Monthly Archives: October 2016

Part III: I’ve been sacked!

Well, well, well. I couldn’t even see the season out! I took over Chorley at the end of November and 16 games later, before we even reach April, the chairman’s chucking my P45 at me.

I’d be the first to admit that I’m not the strongest FM player the world has ever seen, but being sacked by Chorley represents a new low.

You know those people who say a bad workman always blames his tools? They’re wrong. Tools let good workmen down all the time – tools like centre back Andrew Teague and ‘star’ striker Jason Walker. Sure, they might look ace in training, and you have your assistant manager in your ear all the time telling you they’re great, but then they put in dog shit performances on the pitch.

Thanks, lads.

My last game in charge turned out to be a 1-0 defeat at relegation rivals (and all-round bell ends) Salford. I don’t deny that it was a bad loss. We’d fallen right back into the relegation scrap after losing five of our last seven, and going down to a late winner against Gary Neville’s plaything was the final straw as far as the board was concerned.

I took over Chorley when they were 18th. I leave them 19th, teetering on the abyss:

Screenshot of the league table with Chorley 19th

Thank god for Rosie O’Neill, though – the press officer who ‘forwarded’ the news of my sacking onto me for ‘my attention’. She thought it’d be nice for me to know, bless her:

Screenshot of the news that I've been sacked

I also reckon that 16 games, or 113 days, is the shortest amount of time I’ve ever spent managing a club on any version of FM before getting sacked (although I did walk from Ipswich when I’d lost nine in a row and only won one in 18 back in the CM2 days). My career earnings amount to just under £5,200.

I won four, drew four, lost eight, scored 13, conceded 24 and picked up 16 points. We just couldn’t score enough goals. Sadly, all the games I was in charge of fit on one screenshot:

Screenshot of Chorley's fixtures

Here are a few more details of the feckless twats that let me down:

Screenshot of Chorley squad stats

So, I’m an unemployed manager at the lowest level of the game with a sacking on my CV. If I’m serious for just a moment, I do think the decision was a little harsh since we hadn’t actually spent any time in the bottom three – and the expectation set by the board at the outset was to avoid relegation.

With seven games to go, I could’ve steered them to safety. But I guess we’ll never know!

I hope they go down.

All that’s left for me to do is tap that space bar and see what comes up. I’m sort of excited about what will happen next, but in the meantime I think I’d better hit the SI Community to work on a tactic that improves on my frankly diabolical 0.8 goals-per-game ratio.

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Part II: As you were

I’ve had 12 matches in charge of Chorley now, and the situation remains pretty much the same as it was when I took over – a few points above the relegation zone, and just a couple of bad results from dropping into it.

Ok, a quick recap of the situation…

I began my FM17 career unemployed with a Sunday League reputation, and it was the end of November when Chorley came calling. They were battling against the drop, struggling to string a few decent results together.

If I was meant to come in and keep that infuriating inconsistency going to keep everyone at the club nervous, looking over their shoulders, then I’ve been right on the money.

Things began well, with a 3-2 win at a Halifax side pushing for the play-offs. A 1-1 draw at home to Tamworth felt solid enough, and I picked up a point at title-chasing AFC Fylde before beating them 1-0 at home in the festive double-header.

So far, so good.

We then lost back-to-back away games, 2-0 at Brackley and 1-0 at Boston – both above us in the table. We were then totally shit at home to Altrincham, but somehow drew 0-0.

We’d stopped scoring. In particular, Marcus I-want-to-move-to-a-bigger-club Carver had stopped scoring. Jason Walker, a player who has spent all his career scoring at wherever he’s played, hadn’t even bothered to score for me. So I went out and brought Macclesfield target man Jack Sampson on loan – and sensing I needed an uncultured battering ram for non-league’s sake, I also managed to get Guiseley’s big-arsed centre forward (and all-round journeyman) Michael Rankine on loan too.

