A Legend in his Own Mind: The End, or Is It?

And now, the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain

I’ve lived a life that’s full
I’ve travelled each and every highway
But more, much more than this
I did it my way

Regrets, I’ve had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption

I planned each charted course
Each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way

Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall
And did it my way

I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried
I’ve had my fill my share of losing
And now, as tears subside
I find it all so amusing

To think I did all that
And may I say – not in a shy way
Oh no, oh no, not me
I did it my way

For what is a man, what has he got
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way

Yes, it was my way

It’s been emotional, my first FM blogging adventure has generally been an up and while I’ve had stressful seasons and bad moments I managed to do a lot and I’ve worked through the demons from my FM15 Cheltenham save by managing to make that jump from Championship to Premier League. Now I was planning a FM Grasshopper style writing myself out of Cambridge’s story thing so they could carry on without me, I spent a lot of time throwing around a few ideas weighing up the pro’s and con’s however I have one big issue. I don’t feel like I’m done with Cambridge United.

When I managed promotion to the Premier League I said to Grasshopper himself that I’d be happy if I could just make it into Europe. Well in my two seasons in the Premier League I’ve been within touching distance of Europa League football both times. This has frustrated me immensely, add to that the fact that the only silverware I’ve ever won with Cambridge is the Championship Play-off. We came within touching distance of winning the Checkatrade trophy and this season we made it to the semi-finals of the League Cup as well as two second place league finishes in League One and Two. I need to take this team to Europe and I need some sort of silverware, I can’t put this story to rest without it.

The other issue is thus, I’ve had three generations of player at Cambridge United, the first is exemplified by Jevani Brown, Uche Ikpeazu and Emmanuel Osadebe, they were at the club when I joined and they have played a major part in our success, however their story with us finished a few seasons ago and while Ikpeazu and Osadebe remain at the club both have only played bit part roles for nearly 5 years now and are due to leave this summer. The second generation is exemplified by Hamza Choudhury, Izzy Bunce and Bailey Peacock-Farrell, they joined us during the Championship years and fought the hard fight to win promotion, they’ve also played a decent role in keeping us in the Premier League but their story with Cambridge is coming to an end if it hasn’t finished already and at this pint I’d be happy with saying goodbye to them.

Now i come to the third generation, exemplified by players such as David Donaldson, Nikola Ivanovic and Assane Agnero, these are the future of not just Cambridge but their respective national teams, Donaldson is tearing it up for Scotland at a young age and Ivanovic and Agnero are breaking into Serbia and Ivory Coast respectively and a very young age. Add to that the fact that Donaldson and Ivanovic are the last two winners of the European Golden Boy, these players have a bright future and I want to be a part of it.

My last issue relates to this some what, I’ve never managed to bring through a young player to properly break into Cambridge United’s first team. Jumping up England’s top four divisions means that you have to bring in stronger players and that shuts down the pathways for youngsters, we’ve also had to improve facilities along the way and those are only just beginning to show evidence of working. The closest I’ve come to bringing a youngster through is Lewis Fisk who has stagnated after impressing in the Championship, he’s not up to the Premier League and it’s looking like he never will. I want one player who I can say is mine, trained in the Cambridge way.

So this leads me to the point of this blog, this Cambridge United story will have not just one but three separate endings. The first ending, which I will consider the ‘canon’ ending, will be up in two weeks, that will be the story in which I resign and simulate 10 years into the future to see what happens to my side. For the second ending I will carry on playing this save, FM 18 will sit on my desktop right next to 19 and I will use the extra time afforded to me by playing as an international side in FM19 to carry on with my Cambridge United story. Now I’m not one for making goals, my goal tends to be to win and not much else matters but in this case, because I have certain things that I’d like to accomplish, I’m going to make a few. When I achieve one of these goals I will put a blog up on Keysi’s site, updating everyone on the progress so far. These goals are as follows:

  1. Have a homegrown player make Cambridge and their national sides first team.
  2. Make it into Europe (I will write separate blogs about each new European competition I make it into)
  3. Win silverware (Again, each new piece of silverware will merit a blog)
  4. Manage England on this save (A weird one yes but I did apply to manage England for the last season of this save, basically it ties into my FM19 plans and I really want to shove some of my English players into the England set-up)

Now I might get another load of updates out of this but then again you may never hear about my Cambridge United save again, hopefully it will be the former.

Lastly I come to the third ending and by far the least ‘canonical’ of the three. This ending actually started as a bit of fun for myself using the FM Scout stats converter to turn my FIFA 18 Cambridge side into my Football Manager 18 side. It is really fun to see some my FM side in FIFA’s graphics, even if the newgens do tend to look the same. Now I hope to write about this and possibly get some videos out but I also realise that Keysi would boot me so far off his site if I even thought about adding a FIFA blog to his website (That’s a joke of course, Keysi is literally the nicest man in the FM community), so any FIFA based Cambridge blogs I do do will be on my own blog The Life Junkies. Again, I might never release any FIFA based blogs so this maybe the only time you hear of this idea but I’ve put a lot of time into recreating my Cambridge side in FIFA and while it’s not perfect, it odes make me very very happy. The downsides to it are that I can’t recreate the other teams so I’m basically putting my Cambridge side into the current Premier League, however I will be able to move teams that are in the FIFA league structure (Prem-League Two) into their place at the end of my FM save. The other issue is that I can’t change the age of any players already in FM so the likes of Ikpeazu will be young again, but his stats are still correct as of the end of my FM save so his speed and other stats are far below his prime. I haven’t started this save yet but I played a few games yesterday and the joy of watching Donaldson scare defences is so sweet.

So there you have it, in two weeks time I will release the first ending and you may never hear about me and Cambridge United again, or you may get another years worth of content on the side, or possibly something in the middle. I’ve spent the last few weeks planning this and I’m pretty excited to share it though I expect reactions will be mixed. Anyway thank you of joining me on this journey and I hope you’ll stay with me for England and any more that Cambridge has to offer.

Thanks to Keysi for hosting me, you can find me in FM Slack, my channel is #braziers-England, I’m also on Twitter and Instagram. I also have my own blog where I talk about random rubbish with its own TwitterFacebookInstagram and fledgling YouTube.

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