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Darren: FM 2011 Brighton’s amazing end of season report 2014

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Hey guys and welcome to Brighton’s season finale. During the last post you witnessed the Seagulls start an incredible run of form and top the Premier League table. With a one point lead in the EPL, we were also through to the Europa League knockout rounds and yet to start the FA Cup. Today will see the end of this crazy season, taking us from January to May, can Brighton secure Champions League qualification, or could we even be aiming for some silverware? Carry on reading to find out…we will start with the Europa League.

Europa League results

After waltzing through my group that included Sevilla and PSG I was drawn against Turkish side Trabzonspor. The 1st Knockout round was a breeze as Brighton cruised through 5-0 on aggregate. The 2nd Knockout round was almost as easy, seeing my side beat Spartak Moscow 9-3 on aggregate. The easy opponents soon stopped though as we were drawn against Liverpool for the quarter-final. The Merseyside club proved too strong over two legs and beat my Brighton 2-1 on aggregate.

Premier League results – January to February

Lying top of the EPL table I started to ponder what was really possible with half a season to go. The title was there, but I couldn’t raise me eyes beyond the top four with such a long way to go. West Brom soon brought me back to reality at the Hawthorns, after losing the lead twice we had to settle for a 3-3 draw.  Birmingham were beaten with ease, but Blackburn proved my boggy team yet again holding us at Ewood Park 1-1.  Brighton then shocked me, I looked at the next four fixtures and expected just two points. However, we beat Liverpool 4-3, Chelsea 3-2 away before losing to Manchester United and beating Arsenal 2-1. We played the so called top four and gained 9 points from a possible 12. Now that’s how you react under pressure. :) As if those victories weren’t enough my boys made doubly sure by thrashing Blackpool 7-1.

Premier League results – March to April

OK so now I found myself still top of the table and with some breathing space to fifth. The Champions League was almost secure, but there was nothing between myself and Manchester United at the top. We needed a good run of form to keep our shocking title challenge alive. We started March beating Wolves 3-0, Aston Villa 3-2, Burnley 2-1 and Newcastle 2-1. Fifth placed Everton then taught us a lesson in complacency at Goodison Park, my boys were awful and paid the price losing 2-0. With morale a little damaged Brighton pulled through a tough match at home to beat Fulham 3-2 thanks to Bakambu’s injury time winner.

We then started to struggle against great opposition drawing 1-1 away to Spurs, 1-1 with Man City and 3-3 away to West Ham. This bad run of form almost ruined what was a brilliant title attempt. However, my boys showed some fighting spirit to thrash Chelsea 4-1 and put our form back on track.

With only two games remaining the Premier League title race couldn’t be closer. Brighton were top with 82 points and Manchester United trailed on goal difference. My free scoring style had paid off as the Seagull’s held an 8 goal advantage with two games to go. Win them both and Brighton would lift the Premier League title unless United managed a miracle.

The first of these historic games came at home to Wigan and I couldn’t have wished for more. Kakuta and Bakambu were incredible and helped Brighton to win 6-1. I also had one eye in the north as United won their fixture and kept the title race alive. One game to go and most certainly the most important game any of these players would ever be involved in. My opponents were Sunderland and we had the home advantage. The game may have started a little slow, but it didn’t finish that way. My players were outstanding and won the match 4-0!!

That’s right, Brighton won the Premier League after two straight promotions and a 7th placed finish last season. I was expecting to challenge the top four but this achievement goes beyond what I was hoping for.

Let’s take one final, fruitful look at the Premier League table. 88 points may seem like a small amount compared to what my Newcastle side notched up season in season out. But that tally would be enough to win the title most seasons, so I feel like this was a well deserved victory. My proudest part has to be goals for, we managed to net 103 goals this season which is testament to Brighton’s attacking mentality.

FA Cup results

You know Brighton won the Premier League, but lost out in the League Cup and Europa League. That now leaves us with the FA Cup, we started with the 5-1 thumping of Rochdale, before beating Fulham 3-0 to reach the fifth round. I was still dead set on using my weaker XI, but this didn’t stop us coming from 2-0 down to beat Newcastle 3-2. Then a boring 1-0 victory away to Everton secured our semi-final spot. This was against Chelsea and I still opted to mix youth and key players in order to rest up for the Premier League. However, Chelsea seemed to have the same idea which left both sides evenly matched, my boys seemed to want it more and came back from 1-0 down to win 2-1 in the dying seconds.

