Eric Portapotty
14 years ago
1 week ago

Said challenge here

Well Uni's been finally dealt with, so there's finally time for FM without the risk of blowing up my grades even more.

And on to a new challenge - with over 200 nations to manage in it'll likely take over 300 seasons to complete, which if my patience allows for it would take me the best part of a half decade I reckon.


Stage One: Tonga/Somalia/Eritrea/ Bahamas/Anguilla/Turks And Caicos Islands/Montserrat/British Virgin Islands/ San Marino/Cayman islands/Pakistan

Stage Two: Sri Lanka / US Virgin Islands / Samoa / Djibouti / Brunei / Gibraltar / Bangladesh/ Cook Islands / American Samoa /Timor-Leste

Stage Three: Guam / Aruba / Seychelles / Sao Tome e Principe / Mongolia / Macau / Malta / Bhutan / Guyana / Cuba

Stage Four: Liechtenstein / Laos / Bermuda / Dominica / Moldova / Chad / Puerto Rico / St Vincent and the Grenadines / Gambia / Malaysia

Stage Five: St Lucia / Singapore / Grenada / Papua New Guinea / Cambodia / Fiji / Indonesia / Belize / Vanuatu / Nepal

Stage Six: Barbados / Kuwait /Liberia / Tahiti / South Sudan / Mauritius / New Caledonia / Suriname / Ethiopia / Dominican Republic

Stage Seven: Maldives/ Comoros / Burundi / Lesotho / Guatemala / Afghanistan / Solomon Islands Equilateral Guinea / Hong Kong / Kosovo

Stage Eight: Tanzania / Botswana / Myanmar / Angola / Rwanda / St Kitts and Nevis / Swaziland / Yemen / Nicaragua / Andorra

Stage Nine: Turkmenistan / Latvia / Sudan / Antigua and Barbuda / Lithuania / Togo / Chinese Taipei / Malawi / Thailand

Stage Ten: Guinea-Bissau / New Zealand / Zimbabwe / Tajikistan / Kazakhstan / Namibia / Philippines / Mozambique / Bahrain / Kenya

Stage Eleven: Sierra Leone / Jordan / Central African Republic / North Korea / Mauritania / Madagascar / Azerbaijan / Haiti / Niger / Vietnam

Stage Twelve: Libya / Armenia / Palestine / Qatar / India /Georgia / Uzbekistan / Estonia /Israel / Kyrgyz Republic

Stage Thirteen: Trinidad and Tobago / Faroe Islands / Iraq / Benin / Cyprus / Luxembourg / Gabon / Oman /Congo / Uganda

Stage Fourteen: Curacao / Canada / Lebanon / Belarus / UAE / Zambia / China / South Africa / Syria / El Salvador

Stage Fifteen: Macedonia / Russia / Guinea / Ivory Coast / Saudi Arabia / Algeria / Cape Verde / Mali / Finland / Honduras

Stage Sixteen: Japan / Ecuador/ Bolivia / Albania / South Korea / Slovenia / Panama / Jamaica / Norway / Burkina Faso

Stage Seventeen: Hungary / Cameroon / Bulgaria / Nigeria /Ghana / Czech Republic / Egypt / Greece / Montenegro / Scotland

Stage Eighteen: Morocco / Bosnia and Herzegovina /DR Congo / Turkey / Iran / Australia / Ukraine / Serbia / Venezuela / Paraguay

Stage Nineteen: Ireland / Romania / Northern Ireland / Slovakia / Senegal / Austria / USA/ Sweden / Costa Rica / Iceland /

Stage Twenty: Tunisia / Italy / Croatia / Wales / Holland / Colombia / Mexico / Uruguay / England /Denmark

Final Stage: Peru / Spain / Chile / Poland / France / Switzerland / Argentina / Portugal / Belgium / Brazil / Germany
Eric Portapotty
14 years ago
1 week ago

In accordance with the challenge requirements I've only loaded the leagues from the bottom 11 nations and went without badges or experiences to start.
Cue the job applications...

And the inevitable barrage of replies - as usual I'll just take the first reply in my inbox.

Eric Portapotty
14 years ago
1 week ago
... Navutoka?

Well erm.... I can't say I know a lot about Tongan football....
I do know of their players now though:

Pretty much your typical lower league squad, with a bunch of (still very competent) veterans hard carrying some absolute wastemen:

Save for Taufahema, who's probably got his age gotten completely wrong by the SI data boffins anyway, unless he was indeed playing in goal as a toddler.
Fantastic to have a half-decent stopper though, one less area to worry about.

Shit, another Taufahema - this time he's our oldest player and our best, according to my assistant anyway. He's definitely playing up top, not wasting that poaching ability.

Being able to jump is nice, but it's negated with the lack of strength or heading ability - though of course beggars can't be choosers.

Having a specialist leftback as good as him pretty much confirms that we'll be playing a back 4 I think, though I'll need to find someone who can play on the right.

15 years ago
1 day ago
Awesome! So glad to see my Jacob's Ladder concept being expanded on. Looking forward to this story @Eric Portapotty
Eric Portapotty
14 years ago
1 week ago
Awesome! So glad to see my Jacob's Ladder concept being expanded on. Looking forward to this story @Eric Portapotty

I'd forgotten how much of a faff managing in amateur-level teams was tbh, I don't know how you managed to keep yours going for so long
12 years ago
3 months ago
Good luck, hopefully its as good as DNZY has turned out¬
10 years ago
1 day ago
Love saves like this. Good luck. Following.
Eric Portapotty
14 years ago
1 week ago
Cheers lads, it's good to be back


Preseason - with an international management twist

Seems like we're not tipped for greatness by the bookies, and since I have literally no idea how we compare to our competition I'll probably have to take their word for it.
It doesn't help that the rest of the league (the rest of the nation at that) has refused to play in friendlies with us, with only 2 other Major League clubs organising any preseason games at all.

