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2028/29 - Man Utd Season & Squad Review

Premier League: 3rd
FA Cup: Quarter-Final
League Cup: 3rd Round
Champions League: Quarter-Final
European Super Cup: Runner-Up
Club World Cup: Winners
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Reserves and Under-18s

The reserves won their first title in 9 years, in a group containing Liverpool, who had won 4 of the last 5, and Newcastle.

As well as being top scorers, they were the only side to concede less than 29 goals in 18 games - only 16. Also the least amount of cards.

Not bad for a team that I accidentally forgot to set a manager for...

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Darren Fletcher's Under-18s won their 12th title in a row.
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Confidence

The board are delighted with our stronger-than-expected league position. Also with our finances, which continue to grow now the club are back in the Champions League.

The fans are too. They expected a title challenge. We weren't quite there, but close.

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Records and Rankings

We broke the Premier League record for average attendance with 77,694, while our overall average of 76,179 was a club record. Those will be smashed next year after a full season with our newly expanded 92,212-seater stadium.

With our new capacity, we naturally broke our record for highest gate receipts for one match: the Champions League quarter-final against Newcastle United earned £4.4m.

Old Trafford will also break England's record attendance, due to hosting some Confederations Cup games in the summer.

We drop 8 places to 15th in the European coefficients, but that will rise after the club's 3 seasons of getting knocked out of the Europa League First Knockout Round expire. Newcastle and AC Milan remain the Big 2.

We rise from 10th to 6th in the Rich List and are now just behind Newcastle.

1 - AC Milan - £447m
2 - Bayern Munich - £424m
3 - Real Madrid - £399m
4 - Barcelona - £347m
5 - Newcastle United - £339m
6 - Manchester United - £322m

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Awards

Júnior wins Man Utd Fans' Player of the Year and shares the Golden Boot with 2 other players thanks to 15 goals, though he got it in the least amount of games: 27(5). It's the lowest amount ever scored for a Premier League Golden Boot.

English centre-back Burley, had the highest average Premier League rating by far with 7.50, 0.17 more than the rest.

They are Signing of the Season and runner-up for SotS respectively (both were free transfers), and came 2nd and 3rd for Players' Player of the Year respectively. They make the Team of the Year, while goalkeeper Bondarev is on the 'bench'.

I come 2nd for Manager of the Year.

For the 2nd season in a row, English winger Casey makes the Champions League Dream Team.

Free kick and long shot specialist Muller is runner-up for European Midfielder of the Year.

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Tactics

Tactics died a horrible, spectacular death this season as teams cowered in the now 92,000-strong Old Trafford. It was ridiculous. At our place, some teams just stuck 11 men in their box and waited. Infuriatingly, it worked, they would somehow score too!

We were already playing a 4-1-3-3 (more like a 2-3-5) to combat the increasing defensiveness of teams, but now we didn't even need any players in our own half as there was no one to mark! While we were good at winning aerial balls, other clubs were now buying very strong defenders (18+ in Jumping and Stength), so shoving 11 men into their half and hitting balls in their swamped box wasn't working, so a change in approach is needed next season. I already had a policy of buying players who were good AND physically strong, but there's a lack of quality strikers who are dominant in the air in the world right now, and my past 3 strikers to have standout seasons have been average in the air. So I'm going to try the opposite extreme and keep the ball on the ground and get attackers to dribble through the 11-man mass.

Because of this 11 v 11 in one half, I realised pace is now the top requirement for home defenders. If an attacker is breaking, they still have to run 50 yards to get to our goal, so pacy defenders have the time and space to catch up to him and tackle him calmly.

Teams continued to try to bamboozle us with the 3-3-2-1-1 formation. I already found the solution by playing a crazy man-for-man 1-1-2-3-3 formation, but even now I have to push the wingers even further forward.

Despite these suicidal tactics, I still kept a couple of men back... but whenever I did this, or went back to a sensible formation after taking a lead, the opposition would quickly score. So next season it's back to the original plan: keep everyone forward and outscore them, even if it means they get a few free shots.

In more sensible matches, we showed we could take a lead or nick a goal and defend it, especially away from home. Now that we're counter-attacking away, we're even better.

We're also scoring late winners and equalisers a lot more.

As a result of all this, we were the 2nd-highest scorers in the league (more than Newcastle!), and joint-least draws with 9. We also scored the most penalties with 5. It didn't feel like it! Only other major concern is getting only 1 goal from a corner, when it was usually a source of several goals. Although we got the joint-most from indirect free-kicks with 11.

Given this attacking and counter-attacking style, the 4-4-2 diamond, the stoppage time comebacks, the habit of winning penalties, the Old Trafford fear factor returning, the shock Champions League trophy and even a rotated front 4, it looks like my goal of emulating 1999 is coming to fruition!

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Staff

Assistant manager Tony Humes retires after 9 years at Man United. He started in 2020 as youth coach before I promoted him to assistant 3 years ago.

Brad-Friedel-training.jpg

His replacement will be Brad Friedel, the American international goalkeeper who spent most of his career at Blackburn before becoming a scout.

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Squad

The squad was a Europa League side when I arrived, then became a Champions League (winning!) side, and quickly a top 3 side. It's time to take it to the next stage and try to match Newcastle United.

(Only senior and first team squad players included)

GK

28. Alexey Bondarev - 23 years old, Russia (1 cap), valued at £3.4m - Played 47, Conceded 41, Clean Sheets 18, Man of the Match 1, Average Rating 6.94
17. Hamada Abdel Aziz - 24, Egypt (17) / France, £3.1m - P 7, Conc 8, CS 3, AvR 6.57
1. Thomas Butler - 25, England (U21), £2.7m - P 0

Bondarev started the season due to Abdel Aziz's injury and never lost the spot. At first his average rating was around 7.14, but a few so-so performances helped move it down. But, at last, I finally have a solid keeper.

Abdel Aziz was subbed off TWICE this season, though he had 'earned' a new contract as a backup after winning the Club World Cup. He's capable of world class saves and clean sheets, but we can't have a goalkeeper that can lose entire games, so the Champions League-winning keeper is going. Well, if anyone will risk having him.

No one wanted Butler on loan and he was injured 5+ times, including whenever he was about to get picked for a cup / nothing game, so he only played in the reserves. He's unhappy and requested a transfer, but I still have hope he's a future England #1.

Mahmoudi broke into the Iran squad; he has been travelling his pathway well.

(Next season's roles)
First Team - Bondarev
Backup/Out - Butler
Out - Abdel Aziz

It's a shame. We had 2 young keepers when I arrived, both looked world class, and neither have stuck around and reached their potential.
 

DR

12. (Renato Santos de) Souza - DR/C - 30, Portugal (4 goals in 49 caps) / Brazil, £4.7m - P 23(4), Assists 2, MotM 2, AvR 6.93
23. Simphiwe Makhubo - DR/C - 27, South Africa (9), £2.8m - P 19(4), Assists 1, AvR 6.83
+ Aleksandrowicz, (Rodrigo de) Souza

Makhubo started well, but overall wasn't reliable. I'd hoped he'd be an option in the centre too but, when I moved him there during a match, he made several errors and he was shoved back to the right for everyone's safety!

First Team -  (Renato Santos de) Souza
Backup - Aleksandrowicz
Backup/Out - Makhubo

 

DL

7. Steve McIntosh - Captain - D/WB/M/AML - 31, Republic of Ireland (11 in 56), £4.1m - P 33(1), G 2 A 7, MotM 3, AvR 7.24
5. Aktas Vezir - D/WBL - 25, Turkey (1 in 3) / Germany, bought from Valencia (La Liga) for £10.5m (valued at £20m) - P 15(1), A 5, MotM 1, AvR 7.06
+  (Rodrigo de) Souza, Viveros

McIntosh completed his transition to left-back and the captain led by example. He moved up to left-wing when Vezir came in and started getting goals and assists until his injury.

Thanks to a half-price minimum fee release clause, Vezir is McIntosh's long-term replacement. He's also being trained as a left-winger. He has so many 20s (see previous entry).

First Team - McIntosh, Vezir, Souza
Rotation - Viveros


DC

21. Elliot Burley - 30, England (3), £4.7m - P 43, G 3, A 2, MotM 10, 7.47
14. Richard Friar - 24, England (U21), £6m - P 28(1), A 2 MotM 3, AvR 7.31
25. Frank Larsen - 24, Denmark (5), £4.3m - P 17(1), MotM, AvR 7.44
6. Volker Kirn - 27, Germany (11), £4.8m - P 15(1), AvR 7.25
2. Jorge Padilla - 26, Ecuador (12), £2.3m - P 5, AvR 6.80
26. Giorgos Andreadis - 21, Greece (7), £3.4m - P 7, Avr 6.57
+ Aleksandrowicz, Makhubo, Souza, Souza

At first glance, you'd think Burley, Larsen, Friar and Kirn were rocks. I'm not sure how they got such crazy average ratings. In reality, Burley and Larsen made a few costly errors with poor marking, while Kirn was unassuming. Friar made a couple of errors, but was our most reliable defender.

Padilla's a fine defender, but we have so much depth and he failed to achieve in a cut-throat season. He requested a transfer anyway.

Andreadis signed as a wonderkid but, despite what the scouts said, he's evidently nowhere near our level yet.

Rotation - Burley, Friar, Kirn, Larsen
Youth - Andreadis
Out - Padilla


M/AMR

8. Ivan Hristov - D/WB/MR, DM/MC - 28, Bulgaria (22), £8.25m - P 28(7), G 3, A 4, AvR 6.91
4. Bartosz Aleksandrowicz - Vice-Captain - D/MR, DC, DM/MC - 26, Poland (31), £5.25m - P 29(14), G 1, A 5, AvR 6.81
22. Roddy Pressley - WB/M/AMR - 32, Scotland (1 in 41) / England, £3.5m - P 9(5), AvR 6.79
15. (Rodrigo de) Souza - DRLC/DM/MRLC - 23, Germany (1) / Brazil, bought from Real Madrid (La Liga) for £15m (£21m) - P 11(1), G 3, A 1, AvR 6.92

Hristov didn't repeat his incredible form of last season and had a few injuries, Pressley showed he wasn't an alternative and Aleksandrowicz is simply a defensive midfielder.

So, after a failure to capture him in the summer, I was finally able to pay Souza's minimum-fee release clause in January. He scored both goals in a debut win but unfortunately, as with all the good players, he was regularly injured. Maybe I'll tweak everyone's training...

I sold Pressley to Leicester for £3.3m. He had earned a new contract by the end of last season with his sub appearances helping lift the Champions League, but this season he made 0 assists and scored none.

First Team - Hristov, Souza
Out - Pressley


M/AML

11. Andy Casey - 23, England (U21), £8.5m - P 26(10), G 1, A 5, MotM 2, AvR 7.03
3. Juan Pablo Viveros - WB/M/AML - 34, Chile (3 in 67), £350k - P 22(12), G 1, A 3, Avr 6.91
+ McIntosh, Souza

Casey just needs to get more assists (or goals), but he's still young.

Viveros actually played more games than last season, with no drop in average rating, earning a new 1-year contract.

Rotation - Casey, McIntosh, Souza, Viveros


DM/MC

16. Sebastian Muller - DM/MC - 26, Germany (2 in 13), £8.25m - P 43(2), G 9, A 9, MotM 3, AvR 7.07
+ Aleksandrowicz, Artime, Hristov, Souza, Tsotetsi

Evidently, Muller is the engine of the side, providing defensive cover and goals equally. He enjoys scoring free-kicks and long range 'worldies'. We experimented training him into an AMC as his long-range ability made him perfect for home games against parked buses, but it had no impact. He finds joy coming in deep from central midfield so there he will stay.

With 2 new right-wingers in 3 transfer windows, Aleksandrowicz can now stay away from right-midfield and try to establish himself as a DM, but Muller is stiff competition.

First Team - Muller
Rotation - Aleksandrowicz, Artime, Souza


AMC

13. Luis Roberto Artime - MC/AMC - 24, Spain (2), £5.25m - P 27(13), G 3, A 1, MotM 1 AvR 6.82
24. Reginald Tsotetsi - MC/AMC - 24, South Africa (2 in 15), £5.5m - P 26(9), G 5, A 3, AvR 6.86
+ Popovic

After 11 assists last season, Artime only got 1 this year, but a slightly higher average rating despite several sub appearances.

Tsotetsi's contributions as AMC, an often quiet position, continue to plod along with the odd big goal, but he's still highly regarded by those in the game. Hopefully he begins showing more.

While used more as a striker during his few appearances, Popovic's lack of aerial ability mean's he's best as an AMC running at defences. Whether he can finish more chances will decide whether he becomes a United legend.

Rotation - Artime, Tsotetsi, Popovic


ST

20. Júnior - 30, Brazil (2), £16m - P 35(9), G 21, A 7, MotM 6, AvR 7.20
18. Kenny Reilly - 27, Scotland (9 in 22), £16.5m - P 10(8), G 4, A 2, MotM 1, AvR 6.83
9. Neil Sibiya - 25, South Africa (24 in 25), £25.5m - P 23(14), G 6, A 1, MotM 1, AvR 6.78
10. Santos - 27, Brazil (6 in 27), sold for £20m to Inter Milan (Serie A) - P 5(4), G 0, A 1, AvR 6.33
19. Jan Krpec - 24, Czech Republic (1 in 7), £6.25m - P 25(9), G 5, A 5, MotM 1, AvR 6.74
43. Predrag Popovic - AMC/ST - 23, Serbia (1 in 1), £5.75m - P 7(4), G 4, A 1, MotM 1, AvR 7.09
10. Stefan Schneider - 29, Germany (10 in 28), loan from Bayern Munich (Bundesliga) (valued at £9.5m) - P 5(2), G 3, MotM 1, AvR 6.86

Every season seems to see a new striker arise. My first 2 seasons, Sibiya was our star striker. Then last season Reilly was the hero. This season, free transfer Júnior became my first player to win (well, share) the golden boot while others faltered.

After a heroic Champions League-winning season, Reilly was dogged by injuries and we barely saw him this season. Naturally, with Sibiya and Reilly both being star strikers, there was wonder on whether they could play together. Naturally, they probably can't. That's how football works!

After scoring on 10th January, Sibiya missed a penalty 4 days later and never scored again in his last 8(6) games (838 minutes).

Santos failed to score at all for club or country in the first half of the season. Needing money to buy Souza, it was time to cash in. He did score 36 goals in his other 81(31) games for United.

Normally the 'home' striker, Krpec appeared in more away games, but his only problem was a failure to convert his many chances, only getting 5 goals from 28 shots on target, from 61 shots overall.

8 goals in 13 in Belgium followed by an international debut winner against Brazil was enough for Popovic to earn a work permit and join the team. He then got 3 in 2 for the reserves, so he couldn't be ignored and made his debut in the Club World Cup. Of course, he scored the late equaliser on his Premier League debut and a hat-trick on his FA Cup debut. A breakout season or flash in the pan?

Schneider isn't a future transfer.

First Team - Junior, Reilly, Sibiya
Rotation - Krpec
Backup - Popovic
Out - Santos

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  • git2thachoppa changed the title to [FM 07] Back to 2006 | UPDATE: Man Utd 2028/29 Review - Fletcher's Fledglings, Friedel, Tactics Talk, Full Squad Analysis
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Congratulations! 

Regarding the opposition parking the bus-have you ever experienced a situation at home, when the AI starts a defensive 4-4-2 with no arrows and then in case of an injury (even at your team) the AI subs off one of its strikers and goes ultra defensive 5-4-1 even when the result is e.g. still 0-0 and the minute is 5th? :D

The high average ratings of your DC's is probably due to their percentage of aerial battles won. Countless of times these ratings deceived even me and I continued to play them- closing one eye even when they made costly mistakes. Yeah, in regen era, finding a top aerial targetman is very hard, as you said, and focusing to pace will be key . Maybe you can find some good pacey AMCs with good off the ball attributes and retrain them to ST? 

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5 hours ago, Ales said:

Congratulations! 

Regarding the opposition parking the bus-have you ever experienced a situation at home, when the AI starts a defensive 4-4-2 with no arrows and then in case of an injury (even at your team) the AI subs off one of its strikers and goes ultra defensive 5-4-1 even when the result is e.g. still 0-0 and the minute is 5th? :D

The high average ratings of your DC's is probably due to their percentage of aerial battles won. Countless of times these ratings deceived even me and I continued to play them- closing one eye even when they made costly mistakes. Yeah, in regen era, finding a top aerial targetman is very hard, as you said, and focusing to pace will be key . Maybe you can find some good pacey AMCs with good off the ball attributes and retrain them to ST? 

Yes, that 5-4-1 is the 3-3-2-1-1 I mentioned. They use it in other scenarios too, like if it's 0-0 after 45 minutes or if they take a lead. Bus parkers start with the flat 4-4-2, but so do teams who are actually playing football. It's starting to become less obvious at the start who's playing for 0-0.

I know the rating goes up if a defender makes lots of interceptions too. I'm not using defenders who make errors now that we have money. I don't have to get players who are free or good value. Instead I can pick and wait for the right guy within reasonable price. I'm taking the Liverpool / Van Dijk transfer approach rather than the (real life) Man Utd one.

The only other time I went far in FM 07 I did have strikers with high Jumping, though they cost world record fees to take from rivals. It seems silly to worry about that now though if Newcastle's 36-goal striker has Jumping in 14 and my top 3 strikers have 15/16. I didn't look at pace because it didn't seem much use against busses, but I did buy a striker with I think 20s in Finishing, Composure, Dribbling and Strength. Also a 19-year-old midfielder who doesn't have the Pace or Strength yet, but has high red numbers in nearly all technical attributes, plus all the good mental ones, so worth a go. Both Brazilian, naturally!

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2028/29 Club Football Review

Biggest Transfers

Marco Di Vito (DR/C/DM/MR/C, Italian, 26) - Roma to AC Milan - £33m
Róbson (ST, Brazilian/Italian, 21) - Man City to Arsenal - £28m
Gérard Sola (DR/L, Swiss, 27) - Arsenal to AC Milan - £21m
Guillermo Blanco (ST, Mexican, 28) - Bayern Munich to Juventus - £20m
Santos (ST, Brazilian, 27) - Man Utd to Inter Milan - £20m


Champions League

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Tony Adams' shock disloyalty, when he left Arsenal to join AC Milan after only 2 weeks in charge, was rewarded as they matched Real Madrid's 10 Champions League trophies, with a 2-0 win over Gareth Southgate's Bayern Munich in the final.


