Football Manager: Not Everyone Is Yours, But All Is You.

In my last post, I shared two strategies I use while playing my Football Manager saves. They had to do with delegating responsibility and concentrating where you draw talent from. This post will also be dealing with club staff and scouting. This post isn’t going into any books on how to develop critical thinking. It sure as hell isn’t going to win any plaudits for outside the box thinking, but it will share my experience on a game I spend many hours on. Who needs more porn anyways? Well, I’m not one to say no to some publicity, but playing Football Manager with the manufactured moans of some contorted actress getting penetrating tested all in the interest of achieving that perfect moment in the background, isn’t an overlap that appeared in my head until now. It’s distracting. How else will the numbers get my undivided attention. I let the numbers woo me. The internet infrastructure has enough space for my blog and everything else.

Anywho. Here’s two more strategies that make my time virtual managing more efficient. 

1. Staff Retention

– When one begins a new save the option to fire all the remaining coaching staff from the previous regime is available. I would be sitting here with a long nose if I said the temptation to do this never manifested. However, when it comes to football(soccer) management, I think it’s bad practice. Even more so if you’re a relatively new player or its your first time in a leadership capacity, because this type of transition requires know how. If you start from scratch the hours required to scout and hire new staff will increase. 

What do you look for? Staff from the country you’re managing in or from the countries you hope to bring players in? Youth or experience? Do you yourself know the team and inner workings of the club well? Save yourself some time and invest that time in hiring people who will upgrade your coaching methods or to fill up vacant positions elsewhere on your staff.

 It would be wise to keep staff that knows the club well because it can be an asset as to not be walking blind. Those you keep must obviously occupy the standards you deem necessary to perform their job. If they fail or cause issues, your will to fire them isn’t muddled because you gave them a chance. Remember, this isn’t showing indecision on your part because the coaching staff isn’t entirely new. You made the decision to combine already there staff with your own new hires. You made that decision. That’s powerful stuff.

2. Clear Role Descriptions

– The goal of every player is to play. They want time on the pitch and to see their names on the team sheet. Unfortunately, not every player is starting material or needed in that capacity. When offering a scouted player a contract you must think hard about his role on the team. Do you need depth in your squad to challenge the starters and compete in several tournaments? Are you looking to bring in youth players to develop? Bench options that get 15-30 minutes? 

Being clear with this part of the negotiation saves you the trouble of that same player being unhappy later on over lack of playing time. Not being clear disrupts team morale by being a negative example to other players and shows your lack of preparation. It also tips the power dynamics in the players favor because if you cave in through error of your own, other players will begin making demands. Save yourself money and being part of a disadvantage position by having a clear idea of how your players will be utilized.

I again reiterate that I’m not breaking new ground here with my strategies. Experience and a few mistakes have given me information that I use to developed my strategies. Have a good week folks!

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Football Manager: When Two is Better Than One

I play Football Manager to satisfy my fantasy of managing a football (soccer) team. It’s a simulation game that has you taking notes, creating spreadsheets, keep a budget and research their database for players. To some this might sound like work, but to me this sounds like my idea of a great time.

Over the last few years, I’ve gone from emerging myself into the deep end to somewhat formulating strategies that not only help my saves, but define me as a manager. I would like to share two of my strategies.

1.  Delegate

– I think the modern game is leaving the role of an all encompassing manager to a more defined one. The role of a manager should be above all to coach your time (training, tactics, matches) and not shoulder the full weight of other responsibilities (scouting, negotiations, transfers). As a manager you should fully take advantage of your staff and the club executives, such as the Director of Football to delegate responsibility. You save yourself time and a DoF can come to the rescue when a player you want to purchase is wearing on your negotiating skills. You should also assign various assignments to your scouts. I’m not saying to not dive into the deeper recesses of the FM database, but again delegating saves time. The modern game is a team effort on the pitch and among those who keep the club running. 

2. Location

– Before you begin to scout make sure to have a clear idea of where in the world you want players from. I advice to scout from three countries. It helps you familiarize yourself with what talent is available based on your needs. It also helps team chemistry because the team will have one or two common languages they share. Homesickness, miscommunication and lack of adapting are handled this way. Unless you give crappy peptalks… Of course every save will have different variables and challenges, such as your scouts pre-existing knowledge of a place influencing where you scout from or maybe you’re looking for a left-footed central midfielder with great decision stats and passing. Why do you think Lyon brought in many Brazilians during their dominant stretch or Brentford liking Scandinavian players? 

