A Personal Touch - Bromley Football Club


May 10, 2018
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A Personal Touch - Bromley Football Club

I'm at that stage that I've seen so many people at in this year's edition of FM...struggling to get my head into a save. I went on the forums to seek advice from other FM addicts on save ideas to keep myself invested for a longer period of time. One thing that kept coming back was from players who had personal connections to a club, so for that reason I have chosen to start a new save as Bromley in the Vanarama National League. The reason behind this decision is that when I was a kid growing up, it was my grandad that was the closest thing I had to a father figure...we were close...he managed my football teams, he taught me how to fish and he took me to see Bromley play every week for about 5 years from the ages of about 4-9...he was club secretary at one point and we used to end up in the Bickley & Widmore working mans club after games with other fans and even the odd player back in the day. At that time, Bromley would have only been Isthmian Premier and used to be regular bottom half finishers - for sure, for sure, if you'd have said then that Bromley would be in the National League and just 1 division off the EFL in 15-20 years time, we wouldn't have seen it coming. Sure, it hasn't been a meteoric rise by any means, but it is a club going in the right direction.

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Of late, Bromley have had some success in the FA Trophy, with two day's out at Wembley in the last 4 years. I went to both games in memory of my Grandad (who I lost 5 years ago now), watching them lose to Brackley Town in 2018 and then beating Wrexham in last year's final to lift the trophy. Other than that though, the club are not exactly blessed with an abundance of silverware over the years.

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Financially, the club is in a stable position with over £300k in the bank and as far as the budgets go, I will have £20k to spend on players and about £4.5k in the wage budget spare as well.

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The club has a decent support, with over 16,000 followers on social media and 1,000 season ticket holders.

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In recent years, Hayes Lane, the home of Bromley has had a new stand in The Glyn Beverly Stand and have ambitions to join Gillingham as a Kent club in the football league. One of our aims during this career will be to become the biggest club in Kent...The Gills have held that title for a long time now, but with the likes of Bromley, Maidstone, Dover and Dartford all looking to push on and with The Gills dropping down into League Two last season, that might not be the case for much longer.

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The squad I am starting with is...small! It needs fresh blood, new faces, increased numbers! Although the starting base is not bad at all, with some decent players here.

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With the players I currently have, this is the formation I am initially looking to play. It makes sense for the players I have and we will overload the wide areas, with two front men that will be the focal point to get us the goals.

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The reason we will focus our play down the wings is simply because our two best players are the wide men. Harry Forster is more of a traditional winger and will focus on getting down the right wing, whilst Corey Whiteley will cut inside from the left as an inside forward and pose a serious goal threat for us!

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So I'm actually really looking forward to this one, because it genuinely means something to me. Let's hope I can bring some success to my Grandad's club!

My first signing for the club is a new left back who will come in as first choice for that position. I paid £13.75k to bring 26 year old Joel Taylor to the club from Notts County, who paid £50k for him just last year. That's good business in my eyes and Joel fills a gap we had in the team.

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Next in through the door was the season long loan signing of Lewis Richardson from Burnley. The pacey striker bolsters our options up front and will provide competition for places in the advanced forward role.

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Another loan signing up next and this time it's a centre mid. Harry Wood joins us from Hull City for the season and he has to be seen as a coup as he was at League Two Scunthorpe on loan last year. He is good enough to challenge for a first team place.

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Pre-season really didn't go all that well! We would have expected the defeats against Accrington and Wolves of course, but failing to beat Kingstonian and losing to St Albans are worrying results.

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Before the competitive stuff gets underway, the board send me a gentle reminder of their expectations for this season and top half in the league will be sufficient.

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Which is something the bookies fancy us to achieve. In fact, they see us making the playoffs and only have 3 teams down as better than us!

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We do have one player in the media dream 11 and that is on loan keeper, Sam Long.

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FC Halifax were our first opponents of the season. Although it's an away day, it would be an opportunity to get off to a winning start with them being predicted to finish in the bottom half this year.

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What a statement on the opening day! Five goals, five different goalscorers in a very dominant performance. A big, big win...everyone take note!

Our local rivals Maidstone were handed one of the toughest starts to their season as they hosted Notts County. They lost that game but only by the narrowest of margins, going down 1-0. They'd be keen not to start their season with back to back defeats.

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If our first game showed how good we are in attack, then our second demonstrated a brilliant defensive performance. The stats suggest this was a tightly contested game with both sides sharing roughly the same amount of chances, but all of Maidstone's were long shot attempts as we let them nowhere near our goal.

The bad news coming out of the Maidstone game is losing Harry Forster for the next 4 weeks to injury!

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Gateshead were up next for us. They'd recorded a 1-0 defeat against Yeovil before drawing 2-2 with Notts County and were still looking for their first win of the season.

