There were a lot of possibilities where I would spend the main part of the Football Manager 2021 cycle. I considered almost all continents and a lot of nations, leagues and clubs during recent weeks. The final decision was made shortly after I wrote the post about Searching the right club in Football Manager. I decided to go back to Scandinavia and I chose Sweden. The time with Göteborgs Atlet- & Idrottssällskap in FM21 can start now.
I won’t use the full name of the club as it’s quite long and, to be honest, it would take me a lot of time to write every time.
GAIS. Or Gais. It depends if you want to be correct within the Swedish writing standards or not.
In the media, the name of the club is normally abbreviated “Gais”, in accordance with Swedish writing standards that state that acronyms that are pronounced as a word, as opposed to letter by letter, should be spelt with the first letter in upper case and the remaining in lower case, thus “Gais”. However, some fans of the club, as well as the club itself, prefer to use only uppercase, “GAIS”, even though they also pronounce it as a word.Source: Wiki/Footnotes
One of the reasons why I decided to go to Sweden was my short spell with FM16 back in October this year during the FM lull.
I installed the game again, I found the old save with AB Copenhagen and played several matches and roam around the save.
The FM16 itself was a very good edition and I remember I really enjoyed the save in Denmark. On the other hand, I played the game differently in some ways.
Mainly in terms of tactics. I don’t think someone remembers it but I wrote about this save already on this website including the tactical post about the wide playmaker role and the 4-1-4-1 formation I used at that time. When I’m looking back at it, I can’t imagine using this midfield combination.
WP(A) – RPM – BBM – WP(A)
Four playmakers within the midfield + False 9 most of the time upfront. I’m not sure how it would work in the current edition, it worked in FM16, maybe it was because of the fact that 4-1-4-1 is usually a very solid defensively and I had a lot of very good players. At least for the domestic competitions.
But no, I can’t imagine setting my team in the same way now. I’m not tactically as good some other FM players (read FMPressure for example who is a master of the 4-1-4-1 formation) but I’m sure I learnt a lot of things since FM16. And this midfield set up is not something I would put together now.
Sweden can offer the ideal conditions for the save I like:
The possibility to build the club as I like + the possibility to develop young players + the possibility to compete about trophies in the future + the possibility to create own scouting network within the sub-continent (read Scandinavia) + the possibility to fill the national team with some players.
I don’t want to copy the history of the club from Wikipedia as everyone who is not lazy is able to find it by his own. One fact from the club history pleased me as it’s not some newly established club or some merged club.
GAIS is a very old club as it was founded in March 1894. The club will celebrate 130 years anniversary during my save what can be a good occurrence to be already in the top division. At least in my eyes as we start in the second division named Superettan.
According to polls, GAIS are the second most supported club in Gothenburg. With 12% of the people in the city who follow a football claiming to have GAIS as their favourite side. Their supporters have traditionally been perceived as coming from the working-class districts of Gothenburg and having left-wing sympathies. Even though research on the subject couldn’t conclude that this was more true than for other clubs. Their supporters are also perceived as being loyal, despite whatever hardships the club may face. The oldest and primary GAIS supporter group is called Makrillarna (The Mackerels) and was founded in 1961.
I decided to not make my own kits after some time. At least for the beginning of the save. I will use kits made by FMSlovakia as they cover many leagues around the world including the Swedish leagues. Visit their website to find more kits – FM Slovakia.
I think I will some of my own kits in the future when I will have more time. Some more clean kits without all the sponsors and logos. But it has time…
Superettan and the calendar year
As I mentioned, the club is currently in the second Swedish tier named Superettan. The 12th place in the final table of the 2019 season is nothing spectacular.
The aim should be to move higher in the table in next seasons after the squad will be overhauled. Superettan is played by 16 clubs from April to October usually if there are no postponements due to COVID-19…
The last two clubs are going down to the third tier, the top two clubs are promoted to the top tier. And the third-placed club is able to play the promotion play-off. Perfect for possible interesting moments in the save. Three from the last five promotion play-offs were won by the third club in the second tier.
I like the fact the season is not in a typical way from August to May (for example) but it’s based on the calendar year. It can add another challenge if we will qualify for the European cup(s) in the future part of the save in terms of preparing for the matches in Europe while not playing domestically.
There is also a rule of “The match squad have at least 9 players trained by a club in Sweden”. The ideal rule for my save.
I like the small connection with one Czech player who spent a significant part of his career in Sweden. The experienced midfielder Pavel Zavadil played for Mjällby, Östers and Örgryte between 2005 to 2012. And he was the top assists of the 2008 season with 17 assists when he was in Örgryte IS. He is now 42 years old and he still plays the Czech top tier for SFC Opava…
He is a playmaker with great set pieces skills but also a hard-working midfielder who hates defeats. I would like to have these types of midfielders in my save.
