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The Sleeping Giant
Welcome, welcome, welcome. Thank you for returning to me and my story. The good news is I have an excellent update to give you, the bad news is this will be the closing edition of The Chancer Chronicles. As in, forever.
For those of you who have followed my story over the past several months, thank you. Seriously. If it wasn’t for you guys, I’d just be some weirdo sitting in a dark room playing Football Manager. Instead, I’m a weirdo sitting in a dark room playing Football Manager and writing about it. And yes, somehow that does make a difference. In all seriousness, it boggles my mind to think some of you may have been logging in once a week to read my crap for what feels like an eternity now (roughly four and a half months in total). Again, thank you for taking the time. Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed it just as much as I have. Sometimes. Sometimes it’s a form of torture. Hopefully, at the very least, it’s been good toilet material for you.
For those of you who are reading a Chancer article for the first time? Where the fuck have you been? Jesus, you must be that kid who turns up to the buffet and the hot plates are all empty and the lights in the hall are turned off.
Anyway. So, for the final time, did we win anything? Have I achieved what I set out to achieve with Liverpool? Did we reclaim that perch United knocked Liverpool from? Only one way to find out…
‘Is he allowed to do that on live TV?’
Mourinho had pulled his pants down in his press conference and had started touching himself inappropriately whilst looking at an image of himself. They’d just beat us and stopped our unbeaten run this season.
‘Jesus, he’s even making his assistant hold the picture while he does it. Pah. You don’t realise how lucky you have it Javi.’ Javi, my bald-headed dwarf of an assistant scoffed in agreement. At least, I think it was in agreement, he was washing my dirty socks using a type of mouthwash I feel really adds a pleasant scent to my footwear.
‘The man’s a maniac.’
No one. A big fuck all.
Roberto Firmino, ST – £11million. At 33y/o he’d peaked and with his contract up at the end of the season, I wanted to recoup something from him. Yes, it is meaningless but I’m by nature a frugal man. He’s on £200k p/w so I felt like it made good financial sense irrespective of the fact I won’t play behind this season. Plus, I just wanted to create a bit of a shit stir before I left. Yes, I might actually be evil.
It also gave me an opportunity to give a young lad from the academy a go.
Here he is, young Aaron Breeze:
Looks like a gem. Albeit one with serial killer eyes.
Anyway, back to the games…
Carabao Cup Quarter-Final – Man United, 1-2 LOSS
F.A. Cup 3rd Round – Preston, 3-0
West Ham, 1-0
Aston Villa, 5-1
Crystal Palace, 4-0
Chelsea, 0-2 LOSS
Well, well. We’d gone the first half of the season unbeaten in all competitions, entering January with a spring in our step, only to kick the curb and fall flat on our face twice. Just to make matters worse it had to be Mourinho that managed it first. Imagine the glee on his little smug face, the prick. To be honest, the Chelsea loss was more galling. I’d really started to believe we might go unbeaten in the league. The games against West Ham, Tottenham etc.. these were all games we’d have drawn in the past, let alone won, so I really thought this team was going to do something special. Alas, it wasn’t to be. As my other half says to me on a regular basis: how very, very disappointing.
‘Put your foot like that, Javi, that’s it. Yes, good! Well done. That should do it.’ All the players tried to push forward to get a better view. Javi was hanging, head first, from the goal post, his arms padlocked in arm restraints, his mouth gagged. ‘You’ve got five minutes to get free, otherwise, we’re leaving you here. Andddd go!’ Javi swung around helplessly, his eyes wide with fear as his muffled cries went unheard.’
F.A. Cup 4th Round – Chelsea, 3-2
Man United, 3-1
F.A. Cup 5th Round – Swansea, 0-0
Champs League 1st Knockout Stage – Bayern, 1-1
Is it even a Champions League knockout stage if I’m not playing Bayern? I seem to play them every friggen year. I swear they must be considering investing in a voodoo doll by this stage. They must be sick of the bloody sight of me. Especially as I can’t remember the last time they beat me. Here’s to hoping I haven’t jinxed the home leg then eh?…
‘How do you feel your team performed tonight?’
