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FM21 - Slim Pickings


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Welcome to Slim Pickings..

My desperate attempt to rekindle some FM magic by going back to that itch I haven't yet fully scratched. Youth Only Challenge. Win Champions League

You join me at Slimbridge in the Southern League Division One South. Slimbridge are a village based club in the mold you will find up and down the country - good in the community, fairly happy to continue to bob around the middle reaches of the Non League pyramid - too big for County Football but not big enough for the top of the pyramid. I want to change that. And i want to keep it local.

I can only do this with players produced by the club academy. So slim pickings alright... At best 16 randomly generated options every 12 months.


There are quite a few records to be broken as well - according to their rather good history section of their website. Will be wanting to achieve these with only club graduates remember. Once a player goes - he is gone. Nobody will get a chance to return.


The board would like us to avoid a relegation battle, which could well be possible with the attacking threat we pose.

Johan Flo is in real life a midfielder but the database has him up front alongside Edjidja Mbunga who is on an extremely nice wage for the level of football we are at. Edji does appear to still be at the club in real life which is nice. 



The defence is where the problems may lie..

With computer generated Tom Matthews being the best of a rather poor lot.


I'm not a fan of long winding introductions so let's get down to it..

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August 2020

Pre Season was simply a money making exercise - plenty of local derbies against the bigger regional clubs. It made us about 1k.. The positive was that we were at least competitive against far better players. And we shipped less goals as we got fitter.

We lost RB/CD Korey Pring to Sholing just before the season started and he came back on the opening day and it's fair to say he enjoyed it more than we did.. We were wasteful, they weren't.. 

We did however set a nice low bar for Youngest Ever Player - an Irish, Austrian who grew up in England.. 


Jay Malshanskyj - remember the name, I wont be able to spell it, or say it but might remember it. A hattrick at Totton and we are off..



Edited by KibworthBull
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September 2020

Rain meant the scheduled home game against Thatham was postponed which meant the chance to have a few days rest before the long trip down the M5 to Barnstaple. Czech born Stanislav Hubnik being the key man.

The FA Cup will be huge for us and a trip to Hampshire saw us come back a grand richer, they are a couple of levels below us but all signs are positive so far. So typically the next two matches saw 11 goals shipped and the end to the FA Cup adventures.

Clearly the FA Trophy is not regionalised as a trip to Cumbria is not what we needed after 3 straight defeats. We met Jussi's son (Emil Jääskeläinen) and he scored a hattrick in a long afternoon up north.

A bell curve month. The cups were disposed of within a week. 10th in the league after 6 games.


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October 2020

When the Norweigan 4th tier comes calling... you have to answer


We keep our man for a few more months. 

We would be in a lot of trouble if it wasn't for Mr Malshanskyj (not sure why i spelt his surname which was tricky, when I could have wrote just Jay..) 13 goals in a month is nothing to be sniffed at. Cirencester and Evesham were both top 3 when we played them. Thatcham were near the bottom so the cliche stands true - anyone can beat anyone at this level.

We've sold 30 season tickets this year. So they are all bringing 2 friends on average.


Sitting nicely mid table


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November 2020

Very much following form table - we play side at the top, we lose, we play a side at the bottom, we win, we play a side in mid-table, we draw. Not a great month as we continue to leak goals. 18pts clear of the relegation zone after 18 games and with 27pts. 


Jay Malshanskyj finds a way to score. But he's ours till the end of next season. We wont get an intake player better than him yet.


Alas though we do lose our Assistant Manager. We promote Justin Luchford from Coach.


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December 2020

I've played FM long enough to know that these are just words on a page.. The Attacking Midfielder could see a tactical change if they are good enough, so could the Defensive version. 


Jay gets Christmas off, so that means we will lose all festive cheer and the matches that go alongside them. The Boxing Day trip to Highworth was the first game without him.



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January 2021

A happy new year to one and all.

A month for departures.

The aforementioned Johan Flo has left us after 14 goals in 27 games, and Alex Hainault has gone back to Gloucester City after his loan (pre-arranged before I started). Hainault a Canadian who has his picture in the game (no idea why as he has never gotten above local football) has done okay in the Centre of Midfield. We are weaker because of these moves but leaves gaps for the kids next year.

Thatham taught us a lesson, we won the possession and the shots on target. They scored. We didn't.

We decided on one up top against free scoring Melksham and we cut them down from 7-4 to 4-2 so feels like a win. Apart from we lost.

We were 2-0 up against Cirencester in the 86th minute..

Not a fun month. The only bright spot seemed like so long ago against Barnstaple.


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February 2021

What does everyone need when your imploding? A trip to league leaders Man United.. That's Mangotsfield. And they actually play in Mangotsfield. Then we host 3rd place Basingstoke.

Edjidja Mbunga actually did something for us as we secured 1pt from the two horror games for the month.

