The Manager's Journal is a blog written by Michael Turner telling you all about his Football Manager journey. Football Manager 2011 is the 5th game in the series that he has written about, the first being a blog written about CM99/00. Now, almost 10 years on from the first post, and still keen to write, the site will also contain posts about real-life football, just in case you have been focusing on FM too much.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Beginning of Bolton's 2010-11 Season

Here we go again. It's time to start another Football Manager Story! I begin this time with English Premier League Side Bolton Wanderers, as I aim to take control and make an impact. It seems the fans are skeptical at my appointment, being an Australian with relatively no experience, however I was keen to make a splash ahead of my first match against Ballymena United.

I began by analyzing my training schedule and had to work out preferred tactics for my squad. I set up three for preparation, these being a simple 4-4-2 diamond, 4-4-2 and 5-4-1. Depending on the squad after the first few Pre-Season friendlies, I may rethink the stratergy and make

either the 4-4-2 or 4-4-2 diamond into a more attacker friendly tactic.

I was quite happy with my current squad, however with my tight transfer budget I was still going to squeeze the funds out of it, to try and strengthen the team and bolster for the future. I notified the board that I would attempt to go for a Top Half finish, which is achievable, and was promptly given 1.4 million (AUD) and a wage budget of 4.3 million (AUD).

Out of my current squad I was quite excited to utilize the skills of loan import Rodrigo, a 19 year old Spaniard from Benfica.

I was however in the market for a left back in order to keep strength in the backline, so I decided to approach club-less Michael Ball, former Manchester City and Rangers defender. According the the media report, I was close to signing Ball, until Middlesbrough swooped in with a late contract offer, followed after by a contract from Fulham. With this stiff competition I was no longer confident in signing Ball, and cautiously scouted other options.

With my first press-conference completed, I remained quite quiet and answered questions that only needed to be said. I still believe that giving away very little is good to prevent opponents to have the chance to take a quite swipe. I refused to give away any of my transfer policy, as to not arouse suspicion in my future transfer targets. I have already been labelled as a media-friendly boss, which is always good. Having the media on my side can be something of an asset at times.


I used my first Intra-Squad friendly as a chance to bump out the kinks in the squad after the pre-season, and test out my 4-4-2 Diamond Formation. I stuck with a strong first eleven, in hopes to see whether the squad would blend well to my formation.

Bolton vs Bolton Reserves

The County Ground, Preston


Ricardo Gardner (16)

Fabrice Muamba (21)

I was happy with the performance from the Bolton First Team considering it was a match directly after the pre-season. The team passed well and defended well, however they were unable to control the midfield with any conviction. We were down on Possession as the squad was not able to string together plays from the midfield. Both goals originated from the wings, with one being a corner, and the other being a link up between the left back and left midfielder. I was very concerned at the level of fitness demonstrated, with both Ivan Klasnic and Rodrigo injuried in the friendly match.

Post match I was pleased when Matty Taylor's agent announced that his client was not interested in a move to Fulham, which means one less player to worry about replacing.

Back with a Vengeance

It has been quite a while since I had posted on my Manager Journal, well, It's Time for me to make a splash back onto the scene. With Football Manager 2011 and two years added experience, its time for me to come back, this time, I will take charge of Bolton FC, in the English Premier League.

First posts will be up soon.


Friday, September 11, 2009

The Wolves Slight Downfall

Well, after a serious loss to Arsenal, we were hoping to make up for it and play a decent rest of season. We were 8th, and if we were going to press for a spot in Europe, we needed to up our game.

Vs Tottenham, FA Cup 3rd Round Replay

Losing to Tottenham was really such a sad defeat. It was a very even match, however we had to rely on the Premier League this season to get some silverware.

Vs Stoke, Premier League

Losing to Stoke was pretty bad, as we were now sitting 8th. We needed to up our game, and fast.

Vs Reading, Premier League
(Ebanks-Blake 44, 88, Ashton 59, Armstrong o/g 62)

The win, was our first decent result. I gave 15 year old Jean-Luc Mahe his debut for the Wolves. He's a young wonderkid, and really deserved his first match, playing very well.

Vs Portsmouth, Premier League
(Ashton 31)

A lucky game for us to win, after being down most of the match. However, a win is a win, despite being aided heavily by Federici, and sloppy defence by Pompey. I sold Ebanks-Blake for a massive 67 million up front, and maybe up to 70 million. To AC Milan by the way, so I just had to let him go on and continue his career. A good deal in my opinion. However soon after, I realised the potential gap in my side, and since the transfer window passed, I had no option but to promote Andrew Keogh.

