Today on Local to Legend…

Welcome to the next part in my “local to legend” series with Christchurch FC. In the previous post we went through our half-season review. We looked at how the club was doing, how the team were performing and any transfer that happened. If you missed that catch up here.

If you have just joined us, review the series from the start here.

In this part, I’ll be taking you through an end of season review. How did we finish the season? Did we get promoted or did we just miss out on the play-offs? What are our plans for next season?

 

Youth Intake

Another season as flown by and another set of talented young players have entered our youth team. Yeah, I wish. But, I do think we’ve had a reasonable amount of decent young players come through into the first team; considering our stature and facility ranking. Anyway enough rambling, here are the players coming into the youth team this season.

Ray Parsons, a great potential first team player. He’ll definitely be appearing in the first team as a more creative central midfield player in the coming weeks.

Sam Concannon has good potential, but undecided in terms of position. It may take a while to train him in a certain position. Which to be honest as a semi-pro club, we don’t have time to do. Nonetheless, a good prospect.

Jason Packer, another player with good potential but whether he’ll realise it at this club is another question. A player who can play on both wings and could potentially make the first team at some point in the future. A decent prospect but as with all of these players, only time will tell how good he truly will be.

Leon Arndale, a player much like Phil Jones of Manchester United who at the start of his career couldn’t nail down a position. A jack of all trades type player. Only time will tell what position Arndale will be good in. But once again, decent potential in this lad for sure.

Angus Turner, much like Arndale he looks like a player who will struggle to nail a position down. However, a central defender role would suit him more I feel. But, like all of these players he has a decent amount of potential.

 

Everyone Loves A Competition

As we spoke about last time round, we got knocked out of the FA Cup in the 3rd round of qualifying to South Shields. Christchurch FC also made it through to the 2nd round of the Southern League Cup before losing on penalties to Aylesbury. Apart from the league, the FA Trophy was the only competition left undecided as the team faced FC United of Manchester in the 1st round proper.

A matter of small miracles meant that the game ended in a 1-1 draw away at Broadhurst Park, which meant a replay at Hurn Bridge Sports Club. Could Christchurch FC really make the 2nd round of the FA Trophy. Unfortunately not, the lads gave it their all but were beaten 4-2 at home.

 
Southern League Division One East

Right, where to start with our league campaign. It has truly been the most exciting, entertaining and thrilling season I have ever had in Football Manager. Let us paint the scene…

The league was left right open with anyone in the top 6 able to win it from the last 5 games. Brightlingsea Regent were the only team to have only 4 games left out of the top 6 teams. 5 games to go and Needham Market lead the table with 79 points, in second Evesham on 78 points, Bournemouth Poppies were left in 3rd place on 75 points, Worcester City and Brightlingsea Regent were in 4th and 5th place respectively on 74 points and this left Christchurch FC in 6th place on 71 points. It would take a blooming miracle for us to even get into the play-offs. The teams above were in great form and unlikely to drop points. Although, our last 6 games were against relatively easy opposition I still would consider us massive underdogs to make the top 5. I had almost resigned to the fact we would be spending another season in this division.

 

2nd May 2020

A great match day for Evesham, Brightlingsea and Christchurch FC as they move up in the table. Christchurch FC move up to 5th place, the last place in the play-offs with a comfortable win over Cambridge City. Draws for Bournemouth and Needham Market means they drop down one place in the table to 4th and 2nd respectively. The impossible task of achieving the play-offs is looking more attainable, I have to say.

 

9th May 2020

Another great entertaining day of football as Christchurch FC come out on top of a 5 goal thriller against Beaconsfield. This kept the chase on the top 4 places as the team stayed in 5th position. Wins for Brightlingsea, Bournemouth and Worcester City also put pressure on Evesham to perform. Sadly, they fell to a draw but managed to keep their 1st place spot due to Needham Market’s game being postponed for the 12th May 2020.

 
12th/16th May 2020

Needham Market failed to make their chances pay in their game in hand, so they stay in 2nd place in the league. Christchurch FC continued their end of season good form by smashing Barton Rovers 4-1 at home to increase their league position to 4th place. Needham Market also dropped in form again as they only managed a draw against Worcester City. Victories for Brightlingsea and Evesham help to increase their end of season league form. Bournemouth’s defeat to Evesham helped Christchurch FC swap position with them in the league.

 
23rd May 2020

Not a good match day for Evesham and Needham Market as they both lose and drop to 2nd and 5th place respectively. A fantastic 2-1 win over Biggleswade Town moves Christchurch FC up to an amazing 3rd place in the league. We only sit 3 points behind Brightlingsea who won their last league game of the season today, leaving them on 86 points in 1st place. Wins for Bournemouth and Worcester City help continue their good form and gives themselves a chance at reaching the play-offs.

