Welcome back, friends!
As you know, we were hired at Exeter City F.C. in early March of 2016. The board didn’t have any expectations for us as there was only 11 competitive fixtures remaining. The previous expectation was to get the side into mid-table, and we took over with the side in 12th position in the table.
We managed 24 points out of 33 available, finishing 8th in the League 2 table, to lay down a solid foundation to build on in the 2016/17 season, but we are going to have to essentially rebuild the side. There were very few players contracted past the 2015/16 season, and honestly, a lot of them were deadwood in the first place.
Luckily, there were some transfer clauses that allowed us to increase our transfer budget for the rebuild. Our board had negotiated a £385K buyout of a 10% of next transfer clause from Matt Grimes move to Swansea, and a £65K buyout of a 25% next transfer clause on Tom Nichols move to Peterborough. After the board took their cut of the money, we have around £215K in the transfer budget and our weekly wage budget is currently £30.6K per week. We will likely move a good chunk of that transfer kitty into our wage budget, as we shouldn’t have to spend a great deal of money to stock a League 2 side, and wages are far more indicative of a good side than transfer fees.
The board has enabled us to make some good moves to build the club, as we’ve already had the Junior Coaching Budget increased, our scouting range expanded, and the board has already allowed me to start my National C badge, along with two other coaches on staff going for their Continental Pro badge.
We currently have a balance of £850K in the bank, and have increased the value of the club from £850K at the start of my reign to an estimated value of £2.25M at the time of this writing. The club is prioritizing scouting currently, along with bringing in several players on trial to work towards the side we’ll see for the 2016/17 Sky Bet League 2 campaign. We are also going to look to try to upgrade the Youth Facilities and Youth Level, but we just got the cash in and I’m not sure if the board will allow us to undertake this. I’m optimistic, though, as our club philosophies are building through our youth system and prioritizing the signing of young players, so I hope they’ll see the light now that we got some funds in.
I am actually glad that most of the deadwood was at the end of their deals, as we will get to rebuild both the first team AND our youth sides. I tend to be very specific on how I run my youth teams, and it is good that we don’t have a ton of dead weight in players to work around. I tend to build my youth teams the way Ajax does, and I got a ton of great info in the past from our retired friend Cleon. One of the main ways I set up my infrastructure is very close to how Cleon does, and an example of that is in this piece in his “Ajax – When Real Life Meets Football Manager” series, especially this piece on Infrastructure.
I am currently playing a 4-4-1-1 Control tactic, but I’m looking to have a Cruyff-like tactical philosophy throughout this save. We just don’t have the players to truly play the way I wish at this point in time, but we’ll be building towards that throughout the save.
I’ll post another piece once we’re closer to done with the rebuild and give a preview of the 2016/17 campaign — I’m just not sure at this point which tactical or strategic concept we’ll be focusing on for the blog this season, but I’ll know more once we get closer to the new season!
You can always stay updated with The Grecians and The Ultimate Football Manager Challenge on my Twitter at @FM_Champions, and thank you as always for following FMChampions.Com!