Better Call Sol: Prelude
If you are reading this it means that you are most likely a Football Manager or a Sol Campbell enthusiast (or both of course) – either way let me assure you of two things as we start this new FM20 journey:
1. You shall be thoroughly entertained by Sol Campbell’s fictional adventures through FM20 as we take the reigns at Southend United and try to make the Sol Campbell football philosophy a reality.
2. It is quite possible you will learn nothing useful about playing Football Manager (however I’ll give it a try)
Allow me to start this blog by stating that I am actually a big fan of Sol Campbell and Sol, if you’re reading this I promise I mean no offence in what is about to kick off as a series of humourous adventures in the FM20 universe as we take you and Southend United on this journey 😄.
If any of you out there are like me then you will always remember that one player that shares the same birthday as you, and for me it is the man himself who, before he embarked on what has so far been an interesting post-playing career to say the least (more to follow), was widely regarded as one of the finest Centre Halves in the world – so much so that he was selected in the World Cup 2002 All Star Dream Team at Centre Back ahead of the likes of Alessandro Nesta (Italy), Lucio (Brazil) and Thomas Linke (Germany).
Campbell was one of my favourite Defenders, and embodied what I feel are the fundamental attributes and characteristics of a top Central Defender even now in the modern game. Not only was he strong as an ox and powerful in the tackle, he had both pace and aerial ability which made him a formidable rock in defence and one of the key factors in Arsenal‘s unbeaten “Invincibles” season in 2003/2004.
In recent times however, Campbell has been dabbling in the world of Football Management and what better way to celebrate the release of the newest version of Football Manager (FM20) than a save and blog narrative in honour of the big man himself. I give you:
On this day: October 22nd 📅
- JFK informs the American public about what became known in history as the “Cuban Missile Crisis” (1962)
- Henry Ford becomes President of Ford Motor Company (1906);
- Pope John Paul II is inaugurated as Pope (1977);
- Thomas Edison perfects the carbonized cotton filament light bulb (1879)
- Sol Campbell is appointed manager of English League One side Southend United (2019)
Those of you that follow me may have spotted that I had intended on starting my first FM20 blog save with Reading following a successful stint there back in FM06 – however upon hearing this earth-shattering news I felt I had no choice but to roll with the Better Call Sol storyline which partially emerged during my FM19 save with Tenerife, therefore we will now kick off FM20 with Southend United in the hope that we can match and exceed Sol’s undoubted future success at the club and his path to becoming the greatest football manager in the world.
For those of you not aware, Sol Campbell has self-proclaimed himself as “one of the greatest minds in football” and more recently spoke out about the fact that he kept being overlooked for jobs due to the fact that he didn’t have enough managerial experience. His response to this?
Wise words indeed Sol – anyone who has ever applied for a job knows that experience isn’t everything, and that doctors, nurses, engineers, teachers and scientists the world over have been taking high level positions for centuries without having to worry about experience. It’s common knowledge that only politicians need to have years of expert experience to succeed in their roles….right?
Our objectives (apart from proving to be the greatest mind in football obviously) are simple – I call it the School of Sol Campbell, where our aims for this save are based on famous quotes from or about the main man himself:
Quote: “I’m one of the greatest minds in football and I’m being wasted because of a lack of experience“
Aim: If Sol doesn’t think experience is necessary for management then it certainly won’t be necessary for this save; our main focus from a recruitment perspective will be on players for the future, only signing young players who will be developed or sold for profit as the Sol regime progresses
Quote: “If you’re intelligent enough and a quick learner you will learn pretty soon, within two or three games, what the team needs, training-wise, to survive in that league, get better in that league, to get in the play-offs or even win the league.”
Aim: On the assumption that we (sadly for Sol) won’t actually know how to win the league after two or three games, our main aim is that we will not make any decisions on tactical style or training until after 3 league fixtures, upon which we will then settle on a tactic, playing style and training schedule for the season.
Quote: “It’s not like it’s rocket science to run a football club, especially when you get to that level”
Aim: To run all aspects of the club, from finances and facilities all the way through to training and youth development. Let the Sol empire begin.
Quote: “I’m 30 now and in five years’ time I won’t be in this country. That’s definite. Italy looks good to me because it would suit my kind of football. Spain is an option.”
Aim: To manage Southend for a minimum of 5 years before looking elsewhere for a job – upon which naturally Italy or Spain will be considered to match our “style of football” which we will develop based on Sol’s ambitions to play in these leagues
Quote: “Sol Campbell there, using his strength. And that is his strength. His strength.” (Kevin Keegan)
Aim: We are going to look to build a team of absolute beasts in the spirit of all things Sol Campbell, starting by looking for the new Sol to fill that Centre Half position and then building a spine based on attributes such as Strength, Aggression, Determination and Natural Fitness. It’s not going to be pretty.
Quote: “I’m sorry that I’ve got a mind, but don’t be scared of that. That should be something you want at your club”
Aim: Develop the highest possible manager media profile by always speaking our mind and being assertive or aggressive where needed.
Quote: “I’m intelligent enough, it’s not like I played on a fox and dog pitch all my life.”
Aim: We will attempt to educate you the reader on this journey of self-discovery on all things football and Football Manager related, using each of Sol’s schemes and adventures to in some way learn a bit more about the beautiful game. After all, it was
Sol Aristotle himself that said “There is no great genius without some touch of madness.”
Better Call Sol – Premise
Joe Kinnear was once famously quoted as saying “I can pick up the phone and call any manager in the world” when questioned about his managerial credentials before taking over at Newcastle in 2009, the year before Sol Campbell joined Newcastle on a free transfer where he played under Kinnear’s assistant Chris Hughton. Thankfully Kinnear and Campbell never actually crossed paths at the club, however for the purposes of this blog each episode / blog post will start with Campbell taking a leaf out of Kinnear’s book – seeking the advice of well known members of the football and non-football world as he pursues his quest for managerial greatness, and therefore kicking off a new scheme or plot twist of how Sol will drive success at The Shrimpers. What could go wrong?
Thanks for reading folks, the saga continues next week after the official FM20 has been released! I hope you will enjoy this slightly different twist on a Football Manager blog as much as I hopefully will writing it – please feel free hit the Follow button below and share any thoughts and comments either here or on my Twitter page where you will find all my FM content – remember, interaction and feedback is why we do it! ✍️