Lawlore

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About Lawlore

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    Priestfield

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    The Mighty GFC
  1. I'm still waiting for Rob Cooper to convince everyone to use the FM style for a new Chart Wars. Someone nudge him to get on with that, eh?
  2. Monday, 7th May 2035: Day One A lesson you learn very quickly in football is that if, when you come in to the office the morning after a game, there is a flashing light on the telephone sitting on your desk, it will be a message from the physio. I don't know what it is about physiotherapists- whether it's something they learn at physio school, or whether it's just ingrained in their psyche, but in my experience, it's been pretty much the same the world over. They don't text, they don't call you at home, or your mobile. No- they wait. Without fail, they always, always wait until the next morning to deliver their terrible news. And so, when you come in, the morning after a game, you're crossing your fingers that the little red light isn't flashing. Nobody else calls at that time of the morning, and if they haven't already called, they won't. They do it to leave a message, because they don't really want to talk to you, and they don't want you to call them back. They're strange little creatures who pass on their message and then want to be left alone to work their magic. And, frankly, that's fine by me. Niall Clay, our Head Physio, is no exception to this rule. *flash* Bollocks. *flash* On the desk are assorted paper clippings, the match reviews and reports of our 2-1 win over Cambridge, taking us to 5-1 on aggregate. And, as much as I told the lads not to lose focus, not to get complacent, I have to admit, I already had my eye on Maidstone at Wembley. Those papers aren't going to tell me anything useful. *flash* But, fair play to the boys, job done. It wasn't a pretty win by any stretch of the imagination- it wasn't even that much of a game, with Cambridge also seeming to realise that the result was already settled in the first leg. Nothing really too noteworthy- Matthew Daniel Laslett running the show from the back as he has done all season, showing that he's really too good for this non-league malarkey. *flash* I know what that message is going to be about, and I'm deliberately ignoring it. It'll be about Nigel Booty, the lad from Boreham Wood. Joined us on loan from Boreham Wood at the end of the January window to give us a little bit of depth up front, and has done his bit- filled in where the other loan signing, Jordan Doyle, hasn't been quite so successful. Nige has, so he's in the mix for the first team. *flash* However, Nige also had to go off after about half an hour against Cambridge- bit of a nasty collision, and if he is out for the Maidstone game, it leaves us a bit thin on the ground. Remi O'Leary and Ian Griffin are both fit and in form, but are also very similar in style- small and quick, hanging off the last man. Playing one or the other alongside a big man is great, but they haven't really ever thrived when playing together, since they keep making the same runs and getting in each other's way. *flash* Oh, for crying out loud... enough with the flashing. "Hey boss man, bad news..." It's always bad news when he starts calling me boss man. "JJ's out of the final." Wait- JJ? John Johnson? Not Nigel? I mean, sure, we took Johnson off at half-time in the Cambridge match because he hurt his toe, but surely it's not that serious? A bit of bruising- he's got two weeks to heal... "His toe is swollen up like a plum. It's not a pretty sight, boss man, I promise ya. He's barely able to stand on it, think we're looking at a few weeks off his feet." You know what- I don't need to hear the rest of the message, you can imagine the gist of it. And, I'm actually slightly relieved. Harsh as it may sound, JJ being out isn't really the end of the world- he's a midfielder we brought in on loan from MK Dons who has just kind of fit in here and there when we've needed him. Solid enough, but hasn't made much of an impression- to be honest, he probably would've been dropped for the final anyway, now that Kenny Hill's back from his latest suspension. Missing Johnson is much less problematic than losing a striker like Nigel Booty would've been. So, yeah, sorry, JJ, off the subs bench and into the injured box. Back off to Franchise FC with you, we'll send you a postcard from Wembley. I'm afraid I've got more important things to worry about right now than your toe- I've got a Playoff Final to win.