‘Fine, you know, 7-0 is a massive result, the team were ruthless in front of goal and made it count.’
‘Is it safe to say you have a psychological edge over Bayern now? You seem to beat them routinely.’
‘I wouldn’t say psychological no.’
The reporter placed a leaflet in front of me, at the top was the Bayern team crest. Beneath it were the words, “Say no to bullying” and a picture showing me stood above the Bayern manager, pointing down and laughing at him whilst he cringed in a ball on the floor.’
‘I mean, when you put it like that…’
F.A. Cup 5th Round Replay – Swansea, 4-0
Champs League 1st Knockout Stage – Bayern, 7-0
F.A. Cup 6th Round – Sheffield Wednesday, 4-0
Andddd of course I never. Seriously, by this point I think Bayern just roll over for me. In other news, they look set to finally reclaim the Bundesliga crown for the first time in four or five seasons. That’s good for them, isn’t it? Yeah, who’s arsed, not me, that’s for sure. In more important news the league is really looking like a one-horse race now, with us racking up endless points. So many points, in fact, I could give some away and we’d still be comfortably ahead. Dare I say it, we might even surpass our previous record tally of 96 points? Maybe. Oh god, I think my pants have suddenly shrunk. How odd.
‘Look at them, those gang of tits. If I haven’t seen a more pathetic sight in my whole life,’ I spat. Outside of my office window was a bunch of Everton fans, holding banners with messages like, “Roses are red, violets are blue, your team is shit, we beat you.” ‘It doesn’t even fucking rhyme properly,’ I muttered under my breath furiously.’
Man City, 2-1
Champs League Quarter-Final – Everton, 4-0
Champs League Quarter-Final – Everton, 2-2
F.A. Cup Semi-Final – Everton, 1-2 LOSS
Everton, 2-3 LOSS
This will be forever remembered as the month we played Everton 40-fucking-times. Jesus, every time I looked up there was a blue shirt. Sat in the dugout – blue shirt. Popping into the chippy for food – blue shirt. Having a shit – blue shirt (to wipe my arse with – too far? Nah). And you know what, fair play to them. Out of the four games, they managed two wins and a draw, not many managers could claim they’d do the same. Not in recent memory anyway. They are actually flying in my parallel version of the game, making the most of last seasons top 4 finish and investing in their team. Still shite though.
‘I pressed play on the tape recorder. The tape crackled, the machine whirred. Suddenly the small room was filled with melancholy music.
“Goodbye, my friend.” The Spice Girls song ‘Goodbye’ blared out, loud and proud. Tears flooded my eyes, a small choking sound escaped my mouth. This was it. The final time I’d look at them. The final time I would say goodbye.
I turned around to face the room. All the players were sat, clogged together on small chairs. I expected to see sad faces. Upset, crying, hugging friends. Except no one was. Nobody looked bothered. In fact, Salah gave me a lopsided grin and a thumbs up. What was this? Were these players so indifferent to me bringing the curtain down on my career, despite the success I brought the club? To them?
I stomped over to the tape machine, pressed the stop button, reached around the back and unplugged it. Shoving it under my arm, with my chin jutting out stubbornly, I turned back to the bemused room. Stay dignified. Stay poised. You are a class act, I told myself. I took a deep breath…
‘Fuck you all then, fuck the lot of you, you ungrateful gang of twats.’ I stormed past them all, not sparing any of them even a glance. ‘Javi!’ I screamed over my shoulder. My assistant looked around nervously at the players faces, then scuttled out of the room behind me, not before giving Salah the middle-finger. ‘Later bitches!’
