Bouncebackability: "The ability to bounce back or recover from bad circumstances"

This story is done, but the career continues - what is next?

  • Retire - my work in football is done

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Sell Parker, Thiry & Lazenby for mega-bucks & rebuild

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Resign and look to move abroad - I've earned it

    Votes: 1 100.0%
  • Keep the team and build a legacy

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    1
1623341613994.png


April 2031

fixtures.jpg

With safety guaranteed, it’s time to relax a bit and just see how we get on this month and maybe start the strengthening process for next season early. £20m in the kitty, so there’s a bit of money to play with.

Crystal Palace (h) - probably the one game we should have won more comfortably than this, but I think I’m starting to get a bit cocky with the excellent recent run of form. A win in the Premier League is still a win and an excellent result.

Chelsea (a) - Not only did we pull off an unexpected magnificent result, we ended Chelsea’s 28 unbeaten home run of games and drag ourselves into a European spot which is crazy.

Manchester City (a) - Away to the current league champions, so one of the toughest games of the season...and yet, we find ourselves above them in the table. Just as it looked like we were going to hold out, their diminutive winger pops up to head home a corner. Despite the loss, a valiant effort and a very good performance.


Martin ended up on the losing side, but was magnificent and has been all season. He is one of the main reasons we are where we are and his minimum release fee of £50m to clubs in the Champions League all of a sudden, looks ominously low.

Martin.jpg

West Brom (h) - We should be confident coming into this after a pretty decent run of form but that doesn’t translate to the pitch as we struggle to put much more than a couple of passes together and were, quite frankly, a bit lucky to get a draw there.

Charlton are the first of the clubs to find themselves relegated. They finished 6th in the Championship and won the playoffs, so it’s probably not a surprise they find themselves at the bottom.

results.jpg


table.jpg
 
Last edited:
1623341906292.png


May 2031

fixtures.jpg

If I wasn’t already safe, this would look like a very precarious set of fixtures.

Burnley (a) - We were pretty much at full strength so a decent performance should have been forthcoming and, whilst it was entertaining, decent it was not. Own goal, conceded a penalty, missed a penalty of our own and generally quite a low quality affair. Ramirez, on loan from Chelsea has 2 goals and 2 assists in 12 games at AMC and has struggled to convince me that he is worth signing on the full-time basis my scouts suggested.

Perhaps Wilson felt guilty about his penalty miss, but he attends the physio room with ‘pulled ligaments’. He’s out for 2 weeks, conveniently until the end of the season....maybe he just wanted an early start to his summer holidays.

Liverpool (a) - Massive underdogs - best effort - could have been worse. That unbeaten run of 6 games in March/April seems a long time ago.

Arsenal (h) - For once, it’s not Jansen who gets his name on the scoresheet as Torres scores a clinical first time finish from a fine Helm through ball. We were outplayed in the second half and had to make some significant defensive changes to batten down the hatches, but all things considered, that is a strong performance and we were well worth the point overall.

results.jpg

That has been an astonishing first season and a 9th placed finish is beyond all expectations.

table.jpg

It is telling that the top two performers have been at either end of the pitch. One scoring the goals, one keeping them out.

lineup.jpg

Jansen’s 27 league goals make him the third top scorer in the league, just 3 behind Man City’s Haaland, and his value rockets to £40m. Wilson has a club high 8 assists for the season, although that’s only good enough for joint 9th in the league.

With the hard work of the playing season done, the harder work to strengthen the squad begins with a new transfer budget of £60m provided by the board. We’ve already strengthened at left-back to replace Bainbridge who is not good enough and Ramirez also needs replacing as he is only on loan.

The board FINALLY agree find some ambition down the back of the sofa and confirm a stadium expansion, which means a temporary move to Sheffield…

groundshare.jpg

Having finished where we did, it's difficult to find fault anywhere, but the over-reliance on a couple of players is quite clear...let's see how the first team squad performed;

GK:
GK.jpg

Some of the new transfer budget goes on a new contract for keeper Martin, mostly to remove the minimum release fee. I don’t want to risk losing him, even for £50m. McFarlane is seriously injury prone and hasn’t always been available when needed. He’s at risk of being replaced.

DR:
DR.jpg

Antonio started as first choice, but Guob has come on leaps and bounds. This is not a position I need to worry about anytime soon.

DL:
DL.jpg

Neither of my left-backs has performed terribly well, but Bainbridge is on his way out. Pye has done okay, but the Premier League is proving a tough step-up.

DC:
DC.jpg

Despite being a full International with the USA, Cesar is only 20 and has played bit-part only, but the other 3 can rotate pretty freely without detriment to the team. I’d like to keep these 3 around for a while. I don;t think there’s any resale value in any of them, but their worth is on the pitch.

MC:
MC.jpg

Abadaki and Sangelli have mostly been playing the MC(d) role with Flynn, Sangelli, Gutierrez & Emberson rotating the carrilero roles. Emberson’s contract is up and will not be renewed, so a new face is being sought and in time, the others will need to be replaced as only Sangelli has Premier League potential. Gutierrez, in particular, has been disappointing.

AM:
AM.jpg

This should have been where the goals/assists have mostly come from, and they have been good for a debut Premier League season, but it is another area where improvement is needed. A signing has already been made to replace the on-loan Ramirez, who was not all he cracked up to be.

ST:
ST.jpg

Need more be said? Jansen has pretty much single-handedly dragged us to Premier League safety and his goal record, fitness and availability has meant he has been an almost constant. Stewart has proved his worth when needed as well. Jansen is wanted by a number of clubs, so could be the summer’s biggest challenge.
 
Last edited:
1623430624488.png


June - July 2031

signings.jpg

Two new players have been confirmed in the last couple of months. Louie Gard is brought in to replace Bainbridge who is not really good enough to even be back up.

