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Intermission

I manage clubs on Football Manager Mobile and then tell you what happens.
Started on 7 December 2020 by Harleygator
Latest Reply on 6 March 2021 by ScottT
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After a wobbly start you didn't take long to pick up some pace. There is still a lot to go (which is my main reason not to play LLM in England, I hate long seasons), and at this point, and as unstable League One is, everything can happen
FMM Story
S4E4 – November-December 2023

(Leamington FC, League One)



November heralded a rejection by all three foreign sides I mentioned at the end of the last update. I thought that perhaps my reputation wasn’t large enough, or maybe it was a nationality thing (racists!), but the three managers who won the positions had the same rep level as I do – Regional – and none were products of the respective nations. The only thing I can think is that those clubs, being 2.5 and 3 star reputations to Leamington’s 1.5, are “above me” in that regard. It chills me slightly to think that, given how great our results have been so far, I may end up in the Championship with Leamington after all after two seasons of whinging about wanting to move abroad. I really dislike saves like this, as it feels very unrealistic to have such great success (Borat voice); then again, as a long-time purveyor of the LLM save, perhaps it is a demonstration that I’ve outgrown these saves and need a more complicated challenge. Hence, I want out.

(2 – 0) Bradford City (H) L1 – T Ince (1), M Fernandes (1)
(1 – 0) Gillingham (H) L1 – N Ennis (1)
(2 – 0) Salford City (A) FA1 – D Avenell (1)
(5 – 2) Crawley Town (A) PJG – M Fernandes (3), D Meredith (1), D Avenell (1)

We signalled our intent to defend our Papa John’s Trophy in emphatic style with a series of crushing victories against our groupmates. Michael Fernandes, who has had a bit of a quiet time since signing for us on a permanent deal, came alive in the final group game with an excellent hattrick, while our summer youth signing David Avenell (who, very very very interestingly, is now described as a wonderkid in his personal profile) added a goal in each match of the group.



Meanwhile, our league results are starting to shape up to another title challenge, though far from as commanding as last season. Our closest opponents to the top, the mysteriously unliquidated Middlesbrough, continue to post excellent results in their bid to return to the Championship after a season in the cold. Ennis is having another barnstorming season, and although we only signed him so Ryan Wintle would have a friend to play with, Oliver Finney has been an inspired addition to the midfield with a string of important goals.

(1 – 0) Mansfield Town (A) L1 – P Bastock (1)
(2 – 0) Ipswich Town (H) L1 – O Finney (1), N Ennis (1)
(2 – 1) Doncaster Rovers (A) L1 – J Bateman (1), N Ennis (1)
(3 – 1) Wrexham (A) FA2 – N Ennis (1), M Fernandes (1), D Avenell (1)
(1 – 2) Middlesbrough (A) L1 – N Ennis (1)
(4 – 1) Oxford United (H) L1 – N Ennis (2), D Avenell (1), L Gabidon (1)
(6 – 0) Cheltenham Town (H) PJ2 – R Griffiths (4), D Avenell (2)
(1 – 0) Forest Green Rovers (H) L1 – D Avenell (1)
(4 – 0) Walsall (H) L1 – O Finney (1), P Bastock (1), R Griffiths (1), K Shashoua (1)
(4 – 0) Rotherham United (H) L1 – D Avenell (2), J Tucker (1), A Babos (1)
(1 – 0) Shrewsbury Town (A) L1 – O Finney (1)
(0 – 0) Coventry City (A) L1 –

Despite a defeat against Middlesbrough, our December performance tipped the league in our favour by a point going into the year of 2024. This was, honestly, not part of the plan for this season, as I had wanted to join a new side in time to take advantage of the January transfer window. This really should’ve happened by now, but the truth is that foreign teams just don’t seem interested in my applications. Given that the only substantive effect of my applications is to reduce my Loyalty attribute, I decided to quit making applications for clubs above 2 stars, which pretty much limits me to joining Volgar Astrakhan, Dinamo Bryansk or MVV Maastricht of the clubs with unstable management positions in countries I’m interested in managing in.

