May 052012
 


Hi there!

It’s me again with my final update of the 2011/12 season in my Newcastle United game and it was really tight! So without further ado let’s get going!

Last time I left you our amazing start of season form had slipped a bit due to Demba Ba’s goals drying up and nobody else joining the goal train. So, onto February!

February Results

Only a couple of games in this month but they went relatively well. We came up against an Everton side that I always seem to have a difficult match against and this was no different. It took a goal either side of an Everton equaliser to grab the win, Vuckic scored though which was nice.

After Everton we had Aston Villa, a team that just like in real life have gone on a long and painful slide towards the drop zone and were, at that point, hanging just above it. Usually these kind of matches are really hard but Villa just rolled over with Ba scoring twice and Vuckic netting for the second game in a row!

The month ended with a difficult away game at the loudest stadium in the country (scientifically proven, check it out if you don’t believe me). Anyway the game finished 0-0 and little did I know at the time, this is where the problems begin…

March Results

We started the month against Chelsea and grabbed a very good win at a hugely underachieving team. Ben Arfa netted and no prizes for guessing who scored the other 2 goals.

Next up came Bolton. Another team struggling in the bottom half of the table which I thought we would take 3 points from, but no. We fluffed our chances to clear the ball and they equalised on the 85th minute after Ba had put us ahead early on.

Next however came two very good results as a Gutierrez goal sent Man Utd packing and 2 more goals from Ba finished off a resilient Fulham side. The problem I spoke of earlier was inconsistency and it reared it’s ugly head again as we failed to beat Wolves at the Molyneux. Little did I know that consistency was about to become a problem in April!

April Results

Because we consistently started to draw almost every game!!! 6 games in April, 5 draws, and 1 win in which we crushed Sunderland (queue evil laugh). After the Wolves game I expected a reaction, but that is like trying to get blood out of a stone on this update. I don’t know if anyone else has noticed but since the 12.2 update it’s very hard to get a reaction from your team during team talks, and more often than not, when you do get a reaction it simply says ‘didn’t seem to be listening’ or ‘seemed to switch off’.

Anyway, a bore draw against West Brom followed by an amazing game against Arsenal, 2-0 down after 20 minutes we fought back to level things and take a crucial point in the race for a top 4 finish.

After Arsenal our fixture list didn’t get any easier as we faced 2nd placed Liverpool (with us being 3rd at this point on goal difference). Here we earned another draw but this time it was Liverpool who came away happier, scoring a 90th minute equaliser that left me, well…

…So once I had calmed down and turned a little less green we invited Sunderland to town. In truth the way we were playing I was expecting us to get humiliated live on TV but instead we wiped the floor with them. However I was left annoyed with the team talk thing again. After we won I passionately praised my players for a brilliant display only for about 7 of them to ‘not be listening’!

I expected that result to be a turning point but instead we proceeded to blow a 1-0 lead against QPR and then blow a 2-0 lead against Wigan. Our season seemed to be quickly turning sour due to our inability to turn draws into wins.

May Results

Yes I know, the Wigan result was in May and I’ve screenshot it wrong. Other than that we finished the season against a Man City side that had already missed out on the title to their arch rivals Man Utd. We did actually take the lead in this game but you know what’s been happening for the last 2 months, well it was no different here as Balotelli and Dzeko finished us off.

The end of our Premier League season was nothing short of a disaster as we slid slowly but surely away from the 2nd position we had held so long.

So we finished 5th, we overachieved but it should have been better shouldn’t it? I’m just glad the season ended when it did because after been leap frogged by Man City and Liverpool, Spurs jumped above us after the Wigan game and Arsenal were quickly gaining on us.

So Man Utd, Man City, Liverpool, and Spurs are heading to the Champions League while Newcastle, Arsenal, and Wolves (League Cup winners) have to settle for Europa League. Aston Villa survived by the skin of their teeth and QPR followed the previously relegated Norwich and bottom placed Sunderland down to the Championship on the last day of the season.

Let’s move on to a more positive note however and take a look at Newcastle U18s. They had an incredibly successful season under the guidance of Joe Joyce (a legend of the Newcastle youth system). Below is the table after 25 games:

As you can see they had won the league by February without losing a single game! They scored 80 goals and conceded only 11 to rack up a brilliant goal difference of +69!

