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[FM16] Francis Grows Guatemala


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Been planning this for a while. My FM16 save (at least the first one) will be very different to my usual one-club mammoth saves.

I will be creating a manager who is based on my star striker from my Whitehawk save, who has got over 1,000 appearances and over 500 goals in all competitions including over 300 in the league. Francis Burden. In most respects he will be identical to the original Franny B - an international footballer (he scored 26 goals in 74 games for England), born on 16th May (although not in 2033 for obvious reasons). He has no coaching badges yet (starting to wish I had done a few more years of FM to ensure that he did!).

But he is now Guatemalan.

My sole aim with this save is to win the World Cup with Guatemala. Obviously to do this I will need plenty of success in other ways first, but they key thing is that I will be aiming to take jobs with clubs that either have Guatemalans at the club (I still need to find the updated data fix for the new leagues including the Guatemalan one - I found an FM15 one but no idea if it'll work). I'll be running the Guatemalan league throughout - other leagues will come and go for various reasons as the game goes on.

I am currently downloading some graphics etc, and I will need the new leagues so will not be setting up just yet, but will post updates on each element as I do. I'll post each new stage as it happens, and then when I get my first job, I'll let you know.

The one thing I will set as a hard and fast rule is that once I take a job, I must stay in it at least until the end of that season. The end of season reports would otherwise be chaos. When I move in mid-season, which inevitably I often will, I'll update on both my old club at the end of their season AND my new club at the end of their season.

Any questions etc, please let me know!

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Do you want it to just be the right teams in the right divisions in order to produce the regens needed for your save? In which case it should be fairly easy to make the file.

Or do you want more detail like realistic prize money etc.? In which case it would take more research (= time).

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Erm - I think I want the option to manage in Guatemala from time to time, to keep in touch with the players available to me. I had a pack for FM15 to test this idea and it was perfect - had a whole load of leagues loaded that I figured might be key places for Guatemalans to go (North America mainly, but also Spain and some South American countries - language...).

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Thanks RSJ - that's exactly what I was looking for. I'll download that now, probably won't start for a couple of days because I am a bit busy at work and I'm running a practise Arsenal save, for now!

If anyone gets a chance to test them, please let me know. Also, I'm still not 100% decided on which leagues to start with (I know I can add and delete leagues later, but I still think it's worth thinking carefully about the leagues I will definitely want to manage in).

Currently, I think I'll start the following:







...all down to the lowest playable league (and I have various expansions in that - so the US system goes down to the 8th tier!

My thinking is that these leagues are the three most likely to have decent Guatemalans in them at the start (Guatemala, USA and Mexico), plus the three biggest leagues to grow my reputation. Then, if Guatemalans go elsewhere or for any other reason I think another country would be a good idea, I can always add it in later.

Has anyone encountered any problems with adding and removing leagues in the past? I have never done it before and it strikes me as risky - but if it's stable enough to do that, it suits this game. Also, if I get rid of some leagues later on would it speed up my game?

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Thanks RSJ - that's exactly what I was looking for. I'll download that now, probably won't start for a couple of days because I am a bit busy at work and I'm running a practise Arsenal save, for now!

No worries, hope it works as expected mate

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Right, well I've decided to give it a go. I'm a bit tentative for two reasons - a) this is an untested DB upgrade and b) on my Arsenal save I was getting masses and masses of crash dumps. It is possible this will be a false start. I also think it's unlikely that I'll be doing my first season update for a few days even if it does turn out to be a stable save. Has anyone else found regular crash dumps to be a problem? I lost my Arsenal game so many times.

However, I have taken my first job:

Job #1


Club: Halcones FC

League: Guatemalan National (top tier)

Guatemalans in Squad: 14 - they have twelve caps between them, 3 for Aguilar and 9 for Hernandez

I feel this is a brilliant place for me to start. I need to build up a global reputation in a bigger league but I'd like to get a few decent Guatemalans coming into their national side first. Hopefully I can develop 21 year-old Jonathan Garcia into the best Guatemalan striker and start to push them up those rankings before I get a chance to take over. I'll have to think carefully about when I want that job. Things like that, please do give me advice! I'm keen to get my readers involved, so try to comment whenever you read if you have any useful input for me. It makes me think the work I put into the reports is worthwhile!

