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Vauxhall Motors Story: the Championship debut

Hello folks and welcome back to my Vauxhall Motors Football Manager 2011 story! After a busy pre-season it was finally time to see my new signings in action in the Championship, the toughest league that the club had faced in its history. I promised the board a top half finish so there was some pressure on me and the team to deliver such an achievement. Let’s see how the first month went.

Before moving on to the actual games I owed the fans another shot at getting central midfielder Graham Howson on loan so I made an offer to get him for three months. This time he accepted! As you can notice from the screen shot below he thinks that he is too good to be loaned out so that probably was the reason that pushed him to decline our initial offer. He wanted to persuade Manchester United to keep him in the first team but then he might have realized that it wasn’t going to happen.

We already have four long term loans at the club (Alex Chamberlain, Jason Banton, Suso and Lenny Nangis) and I don’t know if I could extend Howson‘s loan by terminating one of these four loans, I’ll have to look into that.

Millwall vs Vauxhall (Championship)

Venue: The Den

Attendance: 16,184

Starting line up: Dean Bouzanis – Ken Harris, Sashi Chalwe, Mervin Simon, Mariusz Pawelec – Alex Chamberlain, Mark Brown, Graham Howson, Jason Banton – Lenny Nangis, Ibrahima MBow

Team Talk: You can win today!

Our debut was a pretty tough one, away at Millwall, a strong team that was predicted to achieve a mid-table finish. We started the game pretty well, we were keeping control of the ball for good chunks of time but that slowly faded away towards the end of the first half and Millwall took the lead five minutes before the break through a corner kick header. We had a great chance to cancel that just before half time, we were given a penalty kick but Graham Howson missed it! He never missed one last season, that was quite a disappointment… Things got even worse as Millwall struck just one minute after the missed penalty, a quick breakaway and we were two goals down at the break.

Half time score: 2-0

Half time team talk: Disappointing.

Half time substitutions: Daniel Toribio for Chamberlain, Suso for Howson, Dale Hills for Nangis

The second half was equally disappointing, my lads did try but our game wasn’t anywhere near the level I would have wanted to see. Millwall could easily have scored at least another goal on counter attacks, it was a rather painful debut and a discouraging one. I kept my feelings from the players though, I didn’t want to ruin their confidence.

Full time team talk: Sympathise.

Man of the match: Sashi Chalwe

Flop of the match: Graham Howson

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the match highlights.

Vauxhall vs Barnsley (Carling Cup 1st rnd)

Venue: Rivacre Park

Attendance: 2,368

Starting line up: James Dunn – Jacob Hronec, Carlos Santos, Bryan Purdrue, Grant Baddeley – Keith Higgs, Connor Newton, Matthias Gohlert, James Campbell – Paul Harris, Dale Hills

Team Talk: You can win today!

It was a good chance to recover from that defeat since we were meeting League Two side Barnsley in the inaugural round of the League Cup. I chose to field a completely different starting eleven because I wanted to see as many players in action as possible in the early stage of the season. Things started a lot better this time, we were piling on the pressure right from the start and finally broke the deadlock on 14 minutes when midfielder Matthias Gohlert fired in a cracking effort from 25 yards, a nice debut goal for the American youngster. We were in full control and winger Keith Higgs translated that into another goal, a header 12 minutes before the break.

Half time score: 2-0

Half time team talk: Pleased

Half time substitutions: Daniel Toribio for Campbell, Lenny Nangis for Harris

The second half was much more quiet, my lads took the foot off the gas. Unfortunately we had to deal with an injury, striker Dale Hills was stretchered off and was going to be out for a whole month. We did manage to score another goal though, it was striker Lenny Nangis who netted his first goal for the club and it was a nice one too. We were through to the next round, mission accomplished.

Full time team talk: Well done!

Man of the match: Keith Higgs

Flop of the match: Connor Newton

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the match highlights.

Sheff Wed vs Vauxhall (Championship)

Venue: Hillsborough

Attendance: 25,873

Starting line up: Dean Bouzanis – Ken Harris, Sashi Chalwe, Mervin Simon, Mariusz Pawelec – Alex Chamberlain, Mark Brown, Graham Howson, Jason Banton – Lenny Nangis, Ibrahima MBow

Team Talk: You can win today!

