Super 6 – 4th July 2020

Manchester United 3-0 Bournemouth
Leicester City 2-1 Crystal Palace
Blackburn Rovers 1-2 Leeds United
Bristol City 1-1 Cardiff City
Brentford 3-1 Wigan Athletic
Fulham 2-0 Birmingham City

Leave a comment with your Super 6 predictions.

Super 6 – 1st July 2020

Arsenal 3-0 Norwich City
Everton 1-2 Leicester City
Bournemouth 0-1 Newcastle United
Nottingham Forest 2-1 Bristol City
Sheffield Wednesday 1-2 West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United 1-3 Chelsea

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Super 6 – 14th December

Chelsea 2-1 Bournemouth
Leicester City 3-0 Norwich City
Sheffield United 2-1 Aston Villa
Burnley 1-1 Newcastle United
Leeds United 2-1 Cardiff City
Nottingham Forest 1-1 Sheffield Wednesday

Leave a comment with your Super 6 predictions.

Super 6 – 4th December

Manchester United 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Chelsea 3-1 Aston Villa
Leicester City 3-0 Watford
Southampton 1-1 Norwich City
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 West Ham United
Liverpool 2-0 Everton

Leave a comment with your Super 6 predictions.

Super 6 – 23rd November

Crystal Palace 1-2 Liverpool
Arsenal 3-1 Southampton
Brighton and Hove Albion 0-2 Leicester City
Everton 2-1 Norwich City
Bournemouth 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Watford 2-1 Burnley

Leave a comment with your Super 6 predictions.

Super 6 – 19th October

Chelsea 2-1 Newcastle United
Tottenham Hotpsur 1-0 Watford
Aston Villa 2-2 Brighton and Hove Albion
Leicester City 2-0 Burnley
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-1 Southampton
Bournemouth 2-1 Norwich City

Leave a comment with your predictions

Super 6 – 24th September

Arsenal 2-1 Nottingham Forest
Colchester United 1-3 Tottenham Hotspur
Luton Town 2-1 Leicester City
Portsmouth 2-1 Southampton
Preston North End 1-4 Manchester City
Sheffield Wednesday 1-1 Everton

Leave a comment with your Super 6 predictions.

Super 6 – 14th September

Brighton and Hove Albion 1-1 Burnley
Manchester United 1-1 Leicester City
Sheffield United 2-1 Southampton
Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Crystal Palace
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 Chelsea
Swansea City 2-1 Nottingham Forest

Leave a comment with your Super 6 predictions and how you did.

Super 6 – 31st August 2019

Chelsea 3-1 Sheffield United
Crystal Palace 2-1 Aston Villa
Leicester City 2-1 Bournemouth
Manchester City 4-0 Brighton and Hove Albion
Newcastle United 1-1 Watford
West Ham United 2-2 Norwich City

Leave a comment with your predictions and how you did.

Super 6 – 24th August 2019

Brighton and Hove Albion 1-2 Southampton
Manchester United 2-0 Crystal Palace
Sheffield United 1-2 Leicester City
Watford 1-1 West Ham United
Fulham 2-1 Nottingham Forest
Huddersfield Town 1-1 Reading

Leave a comment with your predictions and how you did on the week.

Growing the Grecians #53 – We’re doing a goal!

After our barren spell continued in a nightmare show last time out, our final match of the calendar year is at home.

Date: Saturday 30th December 2016
Opponent: Leicester City (14th)
Venue: St. James Park
Odds: Exeter City=5/4, Draw=11/5, Leicester City=7/4
Weather: Breeze, light snow, 0C
Referee: Mr. Andre Marriner

