Ude af Ideer – Out of Ideas

Right, so it’s time for the next update of the AaB save. If you follow me on Twitter (@JLAspey), you will have seen that I was a little unsure about writing this update, but I think in terms of helping me understand what’s going on in this save, and why things aren’t quite going as I’d have hoped, it’s really important. There’s a possibility I just rush ahead now without processing what’s gone wrong this season, and it would ruin the save, plain and simply. I’ve already considered ditching this save because of how things have been going, but I said that my focus for FM21 would be consistency, so I’m sticking with it, and it’ll be all the better when I get things right. For those of you though who don’t speak Danish, Ude af Ideer means ‘Out of Ideas‘, which is really how I feel right now with AaB. I’m not sure I’ve had a save go this way for quite some time. Still, hopefully that should make this an interesting read for everyone.

So, those of you who have read the first and second updates will know that we began by using a Back 3, but after a truly horrific run after Christmas 2020 – it’s like the game knew what would happen in real life – I switched to a deep 4-3-3 system, but with two DM’s rather than CM’s. This stabilised our form, and actually got us into the final of the DBU Pokalen (the Danish Cup), but that was the point where I saved the game. Saving when on a good run is a dangerous thing to do on Football Manager, because you never know whether you’re going to continue the run when you turn the game back on – and we certainly didn’t.

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Ikke Så Simpelt… – Not That Simple…


Yes, a second post of the AaB save everyone! Told you consistency was my main focus this year. Having played through towards nearly the end of the season, I wanted to do an update to discuss how things have gone, because so far this has been one of the most enthralling seasons I’ve ever played on Football Manager. I know I had intended to do topical updates, and I still think I will, but this has me so enthralled right now that I’ve just continued to keep playing. Clearly, I’ve also played the winter transfer window, and save for some kids sent on loan and the arrival of much needed left sided centre back Charlie Weberg from Swedish side Helsingborgs for 37.5k (a bargain if I’ve ever seen one), there wasn’t much to report back on recruitment and scouting. I am still actively scouting four particular countries in Denmark, Sweden, Germany and England, based on my scouts areas of expertise and knowledge, and it’s starting to bear fruit, with some players already on my watch list for the summer window.

If you read the last update, I said that apart from the fact the team is from Scandinavia, and I love the colours and the logo, one of the main reasons I chose AaB is that Kasper Kusk – who I signed for Newcastle on FM16 – plays for them. Kusk is without a doubt the top player at the club and every system I’d come up with had been to get the best out of Kusk… and then this happened. Kusk would be out for around 3 months. Now, if you’re managing in a top league, this likely isn’t an issue because you’ll have a backup who – whilst maybe not being as good as your main option – will be more than able to do a job whilst your star player is out. However, at AaB we do not have such a player, and the loss of Kusk sent us into an absolute tailspin. If you remember, we ended the last update one point behind Midtjylland in the Superliga.

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A Danish Adventure…


Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Tactical Annals. I’ve been promising FM21 content on my Twitter (@JLAspey) for around a month now, so it’s time we got started with what I’ve been doing on FM21 thus far, where I’ve gone, and what my plans are moving forward. The first thing I want to say is that for a few years now I’ve been really unhappy with the content I’ve produced, and the inconsistency of my saves, not only in terms of posting, but the saves themselves. I’ve never been one to have long and extended saves, and as I’ve become older – and therefore way more busy – this has only worsened – but over the last few years, really since FM18, the content I’ve produced here has been way below my usual standard. This year, things will be returning to normal, which is why I’ve waited until now to write my first post for FM21. This year, I’ve settled on Aalborg BK in the Danish Superliga, known better as AaB. I want the format of these save updates to be very focused, so you’re unlikely to get the classic ‘mid-season, end season’ updates from me, and instead you’ll get focused updates that will discuss specific areas of the club, whether that’s tactics, recruitment or anything else. For now however, I’ll give a brief overview of what’s been going on as I’ve reached the end of December in the Superliga.
So why AaB? I’d love to pretend that it was something really deep and meaningful, but really it’s because they’re a mid-table team with some former glories giving me a recovery aspect to the save, and I like the logo and kit colours a lot. I also really enjoyed managing in Sweden back on FM14, and wanted to go back to Scandinavia. Other than that, they have Kasper Kusk playing for them, and I signed him for my all conquering Newcastle side back on FM16. He’s now 29 and not quite the player he was back then, but it’s still nice to be managing him again.

