Samo’s Stirling – Season Eleven

We’re back for an eleventh season at the helm of Stirling on FM18. Season 2027/28, for anyone that was trying to work it out.

It’s a season that starts with us being two-time SPL winners, after our second consecutive league win last season. Not only that though, we start the season with a target on our backs as we managed to win the league undefeated last season. A quite remarkable feat, considering that Celtic and Rangers are both still strong, despite Celtic’s shocking 6th place finish last season and them missing out on European football altogether this season. Would that help them domestically? We’ll see…

As per the Strategy for Stirling, I’m looking for dominance and excellence. Alongside winning the league last season, we also brought home the Scottish Cup for a second time. I’ll be looking to do that again, plus one extra, the Scottish Supercup. It’s a trophy that has alluded me so far, so now I’m really desperate to win it and do a domestic treble. The board is expecting success again too this season. Let’s see if we can deliver on our aims and expectations.

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Samo’s Stirling – Futures Update

It’s been a couple of seasons since the last update on how my Futures (u21 talent) are doing. If you wanted to read that post again, have a wee click here. The general idea of the Futures can be read again below though.

Attracting young players to the club, giving them an environment to develop and a platform to play will benefit the club in the long term. I touched on this in the latest Strategy for Stirling post too. We need to ensure we’re sustainable and that occasionally means letting players use the club as a stepping stone.

My chief scout is in charge of assignments and we’ve had a very fruitful couple of years as we’ve grown as a club, culminating in that maiden top tier title win last season. If you haven’t managed to get to grips with scouting on FM18 I’d really recommend relinquishing control and handing it over to your chief scout, it helped me massively in terms of players that’ve come into the club, but also to embrace the changes made to it for FM18. If you want to hear me and AccordingtoFM debate the changes to scouting then have a listen to this episode of the One More Game podcast.

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Samo’s Stirling – Season Ten

It took nine seasons overall, six of those in the top tier, but last season we managed to secure the clubs first ever SPL title. Incredible scenes. Chairman, Stewart Brown, obviously felt like he couldn’t eclipse that any further and he decided to relinquish control of the club. The incoming board, with Graeme Mackay at the helm, obviously liked what they’d seen of me in my time at the club so far, as I was instantly awarded with a new deal until 2030. Correct decision, in my opinion.

Once the contract negotiations were out of the way the next order of business was to collaborate on the aims that will underpin my next few years at the club, the Strategy for Stirling. I’ll be touching more on them at the end of the season, but give that post a read if you fancy some ever-so-slightly wanky business speak mixed in with FM.

The board expect us to simply qualify for the Europa League this season, with the media expecting us to do the same, finishing in 3rd place. After the title win last season, plus the consecutive 2nd place finishes in the two seasons before last, I’m confident we can exceed those expectations and challenge for the SPL trophy again.

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A Strategy for Stirling

In my saves on previous editions of Football Manager I’ve tended to set out quite structured aims and targets at the beginning of the save. This time round with Stirling we started out in the third tier and I knew I eventually wanted to grow the club and take it to the next level but one of the main initial aims I had was survival. We were part-time and forward-planning is a bit of a dirty word at that level like I said in my initial introductory post. Fast forward to the beginning of the 2026/27 season and we’ll be starting season ten with the aim of retaining the SPL crown after the clubs first ever top tier title win last season. Who’d have thought it?

The club has obviously come a long way in that time, and the restructured Scottish football leagues seem to have enabled clubs in the country to go from strength to strength. With all of these things in mind, plus the fact that Stewart Brown, our long-standing chairman in-game, stepped aside after the title win to be replaced by Graeme Mackay, I felt it was time to get some aims written down. I’ll be looking to keep these things front of mind over the next part of the save. Here’s my Strategy for Stirling.

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Samo’s Stirling – Season Nine

If I get through my ninth season in charge of Stirling on FM18 (this post could end with a sacking for all you know…), it’ll be well on track to be my longest save on any game since CM01/02. There’s still so much more left to achieve too. Let’s get into it.

It began with a glamour friendly against Bastardo’s Estudiantes to open our new 14k capacity home, the Samo Stadium. I really would recommend you go and read that post, plus FMGrasshopper’s accompanying initial post in our mini-series. Both detail the more interlinked than you know nature of Argentinian and Scottish football, plus both include my Stirling side getting our arses handed to us by La Plata’s finest. It wasn’t the nicest way to open our new home.

The media’s predictions of how we’ll do this season have risen, they reckon we’ll finish 3rd behind Celtic and Rangers. While the board, of which there’s takeover rumours currently swirling, want us to qualify for Europe. I’d be delighted to qualify for Europe again. With more sensible decision making in the transfer market and a quality addition or two, could we go one better than our consecutive 2nd place finishes? Could we upset the Celtic/Rangers duopoly on the SPL title?

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Samo’s Stirling – Grand Opening of Samo Stadium

Having successfully established Stirling as one of the best clubs in Scotland on the pitch, it was time to do this off the pitch too. We’d quickly outgrown our 3,808 capacity Forthbank home, we were unable to play our home European matches there (because home European matches are a thing now for the club!), and halfway through my seventh season in charge the board sanctioned a request to have a new stadium built. Just in time for the beginning of my ninth season in charge of Stirling, we’ll move into our brand spanking new 14k capacity home (you noticed the background image change, didn’t you?).

Nobody wants to be playing in the Stirling Albion Stadium. It’s uninspiring and the game needs to get better on things like this. So I went out and bought the in-game editor purely to change the name of our new stadium. Pure mad mental? Aye, probably. But fuck it. Welcome to the Samo Stadium.

It’s customary to open a new stadium with fanfare, fireworks and a fancy friendly match. You’ll have read what happened when I took my Stirling side to Argentina to face Bastardo’s Estudiantes side to celebrate the 75th anniversary of our club forming. Having kept in touch in the years since, including his recommendation to Walter Samuel to join as my new assistant manager last season, I felt it was only right to invite Bastardo’s bastards to Stirling to crack open the champagne bottle on the side of the Samo Stadium. Oh, and to play some football too of course.

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Samo’s Stirling – Season Eight

Last season we finished 2nd and qualified for the Champions League for the first time. Unbelievable. Being the filling in a Celtic and Rangers sandwich has certainly come sooner than I was expecting, which seems to be the recurring theme of this save so far. My Stirling players continue to surprise me and I’m basically just happy enough joining them all on the ride.

Season eight will be a different story to the rest so far, there’s a little bit of pressure being applied. The board expect us to qualify for the Europa League, while the preseason prediction is that we’ll finish in the top six. We’ve got a responsibility to the rest of the teams in the country now too to do well in Europe and sustain our strong coefficient. We also need to have a strong season so that there’s still a wave of positivity surrounding the club when we move into the newly built Samo Stadium (not yet called this, but it bloody will be) at the beginning of season nine.

For now though, onwards with season eight!

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