Telford United! FM2010 AAR


History: AFC Telford United was an underachieving side in Blue Square North when I came in and took control of the club as manager during the 2009 off season. Though the media pegged us to finish first and win promotion and I also said the same when I was hired it didn’t go so well that first year. For the first half we languished with mid-table form despite the signing of a young attacking midfielder, Aaron Moses-Garvey, who captured the mood of excitement for that season. My arrogance in telling the board we would win the league almost cost me my job however, with it only being saved with a subsequent upset in the FA Cup. Along with several loan players from Macclesfield and elsewhere we eventually managed to string together some victories such that we eventually made it into the promotion playoff in Blue Square North. There we managed to beat the Blyth Spartans to win promotion to Blue Square Premier along with our rivals Fleetwood Town.

In 2010 I fired most of the staff and got rid of half the team in order to try and improve the team enough to compete in the Premier. We brought in several high profile names (for semi-professional football that is) the best of which was Danny Allsopp a 32 year old former MLS and Hyundai A-League striker who managed to give us a team leading 14 goals in 36 appearances. Other notable pickups throughout the season were Guylain Ndumbu-Nsungu, a DR Congo striker; Kristian Dennis, the striker from Macclesfield who had helped us get promoted the year before as a loan; Rory Carson, a young but fairly talented midfielder fresh off an unsuccessful stint with League 2 side Bradford; and Nathan Thackeray, a yearly loan out of Weymouth who eventually became my starting goaltender. This group managed to place a respectable mid-table finish going 18-12-16 (w-d-l), which was my goal, and even managed to make it to the third round of the FA Cup before being smashed by Norwich City in an 0-5 rout.

2011-2012 Season Expectations: The board wants me to continue to improve the team but isn’t putting much pressure on me to get better than a mid-table finish which should be fairly easy to accomplish. Furthermore they expect the team will reach the first round of the FA Cup and the third round of the FA Trophy.

Rivals: Shrewsbury, Northwich Victoria, Stafford Ranger, Tamworth, Hednesford, Kidderminster Harriers, Redditch United, Kettering Town, Fleetwood Town


2011-2012 AFC Telford squad


Nathan Thackeray
Jack Butland

Goaltending is one of the main issues facing Telford coming into the new season, while Thackeray was a cheap pickup to replace my previous underachieving backstop he is still one of the worst first-string goalies, in terms of attributes, in all of Blue Square Premier. Still he had 24 apps last year with 8 clean sheets and only 23 goals allowed, he’ll be my starter for now.


Lee Vaughn - DR
Ashley McMenamin - DL
Joe O’Cearuill - DC
Luke Duffy - DC
Andrew Hawksworthy - DR
Román Golobart - DC
Sean Newton - DL

Sonny Cobbs - DL
Ricky Byrne - DR
Kevin Bleau - DR

Defense is the second area of the team where we need to improvement if we are ever going to challenge for promotion again. All told the average age of these players hovers around 20-21 and with the exception of one or two players they are mostly replaceable. Newest among the group is Golobart, a hot Spanish prospect that should develop nicely if given time considering his strong physical attributes. We’ll be looking for a central defender in earnest as the new season draws near.


Aaron Moses-Garvey - AMC
Martel Powell - AMC
James Owen - MC
Darren Murphy - MC
Rory Carson - MC
Ruben Zadkovich - DM, MC
Chris Nurse - DM, MC

Danny Fernandez - AMC
Joe Reidy - AMC
Malik Buari - AMR

Midfield doesn’t have that many holes in it really. Our best player on the squad is arguably Aaron Moses-Garvey. Since joining Telford in 2009 he’s notched 23 goals and 21 assists in 77 appearances. While the rest of the midfield ostensibly can give some offense on any given day it’s unlikely as the next top three midfielders - Owen, Zadkovich, and Nurse - contributed only 4 goals and 11 assists throughout the 2010-2011 season. Thankfully though we have enough depth in this area to largely secure ourselves against all but the worse injury crisis.


