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Hometown Glory

Started on 27 June 2017 by InvertedWingbacks
Latest Reply on 13 July 2017 by mgriffin2012
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1. Not Quite The Dream Come True

I settled into my chair, glancing around the room nervously. Flashbulbs went off sporadically, as local newspapers started formulating their Stories (which, lets be honest, only Frank down the shop was going to read).

”Mr Jackson,” I turned to find the source of the question; ”Uh, yeah, Andy Simmons, MEN; do you think at just 23 you have the right skills for football management? You’re pretty young.”

”Hi Andy…I’ll be honest I think a lot of people are making quite a lot out of the age issue. I don’t think it’s a particularly pressing matter - the best way for me to earn the respect of these players, is to work hard with them on the training pitch, and translate that hard work into wins on the pitch.”

”Hey, Brett Palmer, BBC Radio Manchester; What was it that made you take this job?”

”I need to eat?” That got a bit of a laugh from the room, ”Nah, in all seriousness, this is a club with massive potential, and the fan ownership is something which really drew me to them. I have massive shoes to fill here, Karl Marginson has done some incredible work in the last ten years, and it is an honour to be trusted to take this team to the next level.”

”Do you think the team you have here is capable of that?”

”Without a doubt. This is a brilliant group of guys, and I think in the right system and with a few new faces, we can really kick on and progress.”

With that, the Press Officer drew the conference to a close, and turned to me

”Well, Mr Jackson, welcome the FC United of Manchester…It’s gonna be a long road!”
Best of luck taking them to the very top mate!
I thought you were going to be taking over Salford when I saw you talking to Justice to be honest but this is a nice little surprise. FC United are an interesting club and it'll be great to see this save and story succeed. Good luck!
UNITED! UNITED! UNITED! UNITED!


2. Group Assessment
I sighed, staring out the window of my office onto an empty training pitch. We’d just had our first training session, and the pelting rain had made it quite a dreary affair. Some of the lads were looking really up for the coming season, but some really, really weren’t. I looked down at the report my Assistant Manager, Darren Lyons had drawn up for me, and started to make some notes.


Goalkeepers
Adriano Basso - 41 - GK - |

David Carnell - 31 - GK - |

Both Goalkeepers are probably not up to the standard that we’re going to need going forwards, and given their ages, strengthening here is a priority, even if only to sign a younger goalkeeper with potential as backup to David.

Defenders
Dale Tonge - 31 - RB - |

Luke Ashworth - 26 - CB - |

Tom Eckersley - 24 - CB - |

Chris Chantler - 25 - LB - |

There is nowhere near enough depth in defence, and fixing that is top priority: I’d be looking for at least another 2 Centre Halves, and backup in both Right and Leftback positions.

Midfielders
Rory Fallon - 26 - MR - |

Jerome Wright - 30 - ML - |

Scott Kay - 26 - MC - |

Sam Sheridan - 26 - MC - |

George Thomson - 24 - MC - |

Tom Brown - 21 - MC - |

Nathan Lowe - 20 - MC - |

We\re relatively strong here, with an incredible talent in George Thomson, and also Tom and Nathan coming through. I’ll probably look to offload a couple of the older guys, and bring in another Right and Left midfielder to shore up and provide some depth on the flanks.

Strikers
Gareth Amison - 29 - ST - |

Matty Wolfenden - 28 - ST - |

Tom Greaves - 31 - ST - |

Dale Johnson - 31 - ST - |

Jason Gilchrist - 21 - ST - |

I’m not too concerned about our striking options. There’s a couple of players I’ll be looking to get rid of, but Jason Gilchrist is a massive talent, and with veteran Tom Greaves next to him, my only concern is the level of depth; time and budget depending, I’ll maybe look to offload some of the older players here, and bring in some new faces if it’s needed.



Overall, it’s a decent squad, and while there’s definitely work to be done, I need to have a chat with my coaching staff to figure out the best way to strengthen. I want the club to develop our own youth players, and keep everything as local as possible. I rang up my scout, and got him to look for local lads to fill the gaps I’d identified.
Definitely need to look at acquiring some defensive cover, and a couple of extra wide midfielders wouldn't go astray!
A decent looking squad and one that you can do a lot with! To see adriano basso still playing is also pretty cool!
From previous experience Jason Gilchrist is unstoppable at times so he should do a very good job for you this season.


3.Transfer Policy

”I don’t quite understand, Nathan: you only want to sign players who were born within a 50 mile radius? What’s that going to achieve?”

General Manager Cameron Haughton was looking at me as if I’d suggested signing only dwarves for the club

”Well, It was my understanding that this is a community club? A Club born out of discontent with how Manchester United were run? A club which strives to deliver the best results and connect with the community?”

”Well, yes, we are, but I don’t see how limiting ourselves to a 50 mile radius is going to help us with those goals.”

”Lets look at it a different way: how many insanely talented youngsters do you think are looked over by Manchester United and Manchester City, purely because those clubs can bring in a kid from Brazil who’s several years of development ahead of our own kids? What do you think that does to football at a grassroots level? If we dedicate ourselves to signing and developing the best local youngsters, then grassroots football will thrive, and in the long term; mind you, this is the very long-term, English football as a whole will thrive. We can be at the heart of that!”

