Hello, and welcome back to Football Manager Ambition!
Plenty to talk about in this blog! Not just the process of getting to grips with FM19, but also my choice of a new ambition for my main save on the new game. For those FM gamers who, like me, are in the unfortunate position of supporting Sheffield Wednesday, the brown stuff has really hit the swirling thing at Hillsborough, so I'll be sharing some thoughts about that. And of course, there is the tragedy that has unfolded at Leicester City, and what our reactions to it say about us, and about football.
But first, as always, it's time for one of our...
GREAT FOOTBALL MANAGER QUOTES
"Leicester have unbelievable energy and togetherness that suggests they're going to see it through."
This quote is a couple of years old now, but it could easily have been said today in the light of the tragic events at Leicester.
Watching Match of the Day last night, it was impossible not be moved by the faces of the Leicester City players, and even more so by the heartfelt words of Kasper Schmeichel. For all the many millions of pounds of wealth that privileged footballers enjoy, they are, like us all, simply human. They cannot avoid mortality, and the often sudden, unjust and tragic ways in which mortality visits us. Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha conducted himself in a way that won him a place deep in the hearts of all Leicester City fans. Under his guidance, Leicester achieved the impossible, and thus gave all long suffering football fans the chance to dream. RIP Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. Our thoughts are with the loved ones of all those who died in that horrible accident.
FM19: THE NEW AMBITION
Over recent years, most of my FM saves have been based around managing my beloved SWFC. But I think it's time for a change. This is partly because my last SWFC save on FM18 was absolutely epic, and I'd be hard pushed to replicate the pleasure that came from playing that save. But also, I'm pretty fed up with what's going on with Wednesday in the real world. We've just been humiliated 4-0 at home to a half-decent Norwich side. We're two more defeats of entering the relegation places, and our next match is away at our high-flying neighbours Sheffield United. I fear the worst. The appointment of Mr Personality Jos Luhukay as a replacement for the likeable (if ultimately failed) manager Carlos 'the metaphor' Carvalhal has been an unmitigated disaster. Some SWFC fans (but not all, by far) are now becoming disillusioned with owner Dejphon Chansiri.
Carlos Carvalhal and Jos Luhukay
However, there are still many highly vocal Wednesday fans who continue to give Mr Chansiri the unwavering support. One such supporter commented to me on Twitter that he felt Chansiri had presided over some remarkable times. I wonder how old this fan is.
No club, no matter what their tradition, has a right to success, of course. And all fans think their club should be doing more, and better, than it currently is. But the truth is that Sheffield Wednesday are the very definition of Sleeping Giant. Sadly, after a couple of recent, unlikely, flirtations with winning the playoffs, it now looks as the club will be led by Mr Chansiri from sleeping to comatose mode. And there is a whole generation of SWFC fans who are too young to have experienced the Ron Atkinson era, and the joy of beating Man U at Wembley in the League Cup final. Or the Trevor Francis side that were so unlucky against Arsenal in two cup finals in 1993. They've never seen a Wednesday side play that included David Hirst, Chris Waddle, Roland Nilsson, Des Walker, John Sheridan, Carlton Palmer and the rest. These young fans think that, because of Milan Mandaric, and Dejphon Chansiri, and Carlos's ill-fated tilts at promotion, they are living through good times. Perspective is a funny thing, isn't it?
Personally, I have been convinced for some time that, while Mr Chansiri is a nice guy, he is well out of his depth in football. I was fortunate to have a chat with someone who did some fairly high-level contractual work with the club last year, and his observation was that the club is in disarray largely because of Mr Chansiri's ill-informed yet uncompromising leadership style. I feel this story is only going to get uglier. I just don't feel like managing SWFC on my what will become my new 'ambition' save on FM19. So what will I do?
It's time for a progressive career save. I'm going to start with a League Two club, and look to progress as quickly as possible to a managing a top EPL club. To achieve my new ambition, I will have to satisfy the following criteria, which is a slight variant on my last ambition:
1. Work my way up to managing a major EPL club.
2. Fill that club's playing staff exclusively with England internationals.
3. Win the Premier League, the FA Cup, the League Cup, the Champions Cup, the World Club Cup, the European Super Cup, and the Charity Shield along the way.
4. At the same time as managing the club, become manager of the England team.
5. Fill the England team exclusively with players from the club I'm also managing.
6. Win the European Championship and the World Cup with England.
This is a big ask. I'm not sure it's possible to get it done before FM20 is released - but I'm going to give it a shot. And just for clarity, I will not have the editor installed on the game, and I will not cheat by pre-saving and replaying games until I get a favourable result! Are you ready to come on this journey with me?
THE LUCKY CLUB
So, how to choose which League Two club to start with? I decided to ask my wife to think of a number from one to twenty-four. (She had no idea why, but she's very tolerant of the daft things I do.) She shouted out 'Twenty-two' from the kitchen. In alphabetical order, that means... SWINDON!
This should be fun! Next time, I'll let you know how I'm getting on. Until then, may your game never crash unsaved.