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A UK Journeyman Story

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Another FM, another story. This will be my 5th story in a row I’ve shared on FM Base, all of them one-club saves with various levels of success.

FM18 with Berwick Rangers
FM19 with Sligo Rovers
FM20 with Altrincham
FM21 with Sparta Rotterdam

But FM22 will be different.

In this story, I will be starting off unemployed, with no coaching qualifications and no footballing experience.

coching badges.png


Laptop issues dictate that I’ll only be able to load up a handful of leagues, which will be England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland - a UK journeyman story it is!

leagues loaded 2.png


So, for the first time ever, I have no idea where the save will start or where it will end.

All I know is that I want to take an obscure club to even more obscure corners of Europe in the Europa Conference League…

...and I want to end the save in England, eventually in the Premier League with too much money to know what to do with.

profile 21.png


Let’s see what happens!
 
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Been waiting for your story to pop up. Looking forward to this as usual
 
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A Welsh start could offer a very quick opportunity to play in Europe and win a domestic title.

Looking forward to seeing how this pans out - Good luck!
 
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Good luck!!! I am a one club save man myself too so be interesting to see what you do
 
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Been waiting for your story to pop up. Looking forward to this as usual
Cheers mate, was going to wait until the new year but reading the other stories on here got me in the mood!

The legend returns…
Haha returns with no coaching badges or experience for the first time on any FM - I have no idea what to expect in this save

A Welsh start could offer a very quick opportunity to play in Europe and win a domestic title.

Looking forward to seeing how this pans out - Good luck!
Interesting you should mention Wales...

Good luck!!! I am a one club save man myself too so be interesting to see what you do
Yeah I'm very much the same as yourself in doing one club saves although your Champions League challenge last year made me really want to do something with multiple clubs. This is genuinely the first save I've done that isn't just with one club so am excited to see what happens!
 
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Having never managed in Northern Ireland or Wales on FM, I was eyeing up starting my career in either of those 2 nations… not that there were many jobs available in July 2021.

jobs available.png


But as I progressed through the weeks and months, a number of jobs in Wales started to become insecure

welsh jobs insecure.png


And when they became available, I applied for them all. Carmarthen Town was very appealing, but then the Colwyn Bay job became available.

colwyn bay apply.png


So I had what I’m pretty sure was the first-ever interview I’ve done on any FM.


colwyn interview.png


And within 2 days we were offered the job!

job offer.png


It was as simple as that.

colwyn manager.png


The story starts with Colwyn Bay in the second tier of Welsh football!
 
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The recent history of Colwyn Bay is actually quite interesting - they were part of the English pyramid until 2 years ago when they opted to rejoin the restructured Welsh leagues

colwyn info.png


Also, it’s “the Bay.” No more “Colwyn Bay” round here...

The last manager of the Bay was sacked for a poor start to the season which, for the Bay, constitutes being in 8th in the Cymru North - the second tier of Welsh football.

table colwyn.png


But the Bay are the 4th best team in the division on paper, so there is definitely potential to get the club promoted very soon.

season preview bangor.png


However, the problem with the Cymru North division is that Bangor City are by far and away the best team in the league.

There’s also no promotion for second place, and no playoffs. Just one team from the North and one team from the South get promoted to the giddy heights of the Cymru Premier Division.

rules wales.png


That actually leaves us without much pressure to get promoted, as Bangor are evidently going to walk the league this year.

It’s also a good thing expectations are relatively low, because when looking at the squad for the first time it’s clear that we have 5 quality players (none of whom are defenders) and not much else.

squad view.png


Robbie Parry, with his 5 crossing and 3 dribbling, is our star man...

parry oct21.png


So with my only quality outfielders being 2 centre mids and 2 wingers, I decided a 4-3-3 with us exploiting the flanks was the way to go.

tactic oct21.png


tactic 2.png


I took the job on 15th October and our first game was on the 16th October against Gresford Athletic in the Welsh Cup - a team actually ahead of us in 3rd position in the Cymru North

1st game.png


I feared the worst when we went 1 down, but we did brilliantly to fight back and end up 3-1 winners in front of a less than packed crowd of 500 people.

gresford.png


But I am already looking forward to the days when we get slightly more than £500 in prize money!

prize money oct21.png


So 1 day in the job, 1 win - not a bad ratio.

upcoming sched.png


Now let’s see what we can do in the league!
 
