Mar 092012

Hey guys and welcome to my FM 2012 Scarborough AFC season 9 report. The Seadogs have finally hit the big time after a close cut season in the Championship, but the even better news is that new owners have blessed my club with some much needed cash. My new chairmen, Mr Bradshaw, completed his takeover in January, but did he fuel the club with mass riches in the transfer market? Read on to find out.

The initial budgets were announced very early, we are talking months before pre-season had even begun. But that suited me as I’d need plenty of time to scout out the best talent. An impressive £17.78 million was given for transfers and £500K a week for wages.

I secured a few signings very quickly but it was soon time to set the expectations. The board were happy with us battling relegation but I went for an extra boost to my budget and guaranteed a top half finish (rather foolish on reflection.) This reinstated the transfer budget at around £17 million. The media agree with my board suggesting we’ll struggle to stay in the division…but that’s before they saw my new signings ;)

Before we move onto transfers, I thought I’d better show you this. My new chairmen started throwing cash around to the envy of our rivals. More than £13 million was provided to boost our bank balance, this left me wondering how I’d approach the game. Usually I try and build a young team with low wage budget to make a sustainable club…but that clearly isn’t necessary here so I will act as any real life manager would in my position and accept the fortunes as a gift.

First things first, I had to get rid of the deadwood and free up some room for my new players. A few players that had made the club what it is today were offloaded, Hendrie and Bartlett were sold for a combined £6 million. On the other hand there were players that I just couldn’t offload and had to settle for loan deals to get them out of the way. A total of £8.75 million was raised during the summer and most of this would be fueled back into my budget.

Now its time to introduce my new signings, and there was some real quality. The best of which was left winger Carlos, who had a £825K minimum fee release clause. I also took advantage of Thela Mokoena’s minimum fee release clause which was £3.4 million, turning the midfielder into an absolute bargain. I was also proud of my new CB, Pedro, the Brazilian was a snap at £8.5 million. All my new signings came in at a cost of £23.5 million and hours of searching. Believe it or not the likes of Carlos popped up in a filtered search for specific attributes and age, while I manually found Mokoena searching through Groningen.

Results – August to October

With my pre-season preparations out the way its time to see if all our hard work would pay off. Unfortunately my mass squad overhaul had a very negative effect and those players that looked like superstars just couldn’t settle in. This led to 5 losses and 2 draws from my first 10 games, we may have been unfortunate with tough fixtures but this was certainly one hell of a wake up call.

Results – November to December

After a fixture list from hell November saw the first steps to some better form. We lost to United but then experienced a break through away victory against Aston Villa. Victory over Sunderland followed before we won two of three matches inside of 6 days. All in all 4 victories and two losses from six seems to have started my turn around, not to mention the squad seem much more stable and unified which suggests they are starting to settle in.

Our good run of form through the Winter months saw Scarborough rise from the pits of relegation to a rather comfortable 8th position and well within our season expectations.

My new chairmen didn’t offer any more money for the Winter transfer window but he did boost our bank balance yet again, this time investing £6.25 million.

Results – January to February

I was hoping for a better start to the second half of the season than we did the first and my players duly delivered. We won 5, drew one and lost 3 from our 9 Premier League fixtures. Not to mention beating Liverpool in the FA Cup and earning a replay against Tottenham in the fifth round.

Results – March to May

The great form continued as we drew to Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal and even beat Manchester United. Our final 7 wins, 6 draws and one league loss may not seem brilliant but looking at the opposition we faced I think my boys can be proud. We were eliminated from the FA Cup after a late Spurs equalizer and penalties but I felt like my side had finally bonded and were staring to play some attractive Football. I spent the entire season using a counter strategy due to the difference in quality from my side to the opposition, but this finish has given me the confidence to switch back to our attacking ways next season.

The Seadogs finished their first EPL season in 6th, an incredible achievement on its own but to think we were just 7 points shy of Champions League football…who knows maybe that could be my aim next season…one things for sure, I’m looking forward to playing Europa League football.

As if the boards investment hadn’t already been enough we received further funds in May of £6 million…

I decided to ask for some upgrades starting with the training facilities…

Then the youth facilities…

And finally the stadium which will be increased to a capacity of 5,908 next season.

