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Being the Guv'nor

Started on 14 November 2011 by jakegodda03
Latest Reply on 21 November 2011 by jakegodda03
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[uBradford City AFC
My first plunge into the world of Football Manager has landed me the hot seat at Bradford City of the npower league 2. Chosen at random this isn’t a side I’m at all familiar with but will give it my best shot. Not so long ago, in the 90s, this side was battling the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool in England’s Top division. It’s been all doom and gloom since then and the Bantams have fallen into the depths of the Football League. Clearly the expectation will be high at this club and the fans will surely be demanding the team takes a step up a division this year. The media predicts a 7th place finish for us, just sneaking into the league 2 playoffs….let’s see what the board say…

The board expect the team to get into the playoffs at the very minimum. So how much money do I get to spend on new players? £0.…oh right, well how’s the wage budget then? £25k a week. Ok seems good what the total wage cost at the moment? £26.5K a week…so we’re over budget before I’ve even started then? Yep.

So on day one of my new job I ended up sacking four of my players to reduce the wage bill. But on a more positive note I have managed to pick up two new players in pre-season, a free transfer and a loan from Coventry City
Jamil Adam ST
The ex Barnsley man comes very highly recommended and was a must have for my team. I’m paying him a lot of money but fingers crossed he’ll be worth it. The lad never stops running and has brilliant technique to go with it. I’ve got high hopes for him.
Gael Bigirimana MC
On loan from Coventry City, the young, English born, Burundian will be my deep lying play maker. Very strong mentally and an accomplished passer of the ball I’m hoping he proves influential in the middle of the park.

I’m going to jump straight into my first competitive match now. It proved to be quite a game.

Npower League 2

Port Vale Vs Bradford City

Venue: Vale Park, Stoke-on-Trent

The match could not have started better for me. I’d just taken my seat in the dugout when we’d won a corner already. Jamie Devitt took the corner from the left sending it to the back post. Rising up over the Port Vale defence was my Captain and centre back Guy Branston. GOAL! 2 Minutes in and Branston smashes in a header. Get in there son.
Port Vale 0 Bradford City 1

No less than five minutes later a lovely combination of quick passing between my two boys saw Adam end up with the ball just in the Port Vale half with his back to goal. Adam dinks a lovely lofted through ball over the top. The race is on! My striker Craig Fagan versus the Port Vale keeper Tomlinson. Fagan gets there first and heads the ball. It smashed Tomlinson straight in the face who is too stunned to react. Ball now on the floor Fagan is given the simple task of putting the ball in the goal unchallenged. GOAL! 7 minutes into the game. This is fantastic.
Port vale 0 Bradford City 2

It’s 20 minutes in when Jamil Adam picks the ball up in his own half. He dribbles across the half way line and draws in the Port Vale centre back. Fagan takes this chance to run into space and Adam plays a lovely through ball on the floor. One on one with the keeper now, can he finish? GOAL! No doubt slots it low to the keepers left making it look easy, 2nd goal for Fagan. Surely this is too good to be true?
Port Vale 0 Bradford City 3

Rightly so my boys were confident now, this game looked as though it was in the bag after just 20 minutes of play. Perhaps this was too our own downfall and before half time Port Vale managed to hit back twice through strikers Marc Richards and Andy Little. My defence was pushing up far to high perhaps over confident and allowing acres of space for their forwards who have too much pace for my strong but slow defenders. Half time.
Port Vale 2 Bradford City 3

At half time I gave my boys the credit they deserved for a great start but warned against complacency in the second half. I told my defenders to sit deeper and warned about leaving to much space in behind. I was really stressing out over the fact we had been 3-0 up and were now only 1 goal in front. To lose from a huge lead like that would be very embarrassing. The game re-started and I grew very nervous as the Port Vale players could sniff a memorable comeback. On 55 minutes my boys had won a corner. Jamie Devitt took it again sending it to the back post. Would this work again? GOAL! You bet! Captain fantastic, Guy Branston rises high and sends the ball towards goal. Port Vale’s keeper gets a hand to it but it isn’t enough and the ball finds the top corner! Two goal cushion restored, surely the game was ours.
Port Vale 2 Bradford City 4

It lasted 2 minutes, too my absolute horror my defence had done exactly what I told it not to. Pushing up to high Port Vale dinked it over the top for their winger who ran all the way to the by line unchecked and crossed it in easily for midfielder Gary Roberts to head in at point blank range. Goal for Port Vale. I barked at my defence to sit deep to stop this happening. So you can imagine how I felt when I saw Port Vale Winger, Haldane, get in behind yet again, my defence all stood on the half way line!!! This time taking it on alone and smashing the ball into the net with a powerful finish. My defence stood and stared at each other. What don’t they understand about sit deep! GRRRRR.
Port Vale 4 Bradford City 4

