The club I support in real life, also the club that I always start my first save within a new iteration of FM, is Roda JC Kerkrade. Hardly known outside of the Netherlands, but I have been following them since I was 6.
The club currently is not in a good spot. The battle against relegation from the Eredivisie (Dutch highest tier) has been fought every year since the 2012-2013 season. With the notable exception of 2013-2014, that year they ended 18th. That place meant direct relegation. With no little amount of luck, they managed to promote in the subsequent season via play-offs.
Since 2012-2013 the club went through an average of one manager per year, saw a shady investor pop up who is now in jail, brought in shitloads of unknown players from everywhere, hardly any adding to the squad and seems to find no way out of money trouble. In short, the club lacks vision.
A bit long for an introduction, so to the point. Today I want to talk about vision. About creating a vision for the clubs you manage. For me, that is one of the most important things to submerge myself into the wondrous world of Football Manager really.
I should add here that I love roleplaying in games, because games are a way for me to experience stories. To create a great story I believe that I need two things, firstly a credible backstory for my character, and secondly, a vision that works with that backstory and that shows throughout my save.
In Football, I believe a manager’s vision is built on several things:
Has the manager been a player or not? Has he or she really played at the highest levels or toiled away in the bottom tiers? The background as a player seems to be getting less important, with more and more managers popping up that show no significant experience as players.
2.Ideas on football
Do you park the bus or do you believe in attack being the best defense? Should your players focus on posession or should the opponent make the game?
3.Approach of people
Are you the kind of manager where players can come to you with everything or do you believe that you are only in charge of the football side of things.
4.Approach to Money
Is the sky the limit or do you run a tight ship when it comes to money?
As I said, I like roleplaying. So I look at the character I want to create and at what he or she things on the above points. From that I create my vision. That idea I jot down on paper, and then transfer to FM’s note system after I created the character. My vision is basically a little story like this:
William Smith is a little-known name in Scottish Football, he sustained a heavy injury in his 5th game for Raith Rovers in the 1984-1985 season of the Scottish League Two. The injury made sure that his promising career ended before it really began.
After a year of therapy Smith decided to focus on training and started to manage a local amateur side while studying for the appropriate coaching badge. Between 1988 and 1998 he worked his way up to become assistant to Jimmy Nicholl. After Nicholl was sacked, he debuted as manager.
Smith prefers a defensive style of play building on a solid 4 man defense with a pair of defensive midfielders in front of them. His teams are well known for playing on the counter and hard work. Being referred to as a frugal manager who keeps spending tightly under control, Smith nevertheless is very popular among those who played under him. They see him as a friendly and very approachable manager who always was interested in them as people, not only as players.
In the above example, you can see that my selected vision leaves me some room in midfield and attack, but not much in the defensive line. I sometimes stray from the set path if needed, but always come back to what comes natural to my character. A vision is not set in stone, but it does shine through in everything a manager does.
A vision for me is a way to keep things fresh while playing. And toying with what vision my character would have, forces me to dive into my ideas for that particular character. And my vision serves as a reminder of what I want to focus on in that particular save.
That is the way I look at vision in FM, but I am curious how that is for you.