Vs Wigan, Premier League
4 - 0
(Riquelme 19, 81, Ashton 34, Keogh 40)

In a fairly one sided match, Riquelme was on fire on his return match. So was Keogh. We showed we didn't need Ebanks-Blake to defeat Premier League Sides. Unfortunantely, Adam Federici sustained a back strain during a weights training. A bad time, as he is out for a month.

Vs West Brom, Premier League
(Keogh 45, 80)

The match was showing why we need all the players on our first team, as Federici's absence showed. Riquelme played well, as well as Fleck, who is showing some great potential. It also seems my profile is growing, after being shunted in as Cameroon manager. My goal for the nation is to do well in the group stages of the World Cup.

I immediately began organising friendlies for the African Giants, the first at home against Albania, then match 9 days before the first World Cup match against Hosts South Africa. Our World Cup Group matches are against Argentina, USA and Greece. A tough group. After the Cup, we have Peru away, Australia away, New Zealand at home, Iraq at home, and local rivals Ghana at home to round off the year.

Vs Chelsea, Premier League

A Great result for our side, as we didn't lose to the top of the ladder team. We moved up to 5th, and we did it without Federici. Our side was seriously playing some great football.

Vs Liverpool, Premier League

Well, after beating them by a large margin first time round, they were out for revenge, and Torres definantely found it. Ebanks-Blake was sorely missed, as we lacked pace up front.

Vs Man City, Premier League
(Keogh 32, Ashton 83)

It was a good match for us, showing that we can defeat a team despite being on the back foot. Great defence also works for us, as well as sustained midfielders. Our strikers once again showed how to shoot, placing the ball into the back of the net on two separate occasions.

Vs Tottenham, Premier League

A bad game for us. We needed to keep winning in order to help us gain a spot in Europe. Tottenham just had the edge in the end. We were now 7th.

Vs Blackburn, Premier League
(Cech 64)

Another match, in which we salvaged another point. We were 7th by 2 points, and we needed to up our game. I started looking for a new striker to make up for Ebanks-Blake.

Vs Albania, Friendly
(Meyong 52)

At full-time, a decent performance gave my Cameroon side its Maiden win. We were dubbed down with the untimely injury to Eto at the start, which lessened his impact, however Meyong came off the bench to score the vital goal for us. The score should have been more.

Vs Newcastle, Premier League

Another shocking loss. This time without Federici, and Rocha sent off on 42. We were slipping on the table, and it seemed we were past out best. We were now 8th, even though we looked to be 4th, or somewhere near.

Vs Ipswich, Premier League
(Keogh 10, Ashton 47, Mahe 80)

We turned around a horrid start to the match to draw with 12 minutes to go. A horrid game, prompting a reshuffle and a complete change in tactics. At the moment, we can finish possibly at 3rd.

Vs Middlesbrough, Premier League
(Ashton 39, Riquelme pen 70)

Unbelievably, in the final minute, we were punished by a painfully offside goal, a major controversy. Unbelievably, we were now going to slip, and needed a major new striking signing to help us for next season.

Vs Aston Villa, Premier League
(Ashton 6)

We lost to a team which we dominating against. It seems the loss of Ebanks-Blake has completely ruined our side, Federici's injury is also causing a stir, with Hennessey not being able to compete with Federici's skill.

Vs Bolton, Premier League
(Neil 49)

 With the goal coming from a very unlikely source, we finally won a match, giving us a chance to qualify for Europe. I was still working hard to sign a new striker, however none were really wanting to move to the Wolves.

Our squad was rocked by the injury to the unstoppable Federici


We have two more fixtures, them being Fulham and Everton, and we can finish at a high of 7th, and a low of 11th.

Thats all from me, after a long break for me to study, hope you enjoy my rocking Wolves campaign.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Premier League Update

The weeked has arrived, so I can take my eyes of my Soccerlens writing jobs, and A-League stat reading, and pay attention to my Wolves in FM. As soon as I signed in, good news. Maniche is joining the Wolves. Hurrah. Our next game was against Everton. We were out for some payback. Losing in the League Cup.

