Are you Keegan in disguise?

Following on from our successful trip to Euro 2016, our third season with club and country has been a stark contrast between unexpected success with the club side and massive disappointment at international level.

I’m not too disappointed by our struggles with Austria as it shows that there’s still plenty of work to do, as I did wonder if our quarter final showing at Euro 2016 was a sign that we’d find things too easy.

With Red Bull Salzburg continuing to provide stiff competition domestically, there still seems to be plenty of longevity in this save yet. Hopefully the rest of the league will catch up at some point but this season it would take something really special to beat our rivals from Salzburg.

If you’ve been following this series then you’ll know that we had some success in the first two seasons with a possession-hungry 4-1-4-1 but you’ll also know that I was constantly frustrated by the striker and a complete inability to decide what to do with him.

These frustrations were compounded when a Dominik Starkl, previously our only reliable striker, lost form badly through September and October of season 3.  Coupled with the usual overdone impact of “continental hangovers” in FM, a series of bad results saw us trail Red Bull Salzburg by 10 points at the end of November.

Trailing

I’m sure we trailed by 12 shortly after this but I don’t have a screenshot. Either way, the league looked beyond us and although we’d qualified for the groups of the Champions League, thereby earning ourselves masses of cash, we managed to make little impact on the big stage.

Champions League

We were actually very unlucky in Munich where an injury time Lewandowski goal disappointed us and we managed to take the lead in the return game. My aim was to finish 3rd and drop into the Europa where we’d done so well last season, sadly that wasn’t to be and by early December we were left with just the ÖFB Cup as a realistic chance of success.

With no international tournament in the summer, it seemed like a good opportunity to experiment tactically and come up with a alternative set-up that would allow me to actually understand why the striker does or does not work. I was also desperately missing the number 10’s that I love so much and so came up with this:

Pocketmeister

I always had the national team at the back of my mind when creating this as I don’t want to produce players at Rapid who are completely unsuited to what I’m trying to do with Austria. I actually see the 4-1-4-1 and 4-2-3-1 as complimentary tactics which I can use together as “a set”.

Ignoring the tactic’s mentality, the 4-2-3-1 “Pocketmeister” is actually the more attacking setup with 4 players in advanced positions and that high tempo. It’s less about retaining possession and more about getting the ball forward quickly, using the #10 sitting in “the pocket” and playing the passes for the inside forward and striker to score the majority of the goals.

Austria has quite a few quality AM’s coming through that will do well in the #10 role – at the moment we’ve got Alessandro Schöpf is looking like the most likely starting candidate but we’ve also got Valentino Lazaro, still at Red Bull Salzburg; Sascha Horvath, now at Saint-Étienne; Louis Schaub, now at Burnley; or even one of the few newgens that is actually worth noting – Man Utd’s Marco Schulte, formerly of Austria Wien and now on loan at Rapid.

Did it work? Just a little.

League run in

I’ve actually continued into the fourth season and we’ve put together a 30 game winning streak. Our form was so ridiculous that we actually managed to chase down that Salzburg lead, hence the title of this article (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, have a search for 1995/96 Premier League).

Salzburg being Salzburg, it seemed unlikely even that winning streak was going to be enough but , with 4 games left, the pressure finally told as they lost away to Wolfsberger and Austria Wien with a home draw with Grödig sandwiched in between. That meant we hit top spot with one game to go, the first time this season we’d been top of the pile.

League

Despite Salzburg’s implosion, this has to rank as the best comeback I’ve ever had in FM and to go with the league title, we completed a domestic double with an ÖFB Cup win over bogey-side Altach.

Cup

It wasn’t all good news this season though. Despite our poor performance in the groups, you’d have to consider our progress to be a success for a smaller nation like Austria. Unfortunately, the other sides haven’t been keeping up their end of the bargain and the league rep / continental slots have taken a hit as a result.

League ratings

European coefficients drop

This is bad news for our game type. We really need the league reputation to increase to help out the newgen production and help their development whilst playing domestic football. Thankfully the margins which have caused the drop are quite small and, with any luck, not too difficult to claw back so here’s hoping for some better continental performances from RBS, Sturm et al.