Our next match was a biggie – away at Bradford Park Avenue. They were one of the five or six teams below me who had closed the gap. Sampson scored 21 minutes into his debut and we won 2-1.

Sadly Adam Blakeman, the only half-decent midfielder I have in my ranks, got injured in that game, and his absence told in the next as I managed to get stuffed 5-1 at home to Darlington 1883.

A 2-0 defeat at second-bottom FC United of Manchester wasn’t great, either.

I turned it around with a great 1-0 home win over Kidderminster, which has derailed their play-off ambitions, and we put in another impressive home performance against mid-table Alfreton, except we forgot to score while we were on top for 80 minutes and conceded two in the final 10.

With 11 games to go, this is what the table looks like:

Screenshot of league table in March 2017, Chorley 18th

In other transfer news, I signed 20-year old defensive midfielder George Pierce on a free transfer, more as back-up than anything else, but what with Blakeman’s injury (and fellow central midfielder Dale Whitham also getting crocked for a few weeks) he’s been thrust into the side.

Want-away Carver got his dream move… to Boreham Wood. Well done, you idiot. There are bigger clubs on a golf course.


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Part I: Chorley you can’t be serious?

I am – and stop calling me Chorley.

How utterly predictable. After making great inroads to my FM16 save with Grimsby Town I gave up because of, er, things. Life got in the way.

Now, I fall into a particularly narrow bracket of the UK’s population in the sense that my wife actually buys me the latest FM games. I know, it’s crazy. Amazing! But totally crazy. And she’s fully aware that this book exists (I bought that myself and read it a couple of years ago).

So I now own FM17.

The last time I touched FM 16 was at the end of December 2015. The fact that I didn’t actually play the version of the game in the year that was emblazoned on its cover wasn’t lost on me.

The thing is, real football got really interesting – and it gave me one of the best days of my life. Plus, I decided to quit my job to become a freelance copywriter, so that took up a lot of my time and energy.

As usual, I was overwhelmed not just by the amount of information that’s crammed into this game, but which club I should choose to manage. I also toggled between the full FM version and ‘FM Touch’, which I’ve been a fan of since it made its debut in FM13.

Grimsby, Tromso, Weston-super-Mare, Leeds and Bath… whichever team I picked, I couldn’t seem to get through pre-season without getting distracted by the thought of choosing someone else to manage.

In the end I wanted the decision – or indecision – to be taken out of my hands. Finally, after a week, I think I’ve settled on a save that has the potential to last more than a few weeks…

Chorley FM(17), coming in your ears

I chose to fire up FM Touch and begin the game unemployed with a Sunday League reputation. It was November before anyone touched me, and it was Chorley of the Conference North.

They were originally in the bottom three when they sacked their manager, Matt Jansen. But they showed some improvement in the weeks when I was negotiating my contract (a magnificent £325 p/w) and I actually took over them once they had dragged themselves a couple of places (and points) clear.

I inherited a largely unhappy squad due to star striker Marcus Carver sulking because he couldn’t get a move to a bigger club. I also changed captains and vice captains, sacked my useless assistant manager and discovered I had a frankly eye-watering weekly wage budget of just £5,000.

The board hopes we can escape relegation, and after a 3-2 win at much-fancied Halifax in my first game in charge – a win that moved us up to 14th in the table – I hope so too.

Carver played – and scored – but it was midfielder Adam Blakeman who stood out. Here’s the squad I’ve inherited (click to enlarge):

Screenshot of the Chorley squadAnd these are Chorley’s results in the run-up to sacking Jansen and appointing Lord:

Screenshot of Chorley fixtures

Here’s what the league table currently looks like:

Screenshot of Chorley 14th in the Conference North

With it being FM Touch I’m hoping I can get through a nice chunk of the season in relatively quick time, so I’ll be posting an update of my progress once I have a clearer idea of how the season is panning out.

Until then, sit tight.

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