Good evening all and welcome back to the latest instalment of my current FM15 save which is a continuation of my successful Pentagon Challenge. Currently I am about to start my 3rd season with Stranraer who are owned by a Tycoon and also I am the manager of Wales
Its been a great ride so far, 2 straight promotions has put us into the 2nd tier of the Scottish Pyramid, one more promotion and we are in the Premiership. We also have the Euro 2034 campaign with Wales which is to be held in Germany.
I will go through Wales first and then Stranraer afterwards.
So Euro 2034 came around and we were handed a tough group but one I felt we could get out of. We had Spain, Ukraine and Norway. I fully expected to qualify for the Knockout stages and then try to get as far as I can.
It didn’t start well as we were hammered by Spain 5-3, the goals continued to flood in as we beat Ukraine 5-2, in the final game we knew a draw would put us through and we managed to get a 2-2 draw (even though we were 2-0 up) and we were through to the last 16 where we faced Denmark
We were favourites to win and we ended up winning 2-0, a great result and one which put us into the Quarters Finals where we would face hosts Germany. Is our campaign going to end here?
The game was cagey, not many chances and after 90 minutes it was a boring 0-0, extra time continued in the same way and it looked to be going to penalties, then in the 123rd minute of the game Welsh hearts were broken as Germany snatched a last gasp winner. Gutted doesn’t even describe how I felt after this, but we had ran the 2nd best team in the world all the way and we can go home with our heads held high
So a good campaign and it wasn’t long before we were back in action with the Nations League, we were in the 2nd tier of the competition and were drawn against Denmark and Armenia, an easy group and one I expected to come of which would put ourselves into the top tier of the competition.
We ended up winning the group but only just! 2 great and dominant results against lowly Armenia set us up and a 4-1 win against Denmark put us top, in the final game we needed a point or a defeat less by less than 2 goals to win the group and we somehow managed to lose the game 4-2! Our head to head was 6-5 so that put us top and promoted us to the 1st tier of the Nations League. A great triumph but way to close for comfort!
After this finished we were handed our World Cup 2036 Qualifying Group which on paper looks very easy. We could and should win the group comfortably
We only had 2 qualifying game during the season and it wasn’t good! A 0-0 draw at home to Cyprus was shocking, we redeemed ourselves with a 4-0 win against Malta but we are now chasing Cyprus and will more than likely need to beat them away to win the group
So overall a good season with Wales, and hopefully we can qualify for the World Cup which is to be held in Canada
By now I’m sure your eager to know how the season went with Stranraer so here we go!!
So 2 straight promotions, can we make it a 3rd? The board fully expect us to, we are predicted to end the season 2nd and the board expect us to qualify for the play-offs which is a position between 2nd and 4th. This matches what I am hoping for, I fully expect to come there or thereabouts and with the right additions and some good luck I fully expect us to challenge for the title
I did need to sign some new players, the squad are good but we have some poor players who I decided to get rid of or release as they were out of contract.
One thing I did which I mentioned in my previous post was re-sign Striker Garry Hay on loan for another season from Celtic, he accepted and as you will see later had another amazing season!
I seriously needed to strengthen the defence, and also needed another striker to partner Hay, a GK would be nice as would another CM.
I ended up making the following signings:
Signing 1 – David McClean was on a free transfer and I beat off competition from a few English Championship teams for his signature, a fantastic coup for Stranraer and he played an instrumental part all season
Signing 2 – Charles Mensah was signed to partner Hay up front and played amazing. A £170k signing from Leeds United
Signing 3 – Kelvin Hayward is a decent looking, forward thinking CM who will provide energy in midfield, signed from Sheffield Wednesday on a pre-contract deal
Signing 4 – Peter Agu was last seasons Scottish Championship player of the season and I snapped him up for £100k from Partick. A fantastic signing and will partner Hayward well in Central Midfield
Signing 5 – Pat Nicholls will be my 1st choice LB, he is a more defensive minded full back which is exactly what I need for my 442 tactic. Signed from Middlesbrough for £300k
And finally, Signing 7 – Mike O’Dwyer will be my 1st choice Goalkeeper, signed from Wycombe for £9.5k
So signings complete my squad is looking much better now and primed for a crack at the title!
