25th August 2019. A day that a handful of hardcore Russian fans will never forget supporting their beloved FC Luch Vladivostok. We have all been there ourselves, preparing for a long away day to watch our club, but nothing as extreme as this.
The fans faced a 13-hour flight (providing it was a direct flight) from Vladivostok to Kaliningrad to take on FC Baltika Kaliningrad in the Russian National Football league. That is 4,571 miles one-way, alternatively, they could have driven 6,469 miles to get to their destination. Sadly, the result was not one to remember as both sides played out a bore 0-0, but having the brag of travelling the length of Russia to see your side play is a feat in its own right. To put the size of Russia into perspective, the city of Vladivostok is geographically closer to Anchorage, Alaska and Darwin, Australia than it is to Moscow.
After seeing the news article about this game, it got the cogs turning in my brain. Instead of a typical journeyman save, why not mix things up? Why not be a wandering man, travelling the plains of Russia, on his quest for a nice cold pint in Victory Square, Kaliningrad?
A couple of long nights later after studying maps of Russia and older maps of transport, a plan started to form. Thankfully, the plan was easy to draw up once the first couple of action points were put onto paper, but the majority is going to be reliant on the ever-so reliable FM community when it comes to custom databases.
So what is the plan I hear you ask? Well, let me tell you…
As discussed in the second paragraph, fans travelled from Vladivostok to Kaliningrad, and that is exactly what I want to do! However, I will be using the railway system only, so that I can experience new clubs along the way and make this a worthwhile project. This will then mean my journey will be circa 4,572 miles long just to complete my journey from A to B – with away games are still to be factored into this! This adventure is certainly one for the ages, and one that I hope will bring a bit of uniqueness to the FM community.
After referring back to old Trans-Siberian railway maps, I managed to find the following snippet of 3 railway lines that were in full operation to connect Europe Russia to Siberia and Asia Russia:
And we will be following the Trans-Russian railway line for the first leg to Moscow, strictly remaining in Russia at all times, I will not be detoured from this line at all as I descend (ascend?) on Moscow. Once I have arrived in Moscow and completed my adventure there, I then relied on trusty Google for train journeys from the capital to Kaliningrad:
The railway line will take us to Gagarin, Viazma and Smolensk first, before crossing the Belarusian border into Orsha. Once I depart Smorgon in Belarus, I am then back on Russian soil as the train heads into Chernyshevnskoe, allowing me to depart from my train cabin and back into the wilderness. 14 stops overall. 11 clubs waiting to be managed. I have carried out as much research as possible, the following stops either don’t have a football team at all, or it has been dissolved and not replaced:
But you will need to wait for the announcement of the clubs involved! As this blog is going to be relying on custom databases, I will announce all 11 clubs closer to the full release of the game. Anyway, enough of the planning behind the madness. Let’s get onto a bit more of the blog itself, the shape it will take and what the end goal is.
In typical journeyman fashion, I shall start by having the lowest playing experience along with no coaching badges. I want to be able to build him up during the journey and develop him like I intend to do with Russian talent.
Attribute masking – This is always a grey area when it comes to journeyman saves. A lot of content creators like to hide this to make the experience more difficult. However, given that this save will be relying on custom databases, I am not sure that this is going to make any difference – I would imagine most of the potential signings will be randomly generated players. I will give this some thought closer to the time, but I do feel like it will have a nil effect.
When to move – Now, this is one that I am still trying to work out the logistics on. Currently, in my planning, I have a list of all club’s highest finish in their existence, and I want to try and factor that into play. However, I don’t want the blogs to become repetitive. This will be confirmed prior to the save beginning, but if you do have any interesting thoughts and takes on this, I would be open to hearing about them!
These three I feel are the most imperative to a journeyman save, and I am glad to have covered them, some briefly for the time being. Now onto the save goals themselves. Naturally, the biggest goal is to successfully navigate from A to B with as much success as possible. However, I do have some small goals I want to build in along the way:
⌛ – Given that I am travelling right across the Siberian plains to get to Moscow, I want to be able to bring along some talent to the Russian capital. For each club I am at, I will decide on one youngster to join me on my journey.
⌛ – Get Siberian talent into the National side. It is difficult for Siberian youngsters to get a chance in Russia, and not many have made the journey. However, I want to be able to showcase some of this talent on my journey and get at least 5 Siberian players capped during my save.
⌛ – The Russian National Team. I want to restore Russia to international heights.
⌛ – Completing the save. Currently, I have only decided on my final club’s goals once I am successful in a job application there. And that is to become the best club in Russia, winning the top flight consistently and making waves in Europe. This could well be deep into the save by the time this comes around, but this will be my clear cut off.
A fair amount of progress is going to be available to me each time I play this save, and because of this, I could be looking at a lot of posts just to convey a short period of time. I have taken the decision to make a maximum of 2 posts per season, one at the halfway point and an end of season review. Yes, these formats will be a bit longer than usual, however, I feel that it is going to be the most effective way going forward.
Finally, a big thank you to you for taking the time to read about a mad and wonderful project. This is really one save that I am itching to get started. Will the Siberian bears devour my dreams as I go to leave Chita? Or will I channel my inner Hugh Glass and survive?
See you very soon.