The Garibaldi Reds 2.2 #FM17

img_20170118_195218Welcome to my end of season 2 update, in my last update we had managed to break in to the top four playing the same style of football that had got us promoted the previous season. We had also added some silverware to the trophy cabinet at the City Ground after we lifted the EFL League Cup after beating José’s Manchester United at Wembley. When working on a style of play I looked at our squad and decided to get the best out of it that I would use a 4-4-2 based on Simeone’s and Sacchi’s vision, but it’s the in game management that I feel as been the difference. In pretty much all our games in season 1 and season 2 I have tweaked mentality and even team shape plus I have used the touchline shouts like never before. I am also managing my players differently in true Brian Clough style, with an arm around some and a rocket up the arse for others which seems to be paying off so far. I have always been a pretty slow FM player due to the fact I watch a good chunk of games in full to try and analyse our strength and weakness in our game. At the start of the season I brought in a number of players who I thought would add quality and depth to our squad whilst retaining the spine of the side from last seasons promotion. I used the first part of the current season to integrate and analyse the new comers along with last seasons core. In January I then sold a number of players (see last post 2.1) who I had decided were no longer part of my plans going forward, this as enabled me to keep a tight nit group of players focused on turning the club in to a top 6 Premier League Club. The sale of players in January as also allowed me to balance the books with a net transfer spend over 2 seasons at the club at just £13m. We have also got a strong core of British players in the squad which I think could be crucial has we get nearer the Brexit. 

So how have we finished the season?

March 2017

Just 3 games this month with us kicking off with a 1-0 win against Manchester United thanks to both a Chris Cohen goal and a man of the match performance from keeper Jordan Pickford who pulled off a string of saves. Next was a trip to the South Coast were we grabbed a point in a 1-1 draw against Nigel Clough’s Southampton who gave us a run for our money after an early Demarai Gray goal. We finished the month with a solid 3-0 win against Newcastle United with the City Ground faithful being treated to a Moussa Dembele hat-trick. Britt Assombalonga limped off after his return from injury after getting a knock that looks to end his season.

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April 2017

A superb month for us that sees us win all 4 games that ensures us Champions League Football next season. We started with a 4-1 win against Swansea City courtesy of Dembele 2, Berahino and Gray. A 2-0 win follows on the road at Everton with both Osborn and Dembele on the score sheet. A short trip to bottom club Sheffield Wednesday produces a 4-0  victory in a game that was over after just 8 minutes with the Garibaldi Reds 3-0 up after quick fire goals from Dembele 2 and Cohen. Captain Cohen added another just after the break to give us the 4-0 result.

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May 2017

With just 2 games to go until the curtain comes down on our return to the Premier League we are in with an outside chance of grabbing 2nd place. We go to Watford first and get all 3 points with a 4-2 win with our goals coming from Gray, Dembele, Mancienne and Berahino. So to the last game of the season and the East Midlands Derby against Leicester City who over the 90 minutes have the better chances but the game ends in a 1-1 draw with Swedish midfielder Hiljmark getting our goal. After the game we hear that a win would have given us 2nd place in the table. We are more than happy though to finish 3rd which will see us play in the Champions League next season which is way beyond our expectation.

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Player Stats

A great season in numbers.

  • Goalscorers  Dembele 33, Berahino 21, Assombalonga 10, Cohen 9, Gray 8.
  • Assists Gray 14, Berahino 14, Osborn 9, Hiljmark 7, Dembele 7.

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Awards Night

Moussa Dembele cleaning up.

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Commercial Summary

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Manager Of The Year

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New Contract

I am pleased to have signed a new contract that will keep me at the club until 2022.

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Youth Facilities

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Kits Revealed For Next Season

Our new kits for next season have been revealed, many thanks to @FMKits4You who designed the shirts for next season.

