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Lucas
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Posts: 3034

Further proof that Italians have suspect taste in games.


on: September 13, 2017, 06:54:59 PM

Posts #1 to #11 is pre-season; GO TO POST #12 FOR THE BEGINNING OF THE SEASON

Aaaand back, after four years: hopefully I'll make this Radicalthon last a little bit longer :P
--------

So, what do I mean by "old style"? Nothing fancy, really: it means I'll play the "Touch" (but I prefer the "classic" tag SI gave to it a few years back) version of FM: much more "agile", with the main focus on team building, transfers, tactics and the matchday experience. No time-wasting press releases, manager-player interaction, or excessive micromanagement of the training schedules. The game still retains all the awesome fidelity and depth of the "normal" game when it comes to tactics and matches. In other words, pretty similar to the CM games and the earlier FM ones.

Also, it's going to be "old style" because I'll keep the experience within the UK borders, much like the early CM games, and starting from (almost) the bottom. I've selected all the possible leagues from England, Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Wales. From time to time we'll also take a peek at what's happening in the filthy european mainland, with its main club competitions.

Will try to squeeze in as much play as I can but, beside RL commitments, I'm quite engaged in finishing Divinity Original Sin and can't wait to start playing the second chapter which comes out tomorrow   awesome, for real . Anyway, the quicker nature of the Touch version is going to be a bless, especially when I'll start getting into the heart of the season.

My plan is trying to keep this 'Thon running at least 'til FM 2018 comes out (November 10th).Like I said in my previous attempt, I'm not the kind of "let's player" (ugh) that likes to pile up lots of playing days then blurt them out in a single day/single post; hence, bar any other commitment/delay, I'll write a report after every single session.
-----

Anyway, enough babbling. Train* just dropped me off:



Welcome to the English Vanarama National League...

...And welcome to Silverlake Stadium, home of "The Spitfires", also known as Eastleigh Football Club  DRILLING AND MANLINESS ACK!




*Yep, actual mini-trains in Eastleigh doing some sort of lakeside tourism trip
« Last Edit: September 20, 2017, 05:15:45 AM by Lucas »

" He's so impatient, it's like watching a teenager fuck a glorious older woman." - Ironwood on J.J. Abrams
Lucas
Terracotta Army
Posts: 3034

Further proof that Italians have suspect taste in games.


Reply #1 on: September 14, 2017, 09:13:09 AM

Ok, a brief introduction to the situation at the start of the game.


It starts on July 1st, with the first League match scheduled for August 6th; in between, my assistant manager booked 4 friendlies, with the first on July 16th, definitely too late: in lower leagues, training regimens, coaches and players suck, so my sorry bunch will need more match play in order to get fit.

Schedule:

Andy Cook, my head physio (for now), is ready to welcome me at the training grounds with some juicy bad news  why so serious? :

Both players, as you'll notice when we'll get to the Squad screen, are first team material. I'm especially disappointed about McAllister because in lower leagues you need experienced strikers (he's 36) with high strength and heading values (that's actually true in RL too).

Ok, let's end this first post with the general info screen about my team...:

And the overview of the Vanarama National League:


" He's so impatient, it's like watching a teenager fuck a glorious older woman." - Ironwood on J.J. Abrams
Lucas
Terracotta Army
Posts: 3034

Further proof that Italians have suspect taste in games.


Reply #2 on: September 14, 2017, 06:20:22 PM

From time to time, I'll leave a couple screenshots unspoilered, just to give some more lively resemblance to the thread: game is already wordy and enough of a spreadsheet on its own :P

SHORT, GENERAL LOOK AT MY TEAM AND STAFF:

Ok, let's have a look at my team:



Just in case you're not really up to speed with FM,  those " dark blue" players are loan-ins; "light blue" ones (usually in a reserve team) are loan-outs.

Even before filtering them by role, or getting an in-depth look at their attributes, I already know that my starting point, tactics-wise, will be a 4-4-2. Why? Well, I think it's important to have a rock-solid 4-4-2 in the lower leagues: players are not that creative, it's a matter of following the rules of their absolute overlord manager. Then, as you go along, you can put in adjustments and experiment a little (but mostly with 4 defenders, in my case).

So, to summarize by role:

- 2 Goalkeepers
- 2 Right Full Backs (1 injured)
- 5 potential Left Full Backs (including Wing Backs and central defenders)
- 4 potential Central Defenders
- A LOT of central midfielders/defensive midfielders, either harsh ball winners, box-to-box runners, or all-around players.
- 2 Left Midfielders
- ZERO Right Midfielders
- A decent amount of potential Attacking midfielders; some can play as wide midfielders/wingers, a couple also as strikers, but no true "Trequartista" for a possible 4-3-1-2
- 3 natural Strikers (1 injured)

So, yeah, I KINDA need some meat on that right side of the pitch  Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly?, plus at least another striker and maybe a natural advanced midfielder (maybe a promising loan coming from the higher leagues? We'll see about that).

In my next post I'll post detailed attribute screens of a couple of my players. Other players screns might get posted as needed (good performances, new signings, comparisons etc.)
----

Now, regarding my STAFF. View is A LOT less detailed compared to normal FM; as you can see there are also less roles you need to pay attention to. In fact, in plain FM, it's almost a game in itself (and quite time consuming) if you don't delegate that aspect to your Assistant Manager, Director of Football or whoever else:


Now, injured players are bad, and I want a reliable Physio especially in a club that can't afford to have an endless roster. A value of 9 Physio won't cut it, no matter the other attributes. YOU ARE OUT, ANDY COOK  Cthulu

Youth dev is not THAT important right now, so I'll settle for Mr. Peacock; The Director of Football, IMO, has a slightly more interesting and important role in FMT, because you don't have as much control over the scouting team as in FM. He basically acts as another scout giving out useful advice on potential transfers. He's a bit low with the fundamental attributes for the role, so I might decide to look for someone better.

