputable league in world football. It was a competition where magical moments were regularly produced, and any team could win any game. It was an absolute privilege to be a part of, and one which we were fortunate enough to experience. Our debut season in the Premier League was highly anticipated by the fans, players and staff, and we were hoping to make a big impact.


Luca Paganini Signed In January For A Club Record Fee of £8.75M

Despite progressing to the Premier League, the club had not garnered the reputation, or the finances, to attract many Premier League standard players. We understood that it would take time to build both but, in the mean time, we had to settle with freeing up wages and generating some transfer funds by moving on players. Our record signing at the time, Callum Saunders (ST), had proven to be an absolute flop, and we were more than happy to move him on to Kayseri Erciyesspor for considerably more than we paid for him - £825K (rising to £1.1M). Josh Lelan (DR) moved on to the same club for £60K, while Bilal Kamal (MC) signed for MK Dons for £500K. Alex Baptiste (DC) retired from football, while Lloyd James (MC), Luke Joyce (DM), Joe Skarz (DL), Lionel Stone (DC), Harrison Dunk (AML), Tom Aldred (DC), Sean Welsh (MC) and Jack Barmby (AML) all left for free.

With limited resources and reputation, we expected not to sign too many quality players for large fees. We required an improvement in attack, and Marco Stiepermann (AML - £275K), Jerome Sinclair (ST - Free), Bobby Adekanye (AML - £475K) and Riccardo Cappa (ST - £225K) were brought in. Andrea Gemignani (DR - £80K), Anton Kresic (DC - £1.2M), Dani Pinillos (DL - Free) and Gilson Costa (DM - Free) were brought in to improve our defensive play. Gedion Zelalem (MC - £235K) and Emyr Huws (MC - £1.3M) were the other summer signings.

After a few moths of earning Premier League money, we were able to spend a considerable amount of money in January, in order to further improve the team. Eighteen year old Swedish wonderkid Anton Nyman (MC/AMC) came in for a club record fee of £4M, before our club record fee was once again spent on Luca Paganini (AML), as we parted with £8.75M for the Italian winger from OGC Nice. One final signing was made in the form of experienced English defender Kieran Gibbs (DL), as he signed for a fee of £525K from West Ham United.

Despite the high number of senior signings, we still lacked true Premier League quality in our team. Andrea Punzi (DC) and Anton Kresic (DC) provided a solid enough defensive partnership, while Cameron McGeehan (DM) and Emyr Huws (MC) were very capable midfielders. Aside from these four players, we did not have anywhere near enough quality in our side.

Premier League

Whitehawk Struggled To Put Together Any Real Sort Of Form Together

The season started with great difficulty as both Newcastle and Chelsea put us to the sword. Two wins on the trot against Tottenham Hotspur and West Brom, as we scored seven goals in the two fixtures, was not enough to begin any sort of consistent run of form, and our longest unbeaten run was of no more than three games on the bounce (occurring on the three occasions). It was not pretty, by any definition, but we found ourselves resting on forty three points points by the beginning of April. However, we ended the season with six straight defeats, emphasising the lack of quality in our squad.

League Table

José Mourinho's Manchester United Claimed A Record 96 Points To Win Title

In the end, we could be very proud of our league performance, despite the inconsistency. A fourteenth place finish was six higher than predicted at the beginning of the season, and we certainly upset the odds. Our goal scoring record was very weak, but we did record the tenth best defensive record of any side in the division. It was certainly a reason for motivation for future Premier League campaigns.

Manchester United were crowned champions, as José Mourinho's side amassed a record breaking 96 points. Manchester City finished second with 91 points, a tally usually enough to claim the league title, while Arsenal and Leicester City finished in third and fourth respectively, to seal the final two UEFA Champions League spots. Tottenham Hotspur had to settle with fifth, while Chelsea placed just behind them in sixth, with both qualifying for the UEFA Europa League. It was doom and gloom for Aston Villa, West Brom and Middlesbrough, who were condemned to Sky Bet Championship football.

FA Cup

Newcastle Defeated Whitehawk In A Third Round Replay

We did enough to force a very strong Newcastle United side in to a replay, but we suffered narrow defeat in the end. It was a disappointing campaign, which proved that sometimes you just do need a certain quality of player to consistently compete.