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Como lo estamos Haciendo?

UECornella

Right, we’re partway into the league season, so it’s time to do a brief update on how we’re getting on. These results updates will happen at certain points of the season, because I really don’t want results to be the absolute focus of this save. Of course I’m looking to eventually gain promotion to La Liga, but I want to explore certain parts of the game that I’ve avoided for years (such as training or player development) or simply not had time to really involve in my saves. A tactical post is coming soon outlining my tactical approach for this save, but for now, here’s how we’re getting on in terms of results.

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At the end of September, we sit 12th in the Segunda B. As you can see, we are making an absolute living off draws at the moment, with one win, six draws and a loss. It’s hardly an incredible start, but this season is all about avoiding relegation, and beginning to set the club up for seasons to come. Our tactical approach I believe will help us with this long term, but I’ll be discussing that next time. We’ve had a somewhat difficult start to the season in terms of fixtures, playing several of the teams predicted to finish towards the top of the table such as Hércules and Lleida, but we’ve also played some of the bottom teams, and I would have liked to have picked up more points from those games.

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Que es Cornellà?

UECornella

Right, after the first introduction post which outlined where I was going, and the new approach I’m taking with attribute bars, it’s time to go over who the club I’m managing – UE Cornellà – are. Firstly, Cornellà are in the Segunda Division B (Group 3), the third level of Spanish football and the lowest available in Football Manager 2020. Cornellà have an extremely unimpressive history, largely floating between the 6th and 4th levels of Spanish football since their formation in 1951, and have only been in the Segunda B since 2014/15. Their most noteworthy influence on Spanish football is their production of Jordi Alba.

Cornellà de Llobregat Weather Forecast

Cornellà themselves are from the larger community of Cornellà de Llobregat, which is in Catalonia and is part of the general area of Barcelona. In footballing terms, the area itself is more likely to be known for the presence of Espanyol. The city itself is historic, dating back to 980AD, becoming part of Barcelona’s territory sometime around the thirteenth century. Cornellà comprimises part of the working class area of Barcelona, and has been largely linked to immigration from the rest of Spain into Catalonia through its history. For this reason, Cornellà holds an interesting position within the wider context of the Catalonian Independence movement, and some within Catalonia who are pro-independence have argued that Cornellà is pro-Spain because of its Xarnego – a pejorative term towards immigrants from around Spain – links.

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I’m Going on an Adventure…

UECornella

Welcome to a new save on this website and one that will be in an entirely new format. This save is going to follow almost a ‘forum’ format. Posts for this save will be relatively short, and each one will focus on a specific aspect of the save. Some will purely be about results and performances, some will be about tactics, some will look at player development, and some will focus on the bigger picture of the club itself. My aim with this is to plain and simply produce more content for the blog, in a way that I can document a save, and really delve deeply into what I’m actually doing. So, what am I actually doing?

Well, I’m off to Spain – a country I’ve not managed in since Eibar in FM15 – and the lowest playable league on FM20, the Segunda Division B – Group III exactly, with UE Cornellà. I’ve also brought in a manager from years back, Pere Busquets who played for me in my much loved Bayer Leverkusen save in FM15. Busquets was signed on the cheap from Real Madrid, and went on to be the utility player of dreams, playing central midfield and both full back positions. At the young age of 32, he now finds himself as manager of Cornellà. There are a lot of specific changes I’ll be making about my approach to the game with this save, from tactics to how I develop the club itself. Another important one is that I’m going to be playing with attribute bars rather than values, in order to give an extra level of challenge to the save, meaning I have to focus on scout reports, performances and statistics in order to find the value of players.

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FC Groningen: Trots van het Noorden

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After the end of my one season save in the Belarusian Premier League with Torpedo Zhodino – where we won the title – the beginning of my Twitch save as manager of the Italian National Team (catch my Twitch account here and follow), the continuation of the irritating network save that I am part of with my good friends @turntostone_ and @watadam20 over at Turn to Stone’s twitch channel, I wanted a save that I could focus on progressing through at my own pace, and something that could get me back into writing. As a result I very quickly decided on going to Holland, having seen several people in the FM Community – Ed Wilson’s AZ Alkmaar series, Shrewnaldo’s ADO Den Haag series, Friday Night FM’s PSV save, and Curty and Herb’s network save with AZ and Feyenoord – having enjoyable saves in Holland, and having never played there since maybe FM13. After some discussion with @MerryGuido about which team to go for, I decided to go with FC Groningen, and this is the halfway point of the first season update.

