Dial Square – Season Review 2014/15

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2014/15 Season Review

Season three with the fledgling club, and we continue to build on the success of the past two seasons. The squad is developing well, and we’re managing to keep them together, despite clubs as big as Manchester City and Werder Bremen making enquiries and bids on our best players. It seems that the Chairman isn’t of the interfering sort, as he didn’t get involved, even when huge sums of money (for our level) were bid.

npower League Two (stats)

As I sit here to write the review of the league season, I look at my notes, and to be honest, they’re pretty blank. That’s not to say that nothing happened, just that nothing unexpected happened. I suppose you could argue that we won the league when being tipped for relegation is unexpected, but I know better. That our players far outstrip our reputation. That I am a superior manager to the Artificial ‘Intelligence’. And if we can keep these players together, we’ll do it again in League One, too.

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Dial Square – Season Review 2013/14

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2013/14 Season Review

Last season we walked the league and also performed very well on the way to winning the FA Trophy. This season  the aim was to again win the double, even if it isn’t done as emphatically as last season! Tactically we remained unchanged – if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it!

Blue Square Premier (stats)

With our young squad developing at the rate that they are and the talent they have, nothing less than automatic promotion would do. What I didn’t expect, is how easy it would be. By matchday seven, we were top – a position we wouldn’t relinquish for the rest of the season. We set a new record for points, breaking Crawley’s record, with 115. We also broke the BSP record for goals scored, our 115 goals considerably more than the next highest this season, York’s 79. 

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Dial Square – Season Review 2012/13

dialsquarelg2012/13 Season Review

First seasons are rarely easy. Especially in the lower leagues. Things are even harder when the club only came into existence a month before the first league game. That is the challenge we faced. If you read the Dial Square – Introduction and Team Guide, you’ll know how the club came into being and the composition of the players, staff and facilities. For this season I felt it best to keep it simple tactically with a 4-5-1/4-3-3, though as we had some talent in the squad I played a more open and expansive game than I usually would at this level.

As a new club, we won’t be eligible to play in the FA Cup for three seasons.

Blue Square South (stats)

I knew promotion was my goal, but I never expected to achieve it so emphatically! Our goal difference was better than all four playoff clubs combined, and we had a clear twenty-two point gap from the rest of the pack!

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Dial Square – Introduction and Team Guide

dialsquarelgIntroduction and Team Guide

In 1886, workers at the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich founded a football club and called themselves Dial Square. By 1913, after becoming ‘Royal Arsenal’ and ‘Woolwich Arsenal’, the prefix was dropped to become ‘Arsenal’.

Early in 2012, ex-Arsenal chairman David Dein proposed a new club to be formed in the Blue Square South, to fill the void created by the demise of MK Dons and the subsequent league reshuffle. The clubs aim was to return football to the local fans put off by the high prices of supporting premiership clubs. The name was chosen to highlight the link to Arsenal, but also to show that they were starting again, starting afresh. A consortium of multi-millionaire fans who missed the old Highbury stadium purchased it and converted it back into a stadium, leasing it to the club for a nominal rent. Arsenal, seeing the benefit of a club so local in the lower leagues, agreed a deal to loan players and play an annual pre-season friendly, and also agreed to allow some of the players who were upset at lack of games at the club to join for free. Supportive of Dial Square’s aims, many of them took a substantial pay cut.

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Athletic Club – Season Review 2014/15

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2014/15 Season Review

This season the aim was to try and finally break the monotony of the big two at the top of La Liga. We were given £30m to aid us in our challenge, though most of the players available to us aren’t the type of player I’d sign, given their price and advancing age. But one was exactly the type of player I wanted… Read on to find out who!

Liga BBVA (stats)

This season we needed to make a real go at closing the gap on Real and Barcelona. And from the start we were there or there-about, getting into the top three and were up and down between the top three positions for most of the season. We kept picking up points even when we had to play reserves/youth, and on the last day, we won the title! Our results between Barca and Real is where it was won though, with the gap between us being so tight – of the twelve points available from them four games, we picked up nine.

League results vs ‘The Big Two’

Real Madrid (a): 3-2 win

Barcelona (a): 0-1 loss

Real Madrid (a): 3-1 win

Barcelona (h): 1-0 win

These are the results that won us the title. Taking nine points off your closest league rivals is always going to be a boost, and so it proved as we took the win on the final day.

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Athletic Club – Season Review 2013/14

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2013/14 Season Review

Season two. Tasked with qualifying for the Champions League, while also having to deal with the pre-arranged transfer of Llorente to Juventus was always going to be tricky as there are no strikers that can replace him. Still we had to try, and so I changed formation to a 5-2-2-1. For a while it seemed to work, but then our form took a dive. So I switched to my trusty attacking 4-5-1, and we found our feet again. But was it too late?

Liga BBVA (stats)

As I alluded to previously, we started well, and were where I expected us to be – up and down between fourth and fifth. Around the halfway point, everything went wrong. We were losing games we should have at least drawn, and drawing/losing games we were expected to win easily. A change of formation brought an about-turn, and we finished with a flourish, again the best of the rest, but with a comfortable gap between ourselves and Sevilla in fourth.

League results vs ‘The Big Two’

Real Madrid (h): 3-1 win

Barcelona (a): 0-0 draw

Real Madrid (a): 1-2 loss

Barcelona (h): 1-1 draw

We closed the gap between ourselves and the top two on results between us, but what let us down in closing the league gap is our failure to pick up results versus teams we should have beaten comfortably.

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Athletic Club – Season Review 2012/13

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2012/13 Season Review

Athletic Club. One of the only three clubs to have never been relegated from La Liga (alongside Barcelona and Real Madrid). Hardcoded to only be able to sign players of Basque descent, or any Spanish player under the age of sixteen. A proper youth-based challenge, to catch, and better the traditional ‘big two’…

I’ve taken the reins as ‘Inigo Montoya’ -my Spanish alter-ego. This season was all about getting settled in and gaining the players’ trust as my reputation is only Sunday League. I started out with a 4-5-1 formation, and for a while it seemed to be working. But a bad run of results hit, and a change to a 4-2-3-1 deep turned things around and so I stayed with it. I’ll go into more depth on tactics once I’ve given it a thorough test.

Liga BBVA (stats)

Qualifying for the Europa League was the boards’ minimum requirement for this season. And as a newbie manager, I agreed. We were unbeaten in our first nine games, and then it all went a bit pear-shaped – only one win in the next eight games, four of which were losses. We were up and down for the rest of the season, having periods of good form then bad, but we held on under the pressure from Granada and Valencia and finished third and secured a Champions League place!

League results vs ‘The Big Two’

Real Madrid (a): 0-1

Barcelona (a): 1-3

Real Madrid (h): 1-2

Barcelona (h): 0-1

All the games, besides the Barcelona away game, were close. The first game vs Madrid we went down to a dubious penalty, and some comical goalkeeping allowed them into the game at home which gave them the momentum to steal a win. Barcelona were the better team  at the Nou Camp, but it only took a slip from Ekiza to allow them the victory at San Mamés.

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