Sheffield United: The Premier League's Worst Club


Nov 26, 2019
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Chapter 1: Taking Over


Sheffield United, one of England's oldest clubs, celebrated automatic promotion at the end of the 2022/23 season and found themselves back in the Premier League. However, their return has been nothing short of a disaster and, with 10 league games remaining, they look near certain to return to the Championship. The Blades have shipped a shocking 74 goals in just 28 matches, which calculates to an average of 2.6 goals conceded per game. But now is the time to rewind back to the start of the season and attempt to turn their fortunes around...


I come into the job with a fresh approach and a desire to make the team at least more competitive, if nothing else. Obviously, with the squad we've got, staying up will be difficult, but I believe I can make a better go of it than what the team has done in real life.


As hinted at earlier, Sheffield United are quite a historic club, not so much in terms of accolades, but in terms of the fact that their stadium has been in existence since 1855, originally a cricket ground, and their club was founded back in 1889. Despite winning the FA Cup 4 times, it's been almost 100 years since they last did, and we'll be looking to write some new history into the books with Sheffield United.

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Our board only expects us to 'attempt' to avoid relegation, which we should be capable of achieving. I'd love to stay up, of course, but it won't be easy.

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As for our supports, and none of our objectives are 'required' in terms of importance which is a good thing, but they would still like to see some attractive football and for us to manage to survive.

I've decided to start with the 'real-world' game mode, so real transfers will occur as they did in reality for the team. That means the January signings won't arrive until January and so forth. However, I do have the transfer window set to 'open,' but with a budget of 500k, I doubt we'll be doing too much business.
Chapter 2: Club Overview


It's difficult to properly assess the squad with the real-world transfer system meaning that the majority of incomings and outgoings haven't happened yet. With that in mind, though, I've done my best to highlight who I believe will be key players for us.

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Anel Ahmedhodzic is one of those who is already here, and he should be an important figure from the back. One factor that shouldn't be overlooked is stability, and, although he hasn't been at the club for that long himself, the fact that he was part of the promotion winning squad should mean that he is a valuable asset to our backline.

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Midfielder Gustavo Hamer had an excellent season for Coventry in the Championship last season, and I think he has the stats to carry over his solid form into the Premier League. He should provide energy and excitement from midfield, and we'll need it. He'll arrive in just under a months time.

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The squad took something of a flyer on young striker Cameron Archer in the transfer window, as the 21-year-old had made just a handful of Premier League appearances. However, he's shown plenty of promise and has the ability to provide some real firepower for us. Let's hope he can provide the goals in a side that doesn't have a lot of proven goalscorers in it.

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As for young talents, and the main one who isn't part of the first team is midfielder Oliver Arblaster. We'll be hoping he has a good season on loan at Port Vale and then he might be ready to play a role for us.


I plan to line up with a standard 4-3-3 to begin with. Nothing too fancy in terms of formation or tactics, and I feel that we should just aim to be sensible and solid until we feel we have the quality to play a more enticing brand of football.​
Chapter 3: First Month of Football

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Here we go, we haven't got an impossibly hard first month, but it will be a good introduction back to the Premier League and a test of our ability from the get go.

EPL Matchday 1: Brighton vs Sheffield United

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A very decent point to pick up on opening matchweek, a 0-0 draw with Europa League qualifiers Brighton. The main talking point here was a first half penalty that was missed by Joao Pedro, with goalkeeper Wes Foderingham proving the hero to deny the Brazilian from the spot. In truth, the rest of the game was dull, but that suits us, especially away from home.

EPL Matchday 2: Sheffield United vs Fulham

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A 2-2 draw against Fulham is not a terrible result, but it is tinged with disappointment after we threw away a 2 goal lead. Foderingham actually managed to save another penalty, this time from Raul Jimenez, who would've given Fulham a 1-0 lead. We had a penalty of our own on the cusp of half-time and converted it through Ollie Norwood. Substitute Andre Brooks netted to put us 2-0 up but we were unable to hold our lead and Fulham found their way back level.

EPL Matchday 3: Everton vs Sheffield United

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Three games, three draws, and all of them solid enough. FM hasn't quite updated Everton's points deduction reduction, so they start with -10 rather than -6. That works in our favour as they'll likely be a relegation candidate along with us.They were the better side here, but once again, it was not an entertaining match and a 0-0 is probably fair.

Carabao Cup 2nd Round: Sheffield United vs Burnley

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I'll be honest - and maybe it's not what the fans will want to hear - but a big part of me wanted to get eliminated here. We weren't going to win the Carabao Cup, and whilst a cup run is always a nice thing, our lack of quality depth means that the less congested our fixture list is, the better. The positive here was Cameron Archer netting his first goal for the club.

