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FM2022 Clumps to Champs! Road to Glory! Rayners Lane FC

Career mode, Road to glory
Started on 12 November 2021 by iamslowdeath
Latest Reply on 15 January 2022 by iamslowdeath
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This is our full game save on FM22. Taking Rayners Lane FC from level10 of English football to the premiership and then to the Champions League. I have never done this long a save so welcome to the ride with us.

We will be streaming parts of the save on twitch.

Why Rayners Lane:

We wanted a club in Level 10 with the lowest reputation possible and their reputation is 1 in FM22.
We will stick to a subset of the Lullujo rules, so I will start with no coaching badges and Sunday league experience. We will try to stick to the same club unless we get fired at which point I will try to only go and manage a team in the same league or below tiers. I will be playing with the attribute masking on, most of my players will be from the scouting team but if we need an emergency player in a position we absolutely need to strengthen I might dip into player search screen. However I will not be using any filtering on the players and they will need to be scouted or trialed. I think this is realistic as a club can lookup on the internet for players who play in a position. I think of scouting packages as paying data companies for data on players.
Staff I will hire via adverts only or from clubs in and around our competitors. Poaching of staff from other clubs is realistic in my opinion.
Training is something I will rarely dip into and I might add a session or two here and there.

Club Info:

A picture is worth a thousand words so here is the club info:
Season 1 June to December update:

We started the season by getting a bunch of trials and almost everybody in the trials were better than the players we got at the start and by the end of the preseason none of the original members were part of the team anymore.

In the preseason friendlies we beat 2 teams of tier9 and drew 1 more, so we are confident of a good season. We won the first preliminary round of the FA cup 3-2 vs Horndean in our first competitive match as manager, 3-1 vs Moneyfields in the 2nd preliminary round and lost 4-5 vs Stowmarket(tier 8) so we are very confident of our team.

In the FA Vase trophy we won the first qualifying round 2-1 vs Huntingdon, 3-0 vs Southhall to enter the competion proper where we drew 2-2 and won the replay at home 4-2. In the second round we were beaten 2-0 by Beckenham.

In the league we are unbeaten till the end of november with 44 points from 16games with 14 wins and looking to win automatic promotion.

We have also started studying for the National C License.
The second half of the season was fairly straightforward, we had a smooth ride to winning the league with 98 points. The only worry came when we lost our star striker
who had 22 goals from 24 games but Ben Fairclough stepped up to fill the void and ended the season with 30 goals from 36 league appearances.

Season Results:


End of the season the club has turned semi-pro with a 56k/yr wage budget for next season but almost all of our squad is wanted by teams in higher divisions so it will be a question of whether we can keep the squad together.

The club has also undergone a consortium takeover and we have an injection of 7k cash. The new management seems ambitious and want us to promote to the 8th tier next season and then consolidate there.
Season 2:

The first order of business for the season was to keep our players and we managed to keep 13 of the 17 players in the squad in last season. Unfortunately we could not keep Ben Fairclough whose 36 goals last season was instrumental in us winning the league.

At the end of the renewed contracts we were spending 20k/yr and another 30k/yr on staff. Staff is too much at this level but as per the rules we would almost always take all the staff the board wants to hire.

Our signings in the preseason was mostly getting the squad depth of 2 players per position. We are still far off that point but I am happy with the additions to the squad. Turning semi pro and then winning the league is hard ask but we will try to do our best.

We could not afford any of the better players due to our low reputation so we intend to wait till a few games in the season and then go for the free agents. Our squad seems good for this league and the media has us 8-11 to win promotion from the league.

We started the season with a bang, winning 5-0 in the FA cup first preliminary round, 3-1 in extra time in 2nd preliminary round as well as the first 3 league games to end August unbeaten in all completions.