Danny Allsopp - ST
Kristian Dennis - ST
Guylain Ndumbu-Nsungu - ST

Bradley Hudson-Odoi - AMR, ST
Ross Dempster

I’ve got a solid little group of strikers. My number one is Danny Allsopp previously of D.C. United. Last year he netted 14 goals, though he had several extended goal droughts through the middle of the season. Hopefully he’ll be able to continue scoring this coming year. If he doesn’t Kristian Dennis will as the young striker has scored 24 times in only 40 outings with Telford. The rest of the lineup isn’t as good as both Ndumbu-Nsungu and Hudson-Odoi battled through injuries last year and their production was nearly non-existant. Ross Dempster does have the capability to come off the bench and contribute though, as he added 7 last year.


Note: Bolded players denote first-team status.


I went with Watford. Uncannily accurate to how my mate describes them - “No money, average youngsters, no expectations, no hope.”

Lee Vaughn, an AFC Telford veteran, struggles to retain possession against a York City opponent.

2011-2012 Preseason - Part 1

AFC Telford v. York City

Coming off a shorter than usual post-season break the players and staff of AFC Telford reunited at the start of July to begin training and look forward to a number of arranged friendlies. Our first was against York City, a Coca-Cola League 1 side we had last faced in a two-leg second round FA Cup match up.

Though we beat them then, York City got themselves a narrow victory this time as midfielder Neil Barrett placed a header during injury time. Coming off an extended rest most of the men played well, with the Irish central defender Joe O’Cearuill being key in keeping the scoreline at 0-1. Despite the loss Telford remains 1-1-1 against York City.

AFC Telford v. Watford

With only four days rest coming off the hard York City match several members of the squad are still fairly tired. Cobbs, Golobart, and Martel Powell are in; Moses-Garvey, Duffy, and first-team hopefully Ashley McMenamin are benched and will be used as substitutions. Since Watford is a Championship side this match will be all about getting everyone on the field to see some action, we’ll be lucky if the scoreline isn’t 0-5.

The match got off to a bad start as just seven minutes in Watford striker Liam Henderson pushed a close range header passed Thackeray to make it 0-1. Watford extended their lead at the 40th minute when Taylor headed a second past the Telford keeper to make it 0-2. Despite problems in their own end Telford looked much more dangerous in the final third of the pitch as the first half went on starting with an excellent feed into the box by Allsopp to Powell who very nearly put one past the keeper. Allsopp himself made the score 1-2 after getting his own header off a corner.

Coming back from the break Telford extended their good attacking form in the 50th minute as the trio of strikers up front - Allsopp, Dennis, and Ndumbu-Nsungu - created several pretty passing plays leading to Allsopp’s second goal of the night to tie the game up two-all, delighting the home crowd. The two sides proceeded to spar for roughly the next thirty-five minutes until three excellent scoring chances were created. The first by Hudson-Odoi, straight off the bench, was narrowly missed. Soon after Watford retook the lead off Rob Kiernan’s fluke deflection goal in the 88th minute. Up by one with less than five minutes remaining in the game it seemed certain that Watford would return home with a narrow victory - but it was not to be as Allsopp put a cross into the Watford box in the 90th minute. Dennis was left unmarked and scored a magnificent diving header to tie the game 3-3 in what ended one of the most enjoyable games Telford fans could remember seeing. All-in-all a great effort by my side to get a draw off a much better opponent, the lock room must be in high spirits after that second half.


Telford striker Danny Allsopp during his Hyundai A-League days.

2011-2012 Preseason - Part 2

AFC Telford v. Rochdale

Having five days until their next match the Telford side regained a good deal of stamina with the nearly week long off. For our third friendly we are taking on Rochdale, a League 1 side that should see us comfortably off and once again I’m looking for nothing more than to get my players back into shape. Last time we met Rochdale kicked us out of the FA Cup during the 2009-2010 season and while we might entertain thoughts of a victory I’m not looking for one. Some changes in the lineup again though.