Given it’s now likely I’m going to be at Leamington until the end of the season at least, I think I’ll put the Luke Urey money to better use and bring in some stronger players during the transfer window.



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Replies

@Tango, yeah, even on the mobile game, when you've got 46 games plus FA Cup, plus League Cup, plus League Trophy, it takes some effort to get through it all. I have to say, though, after reading a recent news report about the holder of the longest continuous FM save (333 years), I have been tempted to see if I could beat it! He spent about 300 seasons at the same bloody club, boring b*stard!
Wow that Urey sale was massive and that money can certainly be put to good use perhaps starting with a top class winger! Another great season so far, with a tighter battle at the top but top nonetheless. A shame to see you can't get out of England just yet. I wonder though, is it not possible to delay the move a little longer and hold out for a more lucrative job abroad which will surely come at some point?
the dude that spent 300 years at the same club, I wonder at what cost
You're p*ssing it. Every season. I do agree that it's best to move on and find a new challenge. Emphasis on the word challenge given the way this has gone! :D

Hopefully you'll be able to find a move soon.
FMM Story
S4E5 – January-February 2024

(Leamington FC, League One)



As December closed, we reached an agreement with Rangers for young striker and peak physical specimen, Russ Griffiths, for the tasty price of £5’000’000. At first, this seemed like a sensible deal: Griffiths had been filling out as backup on the left-wing for most of the season due to our ongoing shortfall in those wide areas, with his understudy position to Niall Ennis being taken by our resident wonderkid David Avenell – in other words, he had become surplus to our immediate requirements, and £5’000’000 is a lot of money. However, after agreeing the deal, I went looking for wingers with whom I could replace the player with, perhaps a stand in a la the excellent Tom Ince – and, as usual, there were slim pickings. When the time came to confirm his transfer, I decided to keep the player, who might well be worth more money anyway next year, and certainly more on the pitch given I can’t find anyone to replace him. The player, a Strict Professional, understood and didn’t kick up a fuss.

(3 – 1) Peterborough United (H) L1 – R Griffiths (2), O Finney (1)
(1 – 1) Blackburn Rovers (A) FA3 – R Drench (1)
(0 – 0) Blackpool (H) L1 –
(1 – 0) Crewe Alexandra (A) L1 – D Avenell (1)
(2 – 0) Blackburn Rovers (H) FA3R – O Finney (1), J Jones (1)
(1 – 0) Luton Town (A) L1 – N Ennis (1)
(1 – 1)p Oxford United (A) PJ3 – N Ennis (1)

While our league form continued as a reasonable pace, we were unexpectedly dumped out of the Papa John’s Trophy by Oxford United, a team we had crushed 4-1 only recently. I had hoped to hold this cup for a second season, so I was quite disappointed with such a damp exit after our grand theatrics in the group stage. On a more positively unexpected note, we beat Championship leaders Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup Third Round, following two years of harsh draws and subsequent defeats at this stage against Manchester United and Leeds United.

IN – £3’500’000 – Winger, Marcus Edwards from Vitoria de Guimaraes

OUT – Released – Central Midfielder, Josh Falkingham
OUT – Loan – Winger, Kristjaan Breakspear to Bath City


With the transfer deadline looming, TheLFCFan reminded me of something that had been a long time problem, and so we made headlines with the biggest move in the club’s history, dipping into the Luke Urey treasure pot to bring in 25-year-old right-winger Marcus Edwards. Since signing for Vitoria de Guimaraes for £90’000 from Tottenham, he has contributed 34 goals and 14 assists in 98 appearances in the Portuguese top flight; I make no hesitation in saying that he joins Leamington as the single best player in League One by a country mile, an absolute coup for the club and, even more remarkably, at a price we can afford – though I do kind of regret not taking that £5’000’000 for Griffiths now. Also, after endless reports of disruptions in training, and repeated warnings and fines, immediately followed by a chorus of angry players incensed by my desire to have professional behaviour at the club, I decided to release former captain Josh Falkingham with 6 months left on his contract, cutting a recurring problem out at the source. A sad and abrupt end for a player who led us to 2 league titles.

