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Career Stu's Steady Ascent - its a long way to the top


StuartM
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Hi all, I've decided to kick off with the 'It's a Long Way to the Top' challenge to start FMM22.

No tests, straight in at the deep end and given my track record there may be a sacking or two on the way. If goals are your thing then look away now... this might not be pretty!

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Thanks @Rich and @Titjes

A quick update on how this has progressed so far... after a flurry of sackings in the lower leagues, I was linking with a number of jobs and I decided to go with the first one that I was offered!

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What better place to start a new footballing dynasty than Lincolnshire! Newcastle will have to wait...

I didn't screengrab the table but we were 16th when I took over with still ample time to push on up.

Spoiler

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Boston have pretty good facilities for this level so perhaps a good place to build and figure things out.

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I went a bit mad in the free transfer market but managed to stay within the wage budget with a few sales and sending back some loanees.

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Tactically, I went for a variant I used recently on FMM21 but with the WBs further back to suit my squad and I also made a running change to go from CF to DLF as the guy I played up front had 4 aerial... BPDs in non-league, are you mad I hear you say?!

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Since taking over form has picked up and we're unbeaten in 11 and 10th at the halfway stage. Scoring is low but better with a DLF and the defence seems pretty sound. Fingers crossed for a promotion push!

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Thanks @Mikey @Rich @MikeF and @Dai_, its going to be cool to see how we all get on.

I'm at the start of season 2 now, so this is how season 1 ended up...

I got my first coaching badge and manager of the month as our good run continued.

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We got to the latter stages of the FA Trophy too and looked like we might sneak automatic promotion but a few slip ups with poor finishing cost us and we had too much ground to make up in the end.

3rd place and the playoffs it was, the semi-final was plain sailing and we raced to a healthy lead in the final before going down to 10 men to make it interesting. We saw it through though so we make it to the National League at the first time of asking!

Spoiler

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I mentioned that I went a bit mad on free transfers, well to add to this I had an offer that met the release fee in a player's contract of... zero. I saw that off with a new contract but when I checked I saw I had signed all my players with a £0 min. release fee, oops! (I then made the same mistake with a summer signing too). I might end up losing one or two but I guess I didn't pay anything.

Here's the manager profile, starting to build up that reputation now.

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And then look at this horrible lot, Lock and Macarthur are truly terrifying! 😂

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Thanks @Rich and @MikeF

I've just finished season two, I was looking for back to back promotions to reach the football league and it wasn't all plain sailing!

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That last message was a little harsh I think but we did have a few results go against us early in the season. Despite this, I managed to get my silver coaching badge fairly promptly in this career.

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Approaching mid-season, it was the Qatar World Cup and Sir Marcus did the business for Gareth and so there was no fairytale curtain raiser for Lionel Messi on this save.

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We fought our back up the table to 3rd at the half way stage, just behind Stockport and Aldershot - who we went on to pick up 1 point from our 4 games over the whole season.

I continued to go a bit mad on free transfers, I was a bit like a kid in a sweet shop and I think this disrupted the team at times but with a few games to go we were still in contention for automatic promotion.

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I started to get a bit of attention but only from teams in the same division and so it was a no brainer to stay put.

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Into the last few games, it wasn't quite as tight as I expected and so we made it up as champions!

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We didn't make it to 100 points or goals, I'll have to leave that to the experts but I'm not complaining!

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I'll share my transfer screen(s) here, I can't resist a bargain! I started to lose one or two to my badly judged release fees but these didn't hurt too badly.

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Manager's screen shows me making it to a local reputation so heading in the right direction!

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Well done. Into the football league. Always a point to be excited about just because you can now name 7 subs. 🤣

Keep it going. 

Edited by Dai_
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Advice time folks!

I've seen it advised for this challenge to stay at your first club as one of the pacing items for this challenge is 5 years at the club... However, I've never taken a club from the basement to the top and I'm not expecting to break any records anyway.

Season 3 is going quite well, we're in the promotion places in League 2 going into the second half of the season but I've now been offered a League 1 job, albeit down in 17th with little/no chance of promotion. What do I do... Stay and take Boston to glory or jump and ready Gillingham for a promotion push next season? (Or hang fire for an even better offer?)

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Spoiler

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Cheers folks!

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Edited by StuartM
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Personally, because Gillingham will also be in League One next season and you're likely to be there yourself I would stay put. But, it wouldn't be the worst option to move on because from the point you're at it will still take you 5 seasons (or very close to it anyway) so now would be the perfect time. It depends if Gillingham have better facilities and more money? Plus, do you feel any attachment to the team you've built so far?

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Thanks @Dai_, good feedback mate.

I think I'll stay put for now, Gillingham have a decent squad and funds but poor facilities so I'd need to use up some of the funds for upgrades. I'm not especially attached to Boston at the moment because I keep overhauling the squad!

I'll perhaps give myself the next 6 months to see if a really good offer comes in and if not I'll see if I can complete things here. Cheers!

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Here's the end of season 3 update.

So, after turning down Kent giants, Gillingham for the untapped potential of Boston United we duly went on a 3 game losing streak dropping out of the promotion places and putting our bid for League One football in jeopardy.