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img_mzwe3mWhat a fantastic season we have had, not only have we finished 3rd in the league but we have put some silverware in the trophy cabinet after winning the EFL League Cup at Wembley against Manchester United. We stuck by our philosophy and played each game our way with a few minor tweaks here and there. Our journey with The Garibaldi Reds as started well with two very good seasons under our belts the squad is very much looking like my team and with Pre-Season about to start I will be looking to add a few players in the transfer window along with saying goodbye to a few as well. The core of my squad will be made up of English born players with just a few players from overseas has I am preparing the club for the time when the Brexit is activated. I am looking forward to preparing the squad for our next campaign which will see European Football return to Nottingham and of course trying to make the club in to a Premier League regular. I am keen to keep working on the 4-4-2 system that I have instilled at the club. The system has served us very well so far with the odd tweak here and there non less so than making one of our front two roles in to a Shadow Striker which Saido Berahino has flourished during our last 12 games of the season of which we have Won 10 and Drawn 2. So that wraps up season 2, after posting this I will be starting up FM and getting on with Pre-Season which takes our camp to China to prepare for the season ahead. I should have a new post written up over the next week so until then thanks for reading.

The Garibaldi Reds Journey So Far 

2017-2018 Premier League 3rd – EFL League Cup Winners 

2016-2017 Championship Runners Up  (Promoted)

The Garibaldi Reds 2.1 #FM17

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We have reached the end of February and I am pleased to say the takeover saga as ended with a new consortium taking over the club. It’s the fourth attempt of a takeover in 18 months. So how have we done so far in our return season to the Premier League.

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August 2017

We couldn’t have wished for an harder introduction to life in the Premier League with our first two games against Manchester City and Chelsea. The visit of Pep Guardiola’s City side to the City Ground saw us get a well deserved point from the game after a 1-1 draw, Saido Berahino getting the goal on his league debut for us. We played well throughout and gave a good City side a run for their money. Chelsea away next and as good a performance in the previous game this was the exact opposite and bringing back down to earth as you could imagine. Chelsea ran wild and hammered us in every respect that made me glad we escaped with just a 1-5 defeat with our consolation coming from Robert Snodgrass. With our pride dented we lost our next game at Selhurst Park going down 2-3 with our goals coming from Moussa Dembele and Britt Assombalonga. EFL Cup action next a welcome break from Premier League action and a good 3-0 win against Doncaster Rovers raised morale with goals courtesy of Berahino, Cohen and Assombalonga putting us through to the next round. We ended the month on a high with a fantastic performance in a 2-1 win against Tottenham Hotspur, new signing Zach Clough with a 2 goal man of the match performance.

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September 2017

With our pride restored we went in to our opening game of the month in a more positive frame of mind however we failed to break down a stubborn West Ham United 5-2-2-1 formation so ended up with a 0-0 draw. They more than parked the bus and it worked really well for them. A trip to Turf Moor returned a resounding 5-1 win with 5 different scorers on the sheet Berahino, Cohen, Clough, Osborn and Mancienne. EFL Cup 3rd Round next and the goals kept coming with a 4-0 win with both Clough and Assombalonga getting a brace. An away trip to Middlesbrough followed with Michael Mancienne netting a winner in an hard fought 1-0 win. A tough game at Stoke to end the month ended in a 1-1 draw thanks to a Berahino goal. A decent month for us see’s us end the month unbeaten.

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October 2017

The first game of October saw Champions and current League leaders Arsenal visit the City Ground and they raced in to a 2-0 lead before half time. The second half we gave them more of a game but only managed a Britt Assombalonga consolation goal. Eddie Howes Bournemouth were next to visit Nottingham with the game ending in a 0-0 draw. Arsenal next for a midweek EFL Cup 4th round game which saw Mr Wenger send a rotation side to the City Ground which we dispatched in style beating them 6-0 with the in form Berahino netting 5 along with a Chris Cohen goal.

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November 2017

We went in to November with some pretty decent form behind us and it continued with a 4-1 win against Southampton thanks to two own goals plus strikes from Dembele and Snodgrass. Fellow Premier League new boys Newcastle United up next on Tyneside and another 3 points for us with Damarai Gray and Saido Berahino giving us a 2-0 win. Up next Everton were the visitors to the City Ground and for a long period looked like they might pinch the points until Henri Lansbury and Saido Berahino grabbed two late goals to give us a 2-1 win. We ended the month with the EFL Cup Quarter Final against Huddersfield which resulted in us advancing to the Semi Final after returning from injury front man Britt Assombalonga netted a brace in a resounding 2-0 win. With just 1 defeat in the last 15 games in all competitions we have put together a good run of form has we enter the winter period.

