Keep Right On - A Birmingham City Story


Crystal Palace 2 (Minamino 57, Zaha 90)
Birmingham 1 (Loftus-cheek 14)

Pope, Holding, Mawson, Gibson, Calabria (Colin), Lerma, Loftus-Cheek, Sessegnon, Roberts, Lincoln (Barnes), Elyounoussi

After taking an early lead, it was two wonder strikes from Palace that got them the win. Combined together the distance for their two goals was over 55 yards. Zaha’s in particular was fantastic and even at this late stage could be a goal of the season contender.

Birmingham 2 (Lincoln 15, 56)
Man Utd 2 (Matic 82, Lukaku 84)

Pope, Smalling, Mawson (Holding), Gibson, Colin, Lerma (Kieftenbeld), Loftus-Cheek, Sessegnon (Dasilva), Roberts, Lincoln*, Adzic

We threw away a 2 goal lead here late on with sloppy defending. If a team can score great strikes like Palace before or great team goals then I don’t get too disheartened but, both of Man Utd’s goals were avoidable as 2 poor pass backs should never happen in a game.

Liverpool 2 (Immobile 52pen, Oxlade-Chamberlain 67)
Birmingham 2 (Smalling 10, Roberts 32)

Pope, Smalling, Mawson, Gibson, Colin (Calabria), Lerma (Kieftenbeld), Loftus-Cheek, Sessegnon, Roberts* (Elyounoussi), Lincoln, Adzic

And the season ends in a whimper as we throw away a two goal lead again. We started very well and could have scored even more but Liverpool were definitely the better team in the second half and could have won it with their chances.


A pretty poor month really with 6 goals conceded in 3 games and only 2 points taken. It only had 3 games but I think this is the first month where we have not won a single game. The lack of points here meant we also dropped below Man City and actually finished in 3rd​ place.

Player of the month

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League Table

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End of Season Review

It has definitely been a positive season, even if it did all dwindle away at the end. We had great runs in the Europa League, FA Cup and were challenging for the league title until about 5-8 games to go. If I was offered that in just my second season in the league then I would have taken it but I do feel a little of what if we had just had a bit of luck in key games. I have been given another big budget of £80mil for the summer to try and improve the squad again as for the first time in the clubs history we are playing in the Champions League. We are going to be a very low seed for the groups so I expect it to be a major challenge and dropping into the Europa League and having a go in that again would not be a negative outcome.

Final League Table
Player of the Season

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I was close to giving it to Patrick Roberts as he provided 17 assists from the right wing but Lincoln was able to deliver consistent goals up top and scored 32 times during the season. To do that in his first season is very impressive and now that he is settled at the club I hope that he can deliver that again at least next season.

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Pre-Season Update

In another summer of change, transfer records were broken and broken again for both transfers coming in and definitely for players going out.

Players out

The first sale broke the club record as we sold Nick Pope to Man City for £18mil. I didn’t want to sell him but the money was really good and I found an alternative for much less than that.

The next one broke the record again as we sold Alfie Mawson to Stoke for a deal that could be worth up to £28mil. Again I didn’t really want to sell here as Mawson had started to push Holding out of the team at the end of the season. The money was incredible and there were other good English centre backs that I signed with that money.

The final big deal was the biggest deal of all and destroyed the club record for a transfer sale. Luka Adzic was wanted by PSG and once they came in with an offer, Adzic wanted to go. We negotiated a deal that could bring in £50mil as long as Adzic can break into the Serbia team. This is by far the biggest transfer in the club’s history and probably won’t be broken for a while.

We also sold a few other players for lower fees. Maikel Kieftenbeld and Harlee Dean both left for £8.5mil each and Jay Dasilva and Isaac Vassell left for a combined £5mil. They were all good squad players but they were no longer needed as we look to continue our push up the table. We also loaned a load of youngsters out again but I plan to keep my 2 young CM’s, Norris and Miles, at the club and give them more game time.