I'm not quite sure if it was just coincidence or also down to January transfers. My oversight in contract negotiations meant that a couple of my better players left for free... but anyway we bounced back and went on a good run to put us back in contention.

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With 4 games to go, we had a couple of games against some of our closest rivals in the table.

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First up were Fleetwood and we despatched them with a controlled performance despite a late scare.

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On to a 6 pointer against Colchester, who I turned down earlier in the season...

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Bobbins!

We only managed a point our next game and so automatic looked out of reach at the last game. We managed to take a decent lead so I watched the results of the other teams. Colchester were winning at home to Forest Green before a late rally by the eco warriors led to this:

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Happy days! Which also led to a bit more recognition too:

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It was another crazy season for transfers, it seemed like constantly signing and selling players. Maybe this will settle down in coming years...

Spoiler

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Manager profile has plenty of green on it now too! I haven't featured any players yet as I haven't kept that many for long enough so maybe I will next season. A new striker may be in order as I don't think anyone got more than 11 in this campaign!

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Thanks @Dai_ and @broodje kip

After having a job offer every couple of weeks last season, I got a grand total of... zero job offers so that means I'll ride this one out at Boston.

Squad wise, I still couldn't resist a free transfer. I forgot to take a screenshot but the count is probably up there with previous seasons and still getting very decent players too. I started to move on the fringe players but not for any real money.

Anyway, how did we get on? We had a bit of a stumble at the start and actually lost 4 in a row at one point. I responded by pushing my WBs forward and started to get more results but a few too many draws.

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There was a bit of talk that they had improved the AI for transfers on FMM22 but I still see some odd things, these two were consecutive news items!

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The new attacking system generally served me quite well but we had left quite a lot to do and so playoffs were looking likely with only a few games to go. Wigan slipped up a couple of times and so it went down to the last game.

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Note of caution from this message. All season I had the budget for a mid table finish and then I was expected to get promotion!

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So how did it end?

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Quite pleased with that in the end, making it 4 straight promotions and a personal record.

Haven't featured any players yet but suspecting that I'll replace him in the summer now, this guy was one of if not my first signing and featured heavily in every season.

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Made it to gold status and now I'm known across North Norfolk and South Yorkshire!

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Thanks for stopping by!

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Great job! The steady climb of the Pyramid continues! Onto the Championship. The quality of player available will improve now too.

Keep it going. 

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Cheers @Dai_ and @Rich

The Championship proved to be a step up in difficulty for us after several seasons of success. I did expect this at some point and it did come later than I thought it would so can't be unhappy.

After a pretty terrible run in Autumn, I decided to tinker with my tactics, starting with mentality and then I went for a strikerless setup near the end as they seem to be in vogue! I've seen returned to using a striker in season 6.

Anyway, how did we get on? We managed to stay clear of the relegation zone all year but never threatened the playoffs.

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It looks like the Toon haven't been using their millions very well...

The board seemed quite happy with me so I upgraded the facilities to Impressive.

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There wasn't much of note through the season, I found it a bit of a slog and we ended up healthily midtable. Newcastle just at the bottom of this screenshot I'm afraid.

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Manager profile still looks pretty good. I started to spend but kept going for the freebies as well!

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Spoiler

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And then the first part was done. Now for a bit more success to finish this challenge!

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The Championship is always the big step up in difficulty. I've been very lucky that decent established Championship players would become available and willing to sign for me.

I'm sure you'll push for promotion next season.

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Sorry for the lack of updates, this became a bit of a battle. I'll make it a double update to make it worthwhile!

Since getting promoted, I've found massive inconsistency. Swinging from big wins to disappointing defeats in consecutive games and as I struggled to understand it, I ended up tinkering which made understanding it even harder!

Doing alright but not close enough to the playoffs for my liking.

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At least I'm doing better than the fallen giants:

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Frustratingly, I couldn't manage to find the answer to my tactics and a bit of a run on my players' release clauses in January meant that we ended up in midtable.

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Not bad but not good but could have been worse!

Spoiler

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Manager profile:

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Another unlockable but the option wasn't taken, though it was tempting! Against the rules right?

Spoiler

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So, on the third season in the Championship. I lost a load more players and didn't do that well at bringing more in which was an error. I was hoping for a gentle push on but I didn't get it!

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Uh oh!

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Hmm...

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Close to the knife!

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And to be honest I wouldn't blame them. I've been sacked for much better runs than this. It was so frustrating, every close game went against us.

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In Jan, I went for my most successful FMM21 tactic as a last role of the dice and we slowly picked up and I managed to avoid relegation and the sack so it was an achievement of sorts!

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The summer saw lots of transfers again and a forgotten screenshot again!

I've decided to spend a bit more in the hope that a stronger squad with this tactic will help push us up the table 🤞.

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Thanks for stopping by!

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Good effort mate - i always loved "Boston Goals" on Soccer AM, hilarious. Good to see Josh Bohui (ex-brentford youth) doing a job for you too! Keep up the good work, they'll be hosting a star-studded gala for you soon, I'm sure! 

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