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[FM10] Merthyr's Milk


SnakeXe

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Note: If you'd like to see in specific detail how I got this far, please check my last seasonal update in the dafuge's FM10 Challenge thread - it has links to previous seasons as well.

merthyr-tydfil-fc.jpg

Club: Merthyr Tydfil F.C.

Nickname: The Martyrs

Founded: 1945

Introduction:

Article taken from World Soccer Magazine, December 2039 edition:

As everyone knows, Welsh side Merthyr Tydfil have risen up from the lower reaches of the English football pyramid to become one of the world's biggest club teams. The story has been told a thousand times before, but the remarkable details still warrant repetition.

The initial catalyst was a hard-won promotion from the Southern Premier League in 2009/10, catching the eye of promising young manager Alex Kelly. Under his stewardship, the club exploded into life, posting record points totals in the Blue Square South and Blue Square Premier in winning back-to-back promotions to become a professional league club for the first time.

You know, it was the easiest job in the world at that time. I inherited Curtis Stevens [striker], Matthew Roberts [centre-back] and David Pritchard [goalkeeper] from the previous manager, who were all incredible players for the level. I just built around them really and they did the work. I really had to start earning my wage when we went professional.[/Quote]

The Martyrs had a few teething problems in the league, but still managed to win promotion at their first attempt from League Two through the play-off system. Stevens, Roberts and Pritchard were augmented by cast-offs from Premier League academies, such as Gilles Sunu (ex-Arsenal, wing forward) and Jordy Brouwer (ex-Liverpool, striker). It was at League One level that they first encountered difficulties.

Unfortunately by then, Curtis' legs were going, so he couldn't make quite as many appearances, or score as many as he used to. The team were solid, but we had no cutting edge up front. We played a single-striker system back then, and it was hard for a team of our stature to pick up a good enough player to play that role at the level we needed.[/Quote]

Curtis Stevens wasn't the only one of the initial golden trio that found life at the level hard: David Pritchard himself lost his starting place towards the end of the team's four-year stay in League One. After a disappointing play-off defeat in the second season, and a worrying flirt with relegation the season after that, 2016/17 was to be the year that everything came together once again.

We picked up a trio of lads from France, who just took us to another level. Antonio [Maldonado, left winger], Dominique [Toure, right winger] and double-V [Vincent Vincent, centre-back] were such great players for us that year. Double-V played for us in the Premier League in the end of course, he was that good.[/Quote]

It wasn't all plain-sailing, however, and the one real run-in that Kelly has had with the various chairmen at Merthyr over the decades occurred that January, as Jermaine Beckford, then winding down his career, remembers:

I remember it was a game away against Sheffield Wednesday, who were the only team anywhere near us for the title that year. The boss came in to the dressing room with a face like thunder. I hadn't seen him so angry in all my time at the club, and I could tell the other lads were afraid to ask what was up. Eventually Matt plucked up the courage, and he told us the chairman had just sold Antonio over his head to the Wednesday, and that he was going to line up against us. You can only imagine the looks on our faces![/Quote]

Although Merthyr earned a memorable win that day, they would go on to miss out on the title, not least due to the creative hole Maldonado's absence left in the team. Promotion, however, was secured. It came at a price though.

I guess the timing was a little better than Antonio leaving, but double-V was gone in the summer as well. It was a blow to all of us, having one of your best players nicked despite having gotten promoted the season before. I guess it helped galvanise us in the end though, and we just about stayed up that year.[/Quote]

A large turnover of players followed, and the Martyrs barely escaped relegation the following season as well. A switch to 4-4-2 due to the lack of a suitable lone striker, as well as simply a dearth of quality contributed, but the lack of understanding between the new signings was the major problem. The season after that, 2019/20, was the season Merthyr finally established themselves at that level. The return of Vincent Vincent, along with ex-Everton striker Victor Anichebe, plus wingers Julien Delage and Giuseppe Barbato turned the Martyrs into a very solid side, and they finished in the top half.

It would just take a tweak or two to bring them into the promised land.

When I came to the club, it was a small club, with small players. The next season, when we won the play-offs, it was a small club with big players. Javier [Montes, striker], Fernando [midfielder], and Daniel [Carrera, midfielder] were huge for us that season. Those guys plus myself and Julien were the ones who established Merthyr in the Premier League and I am proud of that.[/Quote]

Merthyr's debut in the Premier League was tough. Until January their stadium could allow just 1200 fans to watch the team due to safety regulations. By the time Penydarren Park was ready to welcome more, though, it was clear Merthyr would be safe.

It was a tough season but also a great season. I loved to play for Merthyr in the Premier League. All the guys had a great spirit, and we played at all the biggest stadia in England. Incredible.[/Quote]

A club legend in the making had also made his bow in a Merthyr shirt.

Jose Manuel Moran was a dream to work with. When he was on the pitch you knew you could score. He scored just 8 that season, but we knew we had a player on our hands. We just needed the right ammunition.[/Quote]

Even by the following season, several members of the league and Champions League winning side were in place. Goalkeeper Paulinho joined from Germinal Beerschot, captain Javier Castro was brought in at right back, Mehmet Uyar in midfield, plus fiery Austrian centre-half Ralf Hammer and the player Kelly calls the "signing of [his] life", striker Diego.

Diego was my favourite player to work with. He worked so hard, made the game easy for me. I scored at least two thirds of my goals because of him. He only cost £30k, I earned that in a week at the time![/Quote]

Moran went on to get 250 goals before retiring at the club, with Diego getting a none-too-shabby 119 himself.

