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[FM21] Swiss Army Knife


_Ben_
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Preface

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Swiss Army knife, a multibladed pocketknife that evolved from knives issued to Swiss soldiers beginning in 1886. Although the knives were originally produced in Germany, Swiss cutler Karl Elsener began making soldiers’ knives in 1891, equipping them with a blade, reamerscrewdriver, and can opener. The officer’s knife, with a second blade and corkscrew, appeared in 1897. The knives continue to be supplied by two Swiss manufacturers, Victorinox (Elsener’s firm) and Wenger, and both the military and civilian models bear the Swiss federal cross logo.

The name has become a metaphor for a compact, ingeniously designed tool with multiple uses.

It’s the metaphor that brings me here.

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Why Switzerland?

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Not only is Switzerland a beautiful country, high on my ‘bucket-list’ of places to visit if COVID ever allows, but it is also a wonderfully diverse country which will give me a learning experience as well as some actual in-game FM challenges.

The Swiss Confederation – situated at the confluence of Western, Central and Southern Europe and is home to about eight and a half million inhabitants. The biggest city is Zurich but the de facto capital is Bern, the UNESCO World Heritage site and fifth most populous town.

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Switzerland is split into 26 ‘Cantons’ and each of them is quite distinguishable, with a coat of arms and, in places, differing languages. Cantons to the west tend to be French speaking, such as the half a million people who live in the Geneva area, whereas the northern Canton of Zurich is German speaking and the southern Ticino – Italian speaking.

This, with the addition of the wonderful file from the Editor’s Hideaway that increases the number of languages and local dialects, means that my recruitment of players will have to take on another level – signing Swiss players won’t be enough. Instead, I’ll need to ensure that my new Swiss player who I want to integrate into an Italian speaking team will have to be versatile enough to learn the language.

I also really like the footballing structure:

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Both top tiers are small and, with only nine other teams, rivalries are built quicker and you get to learn the styles of other managers – quickly, too, as they’ll take 12 points a season from you! The league system, as you’d expect in a country much smaller than the likes of Italy, does go regional quite quickly but you’re not engulfed by 50 district levels, meaning I can actually run this game on my laptop. Below the second tier is all semi-pro but, fortunately for me, there are no playable amateur levels, so there is at least some contractual consistency.

The teams are so varied – ranging from the likes of Basel, with a u21 squad and two u18 squads modelled in game, to teams with affiliates, such as the ‘shared’ Team Ticino (where four of the larger Italian speaking clubs can send players), down to the smaller teams, that exist with only a reserve or youth squad or even not at all.

The biggest ‘quirk’ of the Swiss system which can’t be ignored is the fact that the leagues house many different types of team. You’ve got the Liechtenstein teams, including Vaduz, Eschen/Mauren and Schaan, to name a few – but then also a lot of diaspora teams in the lower leagues. FC Chile Sport, from, surprisingly, Chile, Espagnol Lausanne, Dardania Basel and Lausanne to name a few – providing teams with a wide variety of newgen nationalities. Surely the teams in these big cities must keep an eye on the youth players produced in these amateur sides.

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In the professional era since the end of the second World War, there have been fifteen different winners – not bad when the top league doesn’t contain that many teams but it has been Basel who have won 11 out of the last 20 competitions, although not since 2017, as Young Boys have recorded three in a row. Grasshopper are, historically, the largest club, with 27 total titles but find themselves in the second tier at the start of the game.

Swiss clubs have, historically, not done amazingly well in Europe with only Basel passing the group stages in the last 20 years but Basel did reach the Europa League semi final in 2012/13, losing 5-2 on aggregate to eventual winners Chelsea.

These performances mean that the Swiss Super League is only ranked 20th in Europe based on their co-efficient – leaving plenty of room for growth and, as of now, not the highest standard of football yet their international squad have regularly performed well and often feature at major tournaments.

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Save Game Aims

 

This save will be slightly different to pretty much any save that I have done prior to this. I have not chosen a team – hence the generic title and will be looking to move around when the time is right. In the past, I’ve attempted ‘journeyman’ saves and got stuck in the whole ‘must move every year’ ideology, which is really not how it works. I will try to move around and make a name for myself in the lower leagues before pushing on towards the top of the pyramid.

I always look for my saves to build on what I’ve learnt but I want this to encompass more than I have ever done before. It might not be that 30-year epic save, but it’s going to see me dive deeper than I have ever done.

These are the things I want to bring to the save:

          Use of statistical analysis to empower choices

I started to look at some analysis of my players compared with players at the same level as us and I want that to continue. I’m going to employ statistical analysis methods to identify talent, ensure that I’m developing my talent correctly and to ensure that I’m recruiting the best players possible.

