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St Albans City FC: The Rise of the Saints

Started on 30 May 2018 by FM-LD / First Post
Latest Reply on 5 July 2018 by ScottT / Last Post
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Hello everyone,

After over three years away from FMScout, I find myself back on the site after a long time away, and boy has it changed. On my return to the site, my first look was towards the FM18 stories section, and after browsing through, I thought two things: 1. The number of stories and they way they are written has changed, and 2. I want to write stories again.

And with that thought, here I am, my first story I have written in three years, and I like to think over that time I have developed as a writer, last time as a Year 10 student, now someone on the verge of going to university, the quality of the content will be much better.

This story is going to be based around not necessarily a club I support, but one that is very close to my heart; St Albans City.

This club is my dad's local team, and having been a player with their associated youth team 'St Albans City Youth FC' and now a volunteer coach and manager with the youth set-up, that club has allowed me to develop my skills and enter the industry of coaching and teaching which is ultimately affecting my life choices right now in getting into teaching.

Having provided me with so many opportunities, and a club which I have been involved with a lot on the youth teams side of things, it only feels right that I write a Football Manager story with this club.

The story will begin soon, and I hope you thoroughly enjoy reading it, and hopefully it will be a good one, and a long one.

Best wishes,
FM-LD
Awesome storyline to back the game up - hoping that it all works out in game and out of it - will keep an eye out for updates!
The site has changed a lot and I only joined two years ago. The stories section is definitely on the rise again which is fantastic as an avid writer myself. Good luck with this mate, I look forward to this story as I do enjoy a good LLM save (do prefer the North though) ;)
@burd - thank you!

@ScottT - It sure has! I'm sure I'll make you start liking the South too!
13th May 2017

Allinson departs St Albans City


It’s been a disappointing couple of weeks for St Albans City FC following their end to season in which they finished in 10th position, twelve points outside of the initial playoff spots. Having spent the large majority of the season in and about the playoff positions, they looked pretty certain of achieving that feat, however a poor second half of the season resulted in them missing out.

After this drop in form at the beginning of the year, questions were asked as to what lead to this massive decline, was it the players, the management, or just bad luck. Despite missing out on the playoffs, manager Ian Allinson said: “It was a disappointing second half of the season, but something for us to learn from and take on board next season”.

The Saints finished the season with a 3-2 defeat away to Eastbourne Borough, a game in which the visitors were the stronger side, particularly in the second half, and were extremely unlucky not to get something from. This was said to have “given us confidence in terms of what we are capable of and gives us hope for next season” commented Allinson.

Now, exactly two weeks on, club sources have confirmed that the former Arsenal player has departed as the club’s manager. It is unknown as to how this occurred, rumours are saying that following a discussion between him and the board, the decision was taken not to offer him a contract for next season.

The official statement on the club website stated: “The club can confirm the departure of Ian Allinson was our first team manager, we would like to place on record our thanks to him for the work he has done at the club for the past fifteen months”.

In a separate interview for a local newspaper, club chairman John McGowan has stated he is looking for “a young and exciting coach who has great enthusiasm and ambition to drive the club forward”. Who this will be is unknown, but all that we can be certain about, is that it going to be the start of a new era for St Albans City FC.
I remember Allinson at Boreham Wood, I actually didn't know he was at St Albans now. Interesting developments and I'm keen to see who will replace him as the next boss.
@ScottTYeah he oddly is aha. You'll soon find out!
FM-LD's avatar Group FM-LD
1 yearEdited
12th June 2017

Debenham named as new Saints manager


After Ian Allinson was announced to have left the National League South side, St Albans City have been on the lookout for a new manager to lead them for the 2017/18 season. Having condensed his shortlist to five names, chairman John McGowan had made to the call to appoint the vastly unknown coach Lloyd Debenham as manager.

Whilst he may not be known to the wider world, Debenham is a figure well known in the youth set up at affiliated club St Albans City Youth FC; where he has now coached for three years, working with a variety of age groups and grown his reputation.

This was seemingly enough to convince the chairman to appoint him as the club’s first team manager, following the appointment he said: “Having looked through numerous CV’s, a number of vastly experienced managers at this level, as well as up and coming coaches from the lower levels, we found that the best candidate was already on our doorstep”.

He continued by saying: “For someone so young, his knowledge of the game is remarkable and when you speak to him, you can tell he has this enthusiasm and excitement about the opportunity that had been presented to him”.

The conversations that we have had, and the questions our selection committee put to him, he responded in such a positive and mature manner, and we all came to the unanimous decision that he was our man”.