In: Vaughn, McMenamin, Duffy, Moses-Garvey, and Hudson-Odoi.
Out: Cobbs, Golobart, Ndumbu-Nsungu, Hawksworthy

The first half goes well for Telford. Though we give up an early goal to Rochdale, Hudson-Odoi ties the game with a great low shot that the Rochdale keeper just can’t get in the 34th minute. Telford goes into the half with a well deserved tie as a result. Coming out of the break though Telford unexpectedly remains in control of the match for much of the second half through quality of possession. Though Martel Powell puts the home side up 2-1, Rochdale’s substitute Kallum Higgenbotham scored a late dramatic equalizer from a curled shot outside of the penalty box - an absolutely fantastic effort to keep Telford to only a 2-2 draw.

AFC Telford v. Fulham Reserves

Fulham Reserves are our next opponent and while I’m hopeful we can continue our good run of form it might soon end. Changes to the lineup continue such that Quinn (on a month trial), Likita, and Murphy will enter the starting eleven. Ashley McMenamin is out with a damaged heel and we will feel that loss.

Not a very exciting game all told. For most of the game we seemed set to win it first after Moses-Garvey’s early goal and then after Ross Dempster put us back ahead after the 70th minute. Fulham initially tied it up after a poachers goal by Nevland, and then did it again when Arnison pushed a second past Thackeray. Lee Vaughn left the game halfway through with a dead leg and will be out for the next week as a result.

Transfer News!

While Telford fans continue to cheer on their team during the pre-season, members of the backroom have been busy attempting to scout and sign as much backend talent as possible. The first to come over is Oxford United loan Imati Likita a left defender that should give McMenamin and Cobbs a run for their money when it comes to making the first team. The second new face is Steve Quinn, a twenty-two year old central defender. He’s been on my watch list for well over a year since I asked Moses-Garvey who he thought would go well in our setup - though it took some time I’ve gotten him to agree to a one month tryout. Given his attributes and the lavish praise my staff has been giving him in scouting reports its possible I may sign him on a more permanent basis. Another attempt at getting a central defender - this time Yann Nsaku was foiled after news of my offer leaked and MK Dons snapped up the talented defender. In response I sign Clovis Kamdjo, another central defender from Cameroon. While not as good as Nsaku he had two seasons of regular experiences under his belt already with Barnet and should give Luke Duffy a run for his starting spot.


Brilliant, AAR! Keep it coming! I have been hooked on cm10 for months now after taking Kiddy Harriers to promotion I am now managing watford, to mixed results …

Midfielder Ruben Zadkovich ready to strike on goal.

2011-2012 Preseason - Part 3

AFC Telford v. Yeovil Town

Coming into the fifth match of the pre-season AFC Telford are looking good, consistently hanging with better sides and creating goals from most of their strikers. Odds still put as as longshots to win this one though.

We didn’t win, but all told it was a good match for Telford as we got more shots, had better passing, and held a slight majority of possession. We got a single goal, from Kristian Dennis who showed good form smashing a longshot into the back of the net from well out of the box. My defensive corps also showed its stuff, such as with Joe O’Cearuill who won 18 of 21 headers many of which were of critical importance.

AFC Telford v. Llanelli AFC

Having gone 0-4-1 in preseason play we are now looking for an opponent more closely aligned to my skill level and as such I’ve challenged Welsh Premier League side Llanelli AFC. Most everyone on the team has now had a few starts and after this game we can start thinking about finalizing the first-team for the season ahead. Llanelli doesn’t look nearly as settled, especially seeing as their last three matches - against Wycombe, Millwall, and Port Vale - have all been losses. Odds from the media are that the match will result in a draw, but hopefully we can grab a win.

An excellent outing by the Telford side today. Allsopp started it all off after a counterattack involving our three strikers and put it in with a low near side shot that put Telford up only four minutes in. Owen doubled the scored in the 25th minute after taking a free kick well outside the box, rifling it into the corner. Only a few minutes later Llanelli conceded another goal after our Spanish defender got in and put a header past the Welsh keeper. Going into the second half Telford continued to hold all of the momentum getting all of the shots, but content to give possession to the Welsh side. Powell capped off the game in the 48th minute as a smooth passing play saw him into the box free of any Llanelli defender.

