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West Brom - Breaking into the top four and more

Max

Member
Apr 14, 2009
10,063
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Yo, just to clear up straight away I've already played 2 seasons on this save.. just in pre-season of my 3rd and carrying on from here, but I'll round up the previous 2 seasons and all that so you know whats happened..



West Brom;
2012/2013 season review;

View attachment 376849
We battled all season for the European places, and led the way for a month or two but fell at the last hurdles and lost the last place to Arsenal on goal difference on the final game. 17 league goals from Romelu Lukaku wasn't enough to get us into Europe, as our defence was far too leaky conceding 52 in 38 games.

Top Goalscorer - Lukaku; 17 goals.

Top Assists - James Morrison; 10 assists.

Player of the season - Jonas Olsson

Signing of the season - Martin Olsson; 4.5M

FA Cup - Knocked out in the 3rd season by Chelsea

League Cup - Knocked out in the 3rd round poorly by Sheffield Wednesday


2012/2013;
Transfers;

View attachment 376856

We spent quite a fair bit in our first season but I felt we needed to in order to compete. No real massive names were brought in as it's pretty hard to attract them to West Brom - focused on players who could perform at this level but this could develop more. Chris Solly was a big fee especially for his ability but he proved his worth and he is still in the first team now. Will Hughes caught my eye in January along with other EPL sides so I decided to take a gamble on him. Got rid of a lot of dead-wood in my first season which seemed to help a lot.


West Brom;
2013/2014 season review;

View attachment 376855
I faced more than a few problems at the beginning of the season - one being replacing my top goalscorer Romelu Lukaku as he returned to Chelsea after his loan spell. In all honesty we were struggling in the first half of the season and looked like we were going backwards. Failed attempts to get Lukaku back on loan led to the signing of Jelle Vossen for £10M, also brought in Tom Ince for £10M as I thought we needed more of a punch on the left wing, as Brunt used to drift in and out of games. Sadly Ince got ruled out for half the season at the start and Vossen did not settle in at all, leading to him being sold at January and replaced by Ante Vukusic. I sort of panicked a little here because we were slipping down the division and needed a better goal source.

The January signings helped us get back to form and we managed to finish a very creditable 5th position, after the media touted us as 9th, meaning European football next season. If it wasn't for our defence being so good I think we could of really struggled this season, as we didn't score many goals, or enough really, with Will Hughes our top scorer with only 8 goals..

Top Goalscorer - Will Hughes; 8 goals - Really developed this season and was fantastic

Top Assists - Clint Dempsey; 7 assists - Turned out to be a great loan, also grabbed 6 goals

Player of the season - Jonas Olsson - Again was so solid and also grabbed 7 league goals

Signing of the season - David Ospina; Free Transfer - Easily our best signing, put in great performances and he didn't cost a penny.

Worst Signing of the season - Jelle Vossen; £10M - This was a bad move by myself to be fair and I think it's got to come down to me not getting the best out of him, as he went to Hull and scored 11 in 16 games, keeping them in the division.

League Cup - Knocked out to Arsenal - again no luck really.

FA Cup - Knocked out to Chelsea at home, once again no luck in the draw.

Transfers;
2013/2014;
View attachment 376861
Didn't spend quite as much this season as I didn't want to stretch the finances, especially seeing as we didn't get into Europe - I was pretty bad in the market this year to be honest, Ince only made an impact towards the end of the seaosn but maybe wasn't quite worth as much as he ended up costing, but he could prove me wrong this year as he'll be starting ahead of a declining Brunt. Vukusic showed a lot of promise last season, only scored 4 goals but he settled in well and whenever he played we seemed to play much better football. Dempsey was great but doubt I'll sign him or get him back on loan either because of his age and his wages not being worthy of him really. Ospina was a bargain and signings like McCann, Parker and Hughes were cheap and cheerful - done the job easy and McCann even scored an injury time equaliser against Everton which was important.

Overall a good season but we'll need to improve the squad if we want to be able to compete in Europe and retain 5th spot or break into the top four.


West Brom;
2014/2015 pre season review;

I felt we really needed to get another top striker in with a physical presence because Vukusic would get lost up top on his own most games and was crying out for a partner to play alongside. Gary Hooper had agreed a free transfer from Celtic but he wasn't the right player we needed, however would replace Shane Long who would be sold to Hull for £6M. Also needed another centre back who was consistent because Rhys Williams seemed to be getting injured far too much to keep a consistent back four. Ben Foster left for £1.5M to Liverpool so we also needed another keeper, and also Steven Reid was ageing and his contract was up so he was released, meaning we needed another right back.

