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

Discussion
https://i.postimg.cc/y8rCDyrC/LL2-Scotland.jpg

Monthly Awards - April 2019


https://i.postimg.cc/k5Q0qfcN/FM19-April2019-3.png

To get third in the monthly awards is pretty amazing considering the team had probably their worst month of the season overall. Shows how bad the rest of the managers in the league must be, eh? That aside, when is the Manager of the Year award coming out?


https://i.postimg.cc/vTBk7MdX/FM19-April2019-4.png

Second place for our left winger in the Player of the Month awards, he's certainly had a great season. The Young Player of the Month featured the same three players; and guess what....they finished in the same positions as they did for the Senior award. You don't say....
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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Awards Night - Who won what

https://i.postimg.cc/PxN0YTHy/FM19-End-Season-Awards1819.png


Last night the Club held their annual end of season awards at Ainslie Park and for full-back Craig Thomson it proved to be a night to remember. The defender picked up the prestigious prize of Club Player of the Year, defeating top scorer Blair Henderson and winger Graham Taylor to get his name on the trophy. He was very pleased to land when we caught up with him afterwards:

"I'm extremely honoured to be named the Player of the Year tonight. It's my second season here and it's definitely been the most memorable for sure. I honestly couldn't have done this without the gaffer, he's certainly brought my game on leaps and bounds. This is for him as much as it for the team and my family."

It was a double celebration moments later as the defender was up on stage again, this time picking up the Goal of the Season award. Thomson's second goal of the game in the 3-1 home win over Stirling Albion in January, when he curled a free-kick home from fully 30 yards out, was the choice and there was massive cheer around the room when it was replayed on the big screen. It was a goal that would have the pundits purring if it had been at a higher level that we are sure of.

The award for Young Player of the Season went to 24 year old striker Blair Henderson. Henderson, who joined from Annan Athletic last summer, plundered an astonishing 38 goals in 45 appearances with an impressive 11 penalties converted from 13 attempts included in that tally. The striker was delighted to win it:

This honour is indeed a honour. When I joined in the summer I wanted to be a success here but to be hoinest this is beyond my wildest dreams. The award just tops the season overall. I couldn't have done this without the support of my family, the manager and my team mates. It's definitely a collective effort, and I hope to build on it next season when we move up a level."

The evening concluded with the team of the season which the players voted amongst themselves for, and the presentation of the League Two winners medals which brought the collective house down. A great night to celebrate probably City's greatest ever season.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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2018-2019 Annual Awards


So they don't do Manager of the Year at Ladbrokes League Two level, eh? That's a bit of shame, still I reckon I would have walked it convincingly if they had though.

https://i.postimg.cc/CLf7sQ9F/FM19-LL2-POTY1819.png


A surprise to some, but not to me and the Club. Graham has had an exceptional season, and he's only 21 years old. This kid could go far if he applies himself right; Dundee United will be wishing he was still on their books for sure. Their loss has become our gain.

https://i.postimg.cc/jqDmBvB1/FM19-LL2-TOTY1819.png


Safe to say we dominated the team of the season award, eight players out of eleven. A testament to what an incredible season we had.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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Current Managerial Career Snapshot


Manager Jobs:
https://i.postimg.cc/9FMgXzpq/scottishflag.png Edinburgh City: 8 July 2018 - present

Competitive Match Performance:
Edinburgh City: Games Managed 45, Won 32, Drew 5, Lost 8, Win Percentage 71%

Awards Won:
2018- (Edinburgh City): Manager of Month - 5, Trophies Lifted - 1, Manager of the Year - 0*

* - No Manager of the Year Award issued at Scottish League Two level.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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Manager's End of Season Report


31 May 2019

Dear Edinburgh City Supporters,

First of all I would like to thank each and every one of your for your support last season. Home and Away, you were just fantastic and you certainly made the difference when it mattered the most: you got us over the line.

Well, what a season that was eh? When I took over the role I was going to be content with a decent top half finish. However, we somehow ripped that plan up didn't we? From start to finish, the players you have watched this season: have really bought into what I wanted from them and more. They have been exceptional in all positions it has to be said. From solid goalkeeping and resolute defending to attacking with confidence in the midfield and strikers roles, it's certainly been an effort that we have all contributed to.

I have to thank each one of them for making the 2018-19 campaign the most memorable one in the team's history. We have broken so many club and league records, at times I was struggling to keep up with them! But what do they say about records? Exactly, they are there to be broken. We've certainly reached that objective even though we didn't actually plan for it.

Of course the players you will see next season will be familiar faces, why else would we break up such a great bunch of guys. We're going to lose Conrad Balatoni to Wrexham but that was a decision that he made for himself, we haven't pushed him out of the door. However, I've agreed terms already with two players and am working to bring in a few more so the squad has more depth about it. It had to be said, if we hadn't had been so fortunate with injuries then we could have been really stretched but if we have a few extra bodies then we will have options. I'm hoping to have a proper reserve team set up planned for next season and work has already begun on that and also improve the club's youth facilities so we can develop and nurture the stars of tomorrow.

This is all part of the new Edinburgh City masterplan that me and the Chairman are working on.

The players are on holiday at the minute but for me the work never stops, As I said before, I'm always looking for new players to help add depth to our existing squad and also working on what I hope will be a fantastic pre-season build up before our League One campaign starts in August. I will share news of these as I have them.

Anyway enjoy your summer, and I look forward to seeing each one of you at Ainslie Park next season.

Yours in football,

Mark
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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Humphrey and Allan check in

https://i.postimg.cc/DyPPtz4p/chrishumphrey.jpg


We might be only a month after the season finished but the preparations for our first season in League One are firmly underway.