I have to be delighted with our own performance, though, and hopefully the players who have produced the goods can kick on to do the same at national level. To give you an idea of just how well some of them played:

Player of the Year

Dovedan is swiftly becoming one of my favourites and is challenging Marko Arnautovic for the left wing spot at national level. I was expecting a bigger club to come in with a bid for him over the summer but nothing materialised and so he’ll be spending another season at the Allianz. Unlike a number of his team-mates as I had a proper “club and country” transfer window.

Transfers

I’ve highlighted 8 first teamers who have been sold, although I did pull off a coup with Fila by insisting on West Brom loaning him back to me for a year while he develops and I find a suitable replacement.

Many people will think that I’m crazy for breaking up such a successful team in so cavalier a fashion but each transfer had a motive behind it and each one aimed at World Cup 2022.

In turn:

  • Sonnleitner was 30, never going to progress any further and unsuited to tutoring. He is replaced by 20 year-old Philipp Lienhart who I think will become an international squad member
  • Schwab was 27 and never going to overtake the other midfielders at national level. He also started fewer than 10 league games last season and, in line with the initial rules for the save, he had to go. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t accept any deals at Austrian clubs and Brentford offered the most cash
  • Kuen wouldn’t sign a new contract and I was hoping he would move to another Austrian club. Sadly,he went to St Pauli
  • I signed Gartner for €350k last summer and sold him this for €2.2m to Palermo. A perfect C&C move as he was stagnating at Düsseldorf. After developing well here, he’s off to a higher rep league where he should kick on further. When he’s sold on, hopefully to a bigger club, we’ll get 25% of that fee too.
  • Pavelic had developed as far as he could here and needed a move to push on further. Again, we’ll get 20% of any future fee. I rejected bids from bigger clubs as I need him to get games and felt Livorno was a good level
  • Sallahi is very similar to Gartner. Signed for €675k from Bayern where he wasn’t playing, has a good season with us, sold on for €2.7m to Parma where he’ll play regularly in a bigger league and we get 20% of the sale when he inevitably goes to a bigger club.
  • I actually didn’t want to let Fila go as I think he could develop well here for another two seasons but he forced my hand and so I made the best of a bad situation – accept the move but insist on a loan back for a year.
  • Pellegrini was just never going to kick on. Individually, he wasn’t great as a deep-lying forward and he only performed in spurts as the advanced forward in the 4-2-3-1. With Friesenbichler in need of games and a loan spell away from Benfica, it was a simple choice to sell the former to West Brom and bring in the latter as a superior replacement.

Recently, I’ve been making liberal use of the transfer clauses to ensure that we get a decent, long-term deal out of any sales that we make. Bernhard Fila being a good example:

clauses

That adds up to a little over €1m plus 25% of his next transfer fee. That’s good business.

Of course, so many sales left a number of gaps to fill and it’s no use selling on all these players if I then get sacked and can’t keep the production line going.

FriesenbichlerAs already mentioned, I brought in “Super Kev” Friesenbichler on loan from Benfica to replace Pellegrini. He’d been on loan at Lechia in the Ekstraklasa in season 1, doing well, before playing in Benfica’s B team for a year and a half, banging the goals in. Although he got 3 sub appearances for the first team, he wasn’t getting a regular spot and I had to do something.

I’m now looking at Friesenbichler as our first choice international striker with Djuricin having a hard time at Bordeaux and precious little else to choose from. My Director of Football negotiated a €2m purchase price for Friesenbichler but his wage demands were ridiculous – a blessing in disguise.

A loan deal at a very reasonable cost gives me goals for a year and gives Friesenbichler another year to impress. When he goes back to Benfica he’ll have even more chance of a first team spot which would be great for us. Failing that, surely someone will take notice when he’s performing for us in the league, in Europe and at international level? You’d hope so as he’s got potential to be outstanding.

Lovric

 

Speaking of outstanding, there’s Sandi Lovric. One of the best Austrian prospects in the game, I had to pay Sturm Graz €4m for his services but I don’t mind sharing the wealth around the Austrian leagues and he really needed to move on for development purposes.

He’s another that I’ve pushed into first team international football and see him as either the roaming playmaker at DM in the 4-2-3-1 or the defensive midfielder in the 4-1-4-1. Either way, 12-24 months in Vienna before a big move to Germany or Italy is the ideal situation here.

I also rescued Stefan Ilsanker from the reserves at Red Bull Salzburg and Simon Piesinger from a similar fate at Sturm. I don’t foresee these guys getting a lot of starts in the big games but, alongside back-up ‘keeper Ivan Lucic, they’ll provide valuable depth.

