Howay the Lads !
– a Magpie Rises from the Ashes
It’s been a while, and much has happened since I was last able to even contemplate opening WordPress but, alas – the time has come.
No longer living in the bustling city of Amsterdam – I find myself in the beautiful German hills – surrounded by forest-land and crystal-clear air.
Although it’s all change with regards to my personal situation; one thing that remains true is my love for Football Manager.
I was able to write a few nice blog posts within the first months of the games release and thankfully I’ve still had some time to play and enjoy my save, albeit without the added joy of writing.
I’ve often felt the blogging aspect adds so much to the overall attachment towards a particular save.
So much time is invested over the course of a year and documenting your progress only heightens the experience – regardless of who decides to join you for the ride.
Newcastle United 2020/21
After extensive surgery and serious upheaval at all levels of the club – from the owners right through to the playing squad and coaching/scouting department – we find ourselves in a more than healthy position on the pitch.
Off the field there have been some recent alarm bells in relation to the current financial state under the new regime. The club looks set to fail Premier League FFP rules which could come with a variety of punishments – from a five-point deduction the following season to a transfer embargo.
Money had to be spent – and it’s been used wisely by increasing St. James’ Park to a sixty-thousand seat capacity and indeed by backing me well in the transfer market.
Matchday income admittedly isn’t as vital as it perhaps once was but, to have one of the largest stadiums in the land is essentially a status symbol; a sign of just how big this club is.
Television revenue is where the big-bucks come from.
We already benefit from the enormous Premier League TV deal – and will soon hopefully have our slice of the UEFA Champions League pie to go along with it.
Last campaign [2019/20] we only participated in the three domestic competitions –
the Carabao Cup, Premier League and FA Cup – finishing fifth on the table and succumbing to defeat in the FA Cup final at the hands of Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool so, we should see a financial increase following this seasons march to the UEFA Europa League semi-final stage.
There’s been so many highlights littered throughout this save that I’ve not managed to document and, most of them remain in my heid – I’m just happy to get some of them out there.
My footballing vision is always to build a young-vibrant squad full of potential and ability – getting the most out of those players that have perhaps had their development stalled for one reason or other.
That’s the model I enjoy seeing in real life football and Football Manager is no different. We can look towards the model currently in place at Borussia Dortmund for example.
Sporting Director – Borussia Dortmund
We decided to go with a two-column model. Very young, highly-skilled players, but also established, internationally-experienced ones.
The real differing factor here though – being that Newcastle United have Premier League riches to rely on. Developing players and selling them on might not be a requirement in England like it is in Germany.
Hand-picking players to fit the dynamic pressing style I like to play has also been a real labor of love as the save has progressed.
The first incarnation of the squad is now 95% complete and boy it’s been a painstaking rebuild. Newcastle United were a mess when I took over.
Two players remain at the base of the team’s spine however; Martin Dubravka and Jamal Lascelles.
Freddie Woodman and Jonjo Shelvey remain part of the squad but, the rest of the squad has developed over the past three seasons.
In true ‘95/96 Kevin Keegan style – I wanted to stay faithful to our ‘Entertainers’ heritage by playing all-out attack minded football regardless of the opposition – home or away; and although this was exciting to watch, and we did dismantle even the bigger sides in the division – we weren’t able to force our way into those UEFA Champions League positions.
UEFA Europa League is what’s seen us change tactically out of necessity.
The attack-attack-attack mentality being toned down somewhat for those crucial away ties against the likes of, yes – Borussia Dortmund for example – a side we’ve just dismantled 4-1 on aggregate in the quarter-finals. The deployment of the tactic in question has also seen a huge upturn in matches against the top-six in the Premier League.
Currently we sit in third-place – hot off the back of a heart-pounding 4-3 away win at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with about six game to play.
Exciting, mobile and modern.
Something is gathering momentum on Tyneside…
- Callum Hudson-Odoi
- Dwight McNeil
- Declan Rice
- Jadon Sancho
- Reece Oxford
- Kieran Trippier