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Leamington - 2026/27

I manage clubs on Football Manager Mobile and then tell you what happens.
Started on 7 December 2020 by Harleygator
Latest Reply on 22 April 2021 by Harleygator
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Likely to be a challenging campaign ahead. Best of luck.
Harleygator's avatar Group Harleygator
7 monthsEdited
Football Manager Story: A Football Manager Story
S2E2 – Pre-Season 2021/22

(Leamington FC, National League)



With my first season at Leamington having been highly dependent on loan signings, and in fact my promotion having been largely the product of efforts of two in particular – Harvey Vale and Michael Tait – I anticipated a rather extensive jaunt in the transfer market, and with a large remit in respect of positions. Having said that, the release of every single forward and attacking midfielder (except the excellent Chris Eagles) over the summer meant my focus was necessarily on bolstering my attacking options both out wide and in the centre. Most especially, the signing of a comparable shadow striker to Harvey Vale, or indeed Harvey Vale himself was critical for my tactical plans. The immediate problem, however, perhaps a consequence of our elevated standing, was a tightening of wage contribution demands from those top division sides who had previously given us a free ride. The result of this was a far greater insistence on permanent signings, as mentioned in the last update, but also a greatly diminished quality of loanee signings from clubs in much lesser standing than previous.

IN – Loan – Goalkeeper, Adam Przybek from Ipswich Town
IN – Loan – Central Defender, Charlie Barker from Charlton Athletic
IN – Loan – Full Back, Nathan Woodthorpe from Crewe Alexandra
IN – Free – Defensive Midfielder, Mason Goodridge
IN – Free – Central Midfielder, Josh Falkingham
IN – Free – Attacking Midfielder, Alex Babos
IN – Loan – Attacking Midfielder, Shay Lashley from Fleetwood Town
IN – Free – Winger, Harry Forster
IN – Loan – Winger, Michael Fernandes from Colchester United
IN – Loan – Winger, J.J. Donnelly from Wycombe Wanderers

OUT - £2’000 – Central Defender, Josh Martin to Chester
OUT - £675 – Winger, Kaiman Anderson to Kidderminster Harriers


First, the positive. Having discovered that Mason Goodridge had been released by Burnley, we were able to bring the player back as one of our own, a move that delighted many in a squad in which Goodridge had been popular; Michael Tait had also been released by Aston Villa, but given his rather poor record of injuries, we elected not to offer him a contract, and despite scoring 16 goals last season, I feel this was the right move. My favourite signing, however, was 30-year-old midfielder Josh Falkingham. I had previously signed Falkingham way back on FM10 for Crewe Alexandra, and he had been an excellent captain well into my save; likewise on FM20, with a leadership stat of 20 and with a Relentless personality, he immediately becomes the first name on my teamsheet and replaces Callum Gittings as captain.

Other than the two midfielders above, though, I was mostly underwhelmed by the activity this window. Regarding replacing or retaining Vale, I feel that this has been an early failure going into the season. My ideal solution had been to take Vale back off Chelsea for another season, but the Premier League side wanted us to stump up more than £2’000 per week in contributions to his wage, completely unworkable for a National League club. Although I managed to find two adequate players in this position, Alex Babos and Shay Lashley aren’t really comparable to Harvey Vale last season, let alone of a standard required to replicate his success in a higher league. Aside from disrupting my plans for a strikerless formation, this also leaves 16-year-old Kris Ellison as the only serious season-long goalscoring prospect in the squad, a burden which, I suspect, might be beyond the fresh newgen.

(3 – 1) Bath City (A) – K Ellison (1), R England (1)
(2 – 1) Barnet (H) – H Forster (1), K Ellison (1)
(2 – 2) Halifax Town (A) – R Cole (1), A Babos (1)
(1 – 0) Ebbsfleet United (H) – K Ellison (1)
(2 – 2) Chorley (A) – K Ellison (1)

And yet, as results demonstrated, what Ellison may lack in experience is most certainly not true of raw goalscoring instinct. It is worth remembering, however, that Michael Tait had a similarly impressive friendly record last season and then spent most of the rest of his time at the club in various states of disrepair. One hopes, especially with a player as impressive as Ellison undoubtedly is, that similar problems won’t plague him too.