Whitehawk Suffered Extra Time Defeat In The Third Round At St. Mary's

In a hard fought fixture, we were victorious against Sheffield Wednesday in the second round of the EFL Cup. This set up a South Coast clash against Southampton at St. Mary's Stadium. Southampton were certain favourites, and eventually claimed passage to the next round as Michael Antonio's extra time goal was enough subdue our challenge.

Whitehawk Football Club

Whitehawk Survived Due To Resilient Defensive Performances

No surprise as Andrea Punzi (DC) was among the club's top performers. Fellow central defenders Anton Kresic and Tyler Blackett also proved important players, as the latter often found himself playing as a makeshift left back, in order to offer extra protection. The squad lacked a truly natural goalscorer, as Bobby Adekanye (AML) proved to be the club's top goal scorer for the season with just 10 goals. This was an issue which certainly needed addressing were we to progress in following seasons.

We played our first season in the Premier League at the American Express Community Stadium, home of Brighton & Hove Albion, while construction of our new 14,500 all-seater Whitehawk Stadium had begun. We were to play one more season at the American Express Community Stadium before moving to our new home.

World Football

Spain Were Crowned World Champions Once More In 2022

It was a monumental year for Spain, as Pep Guardiola's side rode the challenges they faced to lift the FIFA World Cup in Canada. Marc Callardo (ST) of RCD Espanyol was his nation's hero, scoring eight goals en route to lifting the trophy. Juan Mata (AMC) also had notable influence in the goal scoring department, finding the back of the net three times, including scoring twice in the final against Italy.

The UEFA Champions League threw up a major surprise, as Portuguese side Sporting CP lifted the trophy. They defeated Tottenham Hotspur, FC Porto and AS Monaco en route to the final, and were victorious in a penalty shootout against Paris Saint-Germain at Wembley stadium, in London. It was a result which shocked European football, with Sporting CP winning the competition for the very first time, and becoming the first Portuguese side to do so since FC Porto in 2004, under the guidance of José Mourinho.

In terms of player recognition, Manchester City forward Paulo Dybala was named as the winner of both the Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards. Real Madrid stalwart Cristiano Ronaldo settled for second place in both, with Real Madrid team mates James Rodríguez and Sergi Roberto being named alongside him in the FIFA World Team of the Year. Other La Liga representatives included Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Neymar. The team also included Paulo Dybala and Arsenal's Alexis Sánchez of the Premier League, while FC Bayern Munich's Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng and David Alaba were also included. Juventus' Leonardo Bonucci completed the team.

Ryan Ferguson's Message

Ryan Ferguson:
"We achieved what nobody else believed we could - we survived our first season in the Premier League! It was not easy, and we faced some monumental challenges at times, but we pulled through in the end and finished in a very respectable fourteenth position. The players worked hard to prepare and deliver our game plan over the course of the season and, while it was not always fruitful, we did more than enough to survive.

We may not have played our home football at our own stadium, but the incredible fans certainly made it feel like home for us. We had some very memorable fixtures there, including a fantastic 4-2 victory over West Brom there back in August. We certainly have to thank the fans for their incredible support, and for helping us believe we could achieve Premier League survival.

A season in England's top flight has helped our financial status improve drastically, and another season will only further the development of this football club. We will finally be able to pay larger fees for players, and thus putting us in the market for some reinforcements in the summer. We are not happy with settling a a Premier League relegation-battling club - we always want to progress. With your support, we hope to achieve another memorable season next term!"

Comment Section

MJK46, thanks! Hopefully we have better luck in the FA Cup next time out!

ScottT, yes Crawley have always been a nuisance to play against! :(

InfraRed, thank you! Hopefully we can keep this rise! :P

mgriffin2012, very true, and I'd be happier with a clean sheet than an extra goal any day!

Previous Update: #9 - Season Five: Season Review
Next Update: #11 - Season Seven: Season Review
Incredible how you have managed to achieve survival in the Premier League given the squad at your disposal, must have been a struggle for you. Hopefully after spending a year in the league you've gathered some reputation and players will now want to sign for you, I mean why wouldn't they now? ;) Anyway, let's hope you can continue moving up the table and enjoy an even more successful season with the Hawks, good luck.
This was a good first season in the Premier League,I hope the 14th placed finish is a nice little boost for your clubs reputation
Considering the lack of resources you had, you pulled off some good signings that have done the job in the Premier League and kept you in the top flight! With the amount of prize money behind you, next season could well be a magical for one for the club!
Justice's avatar Group Justice
6 yearsEdited

Season Seven: Season Review

An Overview Of Whitehawk FC In Season 2022/2023

Ryan Ferguson: A fine debut season in the Premier League did nothing to change the critics' opinion - we were still fancied as one of the relegation favourites. Regardless of what was expected of us, our finances and stature had grown considerably since reaching the top flight, and the club was certainly capable of competing in the transfer market, as well as on the pitch, with the other Premier League clubs.