  3. Prologue "And the full time whistle blows, confirming what, in reality, was settled long ago- Preston will be the ones heading to Wembley!" That final whistle wasn't one of relief, it wasn't really even one of celebration. The whole match was just kind of a non-event, and the whistle was just getting that step out of the way. Sure, the lads on the pitch were happy, why wouldn't they be? But ever since my return to England at the start of the season, there was only one target, and all that whistle signified was a step towards correcting a failure. My job, in my single-minded head, was to get Preston North End back into the league. The year is 2035, the date, Sunday, 6th May. As a fifty-something manager, football has already taken me all over the lower reaches of the world, generally without any kind of real accomplishment to crow about, and more relegation battles- won and lost- than I'd care to imagine. But, after countless 12 and 18-month appointments in China, Korea, Wales, Ireland, Belgium and too many other places to name, finally I'd started to make a bit of a name for myself, at Portuguese side Limianos. A promotion for the unknown side into the Portuguese Second League, followed by two seasons of establishing the club as a capable midtable outfit, punching way, way above their weight, and suddenly I had a little bit of buzz about me- a few chairmen getting in touch, hoping I could capture lightning in a bottle a second time. Time and time again, I said no. Limianos had given me that chance, had shown me faith, and were going places. We weren't just building a team, but a squad, and a future. Every step took us further and further along, every season crept us that bit further up the table. But then, with my contract expiring... then came Preston. Before I got into management, I grew up a Gillingham fan, and Preston were always one of those clubs that were a division above the Gills- that touch more professionalism, those noticeably bigger crowds, a club steeped in so much history. One of the big names of the early days of football, and still one of the bigger non-Premier clubs. That made the demise of the club over the past 20 years or so incredible to see. After promotion to the Championship in 15/16, things turned sour, and they just dropped and dropped. By the 26/27 season, they'd dropped out of League 2, and since then, they'd been relegated even further, to the Conference North. This wasn't right. This was a club that was far, far too big to be wallowing in non-league, and even taking into account the promotion back into the Conference National two years ago, they were at least two divisions lower than where they rightfully belonged. The fact that they came calling to me at all shows just how sad times are, considering my previous stints at the likes of Chippenham, Bromley and Hereford had far from showered me in glory. The chairman wanted me to secure a safe, midtable spot- to continue to build steadily. I told him to forget that- I told him we were going up. This club is too big to be in this division. The season's been a long one. It took a while to find a rhythm, and ultimately, a rough patch of five without a win way back in September has cost us the title and cast us into the playoffs. I tell the press exactly what I think, and use the same words to motivate the team- that this is a club that is way below where it should be, and that it is disgraceful that we're sharing a division with the likes of Rushall Olympic and Margate. I don't care if it comes across as arrogant. Preston North End should not be in this division, and I'm righting a wrong by getting us promoted. We won the FA Trophy with ease. We made the fifth round of the FA Cup, claiming the Championship scalp of Southend on the way, and gave Premier League side Aston Villa a decent battle before getting knocked out. But none of that matters to me. We should not be "scalping" Southend- we should be the favourites, looking down at them. We should not consider winning the FA Trophy, against a bunch of perennial amateurs and non-league sides, any kind of achievement. All that whistle signifies is the start of the countdown. There are fourteen days until the Playoff Final now, fourteen days before we step out at Wembley and take on those 4th-placed chancers, Maidstone United, for a place back in the League. A place that only one club can get. A place that only one club should rightfully have. A place that, in any right-thinking world, only one club should have any chance of getting. I am going to take Maidstone out, and I am going to take Preston up. Dispatching Cambridge 5-1 on aggregate means nothing now- the outcome was a foregone conclusion long ago, and they are gone from my mind in an instant. The only thing that matters now is that we don't screw up, like we did by letting Oldham get so far clear of the rest of the pack that we just couldn't catch them. No- now, there are no excuses, no "ifs" or "buts". This has to happen.
  4. Not so much FM, but FML certainly was. At one point, I was spending about the same time playing it as I was at my full-time job, and the rest of the time thinking about it.
  5. And these are just the kids that become footballers...
  6. Very sad news. One of the good ones who truly helped keep these forums running smoothly. Took his role seriously, stayed fair, even-handed and consistent, and really assisted in making this a welcoming, interesting and mature environment. May he rest in peace.
