My first club heralds the start of a long project on FM16 beta

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At work, I copy edit various newspapers, including Glasgow’s main rag, The Herald, so I spend plenty of time reading about the city’s big clubs. Celtic dominate the sports pages while Rangers, Partick Thistle and Queen’s Park get a mention.

I enjoy the stories about the ‘smaller’ clubs the most because I feel like I really learn something about Scottish football and the coaches and players there.

It doesn’t take much to get me fantasising about who to manage and what to do on Football Manager so when I read these articles on Scottish clubs I always think, ‘I should manage in Scotland, it would be so cool!’.

I like the idea of the challenge of making major progress with a side north of the Border. Everyone knows the league there isn’t as strong as the English Premier League and trying to build a club to a level where it can compete with English teams for cups and signings is an exciting idea.

So I’m starting a career with… Partick Thistle!

And my main challenges are:

  • Be better than Celtic
  • Be bigger than Celtic and Rangers
  • Get in to Europe
  • Do better than Celtic and Rangers in Europe
  • Win a European competition
  • Get players in to the Scotland team
  • Have at least six Partick Thistle players in the Scotland starting line-up
  • Develop world class youngsters

Partick Thistle fact attack:

The club is based in the Maryhill area of Glasgow, not Partick, despite their name. The club was founded in 1876 in Partick but they haven’t played there since 1908.

Partick Thistle also go by the nicknames, The Jags, The Maryhill Magyars, The Harry Wraggs and Thistle.

For more see Wiki.

Tactics with the Jags

Evidently I need to recognise our current position. We’re not the best team in Scotland so we can’t be all flair and no substance. With this in mind I’m playing four at the back with conservative wide players in my two tactics.

formationThis formation is a departure from ideas I would usually stick to, mainly as it could mean we leave space in midfield. The reason I went for wide midfielders in this instance is my other formation is a 4-4-1-1 and I¬†want to play the same side as often as I can. If I used a narrow formation in some games I would have to drop my wide midfielders. You might say it’s good to have a narrow option – and I might add one as back-up – but I’m happy to rely on playing mainly in this way.

In this shape I want my full backs (set as wing backs) to provide most of the crossing and I want them to advance past my wide midfielders (WMs) while the WMs are set to ‘sit narrower’. It’s a bit of an experiment playing the WMs this way so I’m interested to see if it works well as a defensive manoeuvre.

formation 2The main (obvious but important) difference between my two shapes is the 4-4-1-1 has one less striker and an extra man in midfield. In this formation especially I will allow my attacking midfielder plenty of freedom to ‘roam from position’ and ‘play more risky passes’, although if he keeps giving the ball away I might change the latter. I want him to (ideally) play a bit like Ronaldinho. I know, there’s no-one like him, but I want a player with flair and technique who gets the fans off their seats and is given license to do so. I’m not sure I have that player yet but we’ll work towards that and it will be a fun journey.

The flair attacking midfielder (AM) is one reason I have conservative wide midfielders. I don’t want them forgetting their defensive duties, especially if my AM roams out of position and/or doesn’t track back.

We’re playing with a standard mentality and flexible team shape wile we have these team instructions:

  • Exploit the middle
  • Slightly higher defensive line (could go higher if we do well)
  • Use offside trap
  • Prevent goalkeeper distribution
  • Work ball in to box
  • Retain possession
  • Use tighter marking
  • Balanced width
  • Normal tempo
  • Mixed passing

As I write I’m still getting to know my players and the game so in the next update you should see things starting to take shape and I’ll have settled on a play style and discovered our strengths and weaknesses. Until then, thanks for reading and please share if you liked it.

Find me on Twitter @fmscrapbook!

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