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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
My God, I had no idea you had a story this year. This is gonna be a hell of a ride!
Justice's avatar Group Justice
5 yearsEdited

Season 2018-2019: Pre-Season

An Overview Of Oxford City In Pre-Season 2018

Ryan Ferguson:
"My tenure as manager of Oxford City Football Club had begun. We had it all to do on the pitch and off it. No money and no prospects. The future looked bleak. But we were determined to make the most of it and fight until the bitter end. We will not fail."


Oxford City Signed Five New Players During The Pre-Season

Major Transfers In
(Name | Age | Position | Fee | Signed From | CA/PA)
Nosa Iyamu | 19 (28/10/1998) | AMR | £0 | Free Transfer | /
Wage: £0 p/w | Expiry Date: N/A | Value: £0

Elliot Moss | 16 (16/12/2001) | DM | £0 | Free Transfer | /
Wage: £5 p/w | Expiry Date: 30/06/2020 | Value: £2,400

Michael Freiter | 22 (05/01/1996) | DM | £0 | Free Transfer | /
Wage: £0 p/w | Expiry Date: N/A | Value: £0

Regan Upton | 21 (17/09/1996) | DC | £0 | Free Transfer | /
Wage: £0 p/w | Expiry Date: N/A | Value: £0

Kris Owens | 19 (07/12/1998) | DL | £0 | Free Transfer | /
Wage: £0 p/w | Expiry Date: N/A | Value: £0

We signed five players in key positions we identified through our squad overview. We knew which positions required more depth and set out in to the pre-season with the objective of filling those positions.

With only one natural central defender at the club previously, Regan Upton was a vital signing for the club. He is a young central defender previously Burton Albion, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tamworth. His only two senior appearances to date came for the latter last season. He's quite tall, fairly strong and has a lot of potential to become an EFL standard defender in the future.

We signed two young defensive midfielders in the form of Michael Freiter and Elliot Moss. The former was a Gillingham youth but played the vast majority of his senior games for Cray and East Thurrock United. He's a competent tackled who, unfortunately, has very low determination. However, beggars can't be choosy. Elliot Moss, on the other hand, is a very very very promising player. We become his first ever club and while he has some poor attributes for a midfielder, he is extremely determined.

Left back was not a priority position but Kris Owens comes in to give some much-needed competition. The former Liverpool youth is a very good signing for us. He has low determination and is on the short side but he has some pretty decent all-round skills which will be a great addition to our squad.

With only one natural winger in our squad, we needed additions. Nosa Iyamu is a fantastic one. The Nigerian-Englishman was a product of Birmingham City's lucrative academy and adds some much-needed pace to our side. He needs to improve physically but his chance creation ability will be a major asset to us.

Overall, our signings were pretty good. They were all very young, with many more years of improvement ahead of them. Iyamu and Moss, in particular, excite me and they will surely be important players for Oxford City in the future.


Oxford City Played Against High Quality Opposition During Pre-Season

Yeah so.... we got spanked a few times. I set up the big games to gain some much-needed income for the club. We are struggling financially so we need every bit of income we can get.

In terms of our performance, I wasn't expecting much against the big teams. My players pleasantly surprised me in the final two fixtures, against Poole and Oxford City Nomads. They seemed to be in a free-scoring mood and I was optimistic that they'd carry it on into the new season.

Upcoming Fixtures

Oxford City Will Play Fifteen League Games Before The End Of October

So this is the opening set of fixtures for our season. My next update will be following October, and I will report on everything that happens in between now and then.

In terms of the fixtures we play, we have a decent start to the season. Torquay are the big team to play and we also have an FA Cup qualifier in September. Hopefully we do well.

Comment Section

mgriffin2012, we can only hope :P
ScottT, yeah they have a ridiculous amount of money :/
Jack, I'm glad to have you onboard!

Previous Update: #4 -Oxford City Facing Financial Uncertainty
Next Update: #6 - Season 2018-2019: August - October
Not the best of pre-seasons, but you were playing a lot of better quality sides. Hopefully the income made from those games act as a benefit, fingers crossed you can get a cup run to help during the season too.

