“Winners never quit and quitters never win”

I haven’t posted for a couple of weeks, been busy with work blah blah blah, its no excuse, I am aware of that, however from the hundreds of you that read the site literally none of you have been in touch to find out where the next thrilling instalment is, well its here.

I think I need to start by giving a brief recap of this current challenge. I’m playing with Rochdale, I picked at random one team from league 2 and would stick with them through the highs and lows. There haven’t been any lows! We were promoted to the Premier League in 3 straight seasons. It has undoubtedly been my best save to date, and I’ve been playing the game for 15+ years. I’m currently in the 2019/2020 season, and I couldn’t have predicted what is happening at this club.

Rochdale massive

Rochdale massive

Were sat 2nd in the league with a handful of games to go, I have already guaranteed the clubs first ever taste of European football by beating Man Utd to win the clubs first ever major trophy, the League Cup. I have a player at the club called Gareth Bale, you might’ve heard of him. He has just celebrated his 30th birthday, so he doesn’t have his lightning pace, but what he has learnt over the years are a certain set of skills Liam Neeson would be proud of. He was free and isn’t even the highest paid player at the club. Then there is Lucas Digne, Hervin Ongenda and Angel Gago. Well, here, see for yourself…..

Winning Formula

On this current starting 11 I have spent the grand total of £13.5 million, an average of just over £1million per player. The value of the team now I hear you all ask, £95.05 million!! Thinking about how all this has been achieved is still baffling. I have taken a team that still has a ground that only holds 12,800 people into the Champions League. Ill keep going, “Winners never quit and quitters never win” was the slogan of Babworth Rovers when I was about 13, which is true, but winners get bored. Its become a tad stale at the club. A new stadium is at the planning stage, and it looks like this winner might have to quit when its completed. I need a new challenge……….

If anybody has any suggestions as to what could be tried next, let me know. FM15 comes out around October time so might keep Rochdale alive until then, but once that game is installed, Rochdale will be confined to the dungeons of Football Manager past, locked in chains next to Freddy Adu and telling stories to Ariel Ortega.

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Its getting hot in herre…

Heat Map

As Oasis once sang, “slip inside the eye of youuurrr” wait, no, wrong song. “Alllllll arrround the woooooorlldddd, you gottta spreeeead the wooorrrrd” Well, I am, thought I would share the places my blogs been read/seen, pretty nifty little heat map, granted its no ‘Goal scoring positions for Miroslav Kloses World Cup goals’ or ‘Countries in which Sven Goran Erikson has managed in’, but its mine, all mine! Id love to know what the Israelis make of the blog if any of you read this, it wont take much, if Raul Moate can ignore Gazza, you lot can too!!

Did Henry VIII have links to Rochdale?!

I’m going through a bit of a baron spell at the minute with Rochdale. Things just aren’t going the way I want them to, I can axe a few heads and blow my top when people don’t do as I say but whatever I try, the end product isn’t there! Thinking about it, this makes me sound a lot like Henry VIII, as a disclaimer I can confirm no actual heads have been axed.

The team are “languishing” 8th in the league. I use the term languishing because things could be a lot brighter in this little Lancashire town. We’ve drawn far too many games, some against bigger teams, a couple of the players are starting to get too big for their boots and are questioning my methods (I’m sorry Mr. Bakambu, but if the teams 3nil down at half time to Watford, I am going to tell you to try a bit harder, what was that? You want to leave? *sends last years leading scorer to reserves). We can control games but just don’t have that clinical edge to kill a game off. I know what the problem is;

  1. The team is too young, some of the overseas players my scouts have recommended have only just finished breast feeding, let alone heard of Rochdale.
  2. ^^^^^^^My scouts are rubbish.
  3. Struggling to find my best eleven, different tactic every game to fit players in.
  4. No team cohesion, the young Argentinian lads aren’t mixing well with the new crop of youngsters fresh from Chorley High School.

Things will come good, I know they will, but whilst I was going through this dry spell, it got me thinking about a few things, what type of ‘Football Manager’ would I be in real life? Sure, we all have a perfect image of us being one of the lads on the training pitch, high-fiving the star striker when he slots home a last minute winner. The Louis Van Gaals, the Jose Mourinhos, we would love to be them. When I worked in my previous management role (a supermarket) I am certain I was this guy, the ‘go-to’ guy whenever somebody had an issue, the man people would always ask for advice. I know some people read this I used to work with are probably shaking their heads and mumbling some choice words under their breathe. I know working in a supermarket is no comparison to managing your national team in a World Cup, but the skills needed aren’t that much different. Dealing with the press day in day out looks like childs play compared to dealing with a 50 year old woman who has just been over charged 12p on some lavish profiteroles.