England

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Premier League & FA Cup

Marcelino García Toral retired after Newcastle United won their 2nd league & cup Double in a row. After arriving in September 2025 as the long-term successor to Sir Steve McClaren, he won back-to-back Champions Leagues, 3 FA Cups, and won the league in all of his full seasons. The gap had closed slightly due to a resurgent Arsenal and an improving Manchester United, however Newcastle have never been affected by manager changes before, so no bets are being made on a new champion any time soon.

At Arsenal, Simon Stewart (Adams' replacement) was sacked in his 2nd season with the team struggling for 4th and after an embarrassing Europa League exit to GAK, failing to even reach the group stage. But he was replaced with PSG's manager, whose first 19 games saw 3-0, 4-0, 5-0 and 6-0 wins and a run of 7 clean sheets in a row.

Former Bayern Munich, Man City and 2-time HSV manager Thomas Doll returned to management after 3 years away, taking charge of Premier League Norwich. They were 3rd by Christmas, but eventually finished 9th.

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Pep Guardiola's time at Manchester City lasted barely over a year, as he left at the end of the season to join Torino. In his only full season, City actually finished 2 places lower with 1 less point than last year.

Sheffield United lost their manager to Atlético in September, but replaced him well with Feyenoord's Yildiray Basturk, who got a debut 3-0 home win over Arsenal. Unfortunately, when their on-loan Man Utd striker was injured and recalled, they subsequently failed to score in 7 games then again failed to score in their final 6 games, causing them to be relegated for the 2nd time in 3 seasons.

Football League

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After 44 years away, Stoke City return to the Premier League after finishing 2nd in the Championship. Their manager joined a decade ago with the side battling relegation from League One.

Sunderland's dramatic fall and rise through the football league finally ended with a return to the Premier League as playoff winners. After the yo-yo club's last relegation from the top league in 2017, they dropped to League Two 5 years later. Phil Parkinson took charge with them midtable back in League One and got them promoted twice in 4 full seasons.

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Chris Wilder resigned after 20 years and 13 days in charge of Stevenage. In that time he had taken the promotion-chasing Conference side down to Conference South, before going back up and finally reaching the Football League for the first time in 2020. They've stayed in League Two ever since, but Wilder resigned in March with the club in the relegation zone. They was no 'new manager bounce' under Phil Robinson and they went down.


France

France.jpg

This season's surprise title challengers were Dijon, who were in the 3rd tier only 8 seasons ago. They were top in February when their manager left for a second-tier Mexican side. Kennet Andersson came in and, on the final day, they had to win and hope back-to-back champions PSG lost.

A 90th-minute winner saw PSG's unlikely loss come to fruition... but Dijon also choked and lost, so PSG became the first club to win 3 titles in a row since Lyon's 2002-2006 dominance.


Scotland

Scotland.jpg

It was a nostalgic season harking back to the 'Big 2' Glasgow-dominant era, as Atillo Lombardo's Rangers were top for most of the season, before Celtic rose and it was neck-and-neck on the final day. Rangers could only manage a draw, but Celtic failed to find a winner, so Rangers won their first SPL title in 7 years.


Northern Ireland

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Andrés Iniesta was sacked by Northern Irish side Banbridge Town only half a season after becoming a hero by winning the league title and being one lost final away from a domestic treble. This with a side that had only ever won 1 league title, never reached an Irish Cup final and only 1 League Cup final before.

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  • git2thachoppa changed the title to [FM 07] Back to 2006 | UPDATE: 28/29 Club Review - Pep leaves City, Adams v Southgate, Stoke do it, Sunderland's fall & rise , Wilder's 20 year-reign, Iniesta in N. Ireland

2028/29 International Football Review

England 2029 Confederations Cup

 

The Confederations Cup has grown into an important competitive tournament. Managers have been sacked or stepped down based on it, and the stakes were highest for hosts England's manager, whose 'ok' record was combined with a great home record of 10 wins and 2 draws, plus a a couple of 4-0 wins at Euro 2028 before choking. This was his final chance to prove he should lead England next year.

 

Unfortunately, he 'stepped down' by the end. A 0-0 draw with Algeria was followed by a draw with Argentina after going behind in 28 seconds. A routine win over Guatemala saved them, but Brazil easily beat them 2-0. A routine 3rd-place 1-0 win over World and European champions Scotland wasn't enough consolation. Of England's 4 goals, 2 came off the keeper and 2 were headered crosses. It wasn't a confident display.

With English managers spread out across top clubs in Europe, but international football becoming unpopular with top managers and now more a proving ground for the young and inexperienced ones, it'll be interesting to see who will replace him.

Thiago-Silva-of-Brazil-lift.jpg

So Brazil lifted the trophy after they beat surprise finalists Algeria 1-0 with a stoppage time winner from Willian (not that one).

South Korea sacked their manager despite beating New Zealand and drawing with the World champions. They only need a draw in Iraq to qualify for next year.

Argentina have qualified for next year, but will hope to improve on 3 draws against Guatemala, England and Algeria.


2028 OFC Nations Cup

New Caledonia were 6 minutes away from a shock underdog win, after taking a 1-0 lead away to Travis Medhurst's New Zealand in the 2nd leg of the final. But the Kiwis scored twice to lift their 4th trophy in a row.


2029 CONCACAF Gold Cup

For the first time ever, neither Mexico nor USA reached the semis, and all the semi-finalists were hoping for their first trophy.

In the end, Panama beat Anthony Streete's Trinidad & Tobago 1-0 to make history.

Guadeloupe made their debut and lost 2-0 away to USA but had an entertaining 3-2 loss to T&T.

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  • git2thachoppa changed the title to [FM 07] Back to 2006 | UPDATE: 28/29 Int'l Football - England 2029 Confederations Cup. Will it come home next year?
19 hours ago, Nobby_McDonald said:

England need a Gareth Southgate.

The Bayern Munich manager is one of the names beings mentioned along with the other top guys like Aidy Boothroyd, Tony Adams and of course Paul Trollope!

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Man Utd 2029/30 - Pre-Season

Budget and Transfers

For the first time since spending £100m in my first season 4 years ago, I get a considerable starting transfer budget: £26m.

To take us to the next step of being a challenger to the dominant Newcatle United, I'll have to get rid of players who are good, but just not top class game changers.
 

Outgoing

We're now making good money on sales due to youngsters I've bought coming of age. This season, other clubs flocked onto them, all wanting a piece. I've never seen so much rumour and interest, with several flitting in and out of official 'wonderkid' status. I must have a good eye for a player! I wonder what the team will look like in 4 years...

We made the same amount in player sales as last season, around £50m, including from our English goalkeeping prospect Butler. He looked like a future England #1 when I arrived, but never achieved that potential and makes mistakes. It's time to try and do it elsewhere in a World Cup year, and maybe he can make the England squad for England 2030.

He was set to move to Middlesbrough for around £5m, but it was cancelled due to Boro's lack of funds. This sparked a bidding war from several Premier League clubs plus Celtic and Rangers and, on deadline day, he moved to Norwich City for £20m! That's probably a Premier League record for a goalkeeper (can't be arsed to check in-game).

There's also a rare move: one of our reserve defenders goes on loan to Liverpool.


New Players

The problem is overcoming Newcastle's incredible strength and technical ability. We also need to figure out how to stop teams stealing points at Old Trafford, now that they're putting 11 men in their box.

I need a top striker that's strong, especially in the air with accurate heading. Unfortunately, none seem to exist. So a complete change in tactical approach is needed, and I have to look at playing the ball on the ground and having individuals perhaps dribble their way into the box while holding off the mass of defenders with their strength.

Eventually I narrow it down to two: one attacker who only joined his club in January, so is far too much at £40m, the other I do sign.

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Willian - ST - 25, Brazil (3 goals in 5 apps), £25m from Hertha BSC (Bundesliga) - Pace 17, Jumping 15, Strength 20, Finishing 20, Composure 14

His goal record is being ignored because, while he scored 43 goals and made 11 more in his first 2.5 seasons after moving from Brazil to Groningen, he didn't score any in his final 23(2) games. He moved to Hertha and only scored 2 and made 1 in 19(1) games. However, in the Confederations Cup, he scored all the goals in a 2-0 semi win over England and a 1-0 win in the final.

His Dribbling in 20, decent First Touch and competent Technique means he can play on the ground, but he can win some balls in the air and direct them into goal, especially against lesser opposition. That's the plan, anyway.

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Under the same policy, I get a technically incredible youngster for only £600k:

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bHBFhKf.png

Hugo - ML/C, AML/C - 19, Brazil (U19), £600k from Feirense (Portuguese Second Division) - 20s all over the place!

Except for Headling, Marking and Tackling, his entire technical game is orange. As long as he physically grows, he could be scary. I'm going to keep him in the first team squad for now.

--------------------------------------------

I also finally get a good, experienced backup keeper:

--------------------------------------------

Charlie Whyte - GK - 31, Scotland (1 cap), free bosman from West Brom (Premier League) - Aerial Ability 17, Handling 16, Reflexes 19

Spent 12 years at WBA, usually getting 7.00 average rating or over, although he's been below 7 the last 2 seasons.

--------------------------------------------

And a loan:

--------------------------------------------

Domingos - DR/C - 34, Portugal (17 caps), loan from Lazio (Serie A) - Pace 12, Jumping 18, Strength 17, Tackling 20, Marking 13

Has spent the last 4 seasons in the Premier League with average ratings of 7.17, 7.18, 7.16, 7.07.

=================================================

 

=================================================

Friendlies

(3rd, Belgian top tier) Royal Antwerp 1 - 1 Man Utd (3rd, EPL)

(17th, Ch.) Burnley 1 - 2 Man Utd (3rd, PL)

(3rd, EPL) Man Utd 1 - 0 AC Milan (1st, A)
Hugo doesn't endear himself to his new manager by publicly criticising my lack of team talk (I don't really give any for friendlies), especially as he was the only one who was bothered by it. He's warned.

Reserves 1 - 1 First Team
First Team win 5 - 4 on pens after 8 rounds (1-1, 2-2, 2-3, 2-3, 3-3, 3-3, 4-4, 4-5)
In Butler's only game of pre-season, he makes a mistake in the final minutes. Not a good way to win back favour...
But the shootout gives me a lot of penalty info.

=================================================

 

=================================================

Expectations and Odds

The board and fans are delighted with the progress and are in full support of my management.

The board want a title challenge, the fans think this season is the season we win it


Premier League Odds

2/1 - Newcastle Utd
8/1 - Arsenal, Man Utd
16/1 - Chelsea
20/1 - Coventry
33/1 - Middlesbrough

Pretty clear tiers, which I agree with. The only hope is that Newcastle's change in manager ruins them temporarily.
 

Champions League Odds:

3/1 - AC Milan, Newcastle Utd
5/1 - Lazio
15/2 - Bayern Munich
8/1 - Arsenal
9/1 - Inter

Perennial favourites Newcastle are joint-favourites with the defending champions.

Bookies continue to be high on Europa League winners Lazio, despite their failure to get out of the group stage for 3 seasons in a row now.

Our odds are unchanged at 10/1.
 

Media-predicted 2029/30 Table

(Last season's position in parentheses)

1 - Newcastle United (1)
2 - Arsenal (2)
3 - Manchester United (3)
4 - Chelsea (4)
------------------------------------------------------------
5 - Coventry City (5)
------------------------------------------------------------
6 - Middlesbrough (6)
7 - West Ham United (7)
8 - West Bromwich Albion (8)
9 - Liverpool (11)
10 - Norwich City (9)
11 - Manchester City (13)
12 - Preston North End (10)
13 - Leicester City (16th)
14 - Tottenham Hotspur (14)
15 - Blackburn Rovers (12)
16 - Sheffield Wednesday (15)
17 - Bolton Wanderers (1, Championship)
------------------------------------------------------------
18 - Southampton (17th)
19 - Stoke City (2, Championship)
20 - Sunderland (5, Championship)

Not much faith in any major improvements for teams this year.

 

Edited by git2thachoppa
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  • git2thachoppa changed the title to [FM 07] Back to 2006 | UPDATE: Man Utd 29/30 pre-season - Odds, transfers and a tactical overhaul
  • 4 weeks later...

Manchester United - 2029/30

Geordies Off Their ****ing Perch?

August to March: The Old United

Results
 

Spoiler

 

Champions League - Third Qualifying Phase, 1st Leg

(Pred. 3rd, Ligue 1) Dijon 0 - 2 Man Utd (Pred. 3rd, EPL)

Premier League

(Pred. 20th) Sunderland 0 - 3 Man Utd (Pred. 3rd)

Champions League - Third Qualifying Phase, 2nd Leg

(Pred. 3rd, EPL) Man Utd 3 - 0 Dijon (Pred. 3rd, Ligue 1)

Man Utd win 5-0 on agg.

Premier League

(Pred. 13th) Leicester 1 - 2 Man Utd (Pred. 3rd)
(Pred. 3rd) Man Utd 2 - 0 Arsenal (Pred. 2nd)

Champions League Group Stage

(Pred. 3rd, EPL) Man Utd 0 - 0 Hannover (Pred. 5th, Bundesliga)

Premier League

(Pred. 10th) Norwich 2 - 1 Man Utd (Pred. 3rd)
(Pred. 3rd) Man Utd 3 - 0 West Ham (Pred. 7th)
(2nd) Man Utd 2 - 0 Stoke (12th)

Champions League Group Stage

(1st, Super League Greece) Asteras Tripolis 1 - 2 Man Utd (2nd, EPL)

Premier League

(4th) West Brom 1 - 0 Man Utd (2nd)

Champions League Group Stage

(8th, SA) Lazio 1 - 3 Man Utd (3rd, EPL)

Premier League

(19th) Sheff Wed 0 - 0 Man Utd (4th)

League Cup - 3rd Round

(15th, Ch.) Everton 0 - 1 Man Utd (3rd, PL)

Premier League

(3rd) Man Utd 2 - 1 Man City (7th)

Champions League Group Stage

(1st, EPL) Man Utd 1 - 1 Lazio (6th, SA)

Premier League

(4th) Newcastle 2 - 2 Man Utd (3rd)

League Cup 4th Round

(19th, PL) Southampton 0 - 3 Man Utd (2nd, PL) AET (0-0 FT)

Premier League

(2nd) Man Utd 2 - 0 Blackburn (6th)
(12th) Coventry 2 - 2 Man Utd (1st)

Champions League Group Stage

(13th, Bundesliga) Hannover 3 - 1 Man Utd (1st, EPL)

Premier League

(1st) Man Utd 1 - 0 Middlesbrough (15th)
(2nd) Liverpool 1 - 1 Man Utd (1st)
(1st) Man Utd 0 - 0 Preston (9th)

Champions League Group Stage

(1st) Man Utd 0 - 0 Asteras Tripolis (2nd, Super League Greece)

Premier League

(3rd) Chelsea 0 - 1 Man Utd (1st)
(2nd) Man Utd 2 - 0 Tottenham (10th)
(1st) Man Utd 3 - 0 Southampton (20th)

League Cup Quarter-Final

(1st, PL) Man Utd 2 - 0 Preston (12th, PL)

Premier League

(8th) Bolton 0 - 4 Man Utd (1st)
(1st) Man Utd 0 - 0 Sunderland (18th)
(14th) Arsenal 3 - 1 Man Utd (1st)
(2nd) Man Utd 1 - 0 Leicester (14th)

FA Cup - 3rd Round

(10th, Ch) Hartlepool 1 - 1 Man Utd (1st, EPL)

League Cup Semi-Final, 1st Leg

(1st, PL) Man Utd 1 - 0 Sheff Utd (1st, Ch)

Premier League

(16th) West Ham 2 - 1 Man Utd (1st)

FA Cup - 3rd Round Replay

(1st, PL) Man Utd 2 - 0 Hartlepool (13th, Ch)

Premier League

(1st) Man Utd 2 - 1 Norwich (10th)

League Cup Semi-final, 2nd leg

(1st, Ch) Sheff Utd 2 - 0 Man Utd (1st, PL)
Sheff Utd win 2 - 1 on agg.

FA Cup - 4th Round

(1st, PL) Man Utd 3 - 1 Stoke (20th, PL)

Premier League

(20th, PL) Stoke 2 - 4 Man Utd (1st, PL)
(1st) Man Utd 2 - 0 West Brom (8th)
(5th) Blackburn 1 - 2 Man Utd (1st)

Champion League - 1st Knockout Round, 1st Leg

(1st, EPL) Man Utd 1 - 0 Feyenoord (2nd, Eredivisie)

Premier League

(1st) Man Utd 2 - 0 Sheff Wed (17th)

FA Cup - 5th Round

(15th, PL) Middlesbrough 0 - 2 Man Utd (1st, PL)

(8th) Man City 2 - 3 Man Utd (1st)

Champion League - 1st Knockout Round, 2nd Leg

(1st, Eredivisie) Feyenoord 0 - 2 Man Utd (1st, EPL)
Man Utd win 3-0 on agg.

 

We had never won the first away game of the season while I was in charge. This season, we were 3-0 up at Sunderland in half an hour of our league opener, with new £25m signing Willian scoring from the tightest angle possible like it's nothing.

The train started rolling, with Willian scoring in his first 4 games and partner Reilly scoring or assisting in all of his first 10 starts, only ending in April. Even when they and Sibiya failed to score, a midfielder might break through or Muller would score a last-minute free kick to bring back visions of Sir David Beckham.

Under our new tactics, we couldn't stop scoring and enjoyed taking early leads. We wanted to be entertaining, though we lost at Norwich due to chasing a win rather than settling for a point. A vital point dropped?

m8sv0m6scvancof4wxku

We passed every test, beating Arsenal, Man City, going to back-to-back-to-back champions Newcastle's ground (who are now unbeaten in 46 home games) and New Anfield and coming away with unlucky draws (outshining the former with sexy passing football, and embarrassing the latter by debuting a young centre-back), then going to Stamford Bridge and beating them for the first time in 6 years, and away for the first time in 16 years!

