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Darren: FM 2011 Brighton’s frantic January transfers and League Cup battle 2014/15

Hey guys and welcome to what should be a very exciting post. ;) During my last update Brighton finished Christmas top of the EPL table, through to the League Cup semi-final and also to the Champions League first knockout round. With the FA Cup yet to begin we were set for a long and exciting season finale. But due to some very exciting transfers and League Cup action, I will be focusing on the League Cup results and transfer action alone today, the rest of my results will follow very soon. I just don’t want to overload you with a 2500 word post ;)

January transfer window – Buy, sell, buy, sell…

As you may guess from the sub-title, my January transfer window was very hectic. The board offered me a change of expectation to ‘title challenge’ along with a new transfer budget of £3.5 million and £25K a week extra in wages. I accepted their offer, but started by checking the percentage of cash raked in from players sold that would be pumped back into my kitty. That was set at 90% and so started my tinkering.

After checking the transfer list I noticed Jack Wilshere available for £1.7 million. I made my move straight away and snapped the young winger up. This signing meant McDermott who was signed for £250K in our League One days became surplus to requirements. I offered the winger out for £6 million and accepted Aston Villa’s offer of £5 million.

Now for a risky move to make my midfield stronger and more creative. I made a bid to sign Alan Patrick from Shakhtar for £13 million, to my surprise the offer was accepted and left me rushing to raise funds. I offered Granero out to clubs and accepted £10.25 million for the Spaniard who was slowly falling down the pecking order. I also offered Ndinga out and accepted a bid of £5.75 million from Birmingham. The CM is decent but getting old and failed to start a competitive game this season.

Some very smart business sense so far as I’d offloaded older players that weren’t featuring and replaced them with younger, better players. However, this last transfer was very, very risky and involved selling my best star. Bakambu had attracted some interest from all over Europe and was starting to show signs of unrest. I started scouting for potential replacements and made a bid for one superstar in case the worst were to happen. I never expected this potential signing to be interested if I’m honest, but when he was and the opposing club accepted a very reasonable offer I was desperate to offload Bakambu. My new signing was due to join for £20 million and I had 7 days to push the Bakambu deal through as to avoid a cancellation from lack of cash. Bakambu joined Inter Milan for £19 million and six days later one of the worlds most eagerly anticipated strikers joined Brighton…

I have been trying to sign Neymar for the last two seasons, but never plucked up the courage to offload one of my best strikers to raise the funds and make room. Well January was different and everything fell into place. Below is a summary of my transfer action. So far this season we have spent £62 million but raked in £61 million from players sold to counter the investment.

League Cup semi-final vs Liverpool

After beating Fulham, Chelsea and Leeds you could say we deserved a place in the League Cup final, but Liverpool stood in our way. The Reds fielded a decent squad for the first leg, but were stunned by our resistance. After holding strong during Liverpool’s early attacks Brighton grew in confidence and went onto dominate the game. It finished 4-1 thanks to Charlie Adam’s inspirational performance. The second leg was a more even affair as Liverpool went on to win but only by one goal leaving the aggregate score at 6-4 to Brighton.

League Cup final vs Tottenham

Venue: Wembley, London

Attendance: 90,000

We all know the League Cup can be used to offer youth experience and rest star players for those tough league and European matches. Well that was half the case in my final match against Spurs. I rested Micah Richards, Neymar, Fleck and Adam. While Spurs were without Gareth Bale, Lennon and Defoe.

Pre-match team talk: Do it for the fans!

The game started with a boom as both sides came flying out of the traps to try and score first. Tottenham were the first to benefit from our defensive complacency as Cisse picked up a through ball to slot home. That was on the 17th minute, but we weren’t behind for long. Erick Torres picked up a loose ball and ran from within our half to find himself one on one with Gomes…and he slotted home. That was that until half-time as both teams seemed to fear the counter attack. During the break I told my boys that I was pleased and sent them out for the final 45 minutes.

