‘The Cruyff Philosophy’ (Mid Season Update)#FM16

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Mid Season Update 15-16

It’s been a very busy few months in Amsterdam has I try to implement our tactical philosophy whilst trying to meet expectations. We lead the table as we prepare for the winter break. After a brief chat with @Cleon81 I decided that I will let our Head of Youth Development bring players in to the club, Phil Cannon is in that role at the moment but maybe replaced shortly by someone who fits in better with The Cruyff Philosophy as we look to invest in youth development. The first half of the season for me as been to try and get us playing a brand of football that fits in nicely with the philosophy that we are building at the club. I have been watching and analysing our system on the field in fine detail across all our squads. This takes time so my save moves along slowly but it gives me great satisfaction to see our work paying off with micro management. I have had a lot of interest in our 3-3-3-1 system from our community which as been fantastic. The system I use is most definitely not a plug and play and requires a lot of factors coming together to get the end result. A few people have tested the system for me by using the basic tactic and micro managing their team accordingly, what works for my players may be totally different to what works for others. What I do know is the people who have used the tactic have all enjoyed the beautiful football it’s produced but have tweaked and used a different strategy to get their teams playing the football they want. A few people have asked about the wingers at the club and what the future holds for them in a system that does not use wingers. Well it would be foolish of me not to tap in to the talent at my disposal so their are a number of things that I am doing to integrate them in to the philosophy on the pitch.  (1) I have a 2nd tactic that uses the same philosophy with wingers or inside forwards, I always have a plan B on the pitch because I like to mix things up a bit against different clubs but keeping to the philosophy. (2) I train players to play in different positions for example Victor Fisher is on a training programme to enable him to drop in to the False 9 position, Cruyff liked players who could play in a number of positions….Total Voetbal  (Rinus Michels). I get great satisfaction from someone training in a new role and then pulling it off on the pitch. I am blessed with some fantastic potential at the club. If anyone wants to try the tactic out feel free to send me a direct message to @totalfootball71 with a e.mail address and I will send you the tactic. (Be patient though as I am at work but will respond asap). I have said though this is not a plug and play and will need you to set your own match strategy and manage your players accordingly. I have used Contain right through to Overload on matchday to try and get the result.

Eredivisie Results

17 games in and we are top of the table at the winter break, we have played some really good football with 7 wins in the opening 8 games Milik scoring 9 goals in that run of games with the highlight being an hat trick in the 4-0 victory over PSV in the Amsterdam Arena. The next 9 games we won 5 drawn 1 and lost 3. Two of the defeats were on the road and I think they were down to me getting our mentality wrong on the day. Never the less we have started well with the players doing well within the system. Player’s who are playing really well are Daley Sinkgraven, Riechedly Bazoer,Nicolai Boilesen and Arka Milik. Unfortunately Bazoer who is playing really well as my Regista as started making noises about a move to a bigger club, hopefully I have persuaded him to stay with us until the end of the season. Abdelhak Nouri as done well in the first team after I brought him in to the squad from the B team.

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League Table

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Champions League

The board wanted us to qualify for the group stage and we accomplished that with wins against Young Boys and Sparta Prague. We then drew a tough group that contained Real Madrid, Benfica and Wolfsburg. We lost our opening game against Benfica and our second game against Real Madrid before we got our first point at home to Wolfsburg. I was then confident that we could go to Germany and get a win in the return at Wolfsburg and it looked good as we went in 1-0 up at the break via a Boilesen goal. Wolfsburg went down to ten men early in the second half and gave us a great chance to pick up all 3 points however the game turned and we lost 2-1. 1 point from 4 games left us rooted to the bottom of the table with Benfica and Real Madrid left to play, our hopes of going further had been seriously dented. We gave ourselves an outside chance of staying in Europe with a 1-0 against Benfica but a 1-0 defeat in the Bernabeu in our final game left us rooted to the bottom and out of Europe….I thought we played pretty well to be honest in Europe without any reward.

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Dutch Cup

A chance for us to play a rotational side in the Dutch Cup means we give players on the fringe a run out to see how they are fitting in to the system. Volendam up first at the ArenA and a comfortable 2-0 win for the boys courtesy of Serero and Bazoer with the goals. We then destroyed HFC in the 3rd round with El Gazi netting 5 in an 8-0 win. A visit to SC Cambuur in the 4th round gave us a 1-0 win courtesy of Van de Beek  putting us in to the quarter-final were we have a home draw against Roda JC.

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Other News 

Unfortunately Jaap Stam as left the club after being offered the managers job at FC Twente, we wish him the best of luck. The board have made available  £5m for the transfer budget taking the available total to around  £7m. The transfer window is open again but I can’t see us doing any business coming in but we may be open to offers for a couple of players in our B team. Hopefully we can fend off any bids for our top players during the window which could unsettle the squad. Well that’s it for this post, I should have another post up at the weekend as we come to the end of the season here in the Netherlands, hopefully we will be fighting for the title and Dutch Cup double, plus I will be looking at our B team and Youth team progress and development.

 

‘The Cruyff Philosophy’ (Part One 15/16) #FM16

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I have had so many comments and request’s for my Ajax tactic over the last few day’s via social media that I have decided to dedicate an whole post on it. I am working on that post and still testing the tactic, what I will say at this point is that it is not a plug and play tactic but part of a system / philosophy that requires many other factors that include: Specific Team and Individual Training that requires time and patience each game week / month tailored to create the system that I call ‘The Cruyff Philosophy’. I have already spent endless hours watching,tweaking and understanding the system. I have regular conversation with my fellow philosopher @Rovazzz who is the American Guardiola about players and material online which gives us the opportunity to grow tactically. So I will post about the tactic when I am confident that I understand it and have got it playing how I want it too. I may even get a couple of people to test the system with other teams before posting it………..

The Formation 3-3-3-1 / 3-6-1  and the Sweeper variation and a 4-5-1 

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Pre Season 2015-2016 

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So first things first I was appointed manager of this famous club with a rich history on the day that Johan Cruyff passed away. One headline that I have seen from the many posted on that day was ‘Heaven Has A New Playmaker’ This save is dedicated to the man himself and ‘The Cruyff Philosophy’ which as served and shaped both Ajax and Barcelona so very well.

First day for me at the Amsterdam club was to take a look around at the squads and management team at the club. There is bags of potential already at the club in both the youth and B team squads that we will be using to feed the 1st team for years to come. The first team is also full of potential, the club is in a very good position. The management team is also in good shape and my first job was to offer contracts that will keep the staff together for the coming years. I have also added Head Of Youth Development Coach and fellow English man Phil Cannon to the team.

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Head of Youth Development

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First Team Staff

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B Team Staff

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Youth Team Staff

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Scouting Team 

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First Team Squad

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I am more than happy with the first team squad and have added Brazilian Rodrigo Caio to the ranks from Sao Paulo, he can play at the back as a Sweeper / Libero or Centre Back or in Midfield. He is the type of player I am looking for to fit in to our system. 

