I have a really bad memory. I’ve purchased every edition of the game since CM01/02, so when it comes to Football Manager, the years and versions almost roll into one. Some things stick out along the way. My Champions League win with Man Utd on CM01/02, with Djibril Cisse scoring an extra time winner, another Champions League win with Celtic on FM15 (in the first season, I might add. I know, ridiculous right?), I’d struggle to tell you what saves I did in between that though.
This post is mostly for me. It’s a bit of a mindfulness/memory exercise. I want to be able to look back and instantly remember my time playing FM16, because I’ve loved every minute of this year. A huge part of that has been down to the support, encourage and engagement with the rest of the FM community. I started this blog in 2013, but coinciding with FM16, and the start of my Morton save, I couldn’t have predicted how great a year it’d be and how many of you would get involved in a save about the club I support.
It hasn’t all been me though. Over the last year, we’ve had Luke guest blogging which has been really well received, and also one-off posts from Ben and Paul, which went both went down a storm too. Thanks to them all for contributing.
The Morton save has been the highlight of my year. Taking the club from Scottish Championship mediocrity to being ranked the most reputable club in the country, and winning numerous Scottish Premiership titles was unthinkable. My 9 seasons at the club brought so many highlights. Reaching the knockout stages of the Europa League, and taking a few big scalps in the Champions League group stages too. Dominque Malonga firing us to the Premiership. Morton youth product, Jim McAlistair, returning to the club and scoring against Celtic to seal our Premiership win on the last day of the season. Securing Daniel Sturridge on a free transfer, for him to go on and score 30 goals and selling him for £7m, my first big money sale. Urs Kern was only at the club for a season, but after a £9.5m transfer to Valencia, he moved to Roma for £25m. Makto Surac arrived for £36k, left for £6m and then went on to move for £18m. We, of course, benefited from both big money sell ons. Vlad Obradovic and Davide Calabria moved on for a total of just under £30m, after arriving for just over £2m between them. Lucas Anderson and Ryan Christie manned the wide spots for our most successful period, with the midfield support coming from Mr. Comrad Gempf. I know you’re out there sir, what a player you’ve been for me on FM16. Mikkel Dueland arrived (AI management, y u so stupid?) and we splashed out almost £10m to bring Ryan Gauld back to Scotland. John Kavanagh, a free transfer from Cork City, reaped the rewards of FM16 loving wing backs so much as he made over 200 appearances for us at a 7.76 average rating (!). Arsenal youth player, Isaac Hayden, has captained the club during our momentous moment in history and what can you say about Bernado Brito. 72 goals in 133 games for the player I loved to hate. He was rubbish! How did he score that many?!
My struggle to properly make a breakthrough in Europe led me to leaving Morton after season 9, and the community voted that I move to England! Spurs had a shocker and had finished 9th, so off I went to see what I could do. Topping the fair play league meant the club qualified for Europe. Going all the way from the Europa League 1st qualifying round to winning the entire competition brought me my first (and what’d be my only) European trophy on FM16. We managed to add both domestic cups, and also the English Premier League title to the haul. Finishing up on 97 points, which was the highest ever points tally, to win it. My time with Spurs didn’t last long though, as I couldn’t handle paying over £10m for a player! It may have been brief, but it was long enough to fall in love with Goncalo Guedes. What a monstrous season he had, 43 goals in 57 games from left inside forward.
From there, it was back to Scotland. An edited database expanding the league, and I joined Aberdeen. The first season brought the most horrific thing to ever happen to me, probably in real life and FM.
Losing the league, in the 88th minute, of the last game of the season, to that goal. Heartbreaking.
We suffered last game of the season heartbreak again in season 2, losing out on the title again. It wasn’t until season 3 that we would get our hands on the Scottish Premiership, finally knocking Celtic off their perch. I discovered the goalscoring prowess of Gustav Engvall, my love-in with Dorin Rotariu from previous versions started all over again and I developed a rather large mancrush on Mihailo Ristic. We didn’t do too badly in Europe either in that season. Losing to Man City in the latter stages of the Europa League knockouts, but beating them at Pittodrie to send the Dons fans home happy.
This year has also seen the emergence of #wearethecommunity. I’ve got to say it’s certainly been a big positive for me seeing a portion of the FM community come together to help promote the good stuff we see that’s being written, recorded and created on a regular basis. Let’s hope it continues for FM17.
I haven’t yet, but I know I probably will get FM17. I’ve written about it before, but there’s something about this game that hooks you in and brings out the addict in you. When I get it, it’ll definitely be more out of habit than desire. Having a degree in marketing and seeing the attitude that SI are taking towards promoting the new game, it should be adopted by lecturers as a prime example of how not to treat customers and how not to promote a new product. It actually pains me to want to get the game but if I’m being honest, FM is the only major hobby I have. It’s what I want to do in my spare time. I play the occasional game of 5asides but I’m not part of a team. I don’t have a Sky or BT Sport subscription so watching football on TV is an effort. I live an hour and a half away from the team I support, and I don’t own a car. I think it was Chris that mentioned this on one of the recent Deep Lying Podcasts, but I’m definitely one of those that sees a purchase of the game as a membership fee into a club for a season. It’s me purchasing my season ticket for FM.
I’ve got a few different ideas for my starter save on FM17. Maccabi Tel Aviv could be interesting, I haven’t seen too many people play in Israel before. Celta are on my radar too, since they signed Pione Sisto. A man so good for me in FM days gone by, that he used to be my Twitter profile picture. Thirdly, and probably the team I’m swaying towards the most, RB Leipzig. Coming from that marketing background as I said (sports marketing, to be specific), I have no problem whatsoever with commercialisation in football. I obviously understand why they are hated, but that attracts me to them even more for an FM save. Everything I’ve read about them, in terms of the way they operate, impresses me. I can’t wait to take charge of them and ruin all the good work that happened before I took over!
Thanks again for reading all things FM16 on Occasional FM. What a year it’s been.