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The Luke Henderson Story

Finding a way in Scottish football
Started on 22 December 2019 by Luke Henderson
Latest Reply on 23 June 2020 by TheLFCFan
Incredible work, the title looks like it could well be on! Just be consistent from here.
You are KILLING! this season, great work
Insane turnaround that, hope you can keep up the form and secure the title! Would be an amazing achievement!

#131 - I think we need some new goals now!

23/05/2044 -- No, I don’t build-up the outcome of the season, I can’t temper myself any longer after such a great happiness! We just have won the Scottish Premiership… It’s absolutely ridiculous for sure, but I’ll take it! After only five seasons when I re-joined Spartans again and after only three of them in the highest tier we have turned the impossible into reality! For the very first time in our 94-year history we can celebrate our biggest achievement ever. I’m so proud! Even more because of the terrible outcome last season when we missed European football. This revenge does taste as sweet as never before.

How come? Well, after we beat Queen of the South in our own stadium in the 37th playing round with 4-0, Celtic was the only club left who could possible overtake us because they had three more games to play. But only one day later they lost against Dunfermline and so we could celebrate our first league title! A bit strange because we didn’t play ourselves, but it doesn’t matter. Soon afterwards everybody came together at Ashmore Park (the fans as well) and the following night was never coming to an end! After so many struggles this final outcome is truly satisfying. And because of all this excitement I almost forgot we are qualified for the Champions League Group Stage as well! This tiny club from Edinburgh probably performs at Santiago Bernabeu or something similar next season. Could you believe! And I didn’t even talked about all the money that is flowing around all over the place from now on. The last game of the season was against Motherwell, but of course nobody was interested anymore. I used a couple of youngsters and also my reserve goalkeeper who didn’t play a single minute in the league this season showed up, and so providing him a medal as well. At the end we lost with only 1-0, not a shame at all.

But there was one more game needed to be played. The Scotch Cup Final against Rangers. We can even win the double this season! But that wasn’t going to happen. After only three minutes Ian Beckley decided to make a terrible tackle somewhere at the midfield with a lot of players in his back as well. Straight red and the match was immediately over. For me, the fans and all the people who are watching television. I fined him for two weeks, but the miserable couldn’t be turned back anymore. From that moment on Rangers played a match won, they only need to score some goals at a certain point. Twenty minutes later they did via their star player who has a weekly wage which is almost equal with the wages of my entire squad. A couple of minutes later he doubled the score, and after the pause he fulfilled his hattrick. Not the result I was hoping for obvious, but winning the league was more then satisfying already! Maybe we can take our revenge next season immediately, when we are facing Rangers again for the Archie Gemmill trophy, which will be our first appearance in the season-opener ever!

All summarized it was an amazing season for sure. The second half of the season was absolutely brilliant most of the time and I think we could say the guys we are loaning in are really making a difference! But what is next? I never expected this great success this soon to be honest. Now I have another six years in front of me to achieve something else. For a second I was thinking about ending this career now, but that might be to early. No, I have set myself a new goal. Until now I didn’t win something in Europe and that will be my main priority now. With Spartans of course! No matter which one of the three, I just want to win something. I was close with Spurs by the time for winning the Champions League, but with Spartans the challenge will even be bigger. Six more years from now on to reach it, so I guess we need to invest big money now. But first I will judge the current squad before we carry on.

Players judgment
As usual to start with our goalkeepers. Cannella is still a reliable goalkeeper. He is barely making huge mistakes and sometimes he is even winning points for us. He concede way less goals this season, although that has something to do with our upgraded defenders as well. Anyway, I’m still pleased with Cannella and if we can’t find a player who is significantly better then this Italian dude he will be our starting goalkeeper next season as well for sure. Campbell was my 17-year old back-up goalkeeper who went straight into the first team from our last year youth intake. Luckily we didn’t had to make use of him, because he is pretty bad, although I gave him some playtime when we realized a solid lead at halftime. But for next season I want a proper reserve goalkeeper again, especially because we have to play many more games with that Champions League thing.