Martschinko comes in to contest the now vacant leftback slot with Simon Pirkl, with the latter expected to move to a big club next summer. Pirkl’s midfield slot is taken by Marco Schulte, the aforementioned newgen that Man Utd signed from our city rivals FAK.

Schulte

Austria Wien are the only club doing their bit with the newgen production. Alongside Schulte, they produced an attacking midfielder called Sven Schneider who has sadly been crippled by injury since signing for Southampton; and a very promising striker called Robert Schröder who is just breaking into their first team.

Schulte, though, is hugely versatile and so should get a lot of games for us this season. He did well after joining us on loan last January too and I’d expect him to go on loan to a bigger club next season before being a legit option for Man Utd in a couple of seasons.

Stöger is yet another “rescue job” ater he was released from Stuttgart and he’ll contest the #10 role with, amongst others, undoubtedly the biggest name that we’ve signed yet.

spike

This is our merchandising income graph after signing Keisuke Honda. On a free transfer at just €11kpw, financially it was a no-brainer. As I said before, we already have a number of existing options at national level for AMC, so bringing in Honda isn’t going to harm our national development of #10’s too much.

In fact, with his Professional personality and some nice PPM’s, he’s a great option for tutoring the next generation. Unfortunately, he’s been absolutely terrible on the pitch so far, being outperformed by everyone else in his position. I’m hoping it’s a settling-in problem and so have brought in a Japanese coach in an effort to help him adjust.

All of which leaves my strongest XI probably something like this:

Strongest XI

Which, in all honesty, is a team that I would still expect to battle it out with Red Bull Salzburg for domestic dominance.

If it all seems like it’s going smoothly on the club front, you’d be right. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the primary focus of this game – the national team.

After the fantastic success of reaching the Euro 2016 quarter, we’ve spectacularly failed to even qualify for World Cup 2018.

Internationals

 

The draw was made before our rankings boost from Euro qualifying and then the tournament itself, so we remained as 3rd seeds meaning a relatively difficult draw with both England and Ukraine to contend with.

Even so, we should have been more competitive than we were as we yet again struggled to find a striker who could perform consistently until I finally settled on that man Friesenbichler.

We were always playing catch-up after a poor 1-0 loss in Swansea and a goalless home draw with Ukraine. Wales’ winner came deep into injury time and we certainly deserved a win from the Ukraine game but you’ve only got yourself to blame if you can’t take your chances.

Ukraine

And as much as we deserved the win in that game, we lucked out with the draw at Wembley – this time relying on a disgusting match engine aberration of an own goal from Wayne Rooney to give us a point. As an aside, Rooney was playing centre half after Leighton Baines’ injury had reduced England to 10 men with 5 minutes to go. Odd choice.

Into the new year and Kevin Friesenbichler’s selection up front immediately improved our performances and form – scoring 3 in victories over Estonia and Wales.

The earlier poor results meant we had to win at home to England and we certainly made a real game of it as Unai Emery’s (yes, Unai Emery) needed two John Stones penalties (yes, John Stones taking penalties) to defeat us.

It wasn’t officially over until the 1-0 defeat in Kyiv but at least we saw the group out in style with a 7-0 thrashing of Lichtenstein to please the fans.

Undoubtedly a disappointing campaign but we screwed ourselves early on, that loss in Wales being the absolute killer. With the emergence of Friesenbichler as a genuine international player, I think we’ve solved our immediate striking problems. The later games against England and Ukraine were very tight affairs which could have gone either way and certainly gives us some hope for Euro 2020 qualifying.

I have experimented with the 4-2-3-1 at international level too but decided it will only be used against the smaller sides, which makes sense. I tried it in the first half of the friendly against Belgium. I’d rested the core of the national team and tried out a bunch of fringe players but we were tanked 3-0 in a desperate first half performance against a full-strength Belgian team. Switching back to 4-1-4-1 at half time, we won the second period 2-1.

Natioanl side

 

This is probably my preferred line-up at the moment, although perhaps not the strongest as I’m looking long term.

