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I will be starting at the bottom of the ladder in the National League South, with no qualifications and no previous experience, so kinda like the start of a Journeyman save. But unlike a Journeyman save, I'll be picking my club and I've decided to kick things off with Torquay United!

Wingin' It - Starting At The Gulls

My most recent save which I've been playing for nearly 2 months was the Sir Alex Ferguson challenge, where I've been managing Bournemouth. Five seasons in and my laptop has been taken back by work and they've given me a nice new, shiny one! However, that means my save is currently sitting on that laptop and until the New Year when the IT guy is going to back up all my data to an external hard drive, that save has had to go on hold!

Now, The Sir Alex Ferguson challenge is a Football Manager save that is full of challenges and targets and goals to hit within specific periods of time. So I wanted to do something completely different here with my new save. No rules to follow at all just like there aren't in real life...start out with a team and see where my career takes me. Exceed the board's expectations to keep my job, that's the one goal of every real life football manager and if there is one specific target I will have then that will be it!

I will be starting at the bottom of the ladder in the National League South, with no qualifications and no previous experience, so kinda like the start of a Journeyman save. But unlike a Journeyman save, I'll be picking my club and I've decided to kick things off with Torquay United!


I hope you'll all follow me on this journey as I aim to become the best football manager I can. Now who knows which direction the save will go in...will I stick with Torquay throughout my whole career and try to take them to the top, will I move around the world trying to win multiple leagues in different countries, will I take every single job that comes my way that will give me a pay rise, is international management on the cards at any point? Well these are all the questions that will be answered along the way as I effectively 'wing it' through my career...Right now, all I will say is that there are no specific aims...I will see how I feel as I go through the save and make decisions when the opportunities arise to see what direction I go in! Only time will tell if I have what it takes to manage at the very top level, or if I'll be another Steve Evans or Kenny Jackett who hover amongst the mid to lower leagues in England! Who knows....I might not even be good enough to reach that level!!


Career Progress

25/06/18 - 27/08/19; Torquay United - Sacked
04/12/19 - Present; Altrincham

Trophy Cabinet


Personal Achievements

25/06/18; First job in management with Torquay United, 1 year contract worth £750 p/w


So here I am...first day in the job at my first club, Torquay United. A club that now plays it's football in the National League South, The Gulls have been on a downward spiral for a few years now, having been playing League One football back in 2004/05!


Torquay were founded in 1899 and enjoy fierce local rivalries with both Exeter and Plymouth!The training facilities are not too bad for this level, but the youth facilities are piss poor!


As far as the trophy cabinet goes, it's basically a shelf on the wall with one trophy from the lower regional leagues on it, dating all the way back to 1960! Gulls fans really haven't had much to shout about over their 120 year history!


My first home in football could have been worse. Plainmoor ain't a terrible little stadium with a 6,200 capacity!


As I meet the squad for the first time, it's good to see that my assistant manager rates a few of these players and certainly believes there is a lot of potential still in the team, with most of the players being between the ages of 21-24! I have a hell of a lot of 6 footers in the squad...we must have one of the tallest teams in the league easily and this might help us capitalize on set pieces throughout the season! As I would expect at this level, most of the players are of English nationality.


Alex Bass is here on loan from Portsmouth and the goalkeeper is easily one of the best players in the team. However, it's pretty gutting that he's injured for the first 3-4 months of the season!!


My other best player, centre back Jakub Sokolik, is also out with a long term injury and will miss most of the season with torn knee ligaments!!


So my best player who is actually available to play is wing back/full back Ryan Dickson, who does look like a very good player for this level!


As for improving the squad, it's not going to come through buying players as the board have given me no transfer budget whatsoever, despite the club's finances looking relatively healthy.


I don't have a lot of support from the players at present following my appointment, which is no surprise based on the fact I'm a complete nobody!!


My next update will come at the end of our pre season campaign, which looks like this!



Pre Season

Before we've even had a chance to play a friendly, Ryan Dickson picks up an injury that will keep him out for 2-3 months! That is officially all 3 of my best players out on relatively long term injuries!


With Alex Bass out for the first few months of the season, I was keen to add another keeper to the squad and 22 year old Billy O'Brien was available on a free so I snapped him up! He is better than Shaun McDonald (my other option in goal) and will likely go straight into the first 11.



I asked the board to go find me a senior affiliate so I could hopefully bring in some loan players from one of the higher divisions. They presented me with 4 options from League One, and as a Gillingham fan it was a no brainer for me to go with them!


I immediately take advantage of the Gills link and bring in centre back, Jack Tucker, on loan for the season. With his stats, he is already one of my best options at the back and is likely to play a big part for us this year!



Ben Chapman quickly follows Jack Tucker through the Torquay doors from Gillingham, as we snap up another season long loan! Chapman will provide vital cover through the centre of the park and is likely to play plenty of games for us this year as he continues his development!



New goalkeeper, Billy O'Brien, picks up an injury that will keep him out for around a month!


Ryan Dickson is our best player and one of our most experienced too, so I have handed him the captain's armband for the upcoming season! Samir Nabi is also likely to be a first team regular and despite his young age of 21, his leadership and teamwork stats both add up to warrant him getting the vice captaincy!


The pre season campaign is now over and we're ready to get into some competitive football (I hope)! The friendlies went as planned I guess...expected defeats to Leicester U23s and Huddersfield can be swallowed, whilst we recorded decent wins against some lower league opposition. We really should of beaten Worthing after having 26 shots on goal without finding the back of the net though!


