Yes, lockdown is damn boring. The suffering we’ve had to bear… not least in having no football to watch. Thankfully, one game that resurrects the passion for the beautiful game is Football Manager.
Many people complain that game developers like EA are just trying to wring the money out of the customer without any care over the game’s experience, whereas it is clear that Miles Jacobson’s Sports Interactive (FM’s developer) creates a wonderful user experience with fascinating detail mirroring the sport.
Some readers of FM Blog have already got plethoras of career ideas yet to be managed. For those stuck for ideas on how to reap the joys of FM20 in lockdown, this article is for you.
1. Leeds United
Managing Leeds United is certainly a clichéd save, but an exciting one nonetheless. Taking The Whites to the Premier League is a demanding target for your first season as a gaffer. However, with the right tactics and lineup, it should be achievable. Discovering that the team has a fairly small transfer budget is a slight let-down; with only around £2M to spend, loan signings should be your best bet for improving the team.
Crucial players will be Kalvin Phillips, Kiko Casilla, Pablo Hernández and Hélder Costa. Mirroring Leeds’ style of play in real life will be key to domestic success, with Marcelo Bielsa’s squad exercising a Wing Play tactic. Do you have what it takes to bring Premier League, eventually European football, back to Elland Road?
2. Aston Villa
Villa’s first time in the top flight since 15/16 has been... eventful. Reaching a Carabao Cup final is a great achievement for Dean Smith’s men, despite a looming relegation once football resumes. After spending over £130M in the summer, you would think the club’s owners (seemingly worth 9.2bn) are reluctant to spend any more. You would be wrong. A good transfer budget can help fund a new right-back, such as Kenny Tete or Denzel Dumfries, and a right-wing, Justin Kluivert was a marvellous transfer when I was Aston Villa’s manager.
With expectations fairly low, establishing Villa as a mid-table side is the board’s target. However, I would aim to finish in the top half because the team has been considerably bolstered by signings. Jack Grealish is unsurprisingly on the wishlist of many top clubs; can you keep hold of the captain?
3. Brackley Town
In a tiny town in Northamptonshire, quietly lies St. James Park, Brackley Town’s stadium. Brackley is a team in the Vanarama National League North, fighting for promotion. This would be more of a long term save, but that shouldn’t be a problem with the time that we have on our hands. When I decided to do a non-league FM20 career, I was set on Brackley from the moment I saw the size of the town on Google Maps. There is a certain feeling you acquire from bringing glory to a minuscule club on Football Manager, that you don’t get with your everyday life. I managed to get the Saints to League One after some excellent free agents and regens decided to move to the town not far away from Leamington. This took me until the 23/24 season; can you help a club with this sort of stature gain promotion to the Premier League?
Key players include Gareth Dean, Lee Ndlovu and Thierry Audel. Some brilliant players I managed to sign in the first season were goalkeeper Correy Addai on loan, James Bailey on a free transfer, Alfie Rutherford on loan and Jordan Corke on a free transfer. The point of this save is to grow and fall in love with a club that you have barely heard of before.