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[FM12] Can't See The Woods For The Trees


Bobby Daniels

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Long time reader, first time poster. This is my first go at running a career thread!

Sooooo... why FM12? It's what I got innit! I usually only buy the latest version when I change laptop and this one's running fine.

Setup? England only, but with a level 8 database loaded.

The plan? In this here leafy Hertfordshire, our non-league clubs have been very successful in recent years, with clubs such as Borehamwood, Hemel Hempstead & Kings Langley rising above their traditional stations. So I've picked a level 8 club (in FM12 as they still are IRL today) from the locality - NORTHWOOD FC. I'm just going to see how far I can take them. If I get the boot, I'll just see what I fancy depending where I've got to!! Here goes...

2011/2012

Board Expectations: Challenge for the title

Wage Budget: £500

Current Wage: £484

A first look at my squad and we have a problem already, £200 of my weekly wage is taken up by one player! We'll have to ship him out, especially as we have just 11 players, including an existing season long loan. And two of them are keepers! This is going to be fun. Here's that squad:

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Kyle Matthews is the expensive player that I need to sell. I'll be starting with an attacking 442 (with attacking wingers) and need some central midfielders desperately!!! The centre backs aren't much cop either, so will look to strengthen there if I can. On with the show!!!

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Pre Season 2011/2012

Transfers

We managed to offload the expensive Matthews, but had to let him go for free. We also lost the talented Romaine Walker. He was a non-contract player and this is something we're going to have to face up to at this level. Recruitment started slowly, but the experienced Dean Clark was snared early doors. The England Trial day identified 4 potential targets. Two escaped our clutches, but the striking duo Adeyinka & Smith agreed to sign. We also held our own trial day. It threw up lots of players with potential, but nothing that would improve on what we had already.

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By the start of the season, our squad now looked like this.

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Our most talented individuals.

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Friendlies

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A slow start, but we played ok, without winning any of those first six. The majority were against teams in higher divisions. We hammered Didcot, but couldn't take our chances. Of course they scored from the only two chances they had! Two of the three Watford goals came from penalties - which is one concern - we must have given away one a game on average. The Leatherhead game was particularly pleasing, as they are a level above us.

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August 2011

So feeling reasonably confident with a solid squad of players, we kicked off the season at rivals Uxbridge. An early goal settled us and we looked comfortable, but needed the second to calm our nerves. Those nerves were justified as they scored a late consolation.

We went 1-0 down at home to Slough, but there was only one winner once we equalised.

It took a freak goal from a cross from our left back early in the second half to set us on our way against Bedworth.

The penalty demon struck against Daventry. Luckily our keeper saved it. Unfortunately the resultant cross was turned in. An injury time penalty after going down to ten men, won us a point we didn't look like getting.

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Second in the table after four games isn't too shabby.

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And nor is this.

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September 2011

Results

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A full September that started badly in the league. The 0-0 draw at home to Chertsey was particularly frustrating. The 3-1 win at Biggleswade brought a much needed league win. It was looking iffy at 1-1, but we changed from attacking to our backup counter tactic and we controlled the game from then on in, even after our left back was sent off at 2-1. We looked good at league leaders Aylesbury and led 1-0 until late in the game. However, having fielded trialist Andrea Zola at left back due to our others being missing through suspension and injury, he cost us all three points. First as everyone else stood to the right of our penalty area for a free kick, he stood on his lonesome to the left, playing everyone else onside - 1-1. Then with minutes remaining, he gave away a penalty - must have been taking lessons off our regular defenders!! 2-1 down and a disappointing end to the month.

The cups were a different matter. We played a second string for the FA Cup Preliminary Round - it nearly cost us, but a late flurry of goals won the tie for us. The Barton replay in the trophy was a joy to watch, and a promising sign seeing as though they are at our level. It broke a number of records.

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League Table

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Three tough ties coming up in the cups.

