I often have days where I’m desperate to talk about FM with people. I sincerely miss doing a weekly podcast where I updated everyone with my save and then spoke with another person or two for an hour about their save and various other aspects of Football Manager.
Without it, I feel like I have to fill the void with…something. Often these ‘somethings’ are few and far between, sporadic & out of context which I know is to the detriment of what I’m trying to achieve. What I’m trying to say is I play a lot of Football Manager and please, at least for a moment, join me.
When I consume FM content I crave a narrative, a backstory, an angle – something to drive the story. I’ve always preferred written content over the video, maybe it’s an age thing but I’m a huge bookworm and can devour stories in moments.
Yet in my own story I know I fall short and struggle to tell a meaningful tale. To me, my story so far with Bodø has been fun, challenging and rewarding yet I can’t convey my feelings towards this save as well as I thought I could.
I know, in part, this is down to the speed at which I play. In my FM Slack channel, #bodoglimt-edsfm, I’ll provide daily updates to those die-hard followers yet it can no doubt seem like ‘let’s unmute Ed’s channel for a moment, scroll, scroll, oh look he’s won the league again, as you were’.
I love reading stories and it’s never about the ending, it’s the journey that’s the best part. People will enjoy you being successful providing your journey there was meaningful and I know it is to me, but to others, I can imagine it seems like a shooting star in the night; pretty cool but they happen often enough and are over before you know it.
I envy those who can play at a better pace. That way it’s episodic and leaves you desperate to know what happens next.
For those of you that do follow my progress across twitter/slack/that 1 quiet video then you’re a saint and the next part of this blog is for you my loves.
The Støry So Far
Outside of a few tweets and my slack channel, the last update I provided was via my video where I was only halfway through my first season…fast forward 9 days and I’ve won back to back titles. I play fast, processing speeds are superb and I sacrifice sleep.
I’m even watching games on comprehensive this year and I’m still flying through. Norway does have only a 30 game season however plus one cup competition so it’s bound to go a little quicker than other saves.
The first season was a rollercoaster of adjusting to FM21, settling on a tactic/system and riding things out – we managed to win the league on the last game of the season thanks to a 0-0 draw – arguably the dullest way to win but I wasn’t complaining.
Season 2 was far more straight forward in the end but we endured a tough spell in August (around the 18 games mark) with 3 successive defeats whilst we did all we could do qualify for the Champions League.
Our league form stuttered due to rotation & a small squad but we came through it in the end, winning the league with 2 games to spare.
When I had this save in mind I always expected to dominate domestically early on, it’s something I did unexpectedly with AZ in FM20 (Ajax were so bad) so it didn’t phase me – what I’m hoping to achieve is European glory with Bodø/Glimt whilst remaining true to the clubs real-life values, for those of you that need reminding I set myself certain restrictions in line with this:
- Prioritise Norwegian players – when signing from Norway, only sign players from Northern Norwegian clubs (or players born from towns in the north of the country
- Maintain a smattering of Danish players in the first team squad (as in real life)
- Focus on gathering the best youth players and train them to love the club (I’ve taken a narrative liberty with this one)
With the last bullet above I see this as allowing me to snap up 15/16/17 yr old Norwegians from anywhere in the country and train them the Bodø way – this will allow me to maintain the numbers required in my u19s/2nd team to ensure a pipeline to the first team.
With this in mind, I don’t expect to be challenging for the Champions League now, or ever, but I would love to somehow win the Europa League. With domestic domination, however, I will look to qualify for the Champions League and ensure a 3rd place finish in the group. And amazingly this was achieved in Season 2 and it felt great. It was such a slog in the qualifiers and we played so well against bigger teams with better players.
BATE knocked us out of the Europa League qualifiers in our first season so it was great to be able to get revenge this time around. It also showed me just how much we had improved in 12 months. Sheriff had some good players but we were arguably the stronger ‘team’ and comfortably defeated them in both games.
Against Dinamo I fully expected us to go down in a blaze of glory, especially after the 1-1 draw at home, yet somehow we rode our luck and a certain Albert Braut Tjåland (a lot more on him later) scored the crucial winner in Zagreb.
Qarabag to decide our fate and we saw them off 5-2 on aggregate and we were into the Champions League group stages at our first attempt. I was super chuffed. Beaming.
Especially given that between the two Dinamo legs and Qarabag legs we lost 3 consecutive games in the league, we were young & yang during August but we sealed the payday and a historic moment for the club.
Being drawn against Aletico & Bayern in particular is what dreams are made of for us Norwegian minnows, we were 10000-1 to win the CL and alas, we couldn’t upset the odds. Bloody loved beating Young Boys home and away, thanks to a certain striker, which saw us finish a respectable 3rd place and drop into the Europa League as planned.
Interestingly our domestic season finished 10 days before the final group game and we will resume our Europa League campaign for season 2 just before I kick off season 3…I’m enjoying this variety.
Let’s løøk a little deeper…
One thing I enjoy about FM21 is the monthly summary of how your team is performing from a ‘stats’ perspective, giving you a radar of general performance along specific parameters and a graph for defensive and attacking efficiency.
In both season we performed well above the league average, expectedly, but what I want to see in year on year improvement or at least a consistency maintained. It’s great to be able to compare statistically from season to season.
In general, was improved across the board from Season 1 in Season 2, but the most remarkable improvement by far was our defensive efficiency; in both seasons we conceded similar shots per game (around 7) but in our second season we only conceded just under 10% of shots as opposed to around 12.5% in our first season. This moved us to a huge outlier in the league in a very positive way. My two main centre backs Brede Moe & Marius Lode were the two highest-rated players in the league (7.46 & 7.45) but I mostly put this down to a huge upgrade between the sticks as I brought in this fella from Esbjerg fB for a measly £155k:
On the same day that Højbjerg I also signed a certain striker that my local scouts rated highly (FYI my scouts are only permitted to scout within Norway right now) – I couldn’t turn down the chance to sign Albert Braut Tjåland for £950k from Molde. Almost 12 months on from signing him, 28 games and 23 goals later I’ve fallen in love…
The cousin of wonderkid Erling Braut Haaland, Albert looks set to follow in his footsteps. The world is at his feet and I’m just hoping I can have him for at least one more season. He is so good. I mean just look at this ridiculous finish:
So that’s where we are today. I was going to add how we’ve approached things tactically to date but quite frankly this has gone on long enough as it is.
It’s now December 2021 and I’m looking forward to trying to hold on to my best players in the January transfer window whilst preparing for an all Scandinavian Europa League tie against FC København in February 2022.
Thank you for reading!