Player of Pre Season
Liam Davis


Davis is having to step in to the left full back position due to Ryan Dickson's injury and after a solid pre season campaign for him, he looks like he'll be challenging to make that position his own this season!

Just before the National League South kicks off, it's time to have a look at the season preview. The bookies fancy us for a title challenge this year and we're only just behind moneybags, Billericay, in the title odds. There's bound to be a whole lot of pressure on me in my first season in management with big things expected from the club this year! On loan Jack Tucker makes the media's dream eleven as well...the centre back could be the difference between us going up this year or not!


Just 2 days before we are due to play our first competitive match, I add another player to the squad. It's another loanee for the season, this time in the form of Yeovil Town's 23 year old midfielder, Alefe Santos! Let's hope he can bring some of that Brazilian flair to the National League South shall we?!



My updates will now come on a month by month basis, so the next will be at the end of August! By this time, we'll have played our first five games in the league! We kick off with a tough game at home to Chelmsford!

This looks very interesting! You've had some awful luck with injuries, let's hope you can rally around and make do without them for a while! Good luck fella!

P.S what skin are you using?
FM19 Careers:

This looks very interesting! You've had some awful luck with injuries, let's hope you can rally around and make do without them for a while! Good luck fella!

P.S what skin are you using?

Cheers mate! If we can make a decent start without our key players, then we have every reason to think we can have a good 2nd half of the season when they are back and fully fit!

The skin I use is TCS '19 v1.1 Aero

August 2018; A Decent Enough Start

It's the morning of our first competitive fixture and the board feel it's appropriate to send me a reminder of their expectations this year. Considering we're 2nd favourites to win the league, I think they've been leniant in only demanding a playoff spot rather than a title challenge! If we can make it past the qualifying rounds of the FA Cup then they'll be happy and I'd personally like to go a bit further than the 2nd round of the FA Trophy!


Saturday 11th August 2018
Vanarama National League South
Chelmsford (Home)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide (Changed to 4-2-2-2 Wide on 82 minutes)


Not the way we wanted to start our campaign, nor my career for that matter! However, we didn't play badly against one of the other sides in the league that are likely to be up there and competing this year and it's only natural that it will take some time for the players to come to grips with the new management regime/tactics/philosophies etc...

Tuesday 14th August 2018
Vanarama National League South
Dartford (Away)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


Our first away game of the season results in a very good win against a Dartford side that are expected to finish in the top 10 this year! We went down early after Ben Greenhalgh fired home a cracking free kick, but the lads responded well and quickly got themselves back in the game through an Asa Hall header! The winner came from Ruairi Keating...a goal worthy of winning any game as he struck a powerful effort from 30 yards into the bottom corner!

Centre back, Jamie Sendles-White will miss about a month of action through injury!


Saturday 18th August 2018
Vanarama National League South
Hungerford (Home)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


Hungerford are one of the teams predicted for the drop this year and came into this having lost their opening 2 games 1-0! And we made pretty light work of them as we cruised to a very comfortable first home win of the season and the 2-0 scoreline didn't entirely reflect our complete dominance throughout the whole match.

Saturday 25th August 2018
Vanarama National League South
Wealdstone (Away)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


I'm fucking fuming...2-0 up with 2 minutes to go and we end up drawing the game! A complete lapse in concentration from the lads gave Wealdstone a way back into this game and I've made it clear that it's completely unacceptable!

Tuesday 28th August 2018
Vanarama National League South
Truro (Away)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


Our biggest win so far comes at the expense of Truro City. We were good value for it too and turned in an excellent performance to round off the month with another 3 points!

Striker, Brett Williams, joins our ever growing injury list and will miss up to 3 months of action!


August Review; After opening the season with a defeat, we recovered quickly to string together a 4 game unbeaten streak which sees us finish the month in 3rd place in the league! We seem to be scoring OK with 9 goals scored in our opening 5 games, whilst the defence looks relatively solid as they kept two clean sheets in the opening month as well! Chippenham are the surprise early leaders, and they and Dulwich Hamlet remain the only unbeaten sides in the division. Hungerford prop up the table as the only side still to win a point, whilst favourites Billericay have made a solid, if unspectacular start!



Player of the Month
Asa Hall


The central midfielder has been at the heart of everything for us this month and chipped in with a couple of goals as well! His pass completion is extremely good for this level of football!

September; A busy month ahead with 7 fixtures scheduled, of which 6 will be in the league. Three home games on the spin gives us an opportunity to start the month where we left off in August and hopefully maintain our unbeaten streak for a little longer. The away game at Welling is sure to be a challenging one, whilst we await the draw to see who we'll play in the 2nd qualifying round of the FA Cup.


September 2018; Getting To Grips With The New Formation

Samir Nabi lifts the Player of the Month award for August!


Saturday 1st September 2018
Vanarama National League South
Weston-super-Mare (Home)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


A disappointing draw at home to one of the weaker sides in the league! We really should have won as we dominated the whole game, but just couldn't find the back of the net today!

Central midfielder, Chris Regis, will now miss up to 6 weeks through injury!


Saturday 8th September 2018
Vanarama National League South
Eastbourne Boro (Home)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


Another disappointing draw against a side we really should be beating at home! The stats suggest it was a close game, but we missed two absolute sitters in the final 15 minutes to win the match and have really let Eastbourne off the hook here!

