If you missed the first part of this new save where I introduced who I’ll be playing as and the philosophy I’ll be adhering to, you can catch it here. I haven’t written an update on a save like this for a good while now so here goes…
The Club and our Philosophy
As I mentioned in the introductory post, Tenerife are the definition of a yo-yo club and this season, the board are expecting me to guide us to the top half of Liga Adelante. The media are predicting I’ll finish 13th, so mid-table security. My own aims are higher than that, but there are some tough teams in the league. Valladolid, Osasuna, Numancia, Almeria, Zaragoza, Albacete, Mallorca, Alaves and, of course, Barcelona ‘B’, will all be providing the challenge for a tough season in the second tier of Spanish football.
The all important philosophy then. Here’s the rules I’ve set myself for this save:
- 75% of the first team squad to be from either England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland.
- Players brought in from these nations will spend a maximum of 2 seasons at the club, receive significant game-time and the best possible development, and then be moved on.
- No money will be spent on incoming player transfers, leading to…
- Strive to make a profit on all outgoing player transfers.
And how am I doing so far? Due to the squad size of the first team being 25 in the Spanish leagues, I’m amending this slightly to be 80% of the first team squad to be from the home nations, which, as all you mathematicians out there will calculate, amounts to 20 players. Currently there is 5 players in the first team squad from the home nations, so 20%. Not a bad start. 2 isn’t applicable yet as it’s still the first season and 3 and 4 will be covered in the next section.
As you can maybe gather from the transfers in screenshot above, all 5 players are from the home nations and all 5 were brought in on free transfers. I should probably stress here that I downloaded a data update from the FMWhizzkids before I started this save, so some of these players may well have found clubs in real life in the last couple of weeks. So far, the recruitment policy has been predominantly focused on bringing in players who have potentially ‘lost their way’, directly related to the recruitment policy of the Glenn Hoddle Academy. From what I can gather though, the recruitment of the GHA was focused slightly more on younger players with raw potential, whereas my recruitment will be of players who are slightly ‘more developed’ in their potential.
Carswell was released by Motherwell and has mostly been a bit-part player so far, failing to truly impress in central midfield when he’s had game-time. This could be partly down to the tactic I’m playing which I’ll talk through in the tactics section below. Joe Edwards had left Yeovil, and has been nothing short of a revelation so far to be honest. A natural right back, he’s performed brilliantly in his secondary position of central midfield so far, just missing out on my top 3 players of the season so far. Joe Dudgeon was released from Hull and came in prior to the January transfer window to play left back. Spoiler alert, but you’ll hear about Rory Donnelly and Dale Jennings later on in the update…
In line with the philosophy, a big exodus of current players is required. You’ll notice from the transfers out screenshot that this hasn’t yet happened. It’s proving difficult to shift players from the first team squad, due to a lack of interest. A fair few are out of contract at the end of the season so will be on their way out.
How have we fared so far then in Liga Adelante?
As you can see from the screenshot of the league table, pretty bloody well! Unbeaten in the league, with the highest number of goals scored, and the lowest number of goals conceded. You really can’t argue with that and it’s been a brilliant first half to the season. So much so that I’ve amended our targets with the board to ‘expecting promotion’. La Liga is within touching distance, but I’m keen to keep clicking away and ‘focus on one match at a time’. Each time I look at the league table after we haven’t lost I expect us to have pulled away from the chasing pack, but we haven’t and that’s down to Elche’s good form, with Valladolid not too far away either.
Why else haven’t we pulled away? Well it’s down to the 7 draws we’ve had. In each draw we’ve dominated the game possession-wise but just haven’t been able to make the breakthrough, especially so in the last 2 games against Cordoba and Alcorcon. Particularly delighted with us not conceding a league goal at all in December, and across the league and cup we’re currently on a run of 6 games without conceding, which leads us nicely onto our form in the Copa del Rey.
Our league form has also transferred into the Copa del Rey. We successfully negotiated the 2nd and 3rd rounds before ‘giant killing’ La Liga’s Espanyol in the 4th round. The Hugo Alvarez goal in the away 2nd leg coming from a corner in the 8th minute, and completely shutting up shop for the rest of the match. The Levante 5th round home leg match was sandwiched in between the Cordoba and Alcorcon 0-0 draws which is why it came as a complete shock. A similar performance in the 2nd leg will see us through, and the ‘giant killer’ tag might well stick.
I wanted to get a tactics section in here because I’ve got a question to pose to you…
Everything is working pretty perfectly so far. Top of the league, scoring goals, not conceding any, but there’s something bugging me. That something is the CM(S) in my 4-1-4-1.
Let’s get this straight from the start, I’m not the best when it comes to the tactical side of Football Manager. The way I play the game these days (hence Occasional Football Manager), I don’t have the time to watch games on full commentary, or look back and analyse the performance of each of my players from the last match. I watch the matches on key highlights, I pick a tactic and fit players to it rather than amending the tactic to fit the players, which is probably sacrilege to some of you.
So back to my central midfielder on support duty. Thinking about my tactic, everyone has their duty. The primary focus of the central defenders and keeper, keep out the goals. The primary focus of my full backs, defend the wings, but support going forward occasionally. The anchorman, break down the play. The wingers, get down those wings and get the ball into the box. The box-to-box midfielder, up and down the pitch, and the central forward, hold up the ball, lay it off and get in positions to get us goals. The CM(S) though, it’s just been a very ‘meh’ role so far, not quite performing badly, but not setting the world alight either. Does anyone out there have any thoughts on how I could inject some life into players that perform in this position on the pitch? Let me know, either in the comments section below or on Twitter @FM_Samo
The team is performing brilliantly, but I thought I’d highlight a few players who really have been standing out so far.
Rory came in before the start of the season in-line with my philosophy. Released from Swansea after not making any impact at all, he’s got a tough job in my team, lead the line and be there to finish the chances. 11 goals in 21 starts might not seem particularly amazing, but 6 assists along with that and a rating of 7.44 so far, he’s been a team player. When he doesn’t score, he’s doing his duty for the team. His Tenerife form has seen him earn a call-up to the Northern Irish national team. Brought in on a free, he’s now worth £575k, which will hopefully see us bring in a good profit when we decide to cash in.
Going from Tranmere to Bayern Munich isn’t a regular move players make, especially so when you move on to Barnsley and eventually get released. Dale Jennings has talent, there’s no question. Playing from the left wing (and more often than not, cutting inside or getting into the box), he’s got 10 goals and 10 assists in 25 starts so far this season. Again, a 7.44 rating and a current value of £625k, he’s the current ‘face’ of my philosophy and another good profit will be made when we come to sell.
Rather annoyingly, our player of the season so far isn’t from the home nations. Fans of Scottish football, and Hearts in particular, will remember Suso Santana? He’s now rebranded himself as Suso and he’s back at Tenerife which is actually where he started his career. Born on the island, he’s the club captain and has been on fire from the right wing so far this season. 14 goals, 9 assists and an average rating of 7.66. To be fair, technically he could remain at the club and be one of the 5 players in the squad that I’ll be allowing to not be from the home nations. However, he’s currently worth £1.2m and wanted by a couple of clubs. The club needs cash so I’ll be looking to sell if a bid comes in.
That’s us for this first season January update. Hopefully you enjoyed reading it enough to share it. Let me know if you’ve got any questions and if you’ve got any opinions on the tactic question, please let me know!