Way back in the mists of time, there existed a book that described how you could have travelled throughout the European continent for the princely sum of $5 a day. Budget friendly thrills.
I figured this could translate to FM as I continued my search for a save to get my teeth into. The Premier League is one of the toughest leagues to win in the current climate. I will make it even harder by only spending a maximum of £1million on any player. Add to that, I will only make one or two free agent signings per season. Finally, any loans I get in will have to have no fee.
There seemed to be only one team to pick to make it a little harder. Norwich City
So, midway through the fifth season and I realised I haven’t mentioned the youth players that have come through on my shift. Currently, we have 8 youth academy players that have graduated to the 25 man squad since I have taken charge, which is pretty good from my point of view
Let’s look at their performances. (TPG: Tackles per game; DPG: Dribbles per game; CP90: Conceded Per 90 minutes; CLN: Clean Sheets )
Brian McCarthy: Position: GK, Intake Year: 19/20, Games: 106, Goals —, Assists —, CP90: 1.01, CLN: 47 Pass%: 86%, Avg Rating: 6.91: Brian has made the Norwich #41 shirt his own in his time at the club, superceding Tim Krul after his first season. During his time at the club, Brian has won the UEFA Conference League, the UEFA Europa League and three Carabao Cup titles. He’s also made 9 appearances at international level for the Republic of Ireland.
Stephen Goode: Position: ST, Intake Year: 19/20, Games: 71, Goals 44, Assists 16, TPG: 0.52, Pass%: 82%, DPG: 2.61, Avg Rating: 7.16: Stephen made his debut in the last game of his first season. He then spent the next season in the U-18s before spending a breakout season at Portsmouth, where he scored 27 goals and won the Sky Bet Championship Golden Boot and EFL Young Player of the Year.
This got him a promotion to the first team where in one and a half seasons, he plundered 44 goals as the main striker. This won him the 2023 European Golden Boy & World U-21 Footballer of the Year awards, along with the 2022/23 Premier League Golden Boot and the Players’ Young Player of the Year individual awards. Stephen also collected 2022/23 Carabao Cup and UEFA Europa League winners medals.
Stephen made his England international debut against Slovakia in March 2023 and went on to make 8 appearances, scoring 5 goals.
Samir Gherbi Position: DM, Intake Year: 19/20, Games: 51, Goals 4, Assists 4, TPG: 3.70, Pass%: 83%, DPG: 0.81, Avg Rating: 7.18: Samir was a slow burner when it came to first team football, making only 10 appearances in his first three seasons at the club. He was then loaned to feeder club Rochdale in January 2022 where he made 10 appearances for them. On his return, Gherbi was getting starts in rotational games and played every game in Europe before becoming first choice DM this season. So far, Gherbi has two Carabao Cups, a UEFA Europa Conference League and a UEFA Europa League winners medals in his short time at the club and looks to add to it.
Zac Hall: Position: AMRC, Intake Year: 20/21, Games: 59, Goals 4, Assists 12, TPG: 2.98, Pass%: 87%, DPG: 2.27, Avg Rating: 7.00: Zac followed a well-worn path to the first team. He debuted in the last game of his first season, played in the cups in the second season, then moved to the first team in season 3. Playing mainly in away games, due to the formation deployed, he’s been quiet & consistent, if unspectacular. Zac has a UEFA Europa Conference League winner’s medal to go with his UEFA Europa League and 2022/23 Carabao Cup winner’s medals.
Finlay Butcher: Position: D/M/AMR, Intake Year: 20/21, Games: 49, Goals 5, Assists 13, TPG: 4.19, Pass%: 84%, DPG: 2.88, Avg Rating: 7.09: Finlay is the first of the academy products to find himself as a backup, due to the talents of Max Aarons ahead of him. However, in limited appearances, Finley has done well, having his best season in 2022/23, playing a career high of 26 games that season in all competitions. He has the same amount of silverware as Zac Hall, having come into the 25-man squad about the same time.
Cameron Hope: Position: MRC/AMC, Intake Year: 21/22, Games: 12, Goals 3, Assists 3, TPG: 2.63, Pass%: 83%, DPG: 1.50, Avg Rating: 7.56: Cameron is a newcomer to the 25 man first team squad, having only graduated full time this season. No silverware yet, but his talents will hopefully keep him in the first team for time to come.
Deniz Demir: Position: M/AMR/ST, Intake Year: 20/21, Games: 24, Goals 2, Assists 5, TPG: 2.87, Pass%: 75%, DPG: 2.94, Avg Rating: 6.78: Deniz is also a recent graduate to the 25-man first team. Appearing in 8 games in 2021/22, he was sent on loan to Coventry City in 2022/23 where he scored 8 times and assisted 13 times in 37 games as he won the Sky Bet League One Player of the Year. This season, he was again farmed out on loan, this time to Championship side Cardiff City, but only made one sub appearance before being recalled due to player sales and his promotion to the rotational side. Deniz also has a UEFA Europa Conference League winner’s medal in his drawer.
Mark Cole: Position: DM, Intake Year: 20/21, Games: 8, Goals 2, Assists 0, TPG: 3.71, Pass%: 82%, DPG: —, Avg Rating: 7.45: Mark makes this list just barely. Having only appeared in 8 games between 2021 & 2023, his opportunities have been limited, however he won the Premier League, Club, Match of the Day Goal of the Season awards, as well as a FIFA Puskas Award for this stunning strike. Mark spent 6 months on loan at Gillingham in the latter half of the 2022/23 season and then spent the first 6 months of this season on loan to feeder club Crewe Alexandra before returning and becoming the rotational DM in the side.
Youth Transfers Out
So far in the near-on five seasons I’ve been at the helm of the club, we have only sold six youth team players (and released many more)
MRC/ST Yann Fabre-Perrot -> £230k inc clauses to Nimes Olympique.
AMR/ST Kevin Woodman -> £750k to Stoke City
D/WBR Adam Reeves -> £750k to Stoke City
ML/AMLC/ST Emeka Johnson -> £2.5m to Derby County
GK Derek Cogdan -> £525k to Leicester City
DC Tom Hawkridge -> £300k to Wycombe Wanderers
All with 50% sell-on clauses, but only one was sold for over a million.