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The glitz and glamour of second tier Welsh football was upon us as we travelled to the Memorial Playing Fields (no, really) to face our first ever opponents in a league game - Ruthin Town

ruthin oct21.png


They were just 2 places below us in the league going into the game...

ruthin table.png


But we ran out 2-0 comfortable winners!

ruthin 2-0.png


And we followed that up with an away win against bottom of the league Llanrhaeadr as well as putting 5 past lower league Welshpool in the cup

llanr oct21.png
welshpool 5-2.png


Something I’ve not mentioned yet is that we have £350 in wage budget, which genuinely is enough to make a few good deals at this level.

budget 21.png


So my first ever signing was free agent Will Pritt.

Pritt Oct 21.png


He comes in on a pay-as-you-play contract but is probably the best centre back at the club!

pritt contract.png


Not only that, but he is incredibly helpful for matchday squad rules as at least 2 members of the squad must be under 19 in the Cymru North

matchday rules.png


Which is why we also brought in 18-year-old Jordan Hamilton on a free transfer - he’s a top-quality right back for this league who we’ve managed to snap up for just £130 a week!

hamilton nov21.png


Both made their debuts in a comfortable 2-0 win over Conwy in the league.

conwy 2-0 21.png


Which means that one month into the job we have played 5, won 5 and are up to 6th in the table!

sched nov21.png


table nov21.png


Life as manager of the Bay could not have started any better!
 
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The mighty Holywell were the first ever team to stop us from winning, holding us to a 0-0 draw to remind us that it’s probably unlikely we’ll win every single game in the save...

holywell 0-0.png


Our first loss also came a few games later in the 3rd Round of the Welsh Cup as we were narrowly beaten by Premier Division Haverfordwest

haverf 1-0.png


But we keep on picking up valuable wins in the league and I have still yet to lose any of my 7 league games in charge of the Bay!

sched dec21.png


We’re in 5th position, just one point off second place at the end of December. But ultimately it doesn’t matter where we finish because Bangor are going to gain the only promotion spot this season.

table dec21.png


With things already improved, I was able to ask the board to fund the National B Licence course which will hopefully be the first step in having an attribute higher than 3...

b licence.png


Our youth intake is supposedly ‘excellent’ but I can’t say I’m expecting much judging by the preview.

youth intake 21.png


We also managed to sign striker Kieron Proctor in-time to register him for the league. Again, he is on a pay-as-you-play deal but is probably good enough to be starting for us.

proctor nov21.png


But the most important thing is that the January transfer window is almost upon us.

trials nov21.png


There are honestly so many good free transfers available and I’ve had numerous players on trial who are all willing to join.

budgets dec21.png


We have £160 to spend on wages, so we shall see how much deadwood we can get rid of and how many exciting players we can bring in!​
 
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The problem with so many good players being available is that other clubs want in on the action.

So it was rejection...

rejection 1.png


...after rejection…

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...after rejections!

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rejection 4.png


rejection 5.png


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All of these players were signing for Bangor City! The league leaders were literally hoarding players for no reason!

Having said that, we were still able to sign some quality players. One player who didn’t reject us was Bradley Webb, a very good left back for this level.

webb jan22.png


We also signed a new defensive midfielder Ben Dooley and a left winger Kian Makepeace who both wanted a pittance in wages

dooley jan22.png


makepeace feb22.png


Next in was 17 year old Daniel Holmes, who is only on £70 a week and my scouts rate highly but he has a lot of poor attributes.

holmes jan22.png


The last player in was Duncan Idehen, a quality (and pacey) centre back.

idehen feb22.png


All those players join for at least 18 months as we assemble a squad that will get us promotion for next season.

I was so focused on transfers that I forgot about the small matter of playing runaway leaders Bangor away. Incredibly, we beat them 3-0 and deservedly so.

bangor jan22.png


That made it 12 league matches unbeaten in a row, a run that started before I even joined the club and is a new record for the league!

unbeaten jan22.png


unbeaten record.png


The result means we’re now 10 points behind Bangor with 10 games remaining. If only we’d have taken charge at the start of the season, we could’ve been in a genuine race for 1st place.

table jan22.png


I cannot believe how well life as manager of the Bay is going!
 
