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Zilla Blitz

[FM20] Devotion to Promotion

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Season 0: Episode: 0
The Boring Part Where We Talk about the Fiddly Bits

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If you can’t learn to do it well, at least learn to enjoy doing it badly.”—despair.com

Welcome to Devotion to Promotion! In these digital boxes I’ll be posting my FM20 adventures as Zilla Blitz, an inexperienced 20-year nobody who has decided to enter the world of football management rather than attempt to, you know, actually play football himself. I’ll start off with no coaching badges, no job, and a smattering of Sunday League playing experience. With this haughty resume, I’ll thrust myself on the football world, grovel for any job I can get, and have a grand old time managing teams in the British Isles.

Wait, will there be a challenge of sorts?
Why yes, two challenges in fact. I will aim to start my first job in the spring of 2020 with a newly promoted Vanarama South or North team and take that one team to the top of the football world. Doing so would qualify me for the Dafuge Challenge. Given my recent success with FM19, however, I can say with all confidence that my odds of achieving the Dafuge Challenge are slim at best. So when that turns out badly, I’ll shift my career into an attempt to clear the British and Irish Steel Challenge, which aims to win the 50 leagues and competitions available to Irish, Northern Irish, Welsh, Scottish, and British teams, using only players of British or Irish nationality. You might be thinking, “Wait, isn’t that even harder than a Dafuge Challenge?” To answer that, I’d say, “Yes.” I’d also point out that I have not claimed to be intelligent. Onward!

However, my priority is fun, so if the official challenges get tedious, my life will morph into a pure journeyman adventure through Europe, questing with interesting teams in interesting places, and living the life of a wandering manager.

Will any house rules govern your career?
I’m glad you asked, because there are a few. I’m not interested in false greatness, and feel that stories with ups and downs are more interesting than stories of just up. To that, I’m not looking for any advantages. Attribute masking is on, of course. I won’t be downloading killer tactics, no editing the database, no watching videos to learn of hidden wonderkids, no save scumming to get better results. In short, what happens happens, and if that means I spend 20 years stuck in the Vanarama South League, so be it. I hear the bars are pretty good at some of those clubs.

How often will you be posting?
In addition to managing digital football players, I’ve got a real job and real family, so I’ll be moving at a modest pace. The goal is shortly daily updates five days a week, each update covering roughly a month of one season. That’ll be 10 updates to a season, 2 seasons played in a month of real world time. That’s a pace I think I can keep up.

Anything else to know?
If you want even more than a quick read, I’m creating Let's Play videos for the career and will post details as the episodes come out.

What’s next?
Waiting for the official release on Tuesday. Fingers crossed that the next update will have my career underway with job offers from some newly promoted teams in the Vanarama regional leagues.
 

Edited by Zilla Blitz

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Just start in the Welsh second division, lower rep than Vanarama North / South, new leagues to the game and realistic enough as a starting point for an unknown. Anyway, will follow.

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20 minutes ago, bigmattb28 said:

Just start in the Welsh second division, lower rep than Vanarama North / South, new leagues to the game and realistic enough as a starting point for an unknown. Anyway, will follow.

Thanks! Starting in the new Welsh league is a good idea. However, if I start in Wales I'd be disqualified for the Dafuge Challenge. Starting in the Vanarama regional leagues would still keep both challenges alive.

I ran a test with the first beta release a few days ago and the game offered me jobs with newly promoted teams in the Vanarama regional leagues, so I'm hopeful the chances are good it'll still work with the official release.

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On 16/11/2019 at 05:33, Zilla Blitz said:

Will any house rules govern your career?
I’m glad you asked, because there are a few. I’m not interested in false greatness, and feel that stories with ups and downs are more interesting than stories of just up. To that, I’m not looking for any advantages. Attribute masking is on, of course. I won’t be downloading killer tactics, no editing the database, no watching videos to learn of hidden wonderkids, no save scumming to get better results. In short, what happens happens, and if that means I spend 20 years stuck in the Vanarama South League, so be it. I hear the bars are pretty good at some of those clubs.