Here's my Assistant Manager, 28 yrs old (wow) James Russell:




Well, he surely had an early start in 2008 at the Kansas City Wizards  Ohhhhh, I see.

But you know what? I think he has potential, especially because of that focus of Fitness, Man Management and mental attributes. Let's do it, kid!
-------

In the next post, beside having a more specific look at my players, we'll start diving into the transfer market and advance the calendar a bit in order to fix a couple more friendlies. See ya!

" He's so impatient, it's like watching a teenager fuck a glorious older woman." - Ironwood on J.J. Abrams
Lucas
Terracotta Army
Posts: 3034

Further proof that Italians have suspect taste in games.


Reply #3 on: September 15, 2017, 01:02:29 PM

PLAYER PROFILES (actually, I also wanted to write about my search for the physio, look at finances and a couple more things, but the current post is becoming a bit long)


So, like I said, let's have a more detailed look at a few of my players.

- Here's who I think it's gonna be my first team regular GK, Ryan Clarke:

Average technical values, good enough for the category; plus, mental ones are good for the role. He played in League Two for most of his career, Bristol Rovers and Oxford. The other GK of my team, Graham Stack, is not far as far as attributes go, but he's 34 as well, so I might decide to sell/release him and look for a young GK (19-21 yrs old), possibly free.

- Next, one of my Left Defenders, Tyler Garrett, a loan-in from Doncaster (League Two) brought by the club before I arrived:

19 yrs old, great base to work on in general, IMO.

- Regarding my Central Defenders (4 of them), they're decent enough for the category: your average, stocky and tall defenders, not really that bright on the pitch but good at tackling and marking. One stood out in particular, Réda Johnson:

Yep, high value and quite an excessive wage (highest of my team, €110,000 per annum); he's only 28 and looking at his career page, he surely made a drastic drop (don't really want to research about him in RL :P):

- My young, poor, lonely Right Defender, Hakeem Odoffin:

As you can see, he's actually more than decent :P (he's a loan-in from Wolves, after all). But yeah, that side surely needs someone else while I'll gladly evaluate the performances of this guy.

- Next, two of my central midfielders (including defensive ones); most of them are "ball winning" and aggressive bullies. I don't really have a Pirlo or Xavi among my ranks  why so serious?

Still, have a look at Sam Togwell...:

...And Sam Matthews:

Well, Togwell is a decent all-around midfielder (he's 31 after all, with experience in the Championships League), while Matthews is considered a "box-to-box" (quite useful) because of his physical qualities, decent long shots and passing. Anyway, I could try either of them to become my creative outlet in the middle (nope, the other ones don't qualify, believe me :P).

- Finally, last but not least, one my strikers, THE MOUNTAIN, Darius Henderson:

Yeah, ye average, tall and experienced "Target Man" that will bulldoze through the defence with his elbows while others will actually score :P. In fact, looking at his career, he's not exactly a deadly goalscorer:

Sure, a honorable career in the higher-ups leagues (overall stats got cut-off, but he's at 430 Apps, 117 Goals), but hey, no ball in the net since quite a while :P . My other, healthy striker (like I have shown, McAllister will be injured for a while), Scott Wilson, is not terrible, more of a quick player; but I really need someone more agile with better finishing to act as a poacher.
----------
'Til next time  DRILLING AND MANLINESS

" He's so impatient, it's like watching a teenager fuck a glorious older woman." - Ironwood on J.J. Abrams
Lucas
Terracotta Army
Posts: 3034

Further proof that Italians have suspect taste in games.


Reply #4 on: September 15, 2017, 05:57:37 PM

NEW FRIENDLIES, FINANCES, LOOKING FOR A PHYSIO, FIRST (FRIENDLY) MATCH AND A BIT MORE...

Ok, let's get back on schedule, trying to unravel the usual, lenghty and somewhat boring (but important) stuff you have to do at the beginning of a new career (and, sometimes, of a new season, anyway).

- Scheduled 3 more friendlies: like I previously mentioned, only four before the first League game wouldn't have cut it. Hence, an internal game with Eastleigh reserves; then, 5 days later, Home match against Ebbsfleet (they play in Conference South, immediately lower League), and another home match 4 days after that against Bradford City, a League One team (should  bring some money). Then, on the 16th of July, the previously posted (2nd post) chain of friendlies will start.

- Regarding club finances, here's the summary:

Balance is healthy and the wage budget is pretty generous; I have roughly €375,000 left to hand out as wages to potential new signings (more if I put the transfer money into the wage budget). As I evaluate the current roster, I might decide to release two or three players that earn a bit too much for what they're worth in exchange of less costly new signings. We'll see.

- Staff: the club mutually terminated the contract of Andy Cook (head physio) for a fee of 9K. After taking a look at the Staff transfer list, I'll offer a contract to the following physios, while I decide which one to pick:

Derek McKinley...:

...Or Alan Millar:

Both are pretty good, anyway (that rock bottom "motivating" isn't really important for a Physio).
-------------------

- Ok, time to advance the calendar for the first time and....Minor (hopefully) bad news from the training ground: Tyler Garrett, the promising Left Defender I wrote about in the previous post, suffered an injury (twisted ankle) and will stay out for 2-3 weeks.
In other news, Bradford City has a too busy schedule so they rejected my friendly proposal. No problem, Exeter (League Two) accepted the one I submitted immediately after.

So we get to the first friendly match against my reserve team. Now, for the friendlies I won't post a "per match" report with multiple screens, info, etc. I will do that for regular League games (including Yotube highlights). I'll just give you the result and a brief summary.

July 2nd, 2016 - Friendly Match n. 1.

Eastleigh F.C. 6 - 1 Eastleigh Res.

