j88_ftm

Rise Up, Rise Up; From The Bottom All The Way To The Top - My First FMCU Journeyman Career

82 posts in this topic

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One of the slightly less realistic aspects of FM which I've never been sure about - spend your way into a bit of debt (we've been making a loss of about 9k a month the last few months) and the board just bail you out by producing some money from thin air. Obviously in the context of this game it does help a bit though; I'd hate to have to sell one of my key players just to balance the books.

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JamesSmithNews_Inbox-2-1.png

One of the slightly less realistic aspects of FM which I've never been sure about - spend your way into a bit of debt (we've been making a loss of about 9k a month the last few months) and the board just bail you out by producing some money from thin air. Obviously in the context of this game it does help a bit though; I'd hate to have to sell one of my key players just to balance the books.

Maybe you're being bankrolled by the Lehmann Brothers? ;)

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Maybe you're being bankrolled by the Lehmann Brothers? ;)

Haha ;)

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The injuries are stacking up a bit now, and mostly to players I'd rather not do without. Just when it looked like Sjoberg was getting over his self-confidence crisis, he's gone and crocked his ankle. First choice keeper Ludwig Welanderhas been on the long-term absentee list for a while now, although stand-in Victor Kristofferson has done an excellent job in his absence, to the extent that I'm considering keeping him in the side even when Welander is fit to play again. As I was bemoaning before, we lost Eidem for a month, and now just as he's fit and ready to start being reintroduced to the side, we go and lose Almeida, who has been consistently one of our top performers so far this season. Very frustrating.

A few more matches to update on too, will post them shortly.

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JamesSmithNews_Inbox-5-1.png

Great. So now both of my senior keepers are out injured. Some young lad is going to be getting thrown in at the deep end, and I don't like the idea of that one bit.

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Anyway, here are a few games:

UmedalenvCarlstadUnitedInformation_Overview.png

This one was probably more comfortable than it looked - a highly contentious penalty and a superb Morgan Wilson header had us 2-0 up and cruising. Their consolation goal only served to flatter them and we should have probably had 3 or 4.

BragevUmedalenInformation_Overview.png

This is how I expected most of our games to go this season, if I'm honest. Clear underdogs, never totally outclassed but equally never looked like getting anything from the match.

NykpingvUmedalenInformation_Overview.png

Great performance, this one. Nykoping are bottom of the league and thus obviously a side you'd expect to beat, but I'm still delighted with turning up at their place and managing to dictate the play for a full 90 minutes. In contrast to the previous match, we never looked like not winning.

UmedalenvSyrianskaKerburanInformation_Overview.png

Given the early sending off for the opposition, this ended up being a much tougher battle than you might expect. They opted to drop everyone back into their own 18 yard box after the sending off, so I responded by adjusting my tactics to play a patient posession game to wait for them to tire. This paid off with the closing stages of the game seeing a flurry of chances for us, culminating in a long overdue first goal of the season for Jorgen Johannson.

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Good 3 wins out of 4.

Thanks, I was really pleased with them.

Update: it's sadly been the reverse of the above over the last few games. I'm putting it down to the injuries we've had - we've still been playing well, but just not putting the chances away, and much more leaky defensively. Bad combo.

UmedalensIFUmedalen_Fixtures-6.png

That run has put paid to any lingering hopes of a playoff spot (we were a win away from 2nd place after that good run of wins) but on the bright side we are mathematically safe from relegation - 11 points clear with 3 games to play. So in that sense we have achieved our goal for the season. I'll be looking for some improvement in the last games to secure a top-half finish as that is still a very realistic possibility.

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Incidentally, I would like to throw things open for opinion from anyone who's read this thread. Obviously things have been going well at Umedalen - we've seen an improvement every season so far, and I am undoubtedly attached to this team and the players I've brought in.

However, I'm beginning to wonder how much further we can go. Financially things are tight as it stands, and a good few seasons of consolidation and improvement will be in order if we're going to for another promotion. So here's my question: Should I stay with Umedalen for another season or two and see what I can do, or should I look for a new challenge somewhere else?

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So, season 2013 is in the books. Obviously nothing massively exciting was going to happen, given our mid-table position throughout the closing stages, but the finish was pretty satisfactory.

SwedishFirstDivisionNorthInformation_Stages.png

Here are the last few games:

UmedalensIFUmedalen_Fixtures-7.png

The first one of these three, against Vasteras, was a tiny bit ridiculous.