Checking in Ainslie Park this afternoon are the first two signings of Mark Duell's transfer activity, winger Chris Humphrey and defender Matty Allan. Both had agreed terms to join the Citizens once their contracts at East Kilbride and Montrose expired, and are looking forward to the new season ahead. Manager Duell though is not resting on his laurels and stopping his transfer activity with these signings, as he hints there will be more to come:

"I'm delighted to bring Chris and Matty to the Club today, they are part of the summer acquisition drive that we are undertaking. Whilst we are looking to retain the majority of last season's team, we know we need to improve the depth of the squad so we can avoid an instant return back to League Two. Bringing in Chris and Matty is going to help realise that.

They won't be the only new faces we are going to unveil, negotiations are ongoing with other players and clubs as we speak. I hope to bring in a few more new faces to the ranks as we gear up for this latest challenge,"
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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Double signing joy for City
10 June 2019


https://i.postimg.cc/Jh7S0mJQ/megginson.jpg


The Edinburgh City fans have double reason to be happy after the Club announced two further signings to take their summer signings tally to four since the window opened at the start of the month.

Yesterday the Citizens completed the signings of Mitch Megginson from Highland League side Cove Rangers and Josh Peters from Queens Park. Manager Mark Duell is very delighted with his latest acquisitions to the ranks:

"I am very happy to announce the signings of Mitch and Josh as Edinburgh City players as we get ourselves ready for the new season which isn't too far away.

The signing of Mitch is another tremendous coup for as he comes with an excellent pedigree. This is a player that came through the famed Aberdeen youth system and actually played in the SPL for his home town club. He was itching to get back into the League and we are very happy to bring him to Edinburgh. People forget that he is only 26!

Mitch has great versatility about him and can play on the left wing or as part of a front two. Having players who are capable to playing in different positions will be a major asset to the team.

I've also acquired Josh Peters from Queens Park as well. He played against us last season and I was very impressed with his eye for goal. He's a natural goalscorer and helps create more competition for places in the front two spots. If he doesn't start, I can assure that you that he will be chomping at the bit and putting pressure on the two starters ready to take his chance when we present it to him. We're very much delighted to have him as an Edinburgh City player.

I am hoping to add more to the squad before we start pre-season training on the 1st July, watch this space."

The club have also confirmed that defenders Michael Bolochoweckyj and Michael Dunlop have left the Club after their deals have expired whilst last season's skipper Conrad Balatoni has joined National League Wrexham on a free transfer after signing a pre-contract agreement last December with the Welsh club.

Also leaving Ainslie Park are young defender Kyle McClung who has moved to Dalbeattie Star whilst experienced midfielder John Dunn has moved onto Gretna 2008.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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Thursday 20 June 2019

Fraser joins Edinburgh City on loan

Rovers have today announced that young defender Ryan Fraser has joined League One newcomers Edinburgh City on loan for the season ahead.

The 17 year old, who can play anywhere across the defensive back line, joined the Rovers at the end of last season after being spotted in local football. Fraser was born in Edinburgh so this represents a chance to feature for one of his home city's club sides.

Manager John McGlynn is keen to see how the youngster adapts to life in League One and Rovers fans will be looking forward to seeing the youngster develop as he takes his first steps into the professional game.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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Manager's End of Season Report


31 May 2019

Dear Edinburgh City Supporters,

First of all I would like to thank each and every one of your for your support last season. Home and Away, you were just fantastic and you certainly made the difference when it mattered the most: you got us over the line.

Well, what a season that was eh? When I took over the role I was going to be content with a decent top half finish. However, we somehow ripped that plan up didn't we? From start to finish, the players you have watched this season: have really bought into what I wanted from them and more. They have been exceptional in all positions it has to be said. From solid goalkeeping and resolute defending to attacking with confidence in the midfield and strikers roles, it's certainly been an effort that we have all contributed to.

I have to thank each one of them for making the 2018-19 campaign the most memorable one in the team's history. We have broken so many club and league records, at times I was struggling to keep up with them! But what do they say about records? Exactly, they are there to be broken. We've certainly reached that objective even though we didn't actually plan for it.

Of course the players you will see next season will be familiar faces, why else would we break up such a great bunch of guys. We're going to lose Conrad Balatoni to Wrexham but that was a decision that he made for himself, we haven't pushed him out of the door. However, I've agreed terms already with two players and am working to bring in a few more so the squad has more depth about it. It had to be said, if we hadn't had been so fortunate with injuries then we could have been really stretched but if we have a few extra bodies then we will have options. I'm hoping to have a proper reserve team set up planned for next season and work has already begun on that and also improve the club's youth facilities so we can develop and nurture the stars of tomorrow.

This is all part of the new Edinburgh City masterplan that me and the Chairman are working on.

The players are on holiday at the minute but for me the work never stops, As I said before, I'm always looking for new players to help add depth to our existing squad and also working on what I hope will be a fantastic pre-season build up before our League One campaign starts in August. I will share news of these as I have them.

Anyway enjoy your summer, and I look forward to seeing each one of you at Ainslie Park next season.

Yours in football,

Mark

Cracking piece this one bud, its these little ones that make the story so good! great work, bring on season 2!
New save coming for FM20...
Thanks again @Dan for your kind comments. I do try and make it informative as well as original. Let's see how we fare in League One.

https://i.postimg.cc/sX98mpxP/northamptontownwebheader.png

24 June 2019
Cobblers bring in Jefferies


https://i.postimg.cc/VkrVpy5k/jimjefferies.jpg

Former Heart of Midlothian manager Jim Jefferies has today joined the Cobblers as their new Director of Football, after compensation was agreed with his previous club Edinburgh City. Details of this compensation figure have not been disclosed.

