The Regionnaire is a save challenge created by yours truly in FM22, when I took over a pre-Saudi owned Newcastle United and converted them into a North-East only football club wherein all players and staff had to be born and/or raised in the North-East of England, similar to the well-known Athletic Club de Bilbao setup in Northern Spain where only players with Basque nationality are permitted to sign and play for the club.
That save became known as Northern Boys and from there the Football Manager Regional Challenge aka “The Regionnaire” was born, whereby the idea is to take over a club within a specific region and transition them to a domestic / local footballing model – with a key focus on signing prodigal sons of the region to return home and play for their local club, developing young players through your academy and simultaneously boosting / elevating football production across the region through partnerships and development of neighbouring clubs around you.
As saves go this was both gruelling and yet thoroughly enjoyable and challenging, so much so that for the remainder of FM23 (and perhaps beyond based on the latest FM24 updates from Sports Interactive 👀) I have decided to effectively “go again” with a Regionnaire challenge, this time venturing slightly further afield as we head for the allure of Northern Italy and the historic giants of European football – Associazione Calcio Milan 🔴⚫.
I know I know. This is AC Milan, conquerors of Europe, giants of Serie A, and former home of global superstars such as Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit, George Weah, Ronaldinho, Kaka and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to name a few. How can we possibly contemplate turning AC Milan into a domestic-only club culture and squad setup? The answer is somewhat simple: in May 2023, arch-rivals Inter and AC Milan contested the 2022/2023 Champions League Semi-Final in a fiery two-legged clash which saw Inter reign supreme following a 3-0 aggregate victory to claim bragging rights in Milan for many years to come. Over the course of these two fixtures and of the 25 players who started for both teams across each fixture, can you guess the number of Milan-born players who took to the field?
The number of Milan-born players who contested the 2023 Champions League Semi-Final clash between AC and Inter Milan.
That one player was Inter’s Federico Di Marco, arguably one of Inter’s best players in their run to the final but equally the only Milan-born player to feature for either Milan side across the tie. True, the likes of Francesco Acerbi and Matteo Darmian (who are both considered to be “Milan lads” through and through) both featured in the clash, however they were both technically born in towns some 20km from Milan rather than being true Milanese natives, and the same can be said for the likes of David Calabria and Sandro Tonali who are both Brescia-born despite both being known to be lifelong AC Milan fans.
So, you can see my point – there is work to be done in Milan, and not since the likes of Paolo Maldini have we seen true footballing greatness emerge from the second most populous city in Italy. Based on this, our mission is simple: using the 23.4.0 database from Football Manager 2023, we will wind back the clock to the start of the 2022/2023 season where AC Milan are still under the stewardship of the aforementioned Paolo Maldini as Technical Director; we will steer the club on a different path and universe wherein the plan is for Milan to transition to a domestic-only club within two seasons and simultaneously kick-start the revival of football talent production in the surrounding region accordingly. Our rules will be simple:
1) We are only permitted to sign players and staff who meet one of the below criteria:
Born within 50km radius of Milan
Graduated through a club/academy within 50km of Milan (therefore AC Milan, Inter, Atalanta, Como, Monza etc).
2) All non-local players & staff must be sold or released by the end of Season 2
To do this, we of course need to return to our old friend the Player Search filter, wherein with the help of some online resources we plug in 80 place names which fall within our 50km catchment area – this will serve as a guide for our local-born players and is the foundation of any Regionnaire save 👌.
That means that by the time we reach Season 3, our entire playing squad and backroom staff must meet the criteria above as we look to mould this squad into a Regionnaire club and rapidly elevate & develop Milanese football talent production accordingly. We will of course have money to spend once we start offloading the likes of Rafael Leão and Theo Hernández, but the challenge will be replacing these with suitable and eligible players in order to try and maintain our quality and fulfill our board’s expectations. Sounds easy right? 🙃
Il Regionnaire – A Milan Story, starts now 🚀.
You better believe there is a new spreadsheet coming 😍.
Thanks for reading,
This save will be blogged here regularly as well as streamed occasionally over on Twitch – you can also follow me on Twitter for updates, jump in my Discord or Slack for offline discussions & sneak previews as well as catching me every Monday on 5 Star Potential, the longest running weekly Football Manager podcast.