I'll update at the end of each season. My only rule for this save is that unless sacked, I'm never allowed to leave a club in the same season that I joined it, so that means I'm stuck with Halcones until at least May of next year. After that, I move as and when I want to. If I move in mid-season, I'll complete a season report for BOTH teams managed in that year. For what it's worth, the fact that I have a young Guatemalan striker with so much potential makes me think I'll do a few years here, assuming I can hold on to him.

The Guatemalan league structure is pretty similar to the English one - 20 teams play each other home and away, the only difference being there are four clubs relegated and a further one goes into a relegation playoff with the fifth placed team in the second tier.

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A bit of background on my first port of call, Halcones:

Based in Huehuetenango, a city of 81,000 (so not a huge potential for expansion of this stadium), and must be one of the higher altitude clubs in the world, with the quoted elevation for Huehuetenango at 1,901m (I couldn't find the exact elevation of Estadio Los Cuchumatanes - and indeed I'm not certain this is the name of their stadium as I have found several conflicting articles, some stating that another club is the tenant of this ground. On FM, our stadium is given the generic name of 'Estadio Comunal'. This might be partly because they seem to be based in La Mesilla still in the game. It appears (although again some details are sketchy) that they have been members of the top division in Guatemala since they were established, as Peñarol La Mesilla, in 2006. In real life, they have changed that name and I assume the 2012 season, which saw them change their name, saw the move to Huehuetenango, but this is not reflected in-game. Unfortunate, but not exactly a game-breaker.

In FM at least, they seem to have not taken part in the last two seasons of the league - since finishing 5th in 2012 and 2013. Those were their highest finishes, and it would appear that this was in a different league set-up (it's fairly clear that the one I'm running isn't true to life but I don't mind that): they finished 12th on two occasions, and with 22 game seasons we can safely assume that is last. So they're a lower-mid-table team in general, despite those two bottom placed finishes (god knows why they weren't relegated, although perhaps they just don't have relegation in Guatemala).

I took over after three games of the season (assuming that there was an interim manager in charge because I was looking for this job for a few weeks and they don't seem to have had any reason to sack anyone). They had won two and lost one of these. I've now lost my first game 1-0, although it could have been a lot worse. We got battered! And this slightly concerns me because Aurura FC, the opponents, are quoted as 16-1 shots for the title while we were 14-1, so they should have been roughly our equal. We'll see how this goes! That said, my main goal at this club is really just to develop Jonny Garcia. My reputation will not be too affected by my exploits here: I'll need a job in a bigger league for that, but I want to get some really decent players into that national side.

EDT: That man Jonathan Garcia has just got my first goal in Guatemala. Definitely looks to have a bright future.

EDT2: I won the game. Glad to find that I can make up to 6 substitutions in a match. Particularly useful when you have 3 bonus substitutions to make in the final three minutes and are holding onto a lead and didn't realise you could have made them before!

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So, three games into my reign, I have just 1 win and two defeats. But there are signs here of improvement - Garcia in particular. I definitely want to stay with this side for a few years, develop him and hopefully get a few players - Garcia included - into the national side.

Then, I will look to seek a job with a club in Europe for whom these players would be viable and affordable first-team players, take that job and look to sign them. Stay with that club for a while, build them up a bit, look for at least one promotion whilst continuing to seek out the best Guatemalan prospects with a view to packing the team full of good young Guatemalans. If possible, I'd love the Guatemalan U21 job at this stage.

Then I'll be looking for my first big job with a big European club to build my reputation up a bit more. If I can bring in Guatemalans who can hold their own in a team like this I will, but I think that it likely to be a time when I can't do a lot other than build the reputation of the greatest Guatemalan manager ever (hopefully that title will be mine by then)...unless I can get the national job which at that stage might not be a bad move, especially if some of my youngsters have turned into really decent players.

What do my assistants (you!) think? Sounds like a decent plan of attack with this challenge?

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I'm just going to leave a map of Central America and make you look up which one it is...

Damn you, you knew my OCD meant I had to do just that! :mad:

Just kidding, my OCD meant I actually knew already - but don't worry, I won't tell...