The 68 year old is no stranger to appointments in England, having spent 13 months in 2000 as manager of Bradford City: then of the FA Premier League. Bradford were relegated in the half season after Jefferies appointment but when the Bantams failed to make a good start the season after: the Scot resigned in December 2001. He duly re-emerged at Kilmarnock where he had a eight year spell before returning to Tynecastle for a second spell as Hearts manager. That lasted just 19 months before then Hearts chairman Vladimir Romanov sacked him. A short stint in Dunfermline followed before he re-emerged as Director of Football at Ainslie Park last summer.

In that spell there, Jefferies oversaw an incredible season where rookie manager Mark Duell led the Citizens to an amazing League Two title win. This has not gone un-noticed and Cobblers chairman Kelvin Thomas has moved swiftly this summer to entice the experienced Scot down to Northamptonshire. Jefferies admitted it was a tough ask for him to leave Edinburgh:

"it was a hard decision to leave Edinburgh in the way I did but I am grateful equally for Kelvin Thomas for giving me the chance to help me make a similar impact here at Sixfields. Mark, the Edinburgh manager, actually phoned me to ask me to stay on such is his appreciation of what I've done.

However, this is a new challenge and one I am really looking forward to."


The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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Fixtures are out!


This morning at 9:00am the 2019-20 season fixtures were released.

City will open their season on 3rd August with an away trip to Montrose and that fixture means an instant return to Links Park for new central defender Matty Allan who has joined the Citizens from the Gable Endies a few weeks ago.

Our first home game in League One comes in the midweek after that opening game. Our visitors to Ainslie Park will be Brechin City who are most people's prediction to join us in the relegation battle this season.

The Club can also announce that the Group Stages of this season's Betfred Cup have been drawn as well. As you will recall last season, City were drawn in a tough group that contained four Premiership sides which made the chances to make the knockout stages virtually impossible. However, this season's draw has been more favourable to us. We have been pitted with fellow League One side Stranraer, the Championship's Queen of the South and two teams from League Two in the shape of Albion Rovers (who managed to avoid relegation to the Highland League in a dramatic play-off) and Annan Athletic.

Season tickets are now on sale from the Club Ticket Office.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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Higgins arrives as City have a busy day
29 June 2019


https://i.postimg.cc/nzMkkbWp/chrishiggins.jpg


It's been another busy at Ainslie Park as the League One newcomers gear up for the new season.

First of all, City have a new Director of Football. After Jim Jefferies had left the Club to join Northampton Town, City had a good response to the vacant position and today confirmed that former Queen of the South defender Chris Higgins has been appointed to the role. The 33 year old started out his playing career at Motherwell at the turn of the century but has since had playing stints at Clyde, Dunfermline, the afore mentioned Queen of the South and short spells in the last two seasons at Ayr United and Airdrieonians. Now the stopper has hung his playing boots to start a new career as Jefferies' successor and work with manager Mark Duell as they plot the best way forwards for the Citizens.

The Citizens have also recruited two more players which take their recruitment to seven new faces, Joining the Club are former Forfar Athletic left-back Michael Kennedy who will provide competition for Robbie McIntyre in the full-back role which the latter starred so well in last season, and on a half season long loan young Hibernian goalkeeper Gregor Penrice also arrives to provide competition to current number one Callum Antell and back up Fraser Morton.

Edinburgh have also announced that they have not taken up the option on new deals for defender Brad Donaldson and winger/striker Allan Smith, and both players have been subsequently released with immediate effect. Donaldson failed to command a regular place last season, whilst Smith's season was interrupted by a combination of inconsistent form and injury.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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Manager's New Season Message


30 June 2019

Dear Edinburgh City Supporters,

I hope you have enjoyed your summer so far, and are like me: looking forward to the new season which is only a few weeks away.

As you have seen, we have been very busy in the transfer market with no less than seven new players joining us. This is a statement of intent that we don't intend to stand still and the new season will be a season where we hope to build on last season's success. Whilst I am realistic to know that we are not expected to win a second successive promotion, I certainly want to keep this Club of ours in League One this season with a view to kicking on further the season after. However, who knows what it might bring us.

I was very disappointed to see Jim (Jefferies) leave the Club for Northampton. I actually called him to ask him to stay here because I really appreciated what he had done to make us but he actually wasn't interested in my pleas so I left him be. I'm sure Northampton will reap from his experience. That said I am really excited to be now working with Chris (Higgins) and am already trying to bounce ideas off him. I am sure we can mirror the great working relationship I had with Jim, if not better it.

I did mention in my end of season message that we were working on a good pre-season schedule for the team, and I can now share that with you all. As part of the partnership we have with Aberdeen, the pre-season programme starts with us hosting them. Whilst I am not expecting them to field a full strength side, it's good to have this partnership. We have a couple of away trips to Spennymoor and Bonnyrigg Rose before we have the first of three more prestigious home friendlies in the shape of Ipswich Town here at Ainslie Park. Our second prestigious game comes in the middle of our Betfred Cup campaign and it's a game I'm looking forward loads as my boyhood club Sunderland make the trip. We play the final three Betfred Cup games after this and then head over to Northern Ireland to face Dundela. Then comes the biggest one in pre-season, and I still don't know how we pulled it off. We are hosting Premiership side Wolves here at Ainslie Park!

How's that for a pre-season? I told you it would be special.

I'm also excited by the Betfred Cup draw compared to last season, and genuinely think we can actually progress from it. If we get to the knockout stages then we will have progressed further as a Club. These are good times for everyone here at Edinburgh City. Continue to buy in and we will have more good times ahead, that I am sure of.

