Welcome ladies and gentlemen to our decennial season in this incredible journey! What a season it promises to be, if you haven’t caught up on the final episode from last season then I highly recommend you go and read that first by clicking here.
When I left you last time we were being heavily linked with a job at a massive football club for the first time. Bookies had made us favourites for the Man City job but as I explained in the last episode, I would not be applying for the role, but would of course have attended an interview if invited.
This season would also be the first time we get to experience the glory of the Champions League! I honestly cannot wait to test my team and myself against some of the biggest clubs in world football, even if we fail at the group stage we would only drop down to the Europa League which is still an incredible experience for a club like us.
In this episode I will be taking you through a typically busy summer transfer window, as well as providing you with some extremely exciting updates from the board and taking you through the first month of the season. For the 10th season on this fairytale journey… let’s get into it!
I am typically known for completing a lot of deals at the end of the previous season, however on this occasion there was only 1 deal from the end of last season to talk about.
Adrian Flores (CM/CB) is a 21 year old with bags of potential and his £7m release clause was far too hard to turn down! Take a look at his profile below:
One player who doesn’t appear as an incoming but will be a crucial transfer is the extension of James Forrest’s (LB) loan from Chelsea for a third consecutive season. His quality and versatility has been crucial to our success since I arrived and I am delighted to have him for another season.
Now moving on to the players signed in the new seasons transfer window. Again I have been known to manage significant turnover of the squad where necessary but this time it is just the 4 arrivals.
Donald Irvine (ST) is one that my scouts have been wanting me to get done for a long time due to his significant potential, however as I knew he wouldn’t be in our starting XI a £16m release clause just seemed far too steep. Fortunately this summer he requested a move away and we managed to beat off a host of clubs to get his signature. I forgot to take a screenshot when he joined so the one below shows he will spend the season on loan with Hertha Berlin.
Camilo Giardini (CM) is another player with significant potential and similar to Flores, a £7.5m release clause was just too good to turn down for what he will become. He is another one who will spend this season out on loan before hopefully becoming a key part of our squad next season.
Paulo Jose (CM) is again someone with huge potential, but also arrives as more than good enough to play his part for our first team this season. A £13.75m release clause may seem quite steep, but when you see his player profile you just know he’s going to be an absolute animal so definitely worth the investment!
My final signing is the only one for the actual starting XI. Last summer we signed Darko Kelava (ST) from Dinamo for £20.5m and he proved to be an incredible signing and now has some of the biggest clubs monitoring him with a value of £60m. Let’s hope Daniel Janev (CB) can have a similar story, judging by his attributes I don’t think we will have any issues. 21 years of age and an absolute machine! Definitely my favourite signing of the window.
We did lose some players on free transfers, the only one I was annoyed by was Noel Rainsford (CB) as I was hoping to get around £7m for him following his last loan spell, unfortunately he rejected my contract offer and left for nothing. The other two were never going to be good enough to make the grade here so we wish them all the best.
A decent bit of money coming in this summer for 4 players leaving the club. Those of you who follow regularly will know that Yann Gboho was on loan with Verona last season and they had a mandatory future fee of £9m so that went ahead as planned. Kyle Walker-Peters finally left us after rejecting approximately 12 clubs during my time here. I had to agree to pay him compensation as well but we finally got him off of our books.
The next couple disappointed me a little. Adrian Pirla (CM) joined us last season and was a squad player for the first half of the season before going out on loan. I wanted to loan him out again but FC Augsburg came in with a very decent offer and he said he may become unsettled if we didn’t let him speak to them, so I decided with the high potential players we brought in over the summer who play in the same position as Pirla it was probably better to let him go.
The last one really annoyed me. Dimitrios Bouzas came in through my youth intake in Season 8. He was developing nicely now rated 1.5 star at 17 and was acting as 3rd choice keeper if required. However we started getting bids for him from Championship clubs and he was beginning to become unsettled, I spoke to him and asked what it would take to keep him at the club? He said he needed to be the star man… at 1.5 star?!? Get out of here man.
We had an absolutely ridiculous 22 players leave the club on loan for this upcoming season!
I know this probably sounds ridiculous but honestly I think about 14/22 will be playing in the first team squad either next season or the season after. The ones who don’t make it are at least still developing and increasing their market value so we can sell them for the best possible price when they return. It’s just smart business.
Ladies and Gentlemen it finally happened…
For once we were not the most active team in the transfer window! That award went to oil rich Middlesbrough this time round. Some huge deals though as Chelsea spent £192m on 2 players from Dortmund. This plus a couple of other deals had them as the biggest spenders in Europe, unsurprisingly.
Dortmund also sitting very high on that list as they reinvested the money Chelsea had splashed out. Incredible the amount the Premier League clubs spend as a total compared to the other leagues!
Board & Club Updates
There are quite a few updates to give you from the board and the club in general so let’s get into it!
We start with some more investment from the board in our youth facilities. They originally rejected the proposal, however after a passionate plea in the boardroom they backed me yet again, and work will be completed just in time for the new year!
We also get to see the impact of playing a season at Chelsea’s 40,000 seater stadium, Stamford Bridge, had on our matchday and ticket revenue. Up to 10th place now!
