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willz121 Comments
For a (potentially) final save on FM19, I've decided to download and start the Red Bull Evora challenge as posted here: https://www.fmscout.com/a-red-bull-challenge-fm19.html

To set the scene, Red Bull have swooped in to capitalise on the wealth of the Portuguese leagues, and thrown significant funding behind the new club.

The following is taken from FM Base, and is not my own words:

Salzburg, Leipzig, New York and now, Évora is a city chosen by Red Bull for its new franchising.

In this mod you can command the new Red Bull team by the Portuguese championship from birth, starting without any player, coach, scout or doctor only 10M for transfers and to try to do the best in a short time in the three teams of the club, value much smaller than for example Leipzig or New York began.

Why Évora?
Evora because there are no professional clubs in Alentejo despite being the largest region in the country. Red Bull is well-known for its focus and development and in Évora it will be no different with two teams from the younger, under-19 and under-23 levels and with excellent conditions for youngsters.

The Red Bull will thus start in the National Championship Series D Prio and will also participate in the Revelation League replacing the Cova da Piedade.

As for finances, the Red Bulls are in a comfortable position due to sponsorship, with 10M available for transfers.

The Red Bull as usual will play in their Red Bull Arena in Evora, stadium with capacity for 25,000 people and that will be ready in June 2019. For now you will only play in your training camp with capacity for 2,000 people.


So there it is, the challenge is set, and we embark on our new challenge in the depths of the Portuguese leagues. With no players, no staff but fantastic facilities, I hope to take this club up the leagues as quickly as possible, and challenge the likes of Porto, Benfica and Sporting in the near future.

I'll be using the latest transfer window update, loading the English, Portuguese, Argentinian and Brazilian leagues.
November 2016

Sochaux 3 - 3 AC Ajaccio
Domino's Ligue 2

Absolute end to end stuff here, with Lee Chung-Yong opening the scoring after 16 minutes. Ajaccio scored twice either side of half time, before Rafa Navarro (52) and Gabin Lamboley (53) gave us the lead. Ajaccio scored late on to tie the game up, but it was an exciting one to watch.

US Joigny 0 - 9 Sochaux
French Cup Round 7

Well this was a bit of a joke all round really, but I am delighted that we converted so many of our chances. We rotated the squad a bit, but the stand out player was Andre Horta who banged in FIVE goals! Mathys Kuntz opened the scoring after just 2 minutes, but then we had stalemate until Horta netted his first on 44. Cue the half time kick up the backside, and then we exploded. Gabin Lamboley scored after 46 minutes, and Jason Pendant made it four on 55.

Horta wrapped up his hat trick with goals in the 73rd and 76th minute, before Jeando Fuchs jumped in on the action in the 87th minute. Horta wasn't done though, scoring in the 88th minute before we won a late penalty which he converted in 90+1.

All round good performance, and what a result!

AS Nancy Lorraine 0 - 2 Sochaux
Domino's Ligue 2

Cometh the hour, cometh the man and Lee Chung-Yong scored twice to give us a priceless victory over our early rivals. He was on top form throughout and caused them all kinds of issues. The result was marred by injury to Jan Kirchoff - was always a punt signing him - who is out for two months.

Sochaux 2 - 0 Racing Club de Lens
Domino's Ligue 2

Another double, this time from Andre Horta, secured a valuable win over Lens. I remember growing up that Lens were a very decent side, but they are now languishing at the bottom of Ligue 2. On another save, they could've been the club I would pick, but for now, a valuable win.

FC Lorient 1 - 1 Sochaux
Domino's Ligue 2

After dumping them out of the cup, they got their revenge here with a dogged performance that we just couldn't overcome. Two goals in the first three minutes settled the tie, as Lee Chung-Yong scored with barely a minute on the clock, and they equalised within two minutes of us taking the lead.

It was a very dull affair after that, but another point is okay after how we performed earlier in the month.

Player of the Month

Tough call between Lee Chung-Yong and Andre Horta, so they will share it this month. Both have been outstanding, and I hope we can keep both for the remainder of the season. Horta has a few Ligue 1 clubs interested already!

League Table

The victory over Nancy sees us move three points clear of them at the top, with Stade Brestois in third five points behind us. Delighted with performances so far!
October 2016

Lee Chung-Yong has been added on a free transfer along with Jan Kirchoff and Andre Horta. They are all on decent wages but will hopefully add some real class to the side.

US Orleans 1 - 4 Sochaux
Domino's Ligue 2

Finally we converted our chances, with recent signing Lee Chung-Yong scoring twice. This was sandwiched by goals from Florin Berenguer and Mart Ristl. Ristl is fast becoming a key member of the squad, who despite rarely scoring, is a top performer every game.

Bourg-en-Bresse 1 - 1 Sochaux
Domino's Ligue 2

Florin Berenguer at it again here, as we took an early lead only to be pegged back. We weren't good enough over the game to get three points, so will have to be happy with the point. Really need to improve though as we fight at the top of the table.

Sochaux 2 - 0 FC Lorient
Coupe de la Ligue Round 3

Facing a side in the same division as us in Round 3, we played brilliantly and secured a comfortable 2-0 win. Andre Horta opened the scoring, before Moussa Sao completed the win. Horta should really be playing at a higher level than this, but he's been good in his first few appearances.

AJ Auxerre 1 - 2 Sochaux
Domino's Ligue 2

Centre back Rayan Senhadji popped up with a rare goal early on to secure us an excellent lead, before Moussa Sao scored again to give us the win. Auxerre pegged us back in the middle of the second half, but Sao was on hand to give us a win.

Player of the Month

Has to go to Moussa Sao again this month. He has had a hand in everything that's been good this month. Hopefully we can keep hold of him, but some other sides are already tracking him. We've agreed two transfers for older players to leave in January, with centre backs Florent Ogier and Pierre Gibaud both departing.

Both are out of contract at the end of the season, so cashing in on them - albeit a very low cash price - is important.

League Table

Still second, still a point behind Nancy, but now five points clear of Quevilly in third.
September 2016

So far behind with updating this story due to renovating a house. Less graphics for the next few updates to get them done and posted!

