Terrier Spirit; Part Six – Pedigree Ambitions

Following on from Guido’s piece on the transfer structure and signings he made during the close season, the pressure was on me to now utilise the squad he has provided me with and deliver some results. But what would success look like regarding this second season both in the eyes of the board and the supporters, and how would I manage my squad to deliver the goals set? Which competition(s) would / should we prioritise and why?

Benefitting From Brexit (As A Non-British Club)

Unless you have been living under a rock the past year, you will have heard about Brexit, one of the biggest political decisions taken in the UK since the Second World War. Before the EU referendum, debate raged about what the impact would be of a vote to leave the EU. Now the country has backed Brexit, the consequences and ramifications of this decision are still somewhat murky.

While the rest of the world holds its breath to see what happens now that Article 50 has been triggered, Football Manager 2019 features a Brexit scenario, which models some of the consequences of the UK leaving Europe. In this article, I want to look at a strategy you can use to benefit from Brexit by making a tidy profit on some of your players.

Short Corners; My Plan B

Short corners have to combat a negative reputation in world football. Just as a back-pass is seen as an inherently negative manoeuvre, corners which are not crossed directly into the penalty area are often met with disdain by supporters worldwide. Sadly, this opinion is shared by too many managers in the virtual universe as well; by opting against putting the ball into the danger zone you instantly forego a greater opportunity to score seems too much of a common place.

In my eyes, when a team takes a short corner it may be a wise decision in terms of goalscoring opportunities. Taking a short corner by no means gives up an opportunity, but instead creates a new and different one. Especially when your team lacks an aerial presence, a short corner offers up new avenues to scoring a goal.

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Defending Corners (And Other Set Pieces)

We are all afraid of it, and I am fairly certain we have experienced it as well. The dying seconds of the game have started, your team is up by one goal, and the opposition is about to take a corner kick. Deep inside you are dreading this final play of the game; your gut feeling is a very negative one. ‘This is going in’. So how do you defend against these situations, especially since the AI seems awfully good at scoring from set pieces in this latest instalment of the Football Manager series.

Unfortunately, corners (and indirect free kicks) are an abundant source of conceded goals, with the default defensive routines coming up grossly inadequate to counter the AI’s routines. To balance the scales somewhat, I have decided to take a more in-depth look into corners. Last week, I posted my offensive corner setup. In this article, I will be focusing on the different defensive systems and concepts – man-marking/zonal-marking etc.

Defending corner kicks is a more fluid and irregular process, as it mostly depends on the manager’s personal style and preferences, and the level of football. For example, it is pretty tough to implement a zonal-marking system at a lower level, because this system needs to be practised every single week and demands quite a bit of spatial awareness from the players.

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Terrier Spirit; Part Two – Ankle Biters!

This is the 2nd article in the series by guest author Mark Rennolds. If you missed the first article then here it is.

Terrier Spirit; Part One – The Dog Fights On!

First Season Set Up

So, the main thing I want to do for the squad involves giving them an identity and a way of playing for each other that will bring results that no one expected. I want the opposition to be constantly under pressure, for us to be solid and dogged in our approach to defending (ankle biters) and then quick to spring the leash once we’ve got the ball back. As our squad is one of the favourites for relegation this season due to our transfer and wage budget structure, then it’s important for us to be well organised rather than wasteful with the ball.

And so, I introduce my first-choice tactic that we will run with initially. The tactical style (our identity) will be known as #Terrier Tiki, and even if we tweak the roles throughout the season then I want this identity to be the core of the club. I have moved away from my original tactical plan due to the signings that Guido has made and they are detailed as below. There are two variants of the tactic based on if the opposition is stronger than us or if I want to sit a bit deeper and encourage the opposition to come out a bit if I’m struggling to break them down.

We will be structured in our play, with each player knowing their role and working as a team to control the space without the ball and exploit the opposition’s weaknesses with the ball. I’m pretty strong through the middle with good central defence, midfield and attacking midfield options so will look to push the play through them initially working the space until I can get the wing backs and wide attacking midfielders free. I’ll break down the individual roles and player instructions below and explain the reasons for them, as well as provide the 2 tactics download links below.

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Do You Even Delap?!

When we think about scoring goals, the first thought that comes to mind is hitting the ball top corner or maybe a simple tap-in from a cross, but we very rarely give thought to the throw-in. Unless you’re a Stoke fan, then you might have seen your fair share of goalscoring opportunities from the long throws over the years.

The throw-in has been part of the game since the nineteenth century when English public school boys would run amok with grassy knees. A wide variety of methods were tried and tested to return the ball to the playing field, including kick-ins and one-handed throws but eventually, the two-handed throw was accepted (having been stolen from rugby). All in all, the throw-in was not deemed to be that important or influential.

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Terrier Spirit; Part One – The Dog Fights On!

Founded in 1908 Huddersfield Town AFC locally known as ‘The Town’ or ‘The Terriers’ enjoyed their best spell of success during the 1920’s when they were the first team to win the English top flight 3 times in a row and won the FA cup in 1922.

In the late 1950s, the club was managed by Bill Shankly and featured Denis Law and Ray Wilson, before being relegated from the top division in 1972. The Terriers then spent 45 years in the next three tiers of the football league before against all the odds being promoted back to the English Premier League in 2017 under the management of David Wagner who instantly became a club legend with that achievement.

In their first season back in the Premier League they again surprised everyone with their #TerrierSpirit & managed to stave off relegation despite one of the lowest wage budgets in the division.

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