Our first game in September was the FA cup First Qualifying round vs Horstam(tier 8) and we won 2-0 with record home attendance of 850. We got knocked out 2-1 away vs Winchgate & Fincham(tier 7). We qualifed for the FA Vase proper by winning the 2nd Qualifying Round 1-4 vs Westbury. Our unbeaten league run ended on October 1 with a 2-1 away defeat to Holbeach, followed by 2-2 draw vs Boston Town. We returned to winning ways in the FA Vase 1st Round with a 3-0 win over Hadley.

We had another takeover with the previous regime only lasting 3 months. Though the reports said I would be sacked the new chairman kept us and infused 7k into the club. He also gave us the permission to study for a National A License.

We started November with a bang beating 5-1 but followed it up with 3 draws. Then we beat Woodford in the FA Vase 2nd round 2-6 on replay. Our form continued to be patchy though and it continued through to December as well. We got knocked out of the FA Vase by Bary 1-0. Over the next few months we had a run of 2-3 wins followed by a loss and with the business end of season we are in 2nd place at the end of march in with 55 points in 26 games and 7 points of the table toppers.

An winning run of 5 games in April and with Tooting & Micham slipping up, we were 1 point of them by the end of April, so the chance of winning the league was still on. Both teams followed up with all won games in May and a 2-0 win vs Loughborough on 3rd of June got us top of league with 2 games to go and we won the last 2 games to win the league with 91 points from 38 games


Season 3:
We are in the Northern Premier League Division One Midlands this season and and this is a huge leap from the previous league. The wage budget is set at 97k/yr and we used it all up as we strengthened the team with 8 new signings in the preseason.

We began the season with a 2-0 win in the FA cup first preliminary round but were knocked out 1-0 in extra time by Barton town. The new signings had pushed to be favourites in the league with at even money. The start of the season was exciting as we had some high scoring games, with us winning 4 of the first 5 league games.

In the FA Vase we had a tough first qualifying round against Torrington which we won 2-0 at home on replay and then won in the 2nd round 2-0 vs Bilston. Form in October was patchy with us winning only 1 of the 4 games in the league and then struggling in FA Vase as well with the first round win over Hadley going to replay(0-0 and then 1-2). We had an excellent november winning all 3 league games and a 2-1 win over Cadbury Heath in the FA Vase.

We made the policy of continusly upgrading the team and as the scouts kept on bringing in new players we trailled and signed them. By december our best signing of the preseason was already 8th best. We were ruthless and culled some of our signings to keep bringing in better players while trying to keep the wage budget in check.

We were unbeaten in December winning 4 league games and drawing one. We won the FA Vase 3rd round against Croydon on replay(0-0 away, 4-0 home ). We ended December top of the league on goal difference with 36 points from 16 games.
The new year began in spectacular fashion with us winning 3 games in the league followed by a 3-0 FA Vase 4th round win vs Abbey, then we won 3 more games in the league, followed by 3-1 FA Vase 5th round win vs North Ferriby. We ended the last 2 games of february with 2 more wins.

Our first draw of the year came on 2nd March with 1-1 vs Halesowen but we bounced back with 1-3 win vs Bedworth before the crucial encounter away at Stockport who are breathing down our necks in the league and we came back with a 0-0 draw that kept us 3 points clear in the league with 12 games to go. Next up was the FA Vase Quarter final vs Bary who had knocked us out previous season but we are a much stronger team now and we had a comfortable 0-2 win.

Our unbeaten run was halted soon after by Belter Town 1-0 away, a game we dominated but could not score. We had another 1-0 vs Hilston though a couple of more wins gave us the league title with 2 games to go.

The FA Vase final was a low key affair with neither team doing well and we won 1-0 via a Ben Fewster thunderbolt from outside the box.


Season 4

We are in the Southern League Premier South this season and the board wants us to win the league straight up. The media prediction is 1st with 2-5 odds so this is even better than last season. Our wage budget has been bumped up to 172k/yr so we have plenty of room to play with. The first order of business was to ensure that we are not poached off players so we offered new contracts to a few players. Matt Rush was awful last season but he is the best striker in the league according to media so we decided to give him a run, but we got Will Goodwin as cover in case Matt doesnt liveup to the hype.

