Devotion to Promotion [A Football Manager 2020 Career]

Club
IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/i2Ic16L.png)

Season 0: Episode: 0
The Part Where We Talk about the Fiddly Bits

If you can’t learn to do it well, at least learn to enjoy doing it badly.”—despair.com

Welcome to Devotion to Promotion! In these digital boxes I’ll be posting my FM20 adventures as Zilla Blitz, an inexperienced 20-year nobody who has decided to enter the world of football management rather than attempt to, you know, actually play football himself. I’ll start off with no coaching badges, no job, and a smattering of Sunday League playing experience. With this haughty resume, I’ll thrust myself on the football world, grovel for any job I can get, and have a grand old time managing teams in the British Isles.

Wait, will there be a challenge of sorts involved?
Why yes, two challenges in fact. I will aim to start my first job in the spring of 2020 with a newly promoted Vanarama South or North team and take that one team to the top of the football world. Doing so would qualify me for the Dafuge Challenge. Given my recent success with FM19, however, I can say with all confidence that my odds of achieving the Dafuge Challenge are slim at best. So when that turns out badly, I’ll shift my career into an attempt to clear the British and Irish Steel Challenge, which aims to win the 50 leagues and competitions available to Irish, Northern Irish, Welsh, Scottish, and British teams, using only players of British or Irish nationality. You might be thinking, “Wait, isn’t that even harder than a Dafuge Challenge?” To answer that, I’d say, “Yes.” I’d also point out that I have not claimed to be all that intelligent. Onward!

However, my priority is fun, so if the official challenges get tedious, my life will morph into a pure journeyman adventure through Europe, questing with interesting teams in interesting places, and living the life of a wandering manager.

Will any house rules govern your career?
I’m glad you asked, because there are a few. I’m not interested in false greatness, and feel that stories with ups and downs are more interesting than stories of just up. To that, I’m not looking for any advantages. Attribute masking is on, of course. I won’t be downloading killer tactics, no editing the database, no watching videos to learn of hidden wonderkids, no save scumming to get better results. In short, what happens happens, and if that means I spend 20 years stuck in the Vanarama South League, so be it. I hear the bars are pretty good at some of those clubs.

How often will you be posting?
In addition to managing digital football players, I’ve got a real job and real family, so I’ll be moving at a modest pace. The goals is shortly daily updates five days a week, each update covering roughly a month of one season. That’ll be 10 updates to a season, 2 seasons played in a month of real world time. That’s a pace I can keep up. I’ll start shortly after FM20 releases on November 19.

Anything else to know?
I’m creating a Lets Play video series for this career and will post details as they come together.

What’s next?
Waiting for the official release on this Tuesday, November 22. Fingers crossed that the next update will have my career underway with job offers from some newly promoted teams in the Vanarama regional leagues.

"Moving at a modest pace...five updates a week".

Good job you're not going hell for leather then (gets visions of earth going backward, like an old Star Trek episode).

I look forward to reading this.

davet010 wrote:

"Moving at a modest pace...five updates a week".

Good job you're not going hell for leather then (gets visions of earth going backward, like an old Star Trek episode).

I think I can do that. That's the pace I went at with my FM19 save. Each update will be one month of game time, so about 1-2 hours to play and put together. I can usually get 2-3 updates ahead with one longer session a week.

Gremlin wrote:

I look forward to reading this.

Thanks! I'm excited for the launch tomorrow and to get started.

Bonne chance Godzilla Blitz! The Dafuge challenge is so great.

When I tried it I always found the first season the most difficult of the ones in the lower leagues; starting off without the scouting structure in place (yes, I still relied on scouts because I'm not sifting through players one-by-one manually).

Roke wrote:

Bonne chance Godzilla Blitz! The Dafuge challenge is so great.

When I tried it I always found the first season the most difficult of the ones in the lower leagues; starting off without the scouting structure in place (yes, I still relied on scouts because I'm not sifting through players one-by-one manually).

Yes, it took me three tries with FM19 to clear relegation with a newly promoted team in FM19. I think it's particularly difficult with attribute masking on. But there are people on the SI Forums that just go right on to win the league first year, so I'm sure I've got a lot of room to get better.

I think the new Club Vision feature will also make it challenging to stick with a team longer. There are simply more reasons for an owner to fire you.

We'll see how it goes. If I get sacked my first year I'll probably just pick up with a newly promoted team again second year, and so on. But if I get a handful of years under my belt and then get fired I think I'll just morph into seeing how far I can get with the British and & Irish Steel Challenge. That seems like fun too.

For the ignorant amongst us, what is the Dafuge challenge ?

davet010 wrote:

For the ignorant amongst us, what is the Dafuge challenge ?