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Replies

@Tango, I have been pronouncing it Ben "All-Nick", although you're probably right to say that it is "Annick".

@ScottT, thanks, most likely will be, and as with the recent update, I am not especially confident with the attacking options I've brought in. But we'll see.
nice
sad not to be able to bring the backbone of the past season, but let's hope the new signings show some talent as well
Football Manager Story: A Football Manager Story
S2E3 – August-October 2021

(Leamington FC, National League)



(3 – 0) Aldershot Town (A) VNL – K Ellison (3)
(2 – 2) Halifax Town (H) VNL – L Jones (1), C Barker (1)
(0 – 0) Barrow (A) VNL –
(3 – 0) King’s Lynn Town (H) VNL – K Ellison (2), R Cole (1)
(2 – 3) Torquay United (H) VNL – C Eagles (1), R England (1)
(2 – 2) Chesterfield (A) VNL – K Ellison (2)
(0 – 0) Notts County (H) VNL –

In what one must hope is a herald of things to come, we started the season with a hattrick from a 16-year-old and followed it in the very next game with a 95th minute equaliser. To have such thrills, among other considerations, as these so early in the season – the prospect of a young, fast, powerful and professional striker receiving service from a team with grit and determination to get results – is a great encouragement after a somewhat disappointing pre-season. Squad development being an ongoing concern, the primary focus turned towards injecting a little energy by way of trimming the elderly and bringing in some potential.

OUT – Terminated Loan – Goalkeeper, Adam Pryzbek to Ipswich Town
OUT – £775 – Central Defender, Jack Lane Hungerford Town
OUT – £5’000 – Central Midfielder, Jack Edwards to Hemel Hempstead
OUT – Recalled – Winger, J.J. Donnelly to Wycombe Wanderers

IN – £6’000 – Goalkeeper, Billy Rosa from Larne
IN – Free – Central Defender, Dennon Allamby from Blyth Spartans
IN – £40’000 – Central Midfielder, Ellis Jones from Port Vale
IN – Free – Winger, Peter Bastock from Hendon


Rather surprisingly, it has taken until August of my second season to remember that scouts need to be sent on assignment, something I had neglected completely for the entirety of my time as manager, some 15 or so months. Out they went, like Missionaries in Civilization V, and came back with a handful of apparent gems in Ellis Jones, Peter Bastock, Dennon Allamby and Billy Rosa, all at a ripening 17 years of age; I can’t quite work out whether these players are newgens or not, but each player is highly rated in regards to potential, though none are seriously in contention for regular game time this season.

(2 – 0) Wrexham (A) VNL – M Fernandes (1), A Babos (1)
(1 – 1) Stockport County (H) VNL – K Ellison (1)
(0 – 1) Dover Athletic (A) VNL –
(1 – 1) Bromley (H) VNL – M Fernandes (1)
(0 – 2) Boreham Wood (A) VNL –

As a team angling towards the mid-table as an ideal safe finish, I continued to be modestly satisfied with results, not tinkering tactically as much as normal and content to pick up the trickle of points, not decidedly second best in games either. We had, after all, come out with a few convincing victories; though, as September came on and stalemates abound, our initially positive position in the table slipped. Defeat against Boreham Wood prompted a change from a direct counter approach – the tactic of the nervous – to a more compact attacking game; 4-1-2-2-1 Narrow, high defensive line.

OUT – £500 – Central Defender, Kyle Morrison to King’s Lynn Town

IN – £10’000 – Central Defender, Luke Gabidon from Bamber Bridge
IN – £3’000 – Full Back, Ciaran Brennan from Hyde United


Scouting also continued with enthusiasm, and we were able to identify a couple more signings – Luke Gabidon and Ciaran Brennan. These players continue a trend of low fee, low wage teenagers from lower or non-league sides which, while not necessarily endearing me to the board or fans looking for more meat on the bones, this is a direction I nonetheless will continue to angle the club towards unless otherwise demonstrated to be folly.

