Towards the end of 2015, after growing frustrated with FM16, I made the decision to get back to CM 01/02. One of my favourite ever games was when I dominated Europe with Rangers – so I thought a good way of getting back to the game was in the SPL with Hearts. Follow my story here.
It quickly became obvious that the first season would be one of building for the future.
With such fierce competition, both on and off the pitch, provided by Rangers and Celtic, the significance of having a transfer kitty to improve the squad heightens.
An uninspiring squad and a bank balance of -£4m meant work to do.
Player-wise, there are a couple of hopefuls. Craig Gordon of course will hopefully be the number one for the long term.
There was very little activity in pre-season – with just Thomas Flogel moved on for £875k.
Our first game was an encouraging 0-0 draw against Celtic, here was the team:
I had decided to go with the old favourite 5-3-2 system, and it just so happened that it suited the squad available.
My focus was to get the club back in the black. With next to no transfer budget (70k) and a paltry 1.8k to offer per week wages, there was no real hope of adding anyone of sufficient quality to improve the squad.
Instead, it was a case of crack on with what we’ve got and see how we go.
As it happens, we got off to a solid start, and for a while, were right up there in the top two.
The initial honeymoon period soon came to an end.
A run of one win in eight enabled the chasing pack to catch, and of course as soon as you’ve lost a few games, Rangers and Celtic become untouchable.
For a time, it looked like third would be the most likely finish, but further poor results saw us sucked in to the mid-table battle.
In the end, we had to take 5th in to the split session, and then another poor run meant the season ended on a bit of a downer, as well as a disappointing cup exit to Aberdeen.
Eventually, we finished
6th P38 W16 D5 L17 F52 A63 PTS53
A disappointing end considering the positive first third of the season.
However, the main positive was that the club ended the season in the black after numerous player sales.
Just one player was brought in all season – Spanish striker Butra on a free transfer in September.
Out the door over the campaign went Flogel (875k), Davidson (300k), Wales (1.2m), Boyack (950k), Mahe (350k) and Adam agreed a Bosman deal to go to Aberdeen.
That raked in 3.7m in total, and was enough to ensure the debt had been wiped out by the season’s end.
It was clear throughout the season that we needed strengthening in most areas. Andy Kirk and Mark de Vries both went through spells of scoring up front, though it was Kevin Twaddle who became the most prolific forward in the team, playing in the AMC role and bagging 12 goals. The late season addition of Harpal Singh, on loan from Leeds, also helped.
There are a clutch of decent young defenders at the club, nonemoreso than Andy Webster who got plenty of games under his belt. Of course, Gordon in goal did well and then there was Scott Severin in midfield, a player who I’ve known to be good in the past.
Phil Stamp was solid enough in midfield, but his ludicrous 10k weekly wage (which was more than double what any other player was earning) meant that was more expected than of any benefit.
Despite the disappointing end, a pleasing season. I was happy to have been disciplined enough to fulfil my primary objective of clearing the debt, and that meant recruiting just one new player for the whole campaign.
With funds available for the summer, a busy period is ahead.
This story first appeared on the champman0102.co.uk forums.