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Squad

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I am looking at keeping the 1st team squad at 21 players and promoting at least 2 players in to the squad each season. I have promoted Abdelhak Nouri to the first team.

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B Team Jong Ajax Squad

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Youth Team Squad

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Players Out On Loan

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The Clubs Rich History

Founded on March 18, 1900 AFC Ajax is one of the largest and most storied clubs in European football. After their founding and acceptance into Dutch Football Ajax spent ten seasons in the country’s second division before earning promotion for the 1911 season. The move to the first division did not last long though as just three seasons later the club was relegated for the first and only time in its illustrious history.

The fate of the club quickly changed with the arrival of trainer Jack Reynolds who would spend 35 years at the helm of the team. Under the leadership of this legendary coach Ajax won their first National Championship in 1918. From that point on Ajax could always be found at or near the top of the Dutch table. It was also Reynolds and his revolutionary training methods that built the foundation for what has now become the world famous Ajax Youth Training Program. 

The historic win of 1918 was the first of what currently stands at an astonishing 29 league titles for the Amsterdam club. Five of those magical wins came in the decade of the 1930’s when the dominance of the red and white was at one its highest points ever. The 1930’s were also a special decade for the club as in 1934 they moved into what would become known as “De Meer.” Their new stadium where which legends would be born. It was there that Ajax would call home fore over 60 years and be the place that the club would come to dominate Dutch football and grow into a power across Europe. 

Ajax’ first taste of European competition came in 1961 when the club became the first from the Netherlands to participate in the European Cup Winners Cup. Success on the European front loomed in the future as the club found a place in the 1969 Cup final before bringing home their first title in 1971. Starting with the magical victory in 1971 Ajax went on to win three consecutive European Champions Cups. In 1972, led by the world famous Johan Cruijff had one of the best seasons ever by a professional football team winning the National Championship, the Dutch Cup, the European Champions Cup and the World Cup.

“De Meer” was also the place where Ajax would develop it’s world famous youth training program and develop some of the worlds best football players, a philosophy that is even more important to their success today.

The success of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s although impossible to duplicate was followed up by 25 more years of success for the club that included 11 National Championships in the final quarter of the century. The success was highlighted by another exciting venture in Europe as Ajax again became European and world champions in 1995.

Ajax definitively bids farewell to De Meer stadium one year after winning Champions League. The club moves to the much larger Amsterdam ArenA. The stadium is Ajax’s home base from that moment. The move is difficult for many Ajax fans and members, especially considering how many successes were celebrated in the old, trusted Ajax stadium over the previous 62 years. For coaches, players, and fans alike, De Meer had become a home away from home through the years. As Ajax experiences successes in the ArenA, an Ajax feeling steadily grows in the stadium. 

In addition to the stadium, Ajax’s world famous youth academy also got a new home. The academy moved from Voorland to de Toekomst. The complex is a stone’s throw away from the Amsterdam ArenA. The Ajax players of the future are hard at work there. Wesley Sneijder, Urby Emanuelson, Rafael van der Vaart, Maarten Stekelenburg and Gregory van der Wiel are among the many players who were trained at de Toekomst. Since the arrival of coach Martin Jol, the first team also practices at the modern sports facility, which has an inspiring view of the ArenA.

With Jol coaching, Ajax experiences a good 2009-2010 year. Unfortunately, they miss the title by one point, but Ajax’s results are good. After 17 home games, the team only has 4 goals against (!). Ajax breaks not only the club record, but the Eredivisie record. In total, 106 goals are scored. The top scorer of Ajax and the Eredivisie is Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan player scores 35 times in 34 Eredivisie matches. The cherry on the cake is the KNVB Cup win, after a double header against Feyenoord. For the eighteenth time in history, Ajax wins the ‘silver pine cone’. 

The outstanding performances were promising for the 2010-2011 season. But on December 6 2010, after a series of disappointing results, Martin Jol and Ajax announce the end of their partnership. Frank de Boer takes over, and under his leadership, Ajax de-thrones FC Twente as national champion in the final match of the season. Ajax wins the title for the thirtieth time. Under de Boer Ajax have gone on to win 3 more titles taking the total to 33.

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The Boards Expectations

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Pre Season Friendlies / Champions League Qualifier

 

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We had a good pre season mixing all 3 squads to get game time and work our tactics out, we also had to play our Champions League Qualifier’s

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Champions League 3rd Qualifying Round 1st Leg

Home Young Boys Won 1-0

We controlled the game from start to finish but it took a 72nd minute goal from Milik for us to take a slender lead to Switzerland for the 2ns leg. I was pleased with our performance on the night we looked a solid unit and kept that all important away goal out.

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Champions League 3rd Qualifying Round 2nd Leg

Away Young Boys Won 3-0

A Pleasing away performance wrapped up for us by the in form Polish forward Arik Milik who netted a brace, one in each half with Zivkovic also scoring and setting up a 4th qualifying round tie up against Sparta Prague.

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Champions League Best Placed Playoff 1st Leg

Home Sparta Prague Won 3-0

A resounding 3-0 win and a performance of entertaining football that Cruyff would have been proud of Nouri, Veltman and Milik got the goals but Daley Sinkgraven stole the show with stunning performance and a 95% pass completion rate. Another clean sheet and a huge step in qualifying for the group stage.

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Champions League Best Placed Playoff 2nd Leg

Wow….what should have been a formality ended up being a nervous occasion until the hour mark when Boilesen scored a crucial away goal to ease the nerves. It was my fault for our poor first half showing which had seen Sparta go in 2-0 up at the break and bring the tie back to 2-3 on aggregate. I had tinkered with our system and nearly paid the price until I changed it back at half time. Sparta were rampant in the first 45 and could have gone in 3 up but for a superb save from Cillessen. We settled in the 2nd half and never looked in danger Bazoer getting our second to earn a 2-2 draw and put us in the hat for the group stage draw. Lesson learnt by myself not to tinker on matchday……

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Champions League Group Stage Draw

We have been handed a tough group, we have drawn Real Madrid, Benfica and Wolfsburg. We will have to be on top form to progress in to the knockout rounds. Some big European night ahead then which I am looking forward to testing the system out on these European giants.

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So thats our pre season wrapped up its time to get on with the season ahead, I hope you will enjoy following our fortunes as we try to entertain along the way with ‘The Cruyff Philosophy’

A shout out for @Rovazzz who as just done the double (Bundesliga and Champions League) with Bayern Munich in his first season, well done Bro and keep up the good work with the Juego de Posicion philosophy. until next time goodbye.

 

 

 

 

The Cruyff Philosophy (The Beginning) #FM16

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AFC Ajax is one of the most successful clubs in Dutch football. Historically, Ajax is the most successful club in the Netherlands, with 33 Eredivisie titlesand 18 KNVB Cups.