(1 – 1) Hemel Hempstead Town (H) VNL – K Ellison (1)
(1 – 1) Hartlepool United (A) VNL – C Gittings (1)
(1 – 1) Sutton United (H) VNL – K Ellison (1)
(1 – 0) Boston United (A) FQ4 – K Ellison (1)
(2 – 1) Maidenhead United (H) VNL – R Cole (1), K Ellison (1)
(2 – 1) Solihull Moors (A) VNL – A Babos (1), C Gittings (1)
(4 – 1) Woking (A) VNL – K Ellison (3), R Cole (1)

Results finally picked up towards the end of October thanks, in part, to the continued good form of teenage starlet (I stop short of claiming wonderkid) Kris Ellison, who finished October winning both Young Player of the Month and, more impressively, the Player of the Month for October in the National League. We find ourselves in our roughly targeted position, 9th place, and in reasonable form. Unlike this same stage last season, the spectre of relegation appears unlikely, which is a weight off the mind; we can now focus on consolidating our good form and putting points on the board, rather than avoiding losing them.



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Replies

@deadzpool, thanks.

@Tango, just constant issues on the wings, really. Never able to get someone performing!
Ellison +10 is your team today

I wonder if that's too big of a burden to lie on 16 years-old shoulders though
Football Manager Story: A Football Manager Story
S2E4 – November-December 2021

(Leamington FC, National League)



IN – Free – Winger, Jodi Jones

Does anyone have any tips regarding release clauses for free agents? When you sign a player from another club, it’s quite easy to establish from their current value what an appropriate level for a release clause is, but when a free agent demands one and has no visible value, it’s horribly expensive to distract them with increased wages to remove it. The reason I ask is that several of my players have release clauses which are starting to get dangerously close to their actual value, and one of them has been triggered – and it burns. David Alvarez, the Spanish right-winger I picked up on a free transfer early last season has a £150’000 release clause, which has been offered by Bristol Rovers, and the player has promptly accepted their contract offer to leave the club in January; he is, at the time of writing, worth £550’000.

I suppose the one positive to take from this is that Alvares, being right-footed, was less capable in the role of right-sided inside forward, somewhat disrupting the balance of my formation, and had not scored a single goal for the club. I found an early replacement in Jodi Jones, a left-footed right-winger. Perhaps he would make more of an impact in the long-run, though you can’t expect too much of a player on his debut…



Scenes.

Following arguably the biggest game and certainly the biggest result of my career, the first unprompted job offer of my career dropped into my inbox. Scunthorpe United, apparently “languishing” in 10th position in League Two, wanted an unproven and inexperienced manager to take them to promotion, for some reason. With the club having enjoyed 3 wins on the bounce, it was a tempting career fast-track given that the squad was evidently capable of achieving it. Nevertheless, after some thought, I said no; while I feel no specific emotional attachment to Leamington, I don’t feel finished with the development of the squad – I want, ultimately, the team to be able to cope with the loss of a human manager before I abandon them to the merciless algorithms. I also don’t particularly want to manage my next club in England, given that the next club that would have me would be in League One or Two, neither of which I have much interest in trudging through for 3 or 4 seasons.

(3 – 1) Port Vale (H) VNL – K Ellison (2), J Jones (1)
(3 – 4) Dagenham & Redbridge (H) VNL – J Meade (1), J Jones (1)
(1 – 1) Maidstone United (A) VNL – K Ellison (1)
(3 – 1) Crawley Town (H) FA2 – K Ellison (1), M Fernandes (1), C Johnson (1)
(2 – 0) Flyde (H) VNL – S Mengi (2)

Back to results, we continued our positive improvements, via an incredibly frustrating match against league leaders Dagenham & Redbridge. Ben Alnwick suffered his worst game ever as Leamington’s No.1, which, rather sinisterly, coincided with a boost in morale for second keeper Jake Weaver. Alnwick saved a late penalty in the following game, and I decided to renew his contract with a rather agreeable 30% pay cut.

