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Hello and welcome to the story of the ‘3 musketeers’!

Abstract:
This is a story about 3 friends, all eager to start their first managerial career in FM17. These managers will be playing an online save together, but will not necessarily be managing teams in the same league or nation. However it seems inevitable that the paths of these ambitious managers will cross at some point…

Background:
Collectively we’ve been playing FM for over 25 years and we’ve always kept each other up to date regarding the progress of our individual saves. Also we have been playing some online saves together, the longest being a 12 year Eredivisie save in FM16. Usually we would pick teams in the same league, and we had quite some thrilling encounters against each other. The most memorable being a Champions League final where Manchester City beat Manchester United at Old Trafford 6-2.

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However this year we decided to pick teams in different leagues and nations. Like all FM players we have different preferences when it comes to managing a club. For example LoPizzo is very fond of lower league management, Boer can’t look beyond his beloved Feyenoord and Pumba is looking to spend big money fast. Also we think that by managing in different leagues and countries we will actually enrich our total gaming experience.

What’s new this year as well, is that we will be sharing our progress on this forum. We hope you will enjoy reading about our ups and downs and we sure look forward to your replies. We will now shortly introduce ourselves, our managerial styles, the teams we picked and the setup of our save.

The Managers:

Liborio LoPizzo:

Nationality:
Dutch

Supports (Dutch):
PSV

Supports (Rest of World):
Celtic, AS Roma, Boca Juniors, Colo-Colo

Playing FM since:
FM 2005

Memorable saves:

1. Taking Clyde from the Scottish 4th tier to a CL-victory only using Scottish players (FM 2013)

2. The ultimate journeyman save, starting unemployed with no reputation: Chavdar Etropole, Excelsior, Dinamo Zagreb, PSV, Fiorentina, AC Milan and topping it of with a CL-title in 2026 (FM 2011)

3. Taking Real Union from the Spanish 3rd tier to a CL-victory only using Spanish players (FM 2014)

4. Taking Messina from the Italian 4th to an EL-victory only using Italian players (FM 2014)

5. A south-american journeyman save through Chile and Argentina for 10 years

Favourite Country to manage in:
Italy (gotta love those Italian names)

Favourite all-time Player:
Liborio Lo Pizzo; The regen from my Messina-save who generated at my club after one year, only to become top goal scorer in the Serie D, Serie C, Serie B and Serie A and Italian all-time most capped player and all-time top goal scorer.

Managing style:
Experimental

Favourite type of game:
Lower League Management. The more obscure the better, also love to keep everything homegrown if possible

Greatest achievement:
Yet to be completed, but I have some ideas for a great solo adventure!

Bas Boer:

Nationality:
Dutch

Supports (Dutch):
Feyenoord

Supports (Rest of World):
Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund

Playing FM since:
2011

Memorable saves:

1. The save I started in FM15 where I started with Feyenoord and ended up with Manchester United. Winning the Dutch cup, the Super Cup and the Eredivisie once. In England winning the Premier League, 2x community shield, 2x League cup and one FA Cup, only failing to win the biggest of them all, the Champions League, against fellow manager Buchis Pumba.

2. 13 seasons as Feyenoord manager in FM16,  winning the Dutch Cup 5 times, 2 dutch super cups and sadly only one Eredivisie title in the first season. Also worth mentioning, one Europa League final in 2024, losing after extra time against AC Milan.

Favourite Country to manage in:
Holland

Favourite all-time Player:
Michel Wapenaar and Danny Clement. Both in my Feyenoord save in FM16. A deadly legendary striker from my own youth setup and another youth product playing in midfield.

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Managing style:
Attacking possession football. 4-3-3, sometimes with an defensive midfielder, sometimes an attacking one.

Favourite type of game:
To be honest, I usually pick Feyenoord. I like scouting the entire planet for that special gem, in combination with my own youth products.

Greatest achievement:
Hopefully yet to come!

Buchis Pumba:

Nationality:
Dutch

Supports (Dutch):
Ajax, Ado den Haag

Supports (Rest of World):
Real Madrid, Tottenham Hotspur, River Plate

Playing FM since:                               
I remember playing ‘Manchester United’ as a kid, which might be an entirely different series, but I’ve always been fond of managing type games. Been playing FM on and off, more actively the last 2 years.       

