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After a long hiatus Mark is back with a new story. Where will it take him?

Discussion
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"....and I would walk 500 more..." to be a Football Manager - with apologies to The Proclaimers.

After a long hiatus away from the site, I am back with a new story which I will look to keep going for as long as I can.

Things have been a bit hectic since I was last on these pages, and I mean hectic indeed. Work has been incredibly busy, I've gotten engaged (recently) to the lass I have been dating for the last three years or so and am in the process of looking to relocate when I can secure a new job in Northern Ireland where she lives. Added to that, my ice hockey writing has really taken off so much so that I find it hard to get engrossed into a game on the laptop as much as I used to do so.

However, one of the guys at work has started to stir my enthusiasm for playing FM again by talking about how his career with Rotherham United is going. So I am going to start a new career mode on Football Manager 2019 shortly and see where it will take me. I might become a managerial flop but then I could be a success; who knows eh?

Strap yourselves then readers and enjoy the ride. Updates will appear as frequently as possible whilst I juggle all my commitments here and there....

Next Update: Choosing the Club...
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Just finishing the mods for my game as usual, that is the logos, kits etc installed then we'll be ready to play. That said we have decided who we are going to start this adventure with...

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Yes it's the lesser known of the SPL clubs in Scotland's capital city, we're going to start our new career mode in the Ladbrokes League Two with Edinburgh City. It was a decision that was hard to make as I did consider to start either in the National League North or South or even in the Northern Irish Premiership. Nothing like taking on a massive challenge to start with. So what do we know about our first club in this game.

Formed: 1928
Stadium: Ainslie Park, ground share with non-league Spartans.
Ground Capacity: 3000, 504 seats.- average attendance of 407
Transfer Funds: £34,000

I've had a look at the staff structure and it's pretty basic to be honest as expected. A Director of Football in the shape of former Heart of Midlothian manager Jim Jefferies is in place as well one coach and a single physiotherapist. We might have to bring in a specialised goalie coach if we can afford it.

The club itself has no affiliation with any big name club. This is one thing I am hoping to change as getting some kind of link might attract some SPL youngsters to the team. Ideally I am hoping this will be from either Hearts, Hibernian or Celtic.

Last season the team finished 9th in the 10 team division which was a downgrade on their first season where they had finished 7th. This is their 3rd season in League Two, can we make it a successful one for them?


Next Update: The Three Main Players at the Club
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This will good, looking forward to where this takes you!
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The Three Main Men


Like all managers, I have done a bit of due diligence before taking on this role. Therefore I have identified that these three players are the stand out players that I will have at my disposal:


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Josh Walker, Age: 29, Position: Central Midfield

Josh Walker is a former England Under 15 and Under 17 captain who has had a very stop start career with stops at numerous clubs in England. He joined the Citizens this summer after spending the last two seasons at Bengaluru FC in India, and appears to be the pivot which everything revolves upon. The Newcastle born midfielder made his debut as a 17 year old for Middlesbrough in the final game of the 2005-06 season and has had to battle against injury to get himself established. Josh also had a taste of football in the SPL earlier in his career when he made 10 appearances for Aberdeen in 2008. His leadership skills make him a candidate for the club captaincy which I will decide on closer to the start of the campaign.

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Blair Henderson, Age: 23, Position: Striker

A superb signing in the summer to bring this prolific front man in from divisional rivals Annan Athletic. The former Dunfermline Athletic trainee scored 16 times in just 33 games for Annan last season and has scored goals wherever he has played. We're hoping that he continues in the same vein for us and if we can acquire an equally good striker alongside him then they can fire us to glory. I am expecting big things from him, he has the potential to become a very good striker indeed.

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Danny Handling, Age: 24, Position: Right Winger/Striker

Danny Handling was just 17 years of age when he made his debut for boyhood club Hibernian in the final game of the 2011 season against Aberdeen. Whilst he didn't break through the following season, Danny finished that campaign at this level with Berwick where he scored seven goals in seven games.. An extended run came in the next three seasons with the 2014-15 being his best ever with 24 appearances as he started to become a regular. However, disaster struck in the pre-season of 2015-16 when he picked up a nasty knee injury that kept him sidelined all season and then having recovered from that suffered another injury blow at the start of the next season. He recovered to appear on loan for Raith at the end of that season, but was released from Hibs by mutual consent. He played last season at Dumbarton but has come back to Edinburgh as he looks to re-establish his career.


Next Update: The Unveiling
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The Unveiling


In a surprise move, Edinburgh City chairman Jim Brown has decided to dispense with the services of manager James McDonaugh and replace him with a complete unknown. McDonaugh has paid the price for a 9th place finish less than 9 months after being appointed to the Ainslie Park hot seat.

Brown had this to say about his decision:

"Ladies and Gentlemen of the assembled media, thank you for attending first to this press conference.

Last season was a big disappointment for City as we failed to build on the first season and if it wasn't for Cowdenbeath struggling then we would have been in a scrap to save our Scottish Football League place which we worked so hard to obtain.

