Football Manager Diary S3 – August – Return of the Crouch

Football Manager 2014 LogoSo we ran away with the Skrill Premier, and won the Carlsberg trophy in the first season.

In the second season we won the Johnstones Paint Trophy, looked to be running away with the league before being chased down, but holding on.

How will this season go?

The new players last month left the squad looking like this

332 - Squad

The key thing here was the input of a couple of wingers, to give me another option. Last year and the year before we played mainly a 41212, with a couple of games for a 41221 with two AM’s. The addition of wingers means I can play a 41221 with two wingers rather than attacking midfielders.

But lets get to it

1-8-15 – Bristol Rovers vs Scunthorpe

Heres the formation I’m starting with because Lawrence is injured.

334 formation

2 minutes in a ball goes upfront, Kellett overlaps on the left and Crouchy plays him in to give us the lead! 15 minutes in Crouchy has his first chance, but his shot is pushed around the corner. It’s all us, and we get corner after corner that isnt converted.

Into the second half and Crouchy slips through Brunt and he scores! On 65 minutes Crouchy has another chance, but shoots wide, and thats it

Bristol Rovers 2-0 Scunthorpe
Kellett (3), Brunt (49)
League Position – 3rd

We had 14 shots to their 3, and Crouchy won man of the match with 2 goals.

After the match I bring another loanee in

337 Ball

And a permanent signing to add winger depth

336 Gwion

Next match is the cup

4-8-15 – Bristol Rovers vs Crawley – Capital One Cup

Rotating the squad a bit, Lawrence is back so he starts, and Crouchy keeps his spot.

8 minutes in we have the lead through Johnson volleying in a Lawrence cross. Lawrence then dobles the lead with a shot from an angle. Shortly after its 2-1 with a shot that really looks like the keeper could have done better with. Crawley start to attack more, but having Crouchy up top is a real advantage when the ball gets cleared as he wins everything. He then puts Brando through, and his cross finds Johnson to make it 3-1

At the half I take Johnson off and bring on Gwion Edwards for his debut to test the winger formation with Lawrence on the left and Edwards on the right.

Within 2 minutes Lawrence runs onto a long ball and makes it 4-1. Crawley pull another back when a backpass goes short and their striker rounds Manonne to score.

Bristol Rovers 4-2 Crawley
Johnson (8, 38) Lawrence (21, 48) – Leitch-Smith (23, 71)

The draw is made

338 Draw

Oooo, only the second time we will have played a Premier league team.

I decide if I’m going to play a Premier League team I need something more.

339 - Board

Cheeky extra 10k a week is added to my budget.

8-8-15 – MK Dons (8th) vs Bristol Rovers (3rd)

Playing a slightly different formation, dropping the AM into midfield as Lawrence isnt fit and Ive no faith in my backup guy yet

13 mins in Parkes makes an awesome tackle on a Dons striker, the ball breaks and O’Neill gets up the right, crosses and CRRRROOOUCHYYY


Peter Crouch Robot Dance

A minute later its 2-0 with Brunt running onto a ball going through and scoring. It’s a superb start. The game slows down heading into half time.

Into the 2nd half Potter for the Dons curls a stunning shot into the topcorner. With 15 minutes to go Brunt bags another, curling in a free kick.

According to the stats the Dons had 9 shots to our 6, but none of them were highlights

MK Dons 1-3 Bristol Rovers
Potter (54) – Crouch (14), Brunt (15, 75)
League Position – 1st

I make a few enquiries about free transfers, but nothing gets sealed.

15-8-15 – Bristol Rovers (2nd) vs Doncaster (13th)

Lawrence is back so the 41212 is back.

Crouchy gets the first chance, but his chip attempt is saved. Doncaster break and a neat move sees Mannone get beat at the near post. We push back, and 5 minutes before time get a free kick which Lawrence curls in. Lawrence then hits the bar with a curler.