Memorable saves:
I rarely play a save for more than 5 or 6 seasons, so I don’t feel these saves justify an honourable mention. I do like a variety of challenges (youth only, lower league management, starting unemployed), and I had a great save with Radnicki Nis in Serbia, but I tend to return to managing Ajax en Ado, the 2 clubs I support in my home country, or clubs in the Premier League or Championship since I’ve been always been a huge fan of English football.

Favourite Country to manage in:
Holland, England

Favourite all-time Player: 
I have to mention 2 that stand out here. Both players pretty much single handedly won me the Champions League.  

#1 Jahrizinho de Boer

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This guy was a beast for me, ever since I signed him in 2020/21 for Ado den Haag. It was my first season at the freshly promoted club, and he was vital in the league wins that would follow. In his 7 seasons after he signed for the club, only once he scored an average rating below 8.0. He became a true legend for the club however when he took the club to beat the odds an win the champions league in 2027/28. Despite all his achievements, De Boer only made the national team once. Holland manager Fred Rutten continued to favour the likes of Depay and Ould-Chikh. De Boer was disheartened when he didn’t make the Euro 2028 squad. His manager was livid and fans were outraged, media were demanding for Rutten’s resignation. Sure enough the Dutch campaign would prove to be unsuccessful and Rutten would get sacked. I picture this guy to be a man of the people, I mean look at him! This is a hard working guy who was given a second chance and ever since payed back his manager. Purely based on his attributes he was probably the weakest guy in my first 11, but he never disappointed.  

#2 Ali Bayrakci

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I signed this guy from Fenerbahce in 2018/19. My Manchester City squad was already insanely strong, with the likes of Ronaldo, Messi, De Bruyne, Alaba and Pogba. Basically, 7 out of the world best XI were playing in my team, and I had all the money in the world. I was able to tutor this striker by Aguero, Messi and Ronaldo and by the age of 20 he was probably already the best player in the world. In the 6-2 Champions League win over Manchester United (see earlier) in 2019/20 he had a massive impact by scoring four goals.

Managing style:
Attacking, I like to score goals.

Favourite type of game:
Online

Greatest achievement:
Champions League win with Ado den Haag (see earlier).

The Game

Leagues Loaded:
England (Sky Bet League 2)
France (Ligue 1)
Germany (Bundesliga)
Italy (Lega Pro)
Spain (La Liga Santander)
Holland (Jupiler League)
Portugal (Liga NOS)
Belgium (Jupiler Pro League)

Aim of the save:

The overall aim is to have fun, play by the rules you set yourself and create a great story in which we (and hopefully you guys as well) are emerged. Therefore, we’ve let the choice of team and type of save all up to our individual selves. If one of us wants to start with FC Barcelona, be our guest, while the other one might want to start in the Icelandic 2nd division. This way, we have three stories running at the same time in the same save, making it more fun for everyone following each other, maybe helping each other out once in a while and making it even more special when we get to play against each other.

The Teams

Lopizzo: Parma
I’ve decided to go ahead and settle in my favourite place to be; the Italian lower ranks. This is where my knowledge lies and my heart wants me to go. We’re supposed to have fun this time, and this is where I am guaranteed fun. The obvious challenge is to make Parma great again after a huge scandal in 2003. The financial aftermath caused them being declared bankrupt in 2015 and being relegated to the Serie D. The club was re-founded as S.S.D. Parma Calcio 1913 and immediately started climbing up the ladders again, finding themselves as the main contender for promotion in the Serie C this year.

Bas Boer: Feyenoord
Do I need to say more, making Feyenoord great again after not winning any serious silverware for over a decade

Buchis Pumba: Fulham
It was either England or Holland for me, and when Bas wanted to manage Feyenoord, he made my choice easy. I didn’t want to start competing in the premier league just yet though, and I feel Fulham is a team I can take back to the premier league. I see the club as a stepping stone though, and I’m eager to prove myself at the highest level. This means that I will be pursuing better job opportunities, should they arrive.

We’ve all selected badges and reputation recommended for our teams.

What’s next?
Since this save is is an online game with three separate stories, we intend to post individual updates of our progress. The upcoming posts will be about our team presentations.

