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  1. No Bells and Whistles - LLM Journey Introduction: This save takes me back to how I used to play Football Manager when I had much more time on my hands, LLM. The aims are to play the career as realistically as possible and ultimately, like most players, get to the top of the pecking order by any means possible! I've managed to get some seasons through because I'm currently stuck in lockdown in Gran Canaria having travelled here last week, but luckily decided to bring my new laptop with me. As I've been confined to my room, my career has been progressing and I present to you my first 4 seasons with updates to come! It is called No Bells and Whistles because this is essentially just career updates with some screenshots, if anyone is legit interested and wants to see some screenshots of interesting things go ahead and ask. It's not that I don't want to, it is just that I don't know what to screenshot that will be interesting to everyone other than the fixtures and final standings. Rules: - Play as realistic as possible. - Start unemployed, no coaching badges + Sunday League footballer. - Only use tactics you have created on your own. - You don't use the player/staff search in the game. - Only sign backroom staff via job adverts. - Usage of ANY editor/FM tools are disallowed. - No rage quits, in LLM, losing is often the most entertaining event! - No tactic exploits (not sure if there are any in FM20, but in FMs previous I recall there being a throw-in exploit or corner exploit) - Signings must be realistic, no Brazilians regens suddenly signing to play non-league semi-pro football in Basingstoke. - Use attribute masking. - Usually you would not mention the player names either, but since this isn't LLM forums, I will mention player names. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- CAREER SUMMARY Year Team League Final Finish 2019/20 Brackley Town FC Vanarama National League North 5th 2020/21 Brackley Town FC Vanarama National League North 2nd 2021/22 Brackley Town FC Vanarama National League North 1st X 1 VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH 2022/23 Brackley Town FC Vanarama National League 3rd* 2022/23 Luton Town FC Sky Bet Championship 14th 2023/24 Luton Town FC Sky Bet Championship 3rd 2024/25 Luton Town FC Sky Bet Championship 1st X 1 SKY BET CHAMPIONSHIP 2025/26 Luton Town FC English Premier League 14th 2026/27 Luton Town FC English Premier League 6th x 1 EMIRATES FA CUP 2027/28 Luton Town FC English Premier League 7th 2028/29 Luton Town FC English Premier League 1st X 1 ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE X 1 CARABAO CUP 2029/30 Luton Town FC English Premier League 2nd X 1 COMMUNITY SHIELD X 1 CARABAO CUP 2030/31 Luton Town FC English Premier League 6th 2031/32 Luton Town FC English Premier League 2nd 2032/33 Luton Town FC English Premier League 4th x 1 UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2019/20 - Brackley Town FC Took Over 9/10/2019: P13 W3 D3 L7 GF13 GA19 GD-6 PTS12 - 19th Vanarama National League North Final Standings: P42 W18 D13 L11 GF62 GA57 GD+5 PTS67 - 5TH PLAY-OFFS: LOST in 1st Round vs Spennymoor Town: p1 - 1 > 11-10 FA TROPHY: LOST in 4th Round vs Kidderminster Harriers: 1 - 2 FA CUP: LOST in 2nd Round Qual. vs Morpeth Town - 2 - 2p > 4 - 5 I took over with Brackley Town in 19th, 12 points and en-route to relegation. I initially took them through a good new manager bounce with a fresh tactic, a 4-3-3 with wingers, we went 7 games unbeaten in the league with 3 draws and 4 wins. This ended when we took a 2-0 L to top of the league and future champions, Kidderminster Harriers. We then went through a garbage December picking up 2 points from 12, conceding 17 goals in 10 games. After having a Boston United striker hit 6 goals in a 6-3 thriller past us, I dropped the tactic that I began with and opted for a more defensively-minded tactic as we'd slid from 11th to 18th, just 1 position above when I took over. The new tactic brought us great success, in the 2nd half of the season we won 11, drew 5 and lost only twice. This took us to our entry into the playoffs where we drew 1-1 with