Players in


After seeing that Pickford was being paid £140k a week, I decided I would have to look abroad for a new keeper. I signed Mattia Perin from Genoa for £8.5mil. He has all the attributes of a good keeper and came in for considerably less than we sold Pope for.

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Centre Backs

I signed James Tarkowski and Callum Chambers from Watford and Arsenal. They joined for £12.75mil and £13mil and provide better depth to the back line. It also means we have only 5 centre backs as I hope to give youngster Norris some game time in that position.

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Wing Backs

Danny Rose was transfer listed at Tottenham and I moved quickly to bring him in for £13mil. He brings great experience to the squad and I hope he can perform when called upon but I do still plan on keeping Sessegnon as first choice.

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Central Midfield

My first and biggest move was to bring in Loftus-Cheek permanently. He has had 2 great seasons for us and I had no problem in breaking the club record to sign him for £25mil. While seen as a playmaker by the scouts, I see him as a perfect B2B midfielder as he has the physical stats to do that job and then the technicals to do it well. I also signed Vlad Stoica for just £1.7mil. I wanted a back-up for Jefferson Lerma and Stoica has all the attributes to be a very good Carrilero. He will get some decent game time alongside Miles and Norris.

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My first signing here was to bring in Richarlison for £24mil. After Watford’s relegation, he wanted to move and he has performed incredibly well for them so I hope he can deliver like that for me. I also signed James Maddison from Norwich for £13mil. He is more of a number 10 but I hope to turn him into one of my wide men. He scored 15 goals for Norwich last season in the championship and I feel one of the weaknesses of my wide men is that they don’t score enough so I hope he can change that.

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There have been no changes here as I look to Lincoln to lead the line and Barnes to provide cover. I now also have Richarlison and Maddison that can play up there so we have more options.


I also signed 2 youngsters from Bosnia and Serbia. Alija Huremovic and Uros Stancic joined for small money and both went straight back out on loan along with the bunch of other youngsters we have. Our facilities are improving but they are still not there yet so the youngsters will be better off on loan for another year or so.

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Other News

After the Euros, there were a couple of international jobs going and I was lucky enough to get the Italy job. They have some great young players on the game that are now coming through and I think we will have a great chance in the World Cup in two years time as long as they are playing for their clubs.

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Birmingham 0
Crystal Palace 0

Perin, Tarkowski, Holding, Gibson*, Calabria, Lerma, Loftus-Cheek (Maddison), Sessegnon, Richarlison, Lincoln, Elyounoussi (Jota)

The season starts and it kicks off with what must be a strong contender for most boring game of the season. Not much happened at either end and no team deserved the points here.

Wolves 0
Birmingham 0

Perin, Tarkowski, Holding (Smalling), Gibson, Calabria (Colin), Lerma, Loftus-Cheek, Sessegnon, Richarlison, Lincoln, Elyounoussi

I may have said that the Palace game was contender for most boring game of the season but this one is making it a hard competition. From the whole 90 minutes I can remember one chance where Afobe hit it about 10 yards wide and he was offside anyway.

Birmingham 5 (Lincoln 17, 90, Tarkowski 39, Richarlison 52, Lerma 66)

Stoke 0

Perin, Tarkowski, Holding, Gibson, Calabria (Colin), Lerma, Loftus-Cheek (Stoica), Sessegnon, Richarlison, Lincoln*, Elyounoussi

It may have taken until the 3rd​ game of the season but we definitely got started here. The early goal helped and from then on it was just how many were we going to get. It’s always nice to see a team click and that is what happened here.

Champions League

Our group stage has been drawn and I don’t think it is humanly possible to put together a harder group.

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We are of course 4th​ seeds so it was always going to be a hard group but to be drawn with Real Madrid, AS Monaco and AC Milan is going to be an incredible challenge. I will be pleased if we are able to get a single point from anywhere.