Unfortunately as this is a result business, we have taken a decision to dispense with the services of James (McDonaugh) as of today. As good as a good coach he is, we feel a change of leadership is required to take this club of ours forward. That's why we have appointed a manager whose ambitions match ours. Therefore, it gives me great pleasure to announce the appointment of Mark Duell as the new manager of Edinburgh City. Mark is an excellent young coach who we think has the potential to be the new Sir Alex Ferguson.

He's smart, intelligent and a football man. We believe we have found a man who has the winning formula and the football managerial X-Factor. The Club is safe in his hands."


Whilst the Chairman spoke, I shuffled and twitched nervously in my seat to his left, hoping nobody would notice. Soon it was my turn to address the fourth estate for the first time as Edinburgh City's new manager.


Next Update: Addressing the Media
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Addressing the Media


I had never done an actual press conference in my life to be honest. But there I was sat at a table with a spotlight in my eyes and flash bulbs going off to the sound of photographers doing their jobs and microphones thrust under your nose, listening to every word that you said. Deep breaths, time to face the fourth estate in my new capacity as the manager of Edinburgh City Football Club for the first, and not the last time.

"Thank you Mr Chairman for the warm welcome and the introduction.

A few days ago I was enjoying a small city break here in Edinburgh, and watching a bit of speedway here whilst visiting some long known friends. But life has a habit changing when you least expect it and here I am today. I didn't know James McDonaugh personally, and I'm sure he is a really nice guy, but there must be something that makes this club want me to lead them forward. The call to become manager here came right out of the blue to be honest, I don't know who referred me to the Chairman but I have been acquired to do a job.

I am really looking forward to this challenge that has been presented to me, I honestly would feel a bit of a fool if I had declined it. Not every day do you get the chance to become a football manager and in the professional game.

I have had some experience of managing before but that was pretty basic to be honest. I was joint-manager of a Sunday football team a few years ago and enjoyed that but this is a totally different kettle of proverbial fish. It's a real challenge and anyone who knows me well, knows I love to take on a challenge I can get my proverbial teeth into.

As for my ambitions, I am looking forward to take Edinburgh City as far as we can together. It will be certainly a team effort. I've met the squad briefly and they appear as keen as I am to give this a good go.

I am doing a full assessment of what I have at my disposal, so there might be additions but then again I might be happy with what I have at the moment. You'll just have to wait and see.

Let's make something amazing happen, after all I live by the mantra: "Teamwork makes the dream work." Thank you everyone."
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Former Celtic Star joins Edinburgh City
11 July 2018


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The Mark Duell revolution at Ainslie Park is well underway as former Celtic and Dundee United defender Marc Wilson was today announced as Duell's Assistant Manager.

34 year old Wilson, who also picked up a solitary Scotland cap in his playing career, has been chosen after an extensive search by the new Edinburgh City chief for a number two and both parties are delighted to be working alongside each other.

The manager had this to say on the appointment:

"I'm very pleased to today announce the appointment of Marc Wilson as my Assistant Manager. Marc is well known to fans in Scotland from his playing career which saw him pick up three SPL titles at Celtic so his pedigree is immense. He is a likeable character on and off the pitch and I am sure I can bounce many ideas off him as we collectively strive to do the best for Edinburgh City.

He was the stand out candidate from a list of that had so many very good applications. I am sure he will prove to be a major asset for the Club and it's a great honour to bring him here."

Marc Wilson was also enthusiastic about his new role:

"I'm very honoured today to be named as assistant manager here at Edinburgh City and work alongside Mark. You could say it's a double Mark. After leaving Airdrie in the summer of 2017, I have taken stock and turned down many opportunities from clubs both in England and Scotland as I wanted to make sure my next job was the right one for me and my family. However, once Mark got in touch and asked me to come down for a chat I couldn't say no.

He's an excellent guy to be working with and I am sure together we can look to bring success here."

Duell has further bolstered his backroom team by also bringing in Chester-born 32 year old Gavin Hilton as goalkeeping coach as he shapes his team off the pitch.
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Cup tests await City


The draws for the group stage of this season's Betfred Cup and Irn-Bru Cup have been made, and they have thrown up some interesting games for City and their newly appointed manager.

The Betfred Cup has seen City being pitted with four Scottish Premiership sides in the shape of Hamilton Academical, Kilmarnock and Edinburgh neighbours Heart of Midlothian and Livingston. It's certainly a tough qualifying group for City and manager Mark Duell is under no illusions that his team face a mountainous task to get through this:

"Well what more can I say about this? We have been given a tough task to make the net stage of this competition. In fact, I will akin this to climbing Everest, it's certainly feeling like Mission Impossible. After all, you just have to look who we have been drawn with at this opening stage. Four, not one, but three existing SPL sides in the shape of Hamilton Accies, Killie and our neighbours from dear old Gorgie: the Jambos plus Livi. If we get through this stage it'll be an absolutely amazing achievement for us.

Can the big teams play their kids in this tournament stage and at least give us some chance? Because if I was a betting man, I certainly wouldn't putting any money on Edinburgh City qualifying for the next round.

However, we have to give it the best we can against them. Every one of these games is like David and Goliath, and if we get beaten then we will have given it a good go."