Tuesday 11th September 2018
Vanarama National League South
St.Albans (Home)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


Considering we had to play more than three quarters of this match with 10 men, I guess I should be thankful that we come away with anything at all, but I just can't help feeling gutted with this result after taking a 2-0 lead into the break! Left back Liam Davis was the goal machine today, with the unlikely goalscorer bagging 2!

Saturday 15th September 2018
Vanarama National League South
Welling (Away)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


After 3 disappointing draws, it would have been easy to go away to 4th placed Welling and get a thumping, but my lads showed tremendous character to go there and get a massive win on the board! After five games without finding the back of the net, striker Ruairi Keating got back to scoring ways with a couple here!

Saturday 22nd September 2018
FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round
Romford (Away)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


We were drawn away at part timers, Romford, in the FA Cup and the game proved to be every bit as easy as was expected. We romped to a comfortable 6-0 win and secure our place in the next round.

We'll go away to Worthing in the next round of the FA Cup. We only managed a 0-0 draw against them in a pre season friendly and this might not be as easy as it looks on paper.


Tuesday 25th September 2018
Vanarama National League South
Slough (Away)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


A very good away win at mid table Slough! Keating seems to be hitting some goalscoring form now and we'll need him to continue this if we're to have a good season!

Saturday 29th September 2018
Vanarama National League South
Hampton & Richmond (Home)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


The lads are really getting to grips with the formation and style of play I have asked of them and this was another good, solid performance here! It's nice to see that we are not entirely reliant on Keating to score our goals as well, with 3 different players getting on the scoresheet here to give us the win!

September Review; What started out with 3 draws and looking like a dip in form, actually turned out to be an excellent unbeaten month! We move up to 2nd in the league table after recording 3 wins in a row in the league at the end of the month and are already looking like genuine title contenders this season, even at such an early stage! Progress in the FA Cup is good and we'll look to keep that going as long as possible to keep some revenue coming into the club! There are a few clubs near the top that are punching above their weight at present (based on pre season odds) including Chippenham and St.Albans who were both expected to be in the bottom half. I'm pleased to have put an early 5 point gap between us and Billericay as I definitely expect them to improve as the season goes on!



Player of the Month
Jason Banton


The inside forward has been incredible this month, scoring 6 goals and grabbing an assist as well!

October; We kick off next month with another FA Cup qualifying game against Worthing, before 4 more league games. Going away to league leaders Chippenham will be a lot more difficult than maybe anticipated at the start of the season, whilst we also finish the month at home to moneybags Billericay! It's sure to be a tough month ahead!


Jason Banton looks like a very decent player chipping in with goals galore! Great start to the season in the league and also progressing into the next round of the FA Cup!
FM19 Careers:

Jason Banton looks like a very decent player chipping in with goals galore! Great start to the season in the league and also progressing into the next round of the FA Cup!

Cheers mate. I have to admit Banton is quickly becoming my favourite player at the club!
October 2018; A Slight Dip In Form

Jason Banton picked up the Player of the Month award for September!


Saturday 6th October 2018
FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round
Worthing (Away)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


We'd played Worthing in a pre season friendly and only managed a 0-0 draw, but there were no such problems finding the back of the net here as we smashed 3 past our lower league opponents! Ryan Dickson with the pick of the goals as he curled in a beautiful free kick from just outside the box!

We'll go away to St.Albans in the final qualifying round of the FA Cup. With The Saints flying high in the league, they'll fancy their chances with the home draw and we'll have to be on our A game to progress to the first round proper.


Tuesday 9th October 2018
Vanarama National League South
Gloucester (Home)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


Gloucester City came into this game bottom of the table with only 5 points to their name, so we were expecting a relatively easy day's work! However, that wasn't the case at all and Gloucester turned out to be quite resiliant little bastards! In fact, we had to rely on a poor decision from the referee later on as he gave us a weak penalty which enabled us to take all 3 points!

Saturday 13th October 2018
Vanarama National League South
Chippenham (Away)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


A top of the table clash between 1st and 2nd and we came off second best! We were pretty poor in all honesty and it was defensive mistakes that cost us 2 of their 3 goals! This was our first defeat in 14 games (in all competitions) and we'll now need to show our character and try to bounce straight back in the next game!

Saturday 20th October 2018
FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round
St.Albans (Away)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


It took 40 minutes for either team to even record a shot in this game and then all of a sudden a frantic final 5 minutes of the first half saw 3 goals go in! And despite us creating double the amount of chances than our opponents in the 2nd half, it was them who scored two more goals to go through! Disappointing as I really wanted to make the proper rounds of the FA Cup and it could have brought in some vital income for the club!

Monday 22nd October 2018
Vanarama National League South
Woking (Away)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


Going away to Woking was not an ideal game off the back of two straight defeats, but we gave a decent performance and probably deserved to win the game. However, only 2 days gap between matches meant there was a lot of fatigue in the side and we'll have to settle for a point!

Saturday 27th October 2018
Vanarama National League South
Billericay (Home)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


We put our run of poor form behind us with a good home win against the league favourites! And this was a surprisingly easy win for us...not that I'm complaining!

October Review; A bit of a mixed month with points dropped in the league and crashing out of the FA Cup! However, there were also positives with a couple of wins in the league, especially a big one against Billericay to round off the month! We're still 2nd in the league and only a point behind Chippenham but things are very tight with only 7 points seperating 1st to 11th! Concord and Gloucester remain the only two sides on single figure points at the bottom of the table!