I had to go for it now. I threw on Marc Stewart as Fagan looked too tired to keep up the standard of his first half display. On 72 minutes Centre back Branston headed the ball forward from a Port Vale goal kick. It came to Stewart who had just come on. Port Vale’s defence stopped as they looked to the linesman. NO FLAG! Stewart was in the clear one on one…GOAL! He slots it in low past the keeper. WOW what a game this is turning out to be, surely now, surely this is ours.
Port Vale 4 Bradford City 5

15 minutes left to go and I’ve got no nails left to bite. At least my defence is sitting deep finally. Come on lads hold on for me. A Port Vale player has a go from long range. That’s no problem for the keeper I think to myself and sure enough Duke collects the ball with ease…but then drops the ball. NOOOO! Port Vale midfieder Gary Roberts takes advantage and finishes from less than 6 yards out. Cant believe it.
Port Vale 5 Bradford City 5

Full Time Result: Port Vale 5 Bradford City 5

What a game to start off with! 10 goals, end to end football, hats off to Port Vale they just kept coming back at us a draw a fair result on the day. No problems with the attack it would seem however I know for sure what I’m going to be plasticising in training this week. Deep Defending. Four of their goals came about because the line was too high something I’ll have to look at as I have no quick defenders.

For those who read this and think “he goes on a bit” don’t worry. I wont be doing every game as in depth as this, just thought it was a great game for my first competitive match. Next up Hull City in the League Cup!
August 2011 update

League Cup Round 1

Bradford City V Hull City 9th August

I wasn’t expecting to win this won with Hull being two divisions above us, and to be honest it’s not a competition I want to be in. It didn’t start well with Hull getting a penalty in the first 3 minutes. A brilliant save from goalkeeper Matt Duke kept it at 0-0. Hull City took a first half lead through Matty Waghorn’s strike but my boys stuck at it well and got reward in 62nd minute. A delightful strike on the edge of the box from Jamil Adam went curling into the top corner to give him his first goal for Bradford. This took the game into extra time. My players didn’t have the legs however and the class showed as Waghorn scored again for Hull in extra time. A defeat for my team but I think we did ourselves proud in this game.

Full Time: Bradford City 1 Hull City 2 (aet)

Npower League 2

Bradford City V Shrewsbury Town 13th August

My first game at home in the league was well contested up until the 42nd minute. Level at 2-2 my centre back Luke Oliver earned himself an early bath for tow yellow cards. The shrews took full advantage going on to score two more goals, winning it 4-2. The highlight of the game was another sensational goal from striker Jamil Adam on the edge of the area. However that is now 9 goals conceded in just 2 games. Need to sort it out.

Full Time: Bradford City 2 Shrewsbury Town 4

Npower League 2

Bristol Rovers V Bradford City 16th August

A tough looking game against promotion favourites started off badly for us. Bristol dominated and deserved their goals going into half time 2-0 up. Fearing a third straight loss I brought out the hairdryer at half time letting the plays know exactly how disappointed I was with their performance. Captain Guy Branston lead the way and on 72 minutes he crashed in a header from a corner. THE COMEBACK IS ON! Jamil Adam was instrumental in this game and was grabbing my team by the scruff of the neck to get them back in it. On 82 minutes he skipped past a Bristol defender, then layed it off for Craig Fagan who rifled it in from 18 yards. 2-2. Comeback complete. That’s how it ended. Still no win yet but I was pleased with the draw against one of the top sides in this division

Full time: Bristol Rovers 2 Bradford City 2

Npower League 2

Bradford City V Macclesfield 20th August

We went into this game needing to kick start the season and grab a first win. It was a very tight game and to be fair to Macclesfield they had all the chances and were playing much better. Things got worse when my star striker Jamil Adam hobbled off in the first half. Onto the 2nd half and Macclesfield came out strong again. It took a brilliant move for my side to break the deadlock. A free kick from Jamie Devitt was lofted into the area, a lovely combination of headers from Stewart and Flynn put in Craig Fagan who slotted it in low with a lovely placed shot. Harsh on Macclesfield. They put my goal under siege firing in several shots. My keeper Duke played out of his skin and kept us in. With Macclesfield pushing up we got a lucky break and Jamie Devitt managed to get a goal in stoppage time to confirm the win. A much better defence display and a first win for me. DELIGHTED! On the down side though…Jamil Adam out for four weeks, who will step up to the plate?