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I think my plan to stay here at Halcones for a few years might have to fall by the wayside. I'm doing really well - definitely prefer FM16 to FM15 - but there's just no real hope of bringing in any top Guats from elsewhere. I'd like to stay in Guatemala for now and go for one of the clubs with a bigger wage budget so that I can start to build up a side and then think about selecting some to take to Europe with me. That probably means either Coban Imperial, Comunicaciones or Xelaju, three of my big rivals for the title in a ridiculously close league. Won't do my reputation with chairmen any good but if I move to Europe or the States now, I think it might be hard to identify the Guatemalans I want to bring with me....

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I had a great Guatemalan striker in a save a few FMs back (think it was FM09 managing in the Mexican leagues).

Good look with developing some newgen talent down there!

If you can find that save, I'd really love to see him! I've had a couple of half decent Guats but never any worldies.

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Small update - a job just came up at Seattle Sounders. One of Guatemala's best players, Marco Pappa, is there. I really wanted the job - but unfortunately I did create a "not until the end of my first season in a job" rule so I can't take it. I applied anyway just to see if I could have got the job - and I didn't even get on the shortlist. Some way to go to build my reputation despite my stellar playing career at Whitehawk. On the upside, I've just got a decent set of regens which I'll include in my E.O.S. report.

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Francis Burden - Halcones FC - Liga Nacional de Futbol de Guatemala (Tier 1) - 2015/16

Predicted Finish: 8th, Title Odds: 14/1

I'm enjoying playing with mainly Guatemalans, it's good fun! I know it can't last: I'm very much on the lookout for a club in a bigger league with a Guatemalan or two already established. Ideally one that is not high enough in the football world that the Guatemalans won't get anywhere near, but somewhere to help them start to push on to the next level. There are one or two at this club I might look to take with me, too.

This was a season that promised so much, but ultimately let me down. The first 2/3 of the season (which oddly took us all the way to January, after which games were more spaced out) saw us hovering in the top two for a while, but the second half of the season saw a lack of squad depth cost us. The regens included some really promising youngsters which bodes well, but the lack of spending power here means I don't have the opportunity to develop the cream of Guatemala here. My next foray into Guatemala needs to be at the richest club in the country, without a doubt. Currently, Comunicaciones have seven players in the Guatemalan squad and Municipal five. Realistically, I need one of those two jobs at some point.

In the short term, I'm going to offload a lot of the old dead wood in this side, some of whom have a bit of sell-on value - and this might allow me to bring in two or three promising Guatemalans who can develop in this side for a while whether I'm here or not. I won't leave this club unless I can find a job that suits - Seattle would have been perfect, if I'm honest, but oh well.

League Table - bit of a shame, to be honest. We should have done better and we definitely COULD have won the league, but a few key injuries at the wrong time put paid to that. Still, I finished three places higher than the media predicted I would, so that's a good thing.

Squad - some half-decent players here, the top five in this squad in particular: I wish Erick Villatoro was a bit younger but as it is I will be looking to cash in this summer.

Youth Intake - obviously all Guatemalan as I'm currently in Guatemala. Definitely some potential there, bound to be a couple of these who make it. Stats are for the first team, they've been given a couple of chances.

Transfers - I needed to make a bigger profit really - a high wage bill is crippling this club, to be honest.

Finances - this is why I think I might need to move on shortly.

Club Awards - love this new screen!

Stats - Lopez was clearly the standout player this year.

My Guatemalans of Note

Alfred Lopez - player of the season and by a distance. He's class.

Jonathan Garcia - the player I was really excited about on joining. He's not as good as I had hoped he might be when I took over, but definitely half-decent and still has potential.

Jose Ortiz - the top regen who really does look quality. Low mentals will inhibit him but he has our best player in Lopez tutoring him.

Erwin Aguilar - perhaps our most consistent player - perhaps deserves a call-up to the full squad, but hasn't happened yet in this save (he had caps before).

