Happy New Year, The start of a New Year and the start of a brand new save for me with Ipswich Town in League One, the third tier of English Football after being relegated at the end of last season bringing a 15 year stint in the Championship to an end. The Tractor Boys will need steering back up the pyramid and I have a plan to do just that.
Growing up in the late 70’s and early 80’s watching the beautiful game I was lucky enough to see Bobby Robson’s Ipswich Town who went on to win the UEFA Cup in the 80-81 season. The Tractor Boys have competed in all three of the major European competitions and have never lost at home defeating such giants of the game including FC Barcelona, AC Milan, Real Madrid, Internazionale and Lazio among others. Fast forward to the present day and Ipswich Town are a million miles away from the European stage after finding themselves being relegated to League One at the end of last season after a 17 year stay in the Championship meaning that the club will be playing third tier football for the first time since 1957.
On taking up the role of manager I have signed a two year contract with the club which I hope to both fulfill and continue beyond the two years with the aim of becoming the number one club in East Anglia whilst reaching the Premier League and hopefully picking up a bit of silverware but let’s start at the beginning of the journey. Whilst watching the Tractor Boys in the late 70’s and early 80’s Sir Bobby Robson was the manager who guided the club to closely winning the League title and to European success by winning the UEFA Cup in 1981. Robson had brought 2 Dutchmen in the squad with the first being Arnold Muhren, a midfielder who is highly decorated within the game being one of a select few to have won all 3 of the European club competitions.
The Clubs Culture is that we sign players under the age of 22 for the future and that we develop players using the clubs youth system and play entertaining football.
Looking at the clubs 5 year plan
Ongoing : Work within the wage budget
2019-2020 : Sky Bet League One Win Promotion – FA Cup Reach 3rd round minimum – Carabao Cup Reach 2nd round minimum.
2020-2021 : Attempt to remain in the Sky Bet Championship
2021-2022 : Attempt to remain in the Sky Bet Championship
2022-2023 : Remain in the Sky Bet Championship
2023-2024 : Become an established Sky Bet Championship team
So we have to hit the ground running because the board require us to gain promotion back to the Championship at the first time of asking before then gaining stability to establish the club as a Championship team.
Play Entertaining Football
It’s in the clubs culture to play entertaining football which suits me just fine however I am looking to build a Defensively solid system that allows us to both keep it tight at the back whilst balancing an entertaining attacking style. If you don’t concede goals you don’t lose football matches, fact.
I normally play with a 4-1-4-1 formation and I have built my default 4-1-4-1 to use during this save but I also wanted to develop another system that offers Defensive stability whilst playing an Attacking brand of Football. You can see both formations below and I have started to construct a blog post dedicated to building the 4-1-3-2 and the thought process behind it. I feel it’s a modern take on Ipswich Towns 1981 UEFA Cup winning system that Bobby Robson described below
Robson said: “We played with two strikers, no wingers, Eric Gates sitting off the front two, two semi-wide midfield players in Arnold Muhren and Frans Thijssen and Johnny Wark sitting in the holding role”
Coming Soon Building The Tactic Singing The Blues 4-1-3-2
I have under construction a post detailing how I have built the system and how it is performing in the hustle and bustle of League One football.
Let’s take a look at some of the players that I will be building the side around over the next couple of seasons:
Teddy Bishop at 23 years old is one of our most important players and the player who I want to build my side around this season. Bishop will be my number one starter in the Centre of Midfield in the Advanced Playmaker role.
Flynn Downes is another central midfield player with a good engine and a high work rate. The 20 year old will be an important option in the centre of the park during our long term project of advancing up the tiers.
Andre Dozzell at 20 years of age will be a good rotation option for us in the forthcoming season with the potential to force his way in to our starting line up over the next few seasons.
Idris El Mizouni is one of the most gifted players at the club with the Tunisian youngster in the first team squad making himself a superb back up to Teddy Bishop in the Advanced Midfielder role. At 19 years old El Mizouni is a player who I am keen to help develop his potential.
Emyr Huws is the first name on my teamsheet and our highest earner on £6000 per week. A Deep Lying Playmaker in the mould of Xabi Alonso of the lower leagues. The Welshman is our heartbeat and flourishing in the our system.
Myles Kenlock is another who is flourishing in our system and my first choice at Left Wing Back. The 22 year old adds both defensive and attacking attributes to our style of play with his ability to work up and down the flank.
Jack Lankester at 19 years old is knocking on the door for a first team start in our Forward line. The young Englishman looks to have a bright future in front of him and hopefully it’s with us after signing a new contract to keep him at the club until 2024.
Kane Vincent-Young is both adept at playing in both the right and left Wing Back positions offering us a super utility option on either flank. The 23 year old though is my starting Right Wing Back after a number of superb performances in the early part of the season.
Luke Woolfenden is shaping up to be our long term replacement for club captain Luke Chambers in the centre of our defence. The 21 year old as already shown his ability in covering for Chambers in the early part of the season so far.
Personal Aims Of The Save
I have had a long hard thought on my personal aims or goals for the save and I think the following will make the save both more interesting and a little more difficult.
- Promotion to the Championship
- Promotion to the Premier League
- European Qualification
- Become The Number 1 Team In East Anglia
- Emulate Bobby Robson in Winning the FA Cup
- Emulate Bobby Robson in Winning the Europa League (UEFA Cup)
- Emulate Bobby Robson in leading the club to Runners Up in the Top Tier
- Emulate Bobby Robson in managing the club in 709 matches
- Emulate Bobby Robson’s Win Percentage of 44.57 %
- Only Sign a Maximum of 18 Senior Signings during my time at the club equalling or bettering Robson’s record at the club relying on the clubs Youth Development.
- Double Dutch sign two Dutch Midfielders and have them play a pivotal role in the clubs future like (Arnold Muhren and Frans Thijssen in the Robson era)
- Emulate Alf Ramsey in Winning the Third Tier Title (League One)
- Emulate Alf Ramsey in Winning the Second Tier Title (Championship)
- Emulate Alf Ramsey in Winning the First Tier Title (Premier League)
- Emulate Alf Ramsey in managing the club for 369 matches
- Emulate Alf Ramsey’s Win Percentage of 47.7%
Thank You for taking the time to have a read and I hope you all have a fantastic 2020 playing Football Manager.
Next Save Update will look at the first 15 games of the season and should fall in line with the Singing The Blues 4-1-3-2 tactic post.