The Magical Box Makes Another Comeback

One of the greatest teams to ever grace the World Cup was the 1982 Brazilian national team. They failed in winning the World Cup, but they succeeded in winning the hearts and minds of football fans all over the world. They played the game the way the Seleçao should play it, were stuffed full of incredible individuals and they were the architects of their downfall. Brazil was so good they had to beat themselves to lose.

Their squad was a fantastic mixture of incredible personalities. Zico was the superstar whose every touch prompted screams. Junior sported a terrific beard-and-afro combo that made him look like a percussionist for a 1970s funk-rock fusion band rather than an outstanding defender. Falcão, Cerezo and Oscar charmed. But Sócrates and Éder were the ones who stood out – the former a chain-smoking doctor and political activist who in his spare time was one of the world’s greatest footballers, while Éder was the undisciplined rogue, operating on a knife-edge of artistry on one side and self-destruction on the other.

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What Drives Player Development; Dispelling The Determination & Work Rate Myth

Despite evidence to the contrary being around since 2012 (thanks again Shrewnaldo and Maestro Ugo), there are still plenty of people who believe that players with high Determination and/or Work Rate attributes develop their current ability faster because they apply themselves better during training sessions somehow. After all, if someone is determined and works hard then surely they will reach their potential faster, won’t they? As you may have guessed, the title being a dead-on giveaway, this is not the case.

Just to re-iterate my point; the attributes Determination and Work Rate only apply within matches. These attributes contribute nothing at all to the development of a player during training sessions. The driving factor behind the development of youngster is the Professionalism attribute.

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International Management; A Missed Opportunity In FM17

Winning international silverware is considered an honour. In fact, some would argue it’s the crowning achievement of one’s career. Carrying a team to a World Cup, European Championship or Copa América can propel one’s career to legendary status. Just ask people like Maradona, Van Basten or Zidane, all of them were great players, who will always be remembered for their international exploits.

So why then is the international management aspect of Football Manager as flawed as it apparently is? Winning a World Cup or any international trophy should be the pinnacle of your managerial career but in FM, managing a national team always feels like a chore. It’s not fun because there are some obvious flaws and shortcomings in the way the game approaches international football.

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The Northman Does Moneyball


Welcome to 2023 and Darlington 1883, I have been at the club since the 2016/2017 season, and the fans love me, the board think I can walk on water but I am yet to bring glory to the club. Yes, I have secured us as a National League North club, but let’s be honest, this is nothing special so why are they so happy? Maybe finances, maybe our promotion to the National League Premier in 2018/2019 via the playoffs? I doubt it because that was followed with a relegation the season after, thus me mentioning that we are a secure National League North club. I can only assume it is due to me spending most of this journey refusing to spend money, refusing to give out wages to anyone who comes through the door… Making Darlington 1883 one of few clubs actually financially safe, well, -189k at the minute but with us being able to balance the books during pre-season and cup runs each season whilst others must be struggling, surely, they are spending a lot more than me as we will see in the image below.

Darlington Salary 2023

The starting point is here. We are spending less than everyone else, but we are still losing money each month, so it is now time to dive into what we are taking from Brad Pitt’s club and what we…. Wait, I have just been informed that this is a real story and it’s not about Brad Pitt, and he is really an actor… well, it seems I must delete all the quotes I had from him then.

Romantic about Football

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What We Look For In New Players; Limiting Chances Of A Transfer Debacle

He was once labelled as the “next Pele” after turning pro at age 14, yet his career so far can only be described as an underwhelming fiasco. Freddy Adu was supposed to become a phenomenon, he was destined to become Lionel Messi before there was a Lionel Messi. That is the best way to describe the level of nonsensical hype that surrounded Adu when he began his professional career surprisingly many years ago at the age of 14. An MLS-driven marketing machine proclaimed him their American saviour, and the magazine covers and TV commercials alongside Pele helped make him a household name before he ever became a professional starter.

Fast forward to 2016 and rather than saviour, Adu is seen as a cautionary tale. And he knows all too well what his name has become in the world of soccer, if not all sports. It has become synonymous with failure and unrealized potential. You seemingly can’t go a few months without someone trotting out Adu’s name when discussing sports busts and unmet expectations. But could this all have been prevented somehow? Could this bust have been averted by either player or the various clubs?

From a Football Manager perspective, the choices a player makes off the pitch, while certainly a factor of importance in Adu’s tale, are negligible to us since we cannot influence them. There are other factors we can influence though, factors that could, in an advanced stage of looking for new players warn us to stay away from a certain player.

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Catenaccio Senza Centravanti – Door-Bolt Strikerless

Warning: The following article will contain butchered Italian from an Aussie.

Stadio Silvio Piola, Vercelli.

Salute, amici mio. Mi dispiace per il terribile Italiano,
I still haven’t found the finances for an intensive language course. Yet somehow, this in no way restricts me from plying my managerial trade in Vercelli più bella.*

*Purely in a fantasy construct that exists only in my mind and in binary code on my hard drive.

There are two major upsides I’ve found to managing in Italy. First, is that sartorially, there’s really no reason to go without a suit and a fine pair of Italian dress shoes. Second, the Italian leagues have perhaps the most diverse and “European” tactical approaches and player roles being employed by your esteemed managerial peers. Registas, Liberos, Trequartistas and, of course, the fabled Catenaccio Calcio – Door-Bolt Football. Also, bribing officials, but let’s stick with the great Italian tradition of ignoring that.

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The Decapitated Buffalo – A Strikerless Production

Originally posted at


Been quite busy at Poods HQ for a while, what with trying to resurrect saves that had gone the way of the dodo and I haven’t got around to writing anything for a bit. But I am back and here we go with another tactic for you all that guido has kindly allowed me to post here for your edification.

As a bit of background, I initially took my Buffalo Wing tactic that you can find here and simply “decapitated” it changing the striker to an AMC. Hence the rather colourful name. Having done so, I had a chat with the inestimable Lord of Strikerless himself who had a look at it and dabbled with some of his usual tactical alchemy to come up with what we have here.

Guido also used it as a test bed for some experiments with the overload philosophy and my word did it deliver. Extreme pressing and heaps of bodies pouring forward made for a really delightful tactic that has been quite successful, if I may modestly say so. Enough of that though, on to the tactic!

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