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Championship to Champions League

I was assessing players at the club which will determine the long term future of the playing squad while getting the players ready for a promotion push.

This was the club’s first televised game of the season and Craven Cottege was sold out despite the being on a Friday evening which says a lot about both sets of fans. The players are now getting use to my formation and tactics after the preseason of constant changes and a few games of the League season where the results were not what we were expecting. This game showed why Fulham paid the money for McCormack as he is every good striker in the Championship just like Rhodes and it would be interesting to see if he can make the step up to the Premier League if the club gets promotion.

Ross McCormack is on course of getting around 30 goals in the Championship after scoring 13 goals in the 24 games so far while Woodrow is showing his potential of being the clubs leading striker with 7 goals in 10 games which is giving McCormack some competition for the strikers position. Bryan Ruiz is a good player but he is picking up a few minor injuries which means I am having to change the formation every few games and this is has led to the decision of not renewing his contract when it expires in the summer. Middlesbrough are the only club so far this season to beat us but this might not be only the defeat we have this season as the remaining 22 games are played there might a few losses before the season ends.

I can only see it between us and Brentford for the Championship title with the points gape between them and Norwich being 6 points. Things can change quickly in the Championship which is why 3rd to 14th are all in contention for the Playoffs while 15th to 22nd are fighting for survival at this moment. The January Transfer Window opens soon so it is going to be vital that the clubs either keep hold of their top players or improve on the squad.

League Cup
We got a nice easy game against Rochdale which meant I could play players who have not yet featured so far this season. Fleetwood, Colchester and Crewe with the upsets in

Fleetwood, Colchester and Derby with the upsets in Round3 as they are joined by Crewe which is good for the competition seeing them getting drawn against bigger clubs and winning regardless if the bigger fields a weaker team.

We gave Arsenal a tough game and I felt that we could have won it on another day but that is knockout football. Fleetwood, Crewe and Colchester’s fantastic run in the League Cup came to end but they shown that League 1 and 2 clubs can compete in the Cups against bigger clubs in one off games.

FA Cup
The standout games are Leicester v Wrexham, Swindon v Tottenham, Everton v Liverpool, Chelsea v Preston, Crystal Palace v Wycombe, QPR v Dagenham and Redbridge has some could intense games and some could see some big upsets.

League Round Up
There are some really good teams struggling in the Bundesliga. It is a shock to see FC Bayern to be struggling to be in contention for the title.

Only goal difference separates PSG, Monaco and Toulouse at the of top of Ligue 1. Lyon once the top team in France now face a relegation battle while Marsielle are starting to head in that direction if they do not improve.

The top 6 is pretty much what is to be expected but Man Utd could win their 1st title since the retirement of Alex Ferguson. Liverpool could win their first Premier League title and their first league title since 1990 if Man Utd slip up. QPR in 12th are not yet safe as a couple of bad results could see them slide down the table and end up fighting against the drop.

Atletico Madrid could extend their lead if Barcelona slip up after their Winter Break. Real Madrid could put themselves back into title contention if they win their 2 games that they have in-hand. Almeria are essentially relegated while Elche have a slim chance or staying up while 10th-18th are all trying to avoid being in the last relegation place.

WOW!! Inter at the bottom of Serie A but they are not adrift from safety. AC Milan must be careful not to have a bad run of results to avoid falling into the relegation battle. Roma are giving Juventus something to think about as Juventus are looking for their 4th consecutive Serie A title.

New Players

Alexander Dominguez, Liga de Quito Free Transfer
I have Joronen and Kiraly has backup keepers but I feel Joronen is not good enough while Kiraly is in his final year of his contract and in his early 40’s. Dominguez is about the same level as Stekelenburg but I am planning on selling Stekelenburg in the summer regardless of promotion or not.

George Cooper, Crewe £750k ( £500k plus £250k over 24months)
I have a potentially good Premier League player in Cooper as long he keeps improving and I hope to develop his right wing position. His main position in the line up is Attacking Midfielder in the shadow striker role which Eisfeld’s role as well so I have 2 young AMCs competing for that role.

John Hou Saeter, Rosenberg £2m (£500k plus £500k after 30 games, £500k 10 International games and £500k after promotion)
I am looking to develop his defensive side of his game and I could potentially have a decent all round central midfielder in a few years time when he is ready to be part of the first team.

Luka Jovic, crvena Zvezda £3.4m (£2.4m plus £1.2m after 24months and £600k promotion)
He is a superstar in the making and could be part of a young deadly strike force with Dembele and Woodrow. He will be joining the club on 1/1/16 and hope the club is above the relegation zone of the Premier League when he arrives. I had him at RB Leipzig and he was awesome.

Over the next 2 to 3 transfer windows I am looking to recruit young British players with the odd non British signing when necessary. I am also looking at improving the youth team coaching over the next couple of seasons. It is going to be interesting to see how clubs use the January Transfer Window across the leagues.

Alan Browne, Preston £1.7m raising to £3.2m
The add-ons are £600k after 30 league games, £600k after promotion and £300k after 10 caps. He is currently a member of the Irish U21 side and as the potential to be decent player for the Irish and Fulham senior sides. The fee maybe a bit high for player that has only made 23 appearances for Preston but I think the fee will prove to be a bargain if he fulfils his potential. I am lining him as Scott Parker’s long term replacement in centre midfield.

Kyle Bartley, Swansea £130k
I could have waited until the end of the season to sign him on free transfer but I could not risk losing Amorebieta without having a replacement in place. Burn and Bartley will be my new centre back pairing.

Tyrone Mings, Ipwich £6.5m raising to £8m
The breakdown of the transfer is £3.7m upfront, £3.5m over 42 months, E£600k after 30 league games, £65k per league game for 10 league games, £500k after 10 caps and 20% of profit. He has the potential to be England’s best left back and be real threat from left back if he can improve his passing. I have to good young left backs at the club and there is a lot of games left so they will both get games.

Mick McCarthy went for experience in the centre of midfield with Grindheim who brings leadership and aggression to the squad while Savage and Wallace bring creativity. These signings seem like that Ipswich are making sure that they are not dragged into the relegation battle rather than trying to get into Playoff contention.

Millwall just like Ipswich are looking to avoid getting into a relegation battle by adding a couple of experienced players on short term deals. I think Millwall could be in trouble next season as they have a lot of players in the squad over 30 with not much which will be an advantage to their opponents. Their new signing Kamara is out for the rest of the season.

Norwich took their time to find a replacement for Bassong while adding pace and creativity to the midfield on deadline day. If I was in Alex Neill’s position I would have added a striker or 2 as the ones at the club are not scoring enough goals which means the opposition are always have chance of taking points from Norwich and that could cost Norwich the opportunity of automatic promotion.

Wigan have pulled a major coup by signing Adrian Mutu who did not have a great couple of seasons at Chelsea but Malky Mackay must think Mutu as something to offer. Wigan must be careful not to be over reliant on experienced players as they would need replacing which could put the club at risk if the experience players leave at the same time.


If Bayern kept hold of Thiago and Badstuber with the addition of Borini and Xhaka plus the current squad should be enough to put pressure on Dortmund for the title. FC Bayner were the only club in the Bundesliga to do any major transfer business in this window.


Only time will time if Atletico regret selling Raul Jimernez to Benfica. Atletico haved added pace and width to their team as they look to remain at the top of Liga and resist the pressure from Barcelona whose only business was selling Rafinha to Man Utd for £14.25m and loaning out some of their youngsters.

Real Madrid signed yet another creative midfielder in Florenzi but can he establish himself in the starting line up on a regular basis.

Villareal might regret selling Musacchio and Giovanni dos Santos if they fail to get Champions League for next season either via the League or Europa League.

Ligue 1
Not much transfer activity but Lyon have moved up the table since my last post while PSG are likely to win the title before the season ends.

Premier League

Arsene Wenger has gone big in order to secure a Champions League but more importantly are Musacchio and Nkoulou are the anwser to their defensive issues at the back.

Burnley have gone all out in both defence and attack in their push to move from the bottom of the Premier League. The players that been brought into the team can either keep them up or help them to get promotion at the first attempt if they are relegated.

Jorginho might be able to get regular games in their starting line up while do Santos will find himself warming the bench and playing in the Cup games against lower league teams since they have Drogba.

Everton are hoping that Vida is going to be the long term partner fro John Stones at the heart of the Everton’s defence. Everton will be hoping that Cabaye will show that early form he had at Newcastle before he moved to PSG.

