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Vauxhall Motors Story: Season 7 Starts Earlier Than Expected

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Hello folks, welcome back to Ellesmere Port for another update of the Vauxhall Motors Football Manager 2011 story! So, we finished our first ever Premier League season in 9th place, not bad for a club of our stature and a good stepping stone towards the future. My next goal was to finish inside the top six next season and qualify for the Europa League. Well, I was in for a huge surprise…

I was quietly scouting around for new players while waiting quite impatiently to find out more about the transfer budget. I had already planned a few friendly games when something totally unexpected happened. Drum roll… And screen shot! :)

At first I thought that this might be a glitch or a bug in the game, I just couldn’t believe it. Then I investigated the matter and I found the explanation. England has four Champions League spots and three Europa League places, you all know that. So, Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United go to the Champions League, everything normal here, but fourth placed Arsenal don’t! Why? Because 5th placed Manchester City have won the Champions League last season so they get that place instead of Arsenal! The interesting aspect is that Arsenal have won the Europa League, so they get a place in next season’s competition, an additional place to the three that are assigned to the Premier League. Liverpool won the FA Cup, so there’s another spot, Manchester United won the Carling Cup so that spot goes to seventh placed Sunderland and Aston Villa get the other spot as they finished 8th. Because 5th placed Manchester City moved up to the Champions League despite finishing fifth that Europa League place was given to us as we finished 9th!!! So we did qualify for Europe on our first ever Premier League season after all!

The downside was that we were not going to have a normal pre-season as we were entered in the first qualifying round of the Europa League. The first game was played on the 30th of June so most of my friendlies were canceled as a result. We were drawn against Latvian side Daugava in that first round, more about that tie later.

The eagerly-awaited moment finally came, the board presented the season expectations options and I admit that I was rather disappointed by their offer. I was expecting a bit more money, especially in the wage budget. Anyway, I promised them that we would qualify for a continental competition and they gave me 19.25 million pounds for transfers and around 40 K to spend in the wage budget.

The bookmakers didn’t share my optimism and neither did the media, their prediction was that we would finish 17th. That’s a good thing though, it’s the very first time that we’re not predicted to finish last since I took over!

With the first competitive game coming on June 30th I only managed to complete one transfer before that match as I brought in experienced winger Andrew Surman for a mere 130K from Greek side Panathinaikos. He is a very good player and surely worth much more than that fee.

On to the opening match of the season then, we were traveling to Latvia for our European debut!

Daugava vs Vauxhall (Europa League 1st Qual. Rnd leg 1)

Venue: Celtnieks

Attendance: 2,012

Starting line up: Dean Bouzanis – Julian Marino, Louis Laing, Mervin Simon, Andrew Surman – Radek Vecera, Mark Brown, Graham Howson, Andrew Driver – Parana, Andrés

Team Talk: You can win today!

I was quite nervous before the game, the opponents were not that good but an European debut is always difficult especially when all the players are lacking match fitness. My worries were totally unfounded though, my boys were home and dry after less than 10 minutes! First Radek Vecera put us ahead after just two minutes by powering in on a corner kick rebound, then he bagged another one four minutes later and Graham Howson made it 3-0 on eight minutes as he met Andrew Surman‘s cross with a perfect diving header. It was an onslaught, we were totally in command and Andrés managed to make it 4-0 later on.

Half time score: 0-4

Half time team talk: Pleased

Half time substitutions: Stephan El Shaarawy for Vecera, Shyamdew Weibolt for Brown, Connor Wickham for Andres

The second half was much more quiet, my lads took the foot off the gas and the home side nearly pulled one back on a corner kick but we were saved by the crossbar. Our European debut ended in triumph and we were almost certain to advance to the next round, the second qualifying round out of the total four.

Full time team talk: Well done!

Man of the match: Radek Vecera

Flop of the match: Julian Marino

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the highlights.

The 1st of July came and it was time to bring in the new players that I wanted. You know that my main goal was to bring in two new centre backs and I’m happy to say that I did. Both of them come from Argentina, both are youth internationals and I have been following them for at least two seasons now. First there is Javier Godoy, I paid 6 million pounds for him to Belgian side Club Brugge. He should be a top asset to the club as he is quick, strong and still young. He can also provide cover as a full back on both flanks, I guess any manager would want such a player.

The second centre back was a bit more expensive, I paid 8 million pounds for him to Ukrainian side Dnipro. The funny thing is that I tried to get him last season straight from Argentina but he didn’t get a work permit back then and moved in Eastern Europe. This lad is only 20 years old and I believe that he has a great future ahead of him along with a great present since he will probably be playing a lot of first team football this season. Unfortunately I couldn’t register him for the qualifying rounds of the Europa League since Dnipro already registered him before July 1st.

The last signing that I managed to bring in on July 1st was a Brazilian right winger, he is not a high-profile player but I got him for free from Sevilla to provide some cover on the right flank.