AFC Telford v. The New Saints

Coming off our good showing against Llanelli I felt we needed to keep our form running and was able to schedule at the last minute a further friendly match, this time against another Welsh side - The New Saints. As they’ve won that league five times in the last twenty years we consider them more prestigious and possibly quite a bit better than what turned out to be a disappointing Llanelli squad. In an attempt to give more match practice to our backline, especially those players who have joined midway through preseason we’ve changed our set up from the traditional 4-2-1-3 to a 5-1-1-3. We’ll also be sitting out some of our better players seeing as the season opener is less than a week away now - among those sitting (at least for the first half) are Moses-Garvey, Dennis, Allsopp, Owen and Carson.

A drenching soggy day on the pitch at New Bucks Head. While much of the first half goes by in dreary monotony the Telford side spices things up a bit during the 29th minute after Al Bangura, a newly signed and highly touted midfielder, is given too much space by TNS. Passing it forward to Ndumbu-Nsungu the talented striker pauses only momentarily before flicking the ball forward down the pitch behind his back and with his heel. Powell seeing the chance dashes forward and collects the first goal of the game. Possibly the best sequence Telford fans have seen all preseason. As the half continues on TNS attempts to break even, getting one glorious chance in the 32nd minute as TNS striker Gary Irving found himself alone inside the Telford six-yard box after a rebound, just before he rifled it sharply up and over the net. Still as we go into the half Telford is barely holding onto the lead as we find ourselves with a mere 40% of possession as well as allowing far too many free kicks and throw-ins. With the second half starting Telford switches up to a 5-2-1-2 formation with two defensive midfielders acting as anchor men with the intention of fighting a hard defensive second half. Gradually increasing the defensive line throughout the second half manages to keep the Welsh off the scoresheet and courtesy of a late insurance goal by Ndumbu-Nsungu we capped off a second straight victory.


Question on 5-1-1-3/ 5-2-1-2

Do you play 3 centre backs, or a sweeper?

My 2012/3 Newcastle team plays 4-3-3, but actually more a 4-2-1-3 or a 4-2-3-1… (two holding midfielders, an attacking central midfielder, a striker and two wingers) Hoping for #6 in the Premier, don’t have the depth to get a Euro spot yet


2010-2011 Preseason Analysis

AFC Telford’s preseason record

Telford had a good preseason. Full of excellent outings by the players we compiled a record of 2-4-1. Of special note should be the four draws made against superior sides such as Watford and Yeovil. Likewise our one defeat was a close run affair.

Lets take a look at the stats now. As you can see I gave most of the players at least two starts and several substitutions. Our fourth best striker - Bradley Hudson-Odoi - got roughly 300 minutes of competitive soccer for instance and while some players such as Dennis got roughly twice that amount of playing time most every player is now match fit asides from those I’ve weeded out of contention for a roster spot and those who have just only joined.

Some things I’ve noted of the team through the preseason…

  1. Goal scoring is improved against last year and it is coming from more sources. All told we scored 14 goals over seven games, a rate substantially higher than I’d been getting in my first two years with Telford. Moreover while eight of the goals came from my strikers - especially Allsopp and Dennis - I’ve gotten contributions from both midfield and the defense. Most surprising of those is the three knocks I’ve gotten from young Martel Powell and while Moses-Garvey is still my star attacking midfielder once Powell gets back from his broken shoulder he’ll be getting some starts. Other pleasant surprises are Golobart and Ndumbu-Nsungu.

  2. My backline is getting better. Duffy probably won’t be able to break into the first team as a result of my signing Golobart and Kamdjo. Injuries are to be expected though so I’m still looking to sign more players for the back end.

  3. We’ve got several good tacklers on the team - including my new signing Alhassan Bangoura. He made eight tackles during his only start and he’ll be getting more as he’ll be my number one defensive midfielder. Nurse, Owen, Hawksworthy, and Cobbs also pick up quite a few tackles and everyone went through preseason without getting a card.