Stade de Reims 2 - 3 Sochaux
Domino's Ligue 2

First half was appalling at Reims, but we managed to fight back and turn it around. Maxence Lacroix looks like one for the future, and he scored to get us back into the game at 2-1 in the 65th minute. Moussa Sao continued his excellent form, putting us level at 69 minutes, before El Hadji Ba scored a minute before the end to give us three points.

Sochaux 0 - 1 Chamois Niortais FC
Domino's Ligue 2

Awful performance from the forward line, as we huffed and puffed but couldn't break down our visitors. First defeat of the season, and it was a tough one to take.

Sochaux 1 - 1 Stade Bresois 29
Domino's Ligue 2

An 82nd minute equaliser gave us a point at home, as again we failed to trouble the scoreboard despite many attempts on goal. We've struggled these last two games, so a change of tactic may be warranted.

Clermont Foot 0 - 1 Sochaux
Domino's Ligue 2

Florin Berenguer scored midway through the first half to give us three points. Again, we created many chances, but failed to capitalise on them as Clermont Foot stood strong. A tough away game, but glad to pick up three points after two disappointments.

Sochaux 2 - 1 GFC Ajaccio
Domino's Ligue 2

Goals from Jeando Fuchs and Moussa Sao gave us our second consecutive win of the month. It was another case of not scoring enough goals to make the game reflect the stats, but thankfully we outscored them and finished the month strongly.

Player of the Month

Very tough one to call. Moussa Sao continued his decent form in front of goal, but Jeando Fuchs is my Player of the Month after some excellent performances in central midfield.

League Table

I can't access IMGUR at work, so no screenshot, but we're second in the league at the end of September. We're just 1 point behind Nancy, and three clear of Le Havre in third.
August 2016

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Paris FC 0 - 2 Sochaux
Domino's Ligue 2

An away trip in the captial saw us start the campaign with a fantastic two nil win. Paris was a potential destination for me as it would be a huge challenge to try and topple the mighty PSG with their city rivals, but for now I will stick with Sochaux.

Aksel Aktas and Florent Ogier gave us the perfect start to the season with a goal each.

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Sochaux 2 - 0 La Berrichonne
Domino's Ligue 2

Our first home game of the season saw a repeat score line of our night in Paris, but this time an own goal and a goal mouth scramble saw Rafa Navarro open his account for the season. It wasn't a pretty match, but another clean sheet and another three points is welcome regardless of how we play.

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Tours FC 0 - 2 Sochaux
Coupe de la Ligue 1st Round

If the last game was scrappy, this one was a delight. We could've been four up at half time, but with a rotated side to give some of the younger players a start, we couldn't find the net. Just after the break though, Jeando Fuchs broke the deadlock, and it was no more than we deserved. Fuchs looks like a very capable player at this level, and impressed against opposition from the same division. Madger Gomes, formerly of Liverpool and Leeds United, doubled our lead to send us into Round 2.

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Valenciennes FC 0 - 0 Sochaux
Domino's Ligue 2

For a minute there, I thought I had broken FM and I was going to win every game of the season 2-0, but alas it wasn't to be and we travelled to valenciennes and played out a rather tepid scoreless draw. Games like these will happen, and with a young side, we might need to add a few experienced heads to try and grind out results.

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Sochaux 1 - 1 Quevilly Rouen Metropole
Domino's Ligue 2

This was a game we really should've won, as Quevilly are a side who will struggle this season to stay afloat. However, an own goal was all we could muster, and instead of a comfortable home win, we instead come away with a difficult draw.

No image


Sochaux 4 - 1 Stade Lavallois MFC
Coupe de la Ligue 2nd Round

Drawn at home against a lower league side was probably the tonic we needed after the previous performance, and we managed to find the net four times. Moussa Sao grabbed a hat-trick in the first 39 minutes, and Madger Gomes secured the rout just before half time. We let one slip in the second half, but a great win and morale boosting for the players.

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Tours FC 0 - 2 Sochaux
Domino's Ligue 2

No I haven't copied this one twice by mistake, we managed to get another 2-0 win at Tours, this time in the league. Moussa Sao continued his excellent form, scoring both goals. It looked as though we wouldn't break them down, but in the 81st minute, Sao broke the deadlock and added his second in injury time.

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Sochaux 2 - 1 Havre Athletic Club
Domino's Ligue 2

A win to round off an eventful first month, and one that has surprised me in the way we've strung together a decent run of form. Florent Oglier scored in the first game this month, and bookended it with a goal here. Emile Rzepecki, who looks like he could have an excellent future with us, managed to grab his first goal as well and we looked comfortable until the 70th minute when we conceded. Cue nervous finish, but we got over the line in the end!

League Table

Second in the league behind Stade Brestois 29 is more than we could've hoped for at this early stage of the season, but I am enjoying the save and bringing through some of the youth talent into the first team already. Whether we can maintain this pace remains to be seen, but it's a great start.

Financial Update

Finances are looking secure at the moment, although we did make a £437k loss this month which will need to be addressed. The major expenditure is on player wages, so we may need to trim the squad a little bit and replace from within.

Player of the Month

I've been really pleased with the performances of a number of our players, with Jeando Fuchs nailing down a place in our midfield, whilst Nicolas Senzemba has been superb at left wing back. However, Moussa Sao takes the plaudits here, with his five goals in six games.


«This comment has been edited»
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I've been toying with starting a new game on FM17 for a while now, after having massive success on a long term save at Sheffield United. I tried a few different clubs; Chelsea where I won the treble in the first season, Juventus where my star players all decided they wanted to move to bigger clubs, and then Barcelona where I dominated the league in 2016/17, before becoming disillusioned with player wage demands and trying to find the next big thing.

This lead me to searching for clubs with a good youth system already in place, and outside of their nation's top league in able for me to focus on player development a lot more. With France producing some fantastic young footballers at the minute, the end destination was FC Sochaux.

