Northern Boys – Part I

 

It’s not about winning titles, fighting for trophies, reaching finals or gaining achievements. This is bigger than success. It’s about reviving football in the North-East. Awakening a sleeping giant in terms of football as a region; restoring it’s reputation for producing top-tier talent as has been the case in previous years gone by. This is about legacy.” (an excerpt from our introductory post to this save).

 

FM22 is officially out, therefore it’s time we set the scene in terms of this save universe in which we will operate and have a little look under the hood now that we can officially kick off this series. Newcastle United have indeed had a takeover, but rather than being bankrolled by a Saudi Investment Fund, Mike Ashley has instead sold the club to local (and fictional) millionaire businessman and philanthropist Joseph Ordiman (Joe for short) who is renowned for his love of gravy, Brown Ale and 80’s English football. His autobiography details how as a young Northern lad his dad would take him to games all over the North of England, not to mention a trip to Estadio Azteca in Mexico in 1986 where as an 11-year-old he watched Diego Maradona break the hearts of a nation with that famous Hand of God goal to send England out of the World Cup semi-final.

 

A young Joe Ordiman witnessing history and (inset) the now new owner of Newcastle United

But it wasn’t Maradona that Joe Ordiman’s eleven-year old eyes were fixated upon for the duration of that tournament. Having learned of the strong North-Eastern influence on that World Cup side from his father Joe Senior, it was the likes of Peter Beardsley, Chris Waddle and Bryan Robson that young Joe was most interested in seeing, not to mention the awe and admiration that welled up in his chest every time he saw (what was in his eyes) a giant of a man in England Manager Bobby Robson, who was born just a few miles down the road from Joe’s home in Durham and now stood in front of millions on the greatest stage in world football.

 

 

This sparked a deeply engrained sense of pride and passion in Joe from that point onwards – further molded by the emergence of the likes of Paul Gascoigne, Steve Howey, Lee Clark, Barry Venison and of course Alan Shearer not to mention reading up on the legendary stories of Jackie Milburn, Stan Mortensen and the Charlton brothers. Although Joe went on to travel the world and make millions in the aerospace industry, he always called Durham his home and the recent downfall of football in the North-East was of particular despair to him having held such fond memories and high regard for those Northern heroes all those years ago. After years of yearning to give back to the local region and reinvigorate football in the North-East, the perfect opportunity presented itself…

 

 

 Statement from Joe Ordiman

  

“It’s an honour to sit here as the new owner of Newcastle United Football Club. Change brings about change and we will be doing exactly that – after clearing all debts, it’s time now for this club to become a beacon of footballing hope for North-East England, with our main objective to transition to a North-East only model over the next four seasons as well as put a huge focus on investing in football across the region to elevate player standards and development from grass-roots all the way up to Premier League level”.

  

To put it simply – we are giving ourselves 4 seasons to convert the club to a fully “Basque” transfer model and staff policy whereby only players and staff born and raised in the North-East of England will be eligible to play and work for the club. That means we have 4 seasons to offload all our existing non-Northern players, using the funds from these sales to reinvest in our squad and youth recruitment as well as pumping much needed cash (minimum £2m per year) into the local region through feeder clubs all over the North-East area and indirectly raise football development through these clubs as well as ourselves (see our Introductory Post for a breakdown of Save Objectives & Rules).

    

Player Search & Regional Development 🔎

  

📝 FACT: of the 276 players used in the Premier League last weekend (w/o 5th November 2021) – only 4 were born in North-East England (1.45%).

  

As stated previously – not only will players need to have been born/raised in the North-East in order to sign and play for Newcastle United in 4 seasons time, we will also spend a large portion of this save trying to elevate football development and production in the North-East having seen a decline in the standard and impact of the region over the past 20 years. Of course this will be essential if we are to fully migrate to a North-East only squad, but we also want to see clear evidence that we are successfully raising the standard of football both organically and economically across the region.

  

During our research (and with the help of @Shrewnaldo who showed me a very useful function in the FM editor whereby you can use geographical coordinates to see cities and clubs etc in a particular area) – we found that there are over 50 professional or semi-professional football clubs in the North-East of England spread across some 60+ cities and towns locally in the area. After expanding our Player Search to include players born across all of these locations, we are left with an 850+ playing pool from which the vast majority of our initial transfer dealings will be sourced.

  

  

From a regional development perspective – our goal is to pump as much cash into football in the North-East and this will mainly be through player acquisition and friendly tournaments as well as creating a cyclical flow of players to and from Newcastle and these “feeder teams”. There’s no way we will be able to boost over 50 feeder clubs and actually play a lot of FM at the same time, therefore seeing as this is FM22 we have identified 22 clubs in the North-East that will receive targetted attention based on a number of criteria which in turn will serve as our Key Performance Indicators for how successful we are at elevating their footballing respective stature (and therefore hopefully the quality of youth candidates produced each season).