Ajax is historically one of the most successful clubs in the world; according to the IFFHS, Ajax were the seventh-most successful European club of the 20th century. The club is one of the five teams that has earned the right to keep the European Cup and to wear a multiple-winner badge; they won consecutively in 1971–1973. In 1972, they completed the continental trebleby winning the Eredivisie, KNVB Cup, and the European Cup. Ajax’s last international trophies were the 1995 Intercontinental Cup and the 1995 Champions League, where they defeatedMilan in the final; they lost the 1996 Champions League final on penalties to Juventus.

Ajax is also one of three teams to win the continental treble and the Intercontinental Cup in the same season/calendar year; This was achieved in the 1971–72 season. Ajax, Juventus, Bayern Munich andChelsea are the four clubs to have won all three major UEFA club competitions. They have also won theIntercontinental Cup twice, the 1991–92 UEFA Cup, as well as the Karl Rappan Cup, a predecessor of the UEFA Intertoto Cup, in 1962. Ajax plays at the Amsterdam Arena, which opened in 1996. They previously played at De Meer Stadion and the Amsterdam Olympic Stadium (for international matches).

Amateur era

The club was founded in Amsterdam on 18 March 1900 by Floris Stempel, Carel Reeser and Han Dade, the second incarnation after a short-lived previous attempt—as Football Club Ajax—in 1894. The club was named after the mythological hero Ajax, a Greek who fought in the Trojan War against Troy. In The Iliad, Ajax was said to be the greatest of all the Greeks next to his cousin Achilles, and even fought an inconclusive duel with Troy’s champion, Hector. According to most accounts, Ajax died by committing suicide, thus, unlike Achilles, he died unconquered.

Ajax succeeded in promotion to the highest level of Dutch football in 1911 under the guidance of Jack Kirwan, their first official coach. The promotion meant that Ajax were forced to alter the club’s strip, as Sparta ofRotterdam had the same kit, red-white vertical stripes with black shorts. Ajax adopted a broad vertical red stripe on a white background with white shorts, which remains the club’s kit colours to this day.

Although their efforts were not unnoticed (Gé Fortgens became a frequent member of the Dutch national teamfor many years), they were relegated in 1914. While they immediately bounced back, they had to wait until 1917 to regain higher level status again: they did become league champions in both 1915 and 1916, however the 1915 league was declared unofficial (due to World War I), whereas in 1916 they did not make it through the promotion round.

Under the guidance of Jack Reynolds (Kirwan’s successor as of 1915), the club was promoted to the highest level in 1917 and won the Dutch national cup final, defeating VSV 5–0. Ajax went on to win their first national championship in 1918. The championship was secured in Tilburg where they faced Willem II without Jan de Natris, arguably the club’s first star player, who missed the train to Tilburg and opted to stay in Amsterdam instead, earning him a fine of ten cents. In the following season, he received a six-month ban, though Ajax nonetheless performed well in his absence; not only did they retain the championship title, their 1919 campaign was also an unbeaten run for them, an accomplishment that was only repeated 76 years later by Ajax themselves.

Now a regular contender for the Western Regional championship in the Netherlands, Ajax marched through the 1920s with regional titles in 1921, 1927 and 1928, in addition to a few minor cup victories. The 1930s would prove to be more successful, however; with household names as Wim Anderiesen Sr., Dolf van Kol, Piet Strijbosch, Wim Volkers, Jan van Diepenbeek, Bob ten Have, Erwin van Wijngaarden and prolific striker Piet van Reenen, Ajax’ period from the late ’20s until World War II was so successful that many people dubbed it “the golden age” (a reference to the 17th century, the heyday of the Dutch Republic).

With eight regional titles (1930–32, 1934–37 and 1939) and five national championships (1931, 1932, 1934, 1937 and 1939), Ajax was the most successful team of that era in the country. The 1930s were also notable for the final culmination of the rivalry with Feyenoord, another squad that earned many awards in that time, as well as the creation of the stadium ‘het Ajax-Stadion’ dubbed ‘De Meer'(named after the borough of its residence). Until the emergence of the Amsterdam Arena in 1996, this was Ajax’ home ground together with the Olympic Stadium for higher-profile games.

As of the 1940s, perhaps in line with Jack Reynolds’ retirement (he had stayed – save for a few spells of absence – on for the entire time as Ajax’ manager since his entry in 1915), Ajax went through a period of rebuilding. Gerrit Fischer and Erwin van Wijngaarden were retained, with Joop Stoffelen, Guus Dräger, Gé van Dijk, Jan Potharst and later Rinus Michels and Cor van der Hart brought in. After a Cup Final victory in 1943, Ajax went on to finish second in the championship league in 1946 (behind HFC Haarlem) followed by a league championship win in 1947.

They became regional champions in 1950 again, though they never came near winning the championship. The season was notable for a match against SC Heerenveen, with Heerenveen coming back from 5–1 down to win 6–5. In 1941, Ajax performed the opposite: after being 6–0 behind to VUC in The Hague they managed to pull out a draw in the end (6–6).

Until 1954, the year that professional football was introduced in the Netherlands, Ajax had some minor successes, with the regional title in 1952 and a second place in the regional championship in 1954 (equal in points with fellow Amsterdam club Door Wilskracht Sterk).

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Professional football and the road to the top

In 1955, professional football was finally permitted in the Netherlands. Ajax was still far from the international top, as was demonstrated in the European Cup match against Vasas SC, where they were beaten by the Hungarians 4–0 in the Népstadion. Similar European failures followed in 1960, with Ajax being knocked out by the Norwegian amateurs of Fredrikstad FK and in the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1961 by Újpest FC of Ferenc Bene.

Ajax achieved some success on the domestic level, earning the first Eredivisie-championship in 1957 and again in 1960, the 1960 title decided by a playoff after equalling in points with arch-rivals Feyenoord. Ajax cruised to a 5–1 victory with a hat trick by striker Wim Bleijenberg.

Bleijenberg was not the top scorer, however. Henk Groot – the younger brother ofCees Groot, who had scored 100 goals for Ajax in his five-year stay – arrived in 1959 from Stormvogels and scored 38 goals in 1959–60 and 41 in 1960–61. He was a vital part of Ajax in the early 1960s, replacing star striker Piet van der Kuil, who had left for PSV in 1960. Alongside the man who would later become Mister Ajax, Sjaak Swart, Co Prins, Ton Pronk, Bennie Muller and a young Piet Keizer, Ajax added the National Cup in 1961 and the Intertoto Cup 1962 to their trophy cabinet.

After missing out on the championship after a 5–2 defeat against PSV in 1963, Ajax entered a period of decline in the national league. Henk Groot left to Feyenoord that summer, and in 1964–65, they were near relegation. Things improved after former player Rinus Michels replaced Vic Buckingham as the head manager. Ajax managed to secure a midtable spot under Michels; however, Buckingham’s second tenure saw the introduction of Johan Cruyff during a 3–1 loss at GVAV.

