Jun 5, 2015
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After my first attempt at a save with Bologna crashed, i have decided to have another go, this time with West Bromwich Albion, using a new database with the side preparing to start life in the Championship. There has been uproar at the club, with fans disapointed that club favourite Darren Moore has been replaced, and that a BAME coach has been replaced by a relative rookie. My job will be to prove that i deserve to be at the club, and to gain promotion in the first season. With the club set to fail FFP, i will have to sell players for good money, and replace on the "cheap". I am 2 games into the season, so will update with the transfers in/out, and then go onto the squad.

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Transfers Out

Chris Brunt - The 32 year old moves on for a decent fee to allow the younger players in the squad to progress
Nacer Chadli - The big sale, £26.5m puts us safely financially, and gets rid of a player that i don't personally think fits in with our style of play
Craig Dawson - The one we might miss, a decent fee for the player, but will be hard to replace, especially as he also plays at RB
Hal Robson-Kanu - Sold on the cheap to get the wages off the clubs bill
5 players also left on loan for progression with first team football

Transfers In

Kieran Dowell - Attacking midfielder comes in as back up to James Morrison, but will start as first choice as Morrison is injured at the beginning of the season.
Obbi Oulare - Target man brought in as back up to both Dwight Gayle & Jay Rodriguez
Leandro Castan - Major coup, the ex-Roma centre back comes in as a free to improve our centre of defence.
Reece Oxford - FFP is important... Yeah, £30m for Oxford, £10m upfront and the rest in installments, i've decided that if i can afford it, he could be the main man at the back for a decade.


The squad looks strong, the new guys will improve the squad and hopefully it will be enough to see us promoted.
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Game 1 - Sky Bet Championship - Middlesbrough - Riverside Stadium
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First game in charge of the Baggies, and i can safely say that apart from a couple of defensive lapses, i was very happy to come away from this game with a win. Jay Rodriguez performed well up top, and both Barnes and Phillips scoring shows the attacking strength we have on the wings. Big shout out to Conor Townsend who was signed by Moore from Scunthorpe. Despite not being up to the standard i would want, and having not played in pre season due to Kieran Gibbs being first choice, he stepped up with a 7.2 and an assist.

Game 2 - Sky Bet Championship - Blackburn Rovers - The Hawthorns
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This was a closer game than i would have liked for my first game at our home ground, but a win is a win! We started well with Castan getting his first goal for the club, and Dwight Gayle saved us with a 90th minute penalty after Anichebe had equalised earlier in the game.

Game 3 - Sky Bet Championship - Derby County - Pride Park
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Absolute s***! The players did not perform at all, and in game injuries to Matt Phillips and Jake Livermore highlighted a lack of depth on the bench. We were unable to get a foothold on the game and deservedly lost to the better side on the day. A mistake by Townsend which led to the goal shows why Gibbs coming back from injury will be key.

Game 4 - Sky Bet Championship - Birmingham City - The Hawthorns
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The first derby game of my managerial career has the club entertaining Birmingham City, and the game does not disappoint the fans. 1-0 down after a Field handball leads to a Craig Gardner putting away a penalty, Dwight Gayle scores after a game of pinball in the opposition area. In the 92nd minute Harvey Barnes slotted the winner, leaving the fans delighted and myself happy that we have managed to keep up with the teams near the top of the table.

Game 5 - Carabao Cup 2nd Round - Bristol Rovers - The Hawthorns
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This game was not one of our best for sure, but in the end we have come away with a win, and progression to the next round of the cup. Again, its our wingers who get the goals, with Rodriguez getting his after moving to centre forward in the 2nd half.

The draw for the cup throws up a Black Country derby against Wolves at the Hawthorns.
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Game 6 - Sky Bet Championship - Nottingham Forest - City Ground
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A 1-0 win against a Forest side showing a complete lack of discipline puts us top of the table! Jay Rodriguez strikes again, and with Watson & Colback getting sent off, we kept calm and didn't expend any unecessary energy to take home the 3 points.

