Far, far too old. Yet here I am. Again.
In case you’re wondering what I’m on about, I used to blog about Football Manager. Quite a long time ago, it turns out. The last time I blogged here was in 2014. And for a very brief period I blogged on The Dugout with the excellent FM Analysis.
Then I stopped, primarily because I just couldn’t be bothered anymore.
So why start blogging now?
Primarily because I have a few tactical issues to work out and I find the best way to do that is to write them out. I’ve always found the best way to test your knowledge of a subject is to try and explain it to someone else. If you can’t, then you don’t know it.
It works much the same for me with problems. Laying out the exact issue forces me to understand what the actual problem is. And usually that helps me solve it.
Those problems, though, will come in a later blog. For those who didn’t read my witterings on previous versions of FM, I tended to write at length – it wouldn’t be unusual for a single blog to extend to two or three thousand words.
I won’t be doing that anymore, instead I’ll go for shorter, single-issue focused stuff. I won’t promise to be regular, I won’t even promise that I’ll continue the blog for long. If I can be bothered, I will; if not, I won’t. I will say, though, that I thoroughly enjoyed FM18 and hope that’ll continue into 19.
Easing myself back in then, I’ll briefly outline the save I’m playing.
Old time readers will be well aware of my affinity to Rapid Wien and, in an old tradition, I’ve decided to return to a Club and Country save for the first time since FM15. (anyone who isn’t clear what a Club and Country save can read this very old explanation)
The aim of this save is, therefore, slightly different to an orthodox FM game in that the club comes second to the national team. Although I will obviously attempt to make Rapid as successful as possible, their primary function is to produce and develop Austrian players to win a European Championship or World Cup.
As Rapid are one of the biggest clubs in Austria, my main concern with this save is the same as it ever was – that the club game becomes boring long before international success has been achieved.
In the past I’ve combated this with merged leagues of various types but now I lean towards some self-imposed guidelines to retain a level of challenge. Handily, I was able to plagiarise my FM15 save rather than come up with anything new so, just like the last attempt, I’ll be playing whilst exercising the following:
- 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)
I’ve also flirted with the idea of introducing the same attribute parameters as the last attempt but I consider the required attributes to be driven by my tactical plans which, as we’ll find out in subsequent blogs, are as yet uncertain.
In contrast to previous attempts, and thanks in large part to qualification for Euro 2016, the national side’s ranking is already very healthy – starting at 23rd in the world. The game world also feels fresher than I expected because many of the youth prospects I’d become used to over several iterations of FM have now either developed into fully fledged internationals (Sabitzer, Hinteregger, etc) or failed to progress (Lindner, Friesenbichler, etc).
Instead, there are new and previously unknown prospects to develop alongside a solid, core base in the current squad. Meanwhile Red Bull Salzburg should provide some level of consistent competition at club level.
If you fancy following along with the story, then future blogs are likely to focus on youth development and tactics – my two favourite aspects of Football Manager. You can follow me @Shrewnaldo on twitter or use the follow / RSS buttons on the blog itself for alerts.
You’d think after nearly 5 years away from the blog, I’d have come up with a decent way to end an article. But no.