Liverpool did some last minute buying but are they are necessary. I can understand one or two additions but 5 on the last day at the cost of £34.5m is a risk when they are 3 points behind Man Utd. I think Gonalons is the long term replacement for Gerrard in midfield and I think the only reason why there were 5 deal on the last day is that Liverpool took their time in getting the deals done.

This is quite surprising considering they are 6th with a chance of finishing in the top 4. I think they are going to spend big in the summer when their targets will not be cup tied in the Champions League.

Man Utd are going to expect Rafinha is going to be the next Scholes. They don’t have anyone in double figures for league goals scored at the moment, Falcao 9 in 16 and van Persie 8 in 15, could it be that van Gaal is being too pragmatic.

Will Southampton come to regret selling Wanyama which they did not need to plus if he stayed with Popov and Toivionen being added to the squad could see Southampton finish 6th or 7th next season.

Is Heung-Min Son going to the player that Spurs have for real? I really do like it when FM reflects real life or does something unexpected which you will see in a moment. Savic returns to the Premier League after having not so great two seasons at Man City but I think since then he has become a better players. Rossbach could be Lloris long term replacement and is a typical Levy buy. Spurs are at least 2 players away from having a squad thta is capable of winning and challenging for the Premier League title on a regular basis.

Serie A

Juventus have strengthen their full back positions with Sakai and Cricito who returns to Juventus after 7years. Firmino could become the focal point of their play over the next few seasons as a few of their star names could be leaving for one reason or another.

I am surprised that Roma did not sign a goal scoring striker in order to catch Juventus as Roma are not scoring enough goals which is the case for most Serie A teams.

On the 6th of January Inter fired Prandelli and on the 14th they hired Gaurdiola with Inter rock bottom of Serie A.If Gaurdiola can keep them up and turn them into title challengers again then he has to be considered one of the best managers in history. Gaurdiola needs to sort out the defence first before sorting out the attacking side of the squad which is quite decent. They should not be at the bottom of the table which shows there is something behind the scenes that is causing the club tounderperform and affecting the players.

I am looking at the right back position for next season and the summer transfer window is about getting rid off players that I do not want at the club for one reason or another. I think I have a squad that contains a good foundation for the club build on and avoid relegation if we are promoted this season.
I was playing Woodrow for the last few games to see if he can live up to the expectations that those at the club have of him then he gets injured during the game and is out for 7months which will hamper his development. The score would be different if Ruiz was playing as he is leading the assists for the club.

Bryan Ruiz makes a huge difference to the side when he plays and I hope he does not keep getting little knocks that keep him out of the side for a couple of weeks especially in the Premier League trying to stay up. I hope the players can convert the chances they get in the Premier League as they cannot afford to be wasting them if we are going to be staying up.

There were 2 teams that stopped us from scoring while one of them beat us which is the 2nd of 3 games we lost. The last 2 or 3 games I played a starting 11 made up of U21 and 2nd string players which resulted in 1 win, 1 draw and 1 loss with the hope that some can give an indication that they are ready to be part of the senior next season or need a season out on loan playing regular first team football. I was rotating the players a lot after January due to the FA Cup plus injuries and suspensions which did not affect the overall result plus it gave me a good look at the back up players in high pressure games which some showed that they are capable of being decent players for the club in the Championship but might find the Premier League a step too far. The team is showing promise and if I can a few players from the home nations with decent potential could see the club have a half decent Premier League squad with the potential of challenging for a trophy or even push for the top 7 every other season.

Brentford were really unlucky to miss out on automatic promotion after we lost the last game to Norwich which would have had an impact on their performances in the Playoff games.There are so many clubs at the bottom that have been in the Premier League but are now struggling to be in the Championship also there will clubs poaching their best players which would deepen their troubles. It was very close from 4th to 17th where a good or bad run of results could see the club climb the table or fall down the table.

FA Cup

3rd Round
We took Man City to a replay back at the Craven Cottage after a 1-1 draw at the Etihad. It is good to see a couple of young players from City’s Academy getting a run out a in a nearly full strength line up which makes our win even more special. The game was fairly even but we got an early goal which then puts the pressure on Man City to attack and get back into the game.

Blackburn caused an upset by beating Aston Villa while the Merseyside Derby was a close affair. Bradford and Coventry the lowest ranked clubs left in the FA Cup.

Round 4
Bartley and Burn have formed a good partnership i a short period of time plus a good understanding with Bettinelli. We play with 10 after using our allotted subs when Voser got injured in the 84th minute which meant the players had to play against a strong Crystal Palace side for over 30 minutes. Williams, Woodrow and Hyndman showed some good mental strength as they scored their penalties after coming on as 2nd half subs during normal time.

There were no real surprises in this round of the FA Cup but there some good potential match ups for Round 5. Blackburn and Charlton fans hope that the FA Cup run can lead to an improvement in their league form.

Round 5
I decided to play my back up players against Charlton for 2 reasons to rest my first choice players and Charlton are struggling in the league. Amorebieta and B would have been first choice pairing if were not for the form of Burn and Bartley.

Round 6
We proved hard to breakdown against Arsenal despite them having 62% of possession and, considering the players that Arsenal, they should have had hammered us.

The Quarter Finals were Premier League v Championship with 3 of the teams pushing their Premier League opponents to their limits.
New Players

Adam Forshaw, Middlesbrough £6.5m
The transfer is made up of £2.5m initial fee, £1m after promotion, £2.5m over 30months and £500k after 50 league games. His versatility means that I can use different formations without needing more players and I think he can be a good Premier League player.

Andre Wisdom, Liverpool £3m
He is my first choice right back and he is equally as good at centre back meaning I can take off either Mings or Kavanagh and replace them with an attacker without having to use 2subs.

Carl Jenkinson, Arsenal £3m
He fits the criteria for what I am trying to do at Fulham. He still has time to be the right back that people in the game expected him to be.

Harry Maguire, Hull £3.6m
He is an old school central defender who heads and kicks the ball away from goal. I have now 4 good young centre backs in the senior team plus 3 or 4 in the U21’s who could make the step up to the senior team. I am looking at Maguire and Bartley as my first choice but the form of Burn with Bartley is going to make that decision very hard.

Joe Gomez, Charlton £6.25m
The overall fee is a lot for a 17 year old centre back but he as the potential to be a top class centre back. The deal is £2.5m initial fee, £2.5m over 24months, £600k after 30 league games and £600k after 10 International appearances.

Kristoffer Ajer, Start £600k
I tried to sign in January but he signed a contract with Start. I could not pass up the opportunity to sign despite him not being British or Irish. He has the potential to the club’s future captain and midfield general.

Mason Holgate, Barnsley £2.5m
His deal is £1m initial fee, £q1m over 12months and £500k after 30 league games which will cost £1.7m of my transfer budget. He and Gomez have the potential to Fulham and England’s future centre back pairing with that in mind I might send both out on loan to get first team experience before moving up the senior side.

The way the transfers are structured mean that the total amount deducted from my transfer budget is lower than the overall fee as the cost is spread over several months and sometimes the Chairman or Director of Football can get the other club to accept a lower payment for some of the clauses.

I am looking at adding a couple of more players to the squad by the end of the transfer window. I am also going to ask the Board to invest more money to improve the Youth Team Level and facilities as they were downgraded as well as getting affiliations to access young players from other clubs and improving the scouting network as the Board have removed all restrictions.
This preseason was about getting the players to be familiar with each other as I have rebuilt this squad with several aims that make up a long term project. If I have players available during the International Break then I might arrange a friendly for the fringe players and have a look at different formations.

Premier League

This was a poor result to have going into the International Break as it means the players will not be able to get the result of their system and it will linger for the next game. This result ends a run of 6 games unbeaten, 2 wins and 4 draws, with McCormack scoring 6 goals. Forshaw, Maguire and Bartley all had a good game despite the result.

I was expecting us to be lose to Arsenal but the stats show that we could have had a point against Arsenal which means the players need to start convert the chances they create otherwise we could be at the wrong end of the table.

I decided to shake things up amongst the players by picking Woodrow ahead of McCormack after he went 3 games without scoring and me wanting to stop a potential relegation battle before it starts. Woodrow played his first game in 8months after getting injured and he scores which just shows that he can be the striker to replace McCormack.