How often will you be posting?
In addition to managing digital football players, I’ve got a real job and real family, so I’ll be moving at a modest pace. The goal is shortly daily updates five days a week, each update covering roughly a month of one season. That’ll be 10 updates to a season, 2 seasons played in a month of real world time. That’s a pace I think I can keep up.

 

My kind of save. :)

You'll be playing a lot quicker than I can with my job and family. I'm halfway through the third season on my FM18 save, which I started in September last year. :D

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^ Thanks, yes, I hope I can go a bit faster than your pace. :) Our kids are older now, though, so they pretty much only need me when they run out of money. No way I could do a pace like this when they were younger.

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I'm going to wait until they get the 1-attribute determination issue sorted out before starting. Bummer, but another couple of days won't kill me. With a save this long, I'd like to make sure the start is stable.

EDIT: Apparently consistency, versatility, and important matches hidden attributes are an issue as well.

Edited by Zilla Blitz

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10 hours ago, Zilla Blitz said:

I'm going to wait until they get the 1-attribute determination issue sorted out before starting. Bummer, but another couple of days won't kill me. With a save this long, I'd like to make sure the start is stable.

EDIT: Apparently consistency, versatility, and important matches hidden attributes are an issue as well.

Hotfix out now that's addressed this

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Season 0: Episode: 0 
Jobs ‘R Us

We officially enter the football world on June 22, 2020 as a hungry, homeless, and unemployed 20-year-old wanna-be manager. Wasting no time, we scan the job centre for manager opportunities, and soon learn that East Thurrock, Nuneaton Borough, and Ashton United have gained promotion to the Vanarama regional leagues and are in need of managers. A couple of weeks later and we’ve got three job offers. Which to pick?

Once decided, we’ll attempt to stick with this team through thick or thin until we win the Champions League or get fired, so it’s kind of like choosing a college, having a baby, or figuring out what sub to order at Subway.

Here are the details:

Offer #1: East Thurrock
My Salary: £800/wk
Team Salary Budget: £3.5k/wk (£1.0k allocated already)
Team Transfer Budget: £0
Goal: Fight bravely against relegation
Media Prediction: 20th
Team Value: £14.17k
Notes: Tiny team

Offer #2: Nuneaton Borough
My Salary: £800/wk
Team Salary Budget: £9.25k/wk (£4.7k allocated already)
Team Transfer Budget: £12k
Goal: Fight bravely against relegation
Media Prediction: 22nd
Team Value: £45k
Notes: Their fans laughed at me, and why is there a Pokemon on their logo?

Offer #3: Ashton United
My Salary: £750/wk
Team Salary Budget: £7.5k/wk (£5.5k allocated already)
Team Transfer Budget: £0
Goal: Avoid relegation
Media Prediction: 16th
Team Value: £17.11k
Notes: There is quite a bit of trash on the roads outside their stadium

If anyone has advice or favorites, I’d be happy to hear them! Who should I pick?

EDIT: First YouTube episode (19 min.) is up, mainly talking about the series background, house rules, and a deeper look at the three job offers.
 

Edited by Zilla Blitz

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Season 1: Episode: 0 
July 2020: Hired!

Of the three job offers on the table, Nuneaton was clearly the best. More salary room, less expectations, bigger budget. But I was really struggling with the whole "chained and muzzled bear" team badge for Nuneaton. I just didn't feel right managing a team whose badge was an endorsement for animal cruelty, even if the roots of the badge went back 500 years. So I was all set to go with Ashton United as our first job. 

But then a comment on YouTube brought up the point that the club reformed in 2007 and redid their badge at that time. Even better, when they redid their badge, they unchained the bear (see above)! If I swapped out the current badge in the game for the up-to-date one I could manage Nuneaton without worrying about losing all the support from Yellow Pokemon Bear lovers around the world.

That made it an easy choice: Nuneaton!

We accept the job offer and take a look at our club. Things are a bit ... dire. We have no staff. I mean absolutely zero. Only 5-6 players on the roster will work as Vanarama North players. Adding to all that, our first match is in just 20 days. So yes, we have our work cut out for us!

Time to get busy!