VstersSKvUmedalenInformation_Overview.png

We were utterly, hopelessly abysmal in the first half. Couldn't hold onto the ball if our lives depended on it, and our defence may as well have been a set of stationary mannequins for all the use they were. I usually hesitate to use the 'angry' teamtalk option, especially when away to an obviously stronger side, but it had to be done here. I also made a load of tactical changes and a substitution. Well, the contrast was incredible. We spent the second 45 absolutely battering them, and I'm not exaggerating to say that we created enough good chances to have come back and won. As it happened we were horribly wasteful or unlucky in front of goal and didn't even manage a consolation.

Still, this second half performance seemed to galvanise us for the two remaining games. First up was the local derby away to Umea. Those who've been listening will remember our win earlier in the season; well, I wasn't optimistic of a repeat performance this time around. On paper they are a better side than us, and when we beat them at home we were on a great run. As distinct from now, after a 6-game winless run. Well, as I said, obviously that second half against Vasteras had had some kind of positive effect, as we proceeded to completely dominate proceedings.

UmeFCvUmedalenInformation_Overview.png

Two great finishes from Jorgen Johannson to secure the win, and a great defensive performance to deny the opposition even one shot on target. Great stuff.

Season     League (tier)                    Other competitions                       Notes
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Umedalens (Sweden)
2010       Second Division (North) - 4th    Swedish Cup - Preliminary round.         Debut season - Joined in June.
2011       Second Division (North) - 3rd    Swedish Cup - Preliminary round.
2012       Second Division (North) - 1st    Swedish Cup - Preliminary round.         Promoted as champions.
2013       First Division (North) - 6th     Swedish Cup - Preliminary round.         First ever season in D1N.

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Finally, to the last day of the season. In front of our biggest-ever crowd (a whopping 1,276) we entertained Forward, one of the league's form sides, and still in with a chance of securing second place and a playoff spot. Well, we definitely gave the fans something to remember...

UmedalenvForwardInformation_Overview.png

Exciting end-to-end action from start to finish as both teams went for the win; our best goal of the season courtesy of the left boot of Mo Eidem, and a heart-in-mouth goalmouth scramble leading to Per Johannson - himself long overdue a goal - for the winner. A great way to round off the season, and this result moved us up to the dizzy heights of 6th after Brage, one point above us, lost their game.

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My considerations over whether to stay a little longer or cast my net elsewhere have taken a big knock toward leaving, after this little nugget of news from the board.

JamesSmithNews_Inbox-7.png

This effectively means that going forward I'll only be able to offer part-time contracts to players. For the level we're at this is frankly unacceptable - we're a competitive side as it stands but I need to keep bringing in players who will improve the side. I have lofty ambitions, as I stated right at the very start of this thread, and they won't be achieved by trying to maintain stability with limited resources.

This has led to a bit of a run-in with the board. I decided to apply for the vacant Aston Villa job (currently a Championship side) and the board found out. Needless to say they were less than impressed, and presented me with this:

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I issued a grovelling apology, which has been accepted, although I fear I need to make a decision now on what action to take. If I keep on applying for jobs I will eventually be sacked, no doubt about that, plus if I resign now the club (who I still want to leave in the best position possible if I can) will have a chance of a full pre-season with a new manager. If I do decide to stay it will have to be all in; no casting glances elsewhere for the benefit of the team's stability. Hmm.

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JamesSmithNews_Inbox-4-2.png

Well, it's with a heavy heart that I've made this call, but overall I feel it's the best move. At the end of the season just gone I was worried that I would struggle to take the club any further with the squad and wages as they are, and the drop to semi-pro status was only ever going to make that harder. As I said above, I reckon it's better for me to leave of my own accord now so that the club can bring in a new manager in time for pre-season, rather than potentially jumping or being pushed mid-season. I have grown very fond of Umedalen, though, and will keep an eye out for their results in future.

Back to the job centre queue for me then...

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So I've managed to land myself a new job. A few opportunities at clubs in the lower leagues of Spain and Italy came up, which I applied for but was overlooked for (which disappointed me, as one of my aims for this save is to spend some time in those countries). Thus it was that I found myself taking the short flight across the North Sea back to Blighty, and pulling up in sunny Gloucestershire...