Can't really draw any indication from a match like this (created to start building up match condition), but my traditional, free-flowing 4-4-2 worked fine, with players doing what they were supposed to. An own goal by the reserves, and then a great workout by Darius "The Mountain" Henderson with 3 goals and 2 assists; 2 goals were scored by my other striker, Scott Wilson. Nice job by Sam Matthews in the midfield, acting in his favourite "box to box" role.

Ok, that's all for today. Next time we'll start some serious scouting in order to fill in the gaps of the roster while getting to the next couple friendly matches (and maybe a glance at the training screens, an area I don't really like to dwelve too much into)

" He's so impatient, it's like watching a teenager fuck a glorious older woman." - Ironwood on J.J. Abrams
Lucas
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Further proof that Italians have suspect taste in games.


Reply #5 on: September 16, 2017, 05:34:27 PM

SCOUTING FOR PLAYERS, NEW PHYSIO, 2ND and 3RD FRIENDLY MATCHES

- Ok, about the Physio, I settled for the first one who called me back, and that is Alan Millar; younger than the other, less experienced, but good enough for me;

- Now, transfer rules for the English Conference can be found in the "rules" tab of the competition profile:



As you can see, beside specific limitations on loans and suchlike, the actual window lasts from the 3rd of June 'til March. No need for a hasty, highly competitive transfer market like in the bigger leagues. That allow clubs (which are not exactly rich in the lower leagues) to spread their market expenses on a longer timescale and plan ahead a little more carefully.

Still, it goes without saying, it's good to have a solid team right from the start of the competition and in my case I simply lack players in certain positions. Let's put on paper my ideal "grocery" list  Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly?

1 young GK
1-2 D R
1 M R (only one if one of my defenders can play as a wing back and/or M R)
1 young, creative M C
1 creative AM C
1 Striker (poacher role)
--------

So, I started rummaging among my pre-made scout reports, Director of Football (DoF from now on) suggestions and my own searches. This led to a somewhat time consuming comparison between players, first and second (and third) look at scout reports and all the usual number crunch that comes with the job  ACK!

In-between the first approaches to players (will write about that in a bit), first it came the news of another injury during training (abdominal strain), this time suffered by Alan Dugdale, a D C, but everything should be resolved in a week;

- Then, it was time for the second friendly, against Ebbsfleet (Vanarama Conference South):

July 7th, 2016 - Friendly Match n.2

Eastleigh F.C 2 - 1 Ebbsfleet

Another decent enough workout (still with a 4-4-2), considering I switched some players around on the wings and played the first half with two attacking midfielders, basically (James Constable and Ross Stearn who can also play as strikers, albeit not effectively). Nice, flowing and well-paced football upfront, still too much space given to attackers by my defenders. I need to work on that (but I created 22 chances).
------
Now, back to the transfer market, my first purchase:

- Young GK

Looked on the list provided by my chief scout (otherwise I can search any player on my own, THEN ask for a scout report), and almost immediately settled for 20 yrs old Harry Andrews:

Nice stats considering age and category; on the other hand, that Work Rate...*cracks the whip*  Shaking fist

At the same time, I released on a free my other 34 yrs old GK, Graham Stack. Had to compensate him for €45,000, but they were deducted from my transfer budget, which I probably won't use at all (will keep it for the wages).

- Striker (preferably Poacher)

For this role, I decided to try a loan from a higher League, and I successfully snagged 18 yrs old Dan Turner, from Port Vale (League One):

Very happy about it, this one has potential.

- Regarding the D R and the M R I have two unresolved situations, but, advancing the calendar, it's time for the third friendly, this time against better placed Exeter (League Two).

July 11th, 2016 - Friendly Match n. 3

Eastleigh F.C 0 - 1 Exeter

Again plain 4-4-2 as main tactic. A "good loss", as they say. After all, they only scored from a set piece. Yep, of course they created more chances than that, stopped by good GK interventions. No fear by my midfield line and my attackers, who created a lot of chances (16 vs. 18 by Exeter). Toward the end of the match, my young new attacker, Dan Turner, put wide a shot one-on-one with the keeper  why so serious?

Oh, and big guy Henderson, my striker, suffered a facial injury, but it will be healed in three days; OH, and one of my advanced midfielders I can place as striker, James Constable, strained his knee ligaments and he's gonna be out for 5-6 weeks  swamp poop swamp poop

Injury table right now (well, Garrett is coming back, at least):

Ok, will stop here for now; in the next post, I'll talk about the search for more right-sided players (but not only them), as well as progressing with the friendlies.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2017, 05:37:45 PM by Lucas »

" He's so impatient, it's like watching a teenager fuck a glorious older woman." - Ironwood on J.J. Abrams
Lucas
Terracotta Army
Posts: 3034

Further proof that Italians have suspect taste in games.


Reply #6 on: September 17, 2017, 05:03:09 PM

ANOTHER FRIENDLY AND NEW ARRIVALS!

After the third friendly, I immediately advanced the calendar because I had two pending, possible transfers for the two roles I lack the most, D R and M R.

- For the M R role, my main choice fell on Jack Hartley:


Beside some surprisingly good mental attributes (not to mention some already well developed, technical ones) for a 18 yrs old, what really catched my interest was that "either" in the preferred foot description. Ambidextrous players, as you can imagine, are quite coveted, both in RL and in-game, especially when they also show promising attributes.

I was the first to offer a contract, but, in a hindsight, a bit too tight during the negotiations. He eventually accepted my offer, but then Lincoln (same league) submitted their own and unfortunately, as you can see at the top of the profile, he chose them  Heartbreak

A bit bummed, I started looking for other players for the role (more to come below) and advanced the calendar.

- Time for another friendly, this time against semi-pro team Heybridge.