We are through to the FA Cup final against Tottenham. If you want to find out the result and read my end of season summary, go to the next page.

Go to the next page to read the rest of the story.

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  1. junior

    September 25, 2011 at 10:45

    wow absolutely amazing…2 seasons is all the time it takes you tow in the league…lol!nice man!!

    • Darren Smith

      September 25, 2011 at 11:11

      Thanks Junior, I was stunned to win the league and cup. I expected at least another season or two before this was possible.

  2. Jay

    September 25, 2011 at 11:03

    niceeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee one mate, any chance of them live chat sessions things again? i enjoyed it last time and found out what caused me to leave so early on last time ? :)

    • Darren Smith

      September 25, 2011 at 11:12

      Thanks Jay, we will have some live sessions again but don’t want to over do them so could host em’ once a month or so. Besides they take a lot of preparation and we need to reserve a whole afternoon too.

  3. Rob

    September 25, 2011 at 11:22

    great run of form mate, i followed youre newcastle story avidly but even after reading that i didnt think it was possible to win the PL in that time, sensational, congrats.

    • Darren Smith

      September 25, 2011 at 11:43

      Thanks mate, I honestly never thought we would pull this off but with two games to go it all seemed very real :) We needed luck along the way but I should be able to take Brighton to the next level now.

  4. Kevin

    September 25, 2011 at 12:17

    Flipping brilliant!!!
    Unlucky in Europe but I can see you being more successful next season. Really great job in winning the domestic double so quickly. You gave some opponents a good hammering along the way…this tactic is just awesome!
    Well done Darren!
    By the way I signed Bakambu on a season long loan for Southampton.

    • Darren Smith

      September 25, 2011 at 13:31

      Thanks kevin, I was delighted with the season and as you say we gave some clubs a real thrashing. You’ll get some use from bakambu, great signing mate.

  5. Dan

    September 25, 2011 at 12:18

    One word, amazing!
    I’m personally enjoying reading this story because I’m reporting to my cousin (who’s also Brighton) about how well you’re doing and he gets worked up because, well let’s just say he’s not doing so well with the Seagulls.

    Well done, next season Champions League, can’t wait to see your team play in that competition!

    • Darren Smith

      September 25, 2011 at 13:51

      Thanks Dan, I can’t wait for Brighton to be tested against Europe’s elite. As for your cousin, stop torturing him lol :)

  6. Laxeyman

    September 25, 2011 at 12:45

    Just incredible Darren, to win the double in your 2nd EPL season is amazing, well done! Torres and Bakambu are amazing, hopefully they’ll help you in the CL next year :)

    • Darren Smith

      September 25, 2011 at 13:53

      Thanks Laxeyman, it was a shockingly good season. Hopefully I can add to the squad and make us even stronger next season.

  7. Jakefog

    September 25, 2011 at 13:03

    My jaw just hit the floor! What a fantastic season, you couldn’t have wished for any better! (Apart from maybe winning the Europa league but who needs to win that if you qualify for the champions league ey? ;)

    • Darren Smith

      September 25, 2011 at 13:54

      lol, thanks Jake. I really couldn’t have wished for any better, losing in the Europa League was a close call but we struggled with the volume of matches. Feels like this set of players can beat anyone on their day…bring Barca ;)

  8. Marcko

    September 25, 2011 at 14:05

    congratz! brilliant season:D

  9. junior

    September 25, 2011 at 15:34

    hey darren i hope u dnt mind me sharing this…

    today was a funny day…i was playing fm and things were going so baaad (when i loose alot i dnt change tactics aaand i jst start pressing space bar (going to the nxt day) more december some contract expiry alert message came on but i was so pissed i jst ignored them…

    nooow suddenly things are going well…havent lost in like 7 games and thats 5 wins 2 draws..i got the message again and i renewed all of the contracts…lol fm is a funny game can change ur day and ur mood…

    looooolz!!FM HURRAY

    NOTE:”deep inside i knw the poor form will come..its inevitable “

    • Darren Smith

      September 25, 2011 at 15:57

      lol, that is very true Junior. While I did well to finish 8th with Brighton during our first EPL season…losing more games than I was used to put me a little down at times. That’s what makes the game so special, we get so involved ;)

      Hope you keep the form going to avoid that bad mood. :)

  10. Godders

    September 25, 2011 at 16:22

    Well done Darren, excellent season.

