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Glory Hunter - A Journeyman adventure

Started on 23 December 2019 by JT
Latest Reply on 24 May 2020 by Griffo

Introduction to the Glory Hunter

So here we are in my attempt to bounce back from the disappointment of the Burnley and the Sir Alex Ferguson challenge. So what went wrong? Well the choice of club could have been the issue and therefore to combat that let's go on a journeyman save where i am not going to be tied down to one side.

Taking inspiration from one FM content creator on youtube i am going to make this Journeyman have an end point. The aim of the game is to win the big 5 leagues and each of the main cup competitions. To go alongside that i also need to win the Champions League, Europa League and the new Europa League 2. I might as well throw in the European Super Cup and the Club World Cup whilst i am at it. Finally on the International side, I will also need to pick the European Championships and the World Cup. So that leaves the unenviable task of winning 17 trophies!

So where do i start, do i go big and take the vacant Bayern Munich job, do i try and resurrect Arsenal or do i go straight to the top and take Real Madrid? Well no, to add another twist, i am going to start at the very bottom with no coaching badges or prior experience.

So who gives me that chance in football? Wherever it is, i need to move up the ladder quickly to meet the end goal
Oxford City - Takeover report

So only a short trip to Oxford for my first role as the City became the only club to offer me a role to start my managerial career. The only other club to offer an Interview was Braintree and when they rejected me it was obvious my career was going to start at Oxford.

So Oxford City Football club were formed in 1883 and play their matches at the 2,000 capacity Court Place Farm in Marston, Oxford and are in the Vanarama National South (6th tier of English football). In the early days the club had lots of success and were one of the leading clubs in Oxfordshire tasting success in the FA Amateur Cup. However, in the latter half othe 20th Century the club was in decline and there was a brief attempt to return the club to success with Bobby Moore being appointed as Manager with Harry Redknapp as his assistant.

However, in 1988 the club hit its lowest point as it was evicted from its ground by the landlords meaning the side had to resign from the Isthmian League with the club not returning to Senior football until 1990 when they entered the South Midlands League with 1993 seeing the club move to its current ground and return to the Isthmian League.The club continued to climb through the divisions during the 1990's and reached the final of the FA Vase in 1995.

Since then there have been some highs and lows. In particular a couple of great FA Cup runs including a 1-0 win over league opposition Colchester in the First Round before going out in Injury time to Notts County in the 2nd round on BT Sports. Just last season they got to the 1st round this time drawing 3-3 with League 2 Tranmere before losing a replay. However, they are now managerless until they hired myself.

So what do i have to play with?

That is truely it other than two players sitting in the U23 squad. Just 17 players at my disposal and some real work to do if we are to compete. However, there are a couple of gems in there to hang my hat on. Craig King is the No.1 and looks solid enough for this level. Joe Oastler will be the rock at the back whilst Josh Ashby is the star man of the show in midfield with Kyran Wiltshere being a threat from the wing. Up top we have just the one striker so Stefan Brown better get the goals.

So what are the board expecing? Well as part of my interview i promised mid table despite the Media predicting us a lowly 22nd. I may have just set myself up here for failure. The clubs vision is pretty simple as you would expect from a lower league side.

To be honest that suits me to the ground. An above average performance could see me get snapped up by a bigger club so we dont need ambitions right now. To aid me i have just £309 per week left to spend on wages with no transfer budget. Things could get interesting....

Oxford City - Pre-season & August 2019


We needed players to make up the numbers, that was clear and with little to no wages on offer we had to do it on the cheap. It meant we needed good young players to sit in and be the reserves whilst perhaps trying to add just a player or two to the first team. Loans would be important too and a senior affiliate was a must to help build out this side.

So that is what i did. Harry Mcdonnell, Freddie Niblett and Jordan Clarke fitted the young mould as all signed on for a month to month contract meaning no weekly wages for the guys. All three have the potential and i am sure as the games come thick and fast will get given game time but they help bulk out the defence and the left hand side in particular.

Meanwhile, veteran Ibrahim Kargbo and youngster Martin Onoabhagbe were added to help compete in the first team. Kargbo adds some defensive grit albeit his lack of pace and legs could be an issue but i am hoping his experience makes up for it. Martin on the other hand will go in at the back to partner with Joe Oastler in what could be a decent centre half pairing this season.

We still needed a striker and in my desperate search we have gone with with Luke Rawson to join the side from Chesterfield in the season above. His club's willingness to pay for most of his wages being the deciding factor but he adds another option up top to Stefan Brown. I am hoping there will be more loans as i have added Blackpool as a parent club but so far i haven't found a youngster to come and join the side just yet.

Somehow we are over the wage budget despite my best efforts so i may lose a player over the next few months to keep that under control but we now have a much bigger squad that can hopefully keep up with the demands of the league. Talking of the league.... how has it been on the pitch?