The Irn-Bru opening round draw produced an interesting draw too, as City will face non-league Spartans. Duell had this to say about it:

"That's interesting isn't it? We face a team whom we ground share with. You certainly couldn't script this for sure.

One thing is for definite, they will know every inch and blade of grass when we play them. There's no advantage to anyone in this game. Granted we will probably start favourites because of the league standing but to me, that means absolutely nothing. We will have to be prepared for a battle and not shirk our collective responsibilities. It will be solely down to us to stop the giant killing and any embarrassment.

We won't be taking it lightly."
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Double Michael signing

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Mark Duell has made his first two player signings as he looks to reshape the Edinburgh City squad ahead of his first season at the Ainslie Park side. He has brought in two defenders in the shape of Michael Bolochoweckyj and Michael Dunlop to add some more steel to the City backline and competition for places in the squad.

The experienced Bolochoweckyj arrives on a free transfer from League One newcomers Montrose, having helped them to the League Two title last season. An experienced defender with over 400 professional games under his belt, he is certain to push the current crop of central defenders to the limit and pass on his invaluable knowledge on the youngsters around him. Manager Mark Duell had this to say about him:

"I'm pleased to bring "Bolo" to the Club. It was not easy persuading a guy to drop back down a division particularly when you had to work hard so for promotion the season beforehand but we talked and he feels he can help us make an impact here. He's a strong defender and very experienced at this level so he knows what the game is about. Some might ask why we have brought him in at his age of 34, but you can't buy such experience like you do have in "Bolo". The main thing for us here is to get the club moving out of League Two and adding a player of Mike's stature can only enhance us with that objective.

He'll do us a job."

Also arriving at Ainslie Park is Michael Dunlop, and Duell this to say about this acquisition:

"I'm also pleased to welcome Michael Dunlop here to the Club. Whilst he is only 25, he's got quite a bit of experience behind him and again you can't buy that. He's an old fashioned no nonsense defender who came through the famous Aberdeen youth set up and can only add to what we have here. Whilst he hasn't played for a season and half, I'm sure he will be competing for a place in the starting eleven once he is up to speed with what the others."

Both players are very pleased to have joined too.

Michael Bolochoweckyj:
"I'm happy to be here and it was a bit of no brainer when Mark asked me about the possibility of joining Edinburgh as one of his new signings. I could have stayed with Montrose but you know sometimes you have to think what else is out there. There seems to a bit of a buzz around this place and I can't wait to get started. I'll be doing whatever I can to get this team promoted up the league."

Michael Dunlop:
"It's a great feeling to back involved with a side that have certainly wanted me. Mark sold the Club to me and I could not say no when he told me I would have a role in his plans for the team. I might not have played since January 2017 but I'm keen as mustard so they say to get started and achieve the team in what way I can."
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Dons link announced

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Edinburgh City today announced a deal today which is one of the biggest ones in their recent history, and one that has the potential to help Mark Duell with his squad planning. As of today, they have confirmed a link with Scottish Premiership giants Aberdeen after a lengthy search over the last month. One of the first tasks that Duell apparently asked for when he took the Ainslie Park hotseat was to find a high profile club that City could become an affiliate with, and today has seen that dream realised.

The deal will see the Dons pay a specific sum each season to City, also sees them agree to play a pre-season friendly at Ainslie Park and also with the mouthwatering prospect of some of the Dons youth talents gaining experience on loan. Citizens Manager Mark Duell is highly delighted with link up:

"I've not made any secret about the need for Edinburgh City to have an affiliate link with a big club, and the board backed me on this request. Today we announce a link with SPL giants Aberdeen and whilst I would have been over the moon if we had Celtic or Hibernian as a choice, Aberdeen isn't a bad choice at all.

The Dons have a fantastic youth team set up which has seen so many great players come off that conveyor belt, and for us to have the chance to sign some of those talents on loan is absolutely exciting. They have also agreed to play an annual pre-season game too which gives our club such a boost financially. It feels like we have won the lottery, it really does."

The length of the deal has not been disclosed.
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July 2018 Round-Up


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I've decided to do a monthly result round-up for this story as it would fit in well with my own schedule as I'm not playing the game at every single opportunity, I do have a life and a full time job to consider. So bare with me....

By the time I began the save game, Edinburgh City had already played one pre-season friendly game. That came at the revived Gretna side, now known as Gretna 2008. It proved to a happy trip for the 9 away fans as City recorded a 3-0 away win. The game was over as a contest in 10 minutes as we scored three times. New signings Allan Smith and Blair Henderson scored the goals, Smith scoring in the first 25 seconds with Henderson adding the second in the third minute. Smith added his second and the team's third on the ten minute mark and that was it. A great start for the team.

My first game in charge was a behind closed doors friendly that coach Colin Jack arranged so I could get a look at the team itself. It was the first team against the reserves and predictably enough, the senior squad took the honours with a 5-1 victory. Smith scored a six minute hat-trick to put the first team 3-0 ahead and it stayed that way to half-time. Young central defender Andy Bowden reduced the arrears early in the second half but further goals from Kieran Stewart and substitute Scott Shepherd secured a comfortable win ahead of the first big test: our first Betfred Cup group game.

