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Darren: Newcastle, August to November 2015/16

Hey guys and welcome back to my FM 2011 Newcastle United story. During the last post I signed a tonne of youth, sold some older members and made a big profit within the summer transfer window. My finances are looking good, but it’s time to see if this effects our performances on the pitch. Today’s post will be a short one and just used get you all up to speed with the goings on around Saint James Park. So, let’s see how August to November went for the toon army.

Euro Super Cup vs Leverkusan

After beating Real Madrid in the Champions League final, I have the novelty of a Super Cup to play. German side Leverkusan were victorious in the Europa League, so will make up the numbers in this one off match. I opted for a strong starting XI in the hope the squad could gain morale from an early piece of silverware. The match highlights are below.

Tough tie by all accounts as the Germans forced extra-time. Hernandez and Paloschi proved key as their link up play finished the match off. I would have preferred a more dominant match, but 25 shots isn’t a bad statistic for pre-season. :)

Premier League results – August

The season opener, most people dread it but I thrive on the adrenaline rush of the new seasons potential. Craven Cottage was the venue and Fulham my opponents, Santos made his first appearance of the season and scored a blinder. We won 1-0 and the 19 year forward from Brazil stole the show. Next up Birmingham at Saint James Park, this match belonged to Anconetani who grabbed a hat trick as we won 4-0. Short but sweet month.

Premier League results – September

Slightly longer month here and some cup matches made September a little cramped. Sanogo finished the scoring in August and opened up for September too. The forward scored Newcastle’s only goal at home to Wolves and capped off a 1-0 victory. Before Danny Wilson had to save the toon armies blushes at Middlesborough. An in swinging corner led to the only goal and helped Newcastle avoid an upset against their close rivals. September finished on a high though as Newcastle trampled Wigan and went onto win 2-0, Paloschi was amazing during that match.

Premier League results – October

The busiest month in terms of EPL fixtures, five matches in total and four of which could prove difficult. We opened the month in fine form, beating both Bristol City and Everton away. Then my next match was a little closer as Spurs defended well at Saint James Park, but could do nothing to stop Santos. After that 1-0 victory I travelled to Stamford Bridge in a sceptical mood. This was unfounded though as a great team effort saw Newcastle win 5-2. It wasn’t until a trip to the Eastlands that I came unstuck. Manchester City were immense, Adebayour and Tevez were on unstoppable form and they deserved the 2-1 victory.

Premier League results – November

Another interesting but short month in the EPL. My ironclad defence proved vital at home to Aston Villa, Sanogo was on form to help us win 1-0. Then a visit to Anfield saw my boys dominate the match but fail to make chances pay. We drew 1-1 as Anconetani’s strike was equalled very late on. The month finished on a high against Blackpool though, four separate names hit the scoreboard to help us win 4-0. All in all a great start to the season, 13 matches equalling 11 victories, one draw and one loss.

Best Premier League performance

This award had to be against Chelsea. My side won 5-2 at Stamford Bridge and dominated throughout. You can watch the match highlights below.

Premier League table

After a wonderful start I find myself in top spot, two points clear of second and with a game in hand. The league seems to be quite competitive, leaving big clubs dropping points on a regular basis, hopefully I can capitalize on this. I still believe Man United and Man City will be my biggest threat, but we’ll see if it turns into another runaway year.

League Cup results

When the third round draw came out, I was cursing my luck. To get Chelsea away was tough to take, but I held solace in the knowledge they may field a weakened side. This wasn’t the full story, but Chelsea weren’t as strong as they could be. My boys took advantage as Sanogo brought out the big guns…his incredible performance led to a hat trick and 3-2 victory. We had an easier opponents in the fourth round in Championship side Leeds. I fielded a few youngsters and they certainly didn’t disappoint. The scoreline wasn’t emphatic, but the performance was as we won 2-1 and Santos looked great. West Ham are next on my radar, a tough match away from home, but I expect victory.