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December 2017

We continued our unbeaten run with 3 draws and a win in our first 4 games of the month including a thrilling 3-3 draw at Anfield against a on song Liverpool side. A 4-0 win at home against Sheffield Wednesday kept us in touch with the top 6. Our unbeaten run came to a halt with a 2-5 hammering at Leicester City. Next up a visit to the City Ground by Chelsea ending in a lot gasp win for us with Dembele scoring two injury time goals in the second half for us to steal all 3 points. A busy month ended with a trip to play Pep Guardiola’s City side which produced a a fantastic performance culminating in a 1-0 win after a Dembele penalty.

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January 2018

We started the month with a 3-0 win against Crystal Palace with Assombalonga, Clough and Dembele all hitting the back of the net. FA Cup 3rd Round next and a tough 1-1 draw at The Hawthorns against a Andre Villas Boas West Bromwich Albion side. The last thing we wanted was a replay in a very busy month. EFL Cup Semi Final action next and a good 2-0 win against Aston Villa in the 1st leg at the City Ground puts us one foot in the final thanks to a double from the in form Moussa Dembele. Another Dembele double helps us to a 3-1 win against Burnley with Berahino netting our other goal. FA Cup replay next against West Bromwich Albion which we lost on penalties after 120 minutes failed to produce a goal. Not ideal the players are looking a little jaded for our next game against Middlesbrough but a rotation side took us to another 1-0 win with Mancienne getting the crucial goal. Semi final 2nd leg action next and thrilling 4-3 win at Villa Park puts us in to the final, Dembele netting an hat-trick and another Berahino goal. We end the month on the receiving end of a 1-4 defeat at the hands of a dynamic West Ham performance.

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February 2018

A 0-2 defeat kicks off February at the hands of current leaders and last year’s Champions Arsenal. Another North London trip this time to White Hart Lane against 3rd placed Tottenham and we come away with a 3-1 win with another Dembele brace and a Berahino goal. We followed the superb performance at Tottenham with another 3-1 win against Stoke at the City Ground again Dembele getting 2 of the goals with Chris Cohen grabbing the other. Next we beat AFC Bournemouth 2-1 with both Dembele and Cohen scoring the goals against a managerless Bournemouth side who had just sacked Eddie Howe. We end the month with a trip to Wembley to take on Manchester United in the EFL Cup Final. The game is a cracker with us ending up lifting the trophy with a 4-2 victory. We had Osborn, Berahino, and a Demarai Gray double to thank for us lifting the trophy.

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The Birth Of The Red Diamond 

We have been using the following system to good effect based on the vision of Diego Simone with a touch of Arrigo Sacchi.

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Transfer News

A number of players have left the club the first Forward  Apostolos Vellios has joined West Ham for £18m. Winger Mustapha Carayol has joined Swansea City for £8.5m. Two Goalkeepers Vladimir Stojkovic 500k to Brann and Dimitar Evitmov 1.5m to Wolves have both parted company after failing to dislodge the in form Jordan Pickford. We have also said goodbye to Henri Lansbury who as joined Watford for £15.75m.

outI have signed transfer listed Goalkeeper  Sam Johnstone from Manchester United for 850k. Johnstone will come in to the first team squad has back up for Pickford. I have also added Midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah to the squad for £1.5m from Chelsea.

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Net Transfer Spend For The Season £13m

At the start of the season I invested in the first team squad has I felt we needed more quality and depth to compete in the Premier League. With the above sales I have only spent £13m of the club’s money during my time at the club and took advantage of the rising player values after our promotion season.

Scouting Network 

I am pleased with our scouting network who are trawling the World for promising youngsters, I have also identified a few squad  positions in the first team that I am looking to improve at the end of the season either from within the club or during the transfer window. I have also identified a couple of key player roles that I will be recruiting from out side the club. The first being the ball winning midfield role, I have got my scouts looking at a number of options however my main target is Leander Dendoncker the 22 year old Belgian midfielder from Anderlecht.

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The next position is that of Right Full Back and again my scouts are scouting a number of players however my main target is 24 year old English full back  Sam Byram.

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Both players would fit perfectly in to our system and also meet our recruitment policy.

