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Old 01-19-2020, 06:42 PM   #1
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Leading the Scholars: Loughborough Uni (FM 16)

Hello again, everyone.

In the last post of my St. Andrews FC story, I described a "problem" I encountered that made my game experience less enjoyable. I apparently had a bad balance in my game world that kept lower-level teams, like the ones in St. Andrews' league, from actively signing enough players to fill out their squads. As a result, I was playing against teams full of "grey guys."

At the same time, AI teams weren't seeming to find my players, either. Honestly, it made the game seem a bit too easy, because I could send a full squad up against teams that didn't have more than three or four full-fledged footballers.

I spent some time trying to create a more enjoyable setup, and I think I managed to come up with something.

I'll be returning to the lower leagues of England again, but this time I'll be playing Football Manager 16. There's an outstanding edited database available for that edition called England, Enhanced, Expanded. It allows me to manage a team all the way down to Step 5 of the National League System, which is the ninth level in the English football pyramid. That's where I decided I wanted to start.

I decided to try my luck with Loughborough University FC this time.


Loughborough is located in Leicestershire. The Scholars play at Holywell Park, on the university campus; the training facilities are Impressive, which was one thing that drew me to the club.

Because we're a university side, we are all amateur, and I'm limited to signing players who are age 21 or younger. I think that will provide me with a fun challenge. I don't know if I can keep them in the team once they're past their early twenties.

I still need to fill a few spots in my squad, so I'll be back after I've completed my preseason. Hopefully I'll be able to enjoy this ride for a while.


Last edited by Greyfriars Bobby : 01-19-2020 at 06:44 PM.
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Old 01-20-2020, 12:38 PM   #2
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
8 August 2015

The Scholars play in the Midland League Premier Division, and our league programme begins today. What better time to take a look at the squad?

The star ratings come from my assistant manager, former Wigan defender Kevin Sharp. He's a fairly good judge of talent.

Goalkeepers


O'Keefe is the club captain. I wish he were more determined, but otherwise he's a fine 'keeper. He's also our penalty taker, so he might get to score a few goals, too. Waldram is an outstanding second choice. He's very good with the ball at his feet.


Defenders

I ask quite a bit of our fullbacks, expecting them to join in the attack when the opportunity to do so arises. Legg is a solid option at right back. There's been quite a battle for the left back spot; Brown, Davies, and Gilbey all offer different strengths. Davies outplayed the others in the preseason, so he might get the first opportunity to start.

Former Rochdale man Horan is the best of the center backs, and probably the best outfield player in the team. Hempshall is big and strong, while Koczalski is tenacious and quick. Switon can also do a job here, as can the very versatile Killner.


Central Midfielders


I'll sort these lads according to their roles.

Leonard brings a touch of class to his destroyer role. Switon can play here, too.

Two days ago, Merthyr Town swooped in and signed Max Herbert, who had been bossing the midfield for us. I can't blame Max for wanting to make some money playing football, but his departure leaves a big hole in the middle of our formation. I'm considering Switon and Poxon as his replacement, but I'm also looking for a new man here.

I saw Hamilton-Forbes at Trial Day, and offered him a contract. The former Watford youth trainee has looked good as a midfield playmaker.

The other players on this list are better suited to play other places, but you can see how they can provide cover here, too. Horan, in fact, would probably be our best DM, and a darn good CM, too.


Wide Midfielders


I like our wide men to be able to operate well in more advanced positions (to suit my 4-1-2-2-1) and slightly deeper (when we play 4-4-2).

Rodgers plays on the left, where he can cut in on his strong right foot. Johnston, our youngest player at age 16, provides lots of pace on the right.

The versatile Davies and Brown can play anywhere on the left side of our formation, so they are options on the wing when they're not at fullback. Or, I can use Berwick, who is an absolute wizard on set pieces. Most of our strikers can also play the right wing, so I have several backups--which is good, because these players run a lot and get tired.


Center Forwards


There are two obvious "big man/little man" pairings here, which will come in handy when I play 4-4-2.

Conway is our newest player; head scout/Director of Football Michael Skubala spotted the Scot, we brought him in on trial, he banged in a goal, and we signed him. He's the most natural goalscorer in the group. Otim, a Nottingham Forest trainee, is a similar player, with a bit more of an eye for a pass.

Whitehall and Tweddell are the target men, both able to hold up the ball and play in their partners or finish a move themselves. All four of the strikers are fairly quick, too.

None of these players has made the number nine shirt his own. We're basically still holding an open audition for the role of front man in our band.


General Thoughts
I'm fairly happy with the team right now. I'm looking for an all-action central midfielder, the kind of player I lost when Max Herbert left the team.

I also learned that when a player turns 22, he's ineligible to play for us any longer. That's how the game ensures the Scholars retain their status as a university side. This also means I'll lose the services of Hamilton-Forbes, Davies, Gilbey, and Brown over the course of the season. SHF appears to have only a month left in his Loughborough Uni career. Managing this turnover will add another dimension to the experience; that's for sure.

We're tipped to finish in the middle of the table, and I think that's a fair assessment of where we stand. If I can uncover a few gems to replace the lads who age out of the team, perhaps we can challenge for the championship.
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Old 01-20-2020, 12:52 PM   #3
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
8 August 2015

I'll take a moment to introduce you to my backroom staff.

You've met Kevin Sharp already. He's my Assistant Manager. He manages the team during friendly matches, and I have him set up our training routines (although I always tweak them, sometimes more than others). He played for a variety of Football League clubs, primarily Wigan, as a left back.

Michael Skubala does double duty, as our Director of Football and Chief Scout. At least, that's what he does today. I'm concerned that Michael might not be with us too much longer. Kettering Town, who play two levels above us, have offered him a job, and they can pay him.

I smiled when I saw that David Bentley was looking for a job as a coach. Bentley played for Arsenal, Blackburn, and Tottenham in the Premier League, and won seven caps for England. He hung up his boots at age 29, and here he is, volunteering to coach for us.

Chris Bruce-Smith is our Head of Youth Development. At age 46, he's the oldest member of our back room staff.

Head physio Charlotte Avent is the newest member of the team. She's good at physio things, especially for our level.
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