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Discussion
Insane record for Hessenthaler! You weren't wrong stating he was the pick of that youth intake. Super season thus far, hopefully it can continue in an upward spiral.
My Careers:
FM15 | FM16 | FM17a | FM17b
FM19
Journeyman's Journey II
Trip to: China | South Africa
Very strong couple of months there! All about if you can maintain it
https://i.imgur.com/zgMyvyG.png?2
https://i.imgur.com/LcBPGF7.jpg
Woking FC - November 2020


November

November has been the toughest month so far and it certainly meant that it took a lot longer to get through it than i would have liked hence the lack of updates for awhile. It started with our obligatory 1st Round exit in the FA Cup as League 1 leaders Bradford beat us 2-0. No qualms there, they are far better than us and i was never expecting to win. If anything, it highlights we have a long way to go before being able to compete with League clubs. Maybe not getting promotion wouldn't be such as a bad thing.

From there we beat Spennymoor 2-0 in a solid but unspectacular match before getting smashed by Tranmere 5-2 and than losing to Promotion hopefuls Barnet 1-0 to lose our place at the top of the table. We ended the month with a ground out 2-1 victory over Halifax but we were poor throughout the match.



Still top but having played a game more, we have a real battle for the title going into December. Local Rivals Aldershot are up next and it isn't the sort of game we need right now as we have fatigue and unrest in the squad. Quite a few players are complaining about game time and Max Kretzschmar is now missing training on a weekly basis.

I am probably going to need to trim the squad down as it is far too big and i dont need the distraction of players being unhappy. I have shifted one more out on loan but its tough work moving players on at this level.

Woking's November player of the month

Not a great month for us and it has been slim pickings to be honest. Billy Knott being the best of a bad bunch as he is starting to get into games a little more
https://i.imgur.com/LcBPGF7.jpg
Woking FC - December 2020


December

https://i.imgur.com/mSToPm2.png


A month of goals and in particular goals from Greg Luer who smashed in 11 goals over the month giving us 4 victories from 6 games including progression in the FA Trophy against Maidenhead.

It was some performance from the man but our form is still up and down and we have lost that consistent swagger we had in the early part of the season. Our defence is a little leaky and i think we are not getting enough protection from the midfield as well as perhaps lacking the quality at the back that we need. I have plenty of wage budget spare but my squad is too big and i have players whinging a lot so i am going to have to trim it a little to make it easier to manage.



But the table still shows us top somehow and that is what matters. We have a fight on our hands with Barnet, Maidstone and Bromley all on my tail. Can we hold on for the title? I don't think we can unless we refresh in some key areas which is what i will be looking to do in January.

Woking's December player of the month

No surprise that Greg Luer is the winner here. He was on fire and doubled his goal tally for the whole season in just one month. He also won the leagues player of the month which to be honest was no surprise and he is now closing in on 100 goals under my management. A true Woking Legend!

Boy Wonder to go?

https://i.imgur.com/9u6v8ob.png


The teams wanting his services is growing and is now including Crystal Palace and Watford who have both been to see him play. His performances are dipping and he told me he wants to go. Some bids have come in on the 1st January and it might be the end of the Boy Wonder's time at the club.

Can i keep him?
Wow, that's a shame for your team really but could it load you up with a load of cash?!
https://i.imgur.com/LcBPGF7.jpg
Woking FC - January 2021


January Sales

As you can probably guess, Russell Hessenthaler has left Woking, well sort of. The bids came flying in on the 1st January and they just kept going. The initial figure in my head was around £250k and the bids came in but eventually i was able to move the bids up higher and higher until i got to eventual winners of his signature Southampton. The Premiership side bid £600k for his service, offered me a friendly, 40% of the next sale and have also let me keep him for the rest of the season on loan.

A great deal of money for a club this size and now the record sale from the club. It is a real shame but it was always going to be a fight to keep him and i am now deeply invested in seeing how far this kid can go.