I am familiar with Iyamu and Owens and I'm confident that they'll both put in a good shift for you, in particular Iyamu. Best of luck ahead of the season, although I doubt you'll need it.
Justice's avatar Group Justice
5 yearsEdited

Season 2018-2019: August - October

An Overview Of Oxford City In August - October 2018

Ryan Ferguson:
"After a testing pre-season we were ready to push on and make the most of our chances in the National League South. We had a very busy schedule to begin the campaign and we were determined to get as many points on the board as possible. Despite the club's damning financial situation, we had a quiet confidence that we could upset the trend, somewhat, and we were looking to make our mark."


Five More Players Joined The Club During The Early Parts Of The Season

Major Transfers In
(Name | Age | Position | Fee | Signed From | CA/PA)
Adebambo Akinjogbin | 18 (01/12/1999) | AMR | £0 | Free Transfer | /
Wage: £0 p/w | Expiry Date: N/A | Value: £0

Matt Funnell | 19 (22/10/1999) | GK | £0 | Free Transfer | /
Wage: £0 p/w | Expiry Date: N/A | Value: £0

Brad McGowan | 22 (30/04/1996) | DC | £0 | Free Transfer | /
Wage: £0 p/w | Expiry Date: N/A | Value: £0

Callum Nicholas | 21 (15/09/1997) | MC | £0 | Free Transfer | /
Wage: £0 p/w | Expiry Date: N/A | Value: £0

Adrian Markus | 26 (10/04/1992) | ST | £0 | Free Transfer | /
Wage: £0 p/w | Expiry Date: N/A | Value: £0

Discussion Five more players were signed to add some much-needed depth to key areas of the squad. Despite adding in the summer, we knew that more players were needed if we were to have a squad capable of lasting a whole season.

First in was former Chelsea youngster Adembambo Akinjogbin. The young English winger had pace to burn and a bit of a creative spark. Aside from his pace, his physical ability was non-existent, but he was young and I was confident he could become a very important player for us in the future.

A new backup goalkeeper in the form of Matt Funnell had arrived. Craig King had performed reasonably well in between the sticks but Funnell was a few years younger and could go on to become a decent EFL-standard goalkeeper in the future.

In Brad McGowan we had signed an improvement in central defence. The former Alfreton & Boston United defender was still very young but had ability to make him a force to be reckoned with in non-league football. He was also rather quick for a defender at this level, which was always a massive plus.

Former Manchester United and Liverpool youth Callum Nicholas joined to add competition to midfield. The creative Englishman had most recently played for FC United of Manchester and would give us more options to pick from.

Adrian Markus was signed to add depth to our strikeforce. The Romanian poacher had played for a number of non-league teams in the past and would provide competition to the attackers we already had at our disposal.


Oxford City Enjoyed A Strong Start To The Season

The season began with a comfortable win over Eastbourne to set the tone. We followed that up with good results against Gloucester, Woking, Torquay and St Albans before suffering our first defeat at the hands of Weston-super-Mare. We recovered to finish August with a strong win over Wealdstone.

September was a particularly impressive month as we scored four goals in three different games. Three wins and a draw in the league showed our strength, and we began our FA Cup campaign with a victory over Thatcham in the second qualifying round.

October was another busy month, with the FA Cup qualifiers taking most of our focus. Kabongo Tshimanga was the hero on both, scoring the only goal against Staines in the third round before scoring twice against Maidstone in the fourth round. Progression to the first round proper had been secured. We suffered defeat in the league in between the two qualifiers, but bounced back to win three on the trot to end the month on a high. One particular result included an absolute stunning 5-4 victory over Chelmsford.

Kabongo Tshimanga Was Oxford City's Star Player During August - October 2018

The English striker has been in incredible form to start the season. Eighteen goals and three assists in just eighteen games has seen him become the side's talisman this season and I am confident he can kick on to score more than thirty goals this season.

