Hi all, I’m @MUFCPiece on twitter and I am going to attempt to do something pretty new in terms of how I play Football Manager. I am going to share my save through writing a blog for the very first time! I have been playing Football Manager since 2012 and it has always been something that I was tempted by, so for this year, my goal is to become better at writing. As I’m new to this, if you have any feedback on how I can write better or give any information in a better way, please feel free to tweet me.
Premise of my Save
I will be starting at a specific club which I will reveal in a little while (clues in the title), and then naturally progress up the leagues throughout my career. Therefore, I aim to have several clubs throughout this save. Natural is the key word for me when I play Football Manager though. I do not like restrictions in a journeyman type game where you must be at a club for five years and move on. If during this save I get attached to a club and am building something special, I would do what any real-life manager would do and stay to see out the project. Likewise, if I do not click with a club, the length of my reign at the club will likely be shorter.
Having said all that, the Conference is a good place to start my managerial journey in this save, and I decided to join a club who have had a severe downfall in the past few years……
Leyton Orient is a very interesting club that has dropped down from the League One Playoff Final to the Conference in no time at all. They have gone through seven (!) managers since the start of 2016, which is remarkable and reminds me of the various managers Roman Abramovich hired to try to find Mourinho’s replacement after his first sacking at the club.
My long-term aims while I’m at the club are simple: get the O’s back up to the Football League and maybe even reach League One before I move on.
As you can see, we are clear favourites to get promoted back to the EFL at the first time of asking. For me, anything other than getting promotion is a failure with this team. The only team that worries me are Hartlepool, as they also recently got relegated to this division and I would expect their side to be of a significantly higher level than the teams around us. I can see already that the games against Hartlepool themselves should be fundamental in deciding who comes out on top in the division.
I’ve picked out three players who I believe will be key components to my team, and a good fit with my tactic which I will discuss later.
Craig Clay- M(C)
This player is a fantastic midfield general for me and has many attributes that I like in a player who likes to break play up, including 13 at Work Rate, 11 at tackling and has good aggression and strength too. For me, it is only marking that needs to be improved upon, but at 25, he still has a few years to develop that side of his game.
James Sendles-White D(C)
I seriously like the look of this guy, He is 23, has a lot of potential to grow and improve and is already seen as a ‘good’ player for most Sky Bet League Two sides. Heading needs to be worked upon, but again as with Clay, he has plenty of time to develop this during my tenure at the club. One of my first missions in this save is to tie him down to a longer deal as he will become sought after by this time next season, I can sense it already.
George Elokobi D(C)
I had to include him, didn’t I? Elokobi is a beast of a man, as you can see by his incredible strength attribute. I’ve seen him live before and he lives up to his reputation, I can assure you of that! In all seriousness, he will be a good ‘older’ head for my youngish team, and would especially be a good mentor for Sendles-White given his experience in the EFL.
As a conference club, my budget was minimal at best. I decided to buy the scouting package for League 2, and the Conference Divisions, which meant that I had only a few hundred pounds to play with in the wage budget. Hence, in the four signings that I made, three of them are loans and not just that, but deals that involved no wage expenditure from our club.
Alex Jakubiak, Striker from Watford (loan)
I was amazed when both Watford and Jakubiak said yes to my offer to loan him until the end of the season. He seems a player who could play far beyond Conference level but I can’t complain in the slightest. I was not a big fan of the strikers that I had at the club already, as David Mooney isn’t the type of striker I like for the system I’m employing, but Jakubiak is. My tactic involves soaking up pressure and breaking in behind the defence when the opportunity arises, so Jakubiak’s speed will be an asset for me. Talking of speed….
Tyler Walker, Striker from Nottingham Forest (loan)
Even more so than Jakubiak, being able to attain Walker was a massive surprise. He is already a good player for league two level and by the time the year’s out, I bet he will be of ‘leading’ league two level. Him and Jakubiak will have a great striking partnership for me, as they both have great finishing attributes and have the speed to go with it when we are breaking.
Kieran O’Hara, Goalkeeper from Manchester United (loan)
Having looked at my squad, I recognised Goalkeeper was an area that I needed to improve upon. I had two goalkeepers at the club already, but both had good potential but at the minute were not at the level required for what I was after. So, O’Hara came up, a player I know has been on the bench a few times for the United first team, and thus his experience at a premier league club will help us leaps and bounds for the season ahead. It is a shame it is only a loan, but hopefully if we get promoted we will have enough money to consider signing him on a more permanent deal.
Thomas Orr, Striker from Queen’s Park (free transfer)
Using the new scouting centre, one of my scouts recommended this young striker from Scotland who would be available on a compensation deal. His pace and composure concerned me a little, but his 14 finishing made me very interested in him. He is certainly one for the future, but with me trying to ship out David Mooney and a few other strikers who don’t cut the mustard for me, he might just get minutes off the bench this season.
As you can see, I have elected to go with the good ol’ 442 as I decided Jakubiak and Walker were too good not to play together. Clay will be my enforcer in the BWM (D) duty, leaving my Mezzala freedom to roam from the midfield space and link up with my wingers and strikers in dangerous spots. My full backs I left on automatic duty out of caution, as many sides at this level’s strongest team attribute will most likely be in their wide areas.
The aim of my tactic is to soak up opposition pressure and the break as quickly as possible on the opposition. Hence, I decided to close down less so the team kept their shape more, whilst being more disciplined, which will enable us to have a strong defensive core. As we had a deeper line, I was conscious of the fact that sides who go deep can often get pinned in their own half. To alleviate this worry of mine, I decided to go with a higher tempo with mixed passing, in the hope that once we win the wall back from the opposition, the team can release the speed of Jakubiak and Walker on the break as soon as possible. I hope this tactic will give us the strong defensive base that all title-winning sides need, whilst being a major threat when it is our turn to attack.
That is all for now, I will join you again when quite a few games have been played to show you how I am getting on so far. Thanks for reading.