We had a busy august but we started well winning our first 3 games in the league as well as a 2-0 win vs Brighouse in the Northern Premier Cup and a 4-0 trashing of Basingstoke in the FA cup 2nd preliminary round. We had a couple of draws in September with 1-1 vs top spot Hayes & Yeading and 2-2 vs 2nd place Taunton. We continued to progress in FA cup with 4-0 and 5-2 wins vs Rugby and Poole.

A bunch of cup games came in October with 3-0 win vs Daventry in the Northern Premier cup round 2 , 4-1 win over Stalybridge in FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round, 1-0 win vs Harrow in the FA trophy 2nd Qualifying round. We faced Hartepool who are a Vanarama National League Side away in the FA cup 4th Qualifying round and we had a sensational 0-3 win with Rush and Goodwin combining well with the goals. In the league we won 2 and drew one as the squad's low numbers were catching up and we were unable to field fully fit 11 players.

November began with a 1-0 win over Lowestoft in the the FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round. We went out of the FA Cup in the First Round with a 2-0 defeat to Milwall but the tie gave us almost 80k income so our finances are handled for the rest of the season. We returned to winning ways with 0-2 win vs Bromsgrove In FA Trophy First Round and 2-0 vs Radcliffe in the Northern Premier Cup. We ended the month with 0-4 thrashing of Hevant & V in the FA cup 2nd Round.

Key Signings so far:

League Table:
Season 4 continued:

We started in December with our first league defeat 1-0 to Poole but bounced back strongly to win 3 games on the bounce. We then beat League 2 side Chesterfield 0-1 in the FA Trophy 3rd Round. A bunch of new signings were made and the key ones are below:

Connor Lawless

Alex Kirk

We got knocked out of the Northern Premier Cup 2-4 on Penalites by Woksok Town and followed that up with a 2-1 loss to Wingate & Finchley in the League. A poor run of form saw us pick up only 1 point in 3 games in February. We then had another sensational game in the FA trophy 5th round beating AFC Flyde 7-8 on penalties after 2-2 in normal time.
League form turned good for us and we won 3 of the next 4 games. In the FA trophy Quarter Final we had another crazy game we won 6-5 won penalties after 3-3 in regulation time. We lost in the semis vs Kettering 2-1.

We ended the league with 4 draws but with other teams slipping up we managed to be crowned champions with 83 points from 42 games with 24 wins, 11 draws and 7 losses.

Now I was surprised to see that winning the league is not enough to promote, and we needed to win the playoffs for that. We won the semis vs Gasport 2-1 but we had injury to Matt Rush who has been sensational for us all season.

We crushed the finals with a 5-2 win over Radcliffe with Rob Street scoring a hattrick.


Season 5:
Following our 4th promotion in 4 seasons we are now into the Vanarama National League South.
As we began life in the 6th tier of English Football our bank balance was 60k, thanks to our exploits in the cups last season. The board has set us a 10k transfer budget and 237k/yr wage budget. This is the first time we have a bit of transfer budget in our hands. The board continued to be ambitious and wants us to promote by winning the league this season and work towards the playoffs in the higher division next season. They also want us to reach the quarter finals of the FA trophy, reach the first round of the FA cup and win the Southern League Cup.

Our current stadium which we rent doesnt meet the regualtions of the league so we are moving to The Hive for next season which is 6500 capacity. Our average attendence last season was only 357 so it only adds additional cost to us.

Our problems at the beginning of the season was the lack of playing time for some of the influential players who were not good enough. I had to take the risk and increased cost of replacing them with players who were better and didnt want as much playing time as these guys.

