At ViewFromTheTouchline we are happy to host and promote peoples FM work, When Rich tweeted he wanted to blog his FM23 save, we were more than happy to host it. Here he gives us the introduction to his save.
Good morning/afternoon/evening. I hope that this blog finds you all well. It’s that fantastic time of year once again when fans of Sports Interactives Football Manager series come together again, like a family around the Christmas dinner table. Whether you’re a content creator, blogger, or someone who simply loves to play the game, I’m sure we all go through the same process of plotting our long-term saves for the year.
This year I’ve decided to do this in blog form for a number of reasons. Firstly, I want to get my mind active again from a literary standpoint. I’ve always loved literature from being a child to right now in my (unfortunately) late 30s. It’s now time for me to pick up the pen (or type on the keyboard). I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from the FM blogging scene greats such as FM Grasshopper, Dan Gear, Samo, Cleon (yes he’s alive), and MaddFM. Secondly, I’ve always wanted to create this blog. To have something to look back on at the end of the year and feel a sense of achievement. Not only in Football Manager but in creating something that I can share with others. Finally, I want to learn how to actually play FM to its full potential.
Now don’t get me wrong, you’re not reading the ramblings of a complete FM newbie here, I’ve played the game for many years. But I’ve never done training, never really looked at the data hub, never play on extended highlights and never really scout the world to find that next big thing. I just play the game! This year I want that to change. I want to learn more about this great game and some of the astonishing capabilities that it possesses. This is all following the inspiration of those bloggers above and many others who are out there. So here goes…………
The Spirit of Belle Vue
I was born and raised in Doncaster, a proud Yorkshireman. First attending a game at Belle Vue, home of Doncaster Rovers in 1992, aged 8 with my dad. I’ll never forget him asking me if I wanted to go. He didn’t need to ask me twice. Doncaster Rovers Vs Hartlepool United, FA Cup 1st Round. It could have been Manchester United Vs Arsenal and it would have been on the same level in my mind. Following a 2-1 defeat I should have seen it as a sign of things to come.
But from that moment on I was hooked! I’d spent my early teens saving my dinner money at school and sneaking off to Belle Vue on a Saturday when my parents thought I was in the park (sorry Mum and Dad). Money was tight in the 90s and my Dad couldn’t afford to feed my newfound addiction. He was also a Man United fan so there wasn’t really much comparison. Fast forward 14 years to 23rd December 2006. Doncaster Rovers 1-0 Nottingham Forest. I watched my team for the final time at Belle Vue before it was to be knocked down and turned into a housing estate. Despite moving to the now-known Eco-Power Stadium, I felt like we’d lost something. A sense of identity.
There have been lots of ups since the move with promotions, a JPT Trophy win at the Cardiff City Stadium as well as the famous win against Leeds United at Wembley. There have also been relegations. A steady downward spiral has taken place since relegation from the Championship in 2014.
The owners have gone from 3 to 1, money is tight and Doncaster Rovers currently sit in 10th place in League 2 as I write this. The 15,148 seats at the new stadium are now occupied by 5000-6000 locals every other week. Less than the average attendance at Old Belle Vue. Unfortunately for me, I don’t get to as many games these days. After deciding to fall in love with a southerner in 2006 I moved with her to Sussex in 2009. Fortunately for us both and 2 children, 2 cats, and a dog later, we’re still going strong. I do miss Doncaster though and my football club. This is where Football Manager comes into play to make me feel like I’m home again.
So here we are! Welcome to my first blog post for Football Manager 2023. As you might have guessed, we’re off to South Yorkshire, Doncaster to be precise. We’re here to try and make Doncaster Rovers great again. Were they ever great? To me, yes. But these days we are a bit of a sinking ship. So enter Football Manager.
Following relegation from League One in 2022, a young squad full of players who are ok just about for League Two, but some with a bit of potential, what is the aim for the year? Mid table? Oh no! Automatic promotion! Thanks, Mr Blunt (Chairman), the pressure is on from the start then. Ok well, there must be some transfer budget to improve the squad? “No!” Wage budget? “No, all spent on the current squad!” Great! How about an affiliate club to help us then? “No sir you can’t have one of those. Get on with the job and stop wasting our time!” Let’s have a look at the squad then. If we align the stars then Jon Taylor is currently our best player. But knowing the real-life Jon Taylor I also know he’s extremely injury-prone.
Despite that, if we can keep him fit he’ll be a key player for us this season. Regarding potential, then young James Maxwell is the stand-out of four players having 5-star potential. Formerly of the Rangers academy, the young Scot has some key attributes to hopefully give us some success.
Despite the positives, for a squad that is expected to achieve automatic promotion, the squad isn’t great. At best it is probably a mid-table League 2 side. The pressure is officially on from day 1.
The staffing situation unfortunately doesn’t get much better. The first job will be to recruit an Assistant Manager, 2 coaches, 1 Performance Analyst, 2 Scouts, 1 Recruitment Analyst, and 1 Head Physio. None of these staff will be on high wages due to our budget, but I’d like to hope we’ll end up with a pretty strong coaching, recruitment, and medical team once we’re over this first hurdle.
Just going back to the squad and financial situation, we definitely know that we’ll have to sell before we can buy. However, being an extremely average League 2 club, who is going to want to buy our players? If they do it’s going to be one of our better players or a hot prospect. A real catch-22 situation.
Plan B and the one that we’ll be going with requires some hope and a little bit of luck. TEAM REPORTS my friends!! Our eventual 3 scouts (once all recruited) will be heading to each team in the Premier League as well as the Championship. Team reports are one of my favourite scouting methods in the lower leagues. Once complete we’ll clearly be able to see who we could potentially get on loan as well as how they compare to the rest of the squad. A bit of luck will come into it regarding the wages.
Some clubs will actively throw young players at you without the cost of having to pay their wages or a monthly fee. If we can be lucky with the quality and the cost, that could really boost the squad in the early part of the season. In my next post, I’ll talk about how successful this was (if at all), as well as reviewing the tactics that I put into place along with the first part of the League 2 season. Thanks for reading.
A great introduction and I can’t wait to follow along. Give Rich a follow on twitter and keep up to date with his save here on Viewfromthetouchline.