Samo’s Stirling – Season Fourteen – Squad Building

It’s difficult not to be inspired by Keysi Rensie, so I’ve taken a leaf out of his book ahead of my fourteenth season (2030/31) in charge at Stirling. The usual sales will happen, the vultures are always circling for the talented players at the club. They’ll still be a fair few incomings, to flesh out the squad and try to compete on multiple fronts. It’s time though, for the my closing couple of seasons at the club, to put a bit more of a focus behind bringing through youth players. This includes from our own academy and ones we’ve poached from around Scotland at a young age.

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Samo’s Stirling – Season Thirteen – Domestic Domination

We’re double treble winners coming into my thirteenth season at Stirling. If Celtic can call it that, then we can too. Would we end it lucky and be crowned treble treble winners? My aim for this season is to do just that.

I keep getting asked about Europe and putting more of a focus behind trying to better ourselves there. I’m just happy enough to keep winning the SPL, taking us to the group stage of the Champions League, and ideally, making it out of the group each season. From there, it’s the luck of the draw and we’ll see where it takes us. Last season it was eventual winners, Porto, that knocked us out at the quarter final stage. It was a chance, a big chance, that we might not get again any time soon. We’ll see what happens this season, but don’t expect to read about a Champions League win any time soon. I’m not.

You’ve seen me go through my transfers across season thirteen already, so let’s get down to business.  Continue reading “Samo’s Stirling – Season Thirteen – Domestic Domination”

Samo’s Stirling – Season Thirteen – Transfers

Similarly to season twelve, I’m going to deal with our incomings and outgoings across my thirteenth season in this separate post. Success rolled on last season and the Circle of Transfers is in full swing still. This season has been another full of major outgoings to be replaced by either options already at the club or more clever recruitment from me, our scouts and data analysts. Fancy a peek at it all then? Continue reading “Samo’s Stirling – Season Thirteen – Transfers”

Samo’s Stirling – Season Twelve

How do you follow a domestic treble? With season eleven being my most successful so far and the most successful season the club has ever had, with some difficulty I’d say.

We were dominant, but we could have been even more so. The Supercup was won in extra time against Rangers, while we actually lost more matches in the league than 2nd placed Celtic. The Scottish Cup continues to be where we keep our best form for, and it was retained for our third win overall in that competition.

Then there’s Europe. Overall, I’m happy with our performances against the continent’s elite. We reached the quarter final of the Champions League last season, before deservedly bowing out against the might of Manchester United. Success in that competition this season will be qualifying from our group again. Let’s get into my twelfth season in charge of Stirling.

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Samo’s Stirling – The Circle of Transfers

For the last four or five seasons now I’ve taken you through a whole host of newgens coming into the club for relative peanuts, and for the last two seasons or so, you’ve seen some of them start to leave as our bank account reaps the benefits. Last season we brought £52m in to the club coffers from selling players, in season twelve we’ve absolutely smashed through that and then some.

From the first couple of seasons focusing on whoever we could get in on a free, to expanding our potential player pool to include the rest of the UK and Ireland to the last couple of seasons being able to attract some really promising young foreign talent, my approach has changed so much over the last twelve seasons. I’ll use the transfers that’ve happened, both incoming and outgoing, this season to go through how Stirling’s circle of transfers currently works. Let’s get to it.

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Samo’s Stirling – Season Eleven

We’re back for an eleventh season at the helm of Stirling on FM18. Season 2027/28, for anyone that was trying to work it out.

It’s a season that starts with us being two-time SPL winners, after our second consecutive league win last season. Not only that though, we start the season with a target on our backs as we managed to win the league undefeated last season. A quite remarkable feat, considering that Celtic and Rangers are both still strong, despite Celtic’s shocking 6th place finish last season and them missing out on European football altogether this season. Would that help them domestically? We’ll see…

As per the Strategy for Stirling, I’m looking for dominance and excellence. Alongside winning the league last season, we also brought home the Scottish Cup for a second time. I’ll be looking to do that again, plus one extra, the Scottish Supercup. It’s a trophy that has alluded me so far, so now I’m really desperate to win it and do a domestic treble. The board is expecting success again too this season. Let’s see if we can deliver on our aims and expectations.

