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Vauxhall Motors FM 2011 Story: January 2015

Hello folks, I’m happy to announce that I finally found some time to post a fresh episode of the Motormen Football Manager 2011 story! I know that many of you would like to read such updates as often as possible but unfortunately I can’t post as often as you might want me to, at least for now. Anyway, back to the story: my team was proudly sitting in second place in the Championship at the end of December 2014, a very good position for a side that was predicted to finish last. Given the good run in the first half of the season I decided to change the season expectations from top half finish to promotion and that added another 4,000 to the weekly wage budget. Not too much but I wanted that money in order to try to extend some of the current players’ contracts. Let’s see how January went, there are some exciting matches in there and also some intriguing transfer news ;)

Vauxhall vs Southampton (FA Cup 3rd round)

Venue: Rivacre Park

Attendance: 3,000 (capacity crowd)

Starting line up: Dean Bouzanis – Kaka, Bryan Purdrue, Mervin Simon, James Campbell – Alex Chamberlain, Connor Newton, Mark Brown, Daniel Toribio – Andrés, Dale Hills

Team Talk: You can win today!

The first game of the new year was our FA Cup debut, fellow Championship side Southampton were coming at Rivacre Park. We had a pretty good Carling Cup run, went all the way to the Quarter Finals where we got knocked out by Man United, so I wanted to do well in the FA Cup too and bring some money into the club’s bank account. It was a special game for our newest signing, Brazilian right back Kaka, he had just joined the club on January 1st on a free transfer and I decided to send him right in. We started on the wrong foot though, striker Dale Hills missed a great opportunity 10 minutes into the game and Southampton punished us just a minute later! We fought back right away and Hills didn’t miss on 17 minutes after receiving a great pass from Andrés. He did waste another chance five minutes later but right winger Alex Chamberlain made up for that as he headed home a Daniel Toribio cross to give us the lead. The team was playing brilliantly and we managed to score the third goal five minutes before the break when Hills rounded off a team move with a powerful finish. There still was time for another goal, Andrés whipped that in two minutes before the interval with a great curling free kick shot (that goal surely is worth watching!).

Half time score: 4-1

Half time team talk: Pleased.

Half time substitutions: Grant Baddeley for Kaka, Jason Banton for Brown, Ibrahima MBow for Hills

The second half was not as spectacular but we continued to play well and kept things under control with ease. This was a great way to kick off the new year and I was hoping to see more such performances from my lads.

Full time team talk: Well done!

Man of the match: Dale Hills

Flop of the match: Ibrahima MBow

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the match highlights.

As you remember from the last update we had a hot transfer story on our hands as striker Ibrahima MBow was attracting interest from Europe’s biggest clubs. I decided to offer him a new contract until 2019 and I was thrilled that he accepted the offer!

The new contract seemed to have put off all the clubs that were chasing him as none of them made an official offer for him during January. However, I still had other interesting players for them: Arsenal made a bid for 17-year old striker Paul Harris, not a first team regular but a great prospect. I asked for 10 million plus 50% of a future transfer and Arsenal backed down ;)

There will be more transfer news later, now let’s get back to the league matches.

Brentford vs Vauxhall (Championship)

Venue: Griffin Park

Attendance: 7,784

Starting line up: Dean Bouzanis – Ken Harris, Sashi Chalwe, Mervin Simon, Grant Baddeley – Alex Chamberlain, Mark Brown, Suso, Jason Banton – Andrés, Ibrahima MBow

Team Talk: You can win today!

Fellow newly-promoted side Brentford were struggling to avoid relegation as they were down in 22nd place before the match. We started the game in a decent fashion, we were dominating but we were not really doing much damage. Things turned complicated after 26 minutes when midfielder Mark Brown had to leave the field on a stretcher, I sent in Daniel Toribio to replace him but that didn’t change much in our game as we were still looking slow and uninspired. The frustrating afternoon became a nightmare on 35 minutes, Brentford caught us napping on a counter attack and took the lead. They nearly did that again two minutes later but then my lads woke up and created two good chances before the break. We were not too lucky though as we were denied by the keeper on a first occasion and by the crossbar later on.

