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I seem to recognize your face - Newport County

Started on 18 October 2012 by joannes3000
Latest Reply on 14 April 2013 by swag
  • POSTS194
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2013-02-06 12:04#80125 Donatt : Great results,make sure your team stays 7 till the end of the season for Europa League place !

We have Europa all but locked up this year!
2013-02-07 23:43#80269 The FM Rookie : I cannot believe that I haven't commented on this story in a LONG while! You deserve some great plaudits for reaching the Premier League :) Have you found your new Hasselbaink + Caca? :P

Heh, that was truly a once-in-a-generation strikeforce!

Fran O'Connor has looked pretty good as a lone striker this year, although he's only scored 9 league and 16 overall. He's got 4.5 star potential so he's still got room to improve.

To be fair, we're missing the sparkplug - AMC Patrick Onana - who broke his leg in December. I'm geninuely worried that this 5 month injury has stunted his growth so we may end up going back to a 442 formation next season after playing a 4231 this season.

If we do go back to a 442, here's the candidates to join O'Connor up front:

Took a flyer on him a few seasons ago and he might develop into an ideal trequart. TONS of speed, but horrible stamina that isn't increasing.


How about an Irish and Scottish pairing up front?
2013-02-08 01:18#80285 PaukerJ : Europa League this season :D :)! Get some money rolling and new faces for the next season to charge for a top 4 and perhaps a title winning season. Anyways, improve that offense and have a better midfield and you are off to winning everything!

Yeah, this offseason will likely be our busiest one ever as we load up for a likely Europa campaign!

May 2017

vs Burnley

And that’s that! A spirited first half carried us to victory and a spot in the qualifying rounds of the Europa League! We went back to our 442 because I think I’m going to use it next year, and the results were solid. Ian Lewis headed home the opening goal six minutes into the match on a nice corner kick. Then Krisztian Adorjan scored 10 minutes later playing up front with Fran O’Connor. The 2 goal halftime lead was all we needed, as the only goal scored in the second half was on a blunder by Ian Lewis as he let a shot ricochet off him for an own-goal.

vs Man City

We had nothing to play for and city had little left to play for with United holding a 4 point lead on the final day. That said, City still put on a great show that goes beyond the 0-2 final score. 72% possession, nearly 50 shots taken, with 15 of them on target. It’s a miracle we only surrendered two goals! Meanwhile, we only took 3 shots and got 1 on target. We still head into the offseason with our heads held high!

FA Cup - Finals

With our semifinal game providing tons of drama, the final was a very straightforward affair. It was Arsenal kicking our asses up and down the pitch. When Arsenal scored in the 25th minute it was against the heart of our defense, as Salomon Rondon was just too much for our center backs to handle. 10 minutes later we had yet to learn our lesson, because it was Rondon smashing in a header once again. Any hope of a second half turnaround was quickly dashed as Edinson Cavani sliced through our unorganized defense and scored one minute after the restart.

Am I upset that we didn’t win the cup? You bet. Getting this far and falling short always hurts. But knowing that this was only our second time competing in the FA Cup gives us hope for the future. As we bring on more talent, I fully expect to put several of these in our trophy cabinet!

League Table

We accomplished our second goal at the start of the month by securing a spot in the Europa League next season by finishing in 7th place. It turns out that even if we didn’t finish 7th, we would’ve gone to the Europa League anyway because we made it to the finals of the FA Cup! Either way, I’m glad to have led the team to so much success in only our first year in the Premier League.


No new faces this month.

Total money spent this season– 8.2m

Newport County AFC, 2016-2017


Barclays Premier League

FA Cup

Capital One Cup


*The rest of my outgoing moves were a bunch of no-fee loan moves and/or free transfers.

First Team


Having fought our way into the Premier League, I knew this was going to be the first of our real major tests. I’m proud to say that our maiden voyage was a success. Not only did we avoid relegation, but we defied critics by finishing in the upper end of the table and we will have a chance to play our way into the group stages of the Europa League next season. Not bad for a team only a few years removed from the Blue Square Premier! Our job is only beginning at this level, though. It’s time to build up the club even further with our newfound finances as we continue to climb our way up the league table and eventually into the Champions League.