Steady improvement followed for the next three seasons, before the big breakthrough came in 2024/25, with Champions League qualification. The team was not to change significantly in the next two seasons, where Merthyr won first the Premier League, and then the double of Premier and Champions Leagues.

The difference between fourth place and winning the Champions League? For me, Paul Craig. He was an expensive signing for us at £25.5m, and it was very important that he was successful, but he brought the extra dimension to our attack that Diego and Moran could not. He made a good side into a great one.[/Quote]

From then on, a litany of great players have passed through the gates at Merthyr, as well as a new stadium, appropriately named Kelly Park, being built to house the loftier ambitions of the local side. Trophies, too, have come by the bucketful. In this context, it is strange to hear Alex Kelly's pronouncement that this January's transfer window will be the last that he uses to sign a player for the forseeable future. Clearly he has faith in Merthyr's recently built youth academy, and feels there must be places in the first team allowed to graduates of that programme.

Kelly has always been reticent to overspend in the transfer market, but he hasn't been afraid to address failings in his side, being especially ruthless in selling off seemingly-key players if they no longer fit in with his plans. It will be interesting to see how this Merthyr team, in places young and inexperienced, and in others creaking with the stresses of age, copes with no more investment. One thing is for sure, Kelly's hunger for trophies will not abate. Will he continue with his policy in the face of a drought?

- David Hoffman[/Quote]

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The Squad:

Goalkeepers

1. Paulinho - GK - Brazil - The 37 year old is Merthyr's most capped player, and holds the astonishing record of being a part of every single top-level competition win at the club.

13. John Hulse - GK - Wales The young pretender to Paulinho's throne, Hulse is an academy graduate, and veteran of 50 first team appearances already having made his debut at just 15.

Defenders:

3. Perry Fisher - D/WBL - England - Has been at the club for years now, solid but unspectacular full-back. Cost just £1.6m back in 2029. One of my favourites.

4. Jose Maria Hidalgo - DC - Spain - A £19.5m signing, he's worth every penny. Total athlete, complete defender.

5. Stuart Harris - DC - England - Signed for £11m before making his debut for Fulham, slightly failed to capitalise on his potential, and is now a perennial third-choice centreback.

6. Ramon Colunga - DC - Spain - His aerial dominance is ridiculous, dominating from the back and on attacking set-pieces. At the club since 2031.

12. George Parks - DRC - England - A £5m signing back in 2030 from Sunderland, he has grown into an automatic choice, displacing a Brazil international on his way.

23. Valentino Bianchi - DR/L - Italy - Originally signed on loan to cover fund-raising player sales, he did enough to earn a permanent move. Solid but unspectacular.

25. Paolo Iodice - D/WBL - Italy - Almost identical to Bianchi really, but a year behind.

Jeff Davies - DC - Wales - Promising centre-half from the academy, his first-team displays have been a little disappointing thus far.

Midfielders:

7. Anto Savic - AMR/L - Germany - Another one we signed young, really growing into his role as first choice now in his 7th season at the club.

12. Daniel Jenkins - AMR/L - Wales - The crown jewel for our academy, his stats may not be perfect but he claims so many assists that he must be doing something right.

15. Magalhaes - AM/FC - France - One of our best-ever players, in the twilight of his career. In truth I thought he'd have retired by now, but he probably will at the end of the season.

19. Julien Wiesemes - AMR/L - Belgium - Truly world-class back in his day, this is probably his 15th and last season with us.

20. Joe Thomas - DM/MC - England - Despite his nationality, he is an academy graduate, and our most-capped one ever at that, coming up to 500 appearances now. Another solid but unspectacular footballer, but a loyal servant.

22. Marcus Phillips - AMC - Wales - Another solid academy graduate, he has enough good stats in enough of the right places.

Andrew Thomas - DM/MC - Wales - One of the most promising academy graduates I've ever had, is probably first choice now.

Tom Patton - AMC - Wales - Very promising midfielder, job-shares the attacking midfield role with Marcus Phillips.

Chris Allen - MC - Wales - Suffers from coming through at the same time as Andrew Thomas and Patton, but still has a shot at making it with the club.

Neil Evans - AMR/L - Wales - Versatile winger who does exactly what an orthodox winger should do and no more. Very serviceable prospect.

Gareth Jackson - AMRC/FC - Wales - Just graduated from the academy in the summer, looks a great prospect.

Carwyn Gilderdale - AMLC - Wales - Ditto Jackson, but probably needs more work as his technical stats are very poor.

Forwards:

8. Enrique Lopez Santos - ST - World-class striker, my record signing, £35.5m from Real Madrid 3 years ago.

9. John Hollis - ST - England - A £7m poaching in 2030 from Arsenal's youth set up, Hollis is well on his way to becoming our highest ever goalscorer. Think Michael Owen in his pomp, but with skill.

17. Mike Hunt - ST - American - I'll be honest, I paid for his name. £25.5m last summer to be exact. It helps that he's a top-class striker as well of course!

18. Massimiliano Maggio - ST - Italian - The heir to Moran's throne as highest ever Merthyr goalscorer. When he was younger I thought I had a 1000-career-goal player on my hands, but patch 10.3 killed him. Still worth keeping around.

Chris Diamond - ST - Wales - Decent enough prospect, but that he's the biggest one we've had says a lot about the calibre of strikers that have come through.