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It’s now getting to the point where it’s silly how much we are winning, we’ve won 8 league matches in a row!

sched mar22.png


The only sad thing is that our form won’t count for anything in the end - Bangor are far too strong for the division and, like us, are winning virtually every game.

table mar22.png


There are only 5 games remaining with 8 points between us - it’s just not going to happen!

One player I wanted to highlight was 6’5” centre back William Pritt who has been our signing of the season chipping in with 5 goals from set pieces as part of the defence with the most clean sheets in the league.

pritt stats.png


Not bad for £20 per appearance!

Pritt mar22.png


Some unexpected news was that our head of youth development left to manage Llangefni Town, a team in the relegation zone of our division, in what was described as a sensational return to the club...

hoyd feb22.png


hoy feb22 2.png


So we brought in Antony Cornell to replace him - his personality isn’t great but he was the best we could get. Plus we’re not going to be around at the Bay forever!

cornell hoyd.png


I don’t know if the change impacted the youth intake, but it was a very decent one for us! Some of these players could be first team regulars at the club for a long time. It’s just a shame I’m not spending the whole save at the Bay!

youth intake mar22.png


Steve Hernandez is the best, the 15 year old already looks like he could play a part in the first team!

hernandez mar22.png


And finally we’ve made 2 more free signings in Jamal Sule, who will be our right back next season, and also 38 year old John Welsh to provide more midfield options. Both wanted just £25 a week (no idea why or how!)

sule mar22.png


welsh mar22.png


As you can see, despite having 5 more games to play, I am very much planning for the promotion push next season already!
 
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Some good news off the pitch is that I’ve bagged my National B Licence and immediately started the A Licence

silverholt licence 22.png


a licence.png


Those attributes are slowly creeping up!

silverholt stats mar22.png


And with the season drawing to an end I was finally offered a new one year deal to remain at the club for next season at least.

new deal 22.png


I’d like to think it’s well deserved too… especially considering we’d won 12 league matches in a row!

12 in a row.png


But finally, after 18 games, our unbeaten run came to the end in a dead rubber match versus Holywell. I seem to remember that they were the first team to take points off us as well, so they are very much our bogey team!

holywell loss.png


Incredibly that was my first loss in the league as manager of the Bay as we ended the league campaign just 6 points off Bangor in the end.

final table.png


We’ve made a lot of changes to the squad throughout the season and a few players who came in January haven’t kicked on quite like I thought they would (mainly Makepeace and Dooley) but we still have a very good squad going into next season.

squad view 22.png


Just 2 players scored more than 10 goals, including midfielder Tom Creamer who got 6 goals from the penalty spot and is wanted by Cymru Premier side Caernarfon Town.

creamer apr22.png


Despite the incredible form of the team, the lack of goals from our strikers this season has been worrying and we will be looking to upgrade on current number 9 Mitchell Bryant, who was actually our top scoring striker last season with 7 goals.

bryant apr22.png


Our incredible winning run means that everybody is happy at the club, which makes things a whole lot easier!

dynamics 22.png


A very slight concern is the financial situation, with the club £50,000 in the red.

finances apr22.png


But that hasn’t stopped the board giving us an £800 wage budget. With lots of players being released in the summer, we’ll have at least £1,000 to spend on wages which gives us room to bring in 4 or 5 quality players.

wage budget 22.png


We have one goal and one goal only next season… Promotion!
 
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Last season we seemed to sign a new player every other week, so the 2022 summer transfer window was about getting the 4 or 5 players that will consolidate us as the strongest team in the league this year.

transfers 22 1.png

transfers 22 2.png


And that’s what we’ve done.

First in was centre back Jarvis Edobor. We didn’t desperately need another defender, but those of you who have read my stories for a while will know I’m a sucker for a 6’3” centre back...

edobar jul22.png


Next in was striker Eddie Brown who will be our target man this season. As I mentioned in the last post, our strikers were poor last season so I’m hoping that this guy fires us to promotion as one of the front 2.

eddie brown jun22.png


His strike partner will likely be Louis Lloyd, a Welsh under 19 international who left Shrewsbury in the summer.

lloyd jul22.png


And why sign 2 quality strikers when you can sign 3? Tra Lucas also joined us to provide us with even more quality after being released by Luton.

ta lucas.png


An interesting signing we made was that of 16 year old Alex Davies, who Bangor were willing to let go for free. It’ll be interesting to see how much he can develop (and whether that will be at Colwyn or another club!)

davies jul22.png


Our final signing was Yasin Arai, who came in on loan from Bangor to provide backup on both wings. We tried to sign him permanently last season but he chose Bangor instead... only to end up joining us on loan 6 months later!

arai jul22.png


Those transfers mean we are overwhelming favourites to get promoted this season… we’re 1-91 on to win the league!