Having put pen to paper on a twelve month contract, the new Saints manager said: “It was an honour and a privilege to be given this position, and at a club that I hold close to my heart. They have provided me with opportunities to both play and coach from the age of thirteen; and yet again they give me another fantastic chance

When I heard that I had been recommended for the role” Debenham continued, “I was beyond amazed and shocked at the news, and to be appointed is just fantastic. But now the excitement is over, and we’ve got to get to work in terms of planning for the new season to make it a successful one for the fans

Due to our lack of knowledge on the coach, we enquired about his coaching philosophy, he responded with: “My philosophy as a coach is to win, to develop and get the best out of the players at our disposal to get results on the pitch. People always talk about playing styles, and playing a certain brand of football but I don’t buy into that”

I’ve got to go in, assess the squad in terms of our strengths and weaknesses, and how we can use those strengths to our advantage. Where we are weak we will recruit appropriately, and the rest is down to myself and the coaching staff”.

Following his appointment, the club can confirm the departures of assistant manager Lee Allinson, goalkeeping coach Rhys Tom and U23 manager Mark Swales.

There have been a large number of new staff members brought in to reshape the backroom team, including scouts, a director of football, and a chief analyst that have been appointed by the club’s board.

Debenham has also brought in his own staff to join the coaching team, first his new assistant manager Dean Frost who was previously assistant manager at league rivals Braintree Town, his knowledge of the division will be a great help to Debenham throughout the season.

As well as him, Debenham has appointed Sean Reed as first team coach, having previously worked at Fuham as a coach, Under 21s assistant manager and a fitness coach between 2012 and 2015. He also has experience working for Crystal Palace as a youth team fitness coach. It is believed he has been brought in to work on the side’s fitness, something Debenham takes very seriously.

The final addition of the backroom team is the new goalkeeper coach, Carl King. King has many years of experience as a goalkeeping coach at this level having previously worked at Whitely Bay, Blyth Spartans, Celtic Nation and most recently Spennymoor Town.

Debenham signed off with an address to the club’s supporters: “As your manager, I will ensure that we build a side that is capable of challenging for the playoffs and pushing towards getting into the National League. All I can guarantee is that I will ensure all the players will give 100% on the pitch for you supporters, because that is the least we can do to payback all the money and time you commit to following us."

St Albans will be facing Congleton, Watford Under 23s, Wrexham, Luton Town and Biggleswade Town as a part of their preparation for the upcoming season; before Debenham’s managerial debut away to Oxford City on the 5th August.
Nice write-up there. It's a very good appointment from the board, I think a lot of teams need to go down the route of giving their own coaching team at chance at first-team level as it can work effectively. The way Lloyd presents himself is great, I'm very much a fan. ;)

Can't wait for more as I'm thoroughly enjoying this at the moment.
@ScottT - Thanks, means a lot!
31st July 2017

July 2017 Overview



Transfer Activity
So far in the transfer window, St Albans City have completed two signings to help strengthen the squad ahead of the new season.

Firstly, the signing of goalkeeper Billy Granger, a signing that was completed by the board and director of football. The ex-Tottenham trainee has had spells at non-league for Basingstoke, Leatherhead, Met Police, Slough, Bognor Regis and Bromley.

The twenty-two year will be acting as a back-up to first choice goalkeeper Dean Snedker, and has signed on non-contract terms.

The second and final signing of the month is defender Andrew Eleftheriou. The Cypriot full-back signs on a season-long loan deal from parent club Watford. He has no previous clubs having come through the youth academy at Watford; this will be his first spell playing competitive football.


Friendlies
Preparations for the season have taken place, with the Saints having played in five pre-season friendlies, the squad have also had opportunities to gain match fitness for the U23s side.

Congleton 0-6 St Albans City
Harvey Bradbury
Charlie Walker
OG
Shaun Lucien
Zane Banton
Rhys Murrell-Williamson

St Albans City 3-1 Watford U23s
Charlie Walker
Sam Merson
Zane Banton


St Albans City 3-2 Wrexham
Harvey Bradbury
Scott Thomas
Harvey Bradbury

St Albans City 0-1 Luton Town

Biggleswade Town 0-2 St Albans City
Trialist
OG

Manager’s Thoughts
It has been a positive start for us as we prepare for the start of the season, we’ve managed to bring in two players, we desperately needed a second goalkeeper and that was an issue that the board addressed almost immediately.

Adding some more quality and depth to our defence was important, and Andrew Eleftheriou coming in will help with that. He has the quality to be playing in the league above and he was very impressive when he played against us for Watford U23s, so when I found out he was available, I immediately went in to try and bring him to Clarence Park.

Game wise, we looked good in all the games we played, we have found a shape and way of playing that seems to be working, but that will be tweaked as the season goes on. The Biggleswade game was one that was the most interesting, as only two of the players involved were contracted players, the rest were trialists.