Squad stats and finances

This season was one of my proudest, despite a torrid start my boys prevailed and fought back through poor morale/form to make the Europa League places. But some of our performances against the big boys destroyed the overall average ratings. As you can see below my best first team performer was central defender Pedro with 7.11. But my new left winger, Carlos, scored 9 goals and assisted 7 with many of those winning us all three points. He has been Scarborough’s savior this season.

The clubs finances feel rather irrelevant now as the new chairmen keeps correcting them anyway, but for continuity here is how the Seadogs finished the season, with £15 million in the bank.

That should about do it for today and season number 9. Life in the top flight has proven successful so far and I hope you’ll join me next time as I take Scarborough on their first venture into the Europa League…it will be a historic year for the club, but until then please feel free to comment below and I look forward to reading your opinions as always.

  70 Responses to “FM 2012 Scarborough AFC season 9 report: The big time”

  1. congrats looking at the start i was thinking relagation battle but you really changed unlucky in cup competitons as well going out during your bad start and then on pens

    • Thanks mate, I too was looking at the bottom half of the table during our first two months but then it all came together. Certainly took some patience :)

  2. Great start for your first season in the premier league. Looking forward to seeing who you manage to get for your team next season and seeing how you get on in the europa league!

  3. another successful season , your story has inspired me to start a scarborough save

  4. Congratulations :) Man City look unstoppable though!

  5. Hey Darren, absolutely amazing stuff again! Well done on getting into the Europa league in your first season in the prem, great achievement :) Also did you play against Bob Shepard when you played United this season? and also wondering whether Josh Ross has had an England call up yet, definitely deserves it! :)

    Good luck on next season :D

    • Thanks Jamie, I did play against Shepherd during the United tie this season and he looked lethal, same against Birmingham with my other old striker, Southern. As for Ross, he has been called upto the U21′s but not he full senior side yet…though he seems destined for that next season or this summer.

  6. Congratulations for the very good season Darren. I read your story since the start and i think this season was the most interesting. Good luck for the Europa League!

  7. Another great season Darren. It was a bit of a shaky start to the season but once players had settled into their role you produced some good results against Man City, Arsenal and Man U.

    I’ll look forward to next season maybe win the Premier League? Also good Luck in Europe.

    • Thanks Martin, I agree it was a really tough start but I like to think the end showed our character and how far the new players had come. I don’t think we’ll win the Premiership next season but we could certainly look to the top four.

  8. Great job there! And you managed to qualify for Europa League nonetheless! An amazing achievement! I can’t wait to see your next adventure next time.

    P.S: Is it me or does Man City looks unstoppable there because they just lost only once?

    • Thanks mate, Man City do look unstoppable but looking through the top five they all look incredibly good so it will take something special to win the league thats for sure.

  9. Excellent first season in the PL. I certainly wasn’t expecting even you to get instant european qualification. Makes me wonder if you can win the league next season! Look forward to the next post.

    • Thanks mate, I wasn’t expecting such a quick start to life in the top flight either, especially after the poor start we endured. I can’t see us winning the league yet but I won’t rule anything out after the amount of surprises I’ve experienced in this save.

  10. hi darren i have emailed you about trying to get the lower league database to work please help me it comes up with this when i try : “could not process rule group settings … English FA Cup – too many teams (22) requested from Ryman League Isthmian League Division One South (21 teams).

  11. Given my own exploits with Torquay in the top flight, I was expecting to see you do a fairly good job. You didn’t do that though, you did a superb job to grab 6th position.

    The new owner though has made things a lot easier though, with a quite stunning wage budget. Way over the budget Torquay allowed me. That said, the biggest key to doing well, is about scouting and understanding who you can afford you can bring to the club. I’ve spent a scary amount of time in the last two days getting scout reports, and checking through lots of different teams around Europe. Although I’m slightly jealous you have a rich owner throwing bundles of cash about, I’m really enjoying building a club up slowly with a sustainable financial foundation.

    You key signings look great, but as you’ve found, it’s tough to end up with particular good ratings for the team. I would guess you’ll be able to make a further step forward next season. Seeing Man United just below you in 7th looks quite weird, so that win you grabbed over them was all important. Will be interesting to see how the changing to a more attacking tactic goes next season.

    • Thanks Ziggy, as mentioned the new owner has made things much easier on me and while I have spent the last eight years scraping the bottom of the barrel its nice to finally catch a break. I’m not sure what to expect next season but it should be an improvement thats for sure.