Yours in football always,

Mark
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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Hoping to have another couple of updates later this weekend. Stay tuned!
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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July 2019 Round-Up (Pre-Season Friendlies)


https://i.postimg.cc/W37wn952/FM19-July2019-PSF-1.png


A five game pre-season friendly for the team compared to three the season before, well that's if you cam call a behind closed doors bounce game between the first team and reserves as one...

We started the preparation with a friendly against our affiliate club Aberdeen as part of the arrangement we signed last July. Much to my surprise Aberdeen fielded a full strength line up, and thus a lot of people had this down as a hammering for us. However, our new look side acquitted themselves well and it took a 61st minute goal from Bruce Anderson, a player I tried to get on loan last season, to win the game for the Dons. They certainly didn't treat it as a friendly, and played 83 minutes with ten men after Chris Forrester was dismissed for a late lunge on Kieran Stewart. Try as we did, we just couldn't make our numerical supremacy count and break them down.

The only Saturday friendly came at Spennymoor, and it started excellently when Marc Laird drilled home from the edge of the box in the first minute. I had decided to field a reserve based line up for this and then next friendly but this time it came back to bite me. Spennymoor were level within two minutes after our goal thanks to Glen Taylor and then scored either side of half time through Shaun Tuton and Taylor's second of the game, put it beyond us. It was a disappointing loss with only Laird coming out with pass marks in my opinion.

It was back to Midlothian for friendly game number three, as we went to nearby Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic and their New Dundas Park stadium. Again we started with a number of reserve team players, and after the first 45 minutes the scores were goalless. We took the lead just 18 seconds after the restart, Stewart with a beautiful ball forward and last season's top scorer Blair Henderson made no mistake with an angled finish. Stewart himself made it 2-0 when he met a Craig Thomson corner on the volley to give the home keeper no chance whatsoever. A third in 10 minutes duly followed, Danny Handling touched a Thomson cross into the path of youngster Calum Hall whose shot from the edge of the area took a bit of a deflection and couldn't be kept out by the Rose goalie. The rout was completed five minutes from time, Scott Shepherd with the corner and Regan Lumsden powered home a header.

1982 UEFA Cup winners Ipswich Town made the trip from Suffolk to play us in our fourth friendly game, Welsh striker George Thomas, on loan to the Tractor Boys from Leicester, gave the visitors a 13th minute lead and that looked like the game winner until we had two goals in a minute as we entered the final nine minutes. First of all, we levelled when Andy Black drilled in a shot that squirmed under Dean Gerken in the Town goal but Callum Harriott won the visitors the game with a low shot past Gregor Penrice just 45 seconds later. On balance it was the result most expected, but once more we hadn't been hammered as many expected we would be.

After travel logistics meant the Sunderland and Dundela games were postponed, I was proper gutted that the former was as it would have been nice to show my boyhood club that I could be their manager in years to come, we hosted Premier League Wolves here at Ainslie Park. It started off bad when left-back Robbie McIntyre scored an own goal in the opening minute and got worse when Bright Endobakhare and Romain Saiss also scored to put them 3-0 ahead after just 21 minutes! Things eased off after that blistering start, but with 19 minutes to go we pulled one back from the head of Liam Henderson when he met a Michael Kennedy free-kick to leave one-time England cap John Ruddy motionless. However Wolves restored their three goal lead when Slovakian Christian Herc netted almost straight away and then wrapped up a comprehensive 5-1 win when Xherdan Shaqiri, on loan from Liverpool, scored in the third minute of time added on.

So not the most successful pre-season but who reads into pre-season results anyway. They mean, and always mean, nothing to me. It's what happens when the season starts that is more important!
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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July 2019 Round-Up (Betfred Cup Group Stage)


https://i.postimg.cc/Z5B0ZVvV/FM19-July2019-BFC-1.png


July also meant the start of a new Betfred Cup campaign, with us given a favourable group that we could qualify from.

The opening group game saw us head to the West Coast and I mean West Coast, to Stair Park to face fellow League One side Stranraer. A 200 mile round trip for us, and I named what I thought was my strongest possible side. After a goalless first half, we took the lead in the 57th minute when Graham Taylor played in Mitch Megginson and he lashed home an unstoppable effort from the edge of the penalty area that left the home keeper grasping thin air. We added another almost after the restart when Chris Humphrey split open the home defence and Blair Henderson put away his 1st of the season. Four minutes after our second goal, Stranraer pulled one back when Grant Savoury netted. However, we secured a winning start with a third goal in the 73rd minute: young defender Ryan Fraser with the long ball over the top, Henderson pounced and the result was inevitable.

Game two and our first home game in this year's tournament, against Albion Rovers who we had scored goals for fun against in last season's memorable campaign. However, this time it wasn't as easy. Again we opened the scoring in the 57th minute when Taylor played in fellow winger Humphrey and he confidently rounded the keeper to literally walk the ball into the net. However Albion, who fielded former City defender Michael Dunlop in defence, levelled with twenty minutes to go through Graham Gracie. The game had to be decided on the day, so we went straight to penalties after 90 minutes play. After eight rounds, the teams couldn't be separated as both were 100% accurate from twelve yards. Albion's Alan Murdoch then smashed their ninth kick against the bar, and then up stepped our keeper Callum Antell but he did the same. Antell then saved from Steven Smith to leave the glory to Matty Allan who sent the winning penalty home and give us the extra point.

A trip to Galabank then followed, and all the focus was on Henderson as he faced his former club. The game wasn't won by him though, but it was a sensational first time strike that did. Seven minutes after half time, Marc Laird teed up midfield partner Andy Black who drilled in a superb low strike from the edge of the box that left the Annan keeper rooted to the spot. Whatever Annan threw at us, we repelled for another important win with young Fraser again impressive. The Raith loanee started the game at right-back but finished at centre half and looked a natural throughout. If he carries on at this rate, we might have found a gem on loan.