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We've also filled the squad out with some backup players.

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October 2011

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An improvement in form. 3 wins and a good point at high flying Beaconsfield.

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Back in the play-off picture.

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Our FA Cup adventure came to an end in dramatic fashion. The Vics are a level above us and dominated the first half, taking a quick 3-0 lead. But after giving the players the hairdryer treatment, we came roaring back. Two quick goals got it back to 3-2. And with just over 10 minutes to go, we countered from a Northwich corner, Smith finishing low and hard to equalise. However we couldn't hang for the replay, a last minute winner sending the home side through.

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We're still going strong in the FA Trophy. Droylsden of the Blue Sq North await in the next round. Smith's record breaking goal scoring effort in the Ossett Town game helped earn him the player of the month award.

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I put the reserves out for the Red Insure Cup. All things considered, a 2-1 away defeat wasn't a bad result. Smith coming off the bench to score yet again.

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November 2011

9 points out of 9 at the start of November, left us in good shape heading into the FA Trophy game against Droylsden, but at a cost. Our top striker Smith was injured and we'd have to face the Blue Sq team without him. Thankfully we didn't miss him. A deep cross was finished at the back post by Miles Jones to give us an early lead. Droylsden equalised midway through the first half, but we had a great chance to re-take the lead from the penalty spot just before half time. Unfortunately the normally reliable Clark smashed the spot kick against the bar. We weren't to be denied. Regular left back Marsh-Brown had been pushed up to left wing due to injury and was in the right spot to smash home a cross early in the second half. We remained the side on top in a game of few chances and held on for the "giant" killing. We followed this up with a top of the table clash at home to St. Neots. Clark gave us an early lead, making no mistake from the spot this time. But a 25 yard strike and a header from a corner either side of half time broke us. Still without Smith, we struggled to get a grip of the game and deserved the defeat.

Smith was back by the time we faced Brackley (level 7), but the start was the same as the cup game at Northwich and we were 3 down at half time. Smith gave us hope with a goal 20 minutes into the second half, but the fightback stopped there and the FA Trophy run was over. We still had the Middx Senior Cup as a chance for silverware, but the reserves failed to perform after I chose to rest the first teamers.

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Not a bad month. Some way off top but still in 2nd place...

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December 2011

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Another strong month, helped by a run of four home games in the middle of it. Jonathan Smith scored in every game and this earned him the Player of the Month award. But where did this leave us in the table?

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Second by a goal, although St. Neots have a game in hand.

Highlights

  • Dorchester, after having him watched, offered a contract to my 'keeper Reading. Thankfully, when I offered him a new contract, he only wanted £30 per game. I was able to offer him a better squad status than he wanted as well. That seems to have kept the wolves from the door.
  • The 6 games unbeaten is a new Northwood record.
  • Not only did Smith win player of the month, but Dean Clark claimed 2nd place.
  • And to top it off, I was named Manager of the Month for the second time.

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January 2012

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Only four games this month as we had our first and last games postponed. Ironically we went top without kicking a ball, as St. Neots 5-1 defeat on 2nd January put us top on goal difference. We stormed into a 3-0 lead against Daventry, but looked wobbly conceding two late goals. The wobble continued into the two away games. Some interesting management saw Bedworth use all of their subs early on, leaving them with 9 men for the last 20 minutes, when further injuries occurred. Somehow we still couldn't score. In fact the only chance of note, in the final 20 for us, came in injury time. Woodford came from behind to beat us, but we recovered against Burnham, with the unusually quiet Smith finally netting in 2012.

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A fair month, and we find ourselves two points off the top with a game in hand.