The first 6 games would have been a great foundation to build the rest of the season on however the shock defeat to West Brom put some doubt into the players minds which remained there until the victory over West Ham and hopefully the win against Stoke is starting to put the confidence back into the players minds and give them belief that they can stay up. McCormack is doing well and needs to continue to score the goals or Woodrow will replace him. The defence need to do better otherwise despite scoring goals we could be in the relegation battle towards the end of the season.

The first 6 games saw us above where we are expected to be but the defeat against West Brom saw us drop to 14th. The back to back wins saw us climb to 6th so after 11 games we are on course to finish in the top 10 but I would take finishing between 14th and 7th to avoid European football which the squad is not ready for.

Ross McCormack had a great month in September scoring 5 goals in 3 games and if he can keep that going the should be near the top of the goal scoring chart and should see the club in the top 10.

League Cup

Round 2

Round 3

Round 4 and Quarter Final

Managerial Sacking
Big Sam lasted a bit longer than his real life counterpart did at West Ham. The sacking came after 1-0 loss to Stoke and our 3-0 win was their 2nd of 4 defeats. Malky Mackay and Aitor Karanka are joint favourites to takeover from Allardyce but I don’t think Karanka would move from Middlesbrough as they are currently 14th while West Ham face a season long relegation battle and any manager would be under be constant pressure from the fans.

England Squad
Another news item that reflecting what is happening in English football right now but 2 seasons before it happened. This is the end of Joe Hart at the highest level of Domestic and International football?

Transfer Update
This is not I wanted to read about Jovic months before his transfer. This is going to hamper his development as a striker but I have faith that he will fulfil his potential after he has overcome his injury both physically and psychologically. He is not going to straight into my First Team when he arrives as the plan was to have him at the club for the reminder of the season then loan him for First Team football at a Championship club for a season then evaluate his development.

I did the players to get to January without many injuries and suspensions as I have a small squad to play with. I am looking for players in a couple of positions, to replace players or add players to the squad for the long term.
International Break
I arranged this friendly to give the fringe players some game time in case they are needed in the coming fixtures for various reasons.

Premier League
Despite some really good results and performances, I feel that the strikers need to be converting more of the chances that are being created. The defeat against Chelsea was expected and the players did not have time to let that sink in as they had the game against Tottenham 3days later which is a good thing as the players came with a point. The draw against Spurs led to the draw against Sunderland and win against Hull as this the attempt by the club to get some momentum going into the 2nd half of the season.

We are currently the best of the rest however that could all change over the next 18 games. There are currently 6 teams in with a chance of winning the Premier League title while there are 7 teams fighting against relegation. I think we will struggle to stay up next season if we are in the Europa League as I will have a small squad that not yet be ready to handle both domestic and European football as we are already struggle with playing Cup competitions and League games.

League Cup
It would be great for the club to reach the final however winning the Cup with either Man City or Newcastle in the final is out if the question but it should be a valuable learning experience for this young squad.

FA Cup
There are quite a few games that could see some big upsets for example Concord Rangers v Stoke, Leyton Orient/Shrewsbury v Man City, Man City v Southend

January is going to be very important as we can easily pick up 12points before we face Manchester United, Everton and Arsenal in February. If we can come away with around 3 points from the games Manchester United, Everton and Arsenal than it would put us in a good position for the next few games where we would look to get at least 9 points. I think 24 points from these 12 games plus a good run in the cup competitions would give us momentum as the season enters the final few games. I think the players of Fulham and West Brom will be very familiar with each other playing each other in back to back games in the League Cup and Premier League.
This game cost Ronal Koeman his job at Southampton as he was sacked the following day with Southampton near the relegation zone which is below where they should be given then quality of the players at the club. Wow 19 fouls and no cards of any colour shows the ref was lenient. It felt really great to have 10 British players in the line up while some clubs have no British players in their match day squad at all.

I think getting 13 points from 15 points was a great return considering that we had 3 Cup games and 2 of them were the League Semi Final. Patrick Roberts stepped up up his game in the 6 gams since the turn of the year and showing signs that he is on his way to fulfilling his potential.

Holy Molly!!! We have gate crashed the top 6 with a potential Champions League place as we are currently 5points behind Arsenal. We have drawn the most games but lost fewer games so far this season. The relegation is getting tighter between Southampton, Hull, West Ham, Aston Villa and West Brom however Norwich and Leicester’s hopes of staying are starting to look very bleak as the teams above them a game in hand.

League Cup
We did enough against West Brom to reach the final where we face Man City. The last time the club reached a Cup was in the UEFA Cup under Roy Hodgson. The club has not been to Wembley since 1975 when the club were FA Cup runners up.

FA Cup

Round 3
Wolves, AFC Wimbledon and Plymouth were the sides causing upsets in Round 3. There were quite a few teams scoring 3 or more goals in this round with some that were expected but the 5-2 between Forest and Bournemouth was the eye catching result.

Round 4
I decided to play with 3-2WB-3-2 as I have the players available and with the quality to make it work over the next few seasons.

Forest were involved in another 5-2 thriller while Man Utd, Arsenal and Chelsea hammered their League 2 opponents. Our run the Cups is looking rather impressive this season and I hope it continues hand in hand with our impressive showing in the Premier League.

Round 5
Deja Vu. A potential Liverpool v Chelsea match is the highlight if Liverpool can overcome Palace in their replay.

Scott Parker could could play another 2 or 3 years but only at a lower level as he is picking up yellow cards over the past season and a half. His experience and leadership of the past season and a half has been beneficial to the young players in the squad.

FM can be slightly bonkers at time as it showing that I am one of the favourites to takeover from Pellegrini at Man City. If this was FM16 or 17 then I would definitely consider running two saves at the same time sort of sliding doors with Man City with their young players and building Fulham into all British powerhouse.


Ben Garrett £7.5m raising to £8.5m from Crewe
The transfer is broken into £3.5m upfront, £4m over 48months, £500k after 30 league games and £500k after 10 International Appearances. I have been scouting him for the past season and a half. I had one bid back in January but it was rejected shortly before he agreed a new contract with a £7.5m release clause but this transfer will cost the club about £6m as the part of the fee is spread over 4yrs. I hope he can improve on his technical skills and he will be a decent Premier League keeper.

I had accepted a £6m offer from Swansea has I have Woodrow, Dembele, Keane and Jovic, when he is back from injury, as they are the future and the potential to be a lot better than McCormack. His rejection of the offer by Swansea makes it seem it is about the money rather than football for McCormack. I hope to sell him in the summer regardless if he scores 15 to 20 goals this season and we somehow get European football next season.
2016 Youth Team Intake

Michael 0’Leary
I hope he can become a really good deep-lying playmaker as he can change the direction of play of play without thinking about using his weaker foot as he can both feet. He has the determination and work rate to develop and progress through the club.

Moriba Alfonso
He has the potential to a be a top class central attacking midfielder however it would beneficial for him to improve his strength while retaining his acceleration and pace. I hope in a few years time that his stats improve to a level where he is on the verge of breaking into the first team.

Juan Manuel Moreno
He needs to improve his dribbling, passing, technique, vision, anticipation, composure, flair, positioning and off the ball movement if he is going to be a good left sided midfielder.

I am hoping that the improvements to the training facilities and scouting will see better youth team players coming through the over the next decade or so.

The friendly was arranged just after the intake were signed so I decided to field a team mixed of fringe and youth team players to have a proper evaluation of them as they could be facing similar teams over the next few teams in the early rounds of the FA Cup, League Cup or just in case they are not successful in making to the first team at Fulham but are good enough to be professional footballers in Leagues 1 and 2.

Premier League
This was the last game of the season and chance of getting an unlikely Champions League place however Liverpool won their game which meant they secured the last Champions League place. The line up is probably a good indication of what I might be using next season as I look to promote some of the young players from the U21 and where I need to bring in players in the transfer market. I would like to see the players do this more often next season as they are good enough to be in the Premier League for the next few seasons.

There is one thing I have noticed over the season is that the players need to be more clinical as we won 7, drawn 6 and lost 1 in the final 14 games. The likes of Roberts, Woodrow and Williams have really stepped up during the run in while I had some decisions during the final few games on who were staying and leaving. The draws against the Top 6 kept us in the hunt for the last Champions League place but there is room for improvement as the average age of the squad is going to get lower.

We drew the most and lost the fewest games than any other team in the League which is why end up 5th and not mid table or in the top 4. West Ham going down to the Championship as they move from Upton Park or Boleyn Ground to the London Stadium at 57,000 it is the biggest stadium in the Championship which means if it is not full will look empty and I think West Ham will struggle in the Championship. Norwich appear to the team that is better equipped to life in the Championship as they did not spend much and kept the majority of the players that got the club promoted.

