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Vauxhall Motors Story: preparing for the Championship

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Hello folks and welcome to my fifth season with The Motormen in Football Manager 2011. After four consecutive promotions the club was facing its biggest challenge yet, the Championship is a league with many strong teams, a lot tougher than League One. We got a double last season by winning both League One and the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy but the club was still poor and its facilities were still a disaster.

Things got a bit better when we received the TV rights for the season, almost 3 million pounds! That’s more money than this club had ever seen before, quite a leap forward to be honest.

The board was quite generous with that money, I promised them a top half finish and they gave me 2.1 million pounds for transfers and a reasonable wage budget for such a small club.

They finally agreed to expand the stadium as well! 500 seats won’t be a great improvement but at least we’d get the ball rolling on this aspect.

However, the decision to invest into the stadium expansion determined the board to cancel a previously agreed investment in the youth recruitment network. I guess the stadium is more important at this moment but I admit that I was a bit disappointed to see them taking their word back.

Now let’s move on to the transfers, I was planning to bring in quite a few new players to strengthen the squad. As you remember I promised that the very first offer would be for Manchester United‘s central midfielder Graham Howson, the player that led us to success last season. Manchester United immediately accepted a season-long loan deal with no wage contribution from us but the player refused to sign! I was shocked to say the least. Then I tried to buy him but Manchester United wanted no less than 3.5 million pounds for him so I had to give up.

No less than sixteen players left the club, some of them had no place in my long-term plans and others were sold to free up some wage money and get some cash into the club. Veterans Duffy and Leven left the club, I was reluctant to sell them but they were 30 years old already and I thought that they could no longer represent long-term solutions. The biggest fee was received for centre back Pappoe, I didn’t want to sell him at first but I found better defenders so I decided to cash in.

We brought in no less than 19 new players but 6 of them went straight to the reserves team, they are promising youngsters but they can’t compete for a place in the first team at the moment. Four of the remaining thirteen were brought on season-long loan deals.

Now let me tell you more about the new players. I felt that I needed a new and better goalkeeper since Martin Hansen had a few disappointing outings last season and I bought Dean Bouzanis for 250K from Bournemouth. He is a former Greek international that started his career in Australia before moving to Liverpool at a very young age. He never made it at Anfield Road so after a few seasons in League Two and League One he will finally have the chance to prove himself at a higher level. James Dunn will be his backup, he’s been at the club since 2011 and he always did well when I needed him.

Ken Harris will remain my first choice right back with Jacob Hronec being his back-up. We’ll have a new right back joining the club in January on a free contract, Brazilian 18-year old Kaka from Santos. He is a Brazilian youth international and I guess that tells a lot about his talent.

The new first choice left back will probably be 28-year old Polish international Mariusz Pawelec, an experienced player that got relegated from the Premier League last season with Wigan. He can also play as a centre back so I guess he will be a good backup solution as well. Youngster Grant Baddeley will provide competition for the left back position and, given his potential, I can see him pinning Pawelec to the bench sooner or later. Left back James Campbell will also be part of the first team squad but that is only because his versatility, he will be a backup for most positions in defense and midfield.

The centre backs area suffered two modifications, a pair of new players will compete with Mervin Simon and Sashi Chalwe for a place in the first eleven. One of them is Scottish youth international Bryan Purdrue, bought for 230K from Dundee United. He seems to be a reliable player and he might also improve a bit given his young age.

The other centre back that joined us is our most expensive signing of the season: Argentine youth international Carlos Santos. I paid 750K to Lanus for this lad and I hope I won’t regret it. I was particularly impressed by his speed and mental attributes but he seems to be fairly weak in the air. However, this lad has enough pace and acceleration to be a winger so I guess he should do well in my high defensive line.

In the next page I will show you the new midfielders and strikers and also the friendly results.

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

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22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Sayam Khan

    February 10, 2011 at 17:35

    Hey Johnny,

    your new striker is amazing!!! Unlucky about Graham Howson, im sure he will change his mind soon. Good preaseason…. Good Luck :-)

    • Johnny Karp

      February 10, 2011 at 20:13

      Thanks Sayam. I guess Howson will change his mind after a few months with Man Utd’s reserves but it might be too late then.

  2. Vaibhav C.

    February 10, 2011 at 17:40

    Hey Johnny,
    I was so happy when I read that Manchester United accepted the loan bid for Howson, then I saw what happened and I was annoyed by Howson. Why would he come to a club when they played in League 1, but not in the Championship? I think you replaced him well with Suso, maybe he can fill his role.

    • Johnny Karp

      February 10, 2011 at 20:19

      Hi mate. It’s strange, maybe Howson feels that he’s too good for us now. However, Vauxhall is listed among his favorite clubs so I would have expected him to agree. Suso has a different profile but I hope that he will do well.

  3. Sears

    February 10, 2011 at 18:02

    Wonderful signings Johnny!! Carlos Santos, Lenny Nangis and Andries are my favorites. You have enough quality to mount a serious play off charge, good luck:-)

    • Johnny Karp

      February 10, 2011 at 20:20

      Thanks Sears. I don’t know about the playoffs, I can’t really predict where we would finish right now. I think that a mid-table position would be possible.