After that they still had 7 games to go and didn’t let up in their pursuit of an unbeaten season. In the end they were awarded with exactly that having scored 97 goals throughout the season! Now that’s my style of play!

One more thing happened after this though and that was that I was approached to be the manager of Team GB at the Olympics!

Of course I didn’t reject the offer and I look forward to bringing you an Olympics post at some point throughout my pre-season!

There was another competition that I mentioned in my previous post that I loved, even if it has lost some of its glamour in recent years. The FA Cup presented a chance for me to really stamp my name on the success records of Newcastle in my first season at the club and I was going to grab that chance with both hands!

You recall us beating Brighton and Sheff Utd to get this far? If so you’ll remember we beat them both 3-0 and 4-0 respectively but that was when we were scoring for fun, which was no longer the case. Regardless of that we somehow scraped our way into the final! Needing a 2nd leg to knock out Fulham, beating Aston Villa by the skin of our teeth, and then needing penalties to beat Peterborough! Although Peterborough did knock out Liverpool on penalties the round before so maybe I shouldn’t have been so shocked.

But in the end who cares, we were in the final! But it was not going to be easy, Wolves had already won the League Cup and were now trying to get their hands on the FA Cup too. But who came out on top?

Well it was actually a really bad game full of really bad passing, finishing, and tackling. Some good goalkeeping though! So with normal time over, and extra time over we faced our 2nd penalty shootout of the competition!

It was an absolutely terrible shootout. Demba Ba missed, I was shocked! Then Cisse missed, I wasn’t shocked! Cabaye, Verratti, and Coloccini wrapped the result up though since O’Hara was the only Wolves player who hit the back of the net!

So everybody’s happy! I’m happy, the fans are happy, and Nolberto Solano is happy! We had lifted the FA Cup for the first time since 1955! Happy days!

So, although we had failed to get Champions League football we had managed to get our hands on the FA Cup. I’ll take that! We still have the Europa League to compete for next season and that’s a starting point. I would rather go for gradual improvement than race into the Champions League, get destroyed and potentially lose my job.

Now it’s time to move onto the players. This season I’ve got mixed feelings about how my squad performed. In some instances I’ve got Jordan Mutch, Marco Verratti, and Demba Ba who have been brilliant. On the other hand I’ve had some serious disappointments, without mentioning any names *cough* Papiss Cisse *cough* some players just haven’t lived up to expectations and I’m not sure what to do.

It is likely that I will give Cisse another chance since I’ve already started working on my new tactics that I hope will exploit my strength up front. Cisse is 3.5 stars and Ba has now risen to 4.5 stars! I’ve decided that I will be employing an Attacking tactic, a Controlling tactic, and a Counter Attacking tactic and at least one of those will involve Ba and Cisse up front together which I hope will be really exciting!

While I’m on the subject of player ratings I’d just like to take this opportunity to show you my U18s ratings too. They did really well so I guess they deserve some limelight!

Most of the lower ratings on this list come from the new crop of youth players who didn’t have much time so have only played a couple of games. Not surprising though to see Adam Campbell leading the ratings after his 26 goals this season. Remie Streete is also up there despite having a really bad injury mid season that has sadly destroyed his chances of becoming professional with Newcastle. His potential dropped from 3.5 stars to just 1.5 stars throughout the 3 months he was injured.

Before we move on I got a request from Dragan to show Cisse and Santon’s profiles so unless your interested feel free to just skip to the next section of the post:

Papiss Cisse & Davide Santon as requested by Dragan:

Now you can all see why it’s so frustrating that Cisse doesn’t score more! He has really good attributes and in fact I believe part of the problem is the ‘shoot with power’ trait, it causes him to blaze over more than not!

This doesn’t really count as transfer news but since I didn’t make a Youth System banner (which in hindsight probably should have done) and my Photoshop trial has now run out and is asking me for an extortionate £155 to buy it :o I’ll just have to settle with putting my youth team news in here.

You recall me mentioning before about my new crop of youth players, well they weren’t impressive at all! In fact Jimmy Norman is the best one:

And as you can see he’s not that great! Now I’m glad I spent all season picking off youth players from other teams who were not quick enough to seal a contract with their starlets. After all this is what the quality of my new recruits came too:

I was forced to sign a bunch of them to keep the numbers up in the academy but as you can see it is unlikely any of them will ever play in the Premier League. Joe Joyce is going to have to pull off something special with this lot to equal this seasons success.