In our defensive line not much changed in comparison with the season before, except one guy. Remember we panicked a little bit last summer when we signed a French guy on closing day? Well, this French guy is actually pretty damn good! Maybe Thomas Chauvin was even they key to our league success because we limited the amount of against goals almost at half. His value is already three times as much we paid for. Together with Beckley (he is still doing well! Besid that red card in the Cup Final though...) and Jamieson (which loaning period is extended with another season) those three centre backs are definitely staying. If no ridiculous bid we can’t refuse is coming in at some point of course.

The main problem in our defensive line are the full-backs. They are very doubtful already for Premiership level, so definitely not good enough for the Champions League! Once again I will try to replace all of them. Which means Meekings, Kelly-Evans and Gray can go if a solid bid is coming in, or otherwise they will function as a reserve player next season because none of their contracts is expiring yet. I also loaned in Parr this season and at some point I used him as a left-back instead of Gray. Although Parr is right-footed he did his job with dignity; at some point he even became a starting player, although he wasn’t familiar with this position at all. But Parr is not helping us any further, so he will return to his own club, being Bournemouth.

I’m pretty pleased with our midfielders. David Griffiths-Trevor is still amazing and we handled to extend his loan term with another year, which I’m very glad with! I even had to search from which club (Liverpool) we are hiring him because he is joining us for a while now. Next to Griffiths-Trevor Terry Craddock is the main starting player as a central midfielder who is performing really well. He can score a goal, taking care for a good amount of assists and capable for giving the ‘killing ball’ quite often. He will stay for sure. Monaghan and Kerr are the reserve players for this two positions. They are okay, but I think we need to search for better players next season. Also for them counts: if a solid bid is coming in they can leave.

Our wingers are doing okay as well. Thomas and Forrest are more or les the same at the right hand side of the pitch. We picked up our former youth player Forrest on a free and he played more games then I expected. He did quite well most of the time and his value has growth ridiculously high. He is worth now £5,500,000! But I think we can better. Again, if a solid bid is coming in one of them can leave. At the left hand side of the pitch Hinchcliffe has become one of the weaker players in the squad right now. Still a good player, but if we want to go further we need a better one. His contract is not expiring yet, so I hope I can sell him. Panic buy Valeri faced a somewhat doubtful first half of the season, but he did better in the second half. He can leave as well when a solid bid is coming in because I’m not truly convinced about him, but only if we can find some proper replacement.

Up front I couldn’t wish more. If I can play Lombard and Williamson together we only have to wait when they score because they will for sure. Both are amazing, especially Lombard is a player who has overgrown our level of football already I would say. I will do everything I can to loan in him for another season, but most likely Everton wants to make use of him themselves. But Williamson will stay with us for at least another season. Next year will be his fourth then! Walker-Nightingale is still a very solid reserve player, although he played a lot as a starting player because of Williamson had a lack of form the first half of the season and there after Lombard was getting injured. He scored a good amount of goals and if no interesting bid is coming in he will stay. Adam Murdoch is our talent from the youth academy. He played not as much I was hoping for but when he played he did okay. However I think we are not seeing him back next season, although not in the main squad. I will try to loan him out, or maybe even sell him. I don’t think he will be good enough in the future for taking part in the main squad.

Summarized we are going to search for a solid back-up goalkeeper, new full-backs for both the right and left hand side of the pitch who can play in an attacking role as well because I still have the idea to use a system with wing-backs at some point, one more centre back, a new central midfielder, better wingers for both sides and a new striker if we can’t extend the loan term of Lombard. But we are in a far better circumstance than last season obvious. Not any of the current contracts are expiring so we don’t have to worry about squad size for next season. In the most worse case we have to deal with the current players if we can’t sign anyone, so in essence we should at least be able to battle for the league title again! But we have some really good money next season. After all the prize money we received from both the Scotch Cup and the league we have around £10,000,000 in the bank currently, and for next season we are granted with another £13,500,000 starting money for the Champions League and I think around another £10,000,000 from television money from the biggest European club competition. So I think we can search now for some really good talented players or some kind of arrived players from mid-table league clubs. Next time I’m back to you with our pre-season results, the outcome of the Archie Gemmill trophy and hopefully some new players!

