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Francesc Fabregas

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Everything posted by Francesc Fabregas

  1. I don't want to suggest signing players who've done well for us in the past but I think we'd benefit by dipping into that nostalgic market. Callum Yeats would be an obvious pick - a good left-back, someone who seems to enjoy playing for Stenhousemuir and someone who would complete a strong back four - and maybe someone like Kieran Millar too to race about and complement Nat Wedderburn in the middle of the park (although with Mikey Anderson staying on, there might be less need for a player of his profile). What about getting Paddy Martin back on loan from Falkirk? He did well with us in the garbage 2020/21 season and is probably a better option than this "Conor Brennan". Nathan Flanagan would be a decent shout on the right of midfield and Sammy Ompreon looked useful at spells for Cowdenbeath over the part of the season. I do worry we'll be scratching around Dumbarton and Clyde's released players and end up bringing in Paddy Boyle or Robert Jones to "add something different". No thank you!
  2. It's been a week or so since we've had any updates from the club about players coming and going but does anyone know what's happening/happened with: Josh Grigor Declan Hughes Jamie Mills I'm going to assume that all three are leaving/have already left the club.
  3. I have updated the title of this thread to reflect the fact we are entering the 2022/23 campaign. I'm looking forward to seeing you all there!
  4. Ross Lyon, Darren Christie and David Wilson have all left the club: There was a reasonable case to keep all three players. Lyon was one of our better players in the first half of the season, playing at right- and left-back, but an untimely injury and Adam Corbett's rise to prominence (as well as Callum Yeats' signing) saw him drop to the bench. I reckon he'll get signed up with another League 2 side, or a fag-end team in League 1, no bother. Christie was a decent impact sub and was always capable to creating something when introduced late on in games (although I never felt he contributed enough when he started matches). There was also a school of thought that he was one of the "fittest players in the team" but according to Transfermarkt, he only completed 90 minutes four times in his 34 appearances. He can now take some time out and tweet about Rangers. Wilson is a decent reserve goalkeeper, and he looked good in the latter part of the season when he deputised for Peter Urminksy, but he made a lot of mistakes after replacing Ryan Marshall in September and I don't think he really regained the trust of his manager and the support. Nevertheless, I would have kept him as back-up to Conor Brennan for the new campaign. Good luck to all three of them - they each made a contribution at various points in their own way.
  5. The club have announced the departure of several players this afternoon via social media (and instead of putting them in a list, they've been tweeted out one by one, which took ages). The players leaving Ochilview are: Cammy Graham Ryan Marshall Jordan Tapping Meanwhile, James Lyon, Spencer Moreland and Peter Urminsky are returning to their parent clubs. What does this mean for the likes of Graeme Smith, Declan Hughes and Ross Lyon? Tune in soon to find out!
  6. GOALKEEPERS Conor Brennan (signed from East Kilbride) DEFENDERS Adam Corbett Sean Crighton Daniel Higgins (signed from East Fife) Nicky Jamieson MIDFIELDERS Mikey Anderson Adam Brown Ross Forbes Mikey Miller (signed from Ayr United - loan made permanent) Nat Wedderburn FORWARDS Euan O'Reilly Tam Orr
  7. Aye, signing Mikey Miller up for the next two years is a really good piece of business. Hard working, versatile, good on the ball, he looks classy wherever he's fielded, be it in central midfield or at right-back. I thought other teams might be in for him so I'm glad he's sticking around at Ochilview. Lovely stuff!
  8. Hmm. It's only fair to reserve judgement on both players until you've watched them for seven or eight matches but on paper, these are underwhelming signings. I've spoken to a few people about Conor Brennan and no-one's had anything positive to say about him, with "saving shots" and "catching crosses" being two of his main weaknesses. His career appears to have been on a downward trajectory since leaving Kilmarnock in 2016 and I'm not convinced bringing in a goalkeeper from East Kilbride will be an enormous upgrade on Ryan Marshall or David Wilson - this was a position we had to get correct straight away! Nevertheless, I hope I'm proved wrong and Brennan can do us a solid turn. As for Daniel Higgins, CoveRangers1922 above me has written up a nice summation. I imagine he's been brought into the club as the third-choice centre-back behind Sean Crighton and Nicky Jamieson. An associate has told me Higgins is good with the ball at his feet but isn't terribly aggressive, and he couldn't get into one of the worst East Fife sides in the past decade. Oddly, I remember him playing for Cove Rangers when Stenhousemuir beat them 3-2 in October 2019 and thinking he wasn't tremendous that afternoon. Still! Plenty of time to bring in some players that will add pedigree and razzmatazz to the squad!
