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Take over the first Premier League side to sack their manager and lead them to greatness

I did this last year and enjoyed it until I got too busy to play very much. Taking inspiration from the "down by Christmas" challenge, I will take control of the first club in the bottom 5 of the Premier League to sack their manager. This will then be my starting point for what will hopefully be a long and successful career.

As well as England, I also have the following leagues running; Scotland, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, USA, Argentina and Brazil.

I've disabled the first transfer window so teams will start the season with the squads as in real life. I will then holiday until a manager gets sacked. Hopefully before Christmas so I can work some magic in the January window!
The first manager to leave his post is Mark Hughes, but it's mid October and with Stoke in 16th, he resigns before he's pushed. So I won't be taking this job.
Perhaps surprisingly the Stoke board take on former Hull manager Mike Phelan.
As we move into November, the bottom 3 are Swansea, Bournemouth and Huddersfield. Clement's job is the only one currently insecure.

I get into December and still nobody sacked. Starting to wonder if I'll get chance to do any business for my new club in January. Swansea move out of the bottom 3 to be replaced by Brighton and there are no insecure jobs...
Suddenly, Clement and Eddie Howe are sacked on the same day. Bournemouth are bottom, Swansea are 19th so I'll be taking the Bournemouth job.

I would post screenshot of the league, but currently, my screenshots look like this
Anyone have any ideas why?
It's ok. Discovered it's a Beta bug. This is how the table currently looks.
Meet The Manager

I'm not going to start with no qualifications because it's too unrealistic for a struggling team to hire someone with no knowledge at all. However, I haven't maxed my self out.
I favour youth development and am more tactical than tracksuit.

The board expects the team to play possession football. Although it isn't usually something I focus on, I'll just go with it for now and see how it goes.
Meet The Team

Currently, the only player injured is Artur Boruc and he's out for around 2 more weeks.

According to the initial team report, we lack depth at central defence, central midfield and attacking midfield. We don't really have a consistent goalscorer and the squad lacks leadership.
Despite our poor league position, the players are generally happy.

Squad Breakdown
Begovic is the best GK at the club, while Boruc and Federici provide backup. Boruc is 37 yrs old now, so I'll definitely need to be looking for a new keeper.
There are a couple of 19 yr olds showing decent potential. Stanton (on loan at Guernsey) and Ramsdale.

At left back, Daniels in far better than any other options at the club. Mings would be second choice, while Ake can also play there.
On the right, Francis can still do a job, but at 32 is probably the wrong side of his peak. Adam Smith provides competition, but there's no depth or potential.
My best pairing in the middle looks like being Cook and Ake. Although Francis can also play there, there's literally no more depth. Corey Jordan looks a good prospect, but is currently injured for 6 months with damaged cruciate ligaments. A central defender must be top of my shopping list!

I'm fairly flexible with the formation I will play and I'm happy to work around the players I have, so I'll look at all areas.
We have a couple of decent DMs, Surman and Cook. Cook wants a chance in the first team and is currently loan listed, but I think I'll probably keep him at the club. Other central midfield options include Arter and Gosling (another wanting first team football), while Hyndman is a decent prospect and would provide competition if he wasn't on loan at Lille. The only other prospect of note is Ofoborh, who's predominantly a DM.
We have a number of players that can play on either wing. Ibe, Pugh, Stanislas, Fraser and Gradel (out on loan at Toulouse). Josh King can also play anywhere in the attacking third, but is currently transfer listed. As for as prospects go, Mahoney is a 20 yr old right winger.
If I choose to play with an AMC, Josh King looks my best option, so I remove him from the transfer list. Hyndman may also offer an option there.

We have 3 main strikers at the club. Wilson, Afobe and Defoe. Grabban and Mousset are both out on loan, while King can play there if needed. There's not much in the way of potential here though.

In summary, I feel we lack a solid spine. I need to find a central defender, central midfielder and an attacking midfielder, as well as decent back up goalkeeper.

