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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/BQhPvJWq/LL1-Scotland.png

March 2020 Monthly Awards

Manager of the Month:

https://i.postimg.cc/C1yZZchT/FM19-March2020-3.png

I couldn't make it three in a row. Might have done so if it wasn't for that crazy 5-5 draw with Montrose - my heart is just about recovered from that now haha!

Player of the Month:

https://i.postimg.cc/2641nnyq/FM19-March2020-4.png

A second place for Vice-Captain Graham but someone performs like what Potter did then it's not a failure. Potter took the Young Player of the Month gong as well, can see him getting Player of the Year maybe. It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if I have admit it.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
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April and May 2020 Preview


https://i.postimg.cc/BvJfQJCH/FM19-Aprand-May2020-Fixtures.png

The final run of another unforgettable season.

We might have done the unthinkable but there's still games to be played and finish with a flourish.

April begins with an away trip to Falkirk, the team most people had down as the Champions. We have had a mixed bag of results against them this season. From the Cup exit to beating them in the league, it's certainly been one extreme to the other. It's certainly been as unpredictable as the British weather. Hopefully we can see them off for one more league encounter and leave them wondering about their impending play-off battle.

Airdrie at home follow afterwards, and we have certainly had the rub of the green so to speak against them this season. They will, of course, be looking to finally break their duck as regards winning a game against us. I still believe we have the better side, despite them signing shed loads of new players in the second transfer window, and feel another win against them coming on.

Stranraer are next up, and they are so in need of points if they are wanting to retain their League One status. I'm expecting a tough game there, it will be one of those where the team who wants it the most: will come off that pitch victorious. I genuinely think this will be our hardest game out of the five we have left to play. Forfar present another banana skin the week after at Ainslie Park, and they will be quietly confident especially if winger Declan Drysdale is on song. We certainly won't have to treat them too lightly.

The season concludes on 2 May as we travel to Arbroath. They're a team we have beaten just the once this season, and we had to work hard for that. The other two encounters ended in draws, perhaps the pools experts will have this one down as one as well. It's certainly a testing last few games of the season.

Time to put the foot on the pedal and finish on a winning note. We won't be resting on our laurels now the title is won, every game has to be treated as a game we must complete in and try to take maximum points from. Winning games breeds confidence, and sets us up for the bigger challenges ahead.
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April and May 2020 Round-Up


https://i.postimg.cc/cH6FW2wW/FM19-April2020-1.png

The final five games of the 2019-20 season which has been as memorable as the previous one.

We began April with a trip to the Falkirk Stadium to face the Bairns. Could we go and inflict one more loss on our hosts? In an entertaining game, they took the lead just before the half hour when former Rangers midfielder Gregg Wylde curled in a free-kick. It had been coming though as they had started the game the better. However, we levelled in first half injury time when after a spot of pinball in the penalty area the ball seemed to hit left-back Michael Kennedy and ricochet into the net. A scrappy goal but not that we are complaining, a goal is a goal right? Two in eight minutes after the restart put Falkirk 3-1 ahead, David Norman and Greig Spence both finding the net. We had to push on and pulled one back when a superb Danny Handling pass picked out the run of skipper Blair Henderson and he finished confidently. Alas we couldn't find another so the Bairns took it 3-2.

Could we bounce back immediately with a win in our penultimate home game of the season against an Airdrie side we have enjoyed success over all season? Well it was a tight game, and didn't start too well as midfielder Dean Cairns opened the scoring for our visitors after just 10 minutes. The lead didn't last long, eight minutes to be precise. A loose cross field pass from defender Scott Robertson was intercepted by Handling and he in turn attacked the full back before crossing for the recalled Josh Peters to steer home at the near post. There was always going to be one more goal to decide the match and we got the game winner in the 33rd minute when Peters saw his shot blocked by the Airdrie defence but sit up nicely for Henderson who simply made no mistake.

I was expecting a tough away game at Stranraer next but didn't foresee the drama that would happen so late on. All the goals came in the final 23 minutes and to be honest; it felt like a real kick in the teeth. We took the lead in the 67th minute when once more Handling provided the cross and Henderson volleyed home superbly at the far post. We seemed to have the game under control and doubled our lead with just four minutes to go, Handling again the creative force and Henderson applied the near post finish. Game won, yeah? Well in the first minute of five added-on, they pulled one back when Liam Callaghan curled in a free-kick from out wide on the left that deceived young Gregor Penrice at his near post. Then we switched off again in the final seconds to allow Ian Smith, a former City loanee from 2017-18, to chip home the equaliser with our defence looking at each other in disbelief. A shoddy ending to a game we should have won.

A reaction was needed in the final home game of the season against lowly Forfar, and we made an excellent start with two goals in the first 13 minutes. The opener came after 6 minutes play when a Peters right wing cross was headed into the net by strike partner Henderson. A great example of two strikers working well with each other. The same two combined seven minutes later, Peters cross from the right and Henderson headed in his 30th of the season. Yet we couldn't add to our tally which would have killed them off, and when Declan Drysdale netted with six minutes to go then we had to hang on but thankfully we did that. It was a tense finish to the home programme.

The least said about the final game of the season though, away to Arbroath. Quite simply we didn't turn up! Craig McIntosh bagged a hat-trick against us and Ryan Wallace added the other as we slumped a heavy loss which angered me no end. I certainly had to bring the old SAF hairdryer treatment at the end. A very disappointing end to a great second season.

The final league table was as follows (Falkirk would go on and win the play-offs):

https://i.postimg.cc/KjTz6cYM/FM19-April2020-2.png
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
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April 2020 Monthly Awards

Manager of the Month:

https://i.postimg.cc/7LQZbJGz/FM19-April2020-3.png

That was a weird month of results and it's certainly cost me my third monthly award. Big congratulations to the Montrose manager though!