Cameron sighed. He could tell this was something I felt strongly about, but he also knew that this was going to require the club to invest in its facilities, and that decision was in the hands of the supporters.

”Ok. The youth development thing might take a while…your signing policy is entirely up to you, but if it doesn’t bring results, you know you’re going to be judged harshly, yeah?”

I nodded. ”The club is going to thrive Cameron, I can promise you that.”
You've set up some big barriers for yourself in the transfer market, but it could very well pay off! Team spirit can overcome the greatest of obstacles at times, one need only look at Chile's recent successes in major competitions (most notably the Copa América), or at Leicester's title winning campaign.
I like your line of thinking and it would be one hell of a story should it lead to success down the line!


4.Trials and Tribulations

I looked over the squad as they warmed down after training; we’d managed to grab a few players on trials, who I thought would be able to make a difference to the squad. Dale Johnson and Gareth Arnison had both departed, so I would maybe have to sign another striker, depending on how the season went, but right now my focus was on my defence and goalkeeper, and finding some solid wingers.

Our first trials was Simon Lenighan, A 22 year old central midfielder who started his career at Leeds United way back in 2010, and spent time on loan at Bradford and Halifax before being released in 2014. Since then, he hasn’t really settled, playing at Harrogate, Frickley, Rotherham, Warrington and most recently Altrincham, but only really getting any playing time at Harrogate…In fact, he hasn’t played a competitive game since his 18 starts for them in 2014. He’s got a good footballing brain though, and I reckon he could be a good fit if he impresses in this trial.

Ahead of our first pre-season game, we also had 30 year old defender Dominic Roma on trial; the veteran can play anywhere across the backline, so could provide some cheap cover…although I’d rather have a master of one trade than a jack of them all. Roma has loads of experience at this level, having spent the last 6 years at Gainsborough, with a few clubs between that and his release by Sheffield United in 2007.

We’ve also brought in Jasper Johns, a former Everton youth player from Stafford, who was let go by Everton in 2013, and played once for Sheffield United in 2014, but hasn’t had a team since then. That isn’t too much of a concern: the left midfielder is pretty quick, and quite an intelligent player of the game, so I think he’s got a lot to come, given he’s just 21.

Our first pre-season game of the season was against Clitheroe, and all three trialists would be given the chance to stretch their legs. All three started the match, and although the team started slowly, Dominic Roma’s experience quickly showed, as our backline held firm under sustained pressure from our hosts.

The breakthrough came after 28 minutes, when Roma cut out a cross field pass, and moved the ball forwards to Lenighan, who played a quick one-two with Tom Graves as he scampered into the Clitheroe box before laying the ball right to Gilchrist. Gilchrist shaped to shoot, but spotted Jasper Johns out to the left side of the penalty box, and the winger made no mistake, rattling Gilchrist’s lofted pass into the back of the net with style.

George Thomson came off at half time with a bruised head, and I think we missed his bite in midfield in the second half, as the defence certainly had more work to do. I pulled a yellow-carded Lenighan off after 60 minutes, and despite his booking I was impressed by his work-rate and passing throughout the match.

Roma also impressed, but after 75 minutes his legs were gone, and I had to sub him off, giving Tom Eckersley his central defensive position. That was a concern, and probably meant I needed another centre back alongside Roma, although his experience is invaluable in keeping the team functioning as a unit.

Jasper Johns was looking like he could run all day though, and he was heavily involved in the buildup to our second goal. He picked up a pass from Lowe on the left wing, and skipped past his defender before cutting the ball inside to Sheridan. Sheridan released Fallon with a beautiful cross-field pass, and Fallon’s cross into the middle was met by the head of Jason Gilchrist, who made no mistake.

We conceded not two minutes later, as some lax defending allowed Rennell Pepper far too much space in the box, and his top-corner effort meant that David Carnell could only watch the ball hit the back of the net.

I made a few more substitutions with 10 minutes to go, and it was plainly obvious by this point that we were struggling for stamina, and also for squad depth. Jason Gilchrist was one of the players who was still huffing and puffing, and he added our third goal, once again capitalising on some brilliant team play in midfield which released Fallon, and the right winger’s through ball was inch-perfect, and Gilchrist had all the time and space he needed to fire home.

Our fourth came soon after, as the fresh legs of our subs played havoc with the tired Clitheroe defence. Sheridan broke up an attack just outside our area, and released Gilchrist through the middle. The striker found Lowe just outside the box, and Lowe’s first time pass put Matty Wolfenden clean through on goal, and he cooly slotted the ball past the goalkeeper.

Overall, the 4-1 win was exactly what we needed, and it was encouraging to see us net so many goals so early in pre-season.

Full Time: Clitheroe 1-4 FC United
A very positive result albeit I have no idea how strong Clitheroe are!
Although Clitheroe are a much poorer side to yourselves that's a very solid win. Hopefully you'll be able to continue with results like this in the league. :)
Smash, bang, wallop

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