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Making a Manager - The Story

Ryan Ferguson returns for another English LLM journey
Started on 23 October 2018 by Justice
Latest Reply on 15 May 2019 by Griffo
I swear you'll never see anything like this ever again!
Justice's avatar Group Justice
5 yearsEdited

Kabongo: Derby Day Made Us Stronger

Kabongo Tshimanga Spoke To OCFCTV About The Season So Far


Kabongo, Oxford City recorded what was arguably the club's greatest ever result with a dramatic penalty shootout victory over Oxford United in the FA Cup Second Round replays. What is the mood in the camp at the moment?

KT: "Good, yeah it is very good at the moment. United were very tough opposition for us and they showed a lot of fight and a strong character on the pitch. We had to work very hard but eventually, after some very very nervy minutes, we got a win which we feel we deserved."

What made that game, and the 5-5 draw before it, special?

KT: "I think the whole situation itself was quite special, to be honest. We never really had a competitive game against a local rival at this level of football before. Heading into the two games against United, there was a feeling that we had finally made it as footballers. It was almost as if we had transcended from playing the football we had been to being on the centre stage, performing in front of thousands of avid fans.

Of course, we knew that we had to make our presence on the pitch count and I think we did. We proved that we can play against professional football teams, despite us not having the opportunity or the luxury to train every single day, and I think we know we've made our intentions of reaching the very top clear for all to see."

You are the club's primary penalty taker and you've secured a 100% record from the spot this season. What goes through your head when you're about to take the kick?

KT: "Hoping I don't miss! I work hard in training to make sure that I take these chances when they come up and so far this season I've been pretty good at them. I just try to steady myself and remember that it isn't any different to take a penalty in a match than it is in training. Of course there are the other distractions and the additional pressure but as a footballer you just have to get on with it. You can't afford to back down and I'm not scared of taking on the challenge of scoring from the spot."

The goals have been a little less free-flowing this season. Has this a consequence of the manager looking to solidify the defence?

KT: "No, I don't think it is as simple as that. We haven't changed how we play football. We still play with the same tactical ideas on the pitch and with the same methods as we did last season. I think the difference is we just haven't hit the same attacking form as we did last year. We've been good but we know we can do better. We're proud of our improved defence this season but we all need to pull together to improve our attacking play."

How many goals are you targeting this season? Do you think you can break your tally of 46 from last season?

KT: "So far it doesn't look like a will! It is always nice to score goals and I hope to add plenty more this season but they aren't a priority. We all want to be a part of the Football League next season and we need to pull together to do that as a team. With that in mind, it doesn't matter who scores the goals."

Comment Section

ScottT, a night to remember <3
mgriffin2012, one of Martin Tyler's finest moments!

Previous Update: #56 - Shootout Decides Derby Day Delight
Next Update: #58 - Season 2019/2020: December
An honest and open interview from the main man himself. It was always going to be difficult to find the form of last season again, in terms of the number of goals when you take into the account the step up in division too. Kabongo is a legend at Oxford City though, that cannot be doubted!
This is a really nice example of interview writing. New writers, or lurkers, take note. Taking what the game gives you and finding new ways to turn it into narrative is the mark of a really good writer.

Tip of the cap!
Justice's avatar Group Justice
5 yearsEdited

Season 2019-2020: December

An Overview Of Oxford City In December 2019

Ryan Ferguson:
"We were doing magnificently well, heading into the festive period of the season. It was no time to stop our push for honours and we were content with working hard to achieve our goals."


Oxford City Continued An Incredible Unbeaten Start To The Campaign

Unbeaten again! Victories over Southport and Maidstone United started the month off very well for us before a thrilling penalty shootout victory over Oxford United in the FA Cup Second Round replay. We followed that up with a professional victory over Halifax Town in the league and a narrow victory over East Thurrock United in the FA Trophy. The players began to become very tired as the month came to an end, drawing our final two games. Overall, not bad. Could have been better, though.

Player of the Month

Kabongo Tshimanga Was Oxford City's Star Player During December 2019

Kabongo Tshimanga was back to his goal scoring supreme as he scored six goals in the festive month of December. The striker was crucial in our cup games, and quite creative in our league games. Beast.

Kabongo Tshimanga's Season Stats
Appearances: 28
Goals: 16
Assists: 2
PotM Awards: 3
Disciplinary Record
Fouls Committed: 28 (1.00 per game)
Fouls Against: 38 (1.36 per game)
Yellow Cards: 2
Red Cards: 0
Attacking Play
Shots On Target Ratio: 52.17% (36/69)
Dribbles Completed: 9 (0.32 per game)
Key Passes: 18 (0.64 per game)
Crosses Completed: 5 (0.18 per game)
General Play
Pass Completion Ratio: 75.00% (351/468)
Headers Won: 80 (2.86 per game)
Minutes Played: 2,014
Average Rating: 7.05
Defensive Play
Key Tackles: 0 (0 per game)
Tackles Won Ratio: 100.00% (13/13)
Interceptions: 4 (0.14 per game)
Distance Covered: 224.0km (8.00km per game)
Assistant Manager's Report
Value: £13,750
Wage: £350 p/w
Current Ability:
Potential Ability:

National League

Oxford City Are Top Of The Table After 25 Games

Our unbeaten run had kept us on top of the table, with other teams still in touch. Six points separated us and second placed Aldershot Town, who were determined to make sure we didn't get any further away from them.