(2 – 0) Charlton Athletic (H) FA4 – M Edwards (1), N Ennis (1)
(2 – 1) Sheffield Wednesday (H) L1 – N Ennis (2)
(3 – 0) Bolton Wanderers (A) L1 – R Drench (1), N Ennis (1), M Edwards (1)
(2 – 0) Lincoln City (A) L1 – N Ennis (2)
(0 – 0) Wigan Athletic (A) L1 –
(4 – 2) Salford City (H) L1 – N Ennis (2), O Finney (1), K Shashoua (1)

We started February with a bit of a surprise, a twice-lucky win against Championship side Charlton Athletic in the FA Cup; Marcus Edwards, as with fellow right-winger Jodi Jones against Oxford United two years ago, scored a cup goal on his debut, and contributed another in the league as we consolidated our strong position at the top. With Middlesbrough falling away slightly, we find ourselves 7 points clear with 10 games remaining, a testament, in some ways, to my conviction in the strength of my squad and the support it provides for my strong rotation policy.

At the same time, I can’t help but be annoyed and bored by the simplicity of it all – I’ve never been one to enjoy playing, nor indeed reading about a Football Manager playthrough in which everything goes right. This being a simulation, runs such as mine don’t feel realistic, and while I understand I have access to statistics and attributes and the simple puzzle-like tools which make up the game, not available to real managers, I find myself wanting to dull the statistics; in future playthroughs, I might use attribute masking, something I’ve never tried before.

Still, though, as we march inexorably towards what will probably be our third league title in a row, I am actually starting to feel more at home in Leamington, more like this is a project with my stamp on it. I have spent the last 2 seasons actively looking for a new role, yet since the sale of Luke Urey, I feel as though my vision for my current club is taking more of a shape for which I can credit myself. In the first season, it was merely the fortunate January signings of Reece Cole, Lloyd Jones and Connor Johnson, after months of unsuccessful tinkering, which snatched us a promotion. In the second season, it was the lucky intake of Kris Ellison and his unlikely 52 goal haul which clinched it, with a little help from Dagenham’s manager quitting with 5 games left. In the third season, it was the Kris Ellison to Barnsley sale which afforded us the excellent Niall Ennis and a new look defence in Phillips, Happe and Tucker. Yet, it isn’t those players who make up the bulk of the side now, nor the bulk of responsibility for our finances. The money we used to buy Edwards, Finney and Wintle came from the sale of Luke Urey, a £40’000 steal from Wrexham and one of my best turnover deals ever. The only player now left at the club from when I took over is, I think, Dan Meredith; the rest of the squad are predominantly the cheap and high potential youngsters I identified in the lower leagues – Sayer, Fernandes, Ormerod, Bastock, Drench, Ellis Jones, Shashoua, Griffiths, Avenell, Embleton, Gabidon, Watmore and Allamby, and all those on loan and in the Reserves who have yet to earn their chance, but the several among them who will. This is no longer a team of happy coincidences, but of targeted development along my lines. I’m happy with it, and I could probably do a lot more with it. I will lead them into the new season, as I am duty bound. Will I be there for the next? If you’d have asked me 6 months ago, I would’ve said no; now, I’m not so sure.



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Replies

@TheLFCFan, thanks for the reminder! On moving abroad, the original plan for this story had been, do 2 or 3 seasons consolidating an improved position for Leamington, then head off and try to work my way into the top league of a lesser nation like Russia or Portugal, and then with the plaudits (or experience) earned (or not) in that nation, come back to a comparable side in the Championship or lower PL. But it's looking like good squad management is putting paid to that idea, sadly. But I don't intend to just grab an easy position with a top-6 foreign side anyway, so I won't "hold out" for that.

@Tango, at the cost of actually having an interesting story to tell about his record-breaking save. So, Dave, you must have some stories to tell about your save, eh! With 300 leagues. did you win a trophy in every major domestic league, or win the European Cup multiple times, or just one World Cup with England? Nope, I just stayed at some Indian club for 300 years notching up an 80% win rate.

