Season 7b, League One, Gillingham.

After accepting the job, I checked the league table. Gillingham were bottom with 14 points from 22 games and 10 points from safety. Looked like a lot of hard work was ahead of me! On the plus side they have given me a nice transfer budget of £350k and a wage budget of £35.5k p/w.

The squad was very thin, I had just 13 players and 9 youth players. I was going to have to get my scout out and about and quick.

I was very busy in January, spending the whole of the transfer budget bringing in 8 players (technically 10, the guy before me made 2 signings before he quit due to arrive in January) and 1 on loan. It helped shore the squad up somewhat, but we were still crap at the back.

With 11 games to go I was 15 points from safety so looking very bleak for me.  5 games left and I’m still 15 points from safety. Trouble is that my goal difference is shocking in comparison to the team sat in 20th.  It wasn’t to be, and I finished 22nd to get relegated. More job hunting for me then!

Follow that with the obligatory sacking that comes with being relegated from the lowest playable league.  (only have England active to League One level)

Final Position:

22nd P46 W11 D10 L25 F63 A90 Pts43

Out of all cups before I joined.

Players In:
10 for £350k

3 on loan

Players Out:
0

Staff In:
1 AssMan for £0
1 Coach for £0
2 Scouts for £0
1 Physio for £22k
1 GK Coach for £0

Staff Out:
1 Physio for £0

Season 8, League One, Grimsby.

Media Prediction: 24th
Board Expectations: Fight bravely against relegation

Newly promoted Grimsby were looking for a manager so I applied and got the job.

Upon joining Grimsby I found we had no staff and only 4 players worthy of a first team place. I advertised in the job centre for a coach (or 2), an assistant, a scout and a physio.

After acquiring all of the above I sent my scouts out. They found me some very good players.

The season didn’t start too well, and I readied myself for a long hard season.  After a few defeats and being dumped out of the tinpot cup at the first hurdle things didn’t look too good. I completely reworked my tactical approach and it started to pay dividends. Defensively now the team were rock solid (at one point there was only about 3 teams who had conceded less, and I was sat in the relegation zone at the time) but we also had trouble scoring.

I tinkered a bit more and found a young ST from Bristol City who I managed to get in on loan and this seemed to turn things around. I started scoring steadily and began to climb the league. It took a while before I could stop worrying about relegation, but the league was quite close so it would only have taken a 4 or 5 game losing streak to fall right back into the fight.

Fortunately, that didn’t happen, and I managed to string together some good 5 and 6 match unbeaten runs to establish myself as a mid-table side. A strong finish to the campaign saw the playoffs as an outside chance. That wasn’t to be, but I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest about that. I finished the season in 9th, but I was very worried that I have punched well above my weight and my good performances were due mainly to some very good loan acquisitions.

I also managed a very good FA cup run, I had league 1 opposition in the first 2 rounds who I managed to overcome. This would then get me a tie against Crystal Palace in the 3rd Round who I also managed to overcome. This meant an away tie at Newcastle, who were walking away with the Championship. I lost the match, but I was very pleased with the performance as I managed to restrict them to a single goal.

All in all, an excellent season, need to strengthen the squad for next year to even think about trying to match this year’s achievements. Next season I will gladly take mid table.

Final Position:

9th P46 W20 D11 L15 F58 A45 Pts71

Tinpot Cup:
N 1st Round v Doncaster 0-0 lost 8-7 on Pens

League Cup:
1st Round v Middlesbrough L3-1

FA Cup:
4th Round v Newcastle L1-0

Players In:
11 for £250k
6 on loan

Players Out:
1 for £0

Staff In:
4 Coaches
3 Scouts for £14k
1 AssMan
1 Physio

Season 9, League One, Grimsby.

Media Prediction: 19th
Board Expectations: Safe Mid Table

Started the season off by releasing a few out of contract players, pretty much all of whom were deadwood anyway. Last season I had some quality players in on loan, so I had to fill the holes left by their departure. One of them was out of contract so I offered him a deal, but he preferred Swindon to Grimsby. The striker I had on loan last season was fantastic for me and I managed to sign him for another season. By the time pre-season had ended I was happy with the new players I had brought in and looked forward to the league campaign.

We started the new campaign with the same form we finished the last one with. A steady start if not spectacular. The lads played well throughout the season firmly cementing ourselves as a mid-table team. We had a few silly results against relegation fodder where we would lose by the odd goal, but this was countered by some wins against the promotion chasing teams too.

All in all it was another good season, finishing up in 9th. With 2 games to go we had a good chance of making the playoffs, only 3 points behind 6th place. Our last 2 games were away at Walsall who were in 21st and then home to Port Vale who sat rock bottom and already relegated. 2 wins and if other results went our way, we could’ve made the playoffs.

A disappointing 0-0 at Walsall all but ended our playoff chances, that left us in 10th, 3 points behind 6th place Portsmouth. We needed to beat Port Vale and hope the teams above us all lost (bar the 2 that were playing each other, needed them to draw). We scraped a 1-0 win against port vale, but other results didn’t go our way, so we settled for 9th. A pleasing finish to the season again though.

Had some decent players on loan again so will need to try and replace them in the close season. Playoffs is the minimum aim for me next season.

Cups were decent again this season, lost in the 2nd round of the League Cup to West Ham 2-0. I managed to get to the quarter finals of the tinpot cup where I was beaten by Blackpool who finished as runners up. Managed to get to the 3rd round of the FA cup where I would meet lower league Cheltenham. In a game I should have won we lost 2-1. I was very disappointed to say the least.

Final Position:

9th P46 W20 D12 L14 F55 A45 Pts72

Tinpot Cup:
N Qtr Final v Blackpool L2-1

League Cup:
2nd Round v West Ham L2-0

FA Cup:
3rd Round v Cheltenham L2-1

Players In:
5 for £100k
7 on loan

Players Out:
1 for £0
20 for £77k

Staff In:
1 Coach for £9k

Staff Out:
1 Coach for £0

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