By the halfway point, after 8 clean sheets in a row, we were just about top of the table, and had got the hardest games out of the way.

In 2030, another statement: we went to Man City...

spsG9nY.png

...Played with 10 men the whole match and beat them in an entertaining game, simply switching our 4-1-3-2 to a 3-1-3-2. Bondarev saved 8 of their 10 shots, we drew 34 fouls from our short dribbling game, and won 80% of our headers, mainly in our own box. City played right into our hands.

All our rivals were dropping points and we eventually gained a 7-point lead going into the business end of the season.

Meanwhile, we beat hipster's favourite Lazio 3 - 1 at their own ground and gradually progressed in the Champions League despite rotation, and the FA Cup despite a harsh penalty and Hartlepool's Championship-level finishing stopping them getting the biggest result in their history in either leg of the 3rd Round.

Plus the backup and youth reached the semis of the League Cup, but were beaten in the 97th minute of the 2nd leg by a corner won from them trying to waste time...

Champions League Group H Table

Lazio - 13
Man Utd - 9
---------------------------
Hannover - 6
Asteras Tripolis - 3

======================================================

 

======================================================

March to May: Squeaky Bum Time

Results
 

Spoiler

 

FA Cup - Quarter Final

(2nd, Ch.) Leeds 2 - 0 Man Utd (1st, PL)

Premier League

(1st, PL) Man Utd 0 - 0 Newcastle Utd (2nd, PL)
(6th) Tottenham 0 - 2 Man Utd (1st)

Champions League - Quarter-Final, 1st Leg

(2nd, SA) Lazio 3 - 2 Man Utd (1st, EPL)

Premier League

(1st) Man Utd 1 - 0 Coventry (11th)

Champions League - Quarter-Final, 2nd Leg

(1st, EPL) Man Utd 1 - 2 Lazio (2nd, SA)
Lazio win 5-3 on agg.

Premier League

(14th) Middlesbrough 2 - 0 Man Utd (1st)
(1st) Man Utd 1 - 0 Liverpool (5th)
(13th) Preston 0 - 0 Man Utd (1st)
(1st) Man Utd 0 - 1 Chelsea (3rd)
(20th) Southampton 0 - 0 Man Utd (1st)
(1st) Man Utd 2 - 0 Bolton (15th)

 

man-utd-v-leeds-jermaine-beckford-goal_2

Then suddenly, we lost to Championship Leeds in the FA Cup, our 'game of the season title decider' at home to Newcastle ended 0 - 0, lost both legs of the Champions League Quarter-Final to Lazio (a team we got 4 points off of in the group stage), then lost at Middlesbrough.

But Newcastle kept dropping points, leading to their boss getting banned for his outrage, and we scraped a win at home to Liverpool, with a set-piece goal followed by a saved Liverpool penalty.

Newcastle and Chelsea threw away leads and dropped more points, so a win at Preston would clinch the title. We drew 0 - 0.

It should be noted that had we settled for that point at Norwich, we would've been champions by now. Instead, Chelsea came to Old Trafford and won 1 - 0, despite going down to 10 men through injury. Really, this was a good result for us, as goal difference meant they wanted a big win. But we lost the chance of one last big title-winning moment and clinched the title with an anti-climactic 0 - 0 at relegated Southampton after having a penalty saved.

We ended on a high though. An entertaining 2 - 0 home win for a reserve team, with 8 league debuts on the day, saw an incredible curled free kick (not even by Muller) and a bright young sub score in stoppage time.

Then the 92,200 at Old Trafford celebrated the first Premier League winner not named Newcastle or Arsenal in 15 years!

united-trophy300.jpg


2029/30 Premier League Table

 

1 - Manchester United - 78
2 - Newcastle United - 71 (+29 Goal Difference)
3 - Chelsea - 71 (+25 GD)
4 - Arsenal - 69
----------------------------------------------------------
5 - Liverpool - 60
6 - Tottenham Hotspur - 59
7 - West Bromwich Albion - 56
8 - Norwich City - 55
9 - Manchester City - 53
10 - Coventry City - 51
11 - Blackburn Rovers - 50
12 - Preston North End - 46
13 - Middlesbrough - 45 (0 GD)
14 - West Ham United - 45 (-4 GD)
15 - Sheffield Wednesday - 41
16 - Bolton Wanderers - 39
17 - Leicester City - 38
----------------------------------------------------------
18 - Sunderland - 33
19 - Stoke City - 28
20 - Southampton - 27

A familiar-looking top 6 (if you replace the unstoppable Man City with the unstoppable Newcastle)!

Sorry, Stoke fans...

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  • git2thachoppa changed the title to [FM 07] Back to 2006 | UPDATE: Man Utd 29/30: Can the Geordies finally be stopped?

Man Utd 2029/30 Season & Squad Review

Premier League: Winners
Champions League: Quarter-Finals
FA Cup: Quarter-Finals
League Cup: Semi-Finals

==============================

 

==============================

Reserves and Under-18s

Denny Mundee's defending Reserve champions finished 4th as Liverpool won their 5th Group 1 title in 7 seasons. Though we did break the record for highest attendance when 3,725 watched the opening 3-1 loss to Bolton.

Darren Fletcher's Under-18s won their 13th Group 3 title in a row with 3 games to spare, eventually winning by 14 points. They broke the record for most consecutive wins; they currently have 16 in a row.

==============================

 

==============================

Confidence

The board confidence is a rare "absolutely thrilled with the level of commitment you continue to show the club". They expected a title challenge and are delighted with the title win, as well as the financial status of the club.

Naturally the fans, who were expecting a win, are also delighted.

==============================

 

==============================

Finances

The balance is above the £100m mark for the first time since 2025 i.e. since I arrived, when it went into the red briefly in 2026 and again a year later.

220px-Wembley_Stadium_interior.jpg

Although the expansion of Old Trafford to 92,212 seats was completed early last season, we still saw a £12.5m jump in gate receipts this season now we've had a full season inside the intimdating bowl.

==============================

 

==============================

Records

As above, the club's record average attendance was unsurprisingly broken: 80,945.

Our Premier League average attendance of 84,311 was a record and 25,000 higher than anyone else.

We broke the Premier League attendance record with 92,205 watching Utd v City, 4 more than who watched Utd v West Ham last season!

We also broke the club record of most games in a row without conceding: 8 (in December 2029)

==============================

 

==============================

Staff

Coach and Reserves Manager Denny Mundee retires after over 4 decades in the game. After playing in the football league and non-league for the likes of Brentford and Bournemouth, he was youth coach at Watford and then 18 years at Preston, before joining Manchester United in 2028.

==============================

 

==============================

Tactics

Last season I said tactics died a horrible death, with teams parking 11 men in the area sometimes and me having to hurl 10 men into their half. But this season is when tactics won the title, with beautiful football too!

To beat teams parking the bus, throwing people forward wasn't working. It's hard to get through 11 bodies. So this season I decided to play strictly on the ground, running past and through defences and avoiding crosses and long balls. If the player doesn't get through, he may still be fouled in dangerous areas, and we have arguably the deadliest free kick taker in the world.

This not only worked for home games, with defenders having to deal with players coming at them, but away games when there was more space to run forward. We produced the sexiest passing football in the country and plenty of Maradona-esque goals.

I changed from my trusty 4-4-2 diamond to a variation of the formation I played at Valenciennes on our return to Ligue 1 that saw us qualify for Europe for the first time ever: 4-3-1-2 with 3 staggered central midfielders, with the attacking outside 2 going forward. I quickly moved the AMC to DM, so the default changed to a 4-1-3-2, which improved defensive cover but was still very attacking in the middle.

In normal play, the back 4 would stay back, the 1 DM would be somewhat defensive, the middle CM would be of normal mentality, one of the outside CMs would be attacking, and the other CM would be even more attacking.

When teams were parking the bus, this changed to a 4-3-1-2 with wing-backs. The wing-backs' mentality would be slightly below attacking, the DM-now-CM would go to normal, and the CM-now-AMC would be ultra-attacking.

When teams moved to the dreaded 3-3-2-1-1 formation, I'd push the wingbacks' runs all the way to the edge of their box, though not really change mentality. This gave the strikers more wide support, rather than having them wandering wide so much themselves.

Other settings:

Creative Freedom: None, but set individually based on their Flair, Creativity and Decisions.

Passing Style: Changed from short to all the way short.

Tempo: 1 notch slow, though not the slowest. Previously it had been fast, as the last thing I wanted was my error-prone defence passing it around or to their error-prone goalkeeper. But now my defence isn't so error-prone. I also kept patient up against the parked buses particularly. Normally, if there had been little happening for 30 minutes, I'd change something (like making the tempo faster or playing it a bit more in the air). But now I waited. Just by having the ball, we could win free kicks or corners, the former being particularly threatening, but it could take time before one goes in.

Width: A few notches away from ultra-narrow.

Closing Down: 1 notch often.

Time Wasting: Ultra-rarely. Attack is the best form of our defence and it was better to build an attack rather than run to the corner or boot it away. I'd only use it in stoppage time or in a game with few chances to scrape that win or point.

Defensive Line: Deep. As explained a while ago, we guided the opposition to use their flanks and hit crosses in, so we could head them away while avoiding a central threat. Playing deep encouraged this more, while central attacks would often be long-distance shots. To score you usually had to score a world class long-ranger... sometimes... However, against the parked buses, the line would be pushed up nearly all the way. The opposition are hoping to break (if even that), so we want their attacker to need to cover as much ground as possible before getting to our goal i.e. from the halfway line, so our pacy defenders could catch up to them and get a last-second tackle in. A common sight at Old Trafford.

Tackling: Normal. Although I did consider the real-life Man City tactic of having the strikers hard tackling, so they'd concede fouls to stop counter-attacks, but my defence was doing fine winning the counter-attack races anyway.

Marking: Zonal, although the centre-backs man-marked the striker(s), the DM (or CM when attacking) would mark their AMC, and the wing-backs would mark the central midfielders midfielders of bus-parkers (otherwise they'd be wide open to finish a move).

Corner Supply: Corners used to be a great goal source but midway through the season, with no goals from corners, I changed the corner supply setting from challenge GK to mixed. Now the taker could pass it short to a dribbler or it might find its way to the Gerrard-esque Muller 'lurking' in the D to score. Though we only scored once in the league.

Throw Supply: Long. May as well make use of those long-throwers!

Other tidbits:

We had the highest indirect free-kick goals with 14. Muller's free-kicks made us the highest direct free kick scorers too with 10.

I realised it'd be a good idea to have my full-backs, at least the ones who couldn't pass or cross,  set to cross and / or deliver through balls anyway, as they tended to lose the ball when the reached the box because they were looking for a pass when they could've just hit it in.

As a result of all this, we had the best away record in the league, by far scoring the most (29), and also the highest overall scorers in the league (57). We only conceded 3 goals at home.

3 of the top 4 dribblers in the league were United players and all strikers: Reilly (1st), Willian (3rd) and Sibiya (4th).

The top 5 pass completion rates were all taken up by United players (3 midfielders and the 2 centre-backs).

As well as top passers, that centre-back pairing Friar and Rabatti were also 2nd and 3rd top tacklers.

Notably, only one of our strikers got double figures in goals, Willian with 10. But the goals were shared around by the other 2 main strikers (Reilly and Sibiya) and Muller, with his free-kicks thanks to the dribblers conceding all those fouls, getting 9 each.

Another thing of note is my first XI became very regular with not much rotation, though this was more due to the poor form of everyone else than anything.

==============================

 

==============================

The Title-Winning Squad

They failed in the cups at vital moments and we were lucky that Newcastle struggled for a while. So, even though we won the long lost Premier League title, changes will continue to come.

(Only senior and first team squad players included)

GK

1. Alexey Bondarev - 24 years old, Russia (7 caps), valued at £8.5m - Played 52, Conceded 36, Clean Sheets 29, Man of the Match 1, Average Rating 6.88
17. Charlie Whyte - 32, Scotland (1), bosman (valued at £2.3m) from West Brom (PL) - P 5, Conc 6, CS 3, AvR 6.80

An established #1 makes all the difference. Bondarev made 1 or 2 memorable errors, but nothing like past keepers. He made several world class saves too.

Whyte was a bit unhappy but he DID join the club on the understanding he's a backup.

We have a slew of good-looking young keepers. One a January English signing who played 3 Premier League games aged just 18 with an average rating of 7.67 and played 7 games in the Championship this season with 7.14. But I'd prefer to keep Whyte's experience.

(Next season's roles)
First Team - Bondarev
Backup - Whyte


DR / WBR

12. (Renato Santos de) Souza - SW, DR/C - 31, Portugal (4 goals in 52 caps) / Brazil, £4.4m - P 41(1), Goals 3, Assists 4, MotM 1, AvR 7.02
2. Domingos - DR/C - 34, Portugal (17), loan from Lazio (Serie A) - P 10, A 2, AvR 7.10
+ Aleksandrowicz, Hristov, R.d.Souza

Domingos did a great job, but when he came back from injury in February, he'd lost his physicality. Age has caught up quickly.

Youngster Spinelli infamously went on loan to Liverpool, but damaged his cruciate ligaments before he could play. He was set to play our final game of the season, but got injured in the last reserve game. Who knows how he'll do?

It might be worth looking out for an attack-minded right wing-back, but it's not a priority.

First Team - Souza
Backup -  Hristov, R.d.Souza
Out -
Aleksandrowicz, Domingos (returns from loan)
Youth Promotion - Spinelli


DL / WBL

3. Juan Pablo Viveros - WB/M/AML - 35, Chile (3 in 67), N/A - P 26(4), G 3, A 2, AvR 7.10
5. Aktas Vezir - D/WBL - 26, Turkey (1 in 5) / Germany, £10.5m - P 26(14), G 2, A 2, MotM 2, AvR 6.95
7. Steve McIntosh - D/WB/M/AML - 32, Republic of Ireland (11 in 63), N/A - P 11(9), A 1, AvR 6.85
+  R.d.Souza

Viveros earned himself ANOTHER 1-year extension at the club with his best season since his debut, aged 34/35. A surprise to be sure, but a welcome one!

Vezir let himself down, completing only 62 of 99 tackles and making 8 errors. Can do a lot, lot better given all the 20s in his attributes.

McIntosh's last game was in January. The former captain failed to perform this season and his contract is allowed to expire after a testimonial and a decade making just under 300 appearances for the club.

First Team - Vezir
Backup - R.d.Souza, Viveros
Out - McIntosh


DC

32. Marco Rabatti - 23, Italy (U21), bought from Genk (Belgian First Division A) for £850k - P32, G 1, MotM 6, AvR 7.47
14. Richard Friar - Co-captain - 25, England (6), £6.75m - P 39, A 1, MotM 4, AvR 7.15
6. Volker Kirn - 28, Germany (18), £5.5m - P 21(1), AvR 7.09
25. Frank Larsen - 25, Denmark (11), £3.9m - P 10, MotM, AvR 7.30
21. Elliot Burley - 31, England (5), sold to Torino (Serie A) for £500k - P 14(1), A 1, MotM 2, 7.27
+ Aleksandrowicz, Domingos, R.d.Souza, R.S.d.Souza

dPWLbZd.png

What a breakout season for Rabatti! Needing pace against Liverpool, I picked him from the reserves to make his debut in the lion's den of New Anfield. He had been saying he was too good for a loan and was struggling to adapt to England, so I gave him enough rope to hang himself in a game with nothing to lose. Instead, he produced a solid performance in a draw and never lost his spot. He became the highest-rated player in the league.

Friar made an uncharacteristic 12 mistakes, but his incredible pace (19 Pace, 17 Acceleration) is important especially for home games, and he'll continue to mature.

If Kirn had Friar's pace, he'd start every game as he's usually error free. Even his 1 red card was a professional foul ala Solskjaer v Newcastle.

Larsen's done little wrong, but the quality of competition is so high and there's a large handful of youngsters who could fill in at any time, so he has to go.

Burley was failing to complete a lot of tackles and his would be let go for free at the end of the season anyway, so Torino bought him at 1/3rd of his value.

First Team - Friar, Kirn, Rabatti
Backup - R.d.Souza, R.S.d.Souza
Out - Aleksandrowicz, Burley, Domginos (return from loan), Larsen
Youth Promotion - Gianello, Spinelli, Toma


DM

16. Sebastian Muller - DM/MC - 26, Germany (3 in 18), £13m - P 44, G 11, A 7, MotM 5, AvR 7.07
4. Bartosz Aleksandrowicz - D/MR, DC, DM/MC - 27, Poland (1 in 36), £4.7m - P 16(7), A 1, AvR 6.74
+ Hristov, R.d.Souza

Muller is arguably are most important player. When the strikers are missing, he steps up and scores a free-kick, or knows where to place an indirect one to assist. In fact, any time there's a foul in or around the 'D', it's a guaranteed goal. He's the only player in my 24-year career that I've given free reign to shoot anywhere he wants. He's actually better off shooting than passing! (Though he's made 2,228 passes too!)

Aleksandrowicz was disappointing. While he's been decent before, the problem is he's not a creative player, and now everyone but the goalkeeper and centre-backs needs to be able score and assist. His lack of strength is an important weakness. With youngsters and potential transfers incoming, his time has come.

Much is expected of Giménez but he hasn't shown it yet. Now he must deliver.

First Team - Muller
Backup - Hristov, R.d.Souza
Out - Aleksandrowicz
Youth Promotion - Gianello, Giménez


MC (+ MR / ML / AMC)

8. Ivan Hristov - D/WB/MR, DM/MC - 29, Bulgaria (1 in 30), £6.75m - P 38(3), G 4, A 10, MotM 3, AvR 7.27
15. (Rodrigo de) Souza - DRLC/DM/MRLC - 24, Germany (7) / £15m - P 43(7), G 7, A 4, MotM 4, AvR 7.24
11. Andy Casey - M/AML - 24, England (1), £11.75m - P 36(4), G 4, A 6, AvR 7.13
24. Reginald Tsotetsi - MC/AMC - 25, South Africa (2 in 19), £6.5m - P 25(3), G 3, A 5, MotM 2, AvR 7.04
13. Luis Roberto Artime - MC/AMC - 25, Spain (7), £5.25m - P 15(16), A 4, AvR 6.77
27. Nikola Obradovic - M/AMR - 28, Serbia (2 in 20), £4.4m, loan from Bayern Munich (Bundesliga) - P 5(4), G 1, A 1, AvR 6.44
27. Hugo - M/AML, MC, AMC - 20, Brazilian (U21), bought from Feirense (Portuguese second tier) for 600K
+ Aleksandrowicz, McIntosh, Muller, Popovic, Vezir, Viveros

Hristov's injury seemed to coincide with a relatively poor spell of form for the club. He was a presence to fear on the right of the midfield 3.