Spennymoor Town and then lost on pens. I never expected to reach the playoffs this year as I didn't think the squad were strong enough so the playoffs were a bonus. In the coming transfer window, I cleared out half the squad and the deadwood as they were on high wages and we were over our wage budget by £2,000. I signed some solid young assets and assembled a new backroom staff with some quality scouts and coaches. I expect promotion next season given how strong we finished in the second half of the season and the new additions to the squad. Budgets: Wage Budget: £8.6k Transfer Budget: £0 Top Scorer and Assists Vanarama Nat. League North: Lee Ndlovu - 14 goals Carl Baker and Shane Byrne - 9 assists CAREER SUMMARY Year Team League Final Finish 2019/20 Brackley Town FC Vanarama National League North 5th ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2020/21 - Brackley Town FC Vanarama National League North Final Standings: P46 W33 D10 L3 GF99 GA31 GD68 PTS108 - 2ND PLAY-OFFS: LOST IN FINAL VS KETTERING TOWN 2-1 FA TROPHY: LOST IN 3RD QUAL. ROUND VS BOSTON UNITED 2-3e FA CUP: LOST IN 1ST ROUND VS WYCOMBE WANDERERS 1-0 Yuck. What a gut-wrenching season, we managed to break two records in the VNL and yet come second. We beat the record points tally, 107, with 109 and beat the number of wins with 32 wins. However, Chester also managed to do that with 114 points and 35 wins. It was harsh to come second but Chester were very good and every time we slipped up they pounced and widened the gap. Although given 3rd place was 19 points away, I truly though the team would be able to smash the play-offs. I think when it came to it the team looked tired and worn out. We held a shaky 1-0 win vs. Gateshead in the Play-Off Semi-Finals, who finished 5th in the league. We then went played 3rd place Kettering and dominating the opening exchanges but failed to finish our chances and we flagged around the 60th minute mark. At 1-0, we managed to lose 2-1, ending our promotion dreams for the season. It was a good season, but bitterly disappointed we could not get promoted. I signed a year-extension as I want to finish my project off here and get them into the National League and potentially the football league. Despite the record-breaking season, this is a squad in transition and I have to rid myself of the remaining deadwood in the squad. I'm aiming for a new GK, new CBs, a new CM and another striker. A major factor in us not winning this season was having to play the entire season with an RW at ST because my striker tore his ACL in the first game and we didn't have the wage budget to accommodate for much quality up there without him. Budgets: Wage Budget: £9.325k Transfer Budget: £0 Top Scorer and Assists Vanarama Nat. League North: James Armson - 24 goals + Connor Stanley - 10 assists CAREER SUMMARY Year Team League Final Finish 2019/20 Brackley Town FC Vanarama National League North 5th 2020/21 Brackley Town FC Vanarama National League North 2nd ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2021/22 - Brackley Town FC Vanarama National League North Final Standings: P46 W35 D9 L2 GF98 GA25 GD73 PTS114 - 1ST NO PLAYOFFS: WE WON THE LEAGUE! FA TROPHY: LOST IN 3RD QUAL. ROUND VS CURZTON ASHTON 1-0 FA CUP: BEAT L2 SALFORD 2-0 IN R1 > BEAT L1 BLACKPOOL 2-1 IN R2 > BEAT L2 NOTTS. COUNTY 2-1 IN R3 > DREW 2-2 VS PREM BOURNEMOUTH IN R4 > LOST 3-1 IN R4 REPLAY. In hindsight, I am glad Kettering beat us in last years play-offs because the quality I assembled in this year's squad was unrivalled by everyone in this league - we were miles above the quality and it showed. Out of the starting XI who started vs Kettering, only 5 started the 1st game of the season. I brought in a great loanee striker who smashed 33 goals in 46 games, finishing top goalscorer, a new goalkeeper who broke the record for clean sheets and two new CBs who formed a dynamite partnership at the back. Using a mixture of free transfers and loans we started with an average age of 22. We smashed our way through the season and went 34 games unbeaten, breaking the VNL record before we lost to Merthyr 2-0 at home at the end of February. I thought we were going to go unbeaten