Player of the Month

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It has to be Foderingham, right? Our goalkeeper saved penalties in back-to-back games to start the season, and then followed that up with a clean sheet against Everton. Not a bad start for him at all.

League Table

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Unbeaten, but also winless. Our start to the season has been respectable and we're proving competitive. Hopefully we can pick up our first win of the season in September, though.​
Chapter 4: Picking Up Vital Points

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We face a couple of the big boys this month with Manchester United and Tottenham to play, but we then have two games against potential relegation candidates in Wolves and Burnley.

EPL Matchday 4: Sheffield United vs Mancehster United

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We were extremely close to taking a point up against Manchester United before they scored a late, late winner in the 96th minute with what was virtually the final kick of the match. A tough one to take, but we can take pride in the fact that we were so close to coming away with something from this game.

EPL Matchday 5: Tottenham vs Sheffield United

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Foderingham was our hero many times last month, and he proved so again here, making a few important stops as we take a valuable point away at Tottenham. We didn't create much ourselves, mustering just two shots, neither of which were on target, but we worked hard defensively and got a hard-earned point from it.

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Unfortunately Cameron Archer will be out for the next month with a calf strain. Goalscoring has proved an issue, as we've scored just twice in five games, both goals coming in the one match.

EPL Matchday 6: Sheffield United vs Burnley

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This was really the first match I went into where I felt we were favourites, and this is the type of game we need to win if we want to stay up. So it was somewhat frustrating that we were only able to come away with a point up against Burnley at home. We played a more expansive game but that led to more chances at both ends, so the draw was a fair reflection of the match. We did have stoppage time with a man advantage but weren't able to make anything of it.

EPL Matchday 7: Wolves vs Sheffield United

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We do finally pick up our first win of the season though, on matchday 7. It comes away from home to Wolves in what was a tightly contested game where we battled for every ball and came away with maximum points. Chris Basham's header put us ahead early but Wolves responded quickly. A close range finish from Gus Hamer late in the first half put us back in front and we spent the second period holding on for a crucial victory.

Player of the Month


Wes Foderingham had another standout month between the sticks, making several stops throughout and is deserving of our Player of the Month award in back-to-back months.

League Table

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One defeat in seven Premier League games is very impressive, and we could well be unbeaten if not for that 96th minute Manchester United goal. Our defence has been extremely solid, but, at the same time, our attack hasn't been as fluid as we'd like it to be.​
Chapter 5: A Difficult Run


This month has three fixtures for us: Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City. If we gain a point in any of those games, I'll be happy.

EPL Matchday 8: Sheffield United vs Chelsea

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Close, but we suffer a narrow defeat to Chelsea, losing 2-1. They went ahead through a penalty early on, but we stayed in the game and levelled through a Reece James own goal. They continued to mount pressure on us, though, and it payed off in the second half, with Cole Palmer netting what proved to be the winning goal.

EPL Matchday 9: Liverpool vs Sheffield United

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Going into an away game at Anfield, should I have expected anything else other than defeat? This is about as tough a game as we could ask for and we were never going to get anything out of it. We kept it to 1-0 until the 90th minute when they scored a second, but we failed to register a single shot as I pretty much had everyone back.

EPL Matchday 10: Sheffield United vs Manchester City

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Coming into this match, Manchester City had won all of their opening 9 games, so I was naturally expecting another rough night. However, whilst we did have to weather significant pressure, we managed to become the first side to take points off City as we mustered a significant 1-1 draw.

Player of the Month


A hat-trick of Player of the Month awards for Wes Foderingham. We had a single digit amount of shots across three games this month, so none of our attackers were really in contention. And at the other end, we faced several shots in each match, many of which Foderingham saved. The man has been a revelation between the sticks, and therefore deserves this award once again.

League Table

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We are just two points ahead of the relegation zone and we desperately need another win soon.​
Chapter 6: Poor Form Continues

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The tough run of fixtures continue with Arsenal up next, but we then host Bournemouth and travel to Brentford, two games where we have a chance of taking something.

EPL Matchday 11: Arsenal vs Sheffield United

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We mustered 1 shot in the whole of this game and it was a 27th minute missed penalty by Oliver Norwood. Just four minutes later and Arsenal got what proved to be the winning goal of the game through a Jakob Kiwior header. If we'd managed to convert from the spot, perhaps this result could've been different, but it was the only chance we had and Arsenal deserved the win regardless.

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We've had a tough run of games recently, but I've still been disappointed with the fact that we lack any chance creation whatsoever. I changed the formation going into the Bournemouth game to a front two, which hopefully might provide us with a little more firepower.

EPL Matchday 12: Sheffield United vs AFC Bournemouth

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The formation may have changed, but the playstyle remained the same. Once again we were flat and unable to create much of note in the attacking third of the pitch. A penalty was again the main flashpoint, but whilst we missed ours in the last game, Bournemouth converted theirs and it won them the game.