    Let’s hope you can finish it off with a win at Wembley in the FA Cup.

    • Darren Smith

      September 25, 2011 at 16:29

      Thanks Godders, although you seem to have missed the second page of this post. If you scroll to just above the comments box there is number 1 and 2, click number ‘2’ to see my FA Cup final.

  11. Sears

    September 25, 2011 at 16:27

    Bravo! Superb season mate, thrilled you pipped United to the title!! Shame you couldn’t add the Europa League to the impressive domestic double, though I can see you winning the CL in less than 2 yrs or so ;) Good luck bud!

    • Darren Smith

      September 25, 2011 at 18:09

      Thanks Sears, it was a wonderful season and full of drama. I can’t wait for Champions League football, you know I get more out of a side labelled underdogs than a team that is expected to win everything ;)

  12. Martin - F.M.J.S

    September 25, 2011 at 16:33

    Well Darran that is amazing, i thought you would do well this season but i did not expect a double brilliant. Unlucky with Europe but maybe you can win the Champions League next season :) A trophy i am finding hard to win lol. Look forward to the next installment. Good Luck.

    • Darren Smith

      September 25, 2011 at 18:12

      Thanks Martin, I expected a top four finish and took every game one by one…then to be involved in a title challenge left me shocked, let alone to actually win. I have no massive hopes for the CL, but do think we have an outside chance with the right signings.

  13. vaibhavc

    September 25, 2011 at 17:08

    Hey Darren
    Amazing mate, to win the league and FA Cup in your fourth season. Charlie Adam played really well, getting 20 assists, and Galeano was a really good defender for you this season. He must have improved so much.

    • Darren Smith

      September 25, 2011 at 18:27

      Thanks Vaibhav, the entire squad played their part…but you’re right, Galeano has come on a lot.

  14. Godders

    September 25, 2011 at 18:31

    Hi Darren

    I see you’ve beaten my favourite team in the final, well done anyway lol

    Would like to see If you could, set up a 3-4-3 formation like Barca are you using at the moment.

    Good Luck for next season.

    PS Can’t wait for the new game FM2012, In a few weeks time.

    • Darren Smith

      September 25, 2011 at 18:47

      Yeah it was a rather one sided final to be honest but I had Spurs Europa League final to thank for that. I may look to create a tactic like Barca’s in the future but very happy with my Manchelona so don’t need an alternative just yet..

      I’m looking forward to FM 2012 also, only down side is I’ll have to end this Brighton save earlier than I’d like.

  15. George Dobson

    September 25, 2011 at 19:11

    Amazing Darren how do you do it good luck in the champions league:D

    • Darren Smith

      September 25, 2011 at 19:15

      Thanks mate, I like to think that the attention to detail is what makes these feats possible. I never press continue until a game is upon me….I always look for who my next two opponents are and plan for both matches well in advance…meanwhile I keep a short-list of potential transfer targets so that my pool for signings is huge and I’m not forced to sign someone who won’t suit my squad or style of play.

      • George Dobson

        September 25, 2011 at 19:50

        thanks for telling me Darren I will try and do what you have told me

        • Darren Smith

          September 25, 2011 at 19:58

          No problem mate, my biggest tip is that it’s all in the players. If you get the right players then you’ll see the difference in the way your side plays. I know this is self explanatory but when you are a lowly side you need to find the bargains and unseen gems. I have always found Kakuta, Fleck and Micah Richards to be cheap after two seasons and become perfect signings.

