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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
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joannes3000's avatar Group joannes3000
8 yearsEdited

League Table

We accomplished our secondary mission this month by winning the league for a fourth consecutive season. We only lost one game this month but can you blame the players? We locked up the league title with two games to spare and they were probably looking forward to next season’s Premier League campaign just as much as I was!

If you look at the league overview you’ll see three of the biggest reasons we were so successful this season. Ian Lewis had the highest average rating on the season with a 7.69. The center back was one of the cornerstones of our defense all year long. He also tied for third most PoM awards along with Adam Birchall. Birchall turned out to be our leading scorer with 21 goals after Abiola Badirou announced that he would be signing for another team and seemed to switch off. Badirou ended up scoring 12 goals. Lastly there is Alan Julian who led the league with 22 shutouts. Unlike last year I didn’t doubt Julian’s ability to step up to the challenges of a more difficult league and he just continues to deliver.




Transfers


No new faces this month.

Total money spent this month - zero
Total money spent this season– 12k
joannes3000's avatar Group joannes3000
8 yearsEdited

Newport County AFC, 2015-2016

Competitions

npower Championship




FA Cup




Capital One Cup




Transfers


*The rest of my outgoing moves were a bunch of no-fee loan moves.

First Team


joannes3000's avatar Group joannes3000
8 yearsEdited

Summary


Once again we’ve defied critics and have secured promotion for a fourth consecutive year. Not only that, but we’ve done it in convincing fashion, winning the league crown in each league we’ve been a part of so far. What began four seasons ago, facing off against semiprofessional teams and stadiums with on a few thousand supporters gives way to one of the biggest stages – the Premier League. All the effort that each player, coach, and scout has put into this project has paid off but the real work begins now. Now we must establish ourselves among the best teams in England and make sure our meteoric rise is more than just a flash in the pan.

There was no additional silverware this season, unfortunately. We had some good runs in our cup games and our endeavors there certainly aren’t anything to be ashamed of. We reached the sixth round of the FA Cup before bowing out to fellow league mates West Brom, upsetting Man City on the way. Then in the Capital One Cup we had a fantastic run to the semifinals before being eliminated by soon-to-be league mates Arsenal.

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.

Roster

As we’ve gotten accustomed to, we will look to strengthen our roster once more as we promote into the top English league. And once again, judging from our assistant manager’s (11CA, 14PA) reports, we feel pretty good overall about the current roster.

GK

At keeper Alan Julian will be called on once again to handle increased levels of competition. We signed him to a one year extension and we will likely begin bridging the gap to his heir, Max Oberschmidt. Oberschmidt has a 4 PA rating so the potential is definitely there. His 2 CA rating shows that he still has a way to go before he’s ready to take over the starting role.

Defense

Once again our back line was the strength of the team and I think it got even stronger this year. Not only did our core group develop one more year together, but we also brought in another top player. Saul was brought in halfway through the season and immediately took over the starting right back position. That lets us rotate Nortei Nortey at both fullback spots to keep Saul and Blair Adams rested. Speaking of Adams, his agent has been playing hardball all season with demands of a 13.5k p/w salary among other things. My current max salary allowed is a little more than half that (7.5k) so I’ve been worried about things. Once we promote I’m hoping we can increase our offer to him, because I think he’s worth it. In the center, Alex Coleman and Ian Lewis continue to work well together and Chris Devaney has proven to be a great addition. He was able to step in for an injured Ian Lewis quite well and we also felt the loss of Devaney when he would get injured. In fact, injury concerns are mounting for him as he was out several times over the course of the season.

Midfield

If you recall, midfield was our biggest area of concern last year. This year it is much less of one. Tom Boyle looks to have the right wing position locked down. He’s still developing (2 CA) but his 5 PA dictated a lot of playing time this year and he performed well. Tom Hurley performed similarly at the more defensive center mid position. Hurley is also still developing but his future is bright. At the more attacking center mid position, Cristian Battocchio was a star. Ever since snapping him up on a free, he’s been the primary player at his position and the offense will only get better as he and the rest of the team get more comfortable with one another. Left wing continues to be the area we are lacking the most. Once again both Daniel Jones and Lloyd Dyer did decently, but both look to be backup players at best going forward. I’m hoping we can secure an upgrade here in the near future.

