This post is shared with us by @randomfilming where he explains how he found his FM24 save inside his Beta save.
I said I was out.
I was clean.
Eight months had passed, I was free of the urge to play and I had finally moved on.
So I asked myself, Why am I sitting, head on my arms, watching my Doncaster Rovers side concede a third goal in the opening nineteen minutes of the League Two play-off final?
That was my Beta project, a Doncaster Rovers save that managed to pull me back in and kick-start my interest in the game.
After that humbling defeat I thought I would move on and find a new project for the full release, but like all good FM saves, this one was starting to raise the attachment levels. I carried on through the 2024/25 preseason and created a team that by the middle of December was looking pretty unstoppable.
As enjoyable as it could be, this wasn’t for me. I had stopped playing the game and just started mindlessly clicking continue week after week.
If I was to play FM this year then I needed something else, something to make it worth the hours of wasted time that my wife tells me I could be using far more productively.
Step forward a job that could be the fastest way to get sacked since FM Grasshopper took charge at Paris Saint Germain.
I got a notification saying Jon Coleman had been relieved of his duties at Accrington Stanley (If you look closely, you can see why).
Further investigation reveals a football club spiralling out of control and heading into the obscurity of the Vanarama Conference league. They are currently approaching one million pounds in debt and six thousand pounds per week over one of the smallest wage budgets in the league. Only then does the size of the task starts to reveal itself. The squad is so unbalanced it has five first-team goalkeepers and not one out-and-out striker.
(As a lifelong CM/FM player, that last paragraph is about as seductive as it can get).
An application went in and after a conversation with the Chairman, Doncaster Rovers agreed to let me go for a reduced compensation fee in the hope of ‘one day working with me again’, which I think might be a new addition to this year’s game.
In the end, Doncaster Rovers acted a bit like a prequel.
I’m not going to go into too much detail about the next six months as I played it at pace and just tried to enjoy the battle of keeping Stanley in the league.
January was all kinds of tough. The squad was a mixture of transfer-listed players who didn’t care anymore, kids who weren’t ready and on-loan lads who just wanted to get back to their parent clubs. After trying to shovel some players out, demoting others and terminating loan deals, we could try to bring in some new faces.
We have no wage budget to play with, free transfers were a no and any loan contributions were also denied by the board. After so many failed negotiations we finally brought in three players, all kids from Premier League clubs who would be using us to cut their teeth for the first time in professional football.
After the opening eight weeks in charge, I thought we had it sussed. The boys picked up five wins and four defeats in our opening nine games, closing the gap to just two points. I was starting to get a bit blasé about the save, and then, from nowhere, we became dreadful at football.
We collected just ten points from the next thirty-six that were available. The Chairman’s message left me in no doubts, relegation meant the sack –“You will not be allowed to carry on in your role should the football club get relegated”.
Narrative plays a huge part in football, in particular, ‘Football Manager’.
As we entered our final home game of the season, we knew a win would be enough to keep our place in the football league. Who would our opponents be on that day? Doncaster Rovers.
My former employers had already secured promotion. They needed six points from their last two fixtures to secure the title. Since leaving South Yorkshire, they had made a complete mess of their own campaign, finally limping over the promotion line the previous week.
A fiery affair that at one point saw us blow a two-goal lead was probably a fitting end to this mad season. Given where we had come from, I am pretty pleased with how this whole beta/full-time save has gone so far.
Bit of a graphic dump below for anyone who is interested in any more detail:
These three images portray the state of the club. The first team squad has very few people to base long-term plans on. A short-term financial situation that doesn’t look like it’s going to get better any time soon and future projections that make my eyes water.
One small upside is our U18 side went 32 and 0 this season. Moving into the long term, this means that there are players we can look to develop, creating a way that we could start to ease the financial problems we are facing.
We will be left with a thirteen-man squad when the loanees and the out-of-contract players leave this summer. We are looking at four or five promotions from the youth team to act as bit part-squad players. Hopefully, we can recruit some quality, even though the budget will be non-existent.
That’s about it, two years in not so many words. Thanks for taking it all in and hopefully we will be back in one or two seasons’ time,
I stopped playing Football Manager around late February 2023. As a person who has played the game since the Championship Manager days, this was quite a big loss for me. Not having it running in the background of my laptop initially felt weird, but I had reached a point where my love for the game was at an all-time low.
In my eyes FM22 and FM23 have seen the game stagnate a little. Maybe the big overhaul is about due before next year’s game drops.
It could just be me, but I can’t help feeling Sports Interactive has made the game easier, and by easier I mean that it has made success achievable very quickly.
Here’s hoping FM24 will see me still playing late into the summer.