This marks the first year that we didn’t bring home any silverware at all. We had no illusions of winning the Premier League in our first year, as evidenced by how hard it was to even crack the top 4, let alone climb the summit. But in years past we had managed to bring home a cup somewhere or another. And while we came close in the FA Cup, we eventually bowed out in the finals to a superior Arsenal team. The Capital One Cup was a bit of a disappointment this year. After last year’s run to the semifinals we got knocked out one round early this year in the quarters.

Newport County Stadium is now less than two months from completion and I can’t wait! The increased capacity will be a huge benefit as we head into the Premier League and I’m sure it will help us secure funding for all of the other building projects we will have going forward.


Once again, we will look to strengthen our roster once more as we head into our second season in the Premier League. And once again, judging from our assistant manager’s (16CA, 12PA) reports, we feel pretty good overall about the current roster.


At keeper we made sweeping changes. Alan Julian is a reserve team player and even his replacement, Max Oberschmidt has been replaced. Enter 4.5 CA and 5 PA keeper, Grigoris Stamtiou. He is our keeper of the present and future with Oberschmidt being his primary backup.


Our defense continues to be our top unit and the guys proved they can do it on one of the biggest stages in Europe. In fact, Ian Lewis ended up with the 3rd highest average rating on the season and had the most MoM awards. Saul owns the right fullback slot after coming over halfway through last year. Blair Adams continues to man the left fullback slot although we may upgrade here if the right opportunity comes along. Nortei Nortey was the backup for both, although he only played in 6 league games and 9 overall due to the stamina of the starting players. Nortey likely won’t be re-signed. Alex Coleman and Ian Lewis had another fantastic season together. Unfortunately it looks like Chris Devaney will not be returning because his wage demands are simply too high for a rotational player, at best. Instead, midseason signing Rocco Sbravati will become the new rotational player. Sbravati continues the developing trend of quality centerbacks that have come through Newport County.


Our midfield looked better this year, but it can still stand to improve. Right wing is set with Tom Boyle. He’s starting to realize some of his 4.5 start potential and he’s developing into a very difficult person to mark with his speed and technique.Narenton Noywech is the backup here, but he’s here more to help Jaturong Sritaro feel at home. Thanks to Noywech, Sritaro picked up basic English pretty quickly. Further down the line, Gerry Gannon will be the backup and could contend for the starting role. The 18 year old has 4.5 star potential. On the left wing Josh Morris was a solid but not spectacular addition. His more defensive-minded nature has me looking for a more well-rounded or offensive option. Stuart Warwick is the backup, but we definitely want someone with potential here. I don’t know what to think about our center mid situation. We switched back to a 442 and will be using that going forward. We’re set at the more defensive minded slot. Steven Hewitt was a solid signing and can continue to start. Tom Hurley is the primary backup but he looks to be maxing out his ability already. We’ll start looking for a new youngster to groom at this position. Cristian Battocchio had another solid year at the more offensive-minded slot. Patrick Onana was brought on to be a starter and our main playmaker, but I fear his broken leg is going to ruin his development. He lost some physical ability over the year and at this point I think he may be a substitute at best. We’ll see if his development gets back on track.


I think we’re set at poacher. Fran O’Connor continues to develop well and the 4.5 PA player can really dominate as he improve the finer elements of his game. David Moli is his primary backup but he was pretty underwhelming this season. Moli got 35 starts overall and only netted once. Gregg McConalogue will find his way to the rotation in the next few years. The 5 PA player is only 16 and once his body starts to develop I think he can become something special. At trequart things are good but not as packed with talent. Jaturong Sritaro regains a starting role with our switch back to a 442 and I hope he develops. He’s got tons of speed, but horrific stamina and overall mental makeup. If we find a great playmaker, Sritaro could easily become the backup where he may be better suited. Kriztian Adorjan is the main backup but he’s playing a bit out of position at striker, so you know we need a new face here. I brought on Adorjan anticipating a move to a 4231 formation but we scrapped that idea. I think Adorjan can be a good sub and is a more creative player that Sritaro.
joannes3000's avatar Group joannes3000
11 yearsEdited
Look at the board deciding to splash some cash! After seeing all of the season's profits come in, I'm glad to see the board reinvesting into the club. I'm sure our 7th place finish and the 31m payout had something to do with all this. :)

In April the board approved my request to expand the grounds by a modest 1400 seats or so. Less than two months later, the board decides to do a much larger renovation that will push seating to nearly 25000!