  12. That was a cracking season buddy! Took a while for all you’re new players to settle, but once they did, results improved immensely, topple that with an amazing owner, I think next season could be a very successful one!

    Hmmm, that Turkish kid at the bottom of the average ratings screenie must have been a huge disappointment, especially considering that he’s rated as 4 stars. Best of luck next season!

    • Thanks Sears, that Turkish kid is actually one of my best players attributes wise, just showing that hidden attributes and other factors can have more effect on performances than what you actually see. I was bitterly disappointed with him as he seemed like a certain success and is one of the few players I expected to do well tat then failed.

  13. Wow, Carlos and Mokoena look like great signings, and to lead a team to 6th after back to back (and back to back) promotions is just incredible. I could probably manage today’s Mancheser City and I bet I couldn’t come close to getting them above Man Utd!

    You have the chairmen that every manager dreams of, but if any team deserve it than its the seadogs. I have three questions to end:

    1) Did you play a weakened team in the Carling Cup and will you play a weakened team in the Europe League?
    2) Do you play all your matches on key/extended?
    3)Do you believe a top four finish is possible next season?

    Good luck

    • Thanks mate, I too feel like we deserved the break with a new owner. As for your questions I’ll answer them in order.

      1)I did play a slightly weakened team in the Carling Cup but not enough so to warrant that defeat. I will just rest key stars that lack match fitness in the Europa League, other than that I am going for it.
      2)I play all my matches on key.
      3)I certainly do believe the top four is possible.


  14. hey Darren,
    thats an incredible start to Premier League life mate, and finishing 7 pts short of champions league qualification in your first season is indeed a superb achievement. i have no doubts that you will be playing champions league football in the next 2-3 seasons, and i cannot wait for that. the signings you made were pure quality..carlos and makoena could play in the first team for any side in the world. i’m confident you can finish in the top 4 with some more quality signings next season. good luck and keep it up! cheers! :D

  15. Excellent season again Darren, you must be a club legend by now!
    Was wondering if you could give me some advice. I bought a young CB after my Assistant Manager, who has judging abilities at 19, told me he’d be 4 stars in the future. I spent £8mil getting the kid but now all my coaches and that assistant think he’s only going to become 2 & 1/2 stars max, should I sell him on or wait and see if he improves?

    • Thanks Aaron, unfortunately scouts and assistants get their reports wrong sometimes…I’d suggest you should look at the players attributes and give him a game or two then decide for yourself. One tip though, he won’t improve if you don’t play him so if you have no intention of playing him then loan him out. In the past I have made bad impulse buys and ended up with youngsters out on loan for 2-3 years before selling them off.

  16. I knew you wouldn’t get promoted again! Haha, just kidding. Great season, and some great signings, and it’s good to see you get to Europe after coming so close a couple seasons ago. With all the money coming in, it’s only a matter of time until your depth improves and you start challenging year after year. Looks like your reputation is already pretty high given your transfers this year.

    • Thanks Tyler, I am hoping to build a strong team over the next three years then look into implementing the Y2G system so the owners aren’t just throwing money at the club all the time.

  17. I guess that with that chairman of yours the story has really changed a lot. I mean with your great talent finding skills and his deep pocket the champions league title does not seem to so far away.

    I wonder what would have happened without the money?

    • Its only changed in that my bank balance isn’t an issue, I still have to find and convince the talent to join not to mention the fact that the top five Premier League sides are twice as good as I’ve ever seen them before. I think I’d still have got a similar transfer budget this season and found the same players, I’d probably have missed out on a couple and the main difference would be the club falling into the red. But I always do that during the first few seasons before implementing the Y2G system anyway. I think the owners will make a huge difference over the next two seasons though.

  18. how did you manage to get a work permit for carlos?

    • He has dual nationality Brazilian/Italian. In fact if you look closely the screenshot of his attributes is from the end of the season when he got called upto the Italian national team and his flag changed from Brazilian which was showing when I took the minimum fee release screenshot.

  19. Hi Darren
    What a fantastic debut perfromance in the EPL bolstered by a very generous chairman to boot! Congrats at entering Europe and I’m looking forward to seeing how Scarborough do on the continent. Still using that Arsenal tactic right?
    Anyway, great stuff and well done!

