As I discussed in my introductory post, there were a number of data related issues that prevented me from starting the game at the Beta stage. These have mostly been fixed upon release date but the biggest change has still not been sorted – the investment amount from Ali Pour.
SI’s Irish researcher suggested this was one to fix with the editor for now, adding in the option of a sugar daddy at the club. I am always reluctant to tinker with the editor as I fear making the challenge too easy for myself but in this instance I don’t really have any other option.
I’ve completed a few test saves using different options and decided on making the following changes, based on my knowledge of the new ownership: Sugar Daddy (background) and the bank balance to be set as £1.3m but no changes to the transfer or wage budget.
I have loaded up all out of the box leagues in the UK and Ireland. I had considered adding a few Eastern and Central European nations in to mirror Glentoran’s summer recruitment but decided it would be fairly pointless as I don’t anticipate being allowed to scout that far afield in the first few seasons.
I always find that the first pre-season of a new save is an awkward time for me. Despite knowing this club well in real life, I wasn’t really 100% on what way we should play in FM as the attributes at this level aren’t always perfectly accurate. There’s also so many new players that I guess it takes time for the researchers to figure out how they rate against those already in the league.
The introductory meetings with the board, staff and players went well. The aims are ambitious but realistically ambitious. The board don’t seem to put too much value on cup competitions but an early trophy will be a settler for me so I will not be fielding weakened teams in any of the three cups the senior team competes in.
It must have been a good week after release before I actually progressed a day in-game. Not because I was trying hard to showcase my slow playing (which seems to be a thing) but just real life getting in the way and then when I did open up the game I spent an inordinate amount of time just familiarising myself with the squad, staff and potential targets. In the end, I decided against making any new signings, as the club had already brought in a raft of new faces over the summer months anyway.
Eight friendlies were played out to a mixture of levels. I consider the wins over Stenhousemuir and Coventry to be relatively big scalps however the loss to English non-league Bamber Bridge was a reality check. Our long serving goalkeeper Elliott Morris’ testimonial ended in a less than exciting 1-1.
By the end of September we’ve faced each of the other 11 teams in the league so it makes for a good time to stand back and assess our situation. A hectic August schedule of 8 games in 29 days ended with three consecutive games away from home. 53 miles up to the North Coast to face Coleraine on the Saturday and the same back to Belfast before a 82 mile round trip midweek to face Tobermore in the NIFL Cup.
We’re doing a lot better than I had expected as we continue to keep pace with the league leaders. The loss to Big Two opponents Linfield was painful but wins over Cliftonville and Crusaders helped to soften the blow somewhat. As a positive we remain in contention for the two cup competitions we’ve played so far despite our struggles against Tobermore who ply their trade two leagues below us.
By my own admission, I continue to have a lot to learn tactically on FM. I finally settled on a 4-2-3-1 formation. The aim being to get the most out of Elvio van Overbeek on the right wing who has pace to burn in relative terms for this league.
I started with the below tactical set up but initially having ‘Pass into Space’ selected as a TI, following the loss to Coleraine I was unhappy with the way this had us playing so removed that particular instruction. In its place I decided to change things up and implement the ‘Shorter Passing’ TI which lead to a much more attractive style of play when watching the ME.
Something to consider: we should be doing a lot better defensively having only had a clean sheet in 38% of our games. I’d like to see this increase to at least 50% over the course of the next few months.
Peaches from Plum
Hrvoje Plum has quickly launched himself into the hearts of Glentoran fans in real life this season with his expertise from dead ball situations. I haven’t quite been able to match that in FM so far but I do have one highlight reel freekick from Plum to show alongside some of his real goals. Enjoy!