He wasn't the only sale though as Vontae Daley Campbell also got League suitors as Portsmouth bid £100k for his services and also agreed to loan him to me for the rest of the season. He like Hessenthaler was getting unsettled and it is good money for a right back who has only been average this season.

So £700k gained in sales and there was some investment back. Aaron Kuhl was signed for £30k from Billericay to help bolster a midfield that can sometimes get overrun at times. He is now the highest paid player at the club and will partner Knott in the midfield. The other investment comes in the form of the junior coaching budget increasing which hopefully helps us find another Hessenthaler all over again.

January

Now onto the field where the transfer sagas of Hessenthaler and Daley-Campbell certainly distracted the side as we started the new year with two defeats against Stockport and Ebbsfleet to put us on a run of 3 straight defeats in the league.

To help break our run we had an FA Trophy 2nd round tie against Vanarama South side Eastleigh and with the news of Hessenthaler and Daley Campbell all sewn up, the boys were focused again as we smashed the south coast side 5-0 with Hessenthaler himself getting two goals on his re-debut. That victory has seemed to reset us to some degree as we clawed our way to two victories against Harrogate and Wrexham as we look for some semblance of form.



So we have been knocked off top spot but we are still in the hunt for promotion along with Barnet, Hartlepool and Bromley and if we are going to win the league than we are going to need to sort out the defence. I am scouring the world for defenders but nothing looks like it will improve us and that is worrying me as without some new blood there, i think we will struggle to keep up the pace.

Woking's January's player of the month

Greg Luer wasn't quite as good as December but another 6 goals to his name sees him now top the scoring charts in the league and hit 26 goals for the season. The man is a non-league scoring machine and now has 103 goals in two and a half seasons.
That's one hell of a deal for a player in your league! You can reap the rewards of that! You're still in the hunt like you said! Best of luck!
FM19 Careers:

https://i.imgur.com/eWbt0ww.png
Thats a huge sale, the money will do the club wonders I'm sure, could be vital if you go up again this yearq
https://i.imgur.com/zgMyvyG.png?2
Massive amount of money in this division, game changing if you can invest it right. Definitely gives you that extra chance to challenge at the top.
My career threads:

FM17

FM19 1 (on hold) - FM19 2(on hold) - FM19 3
https://i.imgur.com/LcBPGF7.jpg
Woking FC - February 2021


Sorry for the radio silence. Not had a chance to play much over the christmas break meaning i couldn't update

February

Some tough fixtures in February as we had some FA trophy action as well as tough ties against fellow Promotion hopefuls Maidstone and Hartlepool but with Hessenthaler and Daley Campbell both now focussed after sealing moves away from us at the end of the season, we should be well set. So how did we do?

https://i.imgur.com/lEGmvII.png


Well not too bad but we are hardly on fire. The Maidstone game saw 3 absolute belters of goals including a 30 yard drive from Hessenthaler. That Southampton move clearly improving his mood. That was followed up by a tough two ties against Chesterfield in the FA Trophy as we played out two 1-1 draws eventually needing penalties to put us into the next round.

We were shattered when we went away to Hartlepool and it showed as we got smashed 3-1 but after that we had a week to recover and because of that we were able to beat Dover and Torquay 5-0 on aggregate before Port Vale comfortably knocked us out in the FA Trophy Quarter finals.

https://i.imgur.com/pZfbshd.png


As you can see it is a tight old tussle at the top as it looks like it is going to be a three way fight for the automatic promotion spots with Barnet and Hartlepool just ahead of us. To be honest, i would be mightily surprised if we could beat both of them as we look gassed. I constantly have players needing a rest including Hessenthaler and i just can't seem to keep a strong 11 for the whole season which is due to my lack of rotation and that is caused by a lack of quality.

Promotion could be too much too soon and another season building out the side especially with Hessenthaler and Daley Campbell both not here it might not be the worst thing in the world to miss out.

Woking's February's player of the month

What a difference a move can make as Russell Hessenthaler hits form straight after the move. 6 goals in the month shows his class and hopefully he can keep this up for our title hunt which will be a great send off for the man.
https://i.imgur.com/LcBPGF7.jpg
Woking FC - March 2021


Updates coming thick and fast today as we edge ever closer to the end of Season 3.

