hehe, it's a weird game CM4. I whupped ass with Liverpool (who wouldn't) so with another 4 or 5 trophies in the cabinet I decided I'd try and finally win in the Conference something, that I personally have never managed to accomplish in any CM game.
So this year I took control of Hereford United. The "Bulls" were optimistic that I would bring them an era of success (Don't they all) but that was soon to change in a week or two!
Hereford United: The "Bulls": Season: 2002-03
Fiances: Insecure (1.3million bank loan outstanding)
Stadium: Edgar Street, Hereford (Friends of mine get free tickets!)
Seating Capacity: 8,843 (2,761 seats)
Training Facilities: Good
Continental Compedition: None
Chairman: G. Turner
I as the manager was on a Full Time contract from 2002 until 2005, 3 years of which, I was to be paid a paltry 475 pounds a week, that's half the amount that my players EARN! How outrageous! But I didn't mind, it's good money and I get a decent pension.
Manager: R. Blowes
Coach: R. O'Kelley
Physio: R. Fox (Not Ruel)
Scout: R. Jukes
So meeting the staff was decent enough, realising I didn't have an assistant I immediatly spent 500,000 pounds on Prozac which, I presume I will need. Especially when the chairman pointed out that he couldn't afford any transfer funds due to the loan he had taken out. He also pointed out that we were miles over our wage budget and that some series reforms had to be taken by me to sort it out. Something I found funny as we only had around 14 players!
Firstly though instead of setting about and figuring out who was in the squad, I took a rather surprising route to setting the team up. First I implemented a strict and perhaps tougher than the army-training routine which, even the coach disagreed with. Cross-country running was all the theme and the boys only had Sunday and Saturday AFTERNOON off.
Of course this played out to my advantage as it brought all the boys up to fitness quickly.
There was naturally no time to prepare for the friendlies againsts, Notts Co, Torquay, Blackburn Rovers, Aldershot and Kidderminster. So I assembled a quick training session and chose my team at a rather point blank guessing session. However I did note that we had considerable qualities for my chosen formations although, we do lack cover-fire in cases of injuries.
The chairman announced my goals for this year shortly before the Notts Co. game. He stated I was to; Battle Bravely against relegation
and if possible Reduce the wage bill
Ah well! Let me present the team that has this tough task!
- Young, valiant and hogging a 1k a week payroll. He won't take a paycut so he gets cut from the first team.
- 19 years old, inexperience may be his downfall. He's a Fabien Barthez of the old days with wild antics and running out of the box all included in the packaging of what I consider some decent goalkeeping skills. I elected him over Baker as first choice keeper not only due to his willingness to stay for low wages but because if trained this young, I believe he will adapt to being world-class at hopefully 25. I also hope to find him to be loyal enough to stay on during that peroid hehe.
M. Clarke and M. Rose
- Our Right and left back respectively. They aren't the only ones in the team BUT the only other people who can play in this position are better off as midfielders! Injury to either of these two will mean trouble ahead.
I. Wright and T. James
- Wright and James are excellent Centre backs however, Wright is the "beckham" imaging for Hereford. I don't see him staying for long especially on his last year of contract. These two will be the main driving force in the team.
A. Tretton and R. Teesdale
- Both back up centre-backs. Tretton outmatches Teesdale by far however, if either are sought after by other clubs they will be the first to go to ease our loan debts!
J. Pitman and P. Parry
- Both have high reputations in the club and both are solid wingers on the right and left respectively. I rely on these two to get the chances however, I'm doubting they'll stay for long enough to make too much of a use for the team. But who knows.
- I see this man to be one of the most loyal men in the team, young and powerful he's our main DMC. The Roy Keane or Vieira of the squad in other words. Hopefully he'll be here for a long long time.
- Our free role attacking midfielder will have to perform better than the United boy as our only middle-link to the strike-force. Hopefully he'll be able to play excellently all season long.
J. Grant and S. Guinan
- Both excellent players and both looking to score 40 goals a season. Unless they hit the net early it is likely Hereford will go down.
Friendly: Vs Notts. Co: 0-1
The first game for me saw us take on Notts Co. Testing out my new team and formation I expected a hopeful 0-0 draw. We almost got it. A 23rd minute penalty miss from Notts. Co saw us enter half-time 0-0. It stayed that way until the 77th minute when Nurse hammered home one of the most weirdest looking goals ever.
Bad news continued when it was noted that S. Guinan was injured with damaged cruiciates in his knees for 9 months. I sent him to rehabilitation but it's unlikely we'll ever see him again, it's also his last year of contract so I decided against renewing it especially when he demanded 1k a week, money down the drain if I decided to allow him to sign the dotted line.
Friendly: Vs Torquay: 2-1
The formation finally seemed to be working in this game! Despite a 38th minute setback when Graham hammered home a rebound our striker Grant managed to tap home two goals in the 64th and 73rd minutes respectively. Some brilliant saved from Griffiths kept the scoreline as it was for a simple win.
Traitors are annoying:
R. Jukes, our scout was the first man to ditch a sinking ship. He hobbled off to Rochdale. Over 20 division1-3 clubs bidded for him something a small club like Hereford can simply do nothing about. He scuttled off, we recieved 1000 pounds for his treachery and the end result was 425 pounds in the bank balance, enough for a few pet bunnies for the squad if they don't get relegated this year.