Jonny Hayes makes his 100th league appearance for us and hopefully we can make it memorable for all the right reasons. We start like an express train and in the first minute, Bertin Matip plays the ball through the defence for Federico Cenci to run on to. Schmeichel is alert and rushes out, just getting to the ball first. Four minutes later, Michel shoots from 20 yards, but it’s just wide. Bouaza takes an outswinging corner in the 8th minute and Evans unmarked at the far post. He’s 10 yards out, but he’s evidently taken pity on our non-existent marking and heads over. We go straight up the other end and Michele Marconi tests Schmeichel from 25 yards; the effort is tipped over for a corner. Matip takes the resulting corner and it’s an outswinging one met by the head of Cenci 6 yards out at the near post. The header gets deflected and falls to Jagos Vukovic at the far post; he shoots from 6 yards and Schmeichel scampers across his line and is able to smother the shot, which just about sums up our current luck in front of goal. Matip takes an inswinging corner in the 14th minute and Cenci meets it at the near post with his head. There’s no deflection this time on his header from 6 yards and he beats Schmeichel. However, he doesn’t beat van den Maarel who is on the line and clears to safety. It’s looking like another frustrating afternoon and I can’t help but feel we’re going to get punished. One minute later, Cenci goes close again; this time it’s a shot from 18 yards that goes just wide after a pass from Lubomir Zapotoka. Cenci looks to turn provider in the 21st minute, crossing from the left. His cross finds Hayes, who spurns the opportunity to mark his milestone with a goal by heading over the bar from 12 yards. We continue to pile the pressure on and a free kick from Matip from the right in the 24th minute finds Luca D’Avanzo. He shoots from 8 yards and Schmeichel is able to parry before his defence helps him out and clears to safety. Romao enters Mr. Marriner’s book in the 37th minute after a foul on Michel. Five minutes before half time, Evans plays in Bouaza and he shoots straight away from 16 yards. The ball hits the post and bounces to safety. In the first minute of stoppage time, Hayes picks up the ball and makes a strong run into the area before shooting from 16 yards. A diving save by a full-stretch Schmeichel keeps the ball out and Leicester clear to the sound of the half time whistle.

We start the second half on the front foot and four minutes into the half, a long Roman Chaloupka free kick finds Marconi, who looks to chip Schmeichel from 20 yards; the effort goes wide. Leicester show that they’re still in the game when Friend shoots from 20 yards in the 55th minute. Jonathan Bond is alert and tips the ball around the post for a corner. In the 58th minute, we win a free kick 25 yards out. Cenci steps up. He lifts the ball over the wall. It’s dropping. Schmeichel dives to his left. He gets a hand to it. But it’s not enough. The ball’s over the line and in the top corner. Cenci has his 14th goal of the season and we’ve finally scored!

Hayes plays in Cenci in the 64th minute and he snaps a shot straight off from 16 yards that Schmeichel is able to save and Leicester are able to clear the rebound. Two minutes later, Buckley shoots from a tight angle and Bond concedes a corner. I decide that we could do with a bit more experience on the field and bring on Dacian Varga for Hayes in the 68th minute. Varga goes to the left wing, with Cenci moving across to the right wing. Matip enters Mr. Marriner’s book one minute later after fouling Ljublic. Michel goes close to doubling our lead in the 76th minute, but he’s unable to keep his shot from 16 yards down. Jan Pavlov comes on from Bradley Johnson in the 78th minute as I look to make our midfield more defensive-minded. With 10 minutes to go, Cenci goes down in the area. Mr. Marriner’s whistle goes and out comes a card. Cenci is booked for diving. Leicester take the free kick and Evans is booked for fouling Zapotoka. Mills in forced to go off injured in the 82nd minute after colliding with Cenci. In the first minute of stoppage time, the game is winding down. Pavlov has the ball and Guthrie scythes him down, earning himself a straight red card from Mr. Marriner.

Result: Exeter City 1-0 Leicester City
Man of the Match: Federico Cenci
Ratings: GK-Bond (7.0), DR-Zapotoka (7.5), DCR-D’Avanzo (7.1), DCL-Vukovic (7.2), DL-Chaloupka (7.3), MCR-Matip (6.9, booked), MCL-Johnson (6.9, sub 76), AMR-Hayes (6.9, sub 68), AMC-Michel (6.9), AML-Cenci (7.7, G), ST-Marconi (6.7). Subs-Varga (6.8, on 68), Pavlov (on 76). Unused-Spasov, Rentea, Keane.
Attendance: 8,714
League Position: 1st

A deserved win for us as we had all the best chances and finally we’ve had some luck in front of goal. We could have scored more, but it’s a relief just to have scored again. If we had a goal of the month competition, Cenci would be the clear winner, having scored our only goal of the month. It’s not something he’ll be repeating next time out as his yellow card was his 5th of the season, bringing a one game ban.

Goal of the Month is won by Crystal Palace’s Sean Scannell. Gregg Wylde of Nottingham Forest is Player of the Month, Erik Smedts of Derby County is Young Player of the Month and Mike Phelan of Nottingham Forest wins Manager of the Month. In League 2, Rob McNally (on loan at Bristol Rovers) comes second in the Young Player of the Month awards.