Half-time team talk: Pleased

Tottenham came out stronger in the second-half as they caused all kinds of trouble. Then on the 57th minute a smooth passing move led to my left back, Robinson, completely taking out Van Der Vaart…PENALTY!! The Dutchman brushed himself down and calmly slotted the ball home, 2-1 to Tottenham. We pushed and we pushed but he Spurs seemed to be ironclad in defence. This forced my hand as Witsel came on for Patrick, Bebe came on for Guiliano and Neymar came on for Torres with 26 minutes remaining. These three changes seemed to do the trick as Brighton crept further forward and came closer with every opportunity. Then the break through finally came on 88 minutes. Bertolucci launched a free-kick into the Spurs penalty area and Witsel was their to loop a header over Gomes, 2-2! The clock kept ticking and I started to plan for extra-time, but all my ideas were on hold as Brighton charged forward with seconds to go. Bebe picked up the ball in a seemingly harmless position and no one closed him down. Then from all of 30 yards he unleashed a fierce strike past Gomes. That was the last kick of the game on 95 minutes and Brighton had won the League Cup!!

Full time team talk: Congratulations!!

Match highlights: Click here to watch match highlights

Match stats:

It wasn’t easy but Brighton were the best side and we got our reward with two late goals. After the match one of my players claimed the victory was down to my half-time team talk, and to be honest I was surprised the substitutions weren’t mentioned as two of them scored. :)

Well that’s all for today, like I said we don’t want to overload you. Within the next few days I’ll reveal how Brighton did in all the other competitions including the conclusion of our Premier League campaign. Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment below.



  1. Unknown

    October 2, 2011 at 15:00

    You describe Wilshere as a young ‘winger’, surely he’s better in CM?

    • Darren Smith

      October 2, 2011 at 15:07

      I tried him in CM with Newcastle and never got better than 6.3 rating, then moved him to RW and he was much better as an inside forward. Hence the ‘young winger’ and not CM.

      • MRDNRA

        October 2, 2011 at 15:35

        He’s also got the pace that a winger would need. Good signing.

        • Darren Smith

          October 2, 2011 at 15:58

          Yeah hopefully he will prove a good signing.

          • Unknown

            October 2, 2011 at 16:55

            Fair enough if you’ve made the decision based on experience.

          • Darren Smith

            October 2, 2011 at 17:02

            To be honest he does look more of a CM or AMC by the attributes and when I signed him with Newcastle that was the position I had in mind. But he was just awful and I couldn’t work out why, I’ve used Jack on the right ever since ;)

  2. Martin - F.M.J.S

    October 2, 2011 at 16:11

    Jack was a nice buy and Neymar is also a great signing. Congrats on the League trophy. Good Luck with the rest of the season mate. I sure there is more silverware to come :).

    • Darren Smith

      October 2, 2011 at 16:21

      Thanks Martin, I think that Neymar was a good piece of business as I he was in effect a straight swap for Bakambu. Hopefully the new signings will hit the ground running.

  3. Kevin

    October 2, 2011 at 16:47

    Congrats on winning the League Cup final and in such an exciting way too. Real nail -biter!!
    Your transfer window went remarkably well and to capture Neynar is nothing short of outstanding. Patrick has defintely got the flair to add creativity to your midfield and Wilshire is an excellent signign as well.

    • Darren Smith

      October 2, 2011 at 17:02

      Thanks Kevin, the League Cup was one of those matches were you can’t help but make weird noises in the excitement. :)

  4. Johnny Karp

    October 2, 2011 at 17:26

    Excellent business Darren, you really did a wonderful job in this transfer window. And congrats on the League Cup win, that was one hell of a game!

    • Darren Smith

      October 2, 2011 at 17:34

      Thanks Johnny, I was delighted with our transfer window and think those signings could make the difference this year. The League Cup was one of those games you hardly ever witness, very nervy but great to see also.

  5. Laxeyman

    October 2, 2011 at 17:30

    Great signings Darren, can’t believe you got Wilshere so cheap, and Neymar is a quality player :) Fabulous league cup final too, must have been very nerve wracking, but congrats on the win!

    • Darren Smith

      October 2, 2011 at 17:35

      Thanks mate, Wilshere was on the transfer list as his contract had six months remaining and Arsenal didn’t play him. Certainly a coup.