Alen Halilovic & Marvin Stefaniak Were Among Whitehawk's Recruitments

Joe Anyon (GK) and Marcus Olsson (DL) retired from football, while Mitchell Beeney (GK - £625K), Tyler Blackett (DC - £1M) and Andrea Gemignani (DR - £150K) also departed the club, leaving a major void in the defensive areas to fill. Shane Ferguson (AML - Free), Marco Stierpermann (AML - Free), Ashley Fletcher (ST - £1.7M) and Jerome Sinclair (ST - Free) made way, in order for a new set of attackers to join the club.

First things first, new goalkeepers and defenders were sought out. In terms of 'keepers, Carlos Abad (GK - £650K) and Saturnin Allagbé (GK - £68K) were two absolute bargain buys for the football club. They were both of a similar quality to outgoing Mitchell Beeney, and would provide decent Premier League standard service. Michael Hefele (DC - £2.8M), Luke Ayling (DR - £2.3M), Alfie Mawson (DC - £2.8M) and Rasmus Nissen Kristensen (DR - £1.7M) were brought in to fill out the defence.

Attacking talent was brought in, and there were not many players available for a better value than the signings of Alen Halilovic (AMC - £4M), Neal Maupay (ST - £1.8M) and Marvin Stefaniak (AML - £5.5M). They added some much needed quality, and they were all capable of finding the back of the net regularly. Three eighteen years were signed in January in the form of Franco Díaz (MC - £4M), Andri Steingrímsson (ST - £2.1K) and Ville Paananen (AML - £30K).

The squad was in much better shape than it was last season. Aside from the left back position, where no real opportunity was available to us in the market, the squad was of a Premier League standard. Summer signings Rasmus Nissen Kristensen, Marvin Stefaniak and Neal Maupay would go on to be key components of the team, alongside fan favourites Andrea Punzi (DC) and Anton Kresic (DC).

Premier League

Whitehawk Enjoyed A Seven Game Winning Run In September-October

At a first glance, our league form was far superior to last season. We were scoring far more goals, conceding considerably less, and we were just winning more games. It was no coincidence that an influx of fairly talented new signings brought an uplift in our league performances, and every drop in form was nearly always turned on its head shortly afterwards.

Our goal scoring return for the season was sensational. We were the third top scoring team in the division (73), behind only Arsenal (84) and Manchester United (77). Neal Maupay (ST) was to take much credit for this, as he scored a club record 30 league goals over the course of the season, finishing runner up in the Golden Boot chase by criteria of games played. As well as that, our defensive record was quite impressive too, as we recorded the fifth best record in that department. Overall, vast improvements were made in these fronts. Our weakness came against the top team of the division, were a major gulf in player quality told the difference. We were still some way off challenging Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal in the big games.

There were some truly memorable games played this season. A 5-1 thumping of Huddersfield Town, and a 6-0 hammering of Burnley stood out in a season which included a dramatic 3-2 comeback against Liverpool. It was certainly a season to excite the fans.

League Table

Whitehawk Stormed To A Remarkable 5th Place Finish

A fantastic league season ended with us finishing in 5th place, securing UEFA Europa League football for next season. We were just three points behind fourth place Chelsea, showing how far we'd come in such a short period of time. Our tally of 73 points was thirty points greater than the previous season's 43.

Manchester United won the Premier League, with Manchester City finishing three points behind them in second. Arsenal and Chelsea rounded up the top four, respectively, securing the four UEFA Champions League spots. Tottenham Hotspur would join us in the UEFA Europa League, through league positions. Our south coast neighbours Southampton were condemned to Sky Bet Championship football, alongside QPR and Burnley.

FA Cup

Damir Sipus Scored All Four Of Everton's Goals Against Whitehawk

In a seven goal thriller, Everton proved too strong at Goodison Park as we were knocked out in the third round by the Merseysiders. Their striker, Damir Sipus, scored all four of their goals as they marched on to the next round.


Whitehawk Were Felled By Stoke In The Third Round

We defeated Stevenage to progress to the third round, but we were torn apart by Stoke City's Kevin O'Hara, who scored a magnificent hat trick at the bet365 Stadium.