Michels started a revolution in Amsterdam, beginning with the return of Henk Groot and Co Prins, as well as the signing of goalkeeper Gert Bals. Michels built a side around the vision of “Total Football,” sacrificing players who he considered not to be good enough or fit the style of play. The most notable example of this was defender Frits Soetekouw—replaced by Ajax’ new captain Velibor Vasović—whose own goalaided the victory of Dukla Prague in the quarter-final of the European Cup in 1966–67, after Ajax had knocked out Beşiktaş and defeated Liverpool 5–1 at the Mistwedstrijd.

Ajax sealed their second consecutive championship in 1967. They were not as dominant as the previous year, but with a seemingly unstoppable attack, they scored no less than 122 goals (still a national record), of which 33 were from Johan Cruyff, who, at just 20 years of age, was already the team’s star player. It was also the season for another important milestone—for the first time in history, Ajax won the double (after defeating NAC Breda in the cup final).

It earned them European Cup qualification, being knocked out by Real Madrid in the subsequent season, withVeloso scoring the winner for Los Merengues in extra time after two 1–1 draws, results which greatly enhanced the reputation of the club.

Ajax won the Dutch title of 1968 overtaking Feyenoord, the league leaders for much of the season, and reached the European Cup final of 1969 in Madrid against Milan. In qualifying for the European Cup Final, Ajax defeated1. FC Nürnberg in the first round. They were almost knocked out by Benfica in the second, losing 1–3 to them in Amsterdam but winning the second leg in Lisbon, 1–3. The decisive third match in neutral Paris was won 3–0 through two goals by Inge Danielsson and one by Cruyff. They repeated this score at home against the next opponent, Czechoslovak club Spartak Trnava, in the next round, but struggled in the second leg, narrowly qualifying on aggregate. In the final, Milan, lauded for their excellent defence and counter-attacks, easily won 4–1, with Pierino Prati opening the scoring after seven minutes and going on to score a hat-trick, while Velibor Vasović was the only Ajax player on the scoresheet after scoring from a penalty. Milan’s win was capped by a goal by Angelo Sormani.

Gloria Ajax: European dominance and treble

Following their loss in the European Cup Final, Ajax entered another period of rebuilding. Among the new additions were national top scorer Dick van Dijk and midfielders Gerrie Mühren and Nico Rijnders, while a second team player, Ruud Krol, was promoted to the first XI. They replaced Klaas Nuninga, Inge Danielsson, Theo van Duijvenbode (all sold to other clubs) and Henk Groot, who retired from football after an injury while playing against Poland. Ton Pronk and Bennie Muller were no longer as frequently in the first 11 after many years of service.

In 1969–70, Ajax won the Dutch league championship, winning 27 out of 34 games and scoring 100 goals. Feyenoord remained in contention throughout the season, but they had to settle for second place. Both clubs won a trophy, however, with Ajax winning the Eredivisie title while Feyenoord captured the European Cup. Ajax reached the semi-finals of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1970 (being knocked out by Arsenal after defeatingHannover 96, Napoli, Ruch Chorzów and Carl Zeiss Jena).

The year 1971 became the long awaited year of glory, with Ajax winning trophies at both domestic and European level. For a substantial part of the season, Ajax seemed to be on their way to the European treble (a feat only previously performed by Celtic in 1967). Domestically, Ajax finished second to Feyenoord in the league, winning the KNVB Cup after a replayed final against Sparta Rotterdam. In Europe, Ajax defeated 17 Nëntori, FC Basel, Celtic and Atlético Madrid en route to the 1971 European Cup Final played at Wembley Stadium on June 2. There, 83,000 spectators witnessed a 2–0 victory over Panathinaikos, with goals from Dick van Dijk and an Arie Haan shot deflected by defender Kapsis. Captain Velibor Vasović could finally lift the European Cup after having lost two previous finals in 1966 with FK Partizan and again in 1969.

In the following years, Ajax established itself as the foremost club in European football. Romanian coach Stefan Kovacs replaced Michels in 1971, while Rijnders and Vasović departed in the same year; Van Dijk departed in 1972. Such changes in the side and management did not disrupt the success of the club, however, with Ajax completing the treble of European Cup, Dutch National Championship and the KNVB Cup in 1972 to which was added the Intercontinental Cup. In 1973, Ajax won a third consecutive European Cup and another Dutch championship; however, failure in the KNVB Cup meant Ajax missed out on a second consecutive treble.

The departure of Johan Cruyff for FC Barcelona in 1973 signalled the end of the period of success, effectively ending the reign of the so-called “12 Apostles,” the typical starting XI of Heinz Stuy, Wim Suurbier, Barry Hulshoff,Horst Blankenburg, Ruud Krol, Arie Haan, Johan Neeskens, Gerrie Mühren, Sjaak Swart, Johan Cruyff and Piet Keizer, plus the usual 12th man, usually Ruud Suurendonk until 1972, then Johnny Rep. Whereas clubs like Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Internazionale, Arsenal, Juventus and Independiente were beaten by Ajax between 1971 and 1973, failure in the European Cup at the hands of CSKA Sofia in late 1973 signalled the decline of Ajax in European football.

Nevertheless, the “Total Football” that they had propagated became a lasting memory for many football fans, contributing to the Dutch national team reaching the final of the 1974 FIFA World Cup using similar tactics. The decline of Ajax and the loss to the West Germans in the World Cup Final saw the end of the Total Football era. Years later, Ajax manager Tomislav Ivić would dub the era Gloria Ajax, illustrating the impact of the team’s years at the pinnacle of European football.

First renaissance and 1980s

After a period of decline, in 1977, Tomislav Ivić coached Ajax to their first domestic championship since 1973. Ajax returned to domestic success winning five league championships after 1977, as well as four cups, though impressive European performances were sparse. Ajax were knocked out by Juventus in the quarter-finals of the European Cup in 1978 and reached a European Cup semi-final in 1980, losing to eventual winners Nottingham Forest. Disappointing European form between 1980 and 1986 saw the club failing to progress past the second round for six-straight years. Johan Cruyff returned to the club in 1981, with the club producing some talented youngsters in the mid-1980s, such as Wim Kieft, John van ‘t Schip, Marco van Basten, Gerald Vanenburg, Jesper Olsen and Frank Rijkaard.

After leaving the club in 1983 after a conflict with President Harmsen, Cruyff returned once again in 1985 as the team’s new manager. His attacking tactics were immediately illustrated in his first active season, where Ajax ended the season with 120 goals in total, of which 37 were from Ajax’s new star player, Marco van Basten. Despite this, Ajax finished as runners-up in the league to PSV twice in a row in 1985–86 and 1986–87. Despite the lack of domestic league success, however, Cruyff’s Ajax won the 1987 Cup Winners’ Cup, beating East German club Lokomotive Leipzig. Ajax then reached the Final again in the following season, losing out to KV Mechelen.

