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

September 2034


Quite a lot of outgoing business, but none of which will be significantly missed, I don’t think. Duro coming in is a bit of a coup as he looks like an outstanding player and an upgrade from Sarue for the role I want him to play. Including the deals for Thiry (£27.5m), Rousseau (£50m), Deconinck (£5m) and Ranieri (£10m) that takes our summer business to £150m making us the most active in the window...which is a first.

in addition to those sold, a lot of players go out on loan getting the chance for first team football.


Get Chelsea out of the way and then our season can actually start.

Chelsea (a) - Duro starts and given their 3 wins from 3 start, we try this one defensive as well but it doesn’t take long for that plan to unravel. And we are woeful, conceding 32 shots on goal, 14 on target and 17 corners with just the one shot on target ourselves and that came in the 80something minute. Utter ****. Duro will want his return ticket based on that.

Mulenda’s lack of pace really showed there and he struggled. After 6 seasons, his time could be coming to an end unfortunately.

We’ve got a long international break to get over that horror start.

Alvarez is out for a month with a pulled calf muscle.

Fulham (h) - Started well, pegged back quickly, poor rest of the first half. Dramatically changed things to all out attack 4-2-3-1 and blitzed Fulham in the second half with Parker dominating the game. Thiry got his first for the club and Duro was a constant least in the second half.

Norwich (h) - That’s a bit more like it, in front of our own fans. Parker’s prolific week continues, Jansen finally opens his account and Curtis leads the way. Norwich weren’t very good to be fair, but you can only beat who’s in front of you and we needed those 3 points, even this early in the season.

And we’ll see if we can go the same thing at their ground…

Norwich (a) Carabao Cup 3rd Round - Ismael comes in between the sticks and it’s quite a lot of changes to rotate the squad. Only Joshua has played all 7 games so far, but new signing Rousseau is on the bench after recovering from injury and he will come on at some point. The conscious effort to be more aggressive, engage higher up the pitch and sooner pays off as we cut out a lot of attacks before they start, but only manage to win via a penalty, despite being dominant.

The fourth round gives us an away game at Championship Leeds, which is not as tough as it could have been...on paper at least.

Leicester (a) - Leicester sit bottom of the league with 5 straight losses but even so, we make hard work of it. Curtis proves his worth attacking from deep and getting the crucial goals, but we almost end up throwing it away as left-back Gard is repeatedly beaten in the air allowing flick-ons to their striker. We were fortunate they never came to anything, but that was messy.

Other than his lack of aerial ability, the 28 year old has been a pretty reliable servant since signing from Villa for a decent fee back then. He’s wanted by a number of clubs, but it will be a couple of months at least before that is a problem and, in any case, I’m reluctant to let him go.




October 2034



Having got a number of nightmare fixtures out of the way early on, and with 3 straight league wins last month, this is another set of very winnable games which could give us some well needed morale and momentum.

Thanks to his 3 goals in September, Parker gets the young player of the month award.

Southampton (a) - Both Parker and Curtis’s recent form makes them undroppable...I’d like to give Joshua a break but Rousseau isn’t fit enough for a whole game just yet and both Alvarez & Thiry are injured meaning an unproductive Jansen continues to lead the line. Jansen proves me wrong, but they were ridiculously lucky there. Once they’d got the first, there was just a sense of inevitably about the second, despite them having none of the ball. Fuming.

Crystal Palace (h) - Rousseau is fit enough to make his first start, Parker misses out as he needs a rest apparently but elsewhere, it’s pretty much as usual, 18 year old defensive midfielder Cihan Toprak is in the squad as a result of Manneh suffering a 5 week injury and he may get some gametime. How we didn’t score more htan one in a game we dominated, I don’t know, but I’ll take the three points all day long.

West Brom (h) - Another very winnable game against a team in the relegation zone but we’re still missing a few first teamers. It needed a bit of a halftime kick up the backside and to take the shackles off, but that seemed to make the difference. Jansen was clinical and I even had the luxury of being able to bring Toprak on for a 30 minute cameo.

26 year old central midfielder Hamidou Owolabi is one of my unsung heroes. 116 games in all and, more often than not, available. The fact that he’s very rarely injured and usually consistent means he’s one of the first names on the sheet. Another player whose fee now looks like a bargain.



I’m not sure we’ll be here at the end of the season, but the lack of any European football is definitely helping.


November 2034



Jansen’s 5 goals in October give him the player of the month award...beating Erling Haaland into 2nd place! Good man. Geraldao comes second in the young player of the month award as well.

Leeds (a) Carabao Cup 4th Round - A bit of a changed side, but it should be enough to see of the Championship team. Toprak makes his first start, Ismael continues as cup keeper and Thiry leads the line. All things considered, a pretty low quality affair but we did enough to win the game.

Now that United/City fixture does rather open this competition up. Chelsea are obviously tough, but all of a sudden, this becomes interesting.

qtr final draw.jpg

Watford (a) - That was another game that will definitely not live long in the memory, but we hold on to record yet another victory, which is 4 straight wins and just the one loss in 9. Things are looking good at the moment.

Well, I say looking good, but a quick look at the club happiness tells a different story as it would seem an awful lot of my team think they should be playing for a bigger team...hmnnnn.


And we did have quite a lot of transfer interest for some of those players as well, although not all to bigger clubs.

Brighton (h) - An unchanged 11 which is a rarity, but we have to work hard to get the win. A slight role tweak in the middle makes a difference at half-time, although a goal from a corner and penalty don’t really reflect that.

Another International break and 27 players are off on their travels. 19 year old Thiry scores on his second appearance for Belgium, cementing his status as a bona-fide wonderkid.

Since his £45m signing, Joshua has been solid without being spectacular. I don’t think our current formation/roles suit his skill set exactly, but he’s still only 22 and improving so definitely not on the scapheap just yet.


West Ham (a) - Some changes are made, which reflect a lack of form and fitness but that result bought us down to earth a bit. Conceded early, West Ham sat back and hit us again on the counter. Only a Lopez header deep into injury time made it respectable.



December 2034



That’s a lot of games to play.

Apparently, there are rumours of another board takeover. Since we’ve only recently had one of these, I’m not really expecting anything to come of this….but who knows?

Wolves (h) - We definitely did not get the goals that performance deserved as we dominate Wolves all over the pitch but only end up with the one goal to show for it, which is a bit of a recurring theme for this team...we could do with getting better at putting teams to the sword really.