Full Time: Bradford City 2 V Macclesfield 0

Npower League 2

Barnet V Bradford City 27th August

Strongest performance from my team so far saw us win comfortably away to Barnet. My replacement for Jamil Adam really took advantage of his chance in the team, Mark Stewart bagged two goals for us really staking a claim that he should be starting. Craig Fagan got the other. Barnet never looked like scoring.

Full time: Barnet 0 Bradford City 3

Johnstone’s Paint Trophy North 1st Round

Notts County V Bradford City 30th August

A tough fixture against a team a division above me although I fancied us in this competition and I wanted to go for it. We competed well a took the lead. Right winger Bryan crossing it deep for Jamie Devitt to head it home. Notts County came back and managed to get an equaliser 32 minutes in. Despite this my side looked stronger and the more hungry for it. Infact it took just 4 minutes for us to regain the lead. This time Jamie Devitt repaying the favour by crossing low for Bryan to finish off. Top performance from both my wingers there. In the 2nd half we managed to hold onto the lead an didn’t ever come under to much pressure from Notts County. Really happy with this result and we march on into the second round.

Full Time: Notts County 1 Bradford City 2

Npower League 2

Bradford City V Oxford United 3rd September

I’d lost 3 of my first team players before this game all to international duty. Three players who were all in top form as well so I was worried about this game. I needn’t have been though. The team were outstanding in the first half. A stellar display from Mark Stewart who was doing brilliantly in the absence of Jamil Adam saw us go in at half time a brilliant 4-0 up. Midfielder Ritchie Jones getting a brace, Stewart helping himself to one and an OG by an Oxford defender put the result beyond doubt. In the 2nd half though, to my dismay we started to look like the Bradford City of old. Oxford fought back grabbing a goal in the 68th minute. 4-1. No sweat right we were well ahead. In the 83rd the got another goal. 4-2. Still with just 7 minutes left surely they wouldn’t score again? They did. In the 88th minute they got a 3rd goal and it was now 4-3. I couldn’t watch as in stoppage time Oxford United striker James Constable went clean through on goal….one on one….SAVE! Matt Duke stands up well and makes a game winning save against Constable. When the ref finally blows the whistle a massive wave of relief comes over me. That was too close.

Bradford City 4 Oxford United 3

After a stuttering start to the season my team have bounced back well, having now won four on the bounce. In attack we look powerful but the last game against Oxford United reminded me of the defensive frailties still present. Centre Back Steve Williams return from injury is promising as he looks a decent defender with more pace than what I have at the moment. Overall It’s been a good start. I also made two more signings to strengthen the team.

Matt Watson DM/M C
Never heard of this guy or the team he plays for. A lowly second division team from the U.S.A. called the Carolina Railhawks. When the media told me I was apparently interested in signing him I thought I’d better find out who he is! To my surprise he looked a decent player. Physically strong and fast, a good height and very good defensive attributes I wanted him for my team. Had to beg the board to get him who took control of the transfer for me. I signed him for £12K, the highest transfer fee in the league!

Yassin Moutaouakil WB/D R
French wing back and the fastest player in my squad by a country mile. Good technique and fitness too however defensively he looks a bit shaky. A bit of a gamble but I couldn’t pass up on his stong attacking attributes, really needed the cover at the back too, only time will tell.

My Player Of the Month: Mark Stewart
Tough choice. It was going to be Jamil Adam, and Craig Fagan scored 5 goals in 5 games, however I think quite rightly it deserves to be Mark Stewart for how he has come in, in Adam's place a really stepped it up.

Lastly Here’s the top half of the table. Next game for me a top of the table clash with Morecambe!
September Update


Morecambe 0 - 2 Bradford City
(Guy Branston 29, Michael Flynn 90+2)

Bradford City 3 - 0 Northampton
(Mark Stewart 23, Ritchie Jones 45+1, Guy Branston 61)

Bradford City 0 - 3 Crewe Alexandra

Rotherham United 1 - 1 Bradford City
(OG 32)

Bradford City 1 - 0 Southend United
(Guy Branston 40)


What started as a really good month with solid victories over Morecambe and Northampton came to an abrupt halt when Crewe visited The Valley Parade and thrashed us. The performance was dire, needless to say the hairdryer came out after that game! It picked up after that getting a solid draw away to a strong Rotherham side and beating promotion hopefuls Southend. Jamil Adam returned from injury but hasn’t yet recaptured his form at the start of the season. Overall I am pleased with how my team have done this month a good effort and with the exception of the Crewe game we’ve looked a lot more solid at the back. Special mention to Gael Bigirimana who got a call up to the England Under 19s squad, good lad. There seems to be a good sense of team spirit amongst the players and they appear to respond well to my team talks in which I always give encouragement. I've only had to blow my top once, but still got a good reaction. My focus next month is to get my strikers scoring again, all but one goal came from a defender or midfielder last month and I'm a bit concerned that my strikers aren't in amongst it as well. Still haven't decided on my best partnership up front but will be sticking with my 4-1-3-2 formation. Next month it's going to be between Fagan, Adam and Stewart to consildate a starting place up front.