          Specific and tailored player development programs

An ever present in all of my threads. We’re going to be super focused on development of youth players to the style that I am using at whatever club I am at. I have a philosophy, as a manager, and a playing style but there may be developments to it as I grow into my managerial career. Likewise, I may have to develop players for their own career prospects or try to keep a core of youngsters together as I bring them into my team. I’ll track and document training and development progress as I always do.

          Development of player management and interaction systems

I’m going to make use of the Notes feature – something I’ve never really done before to ensure that I keep the most detailed records of players. Be it for development or performance, I want to know how my players have responded in the past and how to get the best from them. I’ll, obviously, be mentoring and focusing on the best personalities I can but I’ll probably have some less-than-ideal personalities to deal with at the start and its those I want to learn about.

          Amalgamation of training and tactical cultures

I want to build a style of play that is developed on the training ground. I want my schedules to be flexible enough so that I can put in extra preparation for my next fixture but look to be a sole part of player and team development, rather than an add on. I’ll no doubt spend some time in the semi-pro leagues so I want to see if player development is actually possible. Further on, I’d like to make a name for myself as a coach who demands a lot but maybe also does something slightly different – again, all whilst documenting and monitoring changes.

          Tailored recruitment policies for players and staff

No more player search (unless I’m using it for statistic gathering) and no more staff search. Recruitment will be based on specific criteria that will develop with each club I manage or each phase of the game. Adverts will go out for staff and I’ll look to build transfer shortlists 12 to 18 months in advance.

          Real-world managerial realism

Something that I felt that was lacking in my last save. There is a ceiling to each club. When I’ve found it, I’ll move on. Managers and boards and managers and players don’t always get along. I don’t ‘need’ to tough it out. What is the likelihood that, in ten years from now, a fifth-tier Swiss club will be winning the Champions League? Probably very slim. So I’ll consider that within my game. I also mentioned things like player languages, distances from clubs I’m recruiting from. I guess that I want this to be as much a geography lesson as I lesson in player development.

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I also want to continue to develop a club DNA and, after some exploration, I’ve come across the attributes that I just feel better a player and are suitable for whatever footballing style I want in whatever position the player plays in:

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·         Determination is one of the most important single attributes for any players. It describes a player’s commitment and hunger to succeed both on and off the pitch. He will give everything in order to win. This ties in with Bravery as it predicts a player’s commitment (e.g to win the ball, score goals or simply do his best for the team by putting himself into risky situations. A player with high determination is often described as a mentally strong player and is used in conjunction with his Ambition, Pressure, Sportsmanship, Professionalism and Loyalty to impact his personality. Determined players will also have a hunger to improve himself and may be more inclined to develop faster with the right training and personality. Players with low determination will most often react more negative when going one down.

·         Anticipation is another of the most important attributes for any football player, no matter the position he’s playing in or the phase of play. Anticipation refers to how well a player can predict and react to an event. A high number indicates that the player can read the game well and react to situations quicker than others. It also has a significant effect on a player’s awareness and whether they identify space for themselves to play in as well as reacting to signs of danger created by the opponent.

·         Decisions refers to a player’s ability to make the correct choice both with and without the ball a majority of times. Similar to anticipation it’s an important attribute for all the players, and reflects how likely a player is to feel under pressure at any given moment, and to make the best choice accordingly. A player will high Decisions will make less mistakes and be more able to do the right thing within each situation. A player’s Decision making is important in all phases of play whether it’s to picking out passing options, play through balls in the right moment, decide to close down or not, run forward or stay put, shoot from outside the penalty area or dribble. Basically, it’s one of the most important attributes linked to tactical instructions, movement and the effect of player traits.

·         Natural Fitness is not a typical attribute in regard to competency on the pitch, but describes more his genes and level of physic. The level of Natural fitness indicates how well the player stays fit when injured or not training – like maintaining his form. A player with higher natural fitness is not only able to recover quicker from injuries, but is also more likely to be able to perform better for a higher number of matches throughout the prolong season AND recover faster between matches meaning their condition will likely increase faster than one with lower Natural Fitness. It’s also an indicator of how well they retain their physical attributes as they go past their peak, meaning a player with poor ratings in Natural Fitness will decline faster once they turn 30 or more and see their attributes in Stamina, Quickness and Strength decrease faster. It’s an important factor in the modern footballing world where the schedule is tough playing over 40 matches per season.

·         Consistency is the attribute reflects how likely the player is to perform consistently on the pitch. Instead of varying in his performances, the player is more like to keep the standard and level of ability by recording a more regular average rating. He’s a player you can put your trust in, every week in and out as he will perform decent without major ups and downs in his form. It’s a positive trait, as an inconsistent player will perform good in one game while being poorer in the next – however, it’s not 100% reliable.

