Season Two: Episode Two (August)

So August, our season got underway and we still made a couple of little improvements squad wise.

We made a great start to the month, and in the league managed to go unbeaten during August. Two of our key men from last year, players that we turned down offers for in the summer, have made amazing starts to life in the football league, Josh Kay and Scott Quigley. They are our joint top goalscorers and Kay is nearly in double figures assist wise already.

The best of our new signings so far has been young midfielder Alfie Payne, the free agent signing has been consistently achieving 8.0 ratings and has been instrumental in creating chances and making key passes. The rest our our new signings have taken a little while to settle in but are on their way to being solid players for us.

Before deadline day at the end of August, we made a couple of late changes to our squad. Youngsters Waddington and Penfold left us on short term loan deals, mainly for game time as neither was going to be challenging the first team. Waddington would have got a few games but him being an important player for Stockport who are also playing his wages in full made the decision easier.

We also made a late addition, Luke Charman, a striker who is just a bit more first team ready than Penfold who we sent out on loan and will give us another option rather than Angus and Quigley. Admittedly he may only get cup games if Quigley maintains his current form but we will wait and see.

The Return! Season Two: Episode One

Im in self-isolation, so here’s the return of our Barrow FM2020 career!

After squeaking through the play-offs last term, we certainly have a job on our hands. Thankfully, the board have given us a great chance of achieving this due to our budgets and expectations.

With us after contract clauses etc kicking in, only spending roughly £15,000 a week on wages it leaves us a great deal of room for making additions and strengthening our squad. This will only be helped by us shifting on some of the limited dead wood and letting a few contracts expire.

So as you can see above, we moved a few players on, including a few that might surprise some of you. Hindle and Stewart played vital roles for us last season, after we got a few injuries they stepped up and really helped us in our promotion push. Unfortunately both just won’t cut it in League Two and are at an age where we should think about cashing in as we did.

The rest of the players that left were mainly squad players who just didn’t quite cut it and wouldn’t get a look in this season.

Now onto incomings and there is a few!

Despite having a bit of money to spend we haven’t really needed to use it, the new link to Fulham has proved worthwhile, giving us cover at centre midfield and right back.

Wang from Wolves was also a cheap move for us, with us not paying a penny of his wages and he will compete for a start at right wing.

Matthew Platt joined us from Blackburn for £10,000, the only money we spent this window. He impressed me last season on loan and will be a starting centre half for us again this season.

The rest were free transfers, Denham and Bailey are both centre half a position we needed depth. Onodi is a new back up keeper from Villa who may challenge for a start later in the season. Payne is a great free signing from Norwich, the youngster will bring some flair to our team in central midfield. Randall featured heavily for Sutton last year, and will provide a bit more competition at right wing, provided he can make the step up.

Into the games, we did really well this Pre-Season, picking up some wins against teams we probably should have lost and earning a few quid along the way.

Our first game of the season is at home too Port Vale, so tune in next time to see how our start to life in the Football League comes on..

FM20 Barrow (Season One Finale)

They Playoffs are upon us and to my surprise we actually had a fully fit squad!

In our Semi-Final we faced Chesterfield, one of the early favourites for automatic promotion and a team we struggled against in the league this year. Thankfully we played well and squeaked through on penalties that seemed to go on forever! I lost count of how many were scored and missed but for a long time nobody missed a penalty until our keeper Dixon tipped the final penalty onto the bar.

In the final we faced the team that finished above us in the league, Ebbsfleet. Another side that we struggled against this season, we lost and drew against them in the league.

Thankfully it seemed like they couldn’t handle the big occasion and we strolled the final 2-0 with Quigley striking early and Huggins wrapping up the game late on.

That was that, Barrow are Football League and what a season it was, starting so well before taleing off.

Finally the end of season awards! Some I agree with such as the Player of the season and the Young player of the season however Ben Cull as signing of the season? Thats laughable! Surely it has to be Huggins or Wearne, i mean yes they were on loan but what a difference they made.

I haven’t decided if there is going to be a season two of this series as we plan on launching a new one once the database we are waiting on is finished. However do let us know if this is something you’d all like to see, especially as the board have used up most of our money earned expanding the stadium!

FM20 Barrow (Ep 10 – April)

The last month of the season before the Play-Offs start, using a revolving squad I expected a mixed bag of results as we got the majority of our squad fit and match ready before the games that would decide whether we made the football league or next season.

