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Once again, I return to the emerald isle for more nation building shenanigans. This year will make it my 5th long term save in the country after my exploits in FM16 with Immaculata, FM17 with Chimney Corner, FM18 with Dollingstown and Linfield and last year with a host of different N. Irish clubs starting with Glentoran. I had ideas of maybe moving to another country such as India with the ultimate aim of taking their national team to a World Cup but thought against it as there are too few games (20 league games per season) and no real opportunity to earn good money to build up the clubs. I also thought of moving to another European nation but I just enjoy managing in N. Ireland, it kind of fits into a Goldilocks zone for me making for an engaging long term save. I'll be interested to see how the new club vision and development centre affects the save. Unlike last season, I can see genuine reasons why building the nation might be a lot easier than in FM19. There are 2 professional clubs straight away in the DBP and I can see how easily a domino effect can form with more clubs turning professional especially now as teams are more likely to qualify for the group stages of the new UEFA Conference League given the lower standard of opposition they will face. Game Setup I've decided to stick with a large database and loaded all the international players from around the world. To make the challenge harder I've added the top divisions from the 5 best ranked nations in Europe which I hope will enable the top clubs in Europe to maintain better squads. I've also decided to load up all the leagues from the UK & Ireland which should be helpful in finding talent to bring in while also making the transfer market more lively. I've reused the club and competition badges which are provided in the megapack from fmscout.com. I've decided against placing any restrictions such as a youth only policy or using a Director of Football to make all my signings. Manager Attributes I made my manager attributes as poor as possible with an emphasis once again placed on the determination attribute as I'd like to be able to more easily convince my board when it comes time to start asking for requests. I've also started unemployed and any job I get will have to be an open vacancy which I'll have to interview for. There are two jobs available at the start of the game in N. Ireland and they are with Lisburn Distillery who are in the 3rd division and Knockbreda who are in the 2nd division. I decided to only apply for the Knockbreda role. Getting the job was a piece of cake as they only have a 0.5* reputation. History In stark contrast to their more illustrious Belfast neighbours they start the game with practically a clean slate when it comes to domestic success in N. Ireland. They have never participated in the DBP and thus have no European pedigree at all. Since foundation in 1948 they have spent the majority of their existence in the church leagues before joining the amateur leagues in 1989. After 2 decades of being a yo-yo club in the amateur leagues they landed the opportunity to join the revamped 3rd division in 2009. They managed to gain promotion out of the 3rd divsion in the 2012/13 season after finishing as champions. Since then they have managed to stabilize themselves in the NIFL Championship although recent seasons have seen them flirting with relegation. They haven't managed to make an impression on the larger cups in N. Ireland but have picked up a few lower league cups along the way with their proudest accomplishment being the lifting of the Intermediate Cup in 2009. Trophies Won Nothing much there so hopefully I can be the catalyst which sparks the team to new heights and begins to fill an empty looking trophy cabinet. Club Nice to see a couple of rivals in there with Dundela and H&W Welders although I'm hoping that in time we will see some of the bigger Belfast clubs become competitive rivals for the club. The club has no legends, icons or favoured personnel so I'm hoping that I can become one of those quickly by leading them to promotion to the DBP which will be better than any manager has done in their history. Being based in Belfast is a huge benefit and means that I can tap into the biggest potential fan base in the country which combined with success on the pitch should enable me to build the club quicker. Facilities The aspect which swung the decision for me in terms of applying for Knockbreda over Distillery was the potential expansion capacity of the ground. At 12,000 it is the 2nd largest in the country behind Linfield who have a potential expansion capacity of 28,000. I'm hoping that will mean that when/if it comes time for us to leave Breda Park that we can then build a huge new ground. As our training facilities are so terrible I'm hoping that I will be able to share the facilities at Queen's University's campus. First Team Squad There are some good players in there and I especially like the fairly professional personality of the