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I have chosen to not include Concentration, as I have before, due to the fact that this is much more of a defensive trait and I really struggled to find and develop it in offensive players. I have, maybe controversially, added consistency to this and I want to display it as a viewable attribute in my squad. I won’t be putting any lines of code in so that it shows up on non-owned players, so I’ll still have to scout them but I believe it to be somewhat similar to Determination, in that it’s not something that you ‘can see’ but definitely something that ‘you know is there in a player.’ Likewise, Determined players sometimes fail to show up when their team is a goal down, and I’d expect Consistent players to sometimes have a bad day, too.

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Other Reading

 

This is certainly not a ‘look at me’ section, nor an endorsement of any of my other threads, merely a chance for me to keep all of my old work in one place and a chance for people to see the development of my thinking over the last few saves and how I’ve reached where I am now with my playing style.

Pre-FM19 I was active on a few other boards, namely The Dugout and FM Now – but the few re-incarnations of these sites mean that I no longer have any previous saves anywhere online.

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I have been playing CM since 2001/2002 but my style has massively developed over the last few years. The early FMs would see me try and create dynasties, particularly in Italy, where I, to this day, have a soft spot for a lot of lower league teams. I have managed a range: Pistoiese, Milazzo, Messina, Castel di Sangro, Calcio Catania (the other one), Venezia, Cesena and many, many more! A lot of the time, I holidayed games and paid very little attention to what was going on with my players – merely just signing the best ones each window, sticking them into a downloaded tactic and leaving it for a few hours at a time.

It wasn’t until FM17 when I wanted to make a change to how I played…

During that version, I spent time with First Vienna, under a Japanese moniker inspired by a FM16 player I had – although I can’t remember who he was or where he was from. After nearly twenty seasons, I had developed a wide range of feeder clubs who were providing great youth players to me and was rewarded with an in-game son, too. Later in calendar year, I started with Lyn, in Norway, where I used an Ivorian manager to bring an African feel to the club, before moving to the Norwegian national team and then the Ivorian. I think I became the first manager, in save, to win two successive World Cups with different nations.

FM18 saw a brief stint (well, for me) with Le Mont in Switzerland, where I took a seventh-tier team to the top tier before the in-game mechanics made it impossible to continue. Following that save, I used a Rwandan manager and dominated world football with BX Brussels, a club that is owned, in real life, by Vincent Kompany. I was also lucky to have a son in this save too, and he went on to be the all-time top scorer for Rwanda and, eventually, my assistant manager. This was the first save that I played without attribute numbers on – as there was a feature, at this time, that allowed the use of graphical bars instead.

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[FM19] Not all that glitters is gold was my starting save from FM19 and saw me take over Beira-Mar, a fallen giant(ish) of Portuguese football. As FM19 removed the graphical bars, I played this save with numbers but really got into the player development side of the save and this save also saw my hatred for attribute stars rise as key player and club legend Andre Folha was only rated at three times despite being the best scorer in Europe! A couple of issues arose, maybe as I started with the Beta game, so I ended after a couple of league victories.

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[FM19] One night in Serravalle… saw me take a plunge into the depths of Sammarinese football – playing the save without attributes (back to bars) and without CA and PA stars. It took a while and I rose through the depths of Italian football, building a squad largely from youth players with a selection of ‘marquee’ signings – players who I brought in, with great personalities to be team leaders and standout stars. I brought in some additional data captures using Microsoft Excel to track the development of some of my younger players. This game, for me, was important as it was the first time I had developed brothers from the academy and also saw me sign Dario Samaniego, who went on to become the manager in my first FM20 save…

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[FM20] Tequila and Mariachi? Was my first foray into FM20 and started with my using a skin that removed all sight of numbers from the game, relying on attribute ‘bands’ instead. I didn’t solely go youth only but towards the end of the save I spent the majority of my time developing players using a much more in-depth Excel system to track personalities. This save also saw an in-game son, Dario Samaniego, who spent a lot of time in the first team but sadly never reached the same heights as the squad. In this save, I developed the best first team that I think I have ever done before and was lucky enough to develop a lot of quality players from the intakes.

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[FM20] Voltaço saw me leave Europe and head to Brazil where I tried to create a talent factory that would see as much young, Brazilian talent moved on to Europe. In the end, over £500m of talent was moved on as I played a lot more with the in-game intricacies and made massive use of the ‘squad’ feature, building two teams to feature in the State Championships as well as the League. I think that the squad that was assembled was amongst the best I have ever done.