Should we pick up a win against Championship side Queen of the South in our final group game, we would secure a place in the next round as group winners although a point might prove to be good enough to be one of the best four second placed sides. This game was also settled by a single goal. In the 27th minute Megginson sent Taylor away down the left and then the striker showed great awareness to continue his run and get on the end of the cross to tuck it away nicely. The Doonhamers scarcely bothered us in a game of very few on target chances, and we held on for a superb win. Qualification to the second round secured, but who will we get? We had one downer for it, Allan picking his third booking of the tournament and now misses the next game.

It all bodes well doesn't it?
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Meet the new Captain

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There's a new skipper in charge for the 2019-20 season.

After the departure of Conrad Balatoni to Wrexham this summer, Edinburgh City Manager Mark Duell has been assessing his squad to find a natural successor to the towering central defender. After running the rule over a number of candidates, the new Edinburgh City captain is none other star striker Blair Henderson.

The 24 year old, who plundered an astonishing 38 goals in his debut campaign after signing from Annan Athletic, has been rewarded for his efforts by getting the captain's armband as City gear up for their first season in League One and he couldn't be more proud:

"I'm highly delighted to be made Edinburgh City skipper this season. Last season was so memorable for us all and me personally but this is just icing on the cake. It's a tremendous honour that the gaffer has entrusted me with, it really did come out of the blue when he pulled me to one side in training and asked me. I still feel like pinching myself that this is all a dream.

I can assure all City fans that I hope to lead the club to more success."

Mark Duell had this to say about the appointment:

"We are very lucky here to have so many quality players who are deserving of leadership material. However, Blair stands head and shoulders above them all and deserves this. He is a model professional who has that aura about him that encourages his team mates to go on that extra mile. He reminds me of Scott Brown in that respect, a born winner. I'm pleased as punch to reward him with the club captaincy, he really does deserve it."

Young winger Graham Taylor has also been rewarded for a stellar season at League Two level, the 21 year old is named as Henderson's vice-captain.
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August 2019 Preview


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Quite a hectic month with eight games in the space of just 28 days. No wonder I felt we needed to have strength in depth when games come as fast as this at an all new level for us.

We began the month with a trip to Links Park, to face Montrose. It's also a very quick return to his old stomping ground for central defender Matty Allan, I'm sure that he's relishing the thought of showing his old team a thing or two. Can you imagine if he actually scored the winner against them? That indeed would be SCENES! Our first League One game at home comes in the subsequent midweek as Brechin City are the visitors, they are sure to provide us a very good test as are all the sides we are facing for the first time this season.

Game three is a return to Broadwood to face Clyde, who won the play-offs. They might have lost star striker David Goodwillie to Ayr in the summer, a player I wanted to sign too, but they're very dangerous indeed and if we play like we did in the last meeting we had with them then it could be really embarrassing for us. Our Irn-Bru Cup adventure starts after that when we entertain old foes Cowdenbeath at Ainslie Park, games between us are usually close and I'm expecting nothing different to that.

The acid test comes after the Cowdenbeath Cup game as we host Falkirk. They are everyone's favourites to take the League One crown and it's hard not to disagree, after all they are in my eyes: a Premiership club seriously underachieving. We'll have to be at our best if we are going to be successful against them. Another massive test comes afterwards as we go to one of Scottish football's famous names in the shape of Airdrieonians, them of the their distinctive shirt. They've had a topsy turvy time over recent years but are still to be massively respected.

Back to back home games finish the opening month. First we face Dumbarton, another famous old name, who are managed by John "Yogi" Hughes. They've brought in 17 new players over the summer at the time I am doing this preview, that's a real mass overhaul. They present another huge test of our credentials. Then we finish off August with another encounter with Stranraer. We beat them well 3-1 in the Betfred Cup group stage a few weeks ago, so they'll be smarting over that. The pundits have them to finish bottom this season, perhaps we can lay down a marker for that to happen eh?

Well that's August. The players are ready, I am too, will you be our 12th man??
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Dundee away trip beckons

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The draw for the second round of this season's Betfred Cup was made this afternoon, and City's reward for topping their qualifying group is an away trip to Premiership Dundee.

The Dark Blues from the City of Discovery will be hosting Mark Duell and his team as the League One newcomers plan a massive surprise. Duell is of course delighted with the draw:

"It's a terrific draw for us, it really is.

Sure I would have liked to draw a Premiership side at home but this isn't too bad at all. It's a game we won't be expected to win but that suits us just fine and down to the ground. We will approach the game in our usual methodical way and be ready to give a good account of ourselves.

After all it's a Cup game, and anything can happen in Cup games. Remember?"

This game will be played at Dens Park on Saturday 17 August 2019 with a 7:30pm kick off. It does mean that the home game against Falkirk which was scheduled for that day has had to be re-arranged; that will be now on Wednesday 4 September 2019 with kick off planned for 7:30pm.
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August 2019 Round-Up (Part One)


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Because of the incredible amount of fixtures played in August, I have decided to split them into two separate posts. Saves boring all and sundry with a massively long post.