Also this month we finally received our youth intake and sadly its not amazing but we knew this from our preview back in December. We have a few players that in the future could replace some of our highearners and they could become squad players but sadly no standouts and no superstars we can cash in on in the future.

The league kind of goes out the window now we are guaranteed playoffs and Notts County have won the league, but following our poor form recently we’ve split to third, which still means we don’t feature in the Playoffs until the semi final stage.

Player of the Month

We gave some game time to players who wouldn’t normally get as much and to my surprise the player that really stepped up was a player who came in with the youth intake, 16 year old striker Ben Hughes. The striker scored the second goal against Solihull and two against Yeovil in our final league game.

FM20 Barrow (Ep 9: March)

Another sub standard month if you look at her early season form, we managed to secure our position in the playoffs however and short of them having a complete disaster, it seems as though Notts County will win the National League.

Our form going into the final month of the season is patchy at best, of the six games played in March we won 2, lost 2 and drew 2. We’ve also had a number of players away in International duty and pick up small niggly injuries, and therefore we will be heavily rotating the squad in the final month to get everyone in good shape and ready for the playoffs.

We also had transfer deadline day for the conference, not that we made any late additions due to our budget being very close to our limits. Hopefully we have enough to see us get over the line.

Player of the Month

Another POTM for Scott Quigley, the big man has just started to pick up form scoring 3 in two games going into the final month of the season

FM20 Barrow (Ep 8: February)

Could this month have gone any worse? The loss in the FA Cup to Sheffield United at the end of January seems to have knocked all the momentum and any kind of decent football completely out of us.

Since being knocked out the cup, we’ve gone on a run that’s seen us winless in 6 games and we’ve picked up 2 points from a possible 15! Nothing seems to work, and from this run of games I would have expected us to pick up roughly 12 points. We’ve played some of the worst teams in the division and been beaten comfortably, however we’ve drew with Chesterfield and Stockport who are both in play off contention. It makes no sense.

Despite this horrendous run, we still somehow sit top of the league by a point! Admittedly only because we’ve played one game more than the rest of the league but still. From fairly comfortable league leaders to looking like we are getting dragged into the play off mix, and with only one automatic promotion spot id rather not.

Player of the Month

Stephen Wearne wins it this month, probably the only positive of the entire month. The Middlesborough youngster performed well coming on as a substitute while we got him up to match tempo and then on his first start against Chesterfield he got an assist and scored the goal that earned us a point.

FM20 Barrow (Ep 7: January)

So my bad, I didn’t know transfer windows didn’t really apply to the National League, so during those months we were struggling player wise, I could have been signing short term players…

Anyways as mentioned last episode, January we were really just looking for some squad depth. Leeds were no help at all in this. Once again this partnership I thought would really help us sign some quality young players has been useless. We ended up bringing in two youngsters on loan, Neves of Reading is a young left winger who can also play CAM, hes currently a fringe player but his most impressive stat is 18 crossing. (Just imagine the crosses onto Scott Quigley’s head!) We also signed Stephen Wearne from Boro, another young winger who is two footed and can play on the left or right, hes currently not match fit but will be a great signing when we get him up to speed.

Unfortunately we have to pay these players wages due to us not having any links with them, thank you Leeds, they aren’t on astronomical sums but we still had to balance the books. We let young Luca Navarro go, on £850 a week we needed a game changing player not a youngster who probably will develop into a decent player but we needed the results now. we also let Mamadou Kone go out on loan, it leaves us a bit short of defensive cover but we will deal.

On the pitch, we had a mixed bag of results this month, We still haven’t been beaten in the league in months, however we are out of both cup competitions. Notts County was always going to be tough and Im just glad we beat them in the league earlier this year. As for the FA Cup, we got a nice little earner of a tie at home to now Premier League Sheffield United, that was always gonna be a massive ask, but as mentioned its probably set us up financially for the rest of the season.

We still sit top of the league, we are now 6 points clear going into the business end of the season, and if we have anything about us and stay clear of injuries etc, maybe automatic promotion is possible?

Player of the Month

Only one option this month really, its keeper Joel Dixon. The big man has been an absolute monster this month, pulling off some heroics to guide us through to 1-0 wins on three different occasions and quite frankily it could have been a cricket score against Sheffield United if it wasn’t for him. He also saved a penalty from Phil Jagielka in the Sheffield United game, what a man.