Ryan Owens

Jan 15, 2013
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The Roving Englishman
In Which a Former Footballer Takes the Reigns in Europe

I. Introduction
In order to bring you this story, I have had to load several countries. All told, I have loaded some 30 leagues and 10 countries: England, Scotland, Spain, Germany, France, Belgium, Holland, etc. As a result, the speed of progress in the game will be a bit slow. In order to bring regular content to you fine folks, I will fill it with more exposition. I aim to produce 3 entries per week and I estimate that a month will take me about that long. As a result, I will have one entry per week which is largely game-based content, and two entries which will draw from the game's content but expand upon it to give some life to the cast of characters. The format for my updates will largely be diary entries written by the manager; however from time to time, they may take the form of narrative stories, news articles, or match-day coverage. It will all depend on which format I think will make for the best method of telling the story.

In addition to all of that, I do hope that this story can have some content which is reader-generated. That means that I will be asking for your advice. Know of a great transfer find I could make use of? Let me have it. My tactics don't work and I don't know why? Help! All in all, I want to be able to make this a great narrative, but I want you to have some say too. I have scheduled the first story update for tomorrow night. I look forward to bringing it to you.
The Roving Englishman

In Which a Former Footballer Takes the Reigns in Europe

II. Chapter 1: Going, Going, Gone

The sun was shining down on the dew-laden grass of Staplewood Campus. It was a hot August morning in Marchwood on England's south coast and the Southampton FC Academy team were just preparing to start their first round of training for the day. It had been a long road to this place for the young Tom Hiccox, even though his father had been a Southampton club legend, tallying over 200 goals in a 20 year career. Old John Hiccox was an old fashioned poacher -- never moving around too much, just finding the right spot and burying the ball in the back of the net. His son, however, was a bit different. By now, in 1998, the demands on a striker we massively increased. He needed more intelligence, he thought, even if that meant less technical skill. And he certainly did have less of that. His father could turn a ball on a dime and he could pick the exact hexagon of mesh to hit when he shot. Tom, on the other hand, had a decent first touch and could hit the net most of the time. He was good under pressure and he was taller and stronger than his old man. He imagined that he would be the next Alan Shearer or Paul Gascoigne -- but everybody dreams. In reality, he would probably always be a middling striker -- probably good enough to be professional, but never really good enough to crack the starting eleven of a top outfit.

None of that mattered right now, though heavy are the shoulders that bear the name of a club legend. Expectations had always been astronomically high for Tom as he grew up and it was always his father's unstated dream that his boy would someday take the field at the Dell. Time was running out: a new stadium, to be called the St. Mary's, was approved this year and to meet his dad's goal, he would have to rise quickly through the ranks. Today was step one.

"Train hard, prove your worth -- you can't ride on daddy's name for much longer," the words echoed through his mind every time he laced his boots. They had been said to him by one of his mentors. "If you're going to unseat Le Tissier, you're going to have to be nearly perfect every time you touch a blade of grass." No pressure.
The Roving Englishman

In Which a Former Footballer Takes the Reigns in Europe

II. Chapter 1: Going, Going, Gone (Cntd.)

It had now been three years since Hiccox broke into the senior team at Southampton FC. At 25 years old, his career was little more than a series of loan spells in League 2 and a handful of substitute appearances. He had yet to bag a goal for Southampton and many, including himself, were wondering if -- or, rather, when -- he would be transferred somewhere that suited his playing ability. Playing in the Championship wasn't likely and, at this stage, it looked like the Premiership was so far removed from a possibility that his "sports psychologist" (apparently that was the new big phase and Tom had to, begrudgingly, go speak to the diminutive European woman at least once a month) recommended that he put it out of his mind.

Hiccox wouldn't have to wait long to find out about his being moved. "You're going to Carlisle," his manager told him one morning in his office. Carlisle? Where even is that? "They've been promoted to League One this year and they needed some strong talent up front. I'm sorry to disappoint you, Tom, I really am. But at this stage in your career, you need to be playing football regularly if you're going to get any better and I just don't think we'll ever have the opportunity to fit you into the first team."