The academy has produced several notable talents, such as Yannick Stopyra, El-Hadji Diouf, Jérémy Ménez, Bernard Genghini and Benoît Pedretti, among others, so I am really excited to see what sort of talent comes through during this save. I will be focussing on bringing players through the Academy as much as possible, and try to limit the number of first team signings I make each season to enable us to develop from within. The major worry will be keeping hold of the players we have at our disposal for as long as possible, and ensuring we make good money on those that we do sell. I am starting the game with first window budgets disabled, so at least we will have a good run until the January window to assess the squad and keep our players.

One concern off the bat is that we already have five loan players at the club, and that is now the limit for the season. I don't want us to focus on loanees, but without a doubt there will be a time where we need to bring someone in as cover, or to add a spark to the side. I had originally lined up Kasey Palmer (Chelsea) and Gedion Zelalem (Arsenal) as potential loan targets, but with the five already done and dusted, they will have to be shelved.

We have a 20,000 capacity stadium, and we are predicted to finish 10th by the bookies. However, overall feel from the board is to avoid relegation. If we can get anywhere near the top three this season, that would be fantastic, but it will be all about focussing on getting the players out on the pitch as much as possible and hopefully see them develop.

I'll be updating this thread at the end of each game month, so I hope you enjoy it! Thanks for reading.
July 2018

Now the fun part, the signings! First through the door was Jordan Ferri who arrives from Lyon for £6.5m. Ferri is on £28k a week, and falls into the backup category. He has the ability to push for a first team place, but with other incomings, he has already dropped down the pecking order.

Kasper Dolberg was a massive signing for us, and until very late on in the window, was the biggest transfer fee I paid. The striker joins from Ajax for £11.5m and £49.5k per week, and should be one of our main strikers this season. I have high expectations of him, and I hope he repays the faith.

Next up was a triple signing from Chelsea! Ola Aina, a versatile defender, arrives for £2.2m on £18k per week. He will cover at either full back, and is a capable centre back if needed. Next up was my favourite signing of the window, as Ross Barkley signs for £8.5m, which is a massive bargain, but will cost us £70k per week! He will be vital in our midfield, and I can only see good things in his future at the club. Finally from Stamford Bridge arrives Tiemoue Bakayoko, for whom we paid £9.75m, and will pay £45.5k per week. Chelsea are also paying him £35k per week, so I am dreading renewing his contract! However, the addition of those two midfielders will be amazing for us this season.

Finally, cash wise at least, Jairo Riedewald arrives from Crystal Palace for £15m. He is only on £38k per week, and I am really pleased that we have secured his signature. He's still young and will progress into a strong player here!

On the free transfer market, we signed another Chelsea player, with Lewis Baker arriving. Earning £20k a week, Baker will be a backup, but I hope to give him plenty of opportunities to play. Matthew Targett arrives from Southampton to provide backup to Charlie Taylor, again on £20k per week. Delighted with both, and hopefully they continue to develop at Sunderland.

Finally, Divock Origi completes his free transfer from Liverpool, and will pick up £55k per week. He will compete directly with Kasper Dolberg to start as the poacher in our line up, and should give us a number of good goalscorers in the mix.

Alexander Isak joins us on loan from Dortmund for the season, and will compete with Sam Gallagher as target man. Carles Alena begins his third successive loan stint with us, although Barcelona are really stubborn about selling him. David Carmona arrives on loan from Sevilla to cover as full back, with the potential permanent move should we agree terms.

All in all, a good transfer window in my opinion! Appreciate your thoughts, and any comments.
July 2018

So July really swung into action with some big transfers coming in... but I'll do the exits first; Imoh Ezekiel departs the club for £16.5m, moving to Turkey with Fenerbahce. He wasn't consistent enough in the Championship, so the step up was too much for me and I cut him loose. He was quickly followed by Leo Bonatini who I had signed on a free transfer, but then was repeatedly turned down for a work permit. Due to this, I decided to cut my losses and he moved to Nancy for £4.5m.

Charlie Mulgrew returned to Aberdeen for £350k, and despite being one of our key players last season, was too far down the pecking order and starting to decline. The fee is negligible, but happy for him to move on for a first team spot north of the border. Patrick Bamford made his loan move to Birmingham City permanent for £3m, and Matthew Pennington went to Leeds for the same fee. Neither have made an impact at the club, and I was happy to cash in on them.

Lynden Gooch moves to Aston Villa for £7.5m after failing to break into the first team, and with the other arrivals, he just would have fallen away. A decent cash sum, but I think he has gotten to the end of his development. Reece James completes a £5.25m move to Ipswich Town, which was mainly due to my capture of Charlie Taylor.

Youngsters Matthew Willock and Jordan Marshall leave the club for nominal fees to Northampton and Coventry respectively, whilst Todd Kane moves to Blackburn for £7.5m. Our final piece of cash business was the departure of Didier Ndong to Ajax for £17m - a transfer fee I couldn't turn down.

Departing on a free transfer were Karlo Bartolec, George Honeyman, Connor Ogilvie, Corie Andrews, Owain Jones, Michael Donohue, Gaeten Bong and Darren Burton.
Unlucky in the FA Cup Final mate, absolutely gutting but a close game.

As for the job dilemma, I'd say stay it out at Sunderland, your cup run has already proved the squad you've got are capable of competing with the Prem boys and with the financial work you've done over the last two seasons it'd be a shame to see it wasted so early on.

Was devastated to lose so narrowly, I honestly thought we would get battered by City but we had such a good run I think it was fitting that we played a big part of the final. Finances are looking strong since promotion, and I will stay at Sunderland. Thanks for following this still @Dan

Stay at Sunderland.

You're onto one of those FM saves that you'll look back on in years and be like ''damn that was awesome''.

Congrats on promotion

Hopefully it will become one of those saves, and if we can do something in the Premier League, it would be a huge achievement. Thank you for your comments and continuing to follow @K3VO
June 2018

Transfer activity began early on for us, as we looked to bolster the squad for our return to the Premier League. A number of the squad have been asking for pay rises since we were promoted, but I don't believe they are worth what they're demanding, and it led me to dip into the transfer market more than I intended to.