but we were shown up this game and it seemed like the team thought just going out onto the pitch was enough to win a game, it was a sign of things to come I think in terms of complacency. Anyhow, a caveat to this season was our incredible FA Cup run, we got to Round 4 replay having beaten 3 professional clubs from League 1 and 2 and finally got drawn to a Premier League team. The highlight of the run was being 2-1 down at the Madjeski Stadium and my LW scoring a 89th minute header to equalise and take the tie back to our home ground. The FA Cup run secured us huge amounts of funds in the region of £300-400k that saved our financial situation as we were leaking money like crazy. With us out of the FA Cup and Trophy, the league was our only ambition. We won it at a canter with 7 games to spare but then seemed to go on holiday. Winning at King's Lynn 5-0 to secure the league before an odd slump considering how consistent we had been that involved 3 draws, a 4-1 loss to 18th placed Alfreton and 4 wins. Nevertheless, after 3 LONG years in the VNL, we have finally been promoted to the National League. The squad needs a lot of work, we're starting on the backfoot because we will not be getting our star striker back on loan as he has moved on and I have already lost my no.1 DM who wanted £2,000 per week, something I could not afford to give him. I'm not being hugely ambitious and the board also agree that we should be looking at a mid-table finish. They've given me a 2-year contract extension and £5,000 extra for the wage budget so I have the ability to make some moves. Budgets: Wage Budget: £9.325k Transfer Budget: £0 Top Scorer and Assists Vanarama Nat. League North: James Soule - 33 goals Shane Byrne - 24 assists CAREER SUMMARY Year Team League Final Finish 2019/20 Brackley Town FC Vanarama National League North 5th 2020/21 Brackley Town FC Vanarama National League North 2nd 2021/22 Brackley Town FC Vanarama National League North 1st X 1 VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2022/23 - Brackley Town FC * *Vanarama National League Standings 18th Sept 2022* P11 W7 D2 L2 GF21 GA8 GD13 PTS 23 - 3RD The team I went up with had real quality so the spine did not need re-calibrating, all I wanted to do was retain my star players, plug the gaps and add some depth in key positions. I managed to fend off bids for my GK and 2CBs, brought in 2 new strikers and a DM + some fringe players for depth. We started off playing well but not finishing our chances, we were dominating these games but were not winning them. Two 2-1 losses to Sutton and Chelmsford did have me slightly worried about whether I had overestimated the squad's ability but a win at Havant & Waterlooville brought some confidence to the squad and things started clicking. We went on a 9-match unbeaten run consisting of a 5-match run consisting of four 2-0s and 1 4-0. We were 3rd in the league and looking good. ***RING RING*** I then received a call from my agent, who informed me that Luton Town FC, wanted me to become their manager after inviting me to an interview two weeks prior. They were 24th in the Championship, 16 matches without a victory, a run that stretched back to the previous season. They had 5 points, 7 points away from 23rd and 13 points from safety. I love Brackley, they provided me with my first job, allowed me to go from 0 coaching badges to National A License but this chance was something I could not turn down. A team 3 divisions higher, millions more to spend, better facilities and in an exciting league with a new-challenge. On that note, I left Brackley Town with them in 3rd place in the National League content in the knowledge I saved them from ruin and left them with a brighter future in English football. Budgets: Wage Budget: £14,250 Transfer Budget: £0 My Brackley Town FC Stats: P 155 W 104 D 33 L 18 GF 310 GA +124 GD 186 WIN% 67% TROPHIES: 2021/22 - X 1 VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH PERSONAL ACCOLADES: 2021/22 - X 1 MANAGER OF THE YEAR 2021/22 - X 4 MANAGER OF THE MONTH 2020/21 - X 1 MANAGER OF THE MONTH 2022/23 - Luton Town FC Took over 18/09/2022 - Sky Bet Championship P11 W0 D5 L6 GF7 GA19 GD-12 PTS 5 - 