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The Trophy Cabinet:

(Updated for 2041/42 season)

Champions League:

Winners: 2027, 2028, 2029, 2030, 2031, 2032, 2033, 2034, 2036, 2037, 2039, 2040, 2041, 2042

Runners Up: 2035

Premier League:

Winners: 2026, 2027, 2028, 2029, 2030, 2031, 2032, 2033, 2034, 2035, 2037, 2038, 2039, 2040, 2041, 2042

Runners Up: 2036

FA Cup:

Winners: 2029, 2030, 2031, 2033, 2034, 2037, 2039, 2040, 2041, 2042

Runners Up: 2036

League Cup:

Winners: 2027, 2028, 2030, 2033, 2034, 2035, 2038, 2041, 2042

Runners Up: 2025, 2032, 2040

Club World Championship:

Winners: 2027, 2028, 2029, 2030, 2031, 2032, 2033, 2034, 2040, 2041

Runners Up: 2037, 2039

Third Placed: 2036

European Super Cup:

Winners: 2027, 2028, 2029, 2030, 2032, 2033, 2034, 2039, 2040, 2041

Runners Up: 2031, 2036, 2037

Charity Shield:

Winners: 2026, 2027, 2028, 2029, 2030, 2032, 2034, 2037, 2038, 2039, 2040, 2041

Runners Up: 2031, 2033, 2035

Johnstone's Paint Trophy:

Winners: 2016

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Aims:

- Sign no players from the end of the January 2040 transfer window onwards

- Win the Champions League with all-academy graduates

- Get a 100,000 seater stadium

- Get a son through the youth system to play in the first team

- Get the Wales job

- Win a trophy for Wales

- Win a trophy for Wales using just my academy graduates

------

Hopefully most of what I've written makes sense, and whilst I'd like people to read this, I'm mostly doing it for my own enjoyment :)

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January 2040 Transfer Window Roundup:

Ins:

01/02/2040 - Marcelo Echague - D/WB/ML - £15.25m (after contract expiry)

Outs:

None

-----

Well that's it, no more transfers. Echague won't play much for the club this season as his contract expired after the player registration deadline for the Premier League, and he's cup tied for Europe. That just leaves the League Cup Final and the rest of the FA Cup campaign for him to figure in. He was signed because Perry Fisher is unsettled, and Paolo Iodice will leave the club when his loan finishes at the end of the season, so I didn't want to be caught short. Hopefully I'll get an adequate prospect through the academy in the next two years before Fisher's contract expires, or I may have to offer him ridiculous wages!

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SnakeXe's Merthyr Tydfil - Season 30 - 2039/40

Story of the Season:

Premier League - 1st, Champions

Very easy title win, scoring a record number of goals. Just a shame about the couple of losses.

Champions League - Winners

Retained the trophy in quite easy fashion. We're still finding it harder to win away legs than we used to (the Bordeaux game aside), but I'll take a score draw every time.

FA Cup - Winners

Championship sides until the 6th Round, even the Premier League sides didn't put up much of a fight.

League Cup - Runners Up (lost v Aston Villa)

Shame we couldn't win back the trophy after a good run to the final.

Club World Championship[/url]- Runners Up (lost v River)

One of these days I'll play my first team.

Community Shield - Winners

Pointless.

European Super Cup - Winners

Ditto.

Transfers - £10m Deficit

Paolo Iodice joined in a copy of the Bianchi deal two seasons ago, but won't be joining permanently - despite performing very adequately. The reason for that is Marcelo Echague, a very talented attacking left-back who should slot straight into the team. Mike Hunt completed his transfer, and had a great season, scoring and creating, and making me laugh at every piece of commentary his full name was used in.

Other News: Paulinho has exceeded the 900 appearances mark and is still performing adequately enough to make me think he'll crack 1000. We scored over 3 goals per game on average, and most of our match-day squads contained a good percentage of academy graduates. Our first XI now contains three, all midfielders. Former captain and assistant manager Tommy Fraser is now Man Utd manager.

Next Season:

Win the rubbish trophies whilst retaining the worthwhile ones.

5 Most Important Players:

5. Tom Patton - AMC - The second academy graduate to make this list, Patton has made his way into the first XI this season and made his mark, getting into double figures for assists.

4. Massimiliano Maggio - ST - Maggio confounded my expectations by returning to be a key player for us. Definitely his best season on 10.3.

3. Daniel Jenkins - AMR/L - 31 assists tells its own story, our best academy graduate by a distance.

2. Ramon Colunga - DC - Incredible. I repeat: I am not using the corner exploit.

1. Enrique Lopez Santos - ST - Our most prolific scorer since pre-10.3 Maggio.

History:

Season    League                  Position  Achievements                   
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2010/11   Blue Square South       1st       Blue Square South Champions,  Promoted
2011/12   Blue Square Premier     1st       Blue Square Premier  Champions, Promoted
2012/13   Coca-Cola League Two    4th       Play-Off Winners, Promoted
2013/14   Coca-Cola League One    6th       Play-Off Semi-Finalists
2014/15   Coca-Cola League One    4th       Play-Off Semi-Finalists
2015/16   Coca-Cola League One    17th      Johnstone's Paint Trophy Winners
2016/17   Coca-Cola League One    2nd       Promoted
2017/18   Coca-Cola Championship  18th      None
2018/19   Coca-Cola Championship  21st      None
2019/20   Coca-Cola Championship  9th       None
2020/21   Coca-Cola Championship  6th       Play-Off Winners, Promoted
2021/22   Premier League          13th      None
2022/23   Premier League          14th      None
2023/24   Premier League          9th       None
2024/25   Premier League          4th       League Cup Runners Up
2025/26   Premier League          1st       PL Champions
2026/27   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners, LC  Winners
2027/28   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners, LC  Winners, CWC Winners
2028/29   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners, FA  Cup Winners, CWC Winners
2029/30   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners, FA  Cup Winners, LC Winners, CWC Winners
2030/31   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners, FA  Cup Winners, CWC Winners
2031/32   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners,  CWC Winners
2032/33   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners, FA  Cup Winners, LC Winners, CWC Winners
2033/34   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners, FA  Cup Winners, LC Winners, CWC Winners
2034/35   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, LC Winners
2035/36   Premier League          2nd       CL Winners
2036/37   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners, FA Cup Winners
2037/38   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, LC Winners
2038/39   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners, FA Cup Winners
2039/40   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners, FA Cup Winners

Merthyr Tydfil Academy Hall of Fame:

A list of those Merthyr Academy graduates who make 100 or more appearances for the club.