Transfers;
2014/2015;
View attachment 376872
Made some solid signings, especially in Benteke who I think could be the perfect man to play with Vukusic. Forren played brilliantly for Scum last season and even though it wasn't easy buying a player from Southampton as a Pompey fan it had to be done, especially at the price he was available at as I would of had to buy double in most other situations. Kyle Naughton brought in for a couple of million was a good deal, solid player, quick and can play both sides of defence, also young and English which I like.

The partnership of Mulumbu and Yacob has been quite simply superb the past two seasons, however I needed a solid backup for them with class because quite frankly Parker is a tad to old now, and McCann won't be good enough against the top teams, so Fernando Gago was a perfect replacement on a relatively cheap loan deal. As I said we 100% needed another 'keeper, so when Victor Valdes was available on a free transfer after Barca released him it was a must.. He's on £105k a week which sucks but he is no doubt going to be worth it. Also as already mentioned Gary Hooper came in on a free transfer, a real bargain if he can manage to perform for us.


Key Players;

Victor Valdes;
View attachment 376879
Without doubt he's probably our best player now so he's got to be a key player clearly. He could keep up is a lot of matches with his ability in goal so he will be extremely important.


Jonas Olsson;
View attachment 376878
Simply cannot forget this man, player of the season for us two years in a row and was a rock, especially last season. Even though he's 31 and starting to age he can do a good job this season, however next season he may find himself in a more rotational role.

Claudio Yacob;
View attachment 376880
Although he hasn't grabbed the headlines in either seasons or any interest from big clubs, which really surprises me, he's been fantastic both seasons. Playing consistently in near enough all games and single handedly controlling the midfield even against the likes of City and United. Massive player.


Will Hughes;
View attachment 376881
Although he is still quite young you can't ignore what a big player he was last season, and as you can see he's already showing big signs of development. If he continues to play like he did last season, and develop as much as he did last year, there's no reason why he couldn't set the league alight this season.

Christian Benteke;

View attachment 376877
Could seriously be an important player this season if he performs well all season and stays fit - was the clubs record signing so let's hope for the best. Certainly got the attributes and scored 14 league goals for a relegated Villa side 2 seasons ago, followed by 24 goals in the Championship the following season.


Aims for this campaign;

- Try to get to the quarters (ATLEAST) of a domestic cup
- Get through the group stages atleast in the Europa League and aim on from there
- Retain 5th position in the league, and try to challenge for 4th.

Can we do it? Find out soon

Will be updating monthly

 
Last edited:

Rootsey

Member
Jun 25, 2010
785
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Interesting team to start with as you don't see many West Brom games. Made some excellent signings. Good luck for the season and in Europe.
 

Max

Member
Apr 14, 2009
10,063
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0
Nice start pal, I like the layout! Any chance of a screenshot of your starting 11/squad as it stands?
Interesting team to start with as you don't see many West Brom games. Made some excellent signings. Good luck for the season and in Europe.
Good luck with the season mate!
Sold Shane Long :(
He scores 20+ a season for me easily.
Looks nice mate, love your stories
hi buddy nice start keep it up !
Cheers for all the comments guys appreciated! TJD07 yeah I know Long is usually sick! But sucked for me so £6M was good.

Scotty here's the screenshot of starting 11 and the squad mate..

View attachment 377184
Will be updating a few things shortly about the team, tactics etc :)
 

Max

Member
Apr 14, 2009
10,063
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0

West Brom;
2014/2015;
View attachment 377187

The Tactics;
View attachment 377188

Much like the past two seasons, I will use my own tactics. In the first season I stuck to a simple 4-2-3-1 to begin with as I felt the 4-4-2/4-2-2-2 was too vulnerable for us to play with, and that we would end up being overrun by the other teams on a regular basis, mainly in the middle of the park as most teams tend to play 4-2-3-1 nowadays or along those lines. Over the past seasons I've grown to learn that my team is effective in this 4-2-3-1 formation, with the two centre midfielders dropping into defensive midfield when available to when playing away from home, most effective when Yacob and Mulumbu were fit.

The 4-2-3-1;
View attachment 377189
Effective, simple and sometimes frustrating with the lack of goals to lesser sides, however it is my main tactic and serves me well. Solid defensively and gets the best out of the AM. Hughes has grown massively in this role and made it his own, leaving James Morrison, who was a key player in the first season, to sit out near enough most games, however Morrison is still a great player and will be important as we need to rotate for some matches. It is difficult for the striker to be 'prolific' in this formation, however an aerial threat is great, Lukaku scored an unreal amount of headers first season and I'm hoping Benteke can do the same sort of thing for us if called upon. The wingers tend to drift out of games sometimes but if they're playing **** I just sub them.