The season started with a flurry of fixtures in August, something I had never had to deal with in the past 4 seasons. And this brought a bunch of injuries as we struggled to compete on all fronts with our small squad. We tried to rotate in the league and lost a few games here and there. By end of October we had 4 key players out injured and then we were hit with injury to Rob Street who was our main goal scorer with 13 goals from 15 games. Rob is out for 6 months and we sent him to a specialist for 3.2k. We sit in 3rd Place in the league with 24 points from 11 games. We went through to the FA cup first round winning the 4th qualifying round vs Methyr 3-1 on replay after the first game ended 2-2.

Cup games continued to come thick and fast through November with and we beat York in FA Cup first round 2-1 with us having the record attendence of 1713. We got knocked out of the FA trophy in the first round by Kidsgrove(tier 8) 1-3 at home which left the board furious as we were expected to reach at least the quarter finals. We won 2-1 vs Staines in the Southern League Cup 3rd round.

FA cup 2nd round vs Bolton was a step too hard and we did lose 0-1 in extra time. It broke our record attendence at 2959. We bounced back winning 5 games in a row in the league to go top of the league by end of December

We lost the first game of new year 1-2 vs Hampton& Richmond. Then we beat FC United 3-0 in the Southern League cup Fourth Round. We then went on a 5 match winning run in the league.

We beat St Ives 4-1 in the quarterfinals and Totton 3-1 in the semi finals of the Southern League cup.
The league we won with a game to spare and there were no hiccups this season as we had a smooth run to the title with 98 points from 40 games.

We won the Southern League cup 0-3 vs Poole to cap off a successful season.


Vanarama National League
Board Expectations:
League - Top Half
FA Trophy - Semi Finals
FA Cup - 2nd Round

The 6th season in charge we wanted to improve our youth recruitment but the board was not willing to do so. It was a wierd scheduling this season with the league starting in October. The squad seemed good enough to be a top half team and with a wage budget of 311k/yr this season we had some room to try and get a few star players.

Zane Monlouis:

Jovan Malcolm:

Match fitness was an issue in the cup games with the league starting so late. We managed to scrape past Taunton 2-1 in the FA cup 2nd Qualifying round and needed a replay against Bishop's Cleeve in the 3rd Qualifying Round. We got into the competion proper with a 2-4 win over Torquay in the Fourth Qualifying Round.

In the league we did remain unbeaten in October with 4 wins and 2 draws to be in 6th place. First Round of FA cup got us facing League 1 side Fleetwood Town at home and a 0-0 draw setup a away replay. We were forced to play a rotated side but we won a scrappy game 1-2 with Abdulmalik and Rush scoring the goals. Its the first time we have beaten a League 1 side so really happy with the progress the team is making.
Also kicked off the FA trophy campaign with a 3-1 win over Boston United. We ended November 2nd Place in the League with 27 points from 11 games.

We got knocked out in 2nd Round of FA cup with a 3-0 defeat to Forest Green Rovers. In the league we had only 1 win and 3 draws as we slipped to 6th place by the end of December.

A very important second half of the season loomed for us at the beginning of 2027 and we had a frustrating start with a 1-1 draw vs Bromley. Form picked up with 3 consecutive wins in the league followed by a 3-1 win over Swindon in the FA trophy fourth round. Two extremely important games followed against 2nd Place Kidderminister(1-1) and table toppers Wrexham(1-1). League form continued to be solid post that with 8 points in the next 4 games.

We reached the FA trophy quarterfinals with a 0-6 demolition of York, showing what we can do when at full strength. We were bought down from that high with our first defeat in the league 4-3 away at Hartepool. We faced two more 1-0 defeats away at Flyde and Kidderminister in March. We won the FA Trophy Quarterfinal vs Ebsfleet 2-0 at home and the SemiFinal vs Wehmouth 3-0 . An brilliant run of 10 wins on the trot had us ending April in 2nd Place with 2 points behind table toppers Kidderminister.

In terms of youth intake we had finally a player who was rated 1 star and we signed a few more from the youth intake as we needed to slowly work towards building a youth side as well. It may be a bit premature but I wanted to progress and have a youth side as well.
We won the next 3 league games giving us 1 point lead going to the final game of the season.
FA trophy final we won 2-0 vs Wrexham with goals from Coyler and Abdulmalik.
The last game of the season was away vs Wrexham and a 50th minute strike by Coyler gave us the 0-1 win and the promotion to League 2 as champions.