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But they didn't get it here as we absolutely batter them! What a performance from my lads...I repeat...WHAT A PERFORMANCE!!

Three games into the season and we are the only side with a 100% record and sit top of the tree!

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After such a poor pre season, I did create a new tactic right before that first game and it seems to be working a treat. My next post will show it to you and talk you through it too.

The Tactic

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Goalkeeper - Personal preference really but I like to play my keeper in his most comfortable role and for Sam Long that is a traditional keeper role, rather than the sweeper keeper.

Here's my thoughts and thinking around the rest of this tactic when I was creating it...

The first thing is that I tried to create something that suited the players I have at the club. This is something I always do...I want a tactic that fits my own personal style, but it has to suit my players too. First of all I am not one to play a back 3 or a back 5, so it's always a 4 for me and that's what we have here. I have to respect the fact that I have central defenders who are not blessed with the most amazing technical ability, so ball playing options are not the best...on the flip side, I don't want to play no noncense either - our creativity comes from our midfield, so why would we want to bypass that. The centre backs job is simply to protect our goal, win the ball back and get it out wide to the full backs or into the 3 midfielders and the way we are setup should give them plenty of options for the pass all the time. Because of that, we will have the team instruction to pass out of defence...there is no point using this if your defenders are going to lack options for the pass.

In midfield, I have the deep lying playmaker sitting deeper on the left side. This is simply to provide additional cover for the left full back who will be bombing on down the wing. The left back is set to attack and is a full back for me, rather than a wing back...that's because I don't have full backs with great dribbling skills. Instead the full back role will encourage them to pass, play 1-2s and get forward as a passing option rather than simply trying to beat their man all the time. I might consider changing this role if I had a really pacey player here who was a great dribbler of the ball.

On the right side, I have a Carrileo for two reasons. I don't need them coming all the way back or getting all the way forward. Their role is simple...link up the play through the middle of the pitch. They also move wider as I play the right back as an inverted wing back to support the midfield. The inverted wing back will cover the centre mid area when the carrileo goes forward or wide.

The central midfield role is my free role. Set to an advanced playmaker, this guy also has his individual instructions set to roam from position. Basically, the instruction is go work your magic and do what you want. He should float around the centre and attacking areas of the pitch and run riot. He will be hard to pick up, hard to mark and his movement will create openings for other players too.

Up top, it's effectively a front 3 to go and score the goals. There should be plenty of play coming from all angles to the front 3. We have crosses coming in from the left full back, balls through the middle from the advanced playmaker, long balls over the top from the deep lying playmaker, build up play from the carrileo and inverted wing back down the right and then we have the front three themselves that are set to dribble more and told to take on their man. The idea is to completely confuse the opposition with multiple ways to attack them so they will have no idea how to defend against us.

To encourage this different type of attack, I have overlap on down the left and underlap down the right, again mixing things up. When we haven't got the ball, we press and keep the pressure on our opponents and look to counter as soon as we have it back.

George Dowling plays my advanced playmaker role in the centre mid role and he is thriving in the first 3 games!

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Charley Kendall is doing the business in the striker position with 6 goal contributions in the opening 3 matches.

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Corey Whiteley also has 4 goal contributions for the inverted winger role on the left too!

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Whilst Joel Taylor getting down the left wing from the attacking full back role has seen him get 2 assists in 2 games as well.

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Back to the action now and it would be a case of top vs bottom as we faced Scunthorpe at Hayes Lane in our next game.

The result went with the form book although we weren't as convincing as most might have expected us to be.

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We kept up our 100% win record against Maidenhead in our next game, although they did give us our biggest test of the season so far and really should have taken something from the game based on the chances they created.

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I've introduced myself in the perfect manner, picking up the first Manager of the Month award of the season!

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There's always a worry about the Manager of the Month curse striking in the next game, but it didn't this time round as we took on an Oldham team that are still adjusting to life down in non league football. They didn't pose any real threat!

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Bad news on the injury front though as Adam Marriott picks up a bad one in training that will see him miss 4 months of action!

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Although he hasn't been starting, Marriott has already come off the bench to score twice this season, so was having an impact for us.

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Our first defeat of the season came away at Wealdstone but we can count ourselves incredibly unlucky not to come away from the game with anything. They scored with all three of their first shots of the game, with two of them being crackers from outside the box. We fought back well in the second half and substitute Michael Cheek had the ball in the back of the net twice to bring us within touching distance of sntahcing the draw. He scored again on 77 minutes to level things up too, only for the goal to be ruled out for the narrowest of offsides! This wasn't a bad performance by any means and I saw nothing to be worried about.

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I was looking for a response from my team to our first defeat of the season and I got it immediately against Altrincham. Straight back to winning ways in convincing style!