Into the second half and Crouchy is so boss that keepers are scared to touch him

340 - Crouchy


The rest of the half is end to end, and even, but no real killer chances.

Bristol Rovers 2-1 Doncaster
Lawrence (40), Crouch (48) – Hanley (21)
League Position – 2nd


22-8-15 – Rotherham (10th) vs Bristol Rovers (2nd)

Lets keep up this winning streak.

26 seconds in we’re 1-0 behind from a long ball getting headed in. FUCK.

3 minutes later a cross in and the left back Kellet has a shot saved then scores the rebound! 1-1

Rotherham push back and hit the bar. We’re still pushing tho, and a couple of neat passes ends with Crouchy on the ball and….

Crouch Clock


Into the second half and I want to get the win here…. and theres not a single highlight. Woop!

Rotherham 1-2 Bristol Rovers
Coulthirst (1) – Kellett (4), Crouch (39)
League Position – 1st

Fuck me I love Crouchy.

Next up is a massive match

25-8-15 – Bristol Rovers vs West Ham – Capital One Cup

Lets look at the line ups

340 West Am

Hmmm that doesnt look a great side.

In the early going Ravel Morrisson is absolutely ripping us apart, beating his man several times. He wins West Ham a 5th minute corner, and Cole crosses for Cala to score. Just 6 minutes later Cala scores again from another corner.

Goburn gets a chance but shoots wide, then we break again and Brando gets free on the left and scores! Atkinson then hits the bar for us with a wonder strike. Maiga hits the bar for West Ham as they push back. Its not a bad performance at half time, but we have only had 3 shots to their 8.

Into the second half and its all West Ham. Crouchy is trying to provide an outlet, but when he gets the ball he tries to hit it to the keeper but goes short and Maiga runs on and makes it 3-1! West Ham are constantly pressuring, so I try some subs, but it makes no difference. Theyre a much better side than us 🙁

We ended with 10 shots to their 13, so not too bad

Bristol Rovers 1-3 West Ham
Brando (36) – Cala (5, 11), Maiga (66)
Eliminated from the cup

Guthrie leaves us for Swindon for 68k. Another bit of profit.

Just before the next match Mannone picks up an injury and will be out for 4 weeks. And all of a sudden I realise Ive gone from 2 backup goalies last year to 0. I’m playing a 16yr old youth player in goal. FUCK.

29-8-15 – Bristol Rovers (1st) vs Mansfield (23rd)

Fucking scared. Crouchy gets a chance but its tipped around the post, from the corner they clear. Crouchy then hits the bar as he’s clearly in the mood. 10 minutes before half time Mansfield get their first chance and its a shot straight at the keeper…. which goes past him and in. FUCK OFF.

At half time I encourage the boys. I also bring on Atkinson, and just a minute in he gets on the right, crosses and CRRROOOUCCHYYYYY

Peter Crouch Robot Dance

What a man

Shortly after Mansfield break and a cross comes in, its headed AND THE KEEPER SAVES! We go up the other end and the ball gets passed to Crouchy and he SMASHES INNNNN

Crouch Clock

With 12 minutes left Mansfield push again, and the keeper saves but the ball falls to another player on the rebound and they equalise. FFS.

Luckily a minute later we get a free kick, Lawrence steps up and curls it in!

Thats how it ends. Phew.

Bristol Rovers 3-2 Mansfield
Crouch (47, 65), Lawrence (80) – Clucas (29), Whelpdale (78)
League Position – 1st

Thats 5 in 5 league cames for Crouchy.

Atkinson picked up an injury at the end of that match, and is out for 5-6 weeks

Also after the match I get this message

341 postponement

Nahhhhh. None of them are too important.

Thats the end of the month and its award time

342 Crouchy POTM

Fully deserved. What a guy.

343 MOTM

I owe it all to Crouchy.

The board are happy

348 board

169k loss jesus christ. But who cares when the league looks this good

352 - League