Player of the Month:

https://i.postimg.cc/nhC5psJg/FM19-April2020-4.png

Yet another award for the machine that is Potter, big props to captain Blair for finishing third in it. Potter, unsurprisingly, took the Young Player of the Month award as well. Greedy so and so...
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/fbdrS6kv/FM19-End-Season-Awards1920.png

The night after the final league game of the season brought the annual Club awards.

For the second successive season attacking right-back Craig Thomson took the Fans Player of the Year award. However, unlike last season when Craig won that convincingly, it was a much closer affair this time out with skipper Blair Henderson only 2% behind. Craig had this to say when he picked up the award:

"Once more I'm very honoured to be named as the Edinburgh City Fans Player of the Season, my second successive award. There have been so many great performances this season from everyone here but to win this is extra special. This club certainly has a special place in my heart. Thank you to everyone who voted for me."

The goal of the season award was next up and we have been treated to many great strikes this season. However, there had to be a winner and the award went to central midfielder Andy Black for his effort against Stranraer in December when he drilled a superb effort home from fully 25 yards out. Andy had this to say:

"To get the Goal of the Season is something else. It was just one of those shots that you either hit clean as a proverbial whistle and it arrows home or you send it high, wide and not very handsome. Thankfully I caught it just perfect and considering it was on a soaking pitch then it's one of my best ever in my career. Thank you everyone."

There was a special award for the Signing of the Season and that went to striker Josh Peters whom we signed from Queen's Park.

Andy Black was back on stage afterwards as he took the Young Player of the Season award, an award which he admitted he was "privileged" to have his name on. The evening concluded with two team awards: one for the Club's Best Eleven as voted by the fans and the team of the season. The players then accepted their League One winners medals one by one from Chairman Jim Brown and showed off the League One trophy to a very appreciative and packed crowd.



The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
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2019-2020 Annual Awards


Player of the Year:
https://i.postimg.cc/85DkK7XJ/FM19-LL1-POTY1920.png

No surprises with this award to be honest. "Harry" Potter certainly had an exceptional season. Wonder if Dunfermline will loan him out next season or will they realise that they have a natural goalscorer on their hands willing to lead their striking force? They must see something in him though as he's just signed a new two year deal there.

Team of the Year:
https://i.postimg.cc/VvKjLQ0g/FM19-LL1-TOTY1920.png

Pretty much a dominance there, eh? Imagine if Potter had not had the season that he had, we could have had a clean sweep. Super proud of all the players, they deserve this accolade.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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Walked it mate! What a season to have too fantastic promotions on the bounce! Next season will be very hard now!
https://i.imgur.com/zgMyvyG.png?2
Yeah back to back titles indeed and done convincingly too @Dan - I'll be happy if we stayed up in the third season. Really got our work cut out to avoid the drop.

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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 90, Won 61, Drew 12, Lost 17, Win Percentage 68%

Awards Won:
2018- (Edinburgh City): Manager of Month - 7, Trophies Lifted - 2, Manager of the Year - 0*

* - No Manager of the Year Award issued at Scottish League One and Two level.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
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Manager's End of Season Report


31 May 2020

Dear Edinburgh City Supporters,

It's the conclusion of what has been another marvellous season for ourselves.

I really can't believe that we will be hosting Championship football here at Ainslie Park next season. I have to literally pinch myself that season two was a bigger dream than season one every day when I come into my office. For a team that was expected to battle to hold their own and finish in mid-table, we ran away with yet another title putting all the favourites to the sword. It's just remarkable.

A lot of credit again goes to the players who have done everything that me and the backroom team have asked of them, and more. Blair Henderson seemed to revel in being captain this season and hit another 30 plus goals again. He really is a goalscoring machine whilst Craig Thomson is probably the best attacking full back outside the top division. But that aside, it's always a team effort and we certainly work hard as a team whatever is thrown at us. Your support for these guys is something else.

Now we head into real unchartered territory. We go into 2020-21 as the only semi-professional side in the Championship. I was really hoping the Board would share my vision that we should go full time to remain competitive. After Alloa were in the same position as us last season in the second tier and unfortunately just fell short by five points in staying up. However, Jim and the Board believe in the power of the underdog so I have to respect their thoughts. Maybe they might reconsider it if we manage to stay up. Our target is going to be 8th of course but anything higher will be an absolute bonus.

As regards the playing staff, the majority of your heroes will be part of the team for the new season. They deserve a crack at this level. We will be looking to strengthen the team if we can, but as always will not be held to ransom at all. We have a strict wage structure here and no player is bigger than the Club itself. The Club won't plunge itself into financial peril chasing people, we will have a playing staff which is within our means.

My current deal runs out at the end of this third season. Of course I will be happy to stay but let's not talk contracts until the day comes around, for now you (City) are my team and will be unless something radically changes.

Let's see what further surprises we can throw up. Everyone loves an underdog story right?

Yours in football,

Mark

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Jamieson joins Championship newconers
3 June 2020

https://i.postimg.cc/LsSZr7fQ/darrenjamieson.jpg

Scottish Championship newcomers Edinburgh City are wasting no time in strengthening their squad.

There's a new goalkeeper in town and it's former Livingston stopper Darren Jamieson who has today put pen to paper with the Citizens. The Livingston born 29 year old cut short his holiday to formally become an Edinburgh City player after his release from his home town club at the end of the season. Jamieson's arrival is sure to put pressure on current number one Callum Antell; the Welshman having been the undisputed choice between the sticks for the last couple of seasons where the Club picked up back to back successes.

The newcomer is happy to join the team:

"I'm very happy to be an Edinburgh City player today.