  

Northern Boys – Feeder Club KPIs 📈

  • Division (Tier)
  • Status
  • Stadium Capacity
  • Stadium Condition
  • Training Facilities
  • Youth Facilities
  • Youth Level
  • Junior Coaching
  • Youth Recruitment
  • Youth Players

  

ClubTierStatusCapacityConditionTraining FacilitiesYouth FacilitiesYouth LevelJunior CoachingYouth Recruitment#Youth Players
Middlesbrough2Pro34,746Very GoodSuperbSuperb1GoodGood21
Sunderland3Pro48,707GoodSuperbSuperb1AdequateAdequate17
Hartlepool Utd4Pro7,856AverageBelowBelow3AverageBasic0
Darlington6Pro3,300AverageBasicBasic4AdequateBasic0
Gateshead6Pro11,800AverageAdequateAdequate3AverageFairly Basic5
Spennymoor6Semi4,300GoodBasicBasic4Fairly BasicBasic0
Blyth Spartans6Semi4,435AverageBasicBasic4Fairly BasicBasic0
South Shields7Pro3,500AverageAdequateAdequate3AverageBasic0
Morpeth Town7Semi2,000AverageBasicPoor0Fairly BasicBasic0
Whitby Town7Semi3,500AverageBasicBasic4Fairly BasicBasic0
North Shields9Semi2,500GoodPoorPoor0Fairly BasicFairly Basic1
West Auckland9Semi6,728AveragePoorPoor0BasicBasic0
Thornaby9Semi5,000AveragePoorPoor0BasicBasic0
Ashington9Semi3,000AveragePoorPoor0BasicBasic0
Billingham Town9Semi3,000AveragePoorPoor0BasicBasic4
Stockton Town9Semi1,800PoorPoorPoor0BasicBasic3
Bishop Auckland9Semi2,000AveragePoorPoor0BasicBasic3
Whitley Bay9Semi4,500AveragePoorPoor0Fairly BasicFairly Basic1
Whickham9Semi4,000AveragePoorPoor0BasicBasic1
Shildon9Semi4,000AveragePoorPoor0Fairly BasicFairly Basic2
Consett9Semi3,770AveragePoorPoor0BasicBasic2
Newcastle Blue Star11Semi10,000AverageBasicPoor0BasicLimited0

  

A few Edits.. ✍🏼

  

Now when I originally thought up the idea for this save, the Saudi takeover was still a distant memory rather than a likely outcome, therefore we have the slightly inconvenient issue of Newcastle having a £250 million bank balance and a £200 million transfer budget at the start of FM22 as well as an increased reputation and rich benefactor (sugar daddy) at the helm. In order to turn back time and kick off off our new fictional regime under Joe Ordiman, we must take to the FM22 Editor to make a couple of important changes and bring us back to how things were at the end of FM21, therefore erasing all existence of the Saudi takeover:

  1. Create a staff profile for Joe Ordiman our new Chairman and kick Mike Ashley out of Newcastle along with that chief Lee Charnley.
  2. Amend bank balance from £250m down to £25m.
  3. Reduce transfer budget from £200m to £0.
  4. Remove Rich Benefactor (the artist formerly known as “Sugar Daddy”).
  5. Prevent any future takeovers from occurring.
  6. Revert Club Reputation from 6800 to 6550 and morale from 19 to 12.
  7. Clear all debt.

  

  

Ok, we are clear. Four seasons to convert Newcastle to a “Basque” transfer model. Only players born / raised in the North-East will be allowed by the time we reach 2025, until then all U23 players signed must be from the North-East with 2 additional signings allowed each season until our 4th season is complete. No transfer budget. Same opening balance and club reputation as they had at the end of FM21. Twenty-two “feeder” clubs which we will invest in to raise the quality and volume of young Northern players produced annually.

  

Who is mad(d) enough to take the reigns on this likely path to the club’s eventual demise?

  

  

Before we leave, we can’t not talk about potential transfer targets especially having made the necessary budget and reputation amendments. Our current squad isn’t really blessed with North-Eastern talent (Dummett, Gillespie and the two Longstaffs are our only Senior players born in the North-East but I reckon we can do good things with Elliott Anderson), however the likes of Dael Fry, Ben Gibson, Adam Armstrong and Fraser Forster are all hopefully within reasonable short-term range before we can even think about the likes of Jordan Pickford, Jordan Henderson and the holy-grail of North-East born players in FM22 – Giovanni Reyna. Pickings are indeed slim though – we have a lot of work to do 👀.

  

  

Thanks for reading – enjoy the hell out of this new game 👌.

  

MaddFM.

  

Want to get involved and/or get real-time updates or sneak previews? Got players to recommend or advice on North-Eastern geography I need to know about? I’ll be posting regular updates in a brand new MaddFM Discord server as well as on FMSlack (#MaddFM) so feel free to drop by and keep an eye out. You can also catch me most Mondays on 5* Star Potential, your weekly Football Manager podcast.

  

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