As a result preseason was spent entirely with the youth team, where Lokoua Taufahema taught them all a lesson or two in finishing.

What this 'preseason' did highlight was the holes we had, which necessitated a couple of signings:

Uhatahi's a much better passer that his god-awful attributes would have you believe, and he demonstrated that with dominating midfield performances in the preseason runouts.

Faupula also trialled at the club, but he wasn't signed until a few weeks after he left - the defensive partners for Kevin Nau were increasingly shown to be not up to scratch, and so another proper defender was needed.

Having been absolutely sick of the sheer lack of available Tongans to sign, I started looking abroad to lower-ranked countries for any potential gems. Wouldn't you know it, I found two:

It's pretty damn hard to go lower in the rankings than Tonga, and Tuvalu managed that by not being in the Fifa rankings at all.
A cursory look at their home page showed these two players without clubs, but apparently 2 of the better Tuvaluans as well.
Well that's not saying much as it turned out - Alesana's only traits of note are his versatility and pace (though he did fire in a cracker of a shot in preseason) while Siopepa only has the latter to even speak of.


While partaking in the utter tedium of playing my youth team for the millionth time, I received a couple of alternative offers:

Now these jobs wouldn't require me to quit my club job, whilst also providing some actual competitive football, so it's basically a no-lose scenario.
I ended up choosing East Timor because 1) it seems way too unrealistic to earn a gig at India or Indonesia (2nd most populous nation in the world and football-mad regional powerhouse respectively); and 2) East Timorese players are probably more inclined to take a step down to Tonga than Indian or Indon players.

The tenure started off positively, with wins over Maldives and Malaysia bringing about positive vibes for the qualification stage.
Alas our luck (and it really was luck - Godinho's goal was a way early cross that evaded the Malaysian GK's grasp and fell into the net) quickly deserted us in the face of actual quality in the form of the Koreans.
The shock loss to Brunei was a bitter end to a promising campaign.

I don't think we'dve qualified regardless, but finishing bottom was a real kick in the teeth, especially after our winning start.

We did have the SEA Games after that, so maybe, just maybe we could redeem ourselves before U23 duty comes to a conclusion:

So much for that.
In hindsight I probably set the team up way too defensively, which led to complete toothlessness in front of goal - a change to a more proactive approach did give us the comeback win over Brunei, but it was too little too late in the other games.
In the one game where a negative game plan was warranted, we promptly got eviscerated by the Vietnamese.

Absolutely awful.

I probably shouldn't have persisted with wingers (only 3 RM/RWs in a player pool of around 80) but oh well, this was never a priority in the bigger picture.

Eric Portapotty
14 years ago
1 week ago
Halfway into Season 1

We started awfully with a convincing loss against defending champions and title favourites Veitongo - 3ST formations OP obviously.
A great bounce back followed (Taufahema with his shooting boots on), but we couldn't build on that, settling on a frustrating goalless draw against Marist.
A second hat-trick followed, as we scored 6 goals in 2 games and looked on course to keep pace with Veitongo at least.
But no, another misifiring performance against Ha'amoko to see out this half of the league campaign with thoughts of 'what might have been'.

Especially when Ahi-o did us a real solid by handing Veitongo their first defeat of the season, to keep us within touching distance of the leaders for now.
We seriously need to get grinding when the going gets tough though - we've seen how we can blow teams away when the attack's on song, but the 2 goalless draws highlight a lack of cutting edge at times.

We also got to welcome our first youth intake:

Take the "Golden Generation" with a pinch of salt, what with the comparative (lack of) ability from our existing bunch and my assistant's rather flawed judgement of players.
And it's not like any of them will fulfil their potential with our existing facilities anyway.

That said, he's not entirely wrong - Mark Taufahema looks like he'll challenge for the centreback spots already, right out of the gate.

Teuhema is very raw as a striker at this point, but he looks more than willing to put in the shifts, which paired with his decent pace is a useful combination for us.
Eric Portapotty
14 years ago
1 week ago
End of Season 1

We started this second half of the season with revenge over Veitongo, a professional performance with a clean sheet to boot - a result that we can build on for the rest of the season.
What followed were a pair each of collapses and comebacks, as the team constantly buckled mentally at the prospect of a title win.

So with a game to go this is where we stand:

Lotoha'apai are the only team who can challenge us for the title going into the final day, and we basically have to match their result or hope they draw if we lose:

I assure you, we played with an intent to attack, but when the team looks like this:

I'm just fucking glad they held their own when defending, especially when our strikers were shooting from all over the pitch but the penalty box itself - but it does mean we've basically bottled the title.

Turns out they outchoked us.

No doubt a title's a title, but this will definitely go down as one of the worst seasons I've had the pleasure of going through.
Though with the most clean sheets, least goals conceded and fewest losses, it does sound like a decent season doesn't it.
Also, props to Veitongo who turned out to be bigger bottlejobs than we were, losing 6 of their last 8 games after starting with 4 straight wins.

I can't say I'm one of the best Oceania-based managers, but hey this is what you get when there's such a lack of information in the region.

Absolutely fantastic how the title win has paid for our stadium and then some - we needed it as well since we didn't actually have a stadium to play our matches in!

Season Review

(Look at that underflow, beautiful.)

