FM19: Wisła Kraków

Everybody is super excited about FM19 and it’s difficult not to be. Having played the Beta for the past two weeks, there are so many new features in the game that I’m still uncovering them as days go by. The new tactics engine is great, training is overwhelming but fantastic and the level of immersion seems to have gone up a notch. Well played SI, well played indeed.

With FM18, it almost felt like a rehash of FM17 with a couple of new features added in. I played a lot of seasons but never really felt the need to write about my adventures around the world. FM18 also coincided with me moving and doing a bit of renovation work on my house. I then got a new dog in January and that ruled me out of prime FM writing time. When I had free time, I was focusing on playing rather than writing things down and taking notes, FM19 should see me with a bit more time on my hands

Anyway, onwards and upwards!

FM19

I did play quite a bit of FM18, I think I played about 27 seasons in one save, starting at Union Berlin and then moving around Europe, reviving the fortunes of clubs for a couple of years before taking on a new challenge. It became an accidental journeyman. I wasn’t moving clubs for the hell of it, I was always looking to take on a project that seemed fun, like taking FC Metz from 19th in Ligue 2 to Ligue 1 champions within 3 years. I won a lot of championships in a lot of countries, but it wasn’t all glory. I went to Rangers towards the end of my save and got sacked because the board weren’t working with me I caused a stir in the press and got the sack. At River, we were awful, terrible in fact, but managed to win the Copa Libertadores.

It made me realise something, as much as I enjoyed staying at one club for all of FM17, I really enjoyed having a more realistic managerial experience by travelling around and working with different players in different countries. I’ve played in France or Germany on the past few FM’s, so breaking out of those nations to take over clubs in Italy, Scotland, Brazil and Argentina was refreshing.

I had initially planned to manage Le Havre on FM19. I had it all worked out that I’d play it pretty much the same as I did at Auxerre. But I’ve “completed” France on more than one occasion, so why go back?

So my plan for FM19 is quite simple, it’s one rule, to have a more enjoyable managerial experience. By that, I don’t mean “win all the trophies lololol” I mean have a more realistic journey. I don’t expect to go from Wisła Kraków (more on them soon, promise) to Wolves to PSG in five years. That’s just not realistic to me. I want to build my reputation at Wisła and grow the club, have a plan in place for where I want the club to be in five years, then assess where I am with things and either continue it or move on. I won’t be seeking out opportunities, but if a job comes along that interests me, I’ll be applying for it.

I’m not going to set myself goals that I won’t achieve, I think it’s best to let things flow and see how the save progresses. Maybe I’ll fail massively, that’s ok though. I’ve always strived to be the best in past saves, now I’m ok with being a bit rubbish and failing.

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Why Wisła Kraków?

After deciding that Le Havre wasn’t for me, I reassessed my plan and wanted to look for a team that seemed like a better project. I always look for teams that have had success in the past but may have fallen on hard times, or a team with a really nice story or great fanbase.

As I looked through teams and nations, I got down to four teams. Panathinaikos in Greece, Dinamo in Romania, Nordsjælland in Denmark and Wisła Krawków in Poland. All of those seemed great to me. Panathinaikos have money troubles, Nordsjælland are a fresh side focused on youth, Dinamo have a great rivalry with Steaua and a great history.

Despite all of that, Wisła appealed to me more. They play in a small league outwith the top ten UEFA nations based on current coefficient scores (24th at time of writing), I love the colour of their kit, they have a fantastic stadium with a fanatic support, they are the joint most successful club in Poland in terms of championships won, they have no real star players, their key player (according to FM) is 38 years old and they have two great rivalries with Legia Warsaw (Poland’s Derby) and KS Cracovia (The Holy War).

On top of all of that, they’ve fallen away in the past few years and the league preview has them predicted to finish 9th. That means two things, I have plenty of room to improve and the pressure to win the title/bring success won’t be as immediate as say, a top four club.

I’ll not be starting with a “Sunday League” reputation and no managerial qualifications, if I wanted that, I’d start lower down. I’m going in with that based on what the game recommends for that level and then I’ll build from there.

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The Five Year Plan

At present, I haven’t looked at the squad in depth to see what I’ll be working with. In my quick overview of the team however, we’ve got some great players for this level. There’s a good mixture of youth and experience which will hopefully help me achieve my goals.

What I definitely want to do is have a clear playing style and to develop players that will fit that style. I’m not going to kid myself and think that we’ll get World Class players through our youth system, that’s just not realistic, but I aim to assess all of the youngsters that come through (and the ones already there) to see how I can develop them for the club. I’ll likely do a post focussing on the players along with where I’ll be going tactically. Cue 4141 hackz.

Make no bones about it, I’m a manager that sees the benefit in selling players. When you’re a club, at any level, everyone has a price. There are going to be times where I’ll be reluctant to sell a player, January for example will be a time where I’ll be less keen to part with a key member of the squad. Looking at the bigger picture though, if we can sell a player and it will benefit the club as a whole, then I’ll sanction that deal, no questions asked.

I’m also not going to be able to employ top quality staff, but I’ll aim to get the best I can for the level Wisła play at. I’ll be loading up a lot of the European Nations to benefit me with players, scouting and staff recruitment. I’ll hopefully unearth some gems for cheap before the big clubs strike.

I’ll be employing a Direct Of Football to work with me on deals, it’s an approach not many people agree with but having seen FMFutbolManager doing it well (and sometimes getting massively frustrated) it seems like it’ll add to my save and the realism that I want. There will be times when I step in and do a deal, but I’ll be aiming to refrain from that as much as possible.

As always, I want to leave the club in a better position than when I joined. That means improving the infrastructure of the club by upgrading the training, youth and data analysis facilities where possible.

Finally, I want to make us competitive. Take that how you will, but it doesn’t necessarily mean winning the league. I definitely want us to be up there challenging for honours.

Anything Else?

Of course there’s other topics I want to write about for FM19. I actually did start a couple of blog posts off for FM18 that I never completed and I think they could well make for some interesting reading. I plan to focus on that a wee bit for FM19 and to give some updates on key moments in my save rather than being a year-on-year “and then I signed this player” blah blah. I will be doing a yearly round-up, but feel free to skip over those if it ain’t your bag.

Thanks for taking the time to read, I realise I’m a bit out of practise so hopefully I’ll be able to refine that a bit more as the year progresses. Hope you enjoy my save, but more importantly, I hope you enjoy your save!

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