After the midweek 5-1 hammering in our last pre-season friendly at the end of July by Premiership Wolves, it was time to start the league campaign in the first Saturday in August and a trip to Links Park: the home of Montrose. Montrose were the team we succeeded as League Two champions last season, so it promised to be a game that was eagerly expected. I certainly didn't expect the result at the end to be honest with you. Things didn't begin well when veteran John Rankin opened the scoring for the home side after just seven minutes, and you might have been thinking that we would fall apart after that. Actually the only falling apart were the home side as we made our chances count. Seven minutes after that Rankin goal, we equalised. Some great inter-passing by the guys ended with Chris Humphrey lashing a first time shot beyond the home keeper. Midway through the half, we were ahead. Again another good build up, and this time captain Blair Henderson provided the finish.

Nine minutes from half time, we went further in front. Craig Thomson with another great cross and this time it was headed in at the far post by Mitch Megginson. The game was put really beyond Montrose in the 68th minute when a superb ball from Humphrey was picked up by Megginson who produced a superb turn and finish that simply flew home. It got even better as we added a fifth and final goal in the 83rd minute when substitute Josh Peters was sent tumbling in the area by Aitken. Henderson bypassed his normal penalty taking duties and allowed Megginson to step up and complete a superb hat-trick. What a start!

Our first home game came in the midweek as we entertained Brechin City at Ainslie Park. They had Chris Johnston in their side, a player we tried to sign from Annan in the summer but his wage demands we were more than we were wanting to pay. No space for money grabbers in my squad let me tell you. We took a lead in the 21st minute, Tapping obstructed Henderson in the area and the captain duly punished him for his misdemeanour by confidently putting the resultant penalty away. Four minutes from the interval we made it two, another trademark free-kick from Thomson which left another keeper wanting. Just after the hour, came number three. Thomson with the corner and Megginson headed it down for Humphrey who made no mistake and continued with his impressive start. We finished the job in the 71st minute, Andy Black drilling home an effort from the edge of the area which beat the Brechin keeper at his near post.

Could we make it three from three when we travelled to Broadwood to face fellow promotees Clyde? We made a great start with a goal in just three minutes, Former Edinburgh City player Danny Denholm, and he was going to have an impact in the game later, gave the ball away in midfield and Graham Taylor pounced on it. The winger made strides forward as the home defence backed off, and then hammered a shot into the net. They equalised in the 16th minute when Matty Allan was adjudged to have committed a foul in the area and Liam Caddis converted from 12 yards. Just before half time, Danny Carmichael put them ahead and it looked to be the winner as we entered the final five minutes. Wrong! We were level in the 85th minute, Thomson again provided an inviting cross and captain Henderson fired home on his birthday! Yet they grabbed a winner in the fourth minute of time added on; I was tapping my watch and begging the referee to blow but they scored and who was it: yeah former Edinburgh City man Denholm. I was, and the team were, devastated. Such a harsh loss.

This particular round-up ends with the home Irn-Bru Cup game against Cowdenbeath. I made a number of changes for this game to give some players who hadn't started a match some game time under their belts. Just beyond the half hour mark, Cowdenbeath led when target man Kris Renton netted. He scored against us last season, and has done here: something tells me he likes playing against us eh? We upped it in the second half though, and were level after 57 minutes. Humphrey supplied the cross and Peters marked his full debut by powering in a header at the near post. He was delighted I tell you! The winner came with just 11 minutes to go, after Taylor had a great shot parried by the keeper: he reacted first and crossed for Henderson to plant a header into the net. We defended resolutely after that and now are in the Irn-Bru Cup for the second time in successive seasons under my tutelage.
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Terrors are coming to town

https://i.postimg.cc/1tw0vwTg/irn-bru-cup.jpg

The hope for a favourable draw in the Second Round of this season's Irn-Bru Cup has been eagerly awaited.

The good news for City fans is that we have got a big name team coming to Ainslie Park, and that name is none other than Dundee United! That famous club that had such halcyon days in the late 70s and also in the 80s, are heading here. They are also recent winners of the Irn-Bru Cup, having lifted this trophy in 2017. Once more manager Mark Duell is very excitable about putting up his side against a higher ranked opponent:

"This is yet another superb draw for us.

The longer the draw went on, the more I wondered who exactly we would face. Yet we were the last drawn home team in the bag, and we get Dundee United of the Championship. Wow, just wow! I remember the days when they were a seriously massive club, as decent as Celtic and Rangers, in the 70s and 80s but they had a bit of tumble recently and are looking to bounce back. They will of course I'm sure of it.

Yet we now have the ability to take on this name, it's another massive game I seriously can't wait to happen."

The game will be played here at Ainslie Park on 7 September 2019 with a 3:00pm kick-off. Get your tickets NOW!
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August 2019 Round-Up (Part Two)


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This is the second part of August 2019's results round up.

Part One was concluded with a 2-1 Irn-Bru Cup First Round win against Cowdenbeath, which has landed the Club a plum Second Round tie against Championship giants Dundee United here at Ainslie Park. Who knows, we might even break our attendance record? Anyway after Cowdenbeath, we travelled up to the City of Discovery for a Saturday night game in the Betfred Cup and at Dens Park to face the Dark Blues. It proved to be a night to forget as we crashed out of the competition at this stage as Dundee hammered us 4-0. Lewis Spence gave them a seventh minute lead and they picked us apart with ruthless efficiency when they had further chances. Ryan Murray added a second after 19 minutes and then striker Craig Wighton completed the rout with a double scored in the 42nd minute and in time added-on at the end of the match. We did have chances, but we didn't take them. If we had converted one then who knows what might happened.

It was imperative that we bounced back, and our next game was at the Penny Cars Stadium: the home stadium of Airdrieonians. Airdrie are one of the best known names in Scottish football but have had a bit of a rough time lately yet are still to be respected anyway. We made the perfect start when captain Blair Henderson latched onto an Andy Black through ball to curl a shot beyond the keeper and into the net. It got better four minutes later with goal number two! Craig Thomson with the corner, and it was a moment to remember for central defender Matty Allan who powered in a header for his first ever goal in Edinburgh City colours. We put the game beyond Airdrie with a third goal and with only 19 minutes played too. Once more Thomson provided the assist and Henderson outjumped the home keeper to head home. Probably the most satisfying win so far this season.