@ScottT, indeed. It's looking like Championship football now, so assuming that it goes modestly, I'll be able to find an out soon. But as I said above, I also feel a little more at home with my squad now, and I think there's a platform here for further development. So we'll see.
Leamington seems to be in a very good position to clinch the title after the 186 games yet to be played in League One. Even if you manage to bottle the title run somehow, you'll still be able to get promoted directly. A good legacy from a manager that can fly way higher than L1
It's easy to forget that initially you did struggle at Leamington before quickly arresting your sketchy form and finding your feet in the second-half of the season. You've always recruited well and been able to sell talent for excellent prices and that has certainly benefited to your meteoric rise. Whatever you decide to do over the next six months or so and beyond, I'll continue to follow. It has been a fun ride so far.
FMM Story
S4E6 – March-May 2024

(Leamington FC, League One)





The Round of 16 (Round 5, is it?) of the FA Cup was a brutal melee, with five of the eight games heading into extra time. Among those five was our latest cup fixture, a close fight against Millwall; I had thought we’d bottled it after Ismaila Sarr equalised in the final minute of the game, but the ever-dependable Niall Ennis, so close to 40 goals this season, clinched it for us! We now find ourselves, inexplicably, in the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup. Admittedly, we have been lucky with our run considering we avoided any Premier League clashes, but we still have had to beat Championship sides, and we always field our strongest side in the cups, so this is a great achievement. Our next match in the cup is against Championship strugglers Fleetwood Town, who are ripe for the taking; it would be nice to think we can win, but I reckon if we knock off the so-called Cod Army, it’ll be Premier League sides who have whittled down the easier prey to follow. A good day out for the fans, perhaps, but not an enticing prospect for a win-hungry manager.

(2 – 0) Carlisle United (H) L1 – J Jones (1), R Drench (1)
(3 – 0) Wycombe Wanderers (A) L1 – D Avenell (1), J Jones (1), R Drench (1)
(0 – 1) Bradford City (A) L1 –
(2 – 0) Mansfield Town (H) L1 – N Ennis (2)
(2 – 0) Gillingham (A) L1 – J Jones (1), R Griffiths (1)



As expected, we secured promotion from League One, and remain way out ahead of our nearest challengers, Middlesbrough. Looking at the squad, it’s easy to see how we have managed such consistent results this year. We essentially have 2 sets of players – the Peak Players and the Hot Prospects – with very little fat in terms of age or excess supporting roles. The Peak Players, as you can guess, are those (roughly) 11 men between 22 and 28 at their peak physical and technical ability who, with the exception of full-backs Jernade Meade (who is 31) and Dan Meredith (who, in League One, is probably at the highest level he can perform), would be turning out for Championship/League One clubs week in, week out. Then there are the Hot Prospects, matched man for man (roughly) with the (roughly) 11 Peak Players, who are the best products of my scouting efforts, high potential English youngsters identified specifically by their suitability for the various tactical roles to which they shadow the first team. The outcome is a universally rotatable collection of similarly-minded, purpose-selected players for a tactical model tinkered into near perfection over 3 and a half seasons.



Heading in confident, we swept past a lacklustre Fleetwood Town courtesy of a Niall Ennis hattrick. To have reached the Semi-Final of the FA Cup at this stage of my career, and with a side at this level is one of my crowning achievements in Football Manager. To bring me back to earth somewhat, however, results conspired favourably to give us three options in the Semi-Final – West Bromwich Albion, Reading… and Chelsea. Three guesses aren’t needed to figure out which one of those we drew, as my luck in the cup draws finally ran out. I don’t expect to beat Chelsea, but then I never expected to get even this far, let alone to get the final; however, we will be able to wrap up the League One title soon enough, with only 6 points either way required from the final 5 games.

(0 – 0) Ipswich Town (A) L1 –
(3 – 1) Doncaster Rovers (H) L1 – R Cole (2), D Avenell (1)
(2 – 1) Middlesbrough (H) L1 – R Griffiths (1), D Avenell (1)



Unlike last season, in which we bottled a set-piece finish with a defeat against second-placed Forest Green Rovers, we won the League One title against Middlesbrough. I holidayed the remaining league games (one defeat, one draw, go figure) as usual, turning my full attention towards what will probably be our final game of the season, the FA Cup Semi-Final tie against Chelsea. But for now, we can look forward to moving on up again, this time to the notoriously difficult Championship, but with hope in a strong, exciting young squad.

