FM20 Shortlist

To me, one of the most exciting parts of a new version of Football Manager means perusing the new database: uncovering hidden gems, building them up and then wreaking strikerless havoc with them. This shortlist consists of my findings so far.

Urban Warriors – Part 5

Off We Go!!
So after all the discussions and planning stages, it’s time to put it all into action. The main goals were to get promotion out of the 2nd tier at the first attempt whilst stabilising the club financially. Squad wise we were very heavy which meant we were haemorrhaging money, so the first thing to do was pass the reins to Guido to be ruthless and sort the squad out.

Finding Wonderkids The Easy Way

This article is the first time I’ve attempted to write anything about Football Manager that isn’t a weird story or a basic season update post. This post won’t be long and should hopefully shed light on a little trick I suppose you’d call it, to find wonderkids easily. Every person that plays FM hopes to uncover some wonderkid from a far-off country that takes their team to the next level.

Acquiring Valuable Assets; The Newgen Hunter

One of the key aspects in Football Manager is ensuring you sign quality players. After a few saves, the diamonds in the original database are well-known, which removes the challenge of scouting for me. The annual intake of newgen players forms a different kind of challenge altogether. Seemingly random players are generated every season and as you progress through the save-game, more and more authentic players retire and are replaced with newgens. For me, that is where the real challenge begins.

Now, I like to think that I am in fact quite good at finding the right newgens for my team. Scouring the ends of the earth for talented newgens is definitely one of the aspects about FM that I enjoy the most and one of the reasons why I generally make a shitload of money with the Juventus Gambit. Finding a young starlet and developing him to his full potential is one of the more fulfilling experiences in the Football Manager universe.

I sometimes jokingly refer to it as newgen hunting. In my head, I imagine myself being a sort of Steve Irwin, creeping up on unsuspecting footballers. “Crikey! That’s a big one! He might play at centre-back!” While I leave you struggling to rid yourself of the mental image of me tiger crawling through the bush, preying on unsuspecting footballers, allow me to explain what this blog post is about. I want to describe, in as much detail as possible, the strategies I use to track down newgens, the attributes that help you distinguish valuable signings from overrated crap and some general tips and tricks.

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Instilling Fighting Spirit Into Your Squad

While the old Greeks never played football, one of Plato’s quotes can easily be applied to any footballing context. Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. Some people fawn over Barcelona and whichever team Pep is managing and their one-touch football. Others prefer the more energetic and physical brand of football played by the likes of Klopp and Pochettino. There are others still who have a taste for an even more physical, almost violent brand of football.

If you don’t have the players to play a technically or tactically demanding still, is playing aesthetically pleasing football still a goal in itself or can beauty be found in being efficient and maximising the resources you have? Can you compensate for a lack of technical (and tactical) skills by instilling a fighting-spirit into your squad?

The Italians call it “grinta”, a word that loosely translates to “grit” in English, but there is more to it than just grit. Grinta is more like when you not only dig deep and play against all the odds, but you play with heart, you leave your soul on the pitch, your every last bit of sweat and blood.  The Argentines use a similar term, called fibra, and the Germans call it Kampfgeist. When we’re going to look at how a concept like that would work in FM, who better to ask for help than Tony, @FM_Grasshopper, the man who made “FIBRA” a well-known phrase in the blogging community.

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Top Right-Back Wonderkids for the Future of Your Strikerless Formation

Football Manager 17 is rife with young talent, and the key to sustaining success at any club is to fill your youth teams with wonderkids. Obviously, the key to growing your youth system around strikerless tactics takes you away from signing the very pricey young strikers, so you can focus your funds on more quality players in other positions.

Looking into the English divisions, there are loads of talented young players, but the some of the best ones play at right-back. So, without much further ado, here are a couple of the great under-17 players for you to sign on Football Manager 17.

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Players Ready to Become Top ‘Trequartistas’ for Your Strikerless Formation

When Spain won the European Championship in 2012, they had to do it without star striker David Villa – who was injured – and despite still having Fernando Torres, Alvaro Negredo, and Fernando Llorente, they went into the final without a recognised striker. In the final, a group stage game, and the quarter-finals, Spain opted to play without a striker and instead have Cesc Fabregas up top, presumably to aid in their over-the-top possession game.

Particularly in the final, Spain were hailed for the successful use of their ‘false nine’ formation, but Fabregas’ play didn’t mimic that of a man atop this setup. Instead of dropping deeper, the then Barcelona midfielder played very high up, darting around the Italian defence.

Fabregas effectively transformed himself from a central midfielder into more of a striker, very similar to that of the Football Manager role of the trequartista.

Cesc Fabregas at Euro 2012 match Spain-France‘ – Дмитрий Неймырок (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The trequartista is a favourite for use in a strikerless formation, as the player is allowed to exploit the pockets created, often bringing about goals. The role is quite gung-ho, involves very little defensive responsibility, and thus keeps the player ready to attack.

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The Art of the Defensive Midfielder in a Strikerless Formation

For a long time in the world of football, defensive midfielders didn’t receive the credit they deserved. It wasn’t until N’Golo Kante burst onto the scene two seasons ago that the hype returned for these defence-minded midfield maestros.

Everyone now knows Leicester City’s story: rising from relegation candidates to suddenly winning the richest and toughest domestic competition in the world, the Premier League – a story that could’ve been taken right out of a Football Manager save. Among the stars highlighting the greatest of underdog stories, N’Golo Kante’s elite-level play in defensive midfield allowed the Leicester back line to sit deep, where the lack of speed from Wes Morgan and Robert Huth was less exposed.


Watford 1 Chelsea 2 20.8. 16‘ by Chelsea Debs (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The diminutive Frenchman’s play earned him a mega, multi-million move to Chelsea last summer, and in Sportsbet’s most popular football category of news and betting tips, it was predicted that Chelsea would clinch the title against West Bromwich Albion, which they did. He played a pivotal role in Antonio Conte’s three-at-the-back formation, acting once again as the stone wall first line of defence.

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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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