Cruyff departed prior to the second Cup Winners’ Cup Final largely as a result of the declining results on the domestic front. With most of the 1980s’ stars such as Van Basten also leaving, Ajax once again declined. They continued to compete for the title with PSV in subsequent years, who became the dominant club in European and Dutch football, matching Ajax’s 1972 achievement of a continental treble in 1988. Negative aspects of the period 1988 from 1991 were the fraud-case in 1989 and a year-long ban from European competition in 1990–91 following an incident whereby a fan threw an iron bar at the Austria Wien goalkeeper during a UEFA Cup tie in the1989–90 season. Under new manager Leo Beenhakker, Ajax went on to win the championship race with PSV in 1990, almost also winning the league again in 1991, but narrowly losing-out to PSV.

Van Gaal Era

On departure to Real Madrid in 1991, Beenhakker was replaced by Louis van Gaal, the team’s former assistant coach. Like Cruyff, Van Gaal rapidly made his mark by altering Ajax’ tactics, and also like Cruyff, his efforts were rewarded in his first season at the helm by winning the 1992 UEFA Cup after a thrilling final against Torino. Although he did not play the Final’s second leg, the tournament saw the arrival of Dennis Bergkamp, who contributed six goals during the competition. Despite Bergkamp being the top goalscorer in Dutch football in 1991 and 1992, Ajax once again finished as runners-up to PSV in the league. In 1992–93, Ajax even had to settle for a third spot for first time since 1984, though they nonetheless won the KNVB Cup.

In 1993, Bergkamp and Wim Jonk left to Internazionale, allowing Finn Jari Litmanen to establish himself as the new number 10 for Ajax. Aside from Litmanen, Ajax attracted Finidi George and the return of Frank Rijkaard, providing a base for van Gaal to build on. Ajax won three consecutive league titles in 1993–94, 1994–95 and1995–96.

The 1994–95 season saw Ajax win both the UEFA Champions League and the league title after going unbeaten in both tournaments. It was also the final season for Frank Rijkaard, while striker Patrick Kluivert had an excellent start to his first-team career, with the then 18-year-old coming off the bench to score a late winner to beat Milan 1–0 in the 1995 Champions League Final. Ajax went on to beat Brazilian side Grêmio on penalties to win the 1995 Intercontinental Cup, and beat Real Zaragoza 5–1 on aggregate to win the 1995 UEFA Super Cup. Ajax also reached the 1996 Champions League Final, losing to Juventus on penalties after a 1–1 draw.

The subsequent period, however, saw the departure of manager Louis van Gaal along with an exodus of many key players, several on free transfers following the Bosman ruling—Clarence Seedorf departed in 1995; Edgar Davids, Michael Reiziger, Finidi George and Nwankwo Kanu in 1996; Patrick Kluivert, Marc Overmars andWinston Bogarde in 1997, along with Louis van Gaal departing for Barcelona and being replaced by Morten Olsen; Ronald de Boer and Frank de Boer played their last matches for Ajax in 1998 before leaving in January 1999; and Edwin van der Sar and Jari Litmanen also left in 1999, together with the retirement of Frank Rijkaard in 1995 and Danny Blind in 1999. Van Gaal’s replacement, Morten Olsen, attracted Danish national team captainMichael Laudrup to the club for the 1997–98 season. Ajax won the league title and Dutch Cup in 1997–98. Despite this fine success, however, Olsen could not replace the key players who had departed or maintain the success that there had been under Van Gaal. As Olsen began his second season at the club, tensions arose between Dutch players Ronald and Frank de Boer and the Ajax hierarchy over a contract dispute. Results declined on the pitch as the contract row with the De Boers intensified, and Olsen was ultimately sacked late in 1998. In 1999, Ajax finished sixth in the league, their lowest position in over 20 years, although they did win the 1999 Dutch Cup.

Koeman / Blind / Ten Cate / Van Basten / Jol

In the 2002–03 season, manager Ronald Koeman led Ajax to the Champions League quarter-finals against Milan, losing only to a last minute winner in the second-leg encounter at the San Siro. Koeman’s early success, however, was short-lived. In 2005, he resigned after Ajax’s defeat to AJ Auxerre in the UEFA Cup during a period of arguments with football director Louis van Gaal. Danny Blind was Koeman’s replacement, and the former instantly caused consternation by announcing that the club was to play using a 4–4–2 formation, abandoning the Total Football-oriented 4–3–3 that had become Ajax’ trademark.[citation needed] The season also saw the departure of key players Rafael van der Vaart and Nigel de Jong to Hamburger SV, and Zlatan Ibrahimović to Juventus, while six others (Hatem Trabelsi, Tomáš Galásek, Hans Vonk, Nourdin Boukhari, Steven Pienaar and Maxwell) revealed they would leave the club at the end of the 2005–06 season.

Blind was later sacked on 10 May 2006 after 422 days in charge, where he was replaced by Henk ten Cate, who had won the Champions League and La Liga title in 2006 as the assistant to Frank Rijkaard with Barcelona. Ten Cate gave youngsters Jan Vertonghen and Robbert Schilder a shot at making the team selection, whereas Greek forward Angelos Charisteas was sold to rivals Feyenoord.

Ajax missed out on a Champions League place in 2006–07 after their defeat against FC Copenhagen (3–2 on aggregate). As a result, Ajax played against IK Start from Norway in the first round of the UEFA Cup on 14 and 18 September, and won the match 9–2 on aggregate (2–5 away and 4–0 home). Having then progressed through the group stages, they drew German club Werder Bremen in the round of 32. In the first leg in Germany, Ajax lost 3–0. On the return leg in Amsterdam, they rallied for two second half goals to win 3–1, but lost 4–3 on aggregate.

In the 2006–07 season Ajax also achieved some successes with ten Cate in charge. They won the Johan Cruijff Shield after a 3–1 win over rivals PSV and they also defeated AZ 8–9 on penalties in the Dutch Cup final after a 1–1 draw after extra time. Ajax was very close to clinch the Eredivisie title after deducting a ten-point deficit from PSV, but lost it on goal difference on the last matchday to PSV (PSV: 75–25, Ajax 84–35).

In the following 2007–08 season, Ajax sold two of the biggest talents: Ryan Babel for €17 million to Liverpool and Wesley Sneijder for €27 million to Real Madrid. Luis Suárez, seen as a replacement for Babel, was signed from FC Groningen. Ajax decided not to buy a replacement for Sneijder because of the difficulty in finding a similar-position type of player to replace him and also because the deal was finished close to the transfer deadline and Ajax would not rush through any signings.