Player of the Month
Jason Banton


Banton takes it for the 2nd month running after being our best performer again this month. Another 3 goals and an assist for the inside forward and he now leads the way in the club's scoring charts this season!

November; The fixture schedule finally slows down a little next month, with only 3 league games on the horizon! East Thurrock are struggling down the bottom end and this game should be a win for us. Bath and Dulwich will present much tougher challenges!


November 2018; A Poor Month

Saturday 3rd November 2018
Vanarama National League South
East Thurrock (Away)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


A really poor result against one of the worst teams in the league! No excuses, just not good enough on the day!

Saturday 17th November 2018
Vanarama National League South
Bath (Home)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


Despite complete domination against Bath, we had to settle for a single point, as we lacked quality in the final third and just couldn't find the back of the net!

20 games into my managerial career and the I'm getting some decent reviews in the media after a positive start, winning half of my games in charge so far.


We'll take on Truro at home in the 3rd qualifying round of the FA Trophy next month.


Saturday 24th November 2018
Vanarama National League South
Dulwich Hamlet (Away)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


Another poor showing away at Dulwich as we are beaten by one of our potential title rivals! Goals are hard to come by at the moment and our poor disciplinary record gets worse with another sending off here, which ultimately probably cost us the game as we struggled to compete with 10 men.

November Review; It's been a poor month, with only 2 points taken from a possible 9, which sees us drop down to 6th in the table! It's important not to panic just yet though as we are still only 3 points from top spot!



Player of the Month
Ryan Dickson


The left back was simply the best of a bad bunch this month!

December; Five games ahead of us next month and we kick off with the FA Trophy qualifier against Truro, before 4 league matches! Three of our leagues games will be against teams in the current top 7, so it will be a very important month for us if we want to challenge for the title this season and whilst a couple of wins would keep us in contention, a bad month would be disastrous!


December 2018; Much Better League Form

Saturday 1st December 2018
FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round
Truro (Home)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


Absolute shite! We crash out of the FA Trophy at the first stage after a lacklustre performance against Truro! I'm properly pissed as I felt we had an opportunity to go deep in this competition!

Saturday 8th December 2018
Vanarama National League South
Oxford City (Away)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


A much improved performance against an Oxford City side that were 2nd at kick off! Hopefully, the lads can kick on from here and string together some decent results!

With goals hard to come by recently, I looked to add another striker to the squad before Christmas! Welcome Reece Thompson on a free transfer!



Tuesday 18th December 2018
Vanarama National League South
Hemel Hempstead (Away)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


On the face of it, this was an OK result away from home against one of the top 7! A win would of been nice, but we'll take the bore draw! New signing Reece Thompson did come off the bench to score a fantastic volley, only for it to be ruled out for offside!

A big loss....Asa Hall will miss 3 months of action through injury!


Saturday 29th December 2018
Vanarama National League South
Chelmsford (Away)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


This is probably our best performance of the season so far! Not only for the team effort from everyone, the great result away from home, but also the fact that we beat top of the league Chelmsford who also came into this game on an 8 game unbeaten run! We were fantastic here...good to see Reece Thompson bagging his first goal for the club nice and early after signing on a free this month!

December Review; Despite the disappointment of crashing out of the FA Trophy, we had a much better month in the league, picking up 7 points against 3 sides in the top 7! It means we finish the month in 5th although we have a game in hand as our match with Concord this month was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch! If we win that game in hand, we'll be right in touch with the top 3! Gloucester have started to fall away at the bottom of the table and find themselves 8 points from safety at the half way stage!



Player of the Month
Liam Davis


Davis was brought back into the starting lineup at left back this month and a great decision it turned out to be as he was far and away our best player this month and bagged 2 assists from his wing back role!

January; Six league games coming up next month, with a slightly busier schedule than initially expected due to the rearranged game with Concord! Four home games should give us an opportunity to kick off the New Year with a good run of form and get ourselves back a bit closer to the top of the table!

Things are looking quite good for you! Comfortably in the playoff positions so hopefully you can kick on and cement that! 2 assists in a month for your left back is a decent return!
FM19 Careers:

Things are looking quite good for you! Comfortably in the playoff positions so hopefully you can kick on and cement that! 2 assists in a month for your left back is a decent return!

Cheers mate...yea I will be disappointed if we can't secure a playoff spot from here! Davis has been awesome for me....it's a bit of a shame that my best player and my best performer both play the same position on the pitch though!

January 2019; A Good Start To The New Year

Tuesday 1st January 2019
Vanarama National League South
Dartford (Home)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


Not what I had in mind for kicking off the New Year! Defeat at home to Dartford is simply not good enough and the players will be in for training in the morning after this result...no day off deserved!!

Saturday 12th January 2019
Vanarama National League South
Weston-super-Mare (Away)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


A Reece Thompson double was enough to get us the 3 points today! We rode our luck at time but managed to get over the line in the end!

Tuesday 15th January 2019
Vanarama National League South
Hungerford (Away)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


We were made to work hard for this by Hungerford, but I can't fault the lads as they stepped up to the challenge and fought back from a goal down to get an important victory! Our strikers weren't great today, but as long as the goals come from elsewhere, they can afford to have the odd off day....as long as it doesn't become a regular occurence!

Tuesday 22nd January 2019
Vanarama National League South
Concord (Home)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


Pure domination from start to finish as we gave Concord a footballing lesson (according to the media). However, we still only managed a narrow win and the scoreline should have been much bigger!