Groningen itself is a very forward thinking city, something which helped it appeal to me. One in five people who live there are students, and the city itself is known for cycling, with a city centre that doesn’t allow cars. Plus, the bars stay open all night, so there’s that too. Lucky bastards students. The club itself hasn’t had much success in terms of trophies, winning the KNVB Beker in 14-15 and winning the Eerste Divisie twice – not that they really count. Aside from that, the club did push the top teams at the beginning of the 90’s, before financial problems led them to be relegated and have to build their way back up. Their best performance since has been a 5th placed finish in 2014. They play in the Euroborg stadium and have featured players such as Arjen Robben, Luis Suarez, Virgil van Dijk, Daley Blind and Ronald Koemann.

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In The End…

TorpedoZhodinoLogo.pngHello, and welcome back to another update of my much loved Torpedo Zhodino save on Football Manager 2020. Last time, we left off with three games left to play in the Belarusian Premier League season, with us top of the table and possibly being able to win the league. The current updates for this save are here, here, here and here respectively. Before we continue, I should also mention that the final league game was played on Twitch, which is something I’m looking at doing more moving forward, so follow me on my Twitch channel to keep up with when future streams will be or catch up on old games. My network save the Italian Job also continued over at my good friend @turntostone_‘s Twitch channel. Anyway, back to Torpedo. How did we finish the season?

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Yep, in the end we managed it. We became the first team to win the Belarusian Premier League not named BATE Borisov in 15 years…by one point from Shakter Soligorsk and Dinamo Brest. The league works on a playoff system, so if we had finished level on points, we’d have had to somehow determine a winner between three teams. We didn’t make the last three games easy, losing 2-1 to Dinamo Minsk, but then coming through clutch, defeating Energetik 3-1 before getting the draw that we needed on the last day, grinding out a 0-0 draw against Grodno that unfortunately didn’t provide the goalscoring entertainment for those watching on Twitch. Sorry everyone.

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Surely Not…

TorpedoZhodinoLogo.pngHello and welcome back to another instalment of my journey in Belarus with Torpedo Zhodino. Firstly, I’ll say that the discussed rebrand (again, follow me on Twitter @JLAspey for extra information about this save) of Torpedo Zhodino is on its way for the second season, thanks to the excellent @requestakit. When we left off, I’d discussed the development of my 4-4-2 system, and then my decision to sell my ‘best’ player – by attributes anyway – Andrey Khachaturyan to Al-Ittihad for what will eventually be £69k – not a small amount of money for a club our size. I’m now only three games away from the end of the league season, and before I end the season I thought an update was fitting.

Firstly, the 4-4-2 actually didn’t make it very far past the second update of the save. I started to find it a little bland and predictable, playing very one dimensionally, and actually only being effective against the very top sides such as BATE Borisov. I switched to a 4-1-3-2, which served us quite well for quite a while. We dropped from 3rd to 5th, but then climbed our way back up to 3rd. However, I began to find the 4-1-3-2 rather toothless, playing nice football but not creating as many chances as I’d like. Funnily enough, my use of the tactic with Sampdoria in my network save over on Twitch has also given the same result. Therefore, about 3 games ago (there are only 26 games in a Belarusian Premier League season) I switched to this 4-4-2, and it has worked absolute wonders.

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Effective Decision Making on Football Manager

TorpedoZhodinoLogo.pngHey, these are coming thick and fast aren’t they? This won’t really be a save update as such, but I want to give an example of my thought process in Football Manager and how I go about the decisions I make, and I’m going to do this using things people have asked me about before in contract decisions and whether to re-sign or let someone leave. In case you’re just joining the save now, here is the first post, and here is the second one. If you’ve been following the save thus far, you’ll know that I’m playing a 4-4-2 system that has taken the save from being one that definitely wasn’t going to make it past the first few playthroughs, to one that I’m now planning as my main save for the forseeable future.

Khac

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