We are short on staff. There's no assistant manager and only 2 main coaches. There's no DoF and the head scout isn't that good. The other 2 scouts at the club are even worse.

First job, find some staff!
Approach To First Game

The board offer me the chance to set expectations.
I look at the budget options if I change them, but the budget doesn't actually change. So I leave them all on the lowest.
I was actually surprised to find we are still in the Carabao cup. We have a quarter-final against Spurs coming up.

I choose not to take the captaincy away from Simon Francis. I don't want to upset anyone before I've even started!
Although, I upset them in the team meeting when introducing myself. I tell them I'm confident that we can stay up, and they feel I'm being unambitious and that we should be aiming higher. I cautiously backtrack and tell them mid-table is more realistic. It seems to cheer them up.

Lewis Cook comes to see me to discuss his lack of football under the previous manager. I tell him that he'll get the chance to prove himself.

Our first game comes just 2 days into the job. A trip to West Brom
West Brom (A) - 13th December 2017

For the first game I'm lining up 4-3-3. I was tempted to play with 2 strikers but avoiding defeat has to be my priority and I'm fairly sure 2 up front would leave to many spaces. This is my first team sheet.
On the bench are; Federici, Francis, Daniels, Gosling, Fraser, King and Afobe.

We have a goal disallowed for offside after 36 mins and go in at half time with the score still 0-0.
During the second half, Stanislas is replaced by Fraser and Afobe comes on for Wilson. But it ends 0-0.


At least we didn't lose. Swansea did, so we close the gap to them to just 1 point, but we're 5 points from safety.
Huddersfield (H) - 16th December 2017

After the Bournemouth game, I am able to confirm Wolfgang Rolff as my assistant manager. The 57 yr old German has previously been assistant at some top German clubs, including Hannover, Frankfurt, Bremen and Leverkusen.

Dan Gosling came to speak about his lack of play time. To be honest, he's not really cut out for Premier League football, and won't get near the team if I sign the central midfielder I want. So I tell him that he can go and he seems ok with that.

As well as my new assistant manager, I also chose to hire a director of football. I mainly use mine just to negotiate contracts of existing players and selling on my unwanted ones. In comes 41 yr old Italian, Roberto Goretti. Formerly DoF and HoYD at Perugia.

Ryan Fraser picks up a bruised knee in training and will miss the match. But he'll only be out for a few days.

For the match against Huddersfield, I switch to a narrow formation in an attempt to control the midfield and allow me to play 2 up front.
On the bench are; Federici, Francis, Daniels, Gosling, Ibe, Mahoney and Afobe.

It only takes us 5 mins to take the lead. King and Wilson teaming up well before Defoe finishes from close range.
It's level after 20 mins when Ince scores from 25 yards. Keeper should have done better there...
We aren't level for long as Wilson puts us back in front. Latching onto a long ball from Mings.
Wilson scores again less than 2 minutes later. It feels like we are just walking through Huddersfield's defense.
Equally though, they are walking through ours. It's 3-2 after 29 minutes as Quaner scores a one on one chance.
It stays 3-2 up until half time, although Wilson fluffs a great chance for his hattrick!
My first sub comes after 65 mins with Mahoney replacing King. Afobe replaces Defoe 10 mins later, while Gosling replace Surman.
With a little under 10 mins to go, Depoitre gets on to a long ball from Mooy to make it 3-3.
But, Wilson eventually completes his hattrick after missing a number of chances to do it earlier.
There's a stoppage time red card for Huddersfield as we see the game out 4-3.

Tottenham (A) - 19th December 2017 (Carabao Cup Quarter Final)

After the win, I decided to ask the board if I can take my next coaching badge. So I'm currently training for my Continental B Licence. Hopefully I should get it around the end of the season.

