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Career Scratch Tries Redknapping [Complete] with selling screencast


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Off to Portsmouth then, to attempt Badge 03 (by @FuddledFox) in the Badges of Honour series:




First, I want to quote myself from a career way back in 2017:

On 17/05/2017 at 21:26, Scratch said:

There are some managers who can get the best out of any squad, the sort who could take this lot, work on the tactics and lead them to the title from here. Sadly, I'm not one of them. I'm okay tactically, but not good enough to work miracles like that. I'm a wheeler dealer who needs to build a squad and bring in the right players to support the way I want to play.

I've always seen myself as a wheeling/dealing Redknapp type, so loved the idea of this challenge. Whether the end result is any good, we'll have to wait and see, but I threw myself into this, scouring the game for players who might be a good fit. I don't think I've gone this in-depth on recruitment for a couple of years (it's always harder down low).

I'm not exagerating on the time I spent putting the squad together. This screenshot is from November, but I must have spent at least 8 hours on recrutiment. 



Anyway, let's look's at the deals I made:







Some highlights:

  • I sold every single first team player (apart from the loanees). I didn't mean to. I wanted to keep Whatmough but got an offer too good to refuse. I wanted to keep Naylor as my captain, but ended up realising he wouldn't play. There were a couple of youngsters I thought I'd keep only to find they were unprofessional. Then I changed the formation in pre-season and had to get rid of player that wouldn't fit anymore.
  • I hate using loan players, but I really stuggled to find strikers I was happy with, so had to dip into the loan market. Players like Zirkzee and Arp and Daramy should rip League 1 apart. I didn't want to use Arp, because I know @FuddledFox did, but in the end I couldn't walk past him.
  • I grabbed some good free agents: Serrano who is one of the best wonderkids in the game and is genuinely free. Simunovic who has been good for me at Celtic and should boss L1. George Thorne who looks a bit iffey and is already 27, but who has developed well for me in the past at Oxford. Then some players who look decent who might develop a bit.
  • I walked past anyone who wasn't genuinely free (those who had a price of $0 instead of free) - for example Barry Coffey from Celtic who I've used before, but was free because Celtic Reserves weren't present in this particular save.
  • Then I grabbed a bunch of cheap players I've used before, who I know are good (or will develop well): Mikey Johnston, Ryan Cassidy, Ewan Henderson, James McAtee, Jack Scott, Luke Daley, Joe Wildsmith. These players have all done the business for me in the past and are way better than L1. But it has to be said many of these (apart from Johnston and Wildsmith) are pretty young so the question is whether they will develop quickly enough for this.
  • I picked up a bunch of players who look reasonable for this level - some of whom I've come across before (Dobson, Virtue, Odubajo), some I haven't (Pickering, Galloway, Brown, Sweeney). 
  • Finally, I had some budget left, so I tried my hardest to sign some of my favourite strikers (Esposito, Pellegri, Koita, Adam Armstrong) and managed to agree a fee with the club each time, but of course the players didn't fancy life in L1. 


As for how we'll play, this is the formation we'll use (note I signed Perica after the season opener, so he doesn't appear in the transfers above):


It's a variation on other formations I've used before. Very similar to my DT tactic from last year, but with the AMC removed and an extra CD added. Very similar to my Kane and Son formation, but with Son's AMC T move up front. I was originally going to go with the right IWB being a WB and no right winger and having an AMC instead, but with Perica, Serrano and Zirkzee all having 15+ Aerial, I figured it might be good to have more crosses coming in.


Anyway, there you go. As you can see in that screenshot, I'm in November. Doing reasonably well, but not sure how well. I really want some of these youngsters to level up a bit, but the Dynamics aren't helping - I have a message "Reduced focused training within the squad" which is worrying and many updates seem to be weaker than I'd expect. Still nothing to do now, but push on. Will be back with an update in a couple of days..


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8 minutes ago, hhooo said:

Oooh, someone with a different goalkeeper! Serrano was disappointing for me, and has a crap attitude. Hopefully he'll turn out better here. Good luck! 

Thanks. Which goalkeeper is everyone else using then?

Wildsmith is one of a number of young keepers in the game who have done well for me in the past (along with Lumley and Lewis). They are generally pretty solid right from the start (especially at this level, maybe not in the EPL!) and develop fairly quickly. That said, you never know just how good they will turn out in a particular save, so a bit of a risk. But I chose Wildsmith because he has 15 in Communication at the start, which I think helps the whole defence.

Serrano is doing well for me so far, about two goals every three games. No attitude problems yet. Will have to see how it develops though! He did have red for one of the influences in the relationship screen.