League Table
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Top Goalscorer - Jay Rodriguez - 4 Goals
Highest Average Rating - James Morrison - 7.10
Most Assists - James Morrison & Harvey Barnes - 2

Managers Player Of The Month: Harvey Barnes(2 Goals, 2 Assists)/Jay Rodriguez(4 Goals, 1 Assist) - Both players proved themselves to be invaluable to the side as they contributed both goals and assists to push the Baggies to the top of the table.​

1st competitive month as a manager and I've been selected as the Manager of the Month. To be expected i suppose considering the form we are in, but still nice to get an award so early into my career. Harvey Barnes comes second in the young player of the month category, and I'm beginning to feel comfortable that even with a small squad, we can go on to have a good season.

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Speaking of Barnes, before the window closed i managed to extend his loan spell with us for a further season. If he continues as he has done in this first spell, we could have a really good player on our hands.

In other news, despite my insistence that we are going to be more careful financially, the news shows that we were the 4th highest spenders in the summer transfer window.

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Game 7 - Sky Bet Championship - Leeds United - The Hawthorns
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Before and after the game, Marcelo Bielsa commented on me as a manager, saying he was unimpressed with me, and called me average. Well, the average manager wins 4-1 and shows that the right motivation can spur a team on. Both Jay Rodriguez & Harvey Barnes scored doubles, but we are going to have to do without Rodriguez for 2 weeks after picking up an injury in the game.

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Game 8 - Sky Bet Championship - Norwich City - Carrow Road
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The good run continues as we beat Norwich, with Oliver Burke especially impressive with 1 goal and 2 assists. My major worry is the performances of Dwight Gayle. I expected him to be prolific in the Championship, but he has not impressed in the way i expected.

Game 9 - Sky Bet Championship - Sheffield United - The Hawthorns
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A pathetic display with 0 shots on target, the players are going to have to step up in the next game to ensure that we stay on target for promotion. Again, Rodriguez being unavailable shows our struggles upfront.

Game 10 - Carabao Cup 3rd Round - Wolverhampton Wanderers - The Hawthorns
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A good win on penalties in the Black Country Derby. The side performed extremely well to keep a talented Wolves side at bay, and we look forward to the next round of the cup.

Our reward is a home game against Reading, so i'm hopeful of further progression in the tournament. The flip side is that the extra games will take its toll on the players, so will have to be managed properly.
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Game 11 - Sky Bet Championship - Swansea City - Liberty Stadium
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The problem with a small squad, is the issue of fitness levels, and this last game proved it. We struggled to keep up with the tempo of the game, and even had to rush Rodriguez back off the bench. But even he couldnt prevent us from slipping to a 2nd consecutive league defeat.

Game 12 - Sky Bet Championship - Reading - The Hawthorns
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A much improved performance see's us get the 3 points. Dropping Gayle to the bench and playing Rodriguez as a Complete Forward seems to be the way to go, with him and Barnes both on the scoresheet again. Also special note to Matt Phillips, who played brilliantly and now has 3 goals and 5 assists for the season.

Game 13 - Sky Bet Championship - Brentford - Griffin Park
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A tough win against a Brentford side that wouldn't lie down. 2 goals from top scorer Jay Rodriguez, including a delightful chip over the keeper for the 2nd kept us in the game, and a late leveller from Oliver Burke won it for the Baggies.

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Top Goalscorer: Jay Rodriguez - 9 Goals
Highest Average Rating - Jay Rodrigues - 7.43
Most Assists - Matt Phillips - 5 Assists
Managers Player Of The Month: I'm going to go with Matt Phillips, with 1 goal and 4 assists to his name he has kept us going in the push for promotion.​
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Jay Rodriguez wins the goal of the month competition with his classy goal against Brentford at the end of the month. We'll be hoping he can continue his good form, as nobody else seems able to lead the line.

