February 5, 2013 by bashfoc2
Hi all, first things first lets get some apologies out of the way first:
- Sorry for not posting! It was a long and very merry Christmas and I took a break from pretty much everything, but don’t worry, I’m back for the long haul now!
- What I’m really sorry for however is truly horrific news: The Forest save has been lost 😦 That’s right, I can hear the hearts shattering from here, all the hard work has gone and just as they were hitting the big time (even signing Abel Hernandez!) it has been dashed away. Damn Windows 8 installation reformatted my hard drive and of course I didn’t realise quickly enough to save the only important thing on here, FM!
Anyway that’s the tough emotional start out of the way, we shall move onto bigger and better things and I am now happy to introduce to you the new save story: Dirty Dirty Leeds, the return to infamy.
Leeds have a bit of history with Chelsea (I’m a big Chelsea fan for anyone who doesn’t know), and with plenty of other teams too of course, but I decided to try and bring them back to the big-time. Having had plenty of glory and misery across the 70’s and 80’s it’s definitely the 1970 cup final that stands out for me.
An era when crunching tackles were encouraged and not shunned, it was a different time and certainly during a peak in Leeds’ football. Of course I have to point out it was Chelsea who came out victorious in that final.
So the challenge that lays ahead is pretty simple: Return Leeds to the top flight as soon as possible, get back into Europe again, win a title for the first time in more than 20 years, and all this with an uninspiring squad and a pretty miniscule transfer budget (and if we have to play a bit dirty then I guess that’s okay too). I decided to set out some fairly achievable goals for this season:
- Ditch the deadwood: There’s a few older or just poor players lingering in the squad that really aren’t ever going to play for me and they’re just soaking up valuable wage budgets.
- Sign some freebies: With so little to spend I’ll once again be looking to the free transfers for some experience and quality. Sadly I don’t think I’ll have enough to invest in youth this year but if I can grab a few bargain deals I’ll be happy enough.
- League position: With the Championship it’s always hard to know what way it’s going to go but for some reason I don’t think I’m going to be competing for the league this year. I’ll be delighted with a push for a playoff spot but so long as I’m ready for a decent title push the following season I won’t be too worried if I miss out.
- Cups: As we saw (albeit briefly) with Forest, there is big money to be made from the cup competitions if you can push yourself into Europe. Leeds have had financial difficulties for a long while now so some European money would definitely be welcomed. At the very least we should be able to progress through 2 or 3 rounds of each competition, maybe taking a big scalp on the way too!
- Finances: Somehow I don’t think this will be a very successful area for me this time around, from what I’ve read of other players stories Leeds tend to bleed money. How will we fix it?
Okay so that’s what I want to do, lets take a look at who we’ve got to do it with:
GK: Okay so in this department we have experienced Paddy Kenny leading the line. He’s definitely solid for this level however he isn’t any younger and is sitting on a fairly sizeable £15K p/w. Apart from him there’s really nothing here, between Ashdown and Rachubka we have ok subs but nothing more. Ideally a nice young sub would be good to sign (on a low wage/high appearance fee contract) to replace these guys but we’ll see how we go. Alex Cairns isn’t offering anything so overall I wouldn’t be upset if we sold some or all of these.
RB: Options here aren’t too bad. We have Lee Peltier (plays everywhere), Paul Connolly, Tom Lees (really a CB) and Sam Byram. Byram is a decent youngster with some Premier League potential so I’ll definitely be holding onto him and trying to give him some game time, although his current ability isn’t all that hot. Lees will be needed at CB but can cover and Paul Connolly isn’t great (and won’t be getting any better) so that leaves Peltier to be the main starter I think.
CB: Tom Lees is nice and young and already at a decent level, Jason Pearce is similar and we have Gimpel with youth on his side. There are others who could cover here but they’ll be used elsewhere. CB is definitely a position where we can pick up a decent freebie just to give some decent cover as 3 is not enough.
LB: Finally a bit of a star player here, Aidan White definitely has the potential to be in the Leeds of the future. Only an average current rating but the highest potential in the squad and should last for a long time. Elsewhere we have Drury and Taylor who are pretty poor but will suffice as cover if we have to.
DM: Another big player for Leeds in the shape of Rodolph Austin. Probably the best player in the team and definitely a defensive rock to build around. We also have Lee Peltier who’s not bad and Michael Brown who’d just too old. Will definitely need to reinforce here as some of my tactics usually use one or two DMs.
CM: The aforementioned DMs can all play here (although to less effect) and we can also add in David Norris (old and average) and Paul Green who’s pretty decent for this level. No one else mentioning (the youth are pretty poor again) so hopefully we can double up some cover with a new DM signing…
LM/LW: White can play out here but will be used as a LB most of the time leaving McCormack or Varney to move out of ST to the wing. This isn’t ideal but their versatility is definitely handy. Maybe a LM needs to be picked up? All depends on the formations I pick really. LW should be strong enough.
RM/RW: Poleon and Nunez can play second fiddle to McCormack (I can see him being used lots) and Diouf here. The two wing positions can be covered by a number of players and may be decided by the preferred foot of the players depending on whether the role is Winger or Inside Forward.
AMC: It really is just Nunez here, and he’s hardly inspiring. If any of my regularly used formations are going to use an AMC we’ll need to reinforce, otherwise I’ll leave it be… The areas needing support are growing.
ST: Finally a position I’m happy with. Becchio is a bit of a beast and suited to the league well, and he’ll even play my favourite role, Target Man. We have Varney and McCormack to play as a second or sub striker (again depending on tactic). If I used 2 up front I’ll count Poleon as striker number 4. Somma will be shifted asap, technically shocking and really doesn’t justify his salary at all, fingers crossed he’ll boost the transfer budget.
Overall it’s all a bit average really… Becchio, Diouf, Austin and White are the only players that jump out to me and there are a lot of players that are just ok. Saying that there aren’t any massive holes and the squad is actually pretty full. I’m hoping to shift on some of the high earners who won’t be starting but until I am fixed on the tactics it’ll be difficult to nail down any definite requirements.
That’s all for this week folks. Next week I think we’ll go for a detailed tactics analysis for the season and hopefully I’ll provide a bit of an insight into to more technical aspects of the tactics chosen. Well done if you’ve made it to the end, I’m pretty tired now so enjoy this video of a tired kitten as a reward.