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Then I improved my weakest position on the pitch by bringing in Rory Feely on loan for the rest of the season from Barrow. The right back will slot straight into the starting lineup and is a significant improvement in that position!

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Feely didn't exactly have the greatest debut and it looked like it would be a losing one too when we went 2-0 down to Solihull inside 20 minutes! However, an excellent comeback ensured we eventually won the game 3-2 and in the end it was an impressive result!

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Coming back and winning that game meant that we held on to our position at the head of the league table, although there are a whole host of clubs just waiting for us to slip up!

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Pre season odds on favourites Wrexham have made an unbeaten start to the campaign, but find themselves 11 points off the pace as they have drawn an incredible 7 of their opening 9 games!!

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Dagenham & Redbridge have made a disappointing start to their campaign and came into their game against us in 17th place. They were stubborn though and managed to dig in and earn themselves a draw against us, despite us being the better side throughout.

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Barnet are also struggling and also proved to be difficult to break down. But Michael Cheek came off the bench to get the winning goal as he slotted home from close range after being put through on goal by a gorgeous through ball from Harry Wood, who also got the assist for the first goal as well.

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Two games and nine goals later and we had another 6 points on the board. Two clean sheets along the way and we are proving our credentials as genuine title contenders this season!

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We'd then take a break from league competition and take on our first experience of the FA Cup under my management. We drew Hungerford Town in the 4th qualifying round and would be hot favourites against our lower league opposition.

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But we didn't live up to our favourites tag. In fact, we were just 2 minutes from going out of the competition altogether, until Charley Kendall side footed home a close range effort to take the tie to a replay!

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The replay came just 4 days later and despite having 36 shots at the Hungerford goal during 90 minutes and extra time, we just couldn't find a goal! Luckily, the penalty shootout swung in our favour...I can't even begin to descibe how p155ed I'd have been if we'd have lost it!

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We'll now go away to League One side Portsmouth in the first round.

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Before that though, we have 3 more league games to play, which started with a home game against Dorking. We certainly had no issues finding the back of the net against them!

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The goals weren't as free flowing against Aldershot but a solid defensive display ensured another 3 points!

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Our little winning streak came to an end as we draw against Southend. Although it's disappointing to throw a lead twice in the game, Southend are one of the better sides in the division so a point isn't the worst result in the world.

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We do hold onto our position at the top of the table for now, but Notts County and Chesterfield are just 2 points behind us as the three of us open up a little gap at the top.

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We are on a 9 game unbeaten run now and that form is enough for me to pick up my 2nd Manager of the Month award of the season.

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Time for our day out on the South coast as we faced off against Portsmouth in the first round of the FA Cup. Although they are two divisions above us, the bookies have us at 3/1 to win this game and I thought we'd be bigger outsiders than that.

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It was a brave effort from my lads and we were competitive. We had a couple of really good chances late on to nick an equalizer and take it to a replay and we went very close with them, but luck just wasn't on our side. Proud of my team though!

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Yeovil Town may have only been predicted a mid table finish this season, but not too long ago they were a Championship club and I'm sure they will be harbouring hopes of making the playoffs this season.

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But they won't get very far if they have many games like the one against us where we didn't allow them a single shot. Louis Dennis got his first goal of the season to put us in front, before David Smith doubled our lead with a close range effort in the 2nd half to seal all 3 points. George Dowling's late goal was just the icing on the cake.

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Our next two games were going to show our credentials as genuine title contenders this season as we would take on the two best teams in the division!

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Based on the ultra dominant performance we put in against 2nd placed Notts County, we might just have the minerals to win this league this year!

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Josh Taylor really turned it on against the club I bought him from, as he scored his first goal for the club and picked up his 5th assist of the season as well!

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We backed up the Notts County result by destroying Wrexham! Michael Cheek was in sensational form as he bagged himself a hat trick!

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Cheek is now 3rd in the goalscoring rankings for the season and is averaging a goal every 45 minutes!! That is just mental!!

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3rd placed Chesterfield were up next for us and with only a couple of days gap since the Wrexham game, half my team was knackered! Despite that, we still managed to grind out a good point away from home and again Cheeky was on the scoreboard.

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His form has been so good this month, it earned him the Player of the Month award.

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We did, at least, have a 10 day gap to recover before our next game. That would be against an Eastleigh team that are 5th in the league and would be coming into our match on a high after beating Notts County last time out.

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However, all the time we are creating 30 shots at our opponents goal in any match, we should keep winning!!

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After some good results against other sides in the top half of the table, we have now extended our lead in the division to 6 points and only Notts County are managing to stay anywhere near us at the moment. We really are blowing everyone away at the moment!

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Leading the club to the top of the table has earned me a new 2 year deal!