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Forest Green Rovers

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRcB9gmB6b8xHpX724P3y3lEjU03GEy9ogNlXC0UcWhqxguKTOR2w

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRhJnZumwtKb_e3HT9-XEynTekhLcwhOAh0rZLbUylisn6MvAtQdg

Established 1890

Stadium The New Lawn

Stadium Capacity 5147 (2000 seats)

Here we go, a nice little opportunity in the Blue Square South for me to build my reputation a little more. This may seem a slightly backward step, given that I have gone from a 3rd tier team to a 6th tier team, but in spite of this the general standard of players in the BSS appears much higher than the Swedish First Division North.

Forest Green have hopelessly underperformed this season, hence the sacking of the previous occupant of the manager's office. After being predicted to take a 6th place finish this season, they find themselves languishing in 20th with 11 games left of the season.

BlueSquareBetSouthInformation_LeagueTable.png

This will obviously not do for a club like this. Looking at the squad I definitely think we can look at pushing up the table, especially when you consider how close things are around the margins of the relegation zone. It's obviously too late for any kind of playoff challenge, but if I can consolidate and improve things during the 11 games I have, we can look at strengthening in the summer. During my time at Umedalen I managed to hone a couple of effective 'lower-league' counter-attacking tactics, so I will be aiming to make one of these work here. It feels good to be back in the English league; wish me luck!

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Pity it had to end like that, good luck saving Forest Green.

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Thanks guys.

I'm very sorry to say that the whole Great Escape attempt ended up being a total disaster. I hadn't realised quite how horribly badly the team were underperforming - if I'd known I would never have taken the job on. My tactical alterations, along with a few free transfer signings, got the team playing good football again and creating chances, but the goals and therefore the results just wouldn't come. Here are the 11 games I had to turn things around:

ForestGreenRoversForestGreen_Fixtures.png

Really not pretty viewing at all. No team or manager has any right to be pleased in any way with a run like that. I felt the tipping point came in the 2-2 draw at Farnbrough - they were 2nd in the league at the time (and indeed would go on to finish there) but we were finally getting some confidence together after the win over Hampton & Richmond. To my surprise, we completely dominated the home side, and after conceding an unlucky early goal we came back to lead 2-1. In classic confidence-sapping style, though, they snuck a messy equaliser in the 5th minute of injury time. This had the regrettable effect of completely deflating what little morale had built up, and we would go on to lose every game for the rest of the season.

Needless to say, we were relegated. The death blow came at home to Dartford - by this stage we could afford to only drop two more points to have even a minute chance of survival. It looked like some comic-book fairytale could be on the cards when one of my new signings scored twice in the opening ten minutes. I was eager for us to press on and secure what would have been a vital win, but instead we imploded in dramatic fashion, eventually losing 4-2.

Here's how the table ended up:

BlueSquareBetSouthInformation_Stages.png

Grim.

It seems have an interesting decision to make now. I decided I would leave if we went down, so I'll be resigning shortly, but it has occurred to me that as the BSS is the lowest league I have loaded, what will the game do if I do stay on (since there is no simulated league for us to play in next season)? The board have already said that they are satisfied with my performance and won't judge me on this season (presumably due to the mess I inherited) so I'm quite tempted to keep a second save game and stay on just to see what will happen. My best guess is either an empty season of nothing but friendlies and cup games, or a crash. Anyone else want to hazard a guess or help me out?

Season     League (tier)                    Other competitions                       Notes
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Umedalens (Sweden)
2010       Second Division (North) - 4th    Swedish Cup - Preliminary round.         Debut season - Joined in June.
2011       Second Division (North) - 3rd    Swedish Cup - Preliminary round.
2012       Second Division (North) - 1st    Swedish Cup - Preliminary round.         Promoted as champions.
2013       First Division (North) - 6th     Swedish Cup - Preliminary round.         First ever season in D1N.
Forest Green Rovers (England)
2013-14    Blue Square South - 21st         n/a                                      Took over with 11 games to play. Relegated.

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I've had that before, way back on FM05 you get sacked on the reset date, might as well resign now.

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I've had that before, way back on FM05 you get sacked on the reset date, might as well resign now.

Fair enough. Makes sense I guess. I've decided that going forward I don't want to take over at any clubs that are already in a bad way as clearly I'm not the sort of manager who's suited to turning these things around. If I can find either a mid-table club that is in need of fresh impetus (as was the case with Umedalen) or a club that's doing well and has lost an ambitious manager to a bigger club, that'll be the one for me. One relegation on my CV is already one too many. Indeed I don't think I've suffered more than a couple of relegations in my entire FM/CM life (dating back to CM97-98). Sad times.