Champs League Semi-Final – Real Madrid, 5-2
Crystal Palace, 2-0
Champs League Semi-Final – Real Madrid, 3-0
Man United, 2-0
Is there any better feeling than receiving a walk of honour to be proclaimed champions for a third consecutive time by your bitterest rival? Winning the lottery – probably. But it was pretty damn pleasing nonetheless. They finished a full 14 points behind us, equating to four wins and two draws. A big arse gaping hole. In case any of you thought the Me vs. Mourinho thing was just for gags by the way, take a look at this:
It wasn’t. Top of the fucking hate list. We fucking hated each other. Little prick.
We took the lead in what, November time? It’s never really been in doubt since then to be honest. With 34 wins, only two draws and two losses, we dominated the league into submission. It also means we’ve equalled United for league titles with 21 overall. We managed three titles on the bounce – a personal achievement for me too as I’d yet to achieve that. I’m really pleased about it to be honest. For the past few FM’s I’ve avoided the Premier League as I’ve always found them frustrating but I’ve really enjoyed it this time around.
Who wants some team statistics? Firstly we managed to break the record of games won in a season, beating our current record of 31 by 34. Secondly, we also managed to break an existing record by winning 19 games in a row (I don’t know what the previous record was sadly). Some going that, guess it’s why I never really felt worried about the league, huh.
We also managed to score 109 goals as a team in the league, 2nd placed United managed a measly 89. Pah, how boring must their team be to watch?! So that means we averaged 2.8 goals per game. Very impressive stuff. Even more so when you realise we conceded only 22, with United conceding 27. That averages out as 1.7 goals conceded a game, which, lets be honest still sounds slightly too high. However that is our best defensive outing at Liverpool, so I shouldn’t complain. After all that defensive investment, you should bloody hope so too.
After what has already been a pretty good season, we still have one more game to go. The Champions League Final…
Champs League Final – Barcelona, 0-0 LOSS
Ah, that is disappointing. Losing on penalties. Sometimes fate is a cruel mistress. Obviously, the club was hugely excited as it would have been three European titles in a row (Europa League and 2 x Champions Leagues’) but it wasn’t to be. On a personal level, I’m massively disappointed. I’ve been desperate to play Barca for years after they snubbed me for the top job, and subsequently attempted to buy my entire team for the past three seasons on the bounce. So to finally get the chance in arguably the biggest game in world football… only to lose. Fuck. I’m still massively proud of the boys though. They gave it their all, unfortunately, it just wasn’t enough this time around.
Player of the Season:
Jamie Swales, ST – Any player of mine who plays 40 games and scores 39 goals with 5 assists at the age of 23 is alright in my book. I said in Chronicles-gone-by that Jamie would get a crack of the whip, and he’s repaid my faith in him. Helluva season considering. His performances were so strong we could sell Firmino, a club legend, without so much as a second thought.
Biryukov, GK – Now, now. This was really a tough choice. After spending £70+million on Lafont last season Biryukov looked little more than a backup for the money we paid for him. Me and my scouts knew better. He was sensational. Lafont managed an overall rating of 7.15 for the season, Biryukov hit 7.22. His shot stopping was sensational at times and I always picked him for the big games. Both are top quality though. Just Lafont slightly less.
Filipe, CB – 7.56, 4 goals and 6 assists. What a little beast my mate Filipe is. I say little, he’s 6’2 and 14 stone but you get the picture. His versatility is exceptional, he’s an natural with both feet and extremely athletic, so much so I used him as a auxiliary wingback if we were plagued by injuries. Brilliant piece of business if I do say so myself.
Malang Sarr, CB – 7.41, 3 goals, 4 assists. I love this man. Seriously, he is a rock in my defence. Arguably my favourite defender in my entire career (of FM18). As a defender he is so consistent, as an attacking outlet, he always seemed to surprise. Throughout his time here he’s scored 11 goals and 14 assists. Loves a good through ball does my Malang. He’s the King of Ping.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, RB – This is the first season Trent was handed the first-team place ahead of a previously excellent Clyne. He didn’t disappoint, with an average rating of 7.60 and 3 goals and 12 assists. Lovely, juicy numbers then, exactly what I want from my wing-backs.