 
30th May 2020 – Final Game of the Season

The final match day of the season, nerves are high, calves are tight and the Southern League Division One East is buzzing! This is the most exciting season the league has ever witnessed. Any team of Brightlingsea, Evesham or Christchurch FC could win the league. The play-offs chase were tense as well with Worcester City trying to push their way in with Needham Market and Bournemouth looking over their shoulder. It wasn’t a good day for Brightlingsea as all they could do is hope they had done enough as they finished the season last week with a win against Bedford. A loss for Worcester City meant despite the result, Needham Market and Bournemouth were guaranteed play-off spots. The big result was Evesham 1 Egham 2 as this meant Christchurch FC could mathematically win the league now. A massive 3-1 win over Uxbridge cemented Christchurch FC at the top of the table. What an end to the season! CHAMPIONS! We will be playing Regional Premier Division football next season. This is huge!

 
A Summary

What a bloody season. If I had to summarise it in one word, it would have to be. . .  Bloody-Brilliant. Ah, before you say it’s two words; the hyphen makes it one word. I still can’t comprehend what I have just witnessed. Not only will we be playing in the Southern Premier League next season, but we on the league on +10 goal difference. It all come out of nowhere! In all seriousness, you just have to look at our schedule to know why we have won the league. Although, looking at our start of the season it would be questionable. It was super tight and the reason for that is, we just drew too many games. Christchurch FC lost the fewest amount of games in the league, had the highest goal difference but also drew the most games in the league.

 

The Tactical Overhaul

This is the tactical change I made after mid-point in the season. As you can see it is not typically suited to lower league football at all. There are lots of instructions both team and player wise. It is also very attacking, even on a control mentality. I have to say we were left open far too much, but got away with it due to the quality of the other teams not being that fantastic. It is a tactic which aims to control the game from start to finish through retaining possession, working the ball into different areas, but also looks to hit teams with fast-paced attacks as well as closing down the opposition much more. As I’ve probably demonstrated, i’m no genius when it comes to Football Manager tactics. But this certainly worked for us.

 

End of Season Review

A Look at the Squad

After that amazing season we have just witnessed, it’s time to take a look at how the team performed individually. Newgen Ray Parsons received the best average rating of a solid 8, however he also has played the least number of games out of the top 5 or 6 players. Beyond that, George McGee topped the charts once again with an average rating of 7.51 in a total of 44 games over the course of the season. George Branford was the closest player to overtaking McGee in terms of average rating. Branford did however chip in with a nice set of assists and goals, 6 and 8 respectively. On average, we had 11 players reach an average rating of over 7.00 which is astonishing. However, points to improve on would be that we only had one player to get into double digits in the assist chart, being Terrel Egbri. Also apart from McGee we didn’t have a prolific goalscorer. Our next best goal scorers were Conor Murphy and Egbri on 13 and 10 respectively. Murphy actually had a great conversion rate from shots to goals, 66%.

 

Awards

It’s that time again, it’s time to see who has won the end of season awards. If you remember for the last few season it’s been a case of has there been an award George McGee has not won. We shall see.

Fans Player of the Season

George McGee has won our first award, Fans Player of the Season. It’s no surprise really considering the amount of goals he has scored. As fans ourselves we love a goal scorer more so than a central defender!

Goal of the Season

Funnily enough it’s that man McGee, once again. He’s won Goal of the Season in a FA Trophy match against FC United of Manchester. A cleverly worked goal saw McGee grab the only goal of the game for Christchurch FC in this crunch match versus FC United of Manchester. A nice ball forward to Benton, who plays a lovely sweet through ball to Branford. Brandford then cuts it across to McGee who bangs in an audacious top right shot.
 
 

Signing of the Season

Matthew Ward, our Signing of the Season has performed out of his skin when picked. He’s made a total of 22 appearances over the course of the season. 1 goal, 7 assists and an average rating of 7.19 backs up his award with some hard evidence. Ward has well deserved the award this season.

Young Player of the Season

McGee has won himself 3 out of the 4 awards on offer this season. Fans Player of the Season, Goal of the Season and now Young Player of the Season. There isn’t much else to say about this lad, he is just an absolute goal machine. Just this season he has scored 41 goals in 44 appearances.
 
 

Newgen of the Season

The profoundly acclaimed Newgen of the Season award has been won by Ray Parsons. He has had an amazing first half season with the club. He’s played in 10 matches this season garnering 1 goal and 2 assists as well as performing at an 8.00 average rating. I can feel the force is strong with this one. 

A Word from the board

The board are obviously ecstatic with my performance as manager as well as gaining promotion to the Southern Premier League. However, if the board were being picky they stated the performances of Conor Murphy haven’t been great. Financially, we are not looking great. -£40,000 + in the bank and every season we’ve been projected to be in the negative hundred thousands by the end of the season. 
 
 
A Final Word…

In part #10, I’ll be looking at preseason in the Southern Premier League after our miraculous title winning season!

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