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That first Betfred Cup game drew a more decent crowd nearly 700 in, nearly twice our average gate. Henderson gave us a lead in the 20th minute when we scored in route one fashion from a long goal kick from Callum Antell which was drilled past the Accies keeper first time into the corner by the former Annan striker. Giant killing on the cards maybe? Well the fun lasted long (sarcasm alert) as they equalised four minutes later and then went ahead in the 33rd minute. They stepped up it even more in the second half to score four more times, one of them being an unfortunate own goal which went in off the bum of our very own Marc Laird.

A few days later we made the short trip to Gorgie to face the Jambos, and a large crowd turned up for it. It looked like they would run up a cricket score as they were 3-0 ahead by 56 minutes but either we started to stop being afraid of them or they took their collective feet off the pedal afterwards. Henderson pulled one back in the 67th minute when he got onto the end of a superbly weighted through by Liam Henderson to beat Zlamal with an angled drive at the keeper's near post which caught the Jambos Czech keeper out. Five minutes from time and we made it 3-2 when Graham Taylor again embarrassed the keeper with a near post finish. Could we get a draw out of this? However former Rangers striker Steven Naismith doused any hopes with his second of the game and Hearts' fourth two minutes from time. We had given them a scare though! The 306 away fans danced all night.

Our next game was against Kilmarnock and it drew a crowd of nearly 1000 into the ground - in fact it was just seven short of matching our record attendance. Again we played well with a resolute defensive performance. Bright Enobakhare scored the only goal of the game just after the hour mark but if we had been just that bit more willing to attack then we might have taken something out of it. This result put us out of the competition, not that I expected to qualify after having four SPL sides in my group, with one game left. I made a few changes for that game against Livingston and again it took the SPL side time to break us down: they scored their opener in the 68th minute! Two late goals clinched a 3-0 win for them but we had given them a game that had 90 away fans again smiling. The board weren't too disheartened about losing all four, we had been competitive in the games and that pleased them no end.

We finished the month with a trip to Junior club Tayport in Fife. Our fans made exactly 20% of the entire crowd of 55 and they were celebrating early when Blair Henderson scored after just 15 seconds. I nearly spilled me Bovril! The striker scored a second after 12 minutes and then new signing Michael Bolocheweckyj hooked in a third with just 17 minutes played. They gave a few skipped heartbeats with a goal either side of the half time interval but we regrouped our confidence to take the game 6-2 with substitutes Andy Black, Shepherd and youngster Ryan Day adding further goals. Shepherd and Day scoring within three minutes of each in the final eight minutes.

Now the league starts....

Next Game Update: August 2018 Round-Up
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Balatoni named skipper for new season

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Conrad Balatoni has been named as manager Mark Duell's captain for the forthcoming season.

The central defender, who joined the Citizens in the summer from Torquay United, impressed when given the armband in the opening month of the season and Duell has confirmed that it will stay with the Leeds born defensive lynchpin throughout the season.

Mark had this to say about the appointment:

"I hadn't quite made my mind up when I first watched the team in action and train but more and more I got impressed with Conrad. He has a presence on and off the pitch and is well liked by everyone in the team. He leads by example and makes players accountable when they dip below what he deems high standards, he's everything that a captain should be. The team couldn't have anyone as good as him to lead them into the new season."

The newly appointed captain is obviously proud of his achievement:

"I would be lying if I said I wasn't happy to be named Edinburgh City's new captain. It's a great honour for me and my family; and I'm proud that the boss sees me as his leader on the pitch. It can only enhance my play and who knows that the international call up from either Austria or Hungary might come knocking next. That would be the icing on the proverbial cake as would lifting a trophy this season and I will be doing whatever I can to realise the latter."

In the same move, Marc Laird has been confirmed as Balatoni's assistant captain.
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Managerial Career Snapshot


Manager Jobs:
https://i.postimg.cc/1t3MVKGQ/iconfinder-Scotland-92325.png Edinburgh City: 8 July 2018 - present

Competitive Match Performance:
Edinburgh City: Games Managed 9, Won 5, Drew 0 Lost 4, Win Percentage 56%

Awards Won:
2018- (Edinburgh City): Manager of Month - 0, Trophies Lifted - 0, Manager of the Year - 0
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August 2018 Round-Up


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Welcome back to the next monthly update of how my new career mode game is going on. We left it last time having completed the pre-season friendlies and also lost all four games, predictably enough, against the four SPL teams in the Betfred Cup. The league season is now underway...

We opened the new league season with a visit from Albion Rovers, the team supported by famous author Irvine Welsh whose books I just love reading. There was no romance from the team though as we started the league campaign with a win. Liam Henderson gave us the lead after quarter of hour when he bulleted home a powerful header from a Craig Thomson free-kick, but we suffered a blow minutes when skipper Conrad Balatoni limped off with what turned out to be a pulled ankle ligament injury that would sideline him for the next 11 days. McMahon levelled for the Wee Rovers midway through the second half and it was anyone's after that. Two goals in the closing stages though gave us the points, and both from Blair Henderson. Blair restored the lead with two minutes left from the penalty spot, converting after Adam Watson had been fouled in the penalty area, and then adding the clincher in the fifth minute of injury time. The best start possible.