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[FM21] Hometown Heroes was my first FM21 save and I plumped for something I haven’t done for a long time – manage in England. What is more, I went to my hometown, Redditch United. Not only did I manage to take one of the worst sides below the Vanarama North all the way to an established Premier League team over a 25+ year career, I did so whilst building a solid recruitment and development model. I attempted to set up scouting ‘areas’ focusing on both my in-game manager’s back story, but also places significant to the past and present of Redditch. I also dabbled in youth development through specific pathways for u23 players, building on key areas, all whilst focusing on players from as local to Redditch as possible. In the end, the save fell short as the riches of the Premier League go against pretty much everything I stand for as a football manager.

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Manager

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Remember him?

From his humble beginnings, to the end of his career and then onto his managerial career – Joao Fernando is a man who I can never forget, and I am a sucker for an alternate universe FM story! For those that did not read my Voltaco save, Joao was a lethal goalscorer and a true model professional. I left Volta when Joao was thirty, so that is where his managerial career kicks off.

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I've set Joao up as a local level footballer with a Continental C Licence, which has given him the below attributes:

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November 2024: The story to date...

Now, my problems in Football Manager start when I either can't get myself enthused with the management of a team or when I can not stop being enthused with said team - which had led to, literally, every successful career that I've ever had being one where I've just managed one club. I want that to be different in this save and I want to have the freedom to move between clubs, in Switzerland at least to start, and making my mark upon them.

I decided that I wanted to holiday a few years into the future so that the game world could begin it's twists and turns into uniqueness and let the smaller clubs in the country get some players and become stable teams. The choice, for me, to have any licence meant that I would not end up in the bottom tier but, also, I knew that it'd be a part-time gig.

I created my in-game manager in September to allow for the newly promoted fifth tier clubs to get settled, and it wasn't long until I received this:

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Poor old Sergio was the fourth manager in four years and his control possession style had not worked (gulp!) as he lasted 1 year and 278 days, winning 40% of his games. In fact, he was the longest serving manager since ex-player Lebeau won the fifth tier with them back in 2017.

First League Group 1 (fourth tier) Meyrin, a town of just 25,000 people in the French speaking canton of Geneva is nowhere near as famous for its football as it is for its science. Home to CERN - which houses not only the Large Hadron Collider but also the place where the World Wide Web was created, this Swiss Heritage site is certainly more of a bustling city than many of the picturesque scenes would suggest that the country is.

The town's team, FC Meyrin are not rich in history and have spent just four years of their entire existence above this level on the pyramid - hardly unsurprising in a town that only had more than 2,000 people once the CERN headquarters were built in the late eighties. However, fresh off the back of a 2nd placed finish, as seen below, the expectations are slightly higher:

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When I was approached to take over, Meyrin found themselves down in 11th place - probably safe from relegation but nowhere near the heights of the likes of Martigny and Young Boys at the top of the table.

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The board wanted mid-table and some consolidation. I accepted.

Edited by _Ben_
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December 2024: Early Days

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A quick look at the squad that I've inherited tells you that this is not what I've been used to and not what I really want to work with.

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However, in Bytyqi, we have a defender to build around, Langlois looks like the best homegrown product, Suljicic has all the makings of a decent shadow striker and Brambilla is the pick of the loanees.

Here's the catch:

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Whilst I'm not running any kind of decent youth program, we've got to find 11 players trained at the club between 18 and 21 to fill and 18 man squad. Those are some tough rules but certainly ones that suit my management style.

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January 2025: Head Coach

To cut my teeth as a manager in Switzerland, I've got to prove I can work with a board and, as such, I've given myself a role of the 'Head Coach' whilst at Meyrin:

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I have no say in staffing nor will I be finding players to sign, only having the final say on them.

This is completely new to me.

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January 2025: Tightening

It's very early days but the board, when interviewing me, said that they wanted to play defensively sound football. I've played four competitive matches, and have really got in the tactical approach that I want us to use, of which I'll post about soon. Here is the xG story of those four games:

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Not only have we picked up eight points, we've also barely been troubled by the opponents and have played some lovely football, creating some good chances.

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January 2025: New Signing

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(How rare is it that I make a signing who has a 'real' picture?!)

Yeah - Bryan Oviedo. He's nearly 100, but my Director of Football wanted him. I actually think it's a decent deal. Yes, his legs are gone, but imagine that Teamwork and Passing ability tucking in as an inverted wingback, knowing he has cover behind him. He's also great from a dead ball and has all the experience in the world. What is more - he's only here as an 'Impact Sub' and his wages are roughly half of my top earner.

Good work all round!

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Edited by _Ben_
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Very best of luck! I had the absolute pleasure of going to Lucerne in August 2019, where I actually ended up proposing to my partner at the top of Mount Pilatus. A beautiful country, and Lucerne was a truly wonderful place! 

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Interesting. The only time I saw Switzerland was passing through it from Milan to Paris! I don’t remember seeing much in the night. Can’t remember if I was awake either.

I would have thought you’d keep control of staff signing, as that is important to implement you’re strategy’s.