League Cup
This was our big chance of getting a trophy this season and probably for the next few seasons as nearly matched Man City. It is very rare for Aguero and Dzeko to have quiet games but it is showed how well my team as progressed over the last two seasons.

FA Cup
Our FA Cup run ended at the Quarter Finals where we lost to Manchester United in a replay. Arsene Wenger added another FA Cup to the trophy cabinet before he retired.

This summer is more about keeping hold of key players rather recruiting players however I have players in mind in case the situation arises for me to buy players. I will be looking to rebuild the central midfield area has I would need players that can help take the club to another level over the next few years. I will be restructuring the back room staff over the summer with better scouts and physios.
I was set £30m for transfers which was left from the previous season and I had few central midfielders leaving in the summer for various reasons which meant I had to concentrate on getting on British or Irish central midfielders who can fill various roles. I am looking at adding more creativity as well as adding a couple of defensive minded central midfielders to give some balance.

Lasse Vigen Christensen, Sold to Arsenal £20m
I was hoping to keep him for at least another season or two before the big clubs came knocking however Arsenal accept my offer of £20m in one lump sum rather than their original offer with some up front with the rest in instalments and clauses which was reject much to Christensen’s annoyance and he spat out his dummy to moan about it after I promised to accept bids that matched our evaluation of him. I have an extra £20m to spend so a major rebuild of the central midfield area is on.

I thought I would check him out at Arsenal and noticed his transfer value is over half of what Arsenal paid for him. I think he will get to be around £20m if Arsenal play him in the right role and he is the type of midfielder Arsenal have been missing.

Charlie Telfer, Dunde United £3.1m (15% of the profit on next transfer goes to the player)
He can play as a central midfield and central attacking midfielder as well as ticking all the boxes for this save. He adds much needed creativity in the midfield area. He can one of the top players for club and country for the next 10 years or so. He has great mental stats for a young man and if he can improve his tackling and marking then I have one most complete midfielders in the game. The media are calling him the next Jim Baxter is high praise but hopefully without the off field issues.

Conor Coady, Huddersfield £3.5m increasing to £4.5m
He has some big shoes to fill with Parker leaving at the end of the season and Christensen leaving has he is the more defensive midfielder type. I think will be a good player for the club and eventually being the club captain in a few years.

Demarai Gray, Birmingham £2.2m increasing to £2.7m
He has the potential to be a decent Premier League winger and will provide back up for Roberts as I look to train him to be AMR and at the same work his weaker foot than I could have a great player on the flanks.

Harry Wilson, Liverpool £1.3m
I have another young winger with a lot of potential for both club and country. I am surprised that Liverpool allowed him to leave for such a low fee. I will looking to work on his right foot so that he can switch flanks without disrupting the flow of the game. He and Gray have a lot of hard work ahead of them if they want to be at the top. The media have already claimed he is going to be the next Ryan Giggs.

Josh Vela, Bolton Wanderers £5.5m (£2.5m, £2.5m over 12months and £550k after 50 League games)
He can provide emergency cover at right back without changing the formation. I am hoping the step from League 1 to Premier League is not going to be too big for him. He can be a very good player us either in the Premier League or hopefully not in the Championship.

Lewis Cook, Leeds Utd £3.3m
He is another defensive midfielder that will to have to fill the gap left by Parker and Christensen. He has the potential to be a decent player for both club and country which is reflected by the media already making comparisons of him being the next Nobby Stiles. Leeds should have put in a take it or leave it counter off of more than the £3.3m they accepted.

Matthew Clarke, Ipswich Town £850k (£400k over 12months, £250K after 10 games, £50k per game for 10games and £300k up front)
He can be a good Premier League central defender with some improvements to his technical and mental stats. He could be a good ball playing central defender which might help when I play a side with 3 at the back.

Robbie Muirhead, Dundee Utd £2m
He could be a good striker to have as back up for Woodrow and Jovic as well as forming a good front 3 alongside Dembele and Keane for Cup games against Football League or lower league teams. He can be a good target man but would need to improve his passing.

Will Hughes, Derby County £10.2m (£4.25m upfront, £6m over 48months, £1.2m after International Caps, £1m after 40 games, 20% of profit to club, 15% of profit to player and friendly)
He could be a similar player to Pirlo over the next decade as he could easily dictate the play in a deep position in midfield. This is a big step up for him and one that could see him in contention for an England call up.

This summer’s transfer activity is mainly players from Championship level clubs with a lot of potential to be good Premier League players. This is the first transfer window where the players that I have signed are all British and there is plenty left in the transfer budget for players in case my Head of Youth Development sends a player my way for the contract negotiations. I will looking to add strikers, right back and left back to the U21 and U18 squads even though I have Woodrow and Jovic.

Tiago Casasola
This shows how footballers are fickle creatures as Casasola over the space 24-48hrs he was whinging about not get a loan move to get some regular first team action then he was happy to stay. He and Burn were going to be playing in the Cup competitions and the Europa League with the odd Premier League game depending on the opposition has they don’t much exposure against top class strikers.

Klopp allowed Giroud and Podolski to leave the club which has left him with Welbeck, Depuy, Vietto the only strikers at the club. Balanta could be the long term replacement for Mertesacker but Klopp could be facing a long spell of not having home grown talent coming through from the youth team. Christensen is a good player and could be the successor to Vieira is Arsenal’s midfield.

The spent £25m on 2 strikers that are going to be backup to Diego Costa as well as £15m on 2 central defenders when they have Andreas Christensen who is good enough to be in the first team squad but is out on another loan move.

Nigel Pearson raided West Ham for players after West Ham were relegated to the Championship. The majority of the signings have Premier League experience or have played first team football for a few seasons or more. It could be another season where they finished mid-table.

They spent this transfer window signing players with a handful of seasons left in them while allowing some of their youngsters to leave the club. This is going to be a vital season for Rodgers as the impact of Gerrard leaving could still be felt at the club.

Manchester City
De Bruyne joining City is another example of where FM can reflect the real game. Can Volland and Caulker be the long term replacement for Kompany. This is a big step up for Ayestaran who has not managed at a club like Manchester City and the only big he has managed was Marseille.

Manchester United
De Boer added mainly defensive players while Bernardo Silva is the only attack minded player added to the squad. Man Utd once again in transition after Moye’s failure and Van Gaal’s domestic success but no European success since 2008.

I am hoping that the experience gained from playing Pasto, FC Bayern II and Krasnodar will prepare my players for the Europa League. Woodrow was finding the back of the net in all but one game which is what I need him to do for the next few seasons.

We are one of the teams to watch according to BBC Sport. I do like the last line of this post has it shows that I am on track to achieve the aim I have set for this save but still have a lot of work to do in order to achieve it. It is going to take a while for the club to sustain success as I am not targeting having one off successes.

Premier League
The club gets £1.2m per live league game as well as £60m for the season. I hope we can use the games as a foundation to build some momentum and finish in the top 6. The games in November and December is going to be tough as we face of the biggest in England and Europe which push the limits of the entire squad.

WTF!!! Man Utd and Arsenal in the relegation zone after 3 games it is going to take a big turn around in form and please getting use to their new manager’s style of play. I will not be surprise if they make it to the top 4. The usual suspects are already at the bottom where as us and Leicester are not meant to be at the top of the table even after 3 games.

Europa League
There are some really interesting groups with some big clubs like Lyon, AC Milan and Valencia in the groups meaning that it is going to be tough to the win the Europa League or even have a good run in the competition. I aiming targeting the first round knock out stage.

It is going to be tough until January as I will be rotating the team as I have players that are of same quality and the numbers to field two teams of equal strength in different line ups. In January I will looking at full backs and strikers to bolster the U21 and U18.
Premier League
I kept my core players for Premier League games and the results speak for themselves. I would have liked more goals from the midfielders but that is one are that is rotated consistently which is why there are not many goals scored from the midfield. There have been a couple of players who have thrown tantrums due to not getting enough game time but they need to give me a very reason for me not to leave them of the starting line up. I hope this form can be carried over to the next 19 game but Domestic and European Cup runs count potentially derail our season.