Brad Smith comes to see me about his lack of play time. The problem with Brad is that he's a wing back and I don't use them. He's not great as a full back or a winger. What's more, my coaches reckon he's only good enough to play in League 1 and that he'll never be Premiership material. So I tell him he can leave.

Normally, I'd play some kids and fringe players in the cup, but seeing as this is a quarter final, and I'm trying to get some momentum going, I decide to go fairly full strength.
There's a few changes as some players are tired, but we line up like this.
On the bench are; Federici, Mings, Ake, Arter, Stanislas, Mahoney and King.

Early on its fairly end to end, but Cook gives away a penalty after 12 mins when he pushes Foyth and Kane steps up to score from the spot.
We create plenty of chances after that but just can't get the ball past Vorm, and go in at half time trailing by that single goal.
We finally equalise just before the hour mark. Wilson latches onto a long ball from Daniels and rounds Vorm before slotting home.
Shortly after this, I replace Ibe with Mahoney.
Unfortunately, we're only level for 10 minutes, before Kane rises to head home a Sissoko cross.
Late changes see King and Arter replace Afobe and Surman.
There are 5 minutes of stoppage time, and with 4 of them gone, King times a perfect run for a Wilson through ball and blasts it past Vorm for the equaliser. Somehow, we force extra time!
It only takes Spurs 4 minutes to retake the lead as Sissoko fires one into the top corner.
Shortly after, Daniels picks up a damaged heel, so I'm forced to use my extra time sub to bring on Mings.
Llorente makes it 4-2 before half time of extra time, and it looks like we're going out...
110 minutes gone, and Wilson pulls one back after a great ball from Mahoney, can we find an equaliser?
No. We fight hard but the cup run ends 4-3 after extra time.
Started this up then had to take a break because of work. Now Christmas is out of the way, it's time to get back to it...
Good Luck with this
Watford (A) - 23rd December 2017

In the run up to the match, I accept a few loan offers for some kids that are nowhere near the first team squad. Then Stanislas comes to talk to me about his lack of play time. He's the best winger I've got so I don't want to lose him. I don't always use wingers tho, so it's a complicated situation. I tell him I'll give him some game time, hopefully it will force him to put in some good performances.

This is how we line up against Watford:
Stanislas isn't a natural AMC, but I'm prepared to give him a chance. On the bench are; Boruc, A. Smith, Wiggins, Fraser, Ibe, King and Defoe.

We take the lead after 12 mins, when Afobe turns in a cross from Francis.
For most of the rest of the first half, we certainly look second best. But just before the break, Wilson latches onto a through ball from Afobe and passes it past the keeper to make it 2-0.
In the dying moments of the half, Deeney pulls a goal back for Watford when the defence give him far too much space.
We start the second half lively, but are restricted to long range efforts that we can't get on target.
On the hour mark, I pull a disappointing Stanislas and replace him with King.
Shortly after, King's involved in the build up as Wilson makes it 3-1.
A tired Mings, who's on a yellow, is replaced by Wiggins as we try and see the game out.
Watford hit us on the counter attack with 6 mins to go and Deeney sets up Kabasele to make it 3-2...
And then Deeney bullies his way through the defense to equalise!
And then Deeney scores a winner as the defence are caught out of position.
We lose 4-3 despite being in a strong position. The defence appeared to sleep through the second half and needs some serious work.

Looks like a defender may need to be the first signing we make.
Wow, got your job cut out with Bournemouth! Lots of goals going in at both ends though. Should be an exciting job! Good luck!
Everton (H) - 26th December 2017

Between matches, I send a few more youngsters out on loan. I also accept a few offers from Russian clubs for Boruc.
On the incoming front, I have my scouts frantically searching for defenders, while having bids accepted for Ryan Sessegnon and a transfer listed Danny Ings.
Just after that Ings bid gets accepted, Liverpool sack Klopp. They sit 9th in the league having just lost 4-1 to Chelsea at Anfield.