Career Overview

Season     Team             Country      League           Position       My best Guatemalan (Caps)   My best Guatemalan U21   Guatemala Ranking, 1st June
2015/16    Halcones FC      Guatemala    Liga Nacional     5th           Alfred Lopez (0 caps)       Jose Ortiz               98th

Next Season

I anticipate starting the season at Halcones, but I wouldn't be surprised if I went elsewhere some time in the middle of the season - best bets probably either MLS or Spanish lower leagues. I don't feel that Guatemala's reputation is at a stage yet where players will comfortably fit in big European nations alongside a language barrier (hence Spain being a possible). I'll be looking to bring at least a couple of my best players from here with me, to see how much Europe could bring them on. Incidentally, the way I am thinking of using the "code" section where I mention the best Guatemalans is to aim to bring those players with me if I move. So wherever I'm at, next season, I'd like to have those two with me. It won't always happen but that will be the aim.

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I've made my first move.

I was inclined to finish that season and see another batch of regens but my plan is to take the four top regens from last year to my new job (not going to name the club - look at the screenshot!) if I can. I probably will have to leave them at Halcones for a few years due to work permit issues (which is a bit of a stumbling block in England to be honest, but I need to build my reputation a bit). Certainly will be looking to sign a couple of the younger players in the national side.

As mentioned before, at the end of the season in both countries, I will post seasonal reports: I contributed to Halcones season so it must be reported!

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Getting a few crash dumps still but will persist.

Job #2


Club: Middlesbrough

League: English Championship (second tier)

Guatemalans in Squad: None - I will be looking to bring in a few

So, I've moved out of Guatemala for the time being. When I return I want it to be with a significantly improved reputation and for it to be a surprise. I was a bit unsure about the job and to be honest I don't know how it will pan out. I wanted a job where I could be sure of getting first team footballers from Guatemala. I'm not convinced at Boro, but we'll see. With the January window soon to open, I'll be looking at scouting any Guatemalans I can (and I won't be able to scout many unfortunately). The key thing though - finances are in a good state!

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Another crash dump, and I'm back to having just applied for the Boro job. Particularly frustrating as I had made some significant changes at the Riverside already despite not having played a game. Back to it tomorrow, although I have a feeling this FM is broken :-(

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Which European countries have no issues with Guatemalans? I'm assuming Spain can sign all they want? Italy? Any other (smaller) places? Thinking about my next move, really...Middlesbrough perhaps wasn't the best move as it's not going to hugely push up my reputation and I can't really use Guatemalans.

EDT: On the upside: Patrick Bamford :-)

Also, how much difference do Guatemalan coaches make? I have two coaches, one goalkeeping coach and a scout - does that mean I should get a few Guatemalans through (presumably with dual nationality so they can actually play for me) every year?

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Francis Burden - Halcones FC - Liga Nacional de Futbol de Guatemala (Tier 1) - 2016/17

Predicted Finish: 9th, Title Odds: 50/1

Financial constraints made it really hard for me at Halcones despite some really decent young players coming through, and it just wasn't useful to stay here any more. But I'll be keeping tabs on several of my players from here and indeed some have joined me at Boro. The new managed managed to avoid relegation, but not by much.

League Table - they might be a few places above, but six fewer points would have been relegation.

Squad - plenty of underperformers here.

Youth Intake - keeper is on his way to us eventually at the Riverside. Hard to tell from this, but he is the only one who looks half-decent, and even he is unconvincing.

Transfers - I've set Halcones up for life with the signing of Lopez. Not a big outlay for Boro but I do hope he gets a work permit or passport eventually!

Halcones' Guatemalans of Note

Hard to tell in terms of which ones to look out for in the future but the obvious ones, including what I know about them from before:

Alfred Lopez - player of the season a year before, massively let the club down this year. God knows why.

Jonathan Garcia - really hasn't kicked on to be the player I thought he might be.

Jose Ortiz - coming to me in three years. I'll probably have moved on by then but just getting Guatemalans onto the books of English clubs is a good thing. Hopefully has been tutored enough that he could become a decent squad player eventually even at Boro.

Erwin Aguilar - in the context of the season they had he wasn't too bad but hasn't pushed on from last year, and doesn't look likely to set the world alight.