EPL Matchday 13: Brentford vs Sheffield United

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We earn a point away to Brentford, which could prove to be a vital one. We might just be one of the most boring Premier League teams to watch given the amount of games we've had finish 0-0 or 1-0 this season, but if it gets us survival, it's all worth it.

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The one player I didn't want to pick up an injury was Wes Foderingham. He has been sensational for us between the sticks and is a big reason why our backline hasn't conceded many goals this season. But he'll miss the next 6 weeks with a broken finger - a tough blow.

Player of the Month


Maybe this is getting boring at this point, but there is simply no other candidate but Foderingham for a fourth month in a row. His performance level, in terms of match rating, is head and shoulders above anyone else. But he'll miss December, so someone else will win this award for the first time this season in the next month.

League Table

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The relegation zone is looming but we're staying just above it for now. We'll need to pick up points soon though, because Everton look like they'll surely make their way out of it after they recover from the points deduction.​
Chapter 7: A Vital Month

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December is full of fixtures, and a result there are a lot of points at stake this month. This could be a season defining set of games.

EPL Matchday 14: Sheffield United vs Crystal Palace

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Having not scored at all in the previous month, the relief on my face was plain to see when Rhian Brewster lashed the ball home from close range after 25 minutes. Our lead didn't last for too long, and Odsonne Edouard levelled the match 9 minutes later. Even though we didn't win the game, we played much, much better today and that gives me hope for the rest of the month.

EPL Matchday 15: Sheffield United vs Luton

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Back-to-back 1-1 draws in the league as we fail to win against bottom-placed Luton. Of all our matches this season, a home fixture to 20th was probably our most winnable. We haven't been favourites in many matches this season, but this was a rare occasion where we were. Unfortunately, we have to settle for a frustrating draw.

EPL Matchday 16: Nottingham Forest vs Sheffield United

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We have drawn all of our games this month so far, and all by a scoreline of 1-1, and in all three of them, we've taken a 1-0 lead but been unable to hold onto it. Our first half here was arguably our best half of the entire season, as we created chances whilst nullifying them at the other end. In the second half, though, and they began to get in behind with more frequency, eventually leading to an equaliser from Morgan Gibbs-White.

EPL Matchday 17: Sheffield United vs West Ham

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Having conceded goals that cost us points in the final 15 minutes of our previous two games, it was our turn to net late on, as we finally managed our second win of the season, a 2-0 success over West Ham. Vini Souza was immense today and stepped up when we needed him most, netting from the spot and then setting up Ben Osborn to finish the game. So, so important.

EPL Matchday 18: Newcastle vs Sheffield United

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We were so close to taking a very respectable point against Newcastle at St James Park, but a 90th minute Joelinton winner meant they took all three points. Once again, the game was decided by a late goal, as we were unable to effectively see out the match.

EPL Matchday 19: Sheffield United vs Aston Villa

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Our fourth 1-1 draw this month, which is quite a remarkable stat in itself. This one is one that I'm happy with, though, as Villa are a good side and taking points of them is a good result for us. This game was more or less the mirror image of the Forest one, as this time our first half performance was poor, but we stepped it up in the second period and deserved our equaliser.

EPL Matchday 20: Fulham vs Sheffield United

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In what was potentially the most boring game of the season, neither side had a shot on target. Nothing more to say on this one.

Player of the Month


I mentioned Vinicius Souza's name for the West Ham game, but he's been terrific all month. His performance level has noticeably stepped up and he's become one of our most consistent players. Really impressive from him this month.

League Table

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We've lost less games this season than 6th placed Chelsea, but won the equal least amount at the same time. Perhaps our most impressive stat is that we haven't conceded 3 goals in a league game yet this season, but our goalscoring remains an issue. January will be important as we have some good players coming in (e.g. Ben Brereton Diaz, Ivo Grbic) as well as some more crucial fixtures.​
Chapter 8: January Window Opens

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With the window open, the board have injected some funds into the budget, leaving us with around 20 million pounds to spend.

EPL Matchday 21: Sheffield United vs Brighton

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We lose at home to Brighton in what is a somewhat disappointing outcome, given that they were two places below us in the table coming into this game. It was tightly contested and light on chances, but a second half James Milner penalty got the job done for Brighton in this one.

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One of the pre-arranged transfers was a loan deal for Ben Brereton Diaz of Villarreal. He immediately comes in as our best striker on paper, and will be an important addition to a side desperately lacking in goals.

FA Cup Third Round: Sheffield United vs Carlisle United

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Even if they are League One opposition, it feels refreshing simply to win a game. It's just my third win as manager, and Ben Brereton Diaz notched a debut goal in the 7th minute. Hopefully that's a sign of things to come from him.