Players of the Season

Tailolo Siopepa

If I'm honest I'm surprised he was voted Player of the Season, it's not like he was absolutely outstanding.
That said, it's not like anyone else did stand out (was more of a team effort than anything) and he did start every game, so with these in mind there's a case to be made.
Still a terrible passer (terrible at almost everything in fact) but his good pace got him into good chance creation areas, and contributed with a goal and 3 assists.

Suliasi Lui

Lui was one of a couple of youth strikers who had an outside chance of breaking into the starting XI, and he definitely took his.
Pace is everything at this level, and he fit perfectly well into our hoofball tactics, providing the outball for many a counterattack.

Tupou Toke

Another youngster with sheer pace making up for the lack of ability elsewhere, Toke also managed 2 assists, though both came in the way of hopeful punts from the halfway line that found a teammate in the penalty box.
Makes sense too, judging by his complete absence of technical or mental ability.

Solomone Latu'ila

Latu'ila makes Siopepa look like a top class winger.
But with a trump card of two-footedness, he was unusually adept at fashioning chances for the strikers (who predictably couldn't finish off their chances) either from the byline or cutting infield.
Was also our set-piece taker, though with 2 assists it's safe to say we weren't playing the percentages at all.

Lokoua Taufehema

I had earmarked him to be our key player at the start of the season, but his lack of pace relative to his younger teammates proved to be a stumbling block.
Our joint-top scorer with 5, though he really only scored in 3 games in 10 appearances, and an injury mid-season didn't help - by the end of the season he was reduced to the role of supersub, which did reap rewards with a late winner against Ahi'o Ulakai.

Evan Kane
4 years ago
4 years ago
Oceania Champions League would be interesting! Where did you get this database?
Eric Portapotty
14 years ago
1 week ago
Oceania Champions League would be interesting! Where did you get this database?

I used this (since I only have FM18):

Pretty sure you'll have to use this for FM19:


On the topic of the Oceania CL:

Ok, so there's a preliminary group stage before we join the competition proper - I hope we go through since there are 2 spots, or else it'll be looking for a new gig come March I reckon.
Eric Portapotty
14 years ago
1 week ago
OFC Champions League

Looks like an easy enough time in the preliminary rounds, and it was the case for the most part - we made light work of Vaimoso, but Nikao was to be a harder proposition:

We went 2 up pretty easily - the Lui-Taufehema partnership combining to devastating effect (a common theme in this tournament as you'll see) but 2 brainfarts in quick succession saw us fall back on level terms.
The strike pair scored 1 each in the 2nd half before a 3rd goal from Nikao led to a nervy end to the game, which was thankfully won.
Progress to the tournament proper secured, we played a 2nd-string team. They didn't get that memo though by the looks of it, with both (relegated to 2nd choice strikers) Ataisi and Lokoua Taufahema scoring hat tricks.
Teuhema even came on to knock in a brace during his 10-minute cameo.

Auckland City will be familiar to most, as regular participants of the FIFA Club World Cup (they always get knocked out of the 1st round though), and they're (well New Zealand clubs in general) are the overwhelming favorites - in a tournament full of amateur sides and a handful of semipros, being a professional outfit means having that gulf in quality that they'll only experience in the CWC.

Not the most convincing of group stage performances, but having been massive rank outsiders I'll gladly take progession however it comes.
We started with a rather profligate performance against Huawei, who were poorer than the scoreline suggested and only our lack of cutting edge (and concentration near the end) that kept the scoreline close.
Next was Auckland, where we had our first taste of the mismatch that is present in Oceanic football. Still, we did find a chink in their armour, Teuhema with a poacher's finish to give us a consolation.
He followed that goal with another industrious showing against AS Dragon, mugging off the opposing left back before crossing from the right for Lui's opener - his hard work and running was impressive, only let down by his terrible finishing.
Dragon were disappointingly toothless though, going into the final game they had to win (we'd qualify on goals scored in the event of a draw) but they never looked threatening enough.

Quarterfinals saw us face Ifira BB, who'd won their group and showed just why. We quite simply weren't at the races on the day - defence couldn't deal with their strike pair, midfield got outplayed by their diamond, and our wingers couldn't exploit their space fully.
All in all a terrible setback, especially when away goals come into play here.

Ifira's first goal didn't change the state of play for us - we still needed to score 3 goals to save the tie. What it did do though, was lead their players into a lull of complacency, which we exploited brilliantly.
We immediately looked to go on the attack, which reaped rewards with Teuhema's first goal. A second was just around the corner, at which point it was apparent that we had all the momentum.
Another double from Alesana (his first goals for Navutoka at that) sealed the comeback for us.

Now, before our semifinal (a chance of revenge against Auckland) the club received a couple of news items:

Terrible decision from both players, hanging up their boots on the eve of the biggest games of their career.
Faupula I'm not too fussed about - the fans have not warmed to him since his signing, he'd been pushed down the pecking order by Mark Taufahema, and he wasn't playing well when given the opportunity anyway.
Uhatahi though, that was a huge blow - sure he no longer had the legs to keep up (especially against a superior team such as Auckland's), but he still put in some sterling performances as the main playmaker, earning the MoTM gong on more than one occasion - terrible, terrible timing.

Not that theyd've prevented this loss - Auckland are just far too good for us at this point in time, and at least we gave them a bit of a scare at their place.

Quite the tournament this, though it was probably helped by most opponents having virtual players instead of actual playing staff.

Players of the Tournament

Suliasi Lui

Teuhema Taufahema

The pair did their best impression of the great strike partnerships of old, willing runners setting up each other's chances at every opportunity.
Lui provided the outball with his speed, while Teuhema hassled defenders constantly.

Malakai Alesana

The trio were our only goalscorers in the tournament, and while Alesana didn't have the the output of the strikers, his contributions were no less significant.
A bit of pace in central midfield, he would provide the ball carrying that Uhatahi couldn't do.


