Bolton Back To Europa S7E2 – In The Right Places

It’s the early stages of the season as my Bolton side look to compete in the better half of the table as the league slowly starts to take shape. We had an average start in episode 1, 1 win and 3 draws left us 10th after 4 games in a positive start however, I didn’t want us to keep racking up draws as there’s only so many 1 pointers that can keep you from spiralling to the drop zone.

In this one, Its all about getting through September, October and November to see how we fair early on. It’s about giving ourselves a platform to allow us to work the goal of the Europa League.

At the same time, I also want to develop the club to make them more reputable across Europe and potentially further, that being said let’s get into what’s been happening.

New Affiliate Club – Albacete Balompie

Bolton Wanderers have expanded their network by linking with Spanish La Liga 2 side Albacete Balompie. My aim whilst the save is still going is to build an affiliate network across Europe and then further, it gives better options for loaning out and having first refusal on players from certain clubs as well – we may discover a few wonderkids!

Albacete are mainly known for featuring in La Liga 2 and the Segunda Division B (third tier) although they have had small stints in La Liga in the mid 90’s and 2000’s. I’d like to hope that we can assist with getting them back with the Spanish big boys. A bit more insight into their background is here to tell you a bit more about this club

La Liga SmartBank is La Liga 2 – not the top division

So a few trophies won over the years but the youth and training facilities are looking very good which stands in good stead for this link. In more general information about this club, they have a few notable players in their legends & icons section!

£161 for a season ticket?! Take my money!

Albacete produced players through their academy like Fernando Morientes and Pablo Ibanez who went on to play for the first team, Andres Iniesta was signed to FC Barcelona whilst in Albacete’s youth. Not a bad alumni list at all!

Albacete feels like a decent future save when I think about it…

September 2026

Let’s get into the results, September was a short month games wise as international breaks kick in but we do have Carabao Cup action amongst the league games.

A couple of home league games and first we welcomed Leeds United. Leeds always have the potential to be a tough team to play but on this occasion my side were in control, running out 2-0 winners. New striker Jorge kept up his good form getting another goal and Riqui Puig put the assists down for a second to grab a goal of his own. Next up was newly promoted yo-yo club Watford, to their credit they really put up a fight and had some unreal pace going forward but our defence stood strong. This led to Bolton getting the reward as newly appointed captain for this season Lewis Bate got the decisive goal as the Watford ‘keeper could not do enough to keep out his low drive.

Carabao Cup third round action and we take on our nemesis Manchester United. They denied us a Carabao Cup final last season, then denied us FA Cup success as well and they dented our hopes of a domestic cup once again as we fall to a 2-1 loss. Unofficial club legend Tarrelle Whittaker got us off to a blinder as we took an early 1-0 lead but then Haaland & Bruno Fernandes turned it around for United as I come close again but not quite getting the job done once more versus this team…I’ll beat them one day, I tell you!

The month ended with a action packed match against another newly promoted side in Middlesbrough. We looked in control when Lewis Bate gave us the lead however, as the game went on Middlesbrough grew into it and come the 74th minute they were 2-1 up. I berated the team and after we piled the pressure on Jorge scored a blinding half volley from outside the box to equalise. Then another twist as that same man Jorge goes down very easily in the box to win a penalty – VAR didn’t overturn it either. Lewis Bate kept his cool and slotted home as we run out 3-2 winners. What a match for the neutral! This also marked the team as being 10 games unbeaten, stemming back to the end of last season.

100% record in the league which was pleasing as we rack up some important points and it also won me Manager of the Month.

October 2026

Another short month of games which all came within the Premier League, although this month does feature games against Manchester United & Arsenal.

First up we welcomed Southampton to the UoB Stadium which ended in a 2-2 draw. The first 20 minutes was horrendous as we went 1-0 down after 5 of them and then Jake Clarke-Salter got sent off for a horror tackle. The team reacted well and Jorge grabbed a brace before half time, putting us in the lead. Southampton did equalise but we hung on for the point. Manchester United again beat us with a 2-1 score line, in all honesty my side were poor in this one. United controlled the game and were good value for their lead, our goal came from a Harry Maguire own goal following Tarrelle Whittaker’s cross. Man Utd ruined things again by ending our unbeaten run.

Off to North London next as we faced Arsenal who we have a decent record against but the spoils were shared in this match which finished 0-0. Both teams had chances but nothing that you’d consider clear cut, I feel the lads could have given a bit more but its a good point at the same time. We got back to winning ways when we faced West Brom, running out with a 1-0 win. We put a lot of pressure on a stubborn West Brom and it took a Lewis Bate low strike from outside the box to get us the win. The main thing is we got the job done and took home all the points.

An up and down month but I believe that the team done quite well considering how the games went and some of the opposition we were facing were testing to say the least.

November 2026

Jheez, all these international breaks?! I just want months pack with games, not just 3-4 each month!

But what a start it was under the TV cameras as we dispatched Liverpool of all teams, with a 3-1 win. New striker Jorge continued to impress the fans striking in the first half with Liverpool equalising early in the second. The boys kept working hard with Jorge getting a second goal to put us back in the lead. The result was confirmed late on as Will Ferry grabbed a rare goal following up on a rebound and that gave us the win. We were fully in this game too, it wasn’t one of them where we took our few chances, it was a very impressive performance.

According to the post match report we weren’t the better team but what do they know?!

Our next match was against West Ham, who have the ability to cause problems when they’re on it but in this one my side came out better, winning 1-0. Tarrelle Whittaker got back in the goals with a fine finish, unfortunately Jorge’s fast start to life at Bolton has limited his chances thus far. It wasn’t an exciting game by any means but a professional job done still. Last in November was Chelsea, another big 6 side with an unbelievable squad. We really gave them a match and made chances of our own but just when I thought we were going to grab a deserved point, a lapse in defence allowed Kovacic to run in free to blast home from the pull back. Slightly frustrating however, mistakes like this will get you punished.

I’m happy with the results in November, in a month like this a season ago we probably would have gone winless, 6 points against very good sides shows our progression at this stage.

League Table

Well would you look at that? 5th place after 14 games! Only 2 league losses to our name at this point and I can’t be much happier with how we are playing at the moment. Don’t get me wrong the next couple of months of games are tough so we’ll need to work hard to maintain that Europa League spot.

What’s Next?

Up next will be the ever busy winter months from December all the through to the end of February as the matches per month finally pick up. We need to try to stay around the area of the table where we are now in our attempt to secure that Europa League place.

Whilst you are exploring the DP-FM site, go take a look at Louis’ (Co-blogger/creator of DP-FM) challenge where he is embarking on his series ‘Unemployed, Unskilled & Inexperienced’ which is currently on season 8. This entails Louis starting from the bottom of his management career with no coaching badges and low attributes to add to the fun!

To go from the start – https://dpfmblog.com/2020/12/21/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-season-1-episode-1/

Or to go from the current season – https://dpfmblog.com/2021/03/22/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s8-ep-1-premier-league-preparations/

In addition to this, DP-FM were back amongst The Far East Express, our joint save with some awesome FM content creators. Louis has just finished his stint completing season 3 so get it going from the start right here, trust me all 3 episodes are worth a read! – https://dpfmblog.com/2021/04/08/the-far-east-express-s3-ep-1-not-much-to-work-with/

Thank you as always for reading guys, I hope you all take care and we’ll be back soon with the next part 🙂

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