Editing and testing has taken place, so the save is finally under way. I ended up doing the DB’s I wanted as I couldn’t wait until Claassen had released them. I ran a test over night that ran for 30 years and there were no issues. So it’s game on!
As mentioned, I’ve got some extra leagues in the game, so I thought I’d give a breakdown of how I’ve set my save up. I really wanted to have a bit of a focus on Africa as far as newgens are concerned. There’s got to be a lot of potential there that I’ve never tapped into so I’ll be spending a bit of time trying to setup links with clubs from various countries there.
I decided after much thought that this selection of countries was probably the best for the save. A few people have said I should have Senegal in there or a couple of other nations, but I wanted to have a few European Leagues loaded as well. I think I’ve covered the countries that will (hopefully) produce the best young players. I’m not expecting to sign loads, I might not even manage to get any, but one or two from any of these nations would be great.
The European leagues are quite straight forward I think. I couldn’t load every nation, so I chose the ones I like. I’ve not included every league from these nations, mainly just the first and second tiers to keep things neat and processing time down. I want a lot of players in the save, but I don’t want to wait forever for my computer to process through league matches I’ve got very little interest in. In France, I’ve loaded all available divisions.
You’ll note the lack of South American nations, fear not, I’ve not forgotten about them. I’ve loaded a large database and selected the below options to bring the players in the game total up to around 77k.
I toyed with the idea of using a former French player as my manager, however, I wanted all the glory for myself. I’ve not given my manager “former global superstar” status, although on reflection, I wish I’d given him a better rating for his Technical attribute. I’ve put more of a focus on the Tactical (mental) side of the spectrum as the Tracksuit side develops as you get progress through the game. I’ve been playing FM for 20 years, I think as far as the game goes, I’ve earned a Continental Pro License.
The club have a pretty decent setup when it comes to facilities. It’s not out of this world and will need some work, but for a team in Ligue 2, it’s very good. The main things to focus on are obviously the Youth and Training Facilities which are both at excellent, which if I remember correctly, is the second highest level available in the game.
The other obvious key points are the Junior Coaching and Youth Recruitment which are both a couple of levels below the top level.
Our stadium is rather old and small, but at present it is fine as we’re not filling it and unless a big team rolls up in the cup, I doubt we’ll get a sellout for a couple of seasons.
Finances aren’t terrible at the club, but they will need to be managed carefully. We’ve got no money to spend and only a tiny amount available to spend on wages. Any business I do will have to be done on the basis of selling a couple of players. I’m open to that, but it has to be the right deal for the club. There are teams showing interest in some of my younger players so I’ve got some thinking to do. We’re a selling club and there’s no point in pretending otherwise.
As I usually do at any club I join, I go through all of the staff, assess their abilities and decide if they’ll be staying or going. The Physio team, Head Of Youth Development and Youth coaches all survived. There were casualties in the scouting department and my entire first team coaching setup got the chop. You’ve got to be ruthless when it comes to this sort of thing.
I could only employ three coaches. Add my assistant and myself to that, which brings us up to five to cover all of the coaching categories. I think I did pretty well with my team. I don’t think they’ll be here for the long haul, but for the first couple of seasons, they’ll do just fine.
I’ve also added the much maligned Head Of Sport Science, Sport Scientist, Chief Data Analyst and a Data Analyst. They do work, they just don’t have any skills attached to them yet. They work just by being employed which means you can employ the cheapest guy for the job as long as he wants to do the job.
My Head Of Youth Development isn’t ideal, but at present, I can’t find a better option. It’s likely that I’ll revisit that role once I’m able to get a more suitable candidate in the job.
Some of the players that I enjoyed from FM16 are still here, there’s been some new additions and a few players have been upgraded. I’m missing three of my potential first eleven at the start of the game to injury. We’ve got a couple of players that I think we’ll be looking to help the team out a lot this year.
Zacharie Boucher is one of my prized assets just now. Last FM, there were a few mid table English Premier League teams bidding for him, in the Newcastle save I did in Beta, he ended up at Watford. I’ll be batting away bids if they come as I think he’s pretty good and at 24, has plenty of football ahead of him.
Gaëtan Courtet is hopefully going to do the business at the other end of the park. Only 27 years old, he’s coming into his prime. I’m hoping he’s got the goals in him that’ll fire us up the table.
I’ve made one database change, FM Grasshopper (check him out) advised me that Auxerre had signed Ludovic Obraniak on a free transfer last week, so he’s now at Auxerre on my save.
We’ve also got a selection of promising youngsters waiting in the wings. I could go through a lot of them, but I’ve picked out two.
Issa Samba is one of the players that will reap the benefits of first team football due to injury to one of my first team players. He’s only 18 and I’m pretty certain he’s going to develop into a fine player.
Florian Ayé will be my backup striker, although I plan to give him game time at every opportunity. Will definitely start the cup games instead of Courtet. Only 19 and has plenty of development potential.
I’ve got a few other really good youths that I’ll look at in more depth in a future post. Developing players will be a big part of this save as I’ll likely have to move players on on a regular basis, especially during the early part of the save.
Tactically, I’m a slave to the 4141. Some of my favourite teams use or have used that shape. I had great success with it on the past two or three versions of Football Manager and I guess it’s my go to setup now. I really like how it can be super attacking and really strong defensively. I’ll have to find the right balance for my players for it to work, but my tests in Beta seemed to show that it was still quite efficient.
I’ll be trying to be a bit more flexible tactically on FM17 as I had a good amount of success on FM16 with a 442 and 4231. It’s hopefully going to be a long term save so at some point I’d most definitely like to try a back three. We’re not equipped for that at the moment. Sometimes developing youth can be a tricky game as you don’t always get players through that fit your current tactical setup. I either have to make players fit or I may need to change things around to get players playing in their best roles. We’ll see what happens as the game progresses.
Once I really get into the save, I’ll have a proper look at how my tactics are setup and how the team plays. Not much will change from FM16 I think, but it’ll be interesting to look at with the changes that have been made to the match engine.
The board have given us very achievable goals for this season. Not much explaining to do here, hit my goals and I’m safe, otherwise I’m in trouble.
As mentioned, we’re in pretty good shape when it comes to our facilities, however I need to have a plan of attack to make progress. I set out my plans for the save on the first post. To set the wheels in motion, I’ll be doing the following as soon as possible.
- Upgrade Junior Coaching.
- Upgrade Youth Recruitment.
- Upgrade Youth/Training Facilities.
- Hire a better Head Of Youth Development.
- Hire a good Youth coaching team.
I’d be surprised if any of these happened in the first season, but I’ll be trying my luck at any possible opportunity. The board have already told me I’ve not been here long enough to have any changes made, but they are on side when it comes to developing youth.
I played FM16 at a rather quick pace, but my plan is to play a bit slower on FM17 and make better decisions instead of just hitting continue to get through the seasons quickly. It might mean there are bigger gaps between seasonal updates, but there will hopefully be more in depth content that will explain decisions I’ve made in the game.