2049/50 End of Season Review
After a month away from this career, I needed to come back to it. The exorbitant demands from players during contract negotiation is what pushed me away, but after some hard negotiation I got them onto contracts that vaguely resembled their value to the club.
We were going to use a new tactic this season, incorporating a Libero, wingbacks and a strikerless front three, resembling a 1-2-2-2-3-0. For the most part, it was a successful experiment, although the libero was eventually dropped in favour of a ball-playing defender with a stopper duty, changing the formation into a 3-2-2-3-0.
Premier League (stats)
A fifteenth consecutive league title and our record-equalling twenty-fourth overall, but we had to work harder for it this season with Man City chasing us for much of the season, though they had a spectacular implosion in their last seven games, which widened the gap between us and them considerably. I genuinely believe that the league as a whole is weaker than it was at the start of the career, especially below the top four.
Champions League (stats)
We drew a relatively strong group, but we were more than equal to it, qualifying easily. The KO round was just as easy, with Bordeaux proving weak opposition and allowing us to walk all over them.
Manchester United were a team I wanted to avoid in the QF draw, so obviously we got them. A below-par performance at Old Trafford saw us looking at the second leg knowing we needed a performance, though the away goal would certainly help. And help it did, as the performance we needed never came, but a single first-half goal from veteran centreback Nolan Davenport took us through to the semi-finals on away goals!
Much like many of the once-huge teams, Real Madrid aren’t what they once were. They still performed well over the two legs, but our 4-2 aggregate win reflected the fact we were the better side.
We faced the blue half of Manchester in the final, and we found ourselves 2-0 up as we approached half time, but a goal in injury time brought City back into the game and gave them a boost ahead of the second half. Or so they thought it would. Two minutes after the restart we’d scored a third, and there was no way back for them from there on, as we kept the ball well and denied them time and space when they did have it.
FA Cup (stats)
The run to our record breaking 16th FA Cup was relatively simple. Manchester City were the biggest hurdle, and one that was overcome with relative ease. Championship club Reading were resilient, and it took a goal late in extra-time to break the deadlock and again it was Nolan Davenport. We’re really going to miss him when he finally retires. 😦
Capital One Cup (stats)
A nineteenth(!) Capital One Cup win. Not much to say really, as this cup is only used as an opportunity to occasionally test new players and pick up a bit of prize money.
Club World Cup
UEFA Super Cup
Anthony Hewitt was amazing in an unfamiliar position at AMC this season, playing the false nine. He scored 86 goals in all competitions, while still making 22 assists! He also broke two records in the Champions League that have stood for 18 years – most goals in a season (24) and also most times ‘man of the match’ in a season (8) – which were both previously held by Enfield Town legend (and current u18 assistant manager) Stephen Powell.
Nolan Davenport is the most legendary legend of a player I’ve ever known. Thirty-Six years old, and still getting an average rating of 7.83 in all comps, scoring 15 goals, won PFA Player of the Year and made it into the World Team of the Year, too. When he retires it will be a very sad day for the club.
I made signings for the first time in eight seasons! All three are high-potential youngsters. Ashkenazi and Vaisenen are solid centrebacks while Surma is an AMC, but I’m retraining him to AMR as I have a need of players in this position.
Selling Friar was a difficult decision as he has played over 1000 games for us, but his age and declining attributes were against him, especially given his wage demands of £140k+. The same applies for Daly, while he didn’t make as many appearances, the other circumstances were the same. The rest (bar Wakefield) were never good enough to play for us and it was decided better to get a fee now, rather than let them go for free at the end of the season.
Three players were considered worthy of signing. Carl Benali is a DM with 4.5* potential, and has begun retraining to CM. Charlie Shroot is an AMC who has 4* potential and has begun retraining to CM. Finally, Ibrahim Abondo is a Réunionese/French/English AMC/ST with 4.5* potential and is two footed.
The aim for next season is to have a season as good as this one.
I do think that it is coming to the stage where I need to keep an eye on other leagues for interesting job vacancies as there is not much left to do here – one more league win and we’ll have beaten Man United’s record of 24 – which will mean we will hold the record for cup wins in every top level competition…