It's hard to tell Souza's best position. One game he's running things in the centre, the next he's running down the flank into the area to score the only goal.

As a left winger not getting any games, Casey seemed doomed to a quiet season in a World Cup year (as hosts to boot!), but he eventually got his chance on the left of the 3 and established himself. He scored a few amazing goals, but the standard is so high at this club now that he could still do a bit more...

Artime is another player with huge potential, he's usually given a 'free role', but now has to prove it. A broken leg in the final game of the season means he definitely won't be moved on yet.

Hugo was tried, but the youngster isn't quality enough, so he went out on loan.

First Team - Casey, Hristov, Muller, R.d.Souza
Rotation - Artime, Popovic, Tsotetsi, Vezir, Viveros
Out - Aleksandrowicz, McIntosh, Obradovic (return from loan)
Youth Promotion - De Bellis, Gianello, Giménez


ST

10. Willian - 25, Brazil (3 in 6), bought from Hertha Berlin (Bundesliga) for £25m - P 32(4), G 13, A 8, MotM 7, AvR 7.31
9. Neil Sibiya - 26, South Africa (27 in 32), £32m - P 35(9), G 14, A 6, MotM 1, AvR 7.02
18. Kenny Reilly - 28, Scotland (11 in 32), £15m - P 19(8), G 11, A 3, MotM 2, AvR 7.04
23. Predrag Popovic - AMC/ST - 24, Serbia (1 in 8), £6.25m - P 13(21), G 4, A 1, MotM 1, AvR 7.09
19. Jan Krpec - 25, Czech Republic (2 in 12), £6m - P 13(18), G 3, MotM 1, AvR 6.48
20. Júnior - 31, Brazil (2), N/A - P 11(14), G 4, A 5, MotM 2, AvR 6.80

People thought I was mad to spend £25m on a striker who hadn't scored in 47 games... but Willian scored in his first 4 games and won Goal of the Month. Another season, another star striker.

Reilly gets injuries and knocks all the time, but also scores within a few minutes of returning all the time too! In fact, he either scored or assisted in all of his first 10 starts, stretching to April.

Popovic burst on the scene Rashford-like last season, but was low on goals this season. Can move around the attacking third and worth trying for another season.

Krpec greatly disappointed. His problem last season was a failure to convert, and he generally made no impact this season. Time to move on. Miguel is a pretty similar replacement, given they both provide an aerial option but may lack a world class striker's instinct.

Junior's form fell off a cliff after sharing the Golden Boot and winning Man Utd Fans' Player of the Year last season. He didn't score in the league at all and was dropped completely after the League Cup semi-final exit in January. He'll move back home to Brazil on a bosman.

First Team - Reilly, Sibiya, Willian
Backup - Popovic
Out - Junior, Krpec
Youth Promotion - De Bellis, Miguel


------------ Willian --- Reilly / Sibiya --
--------- Casey -- Souza -- Hristov ---
--------------------- Muller -----------------
Viveros -- Rabatti -- Friar -- Souza
------------------- Bondarev ---------------

==============================

 

==============================

Awards

I win Manager of the Season for knocking the Geordies off their perch. Paul Ince is runner-up with Liverpool. Surprisingly, Zhou Chen of Chelsea was snubbed despite a surprise title challenge.

R.d.Souza came runner-up for English Players' Player of the Year after a 7.33 average rating in the league.

He and fellow midfielders Hristov and Muller make the Team of the Year.

Reilly came runner-up for goal of the season with his dribble and long-ranger straight from kick-off.

The top 3 for the Champions League Best Player award are all Manchester United players. New signing Willian wins it with a 7.47 average rating, while two English centre-backs come 2nd and 3rd: Friar and on-loan-at-Rangers Uberschar.

4 players make the Champions League Dream Team (Friar, Vezir, Hristov and Willian).

==============================

 

==============================

With a sensational season over, it's time to enjoy watching England host the 2030 World Cup...

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  • git2thachoppa changed the title to [FM 07] Back to 2006 | UPDATE: Man Utd 29/30 - The Title-Winning Squad + Tactical Analysis

Congratulations for the title, another fantastic update!

Rabatti is a rarely seen beast. Do his low Composure and Concentration affect his performances at all (like in terms of Mistakes/Mistakes leading to goals)?

 

 

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23 hours ago, Ales said:

Congratulations for the title, another fantastic update!

Rabatti is a rarely seen beast. Do his low Composure and Concentration affect his performances at all (like in terms of Mistakes/Mistakes leading to goals)?

Not at all! He's only made 4 mistakes in 32 games, 0 leading to goals.

Manuals around the time I think said Composure is an attacker's stat anyway, mainly their composure taking a shot (especially penalties).

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2029/30 Club Football Review

Biggest Transfers

Wagner (DM/MRC/AMRC, Brazilian, 23) - São Paulo to Newcastle - £26m
Willian (ST, Brazilian, 25) - Hertha BSC to Man Utd - £25m
Martin Abraham (DM/MC, Czech, 24) - Newcastle to AC Milan - £24m
Marcin Heinrich (DC/DM/MC, Polish, 23) - Arsenal to AC Milan - £23.5m
Adel Djoudi (DC, Algerian, 26) - Chelsea to Internazionale - £22.5m
Ciro Gardin (MC, Italian, 26) - Fiorentina to Internazionale - £22.5m
Héctor Ortiz (DR/C, Mexican, 25) - Juventus to AC Milan - £22m
 

Champions League

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Arsenal won their first Champions League in 17 years in one of the worst finals in recent time. Gareth Southgate's Bayern Munich lost their 2nd final in a row after drawing 0 - 0 then missing all their penalties.

England are dominating again: 3 English clubs have won 4 of the last 5 trophies (Newcastle, Man Utd, Arsenal).


England

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Premier League

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For the first time in 4 years, Newcastle didn't win the title. For the first time in 15 years, neither did Arsenal. Manchester United were the surprise winners.

Newcastle United's long search for Marcelino Garcia Toral's replacement ended in September with the hiring of Napoli's Polish manager Wojciech Stawowy, but they only scraped 2nd on the final day and were knocked out of the FA Cup in the 3rd Round by Championship Birmingham.

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Former Liverpool player and Everton manager Paul Ince turned Liverpool into early title contenders. They fell away in the closing stages, but 5th is an improvement.

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Craig Gordon's first job in management ended after a successful 3.5 years at Coventry. After being promoted from youth coach, he took the midtable side to an unprecedented 3rd place then reached the knockout round of their Champions League debut after going unbeaten in a group also containing Inter and Valencia. His replacement, Rafael Márquez, has big shoes to fill.

Stoke's fairytale return to the top league and Phil Parkinson's Sunderland's journey from top to bottom back to top saw them only last 1 season. They, along with Steve Potts' Southampton, were relegated quite early.

Football League & FA Cup

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3 Championship sides reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup and, in the final, it was Queens Park Rangers that beat Arsenal on penalties to lift their first ever FA Cup trophy after gaining promotion back into the Premier League!

After getting relegated from the Premier League again, Sheffield United had a big season. They won the Championship in March with 5 games to spare, reached the FA Cup semis, and the final of the League Cup after beating future Premier League champions Manchester United with a 97th-minute winner.

On the final day of the season, several teams were in contention for the League One title and promotion. Brighton & Hove Albion won it with a draw after their rivals both lost 3 - 0, returning to the Championship after 24 years away.

In fact, had Reading scored one more and beaten Oldham 4 - 0, they would've leapfrogged Oldham on goal difference and got promoted instead!

3 teams finished on 68 points, but it was Luton Town who squeezed into the final playoff place and eventually returned to the Championship after 23 years away!


Italy

Italy.jpg

After three 0 - 0 draws in a row, Michael Skibbe's Inter Milan needed to hope Lazio didn't match their result on the final day.

Inter scored a 91st-minute winner with Lazio drawing, but Lazio scored a 94-minute winner to clinch the title in the final second of the season!


Germany

Germany.jpg

Dortmund-loss-Getty.jpg

Dortmund legend Christoph Metzelder took charge of the midtable club in 2025. This season, he watched them relegated for the first time in their history (for footballing reasons anyway).


France

France.jpg

Patrick Vieira's managerial career has not taken off. After 16 years plying his trade in the French lower leagues, he was sacked by Créteil in just 9 months after relegating them from Ligue 2 and then leaving the club bottom of their new division by October.


Spain

Spain.jpg

Carles Puyol landed his first big job after 15 years in the 2nd and 3rd tier of Spanish football: Sevilla. 3 months later, he was lifting their first Copa del Rey since 1948, after beating Barcelona 4-1 on aggregate along the way.


The Americas

proi-america-map.png

Former Aston Villa and Colombia striker Juan Pablo Angel was promoted to manager of Colombian side Atlético Nacional after 20 years as a youth coach, then left after just 1 month and 1 win in 6 matches to take charge of Argentina's Primera División side San Martín de Mendoza.

Gus Poyet finally landed a glamour job after 21 years and 8 managerial roles in Shrewsbury, Sydney and the Americas. He replaces Dominic Kinnear as boss of the LA Galaxy. Unfortunately, the 2028 MLS finalists are currently bottom of their conference with 2 wins in 12.
 

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  • git2thachoppa changed the title to [FM 07] Back to 2006 | UPDATE: 29/30 Club Football - Serie A's QPR moment, FA Cup's QPR final, Dortmund makes history...
  • 4 weeks later...

England Profile, Squad and New Manager...

The centenary 2030 World Cup will naturally be hosted by England (yes, football's coming home).

In this landmark year, it makes sense to look at England today. And we start with the new manager... oh, about that, just one thing...

2/7 - England Manager Leaves After Uninspiring Confederations Cup

3/7 - England Approach 'Home Game Expert' Man Utd Manager

4/7 - Man Utd Manager Apparently Unwilling To Leave Club

5/7 - England Deny Alleged Shortlist of Southgate, Trollope, Adams, Boothroyd

6/7 - Man Utd Manager: England World Cup Win "Very Unlikely"

7/7 - FA Negotiating with Man Utd For Short-Term Club & Country Agreement

8/7 - BREAKING - Man Utd Manager To Take Temporary Charge At 2030 World Cup

main-qimg-a8bde249711046c260a9b8ea595876

An arrangement has finally been agreed with me, the Manchester United manager, to take charge at the 2030 World Cup.

I'll remain at Manchester United, but will also have a 1-year contract with the FA, which covers the tournament and any potential preparation friendlies.

At the press conference, I give my stance: "I was always aware of this possibility for a long time and discussed it long ago with the board. I wasn't even sure if I'd take the job, but this only happens once. We go there to win, but we won't be favourites by any stretch of the imagination given our record, and our subpar showing at the Confederations Cup.

So I'll have no talk of it coming home!"

One journalist then put his hand up, stood up and recited: "We still believe... We still believe..."

 

ENGLAND

1200px-England_national_football_team_cr

Reasons For Choosing

This had been my plan since England were announced as hosts (so in reality, since I started this career).

I would be wary of taking the job usually, and in fact rejected it 7 years ago while at Valenciennes, as the player pool didn't look good. A manager rarely leaves the job without being labelled a clown, and expectations are usually higher than reality.
So if I'm going to take charge, it may as well be during a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as hosts. Even if we flop, the Man Utd fans will still like me and I'll still have a job!
 

Real-Life History (Pre-2006)

England are the joint-oldest international team ever, along with their opponents for the first ever international match, and current Euro and back-to-back World champs Scotland (it ended 0-0, naturally).

But despite being the 'home' of football, and its infrastructure, history and riches, they've only ever won the World Cup once: when they hosted it in 1966. They would massively under-achieve since, sometimes even failing to qualify for tournaments.

By 2006, they were blessed with another golden generation of world class players in nearly every position. Unfortunately, a tactically-lacking Sven Goran-Eriksson could only achieve quarter-final finishes in a reign more known for his flirting with other women and other clubs.


FM Game History (Post-2006)

mclaren-umbrella-hi-res2.jpg

Even Steve McClaren (who would later be knighted for his dominance of English and European football with Newcastle United) failed to win a trophy, losing the Euro 2008 final to the Dutch 2-0 and the 2009 Confederations Cup final to Brazil on penalties. He left as a villain, after leaving Michael Owen at home, risking an injured Rooney and rotating goalkeepers saw them exit at the group stage of 2010.

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Peter Beardsley's 6-year reign was memorable for 2014, when England were knocked out by Chile at the group stage by a drawing of lots after an exciting 3-3 draw.

His successor did reach the semis of 2018, but it was still the same old story of dominant qualifications followed by stale tournaments.

His replacement spent 7 years in charge, but the underwhelming performance in the 2029 Confederations Cup forced the FA's hand, and here we are.

England's knockout record in World Cups and Euros since 2008 (excluding 3rd place playoff) is: W1, L3, D4 (losing 3 of 4 penalty shootouts).

2008 European Championships: 2nd
2009 Confederations Cup: 2nd
2010 World Cup: Group
2012 EC: QF
2014 WC: Group
2016 EC: Group
2018 WC: 4th
2020 EC: QF
2022 WC: 2nd Round
2024 EC:  Group
2026 WC: 2nd Round
2028 EC: QF
2029 CC: 3rd


Stadium

b60ff6f5fcce6cdc716c4c6b480c4d35.jpg

The rebuilt Wembley holds 90,000, though it's not the biggest stadium in England any more.

As hosts, other potential stadiums will include the 92,212-capacity Old Trafford and the 60,000-sized New Anfield and Ashburton Grove (Emirates Stadium).


Rivals

Scotland - Naturally, but it has reached new heights now Scotland are back-to-back defending world champions as well as Euro 2028 winners. The glee from up north that Scotland have more World Cups than England now. And while England won it as hosts, Scotland did it by brushing aside each host in the final! England did get a 1-0 win over them in the 2029 Confederations Cup 3rd-place playoff though.

20170622-The18-Photo-Ronaldinho-goal-vs-

Brazil - England have never beaten Brazil in a tournament. After that Ronaldinho free-kick in 2002, Brazil beat England in the 2009 Confederations Cup final on penalties, beat them twice in 2018's World Cup, and knocked them out in 2029.

1296492167_original.jpg?itok=MiVa-q_Y

Turkey - After violent meetings in 2003, England knocked them out of Euro 2008, but they returned the favour in 2012 and again on penalties in 2020. Qualifying fixtures since have usually been competitive too.

Netherlands - Beat England to qualify for 1994, then famously torn apart 4-1 at Euro 96, before winning 2-0 in the Euro 2008 final. They've exchanged wins in a few group games since.

Germany - More an historic rivalry having only met twice in the past couple of decades, both being draws in group games.


Post-2006 Broken and Matched Records

Highest Attendance for an England match: 92,171 (Old Trafford) v Scotland, Confederations Cup 2029

Lowest Wembley Attendance for an England match: 40,722 v Macedonia, Euro 2008 qualifier

Most consecutive wins: 11 (2/9/2006 - 13/10/2007)

Most consecutive competitive wins: 10 (see above)

Most consecutive games without scoring: 4 (30/6/2018 - 1/9/2018)

Most consecutive clean sheets: 7 (6/10/2018 - 24/8/2019)


Ranking

England have been ranked 2nd for all but a few months of the past 2 years, far ahead of the rest, but just as far behind Scotland. After the Confederations Cup, Scotland dropped to 3rd and England are now the #1 ranked team in the world. Somehow.
But it's Scotland's world and we're all just living in it.


Expectations

The FA are expecting a World Cup win, the fans are hoping for one, I think that's optimistic for a team that traditionally flounders around the group stage.


Fixtures

There are 3 friendly spots in September and October, which I'll make home games. Then it's the World Cup.


Staff

I can bring my own staff, but as it's short-term there's no need to hire U21 or U19 managers.

I'll keep most of my Man Utd staff and England staff seperate and look for English guys who deserve a chance, plus some famous names...


Squad

Peter Shilton and Bobby Charlton still hold the records for most caps (125) and goals (49). There's only one eligible player with more than 38 caps, and only 2 players with double figures in goals (12 and 10).

Goalkeepers

Hutchings has been England's #1 for over a decade, and he's been at Middlesbrough for even longer. He's England's most-capped active player with 57, but he's also 37 years old and his last 2 seasons particularly have been poor. He was injured for the Confederations Cup, and the keeper who made his debut in his place was Butler, as in my Butler, the 'future England #1' who failed to reach his potential and I sold to Norwich for a record £20m.

The other player who earned his first cap this summer is the one who looks most likely to be my #1: Duxbury of Blackburn Rovers had a 7.14 average rating last season, and has been consistent for Rovers in the past few seasons of the Premier League.

Defenders

England's strongest area, there are many defenders performing above a 7 average rating in the Premier League, including my centre-back pairing of Burley (one of the best players in the league last season) and Friar.

Midfielders

While the first team is strong (the entire midfield was in Euro 2028's 'Team of the Tournament'), there's little depth at the moment, particularly on the right. I will call up my left-winger, Casey, who has been overlooked.

Strikers

After Lineker, Shearer, Owen then Rooney, in 2029 this is England's most worrying problem - no world class striker.

West Ham's Stott does have 10 goals in 17 England games, including Euro 2028's Golden Boot with 3 goals, but there's no one else close to being a 1-in-every-2-games striker, and physically/technically they're all quite average. Again, I'll have to hope one or two have a great season.

One player who looked like he could be a top England goalscorer is Chris Mills, who was once someone I tried hard to sign for United. But a debilitating illness has meant he will only ever be able to play at 90% condition and is unable to be called up. Like Rooney and Sneijder before him, he's doomed to a career ending early by cruel fate.

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  • git2thachoppa changed the title to [FM 07] Back to 2006 | UPDATE: Profile of 2029's England and new boss as they host 2030 WC

England 2029 - Staff, First England Squad, debut v France and Iran

Home friendlies are arranged with France, my former employers Iran, and USA.