OUT – £625 – Central Midfielder, Simeon Maye to Truro City

IN – £40’000 – Central Midfielder, Luke Urey from Wrexham


As you’ll no doubt note, Kris Ellison has been on fire in his debut season in football. Given his age, I’m keen to manage him properly, to avoid jading him too much or causing injury; but this must be tempered by the consideration that he has scored 19 goals in 20 games. Thankfully, the club’s second youth Target Man, Saif Mengi, banged in 2 goals on his club debut against Flyde, giving us, hopefully, a viable option for rotation and substitution.

(2 – 0) Aldershot Town (H) VNL – K Ellison (2)
(4 – 1) Altrincham (A) VNL – H Forster (1), S Mengi (3)
(3 – 0) Solihull Moors (A) FT3 – K Ellison (3)
(1 – 0) Barrow (H) VNL – K Ellison (1)
(3 – 2) Halifax Town (A) VNL – K Ellison (2), J Jones (1)
(3 – 0) King’s Lynn Town (A) VNL – D Alvarez (1), H Forster (2)

Somewhat amusingly, David Alvarez used his final match at Leamington to score his first and final goal for the club. This contributed to a perfect December – 6 wins in 6 – and my first, but hopefully not last Manager of the Month award of the season. This takes some of the edge off the incoming departure of Alvarez for a quarter of his market value. On the transfer fee, while £150’000 is like the raising of buried treasure for a National League club, I intend to use the money in January to secure existing players’ contracts.

Looking to the future, the Scunthorpe job offer has prompted some introspection about my future. As mentioned, I have no real desire to manage Leamington for the next 5-10 years, nor to manage any club – except maybe Crewe Alexandra – in League One or Two. Naturally, if I am to progress as a manager, I will, upon leaving Leamington, have to raise my profile in other countries before getting a job offer from a Championship club. But when to leave Leamington? I will certainly see out the season here, but my next move will ultimately depend on how our current form develops. If we are promoted into League Two, I think I would be honour-bound to lead the club through a large chunk of its first season at least, as I do not believe in abandoning a side during such adjustment periods. And where would I go after that? I fancy somewhere cold, so we’ll see. Maybe Scandinavia. Probably Russia.



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Replies

@Tango, that's basically the measure of it, yeah. It's lower league, and Ellison is fast, strong and tall. It's pretty muich all you need, hence the absolute quarry-load of gold he's producing for us this season.
it's hard to estimate player values in lower leagues, at least for me

you can try to use the data on the transfer of similar players, but each of your estimations will probably be outdated for one transfer period
why dont use the free players shorlists? and if you have better offer leave. good luck
Football Manager Story: A Football Manager Story
S2E5 – January-February 2022

(Leamington FC, National League)



OUT – £150’000 – Winger, David Alvarez to Bristol Rovers
OUT – Loan – Full Back, Shay Nicholson to Coventry Sphinx
OUT – Loan – Defensive Midfielder, Gareth Patterson to Stratford Town

IN – £35’000 – Full Back, Harvey Sayer from Colchester United
IN – Free – Central Midfielder, Joe Batemen
IN – £10’000 – Attacking Midfielder, Jack Moore-Billam from Hednesford Town


The board and fans being mostly satisfied with mostly everything I’m doing for their club, it has been a slight annoyance to see my transfer policy coming in for some criticism in the last 6 months. Budgetary restraints being what they are, I’ve focused on bringing in cheap young talent from non-league clubs, or unwanted cheap young talent from League One and Two. I’m very happy with these signings, and some of them – particularly Ciaran Brennan and Luke Urey – have been regular rotation options thus far. But still my transfer acumen rating falls, with Leamington’s board and fans demanding more pizzazz. I say, tough; and throughout January made similarly characterized transfers. I was disappointed not to secure someone on the right-wing as a back-up to Jodi Jones; but I needed them to be left-footed to fit in with my tactics, and that is apparently a little more uncommon than I would’ve thought, and I couldn’t find one within budget.