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Well that brings you up to date with our first season back in the Premier League, I am more than happy with our performance so far that as taken us up to 4th in the league and took us to Wembley were we lifted the League Cup which as qualified us a place in the Europa League. With just 3 months left of the season we are in with an outside chance of a Champions League spot. Thanks for reading and hope you will be back soon to see how we have finished the season.

 

A Tactical Concept Made In Sweden #FM17

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Welcome To the first guest post to appear on thewideplaymaker.com  by guest blogger Gustaf Hedström, over to you Gustaf.

Hey everyone! This is my first FM-related post and I’m extremely grateful that Michael is letting me post it here on his blog.

Introduction

So since I’m new around here, I thought it would be nice to introduce myself a little bit. I’m from Sweden and I just turned 18. I’ve always enjoyed watching football and I’ve been a Liverpool supporter for as long as I can remember. Also, I’ve played FM for a couple of years and really enjoy it. I started taking a real interest in football tactics just about 2 years ago, when I found an article about Pep Guardiola’s 3-3-3-1 formation. I started to realize how smart that man really is and started to study him, and along the way I came across many different managers and different philosophies. I also found people sharing my passion for football in Saadiq and Michael, and we have talked many hours about football and tactics. They both teach me a lot and I like to think that I teach them new stuff as well sometimes. But that’s enough about me, let’s get to the fun part!

The Tactic

Formation

Most FM-players nowadays know that the formation you use is how your team defend. I had this idea that I would like to do something with an 4-4-2 formation just because it’s, in my opinion, the best pressing formation. Diego Simeone uses this formation frequently with his Atletico Madrid side, a side considered by many to be one of the best pressing teams in Europe. And as I’ve said, I like Pep Guardiola and get most of my inspiration from him. With that in mind, I like fluid teams with smooth transitions from defence and build-up play to attack. And since a bog standard 4-4-2 is quite boring, I added some influences from Pep and this is what I came up with:

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It’s a compact 4-4-2 in defense and due to the fb’s having different roles, it becomes somewhat of a 3-2-4-1 in attack. The IWB tucks in alongside the DLP, in the gap after the CM, who should be higher up the pitch in that moment. The other fullback stays in defence and form a back 3 with the two CB’s.

Team instructions

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As you can see, I’ve chosen to go with a Very Fluid team shape. It gives the most compact team and every player contribute to both defence and attack and the team plays stylish football. I like my team to work like a unit and not having the attackers just doing the attacking job and the defenders just defending. They all contribute to the build-up play in order to facilitate ball progression. I also chose to use Standard as the mentality. Although, I usually alter between control and standard depending on the opponent.

I like to play with a high defensive line just to get the most compact team possible in order to help recycle possession and move the ball to the other flank if needed. Much like Pep or Jürgen Klopp, I prefer to win the ball back as fast as possible. Because of that, I’ve set the closing down to Much More, and also Prevent Short GK Distribution as well as Use Tighter Marking. During build-up, I like to play out of defence. As you may have noticed, I exploit the left side more than the right. That’s just because my DLP and AM are the most creative players but also to create isolation for my winger on the right side, so he hopefully gets a 1v1 on the flank.

Player roles

Sweeper Keeper (Support): Distribute to cb’s

Inverted Wingback (Support): Shoot less often

Central Defender (Defend): –

Central Defender (Cover): Hold position

Defensive Fullback (Defend): Sit narrower, Cut inside with ball

Right Winger (Attack): Aim cross at near post

Central Midfielder (Attack): Move into channels

Deep-lying Playmaker (Defend): Dribble less

Left Winger (Attack): –

Attacking Midfielder (Support): Get further forward, Move into channels

Complete Forward (Attack): –

I want my GK to distribute the ball to my Central Defenders so we can have a patient build-up, because when we have the ball, the other team can’t score. The Right Winger is instructed to aim his crosses at the near post, as that creates the best chance to score. Both my CM and AM moves into channels just to create some chaos for the opposition defence with late runs in to the box. The Left Wingers that I have at my disposal are both right footed, so they don’t have the same instruction as the Right Winger because I want them to cut inside like an Inside Forward. The Complete Forward up top focuses on scoring goals and is the first man in pressing to win the ball back.