For the Everton game, I chose to change formation to see if it might help us concede less goals! I went with this team:
On the bench are; Federici, A.Smith, Wiggins, Gosling, Fraser, King, Afobe.

The match starts well, as we take the lead inside 4 mins from Ibe. Everton had actually hit the post, but we hit them on the counter attack making the most of Ibe's pace.
A couple of minutes later and it's 2-0. Cook heading in a Stanislas corner.
Everton pull a goal back on 33 mins through Klaasen and then equalise with their next attack as Tom Davies heads in a Sigurdsson cross.
We have a couple of chances to go in leading at half time, but Surman and Stanislas both blast over.
On the hour mark, I bring on Afobe to replace Wilson who's having a poor game.
He scores within minutes of his introduction as Ibe cuts back a great ball for him to turn in.
For some reason, we leave loads of space when we're leading, and it's not long before Sigurdsson finds Klaasen to equalise again.
Wiggins replaces a tired (and booked) Mings for the last 10 minutes.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Everton score again as Niasse breaks away from the defence and squares a ball for Lennon to score...

We manage to lose 4-3 for the 4th game in a row!

Bournemouth love a 4-3! Loads of goals, good luck with this, certainly looks like you need some better defenders!
Burnley (A) - 30th December 2017

It's a quiet period between Christmas and New Year, as I hunt for reinforcements, both on field and in the back room staff.

On the morning of our match, Callum Wilson comes to see me. 7 goals in his last 4 games has perked the interest of Man City, and he wants to leave to play Champions League football. I know I'm not likely to be able to offer him that at Bournemouth for a long time, so I tell him he can go if City match our valuation, which I set at £40m (He's valued at £31m), but he storms out...

I just make the one change for this match, with Ake being replaced by Adam Smith.
On the bench are; Federici, Ake, Daniels, Gosling, Fraser, King and Afobe.

It's the 29th minute before a goal comes and it's Wilson showing what he's got once more, getting on the end of a cross from Smith.
Just before half time, Francis is stretchered off with a head injury. Ake my only real option to replace him, so let's hope he can improve on his last showing!
The second half is fairly quiet. I bring on Fraser to replace Stanislas with 20 mins to go.
On 77 minutes, Burnley go down to 10 men, as Cork picks up his second yellow.
It helps us see out the game, and I finally get a win!


It's not quite enough to lift us out of the relegation zone, but it puts us just 2 points behind Burnley and 3 behind Huddersfield.

Francis had concussion and he'll be out for up to 2 weeks.
Crystal Palace (A) - 1st January 2018

With only a days rest between games, there's not much to report. Wilson did manage to come second in December's player of the month though.
Boruc has agreed a deal with CSKA Moscow and will join them when the Russian window opens on 28th January.

Because of the schedule, I need to rest a few players, so we line up like this:
With a bench of; Federici, Daniels, Wiggins, Fraser, King, Stanislas and Afobe.

We take the lead 11 mins in. It's Wilson again, finishing off a good passing move.
Wilson turned provider for our second goal after 26 mins. He's forced out wide but gets a cross in which Pugh puts away.
On 32 mins, Zaha goes down and wins a penalty. Lewis Cook gets a yellow for it. Cabaye steps up and tucks it away.
Just before the end of the half, Mings picks up a knock. I give him chance to run it off, but at the break, make the decision to replace him with Wiggins.
We have the better of the second half and eventually break through after 68 mins. Ibe beats the offside trap and gets to the edge of the box before squaring the ball for Pugh to score his second.
A few minutes later, he grabs his hat-trick as a corner isn't cleared, bounces around the area for a bit and he gets the final touch.
A couple of late changes see Lewis Cook and Wilson replaced by Daniels and Afobe.
Afobe makes an immediate impact as he's brought down by Sakho and wins a penalty. Daniels takes it, but it's saved!
We see the game out from there for a 4-1 win.


It's enough to move us up to 16th, while Pugh's hat-trick sees him named in the team of the week.
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