"It's alright gaffer," said Tom calmly, betraying his rising pulse. How would he tell his poor old dad who, by now, was on his last legs of life, that he had been transferred due to poor performance? How could he tell his father, a club legend, that his legacy had ended just like that? Sure, the gaffer was right; but that didn't make it any easier. Maybe he could talk to dad. "I understand, this is business and I do appreciate you looking out for me in my career. I just wish I could have played more for the Saints. You know I love this clu-"

The manager interrupted him -- impatience was written on his brow as if to say 'you're not my player anymore, I don't care.' "I know you do, Tom, and this club really does love you -- we have known you since you were born. But needs must and we have got to move on from this. Now I've really got to go, I have backroom meetings I must attend to. Take all the time you need, Tom, and we'll put you in touch with the folks at Carlisle."

With that, George Burley was gone and the feelings started to overcome Tom Hiccox. Sat in the office of his former manager, the walls began to close in around him, he began to lose his breath. All the nights he'd dreamed of scoring the goal that would lead to Southampton lifting the FA Cup, in extra time, were gone. His poor old father; he had given Tom so much and, Tom knew, all he ever wanted was for his boy to succeed at Southampton. But he hadn't. He had been a failure. Tom's forehead was growing sweaty and red, his pulse now must have been a thousand beats per minute. He gripped the arm rest on his chair and swallowed deeply. His throat was dry and it scratched as the walls contracted yet more.

A hot pain shot up Tom's arm, and into his chest. He tried to stand up but his legs gave out under him. He fell onto the desk which lay before him. It was hard, unyielding. Papers fell to the floor. A loud crash. Tom had fallen to the floor, writhing in pain. He tried but he couldn't make a sound. Soon, the door opened. It was the manager's secretary. She screamed, but Tom could hardly make out a sound over the whirling of blood in his ears. He was having a heart attack. Suddenly, the lights became unbearably bright and Tom closed his eyes in pain. Then it was black and nothing could be seen or heard.
The Roving Englishman

In Which a Former Footballer Takes the Reigns in Europe

III. Save Information

Now that we've got what I consider a bit of a prologue out of the way (please accept my apologies on its tardiness, I was called into work twice), I wanted to give you some information on the save itself so you can have a relatively good idea as to what is going on in the actual game. So here it is:

A -- The Save

As noted in the first post, I have loaded several nations into the game. Those nations are: Argentina (First and Second Div.), Belgium (League A, League B, First Amateur Div), Brazil (First Div., Second Div.), Croatia (First League, Second League), Denmark (Superliga, First Division, Second Division), England (Prem to Conference), France (Ligue 1, Ligue 2, Champ. Nat.), Germany (1. Bundesliga, 2. Bundesliga), Holland (Eredivisie, Jupiler League), Italy (Serie A, Serie B), Poland (Ekstraklasa, First Division), Portugal (Premier League, Second League), Russia (Premier Division, First Division), Scotland (Premiership to League 2), Spain (Primiera Division, Segunda Division), Sweden (Premier League, First Division Elite), Switzerland (Super League, Challenge League), Turkey (Super League and 1. League), and Major League Soccer in the USA. That gives us a database of around 90,000 and a computer performance of 1/2 a star -- as I said, this is going to be slow moving. I have also gone on holiday from the very start of the save and ended up in March 2017 and have begun to apply for jobs from there.

B -- The Manager

Tom Hiccox is an English manager with a playing experience of Professional (National) and the Continental C license. This gives him some room to grow but also enough experience to provide for an interesting back story and to give him a chance to manage at a half-decent club. It turns out that Antonio Conte and Arsene Wenger, for some reason, dislike him and nobody really likes him yet. Hopefully, we can add to both lists over the time.

His attributes are as follows:

Att Coa: 12
Def Coa: 11
Fit Coa: 1
GK Coa: 1
Tac Coa: 17
Tec Coa: 13
Men Coa: 6
WWY: 11

Ada: 15
Det: 15
Pla Kno: 1
You Kno: 1
Disc: 16
Man: 1
Mot: 12

If anyone has anymore questions about the save, please let me know and I will try to answer them before I continue on with the story.
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I just hope you get to manage Southampton one day after that prologue :O
I just hope you get to manage Southampton one day after that prologue :O

That's one of the goals of the series -- but it will require things to go right in the save. Needless to say, if he gets the chance, he'll jump to take it.