I hope these two strategies help any existing or new players thinking about virtual managing. I don’t think I’ve said anything profound. I’m fact, I’m sure I can dig deeper in another post about even more strategies.

Happy Autumn folks!

Operation: Top Half (Philosophy and Operations)

I’ve been playing Football Manager 2017 this month. As I mentioned earlier I’m working on a multimedia project where I pretend I’m a manager managing a team. The closest I’ll get to that is through a simulation game. I didn’t want to pick a big team with a lot of money. This game is more fun when you torture yourself with a budget that can’t even cover the amount per week Alexis Sanchez is reported to want. So I chose the finest team in Scotland, Heart of Midlothian. We’re going to share our journey like a newly formed couple hiding the cracks in their relationship by sharing more pics on Facebook than usual. 

I’ll start by sharing my ‘philosophy’ and how I plan to manage this operation. Here goes:

Coaching

  • Tactics – 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 with a focus on wing play
  • Style – A passing team that keeps possession while transitioning quickly from defense to attack and vice-versa. 
  • The reserve team will act like the 1st team. A clear path from reserve team to 1st team will be established. I’m doingn away with the youth academy. 
  • Delegation
  1. I set weekly training sessions and tactical work. 
  2. My assistant and staff will work on individual training and give me input.
  3. A Director of Football (DoF) will be used as an ally who mostly takes care of recruiting the players I want. 

Recruiting

  • We see ourselves as part of chain where our players can go from the reserves or another league to Hearts to a bigger team. This does not mean we do not want to challenge for trophies. Winning a trophy is always the main goal in sport. However, we’re a realist bunch who know we have to grow our budget. 
  • Where? – Our talent will be drawn from Scotland (Championship and League 1) and Europe (Scandinavia and Eastern Europe).
  • Who? – These players will at the minimum be 16 and at most their mid 20s. I want players who can pass the ball well, have good technique and are adaptable. They will be free agents or castaways from other teams.
  • Cost? 25,000 or less
  • Scouting – Our scouts will comb the already mentioned targeted areas in Scotland and Europe. I will need three reports (profile and matches) before a decision is made to recruit a player. 

There you have it! I look forward to turning Hearts into a nuisance that buzzes at Celtic and Aberdeen. 

FIFA Confederation Cup: Why Am I Here?

Should the FIFA Confederation Cup be played the summer before the World Cup? We are currently getting through yet another tournament that takes away recovery time for players. This tournament bids the six different regional champs along with the current World Cup champ and hosts against each other. Got that champ? There’s gonna be a champ here. I admit I’ve seen a few matches. My favorite match so far has been today’s Germany versus Chile match. 

I don’t think the matches have necessarily been great, but we have gotten hilarious moments that will live on. Mada-fucker anyone? The last time I laughed that hard during a football match was when Louis Van Gaal fell to the floor to emphasize his point to the ref. And here I thought I was going to take a break from football… 

Who am I kidding? I look for Arsenal ttansfer news everyday… Back to my main point, it does seem like overkill that some of the players in this tournament came in with 40+ games under their belt last season. Alexis has played blank and players like Marquez and Mustafi suffered injuries throughout the season. Add three more guaranteed games to that count and all the time spent traveling. That’s time that could be used on a vacation or recovering from wear and tear. Footballers are people like the rest of us, rich, but still people. We all need a break from whatever the hell we do as well! 

I get champs must compete against champs to be the best. However, what’s in it for the winners of this tournament? A trophy and… 

See you folks Monday!

Arsenal of Feeling 2

Arsenal. One word that brings so much out of me if I even catch a whiff of it blowing in cold winter air or that rainy spring funk right before summer. I want to continue on from my post last Wednesday. Thierry Henry left and Fabregas took up the mantle of being that exciting player we all wanted to see on the lineup each and every game. It was a lot to put on the shoulders of a teenager, but the incisive passes he produced are memories that reaffirm why younger me fell in live with this team. It was part part passing and part idealism of playing with youth. Who doesn’t believe in the concept of utilizing your own youth academy with young prospects to bolster the team? No sugar daddy came to our rescue. It was a youthful idealism matched by my own youthful reassurance that I knew what was best for the world.

