Hello, welcome to the first of what will probably be about three FM21 posts on fmpressure.com. It’s day 321 of probably the worst year in living memory. Think it’s bad now? Strap yourself in as it’s shaping up to get worse by the inevitable influx of FM Content that is going to be released over the remaining 44 days of this pandemic year.
Yet here you are, tucking into another FM blog… num num num!
So what have we got coming up? Well, I’ll give a quick opinion on FM21, talk about the team I’ve decided to manage and what to expect to not be on here for the coming weeks and months.
FM21 So Far
It’s early days, but I’ve managed to squeeze a few hours in on FM21. I’ve been playing other games a lot more recently, so I’m spending less time on FM than I have in previous years.
When I loaded up the game, I was quite hopeful that the UI had been given a proper overhaul. As much as I enjoy playing Football Manager, the skin is always a let down. People say “The ME is most important” or some bollocks like that (I say that) but it’s not. You don’t interact with the ME all that much, you probably spend the least amount of time in the match engine. The UI is the most important part of FM for me.
Is it easy to find things? Is it user friendly?
Take for example, the exhaustive Staff Responsibilities screen, “Transfers and Contracts” specifically. Why does each “team” need to have it’s own area for transfers? This could be greatly simplified if they had the option once and then a drop down for each team in columns alongside. You’d have the same amount of boxes to tick, but at least they’d all be in the same area.
Maybe it’s just me, but I find the staff responsibilities screens overwhelming with options. I always miss out a handful options that I’d change. If you move clubs like I have done on previous games, you can understand my annoyance with it. Having the option for a preset style here would be a good addition. ie, “Hands on manager” so you’ll have more responsibilities or a “Head Coach” staff preset where you operate with what you’re given.
Right now there is the Training Induction etc that will setup who’s in charge of Team Training. Then there’s the Scouting Induction, it’s all a bit bitty. It would be an improvement on this current setup
The in match experience is a big let down this year. The decision to remove the time bar and in match data analysis is a disappointing one. I believe, it’s for a bit more realism and managers don’t have the option of looking at all of that data. In some way, that’s probably true, however, most FM players don’t watch the full match. The analysis helps fill in the blanks. I really think they’ve shot themselves (and us in turn) in the foot with this decision.
We’ll soldier on I’m sure, hopefully someone can skin the game to make it better.
It’s not all bad though. The match engine is very good. Some of the play I’ve seen so far has given me hope that there’s a really enjoyable game to be had on this version of FM. The ME has been incredibly repetitive in recent years. After a couple of games, you can pretty much spot that a goal is coming. I haven’t felt like that so far on FM21. Goals come out of nothing. Midfielders will actually attempt through balls, strikers drop deep and link play more. It’s really nice.
As long as the ME is good.. right?
Or Dinamo Bucharest.. I had to use the correct spelling or the title and header would be mismatched.
Over the past few years of FM, I’ve always ended up doing a journey man save. I start somewhere in one of the reasonably big leagues and then move around, conquering leagues and bringing unlikely glory to some teams. I enjoy not being tied to one team.
I do however like the long game with one side as well. I feel like that’s easier to do in smaller leagues. Auxerre in FM17 was my last long term save with one club, but it was also one of my best ever saves. I don’t think I’ll replicate that with Dinamo, but I’ve got some ideas on what I want to do and achieve here.
Dinamo are an interesting side. The second most supported team in Romania, behind bitter rivals Steaua (or FCSB as they’re now known as the “real” Steaua play in the third division) we have a big base to build on. Dinamo are a big club in Romanian football, but over the past few years, they’ve been in decline. Last season, Dinamo narrowly avoided relegation, finishing second bottom, but were spared due to an expansion of the league from 14 to 16 teams.
The club were taken over by a Spanish consortium in August and they’ve promised to take the club back into Europe. Dinamo have had a lot of financial troubles over the past few years so hopefully this will set them on the right path.
This is where I come in.
Cosmin Contra stepped in in real life, but I’m the man for the job now. I did manage to get a quick word with him. Here’s a dramatisation of that.
So what’s the plan then?
Dinamo have a history of success, but they’ve not won a major Romanian trophy since 2012. They won the now disbanded league cup, but Dinamo want league titles and national cups. Dinamo have won the title 18 times in their history, but haven’t done so since 2007. Their best success in Europe, was reaching the Semi-Final of the European Cup in 1984, two years before Steaua went on to win it.
We are a long way from that being that club. Rebuilding will be done in stages.
The long term aim is to obviously be winning the league title, but for the first couple of years it should be about rebuilding and avoiding relegation. I need to whip the club into shape and build some momentum to propel the club forward.
I’m no stranger to taking small clubs up, but there’s usually a lot of money involved. At Dinamo, that won’t be the case. The standard of players is lower and the finances aren’t there to just buy my way to success. It’s going to be a longer haul of developing, selling, repeat. I’ll need to find bargains in the transfer market.
Picking out quality players isn’t going to be easy, you’ll know what I mean if you’ve played in lower quality leagues. But that’s the fun here. World beating strikers are going to be something I’ll just look at in the player search.
Youth is going to play a key part in this save. I’m not sure what to expect in terms of standards, but it’s something I’ll maybe touch on in a future blog post (+maybe). I really enjoy youth development on FM, it’s very satisfying when a youngster comes through to the first team.
I’d like to be challenging towards the top of the table within three years. I’m basing this on the club just missing out on relegation and also, they’re sitting second bottom after 10 games. Three years should be doable. I don’t think I’ll be title challengers in that time, but I’d like to be pushing on and improving.
Tactically, I’m not sure what the players are going to be capable of. I know it relates to your level, but I’m trying to decide if I want to play a stylish brand of football, or try to be more workman-like. I suspect there will be elements of both in the save. I’ll not get ahead of myself though.
How I build the squad will be fun as I’ll have to make sacrifices on attributes I usually favour. Again, it’s all relative, but I’d be happy with a few good attributes over an average player. I’ll maybe post about squad building again.
Will I be staying at Dinamo for the duration of the save? Well.. that’s what I’d like to do. But I also like FM to be enjoyable so if I’ve reached my goals with Dinamo, I’m not going to beat a dead horse.
I want to become a dominant force in Romania again and get into the Champions League eventually. If I can achieve that consistently, then I’d leave for a couple of jobs.
I’ll not be loading many major leagues so if I do leave, my likely destinations are going to be Eastern European nations. I know I can add more leagues in at a later date, but I’m not intending to do that. I’ve played the big leagues to death, so it’s time for a year out. Germany and Italy are the only major leagues getting a look in and that’s only because they are the leagues I’ve seen a few Romanian players feature in, my knowledge of Romanian footballers is pretty vague though.
As usual, I’m gonna end with a blog Q&A™
Why you managing in Romania?
I wanted out of the big leagues and to be small time.
Why didn’t you manage in South America?
The time zone would kill me.
What other clubs did you consider managing this year?
Marseille, Red Star Belgrade, Austria Vienna, Rubin and Panathinaikos.
I heard someone else did a blog Q&A, care to comment?
Motherfucker! I’m coming for you!
Are there going to be future blogs?
Lets get something clear. Nobody cares about FM content more than the creator. There will be no “sorry I didn’t blog” tweets. Get that shite in the bin.