So where did it go so wrong? At one point 7th in the league, only six points off the leaders, yet after a disastrous second half of the season I manage to finish last, in 22nd place. I can’t tell anyone what the secret of success is, but I’ve figured out what went wrong for me… and these are the things to avoid.
1.) Neglecting the ground:
Early on I made a decision that as I was only interested in the short-term and that as Penydarren Park had ample capacity I would not carry out any work on the ground, diverting the money into the playing budget instead. This was a massive mistake as I kept getting fines for poor hygiene and poor ground safety which tipped my finances into the red.
2.) Relying on loan players:
After being frustrated numerous times trying to sign a player I relied on loan players. This brought some short-term success however, I found that after a point I was unable to loan any more players. As I hadn’t addressed the underlying deficits in my squad this resulted in me having a terrible final third of the season.
3.) Neglecting the little details:
By neglecting to check all the small details I overlooked the player contract section. It just so happened that one of my forwards, Tucker, was out of contract and the first I knew about it was the fax telling me he’d left for Runcorn. With a small squad anyway this left a huge gap.
3.) Bad luck:
Of all players to lose to injury it had to be Hutchinson (AKA The Hutch) who was not just my top scorer, but also the leagues top scorer. Injured in training just days after his netting to secure a draw against Telford. The bad news was delivered by fax which informed me that it was an achillies which would keep the Hutch out for an estimated eleven weeks. Being without my star player, and unable to source a decent replacement, was a devastating blow and Merthyr slid to 22nd in his absence.
4.) Not having a manual:
Without a manual my tactics were no more than a case just trial and error and it was halfway through the season by the time I’d even figured out what I was doing.
5.) Team choice:
One interesting thing is to compare my performance to the real Merthyr Tydfil. Premier Manager 3 is based on the 1994-95 season during which Merthyr’s record was:
20th P 42 W11 D11 L20 F53 A63 Pts 44
Wheras my Premier Manager 3 record was:
22nd P42 W9 D12 L21 F35 A54 Pts 39
As you can see there’s actually not much in it; over the course of a 42 game season I drew one and lost one match more than the real Merthyr Tydfil managed. No doubt choosing a strong side can give you the best head-start. The top 5 teams that season were: Macclesfield, Woking, Southport, Altrincham and Stevenage