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Vauxhall Motors Story – March 2015

Hello folks and welcome back to my journey with the Motormen in Football Manager 2011! After four consecutive promotions we seemed to be well placed in the race for a fifth one: we were 2nd at the end of February 2015, five points behind leaders Burnley and tied on points with third placed Middlesbrough but with a game in hand. The race was tight so we had to keep the points coming in March, it was expected to be a decisive month.

Before going to the matches I have some transfer news, not good ones I think. The English transfer window was shut but there was still space for moves in other European countries unfortunately… We received an offer for Guatemalan right winger Carlos Chavez, a pretty good offer I reckon, and the chairman decided to go against my will and accept it. It was a good offer, I agree, but I didn’t want to sell Chavez just yet… I was planning to sell him next summer but not for 1.1 mil, I was expecting to get at least 2.5 mil…

The offer was accepted just before our first game of the month and I was unable to offer Chavez a new contract for some reason so I was expecting to lose him in a few days…

Wigan vs Vauxhall vs (Championship)

Venue: DW Stadium

Attendance: 7,777

Starting line up: Dean Bouzanis – Ken Harris, Sashi Chalwe, Mervin Simon, Grant Baddeley – Carlos Chavez, Mark Brown, Suso, Ibrahima MBow – Lenny Nangis, Andrés

Team Talk: You can win today!

Wigan were 18th before the game, quite disappointing for them as they were having some big names in the squad like Malouda or Lampard. I decided to give Chavez one last game for us in the starting eleven and also decided to send in M’Bow as a left winger to surprise the opponents. That move paid off right away, we took the lead after only two minutes when Ibrahima MBow whipped in a good cross and Lenny Nangis pushed in from close range. Wigan reacted well though and they leveled the score on 22 minutes after being denied by a couple of saves from Dean Bouzanis and by the crossbar on another occasion. Midfielder Suso left the field on a stretcher right after the goal and I sent in Connor Newton to replace him. We regained control of the game after that move but Andrés missed a good chance before half time so it was all square at the break.

Half time score: 1-1

Half time team talk: Pleased.

Half time substitutions: Keith Higgs for Chavez, Jason Banton for Nangis

With Banton coming in for Nangis I moved M’Bow up in his familiar striker position and the change did him well, he powered one home from the edge of the area five minutes after the re-start. He missed a sitter 10 minutes later but his mate Andrés made me forget that 11 minutes from time as he rounded off a quick move to double our lead. Substitute left winger Jason Banton put the cherry on the cake with a fabulous shot from 30 yards just before full time, the three points were ours and I was quite pleased with the performance, especially in the second half. Carlos Chavez put pen to paper a couple of days later, he left the club but we made a nice profit since we signed him on a free transfer last summer.

Full time team talk: Well done!

Man of the match: Ibrahima MBow

Flop of the match: Carlos Chavez

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the match highlights.

My chairman appeared to be keen on making money though as he accepted yet another Scandinavian offer for one of our players: 650K for reserve left back Lucky Sibiya. He was not part of the first team at the time but I still believed in his potential so I wouldn’t have sold him for that kind of money.

Sibiya got sold and I was getting quite annoyed with the chairman, he doesn’t seem to understand my plans for the future. I bought Sibiya for 30K in 2014 from Ajax Cape Town and I was planning to give him more first team football soon…

Vauxhall vs Scunthorpe (Championship)

Venue: Rivacre Park

Attendance: 3,000 (capacity crowd)

Starting line up: Dean Bouzanis – Kaka, Bryan Purdrue, Mervin Simon, Ray Davis – Alex Chamberlain, Connor Newton, Mark Brown, Daniel Toribio – Lenny Nangis, Dale Hills

Team Talk: You can win today!

Back to the pitch, we were meeting 11th placed Scunthorpe at home. There isn’t much to say about the first half, we dominated the game throughout the opening 45 minutes but we were unable to create any clear chances as the team seemed to be lacking inspiration. Scunthorpe came close on a counter attack just before the break but they squandered the chance.

Half time score: 0-0

Half time team talk: We can win this!

Half time substitutions: Carlos Santos for Simon, Matthias Gohlert for Newton, Jason Banton for Brown

The second half was even worse, we were not going anywhere with the ball… We could have clinched the three points though as we had a good last minute chance but we wasted it unfortunately. It was a poor performance overall, the players might have thought that we had already won this one before it even started!

Full time team talk: Not good enough!

Man of the match: Bryan Purdrue

Flop of the match: Matthias Gohlert

Match Stats

Burnley vs Vauxhall (Championship)

Venue: Turf Moor

Attendance: 15,337

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

Team Talk: You can win today!