On transfer news, L. Ryan and M. Platt, two solid strikers joined us on loan until the end of the season. Both were recruited after Guinan's injury left us desperate for a striker.
Friendly: Vs Blackburn rovers: 1-4
Not a hope of a victory or draw here. Blackburn steamrolled us. Grant grabbed a consolition goal his third in three games while Griffiths kept the score below 4 with some fantastic 1 on 1 saves.
Friendly: Vs Aldershot: 1-0
Grant's 84th minute goal secured a win in an otherwise rather plain boring game.
Friendly: Vs Kidderminster: 0-0
Nothing happened. No fouls, no bookings, nothing. Just a simple 0-0 draw O.o
Why the job centre is the place to go!
J. Lawrence joined the coaching staff from unemployment! Demanding nothing more than a few pennies a week and having a respectable 13 in goalkeeping training I finally found a decent coach to train keepers! (note: I miss the CM01/02 feature where the manager could be a coach!)
Hate the media with a passion... They can't make their minds up!
We were declared 80-1 to win promotion with the media labelling us "likely to be relegated". Something I found a bit of an insult, especially when I notice that for around 84% of our games this season we were favourites to win! O.o with that much of a ratio I'm sure relegation won't even touch us!
Saturday 17th August
Vs Woking, (H) in a conference match
Attendance of: 1584. Weather: Dry, 28C.
Team: Griffiths, Clarke, Rose, Wright, James, Pitman, Parry, Sawyers, Smith, Grant, Ryan
As favourites to win this game, and with a new "general season" training scheme in place (a little more lax than the army one I put on!) I expected the team to prove the media pundits that relegation was certainly NOT heading to Hereford or the other way round!
We started off well enough with loaned boy, Ryan thumping home a cannonball of a shot in the 13th minute and following it up with a simple slide-pass-the-keeper-shot in the 32nd minute that gave us a respectable 2-0 lead into half time.
Naturally it's never that easy.Clarke fell down injured his groin apparently playing up. Off he went on came Tretton! A couple of tense moments until Grant finally got back in the act with an 85th minute volley into the top corner for 3-0. Woking got back a goal in the 88th minute through Hamilton but by then we were already confidently thinking about the next game.
Final score: Hereford 3-1 Woking]
Ryan (2), Grant / Hamilton
End of the game, no one praised the result, not even the chairman so I presumed we were expected to win that easily, although why I don't know!
Clarke was out for 3 weeks with a groin strain.
Tuesday 20th August
Vs Doncaster (A) in a conference game
Attendance: 2684 / Weather: Wet, 13C
Team: Griffiths, James, Rose, Wright, Tretton, Pitman, Parry, Sawyers, Smith, Grant, Ryan
Almost everyone with the exception of Wright and Parry signed new contracts before the game. Coupled with the victory over Woking we were in high spirits despite the bookies favouring a Doncaster side that pretty much stormed through our midfield, cut through our defence but couldn't find a way past our keeper.
The 19 year old Griffiths was on stunning form as usual pulling out all the stops to keep the ball out of the net due to the pathetic passing display Hereford was putting on. A mistake by Ryan early on saw a one on one chance for Doncaster, however Griffiths turned it wide.
Sawyer was ball-hogging shortly after for perhaps twenty minutes too long as he was dispossesed and eventually another chance sprung up which once again Griffiths saved.
The second half started brightly with some nice counter attacking football from Hereford however, the goal just didn't seem to want to come from either end. Both teams had a chance off the post in a five minute peroid of back-to-back football.
In the 62nd minute however yesterday's hero Ryan recieved the ball on the half way line and seeing Sawyer flying forwards on the wing attempted a pass. This pass however was hit so lightly it barely even rolled a foot away from him before a Doncaster defender picked the ball up and cannoned a curling pass through the midfield which, was deprived of it's anchorman Sawyer and saw Barnes have such an easy chance it was impossible for him to miss!
Frustrated, Ryan came off and in went Platt. A turn around didn't seem immediate though and Griffiths ended up with the save-of-the-season award two minutes later saving twice in succession on one-on-one chances late in the game.
Final Result: Doncaster 1-0 Hereford
Overall I thought we did well, despite being favoured to lose in this game we managed to cut our losses and only lose 1-0. Keeping in mind that it needed a rather stupid mistake from an on-loan-school-boy to result in the losing goal and I think the team overall did well. However whenever it's well enough is a different matter entirely.
The board seem to have switched their stance of "Era of success" to "I dunno if we shoulda hired you but we think you're doing alright so far" and I'm starting to creep towards the fans end as they seem to be more likely to smile on a 10th place position than the board. Of course as with Sven, even winning most of the competetive games doesn't stop people from wanting you dead/sacked/both.
Next up is Stevenage and although we're favourites to win I somehow doubt we will, considering they're a tough team to defeat. Personally I feel it's all up to how our training scheme goes, hopefully it will utilise our formation to such an extent we'll be hammering home the goals soon enough
Wish moi luck!