We were due to face Dumbarton next but they had a re-arranged game in the Irn-Bru Cup which took precedence so we finished off with a home game against Stranraer. The Blues had already played us in the Betfred Cup group stage in July, and we had prevailed then so we were confident we could beat them again. However, it was a real up and down game. It had looked like the teams would go in at half time goalless but two goals in a short space of time changed that. Ross Kavanagh gave Stranraer the lead in the 44th minute, but in time added on we fashioned a chance and Henderson drilled an effort low into the back of the net. Kavanagh's second of the match restored the visitors lead with eight minutes to go and we looked to slip to our second league loss of the season. However we didn't give in and levelled with two minutes to go. Michael Kennedy with a corner and Allan headed in his second in as many games to rescue a point.

The table at the end of August 2019 is as follows:

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Next Game Update: August 2019 awards
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August 2019 Monthly Awards


No mention for me in the managerial gongs, the big prize went to Dumbarton boss John "Yogi" Hughes. Was surprised to not get third though, the Airdrie manager did despite us lying higher in the table than his side and we had convincingly beaten them in the month itself.

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Only one bit of recognition came in the Young Player of the Month award and further proof that our young winger Graham Taylor is going places. A second placed finish is just reward for his consistent performances match in, match out.
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September 2019 Round-Up (Part One)


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Like August, there was a deluge of fixtures in September. So here is part one of the results round-up.

We began September with the re-arranged home game against Falkirk. Falkirk of course are the fourth estate's and the bookmakers' favourites to make an immediate return to the Championship after their relegation in 2018-19. Safe to say they dominated this game but they went back empty handed as we produced one hell of a performance that must have sent our fans home delighted. The scoring was opened in the 26th minute when a Craig Thomson corner was headed goalwards by Mitch Megginson but Graham Taylor made sure from literally on the goal line. The win was sealed in the 72nd minute when Taylor played a hopeful ball forward which the Bairns keeper made a decision to come for then decide not which allowed birthday boy and substitute Josh Peters to nip and poach a goal. Pure comedy but not if you were a Falkirk fan, member of staff or player.

A few days later, we hosted Championship giant Dundee United here at Ainslie Park in the second round of the Irn-Bru Cup. In front of a crowd of 1700, we competed but had to see the end of our dreams in this competition as the Terrors went home with a 2-0 victory. They took the lead when young Matthew Shaw diverted a Billy King centre into his own net after 24 minutes. It was harsh on the young defender as he was under serious pressure as the low cross came in. The tie was put beyond us in the 63rd minute when a long ball forward was seized upon by Logan Chalmers who lashed home an well struck effort into the roof of the net for his first ever goal for United. It was definitely not our day as winger Chris Humphrey limped off with a pulled calf muscle with 13 minutes left. Good but we just fell short.

Another re-arranged game came afterwards and that was the home game against John "Yogi" Hughes' Dumbarton. The only goal of the game came in the 14th minute when recalled Danny Handling, in for Humphrey, picked out Andy Black around the penalty spot and he drilled it home. After that it was a back to the walls job for us, and we certainly had lady luck on our side as they hit both the post and the crossbar in a second half onslaught. I was so relieved when that final whistle went I tell you!

After three home games in a row, we were on the road to Forfar next and made it three league wins on the bounce with a superb 4-2 win. it took us only a couple of minutes to open the scoring when Peters crossed for strike partner Blair Henderson to arrive on cue and fire home to end a mini goal drought for the skipper. We doubled it almost immediately when Handling provided the cross and former Forfar player Black got above his marker to head into the far corner. It became three goals in just nine minutes when we scored another in the 11th minute, Black with a scuffed shot that fortunately landed into the path of Henderson who simply made no mistake. Liam Connelly gave Forfar some hope with a goal after 21 minutes but their hopes suffered a massive blow when experienced midfielder Terry Masson was red carded for two yellow cards just before the interval.

Just after the hour, the game had two goals in the space of a minute. We made it 4-1 in the 62nd minute when a great team move saw Black score his second of the game. However, Forfar striker Dale Hilson reduced the deficit almost straight away. We saw the game out after that but it was a great three away points.


Next Game Update: September 2019 Results (Part Two)
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September 2019 Round-Up (Part Two)


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Here's the second part of the September results round-up.

We headed into a midweek home game against Montrose in excellent spirits. Three league wins in a row and facing a Montrose side that we beat 5-1, and convincingly at that, on the opening day. Surely a foregone conclusion and three more points right? Erm, nope. One of their loanees from Dunfermline, Lewis McCann, opened the scoring after 14 minutes and it took us until two minutes to half time to level; a superb team move which saw Josh Peters backheel the ball into the path of Graham Taylor who lifted it over the advancing keeper. It was anyone's game, and we had to play the last quarter of an hour with ten men when Conor Power saw red for two yellow cards. That was the first red card I'd seen us pick up in my tenure.

With ten minutes left, our ten men took the lead when Matty Allan clipped a free-kick against the bar but Mitch Megginson reacted first to poach home the rebound. However, we couldn't hold on and conceded an equaliser in the 85th minute when their second Dunfermline loanee, Michael Potter, scored. A bad night's work was confirmed in the third minute of time added-on, when Potter scored again. Magic for Montrose, but a very bad defeat for us.