At this stage in my career I need to be pushing for a starting berth and the move here is something that I hope will provide that. The Club has a couple of amazing seasons and seems to be on the up and up, there's certainly a buzz around the place for sure. I hope I can contribute to more success.

I always play for the badge on the jersey rather than the name on the back. I can assure my new supporters I am ready to do you proud."

Manager Mark Duell is very proud of this capture:

"I'm very pleased indeed to attract Darren to Edinburgh City and unveil him today.

He was a target as soon as we learned he might become available and presents a bag of experience. He has had games at Championship level and will be a fantastic addition to our squad. His arrival means we have two quality keepers on our books with him and Callum (Antell) and most teams would be biting their arms off to have that. I'm sure our fans will love him here."

Also unveiled at Ainslie Park this afternoon is central defender Adam Devine who joins on a free transfer from Glasgow giants Rangers. The 18 year old came through the set up at Ibrox but failed to make an appearance for Steven Gerrard's team. Meanwhile goalkeeper Fraser Morton and defensive midfielder Marc Laird have both been released by Duell who is planning more signings in the days and weeks to come before the team return to training on Monday 29 June.
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Hurst makes City switch


https://i.postimg.cc/1tzZZQpM/greghurst.png

There's no letting up when Edinburgh City manager Mark Duell is around.

The Ainslie Park chief has been looking for new blood as the team gear up for their first crack at the Scottish Championship, and he's only gone and signed a former SPL striker. For arriving here is none other than former St Johnstone striker Greg Hurst who joins the club from relegated Alloa Athletic for an initial payment of £7,000 which will rise to £17,000 once the striker has played a set number of games. This represents the manager's first actual transfer fee paid out as he enters his third term here.

The manager is obviously delighted with his new acquisition to the ranks:

It gives me tremendous pleasure today to welcome Greg Hurst here to Edinburgh City.

Greg is a proven gioalscorer who has played in the SPL, but people don't realise that he is just 23. To bring him here is a massive coup for us all and I bet Alloa fans are absolutely astonished to see him go. We've certainly gotten ourselves a bargain for someone who is capable of playing various roles. The prospect of seeing him bang in the goals alongside skipper Blair (Henderson) is mouth watering.

This could be the steal of the close season."

You can hear more from the gaffer and Greg in a special online interview HERE.

Also unveiled today are Lewis Macari, a central defender acquired from English Championship side Stoke City. The youngster is the grandson of former Celtic, Manchester United and Scotland midfielder Lou if you hadn't had guessed by the surname. As well as Lewis, the club have swooped to sign youngsters Marc Malloy and Harry Girdwood from Berwick, Annan's Zac Hannay, and non-league talents Mitchell MacDonald and Sean Slaven from East Kilbride and Spartans respectively.

Will more signings follow? We certainly believe so if the gaffer is around.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
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Scottish Championship:

2020-21 Fixtures Released

https://i.postimg.cc/wBkVzMJN/scottsihchampionshiplogo.jpg[/img[/justify]][/center]<br />
Last Updated: 24/06/2020 9:05am<br />
[img]https://i.postimg.cc/jSM2rr25/Sky-Sports-Header-V1-1.png

The wait is over, and fans in the Scottish Championship can start their planning. 2020-21 fixtures are now out and it promises to be another ultra-competitive season in Scotland's second tier with ten teams battling for a place to join the Elite.

Surprise League One Champions Edinburgh City face a tough opening assignment as they head to Hamilton Academical who will be hoping for an immediate return to the top division whilst the other relegated Premiership side Dundee host Dunfermline Athletic on the season opening date of 1 August. The other promoted side, Falkirk, travel to Morton. The full programme is as follows:

Dundee v Dunfermline Athletic
Hamilton Academical v Edinburgh City
Inverness Caledonian Thistle v Dundee United
Morton v Falkirk
Ross County v Queen of the South


The first Dundee derby comes on Saturday 19 September 2020 when United host the Dees at Tannadice. There will be no fixtures played after 26 December and they will resume the follow Saturday on 2 January 2021.

Dundee are most people's favourites to win the title, with Edinburgh City expected to be the team destined to finish bottom. City, of course, are the only semi-professional side in the division but defied expectations to run away with the third tier title last season. Pundits reckon that if they manage to avoid relegation then this will be another massive achievement for a side that was playing non-league football only five seasons ago. However, as certain people have come to rue, anything is possible from the newcomers to this division especially with their highly rated manager Mark Duell at the helm.
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https://i.postimg.cc/zDVMDpLX/ainsliepk.jpg

Friendlies announcement

Edinburgh City today confirmed their pre-season schedule for the new campaign.

The Citizens will play four home friendlies as they gear up for their debut in the Scottish Championship. There's the annual friendly against Aberdeen to start proceedings before they host Northern Irish Premiership Champions Crusaders and then English Championship side Reading at Ainslie Park in the space of four days.

The team then have a week off before the group stages of this season's Betfred Cup take over. City will play four games in this and hope to make the second round of the competition for the second successive season. The pre-season campaign concludes on the last Monday in July as we are at home to the gaffer's boyhood club Sunderland. After that the real stuff starts.

City's opponents in the Group Stage of the Betfred Cup will be known later this afternoon, and as usual you will find it here as well as the gaffer's reaction to it.

Season tickets are already on sale online or if you're about then just call into Ainslie Park to purchase one. It's the right time to be an Edinburgh City fan. #WeAreAllECFC
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Betfred Cup - Qualifying Group known

https://i.postimg.cc/NG3WF3Yr/betfredcup.jpg


After the euphoria of finding out their Scottish Championship fixture list this morning, Edinburgh City discovered their Betfred Cup qualifying group as the draw for this was made this afternoon. Once more City have been given a group that they seriously believe they can have a decent amount of success from.

