Operation Stay-Up, Stay Stable – Berwick Rangers – PearceyPlays #FM19 Journeyman Part 178 – OS5 C2 S4 – Post-Season 21/22 & Pre-Season 22/23 – May to July 2022

Getting ourselves ready to walk that tightrope

Today we will be going through the 2021/22 post-season, looking at the season just gone and all that good stuff and then moving into the 2022/23 pre-season; the wheeling and dealing, and culling, required for us to at the very least not get relegated from the Championship next season.

I know this will be hard (League 1 is a 1.5 * Rep League, 90th out of 359 league showing, and the Championship is 2 *, 62nd, though showing below the Irish Premier Division (The Tunnocks/Irn-Bru Cup this year had Dundalk beaten by Rangers Reserves…) and an all-Championship final.

Firstly lets have a look at the player stats from the 21/22 season.

Passing & Crossing – Andy Turner played a decent part of the season as the DLP at the DM position, so registers highly with pass completion. Mark Davidson was mainly a CM(A), so has the highest Key Passes, but a low(ish) completion rate as the passes were more risky. I will need to have a think on Connor McManus – he fell out of favour as we had a set midfield 3 of Turner, Palmer & Davidson by McManus has some good completion rates. Crossing was difficult this season as we tended not to have a big man up top for a lot of it. Hence the completion rates are lower than last season (>20% was the norm with Sean Slaven playing a lot). Both main wingbacks around 15% is pretty good TBH, especially for Aaron (Our only player to play in all 36 League Matches) as he has 9 Crossing. Gerry Martin as a DLP had the best completion with a Crossing of 6, but other parts of his game made up for that I think.

Heading – A wee bit disappointed with our heading completion (Morgyn Neill the standout, 91%, but the team was 6th with 58%) – Barry Maguire needs to work on his heading, whereas Jordan Bow, at just under 6ft really suffered this season. Can I get big Harry Nicolson back Full Time…. The Harry & Barry show could be very good indeed). Sean with not as good a season completion-wise as 20/21, but he had a few injury woes this time round.

Tackling & Interceptions – Again, not amazing stats (Teamwise we were 7th on Tackles Won %, 86%) – Neither Jordan or Barry covering themselves in glory. Andy Turner as the DLP/DM showed his worth, just in front of the back 2. Barry & Morgyn showed their worth though with Interceptions – both just under 4 per game. Jordan weak again (It’s not looking good for him, 6.97 Av. Rating has him 12th in the squad – Over 10 games played)

Fouls, Mistakes & Offsides – Davidson & MacIver showing themselves as the kings of putting it about – Overall as a Team we were 3rd for fouls made, 2nd for Yellows and 6th for Reds, so Get Stuck In working well. Hardly any mistakes for goals, which was great, wingbacks topping the charts but this is to be expected. Offsides again were not an issue as we played with a slightly deeper front line, picking teams off on the counter with the wingers.

Shooting, Assists, Chances & Dribbles – Now, when your top scorer has scored 12 goals you would not expect to win the League by 10 points at a canter, but we have 62 goals scored by our 7 highest scorers showing a really nice spread of goals. Ross MacIver & Cammy Dow scored 21 together from the wings, Davidson & Palmer 15 from Centre Mid. Maciver, with 9 assists had a touch on 21 goals this season, with our Wingbacks assisting 12 and Gerry Martin assisting 6. Dribbling was OK, Wingers and Wingbacks at the top with Gerry Martin in there as well. His contract is expiring with Dundee… Problem is I don’t want to play with a Number 10 in the Championship… Thinking possibly 4-1-4-1…

A few of the lads inducted into the Best Eleven – Only McNiff (East Fife, 7 league games last season), Wilson (Gala Fairydean Rovers) and Matt Knox (Livingston – had a season on loan at Berwick) not in the current team.

Aaron Dunsmore wins a tight Fans’ Player of the Season, Barry Maguire Young Player at 24………….

Sean Mackie 2nd in the April Player of the Month for League 1.

