The Lesser known Blue Lion. . .

This is written by guest author Chris Johnson who works as a cameraman and has just finished making a film. Chris can be found on Twitter here @randomfilming. You can also check out more about the film that Chris has just finished, by following this link http://www.daydream-believers.co.uk/

From a young age I’ve had a real affection for Italian football. Given that it’s not where I’m hoping to spend my entire FM19 career it might seem like a strange place to start this story.

In the early to mid 90s the Italian top flight division was the home of the Galactico. A place to see anyone who was anyone from South America.

The list is too long to go through everybody but picking Fiorentina as my team, meant I held great affection for Edmundo and Gabriel Batistuta. The latter was a giant among strikers with his flowing locks and purple Nintendo shirt, things were simply beautiful.

Because of Gazzetta and Channel 4 I think I then took this into the world of Football Manager. No matter the club, I always brought in some South American flare, skill and general shithousery.

Oleg Salenko — A regular CM93 signing (WP permitting)

It’s daft but it has been something I have always done on FM, from trawling the restricted foreign players market (Oleg Salenko)on CM93 to then signing Arthur (Not the New One) for about £30k for Barnsley on CM01/02 and to finally bringing in a slightly over the hill Alvaro Recoba on FM08 to lighten up Newcastle United.

Anyway I digress. Having always been terrible at jumping in straight from the off at a top flight club I wanted to build something from scratch. Italy was going to be my choice until I thought about my own real life travels and places I had been/enjoyed.

Amazonas is the largest state in Brazil covering nearly 20% of its total land mass with a population of nearly 4 million people. Now 4 million people might seem like a small number given the size of Amazonia but given 85 per cent of it is uninhabitable Rainforest the 4 million registered people cram tightly into only a few places.

One of those places is the City of Manaus. In 2014, I spent four weeks working in the self proclaimed ‘Paris of the Tropics’. A place that on the face of it seems like no other on the planet. The only way in or out of it is by boat or plane and the huge industrial city takes its place as the capital of Amazonian on the banks of The River Amazon.

Football wise they have several domestic sides all of which compete around the same low level. Through years of poor ownership and the lack of finances to develop youth players properly the whole Amazonian area is devoid of a football club they can be proud of.

This is where we start our journey.

Nacional Futebol Clube (The Blue Lions) are one of the two better known sides within the City limits and they find themselves in the bottom tier of the National pyramid — Serie D.

The Brazilian league structure is complex, there is the National Pyramid, Serie A through to Serie D and then the Independently ran State Championships. It seams Promotion into the top four National Leagues depends on how well you compete in your State League. It’s a bit complex but like all football league competitions, play well, win games and you rise through the ranks.

When I said earlier ‘better known’ you would be wise to take it with a pinch of salt as a quick look at their home gates see them range from 250 to 600 people. It’s not great and what makes it even stranger is that Nacional now play at the Arena De Amazonia which can hold up to 44,300 supporters. The all seater behemoth was built for the 2014 World Cup and other than the occasional Shakira concert it sits empty.

Picture I took at the England v Italy World Cup game in 2014

So in summary, Brazil's largest State needs a representative in the higher echelons of its National game and with a bit of luck The Blue Lions will one day reach that level.

With very little in the way of finances it’s probably a long road I’m about to embark on, but for the first time in a few versions I’m actually quite excited about the full game dropping. I will be using the BETA to try and figure out exactly how the league system works and for identifying any former Amazonian born players who one day may fancy returning back to the region.

Tactically I’ll have to wait and see what the squad is like and where if any it has strengths. Ideally I would like to try and implement an Asymmetrical 4–4–2 system. It’s something I trialled for the final 3 months on FM18 and really liked how it worked, obviously if you only have lemons you can’t make orange juice, so we will see.

Due to Nacional being a lower league Brazilian outfit I have to wait for Claassens extra DB so the wait goes on.

Nacional Futebol Clube Manaus

On other fronts, Anybody who used to read about Blyth will know that I spent a large period of time earlier in the year in hospital with my little boy who was born at just under 27 weeks. Very pleased to say he is now a perfectly healthy 6 month old baby albeit the size of a 3 month old one 🙈.

The rest of my time has been spent finishing a feature film and releasing it firstly at cinemas and now on DVD. www.daydream-believers.co.uk for anybody who likes their 90s football.

Thanks for anyone who skimmed through this, like I said at the beginning I write it mainly for me as a diary as it adds a little but more enjoyment to the game but if someone else likes it too then class.

Taps fingers and waits for the full game. . .

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