Whitehawk Football Club

Neal Maupay's 32 Goal Haul Broke The Club's Goal Scoring Record

An incredible season for French striker Neal Maupay saw him score a grand total of 32 goals in all competitions. His exploits in front of goal helped the team reach new heights in the league, and thrilled the fans. A solid base of Andrea Punzi (DC), Anton Kresic (DC) and Rasmus Nissen Kristensen (DR) gave the team the confidence to go forward. What was notable over the season was the change in formation, from a 4-3-3 to a 4-2-3-1.

World Football

Paris Saint-Germain Achieved UEFA Champions League Glory

French giants Paris Saint-Germain could not be stopped as they marched to UEFA Champions League glory. They were phenomenal in their semi final display against FC Bayern Munich, and defeated Manchester United in the final on penalties.

Barcelona's Brazilian attacker Neymar won the Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards in a sensational year. Barcelona team mate Adrien Rabiot joined him in the World Team of the Year, alongside fellow La Liga representatives Leroy Sané and Koke of Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid respectively. The Premier League had Manchester United's Alessandro Florenzi, Luke Shaw and Memphis Depay, and Tottenham Hotspur's Dele Alli selected in the team. Paris Saint-Germain's Thibaut Courtois, FC Bayern Munich's Daniele Rugani and Juventus' Leonardo Bonucci were also included in the team.

Ryan Ferguson's Message

Ryan Ferguson:
"It was an absolutely sensational season for this football club. We took the Premier League by the scruff of the neck, and we showed just how good we are on the pitch, and in the stands. We performed well above expectations, and achieved something which was only dreamed about a year ago by this football club; European football. We will be competing in the UEFA Europa League next season, and we cannot wait for some fantastic European nights!

Our goal scoring form was phenomenal this year, and the players deserve so much credit for working on this. They performed so well and recording the third best goal scoring record in the league just epitomised how good we can be in front of goal. Aside from the goals, we controlled games very comfortably and defended very well. The players were just brilliant.

We will be playing in our new 14,5000 seater Whitehawk Stadium from next season onwards, and we hope that we can continue to impress. We will need to spend some more money to keep growing as a football club, both on and off the pitch, but we look forward to the future. Five years ago, we had just achieved promotion to the professional football tier, and now we are competing in Europe. We will continue to reach for the stars!

Comment Section

ScottT, yes naturally a season of survival in the Premier League has certainly boosted the club's reputation and financial prowess and, as you can see, we managed to bring in a few players with the money earned!

MJK46, absolutely! Being recognised as the fourteenth best team in England (in league performance) over a season has given the club a very strong reputation boost!

mgriffin2012, indeed! Of the signings we made for our debut Premier League season, I was most pleased with Anton Kresic. He was a rock in the back, and frighteningly good in the air. Future transfer seasons would prove more fruitful for the club, such as the one in this post, and magic is sure to follow! :P

ALSO..... I have been consistently updating the opening post of this story to keep up-to-date the trophy and manager award collection. I'm doing this to keep track of the progress made throughout Ryan Ferguson's career, and to eventually compare his winnings with that of the top managers in the world (José Mourinho, etc).....

Previous Update: #10 - Season Six: Season Review
Next Update: #12 - Season Eight: Season Review
Fantastic season for you and the club there, although I can't say that I didn't expect it to come. You have worked fantastically well with a lack of resources over the past few years so to see you be given just that little bit more and how well you've worked with it is great. Hopefully you can improve on your league position again next season as well as your cup runs, as those have been lacking recently which is a shame. I can see you challenging in the Europa League, hopefully you can go on and win the competition whilst also securing a Champions League place, whether it be by winning the competition or by finishing within the top four, I expect the latter. ;)
An absolutely stunning season, there is no other way to put it! European football will put an extra strain on your squad but I am confident you'll be able to contend with both domestic and continental football!
Well now looks like there is a new English team to gloryhunt
Justice's avatar Group Justice
6 yearsEdited

Season Eight: Season Review

An Overview Of Whitehawk FC In Season 2023/2024

Ryan Ferguson: European football was upon Whitehawk. We had successfully navigated the English football pyramid, and Whitehawk's era of European football had begun. It was an exciting time for the football club, and some great moments were sure to follow.