We have gone through a large number of trialists in order to find the best players available who don’t have clubs, and hopefully in August we’ll be able to bring in some more players, especially as four injuries were picked up during pre-season.

We have approached four players but all of which contract negotiations have broken down due to players and agents wanting sums of money you’d expect to find in the league above; we aren’t willing to put the club’s financial position at risk.

Hopefully we can have a positive start to the season, and continue to build on the developments made so far.

Take care,
Lloyd
A very successful pre-season there. Taken a page from Mad Dog's book there with the 'Take care' line. :P
FM-LD's avatar Group FM-LD
1 yearEdited
31st August 2017

August 2017 Overview


Transfer Activity
The first signing of the month was central midfielder Matthew Harriott who signed on a free transfer, having left Wealdstone twelve months ago. Having not played much football over the past year it was a concern, but whilst on trial impressed us a lot and he’s taken that form into August winning three man of the match awards already!

CA:
PA:

Our next signing was Curtis Langton, the central defender also signed on a free transfer after he was released in the summer by Crystal Palace. At only twenty-one, he has a lot of potential to develop and grew as a player, and will be guaranteed regular starts to aid his development as a footballer; like Harriott, he was signed on the basis of a very impressive trial period with the club during July.

CA:
PA:

The third player to join us this month was striker Noel Mbo. The striker was a product of the youth system at League One club Gillingham, and to get first team football has joined us on a loan deal until the end of the season. He joins us to provide us with some depth in the striker position due to lack of forwards in the team.

CA:
PA:

Talking of adding depth to our side, that is exactly what we did with our next addition to the squad. With a lack of central midfielders, especially in terms of the defensive midfield area, we brought in defensive midfielder Dominic Palmiero. The ex-MK Dons midfielder was most recently on loan at fellow Hertfordshire club Hitchin Town, but now joins up with the Saints on a one year deal.

CA:
PA:

Following injures to strikers Charlie Walker, Harvey Bradbury and Sam Merson throughout July and August, we need to add another striker to the squad, and we did that in form of Hussein Mohammed. Like Langton, was a part of the Crystal Palace academy until he was released in the summer. He joins on a one year deal, he will be one of the highest paid players in the squad.

CA:
PA:

The final signing we made is a very experienced player, with most of our signings being under the age of 24, we felt we needed to add more experience. When he became available and we knew this player was interested, we went in for him straight away – that being midfielder Ryan Burge. The ex-Eastleigh and Port Vale joins us on a one year contract to add experience and quality to our midfield.

CA:
PA:

League Matches
Preparations for the season have taken place, with the Saints having played in five pre-season friendlies, the squad have also had opportunities to gain match fitness for the U23s side.

Oxford City 0-0 St Albans City

Saints XI (4-4-2): Snedker; Eleftheriou, Joseph, Bender, Herd; Murrell-Williamson, Sambou, Monlouis, Lucien; Bradbury, Merson

Subs: Granger (GK), Kiengebeni, Thomas, Noble

Tom Bender

St Albans City 2-0 Wealdstone
Matthew Harriott
OG

Saints XI (4-4-2): Snedker; Eleftheriou, Kiangebeni, Langton, Bender; Murrell-Williamson, Monlouis, Sambou, Lucien; Bradbury, Merson

Subs: Granger (GK), Joseph, Harriott, Wynter, Herd

Matthew Harriott

St Albans City 2-0 Weston-super-mere
Rhys Murrell-Williamson
Rhys Murrell-Williamson

Saints XI (4-3-3): Snedker; Eleftheriou, Kiangebani, Langton, Bender; Thomas, Harriott, Sambou; Wynter, Bradbury, Murrell-Williamson

Subs: Granger (GK), Joseph, Monlouis, Mbo, Herd

Rhys Murrell-Williamson

Chelmsford City 3-1 St Albans City
Noel Mbo

Saints XI (4-3-3):
Snedker; Eleftheriou, Kiangebeni, Langton, Bender; Sambou, Harriott, Monlouis; Wynter, Mbo, Murrell-Williamson

Subs: Noble, Joseph, Thomas, Bradbury, Herd

Kieran Monlouis

Poole Town 3-4 St Albans City
Noel Mbo
Rhys Murell-Williamson
Matthew Harriott
Noel Mbo

Saints XI (4-3-3): Snedker; Eleftheriou, Sambou, Langton, Bender; Thomas, Harriott, Monlouis; Wynter, Mbo, Murrell-Williamson

Subs: Noble, Kiangebeni, Banton, Mohammed, Merson

Matthew Harriott

St Albans City 1-0 Concord Rangers
Rhys Murrell-Williamson

Saints XI (4-3-3): Snedker; Eleftheriou, Langton, Bender, Herd; Thomas, Harriott, Sambou; Murrell-Williamson, Mbo, Lucien