March

An undefeated month but a month full of draws as we just failed to click all month.

https://i.imgur.com/V84xmAH.png


It was a horror show at Gateshead and Greg Luer had to rescue a draw with a 93rd minute goal. In fact we were rescued in the next two games as we scrambled to two 1-1 draws against Leyton Orient and Dagenham & Redbridge. We were just not at the races when we took on York.

In another scrappy game we managed to score a penalty early on to give us a rare lead in a game this month and one we managed to hold on to. We scored early in the next game against bottom of the table Oxford City but we couldn't push on from there and were pegged back to 1-1. Finally March finished with a battling 2-1 win over Spennymoor. So where are we in our battle?

https://i.imgur.com/G1fdM9b.png


Somehow that run of form has seen us go top. Barnet haven't scored in 4 games and Hartlepool saw a litany of draws like us. Still incredibly tight but it is almost like all 3 of us are too scared to go up and are wanting another season in the National. We have 6 games left and they look like this

https://i.imgur.com/IxGGbzB.png


Some tough sides there with Tranmere and Chesterfield being strong sides whilst we have local rivals Aldershot and promotion rivals Barnet to contend with. Can we do it?

Youth Intake

A third youth intake and with Hessenthaler leaving, i was hoping for another gem. This is what we got. Jack Lockwood has potential with decent physicals and crossing and dribbling ability to boot. Hugo Pearce and Ross Smith have potential but will need to improve quite a bit to challenge the first team.

Woking's March player of the month

In a weird month where we were undefeated but played poorly all season it was hard to find a star but Greg Luer wins again mainly due to his important goals in the Gateshead game.
https://i.imgur.com/LcBPGF7.jpg
Woking FC - 20/21 End of Season Review


On the pitch

https://i.imgur.com/2DUnPkE.png


Quite simply we blew it big time. The win againt Tranmere secured us a play-off spot and from that point onwards the team just gave up as we lost 3 home games on the trot before holding on for a 0-0 draw against rivals Aldershot. We than went onto lose the last game against Chesterfield and that saw us drop to 4th meaning we even lost our bye in the play-offs.

Somehow despite that awful form we smashed through Wrexham with a brilliant first half performance before letting them get two late consolation goals but our part timers were than knackered for Maidstone as we lost to a solitary goal to face yet further play-off heartbreak.

https://i.imgur.com/WBIYI97.png


As you can see Ebbsfleet went through in the end as we face another season in the National which as i have said isn't necessarily a bad thing as we were predicted to come 22nd at the beginning of the season meaning a 4th place finish was a brilliant result all things considered. Now i just need to pick the team up for another hard long season.

Off the pitch

So a good season but one with a bitter end to it as we failed to capitalize on a brilliant opportunity to get ourselves promoted at the first time of asking. We need to rebuild the squad as it isn't strong enough to compete currently especially with Hessenthaler and Daley Campbell going back to their parent clubs

Greg Luer was the player of the season as voted for by the fans and his 34 goals in 55 appearances was greatly appreciated. However, Hessenthaler ran him a close 2nd and i guess was not in the running as the game treats him as having two spells at the club this season rather than the one. Still just 18 years of age but we are going to miss him a lot next season. He finished the season with 30 goals and 10 Assists meaning he leaves the club with an impressive record of 64 Goals, 29 Assists from just 106 Appearances (15 of which came from the bench). I have never had a regen like it before and he leaves the club a club icon already.

It probably shouldn't surprise you with the above stats but we finished the season as top scorers in the league but it was our defence that let us down badly as we just couldn't keep clean sheets and that is going to have to be the main focus for the pre-season acquisitions. There will probably be quite the revamp as we need to take this side to the next level. The one challenge we have is that the club is semi professional, in fact we are one of just five semi professional sides in this league with most of our opposition professional.