The tactic in-game

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Here we can see how the tactic functions in defense and when we’re in attack. When we defend, we press the opponent in a compact 4-4-2 formation with a

high defensive line and with only about 20 meters between the midfield and the defenders. In attack is when it gets more interesting. The IWB moves inside along the DLP and the CM and Winger join up with the AM to form a block of four. Leading the attack is the Complete Forward who presses the opponents defensive line down so the midfielders get’s more time and space to pass and find teammates in better positions.

I hope you enjoyed reading my first FM-related article. I just want to say thanks for reading and I really do appreciate if I could get some feedback, because without feedback you’ll never get any better. A special thanks to Saadiq (@rovazzz) and of course Michael (@totalfootball71). They have both helped me very much and they are always super nice and friendly. If you don’t follow them already go do it. They both post very interesting stuff about FM and just football in general.

See you soon!

Gustaf

The Garibaldi Red’s Takeover Collapse #FM17

thirdBreaking News : The Red Bull Takeover has collapsed due to current owner Fawaz Al Hasawi pulling the plug after the deal was taking too long to complete, However a new consortium are though to be just weeks away from purchasing the club. Another transfer embargo as been placed on the club until the proposed deal is completed. I will be keeping the Red Bull Sponsor on the club shirts. Incredibly this will be the 4th proposed takeover of the club since I took the reign’s. Despite the takeover fiasco we have been cracking on with our return to the Premier League whilst settling the new players in to the club. I will have a winter update posted in the next few days along with the takeover screenshots.

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The Garibaldi Reds 2.0 #FM17

home A New Season is on the horizon and preparations are firmly under way has we prepare for our return to the Premier League. Whilst last seasons achievement is still fresh in our minds we know we need to step up another level to reach our boards expectations. So what are our expectations? Well the board to my surprise are expecting a top half finish straight from the off which I think is a big ask for a club who have been outside the top tier since 1999, that is 18 seasons in the Football League. The board have made available a transfer budget of £90.62m so they are backing up their expectation with a transfer kitty that gives me the chance to rebuild a squad which I think can off load around 10 players through both out of contract and players who I feel don’t fit in to my long term vision for the club. So first of all who as left the club.

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Players Outgoing 

  • Lica has signed for Braga £5m
  • Damien Perquis  has signed for Legia 900k
  • Armand Traore has signed for  Celtic £4m
  • Danny Fox has signed for Coventry City 210k
  • Jamie Ward has signed for Sheffield United 500k
  • Craig Lewis has signed for Forest Green Rovers loan
  • Stephen Henderson has signed for Ipswich Town 350k
  • Nicklas Bendtner has signed for Crystal Palace £8m
  • Jordan Smith released
  • Gerry McDonagh released
  • Matty Fryatt released

Total Incoming £19m

So with the above players leaving the club and a very healthy war chest to enter the transfer market I have the opportunity to build my own squad of players who fit my vision of building a squad of core players who are British and who I think can take the club to the next level long term. I have also decided to add a few rules that I will follow in recruiting players for the first team which I will outline later.

Players Incoming

  • Ademola Lookman from Charlton Athletic £2.1m
  • Zach Clough from Bolton Wanderers £4m
  • Jordan Pickford from Sunderland £8.5m
  • Jamaal Lascelles from Newcastle United £9m
  • Saido Berahino from West Bromwich Albion £3m Compensation
  • Robert Snodgrass from Hull City £4.75m
  • Moussa Dembele from Celtic £8m
  • Oscar Hiljemark from Palermo £5.75m
  • Demarai Gray from Leicester City £10m
  • Nathan Ake from Chelsea on season long loan

Total Spend £55.1m

Net Transfer Spend £36.1m

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Media Reports

Since we started doing business in the transfer window more reports via the media are reporting that a new takeover by a drinks company is underway. So to spice things up a bit I have decided that the Red Bull Franchise are to be both our new shirt sponsors and new affiliate club which may not be far from reality with first the transfer of Oliver Burke and today’s reported interest in Matty Cash. So back to the save I want to take on the vision of Red Bull Leipzig and eventually if we end up being taken over re-brand the club under the Red Bull name (Something that would not be popular with me in real life).