Krawiec is the permanent replacement for Ramirez who has been on loan from Chelsea. The Poland International looks like a great fit in either the advanced playmaker or attacking midfielder role.

That brings this season’s transfers to £129m with £64m in outgoing.

And we’re now at players requesting Premier League level wages. My top earner is keeper Martin on £80k a week, but every contract renewal is now wanting amounts of more than £125k which I’m not used to paying...it hurts.

With Emberson’s contract expired and every half-decent option on the market costing upwards of £60m, 19 year old Garcia is promoted from the U23s. He won’t be starting too many games, but will hopefully benefit from the development opportunity.

Garcia.jpg

And we also add Paul Curtis from Leeds into central midfield as well. I think we probably had our pants pulled down there and paid the English player premium of £30m - rising to £45m after 50 games. He will help with the foreign numbers though and I do like having a significant domestic contingent in the squad.

Curtis.jpg

With both Flynn and Gutierrez wanted by clubs - one could be allowed to leave, probably Flynn as he’s worth more. That’s a costly transfer, so there won’t be any more of those but we are on a bit of a bargain hunt, if the value is out there for future Premier League standard players.

Quite a lot of players are off on loan, but we do sell Fiorino whose potential was probably at a Championship level and wouldn’t have helped us, but more crucially one of the Northern Irish contingent - Simon Kennedy - leaves, after a pretty decent spell.

Kennedy.jpg
 
1623430874814.png


August 2031
The month starts with repeated rumours regarding a takeover, which is ominous...

Last season we bought in £99m through TV revenue, £26m for the 9th placed finish and - thanks to a tiny stadium - just £6m in season tickets. As a result of the groundshare this year, we’ve managed £10m in season tickets so far which is promising.

friendlies.jpg

Optimistically, Jansen has continued his goalscoring form from last season into this which is a very good sign.

fixtures.jpg

With the Carabao Cup fixture being away to League 1 Rochdale.

And we start yet another season with yet another away game.

Fulham (a) - New signings Gard, Curtis and Krawiec all make their debuts and all on the left hand side, which could be interesting. We didn’t do enough to win that, but Stewart - on as a sub - missed a gilt edged opportunity in injury time. Not quite the sparkling start I was hoping for and we’ve definitely missed out on the chance to get early points on the board. We should have been better.

Spurs (h) - Krawiec misses out and is replaced by Torres, but otherwise its the same starting 11 looking to make amends for the Fulham result. But, the performance is ominous as we didn’t have a shot on target against a team we actually managed to compete against last season. Is this second season syndrome kicking in as even the usually very reliable Jansen had a horrible game.

Burnley (a) - This was going to be Layton Stewart’s chance to step in for the underwhelming Jansen, but he’s gone and injured himself in the weights room. We’re also without Wilson, Krawiec & Mulenda which makes this even tougher. The sending off helped massively and Jansen finally turns in a performance. 19 year old Garcia and 16 year old Field make their debuts as their development continues.

Rochdale (a) Carabao Cup - It’s almost all change and a chance for the youngsters to impress. This has spectacularly backfired in the past, so I’m hoping this is still a strong enough team to make it past the League 1 side and it is, but only just as the centre-backs dig us out of a hole there with two setpiece goals.


And the draw - at home to Championship Derby - gives us a very good chance of progression.

Manchester United (h) - Free hit lads, no pressure etc etc etc. Back to a full strength side with Gutierrez playing in his favoured AP role. Gard was a constant menace down the left hand side, but the rest of the team failed to match his quality. Calatayud in particular, was guilty of giving the ball away too often and in dangerous positions on the pitch.

With £27m burning a hole in my back pocket and I'm not sure if I get to keep it if I don't spend it, I do make a deadline day signing and it’s a defensive midfielder in the shape of Hamidou Owalabi for £20m. He’s an upgrade on Flanagan and will rotate with Abadaki to play the central defensive midfielder role.

Owalabi.jpg

Bit of a mixed month that so can’t really complain with the league position as it stands.

results.jpg


table.jpg
 
1623779542308.png


September 2031

fixtures.jpg

Of course we’d get Man Utd & Liverpool in consecutive games...ouch.

review.jpg



transfers.jpg


In: Curtis and Owalabi come in as first team players, with Curtis having started in pretty good form. Cortinhas was picked up from Benfica and loaned straight back - he’s a prospect at 18 so I’m hoping will come good.

Out: Lots of players on loan, although that's hardly a significant amount of income. Kennedy is probably the most significant, but we do get a good amount of money for him.

There are a lot of board takeover rumours...that would be nice if they came about and we got the transfer kitty to go with it.

Liverpool (a) - Somewhat outclassed by the better team there. Moving Curtis into his more natural attacking midfielder role didn’t really help, but Owolabi has a good debut in tough circumstances against a good team.

Derby (h) Carabao Cup 3rd round - Another chance to rotate the squad almost backfires...again. Helm scores his first goal in forever and it took the lottery of penalties to actually secure progression.


And progression means another Championship team in the 4th round in the shape of Middlesbrough.

Southampton (a) - Wilson will deservedly get the plaudits as the goalscorer, but it’s the centre-backs and keeper who really won that one for use as they repel everything Southampton can throw at us.

results.jpg


Mulenda.jpg

£4.5m - rising to £5.75 after 50 league games - looks like a bit of a bargain now for the French centre-back. He’s considered a leading Championship player and whilst we’re never going to win the league with Mulenda as first choice he is very capable of doing a job when needed and doesn't expect to play every game which is very useful.

table.jpg
 
1623780108563.png


October 2031

review.jpg


fixtures.jpg

Internationals mean it’s a shorter month of games.


Sheffield United (a) - Antonio & Mulenda miss out through injuries so Harwood-Bellis returns to face his former club. Wilson, goalscoring saviour from the previous game also fails a late fitness test which makes me wonder where the goals are coming from with neither of the strikers in particularly good form. But, after the early blip and the penalty, we were every bit as good as the scoreline suggests. Jansen finds his shooting boots and Curtis gets his first for the club. A very good day at the office.