Larkhall and Willand are decidedly winnable. Thankfully Jay gets the memo and Larkhall are dispatched. He also shared the good word with Edjidja at Willand.


8 more games, next month will be the biggie. Our first intake. I'm almost excited.



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March 2021

Frome was poor. If we had 15 fewer points then the mood would be really black but we are staring at a stress free last 7 games with only 2 points required to nail on safety. It would take something incredible from here to go down. 

Evesham was better, although still a defeat, it was a couple of late goals against a side fighting for promotion.

Safety was secured against Moneyfields. Despite losing. Frome lost as well and we can plan for next year. Cinderford knick a point late on.

Barnstaple confirm relegation.


The wait for new blood continues.

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April 2021

Press Statement for Immediate Release:

Slimbridge FC are delighted to annouce the following scholars have signed professional terms with the club: 

  • 2 year deals - Chris Burdett (RB), Lloyd Carter (RM), Simon Molyneux (LM), Lee Phillips (AMC), 
  • 1 year deal - Filipe Teles (Glk), Lucas Rae (CD), Dominic Legg (DM), Vince Hogan (LB), Ali Cope-Tewksbury (MC), Tristain Claxton (CD), Owen Angell (SC)

Speaking to the Official Website, manager Kibworth Bull said, "We are delighted to welcome the first intake into the club, we are extremely excited by them all, and especially Lee Phillips and Andrew Rouse who both highlight the hard work and commitment that the Recruitment team and the coaches have put in over the past 12 months. As we bring the club forward, these players will be key in our future successes".

The club can also confirm that the following players have left the club: John Abubakar, Rhys Ings, Stephen Kelly, Johann Bourserie and Dean Cameron

Lee Phillips, already seen as an Important part of the side.


3 games unbeaten mean that we finish the campaign in 13th place. Jay Malshanskyj got 42 goals and cleaned up at the end of season awards.


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2021/22 Season - Pre Season

Expectations are as you were.

The squad is probably a little bit weaker than it was last year, but now at least we have some kids to give some room to.

Pre Season was hectic - games both home and away to give the boys as much practise as possible. 3 games bought in more than 400 people which gives the coffers a slight boost.

The vultures were circling for Jay Malshanskyj, fortunately they were Sutton Coldfield based vultures so they were not setting our man's pulses racing.


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August 2021

Melksham last season equaled goals. 7-4 and 4-2, both defeats and a stiff test to kick things off, and I mean Lee, start as you mean to go on. Sensational stuff from one of our own. Both our and the leagues youngest goalscorer - only by 4 days but still multi-record holder.


Sholing battered us, well thats what the stats say, and at one point we led 3-0 before they turned it around to 4-3 - we snuck a late point with 9 men. Cinderford won the derby and one of the newly promoted sides ended the month. 8pts from the first 5 games and I am a content manager at this point. Jay is doing Jay like things.


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September 2021

Home to the (early stages) leaders then an away FA Cup trip to a side at our level is not the ideal start to the month. Basingstoke allowed us chances but we couldn't get the important goal and they could. In what feels like a worry trend, we dominated Bedford but they snuck through on penalties. I really wanted a cup run this year to boost the coffers so to fall at the first hurdle is gut-wrenching.

Trying to find a positive performance was tough until we welcome Thatcham in the League Cup, it took us extra time but the boys earned the win bonus here.

In the FA Trophy, we travelled to the famed Shakesperian actor Hartley Wintney, and it was far from a Greek Tragedy as we suddenly remember that you can score goals in these games. Not as lucrative as the FA Cup, the Trophy can give us something. £1,500 for success in Hampshire.

All of our league opponents have been Top 3 at kick off. Cinderford no different. We sit 2pts clear of the drop zone


I wanted to pull out a youngester that is impressing each month, but i think that could be Lee Phillips every time, so will focus on others, that are, at least, playing games for us.

Chris Burdett is probably going to play most of the matches, he's had good moments but he's clinging to the North Edge at the moment and we are hoping he clings on and climbs further up.


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October 2021

After last month playing against the top sides, this month is about lots of league games, against mostly the teams around us towards the bottom. We led Bristol Manor Farm 2-0 at Half Time, they levelled it up in the 94th minute from a corner, we failed to clear lines, 2nd ball into the box, lots of defenders looking at each trying to blame each other.

It's only 40 miles to Paulton but we enjoyed the bus journey back, it's amazing what 3 points in early October can do for morale. A few beers MAY have been sunk on the way back.

Injury time is killing us - both Frome and Bridgwater snatch it after the 90. Dreams of Trophy glory are shattered by the Farm Boys - this one wasn't much of a contest.

I've decided that we are going to be a cup team. It's all about the Southern League Cup after sneaking past Rushall Olympic.. We probably won't be in the Southern League next year so our 1 and only chance of that silverware.