I'm also very pleased to see the board upgrading the youth facilities. I want to really start focusing on developing in-house talent so we don't ever get into the habit of paying huge transfer fees unless it's a world-class talent.

Preseason 2017


Does three years make for a tradition? Once again we played two big teams early in the offseason then played a bunch of local teams since there were no other big teams that were available and I didn’t want to pay tons of money to have foreign teams come play us. I was very happy with the opening scalp against Bayern, then was completely confused when we followed that up by laying an egg against Aston Villa. After those games we got into our local matches and dominated as expected.
Fran O’Connor feasted on the weak competition, scoring 16 goals in 11 games. New right winger Wilson chipped in 7 goals in 10 games. New left winger Sergio Giglio led with 9 assists in 11 games, and once again Wilson was a big contributer with 8 assists in 10 games. This looks like a year where we will transition from just being happy to be part of the Premier League into hopefully mainstays in the league. I’ve already begun to spend some of my transfer funds to achieve that goal and there may be more to come. With our great run of success we have increased finances and prestige and this opened up a whole new realm of interested players from around the world that seem willing to join in the Newport revolution.


Biro is our first signing, and he illustrates the caliber of players we are beginning to draw interest from. The 9.75m signing comes in and immediately becomes the starter at the defensive-minded center mid position. He’s a 4 star player with 5 star potential that I’m expecting to be a fixture on the first team for years to come.

Roberto Gandola was one of those guys that’s just too good to pass up on a free transfer. He’s got 4 star potential and we’re going to try and mold him into a trequart.

Sergio Giglio is our biggest signing to date. We splashed 14m to land the winger, and for good reason! He’s got the talent to become an immediate impact out on the wing where we need it the most. He’s still got a bit of room to grow to reach his 4.5 star potential and I’m hoping he reaches it. He’s already shown how deadly he is in space with his combination of speed and skill. I’m counting on him to deliver the goods in big games.

Wilson is another athletic winger we brought in. He will pair up quite well with Tom Boyle on the right wing. Boyle has more pace while Wilson has more technical skill. I hope they feed off each other well and drive one another to great results.

Federice Ferroni was brought in for depth down the road. Only 17, the 4PA fullback will have plenty of time to develop before being brought into the first team rotation.

Why bring in another young keeper with Max Oberschmidt already in the fold? Because you can never stockpile too much talent, that’s why! For less than 1.5m, I was more than willing to take a flyer on a 4.5 PA player.

Adriano is a natural right fullback but he’s coming in and starting at left fullback instead. This moves Blair Adams to a reserve role for both Adriano and Saul. Our fullback pairing is now a dangerous combination that can turn on a counterattack in a hurry.

With Chris Devaney not wanting to re-sign as a rotational player, we brought in someone who would. For 1m, Francis Jose is a 4PA player will have no pressure as he’s the 4th option behind starters Ian Lewis, Alex Coleman, and top reserve Rocco Sbravati.

Total money spent – 38m

As you can see, we spent a lot of money in the summer transfer window. All told we dropped 38 million on four new starters, a top rotational player, and several high potential projects. The overall makeup of the team has now taken a decidedly Spanish/South American flair. Six of our signings come from Brazil and another from Argentina. The other two signings come from Italy. In fact, our starting eleven is getting quite the international feel. Our starters hail from Greece, Spain, England, Italy (2), Brazil, Wales (2), Argentina, and Ireland.

August 2017

vs Arsenal

Full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing. All the noise in the offseason with big signings and successful friendlies amounted to nothing when we lined up against Arsenal. Once again we were humbled by a top team. We had a horrible time maintaining possession all game and ended up surrendering more than 60% possession. As a result, Arsenal managed to get off 28 shots, 12 on target, and 3 past the keeper. What’s funny is that we were the ones to open the scoring about 30 minutes in, and we held that lead at halftime. Things fell apart about an hour into the game, however. Two goals in three minutes killed our spirits, then as we were pressing for a tying goal we got hit by a counter for the third and decisive goal.

