Skybet League 2
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.