Well then, it’s been a while right? Last time we spoke about Football Manager, I was determined to tell a story of a Man City, who unlike in real life, were struggling and would be re-born. After leaving a successful career at Inter Milan we joined Man City and had a lot of joy. You only saw the first few months but actually, I did a good four seasons before FM17 was ready to be pushed towards the sunset.
We won the League Cup in the first season and finished a respectable second. The signings I made were fifty/fifty in terms of success, so I had to eat humble pie on a few of them and sell them over my tenure. One big signing, Paulo Dybala from Real Madrid, came in and changed the save forever. He scored goals for fun and broke several records at the club. In all honesty, sitting here and trying to remember what happened is quite challenging. I was engrossed, so engrossed that I completely forgot that I needed to write about it. Unfortunately, FM17 was uninstalled a week after the FM18 beta dropped on our doorstep, so screenshots and details are hard to come by.
Enough of that though, that’s all in the past, and the past is boring. It’s a new year (ok – it’s already been a month but come on), a new FM and my love for the game hasn’t changed in any way. It’s FM18, and there’s a lot to talk about.
Like the mad man I am, I’ve had four different saves ongoing over the past couple of months. I finish a season in one, and then go back to another save for a season. Does it make things confusing? Yes. Is it enjoyable? Hell yes. Let’s catch up shall we?
As of right now, the date is 24th March 2019 and we’re in our second season at Southampton. The first season went a lot better than I would have expected. We managed to keep Van Dijk in the squad for the whole season while strengthening the back line around him and getting a reliable striker in Kasper Dolberg.
We finished an impressive 6th in the table in the first season and an even more impressive Carabao Cup win. That made my position strong enough to get a contract extension for another couple of years. Once we secured Europa League football, we got involved in the transfer market before the season even finished. Getting business done early meant I get relax during the rest of the summer transfer window, especially because the window now closes before the season even starts. We looked to strengthen in the striking region with a partner needed for Kasper Dolberg. We went a bit wonderkid crazy though and had to make some concessions when selling players making sure we had enough cover when considering loans.
So here we are now, March 2019. We’re out of the Carabao Cup and the FA Cup, with only a small glimmer of hope at progressing in the Europa League. With around 12 games to go in the season and the best we can hope for is 5th place. It’s not the progression I hoped for following the summer but our wing backs have been woefully poor so we need to strengthen. Fraser Forster has also been a bitter disappointment this year. A new number one is in desperate need.
Back to where I spent so much time in Football Manager 2017. Inter Milan as a ‘challenge’ really isn’t as difficult as it could be. Keep Mauro Icardi and you’re golden. In the first season you don’t have European football to get in the way so you can purely focus on the league. With that being said, we won the league at the first time of asking and it was the Mauro Icardi show. He did so much in front of goal and scored 38 in 41 appearances. The surprise of the season though was Jordan Lukaku. A cheap deal in the context of the rest of the league, he performed brilliantly and partnered brilliantly with the incoming Musonda (shame Chelsea don’t see his potential in real life).
We’re a month into the new season and we’re top of the table thanks to the below transfers. It’s going to be good.
Thanks to fellow Extra Time podcaster Chris, I discovered the complete joys of the Australian A-League. With the wage cap, the use of designated contracts and the fact that you can’t buy or sell a player between domestic clubs for a fee, this has been one of the most unusual saves I’ve ever done. I’m used to being able to build a team without any real restrictions, the way I want. The league rules make that very difficult to manage so during the first season, there was a lot of playing around with squad players I didn’t rate and tried to find out what was best for my style of play. That’s why we couldn’t do much in the market and improve the team.
We ended the season in 3rd, which all things considered, was pretty good. We’re ready to start the second season and work on from there. We did something silly and bought a player for just under a million pounds, which in the league, is actual madness.
We also managed to bring in the impressive Andrea Gasbarro on a full time deal, it will be interesting to see how we get on going forward.
Penya Encarnada d’Andorra
Wow. One of the weirdest but best saves ever. A database add on was needed to fulfil Jessie’s Extra Time podcast wish as we took on the challenge of Penya Encarnada. The club was at amateur status when I started and I couldn’t prepare for what was next. What’s weird to begin with is that every player in the club was greyed out, they were all fake. It was a complete disappointment but gave me everything I wanted, a chance to go crazy with players. I thought, “it’s OK, I’ll just go scouting”… we had no scouts. No staff of any description. It’s not like there was much choice either, it was a case of getting someone in to at least do a base scout report but a majority of the time it was a case of just getting players in. We started the first season with fake full backs, which equalled a combined single star of ability.
We continued to get people in throughout the season but every single player we bought in were on an amateur contracts. Despite all of that, we actually picked up a couple of good results and finished the first season in 5th (out of 8 teams) which was amazing. If we had the same squad throughout the whole season, we would have pushed up higher. Then came the second season…
We won the double. Somehow, we absolutely dominated the league and cup throughout the season. We were unbeaten the whole season and are now at a Semi-Pro status. We’re about to start another new season with a brand new challenge all in it’s own, Champions League Qualification.
So this turned out to be longer than I expected but now everyone is on the table, look out for upcoming series about all of these saves so you can follow along with the trials and tribulations of life as a football manager.
Ryan is an IT professional by trade and bases all of his football knowledge off of the Premier League, Chelsea and Football Manager.