That’s either a bug or means it is borderline impossible for us to not get promoted this season. (I also don’t understand how Flint can be relegated from the Premier Division and instantly be one of the worst teams in the league)

preview 22.png


Anything less than us dominating the league this season will be a failure. Let’s get the Bay promoted!
 
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The new season also brings a new tactic. Instead of 4-3-3 we are going for a Mike Bassett 4-4-2, with a little and large striker up front.

tactic aug22.png


And it’s working rather well…

We beat Holywell 5-1 in the cup to start the season off, which was especially pleasing as they were the only team to beat us in the league last season.

holywell cup.png


We followed that up by winning the first league game 4-0, with striker Lloyd scoring all 4 goals!

denbigh 4-0.png


The results were pretty much the same from then on. To say August was a successful month would be an understatement - we have coasted through the month with ease.

sched aug22.png


We’re top of the table after 6 games, having scored 21 and conceded just 2. Gresford look like the only team who will be able to stop us this season.

table aug22.png


After scoring 4 in the first match, Lloyd now has 9 goals in 6 appearances which earned him player of the month in August.

potm lloyd.png


lloyd aug22.png


In fact, both him and his strike partner Eddie Brown are the top 2 scorers in the league. I think we’ve solved the issue of our strikers not being able to score!

top scorers aug22.png


brown aug22.png


This has all been done with over £1,000 remaining in wage budget. (For context that is a lot, our highest paid player is on £275 and next highest on £200).

wage budget aug22.png


So I was not expecting us to be the highest spenders on wages in the league. By a huge distance too!

Wages league 22.png


It seems like other clubs either can’t compete with us financially or don’t want to. It’s not as if we’re loaded either as we have a £15,000 deficit.

fifteen grand.png


So it seems nothing can stop us from getting promoted. We’re 6 games in and I’m already thinking about next season...
 
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I love the simplicity of the lower leagues. You have a clearout of the deadwood when contracts expire, sign a few good players, play to their strengths... and you will walk the league!

preview table.png


A 7-1 win against Airbus, who are a decent team in the division, exemplified just how dominant we are.

airbus 7.png


Eddie Brown was the second person to score 4 goals in a league game for us this season in that match, which was also a record win for the club.

record win.png


Something had to go wrong at some point and it did with Tom Creamer getting injured for 8 weeks which leaves us light in midfield. He is one of only five players who were in the squad I inherited less than a year ago.

creamer injury.png


creamer sep22.png


But when it’s going your way, then it’s going your way. After 72 minutes in the game against Flint Town I was certain that the winning run was coming to an end. But we scored 3 goals in 8 minutes to completely turn the game.

flint 3-2 aug.png
flint stats.png


That means we’ve also won every single game we played in September.

sched sep22.png


We honestly seem unstoppable. We’re 8 points clear at the top and I could see us winning every single league game at this rate.

table sep22.png


The race between Brown and Lloyd as to who can score the most goals is getting interesting. We have Lloyd averaging a goal every 59 minutes and Brown every 60 minutes...

top scorers sep.png


So almost a year into the Colwyn Bay job, we have won 32 of our 36 games.

manager stats sep22.png


It’s been ridiculous… but so much fun. I will never get bored of getting flukey wins and never, ever get bored of smashing teams because they have vastly inferior players!
 