With a wage budget of £1.2m per week, I was aiming to keep the wage spend down below £900k (75% of the budget) but still ensure we got the right calibre of players in. This would leave us with the following breakdown as we start the season:

Key Players (4) - £67.5k p/w each
First Team (7) - £38.5k p/w each
Squad players (12) - £22.5k p/w each

The first deal we got over the line was actually one I wasn't expecting to do, but when I saw him available we had to move. Predrag Rajkovic arrived from Maccabi Tel-Aviv for £6.5m, and will be our number one goalkeeper this year. Ortola and Sayoub are both decent players, but Rajkovic is a massive talent and delighted to bring him in. He is only earning £30k per week, so is well under the salary cap for a first teamer, let alone first choice goalkeeper!

Elleyes Skhiri arrived from Manchester City for £8.5m, and is a young versatile midfielder. I like to have a ball winning midfielder, and a deep lying playmaker in my side, and he is adept at both. Only a young player, but looks a solid talent already and should compete for a first team place. Skhiri is on £30k per week, which is above budget, but the anticipation that he will become a first team player justifies this.

Jason Cummings signs from Nottingham Forest for £4.5m, and is a young forward with the role of poacher. He is on £19k per week, so just below the threshold for a backup player, but he will be slowly introduced into the first team. Our biggest signing in June was Davy Propper for £13.25m from Brighton, who were relegated. He will fill the void left by Andreas Pereira leaving, but will cost us £50k per week. He will be pivotal to our side, and I am delighted we added him.

The final two signings in June were defenders, with Shane Duffy also arriving from Brighton for £9.25m, and Charlie Taylor from Burnley for £6.5m. I wasn't convinced we had the right calibre of player at left back, and Taylor will provide us with a fantastic outlet. Duffy is paid £45k per week, with Taylor on £22k. Both will be first team players and they will be a good fit.

The only departure in June was Carlos Castro, who moves to Swansea City for £8.75m. With the additions we have planned, he wasn't going to get first team football, and also demanded a pay rise with promotion. He was decent, but I think the players who will come in will cover for any loss.
@Dan - good shout on including the round for the cup games, will do that from now on! Financially, we've had a fantastic season, and hopefully on the pitch we can complete a very successful season. The reason I haven't posted a league table is due to IMGUR being blocked at work (where I do most of my posts) so I can't access any screenshots lol - thanks for continuing to follow.

@KEZ_7 - we've played some decent teams in the cup runs, although Southampton certainly aren't one of them lol beating Arsenal in the semi final was simply fantastic, and I got some funny looks from my wife when I celebrated the goals and the eventual win! Thanks for following.

May 2018

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Sunderland 5 - 0 Preston North End
Scorers: Andreas Pereira, Tammy Abraham (2), Sam Gallagher, Carles Alena


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FINAL: Manchester City 2 - 1 Sunderland
Scorers: Tammy Abraham


So the season comes to an end, and we are promoted as Champions! We also had a fantastic run in the League Cup, as well as reaching the FA Cup Final, before being beaten by Manchester City. City finished fifth in the Premier League, and sacked Pep Guardiola... and have offered me an interview!

So do I continue with Sunderland, or make the jump to the Etihad? I really don't know what to do.

Financially, Sunderland will start life in the Premier League with a transfer budget of £43.4m and a wage budget of £997k per week. Manchester City on the other hand have a transfer budget of £155m and wage budget of £4.2m per week!

Do I switch teams and try to take the financial constraint project to the Etihad, or do I persist with Sunderland and see if we can compete at the top table without breaking the bank? Answers on a postcard...
April 2018

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Cardiff City 3 - 2 Sunderland
Scorers: Sam Gallagher, Tammy Abraham


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Huddersfield Town 3 - 3 Sunderland
Scorers: Own Goal, Sam Gallagher, Tammy Abraham


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Sunderland 3 - 0 Scunthorpe United
Scorers: Aron Gunnarsson, Sam Gallagher, Andreas Pereira


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Birmingham City 1 - 4 Sunderland
Scorers: Sam Gallagher (2), Andreas Pereira, Aron Gunnarsson


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Sunderland 2 - 1 Arsenal
Scorers: Andreas Pereira, Sam Gallagher


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Fulham 0 - 0 Sunderland
Scorers: None


March 2018

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Sunderland 5 - 1 Sheffield Wednesday
Scorers: Charlie Mulgrew, Andreas Pereira (2), Aleix Febas, Tammy Abraham


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Blackburn Rovers 0 - 3 Sunderland
Scorers: Carles Alena, Carlos Castro, Own Goal


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Sunderland 3 - 1 Southampton
Scorers: Charlie Mulgrew, Tammy Abraham, Ruben Gabrielsen


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Crystal Palace 2 - 3 Sunderland
Scorers: Marcus Edwards, Chris Wood, Carlos Castro


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Sunderland 2 - 2 Queens Park Rangers
Scorers: Marcus Edwards, Todd Kane


February 2018

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Sunderland 3 - 0 Hull City
Scorers: Sam Gallagher (2), Carles Alena


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Sunderland 1 - 0 Derby County
Scorers: Didier Ndong


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Aston Villa 1 - 3 Sunderland
Scorers: Tammy Abraham (3)


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Bristol Rovers 1 - 2 Sunderland
Scorers: Didier Ndong, Odsonne Edouard


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Bristol City 2- 4 Sunderland
Scorers: Charlie Mulgrew, Aleix Febas, Didier Ndong, Tammy Abraham


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Sunderland 1 - 0 Middlesbrough
Scorers: Didier Ndong


«This comment has been edited»
Finances - February 2018

Overall Balance: £99,927,480

When I started the save, the overall balance was just below £60m. This has now increased to just shy of £100m through player sales, parachute payments and budget constraints applied by myself.

Wage Budget: £664,381 p/w
Current Spend: £437,780 p/w

Our wage budget has increased slightly since the start of the save, but I have reduced the current spend from £599,870 at the start of the save to £437,780 at the end of the January transfer window. At the beginning, we were spending 93% of our wage budget, and I am now utilising only 66%, a drop of £162,090 per week. This is really pleasing as it was the main objective of the save, and to have done so much already is brilliant!