2nd for me for Manager of the Month.

Gerry Martin made the last League 1 Team of the Week of the season.

Looks like another season in League 1 for Airdrie – 4-0 down after the first leg versus 9th-from-the-championship Ayr. The other ties (2nd versus 3rd and 9th v 4th in League 2) are finely poised.

3-0 isn’t done and dusted, but it looks like Amateurs Queen’s Park will face the winners of Annan & Alloa in the League 2 Playoff Final.

Albion Rovers play Ayr for a place in the Championship next season after a thrilling AET victory over Morton, killing them off in the last 4 minutes of the 120. Come on the Albion!!! Annan will play Queen’s Park for a place in League 1, meaning Alloa are relegated (They were in the Championship in 19/20 so it’s a fair old fall). Stirling (With Berwick old-boy Ross Meechan) were promoted to League 1 already as League winners, a decent turn-around for a team who finished 9th and 6th the 2 seasons previously.

It looks like Ayr will be retaining their place in the Championship and Annan will be gaining promotion to League 1 based on the first legs. Annan would be a big turn-around as well, after finishing 7th, 6th, 7th & 7th in the past 4 seasons in League 2.

NEW(ISH) SIGNING

Harry Nicolson

  • Now 21, Had a standout 20/21 season with us on loan (7.22 Av over 36 games)
  • 6ft 2in DC
  • Comes in from Inverness CT, where he was languishing in the Ressies
  • Ā£150/wk for 3 years
  • IRL he’s a free agent, after spending the 19/20 season as one of the many Inverness CT kids with the (in)famous Fort William side.

HE’S BACK šŸ™‚ Harry comes in for 3 years at Ā£150/wk – Poor lad only wanted Ā£120/wk, he so wanted to join, but I couldn’t have that šŸ™‚ He joins in a month at the start of the transfer window. 4* CA, he will partner Barry Maguire currently as the a starting Centre Back.

And we will be playing Ayr next season as they beat Albion Rovers 5-1 over the 2 legs. Albion will be playing Annan in League 1 next season as they saw off Queen’s Park. And that should be the end of the season, so we should now be getting all the awards etc.

Ā£105k paid out in bonuses for winning League 1… Ā£440k left in the bank.

Seven players in the League 1 Team of the Year šŸ™‚ Aaron Dunsmore gets Ā£350 for his place in it šŸ™‚

Two new Sponsorship deals – up by Ā£16k/annum which all helps

I’m also now scouting Newcastle, Sunderland & Middlesbrough to see if I can pick up some cheeky buys/loans

NEW SIGNING

Kristi Marku (Left of Photo)

  • 22 years old
  • 5ft 9in MC
  • League 1 Player of the year 2021/22 for Edinburgh City (7.25 Av)
  • IRL he’s without a club after starting his career at Celtic, gaining caps for Scotland at U16 level

A little bit of a punt this one. Kristi arrives as a decent MC who has just become the League 1 Player of the Year (7.25 Av, just pipping Mackie & MacIver) for a mid-table Edinburgh side. He’s quick and makes good decisions, and I hope he becomes a good part of the midfield rotation. IRL he was a really promising youngster who didn’t make it at Celtic nor Airdrie and is without a club, like Harry Nicolson.

Biggest overachievers in the Scottish Cup apparently. Seven minutes from beating Hearts, still annoys me…

And so we reach 31st May, Release Day.

7 players released, (Barr & McLaughlin the most used back in league 2), one youth player (Paul McCarthy) and 2 staff members. My game seems to have a bug where I can’t see any Scouts in the Staff Search so I’ve placed an advert for now.

And now the struggle really begins – Our rep (1.5*) is lower than 5 League 1 teams, so getting players that are good enough to play Championship football in will be difficult. I wonder if that will change when we tick into next season?

We have signed a new Goalkeeping Coach – 32 yo Peter Hogg (11 GKD, 9 GKH, 10 GKS) – First job of his career (of course).

As we’re now in June here is the updated list of League & Cup winners from across the world.