The draw has seen City be paired with Premiershp side Partick Thistle as well as newly promoted League One side Berwick Rangers as well as Stranraer (who were relegated last season) and Queens Park from League Two. Manager Mark Duell is quite pleased with the draw as he admitted:

"That's not too bad a draw is it? In fact it's a very good one for us I think.

Of course Partick will be the team to beat for sure, they have a full time set up there and are in the Premiership. However the other three are teams we can seriously think about taking points off and winning them all in ninety minutes. If we can do just that and get a bit out of the Partick game then that should do us fine.

Our objective is to make the Second Round once more and you can be assured we will be taking the competition seriously. Not as if we didn't before."

The Betfred Cup adventure starts on Saturday 11 July when we go to Shiefield to face Berwick with the two home games being against Queens Park and Stranraer on the 15th and 22nd of July. Between them the trip to the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill sandwiches those home encounters.

Save your place NOW as we aim for a Cup adventure!
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City bring in another four
29 June 2020

https://i.postimg.cc/N0VGRy4q/scottglover.jpg

Make that 13 new players signed since the 1st July!

It's been another hectic period with four more newcomers arriving at Ainslie Park, the latest one arriving this morning. The newcomers signed in the last ten days are experienced left-back Jamie Bain, highly-rated Rangers youngster Ryan Muir who comes in on a season long loan deal, winger Louis Appéré who was released by Dundee United at the end of last season and another highly coveted loan signing in central defender Scott Glover who put pen to paper this morning. Glover, who is seemingly out of the picture at parent club St.Mirren at the moment, has joined like Muir for a loan deal to last until the end of the season.

City chief Mark Duell is more than happy with the signings he has made:

"I'm pleased to welcome four more new faces to the squad officially today even though we signed three of them a few days ago.

We realised that we needed a bit cover at left-back for Michael (Kennedy) who was a great signing last season for that position. Jamie Bain comes in for that and he's a very experienced campaigner which can only benefit us. Jamie has played the last four seasons at Forfar, making over 100 appearances for them but prior that had eight solid seasons at Airdrie and made almost 200 appearances from them. You can't put a price on experience like that. Granted he will probably start as Michael's deputy but he's a great option to fall back on should we have need to call on his services.

I'm also pleased to agree terms with Steven Gerrard to bring one of his promising youngsters here in Ryan (Muir). Ryan's a very technically adept player with some great creative attributes which can only enhance us as we plan for the season. I hope he enjoys his time here. Next up, we've signed a left winger in Louis Appéré as we identified that was another position we needed some decent cover as we look to play an even more attractive style of play this season. Dundee United's loss can easily become our gain if Louis really shines.

Finally I'm happy this morning to get the Scott Glover loan move over the line. I'm very happy that Oran Kearney has loaned him to us for the season, and we had to fight off some other interested parties to secure this one. Scott's a young centre half in need of a change in scenery and like fellow loanee Ryan, has some excellent attributes about him which we're hoping will be of use in the new season.

Four newcomers, and who's to say I've not finished my player shopping yet. There might be one or two more to come but then again there might not be. You're going to have to wait and see - if we find someone who enhance the squad then we will try to sign him otherwise we will stick with what we have."
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Manager's New Season Message


30 June 2020

Dear Edinburgh City Supporters,

Hands up all of you who are excited to see City play in the Championship? Yeah, all of you are and so am I.

It's about four weeks to the big kick off and there's still a tremendous buzz around here as we get closer and closer. We're certainly making a fair bit of history here and showing the world that Edinburgh City Football Club are the new kids on the block, ready to defy the odds every game when it's always against us. Many a time we have been written off, but we just like ripping up the form book and proving the doubters wrong time after time. You only have to look back on last season right?

As I pen this message to you all, we have already played our first home friendly of the season: the annual game against Aberdeen. Tomorrow we host Crusaders here at Ainslie Park and we are aware that this will be another test of our collective abilities. I'm not concerned about the results in the friendlies, it's the other games that matter and that means we can focus our attention on competing on all fronts.

As you have seen, we have brought a lot of new faces into the squad this season. It was needed. We can't afford to have a threadbare squad at this level, depth and competition in all positions is absolutely essential. We're building for the future too as we are planning to launch the first ever Edinburgh City FC Under-18s team very shortly. This is a project I'm seriously ecstatic about as we have a number of 16 and 17 year olds on our books, and they need game time of their own on their first steps on the journey which hopefully lead them into becoming professional footballers in their own right. If this gets the green light, it builds on the reserve team setup we launched this time last season. It's a sign we're putting all the blocks in place for what we hope is a very prosperous future here at Edinburgh City.

At this moment, I don't see any change in captaincy. That means Blair (Henderson) will continue to wear the armband with the same pride he exhibited so well last season. He's one of the most respected figures in the dressing room and a model of professionalism on and off the pitch. It's another step up in quality for the majority of us, but we know we're more than capable. Keep that magnificent support coming, home and away, and you will be our 12th man. Now let's get down to business, football season 2020-2021 is upon us all.

I'm ready to go, are you?

Yours in football always,

Mark
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July 2020 Round-Up (Pre-Season Friendlies)


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Four home pre-season friendlies and all as much as a test as the other.

We actually began training on the Monday 29 June, but we actually were in match action two days beforehand as we hosted our annual friendly with Aberdeen. Predictably the visitors took the honour but it's all about getting back into the swing of things right? We made the worse possible start when we conceded after three minutes, Greek winger Apostolos Vellios on the mark. Just before the half hour, Josh Ruffles doubled the lead. The game was as good as done in the 56th minute when Craig Thomson brought down Michael Devlin; former Everton striker Victor Anichebe made no mistake from the spot. A consolation goal did come with quarter of an hour left when Martin Robertson diverted a Kieran Stewart shot past Joe Lewis in the Dons goal. But the illustrious visitors had done enough by then.

