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Vauxhall Motors Story: End Of Season Number 4

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Hello folks, it’s time for the decisive stage of my fourth season in charge of Vauxhall Motors FC in Football Manager 2011! We were top of the League One table at the end of March, six points clear of Brentford and seven points clear of Preston, so we needed four wins out of six games to secure the title. We also had an exciting Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final ahead of us, a chance to add some silverware to our almost empty trophy cabinet. Welcome to the nervy part of the season, let’s see how it went…

Vauxhall vs Hereford (League 1)

Venue: Rivacre Park

Attendance: 2,385

Starting line up: James Dunn – Ken Harris, Derrick Williams,  Sashi Chalwe, Lucky Sibiya – Darren King, Nathan Rooney, Peter Leven, Jacob Walcott – Darryl Duffy, Omar Koroma

Team Talk: You can win today!

Hereford were in 14th place before the game so I was expecting to grab the three points and get one step closer to the title. However, considering that our next game was the JPT final, I decided to rest some players for the important match at Wembley. I was expecting a win nonetheless but we got off to a bad start: Omar Koroma wasted a huge chance right away and then Hereford took the lead on five minutes. We got back on track just five minutes later when Darryl Duffy rounded off a team move but something was wrong: Hereford‘s second shot on target went in and they were leading 2-1 at half time.

Half time score: 1-2

Half time team talk: Where’s the passion, lads?

Half time substitutions: Alex Billington for Harris, Matthew Ball for Leven, Keith Higgs for King

The fans were not happy and neither was I, things had to change. In fact, the lads were looking a lot more lively after the break and we got back on level terms on 53 minutes when substitute Keith Higgs fired a nice shot from the edge of the area and the ball went in off the frame of the goal. We started chasing the winning goal and we had plenty of chances to get it before the final whistle. Unfortunately the finishing was nothing short of disastrous, we dropped two points! However, our rivals had slipped up as well, Brentford lost and Preston were held to a draw so we were seven points clear of both sides.

Full time team talk: Not good enough!

Man of the match: Keith Higgs

Flop of the match: Ken Harris

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the highlights.

Vauxhall vs Brighton (Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Final)

Venue: Wembley

Attendance: 44,522

Starting line up: Martin Hansen – Jacob Hronec, Sashi Chalwe, Mervin Simon, Alex Billington – Carlos Bogado, Mark Brown, Graham Howson, Jason Banton – Mark Cullen, Ibrahima M’Bow

Team Talk: For the fans!

We had to forget that slip-up and give our best at Wembley in front of an awesome crowd of over 40 thousand people. I fielded the best eleven I had except right back Ken Harris who had picked up a slight injury during the Hereford game. We had a mixed history against Brighton, we beat them 3-1 in October but they defeated us 2-1 in February so I was expecting a close game. My players appeared to be fully focused and we enjoyed a great spell of domination during then opening 45 minutes. We created a pair of clear cut chances and a few decent ones as well but the finishing let us down again. The first half ended goalless but the team’s performance was pretty good.

Half time score: 0-0

Half time team talk: For the fans!

Half time substitutions: Keith Higgs for Banton

I took off Jason Banton at half time because he got booked just before the break and I didn’t want to risk a sending off but I also was a bit disappointed by his performance. Brighton came out from the dressing room with a different attitude too, they were more incisive and Martin Hansen had to pull off a great diving save to deny them four minutes into the second half. Then the game turned a bit rough, there were lots of fouls in midfield and it seemed that it was going to be a less spectacular second half. We could have taken the lead on 65 minutes, Mark Cullen tried a shot from a tight angle but the ball rattled the post before bouncing out of danger. I decided to make the last two substitutions after that miss, we needed fresh legs in midfield: Jacob Walcott for Bogado and Matthew Ball for Howson. A minute after the two changes Brighton had another very good chance but Hansen made another great save to keep the score level. The game was becoming more and more tense and our opponents seemed to be a bit better on the pitch. In fact, they wasted a big chance in the 89th minute! We could have punished them three minutes into stoppage time, Cullen was clean through and he tried to lob the goalkeeper from the edge of the area… The shot was good, the keeper was beaten, but the ball landed on top of the crossbar! So close!

