When you’ve been playing an annual series for over 20 years, as I am with Football Manager, it’s natural to feel like you’ve done it all. Although it is a potentially infinite game, due to databases with thousands of teams and tens of thousands of players, the reality is that It’s natural to have a feeling deja vu in your games if you have played that much.
Although every year I usually do my warm-up game, promoting Real Sporting de Gijón to the Spanish First Division and making them compete in the Champions League, I need more and more different challenges. In fact, they don’t necessarily have to get harder and harder.
With FM 22, for example, I added a millionaire president and 500 million to the Kaiserslautern budget (at that time a historic player in the German third division). My mentality was that of a loan that I had to repayroleplaying the game taking advantage of the fact that it is useless to go up to first spending non-stop if the Financial Fair Play was going to prevent me from playing in European competition.
Challenge: change Irish football history
In this year’s edition I set myself a different challenge. Now the thing was not going to raise a team from the last division and turn it into a dynasty at the height of Real Madrid or Barcelona. The issue was to choose a team from a European minority division, and end up changing the football history of that country.; become the spearhead of a revolution.
The team chosen was none other than the Sligo Rovers, a mid-table club in the Irish league. The reason? The brilliant Normal People series, which takes place in this small town in the north of the country. A reason as dignified as any other, don’t look at me like that.
An almost semi-professional competition
To get an idea of how dwarf this competition is compared to the Premier League, Bundesliga or Santander League, it is played from January to October against the current of the rest of the continent, Only 10 teams dispute it and the prize for winning it is a measly 200,000 euros. In addition, the champion qualifies for the fourth previous round of the Champions League, like the darker nations, and the other two European places are for previous rounds of the newly created Conference League. Yes, previous rounds for the third European competition.
The idea was to break through in Europe, where practically a game won is financially equivalent to a handful of years winning the Irish League, and end up putting together a team worthy of playing in the Champions League. But the ultimate goal is not to create a dynasty in an unexpected country, but for the rest of Ireland to benefit from it. raising his European coefficient a lot.
If we manage to do that, in addition to the fact that first place in the league may end up giving direct access to the group stage of the Champions League, we can get better European places for the rest of the country. In this way, we will inject money into the rest of the teams, which will invest in new facilities, better players, better youth academies and, eventually, transform the reality of the country through football.
At the moment I am starting the fifth season in charge of Sligo… And I have to say that things are going quite well. I have won the domestic competition four consecutive times and I have already played in the Champions League on several occasions. So much so that Ireland has risen from 39th place among European countries, which gives the right to those few and complicated places in the Champions League and Conference, to 17th.
This implies that from rubbing shoulders with Armenia or Kosovo, we come to compare ourselves with the Czech Republic or Croatia. A couple of affordable knockouts now separate us from the Champions League, but we also make the second place play the Europa League, and third and fourth the Conference League in higher rounds than before.
To get an idea of the change, teams like Shamrock Rovers or Derry City are now taking around 600,000 euros per European tie played. That equates to more than six times what they are paying in salaries per month, not counting additional sponsors, the huge sellouts they are making in their stadiums and television rights.
Making box of imaginative shapes
In addition to this indirect help to my rivals, I also help them directly. Specifically, and given that my still low reputation forces me to sign youngsters to train them rather than sign big stars, what I do is give them up to other teams at a friendly price. My 19 or 20 year olds are undisputed starters at Dundalk or Corkraising the level of the competition and improving their squads for the European qualifiers.
There are some tricky things about this game, like how hard it is to make money from player sales. My competition is so mediocre that, although the members of the squad interest Premier teams, their valuation rarely exceeds 3 million. For this reason I have to add clauses of 50% of the benefits of the next transfer.
Practical case: I sold Monty, a young Spanish winger who cost me 46,000 euros from Torre Levante, to Southampton. The final sum was 875,000 euros, which is already good. But as soon as he signed for the English team, his valuation skyrocketed, and executing the sale of that clause already brought me an additional 3 million.
I still have a long way to go before Ireland is completely changed thanks to football, but my board is already thinking of building a new stadium with 12,000 seats in a city of just over 19,000, as well as investing millions of euros in state-of-the-art training facilities. So far, I have already changed the lives of the inhabitants of depressive Sligo.