  7. I always adopt a policy of "If you don't wanna be here, you can go as soon as someone meets the price". While I understand why you'd want to keep your best players, getting a dressing room that wants to be there is always more of a priority to me than accommodating demanding players. Players are replaceable. As for listing them and setting high values, that might satisfy them for a while, but ultimately, I'd be looking to get rid of anyone kicking up a real stink ASAP.
  8. I have to admit I'm shocked at the number of FM players willing to admit to being fans of Busted...
  9. Back in FM12 (I believe it was), with fake players on, a chap named Mauro Aiello, who I signed at the age of 53, and who got a couple:
  10. Not much has changed, but they play underwater.
  11. The flip side being that there'll be a lot more people playing over the weekend to identify anything that does seriously need fixing, rather than releasing the patch on Monday and then a half-fix midweek. Since there's a good chance any patch will probably be the last one, it's more important to catch as much as possible with the final update.
  12. This has always been my issue with the descriptions of roles too. If I am setting a player as a Trequartista, what- in game terms- am I telling them to do? Only by knowing that can I decide if that is the right role selection for what I actually want them to try to do. Whether my tactic is sound or not is not the concern- that's management. It's whether the tactic I am trying to implement is actually being put into place by the roles I am selecting.
  13. To my mind, I had always understood the Tactics Forum as being the place for those who wanted to get knee-deep in tactical analysis to thrive. It was designed for the kinds of think-pieces and discussions and debates that appealed to others with that interest- ways of testing and stretching the ME, developing an intricate knowledge of it for both their own interest and, as a nice side-effect, the betterment of the community as a whole. In some respects, it lines up with the Editors Hideaway for editing, and the Skinning Hideout for graphics. However, in the last few years, there does seem to have been a shift, culminating in the "It's Your Tactics" peak (and subsequent banning of that phrase) a few versions back, where it felt like every other GD post was directing someone to the Tactics Forum. The game's own documentation, in-game and outside of it, is not up to scratch- that's not a controversial statement. The forum became something of a crutch, where ordinary players were being sent because they did not understand how the game worked, not because they were especially interested in becoming knee-deep in tactical analysis. The game became more complex, and the Tactics Forum were used to fill in the gaps that were left from explaining it- with occasional comments leaking over to GD. The example that sticks with me will always be someone stating in GD that it was obvious that the first problem with someone's tactic was that all of their defenders were on a Defence mentality. It was at that point that I realised that there was this huge disconnect from what the game was saying and what information was being picked up from the forums- take a step back, close your eyes and ask yourself, why is that "obvious"? Defenders are there to defend. The game wasn't telling you why that could cause a problem. Those who knew how the game worked and what setting a "Defend" mentality actually meant were doing the explaining. And yet, the big hitters of the Tactics forum, including names mentioned here, generally took the time and effort to get involved with people who had less tactical knowledge or interest in tinkering. They still wrote their long pieces and held their debates and discussions, but they became that crutch, and they did so for the benefit of the game and the wider community. FM has long been a game with roots in the community- from researchers and editors to graphics designers, tacticians and story-tellers. It's a dense game and a complex game and a beautiful game, and their role became a key one, because they were helping people as a whole understand the game better. The lack of documentation leads to "The ME sucks!" posts in GD, which in turn leads to "It's your tactics" replies, which in turn leads to people finding out more from those in the know either in GD or at the Tactics forum. But not everyone makes that complete journey- I shudder to think how many don't get beyond the "The ME sucks!" post. The ME doesn't suck- it is a complex and massive beast, and without a doubt the best simulation of real football, as Sven rightly points out in the OP. I don't know exactly what's gone down here, what the major issue is or where this schism has come from- I'm way out of the loop, so I may also be way off base, and if that's true, then I apologise. As with Sven, I don't have any involvement in fansites- this is the first I've heard of Tifo, or visited the site, and I don't look at Twitter. I also don't frequent the Tactics forum, but I hugely respect the people who know their stuff there, and have personally received some excellent support from them in the past. However, even someone like me can see how the role of the Tactics Forum and those who are involved there has changed with recent editions, with the game becoming more complex and yet less well documented. If what I'm understanding is that SI are no longer giving support to the people who have dedicated their own time and effort to helping the game and the community grow and develop, then it's a sad day indeed.