The ‘keeper could be any one of Stojanovic (Bologna), Stankovic (Red Bull Salzburg) or Leitner (Rapid Wien) and we’re stacked in midfield with any one of Schöpf (Nürnberg), Alar (Rapid Wien), Horvath (Saint-Étienne), Grillitsch (Werder Bremen on loan at Nürnberg), Schulte (Man Utd on loan at Rapid Wien), Gartner (Palermo), Wydra (Palermo), Büchel (Twente) or Kavlak (Bochum) ready to step in.

Pavelic (now at Livorno) is battling Zulte Waregem’s Lainer for the right-back slot with Sturm Graz’s Phillip Seidl (shortly to move to Rapid Wien) the next contender. I’m hoping that these three will have sorted our right back problem leaving the striker as the only potential medium to long term concern.

Friesenbichler is the undoubted first choice up front now with Alar, Weimann (Watford), Djuricin (Bordeaux) and even on occasion Ashley Barnes (Burnley). Unfortunately, none of the original striking prospects have produced the goods. Pellegrini may kick on after his move to West Brom but I have my doubts whilst Gregoritsch’s severe injury problems have ruined any top level career he may have had and the likes of Kvasina never got game time.

There is hope, though, as Austria Wien have produced a player I think could be quite the talent:

Schroder

 

I was sorely tempted to buy him in the summer but opted for the Friesenbichler loan instead as I want FAK to do well this season and provide another challenger alongside Salzburg. If Schröder continues to get game time and develop well then he’d be perfect as Friesenbichler’s back-up for the advanced forward role in the 4-2-3-1. Fingers crossed.

Sadly, as I said above, FAK are the only ones producing any kind of decent newgen. We had another shocking intake and I haven’t found a single player from any other club that I consider to have even an outside chance of a future international spot. There are a couple of dual nationality German newgens we might be able to steal but that’s a risky policy to follow as the really good ones will surely hold out for a cap from our dearest rivals.

Anyway, that’s about your lot for this update and indeed for this year as I post this article an hour and a half before the bells.

I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who has read, commented, retweeted, plugged or otherwise helped this blog over the last year. It hasn’t been my most prolific year due to the aberration that was FM14 but, nevertheless, the views keep coming and it’s great to see so many more people commenting these days.

It still seems mad to me that people would take the time to read my rambling brain dump every couple of weeks.

Happy New Year to you all and all the best for 2015!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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27 thoughts on “Are you Keegan in disguise?”

  1. Being down by 10 points, you finally managed to comeback and tookover RBS from their top spot. It was shocking eh :). Aside from your tactical management, do you think there was something “special” happened to RBS so they failed to maintain their performance? Because, as far as I know, RBS are ridiculously strong and it would be so so hard to gun down them, especially, when they have taken 10 points ahead

    1. Sorry for the late response, strangely I didn’t get a notification of your comment.

      RBS lost their manager to a German club, Gladbach I think, around the turn of the year and then splashed the cash on a few new players they didn’t need. I think the combination of these two disruptions really hurt them, although I wasn’t complaining 🙂

      1. Had I in charge, I’d hope RBS can still maintain their super-power performance, as it brings a lot of fun and keep the save challenging. No RBS no party, I’m sure 😀

      2. Absolutely, it’s great having a proper challenger and I hope that a few of the other clubs will catch up. I had expected it to be FAK or Sturm but LASK seem to be stepping up this year which is nice to see.

      3. Ha. Exacty the same hope with me. I hope for 2-3 clubs to come and join the title race with me. But…… as used to be. It would be one main competitor. Consistency is the worst side of AI team, as most of them got no idea of how to maintain the peak performance or do the ideal rotation system IMO. I guess, this also will be happening to your save.

  2. How confident are you that the ‘C&C’ approach for transfers works, specifically the idea that sending someone to a smaller club in say Italy will result in game time and then an offer from a bigger club? Can the AI be trusted to manage sensibly, haha!

    1. It’s a good question and the answer is “not entirely confident”. The Wydra transfer hasn’t really worked out since his move to Palermo and Gartner may be going the same way but these guys were peripheral national players anyway. My feeling is that the really good players should be able to make it in the big leagues – Hinteregger being a decent example so far. Fingers crossed there’s more like him and fewer like Wydra.

  3. Happy New Year and an excellent read as ever Shrew and good to see you progressing nicely for Rapid and shame about the slight slump with the national side. I must say you are a brave man for letting all those first team players leave in one go and echo the comments above that you are giving the AI a lot of trust to develop them and move them on to bigger and better clubs. I’m more of a develop the league, the national side all through the club side. That is very much the approach i like to take and only really consider selling players once they are over the age of 25 and only if i can’t guarantee them first team football.