I also build my staff:

Way back in 2008, I brought in Andy Polston from non-league Billericay Town to be my assistant at Serie C club Varese. In 2029, still at Varese, he will now also be England assistant manager.

nevs_3521728b.jpg

The Neville brothers come in as coaches.

Gary got 96 caps before retiring at Everton (in the same team as Phil!) and becoming a youth coach at Coventry and Chelsea before coaching at Newcastle.

Phil earned 52 caps and also played for United then Everton, though he retired after a loan to Scunthorpe. He became assistant at Conference North side Northwich Victoria, lasted as manager for a year, and is assistant at Southend United.

Given I'm only here for a year, no permanent youth managers will be appointed. Instead, Gary will be in charge of the Under-19s for the U19 Euros, while Phil will take charge of the Under-21s.

I give the physio job to Colin Lewin, the Arsenal physio and cousin of ex-England physio Gary. He's joined by a former Arsenal graduate who spent his career in League One but hasn't got a job since retiring years ago, despite his ability.


==========================================================
==========================================================


Before my first matches, Gary Neville's England Under-19s are knocked out of Euro 2029 at the semi-final stage on penalties. Their highlight was a 5-1 win over Germany.


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==========================================================


My First England Squad

Goalkeepers

Butler - 25, Man Utd, 4 caps
Duxbury - 27, Blackburn, 1 cap
Zabek - 29, West Ham, Uncapped

England had been looking for a new goalkeeper now their former #1 is 37 and long past his best.

Duxbury is the most (perhaps only) in-form goalkeeper.

Butler is in the process of being sold to Norwich for a record £20m, with hopes he reaches his potential elsewhere.

Right-Backs

Huckle (DR/L/C) - 29, Arsenal, 2 goals in 28 caps
Morris - 31, Newcastle, 1 goal in 38 caps

Huckle is top class, while Morris is an able deputy.

An injury in this position (Cummins) means it's just these two for now.

Left-Backs

Petty (DL/C) - 22, Preston, Uncapped
Wilson (D/WBL) - 26, Arsenal, 4 caps

Wilson got 2 assists at Euro 2028.

Petty is a surprise call-up. He excelled in the SPL two seasons ago and did well in his handful of games last season for Preston. Really, there's no depth in the full-back positions, so we might instead use wing-backs.

Centre-backs

Burley - 31, Man Utd, 4 caps
Friar - 24, Man Utd, 4 caps
Holt (DC/ST) - 27, Bayern, 6 goals in 20 caps
James - 28, Newcastle, 30 caps

Despite his sensational form for us, Burley hadn't been called up before now.

Friar debuted at the Confederations Cup, and he and Burley seems an obvious partnership for club and country.

James is another world class centre-back, so it's looking more obvious to play 3 at the back with wing-backs.

Holt is European Defender of the Year, but I wouldn't rate him higher than a few other English centre-backs.

Right Wing-Backs and Wingers

Boardman (M/AMR) - 26, Newcastle, 3 goals in 10 caps
Melvin (WB/M/AMR) - 22, Arsenal, uncapped

Boardman scored in 3 of England's 4 Euro 2028 games, but made no impact in the Confederations Cup. Has the tackling ability to play as wing-back.

Melvin has only been fine in the Premier League, but we're really lacking depth on the right.

Left Wing-Backs and Wingers

Casey (ML/AML) - 23, Man Utd, uncapped
Hill (ML/AML) - 26, Roma, 1 goal in 7 caps
Stevens (M/AML, AMC) - 27, Coventry, 3 caps
Williamson (WB/M/AML) - 29, Inter, 18 caps

Williamson got 7.45, 7.08 and 7.40 in his last 3 seasons in Serie A, but for some reason his form tanks in cups, which doesn't help me...

Hill got a goal or assist in his 3 Euro 2028 games, and an assist at the Confederations Cup, but is regularly booked and is suspended for England's first World Cup game.

Despite impressing the past few seasons (and getting 5 goals in 17 U21 games), Casey has never been promoted. Another error I'm fixing.

Central Midfielders

Anderson (DC, DM/MC) - 22, Newcastle, uncapped
Austin (MC, AMC) - 29, Preston, 1 cap
Day (M/AMR, MC, AMC) - 30, Napoli, uncapped
Doyle (ML/C) - 27, Lazio, 19 caps

Anderson is another surprise callup as he's barely played, though he has once this season and scored. His attributes are really good so I want to see how he does.

Day had been a regular for Tottenham without blowing anyone anyway. Maybe I can find the right role for him.

Strikers

Henry - 27, Blackburn, 5 caps
Neal - 25, Coventry, 1 cap
Stokes (MC, AMC, ST) - 29, Leicester, 6 goals in 37 caps
Stott - 29, West Ham, 10 goals in 17 caps
Taylor - 26, Middlesbrough, 1 cap

Stott tends to either score a goal (or two) or is completely anonymous; he either wins a game or reduces you to effectively 10 men.

In comparison, Stokes has shown that special ability to often pop up at the right time to save the day, and his low return may be due to playing in midfield as much as up front.

Taylor got 4 goals and 3 assists last season in 20 league games, so you see what that says when even he makes the squad. He's physically strong, though, and may have potential to score more.

Henry scored 11 in 33 in the Premier League last season.

Neal got 19 goals and 10 assists in 41(4) games last season.


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v France @ Wembley Stadium, London - 1/9/29

_101089838_gettyimages-492017334-1.jpg

France are just about top of their qualifying group after 6 clean sheets in 9 matches, but were the wrong side of history with a 2-0 loss away to Moldova.

They haven't qualified for a competition since Euro 2024.

Tactics and Selection

With 3 or 4 really physically strong centre-backs, and little depth on the flanks (but top players that can attack and defend there), 5 at the back with wing-backs is the logical conclusion.

--- 10 -- 9 ---
------ 8 ------
--- 7 --- 2 ---
11 ---------- 6
-- 3 -- 5 -- 4 --
------ 1 ------

1 - Duxbury
4 - James
5 - Friar
3 - Burley
6 - Boardman
11 - Williamson
2 - Anderson
7 - Doyle
8 - Stokes (c)
9 - Stott
10 - Holt

Duxbury is my current choice for #1.

Newcastle United's James joins my Manchester United pairing for perhaps the physically strongest defensive line in football today.

Boardman is a midfielder, but a very good tackler. Also takes every set piece.

Young Anderson makes his debut as our defensive midfielder.

Stokes plays at MC, AMC and ST, so hopefully this is the perfect position for England's impact player. With England's usual captain not in the matchday squad, he takes the armband.

Stott, Holt and Stokes are the only England players with 6 or more international goals, so they're the front 3.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

1734317-36684573-1600-900.jpg

(Ranked 1st) England 3 - 0 France (Ranked 13th)
Boardman (14)
Doyle (15)
Neal (70)

France nearly scored in 40 seconds but, after 15 minutes, we'd scored two 30-yarders from the middle of the pitch within 1 minute of each other.

We had 21 shots, though only 9 on target, in England's biggest win over France since 1969.

Ratings

GK - Duxbury - 8 - Made a couple of saves.
Sub - Zabek - 7 - No shots to save for the debutant.
CB - James - 8 (MOTM) - The most interceptions and didn't lose a tackle or header.
CB - Friar - 8
CB - Burley - 8 - Missed a few tackles.
RWB - Boardman - 8 - Opened the scoring and had dangerous free kicks.
Sub - Melvin - 7 - Easy debut.
LWB - Williamson - 7 - Great defending. Goal aside, played better than Boardman.
DM - Anderson - 8 - Highest passes by far with 64. Mature debut.
CM - Doyle - 8 - Several key passes and copied Boardman's goal with his own. On the plane in this form... oh wait, there is no plane if we're hosts...
(Sub) - Austin - 7 - 66% pass completion could be better.
AM - Stokes - 7 - A couple of key passes and shots, but I wanted more.
Sub (for Holt) - Stevens - 7
ST - Stott - 7 - 4 shots in 45 minutes despite physical weaknesses.
Sub - Taylor - 6 - My wildcard striker was injured within minutes.
Sub - Neal - 7 - His replacement, though, scored his first England goal after his initial header rebounded back off the post.
ST - Holt - 7 - Missed a few headers and shots.


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Taylor broke his foot, so he'll miss out on all of 2029 including our 2 remaining friendlies. Devastating for someone who was about to get a chance.

Goalkeeper Butler is injured in training.

I replace them with two uncapped central midfielders:

Jones (MC) - 26, Coventry, uncapped - I needed another defensive player and he's just completed a £15.75m move to Coventry after a good season at Chelsea.
Lea (MC / ST) - 22, Rangers, uncapped - Plays in midfield for club, but I want to see him up front.


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v Iran @ Wembley Stadium, London - 5/9/29

I took charge of Iran and enjoyed their best period since the Revolution, as I took them to the London Olympics, an Asian Cup final and 4 points at the World Cup (including a 3-1 win over current World and Euro champions Scotland).

0_KaebiJPG.jpg

They carried on reaching Asian Cup quarter-finals and World Cups after I left but, after hiring 108-cap legend (and my former player) Hosain Kaebi, they failed to even qualify for the 2026 World Cup or get out of the group stage of the 2027 Asian Cup. They're set to appear at 2030, though.

Kaebi's not the only former player I'm facing off against: I gave 34-year-old defender Fatemi his international debut at 18 in 2013. Today he'll make his 83rd appearance.

As well as good players, they present a new challenge in that they play a flat 3-5-2.

Tactics and Selection

--- 7 -- 9 ---
------ 8 ------
--- 4 --- 10 ---
11 ---------- 6
-- 2 -- 5 -- 3 --
------ 1 ------

1 - Zabek
3 - Burley
5 - Friar
2 - Huckle
6 - Melvin
11 - Casey
10 - Day
4 - Jones
8 - Stokes (c)
9 - Henry
7 - Lea

Zabek makes his full debut in goal so he can be tested.

It's important to keep the back 3 together, but James is injured. Huckle slots right in as another top, physically strong defender.

Day, Jones and my United winger Casey will make their debuts.

Despite many changes, Stokes stays in his position and hopefully he'll have a great game.

Lea makes his first appearance, while his strike partner will hope for his first England goal in his 6th game.

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(1st) England 4 - 1 Iran (56th)
Henry (22) - Foroutan (30)
Melvin (pen 55)
Stott (81)
Holt (90+2)

And score, he did.

It was actually a tougher game, with the last 2 goals only coming at the end. Possession was equal and shots pretty similar too. Iran gave us a good game.

Iran were the better team at the start, but still went behind, and my change to 3-4-3 / 5-2-3 hoof-ball gaves us more of the game. We scored from more open play this time, rather than long-rangers and rebounds.

Ratings

GK - Zabek - 7 - The whole defence was to blame for the goal.
DC - Burley - 8 (MOTM) - Despite an even poorer 'completed tackles' stat (2 in 7), he wins MOTM down to his assist and 16 interceptions.
DC - Friar - 7
Sub - Petty - 7
DC - Huckle - 8 - Most key passes (4).
RWB - Melvin - 7 - Poor in attack, good in defence, just as his attributes said. Scored a penalty.
Sub - Boardman - 7
LWB - Casey - 7 - The debutant assisted our opener before coming off at half-time, having already proved himself.
Sub - Hill - 8 - Got an assist.
MC - Day - 7 (6) - I give him a 6 or a harsh 5. No key passes and less than 50% tackle completion.
MC - Jones - 7 - Another debutant off in 45 minutes. That's a good thing.
Sub - Anderson - 8 - Brilliant performance, getting an assist too. In just 1.5 games, the 22-year-old looks to be in the squad. Hope Newcastle play him this season.
AM - Stokes (c) - 7 (5) - He's a 5 for me. Started in midfield before being pushed forward, but had a poor game: 5 in 14 passes, 4 in 14 headers, 1 in 3 shots, 4 fouls, and no goals or assists. Worrying.
ST - Henry - 7 - Opened the scoring, stropped when subbed.
Sub - Holt - 8 (7) - A nearly silent performance but pounced on a stoppage time goal. Still questions.
ST - Lea - 7 - Didn't pull the trigger early enough, did a bit better in midfield.
Sub (for Day) - Stott - 7 - As I suspected, his below-average physical game is compensated by his gumption and his ability to be at the right place at the right time. While Lea was quiet, Stott got a goal when he took his place.

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A crowd-pleasing start with the top players mostly performing as expected and already booking themselves a place on the plane*, but there is still many places to play for, with 1 friendly and a whole season to go...

*As we're hosts, there probably won't be a plane...
 

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  • git2thachoppa changed the title to [FM 07] Back to 2006 | UPDATE: 2029 England - My Debut With The Hosts

Final Preparations for England 2030

My Second England Squad

This time, I'm leaving out some players who have likely already made the squad, giving a chance to some players who have been in great form so far this season. A lot of new faces.

Goalkeepers

Butler - 25, Norwich, 4 caps
Duxbury - 27, Blackburn, 2 caps
Zabek - 29, West Ham, 2 caps

It's the same 3 keepers. The only other English goalkeeper to performer better than bad is in the SPL, but injured. Butler is still returning from injury himself.

Likely #1 Duxbury has performed well so far this season with a 7.14 average rating in 7 league games.

Centre-Backs

Ellis - 28, West Brom, 1 cap
D. Hill (DR/C) - 22, West Brom, uncapped
Rawlinson - 30, West Brom, uncapped
Uberschar - 22, Rangers, uncapped

Uberschar is actually a United sometimes-wonderkid out on loan, where he's been the best player in the SPL by far with an 8.25 average rating.

England are blessed in this position and competition is top class just to get on the bench, even with three other call-ups getting injured.

Right Wing-Backs and Wingers

Davis (D/WB/M/AMR) - 29, Juventus, 4 goals in 17 caps
Melvin (WB/M/AMR) - 22, Arsenal, 1 goal in 2 caps
Morris (DR) - 31, Newcastle, 1 goal in 38 caps

This is about who will be join Boardman (who had a great Euro 2028, takes every set piece and impressed in my first squad).

Morris doesn't naturally play wing-back, but he's the captain and is good with the ball, so that could work.

Otherwise, Melvin is the standout best of the rest, because he's just slightly above average at the moment.

Scraping the barrel, Davis only gets picked due to being a natural wing-back. The only other options I see are a couple of ineffective wingers for West Ham and West Brom... and a 31-year-old Scot.

Left Wing-Backs and Wingers

Casey (ML/AML) - 23, Man Utd, 1 cap
Cherry (AML) - 29, Norwich, 13 caps
Stevens (M/AML, AMC) - 27, Coventry, 4 caps
Wilson (D/WBL) - 26, Arsenal, 4 caps

Similarly, this is just trying out alternatives to Williamson and Hill, world class left-flankers who have already impressed. The depth is good.

Casey got an assist after just 22 minutes into his England debut.

Cherry has got a 7.25 average rating in his first 8 games for his new club, though only 1 goal and no assists.

Stevens is another with a strong start to the season on the left.

Wilson got 2 assists at Euro 2028.

Central Midfielders

Anderson (DC, DM, MC) - 22, Newcastle, 2 caps
Jones (MC) - 26, Coventry, 1 cap
Kennedy (MC) - 25, Norwich, uncapped
Lea (MC, ST) - 23, Rangers, 1 cap
MacDonald (DM/MC, MR) - 25, Man City, uncapped

Anderson and Jones are late call-ups to replace injured players. Anderson is very likely to make the World Cup, Jones also did well in my last squad.

Attacking Central Midfielders

Austin (MC, AMC) - 29, Preston, 2 caps
Stevens (M/AML, AMC) - 27, Coventry, 4 caps
Ryder (MC, AMC) - 27, Blackburn, uncapped

Stokes failed to perform in this position, so hopefully someone will grab the opportunity.

Strikers

Henry - 27, Blackburn, 1 goal in 6 caps
Holt (DC/ST) - 28, Bayern, 7 goals in 22 caps
Neal - 25, Coventry, 1 goal in 3 caps
Palmer - 26, Preston, 1 cap
Stokes (MC, AMC, ST) - 29, Leicester, 6 goals in 39 caps

No one has scored more than a couple of goals this season. This remains England's weakest-looking area.


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v USA @ Wembley Stadium, London - 6/10/29

TELEMMGLPICT000143294295_trans_NvBQzQNjv

America are going through a dark period after getting knocked out at the very first stage of World Cup qualifying by British Virgin Islands.

Despite regular home advantage and only facing Central American sides (as well as Mali, Wales and Czech Republic), their only win in 4 whole years has come against Guadeloupe.

England have won every meeting except 2: a Confederations Cup precursor in 1993 and the infamous loss in 1950.

Tactics and Selection

5 players will make their debut, with a bench full of players set to be tried in their second positions.

---- 9 --- 8 ----
------ 10 ------
---- 7 --- 6 ----
11 ---------- 3
-- 5 -- 4 -- 2 --
------- 1 -------

1 - Duxbury
2 - D. Hill
4 - Uberschar
5 - Rawlinson
3 - Morris
11 - Cherry
6 - MacDonald
7 - Kennedy
10 - Ryder
8 - Stokes
9 - Palmer

Butler isn't fit and Zabek's form and morale has dropped, so Duxbury gets more experience today.

Captain and stalwart Morris is pushed slightly out of position as right wing-back rather than full-back.

It's an entirely uncapped back 3.

If Stokes, now playing as striker, disappoints for the 3rd friendly in a row, he risks being a shock exclusion.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

(Ranked 2nd) England 2 - 1 USA (Ranked 131st)
Ryder (27)
Austin (64) - Cropper (90+3)

USA sat back but still went behind to another England long-ranger. They attacked in the second half, but the lead doubled, though they got a stoppage time consolation.

Ratings

GK - Duxbury - 6
CB - D. Hill - 7
Sub - Ellis - 6
CB - Uberschar - 7 - Dominated in the air, winning all 10 headers.
Sub - Holt - 6
CB - Rawlinson - 7
RWB - Morris - 6 - Had no real problem out of position at wing-back or centre-back, except being beaten for the goal.
Sub - Davis - 7
LWB - Cherry - 7 - Decent, but fouled plenty due to his poor defensive ability. Too many others ahead of him.
Sub - Wilson - 7
DM - Kennedy - 7
Sub - Lea - 7
CM - MacDonald - 7 - Given a free role but did little with it. Got fouled 5 times though.
AM - Ryder - 7 - Scored a long-range curler and had a couple more shots.
Sub - Austin - 7 - Scored the second, though it was a deflected pass. Gave a lot of effort.
ST - Stokes - 7 - Another game with no goals.
ST - Palmer - 6 - Kicking himself after missing a couple of great chances and getting caught offside 7 times!