I also think you’ve started well.

Avant, and onto the next chapters 🎭:onmehead:

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15 hours ago, tyler16 said:

Interesting destination and start. Love the callback to the Voltaco save.

Thanks! The thought of having him at Redditch just didn't do it for me and I don't feel like I got super connected to a Redditch newgen to bring him with me.

7 hours ago, ToMexico!! said:

Looking forward to this, excellent start to the thread! 

Thanks!

5 hours ago, ITFC_Blue said:

Very best of luck! I had the absolute pleasure of going to Lucerne in August 2019, where I actually ended up proposing to my partner at the top of Mount Pilatus. A beautiful country, and Lucerne was a truly wonderful place! 

What a lovely story! Lucerne looks a beautiful place, too. Maybe I could start some kind of scrapbook from places I virtually visit on FM - although Meyrin does kind of let the side down.

5 hours ago, Sheriff7 said:

With 88 caps with Costa Rica he must a very good player for this level.

Yeah, he's the highest capped player at this level. However, due to his age, I'd say he's not one of the best.

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2 hours ago, Sonic Youth said:

Interesting. The only time I saw Switzerland was passing through it from Milan to Paris! I don’t remember seeing much in the night. Can’t remember if I was awake either.

I would have thought you’d keep control of staff signing, as that is important to implement you’re strategy’s.

I also think you’ve started well.

Avant, and onto the next chapters 🎭:onmehead:

Yes, but my plan, to keep things fresh, is to change up my strategies at different clubs. I'm going to have my playing style and 'DNA' style that I will probably take with me, but here, I want to prove myself as a coach before moving on to places where I get a say in some transfers before, eventually, being someone who essentially runs the club! I feel that it's quite a realistic path into management.

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December 2024/January 2025

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Not much here as the league is quite short (I don't know how we play a 26 game season from a 15-team league, but we do) and, as such, the games are spread out. We are not going to be able to achieve the board's objective of a midtable finish as I really don't see us finishing any higher than ninth, even though we did beat Echallens, who occupy the 8th spot. I can only hope that the board accept this finish and I'll look to push on again next season.

We started, on the day after I signed, away at Martigny, who, at the time, were in 2nd place. Clearly our shape and style was new to the team but we performed admirably, bringing home a point. We then comfortably beat Chenois with some lovely interplay allowing winger Brembilla in to the box, unmarked, twice. He scored again in an away draw at relegation fighting Chaux-de-Fonds, who scored from a great chance but didn't really offer much else. Our good form carried on into the new year as Suljicic broke his drought to net two lovely goals against Echallens before we eventually lost to high flying Lancy, who have been decent of late. However, they did not outplay and it is a credit to our improved form that they shut up shop after their first half goal. We were unlucky not to get anything from it.

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So I've identified a style of play that fits both our players and the way I want to do things. It does match the shape that I used at the end of my Redditch career but is far less 'possession for possession sake' - allowing a bit more verticality and the added right side overload, which can be switched, depending on who is playing and who we are playing against. It's nice and compact and have led to some lovely football to date.

To work on that, I'm figuring out how best to use my very limited training time. With all but the top two leagues semi-pro, I need to get this sorted as I'll be here for a while. I currently have this:

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Not too dissimilar from the standard. Overall works, as you'd expect, everything and that features each week as does match practice - our key way to learn this style of play. The other two sessions are changeable between anything technical and anything tactical, which work attributes that I want a little bit harder. There is no chance for a match preview or a match review, sadly.

I'm looking at this and thinking that the players only focus on their P/R/D during the Match Practice part and, unless the player is learning a new position - this seems a little bit of an unnecessary focus. I am considering just using the Additional Focus to really hone in on those two or three attributes to see if I can get any kind of growth from them. I know it'll be limited but I think there is scope for something to budge in terms of these attributes. On the contrary, I do wonder if just the game is enough for them to learn their role - with the specialisms of the SS(a), IWB(s), HB(d) for example. This might lead to a shift to more match practice at the start of the season (maybe even 2 sessions) and a reduction in that once familiarity is gained. 

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February 2025: Man Management

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A big focus in my man management style is to ensure that players are praised for good performances and fined for poor ones. Said has made an improvement on his Determination and Work Rate following this:

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Posted (edited)

March 2025: Youth Intake

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Whilst I'm not expecting much, at all, here - the rules are such that we do need these players at the club. Both Ales Ribic and Elliot Henry are a cut above the rest and definitely good enough for the first team.

EDIT: By good enough for the first team, I wasn't sure I meant this:

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Edited by _Ben_
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I'm really looking forward to where this goes. I really enjoy the type of save that starts in the lower leagues in smaller European nations. Especially at semi-pro level with just a few training slots. Another minor thing that I love that you have done - you are playing with the currency in €. Exactly the type of immersion enhancing thing I tend to do!