Obviously, we get Premier League opposition in the 3rd round of the FA Cup in the shape of Fulham, away.

And then, just the 1 day later…

Blackburn (h) - Owolabi, Gjudbartsson and, most unhelpfully, Parker all miss out as a result of a lack of match fitness. Given that Mennah is still injured, this means Toprak makes his first start and Krawiec comes in. Most definitely not a game for the purists, but high line + offside trap helps us secure the point.

And Spurs’s managerial merry go round continues, as they decide to plump for Frenchman Zinedine Zidane this time. They finished 17th last season and are struggling this year round as well.

Burnley (a) - A little bit of normality in terms of the starting 11 but some instructions are tweaked to be a bit more cautious given we are least until we see how things pan out. Thiry should really be a starting striker - and would be for 15 of the Premier League teams - but Jansen and Alvarez stand in his way. Despite beng transfer listed, Alvarez has gained no interest whatsoever which is frustrating.

A good group of players apparently and I’m really hoping the centre-backs come through as they are proving difficult to find value for.

youth intake preview.jpg

Arsenal (a) - I’m going to give Thiry a start here after his matchwinning cameo against Burnley, although the gunners are clearly a step up in quality and the league’s leading scorers. It’s fairly to say, I don’t really know what happened there but clearly got a number of things wrong tactically. Having said that - 2 own goals, and 3 goals after 90 minutes and Augusto has scored 11 goals in their 9 games against us.

West Brom (a) Carabao Cup Quarter Final - Cup game, quite a lot of rotation and even more since Calatayud & Parker are injured. We play almost the perfect game there as we restrict West Brom to virtually nothing, although it takes a long time to break them down. Duro produces a worldie of an assist for Alvarez and then spoils his afternoon’s work. 19 year old Ismael has now kept 4 clean sheets in the competition - perfect for the cup back-up.

Right back Jose Antonio’s defensive performance fully justified his man of the match award in that game and he has been a value member of the team for the last 6 seasons. He may be the best £1.9m I’ve ever spent. 167 games in all, 134 in the league and one of my more to consistent players over the last few seasons.


The Carabao Cup semi-final is drawn...and it’s Chelsea. Man Utd & Sheffield United feature on the other half of the draw.

Spurs (h) - Spurs are in 16th and haven’t yet benefitted from the new manager bounce as Zizou has failed to win his 3 games in charge, but they still have some outstanding talent in their ranks. Calatayud, Mennah, Stewart, Geraldao & Parker are injured and Duro is suspended - we’re a few players down...and we’re in the snow. Jansen has 3 clear one-on-one chances before he actually puts one away and it’s one way traffic after that until we concede late on.

Everton (h) - Having dragged ourselves back into that game from 2 down, to end up with a draw is not too dispiriting, although the mistake that led to their third was avoidable as Martin’s weak throw was intercepted. Jansen’s purple patch continues and even Duro who has not been in great form pulls out a decent performance.



January 2035



This is the reverse month from the opening one with the difficult fixtures, so Man Utd, Liverpool, Chelsea (three times) and, to give me a break, Fulham twice all await.

We start the month with a signing, and one I’d completely forgotten about to be honest, as we signed him about a year ago but couldn’t move due to his age. He’ll sit in the U18s for the time being and see how he gets on. He comes in as the potential successor to Mennah, who’s contract expires next season.


Fulham (a) FA Cup 3rd Round - Unfortunately, Ismael is injured so the rotation is not quite as significant as it might have been, but both Toprak & Thiry start. Two penalties will sound like we were lucky and had the rub of the green but in truth, we were more than worth the win and should have been more clinical to actually put us through.

Replay means another game this month?

Chelsea (h) Carabao Cup Semi Final 1st leg - This is a strong team though as Chelsea are a step up in opposition. Krawiec has been appalling in recent games, so now Parker is fit, he’s back in the AML position and Mennah, Joshua and Calatayud return. It takes a half-time talking to, but the young guns come good - 19 year old Thiry, 20 year old Parker and 22 year old Joshua just about give us an edge for the second leg.

The usual players - Calatayud, Antonio, Martin and Parker are all subjected to bids...none are accepted and the players I want to leave have no interest.

Both Joshua - 9 weeks - and Curtis - 5 weeks - suffer significant injuries. The absence of quality first team players is now what I need this month.

Manchester United (a) - Away to Man Utd so an extra DM is employed and the mentality is reigned in. We play the first half to perfection, nullifying everything that they try to do, but come unstuck early in the second and can’t find the way back in.

Fulham (h) FA Cup 3rd round replay - Well that didn’t go to plan...WTF were you doing?

Gudbartsson is subject to interest from Bayern Munich who make a £47m bid for the right-back. Turned down, but if they come back it will be worth trying to negotiate a bit more. Only issue is we would have to buy a new right-back. Mulenda is also subject to interest.

Manchester City (h) - After the tough United game and the Fulham shambles, this was an unexpectedly fine performance. Jansen got his 13th of the season and the £58m signing Rayco Duro got his first for the club in probably his best game in an Oldham shirt. Moving him into the right hand side slot of the midfield 3 has paid off as his form has improved recently.

As it happens, I negotiate Getafe up to a too good to turn down offer for Mulenda and he leaves. As a longterm and influential player, he will be missed, but he is probably the weakest of our 4 first team centre-backs. That is definitely a sale that could go either way in terms of whether it's a success or not.


And almost immediately, we bring in Man City centre-back Omar Puras on loan for the rest of the season...he is a more than adequate replacement. He’s also interested in a permanent move and City's £16m clause in the loan arrangement is tempting so I’ll see how he gets on before making any permanent overtures.


Fulham (a) - Again...Fulham. And after the defeat in the cup, I’m not taking this lightly. And we don’t as Jansen proves his worth yet again with another 2 goals and Duro provides another assist after coming on as a sub. That went well and can be filed under ‘Things I like to see’.

Everyone is knackered.

Krawiec has another really poor game and I criticise him after the game which he didn’t like an results in a meeting, during which he’s annoyed me so much he’s transfer listed.

Unfortunately, I’ve got a bit of a lack of versatility in that area, so that does give me a bit of a headache. And it must be open door policy at the moment as Gard comes in and requests a transfer. Reluctantly, I do accept that as we can upgrade on the left-back position.

