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Darren: FM 2011 Brighton shock the Championship Aug-Dec 2011/12

Hey guys and welcome back to my story by the seaside. During the last post I revealed some new faces and dwelled on some misjudged departures that left my team short in defence. Either way the squad looks fairly good and capable of holding their own. The finances have finally started to move in the right direction and Brighton are all set for a season in the Championship. My personal expectations are to linger around the top eight while my board are asking for a mid-table finish. Today’s post will go right through to December, so prepare for what could be a very important half season.

League Cup results

We’ll begin today’s post with my short lived League Cup run. After progressing through the 1st round we were drawn against fellow Championship side Leicester. As you all know, I hold the league as my main target and use the cup competitions to rest key players. This shone through as Leicester ripped through my side to win 5-0. An embarrassing defeat but one I hope will serve a far greater purpose.

Championship results – August to September

My players had been trained hard and worked well during some pre-season Friendly matches, but only the first official game of the season would confirm how good Brighton are. My first match came away to QPR and was a corker. We scored early through Brandy before QPR drew level and Vonlanthen scored a late winner to hand Brighton victory. An incredible start that continued as we beat Watford 3-0 and Swansea away 2-0. I couldn’t believe my eyes, then reality came crashing in as Cardiff scored there only chance of the game to beat us 1-0. August finished on a high though as we gained revenge against Leicester beating them 1-0 on their own patch.

September wasn’t as easy, but started well with victory over Norwich before a close margin loss to Doncaster. Next up Barnsley and a wonderful performance from Vonlanthen who sealed the 2-0 victory. A small break did the players wonders as a fully fit XI beat Wigan 2-0, probably my best result after Soukouna proved he can play as the lone striker. We finished the month off with a bad performance and 3-1 loss to Preston, but this wasn’t going to dampen my spirits. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better start.

Championship results – October to November

Onto October and a very tough set of fixtures. After beating Colchester 1-0, we managed a brilliant 1-1 draw away to West Brom. Brandy scored the equaliser and it was a special goal too (click here to see Brandy’s goal.) This set the stage for the Soukouna show as my French forward scored to help us beat Middlesbrough 2-0 and then banged home a hat trick as we beat Nottm Forest away 3-0. My next match was against the Championship leaders, Birmingham, they have the likes of Scott Dann, Kadlec and Zigic but couldn’t beat lowly old Brighton. :) We held out for a 1-1 draw and did the same away to Coventry at the start of November.

Brandy saw a return to scoring form as we beat Millwall 3-1 and Ipswich 4-2. Then a visit to Hull provided some exciting Football which ended in a 3-2 defeat. Brighton finished November off with a goalless draw away to Sheffield United. Not the best of form leading up to December but I expected much worse.

Championship results – December

With some tough teams out of the way, I could try and regain the winning form. We started November with a stunning performance from Soukouna and 2-1 victory over Bristol City. Then the French forward scored a brace to help us beat Derby 3-2 before we trounced QPR 3-1. Brandy staked his claim for the lone striker role after scoring a brace in a 4-2 victory away to Watford before Soukouna hit back as we beat Peterborough 1-0. December finished on a high as the winning streak was extended with a 1-0 victory over Swansea.

Championship league table

I must admit, this start has left me speechless. We endured one or two rough patches but on the whole have dominated this division. Even the toughest of teams seem beatable at the moment and I just hope we can maintain this run. More than half a season is complete and Brighton find themselves top of the table, 5 points clear of Nottm Forest in second.

Its time to see who made this early run of form happen. At first you’d say Sonko’s 7 goals and Brandy’s 11 have made a massive difference. But looking through the squad there doesn’t seem to be a stand out performer in terms of average ratings. I personally think the team blend is just right and we all seem to be pulling in the right direction. It sounds cheesy, but I can’t put our success down to individuals, it has been a team effort for sure.

Player of the post: Ibrahima Sonko

Where the goals came from: Ahmed Soukouna

All is great on the pitch, but how things off it? My finances took a turn for the good during pre-season and although I expect my £2.8 million balance to fall I was hoping to finish the season in the black. Come the end of December I had £1.8 million in the bank, meaning we lost less than £200K per month. Not too bad I guess and we are on track to keep that balance out of the red.

Well that about does it for today, I hope you are enjoying this story as much as I am. The next update will take Brighton all the way to the end of this season. We’ll see if the Seasider’s can gain promotion and hold onto their brilliant form, but until then please feel free to ask questions below and I look forward to your comments as always.