Champions League results and group

My Champions League group doesn’t look like a walk in the park, but top spot is a must. We started well beating Kobenhavn 4-1, then followed this up with a vital 2-0 victory away to Shakhtar. I also enjoyed 2-0 victories at home and away against Wolfsburg, the German side look nothing like their former self. My only disappointment came away from home against Kobenhavn as we drew 1-1.

Looking through the goal scorers you may have noticed Santos in incredible form. The Brazilian has been at Saint James Park for almost two years and just started to show his true potential. Newcastle are in top spot and have secured it with ease. Our last match at home to Shakhtar will be time for experimenting.

Squad stats

My great start to the season has seen many different names on the pitch. I wanted to offer everyone a chance and this rotation policy seems to work great. The youngsters are getting better with every match, while the senior players are winning the big games and staying happy. Sanogo is now worth £20 million at the age of 22, no wonder with 12 goals from 8 starts. Anconetani has really excelled this season too, his 6 goals and 7 assists have been pleasing. One other key to my great start is Hernandez who has replaced Afellay well assisting 9 times.


It was inevatable that my finances would take a dip. I have lost a little money since pre-season, but this includes snatching Sanogo on a new deal worth £95K per week alongside a few other stars (don’t worry the wage budget hasn’t changed much.) We have £52.7 million in the bank, £9 million less than at the end of pre-season. No need to panic though as we’ll make loads of cash during the last four months of the season. I’m predicting an end of season balance of around £80-90 million.

Well that’s it for today, I’ll be back soon with my winter update. Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment below. Apologies for the short text, life has been manic but I didn’t want to leave you guys without an update. So thanks for reading and I look forward to your comments as always.



  1. Excessive

    May 22, 2011 at 10:58

    Blimey, Santos looks brilliant! Potential ability of 4 1/2 stars in a champions league winning team, comparing him to Sanogo? You know what, scrap what I said before.. Sell Sanogo. This guy will become the future of Newcastle in two years time :).

    Brillant results against pretty much everyone there mate, with a 5-2 at Stamford Bridge to boot. Little unlucky with the game against City. Would have liked to see you end the season unbeaten, but apart from that, I cant really fault your squad.

    Finances are looking steady too!

    Good luck :)

    • Darren Smith

      May 22, 2011 at 13:23

      Funny thing is, that profile of Santos is old and he’s even better now. Extremely talented and probably got potential to be the best. I will sell Paloschi before Sanogo, and with Santos’ development that could be soon.

  2. Sibo

    May 22, 2011 at 11:21

    Well done Darren!

    You continue to dominate at home and I am sure we will see another big trophy haul this season if the toon keep it up, which I am sure they will!

    Also, good work in the CL, Kobenhavn always throw up shocks, I believe they drew at home vs. Barca this season in real-life so don’t worry to much.

    Finally, for a manager who claims to prefer a solid defence you sure are free scoring! Not that I’m complaining as it is definitely going to bring you success this season!

    The finances also look very steady, keep up the good work there too!

    Well done and good luck! :D

    • Darren Smith

      May 22, 2011 at 13:21

      Thanks Sibo, it’s been great so far and I’m happy with the squads attitude after losing players in the summer. Should be an exciting season finale.

  3. Ana Garcia

    May 22, 2011 at 11:58

    Nice going Darren,

    Your squad looks very talented but are you not concerned about the lack of English players? I know its a game but you could save even more money if you promote acadamy players into your team.

    Of course they will have to be good enough! But it would be nice too see, but you are sort of like Arsene Wenger in finding amazing foreign players which isnt a bad comparison in truth!

    But I dont want to tell you how to play your game! League wise it is a bit tight but that game in hand gives you the early advantage (if you win it!!) but having an easy CL group allows you to rest a few players which is always nice.

    Congrats on the super cup win! The finances still look very steady and like you said more money to come will only improve that.

    Good luck!! :)

    • Darren Smith

      May 22, 2011 at 13:19

      Thanks Ana, the game is going very well indeed.