Saturday 26th January 2019
Vanarama National League South
Truro (Home)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


Fucking Truro are quickly becoming a pain in my arse as we fail to beat them again! This is a poor result at home! The only saving grace was the fact that 3 of the 4 teams above us in the league lost on the same day!

Up until this point in the season, we've been playing without a recognised right back, so this was something I was keen to rectify in the hope it could strengthen our defence! Liam Morris joins the club on a free transfer and although he isn't an amazing player, he'll certainly do a job for us in the second half of the season!



Tuesday 29th January 2019
Vanarama National League South
Wealdstone (Home)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


New signing Liam Morris put in a man of the match performance on his debut! That was the highlight in what was a pretty drab match with both sides struggling to create any significant chances as the defences cancelled one another out!

January Review; All in all, it's been a good month with only one defeat to our name! Our defence has been pretty solid, only conceding 3 goals in our last 5 games and we're up to 3rd in the table after catching up on games with the teams above us! It's so close though with only 7 points seperating the top 8! The writing looks on the wall for Gloucester now as they've fallen a good 12 points off safety at the bottom!



Player of the Month
Liam Davis


The left back has again been in excellent form this month and his consistency is unreal, having now recorded a match rating of 7.1 or higher in his last 8 games! He contributed with another 2 assists going forward again this month too!

February; Four league games coming up next month, with the biggest being that home game against Welling who are chasing top spot alongside us!


February 2019; Seven More Points But A Big Defeat Thrown In

Saturday 2nd February 2019
Vanarama National League South
Eastbourne Boro (Away)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


We kicked off February with an away draw at Eastbourne who are having a surprisingly good season, challenging for a playoff spot when they were expected to be battling relegation! So in hindsight, this probably wasn't a bad result!

Saturday 9th February 2019
Vanarama National League South
St.Albans (Away)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


When we played St.Albans earlier in the season, they were right up there and challenging (finished 2-2). However, they have fallen right off the pace and find themselves 12th now and we found this much easier as we recorded a comfortable win away from home!

Saturday 16th February 2019
Vanarama National League South
Welling (Home)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


This was a big game as 2nd played 3rd, and we simply didn't recover from a slow start! Giving away a soft penalty within the opening couple of minutes wasn't ideal and when Welling doubled their lead inside quarter of an hour, we were always up against it!

Centre back, Jamie Sendles-White will miss a month of action through injury!


Saturday 23rd February 2019
Vanarama National League South
Slough (Home)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


After racing into a 3-0 lead by half time, we did our best to throw away the win in the 2nd half by simply not coming out for the second 45! However, we got over the line in the end and pick up the victory!

February Review; Two wins and a draw were slightly overshadowed by the big defeat to Welling! However, we're not out of this title race just yet and remain firmly in contention as the top half of the table does start to spread out a bit! It now looks like realistically only one of the top 4 can win this title!



Player of the Month
Reece Thompson


Thompson has been in good form up front this month with 4 goals in 4 games! Combined with his goals, his pass completion ratio is also pretty impressive and he has been linking up our attacking play extremely well!

March; We kick off next month with a massive game against league leaders, Chippenham, and a defeat could see us drop away and out of the title race. If we can get a decent result against them and then follow it up with a couple more victories, we might just give ourselves a good chance of winning this league! It's make or break time!


March 2019; Out Of The Title Race!

The annual youth intake doesn't throw up any gems by the initial looks of it! Centre back, Karl Ingram, is the biggest prospect from this year's crop of youth candidates!



Saturday 2nd March 2019
Vanarama National League South
Chippenham (Home)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


Now THAT is a massive result for us! Beating top of the table Chippenham brings us within 4 points of them and we're genuine title contenders with 10 games to go! Reece Thompson is proving to be an amazing signing for me!

Saturday 9th March 2019
Vanarama National League South
Hampton & Richmond (Away)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


Bloody typical! After beating the side top of the league, we go and lose to a club struggling in the relegation zone! No excuses...simply not good enough!!

Since Jakub Sokolik returned from injury, he's hardly been a first team regular and it's given him the arse, so he's accepted a contract elsewhere and will be leaving at the end of the season!


Saturday 16th March 2019
Vanarama National League South
Gloucester (Away)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


What the actual fuck?! Since beating top of the league Chippenham, we've now lost to two sides in the relegation zone and we were simply terrible here against bottom side Gloucester who were good value for only their 5th win of the entire campaign!

Samir Nabi will miss around a month through injury! Not great as we enter the final run in!


Saturday 23rd March 2019
Vanarama National League South
Woking (Home)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide (Changed to 4-3-3 Wide on 69 minutes)


We were absolutely dreadful as Woking pissed all over us and with our 3rd defeat in a row, I'd say we are officially out of the title race at this point and the best we can hope for is a top 3 position to give us an advantage in the playoffs!

Saturday 30th March 2019
Vanarama National League South
East Thurrock (Home)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


Coming into this game, we were on the back of 3 straight defeats, whilst Thurrock were the number 1 form team in the league, so everything was set up for us to suffer another loss! Now we didn't win, but we did turn in a much better team performance and stopped the run of defeats and in all honesty were unlucky not to pick up a much needed victory!

March Review; What an awful month as we hit a real shit run of form at totally the wrong time of the year. We've dropped down to 6th and not only are we out of the title race, but we will now have to fight hard to stay in the playoff positions by the end of the season! The title looks like it will go to Chippenham or Welling, whilst Gloucester are all but relegated with 6 games remaining!



