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Vauxhall Motors Story: end of season number 3

Hello folks, it’s time for the much awaited season conclusion for my Motormen! As you might remember we had a rather poor run which saw us dropping into second place at the end of March, we were four points behind leaders Southend. Luckily the top three teams in League Two get promoted so we had a good chance of clinching that since we were eight points clear of fourth placed Tranmere. Our first game in April was going to be a crucial one, away at… Tranmere!

We had to avoid defeat, otherwise the gap would have been shrunk to five points and our promotion bid would have been pretty much at risk. The game started pretty well for us and we took the lead in the 12th minute after a rather dramatic corner kick: Daniel Pappoe‘s header bounced off the post but Oliver Nicholas promptly nodded in on the rebound. Then we were under a bit of pressure but goalie Martin Hansen did his job well and pulled off a couple of nice saves. We had a good chance to double the lead on a counter attack but Darryl Duffy wasted it. He did better on 35 minutes when he latched onto a great first time pass from Omar Koroma and coolly slotted home. Tranmere pulled one back seven minutes after the break but our two-goal lead was restored just four minutes later when left back James Campbell fired home a superb free kick shot from 25 yards out, his first ever goal for the club! We didn’t have much time to enjoy that though, Tranmere pulled back just two minutes later! It was a cat and mouse game and I was fearing the worse at that point. We were still playing well though and we got on the score sheet again on 73 minutes when left winger Jacob Walcott headed home a pinpoint cross from Duffy. The game was in our hands and Koroma put it beyond doubt during stoppage time when he headed home another Duffy cross. The result secured a play-off spot for us but more important, we were just two points behind leaders Southend and 11 points clear of fourth placed Tranmere!

We were back in the title chase, all we had to do was to win our three games that were scheduled before the direct fight with leaders Southend. Unfortunately we were unable to do that… First up, we only managed a 1-1 draw at home against mid-table Oxford, a team that we had beaten 8-0 away from home. We could have scored quite a few goals this time as well but we wasted so many chances, I just couldn’t believe it. Southend won their game and the four-point lead was restored but luckily we kept the 11-point cushion on Tranmere.

Our next game was away at 12th placed Leyton Orient and we didn’t get more than a draw this time either. We took the lead thanks to Omar Koroma but the home side leveled things after the break and we were unable to get back on top. Luckily Tranmere were held to a draw as well so we only needed one more win to secure promotion.

Our next game was at home with 9th placed Luton and the pressure surely did something to my lads. We were uninspired upfront and incredibly sloppy at the back, my defenders gifted the opponents countless chances to score. Martin Hansen did wonders in goal to keep a clean sheet but we were unable to score so the game ended goalless. Tranmere lost their game though and we secured promotion, not a glorious one but I was reasonably happy.

Despite the poor run we were still in with a slim chance to win the title: we were eight points behind Southend and we were visiting them next! Our title shot was quite improbable since there were just two more games to be played after that one but I wanted to prove that we were better than them. And we did prove that, Darryl Duffy broke the deadlock early on and then we got the second on a counter attack after the break. I was proud of my lads, we beat the league leaders and probable champions both at home and away.

As I expected, our title hopes vanished as we were unable to win either of the last two games of the season. Southend had won theirs anyway but I would have liked a better ending to the season.

We finished second, got promoted alongside Southend, Darlington and Gillingham while Southend won the title as it was predicted at the start of the season. We scored no less than 95 goals, far more than any other team, but conceded 53, far too may for a title contender. We lost the title in the games against the smaller teams, my lads were unable to find the consistency that we would have needed to clinch the title. Anyway, we got promoted and that’s good enough for now.

Darryl Duffy was the league’s top goalscorer, he netted 25 goals and he probably was the main contributor to our promotion. There was an award for me as well, I was picked Manager of the Season even if we finished second!

By looking at the player stats you could say that my defense was rock-solid since my two best centre backs have the highest average ratings at the end of the season. They did play pretty well and also scored quite a few goals from corner kicks but my defense as a unit was not as good as I would have wanted it in certain games. Koroma and Duffy also did very well, both scored more than 20 goals this season, but also wasted truckloads of chances in some games. The numbers look satisfying overall and I guess there might not be too many changes in the squad during the summer.

The best thing that happened this season is that we managed to strengthen the club’s finances thanks to the very good FA Cup run. The club now has almost half a million pounds in the bank and I hope they will spend some of that on improving the training facilities and the pitch.

That’s about it for now, thanks a lot for reading. Now we’ll have to prepare for League One and at this point at think we will only bring in a few quality players to strengthen key areas of the team. Then again I might get carried away in July and bring in more than 10 players, we’ll see… :) By the way, our friend Dave started a pretty interesting story at the forum, check it out!



  1. Zola

    January 4, 2011 at 19:59

    Well done Johnny.

  2. Laxeyman

    January 4, 2011 at 20:20

    Hi Johnny, what a great season for you, a fantastic achievement to gain your 3rd consecutive promotion. It looks like you’re excellent going forward, including your centre backs who obviously like scoring goals, but I’m not sure they like defending much judging by their tackle ratio. The defence could probably do with some reinforcements, I’m looking forward to seeing what you do in pre season, and congratulations on a great campaign.

    • Johnny Karp

      January 4, 2011 at 22:05

      Thanks Laxeyman. It’s not the tackle ratio I’m worried about, we conceded loads of goals from set pieces and that’s quite weird since there are lots of tall lads in my team. Anyway, I will be looking to bring in just one centre back but a very good one. I hope I can get the one I’m looking for.

  3. Darren Smith

    January 4, 2011 at 20:23

    Well done Johnny, promotion is really brilliant and you were unlucky with a few too many draws that cost the title. Koroma and Duffy were great but I see your two CB’s also scored a fair few. Well done mate!!