Vs Everton, Premier League
(Ebanks-Blake 37)

Well, Everton seem to know what makes us tick, and how to beat us. Yakubu was the played for them. We just had nothing to counter him. However we had to look up, with Manchester United ahead. We beat them before, we can do it again. We were missing Ebanks-Blake, and we were away, so it was going to be such a tough game.

Vs Manchester United, Premier League
(Ashton 18, 55)

We have defied all odds again, defeating the Red Devils 2-1. Ashton was the main reason we won, even without top goalscorer Ebanks-Blake. In the meantime, the transfer season opened, and we signed a huge amount of players. Adam Federici won our clubs first major award. Beating Iker Casillas to the top award.

Our next match was against Tottenham, and a win here will start off what will be a possibly great FA Cup Campaign. Vokes was going to play against he old club, while we were going to field a completely revitalised and changed squad, with Riquelme, Pennant, and John Fleck.

Vs Tottenham, FA Cup 3rd Round

Sam Vokes played a good dangerous match, great player, too bad we had to offload him as he didn't fit. Still, we made 4 mill from him. Our debutants could've played a better game, however we still played well to hold them off. We had Arsenal up next, and Pennant was to play his first match.

Vs Arsenal, Premier League
(Sagna 72 o/g)

Well, a tough, harsh and card filled match, 2 red cards from Arsenal and one for us. Well, we couldn't complain, losing to one of the big 4. Adebayor ran rings around us, scoring 3 times.

I sold James to Manchester United, after they offered 23.5 million, and Ebanks-Blake might be on his way out for 50 million. I am still not sure whether to sell, as he is an important player.

So thats all for me now, as I go off and attempt to get an interview with Miles Jacobson for, any readers here who would like to ask him a question, just go here :

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sister Site Opening.

Sport runs in my veins. Well, kinda, its almost if someone rammed it into me. That's why I launched The Sportsfan's Journal, a sister site for anyone who wants to read about my perspective on the wide sporting arena.

Anyway's, don't stop FM-ing, scroll down a bit to continue the Wolves' Premier League story.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

December 2009 Update

After two high profile wins, the rest will not be too hard for us. Doncaster, Stoke and Reading, however as history goes, we have a bad record against low level teams. The investment in defence and training has paid off, with the defencive line winning the Arsenal game, along with Federici, who has had some brilliant gains in his stats. I am hoping that with my strong side, we will challenge for the trophy, and maybe I can walk in the footsteps of Paine who won with Stoke. Maybe....

Vs Doncaster League Cup 2nd Round
(Ebanks-Blake 6,15,23)

Vs Stoke Premier League
(Ashton 11)

Vs Reading Premier League
(Ebanks-Blake 29, Ashton 84, James 90+4)

We were on top of the ladder. 1 point clear of Man City, Chelsea, West Brom and Newcastle. In other games, Arsenal registered a 3-0 win against Ipswich, and United won 2-0 against Middlesbrough, to move both clubs out of Relegation territory. Wigan also had a shock win over Liverpool, thanks to a Brown penalty on 70.

Vs Portsmouth Premier League

A bore draw for us today, however, it was a decent performance. Finishing remained the problem, as we had many more chances, however in the dying stages, we slacked off and our defence had to work even harder. The match was all good (0-0) until Ebanks-Blake was injured. He is out for a month with a groin strain. Oh dear. In other news, it seems the a Liverpool takeover is imminent, which surprises me quite alot. They lost to Chelsea, 2-1.

Vs Leicester League Cup Round 3
(King o/g 1, van Der Schaaf 5)

Not really a good result, only 2-1, with Glauber putting in an own goal from a free-kick. We still go through, but the competition just gets tougher now. Ebanks-Blake was out through injury and Collins was taken off injured, in our team's defence.

Vs West Brom Premier League
(Ashton 63)

We lost the game, 2-1. Unbelievable. Two obviously offside goals went through, and we lost on a horrid refereeing decision. Our first loss this season after 6 games. We are now 7th. We are doing well, but we deserved to win that.

Vs Chelsea Premier League

A loss marred by a disallowed goal, which should've stood. I guess that's football for you. We we're now sitting mid-table, at 10th. We needed to up our game, in order to keep ourselves in this position. Ebanks-Blake's injury is really taking a toll on our team.

Vs Liverpool Premier League
(James 25, Ebanks-Blake pen 29, Dossena O/G 34, McFadden 38)

Well it seems perfectly fine to say that our side relies on Ebanks-Blake too much. Following two game losses, Ebanks-Blake returned against Liverpool, which we defeated. We were now sitting 6th on the ladder, a great achievement for us.