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Our run of games against sides that are in the top half continued as we faced 3rd placed Torquay. They are having an amazing season after being predicted to finish 17th this year!

And again they defy the odds to hold us to a draw. Michael Cheek had an off day in front of goal, but luckily we have another quality striker in Charley Kendall to come off the bench and score his 14th goal of the season!

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Cheeky was back to his best, bagging a hat trick, as we hammered Woking!

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FA Trophy for us next and we had drawn lower league opposition in Slough Town in the 3rd round. We struggled to overcome Hungerford in the FA Cup earlier in the season and I was hoping we would despatch of this National League South side in more convincing fashion.

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But again we struggle and we are knocked out of the competition! Maybe we have a mental block thing against lower league opposition?!

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I didn't necessarily feel the need to add another player to the squad at this point, but my scouts had identified Jack Nolan as a target and I like the look of his all round decent attributes. I bring him in on loan from Accrington for the rest of the season to provide cover down both wings.

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Nolan went straight into the starting lineup against Halifax and had a debut to remember, scoring a 30 yard screamer just 6 minutes into the game, before getting the assist for David Smith's goal in stoppage time.

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The only negative from that game was losing top goalscorer Michael Cheek for the next few weeks.

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The absence of Cheeky seemed to be a problem for a couple of games as we struggled to score and suffered back to back defeats for the first time this season against Maidstone and Gateshead. However, we soon silenced the doubters that thought our title bid was derailing by smashing 10 goals past Scunthorpe and Maidenhead to get back on track!

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But then we were back to losing again as Oldham overturned a 2-0 deficit to beat us 3-2! Sam Long has been pretty reliable between the sticks for us all season, but he was awful here and definitely has to get majority of the blame for this defeat!

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Our recent run of bad form has allowed Notts County to close the 6 point gap at the top and have levelled up on points with us. Our superior goal difference keeps us top for the time being and right now it looks like a two horse race for the title.

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Meanwhile, the World Cup threw up a surpise winner as the USA lift the trophy for the first time in their history!

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Wealdstone beat us last time we played them, so to go out a thrash them 7-1 was the perfect way to get some revenge! Sensational performance!

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We have scored 97 league goals this season now, which is a new club record! The most incredible part of that is that we still have 16 games to go!!

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We surpassed the 100 goals mark in our very next game against Solihull. We weren't at our best defensively, but our attacking prowess shone through again to ensure we take the 3 points.

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George Dowling has been in great form recently and picks up the January Player of the Month award.

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Dowling has been great all season to be fair! The plan when I signed him at the start of the season was only for him to act as a backup, but he has become one of the first names on the teamsheet as the season has gone on and contributed to 21 goals from central midfield already!

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A Cheeky double and a good defensive display against Altrincham ensure victory again!

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However, that's when everything started to go wrong and we went on a terrible run winning just 2 of our next 7 games!!

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Which has pretty much handed the title to Notts County with 7 games to go!

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The only positive I can take is that the Southend win did at least break two club records, so we can't underestimate how much of a good season this has still been!

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If we wanted any chance at all of winning this league, we had to win every single one of our last 7 games and hope that Notts County have a similarly poor run as the one we have just been on. That would start with a home game against Yeovil Town who are also in terrible form, having won only 1 of their last 7!

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Unfortunately, Byron Webster seriously dented our chances of getting that win by getting himself sent off inside the first minute of the game! From then on we were hanging on mostly, but did take a point which is not enough, but at least something considering the circumstances.

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Next up, it was a massive game as 1st took on 2nd. Notts County had lost their last game, so our point against Yeovil had reduced the deficit to 9 points. We had to win here to keep any title hopes alive.

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But we barely put up a fight!

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On the plus side, it is that time of the year when we get our youth intake and this year's looks like a good one!

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Central midfielder, Adam Slade, looks like a really promising prospect!

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Losing to Notts County made our last few games a formality with the league title pretty much out of reach, so it was just about trying to get back into some sort of form before the playoffs. We did exactly that as we managed to finish off the season with a 4 game unbeaten run, after losing to Wrexham.

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The 8-1 victory over Chesterfield was just ridiculous! If that doesn't spur you on to a better run of form then nothing will!

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It was especially ridiculous when you consider they finished 3rd in the table on the same amount of points as us! Notts County ran away with it in the end! Both us and Notts County can feel a little hard done by as Stockport won this division last year with just 94 points.

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So it was time for the playoffs and in the semi final we'd drawn Southend! To say we made light work of them would be an understatement!

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We are just a single game away from making it into the football league for the first time in Bromley's history! Chesterfield await us in the final after beating Wrexham 1-0 in the other semi. We haven't lost to them in 2 meetings this season and our last encounter saw us put 8 goals past them!