My Player of the Month
Obvious choice, the skipper wins it hands down. Guy Branston has been in top form this month keeping three clean sheets and scoring three goals, top scorer for the month and an incredible 6 goals in 11 games in the league. Not bad at all for a centre back. Every goal has been the same, smashing in headers from corner kicks, no-one can touch him in the air and I’m confident of scoring at every corner we get with this player. Solid defensive effort too, great leader.

And Finally here’s a look at the top half of the table. We’re in 2nd, place which is brilliant, It’s going to be tough catching Swindon though, we’re playing them next month! Come on you Bantams!
October Update

This month is all about the battle of the strikers! I pulled Mark Stewart, Jamil Adam and Craig Fagan in for a meeting and told them that they will all be given a fair chance in the side over the coming month and its up to each of them to cement their place in the team and form a powerful partnership in attack as I only had two starting places. After injecting a bit of competition into the side it was time to welcome League 1 crisis club Walsall to the Valley Parade.



Johnstone’s Paint Trophy North Second Round

Bradford City 2-1 Walsall
(Mark Stewart 31, Jamil Adam 45)


Npower League 2

Hereford United 2 - 4 Bradford City
(Mark Stewart 6, 18, Guy Branston 22, 57)

Next up was the big game this month. A home tie against league leaders Swindon Town, I was in 2nd place and this was a must win game if I was going to stop them running away with the league. I decided to have a team meeting the day before the game to get the lads ready. During the meeting captain Guy Branston proclaimed the team were playing well and that he was playing especially well. To my amazement my goalkeeper Matt Duke sneered “you’re not that good mate”. Before I knew what had happened the two of them were squaring up to each other and had to be pulled apart. Matt Duke stormed out leaving the whole team looking less than impressed. In an instant the sky high morale had gone and most of my team were low. Not what I had intended before the Swindon game. I had some big choices to make, I can’t drop Guy Branston, and I don’t really want to drop Matt Duke…but could they play together after that?



Npower League 2

Bradford City 3 - 1 Swindon Town
(Mark Stewart 10, Jamie Devitt 30, Guy Branston 39)

I ended up starting them both and the team performed brilliantly only conceding a late consolation goal. To my delight Branston and Duke shook hands and made up after the game. Alls well that ends well!



Npower League 2

AFC Wimbledon 0 - 0 Bradford City


Npower League 2

Bradford City 3 - 0 Crawley Town
(Michael Flynn 7, Mark Stewart 21, 28)


Npower League 2

Bradford City 5 - 0 Cheltenham
(Jamil Adam 4, 7, 34, 90+1, Mark Stewart 81)


This has been the best month so far and ended with me picking up the Npower League 2 Manager of the Month Award! Cue the Champagne!!

5 wins and a draw, a hatful of goals and 3 clean sheets, makes for a great month. The only let down being the game against AFC Wimbledon. They were down in the relegation zone and struggling, we dominated the game hit the post 3 times too but couldn’t get a goal, but that’s football for you.

Striker Battle

1st Place - Mark Stewart - 7 goals
2nd Place - Jamil Adam - 5 goals
3rd Place- Craig Fagan - 0 goals

Clear winners here. I’m going to be starting with Mark Stewart and Jamil Adam upfront now. Stewart was superb, he had started the season as my 3rd choice striker but he is lethal and showed me what he was made of. Adam links up the play brilliantly and got 3 assists on top of his 5 goals, the perfect partner. Fagan looked uninterested and out of ideas, really disappointed with his performances over the month he has earnt himself a place on the bench for that.

My player of the month

Really tough choice this month. Stewart and Adam have been so good upfront, Guy Branston has been superb again, solid defending and scoring another 3 goals. However I’m going for the unsung hero. The tireless winger that creates it all and puts those corners on the bonce of Guy Branston every time. Take a bow Jamie Devitt. 5 assists this month and a cheeky goal. He’s top of the leader board for assists.

And finally here’s a look at the table. Top on goal difference.

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