Striving for excellence within the construct of Rangers has been the overarching aim since we kicked off this journey way back in November 2019. The sense of joy and satisfaction I’ve been able to squeeze from this iteration of Football Manager has been unparalleled for me personally.
Not only did I take on the challenge of managing my club – I also threw in some stipulations which I’m pleased to say I’ve stuck with throughout. The £20k p/w wage cap remains in place – as does our remit for cultivating our own talent from the new state-of-the-art training facility.
At the time of writing, we’re stationed in the middle of the January transfer window . Our slender lead at the summit of Scottish football has just been extended following a 2-1 home win against our old adversaries. A starting eleven featuring seven Rangers supporters providing a delicious blend of technique and pace – topped off with a hunger to die for the famous badge on the jersey.
The squad is awash with home-grown [HGC] talent, and some of England’s top clubs are taking notice. Josh McPake – now a leading light for Scotland and valued at around £20m is on the radar of Liverpool, however, the Merseyside giants have just acquired the signature of Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund so, I would be amazed if they were to add McPake as well.
We would be looking for around £50m+ for the exciting academy graduate. The club is practically bathing in cash – with £150m+ gathering dust in the transfer balance – Rangers is in a strong position. We have excelled within a competitive market where the value of player sales has been maximized to the fullest. We are still waiting to sell off one of our prized academy assets, and McPake could very well break the mould.
The tussle for the title is closer than ever with a Celtic side spearheaded by Arsenal loanee, Folarin Balogun really piling on the pressure as we seek a fourth league championship in a row.
Continental success appears to have come at a cost, however. Placing so much emphasis on in-house player development has admittedly seen us falter in the UEFA Champions League, although, we did march all the way to the finale of Europe’s second-tier club competition during season three – losing out to Tottenham Hotspur at Villa Park in an all British affair.
All success should be viewed as relative, though. I’m not expecting World domination or back-to-back UEFA Champions League finals. The real beauty in this save comes in the form of in-house player development.
I almost rendered the game ‘complete’ when Nathan Patterson cemented his place as Scotland’s first-choice right-back. This is a player I’m sure many Football Manager users wouldn’t even give a second glance, but he’s now one of the first names on the team sheet for club and country.
This has just been a small summary of my time in Glasgow’s West End until now [mid-season four]. It’s been a labour of love, and one that I’m in no hurry to finish. I have small bursts where I’m utterly consumed by it, however, with a demanding wife and son – sometimes real life takes centre stage.