The Aberdeen match came at a huge cost to us as winger Danny Handling, newcomer Ryan Muir and attacking midfielder Andy Black all went off injured. Handling, with a pulled calf muscle, and Black with a twisted ankle were the big names to depart. Muir, like Handling, also picked up a pulled calf muscle.

Four days later we hosted Northern Irish Champions Crusaders at Ainslie Park. We proceeded with a new 4-2-4 wingers formation which we had tried against Aberdeen but a number of changes in the starting line up. One of those changes gave us the lead in just nine minutes; Stewart with a superb ball over the top of the Crues defence and Josh Peters lashed it home. It only lasted eight minutes however, Alan White's effort taking a wicked deflection off Scott Glover and into the net. We went back in front in the 26th minute, Scott Shepherd with the corner and Peters bulleted him his second of the game at the near post. They did equalise in the second minute of the first half, Christopher Clarke headed in a downward header from a White cross. The actually was all the scoring done, but it was a very entertaining game. I think the Crues felt hard done that they didn't win.

The following Saturday saw English Championship side Reading make the long trip north and those there saw a bit of goal fest to be sure. We still sticked with the 4-2-4 but after the game, we binned it off as it was leaving us over exposed. The Royals took the lead in the 21st minute when Belgian striker Baptiste Guillaume headed in but we were back on terms just a couple of minutes later. Great vision from newcomer Greg Hurst provided the low cross and strike partner Blair Henderson drilled in from close range. The goals came in the second half though. We went ahead after 56 minutes, Henderson this time the supplier and Hurst finished superbly. It was the goalscorer's first goal in 16 games by all accounts, a drought indeed. We went 3-1 ahead five minutes after that Hurst goal; Thomson with the delightful cross and vice-captain Graham Taylor powered a header into the far corner.

Yet Reading are a bit of a higher class than us, we have to remember we are still a semi-professional outfit as they are all full time professionals. As a result they then bounced back two goals in three minutes: Jordan Holsgrove reduced the margin to 3-2 in the 64th minute and then winger Modou Barrow made it 3-3 in the 67th. It was going to be either something disastrous or brilliant to win it, thankfully for the visitors they got the winner with the latter. Former Rangers attacking midfielder Sone Aluko advanced on our goal and then just hit an unstoppable effort into the net from the edge of the area. No keeper on earth could even stop that one!

After the Betfred Cup adventures, we played our last friendly against my boyhood club: Sunderland. Now under Javi Gracia, their fourth permanent manager in three seasons, they promised another test of where we are at. In front of almost a capacity stadium, we went ahead after 19th minutes when Hurst again supplied a nice low cross and again Henderson applied the finish. However those Black Cats stepped it up in the second half, and their pacy front men of Josh Maja and Karlan Grant simply destroyed us. Maja scored twice and Grant the other one! So we finished pre-season in the same way as we started it, that is with a 3-1 loss. The league campaign now awaits....
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July 2020 Round-Up (Betfred Cup Group Stage)


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After making the second round last season, could we do the same this season? We had a favourable group to tend with, but Cup games are notoriously unpredictable as you know.

After losing 3-4 to Reading, I decided to revert back to my 4-3-3 Asymmetrical which had served us so well in the first two seasons in that first game. That game saw us go to Shielfield and face a Berwick Rangers side that have been promoted to League One for the forthcoming season. Both loanees Ryan Muir and Scott Glover couldn't play as Rangers and St.Mirren didn't want them to be Cup-tied so Calum Hall and Adam Devine duly deputised. As it was Devine produced a superb performance to walk away with the Man of the Match award and proved what a talent I think he is going to be. We took the lead as early as the 11th minute, Greg Hurst hared onto a long ball out of defence from Craig Thomson before providing a low cross for captain Blair Henderson to finish on the half volley.

It was a niggly game to be honest with five of our players picking up yellow cards from Ayrshire based whistler Kevin Graham. However, we clinched the maximum points on offer when two substitutes combined to make it safe. Young winger Louis Appéré split open the home defence and striker Josh Peters lashed the ball past the keeper who stood no chance whatsoever. The perfect start to the domestic campaign.

Midweek saw us play our first home game of the new season as we entertained Queens Park of League Two. It didn't take us long to open the scoring, four minutes to be precise. A wonderfully clipped cross to the far post from Henderson picked our right winger Chris Humphrey unmarked and he beat the keeper at the near post with a well struck effort. Two goals in as many minutes then put us on the road to victory and both came from the same player. After quarter of hour, Queens Park attacking midfielder passed the ball straight to Henderson in the Spiders own penalty area and our skipper gleefully accepted the gift on offer. In the 17th minute, we went 3-0 ahead. Thomson with the cross, Taylor bringing it down and then the predator that is Henderson made no mistake from six yards out.

Kyle Clark reduced the arrears to 3-1 five minutes after our third goal but we entered the dressing room in good spirits at half time with a handsome lead and good value for it. The third goal advantage had to be restored and so it was just before the hour. Some great vision from young Devine opened up the visiting defence and Henderson for him to beat the advancing keeper for his hat-trick and already his fourth goal of the season. With the game well and truly won, we played within ourselves and looked not to pick up any more injuries. Queens Park did have the last goal though when Kenny Ewen scored with just two minutes left. Two games and two wins, six points from six. Perfection.

Our biggest test came afterwards as we headed to Partick and face "The Jags" at the Energy Check Stadium, or Firhill to us old fashioned protagonists. Could we plan a surprise against our Premiership opponents? Well we took the lead against the run of play nine minutes from half time, Humphrey weighted a superb ball behind the home defence and Hurst lashed in a fierce shot across the startled keeper for his first competitive Edinburgh City goal. Six minutes later though, they were level when Ewan McKenzie found the back of our net. It unfortunately opened the floodgates in the second half as Partick then hit unanswered further goals from Miles Storey, Thomas O'Ware and Andrew McCarthy (no, not the 80s Brat Pack actor) to put the game well and truly beyond us. We did get a second and a consolation in added-time, Humphrey again provided the assist (he actually got Man of the Match despite being on the losing side) with a neat cutback from the byline and Hurst scored his second of the match.