Name                Pos        Era                    Apps   Goals     AvR
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Joe Thomas          DM/MC      2029-Present            488      43    7.03
Paul Smith          WB/AML     2013-2018, 2021-2023    219      12    6.87
Daniel Jenkins      AMR/L      2035-Present            201      17    7.27
Marcus Phillips     AMC        2034-Present            191      17    6.91
Mike Williamson     DM/AMLC    2029-2035               175      12    6.76
Andrew Thomas       DM/MC      2037-Present            106       8    7.14
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impressive,specially cos it a welsh club. i cant wait for FM11 with DLR and make wales in general the best in the world...hopefully

Yeah I'm definitely going to be taking advantage of that!

A nice trophy haul there. What level are your youth facilities at? Do you get many potential first team players coming through each year?

They're at the maximum now (Top Facilities with Youth Academy IIRC). I usually get between 2 and 4 players at 2.5/3 star potential, which is good/leading Premier League standard. I'm having to be a bit more discerning about some of the prospects I pursue as we're getting a lot in the same positions now. It's irritating because until the season I just started I've never had a good enough fullback come through, but I have 3 or 4 right wingers and 5 central midfielders who could make it now.

Incidentally, I played the most academy rich team I could possibly play in a recent League Cup match away at Championship opposition, and won 4-3 after extra time. I had 9 starting, with another 2 coming off the bench, 13 out of 18 in the match-day squad. I'm finding it hard to develop defenders to a good enough level without severely compromising the team's performance in the games I use them in, so that's the weak position. On the other hand, the midfield is very strong now, with quality and depth across the pitch, and I have only one non-academy midfielder left at the club (Anto Savic).

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  • 1 month later...

SnakeXe's Merthyr Tydfil - Season 31 - 2040/41

Story of the Season:

Premier League - 1st, Champions

Won the title with 78 points from 33 games, messed about with the last few games, still cracked the ton of goals though.

Champions League - Winners

The quarter final against Spurs was the tricky one, three goals down in the first half of the first leg, the away goal ended up being critical. Still, the winner in the second leg came in the 88th minute, bullet header from Mike Hunt :cool:

FA Cup - Winners

Last trophy win of the season, Enrique Lopez Santos was the hero in the final against Championship Reading.

League Cup - Winners

No problems at any stage.

Club World Championship- Winners

Having not won it in a while I played the first team - the result was 10 goals in 2 games and the trophy on a platter.

Community Shield - Winners

Easy.

European Super Cup - Winners

Ditto.

Transfers - £18.25m Profit

Perry Fisher left in the only piece of significant transfer news, 11 and a half seasons of good service behind him. Of the other transfers involving fees Daniel Jones and Josh Harding were both academy strikers who wouldn't really have made it, so decided to cash in.

Other News: Paulinho finally became a liability at first team level, but he's so close to 1000 appearances that I'll carry him through to it next season - he only needs another 31, easily attainable with dead rubbers and substitute appearances. First clean sweep in a number of seasons, suggesting the squad is still very strong. John Hollis and George Parks have submitted transfer requests, but they have 3 years left on their contracts, so I still have time to play with.

Next Season:

Keep it up, hopefully!

5 Most Important Players:

5. Anto Savic - AMR/L - Great season for the winger, scoring and providing in equal numbers.

4. Massimiliano Maggio - ST - Actually back to pre-10.3 form at some points this season, he's certainly showing he's still got something in the tank at this stage of his career.

3. Daniel Jenkins - AMR/L - Top assist maker again, unfortunately it doesn't seem like he'll improve much more.

2. Ramon Colunga - DC - A good enough season from one of the greatest players ever to represent Merthyr, probably on the wane now.

1. Enrique Lopez Santos - ST - Almost a goal per start, definitely first choice now since Hollis' transfer request.

History:

Season    League                  Position  Achievements                   
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2010/11   Blue Square South       1st       Blue Square South Champions,  Promoted
2011/12   Blue Square Premier     1st       Blue Square Premier  Champions, Promoted
2012/13   Coca-Cola League Two    4th       Play-Off Winners, Promoted
2013/14   Coca-Cola League One    6th       Play-Off Semi-Finalists
2014/15   Coca-Cola League One    4th       Play-Off Semi-Finalists
2015/16   Coca-Cola League One    17th      Johnstone's Paint Trophy Winners
2016/17   Coca-Cola League One    2nd       Promoted
2017/18   Coca-Cola Championship  18th      None
2018/19   Coca-Cola Championship  21st      None
2019/20   Coca-Cola Championship  9th       None
2020/21   Coca-Cola Championship  6th       Play-Off Winners, Promoted
2021/22   Premier League          13th      None
2022/23   Premier League          14th      None
2023/24   Premier League          9th       None
2024/25   Premier League          4th       League Cup Runners Up
2025/26   Premier League          1st       PL Champions
2026/27   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners, LC  Winners
2027/28   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners, LC  Winners, CWC Winners
2028/29   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners, FA  Cup Winners, CWC Winners
2029/30   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners, FA  Cup Winners, LC Winners, CWC Winners
2030/31   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners, FA  Cup Winners, CWC Winners
2031/32   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners,  CWC Winners
2032/33   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners, FA  Cup Winners, LC Winners, CWC Winners
2033/34   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners, FA  Cup Winners, LC Winners, CWC Winners
2034/35   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, LC Winners
2035/36   Premier League          2nd       CL Winners
2036/37   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners, FA Cup Winners
2037/38   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, LC Winners
2038/39   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners, FA Cup Winners
2039/40   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners, FA Cup Winners
2040/41   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners, FA Cup Winners, LC Winners, CWC Winners

Merthyr Tydfil Academy Hall of Fame:

A list of those Merthyr Academy graduates who make 100 or more appearances for the club.

