Sep 25, 2017
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Ïntroduction and First Season

Hello everyone!

I want to write a bi-weekly-ish report about my current FM17 save trying to win trophies with teams who have had little success in that endeavor. This will be the first time I write a FM-story, but hopefully it will turn out decent.

So first a little background about me and the save. My first experience with FM was with FM12 when I was introduced to it in high-school by a classmate. Even though I had played football on and off for around 10 years at that point, I didn’t really follow the sport or watch many matches. Outside of the greats and the players on my local team, I had no actual knowledge about the football world. What originally drew me to it was the amount of control you had in the game, but also that the victory wasn’t fully dependent on you the player, but simulated/auto-piloted through matches. Doing transfers also scratched a certain treasure-hunting itch in me that likes to find good deals and build a strong economy. I’m also really into RPGs and strategy games like the Total War and Fire Emblem series, and from my perspective, FM has a lot of what I look for in a strong tactical RPG/strategy game.

Since I had so little knowledge of football before diving into FM I failed miserably in my first save as I signed Demba Ba for 30mil as Arsenal and got kicked off the team after half a season. Since then I have improved a lot and sport around 500-1000 hours on every edition since FM13. Because of laziness and perhaps my limited football knowledge I have used my fair share of downloaded tactics and save scumming even up till recently. I think this save actually is my first completely “clean” save with no downloaded tactics and absolutely no save-scumming as I had in mind writing a report about it and making the experience as authentic as possible.

I have already played a few seasons of football this save as I stalled out on actually starting taking pictures and writing. It’s not going to be terribly detailed pictures or anything from these early seasons, but I’ll try my best with what I have. From season 2/3 at Sassuolo and forward it’s going to get more detailed.

I started this save playing in Norway as manager of Molde FK mainly to try things out tactically and to get a few years into the save as I like the presence of regens and a slightly unfamiliar market to play with. I won the Norwegian League twice, (one hard fought and one with a ten-point gap), won one National League Cup trophy and eventually got knocked out in the Champions League group phase after knocking out APOEL and Celtic in the qualifying stages. I felt I had reached a plateau at that point that I’d have to play through at least 10 years before the save adjusted enough for my team to adjust further, but who knows, I might return one day to see it all the way through. This is how that team basically looked like when I left. Mostly domestic talent.

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I eventually moved to Sassuolo when I got head-hunted by them in the middle of the winter transfer window of the 2018/19 season. They were at a not-so-bad-but-not-good-enough 12th​ position. I was brought in to ensure that we ended the season in the top-half of the table and given around 6M to use that window. There had already been a lot of transfers that year before I came along, the key point getting almost 30M from the sales of Munlain and Berardi and buying mostly mediocre players from the Spanish top flight and Serie B. Since I didn’t properly know the squad at that point I decided to change as little as possible and make do with what I had. As far as depth went we had more than enough and I was sure we could make the board happy enough with a top-half finish.

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The only thing I did was selling Defrel as he wanted to go out desperately and I also brought in the Norwegian wonderkid winger Tobias Svendsen who I knew from my days in Molde, as well as promising Portuguese midfielder Filipe Soares for a measly 12k from Benfica. Both were of sufficient quality to start for the first-team already and had bags of potential. If they didn’t fit the system or develop as much as I wanted, I was positive I could at least make money on them in the future. Sadly I don’t have pictures of their attributes from that time, but this is how they look like now, Tobias Svendsen having developed into the highest quality player in my squad according to my assistant.

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Filipe Soares haven't developed too much, but still a decent little player to have in the midfield.

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I decided to try some kind of Van-Gaal inspired 4-2-3-1 "Death by Football" style of tactic. Keeping possession with a lot of short passing and handling the ball carefully waiting for the right chances and hindering the opposition from getting any. With that tactic, my squad ended up finishing at a respectable 8th position. We were very solid defensively the latter half of the season and usually won against weaker opposition. Winning against the stronger teams was a bit harder though. I joined at the highlighter Atalanta game.

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This was our best eleven that season. The three best players in my mind were Sergio Canales for his creativity in the midfield, Mathias Jørgensen for his defensive efforts, and my personal hero and current Sassuolo captain: Diego Falcinelli scoring about 1 goal in 2 games and being a great all-rounder to have in the striker position.

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So yeah, that basically wraps up my first season in charge. A lot of dead-wood and a change in tactics will lead to a lot of players going out and a lot of them coming in, so look forward to the next post where I'll show that whole process. I want to properly describe my reasoning behind each transfer so might make a separate post just for that, but I'll try my best to not make it too detailed and dry. If nothing pops up it will be up tomorrow!