We went in our final game of the group stage needing a win to stand a chance of getting into the second round, and Stranraer didn't make it easy for us at all despite there being two divisions between us. It was a tense atmosphere around the stadium and the game looked certain to end goalless when it had a dramatic late winner. In the first minute of five added-on, Humphrey supplied another superb cross and this time it was substitute Peters who volleyed it in from around the penalty spot and break all of Stranraer's collective hearts. So nine points from twelve. Would it be enough though to qualify? A tense wait would ensue....
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lets go season 3! Great start to the groups
https://i.imgur.com/zgMyvyG.png?2
Yeah @Dan I was very happy to take nine points from the group games, but is it enough to be one of the four best second placed records? Wait and see...The fact we lost so narrowly to Partick gives me confidence that we can do the unthinkable and survive. It's certainly gonna be a huge test for us mate.

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Aaron Reid signs for City

https://i.postimg.cc/SxcwQcKN/Aaron-Reid.jpg

There's a new face in town as we head that bit closer to our Championship debut season.

Joining City is 20 year old left-back Aaron Reid who has agreed a six month loan deal from Premiership side Kilmarnock. The defender, who can also fill in a left wing-back role should it be needed, has agreed terms to bolster the defensive options open to manager Mark Duell. Reid came through the fabled Hearts youth system but failed to make a single appearance in his time at Tynecastle and subsequently joined St Mirren on his release.

Unfortunately he found opportunties equally hard to find in Paisley, and spent the first half of the 2018-19 season on loan to Albion Rovers where he competed against us. The Buddies released him at the end of that campaign and Aaron then hooked up with his third Premiership club in the shape of Kilmarnock. He signed a two year deal at Rugby Park but is yet to feature for Killie and is desparate to move on in order to secure first team football. Mark Duell obviously recalled the defender from that Albion loan and is pleased to have brought him to Ainslie Park:

"I'm happy today to unveil Aaron as our latest summer capture.

He was a player that looked pretty decent when he played against us in 2018-19, and can play in a couple of positions on the left hand side. He certainly adds to our options on that flank and is an excellent acquisition for us. We have signed him on an initial six month loan which could be extended if we feel suited to do so. His Kilmarnock contract expires at the end of this season so who knows what might happen if he impresses.

He's an exciting young player who can go on to great things, all he needs is a chance to showcase his abilities. We think we have a bit of a hidden gem here."

Aaron will wear squad number 31 in his spell at Ainslie Park. You can hear from our new signing here by listening to an exclusive online interview at this LINK. #WelcomeAaron #WeAreAllECFC
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Tough Irn-Bru test ahead

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

City have been given a tough first round assignment in this season's Irn-Bru Cup.

The draw has seen us be paired League One side Airdrie whom we had some very competitive games with last season, and manager Mark Duell is under no illusions that is this one of the hardest ties the team could have asked for:

"Well that's as tough as we could have wanted it to be, against a team that can step it up and send us tumbling out.

We did of course have some great games with Airdrie last season; winning all four encounters but that's in the past now. We have to be at our best to keep that run going. They have some good players in their ranks including the industrious Dean Cairns, and a couple of exciting young wingers in the shape of Declan Drysdale and Kenny Bannan. They will make it hard for us, that second round place is going to have to be earned.

This will not be a formality."

The game will be played at the Penny Cars Stadium in Airdrie on 12 August 2020, with a 7:30pm kick-off time.
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Championship Odds out

https://i.postimg.cc/SNtyYBC1/FM19-Odds2021.png

With the season only a matter of a few days away, we here at SkyBet have released our odds for the Scottish Championship.

The recently relegated pair of Dundee and Hamilton head the betting and SkyBet's expert Dale Tempest had this to say:

It is very hard to look beyond both Hamilton and Dundee this season in the Scottish Championship, we really believe that both teams will be making an instant return back to the Premiership come May next year. They certainly have the quality to do so., Dundee's local rivals Dundee United might push them close but not far enough.

At the other end of the spectrum, Edinburgh City are 1-5 to be relegated. Granted they have overachieved with an unexpected League One triumph last season, they will find this level a bridge too far. They're the only semi-professional side in the division and that's going to count against them hugely. If they survive, it will be an absolute miracle."

Who's your money on?
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Squad Numbers announced

For the first time in their league history, City have released the squad numbers which will be worn by the players in our inaugural Championship season. They are as follows:

GOALKEEPERS:
1. https://i.postimg.cc/9FMgXzpq/scottishflag.png Darren JAMIESON
13. https://i.postimg.cc/Px1b5nLc/welshflag.png Callum ANTELL

DEFENDERS:
2. https://i.postimg.cc/9FMgXzpq/scottishflag.png Craig THOMSON
3. https://i.postimg.cc/9FMgXzpq/scottishflag.png Michael KENNEDY
5. https://i.postimg.cc/9FMgXzpq/scottishflag.png Matty ALLAN
6. https://i.postimg.cc/9FMgXzpq/scottishflag.png Liam HENDERSON
12. https://i.postimg.cc/9FMgXzpq/scottishflag.png Jamie BAIN
15 https://i.postimg.cc/9FMgXzpq/scottishflag.png.Matthew SHAW
22. https://i.postimg.cc/9FMgXzpq/scottishflag.png Adam DEVINE
23. https://i.postimg.cc/9FMgXzpq/scottishflag.png Lewis MACARI
24. https://i.postimg.cc/9FMgXzpq/scottishflag.png Edin LYNCH
31. https://i.postimg.cc/9FMgXzpq/scottishflag.png Aaron REID - on loan from Kilmarnock
32. https://i.postimg.cc/9FMgXzpq/scottishflag.png Scott GLOVER - on loan from St.Mirren