squad. The standout player is Glentoran loanee Fearon ST who has a very good first touch and finishing for the level and is considered good for the DBP so I'll be looking to him to be our main source of goals this season. His strike partner Pomeroy is considered decent for the Championship although he doesn't exactly fit the profile of a Deep Lying Forward which means he will probably be a rotation option for Fearon rather than partnering him as I'd like to play a 4-4-2. Cafolla ML and Hamill DR look to be good prospects who are Championship standard so I'll be hoping to develop them with first team football and make them one of the best players in the division. The one thing which is screaming out to me after analyzing the squad is the lack of depth. I think I will need to go into the transfer market and perhaps bring in some loan players from the DBP if I'm to transform this club from relegation battlers into promotion contenders. At least I have a bit of room on the wage budget which should help with than endeavour and I'm also happy that I can offer part-time contracts as that gives me more control and less need to worry about losing players mid season. Reserve Squad There is the depth but I can't see how any of these players are going to help us achieve our lofty targets. Not one of them is good enough to play in the Championship but I suppose I could grant one or two of the more talented youngsters some time in the cup competitions. Finances The clubs finances are actually in rather good shape which is always helpful. They have some money in the bank, hold no debt and there is a bit of room on the wage budget, can't ask for more than that at this stage. Starting Conditions The DBP is the 117th most reputable league in the game and owing to some awful performances in Europe by N. Irish teams in recent times lies 53rd/55th in the club coefficient rankings only above the likes of Andorra and San Marino. Unfortunately, that means for the coming season that the nation will only have 3 European berths to fight for. 1 for the Preliminary Round of the Champions League to go to the DBP winner and 2 in the Preliminary Round of the Europa League to go to the Irish Cup winner and the runner up in the DBP (3rd if the Irish Cup winner is the DBP winner or runner-up). This season however we have 4 teams competing in Europe with Linfield in the 1st Qualifying Round of the Champions League, Crusaders in the 1st Qualifying Round of the Europa League and Ballymena United and Cliftonville competing in the Preliminary Round of the Europa League. Judging by the results so far with both Ballymena United and Cliftonville easing through to the 1st Round of the Europa League, the nation should hopefully gain enough coefficients this season to restore the nation back up to 4 spots for the season after next. Career Objectives The ultimate aim is to turn Knockbreda into a formidable force in European football then move on to the next club and try to do the same. How long that will take is anyone guess and is not on the agenda of the board whose 5 year plan sees us stagnating in the Championship for 5 years, if that were to happen I would be devastated as I wouldn't have improved the club at all. My personal 5 year plan looks something like this. Scenario 1 Year 1 - Get into the top half of the Championship Year 2 - Finish at least 3rd and clinch a spot in the playoffs. If we get promoted proceed to Scenario 2, if not continue with Scenario 1. Year 3 - Get promoted to the DBP either through the playoff or as Champions Year 4 - Avoid relegation from the DBP Year 5 - Aim for a mid-table finish and try to go deep into the cup competitions Scenario 2 Year 3 - Avoid relegation from the DBP Year 4 - Aim for a mid-table finish and try to go deep into the cup competitions Year 5 - Qualify for Europe either through winning the Irish Cup, position in DBP or through DBP Europa Conference League playoff HERE WE GO!!!
I flirted with the idea of starting a career in India with the Indian Arrows which I thought might have made for an interesting build a nation type save but owing to issues with league reputations in Asia I've decided to have another try in N. Ireland. I was also encouraged to start in N. Ireland due to the massive developments which have happened over the last year which I feel will really help in building the standard of football in the nation. Having a tycoon owned Larne & newly professional Crusaders will prove very helpful and hopefully, before too long, we might start to see a domino effect of clubs improving and turning professional which should make my task of building the nation easier. Game Setup I've gone with a large database with all international players having been added. I decided to load up all the leagues from the UK & Ireland in addition to having the top divisions from the best 5 nations in Europe which I hope will provide a good challenge. I had to use the editor to make some slight alterations to the database in order to have a working reserve and youth league system with generic