Leicester (h) - I’m hoping the morale and good form rolls into the Leicester game and home advantage might just give us the edge. Owolabi scores an early goal-of-the-season contender, curling in an effort from 30 yards off the underside of the bar to give us the lead and we then take gradually defensive moves to secure the win under pressure as Leicester push on. A good result, if not a bit streaky at the end.


Owolabi is then ruled out for 4 weeks.

Groundsharing at Bramall Lane is paying off as we average an attendance of 21000...11000 then less than capacity, but 9000 more than Boundary Park was. The current expansion work will take us to 18,376.

Layton Stewart has only made bit-part appearances, but he’s struggling to convince me he’s worth keeping around.

Chelsea (h) - Coming into the game we’ve conceded the joint fewest goals - 9 - in the league and whilst we put up a pretty good defensive display, the extra quality made the difference.

Middlesbrough - Carabao Cup 4th Round - Some rotation is put in place to allow some first team players a bit of a rest, although the scoreline is not a fair reflection of the complete and utter domination we impart on Boro in the game. A Curtis assist and a clinical Stewart finish...perhaps he’s not done just yet.


Qtr final.jpg

The holders, Chelsea, are knocked out and the quarter final draw is kind enough to pitch us at home. If West Brom could do a number on Liverpool, this really could be up for grabs. In any case, getting this far has exceeded all expectations...albeit with a fortunate set of fixtures.

results.jpg


table.jpg
 
1623997714627.png


November 2031

review.jpg


[
finances.jpg

The finances are starting to creak a bit...quite a lot, actually, although it’s not surprising given the fairly steep recent increase in wages. With 5 players on £70k or more, a week, and sponsorship (among other things) not keeping up, it is proving difficult to keep things under wraps. Having a small stadium has a knock on effect as well although the board are taking steps to address this and the expansion is welcomed.

fixtures.jpg

Ouch...this could be a tough month.

Arsenal (a) - Krawiec, Owolabi, Gutierrez, Sangelli & Garcia are all still unavailable through injury which means it’s a bare squad. Pressure’s off and this is a bit of a free hit for the lads. Calatayud has an entertaining opening half hour - scores from a Curtis corner, then brings down Augusto who converts after a VAR check. Despite struggling to contain their 3 strikers, we come back brilliantly and Stewart earns us a very well deserved point.

Stewart.jpg

With Jansen not quite hitting the heights of last season, Layton Stewart is our only other genuine striking option. This is his 8th season with us and has 89 goals in 210 league games. Jansens poorer form might just push Stewart into the firing line.

Stewart’s 89 goals is still 52 off Roger Palmer’s club record. 22 year old Jansen has 62 and is much more likely to get that record.

Oldham’s record league appearances is 525 held by Ian Wood. The player in the squad with the most appearances is Mark Helm with 293 games - he’s unlikely to get near Wood’s figure.

Blackburn (h) - Stewart gets his chance to justify my faith and his fine recent form is rewarded with a start. The final result is a travesty as we outplayed Blackburn in every single department, except the one which really mattered. How we didn’t win that is a complete mystery, but Stewart does indeed make the most of his chance.

Manchester City (a) - 31 year old Haaland has 14 goals in 10 league games for City so far. Krawiec & Owolabi return to try and somehow stem the City attack. Should have just given them 3 points there, we didn’t even make if difficult for them.

Everton (h) - Hardly the resounding return to form that we needed, but one point is better than none and it’s a point closer to safety.


results.jpg


table.jpg
 

Attachments

  • fixtures.jpg
    fixtures.jpg
    21 KB · Views: 21
1623998531887.png


December 2031

review.jpg

Given the run we’ve been on recently - at least in the last month or so - that’s a far better review than I was expecting.

fixtures.jpg

Well, if we’re ever going to break this run of winless games, this has to be the month. Some home games against opposition below us give as good an opportunity as any.

The FA Cup pitches against League 1 opposition in Portsmouth or Carlisle...and we’re at home, which gives us a pretty good chance of progression.

Wolves (a) - A number of changes are needed, but Stewart does retain his position up top. Gutierrez makes a rare start in central midfield due to injuries etc but it’s centre-back Calatayud who pops up with a goal from a Krawiec corner. That’s 4 from him for the season and the £20m paid to Villareal looks like a very good piece of business.

Watford (h) - The hornets are struggling in 19th with just the 2 wins so far so on paper, this is a very achievable win but who knows. Jansen, Owolabi and Torres return but Jansen’s lack of confidence shows as he misses several one-on-one chances he would have buried last season. Despite this, that is a result I did not see coming and Owolabi ran that game from central midfield. Gard picked up another couple of assists from the leftback position as well.


Consecutive games against Norwich - isn’t that always the way in the cups.

intake preview.jpg

“A poor crop of players”...makes you wonder what the head of youth development is actually doing and I might start to look to change him. Time to start looking around to poach some youngsters!

Norwich (h) - Curtis returns after an injury layoff and Jansen is replaced by Stewart but neither striker seems capable of putting any decent performances together. More consistent replacements may be sought. That was not a good result.

Aaron Wilson gets another from the attacking midfielder position and the £600k signing from Crusaders looks at home in the Premier League in patches - which is the same for quite a lot of the team. 160 league games and counting.

Wilson.jpg

Norwich (h) - Carabao Cup Qtr Final - Quite a lot of rotation but injuries to both Cesar and Harwood-Bellis means the centre-backs remain the same. That is what should have happeed in the league game as we were clinical and played fantastically. Jansen makes his mark and I praise him after the game in order to try and keep his morale up...I could do with him being happy.