Everyone who plays Football Manager would love to be Jose running down the touchline or Fergie unveiling the new stand named after him at Old Trafford, but would the successful manager be a successful ‘Wannabe Football Manager’? I don’t think they would, there’s no way Arsene Wenger would have the patience and tenacity needed to take Rochdale up 4 divisions into the Premier League, without accepting that glory job along the way. So would I like to be Van Gaal or Phil Scolari? NO, the world needs its Phil Browns, its John Sheridans, its David Brents, just as much as we need them!

FM through the years

I’ve played this game for flipping ages, for more than 15 years! The Rochdale adventure has got me thinking about some of my memorable achievements through these years.

Remember the 90s? Hopefully some of you reading this can, well back then technology was different! Everything was grey and massive, like TVs and “personal computers”. The first PC I had was both grey and massive, we kept up with the changing trends in our house, we sometimes even changed our mouse mats! I remember buying Championship Manager 2 from PC World for about £8. It had 3 countries playable, Italian, German and French, though I only ever played in Italy! Juventus were always the one team I went, until I got a Sampdoria top, then I would go Sampdoria!!

Zidane, Deschamps, Del Piero and Conte are just 4 of the names I can remember without searching on Wikipedia! There was of course the odd player I would always sign, Laudrup and Giggsy were the men on the flanks week in week out! Money didn’t matter in this game, there was a serious flaw where after you had had a transfer bid accepted you could go back in and set the fee to zero, voila, free players! Unless it was just a loophole in the Italian league to ensure no marked money changed hands, we all know what them Italians are like!!

I remember my mum once told me off whilst hammering the left button on the mouse to get a £20 million bid for Shearer back down to zero! Apparently every time you clicked the mouses button, 1mb of memory was deleted forever! (Insert eyes openly staring emoji here)

My next major adventure was the 2004 version, possibly the first Football Manager! – I maybe wrong?!

I was at uni, and with the help of my good friend Chris, we combined to create an epic management team to rival Roy Evans and Gerard Houillier.

We picked Stoke City, long before they reached the Premier League for themselves, we devoted time we could’ve spent watching Countdown and eating Pot Noodles as Stokes leading men, to be fair we probably did a lot of eating Pot Noodles and watching Countdown whilst playing the game!

I was the Director of Football/ Chief Scout, Chris was the Head Coach/Ball Breaker. The partnership worked well, he gave me a position or type of player he needed and I would go and get him! He would deal with training and picking the team, as far as I could see, he did the boring part! Signings were sanctioned by us both, our biggest catch would probably be plucking Mauricio Pinilla from obscurity, long before Inter got their grubby pizza tossing hands on him. I’m certain at some point I must’ve used the pun “Pinilla in the mist” to describe him joining the club, if not, I should’ve! I can’t really remember a lot about this team, I was probably drunk (wheeeeey) but what I do know is that I’ll never forgive Chris for not letting me sign Lee Trundle!

Anyway, this blogs meant to be about my Rochdale exploits…..
Second season in the Premier League has been an astounding success! 5 games left to play and were 6th, 3 points off a European place! Some key signings in defence have helped stabilise the team and breaking the bank for Antonio Valencia has paid off big time! The one thing I knew needed to happen way back in League 2 for the future of Rochdale to be assured was a new ground, well those hard hats have been ordered and the traffic cones are ready to be laid out, a new ground will be finished in 3 years time…… Man I hope they name it after me!

If anybody has any connections at Rochdale, I’m after going to a game next season, for free maybe?!?!?

FourFourMations

So I have been away on my jollies for the last week or so, in Spain catching some rays, and have spent the majority of the evenings watching the World Cup. After teaching my other half the England line up for the first game, including substitute Lalalalalalana, my focus turned to the attacking line ups the teams seemed to have adopted. I think this is where Rochdale need to go next season.

 

There is still 4 games left in the first Prem season, 7 points ahead of relegation, I’m assuming we will be save?! I feel the team needs to take a whole new approach to the new season if this challenge is to move to the next level and I have decided, along with my assistants (who aren’t real) to move to a 3-5-2/5-3-2 with wing backs formation. The players I have at the minute aren’t really cutting the mustard in the Prem, so an overhaul was on the cards anyway so what better time to use it.

The nations at the World Cup flipping love playing this way, and whilst watching the games I’ve been on my own little scouting mission looking for players that would suit an on and off pitch life in luxurious Rochdale…………I’m struggling if truth be told but ill carry on!

If anyone has an suggestions on players or tactics to help me suit this let me know, I am thinking a direct passing game with 3 big lads at the back, one of which can play as dm as well, with fast lads penetrating the flanks and creative juices gushing through the middle………. its started to sound like a Nigella programme this, I’ll stop now!