Welcome back to the latest update in my FM16 blog save where I am taking charge of Huddersfield Town. Hopefully by now you will have read my intro post taking you through the club, squad, finances, tactics, etc. If not head over and give it a read!
This post will take you through the whole of season 1.
I won’t spend 1000’s of words taking you through every single game as I don’t want you all falling asleep. Instead lets just get straight into it and show you the final table:
8th was probably just about right but it wasn’t that simple. We had a truly shocking start to the season. We didn’t win out first match until game 4, and after 10 games we had won 1, drew 4 and lost 5, 7 points wasn’t good enough and we sat in 22nd place in the League.
Form slowly started picking up, we won our next 3 games including a sensation 4-1 hammering of Fulham at Craven Cottage, we then went 3 without a win, 1 draw and 2 defeats which were absolutely shocking games, a 3-0 loss away to Norwich and a 4-2 home defeat to Brentford. We seemed to be playing OK, the usual goals by those pesky crosses were our main channel of conceding goals, but we were dominating possession and although we sat in 17 place after 16 games I did feel we could slowly turn it around, the tactic was working OK, we just needed to shore up the defence a bit, I’ll talk through my tactical changes later.
As we headed into November we did eventually start picking up some genuine form, we went 6 games unbeaten, 5 of these were wins which started pushing us into the top half of the table. Everytime we started a good run we would get kicked back down to earth, after this nice run of games we then lost 4-2 to Rotherham!
As we entered 2016 we started another unbeaten run and in the next 12 games we only lost 2. At this point we were well in with a chance of a play-off spot, we were there or thereabout for the final few months of the season but everytime we looked to be threatening the play-offs we would lose a game and fall back away again.
April was a tough month, 3 straight defeats put pay to our play-off challenge and in the end we had to settle for 8th place. A massive leap on our predicted finish of 15th and we exceeded the board expectation of a mid-table finish.
Overall I was very pleased, we started badly but the 2nd half of the season went very well. It gives me hope for next season that with the right additions we really give the play-offs a good go.
Capital One Cup
I mentioned in my intro post that in the 1st season I really needed to generate some finances via a good cup run. Well it wasn’t to be in this competition as we were knocked out by Crewe at our own ground! Absolutely bloody shocking and I didn’t hold back in telling my team how crap we were.
The FA Cup however went absolutely incredibly. Yes we were lucky on who we drew but I never expected us to get to the final!!
As you can see we didn’t play a Premier League team until Hull in the Semi Final and they were bottom of the League. Most of the big teams went out early with only Man Utd losing to West Ham in the Semi Finals.
The final was really close. Cresswell missed an early penalty for West Ham and after a pretty tight game which West Ham slightly edged on chances but we dominated possession it looked to be heading to extra time and penalties.
But no, in true FM style I got kicked in the balls, Cresswell got the ball on the left, a far post cross came in and Antonio nipped in to smash the ball past the Keeper, devastated can’t even explain how I felt. We deserved extra time but no we were to lose with virtually the last kick of the game.
But what a run!! And it generated us nearly £5m in Prize Money and Gate Receipts which has really helped our bank balance out.
Guess it’s a good time to talk about finances then. Projections were for us to end the season +£1.5m, season 2 -£3.39m and season 3 -£7.94m. Because of the cup run we had our end of season bank balance has ended at £8.95m! An amazing £7m more than what was and this was all down to the FA Cup run we had.
Projections now have us to end season 2 +£14.5m
. I have no idea where they got that figure from. We still have the bank loan to pay, attendances haven’t increased massively but suddenly they expect us to make a £6m profit. We shall see but another cup run is needed to keep finances heading upwards.
I actually and very surprisingly hardly made any changes to my tactic I spoke about in my intro post. The 41221 stuck all season and we even after a shaky start we looked pretty solid.
I did make a few changes after our bad start, no role changes but a few changes to Team and Player instructions. The 2 wide players we set to play more narrow as they didn’t seem to be getting close enough to my lone striker. The CM(s) was asked to close down more and get further forward to help support the front man. I also asked the team to play more narrow and dropped the mentality from Control to Standard. All these seemed to help the team get a bit closer together and helped us with keeping the ball.
The board had asked us to play possession football and that’s exactly what I did, we ended top of the possession charts with an average possessions of just over 58%
I told you what I expected my First 11 to be in the previous post and it didn’t change massively, 2 players managed to break into the 11, this was mainly due to injuries but they kept their place and actually ended up as our top rated players.
Kasey Palmer – Central Midfield
On loan from Chelsea Kasey ended up as our highest rated player. He replaced Dean Whitehead as the CM(s) after Dean got injured and kept his place in the team for the rest of the season.
Kasey was an sensation in the final half of the season, starting 24 games, scoring 2, assisting 6 and getting 5 player of the match awards. His average rating of 7.64 in the League and in 6 Cup games he averages 7.98. He was solid in midfield and hardly ever lost the ball, his pass completion was 85%. I hope I can renew his loan for another season or sign him permanently.
Tommy Smith – Right Back
Came in at RB replacing Schindler who moved to CB after an injury to Stankovic early on in the season and never lost his place. He played 40 games in the League and 9 in the Cup averaging 7.61 and 8.00 respectively. His stats overall we nothing short of amazing and will head into next season as my 1st choice RB.
So here is how my best 11 looks now as chosen by the game!
Nakhi Well ended up as our top scorer, not back seeing as he had 2 months out with an injury. Kasey Palmer also ended up getting the Player of the Season and the Young Player of the Season!
And here is a final screenshot of my whole squad, stats and base attributes which I wanted all players to have at least 10 in most of them. This does looks be to be the case on most players. The ones who haven’t made the grade with regards to improving their attributes will be assessed and moved on if I don’t think they fit the bill.
The Youth Intake
A quick look through the youth intake and overall it was pretty poor, I usually let me coaching staff choose who to sign but seeing as 80% of the players were awful I decided to only sign 4 myself and let the rest go.
I chose the 4 players who not only were rated best by my staff but also took my eye with regards to the base attributes that I look for in my team.
Any other business
A couple of facility upgrades, one was requested by me and the second was added by the board after the season finished. Both of these were upgrades to the Youth Facilities.
And finally our budgets came through for the new season and it looks very promising.
Nearly £6m to spend and around £30k spare wages to spend. I may move over a bit of the transfer budget to increase the wages as I will be looking at mainly frees and loans to keep the finances in check.
As for players I am looking to bring in, I only need to replace my loan players. Danny Ward (GK), Kasey Palmer (CM), Aaron Mooy (CM) and Elias Kachunga (ST) will all leave and all need replacing. I said earlier I will look to get Palmer again but the other 3 will go and not return. I don’t have a definitive list of players who I want but will have a good search through my scouting reports and as always look for players who have the base attributes I want for all my players.
Right I think I have gone on long enough! Thanks for reading. My next update will be a transfer special once the August transfer window is over. If there isn’t much to say I’ll also take you through pre-season and the opening Champions games.
See you all soon!