Attack

I thought we had the future situated at both striker roles, but Abiola Badirou had other plans. Badirou will be departing, leaving the poacher role open once again. Adam Birchall did a fine job of replacing him this past year but he will need to be a rotational player at best if we are to do well in the Premier League. What will likely happen is I can move Fran O’Conner over from trequart to poacher where he is better suited. That leaves Birchall as the main backup and Jeff Price (4.5 PA)can keep developing in the reserves or on loan. Since we’ll be moving O’Conner from the trequart position the first chance at starting there will be David Moli’s (4 PA) to lose. Moli is more of a natural poacher but he has the skillset to play trequart and we’ve been training him in that role. Jaturong Sritaro is our long term prospect (4.5 PA) and he will follow Price’s development plan – either playing in reserves or going out on loan.

Preseason 2016

Friendlies


For the second year in a row we decided to focus more on playing local teams and getting morale up rather than challenging ourselves much during friendly scheduling. I think we looked decent in our opener against Liverpool and we dominated against local teams as expected.
Adam Birchall led all scorers with 8 goals in 5 appearances. New starting poacher Fran O’Connor bagged 4 goals in 4 appearances, and new starting left winger Josh Morris bagged 4 goals and 6 assists in 7 appearances. Starting right fullback Saul also impressed wth 5 assists from his back line position. I think we strengthened our greatest area of weakness (left wing) and if our youngsters continue to develop I really think we can avoid relegation this year.

Transfers


Piero Mingoia was the first player brought in to upgrade the left wing. We paid 85k for his services and our initial splash into the transfer market shows that we have some increased funding to ensure our first year in the Premier League is a successful one. He doesn’t look like he’ll ever be flashy, but he’s technically sound, and the 4 PA player can develop into a solid all around winger.


I don’t know what we’re going to do with Lino Biagini quite yet. The 3.5 PA player can play both poacher and trequart roles but for now we will train him as a trequart.


Josh Morris is my biggest signing to date in terms of price tag, weighing in with a 3.5m transfer fee! Morris was brought in as the new starter on the left wing and he should do the job quite well. He is solid all around and can even drop back into a more defensive role if needed.


Shaun Wright-Phillips is a shadow of his former self but I think he still has a role to play. The veteran winger should provide some much needed leadership, having played at the top flight for years. And while he is no longer starter material, he can still start when needed and can definitely inject some offensive punch off the bench.


Gregg McConalogue is a long term project at striker. The 16 year old will train as a poacher and will hopefully be ready to step into the reserve role in a few years that Adam Birchall currently holds down. I like that he’s already got good ratings in first touch and composure, as well as being comfortable using either foot. The 5 PA player cost us 375k but could be worth far more than that down the road.

Total money spent – 4m
Total money spent this season– 4m

Coaching changes

One thing I wanted to address quickly as we enter the Premier League is our coaching staff. We have had a solid group of coaches thus far, but now that we are in the top flight we have both the funds available and the prestige to attract higher quality staff members. We negotiated mutual terminations with three staff members to make room for improved coaches.

Joe Cole joins us to coach ball control. He’s only two years removed from his playing days and he is already a 4.5 star coach thanks to 20 ratings in mental and technical. As his DDM improves, he should hit 5 star easily.

Marco Amelia comes on board as a goalkeeping coach. He is our second 4 start GK coach and should further help the development of our players.

Lastly, Joao Pinto will be our new shooting coach. This is his first coaching stint and we’re happy to give the 4 star coach an opportunity.