Aims of the save
- Develop & sell within Sweden or to other European countries
It sounds natural to do this, especially with starting with the club from the second tier. I’m not naive and I don’t expect too much money here despite the big stadium. This always has two parts – I would be happy to keep the best players but I would be also happy to see them doing well in some bigger clubs (domestic or abroad).
- Create the scouting network around Scandinavia nations
I like to build a domestic squad but I also like to find players in the nearest countries. Scandinavia is an absolutely perfect place to do this. I already have some idea of how to do this. It all depends on the possibilities straight in the game in terms of the number of scouts available.
And it also depends on the area I will be able to send our scouts. I would like to make it even to England in the future of the save if it will be possible but that’s something for the separate post maybe…
- Be tight financially as always
It’s connected to the first point of this list about the developing & selling players. But it’s a thing of the whole club, not only a thing of the transfers. I like to be very strict in terms of finances and I usually use only a small part of the wage budget. Sometimes, I use nothing from the transfer budget. Maybe it can help with the stadium, who knows…
It also fits with the Work within wage budget philosophy in the Club Culture/Vision. Other thing in the club culture is Strive to make progress on and off the pitch.
- Don’t try to find new Zlatan
To find new Zlatan Ibrahimović really is not the aim of the save. I will be happy if I will find or develop some of our own players without any connection to Zlatan just because he is from Sweden. This save has nothing with him despite he is a great footballer and special person for sure.
- Develop solid 3-5-2 formation
- Enjoy the save 🙂
The GAIS Stadium
The club is currently playing matches at Gamla Ullevi Stadium in Gothenburg. Same as IFK Göteborg, Örgryte IS or Sweden women’s national team. It has a capacity of 18,416.
One of my aims I wanted to share above within the list was to “move to own stadium”. But as the time went, I decided to make my own stadium in the pre-game editor.
The average attendance during matches is below 4k. GAIS had the best average attendance at home matches in 2019 season with just only 2,854 spectators. Almost about 500 less than in 2016.
Why did I do that?
- I don’t think the club needs such a big stadium/capacity
- I’m not a fan of the fact other three teams use the same stadium and it can affect the pitch quality
- I like smaller stadiums
- As I shared, the average capacity is/was below 4k. If I will be able to increase the average attendance to 7k-8k, it will be a great success in the club development.
- There is always a chance the board will build the new/bigger stadium
I created The Gais Stadium with the capacity of 8,000 seats with the option to increase the capacity up to 12,000 seats. After a discussion with Chris/FM_BlackCrow, I decided to make 6,000 seats and the rest of the 8k capacity is for the standing. The pitch type is grass despite as I don’t like the synthetic.
Six from 16 Superettan clubs have grass as the surface, two clubs have the mix of grass and synthetic and eight clubs have the synthetic (new type – soft). It’s around the same in the top tier.
I’m not sure how much you know about me but one thing I like to follow is the marketing of football clubs in real-life. Mainly because I worked in the past in the marketing/PR/communication.
GAIS is the club who made famous themselves thanks to the campaign named “The Fanager” back in 2017/2018. It was during the time when the results and the mood around the club were not good and it resulted in the all-time low in season ticket sales.
The idea behind the campaign was to strengthen the relationship with the fans. And sell more season tickets of course.
The fans needed just to buy a season ticket and apply for newly invented position “Fanager” who got to coach the team, pick the team and be in charge of the squad for a league game against Halmstad.
At the heart of this is an idea based on the simple truth that every fan think they can do better than the coach and that football is a team sport where fans and players win or lose as one. The Fanager also became a link between fans and the team during the whole season when he posted thoughts and insights on the team and asking for advice on what to do during his few days as a coach on the GAIS’ social media.
A truly bold move by a football club that was a success in terms of proving that the club is nothing without their fans and that football is a team sport where the team and fans win and lose as one.
The season ticket sales increased by 21,9 %…
It’s nothing that we can replicate in FM but it’s a nice bonus to me personally. And it gives me one more aim for the save to bring back the most possible fans to the stadium.
The Göteborgs Atlet- & Idrottssällskap save settings
I decided to start the save in May 2020 so I will play the whole 2020 season between 17/6/2020 to 5/12/2020. Yes, there is six months long break between seasons. There will be a lot of time to write.
But there is also Svenska Cupen. The first and second round during the autumn, group stage, quarter/semi finals and the final during the spring when there is no league football.
I loaded all the Scandinavian nations available in FM (no Faroe Islands) with all leagues. The database is the default except for the fact I created the stadium. And I loaded all the Scandinavian players within the custom database setup.
As the Iceland league will start in May 2021, what is more than 12 months after Sweden’s start date, the Iceland leagues won’t be playable for the first 12 months of the save according to FM. But that’s not too important as I don’t plan to move here…
Thanks for reading and, as always, enjoy your saves.
Don’t forget, you can join FMSlack via THIS link. My channel is #fmrensie but there are many other interesting channels to talk about FM.