Well now that the OFC Champions League is over:

On a success-to-time ratio I'll probably never have a stint as successful as this - a league title and a semifinal appearance in a continental competition, all within a year on the dot.

What next though?

Well I'm definitely not going back to Tonga. Somalia had been an option had we not gone as far in the CL as we did (their season started in April) but they're now a month into the league campaign, and I'd prefer a proper preseason to evaluate my team.
12 years ago
3 months ago
Done what you went there to do, onto the next chapter!
Eric Portapotty
14 years ago
1 week ago
Done what you went there to do, onto the next chapter!

Cheers Dan, that's the first step at least


Job Search...

Right, turns out that due to some league seasons coming to a close, I've suddenly had a couple more options to choose from.

Around a month of applications and interviews later:

Latinos FC

In what has to be the best nod to Jacob Rees-Mogg, I've decided to move to the Cayman "Tax Avoidance is Our National Pastime" Islands for my next gig.
Don't be fooled by the 'mid table finish; though:

Let us not be in any doubt, this is a terrible team.

It's especially bad that the squad weaknesses necessitate a second page.
It's pretty accurate too - we genuinely have zero goalkeepers of an acceptable level of competence, we've not got any serious options on both wings, and unlike in Navutoka there aren't any passable veterans to carry this team through.

Much like Mark Taufehema previously, Cupid came through in the recent youth intake and he's already the best defender in the team.
He's a seriously good player too at this level, and it'll hopefully it'll alleviate the complete lack of goalkeeping quality.

Bit slow, but he's got good determination and can put in a tackle.
Not sure about his willingness to go forward given his already below-average speed though - we'll see how that affects his game in due time.

I don't think that Browning is any good tbh, he's just a bit mediocre to below average.
Of course he was our top scorer last season, so I doubt we've got any other choice.

As you can see I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel by this point, but at least Rowe is adept at playing all across the backline.

At least the board can empathise, giving us the very basic of targets to achieve.
Eric Portapotty
14 years ago
1 week ago
Preseason (Oh Boy...)

I don't think it's an exaggeration to say it'd been a torrid time so far - the team wasn't/isn't gelling tactically and it was a toxic environment all around, which only snowballs with every defeat.
Only one win against East End (beating our youths doesn't count because 1. it's our youth side, and 2. we managed to lose to them in a 2nd game) was the only positive in this run, which given that friendlies normally work as a morale booster, wasn't good news.

Didn't help that despite being cellar dwellers in the Cayman Islands, the players had the cheek to question my suitability for the job. No really - 3 times (in preseason mind you, we haven't actually played a single competitive game yet) we had team meetings on how I needed to resolve toxic environment and that they'd lost confidence in my ability. In preseason!

Yeah no shit it's an uncertain future for you - I released him immediately after the meeting, along with a (truly terrible) goalkeeper.


I'd say around half the arrivals were of my doing - unbeknownst to me the Under-20s Manager has been tasked to signed youth players himself, which I eventually favoured anyway, since I didn't have a clue about football around these parts.
Andre Wilson was released by Elite despite being a Cayman international, and I moved quickly to snap him up.
A bit too quickly though - his appearance fee is $160, around triple my current wage budget.
There's no doubt that I overpaid for him, but I hope he can repay the contract with some hard carrying of the team.
Jessus Connolly was a bit of a gamble - like I've mentioned we've got zero wingers of any quality, and while he only has pace, it's enough to make him stand out.
A terrible player otherwise.
Robinson's not anything special, but at the very least he has some Determination - I'm looking to push the team mentally if not technically.

Well we've actually got 1 left winger, but he's terrible, so Barnett provides... something I suppose. Some pace and dribbling ability at least.
I was really spoiled with the quality of goalkeeping at Navutoka, because there isn't anything like that in Latinos.
I'm banking on Hernandez's slightly more professional work ethic to eventually develop him into a competent stopper.

Helps that he's already the best in an appalling bunch.

Turns out pace isn't everything (nothing in Connolly's case, who doesn't run, ever), so Murphy was drafted in as an alternative.
The height helps, as does the Determination.
I see Alfredo Connolly as the next Topou Toke, grinding out some passable performances at right back.
Deadline day deal after David Lee's shock departure (more on that later) left us with only 1 specialist left back.
I didn't know anything about him at all tbh - he was the first LB on my search list - and he'll most likely be in the U20s anyway.

I can't take credit for the next two, both were down to my junior manager:

Ostensibly signed for the youth team, McLean definitely starts for the first team this season.
Great physicals, but he's been let down by his own finishing.

Elliot also makes the step up after David's departure - not fast, not really great at anything in general, but he's now our best left back so...

David (as vice captain) had been one of the leaders of the team meetings and made his feeling clear on the state of the club - he was clearly unhappy, refused to negotiate a new deal, and jumped ship on deadline day.
A body blow for us - last thing we needed was our 2nd best player leaving us with nigh on no time to find a replacement.

But for some reason the bookies have us finishing somewhere at midtable - have they seen us play?
Eric Portapotty
14 years ago
1 week ago
October 2018

Browning gave us the best possible start to the season, pouncing on a wayward pass to race through and score.
Alas we weren't able to build on that, and Scholars eventually made good on their control of the game for good.
As the game drew on it became a challenge to just keep players on the pitch - Wilson twisted his ankle and would be out for 6 weeks, while Robinson bruised his and was out for a couple of days, in addition to Elliot gashing his head but playing out the game.

Admittedly I'd told the lads to go in harder once Robinson went off, but the cheek of the media to turn the narrative against us when we're the ones with enforced subs made.