Oops, my bad! I meant to explain that, thanks for pointing it out.
"To take a small club who were previously unplayable in an unedited game from the Vanarama National League North/South to Premier League and Champions League glory."

FM20 Dafuge Challenge Thread on SI Forums.

I'm going to edit the original post, too.

----

As a quick aside, I was hoping to start today (and actually got my game going to the point of getting job offers), but there is a serious enough issue with the player database that I want to wait until they patch it. About 75% of the existing players in the world at the start of the game have determination, consistency, important matches, and verstility set to 1 (out of 20).

If this save goes well, it'll be hundreds of hours of gameplay, so I'd rather wait a couple of days to make sure I start with a better player database.

That might have just been patched - my game was updated this morning (UK time) and now I've just had another 280mb patch.

EDIT - Just booted it up for the first time...."AAARRGHHH, MY EYES, THOSE BADGES", sorry, not swapped in all my mods yet.

Aaaanndd...City have no players with 1 determination. Not even John Stones.

Right, I seem to remember last year that moving all my kits etc folders did the trick. Off I go, I can't start like this

davet010 wrote:

That might have just been patched - my game was updated this morning (UK time) and now I've just had another 280mb patch.

Excellent, thanks for the heads up! Yep, the game has officially been hot-fixed to remedy the problem. Apparently they are working on a further patch to fix existing saves as well. I'll probably just restart tonight, although I had three super interesting job offers in my first game. I was really excited. Oh, well, maybe one of them will come up in the next round.

I'll put up links in the main thread to all the logo packs, etc. that I've installed in my game.

Club
IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/i2Ic16L.png)

Season 0: Episode: 0
Jobs ‘R Us

We officially enter the football world on June 22, 2020 as a hungry, homeless, and unemployed 20-year-old wanna-be manager. Wasting no time, we scan the job centre for manager opportunities, and soon learn that East Thurrock, Nuneaton Borough, and Ashton United have gained promotion to the Vanarama regional leagues and are in need of managers. A couple of weeks later and we’ve got three job offers. Which to pick?

Once decided, we’ll attempt to stick with this team through thick or thin until we win the Champions League or get fired, so it’s kind of like choosing a college, having a baby, or figuring out what sub to order at Subway.

Here are the details:

Offer #1: East Thurrock
My Salary: £800/wk
Team Salary Budget: £3.5k/wk (£1.0k allocated already)
Team Transfer Budget: £0
Goal: Fight bravely against relegation
Media Prediction: 20th
Team Value: £14.17k
Notes: Tiny team

Offer #2: Nuneaton Borough
My Salary: £800/wk
Team Salary Budget: £9.25k/wk (£4.7k allocated already)
Team Transfer Budget: £12k
Goal: Fight bravely against relegation
Media Prediction: 22nd
Team Value: £45k
Notes: Their fans laughed at me, and why is there a Pokemon on their logo?

Offer #3: Ashton United

My Salary: £750/wk
Team Salary Budget: £7.5k/wk (£5.5k allocated already)
Team Transfer Budget: £0
Goal: Avoid relegation
Media Prediction: 16th
Team Value: £17.11k
Notes: There is quite a bit of trash on the roads outside their stadium

If anyone has advice or favorites, I’d be happy to hear them!

Personally I'd go for Nuneaton Borough for that spare £4.5k in the salary budget. Then trawl the loan list to find a handful of players who'll help gain a foothold in the division.

But their fans sound mean so perhaps they deserve to get relegated anyway!

Ashton United - how can you not love a ground with the Sid Sykes Stand? You can almost see the flat caps and smell the Deep Heat from here.

I may be too late, but +1 for Ashton United. East Thurrock and Nuneaton Borough are a bit too far south for my taste.

Thanks for the input, all! I'm still not sure which way I'll go, but I'm leaning away from East Thurrock. I only succeeded once in three tries with this sort of try in FM19, so I'm leaning toward one of the two better weekly budget offers. East Thurrock only has one player on wages, and only has £2k/week of open salary. Nuneaton's £4.5/week of open salary might be tricky to pass on.

I did also fail with Nuneaton in FM19. In that game, they start in debt with most of their wage budget allocated, and I was super rusty at FM. It might be fun to start with them again do better this year.

But Ashton United has cooler uniforms and a better crest, and would be a new team to play, which would be fun.

EDIT: First Video Episode is up on YouTube (19 min). Career background info, house rules, and a look at the three job offers.