Vs Wigan Premier League
(McFadden 88)

Sagnol was sent off in the middle of the second, so for us to equalize, was just brilliant. Mcfadden's shot went straight into the corner. Great goal. The draw put the Wolves up into 5th spot, one above Arsenal. Man Utd took the top of the table, reversing a horrible start to the season to be on 19 points.

Vs Man City Premier League
(Ebanks-Blake 20,31,33,61)

The team suffered a few key injuries during this game. James, Stoch, Cech. We regained 5th spot with this win, Chelsea were on top, 5 points clear, with Newcastle, Man Utd in third and West Brom in 4th.

Vs Tottenham Premier League
(Ebanks-Blake 8,80)

A game which we could've won easily. We conceded two soft penalties, which lost the game for us. We were now sitting in 6th, which is good, but not good enough.

Vs Blackburn, Premier League
(Ebanks-Blake 9,30, Ashton pen 56)

A comfortable win for the Wolves, which moved us back up to 5th on the table, one behind Arsenal. Sylvan Ebanks-Blake is really playing brilliantly, and I wouldn't be surprised if he received a call-up for the national team.

Vs QPR, League Cup Round 4
(Cech 26, Neil 48, Camp O/G 50, Ashton 67)

A slight reminder of last season, in which we conceded some easy goals late in the game due to complacency. 4-1 ahead was where we started to slack off, and we conceded 2 quickly. In the meantime, I signed two brilliant players, one 15 year old Spanish defensive midfielder, who has the potential to be the best in the team, and a young French midfielder, who I will look to train to his highest potential.

Vs Newcastle, Premier League
(Ebanks-Blake 5, 23, 54)

After another well worked game, we played our tactics perfectly today. We shut down the players who were the most dangerous. We moved up another spot to 4th on the ladder. We were shaping up to becoming a major player in the English footballing scene. Who knows, maybe Cristiano Ronaldo will be sporting the Wolves number 7 next season. Only time will tell. Speaking of new players, Juan Riquelme has been signed for my Wolves, as well as John Fleck (finally).

Vs Ipswich Premier League
(Ebanks-Blake 23, Jarvis 52)

Despite a bad performance, Federici made sure that we didnt concede, and that we now have a 3 match winning streak. We are sitting at 4th on the table, two points ahead of Newcastle. I was just browsing through the Premier League sides, and found out interestingly that Carlos Queiroz is in charge of Australian A-League club Queensland Roar. After purchasing Vokes from Bournemouth for $700K back in 2008, we sold him for $13.5 million. A well worked deal. We were also assigned with Tottenham in the FA Cup Third Round, which is an extremely tough ask. I was also second in the November Manager of the Month award, and Ebanks-Blake taking second in the Player of the Month.

Vs Everton, League Cup Quarter Final
1-1 | E/T: 1-1 | PEN: 3-5
(James 41)

A tough match between two equal (on paper) sides, which could only be decided on penalties. Still, a decent effort by my boys. Everton keeper Tim Howard did brilliantly, and deserved his Man of the Match award.

Vs Middlesbrough, Premier League
(Keogh 31, 35, 88)

With Sylvan Ebanks-Blake being taken off injured on the 22nd, we were in trouble, and second striker Andy Keogh came on. He played a blinder, scoring a hat trick which might stake his claim for a first team spot. Stewart Downing was given a controversial penalty, which was saved by Federici, however the rebound fell to Tuncay, who was taken out by Stoch for another penalty. This time, Tuncay scored. That game puts us 5 points ahead of Newcastle who are at 5th spot, with us a 4th. We were only one point behind Man Utd and Arsenal who were in 2nd and 3rd respectively. We were 7 behind Chelsea however, who are the only big 4 team we haven't beaten this season. Whilst receiving reports from my under 18's team, I came across a young new player who is touted as the next Owen Hargreaves. Instantly, I took a massive look at this player, and he was going to become a star for this club. The 17 year old, Shaun Young (a gen player, don't look for him :P) is already worth $3.1 million, and I will begin training him intensely. Also, for the next transfer window, I signed Jermaine Pennant from Liverpool, after he was offered for next to nothing. A good deal if you ask me.