Francis Burden - Middlesbrough - English Championship (Tier 2) - 2016/17

Predicted Finish: 12th, Title Odds: 33/1

Season Review

I took over 19 games into the season with Boro sitting one place above the relegation zone on 19 points from 19 games. They had recently been on a run of 11 games where they got three draws and no wins so I needed to turn things round fast. The first 7 games yielded an encouraging 16 points and suddenly I was starting to wonder whether the playoffs was a possibility. But a shocking February that saw us slide down the table faster than a Theo Walcott run put paid to that, the nadir being a 6-2 home defeat to Burnley which was a perfect example of how not to use the ball: we had more possession than Burnley! It didn't get better, to be honest. We fell away very very dramatically and it was lucky that run was so good or I would have been relegated. From the start of February we got 15 points from 18 games. In that run, it was quite possible we could have given ourselves at least a playoff spot if not automatic promotion (there ended up being just two points separating 2nd and 7th).

League Table - just imagine what we could have done!

Squad - Bamford stands out like a sore thumb. Looking into keeping him but his wages are proving a stumbling block.

Youth Intake - Miller definitely has promise, but it's last year's intake in Thwala, Ross and Featherstone who have the most promise, and make me think it might be worth sticking with Boro for a few years now...

Transfers - mine only from November onwards. Quite a few Guatemalans, plus a couple of canny signings (I hope), particularly Martinez who was great. McEachran was not a good buy, however.

Finances - some good income at the end of the season leaves Boro in a good position financially.

Club Awards - Bamford and Downing were indeed the standouts. I really want to keep Bamford!!! STOP PRESS: I am! I've managed to extend his loan. Might be in a position to sign him next year if I'm around.

Stats - Demonstrates just how important he was to us. Ayala's discipline was a real issue this year, he was suspended a fair bit.

My Guatemalans of Note

I brought in five this season with more as future transfers. Only Henry Lopez from Halcones now, although more will follow. He and Jamie Vides have potential to play for Boro, but only when they get their work permits or passports from Italy, probably. Having them at the club is good either way - I can usually loan them to teams of better quality than the Guatemalan league.

For the season summaries, I'll include only the team where I ended the season...

Career Overview

Season     Team             Country      League           Position      My best Guatemalan (Caps)   My best Guatemalan U21   Guatemala Ranking, 1st June
2015/16    Halcones FC      Guatemala    Liga Nacional    5th           Alfred Lopez (0 caps)       Jose Ortiz               98th
2016/17    Middlesbrough    England      Championship     15th          Henry Lopez (7 caps)        None                     88th

Some overall club by club stats...

Dates	Team		Games	Win Ratio	Pts/Gm (all comps)
2015-16	Halcones FC	55	44	        1.49
2016-   Middlesbrough	28	32	        1.32

[b]TOTAL			83	40	        1.43[/b]

Next Season

It's a tough one. I have some decent youngsters (although sadly not Guatemalans) and feel there's potential in the squad to challenge for promotion, but at the same time, I want to start using Guatemalans. May need to move to a different European league soon. However, I want to build up my reputation so barring a perfect opportunity, I expect to spend the whole of next season at Boro.

STOP PRESS: This was genuinely my thinking, however I've just seen a job that I want. I really want it. We'll see...

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I needed to take this job. They provide the most players to the national side at the moment...

I was being linked with big big jobs in England (even Man Utd) - so my reputation is clearly decent.

Job #3


Club: Municipal (GUA)

League: Liga Nacional de Futbol de Guatemala (first tier)

Guatemalans in Squad: 24 - although one is joining Boro soonish. The big thing though is that they have a load of internationals.

Whilst I think Boro have serious potential with that squad, the fact is that there I can only have a very passive effect on the Guatemalan national team. Having a few players owned by them, albeit playing football in South America, is a good thing, but this is a job I quite simply couldn't turn down.

Massive debts, but I shouldn't need to buy anyone in, I'm guessing their youth academy is great for Guatemala.

Thoughts on this move? No brainer for me - will allow me to build up the quality of the national side a bit, and though it will mean longer before Guatemalans are playing in European leagues, I think that's a price worth paying at the moment: I got no Guatemalans at Boro at all that year, and if I do, I imagine they won't be the best....but at this club, given that I know that I'll have the biggest budgets and hopefully the best players coming through the academy, the plan is to stay for some time now, for sure.

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