Our biggest expenditure is loan repayments, which amounts to roughly £620k per month, which I have covered by the reduction in wages alone. Our financial status is now "Rich", which based on Sunderland in real life is a feat in itself.
January 2018

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Brentford 2 - 4 Sunderland
Scorers: Andreas Pereira, Tom Davies (2), Conor Hourihane


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Sunderland 2 - 0 Newport County
Scorers: Own goal (2)


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Sunderland 4 - 2 Millwall
Scorers: Andreas Pereira, Aleix Febas, Ruben Gabrielsen, Tom Davies


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Sunderland 2 - 1 Leeds United
Scorers: Alex Wilkinson, Aleix Febas


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Sunderland 4 - 2 West Bromwich Albion
Scorers: Imoh Ezekiel (2), Aleix Febas, Didier Ndong


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Reading 1 - 1 Sunderland
Scorers: Andreas Pereira


«This comment has been edited»
January 2018 Transfers

Transfers In

We brought 11 players in during January, spending a whopping £4.6m! Four loans in the shape of Aron Gunnarsson (Sampdoria), Fran Merida (Swansea City), Chris Wood (Burnley) and Marcus Edwards (Tottenham). All four will provide cover and competition for the current first team.

In terms of players purchased, we spent £2m on Joes Maria Amo from Valencia. A young centre back who has a good future, and hopefully we can develop him to prove that Valencia were foolish to have sold him. Gaetan Bong arrived from Aston Villa for £525k to provide cover for James at left back, and we added Callum Hall from Crewe Alexandra for £200k. He's a tall target man, and I'll be looking for him to impose himself in our reserves this season.

Toni Gomes arrived from Liverpool for £500k, and the target man is another who I hope to see breaking into the first team fairly soon. We got him cheap, with Liverpool retaining 20% of future sales profit. Freestyler Hachim Mastour signed from AC Milan for 450k, and I would love to see how he actually improves as a footballer after his career stalled in Italy.

Finally, two incoming from PSG are Lorenzo Callegari and Odsonne Edouard for a combined 950k. Both youngsters will be in and around the first team this season, and the minimal outlay should provide us less pressure to develop them.

Transfers Out

Further wage bill reductions were seen with the departures of Wahbi Khazri (Stade Rennais for £12m) and Papy Djilobodji (Torino for £9.5m). Neither player was happy, and as I like to rotate them both they wanted first team football and were granted their wish to leave.

Ezequiel Ponce and Patrick Bamford also left the club in January, with neither really settling into the side. Ponce moves to Sheffield United for £2.7m and Bamford goes to Birmingham City on loan.

Conor Hourihane was another player who hasn't justified his wage, and he moves to Hull City for £5m. Jacques Maghoma was the final departure, moving to Nottingham Forest for 250k.

Total Spent: £4.7m
Total Sold: £29.5m

Profit: £24.8m

December 2017

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Sunderland 1 - 0 Birmingham City
Scorers: Carles Alena


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Preston North End 3 - 3 Sunderland
Scorers: Andreas Pereira, Ruben Gabrielsen, Carlos Castro


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Sunderland 0 - 0 Fulham
Scorers:


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Sunderland 4 - 1 MK Dones
Scorers: Tammy Abraham (2), Aleix Febas, Todd Kane


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Sunderland 3 - 2 Sheffield United
Scorers: Tammy Abraham (2), Charlie Mulgrew


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Bolton Wanderers 0 - 2 Sunderland
Scorers: Andreas Pereira (2)


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Swansea City 1 - 0 Sunderland
Scorers: None


«This comment has been edited»
Thanks @KEZ_7 - beating Spurs after extra time and penalties was fantastic, and fully deserved. We gave them a battle and came out on top! Thanks for following.

November 2017

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Hull City 1 - 3 Sunderland
Scorers: Patrick Bamford, Aleix Febas, Charlie Mulgrew


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Sunderland 3 - 1 Huddersfield Town
Scorers: Charlie Mulgrew, Sam Gallagher, Wahbi Khazri


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Sunderland 2 - 0 Cardiff City
Scorers: Sam Gallagher, Carlos Castro


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Scunthorpe United 1 - 2 Sunderland
Scorers: Imoh Ezekiel, Didier Ndong


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Sunderland 1 - 2 Chelsea
Scorers: Charlie Mulgrew
October 2017

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Sunderland 2 - 1 Brentford
Scorers: Aleix Febas, Todd Kane


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Sunderland 3 - 2 Blackburn Rovers
Scorers: Wahbi Khazri, Carles Alena, Carlos Castro


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Sheffield Wednesday 1 - 3 Sunderland
Scorers: Carlos Castro, Alex Wilkinson, Didier Ndong


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Sunderland 0 - 0 Crystal Palace
Scorers: None


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Tottenham Hotspur 3 - 3 Sunderland (Sunderland win 3-1 on penalties)
Scorers: Carlos Castro (3)


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Queens Park Rangers 1 - 0 Sunderland
Scorers: None
Thanks @Dan - was really pleased with how the window went, although I feel as though we need to buy a couple more quality players rather than focussing on the loans we have. Pereira should be our best player this year, but signing someone of that quality could be tough. I'll do a finance update at the end of January's window as that's where I am currently up to!

@VP. - thanks so much for subscribing! It's been an interesting save so far, and I am pleased that you have been interested by it!

September 2017

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Leeds United 1 - 1 Sunderland
Scorers: Tammy Abraham

A decent point bearing in mind the performance, as we were absolutely dreadful! I can't fathom how we can create so many attempts yet fail to score - other than this being FM! Will take a point, but it should've been much more.

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Sunderland 1 - 1 Reading
Scorers: Aleix Febas

Another draw, and another game where we should have scored a load of goals. Aleix Febas has been superb this season, and keeping hold of him will be massive for the club. He arrived on a free and has been a great addition.

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Sunderland 2 - 1 Aston Villa
Scorers: Ezequiel Ponce, Alfie Mawson

Woo hoo!! Finally we score more than once and secure three points. We're still conceding far too many goals, but we can focus on that in the tactics and try to shore up a bit. Still creating chances, and relieved to have got a win!