  4. Laxeyman

    February 10, 2011 at 18:12

    Good signings Johnny, particularly Andres and Suso, and you’ve got a lot of young players with plenty of potential. I can’t believe that Howson refused to go to you, you might miss him this season. Still, I reckon you can get a comfortable mid table finish this season, good luck!

    • Johnny Karp

      February 10, 2011 at 20:21

      Thanks Laxeyman, Andres is my favorite as well and I also hope that Suso will work well with him considering that they are both Spanish.

  5. Kevin

    February 10, 2011 at 21:17

    Hi Johnny
    Well I couldn’t get Nangis or Suso to come to Wrexham but somehow you worked your Romanian charm on them :) You must be well pleased with the start Andres has made and he looks like a star of the future. Great pre-season results so confidence must be high going into the start of the new season.

    • Johnny Karp

      February 10, 2011 at 22:17

      Hi Kevin. I don’t think that it has to do with my charm (although some people say that I have some). I think that I got those two because I made the offers very early, immediately after the transfer window became open. Andres should be our best player this season, I have watched him in the friendly games and he seems to be the best player I ever had at Vauxhall.

  6. Lye

    February 11, 2011 at 02:25

    Hi Johnny,

    Very good transfer considering the financial conditions of your club. Andres is a great striker who can make an immediate impact. Too bad about his injury. I am hopeful for another successful season, probably a top half finish but i know you always work magic. So please produce another one. Good luck.

    • Johnny Karp

      February 11, 2011 at 06:37

      Hi Lye. I’m not a magician, most of it depends on the players from this point on. I hope that they are as good as I think they are or even better :)

  7. Jack

    February 11, 2011 at 02:46

    Hey Johnny, great signings! Like everyone has said before me, I really like the look of Andres, he should fit your complete forward support role perfectly, does he have more potential though or is this the best he is going to get? Its a shame about your youth recruitment network, do you consider it a more important factor than an actual improvement in youth facilities? I’ve heard you can also improve the network by acquiring feeder clubs in different countries, maybe you could try that? Your thoughts on these topics would be much appreciated. Finally I think you will get promoted one way or another, I think you’ll finish 2nd personally as I can’t see you breaking your record of consecutive promotions (including notts county and dorchester etc), you always seem to find a way :P anyway good luck for the new season Johnny the Premier league awaits!

    • Johnny Karp

      February 11, 2011 at 06:40

      Thanks Jack. About Andres, he’s only 20 years old so I think that he can make some progress during the following years. The youth recruitment network is important because you can have better players in the yearly youth intake. The youth facilities are important for the training of those in the youth team, it’s a different thing. A youth academy would also help but we don’t have that either. Finishing second would be great, I’d like that :)

  8. Mariano

    February 11, 2011 at 08:36

    I was waiting for this post.)

    I´m really surprise Howson didn´t want to return to Vauxhall, specially if they are one of his favourites teams. One thing I do when I have good players that might want to leave or are on loan is to interact as much as possible so I become one of their favoured personals.

    Andres looks amazing , like wonderkid quality!

    I´m struggling with the signings in the preparation for Chmpionship, all players seems to ask between 600k and 1.2 M per year, which is too much.

    Though I signed 35 year old Lampard:)

    Good luck and I´m very curious on how you are going to do this season.

    Cheers!

    • Johnny Karp

      February 11, 2011 at 09:30

      Hi Mariano and thanks for the good wishes. My top earner has 4.7K per week so that would make it around 225K per year but I did have quite a few transfer targets that I had to skip because of their wage demands. Some of them were asking more than my entire wage budget! Andrés should be a star, I’m expecting at least 20 goals from him this season. Let me know about how Lampard does at 35, I’m quite curious about that :)

  9. Darren Smith

    February 11, 2011 at 12:14

    Johnny, such a shame to miss out on Howson. Though Andres looks deadly and an amazing find. Very well done for snapping such a talented player up to the Championship. I think you’ll be the shock of the season and have a great feeling about your chances. With some more talent in January I think a play-off spot isn’t impossible. Good luck mate.

    • Johnny Karp

      February 11, 2011 at 12:37

      Thanks Darren. I will keep trying to get Howson until the end of the transfer window, maybe he will change his mind. Andres might be a big hit, I’m still a bit surprised that he accepted the offer.

  10. hils

    February 11, 2011 at 15:37

    Hi Johnny,good signings there!!!!!!!!!!! Hopefully you will have a good season!!!!!!!!!! Good luck!!!!!!!!!!

    • Johnny Karp

      February 11, 2011 at 15:50

      Thanks Hils, I hope it will be a good one!

  11. Ana Garcia

    February 11, 2011 at 20:28

    Yay! Some Spaniards!

    Am looking forward to see how Andres gets on shame he is injured for the first few weeks of the season. I dont recognise the other two but am sure they will do a good job for you! :)

    Good luck on your season and with your new friendship with Arsene Wenger maybe you can get some of his players on the cheap! ;)

    • Johnny Karp

      February 11, 2011 at 21:31

      Spaniards are quite fashionable at the moment and they don’t need work permits either :) Andres is a great player for such a small club, I’m very happy that I got him. As for Mr. Wenger, he has already given me Chamberlain on a free loan ;)

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