Note: As you can see we realized the league title guys! Definitely not expected but very welcome all day long! A big reward after so many struggles during this career. Thanks again for all the support as well, like it very much! Coming up next: surprising news will be announced!
Congratulations! It was a shame that you couldn't complete the double but you won the most important prize of the two and that is a truly fantastic accomplishment. Well ahead of schedule! The next step - a very big one - is Europe.

It seems quality full-backs are hard to find even years into the future. ;)
Another title in the pocket! Congratulations!
Excellent work. First time out of the seven attempts and now a new goal. After all the complaints and stress this save has given you at times, it has paid off. Congratulations.

#132 - Scotland!

30/07/2044 -- The pre-season period is done, a brand new season is starting to begin. But it was a bit of a doubt if that was going to happen with me still at the wheel. But I can't leave Spartans at this point right now so I decide to do a multiple job. You are probably thinking what is going on, well I’m the new manager of the Scottish national team! The job came available after Scotland performed really poor at the 2044 European Championship and I decide to apply for it. Although that wasn’t necessary, at some point the national board asked me for being their new manager, together with six other countries all over Europe. But it was a no-brainer of course. Scotland is my country and I will accept this job for the next four years. First we are trying to qualify ourselves for the next World Championship, but the main goal is the European Championship thereafter in 2048, where I really want to achieve something. Winning is maybe to much of an ask, but reaching into the quarters or so will already a stunning performance. Especially if you take the current squad into account, which isn’t the best of Europe as you can imagine.

Doing two jobs at the same time is certainly not the best circumstance, but I don’t want to leave Spartans now. Although I thought about it for a couple of seconds because of the brilliant results last season. But being a manager of the national squad can be very boring beside the big tournaments and the qualifying matches, so at the end I decide to keep my Spartans job for at least another season. Especially because we are playing in the Champions League now and I don’t want to miss that! It can be different next season, but for the time being this is the way it will happen. And maybe it’s some kind of a benefit as well, as long as I’m the manager of Spartans I kept more involved with Scottish football. The main focus in this story lies at Spartans of course, I will do a Scotland overview less frequently, like two times a year or so. Maybe only the first outcome will be bigger with presenting the full national squad to you for having an idea about the level of the players.

Okay, back to Spartans now! Tomorrow starts the new season with the Inverness game, but I’m not fully prepared for it to be honest. Actually we didn’t attract a new hotshot at all. Although, not until now. Only a couple of guys we could sign on a free, who are reserve players at most. The transfer window is open for another month and I’m expecting some firework for sure. As we speak we are negotiating with a couple of interesting players already and I expect we can welcome a new player every week from now on.

Until now we signed Dom O’Neil from Celtic. A young goalkeeper for my B-team who didn’t have a goalkeeper at all. He was free, didn’t asked much wage and he is definitely not bad at all. But we probably not seeing him back in our first squad very soon. By the way, his first name Dom means stupid in Dutch… Not so sure if that will make any difference… The other two guys we signed are reserve players for the first squad. Brian Shearer is a decent striker we picked up from Aberdeen. He didn’t asked much wage either, his key attributes are not bad and he is already valued at £2,200,000. If he fails we can probably sell him for a nice amount of money afterwards.

The third guy we signed on a free is called Ryan Harrison from Hearts. An experienced right-fullback. He is not necessarily better then the players we already have, but the fact he is Scottish, a free agent and wasn’t asking much wage money either, did decide me to give it a try. If it doesn’t sort out properly we can sell him as well, he is also valued for a nice amount of money. All those three guys are Scottish as well. Currently I’m trying to bring some more Scottish players back into the squad. At some point over the last seasons we only had four of them left, and I don’t like it at all to have so many foreign players in the squad, although most of them are British. Anyway, we are in a better position now and it’s more easy to sign the better Scottish players from the other teams in the league. I prefer fill at least half of the squad with Scottish.

