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Yes....Maidenhead United

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Kiwi's avatar Group Kiwi 2011-10-25 18:10
nz 1279 posts 46 likes joined Aug 14, 2011
Home Attendance
I still intend playing away friendlies with my R-18 squad and reserves, so will collect on average 30K per match for at least 20 days in a month, mainly at the expense of Australian and NZ clubs. Even with the club running at a profit, it will be about 20(!!) years until I have nice and shiny bright training, corporate, youth setup and academy. The attendance last year was about 780 on average, with a stadium of 4,500 capacity. I hope I can get a stadium sell-out this year, and improve on attendance record. I am on track to sell 400 season tickets, and the ticket price is $18.20 or $331 for the season.

Free transfers
Other free transfers have included French CB Bouvier, Welsh midfielder Geddes, a young Dutch goalie Wout Verbeek, and a couple of Italians to strengthen my midfield and provide backup for my 2 main strikers. Montano proved himself last term, but my other back-up strikers - as they were in the previous season, Taylor, Moses-Garvey, Amos - were disappointing, so will be transferred out. I have acquired Marco Longo, who is in the mould of Harry Bunn and Andrea Brunetti, who can also cover midfield. My hope is that they perform better that their predecessors, who will be slaving in the reserves until I can organise transfers for them.
This post was edited by Kiwi (2011-10-25 18:49, 6 years ago)
Kiwi's avatar Group Kiwi 2011-10-25 18:12
nz 1279 posts 46 likes joined Aug 14, 2011
Squad Weakness
A right FB this transfer window would be great, but if not, I still have captain Aynsley McDonald who will be used off the bench a lot this term, to cover. Given Philliskirk wage demands I have appointed Ferretti vice captain in anticipation of Philliskirk leaving, or being pushed.

If I can't acquire a right FB, I may need to look at another CB, and use McDonald as FB cover. Initial scouting has come up blank on free agents and being the tight financial controller I am, I am not keen to spend money unnecessarily. My scouts have uncovered that Arsenal reserve player, CB Sead Hajrović, would be willing to discuss terms with 1.3M compo and wages starting at 3.5K p/w. I don't believe that that deal represents value for money. I may however change my mind if one of my starters goes lame.

My right midfield slot is also short on depth, starter Hubbins should be competitive, and Chris Briggs I would trust to finish a game. The only cover I have in the first squad is Turkish but home grown designated (and surprisingly also a product of Arsenal, but bought in a free transfer), Oğuzhan Özyakup.
The right side has given me cause for concern, especially if I lose my key players early in the season to injury. I don't want my lack of depth to be exposed and for opposition to be free to dance up the right flank and for the team to be repelling attack after attack. Sapping the stamina levels of my defensively minded players would then be a further consideration.
This post was edited by Kiwi (2011-10-25 18:50, 6 years ago)
Kiwi's avatar Group Kiwi 2011-10-25 18:15
nz 1279 posts 46 likes joined Aug 14, 2011
My three transfer targets (I am targeting two particularly because they are free agents) in January are an Italian FB, which isn't needed so much now Helan has signed for another two years, but I get the feeling he is liable to be a target for bigger clubs given he doesn't want to discuss terms, and another Argentine/Italian to boss the midfield. There is also a fantastic CB who can cover the midfield, but the drawback is, you guessed it, he is another Italian.

Drawbacks of the Italians:

    Specialist left FB, although does also cover wing back, which isn't a position I use
    CB would give me a good cover from the bench to cover two key positions. With a seven man bench, it would allow McDonald to cover the FB positions.
    May already have three Italians in the match day squad, although only one is guaranteed to start. I don't want a problem like Joannes3000 had with his Italian in his Newport story.
    Still may not sign with me, but as I have discovered, being unemployed for six months is a great humbler.

Drawbacks for the Argentine:

    Specialist midfielder, but I should replace Philliskirk and this guy looks like he has it all. He's under contract at the moment and doesn't want to discuss a contract with me, and probably worse of all, Man U are interested. Although, based on their showing at home, against City, one would be forgiven....
Kiwi's avatar Group Kiwi 2011-10-25 18:18
nz 1279 posts 46 likes joined Aug 14, 2011
I am wanting to limit the number of "foreigners" that I have playing, English players have dibs on the two strike slots, the right winger (Luke Hubbins), Flanagan in defence, and potentially Briggs, McDonald and Philliskirk - initially the greedy.. .- playing from the bench. Welshman Geddes should start in midfield. A lot will depend on whether I can pick any suitable right sided players by the end of August, but due to my relative poor reputation, many of my English based targets - and can anyone tell whether it has been corrected in FM12 - don't want to engage in discussions even after you have agreed a price with the club. Maybe I am being hopeful as most of the scout reports do say, he has no intention of signing with you.

If we step out of the game for a moment, and back to reality. Would that behaviour happen in real football? Would a club spend time negotiating a release fee and package if the team member in question would have no willingness or desire to join the club? I would have expected either the club to shut down the negotiations, either by rejecting the deal, or by asking for an astronomical fee. Similarly for the player, listen to the offer and reject it if it not to my liking.