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Sunderland 4 - 0 Peterborough United
Scorers: Didier Ndong, Andreas Pereira, Carlos Castro (2)

Another comfortable win in the cup, and we're through to the 4th round with four goals. We were easily better than our visitors, and despite rotating the side, we managed to produce a top display of attacking football.

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Derby County 3 - 1 Sunderland
Scorers: Andreas Pereira

Ah normal service has resumed. We were absolutely battered by Derby County here, and they thoroughly deserve three points. Pereira pulled one back for us late on, but it was far too late to mount a substantial comeback.

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Middlesbrough 0 - 0 Sunderland
Scorers: None

A clean sheet, but also a nil on the goals for column. A very tepid derby, with neither side really giving an inch. Can't be too disappointed with this result against a side above us in the league, but the fans might be strained after failing to beat our rivals.

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Sunderland 1 - 0 Bristol City
Scorers: Todd Kane

The TV cameras were on show at the Stadium of Light, and we managed to get a win against a decidedly average Bristol City. Todd Kane scored a cracker for us, and it was always looking as though the game would go either to a dodgy penalty, wonder strike, or finish 0-0. Thankfully we come away with three points!
August 2017

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Milton Keynes Dons 1 - 0 Sunderland
Sayouba, Kane, Mawson, Djilobodji, James, Pereira, Ndong, Davies, Febas, Ponce, Abraham, Ezekiel
Subs: Khazri, Gallagher

A solitary strike from Jake Clarke-Salter late on secured an opening day victory for MK Dons. We were not at the races at all, and it's an incredibly disappointing start to the season.

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Sunderland 1 - 0 Blackpool
Ortola, Kane, Pennington, Wynter, James, Houghton, Alena, Pereira (1 goal), Bamford, Adekanye, Abraham
Subs: Wilkinson

Andreas Pereira scored the only goal to put us through to the second round of the EFL Cup. Pereira played the part of the role that I hoped he would when we signed him with an excellent finish.

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Sunderland 1 - 2 Bolton Wanderers
Sayouba, Kane, Djilobodji, Mawson, James, Davies, Alena, Febas, Gooch, Pereira, Abraham
Subs: Pennington, Ponce (1 goal), Hourihane

Another poor performance in the league, with Sammy Ameobi opening the scoring for our visitors. Ezequiel Ponce levelled after coming on as a substitute, but Jem Karacan scored on 80 minutes to win it for Bolton.

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Sheffield United 0 - 1 Sunderland
Sayouba, Kane, Mawson, Mulgrew, James, Davies, Ndong, Febas (1 goal), Hourihane, Pereira, Ponce
Subs: Gabrielsen, Abraham, Khazri

Finally, a league victory to our name! An early goal from Aleix Febas was enough to get us off the mark after just six minutes. We held on, it wasn't pretty, but a win is a win.

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Sunderland 4 - 1 Swansea City
Sayouba, Kane, Mawson, Gabrielsen, James, Pereira (2 goals), Ndong, Davies, Febas, Ponce, Abraham (2 goals)
Subs: None

A fantastic win for us, and after we had such a bad start to the season, it was great to see everything click. We changed the system a little bit and played two up front and it paid off against the side who came down from the Premier League.

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Rotherham United 2 - 4 Sunderland
Ortola, Kane, Pennington, Mawson, Radmore, Pereira (1 goal), Davies, Alena, Willock, Bamford (1 goal), Gallagher (2 goals)
Subs: None

A few fringe players were given a game here, with Radmore and Willock making their debuts. Willock played really well, and we grabbed goals from Bamford, Pereira and a double from Gallagher.

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Millwall 0 - 2 Sunderland
Sayouba, Kane, Gabrielsen, Djilobodji, James, Davies, Ndong, Febas, Hourihane, Pereira, Abraham
Subs: Alena, Gooch, Gallagher (2 goals)

A double from Gallagher off the bench was enough to win the game for us, and I was really pleased that he has started to find some form for us.
August 2017
With massive outgoings, we had to do something to redress the balance and bring some depth into the squad. I decided to focus on bringing some younger players to the club, but also managed to bring in a few experienced heads as well.

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Firstly, I needed to replace Steven Caulker and I believe Alfie Mawson is an excellent player to do that with. He's only 24 years old, and comes in as captain. We snatched him from Swansea who were relegated for £925k. Next up, I wanted to bring in a new full back and Todd Kane fit the bill perfectly. He can play on either side, and arrives from Chelsea for £750k. Bobby Adekanye arrived from Liverpool for the same fee, and will be a bit part player this season. He has a lot of potential, and I will endeavour to give him game time whenever possible.

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Mande Sayoud replaces the outgoing Ruiter, and will compete with Ortola for first choice goalkeeper this season. He arrives from Stabaek for £500k. Our scouts have spent a lot of time in Scandinavia, and he looks a great talent. We next added two forwards on free transfers, with Patrick Bamford and Ezequiel Ponce arriving. Bamford has ties to Middlesbrough, but I don't worry about that and I hope we can develop him here. Ponce is a gamble due to injury concerns, but hopefully he can also bed in here and at the very least we can get some transfer fees for them in the future if things don't work out.

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Matthew Pennington arrives on a free transfer after his release from Leeds, and can cover at centre back or full back. He's a player I've admired in real life after his loan spell at Coventry a few seasons ago, and I think this is another signing that should stand us in good stead. Sam Gallagher arrives on a free transfer from Southampton after being released. Gallagher was top goalscorer in the Championship last season with Birmingham City, and I am hopeful he can repeat those efforts this year. Matthew Willock arrives on a free transfer after his release from Manchester United, and I am very hopeful he will force his way into the first team squad this year.

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Three loan signings to round things off: Andreas Pereira arrives on loan from Manchester United, and should be very competitive at this level. I am pleased to have signed him, and I am expecting big things from him. Tammy Abraham arrives on loan from Chelsea, and whilst I want to focus on developing my own players, he was an opportunity not to be missed. Finally, Tom Davies arrives on loan from Everton and will give us something in central midfield. I have no idea how good he is on FM 17, but I am hopeful he will add some guile to the side.