National League South

Oxford City Sit On Top Of The League After 15 Games

Certainly better than we had expected! A record of 11-2-2 was enough to place us on top of the table for now but Torquay United, Billericay and Dulwich were right behind us. The priority for us was to avoid relegation but with a 23 point gap between us and the relegation zone, our eyes were on bigger prizes.


Oxford City's FA Cup Qualifying Run Has Given The Finances A Major Boost

Our fixtures in the FA Cup may have just solved our financial issues. We are into the 1st Round now which will further increase our finances, win or lose, and we are in a very strong position now.

Upcoming Fixtures

An FA Cup Fixture Against Walsall Awaits Oxford City In November

Games against Hampton & Richmond and East Thurrock will open the month of November for us before the big game. We will travel to EFL League One side Walsall to compete in the first round of the FA Cup and they are major favourites. Win, lose or draw I will be delighted with how my team performed in the competition to date. We achieved far more than we had expected so far and we can enjoy this game thoroughly.

Comment Section

ScottT, yes they've been brilliant so far!

Previous Update: #5 - Season 2018-2019: Pre-Season
Next Update: #7 - Season 2018-2019: November
ScottT's avatar Group ScottT
5 yearsEdited
Fantastic start to the season, but I can't say I'm surprised. :P

That FA Cup run is a real boost to the finances and a tie against a good league side in Walsall is a great reward for beating a National League side in Maidstone.

Tshimanga is on fire, just like he was in real life for Oxford yesterday! They managed to get a replay vs Tranmere in the first round, so good luck in replicating an even better result. ;)
I don't get overly bogged down in current abilities of lower league players as I mainly look at particular attributes at that level of football, and by the looks of it you've got yourself some talent there!

Nice to see you top of the table as it gets into the tough parts of the season (winter). If you can keep a cup run going to keep the finances stable, that's even better - however Walsall are a tough side for a team of Oxford City's standard. Good luck buddy :D
A great start to the season and fantastic achievement in reaching the First Round of the FA Cup, hopefully the trip to Walsall will be fruitful both on and off the pitch!
Justice's avatar Group Justice
5 yearsEdited

Season 2018-2019: November

An Overview Of Oxford City In November 2018

Ryan Ferguson:
"A strong start to the season had propelled us to the top of the National League South standings. Our goal scoring prowess had made us a team feared by the others in our division and we had marched in to the First Round of the FA Cup following a string of impressive qualifying round results. It was important for us to keep up the momentum and to not drop off."


Yiannis Constantinou Joined Oxford City During November

Major Transfers In
(Name | Age | Position | Fee | Signed From | CA/PA)
Yiannis Constantinou | 18 (14/12/1999) | ST | £0 | Free Transfer | /
Wage: £0 p/w | Expiry Date: N/A | Value: £0

We made just one signing in November. Yiannis Constantinou joins as a bright prospect. The former West Ham youth was renowned as a pacey striker with incredible goal scoring skills. His understanding of the game wasn't that great but I was hoping that would improve with experience on and off the pitch.


Victory Over Walsall In The FA Cup Highlighted An Impressive Month Of Results

Two comfortable wins in the league started off the month very nicely before our big trip to Walsall. We performed admirably to deserve an incredible draw, and earned a replay to be played back at our place. Walsall didn't know what hit them at our place as we pulled off an incredible extra time victory over a side three tiers above us.

Player of the Month

Josh Ashby Was Oxford City's Star Player During November 2018

Josh Ashby was named as our captain before the season and he put in a captain's performance throughout the month. He scored the memorable winning goal against Walsall in extra time to write his name in Oxford City's history books. What a man.

National League South

Oxford City Remain On Top Of The League After 18 Games

We extended our top of the table marginally with another month of football. Torquay United remain hot on our heels but the rest of the pack are beginning to fall away. We're making good ground in the league and we must keep this momentum going.