Victor Yan, CM – Victor, Victor, Victor. What happened to you? It’s like someone injected steroids into him and he came back a different man this season. Oh wait, that person was me. He averaged 7.45, with 6 assists and 11 goals. And I have to tell you, every single one of those goals was an absolute thunderbastard. He broke goal nets all around Europe. Kapow.
Angel Correa, CM – This is an interesting one. Angel had been right down in the pecking order since my arrival. But with the departure of Coutinho and Hendo, suddenly he was one of my most senior players in what is a young and inexperienced midfield. He also started crying about playing time. So I gave him a chance and fuck me did he surprise me. He was arguably my best player this season with a rating of 7.74, with 13 assists and 4 goals. He was the team creator, something I’ve found he’s struggled with in the past whenever he stepped into the role. I like when players surprise me.
Kelechi Iheanancho, ST – During my first season here, Iheanancho was a revelation, bettered only by Salah who went on to win the Balon D’Or. Last season he really nosedived in form. Ultimately I knew he was too good to move on but his form this season has been nothing else if not sensational. 33 games, 29 goals and 25 assists, giving him an average rating of 8.16. That is something else. So, for those of you who aren’t the best with numbers (like me), in his 33 games, he was involved in 54 goals. Fuck me that’s impressive. If it wasn’t for Jamie overcoming all the adversity and leading the line all season Iheanancho would probably be the PotS. He probably should be still.
So, as this is the final edition we should probably have an all-time 11 of my favourite players. I mean, it would be rude not to, wouldn’t it? Otherwise, someone might complain. And I don’t want that.
GK: Marius Muller (Braunschweig) – As described in my Big Catch Up edition, he was by no means the worlds best keeper but after two seasons of inept dickheads in goal, he was a godsend and really kicked on my Braunschweig side and ultimately helped us win two titles.
LB: Aaron (Braunschweig) – We didn’t spend much time together, me and Aaron, but what little time we did – 1 season – I grew very affectionate of him. He was one of the final pieces in my Braunschweig jigsaw puzzle. So, so, talented and for a bargain price of £1.8m (as was all of my Braunschweig players). I honestly think if I’d stayed another season with Braunschweig we’d have won the Champions League. Oh well.
CB: Malang Sarr (Liverpool) – Honestly, I fucking love him. A brilliant player, both defensively and with his goals and assists thrown in on top. I spent a lot of money on him (£41m) and the fans weren’t keen at the time – the board even suggested it was a poor financial decision. Now, with an Elite tag, and a value of £56m who the fuck is doubting him? He might be my favourite CB and that’s saying something with some of the other lads mentioned below.
CB: Emiliano Velazquez (Braunschweig) – An excellent player. At first, it looked like he would play second-fiddle to Igor Rabello but the cream soon rose to the top. He looked utterly brilliant at times – the fact he was signed on a free makes his success all the more sweet.
CB: Igor Rabello (Braunschweig) – As mentioned above, he was an absolute colossus, forming a terrific partnership with Emiliano and providing us with a serious springboard for two seasons. Now, as stated at the beginning, this is a collection of my favourite players, not my greatest. Velazquez and Rabello starred in a team which was highly suspect defensively at times because the quality of teammates around them (and behind them) wasn’t as good as my PSG and Liverpool days, yet it’s always these two I think of when recollecting about my defence.
RB: Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool) – You know what, when I arrived Clyne was 30 soon to be turning 31 and I had one-eye on moving him on. Clyne had other ideas, he stated his claim for a place from my first moment at the club and was absolutely exceptional. So much so I’ve left Palencia – one of my golden children – sat on the bench.
CM: Marko Grujic (Braunschweig) – I couldn’t not have him in my side, could I? Me and Marko have had a rich history, intertwined with drama. A brilliant player for me, an absolute goal and assist machine – consistently the highest XG I had at any club from midfield.
