I’d heard of Inverness Caledonian Thistle before my virtual managerial experience with the northerly Scottish Championship team, but never thought I’d take the helm with the Caley Jags in a Football Manager save.
Initially, I joined them as the second destination in my managerial career after being sacked after a four-year stint in Africa with the Nigeria national team.
I enjoyed my experience in the Scottish Championship and SPFL and eventually, after years of re-building and heartbreak, won the Europa League in 2030 and regularly started finishing third in the top division.
I then decided to start a new save from scratch, here are four of the reasons why.
1. Decent Squad
Starting off with Inverness is made easier by some of the quality players in the squad. There’s plenty of excellent attacking options with the likes of James Keatings, Jordan White and Miles Storey. The central midfield areas are also strong with plenty of depth with Charlie Trafford and Sean Welsh the best options here.
However, the defence may need a bit of shaking up with a few three and two and a half star players and the wide areas are severely lacking in-depth and quality with most players ranking at around two stars or less.
The majority of players are in their 20s, with only a couple of players past their prime, so the potential is good. Not only is this an excellent foundation to build for promotion out of the Ladbrokes Championship, but there are lots of potentials to build for a future in the Premiership.
2. Great Budget
Even if you decide to re-build the squad, bolster the defence or get rid of some of the ageing players, then there is plenty of room in the budget to work with. Over £18k in the wage budget allows for great flexibility to attract top players on frees and on loan deals from bigger clubs.
In many ways, I’ve found attracting high-quality players to Scottish teams easier than English teams in the past, possibly due to a better scouting team. But used wisely, there is loads of room to manoeuvre with Inverness’ budget so adding to some of the areas that need a bit of re-vamping or replacing is made easier. £40k may not seem like a lot for transfers, but in the second-tier of Scottish football, it’s plenty.
While there is a good first team to already start with at Inverness, the depth isn’t fantastic so this is where the money available can be well spent.
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3. Low-Pressure Expectations
Even with a strong squad, the expectations aren’t massively overestimated by the board. Inverness is (forgive me real fans of the club) a mid-sized team in Scottish football with only 25-years of history so the expectations seem realistic and achievable. Promotion via the play-offs is the key goal for the league, while progression to get through to round five of the Scottish Cup and ‘be competitive’ in the Betfred Cup are all completely manageable.
The chances are, you will encounter some equal or lower league teams in the Betfred Cup group stages, while the Scottish Cup is a complete lottery. But, opportunities for progression are good in the Scottish cup competitions, until you get to the later stages and inevitably draw the infamous Rangers or Celtic.
4. Chance to Create History
With just 25-years history, the club has plenty of domestic honours in the league and top cup competitions. However, the caveat is the Scottish Premiership and the Betfred Cup. The club has never won these domestic competitions and, in a rather long save spanning over ten years, I couldn’t break past the third-place spot in the Premiership and overtake either Celtic or Rangers. This remains, for me, one of the biggest challenges in Football Manager, whilst also being competitive in the Europa League is a secondary task that can motivate you to take the Caley Jags to success.
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