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Old 02-03-2015, 04:29 PM   #1
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
Join Date: Sep 2013
Football Manager, My Way (FM 14)

Over the past year and a half or so, I've discovered something a very large portion of the world already knows.

The sport we Americans call soccer is really, really cool.

That realization, combined with the enjoyment I've always found in sports management simulation games, led me to another discovery that many people have already made.

Football Manager is a really, really fun game.

I've told the stories of several different FM careers on this forum. Usually they've begun with me as the manager of a small club in a lower level, and they've all been fun, for a while at least. The more I play FM, the more I enjoy it, and the more I discover that I'm still learning how to play it. Now I've reached the point where I know what I want the club I manage to be, but I'm still learning how to take it there.

This dynasty will be the story of my attempt to build such a club.

What I Want my Club to Be
One of the things that fascinates me about football (from now on I'll use the British term) is the variety of philosophies and playing styles a club can choose. There are numerous paths to victory. I've decided I want my club to play attractive, possession football.

While I enjoy buying and selling players, I'd like my club to develop a reputation for developing and nurturing young players, and bringing them into the first team.

I'm not obsessed with the idea of building them into one of the biggest clubs in the world, but I hope to achieve a distinguished record of success. Watching your club captain lift a trophy is a very satisfying experience.

The Ground Rules
I will freely admit that I'm going to use the editors that are available on FM 14 to shape my game experience. That's one reason why I'm writing this story here, rather than on one of the forums that's more specifically dedicated to Football Manager. The purists there might be downright hostile to someone who dared to "cheat," even in the limited ways I plan to do so.

I don't want people who read my thread to think "Wow, he's really good at Football Manager." I want the focus of my story to be the players who come through the club.

Here are the "cheats" I'll use:
  • I'm going to start my career with a smallish club, rather than a Premier League powerhouse. However, I'm going to give my club top-flight facilities, especially those that will help me develop outstanding young players. I won't max the values out, but I'll make sure talented young lads join the club, and that they have a good chance of becoming stars once they are there. I also reserve the right to create a backroom staff that will be able to help young footballers develop their potential.
  • I am currently annoyed, frustrated, etc. at my inability to deliver decent team talks, etc. I will, therefore, create an assistant manager with very good man management skills who will then take that responsibility. That way I won't screw things up by saying dumb things.
  • I will make myself unsackable. However, If I am so ridiculously unsuccessful that no board on earth would let me keep my job, I will change this and allow myself to be dismissed. Otherwise, though, I'd like to remain on the job for a long run so I can watch the story of my club unfold. I also don't foresee myself bouncing from job to job, either.

Other than those things, I'll play the game straight. No editing players or finances. No moving players to my club simply because the editor will let me do so.

I'm using Football Manager's updated database, and I've loaded in the English leagues, along with the players from the UK and Ireland and Scandinavia. My mom's side of the family has some Scandinavian heritage. I'm using "fake names," so the cast of characters we'll come to know will have their own identities.

Like I said, I hope you'll read this story as the history of the club and its players, not as an attempt to brag about how I can "beat" Football Manager. I won't claim the credit for how the story turns out. I'm basically just its chronicler.

Next, I'll choose my club, and the story will begin...

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Old 02-03-2015, 07:36 PM   #2
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
Join Date: Sep 2013

Preston North End Football Club

I've chosen to take over the management of Preston North End. The Lilywhites are among the most historic clubs in the history of English football. They were the first champions of the Football League, winning the title in 1888 without a defeat. They achieved a double by winning the FA Cup without conceding a goal; their successes of '88 earned them the title of "The Invincibles."

Such stars as Sir Tom Finney, Bill Shankly, and Tommy Docherty played in Preston colors. Finney was a local lad, dubbed the "Preston Plumber," and a statue in his honor stands outside Deepdale Stadium, where the club has played since the nineteenth century.

I love a club with history, and the Lilywhites certainly have that. My goal is to bring the football fans of Preston a club they can be proud of, one that gives local lads a chance to live out their dreams of becoming the next Tom Finney.
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Old 02-04-2015, 02:53 PM   #3
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
Join Date: Sep 2013
My players will begin learning these tactics during the pre-season. I'll also begin the process of finding players with the skills required to play the style of football I'm going to implement at Deepdale.


I read in several places that the best way to build a tactic is to start from the back, setting my defensive line first, and move forward. I'm playing two
"basic" center backs with a defensive midfielder in front of them, which will hopefully create a solid defensive shield. I'm asking a lot of the left and right backs, and I might have to give one of them a less physically demanding duty.

I like the fact that this formation will provide lots of runners who can attack the box from deep positions or from the flanks. I envision the striker, playing as a False Nine, dropping back, while the Inside Forwards cut into the middle of the pitch.

I'm a little concerned about how the midfielders will make use of space. I don't want the Defensive Midfielder and the Deep Lying Playmaker to get in each other's way, and I don't want the False Nine and the attacking Central Midfielder to compete for space, either. I might have to give some of the players individual instructions, something I've almost never done.


I'll use this formation when I want to play a pressing game. I only have one goalkeeper in my senior team, so I'll need to bring one in. I'll look for someone who can handle the Sweeper Keeper role. I have one attacking player and one supporting player on each flank.

I have a decent player for the Box-to-Box Midfielder role, but he's also the best choice for the Shadow Striker. I'll need to find someone who's well-suited for one of those tasks.

My best striker is a beast of a man who can handle the Advanced Forward role.
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Old 02-05-2015, 11:12 AM   #4
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
Join Date: Sep 2013
2 August 2013

Here's a look at the players on Preston North End's roster as the League One season begins.