Edited by Buchis Pumba

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The honour of writing the first update is mine. After playing through the first summer transfer window and the first few league games, I will briefly take you through the details of the club, the players and the results.

Club

The club has fallen from the Serie A to the Serie D, and after promotion last year, the club is projected to be a title contender straight away together with Venezia. We have a solid reputation for a Serie C club, and after some comparison with the other teams in the league I fully expect to be able to achieve promotion (this statement is going to haunt me I guess..). Also, in comparison to Fulham and Feyenoord, the club isn't as far behind as I expected... Which means I can hopefully benefit from some loanees in the near future...

 

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As a veteran manager in Italy I am often tempted to try a typical Italian tactic to begin with. Keeping that in mind I opted for a 5-3-2 formation, playing on counter. Some might say I should be dominating this league and play controlling or even attacking football. My experience is that a solid counter tactic does the same job or even outperforms the attacking version of the tactic. Also, if I do manage to get promoted to the Serie B I expect to have to play more defensive because of the difference in quality and my team will be prepared for that by learning this way of playing.

The main philosophy is to sit deep with 5 defenders, with the central defender covering the two other centrebacks. The wingbacks are allowed to bomb forward once we have possession but do have to keep their defensive duties at all times. The half-back is a role I have never used and so I am experimenting with it. He is to drop deep between the three centerbacks and offer support while defending and linking up defence and midfield whilst attacking. In midfield we have a box-to-box midfielder and an attacking advanced playmaker to link up to the strikers. The striker partnership is one between a deep lying forward and a poacher (although I have some amazing target men), but I feel like I need a deep lying forward to ensure the connection to the midfield. In practice we see the advanced playmaker supporting the attackers together with the wingbacks.

Squad

After my first look at the squad I was quite happy. It is a balanced group of players, capable of many of the roles and positions that I like to play. However, I did need a few additions. Especially a poacher, a backup leftback and an advanced playmaker.

Transfers

In came the reinforcements:

Vitiello: A decent central midfielder offering some depth in that position

Trainotti: A young decent centre back who we picked up for free

Delgado: The poacher I was after. The Uruguayan was also available on a free and so we snatched him up as well

Cali: A youngster who will be playing in the reserves for now

Sabbione: My muchneeded halfback. On loan from Carpi, this guy has amazing stats for a Serie C player.

Gentili: Another solid centre back giving us options for our centre trio

Kavanaugh: I was offered a loan player from.. Fulham?!.. Pumba was offloading some of his talents abroad and so we snatched up the backup leftback we were after. I think I might have to play him regularly to keep the manager of Fulham happy and be able to make use of his services again…

Bijlow: The same goes for Bijlow. A great goalkeeper for this level who is brought in from Feyenoord on loan. He might get in the way of the development of Zommers, our Latvian talent in goal, but with the counter tactic we are using a decent goalkeeper is very important

Olivera: Ex-Uruguayan international Olivera was picked up at the end of the window. With insane mentals for this level and great set pieces he might prove pivotal in our first season, although he is getting on a bit age-wise…

 

Key Players in each line

Bijlow: The talented goalkeeper is essential between the sticks

Coly: The Senegalese rock at the back, mostly occupying the central centre back spot

Sabbione: The watercarrier of the team and our first defensive obstacle

Olivera: The creative mind of the team, might be decisive in a fair few games this season...

Scavone: The heartbeat of the team. We our lucky to have this natural box-to-box midfielder in his prime in our ranks

Calao: The veteran striker, able to play in many roles, but will mostly be serving as our deep lying forward together with Delgado. An honourable mention to our other veteran striker Evacuo who is very similar to Calao

 

Finances

Surprisingly we are pretty healthy. We do need to get promoted asap though to keep it that way with the running costs of the club.

Pre Season and the First League matches

A great pre-season, drawing and winning against Serie A opponents along the way.

What more to say, a 6 out of 6, or 18 out of 18 as you will! We didn’t have the greatest margins in our games and two of them were won in extra time, but we are on course for a great season, tweaking our counter tactic along the way. Especially the win against Venezia was very pleasing and we already have a considerable lead over them in the league table!

 

Edited by LoPizzo

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