Plus in the upcoming season we return to our expanded Selhurst Park stadium which now hold 39,445 seats, so we can expect to hold our position, or even increase it slightly in the upcoming season.
We have already managed to sell a whopping 30,497 season tickets for the upcoming season!
However despite spending £31m on the expansion, the board agreed to my very ambitious request to build a new stadium entirely!
a potential capacity of 52,000 when it’s all completed! I may not be at the helm when it is finished, but this will be absolutely life changing for the club in making them sustainable at this level and allowing them to consistently challenge for Europe and in the domestic cup competitions.
Those with good memory will know that my contract expired at the end of the season and I decided I wasn’t going to renew until I knew what was going on with the takeover rumours. Well those rumours died down so I was all set to sign a new deal until Man City registered their interest, however I never had a call from Man City and after this incredible show of ambition by the board with the investment in the youth facilities and a new stadium I decided there was only one thing left to do…
A 5 year deal with a massive £55k per week pay rise! Who would have thought when we started this journey without a coaching badge or a club that 10 seasons later we would be on £87k per week managing a club who are in the Champions League and finished runner up in the Premier League last season! Incredible journey so far and let’s hope it just gets better and better.
Just a couple more updates to show you which really make me feel very proud of what we’re doing as a club.
As you can see we’re 13th on the list of the amount generated from commercial income in the league. We’re a fraction of the big boys yet are still managing to compete! The next one is my favourite though…
18th in wage expenditure?!? Champions League football this season and Premier League runners up pay the 3rd least wages in the whole league? Incredible stuff and proof that a well run club can do magical things.
Right then it’s time to take a look at the expectations for the season ahead. Let’s start with the board expectations:
I would say these are pretty fair expectations in all honesty. In the Champions League we are just happy to be there so just turning up and playing is a bonus, which is reflected in the board expectation to ‘be competitive’, which is football manager speak for ‘don’t embarrass the club please lads’.
We are expected to follow up last seasons incredible runner up finish with a more modest top 10 finish this time around. I think that is very fair of the board and they certainly haven’t got carried away with how well we did last season and are still being very logical when setting expectations. My personal aim will be to make the Europa League for sure, I want this club to be a constant in European Football from now on.
The 5th round of the FA Cup is something we should be able to achieve and for the board to set a modest 4th round objective in the Carabao Cup, a competition we won last season, shows that despite the success they still understand what and where we are.
The bookies equally appear to understand that we massively overachieved last season and have predicted us to finish 9th in the upcoming season.
Now on to the big one… the Champions League! It’s fair to say we were not one of the bookmakers early favourites:
Alright we were actually earmarked as one of the weakest teams in the competition, which in all fairness is true, but I still can’t wait to test my boys against some of the greatest teams in the world, and myself against some of the greatest managers!
Fortunately with our group draw I would definitely have the chance to do that…
FC Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid & Rangers… I think we can say with absolute certainty that we have drawn the group of death, and I for one cannot wait to play these matches!!
Enough with the talking, updates and predictions, it’s time to get into some action! We kick off the season with 3 League games in August. I am praying we get off to a good start and can look to get some early points on the board to help us in our quest for consecutive seasons finishing in the European football places.
Meh… not great, not terrible, but certainly not great. I mean technically unbeaten but we’re about 3 points shy of where I wanted to be after these first 3 matches.
The game against Everton kicked off the new season back in our beloved and expanded stadium Selhurst Park. Unfortunately The Toffees didn’t read the script as they turned up to attack. It was an end to end game that either side could have won and a draw was probably the fair result (1-1), but we should be winning these matches if we wan’t to have a successful season.
The game away at Wolves was completely different. I don’t know what Unai Emery has been feeding them since we dominated them at Molineux towards the end of last season but this was a completely different side. They played us off the park and I have NO idea how we managed to escape with a share of the points! (1-1). Completely undeserved and I have no idea what to think after those first 2 games, the boys were nowhere near the level we need them to be at.
The final game of the month was back at Selhurst Park as we hosted Manchester United, who have won the league the last 2 seasons. This was a much better performance all round and hopefully kickstarts our season as we managed to take a share of the points against the champions! (2-2).
Ideally I wanted to have 6 points from those opening 3 games, maybe would have settled for 4, but 3 points is just not good enough and we need to have a strong 3 months before the busy winter period. It’s only going to get harder from here when we have to juggle those mammoth champions league ties and the cup competitions. Anyway for now this is how the table looks at the end of August 2029:
Most teams have played one more game than us so a win would bring us back into the top 10, but it’s just not been the start I expected. Something doesn’t feel right in the squad and the way they’re playing, I hope it’s just early season teething issues, but if we don’t get it sorted soon then we could find ourselves sitting down the bottom end of the table as head into 2030.
Up next we try desperately to get that first win on the board and it’s the big one as we welcome Atletico to Selhurst Park before heading to Munich to play Bayern at the Allianz Arena… am I even typing these words? I CANNOT WAIT. I hope to see you on the other side in the next episode!
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While you’re here on DP-FM if you want to follow more challenges go over to Scott’s (the co-author of this site) challenge where he is on a journey to rebuild Bolton Wanderers and take them on a Europa League run! Click here for the first ever episode or here for the latest one.
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