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Replies

@Tango, well, we did it. On to the next one.

@ScottT, thanks a lot. I've certainly learned a lot about LLM saves from this one in terms of buying and selling players. But I have been a little disappointed from a story perspective, because I'm not sure such consistent success is necessarily a good narrative to follow. "Oh, look, he's won... again." But I'll keep doing what I'm doing and signing good British youngsters and paying attention to tactics and making sure the story is interesting to read. If I can keep doing well, it's all good experience until I find myself in a more challenging scenario, whether that's with Leamington in the next 2-5 years, or elsewhere.
to score a hat-trick after missing a penalty you gotta have some extra class

and about the manager himself, the cut-out time has arrived: you either stay and lead Leamington to the Prem or it's time to go somewhere else
FMM Story
S4E7 – FA Cup Finals 2023/24

(Leamington FC, League One)



It has been an entire decade since a League One side made an FA Cup Semi-Final – Sheffield United in the 2013/14 season. On that occasion, they played out an entertaining but ultimately fruitless 5-3 defeat against Hull City. In preparation for the Chelsea game, I supposed that I ought not to hope for 3 goals and it might be worth trying harder not to concede 5 instead. But I didn’t want to bring a negative, insular approach to our first and possibly only FA Cup Semi-Final, so the only change I made to our energetic, free-flowing attacking tactic was to reduce our pressing defensive focus, as I figured that pressurizing Chelsea’s capable technical players in that way would be pretty ineffective. Better to hold our shape and force Chelsea to play around us than to let them dictate our movement.

The game started predictably, with early dominance from the Blues. Tammy Abraham in particular was a nuisance, cutting inside from the left; however, Dan Happe and Jack Tucker were dropping really deep into the penalty area, forcing Abraham too wide to trouble Phillips in net; he hit the side netting two or three times in the first half. We made it to half-time at 0-0, but having only registered one shot on target to Chelsea’s five, a change in approach was needed. I pushed the defensive line higher to compact the middle of the field, but pulled the formation back to a deeper position to compensate for the lightning pace of Chelsea’s front three of Abraham, Timo Werner and some guy called Dwight McNeil, who I’ve never heard of but for whom they apparently paid Burnley £21’000’000.

A cagey 35 minutes ensued, and then, suddenly it happened: Michael Fernandes, picking up the ball on the left, cuts inside and slips a delightfully weighted through ball between Ben Chilwell and Ethan Ampadu for Niall Ennis, whose 17 Pace and 18 Movement sees him one-on-one with the keeper. Cue, 18 Finishing, bottom corner, 1-0 to Leamington with 10 minutes left. Cue, deep, narrow, contain, time-wasting and 10 minutes of nail-biting.



Scenes.

Shaking my fist at my living room, I genuinely couldn’t believe what was happening. We had beaten Chelsea – and not just Chelsea, but a strong Chelsea side featuring the likes of Abraham, Ziyech, Werner, Chilwell and Havertz – and not just a strong Chelsea side, but a strong Chelsea side in the FA Cup Semi-Final with a League One side. We now found ourselves with a rather unthinkable prospect – one game, against West Bromwich Albion, sitting tenth in the Championship, and perhaps a goal or two away from clinching the FA Cup.

Naturally, 5 minutes into the final fixture, the biggest game of every person at the club’s career, Dan Happe, one of the best performers for Leamington over the last two seasons, sends a wild pass across the face of goal straight to West Brom’s Jamie Soule, who, with acres of space and most of the goal uncovered, scores only his fourth goal of the season to make it 1-0. One of those days, I thought with a sinking heart. For the ensuing 85 minutes, we played out a frustrating stalemate of a match, neither side creating any real openings. As a spectacle, this wasn’t one for the neutrals, with both sides finishing the match with 6 shots each, total; but for me, having rode my hopes up, it was to be one of the most agonising results of my time on FM, and possibly the only chance I’ll ever have to become, to my knowledge, the only third-tier side to win the FA Cup.