Half time score: 1-0

Half time team talk: I want to see more from you!

Half time substitutions: Carlos Santos for Baddeley, Keith Higgs for Banton

The second half wasn’t much better but this time we had Keith Higgs, the left winger came off the bench to give us the three points! First he headed home an Andrés free kick cross on the hour mark and then bagged the decisive goal during injury time as he fired into the bottom corner after receiving a good pass from Toribio! That was a lot more difficult than expected but I was pleased with the fightback.

Full time team talk: Well done!

Man of the match: Keith Higgs

Flop of the match: Jason Banton

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the match highlights.

And now, some more transfer news. As you know centre back Sashi Chalwe was unwilling to extend his contract with us and since the deal was expiring next July there were already some contract offers for him. He decided to accept an offer from French club Lorient so he will be leaving the club come July. However, I hope that he will carry on and do a professional job for us until then.

Three players left the club in January, I decided to sell them as I felt that they were no longer needed. I received only 70K back into the transfer budget from these though, not nearly enough to consider buying players right now. Left backs Campbell and Pawelec were sold as I decided to promote young full back Ray Davis from the reserves team, he spent the first half of the season on loan at Tranmere and he did a great job there so I chose to promote him into the first team to compete with Grant Baddeley for a place in the starting eleven.

Curiously enough, immediately after promoting Ray Davis to the first team I received an offer for him from… Arsenal! I guess that I was not mistaken about his potential, the offer was refused! ;)

Vauxhall vs Leicester (Championship)

Venue: Rivacre Park

Attendance: 3,000 (capacity crowd)

Starting line up: Dean Bouzanis – Ken Harris, Sashi Chalwe, Mervin Simon, Ray Davis – Alex Chamberlain, Connor Newton, Suso, Keith Higgs – Andrés, Ibrahima MBow

Team Talk: You can win today!

Leicester were in 8th place before the game so it’s safe to say that I considered them to be genuine promotion contenders. We were incredibly lucky during the initial stages of the game as Leicester wasted a huge chance inside the first minute and then put through their own net just two minutes later! That start was a big blow for them so we took control of the game and centre back Mervin Simon was denied by the crossbar before Keith Higgs found the back of the net again with a shining solo effort.

Half time score: 2-0

Half time team talk: Encourage.

Half time substitutions: Jason Banton for Higgs, Daniel Toribio for Newton

Leicester regained their composure after the break and they were pushing forward with good impetus. Their efforts were rewarded just when we were starting to play better though, they caught us on a counter attack and our three points were in danger. Luckily we restored the two-goal lead just six minutes later when Jason Banton was tripped inside the box and Andrés powered in from the penalty spot. Leicester played very well, especially in the second half, so I guess we could count ourselves lucky to win this one.

Full time team talk: Disappointing!

Man of the match: Keith Higgs

Flop of the match: Daniel Toribio

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the match highlights.

Stoke vs Vauxhall (Championship)

Venue: Britannia Stadium

Attendance: 20,532

Starting line up: Dean Bouzanis – Ken Harris, Sashi Chalwe, Mervin Simon, Ray Davis – Alex Chamberlain, Connor Newton, Suso, Keith Higgs – Andrés, Ibrahima MBow

Team Talk: You can win today!

This was the last league match of the month and it was expected to be a tough one since Stoke were in 6th place before the game. The opening 10 minutes were a total onslaught, the Potters were all over us and I guess we were lucky to concede just one goal before the 11th minute. Then we started to play a bit better but just when I was hoping to see an equalizer Stoke doubled their lead with a great shot from distance. We did manage to reduce the arrears four minutes before half time when Andrés converted a penalty kick and we totally deserved that since we had played a pretty good first half except the opening minutes.

Half time score: 2-1

Half time team talk: You can win today!

Half time substitutions: Jason Banton for Higgs

Things got a lot better just two minutes after the re-start, Mervin Simon powered in a corner kick header and it was all square! The equalizer triggered a fierce reaction from the home side though and they got back in front after just seven minutes thanks to their very good pair of strikers. We were unable to show a good reaction until the final 10 minutes and then it was too late, Stoke grabbed the three points thanks to better finishing and composure throughout the game.