All 3 friendlies have been played. The next game will be the World Cup.

Form and injuries will still decide several places, but I know most of my first team for the first game. As long as they stay in-form that is.

Rather than play an AMC, I might use my Man Utd / Valenciennes tactic of a row of 3 MCs with the outside 2 going forward. There's no more friendlies to try this, though. Let's see what happens.

Next is the England 2030 World Cup draw and England's World Cup squad. Rest assured, I won't be taking any crocked Man Utd players or random 17-year-olds!

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  • git2thachoppa changed the title to [FM 07] Back to 2006 | UPDATE: 2029 England - Final Friendly
21 hours ago, Nobby_McDonald said:

Christ you have an inexperienced squad.

I looked at Southgate's last England squad and it's not too bad. National teams play a lot, lot less in the game. Small non-Euro nations can only have 2 games every 4 years. Friendlies are rarer too so hosts (like England this time) will usually have no games for 2-3 years except the Confederations Cup.

And back in FM 07 there's only a few friendly dates per year and none before a World Cup, so that's why I could only make 3 friendlies.

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  • 2 weeks later...

England's World Cup Draw and Final Squad

Draw

2df670ee31e09a75537bfd2a01198203

I curse as our name is drawn (top seeds are drawn last). No fixing it for the hosts this time - we're in one of the harder groups, which is beside current Euro and back-to-back World champions and rivals Scotland too.

Group B opponents:

Italy - A good pedigree, although haven't got out of the group stage of a tournament since Euro 2024, scoring 1 goal in 6 games but only conceding 3. Hopefully get a draw.

Iraq - First World Cup since 2014, where they got 2 draws. Won the 2023 Asian Cup and reached the semis 4 years later. Should be beaten, especially as we beat Iran (who finished above them) 4-1.

Colombia - Exited the group stage of 2018 and 2022, didn't even qualify for 2026. Expect a win, but could be a draw.


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england-squad.jpg

My 2030 World Cup Squad

Some big news and surprises.

Goalkeepers

1. Duxbury - 28, Blackburn, 3 caps
13. Smith - 23, Southampton, uncapped
20. Butler - 26, Norwich, 4 caps

Duxbury's average rating of 7.03 means he confirms his place as England's #1.

I sold the disappointing Butler in the summer, but he responded with a similar rating and just 1 mistake, so he's in.

The #3 choice was a choice between experience or youth Both Hutchings, the 38-year-old former #1, and Smith had above-7.00 seasons.

Centre-backs

3. Huckle (DR/L/C) - 29, Arsenal, 2 goals in 29 caps
4. James - 29, Newcastle, 31 caps
5. Moran - 32, Newcastle, 2 goals in 33 caps
14. Friar - 25, Man Utd, 6 caps
23. Uberschar - 22, Man Utd, 1 cap
+ Anderson

Friar (7.15) and James (7.30) were obvious picks.

Huckle had a slightly under-par season (6.93), but is an England regular who got two 8s for me and provides full back cover too.

Moran had a great season (7.17) and can hopefully continue his form if called on.

Playing 3 at the back, a backup spot was left. Burley, who I sold in the winter, had a strong season with high interceptions. But once-wonderkid Uberschar also had a great season on loan at Rangers (7.47) and England debut, so he squeaked in.

Right Backs, Wing-Backs and Wingers

6. Boardman (M/AMR) - 27, Newcastle, 4 goals in 12 caps
16. Melvin (WB/M/AMR) - 23, Arsenal, 1 goal in 2 caps
+ Huckle

Long-time captain Morris (DR) is completely dropped! Melvin had a breakout season, getting 13 assists, and Morris' under-par form has cost him!

Boardman had a poor season, but he can turn it on when putting on the England shirt. Hopefully he can return to his Euro 2028 form, when he scored in 3 of England's 4 games.

Left Backs, Wing-Backs and Wingers

7. Williamson (WB/M/AML) - 29, Inter, 19 caps
11. Casey (ML/AML) - 24, Man Utd, 1 cap
12. Hill (ML/AML) - 26, Roma, 1 goal in 8 caps
+ Doyle, Huckle

Ok, there's 3 players in this 1 position, but Hill is suspended for 1 game and Casey is a player I know and trust. Plus, I know he can play in my Man Utd-style midfield central 3, if I need to change tactics.

Hill had a 7.17 season.

Williamson only made 5 starts and 6 sub appearances, but earned a reputation as a super sub, often needing only 10 minutes to score or assist.

Central Midfielders

2. Anderson (DC, DM/MC) - 23, Newcastle, 2 caps
15. Jones - 27, Coventry, 1 cap
17. Doyle (ML/C) - 28, Lazio, 1 goal in 20 caps
+ Austin, Lea, Ryder

Anderson was a surprise callup for my first friendlies, but gave two '8' performances and an assist. He only played a handful of games this season, but the fact he's completing a move to Man Utd in the summer says how much I rate him.

After Anderson, the quality and depth isn't great.

Doyle came off the bench as much as he started for Lazio, but has always performed very highly for England and impressed in my first friendly.

Jones got 6.96 this season, but made key passes in seemingly every single game.

Attacking Central Midfielders

8. Austin (MC, AMC) - 29, Preston, 1 goal in 3 caps
18. Ryder (MC, AMC) - 28, Blackburn, 1 goal in 1 cap

England stalwart Stokes, who underperformed in friendlies, is injured for a few weeks, so the choice whether to drop him is made for me.

Ryder scored a long range curler on his England debut and had an OK season with 5 assists.

Austin had a slightly better season, but fewer assists.

Strikers

9. Stott - 30, West Ham, 11 goals in 19 caps
10. Henry - 28, Blackburn, 1 goal in 6 caps
19. Lea - 23, Norwich, 2 caps
21. Palmer - 27, Preston, 2 caps
22. Taylor - 27, Middlesbrough, 2 caps

Goalscoring was a real worry, especially now Neal, the top English goalscorer in the league with 11 goals (and 9 assists), is injured.

Another England regular, Holt, is dropped for new faces.

Stott puts himself about, despite 13s in Strength and Pace and 12 Jumping. But he only scored 3 goals in 24(1) league appearances.

Henry got double figures for the 2nd season in a row.

Palmer missed a couple of chances and kept getting caught offside when I tried him out. He scored 11 goals his season, though.

Taylor broke his foot within minutes of making his England debut, so I never got to see him. But he's very strong in the air, so provides an alternative plan. He got 4 goals in 14(9) games.


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gettyimages-511228414-1024x729.jpg


As a precursor, Gary Neville's England U19s got 7 points in Euro 2030 qualification, but Scotland took the spot due to goal difference. It's the first time they've failed to qualify in 5 years.


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  • git2thachoppa changed the title to [FM 07] Back to 2006 | UPDATE: England 2030 World Cup Hosts' Squad + Draw

England at the England 2030 World Cup

 


England expects.

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=======================================================================
 

v Italy @ Villa Park, Birmingham - 8/6/30

villa-park-guide.jpg

Italy haven't escaped the group stage of their last 2 tournaments, only scoring once.

England haven't won in the last 5 meetings.

We'll be going up against Man Utd's young centre-back breakout star Rabatti, who was the best player in the Premier League this season after making his debut.

Team News

I thought about using my Man Utd tactics, but we've beaten France 3 - 0, Iran 4 - 1 and USA 2 - 1 (with a B team) with 5-2-1-2. So if it ain't broke, I won't fix it.

There are a few players with poor morale, but I'm not worrying about that.

------ ST ---- ST------
--------- AM ---------
----- CM ---DM -----
WBL ------------ WBR
---CB -- CB -- CB ---
--------- GK ----------

GK: Duxbury
CB: James
CB: Friar
CB: Huckle
WBR: Melvin
WBL: Williamson
DM: Anderson
CM: Doyle
AM: Ryder
ST: Henry
ST: Stott (c)

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ince1_3248750b.jpg

(Ranked 3rd) England 1 - 0 Italy (Ranked 12th)
Roscioli own goal (35)

It was a crazy winner - a headed clearance outside the area went toward (??) their goal and soared into the net. We had several chances to score more while our defence did well to keep a clean sheet.

A win's a win, especially in the 1st game against the 2nd seed.

Ratings

GK: Duxbury - 8 (MOTM) - Confidently collected balls and won every battle.
CB: James - 8
CB: Friar - 7
CB: Huckle - 7
WBR: Melvin - 7 - Chased players endlessly.
WBL: Williamson - 7
DM: Anderson - 7
CM: Doyle - 7
Sub (76): Jones - 6
AM: Ryder - 7
ST: Henry - 7
Sub (45): Palmer - 7
ST: Stott (c) - 7 - Was in the aerial duel that caused the own goal.
Sub (64): Taylor - 7


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v Iraq @ Stamford Bridge, London - 13/6/30

chelsea.jpg

Iraq are one of Asia's better teams, after winning the Asian Cup in 2023 and reaching the semis 4 years later.

They lost to Colombia 3 - 1, after taking the lead in just 24 seconds.

Team News

------ ST ---- ST------
--------- AM ---------
----- CM ---DM -----
WBL ------------ WBR
---CB -- CB -- CB ---
--------- GK ----------

GK: Duxbury
CB: James
CB: Friar
CB: Huckle (c)
WBR: Melvin
WBL: Casey*
DM: Anderson
CM: Doyle
AM: Austin*
ST: Lea*
ST: Taylor*

*Change

Several changes are made due to players having low condition despite a 5-day rest.

Friar and Doyle remain despite their fatigue.

I pick Man Utd's Casey over Hill to replace Williamson. Williamson's tackling was poor. Against possibly a defensive side, Casey is a better dribbler than Hill. Plus, if I change to my Man Utd 4-1-3-2 / 4-3-1-2, I already know he can play in the 3.

Austin replaces Ryder due to low condition.

Lea and Taylor come in as the best dribblers to replace Henry and Stott (though Henry's our best dribbler overall).

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Wayne_Rooney_1661667c.jpg

(3rd) England 0 - 0 Iraq (59th)

Iraq have a goal seemingly wrongly ruled out for offside.

We have 10 shots but no goals - we need a goalscorer.

Consistent young defensive midfielder Anderson was injured and will be out for 2 weeks.

Ratings

GK: Duxbury - 6 - Iraq had 5 shots on target, but it's another clean sheet. Beaten for the 'offside' goal though.
CB: James - 7
CB: Friar - 7
CB: Huckle (c) - 7
WBR: Melvin - 7
WBL: Casey - 7
DM: Anderson - 7 - Injured
Sub (59): Jones - 7
CM: Doyle - 7
Sub (ST, 70): Henry - 6
AM: Austin - 7
ST: Lea - 7
ST: Taylor - 7
Sub (70): Stott - 6


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=======================================================================


v Colombia @ Wembley, London - 18/6/30

TELEMMGLPICT000216207915_trans_NvBQzQNjv

Italy beat Colombia, so a win or draw against Colombia sees us through. If we lose, we'd only possibly qualify if Iraq beat Italy and don't place above us on goal difference.

mondragon.jpg.jpg

Former international and Galatasaray goalkeeper Faryd Mondragón has been in charge of his country for 12 years. They missed the last World Cup and haven't got out the group stage since 2014. So far they've beaten Iraq 3 - 1 but lost to Italy 2 - 0. They need to better Italy's result against Iraq.

Team News

I said if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Well, we have 4 points, but fluked a win over Italy and probably should've lost 1 - 0 to Iraq. We've kept 2 clean sheets, which would see us through this time, but both our opponents had chances. So it's time for a change, otherwise I'll always be wondering "what if?"

We're changing from the 3-5-2 to the Man Utd 4-1-3-2. This will hopefully make us a bit more defensively stable, especially as we just need a draw. Our strikers have had plenty chances, that's not the problem, it's just the personnel. So the other thing this tactical change will do will bring in the midfielders to have chances too. Maybe they'll score instead.

------- ST --- ST-------
-- CM -- CM -- CM --
---------- DM ----------
DL -- CB -- CB -- DR
---------- GK ----------

GK: Duxbury
DR: Melvin
CB: James
CB: Friar
LB: Huckle (c)
DM: Jones*
CM: Boardman*
CM: Lea
CM: Casey
ST: Palmer*
ST: Stott*

*Change

We don't have any natural right-backs, but wing-back Melvin shouldn't have a problem. If he does, I can play a centre-back there instead.

DM was to be Anderson's perfect role, but he's injured now, so CM Jones plays there out of position.

Boardman comes in as a dribbler, finisher, crosser, tackler and passer.

Striker Lea moves to his other position. He is a very pacey dribbler.

Casey moves to his familiar Man Utd position on the left of a midfield 3.

Stott had a hand in our only goal against France while Palmer, though not a dribbler, beat his man 5 times and had chances, plus he's physically better.

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_75756889_neville-foul_getty.jpg

(3rd) England 0 - 1 Colombia (36th)
Macías (pen 49)
Jones red card (81)

England do what England do. With Colombia sitting back, we played more a 4-3-3 and 2-2-3-1-2 (2 wing-backs and an AMC). A few chances came our way, then centre-back James stuck out a leg and brought down a Colombian to allow them to take the lead through a "controversial" penalty.

Despite Colombia sitting back, they had a lot of possession and no big England chance came for the rest of the game. If anything, 2 - 0 seemed more likely than 1 - 1. Then Jones, only playing due to Anderson's injury, lost his head.

Italy beat Iraq easily, so it's England's first failure to get out of the group stage since 2014.

Ratings

GK: Duxbury - 7 - Stopped it being 2 - 0
DR: Melvin - 6 - Slightly more spritely than the rest
CB: James - 6 - Had he not cost England, it would've been an 8/10 performance
CB: Friar - 7 - One of only 2 players who can hold his head up high with an all-action performance of tackles, headers and interceptions
DL: Huckle - 6
CM: Boardman - 6
Sub (45): Doyle - 6
CM: Jones - 5 - A decent showing before a stupid red card
CM: Casey - 6
ST: Lea - 7 (6) - More like a 6
Sub (77): Henry - 6
ST: Palmer - 6
ST: Stott (c) - 6 - A yellow after 5 fouls meant I couldn't risk keeping him on
Sub (AMC, 61): Ryder - 7


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=======================================================================

Aftermath and Ratings

In the post-match interview, I'm in the unique position of being a temporary manager anyway, so I'm not diplomatic in my final day of the job.

I had feared there weren't goals in the team, as the Confederations Cup before me had showed. The players scored in friendlies, so really we just saw their ability to always choke on the big stage.

"I tried my best, but there's nothing you can do when you have a mentality to always give away a penalty in the final game".

I point out that England had no chance of winning anyway because no one could score, so does it really matter?

beckham2.jpg

Over the next day, James, the fouler, is made a scapegoat, as does Jones who got a late red card for a two-footed tackle to make a difficult job impossible. In reality, all but one or two players in the squad that played are ripe for criticism. I avoid it, as the question is more 'how can we win anything if even a manager who overcame Newcastle to win the Premier League doesn't improve things?' and 'why did the players play well in friendlies but choke again at the finals?'

waddle.jpg

Chris Waddle rants about the need for an overhaul at the FA and how bad the infrastructure is. "We should be lookin' at what Scotland are doin'!"

I later make comments that I was right to reject the England job years ago, as I feared this 'choking' culture was waiting. Asked how I feel now, I reply "relief that I only took it short-term". Back to the more upbeat and successful surrounds of Manchester United, 2030 Premier League winners and 2028 European and World champions...

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

My Squad Ratings

Goalkeepers

1. Duxbury - 8
13. Smith - N/A
20. Butler - N/A

The only goals Duxbury conceded was the penalty and the controversial Iraq goal ruled out. Without him, we would've conceded more. He had a good tournament.

Centre-Backs

14. Friar - 8
3. Huckle (DR/L/C) - 7
4. James - 5
5. Moran - N/A
23. Uberschar - N/A

I feared Friar's club mistakes would appear for England, but he was near flawless and was the only defender with a prideful performance in the final game.

Huckle did fine, but missed a lot of tackles against Colombia.

No one who directly costs a team the entire tournament can get more than a 5. Without the mistake, James was an 8.

Right-Backs, Wing-Backs and Wingers

16. Melvin (WB/M/AMR) - 7
6. Boardman (M/AMR) - 5

Melvin's stellar performance against Italy was followed by quiet ones, but he was one of the better players against Colombia.

Boardman only played the final game, out of position, but was lifeless.

Left-Backs, Wing-Backs and Wingers

11. Casey (ML/AML) - 7
7. Williamson (WB/M/AML) - 6
12. Hill (ML/AML) - N/A

Casey played out of position at left wing-back and then left-central midfield, but still did a job. No key passes and only 1 shot though.

Williamson only played against Italy. Defensively rubbish but made a contribution in attack.

Central Midfielders

17. Doyle (ML/C) - 7
2. Anderson (DC, DM/MC) - 6
15. Jones - 5

Doyle did well against Italy, a bit missing against Iraq, and failed to make an impact as a half-time sub in the final game.

Anderson quietly did his defensive job. Unfortunately injured for the 3rd game.

Jones came off the bench twice and did fine, and his start against Colombia was good... then he went in 2-footed with the country needing a goal. Idiot.

Attacking Central Midfielders

8. Austin (MC, AMC) - 7
18. Ryder (MC, AMC) - 7

Austin played fine against Iraq.

Ryder played better against Italy, but didn't make an impact when we needed a goal against Colombia.

Strikers

9. Stott - 6
10. Henry - 3
19. Lea - 5
21. Palmer - 5

22. Taylor - 6

Stott forced the Italy own goal, but that's all he really did.

Taylor made 2 impactful sub appearances, except he didn't score.

Lea did ok, but didn't score.

Palmer scared Italy when he came on, but was quiet against Colombia

Henry's contribution in 1 start and 2 sub appearances was a few passes and a couple of runs.

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It's not coming home, and it never will with this toxic mentality.