The Semi-Final draw could pitch us against Arsenal, West Brom or Championship side Aston Villa.

semi final.jpg

West Brom (h) - Another home game and another chance to pick up some points. Most of the usual suspects return to the starting 11 but it makes no difference as we barely make anything positive out of, what should have been, at least a game we could have competed in. I’d like to chuck some bottles at full-time but I’m not sure that’s the best thing for keeping morale up. I feel like that should be signed “disappointed in Oldham”.

West Ham (a) - We seem to be going through a bit of a drought in terms of being able to score goals. That was a very uneventful game.

Bournemouth (h) - We really could do with something a bit more than we have given recently and we start off all out attack to get the lead and hold on to it...maybe. Krawiec & Gard miss out as the number of games catches up to them. Torres has his best game in an Oldham shirt with 2 goals and an assist but we just blew Bournemouth away there. Playing on the attacking front foot makes all the difference. Owolabi pings another one in from 30 yards and is seemingly trying to come up with a one man goal of the season competition.


The League table looks ridiculously good if you’re an Oldham fan at the moment.

results.jpg


table.jpg
 
1624297161776.png


January 2032


review.jpg

It’s January, and that means transfer window time…although the only signinge we have the money to make was made months ago and it’s Argentina midfielder Matias Surue (dubbed the new Diego Simeone) who comes in.

Sarue.jpg

He could well be the replacement for Abadaki or Flanagan.

Jansen, Calatayud, Garcia, Sangelli, Gutierrez and Mulenda are all wanted. This could be a busy transfer window.

Josh Brooking has been on loan to Nashville who trigger his release clause. The £3m is well above his value.

Brooking.jpg

Guangzhou bid £27.5m for Calatayud - nope.

Jiangsu - £21m - Mulenda...no to that as well.

fixtures.jpg

Man Utd & Liverpool in consecutive games? Oh go on then, what’s the worst that could happen?

Spurs (a) - We were SO close to getting a very improbable point out of that game until transfer listed and not wanted Jack Jenkins spanks one in from 30 yards in his first appearance of the season. What are the chances?

Portsmouth (h) FA Cup 3rd Round - Another chance to rotate the squad, so there are a few fringe players making appearances. New signing Sarue is on the bench and Sinclair has returned from his American loan to sit next to him. Sarue comes on, scores his goal and concedes a penalty in a rather eventful game. We could do without the replay though.


Guangzhou come back for Jansen - £79m this time. No, but I’m concerned this is getting close to a figure the board might just accept over my head.

Jiangsu - £35.5m for Calatayud...again, no.

West Brom (a) Carabao Cup Semi-Final 1st leg - Consecutive cup games means it’s an unchanged starting 11 but it’s almost the Pompey game replayed. West Brom almost gegenpress us into defeat as they constantly closed down and harassed us almost into submission, but the additional quality eventually shows through. Stewart gets another, Wilson is excellent and Sinclair gets his first for the senior team.

Since picking him up from Chelsea for a not very large fee, Sinclair has been on loan. He’s probably not good enough for regular games in the Premier League, so he’ll get the odd appearance here and there until a decent transfer bid comes in.

sinclair.jpg

Fulham (h) - Layton Stewart is the striker in form and fully deserves to start, alongside Sarue making his first start and Owolabi, Gutierrez & Mulenda who all return. It doesn’t take Stewart long to repay the faith shown to start him, but, I left that game fuming have thrown away a 2 goal lead. Not happy and the lads knew it by the end.

Portsmouth (a) FA Cup 3rd Round replay - With so many games this month, the lines are becoming blurred between who’s meant to be playing cup games and who is fit, so this is a bit of a mixture but the lads pull it out of the bag. Sarue is looking very at home in that central midfield role. Despite the late hiccup, we do what we should have done in the first leg. A goal and assist for Krawiec in a deserved MoM performance.


Which pitches us against Man Utd in the 4th round, meaning the rest of our month’s fixtures read Man Utd, Liverpool, Man Utd, West Brom, West Brom...oh…

Manchester United (a) - Top of the league with the top goalscorer (Ramon - 27), assister (Tairi - 11) and clean sheets (Simon - 29). It doesn’t get tougher than this. The sending off definitely did not help, but we were light years away from being able to compete on a level playing field. Stewart’s goal there takes him to 9 in all competitions, making him our top scorer which just shows how off the boil Jansen is compared to last season.

Antonio picks up a neck injury in training, ruling him out for 3 weeks...although we’re okay for right backs.

Liverpool (h) - The tough games just keep coming. Abadaki’s red card rules him out but Stewart has to start, along with Sarue and Krawiec who have been in good form. A couple of tactical and positional changes are made to try and stifle Liverpool. We had a couple of pretty good chances, but similar to the United game - the gulf in quality was immense.

Manchester United FA Cup 4th Round - We keep the 2 DM formation with Flanagan & Sangelli, hopefully, providing some cover in front of the defensive. Other than MacFarlane, again it’s difficult to come up with enough fit players from the ‘cup squad’ to put that team out. Another 3 goals, although the second half was much better. This is starting to get depressing.


Championship side Aston Villa pull a shock out of the hat and beat Arsenal in the other semi-final. There will be no better opportunity for us to a) get to the final; and b) win this thing.

West Brom Carabao Cup Semi-Final 2nd leg (h) - A home game and the narrow 3-2 victory from the first leg puts us in good stead but morale has taken a battering. This is not the game it would have been a month ago. Hardly the most compelling of performances, but it is a result which puts us through. Quite a lot of underwhelming performances there.

West Brom (a) - Jansen returns and I’m hoping for an improvement from him, as we don’t have that many other goalscorers in the team, and it shows.


That was THE longest month but the poor results mean a team meeting is called...and for once, it seems to go down very well.

team meeting.jpg

And the transfer window shuts with some interesting business done this month:

January Window.jpg

In:
Sarue - the 20 year old Argentine carrilero has started in fine form. He already looks at home.
Stewart - bought on the final day, the 20 year old Scottish attacking midfielder comes in as back-up to Wilson, with Helm ageing.

