The Not So Special One - Worthing Football Club

FM_TNSSO

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I'm back with a new written story! It's been a whirlwind couple of months to be honest and after trying the whole streaming thing, it's just proving way too time consuming putting all the video content together and then taking the time to upload vids etc...with two kids and a full time job, I just don't have the free time to keep on top of it. On top of that, there's been some developments in my personal life as me and the Mrs decided to call it a day and I've moved into my own place, where the internet connection simply isn't quick enough to upload vids anyway, plus with me now having the kids 3 times a week, I don't intend to be playing Football Manager on the nights I have them over which makes it even tougher to keep up with the demands of a YouTube channel! So I'm back to writing which is where my first love for FM story telling is anyway and this is my new career mode to return.

I'll be taking over at Worthing in the National League South, in a one club save as I look to take them to the top of English football. And there is no wonder there have been eyebrows raised at my appointment, being a complete unknown and everything!

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My manager profile reflects that of a manager down at this level with just a National B License coaching badge to my name and a playing reputation as a mere semi pro. The Worthing board must have been mad to hire me!

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Worthing have reached the heights of the National League South for the first time in their history, following promotion from the Ryman League Premier Division in 2021/22, winning that division with 31 wins from their 42 games. Some would say that previous manager, Adam Hinshelwood, was unlucky to lose his job, but when The Not So Special One becomes available, clubs will do the strangest things to secure his signature!

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Despite being newly promoted, under my guidance, Worthing are expected to have a successful campaign and the media predict a 9th placed finish for The Mackerel Men (yes that really is our nickname, whilst we're also known as The Rebels). With fairly basic facilities at the club, there is lots of room for improvement in the structure of the football club as we hopefully rise up the football pyramid, but it's good to see the club is financially secure with £70k in the bank.

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Woodside Road is home of Worthing Football Club and the 4,500 capacity stadium offers a 4G pitch with a red surrounding I've not seen at any other club before. I quite like it!

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At first glance, the squad I have to work with looks very mixed based on the star ratings. We've got some 'apparently' outstanding players and some 'god awful' players in the first team squad as well. We're definitely striker heavy, although we do seem to have good numbers in all positions across the pitch to be fair!

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So let's take a look at some of our key players. There is no doubt that Ollie Pearce is a beast of a striker for this level and he has 65 goals in 109 appearances for Worthing during his career so far. Last season was an exceptional one for Pearce as he bagged 35 goals in 40 games, leading the club to promotion in the process! It remains to be seen as to whether he can handle the step up to the higher level, but his numbers don't lie and if we can feed him the chances, I have confidence he can put them away!

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At the other end of the pitch, another key member of the team is the goalkeeper and our first choice is 21 year old, Harrison Male. This kid spent three years at Leeds between 2017 and 2020 and he looks REALLY GOOD for this lowly level! As long as the maturity is there with his young age, he should do alright between the sticks!

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In the centre of the park is 'the man with the hair'! Lewis White is a versatile centre mid who is comfortable playing a whole variety of roles and he should be able to fit into any type of formation or style I want to play. One of our most exciting players and he can make things happen on the pitch!

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We definitely look like a team that is stronger in attack than defence, but that's not to say we don't have a talented centre back in Antigua and Barbuda international (13 caps), Dan Bowry. Not the tallest at 5ft 11", but that makes him a little bit more mobile with some good pace and his strong positional sense, combined with good marking skills, should see him hold things together at the back for us.

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So that's some of the key players at the club. Now let's have a look at the staffing situation! It's not the greatest and there's plenty of vacancies to fill, including two of the most important roles at the club - I need a new Assistant Manager and Head of Youth Development as a matter of urgency.

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And Mick Fogden has got to be one of the oldest coaches in the game at the ripe old age of 79!

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I wasted no time appointing a new Assistant Manager in the form of Welshman Matthew Bishop. He has previous experience at a higher level than this and can help me as I start my managerial journey, having previously been assistant at Hereford, Newport County and Aldershot Town.

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And he was quickly followed through the door by new Head of Youth Development, Jimmy Phillips, who had been at Bolton from 1993-2016 as both player and staff.

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So with key staff now in place, let's take a look at what my new employers want from me this season. Playoffs is the goal!

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As far as the supporter profile goes, we bring in 400 season ticket holders a season, which isn't terrible for a National League South club. I mean, we only have double that in social media followers!! I will need to keep my fans happy as they hold a high influence on the board and the fans are in agreement with the board that playoffs should be the target!

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In our next update, I will show you the tactic I have come up with for this team and we will play some pre seaon friendlies to see how it works!
 
I like it more when it's written than live streams and video clips. Look at my story too.
 
Good to see you back mate even if its not under the best of circumstances
 
The tactic I have come up with is something totally 'out there' for me! Normally, I like good balance in all areas of the pitch, but this is something that focuses on having plenty of forwards available, with a narrow midfield to supply them - I'll be honest, it really took every bit of effort for me to deviate away from wingers! However, with so many strikers in the squad and a lack of wide midfielders, it seemed like the most logical option to play 3 up front!

The central striker players a supporting target man role and should be the taller and stronger of the strikers who will drop deeper to receive the ball to feet and hold it up, whilst also winning flick ons for the two advanced forwards who are the main goalscoring threat and will drift wide into the channels when required. Further width is provided by two attacking full backs who are encouraged forward, but having them on full back rather than wing back duty means they won't disregard their defensive duties so much. Two central defenders sit between them to complete the back line and have the additional cover of a DM to sit just in front and stop the opposition working the ball into the box through the middle. Both central midfielders are set to a mezzala role, simply because when we have the ball, I want them to drift wide and find space as our formation is such a narrow set up.

I have set mentality to cautious with a counter attacking mentality with the counter and counter press options selected when we don't have the ball. In possession, we will naturally focus the ball through the middle of the pitch, whilst waiting for the overlap on both sides with the attacking full backs bombing on! A high press and putting pressure on the opposition more often, should encourage us to push forward a bit more without the ball, but selecting the cautious mentality should ensure we don't leave ourselves exposed at the back!

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So how did the formation work in pre season. Pretty **** well to be fair! Only one defeat came at the hands of Chesterfield who are one of the better teams in the division above, so that can be forgiven. A total of 15 goals were put past lower league opposition in the first two games as the strikers ran riot, but the highlight was probably our final game which saw us record a confidence building victory over Halifax Town from the National League.

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Dan Thompson seems to have immediately adjusted to the target man role up front as he bagged 2 goals and 4 assists in 4 friendly appearances. He wasn't initially one of my first choice strikers, but I may have to rethink things after his impressive pre season campaign.

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At the heart of the defence was Aarran Racine who also impressed in 4 friendly appearances and has cemented his name as one of the first names on the teamsheet for our opening game of the season.

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There has only been one new addition to the squad so far as Cambridge United's 18 year old centre back, Mamadou Jobe, joins the club on loan for the season, to provide vital cover in the defence. He's not the greatest based on attributes alone, but could still step in and do a job for us and again his pre season wasn't too bad.

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With the season just around the corner, the bookies clearly don't rate us as highly as our own board and fans do. Playoffs is the internal expectation, but the bookies don't even fancy us for top half this year! I might have my work cut out here!

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The media's dream eleven is dominated by Ebbsfleet and Havant & Waterlooville, with winger Craig Tanner standing out as one of, if not the best player in the league.

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Our own league campaign will kick off against Hungerford Town at home, before an away day down in Dover.

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