Now that we’ve familiarised ourselves with the script and intentions for this save game – let’s look underneath the hood; focusing meticulously on the moving parts.
Previously I highlighted the lack of merit in discussing the tactical setup which would ultimately contribute towards our results during season one. The main reason for this being that the group of players and general look of the squad would be vastly different come season two – and more in line with the youth development outlook of the save.
I’m delighted to report that everything is going specifically to plan – with several player pathways being bulldozed into the clear for a selection of our youngsters. Every academy starlet who enters the senior setup is, of course, often at the expense of one of our departing prized assets.
As you know, we’ve done particularly well in relation to player sales.
In addition, the club also maximised it’s domestic trophy haul during the first campaign.
The first team squad is now awash with academy graduates and, we’re still maintaining our domestic stranglehold. With our rivals splashing an obscene amount of transfer cash in the summer – I was more than wary of a Celtic resurgence under Brendan Rodgers. However, we’ve managed to keep them well out of our sights – for now. Admittedly we did surrender the Betfred League Cup to our arch enemy. Losing the first final of the season at the national stadium, Hampden.
Having already conceded one of three possible pieces of domestic silverware – you would perhaps think that season two was shaping-up to be a step backwards. However, when you factor in what we have accumulated in player sales, and the mammoth figure that’s been cut from wage expenditure – whilst measuring that alongside the balance of the squad, allied to the player pathway; you can see the club is in a seriously healthy place.
To give this some context; we currently have one player earning £20k per week.
Chairman of the Board
As manager, I enjoy a fruitful relationship with chairman Dave King. The South African businessman rubber-stamped my recent request to improve the club’s youth facilities which were increased to match the senior squad’s ‘excellent’ rating.
A Scottish affiliate link has also been arranged in order to send batches of our young players out on loan together where, hopefully they can reap the benefits that come from playing in the same side whilst away from Rangers. I was happy to secure Falkirk as our affiliate partner – with the Bairns now competing in the Championship following promotion last season. Typically, Falkirk have already maximised their loan allocation this year so, I’ll look to gain from this agreement starting season three. The intention will be to send three players to Falkirk every six months as a package. If all goes to plan – we will look to extend said loans further into the season. On the flip side – Rangers also have first option should Falkirk find themselves in possession of any real gems within their own system.
I’m pleased with this and, again it showcases the synergy within the club. Emphasising continual progression, tied to modern thinking as a football club/business.
One of my burning desires or, sub-plots within the save, will be to develop our academy graduates for Rangers, nevertheless, progression at club level should hopefully see our youngsters make their way on the International scene with Scotland. At the time of writing, Steve Clarke has been to cast a watchful eye over many of our young talents – with Dapo Mebude already being handed his first couple of senior Scotland appearances.
I love it in Football Manager when clearly your management choices and delicate nurturing of players leads to recognition outwith your control. In this instance I’m referring to International call-ups. You know with certainty that without human intervention [me] it’s almost inevitable that 90%+ of players currently under my tutelage would barely see the light of day during this FM cycle – let alone acquire UEFA Champions League experience or International appreciation.
The question is – Just how quickly can we get these guys involved in the national setup?
You’re already more than aware of the high-end transfer business the club has been involved in during my reign as Rangers manager. Although these particular deals were right for Rangers, at a time when we were comfortable with the replacements available to us within the club; we simply cannot accept every decent offer received from the cash silly Premier League!!
For example: Burnley tabled an £11.5 million offer for recently capped Scotland International, Dapo Mebude. Sure, it’s a really nice price but, no. The timing is all wrong. Dapo’s immediate future is here, helping Rangers achieve it’s aims. I have no doubt Dapo Mebude will move on eventually, but it will be for sums of money far eclipsing £11.5m. The same rule applies to all of our academy students.
There’s a skill in feeling the prime time to sell young, developing footballers.
I had initially intended to include a review of our tactical setup and the players used within our strategy, although, I’ve made the decision to post it as a standalone blog entry over the next couple of weeks. It’s as good as ready so, shan’t be long.
You can also catch up with more regular save updates on the brilliant FM_Slack service [free of charge].