I campaigned at board level to change this but they refused to go professional despite us sitting on a fortune. The player quality we could attract would improve us no end but they were refusing to reinvest the Hessenthaler money until i finally pleaded with them hard enough to invest in new youth facilities which i am now calling the Hessenthaler Academy in honour of the great man.

Interestingly, the board also gave me the below budgets for the pre-season

https://i.imgur.com/u6e9Nq3.png


How they expect i am going to spend £820k in transfer fees when no body wants to join me as i am part time i have no idea. Perhaps they think money is the answer after i won Manager of the year and i have been invited in for Interviews from Newport County and Burton Albion. Burton finished just outside the play-offs in League 1 so that is a very attractive offer indeed.
Insane budgets for next season, top spot or bust I imagine is whats coming from the board with those funds
https://i.imgur.com/zgMyvyG.png?2
https://i.imgur.com/LcBPGF7.jpg
Woking FC - 21/22 Pre-season & August


Transfers

It was time to pick the boys up after last season and we needed to find some new talent especially after losing Hessenthaler. We released a lot of players during the off season, all of whom were non starters with probably the biggest name being Joe Ellul.

The defence was the key area for me and that is where most of the rebuilding was done. First in through the door was young Kane Gayle who was released from West Ham. The regen right back has good physicals and mentals but needs a little work on the technical stats but at 4* ability he is one of the stronger options in the league. On the other side of the defence at left back, i broke the clubs transfer record with the £80k purchase of Ollie Harfield from recently relegated Dag & Red. A well rounded player and instantly becomes the first choice at left back.

Centre backs were also on the menu, as we added the unpronounceable Pascal Kpohomouh having been released from Southampton. I wanted his pace and he should be smart enough to be in the right positions for this league which is what it comes down to. Alongside him i loaned in Ryan Johnson from Billericay as he wouldn't sign on a permanent deal because of our part time status. Not as quick as Kpohomouh but more rounded and the two of them will become my new partnership at the back.

So that was the defence rebuilt but i wanted more. Scott Quigley joined from Billericay to give Luer some competition up top. A £30k fee was arranged and hopefully he can take up some of the goal scoring that we have lost. The final move was to bring in Joe Busby on a free transfer with the ball winner giving us another option in the middle of the park.

So got nowhere near the £800k being spent but the £110k that was made us the biggest spenders in the league comfortably but with the window open throughout the season, i could always add to my collection.

Time for a tactical switch

For 3 seasons we have played a 4-4-2 formation but after last season's end i felt it was clear we needed a tactical revamp to 1) keep it fresh and 2) fix some of the issues we faced last season. It was a common sight for us to be overrun in the midfield and in about 3/4 of the games we had less shots and less possession meaning we rode our luck quite a bit. So with that in mind we have switched to the below

https://i.imgur.com/R37OCcY.png


It is going to be about the counter attack now and to move to having 3 in the midfield to give us a bit more protection but also allow us to dominate the midfield in more games. So how has it done?

On the pitch



Not a bad little start as our decent pre-season form flowed into the league. 4 Clean sheets from the 6 games is a good sign that our defence has improved but when we do concede we are conceding hard as we look to chase the game so it still needs a little bit of work but it is getting there.

More importantly, games seem to be a little closer and we are giving the opposition far less shots. So defensively there are improvements but we are seeing a lot less goals so maybe i have created some problems elsewhere. Seeing Greg Luer with just 1 goal at this stage of the season is surprising and Quigley is yet to get off the mark being the only new signing who hasn't quite lived up to expectations.

The Media think we will finish 16th and the board want a mid table finish which i think is because of our status as 1 of just 3 semi-pro sides in the league. Personally i think the play-offs have to be our aim again but it is going to be tough.

Woking's August player of the month

No Greg Luer or Russell Hessenthaler here as i give the award to Aaron Kuhl who bagged 3 goals and seems to be the man who is benefiting the most from the extra man in the middle.
https://i.imgur.com/LcBPGF7.jpg
Woking FC - September 2021


On the field

If you go behind in every game of the month you know you are in trouble. Three late goals meant the month wasn't a complete disaster but it looks like our reality of being a mid table side at best is going to come to fruition.