And almost as soon as I do, SIPG come in with a £35m bid, which although slightly less than he’s worth, I accept. The downside of this one is that we lose a homegrown player and we're not blessed with numbers in that department.


Chelsea (a) Carabao Cup Semi Final 2nd leg - Right, here we are. 4-2 up from the first leg thanks to Thiry, who starts this one along with Ismael in goal...probably his most important game. The mentality is reigned in a bit though, but it’s all utter chaos. 3 red cards, an own goal, a missed penalty in normal time and a win on penalties. 19 year old keeper Ismael is the game winner.

Although the final pits us against another giant, so Manchester United are the opponents in the final.

In advance of Gard leaving, we use deadline day to bring in 27 year old full-back Pedro Martin from Real Madrid. On the face of it, the £20.5m deal looks an absolute steal. He doesn’t fit the usual age of players we’re looking to sign, but improving the first team has been crucial this window and I think this is what we’ve done.



Looks like comfortable Europa League table position form at the moment.


February 2035


Having not really planned to do much in the transfer market in January, my hand was rather forced by receiving very good offers for Mulenda and Gard, but Martin is a strong first team option - I’m happy with him coming in and for a fee less than his value which is also good. Puras in on loan also gives us some options in the future.



Norwich (a) - This game is suffering from suspensions from the Carabao Cup Semi’s so Duro, Manneh and Owolabi are all unavailable. Joshua & Curtis are still injured but Puras makes his first start and new signing Martin is on the bench. A bit scrappy in parts, but Jansen does what Jansen does and takes us on to the win. Krawiec had a far better game in the mezzala role, so we may look to see if that continues.

Those goals take Jansen to the top of the Premier League scoring charts on 17. My next top scorer is Parker on 4. And in terms of assists, Duro leads the players on 4 with Joshua & Stewart following u on 3...hardly scintillating individual performances there.

Liverpool (h) - Krawiec does continue in the mezzala role and, despite his poor recent performances, Parker continues and I decide to test Ismael in a big game. Another game where Jansen more than proves his worth including a goal of the season contender, running from our half, dribbling past 4 and smashing it in.

We’ve done the double over Liverpool this season and they are 2 of only 3 wins against the Reds...get in.

Leicester (h) - On paper, Leicester in 17th should not pose a problem but who knows? A couple of changes, including the return of Duro and Martin makes his first start at left-back. We dominate in every respect and their goal was entirely undeserved, but Jansen, then Thiry made the difference.

That win, along with both Liverpool & Arsenal failing to win pushes us into the top 4.

Jansen’s injury is not too bad, but Thiry is a pretty good back up option.

Since signing 3 seasons ago for a hefty fee, Barrington Parker has had flashes of brilliance but also spells of utter indifference. He’s most certainly got the attributes and the potential to be brilliant, and has improved this season, but I still feel there is more to come.


Chelsea (h) - Jansen is still injured, Thiry comes in. Leftback Martin is injured, although Geraldao is a pretty handy replacement. The fact that our Goalkeeper got MoM and all of the back 4 played very well tells the story. We missed a couple of very good chances, but overall, were probably quite lucky to draw that. Still, a point & clean sheet against the league leaders is a pretty good result.

Only 2 of our remaining 12 games of the league are against teams in the current top 7. We’ve got a ridiculously good chance of putting a run together here.

Crystal Palace (a) - Another opponent in the relegation zone and Jansen returns. Thanks to Joshua’s extended injury, Rousseau is having a prolonged run in the first team and the 19 year old is holding his own. We won that comfortably - should have scored many more - but we won nonetheless.


Well that is a sight to behold.


March 2035




We are massive underdogs for this one and severely hampered by suspensions and injury. Both our usual defensive central midfielders - Owolabi & Mennah - are suspended so U23 midfielder Toprak comes in. He is accompanied by youngsters Ismael & Thiry who have featured in the cup games this season.




Well, we gave it a pretty good shot and matched them, but their extra quality showed up and our key players didn’t. Wilson and Parker in particular were disappointing but we can chalk that one up to experience and hopefully they’ll be fired up to prevent it happening next time.

Liverpool, a place below us in 6th in the league have spectacularly imploded losing 4 of their last 5 league games. We have 2 games in hand over them and we’re only 2 points behind 4th placed Arsenal, who we also have 2 games in hand over. And it’s a kind set of fixtures.

Watford (h) - That was getting increasingly desperate as the game wore on and we made progressively more aggressive changes to try and force the win. In the end, it’s a good old fashioned Calatayud header from a corner that secures the 3 points. That was nervy for a game we should have won more comfortably.

Southampton (h) - Morale is high, form is great, fans are behind us. Despite being on the transfer list and wanting out, Krawiec has decided he can actually play football and has had a good couple of games, so Parker is rested. Otherwise, it’s a strong 11. As well as Krawiec adding some value to his fee, centre-back Puras - on loan from Man City - had a good game and is doing himself no harm in auditioning for a permanent transfer...which we are looking at.

West Brom (a) - That was a horrible game and I have no idea how we didn’t win it. Dominated possession, chances and territory but failed to defend a simple set piece. Frustrated is not the word.

The youth intake is large, but there are maybe 3 players who look like they have first team potential. Yorke, in particular, is welcome as we are short at centre-back in the youth teams and finding affordable options has proved a challenge.

youth intale.jpg

I obviously have a look around other teams intakes and hopefully poach a few of the better options out there.

Brighton (a) - I don’t really want to talk about that one. We were a bit fortunate to go 2-0 but having done so, I make the classic mistake of making changes to try and hold on to the win...which just invited pressure...which we apparently couldn’t deal with and somehow let Brighton back in to gain a point.

Bernard Rousseau joined for a significant fee of £50m in the summer. He’s played far more games than I anticipated thanks to the injury to Joshua but has been neat and tidy as part of the middle three. His work rate could do with improving, but his stamina is key to that shuttling carrilero role.



Liverpool have dropped away massively, but Arsenal are coming back into the mix and...if it’s this close at the end of the season...they are our final game which could be an all to play for extravaganza for a Champions League place.


April 2035



Not having any European football definitely makes these last couple of months a little bit more manageable and this month is 4 very winnable games. This would really put the pressure on those teams around us in a very unexpected race for the top 4.