Highlights

  • Some of our key players' contracts expire at the end of the season and they all want 3 or 4 times their current wage. Sadly we will probably have to let them go.
  • I must be doing something right. I've been linked with the (not yet vacant) Darlington job!
  • Miles Jones' goal after 28 seconds against Daventry is our quickest ever.
  • At one point during the month, 3 of our 4 full backs were all injured at the same time. :mad:
  • I asked our board to find a parent club, just to give us some extra income. They agreed, but couldn't find one!
  • Slough, with almost double our wage bill came shopping. First they signed our central midfielder Warren Burrell, followed by centre back Craig Gott.
  • We signed promising youngster Chris Tonks to fill the Burrell void. But still looking for a new centre back.

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February 2012

It didn't start well. Well, it did start well. We were 1-0 up against Biggleswade. But then we faded and the walking red card that is Marsh-Brown went for an early bath at a time where we needed to get a grip on the game. We were unbeaten for the rest of the month, but the 0-0 draw at home to Beaconsfield, whilst a decent side, was not a great result. The 4-0 thumping of Aylesbury was much more like it. We looked like the side we were at the end of 2011. Dominant and full of goals.

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And whilst we didn't sparkle in February, nor did St. Neots...

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...and we're top of the tree on goal difference. Let's hope the Aylesbury result is a sign of things to come.

Highlights

  • We filled our centre back gap by signing 16 year old Nikki Lewis. He becomes our youngest ever player in the 2-0 win at Chertsey.
  • Marsh-Brown ended up with 2 red cards in the month. He will not play left back again. Instead I'll use him on the left wing, where his tackling will be less of a problem. He's not particularly dirty, but just keeps on picking up yellow cards.
  • The goal machine that is Jonathan Smith won player of the month again.

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March 2012

What on earth happened here?!!! A dreadful result at Hayes, was followed by a difficult but ultimately impressive win at high flying Fleet. So with confidence restored, lowly Chalfont came to Chestnut Avenue. And wiped the floor with us. Just what we didn't need ahead of the top of the table clash at St. Neots. But what do I know? An early goal was enough to snatch a 1-0 win and keep us in touch with the leaders. We finished March with a 1-1 draw at home to Rugby.

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In all the excitement I forgot to take a screenshot of the table, but we remained in 2nd, 2 points behind St. Neots.

Highlights

  • Chippenham, 8 points clear at the top of the Southern League Premier, sign our centre back Garry Burke.
  • His replacement is Sean Cronin, signed from Arlesey, also from the Southern League Premier.

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April 2012

Fortune favours the brave, right? We've not been at our best, in particular our wingers' ratings, whether playing as inside forwards or out and out wingers, have been poor. Even when we win. I do prefer narrow formations and playing with a DM. A couple of our players, whilst not naturals, are capable of playing there, so we're going for a 4123 line up. One I have used successfully before. And it gets us off to a flyer. We win 2-0 at struggling Ashford to secure a play off spot. Barton Rovers, who we beat 7-1 in the FA Trophy earlier in the season are up next at home. We dominate with 66% possession. They have one shot. They score. We don't. 0-1. North Greenford away next. Despite taking the lead, we can't hang on and end up losing 2-1. St. Neots fail to take advantage and also lose. They edge us on goal difference at the top with two to play. Bedfont Town away next and the wheels have come off. We only concede one, but it's enough for them to beat us. St. Neots don't waste this chance to pull clear. They win, leaving us needing them to lose their last game, a first victory in four for us and a four goal swing in our favour. We finally find some form to beat already relegated Leighton 3-0, but St. Neots had raced into an early four goal lead in their game. We'll have to rely on the play-offs.

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We finish 3 points behind the champions. Strangely, the play-off semi finals are drawn randomly. Instead of the home advantage we expected, we're drawn away to Fleet. We won 4-2 there recently, so revert to our usual tactics. However, the poor run in doesn't leave me feeling confident. So I'm not surprised that, despite starting brightly, we're two down by half-time. We're lacking confidence across the team and it's no surprise Fleet add a late third. We came so close, but the dream is over.