3rd place Yate to end the month. EPIC scenes, Jay's first goal in 10 hours of football. We needed it more than a crack addict needs his... yeah you know..


The hope is that Cinderford get cut adrift and there's 1 other side worst than us. A long way to go. Jay needs a good couple of months.


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November 2021

It could be a very cold winter.

A draw against 19th Moneyfields does neither team any good/harm depending on where in the bottom 10 you are. 

Three straight home games which started badly with one of the worst injuries i've seen on FM for a while.image.png.f5855bc1c3cb128a042d70033346eb5e.png

Things are getting rather bleak.

Jay will get us out of this if he matches last season for goals, and to be fair to him he's getting a goal a game. But we are leaking goals. The board remain satisfied


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December 2021

3 games this month. All against sides in the hunt for promotion. We've got as basic a 4-4-2 as you can imagine. We are parking the bus, the cleaner and the kit man and trying to grind the shizzle out of things.

The absolute fidging scenes when Romainian Bolohan pops up with the winner. We were out of this one. But we got back


I ask the backroom staff if they are happy - lots of nodding and smiles.. Head Physio Richard Lloyd joins Carlton Town and U18 manager Louie Waldron joins Thatcham. So they've answered that one. What's the line about rats on a sinking ship?

Melksham knock us down a peg but victory over Sholing puts us ahead of the line for Christmas. Cinderford look toast.



For what it's worth..


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January 2022

Breaking News:

One of our rivals blink..


Lymington on January 1st, down on the coast, I can see the Isle of Wight on the horizon. Both sides miss penalties but will it prove a point gained? Keeper Aaron Gilder gets the MoTM, a rare clean sheet (it's actually back to back clean sheets.. i checked...)

The next two are Basingstoke (2nd) and Cinderford (20th). I wont get judged on Basingstoke, but will be crucified for Cinderford.

Bideford (15th) sack their manager as we lick the Basingstoke wounds - it was a close game to be fair to our boys.  The Cinderford draw actually improved our position as Bristol MF lost. No new manager bounce yet for them.


We were supposed to play Wimborne on the last day of the month but it pee'd it down all day. So the ref had a day off.

Game in hand, 2 points clear. February sees games against Bridgwater, Bristol MF, Paulton and Wimborne. This is our chance. 


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February 2022

3 possibilities for this month.

  1. We slip further into the mire and a new Slimbridge manager is found
  2. We rise, pheonix like, from the flames and the legacy begins
  3. We are still none the wiser as to whether it will be No.1 or No.2

Cirencester away. 28 miles between the grounds, but lightyears in footballing ability. They sit 3rd. This is a freebie as we are expected to lose.


God i love Jay.. Thank God for him as Bristol MF also won!

Our midweek match against Wimborne, once again, fell foul to the weather which meant we travelled to Bristol MF for the BIGGIE. Nothing to seperate us, a point and Bridgwater slip below us as well - who we play next.

Without Jay... Knee injury for up to 4 weeks!

Late goals will be the release we drop, if we do, Bridgwater level up in the 90th but it's as you were, but could have been better. Wimborne finally happens, third time lucky they say and it's a big win. Palladino is the back up to Jay so it's nice to see him on the score sheet.


We can't make it an unbeaten month but we are in a stronger position than we were.


8 games left


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March 2022

A lot of good hard work has happened in the past month, to throw it away now would be a scandal.

Jay returns for Frome and has 2 disallowed before finally netting in the 94th minute for a point. 

The rest of the month is against the Play-Off chacers. 

Yate Town first, 17 miles apart, but much further apart on the field. We are taken apart.

Highworth was our game in hand and for 11 glorious minutes we were dreaming about the 3pts, before it went south.. For context the win put Highworth top. Totton won to move 2nd.


Not sure what the opposite of a chasing pack is, but we are in it and with Bideford perhaps the only two with 4 games left. We are in poor form, but so are they.



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April 2022

One month to save the save. 4 games. Relegation and it's over. Survival and it either prolongs the agony or gives us a platform as to which to build.

Winchester, Staines, Moneyfields and Willand. At some point the next intake will arrive to provide maybe a hail Martyn.

Tom Matthews was the saviour against Winchester, key Centre Back and Captain, a bullet header and we leave Hampshire with a point. Bideford lose.

It's a long way to Staines and it's not the nicest place by all accounts. They destroy us and our misery is compounded by the news that Bideford beat Bristol MF. 180 minutes left in our season and we are below the line.



The intake produces a keeper who is better than  what we had already, so he is thrown into the Moneyfields game.

A draw and Bideford lose so it's 35 a piece.


We play Willand (6 straight wins and secured in 2nd), Bideford host Melksham who need a win to get into the play-offs.



Yeah, we got stuffed 4-1, Bideford lost as well.

Brett Fraser was the keeper that came through. Shame really as I could have worked with him.


Time to come up with another save idea...

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