I’ve never been so ready, or so prepared(!) for a new edition of Football Manager. The 2022 iteration will soon be with us, and so I felt it’s time to talk a bit about who I plan to manage and what my plans for the save are. I revealed the side I’d be managing with a little bit of #narrative in my last post, Where Were You When…, but purposely left things a bit ambiguous, with just a few hints about the direction of the save. Dan Heijsman, my fictional manager for the save, will be taking the reigns at Eerste Divisie side FC Volendam.
As I mentioned above, I’ve never been as prepared for a Football Manager save as I am for this one. I don’t really do much preparation for my saves, certainly not compared to many in the community, for me it’s usually a case of coming up with a save idea and then getting stuck straight into it. This time though, the idea for my save actually came to me all the way back in February! With my main save for FM21, El Violeta, already in full swing I kept the idea in mind and with the game cycle coming towards it’s end I did a bit of reading to give myself a bit of inspiration and a few tangible ideas I could implement into my upcoming save.
Raphael Honigstein’s fantastic Das Reboot got my cogs turning long before I even read it, with the idea of a slightly different ‘fallen giant’ save forming fairly early on. Holland have had a rougher time of it than they’re accustomed to in recent years, and the idea of restoring them to the very highest echelons of international football and adding to their solitary tournament win (Euro 88) became very appealing. That’s not much of a long-term save though, so I decided to try and implement some of the German approach to rebuilding at club level, starting at a decent side with a lot of scope for growth. I’ve now read the book, taken some notes, and have a few things that I definitely want to implement at Volendam. Whether I get to play any part of the Holland redemption arc remains to be seen, realistically in game it’s not going to take long for them to sort themselves out, they’re still a very talented side and I’m not going to force anything. If an opportunity comes up to get involved with Oranje then I’ll certainly jump in, even if it’s just at a junior level in the early phases of the save.
Inspiration is great, but it needs to be acted upon. The main aims of any Football Manager save are generally the same; improve the team, develop young players, win trophies, become the best club in the world. There’s nothing fundamentally different about what I want to achieve with Volendam. What will be fundamentally different, though, is my approach and application to the task. I briefly mentioned wanting something similar in my introduction to El Violeta this time last year, but whereas then I was looking at one or two areas, this time I’m going all in. Development of the club infrastructure will be key, so I’ll be dipping into every area, looking to improve as often as finances allow, while also making sure I change the way I play the game further to take a more measured approach and provide marginal gains, essentially by paying more attention to the vast amount of information and what I’m doing with it.
I’m not going to list all the things I plan to implement based on Das Reboot here, I’ll be dropping them into posts as and when they’re the most relevant topic. The main aim off the bat though, is to create a club culture that will run right the way from first-team down to the U18’s. Again, creating a DNA at a club isn’t a new concept, but it’s something I’ve never done before so I’m looking forward to getting stuck into it. Other early objectives will obviously be to create a tactical identity, plus added effort to maximise opportunities from set-pieces (something I’ve honestly neglected for years!).
Clearly, with the introduction of Wide Centre-Backs to Football Manager this year, the temptation to recreate Johan Cruyff’s 3-4-3 diamond is a big one. Although I do definitely want to try the Wide Centre-Back at some point, I’ll be using a tactic that suits the squad, at least for the first season or two while I shape the squad and put club infrastructure in place. Besides, tactical recreations are far beyond my remit! If you want a Voldendam x 3-4-3 Diamond collab, check out BradzFM, who will be doing exactly that.
NOW WE WAIT…
We’re about three weeks away from the official release date of the new game, so there’s a bit more waiting to do before I get stuck into this. Of course, we have the beta in the mean time which, if you missed the ‘Who are we excited to manage’ article we posted a while back, I’ll be managing West Ham in. Maybe they’re an opportunity to try that back three? I’ll be doing an overview of that save towards the end of the beta period, as well as my thoughts on the game in general, and then it’s go time in Volendam.
Until next time, tot ziens!