Manchester United and Arsenal have turned their season around after being down near the bottom after a few games which means the players are getting familiar with their new manager’s style of play. The title race is now between the current top 4 has it is going to be a miracle for Arsenal and Manchester to be part of it. I can see us finishing 5th or 6th if we are part of multiple cup runs. Leicester have been in free fall after being top after 3 games and face an uphill struggle to get of the relegation zone has the relegation battle is now from 13th downwards.

Woodrow is not only the Premier League top scorer but also the highest Englishman in the league yet he is not in the England squad. I am hoping to keep hold of him for many seasons unless a club bids a stupid amount of money for him.

Bettinelli should be in the England squad has he is one of the main players that are keeping the club in an unlikely title race as well as the English keeper with most clean sheets.

League Cup
I decided to rest my regular starting XI and play some of the fringe players with some showing that they provide decent cover when the time comes for them to play. Jovic showed why he can be a world class striker with 4 first half goals however the missed penalty is why his performance was 9.9 not 10.

There were a few surprising results in Round 3 with relegation scrapers Swansea putting 4 past title chasing Liverpool being the highlight of this round and probably of the competition this season.

Premier League relegation favourites Sunderland some how beaten North East rivals Newcastle United, Manchester City and now they have an easy Semi Final against Brighton. I think we or Manchester United are favourites to win the League Cup considering who is in the other Semi Final.

FA Cup
The draw for the 3rd Round has been kind for us with an away game against Swindon however Grimsby v Manchester City is the game that can be the upset that people want to see happen.

Europa League
I was expecting more from Lyon and Benfica has they underperformed in their groups. There are still some big teams left in the Europa League and the 3rd Place Champions League teams enter the first knockout round.

The 3rd place Champions League teams are Olympiacos, Fenerbache, Dynamo Ktiv, Porto, Barcelona, Hoffenheim, Rubin and Ajax which makes it harder for us to progress further in the competition. Barcelona, AC Milan, Valencia and Tottenham are the main favourites to win this season’s Europa League.

If we somehow make it past Valencia than we can face FC Zurich again or Villareal. There some really tasty matches in this round regardless of the results in the previous round.

Managerial Changes
This went past me has I was busy rebuilding my central midfield but England won Euro 2016 and Hodgson retired afterwards. This could be the foundation for the future England manager to build on.

Gaurdiola left his role at Inter to be England manager and this is first managerial role at International level. His arrival is already making an impact has the results are showing the players are responding to his style. He has been to Craven Cottage a few times this season however he has to include Woodrow and Bettinelli in his squad sooner or later.

Nigel Pearson was sacked a week before the transfer window was open in the attempt to have a manager in and give him time to strengthen squad. I am surprised he lasted that long considering how poor the team have been for the last 16 games.

I have received an offer from Everton for Jenkinson but I have countered their offer with my offer of £7m all up front with no addons. I will not be too unhappy about losing Jenkinson because in the last couple of season been moaning about not playing and then I do play him for about 10 to 15 games then he says he is happy then I swap him for Wisdom and after a few games Jenkinson has another moan about not playing. I could be losing Casasola in the summer he accepts a precontract agreement with one of two clubs in Argentina however I might get the option of selling him early which means that Joe Gomez will be moved from the U21 to Senior squad a few months earlier than I would like but I think Gomez will thrive. I am looking at recruiting strikers, right backs and left backs but I hope that the players for those positions will come through the youth intake in March. I am going to ask the Chairman to expand the stadium has we are getting over 90% attendances again in the Premier League however the Chairman could turn around and build a new stadium which happened on a previous Fulham save.
Premier League
There have many times where we could have hammered teams but didn’t and this game is first one where we have put 5 against a team. It is good to see George Cooper’s potential on show despite playing on the left wing has I want to play him in the No. 10 role behind Woodrow or Jovic. Carl Jenkinson has made the right back position his which means that I can look at using a back 3 for the 2nd string.

We were not at our best against Liverpool yet managed to get a draw. Conor Coady showed that he can be the future captain of the club has he led by example. I have been playing Muirhead and Cooper for 2 reasons I wanted to see them against top sides and also they whined about the lack of game time has they will be needed for next season.

It is good to see other players rather than Woodrow scoring goals. Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea were all title defining games and I think 2 points from these three games is not that bad has there were some surprising results that have gone our way. The club made about £10m from the 8 live games which help in a predicted £70m transfer budget for this summer and £100m in 3years time.I had to rely on Ben Garratt has Bettinelli was out injured for a few weeks to a couple of months and now Garratt is out with Bettinelli returning to full fitness which has led to the team conceding 13 goals.

We have the lowest goals conceded that is even after conceding 13 goals in the last 13 games. The last 3 games saw us drop from 1st to 3rd and making the title race contain 4 or 5 teams. The relegation battle is from 15th to 19th has Palace and West Brom have a game in hand which means Cardiff will be relegated at some point during the last few games unless they win a couple while the others slip up.

The last 6 games on paper are so easy that we should be getting at least 15 points from 18. The only things that can derail our push for the Premier League title will be injuries and complacency.

Managerial Changes
John Carver was sacked after the 3-0 defeat to Leicester on 18/3/17 and that left the 15th in the League. The club only won 1 game in the last 10 league games before he was fired. Tony Mowbray arrived from Cardiff to replace Carver and this is a step up for Mowbray.

Me and Roy Keane got into a media spat before our clash on the 22/2/18 which we won 2-0 which come after we knocked them out of the FA Cup. Everton have been poor despite some good results and it does not help that his man management is questionable meaning that a long period of poor results and performances will lead to players not wanting the manager at the club. Roberto Mancini has taken over from Keane.

Redknapp is retiring at the end of the season and he was one the few remaining old school, wheeling dealing managers in the game. He is famous for his transfer deadline day interviews out of his car window.

I declined interviews from both Everton and Newcastle has it would required me to sell the majority of the squads and spend money they do not have to build the same squad I have at Fulham which has taken the past 2-3 years to build plus the Chairman has been good so far by accepting my requests to improve the facilities both for the first team and youth team.

League Cup
I am not too worried about not making it to the final has I have other things to worry about. I would like to win this competition at least once in my time at Fulham.

FA Cup
Bolton and Leeds with the upsets in Round 3 while Swindon gave us a scare. I am aiming to win the FA Cup this season so at least I can get one trophy in with this squad in order to get them to believe that they can win trophies.

Torquay and Bolton are the clubs that could cause upset in Round 5.

Bolton have been fantastic in this season’s FA Cup after knocking out Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea on their way to the Final. The Final could be interesting if both teams play to their best.

Europa League
We went into the 2nd leg1-0 down but with a slim chance of making to the next round. This game shows that we can compete against the top teams in Europe. I am hoping that we can go further next season if we drop down from the Champions League group stage or if we finish 5th in the League.

This summer is going to be vital has a number players have expressed their feelings of leaving the club for their boyhood clubs but there is only one that could offer the player Champions League while the rest are below us in the League. I am looking at selling at least 3 players in the summer for the following reasons one not being good enough, two being whinny little babies and three I have better players in their positions.
Premier League
I had three players in the starting line up that I am trying to give game time so they are happy to stay has I might need them next season at the same time trying to win the Premier League title. Woodrow is turning into a decent striker with 5 goals in 6 games as well as a leader after he gave rallying cry before the final game. It helped that 4 of the 6 games were at home and some were against team that we should be beating on a regular basis. I was predicting 15 out of 18 points but to come with 16 points is what kept us in the title race and the pressure was not off until after the final game finished.

The only thing I can criticise the players for is not scoring enough goals considering the players I have in the squad but I am hoping to have a more settled 11 next season. I am expecting Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United to be busy in the transfer market to re-establish the “normal” pecking order of the top 5. The gap between the top 7 and the rest is a quite a leap and could get bigger over future seasons. The relegation battle went down to the wire with any outcome depending on the results.

Managerial Changes
This is a bit harsh on Laurent Blanc has Chelsea just missed out on the title by 2points and the ended the season with 5 straight wins which could have won them the league if it was not for us doing the same.

This is a huge step up for Lambert and a gamble for Chelsea has he has experience of mid-table Premier League teams and English Football League teams.

Redknapp was going to retire at the end of the season and this is really a crappy thing for their Chairman to do.

It seems Manchester United are failing to find a manager that can live up to the standards set by Sir Alex Ferguson. I do love it when Football Manager parodies itself.

This is a bold move by the Board to bring back a former player but Bruce knows what the fans want so hopefully bring back the type of play that they saw under Fergie.

