Everyone’s been there. We like a challenge so we pick a club to manage that needs a lot of work. We like the pain of the challenge of dragging our average players up to a level they never thought they could reach, of toiling for seasons to finally reach a point where you and your charges can go toe-to-toe with the biggest clubs in the country on an equal footing, no longer the doubted underdog.
But in the beginning, when your plan is just a shoot poking its head out of the ground, you look around you and you look up and you see giants. Clubs like Manchester United, City, Chelsea, tower above you an you’re daunted, thinking, “How the hell do I reach their level or even surpass them?”
After two seasons managing Swansea, I’m still a little child in the playground, looking up at much bigger boys, not really demanding much respect. When I come up against the big teams, I see their line-ups, every position filled by a top quality player and I see how much money they spend in the summer on players that barely improve them and I wonder how I’ll ever be able to compete. But then you beat one of them – we just beat Spurs away from home – and it gives you a bit of hope.
As hard as Football Manager can be, I doubt I’m the only one to complain, once you’ve finally got your club where you want it to be, that the game is too easy. But when you’re hundreds of games away from that point, the challenge can seem insurmountable.
Some managers seem to blaze towards their goals, winning the league with what was an average team when they took over, while others find themselves helping established clubs to relegation. It takes luck and perseverance to succeed.
I’m managing Swansea and I’m arguably exceeding expectations by keeping them in the Premier League past the spring of 2017.
I think the only advice I can give anyone who’s really struggling on the game or just can’t visualise your team winning that elusive first league title is just keep going. You only lose when you give up.
P.S. Overcoming inequality in FM is a topic I find very interesting so I’d like to revisit it in the near future in another post so keep an eye out for that via my twitter @fmscrapbook