Vs Aston Villa, Premier League
(Hill 34)

In a match we dominated (esp in the second half), we were unlucky to not win this. In a match where the defenders were doing all the attacking, Hill scoring a cracking goal, set up by Neil, and Rocha hitting the crossbar in the dying seconds, Collins header was disallowed on 82. It was a game which the defence played brilliantly, and Keogh couldn't turn last match's hat trick into anything but a lacklustre performance. With that game, we stay at 4th place, with 31 points, however on equal points with Newcastle.

Vs Bolton, Premier League
(Ashton 67)

It was a game which we didn't deserve, but we didn't deserve to lose. Our side played horribly against a lower-grade Bolton side. They had nothing to lose, and took advantage. Iwelumo had a shocking game, and just hasn't been the same since the thigh strain last season. With that loss, we moved into 5th place, going below Newcastle. We were getting too complacent, and we were doing so well for us to just give up now.

Vs Fulham, Premier League
(McFadden 24)

It seems our side is slowing down a little. Possibly due to our good position, we were surely going to slide as a result. We had such a good position, but petty losses caused us to fall. Those players who are the culprits may be replaced, as we are getting a huge batch of new players in the transfer season. We fell back to 6th on the ladder, and were 2 points ahead of Everton.

Current Squad



Friday, August 21, 2009

The Beginning of the Premier League Journey.

The Wolves are in the Premier League. Not really exciting as they actually are in real life, but don't put out my fire :) I am kinda getting annoyed at the constant bids for Ebanks-Blake, but I need him for this season, more than ever. Dean Ashton is just going to be brilliant for me this season. I was just amazed that our board increased transfer funds from 9.5 million to 67 million. Wow.

I changed the captains for this season to Lucas Neil and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake. Neil has a good influence rating, and Ebanks-Blake played a brilliant season. Our season was going to begin hard. Manchester United, then Arsenal. :S.


Wolves vs Manchester United

Vidic scored first for United on the 12th minute. Nani scored soon after. We were down 2-0. Rooney could've easily made it 3 but blasted wide. Our team was down, badly. Federici prevented Rooney on the 29th minute. Ebanks-Blake scored our first Premier League goal this season, however Rooney made it 3-1 on 42. Ebanks-Blake then scored a trademark goal on 48, 3-2, a respectable scoreline.

Dean Ashton wasn't having a great game, but I was hoping he'd spring up and show us why we brought him to the Molineux. Dean Ashton hit the post on 49. The team looked fired up. Ebanks-Blake made it 3-3 on 55 minutes. What a comeback. They looked like they were going to win it. Federici denied Nani on 57, before snuffing out the corner. James came close on 64 minutes, we were getting so close to going ahead of the nation's best team. Federici made a brilliant save on 67 minutes to deny Rooney from the 6 yard box. Still and nail-biting 3-3. Glauber unbelievably made it 4-3 for the Wolves. 20 minutes to go, we had to defend hard. Ebanks Blake was awarded a penalty on 90, with Ashton to take it, we scored the winner. 5-3. What an unbelievable game. 5-3 on our first match. Our new players were the toast of the team, as well as Ebanks-Blake.

Wolves vs Arsenal

Our next match was against holders Arsenal. My plan was to defend, as there was a lot that Arsenal had above us. The Emirates was also the venue. Even tougher.

Within the first 10 minutes, we were defending well, forcing them to make long shots. Adebayor's pace beat our defence and he hit the post. We were holding very well, and I was happy. However, as always, when I write that, we concede and did so in the late 20's. Walcott broke the defence, and we conceded. Ashton then scored for us on the 42nd minute. 1-1 to the league holders. Adebayor almost scored late into injury time, however he put his shot wide.

Toure missed a free-kick early on in the second. Rosicky was denied by Federici, who was having another good game.Stoch's shot hit the crossbar, before being cleared. Sagnol almost scored on the 66th. We were pilling on the pressure, however Arsenal were doing the same. Ashton scored a stunning goal on the 85th, to silence the home supporters, 2-1 with 7 minutes to play. At this point, I realised that my team was perfect for my tactic. It seems now, our side might be able to challenge for the title. This seems so suss, however the United game was kinda fluky, but now, it seems our new players are just perfect for this system.

So after 2 matches, the Premier League table looks surreal. The big 4 are nowhere to be seen, with Arsenal losing 2 matches and in relegation territory. The Wolves were surprisingly topping the table. Winning the season would be brilliant, and as our small form record goes now, we could achieve the impossible. Don't worry, I'm as surprised as you are. This has to be a dream!!

Wolves Squad

Wolves Fixtures