CM: Mirko Boland (Braunschweig) – It makes me laugh even looking at Boland’s name. I tell you what, this poor bastard had his work cut out for him. He was ancient when I arrived, yet still ran himself into the ground every single game he played. I must admit, at one point he must have been looking around and thinking, ‘I’ve got to play with these gang of twats next to me, do I?’ Yet no matter what, he pulled us out of the shit on countless occasions. Absolute beast of a player for me. Well and truly love him. Unfortunately, he retired in 2022 so I can’t look at his stats. I do love him though.
ST: Mbappe (PSG) – I mean. What can I really say about a man who scored 53 goals in 39 games (with 14 assists)? That’s 1.7 per game. Unsurprisingly he won the Balon D’or. I don’t think I’ve ever had numbers like that from a player before. Ever. 67. Wowza. A caveat to that would be the standard of the league, it was mostly from the Ligue 1, but even still. Won the Champions League didn’t he? Unbelievable.
ST: Salah (Liverpool) – Another Balon D’or winner. Another top, top player. Unfortunately, his age really caught up to him in this last season and his game time was down massively to only 18 games from 42. But during my time at Liverpool, he played 103 games, scored 75 goals and assisted 54 times, meaning he was involved in 129 goals. That’s an XG of 1.25 per game. Elite level stuff that. Him and Firmino were absolutely sensational at times, unstoppable at others. I’ve just shivered thinking about them. Pure filth.
ST: James Wilson (Braunschweig) – As I’ve mentioned previously, James is my favourite signing in this years (FM18) edition. Signed on a free transfer from Man United he turned the team around. We went from ponderous and robotic into a counter-attacking monster. His speed and unselfish passing made him an absolute ruthless team player. In his two years playing for me, James played 48 games, scoring 31 times and assisted 32 times, an overall contribution of 63 goals. That’s an XG of 1.3, better than both Firmino and Salah. He not only defied my expectation but also the odds. Honestly, I can’t speak highly enough of the lad. He was the ultimate embodiment of the Braunschweig transfer system at that time. I don’t have enough superlatives to describe him.
So, that’s my first 11 of all-time favourites. But, football is a team game, so surely we need to take a look at our bench?
GK: Geronimo Rulli (PSG) – The best goalkeeper I’ve had and probably seen. He was fucking exceptional. Honestly, I’ve never seen anything like it. He palmed certain goals away in almost every game, it was fucking phenomenal. His average conceded per 90 was 0.63, which goes to show. Now, for context compare that to Marius Muller’s Cp90 of 1.44, or Fruchtl’s Cp90 of 1.36, or Thomas Strakosha Cp90 of 1.06 and the man who usurped Thomas – Kamil Grabara, his Cp90 was an impressive 0.82. These are all players playing in the same tactic, the previous three are all considered good/top players in the game yet Rulli pisses all over them. The only player who beat Rulli’s numbers is Alban Lafont, with an incredible Cp90 0.47, but it has to be said, Rulli played 26 games more (57 games) than Lafont (31 games) and I’d argue that this Liverpool team is the best collective defensive team in the game (hence the least conceded goals in the league this past season etc.).
LB: Josh Tymon (Liverpool) – Mr. Consistent. 105 games, 5 goals, 31 assists with an average rating of 7.38 over the three seasons, averaging 7 tacklers p/g and 3 dribbles. The man was just as good attacking as he was defending.
CB: Kimpembe (PSG) – The best rated defender I had playing for me. His one season under me he averaged 7.58, with 4 goals and 5 assists. Top, top player, one of my favourites from PSG. I tried to sign him to be my left-sided player at Liverpool but PSG refused to let him go, understandably. Don’t worry though, I signed Malang Sarr instead and that worked out ok didn’t it?
RB: Palencia (Braunschweig) – How could I not have Palencia in my squad. The man vying for worlds smallest man was an incredible player for me at Braunschweig and Barca B. One of my favourites in fact.