Stewart.jpg

Out:
Conlan was picked up on a free from Welsh side Connah’s quay. His loans at Championship clubs showed he wasn’t good enough to step up and Hull made a very acceptable bid.
Garcia was picked up to play the carrilero role, but found his way blocked by better players. Would have been nothing more than a squad option...and I have plenty of those.
Lerda is in exactly the same position as Garcia...happy to cash in.
Ouane - youngster who was only ever going to be Championship quality, if that.

10 players out permanently which does helpfully thin the squad a little. £71m is a lot to spend though but I do feel like that was a successful window with young players brought in who will be around for a while.

results.jpg


table.jpg
 
1624297867782.png


February 2032

review.jpg


fixtures.jpg

Two very winnable home games and a cup final...this month might actually be enjoyable, as opposed to last month.

Southampton (h) - Keeper Martin is injured and new signing Stewart is on the bench, but the real choice is who to start with up top...it has to be Stewart doesn’t it? We made harder work of that than we should have done, but who doesn’t love a goalscoring centre-back. Calatayud gets his 4th league goal of the season but Krawiec takes the plaudits with a goal and an assist.

Burnley (h) - A couple of changes for fitness related reasons, but the consistency of keeping most of the team and in particular the front 3 pays off. Burnley weren’t very good and their league position of 18th shows how poorly they have been playing this season. Another goal for the centre-backs and Wilson’s penalty means his season’s total of 7 equals his best in an Oldham shirt.


Given his height and jumping reach, it’s no surprise that Alex Calatanayud is a threat from set-pieces. The £20m signing is proving to be a key part of Oldham defence and he’s paying that fee back.

calatayud.jpg

All of a sudden, confidence is back, morale is up and we’re starting to play some decent football. A few more goals would be nice, but we can’t be greedy just yet.

Leicester City (a) - The striker choice is made easier by the fact that Jansen misses 4 weeks with sprained ankle ligaments. Looks like Stewart will continue leading the line. It took a very, very late winner from substitute Sinclair to give us the win there. We should have won that far earlier, but there aren’t many things better than a last minute winner. Anything that helps to bump up his price before the summer is very welcomed.

The pre-final team meeting goes very well and we’re a happy camp with 3 straight wins and lower league opposition in the final...surely, this can only go one way?

CARABAO CUP FINAL
We come into this on our best run of form this season, so there is literally no better time to play this game as we look to add the Carabao Cup to our Papa John trophy and the League 1 and Championship titles. Where possible, it’s the same players who have got us this far so fringe players - my 'cup' team - such as MacFarlane, Pye, Cesar, Flanagan and Helm get the chance to are in the starting 11.

lineups.jpg

score.jpg

stats.jpg

That was hardly our most polished performance of the season, and in line with some of our previous games, we really should have won more convincingly, but a win is a win.

And that win, ridiculously, means European football next season...Euro Cup II here we come.

results.jpg


table.jpg
 
1624644603721.png


March 2032

review.jpg


fixtures.jpg


Chelsea (a) - That was always going to be a tough ask, but we gave it a pretty good go and several players performed….sadly, Stewart up top was not one of them on his 225th league appearance.

Arsenal (h) - Curtis, one of our better midfielders is injured, so replaced by Sarue and with Stewart off the goalscoring boil & Jansen still injured, Sinclair gets his first start for the club. Not the team I would have wanted to try an untested striker against, but there we go. Attacking midfielder Stewart comes on and gets his first for the club, but then I’ll have to take the blame for not shutting the game down early enough...frustrating.

Sheffield United (h) - They come into this game with the second best run of form in the league, so clearly not an easy game. That hat-trick takes Wilson to the top scorer spot, and what a three goals it was - the final one being a 25 yard free-kick.


22 year old Antonio has been one of the best performers this season. He’s wanted by a number of clubs but it would take a ridiculous bid to persuade me to allow him to leave. He and Guobjartsson - also 22 - are the reasons why our right back position is sorted for the next few years.

Antonio.jpg


The youth intake reports don’t show much promise, particularly when, in 7-8 years when they’re likely to be near the first team, the first team will have improved, but Ben Russell, the 15 year old 6ft2 centre-back does appear to show some promise. Time will tell.

youth intake.jpg

I’ve already made my out-of-contract signings for the summer and don’t even have the finances to be running off and poaching any others this year, so this is it for the youngsters.

Wilson, star of the Sheffield United game is injured for a couple of weeks, missing International duty and at least one of our games coming up.

Blackburn Rovers (a) - Curtis returns, Stewart replaces Wilson and Jansen comes in to lead the line...with me praising his **** off beforehand to try and put him in a happy place. Torres gets a chance in place of Krawiec as well. For an even game, we did well to win that as a draw was probably the fairer result...not that I’m going to complain at all. Hopefully all that work done to put Jansen in a good mood will pay off, but it’s a massive game next.

Ian Stewart makes his Scotland debut during the International break and David Sinclair’s prolific International scoring continues with Jamaica

We’re doing rather well given the pre-season target of avoiding a relegation battle. Only 2 points off a European place on league positions and well clear of the bottom 3. I wonder how many seasons it takes to be considered an established Premier League team?

results.jpg


table.jpg
 
Last edited:
1624644874759.png


April 2032

review.jpg


fixtures.jpg


Manchester City (h) - Haaland and co are in town and we’re without our best centre-back, as the suspended Calatayud misses out. Despite finishing the game with three defensive midfielders in an all out attempt to contain them, we hold on and record probably our most significant win this season. What a result that was and the £65m Premier league quality of the goalscorers really came through.

That win takes us level on points with Southampton in the Europa League spots…

Everton (a) - A couple of enforced changes needed with Guobjartsson and Sangelli missing out with injuries and whilst we rode our luck in parts and our opener was slightly fortunate, otherwise that was a pretty good performance and it would seem that a happy team is a winning team. Outstanding…but still no goal for Jansen.


profit.jpg

Interesting - I’m not sure where that has come from...it certainly hasn’t been our transfers...but we’re finally at the top of a list, and a good list at that!