(1 – 2) Ipswich Town (A) FA3 – K Ellison (1)
(2 – 0) Chesterfield (H) VNL – S Mengi (1)
(2 – 0) Folkestone Invicta (H) FT4 – M Fernandes (2)
(3 – 0) Notts County(A) VNL – M Fernandes (1), J Jones (1), K Ellison (1)
(2 – 1) Torquay United (H) VNL – M Fernandes (1), R Cole (1)
(2 – 0) Wrexham (H) VNL – R Cole (1), K Ellison (1)

January’s results continued an encouraging pattern as Kris Ellison notched up his 30th goal of the campaign, while I was awarded a 2nd MOTM award in a row. In response to this, Stockport County decided to do me a profound insult and offered me their vacant managerial position; unlike the Scunthorpe job offer, which had been tempting, this was a ridiculous offer from an underperforming club in the same league, quite decisively behind us and with limited prospect of catching up. Fortunately, this insult could be met in kind, as Stockport County was our very next game, and a chance to demonstrate why I rejected their advances.

(4 – 0) Stockport County (A) VNL – H Forster (1), R Cole (1), C Johnson (1), P Bastock (1)
(5 – 1) Spennymoor Town (A) FT5 – K Ellison (2), M Fernandes (1), L Urey (1), A Babos (1)
(4 – 1) Bromley (A) VNL – K Ellison (3), M Fernandes (1)
(5 – 0) Dover Athletic (H) VNL – K Ellison (1), M Fernandes (3), R Cole (1)
(2 – 2) Boreham Wood (H) VNL – S Mengi (1), P Bastock (1)
(2 – 1) Sutton United (A) FTQ – J Meade (1), R Cole (1)

Having built up momentum in December and January, February was the culmination of that rolling stone reaching terminal velocity, as the constant tinkering of tactics and roles and the improved chemistry of the squad clicked into high gear. As with last season, this has coincided with the formation of those relationship lines in the tactics window; I think maintaining a cohesive unit has much to do with success in this year’s edition, more so than I noticed in previous games. The highlight this month was the result against Dover – we had won 12 league games in a row by this point, but they had won 7 and were by no means a simple prospect. To win by so crushing a margin gives me confidence that we will be promoted at the end of this year.

We finished the month with another job offer, this time from Rochdale; I stand by my previous conviction that I will stay at Leamington during any promotion challenge and after its hopeful success, so any job offer will continue to be rejected until I decide to move on my own terms. Yet, I find myself analysing the sorts of teams that appear in the Jobs menu, and if we do get promoted to League Two, I find myself – while committed to improving the squad and raising the status of the club as much as I can – hoping for more modest results next season, to give me an out I can feel comfortable taking.



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Replies

@Tango, I wouldn't have to if they didn't insist on a minimum release clause, but it's proving to be an expensive task in wages to remove those clauses.

@deadzpool, I do, but it doesn't tell you what the players are worth until they actually join the club. And with Alvarez, he insisted on a £150'000 release clause, which is much lower than he was actually worth. Something I'll have to pay attention to, I guess.
I think at the end of the day those are the perks of lower league management, I guess. You can't dream of making too much money as this opportunity just does not present itself for the ones down there

at this final stretch, let's hope the boy wonder will allow you to catch up to Dag & Red, as the play-offs seem complicated to play in
Football Manager Story: A Football Manager Story
S2E6 – March-April 2022

(Leamington FC, National League)



It was a bit of an emotional start to March as we received a number of very tempting offers from Championship clubs for our free-scoring teenage marvel, Kris Ellison, who has bagged 36 goals so far this season and is the primary reason for our great form. Although Ellison has me as his favoured person, he wanted to consider offers; I allowed this, and he eventually agreed to sign for Barnsley for £2’100’000. I suspect this is a fraction of his value, and any manager would be reluctant to sell a player who has the kind of impact he has, but I feel I could literally build a League Two-winning side into my squad with those proceeds; it was too much to turn down after two seasons of loans, free transfers and non-league teenagers.

