Category Archives: FM14

Overtaking Happel – Creating new roles

rapid_2Second season done with Rapid and the first title in my ‘Overtaking Happel’ challenge is in the bag. At times the title looked unlikely, at others practically impossible but everything came together in the end and, aided by the required dose of good luck, we pipped Red Bull Salzburg at the post.

In keeping with the ‘theme’ of the Overtaking Happel posts, though, this won’t just be a diary of our results and the players that we signed. I’m trying to centre each article on a particular aspect of the game which has come to the fore during the season at hand. Hence why, during this article, I’ll try to cover what I have somewhat clumsily called “creating new roles”.

Essentially, what I’m trying to look at here are limited selections within the tactical interface that do not really cover what you require. How can you get around these limitations to produce the result on the pitch that you had in mind? Well all-too-often you just can’t as the interface is too restrictive but sometimes, just sometimes, you can come up with a working alternative. This season I’ve done just that and to great effect.

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LAP of Honour in Monaco

While undeniably a season of progress, the 2017/18 will be remembered for two standout matches and a rather welcome farewell to my ramshackle old stadium and cabbage patch pitch.


You’ve heard me whine on before about the state of our playing surface and the rather baffling decision of my board to move us to a new stadium, twice the size of the old one, which we struggled to fill one tenth of so I’ll focus your attention towards the action on the pitch rather than that off it.

I’ll start with the bad (the good will come, while the ugly obviously refers to managerial rival Shrew Naldo).

The bad was so bad, so very, very bad.  So bad, in fact, that I don’t want to put it on the front page of this fair site.  You’ll have to read on, therefore, to explore the full baddy badness of our trip to Calais.

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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”.

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Had to happen eventually I guess…

usld_2First of all, apologies for the incredibly tardy nature of this article. As any of you who follow me on Twitter will know, I haven’t exactly been enamoured with the game of late and I haven’t really had the motivation to write much about it – even though I am still, more or less, enjoying the network game with Petr.

Unfortunately, I haven’t had much enjoyment on the pitch as, for the first time in my long, long history of playing CM/FM, I have been relegated.


Into the league below the one we were in previously. It’s a confusing concept and I don’t like it.

So here’s how it happened and what we’re doing next.


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If You’re LAPpy and You Know It LAP Your Hands

First up I would like to apologise for the utterly heinous title to this piece.  It appears our editorial policy has veered into the wall of the pun and I’ve had to fall in line, which is why you’ve recently read titles such as “Basque to Basics” and “Basque to the Big Time”.  It’s been wall-ful.FA Cup Final

What wasn’t so wall-ful, however, was our fourth season in National.  Long-suffering readers of this column will be fully aware of my ineptitude when it comes to Fooball Management and of our on-off love affair with relegation.

This season, however, we mainly stayed away from the league’s bottom and focussed our activities on its lovely mid-section.  How did we improve from the potentially catastrophic to the merely mediocre?

Read on to find out.

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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…

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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…

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