  6. junior

    October 2, 2011 at 18:13

    darren does changing my tactics before the match affect my performance because it brings drastic changes to my match preparation bars..even if they were all full theyll just go down to like half..

    do u suggest me changing tactics before or in the match already(before initial team talk)??..

    tnx and congrats on ur team performance…

    • Darren Smith

      October 2, 2011 at 18:34

      Changing your tactic before a match will hinder your teams performance unless you are switching to a pre-prepared tactic that has been loaded up in the match preparation screen as your secondary tactic. I would suggest never changing tactics unless it is to a pre-prepared tactic that has been put in the match preparation. Just think of it like real life. You train the team in one tactic all week, then switch to something different just before the game, obviously you’d experience some issues.

  7. vaibhavc

    October 2, 2011 at 19:00

    Hey Darren
    Your signings were superb. Jack Wilshere for 1.7 million is such a bargain. And Neymar for 20 million, that will be an interesting buy. He will be a good poacher in my view. Congratulations on your Carling Cup win. P.S. You forgot to put your poll up.

    • Darren Smith

      October 2, 2011 at 19:07

      Thanks Vaibhav, Wilshere was a great signing for the price tag and I too am looking forward to Neymar’s progress.

  8. MDTM

    October 2, 2011 at 19:54

    Hey Darren,
    What a fantastic transfer window! Out with the old and in with the new. Well done with your success in the League Cup and I am very excited to see how you finished up the Premier League season!

    • Darren Smith

      October 2, 2011 at 20:05

      Thanks mate, that quite sums it all up. I had to offload some quality to get in better players but feel like the new set of lads are a level above.

  9. Sears

    October 2, 2011 at 20:28

    Very nice signings mate, loving the added Brazilian flair and skill. Congrats on winning the League Cup and I’m anticipating a trophy filled end of season. Good luck buddy :)

    • Darren Smith

      October 2, 2011 at 20:40

      Thanks buddy, I must admit the Brazilian flair is a nice addition. Hopefully we can continue winning and see where it takes us.

  10. George Dobson

    October 2, 2011 at 21:23

    Great signings Neymar should be a great buy lets hope hes even better than bakambu

    • Darren Smith

      October 3, 2011 at 11:59

      Thanks George, I hope Neymar can carry on from Bakambu too.

  11. Dan

    October 2, 2011 at 21:50

    Brill signings and Neymar should be amazing for you. You’ve added some good South American bezzaz (always wanted to use that word :D ‘ to your squad and some good old fashioned English talent too, good work!

    • Darren Smith

      October 3, 2011 at 11:58

      Thanks Dan, I am happy with the transfers and they should give the club a little push towards our goals.

  12. tom

    October 3, 2011 at 08:34

    Hey Darren…what role do you plan to play neymar in?…his stats support a few roles…ive had him as a poacher…but his lack of goals forced me to reconsider…i have him as an inside forward on the right of a 4-3-3 and have found he works best here for me…he scores more…and his pace helps with assists…be interested to see how he develops under your leadership…another sanogo like development I’m predicting :)

    • Darren Smith

      October 3, 2011 at 11:57

      Hey Tom, I am currently using Neymar as the lone poacher but think he needs a different role maybe from the left wing.

  13. Paul Meeks

    October 3, 2011 at 11:28

    Good progress Darren, can’t wait to see how your season finished!

    Just out of interest, where are you playing Neymar? I got him on a end of contract free for my Man United team but he has had a poor first season for us. I tried him out on the left wing, as an attacking midfielder and striker but he hasn’t done well in any of those positions. Maybe he needs time to adjust to the English game but I will be interested to see how you get on with him :-)

    • Darren Smith

      October 3, 2011 at 11:56

      Thanks Paul, I have been using Neymar upfront in a poacher role but he hasn’t exactly blown me away to be honest. I reckon on the left wing as inside forward would suit him best.

  14. Lye

    October 3, 2011 at 16:45

    Hi Darren,

    Good signings on Wilshere and Neymar. Funny enough Wilshere always play on the flanks in my game. Good decision on playing him on the wing. Congrats on the League Cup win. Sure there will be more to come. Good luck.

    • Darren Smith

      October 3, 2011 at 19:12

      Thanks Lye, Wilshere and Neymar will either be an instant hit or feel like mega flops…lets just hope they hit the ground running.

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