Nuneaton Borough.
1) better salary for you (tied with ET) - look out for #1 man, no else is going to!
2) more team budget - p sure that is important in soccer
3) hey at least there is some transfer budget - i think that is important in soccer?
4) lowly goals - just staying up will be totes awesome
5) can make fans eat their laughs

tboon wrote:

Nuneaton Borough.
1) better salary for you (tied with ET) - look out for #1 man, no else is going to!
2) more team budget - p sure that is important in soccer
3) hey at least there is some transfer budget - i think that is important in soccer?
4) lowly goals - just staying up will be totes awesome
5) can make fans eat their laughs

Thanks! Yeah, I have to admit I'm leaning toward Nuneaton, for exactly the reasons you mention. With my success rate at attempting this with FM19, I think I should take any and all edges I can get. Nuneaton has the biggest budget and the lowest expectations. "Take this gob of money and well, just try your best."

That crest though... It's all over the place. Colors, waving things, black diamonds, a football. And is that a yellow Pokemon bear, all chained up and muzzled, standing next to a big tree branch? Not sure I get it. Nuneaton isn't even called the bears. Or the tree branches. Or the chains. #baffled

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/OQ4SVo2.png)

I'm going to mull it over as I finish up work, go for a run, and have dinner.

I really like the name "Ashton United" though. That just sounds pretty cool, and flows so nicely. And their crest is infinitely better.

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/tgT5aiO.png)

And as davet mentions, that Sid Sykes Stand is epic. I can just see it crashing to the ground if we ever fill it up with fans.

Uhh... what is that bear doing? Does this thread need to be labelled NSFW?

Roke wrote:

Uhh... what is that bear doing? Does this thread need to be labelled NSFW?

Hahahah! EXACTLY!

If I pick them, we might need a better, custom, safe for kiddies logo.

Godzilla Blitz wrote:
Roke wrote:

Uhh... what is that bear doing? Does this thread need to be labelled NSFW?

Hahahah! EXACTLY!

If I pick them, we might need a better, custom, safe for kiddies logo.

I'd like to change my vote to Nuneaton Borough because I think that logo's hilarious and I had only looked up where the teams were located when I did my vote.

Roke wrote:
Godzilla Blitz wrote:
Roke wrote:

Uhh... what is that bear doing? Does this thread need to be labelled NSFW?

Hahahah! EXACTLY!

If I pick them, we might need a better, custom, safe for kiddies logo.

I'd like to change my vote to Nuneaton Borough because I think that logo's hilarious and I had only looked up where the teams were located when I did my vote.

Ha! That is another way to look at it. It's definitely the most entertaining logo.

I get it now, too, kind of. Apparently the logo is connected to the Coat of Arms for Warwickshire County, where Nuneaton is. So it basically means that Nuneaton is proud to represent the county and its chained up, muzzled yellow bears that pose next to tree branches.

Club
IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/8cNiwIb.png)

Season 1: Episode: 0
July 2020: Hired!

Okay, so I was really struggling with the whole "chained and muzzled bear" team badge for Nuneaton. I just didn't feel right managing a team whose badge was an endorsement for animal cruelty, even if the roots of the badge went back 500 years. So I was all set to go with Ashton United as our first job.

But then a comment on YouTube brought up the point that the club reformed in 2007 and redid their badge at that time. Even better, when they redid their badge, they unchained the bear! If I swapped out the logo I could manage Nuneaton without worrying about losing all the support from Yellow Pokemon Bear lovers around the world.

That made it an easy choice: Nuneaton!

We accept the job offer and take a look at our club. Things are a bit ... dire. We have no staff. I mean absolutely zero. Only 5-6 players on the roster will work as Vanarama North players. Adding to all that, our first match is in just 20 days. So yes, we have our work cut out for us!

Time to get busy!

Club
IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/8cNiwIb.png)

Season 1: August 2020
Not Totally Garbage

Record: 2W-4D-3L, 10 points (18th place in Vanarama National North)

20 days and 3 friendlies was not nearly enough time to hire a coaching staff, find good players, and establish a tactical vision. Not only that, but with the Vanarama National North and South newly expanded to 24 teams, they packed all the extra games into the first two months of the season. We have 2 matches every week in August & September. I really should have quickly brought in any sort of non-contract players, but I didn’t and now we’re looking at handling a heavy match load with a shortage of bodies. We start our opening match completely unprepared, 16 players in all, and only 2 functional central midfielders.

Not surprisingly, we lose our opening match 2-0, and it doesn’t help that one of our two central midfielders picks up a three-match ban for a horrible tackle and a subsequent red card. Things get no better after that, and by the mid-point of August we’ve only got one point from our first four matches. But having £4k in salary room to work with gives us the ability to bring in a good number of players, and by the middle of the month reinforcements start to arrive. Our play starts to pick up as these new players get into match shape, and we put together a decent run. We go unbeaten in the back half of August and finish the month with 2 wins, 4 draws, and 3 losses. The results lift us to 18th place, 4 points above the relegation zone.

