As always here at ViewFromTheTouchline, We are happy to give our readers a platform to share their Football Manager Saves. Here we are joined by Dave popularly known as @CM9798

Hello there. You might know my work if you tend to read blogs about retro Championship Manager saves. You see, I am a simple man, who finds the rigours of the modern day Football Manager games all too much. That said, every year around Christmas I have some down time and load up the latest version full of hope that this is the year I am visited by three ghosts, one of which sees me conquer my FM fears and Tiny Tim doesn’t die. I might be mixing my metaphors there but still, the health of that frog-pig is not the focus of this blog.

 

The short term success of Norwich City however is very much on my mind. Why Norwich? A valid question of a Newcastle fan. Newcastle is a different sort of challenge in this era of enormous riches and I don’t feel I have the required skills for Champions League football. Norwich became a bit of a second team for me, purely by accident. I chose them by mistake on Kick Off 3 on the SNES in 1995 and they were actually really fun to play as. So they became my second save on various CMs and FMs over the years and now, Delia is calling again. I will try not to disappoint. The media prediction is 5th. As I write this, the Canaries are 13th in real life, under the hatted eye of David Wagner. Judging by my friend Adam Brandon’s comments on X, it is not a happy house. I’m sure fictional Adam will enjoy my fictional tenure. If you’re expecting some sort of ground breaking tactical insight in this blog, you will likely be left disappointed. I struggle to explain the mental block I have when playing this and other FM games, though I did attempt to summarise it with this graph a few years ago:

 

I don’t do friendlies, my assistant, Christoph Buhler, will handle them. The fans can at least rest assured that when I inevitably get sacked, Herr Buhler has things very much in hand.

I can’t give him all the credit, as I decided on the tactics and just left him to do the dogsbody work like actually tuning up to manage the game and picking the team. What are those tactics you ask?

It’s a 4-2-3-1 gegenpress of course. This is how I wanted to play and the lads seem quite capable of doing it. Next on the agenda is recruiting. After spending a few weeks trying to loan Lewis Miley and then Jacob Murphy to no success, I had to settle on loaning a ball playing defender from Japan. He’s Danish and has had quite the varied career but now I need him to keep Shane Duffy calm. Also, Grant Hanley is severely injured so Scholz will plug that big Scottish gap for 6 months.

My other signing is slightly more conventional as the versatile child Joe Gelhardt arrives on loan. The way I see it, I just need someone to run a lot.

We’ll see how they get on, the squad is hideously bloated really

Sargent and Hanley are long term losses, with Sargent rated as easily our best striker and Hanley the club captain. We do have some money left but the wage budget is maxed out and frankly I feel I should probably at least see what this lot are about first and maybe do some wheeling and dealing in January when the injury picture is clearer. Something else I like about Norwich is that the staffing is unreal. These useful graphs demonstrate how amazing the team behind me are.

I added one 90s legend to the staff because I like to surround myself with familiar faces

Lovely Psycho.

The first game of the season takes us to Wayne Rooney’s Birmingham. When we concede two in two minutes to be 2-0 down after just 22 minutes, I’m getting that familiar feeling when I play these games. Before my internal monologue can complete the post mortem, Adam Idah pulls one back.

 

Maybe I can just give some light encouragement at half time and it’ll all be ok…then we concede a third on the cusp of the break. I am steaming. I say some nasty things about how they don’t really want it and we should do better. Idah pulls one back after good work from Jack Stacey, who I can tell you right now after 56 minutes of playing this game, is going to be my only creative outlet. A fairly suspicious penalty for a push follows and Idah has the match ball. Shane Duffy climbs highest to meet a Nunez corner and the away end is in raptures. Not wanting to dampen the mood, I tell myself it’s only Wayne Rooney and suggest we all go out for milkshakes. The era of Dave has begun.

Maybe this is us? Rock and roll football. Kevin Keegan applauding on the sidelines. Stuart Pearce staring menacingly without really adding anything. You score three, we’ll score four. Tell all the boys you know, Adam Idah will always score goals. The travelling Canary army. On the Ball City. It’s off to Milton Keynes in the Carabao Cup and they are brushed aside. A professional performance. Rowe could go on to be the next Darren Eadie. Idah the next Chris Sutton without the terrible takes.

The next round has drawn us away to Sunderland, so it’s not all good news. Time for home coming and the crowd go mild for our first home league game of the season. As
predicted, Jack Stacey is our most attacking player from right back and scores twice, one a blasty from 25 yards. I can almost feel the promotion.

It’s West Brom away next which is a tough assignment which I consider scaling back our attacking intent for something more robust but dammit, this is what the boys want to do. We play West Brom off the park but forget the tiny detail of putting the ball in the goal and we fall to a Jonathan Swift goal against the run of play. No panic, it happens.

The problem is, that becomes a bit of a theme for us. Millwall barely lay a glove on us but leave with a point. Our xG, if you buy into that, suggests we should win 2-0. Could it be that Adam Idah is the problem?

Even if he is, the alternatives are Josh Sargent (badly injured), Ashley Barnes (angry), Hwang Ui-Jo (Poor in training every week) and young Gelhardt (Jury is out).
More of the same away at Huddersfield but we only just pinch a point. You can’t argue we didn’t deserve it.

Unfortunately we won’t be winning the Carabao Cup. Our trip to Wearside ends in a draw and the narrowest defeat on penalties when Ben Gibson misses our 8th spot kick.

That was August then and I think the signs are positive. We’re creating loads and surely we’ll take some chances eventually, right? Another lead given away at home to Coventry. Tony Jameson told me to manage the game better, which we really didn’t do here. Sara going off injured is also a problem as he’s very good.

Luckily a much better display against Sunderland sees us back to winning ways for the first time in a month.

Another injury though, which makes me wonder if I’m working these lads too hard by asking them to press like their life depends on it. Seeing as this is all a learning curve for me I’m going to stick with my tactics until the October International break. By then I should have a fair idea of what works and what doesn’t and we can decide how to be better. Our first properly bad result comes at Swansea, who beat us 3-0.

Then this happens, where we lead 2-0, have two more disallowed and lose our best player to injury, before conceding two late goals. The 93rd minute equaliser was maddening because Gibbs literally gave them the ball under no pressure, which is bad form.

The injury situation is rough as we prepare to head to QPR.

Stacey might make it but now we lose the other full back in McCallum. As usual we plunder the shots in to no avail and QPR beat us 2-0. I don’t think we should be losing matches like that.

We’re about to play league leaders Leicester and with first choice Gunn already out, the backup is now injured.

I didn’t register the two other back ups because, you know, who loses two goal keepers? So we’ve got to play 20 year old Dylan Berry in nets, a Northern Ireland Under 21 international. Obviously we get absolutely destroyed.

The table makes grim reading.

Delia is not best pleased. But hey, at least we play possession football.

Clearly, something has to change or Delia will be replacing me. Given how much hate David Wagner gets from my Norwich supporting chums, let’s not give Delia the chance to appoint somebody else. At this point, I turned to X (formerly Twitter) for advice. Join me next time to find out what we did next and if I can appease Delia.

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