This season didn’t go quite as I planned (here’s my initial hopes post), but there were some parts that pleasantly surprised me and others that were downright frustrating – but I guess that’s life in Football :)

To start off the season, I didn’t go all that heavy into the transfer market and didn’t add too much during the year either.  I was only able to loan players out and not get full transfers for Tony Hibbert, Victor Anichebe, and Joao Silvia but I was able to get some decent up-front money for them as well as covering for their wages.  I ended up brining in Right Back Vegar Eggen Hedenstad who quickly became a fixture there for a modest $1.9 million and also added Arne Friedrich as a free transfer mid-year who helped add extra depth for me.  I then picked up an attacking midfielder Ravel Morrison in the January period for $1.9 million but he promptly got hurt and spent much of the year with the training staff :(  Despite not making too many moves, I was able to hold my own with the big boys (Chelsea, Man City, Man. U., etc) but what sunk me in the Premier league was my performances in games I should win.  Losses to folks like Blackburn, Wigan, Swansea, and the like made the ties and losses to the big clubs absolute killers.  I had originally hoped I could sneak into 4th place if I could hold my own against the big boys and win the games I should, but I lost just a couple too many games and wound up in 6th place.  However, the struggles I had on the league side were tempered by the success I had in tournaments as I was able to win not only the League Cup but the FA cup as well.  However, I think that is as much due to luck in teams losing as it was my good play.

English Premier Division Final StandingsEverton Team StatsMatch History Season StartMatch History Season Finish

After a more or less successful season of not only on the field progress but pretty tight control of the finances I was allowed to spend a decent amount of money during the offseason.  Given a budget of roughly $25 million, I set my eyes upon a striker since during the previous year Rodwell was my leading scorer with 14 goals, and Baines was tied for second with 9.  I zeroed in on my new-found favorite player Andre Shurrle but although I could afford him he had no interest in joining the squad.  After my initial heartbreak I started looking around and set my eyes on the glut of strikers over at Manchester United and was able to pry Welbeck away for just under $25 million.  Welbeck fits in very well as he’s young, fast, and English :)  In addition I also picked up another young English talent James McCarthy who will be a nice utility midfielder for me.  To offset these transfers, try to clean up my jam packed roster, and dump the overpaid and/or unhappy folks I unloaded a number of players either on free transfers or actual full transfers.  By getting rid of Seamus Coleman, Joseph Yobo, Jan Mucha, Victor Anichebe, Tony Hibbert, and Joao Silva I was able to bring in $32 million which covered completely the 2 stars I brought in.

One of the problems I was running into towards the end of the year were just too many people competing for too many spots.  And with the talent I have on my youth squad as well as the good prospects coming in, the older guys are just too darn costly to keep around, especially when they expect to start over clearly better players.

The only other big change I’ve made this year in the hopes of more offense, and since my side is changing slightly, is to install a 4-1-2-1-2 formation.  I still have my previous 4-3-3′s training as well but I think having 2 strikers up top playing off each other will work better then the pseudo wingers I was trying to force in there.

As for expectations, I really don’t think I’ll be able to have the same tournament run as I did last year but hopefully I’ll get somewhat far in the League and FA cups.  I really want to do well in the Euro Cup and am going to push VERY hard for a top 4 finish in the premier league.  That should then set me up very well for a strong Champions league run the following year as I should be able to attract some big time players and pay for them as well :)