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Highlights

  • Smith, Adeyinka & Clark are all in the shortlist for the Player of the Season award. I voted for Lewis Hilliard, St Neots goal scoring midfielder.
  • Wembley won the Middlesex County FA Senior Challenge Cup
  • St Neots won the Red Insure Cup to complete an impressive double.
  • My right winger Ofoche scored his first goal of the season, in our last regular season game!
  • Smith came 2nd in the Player of the Month award.

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May 2012

Highlights

  • Fleet win the play-off final and are promoted.
  • Wrexham win the FA Trophy.
  • St. Neots' Lewis Hilliard wins the Player of the Season award.
  • Our star striker Jonathan Smith wins the top goalscorer award.
  • The board have set our initial wage budget at £575 per week for next season. An increase of £75.

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Euro 2012

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France and Holland are the big teams to exit early. Montenegro are surprise qualifiers from Group C.

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Montenegro continue the surprise with a win over Spain. England have a comfortable route to the final, but then fall to traditional foes Germany.

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2011/12 Season Review

Winners

[TABLE=width: 250]

[TR]

[TD]Premier League:[/TD]

[TD]Man City[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Championship:[/TD]

[TD]Southampton[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]League One:[/TD]

[TD]Sheff Wed[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]League Two:[/TD]

[TD]Southend[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Conference:[/TD]

[TD]Grimsby[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]FA Cup:[/TD]

[TD]Man City[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]League Cup:[/TD]

[TD]Burnley[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Champions League:[/TD]

[TD]Arsenal[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Europa League:[/TD]

[TD]Stade Rennais[/TD]

[/TR]

[/TABLE]

Northwood Player of the Year: Jonathan Smith

Northwood Best XI

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No real surprises here. The only question was which of the under performing left backs would get the nod.

On To Next Season

  • Our wage budget has been reduced from the initial £575pw to £525.
  • The board expect us to win the league!
  • So do the media.
  • But the bookies have us fifth favourites at 7-4.
  • We've added Richard Laxton to our scouting team.

Friendlies

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A packed pre-season including one against parent club Watford and a potential money maker against Blackpool.

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We're still mid pre-season but the big two cup draws have taken place.

In the FA Cup we will face either Wessex Premier sides St. Ives or Downton at home in the Preliminary Round.

We also enter the FA Trophy at the Preliminary Round, where we are away to Southern League Division One S\W side Hungerford Town.

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Pre-Season 2012/13

Olympic Games

Not that I was involved in any way. But good news for Team GB as Roy Hodgson led the boys to Gold.

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Transfers

We couldn't afford to renew the contracts of most of the players whose contracts expired. Thankfully, the strike duo of Jonathan Smith & Tashan Adeyinka stay as non-contract players, presumably because they are under 24. Few players want to join us on contracts we can afford to pay. However, there are good players out there happy to join on non contract terms. My worry of course is that they get poached if we perform well. Right back Chris Weedon, signed from Rugby, looks to be the pick of the new players.

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I'm happy with the squad we have. All positions in our 442 formation are covered. The central midfield is particularly strong. Jimmy Froud is available on a free for whoever wants him. Here is the current squad.

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Our three to watch.

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Friendlies

I'm absolutely delighted with how our pre-season went. We had a good mix of games home and away against varying standards of opposition. The stand out games were the 2-0 win at home to League 2 AFC Wimbledon and the 3-4 defeat at home to Championship Watford. We pushed the Hornets all the way and only a late (and their second of the game) penalty consigned us to defeat. We were pretty dominant in our other friendlies, Blackpool aside. So I'm hoping we can take this form into the League campaign.

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Pre-Season Highlights

  • We made £24k profit in July, a big bonus for us. The friendlies against Watford & Blackpool were the big money makers.
  • Adeyinka missed a few penalties in our friendlies. He is no longer first choice taker.
  • Captain Lee Williams was injured towards the end of pre-season and is out for 2-3 months.