Player of the month
James Tarkowski

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League Table

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Everton 1 (Tosun 36)
Birmingham 3 (Lincoln 34, Gibson 45, Loftus-Cheek 85)

Perin, Tarkowski, Holding, Gibson, Calabria*, Stoica (Lerma), Loftus-Cheek, Sessegnon (Rose), Richarlison (Jota), Lincoln, Maddison

A solid win after an international break as I brought in a couple of changes as players returned a little tired from international duty.

Birmingham 1 (Elyounoussi 27)
AS Monaco 1 (Lopes 90)

Perin, Smalling, Holding, Gibson, Calabria (Colin), Lerma, Loftus-Cheek, Rose, Jota, Lincoln (Barnes), Elyounoussi*

Elyounoussi scored a great individual goal as he dribbled from our own half and beat 3 or 4 men before smashing it in at the near post. It reminded me a lot of Giggs’ famous goal against Arsenal but it wasn’t enough to get 3 points as Lopes scored a last minute equaliser from a corner.

Birmingham 2 (Lincoln 33, Tarkowski 84)
Man City 0

Perin, Tarkowski, Holding*, Gibson, Calabria (Colin), Lerma, Loftus-Cheek (Maddison), Sessegnon, Richarlison, Lincoln, Elyounoussi

A solid performance here where we actually didn’t look like losing. Maybe they would have had a better chance if they had started there £120mil signing Harry Kane instead of leaving him on the bench.

Burnley 1 (Martinez 60)
Birmingham 3 (Barnes 7, Stoica 20, Maddison 62)

Johnstone, Chambers, Holding, Smalling (Tarkowski), Colin, Stoica, Maddison (Lerma), Rose, Jota, Barnes (Lincoln), Dunlop*

A very nice victory here means we are through to the next round of the Carabao Cup. I was able to play a lot of the back-up players, including youngster Dunlop who played his first game for the club and gave a MOTM performance.

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Leicester 0
Birmingham 2 (Lincoln 34, 42pen)

Perin, Tarkowski, Holding, Gibson, Calabria, Lerma, Loftus-Cheek, Sessegnon (Rose), Richarlison, Lincoln*, Elyounoussi (Maddison)

A very nice win here where we weren’t at our best but we still got a comfortable win. We look to have become one of the better teams in the league where we don’t have to be at our very best to beat teams.

AC Milan 1 (Locatelli 31)
Birmingham 0

Perin, Chambers, Tarkowski (Elyounoussi), Gibson, Colin, Lerma (Stoica), Loftus-Cheek, Rose, Richarlison, Lincoln (Barnes), Maddison*

I’m not sure how to feel about this game as to only lose by one goal to AC Milan away from home is not a poor result but we played so well that we deserved at least a point. Maddison created a lot of chances but Lincoln could not finish any of them.


Holland 1 (Rugani 39og)
Italy 0

Donnarumma, Rugani, Bonucci, Romagnoli, Florenzi (Zappacosta), Jorginho, Verratti, Emerson, Berardi (Bernadeschi), Cutrone, Insigne (Chielsa)

This is our first game of the International League where our group is Holland and Sweden. Not the start I wanted to my international career but it was a good game where a mistake from Rugani was the difference maker.

Italy 2 (Belotti 25, Berardi 90)
Sweden 0

Donnarumma, Caldera, Bonucci (Bastoni), Romagnoli, Florenzi (Zappacosta), Jorginho (Cristante), Gagliadini, Spinazzola, Berardi*, Belotti, Chielsa

A more solid result here but it did take a 90th​ minute goal to just make the result certain. It looks as though it will be a battle between us and Holland to see who goes through the group stage.

Player of the Month
Rob Holding

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League Table

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Birmingham 1 (Lincoln 26pen)
Newcastle 1 (Laxalt 90)

Perin, Tarkowski (Smalling), Holding, Gibson, Calabria*, Lerma, Miles, Sessegnon, Richarlison (Jota), Lincoln, Elyounoussi

We threw away 2 points here as we couldn’t convert loads of chances and then got caught out late in the game with a scrappy equaliser.