A trip to Elgin duly followed a week, and we replicated the performance from the Albion game with another three points and by the same scoreline. Allan Smith gave us a 13th minute when he headed in his first goal from the club after a superb curling cross from former Hibs man Danny Handling. Handling doubled the lead ten minutes after half time when he picked up his own rebound after the keeper had spilled the initial effort, and then Graham Taylor made it 3-0 with a close range finish just three minutes later. Rabin Omar reduced the deficit in the 68th minute but we saw the game out for a second win in seven days. It had been a bit of battle as the referee brandished seven yellow cards out, with us picking up four of them.

I made a number of changes for the midweek Irn-Bru Cup fixture against Spartans, giving some of the guys on the fringes of the first team a start but a strong side overall. We took the lead in the 18th minute when Smith was baulked in the penalty area. Blair Henderson again stepped up but despite Spartans keeper Costello saving his spot kick, the striker rammed in the rebound for 1-0. On the half hour, we doubled the lead when one of the players I gave a start to, Kieran Stewart , thundered home an effort from the edge of the area. A third followed in first half added-on time when Taylor was left unmarked at the far post to tap in. We could have had more with Stewart pulling all the strings in midfield but it ended 3-0 and a banana skin well and truly avoided.

The league campaign resumed with a home game against Stirling Albion. A physical battle was settled by a single goal and thankfully for us, to make it three league wins out of three. That came from the boot of right-back Thomson who curled home a free-kick from just outside the penalty area, via the post, which the Stirling keeper could not keep out. It was a goal deserving of winning any game to be honest.

Could we finish the month unbeaten? Well, we travelled to the Broadwood Stadium to face Clyde who were sure to give us a good test. We took an 8th minute lead when Blair Henderson again was on target, scoring his 6th goal of the season, again from the penalty spot after Handling had been fouled. It was 2-0 on the half hour when another superb free-kick delivery from Thomson caused the opposition problems and Andy Black headed home unmarked from inside the six yard box for his first goal for the club. It was very pleasing as we managed to keep former Rangers and Dundee United striker David Goodwillie very quiet indeed and repel anything Clyde threw at us. Three clean sheets in a row, and a great start to the season.

The league table is as follows:

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Next Game Update: Monthly Awards
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Monthly Awards - August 2018


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How can they not award this to the manager not topping the table? I've got the same record as the Annan manager but my team is top of the table, not his? It's baffling, mind you it will give me extra determination to win it sooner rather than later.

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Whilst I am pleased that Craig got recognised, I'm surprised that Blair Henderson didn't get a mention. He's already scored six goals in all competitions this season. Looks like Annan are the League Two darlings at the moment, suppose then we will have to right that won't we?


Next Update: The Irn-Bru Cup Second Round Draw
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You have made a strong start to the season with Edinburgh City @HockeyBhoy. KIU.
Thanks @Shedender mate, I seem to be getting the old FM story buzz back and am enjoying this save game too. Hopefully we won't encounter any issues with it and it can run for a number of seasons. Let's see where it takes us.

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Pars reward for Irn-Bru Cup progress

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After seeing off non-league Spartans in the opening round of this season's Irn-Bru Cup, Edinburgh City have been rewarded with a mouthwatering second round tie when they travel to Scottish Championship side Dunfermline Athletic.

The tie is a game that manager Mark Duell is keenly looking forward to already:

"After beating Spartans, I was hoping for a decent draw in the next stage and ideally a money spinning home tie as well. Whilst we didn't get the home tie I desired, we have been given a decent tie though so the football Gods were definitely listening to me on this one. It's about time they did haha!

We travel to Fife and to Dunfermline at their East End Park stadium. It's a real challenge for the team to try and create a bit of history for themselves as I am aware that we have not been this far in the competition in the time we have competed in it. It's a tough ask especially as Dunfermline were challenging for a place back in the Premiership via the play-offs last season but there's always a chance of a giant killing in any Cup game, so why not us to inflict one?

This game will hopefully give the Club itself a bit of a financial boost as we're hoping there will be a decent crowd there. Our fans will be there in numbers I hope and inspire us.

I really can't wait for it to come around."

The game will be played on Saturday 8th September 2018 with a 3:00pm kick-off time.
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For those interested in tactics, this is what I am adopting at the moment and it's serving me well at the moment isn't it?

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It's basically a modified 4-4-2 with an out and out right winger. Taylor is playing as an attack minded left midfielder as opposed to a left wing role. I'm usually using a positive mentality for games they expect me to win and a balanced or cautious one when I'm expected to lose.

I will be looking to develop a new tactic to use when it becomes apparent that I need to tweak it further but hey, why mess about with something that isn't really broken at the moment.

Keep following for more updates with the story, all comments welcomed.