24TH Sky Bet Championship Final Standings: P46 W15 D15 L16 GF50 GA60 GD-10 PTS 60 - 14TH PLAYOFFS: dnr FA CUP: LOST 4TH ROUND vs BARNSLEY 2e-1 CARABAO CUP: KO'ed before I joined. What a baptismal of fire. I learned some lessons very quickly about relegation-football having been in a different world with Brackley, winning the majority of my games and coming here where wins were extremely hard to come by. In sum, I tried to go about playing the same type of football I did at Brackley, my 4-5-1 low-tempo, direct, high press with wide mids, inverted-full backs, anchor DM, a ball-playing CB, box to box mid with a central and an advanced forward. I quickly found out you cannot play this way with a team with no confidence. I lost my first game to Brentford 4-2, not yet humbled we then lost 3-1 to Blackburn, still sticking firmly with my tactic we went to Sheffield Wednesday, 23rd and also struggling although 7 points ahead of us in 23rd. They THUMPED us 5-0. I'd be lying if at this stage I wasn't regretting my decision to leave Brackley for the struggles of Championship football. I needed a rethink so I switched up the tactics to shore up the defence and make us harder to beat, even if it took away our attacking intent. Our resurgence began with a 2-2 hard-fought draw to Notts. Forest and then finally our first win, a 3-1 home win to Swansea, a first win in 20 games for Luton. We then went to The Den to face relegation rivals Millwall, beating them 1-0, our first back-to-back win since November 2021 and our first clean sheet in 10 months. A disappointing 3-1 loss to Derby gave me much to think about and I reverted back to my original Brackley Town tactic, hoping now with wins under our belt we could drive forward with the attacking intent that used to win me games. In the next 10 games, we drew 2, lost 3 and won 5 meaning we came out of the relegation zone at the start of January 2023 when we returned the favour and beat relegation rivals Sheff. Wednesday 1-0 away from home. Finally! The board gave me some cash to play with in the Jan window and I bought a championship quality defender who can play left and right back and a versatile midfielder who can play cm, dm and rm. I need this versatility when the quality lacks in this team! In the second part of the season, I switched up the tactic once more to give us some more defensive assertiveness after two 2-1 defeats, 1 to Villa and 1 to relegation-rivals Oxford United. The 10 games that followed we conceded only 4 goals compared to 13 in the previous 10, although the trade-off was a lack of goals, only scoring 8 compared to 14 the previous 10. However, in these 10 games we won 4, drew 3 and lost 3. With 8 games remaining, we were 16th in the league, 10 points clear of relegation. We finished the season 14th and unbeaten in our last 6 games, which were comprised of draws and victories. The main thing is we turned it around and the statistic that stands out for me is the 1st half of the season, we placed 24th; the 2nd half we placed 5th. If we can keep that sort of form up, add some good new blood in, then we can make a run on the play-offs for sure. Budgets: Wage Budget: £312,500 Transfer Budget: £6.5 million CAREER SUMMARY Year Team League Final Finish 2019/20 Brackley Town FC Vanarama National League North 5th 2020/21 Brackley Town FC Vanarama National League North 2nd 2021/22 Brackley Town FC Vanarama National League North 1st X 1 VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH 2022/23 Brackley Town FC Vanarama National League 3rd* 2022/23 Luton Town FC Sky Bet Championship 14th
  2. Welcome to episode 1 of my FM20 Beta challenge with Luton Town. In this series, we attempt to steer Luton to Championship safety after two successive promotions. Can we keep the Hatters up on a small budget? If you enjoyed this episode, LIKE the video & SUBSCRIBE to the channel for 2 new episodes a week from Cricket 19 Career Mode. There's also daily content from Football Manager 2020, with 5 new episodes from my long term FM20 story, A Wandering Dork, plus 2 episodes from my FM20 Beta series with Luton Town. Thanks for watching!
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