Now we move onto the clubs finances. Arguably the most important yet most boring part of the post so we’ll just try and rattle through it relatively quickly.

So, come the end of the season I was looking forward to seeing how much money Ashley was actually going to allow me to spend. However I then began receiving some good news:

The board actually listened to me when I asked for the facilities to be upgraded! This should help develop those terrible youth players and hopefully make them even slightly useful, even if it’s just for Joe Joyce!

And the good news kept coming!

They’ve decided to splash £10million on enlarging St. James’ Park by 7,613 seats! That will take the overall capacity of our beloved stadium to exactly the 60,000 mark! Epic! Not sure how they’ve managed to do it though since this has been attempted before and due to natural light infringements on the surrounded tower blocks we cannot expand at all. Maybe those flats mysteriously burned down? That’s generally how people get around planning permission in Newcastle, you’d be surprised how often buildings spontaneously combust up here! :)

To help counter those expenditures the board announced the club membership intake:

And then announced a new sponsorship deal (which hopefully looks better on the shirt than the ironed on Virgin Money logo).

An increase in sponsorship of £1.25million should help our finances nicely, however that’s still below £6million coming in and almost £14million going out on facilities. I was worried that this was going to have an adverse affect on what I was expecting to be an already tiny transfer budget. I expected around £7million or something.

But instead was pleasantly surprised! £11.23million seems a bit of a strange amount but oh well I’m sure I’ll cope. I’m going to work on selling some players too, with the likes of Williamson and Kadar (not good enough) and Obertan (terrible in matches) for hopefully over their values since we overachieved.

In the end our finances paint a pretty good picture.

£25million in the bank and an overall seasons profit of £14million thanks to the £12million we received for our 5th placed finish and the £2million we received for winning the FA Cup.

Well that’s all for now! Hopefully you enjoyed this season as much as I did despite the number of draws during the end run in. My next post will actually be a special Olympics post so keep an eye out for that, as far as I know it’ll be the first Great Britain post on this site but correct me if I’m wrong.

Thanks for reading!






  32 Responses to “Dan: Season 2011/12 – Squeaky Bum Time!”

  1. Good first season with the mighty toon :) papiss Cisse is a strange one, I have a Newcastle save going as my second one and Cisse has been banging them in for me, what role has he got in your formation? Good luck for Europa and next season mate!!

    • Thanks Jonathan,
      I’ve tried Cisse as a Poacher (which is his best role apparently), a Target Man, and an Advanced Forward. He just continuously blazes the ball over the bar so my next step is to tell him to stop doing that! He has 12 months to save his Newcastle United career.

      • Hmmm I have him as a poacher as well and ba and ben arfa as AMC’s, ba as an inside forward and benny as a trequartista :) anyway I hope he comes good for you, keep it up!!

        • Thanks Jonathan,
          He needs to do well, my first friendly of the season Ba just got injured for 4 months :( so it’s all down to Cisse now!

  2. That’s a seriously frustrating way for the league season to end, but congratulations on winning the FA Cup. In some ways you’re probably right that getting into the Europa League is better at this stage than the Champions League, although of course the financial rewards are not as good.

    I think you’re right that the last patch did something to how players get motivated, and also the morale. I used to have almost no issues with players getting nervous in a match, but recently it’s become an epidemic. As soon as I have one player who is playing nervously, it seems our ability to finish goes completely, where you feel a player could miss from a yard out in front of an open goal, even if they are apparently looking motivated. The team talks don’t seem to be affecting the morale as much as I’m sure it used to. I don’t know if this is because for the first time I’m right up at the top of the table fighting for the title, but it still seems odd to me.

    I also had another bizarre thing, where I had a team meeting after a dismal defeat, which had almost everyone in the team have the morale go to superb, and the following day we came up with a good 3-0 away win. By the time we got to the next match 3 days later, the morale had vanished, looking just like it had before the team meeting. Doesn’t make any sense at all.

    • Hey Ziggy,
      I was always aiming for gradual progression in this game. I’ve had games before when I’ve achieved almost instant success and then a few seasons in the bubble has burst whether it be financially or lack of quality players coming through so gradual progression is much safer for me.