The fact that they did not find any replacement for Sneijder, backed with Edgar Davids’s broken leg, disrupted the preparation for the qualification games for a Champions League place. Opponent Slavia Prague won both matches; with a 2–1 scoreline in Prague and 0–1 victory in Amsterdam. The failure to clinch a position in the Champions League group stage led to great criticism from both the supporters and the media, mainly directed at Henk ten Cate and the board of directors. A 1–0 victory over PSV for the Johan Cruijff Shield could not make up for the loss of a Champions League spot. Despite quite a good start in the competition with a lot of goals from both Luis Suárez and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Ajax lost ground again in Europe after not making it to the group phase of the UEFA Cup; managing a 0–1 win away against Dinamo Zagreb but lost the tie in Amsterdam after extra time with the score 2–3 to Dinamo. With these string of European failures, coach Ten Cate was not able to carry the team through to the Champions League group stage for two seasons in a row and no European football at the ArenA for the remainder of the 2007–08 season. With these disappointing results, Ten Cate lost the confidence of the supporters, who demanded that the Board sack him. A more viable solution came whenChelsea, in the same week, offered Ten Cate the job of assistant manager on a three-year deal. On 9 October, Ten Cate left Ajax, whereupon Adrie Koster was selected to helm the squad. On 29 October 2007, captain Jaap Stam announced his immediate retirement from professional football due to a lack of motivation to continue. Ajax finished the season second and, following the Play-offs, qualified for the 2008–09 UEFA Cup.

Following UEFA Euro 2008, former Ajax striker Marco van Basten was appointed as the new manager, succeeding Koster. Johan Cruyff was poised to take up a new position with the club to overhaul the youth program, but after a dispute with Van Basten, he reneged on this commitment. Following Van Basten’s appointement, a host of new players were brought into the squad, including Ismaïl Aissati and Miralem Sulejmani, whose €16.25 million transfer from SC Heerenveen broke the Dutch transfer record. Van Basten chose Klaas-Jan Huntelaar as the new club captain following his appointment, but in the January 2009 transfer window, Huntelaar transferred to Real Madrid on a €27 million deal, a decision for which Ajax were largely criticised in the Dutch papers. The Volkskrant, for instance, referred to Ajax as a mere “trading company” that reduced its chances for a title by selling its main striker.

Ajax finished third in 2008–09 season, qualifying for the inaugural UEFA Europa League. Marco van Basten resigned after the penultimate game of the season, citing the season’s results and his inability to perform better next season as main reasons. For the last game against FC Twente, the team was under the hands of assistant coach John van ‘t Schip. Later in the same month, Martin Jol was signed as the new coach.

The 2009–10 season for Ajax started with two wins, but after an away defeat against rivals PSV and a draw against Sparta Rotterdam, they were again trailing the league leaders in the early stages of the competition. From matchday seven until matchday 27, Ajax held the third place in the league, with Twente and PSV above them, which held the top position respectively 10 and 11 games. Starting with matchday 21, Ajax won every single match until the end of the season. Twente however, unlike PSV, would not succumb to the pressure and eventually succeeded in keeping a one-point deficit to win the title. Ajax finished the season with a goal difference of +86 (106–20), which was more than double that of Twente (+40). Luis Suárez finished the season as top goal scorer with 35 goals, a record for a non-Dutch player in the Eredivisie. Despite the disappointment of missing out on the league title, Ajax would finish the season by winning a record 18th KNVB Cup by defeating Feyenoord in the final. (On their way to this cup triumph, Ajax also re-wrote the Dutch record books with a remarkable 14–1 victory at the ground of amateurs WHC in Round Four.)

Success under De Boer

Winning double-leg matches with PAOK and Dynamo Kyiv in the 2010–11 Champions League qualifiers, the club returned to the premier European competition after five seasons. Twente won the Johan Cruyff Shield through a 1–0 victory over Ajax, though Ajax began its 2010–11 league season brightly, drawing Groningen 2–2 before going on a winning streak that included a 1–2 away victory over archrivals Feyenoord. Ajax then proceeded to draw Twente 2–2, equalizing on a fine goal from Eyong Enoh. Their season continued in an up-and-down fashion through the departure of manager Martin Jol and the appointment of Frank de Boer as his replacement. On the European front, De Boer’s debut game was a 2–0 win over Milan, which rounded off a largely disappointing performance in a group that included heavyweights Real Madrid and Milan; Ajax picked up only seven points in the group stage and was consigned to play in the UEFA Europa League for the remainder of the season, eventually falling to Russian club Spartak Moscow in the Round of 16.

On the domestic front, Ajax began turning out some much more positive results in February, losing only once from then on until the end of the season. The team faced Twente twice at the end of the campaign, first in theKNVB Cup Final, then in the final match of the 2010–11 Eredivisie. In the Cup Final, Ajax had the lead twice but succumbed to a 117th minute Marc Janko goal to lose 3–2 after extra time. One week later, there was a grandstand finish set up for the Eredivisie. Rivals PSV had lost pace and were sitting in third place, while Ajax sat in second place just one point below Twente. Thus, should Ajax win, they would overtake Twente and claim the league title. Ajax took the lead through Siem de Jong and a Denny Landzaat own goal just after halftime made it 2–0 to Ajax. Theo Janssen pegged one back for Twente, but it was not to be, as De Jong scored his second and Ajax’s third with 12 minutes remaining to put the game to bed. Ajax thus leapfrogged Twente and walked out winners of the 2010–11 Eredivisie. This was Ajax’s 30th championship, earning them their third star.

The 2011–12 season began poorly for Ajax and in one stretch, they lost points in seven out of eight consecutive matches, including draws to PSV, Twente, AZ and Feyenoord in the Klassieker. Ajax was marred by injuries towards the end of 2011, most notably to Nicolai Boilesen and transfer Kolbeinn Sigthorsson, who each missed five months or more, as well as Gregory van der Wiel, Siem de Jong and transfer Derk Boerrigter, who each missed a month or more. This led to disappointment in the Champions League, as Ajax failed to progress to the knockout stage by virtue of goal difference. The third-place finish in Group D with Olympique Lyonnais and eventual semi-finalists Real Madrid resulted in qualification to the Europa League knockout stages, where Ajax were drawn against Manchester United. United eliminated Ajax on aggregate, but not before Ajax beat the English powerhouse at Old Trafford 1–2 on a late goal by Toby Alderweireld. In the Eredivisie, Ajax opened the 2012 calendar year with a draw to then leaders AZ and losses in the Klassieker and to FC Utrecht. This left Ajax in sixth place, ten points behind leaders AZ. Ajax then proceeded to win their final 14 matches of the season for the second time in three years, winning Ajax their 31st championship. On 5 May 2013, Ajax won their 32nd championship after a 5–0 home win against Willem II. The team became Amsterdam Sportsteam of the Year of 2013. In 2013–14, Ajax won their 33rd championship, their fourth consecutive league title for the first time in their long history.

The Ajax Youth Academy

Ajax’s youth academy is world famous. The goal of Ajax is to form talented young players into top football players. Only the very best will reach the top after a difficult and often long road. Johan Cruijff, Marco van Basten, Frank Rijkaard, Wim Kieft, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Kluivert are but a few of the international stars that have successfully completed the training at the youth academy.