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August 2012

A decent start to the season, with two dominant performances at home. Slightly disappointed to only draw at Daventry, especially as we started the game strongly only to concede from a set piece.

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Both strikers have grabbed a hat trick each and Chris Tonks registered his first goal for the club with a well taken free kick. The Burnham game was wrapped up by half time, but it took until the second half for us to get amongst the goals against Aylesbury.

This fella didn't have a scooby as to how to keep my attackers quiet.

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We sit 2nd in the table with only Rugby managing maximum points after three games.

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Highlights

  • We will play St. Ives in the FA Cup after they beat Downtown 2-1.
  • With five goals in the first two games, Adeyinka wins Player of the Month. Jonathan Smith comes 2nd.
  • But only 3rd place for me in the Manager equivalent.

Oh, and after we tormented him, Danny moves on!...

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September 2012

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With all the cup action in September, we only had three games in the league. Sough look a lot better this season and are playing more like the rich club, for this level, that they are. They must have thought they had snatched a point after equalising with 10 minutes to go. But Jordan Cross fired home minutes later to give us all three points. A comfortable, if uninspiring win at bottom side Romulus was followed up with a much better performance against Bedworth. 9 points out of 9 leaves us top with games in hand.

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Still going strong in the cups. The FA Cup games against St. Ives were a bit closer than I would have expected. Or liked. Stansted of the Essex Senior League were sent packing in the manner I wanted in the following round. Luke Freeman scoring his first two goals for the club in this game. Ossett Town, who we beat in FA Trophy 2nd Qualifying Round last season, will be our next FA Cup opponents.

Hungerford were destroyed in the FA Trophy, whilst Poole Town of the Southern League Premier fell to a late Smith header. Harrogate Railway or Ashton United await in the next round.

Divisional rivals Bedfont Town will be our first challenge in the county cup this season.

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Highlights

  • Young midfielder Chris Tonks breaks his leg and is out for 7-8 months.
  • We have signed Joshua Laurent to cover Tonks injury.
  • Hyem scores his first for the club and its a 30yd corker!
  • 7 wins in a row, and counting, is a new Northwood record
  • Burgess Hill and Uxbridge have offered a contract to centre back Sean Cronin. We have already increased his non-contract terms but fear we are going to lose him.

And then there's this...

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Probably the biggest shock result I've seen playing this version of FM. England are currently ranked first in the World, San Marino 198th!!!

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October 2012

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A bad start at early top of the table rivals Bedfont. Ofoche gets two yellow cards in a minute to turn the game. Even then, Adeyinka misses a penalty at 0-1 - I clearly hadn't moved him far enough down the penalty takers list. He's now off the list completely. Andy Hughes scores a great hat trick from left midfield at home to Hitchin. And then gets sent off. We can even afford to miss an early penalty, Cross this time. But we are then taken apart by Marlow. The two draws that follow are uninspiring, disappointing affairs. Aylesbury U score an injury time equaliser and at that point I decide I've had enough of 442. I revert to my favoured 4123. Most teams at this level are playing 442, so we should be able to dominate the middle. It has an instant impact with the destruction of Hayes.

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So despite the wobbles, we remain top. No-one running away with it this season.

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A Sean Cronin own goal brings our FA Cup run to an end at Ossett. His last action for the club before he moves on. The new formation brings us an FA Trophy win at unbeaten Ashton United. AFC Hornchurch await.

Highlights of the month to follow...