Great progress so far, and no less than one might expect of a seasoned FM player. I've personally found, after years of long LLM saves, that I'm a bit rusty with the more demanding tactical work needed at higher levels... LLM is a simple task, but League Two upwards is going to need a change in mindset. Be interesting to see how you adapt to more technical requirements.
I wont consider myself a seasoned player, I have been playing FM for about 3 months now and this is our longest save so far @Harleygator. I have never managed anything in the higher leagues so I will have my work cut out. Will see how this goes.
Skybet League 2
Board Expectations:
League - Mid Table
FA Trophy - Semi Finals
FA Cup - 2nd Round
Papa John's Trophy - 2nd Round

Rayners Lane turned professional on 19th July, 2027, huge occasion for the club which only 6 years ago was in the 10th tier of English Football. With the pro status came a wage budget of 441k/yr and a transfer budget of 29k. However increased costs and wages for players meant we were already at 350k wages before we even signed anyone. My decision to sign youths intake players have already backfired as they had to be moved from 250/yr to 7.5k/yr contracts meaning 40k/yr on players I wont even be able to play ever. Selling them was not even possible despite my efforts.

We needed to strengthen the squad and we managed to get in 3 signings before our wage budget was over. We got 2 players on free loans and a GK on full wage loan. We had to take the hard decision of letting DJ Campton-Sturridge go who was 2nd Choice striker last season but with Abdulmalik scoring heavily last year, he takes that spot. DJ went for 46k to Bolton which is our record sale. We also sold Ricky Aguilar for 10k, he made 51 league apperances for us in the last 2 seasons.

We made a winning start in the league with a 2-0 win at home vs Carlile, followed by 2-2 draw vs Salford and 1-2 win over Solihul Moors. We broke our record attendence with 3110 watching our 1-1 draw vs Barnet. Our first defeat in the league came against Moracambe(3-1) on 28th August. We Kicked of our Papa John's trophy campaign with a win against Chetenham with a 0-0(3-5 on penalties). Extremely happy with a solid August in this campaign.

September was going to be a tough month and it showed with just 5 points in 5 games with defeats vs Tranmere(2-0) and Kidderminister(2-4). We had a busy October with a 1-3 win over Bristol Rovers securing 2nd round in Papa John's trophy. We needed a replay vs AFC Sudbury 2-2 and 2-1 to progress in the FA cup fourth qualifying round. In the league we had an unbeaten month with 4 wins and draw in 5 games to be in the 7th place with 29 points from 16 games.

October also saw us get busy in the transfer market as we got Timi Odusina as a replacement for Zane Monlouis. His wages are higher than Monlouis but a 240k offer from Lincoln was too good to turn down so Monlouis becomes our record club transfer.
The money meant we could ask the board to improve both the training and youth facilities, it will cost us 410k altogether but this is imperative if we want to progress as a club.
November began with a 1-0 loss vs Shrewsbury, but we bounced back in the FA cup first round with a 3-0 win over Leyton Orient breaking the club record for attendence with 3127 as well as gate reciepts with 60k earned from the game.


The first game in December was Papa John's trophy 2nd Round vs Swindon and we won 1-2. We won the FA Cup 2nd Round vs Dag&Red 1-4 and FA Trophy 3rd Round vs Alfreton 3-1. In the League we had 4 draws on the trot before ending the month with back to back wins over Port Vale and Bristol Rovers.

We began the new year with a 3-0 win over Solihul Moors and then won the Papa John's trophy 3rd Round over 10 man Exeter 0-3. We then beat Hull in the FA Cup 3rd Round on penaties 3-1 after 0-0 in regulation time. We beat Brighton U23s in the Papa John's trophy quarter finals. In the league we didnt do too well with 4 points from 4 games with losses vs 3rd place Gillingam(2-0) and Exeter(1-2).

