Hello again, friends and readers. We're back with the next chapter in the story of SB Nation United FC, the world's greatest fake football club. In this week's post, we're going to recap the first four months of the team's first season as they attempt to rise out of the Skrill Premier and move into League Two.
If you missed the beginning of the story, you can check it out here before continuing on with us.
Just a quick reminder before we get started: the following is pure fiction and is meant to be entertaining, absurd and fun. Please don't take this too seriously, but by all means, feel free to mock our tactics, transfers and results to your heart's content. Thanks to Sports Interactive and their game Football Manager 2014 for powering this adventure.
SBN United got off to a strong start in August with five wins and a draw. The season opener at the Olympic Stadium in London was a bit of a nail biter for the 51,395 in attendance as the Mustached Gentlemen rode a first minute goal from Tom Elliott to victory. The offense started clicking as the team settled in to Coach Woosley's tactics with back to back 3-1 away wins over Welling and Aldershot. 21-year-old midfielder Luke Berry was the start in the two wins scoring three goals, including a brace against Aldershot.
The 2-2 draw against Luton Town was a disappointment, as SBN FC gave up two late goals, including the equalizer in the 91st minute, to give up two points.
Speaking of that attendance number in the home opener, it set a new record of the club and the Skrill Premier. We love our fans!
The transfer window closed at the beginning of the month and SBN United were active as the staff looked to round out the roster.
Following the board's directive to go after big signings, MacAree and Woosley delivered a $180 million bid to Paris Saint-Germain for striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Perhaps shocked by the audacity of the bid, PSG accepted but sadly, Ibrahimovic and his agent refused to enter contract negotiations with the club.
Undaunted by the lack of success at bringing in Ibra, the staff turned their attention to more attainable transfer targets. Young striker Ben Pring was signed from Aldershot -- one for the future -- while midfielder Josh Falkingham was brought in from Dunfermline to held provide some depth in the spine of the formation.
The team also signed Junior Brown (left wing depth) and midfielder Aaron Wildig (who can play centrally or on the right wing) so provide some depth. The biggest addition at the deadline though was striker Matt Derbyshire on a free transfer from Nottingham Forest. Derbyshire brought Premier League experience and veteran leadership to the locker room, a key ingredient for a team looking to move their way up quickly.
There were three players let go before the window closed, as Delano Sam-Yorke, Luke Allen and Josh Coulson all left the team. Apparently happy with the state of the roster, no more moves were made. The board remained annoyed at the lack "big" signings, apparently unaware that all the money and stature in the world can't convince leading stars to play for a team in the fifth division of English football.
Coach Woosley and his staff remained under pressure from the board after failing to secure a "big" signing in their eyes but fortunately, results on the field more than made up for that.
Just like August, SBN United went 5-0-1 in September with a scoreless draw away against Alfreton being the only blemish on the record. American goalkeeper Dominic Cervi was particular strong with three clean sheets as the defense never allowed more than a single goal in any game. Striker Matt Derbyshire's four goals led the way for the Mustached Gentlemen.
Woosley was honored for his team's performance, winning the Skrill Premier Manager of the Month award.
Continuing the trend of winning every match but one, SBN United went 4-0-1 in October, including a big 6-2 win in their FA Cup qualifier against Billericay Town. Derbyshire again led the way with four more goals but 16-year-old striker Jack Cook scored his first career goals with the senior team and left winger Harrison Dunk began to emerge as a key member of the starting lineup.
Another month with a single draw against wins in all other matches? Of course! SBN United's FA Cup campaign continued with a 3-1 win over Chesterfield that was televised. It was the first match of the season to find it's watch onto the airwaves and the team didn't disappoint. Surprisingly, it was defender Yado Mambo who did the damage for the Mustached Gentlemen scoring twice in the first half while a second half own-goal secured the result.
The road to the FA Trophy, a target for the club, began as well at the end of the month with a 4-0 thumping of Luton. It was nice payback for the draw back in August as Matt Derbyshire led the way with a hat trick.
So at the close of November SB Nation United were at the top of the Skrill Premier with a 15-0-4 record with 59 points. The club was also still alive in the FA Cup, with a second-round match against Crewe on the schedule for December. The FA Trophy campaign was on track as well with a second round match against Aldershot on the schedule as well in December.
Will the march towards two potential trophies continue? Will the outstanding league form be able to withstand the packed schedule in the final month of 2013? Answers to those questions and more are coming next week as we continue with the story of SB Nation United!
Until next time, enjoy your football...pretend or otherwise.