Il Doria – Sampthing Old, Sampthing New

Having reached the end of season two, we’re now in a good place with the squad feeling more like “mine” than that I inherited. Various personnel changes, a massive staff overhaul and a meandering tactical experiment have left us in a solid position to push on next season.

Contrary to my last posts, I’ve now abandoned the 3-5-2 / 5-3-2 experiment (I’ll explain why), so this update will be a pretty straightforward one covering what’s happened in season 2019/20.

Continue reading Il Doria – Sampthing Old, Sampthing New


Il Doria – Sampthing Tactical

Those who have read the first two blogs on the Samp save will know that I’m forcing myself to use a 3 centre back formation rather than revert to the same old, same old.

Those who follow me on twitter will know that I’ve really struggled to get it to work how I want – particularly defensively.  So much so that I’m very close to abandoning the experiment and reverting to my tried and trusted, boring old back four.

Not yet, though.  This post will by the start of my attempts to work out the issues and find a system that at least pretends to have some form of defensive competence.

Continue reading Il Doria – Sampthing Tactical

Il Doria – Gotta be starting Sampthing

Given my terrible knowledge of real football these days, particularly Italian football, the first season was always going to be more of a fact-finding mission than a quest for success.

In addition to my uncertainty with the personnel, I decided to add some tactical experimentation by pushing myself out of my comfort zone.  Intuitively, I gravitate towards shapes with a back 4 and a DM, or at least a holding midfielder, and it’s been a few years since I’ve deviated from that base setup.

Continue reading Il Doria – Gotta be starting Sampthing

Il Doria – Sampthing Different

With the club and country game coming to a premature end, I was on the hunt for a new save – a decision that a lot of FM players can find problematic.  Stream chats, YouTube comments, twitter, forums – they’re all full of people asking for advice on who to play as, “what’s a good team”, etc.

It’s a question worth asking, particularly these days with the sheer number of hours that save games require.  Who wants to waste 20-30 hours of game time only to discover you’re bored within half a season?

I’ve nearly always managed to pick saves or clubs that have kept my interest and this time round I’ve opted for Sampdoria.  But, as an introduction to the save, why?

Continue reading Il Doria – Sampthing Different

End of the Road

I haven’t updated for quite some time, both in game and in actual fact. This was largely due to not wanting to take a break from playing to spend time blogging.

Now, however, I feel like I should provide an update – both on the save and the blog.

The save is over. Kaput. Finito. Dead. An ex save.

Since the last time I updated, we’ve had some great successes. The club side has won the league title in every year of the save and, whilst we weren’t able to add to our two OFB-Cups, progressed significantly in Europe – reaching the first knockout round of the Europa League in 2023 then topping a Champions League group of PSG, Liverpool and PSV in 2024, sadly losing on penalties to Leverkusen in the first knockouts.

The squad was strengthening significantly and we had some great newgens coming through – including a wonderkid midfielder and, shock horror, a serviceable striker.

The national side, too, had some successes. In 2022, we reached the quarter finals of the World Cup in Qatar. Beating Iran (rather fortunately) and Portugal in the groups before annihilating Colombia in the 2nd round.

We would meet Spain in the quarters and they would put us out of the second championship in a row, having defeated us in the Euro 2020 semi. However, we more than gave them a good game of it and were unlucky not to win in normal time before Borja Mayoral sucker-punched us in extra time.

Whilst reaching the World Cup quarters could only be deemed a success, troubled times were ahead.

Bizarrely, our seeding for Euro 2024 qualification did not reflect our 10th place world ranking and we were drawn against Holland (world champions) and a very decent Denmark side.

Between home defeats against both, we suffered what would probably prove to be the defining match of the save – a poor, though somewhat unfortunate, 2-1 loss in Kosovo.

Despite getting a creditable draw in Amsterdam and winning the rest of our games, including the return match against Denmark, we couldn’t make up the ground from the Kosovo loss and ended qualification in 3rd place.

We were out and the FA were severely pissed off.

Little did I know (largely because FM decides not to tell you anything about it) that I would be saved by an unexplained and completely random appearing playoff system. Suddenly I was told we would travel to Turkey for a one-leg playoff semi-final.

A 2-1 win there would see us travel to Oslo for another one-leg playoff against the Norwegians. 1-0 thanks to club and country starlet striker Stefan #DoppelBauer Bauer and I thought my skin had been saved.

Then came the draw for Euro 2024. In the deathiest of groups of death, we would face Holland (World Champions), Belgium (ranked 5th in the world) and our nemesis Spain (European Champions).

It did not go well.

Whilst we were slightly unfortunate to lose 2-0 to the Dutch in the opening game, a first half red card for Dejan Ljubicic against the Belgians meant we’d take just one point from the first two and needed to beat Spain to progress.

We went 1-0 up before Borja Mayoral – whose goals had knocked us out of the last Euros and the World Cup – scored two and put the Iberians through at our expense.

Come the end of the tournament, the Austrian FA informed me that my services were no longer required. Persona non grata.

Which seems a little harsh, I have to say. Getting knocked out of that group is no disgrace and I suspect it was only due to the elevated expectations from my earlier success that it was deemed failure.

Nevertheless, for the first time that I can recall on any CM / FM, I was fired. And there’s very little point in changing a Club and Country save into a Club and erm…. one.

So the save comes to an end. Which is a shame as I was just starting to enjoy the club game a bit more having decided to experiment with the tactical setup.

I have started a new save which seems to be promising but have yet to decide whether I will continue the renaissance of the blog. Whilst I still enjoy rambling about FM, the literary reticence over the past month rather neatly sums up my motivation for extended writing.

I may instead look to a different platform for my witterings, with a forum thread being the most likely at this point – although I have also considered a (no facecam) stream when I can be bothered.

We shall see. In the meantime, thanks for reading. If you do want to read more from me, wherever that may end up being written, then follow my twitter (@shrewnaldo) and, in between the rants, I’ll be sure to let you know there.

The best way to predict the future is to create it

You’ll have to forgive the sanctimony of the quote, which I think is from Abraham Lincoln, but it fits well with the theme of this post – the future of the national team and the club’s role in making it as successful as possible.

As a brief reminder, I’m playing a “club and country” save with Rapid Wien and Austria.  The over-riding priority of the game is success with the national side and the club side exists almost solely to facilitate that.  But no-one plays to lose and we’ve managed to win the Bundesliga title in each of my three seasons plus the domestic cup in two – a 4-0 humiliation in a semi against Sturm Graz being the sole aberration.

Continue reading The best way to predict the future is to create it

Austria at Euro 2020

Austria have never won a game at a European Championship, indeed they’ve only qualified twice and one of those was as hosts.  Therefore, heading into the 2020 tournament, I wasn’t expecting much from a group of Germany, Serbia and Sweden.

The Austrian FA, on the other hand, were piling on the pressure – expecting us to qualify from the group.  I’d have been happy with just grabbing Austria’s first win at the Euros, I needed more if I wanted to avoid the sack.  So what happened?

Continue reading Austria at Euro 2020

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I watch every minute of every Austrian Bundesliga game. This blog contains posts from the top players of the week, to top youngsters to watch. Follow me on twitter for more: @FRfussballtim. For all enquiries email: All views expressed on this blog are my own.


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