Home Series Is there a comeback on the cards?

Is there a comeback on the cards?

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So this is Football Manager, right?

I remember this. I used to play it quite a lot until life started getting in the way a little bit. Let’s be honest, even the chaps over at online-betting.org stopped taking bets on whether I’d eventually get back in the FM saddle.

The odds were always stacked in favour of me coming back to do something at some point; the question has been, what?

My big China plan never failed to materialise due to a number of reasons. I’ve started and stopped several things in the last month or so having finally reinstalled the game but nothing has really stuck.

Until now, and I guess the reason I am writing this down is 100% more for me than for you.

If I scribble something on to this blog (which has really gone to the dogs in the last few months which is ironic given we are named after a dog), it forms some kind of commitment more often than not.

Of course, it’s not guaranteed – I’ve already mentioned China. And hell, the world isn’t short of someone talking up a save they are going to do for it never to be heard of again.

That might happen here. In fact, those guys I mentioned above are probably taking bets on that as well.

I trawled back through the memory bank of things I’ve done on FM since I started playing it again before we moved to Spain.

Torrevieja was cool, for reasons that were obvious at one point in my life. After all, without that Torrevieja save there is no guarantee I’d be here now. I mean workwise, not emotionally. Or maybe the other way round. Who knows? But I can’t do Torrevieja again and the lower levels of Spain on FM are pretty dull, to be honest. They’re not much less dull in real life.

Things like ‘Clapton Corner’ going deep into the lower levels of English football would, frankly, make this reconditioned MacBook have a small fit and that would be the end of that.

The ‘Jena Journey’, a lower league adventure in Germany was fun but meh – too easy in some ways (even with my limited ability on FM19 to date).

It needs to be something challenge based, something a bit like I did with ‘Beating Brian’ and ‘The Boys of Bilbao’.

And, those that used to follow some of my blogging, will probably understand when I say that I never fully got over the frustrations of B team management.

Why B team management? The idea was to do a Pep and manage the B team before being promoted into the first team job.

I’ve done it twice – Bilbao, where I made the mistake of feeling like I had to move away to come back to Bilbao at a later date having missed out on the top job three times and the last time being a real kick in the knackers and at Borussia Dortmund. At Dortmund I got them promoted twice, won the highest league we could play in unbeaten and then got sacked the following season after a bad start – a bad start, I hasten to add, caused by the board selling all the talent we had rather than promote them into the first team.

Yet, I love the B team management side of things. Only being responsible for picking a team from the players I have available and trying to win matches is what I love most about FM. I tolerate the scouting. I couldn’t care too much for training (a bit like when I played) and in terms of recruiting staff? One of my best seasons ever was in Cameroon when I had nobody else other than me on the backroom team. That was fun.

The things that drive me mad with B team management are also the things I love about it – not knowing who will get taken away from me on the morning of a match. Not knowing who has been given to me and might be a total donkey. Having minimal control is good for a control freak like me.

But it needs a bit of a twist – it can’t just be about trying to get the first-team job.

In the last couple of years, we’ve seen the likes of David Wagner, Daniel Farke and Jan Siewert all arrive in the English Championship (well, Siewert will find himself in the English Championship next season) straight from managing B teams in Germany.

So, that is going to form part of my gameplan.

I will manage in Germany again, but at a club that also has a pedigree from promoting someone from within their coaching system to the top job – giving me two acceptable exit routes to keep the save moving.

I’ve taken over at Hoffenheim II. They play in the fourth tier of German football. We are something like 6/1 to get promoted which makes about 8th favourites – so not massively likely according to the bookmakers.

All I have to do is a pick a team and win football matches and see how long it takes me to catch the eye of a team in England or, even better, the board at Hoffenheim.

In terms of frequency of updates or whether you will ever hear about this save again, who knows?

And, more realistically, who actually cares anyway?!

Old-school FM/CM player, author of 'Johnny Cooper: Championship Manager' and someone who now very much starts a save and quits halfway through...

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