Wolves (h) - Quite a lot of stability and familiarity in the starting 11 and this is a game I think we should be winning, despite Wolves obviously being the much more established Premier League team. Except, we absolutely bottled it in the dying minutes...fuming, as we were SO comfortable until then. Another depressingly late goal conceded.

Watford (a) - Watford are bottom, we’re chasing European football and in pretty good form and confident. I wonder what is going to happen here. Abadaki replaces the suspended Sangelli and Harwood-Bellis returns. Despite going a goal down, we come back strongly and Wilson gets his 11th league goal of the season - not a bad return from the attacking midfielder.


Quite a lot of the team are thinking they should start to look to be playing for a bigger team...including both right backs; Antonio & Guobjartsson, keeper Martin and midfielders Wilson, Gutierrez and Flanagan. Bad news for them is that they are all on pretty long contracts…

Keeper Martin has kept 10 clean sheets already this season...1 more than last and with 3 games left to play. We’ve had a couple of heavy defeats but the Spanish keeper is a significant reason as to why we are where we are in the league. £22m last season seemed like a lot of money at the time, but now looks like a good piece of business.

Martin.jpg


results.jpg


table.jpg
 
1624981826567.png


May 2032

fixtures.jpg

We suffer a blow as leading scorer Wilson is ruled out for 2 weeks with pulled ankle ligaments, which could be his season done.

West Ham (h) - Helm is the stand in for Wilson and Sangelli returns, but otherwise, it’s pretty much business as usual. We never really got started in that game and whilst the own goal consigned us to defeat, we didn’t really do enough to win that one.

Bournemouth (a) -. We mullered them in every aspect of the performance, but got stung from set pieces...twice. Jansen in particular missed a number of very good chances which would have given us a comfortable win. I don’t know what has been up with him this season but his inconsistency has affected too many of our games this season.

Norwich City (a) - Norwich are 19th and their fate comes down to the final day, although they are reliant on results elsewhere. Attacking midfielder Stewart replaces Helm and Guobjartsson comes in for Antonio. Otherwise, it’s more of the same...in personnel, hopefully not in results. The lads were already on their holidays….what a waste of 90 minutes that was.


results.jpg


table.jpg

It seems ridiculous after finishing 7th to be saying that I’m slightly disappointed we haven’t done better, especially given the results and scores this month. Had we converted some of our closer draws into wins, we’d be playing European football by virtue of league position.

As it is, getting there via the Carabao Cup win is a fantastic achievement for a second season Premier League team. The £29m prize money bumps the finances into the black and gives us a balance of £15m overall.

best 11.jpg


season stats.jpg

Let’s start with the pros...Calatayud has been excellent at the back and along with keeper Martin and right back Antonio are key reasons why we ended up where we did. Attacking midfielder Wilson led the goalscoring exploits with Krawiec and Gard honourably creating the goals.

At the other end, Jansen finished with just 8 league goals. He got 27 last season. Torres has struggled being second choice to Krawiec with Helm & Stewart looking surplus to requirements.

Curtis, Owolabi, Sarue and the other **Stewart** are all in their first seasons so tough to judge. They’ll get more time.

And we’ve got our new redeveloped Boundary Park to move back into, with an expanded 18.376 capacity.
 
1624982193290.png


June - July 2032
The board stump up £53m for transfers which is nice. I’ve got 3 out of contract transfers coming in - 2 strikers and an attacking midfielder, so we’re quite well set but I’m hoping this is a transfer window to thin the squad. There are also a few kids who have not developed as I’d have hoped so are very vulnerable.

Having said that, I’ve got my eyes on a couple of wonderkids...including a centre-back from recently relegated Norwich, who could be easier to pick up.

Strikers Sinclair and Stewart are free to go. Midfielders Helm, Gutierrez and Flanagan are all surplus to requirements as well - all are transfer listed.

Helm is one of the team leaders & my longest standing player...which means getting rid of him could be tricky.

The first player in is 21 year old Serbian attacking midfielder Stefan Drzaic for a bargain release fee of £2.3m. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with him yet though.

Drzaic.jpg

Striker Sinclair is the first to leave as Hull beat Brentford and Leeds in a £7.5m bidding war.

signings.jpg

And 2 new strikers bought in on free transfers as their contracts have expired - their values have rocketed, but only one is needed to replace the hopefully outgoing Layton Stewart. Alvarez will be in the first team, Bernat will be loaned to a decent team for this season. Despite his poor season, I desperately want Jansen to be first choice and to do well...he has records to break.

Bernat moves on loan to Premier League Leicester which is a great deal for us and the next player to depart is defensive midfieder Alan Flanagan for a fee of £8.75m - hopefully rising to £10.75m. With Owolabi coming in last season, he was down the pecking order...and let’s be honest, Greece or Oldham??

Flanagan.jpg


Central midfielder Joshua comes in. I think I’ve probably overpaid with £30m - then another £15m in installments - but he’s young enough for his value to increase...unfortunately, he doesn’t help with the home-grown contingent we may now need for the European competitions which I will have to work on going forward. That is a record transfer for the club and will probably be our only significant one. Despite his position being listed as right back, he will be playing in central midfield as one of my carrilero options.

Joshua.jpg

The next out of the door is Richard Flynn. He’s had a reasonable spell but wasn’t good enough to play in the Premier League consistently, especially with Joshua & Sarue last season coming in. £6.5m is a lot less than he was valued at, but it’s good to get him off the books.