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The Red Bull Influence

I am going to introduce some rules which I must obey for player recruitment in the future :

  • Can only spend 50% of any transfer funds made available in any 1 season that includes transfer budget plus player sales. Example board make £50m available and we sell £20m worth of players =£70m making our maximum total spend £35m
  • For each first team player signed another first team player must leave = 1 in 1 out policy
  • First Team wage cap of £60.000
  • New First Team signing’s contract must not be more than top club earner
  • Maximum age of player signed to be 24 years old

Preferred Playing Style

  • Attacking Football
  • Closing Down
  • Mixed Marking Style
  • 4-4-2 / 4-1-4-1 / 4-2-3-1

Team Training

  • Pre-Season Fitness / Tactics
  • During Season  (August, September, October) Team Cohesion and Balanced  / Def Positioning (November, December, January) Balanced and Fitness / Def Positioning (February,March,April, May) Balanced and Technique / Attacking

 

thirdYouth Development 

Whilst a lot of this post is about player recruitment my main aim is to reduce the need for recruiting for the first team by developing our own players through our youth system. The forthcoming season will see the introduction to the first team squad of the following players :

  • Anel Ahmedhodzic – 18 year old promising centre back who has just picked to play International football for Bosnia ahead of Sweden, Ahmedhodzic is ready for some first team exposure but will also be made available for the under 23’s.
  • Alex Lacovitti – Another promising centre back who can also play at left back. The 19 year old Scot spent last season on loan at Mansfield Town but this season I want him to be around the first team squad and get some tutoring at the club.
  • Matty Cash – 20 year old midfielder who made 8 substitute appearances last season, Cash will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Ben Osborn and break in to the first team over the next couple of seasons.
  • Tyler Walker – The young forward spent last season on loan at Stevenage scoring 12 goals. The 20 year old will have to step up if he is to make the grade amongst a strong group of forwards at the club.

Youth Academy  Upgrade

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Training Facilities Upgrade

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TV Deal

Big money coming in to the club

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sky-sports-news-uk-logoBreaking News 

Sky Sports News understands that The Red Bull Franchise as purchased Nottingham Forest with immediate effect. A source close to the new owners has revealed that the club will be known as Red Bull Nottingham and that current owner Fawaz Al Hasawi will remain at the club whilst the transition is made before eventually leaving once the new owners have everything in place. Sky Sports also understands all the current staff will remain at the club however the franchise are thought to want Red Bull Leipzig Director of Football Ralph Rangnick to become the new Director of Football in Nottingham next season and become responsible for recruiting players for the first team squad. Another position that of Head Of Youth Development will be another role the new owners will be keen to look at. The new owners accept that a lot of Nottingham Forest fans will not be happy with the name change and have agreed to keep the current name for match day fixtures and league tables for at least the current league season  but ask for their support in working to return the Nottingham club to former glory.

New Logos 

Two new logos have been designed for the club and both will be used by the Nottingham club alongside the club’s original logo.

Logo 1 Designed by @marcbowen17 and is based on the original Red Bull Logo worn by the franchises other clubs around the globe. Thanks for your work Marc much appreciated.

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Logo 2 Designed by @LPQR_FM  and incorporates the current Forest logo and is unique to the Nottingham Club. Thanks again and much appreciated.

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New Kits

Made by @AlfonsoPoblete and yet again he has done an excellent job which I really appreciate.

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Alfonso is currently designing a brand new set of kits that will be used next season, I am looking forward to seeing them in all their glory.

Pre-Season Results

Pre Season as all been about getting the squads fitness levels up and integrating the new arrivals in to the squad. Although we have had very good results in pre season the hard work starts now as competitive football brings a much tougher challenge.

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Final Word

So it’s all been happening at the club but it’s now time to knuckle down and attempt to stamp our playing style on the Premier League. I know it’s going to be a difficult season but I am confident in keeping the club in the Premier League and then building from there. Thanks for reading a new post will follow soon detailing how we have got on in the first half of the season.

The Garibaldi Reds 1.3 #FM17

img_20161220_074510Welcome to my end of season post following my footsteps with The Garibaldi Reds. My last post took us up until the end of January were we lay in 3rd position all set up for a promotion push. Well the talk in Nottingham as been of a consortium taking over the club which seems to be dragging on and on, first its on and then its off. The club are now in talks with a second consortium and to be honest I have not got a clue what will happen so I have just got on with attempting to keep the players focused on getting the club in to the Premier League as soon as possible. At the end of December I introduced a new system to the club and by the end of January the squad had responded by winning every game in the systems first month, but could we continue?