July 16th, 2016 - Friendly match n.4

Eastleigh F.C 3 - 1 Heybridge

Since I knew this would have been an easier match, I experimented with a 4-3-1-2. I don't really have a specialized, focused Trequartista/Advanced Playmaker. Who probably comes closer for the role, is one of my central midfielders that actually has some secondary experience with it, 36 yrs old Ben Strevens:


A perfectly fine player to lurk outside the area spraying decisive balls left and right, but of course I can't expect lots of movement, unexpected runs into channels or flashy one-twos :P. Anyway, he did a good job. In general, good first half by the team, then at the end of it one of my aggressive midfielders, Jason Taylor, took the whole thing a bit too seriously and was sent off :P. End of the experiment  Ohhhhh, I see.
4-3-1-2 is a bit tricky in the lower leagues because, in theory, you can play a shorter passing, first touch creative football (especially if you develop actions through the middle), but the "raw material" is not exactly that fine, so you tend to get a bit stuck outside the area if you don't distribute on the flanks. All in all, quite a lot more tweaking to do for it.
---

- After that match, time for a new arrival in the team, finally a D R !! Now, let's step back to an in-game week before, when I offered a contract to these two players:

Yvan Wassi (19 yrs old):

Tom Paul (21 yrs old):

A couple days after, both accepted and almost immediately Tom Paul decided he would join my ranks. At that point, I opted to delay the transfer for a week in order to wait for an answer by Wassi. The day after, Sutton United offered a contract to Wassi, who eventually preferred their terms. The day after the match with Heybridge, I confirmed the deal with Tom Paul, who is now an Eastleigh player (and, potentially, quite a solid one, IMO).

You know, I want to keep the budget in check, and besides, start of the negotiations can be a bit intimidating. See this screenshot:


Pretty daunting, uh? My first reaction was a big "NOPE!", Dark Souls-style AND PLUS I HATE the Appearance and "unused substitute" fees  Tantrum

- So, while advancing the calendar again to reach friendly match n.5, I went for a "backup plan" with the M R (Winger) position. I decided to meet my max. quota of long-term loans (6) by taking in 21 yrs old AFC Wimbledon's (League one) David Fitzpatrick:


Not bad at all. In addition, I offered a contract to two more, scouted M R (will pick only one, of course), but that will have to wait 'til the next post :D.

Recap of my transfer market so far:

Players in:

- Harry Andrews (GK)
- Tom Paul ( D R)
- David Fitzpatrick (M R, free loan)
- Dan Turner (ST, free loan)

Players out:

Graham Stack (GK, released on a free)
Two players offered for loan, no offers yet

" He's so impatient, it's like watching a teenager fuck a glorious older woman." - Ironwood on J.J. Abrams
Sir T
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Posts: 10609


Reply #7 on: September 18, 2017, 07:06:33 AM

Picture of your team.



 DRILLING AND MANLINESS

"I think its pretty troubling when a backyard decoration comes out swinging harder against Nazis than the President of the United States." Stephen Colbert
Lucas
Terracotta Army
Posts: 3034

Further proof that Italians have suspect taste in games.


Reply #8 on: September 18, 2017, 01:04:52 PM

Perfect  awesome, for real (but yeah, some epic hairstyle here and there)

" He's so impatient, it's like watching a teenager fuck a glorious older woman." - Ironwood on J.J. Abrams
Lucas
Terracotta Army
Posts: 3034

Further proof that Italians have suspect taste in games.


Reply #9 on: September 18, 2017, 06:31:45 PM

MORE NEW ARRIVALS, END OF FRIENDLIES!!!  DRILLING AND MANLINESS awesome, for real

Beside Fitzpatrick (see above), who is likely going to be my main M R Winger, I obviously need someone who can replace him if he gets tired/injured. Among others, here are my two choices:

Jordan Blinco, 19 yrs old, free agent...:

...Or Armani Daly, 18 yrs old, another free agent:

In reality, this was another "toss-up". Blinco submitted a more modest wage proposal, so I went for him; a bit slower, but also a bit more solid in general. My right wing is now complete!  DRILLING AND MANLINESS

- While advancing the calendar toward the third to last friendly, this random thing happened (there is no tutoring in FMT, only in the normal version):

Yep, I can visualize the 191cm, 90kg Henderson towering over the poor, 65kg 17 yrs old just before...poking his nose or something  Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly?

- Anyway, like I said, third to last friendly, against Hitchin Town, again a semi-pro team.

23rd July, 2016 - Friendly Match n.5

Hitchin Town 1 - 3 Eastleigh F.C.

Tactic: 4-4-2; yet another walkthrough, with an hat-trick by Henderson. Onward!
----

- When it comes to my incoming transfer market, the masterplan is almost complete, just one more piece to go: like I previously mentioned, I would like a dedicated Advanced Playmaker/Trequartista, so it's time to look for one. Again, two choices:

Kyle Wilkie, 25 yrs old, contracted to East Fife, a club from the Scottish League One. In this case, I would need to draw from the transfer budget (which is basically still intact):

The other is Tyler Harvey, 21 yrs old, recently released by Wrexham (but he grew in the Plymouth youth academy):

My initial preference is for the more experienced player, given the importance of the role. A very short negotation with East Fife: they initially proposed a selling price of 24k (with a market value of 21 :P) but they gave in when my last offer reached 14  why so serious? . Shortly after came the contract negotiation with Wilkie himself....Which ended badly, no agreement reached, with him slamming the door while babbling something about "miserable english tramps" with me shouting "go back Beyond the Wall you scottish junk". Nice times to live in indeed.

So, in short, welcome to Eastleigh, Tyler Harvey!  Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly? . I think I might actually have found a little jewel here. Great technique already, but what I really like is the determination and teamwork (not to mention his Vision). Hopefully I'll be able to exploit his positives Heart

- Ok, time for the penultimate and last friendlies, respectively against Aston Villa reserve team (Championships) and AFC Hornchurch (semi-pro).