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Game 14 - Sky Bet Championship - Preston North End - The Hawthorns
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A steady 2-0 win and 3 points for the team is marred by an injury for Jay Rodriguez which will keep him out for around 3 months. On the upside, Dwight Gayle scored which will hopefully bode well for the rest of the season, as we will really need him to step up.

Game 15 - Sky Bet Championship - Bolton Wanderers - The Hawthorns
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Another solid win that also leaves us with another casualty in Matt Phillips. After scoring 2 goals, Phillips came off with sprained ankle ligaments which will keep the player out for approx. 4 weeks.

Game 16 - Carabao Cup 4th Round - Reading - The Hawthorns
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Out of the cup after extra time. I would usually be annoyed by this, but less games in the future can only help us in our hunt to get promoted. Once again Dwight Gayle has faltered, meaning i will most likely have to look at a new striker in the January transfer window.

Game 17 - Sky Bet Championship - Wigan Athletic - DW Stadium
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A 2-0 loss against a side we were expecting to beat, this has undone the hard work we have done previously. ****** off, does not even begin to describe the emotions felt after this shambles.

Game 18 - Sky Bet Championship - Rotherham United - AESSEAL New York Stadium
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Harvey Barnes is now level with Jay Rodriguez as the clubs top scorer for the season with 9 goals. His performances have clearly been instrumental to our season, making the early decision to sign him for a 2nd season absolutely the right decision.

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Top Goalscorer: Jay Rodriguez/Harvey Barnes - 9 Goals
Highest Average Rating - Jay Rodrigues - 7.43
Most Assists - Harvey Barnes - 6 Assists
Managers Player Of The Month: Oliver Burke has stepped up in the absence of Matt Phillips with 3 goals in the last 5 games.​

Game 19 - Sky Bet Championship - Bristol City - The Hawthorns
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Dwight Gayle decides to turn up, and just in time. I was about to substitute him for 16 year old Jamie Soule when he slotted in the winning goal. We are hanging in there thanks to great performances in my view from Oliver Burke, and hopefully when Jay Rodriguez comes back in, we can continue to win, but perhaps with more dominating results.

Also, regarding our striker problems, i turned down Stephy Mavdidi in the transfer window on loan, he has gone to Rotherham, and has 8 goals in 10. Gotta say, that stings a little.

Game 20 - Sky Bet Championship - Ipswich Town - Portman Road
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Level for 83 minutes, and Sam Field gets himself sent off for a 2nd bookable offence, with all my subs made. 3rd place Ipswich took advantage of this, and close the gap between the 2 teams to 3 points.

Game 21 - Sky Bet Championship - Sheffield Wednesday - The Hawthorns
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Jay who? Dwight Gayle scores 2 as we come from behind to beat Sheffield Wednesday. If he can continue this run, Rodriguez may have trouble getting into the line up, as the 2 positions he can play are currently taken by Gayle & Barnes.

Game 22 - Sky Bet Championship - Aston Villa - The Hawthorns
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Our last game of the month, and we hand Aston Villa an **** kicking! 4-0 with another brace from Dwight Gayle, and we end the month top of the table. With 1 month until the transfer window opens, I'll be taking stock of the players we have and whether we can make any movements. Matt Phillips & James Morrison are both interesting Premier League sides, so discussions will be had.

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Top Goalscorer: Jay Rodriguez/Harvey Barnes - 9 Goals
Highest Average Rating: Matt Phillips - 7.26
Most Assists: Harvey Barnes - 7
Managers Player Of The Month: Dwight Gayle is rewarded by me after finally hitting some form and scoring the goals that are keeping us at the top of the table.​
Going well mate....although you're top of the league, it seems like a really up and down season (which sounds like a weird thing to say when you're top of the league after 19 games). I think it must be the fact you've had no draws!
Going well mate....although you're top of the league, it seems like a really up and down season (which sounds like a weird thing to say when you're top of the league after 19 games). I think it must be the fact you've had no draws!