First Team Selection

Here is my first team selection, along with the formation I’m going to use for at least the first few games: 4-1-2-1-2. Previously in the preseaon we used 5-1-1-3, 5-2-1-2, and 4-2-1-3. While I still feel most comfortable with 4-2-1-3 I’ve decided to switch back to the formation that me promoted out of Blue Square North. To that end lets go through the starting lineup…

Goalkeeper: Nathan Thackeray
Left Full Back: Ashley McMenamin
Central Defenders: Joe O’Cearuill and Román Golobart
Right Full Back: Andrew Hawksworthy
Anchorman: Alhassan Bangura
Central Midfielder: Chris Nurse
Box to Box Midfielder: James Owen
Inside Forward: Aaron Moses-Garvey
Poacher: Kristian Dennis
Complete Forward: Danny Allsopp
Rotation: Ruben Zadkovich, Guylain Ndumbu-Ngunsu, Clovis Kamdjo, Rory Carson, Sonny Cobbs, Imani Likira, Lee Vaughn

Manager Notes: I continue to get news linking me to other clubs as a possible replacement manager. So far I’ve had actual offers from Portsmouth and Fulham, as well as being linked to numerous others in news reports such as the Seattle Sounders. I’ve been paid £57,000 in wages during my career at AFC Telford. I would have made that much managing Fulham in three weeks. But I would have been fired by then. My total record managing Telford is 49-23-34.


Good stuff CSL! Do you find playing a diamond midfield like that leads to width problems? I’ve found that it tends to bunch the play up in the middle, which suits more technically adept players - with the problem being that they tend to be few and far between in the Conference. I’ve had more joy playing a more traditional 4-4-2 (probably what you’d call either a 4-1-3-2 or a 4-1-1-2-2) with a big strong target man in the middle and two pacey wingers, since physical attributes tend to be easier to come by. Is that something you’ve considered?

I would like to take offense at that, but it does sum us up pretty well…

I haven’t played FM in a few years, are the small letters in the formation (A)ttacking, (D)efensive, (S) and something else?

FM is a great game(took over from CM along time ago when the CM devs left Eidos and became FM). Pure strat and tactics, and some football ‘randomness’ mixed in. Very addictive, especially if you go from the lower leagues where you can’t buy your way to victory.

One question CSL, re FM2010 how are you finding stability? I skipped FM2008+2009 and just had too many CTD’s on FM2010(normally during the 3D match engine part). I’ve since gone back to FM2007, but if maybe recent patches have come along i might go back and have another look at 2010. Great AAR btw.

Sort of. It’s more flexible now - while a player’s location on the tactics screen defines his general position, you can specify things like “Attacking Midfielder”, “Deep Lying Forward”, etc. It’s the best change so far, you really can set things up exactly how you want it.

CSL - how are you handling training? Have you set up your own schedules or are you using some of the more popular ones from t’internet?

Zak: I’ve had 0 problems with FM2010, stability wise.

Ah, another soon-to-be-abandoned CSL AAR.

As long as it’s still going, a quick off-topic question: Has there ever been a good soccer management game with a long term approach?

I.e., you can take over a third rate club, say 1960 and manage it through historically changing leagues through the decades?

One of the early games allowed you to set a starting year, but it filled club rosters with modern players (it used their names) and then it just repeated those when it ran out of names for new personnel - I remember having the same player three times in the club, heh.

Anyway, has there ever been such a game?


This game (FM2010) is one of those. You can play as long as you like and the new players (called regens in FM-speak) are randomly generated when the current ones retire.
However, you can’t start a game in the past. You start in June/July 2009 and go from there.

what is a ‘goaltender’?

I believe Ipswich legend Craig Forrest started his career as a goaltender. He is famous for conceding nine goals against Manchester United at one point.

Thanks Aldran, though what I’m looking for is a game where I can start in the historical path and follow a semi-historical course (historical players and stuff, but of course teams positions in leagues etc. would be different.
My guess is that there is no such game (though I wonder why), but I guess asking wouldn’t hurt anybody. ;)


Licensing rights most likely. You can license the names of all current players in a league relatively easily and there’s a system in place for it, but going back and trying to license the names of thousands of players dating back several decades would most likely involve contacting them all individually which sounds like a logistical nightmare.