The 4-2-3-1 Deep;
View attachment 377190
As you can see this is definitely an away formation, or against the big sides at they're strongest when we're at home and maybe a little weak, but I don't like going defensive at home. I felt in our first season we lacked any punch away from home unless Lukaku was playing well, but even seeing him score a hat trick away to City didn't get us anything because we conceded 5. We needed to tighten up away from home and stop teams dominating us so much and using this formation in our second season seriously helped. Yacob and Mulumbu stayed fit for most of the season which was important, but now having Gago as a quality back-up will improve things alot. This is based on counter attacking football with fast players - the players you see lined up are pretty much usually the ones I would choose for the line-up, much the same as the other ones.

The 4-2-2-2;
View attachment 377191
As you can see this is pretty much our most 'attacking' formation, with two forwards. We lack the AM here which means Hughes would fail to start unless Yacob or Mulumbu weren't fit, however this means Benteke and Vukusic can cause big problems up top hopefully. This worked well with Long and Lukaku the first season, however I found myself dropping this formation last year and focusing on being more defensive, which worked, but maybe this season we can be a little more expressive in our play. Some games Benteke will be the leading man in the 4-2-3-1 depending on the oppositions defence however Vukusic would be the main option for counter attacking football due to his pace and finishing. This style of football in this formation can be leaky, and it's very dangerous away from home, however it rewarded me at Old Trafford by countering United's strengths for the first 60 minutes keeping it 0-0, till I swapped over to a 4-2-3-1 to control possession a little more, and we ended up winning 2-1, so it can be a tilt between risk and reward here.


Finances;
View attachment 377192
One thing I have been careful on this save with is my finances. Even though the club has no debt at all, that doesn't mean we should start giving it debt with stupid transfers etc with the 48 months trick. Admittedly some transfers have a 48 month period of some of the fee, but only a small amount usually, or half, so the club doesn't get in the red.

As you can see we're doing alright, the projection is to make £6M this season and that is aside from any prize money at the end of the year. Getting 5th place last season meant we were given £22M, so if we could repeat that again it would be brilliant and we could really spend some cash next season.


Gunna get into this now and will update with August results soon

 

Max

Member
Apr 14, 2009
10,063
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West Brom;
2014/2015;
View attachment 377193


Pre-Season;
View attachment 377194
Generally a good pre-season, and an unbeaten one. Benteke and Ince the standout performers, with Benteke getting 5 goals in pre-season, 3 of them a hat trick in one game, and Ince grabbed 2 goals, followed by 3 assists to match. We looked solid but it was all about fitness really, same as it always is.

As you can see we've got a tough start to the season away to Liverpool but considering we finished quite a few places above them last season we could get a good result if we play well. Depends on how quickly everyone settles in to be fair. Benteke has had a great pre season but the League is completely different and much more difficult. Everyone is fit and no real injuries except to Craig Dawson who's out for about a month so looking alright for the season.


Further transfers;

Wiflried Zaha; Loan deal for the season
View attachment 377195
Unlikely that he'll shift Dyer from the right wing for now but certainly may do just that as the season progresses. He's got the ability to cause massive problems on the wing with his speed, dribbling and flair. Needed cover on the wing anyway after Dorrans left as he used to come in when Dyer wasn't available. Don't plan on anymore transfers now and unlikely there will be anymore outgoings.





 

Max

Member
Apr 14, 2009
10,063
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West Brom;
2014/2015;
View attachment 377217


August;
View attachment 377219
A 50/50 start, Liverpool slapped us all over the place at Anfield, they're new signings Altidore and Gamash tore us apart and we couldn't handle the usual face of Suarez either but not too bothered, I'll slap 'em back at home.. We looked confident against Burnley, although I think we should of scored more, we're still gelling this season so a 1-0 win is good enough for me. Benteke grabbed the goal against Burnley so great to see him get his first goal!


Player of the month;
Jonas Olsson;
View attachment 377220
Jonas was fantastic against Burnley, was solid and didn't let the Austin-Anichebe partnership get a sniff in at all. Forren and him need to gel more though, as sometimes they were getting caught out.

Table;
View attachment 377218


Not much to say as we're only two games in! But I'm relatively pleased with the start and the fact we won the game we had to win is good. Tough month ahead in September with Arsenal and City away, which will be extremely tough! But home games against Sunderland and Stoke, two sides who look decent this season, are important we pick up maximum points.

Thanks for reading people :) september update soon!
 

