FM16 – Benfica
This is going to be an odd post. In my mind it’s a journey through my most recent FM saves before I start FM23 properly. (I’ve been playing since the Italian version in the 90s but can’t remember anything about those saves. I played on the family Amiga in the evenings. Fiorentina and AC Milan, I think? And there was a game where you had to start non-league but I can’t remember what it was). I want to see if there are any trends or themes that emerge from thinking about my most recent saves. I’d like to do something different this time around. Something that feels fresh.
FM16 – Benfica
Tried a W-M tactic which bossed it but was weird. It was aggressive and mean. I intended to build a homegrown first team and win the CL with them until someone suggested that was too easy a challenge, so I just decided to create a monster tactic. I remember Cleon making something similar at the same time.
FM17 – RC de Lens
FM17 gave me the best newgen I’ve ever managed until last years. Ludovic De Freitas became a legend at the club alongside winning a CL winners medal. Transferred to Man UTD endgame after I left for Leverkusen.
I remember winning the CL against Arsenal on holiday in Greece in 35 degree heat, my fan threatening to spin itself out of my laptop. I might have shouted too loud at the final whistle. You’d have to ask my wife. It was a crazy topsy-turvy final that made me smile for days.
FM18 – FC Midtjylland (to Spurs)
Fun but forgettable youth focused save. Think I left for a bigger club as usual. I tend to build a club up and then leave at the boring point of relative dominance.
Was playing this tactic (think I was trying to be Bielsa) at Spurs until I got bored:
FM19 – Hamburg (for the first time).
Seems I nearly won the league early on.
But then managed it the next year.
And played weird tactics
Which did this:
Left Hamburg for Nantes after 4 Bundesliga wins in a row. We were nearly bought out by a tycoon but the deal fell through. Ex-player at Hamburg went to Man City for 99M and won the Ballon d’Or. Had an average age of 20 at Nantes and did well. I sold all the deadwood and just promoted everybody from the youth teams. Somehow it worked. Took PSG down to the last game for the title but lost. To PSG. 1-0.
Did well in the CL groups usually. Knocked out Man UTD and Madrid by pipping them to 2nd. We had some great European nights in Nantes.
And we finally did won the league. On the last day.
FM20 – Ipswich, Red Bull Paris.
We were promoted two seasons in a row into the Premier League. Insanity. We were thrashed every week but could occasionally pull off a smash and grab result, like a 1-0 win away at Arsenal. Stayed up by the skin of our teeth with a 4-2 away victory against Norwich in the Old Farm Derby. Played a lot with a libero this edition. Didn’t really have a save that gripped me this year. The pandemic kind of got in the way.
This popped up this edition:
FM21 – Deportivo La Coruña.
A glorious save. Took Depor through the labyrinths of the Spanish lower leagues and defeated the minotaurs of France and Europe. Had a new stadium built. Fucking loved it. Had some brilliant newgens that went with us from the third tier to the CL final. Laid the foundations for my Hamburg save the next year. Build a club up after relegation. But I think as they already have the fans, facilities, and potential, it becomes easy fast. I want to escape from that cycle this year. Some great young players though.
This guy, for example. Straight into the first team the week he appeared in the intake:
This guy was in my first youth intake in the third tier. He won a Champions League medal, 3 La Liga titles, and 2 Copa Del Reys. Legend. Apparently ‘Unambitious’.
Things just clicked at Depor and we just became a giant in Spanish football. I moved away from weird tactics for the end of the save and we were balanced and deadly.
We had world class wonderkids.
The save came to a ridiculous end with a season where we only conceded 3 goals in 38 matches. That season we won every competition we were in. It was the best season I’ve ever had in FM bar none. Sometimes in FM there are golden periods where everything works. You have scouted ahead and have a solution to every issue. You have the youth prospects, the facilities, the momentum, and you’ve got all of the money. You’ve worked so hard to get there and for a glorious moment it hits the spot, like an ice cold beer on a hot afternoon with a hangover. But then the moment is gone and you miss the struggle, the journey, the anticipation of the success. And it gets boring quick. That’s why I left Hamburg in the previous save (but not the next. Still want to play that one) and why I’ll probably eventually leave whoever I pick for FM23.
FM22 – Hamburg & Palmeiras (and obligatory Newcastle muck around).
Newcastle wonderkids nonsense (got boring fast):
Won the league on the last day on goal difference despite both of us losing. Sorry Bayern.
Went asymmetric in Brazil and won the Libertadores and league. I will now forever be in love with Kaiky, Angelo, Danilo, Renan, and Gabriel Menino. I’d never played in Brazil before and found it baffling, exhausting, but so much fun. Beating Flamengo 5-1 was the highlight (part from defeating River Plate in the Libertadores final). This edition brought in the new Club World Cup format , which for me has ruined the end game stage of saves. That trophy was my final goal. Now it comes in pre-season and you have games the day after you’ve just played. It’s a nonsense. Lost out with Hamburg because my players were completely exhausted. It’s the ultimate boss level baddy. I fucking hate it. Really, really hate it.
Formation was nuts but ripped teams to shreds. The false 9 playing off the target man was lethal.
This is the save that changed things for me tactically. I finally got the number 10 role, the attacking midfielder who is there to just cause chaos. I’d always needed the safety belt of a deep lying midfielder to mop up mistakes or start attacks from deep. No longer. This guy started it for me. I got upgrades later in the save but he was the beginning.
It lead to the creation of a tactic that I never would have done before. Possession based, strangling the opposition until the perfect opportunity presented itself. Over 60% possession most games. I think the new FM23 match engine might destroy a lot of these kinds of tactics, which I think is a good idea. It was a tactic I rarely had to change. I just pressed space bar repeatedly and won. Never had to think about tactics, only personal. Boring. But it was a classic save for me, something I fall into. Fallen giant, revive, get rich, scout the world, buy all the wonderkids, win everything (except the new fucking CWC because its bullshit and the scheduling is designed by sadists). We had the best players in the world and it got boring. We lost 2 games in the last three seasons before the end of the save. I left off 14 game unbeaten into the new season.
I mean, look at this guy. I played him as a ball winning midfielder on defend because I had better creative players ahead of him.
The possession based Death Star all destroying tactic:
In the FM23 beta I’ve been messing around with a new tactic that uses a number 10 but is not so much about possession.I’ve been enjoying the chaos of the matches and the AI feeling more reactive. You can’t just build a great tactic and press space bar anymore. I’ve been scouting the opposition, watching their highlights, making tweaks before games. It feels like a proper challenge this year. I’ve built three tactics I can cycle through depending on need during the games. The base tactic is flexible. If I see a weakness or strength in the opposition, I’ll make changes before game. I know a lot of people did that before but I’ve never really bothered. This edition, you need to. I like that.
I finished FM22 strongly. I now want to avoid exactly this:
Trends I’ve noticed (and want to avoid)
- build up a fallen giant
- sign youth prospects and play them
- get bored as soon as I have dominance and move on. Rinse and repeat.
- use international jobs to try to ‘spice’ up the save and cheekily call up my own players.
- play in the ‘big leagues’ of Central Europe, apart from the Danish save (loved being the outsider upstarts)
What I think I need to do this FM
- avoid ‘big leagues’
- have a bigger challenge or goal after dominance is established.
- use international management in a positive way
Club and country in a small nation?