Europa League – Playoff Round, Leg 1

I was a bit nervous heading into our first ever continental game. Not so much because of the overwhelming quality of our first opponent but because of the enormity of the occasion and the distance we’d travel. We were drawn as the away team so we traveled nearly 1200 miles to Croatia to face off against HNK Rijeka of the Croatian First Division. Whatever nerves we had in the open were quickly calmed as Fran O’Connor latched onto a nicely centered ball before pivoting away from his defender and slotting home the opening goal only 11 minutes in. We did a good job of playing sound defense and we were able to hit HNK Rijeka on a counterattack less than 5 minutes before the halftime whistle. This time it was fellow striker Roberto Gandola that found the net and we found ourselves staked to a 2-0 halftime lead. It took less than 5 minutes after the restart for Fran O’Connor to bag his brace and the rout was on. We were able to lay back and play defensive football the rest of the way and ended up only allowing 1 shot on target all game. We’ll head into the home leg with a nearly insurmountable 3 away goal advantage.

Europa League – Playoff Round, Leg 2

I really hope this isn’t the continuation of last season’s trend where we had complacency issues. We came in with a commanding 3-0 aggregate lead after the away leg and we looked totally disinterested for long stretches of this game. To be fair, we started six new faces, but I hoped that would encourage those spot starters to perform well given this opportunity. With the home crowd behind us, we did everything we could to switch them off and perhaps get them to boo us. We looked very disjointed on the attack with Fran O’Connor the only regular starter out there, and we limped into halftime with a scoreless draw. It was more of the same uninspired play in the second half and it wasn’t until the final minutes that we managed to score. Saul rifled in a throw from the sideline and Lewis jumped up to make a play on the ball. It looked like he missed it completely, but the replay showed that he barely got his head on the ball – just enough to direct it into the goal.

Despite the difficulties, we managed to get the win and advance into the next round of the Europa League. Our first ever continental game at home drew a capacity crowd that broke the record for highest attendance (21793) and highest gate receipts (1.3m). We head into the group stages now, drawn against Sporting (POR), Dynamo Kyiv, and sc Heerenveen. Can we get out of the group? Maybe.

League Table

After all the money we invested in new faces, and what seemed to be a good gelling period during offseason friendlies, we managed to start the season on a low note. We traveled to Arsenal and lost by two goals, which is where we were last year – getting beaten comfortably by the top tier. Hopefully things will shape up as we get further into league play. Despite that, we did manage a good showing in our Europa League games. We secured passage into the next round with a 4-0 aggregate victory over HNK Rijeka, although we definitely switched off in the second leg.

As we head into September we have four games scheduled – Derby (15), Norwich (12), Newcastle (14), and Leicester (20). We have a great chance of putting together an undefeated month and I think we should come away with at least 9 out of 12 points to help get us into the middle of the table.


Despite already bringing in so many new faces during the offseason, I couldn’t help but bring in Dani De la Encina on a free transfer. How do you pass on 4.5 star potential? He’s a bit further along in development than Lino Biagini is so we were able to get Biagini loaned out and De la Encina will rotate at trequart. He is also a better passer and playmaker than Biagini so Biagini can play his more natural role of poacher.

September 2017

vs Derby

We got the month started off quite well with this convincing victory, but it was a fairly costly one. Ian Lewis gave us the lead just before the half hour mark with a great header from a corner kick and we held that lead through halftime. Dani De la Encina then doubled up the lead with a fantastic diving header in the 75th minute. Of all things to go wrong, he managed to strain his thigh and he will now be out for two weeks. Then in another bit of stupidity, Biro got baited into a bad foul and was sent off for his second yellow card of the game. Arg. At least we got the win.

vs Norwich

After our last game that cost us two players (one to injury, one to cards), I was happy that this game passed by without any of those such incidents. Winning the game after getting dominated on the pitch was icing on the cake. We clearly weren’t ready for Norwich’s attacking game and they dominated possession right from the start. We were very fortunate to catch Norwich on a few counterattacks and we cashed in on both of them. 14 minutes in, Cristian Battocchio intercepted a pass at midfield, flicked it out wide, then received the ball back seconds later with a clear shot from ~15 yards out. He whistled that shot home and we went into halftime with a 1-0 lead. Less than 5 minutes after the restart, we stole another Norwich pass – on an aggressive tackle that I was surprised we didn’t get whistled for – and it was Roberto Gandola’s turn to mail in a shot from ~15 yards. Those were our only two shots on target, and with Norwich continuing to pile on the pressure we just parked the bus and waited for the final whistle at that point.

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