Well, well, well. What do we have here then? Welcome to Occasional FM for FM17!
I briefly mentioned in my FM16 summary some of my thoughts around my FM17 save, and if you’re following me on Twitter the eagle-eyed among you might have noticed over the past few weeks that I have come to a decision on my chosen team.
That’s right. It’s the most hated team in Germany, RasenBallsport Leipzig. If you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years and don’t know why they’re hated I’ll give you two words, Red Bull. As Chris D pointed out in the introductory post of his Bilbao boys save, I’m not a fan of giving you the Wikipedia history of a club to introduce them to you for an FM save series. I’d thoroughly recommend you do head to Wikipedia or do a search online and read all there is to read about them. Clicking on or hovering over the images below will give you a quick flavour…
I will talk you through why I’m attracted to them though.
My educational and working background is in marketing, I love all things brands and branding (which is why I’m very interested in the Taste the Feeling save idea on the Higher Tempo Press. I swear this blog post isn’t an ad for Chris D’s site). I’m very at ease when it comes to brands getting involved in football. If Irn-Bru decided tomorrow that they were investing in Morton and were renaming the club to IB Greenock, playing at the IB Park, I genuinely wouldn’t mind! I appreciate that the 50+1 rule is in place in Germany to prevent groups or individuals from running clubs into the ground, but Red Bull have come into Leipzig and made a genuine, positive difference. They’ve invested heavily in the infrastructure of the club, their youth setup, their training facilities, and getting 40,000+ fans through the gates of the RB Arena in the Bundesliga. They might not be winning round the hearts of German football fans, but an unbeaten start to their maiden season in the top tier of German football at the time of writing is certainly making fans and the media sit up and take real notice of the club they love to hate.
So what will I be aiming for with RBL?
It’s going to be split into 5 different phases. These are:
The remain phase involves us doing just that, remaining and consolidating our place in the league. Now you might be weary about this, given the financial muscle behind the club, but in reality, we’re a newly promoted Bundesliga side. Also, I’ve had a horrific time on the beta, so I’m nervy! I’m giving myself 2 seasons here.
Once we’ve established ourselves as a Bundesliga side, it’s time to push on for European qualification. Qualifying for Europe will give us a vital reputation boost enabling us to be able to attract the calibre of player we need to compete against Germany’s elite. European qualification will be the aim in my 3rd season at the club.
Sustaining here is in regards to consistently qualifying for Europe, with the stretch target of sneaking the last Champions League spot. Qualifying for Europe every season has to be the eventual target after a couple of seasons, it’ll allow me to take the club to the next level in terms of making us self-sufficient. I’ll be looking for at least 3 consecutive seasons of qualifying for Europe.
By that 3rd season of sustaining European qualification, it’s time for us to mount a challenge for the league title. Ideally, we’d be challenging for the league title while we’re qualifying for Europe. While we’re challenging for the title, I’d also like to achieve some Europa League glory. We’ve got to be challenging for the title by season 5/6 at the latest.
Pretty self-explanatory to be honest. Topple Bayern and Dortmund and become the Bundesliga champions. Simple right? Can we do it by season 7? Right now, I’m just thinking about surviving past season 1.
How are we going to achieve this?
I’ve divided it up into three main aspects, which upon looking into them a bit more, I’m fairly positive we’ll all do these things subconsciously now, but I wanted to get it down in writing so that I adhere to it.
To start us off, I’ll only be signing players that are 24 or under. It’s something that RBL do in the non-FM world, and it’s something I’ll be doing here. I want a young and hungry squad.
I’ve normally been quite conservative in the past with filling out my scouting team, relying on a couple of trusted staff members to do all the work. Not at RBL though. I’ll be filling all available slots in my scouting team, and each scout will be assigned a different assignment for the entire season. These assignments could be a country, a region or a youth league.
Like I said, this will be something we all do automatically now, but my scouts will be scouring all the usual candidates to find me talent. Croatia, Serbia, Poland, Romania, and Scandinavia. I’ll also be heading further afield, to try and secure the best talents from Africa. Brazil and Argentina are on the radar to see what I can pick up there too. Plus, of course, we’ve got to be looking local as well as global. German talent might not come cheap, but hopefully we’ll be able to find a few gems. I’ll go into this in much more detail once the save is fired up.
Scouting and recruitment go very much hand in hand, and as I said, I’ll only be recruiting players that are 24 or under. They don’t always have to be a rare, shiny wonderkid, but that’d certainly help. I want to build a team of exceptional talent, that can be given a platform to play and show off.
Of course, now there’s that extra option for recruitment where you can speak to a player who’s maybe not as keen to join your club compared to others. I’ll always be promising that RBL can be a stepping stone in a player’s development.
I won’t be afraid to sell players, but I’m hoping that the AI has a bit more respect on FM17 in terms of transfer bids. We shall see.
It’s no use looking to bring in a raft of talented players if I don’t have a plan to improve them. Development will take into account my endeavours to ensure players realise their potential. This will mainly take the form of Bundesliga game time, but of course, will take into account setting them up on schedules to improve their attributes too. Alongside scouting, I’ll more than likely go into this in a follow up post too once the save has started proper.
As I’ve alluded to, I won’t be starting the save proper until the full release of the game, but it’s not far away now! If you’ve got any thoughts or feedback on what I’m setting out to do with RBL, please feel free to get in touch. I’d really love to hear from you if you’ve got any suggestions on specifics on any of the above. I’m planning on really slowing down my gameplay, and paying close attention to some of the finer details this year.
And of course, if you want to send me some abuse because you now hate me, as well as RBL…go ahead!