Well the good news is that you’re going to see another one!
I had considered a few different games for FM15 but it was perhaps inevitable that I would come back to the club and country format I have enjoyed so much in the past. For those who don’t know, I first became interested in Rapid Wien after a brief stint there during a journeyman game on FM09.
In FM11, I then merged the German and Austrian leagues and had a legendary club and country save that took me to the year 2030. Hopefully this year’s attempt will prove to be as enjoyable.
While I wait for FM15’s release then, I thought I’d write a little about the changes I plan to make to the “gameworld” for this save and a few self-imposed challenges I want to implement to keep it interesting.
If you were reading this blog this time last year, you may remember that I tried to recreate the “great C&C save of FM11” (as it is no-doubt known nationwide) by creating an Anschluß merger of the German and Austrian leagues, placing Rapid in the second tier and cracking on from there.
Unfortunately, unbeknownst to me, the rules had changed in 14 and newgens now assumed the youth rating of the league’s host country, regardless of the rating of the country in which the club is based – therefore Rapid received a series of German standard youth players rather than Austrian. This ruined the game for me and I stopped half way through season 2.
Assuming that this rule has not been changed, therefore, I’ll be looking to play this year’s save solely within the Austrian leagues.
Of course, the default Austrian leagues have their own problems – two primarily. First, the Bundesliga has only 10 teams meaning that you play each team four times over the course of a season which is just dull beyond belief. Second, with a club like Rapid it can become very easy to dominate domestic football rather quickly… and we’re back to dull again.
Therefore, two solutions: liberal use of the editor and self-imposed limitations.
I have been making good use of the FM editor for many years now, although I never amend things like a player’s ability or the amount of money that a club has. Instead, I try to make more interesting league structures – in FM11 (with significant help from others) it was a German / Austrian merger, in FM12 I created an Alpine league from Austria, Switzerland, southern Germany and northern Italy. This year, I’ll try to create a more interesting Austrian structure.
To replace the standard 10-team league, I plan to create a 16-team top-tier consisting of the current real-life ÖBL teams plus LASK Linz, Mattersburg, SK St Pölten, Wacker Innsbruck, Austria Salzburg and Wiener SK. Not entirely a random choice as I was assisted by English language Austrian football expert Tim Armitage in my choice.
For those who are unfamiliar with Austrian football, it’s worth having a quick read about Austria Salzburg – an AFC Wimbledon style club that was set up by fans of traditional football in Salzburg when Red Bull bought the previous clubs in the city.
Back to the league structure, there’ll then be a 2-up, 2-down relegation to a 12-team second tier consisting of the remaining Eerste Liga teams plus First Vienna (the oldest club in Austria), Lafnitz, Amstetten, Pasching, Wattens and FC Dornbirn.
The 3 Regionalliga will then be set-up below that with a play-off system determining promotion to and relegation from the second tier. The Austria FA Cup will remain as is.
I’ll reinstate the existing Austrian league rules on the maximum number of foreigners (7 non-EU) and transfer windows. The prize money and TV money will be set using the latest data I have from the FM14 league.
Hopefully this new system will keep the game interesting with a variety of opponents and tactics to face. That just leaves the second half of the domestic league problem – maintaining a competitive edge.
Rapid, along with Red Bull Salzburg, Austria Wien and Sturm Graz, are traditionally the bigger modern clubs in Austria, with the Viennese clubs, and Rapid in particular, having dominated domestic football historically.
In FM, this dominance is usually rather easy to revive but I’d not only like to maintain a long-term interest in this save, I’d also like to help develop the Austrian league – and the clubs in it – in an effort to boost the national side.
As such, I’ve been thinking of some self-imposed restrictions that would achieve both these aims. My thoughts so far are:
- in any given transfer window, the club has to run a transfer profit on foreign transfers, i.e. those that are not with Austrian clubs
- the club cannot make more than 3 signings per year of players 23 and older
- the club can sign a maximum of 2 non-Austrians per season and cannot sign non-Austrian players younger than 23
- any Austrian player over 20 who does not receive 10 starts in a season must be sold to another Austrian club (subject to injury restrictions and excluding goalkeepers)
If you can think of any other interesting rules or restrictions then let me know.
Tactically, I intend to mould the club – and by extension, eventually the national team – to the general ethos I laid out in this article earlier this week. It needs a better and less pompous title than “the tactical vision” and therefore, in reference to the 1930’s Wünderteam (again), we’ll call it the Danubian Whirl… thereby completely failing to find a less pompous name.
I have had further thoughts on two alternative tactics; one for when teams dig in, the other for playing big sides in Europe; but the primary approach is depressingly fashionable high-pressing, high-possession and aimed at producing the 4-1-4-1 defensive shape and the 3-3-1-3-ish when attacking.
I’ll likely cover more about the tactic itself once I actually get a hold of the game but, in the spirit of pre-requisites and looking ahead, it did cross my mind that I’d like to create a “team ethos” when it comes to attributes, as well as tactics. Some of this is simply logical but it occurred to me that, goalkeepers excepted, the team would benefit from two sets of communal attributes:
1st tier communal attributes:
- Work rate
- First touch
I’m a big fan of mental attributes and the first three listed here are vital for high-possession tactics whilst first touch, for in possession, and stamina, for out of it, are simple logic.
2nd tier communal attributes:
Again, key mental attributes but less important, in my opinion, than the 1st tier and two more key technical attributes for maintaining that possession.
I’ve separated these into 1st and 2nd tier as my intention is that each first team player should have a preset attribute value for each of these attributes – necessarily higher for the 1st tier than 2nd.
I haven’t yet decided on the age by which these attribute values should be achieved or what that value would be but, for argument’s sake, let’s go with the following:
- by age 22, all first team players must have 1st tier attributes of 14 or above; 2nd tier attributes of 12 or above
- for each year younger, the attribute value drops by 1; i.e. 13/11 for 21 year old; 12/10 for 20 year olds; 11/9 for 19 year olds; etc
- if players do not achieve this, they are sold
I also want to add position specific attribute requirements. For example, I may wish to add Positioning and Marking for the half back, or Finishing and Off the Ball for the centre forward. This has yet to be finalised.
I hope that makes sense. It may end up being completely unworkable; or I may scrap it entirely in favour of a selection system based on stats rather than attributes… I guess I have a couple of weeks to decide.
That, however, should set the scene for what I hope will be a successful and enjoyable club and country save. If it comes close to rivalling its FM11 predecessor then I’ll be delighted.
Let me know what you think of the attribute system or if you have any alternative suggestions. Until then, thanks for reading.