    • Johnny Karp

      January 4, 2011 at 22:06

      Thanks Darren. I know we dropped points all over the place but Southend did very well to get more than 90 points and finish top.

  4. Sears

    January 4, 2011 at 20:33

    Another tremendous season Johnny, you deserved promotion. Your team is still young and with some new players you can defiantly lead another title charge next season.

    • Johnny Karp

      January 4, 2011 at 22:07

      Thanks Sears. Some of the youngsters developed pretty well and I hope they will continue given the improved coaching staff.

  5. Plobdork

    January 4, 2011 at 20:47

    well done johhny funny fact on my game oguzhyan ozykup your turkish player is holland player on my game

    • Johnny Karp

      January 4, 2011 at 22:07

      Thanks mate. He might have Dutch citizenship as well so it’s just a matter of which national team calls him up first.

  6. Kevin

    January 4, 2011 at 21:05

    Hi Johnny
    Congratualtions on your third consecutive promotion as well the the manager of the year award. Well deserved on both counts.Your finances look very healthy indeed so it will be most intersting to see what kind of transfer budget comes you way.Duffy has been brilliant for you!!

    • Johnny Karp

      January 4, 2011 at 22:08

      Thanks Kevin. I don’t care too much about the transfer budget, I’m happy to bring in free players at this level. I just want the board to relay the pitch and maybe improve the training facilities.

  7. garryduncan

    January 4, 2011 at 21:08

    well done amazing job ur doing….wot has happened to the bloke that was doing the southampton game..i enjoyed his game so much i started one with in my 5th year now

    • Johnny Karp

      January 4, 2011 at 22:10

      Thanks Garry. That bloke just vanished, I didn’t hear from him in a while. Good luck with your Southampton game :)

  8. David Wiggins

    January 4, 2011 at 21:39

    Thanks for the shout out Johnny! Under pressure to do well now……..!

    • Johnny Karp

      January 4, 2011 at 22:10

      No problem Dave, I really think it could be a great story. No pressure though, just have fun! :)

  9. dami

    January 4, 2011 at 21:55

    Congrats on Promotions and the Manager of the year award. Your team is looking good,hope then can hold their own in league 1.

  10. Lye

    January 5, 2011 at 00:26

    Hi Johnny,

    Congratulations on the promotion. Southend was in great form near the end and no doubt they deserved the title. There will more tough teams in League 1 but i believe you are relishing the challenge. Looking forward to your new players. Good luck on finding them.

    • Johnny Karp

      January 5, 2011 at 10:05

      Thanks Lye. I hope to have a fruitful pre-season and maybe get revenge on Southend in League One! ;)

  11. Iain

    January 5, 2011 at 01:26

    Hi, well done on your promotion, i was wondering if you could give me some advice on how to get my team’s finances to a healthier state as it is really quite low, my wage budjet is fine but my team still seems to be losing money. once again well done on your promotion.

    • Johnny Karp

      January 5, 2011 at 10:04

      Thanks Iain. About the finances, my club was losing money on a regular basis but we made a profit because of the good FA Cup run, we went all the way to the fifth round and the prize money pulled the club’s finances up. However, the player wages are a club’s biggest expenditure and the only way to cut that is to get rid of some of the high-earning players, that is if it won’t hurt the team’s performances too much.

  12. Arjuna

    January 5, 2011 at 10:13

    Job well done again Johnny,
    Despite a leaky defense, you really deserved the manager of the year award even though you only managed 2nd. Looking forward to next season.

    • Johnny Karp

      January 5, 2011 at 10:27

      Thanks Arjuna. I guess I deserved the award, Southend were predicted to finish first and they did but we were predicted to finish last and got second.

  13. hils

    January 5, 2011 at 17:33

    Hi Johnny,great month there!!!!!!!!!Congrats on getting promoted though!!!!!!!!! Good luck!!!!!!!!!!

  14. bigbaz

    January 6, 2011 at 00:11

    one word – LEGEND!!

    love the story, always enjoy the transfers you bring in too. They always pay off for you!
    Well done mate

    • Johnny Karp

      January 6, 2011 at 06:43

      Thanks mate, I hope to find another batch of good players to bring in.

  15. Ana Garcia

    January 6, 2011 at 15:12

    I’m a bit late, but well done on promotion!

    Plenty of good things to take away from your season and good luck in league 1!

    You have a really good strikeforce so hopefully you can keep hold off both for the new season, good luck on your season and the transfer hunt!


    • Johnny Karp

      January 6, 2011 at 16:53

      Thanks Ana. The two strikers will definitely remain at the club, I’ll kidnap them if needed :)

  16. Vaibhav C.

    January 6, 2011 at 17:01

    So near yet so far! You were unlucky not to win League 2. You throughly deserve your promotion. And has anyone else except me and Johnny have their players miss so many chances after downloading the patch? It is so frustrating!

    • Johnny Karp

      January 6, 2011 at 17:05

      Thanks a lot for your comment mate. Actually I didn’t think that it might have been because of the patch but you might have a point there, we became quite wasteful after installing the patch if I remember correctly. Anyway, we scored almost 100 goals so I can’t complain, we just conceded far too many.

  17. Sayam Khan

    January 8, 2011 at 16:37

    Well done on your promotion, sad to see you not winning the title.

    Good luck for next season! Duffy has to be the best lower league buy i have ever seen on FM11 :-)

    • Johnny Karp

      January 8, 2011 at 17:53

      Thanks Sayam. Too bad Duffy isn’t a bit younger, he’ll turn 30 next season but I guess he could do a good job for another year or two.

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