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[FM23] The Entertainers 2.0? - My Adventures with Newcastle United


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Thought I'd add my own FM23 journey to this corner of the forums; I realised recently that haven't guided my beloved Newcastle United to Premier League glory in FM since back in the CM days! Championship Manager 97/98 in fact; mainly due to my preference of managing abroad - I'd play as Newcastle for a couple of seasons during the beta, then start a new save with someone like Valencia, or Roma when the full release dropped. FM23 presents an opportunity to right that wrong, so to speak; and no, the money doesn't hurt, but with City, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Man United to overcome, as well as Europe, there's enough there for this mid-length save enthusiast :lol:

I've just started season three, so this initial post will be something of a summary of what's gone before:

Season One was mainly about retooling the squad - Declan Rice was my big summer 2022 signing, but I stretched Newcastle's not inconsiderable budget to bolster the defence with Alessandro Bastoni, and Ridle Baku as well. Houssem Aouar and Yunus Musah came in to provide midfield depth, but the loan move for Thomas Lemar failed to work out as the Frenchmen played poorly.

A strong start to the season saw us sitting 5th in the table at Christmas, so the Board pumped in additional money to further inflate what transfer kitty I still had - combined with a couple of sales, I was able to trigger Jude Bellingham's release clause :lol: add in loan moves for Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ante Rebic, it felt like we had a squad deep enough and strong enough to maintain a top-four challenge (I also agreed future deals for Marcos Leonardo and Maximo Perrone).

We were, frustratingly, knocked out of both Cups by Man Utd, but had the last laugh, as their form collapsed in the final weeks of the season just as our peaked, and we pipped them to 4th on the final day of the season! Champions League football would return to St. James' Park!

Season Two was something of a slog overall - another healthy transfer budget allowed me to sign Kvicha Kvaratskhelia from Napoli, Illia Zabarnyi from Kyiv, and Ruben Neves and James Ward-Prowse from relegated Wolves and Southampton respectively. Clearing out some dead wood, and using some clauses and installments, also let me add Jose Gaya and Ugurcan Cakir, plus another glut of young players with the future in mind (Nianzou, Lavia, Coppola).

Had a couple of cracking results in our Champions League group, including thumping Juventus 4-0 at SJP, and qualified for the last-16 as group winners. The extra games started to really drain my young squad however.

Managed to add some veteran experience during the January window, signing Kyle Walker, and sought to rotate more; we reached the EFL Cup Final, but 70th and 78th minute goals saw Liverpool edge us, before a frustrating 3-2 first leg loss at Inter in the CL last-16 stuck the boot in - with the Italian side earning a controversial 89th minute penalty. Further misery heaped upon us when Leeds beat us 2-1 in extra time to knock us out of the FA Cup, before Inter held on for a 0-0 draw in the second leg of our tie. Ouch. Mix in an annoyingly high percentage of draws, and a top-four place also seemed unlikely.

A wobble from Man City late on gave us a chance to sneak ahead of them, into 4th, but we only drew at Leicester, which meant we needed Everton to hold (or beat) City on the last day of the season; while we thrashed QPR to do our part, Everton could not withstand the City onslaught. We finished 5th, drawing a whopping 14 games(!!!), but at least we ticked the Boards box of qualifying for the Europa League...only for UEFA to award the PL an additional place in the CL for 2024/25! We were in again! :lol: Lucky SOBs that we are.

Season Three sees the expectations of the Board ramped up; requiring us to challenge for the Champions League :eek: I'm hoping relatively small squad changes (added Matheus Franca and Francisco Trincao to first team squad) combined with young core getting a year older and wiser will help us take the next step. I'd like to add another striker, to backup Isak, before the summer window closes, but decent options to fill that role are hard to find/expensive.

Edited by duff33
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  • 2 weeks later...

I've reached Christmas 2024 in my Newcastle United save, and we. are. top. of. the. league! 13 wins, 5 draws, and one loss - away at Liverpool to an 89th minute winner (sound familiar?) - to leave us 2-points clear at the top, with Liverpool and Chelsea just behind us.

Also reached the EFL Cup semi-final (vs Arsenal), and drew Preston in FA Cup 3rd Round. We've also reached that stage of a save where you get the new Champions League format, which I find weird TBH. Anyway, four wins and two losses from six so far; PSG and Dortmund still to play...both in January, when I also have EFL Cup semi-final games, at least one FA Cup game, and four PL games, meaning at least mine games in January. NINE!

On the plus side, a couple of decent sales, combined with Newcastle's financial might in FM23, and a declining Tottenham team means... *drum roll please* Harry Kane is joining my Newcastle team in January! Madness.


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Into late February 2025, my Newcastle side sat top of the Premier League on 66 points from 28 games as 2nd placed Liverpool (65 points from 29 games) travelled to St. James' Park - here's me, trying to win Newcastle's first league title since 1927, while Liverpool are seeking to win a third Premier League title on the bounce. It is no underestimate to say this was the biggest game of my FM save so far!

Live on Sky Sports' Saturday Night Football, Francisco Trincão put us ahead after 27 minutes, before Diego Coppola nodded home from a corner nine minutes later to give us a 2-0 lead at half time, with Ugurcan Çakir making two vitals saves to keep Liverpool at bay. Trincão added his second two minutes after the restart, before Matheus França made it 4-0 :eek: Arda Güler added a fifth in injury time to send us 4-points clear, with a game in hand.

Next game is away at Man City in the FA Cup fifth round, before the Champions League Round of 16. We also have the EFL Cup Final against City on March 19th. At the start of the season I just wanted one trophy, now we're still fighting for four! 

Undoubtedly Newcastle is a full on 'money save' in FM23, but god damn I am enjoying this.

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Despite that drubbing of Liverpool, our trip to the Etihad proved fruitless, with City far more clinical in front of goal as they ran out 3-1 winners to put us out of the FA Cup.

A 2-0 win at home to Everton could not hide my disappointment when we lost at City again a few days later, this time losing 1-0 at St. James' Park in the first leg of our Champions League Last-16 tie. Just as it seemed like Simone Inzaghi's side (Pep was fired at the end of the 2023/24 season) would torpedo our entire season, we discovered our form!

Alexander Isak's 82nd minute winner earned the first trophy of this save, beating City 3-2 in the EFL Cup Final, before Isak put in a sensational performance three-days later to help us recover from that Champions League first leg defeat to win the tie on penalties, following a 3-2 win at the Etihad.

Our finishing went cold at Bournemouth, and at home to Leeds, but other results went out way to ensure we stayed 1st in the Premier League, with a 2-1 win at the San Siro getting us back on track as we took the first leg of our Quarter Final tie with Inter, while away wins at Wolves and Arsenal put us on the brink of a first league title in 98-years!!! A2-2 draw at St. James' Park saw us knock Inter out of the Champions League, setting up a Semi Final clash with Milan - where we conceded an 84th minute goal in the first leg. Annoying.

Happiness soon returned to Tyneside however, as we thumped Sheffield United 5-0 and, combined with Chelsea's loss at Arsenal, were crowned Premier League champions!

Unfortunately the wave of emotions could not carry us into the Champions League Final; despite an early goal from Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Sandro Tonali scored Milan's single shot on target (a 25-yard screamer no less...) and we failed to convert any of our numerous chances to win the tie.

Our final three PL games were a bit of a dud, easy wins over struggling Brighton and Norwich, before a meh draw at Spurs.

Still, it's Mission Accomplished really, given I set out to bring a first PL title to SJP. Next stop, Champions League I guess.

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