Derby 0
Birmingham 2 (Maddison 5, Lerma 87)

Perin, Smalling, Chambers, Gibson (Tarkowski), Colin, Stoica, Loftus-Cheek (Lerma), Rose, Jota, Barnes, Maddison*

I made a lot of changes here as we have a massive game coming up and we were still able to get the 3 points. Maddison was great on the wing and controlled the game high up the pitch.

Real Madrid 4 (Ronaldo 20pen, Higuain 24, Isco 87, 90)
Birmingham 2 (Lincoln 30, Loftus-Cheek 79)

Perin, Tarkowski, Holding, Gibson, Calabria (Colin), Lerma, Loftus-Cheek, Sessegnon, Richarlison, Lincoln (Barnes), Elyounoussi (Rose)

I’m so frustrated with this result. After they scored 2 early goals I was worried the game was going to become a cricket score but we fought back and when Loftus-Cheek equalised with 11 minutes to go I getting optimistic of snatching a point. It wasn’t to be though as Madrid brought on Isco and Bale and they connected together twice for 2 late goals.

Birmingham 3 (Lerma 10, Loftus-Cheek 29, Jota 47)
Arsenal 3 (Koscielny 38, Otavio 77, Aubameyang 78)

Perin, Tarkowski, Holding (Smalling), Gibson, Calabria, Lerma*, Loftus-Cheek (Maddison), Rose, Jota, Lincoln, Elyounoussi

Another game where we throw it away. What I did realise though is this is the first point we have taken from Arsenal. We have been able to get results against almost every other team but Arsenal have been the team we haven’t been able to do anything against until now.

Man City 1 (Man 118)
Birmingham 0

Perin, Chambers, Smalling, Tarkowski (Gibson), Colin, Stoica, Maddison, Rose (Sessegnon), Jota (Elyounoussi), Barnes, Richarlison (Lincoln)

We are out of the Carabao Cup here as a goal late in extra time knocks us out. Jota missed a penalty in the 87th​ minute to win it in normal time and that cost us here.

Chelsea 0
Birmingham 2 (Richarlison 45, Lincoln 57)

Perin, Tarkowski, Holding, Gibson, Calabria, Lerma, Loftus-Cheek, Sessegnon (Rose), Richarlison*, Lincoln, Elyounoussi

A very nice way to finish the month as we get a result against a very good team. Chelsea have won the league for the last 2 seasons and would have been top again if they won here but we caught them out with a goal just before half time and got a second not long after the break.


Italy 1 (Chiesa 38)
Holland 0

Donnarumma, Rugani, Caldara, Romagnoli, Florenzi*, Jorginho, Verratti, Spinazzola (Emerson), Berardi (Bernadeshi), Belotti (Cutrone), Chiesa

Our only game of the month with Italy gives us a vital win against Holland. I didn’t realise before that Sweden beat Holland in their first game so we are in a prime position to qualify from our group.


A pretty poor month here as we go out of the Carabao Cup, lose our Champions League game to Real Madrid, and throw away points against Newcastle and Arsenal in the league. We did get a win against Chelsea though which is a great result as they have been so dominant for the last couple of the years.

Player of the Month

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League Table
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Birmingham 1 (Loftus-Cheek 65)
Real Madrid 1 (Lerma 78og)

Perin*, Tarkowski, Holding, Gibson, Calabria, Lerma, Loftus-Cheek (Maddison), Sessegnon, Richarlison, Lincoln (Barnes), Elyounoussi

An incredible result here as we take a point from Real Madrid. We had to be really good defensively in this game which is shown by Perin picking up the MOTM award and I thought we might sneak all 3 points when Loftus-Cheek gave us the lead but an unfortunate own goal from Lerma means we take 1 point which I am more than happy with.

Birmingham 1 (Miles 12)
West Brom 0

Perin, Smalling, Chambers, Gibson (Tarkowski), Colin, Stoica, Miles*, Rose, Jota, Lincoln (Barnes), Maddison

A solid win here with youngster Miles getting the goal and getting the MOTM award. I rotated the starting team a little here and thankfully we still got the 3 important points.