The second leg against Daugava went equally well, we beat them 4-0 again with Elias Kost, Connor Wickham, Pavol Vesely and Thiago finding the back of the net. Then we met Slovenian side Gorica in the second qualifying round and we eased past them, 7-0 on aggregate. Four of my strikers managed to score in those two legs, basically all of them except Andrés. Parana did well to bag a hat-trick in the first leg so I was quite happy. Then we played the only friendly game of our summer which ended in an unlucky 1-0 defeat at the hands of Spanish side Getafe. We played pretty well in that game but we were unable to convert our chances.

We were drawn against Polish side Arka in the Europa League third qualifying round but before that we managed to bring in another two highly-rated players. But we also had to say goodbye to one of our best players, go to the next page to read all bout that!

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

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JamesBush
JamesBush
9 years ago

Johnny, what an exciting season this shall be, lucky enough to get into the Europa League, but i praise you to be bothered to work out how you got in :). Good Luck Mate!

Stromson
Stromson
9 years ago

Wow, talk about a wild way to enter Europe. Those were some great results in the early qualifiers, and hopefully you can do some damage against Rosenborg! I’d say Ze Carlos was worth every penny, and I’m looking forward to seeing how he does this season.

Sears
9 years ago

Hey Johnny,

that was a very productive pre season and you made some astute signings. Ze Carlos is phenomenal! What role will you give him, poacher? Himself and Parana should form a formidable partnership. You’re new center backs are magnificent as well and Velasco is amazing. I think you can definitely challenge for a Champions League spot, good luck!

Sayam Khan
9 years ago

Ahhhh that was the suprise, I thought the stadium name was changed or something lol!

I like how you invested in your defence, both Argentinians so shouldn’t be any communication problems there. Ze Carlos seems to be a familiar name for regens, and once again, you shouldn’t have any problems upfront regarding communications. Sad to see Andres leave, but I don’t think he performed as well as I thought he would last season :(

It’s going to be a very exciting season Johnny, Good Luck!

Jack
Jack
9 years ago

Great post Johnny! I’m really enjoying this story. I love how you’ve made Vauxhall into a proper club now, i.e. new stadium etc. The Brazilians up front will cause any side problems. I think with the added fire power you’ll definately get europa league, and maybe even champions league of all your players start gelling. Its great you managed to get into the europa league, if not anthing it will provide another injection of cash :) Well good luck for this season Johnny!

Darren Smith
Admin
9 years ago

Wow, what a great surprise…I can imagine your face when the Europa League message popped up :) You have bought extremely well and those youngsters should all develop into top players. Your strike force now looks amazing and that was probably the only way you could have sold Adres with a positive effect. Well done Johnny.

Billy
Billy
9 years ago

Great post
will be great seeing how your team perform on the european stage

Joelance
Joelance
9 years ago

Hi Johnny,
What can I say? That was a really weird way to get into Europe. 9th? And we can’t get into Europe even if we finish sixth? Liverpool, i mean. It’s also funny all your big signings are South Americans! Guess that’s where you get the best. I really hope you get past Rosenberg. A lot of cash and football :) awaits you my man!

Sibo
Sibo
9 years ago

Hey Johnny.

Very good pre-season there! You have made some great signings and Vauxhall look like a proper Premier League club now!

I can imagine what you must have felt like when the EC message came up! I hope you keep the dream up against Rosenborg and I would love to see you in the group stages at least!

Well done and good luck! :D

CsAtlantis
9 years ago

Thats a very nice surprise Johnny, 9 teams in the EPL in European competition! A very confounding way to qualify but Europe, your team should be good enough to handle the qualifying rounds, hopefully you can go to the group stages where the good teams await :D

Marcelo and Surman are good bargains, especially with Marcelo being only 22 years old and coming in for free

Godoy’s flexibility will be an asset to any team, and if you want to, and Bazzi is a solid central defender (quite high crossing for a central defender though, maybe he has some competency at right back?)

There is something ridiculously wrong about your fixtures, first the 3 games from 26 to 30 December, and now a league game, two days after going to Norway? Should have rescheduled it by a day or two, you have a good squad, hopefully it can cope with that

Good luck for the new season!

Nick
Nick
9 years ago

Very well done. Good Luck too mate. Just one question, how do you play your fixtures (e.g full match, extended or key)?

Iv’e been playing in Full, because i find it more realistic, and i find that i can manage my team better this way, plus not letting the season go so quickly. Just wanted to know how you play.

Nick
Nick
9 years ago
Reply to  Johnny Karp

Yeah. Im tempted to do mine in Extended now. Maybe Full for the important cup matches, league deciders etc..
Great Job. If i had time id post my new story up.

Erick Wolf
Erick Wolf
9 years ago

Another familiar face comes in Andrew Surman!
He was a good player for Wolves and I’m very impressed that you did qualify for Europe.
I still don’t get how but it’s okay! :)

Lye
Lye
9 years ago

Hi Johnny,

That was really a surprise and it showed the English clubs were doing well in Europe. Your financial is quite healthy and i am disappointed to see you are being offered so little money for transfers. Ze Carlos is a beast, he will be your key player along the two new center backs.

I remember you didn’t load the Brazil and Argentina league(Correct me if i am wrong). How come there are so many good regens? I hope to see a few in my game.