A 1-0 lame duck win for West Brom.

A happy end to the season, I’m sure you’ll agree. God, I need a beer.

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Replies

@Tango, the man is a machine! And you're right - this is the time. I'll have to give it some thought over the summer and work things out about my future.
FMM Story
S5E1 – Summer 2024

(Leamington FC, Championship)



OUT – £4’000’000 – Striker, Niall Ennis to Portsmouth
OUT – £11’500’000 – Striker, Russ Griffiths to Liverpool
OUT – Part Exchange – Winger, Harry Forster to Hemel Hempstead Town
OUT – Released – Attacking Midfielder, Alex Babos
OUT – Released – Winger, Tom Ince
OUT – Released – Winger, Coree Sparkes
OUT – Released – Central Defender, Connor Johnson
OUT – Released – Central Defender, Martell Olakigbe

IN – Graduate – Goalkeeper, Spencer Cain
IN – Graduate – Attacking Midfielder, Wilson Killip
IN – Graduate – Winger, Finn Bonfield
IN – £150’000 – Central Defender, Josh Ruddick from Leyton Orient
IN – £350’000 – Central Defender, Sean Neal from Bristol Rovers
IN – £150’000 – Full Back, Lee Monkhouse from Morecambe
IN – £80’000 + Part Exchange – Striker, Melvin Hartley from Hemel Hempstead Town


It turns out that cancelling the January transfer of Russ Griffiths to Rangers was a piece of sublime foresight; Liverpool came in with an incredible offer, more than twice the previously agreed value, and I was only too eager to snap their hand off for it. Unfortunately, this coincided with that most common of annoyances, the triggering of a minimum fee release clause demanded by ambitious players, in this case Griffiths’ fellow strike partner and goalscoring supremo, Niall Ennis. To lose these players simultaneously is akin to Manchester United selling Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford in the same window; since their arrival from Wolves and Scarborough respectively, between them, Ennis and Griffiths have managed a combined 180 club appearances in 2 seasons, notching up a formidable tally of 99 goals and 31 assists. I find it highly unlikely that I will find even just one Championship-ready replacement even for the £15’500’000 in fees received, let alone two.

Attack is going to be a huge concern this season, I believe. We are left with one viable striker, David Avenell, who is a great prospect but is unproven on a regular basis; I had hoped that Saif Mengi might use his loan to justify a return to the first team fold, but he only managed 14 goals in the National League last season, and our coaches are still lukewarm on the striker, even as a backup option. Out wide, our first choice Inside Forwards have been solid – Fernandes prolific, Jodi Jones the club’s best performer for 3 consecutive seasons, and Edwards a mercurial talent playing below his level. If I cannot replace Ennis and Griffiths, it may herald a slight change in approach to focus on getting the ball to the wide players more often. For once, perhaps the only time during the period of my management of Leamington, I’m actually satisfied with my options on the wing; having said that, the only 20+ goalscoring inside forward I’ve ever had was Memphis Depay on FM16, and assuming that I only get the usual 25 or so goals from out wide, there’s still a lot of goals left unaccounted for from Ennis’ exit.

The strongest area of my team, the part for which it’s unlikely I’ll need to make improvements, is in the midfield. Best friends Ryan Wintle and Oliver Finney turned out to be such a stable pairing that they supplanted Cole and Bateman as my first-choice options in the centre of the park, and now that Kristian Shashoua and Reece Irvine have developed sufficiently, it is looking like a quiet season ahead for Messrs Cole and Bateman, formerly assured of their names on the team sheet and still excellent options nonetheless. Continuing this good vein, my outward loan deals led to a series of impressive seasons from the likes of Tariq Harfield, Matthew Boney, Ross Tumilty and Jack Moore-Billam at their respective National League clubs. The biggest and most encouraging surprise, however, was the output of 17-year-old deep-lying playmaker Robbie Dodoo, a Leamington graduate who isn’t highly rated by the coaches, but who managed 14 goals and 8 assists for Farnborough anyway; I renewed his contract, just in case. All in all, there is a strong quorum of developing talents across that stretch of central midfield, with Shashoua and Irvine especially looking like a viable long-term coupling.