Max

Member
Apr 14, 2009
10,063
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0
West Brom;
2014/2015;
View attachment 377282

Europa League Draw;

View attachment 377284
We really don't have much luck in draws as we managed to get one of the the toughest group available I'd say lol, AC Milan and FC Twente will be pretty hard to beat especially away from home, but as long as we win our home games we've got every chance of qualifying.

Also drawn West Ham away in the League Cup who were relegated last season, so hopefully we can get through!

September update soon
 

rydry93

Member
Jan 17, 2009
42
0
6
Very tough draw even Steaua will be a hard game, but i reckon you can get through :) Really good story so far! looking forward to reading more of it!
 

Max

Member
Apr 14, 2009
10,063
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Very tough draw even Steaua will be a hard game, but i reckon you can get through :) Really good story so far! looking forward to reading more of it!
Thanks mate but yeah pretty tough group ay! Will be seriously tough - gunna update with September now :)
 
Last edited:

Max

Member
Apr 14, 2009
10,063
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West Brom;
2014/2015;
View attachment 377320


September;
View attachment 377322
A good month in all fairness in the end, a loss at the start of the month at home to Sunderland wasn't cool at all but we got back on track in Europe against Steaua with a quality win, then a point against Man City away topped it off. Got through in the cup aswell which was good and a 4-1 win against rivals Stoke was top class, as was the hat trick Benteke got himself in that game!


League Table;
View attachment 377324Looking relatively solid at the moment, game in hand of most sides even though it's against Arsenal at the Emirates which will be tough. If we keep our form up I've got no doubt we'll get up to where we want to be in the top 5, especially with the form of Benteke, and also Vukusic has really picked up lately.


Player of the Month Award;
Christian Benteke;

View attachment 377325
It had to be Benteke this month, a class hat trick against Stoke and a goal against City made him definitely worth the outlay of £12.5M for him. 5 goals in 4 games in the league this season, with 7 goals in 6 games in all competitions, certainly gives him this award.


Most Improved Player of the Month Award;
Ante Vukusic;

View attachment 377327
The young Croation has improved a lot this month, grabbing 3 goals, all in different competitions, therefore he has helped us out in a lot of different games. Hopefully he can really push on from here.

Thanks for reading guys :)

 

Max

Member
Apr 14, 2009
10,063
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West Brom;
2014/2015;
View attachment 377647


October Update;
View attachment 377649
Probably our best month of the season so far, only losing one game which was away to Arsenal. We've actually done really well in Europe so far and I was seriously surprised to see us win 3-1 away to FC Twente but we generally deserved it, the AC Milan game at home was tough to draw so I don't expect much from the away tie but aslong as we beat FC Twente at home we should go through.

League wise we had a good month and won the games we needed to at home against Norwich and Wolves, Norwich have played really well so far this season so it was understandable it was only a 1-0 win, and a tight game. The Wolves game I felt we should of scorer a lot more but it being a rival game it was always that little bit harder with them really going at it.


League Table;
View attachment 377648
If I am honest I sorta expected to be in this position after this month because we always seem to start slow, and with European games making us a little more tired for the league games it's that bit harder. Retaining that 5th spot is going to be really hard I think especially with the form Arsenal are on and if they carry it through the season it will be tough to beat them to 5th. I'm fairly confident the likes of Norwich and Sunderland will fall down the table by Christmas, as Sunderland did the exact same thing last season. We should be wary of Liverpool though who look a lot stronger this season, along with Everton under Harry Redknapp's management.


Europa League Table;
View attachment 377651
Must say to play like we have in Europe so far this season is great and has seriously surprised me as I didn't think we would get through this group to be honest with the small squad we have, plus long-term injuries to Dyer and Zaha have made things twice as hard because Morrison simply doesn't cut it on the right wing and Brunt is ***** aswell. Anyway, I don't expect anything away to AC Milan but if we could nick 3 points away to Steaua and win our home game more importantly against FC Twente I'm confident we can get through!


Board movements;
View attachment 377652
Bit of money for the January window is always good and I think it will come in handy, I'm sure there will be a bargain available at some point in the market and I plan to use that to my advantage, because if we do get through the group stages we're going to need that little bit more depth and quality, especially at the back where we have been leaky and I'm still a little unsure of Forren.


Player of the Month Award;
Tom Ince;
View attachment 377653
It had to be Tom Ince after his performance's against Norwich and Wolves, getting both the winning goals in those two matches, and also getting a goal against FC Twente. He's looked a lot more confident and consistent this season and rumours of an England call up aren't far off.