August 2016

vs West Brom



Our opening game in the Premier League was quite the humbling experience. We were absolutely dominated against a familiar foe from the Championship. At the very least we can take some solace in the fact that our defense held up pretty well even though we gave up the lion’s share of possession. As a result we gave up a ton of shots but the defense did a good job of keeping most of them off target. And when they were on target, man of the match Alan Julian turned away nearly all of them. The 0-1 final score hurts but at least it gives us hope that if one of our other aspects steps up (midfield or attack) we can start to win some of these close games.

vs Fulham



We looked much more comfortable going into our second game and the results were clear on the stat sheet. We maintained a much better percentage of possession although we still lost that battle. We managed to put on more shots and shots on goal and I feel we deserved to win this game. In fact we had a fabulous goal called off after we were deemed offsides on a long free kick.

vs Reading



We got our first league win by the skin of our teeth. Not only does this get a monkey off our back, it also shows that we’re still able to grind out defensive wins. After Tom Boyle broke free for a goal just after the half hour mark we were able to maintain that lead through solid team defense and a great effort once again by Alan Julian in between the pipes.

Capital One Cup – Second Round



We got a favorable draw for our first Capital One Cup game and took full advantage. We matched up against League 2 opponent Aldershot and cruised to a comfortable 3-1 victory. The tension from a 1-1 scoreline at the half quickly dissolved as we took the lead seven minutes after the restart and doubled our lead four minutes later. New starting poacher Fran O’Connor bagged a brace for his first goals of the season and hopefully this will help his confidence as we get back into league play.

League Table

Our first month in the Premier League was met with mixed results, but I didn’t expect things to be different. Ironically, the game that I thought we had the best chance of winning was the only one that we lost, which was against a fellow promotion team – West Brom. We drew at home against Fulham to notch our first point then got our first win on the road against Reading. Our cup games got off to a strong start with a 3-1 win over Aldershot in the Capital One Cup. Our opponent in the next round will be fellow Premier League side Wolves.

We find ourselves right in the middle of the table with 4 points so far. We’re one point behind 7th place Tottenham and the final EURO League spot, and we’re 3 points clear of 18th place Norwich and the relegation zone. Heading into September we’ll get another chance to prove ourselves in handful of games. We face off against Newcastle (13), Huddersfield (20), Woves (Capital One Cup), and Stoke (15).




Transfers

I made a big decision before the transfer window shut. That decision was to move to a 4231 formation instead of the 442 we’ve used to get us this far. I think we finally have the funds and prestige to go after the type of players needed for this more exotic style, and I think we need to be proactive in order to avoid relegation. The decision was to move to a more offensive formation in order to avoid these games where we lose the possession battle and put so much pressure on our defense because I think the level of competition is to the point now where we will lose a lot more games than we ever have.


Stephen Ireland joins us to play center midfield where he will be a rotational player. He might get a shot at playing more AMC but for now he will play a bit further back.


Patrick Onana is another one of those guys where I was stunned to see him available on a free. The former Olympique Lyonnais player becomes the starter at AMC. I think there may be some growing pains at first, but the 4.5 PA player should develop into a fantastic playmaker for us for years to come.


Steven Hewitt adds even more strength to central midfield. Why did we pay 240k for a rotational player? Well, with current starter Tom Hurley struggling a bit, Hewitt may end up being the starter at least for a while. This also lets us use Lee Evans in a super sub role for both midfield positions to increase depth.

September 2016

vs Newcastle



The first game after we switched to a 4231 left me with more questions than answers. We still lost the possession battle quite handily and that resulted in a long day for us defensively. We found ourselves down 0-3 at halftime and that turned out to be too much to overcome. We scored a quickfire double after halftime to get within one goal but we were unable to find the tying goal. Newcastle ended up extending the lead in stoppage time for the final 2 goal margin.

vs Huddersfield



Now that’s more like it! It’s amazing how much different the team looks when we aren’t giving up tons of possession. We took a 2-0 lead into halftime, then after watching our lead cut in half, we restored a two goal lead just past the hour mark and held on for a convincing win. Fran O’Connor is still getting used to being the lone striker but he notched a goal and looked pretty comfortable doing so.

vs Stoke



For the second game in a row we’ve done much better with possession and the results are evident on the scoreboard. Fran O’Connor scored for the second straight game and gave us a 1-0 at the half. Stephen Ireland rounded out the scoring with a late goal just before injury time for the final margin. This puts us on a two game winning streak.