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I made a signing of my own next, and I decided to spend the entire January budget on the one player. Although we need to improve our overall quality, the squad was in dire need of reinforcements on the wing, specifically the right-hand side. In comes 18-year-old Assane Diao from Real Betis to fix that problem. It's a big ask, but Diao is an exciting youngster so here's hoping he can live up to his potential.

EPL Matchday 22: Sheffield United vs Everton

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Another poor result as we once again find ourselves toothless against opposition around us in the table. Regardless of the fact that Everton would be top half without their points deduction, I still felt that we were capable of earning a point, but we seemed off the pace from the get go and, although it took a while, an Everton win was always coming.

FA Cup 4th Round: Huddersfield vs Sheffield United

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Our FA Cup journey comes to a somewhat abrupt end after we exit at the hands of Huddersfield in the 4th round. We seemed to have control of the game without testing the opposition keeper too much in the opening stages. That was the case until a rash challenge from Jayden Bogle saw him sent off. Huddersfield then gained confidence and took the lead through a rebounded effort in the 62nd minute. It seemed that our blushes were going to be spared when Cam Archer dragged us back level in the 91st minute, but Sorba Thomas had other ideas, netting a 94th minute goal to send Huddersfield through and condemn us to elimination.

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Ivo Grbic was the other pre-arranged arrival coming in this month, and he comes in as our best keeper star-rating wise. Of course, I'm happy with the signing, but it does present me with something of a dilemma given that Wes Foderingham has undoubtedly been our best player this season, although his form hasn't been quite the same since that broken finger injury. Grbic now will provide him stiff competition and we'll see who becomes our number one.

EPL Matchday 23: Manchester United vs Sheffield United

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Following a 2-0 loss at Old Trafford to Manchester United, we end the month of January scoreless in the Premier League, and not for the first time this season have we gone a month of league games without a goal. Defeats like this are expected, though, and we never looked like pulling any surprises today.

Player of the Month


It's difficult to give out Player of the Month awards in a month where, essentially, no one has played particularly well. Anel Ahmedhodzic has been consistent at the back if nothing else, and that's enough for me to give him the nod for Player of the Month for January.

League Table

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We're still sitting just above the relegation zone, as we have done all season. At this point, we're being saved by the fact that the three teams below us are somehow all in worse form than we are.​
Chapter 9: Key Relegation Clashes

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We begin February with two more tough fixtures, against Tottenham and Chelsea respectively, but then we have what could be two of the most important games in the rest of our season - 20th placed Burnley away followed up by a home clash with 18th placed Wolves. Losing both would likely drag us in to the relegation zone, whilst winning them would steer us closer to potential safety. Let's hope for the latter.

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We did have one more arrival, technically a January signing but he didn't arrive until the 1st of February. I'm personally not a massive fan of Mason Holgate as I don't think he's quite Premier League level, but he might get some game time if needed, so not a bad option to have considering we don't have to pay his wages whatsoever.

EPL Matchday 24: Sheffield United vs Tottenham

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We begin the month with a very respectable 0-0 draw against Tottenham, although it does stretch our goalless run of games. We gave them a good game and matched them in terms of chances, although their weren't many for either side. A good start to an important month's worth of games.

EPL Matchday 25: Chelsea vs Sheffield United

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Of course, I didn't expect anything from an away fixture at Stamford Bridge, but a goal would've been nice, simply to instil some confidence for games to come. A 2-0 defeat here makes it 6 league games in a row without a single goal to our name. They got their goals in the first twenty minutes, and, for the first time this season, it looked like we could be on the end of a thrashing. However, we steadied and manage to see out the game at that scoreline.

EPL Matchday 26: Burnley vs Sheffield United

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An absolutely vital victory against bottom placed Burnley in what was a massive game for us. We began somewhat slowly but grew into the first half as it went on, and were rewarded with a fine finish from Ben Brereton Diaz. Rhian Brewster added a second early in the second half and that ensured a vital victory.

EPL Matchday 27: Sheffield United vs Wolves

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What's this? Back-to-back wins? We back up our fine performance against Burnley with the same result against fellow relegation contenders Wolves. After winning 2 of our first 25 league games, we take maximum points in consecutive matches to make our position in the division look a lot healthier.

Player of the Month


Ben Brereton's arrival in January has been a blessing for us so far, as the Chilean striker scored two crucial goals for us this month to give us the lead in both of those crucial relegation fixtures. He looks a cut above our other attacking options in terms of goalscoring, and his contributions were key this month.

League Table

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Yes, we haven't climbed the table at all, but we are now 8 points clear of the relegation zone. Survival is seeming like a real possibility after those two wins and I'd be disappointed if we went down now.​
Chapter 10: Another Tough Run


It's just as well we notched up those two wins at the end of last month, because we've got the top three teams in City, Liverpool and Arsenal before an away trip to Bournemouth.