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30 minutes ago, brookie1402 said:

I'm really looking forward to where this goes. I really enjoy the type of save that starts in the lower leagues in smaller European nations. Especially at semi-pro level with just a few training slots. Another minor thing that I love that you have done - you are playing with the currency in €. Exactly the type of immersion enhancing thing I tend to do!

Thank you, I am really enjoying it and feeling fully immersed after only a handful of games for Meyrin. I'm hoping my career can move on from this and I can grow as a manager and then start to build a youth academy and introduce that side of it, too.

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One thing to note about the match practice training session as you said you intended to use it twice in a week. Not sure if it is just a 'semi-pro thing' but that is not possible as it will only allow one slot to be filled by match practice.

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May 2025: Sneak peak

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The season is over and I'm just writing it up but, just like the Bryan Oviedo deal, it appears the Bruno has done a wonder job on recruiting another veteran. By veteran, I really mean veteran. But - and here is such a twist - I signed Renato Augusto to play alongside Joao Fernando in my Voltaco save and, at one point, I'm sure he actually tutored him! He's also training to be a staff member and I think it could just be so fitting if he moves on with Joao as friends from alternate universes.

I'll post a screenshot of him once I've wrapped up the season review.

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10 minutes ago, brookie1402 said:

One thing to note about the match practice training session as you said you intended to use it twice in a week. Not sure if it is just a 'semi-pro thing' but that is not possible as it will only allow one slot to be filled by match practice.

That’s a little annoying, if somewhat understandable. I need to have a pre-season to get everything set and push on from what has been a great start.

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7 minutes ago, Lodi Lemmer said:

I'm intrigued by this. Looking forward to the story as it grows. Best wishes for success!

Thanks. All about game works immersion for me right now but I hope it’ll progress and, probably, spiral out of control!

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When playing as a Semi-Pro team I always train Match Tactics and if I have a "good" Set-Piece taker I train Delivery.....

Also every once in a while I take the team out for beers....(Team Bonding)  because team cohesion and morale are almost more important than tactics.

 

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2024/25 Season Review

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A really strong end to the season and overall finishing position that has seen me record a very healthy eight wins and two draws from my first 12 games at Meyrin, leading us to the 'mid-table finish' that the board asked for. However, I really think that this group of players has enough about them, with some clever recruitment and training to really push the best teams in this league. These seven fixtures have all been played with the style I'm hoping to implement and in every game, we have recorded more shots, more shots on target, greater xG value and more possession than our opponents.

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This year, from a player perspective, was all about playing their way into my future plans.  In Thurkauf, I have a strong keeper who has a much improved distribution rating and has kept several clean sheets. The full back grouping of the aforementioned Oviedo, as well as his understudy Said Voisin and Peruvian Galeano are good and all bring different things. Oviedo is a good ball players, Voisin can tuck in nicely as an IWB and Galeano has bombed forward and created good chances (although I have no idea where that xG came from as it certainly wasn't under my managerial spell). Hugo Cassano has been pivotal in the middle of the park and, with the acquisition is Renato Augusto, there is true competition and quality in the playmaker role and Suljicic has scored five of his seven league goals under my tenure - showing that, his traits in particular, are so suited for this role.

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My aims for the summer are to trim down to no more than a 25 man football club (not team, or squad, whole club) but to also ensure I can easily meet the Home Grown quotas without massively weakening my side. I'm then going to have a long think about how I plan my training phases. I'm making good friends with the board as the end of season money helped me achieve my first goal here:

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I must say that I've really taken to this save and what it entails. I know that there is a ceiling with Meyrin and I'm nowhere near that but, historically, I'd now look to either jump ship or to stay her forever - of which I'm now doing neither. With just twelve games as a manager, it would not be realistic to be wanting to move anywhere right now and I do feel like I'm building something that will take a few years to bear fruits.

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Goes without saying, but enjoying this so far and interested to see where it will go in the future.

 

Do you see yourself at one of the top Swiss clubs, or working your way to a middling top division club and push them into that upper echelon of clubs?

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3 hours ago, LUFCspeni said:

Goes without saying, but enjoying this so far and interested to see where it will go in the future.

 

Do you see yourself at one of the top Swiss clubs, or working your way to a middling top division club and push them into that upper echelon of clubs?

Thank you - appreciate your interest.

As for the end game, I don't know. I don't see myself managing Basel or Young Boys, for example, and my historical, at least, gameplay style would probably be taking a team that are in the second tier up and building with them. I mean, look at the Challenge League now:

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The Neuchatel job is available and that's the kind of club that I could work with - growing them from that point due to a decent size stadium and some historic success whereas a smaller club like Rapperswil may that ceiling that would mean I'd need to jump to a bigger club.