Southampton 0
Birmingham 1 (Stephens 47og)

Perin, Smalling, Chambers*, Gibson (Tarkowski), Colin, Stoica, Loftus-Cheek (Lerma), Rose, Jota, Lincoln (Richarlison), Maddison

A very similar game to the West Brom one. I made only one change as I brought Loftus-Cheek back in for Miles and we snuck a 1-0 win. I’m never confident when we only have a 1 goal lead as I have seen us concede so many late goals but we were able to hold onto the clean sheet here for all 3 points.

AS Monaco 1 (Soler 67)
Birmingham 4 (Elyounoussi 8, Sessegnon 31, Lincoln 51, 90)

Perin, Tarkowski, Holding, Chambers, Calabria (Colin), Stoica (Maddison), Loftus-Cheek, Sessegnon (Rose), Richarlison, Lincoln*, Elyounoussi

This is possibly the best result we have got in this save. Away from home, against a big tycoon club, and it was vital that we didn’t lose if we wanted to qualify for the Europa League and the team performed amazingly. The early goal set us on our way and it was over not long into the 2nd​ half when we made it 3-0.

Birmingham 2 (Richarlison 10, 58)

Man Utd 3 (Lukaku 30, 64, Sanchez 42)

Perin, Tarkowski, Holding, Gibson, Calabria, Lerma (Stoica), Loftus-Cheek, Sessegnon, Richarlison, Lincoln, Elyounoussi (Maddison)

This was the come down from the Monaco game as Man Utd beat us in a really good game. It was a close game where we both led at different times but it was a poor mistake from Holding that gave Lukaku his 2nd​ goal and the 3 points.


Slovenia 2 (Sporar 49, Mevlja 88)

Italy 4 (Kean 20, 66, Chiesa 50, Cutrone 65)

Perin, Rugani (Bonifazi), Bonucci (Benassi), Bastoni, Zappacosta (Florenzi), Pellegrini (Jorginho), Gagliadini, Emerson (Spinazzola), Chiesa (Insigne), Cutrone, Kean*

I gave a few different players a chance here including Kean who got 2 goals on his international debut. He is definitely trying to push into the squad and it will be a battle between him and Insigne to get into the squad.

Sweden 0
Italy 3 (Berardi 35, 88, Verratti 76)

Donnarumma, Caldera, Bonucci, Rugani, Florenzi, Jorginho, Verratti, Spinazzola, Berardi*, Belotti, Chiesa

This win guarantees our qualification from the group. A solid result against a poor opposition means we are into the semi-finals and have been drawn against France in that tie.

Player of the Month
Mattia Perin

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League Table

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Burnley 3 (Niederlechner 51, 67, Cork 61)
Birmingham 4 (Holding 3, Maddison 7, Dunlop 77, Jota 90)

Perin, Chambers, Holding, Smalling, Colin, Stoica, Miles, Rose, Jota, Maddison, Dunlop

What a game. I played the back-up team and they made a lightning start to the game. Burnley had a 15 minute period where it looked like we had thrown it away only for youngster Dunlop to get an equaliser and for Jota to score a 90th​ minute header to win the game.

Birmingham 5 (Lincoln 8, 67, 86, Richarlison 42, Chambers 53)
AC Milan 1 (Kessie 61)

Perin, Chambers, Tarkowski, Gibson, Calabria, Lerma (Stoica), Loftus-Cheek, Sessegnon (Rose), Richarlison, Lincoln*, Elyounoussi

Forget what I said about the Monaco game, this is the greatest result I have seen in this save. Every time we attacked it looked as though we were going to score. This result means we actually qualify from the group. I didn’t expect us to have any chance of that but we amazingly were unbeaten at home with 2 draws and a win against 3 great teams.