Oxford City's FA Cup Fixtures Against Walsall Landed Major Cash

The games against Walsall landed us major money. First, the gate receipts proved to be a huge bonus and then the prize money for winning also boosted us an incredible amount. The second round will certainly boost us too.

Upcoming Fixtures

Oxford City Will Play Against Swindon In The FA Cup

Our reward for beating Walsall was a tie against Swindon Town. At home, we felt confident that we could provide another upset and we were certainly hoping to progress onto the third round of the cup.

Comment Section

ScottT, yeah the FA Cup run has been fantastic and our finances are much better for it! :)
Jack, you're right, we need to prepare for a tough few months ahead of us and hopefully we can come out of it with our heads above the water!
mgriffin2012, as you can see, it was! Thank you! :)

Previous Update: #6 - Season 2018-2019: August - October
Next Update: #8 - The Magic of the FA Cup
What a month you've had! Unbeaten, 4 wins from 5 games and a memorable FA Cup win against Walsall. Congrats ;)
Incredible month, typified by the replay victory against Walsall. A huge financial boost is coming your way from that, as well as progressing into the next round - brilliant. :)
Boom take that Walsall! Swindon at home will be no challenge at all... fingers crossed
Justice's avatar Group Justice
5 yearsEdited

The Magic of the FA Cup

Oxford City Have Enjoyed A Tremendous FA Cup Campaign So Far


'The Cup of Dreams' is what the FA Cup is often called and for Oxford City that is exactly what it has been. The Oxfordshire club has defied expectations so far as they made their way into the second round of the competition. Victory over Walsall in an exciting FA Cup first round replay brought the eye of the media onto the club and a sense of optimism has begun to grow at Court Place Farm.

Victories over Thatcham, Staines and Maidstone in the qualifying rounds saw City reach the first round proper and they were rewarded with a trip to Walsall, a team three tiers above the National League South side. It was a challenge which Oxford City were not expected to overcome but they brought Walsall back for a replay at Court Place Farm and a frantic extra time period saw the hosts run out as surprise winners.

For Oxford City, a second round fixture at home against Swindon Town awaits. The Robins endured a disappointing campaign last time out, finishing 9th in EFL League Two. They had started the current campaign reasonably well and look set to compete for a play-off position.

Oxford City Will Host Swindon Town In The FA Cup Second Round

Oxford City will hope that they will have more luck at this stage of the competition than they did last season. City reached the second round last time out but suffered defeat at the hands of Nottingham County. In fact, not a single non-league team reached the third round of the FA Cup last term. Oxford City will be hoping for that record to not pass onto this season.

The manager behind Oxford City's incredible run to date, Ryan Ferguson, has heaped praise on his players for stepping up to the challenge and has complimented the club's fans for their support in the FA Cup games, particularly at Court Place Farm.

The former Liverpool youth coach has warned Swindon Town that his side will be more than prepared for their clash and that Court Place Farm is a difficult place for any travelling team to compete in.

Ryan Ferguson:
"(The players have been) brilliant. I don't think any spectator following our games can say a bad word about the commitment our lads have shown on the pitch or of their attitude off it. They've been thoroughly professional in every facet off their game.

We've a very young bunch of lads here. There's no player over the age of thirty here, which is actually quite surprising for a football club. That doesn't mean these players aren't experienced though. They've played in some very big games already this season and learned lessons that most players would require a few hundred games to learn. They've adapted to the new challenges very well.

We have a lot to thank our fans for. The atmosphere for the replay against Walsall was something else, it was incredible! They've shown us their loyalty over the years and their spirit has certainly made the club what it is. We're proud of our supporters and we want to give them back some memories to cherish.

Swindon Town won't know what will hit them when they arrive here. We took Walsall back here to Court Place Farm and rocked them, and we'll do the same to Swindon. They may want the win but we'll show that we want it more. The FA Cup means everything to us. We want to progress."

Comment Section

Jim, thank you! It will be a hard month to follow up!
ScottT, yes the finances took a huge boost and should leave us all-but-secure for the time being.
mgriffin2012, home advantage will be a key factor, that's for sure!