Our pre-season period was really good to be honest! I mean, we actually have won our first prize already. We have won the Archie Gemmill Trophy against Rangers in an excited game: 4-2. Not the biggest trophy of course, but it’s a nice reward which is marking our successes even more. Especially if you have to beat a big team for it, which Rangers definitely still is. We lost only one game in our practicing run against Feyenoord, although that was a highly flattered result. We created more than 35 chances and they were even playing with ten after only twenty minutes. But for some reason we didn’t score a goal with them heading in a corner kick. Hopefully this won’t be happening to much again throughout this season!

Well, what can we expect this season? We didn’t lost many players and if we can sign a couple of upgrades during the next month we should be able to battle for the league title again. It should be impossible given our position at the yearly wage spending ranking (which is somewhere around midtable at most), but after we have won the league last year we couldn’t say anymore that it will be impossible. We are going for it again for sure! I don’t expect much for the Champions League. A lot depends on the draw and even then it will be very very hard to finish at least third in the group and reaching into the Europa League after the winter. I don’t expect anything, even not losing every game in the group stage will be great already! I also like to win a Scottish Cup tournament at some point, but that also depends heavily on the draw we get.

Note: Absolutely true Scott! And if you think you have one after a long search he is performing awful... Thanks Wolf! At least I'm more comfortable now thanks to our league title TheLFCFan. But now we have to set some new goals for the nearby future! Coming up next: more transfers and our start in the league.
Nice to see you've stayed at Spartans. I've a feeling it will be a good season! Some pretty good signings as well. Good luck!
Congratulations on being appointed the new Scottish National Team manager. It will be interesting to see you perform on the international stage! A further congratulations for the victory against Rangers. Perhaps a sign of encouragement for the season ahead.
Time to lead the Scots like William Wallace!
Congrats on the national team job, that is a major achievement in itself. A massive turnaround is needed there and it seems as though your retirement plan has gone out of the window with this new venture. The Champions League is a great thing to be apart of so hopefully you can go far.

#133 - Transfertime

24/09/2044 -- The new season is underway for a couple of weeks already, the transfer window is done and I faced my debut with Scotland! I will tell you later about Scotland when we have played more matches, that National League thing what is going on currently is really not that interesting. The board doesn’t expect anything either, so it’s a very good way for me to find out which players I can count on and who not. First our last transfers for this 25th season in the game!

To start with my new goalkeeper. Cannella will be first choice again, but I didn’t had a solid back-up goalkeeper at all. The youngster we used last season is definitely not good enough. But search for goalkeepers is always a struggle if you don’t have £100,000,000 to spend. At the end I had only two options left. One being Scottish who might be interesting as the 3rd goalkeeper for the national squad, but as always there is one thing which annoys me: his length… 1,80 m tall is just not good enough. At least a keeper should be able to hit the bar with his fingers without jumping and if you are 1,80 meter you can’t! So the only option left was Danish goalkeeper Jesper Hansen. Since the end of last season he became the starting goalkeeper for FC København, which is a very decent side in Denmark and occasionally in the European Cup tournaments as well. So Hansen is definitely not bad I guess. He is tall, his key attributes are decent and those Danish mentally is pretty much the same like Scottish people. He is a huge upgrade in comparison with my own youth talent and able to develop himself a little bit more given the fact he is only twenty.

The most improvement was needed at the full-back positions. And if possible I want new players who can play more offensive because I still have the idea to play with wingbacks at some point. But it was a bit tough to find good players for this two positions, especially if your transfer budget is limited. At the end I found a Dutch guy from AZ. He was transfer listed, although he played almost every league game over the last decade with a very solid average of around 6.90 nearly every season. His technical skills are not really great, but this time I decide to buy Kamphuis purely on his statistics. All those full-backs I bought in my career have performed terrible most of the time, so I thought about doing it the other way around just for once. Until now he doesn’t play great to be honest, but hopefully he will do better when he’s used to. I definitely hope so, paying £2,700,000 is a lot of money for a club like Spartans and he’s also by far the highest paid player in terms of wages. Don’t let me down mate…

On the left hand side I wanted one player in particular very much. A guy from Arsenal. At some point I made him an offer but Arsenal was asking ridiculous amounts of money. I turned down their counter bid and that made the player very upset! Although it doesn’t sort out anything for lowering down the asking price. Anyway, at some point we were able to get him on loan and that’s good enough for now. Finally after all those years I have a very good left full-back. Although, it should be given his attributes and because he is pronounced a wonderkid. Mentally already awesome, great physicals and his main technical attributes are very good either. With some training he can definitely be a very good wing-back as well. Of course not anything can be great… He’s a bit like a dwarf sadly. But that’s not the biggest issue for full-backs (Jamie Gray is very short either), I think this guy can really make a difference this year!