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October 2012 Highlights

  • Knowing that Cronin was likely to leave, I have a look for a potential replacement. Cambridge City have a fine player by the name of Otira hanging around theor reserves. However, he's quickly snapped up by Bedford whilst Cronin is still deciding on his future, so my search continues.
  • Cronin's still deciding when Enfield come in for our midfielder Anthony Taylor. We're now looking at needing two starting xi replacements.
  • Cronin finally decides where his future lies. Neither Uxbridge, nor Burgess Hill. Instead he opts to join Leighton. That's the Leighton who finished bottom of our division last season. On closer inspection, they have a massive squad and presumably a much bigger wage bill than us.
  • Duvaine Lindo signs on as our Cronin replacement and he looks good. How long before the vultures start sniffing around him?
  • Hussein Mohamed signs on to replace Taylor. Not quite as polished as our other midfielders, but decent none the less.
  • The change in formation requires a change in personnel. DM Jordan Fowler signs as we only really have Hyem that can play in that position, and not very well.
  • Lowe, Ruddy and Hughes are all released as they will not fit the new system and are all non-contract players. It's a particular shame for Hughes as he looked promising, but was really only one of four wingers that had performed. Ofoche will stay on as a striker.
  • Youth player Tomlinson is promoted to the 1st team as backup DM. He looks like the only one of the current crop capable of doing a job for the first team, so don't expect anyone else to break through until at least March.

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November 2012

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The trouble with good cup runs is that a. you're playing catch up in the league and b. you're players are knackered playing two games a week for a month! We played a lot better than the results suggested, but were profligate in front of goal. The two goals conceded at Evesham were bizarre. The first, our keeper got in a tizz on the edge of his box and presented the ball to their striker for an easy finish. The second went in off his back after a 30-yarder hit the bar. We also had 2 goals disallowed for offside. We plough on.

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The shock victory over AFC Hornchurch was the highlight of the month. I thought we'd blown our chance when Smith missed an absolute sitter in the replay (Brighton fans of a certain age will be familiar with the phrase "And Smith Must Score!!!"), but Robinson came off the bench to win us the tie and our first foray into the FA Trophy "proper" rounds.

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Kudos to our fringe players for their win against Slough in the Red Insure Cup. We battled hard against holders Wrexham in the FA Trophy First Round, but in truth they dominated as a team 3 levels above us should do. The fringe players were back for the home tie in the RI Cup at home to SLP opposition Arlesey, but this time it was a step too far, even though we took the lead.

With fringe players involved, we broke a couple of Northwood records. Nigel Tomlinson became our youngest player (16 years 76 days). Ricky Royce our youngest scorer (16 years 225 days).

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December 2012

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Look at all that green! There were some tough games in there too. Postponements and rescheduled fixtures led us to a four game away run. The fringe players were on cup duty again. An Ofoche injury time equaliser took the game to extra time, where he scored again to take us through to the next round of the Middx County Cup. The one blot on the landscape was at Bedford, who adopted a 3-5-2 sweeper formation. We modified our approach to deal with this, but not before a Tony Davies OG put us one down. The Sutton Coldfield game was an onslaught! They outscored us 17-2 in shots, 11-2 on target. They had 61% of the possession, but we scored the only goal of the game early on. Not surprisingly, James Reading was in team of the week following that game. Hussein Mohamed was sent off early on against Daventry and it was another backs to the wall effort, albeit not to the level of the Sutton C. game.

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So we're sitting top with a game in hand, but there are many teams in the chasing pack.

Highlights

  • Jonathan Smith is after a new contract. At the last time of offering, he wanted over £200pw. We cannot afford that.
  • Left back Rory Wood signs for Cray Wanderers.
  • Charlie Glyde will make the step up from backup. We sign Chris Bourne from Met Police to be the knew backup left backup.
  • We've also signed two strikers on non-contract terms to add strength in depth to our attack.
  • Jonathan Smith came 3rd in the player of the month award.
  • And I won Manager of the Month.

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January 2013

A couple of close but deserved wins to kick the new year off. In a game where we hit the woodwork more than we hit the back of the net, Robbie Green scored his first for the club against Barton. He celebrated by giving away two penalties at Slough in the next game. One of our new strikers, Aaron Williams, scored his first goal for the club against Hayes. Their keeper had a blinder and we could have scored many more. Hitchin had gone twelve unbeaten before our top of the table clash. We were always second best, but recovered from a goal down to take a point. We shut up shop early in that game, as the point was much more beneficial to us than them.