EPL Matchday 28: Sheffield United vs Liverpool

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We were moments away from a famous victory against title challengers Liverpool, but we were unable to hold on, with Curtis Jones neeting a stoppage time equaliser to ensure the points were shared. Despite the disappointment, it's still a very credible point for us and we can be proud of our performance today.

EPL Matchday 29: Manchester City vs Sheffield United

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It was another close game against Manchester City, although in scoreline only. They should've scored at least two more, but we seem to be immune to conceding more than 2 goals in a game. Ben Brereton Diaz has scored in 4 straight games and is set to be our top scorer despite having only been here since January.

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Although he has barely featured this season, it is still an unfortunate injury for us. Max Lowe will miss the next 2 months, which is practically the rest of the season. He's been plagued by injury all season so it's another tough blow for him.

EPL Matchday 30: Sheffield United vs Arsenal

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I didn't expect us to get anything from this game either, but it was slightly disappointed that we conceded so soon after taking a 1-0 lead. Gus Hamer slotted home a fine finish from the edge of the box, but it lasted just 2 minutes, and Arsenal took the momentum of a first half equaliser to go on and get the winner in the second period.

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Rhian Brewster has been a regular in the side despite not having a good season. He now faces a spell out of the side for a month and we'll see if someone can take his place whilst he's out with a twisted ankle.

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We also had our youth intake, which is largely unspectacular, but has one standout talent in French youngster Daniel Jezequel. Excited to see how he grows over his time here.

EPL Matchday 31: AFC Bournemouth vs Sheffield United

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How we didn't manage a goal in this game is beyond me. Yes, they were already two to the good inside the first 20 minutes, but we dominated the first half in terms of chances. And after the sending off, we had them under pressure for over half an hour, but simply couldn't make it count. I don't think I've ever been as frustrated by a result in my tenure here.

Player of the Month


Jayden Bogle has been consistent at right-back and ever since making him the starting wing-back over George Baldock, we've carried more of an attacking threat and that's been important in our fight for survival.

League Table

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Unfortunately, Luton and Wolves have both recorded 2 wins in their last 5 games, meaning the gap between us and them had been reduced once more. The relegation fight looks like it'll go right down to the wire.​
Chapter 11: Survival Fight Continues

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We've a huge month coming up, as we face three bottom half sides in Brentford, Crystal Palace and Luton before finishing off the month with a game against the over-achieving Nottingham Forest.

EPL Matchday 32: Sheffield United vs Brentford

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Late goals have haunted us a few times this season, and it has happened once again. We just seem to tire out as games wear on and despite being the better team for the majority of this one, a 93rd minute Brentford equaliser means that the spoils are shared.

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A takeover is looming over the club at the moment and we've been placed under a transfer embargo for now.

EPL Matchday 33: Crystal Palace vs Brentford

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A tough one to take. We were just a couple of points behind Palace going into this one, and had the chance to jump up a position with a win. Instead, it's the opposite as we slump to a 1-0 defeat. A draw may have been fairer as neither team played better than the other, but it was an uninspired showing from us.

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The result was made worse by the fact that Jayden Bogle will now miss the next 2 or 3 weeks with a pulled calf.

EPL Matchday 34: Luton vs Sheffield United

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An absolutely massive victory as we win 3-1 away from home against Luton! Remarkably, this is the first team we've had a game this season where one team has hit three goals, and thankfully that team was us. We turned in what was arguably our best performance of the season and dominated the whole game. If anything, it could've been more!

EPL Matchday 35: Sheffield United vs Nottingham Forest

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From elation to frustration as we end the month by conceding another late goal, this time consigning us to defeat against Nottingham Forest. They're having an excellent season, challenging for Europe, but we looked like we were going to take a point. However, it was not to be and this could prove to be a crucial blow with how tight the relegation fight is.

Player of the Month


I introduced young midfielder Ollie Arblaster into the line-up and he's been rewarding me. His namesake Ollie Norwood has been underperforming and Tom Davies hasn't been great either, so Arblaster has gotten his chance and been in fine form since doing so.

