Late in the piece, I targeted EPL clubs who had players off contract in June and in the last two days of the transfer window; I managed to walk away with:
Tony Holmes (20, D/M/DC, England) 170K
Southampton product, bought by Man U, didn’t cut the mustard and loaned out to lower end English and Scottish Clubs. Gives more fluidity in the midfield and strong stats.
Jonathan Simm (20, SW/DC, England) FREE
Ex Chelsea player, with strong attributes. This transfer felt great, my scout figured I could get him for free, and so I submitted a cheeky bid. At Chelsea, he was earning GBP8000, per week, something I would never do…..was summarily surprised when not only was the bid accepted, but that I could then beat the wage expectation down from GBP1000 to 550. Am pleased, and although he has yet to play, something in the back of my mind suggests he may yet cause me trouble complaining about his wage.
Darryl Townsend (21, D/MC, England) 20K
Ex West Ham player, who is going to be an aerial nightmare for opposing defenders, and the price was just too good to shy away from.
In June 2021
Anas Bah (17, D/MC, Moroccan) 230K
Aggressive little rock who I picked to take over the reins from the current captain, but he might now have a bit of healthy competition on his hands.
I have also shown the door to the vast majority of the backroom staff and employed my own.
In order to balance the books, I have also let nine players leave the club, mainly the older heads who were on (in my opinion at least) more money than their talent deserved, or players who had seen their first team chances disappear with the new blood which had been recruited. Now if only I could have got rid of Tomasz Cywka, who is still sucking down his 12.5K weekly wage, I would have been one heck of a lot happier when the window closed.
2 Feb 21
What an abysmal result…what a terrible time to be a Mansfield supporter. We trounced them on our home turf, handing debuts to Townsend and Holmes in the middle of the park, and Simms laying claim to be a central defender. When the carnage had stopped, we had put 6 in the back of their…net.
Binks had scored twice, and duffed his hat trick from the penalty spot, Barton scored in ref’s time right at the end, and in between, Simms had scored 3 – two from set pieces and one from the penalty spot.
I have to hand it to him; he knows how to make an entrance – CB, on debut, scores a hat-trick. Hope Chelsea are spitting chips about now.
Result win 6-0, to hold third spot outright and now have the best GD in the league.
3 Feb 21
Gerrit Vissers returns to Hotspurs after his loan finished and I had no further need for his services. Derby is getting back to more manageable loaners, with one – Baldini, coming from Everton free. This will set the new standard, let the parent company pay for one of their bright players come and play for us for free....and if they are any good, I will make a bid to bring them to the club proper.
Having had the club pull through enormous upheaval, the trick was now to get some tutoring happening while the older players are here. Two tutoring pairings were made, while I look to offload the vast majority in the next transfer window. Many of them who are aged 32 and over will only get limited time on the paddock in the next six months, and fundamentally I take exception to anyone earning over 3K per week, in particular Cywka who is taking a mouth watering 12.5K. Even Jimmy Barton, who is the most prolific striker at the club presently is earning over the odds, at 9.25K.
We are still in the market for a striker and a right and left winger as cover. I have offers out on one of each, but am also relaxed enough to wait until the season end and see what drops in the transfer market and to help with this, we’ll be looking to talk the board into expanding the scouting range.
In terms of the EPL, Man U, Man City and Chelsea have shared the trophy over the past ten years, with Tottenham having won in 2012, with them and Arsenal also having finished in the top three for a few years. In the current year, City has a 7 point gap at the head of the table on Man U, twenty six games into the season, and a very strong goal differential lead.
6 Feb 21
versus Wrexham, who we had lost to previously. We were sloppy with our chances early and by the twenty second minute; I doubted our ability to convert pressure into goals, with Binks and Barton blowing fantastic scoring opportunities.
Binks being bought down deep in the box yielded a penalty chance, which Holmes converted. After that, it was one -way traffic, with Barton finding his touch and netting a hat-trick. Win 4-0, and move into second on the table (albeit it on GD) after Crystal Palace lost 0-1 away to Doncaster.
13 Feb 21
We scraped a 1-0 win at home against Southend, but still managed to bring home the win to celebrate Barton’s 300th game, but he had what would have been his 125th goal disallowed before Darryl Townsend hit a screamer into the net from outside the box. We were defensively aware, with right back Narravo hitting his straps and controlling from the back.
20 Feb 21
3-0 win away against Crawley. Barton is still searching for the magical 125th goal, but strikes from Townsend, Carlson and Tummiolo saw the game out, with Carlson particularly running riot from his left wing position.
Am still trailing table topping Luton by seven points, but have a five point buffer on fourth placed Rochdale, whilst maintaining solid hold on second place with GD.
I found this amusing:
27 Feb 21
Joey Barton has been sacked by Solihull Moors chairman John Bassford in a desperate attempt to save the club from relegation.
Solihull Moors have been disappointing in the BSN this season and find themselves below expectations at 21st place.
Seems his first foray into management, and he has a 37% win ratio, and surprising looking at his stats, a 13 for discipline!
27 Feb 21
Stockport is a solid mid league one club, and they came to Pride Park and played like league leaders; at least for the first half.