Player of the Month
Jason Banton


In a month where most of the team were pretty awful, Banton was one of the only players to keep up a decent level of performances for us!

April; Next month will be huge as we take on both Billericay and Dulwich Hamlet who are both fighting for a playoff place as well! Bad results against either or both clubs would be nothing short of disastrous for us!


April 2019; A Winless Month As We Drop Out Of The Playoffs!

Saturday 6th April 2019
Vanarama National League South
Billericay (Away)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


We gave a decent account of ourselves and the draw was well deserved so I was pleased when Keating banged in a late equalizer from a very tight angle to earn us a point!

Saturday 13th April 2019
Vanarama National League South
Dulwich Hamlet (Home)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


This result will have big implications on the final playoff places as it puts the top 3 pretty much out of reach for us! We'll need a good set of results in our final 4 games now to ensure we hold onto a playoff spot altogether!

Liverpool have announced that they will be releasing 18 year old centre back, Rhys Williams at the end of the season, and I have managed to snap him up on a free transfer for us. At 18, he can still improve a hell of a lot, but is probably good enough to start a fair few games for us next year already!



Another player that will join us on a free transfer in the Summer is 18 year old striker, George Danaher, who will be released by Huddersfield. A decent looking youngster, I'm hoping he can score some goals for us next year and make a name for himself!



Saturday 20th April 2019
Vanarama National League South
Bath (Away)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


Defensively, this is one of the worst games we played all season and Bath looked like they would score every time they came into our half, with us all over the place! And they gave us a bloody good hiding as they leapfrog us in the table....a terrible result for us and we're now winless in 7!

With a 7 game winless streak, it was only a matter of time before the fans started jumping on my back! They critisize my lack of willingness to adjust my tactics, so I might need to come up with something different for the next game, as everything just isn't working at the moment with the current setup!


Monday 22nd April 2019
Vanarama National League South
Concord (Away)
Formation: 4-3-3 Asymetric


A change in formation didn't inspire the lads one little bit and we were terrible again! As we fall out of the playoff places, there were chants of "you're getting sacked in the morning" ringing around the stadium at full time!

Torquay icon, Lee Mansell, publicly jumps to my defence, urging the board not to make any rash decisions in getting rid of me!


Saturday 27th April 2019
Vanarama National League South
Oxford City (Home)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


Dear oh dear...that's now 9 games without a win, 3 games without scoring a goal and we drop to 10th in the table after another bad result! My job will be coming under some serious pressure all of a sudden!

April Review; What an awful, awful month! We have slipped down to 10th in the table and now need a miracle on the final day of the season to even make the playoffs! After doing so well for 6-7 months, we've completely gone off the boil over the past two months and it looks to have cost us any chance at promotion and possibly even my job! Chippenham are confirmed champions with a game remaining, whilst Chelmsford and Welling are guaranteed a top 3 finish! Gloucester and Concord are already relegated, whilst East Thurrock must win their final game and hope other results go in their favour to stay up!



Player of the Month
Reece Thompson


With everyone playing pretty poorly over the past month, Thompson takes the award simply for his 2 goals against Billericay and Dulwich!

May; Our final game of the season will be against 12th placed Hemel Hempstaead!


May 2019; End Of Season

Saturday 4th May 2019
Vanarama National League South
Hemel Hempstead (Home)
Formation: 4-1-2-3 DM Wide


We finally put an end to our winless streak and finish the season with a victory! However, we did our best to throw it away after racing to a 3-0 lead by half time!

The final league table shows that our win against Hemel Hempstead wasn't enough for us to sneak back into the playoffs and we finish a disappointing 9th place! It hurts as it looked like we'd challenge for the title for a long time this season only to fall completely away over the last 2 months! On the final day of the season, East Thurrock completed the great escape to stay up and it's Dartford who fall into the final relegation spot!


Samir Nabi was the main man this year and picks up young player of the season and the fan's award as well! He also bagged the goal of the season, whilst goalkeeper, Billy O'Brien was the signing of the season!


The media's review of our season reflects a disappointing year for The Gulls under my management!


The club have announced that they will be relinquishing our professional status and we'll now operate as a semi pro outfit!


Looking over the squad stats for the past season, it was Jason Banton that was the only player who made over 40 appearances for the club this year and he finished up top goalscorer (despite not being a striker) with 16 goals! He also bagged the most assists with 8 and recorded one of the highest average ratings across the course of the campaign! Reece Thompson was a good addition and bagged 13 goals in 23 appearances in the second half of the season and could prove to be a 20-30 goal a season striker next year! The defence was a major issue this year and the low average ratings across most of our defenders highlights an area for improvement!


Manager's Player of the Season
Jason Banton


As mentioned above, Banton played the most games and was our best player for goals and assists so it could be only him who wins my award!

Eastbourne Boro win the playoffs to cap an amazing season for them!!


Despite my underachievement this year, the board have offered me another 1 year deal! However this was off the back of a meeting where they have given me an ultimatum that I must achieve 10 points from our opening 5 games next season or I'll be out on my arse!


With the club losing it's professional status, I'm going to be busy over the Summer altering the squad and some players are going to have to leave as the wage budget has been reduced from £14,500 to £10k!!