February 2017

Another undefeated month took us in to the 2nd promotion place with it kicking off with a 1-0 home win against Aston Villa thanks to a Chris Cohen goal. We then had Ben Osborn to thank for a 93rd minute equaliser at Carrow Road against a rejuvenated Norwich City. Next up was a fantastic 3-0  win against promotion chasing Fulham with goals from Assombalonga, Pinillos and Carayol. Two goalless draws against Reading (FA Cup) and Sheffield Wednesday at the City Ground. An away trip to struggling Wigan produced a 2-0 win with Vellios and another late Osborn strike ment we finished the month 3 points in front of 3rd placed Fulham. We ended the month with the FA Cup replay against Reading and needed an extra time Pinillos goal to set up a quarter final tie up at White Hart Lane against Tottenham. There is now an added belief around the squad that we are serious contenders for promotion.

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March 2017

A well earned point at home to Brighton started the month off with both sides failing to hit the target in a 0-0 draw. Brentford were the visitors to the City Ground next were we secured all 3 points with a 3-1 win thanks to Vellios, Lansbury and Assombalonga. FA Cup Quarter Final day ended up with us losing 1-4 to Tottenham after a spirited display in a game were we had two goals disallowed and hit the post, Tottenham’s class shone through in the end with Vellios getting our only goal. The East Midlands Derby next were we snatched a dramatic injury time winner courtesy of Britt Assombalonga that sent the Forest crowd home happy with a 1-0 win. We ended the month with a poor display in a 1-1 draw at Burton Albion thanks to a Henri Lansbury strike. We remain a slender 2 points ahead of Fulham with 8 games to play. We are 14 games undefeated in the League since playing with the new system.

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April & May 2017

We got off to a cracking start to the month with a 4-0 demolition of Preston with our goals coming via Lansbury, Lichaj, Assombalonga and a gifted own goal. A 3-1 win at Wolves followed with Wolves manager Walter Zenga having a dig at us in the press for being physical, I am not concerned and was delighted with our 3 goals which came courtesy of Cohen, Assombalonga and Osborn. We are firing on all cylinders and continue with another 3 points with a 4-1 win at home to David Wagners high flying Huddersfield Town, a superb hat-trick from Assombalonga was supported by a Vellios strike. Both Vellios and Assombalonga were on the scoresheet in a 2-2 draw against Blackburn Rovers. Cardiff City away next and a good 3-1 win with the in form Assombalonga netting a brace with his strike partner Vellios getting the other goal. With three games left we were on the verge of promotion however we failed to win our next two games with both ending in draws, 0-0 against Reading and 1-1 against QPR with Assombalonga scoring again. So we went in to the last game of the season two points ahead of Fulham in 3rd place knowing that a draw against Ipswich at the City Ground would take us in to the Premier League. So on the eve of the game I called a team meeting and told the boys that they their performance’s have put us on the brink of taking the club back to the top level of English football and they should go out and complete the job. The Ipswich game turned out to be the Britt Assombalonga show with the Championships leading goalscorer netting an hat-trick along with a Kasami goal  in a 4-1 win that secured Promotion to the Premier League by 4 points ahead of Fulham.  We are undefeated in our last 22 League games.

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Final Table (Promoted)

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Awards

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Commercial Summary

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Takeover Saga

This happened right at the end of the season which was not ideal because the embargo stopped me from signing one of my targets for next season has he went out on loan to another club.

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Final Words

What a season we have had with no transfers incoming we utilised the squad throughout the season. Now the hard work begins because I feel we need to strengthen the squad to be competitive in the Premier League.  The board enforced a transfer embargo due to the uncertainty of the proposed  takeover of the club by a consortium which has now collapsed. The current board have made an initial  £90m available for transfers which I am now cracking on with after missing a few weeks of activity due to the embargo being put in place. I am looking at moving a few players on has I build for the season ahead. Thanks for reading I will have a pre season post out later this week which hopefully  I will be able to introduce a few new faces in to the club.