Having said that, we’ve played some of the softer teams in the league so far, and I’m sure we’ll struggle against better opposition. We’re also maddeningly inconsistent, with a lot of gaping weak spots in our roster. Our defense in particular can’t find their way, with our best defender in our back four rated a 6.53 after nine matches. Our main striker, Luke Benbow, also only scored 1 goal in 8 appearances despite getting 15 shots and a good number 1-vs-1 breakaways.

Speaking of 1-vs-1 breakaways, no one can score these. It’s laughably bad down here. Benbow’s sole goal did come on a 1-vs-1, but I’ve seen at least 15 other clear breakaways by us and our opponents, and none of them go in. Most are just kicked right at the keeper.

Going forward, we’ve got another month of 9 matches coming up, and many of them against more formidable opposition. I’d be ecstatic if we could duplicate our August results in September.

Video Edition

(Quick aside: Apparently there is an issue with match ratings that SI is looking in to.)

Lastly, I'll be traveling this week with the US holiday, so next update won't be until Monday, at which point they should start to roll more regularly.

Godzilla Blitz wrote:

Video Edition

DEAR LORD WE CAN SEE YOUR FACE

Looks like you're on track to stay up!

Roke wrote:

Looks like you're on track to stay up!

Thanks, yes, I'm hopeful we can keep things going. I'm running into issues with 1v1s that just don't score, so the counter-attack strategy just isn't working though. We'll get 2-3 breakaways in a match but not score. I'm not sure whether to switch to a 4-2-4 to get more wing play, or hope for a quick patch that will help our tactic. SI has said they are aware of the issue, but I don't know when it'll get patched.

I should be able to resume again this weekend, so maybe it'll get patched in the next couple of days. That'd be awesome.

Club
IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/8cNiwIb.png)

Season 1: September 2020
Struggling to Find the Way

Record: 4W-5D-8L, 17 points (21st place in Vanarama National North)

Back at it now that the new patch has fixed ratings, 1v1s, and some odd stuttering I was experiencing...

September hit us hard. We started with a draw, lost three in succession, bounced back for two wins against bottom of the table teams, then ended the month with two more losses. We only pick up 7 points in 8 league matches. The poor play drops us to 21st place, just in the relegation zone after roughly a third of the season done. On a minor positive note, we did make it through the 2nd Qualifying Round of the FA Cup, and our next round draw is also against a club in a league below us.

I feel like we should be playing better, but maybe it’s a matter of tweaking tactics and letting new players get comfortable in their roles. We’ve brought in a bunch of players, and have pretty much tapped out the rest of our wage space. Some of these players should up our play, but our biggest gamble, an £800/week splurge on Ivor Lawton, a central midfielder with sky high mental attributes, good physical skills, and weak technical skills, has panned out terribly so far. Every match the guy plays has been a mess. Instead of solidifying our midfield, the guy is a sieve. I still haven't given up on him, but it looks as if it's a painful lesson in the importance of technique.

Looking ahead, we’ve got another busy month, with seven matches in October. We’ve yet to have a week with less than two matches. Fortunately, only one of October’s matches are against teams in the top 3rd, and more than half are against bottom half teams. If we could find our form just a bit, I’m hopeful we can pick up some points to lift us clear of the relegation zone.

Godzilla Blitz wrote:

Club
We’ve yet to have a week with less than two matches.

After a few (real) years of playing mostly PL teams in FM18 and 19, I'd forgotten how hectic the schedule is in the lower leagues. It makes for some interesting/desperate decisions of course, so it's a fun challenge trying to manage the situation with a small squad with no depth in the U23s or U18s.

Blackice wrote:
Godzilla Blitz wrote:

Club
We’ve yet to have a week with less than two matches.

After a few (real) years of playing mostly PL teams in FM18 and 19, I'd forgotten how hectic the schedule is in the lower leagues. It makes for some interesting/desperate decisions of course, so it's a fun challenge trying to manage the situation with a small squad with no depth in the U23s or U18s.

I do feel like we need a couple of functional players at every position except keeper to make it through this stretch well. We didn't have that, and sometimes I was scrambling to cobble together a lineup of semi-functional players. I consider us lucky to have avoided serious injury. But yeah, it's definitely a fun, puzzle-like challenge.

The part that's odd is that at the end of our season there is only one match a week for the last two months. I'm guessing that I'll have some players pretty unhappy with playing time when that comes along.