July 27th, 2016 - Friendly Match n.6

Eastleigh F.C 0 - 2 Aston Villa Res.

4-4-2. Very good first half by my kids, ended 0-0, during which I created quite some chances. Keep in mind that the reserve teams of the upper clubs often line up some regulars, and it happened this time too. Nice all-around possession for their first goal, while the other was scored during a counter-attack (but I still managed to create some danger, here and there).

August 1st, 2016 - Friendly match n.7

AFC Hornchurch 1 - 3 Eastleigh FC

Nice match by two of my new players, Harvey (the playmaker) and Turner (the 18 yrs old striker). The latter also executed a key pass for Wilson, my first team regular striker, who in the end scored an hat-trick  DRILLING AND MANLINESS . I'm glad because I created lots of chances with the 4-3-1-2 as well (much more tailored compared to the previous experiments. I'll talk about it in a future post dedicated to tactics).
-----

Ok, five more in-game days 'til the first League match!  DRILLING AND MANLINESS  ACK!

Next time, in preparation for the beginning of the season, I'll briefly summarize my team (and pre-season) a bit, while showing you some piece of news related to the Vanarama National League in general.

" He's so impatient, it's like watching a teenager fuck a glorious older woman." - Ironwood on J.J. Abrams
Lucas
Terracotta Army
Posts: 3034

Further proof that Italians have suspect taste in games.


Reply #10 on: September 19, 2017, 10:11:19 AM

ROAD TO THE FIRST LEAGUE GAME

- First of all, here's my team before the first League game:



Unless there is a slew of injuries or well below par performances, I won't purchase anyone else anytime soon, not only because I now have all the players I need, but because the size of my roster is above the average of the League (for example, Guiseley, my first opponent, has a total roster of 18  Ohhhhh, I see.)
As you can see, there are 29 players on the payroll, and of course it doesn't matter if I move two or three in the reserve team to unclutter the screen since I'll rarely let them in. In fact, I'm trying to offload a couple, namely Ben Strevens (the 36 yrs old) and Bradley Raymond, 18 yrs old and not that good, really (and perhaps not only them). Still, unless you really try to sell your best ones because you're financially in dire straits, it will take some time.

- While not as often as in normal FM, from time to time some media articles concerning your team and your League pop up.

Vanarama National League Promotion Odds (there's a mistake by the reporter :P. I'm at 8-1, not 15-2):

Top Goalscorer prediction:

It's great to see that the only goalscorer prediction (at 100-1 :P) for my team is for a player that is not in my first team plans and won't even likely play in the striker position  why so serious?

- Then, I was asked to select a captain and a vice-captain for the upcoming season. Here they are:

So, since I haven't shown him before, here's the profile of my captain, Ryan Cresswell:

Yep, lots of "1s" but not where it counts, luckily.

- Then, I had to decide the squad win bonuses and I kept the normal ones:

Last couple of items:

Football fans around the world cheered when they got the news that,on the 9th of August 2016, the 2nd Matchday League between  Braintree and Eastleigh F.C will be televised:

Not even Floyd Mayweather Jr. could have dreamt of such a profitable deal.

- Last but not least, good news from the season tickets department! At the beginning of July, the board hoped to sell around 1000-1100 tickets before the start of the season; here's the current situation:

After all, looking at this other screen, it seems that my transfer market left a good impression, so far:
« Last Edit: September 19, 2017, 10:14:35 AM by Lucas »

" He's so impatient, it's like watching a teenager fuck a glorious older woman." - Ironwood on J.J. Abrams
Lucas
Terracotta Army
Posts: 3034

Further proof that Italians have suspect taste in games.


Reply #11 on: September 20, 2017, 04:32:43 AM

(I'll get more in-depth with my tactics in a couple posts; for now, let's get the first League match out of the way :) )

MATCHDAY N. 1 PREVIEW: EASTLEIGH F.C. VS GUISELEY

"Sportpesa" touts me as the favourite for this match:

Yeah, looking at Guiseley club info screen, they're in fact part-timers, and not a professional team (that means part-time contracts, part-time training only two-three days a week, etc.). Would be a shame losing to them, wouldn't it?  why so serious?

Guiseley Profile:
-----------------

Matchday n.1 - League Fixtures:

(With the next match I'll get  a bit more in-depth, showing the opponents' report and comparing their stats with my team ones. Like I said above, for now I want to get the league underway)

 Selected Tactic: 4-4-2
I'm going with the tactic I experimented with the most.

- Guiseley Tactic: 4-4-2
Beside general instructions and individual tasks, it looks like we'll basically mirror each other on the field.

Official lineups:

That is basically my "Best XI" formation (minus injuries). One position that is gonna see some frequent changes is the Central Midfield Left (Togwell, today). Depending on the specific role (in this case, plain Central Midfielder, but I might change with Ball winner, Deep-Lying Playmaker, etc.) I have quite a number of choices.

Ok then....KICK OFF!!!  DRILLING AND MANLINESS

" He's so impatient, it's like watching a teenager fuck a glorious older woman." - Ironwood on J.J. Abrams
Sir T
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Reply #12 on: September 20, 2017, 03:20:03 PM

*Puts fiver on Guiseley*  Ohhhhh, I see.

"I think its pretty troubling when a backyard decoration comes out swinging harder against Nazis than the President of the United States." Stephen Colbert
Lucas
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Posts: 3034

Further proof that Italians have suspect taste in games.


Reply #13 on: September 20, 2017, 06:12:14 PM

MATCHDAY N.1: EASTLEIGH FC 3 - 1 GUISELEY

Sorry Sir  Raspberry

Highlights (full screen and at least 720p advised):
https://youtu.be/rCSzDKKCnpU

This is a very experimental, first upload; for now, only goals and no added audio (there isn't an option to include ambient/stadium audio when uploading highlights). I might eventually include other highlights, with glamorous actions, dramatic saves and hilarious mistakes  Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly?