June 2019; First Bit Of Summer Business

My first Summer signing is that of Eddie Jones who will join us on a free transfer from Oxford City! The central midfielder had a good season for City this year, recording an average rating of 7.28 in 35 appearances in the league, scoring 11 goals! He should be a good addition and an important one as I am looking to play a different formation next year with 3 central midfielders!



Dwayne Samuels will also join us on a free transfer from Slough Town. I am looking to play wing backs next season and the right sided position was seriously lacking. Samuels offers us plenty of pace to get up and down the right wing, combined with an excellent work rate!



We'll lose striker, Ruairi Keating, at the end of the month as he has accepted an offer to join Bray Wanderers!


Centre back, Haydn Hollis, will join us on a free transfer from Forest Green! At 6ft 4", he is a big lad with a big presence at the back! He has some good stats, especially his heading and jumping reach to clear those crosses coming into the box!



BREXIT has happened, which shouldn't really effect us at all down at this level!


Next season's fixtures are released and we'll kick off against newly promoted Margate, before taking on relegated Maidenhead! Considering I need 10 points from these opening 5 games, the fixture list could have been a lot worse and there's no reason why we shouldn't achieve it!


At the end of the month, the squad has been significantly trimmed down! I've let all our wide attackers leave the club as they were on very high wages and I plan to play a 5-3-2 narrow formation this season, which they won't fit in with anyway! I will look to add a couple more faces over the next month though before the season begins!


Our pre season campaign will offer up some varied matches against higher and lower league opposition!

Annoying not to steal a playoff spot after such a good first half of the season, something to build on tho
Annoying not to steal a playoff spot after such a good first half of the season, something to build on tho

Definitely mate! It was a good season for my first in management, just a bad couple of months! Hopefully we won't suffer such a poor run of form this year and can push on!

July 2019; Pre Season

With the new formation including 3 centre backs (as I try to tighten up our defence this season), I was keen to add another to the squad! With funds and wage budget at an all time low, I looked to the loan market and Finn O'Mara was available from our senior affiliate, Gillingham, so I snapped him up!



With extra cover also required in central midfield, I decided to renew the loan signing of Ben Chapman for another season as well.



My marquee signing of this Summer has to be this one! Tahvon Campbell is a tasty looking striker for this level and could turn out to be our star man this season...I hope!



Bradley Goldberg finished up top goalscorer in this league last season, so it's no surprise to see him as the favourite to do so again! Reece Thompson is second favourite after his good second half of the season for us last year!


Two of my centre backs, Rhys Williams and Kyle Cameron, are both amongst the favourites to win the player of the year award this season! There's no excuses if we concede a lot of goals this year!


With us playing teams from the leagues above (to bring some much needed cash into the club), pre season has gone pretty much as expected so far! Defeats to Peterborough, Derby and Gillingham were predicted, whilst a comfortable victory over Walton Casuals was no surprise. What was a surprise was the fact we managed to turn over Bristol City in a tightly contested game!


August; We have one more friendly to get out of the way before the competitive stuff begins! It will be a busy month with 6 league games scheduled and we need 10 points from our opening 5 games for me to keep my job!


August 2019; Not What I Had In Mind!

We are short of cover at right wing back, so I have brought in 18 year old, Haji Mnoga, on loan from Portsmouth for the season. He'll compete with Dwayne Samuels for a starting spot in my team and it's likely he'll see plenty of first team football here this season!



I have decided to make goalkeeper, Billy O'Brien, captain for the upcoming season, stripping Ryan Dickson of the armband. This is mainly because O'Brien has much higher leadership and teamwork stats than anyone else in the team!


Looking at the season preview, Billericay are once again the hot favourites to win the league title, and we are once again second favourites just behind them! It's close and anybodys to win this year though with even Weston-super-Mare who are predicted a 12th placed finish, only being at 8-1 odds to lift the trophy! According to the media dream eleven, I have the best goalkeeper and 2 best centre backs in the league, so we really should be building this year's success on keeping things tight at the back!


The board confirm their expectations for the upcoming season! They're exactly the same as last season, with playoffs being the minimum requirement for the league!


Saturday 10th August 2019
Vanarama National League South
Margate (Home)
Formation: 5-3-2 WB


A solid 1-0 to kick the season off! A debut goal for George Danaher was enough on the opening day of the season to get us off to a winning start!

An extra 52 season tickets were sold this year!


Tuesday 13th August 2019
Vanarama National League South
Maidenhead (Away)
Formation: 5-3-2 WB


Disappointing to throw a 2-0 lead but if you'd have offered me a draw at the start of the game against the recently relegated opponents I'd have taken it!

Saturday 17th August 2019
Vanarama National League South
Oxford City (Home)
Formation: 5-3-2 WB


No excuses for that...we were poor from start to finish! Only 4 points taken from our opening 3 games means that we must win our next 2 matches or I'm out of a job!

Saturday 24th August 2019
Vanarama National League South
East Thurrock (Home)
Formation: 5-3-2 WB


I keep my job for one more game at least as the lads rally round for me and produce a stellar display against Thurrock recording an easy 3-0 home win! I tweaked the tactic slightly with some of the team instructions and it seems to have sparked a much better performance so let's hope it's a sign of things to come!

Tuesday 27th August 2019
Vanarama National League South
Truro (Away)
Formation: 5-3-2 WB


The good result against Thurrock didn't seem to spur the lads on to repeat the win and save my job! To be fair to Truro, they are in immense form and grabbed the victory over us here that should seal my fate!