  9. You cannot brand someone who played in less than a quarter of our league matches as "hugely responsible" for the failure to make the play-offs! Ryan Marshall was a poor goalkeeper, sure, but let's not be silly here. Using that metric, Jordan Tapping would be "hugely responsible" too given he was responsible for giving away so many goals in his eight league appearances. We have well and truly entered "two-bald-men-fighting-over-a-comb territory" and I'll say no more on the matter!
  10. Robert Thomson has left the club, according to the Stenhousemuir FC Twitter page. I'm sorry to see him go - on his day, he could be an excellent forward and seemed a couple of steps ahead of those around him. The injury he suffered at Cowdenbeath really derailed his season and he wasn't really the same player when he returned to action. He could sometimes look sluggish and off the pace. I felt that with a good pre-season behind him, he would make a big impact in 2022/23, but that will be somewhere else now (most likely Stirling Albion).
  11. I was looking up his appearances over the course of the campaign and Ryan Marshall only played seven times in the league - it somehow felt like a lot more. He was responsible for the goal we lost in the 1-0 defeat to Edinburgh City (although Nicky Jamieson didn't look too clever here either and if Tam Orr had scored his penalty, we probably would have left Ainslie Park with a point); there was the infamous Kelty Hearts match, the worst performance I think I've seen from a Stenhousemuir goalkeeper; and his last appearance, the 2-0 home defeat to Cowdenbeath where both goals seemed to pass through him. It's easy to pick on Marshall, and I've done it myself plenty of times over the course of the year, but I think he's a bit further down on the "blame list", for want of a better expression, as to why the season ended in failure. I've said it elsewhere on this thread but signing so many players from the Lowland League, players who made the overall quality of the squad poorer, cost us. Bringing in someone like Ross Forbes and not really having a clue how best to use him cost us. Churning through so many full-backs and defensive combinations in the hope that something worked out cost us. Our inability to get the better of some of the division's poorer sides cost us. This season has been a big learning curve for Stephen Swift but I like him too and I'm hopeful for next term. I would never be as arrogant enough to suggest we can win the division but I'd like to imagine we'll be in with a shout for promotion.
  12. A lot of people seem to be hung up on the fact that Spencer Moreland was brought in and wasn't given any game time. He joined the club back in January when we were short in numbers in midfield and was never going to be anything other than a squad filler. I imagine he was costing the club buttons too. He played about 25 minutes against Forfar Athletic on Saturday, got pushed around a bit and gave the ball away a couple of times.
  13. It's interesting listening to the post-match comments from Stephen Swift and Sean Crighton with them both citing the fact that we had to spend the summer building virtually a brand new side as the reason we failed to make the play-offs. That recruitment drive has been brought up by the manager a lot over the past week - it doesn't really wash, because we had plenty of opportunities to get into the top four this season. The manager said he's looking to keep about 10 or 11 from the current squad so there's no excuses if the team fails to challenge for promotion next term.
  14. We finished this damp squib of a season with a damp squib of an encounter against Forfar Athletic at Station Park. The centre-backs were strong, Mikey Miller looked decent at right-back and Euan O'Reilly had a couple of decent runs down the left but the Loons were the better side over the piece and forced David Wilson into a couple of smart saves. The game lacked any tension and it felt as though both sides were going through the motions. There were a number of rumours kicking around over the course of the afternoon, in terms of players moving on elsewhere and players staying on for the season ahead. Some interesting stuff, that's for sure! The highlight of the day was Stephen Swift making the point of high-fiving the travelling support. It was a nice touch - I've been quite critical of his lack of communication and interaction with fans so it was good to see. Bring on 2022/23!