formats being added. Outside of that I also added club and competition badges which are provided in the megapack from fmscout.com. Manager Attributes I made my avatar as poor as possible with an emphasis on the determination attribute which I hope will make the board more forthcoming when it comes to granting requests. Due to ticking the 'Prevent control of teams with managers in place' box I'll be starting unemployed and will have to wait until a vacancy opens. So what club decided to give me my start in management? I have to admit to being a bit surprised by this in that I didn't really have to do much to get the job. I applied purely speculatively but they don't appear to be a very ambitious board by allowing a complete rookie to take the reigns. Provided I can get the club into the top half they'll be happy and all I needed to do was to agree to the philosophy to sign young players which is pretty much my playstyle anyway. As they have gone out on a limb by hiring me I will be doing everything I can to repay that faith. History A team with an illustrious history filled with massive success with the club having won an impressive 137 domestic trophies since their foundation in 1882. Recent times have however been comparatively barren with their last competition win being in 2015 with the Irish Cup and their last top-flight win coming in 2009. They are the 2nd most decorated team in N. Irish football behind their deadly rivals Linfield. They hold the highest attendance for any club to have played in N. Ireland with a massive 42,000 spectators watching their clash with Rangers back in 1966. Their record in European competitions hasn't been very good with them never having made a group stage in their history but they do have a famous quarter final appearance in the Cup Winners Cup in 1974 which ended in defeat against Borussia Monchengladbach. They have on occasion managed to give some comparative European giants a bloody nose such as the 1-1 draw in 1966 with Rangers in the Cup Winners Cup with the next season bringing 2 draws with Benfica in the European Cup which is quite impressive given that Benfica went all the way to the final that year. They have even managed a 1-0 victory in the first leg against Arsenal in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1969 which was especially impressive given that the Gunners eventually went on to win the competition. Modern times have however been less glorious with quick eliminations often as a result of heavy aggregate defeats. The financial situation has also become increasingly problematic in recent times which has led to crumbling infrastructure and a lack of investment. They have the potential to be a great club but really need money to turn around their fortunes and start to rebuild the club. Trophies Won Club There are some encouraging aspects to the club. The number of rivals should help boost attendances should I be able to bring a level of success to the club. The reputation of the club is among the best in the country which is also a nice boost as it should make finding players that would be willing to play for us easier. I am a bit unsure about the personality of the squad as loyalty isn't something that is critical at this point as I seek to turn the club into a selling one. Facilities Long gone are the days in which the club could fill the stadium with over 40,000 people. The lack of investment is clear to see here with a lot of work needed to bring the facilities even up to a standard which would be good for the DBP. Hopefully, I can take a page out of @smp20's book and try to get an affiliation with Queen's University to share their great training facilities as that would be a neat little solution to this problem. There are some positives though as the stadium potential expansion capacity is 10,000 so at least we should get a nice big new stadium if we can bring a bit of success to the club in Europe. In addition, being located in Belfast should prove very helpful in building the fan base. Squad Positives - We have some quality players for the DBP with Curtis Allen ST considered a star player for the level. He is also considered by the coaches to be consistent and a big game player which is excellent especially for a striker. There are also a number of high potential young players who I'm hoping to develop. Negatives - A lack of defenders is troubling given that I want to play 4 at the back. There is also no players in either the Reserves or U18s which look anywhere near being ready for 1st team football. Our main GK Elliott is getting on a bit which is not a big problem except for the fact that my coaches think is declining as a footballer which means he'll need to be replaced sooner rather than later. Finances Two very bad things here. We are over our wage budget which means that we are going to need to sell before we can buy. The club is also quite poor which means no ability to invest and even less likelihood of the board deciding to increase budgets. At least the true extent of Glentoran's financial situation