On the field

Well, pre-season saw a mixed bag as we beat lower league sides before getting well beaten against Solihull Moors and Oxford United to make me a little worried going into the season. Were we strong enough? Or had i made another mistake?

Safe to say it has been ok so far. We have lost games we should have won but we have managed to win games we really should not have and somehow sit in the play-off spots. It is early in the season for sure but we have some real potential in the side. Josh Ashby and Zac McEachran have been great in the midfield and i just need to get either Kargbo or Fleet to perform as the ball winner to really nail that midfield down. We need work on the wings for sure with no one performing well and our striking options have shown glimpses but it is just glimpses so far.

There is enough to work with and already i feel more at home than Burnley. Let's see how this goes.
Here I am commenting on your previous story hoping to see you "sooner rather than later," unaware that you had already blessed us with another story! ;)

Best of luck with Oxford City and the beginning to what is obviously a very difficult challenge ahead to meet your aims. A certain FM Scout moderator will be all too aware about the club you begin your career with! Some decent additions to the squad - a few faces I recognise in those you've signed and those already integrated in the squad already - and a decent start to the season.
All the best for this mate! Looks good so far.
A shame to see the SAF Challenge come to an end, but with you not enjoying it, it was the right move to make. A great start with Oxford to be sitting in the playoffs early on. Hopefully a surprise run can continue to keep you there!
Good luck with the new story, shame to the SAF challenge end

Oxford City - September 2019

On the field

Well the lofty heights of August could not be matched as we hit some sticky form in September that has threatened to derail the whole team. It started off well enough as we picked up 4 more points against Concord and Tonbridge as we still hovered around the play-offs. Then the wheels came off as we went 5-0 down at half time against top of the table Maidstone. the second half saw us stem the flow of goals nad we scored two of our own to bring it back to 5-2.

Still we had never been breached that badly in the defence and things didnt get any better in the next game as we got well beaten 4-2 by Chippenham with Joe Oastler getting sent off late in the game. Our Morale was falling horrendously and we had the FA Cup up next. We were drawn at home against Faversham, a side we should easily put away but with Morale low and a little bit of rotation, it was a tougher game than i had hoped. We still came away with the victory, a 2-0 win meaning we were in the 3rd Qualifying round where we will take on Salisbury.

The month wrapped up with high flying Bath outplaying us and easily dispatching us 2-0 as we suffered 3 back to back defeats in the league. Morale was shot and not helped by a poor team talk leaving us rock bottom in Mood ready for October. League table wise it isn't looking as bad.

Comfortably mid table as it stands, pretty much equal distance from the play-offs as we are to the relegation places. So all in line with what i told the board but i can't help thinking the next month or two might decide whether we get into a relegation dog fight or have a little foray into the play-off hunt. What i am feeling is a slight tweak to the way we play. Our direct counter attacking game does seem to work but we are not getting any joy down the wings. In fact all 5 wingers i have played this season are performing pretty poorly with our main source of threat coming from Ashby and McEachran in the middle of the park. So i am going to ask the team to play through Ashby. He is our best player and the more we can get him on the ball the better.

Hopefully that will help boost my perceived performance as we slip into a C+ category. I am also going to keep an eye out for some wingers as right now we are struggling massively in that area to the point we are effectively playing with 9 men at times. Money is horribly tight though and i will need to let a player or two on wages go to free up some wage budget, unless i can find a loanee with no wages. Billericay up next who are sitting rock bottom so hopefully they are prime for me to reverse our form and fortune.

Thanks for all of the support guys! Already feeling this save a lot more than Burnley.

Oxford City - October 2019

On the field

After a tough end to September we needed to bounce back in October to avoid getting dragged into a relegation dog fight and we just did that. Despite seeing some of the worst morale i have ever faced we somehow beat Billericay who themselves were on a 7 game streak without winning we won the match 3-1. Zac Mceachran playing the Mezzala role to a tee twice getting past the strikers to score.

It was then FA Cup draw as Luke Rawson bagged a first half hat trick against Salisbury before half time before Leroy Lita and his side inspired a come back to end the game 3-3 and drive us to a replay. A replay we managed to scrape 1-0 to seal a 4th qualifying round spot against Dover from the Vanarama National. That was followed by a routine 2-0 win over Hemel Hempstead to finally right our poor morale and keep us in the hunt for the play-offs.

A 1-1 draw against a decent St Albans side followed where we struggled to press our normal game. Maybe we were dreaming of another 1st round spot in the cup as we played well in a dogged 1-0 defeat to Dover with them scoring their only goal via the penalty spot. It was a tough way to go out but at least i met the Clubs vision for that tournament. Things couldn't though have gone much worse against Braintree as they spanked us 4-0 in another worrying display by the side. I hoped another slump in form wasn't on its way but i needn't have worried as we bounced back beating Wealdstone 3-1 to end a relatively positive month by all accounts.