Young Player of the Month & Most Improved Award;
Will Hughes;

View attachment 377654
He had a bad start to the season in all honesty but he's seriously improved lately, if he can find the form from last season we'll probably find ourselves shooting up the table quicker than we think.


November update soon :)

 

Max

Member
Apr 14, 2009
10,063
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West Brom;
2014/2015;
View attachment 377728


November;
View attachment 377723
Without doubt our best month so far, mainly due to the performances and results to go with it. Admittedly the draw against Reading wasn't too good but a point was good enough as it as an away game, but a fantastic point away to AC Milan was just brilliant. We followed up on that with away wins at Everton and Tottenham which I honestly didn't expect and I thought it would be a really tough month, but the players played class this month, especially considering we were unable to name an unchanged 11 each game due to fitness problems throughout the squad so the fact we went unbeaten all month was brilliant. Maybe should of done better against Newcastle but it was a weaker side we played so it may have been a good result in all fairness.

On the cup side of things we're through to the quarter finals of the Capital One Cup, so that's one objective done already! We face Huddersfield in the quarters at home, so I'm hoping we can get through fairly easily.


League Table;
View attachment 377724
Good month in the league and we've got a decent 4 point gap between us and 7th which is good, and a good run of form could see us even in the top 4 by the end of next month, even though it won't be easy!


Europa League Table;
View attachment 377725
Only one game played this month in Europe but we still sit top and a win in our next game against Steaua would mean qualification through the group stages with a game to play!


Player of the Month Award;
Christian Benteke;
View attachment 377726
Benteke had to get it again this month scoring in 3 different games, to win us all of them. Really proved to be worth the money and I'm more than pleased I didn't waste money on him lol


Most Improved Player of the Month Award;
Gary Hooper;
View attachment 377727
Gotta give it to Gary he came into the side against Spurs on short notice lacking match fitness badly after Benteke wasn't fit enough to play and Vucusic has had injury problems lately, and Hooper managed to bag 2 goals to win it for us! The second was quite easily one of the best goals I've seen on FM (biased or what) but he did skin like 4 players including the keeper.

Great month for us!

December to be up soon hopefully :)

​Thanks for reading guys!
 

Max

Member
Apr 14, 2009
10,063
0
0
West Brom;
2014/2015;
View attachment 377757


December;
View attachment 377792
A strong month for the club which saw us qualify from our group in Europe and also finish 1st, above of AC Milan! The game against FC Twente was quality as we went 2 goals down to win 3-2. Some solid wins this month especially against Liverpool at home, although we left it late against Hull with Brunt getting a late winner, and I think we should of perhaps got atleast a point from the Southampton game but we were poor in truth. Unlucky to not get anything away to Chelsea but that's the way it goes.


League Table
;
View attachment 377789
Couldn't of asked for much more of the players this month as we sit on the brink of the top four, also with a game in hand of some sides around us. I wouldn't even mention a title challenge as it would be ridiculous but a top 4 challenge certainly could be in our reach?

We also beat Huddersfield in the quarters, on penalties however, to get through to the Semi-Finals of the Capital One Cup, where we face Everton! First tie is held at Goodison Park.


Europa League Table
;
View attachment 377788
Even though the board's minimum expectations in the competition is to reach the 2nd knockout round, which I think will be tough, we done really well to get through this group nevermind finish 1st. Strong performances home and away and more importantly not losing to AC Milan certainly helped us through.


Player of the Month Award
;
Chris Brunt;
View attachment 377790
Brunt proved his worth this month after complaining he wasn't being played enough, however with Morrison out for 3 months he was always going to get a shot and he took it well. A winner against Hull and a goal against Swansea, along with some other solid performances got him player of the month, well deserved.


Most Improved Player of the Month;
Tom Ince;
View attachment 377791
After such a good start to the season for Tom, getting player of the month two months ago, he sort of faded out last month and found himself on the bench alot, but he found his form again this month which has pleased me and grabbed an important goal or two, and he's our second top scorer at the moment.


Transfer Rumours?..

With £5.25M to spend as it stands there is most likely to be some movement, and with Theo Walcott transfer listed I've got my eye on him, however the price tag of £16M will be difficult to fund unless we sell other players. Another option perhaps is Spurs winger Aaron Lennon, who is available for around £5M, but I'm still undecided as it stands.

There's quite a few top class players out of contract this summer including Van Ginkel and Wilfried Bony of Vitesse, followed by Doumbia of CSKA Moskow, and many others, but there's **** loads of top teams after them all so it will be tough to get any of there signatures.

No more updates for today guys, plenty more tomorrow :)
 
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