Extra time

Before the final 30 minutes of extra time I reminded my players of our special fans that have traveled to Wembley all the way from Ellesmere Port, more than 200 miles, we had to make them proud! Most of the players were tired but we had to forget about fatigue and give it our best shot! The Brighton players appeared to be even more tired though, we were pushing forward and broke the deadlock three minutes into extra time, Jacob Walcott passed it for Ibrahima M’Bow and the young striker powered it in from just inside the area! Get in! We were still dominating the game, Brighton were unable to cope with our attacks and five minutes later M’Bow was brought down inside the penalty area! The referee pointed to the spot and substitute Jacob Walcott banged it in, 2-0! Brighton played their last card, they switched to a 4-2-4 setup and I chose to change the strategy to “counter”. We managed to keep things quiet, the trophy was heading our way but Jacob Walcott had one more goal to score: he volleyed in a Mark Cullen cross to end the game in style!

Full time team talk: Congratulations!

Man of the match: Jacob Walcott

Flop of the match: Jason Banton

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the highlights.

I was very happy to bring the trophy home… The players were happy, the fans were happy, the board was happy…



We had to end the celebrations early though, we still had a promotion to secure. We had to get three wins out of the last five league games, it doesn’t sound too difficult on paper but it can get quite tough on the pitch.

Vauxhall vs Darlington (League 1)

Venue: Rivacre Park

Attendance: 2,365

Starting line up: Martin Hansen – Jacob Hronec, Sashi Chalwe, Mervin Simon, Alex Billington – Carlos Bogado, Mark Brown, Graham Howson, Jason Banton – Dale Hills, Ibrahima M’Bow

Team Talk: You can win today!

Darlington were 15th before the game and I was hoping to secure the three points. We enjoyed nearly total domination during the first half but we only scored one goal, Ibrahima M’Bow found the target again from a Dale Hills through ball.

Half time score: 1-0

Half time team talk: Pleased.

Half time substitutions: Matthew Ball for Brown, Jacob Walcott for Banton

We were safely in control, Darlington were not seeing much of the ball. The game was completely closed six minutes from time when Mervin Simon headed home his 10th goal of the season but our joy was ruined by a harsh sending off, Alex Billington received his marching orders after a rather normal-looking foul. Anyway, we grabbed the three points and kept the seven point cushion on Brentford. Preston were held to a draw so they were nine points behind us after that game.

Full time team talk: Well done!

Man of the match: Mervin Simon

Flop of the match: Keith Higgs

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the highlights.

We needed two more wins but we were facing back to back away games next, I was fearing a tense finale. Go to the next page to see how it went.

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

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James
James
9 years ago

Fantastic Johnny, i wish i was as good a manager as you! Good luck in the Championship mate! with the clubs finances i think you might need it :)

Sears
9 years ago

Hey Johnny, congratulations on yet another unbelievable promotion. The 15 gap shows your team had no trouble winning the title despite the tense but exciting ending. Your main worry now is probably your clubs facilities. You know how essential it is to have splendid facilities as the benefits are huge. Hopefully your board will finally start upgrading them. Your finances will improve soon as I think you receive around one million in tv rights? Good luck during pre season, I’m sure you can purchase enough quality to launch yet another stunning title challenge :-)

Laxeyman
9 years ago

Great season Johnny, Vauxhall march on and on! Howson was unbelievable for you, you have to get him back next year, and I’m sure he’ll come :) You’re right about needing to improve the facilities, but from my experience it’s the one thing boards never want to spend money on. Anyway, congratulations on a great season and looking forward to seeing what you do in pre season!

Darren Smith
9 years ago

You HAVE to get Howson next season. He is amazing and look at how many assists he managed. What a find Johnny. Well done on your success and completing the double is an excellent achievement. Just looking at your club info shows how amazing you are. The capacity, facilities and pitch are terrible…yet your almost even with the bank balance and have taken Vauxhall to the Championship. Next season will be tough but I can’t wait to see what happens. Well done mate. :)

ps Kevins stay above you in the lower league rankings was short lived, your back in 2nd :)

Kevin
9 years ago
Reply to  Darren Smith

I knew that would happen :)

Kevin
9 years ago

Hi Johnny
Stupendous season winning both the JPT and League One quite handsomly in the end. 109 goals in just incredible and you MUST beg for Howsen. He’s still only 19 so you may have a good chance of getting him again. Your facilites are a bit rough to say the least and need improving quite a bit to play in the EPL which is only a matter of time I feel. Anyway thanks for bringing us another superb story that has us glued to our PC’s awaiting the next episode.
GO CRAIOVA!!