Our FA Cup run continued with a Fourth round win over Preston(Championship side) with a 1-3 win on penalties after a 0-0 draw in regulation time. Jed Ward was absolutely insane this game with 18 saves.
We picked up 12 points from 5 games in the league with 4 wins. The only loss in february came against 2nd Place Oxford 3-1. The youth facilities have now been upgraded from poor to basic.

FA cup journey came to an end on the 1st of March with a 2-0 loss to West Ham but a 46k crowd meant we made 1.1 million from the tie. That kind of money is simply unheard of for us and it means huge improvements can be made in the club. The first investments went towards improving youth recruitment and junior coaching both improving to basic levels.
Papa John's Trophy Semifinal vs Forest Green Rovers ended in 2-1 defeat, ending the dream there. We kept the FA trophy dream alive with a 0-4 win over Blyth Spartans in the Quarterfinals. The league we won both games in march.

April was lighter in schedule with us winning the FA trophy semifinal 1-0 vs AFC Sadbury and in the league we picked up 13 points from 5 games. This left us in 4th place with 1 game to go in the league. Lost the last game of the season vs Burton 1-2 and we finished 4th in the league.

The playoffs semifinals were against Macsfield and we won 2-0 on aggregate. We lost the FA trophy final 2-1 vs Yeovil. We ran out of steam in the end and lost 4-2 vs Bristol Rovers to lose out on promotion.


League Table:

iamslowdeath's avatar Group iamslowdeath
1 yearEdited
Skybet League 2
Board Expectations:
League - Champions
Carabao Cup - 2nd Round
FA Cup - 3rd Round

The new season comes with the good news that Rayners Lane is now regarded as a Category 4 youth setup.
The board has been ambitious and given us 1.1m/yr as the wage budget as well as 800k in transfer budget. We used the wage budget to strenthen the team outside the first 11 as we have seen last season a lot of bench was needed in this league with fixtures coming thick and fast.

We started the season well with a 2-1 win over Moracambe. We got knocked out of the Carabao Cup 1-0 vs Fulham(Premier League), we cant complain we were way out of depth against them. We had a perfect start with 5 wins in August as we ended the month top of the league. We had to sell Kevin Smith who was one of our stars as Peterborough met his release clause of 250k, our record sale. Jamie Romeo was bought in for 60k which is our record signing.

We managed to have an unbeaten September with 3 wins and 2 draws, however injury to Malcom creates worries prior to the busy months of the season. Training facilities upgrade to Below Average completed in September as well. We went on a torrid run in October with injuries all across the team, and we lost 3 games in a row. Morale hit horribly low with a botched up team meeting, so a 3-0 win over 20th place Sutton could not have come at a better time. We lost again 3-1 to Shrewsbury next game and it was extremely worrying. We ended October with a 1-0 win over Carlisle.

We signed 33yr old Oliver Verdon on a short term contract to help with the defence. We won our next game vs Scunthorpe 0-2 to go top of the league on goal difference. Max Russel got injured again for 5 weeks so we decided to buy a cover striker for him and made offer to Cory McCrory. We needed a replay in the FA cup first round to get past Wrexham (1-1 and 1-0) and faced Wrexham again in the league with a 4-1 win. The next 3 games in the league we won and the last game of the month was 1-1 vs Mansfield away. At the end of November we are top of the league with 48 points from 22 games.

Our FA cup run ended in 2nd round with a 2-1 loss to Gillingham. We then had a 3-3 draw vs Cambridge and then embarked on a 9 game winning run in the league. First game of February we drew 2-2 against Portsmouth, followed by a 4-2 win against Southend. Our unbeaten run ended with a 2-1 loss over Carlisle. We won the next 2 league games before drawing aginst Wrexham 0-0. A 4-0 demolition of fleetwood secured promotion with 7 games to go while we won the league with 5 games to go with a 2-2 draw away at Port Vale.



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