Just completed my first season with Birmingham city in the Championship. We amazingly managed to finish 2nd and gain promotion after being predicted to finish 22nd. We massively over achieved this season with what I consider is an average squad. We were top of the league for nearly the whole season until we slipped up a few games before the end. Allowing Norwich to steal the title. We did manage to score over 100 goals. Nottingham Forest got relegated in the process. We reached the semi finals of the Capital One Cup, beating 4 Premier League teams on the way (Liverpool, Leicester, Burnley and Aston Villa).
We managed to score goals from all different parts of the team. Clayton Donaldson was the stand out player in the goals department notching up 26 goals in his first season. Was surprised by his quality upfront, works hard and was an important player in that false 9 / deep laying forward role. On the wings Mark Duffy and David Cotterill were great chipping in with vital goals and laying up loads assists. In midfield we used our link with Chelsea to bring in Lewis Baker, a future England talent! Great on the ball, and an all round midfielder. This season saw the emergence of two Birmingham products in Recce Brown and Calum Reily both still very young became first team starters bright future ahead for them. In defence was the area I felt most weak, we conceded far too many goals for my liking. Mitch Hancox, David Edgar and Will Packwood were reliable but need to invest in this area of the squad.
Tactics proved to be the what helped us push for promotion. I had a look at the initial squad and noticed we lacked any attacking midfielders so couldn’t play my favourite 4-2-3-1 formation, so reverted it to another personal favourite the 4-3-3. I downloaded a tactic from FM-Base called V18 PRESS CONTROL and it worked wonders for me. Scored loads of goals but the only fault was it left us vulnerable at the back, it will need tweaking if we are going to survive promotion.
My second tactic is my own made up one. It’s more of a disciplined approach. It’s one where I can switch between mentalities depending on how the match is going. Will need to make it more defensive to deal with the Premier League giants.
With barely any money to bring any players in we relied on free agents and loans to get through the season. Managed to get a link with Chelsea which enabled us to bring in players such as Lewis Baker and Dominic Solanke. Alex Kiwomya was injured for around 4 months so I terminated that deal same with Shane Ferguson. Isaiah Osbourne was a good rotation player and slotted into the squad. Former Wolves striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake proved to be signing of the season, bagging an impressive 13 goals in 16 matches, I was really shocked as I thought he was a major risk. 16-year-old Dino Haliliovic will prove to be a star player in future years. The only noticeable departure was Lee Novak to Blackburn which freed up some wages.
Objectives for next season– improve the whole squad – develop youth players – avoid relegation – good cup run