At the moment, I'm quite enjoying kicking around in the lower leagues and, unless a decent move comes up or we push on quicker than expected, I'd think I'd be here for another four to five years.

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8 hours ago, Hootieleece said:

When playing as a Semi-Pro team I always train Match Tactics and if I have a "good" Set-Piece taker I train Delivery.....

Also every once in a while I take the team out for beers....(Team Bonding)  because team cohesion and morale are almost more important than tactics.

 

I missed this, sorry!

Set pieces are a good thing to focus on as is Team Cohesion - some good ideas, thanks. I've not ever focused on a semi-pro pre-season but really want to build a) tactical familiarity and b) team cohesion as quickly as I can. I do want to look at the longer term attribute development and see just if there actually is any point in focusing on those other schedule blocks.

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July 2025: Squad Preview

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In terms of new faces, I welcome the depth brought by Fitim Rugovaj and Hugo Jourdan, both of whom fitted my criteria of players trained at the club. The star acquisition is that of Renato Augusto, who, despite being 37 and having no legs, is still an absolutely quality player. It's telling that both he and Oviedo are in the minority of players who are in double figures for all of my desired attributes.

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Overall, I'm pretty happy with the squad although we do lack some depth in players who are trained by us. Over the next few years, I'd really like to develop that and, if I do move on in that time, leave Meyrin in a decent position.

 

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August 2025: Good start

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But at what cost...

Making me reconsider pre-season intensity through both fixtures and training schedules. I'll have a proper review at a later date.

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Hi Ben, seen from your previous threads for both this fm and the previous one that you remove the role suitability circle on the tactic screen. How would I go about doing this, because the suitability circle really gets on my nerves.

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16 hours ago, DaneBramage said:

I always liked to sign Renato Augusto on FM07, hope he can do the business for you here, even if it's just for a year.

And it will just be for a year, too...

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I'm playing him as an AP(s) in the CM role with 'More Direct Passing' and 'Dribble Less' - so he's kind of an Advanced Regista. He was injured and was way off the pace on his debut but I expect big things from him.

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July/August/September 2025

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 A better start that I had imagined but one that I knew we were capable of.

I experimented a little with pre-season and that seemed to induce a lot of early season injuries, although I can't connect the two completely as several were knocks rather than muscle injuries, so I, to be fair, was worried slightly. However, we've been really strong, as it backed up by our statistics:

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The only blot in the (realistic) copy book is the home loss to Lancy, although, like in all of the other games, we outplayed them and pretty much did everything but score. The important squad players are performing well, as seen below, and, really, everything is rosy - except for a deal that the board agreed for Hoxha over my head.

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Yet, 20 games in, the media aren't talking about my tactical development and are more interested in the overhaul where four (!!) whole new players have come in. Hardly fantastic journalism...

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6 hours ago, Joe Horn said:

Hi Ben, seen from your previous threads for both this fm and the previous one that you remove the role suitability circle on the tactic screen. How would I go about doing this, because the suitability circle really gets on my nerves.

As far as I'm aware - FM21 took it away. You now have a star rating for each role on the player screen (although I removed that) and nothing on  the tactic screen...

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41 minutes ago, _Ben_ said:

As far as I'm aware - FM21 took it away. You now have a star rating for each role on the player screen (although I removed that) and nothing on  the tactic screen...

Forgot bout that lol yeah it has been removed this fm, blaming that one on the ole memory

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October 2025: Facilities

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However long I spend at a club, I need to instil my footballing philosophy on and off the pitch. Upgrades like this, despite our lack of money, are exactly what I need.

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November 2025: New Contract

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I took a pay cut to reduce the three year deal to a one year extension of my current deal than ran to June 2026. 

I'm happy and loving the time here but this is not the end goal and I don't want to commit to something I don't plan to keep to.

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November 2025: Tactical thoughts

I just want to highlight one still of a game. It led to a goal and there have been many similar but I am just really happy with what I'm able to create, at such a poor standard of football.

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We've kept the ball nicely and moved it forward taking up a very strong offensive shape. We've enough cover at the back in case of a turnover, which has certainly been proven by the quality of our defensive record. The athleticism of Galeano, the RB, means that he is up and down every game and is my most advanced player in moves like this. We have players across the breadth of the offensive line but it is the adapted AP(s) role that really does it here for me.

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Even though Renato likes to knock it past his opponent, the way I've created a very stationery, but still kind of advanced player, combined with the quality and spatial awareness he possesses means that he drops off, finds pockets and - rather than runs with the balls, sprays passes in all directions- but normally down the right as we look to focus our play their and overlap. I think, that, as I develop my teams around this style of play - the right back (or left back if I've mirrored the system) will probably be a converted winger as the positions they get in are so advanced.