Arsenal. You and I played on throughout the years. I was there for you through some humiliating losses and you were there for me every weekend morning. We completed each other in a very dependent day that was borderline vice if not for how healthy you were to end the week with. That’s why it tickles my wrong bone to admit that sometimes I’m just not excited by you anymore. We have fallen into a rut. The foreplay needs work and the same moves just don’t cut it anymore. It’s not because the moves are bad, it’s just the context around those moves has changed. Early on this season, the game against Swansea was a reminder of the Arsenal I had first fallen in love with followed by a taste of who she had become. The passing and movement in that game hit me with the nostalgic wand so hard my seat wasn’t enough to contain me, but then the defense conceded again and again. It was the same issue against Bayern. Oh captain, when you’re gone the boat gets torpedoed to shreds.

Arsenal. I have no doubt you will defeat Chelsea and bring back another FA Cup. I will be watching. The past few dates have been a mix of duds, effort and a different mentality to the bedroom. It might not be a well, but the faucet is back on. We have our issues but leaving is never an option. I will be there, eyes glued to screen, hand on the badge of my jersey, as the final flows on.

Chelsea 3 – Middlesbrough 0

Venue: Stanford Bridge

Why?: Boro getting relegated, Chelsea keeping lead over Spurs

Player Analysis

  1. Fabio – was always pushing up the field to help Boro on the attack,but he got caught marking the back of Alonso for Chelsea’s second goal in the 34th minute. According to StatsZone, 9/46 passes were in the attacking third. 7/9 of those attacking third passes were successful or 78%. He also created one chance and had 2/3 successful take ons. What’s interesting is that he only attempted one long pass and two crosses,without success. In a position based system, where his defensive shortcomings could be covered, he would be important in maintaining position for a team that plays in their opponents half. The reason being that 45/46 passes were short. This shows he keeps the ball moving while penetrating forward within the attacking third. His back should have been to his own goal as he attempted to mark Alonso as opposed to his back facing the Chelsea attack. Was he joining the Chelsea attack? I also noticed him get caught of position during the second half which forced him to rush back to his defense. 
  2. Alonso – was also pushing up the field to give Chelsea not only an extra man in attack, but his penetrating runs to the left post have them another passing land. Those runs made possible his four attempts in goal. 2/4 attempts or 50% were on target and one was blocked which shows his proficiency in front of the goal today. StatZone also has 3/4 of those shots inside the penalty area which reinforces how close those diagonal runs were to the left post. Another interesting stat is that all four of his shots were with his left foot, and to me, it seemed like Chelsea was more dominant on the left side of the field. The stats also show he received the ball 33 times. Just like Fabio he had 2/3 successful take ons and 12/43 passes were in the attacking third. A 28% conversion over Fabio’s 20% gives him the edge. The only attacking blip is that he failed to put in any crosses. Even with this last stat, it’s hard to nitpicky because he was a threat all match. Put this man up front!

Match Summary

It was a match Chelsea dominated by employing a high line that passed its way into the Boro goal by playing on their side. This game clearly showed that these Chelsea players can not only interchange positions, but that they also move up the pitch to spread defenses into opening up space. Fabregas was the architect who dictated what direction the attack would build and was their to receive the ball when it needed to be circulated once again to continue the attack. It’s fascinating how mechanical this team is and the FA Cup final against a newly employed Arsenal back three will be something to see.
Extra

Legs open, legs closed? That was the question of the match as Brad Guzan ate up there goals, with two going between his legs.

Clap, clap, clap your hands was the topic on hand as the Chelsea owner went from a 1st half yawn to happily clapping during the dying minutes of this match. Conte was also in a clapping mode towards the end of the second half.

John Terry made an appearance!

Press Release #1

Gael Oliver Arn-Talavera Becomes New Manager of Hibernian F.C.

In a bold move, the Leith based club appoints a newcomer to the job

 

By Gary Boathouse

May 13, 2013

 

Edinburgh, Scotland – Hibernian F.C. has a new man at the helm after a surprising move for the American born Gael Oliver Arn-Talavera. A self described passionate football fan, Gael is another manager who hasn’t played professional soccer. He was an editor and Content Marketeer before making the jump to professional football management.

 

Responding to the already mounting criticisms, Chairman Brown responded with “The club is looking for a fresh direction to move the club forward and Gael complimented our vision. Stability is needed if we are to challenge Celtic.” Gael continued, “My first priority is to keep the club in the highest level of Scottish football. It’s a new country and club, but we have a forward vision.”

 

Preseason is under way with the game against Dumbarton being on June 29, 2013. It is one of three games in preparation for the August 4 season opener against Motherwell.