West Ham (h) - Joshua returns after a very long absence and Duro replaces Curtis. Otherwise, it’s more of the same. Duro has another excellent game and looks like he’s settled in with Jansen finishing off the game. Assists from Martin, Joshua and Parker.

Jansen climbs to 23 goals in the league and is 3 clear of anyone else in the league.

Wolves (a) - The long injury list: Alvarez, Curtis, Wilson, Rousseau, Krawiec, Manneh and Duro means we’re actually struggling to name a full bench of subs and 19 year old Lorenzo Ranieri has to start. Another game we just could not put to bed and they have got ridiculously lucky with the penalty award.

Both Liverpool - in 6th - and Arsenal - 5th - lose ahead of this game giving us the chance to leapfrog into 4th.

Blackburn (a) - Time to shake that late Wolves goal out of the system and whilst not all of the injury hit players return, Rousseau does replace Ranieri. Despite the seeming eventfulness of that game - 3 goals rules out and a missed penalty - that was really a routine win and one in which we were utterly dominant. Some how that was only Wilson’s 2nd goal, which isn’t a great return for an attacking midfielder playing just behind the striker.

Although he didn’t play in that game, Belgian central midfielder Ousman Manneh has come in and just quietly operated as the shield in front of the back 4 when he’s played. I went against our signing philosophy, signing him at the age of 31 but he’s been the perfect stop-gap between Abadaki, who left in January 2033, and Meireles in the under 18s. Just the sort of transition I’ve been trying to manage.


Burnley (h) - Few changes, but Puras comes in to maintain his match sharpness along with Stewart to replace the injured Wilson. They’ve been a bit of a surprise package themselves and sit just outside the European spots themselves and it shows - we were lucky to get one point there.

That result does secure European Cup football next season though and that final game of the season against Arsenal looks like it could be a big one.



May 2035

The end is nigh…

Spurs (a) - well that was a bit of a rollercoaster and I thought we had blown it when we allowed Toldo a free header from a cross, but Thiry singlehandedly dribbled through the Spurs defence to **** a very neat finish over the Spurs keeper. Delightful.

Everton (a) - Curtis replaces an injured Stewart in the absence of an unfit Wilson. Parker has been excellent in recent games and Thiry would be starting for any other team, but Jansen leads the line. Thiry is a great bench option though. Having been so comfortable at 2-1 up we throw it away in the final 10 minutes as we failed to deal with them going 3 up top. Not delightful.

And Champions League participation comes down to the final game. It’s simple - their goal difference is far better so we just have to avoid a defeat here.

Arsenal (h) - And not only do we manage to avoid defeat, we thoroughly outplay Arsenal reducing them to long potshots and setpieces, which we defended very well. Joshua spanked in another 30 yard special for the third game in a row and Curtis taps in after fine work from Jansen on the counter.

Champions League football achieved and Chelsea become the first non-Manchester club to win the league in 13 seasons.




Of the new signings this season, the five who have featured most regularly have performed quite well. Puras, in on loan, is a transfer target but there may be better options out there.


Jansen ended up sharing the top goalscorer award on 26 for the season, his 3rd best output in an Oldham shirt.

It’s taken some time to finalise, but plans are afoot for a move...



Daniel Martin has been as reliable as ever as the first choice keeper and is now into his 5th season. 20 year old Ismael was promoted from the U23s this season and performed well in his appearances and is a solid back up.


Full backs:

Overall, as positions, these 4 have performed better than any other area. Martin was brought in for a fee of £20m but has fitted in seamlessly. Since we moved to a more balanced mentality, these players have not been as creative. Antonio is probably the weakest first team player in terms of attributes so a replacement could be sought over the summer.



Puras came in as a loan option in January and is a decent back-up. With Harwood-Bellis aged 33, we could be looking for 2 new centre-backs in the next season or two, but definitely one over the summer - although it could be Puras. Calatayud is another who has been almost ever present and supplements his appearances with a goal threat.


Central midfielders:

The midfield roles have (mostly) been Carrilero - Central midfielder (def) - Mezzala (att). Joshua and Rousseau have rotated the Carrilero position, Owolabi and the experienced Mennah in the middle and Curtis and Duro in the attacking mezzala role. Neither Duro or Curtis have provided as many assists as I would have liked from that position, but new signing Duro may come good next season once settled.


Attacking midfielders:

Parker’s form stepped up massively towards the later third of the season and the £60m player is turning out to be our key player. Wilson and Stewart have shared the attacking midfielder duties behind the striker, but neither have scored as many a I would have liked. Krawiec has not impressed and can be sold, particularly as we have some prospects who could be drafted in to rotate with Parker & sub appearances.



Jansen has been our leading goalscorer for a number of years and this season was no exception. He’s scored 20+ goals in 4 of his last 6 seasons and is our main threat. Thiry has been used as an impact sub so far but the £27.5m fee paid for him does look like good business. I’ve been trying to get rid of Alvarez for the last season with no success...all offers considered.


June - July 2035


Of the players on loan, not all will be kept around. Only Maguire, Greening and Marsella have first team potential and the others can be sold, but even that is tenuous. Cortinhas is an excellent player but just doesn’t fit our structure and Sarue was very much a round peg in a square hole...both can leave with sensible offers.

This could be either a very busy transfer window, or a very quiet one. I don’t need to make many changes to the first team squad but there is scope for upgrades. We do need to strengthen at centre-back though.

Having been in need of a centre-back, we’ve moved early to bring in one of the best young defenders in the game. 21 year old Delcio Jose comes in for £30m + another £30m in instalments and becomes our top earning player. Despite the expense, that could be a shrewd piece of business and a signing that helps take us to the next level.


It does leave the transfer kitty almost empty with just £12m remaining.

£32m (+another £16m in add-ons) for a 29 year old bit-part player seems like excellent business, especially considering that Krawiec has routinely been the worst performer in training and we have a couple of good youngsters who can step in and play for him. And, having gone to Championship West Brom, it’s not like he’s gone to a rival.


And he’s swiftly followed by Matias Sarue who, had some great moments and is a good player, but we needed to cash in on him, as a) his contract expires next season; and b) he wasn’t a great fit for our tactic...and £29m + add-ons is a great deal.


I’ve been fending off ridiculous bids for Owolabi. The central midfielder has attracted interest at £60m but given he would be so difficult to replace, this is a hard no.