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11 minutes ago, hhooo said:

As far as I know, everyone uses this guy as their keeper, available for free in the summer:

Oh right, I did look at him, but I didn't get him. I missed out on a few free transfers (Janmaat was another), where I was either a little too slow, or got outbid or couldn't quite afford them or bargained too hard...


13 minutes ago, hhooo said:

For my backup, I had this kid who did a good job when he was in, but his development was weird, he lost stats very quickly mid season before gaining them back and more towards April. 

Never heard of him and didn't even notice him this time around.

I brought in Conor O'Malley on a free as backup, but was always going to go with either Wildsmith or maybe Dewhurst or one of my other common players as the main man, so I wasn't too worried about missing Nyland

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Thanks @Rob @broodje kip and @RichD.

I actually have screenshots of my biggest sale, but left it out of the write up. I'll include it here now though (I'll still write up a separate article later sometime). 

This one was a lot of luck. I was planning on keeping Jack Whatmough, but Cardiff came in with an offer for him (without me offering him out).

Because it was unsolicted, they offered £3.4M even though he was only worth £1.6M (piece of luck number 1). Then because it was Cardiff, I knew that they would have some more money lying around in the bank (piece of luck number 2). And because they were the only club involved, I got to use the single club negotiating screen, where it's hard for negotiaions to fail, rather than an auction, where they can walk away in an instant (piece of luck number 3). 

In that circumstance you should always try to negotiate up significantly. After all, they want your player and you don't want to sell him (unless they make it truly worth your while). Some clubs will be at their limit and will not be able to move. But some will be happy to bargain. 

So in this case, Cardiff offered £3.4M. I countered asking for £8M. They came back with £5M (1.6 increase!). I tried £7.25M but didn't come down enough to get them to move, so they stuck with £5M. I came down to £6.5M, and they moved up to £5.25M. I went with £6M and they came up to £5.5M. With the final round before they would have given up and walked away, I split the difference with £5.75M and they accepted. So that's 3.5 times his list price.












I guess the real skill here (and something you just pick up over time and develop an instinct for) is how much to ask for in that first round.

If you make it too low, you're leaving money at the table, because they'll still bargain, but you won't end up with as good a result (ie they won't come up as much). For eg, if I'd countered with £6M instead of £8M, then their next offer would not have been £5M. 

If you make it too high, then they won't even come up at all. For eg, if I'd offered £12M, they probably would have come back with no change whatsoever, ie still £3.4M. And if you make it way too high they will walk away. 

I don't have a set of rules for that, I just use instinct and I still sometimes get it wrong. For a £3M offer, I'll probably go a little over twice as much. But as you go up, the percentage gets smaller and as you go down it gets bigger. For a £10M offer I'd probably counter with £18M. For a £1M offer, I'd probably counter with £4-5M. Just guestimates though.

I'd generally go a little high and if there is no movement from them, you've gone too high and need to bring your next offer down significantly. The only downside is you've lost a bargaining round, but you can probably still do alright... 


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Awesome, thanks for explaining that @Scratch 😁

I’ll come back to this when i have my next bid! Nothing beats a massive bit out of nowhere for a player, there my favourites😁

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2 hours ago, Scratch said:

Well, this is getting interesting:




Brilliant! I thought I was going to get to the final at one point but I did not play the teams you did, sorry would be funny if Gillingham (amazing they got there) beat you in the final 🤣

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6 minutes ago, RichD said:

Brilliant! I thought I was going to get to the final at one point but I did not play the teams you did, sorry would be funny if Gillingham (amazing they got there) beat you in the final 🤣

I was lucky to get through both those games. I was actually happy when I saw Man City, because I thought: "right, we'll get knocked out and I can focus on the league", but then we went and won it. Still it's almost over, one way or another...

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11 minutes ago, broodje kip said:

It’s official Gillingham > Man City and Liverpool

Only if they beat us! So we'll have to wait and see. 3 games left in the season now...

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The Wrap Up

So here, we go! The season's over, the results are in...


First of all here are the final transfers (the actual required ones on the 12 September are above):









As mentioned above Perica came in after 12 September, but before the first window closed. Jasper also came in at that time.

I had a chunk of change burning a hole in my pocket in January, but couldn't really find anyone worthwhile signing. I tried again for Esposito and Pellegri etc, but didn't get anywhere. I bought Lainez and Araujo in on loan because they are class, but only used them sparingly (and Barca took Araujo back towards the end of the season). 

Some of my signings worked out great, but there were some who were just not ready for it. In particular Henderson was a waste of £5.5M. I played him a lot and he developed, but not enough and we had much better options I should have been playing. Live and learn hey? Well, not sure about the learn part, this isn't the first time I've bought players with an eye on who they will be in 2 or 3 years, way after the challenge is over.