Next Game Update: September Review
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September 2018 Round-Up


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After a massively successful opening month, the question was posed: could we maintain that impressive start in September? It was again a four game league match programme with our Irn-Bru Cup adventure sandwiched in between.

September began with a testing away game at Peterhead, one of the teams expected to do well this season. We took the lead in the 23rd minute when Peterhead half cleared a Craig Thomson corner and we worked the ball well for Danny Handling to tee up Blair Henderson to tuck the ball home unmarked from 12 yards out. Ten minutes later and we were two goals to the good; Scott Brown (no, not the Celtic skipper) handled in the penalty area and Henderson scored his second of the game with a confident finish. The game appeared to be as good as done two minutes from half time when we showed the perfect counter attack, left winger Graham Taylor finishing with a low shot at the far post. A fourth goal came in the 57th minute, Handling with another inch perfect cross and Allan Smart came off the bench to fire home. Safe to say he enjoyed that one as it was against his former club. Goals from Dow and McAlllister a minute apart in the final 18 minutes gave the home side some faint hope but we refocused ourselves to make it five out of five.

The week after we were at Dunfermline in the second round of the Irn-Cup, a game we weren't expected to progress from. Andy Ryan gave the Pars a fifth minute and it looked even more glum when Faissal El Bakhtaoui doubled the lead on the half hour, that sinking feeling you would have thought right? However this team doesn't know when to give in, that's one thing I am seeing, Robbie McIntyre crashed a shot against the bar and Taylor reacted first to reduce the arrears three minutes from half time. Seven minutes after the restart we were level when Kieran Swanson brought down Taylor just as he was ready to shoot, penalty kick. Henderson stepped up again and fired home the perfect spot kick, giving Robinson in the home goal no chance whatsoever. The game ebbed and flowed after that and it looked like Dunfermline had won in the first minute of time added on when El Bakhtaoui scored his second of the game. Yet I encouraged the guys to have one final push and were rewarded in the final minute of time added on when Scott Shepherd angled a shot home that sent the away support of 151 into raptures. So it went to penalties, and the Pars went through 4-2 after Marc Laird and Handling had seen their efforts (our 3rd and 4th attempts) saved by Robinson. Beaten but far from disgraced.

After this disappointment, it was back to the league and first versus second battle against Annan Athletic at Ainslie Park with both teams going into it with 100 per cent records. Taylor opened the scoring for us in the 13th minute when he headed in at the far post from yet another superb free-kick delivery from Thomson. Thomson really is a bit of a set piece expert and he created goal number two seven minutes later, his corner being powerfully headed home by Henderson from six yards out. Aidan Smith pulled Annan back within one two minutes from the break to leave it evenly poised going into the second half. With 17 minutes left we restored our two goal advantage when once Thomson flighted in another free-kick and Taylor escaped his marker to make it 3-1. The two goal hero turned provider for goal number four which came with four minutes left, Smith with the smart finish. A good day's work was completed in the 89th minute when Henderson fired against the crossbar but the ball entered the net via the calves of the luckless visiting keeper.

Our penultimate game of the month was a trip to the National Stadium, Hampden Park, to face Queens Park. It certainly felt surreal seeing all those empty seats around. We took the lead after just 53 seconds when Shepherd seized on a suicidal pass from a Queens Park defender to accept the gift on offer. It got better in the 4th minute when we scored again, Thomson again the architect and Taylor heading home unmarked at the far post. It became 3-0 in the 23rd minute when a sublime cross from Kieran Stewart was brilliantly volleyed home by the red hot Taylor. Josh Peters pulled one back for the Spiders on the half hour but we regained the three goal cushion in the 33rd minute when Shepherd hit the post with a low drive but it rebounded back into the net off the back of the home goalkeeper. A second Peters strike made it 2-4 nine minutes into the second half but again we got our heads back on it and sealed the win in the final minute when Smith headed on a throw-in and Shepherd hooked home goal number five from inside the six yard box.

We finished the month with a home game against "The Blue Brazil"; Cowdenbeath. It took us a bit of time to break them down but that we did in the 25th minute, McGurn parried a Shepherd shot but there was Henderson in the right place to pick up the pieces and end a one game goalscoring drought. Five minutes into the second half, we were 2-0 ahead. A deep corner from Thomson was retrieved by Handling and Andy Black netted from just outside the six yard box. We put the game beyond all reasonable doubt with a third goal just after the hour, Henderson with the set up and Stewart with a confident finish from 12 yards out into the bottom corner. Shepherd finished the scoring with two minutes to go, hammering a clearance from the Cowdenbeath keeper straight back past him. Eight wins from eight. The stuff of dreams to be honest!

So this is the league table at the end of September:

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Next Game Update: September Monthly Awards
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Monthly Awards - September 2018


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First managerial honour, and you can't argue with that can you? I'm seriously hoping that this leads to many more gongs heading my way, whether these be at Edinburgh City or elsewhere. No wonder my board is apparently very pleased with how I've done so far.

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A double honour for our young left midfielder, and so richly deserved too. He's going to have some bigger clubs looking at him soon if he keeps this up. Still surprised that Blair Henderson, our top scorer, continues to be ignored. One day, they will appreciate him as much as I do as his manager.

