Unfortunately the world is in turmoil; it’s St. Patrick’s Day and there isn’t an open pub to be found in Ireland; not a tractor or combine harvester to be seen in a rural town’s annual Paddy’s Day parade and this mediocre FM writer/player finds himself on lockdown with little or no choice but to make a long overdue return to FM blogging (writer’s note: no-one thinks it’s long overdue).
Covid-19 has forced our hand and football has ceased to exist for the foreseeable future. At the time of writing, our protagonists Newcastle United (led by the man with the eternal broken nose Steve Bruce) currently sit in 13th position in the Premier League after 29 games played and despite looking likely to avoid relegation, future prospects for a club with arguably one of the best fan bases in the world look bleak and average at best – their immediate future somewhat unknown with global football on ice until further notice. Enter MaddFM and Football Manager 2020 to help us through this difficult period and bring some sort of resumption to normal life in the North-East of England.
My goal for this save is to pick up at the end of the current 2019/2020 season, whereby Steve Bruce has decided to move on to pastures new (i.e. Sunderland or Hull) and Newcastle are again at a crossroads following the departure of a number of shrewd loan signings brought in last January to help the club stave off relegation – Geordie fans bid farewell not only to Bruce but also the likes of Nabil Bentaleb, Danny Rose, Valentin Lazaro and Jetro Willems whose season ended prematurely due to that unfortunate cruciate ligament injury in January.
To bring us to the end of the season in-game and preserve a sense of reality so that we can start fresh with all squads matching real-life football (and a somewhat depleted Newcastle team), I simply added a one-year transfer embargo to all EPL and major clubs in the FM Editor, started a new save using the Irish league (which facilitates a January 2020 start date) and then simmed forward (went on holiday) to the end of the season to see where the gods of Football Manager decided Newcastle deserve to finish by the end of the 2019/2020 season before we take over….shit what if they’ve been relegated? 😧
A season which saw them narrowly avoid relegation on the last day of the season, largely thanks to 15 league goals from none other than goalscorer supremo Joelinton (writer’s note: easy on the sarcasm). There is much to do in order to get this club out of the hole into which Mike Ashley has driven it; takeover or not, it’s time to resurrect this club and return glory to the Toon Army.
I’m also relieved to see that the simulated season hasn’t deviated too far from reality – despite doubts over whether it will ever happen in real-life, Liverpool are finally crowned Champions on the last day of the season finishing a point ahead of Man City, while there are only 3 other Managerial casualties in addition to Steve Bruce. All in all we are ready to kick off a new season as close as can be to how it currently stands IRL. Click here if you would like to download the Editor file used to bring us this far 👍.
1st June 2020 – In Game 💻
We are greeted with fantastic news after returning from holiday – fair play to Mike, Lee and co. for their efforts on this fine achievement, looks like we know what Objective #1 for this save will be 🤔.
It annoys the hell out of me that this club hasn’t really produced many youth prospects over the past few years – the likes of Jackie Milburn, Peter Beardsley, and Paul Gascoigne all began their trade at Newcastle and while recent graduates such as Andy Carroll, Steven Taylor and Shola Ameobi went on to have fairly solid careers at the highest levels, it’s clear we’ve not produced a top local talent for more than a generation therefore that becomes our number one ambition for this save.
Objective #2 is simple yet completely out of our hands – we need a takeover. Whether it happens in our first season or 10 years in, we will manage this club until either we are fired or a new owner finally has Mike Ashley forcibly removed from the club with extreme prejudice.
Our 3rd Objective is one I try to achieve every season – get the Ireland job and manage my own club and country simultaneously. Having failed miserably in FM19 (Mick McCarthy refused to budge after 8 seasons avoiding not one but three “Very Insecure” job status updates), this is a must considering we still have a full 8 months until the release of FM21.
Finally, for Objective #4 we want to recreate history. I have handpicked 5 players from the Newcastle golden era of the late 90’s/ early 00’s whose status and impact on Tyneside were legendary, and our goal is to scout and sign players of a similar mould based on their playing position, nationality and FM attributes (using a little help from earlier versions of CM/FM). These are not necessarily the best Newcastle players of the modern era but ones who were synonymous with the club and left a legacy to behold with the Toon fans long after departing the Magpies.
Our mission will be to identify and sign players with the same nationality and positions as each of the above using their attributes from earlier versions of Championship Manager as a guideline for scouting – my next post will be the start of this where we will try to locate the first batch of potential candidates who fit the bill at the beginning of FM20 🔥.
Before we leave, there’s time for one extremely important piece of business as we look to the future at Newcastle United. After being coveted by the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton and Wolves we manage to tie down Matty Longstaff on a new 3 year contract which will see him stay at the club at least until the end of the 2022/2023 season..next question, is he any good in FM20?
So it begins! A new save and a new story as we settle into isolation and what looks to be a long road ahead both IRL and in FM – here’s hoping that everyone can pull together to collectively get through what is surely unchartered territory with all this Coronavirus madness, and hopefully this FM blog will give some badly needed football entertainment in the absence of the real thing!