As I leave, the favourite to replace me is League Two Doncaster's manager. Other contenders are the managers of League One Reading and SPL's Livingston.

 

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  • git2thachoppa changed the title to [FM 07] Back to 2006 | UPDATE: Leading England @ England 2030 World Cup!

Didn't  expect that either, despite remembering that scoring in international matches is much harder due to more defensive football. 

I fear for both Js (James and Jones). May the Sun forget their sins.

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On 06/01/2020 at 22:38, Nobby_McDonald said:

Oh dear. That was shocking!

 

22 hours ago, Ales said:

Didn't  expect that either, despite remembering that scoring in international matches is much harder due to more defensive football. 

I fear for both Js (James and Jones). May the Sun forget their sins.

I don't think the teams even played defensive (other than Colombia, ironically the only team to beat us). I feared in the very first post that we had no goalscorers, then the top English goalscorer this season got injured. It's no surprise we scored no goals!

Still, I do have the best win percentage of any England manager. :D (Assuming none of the in-game ones beat me.)

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  • 3 weeks later...

2029/30 International Football Review

England 2030 Centenary World Cup Qualification

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UEFA

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Group 1

Switzerland - 28
Scotland - 24

----------------
Finland - 21
Slovenia - 18
Cyprus - 15
Latvia - 6
Armenia - 6

Defending back-to-back World champions and current Euro champions Scotland qualify as one of the best runner-ups.

Scotland thought they'd saved an embarrassing result in Armenia with an 87th-minute winner, but Armenia equalised 3 minutes later against one of the greatest teams in recent time to draw and get the biggest result in their history.


Group 2

Wales - 26
Italy - 25

--------------------
Lithuania - 17
Croatia - 17
Sweden - 15
Kazakhstan - 7
Luxembourg - 4


Group 3

Albania - 24*
-----------------
Russia - 24*
-----------------
Portugal - 22
Northern Ireland - 14
Azerbaijan - 14
Iceland - 12
Andorra - 1
*Head-to-head: Albania 4 - 3 Russia

On the final day, Albania went to Azerbaijan while Russia hosted Iceland. Whoever won would qualify. Both matches ended 1-1 however, so Albania reached their first ever tournament, thanks to the head-to-head tiebreaker!


Group 4

Austria - 22*
---------------
France - 22*
---------------
Ukraine - 22*
Montenegro - 21
Hungary - 18
Moldova - 8
San Marino - 2
*H2H: Austria - 7 pts, France - 5 pts, Ukraine - 4 pts

On the final day, Austria, France and Ukraine were all on 21 points, with the latter two facing each other, so even the head-to-head tiebreaker was yet to be confirmed.

France and Ukraine drew 0 - 0, while Austria missed a penalty as they also drew 1 - 1 at home to Hungary, thus Austria reach the World Cup, a competition they've never qualified for since reaching the final in 2018.

So, despite 9 clean sheets in the 12 matches, France have to go through the playoffs to avoid 3 qualifying disasters in a row.

Emil Caras' Moldova opened the campaign with a shock 2-0 win over France.


Group 5

Belarus - 22
----------------------
Netherlands - 14
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Malta - 13
Greece - 10
Israel - 9
Republic of Ireland - 9

Andrey Dovnar's Belarus stunned everyone by reaching the World Cup unbeaten.

After a European Championship-best performance of reaching the semis, Republic of Ireland finished bottom.


Group 6

Spain - 17*
-----------------
Slovakia - 17*
-----------------
Macedonia - 15
Serbia - 14
Turkey - 11
Estonia - 5
*H2H - Spain 3 - 1 Slovakia


Group 7

Romania - 20
--------------------
Bulgaria - 19
--------------------
Denmark - 16
Czech Republic - 15
Liechtenstein - 5
Georgia - 4

Razvan Lucescu's Romania got the 0-0 draw at home to Ilian Iliev's Bulgaria to qualify for their first World Cup since 1998.

Liechtenstein enjoyed 4 points against Georgia, a 1 - 1 draw against Czech Rep., and goals against Denmark and Bulgaria too!


Group 8

Bosnia & Herzegovina - 19
---------------------------------
Norway - 16*
---------------------------------
Poland - 16*
Germany - 16*
Belgium - 14
Faroe Islands - 0
*H2H: Norway - 6 pts, Poland - 5 pts, Germany - 3 pts

Goran Topic's Bosnia & Herzegovina dominated to qualify with 2 games to spare.

4 teams were in contention for the playoff spot, but it was Norway who got the win they needed, albeit a late winner at home to Faroe Islands on a very nervy day.

Frank-Rost-ist-Sohn-ehemaliger-Handball-

No German Kuntz to knock out England this time! Frank Rost was sacked after 4 years that saw a round of 16 exit followed by a quarter-final elimination at Euro 2028, and now this disaster. He's replaced with Borussia Mochengladbach manager Raphael Schafer. (While Rost takes his place at the club!)


Playoffs (aggregate)

Bulgaria 1 - 0 Netherlands (AET)
France 2 - 3 Slovakia
Norway 1 - 3 Russia

France needed one more late goal to end their barren run of no tournaments since 2024 but, in stoppage time, a harmless Slovakian free kick going wide was chased and knocked in by a French defender to confirm Slovakia's qualification.

skysports-football-maarten-stekelenburg_

A 110th-minute goal from Man Utd's Hristov spelled disaster for Maarten Stekelenburg's Netherlands, who failed to qualify for the first time since 2002! He was sacked and replaced with Sevilla manager Marco van Hoogdalem.

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CONCACAF

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1st Phase, 2nd Round

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It was bound to happen after all the close calls and their fall from grace... USA were knocked out at the 1st phase of qualifying for the first time ever, losing 3-1 on aggregate to British Virgin Islands.

An 89th-minute corner saw Cayman Islands beat 2025 Gold Cup winners Honduras on away goals.

After appearing at the last World Cup, Turks and Caicos Islands scored an 84th-minute winner... but Nicaragua scored 3 minutes later and won on penalties to knock them out!

Panama lost 7-1 on aggregate to Montserrat.


2nd Phase

Montserrat topped their group for a shock appearance in the final hexagonal.

Trinidad & Tobago sacked their manager after losing 5-0 at home to Guatemala and only scoring 1 goal in 5 games.

Jeaustin Campos was sacked after 7 years as Costa Rica manager, after failing again to reach the hexagonal.


Hexagonal

On the final day, Kyle Lightbourne's Bermuda and El Salvador battled for the final automatic qualifying spot. Needing a win, El Salvador fell 2-1 in Guatemala, allowing tiny Bermuda to spark emotional celebrations with an 88th minute goal that confirmed a 3-1 win over Canada!

Guatemala qualified for their second ever World Cup with a game to spare.

Final Group Standings

Mexico - 23
Guatemala - 20
Bermuda - 15

----------------------
El Salvador - 13
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Canada - 7
Montserrat - 7

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CAF

Logo_CAF.jpg

First Round

Sierra Leone have fallen far since the glory days of reaching the semis and quarters of the AFCoN and the 2010 World Cup respectively. They were eliminated 5-3 on aggregate by Swaziland.


Group Stage

In a group of minnows, Mozambique got a nervy draw in Uganda to beat Musa Mguni's Zimbabwe to their first ever World Cup. Also, Equatorial Guinea's late winner in Malawi meant they leapfrogged their opponents on head-to-head to qualify for their first Africa Cup of Nations in 16 years.

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In Group 4, Ivory Coast failed to break their World Cup curse (22 years of hurt despite 5 out of 6 AFCoN trophies between 2008 and 2018). Cameroon, meanwhile, collapsed under Meyong Zé after Jean-Paul Okono's retirement, losing in Burkina Faso and Angola before drawing with Sudan. Thus John Obi Mikel's Nigeria reach their 6th consecutive World Cup.

In Group 5 (which is always the group of death) Morocco, South Africa and Tunisia all finished on 17 points. But it was the hosts of the next AFCoN, South Africa, who qualified on head-to-head.

Elsewhere, Makan Dembélé's Mali reached back-to-back World Cups and the Democratic Republic of Congo returned after 12 years away.

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AFC

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Second Round

Japan finished bottom of a group with Jordan, Pakistan and Lebanon.

Needing an historic win at home to South Korea on the final day, Vietnam were 2-0 up. But 2 late goals saw the Koreans squeak through to the next round at their and Syria's expense.

Australia sacked Serdar Pir after a 2022 World Cup quarter-final was followed by twice in a row now failing to even make the final round of qualifying. He's replaced with Tahj Minniecon.


Third Round

Group A

Saudi Arabia - 11
Uzbekistan - 11

---------------------
China - 6
---------------------
Jordan - 3

On the final day, 2026 semi-finalists Uzbekistan wound down the clock in China knowing a draw was all they needed, but China pounced on a mistake in the 85th minute. However, the Uzbeks scored 2 even later goals, including a 50-yard free-kick, to ruin China's day.

Group B

Iran - 9
Iraq - 8
*
---------------------
South Korea - 8*
---------------------
U.A.E. - 6
*Head-To-Head: Iraq 3 - 2 South Korea

South Korea's decision to sack their manager after the Confederations Cup backfired, as Iraq got the final-day win they needed against them to leapfrog them.


Playoff (aggregate)

China 2 - 0 South Korea

Really backfired...

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CONMEBOL

ConmebolIMG.jpg

Group Stage

Argentina - 37
Brazil - 36
Colombia - 26
Chile - 25

--------------------
Uruguay - 24
--------------------
Paraguay - 23
Venezuela - 22
Ecuador - 20
Bolivia - 19
Peru - 13

For once, the final placings were more traditional, although Venezuela were still in contention for qualification on the final day, and Peru finished rock bottom after two World Cup appearances in a row.


CONCACAF - CONMEBOL Playoff (agg.)

El Salvador 3 - 3 Uruguay
El Salvador win 2 - 0 on away goals

A change in manager worked better for El Salvador. Their new manager guided them to the playoffs and then an upset victory over Alejandro Cardozo's Uruguay to qualify for the first time since 1982!

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OFC

OFC_Logo_WEB.jpg

OFC Playoff (agg.)

New Caledonia 2 - 3 New Zealand

The day is coming when someone beats New Zealand to reach the final playoff, but New Caledonia couldn't take advantage of their 2 - 1 first leg win.

AFC - OFC Playoff (agg.)

China 2 - 0 New Zealand

It was 16 years since the last World Cup for both countries.

========================================================================


2030 OFC Nations Cup

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Fiji broke New Zealand's 4-tournament streak to win their 2nd trophy.

Travis Medhurst's New Zealand choked as they backed off in the second leg only to go down 3-0 (4-1 on aggregate), before going on the front foot and nearly saving the day with 2 goals, despite going down to 10 men. The Kiwis were 5 minutes away from not even reaching the final, for the first time since Australia left in 2006, but two late corners - 1 against New Caledonia and 1 in the simultaneous Cook Islands v Fiji match, confirmed that disaster was averted.

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South Africa 2030 Africa Cup of Nations

Abdoulaye Diaby's Ivory Coast won their first AFCoN in 6 tournaments after beating Morocco 1-0.

Hosts South Africa were knocked out easily by the runner-up 2-0 in the quarter-finals.

John Obi Mikel's Nigeria were knocked out on 'goals scored' after Cameroon scored a 3rd against Zambia in the 89th minute, while Algeria simultaneously scored a final-minute stoppage time winner against them.

Tunisia were knocked out after failing to score at all against Gabon, surprise quarter-finalists Libya and South Africa.

========================================================================


England 2030 World Cup Group Draw

In order of likely finish:

Group A
Scotland - 2022 and 2026 World Champions, Euro 2028 winners
Romania - First World Cup in 32 years
Guatemala - First World Cup in 20 years
Democratic Republic of Congo

Group B
England - Hosts
Italy
Colombia
Iraq - First World Cup in 16 years

Group C
Mexico
Mali
Austria
Belarus - First tournament in 14 years

Group D
Brazil - 2026 runner-up, 2029 Confederations Cup winners
Nigeria - Qualified for every World Cup since 2006
Saudi Arabia
Albania - First ever tournament

Group E
Spain - 2026 semi-finalists
Switzerland
South Africa
China - First WC in 16 years

Group F
Russia
Iran
Slovakia
Mozambique - World Cup debut

Group G
Wales
Bulgaria - Euro 2028 semi-finalists
Chile
El Salvador - First WC in 48 years

Group H
Argentina - Failed to get out of groups since winning back-to-back in 2018, 2027 Copa América winners
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Uzbekistan - 2026 WC fairytale run to semis
Bermuda - WC debut

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  • git2thachoppa changed the title to [FM 07] Back to 2006 | UPDATE: 2030 WCQ - Minnow giantkillings!

England 2030 World Cup Centenary

rkVAI2I.jpg

Favourites

Evens - Argentina, Brazil
6/4 - Italy, Scotland
2/1 - England, Spain

The bookies think it'll be tight, but it's hard to look past current European champions Scotland, who also won the last 2 World Cups by destroying the hosts in each final!


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=============================================================================


Group A

(In order of likely finish)

Scotland - 2022 and 2026 World Champions, Euro 2028 winners
Romania - First World Cup in 32 years
Guatemala - First World Cup in 20 years
Democratic Republic of Congo

hcistrzpc1suigyhaj2l.jpg

DR Congo 0 - 0 Scotland
Scotland missed numerous chances, then the match petered out. One of the biggest shocks in African history!

Romania 2 - 1 Guatemala

Guatemala 0 - 0 DR Congo
2 shots on target in a match no one wanted.

Scotland 1 - 0 Romania

Romania 2 - 1 DR Congo
Romania had a man sent off in just 6 minutes,

Guatemala 2 - 2 Scotland
You would've thought Guatemala were the world champions! They controlled the first half with 10 shots. But both times that they scored a sensational goal, Man Utd striker Reilly immediately equalised as Scotland avoided disaster.

Table

Romania - 6
Scotland - 5

------------------------------------------------
Guatemala - 2
Democratic Republic of Congo - 2


Group B

England - Hosts
Italy
Colombia
Iraq - First World Cup in 16 years

England 1 - 0 Italy
A freak own goal gives England the win.

Colombia 3 - 1 Iraq
Iraq scored in just 24 seconds.

England 0 - 0 Iraq

Italy 2 - 0 Iraq
Italy scored in just 14 seconds.

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England 0 - 1 Colombia
Needing just a draw, England throw it away by, of course, conceding a second-half penalty.

Italy 2 - 0 Colombia

Table

Italy - 6 (+3 GD)
Colombia - 6 (+1 GD)

--------------------------------
England - 4
Iraq - 1


Group C

Mexico
Mali
Austria
Belarus - First tournament in 14 years

Mexico 1 - 0 Belarus

Austria 2 - 0 Mali

Mali 2 - 0 Belarus

Austria 0 - 1 Mexico

Mexico 1 - 0 Mali
Mali held on for dear life, but fell to a stoppage time set piece routine.

Belarus 1 - 1 Austria
Belarus dominated most of the game, but blazed so many chances over the bar or wide. They only scored in stoppage time, but could've got the win they needed if they finished better.

Table

Mexico - 9
Austria - 4

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Mali - 3
Belarus - 1


Group D

Brazil - 2026 runner-up, 2029 Confederations Cup winners
Nigeria - Qualified for every World Cup since 2006
Saudi Arabia
Albania - First ever tournament

Brazil 1 - 0 Nigeria

Saudi Arabia 1 - 0 Albania

Nigeria 1 - 0 Saudi Arabia
A 93rd-minute winner keeps Nigeria in control of their destiny.

Albania 1 - 1 Brazil

Nigeria 3 - 1 Albania

Brazil 3 - 0 Saudi Arabia

Table

Brazil - 7
Nigeria - 6

-----------------------
Saudi Arabia - 3
Albania - 1


Group E

Spain - 2026 semi-finalists
Switzerland
South Africa
China - First WC in 16 years

Spain 1 - 0 China
Spain steamrolled China, but could only score once.

South Africa 2 - 0 Switzerland
A dominant win.

Switzerland 1 - 1 Spain
Spain had a penalty saved, but finally scored a 91st-minute equaliser against 10-man Switzerland.

China 1 - 1 South Africa
Another penalty saved as South Africa have to settle for a point.

Spain 1 - 0 South Africa
Both teams only needed a draw, but a set-piece was South Africa's undoing. If China win their game 2 - 0, we'll see the 2nd-ever drawing of lots.

China 2 - 0 Switzerland
The Chinese easily swept Switzerland aside.

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China and South Africa ended up on equal everything, so a drawing of lots was required for the 2nd time in just 5 tournaments! (The game resorts to alphabetical order, but I try to use a random number generator or virtual coin toss when possible, and luckily it's landed on the same result as the game so far.)

Table

Spain - 7
China - 4*

------------------------
South Africa - 4*
Switzerland - 1
*Goal Difference: +1, Goals Scored: 3, Head-To-Head: 1 - 1, Fair Play: 1 yellow each


Group F

Russia
Iran
Slovakia
Mozambique - World Cup debut

mambas5up.jpg

Mozambique 0 - 0 Russia
Mozambique hit the post but also gifted Russia a couple of chances. An historic point!

Slovakia 3 - 1 Iran
Iran took the lead in just 9 minutes. 10 minutes later, they were behind...

Iran 0 - 0 Russia
Iran dominated and should've scored when a Russian goal kick was cut short to create a 2-on-1, but the pass to the free man in front of an open goal went forwards, and thus was offside.

Slovakia 0 - 0 Mozambique
Slovakia had 21 shots, but only 4 on target.

Russia 1 - 0 Slovakia

Mozambique 0 - 0 Iran
0 shots on target for Mozambique's 3rd 0-0 draw.

Table

Russia - 5
Slovakia - 4

------------------------
Mozambique - 3
Iran - 2


Group G

Wales
Bulgaria - Euro 2028 semi-finalists
Chile
El Salvador - First WC in 48 years

El Salvador 0 - 0 Chile
El Salvador nearly scored just 27 seconds into their debut, and had a couple more clear cut chances!

Wales 1 - 0 Bulgaria
Bulgaria failed to take advantage of Wales' red card. In fact, they went behind and lost!

Chile 2 - 1 Wales
Yet another penalty saved, this time a Welsh one, but the rebound was crossed back in for an equaliser. Chile, however, scored a 91st minute winner after a Welsh sending off.