It's probably worth mentioning that I finished with £12M in the bank... Wheeler/Dealer I am...



Tactics wise, we tried a few things in the second half of the season, but came back to this:


That's our strongest team by the way, used for the FA Cup Final. I changed the instructions a lot, but couldn't get one set that was persistently better than the others... So confusing - one would be great one week, stop working the next. Then I'd try something else and get the same thing.


Here's who scored our goals:


Best Player (and his friends):











My manager profile:



Results wise... Well you've probably seen the victories over Man Cit and Liverpool in the FA Cup in a previous post, setting up a final with Gillingham, so I'll lead with that, even though it makes no difference to the challenge:



Here is the final results and table:




So... a Goal Difference of 92 and 119 points, gives me a total of 211 points. If only I got 1 bonus point for every million I had in the bank, I'd be second on the leaderboard. As it stands I need to settle for third, but I'm pretty happy with that! 😄


Up next, Not sure - maybe I'll work on that article about buying and selling players I promised above first and see what happens next.


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2 hours ago, RichD said:

I think you should be top, your season was more of a Harry Redknapp with the FA cup, great job mate 😁

LoL, Thanks. It was a fun one this. Really did not expect the FA Cup run. I think I had a decent team, and the tactic is good enough that you're always comptetitve - but it still wasn't consistent. But maybe that doesn't exist like it did last year anymore. Will keep on trying to improve though.

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1 hour ago, hhooo said:

Great season. Tighten up that defense and you would've taken the top for sure. 

FWIW I kept Whatmough and he played like 4 or 5 games, was 5th choice all season.

Yeah, it's interesting balance to get right (scoring more vs conceding less). Not sure I've got the balance right, but will keep working on it.

I really had no choice but to sell Whatmough when that bid came through, especially once I'd bargained it up. I guess it helps to know you did use him much, maybe I would have been the same. I always prefer players I've signed! 😄

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1 minute ago, Rob said:

Great score. 

Thanks mate, this one was the easiest for me so far. Tactic improved and once you have Zirkzee and Arp in L1, good things gonna happen.

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I was struck that I made a lot more money selling players than many other people, so I started a new Portsmouth save and shot a 5 min screencast (terrible sound quality!) of me selling players, just in case it's any help.  

I did it really quickly and managed to shift the top 6 players for about £16M. For the real save I put more care into it - I offered them out higher than in the video, and made a note of how much for each player, so if they had no interest I could offer them out again slightly lower and so on until I got a hit. For this I just went bang bang bang with a value I was pretty sure would get an offer.

Of course, these were the top 6 players by value, so they will fetch a decent amount (and I know some people would have kept these players instead of sellling them), so not trying to present this as some sort of miracle, just sharing what I did in case it helps someone.

I did this across the whole squad (with a little more care, as mentioned) in my real save and made £36M. I did have one piece of luck, described above, getting an unsolicited bid for Whatmough, which I bargained up to £5.75M, which I can't replicate in a short video like this.

Anyway, here is is:


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2 minutes ago, RichD said:

Awesome @Scratch, will give it a watch later, thanks mate 👍

👍 Though there's really no magic in there. Just offer players out for more than they're worth, negotiate up, if it fails offer them out again. Never transfer list them... So I'm not sure how much use it will be!

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20 hours ago, Kanegan said:

Great going Scratch. Harry would be so proud of you. 

Thanks mate, it was a fun challenge this, looking forward to your attempt in Vol II

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7 minutes ago, geordiekrispy said:

I love Oriol Busquets, he was a rock in my MSN badge attempt, along side the other older Busquets.

I don't think I used him in my MSN one, I brought in a whole new midfield, which might have been a mistake. But there's no doubt he's gonna boss L1. 😄

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Great score Scratch mate, and what an achievement winning the FA Cup!!

I've not dived into this one just yet, i need to give it some thought and prep!

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4 hours ago, smoggy90 said:

Great score Scratch mate, and what an achievement winning the FA Cup!!

I've not dived into this one just yet, i need to give it some thought and prep!

Thanks mate. Like I said above somewhere, I saw the FA Cup as a mild annoyance in this one, because it doesn't count towards the goal - so didn't try to hard to win the games, just put out my normal rotation team rather than picking my strongest, then all of a sudden I'm in the final againt Gillingham! Totally a weird one. But I'll take it...

This was a fun one because there are so so many options you can take. And some of the players you can sign are pretty good for L1 especially those loan signings! I might be back to try it again at some point.. LOoking forward to your attempt!

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