Eleventh-placed Leeds United sack David Moyes. The media make me favourite to replace him, but I tell them I have no interest in taking the Leeds job.

The Football Free Press report that I’m interested in signing defender Alexander Hien from Frankfurt for £1.8 million. He’s not on my shortlist and is also out of my price range.

The start of January sees the transfer window open and reinforcements arrive:

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Norwood #FM12

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O'Toole #FM12

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Adamek #FM12

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Krejcik #FM12

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Norwood cost £140,000 from Leicester, O’Toole £350,000 from Leeds, Adamek on a free from Sigma Olomouc and Krejicj from Most on a free. The reinforcements in midfield prove to be timely as Cameroon call up Bertin Matip for the African Cup of Nations.

Philipp Langer returns from his loan spell at Leeds and Ebbsfleet offer to extend Tomasz Surowiak’s loan until the end of the season, which I agree to.

We receive a transfer offer for Federico Cenci from Fiorentina. They offer £1.2 million and a friendly. It would be my record fee received, but I reject it without thinking twice as Cenci is a key player for us.

Read Growing the Grecians #54.

Read from Growing the Grecians #1.

Growing the Grecians #28 – Who will have the power?

Our first away match in the league follows on from our League Cup victory.

Matchday Information

Date: Saturday 13th August 2016
Opponent: Leicester City
Venue: King Power Stadium
Odds: Leicester City=Evens (favourites), Draw=11/5, Exeter City=11/5
Weather: Dry, 19C
Referee: Mr Anthony Taylor

With the return to league action, there are plenty of faces that return to the starting XI, including Jagos Vukovic, who makes his 75th league appearance for us. Loic Fournier retains his place in midfield, giving him his league debut for us. In the third minute, McGowan shoots from 25 yards. Jonathan Bond is behind the ball, but he spills it and we’re able to clear it for a throw-in. Bond is beaten in the tenth minute, but Schlupp’s shot from 20 yards hits the crossbar. Leicester continue with the pressure and find the net in the 20th minute. Fortunately for us, it’s the side-netting as an outswinging Guthrie corner is met by Afobe’s head 6 yards out at the near post. I change tactics in the 24th minute, with Michel dropping back into central midfield and Fournier dropping back to become a defensive midfielder as I try to stop the constant pressure on our goal. It does succeed in limiting Leicester’s chances, although they continue to win throw-ins that McGowan hurls into the box. In the 41st minute, Mills flicks a ball on at the near post and it goes in from 3 yards out to give Leicester the lead. We have a chance to level before half-time, but Dacian Varga’s shot from 18 yards goes wide.

Varga has the first chance of the second half in the 52nd minute when he is played in by Jonny Hayes, but Schmeichel is off his line quickly and saves at the expense of a corner. Ten minutes later, Michel bursts into the area and shoots from 18 yards, but Schmeichel is alert again and concedes another corner. This sparks a change of tactics, with Fournier going back to central midfield and Michel going back to attacking midfield as we chase the equaliser. I make my first substitution in the 71st minute as midweek hat-trick hero Will Keane comes on for Varga; Keane goes up front and Federico Cenci moves to attacking left wing. The change is followed by another chance a minute later, but it’s Leicester’s first chance of note of the second half as Gislasson shoots from 12 yards. Bond parries the shot and we clear it for a throw-in. I make another change in the 80th minute with Ryan Mason coming on for Michel, but we don’t create anything else of note and Leicester hold on. It was a match that was like an end of season game between two teams with nothing to play for and it took us a long time to get going and even when we did, we didn’t look all that great, so it seems as though I’ve got some work ahead.

Post Match

Result: Leicester City 1-0 Exeter City
Man of the Match: Mills
Ratings: GK-Bond (6.7); DR-Rentea (6.8); DCR-Berger (7.0); DCL-Vukovic (6.8); DL-Riccardi (6.8); MCR-Matip (6.8) MCL-Fournier (6.8); AMR-Hayes (6.9); AMC-Michel (6.7, off 80); AML-Varga (6.3, off 71); ST-Cenci (6.6). Subs-Keane (6.4, on 71); Mason (on 80). Unused-Spasov, King, Spearing
Attendance: 27,600
League Position: 12th
Match Stats:

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Leicester stats #FM12

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Alessandro Torrente, the manager of Torino, was one of the 27,600 in attendance and the rumours in the media are that he was watching Federico Cenci. Following Cenci’s performance against Leicester, it’s unlikely that any bid will follow, but we’re going to need him to play better than that for us. Oxford United offer to loan Nathan Holland for 5 months and I agree and he joins them. Cremonese offer to loan Adolfo Mannino for the season and I accept their offer, but he rejects the move to them. I also receive a loan offer for Rob McNally for 5 months from Bristol Rovers and I accept the offer and he agrees to join them. There is bad news for Jonathan Bond, who injures his chest in training and will be out for around 2 weeks.