Bulgaria 0 - 0 El Salvador
Domination isn't equating to goals in this tournament. 18 shots from Bulgaria, not one went in.

Bulgaria 0 - 2 Chile

Wales 2 - 1 El Salvador

Table

Chile - 7
Wales - 6

-----------------
El Salvador - 2
Bulgaria - 1


Group H

Argentina - Failed to get out of groups since winning back-to-back in 2018, 2027 Copa América winners
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Uzbekistan - 2026 WC fairytale run to semis
Bermuda - WC debut, population: 67,000

Bermuda 1 - 1 B & H
Bermuda had twice as many shots as their opponents. If they had better quality strikers, they would've won!

Argentina 1 - 1 Uzbekistan
Should we be surprised? The Uzbeks come from behind for a tough point.

B & H 0 - 0 Argentina

Uzbekistan 2 - 2 Bermuda
Game of the tournament so far as Bermuda again came from behind, but this time they took the lead in stoppage time after Uzbek hero of 2026 Kopadze got a second yellow. The Uzbeks equalised seconds later, though!

With every team on 2 points, Bermuda top the group on goals scored and alphabetical order! Winner takes all in the final games!

Uzbekistan 1 - 0 B&H

Argentina 1 - 0 Bermuda
Bermuda were 2 minutes away from making the knockout round. Heartbreaking.

Table

Uzbekistan - 5*
Argentina - 5*

-------------------
Bermuda - 2
Bosnia & Herzegovina - 2
*GD: +1, GS: Uzbekistan 4, Argentina 2

In the final week, no one had been eliminated and no one has qualified and it was all to play for! A dramatic group stage!


=============================================================================
=============================================================================


Round of 16

Romania 2 - 1 Colombia
All 3 goals scored in the space of 5 minutes, though the Romanian keeper gifted an open goal that was missed from a wide angle, then Colombia did hit the back of the net, but only after an offside was called.

Austria 1 - 4 Brazil
A good showing from Austria, but Brazil's attack is just too good.

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Russia 1 - 1 China (AET) (0-0 FT)
Russia win 2 - 1 on pens after 4.5 rounds (1-0, 2-0, 2-0, 2-1, 2-1)
Man Utd goalkeeper Bondarev saves 4 out of 5 penalties!

 

Argentina 1 - 1 Chile AET (1-1 FT)
Argentina win 3-0 on pens after 3.5 rounds (1-0, 1-0, 2-0, 3-0)

Spain 2 - 1 Slovakia

 

Wales 1 - 0 Uzbekistan

Scotland 1 - 0 Italy
Everyone from England's group of DEARTH are out.

Nigeria 0 - 0 Mexico AET
Nigeria win 4 - 2 on pens after 4 rounds (1-0, 2-0, 3-1, 4-2)
The Nigerian centre-back took one for the team, getting sent off for a professional foul as a Mexican broke through on 115 minutes.


=============================================================================
=============================================================================


Quarter-Finals

brazil-vs-peru-m-640x356.jpg

Romania 0 - 0 Brazil AET
Romania win 4 - 2 on pens after 4 rounds (1-1, 2-2, 3-2, 4-2)
Brazil pay the Penait-y! Romanian keeper Penait was the hero after Romania threatened the Brazilians all game!

Russia 1 - 0 Argentina
A first-half deflected free-kick was the difference.

Spain 1 - 0 Wales

Scotland 3 - 2 Nigeria AET (2-2 FT)
Scotland swamped Nigeria's area in the first half but only gained a 2-0 lead. They sat and defended the lead in the second half, but conceded 2 deflected goals. A 119th-minute penalty decided it.


=============================================================================
=============================================================================


Semi-Finals

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Romania 1 - 2 Russia
Romania's penalty at the end of the first half was overturned by 2 headers in the 70th and 77th minute by Russia's Valencia defender!

Spain 0 - 1 Scotland AET
The Spanish keeper was left in tears after he messed up a backpass and conceded an own goal in extra time. Scotland should've won in normal time though, but Sheffield Wednesday striker Davidson missed more clear cut chances, and an open goal!


=============================================================================
=============================================================================


3rd-Place Playoff

Spain 2 - 0 Romania
A bit of poetic justice as Spain's 2nd was an own goal just like in the Scotland game.


=============================================================================
=============================================================================


England 2030 World Cup Final

TELEMMGLPICT000137097921_trans_NvBQzQNjv

@ Wembley Stadium, London (England national team)

Russia.jpg Scotland.jpg

Russia v Scotland

History

Russia's best World Cup performance before now had been a semi-final as the Soviet Union... in England, 1966. They're more used to group stage and 2nd round exits. Can they do the impossible?

They will have to beat European champions Scotland, who are looking to cement their legacy as the greatest international side of all time (if they haven't already) as they aim to become the first ever team to win 3 World Cups in a row.

Form

Russia have ground out wins and draws, keeping 4 clean sheets in 6 games. They have to give their best performance tonight.

Scotland have also got 4 clean sheets in 6 games, but rode their luck and needed late extra time drama in their last 2 matches.

The countries have only ever met 3 times, all ending in draws, including a 0-0 at the last World Cup.

Managers

Anatoly Gasanov's only previous job was in Belarus, taking charge of newly-promoted Belcard Grodno in the 2nd-tier and keeping them there for 4 seasons before relegation. He took over Russia in 2026, after they'd reached their first tournament in 14 years and went unbeaten in the finals including against Scotland and Brazil, but his reign started disastrously as Russia finished bottom of qualifying after 1 point against Malta and none from Montenegro. World Cup qualifying looked to be going the same way, with a home draw to Northern Ireland followed by a loss to Albania and a draw in Azerbaijan. But he turned it around and they went unbeaten in 2029 as they qualified via the playoffs. He's gone from joke to hero.

Marc Scott had a tough act to follow in 2028 after his predecessor got 2 trophies out of 2 with Scotland. He was Dumbarton manager in the 4th tier of Scottish football, getting them instantly promoted in his first half-season then keeping them in the top half of League 1 in his final 4 seasons. His Scotland side have been dodgier than in the past, losing and drawing at home to Slovenia and Latvia before qualifying as a best runner-up with a draw in Armenia. His first taste of a tournament, the Confederations Cup, saw them only win 1 of their 5 games. But it's not how you start, it's how you finish...

Team News

Russia only have 1 injury, which they haven't missed.

Scotland have 2 players out, including Man Utd's striker Reilly, who scored both goals against Guatemala. Nearly-35-year-old right-back MacKenzie is suffering from food poisoning, but he's been picked to earn his 99th and possibly final cap. He may not last the full 90 minutes due to having the squits.

Davidson or 1 of 2 Russians will need to be a hat-trick hero to potentially win the golden boot.

Both teams play 4-4-2.

Russia: Bondarev (Man Utd); Sonin (Sevilla), Yemanov (Chelsea), Dementjev (Sevilla), Korneev (c) (Inter); Petrov (Man City), Poglazov (Werder Bremen), Shilyaev (Celta Vigo), Mukhametshin (Zenit); Sidorenko (Dynamo Dresden), Golovin (Mallorca) - 3 La Liga, 3 English Premier League, 2 Bundesliga, 1 Serie A, 1 Russian Premier League, 1 Spanish second tier

Scotland: MacDonald (Liverpool); MacKenzie (Man City), McGregor (Leicester), Hunter (Palermo), Donlevy (West Ham); Fisher (Newcastle), Wight (Bayern), Harvey (Chelsea), Law (Zaragoza); Davidson (c) (Sheff Wed), Ogilvie (Man City) - 8 English Premier League, 1 La Liga,  1 Bundesliga, 1 Serie A

4 of Scotland's starters started the Euro 2028 final, with more on the bench. 6 started the 2026 final! 2 starters won that first World Cup in 2022 (Mackenzie and Davidson)!!

First Half

12 - Davidson gets the first shot, which as usual is off-target.

16 - Wight nicks the ball in midfield, runs, passes to Davidson, who shoots over.

35 - Scotland continue to pressure, earning a free-kick and causing a yellow card, but it's cleared away.

37 - It's Russia's turn for a free-kick, which gets a corner, but this too is dealt with.

42 - Another Russian corner is eventually cleared.

It's been a quiet first half, with Scotland having more chances, but Russia are still a potential threat with their passing game.

Second Half

46 - Russia clear a set-piece, but panic and lose possession rather than break, causing needless pressure on themselves. But it's cleared away again, Russia attack, Sidorenko crosses, and Golovin heads it in! Russia take a shock lead!

47 - Assister Sidorenko is immediately substituted for an attacking midfielder, as Russia move to the dreaded 3-3-2-1-1 formation to protect the lead.

61 - Scotland push men forward and just hit direct balls. Squeaky bum time.

63 - Russia take off an out-of-position attacker and replace him with a centre-back to play at right-wingback.

65 - Scotland continue to attack and get the ball in the danger area, but it keeps getting blocked, saved or cleared away.

72 - Russia's last sub sees an attacker come on for a midfielder, but no change in system.

74 - Scotland make 2 subs. Captain Davidson has failed to be the hero today and his replacement is a Championship striker (Cardiff) who hasn't scored yet for Scotland. The left-winger's also changed. MacKenzie's bowels seem ok as he takes the armband.

79 - Bondarev's goal kick goes straight to Golovin, but his long shot is off-target.

81 - Something needs to happen. Scotland's final change see midfielder Harvey, one of the few players to do well, come off for another midfielder.

87 - A Russian free kick is pushed out for a corner, which is then caught. Scotland try to build an attack, but it's rarely working.

90+4 - Scotland try 4-2-4, but it's too late. Who would've thought?! There was one final twist in the Scottish Golden Generation's tale!

Final Score

Russia 1 - 0 Scotland
Golovin (48)

==============================================================

2030 World Champions

RUSSIA

==============================================================

Scotland fall at the last hurdle of the unique treble. Russia are the best team in the world, apparently!

There's a happy ending for England after all!

All rise for the Russian national anthem, comrades!

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Vladimir-Putin.jpg?w968h681

Awards

Golden Boot: Joao Carlos dos Santos - 5 goals
Golden Ball: Oliveira (SW/DC, Brazil) - 7.80 average rating in 5 games
Golden Glove: Bondarev (Russia) - 7.00 average rating and 2 goals conceded in 7 games
Best Young Player: Zajac (21, DC, Slovakia) - 7.50 average rating in 4 games
FIFA Fair Play: China, Mexico
Most Entertaining Team: Brazil

Team of the Tournament

Bondarev (Russia)
Yemanov (Russia) - Melo (Chile) - Oliveira (Brazil) - Sissoko (Mali) - Korneev (Russia)
Macias (Colombia) - Mondragón (Mexico) - Geri (Slovakia)
J.C.d. Santos (Brazil) - Goncalves (Brazil)

Records Broken

Most consecutive games unbeaten:  Scotland - 20 (11/6/22 to 3/7/30)

World Cup Bests

Russia - 1st (Previous best: 4th - 1966 (as Soviet Union) / 2nd Round - 2026 (as Russia)
Romania - 4th (2r - 98)
Nigeria - QF (2r - 94, 98, 10, 14, 18)
Albania - Group (Debut)
Mozambique - Group (Debut)
Bermuda - Group (Debut)


Selected Managerial News

With the Man Utd manager's temporary role over, England's new permanent manager is League Two Doncaster Rovers' boss.

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111-cap legend John Obi Mikel left after 6 years and a best ever finish for Nigeria.

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Andrey Dovnar left Belarus after 9 years and a World Cup appearance. He's replaced with former international and Arsenal player Aliaksandr Hleb, whose eclectic managerial career includes Belarus U19s, Histon, Colchester and Ireland's Monaghan United.

Razvan-Lucescu--antrenorul-potrivit-pent

Razvan Lucescu stepped down, after a decade that saw Romania not only reach their first World Cup in 32 years, but reach the semis!

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Argentina sacked their manger, despite his 2027 Copa América win, thanks to only 1 win in their 5 games, itself a stoppage time 1-0 win over Bermuda. He's replaced with former international Gonzalo Rodríguez.

Faryd-Mondragon-of-Colombia.jpg

Faryd Mondragón's stale 12 years in charge of Colombia are over.

Ricardo Cadena left after getting Mexico out of the group stage for the first time in 4 tournaments.

Erik Kulfas stepped down as Slovakia's hero after 11 years in charge, taking them to their first World Cup in 2022 and then another in 2030, and reaching the knockouts both times.

Makan Dembélé left Mali after 2 World Cups in a row, even reaching the knockouts.

Ilian Iliev left Bulgaria after 8 years which included a Euro 2028 semi-final.

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Kyle Lightbourne leaves as a legend of Bermudan history. An incredible 24+ years of gradual improvement culminated in shock World Cup qualification, 2 points in the finals, and so nearly a draw with Argentina to reach the knockouts too.


Man Utd Player Watch

Brazil's Willian scored no goals in 5 games after a star season for his club.

Bulgaria winger Hristov was played in his less effective position of right-back. Quiet.

England's Friar and new Man Utd signing Anderson were one of only a few players who could hold their head up high performance-wise. Casey had moments, but was average.

Italy's Rabatti, the young defender who had a breakout season, made his debut and did ok.

South Africa's star striker Sibiya failed to score, but did get an assist. United Reserves winger Makhanya made 2 sub appearances.

Bondarev was goalkeeper of the tournament and helped his country lift a shock trophy. His best moment was saving 4 of the 5 penalties in the shootout v China!

Meanwhile, injury-plagued hotshot striker Reilly scored both goals against Guatemala to get a key point, then was injured in the knockouts.

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  • git2thachoppa changed the title to [FM 07] Back to 2006 | UPDATE: 2030 World Cup - Drawing of lots AGAIN, Bermuda dreams, Scotland aim for 3 in a row...
  • 2 weeks later...

THE END

An incredible 100,000+ combined views.

2000 views per update.

A week from its 4th birthday, I realised recently that I have the longest-running Story (by 2 years!) and one of the longest-running Career threads (there is one from 2015).

In 2016, I started a fully loaded FM 07 save, starting from the bottom and not knowing much about the ins and outs of the game. I would be learning as I went. I figured I'd stop when the game exploded from its sheer size. Indeed, last year, save files had become so large (over 2 GB) that they had to be compressed to even successfully save. Now, it takes 12 minutes for a game to save.

I also wanted to tell everyone about my save this time (as we all do), knowing it was a unique concept. Evidently you were interested!

My story turned out varied, whether it be losing to the Faroe Islands, becoming an Iranian idol, getting sacked while trying to groom Young Boys, finding home in Busan in South Korea, or joining my favourite club and bringing back the glory years.

But it was the stories that FM itself threw up that amazed. The Belgian title twice in a row being decided by tiebreakers between 3 teams. Glenn Hoddle relegating everyone. World Cup groups decided by lots. Backstabbing managers leaving for rivals in the title run-in. Never mind all the real life transfers and manager changes.

And, of course, Northern Ireland becoming Euro champions and Scotland's rise to the greatest international team in history... then Mother Russia toppling them at the end!

While I expected the game to finally die in 2100, when even compressed saves would be too big to save (and would presumably take an hour to save anyway!), my aim was always to reach at least 2030, as I knew that World Cup would be hosted by England. If things worked out perfectly, the England manager would be sacked after Euro 2028 or the 2029 Confederations Cup and they'd hire me. That's exactly what happened!

And with that milestone passed, I made the forced move from Windows 7 to Windows 10.

It seems to be Russian roulette whether FM 07 works after this 'upgrade', and in my case I lost. There are supposed 'fixes' to try, but I was always going to stop anyway. I'd won the Champions League, then finally overturned the unstoppable Geordie juggernaut and won the Premier League, so I'd done what I came for. I also have lots of other games to play and I'm not someone who plays FM out of habit. I stop for months, even years, until I simply fancy playing again.

WHAT NEXT?

My next story, whenever that is, will be Championship Manager 93/94. Like FM 07, I've played it a lot as a youngster (but I'm not that old; I bought it at a school sale!) and already had a good career (Man Utd, where the youngsters actually turned out good and we almost won the 1999 Treble... but coincidentally lost to Bayern Munich in the CL final). It's also super fast, so it'll be 2030 again before you know it.

But that probably won't be for a long time, as the next football management game I'll play won't even be FM/CM. (Anyone ever heard of The FA Premier League Football Manager 99?)

But maybe the fixes will work and I'll want to continue, so don't bet against us one day seeing whether Russia retains the World Cup at Canada 2034 or if I ever return to Busan or Iran or make a wacky move to the lower/non-league for a new challenge.

David-Beckham-breaks-down-in-tears.jpg

 

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  • git2thachoppa changed the title to [FM 07] Back to 2006 | UPDATE: THE END

First of all, congratulations for your epic career. I must admit however, that I have started following you only when you took over Man Utd, but one day I took time and have read your story from the start and I enjoyed it even more. Especially because it is FM 2007 and because as you said, all the side stories you had as you had fully loaded game. 

I hope you will return, either in FM 2007 somehow or in some other CM/FM editions. Or Premier manager. Do not know if it is the same game, but I have played 1997 edition of Premier manager, when you can regularly expand your stadion, parking lots and decide ticket prices. I expect in any way, it will be fun.

 

Cheers.

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On 21/02/2020 at 06:39, Ales said:

First of all, congratulations for your epic career. I must admit however, that I have started following you only when you took over Man Utd, but one day I took time and have read your story from the start and I enjoyed it even more. Especially because it is FM 2007 and because as you said, all the side stories you had as you had fully loaded game. 

I hope you will return, either in FM 2007 somehow or in some other CM/FM editions. Or Premier manager. Do not know if it is the same game, but I have played 1997 edition of Premier manager, when you can regularly expand your stadion, parking lots and decide ticket prices. I expect in any way, it will be fun.

 

Cheers.

You're different to most people as I noticed I lost loads of readers when I joined 'Manure' rather than gained them. :lol:

I'm amazed that you read it over from the beginning and the first posts are still getting views. I appreciate you appreciating my story.

It's not Premier Manager btw. The F. A. Premier League Football Manager 99 was EA Sports' management series. 99 was an especially unique one with its weird slowed down opera music, stylish menus and all the fancy stuff you described. I always bought 37-year-old Maradona from Boca as an alternative to Scholes!

Edited by git2thachoppa
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