Also, annoyingly, Barnet triggered Lloyd Jones’ £200’000 release clause, so that’s my best striker and best defender out of the door in the summer. Fun.

Turning our attention to the pitch, we go into the final two months with both eyes fixed on chasing down Dagenham. They are only 6 points clear with 11 games left, so this is achievable; but they haven’t lost since November 30th, which does put a dampener on my confidence, especially as there is only one automatic qualification place – 1st – and the prospect of play-off games for the rest.

(4 – 1) Hemel Hempstead Town (A) VNL – K Ellison (2), A Babos (2)
(4 – 0) Hartlepool United (H) VNL – J Jones (1), K Ellison (1), M Fernandes (1), C Eagles (1)
(1 – 0) Sutton United (A) VNL – K Ellison (1)
(2 – 0) Solihull Moors (H) VNL – S Mengi (1), M Fernandes (1)
(3 – 1) Barrow (H) FTS1 – K Ellison (2), J Jones (1)
(2 – 0) Maidenhead United (A) VNL – R Cole (1), S Mengi (1)
(3 – 1) Barrow (A) FTS2 – K Ellison (2), H Forster (1)
(1 – 1) Boreham Wood (A) VNL – R Cole (1)

Boreham Wood (again) notwithstanding, we made a real statement of intent in March as we tried to put pressure on Dagenham in the penultimate month. A couple of confident semi-final performances put us through to the final of the FA Trophy and with a shot at the first cup trophy of my career. In the league, however, we only made one point on Dagenham, who maintained their excellent form. With 5 points to make up in 5 games, confidence is ebbing, though morale is high and results consistent; 3 of the remaining points on offer could be won against Dagenham themselves in the penultimate game, but we are relying on them dropping a further 3 points, a prospect which looks less likely given they have a fairly simple run-in of bottom-half sides.

(4 – 0) Woking (H) VNL – K Ellison (2), R Cole (1), L Urey (1)
(3 – 0) Maidstone United (H) VNL – K Ellison (2), R Cole (1)

But something odd happened with 3 games left: Dagenham’s manager f*cked off to a higher division, leaving them without a manager at this crucial juncture, and the club offered me the job. It was hilariously tempting to take over and claim the title for myself, but I naturally rejected it. You don’t get away from this fight that easy, Dagenham! We still have to make up that 5 point gap, but our opponents had suddenly been put in a position of crisis; we smelled blood.

(2 – 1) Altrincham (H) VNL – H Forster (1), A Babos (1)

We recorded a nervous win against Altrincham, wrapped up late in the second half with a rare Alex Babos goal (Harvey Vale, he is not, and a rather disappointing replacement). To my delight, the newly rudderless Dagenham lost 2-1 to Torquay United, meaning the league may well come down to the next game. But it isn’t the whole story, as we also need to play Flyde in the final game, our fellow National League North newcomers who sit in 3rd!

(3 – 1) Dagenham & Redbridge (A) VNL – M Fernandes (1), J Jones (1), L Jones (1)
(2 – 1) Flyde (A) VNL – K Ellison (2)

Scenes.



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Replies

@Tango, on the plus side, even sums like £150'000 can be a massive help for a club at this level, and a few more like that will give us some long-term stability.
yay, champions, fucking vacations and later some professional football, well done

Ellison will be going away but his departure will leave a big fat pile of cash into the club's bank accounts. Could be worse
You aren't going to see a much better run that! Incredible work.
Echoing the words of Jack. An incredible run has reaped an incredible and thoroughly merited reward. Congratulations!

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