      The new patch is annoying but I guess it’s all part of improving the game, much like the 3D engine when it first came in. They’ve obviously tried something different with the team talks that isn’t working properly and hopefully it will just make the next FM a much better experience.

      Plus I understand they read the FM blogs such as FMStories so in a way we could be directly influencing the next game by having a moan here! :)

  3. Well done on what was a fairly successful season. I think getting to 5th when there is a lot of competition below the top 2 in England is decent enough. And very well done on winning the FA Cup, it’s be too long for a club like Newcastle to win that.

    Now looking at the player stats, I notice a large number of them with ratings under 7.00. Futhermore these players have played quite often. I’d say that is related to your inconsistency and you should maybe move out some of those players. If the U18s are good enough, give a couple of them a spot in your 25 man squad.

    As for the finances, you actually made a loss of just less than £1m for the first season. That’s not too bad as you’ve got a good cash injection for next year.

    Anway good luck, I think you’ll need to revolve/evolve some of those backup players to get more consistency but I know you can do it.

    • Thanks Celticman,
      I’m pretty happy with the season overall and the FA Cup win was great even if we did get a pretty easy run through. Hopefully it is the first of many trophies to enter our cabinet under my management!

      I can understand where you’re coming from with the player stats but the problem I have with them is that they are not entirely accurate. Players such as Tiote played quite often out of position due to my squad being so small and with me not having a settled (or good) formation last season we never really played any good stuff so in a way the ratings are a little false.

      Thanks for pointing out the profit thing too, I was a little tired by this point since this post took nearly 2 hours to sort everything and write it. I looked at the wrong column, so thanks for pointing that out. :)

      I’m currently working on ridding myself of a few players who no longer have a place and have signed a couple of good young players too but you’ll just have to wait and see who they are. :)

  4. Frustrating end of season in the league, especially seen as it cost you 4th place but that was a great FA Cup win so well done, I think the most important part of the season was Sunderland’s relegation though :)

    • Hey Darren,
      It was nice to win the FA Cup and just as sweet to see Sunderland go down, although they have gone down on every game I’ve played since they have no good strikers and for some reason don’t buy any!

  5. well done dan i think that the season could have gone worse so don’t beat yourself up for not getting champions league footy, your making me proud as a Geordie !!

    ps . can you tell me where you got your update so that demba has better finishing, i tried lfc marshels on fm base but he still isnt as good as i think he should be

    • Hey Somim,
      Glad to know I’m making people proud city wide! :D

      As for the update thing my game just updated automatically through steam, I think you can download it from the Sports Interactive website though. I’ve never downloaded it that way but you could just try fishing around for it.

      Sorry I couldn’t be more help though…

  6. Frustrating end Dan, but a fantastic season overall, 5th place is a good finish, and if Ba can get a bit more support next year then I’m sure you can rise even higher :) The budget is quite encouraging, I reckon you’ll be able to find some good additions.

    • Hey Laxeyman,
      Support for Ba is key next season but I’m desperate to get Cisse playing well, I can’t have the only game in the world where he’s crap! He seems to score lots for other people so maybe I’m doing something wrong.

      The transfer budget was nice and more than I was expecting. It gives me a great chance to offload and replace some of my poorer players.

  7. Ah, you surely deserved to finish a bit higher than 5th but that’s still a very good Premier League season. Congrats on the FA Cup win, that’s a massive achievement for now but I’m sure it will be just the first of many. Best of luck for the Olympics, that should be quite exciting.

    • Hey Johnny,
      I was gutted to not finish 4th but I’ll just have to deal with it I suppose and aim higher next season. Hopefully I can add to the FA Cup as well as defend it next season!

      PS. I’m curious, has there ever actually been a post on this site specially for the Olympics? I was thinking about making a detailed post about it but I’m not too sure if people would be that interested…

  8. Hi Dan
    That season really turned on its head for you and I don’t blame you for posting the ‘hulk” picture especially being just one point shy of the Champions League. Still your finances are good, you won The FA Cup and are back in Europe so not bad at all really. Well done!!

    • Hey Kevin,
      I needed to add a bit of humour into the post! :) After reading it back the first half just sounded like one long gripe so I thought that would make a couple of people laugh.