Read Growing the Grecians #29.

Read from Growing the Grecians #1.

Growing the Grecians #18 – Favourites against Foxes

After our Easter fixtures, we welcome 9th-placed Leicester City to St. James Park. The bookies make us 5/4 favourites and I name the same starting XI that started our defeat at Newcastle a week ago, which results in Dacian Varga making his 150th league appearance for the club – hopefully we can make it a happy occasion. It’s a slow start, with the first action of note coming in the 15th minute when Friend is booked for fouling Sean Morrison. Eleven minutes later, Jonathan Bond joins him in the book after collecting the ball inside the area, but sliding out. Romao’s name is added to the book a minute later after fouling Michel. The first chance of note comes in the 32nd minute when Bertin Matip takes an inswinging corner, which is met by Bradley Johnson at the near post; it’s met very well and he heads it in for his 12th goal of the season (and the 50th of his career) to give us the lead.

Leicester’s first chance of note comes in the 48th minute when Buckley shoots straight at Bond, who is unable to hold on, but we’re able to clear. This seems to inspire us to push on and four minutes later, a Jonny Hayes free kick from the right finds Varga unmarked at the far post. It’s a glorious chance to mark his 150th game for us, but he can only head over. In the 58th minute, McGowan fouls Michele Marconi. It’s in the area. Penalty! Marconi picks himself up and fires to Schmeichel’s right, but he produces a world-class save to concede a corner. After recent performances and results, it feels like a changing point in the game and as though it’s going to continue. The referee books two more players: Johnson for fouling Buckley and Ridgewell for fouling Hayes. In the 69th minute, I replace Marconi with Aiman Mustafa. Nine minutes after being introduced, Michel lays the ball off to him and he passes the ball into the net from 20 yards for his first ever goal for the club. I react to us going 2-0 up by withdrawing Johnson (don’t want him getting sent off!) for Ryan Mason in the 79th minute. A minute before time, Matip makes his way into the referee’s book following a foul on Buckley. There’s time for one more chance in the second minute of stoppage time when Hayes bursts into the area, but his shot from 16 yards goes wide, but the 8,714 in attendance can’t complain too much. Bertin Matip is named Man of the Match with a rating of 8.3 and an assist and we stay 4th with a good result and a better performance than we have been putting in recently.

Following his Man of the Match performance, Bertin Matip is named in the Championship Team of the Week. There’s no good news for Scunthorpe United though as they are relegated from the Championship. We welcome back some players from loan: Nathan Holland and Bartosz Lukasik from Bristol Rovers, Clement Baud from Brentford, Allen Ababio from Coventry City and Busao from MK Dons. We also welcome some more players on trial for a week: Honduran M/AML Sergio Gerardo Rodas, Salvadoran DC Mitton Mejia Carrillos, Iranian GK Behzad Moradi, South African AMC/ST Brian Mzizi, Cameroonian DC Theirry Haman, Chilean WBL Manuel Meneses, Lithuanian ST Vaidotas Vasililauskas, Burkinade MC Adama Kabore, Algerian DC Abdelphani Assas, New Zealand DM/M (RC) Tom Nikolic, Honduran AMC/ST Luis Rodas, Nigerian ST Patrick Festus, Chilean ST Karir Villarroel and Slovakian MC Vladimir Stano. I add Stephen Pears (Goalkeeping Coach) to my backroom staff and start recruiting for the 2016/17 season as there’s plenty of interest in my players. Joining us for the 2016/17 season will be Danish DC Lasse Karlsen when his Volendam contract ends, whilst French DM/MC Loic Fourmer and French AM (LC) Alain Besse will be joining us from Auxerre when their contracts expire.

Read Growing the Grecians #19.

Read from Growing the Grecians #1.