Also, unlike when you're visualizing the preview video in-game, the final uploaded version doesn't show the name of the players who have the ball (not so much of an issue when it's just goals). I guess that, instead of using the built-in video uploader, I might just record a session with a 3rd party program while I watch the highlights.

Anyway, bear with me while I struggle to find some decent balance.
-------

Match Card:

Player Ratings:

Vanarama National League - Matchday n.1 results:

League Standings after MD 1:

I'll keep this relatively short: in a hindsight, match was tricky only in the first half and 'til I tied it; I managed to craft some chances before their goal (nice move and finish by their experienced striker, uh?), but ball pace was too hectic, especially by Togwell who kept going for direct passes to the strikers instead of spreading it more around to wingers. After 1-1 I instructed them to play a bit more patiently and short. Not a lot of overlaps by my full backs; while I really don't mind about Garrett, I would have liked to see Odoffin included in more attacking moves (since I want him to act as a Wing Back).

As you can see by my stats, I had LOTS of chances, especially from long range: that's one of my specific instructions in order to avoid clogging players just outside the area, and also because I have very nice long shot stats from Henderson, Matthews and Togwell too.  All things considered, I'm satisfied by this debut  awesome, for real

" He's so impatient, it's like watching a teenager fuck a glorious older woman." - Ironwood on J.J. Abrams
Lucas
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Further proof that Italians have suspect taste in games.


Reply #14 on: September 23, 2017, 06:20:31 AM

Ok, I've been a little busy, but I actually played two more League matches. I'll space out the posts a little throughout the day to catch on :)

TACTICS AND COMMUNITY SHIELD

DANGER: FM NECKBEARD (MORE THAN USUAL) POST INCOMING , PLEASE SKIP BELOW  why so serious?

So, let's take a look at one of my (2) tactics, a basic 4-4-2 (the other is the 4-3-1-2)

4-4-2 - General overview


Team Instructions:



- Now, the aim is to try keeping a certain, constant shape on the pitch especially when defending, while at the same time apply pressure especially from the wings. At least at the beginning of a match, pressing is less because I don't want to be dragged out of position outside the area by a team with good passing, so I'll let them play while I wait for an error (after all, when it comes to passing the ball around, my current opponents aren't exactly on the same level of Guardiola's Barcelona :P); still, if it comes to 1vs with my defenders, marking is tight.

- "Width" is not all the way out because it  would leave bigger gaps between players, which also means for them to execute longer, and more difficult passes. Still, it's wide because, like I said, I want more aggression from the wings. When the ball is in the middle and outside the area, I just want my players to take a chance at shooting, that's why I generally have a high number of chances, they actually come from shots outside the area.

Reason for this is also a bit "meta": I'm a purist when it comes to tactics, I never ever downloaded pre-made ones from the Net and they come only from either my knowledge of the game or actual, real-life tactical studies you can find online. FM match engine is definitely a long way from real football, but the fidelity is pretty high. In the last few years, there is a tendency of the game to replicate short-passing, "tiki-taka" style football a bit too often, and that's just totally unrealistic in the lower leagues; I don't want to clog my players just outside the area, so it's inevitable that, sometimes, you tend to "play the engine", instead of trying to actually apply a somewhat realistic tactic ("play the engine", is basically the min/max of Football Manager. But hey, to each his own fun, I guess).

- Anyway, back to this tactic, it's actually pretty flexible: if the opponents are fooling around a bit too much (because I'm too lenient of pressing, I can just press more while pushing up my defensive line; at the same time, if the other team is not that quick or good on the flanks, I can also look for overlaps by my own full backs (especially Odoffin, my D R). Then, when the result is a bit more secure I can just scale back on Tempo, tightening up the squad a bit ("fairly narrow" width, shorter passing).

Last but not least, Player instructions: of course I won't show each one for every player :P. Let's say that, with this tactic, Henderson plays a very important role, him being the so called "Target Man" (here in Italy we call it "Centravanti Boa", something akin to "Reference buoy Striker", because you can always pick him as a reference for the main attack moves.

Henderson instructions...:

...which are closely linked to his "special moves" (bottom right):

uuuh....Well, minus the "argues with officials" bit  Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly?. No matter my general instructions already underline their importance, I want him to shoot VERY often, while also play precise passing when he finds himself in other areas of the pitch, bringing other teammates in. Finally, he's a big guy so he definitely needs to apply more pressure on the nearby defenders.

Finally, my centre-left midfielder, Togwell. While the other one, Matthews, is a determined runner that helps the whole team (basically the never fatigued, beating heart of the squad), Togwell must act as the brain: now, I still have to fine tune his play but unfortunately there is a player instruction I sorely miss, (because I'm pretty much sure there was in the very first editions of FM, or maybe CM's lasts), and that is the possibility of telling your players (so to overwrite or reinforce the general instruction on a individual basis, just like shooting frequency, for example) if you want to spray more balls on the flanks or direct passes through the middle. In part, this possibility is covered by the "Passing directness" ("short" forcibly means looking for a nearby player, not just play a low ball).

---------

Ok, no more tactics (for NAO  DRILLING AND MANLINESS). Let's take a look at fictional results from RL competitions in a game (this sentence doesn't make sense, but whatever) Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly? .

The Community Shield represents the traditional opening for the english football season, and a juicy introduction to the Premier League. It's played between the PL title holders and the FA cup winners. This is still the 2016/2017 season, hence it's Man Utd vs. Leicester:


Yep, results is the same as the RL one, although scorers are different (for some reason, Ibra wasn't even put on the bench, and he's not injured)

Report and profile:

" He's so impatient, it's like watching a teenager fuck a glorious older woman." - Ironwood on J.J. Abrams
Lucas
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Further proof that Italians have suspect taste in games.