At AFC Ajax, the training of top football players takes centre stage. That is why the youth academy is also known as the breeding ground of Dutch football. The further you get, the harder it becomes to maintain your place and to reach the ultimate objective – to play in the Amsterdam Arena. Only one or two players make it to the first team each year.

Ajax is partly dependant on players from its own youth academy. The youth teams are trained in exactly the same way as the first team en these boys are therefore already accustomed to Ajax’s style of play.

Central within the club is the style of play (4-3-3), training, behaviour and house rules. Ajax strives to keep the way of playing football recognisable; attractive, offensive-minded, creative, fast, fair and preferably far away from the own goal on the opponents’ half.

Ajax has developed the so-called TIPS model, which stands for Technique, Insight, Personality and Speed. For each part there are ten criteria. P and S are generally innate properties, but I and S can always be developed further. The players own a special Ajax passport, in which all achievements are noted.

2015-10-10 DeToekomst

Next Post…….I take the reigns at Ajax and look to implement the Cruyff Diamond 

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“The Forest Way” Season 3 2017-2018 Review #FM16

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On the back of an excellent last season we went out and added to the first team squad in a hope that we could be competitive in all competitions. Players arriving at the club were Midfielder’s Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Gustavo Scarpa (Fluminense) and Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny (Arsenal). all 3 transfers agreed at the end of last season.

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We then went out and purchased Winger Pione Sisto (FC Midjylland), Defender Doria (Olympique Marsielle) and Forward Joel Pohjanpalo (Bayer Leverkusen). We were pleased to have added to the squad, I felt we would be a force this season.

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We started pre season with the thought that we could kick on and be more of a force in the Premier League this season.

Pre Season Results

A good pre season in terms of blending players in to the squad.

freindly results

Transfer Record Broken 

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We then signed what I thought would be the final piece in the jigsaw Romelu Lukaku joined us from Everton for a club record £40m 

Season 2017-2018

The board set out their expectations for the season ahead, I was happy with what they had set out and looked forward to building on our success last season.

Premier League…..Qualify For Europa League

Europa League…….Reach Group Stage

FA Cup………………Reach Sixth Round

Capital One Cup……Not Important

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Community Shield

We went back to Wembley for the season opener and ended up losing out 2-0 to League Champions Manchester City. 

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Premier League 

We under achieved in a season that I felt we should have kicked on. We ended up in 8th position missing out on European qualification. We never really got a run going and found Thursday night Europa League games did not help us as we suffered a good number of injuries and struggled tactically this season. You can see from the screen shots below our inconsistency.  

final table

results

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Europa League

Our first season back in Europe we reached the quarter final stage before going out to Spanish club Seville.

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Domestic Cup Results

FA Cup

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Capital One Cup

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Awards

awards

best 11

Squad Statistics

squad stats

End Of Season

The newcomers performed well with Lukaku netting 33 goals we had injuries to both Assombalong and Oliveira but the Belgium led the line well for us. Sisto and Scarpa also came in and performed well. Yoshinori Muto also desrves a mention he looked settled and performed well all season.

What next for the club after a campaign that I felt we under achieved? The board are still pleased with me over the 3 seasons and I would very much like to repay their faith in me with a better showing next season. I am going to go away and analyse what went wrong during the season. It may just be time to say goodbye to a few of our players that I have kept the faith with during my time at the club.

I will go away and hope to come back strong next season with a few new faces as we try to build on the first 3 years at the club.

forest man

Three Years Building The Forest Way

2015-2016 Championship Winners

2016-2017 Premier League 5th / FA Cup Winners

2017-2018 Premier League 8th / Europa Lge QF / FA Cup QF

 

 

Nottingham Forest Finish Season In Style And Lift The FA Cup #FM16

 

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“The Forest Way 2016-2017 Season Review”

My last post took us up to November 2016, we were in 11th position in the Premier League and had a difficult month ahead of us after a topsy turvy first 4 months to the season Six months on and I am pleased to say we finished 5th in the table and won the FA Cup.

December 2016

We prepared for a difficult month as we searched desperately for a decent run of form, I was for the first time at a crossroads which had me puzzled to what our best tactic was after our early season troubles. We started the month with a trip to Old Trafford were a Christensen goal was little consolation in a 3-1 defeat. Next up Everton at home and a 1-0 win thanks to Britt Assombalonga. Back on the bus and a trip to the Emirates and another 3-1 defeat against hosts Arsenal  with only Zach Clough breaching the Gunners goal.  OK let’s not panic we had 3 games left in the month against 3 club’s who were all below us in the table. The first of the 3 Newcastle Utd  visited Nottingham and came away with a 1-1 draw, again Clough getting on the score sheet. Nearly Christmas but no gifts from West Ham United as we suffer a 1-0 defeat to the bottom club. The defeat to West Ham got me wondering how long before Fawaz was knocking my door down with my P45. Sod it I decided to throw caution to the wind for the visit of  Sheffield Wednesday by bringing  Oliveira back to play alongside Britt Assombalonga  and it paid dividend with both Oliveira and Assombalonga getting a brace along with a rare Craig Dawson goal in a much needed 5-0 win.

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January 2017

First up Chelsea at the City Ground and a Nélson Oliveira brace gives us a well deserved 2-0 win, a cracking performance from the side with us playing a 4-1-4-1 formation. We followed up with 2 more wins at home the first a 2-1 win against Stoke City in the FA Cup 3rd round with goals from Oliveira and Paterson before a 4-0 hammering of Aston Villa thanks to Assombalonga 2, Muto and Gardner. That’s 4 wins on the bounce and for the first time this season we look like we are going in the right direction. Two away draws follow 0-0 at 2nd place Crystal Palace and a 2-2 draw at Watford, Assombalonga with a double. We rounded the month off with Zach Clough giving us a 4th round FA Cup win at Leyton Orient. That’s 7 games undefeated and at last the lads look up for it. The transfer window closes and I decided not to spend a penny of our £71m budget on anyone as I give the squad a chance to turn our season around.

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February 2017

We opened the month up with two tricky fixtures a 1-0 defeat at home to Manchester City was followed by a  5-1 thrashing at Anfield, a result that turned our season. What happened at Anfield made me realise our vulnerability after watching and analysing the game the penny dropped. Two or three small tweaks in our player roles things started to click. We beat Tottenham 3-0 at home with goals from Oliveira, Byram and Christensen. With our new found belief we went to Stamford Bridge for our FA Cup 5th round tie and beat a strong Chelsea side 2-0 Muto and Osborn putting us through to the 6th round. Last game of the month we fought out a 2-2 draw at Sunderland with goals in each half by Oliveira and Paterson. 

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March 2017

Another draw 0-0 on the road this time in Wales against Swansea started our March fixtures before an FA Cup 6th round visit to the City Ground by Liverpool the side who inflicted our heaviest defeat under my leadership but this time we got it right and an early strike from Assombalonga was enough to give us a  1-0 win to set up a FA Cup Semi Final against Tottenham. An East Midlands clash against Leicester City ended in a 0-0 draw at the City Ground before a 2-0 win at Ewood Park against a struggling Blackburn Rovers goals from Mendes and Paterson our two wide men gave us all 3 points and a 4th consecutive clean sheet to end the month.

