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[FM19]- Surviving on (Staveley Miners) Welfare support


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I enjoyed doing a chunk of the "Giant 70" Challenge last year using the Claasen Countries Add-On, so was looking for doing a long save this time, again utilising the Claasen Add-On. As (of current) he's only done the European Leagues I was toying with going to some minor leagues and working through the countries with the lower coefficients, but was unsure what my main objective would be.

So I've decided to do a save (a lot) nearer home and started with the Claasen additional lower leagues at level 9 - with a team just up the road from where I live  - Staveley Miners Welfare.

I'm not sure how far I can take them in the game, as starting at this level I imagine its going to be a grind to even get to the National North league - as promotions are only guaranteed for League Winners, with playoffs being the main option for promotion. I'd be really pleased if I could get them that far - but I'll start off and see how it goes.

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So the challenge begins ..... Welcome to Staveley Miners Welfare FC - "The Trojans"



They can be found playing in "Northern Counties East Premier Division" - the 9th tier of the English Football Pyramid.

The Area

Staveley is a small market town found in North East Derbyshire (pop. circa 18k), close to the boundaries of Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire - yet fiercely proud to be Derbyshire.

Originally surrounded by several large Pits - the closest being Ireland Colliery, which was no more than 400yds from where the football ground stands on Inkersall Road, Staveley.

But after the decimation of the Coal Industry, by Margaret Thatcher and her Tory government in the mid-1980's all the collieries in region where closed down, and the communities built around the industry have long since dissipated. There has been re-investment in the area and there is now "Poolsbrook Country Park" where Ireland Colliery once stood, and attempts to bring back jobs to the area has seen EU grants generate new Business Parks in the local vicinity - with Staveley even getting its own new Junction assigned to access it off the M1 Motorway (J29a).


The Club

The club was founded as a pub team in 1962, and after playing among the local weekend amateur leagues for a number of decades, the early 1990's saw them move up into the Semi-Professional ranks and by the end of the decade they had worked themselves through 6 tiers of the pyramid and found themselves in the Northern Counties East Premier Division.

However the new millennium saw a period of turmoil, with relegation to Division 1 and only the survival of 3 re-elections enabled them to stay at that level, then in 2007 the club was on the verge of folding when the committee resigned en-masse. Saved from extinction by a local businessman, and re-aligning itself back with the Community, it gained promotion back into the Premier Division in 2010/11 season ..... and there it has remained ..... until Charlie Choplicks took over the reins in June 2018


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I went to watch Staverley in the FA Cup this season. They got hammered by a team a few divisions above them but I was very impressed with the set up.

Even saw a player get subbed off and punch a hole through the dugout.

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My initial idea managing a team at this level was to keep things simple - so I offloaded a lot of the tasks I'd normally do with my teams to my Assistant Manager (specifically Tactical Briefings, Press Conferences) - my logic being that these motivational aspects of the game can give small edges if you handle them correctly - or cause real problems if you really manage to p**s them off. So the 'safe' approach from the Assistant was the way to go.

I'll take on more responsibilities as we (hopefully) climb up the leagues - and I'm including in that taking on the new training system, if we eventually turn professional.

My main concentration this season will be getting a balanced - effective - squad and tactic, and I think that should hold us in good stead for this first crack at level 9 football.


Whenever I take on a new team I take a look at what the Board will allow me in the way off Staff  - at this level I can't be overly picky, so taking the sliding scale of attributes for each one and usually being in low single figures before any names are proffered to me its then simply a case of who'll work for £40 pw. I'm not that loyal to my backroom staff and will look to improve each year.

I then turn my attention to the playing Squad ..... and my first look at the squad gave me a unbalanced mix of players to say the least ! In particular 4 Right Backs, 4 (very poor) Centre Backs , just 1 Centre Midfielder and no Right Sided Midfielder. With almost all the players being Non-Contract I quickly released a lot of the poor rated, and then started trawling the Free Agent Offers and anything my Scouts could find to get me at least 2 for each position, for my basic tactic of Fluid Counter Attacking 4-4-2.

We flew through our 6 pre-season friendlies - including 4 matches against Teams from Scotland !! each one traipsing the 100+ miles for a friendly away at Staveley, throw in a trip for us to Lancashire and a pre-season record of W2-L2-D2 is fine by me, as at this point I'm still trialling lots of free agents and potential new players.



August - October

I didn't get anything like a settled team until probably the start of October - and even now there's areas that are cause for concern - particularly the Goalkeeping options and the lack of a decent second striker. So with constantly adding new players, and releasing poor players meant that the team cohesion ranged from Abysmal to Poor for almost the whole of this period - with just a glimmer of Green by the end of October.


The centre forwards I inherited are a bit of an enigma .... I have Joe Pugh who is 5* rated on both ability and potential - yet has managed probably just 1 decent game out of our first 19 or so matches. The other main option was Adam Baskerville who was - so my inbox in forms me-   being courted by loads of other side and has a 3*/5* rating for ability and potential and hes currently averaging just 6.77 as of end October. Neither have any real pace (9 and 10 respectively) and neither are an aerial threat (7 and 6 respectively for Jumping reach). So neither can give me any pace to break against a high defensive line, or provide any semblance of threat from Corners, or Set Pieces.

I have since taken on Paul MacManus who was the fastest player the searches returned with a 14 for speed and hes doing far better than both of the aforementioned (currently Paul has an average of 7.21) - yet only has 3.5 * for ability and potential. I now hope to find a target man with a decent Jumping stats to play alongside him. I was impressed that the Additional Leagues did also do a good replication of real players names - i'd just assumed they'd be fictitious, FM generated names for the additional level teams. On the subject of names I've signed a Left Midfielder who has one of the most unfortunate names I've seen for a footballer for quite a while, he would get some real stick if he played in front of large crowds .... his name ..... Fortunate Sithole.

I did lose my first league game, but then went on a 10 match unbeaten run before succumbing to the early season leaders Hall Road Rangers, swiftly followed by another defeat in the next game against Liversedge.


The schedule is pretty hectic with most weeks having 2 games, presumably to alleviate for the poor weather, and poor pitches during the winter months - so I have rotated with the youngsters for a couple of cup games. We are out of the FA Cup but still surviving in the FA Vase.

(In real life the real schedule is actual more hectic, as the team had only played 9 league games by the end of October - yet there are 2 more cups they participate in that don't appear in the Claasen add-on)

So the results have been OK to end of October, even though cohesion was poor and the team still wasn't how I'd like it to be in terms of roles required. 

I'm pretty happy with my progress so far, but as only League Winners get promotion, I'm already thinking this years chance has gone - and its only the end of October  - maybe I'm just a born pessimist ?


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