  16. riggsy

    September 25, 2011 at 19:32

    WOW! That truly was a fantastic season Darren! I was looking back over my Southampton story and there was a comment from you which said “I can’t see my Brighton team progressing this quick”… well you have certainly proven yourself wrong :) Good luck for next season mate and I’m sure more success will follow!

    • Darren Smith

      September 25, 2011 at 19:36

      Thanks Riggsy, and thanks for the reference to my old comment. I am always pessimistic and I think this helps a lot, it leads to me over preparing and never settling for a second rate player. Lets hope it all continues into next season.

  17. Johnny Karp

    September 25, 2011 at 20:30

    Wow, a double! Superb season mate, wonderful job! Too bad you didn’t win the Europa League because you might not have another shot at it since you will probably be in the Champions League in all the following seasons ;)

    • Darren Smith

      September 25, 2011 at 20:35

      Thanks Johnny, I was delighted with the season and although the Europa League fell flat I couldn’t have asked for more. Next season will be interesting, we need to use stronger players in the Champions League and I’m not sure what effect this may have domestically.

  18. Lye

    September 26, 2011 at 02:10

    Hey Darren,

    I knew you will win the league title this season and you did it. Man Utd really pushed you all the way. Congratulations on the double. 103 goals is an awesome stats. Keep on bringing in attacking talents and aim for a higher goal tally next time.

    • Darren Smith

      September 26, 2011 at 11:57

      Thanks Lye, at the half way mark I was confident of top four but still didn’t expect the title. This is very similar to my Newcastle career and that is saying something :)

  19. Malhar Bhadbhade

    September 26, 2011 at 02:46

    that is just an incredible achievement. im not saying this to flatter you or anything, but you might just be the best football manager player in the world. if there’s any better, they’re certainly not on the internet…i’ve seen incredible achievements from other people on other stories, but this is just unbelievable. i personally want to c u manage Malaga for fm2012 and take on the likes of Barca and Real Madrid every season. anyway, good luck with your next season at Brighton!

    • Darren Smith

      September 26, 2011 at 11:56

      Thanks Malhar, it certainly was an incredible season. I’m not sure about been the best FM player, I’d reserve that title for the likes of Johnny who can take clubs from nothing to greatness. Sure I can work a budget and find the bargains required to pull these things off but not to Johnny’s level :)

      I reckon Malaga may be the team of choice for FM 2012 so you may get your wish.

      • Malhar Bhadbhade

        September 27, 2011 at 04:04

        hey darren, perhaps you’re right…maybe both you and Johnny are the best players in the world :) but winning the double with brighton in the fourth season is just ridiculous.

  20. CsAtlantis

    September 26, 2011 at 09:26

    Darren I wonder what did Liverpool feel when Torres scored against them in the Europa League, I had a double take when I saw Torres on the results screen :P

    You have assembled a strong squad, and they make up for the goals they concede by banging in a lot more past the opposition, no second season syndrome for your team then!

    Looking forward towards next season when the young Brighton squad enters the Champions League, you should have a really good budget next season

    Torres and Bertolucci have insane PA, care to post their attributes screenshots?

    • Darren Smith

      September 26, 2011 at 11:51

      lol, I started to wonder if someone would get confused ;) Hopefully some great additions will leave us challenging in Europe next season but that depends on my budget.

  21. onecapwonder

    September 27, 2011 at 13:25

    Thats an incredible season congrats and lets hope for more to come, reckon you can win the CL before FM 12 is out?

    Also you mentioned the weird rivalry Brighton and Crystal Palace have in one of the earlier posts, well I just popped on to the Guardian website to get their latest podcast and saw this:

    • Darren Smith

      September 27, 2011 at 18:45

      Thanks mate, I don’t think the CL will be achievable as there are just two seasons of this story left at best. However, I did it with the Toon so I’ll write nothing off.

      Thanks for the rivalry info, started reading and will finish it tonight maybe.

  22. MDTM

    September 27, 2011 at 20:34

    Great end to the season! Congrats on winning the double in your second season in the Premier League! Hopefully the CL comes next!

    • Darren Smith

      September 27, 2011 at 20:54

      Thanks mate, we’ll see what happens but the CL will be a real challenge.

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