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An 8 point lead at the top. Looking healthy at this stage.

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Highlights

  • Jordan Cross' goal after 24 seconds at North Greenford is a new Northwood record.
  • It helps him to second place in the player of the month awards.
  • I get second in manager of the month.

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February 2013

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The draw at home to Woodford was a disappointing result.

The reserves triumphed in the cup, after extra time, at North Greenford. Youth teamers Connor Ashley & Ricky Artun made their debuts in the match. We have been drawn away to Harefield in the Semi Final.

We failed to take some very good chances against Bedworth and they made us pay with a late equaliser.

We were dominant again against Bedfont. Our second goal was a late penalty. I was worried we were going to end up with a 1-1 draw again!

The Aylesbury United game was my 100th in management. It was a difficult game. They played with a narrow diamond, we adjusted & didn't look comfortable but grabbed a 1-0 win as Mohamed gets his first league goal for us.

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Hitchin won all four of their games in February and are unbeaten since 10th November. We're four points clear but will need to be at our best to stay at the top.

Highlights

  • Cheshunt offer a contract to Lee Williams, which he accepts. No bother as Connor Ashley is almost of the same standard & has far greater potential, so he is promoted from the youth team.
  • With Williams leaving, Chris Weedon becomes captain.
  • Chris Tonks is back in training after recovering from his broken leg.

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March 2013

What should have been a comfortable home game against Marlow was made much more difficult after Mohamed picked up an early red card. We couldn't get any attacking momentum after that and the game finished 0-0.

Unbelievable! Evesham at home next and this time Adeyinka gets an early red! The game follows the same pattern as the previous week and it's our second 0-0 on the trot.

The Biggleswade game is end to end as it draws to a close and I get a bit nervous. But we hang on for the win. This sets a new Northwood record of 12 games unbeaten.

We're 1-20 favourites for the Middx County Cup Semi Final at Harefield, so we went attacking from the off. I played the reserves and despite taking the lead, they were awful!

We come from behind to beat Bedford including Tony Davies' first goal for the club. incredibly, Hitchin finally lose at home (to Chalfont). The lead is back up to 5 points with 6 to play. A play off spot is guaranteed.

The win at Beaconsfield is a comfortable one. Hitchin lose again and things are starting to look very good!!

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Now something's been staring me in the face all season that I'd not processed. Due to the change in the number of teams at step 3 for the 2013-14 season, there are two teams promoted from our division this season. And so...

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...we're up! Our lead over Hitchin is now 8 points, so hopefully we can turn promotion into the title.

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We've had our new youth intake this month.

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A lot of potential here, but no-one likely to hit the first team immediately.

And finally, Forest Green won the FA Trophy, beating Accrington 3-2 in the final.

Edit: Just missed the fact I won Manager of the Month again!

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April 2013

We come from behind to beat Sutton Coldfield with a good performance to match. Jordan Cross scores his first goals in 13 hours of football! Hitchin lose yet again. With our superior goal difference, one more point and the title is effectively ours.

We then win at Chalfont to secure the title. Joshua Laurent scores his first for the club. Hitchin lose in a 4-3 classic at North Greenford and are in danger of missing out on automatic promotion altogether. Their next game is away to 3rd placed Daventry!

We switch to a more attacking tactic when 0-1 down half time at Barton and finish with a 4-2 win. Daventry smash Hitchin 4-0 and move to 2nd place.

The 6-3 win over Rugby is entertaining and is a record high scoring game for both us and the league! Hitchin drop to 4th and it's between Daventry and Marlow for 2nd place.

Last game of the season is at home to North Greenford. We're 1-0 up at half time and dominating possession.

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It finishes 2-0 in front of a record crowd of 400.

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We break the record for the number of points in this division (beating Arlesey Town's 88). Daventry hold on to 2nd.