Oxford City's Finances Were In Good Condition

Our balance got a significant boost from the FA Cup replay. Prize money and a record attendance helped bring in a rake of cash for the club. Lovely.

Upcoming Fixtures

Oxford City Will Play Against Wigan Athletic In The FA Cup

What a month of football ahead of us! A trip to Gateshead what start the year, before setting off to play against Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup Third Round. We weren't expected to win but we were set to give them and their manager Tony Pulis absolute hell. Other highlights would include a top of the table clash against Aldershot Town and an FA Trophy fixture against Maidstone United.

Comment Section

ScottT, will forever be a legend!
tenthreeleader, thank you for the kind words! I just try to make the most of everything that happens in the game and I'm glad that it translates well.

Previous Update: #57 - Kabongo: Derby Day Made Us Stronger
Next Update: #59 - Ballon d'Or 2019
Incredible victory against Oxford United! Even better so in the league as you sit top of the pile. Although unlikely, it would be fantastic competition-wise and financially talking to defeat Wigan in that 3rd Round FA Cup fixture, will certainly come in handy as you march towards the Football League ;)
Not the big Premier League side you would no doubt have wanted and the fans would have wanted but in Wigan you have a side that give the chance to move into the next round and then get the big team!
Looking forward to seeing how you continue this fantastic run of form and if you can topple another top side in Wigan, potentially. I wouldn't put it past you! ;)
Justice's avatar Group Justice
5 yearsEdited

Ballon d'Or 2019

Messi Returned To The Pinnacle Of World Football With The 2019 Ballon d'Or


What a year of football was 2019! FC Bayern Munich recorded an impressive UEFA Champions League victory, with Atlético Madrid once again playing the role of bridesmaid. Raphaël Varane became the most expensive defender of all time in a £180M move to Manchester City. Unai Emery brought immediate success to Arsenal as they lifted the Premier League trophy. Juventus recorded an eighth successive Serie A title.

Players shone on the big stages. Eden Hazard was Chelsea's star in FA Cup and UEFA Europa League final victories, while Nigeria's Kelechi Iheanacho scored a late brace to secure the African Nations final. Zhang Yuning became a Chinese hero as his brace against South Korea proved crucial in the final of the Asian Cup.

Despite that, the Ballon d'Or returned to a familiar face. FC Barcelona captain and legend Lionel Messi claimed the award for a sixth time, and his first time since 2015's edition. 2019 was a quiet year for the Catalan giants but the phenomena of Lionel Messi continued to show his greatness. The thirty-two year old attacker scored 21 goals and assisted 14 more in just 41 appearances as he bamboozled opposition defences with his sheer technical and tactical brilliance. He was a deserved winner.

Lionel Messi Dazzled Once Again As He Regained The Ballon d'Or Crown

Tottenham Hotspur and England captain & striker Harry Kane settled for runner-up spot. Spurs finished in a disappointing sixth place in the league last season and failed to lift any trophies (again) but Harry Kane proved to be the heartbeat of the team. The all-action forward scored 24 goals and assisted 13 more in just 43 appearances. With Pep Guardiola as his new manager, Kane has found himself often playing as an inside forward to make way for Edin Dzeko, but has delivered goals wherever he has been asked to play on the pitch.

Third place went to last year's winner, Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese superstar was in emphatic form for Juve, who lifted an eighth successive Serie A title. 31 goals in 7 assists epitomised everything about Ronaldo's game. A real predator. Ronaldo found himself playing either up front or to the left, but found the net with regularity wherever he was positioned. Despite coming into the twilight years of his career, the Turin-based attacking superstar does not look like slowing down any time soon.

Lionel Messi also picked up the FIFA Best Men's Player award, with Cristiano finishing behind him in the standings and Harry Kane completing the top three. The prize was awarded based on the votes of international team managers, captains and journalists.

Manuel Neuer picked up the third ever edition of the FIFA Best Men's Goalkeeper award, keeping an impressive 27 clean sheets in 2019. The Bayern Munich shot stopper held off Marc-André ter Stegen and Thibaut Courtois to win the award.

The FIFA Best U21 Men's Player award went to another French player this year as Marseille striker Odsonne Edouard picked up the award. Edouard starred for Celtic before moving to Marseille on deadline day in the summer. Pietro Pellegri, on loan at Fiorentina, picked up the European Golden Boy award.