Another away game in the league but this one seemed to be a bit less difficult since Sheffield Wednesday were predicted to finish 21st. The initial minutes saw a spectacular end-to-end game and luckily we were the first to score, veteran centre back Sashi Chalwe tapped in a Mervin Simon corner kick header. Then we took control of the game, the team was playing pretty well and we doubled the advantage during stoppage time when Alex Chamberlain found Jason Banton with a low cross and the left winger powered it in.

Half time score: 0-2

Half time team talk: Pleased.

Half time substitutions: Suso for Howson, Daniel Toribio for Banton, Paul Harris for Nangis

We were under a bit of pressure after the break but my defense handled things well and we managed to get in another blow 20 minutes from time, Spanish midfielder Daniel Toribio bagged his first goal for the club. The game seemed to be as good as over even if we were reduced to 10 men when right winger Chamberlain left the pitch due to an injury. We were punished for being overconfident though, the home side scored twice in five minutes and they could have netted the third easily! We were lucky to escape with the three points, we played well for 80 minutes but looked like a disaster during the last 10!

Full time team talk: Well done!

Man of the match: Alex Chamberlain

Flop of the match: Suso

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the match highlights.

Vauxhall vs Crystal Palace (Championship)

Venue: Rivacre Park

Attendance: 2,368

Starting line up: Dean Bouzanis – Ken Harris, Sashi Chalwe, Mervin Simon, Mariusz Pawelec – Alex Chamberlain, Mark Brown, Graham Howson, Jason Banton – Lenny Nangis, Ibrahima MBow

Team Talk: You can win today!

Our first league game at home saw us meeting Crystal Palace, predicted to finish 18th. I completed another signing just before the game, I decided to bring in experienced winger Graeme Owens as I felt that we needed a stronger backup for both wings. He joined us for a quite steep fee, 150K, but I had no better options. Back to the game, the fans filled our reduced stands and the players seemed willing to give them something to cheer about. We dominated the first half from start to finish but were unable to find the back of the net, it was quite frustrating but the team played very well.

Half time score: 0-0

Half time team talk: We can win this!

Half time substitutions: Daniel Toribio for Howson, Keith Higgs for Banton

The same scenario was in display after the break, we were pushing forward but we couldn’t get anything on the score board. I sent in striker Andrés for Lenny Nangis on the hour mark, the talented Spaniard had just recovered from his pre-season injury. I was hoping to see a goal soon and I did. Unfortunately it was into our own net: a terrible error from centre back Mervin Simon handed them the goal on a silver platter… The team reacted, we continued to attack and the reward finally came three minutes from time when substitute midfielder Daniel Toribio rounded off a flowing team move. The crowd went wild two minutes later, left winger Keith Higgs scored a total fluke to give us the win! I don’t know if he meant it but it was a beautiful goal! The game wasn’t over yet though and Crystal Palace came close to salvaging a point during stoppage time when they hit the post.

Full time team talk: none

Man of the match: Keith Higgs

Flop of the match: Mervin Simon

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the match highlights.

Newcastle vs Vauxhall (Carling Cup 2nd rnd)

Venue: St. James’ Park

Attendance: 20,398

Starting line up: Dean Bouzanis – Ken Harris, Sashi Chalwe, Mervin Simon, Mariusz Pawelec – Alex Chamberlain, Graham Howson, Suso, Jason Banton – Lenny Nangis, Andrés

Team Talk: Pressure is off.

A special occasion for our small club, we were meeting Premier League team Newcastle at St. James’ Park. The bookmakers thought that an upset was highly unlikely but that didn’t matter too much, I just wanted to see my lads in action against a superior side. I didn’t want to put pressure on them, the result was not important. The lads were enjoying themselves out there and the home crowd was silenced on 18 minutes when striker Andrés banged in his first goal for the club, a cracking 20 yard effort! Things got even better seven minutes later, Alex Chamberlain played a clever pass for Lenny Nangis and the French striker put it away! Newcastle upped the pace after that second goal and our good defending lasted just 10 minutes, the home side deservedly pulled one back.