Reply #15 on: September 23, 2017, 02:49:18 PM

MATCH DAY n.2 PREVIEW: BRAINTREE TOWN VS EASTLEIGH F.C.

Again the odds seems to be on my side for this match too:

Braintree Town lost their debut match 1-0 at North Ferriby.

Team profile:

Opponent scouting report:

And this even more in-depth report:

Now, you can go down the rabbit hole even further (see the lower tabs above the "Strengths" headline?), with a lot lot more comparisons and analysis, but of course I'll stop here. Just wanted to show you yet another example of what makes this game incredible for us football lovers  Heart
-----

Match Day n.2 - League Fixtures:

Selected Tactic: 4-4-2 for this first away match.

Decided for a bit of defence turnover : I want some of my players to debut and gain some confidence. Also want to see how 36 yrs old Strevens perform compared to Togwell (the former has better passing and more inclined to a playmaker role).

Braintree tactic: a deep 4-1-2-3, which should put some pressure on my lateral full-backs if they adopt an aggressive style. Still, there might be gaps on their flanks, and I will try to exploit that.

Official lineups:

Aaand, let's go  DRILLING AND MANLINESS

" He's so impatient, it's like watching a teenager fuck a glorious older woman." - Ironwood on J.J. Abrams
Lucas
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Posts: 3034

Further proof that Italians have suspect taste in games.


Reply #16 on: September 23, 2017, 05:13:55 PM

Match Day n.2: Braintree Town 0 - 1 Eastleigh F.C.

Highlights:
https://youtu.be/NQd5IcAZIQo

Ok, I tried to add a few more highlights beside the goal one: I'll have to dig in the game preferences in order to see if I can turn on player names or something :/
-----------------

Match sheet:

Player Ratings:

Vanarama National League - Match Day n.2 results

League Standings after MD 2:

Tricky match: I could have done better, reacting to some of their adjustments a bit more promptly (I let them play a bit too much during the first 15' of 2nd half); I've also not been that effective from distance, compared to the first match.

Anyway, I'm glad my bench resolved the match: good debuts by Ben Close and of course Fitzpatrick, who scored with a nicely placed header. And finally, match was also won by Clarke with that fantastic intervention on Barnard's close shot (their manager should have put in Barnard and Sanderson from the beginning. They gave me quite a few headaches).
« Last Edit: September 24, 2017, 03:55:39 PM by Lucas »

" He's so impatient, it's like watching a teenager fuck a glorious older woman." - Ironwood on J.J. Abrams
Lucas
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Posts: 3034

Further proof that Italians have suspect taste in games.


Reply #17 on: September 24, 2017, 03:55:17 PM

EUROPEAN SUPERCUP, A PLAYER GETS INJURED, LOOKING FOR A SUBSTITUTE

The road to the beginning of the major european cups begins with the Super Cup, and in August 2016 is yet again an all-spanish affair between Real Madrid (CL winners) and Sevilla (Europa League winners):


Fictional Sevilla gets revenge after what seemed to be a pretty nervous match (between two spanish teams? Don't say  Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly?DRILLING AND MANLINESS

Back on the humble, grey and rainy grounds of Eastleigh, during the middle of the week another injury (4 to 5 weeks) hits my locker room:

So, "what's the big deal, he's just the backup keeper!", you might say; yes, true. Moreover, there are plenty of FM players who actually never put a backup GK on the bench because they want that one more "outfield" player who might change the face of a match.

But hey, as you might have slightly imagined by my posts, I'm for a realistic approach; plus, I forgot I have no GK in my reserve team either, so I need one anyway. In this case (no GK available at all in a team), game engine adds a temporary "grey" player: he is generated with the appropriate statistics, but he doesn't exist at all and won't stay in the game unlike Youth players coming from academies.

So, I started looking for a new one, and got great reports on Brett Long, a 19 yrs old from Dundee United's  Reserve Team:

Yes, he's very promising, even better than Andrews, but this operation would need some money from the transfer budget (I still have plenty) and could become quite costly overall. I decide to proceed, for now.

- After a few days, my offer gets accepted and I submit a contract. This is a summary of the negotiations which are still underway and won't likely get through before the next match:

Hmm, I'm not really entirely convinced that this amount of money is justified right now. I might look for someone cheaper, perhaps just with a Youth contract. Seriously considering of canceling the deal.

" He's so impatient, it's like watching a teenager fuck a glorious older woman." - Ironwood on J.J. Abrams
Lucas
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Posts: 3034

Further proof that Italians have suspect taste in games.


Reply #18 on: September 24, 2017, 04:41:10 PM

MATCH DAY N. 3 PREVIEW: TRANMERE ROVERS VS EASTLEIGH F.C.

This is going to be more of a test, according to Sportpesa:

Tranmere Rovers lost their first match away then tied the 2nd one (1pt)

Team profile:

They are a freshly relegated team so this might indeed be a steeper obstacle. It's also a team with some tradition: They stayed in the Championships League throughout most of the nineties (almost managed to get promoted to the Premiership), then for another ten years in League one and went downhill since then. Their home, Prenton Park, looks quite nice.

Opponent Scouting Report:

Two excerpts stand out compared to the previous reports, Passing and First touch, but it's no surprise really: like I said, they probably managed to retain some players from the upper League with a better overall technique.
------

Match Day n.3 - League Fixtures:

My tactic: I'll play with 4-4-2 again, but this time I'm going for a more aggressive approach: I want to cut their passing game short while spreading the players further away from each other, then we'll see. Fitzpatrick definitely earned a spot in the First Team, this week. Togwell returns as the creative Central Midfielder. My other new purchase on the right flank, Jordan Blinco, will be on the bench and might debut. Oh, and of course I won't have any backup GK  ACK!