Great win against the Wooden Spoons from last season, though it took us quite a while to get going, even after Cupid's headed opener.
A big positive was Abijah Lewis coming on to score on his debut - he's got great physical ability and can hit a mean shot when he does, but is next to hopeless at everything else - he should deputise for/compete with Browning for that main goalscoring role going forward.

Strikers weren't anywhere near the requisite level today - Browning has mellowed a bit since the opening game, while McLean has just been subpar throughout.
Didn't help that Cupid missed his penalty, but then again he shouldn't have taken it anyway - I'd forgotten to assign penalties beyond Wilson as first choice.

Given the utter chaos that we had to go through in preseason, I'll take 4 points from 9 with both hands.
And at least our defence is showing signs of a bit of competence with 2 clean sheets, and we know what we need to work on (consistent strikers).
Eric Portapotty
14 years ago
1 week ago
November 2018

Disappointing result on so many levels - we had plenty of chances in the game to open the scoring, but having failed to do so we then catastrophically switched off late in the game, conceding 3 through simple balls over the defence.
That we then suddenly found our scoring boots after that just made the result sting that much more.

So much for defensive stability eh, 8 goals conceded in 2 games since our 2 clean sheets.
For the neutral it was a great game though, and there were arguably positives to take from the loss - Barnett continued his great form this season, and first goals from McLean and Jamaal Coleman (Cupid's centreback partner, not rated by our staff but I think he's the best we've got, but I digress).

A simple tweak in the formation, pushing both wingers up, seems to have done the trick against Cayman Brac, who looked well off on the day.
But yet again it was a misfiring day for the strikers, especially for Dion Browning who's been subbed off early for the 5th straight game - he hasn't looked able to outrun his defender, and without the hard running to chase down balls he's been a non-factor in our attack.

We find ourselves in midtable-ish areas, scoring under 50% in games but having games in hand on those below us.
It's clear who the early favourites are though - George Town with a perfect record thus far.

We've also got the draw for the President's Cup:

We've not been able to beat them for a reason, but we're nothing if not up for a challenge.
Eric Portapotty
14 years ago
1 week ago
December 2018

We set out from the start to play on the break, which went great when we conceded a third-minute goal.
Then another simple ball over our defence gave Welcome well, a welcome chance and goal.
Tex Wilson (and then Joshewa McLean) were pointless again in attack, though at the very least Lewis gave us some hope of a comeback - not that it ever materialised.

Another change in formation to a 4-2-3-1, with Wilson playing behind the striker in his first start since that opening-day injury.
Bodden Town were just too good really, but it's startling just how susceptible we are to balls over the top - with 3 central strikers they were always going to take advantage.
Well at least Barnett scored again, and McLean came off the bench to bundle in a consolation.

So that's both our games in hand played, and... nothing doing; no places gained, no drop in the table, just that 9th spot.
Somehow in our players' minds we're still overachieving, so at least I've got that going for me.
Eric Portapotty
14 years ago
1 week ago
January 2019

Something new this month, starting with the President's Cup games for the new year:

Abijah Lewis going in hot in this first round, as we surprisingly dominated Future.
And not as welcome a game for Welcome this time round (sorry).

Another fantastic game from Lewis, another 1v1 goal with a free kick to boot - it was also his shot that pinballed its way to our third goal.
Cayman Brac offered very little in the game in another surprisingly easy cup victory.

Elite are clearly overwhelming favourites for the trophy, while I think Academy and us will need to be satisfied with a semifinal appearance.

Back to the league (I wish we didn't need to):

Lewis with yet another goal for the shock lead against the defending champions, but 'tis a shame we didn't hold out for longer than 4 minutes.
And after that we only held out for another 20 before cracking again, and again, to go 3-1 down at the interval.
A bit more hustle in the 2nd half was for nought without the clinical ability unfortunately.

The game was less balanced as the stats suggested - they dominated and established their lead quickly enough, then sat comfortably as we tried (inevitably in vain) to force our way back.

So we end the month with 6 goals in 4 from Lewis, stunning progress in the President's Cup, but with league form continuing to go to pot.
15 years ago
1 day ago
Yikes, the Latinos seems to be struggling harder here than trying to reach the US border. I'd question if you're wasting time in the Cayman Islands. Better jobs are out there.
Eric Portapotty
14 years ago
1 week ago
Yikes, the Latinos seems to be struggling harder here than trying to reach the US border.

Ok that's a good one

I'd question if you're wasting time in the Cayman Islands. Better jobs are out there.

As things stand the market isn't that good tbh:

I'll probably go for Montserrat if I were to quit this gig - both Somalia and Eritea's leagues have relegation, and I certainly don't want to parachute myself into a relegation-threatened side midway through their season, doubt I'll thrive in that type of situation.

In fact (and admittedly it's a bit of a cop out) the lack of relegation around these parts is a big plus for me, it means I can tank for a few seasons while I improve my squad.
Though I'm beginning to doubt that will ever happen...

February 2019

We're going to start with transfers, with the window having closed earlier this month:

As usual some players were sought by me, while others were by my U20s Manager - we'll go with his picks first:
Rivers is incidentally the best crosser in the team right now, which says more about the team than anything.
Lack of ambition is a shame, but at least he's got some decent work ethic.
He's also my starting left back now, since he's the only one with any sort of Acceleration and (as you'll see) Jairo Elliot is completely useless.
Frederick-Charley is very raw, but he can take a free kick and enough determination to hopefully carve out a career for himself.
Will he do that here? Will I tolerate his Passing of 5 long enough to keep playing him? We'll see.
Won't make it here, can't see why he even bothered.
Encuma Wood isn't actually much good, but I wanted a DM to give myself some flexibility for formations, and I'm evidently desperate for some, any improvement in mentality in the team, which I assume his Fairly Determined personality would help.
A poor man's Andre Wilson (who I have to say I blundered in signing him with those huge appearance fees), Dion Webb was signed for his, you guess it, positive mentality.
Can he make it? Who knows, I've signed so many players that I've no idea who to play nowadays.
Now here's the big one, on deadline day no less.
Leighton Coleman was comfortably second fiddle at Scholars, and having made his unhappiness known I went in for him.
He's by far the best goalkeeper here right now and will start every league game, though I'll still give Martin Hernandez the cup games.