      I gave up on getting home grown talent two years ago, its simply impossible and has been on all my saves (only in England.) The game just doesn’t produce good enough English regens. I was so concerned a while ago I actually went way overboard when paying for Danny Wilson, Jack Rodwell and Jack Wilshere. I have spent lots of money upgrading the youth and networking too but still no difference. The best English player my academy produced was rated as having the potential to be decent in the EPL. There really isn’t anything I can do, because if there was I’d be doing it. I will not lower the standard of my team just because of someone’s nationality. The only time I’ve signed a good English regen is Kalu my centre back from Leeds at the age of 16.

      I honestly wish I didn’t have to look abroad for players, but at the end of the day I still have 6 British players in the first team so its not a disaster.

  4. Martin

    May 22, 2011 at 12:32

    Great start to the season Darren, some great results early on in the season, especially the Chelsea one.

    I kind of agree with Ana…what are the Home Grown players in the Reserves/Youth like…any have potential for the first team?

    I’m loving the finance part of this story, like you I love to spend the budget and not think about wages etc, but maybe I could take a leaf out of you story for mine.

    Good luck for the rest of the season, i’m sure that it will be another trophy filled year :)

    • Darren Smith

      May 22, 2011 at 13:12

      Thanks Martin, it has been a great start. I have tried very hard to introduce home grown talent but the game is against me here. I haven’t had one regen rated as potentially even decent for the EPL. They’ve all been shocking. I have got Richards, Rodwell, Wilshere, Clark, Wilson etc who are all British so I’m making a big effort to use British players but the game hasn’t produced anyone good enough with English nationality. I have even spent loads of money to make the youth facilities and networking better but still no decent English regens. I have found this to be the case with every one of my saves too.

      Taking care of finances is great, it really adds something different to the game as I never used to care.

  5. Sears

    May 22, 2011 at 13:10

    Fantastic start to the campaign Darren. Although your team is young, I predict that you will win every competition again… Good luck!!

  6. Sayam Khan

    May 22, 2011 at 13:14

    Hi Darren, loving how this system has ticked so well. The loss of Affelay has not hurt you one bit as Hernandez is just as good, if not, then better.Matias Anconetani is an amazing winger for your team, if only my game had some like him! It is slightly more tight in the league this year, but i’m sure with the experience you have, you will come out on top. Santos is amazing, and like Excessive, I don’t think it would hurt you if you sold sanogo. Anyway good luck!

    • Darren Smith

      May 22, 2011 at 13:27

      Thanks Sayam, I was a little concerned with Afellay’s departure but the players didn’t even complain. Wait until you see Hernandez’s updated attributes, he is phenominal and just gonna get better. Like I said to Excessive, Paloschi will be first out before Sanogo and hopefully for a big profit. :)

  7. vaibhavc

    May 22, 2011 at 13:39

    Hey Darren
    Great season so far, first with a game in hand and a trophy already in the bag. Anconetai is a very good player, looks like your Y2G seems to be working. Santos is also a great signing and player, could he be the next Sanogo?

    • Darren Smith

      May 22, 2011 at 14:05

      Thanks Vaibhavc, the Y2G system has settled in much faster than I’d imagined. Santos won’t be the next Sango though….he’ll be better! ;)

  8. Laxeyman

    May 22, 2011 at 13:58

    Great start Darren, you’ve been fabulous so far in the league, and your defence is brilliant, just 6 goals conceded. The league will be yours again, and I reckon you will go a long way in the Champions League. Good luck!

    • Darren Smith

      May 22, 2011 at 14:06

      Thanks Laxeyman, I can’t think of any complaints. Although the home grown issues raised by Ana and Martin do stick in the back of my mind. Hopefully my academy and facilities can continue to improve and then finally produce more home grown players.

  9. vikingmarius

    May 22, 2011 at 14:19

    Santos is fantastic and you are doing very well in both the league and champions league and your finances are well on the up despite this little dip, very well done :)

    • Darren Smith

      May 22, 2011 at 15:48

      Thanks mate, Santos really will be a legend around Newcastle.