Name                Pos        Era                    Apps   Goals     AvR
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Joe Thomas          DM/MC      2029-Present            523      47    7.03
Daniel Jenkins      AMR/L      2035-Present            259      21    7.27
Marcus Phillips     AMC        2034-Present            240      17    6.94
Paul Smith          WB/AML     2013-2018, 2021-2023    219      12    6.87
Mike Williamson     DM/AMLC    2029-2035               175      12    6.76
Andrew Thomas       DM/MC      2037-Present            143      12    7.14
Tom Patton          AMC        2038-Present            125      11    7.03
John Hulse          GK         2037-Present            106       0    6.92
Neil Evans          AMR/L      2038-Present            100      11    7.05

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The Squad: Two Years Later

Goalkeepers

1. Paulinho - GK - Brazil - Has deteriorated quite badly (understandably given his ripe age, even for a keeper), losing his starting spot to Hulse. Just 42 away from 1000 appearances for the club, and with a 2-year contract under his belt, he may well make it.

13. John Hulse - GK - Wales - Stepped up to the plate very nicely when Paulinho's form finally deserted him. Needs to develop a little more in the next couple of seasons to become the keeper I'd hoped he'd be.

Daniel Hillier - GK - Wales - Came through the season before Hulse, and was all set to be Paulinho's successor until then. Have sent him on loan numerous times and will continue to do so until Paulinho retires, when he'll become Hulse's number two.

Defenders:

2. Neil Jones - D/MR - Wales - Just came through the youth system, our best-ever defensive prospect. He goes straight in as second-choice right back, and was one of the factors in me selling George Parks.

4. Jose Maria Hidalgo - DC - Spain - Despite poor form in his opening couple of seasons since signing as a wonderkid, he's grown into the role alongside new captain Colunga.

5. Stuart Harris - DC - England - Often plays as many games as Hidalgo and Colunga due to rotation, but I'd certainly still consider him third choice. Unless I get a spectacular talent through, will probably take Colunga's place in 3 or 4 years when he's done at the top level.

6. Ramon Colunga - DC - Spain - Maggio's departure made him captain, he's well suited to the role. Still a fearsome opponent in the air.

15. Marcelo Echague - D/WB/ML - Argentina - My last ever signing, and boy was he a good one! Fantastic rampaging full-back right out of the Roberto Carlos mould.

23. Valentino Bianchi - DR/L - Italy - Will have to step up into a first team role since Parks' departure, he's both first choice right back and second choice left back at the moment.

Mark McCarthy - DC - Wales - Lacks key stats to be a first choice centre-back, will play the role as fourth-choice as Davies has been largely diabolical.

Jeff Davies - DC - Wales - Potential has dropped from 3 stars to 1 star, utterly awful whenever he plays, I'll probably loan him out this season and keep McCarthy as fourth choice centreback.

Luke Phillips - D/MR - Wales - Was all set to be our next right back until Neil Jones came and stole his thunder. Probably would be more useful as a right-midfielder, but I'm already overloaded in that position.

N/A Perry Fisher - D/WBL - England - Got itchy feet and left in January 2041 for a cool £14m. Shame to sell him, but it's a decent price considering he was never quite top class.

N/A George Parks - DRC - England - He moaned about a transfer all through 2040/41 so I obliged him in the summer when Neil Jones came through the academy, a hefty £27m being sent from Florence in exchange.

N/A Paolo Iodice - D/WBL - Italy - Finished his loan back in 2040, still a bit part player at Inter. Could do with him now!

Midfielders:

7. Anto Savic - AMR/L - Germany - A great player for us, but may have to be sold in the next couple of years to help the development of academy prospects. That'll be an all-Merthyr midfield!

10. Tom Patton - AMC - Wales - Probably our most talented academy graduate, his performances don't always match up though. Hopefully that'll pick up with maturity in the same way as Phillips.

11. Gareth Jackson - AMRC/FC - Wales - Occasionally devastating when he gets a game either up front or on the right wing, he's still developing. Perhaps a loan season in the first team for someone else might do him good, and allow me to develop one of our other right-wing options.

12. Daniel Jenkins - AMR/L - Wales - Disappointing doesn't seem to be getting much better now, but still our leading assist maker season after season.

14. Andrew Thomas - DM/MC - Wales - Considering his skill level is so far above Joe Thomas' it's a shame Andrew doesn't show it on the pitch so much. Could be much more than he is, hopefully again that'll come with age.

20. Joe Thomas - DM/MC - England - Cracked 500 appearances for the club, still puts in a solid performance every time he steps on to the pitch, despite poor-looking stats. A real Phil Neville-type player who has made the most of what he has.

21. Neil Evans - AMR/L - Wales - "Serviceable prospect" to first choice right winger? It seemed unlikely at the time, but Evans has developed brilliantly in all the right areas to become a highly effective player, leading me to consider offloading Savic. Pops up with the odd goal in a manner reminiscent of Julien Wiesemes.