Appreciate it mate, and i completely agree, does feel like it's been a strange season. The lack of draws has been noticeable, unsure if its a good or bad thing at the moment. *SPOILER* it will change!

Congratulations to both Dwight Gayle and Oliver Burke who pick up the Player Of The Month & Young Player Of The Month awards. Both played brilliantly and will be important in the coming months.
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Game 23 - Sky Bet Championship - Stoke City - The Hawthorns
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A hard fought draw, and i am so proud of the team especially dealing with the following issues:
1. Allan Nyom suspended, Reece Oxford playing out of position at Right Back
2. Ahmed Hegazi getting sent off after 53 minutes
3. Dwight Gayle injured after 74 minutes, forcing us to play Soule up top for the remainder of the game. Gayle is due to be out for 3-4 weeks.

Game 24 - Sky Bet Championship - Millwall - The Den
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Not the best of wins, but one that I'll take considering the lack of options upfront due to injury. Soule stepped up and scored his first goal for the club, which is brilliant for the academy graduate.

Game 25 - Sky Bet Championship - QPR - Loftus Road
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An annoying 0-0 draw, where we looked 2nd best for the whole game. A return for one of our main strikers can't come quick enough.

Game 26 - Sky Bet Championship - Hull City - The Hawthorns
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A close 1-0 win with James Morrison netting see's us overtake Hull at the top of the table, and also puts 8 points between us and Ipswich in 3rd. The return of Jay Rodriguez at half time is a timely boost.

Game 27 - Sky Bet Championship - Blackburn Rovers - Ewood Park
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Another 1-0 win, but with games coming thick and fast over the Christmas period, i have no issues with how we win. Jamie Soule again started the game, as i looked to keep Rodriguez fresh for the next round of fixtures.

Game 28 - Sky Bet Championship - Middlesbrough - The Hawthorns
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A boring 0-0 draw, and we end the month unbeaten in 8 games. Not an ideal result, but the players are happy, and without losing, this keeps up top of the table.

League Table

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Top Goalscorer: Harvey Barnes - 11 Goals
Highest Average Rating: Matt Phillips - 7.22
Most Assists: Harvey Barnes - 9 Assists
Managers Player Of The Month: Sam Johnstone wins the award this month, after 4 straight clean sheets to massively aid in our unbeaten run.​
Looking good for an immediate return back to the Prem! Keep it up mate....good work!

Game 29 - Sky Bet Championship - Derby County - The Hawthorns
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A brilliant win for the boys, with Jay Rodriguez back in goal scoring form. Another clean sheet is welcome, with all the team aiding in the display, both attacking and defensive. Matt Phillips misses the game, as we have accepted a bid of £25m from Southampton. I am currently looking at potential replacements.

Good news on a personal level, as I agree a new contract keeping me at the club until 2020. The board were extremely keen on me signing the deal early, being only January, and i hope the faith shown in me will be rewarded with promotion this season.
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Game 30 - FA Cup 3rd Round - Middlesbrough - Riverside Stadium
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Braces for both James Morrison & Harvey Barnes keep us in the cup for the next round draw as we defeat Middlesbrough in their own back yard. Rodriguez gets 2 assists in a delightful attacking performance.

Transfer News

Tosin Adarabioyo has been sent back to Manchester City, citing a lack of game time, which i completely understand.

Kyle Bartley joins Cardiff City for £1.2m after complaining about a lack of first team opportunities.

Matt Phillips also leaves for £25m, heading to the Premiership with Southampton. Phillips has been a brilliant player this season, but i felt that with Burke stepping up, we could take the money and easily replace him with a decent back up for less money.

Ahmed Hegazi also leaves the club for £2.4m, meaning we are going to have to invest in some back up centre backs for the rest of the season.

Transfers In

And to replace Phillips, we have signed Ryan Fraser from Bournemouth. A steal at £3.8m, he will be a more than able back up for Burke.

Louis Thompson signs from Norwich City to add some extra depth to the midfield. We don't have a lot of players in that position, but we are not looking for 1st team players. Mainly players that can come in and cover injuries if required.