Flynn.jpg
 
1625339226489.png


August 2032

friendlies.jpg

The friendly games have gone well and it’s nice to see that Alvarez appears to have hit the ground running. It’s going to be a tough call who gets the nod in the opener...at home to Liverpool.

fixtures.jpg

But it does look like they are both going to get opportunities for plenty of gametime with a very crowded opening month. This is going to take some squad management and rotation. What a pair of opening fixtures though…and we’re back at home in the newly expanded stadium.

Liverpool (h) - The striker decision is made easier since Jansen is on International duty...as are Sarue and Cesar who would have been in the squad. Unfortunately key player Paul Curtis isn’t fit enough, so new signing Drzaic gets an early start...albeit not in the role I want him to feature in this season. 10 assists from Krawiec last season, 11 goals from Wilson so I’ m hoping they’ll carry that form on. We absolutely matched Liverpool there and were desperately unlucky to lose. Drzaic was quality on his debut, Alvarez less so.

Helm’s appearance from the bench was his 300th league game for the club.

Month long injury for Sangelli.

As defending champions of the Carabao Cup (that sounds SO good), we’re drawn away to League 2 Chesterfield with that game being the first of next month.

We also draw Greek superleague team Xanthi in the Fourth Qualifying Round of the Euro Cup II, which just rolls off the tongue. Choosing a squad for this is an issue as we have to leave 3 spaces as we can’t fulfil the Oldham trained quota of 4 players...only Striker Jansen has been at the club for 3 years before his 21st birthday. Helm & Psarianos miss out.

Manchester City (a) - It was a pretty tough ask to get anything out of that, but we did give it our best shot. Joshua made his debut and did alright, but some of the more experienced players should have done better.

Fernando Guterriez is the latest player to find a new home as he goes back to Spain. He was never really consistent enough to nail down a starting first team spot so I’m happy for him to leave. Unfortunately, he never really fulfilled his early promise, although that probably has a lot to do with better players coming into his positions and his gametime dwindling.

Gutierrez.jpg

Xanthi (h) - Euro Cup II 4th Qualifying Round 1st Leg - Jansen gets a start as we hope to kick start his season after a disappointing spell last time out and the starting 11 is heavily rotated. Despite a 90 minute onslaught, we somehow managed to only score twice which is a bit embarrassing. Shooting practice for the lads tomorrow...except for Abadaki who scores his first for 4 seasons.

Burnley (h) - Not the ideal team to be trying to win a first league game, but we’re at home and back to full strength. Burnley were really starting to put on the pressure, so that Mulenda goal made the difference. Psarionas looked promising in his 20 minute cameo. 2 Gard assists and having been a pretty good performer last season, he’s started this one in fine form.


Gard.jpg

Thursday, Sunday games...this is fun.

Xanthi (a) - Euro Cup II 4th Qualifying Round 1st Leg - All change again and with a lead from the first leg, progress should be straightforward. Which it was, with the attacking midfielders doing a job the strikers should be doing. Onwards and upwards.

And that victory pitches us into the group stages, with probably our biggest challenge Bulgarian side Ludogorets. An easier group, on paper, than it could have been.

Group c.jpg

Leeds (h) - Martin keeps us in the game at one end and others make it count at the other, although it takes a central midfielder and a centre-back to bring home the points. Calatayud has a better scoring record than some strikers and no one player has scored more than once yet.

transfers.jpg

2 free transfers and the 20 year old Joshua in.

Losing Russell was not part of the plan as the very highly rated youngster was poached. Flanagan, Flynn & Gutierrez were free to go and the loans of the other 4 are all good business earning a bit of money.

That leaves us with £26m in the bank, for maybe January. I take advantage and ask for an improvement in the youth facilities, which is accepted.

results.jpg


table.jpg
 
1625340275992.png


September 2032

review.jpg


fixtures.jpg

As many cup games as league games which means lots of rotation and chances for the fringe players.

Sarue wins the young player of the month award for August which is well deserved. The Argentine midfielder is making one of those midfield slots his own.

Chesterfield (a) - Carabao Cup 2nd Round - International call-ups seriously affect the first team line-up, but this a good chance for players to get some game time such as Helm and Psarionos who won’t feature much in the league. That was almost very embarrassing and the attacking midfielders dug us out of a hole. Torres has already scored as many has he managed in the whole of last season.

We have drawn Manchester City in the next round. Oh good.

Chelsea (a) - Back to full strength, apart from Torres who picked up an injury since the Chesterfield game...which isn’t ideal. Jansen starts up top as Alvarez hasn’t yet impressed. Beaten by the far better team and we we lucky it was only 5 by the end as we were utterly dominated. In hindsight, going toe-to-toe with them away was probably not the best idea. Nice to see Jansen on the scoresheet though.

Mezokovsd (h) Euro Cup II Gp C - This is probably the fixture that gives us the chance of getting the group stages off to a winning start. All in all, a pretty routine win with the big bonus that both Drzaic & Alvarez get their first goals for the club.

Bournemouth (a) - One of the newly promoted teams, but I’m taking nothing for granted as we look to restore some usual first team players to the starting 11. The lifeline of a penalty in the 93rd minute was clearly too much pressure as we missed it. It would have been an undeserved win as we were poor and Mulenda’s aerial threat came to our rescue.

Manchester City (a) - Carabao Cup 3rd Round - At no stage was that a good performance and it took matching up to their 4-2-3-1 at halftime to even get near their goal. Drzaic, however, did himself no harm with his performance...after halftime.

Leicester (a) - Drzaic is keeping Krawiec out of the team so far and gets another chance to impress. Curtis and Jansen also return to try and put the City horror show to bed, although we struggle to make an inroads or show an incisive attacking intent. Disappointed & frustrated rather than angry.

Ludogorets (a) Euro Cup II Gp C - In theory, probably the toughest group game as we go away to Bulgaria to our strongest opposition. A lot of changes - again - although some are forced as Mulenda, Sangelli and Guobjartsson are all ruled out but in spite of this, that was outrageously emphatic and I was not expecting a double-figured result.