As expected, I was immediately called into the chairman's office after the Truro game and relieved of my duties for failing to reach the 10 point target from our opening 5 games of the season! This is not the end of Chris Ball though and I will be looking to get back into management as soon as a suitable opportunity comes available! My tenure at Torquay will simply go down as a learning curve and nothing else!

Job Hunting!!

It was November before any interviews came my way, despite a couple of months of applying for every job that came up! Then within about a week of each other, I was offered interviews with 3 clubs who are all playing their football at National League South/North level!




Following the interview process and a couple of weeks of waiting around anxiously, I was offered one of the roles! Keen to get back into management, I accepted the offer of £600 per week from Altrincham and it seems I'll be trying my hand at the National League North!

Ah the Torquay experiment is over! Shame to see you lose your job, but back on the ladder with Altrincham! Decent chance to impress!
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Altrincham Town FC

So let's have a little look over my new club! Altrincham have spent the last 20 years hovering between the Vanarama National and Vanarama National Regional leagues, although in all that time they have never managed a finish above 14th in the National League!


Altrincham are an even older club than Torquay, having been founded 8 years earlier in 1891. Their training facilities and youth facilities are pretty poor and the club holds a semi professional status. They have fierce rivalries with Macclesfield and Northwich, although neither of these local matches are derbies.


They have a bulging trophy cabinet...compared to Torquay anyway, with 7 titles to their name including 2 FA Trophies and 2 National League wins, although neither of these wins has come since 1986!


The club play their home games at Moss Lane, which was built in 1910 and has a capacity of 6,085!


As I take a look at my new squad, I notice two things immediately. Players a bit thin on the ground with only 17 in the first team squad, but most of them are quite highly rated with a minimum of 3 stars!


Right back, Joshua Webb, is one of the best players at the club, which is ironic as this was always my weakest position on the pitch at Torquay!


30 year old Fabien Robert is also a bit tasty and is without a doubt, my best player in attack. He's also extremely versatile with the ability to play most roles going forward!


The club has nearly £100k in the bank and have given me £15k to spend on my own players. More importantly, I should have the money to attract some new players to the club with nearly £2k remaining in the wage budget.


It seems the players don't feel too strongly one way or the other about me following my appointment! Hopefully, if we can make a good start under my management, it won't take long to win them over!


So this is the predicament we find ourselves in as I take over. Sitting in the relegation zone with only 3 wins from 18 games so far this season! Our attack is one of the worst in the league and only 7 teams have conceeded more goals than us this season too!


We're on a 9 games winless streak in all competitions, with our last victory coming 2 months ago against lower league Farsley in the FA Cup.


Looking ahead, my first month in charge will throw up 5 league games, which we'll kick off against 14th placed Hereford!


December 2019; Climbing Out Of The Relegation Zone

Day one in the job and the board immediately show me that they're willing to back me by fronting the money for me to get my first coaching badge! No matter what happens from here on out, I will have at least taken something from my time at this club!


The board have only one target for me this season....avoid the drop!!


Hopeully this will be the beginning of a beautiful partnership as I hire James Constable as my new Assistant Manager!


Saturday 7th December 2019
Vanarama National League North
Hereford (Away)
Formation: 4-4-1-1


Working with the players I've got, a 4-4-1-1 formation was the best option for our opening game and it worked an absolute treat as we dominated our opponents! In my first game in charge I deliver our first win and first clean sheet in 10 games! Chris Ball has arrived in Altrincham ladies and gents!

Tuesday 17th December 2019
Vanarama National League North
Darlington (Away)
Formation: 4-4-1-1


Darlington are in the playoff spots and have only lost 4 games this season, so this is a very respectable draw for us away from home! We worked hard to get something from the game and it paid off!

Thursday 26th December 2019
Vanarama National League North
Boston Utd (Home)
Formation: 4-4-1-1


Another respectable draw against top half opposition and when you're fighting off relegation, every point counts!!

Saturday 28th December 2019
Vanarama National League North
Barrow (Home)
Formation: 4-4-1-1


Barrow were 3rd at kick off, so this was sure to be our sternest test yet! It was very much a game of two halves as we were strong and competitive during the first 45 minutes and took a surprise 1-0 lead into the break. However, we looked tired in the second half as our small squad looked to be struggling with only a 2 day break since the game against Boston, and Barrow took full advantage as they ran rampant in the second half and in the end, recorded a big win!

My first signing for the club is left back, Liam Gibson, who joins on a free transfer. Gibson was released by Newcastle in the Summer and only has one competitive appearance to his name in his career to date when on loan at Gatesead back in 2016!



Tuesday 31st December 2019
Vanarama National League North
Gainsborough (Away)
Formation: 4-4-1-1


Getting thrashed by a team below us in the league is simply not acceptable and I had stern words with the lads after this game!

When you have such a small squad, losing two first team players to injury in one match really isn't good news! Finding out after the game that they're both out for a month is even worse!



December 2019; Only one win this month in my first in charge, although the 5 points we picked up is enough to lift us out of the relegation places! If we can pick up 5 points per month to the end of the season, I'm confident we'll be safe from the drop!



Player of the Month
John Rooney


Our central midfielder is clearly the man that all our play flows through as he had two games this month where he attempted over 100 passes!!

January; The game against bottom of the table Braintree next month is absolutely massive for us and we've got to treat it as a must win!

A tough month there for you but it's to be expected with a relegation battle. Got my fingers crossed that you can win the 6 pointer against Braintree!
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