22. Marcus Phillips - AMC - Wales - Whilst his stats are similar to two years ago, a little maturity in his game has seen him put in some game-winning performances. Vies with Patton for the first choice attacking central midfield spot.

Chris Allen - MC - Wales - Hasn't had much game time and so hasn't really developed. Always seems to do an okay job when he plays though, so I'll most likely hang on to him.

Ryan Matthews - AMR - Wales - Yet another precocious right footed winger from the academy, I have a feeling several of them are going to need to be loaned to try and develop them.

Dewi Williams - AMR/L - Wales - Reminds me of Neil Evans, hopefully will develop as he did. Probably need to sell Savic in order to avoid stifling him.

N/A Carwyn Gilderdale - AMLC - Wales - Never developed and his potential dropped to 2 stars, so flogged him to Everton for a pittance. Shame, as we're short of left-footers in the squad.

N/A Magalhaes - AM/FC - France - The legend retired at the club just as he outgrew his use as a player, and decided to stay as a coach. Will probably leave to manage one day, and hopefully will do well.

N/A Julien Wiesemes - AMR/L - Belgium - The legend left back in 2040 to return to his homeland with Anderlecht. Retired this summer.

Forwards:

8. Enrique Lopez Santos - ST - Spain - Still godlike, hopefully got another 6 or 7 years in him as we haven't really developed any strikers from the academy yet.

9. John Hollis - ST - England - One of our greatest players, like Maggio he's getting itchy feet but so far I've managed to talk him out of demanding a transfer. One of Jenkins or Dimond MUST step up if he decides he wants to leave.

17. Mike Hunt - ST - American - The amusingly named target man has been a great signing for us, offering a whole other dimension to our other strikers. Hopefully his slight injury problems last year don't become more serious.

Jonathan Jenkins - ST - Wales - Right man at the right time? Maggio's departure leaves a senior-squad berth free up front, and he's the best prospect through this year. With good development of his finishing, he could become quite a poacher.

Chris Dimond - ST - Wales - Spent last season on loan at Xerez but didn't really break into the team. This year he's at Championship Doncaster who said he'd be first choice. Definitely a make-or-break season for him, as a good return will see him return as a senior squad player.

N/A Massimiliano Maggio - ST - Italian - Slightly gutted that he left, one of my all time favourite FM players. Still, he wanted to go, and £28.5m was a good fee for a 29-year old who never quite reached the world-class status I tipped him for when he burst onto the scene at 18. Leaves as our record goalscorer. Also leaves a space for Jenkins in the first-team squad.

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How is the national side doing with the regens your bringing through?

Not as well as they should be, but of course because of the low reputation, the manager is untouchable, but won't ever be offered a decent club job to get rid of him. Probably have to wait until he retires to get the job myself unfortunately!

They're currently around 29th in the world, but only finished 4th in their most recent WC Qualifying group. In the Euro 2040 Qualifying group they came 2nd but lost in the Playoffs to Spain. I'm pretty sure if I was in charge I could qualify them for a tournament at least, the gaps in the home-grown talent from my squad (at the back and up front) are filled decently enough by other clubs' players.

Great career mate, what is DLR btw?

Thanks :) DLR is Dynamic League Reputation, it's one of the new features for FM11.

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SnakeXe's Merthyr Tydfil - Season 32 - 2041/42

Story of the Season:

Premier League - 1st, Champions

Had a slightly more tough task winning this year, with teams finally getting their acts together to post competitive totals. Depending on how the summer goes, we might be in a real battle next year.

Champions League - Winners

A crazy last 15 minutes away to Milan aside, where we conceded 3 incredibly sloppy goals - one of which was utterly ridiculous, as their striker ran at my two centre-halfs, who each left it to the other to close him down, so he just literally ran straight between them and scored. A great performance in the home leg overturned the deficit, and the final was won with a strong showing.

FA Cup - Winners

Much trickier than last year's, with Liverpool running us incredibly close in the final.

League Cup - Winners

Probably should have won the final without the need for penalties, but it's nice to get a shoot-out win under our belts as we don't have a great record in them.

Club World Championship - Winners

Even more goals than last year, and none conceded.

Community Shield - Winners

Not much to say here.

European Super Cup - Winners

Ditto.

Transfers - £61m Profit

Two bits of huge business, record scorer Massimiliano Maggio finally leaving the club for £28.5m as he felt he'd done all he could. It was a shame to see him go, but the fee at his age was pretty hard to turn down, especially considering we really need to start developing some of our own strikers. The other was George Parks heading to Italy for £27m, a really top-class fullback, but strangely we didn't miss him too much. Other small tidbits involved academy graduates who hadn't made an impression.

Other News: Paulinho has one year left on his contract, and made a healthy 20 starts this year, so hopefully he'll carry on playing next year, and will undoubtedly break the 1000 appearances barrier if he does. He, Valentino Bianchi, Ramon Colunga, Stuart Harris, Jose Maria Hidalgo, Marcelo Echague, Anto Savic, John Hollis, Mike Hunt, and Enrique Lopez Santos are the only non-academy players left at the club. Paulinho will be done in one season, Bianchi will go as soon as a left-footed full-back comes through the academy, Colunga is 32, I'm thinking of selling Savic, and Hollis has submitted a transfer request, so that number could shrink rapidly over the next season or two.

Next Season:

I don't think we'll do another clean-sweep, the players were knackered at the end of the season and we could (maybe should) have lost both the FA Cup and Champions League finals. On the other hand, the academy players will be a year older and better, and only really Paulinho and Colunga are the wrong side of 30, so who knows?