isn't there as they hold no debt in game. Starting Conditions We still have a good chance of making the top 6 if we can get the ball rolling quickly which should be possible as my first game in charge is away at Newry City. It gets a lot more tricky after that however with an away trip to Windsor Park to face Linfield followed by a home game against Crusaders. A baptism of fire for sure but if we can get through those games with a positive set of results I will be feeling more optimistic about meeting the target of a top 6 finish. Career Objectives The ultimate aim of my time at the club will be to become dominant domestically, win the Champions League and build a sustainable wealthy club to act as an engine for other teams in N. Ireland. This will be a save where I could be moving clubs as I did in FM18 as I seek to build the league into a top European competition. It could be a long journey, let us begin.
Introduction Once again I've decided to take the plunge and have opted to start a career in N. Ireland. This will be a true Gundo's challenge with only the N. Irish league structure active to start. As a result, my manager profile has minimum experience and coaching badges. I will attempt to win the Champions League this time with the team Dollingstown F.C. The club is located on a ground which is surrounded by farmland, Dollingstown hasn't had much of a history to speak of having only been established in 1979. During that period of time, they have however managed to win the 4th tier in N. Ireland on 4 separate occasions and have appeared in the N. Irish 3rd division. By winning the NIFL Playoff against Brantwood in 2013/14 they took their place in the NIFL Championship 2 for season 2014/15 where they finished in a creditable mid-table position of 7th. The following season they suffered relegation being a victim of the restructuring which saw 5 teams out of the 14 relegated succumbing to their fate only on goal difference behind Newington. They have some cup success of note having won the non-league Marshall Cup on 4 occasions and last season won the Bob Radcliffe Cup. The club has never been higher than the 3rd tier in N. Irish football and hasn't made much of an impact on the far more significant Irish or League Cups. Club A small club but interestingly not seen as the favourite to be relegated. I'm liking the personality of the squad as that is a good start. The club has no rivals or even favoured personnel to speak of which means that I'll have a blank slate to work with. Given the location of the club, I'd say that we should in time develop a rivalry with the Mid-Ulster clubs but we'll have to see how that goes Facilities What drew me to this club in particular (aside from the unusual nickname) was that the potential expansion capacity of the stadium is 10,000 which is the joint 3rd highest in the whole of N. Ireland which I'm hoping will mean that when/if it comes time for a new stadium I'll be able to get a reasonable size unlike last season with Chimney Corner where I was stuck in an 11,000 capacity stadium for over 25 years after winning the Champions League countless times. All the other facilities are as you would expect for a team of their stature but having a youth system is a nice boost which I'll hope to take advantage of. Squad This was actually a rather pleasant surprise in that I already have at least 2 players which are capable of playing at this new level to start with, my striker McGoldrick and left back McConnell are considered good for this level which is a nice boost. I will need a lot more than that to have a chance of fighting at the upper end of the league but at least I have some decent standard bearers which should make my search for new players a little easier. Finances I'm going to try my absolute hardest not to wreck these and build a more financially stable model this time around. I've been given a decent wage budget and I will be attempting to use it smartly. Game setup I've loaded the N. Irish league system only but I have gone with a large database and added all current international players from around the world to give a reasonable database size but one which should be quick to run. Starting Conditions Ballymena United were DBP champions of season 2017/18 beating the former defending champions Linfield and Coleraine by a single point. Crusaders, Linfield and Glentoran all qualified for the Europa League with Carrick Rangers being the only team to be relegated from the top flight. The top flight next season will be joined by Portadown who romped to the Championship title with Ballyclare joining us in the 3rd tier after relegation. Starting League Reputations NIFL Premier Intermediate League - 301st NIFL Championship - 273rd Danske Bank Premiership - 103rd The DBP reputation rose slightly at the end of the season. No club is anywhere near becoming professional they've all been pretty poor in Europe so were unable to expand their advantage I'd like to thank www.logo-world.net for their club and competition badges which I've re-used for FM18