MIDFIELDERS:
4. https://i.postimg.cc/9FMgXzpq/scottishflag.png Kieran STEWART
7. https://i.postimg.cc/9FMgXzpq/scottishflag.png Danny HANDLING
8. https://i.postimg.cc/9FMgXzpq/scottishflag.png Andy BLACK
11. https://i.postimg.cc/9FMgXzpq/scottishflag.png Graham TAYLOR (Vice-Captain)
17. https://i.postimg.cc/QCyMLH8r/jamaicanflag.png Chris HUMPHREY
20. https://i.postimg.cc/9FMgXzpq/scottishflag.png Ryan DAY
26. https://i.postimg.cc/9FMgXzpq/scottishflag.png Calum HALL
27. https://i.postimg.cc/9FMgXzpq/scottishflag.png Louis APPÉRÉ
29. https://i.postimg.cc/9FMgXzpq/scottishflag.png Ryan MUIR - on loan from Rangers

STRIKERS:
9. https://i.postimg.cc/9FMgXzpq/scottishflag.png Blair HENDERSON (Club Captain)
10. https://i.postimg.cc/9FMgXzpq/scottishflag.png Greg HURST
14. https://i.postimg.cc/9FMgXzpq/scottishflag.png Scott SHEPHERD
18. https://i.postimg.cc/9FMgXzpq/scottishflag.png Josh PETERS
19. https://i.postimg.cc/9FMgXzpq/scottishflag.png Regan LUMSDEN

Supporters can purchase their favourite player's home and/or away shirt complete with name and numbering for the special price of just £40.00 until the end of August. After that it will be £45.00; we also offer unique personalisation which is available at 50p per letter and £1.00 per digit. Scottish Championship logos can be printed on the sleeves at £3.50 per logo.
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August 2020 Preview


https://i.postimg.cc/Dyc9zmRr/FM19-August2020-Fixtures.png

Time to look ahead to the opening month in my third season in charge at Edinburgh City, our first at Championship level.

We start the month and the league campaign away to Hamilton Academical. This is the team that the infamous Jimmy Greaves used to have a bit of a soft spot for in the 80s when he was on the Saint and Greavsie show. They were relegated from the Premiership last season so will be looking for an immediate return, it's probably one of the hardest opening day games we could have asked for to be honest. In fact, at this level there is going to be no such thing as an easy game - every game will feel like a Cup Final for us. So we have 36 Cup Finals to contend with. The last two seasons have seen around 40 points be the survival mark which means we have got to be winning at least 12 games and a few draws to stay up.

A tough ask indeed...

Our first home game in the Championship comes in midweek after the Hamilton game as we host Ross County at Ainslie Park. They have been in the top division, as have most of the teams in the division, and won the Betfred Cup as recently as 2016 when they beat Hibs 2-1. They also reached the Final of the 2010 Scottish FA Cup beating Hibs and more amazingly, Celtic, in the run into the Final which they eventually lost 3-0 to Dundee United. They like us, have progressed from non-league, and are one of my dark horses for promotion. We travel to Falkirk after that and from last season's games, know this is going to be a hard encounter. However, we've beaten them in previous match ups so maybe three points there is not beyond us.

Our Irn-Bru Cup game at Airdrie follows after the Falkirk game, it's a team we know we can beat but they'll be out to inflict a giant killing of sorts since we're now playing in a higher division to them. We can't afford to go into it thinking the game is won and we just have to turn up, that would be a recipe for disaster. As it stands we don't have a game confirmed for 15 August as that is the date the second round of the Betfred Cup is scheduled to be on, we're still waiting to hear if we have qualified. Championship favourites Dundee then come to Ainslie Park as part of back to back home games, with Inverness Caledonian Thistle following after that. Everyone knows about Caley, remember that headline in 2000?

The opening month concludes with us on Tayside as we travel to Tannadice to face Dundee United, another former SPL giant from days gone by.

I'm going to do a different match analysis in season three, let me know if you like it or prefer the previous recap style - Mark
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Team News:
Both hosts Hamilton Academical and visitors Edinburgh City could hand out débuts to some of their close season signings today. The Accies have brought in five new players whilst Championship newcomers have signed no less than 15 newcomers. The home side will be without defensive midfielder Eric Tié-Bi after the Ivorian picked up a straight red card during the Betfred Cup loss to Clyde. Edinburgh have no injury concerns or suspensions to deal with although the game could come too soon for midfielder Andy Black as he continues his rehabilitation from a twisted ankle.

Match Summary:
Recently relegated Hamilton had to work hard for a win on the opening day of the season after newly promoted Edinburgh City at one stage planned to cause a major surprise. The Championship newcomers took a surprise 14th minute lead against the run of play when City skipper Blair Henderson latched onto a long ball from strike partner Greg Hurst before steadying himself and finishing past an exposed Gary Woods. Woods was picking the ball out of his net again six minutes later when Craig Thomson's well flighted free-kick was drilled home at the far post by Hurst. Two goals in three minutes saw the teams go into the interval level at 2-2. In the 42nd minute, Fraser Fyvie sent Craig Wighton clear and the on loan Hearts forward fired home with a little help from the crossbar. Then as the half time whistle loomed, Karim Omayer's corner was headed goalwards by Delphin Tshiembe and Andrew Omibamidele, on loan from Norwich, applied the decisive touch at the far post.