It hasn't been apparent from the friendlies I have played to date, but there is now a fairly wide geographic diversity coming together under the Maidenhead United banner, and I am sure I am going to encounter problems with my players who don't speak English. Due to my low reputation have been unable to sign many players who were based off-shore and as a result everyone, with the exception of Ferretti spoke English. Now with an active off-season recruitment, I have a myriad of languages: Dutch (Goalkeeper), Italian and French (Centre Backs) Romanian and Italian (bench) and Arabic (Left winger) and Argentinean (midfielder). I hope the squad is able to blend well and pick up the language quickly, although I am sure I am going to have problems.

There is a high number of utterly fantastic re-gens coming out of particularly Italy, France and Argentina. Man U have some high quality defenders, compensation levels are extremely high, and I won't worry because none want to sign with me, even on loan!

I know I can prattle on a bit, so onwards now to the Jan window.
Kiwi's avatar Group Kiwi 2011-11-05 00:47
nz 1279 posts 46 likes joined Aug 14, 2011
January window

Complete control had been maintained over the transfer budget and wages - funds were collecting nicely in the kitty due to the sacrifice of the R-18 and reserve squads playing each day they can for $30K. Building is due to be completed in June for the training facilities.

The squad results were pleasing, we had captured my first EPL scalp, with a 3-0 home win against Sutherland, and competing for 90% of the match against Blackburn (granted it was their reserves squad) to lose 0-1, and managing to work my set piece magic with Wigan, winning 4-1 in the first leg of the League Cup semi, and drawing the second (home) leg 2 all. Meeting Tottenham in the final, the best we can hope for is to lose with grace and honour.

Running first in League Two, the invitation was extended to change the expectation for the season. Punting with the house, the expectation has been raised to "win the league", but the wage budget has now been extended to 49.5K, and the transfer kitty remained at 9.6M, before the Board saw fit to inject an additional cool 1.5M

The front trio of Eccleston, Bunn and Vavassori have been a revelation and have ensured scoring goals at a higher level has not been a concern. The defensive line has held and the new stopper Verbeek and centre-back Bouvier have gelled well with the team and have impressed.

Both the attack and defensive records are top of the chart, with individuals from Maidenhead featuring predominantly on the top ten stats list for the League.
What has been concerning thus far, has been the lack of depth in the squad, and have been guilty in past seasons of not swapping out players at half time, or at the 60 min mark because the player on the pitch is so much better than the player of the bench. This has meant often that the designated "starters" often have not recovered conditioning from one match to the next.
Kiwi's avatar Group Kiwi 2011-11-05 00:49
nz 1279 posts 46 likes joined Aug 14, 2011
With that in mind, the five players that have bought into the squad are to develop strength in those areas - except for the extremely problematic right FB position - and what is particularly pleasing is that two of these five are United Kingdom born and bred. The other pleasing aspect was that the club was able to attract these players without paying excessive transfer fees or wages. The flip side of this of course is that it is fast developing a team of, albeit talented, regens, within three seasons.

In no particular order, the new Maidenhead signings:

Luca Pellegrini - Free Transfer ex Roma - Italian - CB/DMC/MC - Young Italian who was a 50-50 signing due to the sheer number of Italians (or players with Italian heritage) in the squad, but covers the central midfield and central defender position (currently used in the standard tactics) and gives the flexibility to play a defensive midfielder if the tactic is required.

Hector Perma - 240K – ex Rosario Central - Argentina - A/ML - A left midfielder who had been attempting to engage in contract discussions for the last year or more, and we finally had enough of a reputation to be taken seriously. Another with Italian nationality so didn't need a work permit, which is always a bonus. He will be looked to take some of the slack on the left flank, and share with Ibouzidene, who may even be squeezed into the midfield.

Bjorn Leerdam - 120K ex Ajax - Dutch - Left FB - Heir apparent for Helan, and gives a certain level of comfort knowing that Helan, McDonald and Leerdam cover this position. Leerdam skills outstrip Helan and McDonald, so he will take over the starting role, with the others providing options from the bench. It also means there won't have any qualms about accepting an offer for Helan should any avail themselves in the next six months - last season there was a 400K offer from Norwich which was knocked back.

These two following transfers represent coups for Maidenhead, and show how far the club has come in three short years.

Darren Bryant - Free Transfer - ex Aston Villa - England - A/MR/ST - This lad is an absolute beast standing at 2.02 metres, and while scouts were tracking him, it was a surprise that Aston Villa released him. Further, it was impressive that the dreaded red box didn't appear when attempting to sign him. He will be played on the right wing, in place of Hubbins.

Paul McKenna – Free Transfer - ex Celtic -Scotland - M/DC - McKenna was signed to give cover again, the squad have been extremely lucky with my injuries so far this season, and in the run in to the end of the season legs can get tired.

As a rule, players who are recovering from injury or with conditioning less than 90% do not make the match day squad. As such, having fresh players to cover positions in the starting squad is particularly important. Bryant and McKenna also are useful because they are UK based players, so speak English, and can be put towards fulfilling the home-grown quota in future seasons.

Onwards to the end of the season.....

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