Highlights include Hearts winning the the Scottish Premiership(!), Napoli in Serie A & AS Monaco in Ligue 1!!.

9th June is here – start of the Transfer window, and we welcome Harry & Kristi.

Struggling to get any loans that I would want – “We want our players to be playing with players of a higher ability” – Will wait until the game ticks over to the new season to do anything I think.

Interestingly I’ve just got news items that Serbia, Montenegro & Albania have joined the EU – I think the UK is still in it currently in game.

2021/22 Season review, by a Dutch site apparently…

On we’ve now ticked over into the 2022/23 Season, the 5th of the save. And expectations are pretty low…

8th will do!! Thinking I might have to make a graceful exit at some point this season, we shall see.

We’ve gotten another scout – Colin Jack, Ex Edinburgh City Coach & Assistant Manager.

Welcome Colin!

And we’ve had the Betfred draw – A tough one with Premiership Motherwell and newly-relegated Championship side Hamilton in there with us and two League-2 teams.

168 season tickets last year, so 300 would be a nice jump.

We’ve also gotten in another coach – Jake Scott, 39yo Newgen, 13 Att & Def. Welcome.

And so we reach our first game of the season – a friendly versus our old friends Civil Service.

FT Berwick 0 Civil Service 1 (Lumsden 52) Att 250 (3 Away)

Well that was shit….. 20 shots, only 5 on target… I was playing a 3-3-2-1-1 WB DM, so back to 4-1-2-3 next up.

(NOT VERY NEW) LOAN SIGNING

Cammy Dow

  • 20 yo AML
  • 23 games for Berwick in the League last season, 9 goals, 2 Assists, 7.18 Av
  • Comes in for a second season from Dundee (No longer our senior affiliate as we are in the same division)
  • Back at Dundee IRL after a loan with Carnoustie Panmure JFC

Cammy comes back in again for a season – AML’s are as rare as in FM19. His game is more goals than assists, but I’d like a few more of those this season coming.

NEW LOAN SIGNING

STC Michael Carrick (19yo, 6ft) joins us on loan from Hearts. Finishing isn’t great, but hoping the 15 heading and 14 Strength come into play. Gives up the opportunity to play 2 up top with Sean.

Friendly (Brian Cameron Testimonial): Elgin City 0 Berwick 3 (Palmer 28, Dow 76, Sutherland 90+3) Att 221 (27 Away)

We were asked to play Elgin City in the Brian Cameron testimonial match (412 games for Elgin since 2006/07) – this was one of only 2 friendlies I’ve picked due to the Betfred Cup taking up all our time early on. Elgin City are in League 2 after failing to gain promotion through the play-offs last year (They finished the season in 3rd).

A fair bit better in the usual formation – Dunsmore with two assists, flat back-post crosses for Dow & Sutherland. A nice result.

Our U18’s beat BSC Glasgow U18’s on the same day – Aiden Wallace (Non-Player) with the goal.

Our U18’s Manager Peter Webb has moved to Birmingham (Championship) as their U18’s Manager. Congratulations to him.

NEW SIGNING

I couldn’t help myself – 6ft 6in šŸ™‚ Steven started his career at Raith, and played 26 games for Edusport in the Lowland League last season. Useful cover.

We get Lowland League opposition in the IRN-BRU 1st round.

Sean McIntosh goes to Boston Utd in the Vanarama North for a little under Ā£3k. he played 20 League games for Berwick over 2 seasons after joining on a free from Airdrie. He was OK, but was never going to set the world alight.

We’ve signed a new U18’s manager, Callum Bell, 34, first role in football…

NEW SIGNING

Charlie Canning (20yo GK, 6ft 1in) joins from Clyde on a Non-Contract deal. Really nice potential, and he becomes our 2nd ranked Goalkeeper at the club by CA.

And that wraps up our Pre-Season – Next up will be the rest of July – Betfred action (Starting Away to Motherwell, hoping for a bit of gate money possibly?) before starting our league campaign at home to Falkirk on the 30th. See you then.

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