Krawiec ran that game and, although he's failed to meet the heights of last season so far, the Poland international is an excellent option to have. He’ s built on that £20m and has at least another 5 or 6 good years ahead of him.

Krawiec.jpg


results.jpg

One of these tables is not like the other.

league table.jpg


euro league.jpg
 
Last edited:
1625747838569.png


October 2032

review.jpg


fixtures.jpg

These European games mean I’m having to have a close look at the home/club grown rules.

The league allows 17 foreign players in the squad - I have 11, with another 4 who are U21 but will be counted as foreign when they get older. We’re okay for this one.

The European Cup needs 4 club homegrown players. In the first team squad, I have 1 (Jansen) and Psarionas due at the end of the season. It also needs 8 nation homegrown players, of which I only have 6 at the moment.

The U23s has 3 players who count as clubgrown, but aren’t good enough for first team football yet along with 2 nation homegrown players...including Layton Stewart who is on loan and whose contract is expiring at the end of this year, but surely is worth keeping around to help meet the quota.

Every player in the U18s is clubgrown, with maybe 6 looking like they may have Premier League potential. Definitely an area we need to build on if we want to keep playing in Europe...HAHAHAHAHAHAHA...what do I mean IF?

West Brom (a) - After that convincing European win it’s a bit of a bump down to earth against more familiar opposition. West Brom might feel a bit hard done there as they probably didn’t deserve to concede three, but were defeated by a very decent performance from us.

We’ve now got 3 consecutive home games which should give us some hope of continuing the momentum.

expansion.jpg

I knew they were saving that money for something!! We’re currently at 18,000 so another 6,000ish seats is good and the extra gate money will be nice.

Derby County (h) - Derby are struggling in 19th and this was as routine as the scoreline suggests. Jansen found his scoring touch - taking him to 6 in the league for the season, which is only 2 off his total for the whole of last. Even Helm made a rare start as we look to fully rotate the squad.

Borac Banja Luka (h) - Euro Cup II Gp C - The Bosnian team come to town and we take the chance to rotate again. 4 of the starting line-up are 21 or under and Alvarez has the chance to add to his 5 European goals so far. 20 year old Joshua has his best game in an Oldham shirt with a goal and assist as we seal a comfortable win, although it should have been far more emphatic than that.

Spurs (h) - I’m not really sure we did enough to win that, despite trying most things tactically, formationally and from the managers dugout which was annoying. It wasn’t even a particularly good goal that we conceded, failing to deal with a long free-kick, but that was a pretty low quality affair all round.

Everton (a) - Everton have been really poor and find themselves in 17th, having not won in 5 games but they didnt play like it as they put out a pretty good performance and we were somewhat lucky to win that with an injury time penalty. Kudos to Jansen for holding his nerve.


He has mostly been brilliant with a bit of a blip and less product season last time out, but generally looks dangerous and bringing in Alvarez means he can get a bit of a rest without us looking less dangerous. As a clubgrown and homegrown player, he is one we really need to keep around, despite the interest and his desire to move to a bigger team.

Jansen.jpg


table.jpg


euro table.jpg
 
1625748077904.png


November 2032

review.jpg

Another 2 of our players appear in the young player of the month award as Sarue & Sangelli come 2nd and 3rd respectively.

fixtures.jpg

An interesting set of games this month, including 2 way games and a lot of travelling to Bosnia, then Hungary. We’ve got a perfect European record so far, so hoping that will continue. The previous winners of the Euro Cup II are a varied bunch:

past winners.jpg

...and the reward of winning this competition is qualification to the European Cup group stage, which is a step up. The board are expecting a quarter final appearance and given the performances so far and the quality of the teams, I think this is probably very achievable.

Borac Banja Luka (a) Euro Cup II Gp Stage - We just couldn’t break through their ridiculously defensive 5-4-1 formation despite making a number of changes throughout the game to stretch the play and try some different things. Not a happy manager after that.

Manchester United (h) - This is not the game I want to come back to after that underwhelming European performance, but we are back to almost full strength as the key players return. Having lost all 6 previous games against United, that turns out to be an excellent result, which gradually turns into a backs against the wall defence, but we hold on. MASSIVE RESULT.

That puts us into European football territory.

13 players disappear on International duty with Wilson, Abadaki, Antonio, Lopez, Guobjartsson, Owolabi, Stewart, Drzaic and Joshua from the first team all out on either full duty or U21.

Blackburn (a) - The United result should give the boys plenty of morale and a strong team is put out to try and built on it. We’re currently 4th in the league form table which in itself, is pretty good going. We got done by two identical long ball assists but Alvarez replaced Jansen and gave us the three points in the end, despite a bit of a cagey end to the game.

Sangelli got himself on the scoresheet, which is a rare occurrence, but the 21 year old Spaniard has a very bright future. His mental attributes - particularly teamwork and work rate - along with a high stamina level, means he is one of the engines in the midfield when he plays. Between him and 20 year old wonderkid Joshua, we are well set for the future in this position.

Sangelli.jpg

Mezokovesdi SE (a) Euro Cup II Gp Stage - Another European away game and another opportunity to rotate again, except for MacFarland who misses out with an injury. Alvarez, however, does start following his Blackburn cameo and he probably should have scored a hat-trick, instead of just the 2 he did get. Comfortable.

Second round progression guaranteed.

Brighton (h) - We do nothing for half an hour and then a move to upping the tempo and increasing the length of the passing pays off in emphatic style as we put Brighton to the sword. Jansen gets his goals and an assist and Psarionas has a very good game on just his second start.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Haaland leads the goalscorers so far with 18 goals in just 11 games. Jansen is in 4th with 10. Gard is joint 2nd with 6 assists and Curtis has five.

Attacking midfielder Borja Torres is one of many players wanted by Chinese clubs and I have so far rejected bids of £15m, £22m, and £29m for the man valued at £19m.

results.jpg
 
Top