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Great work to date and some very good updates, things are going very well to date mate!
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Thanks for the comment @Dan mate. I've been incredibly lucky so far with very few team injuries which has given me the luxury of selecting a settled line up. Here's hoping for more success as the season unfolds but I'm not counting any proverbial chickens yet.
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Cracking start to the season mate, keep it going!
Thanks for the comment @AdamRK - yeah we've made an excellent start. I just hope we can keep the momentum high and at the end, experience glory. Keep following mate.

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October 2018 Round-Up


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A short month this time with just three games played in League and Cup.

We began October with a home game against Berwick Rangers who had Danny Galbraith in their ranks, a player I had looked to sign earlier in the season but Berwick beat me to the punch whilst I awaited a scout report on him. It was a game that we eventually won but we had to dig deep to do so. Willie Robertson gave the visitors the lead in the 16th minute with a composed finish after we had given the ball away in midfield. I was far from happy and as the game ticked towards half time, I yelled to the team to up their game. They responded in the best way possible with three goals in just six minutes. Kieran Stewart, whose misplaced pass had led to Berwick's goal, levelled in the 36th minute when he got his head to a Craig Thomson corner to plant a header home from six yards out. We went ahead two minutes later, a sucidial pass in his own penalty area by Berwick's Cedwyn Scott was seized upon by Scott Shepherd who accepted the gift on offer to continue his good form in front of goal.

The game was completely turned on its head three minutes from half time when we scored a third. Thomson's punt forward was collected by the red hot Blair Henderson who outstripped the Berwick defender to angle a shot beyond the goalkeeper and score against his old team. Henderson grabbed his second and our fourth in the 48th minute when Danny Handling teed him up near the penalty spot to finish with aplomb. Berwick's top scorer Greg Hurst, on loan from St.Johnstone, pulled a second goal back midway through the second half which could have caused us to wilt but we held on for a hard earned win.

After a week off, it was the second round of the William Hill Scottish Cup and a trip to Fife to face non-league Kelty Hearts who are managed by former Rangers and Scotland captain Barry Ferguson. A potential banana skin if we didn't treat them with respect and we did just that. It took us 36 minutes though to break them down, Graham Taylor with the raking angled pass and Henderson volleyed it past the home keeper. The lead was doubled four minutes after the interval when we intercepted a midfield ball and then worked it between ourselves for Shepherd to finish confidently. Stuart Cargill pulled one back for the home side with 13 minutes to go and it was then a case of holding out. We managed to calm ourselves down and clinched the tie with two minutes to go when Shepherd set up Henderson to finish with a low drive from just inside the penalty area. Job complete.

Because Stirling Albion drew their Cup game, our away game there was rescheduled for midweek. They caused a stir when they took the lead nine minutes before half time when Darren Barr headed in from a corner. I rallied the troops at half time, demanding much better if we were to keep our unbeaten record and go five points clear. We were level five minutes after the restart; a counter attack saw Taylor nod down a Handling cross into the path of former Stirling striker Shepherd who made no mistake from just outside the six yard box. It was 2-1 to us on the hour, Andy Black provided the pass and Henderson tucked away his 16th of the season. Our tenth win in ten league games was sealed in the 74th minute, substitute Allan Smith with a low cross and Shepherd netted his second of the game.

The league table at the end of October is as follows:

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Next Game Update: October Monthly Awards
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Monthly Awards - October 2018


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A second Manager of the Month gong for me, the only manager to have a 100 per cent record in October. Long may it continue...

None of the players were victorious in the player awards, although Blair Henderson (first mention) and Craig Thomson finished second and third respectively in the Player of the Month award.

By the way if anyone is curious, I have not modified the game at all as I have just made two free transfer signings so far with the rest of the excess wage budget going on improving the back room staff which I believe is a good starting point to trying to be a success at a lower league level.
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Away reward in Cup


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After disposing of Lowland League Kelty Hearts in the second round of this season's William Hill Scottish Cup, Edinburgh City will be on their travels again in the third round stage. The draw will see them make the trip to Aberdeenshire and face Highland League Inverurie Loco Works with a place in the coveted fourth round stage at stake. Manager Mark Duell had this to say about the draw:

"It's a good draw for us, in fact I am very pleased with it indeed.

We could have picked a team in either League One or from the Championship but we struck it lucky and got a very winnable game indeed. It really helps us to try and meet an objective that we set ourselves this season and that was to make the fourth round if possible. Now we have an excellent chance to make that objective a reality.

For sure, we will not take Inverurie lightly at all like we don't take anyone. They are capable of surprising us if we get complacent, we need to step away from that and prove that the bookies are right in having us as game favourites. I'm confident we can go there and get a result and a place in round four. It's ours for the taking."

The game at Harlaw Park, Inverurie, will be played on 24 November 2018 with a 3:00pm kick-off.
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Many thanks to all that have commented so far; I've got some more updates coming up in the next few days.

Actually I'm hoping to have them uploaded later tonight or tomorrow morning at the latest.
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November 2018 Round-Up


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Another busy month of league and cup games.