Jack
Jack
9 years ago

Great stuff Johnny! I’m predicting 2nd for next season then onto the premiership! This has been a great story but there is plenty more to come. Obviously your facilities need improving, especially your stadium size, 2500 is no where near enough, especially when your stylish football is bringing in the crowds! Good luck with next season Johnny, I’m already looking forward to knowing to who you have signed.

dami
dami
9 years ago

Amazing job done winning a double, hope you continue to make waves in the championship

Mariano
Mariano
9 years ago

Amazing achivement!

I´m very curious on how you are going to be doing next season.

Do you send your AM to get loan reports on specific positions or you scout the big clubs for loans straight away?

How did you find Howson?

I´m in january league 1 in my Havant game in promotion position, but already started with my 48 month spendings, I bought a Russian regen for 2.5 million dollars:)

Cheers

Mariano
Mariano
9 years ago
Reply to  Johnny Karp

I play lots of friendlies(all over the season):)

I don´t know if it´s for sure, but in my experience in most FM versions, if you get in debt or your economy it´s not very good, you tent to receive very high offer for your players

Lye
Lye
9 years ago

Hi Johnny,

A fruitful season you had here, clinching the double, congratulations. Some of your players are simply amazing. Graham Howson is an amazing player, 33 assist, what a contribution! Next season will be tough. You can’t do much about it as Vauxhall has a very small stadium. They are unable to bring in any extra money out of it. I believe you have to depend on loans and some free transfers. Hopefully they will give you a bigger wage budget. Good luck.

Smithy
Smithy
9 years ago

hi mate u know at start oof season it has sky bet and tells you the odds of who will get promted how does that come up because it didnt come up for me last year

and btw im at school so computer slow

Sayam Khan
9 years ago

Well done Johnny!

Does Graham Howson have a release clause? I would try buying him if you could…. Or if your going to loan him, then add a future fee….

Your club information is pretty similar to mine, apart from the finances where I am much worse!

Good Luck in the Championship!

MRDNRA
MRDNRA
9 years ago

Just read your whole story from the start. Amazing achievement to get 4 consecutive promotions, well done. Your facilities are definitely in need of improvement though, especially (in my mind) the stadium. 2,500 is very low capacity even for league 1, in the Championship it can’t compete with the bigger clubs in terms of anything really (especially, and most importantly, revenue). Still, not to be too negative, you’ve had some excellent players come in on loan, really hoping you can get some of them back. Best of luck for next season, looking forward to the future updates.

Iain
Iain
9 years ago

hi, congrats on your 4th consecutive promotion you truly are the master of the lower leagues.
in terms of finance i would suggest selling maybe 2 players that you dont use for money, you could ask your board for the increased transfer percentage thing or with the money ask for stadium expansion. hope you will be able to bring howson back to the club as he is a great player, 33 assists in a season is quite astonishing.

good luck with your pre-season !

Johnny Karp
9 years ago
Reply to  Iain

Thanks Iain. I will surely be selling a few players, even more than two, but I’m not sure that we’d get a lot of money for them.

hils
hils
9 years ago

Hi Johnny,great end of season there!!!!!!!!!! Congrats on doing the double!!!!!!! Good luck!!!!!!!!!!

Mariano
Mariano
9 years ago

Hi Johnny,

I also just finished my 4th season managing Havant and won the Johnstone and the League 1!
Thanks to you and your site as I wouldn´t be able to achive this without all the information posted here!:)

Now, you are going to have very difficult next season, me too, I just had a look and Newcastle is coming down from premier to championship, Porthmouth is already there and only one player of them earns more than my whole team yearly budget!

I will try to loan a lot of players from the big teams.

I´ll share my strategy:

I start scouting all the positions for loans and start biding on all the better ones, when they accept, I delay the deal for one week, so I take 2 weeks to choose the best 4 year loans for my team. And then later on I try to get some 3 month loans too.

Cheers

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