The Cottage Life

Keeping the Faith

Our Championship winning side would need to step up their game if we were to avoid relegation from the Premier League. See how we got on as we return to top flight football in our second season of the series.

First Half of the Season

Tim Ream playing for Fulham

Tim Ream has concerns about the dressing room antmosphere

Solanke playing for England

Solanke started the season with a flurry of goals

The season began with déjà vu. Another meeting was called, this time by Tim Ream, one of my team leaders, to discuss concerns about the dressing room atmosphere. Looking at the squad dynamics there’s good managerial support overall but even after a great first season it seems a few players are still holding a grudge from earlier issues and may need to be moved on. Ryan Fredericks and Ibrahima Cissé are both complaining about new contracts (sorry lads, you’ve got plenty of time left on your current deals) and their demeanor is hurting the group. For now though, they’ll be with us until January at the least.

Being our first season back in the Premier League we’re likely to struggle and continuing our attacking style of football seemed a little suicidal. Being pragmatic, I canned our attacking philosophy with the board’s approval. Once we’ve established ourselves in the league I’ll look to bring that style back in play. We’ll still look to attack on occasion but our go to tactic will be the 4-5-1 counter attacking tactic, since we’re likely to struggle with possession.

Worryingly, we started our campaign with three league defeats in a row. Brentford, our local rivals, were in the same predicament when we met at Craven Cottage in what you could have labelled the clash of the zeroes! We went down to ten men after 31 minutes when Ream received a second booking but we managed to soldier on. 2-0! A massive victory to set us on our way.

Having beaten West Ham in a cup game just before the Brentford match, we completed an early double over the hammers to secure our second league win. Two wins in our our first six league fixtures put us in 13th place and just two points clear of the relegation zone. Five goals in five games for on loan Solanke we’re key during that period.

October and November saw us hit a real slump as we failed to register a single league win. A trip to Brighton was the first of a run of winnable games in December. Sitting in 15th, just two points above the drop zone, I tried to give the lads a boost by scheduling a passionate team meeting. Wins over Brighton, Swansea, Newcastle and Burnley followed and sent us upto a mid-table place and well clear of the relegation zone.

This led us onto the January transfer window – we needed to make some big moves to boost our survival hopes.

Christmas Period

It was a majorly important transfer window for both in-coming and out-going transfers. We needed to improve the dressing room atmosphere and improve the quality in the squad as well.

Gabriel Barbosa celebrates a goal for Brazil

Brazilian international, Gabriel Barbosa, switches to Fulham on loan

Kristoffer Ajer playing for Celtic

Kristoffer Ajer signs for £14M

January Transfers Out

China came to our rescue by taking away our unhappy players; Cissé and Ream both left for East Asia and Federicks was moved on to Southampton.

  • Rui Fonte to Hull City – £2M
  • Ryan Fredericks to Southampton – £6.5M
  • Ibrahima Cissé to Tianjin Quanjian – £12.5M
  • Tim Ream to Tianjin Quanjian – £11M

January Transfers In

We made some outstanding signings. Right back, Bauer, was a straight replacement for Fredericks, with Andrew Greig coming in as cover for a bargin £13K! (now worth £6M). Ajer was our big money signing and adds a star player to the defense, he replaces Ream. Matty James gave us another engine in midfield for when we needed to rotate but the star signings came in further up the field.

Loan deals for Ødegaard and Barbosa – I’m still a little mesmerized that we were able to get these two in and I was particularly excited to have Barbosa in the squad.

  • Moritz Bauer from Stoke – £1.8M
  • Andrew Greig from Portsmouth – £13K
  • Matty James from Leicester – £1M
  • Martin Ødegaard from Real Madrid for 2 season loan
  • Gabriel Barbosa fromInter – 2 season loan
  • Kristoffer Ajer from Celtic – £14M

Business End of the Season

Gabriel Barbosa playing for Brazil

The high profile acquisition of Gabriel Barbosa was a major turning point in our season

The January transfer window gave us the boost we needed. Gabriel Barbosa had a goalscoring debut in our local derby against Brentford. We hadn’t won a game in 5 attempts so it was a much needed win and it propelled us into a decent run of form at the end of January.

Sometimes played as a lone striker and sometimes as an inside forward, Barbosa managed eight goals from fifteen starts and was pivotal to us finishing the campaign in a comfortable mid-table position. A 5-2 defeat to Spurs on the final day shows that we’ve still got a long way to go if we want to compete at the top, but it’s a fantastic achievement to have beaten the drop so comfortably.

We received £22.31M for finishing 9th and now have a really healthy bank balance, around £80M to spend, which bodes well for my plans to strengthen further.

Aston Villa and Brentford, who came up with last season were relegated along with Watford. I’m a little disappointing to see Brentford go down. We’ve lost a local derby and our league double over them provided springboards for key spells of form. Coming up from the Championship will be Southampton, Wolves and Huddersfield.

Summer Transfers

With the likes of Barbosa, Mayoral, Ødegaard and Sancho still on loan I made a conscious decision to try and bolster the defense. We’ve also been able to tie McTominay down to a permanent transfer. A few younger players have joined the ranks too, some of whom will likely be loaned out to aid their development. The signings of Konsa and Gunn mean that we have a couple more young domestic players in the squad too.

The big money transfer was £10M for Adama Traora – I’m hoping his electric pace will cause havoc to premiership defenses this season.

Name Position Cost
Adama Traore Right Winger £10M
Scott McTominay Central Midfielder £5.75M
Filippo Romagna Central Defender £5.5M
Ezri Konsa Central Defender £5.5M
William Right Full Back £3.6M
Jorge Central Defender £2.4M
Angus Gunn Goalkeeper £375K

League Table

Premier League Table 2018/19

Building on the success of this season we’ll be looking for another top half finish in order to establish ourselves in the Premier League. We’ll be pushing for a continental spot, though we’ll be an outside bet.


Series: The Cottage Life

I think it's important to set out some targets for any new save on Football Manager, to give you something to aim for and give the series a purpose. I find it more enjoyable that way! These targets will be visible on all posts within the series and will be updated as we go along. The aim of course is to tick off as many of these as possible.


Short Term:

  • Win a game in the Championship
  • Develop Matt O’Riley through first team football (i.e. 10 starts during season 1)
  • Win 5 or more Manager of the Month Awards during season 1 (I managed 3: Jan, Mar, Apr)
  • Adopt an attacking style of play and use it regularly during season 1
  • Embarrass a rival! Beat a local rival (QPR, Chelsea, or Brentford) by 3 goals or more in a competitive match
  • Keep hold of Ryan Sessegnon until promoted to the Premier League (at least!)
  • Gain promotion to the Premier League within 3 seasons
  • Win the English Championship
  • Avoid the drop! Once promoted to the Premier League, avoid relegation in the first season

Long Term:

  • Win the FA Cup
  • Qualify for a European competition
  • Kings of the Capital! Finish above all other London based clubs
  • Develop state of the art training facilities
  • Develop top youth facilities
  • Have exceptional junior coaching
  • Have extensive youth recruitment
  • Develop a player from the academy for the English national side
  • Have 3 or more players in the English national side
  • Manage the England national side
  • Build a new stadium


Comments (1)

  • Great stuff, mate! keep it up 🙂 I wish I had the nerves to do such writing on my own save 🙂

    Comment by Podlecii ( Kiril Iliev) (22/06/2018)