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Well how about that, top of the table and accused of being dull. I feel like the Championships answer to Mourinho.

Game 31 - Sky Bet Championship - Birmingham City - St Andrew's
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A loss to one of our rivals, Monk may have had a point in my strikers not really being prolific.

Transfer News

3 new transfers in to shore up our defence, with 2 centre backs and a back up right back, we welcome:
Dimitri Foulquier - £1.5m
Michael Hector - £2.6m
Dedryck Boyata - £1.1m

Game 32 - Sky Bet Championship - Nottingham Forest - The Hawthorns
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We bounce back with a good win with 2 goals from Burke, stepping up to the responsibility of taking the place of Matt Phillips.

Game 33 - Sky Bet Championship - Norwich City - The Hawthorns
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Norwich steal a point right at the end with a minute goal right at the death. Completely undeserved, i felt 3 points was in the bag and on the way home.

Game 34 - FA Cup 4th Round - Leicester City - The Hawthorns
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Another loss, though considering our performances in the league lately, I'm not unhappy about being out of a competition we weren't gonna win.

League Table
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Top Goalscorer: Jay Rodriguez/Harvey Barnes - 13 Goals
Highest Average Rating: 7.21
Most Assists: Harvey Barnes - 10 Assists
Managers Player Of The Month: Oliver Burke wins for stepping up after the sale of Matt Phillips. A couple of goals and some assists, im hoping he can lead us to the Premiership.​

Game 35 - Sky Bet Championship - Leeds United - Elland Road
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A fantastic away win against a manager who doesn't seem to particularly like me. Oliver Burke once again is man of the match, and Dwight Gayle continues to improve with another winning goal. I decided to keep Gayle as he continues to score some important goals. He is doing better than Rondon at Newcastle, he has 1 goal in 16 games.

Game 36 - Sky Bet Championship - Sheffield United - Bramall Lane
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Another game where we score a late winner, Jay Rodriguez this time getting a 92nd minute goal for us to get the 3 points. Another goal from Oliver Burke, is he becoming the main man?

Game 37 - Sky Bet Championship - Swansea City - The Hawthorns
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A lucky 1-1 draw. WIthin 22 minutes, we had scored and had a man sent off. Proud of the side holding on until the last 10 minutes. A point though is still brilliant, though we are now without Castan, Johnstone & Barnes through suspension and injuries.

Game 38 - Sky Bet Championship - Reading - The Madejski Stadium
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I'm not sure if you've heard the word, but Oliver Burke is the main man. A sublime hat trick, rounded off with a penalty and Reading had no idea what hit them.

Game 39 - Sky Bet Championship - Brentford - The Hawthorns
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A 2nd 3-0 win on the trot see's us keep the pace at the top of the league, with Burke scoring another 2 goals. After playing Myhill in goal against Reading, i decided to go with Bond in this game, and he performed admirably.

Game 40 - Sky Bet Championship - Preston North End - Deepdale
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A dull game, only excited by goals that happened in the space of 2 minutes.

League Table
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Top Goalscorer: Oliver Burke - 16 Goals
Highest Average Rating: Oliver Burke - 7.31
Most Assists: James Morrison - 11 Assists
Managers Player Of The Month - Might be tiring to hear, but has to be Oliver Burke, again scoring multiple goals as our unbeaten run continues.​
March & 1st Game Of April

Game 41 - Sky Bet Championship - Wigan Athletic - The Hawthorns
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Again we go down to 10 men, this time Livermore with a bad challenge. And in the last minute of injury time, Castan, fresh from his own suspension scores from a corner to give us the win.

Game 42 - Sky Bet Championship - Rotherham - The Hawthorns
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A giant win there, but something will have to be done about our discipline. Another player red carded does not help our case, and regardless of whether we win or not, it leaves us short in later games. Mavdidi scores a brace against us, kind of a two fingered salute for not signing him on loan.

