As we failed to win promotion last season by finishing second and losing the playoff final to Harlow, we have another bite at the Ryman Premier. We definitely had the potential last season to win the division, and with it automatic promotion, but we didn’t show it at times, letting good leads slip to draws and draws slip away to losses. This season we’ll do it. We’ll go up to the National League South. Won’t we?
We’ll be moving from Mabley Green to groundshare with Leyton Orient at Brisbane Road which is a pre-planned move I made before starting the career because Mabley Green in reality isn’t a stadium, it’s a caged astroturf pitch in a park. I could have set it to force a new stadium build once we outgrew Mabley but it wouldn’t have the expansion capacity to fulfil our future dream of Champions League football, and would cripple our already delicate finances. Brisbane Road is the closest stadium to Hackney Marshes (as close as London Stadium, but 60,000 capacity is a bit much for us!) so we’ll share with Orient until we have the finances to build our own home.
I expected the board to be more ambitious, and for them to want a minimum of a playoff place, but they were happy with a mid-table finish. For the meagre increase in wage budget for higher expectations, I took the lowest, finding it’s better to look like you’ve overachieved to the board when you expected better anyway.
Luke Bruno was released by Watford and has the ability to walk straight into the first team at centre back. Davidson replaces the retired Jerome Weatherman. Scott Mason has the ability to pressure Measures as first choice keeper, and Simon Hanna is a good midfield option to rotate with Ali Sheriff.
Brown retired to become our defensive coach, Weatherman is now a DOF but club legend Kasanga fills that role so he will not be retained. Hayford was a backup keeper who never really got any games and was complaining so his contract wasn’t renewed, similar to Addai but he was an AM RLC. Paul Allen is Addai’s future replacement as backup winger but needs more game time.
This time we had it much easier. We spend most of the season in the playoffs because at times we had as many as EIGHT games in hand over teams around us thanks to cup runs and postponements. With the league won early we started rotating players, which contributed to our drop in form at the end of the season.
We comfortably won promotion, and my real-life local club and previous FM love-affair club Enfield Town are going up with us!
We had a good run in the cup, getting to the first round and forcing a replay too, which was good for the finances. It seems the first round is our glass ceiling, but hopefully soon we’ll make that elusive second round draw!
We made the third round which is a good result for us. We will hopefully add this one to the trophy cabinet one day.
The Alan Turvey Trophy
Much like the proper League Cup, this is becoming an annoyance, and I only use it to play players moaning about game time now.
We’ll be playing in the Vanarama National League South, the lowest playable division that comes with the base game. Which means we’re halfway to the Premier League!