Financial prudence in FM – Part 1

Financial prudence and “living within your means” are becoming hot topics in the world of football these days with Platini’s Financial Fair Play looking to rein in the perceived excesses that are threatening to spiral out of control within the game. The merits of FFP and potential for success are topics for another forum and sharper minds than mine; but there’s no doubting that its introduction is prompted by a desire to introduce financial responsibility and general business principles to a sport which has, at times, sought to ignore such limiting factors to satisfy the egos of ambitious chairmen, dissatisfaction of ill-informed fans and hounding by irresponsible media.

Whilst we are all aware that FM is just a game and, once in a while, it can be fun just to splurge as much cash as possible, running a financially prudent club that returns a regular profit is something of an obsession of mine. Whether this is down to my Scottish heritage, my admiration for Arsenal or just because I’m good at it is tough to tell but I do find it incredibly satisfying being able to produce a successful team whilst spending a fraction of my rivals’ outgoings. Here are my tips on how I go about it.

This is part 1 of the article – it turned out that I had more to say than I thought I did!!

Continue reading Financial prudence in FM – Part 1

Rapid chasing back-to-back titles

So my first blog update of my Rapid Wien / Austria save finds us in February 2021, battling it out with Inter Milan for the Alpine Premier title. If you are unfamiliar with my game then much of that will seem odd to you so I’ll try to explain…

It all started with the concept of a Club and Country game and my FM-induced affiliation with Rapid Wien and Austrian football. As I find the default Austrian Bundesliga, with it’s 10 team league and incredibly dull league format of playing each team 4 times, leads to me getting bored after two or three seasons I decided to create an Alpine superleague within the editor. As such, I merged all the Swiss and Austrian teams into one league structure along with all German teams south of Stuttgart and all Italian teams north of Genoa. This has lead to me playing in a hugely competitive league with the likes of Milan, Inter, Juventus, Bayern Munchen and Stuttgart for company. Over the last 8 seasons we have won promotion to the top tier and slowly developed into a leading challenger for the title, culminating in our first championship last season. In line with the C&C premise, this has all been achieved whilst developing Austrian players for the national side, blooding the youth and improving our facilities to produce the best possible domestic players that I can.

As the main focus of this game is on the national side, I’ll let you know that progress was slow to begin with but we had a superb Euro 2020 where we reached the final before losing out to a massively over-rated English side. This post, however, will concentrate on the club side for now.

So as I said, we won the title last year and are scrapping it out with Inter to follow it up with another this time round. Prior to last season, Bayern had taken 6 titles in a row but the Bavarians seem to have lost their mojo somewhat whilst Milan have been poor for a couple of seasons now. The league is still highly competitive though and the most pleasing aspect of it for me is the tactical variation throughout each team. There are the obligatory 4-4-2’s but just as many 4-2-3-1’s, 4-3-1-2’s, a couple of 3-4-3’s and Conte always turns up with his 4-2-4 to ruin my day.

This means that there’s always something new to keep my interest and an added challenge to fit my players into various systems that can combat the variances in the opposition. Which brings me to the other thing I love about C&C games… Due to the fact that you are limiting yourself in the transfer market to develop players for the national side, you have to learn how to get the best out of what is given to you without the option of bringing in a player to suit your own system.

This leads me on to my own tactics. Over the last 8 seasons, I’ve been lucky enough to get some excellent newgens – most specifically striker David Zeh and Frank Rogalski who can either play alongside or behind him. However, the spread of newgens hasn’t been balanced in my favour and we have seen a real shortage in goalkeepers and centre halves, whilst overloaded with defensive midfielders. Initially I had considered retraining some of my them and maintaining a 4-2-3-1 shape but instead I’ve had “a cunning plan”, hence the Baldrick tactic you can see to the right.

It’s been a painful process getting it right and it’s far from being the finished article but it’s better than it was and certainly beginning to show some promise.

Most promising has been the goalscoring where our front four have been majestic, racking up 62 goals already. In comparison, we scored 74 in the entire title winning season – with 9 games left this term we should easily overtake that. The tactic borrows heavily from various threads I’ve read across the scene and is aimed at retaining possession deep in midfield before breaking the midfield line and allowing our front four to work their magic against what is hopefully an isolated defence. It’s been working well against the weaker sides in the league and those I would say are on a par with us but is “problematic” against the better sides whilst a top-class striker like Pato or Fierro cause havoc.

Whilst we’ve progressed to the point of perennial challengers domestically, in Europe things have been slower going. We were getting one round further each season in the Europa League every year, culminating in a semi-final defeat to Milan in 2018, before we progressed on to the big-boy tournament but have so far failed to make much of an impact, only reaching the first knockouts last year. This season, though, we were imperious in the groups. Scoring 22 goals, we won every game in a group of Arsenal, Leverkusen and AIK. Having been paired, once again, with Lyon in the knockouts, I am quietly confident of being able to improve on last year’s performance which, at the end of the day, is all that can be asked.

The sole disappointment of the season (so far) has been getting knocked out of the Rolex Cup, the Alpine League’s equivalent of the FA Cup, in the third round to Nurnberg.

For anyone who is reading this (optimism), unless you followed the game when I was updating at The Dugout there will be some significant gaps in the history of the save. I’ll try and fill as many of those gaps in future updates but if you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

Shrew’s Club and Country Guide

So most of my updates on here will centre on my games with Rapid Wien and Austria. This game follows the premise of a “Club and Country” save, a concept I first came across when Forza on The Dugout had an excellent game with Shenhua and China. Having played this sort of game for a couple of years now, I wrote this guide to give other players some tips on how to play similar games themselves. It really is a great way to play the game and introduce a new level of challenge to Football Manager if you find yourself getting bored with the same old saves.

Hopefully this guide will be of use and you can enjoy C&C games as much as I do.

Continue reading Shrew’s Club and Country Guide

Welcome to FM Veteran!!

Welcome to FM Veteran, a new blog I have started simply because I’ve become sick of the forum scene in recent times but still wanted somewhere to post about my various FM saves, ideas on the game and perhaps even digress into real life football every once in a while.

Hopefully you might find some of what I say interesting or entertaining.  For me, this blog will only be worthwhile if I encourage feedback and discussion so please feel free to comment on any of my posts and I will do my best to respond to everyone.

A bit of background on me… I’ve been addicted to Championship Manager / Football Manager for more years than I care to admit to, having played since 1993. Sharing my FM experience online was new to me until I signed up to The Dugout in 2009 and found a whole new level of enjoyment to the game. Hopefully this blog is the next step. I love the tactical side of the game and enjoy digging into the minutiae of the match engine and game mechanics. As such, I’m always on the lookout for new interesting articles so feel free to link me to any you find.

In terms of real football, I’ve been an Aberdeen fan my whole life although have fallen out of love with Scottish football for some years now. I will watch just about any game I can find on tv, have soft spots for Arsenal and Southampton in England whilst I have found myself becoming a Rapid Wien fan through an odd in-game affiliation I have built up over many years. I now try to catch as many of Rapid’s games as possible and follow Austrian players all over Europe.

Over my years at TD, I’ve written a few articles which I think are still valid and I’ll probably post some here before I delve into my general ramblings and updates on my game.

Thanks for reading and I hope to hear some positive feedback soon. Cheers, Shrew.

An addict's ramblings on Football Manager

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Chris Darwen

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I watch every minute of every Austrian Bundesliga game. This blog contains posts from the top players of the week, to top youngsters to watch. Follow me on twitter for more: @FRfussballtim. For all enquiries email: tim.jones@footballradar.com. All views expressed on this blog are my own.

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