5 Most Important Players:

5. Daniel Jenkins - AMR/L - In a pretty lean year for the wingers, he was the best of a relatively bad bunch.

4. John Hollis - ST - A fantastic return from the striker, he's only down here because he submitted a transfer request on the eve of an FA Cup Semi-Final - bad timing mate.

3. Marcus Phillips - AMC - Breakthrough season for him, equal top assist maker with Lopez Santos. My third academy player to make this list.

2. Ramon Colunga - DC - Definitely on the wane, still a class above though.

1. Enrique Lopez Santos - ST - Another great season from the world-class striker.

History:

Season    League                  Position  Achievements                   
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2010/11   Blue Square South       1st       Blue Square South Champions,  Promoted
2011/12   Blue Square Premier     1st       Blue Square Premier  Champions, Promoted
2012/13   Coca-Cola League Two    4th       Play-Off Winners, Promoted
2013/14   Coca-Cola League One    6th       Play-Off Semi-Finalists
2014/15   Coca-Cola League One    4th       Play-Off Semi-Finalists
2015/16   Coca-Cola League One    17th      Johnstone's Paint Trophy Winners
2016/17   Coca-Cola League One    2nd       Promoted
2017/18   Coca-Cola Championship  18th      None
2018/19   Coca-Cola Championship  21st      None
2019/20   Coca-Cola Championship  9th       None
2020/21   Coca-Cola Championship  6th       Play-Off Winners, Promoted
2021/22   Premier League          13th      None
2022/23   Premier League          14th      None
2023/24   Premier League          9th       None
2024/25   Premier League          4th       League Cup Runners Up
2025/26   Premier League          1st       PL Champions
2026/27   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners, LC  Winners
2027/28   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners, LC  Winners, CWC Winners
2028/29   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners, FA  Cup Winners, CWC Winners
2029/30   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners, FA  Cup Winners, LC Winners, CWC Winners
2030/31   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners, FA  Cup Winners, CWC Winners
2031/32   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners,  CWC Winners
2032/33   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners, FA  Cup Winners, LC Winners, CWC Winners
2033/34   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners, FA  Cup Winners, LC Winners, CWC Winners
2034/35   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, LC Winners
2035/36   Premier League          2nd       CL Winners
2036/37   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners, FA Cup Winners
2037/38   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, LC Winners
2038/39   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners, FA Cup Winners
2039/40   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners, FA Cup Winners
2040/41   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners, FA Cup Winners, LC Winners, CWC Winners
2041/42   Premier League          1st       PL Champions, CL Winners, FA Cup Winners, LC Winners, CWC Winners

Merthyr Tydfil Academy Hall of Fame:

A list of those Merthyr Academy graduates who make 100 or more appearances for the club.

Name                Pos        Era                    Apps   Goals     AvR
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Joe Thomas          DM/MC      2029-Present            547      48    7.03
Daniel Jenkins      AMR/L      2035-Present            304      21    7.26
Marcus Phillips     AMC        2034-Present            290      17    6.98
Paul Smith          WB/AML     2013-2018, 2021-2023    219      12    6.87
Andrew Thomas       DM/MC      2037-Present            183      17    7.14
Mike Williamson     DM/AMLC    2029-2035               175      12    6.76
Tom Patton          AMC        2038-Present            166      17    7.06
John Hulse          GK         2037-Present            153       0    6.98
Neil Evans          AMR/L      2038-Present            151      11    7.09
Gareth Jackson      AMRC/FC    2039-Present            104      12    7.08

Squad and trophy cabinet update to come!

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The Squad: Summer 2042

Goalkeepers

1. Paulinho - GK - Brazil - So close to the 1000 mark he can surely taste it, he'll make it next season for sure!

13. John Hulse - GK - Wales - Pretty solid really, but one thing I've noticed is he has never ever saved a penalty.

Daniel Hillier - GK - Wales - Had a decent loan spell at Sheffield United this season, next season will probably be the last time he goes out, as I'm expecting Paulinho to retire at the end of his contract.

Defenders:

2. Neil Jones - D/MR - England - Was pretty much equal first choice with Bianchi for most of the season, did very well for a young lad playing in defence. Unfortunately seems to have now chosen England over his native Wales at international level, perhaps I'll get the Wales job and change his mind before his full debut.

4. Jose Maria Hidalgo - DC - Spain - Solid, but should really be more spectacularly good with his ability.

5. Stuart Harris - DC - England - Probably equal second-choice this year with Hidalgo, he took Colunga's place in the team more regularly as I rested the captain's legs.

6. Ramon Colunga - DC - Spain - Captained the side to a clean sweep, still a great player. Classed as a "legendary centre-back" now, can't disagree there!

15. Marcelo Echague - D/WB/ML - Argentina - Bit of a poor season in places, but still showed his ability in several top-class displays. He's a great tactical outlet as an overlapping wing-back when I play a right-footer on the left wing.

23. Valentino Bianchi - DR/L - Italy - Did pretty well in his first season as a starting player, couldn't play every game as he was also backup to Echague, but reasonable enough.

Mark McCarthy - DC - Wales - Stepped up very very impressively into his role as fourth choice centreback, I actually felt comfortable rotating him in. Massive improvement over Jeff Davies.

Jeff Davies - DC - Wales - Went on loan to Coventry, didn't do great. Probably one for the bin, unfortunately.

Luke Phillips - D/MR - Wales - Spent much of the season on loan at Rochdale, which gave him a nice taste of first-team football. Played a few senior games on his return, didn't embarrass himself.

