Category Archives: FM articles

The Happel Challenge – Shopping by attributes rather than positions

Rapid real homeI’m sure that many of you are sick and tired of hearing about my games with Rapid Wien but, sorry, I’m back with another one! My dissatisfaction with FM14 is hardly a secret and I’ve made my feelings clear on many occasions – about the tactical interface and match engine in particular. With those elements of the game, probably the two most important elements, so fundamentally ruined for me; I had to find enjoyment in some other aspect of FM.

Either that or stop playing altogether and, to be quite frank, FM has been my sole pastime for so long that I’ve forgotten what else I’m supposed to do with what little spare time I have.

So sadly my Alavés save is no more as I decided that the best way to regain some love of the game was to head back to Rapid – a club I always enjoy managing.

For a blog, though, this would probably be an interminably dull save to report on in the same manner I did with Feralpi or ADO. So instead, I’m going to try and focus each ‘Rapid’ report around one (hopefully) interesting aspect of FM that happens to have come about during the corresponding period of the save.

This article’s topic is, therefore, on “Shopping by attributes rather than positions”.

Continue reading The Happel Challenge – Shopping by attributes rather than positions

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Alavés – Basque to the big time (and the latest of the 3-4-3 project)

1688_homeMy Alavés save has taken something of a backseat recently as I’ve been kept busy at work and the majority of my free FM time has been taken up by the network save with Petr Uchio. We have, however, completed a successful second season with Deportivo Alavés and continued the Cantera project in earnest.

Of course, if you read the last blog article on my 3-4-3-ish idea, you’ll be aware that the Cantera is not the only ‘project’ which I’m currently undertaking. Unfortunately, some events are transpiring within the save which look likely to prevent me fully experimenting with the 3-4-3 and so I can only give it a few cursory run-outs in friendlies.

Nevertheless, I should be able to highlight some significant findings on the proposed tactic and the necessary amendments that have been made to the starting shape… but only after a brief update on Alavés’ second season and our promotion back to the big time…

Continue reading Alavés – Basque to the big time (and the latest of the 3-4-3 project)

A tactical vision to re-ignite my joy of FM

"What do you mean I can't ask my team to play any wider" "You already used that shout, André. Doesn't get wider than that" "You what? Just 3 width settings?! Madness!"

I’ve been in a bit of a grump with the game recently. I’ve just finished writing a fairly extensive piece for Clear Cut Chance, the burgeoning Football Manager quarterly, which is largely negative about the game and the direction that the match engine is taking. I’m entirely un-enamoured with the new tactical interface, the removal of sliders and what I see as an inexorable removal of the human player’s control on the pitch.

Therefore, when I was reading my latest football book (“The Coaching Philosophies of Louis van Gaal and the Ajax Coaches“), and my mind inevitably wandered to re-creating some of the concepts within Football Manager, my mindset was immediately negative. The match engine is too restrictive, I thought, to even bother trying to implement my idea(s). I’d be the new Michels, Kovacs, Happel, Sacchi and Guardiola all rolled into one if only the sodding game wasn’t so hell-bent on stopping me…

… but then, thankfully, I stopped myself and realised that I may be prejudicing myself out of a challenge. How do I know it won’t work if I don’t even try? Well, here’s me trying…

Continue reading A tactical vision to re-ignite my joy of FM

Another year older, another year wearier

Season three was, shall we say, an interesting one in the Pyrenees.  Full of frustration, terror, resignation, rejuvenation and then realisation, it was a year when the full challenges of managing LAP became clear to me.

I’ve mentioned the club’s crippling financial issues before, however, thanks to some tight wage control and the sale of some Wagesplayers we actually turned a tiny profit for the first time in the game.  The French government then recognised this achievement by taxing most of it off us.  Thanks!

Having survived a relegation battle and an emergency board meeting the previous season I vowed never to go through those traumas again.  2015-16 decided otherwise, however, and I experienced the same once more, but this time the spectre of failure haunting me was junked up on steroids and carrying a bazooka.

Read on for the nightmare that nearly was.

Continue reading Another year older, another year wearier

US Dunkerque – Update #3 – Thank god it’s a network save…

usld_2… or else I’m sure that there would be all sorts of suspicions about the honesty with which I am playing the game.

We’ve all read the stories of those who update on their saves and have miraculous success with their clubs. “I can’t believe it, we won 19 promotions on the trot and I won the FA Cup with non-league Village Green Rovers. Isn’t it amazing?!” Well, no. We all know what you’ve been doing.

A sad by-product so many obvious cheaters is that when I read a story of great success I’m immediately suspicious. Thank god, therefore, that Petr Uchio can attest that this season has come about fair and square. As difficult to believe as that may seem…

Continue reading US Dunkerque – Update #3 – Thank god it’s a network save…

Deportivo Alavés – Basque to basics…

1688_awaySorry about the tabloid-esque title but I think this could be a theme for this save. Despite primarily playing my network save with Petr Uchio, I’ve found time to complete a relatively successful first season with Alavés and have, in fact, reached the winter break of season 2.

In a minor spoiler for the update to come, we are slightly ahead of the 3-year plan which I laid out in the opening post – both in terms of on-the-pitch results and the Basque turnover of playing staff.

There have, however, been some disappointing aspects – particularly on the transfer market and in the facility improvements. Read on for more…

Continue reading Deportivo Alavés – Basque to basics…

US Dunkerque – Network game update #2

usld_2When Petr and I last updated on our network save, we were 10 games from the end of season 1 with my Dunkerque side on an inexorable slide towards the relegation zone. We were coming up to a critical period of the season when we’d face 3 of the bottom 4, games which would offer us our best chance of gethering the points to guarantee safety.

We’ve come some way since then with the holiday period affording us more time to play than would usually be available. There’s been a fair few late nights / early mornings, reminding me of my university days… except I never used to get woken up by a 2 year-old at 6am.

Ahead of Petr’s own update (which will be along shortly), here’s my view of how things have gone recently.

Continue reading US Dunkerque – Network game update #2