Hello, and welcome back to Football Manager Ambition!
As you might guess from the title of today's blog... I've made it! I set out with the intention of playing a FM18 save in which I would fill my Sheffield Wednesday team with England internationals, and corner the market on England players to such an extent that there would eventually be an England team made up purely of SWFC players. And at the end of the 2030/31 season, it finally happened! Not only that, but it was an incredible season for my team all round, as you'll find out below.
But before we go any further, it's time for...
GREAT FOOTBALL MANAGER QUOTES
Although, as a SWFC supporter, I have historical reasons to not like Manchester United so much (for example, Fergie Time, and Mark Hughes's assault on Paul Warhurst), it's difficult not to be in awe of what Alex Ferguson achieved as a manager. He has become the benchmark for sustained success, and bouncebacks after failure, in football management. When playing Football Manager, I kind of always wanted to be better than Fergie. If such a thing was possible. Turns out it was, arguably, possible...
Yes, according to the Hall of Fame, I'm on more points than Fergie. This probably has a lot to do with my multiple Champions League wins:
So, that's the current 23-man England squad on my save, as selected by England manager Sean Dyche. They weren't all SWFC players when the squad was selected, but a quick flurry of transfers immediately after the season ended meant I was able to bring in the last few holdouts. Here's my transfers in...
As you can see, straight after the season ended, I brought in Harrison, Ball and Dawkins. Man U's young defender Joe Draper had been dropped from the England squad, as had Chelsea's 33-year-old Marcus Rashford. I'd already arranged the re-purchase of Harrison before the end of the season, and when I saw Ball and Dawkins had been called up, I knew I had a chance. Ball is not a very good keper, and I've no idea how he ended up in the England squad, but clearly I could afford such a low-profile player. And Dawkins was at Everton, who can always be relied upon to sell their best players, so within a few days I had monopolised the England squad.
In the end, those last few pieces of the jigsaw fell into place so quickly and easily, that it felt like something of an anti-climax. Sometimes, I'm not even satisfied by my own rampant success.
Okay, now it's time for a retrospective on my success in this save. Starting with a look at the last season, I have to say that despite the successful haul of trophies, I still managed to disappoint myself. I was hoping, in what was almost certainly going to be my last season on FM18, that I might do a clean sweep of every trophy available to me. Sadly, the League Cup evaded me this time, as I was knocked out at the quarter-final stage by Chelsea, although they needed a penalty shootout to beat my reserves!
However, I put together an amazing run of form in the League, winning the title with four games to spare, which enabled me to play reserve players in the last few games, and rest my key players for the FA Cup and Champions League crunch matches.
The trophy cabinet now looks like this:
The info pop-up on the above image shows the detail for the competition wins for the last season: Community Shield, European Super Cup, Club World Championship, Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions Cup!
I showed you the Champions League / Champions Cup history above. The latest trophy win in this competition was an absolute stroll. It never felt like PSG were going to bother me in the final at all.
Likewise, the FA Cup final this time round was a walk in the park against Man City who just rolled over for me.
Interestingly, the FA Cup has been more difficult to succeed in than the Champions Cup, and although I've won it multiple times, I haven't really dominated it.
Although I failed to land the League Cup this time, I have had some success with it on this save.
In recent seasons, I've tended to use the League Cup to give games to my reserves (when I say reserves, I don't mean the U23's, but players in my first team squad who are not first choice in their position).
CLUB WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
This has always seemed like an annoying, Mickey Mouse competition to me, and yet my board often attached great value to it. And I usually delivered.
EUROPEAN SUPER CUP
Another Mickey Mouse trophy, but I always enjoyed getting silverware early in the season, even though I always treated this match like a friendly in terms of using it to get players up to speed for the real season.
The Charity, or Community, Shield was always another chance to get a trophy early doors, and I always attached more importance to it than my board did. However, like the European Super Cup, I did use it as a friendly, or primer, game.
I'm writing this on Monday, 15th October. I fully expect the FM19 beta to land on Friday, maybe Saturday, this week. Between now and then, I'm going to take a break from football Manager altogether.
Whenever the FM19 beta downloads, I've got some time put aside to really get into it, I'll be blogging about all aspects of what I discover from the beta. When the complete game downloads, I'll be starting a new save. With any new FM iteration, I usually have one or two false start saves, as I experiment with things and get to know the game. But once I decide to start a 'proper' save, I'll be working toward a new 'ambition'.
Tactically, on FM19 I'm going to have a go at something a little bit different. I've already got some ideas on the tactical method I want to use, but I'll have to see if FM19 can accommodate it. I will, of course, be blogging in detail about tactics.
So you can expect my next blog, I would guess, in a week to ten days. Until then, thank you for joining me, and may your game never crash unsaved!