 

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Season 1: August 2020
Not Totally Garbage

Record: 2W-4D-3L, 10 points (18th place in Vanarama National North)

20 days and 3 friendlies was not nearly enough time to hire a coaching staff, find good players, and establish a tactical vision. Not only that, but with the Vanarama National North and South newly expanded to 24 teams, they packed all the extra games into the first two months of the season. We have 2 matches every week in August & September. I really should have quickly brought in any sort of non-contract players, but I didn’t and now we’re looking at handling a heavy match load with a shortage of bodies. We start our opening match completely unprepared, 16 players in all, and only 2 functional central midfielders.

Not surprisingly, we lose our opening match 2-0, and it doesn’t help that one of our two central midfielders picks up a three-match ban for a horrible tackle and a subsequent red card. Things get no better after that, and by the mid-point of August we’ve only got one point from our first four matches. But having £4k in salary room to work with gives us the ability to bring in a good number of players, and by the middle of the month reinforcements start to arrive. Our play starts to pick up as these new players get into match shape, and we put together a decent run. We go unbeaten in the back half of August and finish the month with 2 wins, 4 draws, and 3 losses. The results lift us to 18th place, 4 points above the relegation zone.

Having said that, we’ve played some of the softer teams in the league so far, and I’m sure we’ll struggle against better opposition. We’re also maddeningly inconsistent, with a lot of gaping weak spots in our roster. Our defense in particular can’t find their way, with our best defender in our back four rated a 6.53 after nine matches. Our main striker, Luke Benbow, also only scored 1 goal in 8 appearances despite getting 15 shots and a good number 1-vs-1 breakaways.

Speaking of 1-vs-1 breakaways, no one can score these. It’s laughably bad down here. Benbow’s sole goal did come on a 1-vs-1, but I’ve seen at least 15 other clear breakaways by us and our opponents, and none of them go in. Most are just kicked right at the keeper.

Going forward, we’ve got another month of 9 matches coming up, and many of them against more formidable opposition. I’d be ecstatic if we could duplicate our August results in September.

Video Edition

Quick note: With the holiday in the US this week, I'll be traveling a bit. Next update won't be until next Monday. From that point I don't have significant travel, so things should start to roll more regularly.

Edited by Zilla Blitz

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On 18/11/2019 at 23:41, Zilla Blitz said:

^ Thanks, yes, I hope I can go a bit faster than your pace. :) Our kids are older now, though, so they pretty much only need me when they run out of money. No way I could do a pace like this when they were younger.

Mine is 4 so it's a while until she gets to that stage. She loves football though and already has a favourite player.

Good luck at Nuneaton.

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Season 1: September 2020
Struggling to Find the Way

Record: 4W-5D-8L, 17 points (21st place in Vanarama National North)

Back at it now that the new patch has fixed ratings, 1v1s, and some odd stuttering I was experiencing...

September hit us hard. We started with a draw, lost three in succession, bounced back for two wins against bottom of the table teams, then ended the month with two more losses. We only pick up 7 points in 8 league matches. The poor play drops us to 21st place, just in the relegation zone after roughly a third of the season done. On a minor positive note, we did make it through the 2nd Qualifying Round of the FA Cup, and our next round draw is also against a club in a league below us.

I feel like we should be playing better, but maybe it’s a matter of tweaking tactics and letting new players get comfortable in their roles. We’ve brought in a bunch of players, and have pretty much tapped out the rest of our wage space. Some of these players should up our play, but our biggest gamble, an £800/week splurge on Ivor Lawton, a central midfielder with sky high mental attributes, good physical skills, and weak technical skills, has panned out terribly so far. Every match the guy plays has been a mess. Instead of solidifying our midfield, the guy is a sieve. I still haven't given up on him, but it looks as if it's a painful lesson in the importance of technique.

Looking ahead, we’ve got another busy month, with seven matches in October. We’ve yet to have a week with less than two matches. Fortunately, only one of October’s matches are against teams in the top 3rd, and more than half are against bottom half teams. If we could find our form just a bit, I’m hopeful we can pick up some points to lift us clear of the relegation zone.

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