Capital One Cup – Third Round



Well we didn’t step up as confidently as I had hoped, but we stepped up when we needed it most. This game against fellow Premier League team Wolves went down to penalties and we came through in the clutch. After we slotted home our first shot, Wolves saw their shot bounce off the right post for a miss. Both teams made their shots in the second frame. We made our third shot and Alan Julian had a huge save in the third frame to give us a 3-1 lead. Then after we missed our fourth shot, Alan Julian came up with another save to clinch the victory.

League Table

September started off questionably but we gained traction as the month went on. Our opening loss against Newcastle had me worried but we rebounded to win three games in a row – one cup game and two league games. Our win against Wolves puts us into the fourth round of the Capital One Cup where we will play host to League 1 side Crystal Palace. We’ve also got a nice little winning streak going in the league after reeling of two wins to end the month.

Our streak shoots us up into the upper end of the table for the time being. We’re currently in 6th place, two points away from 4th place Man City and the final Champions League spot. We’re one point clear of 8th place Tottenham and the final EURO League spot, and we’re seven points clear of 18th place Wolves and the relegation zone. We’ve got another light schedule in October in terms of games but we will definitely face some stiffer competition. We face off against Tottenham (8), Liverpool (9), Blackburn (11), Crystal Palace (Capital One Cup), and Man United (1).




Transfers


No new faces this month.
Total money spent this season– 4.2m

October 2016

vs Tottenham



Well that sucked. Tottenham were kind enough to show our home supporters that we are still a LONG way from competing against the better teams in the league. We were completely dominated in this game. 40% possession is horrendous. 1 shot taken all game? Awful. Frankly I’m surprised that we only allowed 4 goals given how outclassed we were.

vs Liverpool



At least we didn’t get totally blown out of this game? I don’t like losing no matter what the circumstances may be, so losses in a row hurts. We looked better prepared in this game than we did against Tottenham, but we still lost the game. I can’t help but think how this could’ve turned out if we had a bit more possession. As it turned out, our defense was under pressure a lot and did well to hold the line. This was only a one goal game going into injury time but our frantic pressing for the game-tying goal led to a late score.

vs Blackburn



After our last two losses, this draw was huge. It puts our winless streak to three games but that’s something we can tackle on another day. For now I feel good about how we played all around and only wish we could’ve stolen a win with one of several quality shots we put on target.

vs Man United



For a while there we looked up to the challenge in front of us. We weren’t able to mount much of an offensive but our defense was doing a good job of limiting good lucks on our goal. Then Marek Hamsik hit us with a ridiculous effort from long distance only minutes before the halftime whistle. I think we lost concentration from that, because then we surrendered a backbreaking goal two minutes later. That was all the breathing room United needed and they went to work and shut us down offensively, allowing us to get only one shot off all game. It was pitiful to watch. This puts our winless streak to four games and we’re desperate for a win.

Capital One Cup – Fourth Round



This was a solid win that helps us keep the good mojo going. We are more talented than Crystal Palace and we did a good job of showcasing that on the pitch. We stormed out of the gate and scored within the first 10 minutes. Then we bookended that with a goal just before the halftime whistle. That 2-0 lead was enough to see us through into the next round as we turned back the handful of attempts that Crystal Palace had in the second half.

League Table

Oh boy, we’re in a bit of a tailspin after last month. Three losses and one draw in league play has us reeling a bit as we’ve been very rudely reminded that we are newcomers in this league and there is work to be done. I figured we’d have a rough month given the teams we were playing but geez, we couldn’t score a goal this month! The only consolation this month was a win in the Capital One Cup. That puts us into the quarterfinals where we will play host to Tottenham. Maybe we can pay them back for the 4-0 beatdown they gave us to open league play this month.

We’re quickly back down to earth after last month’s surprising results. We’re all the way down to 15th place; six points away from 7th place West Brom and the final Europa League spot. We’re four points clear of 18th place Stoke and the relegation zone. We’ve got five games on tap for November - Aston Villa (14), Wolves (19), Chelsea (2), Tottenham (Capital One Cup), Swansea (8), and Norwich (17). Of our five league games I’m hoping for at least six points and I’d be thrilled if we got 9 or more.




Transfers


No new faces this month.
Total money spent this season– 4.2m

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