  15. Excellent, that's another really good piece of business. After a slow start, Tam Orr really lived up to his billing and, at one point, was the hottest centre-forward in the country. The scoring run he went on between December and March was stupendous and his movement and guile inside the box cannot be overestimated. If we can sign up Robert Thomson and another striker (someone better than Ryan Tierney), we'll be well stocked in the forward areas for the new campaign. Things are coming together quite well!
  16. It's difficult to think of a decent left- and right-back over the course of the season (Adam Corbett was the only one that stuck out for me and that's probably because I watched him every week) but I think there's a bit of debate with PFA Scotland's final team. Brian Schwake (Edinburgh City) has been the best goalkeeper I've seen this season and saved a lot of points for his team. At centre-back, Tam O'Ware (Kelty Hearts) has generally strolled it whenever I've seen him, as has Nicky Jamieson (Stenhousemuir). Further forward, Jamie Barjonas (Kelty Hearts) and Owen Moxon (Annan Athletic) deserved their places in the side but I was surprised to see that Michael Tidser (Kelty Hearts) wasn't included - he completely ran the midfield every time I saw him to the point it felt as if he was several seconds ahead of everyone else. In attack, I think Nathan Austin (Kelty Hearts) earns his place as the league's top scorer, while Joe Cardle (Kelty Hearts) was the often the trickiest and most threatening winger in the division. I'm genuinely struggling to think of a final forward so I'd probably stick Tam Orr (Stenhousemuir) in there. His season has been bookended with so-so performances but the period between December and March means he earns his place.
  17. That's two excellent pieces of news - the first is that Nat Wedderburn, Sean Crighton and Adam Brown were already contracted for next year, and the second is that Adam Corbett and Mikey Anderson have agreed terms for the upcoming campaign. Wedderburn is probably the most important player in the team and everything good seems to go through him; Crighton's performances, on the whole, have been "okay" but I think his influence on the team extends beyond what we see on the park and I think he's an terrific person to have around Ochilview; and Brown has chipped in with a number of goals and assists over the course of the season. He does have the tendency to dip in and out of matches but I like watching him play, with his chest puffed out and his clever passes into the final third. It's been tremendous to watch Corbett's development over the past 18 months. When he first joined the club in January 2021, his footballing ability was obvious but he seemed soft-centred and a little overawed with the physicality of League 2. I remember him being removed at half-time in a 1-0 home defeat to Albion Rovers where he was pushed around and dominated by Matty Aitken and Kyle Doherty and thinking he'd probably end up going out on loan at the beginning of new season. I also thought he had the skillset to become a decent full-back (I might have written it somewhere in this thread!) but he's exceeded my expectations since being recast in the role in December. He's scored five times from the position, including a lovely goal at home against Forfar Athletic, and seems to have set up Tam Orr a number of times in the past few months. If he can build on his level of performance next year, there's every chance he could kick on and play further up the food chain. That's three of last season's settled back four signed up; that's an excellent base to build on. Anderson too deserves praise for how he's turned his career at Stenhousemuir around. He was, fairly, I think, lumped in with "the BSC lot" when he first joined the club and had shown little to suggest he could play well on a regular basis in the SPFL. He was used in a number of positions and didn't really succeed in any of them, looking off the pace each time. I remember seeing his name on the teamsheet for the game against Elgin City at the end of January and thinking: "why on earth is this jobber playing?!" I was, as you can imagine, astonished when Anderson turned in a man-of-the-match performance, smashing into everything in the middle of the park like a dodgem and setting up the second of Orr's goals. He really seems to do the simple things well and it's his workrate and willingness to get stuck in that allows Wedderburn to star - and that's even before you get onto his long throw! A couple of weeks ago, I met someone who briefly managed Anderson and they said if he could add five or six goals a season to his game, he'd be a smashing player, and they could well be right. Both Corbett and Anderson have become well liked by the support, and rightly so. As Neilly said earlier in the thread, we have a good nucleus to build on for next season and the majority of the players most fans wanted to stay are being kept on. Up next: Tam Orr, Robert Thomson and Ross Lyon, please (and, if we're being greedy, Callum Yeats and Mikey Miller!)