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Getting a player sent off in the 35th minute in the biggest game of our season wasn't exactly what I had planned! However, the lads rallied and defended brilliantly throughout. Then on 80 minutes, the big moment came as substitute Michael Cheek rounded the Chesterfield goalkeeper to score the only goal of the game and we will be playing League Two football next season!!

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With promotion now secured, the board announce the budgets for next season. Although there is nothing for transfers, there is a hike of £11k per week to the wage budget!

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End of Season Review 2022/23

What a season it was! For a long time it looked like we would win the league, but in the end we did it the hard way through the playoffs! It's official...there is no longer only one team from Kent playing in the English football league.

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We weren't great in the cup competitions this year, but that's something we can work on in the future.

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All of the new arrivals this season did their bit and there was some fantastic performances all round! George Dowling is named signing of the season and deservedly so as he bagged 14 goals and 10 assists from midfield!

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George Dowling was actually named the signing of the season for the whole division.

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The Best 11...

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Overall Squad Stats...

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The Awards...

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There was an award for me too as I picked up the Manager of the Year!

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The fans have enjoyed my possession style of attacking football this year and are now looking forward to seeing more of that. As far as next season goes, everyone is expecting us to be battling relegation and if we can stay up, the fans will be happy.

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The board have a new 5 year plan and within 2 seasons, they want us to be an established League Two side.

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To meet the regulations of the football league, we need to make some amendments to the stadium and that work will start immediately so it is ready in time for the new season.

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The commercials make good reading after a positive season and the club remains in a financially stable position.

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The first piece of business I did this Summer was to renew the loan deal for goalkeeper Sam Long from Lincoln. Long was rated as the best goalkeeper in the National League, so he should be seen as good enough to make the step up to League Two with us.

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Next in was the first of a few loan signings. Finlay Cross-Adair joins for the season from Preston and we will lean on him heavily to get goals to help keep us up. He showed he has plenty to offer in front of goal last season, scoring 22 times for Preston's reserves.

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Another 18 year old joins for the season from Birmingham, in the form of central midfield player Brandon Khela. He can play either of my Carrileo or Advanced Playmaker roles so has good versatility too.

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Another loan signing is Dante Cassanova who comes in from Spurs for the season. If we can keep this kid focused on his football rather than on the ladies, he should be a good addition to my squad.

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The final loan signing (for now) is centre back Jaden Warner who joins from Watford. At 20 years old, he has a couple more years experience than the other lads and looking at his attributes, he is probably the best of the new loanees to come in.

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In addition to the young loanees joining the club, there were a couple of permanent signings too who will bring more experience to the side. The first is 30 year old winger, Lloyd Isgrove who is picked up on a free transfer from Bolton. He's played a lot of his career at a higher level than League Two and could prove to be very important for us this year.

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The second is left back Calum Macdonald who again joins on a free. He comes from Bristol Rovers and after a couple of seasons of not getting much first team football, he will have a point to prove as the 25 year old looks to get his career back on track.

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Next through the door was Kyle Taylor who joins on a freebie from Bournemouth. He played parts for both Exeter and Southend in this division between 2019-2021 so knows the division well. Another player who is looking to get his career back on track after not playing much first team football over the past couple of seasons.

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It's fixtures day and we are handed a home game for our first ever in the football league. Doncaster Rovers will be the visitors.

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A whole host of players were released from the club this Summer...10 in total.

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With two of last years main centre backs leaving the club, I needed to look to replace them. We do already have Jaden Warner here, but Ryan Delaney is the newest recruit who joins on a permanent deal after being released by Morecambe. Again, we bring in a player with plenty of experience who has featured mostly in League One throughout his career.

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With pre season about to get underway, our preparations for the new season are taking a blow already. Just look at the amount of injuries we have to the first team squad with several players likely to miss all of the pre season campaign!

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The draw for the group stage of the Papa Johns Trophy pits us against two League One clubs and the Wolves youngsters. It's a tough draw.

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Despite all the disruption with injuries, our pre season still went pretty OK.

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With the league campaign about to get underway, the bookies think we should do OK this season and don't expect us to be relegated. In fact, we aren't rated too far behind Gillingham and it would be a great achievement if we can finish above them...it will be the first time in a long time another Kent side has finished above the Gills if we can pull it off.

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The media also think we are good enough not to get relegated this season.

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We'd take on a Doncaster side predicted for a mid table finish as our first ever taste of English league football.

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It wasn't the most exciting game to kick off the season but at least we put our first point up on the board nice and early.

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We take an immediate break away from league action and it's another first for us. Our first ever game in the League Cup. We'd drawn Crewe Alexandra at home - a fellow League Two side and I was hoping we could get the win.

And we did, brilliantly overturning a 1-0 deficit to come back and ensure our passage into the 2nd round!