This is the 3rd or 4th manager to be sacked after allegedly losing the confidence of the players. Southampton should be higher than 10th and be challenging for one of the Cups on a regular basis considering that they have some decent young players mixed with some decent experience.

De Boer is back in the Premier League after being sacked by Manchester United. I think De Boer and Southampton might be a good fit.

I think Moyes not be able to find a way back into management at the top end and is more suited to the lower end of the Premier League and Championship teams.


Football Writers Association Player of the Year

Player of the Year

Young Player of the Year
I think Woodrow should have won these awards considering the season he has had and if had done this for a “bigger” club then he would won them. I think there is an in built bias towards the top clubs.

Team of the Year

Manager of the Year

Golden Glove
I would pick Bettinelli over Courtrios for any team and he is the better keeper given that he conceded the least amount of goals. I hope Bettinelli can be in the England squad on a regular basis.

Golden Boot and Adidas Golden Boot
He should be the lead striker for the England team ahead of the other strikers if he continues to score 30+ goals a season in the Premier League, hopefully with Fulham.

FA Cup
Bolton took us to penalties but I am disappointed with the players has they should have beaten Bolton within the 90minutes of normal time. I should fielded my strongest central midfielders instead of the 2 fringe players that started.

I have decided that there are players that I will be selling has they starting to be disruptive and I cannot field my strongest team on a regular basis. I am looking to sign one or two players with Champions League experience to help guide the players which could see me sign a couple of players that not from the UK and Ireland.
Premier League
Patrick Roberts has been scoring more goals but not creating the same amount. I hope Roberts will be able to do both on a regular basis has I believe he can be a one of the best. Woodrow is living up to expectations and should finish the season with another 30+ Premier League goals but I have Jovic moaning about not getting game time also Jovic is in his last of his contract and can sign precontracts with overseas clubs. I hope the players can maintain this form while competing in the FA Cup, League Cup and Champions League in the 2nd half of the season.

Manchester City are only in 7th due to competing in the FIFA Club World Cup but should finish in the Top 4 at the end of the season. Manchester United and Liverpool have been poor this season despite having some really good players in their respective squads. It is no surprised that Sunderland are in the relegation zone while Reading will be trying to avoid being relegated with the lowest points total in the Premier League which was set by Derby with 11 points.

This came has no surprise that Steve Bruce was sacked with the club in 10th place with no to little chance of getting Champions League football if they fail to win the Champions League. Manchester United are now looking for the 5th manager since Fergie retired and appear to be in decline. Ole Gunnar Solskajer being linked to the Manchester United role is another sign that FM can reflect the real game.

It is seems that De Boer is not having much luck in the Premier League and it could be difficult to see him to getting another managerial job in the Premier League after failing at both Manchester United and now Southampton however his style might be more suited to the top leagues in Europe.

League Cup
3rd Round
2 matches that overshadowed the 3rd Round and has now left the League Cup open for other to enjoy a good run and hopefully reach the final.

4th Round – Semi Finals
It was not until the Quarter Finals where we face our biggest test against Manchester United even though they have been poor in the Premier League but in a one off game they should have enough quality to see off teams and challenge for silverware. It is going to be tough for the winner of our game to win the League Cup against either Arsenal or Manchester City.

FA Cup
The club have been given an easier draw against Plymouth and the chance to play players that need the game time as well as some fringe players. There are some ties that could see some big upsets if the bigger clubs are not careful and have to get their attitude right against these clubs.

Champions League
We drew our first game against Dortmund at their ground but we managed to this return game with a quite impressive performance. I felt that on another day we could have scored more goals. This win had left us in a commanding position at the top of the Group and a renewed sense of confidence.

This is why I signed Huntelaar to have the experience of a top player in high pressure games in the Champions League. I was not expecting us to pick up wins against Roma and Dortmund has I was expecting us to compete with Zenit for 3rd Place. This win sealed our place in the Last 16 of the Champions League.

This was the cherry on top of a wonderful cake. Woodrow once again showing why he should be leading England’s attack and be in the conversation in who is the best striker.

There are a few groups that could have had different outcomes depending on the results which could have seen the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea, Barcelona not making it to the Last 16 of the Champions League.

All the Premier League teams are in the Last 16 but can face a tough time with 4 of the 5 having their first games away from home. There are some really enticing games with Liverpool facing FC Bayern, Tottengam away to PSG and Dortmund facing Real Madrid.

New Players

Le Dae-Hyun, Ulsan £1.2m

Tomas Leuzzi, Banfield £2.5m
I felt that Reece James was not good enough to cover Tyrone Mings if he is injured or suspended. I did not have a player in the U21s, U18s and could not find a player in the British Isles with the only exception was Andrew Robertson but he would have to be first choice which means him or Mings moaing about not playing. They both can play has wing backs meaning I can use 3 at the back with wing backs.

I am going to be renewing the contracts of players that are open to negotiations and then prey that the others will be open to negotiation before an overseas club offers them a precontract. I will be selling a couple of players in the summer and promoting some players. I have started to look for players to add depth to a couple positions that will be lacking depth come the end of the season. This season is shaping up to be another historic season for the club and hopefully if the club gets another season in the Champions League then the chairman along with the Board will be open to expanding the stadium or building a new one.
Premier League
I am trying to give Jovic game time in the hope that he will more than happy to stay and be open to renew his contract has he is free to talk to overseas clubs due to being in the final 6months of his contract. I am impressed by how my players kept going despite being pegged backed twice and going behind once in the 2nd half. The players out performed players who should be leading their club to Premier League glory rather than be sitting mid-table.

It seems that Jovic is not quite ready to be the first choice striker. The results have been good despite the below par performances has this due to being in the FA Cup and League Cup. I have lost both Roberts and Williams during this period to injury which means Gray, Cooper and Wilson have to step up and so far there is mix results with their performance which is probably due to not having enough game time.

Swansea have a slim change of finishing in the top 4 which would be fantastic for the Premier League has it means the top 6 is no longer exclusive to the usual clubs. If Manchester City win their games in hand they could change the title race into a 4 way fight if Chelsea, Arsenal and us drop points. The relegation battle is going to be interesting to watch has it involves 5 clubs at the moment with Reading all but certain to be relegated and have the same points has Derby County when they were relegated.

FA Cup
3rd Round
I decided to change the playing instructions from shooting on sight to working the ball into the area to which I hope eventually will lead to players scoring more goals. Plymouth’s goal came their only shot on target.

Only a few games went to a replay and only Aston Villa caused an upset while Nottingham Forest took Manchester City to penalties at the Etihad Stadium.

4th Round
There are still hope of an upset or two in the replays with Southend facing West Brom at the Hawthorns and Wycombe taking on Watford at Vicarage Road.

5th Round
The Quarter Finals could be an all Premier League affair and with the big clubs still involved unless there are some upsets in the replays and/or in this round.

League Cup
I had to change my formation to 4-3-1-2 due to injuries and fatigue. This is the first time I have used Woodrow and Huntelaar together which has given me something to think about in the future when deciding which formations to use that season.

I managed to field a near full strength starting XI while Swansea went with the same XI players that drew the first leg. The players appear to not to give up easily as they fought back from being 2-0 down in the first half to win 3-2 in extra time and securing our place in the Final with a 5-4 aggregate win.


I lost Jovic to Sampdoria initially ona pre-contract agreement and I decided to get £3.4m for him now rather than him leave for nothing at the end of the season and I did not want a player in the squad that did not want to be there and be focused on making the club successful. The fans are very angry and upset that Jovic was allowed to leave the club. That is why I spent most January renewing player contracts for those that I want to be at the club.

Jeroen van Dalen, Free Transfer (Pre-contract) From PSV
He has the potential to be a good combative central midfielder. The Head of Youth Team Development is finally starting to find players that are not central attacking midfielders.

Robin van Persie, Season Loan from Manchester United
I needed a short term cover Woodrow and Huntelaar has Muirhead return early from his loan spell injured for the month or so as well as the departure of Jovic leaving me with 2 strikers at the club. I am hoping his and Huntelaar’s experience will guide Woodrow to be a top class striker as well as help the club in the Champions League and the Premier League title race. Van Persie and Huntelaar are giving me time to find the right strikers to bring to the club or develop within from the annual youth intake in March.