Whitehawk Spent A Club Record Fee On 18 Year Old Jason Coffey

A number of players were moved on from the club, having been deemed not good enough for the challenges ahead. Most notably, Luke Ayling (DR - £1.2M), Gilson Costa (DM - £2.8M) and Bobby Adekanye (AML - £1.5M) all departed in the summer. The January transfer window brought more sales, as Carlos Abad (GK - £2.5M), Emyr Huws (MC - £1.2M), Alfie Mawson (DC - £1.3M) and Alen Halilovic (AMC - £12.5M) all found themselves moving on.

A number of home grown players were brought in to meet UEFA Europa League criteria. These players included Daniel Bentley (GK - £1.5M), Tyrone Mings (DL - £4.4M), Conor Coady (MC - £3.3M), Ben Pearson (MC - £2.7M) and Jamaal Lascelles (DC - £4.6M). Swedish duo Emil Forsberg (AML - Free) and Emil Krafth (DR - £1M), Scottish international Stephen Kingsley (DL - £3.2M) and Spanish midfielder Marcos Llorente (MC - £6.75M) were brought in to strengthen the depth of the squad. Young Irish strikers Cian O'Connor (ST - £350K) and Jason Coffey (ST - £10.25M) were brought in to develop their abilities at the football club, with the latter costing a club record fee.

The January transfer window brought an influx of talented players. Serbian captain Predrag Rajkovic (GK - £10M) came in to become one of the top goalkeepers in the league, while former English international Chris Smalling (DC - £325K) and Danish international Thomas Delaney (MC - £245K) were brought in to add some invaluable experience to the squad. The squad still required some creative spark to be added, and in came two talented inside forwards in the form of Pablo Sarabia (AMR - £1.4M) and Nahuel Leiva (AML - £5M).

The squad was looking very strong by the end of the season. Rajkovic was a world class goalkeeper, and Tyrone Mings came in as a very consistent and reliable full back, while Lascelles came in to partner club captain Andrea Punzi in central defence. The other signings all played rotation roles of sort, except for Thomas Delaney, who became the team's chief ball winner in midfield. We were confident of achieving something special with the group of players we had at our disposal.

Premier League

Whitehawk Recorded A Thirteen Game Unbeaten Run

We began the league campaign as strongly as we finished our last. Hard-fought wins over Stoke City and Liverpool helped boost morale ahead of a long season, and point-winning results against Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal emphasised how much the squad had improved. We ended the league season with a solid record of 23-7-8.

We scored fewer goals than in the previous term, but more than enough to be content with as we recorded the four most amount of goals in the league (65). However, our defensive record had improved considerably, and we recorded the third best record in the league (34).

A dramatic win over Liverpool, which included a ninetieth winner from an own goal, was one of the more memorable fixtures of the season, while a 3-1 win over Chelsea showed that Whitehawk were capable of competing against the top teams in the division.

League Table
We finished in a very impressive third place in the league, behind winners Arsenal and runners-up Manchester United. The jump in to the top four was significant for the football club, as the club would grow financially and benefit on the pitch due to qualifying for the UEFA Champions League. We had made it in to the most reputable club competition in the world - it was a magnificent achievement.

Slaven Bilic's Arsenal were crowned Premier League champions, while José Mourinho's Manchester United had to settle for second place. Mark Hughes' Chelsea claimed the final UEFA Champions League spot as they finished fourth, two points ahead of fifth place Manchester City. Newcastle United joined The Citizens in qualifying for the UEFA Europa League, as they finished in sixth place. West Brom, Middlesbrough and Huddersfield Town were relegated to the Sky Bet Championship.

UEFA Europa League

Whitehawk Marched To Title Glory In Their Debut European Campaign

Our debut season in Europe saw us drawn in to a Europa League group alongside Spanish side Real Sociedad, Greek giants Olympiakos and Ukrainian side Zorya Luhansk. An opening fixture draw against Real Sociedad represented how difficult our European campaign could have been, but four wins from our remaining five league games, and a defeat against Real Sociedad, set us on our way to the knockout stages of the competition.

A Last 32 tie against Udinese Calcio proved challenging, but we did enough to progress to the next round on away goals. Up next was another difficult tie, against German side RB Leipzig. After a draw in the first leg in Germany, we turned on the style at home to progress 3-1 on aggregate. The quarter finals put us up against Portugal's Rio Ave, and Neal Maupay scored in each leg as we moved on to the semi finals following a 3-2 aggregate victory. Borussia Dortmund would stand in our way, but a Neal Maupay brace at Signal Iduna Park set us up for victory. A Nahuel Leiva hat trick at home in the second leg brought us to the final of the competition.