    • Thanks Kevin, I am still using the Arsenal tactic slightly modified, but for this season I had to switch to counter strategy though next season will see us attacking again at home.

  20. Fantastic debut in your first season, great performance. The chairman kept helping you so much, he certainly made things easier. Your signings were superb, especially Carlos who was a bargain at 875k.

  21. Congrats on another fantastic season, although if I’m honest I expected nothing less with the amount of attention to detail you put in!! Having followed this game from the start I fully believe that you will win the league next season!

    ps do you have any idea when Martin’s next blog will be up? I always enjoyed reading his Anji story.

    Anyway, good luck and UP THE SEADOGS!!!

    • Thanks Rob, while winning the title may take longer I do expect to fight for the top four next season. I can’t speak for Martin but think I saw a draft post somewhere meaning he may be doing a new post soon.

  22. Excellent season Darren, you have brought in some very good players and I was sure that the results were going to come.

  23. another great season darren, hope you’ll go far in next seasons europa league!

  24. Well done Darren on what can only be described, in the words of one Paul Merson, ‘Top Class’ season. I had a feeling you’d turn it around after a sluggish start to the season. Hopefully you’ll have some better luck in the cups next season, especially regular thursday night trips on the continent. Again, many thanks for the ‘Scaborough 4-5-1′ download. I haven’t employed them yet as I have just starting my third season in League 1, and I find my own tactics are working to date, so far so good.
    Best of luck for next season

    • Thanks Liam, it should be a great season next year as we already have a great squad and some additions will help provide the odd shock. Hope you keep your game going too.

  25. Excellent 1st season in Premier league Hope next season to be even better .

  26. Wonder what’s happened to Man Utd, you happened to finish above them :D, some great buys, josh ross, mattia siviero, pedro can improve even more

    Congratulations on finishing 6th in your first season Darren and getting into the Europa League Darren

    Shame to see Reece Hendrie leave, I think he was a big part of your journey up the leagues, did he turn out to be inadequate for the Premier League?

    • I’m not sure what happened to Utd, just a bad year for them really as their squad is strong. It was a little sad to let Hendrie go but he’s way below the par I want ti achieve in the EPL.

  27. Grest stuff Darren, well done and in sure its not long till we see a premier league trophy in the cabinet. Just a couple of questions, do you record all your signings down in a notebook? And when you have finished will Scarborough where do u think you’ll go next, as in what LG would u like, country??

    • Thanks John, when it comes to players I don’t note them down as I think FM have provided great in game tools already. I use different shortlists and file players away in there. As for the next game I have no idea, I am so into this save right now that I won’t spare a thought for any future games until that changes. Cheers.

  28. This has absolutely nothing to do with the story, but every time I see that “Seadogs” graphic you made up top, I have to say it like some kind of extreme sports announcer (Monster Trucks come to mind). Regardless, it always puts me in a good mood to read the rest of the story. :)

    I don’t think I can add much to whats already been said by everyone else, but congratulations on another great season. I’m foreseeing a very deep Europa League run coming up. :)

    • lol, I’m glad the image gears you up for the read mate. :) Lets hope we can roll over the opposition in Europe next season (sorry for the cheesy comment, couldn’t help myself.) ;)

  29. Great season Darren will be interesting to see how you get on in Europe next season.

    Finishing 33 points from first place means it may take you a few seasons to compete for the title but with your wealthy chairman at least you wont have too many financial problems.

    Good luck!! :)

  30. Hey Darren,

    This is the first time I’ve posted on the site. I felt I had to because what you accomplished this season was a phenomenal achievement! To do that well in your first season is really impressive. And it’s good to see someone else who really appreciates some serious, in-depth scouting.

    Glad to hear you’ve got a generous chairmen, you deserve to finally be backed properly and after seeing how well you did this season, they had better be giving you a lot of money next year to push for the Champions League!

    Can’t wait to see how you do next year!

    Good luck man!

    • Thanks Max, it was certainly a great season and made even more pleasing by our rally after the bad start. The new chairmen has certainly spiced things up as without him I’m not sure if reaching the CL or winning the league would ever have been possible (not for many years anyway.) But now we can seriously challenge within three season maybe.

  31. Crazy as usual and wonderful as usual. I don’t know how you do it, but it’s just nice to read your exploits. Champions league football is almost sure next season. BTW, i love your new chairman.

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