Enough with the fackin' wheelin'and dealin', let's move on to the league (can we not?):


Abijah Lewis scoring for the third straight league game (fifth(!) in all competitions) couldn't save us from the fact that our defenders are absolute numbskulls.
I really don't know what to say - granted George Town and title challengers and were always going to be a class above, but the way we conceded our goals... It's like my centrebacks don't ever learn.

Bit of an overhaul in this game - both centrebacks were switched out (injury and suspension) and we tried out the 4-3-3 Wide.
Murphy headed in an opener from a Wilson cross (his first assist in the league!), but we were inevitably pegged back and were content to keep the draw to arrest the slide.

The only positives were both scorers had their first goals for the club.
Other than that... Well Leighton McLaughlin basically had my centrebacks for lunch, waltzing past them constantly as the lone striker.

I'm just waiting for the youth intake next month really, and probably an eventual cull of the squad at the end of the season.

President's Cup Semifinals

There's a lot of competition for this, but I think this was our worst performance this season.
Defence was useless as usual, but the attack wasn't around to alleviate the pain this time as (would you believe it) we failed to score for only the second time this season.

I honestly think there's no longer a point in trying to play defensively or even on the counter - at least there's more entertainment when you're on overload for the best part of an hour.
And even then there were frustrations - 9 offsides, all of which were probably committed by Murphy the way he was playing, despite his MotM performance.
Eric Portapotty
14 years ago
1 week ago
March 2019

We didn't really play well in the first half, but we did go in level at the break so maybe we'd nip a goal and the win.
No, of course not, not with our defence.

We started with playing on the break, which paid dividends when Jessus Connolly sped down the right to set up Thomas' opener.
McFarlane equalised with a great freekick, and quelle surprise yet another mix-up at the back (Coleman came out to punch, centrebacks were ball watching) left him with an open goal from outside the box.

Tigers are the only side worse than us at the moment and we're expected to beat them despite our obvious struggles.
We nearly managed to fuck that up too (imagine the gall of becoming complacent from a 2-0 lead after that winless run we've had), but thank fuck Abijah Lewis delivered off the bench.

We've got a game in hand on a couple of sides ahead of us, but there's no doubt in my mind that we won't move up the table any time soon.

On a brighter note (literally anything else is a brighter note tbf), we've got another cup competition to look forward to:

Okay nevermind, GG

Then again...

They aren't unbeatable, no thanks to Scholars who didn't let our loss go to waste.
Nevertheless it'll be an inevitable loss if we're being honest here.

Lastly, we finally have something to look forward too - intake day:

Bear in mind that this "Golden Generation" bollocks happens at every low-tier club, where the HoYD has no eye for talent whatsoever and only knows how to hype his graduates.
I won't be signing everyone either - there's already going to be a cull at the end of the season and I definitely don't want any Causal stragglers hanging around and bringing the mentality of the squad down.
These guys will definitely be hanging around for now:
Martinez is already my (new) staring right back, by virtue of being the 2nd fastest player in the team after Connolly.
Ebanks probably won't amount to the striker of requisite quality, but with the determination he will be a positive influence in the U20s, maybe even as captain.
Lindo is the only player in the team with a Professional personality, so I'll likely be putting all my eggs in his basket next season.
Ebanks-Scott and McLaughlin are essentially challenging for that left-wing spot, maybe they'll spur each other on to improve?
Eric Portapotty
14 years ago
1 week ago
April 2019

Right, let's get the Cup loss out of the way:

We didn't play too badly, they were pretty lacklustre and complacent, so the logical conclusion would only be a 2-0 loss.

Back to the league:

Imagine how much better we'd be if we didn't contrive to concede 3 goals in 24 minutes.
Admittedly we were under the cosh throughout the game, but if we could grab 2 goals a better defence than this could've meant a top half finish.

Cayman Brac have apparently been underperforming this season and just sacked their manager before this match, and we took full advantage here.
It wasn't a clean performance by any means, but it was important that Wilson got his first goal, as did Encuma Wood with a sweetly hit winner off a corner.

A frustrating game, granted we didn't defend well, but on another day wed've come through with a draw or even scraped a win.
But on the day Ebanks just pounced on our error when it mattered most, and we didn't - fine margins matter guys.

This was that other day - Bodden Town besieged our defensive line and were more than likely to knock a few in - but they didn't.
It was weird that they decided to play a flat 4-5-1 - no doubt their lone striker caused our centrebacks more than enough trouble, but there's only so much a lone frontman can do.

It was a sloppy game from both sides, summed up best by Connolly's goal: Their left back had a god-awful first touch, which he intercepted and sped past to finish - great goal tbf, and an uncharacteristically sweet finish at that.