  14. I had no prior knowledge of the Portuguese league system, but I've enjoyed a good few seasons in the third tier now- it's a really elegant system. Eight groups of ten in the First Phase. Top two teams go through to the Promotion Stage, where there are two divisions of 8. The winner of each Promotion Division is promoted (with the two winners having a play-off to determine the champions), the two second place teams play-off for the third promtion spot. Teams that don't finish in the top two in the First Phase go to the Relegation stage, where there are 8 divisions of 8. Bottom two teams in division are relegated, while the 6th-placed teams in each division go to a playoff against another team that finished 6th, with four of the eight relegated. It means seasons are kept relatively snappy (playing approx. 32 games, excluding playoffs), while at the same time, the splits and small divisions mean you're either always competing for promotion or avoiding relegation, so there are no real meaningless matches- it's easy to get sucked into a relegation battle, and tough to get promoted. It's good fun.
  15. Oh, I know, and I'm very pleased that this sort of thing is possible in the game- I just found it a curious trajectory. It's easy to forget that Sven at Notts County happened, despite the circumstances being rather different, so I'm certainly not suggesting it's unrealistic. If you're interested, I figured I'd have a look at it a bit more in-depth, and what you say is pretty much true- he's generally been sacked at any club with any kind of expectations, but been able to stick around a bit longer at clubs who don't. It'll be interesting to see how he gets on back at Sevilla, having been so consistently poor at clubs with greater reputations: 14/15 - Sacked by Barcelona after finishing 3rd in La Liga, knocked out of Champions League by Real. 15/16 - Unemployed 16/17 - Joined Lille mid-season, finished 12th in Ligue One. Before joining, they'd been in a relegation scrap. 17/18 - Sacked by Lille at the end of February- midtable, out of both cups. Joins Sevilla in mid-March, finishes first season 7th. 18/19 - One defeat in first 15 league games, but sacked at the end of the season by Sevilla after finishing 7th again, with no wins in his last 7 games. 19/20 - Unemployed 20/21 - Joins Portuguese PL side Gil Vicente for an unremarkable season, finishing 13th. 21/22 - Leaves Gil Vicente when appointed by La Liga side Athletic Bilbao. First season sees them finish 9th- a return to where they expect to be after two previously disappointing seasons. 22/23 - Sacked in February 2023 after just 4 points from 24 since turn of the New Year. Their next manager would pull them away from relegation battle. 23/24 - Joins Portuguese PL side P. Ferreira on New Year's Eve, with the club on 12 points from 13 games. Goes on to take just 18 more points from remaining 21 games. Club are relegated on Goal Difference, but manager keeps his job. 24/25 - P. Ferreira flying high in Portuguese Second League when manager leaves to join Dutch top flight (Eredivisie) side NAC Breda at the end of March. NAC take one point from their last five games (admittedly, a tough run-in including PSV, Feyenoord and Ajax), and end up in the Relegation playoff. They beat Volendam on away goals and then sneak a 1-0 win over two legs against VVV-Venlo to stay up. 25/26 - Sacked by NAC after relegation is finally confirmed, having sat rock bottom most of the season. Joins underperforming Dutch Tier 2 (Jupiler League) side FC Volendam, who have just finished 13th, once the season is over. 26/27 - Sacked by Volendam mid-November after a very average start to the season. Picked up by Villareal in December, who have established themselves as a consistent 3rd/4th-placed La Liga side over the previous seasons- quite the jump up for the manager. Finishes 5th in first season, reaching Spanish Cup Semi-Finals. 27/28 - Sacked by Villareal after indifferent EURO Cup campaign and three straight La Liga defeats. New manager goes unbeaten in next 15 games across all competitions. 28/29 - Unemployed. 29/30 - Unemployed. 30/31 - Appointed by League One Gillingham in December, the club having settled into a mid-table League One role after flirting with promotion for a few seasons. On appointment, club has just 11 points from their first 16 league games. Turns fortunes around to finish 18th. 31/32 - Leaves Gillingham in February 2032 after a mid-table season, to return to Sevilla. Gillingham only take one point from next six games, while Sevilla take 8 points from his first 5 games back at the club. They are currently sitting 9th.