With Krawiec’s departure, we are slightly short on the left wing, so German midfielder Markus Augenthaler is bought in on loan from Lyon. The optional £16m fee looks like a bargain too.


August 2035


As usual, difficult to assess what’s really going on with these, but both Jansen and Thiry made the most of pre-season to find their shooting boots. Slightly surprise result against Atlanta but there we go.

Due to the ridiculous demands being made by everyone - even for already transfer listed players - it looks like strengthening the squad any more is going to be impossible, despite having £40m in the bank.


And then, 2 days before the opening game the record £60m signing, centre-back Delcio Jose, is ruled out for a month...grrrr.

Burnley (h) - There’s a very familiar look about the starting 11 but we’ll see who hits the ground running. The AM position between Stewart and Wilson in particular is up for grabs. Great first half, not so good second, but pretty convincing all things considered. Jansen picks up where he left off last season.

Sheffield United (a) - The only change is left-back Martin for Geraldao, but otherwise we’re all good to go. I really didn’t think we were going to make the breakthrough there, but Thiry comes on for Jansen and finishes clinically to give us the win.

Southampton (h) - Stewart hasn’t done all that much in the opening 2 games, so Wilson comes in and Antonio replaces the injured Gudbartsson at right back but it’s seamless. We are utterly dominant and just blow Southampton away. Jansen’s outstanding scoring start to the season continues.

And then, on transfer deadline day - it all goes pear-shaped. Barcelona make a £75m bid for keeper Martin. Reluctantly I accept as the money would be useful and I can pick up Giuseppe Pizzutti, who is Milan’s first team keeper, for very cheap as he’s listed. So I buy Pizzuti for £4m +£4m...and then Martin rejects Barca’s the window closes and I’m left with 2 very good first team keepers, which was not really the plan.


Having said that, if I’m being ruthless, Pizzuti is the better keeper.


Okay, it’s only 3 games so we can’t get carried away, but we are the only team with a 100% winning record and its just us and Chelsea - who have played twice - who have not conceded.


September 2035



Amadaou Ba is a 18 year old centre-back poached from PSG, paying what will hopefully prove to be a pittance in compensation. He’s in the U18s for the time being. And then there’s Pizzuti…now valued at £25m.

Krawiec and Sarue are the big outgoings, but Cortinhas and Toprak had probably also come to the end of their time at Oldham, but for different reasons. I had high hopes for Heikkinen and Giuli but neither were ever going to be first team potential...which goes for youngster Timms as well.

I’d consider that a pretty good transfer window - apart from the keeper debacle - and broke the club record to acquire Delcio Jose for £60m, although that’s counted as last season.

The Champions League groups are drawn and, unsurprisingly, it’s a tough group…

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The squad registration is a shock though as Stewart has to be left out as we can’t make the numbers for clubgrown players (3 short) or nationgrown (6 short) which is worrying.


Brighton (h) - Another long injury list; P Martin, Curtis, Manneh, Duro, Gudbartsson, Jose & Thiry are all out, meaning we are at full stretch here. However, leading scorer Jansen does start but Pizzuti has to wait to make his debut as we ease him into the starting 11. Despite the injuries, we record a fairly straightforward win and Schulz continues his development with another substitute appearance and goal. Nice.

Oh how I love these International breaks...just hope they all come back unscathed.

Watford (a) - Still no debuts for either Jose or Pizzuti, but Duro returns. It’s a good job Jansen’s inability to take penalties doesn’t come back to haunt us as Parker does a bit of a number on Watford there and could have had a hat-trick had his composure been better in the final 10 minutes.

5 out of 5 but helped by a far easier opening fixture list than last season

Borussia Dortmund (a) Champions League Gp G - Well, this is going to be fun. It’s a bit of a gamble to start as Thiry plays the AM role behind Jansen and Martin comes back in at left-back. Mennah starts in central midfield as well. Dortmund’s narrow back 3 give Parker and the full backs plenty to work with but some wasteful finishing means it ends goal-less, which is far from a bad result. I even had the luxury of bringing on £60m man Delcio Jose for a cameo.

West Ham (a) - Dortmund to London. Another set of niggly injuries and lack of match sharpness means a few players miss out. Schulz’s goalscoring exploits have been as the AF, but he’s starting as an inside forward today so we’ll see how he gets on. Well that was emphatic and the heavy defeat brings our fine uneaten start to the season to a shuddering halt.

Blackburn (a) - The starting 11 springs a couple of surprises, including the outcast Alvarez starting in the attacking midfielder position with Thiry leading the line. On loan Augenthaler starts in the IF role but Pizzuti isn’t fit enough to make his debut. The optimist would say that at least that gives us the chance to concentrate on other competitions. How did we not even score one of those penalties?

And just as I was thinking about giving Alvarez a run at the attacking midfielder role, he goes and pulls a calf muscle.

Arsenal (a) - Definitely not the opponents we need coming into this on a run of poor form. The sending off did not help, but we were second best throughout that game and did not have an answer to Augusto...who scores against us...again.


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October 2035



AC Milan (h) Champions League Gp G - Well this has the potential to be good but I’d have liked to have been on a better run. It is a good starting 11 as we could do with the points having drawn the first game. And we give as good as we get matching Milan for large parts of the game but got caught twice on the counter.

Manchester City (h) - Jose has been less than impressive in his opening games so misses out, along with the suspended Duro. After our recent run of form, I did not see that coming but a Wilson free kick then a Lopez header from a corner seals the win. Pleasingly, Haaland did not get a look in.

That win takes us, at least until later this afternoon, top of the league.

Fulham (a) - There are quite a lot of changes as a good number of players return from international duty less than fit and a lack of form means Jansen and Owolabi miss out. Pezzuti makes his debut and Jose at CB has a chance to show he can play football. Dominant win. Goalkeeper keeps a clean sheet on his debut and Duro scores his first of the season.

Feyenoord (h) Champions League Gp G - Two Duro corners, two Jose headers and a clinical Jansen finish from the corner of the 6 yard box gives us a comfortable win and we shouldn’t really have conceded. A good win which takes us to 4 points in the group and that is the game we were expected to win.

Taylor Harwood-Bellis was one of, if not my first, big money signings. At 33, 34 at the end of the season, he is struggling to be a first team player, even as a rotation option and his lack of pace, in particular, is starting to show. After 6 pretty consistent seasons and with his contract up at the end of this one, he is finding himself surplus to requirements.