April has given me much more hope of what we can achieve when we have some semblance of consistency in the team - the backline was unchanged bar the Cayman Brac game when Theron Cupid earn his first caps for the Cayman Islanders.
We've already surpassed last season's points haul as well, and we can look to not becoming the 2nd worst team in the league (I'll take 3rd, after the shitshow we've had to endure).
Eric Portapotty
14 years ago
1 week ago
End of Season 2 (2018/19)

I was surprised when the bookies had us as favourites - turns out they must've known something about us that I certainly didn't, because that was the best first half we've played all season.
We took it way easier in the 2nd half and gave them a sniff of a chance at a comeback, but this team is understandably not there yet in terms of mentality, to last a full 90 on 100%.

Ok wow, what a great result - George Town has just won their first game in 6 and were clearly still struggling from that catastrophic loss in form.
We went in red hot in the first half as we did against Sunset, and while they were obviously threatening, it took us conceding 2 penalties for them to reduce the arrears.

We were red hot right now, and it continued against North Side.
Thomas scored in his 3rd straight game (a hat trick too) while McLean scored his 2nd goal in 3 games - it's good to have him back.

Elite had lost to Roma last time out, and I expected them to come at us all guns blazing to make up for that mishap.
No, not even close, as we avenged both losses earlier in the season with our biggest win this campaign.
McLean went from strength to strength, a double against the champions-elect and an assist to round off a dominant performance.

We finished our season with significantly less fanfare and a couple of medium-term injuries, but I'll be damned if I won't take the win.
A bit wobbly towards the end of the game, but our early establishment of the 2-goal advantage ensured our victory.

What an incredible way to see our the season, managing to more than double our points tally in the last 6 games of the season to finish in the top half.
It was a tight lower half of the table as the season progressed, but such a rapid rise would've been unthinkable just over 2 months ago.

CIFA FA Cup Final

Awww, look at poor Elite, falling at the last hurdle and failing to complete the treble

Season Review

Come on man, the real climb happened in May, what's this April to January malarkey about.
Would've also picked the dismantling of Elite as the highlight, considering we nearly self-destructed in the George Town game.

See, even the fans prefer the match where we gave away two silly penalties, baffling.
It's funny how they keep mentioning the wage issues though, it's all stuck with Andre Wilson and his $150/game appearance fee.

Shame that Abijah Lewis didn't get into our Team of The Season despite coming in 3rd in the fans' poll.
Really surprised that McLean of all people achieved the best pass completion rate too.

Players of the Season
Ian Barnett was one of the very few bright spots in our team in the first half of the season, providing both goals and assists as well as a pacy threat on the left.
Unfortunately he then did his knee ligaments and was out for 6 weeks, only coming back as a sub during our winning run.
An integral part of our end of season run, Connolly was initially second fiddle to Nicholas Murphy, as I wasn't convinced that a guy with Flair of 2, poor ball control and an obsession of Playing His Way Out Of Trouble would be an effective presence on the right - boy was I wrong.
His searing pace was the source of many a goal, and he contributed with 5 assists and a goal.
Murphy was a decent option himself, as an aerial option to get to the end of Barnett's crosses.
But he definitely suffered when we needed to play on the break unfortunately.
Abijah Lewis was instrumental in our President's Cup run, and his physicality proved to be effective in the league as well.
He has got that speed and aerial going for him, though the lack of determination is a stumbling block in his development (not to mention a negative towards our squad personality) - as a result I don't see him staying much longer, at least if we see ourselves challenging in the short to medium term.
Thomas wasn't supposed to be a starter - he was one of a few terrible senior players who would get culled over the season, and was listed for transfer. However, as Lewis faltered (and Browning shit and sent back to the U20s) he was a last throw of the dice.
He repaid that leap of faith handsomely, with his speed causing defences many problems, problems that our own backline were so often be subjected to.
He's got issues of his own though - he's pretty much hit his peak as a player and with poor mentals doesn't add to the squad off the pitch - he'll need to be upgraded on if we're looking to push up the table.
Josehwa McLean is a funny one - he played at the start of the season and was a complete donkey, so much so that he was dropped around 10 games in as we moved to a 4-2-3-1.
I'm not sure why I brought him back into the fold, but once we went back to a 4-4-2 and hit that winning run he wasn't turning back.
Finally using his body effectively, he added some finishing ability to his skillset and worked well with Thomas.
His propensity to go for a tackle will always put me off though; I tried to train it out of his game but to no avail.


6 weeks of preseason, in which we can hopefully we can improve the team familiarity so that we won't be playing like a bunch of complete strangers as we did at the start of this season.
Eric Portapotty
14 years ago
1 week ago
Preseason 2019/20

It was a terrible, no good, very bad start to preseason - ominous signs were had at the opener against the youth side, where the first team looked disjointed and disinterested; not good.
Those fears were realised against our league opponents, misfiring strikers and lethargic defence being the lowlights of our games.

That said, Tigers can always be counted on to provide a pick-me-up, the league's whipping boys being subject to another thumping.
That seemed to do the trick as we found our mojo back, finishing preseason on a very healthy note of 4 wins on the trot.
Andre Wilson also got firing as he adjusted to life as a striker, which we'll need because Ronaldo Thomas has been regressing (as if he hasn't been bad enough).

A couple of transfers:
Kemar Thomas was part of the youth intake last season, but was not picked up then due to his lack of ambition.
Turns out our complete lack of quality at left back supersedes any ambition issues a prospective player might have, and as such he'll start for us at LB next season.
... That is, if we hadn't signed Tex Roach-Ruiz later into preseason.
Granted he isn't as defensively sound as Thomas, but his head is at least in more of a right place, and I'm banking for him to develop into a better player than Thomas ever will (or Jairo Elliot for that matter - remember him?)
Dion Webb was unhappy at his lack of game time, which I couldn't reasonably give, especially as a central midfielder.
He can't pass, he isn't particularly fast, and he can't tackle - he's a poor man's Andre Wilson and was comfortably 3rd or 4th choice in my book.
Can't say I'll miss him too badly.