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We now have a day out at The London Stadium to look forward to as we take on Premier League West Ham in the next round!

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Back in the league it was another solo point as we draw away at Salford. I felt like we should have won this one after being in control for most of it!

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And our first win in League Two football came in our next game against Hartlepool. Good to see Finlay Cross-Adair get his first goals for the club and they'll hopefully provide a big confidence boost to the 18 year old.

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This year we have a transfer window to do business in and there was another addition to the club as I brought in right back Ash Baker to give me another option in that position. He's been a first team regular for TNS for the past 2 seasons but they let him leave in the Summer and I've snapped him up!

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I fully expected us to lose for the first time this season in our next game. And so did the bookies!

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Now although we didn't really threaten at all, we kept ourselves in this game for the full 90 minutes and to go down by just a single goal is a great achievement and I'm incredibly proud of the lads and our performance here!

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Transfer deadline day and Otis Khan is our big signing of the day as we bring him in from Grimsby for a fee of £40k. I was able to adjust the budgets to pay the fee for him and he strengthens our options down both wings!

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And there was one final free transfer as well. Matty Taylor joins and he could be a massive coup for us up front! He may be 33 and coming to the back end of his career but this guy has been a 20 goal a season striker in League One for Oxford in the past couple of seasons!

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Back to league action and another massive game. Probably the biggest of the season for us as we took on the team we are desperate to get the better of this year...Gillingham! They have been the biggest club in Kent for a long, long time and it's something we really want to change!

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Matty Taylor had only joined the club less than 24 hours earlier, so it was a risk to put him in the starting lineup! But he repaid my faith with an amazing debut that saw him bag a hat trick. However, we couldn't get the win and neither side take the bragging rights in the battle of Kent for now.

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Life in League Two has started pretty well as we maintain an unbeaten start through the opening 4 games.

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Our first venture into the Papa John's trophy ended in defeat to the Wolves youngsters. I must admit though that I am not really paying any attention to this competition for at least this season...I rotated the squad as much as I was allowed to and even played two 16 year olds from the academy, so defeat was always on the cards.

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In fact, goalkeeper Sam Clark broke the club record for being the youngster ever player for the club.

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We were back at full strength for the league game against Stockport and picked up another point, although again we were the better side and probably should have won the game.

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Harrogate are one of the favourites to go down this season and based on their performance against us, they are hugely up against it this year. Cheeky scored four after being given the nod up front over Matty Taylor and that took his career tally to 200!

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Cheeky is a bit of a National League legend after performing well in that division for a number of teams. I'm really pleased for him that he gets a shot to prove he can do it at a higher level with us now.

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Our first League Two defeat came at the hands of Leyton Orient as we were caught on the break in the 76th minute for them to score the winner. Gutted to lose as we were definitely the better side, but just couldn't score.

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It looked like we were going to make it back to back defeats when Barrow went into a 3-1 lead against us. However, a brilliant fight back in the last 8 minutes of the game saw us take a very good point from the jaws of defeat.

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We got back to winning ways against Crewe with a narrow victory. I was confident we could get a result here after already beating them in the cup this season and a solid defensive performance was the foundation for us taking the points this time round.

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Despite rotating nearly the whole starting 11 for the game against Cambridge, we managed to pick up a win in the Papa John's Trophy as well! A great performance against the League One club.

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It leaves our group wide open going into the final game.

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The games down at this level come thick and fast and we had to play 4 games in the next 13 days! Our squad is proving to be a strong one though as we rotate through the tiredness of each game and we managed to chalk up 3 wins from those 4 matches! Even the Crawley game that we lost 1-0 was unlucky as we deserved something from that one.

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Our strong form has seen us move into 3rd place in the table and it's fair to say we seem to be adapting to life in League Two pretty well. Only Notts County who came up with us have scored more goals from the opening 13 games and they too are defying the odds by sitting top of the division. The top two have pulled away a little, but things are tensely close beyond that with just 4 points seperating 3rd and 12th!

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My captain, Billy Bingham has certainly stepped up for us this year and leads the assist charts!

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Bingham got 18 league assists last season and has very much picked up where he left off!

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The games will continue to come thick and fast with no less than 8 scheduled for November in league and cup. That would kick off with a league game away at Walsall...a game that ended in a draw which we really should have won.

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However, we followed that up with an amazing win over 2nd placed Northampton Town on their own turf! This was a massive result for us against one of the league leaders!

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Burton Albion were relegated from League One last season and would have had high hopes of an immediate return to the 3rd tier this year. However, things aren't panning out that way and they find themselves struggling in the bottom half of the table and we piled on the pressure here with a comfortable home win!

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We then had two cup games to play in a week. Starting with our FA Cup first round tie against Sutton United. They were promoted last year and now play their footie in League One...their doing alright as well sitting 14th at the moment and would be slight favourites for this one.