We suffer a significant blow ahead of the Liverpool game as my main striking threat Jansen is ruled out for 4 weeks with ankle ligaments. 20 year old Carmelo Thiry will deputise.

Liverpool (h) - Morale should be up after the Feyenoord game and we need all the help we can get. As it happens, we concede 2 early goals, make early changes and it eventually pays off. Jose wasn’t signed to score goals, but his aerial presence is a threat and Schulz seems to have a knack of being in the right place at the right time. Duro got another assist, and also another red card - his 2nd in 6 games.


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November 2035



Two of my youngsters feature in the young player of the month award for October - 21 year olds Parker & Geraldao both had a good month on the pitch.

Blackburn (a) - Schulz’s reward for his winner is a start here with Wilson and Parker the supporting acts. Curtis replaces the suspended Duro. Thiry comes on and puts away the sort of chance that Schulz failed to do in a comfortable win. Calatayud gets his first of the season proving that Jose isn’t the only centre-back who is a threat from corners.

Feyenoord (a) Champions League Gp G - Duro plays and there are a host of changes including a return for Martin in goal and Martin at left-back. Augenthaler comes in to give Parker a rest although he doesn’t play terribly well and does nothing for his hopes of being signed in the longterm. A streaky win, but a win.

Bournemouth (h) - That was starting to get nervy until Stewart stepped up and struck from 25 yards after another corner goal from Jose. Thiry sealed the win with a composed finish. A comfortable win which, improbably, sees us go 5 points clear at the top of the league and we could do with getting points on the board so we have some leeway when we have to play the big boys.

Player Profile - Ian Stewart: Stewart has been at the club for 5 seasons after the £18m pound move. He’s never going to be good enough to be the permanent first choice but as a useful squad rotation option, he has been key and made important contributions at times. He’s two appearances off his 100 league games for the club.


Wolves (a) - Jansen is back from injury, although he’s only fit enough to play 45 minutes so Thiry stays up top. Parker replaces Augenthaler and Stewart retains his place as the attacking midfielder. It looked like Pizzuti should have done better with the goal but Parker’s mazy run and tap in salvaged us the point, although I did think we deserved more.

Borussia Dortmund (h) Champions League Gp G - Having managed a draw in the first games, we should be confident of not being outclassed, but this is a tough one. Jansen returns to lead the line and if we win, we’re through to the knockout round. First Parker then Thiry score from the inside forward position and we man the barricades for the final 7 minutes. Great result.

That top 4 looks good right now and the points are tight.


And this table looks even better. How have we managed this and knowing we can go into the final game with Milan with no pressure.

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December 2035



7 games?? Really...with Chelsea & Man Utd in there too.

Another two youngsters - Parker & Thiry - feature in November’s young player of the month award.

Aston Villa (h) - On paper this should be a routine win. On the pitch, this was a routine win as we dominate the newly promoted team.

Despite being top of the league, our top scorers - Jansen, Parker and Thiry - only have 4 each. Wilson & Parker both have 6 assists each, joint 2nd in the league.

We draw Leeds in the 3rd round of the FA Cup.

Crystal Palace (a) - Just the one change as Jansen replaces Thiry from the start as he’s back to full fitness. Odd game - Palace never looked like winning, we never looked like scoring a second and it was just the extra quality of Duro that shone through.

Spurs (h) - The congested fixture list is catching up with players as a number miss out through match fatigue. We just didn’t have an answer for Spurs 4-1-4-1 formation and despite making increasingly attacking changes could not make the breakthrough. Disappointed.

AC Milan (a) Champions League Gp G - Final game and with nothing resting on this, wholesale changes are made to ensure that some of the more key players don’t run themselves into the ground. The defensive line is dropped to accommodate Harwood-Bellis’s lack of pace and we’re going more direct with the passing. It took a half-time rollicking to get anywhere near a decent performance in the 2nd half but that was embarrassing.

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Looks like we’ll be scavenging other teams youth intakes again if that preview is anything to go by. Poor.

Player Profile - Barrington Parker: We treble the terms of Barrington Parker’s contract to make him one of our highest earning players. The elite inside forward has developed to be our best player and at just 21 has the potential to kick on even more. He’s subject to a fair bit of interest but this ties him down for another 5 years and I’d rather bring in players to support him, rather than let him go.


Chelsea (h) - although that was 2-0, it was the narrowest of 2-0 wins as Chelsea pretty much match us across the board. The own goal was unlucky, but Thiry’s finish was excellent and proves why he’s in contention for the European golden boy award...despite his relative lack of appearances and goals.

The Champions League last 16 round is drawn and it gives us an excellent chance of progression.

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There are some big teams that won’t be in the quarter finals.

Manchester United (a) - We conceded a silly early goal and then never really recovered after that. We looked somewhat toothless and didn’t really create anything like enough except for the ruled out goal. Jansen was really poor and he hasn’t scored in the league for a very long time which is a concern.

Jose’s injury rules him out for 4 weeks which is a blow.

Everton (a) - Thiry replaces Jansen as the starting striker and Lopez comes in for the injured Jose but it doesn’t make any difference as we record a comfortable win over the Toffees. Parker in particular, was outstanding and his 30 yard strike into the top corner is a goal of the season contender.



January 2036


Parker & Thiry again fill 2 of the 3 young player of the month spots.


4 youngsters are brought in, all of whom were signed some months ago and all of them end up in the U18s for the development.


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Burnley (a) - Quite a few changes are needed again as a result of the busy December schedule. Thiry continues up top and Schulz has to come in for Parker as Augenthaler has failed to impress. Schulz gets in the right place at the right time again and Jansen finishes the chance he gets to kill off Burnley as it looked like they were getting on top.

As the window opens, the transfer kitty is £34m and whilst we’re not desperate for changes this transfer window, there are players who are free to leave and a lot of my first team have attracted interest.

In goal, Pizzuti has established himself as first choice so Martin could leave and we can promote Ismael (again) from the U23s. Attacking midfielder Stewart has found himself struggling to keep up with others who can play his role and could go and right-back Jose Antonio is probably the weakest player overall in the first team squad. A good bid could see him departing.

Leeds United (h) FA Cup 3rd Round - We were outrageously lucky there and I can’t even blame it on playing a second string team. It’s a good job Thiry can take penalties as he single-handedly takes us through to the next round, where we will need to perform better.