In the summer I will be looking at strikers at the U23 and U18 level to make sure that I have a striker or two to replace and cover Woodrow. I am also looking at right backs if Bartley and/or Gomez leaves in the summer has I might move Wisdom to be Maguire's central defensive partner.
Premier League
I am glad that I signed Robin van Persie on loan until the end of the season has he provide excellent cover for Woodrow when he was out injured for a few weeks. There were only handful of games that I managed to field the same starting XI has the team had games in midweek for various reasons which meant rotating the players. There were games where I thought we were going to lose which meant we would be out of the title race which went to the last 2 games of the season and there were some surprising results in the run in.

We had the 4th highest number of drawn games, the fewest goals conceded, 3rd highest goal difference, joint 2nd for the most wins but we are the only team in the Premier League not to lose a a game all season. Swansea missed out on the Europa League and breaking into the top 7 has Liverpool and Manchester United managed to turn their form around. Sunderland survived another relegation battle but I have the feeling this is going to catch with them and they going to be relegated which if they are not careful could hit them hard. There appears to be splits in the League which could see some widen and some will get closer.

Laurent Blanc has now been sacked by Premier League clubs for apparently not finishing high enough in the table. It will be interesting to see where he goes next whether it is in the Premier League or back in mainland Europe.

Well I did not see this coming at all. I don’t this will ever happening in real life. This appointment is going to be very interesting.

League Cup
This is the elusive Cup that is missing in the Club’s trophy cabinet has this is the 2nd time in a row that we finished runners up. I feel sorry for Muirhead has he went from hero to villain in about 20 minutes when he missed his penalty.

FA Cup
Mason Holgate showed that he can be a decent Premier League central defender has he put in a a performance that could see him get more games for the first team next season. Maguire put in a captains performance which was the difference. This is our 2nd FA Cup trophy in a row and remain unbeaten in the competition for 2 seasons.

Champions League
We lost the first leg 2-1 which meant we needed to be careful at the back and clinical up front. I was not expecting us to win 4-1 with Woodrow hat-trick in the 2nd half and the players showed they have the character to come from being behind 1-0 on the night and 3-1 down on aggregate to get into the Semi Final.

This is the 2nd team we cam from being 2-1 down from the first leg to win the tie at Fortress Craven Cottage. Mason Holgate really stepped up in this game and showed he should not be ignored next season. The game was pretty much balanced but the character of my players gave us the edge to dig deeper and push for the win.

The character of the players once again carried them and making them hard to beat even if it was a poor game. FC Bayern pretty much dominated the game which on any other 99 days they would have won this match but this was the 1 day where they didn’t win.

This was the club’s first ever season in the Champions League and to have Woodrow has the leading goal scorer as well as the Player of the Year is the cherry on top of the Champions League.

It is no surprise to see Woodrow in the Champions League Dream Team for 2017/18 but it was a surprise to see Burn in the defence.

Other News

Bosnia and Montenegro have joined the EU which means the players do not need work permits. This is the first time I have see this happen on Football Manager (I know from FM17 there are Brexit options) and it is going make things interesting.

The fixtures in December would have to be rearranged has the club will be competing in the FIFA Club World Cup in the UAE. The 24/11/18, 1/12/18, 5/12/18, 23/3/19, 6/4/19 and 13/4/19 where we face Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea could decide the title race but the run in at the end

This is the news I have been waiting for the last couple of seasons and in 2020/21 season we will have a new stadium with an extra 20,000 seats. I just wished that they called something else rather than Fulham Stadium. The club raised £86m through selling the current ground and naming rights for the new stadium which lasts until 2033 starting this season and the deals reduce the cost down to £69m for the club. I hoping this is not affect future transfer budgets has I have got over £100m for transfers and £1m per week for wages. I would have quit this save if there was no option to expand/build new stadium or the board did not announce a new stadium being built has I feel that the club needs a larger capacity to keep up the recent success.

Robin van Persie returned to Manchester United and I sold Jan-Klass Huntelaar so I needed another striker and I have been scouting Zach Clough for the last couple of years. He was signed by Bournemouth last summer however they were relegated back to The Championship so he was on the transfer list. This deal is structured with £3.5m upfront with £3m over 48 months. I am hoping he and Muirhead will be to cover Woodrow if he is not available to play.

I have achieved part of my aim which was to win the Champions League with all British home grown XI but it was not an all British bench. The aim is now to make Fulham a powerhouse and aim to win every competition possible however I am prepared to miss out competitions as long as the players give their best and aim to win at least trophy each season.
The club arranged a training camp in the US starting the 4th August for a couple of weeks so I decided to arrange a tour of the States plus a away game in Argentina and a friendly Cup competition. It was good to get back to back wins over Arsenal before the season started and is something that can be repeated this coming season has we look to establish ourselves in the top4

Premier League
I think a 2-2 draw is a good result against Manchester City days after traveling to Australia to play their All Star team. We lost Woodrow for a few weeks so it is up to James Wilson to start justifying the transfer fee.

Stoke, Norwich and West Brom in the top 6 after the first 3 games however they will not be there once the bigger clubs get going. Liverpool and Manchester United are enjoying a much better start to this season than they had last season while Arsenal and Tottenham appear to be struggling. The usual clubs are at the bottom but I think Sunderland will go down this season has they cannot keep on just staying up by their skin of their teeth each season for the last few seasons.

League Cup
Rotherham are the lowest ranked club in the draw but I fancy them to beat Palace to go through to the 4th Round. The game of the round is Chelsea v Manchester United which might see them field a near full strength side.

Champions League
We were in pot 1 for the group draw has we are the current holders despite having the lowest rating. I think groups C, D, E and F are the trickiest groups while the other seem a lot easier to navigate but anything can happen.


There were a couple of players that I am so happy sell this summer they were moaning about not playing when they are not good enough to be in my starting XI. I cannot believe I got £3.6m for Muirhead who is not a Premier League striker and thinks he is better than Woodrow has been demanding first team football even before the season has started. I sold Huntelaar for £1.2m to FC Twente has he was not going to be playing much this coming season however for the transfer to happen I had to agree to the club to pay £21,500 a week until 30.06.19 has FC Twente could not afford his full wage. Kyle Bartley was sold to Pisa for £7.5m has I wanted to use Gomez and Holgate more often. The player I was not happy to sell was Carl Jenkinson to for £14.5m.

Eric Dier £1.2m from Tottenham Hotspur
He fits the bill for home grown players I look for but he is not the best right back but he will do a job over the short term when Wisdom is out injured. He can be part of a back 3 with Gomez and Holgate.

Ivan Ivic Austra Wren £1.2m raising to £3.5m
My Head of Youth Team may have found a potentially decent creative central midfielder so he arranged the deal to be structured with £475k after 10 games, £475k after 1o goals, £475 after 1 International cap, £67k per month for the next 12months and £95k per game  for 10 games.

James Wilson £17.25m raising to £21.5m from Manchester United
I had only Woodrow and Clough at the club has strikers at the club. He is the most expensive player I have ever brought on any FM game even with the deal being structured to reduce the impact on the transfer budget with £1.4m after 30 games, £1.2m after 10 International games, £1.4m after 30 goals and £ over 36months.

Mark Gough Birmingham £5m - £6m
He fills the gap in the Youth Team which I hope is going to be sorted. He has the physical attributes to be a good pacey striker but would need to develop his skills and mental attributes if he is going to be replace Woodrow and Wilson in the long term.

I have £108m remaining of my transfer budget that is even after the board announced that they are building a new stadium.
Premier League
I have 2 strikers that are capable of scoring 20+ league goals each season which makes me confident that we will be scoring in every game also they are different which means that I can pair them up if necessary. The midfield are backing up the strikers while there is room for improvement in the defensive unit has I have I been using Holgate and Gomez a lot more this season in order to convince them that their future lays here at Fulham.

If we win our 3 games in hand then we are back in the title race has we would be about 1 or 2 points behind the leader. The title race could involve four or five teams while Liverpool and Newcastle can put pressure on Manchester United for the 4th spot. This season it seems that the relegation battle is going to be closer than ever with Sunderland’s time in the Premier League appears to be ending this season. Tottenham are underperforming has they have the squad to be challenging for the Champions League places.

League Cup
3rd Round
Chelsea v Manchester United was the main draw of the round while Stoke’s win over Arsenal was the surprise result of the round.

4th Round to Semi Final
We have had the easiest draws of the competition so far while Hull have been the surprise team of the competition. The Board have prioritise other competitions over this one so they wont mind if we get knocked out in the Semi Final or lose the Final because they believe other competitions are more important than the League Cup.

