Sorry For The Wait

688Well, we’re back in the North East with Newcastle United. Those of you that follow me on Twitter (@JLAspey) will have seen me discussing this save for the past couple of weeks, as I’ve re-found my love for this save, developed the side tactically, and continued building the club in Season 2 after the success of the first season. After the relegation of Newcastle in real life, it seemed fitting to go back to this save, and see how I can build the team, and hopefully turn them into a European powerhouse. Plus, I was really enjoying this save before putting it down and taking a break, and I could never really understand why I’d stopped playing it. Now it’s back, and it’s time to keep going, and I’m updating at the end of the winter transfer window.

In the last update, I covered the signings I’d made at the beginning of Season 2, upgrading the squad with the signings of Enzo Roco, Silvan Widmer, Julian Weigl and Leon Goretzka, funded by the sale of Moussa Sissoko to PSG for £30.5M, a sale I was more than happy to make. Geronimo Rulli was also signed to bolster the goalkeeper position, and hopefully battle with Alisson and bring the best out of each other. Considering we won the league by goal difference on the final day in the first season, I’d expected that our upgrades should hopefully have made things are a little bit more comfortable this season, despite having to work around Champions League football.

So, how have we done in the league so far?

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Note: Upgrades Completed

688So, I’ve come to the end of the Summer transfer window in the Newcastle United save (a save that I am absolutely loving), so it’s time to update you all on how things are going, what I’ve done to change things and keep things fresh for Season 2, and how I’ve improved the squad. Although we did very well last season, the squad as a whole wasn’t strong enough, and I relied heavily on the first team players. Whilst I always have a First XI in mind when creating sides, I heavily invest in rotational players, who can come in and help us through cup games, or lesser matches in the league. This was perfectly shown in my Leverkusen save last year, where players such as Ulrich Isa and Julian Brandt came in and out of the side depending on form, and kept the whole side fresh. It’s an approach I’ll be bringing into this Newcastle save.

In case you missed the last update, here’s a brief recap. We won the Premier League title in thrilling fashion on the final day, defeating Leicester (to send them down, sorry Leicester) 2-1, and through the grace of God, Man United beat Chelsea, meaning that we won the league on our ridiculous goal difference, with Arsenal also winning on the final day against Norwich. It was by the skin of our geordie teeth, but who cares? We’re the champions of England, and now it’s time to push on in Season 2.

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Professional Bottlers – Sort Of

688Well, we’ve have reached the end of the first season in the Newcastle United save, so it’s time to update you all on how the season ended. In the previous update, you saw that we were defying expectations and sitting top of the table at the end of the January transfer window ahead of United, City et al, and were well in with a shot at the Premier League title, and Champions League qualification at the very least. I’d also covered the actual signings (or signing) I’d made in the January transfer window, signing Kasper Kusk from FC Kobenhavn – seemingly an FM goldmine for bargains – for £1.8M. All in all, the first half of the season had gone pretty well to say the least.

So, where did we finish? Did we manage to hold onto first place and ease our way to the title, or did we bottle it and give it away, in (almost) classic Newcastle fashion?

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Makin’ The Toon Proud

688Well, I’ve reached the end of the January transfer window with Newcastle United, so it’s time to update you all on how the save is going so far. I hope you all enjoyed the first post for the save, and I’d like to thank everyone for the support that this save has gotten so far. I usually find playing in England relatively boring, but things seem different this time. Whether it’s because of the close geographical links I have to Newcastle, or the fact that I’ve been watching a lot more English football lately (particularly the late 1980’s Liverpool sides of Barnes and Beardsley), I’m actually looking forward to playing this game, and not just for purely tactical reasons. Hopefully that continues as we move forward, and the centre of English football can shift from the North West and London to the North East, an area where football is possibly loved more than any other part of the country. It’s a shame we’re deprived of decent or attractive football for the most part.

In the last update, I covered the early transfers I’d made. For quick reference, I’d sold Cheick Tiote, Daryl Janmaat and Tim Krul (Janmaat and Krul both to Chelsea) and brought in Ludwig Augustinsson, Ricardo van Rhijn, Alisson, Zach Clough, and Sven Bender. I’d massively upgraded the squad, whilst giving the club a nice little injection of cash, and this made me confident we could do far better than Newcastle are (and should be) doing in real life, and push towards the top half of the table.

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I promise they’ll be gone soon.

So, how have we actually been doing in the league then?

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Gannin’ Down The Toon

688Following the success of the article I did analysing the strengths of the 4-4-2 I’d developed to use in my Newcastle save (as well as the sheer enjoyment I’m getting out of the save right now), I’ve decided to blog about the save itself, and start doing regular (or as regular as I can manage) updates on the save. I apologise to those that were enjoying the TSV München save, but I was really beginning to be annoyed by it. As I said in the 4-4-2 article, things really weren’t working, and it lead me to start the save with Newcastle as a tactical experiment, and it’s turned into a full time save that I’m definitely enjoying so far.

I’ve almost played the first half of the first season, but for this first post I’ll solely cover the pre-season and early transfers I’ve made to rebuild the side. I’m from the North East, and although I don’t identify myself as a Newcastle fan (those of you who know me well know my undying love for Swansea), I’ve always felt an affinity for the club, and understand the pain of many close friends, constantly irritated at the shocking organisation and management of the club, and the sheer lack of stability on Tyneside. Some of my favourite childhood memories involve Newcastle United, with my Uncle regularly allowing me to watch his 1993/94 Season Review VHS, and I always remember watching Andy Cole and Peter Beardsley tearing opposition defences apart. That side was the beginning of some of the best years on Tyneside, when Newcastle very nearly won the Premier League, infamously dropping a 12 point lead at Christmas and finishing 2nd to Manchester United. Of course, much has changed since then, through more glory years under the late, great Sir Bobby Robson, to the turmoil of the past several years.

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