Tranmere Tactic: 4-2-1-3 (bah)

Official Lineups:

Let's go Spitfires!  DRILLING AND MANLINESS why so serious?

" He's so impatient, it's like watching a teenager fuck a glorious older woman." - Ironwood on J.J. Abrams
Lucas
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Posts: 3034

Further proof that Italians have suspect taste in games.


Reply #19 on: September 24, 2017, 06:53:45 PM

Match Day n. 3: Tranmere Rovers 2 - 2 Eastleigh F.C.

Highlights:
https://youtu.be/dzduSN9wLs8

- The tap-in by my central defender, Johnson, after the ball hits the crossbar, was disallowed (offside, happened at the 71')
- I haven't included a post hit by McLeod in the first half (31'), my left winger, because the highlight is too short: the in-game uploader won't accept highlights shorter than 6 secs.

Match Sheet:

Player Ratings:

Vanarama National League - Match Day n.3 results:

League Standings after MD 3:

Yep, no team managed to win three in a row so it's all good (but oh so early :P), standings-wise.

Match was more difficult than it shows no matter the above mentioned disallowed goal and the offside; first 20' I played really well (didn't really expect that kind of angled shot by Wilson, my striker) then lost some pitch to them and just became a bit to sterile with the forwards. Yeah, their first goal (I don't consider it an own goal) was lucky (it didn't come during an endless pressure), while the one that got them the lead was definitely an error on my part; I tried a more counter-attacking tactic but my defense was too deep, in fact Dunn had too much space to shoot.
On the other hand, FANTASTIC reaction immediately afterwards, with another great pass by Togwell and a great finish by Garrett. I tried to take advantage of that, keeping my team on the attack for the last 10 minutes, but couldn't really create any more chances.

I think I still have to adjust a few things on the flanks (might try a "masked" 4-2-4); next game is a home one, and I want to try out the 4-3-1-2 so I'll start bringing my last purchase, promising advanced playmaker Harvey, in the mix.

" He's so impatient, it's like watching a teenager fuck a glorious older woman." - Ironwood on J.J. Abrams
Lucas
Terracotta Army
Posts: 3034

Further proof that Italians have suspect taste in games.


Reply #20 on: September 25, 2017, 04:55:43 PM

NEW GOALKEEPER, INJURY UPDATES AND MATCH DAY N.4 PREVIEW: EASTLEIGH F.C VS DOVER ATHLETICS]

Like I mentioned a couple posts ago, I wasn't really convinced by the cost of Long's transfer from Dundee United reserves to my club; in fact, the day after the match against Tranmere, I cancelled the deal and went looking for a new GK; I opted for 18 yrs old Ben Jackson, who promptly accepted my proposal:

Dat Determination  why so serious? ACK!

Contract:
-----------

- Good news from my medical staff; Taylor (ball winner MC) and Constable (especially him, finally another natural attacker to put on, although he's more of an inside forward) passed the fitness tests:

McAllister is almost ready as well; no matter the goal he scored against Tranmere, Wilson isn't entirely convincing  Ohhhhh, I see.

- Talking about the upcoming match vs Dover, it's going to be a close one, no matter the home advantage:

Dover recent form: LWW (Lost, Won, Won...X stands for tie)

Team Profile:

Opponent Scouting Report:

Looks like a solid team with a good striker and a 5-players defense. HATE THOSE  swamp poop
-----

Match Day n.4 - League Fixtures:

I'm not really paying attention to the other matches and possible, future key ones because teams are still very close, for now.

My tactic: Ok, first League attempt with the 4-3-1-2 (will write about it in more detail soon). I'll let Harvey debut as my "trequartista"/Advanced Playmaker but, since he's not match fit, I'll eventually substitute him with Strevens a few minutes into the 2nd half.

I'm interested in how good (or bad) my full back regulars, Garrett and Odoffin, will perform as box to box wing backs compared to my usual wingers (but I'll put those on the bench)

Dover Athletics tactic: 5-4-1 FUCK IT  swamp poop swamp poop

Official Lineups:

Kick Off  DRILLING AND MANLINESS

" He's so impatient, it's like watching a teenager fuck a glorious older woman." - Ironwood on J.J. Abrams
Lucas
Terracotta Army
Posts: 3034

Further proof that Italians have suspect taste in games.


Reply #21 on: September 27, 2017, 03:51:15 PM

Match Day n.4: Eastleigh F.C. 0 - 1 Dover Athletics

Highlights:
https://youtu.be/hE_MNFLSSOw

My first half goal at 31' was disallowed because, on Harvey's shot, Wilson found himself on the trajectory and he was offisde at that moment :(
--------

Match Sheet:

Player Ratings:

Vanarama National League - Match Day n.4 Results:

League Standings after MD 4:

 swamp poop swamp poop Mob Mob

I hate this game  Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly?

Can't really fault the lads for this loss: they actively followed my tactic: good plays by my playmaker, nice attacks on the flanks by my wing backs...But everything was just too sterile and repetitive: I should have tried to shuffle things around a bit more, maybe with a pure 4-3-3 or even a 3-4-3. My attempts from distance were just too weak as well. Great match by their lonely striker and match goalscorer, Ricky Miller (good stats):

Always floating on the brink of my offside line, great movement, a total pain in the ass...But that goal was unacceptable, it happened just 10 SECONDS after the 2nd half whistle. When stuff like this happens  I sorely miss half-time team talks (and team talks in general) in FM Touch. With that feature (only present in normal FM), I would have kept the concentration high, actively encouranging them, so they wouldn't have been so distracted right off the bat....Or perhaps that goal would have been scored no matter what, who knows...

Yep, definitely back to the drawing board after this  Ohhhhh, I see.


" He's so impatient, it's like watching a teenager fuck a glorious older woman." - Ironwood on J.J. Abrams
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