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Hitchin still have the play-offs, but their collapse has been dramatic.

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Highlights

  • I'm linked with the York, Wrexham, Cheltenham & Stockport jobs.
  • Jordan Cross and Jonathan Smith are up for player of the year. I voted for Bedworth's Martyn Davies.
  • Harefield win the Middx County Cup, beating Enfield 1-0 in the final.
  • Solihull Moors win the Red Insure League Cup.
  • Ofoche comes 2nd in the player of the month.
  • I win Manager of the Month again (my 3rd in 5 months).

As we're at the end of the season, here's our first team stats.

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May 2013

Highlights

  • Hitchin stop the rot and are promoted via the play-offs.
  • Jordan Cross wins the league player of the season award.
  • Jonathan Smith is 2nd in the top goalscorer award.
  • But no manager of the season award for me, not even top 3!
  • Liverpool win the FA Cup, beating Stoke 3-0 in the final. Luis Suarez scores a hat trick.

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2012/13 Season Review

Winners

[TABLE=width: 300]

[TR]

[TD]Premier League:[/TD]

[TD]Man City[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Championship:[/TD]

[TD]Norwich City[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]League One:[/TD]

[TD]Barnsley[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]League Two:[/TD]

[TD]Oxford U[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Conference:[/TD]

[TD]Bristol Rovers[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]FA Cup:[/TD]

[TD]Liverpool[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]League Cup:[/TD]

[TD]Blackburn[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Champions League:[/TD]

[TD]Man City[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Europa League:[/TD]

[TD]PSG[/TD]

[/TR]

[/TABLE]

Man City beat Arsenal on penalties in the Champions League final. As Arsenal only finished in the PL, had they won they would have denied 4th placed Spurs the final Champions League spot. PSG beat Man Utd in the Europa League Final.

Northwood Player of the Season: Jonathan Smith (2nd season in succession)

Northwood 2012/13 Best XI

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Jordan Cross wins the league player of the season award but can't get into our best XI! Also surprised Jordan Fowler doesn't feature.

Northwood All-Time Best XI

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Three of this season defence make the all time XI.

On to Next Season

  • We made 30k profit last season
  • Our wage budget quadruples to £2.1k p/w
  • St Albans City away is our first game of the season.
  • The board expect a mid table finish
  • The media predict we will finish 15th
  • The bookies, however, make us 5/2 4th favourites!

Friendlies

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A lot of games including some early season money spinners.

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Pre-Season 2013/14

Transfers

We've signed three new players over the summer. The two left backs we had are both of a similar standard but neither of them are at the level of the best players in other positions. So Darren Craddock joins from Dover. With backup keeper Parkin leaving on a free transfer, Hancock joins from Swindon Supermarine. He's good enough to be first choice but James Reading will be breathing down his neck. Our backup right back has great potential, but current ability is not good enough for the first team. So Will Whieldon looks a great option coming in on a free. Staines take Hyem on a free - he wanted too big a wage from us to stay. Froud & Robinson were only reserve players and took part in very little last season.

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Current squad now looks like this.

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This seasons three to watch.

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Friendlies

A great result against Barnsley, and deserved! We looked decent enough in the friendlies against the teams outside the Football League and should have at least drawn against Kingstonian.

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Highlights

  • We have 2 new scouts. One didn't want to renew his contract, the other isn't as good as either of the two coming in.
  • We've added to our coaching staff and signed a goalkeeping coach.
  • Now we've gone up a level, we enter the FA Cup & FA Trophy at the first qualifying round stage. We have Newcastle Benfield\Alvechurch\Winterton\Ascot at home in the Cup and Farsley of the Northern Premier at home in the Trophy.
  • Both Jordan Fowler & James Reading sign new deals with Corby sniffing around.
  • We made 32k profit in July.
  • We've signed a new assistant manager, Steve Kennedy. He's a vast improvement on the outgoing Aaron Smith.

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