Rarely, we find our defence to be an area of concern. Perhaps I’m being overly discerning and ruthless given we’ve effectively maintained the best defensive record of any team in three consecutive league promotions, but the lack of depth at full back is still a bit of a concern for me. In particular, while Dan Meredith and Jernade Meade have been respectable performers for the club in these last few years, I think the honest truth is that they’re no longer good enough to turn out regularly at this level. The question is whether to put the burden of longer playing time onto their younger understudies, Sayer and Watmore, or to simply upset a couple of loyal players by replacing them with new peak options.

Also, with the release of Alex Babos, the club no longer has any viable first team options in the Shadow Striker role I like to have available. I find myself with little desire to fill this position with a first team prospect, though if I can’t find any replacement strikers, we might have to return to the tactics of the Harvey Vale days, so effective during my first season at the club. I could also, in a move of the heart instead of the head, bring in my favourite player, Stoke City’s Nick Powell to fill that role; though at 30 years old, with a transfer fee probably up to £1’500’00 and a £20’000 weekly wage, this might be a bit of a silly move. The likelihood though is that, if I don’t bring Powell in, I’ll just be abandoning the AM position altogether.

Finally, just responding to Tango, I think you’re right – the time really did arrive at the end of last season on whether or not to continue with Leamington. The reality is that I am confident, with maybe 3 or 4 additions to the squad – which we can afford – Leamington will be competitive again this year, and I envisage it will only be one or two seasons before we’re making a genuine bid for Premier League promotion. With that in mind, given too my struggles at finding a job in Europe, I do have to commit myself to the challenge of getting to the Premier League and taking the club as far as we can go there. Cementing a place in the Premier League after a season or two would mean I could essentially get whatever job I wanted wherever else I wanted it. I think that gives me a roadmap for leaving the club in a future window some 3-5 years away, and not any moment before that. And I guess that settles it until then: no more peeking at the job boards until 2027.

First Team
Goalkeepers – Dillon Phillips, Brad Embleton
Defenders – Jack Tucker, Dan Happe, Dennon Allamby, Luke Gabidon, Bobby Ormerod
Full-Backs – David Watmore, Harvey Sayer, Dan Meredith, Jernade Meade
Defensive Midfielders – Ricky Drench, Mason Goodridge
Central Midfielders – Ryan Wintle, Oliver Finney, Reece Irvine, Kristian Shashoua, Reece Cole, Josh Bateman
Wingers – Marcus Edwards, Michael Fernandes, Jodi Jones, Peter Bastock
Strikers – David Avenell

Reserves and Youth
Goalkeepers – Spencer Cain, Billy Rosa, Alan Wootton, Cameron Adedoja, Teddy Digie
Defenders – Sean Neal, Josh Ruddick, Dael Breeze, Robbie Gelhardt
Full-Backs – Ciaran Brennan, Lee Monkhouse,
Defensive Midfielders – Robbie Dodoo, Kayne Redfearn, Gareth Patterson
Central Midfielders – Ellis Jones, Tariq Harfield, Matthew Boney
Attacking Midfielders – Jack Moore-Billam, Ross Tumilty, Wilson Killip
Wingers – Kristjaan Breakspear, Harley Brown
Strikers – Melvin Hartley, Saif Mengi, Ryheem England
you know you've gone too far when you slay Chelsea while still being at L1 and get to the FA Cup final

there's no way you won't attract the interest of other clubs
That Marcus Edwards buy is incredible work in the transfer market, well done. However, a shame to lose Ennis for such a small amount considering how important he had become to this team. On the pitch, another phenomenal season and a massive victory over Chelsea in the FA Cup. A shame to fall to West Brom but it happens. Now it seems you are settled at Leamington and assuming you'll be there for a number of years longer, I wonder just how far you can take this side.
Agree with Tango. Your run in the FA Cup has surely seen an improvement in your stock and hopefully clubs will now come calling for your services that may appeal to you.

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