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Samo’s Stirling – Futures Update

It’s been a couple of seasons since the last update on how my Futures (u21 talent) are doing. If you wanted to read that post again, have a wee click here. The general idea of the Futures can be read again below though.

Attracting young players to the club, giving them an environment to develop and a platform to play will benefit the club in the long term. I touched on this in the latest Strategy for Stirling post too. We need to ensure we’re sustainable and that occasionally means letting players use the club as a stepping stone.

My chief scout is in charge of assignments and we’ve had a very fruitful couple of years as we’ve grown as a club, culminating in that maiden top tier title win last season. If you haven’t managed to get to grips with scouting on FM18 I’d really recommend relinquishing control and handing it over to your chief scout, it helped me massively in terms of players that’ve come into the club, but also to embrace the changes made to it for FM18. If you want to hear me and AccordingtoFM debate the changes to scouting then have a listen to this episode of the One More Game podcast.

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Samo’s Stirling – Season Ten

It took nine seasons overall, six of those in the top tier, but last season we managed to secure the clubs first ever SPL title. Incredible scenes. Chairman, Stewart Brown, obviously felt like he couldn’t eclipse that any further and he decided to relinquish control of the club. The incoming board, with Graeme Mackay at the helm, obviously liked what they’d seen of me in my time at the club so far, as I was instantly awarded with a new deal until 2030. Correct decision, in my opinion.

Once the contract negotiations were out of the way the next order of business was to collaborate on the aims that will underpin my next few years at the club, the Strategy for Stirling. I’ll be touching more on them at the end of the season, but give that post a read if you fancy some ever-so-slightly wanky business speak mixed in with FM.

The board expect us to simply qualify for the Europa League this season, with the media expecting us to do the same, finishing in 3rd place. After the title win last season, plus the consecutive 2nd place finishes in the two seasons before last, I’m confident we can exceed those expectations and challenge for the SPL trophy again.

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A Strategy for Stirling

In my saves on previous editions of Football Manager I’ve tended to set out quite structured aims and targets at the beginning of the save. This time round with Stirling we started out in the third tier and I knew I eventually wanted to grow the club and take it to the next level but one of the main initial aims I had was survival. We were part-time and forward-planning is a bit of a dirty word at that level like I said in my initial introductory post. Fast forward to the beginning of the 2026/27 season and we’ll be starting season ten with the aim of retaining the SPL crown after the clubs first ever top tier title win last season. Who’d have thought it?

The club has obviously come a long way in that time, and the restructured Scottish football leagues seem to have enabled clubs in the country to go from strength to strength. With all of these things in mind, plus the fact that Stewart Brown, our long-standing chairman in-game, stepped aside after the title win to be replaced by Graeme Mackay, I felt it was time to get some aims written down. I’ll be looking to keep these things front of mind over the next part of the save. Here’s my Strategy for Stirling.

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Samo’s Stirling – Season Nine

If I get through my ninth season in charge of Stirling on FM18 (this post could end with a sacking for all you know…), it’ll be well on track to be my longest save on any game since CM01/02. There’s still so much more left to achieve too. Let’s get into it.

It began with a glamour friendly against Bastardo’s Estudiantes to open our new 14k capacity home, the Samo Stadium. I really would recommend you go and read that post, plus FMGrasshopper’s accompanying initial post in our mini-series. Both detail the more interlinked than you know nature of Argentinian and Scottish football, plus both include my Stirling side getting our arses handed to us by La Plata’s finest. It wasn’t the nicest way to open our new home.

The media’s predictions of how we’ll do this season have risen, they reckon we’ll finish 3rd behind Celtic and Rangers. While the board, of which there’s takeover rumours currently swirling, want us to qualify for Europe. I’d be delighted to qualify for Europe again. With more sensible decision making in the transfer market and a quality addition or two, could we go one better than our consecutive 2nd place finishes? Could we upset the Celtic/Rangers duopoly on the SPL title?

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