Total spend: £5.5m
July 2017
After losing out in the play offs, we had to take stock of where we were overspending, and where we needed to strengthen. With the return of players on big wages, it was another busy period both in and out of the club. Firstly, let's cover the major outs!

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The first big piece of transfer news was the sudden departure of Steven Caulker to Watford for £15m; Caulker had already asked for a transfer after we missed out on promotion, and when the Hornets came in with a decent offer, we snapped their hands off and he was on his way. Paddy McNair was the next big departure, leaving for Bournemouth for £13.5m. McNair didn't have a strong season last year, and with high wages and annual increases in his contract, it was right to let him leave. I believe we have better in the squad, and if not we can certainly replace him. Callum McManaman had spent last season on loan at Udinese as I wanted his wages off the book. When he returned, I realised that he still wouldn't play for me, and he was moved on for £6m.

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Fabio Borini's transfer to AC Milan was already agreed as part of the loan deal, and we received £5.25m for him. It's a shame as he would do very well in my system, either out wide or up front, but it's not meant to be. Ashley Westwood's stay at Sunderland came to an early finish, as he simply didn't do enough to warrant his place in my squad. He moves to Fulham for £4.3m, and although he will be competing with us this season, I think it's a good move. Jermain Lens completed his pre arranged transfer to Besiktas for £3.7m. It solved an issue that I didn't have to sell him.

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Duncan Watmore demanded a move away, but there were no takers above the £3.5m we managed to get from Norwich City. He gets his wish of Premier League football, and we move on. It's a shame to lose him as he's a key player to Sunderland fans, but with the incomings we've got lined up, he won't be missed. Robbin Ruiter leaves to return to his native Holland, and joins Vitesse for £3m. Ruiter wasn't good enough last season, and I wasn't confident keeping him at the club. Bradley Johnson moves south to Ipswich Town for £3m, and was a tough decision to make. He wasn't amazing for us last season, but he was the true meaning of the phrase Steady Eddie. Another £3m added to the bank balance is great.

Other departures included Luke Ayling who returned to Leeds for £1m, Donald Love moved to Plymouth and Erhun Oztumer moved to Portsmouth, both for £350k each. Other than that, the other departures were youngsters who wouldn't cut it. So a high departure rate, and the squad will be very different next season.

Total sum received: £59m
This was a very good read, thanks for posting. It makes me think I should be trying to make more of a 'challenge' with my game rather then just playing.

Thanks for reading it so far! I always intend to do a save where I focus on the financial side of things, but then I get distracted and throw my wage structure in the bin and just max it out instead! It does make it tougher, but worse it makes you more critical of the high earning players who play badly as you've literally staked so much on them! Appreciate the comment, thanks!
@willz121 I've just started my own story too so not really in a position to advise on layouts, I intend to have something similar to yours with a few screens and comments here and there.

Best of luck (from a Geordie btw!) I'll definitely be following.

I'd be keen to do a similar save with Newcastle, as I can imagine their wage budget is probably all over the place with some on Championship wages, and some on top whack. Good luck with your save, I will follow it!!
Thanks @bigmattb28 - I don't like bulky text updates, so I will be aiming to spread them out a bit more during season 2. I just got stuck into the games as they were thick and fast, and next thing I know I'm already in pre-season!

Any comments or advice on layout gratefully received!
October
October started with a slender 1-0 victory over Barnsley, with Kazenga Lua Lua scoring the only goal. It was a disappointing performance, and one that set the tone for October. We followed it up with a 2-0 defeat against Derby and a 3-2 defeat against Brentford. Imoh Ezekiel got both the goals against Brentford, and followed that up with another against Middlesbrough in a 1-1 draw. We concluded the month with another 1-1 draw against Norwich, with Jacques Maghoma giving us an early lead.

November
Only three games in November, but our poor form continued. We began with a scoreless draw against Reading before defeat against Sheffield Wednesday. Emerson Hyndman scored a consolation for us in a 2-1 defeat, before we scrambled a win against Bolton. Ezekiel getting our only goal in which was a very poor performance all round.

December
In comparison to the previous two months, December was much better for us! We began with a 0-0 draw against Bristol City, before beating play off rivals Birmingham City 3-2 with goals from Zinchenko, Ezekiel and Gooch giving us a massive three points. A 2-2 draw with Leeds followed, with Maghoma grabbing a brace, before we comfortably beat Burton 3-0. Jonny Williams scored twice, with Lua Lua scoring the final goal. A Boxing Day win over Nottingham Forest (3-1 with goals from Hyndman, Gooch adn Ezekiel) was followed on New Years Eve with a 2-1 win over QPR. Ezekiel put us ahead just after half time, and Williams scored in injury time to give us a win.

January
We were very active in the January window, bringing in Carlos Castro from Gijon for £2.5m, Charlie Mulgrew from Blackburn for £2m, Conor Hourihane from Aston Villa for £3m and Arthur Masuaku on loan from West Ham. We also added a number of youngsters to the squad, including Trevor Chalobah and Tyrell Warren.

We began the month with a 3-1 win over Sheffield United, with Ezekiel, Mulgrew and Oztumer scoring, before we drew 1-1 with QPR in the FA Cup 3rd Round. Before the replay, we took maximum points at Ipswich, winning 3-2 with goals from Ezekiel x2 and Gooch. The game at Loftus Road was a straight forward affair, with us progressing to the next round with a 4-1 win. Carlos Castro scored twice on his debut, with Curtis Hamilton and Ezekiel scoring the other goals.

A 2-0 victory over Fulham followed, with a double from Zinchenko, before we managed to knock Burnley out of the FA Cup in the Fourth Round by the same score. Zinchenko scored again, with Ezekiel adding the second.

February
With automatic promotion in sight, we suffered back to back defeats against Hull City and Wolves to really dent our promotion push. Fortunately we got back to winning ways with a 3-0 win over Cardiff, before drawing with Millwall. Our FA Cup journey ended with a 2-0 defeat at Anfield, before two successive draws ended the month; 3-3 with Aston Villa and 2-2 with Preston North End.

