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OK, loyal reader. We have had the concept. We have had the guide. I meant to do a piece on what my tactical approach is going to be but I just haven’t got around to it yet.

Now it is time for shit to get real, pack our bags and head to China and take over the club that we are going to do all this with.

I am sure you all completely familiar with the Chinese giants Tianshan, are you not?

What do you mean you have never heard of the home to the former Arsenal winger capped by Spain 22 times?

Hell, if it is good enough for Jose Antonio Reyes then it is good enough for me.

Is the fact that a Spanish gipsy plays for the club a good enough reason for me to opt-in for a career there? On its own, no. They also have leopard in their name and I like leopards, I do.

Oh, and they play in green. That’s another tick in the box.

Actually, there are a few reasons as to why I have opted for Tianshan.

They are predicted to finish bottom of the table and that feels rather fitting for this challenge. FM are not a million miles out on this one either, given that this is where Tianshan sit in the real world second tier of Chinese football at the time of writing.

That’s them there, at the bottom – you’ll get used to the confusing Chinese/English names.

Incidentally, FM also has Wuhan as favourites for the title. It is almost as if BETA has been released mid-season in China, eh?

Anyway, back to Tianshan.

Another reason I like them is for this.

Today we play in a 14,000 stadium. Naturally, as I am going to turn them into a superpower, it is good to know a nice big stadium is on the way. It should go well with our promotion at the end of the season (caveat – I have no real belief we will get promoted at the end of the season).

Something that is fairly standard in FM19 is the lack of quality training and youth facilities in China so that is something I quite like.

I guess that brings me on to something I want to talk about – the current trend of ‘club identity, DNA and fucking philosophies’.

I am pretty sure that could be a direct quote from Big Sham Allarfarce so please don’t think I am going to suddenly go all Mike Bassett on you.

Well, maybe I am, a little bit.

Modern football has become rife with self-importance and a little knowledge has become a dangerous thing, in my humble.

Each generation that passes seems to add a layer of unnecessary complication to try and make what they know sound better than the people that went before them.

I have three examples from a long, long list that I have.

Exhibit A = Jurgen Klopp and pressing

Anyone would think that King Klopp invented players hunting the ball down in packs trying to win it far up the field. He didn’t I am afraid. There are many historical references to this happening as far back as 1930s Austria – sure, Klopp might have his own slightly different spin on it but the current generation wax so lyrical over what he was doing it’s almost as if no other team in the same decade had ever tried to win a ball back quickly.

Exhibit B = The Club DNA

Come on folks, smell the coffee. This isn’t a new thing, a new concept. Modern coaches have taken something old, put a new label on it and use it to sound interesting and relevant. Brian Clough’s Derby had a ‘club DNA’ – Brian Clough. Don Revie’s Leeds had a ‘club DNA’  – winning nasty and ugly. Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley’s Liverpool sides had a ‘club DNA’ – winning and drinking. Even Harry Bassett’s Wimbledon had a ‘club DNA’ – pretend you are mad and smash the ball long every time you get it.

Did they call it a ‘club DNA’? Did they balls, it was just there. It didn’t need a fancy powerpoint (I know they didn’t have them back then) or a spreadsheet with nice colours. It was just what it was.

Exhibit C = Philosophy

I think I blame Louis van Gaal for this one. He brought his ‘philosophy’ to England and every single up-and-coming English coach must have found the word on their FA syllabus because since then every coach has one. It’s a must have in the coaching toolkit, almost as important as balls and bibs.

What is a philosophy? It’s what Bobby Robson would have probably described as what happens on the pitch.


All that said, if I am going to achieve anything between now and 2050 I am going to need some kind of approach.

Club DNA? Well, it’s almost impossible to say on day one, no? Of course, I want to help the club get used to winning things. I want players to come here and do better than they have ever done before. Yeah, all of that. But DNA? Bugger off.

Philosophy? I’ve only got one football philosophy my friend, and that is winning stuff. Though, admittedly, if you push me on that a little I’d probably admit that I do like my 43120 Argentine Strikerless shape and variations within that. But that’s not a philosophy, it is a way of life.

It feels a bit contradictory to be sitting here hating on modern football whilst writing a ‘blog post’ about a computer game on my laptop. I can feel Cloughie turning in his grave.

But, that snazzy little infoG I put in the first post went down pretty well (as in two people commented on it) so let’s put another one in place right now.

Yep, Brian is actually spinning having read that.

The thing is, as much as I would like to be a bit of a dinosaur (and I probably still will be in many ways throughout this save) there are some things you do need to think about.

Even Brian Clough, in his most maverick of days, will have thought about the culture at the football club (DNA). He would have had a plan for scouting and recruitment (Peter Taylor). He had a philosophy, though he didn’t call it that.

Well, that’s how I am justifying it anyway.

We shall speak soon – probably telling you a little bit more about what I have walked into at Tianshan.

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