FA Cup
3rd Round
Boston United are the lowest ranked club in the draw and they have the chance to make it to the 4th Round when they face Plymouth at home. Wycombe, Leyton Orient, Scunthorpe and Southend have the opportunity to cause an upset or two if they can secure wins over their Premier League opposition.

Champions League
Group Stage
Group C produced the surprise with Olympiacos and Galatasary qualifying for the next round. The biggest shock of the group stage was Barcelona not qualifying for the next round.

Ajax v Arsenal, PSG v Chelsea and Fulham v Real Madrid are the standout matches of this round. We are going to struggle to get past Real Madrid even if I have my strongest 11 available but if we do then the Champions League is wide open for anyone to win it.

FIFA Club World Cup
Cruzeiro were the favuorites to win has it is bigger and more important to South American clubs than it is for European clubs. Seoul were impressive in front of their won fans and on home soil until they ran into us in the Final.

Cauley Woodrow, Burn, Roberts, Cook, Browne and Williams were all impressive in this game. The stats shows we should have scored more goals.

Since November I have been in crisis mode has I have Bettinelli, J Wilson, H Wilson, Hou Saeter, Telfer and Gray out injured. I would have had enough players to cope but I loaned out about 99% of my U23 squad has I thought I had enough players to cope with the games that the club was going to play this season and it would be better for them to get regular first team football. I will be looking adding a couple of permanent players with a couple of loan deals for the next 3 months or so.
Woodrow and J Wilson are two of the best young strikers in the country which is giving me ideas for potential 2nd and 3rd formations for next season when the occasion requires me to use them together. To get 8 points from games against Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea is really good but I need to be winning more against them each season. The changes in how the players play has worked really well the Liverpool was the only game we did not score in which says a lot about the players ability to adapt to new tactics. There were times where I named different starting line ups sometimes it was down to the opponents and more often or not who was available. I had some players (the usual suspects) were moaning about not playing even though they are playing in every game or every other game which has finalised their fate.

We did what Liverpool did in real life by only losing one game all season however we drew far too many games which is not good in a title race while draws can crucial in a relegation battle. Liverpool are back in the Champions League while Manchester United had another underwhelming season has they failed to get Champions League football. Tottenham Hotspur were hugely disappointing this season despite a good squad of players and a brand new stadium with no Champions League football which could impact their transfer targets. Sunderland had a better season than I thought they would have but could have been dragged into the relegation battle with a couple of bad results. This season everything was to play in the final few games which should happen every season but sometimes things don’t go to plan.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must have a hose full of lucky charms has in one month he we fired by Swansea then fired by Southampton who sacked their manager for the same reason, poor league position. Me and Roy Keane have had a war of words since he has been Tottenham Hotspur which Keane thought he was the better manager however results and league position as well as performances in the Cup competitions shows that Keane is Championship level manager. Manchester United must have installed a revolving door to the manager’s office has Michel was their 4th or 5th manager since Ferguson retired. It is going interesting to see who Chelsea and Manchester United hire for next season.

League Cup
The game went into extra time which I was hoping to avoid due to a potentially long season however the players an extra man advantage and 3 fresh players on the field. Woodrow and Roberts took full advantage of the extra man to get the winning goals for us.

FA Cup

3rd Round

4th Round

5th Round to Semi Final
Hull had the easier draws of this season’s FA Cup until the semi final where they faced Liverpool and got an unlikely winner. Their run in the competition is what the FA Cup is all about.

James Wilson showed why Manchester United should have not sold him with a 24 minute hat-trick which all but guaranteed our place in a 3rd successive FA Cup final.

I had a couple of injuries and a player just back from injury which meant the line up was not at full strength but still had enough quality to get the win. This was our 3rd FA Cup trophy in a row. This will help get rid of any disappointment of just missing out on the Premier League has we look to the Champions League final against PSG.

Champions League
We got extremely lucky against Real Madrid with the away goals. Looking at the results of both clubs on the way to the Final meant it is going to be close.

The play ratings reflected how underwhelming the first 60 odd minutes were before a 15 minute period where the game swung towards PSG then back to us. We became the first English club since Nottingham Forest in the 70’s under Brian Clough to retain the Champions League/European Cup.

I am planning on selling Alan Browne, Ryan McLaughlin, John Hou Saeter and Leuzzi in the summer has they have been disruptive over the season also have potentially better players in the U23 that can move up. I am looking at releasing some the U23 who may prove far more difficult to sell. I am going to convert Holgate and Vela into right back at the same time try to find a left back in case Mings leaves and a a central defender.
Premier League
The defeat by the hands of Everton was the result of going from 4-3-2-1 to to 3-2-1-2 which I using for a while to give certain players game time but has the games went by they were not going to be happy with any number of games they play, they could play 40/400 games and still not be happy with the lack of game time. Zach Clough and James Wilson were really good up front together same with Burn, Maguire, Holgate and Gomez at the back. April and March saw the entire matchday squad being rotated with only 2 or 3 players playing in every game depending on their fitness levels. I would like to see the club beat the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea etc. on a more consistent basis.

There was three clubs involved in the title race until the final 10 games. The final game decided the Premier League Champions while the Champions League places decided in the last few games. We only won the league title thanks to losing fewer games than Arsenal however we did score more goals and have the better goal difference. Manchester United were in the relegation zone at the start of the zone and were in the relegation before Christmas but they managed to pull themselves away the relegation zone while Sunderland once again found a way of avoiding relegation. The final game decided the final relegation place while Huddersfield and Bournemouth were relegated in the last few games of the season.

Ancelotti got the Chelsea job 4months after being fired by Manchester United and he thought David Luiz would help strengthen Manchester United’s defence. It seems weird that some managers get jobs even when they have failed at previous clubs.

FA Cup

3rd Round
The big upset was York beating Bournemouth in the replay. There was a Midlands Derby between Villa and Coventry. It is good to see lower league teams being drawn against Premier League and Championship clubs however it would have been nice to see more Non League clubs in the 3rd Round.

4th Round
Morecombe will be the lowest ranked club in the 5th Round after beating Bolton. 4th Draw produced some really interesting ties however it would be nice to to see more Lower or Non League teams in the latter stages of the Cup.

5th Round to Final
Morecombe’s run is over Villa beat them in the 5th Round while Leicester knocked out Arsenal.

I went with the formation that I have been using since November 2019 and my strongest team with the 2 best young English strikers in the Premier League. Harry Wilson rating is good has he is playing out of position and will be working on this formation over preseason has it seems to be working.

Champions League
There were some really tasty ties in each round with Chelsea facing the top 2 Spanish is in the 1st knock Out Round and Quarter Final, losing to Real Madrid on away goals. This seasons Champions League run along with the FA Cup and Premier League was a good sign off for Craven Cottage has the ground has seen some great matches over the years.

City v Fulham part 2 and this went to penalties. Maguire and Cook were fantastic in defence and midfield while Hughes and James Wilson just kept calm and steady. Woodrow made up for a poor game by his standards by scoring in the penalty shootout. We became the first English club to win 3 Champions League titles in a row and the 1st in the Champions League era also the 4th Club to do it under European Cup and Champions League formats.

In the last few games of the season was when I decided that I was selling Zach Clough and Josh Brownhill but Harry Wilson has until January before I make decision about him. I managed to sell Zach Clough to Hull for £12.5m and Josh Brownhill to Bistia for £17m also joining Borwnhill at Bistia is Tomas Leuzzi for £4.8m. I am looking to sign a goalkeeper, right back and striker for the U21 squad.

Alberto Cerri, Parma £2.6m
He is one of two strikers I have signed and goes straight into the senior squad. He has what it takes to be a top class striker and will provide excellent cover for Woodrow and Wilson as well as being a striker partner when needed.

Alex Meret, Udinese £2.7m
I had the situation where I had only one fit goalkeeper. He could be the next number one keeper for the club as well as being a quality back up keeper.

Breel Embolo, Inter £3.1m
My second striker of the window. He can play as a striker and behind the strikers which means I can change formations during the game without using up a substitution.

Emmanuel Asamoah, Dijon £3.7m
He can be a decent right back in a few seasons time. I am going to keep at the club this season then loan him out next season. He might get the odd game depending on the opposition.

Luigi Ranieri, Arsenal £3.5m
I feel he is going to be a player that will replace Cook as the anchor to the midfield along side Ajer.

I have another player that is leaving and trying to sell another three players while I have promoted three players from the U21’s to the senior team. There are some players in the senior team that might end up causing me an headache for the wrong reasons.
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