Despite having shots on goal, neither side could turn pressure into meaningful chances and those chances into goals. We went into the shed 0-0, and with 45 further mins to make something happen.
Logic decreed that the best team were on the park, so after words of encouragement and no changes, they were send back out to do battle. Almost as soon as the second half whistle sounded Barton broke through, passed to Holmes, who passed it though for Binks to latch onto and score. From the bench, a collective sigh of relief. Soon after, Binks to Barton, pass to right winger Goretich to score a right little ripper from well outside the box. What a way to open his goal scoring account for Derby!
Into injury time and Rios being taken down in the penalty box whilst completing for possession from a corner, led to Tony Holmes slotting home an easy penalty. 4-0 win with us running rampant in the second spell.
So is Longoria dating again? And what's the new TV show she's working?
Dale Stevens, 33 yo, played 501 games and close on 150 for Derby - favoured personnel;
Jimmy Barton, 24 yo, played 301 games and is a "one club" man - favoured personnel;
Sam Hird, 33 yo, played 460 games and has spent 10 years at Derby - favoured personnel;
Jonathan Simm, 20 yo, played 16 games, 13 of those for Chelsea over three years, none for Everton - where he had been an academy product - but has been an revelation in the 3 games he's played for us and he has been with us less than a month, but guess what - favoured personnel.
Nice story, I always wanted to jump 10~20 years into the future to see what the english league would be like.
(Of course, my PC couldn't handle a few hours of loading and stuff, and i wouldn't have the patience to open all that mail...)
Can you please give us a pic of the EPL, Championship, L1, L2, BSP, and BSN + BSS please?
Awesome story by the way - can't wait to see what derby will be like with you as manager in the next 3 years ;D
28 Feb 21
Having made changes in the backroom, netting a positive result with a better class of staff, for lower total expense, we should have cause for celebration. However, it is with a heavy heart I look at the finances for the club, having made major changes in the two months I have been at the helm.
There is no doubt in my mind that Derby are struggling, there are good crowds turning up to the home matches, and I believe we are playing an attractive brand of football. Exiting early in the JPT and the FA Cup wouldn’t have helped potential sponsorship, or the lack of prize money helping (or not) our bottom line.
A total loss of 700K in my two months in the role is simply unsustainable, particularly when at a new club and trying to make a decent impression on the Board. Having won all the games and taken the team to second on the league ladder, my job rating is only at 52% (or stable). This is more than likely due to the fact that whilst I have operated inside my budget of 1.5M transfer and 93K wages, apart from organising friendlies for the reserve and U18 squad, I have been unable to get the team back on an even keel financially.
I also have players drawing obscene salaries for a mid level league one club. Apart from my documented issues with Cywka (12.5K p/w) and carrying the burden of Barton (9.75K p/w) I have six players taking 5K or more. The offenders, in order:
Cywka 32 yo 12.5K
Barton 24 yo 9.75K
Will James 26 yo 6.75K
Lewis Stevenson 33 yo 6.25K
Sam Hird 33 yo 6.00K
Anthony Van Loo 32 yo 5.00K
Dale Stephens 33 yo 3.70K
Thomas Ince 29 yo 3.60K
I wouldn’t mind, as in the case of Barton where he is contributing to the team week in and out, but these higher salaried players have now been reduced to nothing more than occasional bench strength and I might trot them out late in a game where experience can be invaluable.
One of the positives to come out of my reduced potential scouting area means I am forced to take a closer look at the English based players, and whilst I may be missing the next Brazilian wizz-kid, I am more easily able to retain my “home grown” quota and with the terrific scouts I have at my disposal, my job is made infinitely easier.
Sentiment aside, I would dearly love to convert some of these players into staff when they retire, but my discussions with the players lead me to the belief that they will not retire in the next six months, although I am tempted to offer some of my “one club” players at opportunity to move to a player/coach role, hopefully at a reduced salary demand.
My first team squad is rather large at 30 players, and I am hopeful that before the end of the seaosn, I will succeed in getting the scouting range increased, but more than that I am confident that I can replace the aforementioned players with those whom are younger, faster, stronger, better....and cheaper per week.
I’ve offered this entire expensive “deadwood” to market for transfer and loan, with no takers on any of the loans, as I wanted either full or partial offsets for the wage bills. No deals meant I moved to the next step and offered them for sale. Four have entered into negotiations, including my problem child Cykwa with Bari. Here’s hoping for some generous transfer fee income, and I had asked for 10% of the next sale to guard against selling them at cut price fees to get the wage off the books. Compounding the issue is the fact that the window doesn’t open again until June, and the prospect of carrying the wages until then does not excite me in the slightest.
I am also conscious of the fact that the transfer fees garnered on aging players is certainly not going to be enough to make a dent in the loan, but it may be enough to give me a semblance of a transfer budget next season. Providing I am still employed. I am not sure of the value of adding a sell-on clause to players with only a couple of years to play. Naturally declining stats means I’ll be cashing in now, but the team I sell too may only be able to sell them (if at all) for minimal value. If the Board can negotiate “buy out” options on any of these clauses, I will be looking to exercise them sooner rather than later.
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