League Table

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It really couldn't be any tighter, with just 2 points separating 15th and 19th. We've actually climbed a place this month, but if anything it's made things more nervy as we are no longer 3 points clear, but just the 1.​
Chapter 12: The End of the Season

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There are five teams really left in the fight for survival. The fixture lists are as follows:

15. Crystal Palace:
vs. Newcastle (A) 11th
vs. Aston Villa (H) 9th
vs. Brighton (A) 17th

16. Sheffield United:
vs. West Ham (A) 14th
vs. Newcastle (H) 11th
vs. Aston Villa (A) 9th

17. Brighton:
vs. Bournemouth (H) 12th
vs. Brentford (A) 10th)
vs. Crystal Palace (H) 15th

18. Wolves:
vs. Burnley (A) 20th
vs. Luton (H) 19th
vs. Chelsea (H) 6th

19. Luton:
vs. Nottingham Forest (H) 7th
vs. Wolves (A) 18th
vs. West Ham (A) 14th

Certainly, we do not have an easy run in. The away fixture against West Ham might be the most winnable, but it won't be easy. We're in an unfortunate position where the teams directly above and below us have games against each other, meaning that some of them are guaranteed points, whilst we're guaranteed nothing. Therefore, we'll likely have to win at least one game or draw two to have a chance of staying up.

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Before any of the end-of-season drama began, though, our purported takeover fell through.

EPL Matchday 36: West Ham vs Sheffield United

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Shocking. Our worst performance of the season. Yes, we were level for 75 minutes, but we'd mustered up 1 off target shot and weathered a storm for the whole game. What made it more frustrating was that the opening goal came from an error from Ivo Grbic, who threw the ball stright to Crysencio Summerville.

Results elsewhere:
Newcastle 2-0 Crystal Palace
Burnley 0-3 Wolves
Brighton 1-1 Bournemouth
Luton 1-1 Nottingham Forest

A win for Wolves and a point for Brighton means that we now sit in 18th, level on points with Luton, who also drew.

EPL Matchday 37: Sheffield United vs Newcastle

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With this loss, it really looks like we'll be going down because an away trip to Villa Park will be difficult to get anything from. We really had to win this game, and at least we put up a fight, with Cameron Archer having a 79th minute goal disallowed.

Results elsewhere:
Crystal Palace 1-0 Aston Villa (A result that ensured Palace's survival)
Brentford 2-0 Brighton
Wolves 1-2 Luton

With Wolves on 32 points in 16th, Luton on 33 in 17th, and Brighton on 31 in 18th, we actually need to win against Villa to stay up. If we achieved that, we'd probably survive as I don't expect the others to all earn points, but it seems unlikely.

EPL Matchday 38: Aston Villa vs Sheffield United

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We got with a whimper as we suffer a 2-0 defeat against Aston Villa. I had to set us up in an attacking manner but we were wasteful in possession and in terms of shots. For a season that at times seemed to promise us survival, we end up going down in 19th, despite having sat above the relegation zone for nearly all of the season.

There's no Player of the Month award this month as we failed to score, failed to take a point and ended up being relegated.

League Table

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Here's hoping we can find our feet in the Championship and come straight back up again. If we'd won just one of those final four games, we'd have stayed up. And it's difficult now to look back on some of those late goals we conceded, knowning that avoiding one or two of them could have kept us up.​
Chapter 13: Season Review


Our return to the Premier League ultimately saw us relegated, finishing in 19th. But the table doesn't tell the full story.

Certainly I don't want to look back on this season entirely in doom and gloom, as we proved to be quite a competitive side. For much of the season, it looked like we would stay up, especially when we were 8 points clear of the relegation zone with 11 games left on the season. And, in what is quite an incredible stat, we managed to avoid conceding 3 goals in a single game for the entire season. That's a very impressive statline considering the strength of teams in this league.

Having said that, though, we just didn't have enough quality to keep us up. Earlier in the season, we drew a ton of games, but those points became losses as the season wore on, as we lost 7 of our final 10 games - our worst run of the season. Likewise, we struggled in attack. With the exception of Ben Brereton Diaz, who notched 7 goals in 16 league games, our second top scorer - Cameron Archer, netted just 3 times in 22 league appearances. It wasn't even a case of playing overly defensively, we were often wasteful, and the xG table would've kept us up, in 15th place.

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For his early season heroics, Wes Foderingham had the highest average rating of anyone in the side. He was perhaps somewhat unfairly replaced by January arrival Ivo Grbic, and perhaps I was duly punished for doing so, as our points total in the second half of the season dropped compared to the first.

For being the most consistent of the bunch, and playing a high number of matches, I'll give Player of the Season to Vinicius Souza. I'm not sure we'll be able to keep the Brazilian at the club for next season given that he's shown that he's Premier League level.

Rhian Brewster was probably the biggest disappointment, with just 3 goals in all competitions. Our side on the whole wasn't bad, though, it just lacked some of the star power that other teams in the division have. I'm hopeful we'll gain promotion back at the first time of asking, and I think we're capable of doing so.

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Following relegation, and the board had me in for a meeting, which was expected. I have to get 8 points from our first 5 Championship games if I'm to hold onto the job, but I feel we should be able to achieve that target.