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We'd have the added pressure that theire is a historic rivalry between the clubs and our supporters specifically stated before the season began that they wanted us to be competitive against our rivals if we came up against them.

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Well we were certainly competitive...in fact we were easily the best side and Cross-Adair's headed goal in stoppage time gave us a win that we thoroughly deserved.

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I made no less than 7 changes to the starting lineup for the game against Forest Green in the Papa John's Trophy and although we put up a good showing against the League One club, we fall to the narrowest of defeats.

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The result sees us go out of the competition, but I'm honestly not that bothered. This was never a focus for us this season!

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We did have a 10 day gap to recover before our next league game, which was a biggie as we faced league leaders, Notts County. They are genuinely flying and 9 points clear at the head of the table now!

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And they extend that lead even further with a win over us in a back and forth game that could have gone either way. It was an entertaining one for the fans, but County just got the better of us on the day!

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Macauley Langstaff scored a hat trick against us and it's clear to see that he is one of the main reasons Notts County are flying so high. The striker has a ridiculous 24 goals in 16 league games this season!!

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We do have our very own overperforming striker as well though. Michael Cheek is 'having it' in League Two and he scored five more as we won our next two games against Rochdale and Tranmere.

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It takes his tally to 16 goals in 16 league games this season and only Langstaff has scored more than him!

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His goals have helped us to 4th place as we approach the half way stage of the season. We still have a game in hand over all the teams around us too and if we win that, we could go 2nd!

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Our excellent performance again this season has secured me a new 2 year deal with the club!

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I'm so annoyed! Captain Billy Bingham has approached me to say he isn't happy playing in a defensive midfield role as a deep lying playmaker and instead he wants to play as a central midfielder as a deep lying playmaker. I told him he has been tremendous there this year and I'm really happy with his performances for the team. Apparently, he is that unhappy about the slightest of positional changes that he has now handed in a transfer request and wants to leave the club!!! I mean, what the actual ****! If I was playing him as a defender or as a striker, I'd get it...but it's defensive midfield and central midfield for Christ's sake!

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So far during my Bromley career, we have struggled when playing teams from leagues below us. We had an opportunity to put that right as we faced off against National League side, Dorking, in the second round of the FA Cup.

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Despite a couple of defensive lapses, we were always in control of the tie and never looked like losing it. We were into the 3rd round draw where all the big boys come into the competition and we were hoping to play one of the country's best teams.

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We didn't get our wish. Instead, we go away to Bristol Rovers...it is a winnable tie though!

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Four games in ten days honestly proved a little bit too much for us. With injuries and squad tiredness, we were especially struggling to rotate things in central midfield. We did get two wins on the board, but followed that up with a defeat and a draw, as we head into the Christmas period, which will again test us with 3 games in 7 days!!

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It had highlighted my need to bolster our numbers in central midfield so I went searching the free agent market, to see who was available. I've managed to add two centre mids to the squad, although they can't play for a couple more weeks until the January transfer window opens and I can register them. The first is likely to be a first team starter and could be the replacement for the sulking Billy Bingham who could well leave the club in the January window. Curtis Thompson played 153 times for Wycombe mostly at League One and Championship level, so he is definitely a great signing for us and can be a quality player for us in the 4th tier.

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The second new addition is 32 year old David Cawley who was released by Sligo Rovers in the Summer where he played over 150 league games. He got 13 assists for them from centre mid over the past 2 years and he'll be a good squad rotation option for us between now and the end of the season and brings some good experience to the side.

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Tranmere were the visitors to Hayes Lane for our Boxing Day fixture and we sent them packing with nothing from the game after an easy win.

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Crewe were up next and we'd already beaten them in league and cup this year so had every reason to think we could get something from the game. But that confidence proved to be entirely misplaced as we were absolutely battered by them! We just weren't at the races and I'm hoping it was just one of those days.

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We had no time to recover from that defeat as our next game against Newport County came on New Year's Day just 2 days later! But Michael Cheek showed up in top form and his hat trick ensured we kick off 2024 with a win!

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Unfortunately, we couldn't back that result up though as we lose to Mansfield next time out. A late wonder strike from Hartigan was the nail in the coffin that ensured we took nothing from this game.

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We bounced right back with a big win over Crawley though. Lloyd Isgrove hasn't exaclty been the signing I hoped he'd be so far this season, but he definitely stepped up here with probably his best game of the season.

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I think it's got to that time when we can genuinely start believing in ourselves to make the playoffs as an absolute minimum this year! We are flying!

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We're out of the FA Cup after losing to Bristol Rovers in the 3rd round. There is no shame in losing to any side from the division above, but it was frustrating that not a single one of our 16 shots was on target...a rare off day for our strikers who are usually mustard!