  18. On the whole, the season has been a disappointment. Given the apparent size of our budget, we should have been vying to be the best of the rest with Annan Athletic and Forfar Athletic, not struggling to make the top four altogether. We had so many opportunities to catch up with an usurp Edinburgh City over the past few weeks but failed to take every single one of them. We took just five points from Cowdenbeath and were humiliated three times by Stranraer. It's not good enough. Our recruitment over the summer, where we put together virtually a brand new squad, was uneven. A curious mix of experienced SPFL players and non-league jobbers, the team was unbalanced and lacked quality in key areas. Too many players just weren't good enough for League 2. Our two goalkeepers were terrible. The manager changed his starting XI and tactics on a week-by-week basis; over the campaign, we used four different players at right-back and five at left-back. After the first quarter, with the team bottom of the table, there were legitimate concerns about the direction we were heading. This cannot be repeated next term. There was a lot to be frustrated about, but there are also a lot of positives. We lost one match in seven against Forfar and Annan, and generally gave a good account of ourselves against Kelty Hearts. The football could be entertaining, with players like Euan O'Reilly occasionally thrilling. Adam Corbett was recast from a half-decent central defender to a high-quality right-back, Nat Wedderburn was often a powerhouse in the middle of the park, and Tam Orr chipped in with 16 goals, a handsome return. Callum Yeats and Peter Urminksy were great signings in January and completed a strong, settled defensive unit. As such, I'm cautiously optimistic about our chances for 2022/23. Our immediate priority is to retain our key players not already signed up - Sean Crighton, Corbett, Wedderburn, Orr - and add smartly from there. I hope Stephen Swift has also spoken with Yeats and Mikey Miller about their plans going forward. There are others I'd like to see us hold onto but I wouldn't be too downhearted if they were moved on. We've got a large squad (21, I think?) but the manager appeared to trust about 14 of them, so it might make sense to go with a smaller group with greater quality. As Neilly says, recruiting a good goalkeeper is essential; it's trite to say but if we had someone like Urminsky available from the beginning of the season, we would have finished in the play-offs. David Wilson might be worth holding onto but only as a reserve. There are still a number of variables to be settled but next season's League 2 doesn't look as arduous as this year's. There will be no full-time teams like Queen's Park, or well-backed upstarts like Kelty Hearts and Cove Rangers; Fraserburgh and Bonnyrigg Rose look like decent sides rather than dominant ones (and I expect Cowdenbeath to survive the play-offs anyway); and there's nothing to fear from East Fife (and Dumbarton, for that matter). Every team will be looking to win promotion and Stenhousemuir should be the same; we could maybe even win it outright! Swift will be going into the new campaign with a degree of pressure, and rightly so. Another season like this won't be tolerated. I can't wait to get going again!
  19. Aye, it's actually been a decent laugh, all things considered. I've gone through a range of emotions over the course of the season, downright despising the team and the management at the lowest ebb, to the point where I'm really looking forward to Saturday afternoons and watching Stenhousemuir play. I can't wait for the weekend's game against Stranraer! They're a likeable group of players, especially guys like Peter Urminsky, Adam Corbett, Callum Yeats, Nat Wedderburn and Euan O'Reilly, and I'm hopeful that we'll finish this campaign successfully. Even if it doesn't end with promotion, I've seen enough to suggest that if we can keep the core of the squad and sign smartly over the summer, we'll do well next season.
  20. Two games left, two more chances to gatecrash the top four and win promotion. On Saturday, Stenhousemuir host Stranraer, a side we've failed to beat since January 2017. I've no idea why but they well and truly have our number, humiliating us twice this season already. We performed reasonably well in our last encounter, a 1-1 draw at Stair Park, but I think we were second best over the piece. I suppose, going into this game, we have it all to play for while the Blues are on their holidays, so they might not be quite as competitive as they have been previously but nevertheless: I am expecting a hard match. Stenhousemuir were excellent against Albion Rovers at the weekend and probably could have won by six or seven goals. They defended well, controlled the middle of the park and created a number of presentable chances. I wouldn't make any changes to the side that started that match: - Robert Thomson - - Euan O'Reilly - Adam Brown - Darren Christie - - Mikey Miller - Nat Wedderburn - - Callum Yeats - Sean Crighton - Nicky Jamieson - Adam Corbett - - Peter Urminsky - A win's the only thing that will do at this stage. We have to rely on Edinburgh City slipping up on Friday night against Annan Athletic but I'm cautiously optimistic we'll see a positive outcome for the Warriors this weekend.