      I’ve dreamt of the day for years when I would see Newcastle back in Europe and now I can see it in game and in real life (hopefully, fingers crossed)! :)

  9. Wow a really entertaining season I would say, it was a shame you faltered out the Champions League spots but I completely agree with you; it would better to get to say the the quarter final of the Europe League than finish bottom of your Champions League group, although you could have really used the money as 11 mill for a team thats trying to challenge the top four positions really isn’t that much.
    F.A cup run was phenomenal (how did Wolves reach two cup finals??!) and I think you deserved to win it so well done. And I’ve never seen nor heard anybody anywhere managing Team GB in the Olympics, so that could be very interesting to see unravel. Overall a solid season, and line of the post that had many humourous contenders:
    “Demba ba missed, I was shocked! Cisse missed, I wasn’t shocked!”
    Ha, never fail to make me laugh :)

    • Hey saltwater,
      Glad you liked the post :) and hopefully I can reach more than the Europa League quarter finals, after all I did reach the final with Celtic and this team I’ve got now is just as good if not better than my Celtic team.

      The FA Cup run was good since it stopped me going insane for one! Glad you got a few laughs out of the post too, I aim to please! :)

      • Oh yeah almost forgot, I have a type of unwritten rule that if a player is doing well in real life I rarely sell him in my game, and after Cisse’s goal at the bridge I probably wouldn’t, but I understand if u did.
        And I know you don’t want to ruin your next post, but with Ba injured and Cisse not in form, are you looking at bringing in a 20-goal a season man?

  10. Odd that Cisse is not doing that well for you, that goal at Stamford Bridge is good enough to be goal of the season, you seem to be drawing a lot (happening to me too, after winning Ligue 1 last season all my team does is draw A LOT :()

    Anyway Ba, Gutierrez, Verratti and Cabaye have all done well hopefully you can strengthen a bit on the wings, get a full back and centre back to help (I recommend Nicky Kuiper at FC Twente, take a look if he’s on sale for cheap)

    Good luck at the Olympics I am looking forward to it!

    • Hey CsAtlantis,
      The weird thing about all the draws was that up until February or something I had only drawn 2 games then all of a sudden loads of them come along at once.

      Seems like your on the same wave length as me since I have in fact signed all of the positions you mentioned! I’ll check out Kuiper too and see what he’s like.

  11. Well, for the first season, I would say it was great achievement there to qualify for Europa League, although it was unfortunate that you didn’t make it to top 4.

    In any case, I will wish you a luck for the Olympics games

    • Thanks Tegar,
      It was a little disappointing not to qualify for the Champions League but the way I see it the Europa League is something I can realistically win so I hope we do well!

  12. I think you had a really good season winning a cup and finishing 5th isnt too bad and its a good platform to build on for the new season.

    Demba Ba looks like he had an amazing season and was well supported with assists from Guiterrez, Cabaye and Veratti.

    Good luck with Great Britain!? I didnt even know they had a team…..

    How does that work they pick players from England, Scotland, Wales etc? And is that just for the Olympics? Or is it like in Spain where players like Xavi and Fabregas play for the Catalan national side?

    Good luck on next season! :)

    • Thanks Ana,
      Bemba Ba did have an amazing season and Cabaye and Verratti were my heroes in midfield (along with Gutierrez of course).

      And yeah Great Britain do have a team but for this year only since it’s the home Olympics. I can select players from any of the countries you mentioned plus Northern Ireland but after looking at the quality of players it’s basically ended up as an England team with Gareth Bale!

      None of the other nations have any quality players under the age of 23 so it’s really difficult to pick as side since I want to balance it out a little.

  13. Well done Dan, Although it’s disappointing to miss Champions league , but Europa league is better at this stage as you may have a chance to win it ,also Good luck with the Olympics i think you should look also for Aaron Ramsey from wales .

    • Hey Mohammad,
      Missing out on Champions League football does wrench a bit but like you said I’ve a much better chance of winning the Europa League. My Olympics post has been sent off for review so it should be out soon, keep your eyes peeled. :)

  14. It sucks that Cisse doesnt score any more, he has such amazing attributes. Maybe the fifth place position would have been better if it wasnt for April’s draws.

    • Hey vaibhavc,
      In truth I’m not too bothered about Cisse not scoring as long as someone is plus my midfielders did start scoring nearer the end of the season. April was a really bad month and clearly cost us Champions League football.

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