    I’m very much of the opinion that so long as you’ve got good coaching, good facilities and regular European Football then you should be able to get the most out of any player.

    It’s the age old dilemma of 20 games in the Premier League/La Liga/Serie A versus 40 games in the Bundesliga and Europe? Just worth keeping an eye on like you said with those players that you have moved on to see the percentage that “make it” and those that have suffered as a result of the move away from Rapid.

  4. So glad I finally got round to reading this! What a comeback. There is nothing more satisfying, in my humble opinion, than seeing a tactical overhaul come off and huge improvements as a result. Top work as ever sir, top work!

    Chris
    Follow me on Twitter: @comeontheoviedo
    FM15 blogs: www.comeontheoviedo.wordpress.com & www.realtimeoviedo.wordpress.com
    Author of the “Johnny Cooper, Championship Manager” series – available on Amazon
    Read the first chapter of “Johnny Cooper, Championship Manager: The Second Season Syndrome” at http://www.chrisdarwen.com

  5. Hey Shrew excellent read as usual I’ve just recently found your blog and I’ve been enjoying it so far especially some of your older posts. I consider myself a new FM player because even though I have been playing since FM13, I still don’t know anything about this game. So far, I’ve had an extremely frustrating FM career. I’ve never really had an ‘successful save’ and I always seem to fall short. Since FM13, I’ve played with teams like Arsenal Which I support), Man United, and even lower league teams like Bath City, Barnet, and even teams in Germany and France. All my saves have been huge failures and usually result me getting fired and leaving the team in a worse state. Now, I consider myself a huge football fan and consider myself knowledgeable about soccer, which is why I find it hugely frustrating that I can’t have a successful save. I think the biggest problem for me is tactics and I think that is the area of the game that I really need to improve in. I read all your posts on tactics and even many other blogs which I find very informative, but confusing for me maybe because I never thought about tactics this way and can’t quite comprehend just yet. Usually, I line everyone by current ability and put everyone in their best roles. From there, I just select the instructions that looks good for me. I like to think that I do everything else in the game fairly well but I feel if you don’t have a good tactic, it makes the game very hard to play. Either I’ve a poor tactic and I lose a bunch of games, or I get a good tactic nailed down but midway through the season the opposition seem to get used to my tactic and I try tweaking my tactic and using others but my season just seems to go downhill from there. My question to you is do you recommend a place to start as far as tactics go, and is there a book or website that you’d recommend to help me with the basics and understand how to put together a good tactic and help analyzing the game? I really appreciate your time reading this extremely long post and I wish luck to you with your blog.

    1. First of all, thanks for the comment and for reading. Unfortunately, I’m slowly but surely losing interest in FM and partly for reasons that you’ll find in my answer to your question.

      I think your problem is a common one where people think that they will be able to play the game sensibly using their own real-life football knowledge. My own view is that FM is far too simplistic to even come close to representing real football, whilst it also faces the problem that it’s essentially a maths program built on someone’s opinion of “x should equal y”. Long story short – forget about real football beyond the absolute basics and try to “play the game” rather than playing football.

      In doing so, I wouldn’t recommend any football books to improve your knowledge of FM. Lots of guys will have read the likes of “Inverting the Pyramid” etc but these are just history books really and don’t really give you any pointers as to how things work in detail. Any books which do give you detail will leave you wondering how they could ever possibly be implemented in FM as you simply won’t have the tools at your disposal.

      So my recommendation is to read the best bits of the “FM Community” to find out what works for other people. There’s a lot of crap spoken about the FM Community and a lot of crap spoken by the FM Community so be wary of what you read and don’t be afraid to question what you read, no matter the author. The best guys, for me, are those that I’ve included in the “Other Blogs Worth Following” widget on the left sidebar of this site. The likes of Cleon, Eds, FMAnalysis, RTH… these guys all know what they’re talking about (in my opinion). Selected threads from the SI Forums, FM Now, sortitoutsi, etc will also help you out.

      Lastly, I’d recommend keeping it simple. FM is on a simplification drive like you wouldn’t believe and over-complicating things isn’t going to help in the current match engine. Keep It Simple, Stupid is a good mantra to follow – don’t use too many team instructions, personal instructions, etc. The engine will just get confused.