Sounds about right, a place below where we finished last season.
Eric Portapotty
14 years ago
1 week ago
October 2019

Being frustrated against Bodden Town could become a biannual affair by the looks of it.
They set out with a 4-5-1 with a flat 5 again, which is far too negative for a side of their supposed ability.
As with our previous encounter it helped no one as they only had one attacking outlet while ours had to face 5- and 4-men walls - not good if you want an attacking game.
Though honestly the way our strikers were finishing we wouldn't have scored even if Tigers were the opponents.

Now this was a hell of a rebound.
Things didn't exactly start well as Cupid lost Robinson for George Town's opener (he was poor all game, got a yellow soon after and was subbed off on the hour).
Lewis then equalised from a fantastic Barnett run and cross on the counter, after which it was clear that George Town were there for the taking.
We started going with an attacking approach and sure enough the goals kept flowing, Abijah almost having a hat trick had the ball not been deflected for an own goal instead.
Recent youth graduate Lindo did well too, with a goal and assist on his 2nd start.

Early doors, but it's always nice to see Elite suffering a shock loss in their opener.
The rest of the league's going to need that to if we're to see anyone else winning the title.
Eric Portapotty
14 years ago
1 week ago
November 2019

A tight game - Scholars had their 3 central strikers which we handled sufficiently well, and Abijah Lewis came through again for us.

Such a desperately disappointing result, losing the early lead and conceding at the end of both halves.
That said we didn't deserve to win really, we might've gotten the early lead but we were outplayed throughout the match.

.... Another lead lost, and against a team we'd beaten twice last season.
It's worryingly reminiscent of last season, where Abijah's hard carrying was all for nought due to our defence.

Oh my head.... The defence was a complete shambles today, continuously losing Leighton Coleman up top, while Roach-Ruiz also conceded the penalty - ex-vice captain and leftback David Lee fired home the spot kick just to rub it in.
We finally woke up in the 2nd half, a double from Abijah giving us some hope. We really should've won too, the three efforts that hit the woodwork making it an even more agonizing day for us all.

Our decent start to the season has been for nothing essentially, 3 losses on the trot as our defence forgot their basics.

To top it off:
This had been coming for some time - as the most senior player he clearly didn't have the personality I was looking for, and he was already regressing technically.
The last straw came when he came to me complaining about a lack of game time, at which point it was evident that his time here was up.
Eric Portapotty
14 years ago
1 week ago
December 2019

I'm just sick of having Andre Wilson at the club to be honest.
Plays poorly the whole match, get a lucky penalty, scores, and we find ourselves back into the game.
Continue to play poorly, gets another penalty and a chance to be a hero - has his penalty saved.
All this on disproportionately high appearance fees too, not worth it at all.

For real, you can always count on Tigers to provide their opponents with a pick-me-up.
Game was over by half-time, and it was only our own complacency that gave them a consolation.

... And then life goes "NOT SO FAST"
Such a depressing game - at least Ian Barnett made up for conceding the penalty by delivering the freekick that led to Wood's headed equaliser, but Abijah Lewis didn't manage to redeem himself, with bitting the bar on a 1v1 summing up his day in front of goal.

At least we no longer have a losing streak, but our season has well and truly gone lukewarm.
At least we're one of 2 sides who took points off Bodden Town this season, though it does beggar belief how a team with that formation wins 7 games from 9.

The first of 2 Cups is about to commence as well:

Future are at our level or thereabouts, and we did exchange wins in the league last season, though we did beat them in the same round of the Cup last season, uncanny...
Eric Portapotty
14 years ago
1 week ago
January 2020

OOOHH, a fantastic victory over a surprisingly under-par Elite.
Ian Barnett was on absolute fire, delivering the corner for Robinson-Rivers' opening goal, before getting his own to seal the game.

Easily the deadest game in the save so far, neither side showed any requisite quality to win.

Sunset are probably the 2nd worst team in the league after Tigers, and we took full advantage of their struggles in a convincing win.
Due to an injury to Joshewa McLean and other administrative issues (transfers out and Tex Wilson playing for the U20s - oops) we started Lewis up top with new signing Ebanks-Cupid (more on him later).
Hell of a debut too, with both players' sheer pace proving too much for the Sunset defence.

We were evidently on a roll at this point, and North Side played like a side all too aware of that fact, despite their superior position on the table.
Both wingers were absolutely lethal on the day - Barnett has 2 assists, one of which was for Connolly's goal, and both absolutely ran their respective wings ragged.
Our lowish block also neutered their narrow diamond 4-4-2, limiting them to a couple of shots and none of target.

After the game though: on mate, we did you for 4 alright?

This run of form has brought us back into some semblance of contention after the blip earlier in the campaign, though we're still miles away from Bodden Town.
I've also realised why they've managed to win so many games too - turns out they've been going with the dreaded 4-3-3 Narrow, which I'm sure you know will blow many a team out the water.

President's Cup

Man this game was sooo satisfying, finally having an injury time comeback win.
It was gratifying to see the team keep plugging away even as we went a goal down, though our quality and reading of the game did leave a bit to be desired.


Goodbye and good riddance.
That said, with Bodden Town's fondness of both a 4-5-1 and 4-3-3, it's hard not to see him fit in there like a glove - we'll see if I've just gifted them the league title for the next few seasons.

After Wilson's departure Dion Browning was back in the fold as a sub, as I weighed up his suitability for a return to first team football.
Well he didn't, so we signed Ebanks-Cupid instead, who's basically Abijah Lewis with more Determination.
He'll be the new supersub now that Lewis has been promoted to starting striker.

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