It feels like an incredibly weird league table with just 3 points seperating 8th and 16th and it will be showing in our past positions table as we yo-yo dramatically between just outside the play-offs and mid table. We are still too reliant on one man as Josh Ashby is all too frequently our only decent player. Others come and go and a lack of an out and out goalscorer is starting to show as we really struggle to kill games off. We need to make personnel changes but i just dont have the wage budget to play around with. In fact our annual salary cost of £126k is the lowest in the league with pretty much most teams having double the budget to play around with.

It also means contracts can't be renewed and Josh Ashby is the first one that will get snapped up when his ends at the end of the season. He refuses to sign one saying he doesnt think we have the resources and he is completely right. Times could be about to get really tough.

I have though at least moved up to a B- with the main challenge right now being that i am over the wage budget but i dont see a way of me shifting that downwards without severly leaving me understaffed. The players i am willing to let go, no one wants. Where we go from here, i dont know but at least November provides some rest bite from the amount of matches we have to play as juggling this side around isn't easy.

Oxford City - November 2019

On the field

Oh dear! November was not a fun month at all as we start to run out of ideas and crash out of the FA Trophy at the first opportunity. The 0-0 draw against a struggling Hungerford summed up a month where we struggled to make chances let alone take them and it is clear we don't have a plan B.

I even switched to a 4-4-2 to try and bring the wide men into the game more to see if that would drive some performances worth noting. It did not! Some more desperate attempts to sell some players failed and we seem stuck with the team as it stands. Which seems to be a team that is half decent at set pieces whilst also having the ability to completely forget to defend at least once per month. Still remarkably we are in the hunt for the play-off spots.... well the last one anyway

In what is still proving to be a weird season we genuinely can not rule out the play-offs or a lower half finish as everyone seems to be so up and down at the moment. So perhaps just that one good loan player will make the difference and i will be out scouring the market again for a new loanee to spice things up a little.

Oxford City - December 2019

On the field

Oh! December is the season to be jolly as we go a whole month undefeated and concede just the one goal as we learn to defend as well as string some wins together. Not only that but my wingers actually did something and scored a few goals. Admitedly they each only had one good game and not at the same time but it is at least encouraging to see them contribute something.

In fact the classic 4-4-2 is doing us pretty well with the only worry is that we only have 2 strikers at the club so we have no one else to come on and change things up. It is a little limiting but we are riding our luck with injuries somewhat at the moment. I went hunting around Blackpool but supposingly playing for the U23's or the U19 sides is a better prospect then playing in the Vanarama South in lovely Oxford so that is proving to be a right bummer.

Still we are in the play-off positions somehow and we are living the dream but January has some tought games lined up with Weymouth, Havant and Dulwich our first three games of 2020 so expect to come down with a bump. Still a season high rating of a B is looking positive although i do feel a little hard done by. I cant physically get the wages to go down as no one wants any of the players we can afford to lose plus i am in the bloody play-offs having been predicted to come rock bottom!

Youth Intake

The day we all live for is around the corner and i am hoping it is the answer to some of my questions as a good regen or two could make a massive difference to this side. However, on first glance i shouldn't hold out too much hope but a half decent winger still could make this side with some consistent performances.
Very inconsistent division overall, so far. I think the form during November and December epitomises just how quickly form can change! However, you're doing a very credible job at Oxford and certainly defying expectations for the time being. Hopefully December's form can be built on and form can be continued.
A great month there by anybody's standards. I would imagine that the top three are a bit too far away to be considering overtaking. Consolidating a Play-Off place at the end of this season should remain a priority, despite Welling United looking unnervingly close!
In a solid position, play-offs have to be the goal now moving forward
JT's avatar Group JT
1 yearEdited

Oxford City - January 2020

Some new faces and a tough run of league fixtures are the story of this month.

New Faces!!

So we managed to add two new faces to the squad both on loan with no wages being paid keeping the wage budget where it is. First through the door was [a href=""]Harry Hammett[/a] joined from Notts County to finally give me a 3rd striker. He isn't great looking attribute wise but with Stefan Brown getting injured he has taken his chance and scored 2 goals in the last game of the month. The second new face sees parent club Blackpool send a player here on loan with [a href=""]Michael Fitzgerald[/a] providing another option in the centre of midifeld and he should be a good alternative to Zac Mceachran who has gone off the boil lately.

On the field

As i said it has been a horrible run in the league as we have come up against virtually every side in the play-offs back to back and with just 4 points picked up from a possible 15 we are suddenly out of the play-off places again and needing to get ourselves back in the mix.

Can we do it? Potentially, the run of horrible fixtures continues into February with Maidstone and Bath but after that point we would have played everyone in the play-off hunt with a theoretically easier run in we could get some momentum and take on the play-offs. With Fitzgerald and Hammett providing extra numbers and competition, things are looking up. We do need someone other than Ashby to turn up week in and week out and with Ashby's contract still looking to expire and him having no interest in signing a new one, i am fearing we might be losing our best player. The play-offs give us our best shot of keeping him adding that additional pressure.

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