Subs: Banton, Kiangebeni, Burge, Wynter, Gardiner

Rhys Murrell-Williamson

Braintree Town 4-3 St Albans City
Noel Mbo
Soloman Sambou
Zane Banton

Saints XI (4-3-3): Snedker; Herd, Sambou, Langton, Bender; Thomas, Harriott, Burge; Murrell-Williamson, Mbo, Lucien

Subs: Noble, Kiangebeni, Wynter, Banton, Gardiner

Matthew Harriott

League Table
Dartford
--------------------------------
Welling
Bath
Whitehawk
Weston-super-mare
Braintree
Poole

--------------------------------
ST ALBANS
Chelmsford
Wealdstone
Hungerford
East Thurrock
Havant & W
Truro
Hampton & Richmond
Gloucester
Eastbourne Boro
Hemel Hempstead
Oxford City
--------------------------------
Concord
Chippenham
Bognor Regis


Manager’s Thoughts
It has been a positive start to the season for us, we started off with the 0-0 draw at Oxford City, felt very much like a pre-season match, both sides failed to create any real goalscoring opportunities over the course of ninety minutes so a draw was a fair result.

We then had two home games against Wealdstone and Weston-super-mare, which we were able to record back to back 2-0 victories which meant we remained unbeaten and yet to concede a goal after three matches. A 3-1 defeat away to Chelmsford meant we hit the buffers slightly, a disappointing results when you consider we were the better side and created more chances – but we needed to put them to bed, which we failed to do.

After that defeat, we bounced back in a goal-fest away to Poole, but eventually came out on top 4-3 winners, again a dominant performance where the opposition scored with all three of their shots on target – disappointing from a defensive point of view. This was followed up by a 1-0 victory at home to Concord Rangers, who despite keeping us out for majority of the game, were not helped when they had a player sent off with twenty minutes to play.

The month then finished off with another goal filled game, but we came out on the wrong end of a 4-3 result away to Braintree Town. All things considered, we are now in a good position early doors, and with six new players on board, we should be prepared to mount a serious playoff push.

Take care,
Lloyd
30th September 2017

September 2017 Overview



Vanarama National League South

St Albans City 5-4 Eastbourne Borough

Ben Herd (p)
OG
Shaun Lucien
Soloman Sambou
David Noble


St Albans City 5-0 Havant & Waterlooville
Noel Mbo (x3)
Ben Herd (p)
Soloman Sambou

Whitehawk 1-1 St Albans City
Noel Mbo

East Thurrock 0-5 St Albans City
Noel Mbo (x2)
Harvey Bradbury (x2)
Kieran Monlouis


FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round

St Albans City 2-3 Corinthian Casuals
Rhys Murrell-Williamson (x2)


League Table
Bath
--------------------------------
Dartford
Welling
Weston-super-mare
ST ALBANS CITY
Braintree
Whitehawk

--------------------------------
East Thurrock
Chelmsford
Hungerford
Gloucester
Eastbourne Borough
Hampton & Richmond
Poole
Hemel Hempstead
Wealdstone
Bognor Regis
Havant & Waterlooville
Truro
--------------------------------
Oxford City
Chippenham
Concord

Manager’s Thoughts
Just, wow! As hard as the results may be to believe, that is genuinely what happened, on a personal note I found the tactic/system that suits the players we now have at our disposal following the signings we made at the back end of August.

With good strikers and attacking midfielders, we have put into place our new 4-2-2-2 system, which makes use of Shaun Lucien and Rhys Murrell-Williamson as wingers, with a front two of loaned strikers Harvey Bradbury and Noel Mbo; the latter of which has been on fire this month.

Having scored a total of six goals this month, he rightfully earnt the league’s player of the month, every time he gets the ball on the box he just looks like he’s going to score; him and Bradbury have certainly been making use of the great service to the two wide players offer them.

And it was with his assistance that we were able to win all but one of our league matches, which was the 1-1 draw away to Whitehawk. However, the disappointment was the FA Cup match, despite playing a lower league side, we still fielded a full strength side but the truth is they didn’t turn up, we created a lot of chances but we lacked a cutting edge – unlike our opponents who scored all of their shots on target, yet we only scored two of our nine shots on target!

Despite that, it has been a fantastic month for the club, we have moved into the playoff positions, and are only five point behind Bath who are leading the way having won nine of their opening twelve matches. We have to ensure that we build on this month and keep the good form up.
Well, you certainly know how to score goals! Good going in the league but a massive disappointment to crash out in the FA Cup at such an early stage; the finances can really help you at that level.

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