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No better way to bounce back than with a good away day in the league though! Carlisle are a decent side at home, so this was a very good win for us!

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We could only follow up with a draw against Walsall though. Both their goals were absolute crackers from 25-30 yards, so we can feel a little hard done by, as other than that we defended pretty well!

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We're still in the January transfer window and there was a departure from the club as I cashed in on Harry Forster. He has been pretty poor for us since day 1, only managing an average rating of 6.75 across 38 league games under my management. That isn't good enough, so when Blackpool offered us £150k to take him off our hands, I snapped their hand off!

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That smashed the previous record fee received at the club!

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Foster was a disruptive influence in the changing room and I'm glad to see the back of him. Life without the winger started well with a solid home victory over Harrogate.

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That game came on transfer deadline day and we were trying to still get some business done in and around the match. The Foster deal had brought in £150k and I spent £82k of it to bring in a direct replacement. Maziar Kouhyar has been doing well for York City in the National League and I'm confident he can step up and help us with our promotion push this season at the higher level.

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As we went into our game with Stockport, I was very aware of how poor our away form has been of late. We have only won one of our last six away from home!

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But we turned in a great performance to get a win up North. New man Kouhyar went straight into the starting lineup and got the assist for the first goal!

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It wasn't all good news though. George Dowling won't play again this season after breaking his foot in that game.

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But on the flip side, there was a new signing into the club. The transfer window might be closed, but free transfers of unattached players can still be brought in and the fact that Cameron Lancaster has been without a club since last Summer is probably the reason we managed to get him to join us. He looks like a massive coup for the club and his attributes look far too good for League Two.

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His record is also extremely impressive throughout his career averaging a goal every two games! If he gets to grips with our football early, he could be the man to score the goals that lead us to promotion!

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Lancaster's debut came at Leyton Orient and there was no goal for the new man as we played out a bore draw. It was a game of two halves...Orient had all the play in the first but couldn't score, whilst we dominated the second period but also couldn't find the back of the net.

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We were poor in front of goal against Barrow as well and they punished us for it! A disappointing defeat!

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Despite that defeat, we are still sitting in the automatic promotion places. However, with 12 games to go, the teams behind us are queueing up to take our spot if we falter.

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In the race for promotion, our next game would be a massive one as it saw 3rd play 6th! Should Northampton beat us, they'd be just a point behind.

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They didn't make up any ground on us, but we did drop 2 points. Still, I can't complain with the effort of my team as we showed great heart, twice coming back from a goal down to level things up.

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We went on to lose to Burton after that, conceding 5 goals in the process!! It was around Feb/March last season that we had our big dip in form and the same thing seemed to be happening again this season as that Burton result now makes it 4 without a win.

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But we quickly recovered and got back on track with 3 wins in a row. And two of them were absolutely huge as we beat league leaders Notts County and 4th placed Salford who were literally breathing down our necks!

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It leaves us 2nd in the league with just 7 games to go. Notts County look like they have back to back titles sewn up already, but importantly for us, we now have a 5 point buffer back to 4th place and automatic promotion is very much within our reach this season! A playoff spot looks all but guaranteed as a minimum and I'd have jumped at that opportunity before the season started!

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Next up for us was the battle of Kent as we took on The Gills. Our game earlier in the season at their place ended 3-3 in an entertaining game, but we have outperformed the 'biggest side in Kent' this season and would be looking for a result here to exert our position as the new Kings of Kent.

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What an occasion to celebrate my 100th game in charge of Bromley.

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But I wasn't left celebrating as we were beaten by our local rivals!

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The week went from bad to worse as we get a pretty poor youth intake for this season, with not a single player standing out to me.

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We bounced back from that though by taking 7 points from our next 3 games, despite only managing to score once in each of those matches.

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Michael Cheek might be the one scoring the all important goals, but Sam Long is the highest rated player over the past 5 games and the on loan goalkeeper is proving as important to my team as ever!

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With just 3 games to go, we have automatic promotion all but secured. Just one more point would do it.

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But our next game would be a real tough one as we faced 3rd placed Swindon, who were also looking to secure their position in League One next year.

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On this occasion, it was Swindon's day...but I feel like our own day is just around the corner.

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That day came in our very next game as we beat Rochdale and automatic promotion to League One is secured. An incredible achievement securing back to back promotions!!

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Promotion is secured so the board release the budgets for next year. There will be a very small transfer kitty to dip into, but more importantly the wage budget has been given a boost of about £16k per week, so we should be able to improve the squad considerably this Summer if the right free transfers are available and willing to join the club!

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The final game of the season didn't entirely go to plan, but to be honest I couldn't give a monkeys....it's been another amazing season and we move up to the third tier!

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