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Perhaps the worst thing about the relegation is all the players who now want to leave. I had 7 players come to me and ask for a move, and I really have no choice but to heed their demands. It definitely seems as if we'll be undergoing something of an overhaul this summer.

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I did make the permanent transfer of James McAtee, however. Unsurprisingly, Ben Brereton Diaz had no interest in talking to us, but McAtee did. He didn't have an amazing season, but he's got definite potential and I think he'll do well in the Championship for us.

That's all for the first season, we've likely got a big transfer window coming up and then we'll begin what we'll hopefully be a promotion-winning Championship campaign.​
Chapter 14: Summer Transfer Window

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I suspect we've a busy window ahead, judging by the number of players who want to leave. We don't have a budget after the McAtee deal was made permanent, but we should have some money coming in, and it'll be a case of spending what we earn for the rest of the summer.

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The first one out the door was right-back Jayden Bogle, which is a real shame, because he became one of my most dependable players as the season wore on. He had a small release clause, but instead of that being paid, he's gone out on a loan deal to newly promoted Ipswich. He has a future fee included, as he requested, but part of me hopes that they don't pay it.

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In what is something of a strange move, George Baldock is off to Spain to join Villarreal. I was surprised that they bid for him but was more than happy to accept, as he had a poor season last year and at 31, likely won't be getting any better.

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I decided to give Jack Robinson a new contract, one that will most likely keep him at the club until 2027. He's a consistent, experienced face around the club and that will be important amongst what is a fairly young group of players.

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Anis Slimane had a tough time of things with us last season. He barely featured due to us having better options in midfield and we part ways with him after just one season as a result.

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Oliver Norwood has been a loyal servant for the club, playing over 200 times in 6 years here. He'll be missed, but his ability did seem to be on the decline and he wasn't going to get too much game time.

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After a few outgoings, I had raised enough of a budget to enter back into the transfer market and bring some players in. Sunderland's Timothee Pembele was the first, a 21-year-old French defender who can play right-back or centre-back.

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Although Pembele was a right-back, I still wasn't entirely satisfied with our depth in that position, especially with Jayden Bogle and George Baldock both having left. In comes Calvin Ramsay on a season long loan from Liverpool. It's an inexpensive, low-risk deal and he should prove a solid option for us.

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The two positions I was focused on improving were right-back and the left-wing. With the former out of the way, I addressed the latter by loaning in Morgan Rogers from Aston Villa. He should be a quality player in the Championship and is able to play anywhere across the frontline, which could certainly come in handy.

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I like the idea of having a loanee be a depth option and then having a permanent deal struck for one in the same position as well. We did that with Ramsay and Pembele for right-back, and I've gone ahead and done the same for Rogers and Slovakian winger Leo Sauer. This deal took up the rest of the budget but I'm hoping it'll be worth it. At just 18, he's got a lot of potential and the Championship should be a good place to develop that. He's also a versatile option, being able to play on either wing as well as in midfield.

That's all the deals for now, surprisingly we haven't made too many major sales. With the exception of Bogle, we've managed to hold on to the rest of our wantaway stars. They're all transfer listed by request, but no bids have come in for them, with the exception of loan offers for Anel Ahmedhodzic that I've, thus far, rejected. With the window still open, though, there is plenty of time left for deals. I'm happy with how the squad is shaping up currently, though.​
Chapter 15: Life in the Championship Begins

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Well, here we go. Let's hope we get off to a positive start in our return to the second tier.

EFL Championship Matchday 1: Derby vs Sheffield United

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Our first game got off to the best possible start as Cameron Archer netted within the opening minute against Derby. However, we weren't able to create much else through the 90 minutes, and they got a deserved equaliser before the 30 minute mark.

Carabao Cup 1st Round: Sheffield United vs Sheffield Wednesday

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We had a brief Carabao Cup campaign last season, and this season's is just as brief, as a rotated squad falls to Sheffield Wednesday on penalties. This one is a much more disappointing exit as I had expected us to win this one.

EFL Championship Matchday 2: Sheffield United vs Leeds

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Leeds are the favourites for to win the division this season and so this was an early look at a promotional rival. We managed a narrow 1-0 victory thanks to another early goal, this time in the 3rd minute from Jack Robinson.

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It had been just three games in all competitions this season, but the football we were playing just wasn't good enough, in my eyes. We were flat and largely uninspired, and I think we can do a lot better with a more attacking system.

EFL Championship Matchday 3: Blackpool vs Sheffield United

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The tactical switch made an immediate impact by giving us a much more exciting game, and one that we won, despite it at times looking unlikely. We found ourselves 2-1 down until the 78th minute, where upon three goals in the final 15 minutes saw us overturn a deficit and notch up a 4-2 win against Blackpool.