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Not something I necessarily had, all the time, with Redditch but we have made a playing style and I really like watching us!

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October/November 2025

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Absolutely magnificent.

So early in the reign at this club but we are producing the performances, and getting the results that will almost certainly see us top this league and enter the playoff for promotion to the third tier. We completely outplayed Veyrier, ending their seven game unbeaten run and Azzurri, too. The Chenois game annoyed me as we conceded a thunderbolt and, for the first time, lost confidence. It goes to show that the personalities are nowhere near where I want them and, if we weren't winning as we are now, we'd be in a bit of trouble. After the 25-yard screamer, we conceded again, from a cross and it took a lot of 'Demanding More' and two, lucky, injury time goals that I was not expecting to take the win. We have conceded 33% of our league goals in this game, which really emphasises the need for good morale in the defence area. Against Lausanne's youth squad, Vaud, we were devoid of confidence and, following this Chenois match, I really felt a dip was coming.

To start November, we went back to basics (more on that later), regrouped and produced a really gritty performance to beat second placed Bulle, completely a nice double over the team closest to us in the league. From there on, we got back to our free-flowing best and looked tight at both ends against Martigny and Italien.

Annoyingly, we are at the end of November and have just 11 games left - meaning that every month from now has no more than two league fixtures in. However, we're in the driving seat and playing really well.

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I did not expect it to be the training side of the game that piqued my attention at this level, however, I have grown to love this and I may just stick to seeing how many semi-pro teams I can get promoted to the second tier! Here is an example of how I'm looking at training:

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I want to keep my core sessions in (those that impact both my playing style and club DNA development) but that is much more difficult to achieve at this level when I really don't have the number of sessions as I would want. In this case, I have kept the 'Overall' schedule as my go-to as it works pretty much everything, albeit at a small level. With no game after the first week, I decided to add a Team Bonding session following our great wins in the last two games before moving a more taxing session to midweek. I normally wouldn't do this before a match but, with no fixture, it made sense. I am using the week before our Echallens game to prepare for it - keeping my core sessions of Outfield and Match Practice in but adding things that are necessary. Echallons are on a good scoring run and in third place in both the table and goals per game, so I want to make this a little more defensive focused. Firstly, I have noticed that they 'lead' the league in possession lost, so I want to practice our press so that we can take advantage of this. I've noticed they are working the ball out wide and complete a high number of crosses, so I've added a specific block in there to try and focus upon that.

This flexibility of sessions to either work on taking advantages of weaknesses or working to stop opponent strengths is something really new to me as I've never delved this deep into the training modules but it is even better to see the fruits of these labours on the pitch.

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In terms of player development - I have my eye on Elliot HenryAles Ribic and Santi Galeano. The former two came through the academy last year, with Elliot earning an u18 call up and Ribic, statistically, making a superb start to his career. Galeano was signed from a lower league club and this does signify an area I want to work deeper in. I'm going to look at how my backroom is dealing with recruitment as, right now, they are focusing on loan deals such as the one they've just confirmed for Gugliemo Colombini. A great player, but not ours and not hitting any of the squad quota rules.

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As you can tell from this update - loving this!

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Glad you're enjoying this, reflects in the writing. Mad that you've got Renato Augusto pulling the strings in the Swiss fourth tier, never thought I'd be typing that a week ago. :lol:

How big is the jump from the fourth tier to the third tier? I know you mentioned only the top two are professional, so I imagine it's nothing too crazy.

Perhaps a promotion, year of stability in the third tier and then a move to a slightly larger club? Looking forward to where it goes from here.

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2 hours ago, tyler16 said:

Glad you're enjoying this, reflects in the writing. Mad that you've got Renato Augusto pulling the strings in the Swiss fourth tier, never thought I'd be typing that a week ago. :lol:

How big is the jump from the fourth tier to the third tier? I know you mentioned only the top two are professional, so I imagine it's nothing too crazy.

Perhaps a promotion, year of stability in the third tier and then a move to a slightly larger club? Looking forward to where it goes from here.

Thanks - I'm moving between the ideas of shorter, brief updates and more in depth ones as I am loving the gameplay, now I've really delved deeper into it.

Augusto is class and a real coup - if I can find a player, of a similar mould, who has the traits 'Comes Deep for Ball' and 'Tries Killer Balls Often' - I will be flying!

Your plan sounds a good one! I'm really not sure but I know the step up isn't massive - YF Juventus went up last year (along with the Young Boys youth team, so barely comparable) and are mid-table. I think that the difference with my other careers is that I don't need five or six years to stabilise a team in a division because I will kind of move myself to the top (hopefully) - so we could be looking at maybe 2 or 3 jobs before a top flight opportunity, fingers crossed.

 

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