New beginnings: Football Manager 2013

Guiseley and FM12 are but a distant memory. Since November I’ve been playing (and swearing at) FM13, which was a surprise present from the girlfriend… who has since become the fiancée. But not because of the FM13 purchase, you understand.

I got quite excited about FM13 since I liked the idea behind the classic mode. I probably wasn’t quite as excited as the time my good friend Stuart got so excited about Christmas 1991 that while dancing around the living room in merriment of the decorations going up he didn’t realise one of his socks had come loose off his foot. He trod on said sock and propelled himself in a forward and southerly direction until his mouth caught the edge of the fireplace. He lost a few teeth in that incident.

Going back to FM13, I was intrigued to see how this ‘classic mode’ would play out. I missed the days of being able to power through seasons in just a couple of weeks. Back in the glory days of CM2 I’d get through a season in a weekend. And I’m a pretty slow player – as has been proved by owning FM12 for a whole year in real time and only getting one and a half seasons into my Guiseley campaign until FM13 was released.

Anyway, the good news for all you fans that wanted to whizz through seasons is that it’s entirely possible on the classic mode of FM13. My first save was with my home town club Grimsby in the Conference, and I completed the season within a fortnight (finished 9th). Mind you, I was playing on it more than usual since that’s what you do when you’re trying out the new version.

I’ve since played out a full season with my current save, as Solihull Moors boss in the Conference North, and that took me three weeks. It’s very easy to get through a couple of months in one sitting (usually after Match of the Day and before my Saturday night bedtime of 2am).

For the record, I did try the full version of FM13, which gave the perception that you could power through the days and weeks at a similar rate, but I became bogged down with the tiny little things that I tend to obsess about. It was after I saw this series of FM13 videos on YouTube that I decided to start over again on the classic mode as a pretty terrible non league team.

In short, my first season as Solihull Moors manager was relatively successful. I finished 7th with 68 points – three points short of the playoffs – having won 19, drawn 12, lost 11, scored 57 and conceded 37.

Conference North league table final standings 2012/13 - Solihull Moors 7th

Conference North end-of-season table 2012/13.

I could go into a lot more detail but for a side that was tipped to finish in 20th place and with a weekly wage budget of just £2,900 it wasn’t a half bad achievement. For one very brief moment in January we were in the playoffs but inevitably fell away as the players failed to cope with two games a week.

I signed a one-year extention to my managerial contract (mega bucks at £400 per week!) only to be rewarded with a bloody reduction in the weekly wage budget. For season 2013/14 it’s just £2,600 and I lost my two best players – Omar Bogle and Darryl Knights.

That’s right – I had a player called Omar Bogle. Sounds kind of made up, but his history tells me he spent time at Celtic and Birmingham City. He was my strong and pacy striker who scored 16 goals in 32 appearances. Knights, a fast winger who could also play up front, got six goals and 12 assists in 40 starts. The pair were the only players to finish the season with average ratings over 7.00.

I had a nightmare summer but I’ve brought in a raft of distrinctly average players to replace slightly better than distinctly average players. The board expects me to stay clear of relegation given last season’s success, but the fact that I couldn’t organise one half decent friendly against a big name and I’ve failed to win a single cup match so far, the club is over £120,000 in debt. But my position appears to be secure given that we’re 7th after 15 league games this season.

We just love 7th!

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