Welcome to the playground of the rich and famous, Monaco. The principality has the highest GDP in the world, an average salary of £1m and 0% unemployment. When people think Monaco, they think casinos, Formula 1, luxury yachts and tax issues…
When FM players think Monaco, they think AS Monaco FC!
By taking over at the club, I will be following in the footsteps of managerial luminaries Arsene Wenger, Didier Deschamps and Jean Tigana (?). Just a selection of previous players includes George Weah, Yaya Toure, Rafa Marquez, Javier Saviola, Fernando Morientes, Oliver Bierhoff, Jurgen Klinsmann and Frenchmen, Fabien Barthez, Youri Djorkaeff, Thierry Henry, Patrice Evra and Emmanuel Petit. A startling list of stars, matching the lifestyle of the principality. The club has been successful on the pitch too, winning Ligue 1 7 times, the French cup 5 times and losing out to Porto in the 2004 Champions League final.
That 2003/04 season was the successful on the field, but off it, the club recorded their worst ever financial results. Since then, it’s been all downhill. A succession of mediocre seasons followed, until the club were relegated to Ligue 2 in the 2010/11 season. A couple of seasons (and managers) later, and Claudio Ranieri had led the club back to Ligue 1.
Despite leading the club back to Ligue 1, Ranieri has left and I will take over. With the backing of oil rich owner, Dmitry Rybolovlev, I’m expected to hit the ground running, and having stars in the ranks such as Joao Moutinho, Radamel Falcao, James Rodriguez and Ricardo Carvalho will certainly help. It won’t all be plain sailing though. Our fellow rich rivals, PSG, will pose stiff competition, as well as Lyon, Marseille and Lille battling to be the best of the rest.
Despite regularly competing at the top of Ligue 1, and appearing in European competitions, the club has struggled to attract a regular fan base through the gates of their 18,500 capacity Stade Louis II home. Their relegation season from Ligue 1 in 2010/11 saw an average attendance of around 6,500. This is something I will hope to address in my tenure at the club.
As well as leading the club forward, I’ll be seeking to establish an ethos that will be instilled throughout the club. The owner wants me to look to sign high profile players, which I will look to do. This will underline the image of the club and the surrounding area, to strive to be the best.
The second thing I will be looking to do, is to primarily only sign French players and to blood youth into the first team. If it just so happens that this talent is Monegasque, the better the strategy, however, I will not be primarily looking for Monegasque talent. Along the lines of the ‘Zindanes y Pavones’ strategy that was attempted at Real Madrid, alongside my high profile signings, will be (hopefully) young French talent.
This ethos that I am looking to instill into my club stems from my management inspiration. @PlayingTheLines, his SI posts and subsequent blog surrounding his career with Chelsea is what I will be aiming for with my Monaco side.
This is just the beginning. To proudly represent the Principality of Monaco.