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(FM 17) Crossing the Water: Waterford F.C & Ireland

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Crossing the Waters: Waterford F.C. & Ireland

“I expect an amazing atmosphere for the Irish team, and I know it won’t be easy at all. I also expect typical commitment and desire. I think Ireland can play really good football.”- Thierry Henry, Arsenal and France National Team.

Hello, and welcome to a new story. The last one I posted, the save had a bug involving the Ivory Coast u23’s and player retirements in the middle of an international tournament. I moved onto a couple of other saves, and am currently enjoying a fun one in Ireland on FM 17. I am using Waterford F.C. with an eye to manage Ireland. This story will have multiple different ways to be told. Formats that I am toying with include a fake documentary, board meetings at both the club level and national level, clips from television, news articles, and journal entries. In addition, there will be some divergences from real life results since this save is on an older system. The characters in this story will both be real and fictional. Enough rambling, onto the show.

Chapter 1: Ireland’s Status in 2016.

The Republic of Ireland coming off of the back of Euro 2016 is in a good place. Martin O’Neill’s side had a successful run to the knockout rounds, and all seems well in the world of Irish football. However, those in the know would have you know differently. The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) controls both the national team and the national league system. The League of Ireland has two divisions, with a total of 20 teams. The League of Ireland Premier Division has 12 teams, and the League of Ireland First Division has 8 teams. All of those teams struggle financially, and there is a long history of Irish teams going broke.

The problem that the League of Ireland faces is that there are plenty of football supporters in Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland always enjoys fantastic support. Those national team supporters also are more likely to watch English clubs and Celtic, not going out to see their local sides. There are a core group of League of Ireland fans that attend the league, but there are not enough of them to make money for the clubs. Shamrock Rovers in 2011 are the only team to make the group stages of a European competition. You might remember them for taking the lead at White Hart Lane against Spurs in the Europa League groups that year. Shamrock Rovers lost all 6 of their group games that year, so no Irish team has ever gotten a point in European group stages before.

Waterford F.C. have been in the First Division for a decade, and have been struggling financially. Despite the financial struggles, they have been trying to get promoted to the top tier consistently over the past several years. It hasn’t worked despite the best efforts of the club. If they could just get promoted and consolidate in the next few years, then they could look to challenge for honors and get into Europe.

The League of Ireland is fighting to make sure that they can be taken more seriously and capture the hearts of the whole of the Irish fanbase. All it takes is one team to have a run into Europe, and stun some teams. Waterford have decided to be bold, and appoint a 21-year-old manager from America named Steven Patterson.

Steven Patterson was born in Chicago, where he became interested in football at a young age. His first memory was watching the United States have a surprise run to the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup, and that team had rubbed off on him. Patterson was never good enough to make it as a youth player, so he studied for management, and wanted to find a club that would allow him to make a difference. His football philosophy was based around getting a team to work as one, and to dare to dream. Ireland appealed to him because there was no reason that an Irish team could not thrive and succeed. He was willing to take a chance on a team in an uncertain financial situation. He applied for the Waterford job in early 2016, and got hired.

In his interview, Patterson stated that “This club has the chance to be something special. We can get promoted and stay up. What that will take is to maximize our resources and asking the question of why not us. We can control how we play, and how we succeed. If we can get notice, then the club succeeds. It would be arrogant of me to come in here and change everything. What I am asking is to give me what tools you have, and allow me to work with the lads. If I don’t get this team up, you can fire me. Irish football may be across the water from England, but that body of water is not a barrier to the League of Ireland. I never think of those barriers as anything other than objects that need to be dealt with and passed no matter what those barriers may contain”

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