March
An early strike from Gooch gave us a 1-0 win over Barnsley, before two draws with Derby (0-0) and Brentford (2-2). Norwich then gave us a lesson in defending, as we lost 1-0 and barely managed to break down their defence. Norwich are well on course to secure promotion and probably the title, but we did very little to show that we have anything to compete with them.

April
With the play offs still in our hands, we entered the final full month of the season with a lot to play for. Starting with a game against local rivals Middlesbrough, we played out an entertaining 1-1 draw. However, defeats against Sheffield Wednesday and Reading put a huge dent in our chances of a top six finish, and we only clung to the play off places due to the equally inept performances of the sides below us. We faced Bolton and Bristol City, sides with nothing to play for, and only came away with two points, games finishing 1-1 and 0-0 respectively. A timely 1-0 victory over Birmingham City saw us end April with one game to go, and knowing that avoiding defeat would see us into the play offs.

May
That final game came at Elland Road, with Leeds safe from relegation, and us fighting for our play off hopes, the game finished 1-1. Due to other results, we finished fifth, and went on to face Brentford in the play offs. Birmingham finished 3rd, and Ipswich 6th.

In the first leg, we were excellent in front of goal, but dreadful at defending, playing out a 3-2 victory. Knowing that we had the upper hand due to no away goals, we went to Griffin Park with high hopes, but lost 4-2 meaning we were out with a 6-5 aggregate defeat.

Ipswich went on to beat Brentford in the final, and they joined Norwich City (champions) and Wolves in the Premier League next season. Nottingham Forest, Barnsley and Burton were relegated to League One, and Forest could be an interesting challenge should they not get promoted straight back.

I signed a new two year deal at the club, but due to missing out on promotion, the finances are looking tight. The wage budget for next season is £450k and transfer budget is £4m. With some high earners returning from loans, this summer will more than likely see a high turnover of players!

Apologies for the long write up, but I got distracted by the game and forgot to do more detailed posts as they happened.
September
I thought we ended August in a good place, but September was a very rude awakening for us...

League: Sunderland 0 - 0 Sheffield United
Normally, a point against the Blades wouldn't be too disappointing, but they have been in woeful form this season, and this was definitely two points lost. The positive to take out of this game was Adrian Ortola keeping a clean sheet on his debut...

League: Hull City 4 - 2 Sunderland
... but then conceding four in his next game! Ortola wasn't to blame for all of the goals, but I did question the decision to stick with the youngster against a side who had been playing so well this season. However, he needs games to develop, and we will persevere with rotating between him and Ruiter. Jonny Williams and Bradley Johnson scored our goals, but aside from that, it wasn't a particularly happy 'derby' for us.

League: Cardiff City 3 - 2 Sunderland
A trip to Wales was also less than enjoyable, as again we scored twice on the road but failed to take any points. We're creating and scoring, but if we could learn to keep it tight at the back, then we would really have a presence in this league. Jacques Maghoma and Imoh Ezekiel scored our goals.

League: Sunderland 2 - 2 Wolves
Back to our pad, and we got a respectable draw with Wolves. Maghoma opened the scoring from the spot, before Joel Asoro secured a vital draw for us. After the previous two fixtures, it was pleasing to get away from losing, and Wolves should be the team everyone fears this season with their squad!

League: Sunderland 3 - 1 Aston Villa
What a pleasing result! After a bad run, we notched an excellent win over Villa, as goals from Ezekiel (x2) and Hyndman were enough to give us three points. It feels like it could be one of those seasons this year, but with us scoring goals for fun, we should be in most matches. Wins like this are vital, as is our home form.

League: Millwall 2 - 5 Sunderland
Jonny Williams was simply fantastic in this game, and we were 4-0 up in 27 minutes. Williams went on to grab his hat-trick, with Ezekiel and Ashley Westwood completing the rout. It was just a perfect performance, and with such an early flurry of goals, we had them dead and buried. Brilliant result!

League: Sunderland 4 - 0 Preston North End
A home game against Preston to round the month off, and we were excellent again. Whether we are finally gelling, or something is clicking in our new squad, we seem to be hitting some good form and we can hopefully maintain our place in or around the promotion hunt.

This result means we finish September in 2nd place, trailing Sheffield Wednesday.
August 2016

Whilst a busy transfer window revolved around us, we had seven fixtures in the first month of the new season.

Championship: Burton Albion 1 - 2 Sunderland
A trip to the Pirelli Stadium was first up, and goals from Marc Wilson and Ovie Ejaria (who has since had his loan spell cancelled) allowed us a great start to the campaign. We were pretty average, but if we play badly and win, we will definitely take that!

League Cup: Sunderland 3 - 0 Morecambe
A much rotated side took the field against Morecambe, with Lynden Gooch and Kazenga Lua Lua (x2) goals securing us a very comfortable win. Debuts were given to a number of Academy players, with Dan Casey and Ethan Robson particularly impressing.

League: Sunderland 1 - 1 Nottingham Forest
The cameras were out at the Stadium of Light for the Friday night fixture against Forest, and despite taking the lead through Emerson Hyndman, Daryl Murphy levelled things and we were unable to get past Forest's back five. A tough game, but a good point.

League: QPR 2 - 2 Sunderland
A double from Joel Asoro, the latter coming in the 89th minute, meant that we maintained our unbeaten start in the league as we journeyed to the capital. QPR gave us a thoroughly entertaining fixture, but it's clear that we are a long way from the finished article.

League: Fulham 0 - 2 Sunderland
Another game in London, this time at Fulham, saw us come away with all three points, as Jacques Maghoma netted a double to give us a much needed win. We seem to be generating chances and scoring goals through midfield, which is very pleasing!

League Cup: Wolves 2 - 1 Sunderland
Out played, out thought and out classed were my thoughts watching this game. We really were second best all over the pitch, and only rescued a consolation goal in injury time. The cup was never a massive goal for us, but it's always nice to have a little run. Alas, it's not meant to be and we can "concentrate on the league".

League: Sunderland 1 - 0 Ipswich Town
Joel Asoro netted the only goal in a very entertaining game. Neither side really had the quality up front to capitalise on the chances created, but an even game was edged by the young forward, who is looking every bit a first team player so far!
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