On the positives, we are just 3 points from play-offs so it is hardly a disaster in what is proving to be a tight start to the season and there is at least a fighting spirit picking up 7 points from losing positions. However, at some point you have to stop going behind if you are going to do well in the league (Look at Arsenal this season). Scrapping for draws isnt going to get us promoted, we need to be scrapping for wins if we have a shot of going up this season.

A new face

Right at the end of the month, i dipped back into the loan market again as Billericay loaned me striker George Miller for the rest of the season. Not quite as good as Hessenthaler but in the right mould and might allow me to find some of that magic again that we so sorely miss.

At this rate i might end up with a whole team of Billericay cast off's which shows how good their squad is for this level.

Woking's September player of the month

Kane Gayle is the winner this month out of pure consistency in performances from the right back in what proved to be a slim picking this month as our form continues to falter.
https://i.imgur.com/LcBPGF7.jpg
Woking FC - October 2021


On the field

Late goals aplenty again in another tough and ultimately disappointing month for the boys



In the first few games the late goals went in our favour as we picked up 5 points from 3 games in the league before we comfortably beat Hornchurch in the FA Cup 4th Qualifying round 3-0 to get to the 1st round for the 4 straight season. This time we have Spennymoor of the Vanarama North.

However, after that FA Cup game it all started to fall apart as we hit 3 back to back defeats in the league which has seen us drop down the table to a position that i have not been accustomed too since the start of my save. Billericay were first scoring a 90th minute goal to beat us 3-2, Maidstone than did the same thing as they won 1-0 before Halifax were awarded 4 penalties in their 4-1 victory over us. Yup, 4 penalties. The ref was a C***.

More work to be done and i might even change back to the 4-4-2 as i just dont seem to be able to get Luer firing this season and Miller is still to adapt. More tinkering needed for sure.

A bright young spark

Every season, i always take someone from the youth intake from the year before and incorporate it into my first team squad. First it was Russell Hessenthaler and we all know what happened to him. Than it was Craig Liddle who made a handful of appearances in the defence before seeing himself out on Loan for more game time. This season we have been using Jack Lockwood and the youngster hasn't done too bad with 4 assists to his name already as he shone in the FA Cup game against Hornchurch.

Woking's October player of the month

Nathan Moriah-Welsh just nips it ahead of Lockwood purely down to goals as both wingers are the bright sparks in an otherwise drab month for the club.
https://i.imgur.com/LcBPGF7.jpg
Woking FC - November 2021

On the field

An undefeated month is just what the doctor ordered as we look to get our season back on track and to avoid the mid table mediocrity that is threatening our season



Still in mid-table but on a surer foot and we are now the most consistent inconsistent team that you can ever find but 8 points from 4 games including a vital victory over local rivals Aldershot which was just a little bit satisfying. However, nothing has been as satisfying as our FA Cup run. As i mentioned, in the last update we had Spennymoor in the 1st round giving us our best chance of progression and we took it nicely with a 2-0 victory secured within the first 15 minutes. That led us to an away trip to Plymouth who were flying high in League 2 and what a game that was as George Miller scored on a counter attack to score the only goal of the game.

The 3rd round awaits us and we got a humdinger of a tie. Liverpool at Anfield. Let the spanking commence. Score Predictions from you guys could very well be interesting?

Back to ol' 4-4-2

https://i.imgur.com/m0Ym9Tc.png


Back to basics but with a tweak to a counter attacking format given our quality. 5 clean sheets from the 6 games in November is what we can build from and goals are starting to come back to our game as well. I am going to stick with it for a bit longer to see if it is enough to get us out of the mire we find ourselves in.

Woking's November player of the month

We are starting to get the best out of Gareth Miller, he isn't a Hessenthaler figure but the signs are that Luer and Miller are forming a partnership that might just get enough goals to secure us more points.
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