Full time team talk: Good effort!

Man of the match: Mervin Simon

Flop of the match: Suso

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the match highlights.

The defeat against Stoke left us in the exact same position that we had at the start of the month: in second place, five points behind Burnley and tied with Middlesbrough.

We had one more game to play before the end of the month, the FA Cup fourth round match against Premier League side Bolton.

Bolton vs Vauxhall (FA Cup 4th round)

Venue: Reebok Stadium

Attendance: 13,801

Starting line up: Dean Bouzanis – Ken Harris, Sashi Chalwe, Mervin Simon, Grant Baddeley – Alex Chamberlain, Mark Brown, Suso, Keith Higgs – Andrés, Ibrahima MBow

Team Talk: Pressure is off!

Bolton were strong favorites for this one so I decided to ease the pressure on my players, we had the league to focus on and the FA Cup was just a nice bonus. In fact, Bolton were much better than us during the opening minutes of the game and they deservedly broke the deadlock after just 12 minutes. We got a bit lucky just eight minutes later when Mervin Simon converted another corner kick into a goal, we scored against the run of play but you can’t be choosy in such games. Then Bolton returned in command, they were piling on the pressure but we held out until half time as my lads defended pretty well.

Half time score: 1-1

Half time team talk: Pleased.

Half time substitutions: Ray Davis for Baddeley, Daniel Toribio for Brown, Jason Banton for Higgs

We did even better after the re-start, Bolton were no longer dominating the game and we managed to create a pair of decent chances before the hour mark. And then we took the lead on 66 minutes, Ibrahima MBow was denied by the keeper but the loose ball bounced into Andrés‘ path and the Spanish striker fired it into the empty net. Our joy was short-lived though, Bolton pegged us back after just four minutes by taking advantage of some rather poor defending. My lads remained calm and courageous despite that and we even managed to come close to the winning goal before the final minutes of the game. We had to endure some pressure during injury time and midfielder Suso sacrificed himself seconds before the final whistle by committing a professional foul that got him sent off. We earned the right to a replay and I guess we couldn’t have hoped for more than that.

Full time team talk: Good result!

Man of the match: Mervin Simon

Flop of the match: Ray Davis

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the match highlights.

Keith Higgs was awarded the Championship Young Player of the Month as he bagged three goals in three appearances in January. He seems to be having a good season this time as he already has eight goal and three assists this term compared to the four goals and two assists that he managed in League One.

Next month will be decisive, we’ll have six league games to play plus the FA Cup replay against Bolton. The good thing is that we’re going to meet only teams from the lower half of the Championship table so we might have a chance to bring in a few points to consolidate our promotion bid.

That’s about it for now folks, thanks a lot for reading and please don’t forget to submit your entries in the Goal of the Month competition! I’d also like to invite you to view my guest post on SoccerLens, there’s a Football Manager 2011 tactic up for grabs there as well ;)

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Sears
9 years ago

Superb month Johnny. Your still in contention for the title, it’s a shame that your board aren’t increasing the capacity in your stadium though. You’ve sold out every game yet you can only squeeze 3,000 fans in. I really hope that you get promoted, that would be magnificent. Good luck anyhow!

Laxeyman
Laxeyman
9 years ago

Great month again Johnny, you’re now in a nice position, and you still have a chance of winning the league. I reckon you have what it takes to finish in the top 2, although your defence might have to improve, as 40 goals conceded by January is quite a high number. Good luck!

hils
hils
9 years ago

Hi Johnny,Great month there!!!!!!!!!! I hope you get promoted!!!!!!!!!!! Good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Vaibhav C.
Vaibhav C.
9 years ago

Great month Johnny, that was really good. I don’t think many would think that you could get relegated now! I think the best game was the 4-1 victory against Southampton, that was really good. I loved how you made tried to make Arsenal pay 10 million for Harris, it is what they deserve?

albyedw
9 years ago

great result against Bolton and you have some nice youth products coming through. Two questions, what standards are your youth facilities, e.g okay,average and can I have a screenshot of new signing kaka because unless I’m mistaken i didn’t see one up there? good luck for Febuary!