EFL Matchday 4: Sheffield United vs Birmingham

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And next up was our biggest win of my managerial career so far. We thumped Birmingham 6-2, although it was 2-2 at half time. The high press seems to be quite effective at forcing errors and we're capitalising on them so far. Hopefully our goalscoring can continue to be even half as prolific.

EFL Championship Matchday 5: Millwall vs Sheffield United

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A rather frustrating draw against Millwall, however. We had over 20 shots at their goal and piled on the pressure, especially after their late red card. But it was not to be, as some of the all too familiar wastefulness returned in this game.

EFL Championship Matchday 6: Sheffield United vs Swansea

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We end the month with a win as we turn around a 1-0 deficit to win 2-1 against Swansea. We seem to have fallen behind in a few of our matches, but we seem to be very capable of falling behind and then fighting back to earn points, and, in this case, victory.

Player of the Month


Morgan Rogers has made an instant impact on the team, being the hero in the Blackpool game and having 5 goal contributions in the opening month. Not a bad start for him at all.

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Our first month in the Championship earns us our first Manager of the Month award as well.

League Table

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We're top of the Championship which is where we'd love to remain for the entire season. It's still very early days, though.​
Chapter 16: Not All Smooth Sailing

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Four games this month, and we should be able to win at least three of them.

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Before our games begin, though, and the takeover rumours returned, this time with a new potential investor. We'll see if this one goes through.

EFL Championship Matchday 7: Sheffield United vs Watford

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Our first loss of the season comes at home to Watford. I'm not entirely sure quite how we lost this one, as we dominated for the majority of it. The more the game went on, and I started to get the feeling that they would go up the other end and ****** a late winner in typical FM fashion. And they did exactly that.

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And last season's Player of the Month will miss the rest of September with an ankle injury.

EFL Championship Matchday 8: QPR vs Sheffield United

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And it's back-to-back losses as we lose out in a tightly contested affair with QPR. Although the game was fairly even, I was still very disappointed with our performance. With our squad, we should be able to play a lot better and the mood has dropped this month compared to last.

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And it was another injury to add to the list, this time James McAtee being the injured party. He'll miss a month's worth of football.

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Centre-back Auston Trusty had a few complaints about his contract and requested a new one. He's an important member of our backline and I was more than happy to reward him with a new four-year deal.

EFL Championship Matchday 9: Cardiff vs Sheffield United

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Another frustrating result as we drop points away to Cardiff, who scored a late equaliser to deny us victory. Once again, we had most of the chances but, despite our goalscoring exploits last month, the goals have very much dried up this month and our chance conversion has been a problem.

EFL Championship Matchday 10: Sheffield United vs Middlesbrough

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After finishing last month unbeaten, we go a month's worth of games winless, which is nowhere near good enough in the Championship. I'm thinking of returning to the Control Possession system, because whilst the Gegenpress does create chances, we just don't seem to be getting results out of it.

Player of the Month


Gustavo Hamer was our most consistent player this month and has looked a class above the rest of our squad in the past couple of games. Whilst the others have struggled, he's still been pretty good.

League Table

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We're out of the play-offs for the time being but we hopefully won't be for long. Let's get back to winning ways next month, shall we?​
Chapter 17: A Return to Form

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After a patchy month's worth of football last month, where we went winless in four matches, we'll need to get back on track quickly if we're to ensure our place in the promotion hunt this season.

EFL Championship Matchday 11: Sheffield United vs Southampton

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Our winless run extends to five games, though a draw against promotion chasing Southampton isn't necessarily the worst result in the world. We got off to a good start after Anel Ahmedhodzic powered home a header in the opening 10 minutes, but they levelled midway through the second half.

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After a previous takeover attempt failed, we have a successful one and the club now has new owners.

EFL Championship Matchday 12: Bristol City vs Sheffield United

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I took advantage of an extra week off due to international break to make some tactical adjustments in training and offer some general motivational feedback to a few of the players whose morale was low. That seems to have paid off as we returned to form with a 4-0 win over Bristol City.

EFL Championship Matchday 13: Lincoln vs Sheffield United

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It took us a while to find the back of the net in this one, but it always seemed likely that we'd eventually score. Newly promoted Lincoln have been overachieving and posed us a threat, but we put in a really solid performance to earn ourselves victory.

EFL Championship Matchday 14: Sheffield United vs Luton Town

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It's three straights wins, and three clean sheets in those games too. Relegated Luton have struggled to adjust to life in the Championship and recently sacked their manager. We took full advantage of their difficulties with a commanding performance that saw us do the damage inside 31 minutes.

Player of the Month


Our Player of the Month for October was undoubtedly Max Lowe. He was in phenomenal form down the left hand side, racking up the assists and his all round play was superb.

League Table

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After a much improved month, we're back up to 5th place and just 4 points off the top.​