Newport County - The Rise of the Welsh Dragon


Nov 11, 2014
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I previously attempted to do this challenge on a previous FM version and now want to have another crack at it.

The challenge is essentially to turn Newport County into a European force whilst only using Welsh players, which should in turn hopefully boost the National side. As I got to a bit of a stalemate last time I'll add a few additional rules although it is pretty simple:

1. Only sign Welsh Players

2. Can sign players with Welsh as a Second Nationality if uncapped by Primary Nation

3. Can sign players U18 from any Nationality in hope they become eligible for Wales

4. Sell any player if they get a Senior Cap for another Nation

So let's try make Wales a powerhouse in European football!

I was very tempted to start with Wrexham, but figured that they should hopefully do pretty well themselves and start creating some strong Welsh regens along the way. So therefore I've gone with Newport County.

We aren't really expected to do very much this season, so I don't really have any pressure (except to avoid relegation). So hopefully that will allow me to start assembling a tactic and squad for a potential playoff push next season.

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We only have 7 Welsh players in the squad the best of whom, Will Evans, pretty much instantly told me that he would be exploring his options at the end of the season. So not the greatest start.

The squad itself seems alright on balance, but I wont be expecting any miracles this season.

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I also have virtually no transfer budget to work with, so the overhaul of the squad may take a bit of time.

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Having failed to shift any players during the early stages of the transfer window, I decided to slash the players prize money bonus which freed up a bit of extra budget to work with. Not the most popular decision to make for a new manager, but as promotion is extremely unlikely this season it just gives me a bit of extra cash to sort the squad.

Having moved all those extra funds across to my wage budget, I managed to sign a former Welsh International as my first signing, Emyr Huws. Whilst he's not the player he once was, he still offers us plenty in midfield and at 29 probably has a good few seasons left in him.

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Our opening game of the season saw us come away with a point against an Accrington side that were relegated from League One last season. Not a bad result, and a pleasing performance as we appeared to control the game.

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I did then have a little look at the pre-season betting odds, which weren't great.... I'm still confident we'll avoid a relegation battle even if the bookies don't.

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Early signs did start to suggest that the bookies may have been right, but a couple of wins in our last couple of games after a slight tactical change has given me renewed hope. We did bomb out of the League Cup as well thanks to Colchester but if we are to have cup run I'd rather it was the FA Cup anyway for those extra financial rewards.

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It is still very early days in the season but to be sat 11th after 9 games seems to be a pretty solid start considering all the pre-season predictions.

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We actually had just enough money left in the wage budget to sign another player, Joe Walsh. His attributes don't scream out that he'll be a great CB but I'm trusting my backroom staff and the fact he's rated as a 4* player. He only signed until the end of the season anyway so see how he fares.

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Right, so I actually rattled through the season, periodically holidaying parts as I quickly realised the massive summer squad overhaul that would be upon me and the fact a large amount of these players will be leaving the club anyway.

We did have a bit of a wobble towards midway through the season where a relegation battle looked possible, but after tweaking to a rather more conventional (and basic) tactic playing more direct football we started to open up a nice gap and finish in a very mid-table position of 15th.

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Considering the board were expecting us to bravely fight relegation it was a pretty successful opening season that earned me a 1 year contract extension. Lets not talk about the other competitions though...going out in our opening round of each.

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The budget is essentially just the same as last season with regards to wages. So is essentially going to be me binning off a load of players and replacing them with some Welsh stars.

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Having filtered out those that would be leaving on free transfers this is all that remained of my senior squad - 13 players. Of which 7 are Welsh, which is pretty good and the others will likley leave at the end of next season when their contracts expire.

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One bit of news that has really helped though is our youth recruitment. We have 5 new very exciting players on the books, obviously the 5* potential is all relative to the squad but are good to have on the books nonetheless.

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Nathan Davies probably looked the best with regards to attributes and wouldn't be surprised if he made his debut next season depending on what players we manage to find on the free agent market.

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Now it's time to scour the free transfer market and rebuild this team.​
It's been a very busy summer at the club as 17 new players have joined! These were all a combination of loans and free transfer and obviously saw a large number of players also released.

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We did also manage to sell on a couple of players for decent money. Both players arent Welsh and has already told me they wanted to leave at the end of their contracts so it made sense to try cash in on them while I could.

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Especially as our finances are pretty terrible and the club appears to be haemorrhaging money...

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Even though we currently have the lowest salary expenditure in the League. All of this really reiterates the point importance of getting promoted as quickly as possible.

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So this is the squad we have to get us through the season. We managed to secure a few decent loan signings with no wage contribution which is a big bonus for the club. I still dont think we'll have the quality to make it out of the League this season but would like to be close-ish to the playoff spots come the end.

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It's been a mixed start to the season that included a massive win over Notts County. I'm still playing around with our tactic with the main aim of making us a defensively solid side, but this is proving to be more difficult that I anticipated.

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We are still expected to be fighting for survival this season so maybe I'm being a little over ambitious.

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Looks like you have a load of Welsh potential there! Just got to hang in there for a couple of seasons to get them to develop first! Great idea for a save though mate! (y)😁