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Well, this is getting horribly frustrating. I left the Forest Green job as soon as the season ended, with the hope of finding something new as soon as I could. My ideal scenario would be to take over a club in May/June so that I have the benefit of a full pre-season to assess the squad and make signings.

Unfortunately it hasn't panned out anywhere near like that. It's now near the end of October and I still haven't found anything. Loads of jobs have come up, and I've tried to be as un-fussy as possible about what I've applied for, but none of them have been interested. It seems that 11 bad games and a relegation with Forest Green has done more to hurt my reputation than 3 1/2 mostly successful seasons with Umedalen did to enhance it. To make things even worse, Umedalen were relegated as well; bottom of the division with an abysmal 9 points. Overall everything has gone very wrong! I guess I just have to remain patient and hope something comes up, but I'm concerned that it might end up being another club that's staring down the relegation barrel that makes the offer, in which case I'd worry that I would again prove powerless to turn things around, and end up with another relegation to my name.

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Yes, it can take some time to get anything after such a blow.

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Thanks for the reassurance. I guess I just need to stay patient for now and wait for something suitable to come up...

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Right, so here's my plan: I've gone on holiday and set to apply for all available jobs, and return automatically when an offer is made. So I can just leave it ticking over until something comes up, and play around on Facebook/Twitter/football news sites and listen to music in the meantime. That will be much less frustrating :)

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Good idea, long waits for job offers are the only times I holiday.

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I won't lie, I'm getting very discouraged. How long should I wait before giving up? I rarely ever question the balance of FM because it's more often than not spot on, but I think it's getting a bit daft in this instance. I've had three and a half good to great seasons with a Swedish lower league side, followed by eleven poor games with an English lower league side who were already in dreadful trouble, and the latter seems to have given me some kind of horrendous managerial stigma. I've left the game simulating for ages now - we're up to August 2015 now - 15 months since I left Forest Green - and despite having applied for pretty much every job going I've had nothing. Is it worth me sticking at it? I hate to be a moaner but I refuse to believe that 11 games in charge of a team already in a bad state should render any manager unemployable.

As it happens I have recently been given a copy of FM12, which makes it even more tempting to jack this in and start a new career and a new thread. Thoughts?

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JamesSmithNews_Inbox-8.png

Finally!

This, I feel, is a bit of a last chance saloon, especially now that FM12 is hovering expectantly. Soderhamn are bottom of the Swedish Second Division North Svealand, which is essentially parallel to the league I started off in with Umedalen. I have no less than five games to turn things around, which doesn't sound great, although we only need 2 points to rise up to the relegation playoff spot, and 5 points to be completely clear of trouble. So it isn't totally impossible; we'll see how it goes. If I can't turn this one around, I think a new start and a new career on F12 may be in order...

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Good luck with the new challenge fella. Hopefully you can turn it around.

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Congrats on the new job. Hope you're able to turn your career around! :)

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Nope. I'm having the exact same issues I had at Forest Green. I've played around with the tactics to get the team playing solid, cohesive, good football, but the exact same issue of being unable to score has cropped up. 3 games, 3 performances good enough to have won, 0 goals, 1 draw and 2 losses.

With this in mind I've decided to retire this particular manager. Looking back, I don't regret leaving Umedalen as I feel I would have struggled to take them further, but taking the Forest Green job was definitely the wrong choice, with hindsight. I know the one thing I'm hopeless at on FM is thrashing some results out of a struggling side in a short period of time, as the last few updates have proven beyond doubt. I do best when I have time to settle in and get to know the squad inside out. Unfortunately I can see myself getting stuck in a downward spiral where the only job offers I can get are similar situations of having a few games to turn things around. This is not how I want to play FM.

I'm not knocking this save on the head, though; as I have built up nearly 5 years worth of history on this game, I'd prefer to stick with it rather than start a new save. FM12 won't work, annoyingly, which has definitely contributed to this. So I'm going to set myself a new challenge.

I'm creating a new manager, albeit with international experience rather than an unknown. This is so that I can have a wider selection of jobs available rather than having to feed off scraps. My goal, using the same set of leagues, is to see some more of the world of football and try to bring success to a number of my favourite clubs. Apart from my real life team (Sunderland), I am aiming for spells at Deportivo (Spain), Inter (Italy), Colorado Rapids (USA) and Bastia (France). Obviously any other sightseeing along the way will be taken in too! I realise that many FMCU purists may see this as poor form, which is why I won't be continuing to post updates of this resurrected career. Unless anyone would care to hear about them, of course.

Thanks for reading, anyway, guys; it's been fun.

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