Needing a goalkeeper, I signed Butkus from FK Bodo-Glint in the Norwegian First Division. He's currently nursing a torn groin muscle, but when he's healthy he will be the number one keeper. He's got the attributes for a decent Sweeper Keeper, and his name is way beyond awesome. Veteran Huber is a decent backup. The three young guys are probably never going to be good enough for the first team, so they might not be around for long.


Bailey and McArthur are both solid at left back. We have a decent center back pair in Ferguson and Middleton, and Ferguson is also only 21 with considerable upside. Collins gets the nod at right back. Barba, Brown, and Day are the most important reserves. Spencer and Jones provide some hope for the future.


I need a wide range of positions and roles among my midfield players. The best DM(C) is Owens, who is also the captain of the club. Craig, who can also play well in the back line, will usually fill one of the spots in the middle of the pitch. Rootes is probably the next best choice at M(C), but Laurent, who is the club's most promising teenager, will see time here, too. He's good enough already, and he needs playing time to develop to his highest potential. Then there's McCullagh, whom I brought in on loan from Liverpool. Kinsella and Storrie are also promising young midfielders.

Attacking Midfielders and Strikers

I'm going to do a lot of mixing and matching here, depending on the roles I need. I usually play with a single striker. If I am using a Complete Forward, the choice is easy: Lord is the man. O'Connor is a better fit when I want to use a False Nine.

If O'Connor is the front man, Lord shifts over to the left wing. When Lord plays striker, McKogg or Palmer play AM(L). Buhagiar gets the nod at AM(R). If the formation calls for an AM(C), the first choice is Pingel, who's here on loan from Sonderjysk Elitesport of the Danish Superliga. I signed Jones this week, after watching him play at England Trial Day; he looks like a future first teamer, and he's going to provide depth on the wings. Sheridan and Davies will back up Pingel and provide depth at M(C), too. There are several other players who can fill in up front, none of whom are young enough or talented enough to figure in my long-term plans.
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Old 02-05-2015, 11:56 AM   #5
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Virginia
Good luck.
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Old 02-05-2015, 09:15 PM   #6
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
Join Date: Sep 2013
Originally Posted by JMocks View Post
Good luck.

Thanks, JMocks. For at least the first year or two, I'll be basically managing a team I inherited at the beginning of the game, rather than one I've constructed. I think I'll enjoy the process of trying to shape the Lilywhites into the kind of side I want.

I hope you'll keep following the story.
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Old 02-06-2015, 04:44 PM   #7
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Seattle, WA
Skirmantas Butkus might be the best name ever.
We have always been at war with Eastasia.
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Old 02-06-2015, 10:00 PM   #8
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
Join Date: Sep 2013
Originally Posted by path12 View Post
Skirmantas Butkus might be the best name ever.

I agree. I confess; when I saw that name, I decided I had to sign him. Fortunately he's a very good goalkeeper whom our staff say is good enough to play at the Championship level (one league higher than ours).

Thanks for stopping by.
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Old 02-08-2015, 06:26 PM   #9
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
Join Date: Sep 2013
3 September 2013

Somehow I closed the window and lost a fairly long post I was writing so here's the abbreviated version.

I'm pleased so far, especially since Skrimantas Butkus has yet to make his debut between the posts for us. He should be ready to go this coming week.

We're out of the Capital One Cup, thanks to Championship side Middlesbrough, but beating them away would have been a tough go, even if I'd been able to field a full-strength side.

Kai Lord has been great so far. I wish he were younger than 35.

Hellos and Goodbyes

Hello: Robin Ahlberg, a right back from Halmstads BK of the Swedish First Division. Strong, fast, fit, and sure on the ball, he should help me implement my possession-oriented style. He's 27, and I think I got him at a good price: 85,000.

Goodbye: Forward Peter O'Connor, a Canada international, is talented, and he's a good fit for our system. Still, he's 30, and his contract is up in June. I accepted a 250,000 bid from Kilmarnock, and Petey O is off to the Scottish Premiership.

Hello: No fewer than three of our regular midfielders--James Craig, Pete Sartori, and Jon Rootes--are all injured, and so is talented teenager Nicolas Laurent. Veteran free agent Morten Setevik, age 31, is therefore a welcome addition. He's versatile, and he's the kind of player who will make a great tutor for some lucky young lad.

Goodbye: Goalkeeper Erik Huber has been fairly solid as Butkus' deputy, but an offer of 130,000 from Bolton Wanderers was enough to convince me to sell him on. Bolton need a keeper, and as Huber is 32 and under contract for only this year, I thought the deal was a good one for us.

Hello: Young defenders Phil Betts and Veselin Novakovic are here on loan, from Everton and Manchester City, respectively. Betts is 19, Novakovic is 20, and both are said to be future Premier Division first team players. Both are good enough to be solid rotation options for us right now.

Hello: Huber's departure left us dangerously thin in goal, so I signed a 16 year old free agent, Michael Ashton, and brought in Ireland youth international Glen Gallagher on loan from Norwegian club Sandnes Ulf. Ashton looks like a future star, and Gallagher will see a decent amount of duty while Butkus is recovering. Hopefully Glen and Skrimantas won't both be on international duty at the same time; I didn't think about that beforehand...

And one last Hello, as the transfer window closed: Striker Jonathan Wennberg, 23, is a younger, Swedish version of Peter O'Connor. In my hurry to get a deal done, I didn't even bargain with his former club, Kalmar FF. I met their asking price of 90,000 and he's ours.

Last edited by Greyfriars Bobby : 02-08-2015 at 06:27 PM.
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