I once asked long time Football Manager enthusiasts Guido Merry on Twitter ‘How would you explain the role of the Defensive Forward’ to which he unsatisfactorily replied ‘don’t know, don’t use strikers’. Now call it making the most of few twitter characters, or call it rude but I ended up hypocritically doing the same thing on Reddit when a user asked me in a sub-thread about the use of wingers. To each his own I guess. Guido abhors strikers, and I loathe wingers. But why? You’d have to ask Guido or probably read his first ever football manager blog post, but here I’ll let you know why I call myself the Wingerless Manager.
Flashback to Football Manager 2006 when my journey as a manager began. Yes, I got into football manager relatively late compared to the die-hards who were playing this in the early 90’s while I crept around my parents living room. I played until about Football Manager 2009, and just like Pep Guardiola I was a bit overwhelmed and exhausted which lead me to take a sabbatical for about five years. I made my return on Football Manager 2015 and just felt my way around without any serious playing time. I then followed on to Football Manager 2016 where I observed a substantial change had taken place with the match engine; overpowered crossing. While it’s initially fun and easy to exploit, it got old and tiresome rather quickly. The match engine was just limited in the number of ways you could score goals, and while the Football Manager 2016 January patch and Football Manager 2017 have addressed this issue to some extent, I still observe that most goals, possibly 7 to 8 out of every 10, come from crosses.
Eventually, I ended up taking another sabbatical from football manager after just ‘crossing’ my way to Champions League glory with Koln FC from Germany while anxiously waiting for the next version of Football Manager (FM17) in November which was seven months away.
In the summer of 2016 while watching the euros in keen scrutiny of Antonio Conte who was to be the next manager of my beloved Chelsea I thought to myself ‘why not replicate his back three system just as a challenge’. There were no wingers in his system so I thought it could serve as a tough challenge to keep me occupied till the next version of Football Manager. And just like that I loaded up the save, sold all my wingers and started a back three formation from the ground up which reinvigorated my love for the game and has kept me invested till the time of writing this.
In another post, I will highlight how I do things tactically. This tactical setup will be different than most tactics post you’ll read as I’m not one to give ‘be all end all’ definite tactical instructions but instead I suggest guidelines which can be implemented in any squad at any level with any formation you use. Talk to you in the next, till then stay wingerless.