  21. The club have opened the voting for Player of the Season: I went with Nicky Jamieson - I think he's been superb since he joined the club from Alloa Athletic, given the whole team some much-needed solidity and made everyone around him better. Big Nat Wedderburn would have been my second pick, and I might have been tempted to give it to Adam Corbett but he's only played regularly since December.
  22. I think, over the piece, Ross Forbes has been a poor piece of business. He's been signed on a two-year deal on, you'd have to imagine, a decent wage, but we really haven't had value for money. He's got an exceptional left foot and can open up play with incredible diagonal balls but these good moments come around every five or six matches. Most of the time, he's mooching about the pitch in an undefined position, struggling to impose himself on games. Forbes can only really play as a deep-lying playmaker, but Nat Wedderburn has excelled there (with Mikey Miller and/or Mikey Anderson making up for his lack of mobility). We've tried him wide on the right and pushed high up just off the striker and nothing seems to suit him. His unwillingness to simply "run" is out of sorts with the rest of the team; the idea of having someone like Forbes in your squad is better than actually having him. He seems a bit of a misfit.
  23. In the preview for the game against Albion Rovers on the club website, it was mentioned that Stephen Swift has spoken to a couple of players about new contracts for next season. Ross Forbes joined on a two-year deal, Nicky Jamieson and Euan O'Reilly have signed up for next season, while apparently Sean Crighton and Nat Wedderburn have options for another year. I'd like to think the manager has talked to Adam Corbett, Mikey Anderson, Tam Orr and Ross Lyon about next season, as well as Mikey Miller and Callum Yeats about their plans going forward (I'm sure Yeats signed a two-year deal with Queen's Park but I can't find any information online to confirm this). I'd like to see Robert Thomson stick around for another season and I'm sure he'd be back to his best with a good pre-season under his belt. Adam Brown might be worth pursuing with too.
  24. I forgot to mention him in my previous post, but Nicky Jamieson was excellent again today and his tackle inside the box midway through the first half, nicking the ball of the toes of the Rovers attacker as he was certain to score, was wonderful. What a player!
  25. That was the best performance from a Stenhousemuir side in about three or four years. From the first kick of the ball to the last, we annihilated Albion Rovers. The scoreline actually flatters them, as we passed up several excellent opportunities in the second half, and their penalty shouldn't have been awarded as the foul occurred outside the box. Everyone in maroon put in a tremendous shift today, especially Adam Corbett and Callum Yeats. Both players almost put in two of the best assists of the season - Corbett's through ball for Euan O'Reilly midway through the second half was stunning and should have led to a fifth goal, while Yeats' willingness to chase down a lost cause and curl a gorgeous cross in for Robert Thomson, who, again, should have scored, capped an energetic shift. That's the worst Albion Rovers team we've faced the godawful John Brogan-era side that pitched up at Ochilview for a League Cup group stage tie at the start of the 2018/19 season. They offered absolutely nothing and the two full-backs, Adam Fernie and Alfie Robinson, are two of the poorest players I've seen in the division this season. Fernie in particular was so out of his depth, I was surprised to see him last the 90 minutes - he was routinely pulled apart by the likes of Darren Christie before selling Cammy Binnie short for the fourth. With Edinburgh City drawing at Cowdenbeath, the gap between ourselves and the Citizens is now a single point. I'm going into next week's game against Stranraer with trepidation given how awful we've been against them so far this season but I do hope they'll go easy on us now they're secure in mid-table with nothing to play for. Play like we did today and we should beat them. I cannot wait for Saturday now!
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