I’d quite like to bring in a new right-back as an upgrade to Antonio, or a player who has the potential to come through and I’d also quite like them to be English to add to the core we already have.

Southampton (a) - They do say you can only beat what’s in front of you and what was in front of us was not very good but we were clinical and took the chances when we needed to. Parker (6), Jansen (6) and Thiry (7) all continue their personal battle to be top scorer in the league. That game puts us top and we have 3 very winnable home games coming up to consolidate that.

But the game comes at a cost as Parker’s pulled calf muscle rules him out for 3 weeks.

And we do bring in a new right back. Mitchell Boldewijn joins from Arsenal for a fee of £20m plus £7.5m after 50 games. Having been on loan, however, he’s unable to play in the first team this season which means that Antonio won’t leave in this window.


Sheffield United (h) - Sheffield United are struggling in 19th and not on a good run of form, so this should be straightforward. Which it almost wasn’t as their goal and our poor first half performance forced some changes at the break. Once again, Schulz is the unlikely goalscorer.

Jansen is the much more familiar name on the scoresheet and with that one, he becomes Oldham’s club record goalscorer.

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Player Profile - Carmelo Thiry: One of my most important players - Belgian Carmelo Thiry - is given a new 4 year contract and at £195k a week becomes our second top earner at the club. Between he and Parker we are set for attacking talent for quite some time IF we can prevent bigger clubs from circling.


Watford (h) - 60% possession, 14 shots on target, 10 corners, 94% passes complete and nothing to show for it. That was one of those games where we just couldn’t finish off the chances we created and Watford put away their one shot on target. Frustrating, but finishing training needed. The experiment of playing Alvarez in the AM role is ongoing...he definitely has the attributes for it.

That loss ends our 28 game unbeaten run at home.

Having said he wouldn’t leave, one of my longest standing players, right-back Jose Antonio, is subject to a £22.5m bid from Barcelona. The 25 year old is our weakest full-back and will be replaced with Boldewijn, but Joshua can deputise for the second half of this season if needed.


West Ham (h) - And it needs a more clinical performance against a team who have been out of form, but should be higher in the league. Wilson was the difference maker there with his setpiece deliveries leading to both goals. Disappointed not to hang on to the win after dragging ourselves back into that one.

Spurs (a) FA Cup 4th Round - Some rotation is needed, but with Martin, Curtis and a few others injured, it’s not as extensive as I would have liked. Unlike the last couple of games, we definitely did not deserve to win that one. 8 yellow cards as well...get stuck in lads.

Transfer deadline day and, just because I like to get involved, we splash out £27m, meeting the minimum release fee clause for Ukranian winger Maxim Krylov. The 18 year old, who is equally good at inside forward is a significant upgrade, particularly physically, on Schulz, who is not consistent or good enough. He’ll be behind Parker in the pecking order, but I’m expecting him to develop.




February 2036



With an International break thrown in for good measure too.

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The figures include the summer transfers last year, but that was a busier window than I was anticipating with 6 players bought in, 5 of whom are 18 and look like potential first team players. Krylov is the only player who will be in the first team until the summer when Boldewijn will be drafted in as well.

Brighton (a) - Curtis returns after a long injury and the new boy Krylov is thrown in at the deep end as Parker has not yet recovered, along with centre-back Jose. And the 18 year old debutant has a game to remember, even being unlucky not to get the hat-trick.

Arsenal (h) - We have a pretty wretched record against Arsenal but we are in far better form at the moment. Krylov has to play again due to Parker’s absence, but some rotation means Duro & Owolabi return to the starting 11 and Jose is on the bench. Jansen misses another penalty - he doesn’t have a great record - and that is definitely a case of points dropped.

And elite striker Barrington Parker picks up another injury on the training ground, ruling him out for another 4 weeks. Krylov was only bought in for cover but it looks like he’s going to get plenty of gametime.

Hertha Berlin (h) Champions League last 16 (h) - Jose is back into the starting 11 and Hertha are very similar opposition, according to the pre match press conference, so this should be close. And it was pretty even, with only Duro’s late winner the difference. The second leg will be interesting.

Manchester City (a) - This is a top of the table clash as they sit 2 points ahead of us. Despite this, and the fact they are quality, that was an unexpectedly emphatic result. Krylov has now scored 3 goals and produced an assist in his first 4 games for us. Jansen gets his first for some time as well. That takes us top.

Player Profile - Rayco Duro: Duro’s going through a bit of a purple patch and has provided an extra bit of quality since signing last season and has provided some competition for Curtis for the attacking mezzala role. Given Curtis’s recent injury problems though, he has been playing a lot.



That is a fine looking table, but we've got some tough games coming up and we do have a habit of not being at our best against some of the 'smaller' teams in the league. It should be a fun few months for Oldham fans though. I'm particularly happy with the goals conceded column and it would appear that bringing in Pizzuti in goal is paying off.



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March 2036



Fulham (h) - Martin makes a rare appearance in goal, Rousseau comes in for Joshua and I continue the attempt at turning Alvarez into an attacking midfielder. We were so lucky to finish that with any points as Fulham completely outplayed us and we had to rely on another setpiece goal to just give us one point. Poor.

Blackburn (h) - We need a better performance to keep the pressure on at the top. It isn’t a better performance but we do come out on the better side of a pretty even performance. Krylov’s blistering start to the season continues along with Alvarez’s renaissance. Lopez’s red card is too late in the game to put the result at risk.

Hertha Berlin (a) Champions League last 16 2nd leg - We start with a very narrow lead from the first leg, but are missing Jansen, Martin in goal and others. Alvarez leads the line and has a real chance to make a name for himself here. Owolabi doesn’t get many and he’ll never score a better goal than this effort from 15 yards out from a Krylov cross.

What a result that is and the quarter finals are on their way.

Two away games coming up, one looks far tougher than the other.

Liverpool (a) - Pizzuti returns in goal and it’s a pretty familiar looking starting line-up. We had two very good chances even before they scored but managed to claw it back via, what is becoming a regular name on the scoresheet, and then shut up shop in the second half. Hard earned point there.

It’s that time of year again and the youth intake is in but it’s very slim pickings with just a couple of players looking like potential first team candidates.