Half time score: 1-2

Half time team talk: Pleased.

Half time substitutions: Graeme Owens for Chamberlain, Daniel Toribio for Howson

We had a great chance of pulling off a great upset and the players fully understood that. We managed to keep the game fairly quiet, we were keeping possession well and Newcastle were unable to create clear chances. We even ended it in style, striker Andrés powered one in before full time! It was a great result and a superb display from our Spanish striker.

Full time team talk: Well done!

Man of the match: Andrés

Flop of the match: Graeme Owens

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the match highlights.

Vauxhall vs Brentford (Championship)

Venue: Rivacre Park

Attendance: 2,368

Starting line up: Dean Bouzanis – Ken Harris, Bryan Purdrue, Mervin Simon, Grant Baddeley – Alex Chamberlain, Mark Brown, Graham Howson, Keith Higgs – Andrés, Ibrahima MBow

Team Talk: I expect a win!

The last game of the month, we were welcoming fellow promoted side Brentford. They were predicted to finish just one place above us, 23rd, but I felt that they were no match for us. I wanted a win, nothing less! We started the game in style and it took us just nine minutes to break the deadlock, a superb team move was rounded off by Graham Howson with a wonderful finish. It was his first goal of the season and I was hoping that it would only be the start of a string of good performances from him. We suffered a setback 10 minutes before the break, Grant Baddeley had to leave the field due to an injury and I had to send in centre back Carlos Santos as a makeshift left back.

Half time score: 1-0

Half time team talk: Encourage.

Half time substitutions: Graeme Owens for Chamberlain, Daniel Toribio for Howson

Brentford had a huge chance to level the match five minutes after the break but then the game returned to the first half scenario: we were all over them but were also missing quite a few chances. Things changed after the 68th minute when young striker Ibrahima MBow netted his first goal of the season, that unleashed him and he bagged another two to become a hat-trick hero! It was a very good game and I was pleased to see both Howson and M’Bow getting their first goals of the season.

Full time team talk: Well done!

Man of the match: Ibrahima M’Bow

Flop of the match: Alex Chamberlain

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the match highlights.

So, we lost the opening game but then went on to win the following five and also knocked out Newcastle in the process.

The league table looks very good for us at the moment but that can be deceptive, we have only met teams predicted to finish in the lower half of the table. The tough games are yet to come and I’m not sure that my team can cope with the better teams in the league.

The youngsters drove the team forward this month and they dominated the Young Player of the Month awards. Alex Chamberlain got the award but Mervin Simon and Ibrahima M’Bow were worthy candidates as well.

September will be a lot tougher as we will have to face strong teams like Stoke or Wigan and we’ll also have a nice Carling Cup battle against Premier League side Fulham.

That’s how it went my friends, I guess I can be satisfied but we still don’t know just how far this team could go this season. Thanks a lot for reading and I would appreciate if any of you would share any information on the “Howson issue”: would I be able to extend his loan until the end of the season if I terminate one of the current season-long deals?

P.S.: How about Rooney‘s goal yesterday? If you know any such spectacular goals please let me know and I’ll publish them in the video website.

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Laxeyman
Laxeyman
9 years ago

Hi Johnny, good start despite the defeat in the first game, and a brilliant result against Newcastle too. Great that Howson changed his mind, I’m not sure, but I think that if you terminate one of the long term loans then you can extend Howson’s loan. Hopefully you can keep up the good form when you play the tougher sides, good luck for next month!

plobdork
plobdork
9 years ago

wow gud start to the season glad to see my beloved burnley are at the top of the table next month will be difficult but you can pull it off!!!!!!

p.s wat happened to the other results like you did in your first season where it shows you who won player of the yr ect

Sears
9 years ago

Great month Johnny, I didn’t expect you to do so well!

ps what about Rivaldo’s overhead kick against Valencia?

Ana Garcia
9 years ago
Reply to  Johnny Karp

It was the final game of the 2001/02 season Barcelona needed to win or else they wouldnt qualify for the champions league. They managed to beat Valencia 3-2 thanks to a hat-trick from Rivaldo his third was one of the best goals in la liga history!

