International Football; A Bit Of A Rant

Winning international silverware is regarded as a great achievement. In fact, some would argue that it is the apex of one’s professional accomplishments. It is possible to elevate one’s career to legendary status by leading a team to a World Cup, European Championship, or Copa América victory. Just ask people like Maradona, Van Basten, or Zidane, all of whom were outstanding players who will be remembered for their international achievements for the rest of their lives.

So, why is it that the international management aspect of Football Manager appears to be so dysfunctional, as it appears to be? It should be the pinnacle of a manager’s career to win a World Cup or any other international trophy. But in FM, managing a national team is a tedious chore instead of an exciting challenge. It’s often not enjoyable because the game’s approach to international football has some obvious flaws and shortcomings, which make it difficult to enjoy this particular avenue of management fully.

Given this, I may appear to you like a bit of a grouch, a grumpy old man who moans and complains about everything that is wrong with the world these days. While I may no longer be able to identify myself to be a young man, I have had quite a wealth of experience with the international game during my time with FM21.


Breaking Barça; The Intro

Building a club is something I have done numerous times. I have written about it, I have given it a lot of thought on numerous occasions, it is essentially playing the game as the creators intended you to.  That is the point where it becomes somewhat boring and stale to me. I do the same thing, year in, year out. I refine the process, I pick up some new tricks along the way, I make use of the new possibilities the game offers but there are no radical changes in how I play the game.

So I figured I would set myself a new kind of challenge. If I know how to build a side, I surely have to know how to destroy a side as well. If you know the variables that can bring you success, you can apply those same variables and use them to utterly ruin a team. Just to make it interesting somewhat, attempting to wreck a team without getting the sack should add an extra dimension to the challenge. In a way, I will be the devil’s manager, kind of like the Rolling Stones sang.

Please allow me to introduce myself
I’m a man of wealth and taste
I’ve been around for a long, long year
Stole many a man’s soul and faith
And I was ’round when Jesus Christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that Pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate

Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name
But what is puzzling you is the nature of my game


Marcelo Bielsa’s Tactical Philosophy

Welcome to – what I should imagine is – my last tactical work before Football Manager 2018.

So far, I have enjoyed looking at some of the most exciting and interesting teams in football history and looking at how we can implement their playing styles in the Football Manager Tactics Creator and see it played out in the match engine.

As always – if you have yet to read along so far – I would recommend you start here as I will not spend too much time explaining already-discussed concepts.


Formulating a Vision for your Manager

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.


Wingerless: Tactical Philosophy

Part 2 of the Wingerless Series


This is the second part of my wingerless series where I write about how I’ve challenged myself to play football manager without wingers nor to score or conceding from the dreaded cross.

As a Chelsea fan from about 2003 (queue the taunts), I got used to the gritty defensive style of the game where even conceding one goal is considered an ink stain on a white shirt. Unfortunately, in football manager, the defensive style which I love is a disaster to replicate. Sitting deeper and absorbing pressure, which is a hallmark of a defensive masterclass in real life, is just begging for trouble in football manager because of the match engine’s obsession with goals from crosses. I roughly estimate that between 70-80 percent of the goals conceded in football manager are from crosses especially if you don’t set up correctly to defend them. (more…)