FM20 : Torquay United FC 2023/2024 EFL League One Part One (Season 5)

Welcome to the opening post of Season 5 of my save with Torquay United. We have been on an incredible journey so far and with the announcement that FM21 will be released later on in the year there is plenty of time left to get a few more seasons in.

save Re-Cap 2019 to 2023

You can click on the season headers to read the opening posts of each season. 

National League 19/20

The save started with me taking the managers job in the 19/20 pre season. The club had a bank balance of Β£134,000 and were predicted to finish 14th in the National League (Level 5). We finished 2nd in the table losing out on automatic promotion on the last day to Aldershot who beat us 1-0 to secure a last day promotion meaning that we would be in the Playoffs. 

In the Playoff Semi Final we came up against Notts County and managed to beat them 2-1 after extra time setting up a Playoff Final against Solihull Moors which ended in a 1-1 draw after extra time with us down to 10 men after Jamie Reid was red carded. We lost the shootout 4-1 which was a disappointing end to the season but we had been more than competitive during the season.

National League 20/21

The 20/21 season started with the board stipulating that they expected us to reach the Playoffs and going in to another last day of the season I was pretty confident that we would be crowned Champions however Notts County pipped us to the title on goal difference by 2 goals after they beat Ebbsfleet United 5-1 on the Final Matchday.  Both ourselves and Notts County finished the season level on 101 points but Countys +2 goal difference sent us in to the Playoffs for the second season.

In the Playoff Semi Final we played Dover Athletic and came away with a 2-0 win to set up a Playoff Final against Barnet in a close encounter which we won 1-0 to gain promotion πŸ†to League Two.

We also had joy in securing the FA Trophy πŸ† beating Eastleigh 3-0 in the Final. 

 League Two 21/22 

We started the 21/22 season with the media prediction to finish rock bottom (24th) but we were in no mood to be the League’s whipping boys and had a fantastic season finishing League Two Champions  πŸ† against all odds finishing the season on 95 points to top the table 3 points ahead of Rochdale getting automatic promotion to League One. 

League One 22/23 

No surprise the board wanted us to fight bravely against relegation but once the 22/23 season was underway we put ourselves in a very promising position by going undefeated in our opening ten matches laying the foundations for another good season in which we finished 3rd in the table qualifying for the Playoffs. Again we had some last day drama going in to the final game with an outside finishing in the automatic promotion places but it was not to be. 

The League One Playoff Semi Final was to be a step too far after we lost the first leg against Rotherham 3-1 and the 2nd leg at Plainmoor 1-0 to end our hope of any chance of promotion to the Championship. 

I have not spent a penny on players in the transfer window instead signing out of contract players and Loans with the club currently with around Β£700,000 in the bank. 

PRE-SEASON 2023/2024

The boards expectation ahead of the forthcoming season is that we avoid relegation with a longer term goal of becoming a sustainable League One club. 

My job was to secure the signatures of the players who are at the end of their contracts so after some negotiations I managed to extend the contracts of the following players : Shane Macdonald, Ben Wynter, Mamadou Kone, Mungo Bridge, Kyle Cameron, Jeremy Ngakia, Armani Little, Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, Eddie Carrington, Yassine En-Nayeh and Olaf Koszela. 

I also managed to extend the loan of Goalkeeper Myles Roberts from Watford until the end of the season.

To add to the quality and depth of the squad I brought 3 players in to the on free transfers and 1 on a season long loan. 

The first free signing was that of  23 year old left winger Isacc Hutchinson who had a spell at Brighton and Hove Albion and recently with Southend United. I feel Hutchinson can give us a different option out left than Jake Anfrews. 

My second signing of the summer was 22 year old right winger Yusuff Ojebode who had been released by West Bromwich Albion after his contract had run down. The Nigerian winger will provide initial cover for Kalvin Kalala on the right flank. 

Our third and final permanent signing of the summer was that of 24 year old utility man Joe Grayson who can play in a number of positions adding flexibility to our squad. Grayson was released from his contract with Notts County after spells with Blackburn Rovers and Grimsby Town. Grayson is the son of Football Manager Simon Grayson.

After losing out to Aberdeen for last seasons top goalscorer Louie Barry who netted 33 times for us whilst on loan last season from Aston Villa I turned my attention to the loan market and managed to secure the season long loan of 18 year old West Ham forward Chancel Mutombo who I hope can find his finishing boots. Mutombo is the first Newgen to join the club.

EFL LEAGUE ONE 2023/2024 PART ONE

We could not have asked for a better start to the season with 6 wins and a draw from our opening seven League games with Virgil Gomis and Chancel Mutombo hitting it off up front. We had some patchy form in both September and October but finished the year off with 6 wins from 7 taking us up to 3rd in the table at the end of the year. 

New signing Joe Grayson was in outstanding form with the former Notts County player returning 17 assists, 3 goals at an average rating of 7.55 from 31 matches. Grayson is a classy left footer with a great delivery from set plays who’s versatility adds strength, quality and balance to our squad. Virgil Gomis is another in form netting 25 goals before the turn of the new year and on course to beat Louie Barry’s record from last season of 33 goals.  Young Chancel Mutombo playing in the 2nd striker role is keeping En-Nayeh on the bench forming a good partnership with Gomis.

I think the highlight so far for me was the 4-1 win against Mansfield Town at Plainmoor. We played some really good football on the day closely followed by both the 4-1 win at Millwall and the 4-0 win at Wigan. 

We now look forward to the new year to see if we can mount a challenge for promotion. 

EFL lEAGUE TABLE

SQUAD STATISTICS

Final Words

The Seasons seem to be flying which is down to the enjoyment that I am getting out of the save. I am really pleased with how the club is progressing on and off the pitch. We are halfway through season 5 on the blog but in game I am now in to season 7 so this week I will be working on getting the blog up to date with the save so by the end of the week we should be in a position to have the blog posts online up to the end of season 6. I know I have mentioned it on a few occasions but I am totally sold on starting a save in the non league pyramid after experiencing this save with Torquay United. Whilst I have not made any decisions on my next adventure when FM21 drops later this year what I can say is that it will be in the lower echelons of Britain or Ireland. For now though I will be continuing with Torquay United were getting to the 10 season mark is definitely in my capacity with the delay of FM21.

Before ending this blog post I just want to say thank you to all the people who are viewing / following this save which in terms of views has already surpassed my Fiorentina save on FM19 so again thank you and I hope that you stay around for the future.

Thank You 

Michael 

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