The Domestic Season – The Cups
The first trophy we were entered in to and we had a really good campaign, I really wanted to win something this year and this was probably my best chance.
We breezed through the opening round, beating Championship side Partick in round 1 and then League 1 sides Clyde and Ayr in rounds 2 and 3
We then played Championship side Inverness in the Semi Final and scraped through 3-2
In the final we faced the No. 1 ranked team in the Championship, in the end we beat Falkirk 2-1 but it was a tough game.
So my first Cup competition won with Stranraer and showed that we have a really good chance of doing well in the League.
Scottish League Cup
Again we had a pretty decent run in this competition, I knew we probably wouldn’t win it but wanted to get as far as possible
The 1st round was against League 2 side Arbroath and we got through winning 2-0, next up would be Premiership Motherwell and we had a stormer of a game, beating them 4-2. We then faced another Premiership side in the form of Hamilton and managed to nick the game 1-0, this was an amazing win as Hamilton at the time were top of the league! The Quarter final though would get a lot tougher!
Yes we drew Celtic, this would show us how far we had come and if we could challenge the big boys! The answer…..
Errrr no we got absolutely smashed! With 18 mins to go we were completely in the game but we tired and Celtic capitalised and in the end it ended 5-1. I expected to go out but was disappointed at how we had capitulated
The Scottish Cup started well as we beat Championship side Partick in the 3rd Round and then once again we were drawn against Celtic, but this time at home. Unfortunately we couldn’t beat them and we were comfortably beaten 3-0. Again I was disappointed and it made me realise I had a long way to go to be challenging at the very top
The Domestic Season – Scottish Championship
Now to the most important competition. As mentioned earlier the board wanted a top 4 spot, I expected that and hopefully a title challenge. The media had us predicted 2nd so we definitely had a chance.
We played Partick in the first game and it was down to earth with one almighty crash as we were hammered 3-0. a disappointing start but one that galvanised us, after this result we went 12 games unbeaten and we continued in the same fashion. Falkirk always kept up with us and with 23 games gone the table looked like this
With 15 games to go we were 10 points clear. We carried on and went on an even longer unbeaten run, with 6 games to go we had wrapped up the title and at the end of the season we had absolutely battered the league, once again smashing the record for most points and most goals. Here is how it ended:
96 points, 121 goals, what a hammering!! I never ever expected to win the league by this far, but once again we kept morale high and never looked back. The players were fantastic and once again Garry Hay stood out. He had scored an amazing 44 goals in 32 games and over the 2 seasons at the club he had 92 goals in 68 games. There was only one thing for it, I HAD to sign him!
Celtic didn’t put up a fight and accepted the £1m offer. So Garry Hay will get his chance in the Premiership next season!
WHAT A SEASON! 3 straight promotions, absolutely amazing but it was all down to the chairman, he had given me ridiculous funds to improve the team, the wage budget was immense. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without the backing he had given me and as the season finished the chairman improved things even more
We had already had the Training facilities improved mid-season which put it up to “Impressive” and with the upgrade to the Youth facilities this would put it to “Very Good”
The chairman has also accepted my request to expand the Scouting Range
The he gave me my budgets
Amazing again, our current wages are £159k so we have over £100k extra to spend and nearly £6m in transfer budget. I’m sure I wont need all this but its good to have as back-up, in my eyes this squad deserve a chance to prove themselves. I will need to buy a few new players as 5 players are out of contract and wont re-sign but the nucleus will stay the same.
My aim for next season? To stabilise, maybe push for the top half end of season split and see how much further we can go. We had proved we could beat some of the teams in this league during our cup run but we know we wont get anywhere near Celtic, maybe with the right additions we could push for European spot? Maybe thats a bit too ambitious!
Thanks for reading!