I presume Sears meant that one! Here is a link to the video :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWcvX5tYEWY

I will be really boring and pick Messi’s goal against Getafe! :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hokq-7olthE

hils
hils
9 years ago

Hi Johnny,great month there!!!!!!!!!!!! Hopefully you will continue your form!!!!!!!!!!! Good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!

Vaibhav C.
Vaibhav C.
9 years ago

Hey Johnny,
What a great month! Except for the loss against Millwall, you won every other game. Maybe, you can get yourself promoted. Have you beaten Newcastle before? I think you did, I’m not to sure.
P.S Rooney’s goal was amazing, especially because I’m a United fan. And a goal would be Ronaldo v/s Portsmouth, Nani v/s Tottenham, Giggs v/s Arsenal (The old one)

PhantomDennis
PhantomDennis
9 years ago

I just found this forum in the last few days and this story is incredible! More so since you’ve done it whilst spending virtually no money. I’m interested to see how Bouzanis and Suso do for you. My scouts at Notts Forest raved about Bouzanis but I couldn’t agree wages with him and Suso has already played a few games for Liverpool in mine. Best wishes for the new season.

Sayam Khan
9 years ago

Great month Johnny, seems like MBOW has finally settled in! Curious to see how you do vs the big teams.

Oh yeah, i did tell you that Howson would change his mind didn’t I ;-)

And this goal i think is worthy of being published: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3HcdvHbtN4

Kevin
9 years ago

Hi Johnny
Flaming heck what a start!! With defeat in the opening game I was nervous to scroll down but I should have known better as you’ve guided Vauxhall to some great results and especially over Newcastle in the League Cup. Very pleased to see Howsen back in the team even if its only for a short while.

Darren Smith
9 years ago

Wow Johnny, you just keep going. Its really amazing to see you take the worst team in England all the way to the Championship and still keep winning. Howson should make a huge difference and with him in Midfield I think Vauxhall will be among the play-off spots this year. You’ve built a solid foundation and made me want to base my next story on lower league management. Good luck for next month not that you’ll need it.

Lye
Lye
9 years ago

Hi Johnny,

Very good start there. I am hopeful you will at the top half challenging. Hope the wins will kick start your season.

From what i know, once you fulfill the four long term loans spot, you can’t extend Howson’s loan to long term even if you terminate one of the loans. The worst thing is you probably can loan Howson once. Once he’s back, you can’t loan him for the second time. I face this issue with Tom Kennedy in my Telford team. He was with us for three months and went back when the loan expired. I try to loan him again, though he accepted the loan but it was cancelled due to the rules.

Namma Jamma
Namma Jamma
9 years ago

Great start to the season. Your new signings look great and it was great to see Howson back again.

And if you are still looking for good goals try Matty Burrows backheel, Bergkamp VS Newcastle, Chamack VS Bimingham and Maxi Rodreguiz against Mexico.

Mariano
Mariano
9 years ago

Hi Johnny,

Amazing, how you do it mate?

I like a lot the way you post now so I can study in depth your methods like your team talks, I can see the attributes of the players for each match, really good learning source. I´m somehow struggling in my second month on Championship with Havant in the 12 position after meeting most mainly stronger teams like Wolves, Middlesburg, Blackpool…

At this stages I think the better signings are to be found by scouting the eastern europeans countries for cheap future premier league youngsters and develope them.

Very nice the second goal against Crystal Palace, may win the goal competition!

About the loans, my experience last season was that after loaning 4 players for the whole season , Ioaned one for 3 months and when I tried to extend , it was not possible. You may want to buy howson, I heard in new Zealand they are paying 300k per friendly:)

This goal from my favourite GK from all time is amazing!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yilzCBQ8sk

Ana Garcia
9 years ago

Hi Johnny,

I just noticed you have Chalwe! I had him on my Real Union game last year and he was a really good defender glad to see he is still playing!!

A very good start and nine points from twelve is probably better than you expected, hoping that you can continue your good form and will be interesting to see where abouts you end up at the end of the season!

Good luck! :)

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