Carl Evans - DC - Wales - New graduate through the academy, doesn't look anything special yet but assman reckons 2.5 stars, we'll see!

Ashley Jones - DC - Wales - Looks a bit more promising than Evans on first glance, rated the same by the assman though. Will probably see a few first team appearances this season.

N/A Perry Fisher - D/WBL - England - Bit of a poor season at Spurs, he's approaching the twilight of his career now.

N/A George Parks - DRC - England - Another poor season for another ex-fullback of ours. Weird, as he's a top player.

N/A Paolo Iodice - D/WBL - Italy - Seems to have graduated to a starting role at Inter, good on the lad.

Midfielders:

7. Anto Savic - AMR/L - Germany - Unfortunately picked up a virus that's taken him out for 6 months just after this screenshot was taken. Had a pretty bad injury earlier in the season which meant he didn't make too many appearances as well. Means he won't be sold this summer, but more likely I'll sell him next summer as the injuries seem to be mounting for him.

10. Tom Patton - AMC - Wales - Great season for Patton, seemingly taking Phillips' lead in upping his game.

11. Gareth Jackson - AMRC/FC - Wales - Upped his game to become classified as a "Wonderkid" this year, made some great appearances and scored some crucial goals, meaning we didn't miss Savic too much.

12. Daniel Jenkins - AMR/L - Wales - In a relatively lean year for our wingers, he still made more assists than the rest of them. Still, very disappointing considering he cracked 30 a couple of years ago.

14. Andrew Thomas - MC - Wales - Jinxed him by saying he's better than Joe Thomas, his potential has dropped from 3 stars to 1.5 stars in one season. Shame, I thought he was going to be very special.

20. Joe Thomas - DM/MC - England - Continues his great service to the club, a real pioneer for other youth graduates to look up to.

21. Neil Evans - AMR/L - Wales - Sporadically unplayable, if he adds consistency to the goals and assists then he'll be a great asset in the years to come. Seems to do best from the bench, and cutting in from the left.

22. Marcus Phillips - AMC - Wales - Matched Enrique Lopez Santos to top the assist charts this year, a real break-through season for the lad. Very pleased.

Chris Allen - MC - Wales - Slowly improving, he could become very useful with just a few more points in the right areas.

Ryan Matthews - AMR - Wales - Made more first team appearances than I expected him to due to Savic's problems, and did very well on the whole.

Dewi Williams - AMR/L - Wales - Similar to Matthews really.

N/A Carwyn Gilderdale - AMLC - Wales - Still stinking out the place at Everton. Perhaps he just doesn't have the professionalism?

N/A Magalhaes - AM/FC - France - As I thought last time, he's gone into management, joining Gilderdale at Everton, steering them clear of relegation.

N/A Julien Wiesemes - AMR/L - Belgium - Retired from the game.

Forwards:

8. Enrique Lopez Santos - ST - Spain - Perhaps his best season yet, really amazing player.

9. John Hollis - ST - England - Finally demanded a transfer, I have him for another two seasons if I so desire. I'll probably take the plunge and sell him though. Had a great season, regardless.

16. Jonathan Jenkins - ST - Wales - Slow start, to say the least. Thought he'd really push on after a match-winning brace against Crystal Palace, but only got one more all season. Will probably retain his 4th choice position next year due to Hollis' imminent departure.

17. Mike Hunt - ST - American - Great name, great player. Could do with a few more goals, but that's just quibbling.

Chris Dimond - ST - Wales - Almost made 1 in 2 at Doncaster, and Hollis' desire to leave gave him a few first team appearances for us at the end of the year. May well be 3rd choice next season, so here's hoping he grasps the nettle and becomes the first academy striker to really crack the first team.

Neil Davey - ST - Wales - Technically the best striker I've had through the academy probably ever, and with a little development of strength and acceleration he could become a really great player.

N/A Massimiliano Maggio - ST - Italian - Bit of a poor season for him, continental and international matters aside. Injuries hampered him somewhat, and I was slightly disappointed they ruled him out of both games against us.

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i've just read through the whole thing while waiting for college to start this morning. excellent career, i think season updates are grand tbh, monthly would take up way to much of your time i'd imagine.

i cant wait to see if paulinho reaches the 1000, and how your academy players turn out.

will you be continuing with this once friday rolls around?

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i've just read through the whole thing while waiting for college to start this morning. excellent career, i think season updates are grand tbh, monthly would take up way to much of your time i'd imagine.

i cant wait to see if paulinho reaches the 1000, and how your academy players turn out.

will you be continuing with this once friday rolls around?

Okay, I'll keep on as I am, thanks :)

Paulinho has announced his retirement at the end of the season coming, which is a shame (tried to talk him out of it!), but at least he should almost certainly reach the 1000. If he gets an injury on 999 I think I'd cry!

I'll almost certainly keep this going, as I still have plenty of targets and still get plenty of enjoyment from the save, even though my copy of FM11 was dispatched yesterday! I'll probably run this simultaneously with an attempt at Gundo's challenge on the new game. It's always much harder work when you're just starting out, so I imagine I'll play this one as a bit of a break.

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Great stuff! I've been lurking in this thread for a while and I agree with the greyham that seasonal updates are probably best.

How is Wales doing with the progress of your academy players?

In fact you've inspired me to try something similar with San Marino in Italy: becoming dominant and then developing the San Marinese players coming through. Will start that when I get home on Sunday. :)

KUTGW! :thup:

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  • 2 months later...

It was indeed, back before I started trying to do the whole youth thing! I would quite like to carry it on, still have FM10 installed.

Will definitely have to wait for the final season of my Messina save, which is sadly in turn waiting for real life at the moment.

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