Glancing through the job centre for a new job is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do on FM, and it’s safe to say that this year, I’ve been doing it far too much. On FM15, I led Hamburg to Bundesliga glory on three ocassions, while on FM14, West Ham were title challengers every year. But on this edition of the game, I can’t seem to succeed. The foundations I’d laid at Brighton were superb, I kept an eye on them and saw them shoot up the table to challenge for the title, former Cardiff defender Mark Hudson taking over at the helm. My first club, Aston Villa, are still in mid table, but my signings are keeping them afloat. PSV won the Eredivisie last year, so I can see success literally following in my footsteps!
3 months of patiently waiting for jobs finally paid off when chairmen around the world started pulling triggers. Sheffield Wednesday, bottom of the Championship, wanted me badly, allowing me to delay my decision for a week three times in a row while I waited and waited, hoping something would come up. The Spurs job came and went, and a promising interview at Udinese led to a job offer. So, mid-table Serie A, or Championship with the likelihood of League 1 football next year???
Joining Udinese in mid April left me with very little to do. 2 wins in the last 8 games of the season guaranteed us 6th spot, and I turned my attention to the squad.
An aging Javier Hernandez led the line, flanked by Anwar El Ghazi and Andre Schurrle, with 34 year old Yohan Cabaye and 33 year old Claudio Yacob covering for the talents of Lucas Evangelista in a midfield three.
A poor defence and young keeper Alex Meret completed the lineup.
My new possession style formation required a key false 9, and Javier Hernandez was woeful in that role. After scouring the market far and wide, the best I could come up with was 36 year old Carlos Tevez. To promote my Barcelona philosophy, former Barca players came in. Gerard Deulofeu arrived in a cut price 5.7m deal from Leverkusen to provide cover out wide, while Sergi Samper was 3.2m from Inter Milan. Youngster Alex Grimaldo came in on loan to cover at left back, and I thought my work was done.
All through pre season, we crushed it possession wise. I was regularly getting over 60% of possession and our pass completion rate was through the roof. Goals on the other hand, were in short supply. My formation had one flaw I hadn’t anticipated.
The focal false 9, while drifting back to link up play, wasn’t getting into the box to finish off chances. I tried everything, but we were still wholly reliant on our inside forwards for goals.
One win in ten games, and alarm bells were ringing. Losing to teams like Inter and Fiorentina I could cope with, but Pisa, Sassuolo and Frosinone also took three points from us.
A 3-2 win against Roma and a nervy 1-0 at home to minnows Ternana kept us on the edge of the relegation zone, but the eagles were circling. Regular board meetings were held, where I dispensed soothing words of wisdom to calm our irate board. Once our players become accustomed to their roles, and Tevez finds his shooting boots, everything will be fine. Or so I thought.
Tevez didn’t find his shooting boots. A 30 yard screamer on his debut was a great start, but no more goals followed. My team’s average ratings were all above 7 apart from Tevez, I watched the games with endless optimism. 2 wins in the next 7 games made the board’s decision for them, and yet again my stay in football was cut short.
I’m not a bad FM player, promise!!!
In terms of current jobs, there’s a few Championship jobs out there, Watford might be my next stop. Another interesting option is Lokomotiv Moscow, just above the relegation spots in Russia. Or even La Liga, with both Granada and basement side Eibar currently looking for applicants.
Dundee Utd came back for me, they always seem very keen when I’m available, so this time I accepted the interview. I doubt I’ll go to Scotland unless Celtic or Rangers come up, but only time will tell.
Come back next time to see which side I choose, and whether I can last a whole season while forcing possession football on my squad!!!