Before I’d achieved an unbeaten season with Dortmund, I genuinely thought it was impossible.
Each year, we’d lose a game in an away game against some dodgy mid-table side and I’d whinge before not playing Football Manager for weeks. To me, anyone who achieved an unbeaten season was either ridiculously lucky or ridiculously good at the game.
But it turns out, maybe not.
Another Bundesliga. Another DFB-Pokal.
But a Champions League loss.
Since the start of my ‘Moneyball’ Udinese save, one of the main questions I get asked is how to find the undiscovered gems of the football world. Given the save is built around signing players for value due to their low reputation, this is an area of the game I spend a lot of time on. Twitter is a pretty handy tool for answering lots of questions, but this topic deserves more than 140 characters.
I recommend reading the whole article and then putting it into practice in FM, rather than stage-by-stage. It’s also well worth checking out the comments section of this article as there are some points I’ve missed that provide some more handy info.
At the end of my introductory post on the new Udinese save, I mentioned the situation was something of a ‘clusterfuck’. In truth, it was a lot worse and I had to complete more outgoing transfers/loans than in any transfer window ever.
The Summer all began with the loan players returning. This was fine. Whilst there was lots to deal with, we were at the end of June and there was plenty of time. However, the day before they were all due to return, the board announced they were considering a consortium takeover and this resulted in a temporary transfer embargo.
Regardless, planning went on, and we’d been given a £360k p/w wage budget. This seemed fairly reasonable… until the loanees returned. At this point I thought something must’ve been wrong, because upon trying to offer a new contract to one of our current players, the maximum value was an absolute pittance. So I checked the finances, and we were now paying £640k p/w in wages.
Finishing my Dortmund save meant it was time for a new one. I asked on Twitter and in the previous blog post for suggestions on new places to visit across Europe. There were some excellent suggestions, with Denmark and Croatia amongst my favourites. Whilst Denmark seemed an excellent place to manage, none of the clubs particularly took my fancy. And similarly, Croatia had some interesting rules on Home Grown players that I didn’t fancy contending with.
When I can’t decide a club to choose for a new save, I tend to holiday a season with a big database of many leagues. Once the season is up I check for vacancies and particularly insecure jobs. More often than not, there’s something interesting. And this time was no different; Ajax, Werder Bremen, Zenit, Celta Vigo, and a few others were available. But eventually the club selected was Udinese.
It’s been a while since my last post. That’s partly behind having a break from the game and partly because when I have been playing, it’s been slightly more in-depth than merely ploughing through games. In the last post, I detailed how we’d attempt to achieve a feat I had never before achieved on any Football Manager: the unbeaten league season.
Eventually we got there. It took two seasons after my last article rather than one, and it took a slightly different tactical approach. Whilst the 4-3-1-2 worked excellently well, and I would massively recommend it to mid-table teams looking to overachieve, it was a flat 4-4-2 that did the business. The 4-3-1-2 would attempt to overload the centre of the pitch, but often teams would play a very flat back four against me where the full-backs didn’t attack at all. As well as this they’d have a defensive midfielder and sometimes even defensive wingers too. All in all, they’d always have at least ten men behind the ball.
In my last update, I highlighted the difficulty I’ve had in completing an unbeaten season on FM. Since then, pre-season has gone well and we’ve made two new additions to the squad.
As the previous update was in January, we were still able to make an addition in that window.
Given our moderately depleted striker stocks (only Robert Wechner and Paulao were capable of leading the line), we spent £27m on behemoth Kemal Guler.