CM: Adrien Rabiot (PSG) – Now, now, now. My mate, Rabiot. In truth, he was probably my best midfielder in the game overall. He was fucking sensational during my time in Paris, with 43 appearances, 13 goals, 12 assists (XG of 0.58) he averaged 7.80 for the season. He was a one-man wrecking crew at times, scoring some absolute belters from 30 yards out. If I’d spent more time with the chap he would undoubtedly have been sitting in my starting 11.
ST: Firmino (Liverpool) – Really tough one this, it was very, very close between Firmino and Salah but Salah justttt pipped him overall. His numbers were outrageous, with 91 games, 88 goals (0.9 goals per game) and 23 assists, he had an overall contribution of 111 goals. That means his overall XG was 1.21 (Salah’s was 1.25). Again, serious, elite numbers. Not bad considering hey?
ST: Christoffer Nyman (Braunschweig) – Nyman was one of my first true loves. He was an understated genius, the Unwanted Man, in many cases. Yet look at his numbers under me. 106 games, 86 goals, 33 assists, with an overall contribution of 119 goals. That’s an XG of 1.12 per game. And you know what? Despite those numbers, not one person once put a bid in for him during my time at the club. Not one. That’s crazy. A superstar without the renown. Makes me feel a bit sad that.
That’s it then. My first 11 and bench of favourite players during my illustrious managing career of 6 League Titles and 12 Cup wins. It makes me so happy and sad to look back at some of those names. To bring back memories of the good times and bad. But we shall move briskly onwards. I shan’t dwell too long in the past. As this is becoming a long-arse piece.
Well, whilst we are on the subject of boring stats, have some more, with my career summary stats. First and foremost, have a gander at my career games played:
417 games, 297 wins, 59 draws and 61 losses, with an average win percentage of 71%. Not fucking bad hey. Not bad at all. It’s no surprise then when you look at the trophy haul we’ve (I’ve) managed. 6 league titles and 12 cups. Now that makes for pleasant reading.
Another little piece of information gave me a little kick. Look at my transfer business:
Over my time as a manager, I had a minus net spend of £83 million. I am a fucking God.
But as you all know, hindsight is a wonderful thing. Fuck me has some serious graft gone into them. Obviously, the longer you stay at a club the easier things become – you shape the team, sort the coaching staff and improve finances – but some proper hard graft has been put into it all. So much so you can see my FM18 playing time here:
Look at that, 423 hours, 4 hours shy of my record of 427 (FM17). Do you want to know something really depressing? That works out roughly as 17 full days and 6 hours. Imagine doing anything for 17 full days straight. Fucking hell. I should probably use all my upcoming free time and get myself a life.
I’m just joking. In truth, I’ve loved every minute of this save. Really. Even when times were tough at Barca B. Especially during my time with Braunschweig. PSG was a real romp and gave me a chance to relax a little and Liverpool has been glorious. Who would have thought it at the beginning? I was absolutely useless, barrelling from one mistake to another, seemingly headless and living up to the Chancer title. Yet look how things panned out. My longest and most successful time playing the game. Period. And do you know what? My favourite season of them all was my 2nd at Braunschweig (3rd overall). Winning that first League title felt so gratifying, so impossible at the time considering how little I had at my disposal. I was so proud of it, it felt like a serious David vs. Goliath moment. It’s because of that sense of achievement I love this game. Not all series are successful, not all saves are enjoyable. Just like life, Football Manager has its ups and downs. But I can honestly say, this has been my favourite save ever. Thank you all for joining me for it.
Right, now that’s done, I guess it’s time to start wrapping things up for the final time. I know, I know, where are the tissues? But have no fear, you can always re-read from the very beginning if you are that way inclined.
Oh, in case you were wondering? When I left the club, my infamous assistant Javi, of course, followed me. I love that little bald beauty.
Again, I would like to just say a massive thank you to any of you crazy enough to spend time reading this. You now have loads of time you can dedicate on important things, such as masturbation. Huzzah!
Right. I’m going to climb up onto my horse, pout, and ride off into the sunset now. The Chancer Chronicles are complete.
For one last time, I’m going to sign off.
That’s all for now folks.