Game 43 - Sky Bet Championship - Bolton Wanderers - Macron Stadium
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A win that looks better than it was, with the late own goal masking what was a close game. Jay Rodriguez gets back to scoring ways, and gets a double to show that not only Burke will get the goals.

Game 44 - Sky Bet Championship - Bristol City - Ashton Gate
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Our first lost in what feels like forever. We really did not get into the game, and our subs could not make a difference. A rare off day for the side, i won't knock them too much as we look dead on certs for promotion, and maybe as champions.

Game 45 - Sky Bet Championship - Ipswich Town - The Hawthorns
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A good draw against one of the teams in the play off hunt. A game of 2 halves, as both dominate the other.

Game 46 - Sky Bet Championship - Sheffield Wednesday - Hillsborough Stadium
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Another poor performance and we lose once again. We could do with a win to get us back on track here.

League Table
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Top Goalscorer: Jay Rodriguez - 17 Goals
Highest Average Rating: Oliver Burke - 7.23
Most Assists: Harvey Barnes - 13 Assists​

5 games left in the season, and promotion is virtually guarenteed. The main aim now is to win the league itself. 4 points seperate ourselves and 2nd place Aston Villa, so what better place to start than with our rivals...

Game 47 - Sky Bet Championship - Aston Villa - Villa Park
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OH FFS! This could have been a great moment, beat our rivals to secure promotion, but noooo, we screw that up and lose to them.

Game 48 - Sky Bet Championship - Millwall - The Hawthorns
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NOW THATS MORE LIKE IT! Finally, we loosen the shackles and go for it in an entertaining attacking masterclass. Once again, Oliver Burke comes up trumps with a hat trick which leaves us confirm promotion to the Premiership! Now, 3 games to go, and 4 points ahead of Villa, can we win the Championship?!

Game 49 - Sky Bet Championship - Stoke City - bet365 Stadium
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Again, we have a completely disgraceful performance and have let the gap between us and Villa slip to 1 point. We were never at the races, and Big Sam's side deserved the win.

Game 50 - Sky Bet Championship - Hull City - KCOM Stadium
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A 1-1 draw which means the title race goes down to the last game. I will be distraught if we don't win the title, as our play during the early days of the season was fantastic.

Game 51 - Sky Bet Championship - QPR - The Hawthorns
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WE DO IT!!! Villa lose 4-0 away to Swansea, but we make sure that we go up with that winning feeling. Special note must go to Jake Livermore, who's first goal of the season, is our last of the campaign.

League Table
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Top Goalscorer: Oliver Burke - 21
Highest Average Rating: Oliver Burke - 7.25
Most Assists: Harvey Barnes - 17​
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End Of Season Review

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A less than perfect season that still see's us promoted as champions! Looking back to January, i do wonder if the sale of Matt Phillips destabalised the squad more than i thought it would. Oliver Burke did well to step up and be arguably our best performer for the season, with goals being spread across the front men. We'll take a look at the official FM review, and also a quick look at the performance of our squad.

The fans agree with me, as they give the Fans Player of the Year award to Burke, who also takes home Young Player of the Year. The team of the season matches my strongest starting line up, it's good to know that me and the fans are on the same wave length.

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Clearly the more attacking players were the stronger players in the squad, leading me to believe that we will have to bring in more defensive quality in the summer window. Positions to look at are probably the following:
GK - Johnstone has the look of a back up keeper at best, so will be looking for a new number 1
CB - Castan looks unsuited to the English leagues, so will be looking for someone else to play alongside Oxford

All other positions will be looked at on a case by case basis, depending on who is available. I do have 3 pre agreed transfers, which will be announced when the new season starts.

Onto Season 2...​
Well done on the Championship title in your first season mate! Now, the hard work begins!
Well done on the Championship title in your first season mate! Now, the hard work begins!

Cheers mate, was getting really annoyed as it looked like we were going to let the title slip out of our hands. Think I am going to struggle in the Prem though.