We had to do much better at Turf Moor as we were meeting the Championship leaders. We were five points behind Burnley before the game so it was quite clear that a defeat would have taken us out of the title race. Burnley were quite determined to take us out and that was obvious during the opening minutes of the game: they hit the crossbar from distance just two minutes in and then continued to dominate until half time. We defended very well though and managed to restrict them to long shots.

Half time score: 0-0

Half time team talk: Pleased.

Half time substitutions: Graeme Owens for Chamberlain, Jason Banton for Higgs

We started to show more after the break, Burnley were no longer able to dominate possession. We received a good helping hand on the hour mark, one of their strikers made a horrendous two-footed tackle on Sashi Chalwe and the referee showed him the red card! We had a numerical advantage and we started to push forward. Our domination was not doing much damage though, Burnley were holding firm. We needed something special and Jason Banton did just that six minutes from time: he worked the ball as he usually does on the left flank but this time he chose not to cross, he unleashed a surprising shot from out wide and it went straight under the crossbar! Burnley immediately switched to a super-attacking 3-2-4 setup so I changed the strategy to counter and also instructed the players to retain possession. We controlled the final minutes of the game with ease and even doubled the lead just before the final whistle when Dale Hills headed home a cross from man of the match Jason Banton. It was a massive result for us, we cut Burnley’s lead to just two points and we were four points clear of third placed Middlesbrough!

Full time team talk: Well done!

Man of the match: Jason Banton

Flop of the match: Keith Higgs

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the match highlights.

Vauxhall vs Leeds (Championship)

Venue: Rivacre Park

Attendance: 3,000 (capacity crowd)

Starting line up: Dean Bouzanis – Kaka, Sashi Chalwe, Mervin Simon, Ray Davis – Alex Chamberlain, Mark Brown, Daniel Toribio, Jason Banton – Lenny Nangis, Andrés

Team Talk: You can win today!

I was expecting this game to be a tough one, Leeds were in 7th place before the game and were genuine promotion contenders. We got off to a poor start this time, the visitors took the lead after 7 minutes through a free kick header that was facilitated by some weird defending from my players. We were unable to react until half time, my lads were looking tired and uninspired and Leeds could have made it 2-0 before the break but they were denied by the crossbar on a counter attack.

Half time score: 0-1

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

Half time substitutions: Graeme Owens for Chamberlain, Connor Newton for Brown, Keith Higgs for Banton

We started to play a bit better after the break and Lenny Nangis finally managed to make it all square after receiving a good through pass from Andrés. Leeds also managed to get a few good shots on target but Bouzanis denied them with a string of good saves but we blew the chance to get the three points as we wasted a pair of good clear cut chances in the dying minutes of the game.

Full time team talk: Sympathise.

Man of the match: Dean Bouzanis

Flop of the match: Graeme Owens

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the match highlights.

Bristol City vs Vauxhall (Championship)

Venue: Ashton Gate

Attendance: 18,744

Starting line up: Dean Bouzanis – Ken Harris, Bryan Purdue, Sashi Chalwe, Grant Baddeley – Alex Chamberlain, Connor Newton, Mark Brown, Keith Higgs – Andrés, Ibrahima MBow

Team Talk: You can win today!

It was he last game of the month, another tough one since we were meeting 4th placed Bristol City. Unfortunately we were missing centre back Mervin Simon as he got injured in training a couple of days before the match, the injury was not too bad but he was out of contention for this important game. We surely felt his absence just after the half hour mark, we had dominated possession up to that point but a poor piece of defending from Purdrue allowed Hitchcock to bag the opening goal. We were not playing too badly but another display of defensive clumsiness made it 2-0 four minutes before the break, it was quite frustrating to watch…

Half time score: 2-0

Half time team talk: Sympathise.

Half time substitutions: Suso for Newton, Jason Banton for Higgs

We got back into the game just four minutes after the re-start, Andrés played a good counter attack through pass for substitute Suso and the Spanish midfielder slotted home to give us a way back into the match. We started to push forward but our opponents defended very well and created a good counter attack chance before scoring a rather lucky goal, a deflection surprised our keeper and the ball rolled into the back of the net. Our hopes of a comeback were ended for good 15 minutes from time when centre back Bryan Purdrue was taken off because of an injury, we were down to 10 men because I had replaced Nangis with Alex Chamberlain on the hour mark. Purdrue will be out for seven weeks, maybe we’ll be better off without him…

Full time team talk: Sympathise.

Man of the match: Suso

Flop of the match: Grant Baddeley

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the match highlights.

So, we grabbed two wins, two draws and ended the month with a defeat. We beat the league leaders away from home but then threw all that good work to the thrash can in the following two games…

However, we remain second and we have a smaller deficit towards Burnley compared to the start of the month. Middlesbrough and Bristol City are breathing down our neck though, they are close and we’ll have to be more consistent next month if we want to stay second.