After that it was anyone's with the home side controlling things but the visitors hoping to catch them out on the break. Wighton put the Accies ahead in the 72nd minute when City left wing-back Aaron Reid was dispossessed in the left back and the home side worked the ball into Raphael Caceres and he teed up the striker for his second of the game. The game was put beyond the visitors four minutes from time, Jordan Marshall with the delightful cross and Wighton completed a hat-trick with a fine header.

Edinburgh City Team:
Jamieson -- Allan, Devine, L.Henderson -- Thomson, Stewart, Muir, Taylor (Hall 87), Reid (Kennedy 82) -- Hurst, B.Henderson (Peters 59). Unused Substitutes: Appéré, Handling, Lumsden, Antell (GK)

Attendance:
2,952 (122 away fans)

Man of the Match:
Craig Wighton (Hamilton Academical)

Gaffer's Post-Game Reaction:
"Well for 20 minutes I thought we were going to cause a massive surprise as we scored two goals and silenced their support. But they kinda turned the screw after that. It's certainly shown us what we are going to be up against this season, it will be a tough and hard campaign. People will think we got torn to pieces but we are only a semi-professional outfit competing against sides who are all full time pros. It's not the end of the world but we will regroup and go again. That's about it."
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Apologies for the lack of updates, the above is the new format I'm going to use. I'll definitely use it this for the opening month, but would appreciate some feedback on what you think to it when it's all uploaded.
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Don't apologise for the lack of updates @HockeyBhoy, at the end of the day you're a busy person!

The new format I'm sure will look solid.
Thanks a lot @Shedender mate. I've had a manic last few weeks including job interviews in Northern Ireland. I might fine tune the format from what I have done for the first game, but I just wanted to freshen it up.

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Derby time in the Capital

https://i.postimg.cc/NG3WF3Yr/betfredcup.jpg


After learning that they had qualified for the second round of this season's Betfred Cup as one of the four best second placed sides, City have been given a lucrative second round tie.

The Citizens will make the short trip over to Gorgie and Tynecastle Park to face Heart of Midlothian. It's a draw that excites manager Mark Duell:

"What a draw!

We've got ourselves a local derby against the Jambos and I really can't wait for it. Sure we would have loved to host them here and probably sell out Ainslie Park but going to Gorgie isn't too bad. It's a real money spinner for us and will help the club's financial status no end.

A lot of people will write us off already but we will go there with no fear at all. We will give it our best shot."

The tie will be played at Tynecastle Park Stadium on 15 August 2020, with kick-off at 7:30pm. Tickets will be on sale to season ticket holders from 9:00am tomorrow and if any are spare after that then they will go on general sale from 6 August; again from 9:00am.
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https://i.postimg.cc/FKjcBbTk/Game-Header5820.png
Attendance: 916 (393 away)


Team News: Edinburgh City are likely to be missing skipper Blair Henderson when they host Ross County at Ainslie Park in their first ever Scottish Championship game. The inspirational captain limped off after 59 minutes of City's opening day defeat at Hamilton with a twisted knee. They are also not set to risk attacking midfielder Andy Black as he continues his rehabilation from injury. The Staggies will certainly be without Liam Dick as the defender picked up a calf strain in training last week. Robbie Muirhead will be a game time decision as he recovers from a pulled calf muscle.

Match Report: Edinburgh City are still searching for their maiden Scottish Championship win after visitors Ross County took the points with a 3-1 win at a rain lashed Ainslie Park tonight. County took the lead in the 32nd minute when winger Jeff King poached in his own rebound after City keeper Darren Jamieson failed to hold the initial shot. The lead was doubled in first half injury time when Declan McManus got between two City defenders to convert Josh Mullin's well flighted cross. City got within one goal three minutes from the end when on-loan Rangers midfielder Ryan Muir thundered home an unstoppable effort from fully 30 yards. However, any chance of a point was snuffed out in the final seconds when Callum Morris headed in a Mullin corner.

Man of the Match: Josh Mullin (Ross County)

Edinburgh City Team: Jamieson -- Thomson, Allan, Devine, Reid -- Stewart (Hall 54), Muir, Taylor -- Humphrey (Handling 73) -- Hurst, Peters (Lumsden 67). Unused Substitutes: L.Henderson, Appéré, Kennedy, Antell (GK)

Next Game:
https://i.postimg.cc/3JWd0MDx/Game-Header8820.png

But will it be the last?
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Houston we have a problem...

And a big problem at that! We might be only two games into the Championship season but we are already struggling with the step up in class and quality. The table does not lie:

https://i.postimg.cc/HLmY2Fj5/SCTable8820.png

Granted both Inverness Caley and Falikrk (ironically the next opponent) are below us but I am starting to think that we might seriously start to struggle to reach the magical 40 point mark comes May next year. We're the only semi-professional side in the division and the other nine are all full time sides. This means we will struggle to attract the high profile players I think we will need to survive the drop. It makes the decision by the board not to go full time to be on the verge of imploding on us already and we're only two games in!

It might be in my interest to move on and think I have taken Edinburgh City as far as I can. We're a small fish in a very big pond. After all, if I stay and we get relegated then it's going to damage my managerial reputation. So these jobs are currently available:

https://i.postimg.cc/MTd1xygP/Job-Centre8820.png

All the club jobs bar one are a step up in quality for me but perhaps my coaching qualifications might just swing it my way? The Girona one in the Segunda Division really catches my eye if only for the link they have with Manchester City, not to mention a possible good transfer budget I would also think. Waterford is about the same standard which I'm managing at now so I could see if I could get that. I would have a relegation battle on my hands if I got that. Roles in Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga are way above what I've achieved so far, so my applications will probably get laughed out of the water.

Applying for the Wales Under-21 role is interesting. Am I good enough to take on a role in international football yet? That's the question.

I'm at my first crossroads in my career. Do I stick or twist?
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