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Edward Wylie
Edward Wylie
10 years ago

Hi Darren, some great form there. In my first season with Brighton the board accepted a 2.4m offer from Leicester for Bennett and I also sold Noone to Rangers for 600k making my finances enjoyable to read, Calderon was sold for 500k and I brought in a young scottish right back although I can’t remember his name. Also getting to the Semi Final of the FA cup greatly helped after receiving around 1.5m from prize money in total. I had a 1.6m budget in the Championship and things were looking great until my game crashed! Soukouna looks like a great find too. Keep up the form mate and you’ll be promoted, do you ever tweak your Manchelona? Or if your assistant suggests playing a 4-4-2 do you play it? Thanks mate.

George Dobson
George Dobson
10 years ago

Well done Darren the season has been going brilliant for you so far sonko has been very good !!! We could see you in the preimer league next season. By the way are you using your manchelona tactic !!!!! :D

Mikey
Mikey
10 years ago

OMFG!!!

That’s awesome man! My start to the season is different but will see if I get better through the season.

Well done!

Excessive
10 years ago

Well done Darren, your side are really showing some class in the Championship! Carry on the way you are going with some reinforcements in the transfer window and I’m sure you will have back to back promotions!

Good luck mate.

Laxeyman
Laxeyman
10 years ago

Brilliant form Darren, Brighton are tearing up the Championship! Your side are playing brilliantly with everyone contributing, and if it lasts for another few months then you’ll certainly be promoted again :) Good luck!

Johnny Karp
10 years ago

Simply excellent, you are dominating the league and I think that you will build an even bigger gap at the top. Hats off mate, brilliant job!

Sears
Sears
10 years ago

Hey Darren,

Tremendous first half of the season, your boys have taken the league by storm. Brandy’s continued his terrific goal scoring exploits for you and come the end of the season, I’m extremely optimistic that you will be celebrating promotion. Good luck ;)

Kevin
10 years ago

Hi Darren
Excellent December results and overall your home form is fabulous. Brandy is certainly doing wonders for you and Sonko appears to be rock solid at the back thus eliminating all those earlier CB worries. Hadouir has provided a lot of assists as well. Great stuff as always and is shaping up to be another exciting story to keep the readers happy until FM 2012

vaibhavc
vaibhavc
10 years ago

Hey Darren
Great form there, I think you shocked the other sides, but not us on the FMS site! Didn’t everyone expect you to top the table? Well done, Soukona is really good for you.

riggsy
riggsy
10 years ago

Great start Darren! Shame about the defeat to Leicester in the League Cup, but your league position is simply magnificent! Good luck for the rest of the season mate!

David Wiggins
10 years ago

As the Reading fans used to sing when Sonko played for us

“SONKO IS SUPERMAN!”

Lye
Lye
10 years ago

Hi Darren,

The championship is shocked but i am not surprise by the results. It seems another promotion is on the way. Five points lead after 26 games. Brandy is always a great player at this level as his pace is a great asset. Will be looking forward to the promotion. Lets see how far you can go before FM12 arrive our shores. Good luck.

Jay
Jay
10 years ago

nice stuff mate, promotion looks certain

Malhar Bhadbhade
Malhar Bhadbhade
10 years ago

hey Darren,
as always, extraordinary stuff. promotion is a certainty. staying up next season will be a challenge though, but i’m sure u can overcome it. i’m very u’ll be winning things in next to no time :D just as a matter of interest, when fm2012 does come out, will you be starting your story with newcastle again? i would just love to see what you can do with a “big” club :D
cheers! and keep up the good work!

Sibo
10 years ago

Well done Darren!

That’s some brilliant form mate and I think you can seriously be looking at getting the ‘Gulls up to the Prem this season. I think this story is slowly filling the void that the Newcastle save has left in me…

Just brilliant Darren, simply brilliant! :D

P.S. Talking of the Newcastle save, I booted it up to try and do some profiles for the scouting network, but I can’t find a login button. Am I being a numpty or is there a reason I can’t find it?

Sibo
10 years ago
Reply to  Darren Smith

Ah, thanks very much mate,

I was just doing it as I would like to write some profiles to:

a) Make up for my lack of writing time I thought I would have in Malaysia

and

b) Get some stuff done as I know I won’t be able to do much blogging, in anything, for at least a week or two from Tuesday as I will need to regulate my schoolwork, since it is going to be very different for A-Levels.

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