The FIFA FIFPro Team of the Year featured many Spain-based players. Neuer (FC Bayern Munich) was in nets, with a back four of Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Gerard Piqué (FC Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid) & Lucas Hernández (Chelsea) in front of him. Nabil Fékir (Arsenal) and Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) completed a two-man midfield. Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus) and Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) completed an attacking midfield trio with Luis Suárez (FC Barcelona) up front. Real Madrid new boy Mohamed Salah was present on the bench.

Comment Section

Jack, we're doing well at the minute but we have to keep improving if we are to achieve our long term ambitions.
mgriffin2012, not massive opposition but they have won the FA Cup in the fairly recent past. Hopefully we'll make a lot of money out of the game.
ScottT, we're as stubborn as an Ox when it comes to playing against much-fancied teams :P

Previous Update: #58 - Season 2019/2020: December
Next Update: #60 - Fergie: Players Are Tired
The beginning of the end for Ronaldo's career at the top in terms of personal awards I feel
You did a Ballon d'Or update... But no mention of Kabongo? Come on mate.
A few Premier League players in that list, quite surprising as I swear there never usually is irl.
Justice's avatar Group Justice
5 yearsEdited

Fergie: Players Are Tired

Oxford City Manager Ryan Ferguson Has Admitted His Players Are Tired


It has been a sensational season to date for National League leaders Oxford City. Having only just earned promotion from the National League South following last season's league title, the Oxfordshire-based club have risen above all expectations to top the table once more. Their league-best defensive record has been an acclaimed part of their phenomenal style of play which has taken over non-League football in recent seasons.

They have followed up on last season's impressive FA Cup run with another one of even more tales of greatness. An impressive victory over Wycombe Wanderers in the First Round was followed up by an incredible 5-5 draw with city rivals Oxford United in the Second Round, with Oxford City marching on after a penalty shootout win in the replay.

The all-action style of play which has become synonymous with Oxford City has drawn many admirers, but it has also taken its toll on the squad's fitness, according to manager Ryan Ferguson. There haven't been too many injuries, with club captain Josh Ashby the only long-term casualty, but tiredness has struck the whole team.

Ferguson has praised his players' work rate in games, with Oxford City topping the league charts for distance covered and sprints made, with his team proving irresistible in their off-the-ball pressing and movement. However, this style of play has seen the squad suffer in recent games, with the team looking quite sluggish in draws Hartlepool and Sutton United to round off 2019.

Ferguson rued his club's semi-professional status, with his players unable to train every day to prepare for games. The Liverpool-born manager was of the opinion that professional status would help prepare his players physically for the challenges each game would present, but refused to be drawn into changing his methods which have produced so much good so far.

Ryan Ferguson:
"The players are quite tired at the minute. We have played a couple of very intense months previously and have had to use the full extents of our squad to cope. That is why we brought so many players in during the summer though. We knew we would need every single throughout the season and everybody is working hard to achieve our goals for the season.

There's only so much we can do as a semi-professional club. Would we be able to train every day, we wouldn't have to make each training session so challenging. However, we are in the position we are in and we just have to make the most of it. We won't adapt our style of play, we just need to keep working hard. The fruits of our labours are becoming evident as the season progresses.

Josh (Ashby) will be out for a couple of months, unfortunately. He picked up a lower back stress fracture in training while lifting weights. It is quite a painful one and there's not much he can do in terms of rehabilitation until the pain goes away. We'll continue to monitor him and help him as best as we can but it is a waiting game at this stage. We can't set a return date for him but we hope he can get back on his feet as soon as possible. He's determined to get back on the pitch but he understands that he can't rush this one. It is a type of injury that can easily lead to further injuries if not take care or properly.

We just need to keep pushing on at this stage. We will look to rest individuals based on their individual needs over the next couple of months. It all depends on how each player feels. I know that everybody reacts differently. We'll continue to look to get the best out of each player we have at our disposal. I'm proud of the work they've done so far, but it isn't time to celebrate just yet."

Comment Section

mgriffin2012, perhaps so, yeah. Plenty of other players stepping up to a level which Ronaldo is currently at, although I cannot see too many reaching the heights that he and Messi set for the best part of a decade.
Jack, Kabongo is so good that it'd be unfair to nominate him for Ballon d'Or.
ScottT, a sign of the times, I guess. English football is on the way up!

Previous Update: #59 - Ballon d'Or 2019
Next Update: #61 - Oxford City Cause FA Cup Upset Vs Wigan
The semi-pro status of the club is definitely a hindrance, especially when you play with such a style like Oxford do under Ryan. Hopefully the club will be able to make the transition into a professional club soon, although if promotion is won then the club will have no choice as I believe it's mandatory. :P
Hopefully even if you do struggle to get promotion come the end of the season, the professional status you're craving will be given to you as a reward for the success you have brought to the club!

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