We had an immediate chance to seek redemption as bottom placed Arbroath came to town on the Saturday, but once more we produced a performance which was very disappointing to see. Young Matthew Shaw came into central defence for the suspended Power but there was nothing he could to stop Steven Doris firing the Red Lichties into a 23rd minute lead with a wee help from the post. To be honest it was a dire game, but we garnered a point with a 51st minute equaliser. Marc Laird played the ball forward and Megginson got there before a visiting defender to hammer the ball and score against the club he spent a month on loan in 2009-10. Two goals in two games for our former Aberdeen striker.

It was good to have a week's break between the Arbroath game and the final game of the month; which came at Brechin. After the disappointments of the last two games, we bounced back with a much improved performance. Andy Black put us into the lead after 21 minutes when he headed in a delicious cross supplied by none other than Craig Thomson. Seven minutes later, we doubled the advantage when some great work down the right by Danny Handling this time saw him cross for Megginson to head home and continue his hot streak in front of goal. We put the game beyond Brechin in the 64th minute when Spark brought down Blair Henderson in the area as they went for a loose ball; the captain duly picked himself up and sent the keeper the wrong way for what was his 50th goal in Edinburgh City colours. Daryl Healy scored a consolation for Brechin with three minutes left but it was just that.

The table at the end of September shows the following standings:

https://i.postimg.cc/FRLPZTHT/FM19-September2019-1.png

Next Game Update: September Monthly Awards
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September 2019 Monthly Awards

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Hard to look past someone who had a perfect record in September, but still nice to get second place though. Maybe October will be my month? One hopes...

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A great month for our attacking midfielder to be chosen with second place. I can only but think Mitch Megginson had the start to the month that he finished with then he would have been a contender too.

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Our young winger continues to highlight with some real eye catching performances. We might have to start negotiations soon on a new deal shortly; he's a very good reason as to why we're performing so well.

Next Game Update: October Game Previews
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October 2019 Preview


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After a couple of hectic opening months, it's a much quieter October with only a couple of games to be played. Perhaps that will help heal those aching bodies.

We start October with a trip to the C&G Systems to face Yogi's Dumbarton, a team that are fancied to do well this season. We beat them our place 1-0 in September thanks to an Andy Black effort so something similar there will be ideal as we look to build on the more than reasonable start we have made to life in the high level.

The only other game comes a fortnight later when we host Clyde at Ainslie Park. Clyde are one of those sides that always seem to raise their game against us and were the first team to inflict a league defeat us on this season. They were successful on their last trip here, let's hope that history doesn't replicate itself eh?
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Walker set to leave
4 October 2019

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One of last season's title winning Edinburgh City squad is set depart Ainslie Park.

Midfielder Josh Walker, 30, who joined the club last summer from Indian side Bengaluru FC has today formally handed in a transfer request after being unable to break into the first team under Mark Duell. The North-East born schemer admitted he was doing the best thing for his career:

"Today I have informed the club that I wish to leave.

There seems to be no route into the team for me at the moment, and I need first team football at this stage of my career if I am continuing to play. The manager simply doesn't have me in his plans and has repeatedly not given me a chance to prove myself instead of picking others who I don't believe are as good as what I am.

I will be happy to leave the Club and see the back of them and the manager. I don't regret wanting out at all."

The former Middlesbrough trainee has made just 18 appearances for the Citizens, scoring twice, and three Indian League clubs are rumoured to be take him back to the sub-continent.
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Antell happy manager is staying
16 October 2019

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Goalkeeper Callum Antell couldn't be more happier.

The Welsh goalkeeper, in his fourth season at Ainslie Park, was delighted when his manager Mark Duell told the players at training that he was staying at the Club. Antell admits it was a relief:

"I can't hide my excitement too much when the gaffer told us he was staying.

Because of how well we have performed, clubs are casting their eyes on us as players and also the manager. Mark has done incredibly well since arriving here last July as a complete unknown but his stock is riding high at the moment so much other sides are keen to prise him away from us. It's only natural when you're as successful as what the gaffer is at the moment. The faces brought huge smiles when he told us he will be hanging around for the time being. Who knows what he can lead us to?"

It's rumoured that two clubs from the Airtricity League in the Republic of Ireland are the teams concerned. First Division Shelbourne and recently relegated Limerick have been mentioned but the Club haven't made an official statement about it. Antell is also excited about Saturday's home game against Clyde, which City have promoted as a fan fun day to try and attract more fans through the Ainslie Park turnstiles:

"Saturday is another huge game for us, that there is no doubts.

We're performing really well but Clyde always seem to have the proverbial Indian Sign over us. They have been beaten us twice in the last couple of games and if we're not too careful then they're more than capable of making it three on the spin. We will be up for this that I can tell you, we want to win."
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Singh closer to Pools appointment
18 October 2019

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Hartlepool United chairman Raj Singh admits he is getting closer to appointing a new manager at the Super 6 Stadium.

Singh admitted that he came close to appointing the sacked Mark Yates' permanent successor but there was a stumbling block which means the planned recruit will not arrive.

"We had discussions, and I'll be frank, with Edinburgh City's Mark Duell. In fact we have formally interviewed him.

Mark's a local boy and has done superbly well in Edinburgh. He came up on our radar as we looked for the right man to bring him. However as much as we would want him and he would want us, there was a stumbling block. This is why we won't be pursuing his application further.

Mark wanted us to have an affiliate club scene like he has in Edinburgh. There has he has Aberdeen linked with his Club and he believes it garners well for all parties there. I didn't want that so we decided not to continue with it and as a result, him. We will find the right man for the job in the next few days."

Rumour has it that former Pools midfielder, and Port Vale manager, Michael Brown, is the new bookies favourite to become his home town's new manager.
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