  10. Matt Clark

    May 22, 2011 at 14:30

    Hi darn great going on all fronts
    If you want to improve youth players coming through the academy have as many of the best youth coaches as possible
    Looks like more silverware this season best of luck

    • Darren Smith

      May 22, 2011 at 15:47

      Hopefully you’re right Matt. The problem with my academy isn’t the way we train or develop youth…its that the youth players when generated aren’t good enough. They don’t have enough potential, the English ones don’t anyway.

  11. CsAtlantis

    May 22, 2011 at 16:16

    Have you improved your youth recruitment network Darren? weird, my Birmingham side has produced 3 regens who will become good/leading Premier League players in about 4 intakes, 2 of them in the most recent one too

    Looking good in all your competitions so far, and very good bank balance to boot, so what are you saving up for? a new stadium? :P

    Very nice to see that the average age is really low, must be the youngest squad in the Premier League surely :D

    • Darren Smith

      May 22, 2011 at 19:04

      The youth recruitment should be upgraded by the end of the year, hopefully this will help. I’d love to see top talent walk through the door but we’ll see.

      My aim is to have a tonne of cash in the bank and see how this effects the richest clubs list. I wouldn’t buy a new stadium though as my board have already upgraded Saint James Park to 60000 capacity and I’ve moved stadiums on other games where the new one has had less capacity than the old stadium. Would be devastated to see this.

  12. Kevin

    May 22, 2011 at 17:26

    Hi Darren
    Looking good in all competitions and your team seems very solid defensively. Finances in great shape so all is well in the North East :)

    • Darren Smith

      May 22, 2011 at 19:04

      Thanks Kevin, I always try to build a solid defence and what amazes me is that the attack seems to benefit. :)

  13. Johnny Karp

    May 22, 2011 at 17:29

    So far so good, both on the pitch and at the bank :) Sanogo seems to be a bit expensive in terms of wages but he’s well worth the 95k per week, that’s money well spent in my view.

    • Darren Smith

      May 22, 2011 at 19:01

      Thanks Johnny, the most pleasing aspect is the way my boys are playing but the money is also a bonus. You’re right about Sanogo, he’s very expensive but like you say well worth it. All will balance out if I sell him for a huge sum.

  14. Lye

    May 23, 2011 at 02:00

    Hi Darren,

    Sanoko is absolutely on fire for you. Nice start there and your young players are doing just fine. It should be another fruitful season for you.

    I believe we have the same problems on English youth. Now that i am in Premier League, the first place i look for youth players is South America. They produce really good regens. I tried in vain to sign some talented young English players but they are just not that good.

    • Darren Smith

      May 23, 2011 at 18:54

      Thanks Lye, must admit I am over the moon with this young squad. Nice to know it isn’t just me with this English regens problem. Everyone keeps talking about it like I’m not finding the talent but its not the case, like you I’ve done endless searches for these players and been waiting in hope for years to see a decent academy player. When the talent isn’t there, it just isn’t there. Very frustrating, but maybe my youth recruitment upgrade will help.

  15. Sibo

    May 23, 2011 at 13:18

    Hey Darren

    Noticed Alex and Sears stories removed from the sidebar, obviously I understand Sears but with regards to Alex… will something be announced by you and/or Johnny about that or what’s going to happen? It all seems very strange, doesn’t it?



    • Johnny Karp

      May 23, 2011 at 13:33

      We will make an announcement about that Sibo, sooner or later. Alex has to make a decision and we are still waiting for a reply from him.

    • Darren Smith

      May 23, 2011 at 18:50

      Yeh, as Johnny said we’re waiting a little longer for Alex’s reply. There will be an announcement soon enough though.

  16. daniel

    May 23, 2011 at 19:19

    Hey darren long time no speak so i was thinking do you think i could start writing on fm stories again please as i have now finished most of my exams and im looking for an FM escape route from reality

    • Darren Smith

      May 23, 2011 at 19:32

      I have sent you an email regarding this Daniel. Take a look.

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