Young centre back Mervin Simon received the Young Player of the Month award for March and he didn’t score any goals this month. His performances in defense were right out of the top drawer though and we surely missed him in that Bristol City game.

April will be decisive for our promotion race: we’ll start with an easy game against bottom side Cardiff but then we’ll meet promotion rivals Norwich and Middlesbrough, both away from home! Those two back to back away games will be extremely important, especially the one against Boro, but we’ll also have to win the three home games if we want to stay up there.

Before wrapping up I want you to have a look at our finances, the club is quite wealthy now after the chairman’s Scandinavian sales… I hope he’ll be investing some of this money back into the club next summer, I might forgive him for the sales if he does.

That’s it for now my friends, thanks a lot for reading this update. I would also like to invite you to read a guest post I have written for SoccerLens, the number 1 football blog in the world: From playing Football Manager to being a Football Manager.

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Mark
Mark
10 years ago

As if the chairman got rid of 2 great players! Good result against Burnley and a bit disappointing against Bristol City but you can’t win every game! I wish you all the best and I have one question, When you get promoted (which you will) the club receives £40m and if the chairman gives you say… £10m, will you sign first team players or youth? Cheers, Mark

Vaibhav C.
Vaibhav C.
10 years ago

Hey Johnny,
Average month there, I guess.Two wins, two draws, and a loss. Without Simon, it looks like your defense was torn apart! It shows how important he is. I think you should hope to get a new chairman, otherwise he would sell Andres and M’Bow! One thing I have to ask you is how you play different games at the same time. Whenever I have two games running, I only play one. How do you do it?

Vaibhav C.
Vaibhav C.
10 years ago
Reply to  Johnny Karp

Remember that SoccerLens update, the Barca one. You manage them (or did you stop?) and Vauxhall. Correct me if I am mistaken

Vaibhav C.
Vaibhav C.
10 years ago
Reply to  Johnny Karp

Oh, I though you were continuing it, my bad!

Laxeyman
10 years ago

Good month Johnny, you’ve cut the gap at the top despite the chairman selling two of your hot prospects, that must be so frustrating! You should be able to hold onto your second placed position, and you may still even win the league. Good luck!

Kevin
10 years ago

Hi Johnny
As in real life The Championship is heading for an exciting finish and you have those two intriguing games aginst fellow promotion hopefulls. However, I feel you have the managerial quality to see them off and guide Vauxhall to automatic promotion.Good luck!!

Darren Smith
Admin
10 years ago

Hey Johnny, a tough set of fixtures there that weren’t helped by your money happy chairman. I just hope he reinvests the money on transfers. You’re so close to promotion and if you go up, he needs to show some commitment as you have guided Vauxhall to the impossible so far. Looking forward to next month, its going to go down to the wire. :)

Sears
10 years ago

Hey pal,

shame your chairman is selling some of your decent youngsters. I really think you can get promoted, good luck :-p

Lye
Lye
10 years ago

Hi Johnny,

It’s a shame that your chairman is not behind you. That’s a decent month though and a good win over the leaders. I have high hopes that you will gain that automatic promotion spot. Keep going. Good luck.

Excessive
10 years ago

Better watch out Johnny, my Varberg BOIS side might just go all out to sign M’Bow ;)

Was an average month in all fairness. I know you can’t keep it up throughout the year and I personally think that’s your dip in form for the year. Can only get stronger and with two massive games coming up your side will need to!

Good luck with it all mate!

Josh Allen
10 years ago

Seems like your chairman is a real **** :). You should be able to cope though, you’ve built up a very strong squad. Automatic promotion is virtually a guarantee now, can you clinch the title?
Josh
everythingthatisfm.blogspot.com

Ana Garcia
10 years ago

Good luck on the end of the season, looks like it could go all the way.

Seems your chairman is cashing in on your success! At least your in a decent financial situation, so lets just hope he wont sell off any more players!

Sayam Khan
10 years ago

Your chairman is a **** lol. At least you got some money! And mixed month in all aspects, but I’m confident you will get promoted :-) Good Luck.

hils
hils
10 years ago

Hi Johnny,good month there!!!!!!!!!!! Shame the chairman is quite dumb!!!!!!!!! Good luck!!!!!!!!!!!

Mariano
Mariano
10 years ago

Hi Johnny,

Amazing!, how you do it?

It took me 3 seasons(12th,4th and 1st) to promote Havant from Championship to Premier….

Hopefully in the near future you will get the motormen a takeover so you get rid of the chairman!

What I do when I don´t want to get a player in my team unsettled or unhappy is to have the asking price very high, this way, I NEVER get offers from my players so the chairman doesn´t sell them or the players don´t get unhappy. Very often there are rumours and teams show interest, but they never make offers

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