We started November with a home game against Clyde, a team that should be challenging for the title but were in 5th place when the game kicked off. It had been a close game at their place and this was equally as tight. The deadlock was broken a minute from the half time whistle; Kieran Stewart won possession midway in the Clyde half and threaded the ball into the path of Blair Henderson who had the intelligence to see his strike partner Scott Shepherd in space twelve yards out and he made no mistake. We doubled the lead in the 68th minute when Andy Black, who has been awesome all season, picked out the run of Danny Handling and he finished with confidence running through his veins. Former Rangers striker David Goodwillie pulled one back for Clyde with five minutes to go but we held on for our eleventh win in eleven games.

A trip to basement club Albion Rovers next, and the result was predictable as we chalked up win number twelve. The big surprise was that we didn't score the first goal until the 42nd minute though. It came about when Graham Taylor's cross found the head of Henderson whose effort was palmed by the Albion keeper but straight to Shepherd who made no mistake to score his 10th of the season. We grabbed a second in the 63rd minute when Forrester pushed Henderson in the area as they challenged for the ball from a Craig Thomson corner. Henderson picked himself up and drilled his effort into the corner of the net despite the keeper going the right way. I sensed Albion's heads had dropped after that, so demanded that we put the hammer down and inflict more misery.

The response was just what I wanted as we added three goals in seven minutes to really run riot. I mean who knows, goal difference might be important in the end. In the 71st minute, Henderson got his second of the game when after a terrific passing move, he glanced home a header from a well flighted Thomson cross. Three minutes later, Taylor was back on the scoresheet when he powered in a header from yet another superb Thomson cross and he scored again in the 78th minute to make it 11 goals for the season for him. It again followed some brilliant team pass and move with Shepherd teeing up the winger who made no mistake from just outside the six yard box. The rout was complete with another team goal that saw substitute Josh Walker put away his first goal for the Club with five minutes to go.

A quick turnaround and four days later we welcomed Peterhead to Ainslie Park, another opponent that is underachieving this season so far. It was another close game for us as I envisaged it would be but we made a great start with two goals in the first 13 minutes. The first came after 11 minutes when Taylor crossed deep into the Peterhead penalty area, Blue Toon defender Maguire headed it out but straight back to Taylor who volleyed it first time over the head of former Gretna keeper Greg Fleming and into the roof of the net. The lead was doubled when Taylor turned provider this time out when he attacked the backline and pulled the ball back from the by line for Shepherd to net from just outside the six yard box. Jack Leitch reduced the arrears five minutes from the break when we failed to pick him up and he converted from a Rory McAllister pass. After that we knew we had to be defensively sound, and that we were as we edged it 2-1 for 13 wins out of 13.

Ten days further on, and it was our Third Round tie in the Scottish FA Cup at Inverurie. A banana skin if we didn't perform in front of almost 1000 inside Harlaw Park. We made another fantastic start with an opening goal with just 6 minutes played. Marc Laird played in midfield partner Black and he finished confidently from around the penalty spot. Seven minutes later, we made it 2-0 when we produced some superb passing and Henderson curled the ball into the net. The tie got better for us after 31 minutes when Henderson bagged his second of the game and 20th of the season from the penalty spot after he had initially been baulked in the penalty area. Christopher Angus pulled one back early in the second half for the hosts but we saw the tie out with comfort and as a result booked our place in the Fourth Round: thereby meeting an objective I set us when I accepted the job. It was remarkable considering I had made three changes to my line up, including giving second choice keeper Fraser Morton a rare start in place of regular number one Callum Antell who has done superbly all season.

So all in all, another impressive month and the train just keeps rolling. I'm realistic enough to think we won't win every game this season, there's bound to be a few defeats coming soon. But we're playing with confidence and everyone has really bought in.

The league table is as follows:


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Next Game Update: November Monthly Awards
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Monthly Awards - November 2018


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It's getting to be a bit of a habit this, that's now my third successive Manager of the Month award. Well when you're winning games then the results speak for themselves. Long may this continue right?


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For the second time this season, it's a double for our superb young left winger Graham Taylor. The youngster might be our own recognised player in the position he plays but he's turning in performances that is sure to attract the attention of big clubs if he continues at this rate.

Next Game Update: Scottish FA Cup Draw
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Buddies at home in the Cup


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Edinburgh City have got their just rewards for making the Fourth Round of this season's William Hill Scottish Cup. The Citizens have landed a home tie against Premiership side St,Mirren and it's a draw that has pleased manager Mark Duell no end:

"I'm absolutely delighted we have drawn a Premiership side in the Fourth Round; and at home too!

Of course I would be kidding nobody if I said I would have loved to have a tie against either Celtic or Rangers but we got St.Mirren who are a more than capable Premiership side in their own right. It's a tie that really gets the juices flowing, and to be drawn at home in the tie is equally fantastic. We could possibly break our attendance record, and what a boost that would be for the Club. The players are excited, the Chairman is and of course I definitely am.

Is it January yet?"

The game will be played at Ainslie Park on Saturday 19 January 2019, with kick-off set for 3pm.
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