Previous Update: #7 - Season 2018-2019: November
Next Update: #9 - Swindon Stunned By Stellar Oxford City
Justice's avatar Group Justice
5 yearsEdited

Swindon Stunned By Stellar Oxford City

Oxford City Recorded A Stunning 3-2 Victory Over Swindon Town In The FA Cup


National League South side Oxford City proved to be the surprise package in the FA Cup once more as they booked their place in the third round of the competition with a stunning 3-2 victory over EFL League Two side Swindon Town. City twice took the lead, with The Robbins bouncing back both times, before Nosa Iyamu scored the deciding goal early in the second half. Oxford City will be the only representative of the National League Regional divisions to compete in the third round this year, while Barnet and Wrexham of the National League Premier Division make up the rest of a trio of non-league teams to reach the third round.

It has been an incredible season to date for Oxford City, sitting atop of the National League South by a clear four point margin going into December. City recorded an incredible FA Cup qualifying run, including victory over a much-fancied Maidstone United. Qualification for the first round of the FA Cup rewarded Oxford City with an away tie against Walsall, but the non-league side brought their opposition back to Court Place Farm for a replay where they put them to the sword.

Reaching the second round seemed unlikely for Oxford City at the beginning of the season but the momentum which they had carried through in both league and cup fixtures had seen them drawn against Swindon Town in the second round. The Robbins were the favourites but pundits and media alike had not written off City, backing them at their home ground.

Ryan Ferguson became Oxford City's new manager in the summer and his tactical ideas had been implemented without too many hiccups in the process. It was an interesting game for the former Liverpool youth coach who was up against one of his former players in the form of Rhian Brewster, who had joined Swindon Town on loan from Liverpool for the season. The young striker had recovered well from torn ankle ligaments and had become a crucial part of Swindon Town's team.

It was also the beginning of a new era for Swindon Town with new manager Richard Shaw taking charge of his first game for the club. The former Crystal Palace reserves manager replaced Phil Brown at the club just days ago and this was a good opportunity for Richard Shaw to show his stock as a manager.

Ryan Ferguson's high-pressure style of football was evident in the opening stages of this fixture as City were quick to close down Swindon's players, not giving them an inch of space. They were first to every loose ball and looked to hit Swindon on the counter at every opportunity.

Kabongo Tshimanga had been in relentless form for City before this fixture, scoring eighteen times before this fixture, and he netted his nineteenth goal of the season in as early as the twelfth minute of the game. Zac McEachran had moved into space on the left before whipping in a low cross to the Englishman who saw his first effort parried into the ground by Swindon 'keeper Luke McCormick, but was quick to sweep the rebound into the back of the net. Advantage City.

Over 2,000 City Fans Attended The Game And Rendered Their Own 'Thunder Clap'

Swindon Town were certainly taken aback by Oxford City's frantic start to the game but quickly found calmness in their play. They threatened from a number of set-pieces before Nick Arnold clattered the Oxford City crossbar with a powerful long range free-kick.

It was a sign of things to come and City certainly didn't heed the warning as Swindon Town equalised late in the second half. It was from another free-kick as Nick Arnold picked out the top corner of the goal with a curled effort, leaving Craig King rooted to the spot in the Oxford goal. Game on.

Oxford City ended the first half in similar fashion to how they started it. From a free-kick out wide, Josh Ashby curled the ball right in front of Luke McCormick in the Swindon goal, who was helpless as an unmarked Regan Upton smashed a header past him to restore Oxford's lead going into the break.

Set-pieces were always going to be Swindon Town's strong point and they leveled the game, once more, from a corner five minutes into the second half. It was a brilliant out-swinging corner from Nick Arnold which created the opportunity for Sid Nelson to score and the centre-half obliged with aplomb.

It was somewhat of a ding-dong battle in the early stages of the second half and Oxford City found themselves in the lead once more. A quick counter-attack started by Nosa Iyamu culminated with the winger ending it as he turned home Kabongo Tshimanga's low cross with an acrobatic finish.