Birmingham 3 (Lincoln 40, 75, Richarlison 44)
Liverpool 1 (Xadas 65)

Perin, Chambers, Tarkowski, Gibson, Calabria, Lerma, Stoica, Loftus-Cheek, Sessegnon, Richarlison* (Jota), Lincoln, Elyounoussi

A good win here with Lincoln adding 2 more goals onto his 3 against Milan. Liverpool have really collapsed since the start of the save and gone through 3 managers. Klopp, Eddie Howe and now Senol Gunes have been sacked by the club since the start of the game.

Bournemouth 0
Birmingham 2 (Lincoln 23, 59)

Perin, Tarkowski (Smalling), Holding (Stoica), Gibson, Calabria, Lerma, Loftus-Cheek, Rose, Richarlison, Lincoln*, Maddison

Lincoln delivers again as his two goals and MOTM performance give us the 3 points. He has really turned it on in the last few games and is looking like a top striker. I am expecting big clubs to come looking at him in January or in the summer.

Birmingham 2 (Elyounoussi 30, Lincoln 47)
Huddersfield 1 (Bertolacci 29)

Perin, Tarkowski (Smalling), Holding, Gibson, Calabria, Lerma, Loftus-Cheek (Maddison), Sessegnon, Richarlison (Jota), Lincoln, Elyounoussi*

We were a bit more lucky here as Huddersfield were a good challenge. They are on a good run of form but a lot of that has come from having Nuno Marques on loan from us so I was hoping they would not play as well but they were unlucky to not get any points here.

Crystal Palace 1 (Riedewald 90)
Birmingham 4 (Lincoln 12, 14, 26, Richarlison 79)

Perin, Tarkowski, Holding, Gibson, Calabria, Lerma, Loftus-Cheek, Sessegnon, Richarlison, Lincoln*, Elyounoussi

It is definitely the Lincoln show at the moment. He delivers his second hat trick of the month here in the first 30 minutes of the game. I was very disappointed to not a get clean sheet here as Palace scored in the very last minute of the game.

Tottenham 2 (Jovetic 51, Sabitzer 83)

Birmingham 1 (Lincoln 6)

Perin, Tarkowski, Holding, Gibson (Chambers), Calabria, Lerma, Loftus-Cheek (Maddison), Sessegnon, Richarlison (Jota), Lincoln, Elyounoussi

It wasn’t to be here as Tottenham turned in on in the second half to win the game. We just couldn’t match them here as fatigue caught up with us. This was the boxing day fixture and we have another game in 2 days so there will be a lot of rotation for that game.

West Ham 1 (Felipe 13)

Birmingham 3 (Jota 6, Barnes 59, 85)

Perin, Chambers, Norris, Smalling, Colin, Stoica, Miles, Rose, Jota, Barnes*, Maddison (Dunlop)

A really good win here from what is the back-up team. Amazingly, all 4 goals were very similar as they were all headers at the far post. With Lincoln’s form, Barnes hasn’t had much game time but it is good to see he can deliver when called on.

Player of the Month

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League Table

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I have to say that I have fallen out of love with this save. I wasn't expecting success to come so quickly and the lack of a challenge to it has lead me to not really feel motivated to continue with this story. I may come back to it later on but it is unlikely.
I have to say that I have fallen out of love with this save. I wasn't expecting success to come so quickly and the lack of a challenge to it has lead me to not really feel motivated to continue with this story. I may come back to it later on but it is unlikely.

This is why I love a journeyman save. Because it takes years and years to 'crack it'. Even if you have really early success, it is at such a low level and with no qualifications only work your way up! And every time you go to a new club, it's almost like starting a new save all over again! Give it a go mate, you won't look back!
Thanks for your service

Hi there, fellow Bluenose and just wanted to let you know I enjoyed your reports. I'm in the first season of a save myself, but will probably not continue once FM19 becomes available (pre-bought, so I have to use it!).

If this is the end of the road, can you wrap it up with some info on your training, your recruiting (not just who you bought, but what you went looking for and why) any anything else you can think of.

Thanks again,

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