      I hope that helps

  6. Thanks Shrew for the great feedback, I’ve become much better in FM after your advice and started reading a bunch of blogs including yours to help reinforce my knowledge of the game. I’ve now got Boreham Wood promoted to the Vanarama Conference and things are looking up. Quick question however when I was reading your analyzing tactic post I didn’t understand what exactly you look for when you analyzed the game you were playing. What specifics do you try and watch when you analyze a game or your tactic and do you watch every game on comprehensive and if so why. Thanks again.

    1. I do watch every game on comprehensive, yeah. I just feel like it gives me a good balance of being able to see what’s going right / wrong, without the grind of warching the full game.

      It’s very difficult to say what I’m looking for in specific games, so I’d suggest reading this https://footballmanagerveteran.wordpress.com/2013/04/27/analysing-your-tactic-and-spotting-problems/ I did a “case study” of one game to answer questions just like this and it’s my highest viewed article ever so hopefully it’ll help.

      Thanks for the comment and great work with Boreham Wood!

  7. Shrew I really miss your updates!!! I’ve just started to read them all back once again (allmost finished with toulouse) and they are still full of interresting stuff. For me your blog is the perfect mix between a good story and a great tutorial.
    Your blog has been one of the reasons I’ve started playing fm again and still enjoy so much. I stopped after 2008 and got back in 2013 and now 2015. The feeling to get back and get hooked again is great so I hope you’ll experience that aswell

    Thanks for all the good stories !!

    1. Sorry Feddo, only just seen this. As you can tell, I hardly ever come back to the blog anymore. But thanks for the great feedback, it’s great to hear that people are still enjoying the stories here. Shamefully, I still read them myself sometimes to try and get the urge back. Doesn’t always work 🙂

  8. What a great read I’ve always wanted to try a save abroad and think after reading this I will go Austria, Belgium something like that. Great post and great blog hope you continue the work.

    1. Thanks Josh, I really appreciate the comment. Sadly, I’m going to have to let you down on the last bit. I’ve kind of fallen out of love with the game and lost interest in writing about it, for the moment at least. There are loads of great blogs out there, though, if you want to find similar stuff. The best that I know of are linked on the toolbar to the left. Can absolutely recommend them to you.

  9. Apologize for writing here, but I just want to say how great was your article about sliders in CCC magazine. Although, I am not a pro-slider biggest fan, and having in mind that I enjoy current interface more I must say you had some awesome point when talking about new interface especially when it come to this:

    “What does the former tell us? Well, what it suggests to me is that the old ‘through balls’ slider is
    set to ‘often’ – one of 3 options with the slider (often, sometimes, rarely). We now have one ‘personal instruction’ option to play ‘fewer risky passes’. Does this reduce that old slider to sometimes or rarely? Who knows? What we do know is that there are only two options: default(more) or use the shout (fewer). Two options where there were previously
    three.”

    Actually there are 3 options still. 🙂 According to my personal logic which is identical as yours, when you say in new interface fewer it’s like you moved slider all the way left to “rarely” in previous versions. When you don’t set the option to more or fewer it’s like you set slider at the middle (normal). People however don’t see marketing side behind all of this. Old interface even if it offered more control, could be easily seen as not so “user friendly” and from sales point of view more user friendly interface would bring more new players to the game thus even more sales. But what i don’t understand is why they didn’t kept them both? Because even with new interface you still play with sliders as your point here suggests:” Actually, there are more than 5. There are 5 options
    for each of the mentalities. So, 35. Or maybe more.”

    Once more, I apologize for writing here but i had massive desire to share my thought on this topic just didn’t know where exactly to put it. Anyway, amazing article in CCC. Would like to see more of your thoughts on other matters too.

    1. Hi Rokke,

      Thanks very much for the comment. No need to apologise at all.

      I think that piece was written when FM14 was the latest version which had fewer personal instructions, if I remember correctly. Regardless, I agree with your point about marketing. This move to dumb down the interface is done with mass-market in mind which, let’s be honest, is entirely reasonable given that SI are running a business which is focused on profit. Doesn’t mean that we can’t point out its many flaws, though.

      I’m afraid I won’t be writing about FM much, if ever. Really just lost interest in the game recently. I play a few matches here and there but it’s no longer every night – be lucky if I play once a week now.

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