Iyamu's goal proved to be the decisive moment in the game as the home side held out for a memorable win, booking their place in the third round of the FA Cup for the second season in a row. It was just-rewards for Ryan Ferguson and his hard-working team who had overcome the odds once more.

Player Ratings:
Oxford City: King (7); Ruddick (6), McGowan (6), Upton (7), Jefford (6); Freiter (6), Jones (7), Ashby (7); Iyamu (7), McEachran (6), Tshimanga (7)
Subs Used: Owens (6), Akinjogbin (6)

Swindon Town: McCormick (6); Woolfenden (6), Nelson (7), Conroy (6), Arnold (8); Diagouraga (6), Alzate (6), Doughty (6); McGlashan (6), Young (6), Brewster (6)
Subs Used: Robertson (6), Borg (6), Dunne (6)

Man of the Match: Nick Arnold (8)

Nosa Iyamu Celebrated His Winner Against Swindon Town

Ryan Ferguson (Oxford City Manager):
"I'm delighted, it is a fantastic result for us. The players have put in an incredible amount of work on the training ground and have come in for extra sessions to prepare for this fixture. They were up for this game and it showed in the early stages through their pressing and their willingness to win the ball back as quick as possible.

The fans played a big part today. I haven't been told an official figure yet but I believe there 2,000 attending today. The atmosphere they generated was phenomenal and I believe I heard a rendition or two of the 'Thunder Clap' as the game went on. They made 2,000 sound like 200,000 and their support helped drive us on for the win. We are very grateful for their support.

Swindon did well, they deserve a lot of credit. We knew they would be a significant threat from set-pieces and we prepared for this but they still scored two very good goals. Hats off to them, they deserve a lot of praise for how they conducted themselves on the pitch today.

It was nice to manage against Rhian (Brewster) for a change but I'd prefer it if he were on my team! He's a very talented young man with a bright future ahead of him. I was at Liverpool when he did the ligaments in his ankle but his attitude in rehab was exemplary. He came in with great determination every day to overcome what may be the biggest challenge of his career. I hope I get the opportunity to work with him again some day or, at the very least, compete against him some more!"

Swindon Town Edge The Stats But Not The Scoreline

Richard Shaw (Swindon Town Manager):
"It was a tough game for us but we expected nothing less. They (Oxford City) are a very good team on a brilliant run of form and our lads were a bit shook going into this game. The City fans came in their numbers and represented their club well and made it a very difficult for us. City deserved the win, they played very well and worked very hard.

It was a game we were probably expected to win, being two divisions above them. We do need to go back to the drawing board and analyse where things went wrong for us here. We had more possession and had more shots on goal but those stats don't matter if you still lose the game. We have a few things to fix before our next game.

Despite the result, I enjoyed it (first senior competitive fixture as manager). The thrill of being in the dugout is enormous and I am proud to represent the BAME managers community here too. I am grateful to Swindon Town for giving me this opportunity and, even though today was a disappointing one, I hope to bring success to the club."

Match Highlights

Watch Highlights As Oxford City Defeated Swindon Town In The FA Cup

What Happens Next?

For Oxford City, they have a very busy schedule ahead of them this month. City will host Nuneaton in the third qualifying round of the FA Trophy before competing against Truro City in the league. With a big clash against Billericay Town on the horizon, Oxford City will look to turn their focus back to league play as soon as possible.

For Swindon Town, Richard Shaw will take charge of his first ever senior league fixture when The Robbins host Newport County next Saturday. It won't be too long before they play similar opposition again as an EFL Trophy fixture against Newport County will be played the following Wednesday. Richard Shaw will be hoping to pick up his first victory as a senior manager against The Exiles.

Previous Update: #8 - The Magic of the FA Cup
Next Update: #10 - Oxford City To Face Birmingham In FA Cup
Incredible! Liverpool in the next round would be the dream draw surely?
Absolutely brilliant result, fingers crossed for a Premier League side in the third round!

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