I don’t think Rosenborg can stop you and you will have a great chance to pit with some the strong continental clubs. Good luck for the new season ahead.

vaibhavc
vaibhavc
9 years ago

Hey Johnny
That was so lucky for you, but great as you achieved your goal for next season this year. I think that Ze Carlos is the best player ever to put on a Vauxhall shirt, his attributes are amazing! And I forgot about Dale Hills, I only remembered him when I saw the transfers. Where was he? And surely you are going to play Mervin Simon, right?

hils
hils
9 years ago

Hi Johnny,great signings there!!!!!!!! The european spot was a suprise!!!!!!!!!! Good luck!!!!!!!!

Nigel
Nigel
9 years ago

Fantastic achievement. Europe on the first season in the Premier League is awesome. Just wish my team can break into the Premier League soon as well.

Nick
Nick
9 years ago
Reply to  Nigel

me too. lol.. highly doubtful, im under ipswich town, and struggling in the my first season.. not overly struggling, but not good enough for promotion. haha

Yasser Rahman
9 years ago

This is exactly why I love the dynamic league reputation! 9th place and you still manage in Europe. Congratulations!

I guess I was wrong about the transfer budgets but defiantly closer than your expectations *wink* 16 mil for mid table and 22 for Continental is pretty poor, but that’s what big loans do to boards. Still , only 3-4 million of from my predictions, but you still did really well with the transfer market!

Curious about your back up for your defense, you only have one backup player each of LB and RB ? What roles do you play them in? I looked at the players individually, and I think both your LB’s Nikao ( can also service right wing) and Baddeley (left only? ) are quite poor compared to the rest of your squad going by only attributes, but they seem to be good performers? I might suggest looking at getting a senior LB as a backup for these two.

Kevin
9 years ago

Hi Johnny
Congrats at entering European competition even though it was in a weird sort of way and you got off to a great start as well. Already having Parana and now Ze Carlos up front I think you can mount a serious challenge to a top six place at least. Good luck with the new campaign!!

Ana Garcia
9 years ago

Pretty much everything has been said!

But a really nice surprise to grab a place in Europe, but you probably earned the luck to get there!

Signings look very good and a definite improvement so hopefully you can start to push for the top six.

Good luck Johnny.

Alex
9 years ago

Hey Johnny, just realised I hadn’t commented!

What a great surprise! 9 teams get a European place in England, that will never happen again! Next season you won’t need to rely on luck, you have some great signings, I’m impressed that you managed to get Marcelo on a free.

Good luck!

Excessive
9 years ago

Wow.. so many things in your save are going right which is great to see as you deserve all the success you can get!

Firstly, that Europa draw. Haha.. You couldnt have made that up could you?! In all fairness, you deserve to be in there as you are a strong enough team to atleast get to the playoff for the group stages, and by my prediction probably further!

Some brilliant signings aswell though.. The new Brazilian partnership should smash the league up with force! Pace, power, finishing, composure. They have it all :).

The staff setup too?! Although all 4*+ for a small club like yours is excellent to see. Just need your facilities upgrading now.

Good luck for the season mate!

Ryan Noon
Ryan Noon
9 years ago

Hi Johnny,

I’ve been following your story for the past few weeks and I’ve just got to say that your success has been amazing, I only hope I can achieve similar.

I’ve got one question though, I’m currently managing Boston Utd in the Blue Square North and although one piece of your advice for small clubs is to release the deadwood, I’m struggling to scout enough talent to replace before the season starts let alone friendly games. I’ve currently got enable attribute masking ticked and I’ve got my scout searching England. I noticed you managed to attract/buy numerous players before the season started and so I was wondering how you managed to do this?

Thanks,
Ryan :)

Ryan
Ryan
9 years ago
Reply to  Johnny Karp

Many thanks for the advice, I’ve got two scouts employed (as that’s the amount my board will allow) 1 is Scouting Next Opposition and the other is scouting England. The only problem is when I started the game it was July 6th so not got too much time to get some players in right away but I’ve got my Assistant Manager scouting some players from the England trialist squads so fingers crossed.

Best of luck with your second Premier League season, I’m sure you’ll be conquering Europe in the near future. :)

Ryan

Laxeyman
Laxeyman
9 years ago

Hi Johnny, just got back from holiday and have read through your story from where I left off. Firstly, you did well to finish 9th last season, and it seems like you could have finished even higher if the board hadn’t sold Lindsay. Parana seems to have settled well and Ze Carlos looks like an awesome player, they should score plenty of goals :)
You’ve also brought in some good wingers and defenders, and they all have potential to get better. I reckon you can finish in the top 4 this season, good luck!

Mikey
Mikey
9 years ago

Johny…I’m going through your story and now I found an explanation why when I finished 4th I went to EURO cup…because that bloody chelski won CL and finished 5th. I was soooo pissed and thought it was a bug…

And…great story!!!

Mikey
Mikey
9 years ago
Reply to  Johnny Karp

wrong end but I woun the EURO cup…but still missing the millions from CL :( now they cutted my transfer and wage budget in the winter where I still had 20 mil out of 40 from the start of year..and they left me with 5 mil. But..I’m fighting!! :)

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