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April 2017

This month would turn out to be the best month of any I have had at the club we were now playing a fluid system that had seen us go another 6 games without conceding taking our tally to 10 games with out shipping a goal. AFC Bournemouth were  the first to visit the City Ground this month, Henri Lansbury hit 2 goals to start the month off with a 2-0 win. Two away games at Southampton 2-0 Oliveira and a Fraser Foster own goal and then a goalless draw at Everton set us up for a visit to Nottingham by Manchester United were a Ben Osborn goal gave us a 1-0 win. Next we travelled to Wembley for the FA Cup Semi Final against Tottenham were 2 Nélson Oliveira goals put us through to the Final after a 2-0 win. Spurred on by the result we ended the month with another 2-0 win courtesy of Lansbury and Muto against Arsenal. 

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May 2017

So to the last month of the season we had 3 League games and the FA Cup Final to play. Our first game was a trip up North to Newcastle United we won thanks to Britt Assombalonga’s  early strike. Back to the City Ground and West Ham United who were fighting to stay in the Premier League. We got another 1-0 win with a first half injury time winner from our great Dane Lasse Vigen Christensen who as settled in to life at the City Ground. We travelled to nearby Sheffield Wednesday knowing a win would guarantee us a place in Europe next season and the boys rose to the task we won again 1-0 via Dani Pinillos and then closed the game out with another clean sheet, our thirteenth consecutive clean sheet in all competitions. We had qualified for the Europa League with a run of superb team performances.  No time to celebrate yet though we were back at Wembley for the FA Cup Final against giant killers Bristol City. I said to the lads go and give our fans something to cheer about, this is for them.  Bristol City took an early lead against the play despite us missing chance after chance that got me thinking this is going to be their day when suddenly Ryan Mendes scored a screamer to level on 39 minutes. We came out after the break and lay siege to City’s goal and got the breakthrough via Japanese wide man Yoshinori Muto it was to be the goal that won us the FA Cup for the first time since 1959. What a season we now will look to regroup for next season as the ‘Forest Way’ gathers momentum.

may 17

Final Premier League  Table 

final table

FA Cup Winners 

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fa cup1

fa cup board

We Win FA Cup In My 100th Game In Charge 

100 goals

profile

Squad Statistics 

squad stats

Awards

awards

End Of Season Break

The squad have all gone on a well deserved Holiday after our first season back in the Premier League. I will be back shortly with our Pre Season preview. 

2015-2016 Championship Winners 

2016-2017 Premier League 5th / FA Cup Winners 

forest man

Assombalonga Hits Form To Rescue The Reds (October And November Review) #FM16

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I will start off by saying this save is giving me complete satisfaction, even in times of defeat it is keeping me striving for more. I usually only crank the save up two or three times a week as I find a balance between FM and reality, however I told my neighbour to look out for a kid in the Forest youth called Ollie Robinson to suddenly realise he is actually a Regen in my World”. 

October 2016 

We started the month off with a superb display at White Hart Lane to beat Tottenham 3-1 with Nelson Oliveira netting a brace and Ryan Mendes also getting on the score sheet. unfortunately the result at Spurs was to be our only win in October. We then lost our next game at the City Ground against Sunderland 1-2 with Lansbury getting our consolation goal in a game that I think was the worst performance during my time at the club. Up next a visit to Leicester City were we threw away a 2-0 lead given to us courtesy of Oliveira and Clough in the last 10 minutes to come away from the game with only a 2-2 draw which felt like a defeat. Capital One Cup defeat to Tottenham followed. with Mendes setting up a dramatic finish to the game by getting us back in to the game after falling 2 behind. We piled the pressure on but to no avail and crashed out of the cup. We ended the month with a point from a trip to Swansea and superb team goal finished off by Yoshinori Muto

October 2016 Results

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Premier League Table October 2016

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November 2016 

Just three games for us in November but we extended our unbeaten run to five games with 2 wins and a draw. A 4-0 thrashing of Blackburn at home kicked started our month Assombalonga 2, Gardner and Olivieira gave us the much needed 3 points. Southampton visited the City Ground next and nearly inflicted a defeat on us but for a 82nd minute pile driver from Assombalonga rescued a point. Assombalonga was the man of the moment as we came away from the South coast visit to AFC Bournemouth with a 3-1 win and a Assombalonga hat-trick. Its good to see him back after being sidelined last season, long may his form continue.

November 2016 Results

nov 16 res

Premier League Table November 2016

nov 16 table

New Formation Used In November

I needed to give us something different and gambled on this attacking formation to take advantage of our matches against the clubs around us, fortunately it paid off with Assombalonga flourishing in the Poacher role. I am still searching for our best system this season that still attributes to the Forest Way…..Reminder Of The Forest Way Below:

1. The Club Should Look To Entertain On The Pitch…..Create a tactical identity….play our way
2. Develop Our Own Player’s Through ‘The System’……Create a training plan to mirror player requirements of the 1st team
3. Sign Youngsters To Develop Within ‘The System’ Via A Worldwide Scouting Network.
4. Sign Home Grown Player’s As First Option In The Transfer Market For The First Team.
5. Don’t be afraid To Sign A Non Home Grown Player If The Right Player Is Not Available In The Home Grown Market……Do not restrict ourselves in the transfer market.

* To have passion and fighting spirit: get stuck in to every game.
* To focus on group rather than individual tactics: the team needs to defend with discipline and as a unit,with a high press in order to put early pressure on the opposition.
* To Dominate Play and possession.
* To Ensure balance between defence and attack.
* Play with vertical penetration
* To quickly win the ball through pressing and gegenpressing : pressing directly after losing the ball in order to regain it.
* Replace injured or suspended players directly, rather than changing the system or playing players out of position.
* Player’s to think fast and act fast – slower players tend to play backwards because they are afraid of one on one situations.
* To have incredible stamina, both physical and mental – full concentration for 90 minutes.
* To be Technically proficient – to be able to receive and pass the ball.
* To have tactical discipline while maintaining attacking intent.
* Full backs and Wing backs to have equally significant attacking and defensive roles.

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Player Of The Month Award For Britt Assombalonga

Six goals in 3 games in November for Assombalonga was enough to gain him the Premier League Player Of The Month award.

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Nottingham Forest Board Meeting November 2016

The board called a meeting to discuss club improvements and gave me a transfer budget of £71m 

club improvements

budget increased

December 2016 The Month Ahead

A big month in our season coming up with 6 Premier League games, 3 against top 7 sides to start the month Man.Utd,Everton and Arsenal and then 3 against teams below us at the present time Newcastle, West Ham and Sheffield Wednesday. I think it could be a pivotal month in our season.

nov dec16 fix

forest man