Darren Smith
Admin
9 years ago

Hey Johnny, that was a great set of results and a very impressive FA Cup performance!! You seem to be going like a train picking up momentum with every game, surely promotion must be the target now.

I find it quite impressive how you spot talent no matter what their attributes are. Some players you have don’t seem amazing and yet the top teams in Europe are after them showing they are extremely talented. Anyway, good luck for the end of season…its going to be exciting :)

Kevin
9 years ago

Hi Johnny
Another superb month particularly in the FA Cup. Vauxhall are real contebders for promotion but it’s going to be a tight finish I feel. I’m glad M’bow has decided to stay on with the club. He’s important to your success. Hopefully you can rack up some points next month against those lower teams. Well done!!!

Josh Allen
9 years ago

Another superb month Johnny. I hope you will be able to increase your grounds capacity, otherwise you will not be able to capitalise on the Premier League potential that you should exploit next season!! In reality, anything under i think 15,000 is not allowed – remember Blackpools problems.
Josh
everythingthatisfm.blogspot.com

Lye
Lye
9 years ago

Hi Johnny,

I have no doubt you stand a great chance of promoting this season. Regarding the stadium, i believe the board will do something once you are promoted. You will probably be ground sharing with a Championship club. Everything is looking good. Your strikers are banging in goals. As long you don’t concede too many, i will see you in Premiership. Good luck.

Excessive
9 years ago

Alright Johnny.
Glad to see M’Bow signing a new contract, and on long term aswell! Shame about Chalwe though, thought you could have atleast got something for him ;).
Some decent results aswell though, hard fought 2-2 at the Reebok was my pick.
Hope it lasts mate, can’t see you dropping out of that top 6 come the end of the season.

Good luck!

Vinners
Vinners
9 years ago

Hey Johnny,
Good month and good work this season :) On my vauxhall I’m on my 2nd season in the premiership with coming 5th in my first season with my pacey striker and a good counterattacking/parking the bus strategy :P My question to you is what throw ins do you use? Coz i recently started to use bullet throws and they don’t really work and I get countered quite badly so I wondered if they really as good as Stoke make them look…. And how can i make them more effective?

Vinners
Vinners
9 years ago
Reply to  Johnny Karp

ah thanks :) Ok then, I got rid of the person so might just not have designated people so it’ll just be default for the person who’s taking the throw because I just got countered, they got a corner and scored :/ So defiantely getting rid of it!

warren
9 years ago

Hi Johnny

Yet again you seem to be on course for another promotion into the Premier League. An unbelieveable performance considering where you were when you started this story. Cannot wait for the next part of the story.

good luck

Sayam Khan
9 years ago

Hi Johnny, great to know you have snapped Mbow up for longer. I think he will be a big hit in the PL. You must hate Arsenal in this game, they always want your players!

I also think there is no point extending your stadium, it’s tiny anyway, just ask for a new one!

Good month also, im confident you will be in the PL next season. :D

CsAtlantis
CsAtlantis
9 years ago

Hello Johnny,

Your team is pushing hard for a promotion, and your young talents are getting the attention they deserve, is it just me or does Ray Davis look like Ashley Cole? Good luck on getting into the Premier League and also a new/improved stadium

craig
craig
9 years ago

Hello Johnny,

A friend of mine told me about your quest to take the motormen to the premier league… But it got me wondering, how far do you think you can take this team? If you become a premier league/champions league winner with them.. will you stop there or try to build their stadium and fan base for years to come so they are regarded as big as Man Utd or Liverpool… Be nice to hear your thoughts.

Good luck

Craig

Jack
Jack
9 years ago

Good month Johnny! I’m still spot on with my prediction, however I’m worried you might actually win the league now :) The team is looking really good now hopefully you can have a good run in the F.A cup as well. Keep it up!

Also I was on reading up on some sports articles today and found this video, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-12682897, thought you might like it as it regards your beloved Dorchester Town, it’s also very funny :D

Ana Garcia
9 years ago

Fantastic as always Johnny!

Real shame to see Chalwe leave he was excellent for you and to lose him for nothing is just annoying, infact I am annoyed for you!

You deserved a bit of money for him but am sure you can cope with his loss.

Good luck on your promotion bid!

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