Our last defender is already familiar to us! We hired Iyrwah Goodwin before in the 2041/2042 season. By the time it wasn’t great at all to be honest, but now we are three years further, he developed himself and I decided to give it another try. He should be a really good centre back given his attributes. Goodwin will be used as a reserve player in the first place, but the starting players should be warned for sure!

We are loaning in another guy from Manchester United. We send Steve Kerr on loan because he isn’t good enough so we need a little bit more squad depth in our central midfield. That’s were Jim Torrance came in. Another wonderkid, another Englishman and another very talented player who is an upgrade for us all day long. He is a very decent player without big weaknesses, but also lacks a little bit of one specific attributes he’s very good in. Teamwork maybe, but that is not really necessary, it can only make a difference when all players in the squad are having green figures for teamwork. Anyway, he is very close to become a starting player at some point.

Last but not least we have signed a new striker. Our record breaking transfer after the Kamphuis deal. I was trying to loan in Lombard for another season, but Everton want to make use of him themselves, which I can’t argue. But we did some good business with Shaun Breen I think. He is coming over from Celtic for around £3,2000,000. Big money, but the fact he is Scottish is a benefit in the first place for which I want to spend a little bit more. But beside of that Breen is a very good player I would say. Celtic doesn’t gave him a fair chance over the last couple of season, although he played a few matches every season, but he didn’t score a goal so far. However, my scouts are believing he will be able to develop himself even more, although he’s already 22-years old.

At the last day of the transfer window we sold one player who has become superfluous. At the end of December Josh Meekings is leaving us. He signed a contract at Portsmouth in advance, but the English transfer window was already closed. I dropped him back into the B-squad, maybe they can avoid ending bottom again in the reserve competition like they did over the last five seasons! We received around £450,000 for him. Decent money after we signed him on a free only two seasons ago.

Our first results
Not the easiest start of the season for sure, but remarkable as always! Out of the first seven league games we already lost four times… From which three of them we were the better team by far but let me say that our strikers are not in their best form yet… A lot of absolute sitters were missed or perfectly saved by their goalkeeper. With Dunfermline, Queen of the South and especially Saint Mirren being deadly in front of our own goal we lost all those matches… I will call it purely unfortunate rather than our tactic doesn’t work anymore. As said we outplayed all those three clubs, but we were just extremely unlucky… Only the away game against Hearts was a deserved loss. At the other hand we beat Celtic quite easily (they are struggling in the league as well) and all those losses against the ‘small’ teams were instantly forgotten after we achieved a brilliant result in our very first Champions League appearance ever! Away against Juventus we managed not to lose, we even scored a goal! An absolute stunning result for sure. Although Juventus didn’t win the league since 2019 it’s still a very big team. I’m not dreaming about the next round or maybe finishing third yet, most likely we are losing all other games anyway, but this result only is entirely worth all the other losses in the league this far.

I thing we can written off our battle for the league title already. Four losses is way too many I suppose, especially if you take in account that we lost only six matches throughout the entire season last year. So I would say I’m focusing myself for the cup tournaments right now, but those thoughts were immediately downgraded after I saw the draw for the Scottish Cup. From all possible 127 opponents we are facing one of the better teams in Scotland called Aberdeen. And of course it’s an away game, just as it always is…

A tough start to the league season but a memorable result against Juventus!
Very up-and-down start that, but I'm sure you'll iron out the losses over the course of the season and challenge for the title again. Great to see the Scottish league in sixth overall as well!

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