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I may have been a bit ambitious in saying that we could win 100% of our games… Holyhead were the first team to stop us from winning this season, but were fortunate to do so.

holyhead stats 1-1.png


But after that it was business as usual…

sched oct22.png


The form is ridiculous, the players are ridiculous and the league table is ridiculous.

table oct22.png


We’re also progressing in both cups and will face Cefn Druids in the semi-final of the Welsh League Cup after defeating Llangefni on penalties in what was technically our 2nd draw of the season...

cefn cup.png


Then in the Welsh Cup - the one you get actual prize money for - we will also face Premier League opposition in Goytre United, who are bottom of the table with just 4 points unlike the Druids who are in 5th

goytre united cup.png


prem table.png


It’s a well known fact that near post corners were/are a bit overpowered on FM22, and when you have a 6’5” centre back they are very, very overpowered. Will Pritt won player of the month for October with 5 goals in 5 matches, all from set pieces

pritt potm.png


He’s actually scored 15 goals for us in 28 matches, which is a bit stupid but I dont really care as long as we’re winning.

pritt oct22.png


pritt stats 0ct22.png


But even he can’t keep up with the goalscoring exploits of striker partnership Brown and Lloyd, who are still averaging less than 90 minutes per goal each.

brown lloyd.png


Their form means our 3rd choice striker Tra Lucas is not happy with me, which is fair enough as he still has 7 goals in all competitions. But I just can’t drop the dynamic duo of Brown and Lloyd!

lucas.png


The season hits a bit of a lull now as we have a 4 week break before our next game in the cup, which is then followed up by another 4 week break!

upcoming sched dec22.png


So I’m going to use this period to get players on trial to see if we can make our squad Premier Division ready for next season.
 
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A 4 week gap between games didn’t affect us as we smashed Premier Division Goytre United 6-0 in the Welsh Cup 3rd round!

goytre score.png


Eddie Brown got another hattrick in that game and is on fire! However, we have a slight problem…

He only signed a one year deal in the summer and won’t sign another one - I’m not sure what I can do to keep him at the club for next season!

brown contract.png


Next up was Cefn Druids in the semi final of the league cup, a team 5th in the league above us and managed by Ashley Williams in his first managerial job post-retirement!

williams cefn.png


But even his team couldn’t stop us - it seems we are a side who will be very comfortable in the Premier Division next year. Two direct free kick goals from Robbie Parry put us into the League Cup final and our first final as a manager!

cefn 3-0 cup.png


Parry is one of the few players remaining who I inherited at the club just over a year ago and has been incredible for us. I doubted him when I saw his crossing and dribbling ability but he already has 10 goals and 14 assists this season.

parry jan23.png


The other player that we inherited and is still starting matches is goalkeeper Andy Coughlin, who is our highest paid player on £275 a week. He has 18 months remaining on his contract which is the only reason why I won’t choose to upgrade on him in the summer

coughlin jan23.png


The best Welsh clubs have evidently not taken the League Cup seriously this season… which is great for us because it means we play Newtown in the final.

newton final.png


If we can beat 5th placed Cefn Druids 3-0, then surely we can beat 9th place Newtown in the final.

newtown final.png


We are not going to have a better chance of winning our first ever trophy!
 
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The stage was set for our first final of the save, which was played at the 12,000 capacity stadium The Gnoll.

final newtown.png


Even though they were in the league above us, I very much considered us to be favourites for the match against 10th placed Newtown.

newtown tablee.png


Our starting lineup contained 3 players - Coughlin, Creamer and Parry - who have been at the club longer than me. The rest of the players were my signings, including 16 year old Alex Davies.

line up final.png


And it was the teenage midfielder who gave away a penalty after 2 minutes.

penalty 2 mins.png


In a season where we’ve won almost every game, I was beginning to fear the worst. But this is the Bay we’re talking about…

celebrations.png


We answered that early penalty with 5 goals to storm to our first ever trophy as a manager!

final win5-1.png


Eddie Brown got yet another hattrick, I’ve honestly lost count how many he’s scored this season as he has been simply unbelievable.

brown jan23.png


The latest in his contract saga is that he wants £375 a week when the max we can offer is £250. It’s not looking good…

brown money.png


But who cares about that for now? We’ve just won the Welsh League Cup as a Cymru North side.

This season could not be going any better. We’ve played 27 games this season and won 26 of them. But that could be about to change…

tns cup.png


We play the big boys TNS away in the next round of the Welsh Cup.
 
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Why did stop there!!! was really enjoying that especially when I saw Eddie brown playing as I let him go after 6 months at Boston! because he couldn't hit a barn door :LOL:will have to wait not so patiently for next "episode" :LOL:
 
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