The final, contested at the Timsah Arena in Turkey, was between us and Inter Milan. We hit the ground running in the final through an early Luca Paganini goal. Neal Maupay and Anton Nyman all but wrapped up the tie with goals in the first half. Inter Milan clawed one back with twelve minutes to go, but it proved to be nothing more than consolation as we walked away with the UEFA Europa League title.

FA Cup

Whitehawk Progressed To The Quarter Finals Where Chelsea Were Superior

Early rounds showed promise for us as we stormed to a rampant victory over Swansea in the third round. Victories against Burnley and Barnsley followed, setting up a quarter final clash against Chelsea. In a tight-fought game at Stamford Bridge, just the one goal separated us as Chelsea won a place in the semi finals.


Whitehawk Suffered Semi Final Heartbreak Against Everton

A third round tie against Bury proved no challenge for a second string Whitehawk side. This was followed by an extra time victory over a much-fancied Manchester City side, courtesy of a spectacular Marvin Stefaniak goal to win the game. This set up a quarter final clash against Swansea, where Stefaniak starred again as we strolled to victory. The semi finals proved to be too much for us, as Everton won the two-legged affair by a single goal to book their place in the final against Manchester United.

Whitehawk Football Club

Whitehawk's Defensive Displays Shone Yet Again

It was no surprise as club captain Andrea Punzi was one of the star performers of the season. Unfortunately, Punzi broke his foot in April, raising some serious concerns over his football career. Luckily for the club, Jamaal Lascelles (DC) stepped in to fill his boots when needed, in a solid back four which also comprised of Anton Kresic (DC), Tyrone Mings (DL) and Rasmus Nissen Kristensen (DR). Two fantastic goalkeepers in the form of Predrag Rajkovic and Daniel Bentley meant that Whitehawk had safe hands behind the back four.

World Football

Portugal Defeated England In The UEFA European Championship Final

Portugal were once again named European champions as they put England to the sword in the final of the UEFA European Championship 2024. This prompted the England manager, Arséne Wenger, to retire from football. Ryan Ferguson was touted to be the main candidate to succeed Wenger.

Barcelona's Brazilian star Neymar won the Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards once again. Surprisingly, Neymar and Atlético Madrid's Ángel Correa were the only La Liga players in the FIFA World Team of the Year. AS Monaco's Kylian Mbappé and Paris Saint-Germain's Thibaut Courtois, Jorge Meré and Thomas Lemar represented Ligue 1, while FC Bayern Munich's Daniele Rugani was the only Bundesliga player. Manchester United had a strong showing, as Alessandro Florenzi, Luke Shaw and Memphis Depay made the cut, alongside Tottenham Hotspur's Dele Alli.

Ryan Ferguson's Message

Ryan Ferguson:
"When I set out as manager of Whitehawk Football Club in 2016, I never could have dreamed of lifting a major European trophy here. For the club to have come from our roots in non-league football to winning most of the prestigious club competitions around in such a short space of time, it is a dream come true.

A big thank you to all the fans who supported us throughout the season, at home and away. We had a great set of fans who came with us all the way to Ukraine and Greece, to Germany and to Italy. The support we had in Turkey, for the final, was phenomenal. They motivated us to make that first half charge which put Inter Milan to the sword.

The players have developed a lot over the last year, and have really become fantastic athletes. They have shown great determination to come in and train hard every day, to become fitter and more football-intelligent. Unfortunately Andrea (Punzi) will face a set back after breaking his foot in April and we cannot possibly set a return date for him just yet. We hope for him to make a return some time before January, and we will certainly support him in his recovery. He has shown a great attitude and determination to return, and he's been a tremendous captain for the rest of the players.

We will be competing in the UEFA Champions League next season. It is a dream come true for this football club to be competing in the biggest club competition in the world. We look forward to competing against the top clubs around Europe, and hopefully we will have just as much success as we did in the Europa League this season! But before all that, we will be competing in the UEFA Super Cup, and we will look to be fully prepared to win this fixture."

Comment Section

ScottT, well as you can see, we managed to qualify by meeting both criteria! :P

mgriffin2012, indeed European football does put an extra strain on the squad, but it is a very welcome strain!

MJK46, I guess that just means we're successful! :P

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Congrats on the Europa League win

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