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But we have picked up a number of other youngsters on pre-contracts who will arrive in the summer and there are some serious prospects in among that group of players.

Champions League Quarter Final draw:

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...and if we can see our way past Sevilla….

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Bournemouth (a) - We are really struggling to put these teams away and break them down and Jansen seems to have turned into an unusually inconsistent striker which isn’t helpful at the moment.

29 players are called up for international duty.



April 2036



Wolves (h) - Ahead of the Sevilla game, we make a number of changes including bringing in Harwood-Bellis, who has hardly featured this season, Manneh, whose contract is expiring, Martin who has rather fallen behind Pizzuti in goal and the underwhelming Thiry. And it was two of those players who make the difference, but Stewart missed several good chances to put that to bed earlier.

Aaron Wilson is coming up to 10 years at the club and is my most used player with 331 appearances, 52 goals and counting. The rest of my top 10 are:

August 2026 - AM Aaron Wilson (Aged 28): 331 goals / 52 goals

January 2029 - ST Jens Jansen (26) 285 games / 158 goals

July 2029 - DR Trausti Gudbartsson (26): 166 games / 2 goals

January 2030 - DC Cesar Lopez (25) 147 games /13 goals

July 2030 - GK Daniel Martin (27): 208 games

August 2030 - DC Taylor Harwood-Bellis (34): 142 games / 6 goals

January 2031 - DC Alex Calatayud (28):
211 games / 23 goals

July 2031 - MC Paul Curtis (28):
158 games / 21 goals

September 2031 - MC Hamidou Owolabi (27):
177 games / 5 goals

February 2032 - AM Ian Stewart (24)
136 games / 29 goals

Sevilla (a) Champions League Quarter Final 1st leg - The strongest possible team, but with less of an attacking intent given the strength of the opposition and being away for the first leg. We blitz them in the opening 2 minutes and control the game from there. If Parker could take penalties, he’d have had a hat-trick as well. A commanding lead for the second leg.

Aston Villa (a) - Its almost all change ahead of the second Champions League leg but it’s the same result as the (nearly) second string do the job. Alvarez in particular reminds me he can still put the ball in the back of the net with a clinical cameo.

Sevilla (h) Champions League Quarter Final 1st leg - A resounding win in the first leg gives us a solid base to ensure progression and we’re at full strength. Another solid performance in which Thiry & Jansen run riot as they share all the goals and assists. We’re making the latter stages of the Champions League look easy.

Player Profile - Trausti Gubartsson: That was another game where my Icelandic right-back Trausti Gudbartsson puts in a fine performance. He’s one of my unsung heroes - always available, consistently solid performances and a leader. Valued at £54m, he’s wanted by some of the elite clubs but I’m very reluctant to let him go would take a HUGE bid.


And we face Lyon in the Semi-Finals with Manchester United & Barcelona on the other side of the draw.

Crystal Palace (h) - Alvarez’s good form has not gone un-noticed and he is rewarded with a start. We were somewhat fortunate to come out of that with all the points.

Spurs (a) - Alvarez didn’t really take his chance, so Jansen is back in and Joshua deputises at right-back as Gudbartsson gets back to match sharpness. That result brought us down to earth a bit as we seemed to do everything right but got caught out from two pieces of sloppy play with Joshua, then Jose, the culprits. Spurs didn’t win that, we lost it.

It’s a huge week with Manchester United, top of the league, the meat in the Lyon semi-final sandwich.

OL (a) Champions League Semi-Final 1st leg - Parker returns, as he has to, so the team almost picks itself with only Martin at left back and Duro in the middle the other enforced absentees. Scottish striker Lucas Lazenby is OL’s main threat and the player we need to keep quiet, which we fail to do. Embarrassingly outplayed in the first half, better second, but not good enough.

That game showed that we are probably in need of a genuine world-class striker to compete at these upper levels of the game...and they do not come cheap. Lazenby though?!?



May 2036


Manchester United (h) - Not really the opposition I would have chosen after the Champions League shellacking. They’re comfortably top of the league and will probably win it, but we could guarantee Champions League football with a result here. We should have won that, and definitely had the chances to do so, but paid for our inability to finish. Saved by our set-pieces again.

And that does mean qualification for the Champions League next season.

OL (h) Champions League Semi-final 2nd leg - It's going to take a miracle to progress, so we virtually have nothing to play for here, so we’re just aiming not to get embarrassed...which I think we do. Jansen gets nothing but a consolation goal, but that feels a whole lot better. In the cold light of day, Champions League Semi-Finals is an outstanding achievement.

The £52m in prize money is not to be dismissed lightly either.

Everton (h) - It's only really some positional money for league places in the table to play for, so this is a chance to rotate at the end of a long season. Harwood-Bellis, Stewart and Martin in goal all make rare starts. Jansen gets his early goal and we never look back, recording a comfortable win.

Chelsea (a) - 3rd place is up for grabs, we just need to avoid losing to keep it. There are a couple of players who could be playing their last games for the club - definitely Manneh, whose contract won’t be extended, and possibly keeper Martin. We just couldn’t be separated, but did enough not to lose.


That’s our highest points total, fewest games lost, fewest goals conceded and best goal difference. A pretty good season all things considered.


End of Season summary:

Pizzuti came in as the number 1 keeper, which he has played. Jose was a massive signing, especially for a 21 year old, but the centre-back has acclimatised pretty quickly and will be a key part of the jigsaw going forward. Krylov was a January signing and had a blistering start to his Oldham career. Pretty pleased with all 3 really.

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There was a lot of rotation as well, so the lineup is not what my starting 11 would be, with Jansen, Curtis & Jose all missing.



Of Jansen’s 15 goals this season - he top scored - just 11 were in the league, which shows we spread the goals around nicely, and didn’t score that many. I’m surprised Lopez has the highest average rating. Under-rated, clearly.

Parker wins the English Players young player of the year award following his fine season. The elite winger is worth £71m and still has the ability to improve. He also wins the goal of the season award.

The U23s have a very good season - winning the U23 Premier Division 2 and getting to the final of the Premier Division Cup, losing to Man Utd.

The U18s top this - winning the U18 North Division 1 and then beating Spurs U18s (winners of South Division 1) in the final. They also win the FA Cup youth final and the U19 Champions League final. The U18s lost just 2 of their final 40 fixtures - once to Man Utd U18s and another to the Milan U20s.

The future is bright.